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It’s a BRAND NEW CAR!

That’s right kids . . . we got a BRAND NEW CAR! (You have to say it in your head just like Bob Barker every single time.)

Of course, sadly, we didn’t actually win a BRAND NEW CAR on the Price is Right.  Sigh.  But, we did buy one.  Where you ask?  Where did we get our BRAND NEW CAR? (You’re still saying it like Bob Barker, right?  Good.)

Why Cleveland, duh!  I mean, it’s only 3.5 hours from Buffalo, so that’s nothing!  (I actually had no idea we lived that close to Cleveland . . . I’m not sure what significance that may have in the future, but still–it’s good to know that if we needed to get to Cleveland, we could.  And in only 3.5 hours.  Still not sure how that’s useful, but somehow it sort of feels like it is.)

I realized too late on our road trip that I should probably have taken one of these shots earlier as this is highly deceptive.

So yep–to Cleveland we drove.  And then we drove right through it.  So here’s a quick fly-by shot.

Cleveland.  Check.

Eventually we arrived at the dealership (they gave us the best price by far, so it was worth the trip) and picked up our BRAND NEW CAR.  We did the whole purchase via email and the phone, so thankfully we didn’t have to do any haggling.  And actually, by “we” I mean the Mr.  He took care of the whole thing while I was in Texas having a kitchen reno party with my sister.  Isn’t he just the best?

Okay, so are you just itching to find out what our BRAND NEW CAR is?  Are you on the edge of your seat?  Can you really believe that we bought a BRAND NEW CAR?  Can you tell that I just like saying BRAND NEW CAR (always in my best Bob Barker voice)?  Alright, well here it is:

TA-DA!  That’s right–our BRAND NEW CAR is a Subaru Outback.  Isn’t it purty?  We love it.  The Mr. especially.  He just can’t get enough.

We had to squeeze it into the garage the first night because the Mr. refused to let it sit in the driveway.

And yes–that might as well be an advertisement for Ganley Subaru, but we don’t mind–they were so great to deal with.  If you ever find yourself in Cleveland and want to buy a BRAND NEW CAR, we recommend Sarah from Ganley Subaru.

Oh, and for those of you who are observant out there, you may have noticed that there’s quite a bit of stuff in our garage.  Well, that’s because we’ve finally moved into our new home!  Yep–last week, on the same day we drove to Cleveland and back with our BRAND NEW CAR, we also rented a U-Haul and moved our stuff from Moose’s warehouse to our new place.  Yeah, we’re over-achievers like that.

And yes–that’s pretty much all of our stuff.  What can I say?  The Mr. is a minimalist and he’s been rubbing off.  But more on our new home soon.  There are lots of exciting things to share, so stay tuned.  But I didn’t want to distract any attention away from our BRAND NEW CAR, so that’s why this post is dedicated to only that.

Anyone else have a BRAND NEW CAR?  Do you also feel the need to do a Bob Barker impersonation every time you get in it?  Any thoughts on our choice?  I wanted a Prius, but I think the Subaru Outback, with AWD, will probably be a better choice for surviving the winters in Buffalo, and I have to say I’m super happy with it.  And I’m super happy that I now have a legitimate reason for doing Bob Barker impressions.

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Driving Miss Irene

Nothing like a nice relaxing Sunday drive, eh?

Yep, the Mr. and I were some of the idiots that took to the road on Sunday against everyone’s (newscasters, governors, panicked fathers-in-law) warnings.  But see, it wasn’t because we wanted the thrill of Driving Miss Irene; nope–it was because we were in Massachusetts and we needed to get back home to Brockport.  And it needed to happen Sunday.  ‘Cuz I had a flight to TX to catch today.  Starting to understand our logic?  Good.

So we drove straight through all that yellow/orangey gobbledy-gook.  But it wasn’t that bad . . . just a few white-knuckled moments.

That necessitated a brief pull-over at one of the rest stops.  Check out the McDonald’s flags a-wavin’:

The rain pretty much started Saturday afternoon and just kept on trucking.  So we drove through a lot of it, with it clearing only just past Syracuse. 

Luckily, there weren’t any accidents.  Just some fallen trees and a little bit of flooding.  No problem for the Bunches!

But why were we in Massachusetts?  Had we changed our minds and decided to jump ship Western NY?!?!  Nope.  Nothing that dramatic–sorry.  We took a road trip to attend my littlest sister’s wedding (my older sis announced it here)!  So stay tuned to see all the details tomorrow . . .

In the meantime, here are some shots of our quick tour around Boston before dropping my big sis and her husband at the airport.  Luckily, Irene didn’t interfere with their flight home, so thank goodness for that!

Of course, Irene made Boston eerily empty on what-would-be a normally busy summer Saturday . . .

We walked down by the water and were surprised at all the boats still docked.  Wonder how they ended up faring?  Some places, though, were ready for the much-hyped Irene . . .

But the media sensationalism about the dreaded Irene didn’t stop us from poking around our old city . . .

Besides being a little overcast, it was actually a perfect day to walk around.  That is, until this happened:

Luckily we were safely back in the car when the rain started Saturday.  And we even got to spend Saturday night visiting some of Mr. Bunches’ family, including the Junior Bunches herself, so all worked out great.  It really was sort of an over-hyped storm, at least for Western MA and Upstate NY–driving through it was the equivalent of driving through any rain storm.  So take that naysayers!

Alright, even though I’m traveling all week for work, I’ve got some great updates planned–weddings in Maine, apartment-visiting in Boston, and even a wood floor decision (I know you’re all on the edge of your seats over that one)!

Anyone else have a different take on Irene?  Did she live up to your expectations?  Or do you agree that she was just sort of a grumpy old woman with no real bite?

Don’t Pet the Animals

Already you must know how much we love animals.  We’ve seen a lot of them since moving to NY, but none quite like the specimens in the Hilton Zoo . . .

Totally different kind of zoo.  With music, gambling, beverages, you name it–the Hilton Zoo had it!

A few weeks ago our friends Braden and Amber took us here for some good times, good fun, and of course, some liquid refreshment.  I kind of love that the entrance sign (because of the balloon) implies that only one person under the age of 21 can be admitted–could you imagine the fights over getting to be THAT one?!

Yes sir–I had my first Genny Light.  Nothing but the best for me and the Mr., eh?

Our friends knew better and steered clear of the Genny (wise decision B&A) . . .

Of course, there was more fun to be had than just in the Zoo.  This was the Hilton Fair after all!  There were rides . . .

Refreshments . . .

Mmm . . . fried dough.

Oh, and we had our FIRST fried oreos . . . which basically means we got to experience heaven in a crispy shell.

We also had fun playing some carnival games . . .

(They’re trying to knock a kid in the water from about a million miles away.  No joke–I’m pretty sure no kids got wet here, but it was all for the boy scouts, so it was worth it.)

We had more success at this game:

It’s like BINGO but with rubber balls.  Genius.

Amber and I both ended up big winners.  What did we win?  Well, you’ll just have to wait a few more weeks for the big prize’s debut . . . riveted, aren’t you?

Overall, the Hilton Fair was a great time, so thanks B&A for a fun night out!

Of course, we weren’t thanking you the next morning, but that’s another story . . .

Still not sure how the patio project’s progressing, but we’ll definitely have updated pics for you on Monday–until then, enjoy your weekend!  You know we’ll be enjoying ours . . . painting, digging, planting, ya’ know–all-around-home-owning kind of stuff.  Joy.

Hot Route Hot Route

This past weekend was a tough one for us.  The Mr. has had one dream since he was four years old.  He’s focused on it for years.  He’s trained for it.  He’s lived it.  He’s breathed it.  Admittedly, it’s been tough on our marriage at times.  But I knew from the very beginning what my place was–that I came second to that dream.  And I was okay with that.  I wanted to be that supportive wife.  Because let’s face it–I had a dream too.  I was ready to be that wife.  I was ready for him to make that much money.  Really–I was.  That was my dream.  And that’s why this weekend was doubly hard.  For both of us.  Both of our dreams were crushed.  Both. Crushed.

See that guy running in the right of the picture?  That’s my Mr.!!!  See, the Bills started their training camp and we knew that this was our time.  So we had him suit up and get out there.  He was ready.  READY I say.  And boy was I ready!  He ran some killer hot routes.  I mean, killer!  It was everything he had ever dreamed of . . . but alas–it was not to be.  The coach cut him the first day.  The first day!  He was robbed.  Plain and simple.  ROBBED.

Okay, so maybe that guy in red is actually Fitzpatrick (the Bills’ starting QB), and maybe my Mr. was actually suited up like this . . .

But man oh man–you better believe that his heart was on that field!

So you’ve probably guessed it by now, but the Mr. and I went to the Bills training camp at Fisher College this past weekend.  Needless to say–the Mr. was pumped.  Because training camp means that there’s still hope.  Hope for what may be . . .

I’ve never been to a training camp before, so this was a first for me.  And turns out it was a first for the Mr. too!  It was cool to see the players all up close and personal.  And they looked good!  Looks like it’s going to be one heck of a season . . . and the Mr. got his training program, so he’s ready . . .

Are you READY?!

Flying High

This isn’t the most timely post, but better late than never, huh?  Thanks to the Mr.’s mom, we took in the Air Show in Rochester for the Mr.’s Birthday.  It was pretty fantastic.  And I’ll admit–I had my doubts.  I’ve never been one for going all ga-ga over planes.  But this was actually FUN.  Yeah–that’s right.  I capitalized it.  That means it was F-U-N.  They had planes doing all manner of crazy tricks . . .

Yeah–this one flew straight up until stalling out and then came straight down.  Gulp.

But there were also a ton of planes all over the airport that we could tour around . . .

Yeah–like I said.  LOTS of planes.  We walked straight through one . . .

. . . and right to the next one . . .

Of course, we got frequently distracted by things like this dropping out of the sky . . .

Crazy, huh?  Nothing like some good ol’ fashioned love from our Canadian cousins.

Oh, and there were helicopters too!  Pretending to rescue people.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

But the star of the show?  The BLUE ANGELS!  Look how shiny they are!

We saw them the day before flying around when we were at the fair, so we didn’t stay out this time and bake in the sun for another chance to see them (see Mom–not only did we have our sunscreen on, but we totally limited our sun exposure . . . aren’t you proud?).

We did partake of some sweet treats though . . .

That’s the Mr.’s What the Heck?! look when he finally notices that I’m taking a ton of pictures of him doing everyday things like eat an ice cream cone.  But he’s just so dang awesome . . . how could I not take pictures of him, right?

Okay, but back to the show . . .

There may or may not have been a lot of this happening:

Me: “Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.”

Mr.: “Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.”

and this . . .

Me: “Talk to me, Goose.”

Mr.: “We’re getting awfully low on fuel Mav.”

Yeah–we’re awesome.  Totally awesome. 🙂

Vegas–Take Two

Our trip with Blue Monkey Mike ended in Vegas, so of course we had to go out in style.  And since I have a sister who basically invented style, she and her beau were our go-to’s (plus, it was my sister’s birthday the day we arrived in Vegas, so what better place to celebrate, right?).  We decided to get a room at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, one of the newest (and in our opinion, the MOST luxurious) hotels on the strip.

Notice the balconies in that picture?  Almost all the rooms have balconies–one of the many things that makes the hotel unique.

Cosmopolitan Balcony

And the rooms?  I think my sister said it best with simply, “This is the best hotel room I’ve ever seen . . . ” (and coming from her, that’s saying A LOT).

Yeah, we not only had our own private balcony, but also a living room, mini kitchen (complete with a dishwasher!), a massive closet and dressing area, jacuzzi tub, separate shower, two huge TVs that controlled everything from the lighting to the room temperature (there were settings for romance as well as party–not only did the lights change, but so did the music), and all the hip accessories to make you wish you were that cool.

Colored pencils?!  Yes–colored pencils.

But I think my favorite parts were the hidden surprises . . . like the toilet room with it’s amazing wallpaper that made you look twice:

There’s nothing like some naked lady silhouettes when you’re in the loo, eh?

But hands-down my favorite was the closets . . . are you ready?!

(That’s all leather trim by the way.)  Shall I open them for you?

How fantastic slash creepy is that wallpaper?!  I totally want to do this to the closets in our master bedroom–what do you think?  Quick post update–I found this wallpaper!  It’s Tema e Variazioni Wallpaper by Cole and Son in their Fornasetti Collection and costs about $100 per roll. 

Okay, but enough about the Cosmopolitans’ rooms–they were just the beginning.  The hotel also had fabulous restaurants and shops.  To celebrate my sister’s 21st (sort of) birthday, we dined at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill which was truly outstanding . . . both the food and the service were excellent.

We then let my sis and her beau have some alone time while we went and met up with a couple locals . . .

Yep, just a couple of the Mr.’s buddies . . . you may remember Matt from Vacation Bunches’ last trip to Vegas:

I’m not sure if he’s the one on the right or the left . . . but either way he was in town “on business” and so we met him and Taylor out for a drink at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Harrah’s (sidenote: if you want to do some country line dancing next time you’re visiting Sin City, this is your place).

Of course, I got tired pretty quickly, so the boys walked me back to the Cosmopolitan and then decided to put on their gambling pants for a bit (and by a bit, I mean until 4 AM; no worries, though–they both came out winners that night).  Apparently, this was where it all went down (yep–that’s a private table for high rollers at the Cosmo; in short–don’t ask):

The next morning started with brunch at the Cosmopolitan’s amazing buffet, Wicked Spoon (you may remember that we visited it on our last trip to Vegas), and we couldn’t wait to get back in there.

We were pretty hungry once we arrived since you have to walk practically a mile to get there (the hotel is H-U-G-E), and there was some enticing artwork along the way . . . chocolate shoes?  Yes please!

Oh, and there were these old-school cigarette machines called Artomat that sold mini art from Etsy artists . . . how cool is that?  (The Mr. bought me two–isn’t he sweet?)

The walk also lent itself to some out-of-the-ordinary photo ops that my sister totally rocked . . .

Yeah, we were a bit ridiculous.

All that posing though really worked up our appetites.  Good thing it was all you could eat . . .

Cheese polenta with roasted mushrooms, mac and cheese, a pork bun (far right above), polish sausage, and some shortribs and pasta (hiding under the lid).  Not to mention the beet salad!!  Love, love, love me some beet salad (gotta give a quick shout-out to Joanne for introducing me to the wonderful world of beets) . . .

Beet Salad at Wicked Spoon

Oh, and the dessert bar?  Yeah–I hit that.

Wicked Spoon Dessert Bar

After we rolled out of left Wicked Spoon, we decided to walk the strip a little.

And found ourselves at Sugar, the posh sweet spot in Paris Las Vegas.

They had every type of sweet imaginable: from the world’s largest gummy bear . . .

World's Largest Gummy Bear

. . . to everything in bulk you could possibly ever want (including a Happy Birthday lollipop shout-out for my sis):

Even Jeremiah found something . . . looks like my sister was going to be getting an extra-special birthday treat.

Sugar Candy Underwear

I think she may have been more entranced, though, by the cupcakes on display . . . sorry Jeremiah!

Sugar Cupcakes

What a fun store, huh?

It even put the Mr. in a dancing kind of mood (sugar rushes tend to do that for him) . . .

After we got our fill of sweet sugary goodness, we headed back to the Cosmopolitan to say goodbye :(.  But first, we did a bit more marveling at all the swankiness that the Cosmo had to offer (and we may or may not have gotten a backstage tour of the most popular day and night club in the world, Marquee Las Vegas–sometimes opening the unlabeled doors in a hotel has its perks).  But sorry, no pictures of that–I was too scared wowed.  But here’s the ground level of the Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar, an amazing three-story bar that makes it feel like you’re literally sitting inside a chandelier.

Chandelier Bar

The Bond Bar also had some cool bits and pieces, although I’m sure it’s much more lively at night than when we were tooling around . . .

Bond Bar Gaming

Love this wall treatment . . .

Alright, so that’s all she wrote . . . I’ll leave you with this image of the Grand Canyon from our flight home.  Sigh.

We’re on a Boat!

You’re probably thinking how can there be any more to their trip?!  I know–looking back now, it’s a bit shocking to see just how much we did in only one week (if you missed it, check out here, here, here, here, and here for all the details).  Thanks again to our adventour guide extraordinaire, Mike, for planning out such a wonderful getaway!  (Quick Update: check out this video to see us in action on our tour!)

Like I said yesterday, our last stop on the trip was to Lake Powell, part of Glen Canyon, a National Recreation Area (different, apparently, from a National Park).  Lake Powell is ~183 miles long and has hundreds of miles of coastline (thanks to all the canyons it weaves in and out of).  There was no way for us to see the whole thing, but Blue Monkey planned a boat tour for us that allowed us to experience life on the lake.

We launched from Antelope Point Marina, the newest marina on the lake (and apparently home to the largest floating restaurant in the world):

Since the level of the lake rises and falls dramatically over the course of time, the whole marina is situated on a vast pulley system that allows it to be moved up and down . . . I’d explain it to you, but to be perfectly honest, I didn’t really understand it.  Neither did Mr. Bunches.  Neither did Mike.  Sorry.  But we had a great time . . .

Lake Powell is apparently known as a “party lake” in the summer, so the boys did their best to bring some of that atmosphere to our little boat trip . . . Coors Light at 9:30 AM?  Sure, why not?  That’s how Vacation Bunches roles . . .

We started our boat trip from the marina and wound our way into West Canyon:

See what I mean about how frickin’ big it is?!  Our boat tour was ~3 hours and even though we were cruising pretty fast, we barely saw everything the lake had to offer.  The family on our trip had a separate boat and had opted for a longer tour, so we only spent the first bit with them (they’re in the other boat in these pics).  Even though we didn’t see everything, what we did see was breathtaking, particularly West Canyon . . .

It felt like an Indiana Jones film–the canyon became super narrow and quiet with lots of twists and turns.  It was almost eery at times . . . Mike–watch out for that hand!!

Phew–it was just Carrie!

Even though the water was a bit chilly, the Mr. wanted to go for a swim, which of course meant that Mike, Carrie, and I all got talked into joining him . . . when in Rome, right?

Once we were headed back to the marina, the Mr. and I decided to let everyone in on a little secret . . . see–as you faithful blog readers know, we just bought a home, which we’ve dubbed the Holy House because of its current owners, the Episcopal Diocese (the last occupant was in fact the Bishop).  As such, we’ve been given certain powers; I’m not going to divulge all of them here, but one of them is the ability to walk on water.  Yes–that’s right.  We can walk on water.  And we can also bestow that power to those that we deem cool enough to handle it.  And Carrie was most definitely cool enough.  She used her newly bestowed power to attempt some yoga on the water . . .

Eventually succeeding–check out these amazing shots:

Well, we didn’t want to just let Carrie have all the fun, so we decided to join her . . .

Once our boat tour wrapped up, that by no means meant that the adventour of Lake Powell was over.  Nope–now it was time for kayaking!  We left from the marina with hopes of making it into Antelope Canyon (which we’d heard was just as stunning as West Canyon), but we soon found out that things are a lot more slow-going when you don’t have a power motor.  Nevertheless, we still enjoyed the exercise and time to explore the canyon walls a bit more closely . . .

Needless to say, after boating and kayaking, we were beat!  We headed back to the Lake Powell Resort for some R&R before another big day ahead . . . what did Adventure Mike have planned for us the next day?!  HUMMER TOURS!!

These were A-MA-ZING!  Totally an unexpected highlight of the trip–who knew that H2s could actually off-road instead of just take yuppies shopping?  The terrain was unreal–up 42 degree inclines, over huge rocks, through deep sand . . . we did everything!  And it was all on the Navajo Indian Reservation (the company has a private contract to use their land), which meant that there was no other way (except maybe being a Navajo Indian) to get to see Secret Canyon, a private slot canyon that we got to hike through.

Here’s the entrance to Secret Canyon . . .

It went from being 100+ degrees outside the canyon to probably ~70 degrees inside it . . .

How insane is this place, right?!

It was so quiet . . .

Don’t you feel calm now?

There was very little life in and around the canyon, but we did happen to catch a few shots of what life there was . . .

And everything was going great until the Mr. got stuck . . . 🙂

Silly Bunches!

On the other side of the canyon, it all opened up again . . .

And Blue Monkey Mike declared himself King Blue Monkey!  Bonus points if you can find Mike in the second picture . . .

The heat was tough, so we decided to head back in, but not before Carrie and I left our mark . . .

. . . and found one more critter . . .

But then it was time to head back into the cool canyon . . . I seriously could not take enough pictures in here (and luckily, our Adventure Hummer guides knew just the best spots and even the right camera settings–cloudy white balance if you’re curious) . . .

Cool sand effect, eh?

Once we finished hiking, it was time to head back in the Hummers–yippee!

To celebrate our last night on the trip, Blue Monkey had arranged for us to have a dinner cruise on Lake Powell.

We were pretty excited for our last meal . . .

Dinner was pretty good, but not great.  I had the trout.

The best part was the sunset views during the cruise . . .

And the photo ops it created for all the couples in our group . . .

Why no pics of me?  This is why:

And of course it quickly turned into this . . .

Not too shabby, huh?  Thanks again to Blue Monkey Mike for doing a first-class job and showing us everything (and then some)!

Blue Monkey Fist Pump

You thought it was over, right?  Wrong!  On our drive back to Vegas the next day, we stopped for lunch . . . can you guess where?!

And this time it was open!!!  (If you remember, last time we were out of luck.)  Oh sweet day!!  We finally got our cheeseburgers Animal Style . . .

Can you tell how psyched Blue Monkey Mike was?!

Mmm, mmm good

And of course we had to have a milkshake in honor of Deenie . . . coats the stomach, right?

“Actually we’ve got a nice little Saturday planned.  We’re going to Home Depot to pick out some wallpaper, then maybe we’ll hit Bed Bath and Beyond . . . I don’t know.  I don’t know if we’ll have enough time . . . ” 

Up next?  Vegas Baby!

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