Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yosemite: Day Two

Day Two of Yosemite brought big trees and a big view. We woke up and hit the road within the park for Mariposa Grove. Again, with the theme of crowds, we had to park in the overflow lot and ride the shuttle in - it was 9AM. One thing about Yosemite, though - the free shuttle transportation worked very well and it was much easier to park in the Valley and ride throughout than to drive to each place. 

We had a lovely shuttle driver who gave us all sorts of information about Yosemite. When we got to the grove where the Sequoias were, we decided the best way to see the whole forest (Lower and Upper Groves) was the tram tour. Excellent idea - I recommend it. It was guided (so in our pics, we've got super cool headphones and headsets):

These sequoias are cousins to the Redwoods of California fame but seemed just as big to me. This one above had fallen over years ago and that is someone standing in front of the base, to give you perspective on its size. 
These two trees, the "Two Lovers", are forever intertwined as their root systems help support and nourish the other tree, helping them both to grow tall. 
Fire scars from controlled burns in the grove. 
The clothespin tree.

After a morning in Mariposa Grove, we spent the afternoon across the park doing a hike to Taft Point. It was a great hike selection if you're looking for one at Yosemite. It was a very easy moderate, perfect for all of us to do together. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yosemite: Day One

So the family packed up, got on a plane, and headed West. It was a beautiful trip and I am lucky to have shared the time with my parents and brothers. A few highlights of each day will be chronicled, beginning with day one. 

Not knowing much about Yosemite, as we drove in on the first night, I wasn't sure what to expect. We got in very late (after flying in to San Jose and driving over to Yosemite, about 4 hrs) and so we didn't really see where we were as we drove through the park. We stayed in an area called "Yosemite West" in a 4 br cabin in the park. It was great to have our own cabin and we ended up cooking every meal but one on this leg of the trip.

The next morning (our first full day), we woke up early to get to our first destination. There would be a few themes emerge (one being "Speeding Kills Bears") and this first day highlighted the overriding theme - crowds. Hence the getting up early. 

Driving in, we stopped and got our first look at Yosemite:

Everything was on such a grand scale. Huge rocks, huge waterfalls. The sky was so blue, trees so green. 

Our first adventure was the one I selected - rafting on the Merced River. The relatively calm river was a perfect introduction to the "valley". Great sights, cool breezes, very relaxing.
From there, the guys went on to their first big hike, to the top of Yosemite Falls. The parental units and I went to Lower Yosemite Falls. The walk over to the lower falls was beautiful - such large trees:
We got to the bottom of the lower falls and were able to see both the Lower and Upper falls from where we were. Kids were swimming in the pools at the bottom of the falls and there were people from all over the world there. 
We then went back to meet up with the guys, who had been hiking for 4 hours at this point. While waiting I stared at this:
Finally, they came down from their hike, hot and tired. They made it to the top and took fabulous pictures. On the way down, Jacob got a bit overheated, hence his expression in the "we made it" picture:
We ended the first night by stopping at an overlook on the way out of the valley:
And then we all went back to the cabin and slept quite well. Next, day two. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lighting for the Kitchen.

On a whim, I decided to check my favorite source for lighting, Lighting Direct (and no, they aren't paying me to say that - but they should). 

I am going to have basic track lighting but also needed a pendant and an island light. Look what I found:

Maxim MX 75041 in gold/white - $9.32

Maxim MX 75042 in gold/white - $22.19

And here's the thing. Because it says it is "gold" but that sure looks more orange to me. And because if I added one more thing, shipping would be free, meaning that even though the other light was another $22, it only cost me $9 more because of shipping costs subtracted, I ordered it in olive too: 

 Now, this could all be a huge mistake. It could be too small for the space (I measured but the site says they are one width and the helpful live chat lady says they are another), they could be a funky color, I could hate the "gold" and use the olive instead, meaning I don't use the set of pendant and island lights (there was no pendant light in olive, as it was on clearance), I could just flat hate them. But... renovating is an adventure, right? And $50 for three sets of lights when I was planning on spending more on one is a risk I am willing to take. I'll report back when they come in. If not, there's always craigslist.

Monday, July 12, 2010


My mom and I have a favorite activity: treasure hunting. We love to set out on a Saturday morning and see what the day brings us. Last Saturday, we continued on the month-long quest for the round kitchen table. My mom has been looking for a round pedestal table for some time. She didn't want a new one, she wanted one with character. Also - where do you think my thrifty-ness comes from? She wanted one for a good price. 

So we set off on our adventure. Our first stops were a bust but eventually we found a little gem on Summer appropriately named "Flea Market." It is across from Ike's at Summer and Perkins (for anyone who wants to check it out). It is a funny little place - cash only, run by a few friends, sort of shady. Lots and lots of stuff crammed in this tiny building. It would definitely be one of those places I would just check out every once in a while - for cheap furniture, especially if you're looking to paint it or fix it up, this would be a good place to go. 

First off of our finds, this little guy is why we stopped - he was outside on the street inviting us in. We'd been looking for a 3-drawer nightstand for Jacob's room at school (his first real apartment!!) and this one was wonderful at $25 compared to the ones we'd been seeing for 3X as much:
 It is a clunker of a piece, real wood all the way. 

Next up, as we were approaching Miss Mary (who runs "Flea Market") to buy that piece, my mom spied this table... perfect. We've looked at about 15 tables and haven't been able to find one. Oh and new, tables like this were about 1,000-3,000$. Yeah. And a lot of the "antique" ones we saw were painted. And my mom does NOT like painted tables (and let the booth owners know this... something about forming the equivalent of PETA for wood furniture?). So this has been a long quest. Which ended at "Flea Market" on Summer. Miss Mary had discounted it from 185 to 135$ for a "4th of July sale" (note: this was July 10th). When my mom said she didn't want the chairs (as we have chairs), Miss Mary knocked it down to $100 without us having to ask. Wow. And these nice guys loaded it in their truck and followed us home to deliver it. Here's the table:
(Sitting in the living room of my parents house until they move the old table to the garage, where it will sit until it goes to meet its demise as Jacob and Ezra's kitchen table in their first college apartment). 

While my mom was looking at the table, I managed to find this little guy. I've been wanting one:
I believe it is authentic. And only $10. We're going to make some fondue soon. I'll let you know how it is. Once I find one of those canned gel heat things. 

After leaving "Flea Market" with promises to return, we thought we were done for the day. But no - we later ventured out to Gary's Antiques on Central (which I blogged about here) and found a few more fun things.

I gave Jake a set of vintage Heineken glasses a while back from an antique store in Knoxville (the one on the right is a part of that set). Gary's had another glass from the same collection (on the left) so we got the 4 glasses.

 Jake watched the World Cup with a friend on Sunday and used these glasses, filled with Amstel Light and Heineken in a nod to the country they supported, the Netherlands. 

I have started collecting the vintage Pyrex dishes. My mom found these bowls below at a yard sale last month and I got this refrigerator dish on Saturday from Gary's:

While we were walking out, I glanced at a painting I've seen every time we've been in Gary's. I have always liked it but never gotten it. On Saturday, I decided what bothered me was the frame - it was a plain wood with no finish. So I bought the piece, took it out of its frame, sprayed the frame black, and now am figuring out where to hang it:
All in all, a fun shopping day - and I came out only $45 the poorer than I began!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Adventure: Jerry's

I've called myself a Memphian for 24 (almost 25) years, and yet I've never gone to Jerry's Sno Cones. Today, that changed:
 Jerry's is on Wells Station in Memphis. Out of the way, but completely worth it. I got the wedding cake supreme, based on recommendations from a variety of Memphis bloggers (it is quite the thing to go to Jerry's). The "supreme" in the sno cone means it is layered with sno and cake:
It lived up to its reputation and much more. Anytime someone is up for Jerrry's, call me because I'll be down! Cash only, though...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

8 inches.

I have had my hair long since Junior year of college. I didn't set out to keep it long, grow it long, or do anything altruistic with the hair. I just didn't ever cut it (well, I trimmed it. but you get it). 

Today, I took the plunge. After a summer of 30 minute blow drys followed by 20 minute sessions with the straightener (and consequently, giving up lately - if you've seen me lately with my hair curly, that is why), I went in today and got it cut. 

While sitting in the chair, my hairdresser asked if I wanted to save it. I said "why not?". So here I am now, sitting with 8 inches of hair. Must mail it off. Kind of creepy. 

Here is the last picture I have of myself with long hair (that isn't pulled back):
Here's the pony tail that is being sent round the world:
 And here I am now:

Big change! As I was walking out, the woman that washes my hair told me I looked more like a school teacher and less like a teenager. I don't know which is better?


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