The Polar Plunge

Recognize any of those kings?  Are you done with all my references to royalty lately?  Okay–sorry, but with this picture I just couldn’t resist bringing it back to last week.  So can you guess what we did this past weekend?  THE POLAR PLUNGE!  That’s right–we jumped into freezing cold water for no reason at all.  Can you pick out which one of the above is Mr. Bunches?  Mr. Rockstar?  Mr. Holoholo?

No?  Well, that’s because we didn’t actually do it.  Kind of like how we didn’t actually get a goat.  Sorry.  But, there was a lot of talk about doing it.  See, the Polar Plunge takes place each year in Skaneateles, NY (pronounced skinny-atlas).  It’s a great fundraiser and is one of the more exciting parts of Skaneateles’ Winter Fest.  Last year they had to saw through 8 inches of ice just to make a hole for people to jump into.  Not this year, though.  Nope–no ice on the lake at all.  So I’m guessing this year’s event was a little less dramatic.  I’m only guessing because Mr. B and I didn’t make it into town quite in time to see it.  But no worries–we got to see lots of other stuff.  Er, well, mostly ice sculptures . . .

Oh, and donuts.  Mmmm . . . donuts.

Okay, so the donuts aren’t actually a part of the Winter Fest, but rather they’re just a regularly scheduled part of Skaneateles.  The Skaneateles Bakery to be exact.

Essentially, this is one of my dreams–Mr. Bunches and I move to a quaint little tourist town and open a fresh, local bakery.  With homemade donuts.  Lots and lots of donuts . . .

Oh, and wouldn’t you know it that the owners are two twenty-somethings that just moved to NY from Boston?  I mean, c’mon!  I know we’re not in our twenties anymore, but could they really be any more similar to us?!   Not like I know them or anything, but in my mind they’re just like us, which means, by the transitive property, that Mr. B and I could definitely open a successful bakery.  And yes, I said transitive property–take that fellow math geeks!

Okay, moving on.  Besides eating donuts (clearly I have a one-track mind at the moment), we actually did some poking around the town . . . we ended up in a local antiques store where we found all manner of assorted old things.  Like some gorgeous white stoneware that I almost purchased . . .

You know I love me some white stuff.  But there were also gobs of cool storage crates . . .

Some super old milk containers . . .

A giant stoneware piece labeled “large coffee mug” although I’m pretty sure it’s an old bed pan (but don’t tell Mr. B) . . .

And of course your token barrel of incredibly old golf clubs.  Seriously–who buys these things?  Can you actually still play with them?

But despite all the goodies in the antiques store, we left empty-handed.  I guess watching all those episodes of Hoarders has really curbed my appetite for “stuff”, eh?  And apparently made me a bit Canadian.

Okay, so after poking around, it was time to meet up with some friends–the actual reason we made the trek to Skaneateles in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong–we love a good excuse to go to the Finger Lakes, but the best excuse of all is when you’re going to spend quality time with the Rockstars, Holoholos, and the newest couple to the blog . . . Clark and Ellen.  They all were staying at the adorable Sherwood Inn . . .

I mean really–could it possibly ooze any more charm?  Well, the answer is yes.  Just go inside and be greeted by a roaring fireplace and this gingerbread house and you’ll know what I mean.

Methinks someone had a little too much time on their hands, no?

We didn’t book our trip in time to stay at the Sherwood, but we did manage to snag ourselves a room at the only-slightly-less-quaint Skaneateles Boutique Hotel.

It was actually quite lovely.

But getting back to the matter at hand.  Drinking and dining with our friends.  And what better place for both then at the Mirbeau Inn and Spa?  FYI–be forewarned about clicking on that link as there’s some pretty get-in-the-mood music playing in the background.  Bow-chickie-bow-wow.  Mr. Rockstar, of course, picked out the Mirbeau as our destination; why?  Well, because of the sample-your-way-silly wine bar:

Yes sir–it’s one of those wine bars where you hand over your credit card in exchange for a faux credit card (I’m guessing so that it makes you feel like you’re spending Monopoly money instead of the real thing) and then get to sample a whole assortment of wines by the glass, half glass, or 1 oz. taste.  Best. Idea. Ever.

And just ‘cuz I’m curious–am I the only one that didn’t know that Dave Matthews now owns his own winery?  Dreaming Tree Wines.  Please tell me I’m not the only one living in a cave.  Anyways–they obviously had some of DM’s wine on hand.  Yum.

And what better way to enjoy wine then with some cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese . . .

Mr. Rockstar couldn’t even wait long enough for me to snap a pic.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who loves their wine and cheese more ;).

But the fun didn’t stop there.  Nope–we enjoyed an amazing dinner.  And dessert.  It was so good, in fact, that I couldn’t even pause to take any pictures of it.  So you’ll just have to trust me.  Well, that, and this proof:

That was a PB&J dessert–a peanut butter mousse ball dipped in chocolate with a grape sauce and homemade marshmallows.  Clearly, it was disgusting.  But not as disgusting as Mrs. Holoholo’s dessert . . .

Yep, her combo banana bread carrot cake was really gross.  Ick.

Clearly, we were all unhappy with our meals . . . can’t you just tell by the looks on our faces?

Oh and yes, I was there too.   To prove it, I hopped in for the “crazy” picture.  And apparently I’m oh-so-creative in that the only thing I could think of for crazy was rabbit ears.  Seriously?  Am I ten years old?

We really did have a great time though on our little weekend getaway.  So thanks again to these fine couples for thinking to invite us along . . .

Maybe next year we’ll actually partake in the Polar Plunge?  Who’s with us?

UPDATED: Wear Once and Toss

It’s been over seven months since I started my quest to thin out my closet (see more on that here), and I’m happy to say that I was pretty successful.  In case you don’t remember, my goal was to wear everything in my closet at least once before allowing any repeats.  Now, as you may recall, anything I didn’t feel good in, or didn’t fit quite right, or I didn’t want to wear had to end up in the donate pile . . . and here’s where that donate pile started seven months ago:

Only six items, so kind of a weak start.  But here’s where that pile stands now:

Sorry for the crappy picture quality.  In my quest to go fully manual on my DSLR, I’m afraid that my pictures have suffered.  But regardless, you can see that I’ve got way more than 6 items now, right?

You can even see wear my pile started on the bottom left . . .

Now, I’d be lying if I said I was 100% successful in my quest–I think everyone out there can relate to having those one or two pairs of jeans that make you feel like your butt is all that and a bag of chips, so how can you only wear them once?!  I mean, I’m only human.  So yeah, there were some repeats.  But there were also some pleasant surprises–when you’re forced to wear everything you own, you learn that some of the stuff you never wear is actually kind of fun to wear.  So all in all, it was worth doing.  Plus, when you have beautiful spacious closets like these, well, you just don’t want to clutter them up . . .

So I’m not sure if I’ve spilled the beans before on our Master Bedroom closets, but they’re sort of awesome.  And we have a whole wall of them in our bedroom (isn’t it crazy to look back at all that blue carpet?!  Yikes!).

And awesome they are because they’re filled with cool built-ins like shoe storage . . .

And dresser drawers . . .

And long continuous shelves for my oh-so-anal-organization-of-sweaters-by-color (I know, I know, I need to branch away from grey and black) . . .

And don’t worry about Mr. Bunches–I didn’t monopolize all the closet space.  Nope, he has his own little slice o’heaven . . .

So there you have it–an update on my wear-and-toss project and a peak into our closets.  Hopefully this will inspire some of you to purge some of your own clothes . . . what better time than now, right?  I promise you’ll feel better once you’ve trimmed down.

Anyone else have any tricks to purging unnecessary stuff?

We Are the Champions

By now you’ve probably realized that Mr. Bunches and I are pretty adventurous.  We scale mountains.  We replace toilets.  We Mr. B runs hot routes.  But now we’re here to tell you that we are champions!  Er, well, sort of.

That is, if you’re definition of champion reads something like this:

cham·pi·on/ˈCHampēən/

Noun: A person who has defeated or surpassed all most rivals in a competition, esp. in sports
Verb: Support the cause of, defend.
Synonyms:
noun.  advocate – supporter – fighter
verb.  defend – advocate – uphold – protect – assert
So yes–we are declaring ourselves champions!  Huzzah.  Actually, we ran a 5k at the Ellicottville Fall Festival a couple weekends ago, and we did pretty well.  One of us even managed to finish 3rd in their age group, which meant we got a trophy (of sorts):
Hooray for usable trophies, eh?  Especially considering that we collect pint glasses.
Okay, but we aren’t just writing this post to brag about how we did in a 5k.  That would be awful full-of-ourselves, wouldn’t it?  Kind of like writing a blog about ourselves as if other people could possibly be interested in our day-to-day lives.  I mean, that would be really over-the-top, don’t you think?   Jeez–I can’t stand people like that.
But back to us . . . after the race (sidenote: at the end of the race, the organizers had a cookout for the 300+ people that competed as well as their families.  And not only was there free food but also free beer.  Yes–free beer.  As many as you wanted.  No questions asked.  Life is good in Western NY.  Very, very good.) we attended the Ellicottville Fall Fest, and it was gorgeous!  Ellicottville is this quaint ski town just south of Buffalo.
Just look at how adorable some of the homes were:
A big red barn.  Sigh.
The weather was perfect–sunny and in the low 80s (not exactly fall weather, but we’ll take it).  And apparently, this is the festival to be at–there were a TON of people in attendance!
And also a boatload of vendors.
This one was by far my favorite:
Aren’t those designs great?  Some Googling turned up that the company is & Buffalo.  Methinks that Santa may have to bring some of these this year . . . ahem, Mr., ahem: Santa = you.
But not only were there some cool vendors, but also some yummy food.  I waited in line at Dina’s for some fan-tas-tic mac n’cheese (I did run a 5k after all).
While the Mr. opted for a more barbarian feast . . .
Either way, we both ate great.  And then it was ICE CREAM time!
Oh happy day of days!
We love us some peanut butter chocolate ice cream.  Yes sir.
After the ice cream, we were pretty content, so we decided to do some shopping.  We had high hopes of getting Mr. B a set of skis at a reasonable cost (there were a bunch of ski swaps/tent sales going on), but apparently our idea of reasonable didn’t exactly jive with the going rate for ski equipment.  Apparently used skis average around $300!  We were thinking closer to the $100 range.  Apparently, we were wrong.  So we resigned ourselves to just having Mr. rent equipment the next time we went skiing, and we headed back to our car.  Sigh.
But on the way back, we walked by some yard sales in town (and you know how much I love yard sales), and guess what we found?!  Skis!!  Lots and lots of skis actually.
Apparently this woman finds skis and poles on the side of the road.  Apparently people just leave them there after they’re done skiing.  Apparently she collected them with hopes of making some sort of ski art.  Apparently, she’s what we call a ski-hoarder.  But, at only $20 a set, we were sold!  We checked them out, they seemed fine, and we figured, $20 isn’t that much money if they turn out to be somehow no good.  Skis for Mr. Bunches?  Check.

And this is what we saw ogled at on our walk back.  We’d been too busy running our hearts out earlier to really take a good look, but is that not the prettiest ski resort/golf course you’ve ever seen?

Turns out that it’s Holiday Valley Ski Resort.  Needless to say, we’ll definitely be coming back this winter.

So since we’re still new here–should we be shocked about the free beer at post-race parties?  Or is that the norm?  Anyone think we’re crazy for buying $20 skis from a hoarder?

Happy Friday everyone!

True Value Treasure

Got any DIY projects planned in your future?  Well, if you want some free money to get ’em done, you should apply to True Value’s DIY True Stories Contest and win $2,500!  Since the Holy House has about 734 projects that need to get done (give or take), you can bet your sweet booty that I applied to the contest.  Fingers crossed, right?

The contest asks you to identify one DIY project that you want to tackle, and making that decision was pretty tough (how do you pick one out of 734?).  But since I’m a relative novice when it comes to DIY, I figured I’d start small . . . that is, in the smallest room in the house: the half-bath.

The wallpaper, tiles (not asbestos, thank goodness!), tan-colored low-rider toilet, faux-wood vanity, and Superman-shaped mirror have all got to go!!  Luckily, that’s the only wallpaper in the entire house (a true miracle considering the home doesn’t seem to have been updated since the 60s, and those hippies were crazy into their wallpaper back then), so hopefully removing it won’t be too awful . . .

Here’s one last shot from the front hallway (the entryway to the house is to the right).

So what’s my inspiration?  Again, I’m not totally sure.  I loved the bathroom at the Cosmopolitan . . .

But maybe more for our master bathroom?  Since the half-bath is such a small room, and has no windows, I think it might be fun to do something dramatic in there.  Maybe a large-print wallpaper?  Something like this perhaps . . .

Image from YHL

With some old-fashioned hex tile and a streamlined vanity?  Here’s a little mood board I made up over at OlioBoard to start the thinking process . . .

I’d like to maybe try using a wall stencil (Royal Design Studio has some nifty ones), or maybe I can DIY my own like Kathryn over at Little Nanny Goat:

That way it’s less permanent (and more DIY-friendly) than actually hanging wallpaper.  What do you think?

Alright, that’s all I got.  So go on and start hunting for your own True Value Treasure (by applying here–hurry, you only have until August 15th), and good luck!!  Oh, and if you want sources for any of the items in my Olioboard, just click over and they’re all listed right under the board.  BTW–I just discovered the Olioboard tool and it’s a pretty rad way to try out different room ideas (although be warned: it’s a major time suck).

We Got A Goat!!

Can you believe it?!?!?!?!?!?!  Yep, the Mr. finally caved and let me get the pet I’ve been dreaming of . . . a little baby goat!  It was actually an early housewarming gift from him–isn’t that sweet?  He totally surprised me.  Sigh.  I love the Mr.

My plan is to house-train her once we move into our new place.  And then hopefully learn how to milk her and use the milk to make homemade goat cheese (just like the Tipsy Baker).  Such a good idea, right?  Isn’t she just the sweetest?  We’ve named her Ashley H after the one that got away . . .

So how did this happen?!  Well, it all started Saturday morning–the Mr. woke up bright and early with lots of surprises up his sleeve (unbeknownst to me).  First up?  He made me breakfast!  Yep–fresh eggs from Fountain of Youth Organics (the Organic Shop right in Brockport) scrambled up with organic chicken sausage (also made locally), peppers, onions, and goat cheese.  Yum!  Little did I know that the goat cheese was a hint . . .

It was out-of-this-world good.  Especially because I didn’t have to make it :).  And then he told me he had even more surprises planned, and we had to head out . . . to where?  He wouldn’t tell!!!  Cheeky Monkey.

But I found out soon enough–the Mr. took me to a local joint: Springdale Farm.  It was AAAAAA-wait for it-DORABLE! And FREE to boot!  Only the petting zoo cost money . . . guess how much?  ONE DOLLAH!  That’s right.  Cuz that’s how they roll in Western NY . . .

So there I was, totally just thinking that the Mr. was taking me to experience yet another of his growing-up-in-Brockport memories (apparently all the area schools take the kids there for field trips).  And it was great–I love me a good ol’ fashioned farm any day.  We saw sheep . . .

. . . and pigs . . .

(the picture doesn’t do that big guy justice–no joke, he was the size of me and the Mr. put together!)

(doesn’t that new mama look like she has a smile on her face?)

. . . and we saw roosters . . .

(I’m a little bit in love with the effect the chain link fence had on those pictures . . . pretty rad, huh?)

. . . and some peacocks (noisy little buggers that they are) . . .

. . . and even some horses . . . check out how much Mr. B has grown since moving west–those are regular riding horses!  I swear, it must be something in the water out here . . .

Okay, so maybe they’re miniatures . . . too cute, huh?

But the best part of the farm?  The goats of course!!!!  There were itty-bitty baby ones . . .

. . . regular grown-up ones . . .

. . . and THEN . . . the toddler ones that were up for ADOPTION!!!!  That’s when the Mr. sprung it on me–I had my pick!  But of course, Ashley H stole my heart right from the get-go.  Just look at how cute she is, and she kept following me around!

And she even had some love to spare for the Mr. . . .

Of course, it wasn’t the easiest decision.  This little guy stole the Mr.’s heart . . .

He even started crying when we left (the goat, not Mr. Bunches) . . .

But we could only take one goat home (for now . . . I’m hoping the Mr. will soon let me get another–fingers crossed!).

So are you so excited for us?!  Are you shocked?  Did you see it coming?  Want to see pics of Ashley H at home?  Well . . .

Okay, so we didn’t get a goat, but wouldn’t that have been AMAZING?!  If you don’t agree, then apparently you’re in the Mr.’s camp.  Boo on you.  For the past few years, I’ve really wanted to get a goat–not quite sure what my fascination is or why I love the dang things so much.  Maybe because I see my own goat as my own personal goat cheese supply?  And I love me some goat cheese–you can put that s%@& on everything!

Happy Monday kids.

Online Shopping Deals

With the move into our new house looming just around the corner, the Mr. and I have been readying ourselves with some Internet comparison shopping.  See, we already know that there’s going to be a lot to buy . . . yard tools, paint, a new kitchen, toilets, furniture, and all the random stuff that you don’t know you need until you move in.  And since we tend to over-research every buying decision possible, we thought we’d pass on some useful links that have helped us save money so far (and hopefully a lot more in the future) and might help you as well.  Of course, this is definitely not complete, so if you know of any more, please post a comment with your suggestions.

Our newest favorite is eBates, where you get cash back for purchases you make online.  The percentage of cash back varies by store, but we recently used it for some purchases at NewEgg and we got a check in the mail for $15!  Not bad, huh?  All you do is log in to eBates as a starting point, then search for the store that you want to shop at, click through to that store and shop away.  Oh, and you can still use coupon codes at your destination store–how’s that for a double whammy?!

Speaking of coupon codes, our favorite site for those is RetailMeNot.com.  Just enter the store in the search box and find all the coupon codes currently available (and whether or not they work).  We always check this site before every single online purchase and usually  get lucky and find at least one code that helps with our purchase.  Generally, we just write down the coupon code (to input later at checkout) instead of clicking through to it; that way, we can click through to the site from eBates and make use of both the cash back rebate as well as the coupon code.  How you like that?!

If you’re shopping for tech gadgets (such as computers, cameras, etc.), we recommend checking out TechBargains.com.  Consumer Reports recommends the site as an initial stop when shopping for high ticket items, and we recently found it to be a great resource when we bought our new laptop.  It basically lists “hot” deals every day from a bunch of different shopping sites, so it’s a good starting point in what can be a pretty overwhelming Internet shopping world, particularly for big ticket items.

Okay, so hopefully somebody finds this useful . . . and just think of what you can spend all that saved money on?  Maybe a house-warming gift for the Bunches?!  Aww–that’s so nice of you to think of us ;).

Fireworks Photography

I know, I know–this post is basically a week late.  Fourth of July is a distant memory now for most of you, but I’ve only just gotten around to taking a look at the 200+ pictures I took at Brockport’s festivities from last weekend.  But don’t worry–I’m not going to show you all 200.  Nope–I’ve edited it down to my 10 favorites (and deleted the rest–taking 15 MP pictures eats up computer memory like you wouldn’t believe!).  So why am I sharing completely untimely pictures with you?  Well, because that’s what we do here; and by “we” I mean me (with Mr. Bunches standing firmly in support behind me).  And plus–this was my first attempt at night photography with my new camera (despite owning the camera for 7 months–oops), and I think some of them came out not completely horrible.  How’s that for talking myself up?  Anyways, here goes . . .

First up: the world’s scariest Ice Cream man.   ‘Nuff said.

Scariest Ice Cream Man EVER

Is it just me or does the red “ICE CREAM” look like it might possibly be written in blood?

And now for the big show–I played with lots of different camera settings and actually shot in full Manual Mode for the first time (trust me, that’s a big step for this new-to-DSLR-cameras-with-lots-of-settings-and-no-photography-knowledge-whatsoever girl), so please go easy on the judging . . .

Okay, okay, so I know they’re not great or even really all that good.  But they’re mine and I can’t wait to compare them to next year’s (which hopefully will be much improved).

Happy Belated Fourth Everyone!

House*Tweaking

Goodbye Boston, Hello Buffalo!

mesgateauxetchateaux

Just another WordPress.com site

two sweet homes

two friends. two cities. two sweet homes

Urmila's Journey

Just another WordPress.com weblog