Friday, September 30, 2011

Costa Rica & Panama - Part 3

Wednesday, Sept. 7th:

Walking over the Costa Rica border into Panama
Packed up and ready to go to Panama! We ate a quick breakfast at the reception room and said bye to Jake and Maureen :(. It was about a two hour drive to the Panama border. There were only two other people in the van with us, two girls from Germany. Once we got to the Panama border we had to go through customs and physically walk over the border (via an old rickety bridge)…it was neat! Panama basically looked the same as Costa Rica, but then again, we were only about 100 miles away from where we were before! Once we got over the border, we switched to another van with a CRAZY driver! Pedal to the metal the whole way, but I guess that’s just the way they drive there. It was a little rainy and we were driving through some mountainous areas, good thing we didn’t flip the van! Haha.

Almirante, Panama…we arrived here to take the ferry to Bocas. The ferry to Bocas was fairly short, maybe 15-20 minutes at the most. We arrived in Bocas Town and grabbed a quick lunch. Bocas Town was on the main island of Colon, we decided we wanted to stay somewhere a little more remote/off the beaten path, so we scoped out the other islands on the internet (thank goodness for iPhones and free wifi!). A guy from Bocas Town recommended Caremero Island, and we ended up spending the first night at a place called Buccaneer Resort. It’s not really a resort, just about 3-4 cabanas on the beach. The island is pretty remote, very close to the main island, but there’s not much on it…2 restaurants or so…a few places to stay, and that’s about it. It was really pretty and quiet.

We spent about an hour or two exploring the beaches (saw a HUGE spotted eagle ray!) and talking with some guys who were also visiting Bocas, but grew up in Panama City, Panama. We had an awesome dinner literally steps from our cabana at a restaurant called Bibi’s on the Beach. I tried some really yummy ceviche, (of course, had a passion fruit margarita), Frank ordered lobster and I had a really good shrimp dish. Our server was super friendly. Our cabana was nice in that it was about 10 steps from the water, and when you woke up in the morning you were greeted with a panoramic view of the ocean. I slept really well that night, we had AC for the first time in 4 days! At about 5 AM that morning the electricity went out because of a thunderstorm. It was very relaxing…the sound of the rain and thunder, and the ocean wave...and total darkness.

Thursday, Sept. 8th:

Bastimentos Island - Red Frog Beach
 Frank really wanted to go scuba diving this day and we had booked a dive trip for the morning. I wasn’t really feeling it, though. I just wanted to relax a little. We’d been on the go a lot and I didn’t really feel like getting on a boat that morning…plus, it was really cloudy and misty outside…not that it affects diving too much, but it will a little. I couldn’t really make up my mind what I wanted to do that morning…so naturally Frank got frustrated and I told him to cancel the diving. I don’t think he was very happy about that, but I told him we’d try again tomorrow. I know how much he really wanted to dive there.

Frank hung out at the cabana that morning and read and I went to Bibi’s on the Beach for some breakfast. I was the only person at the restaurant that morning and had fun chatting with a guy from Argentina who worked there. He spoke Spanish the whole time and I spoke English. We could sort of understand each other, enough to get our points across, anyway. It was actually the most I had been able to practice Spanish while I was there, and he helped me with some words I didn’t know and I was able to help him with some English. It was pretty cool! Sidenote: I’m pretty sure he was doing a drug deal on the side because while he was on the phone later on I heard something about dollars and kilos…not sure what else he would have been talking about…ha. Frank came down shortly after, had some breakfast, and we decided to venture off to another island for the day and stay the night there. Bastimentos Island was next on the list. We'd heard good things.

Bastimentos was so different than Caremero. It was further away from the main island of Colon, and even more remote, covered in rainforest. We booked a private room at a hostel called Bocas Bound. Seemed like a good place to stay with younger people hanging out. Once we got there we headed to Red Frog Beach which is a short hike from the hostel and the nicest beach on the island. Grabbed a drink at Punta Lava cafĂ© on the beach and then decided to hike over to the rest of the beaches. We thought the trails to the beaches would be a little more worn and an easy walk…oh no…not at all. We were basically climbing through the rainforest the whole way, over trees, under bushes…it was pretty remote, and I was wishing we had a machete! We were definitely the only ones out there and I don’t think that trail gets used much at all! Some of the trail was on the beach, but most was in the rainforest, which was fine with me since it was still raining lightly…it did pretty much all day on Thurs. My husband sure is the little explorer! He was all about finding out what was behind the next point on the beach…or the next turn in the “trail”. It was good fun, though…something I will definitely not ever forget.

Once we decided to turn around we noticed a boat pulling up behind one of the points, 3 guys got out of it with a long rope and several machetes…Hmm…I wonder what they were going to do with that!? They tried to talk to us but we acted like we didn’t hear them and let them walk past us (they also had a dog…he looked pretty mean!). I think they were heading to the nearby beach to try and rip some people off. There had been reports of muggings and things getting stolen off the beaches recently (why else would the hide their boat behind a rocky point?). When we got to the next beach we noticed the guys using their machetes to make coconut drinks for some people on the beach. There was a larger group of people hanging out there, we wonder what the guys would have done if it were only a girl or two?  Guess we’ll never know. We hung out on that beach a while. Later on we saw people who were at the beach the same time as us, and they said a sloth was hanging out in the tree above us…we never saw it! :(.

That night we went back to the hostel and showered up. We ate at the hostel restaurant that night and met some people who wanted to dive the next day, so we booked a 2 tank dive for the next morning. The hostel had a ping pong table, so of course we had to play some pong for old time’s sake! I owned Frank, by the way. Well, he probably won’t say that...but I did pretty well if I say so myself. Playing ping pong with Frank brought back lots of memories from when we first started dating. He had a ping pong table at his apartment in Wichita Falls and we would play all the time! I remember playing pong with some of his friends and looking over at Frank sitting in the living room on the couch, thinking to myself “I really like that guy!” Haha…good times. It seems like so long ago…just over 5 years now. I think we need a ping pong table at our house…

Around 9 PM the hostel set up a projector in the common areas and everyone that was there (I’d say about 30 or so people) watched Source Code. Then we headed back to the room for the night. Long day - we were tired!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Almost time to bust out the cardigans!

It’s fall! I’m so ready for the cooler weather, I can’t believe it’s almost October. I keep waiting for that really hot day to warm our pool up just enough to go swimming one more time, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. It's still pretty warm here, though...mid 80's. I can't wait for the first crisp, cool camping weather :).

This past weekend I went to San Antonio for my friend Cathy’s bachelorette party. We had a lot of fun, catching up with old friends and hanging out…it was like being in college again. It was a pretty low-key weekend, and much needed for all of us, I’m sure. Sometimes it’s just fun to get away and reeeelax. We probably all spent more time at the hotel talking and catching up than we did “going out”. It’s crazy that the next time I see Cathy, she’ll be getting married!

Frank went to Rapid City, SD to visit one of our friends since I ditched him for the weekend. He did some mountain biking, drove past Mount Rushmore, and then yesterday morning he went to something called Buffalo Roundup – where cowboys move over 1000 buffalo for vaccinations, it’s basically a big stampede.

This weekend we have NO PLANS. Woohoo! It doesn’t seem like those weekends are coming very often anymore. We will probably stick around here and work on the house. I have an idea for the fireplace that involves painting and stencils...and depending on how motivated I am this weekend, I may try and tackle that thing. I also really want to finish the half bath. Now that it’s cooling off, we really need to start working on the house again, seriously! We thought it would be easier to wait until the fall to start working on it again, but I’m beginning to doubt that with holidays coming up, and football season, and all. There’s always an excuse! We just need to commit!

I’ll be posting about the rest of our trip to Costa Rica & Panama soon. I really want to upload a photo album, but for some reason my computer is not cooperating with me! I’ll work on that tonight…maybe.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Costa Rica & Panama - Part 2

Monday, Sept. 5th:

We woke up bright and early to go zip-lining! We were picked up by a van around 7:30 AM at our bungalow and taken to Puerto Viejo where we eventually picked up a whole bunch of people. I mean…our.bus.was.packed. We were all basically sitting on top of each other- it was good fun and I suppose it helped break the ice. The people we picked up were a lot of fun – so I knew that the zip-lining would be a good time. We drove about 45 minutes through a really rural area, saw a bunch of cows and farms…which was kind of a strange sight - cows hanging out in a rainforest near palm trees. It was cool…we passed a bunch of really small homes and saw kids playing in the yards. It was a neat drive. I wish I would have taken photos of the drive out there; it was sort of an adventure in itself. We even had to cross some streams, which was pretty entertaining in a van full of people. I was sure we were going to get stuck!

Once we got to the zip-lining location I checked out the first line - not quite what I had expected! Ha. I thought the first line would be sort of a “let’s-break-them-in-on-an-easy-one-line”…oh noooo…it was a long line…and pretty high off the ground! It was probably one of the longer, higher lines we did. It was really fun! I was sort of nervous the first time, but once they pushed me off the nervousness was gone. The views were awesome, flying above all the trees. I think the longest line we did was a little over a kilometer. All in all there were about 16-17 different lines. Towards the end we did a Tarzan swing, which was pretty fun, too. I was a little disappointed we didn’t see any monkeys while doing all this zip-lining. The guides said that sometimes the monkeys will play on the platforms and lines…we didn’t see any, though :(. After several hours we were done with the zip-lines and snacked on some pineapple and waters. We were THIRSTY! The heat and humidity there is no joke!

We got back to town about 2PM and started scoping out different tour companies that would shuttle you to Bocas Del Toro islands in Panama. We had decided we wanted to go on Wednesday and needed to figure out the best (i.e. cheapest) way to get there. We found a company that would get us there for $30 each, so we booked it. Then we found a place with wifi and booked the flight from Bocas Del Toro islands back to San Jose, Costa Rica on Saturday – that way we could make our flight home. We ate lunch in Puerto Viejo, but I can’t remember the name of the restaurant…it had a great view of the beach, though, and we did a lot of people watching. There are some interesting people walking around Costa Rica, that’s for sure. We’d see people bicycle by with a baby in one arm, holding a coke, and texting. I don’t know how they do it!

The rest of the day was spent lounging at the reception center and then we made another trip to the beach…same beach as the day before – Punta Uva. It was definitely our favorite beach there, so beautiful. Frank stopped by the dive center to see if they had some lobster snares…he was on a mission to catch some lobster, I’ll tell ya! Of course…they didn’t have any and thought he was crazy, just like everywhere else he asked. So we headed to the beach and did some swimming/snorkeling…I stayed out of the water for the most part since it stung where I had some bad scrapes…which was pretty much everywhere :(. There were some howler monkeys in the palm trees next to the beach. Frank and I probably spent 45 minutes watching them in the trees above us.

That night we ate at this really good middle-eastern restaurant called Pita Bonita. I had never really tried hummus…it had always sort of grossed me out. Frank thought their hummus was the best he’d ever had. I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but it was alright! The rest of the food we had there was really good, some sort of chicken dish…yummy. The owners were super nice…also American expats. There are a TON of them in Costa Rica. Most places to stay and eat there are owned by Americans or Europeans. 

Tuesday, Sept. 6th:

Hello monkey!

Last full day in Costa Rica and probably my favorite one…sad face. We were sad that we were leaving soon. I kind of wish we would have stayed for the whole trip, but we really did want to see Panama, and I’m glad we did. On Tuesday we felt like we kind of belonged there…we started recognizing people in town…we felt like we were sort of in-the-know about stuff. I started thinking…hmm…I think I could probably live here!

That day Jake gave us a ride to the Jaguar rescue center and we got to see all kinds of monkeys, sloths, snakes, etc…no jaguars, though! The stories about the monkeys are sad…if something happens to the parents of baby monkeys (if they get hit by a car or electrocuted on the power-lines, etc.) the baby monkeys will just sit by their parents bodies and howl. None of the other monkeys want them; they are sort of an outcast. The rescue center gets theses monkeys and nurse them back to health and eventually release them back in the wild when they are adults. They usually keep them for a year or two before they release them, though. It’s pretty cool – they’ll let the baby monkeys out of the cages and let them play with wild monkeys in the trees surrounding the rescue center. The ones that belong to them will always come back at the end of the day…they are trained pretty well. We got to go in a cage with about 15 monkeys and they crawled all over us…they are super playful. Pretty sure Frank was in heaven. He friggin’ loves monkeys more than anyone I know. He could watch monkeys all day long…it’s actually pretty entertaining to watch him watch monkeys, ha. When the tour was over he wanted to stay for another hour or so, so we hung out and watched sloths and monkeys for another hour.

We walked home from the rescue center by the beach - Playa Chicquita…another beautiful, unspoiled beach. There were many times that we were the only ones on the beach, it was so nice to have it be just the two of us hanging out, exploring the beaches together. We got some lunch at a place called Pasta & Pizza. The owner didn’t speak any English and we had a hard time ordering – another time I REALLY wish I knew more Spanish. I tried to converse with him the best I could. Then I found the gloriousness that is fresh-squeezed Passion Fruit Juice.

O.M.G. Heaven!

From then on, anytime I was at a restaurant I would order the fresh squeezed juices…why don’t more places offer these in the U.S.?! It is a shame, because they are absolutely amazing! Passion fruit was so good. Passion fruit margaritas….mmm…normal margaritas will never be good enough anymore! From that point on, anytime I had a margarita, it was a passion fruit margarita.

So anyway…I need to find somewhere around here that sells passion fruit so I can make my own juice. The end.

We made our way back to the bungalow and hung out at the reception center a little while…tried some funny looking fruit called rambutan. Yum! It tastes like gummy candy (same consistency, too). I’m going to have to find an Asian grocery store to find them…they are good!

We decided to ride our bikes to Manzanillo, which is the last tiny town on the little road south of Puerto Viejo. WOW. That place was amazingly beautiful. Super tiny town, there was one convenience store and one restaurant. We took about a 2-3 hour boat ride along the coast south of town…almost to Panama. The coastline was some of the most beautiful I had ever seen.  So much jungle and many desolate looking beaches…tiny rocky islands with just a few palm trees on them. No buildings or people in sight. Frank and I were both in awe…we didn’t expect it to be so beautiful, but it was. We stopped at one beach for about 15 minutes, and then at another for about 45 minutes and did some snorkeling. We started boating back to the town once the sun was about to set. Sad that we didn’t spend more time in Manzanillo…it was spectacular. I’m glad we were at least able to spend a few hours there, though!

The bike ride back was horrible. Frank’s bike broke and the chain wouldn’t stay on. We were a 45 minute bike ride from home…and the sun was setting. It’s not safe to bike those roads at night, lots of people told us that. Soooo, before the sun completely set, I decided to try and find a lodge or hotel along the road so I could get someone to help us out. We had NO cash…so this would be interesting. I didn’t find a hotel, but I found a house with a nice looking couple in the kitchen. I figured this was my best bet, so I went up to the front door and tried telling them in my best Spanish that my husband’s bike was broken down the road, and we needed a taxi. They were very friendly and before I knew it there was a guy on the side of the road that offered to drive us back to town. He said he was a taxi…who knows…it’s hard to tell who is a taxi and who isn’t around there. He seemed trustworthy enough, so I waited with him for Frank who wasn’t too far behind me walking with his bike. He brought us back to our bungalow and we explained that we had no money. We were going to try and borrow some from somebody, but he wouldn’t take it). We finally got him to take a half bottle of vodka we had as payment, haha.

After we showered up we hung out in the reception area with Jake and Maureen and split a bottle of wine, listened to some Mumford & Sons…just chilled. We were waiting for 8PM so they could close the office and we could go with them to Tasty Waves for half price tacos and drinks!

Tasty Waves was fun – different from the rest of the places we had been in that it was more Americanized. Most of the people there were American (I don’t think one person spoke Spanish). They played American music, it felt like we were in the US for a little while! The tacos were really good, and then we enjoyed a few passion fruit margaritas and beers. This was our “going-out” night. I’m sad that I have no photos from this night :(. That’s what happens when you have a good time, no time for photos.  The only photo I have is of me standing next to a pole that has the same print as the dress I was wearing. Oh well. We probably stayed out until 12:30AM and then headed home. We had a big travel day coming up the next day.

Proud of Frank

He's been doing crossfit workouts off and on for about 2 years, but these past couple months, he's really kicked it up a notch...and looking good! I'm super proud of him for kicking butt and reaching some of his goals. Here are a few photos of him from our trip:

Check out those muscles!

I'm happy that he's happy :)
Speaking of crossfit- I was in my first crossfit competition yesterday! It was called Fight Gone Bad and is more of a fundraiser for a few military non-profit organizations. I'm definitely a little sore today, but it was fun!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Costa Rica & Panama - Part 1

Sept. 3rd (Saturday):

Our rainforest cabana at Tierra De Suenos

We woke up around 3:15AM and groggily made our way to the kitchen to make coffee’s for the road. We had all our bags packed up the night before, so all I had to do was brush my hair. I didn’t even bother with makeup (this becomes a trend of the rest of the trip, never blow dried my hair the entire trip, and rarely put on anything more than mascara). One thing that sucks about flying out of Atlanta is that we pass from Central time to Eastern on the drive there, therefore we have to leave EXTRA early for flights which are at reasonable times in the morning out of Atlanta. 

While we walked to the gate at the airport I got a weird feeling in my stomach and it was like our honeymoon all over again. Would the flight get delayed, or cancelled because of the weather in the gulf? Would Frank not get on as a standby, leaving me to fly there alone? Ugh – I told myself if we don’t get to CR this time, we aren’t meant to go! If you didn’t know, we were supposed to go for our honeymoon, but the flight got delayed and we missed our connection in Atlanta, and the gate agent literally closed the door in my face and wouldn’t let us on the flight. The next flight didn’t leave for 2 days. Delta lost our luggage for 4 days. We still had a wonderful honeymoon at the Grand Cayman islands instead, but we wanted to make it to Costa Rica eventually. This was our second chance.

Everything worked out perfectly this time. Frank got a first class ticket flying standby and offered it to me (he’s a sweetie), so I got to enjoy mimosas and a free lunch on the flight. It was pretty non-eventful, I read the entire time. Once we started the decent into San Jose I couldn’t keep my eyes away from the window. It was so green and beautiful; I didn’t want to miss anything…everything is so pretty from the sky.

I was pretty giddy once we landed…we’re finally here! We’ve wanted to go on this trip for over a year, and we’re actually here! We took a cab to the bus station about 30 minutes away, and waited for the bus to Puerto Viejo (which is about 4 hrs away on the southeast side of CR). Once we got to the bus station, it was pretty apparent that we need to learn Spanish…ASAP. We finally figured out what bus we needed to be on, but not knowing much Spanish made it a little difficult.

The bus to Puerto Viejo was nicer than what we expected, pretty comfortable, actually! The thing that struck me first about CR was the fresh air. We sat near the back of the bus and opened the windows…once we were out of San Jose the air was so fresh and smelled sooo good. I swear it was the freshest air I’ve even inhaled…I guess that’s typical for being in the rainforest! It was awesome. The drive was beautiful; we drove through rainforests and mountains and saw a good portion of the country (lots of banana plants). About halfway through the bus ride it started to drizzle and rain very lightly…Frank fell asleep leaning on the side of the bus wall, and I passed out on his shoulder. It was the best nap ever. We talked about that nap the whole trip. The cool air on our faces with the light rain cooling us off, and that fresh air…ahhhh…There are a couple of naps I remember with Frank that I love the most, and they all include rain. This one takes the cake, though :).

We had a short stop in Limon on the way to Puerto Viejo, we just stepped out and grabbed a few snacks and we were on our way. We got to Puerto Viejo around 6:30ish and decided to wander around with our bags and find a place to eat dinner. We stopped at this place called Tamara’s (which we later found out is one of the oldest original restaurants in town) and had a pretty good dinner. We didn’t stay too long, though, since we needed to check in at our cabanas before 8.

We stayed at Tierra De Suenos, which is about 7 rainforest bed & breakfast cabanas tucked away a few miles south of Puerto Viejo. Once we arrived and met the owners, I knew we would like it there. They were a younger couple from DC (Jake and Maureen) and had been in CR a little less than a year; they were really laid back. We all got along great, and ended up hanging out with them quite a bit during our stay. The cabana was so cute! It was all hardwood, and had this romantic bed with a mosquito net around it, with really pretty mosaic tile work in the bathroom. The patio in the front had a small table and 2 hammocks waiting for us. It was nice not having a TV or internet…we were off the reservation and ready to chill out and relax!

Sept. 4th (Sunday): 

Snorkeling at Punta Uva Beach
We woke up a time or two during the night to the sounds of the rainforest, namely…howler monkeys! It didn’t bother me, though…it was pretty neat being in the rainforest with all the animals, even if it wakes you up now and then. Howler moneys sound nothing like I had expected, so much noise from such a small animal! It's pretty crazy that they can make so much noise. The sun rose early and we showered and got ready for the day. We didn’t have plans, we just wanted to explore Puerto Viejo and check out the nearby beaches. We had breakfast at the reception area…the fruit was really, really good! You can’t beat eating fruit in Costa Rica, from Costa Rica…yum. Not even the freshest fruit here compares with the fruit we ate there.

We rented two pedal bikes and biked our way north to Puerto Viejo. Our first stop was Playa Negra, a black sand beach. It was pretty, but we didn’t stay there for long. We biked around town and checked things out. Puerto Viejo is a neat little town. It has a surfer/Caribbean vibe…lots of small restaurants line the street with little trinket shops here and there. The nearby beaches are big for surfers, especially Cocles beach, just south of town. We saw lots of younger people who looked like the backpacker type hanging out, very laid back atmosphere. We split some fajitas for lunch at a beach bar/restaurant…and ordered two margaritas. They were super good…and quite larger and stronger than normal…which may or may not have had anything to do with the events that occurred later that day.

After lunch we started biking south towards where we were staying. We stopped along at a small place that had wifi so we could email the family and let them know we were alive and had made it okay. We also wanted to look into flights from Panama back to San Jose in case we decided to go there for a few days. The woman running the roadside wifi bar was an American expat, but had traveled a lot in Panama, so she was able to give us some good advice. What was supposed to be a quick wifi stop turned into a 2 hour stop and a beer or two, and I’m pretty sure we know this woman’s whole life story...her views on religion and politics, and pretty much her entire personal life…ha. She was a talker.

After we left the bar we stopped by the cabana to drop some stuff off and get some beach towels and head to the beach. At this point it was already pushing 3PM. It gets dark early there, around 5:30…so we didn’t have much daylight left. We headed to Punta Uva…a beautiful beach about a 5-10 minute bike ride south of where we were staying. It was probably the prettiest beach near Puerto Viejo…think wild, untouched jungle backing up to white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue water. Frank rented some snorkel gear and we snorkeled along the rocky ledges that framed the side of the beach. Frank found some lobsters, but didn’t try and catch them because he wasn’t sure what the rules were on catching lobster. When we returned the snorkel gear we told the guys renting it about the lobsters, and they said if he would have grabbed those lobsters, they would have cooked them for us. Darn! Oh well…Frank had it in his head to go back and get those lobsters for the next few days.  He actually asked a few people in town if they had a lobster snare…they just looked at him like he was crazy…haha.

Then we have the bike ride home from the beach. Note: Never try and race someone on gravel roads on a pedal bike. Bad decision.

So yeah. I had this bright idea to race Frank home from the beach. I picked up a lot of speed on a portion of the road that was paved, and then it turned into gravel with potholes. That is pretty much the last thing I remember before I was laying on the ground and watching feet walk past me. Apparently I crashed my bike (this dude walked by and didn’t even see if I was okay! What a jerk…ha). Anyway, Frank didn’t see it because I was around a corner. Once he turned the corner and saw me laid out on the road he rushed over to make sure I was okay. I was mostly okay…no broken bones or anything. But, I was covered in gravel road rash and bruises. Ugh. Wonderful way to start the vacation! Haha. I looked pretty beat up, not gonna lie. I had this one really big bruise on my chin that basically looked like a beard for the first several days. Even now it’s not completely gone, but it’s much less noticeable. I’m just thankful that the crash wasn’t any worse; otherwise it might have affected how much I enjoyed the rest of the trip! The first day afterwards I was pretty sore from it all, but after that it wasn’t so bad.

I don’t really remember the next few hours very well, I think I tried to erase that whole crashing-and-burning part of the trip from my memory - haha. We showered up and planned on having dinner at a place called Selvin’s.  Once we left the cabana we stopped by the reception area to see who was hanging out and show everyone my battle wounds. We ended up talking with a couple from Seattle who was in the cabana next to ours for about an hour or so…and once we got to Selvin’s they had just closed. We found another place that was open later, though…right next door to where we were staying, called Shawanda Lodge. It was a really nice place and we enjoyed the dinner there. After dinner we headed home and called it a night. 

*I'm going to upload a photo album soon with all our photos *

We're back!

Costa Rica and Panama were amazing - we had a wonderful time, and luckily, no issues with airlines this time, woohoo!

I took somewhere around 600 photos, but I’m going to whittle that # down quite a bit and make an album sometime this week to share with our family and friends. I also plan on making a few posts about what we did there, more for my sake, so I don’t forget!

On another note – these are my current obsession. 

You can’t beat the ingredients – dates, walnuts, hazelnuts, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, cashews, coffee.

The regular fruit/nut Larabars are pretty good, but these are even better. The chocolate mint ones are my fav. Perfect pick-me-up for when you get the mid-morning munchies. They are a little pricy, though…so I’m trying to limit myself to one a day or less.  

Also- this coffee is da bomb. 

We bought 6 different bags of coffee in Costa Rica, and we started using this one this week. I can't wait to try the rest of them. Costa Rican coffee is sooo good, especially with Coconut Milk Creamer (French Vanilla). Mmm Mmm.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Organization: Not my strong suit

It may not look like much, but it will take hours to file :(
I have a problem.

The first step is admitting it, right? Why do I procrastinate so much when it comes to organizing?? Ugh- here I am with about a month’s worth of paperwork to file sitting on my desk. I go through this every month. Instead of filing as I go, I let it all build up. I have got to get my crap together before I leave for vacation. Guess what I’ll be doing today…my favorite thing ever…filing.

Filing has got to be the most boring, mundane, horrible office task…EVER. I’d rather copy and collate the whole Encyclopedia Britannica. Ok. Maybe I won’t go that far…but I pretty much hate it.

Which is a little weird, because at home, I don’t really mind filing and organizing (although I still procrastinate nonetheless).

In the next month or so I’m going to try and accomplish the following to help get my life a little more organized at home: 

1. Find every single piece of paperwork/mail/whatever it is around the house and get it filed away. I hate papers that float around the house and never get dealt with. About once a month it seems we have to do a thorough sort/trash/file session around our house.  
2. Buy a binder to organize all the recipes that I’ve printed off the internet. Currently they are all stashed very unorganized-like in a drawer in the kitchen, and it’s getting out of control. 
3. Find some sort of system to file all our appliance/gadget/home stuff warranties, manuals, paperwork, etc. I have no idea where to start with all of this…it’s a little overwhelming.
4. We should probably break down and just buy a full size filing cabinet for our house. Although I am impressed with how long we’ve managed to resist the filing cabinet, I think it’s probably necessary now! So far we’ve just been using a few old filing boxes. 
5. I also need to look into some sort of scanning/online storing system for important receipts, paperwork, etc. Any suggestions on how to do this and what software to look in to? 

See what just happened? I just spent precious time that I could have been organizing, writing how I should be organized! Ahh! Ok...really now, I'm going to tackle this stack of papers and quit putting it off!