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Our trip to Norway!

Our trip route was Oslo > Bergen > Alesund > Trondheim > Bodo > Tromso > Back to Oslo

In early November, Tom and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by taking a week long trip to Norway.  It was amazing for so many reasons. We were able to meet some of my extended family (Hallo!), visit some beautiful cities, go reindeer and dog sledding, and see the Aurora Borealis!

We got some pretty damn awesome pictures too.

Wandering in Bergen

Bergen at night

Oslo Opera House

Views from the NSB train

Church in Trondheim

A few of our friends, and actually quite a few Norwegians that we met asked us why we chose Norway.  It’s my guess that they don’t see a lot of American tourists (we were definitely the only Americans we met on our entire trip, which was the exact opposite of our trip to South Africa last year).  There were many reasons why this trip made sense to us now:  1) I have extended family that I always knew I would want to go to meet someday (and next time I would love to take/send my mother and aunt!!)  2) We knew we wanted to do a bit of an adventurous vacation as we are hoping to have kids in the future, and a lot of this trip would have been much harder with kiddos. 3) Once Tom saw some pics of the Aurora Borealis, it was all he could think about! 4) We thought that the idea of going to Norway, and doing a cold vacation in the arctic circle was a really nice bookend to our honeymoon spent in South Africa.

Views from the Hurtigruten cruise ship

Getting “christened” with ice water as we crossed the arctic circle by King Neptune!

The sami tent we slept in overnight

Playing with the dogs before we went dog sledding

Over the river and through the woods…

Our reindeer Gobo that pulled us sledding the night before

I’m no Anthony Bourdain, but we did get to eat some exotic dishes from an American perspective:

Reindeer soup in the sami tent

…and deep fried whale in Tromso!  Tasted just like beef. Delicious.

Last but not least, some of the blurry pictures I was able to take of the Aurora Borealis!

Getting better at focusing in the dark…

And the non-blurry pic that the professional photographer took.  Clearly he earns his money 🙂

It truly was an amazing experience, and Norway is a beautiful country to visit. I”m keeping this post short on words, but if you have any questions about our trip feel free to shoot me an email or post in the comments!

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The Brooklyn Flea!

 

A few weekends ago Tom was dragged willingly attended the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene with me. The Brooklyn Flea is a flea market that takes place at two different locations in Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer. I went last year with a friend and enjoyed it a lot although I don’t recall if either one of us bought anything.  This year, I actually picked up this little dandy for $15:

Hot pink and brass, what what.

The detail is so pretty…

This year I brought my camera, but left it in the car and was too lazy to hike back to get it.  Lucky for you, I took pictures last year with my friend Jen, but never posted them.  So let’s pretend these aren’t a year old:

Creepy Tooth Collector
I deeply regret not buying this mug.

True story – I was really into plaid skirts in elementary school and had a ton of these huge safety pins.
This artist displayed her jewelry in black eyed peas and rice trays. So pretty.
Was this the prototype for the first folding chair??
Even shell casings seem pretty when there is a crap-ton of them.
Clearly I was really into the macro shots last year.
Oh look, a giant pink elephant, complete with umbrella. This would have been amazing in some rich recluse’s yard a la Edward Scissorshand, amIright?

What’s funny is that this taco is from last year, but I ordered the exact same thing this year. Go with what you know.

People also go to the Flea to eat.  I don’t think it’s quite Smorgasburg (because I’ve never been), but there are almost as many food tents as there are tchotcke tents. This was the clincher for getting Tom to take me there. Tons of vendors with delicious food, and my tacos were scrumptious. The Saturday location is a school’s playground, so everyone sits and eats in this cement step area. Apparently this is the thing to do with your infants.


My only grip with the Brooklyn Flea is that everything is pretty expensive considering half of it really is junk (but it is beautiful junk that I want to pet yet can’t bring myself to spend money on). This is not upstate-middle-of-nowhere-New-York flea market prices that I grew up going to with my mother, but it is still a nice way to kill a few hours and be outside. I know a lot of the vendors that are in Fort Greene are also at the Williamsburg location, but I haven’t made it to that spot yet (and I think it’s in an even bigger space with more vendors).  Here’s hoping I get in one more trip before the season is over (and that I remember to bring the camera).
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Pillow Problems and The Rental That Almost Was

So…we were ThisClose to moving into a new whole-house rental last week.  We were literally reviewing the lease terms and getting ready to give the broker the OK to run a hard credit check when we hit a major snag – no pets.  Trust me when I say, we confirmed and re-confirmed several times with the person who showed us the house (and the ad said pets were allowed!) that pets were allowed.  Suddenly when reviewing the template lease with the landlord, we were told this was not the case.  To say we were majorly frustrated would be an understatement.  I’m still mourning our loss – it was a fully detached home about three blocks from our current apartment with things like a driveway! washer/dryer! dishwasher! backyard area with grass and sun! finished basement! and obviously more space.  We really can’t complain about our current rental – it is a great size for Brooklyn standards, although all of our closets are jam-packed even after the great Purge of 2013.  And it did come about by accident; I was really only doing a little craisglist searching for driveway rentals in our neighborhood (which is common in our area) and happened upon the ad for the house rental.  We looked at it on a whim and fell in love with the potential we saw.  We crunched the numbers and did our due diligence and thought renting a house would be a good compromise for us – I want a home and space and would prefer to leave the city, while Tom would prefer to stay.  I knew my urge to leave could be satiated in this home for a good 3 – 5 years and we could still continue to save (though not quite at the same pace) for our Someday Home. But alas, it was not meant to be – the saying “too good to be true” comes to mind…

I bring all of this up for a few reasons.  First being, I just need to vent about it while I’m still getting over it, so if you are still reading, thank you, thank you, I really do appreciate it. Let’s just say I was being super dramatic last week and created a whole pinterest board for the apartment then deleted it. I’m sure anyone that has felt a home (or anything else they wanted) slip through their fingers can understand.

Second being while we contemplated the idea of leaving the apartment we’ve been living in for almost six years, I realized how much I really will miss it when we leave. Which also made me re-realize I’ve never properly documented most of the rooms in the apartment on this here blog so I want to tackle that task soon(ish).

The third is to bring up the fact that I now have a pillow problem. It is all I want to look at on websites suddenly. I always keep my eye out for good accent pillows when I’m shopping at Century 21 or when I make the trek out to Staten Island to visit Homegoods, but I never pull the trigger because I always think I’ll find something I like more, or for less money, or I could sew it (if I ever actually sewed) myself for less, etc., etc.  So a few weeks back I ended up picking up a pillow and a pillow case on sale and Crate and Barrel as a bit of retail therapy after learning about another home I was dreaming about someday owning being sold to another person. It opened the purchasing flood gates. Then – oh happy day – H&M debuted their Home line on their website and kicked it off with some great sales. Less than an hour of browsing later, I had eight pillow cases on my way to my house for less than $90 – which is a STEAL considering they are more like $20 – $50 a piece at Homegoods and C&B!  And now my couch looks like this:

1 (not the same but close) & 2

The velvet covers were only $4 a piece! I tried to vary the textures with the knit and linen with gold fabrics as well.

3 & 4

Mmm gold.

5

I feel like this room is so much happier with all of this added color!

I have three more that I don’t have a need for yet, but I am patiently waiting for our Someday Home to bust ’em out. Normally I would’ve put all those pillows into my online basket, and never would’ve actually purchased them.  But I am so very glad that I did – to the point that I may actually allow myself to replace a few other bigger ticket items in the apartment soon, especially now that I know we are back to our original plan of staying here for another 1 – 3 years.  I’ve tweaked things here and there over the years, but after going through all of the emotions of nearly getting the house rental with Tom, I think even he is feeling a little more willing to spend some more money on items that we will be able to take with us (like replacing his dresser that has had a broken drawer for over two years).

That fur one is actually a souvenir from our honeymoon in South Africa.  Poor Impala – but you look so nice on our couch!

Have you been stocking up on anything like pillows lately? Have you checked out H&Ms new Home line yet?  Now that I’ve ripped the seal on purchasing pillows, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop!

PS: I just noticed Crate and Barrel is having an online pillow and throw sale now through August 28!  I haven’t been paid or perked from either store – just thought I’d pass along the savings!