Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I NEED THIS!

I have been coveting this jacket for almost a year now and I want it more than ever as the weather is changing and my mind is filled with the desire to hit the slopes. It is The North Face Women's Lotus Triclimate Jacket. This has everything you could want in a ski jacket and I WANT IT MORE THAN BRITNEY SPEARS WANTED HER HAIR BACK CIRCA 2007! About a year ago in a sporting goods store I tried it on and then proceeded to wear it around the store for about an hour as we looked at other things, but I never bought it because I had other priorities.

I have other financial priorities this year as well, but I can still dream about it, can't I?

Now, normally in everyday life, I am more of a Banana Republic trench coat kind of gal, but there is something so delicious about having a well constructed, warm and specifically designed jacket for skiing - or snowboarding, I'm not trying to alienate my fellow snow lovers out there - that just makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable!

Here are some of the features of this coat, according to The North Face website:
  • Fully seam sealed
  • Adjustable EZD-tach hood
  • Rotated core pit-zip vents
  • Handwarmer zip pockets
  • Wrist accessory pocket with goggle cloth
  • Internal media security pocket
  • Internal goggle pocket
I think the handwarmer zip pockets are my personal favorite. La de da - I want this jacket and I cannot wait to go skiing this year, but perhaps I will revisit the idea after the immigration fees and wedding costs subside a bit.

I feel so grown up when I say that...when in the heck did that happen?

PS - This is not an official advertisement for The North Face - I am just a fan of the product. Part of this is due to a deep-seeded and ridiculous neurosis I developed in high school when all of the popular kids had The North Face fleece coats which my parents refused to buy us. This made me crave the darn things and I think a piece of that still lives with me today. However, this is not the time or the place to get too into my hormonal teenage feelings of inadequacy and desire to fit in, so I will just now simply, shut up.

However we all know that won't last for long...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back in the Zone

I am currently sitting on my couch, in my P.J.'s with a mild headache. (Interesting, I know...I don't blame you if you stop reading now.) My stomach is full from the delicious stir fry I just ate and the repeated command that I MUST START WORKING OUT AGAIN TOMORROW keeps running through my mind.

I have DROPPED the ball, people - dropped it big time.

Before I left for England, I was hitting up the gym 3-4 times per week and I was REALLY watching what I ate. This left me feeling great. I was in the zone. I was on workout auto-pilot. I was kicking my fat cell's asses.

Then I went to England.

And got in vacation mode.

And enjoyed myself.

And didn't work out.

Then I got back to Oregon.

And all of this continued.

Jocelyn vs fat cells is currently not going very well for me...or my butt. Or my arms. Or my ________ (insert body part).

I need to get back in the zone, and tomorrow is the day. I get married in exactly 196 days. This may seem like a while away - but in fat cell burning time, that is practically tomorrow. The time has come. I must get back on the ball, or the elliptical, for that matter. I am refusing to be mad at myself because that is not going to get me anywhere but to the bottom of a bag of chips. This needs to be as much about positive thinking as it is about breaking a sweat and embracing leafy greens.

And, for the record, this is not me on the search for size 2 jeans. After years in high school of fretting about every SINGLE thing I ate, I have come to a place of acceptance with my curves, however, curves are one thing - extra flab clinging tightly to the curves is not what I am going for. So - I am getting back in my zone. Back to the grind. Back to a life of HEALTH - it is a good life, just one that seems to easily get away from me. Wish me luck and have a great Monday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Inspired by Posh Play


First of all, Happy Weekend everyone - I know we have all earned it!

Secondly, I would like to give thanks to Heather who has one of my favorite blogs, Posh Play. She is now a week away from getting married and it has been oh-so-fun reading her posts as she has shared her planning along the way. Her style is both elegant and modern and I have found a lot of inspiration from her posts.

About a week ago, she did a post about finding the perfect rehearsal dinner dress at J.Crew, which was on sale. Never one to miss a chance to check out a good sale, I hopped on over to J.Crew's website and had a look and well, what do you know, I too found my perfect rehearsal dinner dress. Granted, my wedding is not until April and I have plenty of time to look for one, but this dress is perfect and was marked down from $135 to $49.99 - WHAT a bargain!!! I am so excited about this dress and so thankful to have one more thing checked off my wedding planning list.

Thank you again Heather and you all should check out her blog for some great style advice and to wish her luck on her big day, which is exactly a week from today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There's A New Sheriff in Town

I had another meeting with our immigration lawyer today and filled out about 8,029 applications for the 15th time because apparently different government agencies cannot and do not talk to each other in any way, shape or form therefore we must answer the same questions over and over and over and...

These questions run the gamut from, "What is your birthday?" to "How many times have you left the country in the last 10 years?" to "Have you had any affiliation with any groups inflicting violence against Haitian people?"

These are all reasonable questions and I respect the need for them to be asked, but after answering them for the umpteenth time, it gets a bit, oh shall we say, TIRING/ANNOYING/EXHAUSTING/ETC/ETC. If I were running the country (eeks!), I think I would like to know a few more things about those trying to live here, aside from if they have ever been convicted of a felony or tried to commit espionage against the United States.

I know, I know - those are important things to know, but they are so boooooring - aren't they? Except the espionage part, that could be kinda cool. KIDDING, LOVELY IMMIGRATION PEOPLE AT HOMELAND SECURITY - I LOVE YOU!!!

No, no, no - If I got to design these applications and questions, I would DEFINITELY want to know the following:

1) Have you, or anyone you know, ever been to a Justin Guarini concert?

This would be a BIG red flag!!!

2) Between the years of 1987 - 1995 did you ever own any of the following: a slap-it bracelet, a skip-it, LA Gear shorts with a hand-print on the butt or a Tiffany, New Kids On The Block, Debbie Gibson or Wilson Phillips T-Shirt? If you answered 'yes' to 2 or more of these questions, please move to the head of the line.

That's right - when I rule American immigration, we deal with actual lines - if it works for 3rd graders, it can work for me.

3) What is the greatest movie ever made in the history of making movies ever in the world?

Correct answer: The Wizard Of OZ. All other answers would be scored on a case by case basis. Any and all answers mentioning films starring Steven Seagal would be immediately denied. Sorry folks, but I'm the boss around these parts.

4) Do you think that penguins are cute? What about sheep with black faces?

A LOT could be determined about a person based on their answer to these questions.

5) How long have your parents known you?

Think about it...this question has the potential to weed out the dim-witted.

6) If you became famous, what would be the one thing that you wouldn't want anyone to know?

Quite frankly, this question is genius. If they tell you, you get to find out the worst thing about them and then judge based on that. Secondly, it also give you a chance to question their intelligence as they JUST TOLD YOU THE ONE THING THEY WOULDN'T WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW.

7) What is the lateral area of a regular octagonal pyramid if the length of each base edge is 5 cm and the slant height is 9 cm?

Muuuuwwwaaahahahahahaha!!!

8) If you could turn back time, if you could find a way, would you take back those words that hurt me, so I'd stay?

The more creative the answer to this doozy, the higher the chance of gettin' on in.

9) Have you ever been denied prior access to the United States due to bad B.O., talking to yourself on street corners with a bottle of cheap gin in a brown paper bag, public urination or driving 10 miles below the speed limit - in the fast lane?

Deny, deny, deny.

10) If the bridge to nowhere was a bridge to somewhere, where would you hope that the bridge would take you?

This question has a bit of a philosophical edge to it...I'm really feeling this one.

Oh yes - the trials and tribulations of giving some humor to immigration. It's a tough job, but somebody has to make fun of it. Truth be told, at times during this process, if I didn't laugh, I would cry. And if I cry, poor Dan just has to listen to me and calm me down - so I am choosing today to laugh.

This has also left me wondering, however, if YOU got to pick some questions - what would you want to know? What are the deal makers and deal breakers, in your mind?

And, not in a political way...no, no...we are much to in need of a laugh to get all serious with politics - but just a fun, stuff-I-like-to-know-about-people-for-no-good-reason kinda way.

Cheers!



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fowey, How I Love Thee


Well hello there. Sorry it's taken so long for me to get this post out, but my life has been nothing but crazy for the last few weeks and I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath. However, I still have every intention of sharing with you my new favorite place on this planet that makes me want to sell all of my things, pack my bags and throw caution to the wind. That place is called Fowey (pronounced Foy).

Fowey is amazing. Fowey took my breath away. Fowey made me feel like all of the bad and evil in the world did not exist and that the life you see in the home decorator magazines is not only possible, but happening. This beautiful little port town located on the Southern coast of Cornwall has records dating back to the 11th century, however activity was surely occurring before that. What I am sayin' is - this place has history.

And not like - "oh, this is the place where Jon and Kate Gosselin lived before they hated each other" kind of history - we are talking some real stories of the past.


This is a view looking down on the little city. See all the fishing boats? See all the little white-washed houses? My dinky little camera does not do it justice - nor does that grey sky - but this view took my breath away. Seeing as most of the buildings in Fowey date back to the 14th century, I have to imagine that this is pretty close to how it looked as smugglers and royalty alike spent time here.


Before we could really get down to the nitty gritty and explore Fowey, we had to find a place to park up our rig. Luckily for us, we found a campsite that was only a few miles from town...


...and this was our view. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.


This little egg stand was at the entrance to our campsite. Love it.



By the time we had found Fowey, found the campsite and got all settled in, we were famished so Dan got out the little BBQ and we started grilling.


On the menu: chicken marinated in BBQ sauce, grilled corn (those things wrapped in foil), mashed potatoes and baked beans.


Please do not judge the amount of mashed potatoes on my plate. I love them and I lose all self-control when they are put in front of my face. Enough about my gluttony. Moving on...


This is us as we were outside grilling. It was FREEZING with a wicked wind, hence the sweatshirt AND down vest, but we didn't care. See, it is just pretty hard to phase someone from Oregon and someone from England with bad weather - we have both grown up with the stuff.
Rain and wind has us staring up at the sky shouting, "Is that all you've got???!!!?!"



The next morning, September 5th, was Dan's birthday, which of course had to start with presents. He had been asking me aaaalllllll weeeek if he could open his presents and, after days of torture, he finally could.

Dan is like a child when it comes to presents. He cannot handle them sitting out. He tries to open them/shake them/peek at them if he can. I had to guard these with my life until the day came. It was like keeping a dog from smelling another dog's butt - not pleasant, difficult and downright a pain in the...butt???

You can thank me later for that lovely analogy.


During Dan's time living in Portland, OR, he became quite a fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, our professional basketball team here in town. One of his gifts was a ball signed by they entire 2008-2009 team.

This will probably be worth a lot more when they win the 2010 playoffs. I'm just sayin'. GO BLAZERS!!!


After the gift giving and breakfast, we headed into town to explore Fowey. Due to the fact that this town was built so long ago, the streets are tiny, tiny, tiny. Very small cars can get through, but there was no way our motorhome would fit, so we parked our rig in a parking lot at the top of the town and rode our bikes down into the town.


There is Dan on his bike as we made our descent. The entire town is on a hill, so it was a fun ride down. Coming back up at the end of the day was a bit more challenging, but it helped burn off some of the calories from the truck-load of mashed potatoes I ate the night before.


Once down in the middle of town, we found a place near the water to lock up our bikes. This sign was right near that spot. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I am a nerd for history.





This was the home of author Daphne du Maurier and she even set some of her books in this house, which is now occupied by her son. 



Down by the water I snapped these pics. Everything I saw looked like a postcard. The green was so...green. The houses were so...charming. The water was so...calm. I was instantly in love.


I can see myself here - drinking tea on the porch while I read Jane Austin, with my hair long and flowing in the coastal wind. C'mon people...let yourself go there.


How's that for a yard, eh? All of that was for that one house. Daisy Buchanan, is that you?



This structure is called The Blockhouse and was built in 1380 after an attack by the Spanish. An identical twin to this building is directly across the river and at one point, a giant chain was strung between the two as a way to protect the harbor from being attacked. Cannon balls from the ancient Spanish attacks are still being found in the harbor. 



Look how tiny the doorway is! This building was built in 1430 and was used as merchant quarters. I know this because I cannot help myself from asking the poor souls who work at these places if they know about the history of the building - but I found, thankfully, that they like to answer the questions. 


This is a really good example of what most of the town center area looks like. All of the buildings are painted white or pastel pink, blue or yellow. The streets are full of people as there are very few cars. Everything is clean and well-kept and beautiful. We had a great time just walking around. 
















We walked all over the place - through the city, through the residential area - we saw a lot. It is all really close together and I believe that less than 3,000 people live there, so to say that it is quaint does not even describe how it feels to be there. 



At one point, as we were walking along an esplanade, there was a wall with all of these little holes cut out of it. They offered a chance to really focus on the view and take it all in. 



One thing that I have come to adore about England are all of the old churches - they are everywhere, and I mean, EVERYWHERE - so, if you ever miss one, just keep driving and I promise you will come across another very shortly. This is St. Fimbarrus' Church and was built in the 12th century. While we were visiting there was a wedding going on, so we could not go in, but we got to hear them ringing the bells just as they did to warn of attacks back in the day and to mourn those who were dying from the plague. 

The Bloody Plague! (that one is for you...and you know who you are)



One of the things that people kept telling me before we left was, "You MUST try a Cornish Cream Tea." Being a naive A-MER-I-CAN, I had no idea what this was, until I ordered it. A 'Cream Tea' consists of a cup of tea, 2 scones, jam and clotted cream. What is clotted cream, you ask? Well, the best way to describe it is a mix between butter and whipped cream. 

You can forget everything I said about burning off calories, because I think that I took them all back in at this point. Hey - when in Rome...





Before we headed back up the hill to return to our home on wheels, we rode our bikes to Readymoney Cove. It is called this due to the high amount of smuggling that used to occur here. Had it been a) warmer and b) earlier, this would have been a great spot to swim - maybe next time. 

Once back at the campsite, we freshened up, got a cab and headed back into town for a lovely birthday dinner for Dan, followed by a bit of a tour of the pubs of Fowey. It was a wonderful, wonderful day and the entire trip left me feeling more and more connected to this place that is now forever a part of my life. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had to travel this year and I look forward to many more travels in the future. It is like a drug; the more you travel and see the world, the more you desire to travel and see the world. 

Anyway - that is all for now. My lengthy posts about my trip are officially over - I promise. Thanks for reading though - I do appreciate it ever so much. As I sit here now, in my living room in Portland, I cannot help but to feel happy and thankful for everything I have and for the life that is ahead of me. 

Have a good one everybody!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Crazy About Cornwall: England Week II



So it's officially been a week since I have been back and I have only barely managed to unpack. The jet lag has taken me a while to adjust to as there is an 8 hour time difference between England and the west coast of America and frankly - I have just been lazy this past week, which is what I needed. Now, it is back to eating well and hitting the gym, back to cleaning my apartment and wedding planning, back to seeing my baby via Skype and living by the laws of immigration - in three words, back to reality. Oh reality - you always have to come and spoil the party, don't you?

In an effort to push off the truths of reality from my brain, I am going to continue with another post about my lovely trip.


After the wedding of Dan's Mom, we headed to Wales for a night to visit Dan's Dad. Wales is stunning and there are sheep EVERYWHERE. I happen to think that sheep are some of the cutest beings on this planet Earth, so this made me happy. This is a photo of Dan's Dad's house - isn't it adorable? All of the charm and loveliness that you see on the outside continues on the inside as well.


Dan's Dad and Step-Mom live in a part of Wales that is very close to the coast which makes it a very popular spot for vacationers. Due to this fact, they have little holiday rentals on their property which is a nice little side business for them. In this picture you can see some of the little cottages that they rent out. I think it is all just adorable.


Here is a little cabin that they also have on the property that gets rented out to those seeking some sun and surf. Dan's Dad built this himself, which had me very impressed. I love that there are people out there who know how to build things. I wish I knew how to build things.

Anyway...the entire little compound just exudes charm and is delightful. I would love to spend a summer up here staying in one of these little places.


Ah yes - the obligatory family photo. This is Dan, his Dad, Step-Mom and his 15 year old brother who is so adorable I almost didn't know what to do with myself.

The next day Dan and I headed out for our big adventure. What adventure you ask?



Well, driving this thing to the Southwestern part England to a county called Cornwall. Okay - I didn't actually do any of the driving: a) wrong side of the car, b) wrong side of the road, and c) me driving big vehicles is just not a good idea in general.

"It's a beaut Clark, it's a beaut!" (name that film)

Anyway, this BEAUT belongs to Dan's Mom and Step-Dad and let me tell you, camping with a motorhome is my new favorite way to camp. You can stop when you want, nap when you want, eat when you want - you get the picture. I have always considered myself a bit of a traditionalist with camping - I like the tents and the filthy clothing - but after a week in this bad boy, I think my camping life has changed a bit.



Here is the kitchen complete with everything you need really, just in smaller proportions. That is me cooking. Oh look - and there is my blue water bottle. I will let you in on a little weirdness about me and that is that I take that water bottle with me everywhere...I...go. I really do. I drink A LOT of water and that thing is like my security blanket. If I forget it, I suddenly get really thirsty and have to get some water STAT. It is all in my head, I know, but it is appropriate that she, yes - my water bottle is a girl - make an appearance on this blog at some point since it rarely leaves my side.


And here is the rest of it. There is a bed above the front seats that you pull down and it was actually really comfortable. See the towels hanging out to dry? Those were from the showers we took at the campsites...ah yes...clean camping.

Mama like.


Dan enjoying some morning O.J. while messing around on his laptop. Let me just stop for a second and tell you about the insane amount of technology we had in that little motorhome: 1 cell phone, 1 Blackberry, 2 iPods, 1 iTouch, 1 laptop, 1 GPS system, 2 devices so that we could listen to the iPods either through the motorhome speakers or through some portable speakers we brought along and 2 digital cameras. At one point we laid it all out and marveled at the ridiculousness of it all and took back anything we ever said in the past about not getting what we wanted.


So - Cornwall. I knew nothing about it before this trip, other than the fact that every English person who I spoke to about it pre-voyage said something along the lines of, "Oh - Cornwall is beautiful - you will love it," and love it, I did. However, it was a bit of an adventure. Not because of the motorhome or the campsites. Not because I had never been there...no, no...none of that. It was an adventure due to the fact, that the roads that branch off from the main motorways (which are still only about 2-4 lanes) are, in a word, TERRIFYING!!!

Let me just tell you...you have not seen tiny roads until you have been on the roads in Cornwall. In some spots, they are barely big enough for one car, let alone a 20 foot German motorhome. This, however, does not seem to bother the locals as they speed along in all sorts of vehicle shapes and sizes. I, on the other hand, was having near heart attacks as we slowly inched past vehicle after vehicle. There was one particularly tense situation where we had to have over 30 cars back up so we could pass through one ridiculously narrow stretch. Dan admitted after that he didn't think we would make it while I was fanning myself and popping Xanex...not really, but had I had Xanex, I would have been popping it.


Due to the stress these roads caused me, I didn't take any photos because I was too preoccupied with listening for the sound of our motorhome being side-swiped, but I did find this little gem on the internets that proves to you I am not a lying son of a gun.


At one point, while on a tiny Cornish road, we had to stop for a herd of cows to pass, which I loved. You cannot see it in the photo, but there was a Border Collie bringing up the rear and was basically doing most of the work. Being a city girl who has no experience with such a life, seeing anything like this makes me really excited and happy.


Cornwall is basically made up of a ton of little villages that are all very close together, yet each little town definitely has it's own character. We just drove along, through many villages and stopped when we felt like we wanted to stop. Dan, being an avid water sportsman, had spent many summers down here in his youth surfing and getting into trouble :) This picture was taken at Widemouth Bay which is right outside of a town called Bude. It was really cold and really windy, but there was still plenty of surfers trying to catch a wave.


The rocks come right up to the shoreline and are all topped with this lush green grass - it was so beautiful, even on a nasty day like this one was.


Hi Dan. Nice hat. I was in this picture too, but I looked all kinds of awful, so I took the liberty of cropping myself out of it. God bless technology.


This is the town of Bude. I took this in the middle of a MASSIVE downpour, but I still think the row of houses look adorable. Check out the little gate with the sun. I am still trying to decide if I like it or if it annoys me.


Another shot of Bude. See that green grass? It is such an awesome shade of green and unlike any I have seen - and I come from Oregon!! We have greenery coming out of our eyeballs, but still nothing quite like this.


After freezing our tushes off at Widemouth Bay, we hopped back in the motorhome and headed on down the road. As we drove through a small town called Port Issac, we came upon this beach which caught our eye. It was really quaint and adorable and the weather was finally clearing, so we stopped to check it out.




As we were on the path to the beach, we came upon these two iconic English items: the red phone booth and the red post box. I thought they were both really sweet looking and I loved that they were just along a beach path.




I am so glad that we chose to stop here because, as we got down onto the beach, I was blown away by the beauty of this place. Again you can see how the massive rocks, which are all made of slate, come right up to the beach. In the last photo, you can see there are some people in the lower right hand corner which gives you some perspective of how massive these rocks are.






I took soooo many photos of this beach, but it was simply stunning and my little camera does not do it justice.






We spent a lot of time here exploring all of the rock formations and checking out the caves that line the beaches. Cornwall is in fact known for it's caves where, hundreds of years ago, smuggling was rampant amongst those trying to avoid paying tax on imported items. The caves along the shores of Cornwall were used as secret hiding places for a variety of goods. Oh baby - if caves could talk.

Goodness grief Jocelyn...stop while your ahead behind...


After checking out the beach at Port Issac, we headed into a town called Newquay (pronounced New-key). This is a fairly large, touristy town that lacked some of the charm of the smaller villages, but it is apparently some of the best surfing in all of Europe and...well, I think the view speaks for itself - it was beautiful. Look at that water!!!



Uhm...heeeelllooo - is this not some of the prettiest green and blue colors you have ever seen?


Dan taking in the view. I will have you know that I did not mess with the coloring of this photo at all - this is how it looked right out of my camera.


This was a hotel right on the edge of a cliff that looks out over the water. Some day I will stay in this hotel - mark my words.

We spent the day walking around Newquay and just taking in the sights. As is typical with coastal weather, it would get really sunny and then be raining 5 minutes later, but we didn't let that get to us.


See the structure on the rock? That is a house. See the little bridge? That is the only way to get to the house. Sweetness.



Here is a group of guys in a surf school. Surfing is HUGE in this part of the world - it reminded me of California - except much prettier scenery and the people had nicer accents.

I am still totally and completely transfixed by the English accent and still tickled that I get to listen to one for the rest of my days.

"Mummy, can I have a biscuit?"

That is how I imagine my future children talking to me. Oh please let it be so.



Aside from crazy shades of green, tiny roads and surfers, you also see TONS of these around Cornwall - and I mean they are everywhere. This was a lot of fun for Dan and I who give "friendly" punches to each other every time we spot one. Actually, truth be told, this game got a little out of hand in Cornwall, but I think it is fair to say that I won. It's just an advantage of being a passenger - I had two hands available for punching at all times whereas he only had one.

We have a loving and healthy relationship, I swear ;)

Well, again I have written another ridiculously lengthy post. I have one more to write about my trip, and then I will be done - I promise - but the last one will be the best one yet because I am going to introduce you to a place with such charm and old-world feel that you are going to want to all book your tickets there before I can say Have a Wonderful Day!!!

Update: I just did another glance at this post and realized that I had about 8 spelling mistakes, for which I apologize. Spelling is not my thang - but I should have triple checked it. Thank you and goodnight.
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