Monday, February 20, 2012

And the winner is ...

AKA Casey!

Thank you for all your entries! I had fun reading them. Oddly enough, most people like when I write about them. That's a lot of pressure, but I do like to try to put a unique spin on our visits, so I will keep on writing!

Beef, or Casey, is a fitting winner because he has been with this blog since its inception. He was actually part of the inspiration because he used to keep a really awesome blog about his bachelor life and used really cool nicknames and I thought, I could do that! Maybe he will revive his blog (RIP June 22,2010) now that he is moving further and further away from bachelorhood ...

And just for a quick background on Beef, he is Deal's friend originally. They met in high school at the Prep and really started to hang out junior year. I think the clincher was when they both gave speeches about beef in a speech class ... hence their nicknames for each other--Beef and Lil Beef (then I became Beefette). Beef lives in Florida and we try to visit every chance we get. He just bought a house, so now we will be upgraded from the borrowed air mattress (which was actually always very comfortable!).

Congrats Beef and thanks for reading and commenting! Thanks to everyone else too!

FYI - I started my new job last night and Deal started his training today. So far the transition back to reality has been smooth, but talk to me in another day or 2!! I will definitely be blogging about it!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The 603

We returned to New Hampshire for our last week of freedom. We didn't originally plan to visit the 603, but we got a call about a month ago about a house/cat sitting gig and thought ... why not??

So we returned to our last state of residence and found that the things we loved about NH were still there and welcoming us with open arms ... my scrapbooking gals, J's Rec Committee & seniors, LL Bean, no sales tax, our old landlords and our soul-couple, the Coats. No snow and mostly mild weather, with the exception of one frigidly cold day, which is also the day we went hiking with the Coats.

We visited with friends just about every day and night, but fit in a couple of other extras, including 3 AT presentations and the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

We expected about 5-10 people to come to each of our presentations and had about 60-70 peeps instead! We are taking the show on the road and added a presentation for when we are in Danville.

As for the Banff Mountain Film Festival, it did not disappoint. Always awe-inspiring, our favorites this year were the tragic and suspenseful kayaking film Kadoma and the film featuring SuperBowl halftime superstar slackliner Andy Lewis (he may be nuttier than rock climber Alex Hannold from a 2009 film favorite). If you haven't gone to a Banff showing, go now. You have to like short adventure films. But if you don't, it's still pretty cool to say BANFF!!!

Back to our NH visit. Rather than bore you with my usual drivel or statistics, I will just let the pictures show how much fun we had (although, I didn't take nearly enough pictures with all our visitors).
Don't forget to enter my 500th blog post giveaway!!! The deadline is Sunday at 9pm!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

500th Blog Post Giveaway!

We are currently in New Hampshire, thoroughly enjoying our time and busy visiting with friends all over the state. But, I have to interrupt my normally scheduled blog updates to recognize something very cool.

Holy canoli, this is my 500th blog post! And because it's my 500th blog post, I couldn't waste it on just another rant about our semi-retired life.

Hitting 500 blog posts would not have been possible without all of you. It's been 4 wonderful years (it all began Jan. 22, 2008) and I have no intention of ceasing this blog. I thoroughly enjoy writing about nothing. Can't you tell? Your e-mails and comments encouraged me greatly to keep on writing. You probably don't really know how much I love comments on the blog. FYI, I am currently in a deep depression as the comments have decreased since our Appalachian Trail hike ... but I digress.

Because I am so grateful for my blog readers and want to commemorate them to celebrate my 500th post milestone, I am doing a giveaway. Here are the rules:

1) The contest starts now and ends Sunday, February 19th at 9pm EST (which happens to be my first day of my new job).

2) You enter by leaving a comment here on the blogspot site (not Facebook) about your favorite wanderinglavignes post (I told you I was a comment whore). And I know many of you like to remain anonymous, but please make sure I at least know who you are!
For example, if Deal were to enter the contest (which he will, most likely), he would leave a comment saying his favorite post is "Whose Got My Extra????" Click to read, or I'll just save you the trouble. It's about a concert.

3) One entry per person, please. That goes for you, Deal!

4)This giveaway is open to all my readers, including my fabulous international readers (hi Chris!). Whether you read the blog every day since I started, or are new, please enter! Lurkers, come out, come out wherever you are!

5) The winner will be picked using, which will generate the magic number. I will announce the winner on Monday, Feb. 20.

6) The prize is ... $50 gift card to REI!!! I pondered what would be a great prize, but ultimately, I can't pass up the chance to share our love for REI with others. Even if you don't hike, camp, paddle or rock climb like us, you can definitely find something there!! And everything is 100% guaranteed, so you can always return an item if you are unhappy.

Questions? Just e-mail me. Let the comments and contest begin.

Here's to 500 more!!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eastbound and Loaded Down

We are just about done with our tour de U.S. and when all is said and done, I will give you stats because holy cow, do we have some stats about our 4-month road trip. I know you are excited and waiting with bated breath.

But before I get ahead of myself, let me recap our latest pitstop, Columbus, Ohio. When we visited Ohio in November, we headed north to visit friends in Cleveland, but this time, we stayed south. Deal's good friend from college, Jason/TheHoss, and girlfriend, Adrianne/Accessory, live there.

Keeping in line with all our other visits with friends and family, the visit involved eating and drinking. The only standard missing this time was a concert, although the boys did watch some concerts on DVD, so maybe that makes up for the lack of a concert.

In any case, we hit up all the Columbus greats during our weekend.

Friday night, we ate at Mr. Sushi. You would not believe that the middle of Ohio has just about the greatest sushi we've ever tasted. We always eat there when we visit Jay in Columbus!Saturday, we attended the 7th Annual Ale Fest. In my role as designated driver, I monitored the intake of ale, as there were 250 potential samples!! If you are feeling bad that I was the DD, don't. I volunteered because can you believe I DO NOT LIKE BEER!!Sunday, we toured the heart of Columbus. We started at Thurman's, a family-owned and long-standing restaurant featured on a variety of food programming, including Man Vs. Food. They offer the Thurmanator burger, which has something like 2 lbs of meat and all the bad fixings for you. We opted to go for the burger with 2,000 less calories though. While the restaurant itself is tiny; the burgers are not. Thurman's definitely leaves a mark on your heart, literally and figuratively.To walk off the calories, we explored the historic German village, which is so, so cute. To replenish the calories we lost on our walk, we bought creme puffs from Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus, another old, family-owned business and ice cream from the famed Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at the North Market.Full bellies for the Super Bowl, for sure. We did get out of our food coma long enough to take advantage of the mild temperatures and play some Cornhole!!

And we cleaned out their closets. No, they don't keep food in their closets, they keep clothes in there silly!! We have been inheriting lots of stuff along our road trip and Jay and Adrianne decided we needed a fashion upgrade (we do) and they unloaded their unwanted. Hey, one person's trash is another person's treasure!!

Columbus, we will be back. Next time, we will eat less. Maybe.

Next up, NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scenes from Chicago ... Round 2

We decided the 26 days we spent in Chicago after the trail with Deal's mom, sister & brother-in-law were not enough ... so we came back for another 7 days. I think we can we say we officially lived here now.

What did we do this time around?

Walking, eating, relaxing. This is our theme these days. Hey, our freedom time is dwindling, cut us a break.

Other unique aspects of our trip ...

There was a Railroad Earth concert (oh wait, that is not unique to any of our trips).

There was Scrabble.

There was a group makeover (Deal sat this one out).

There was Weiner Circle.

There was a late lunch at Cesar's Mexican place that ended with some Mexican water shots (followed by a nap for Deal and I).

There was a presentation about the AT to a 4th grade class who followed our blog.

Thank you Chi-town. You have been good to us! I know you want us to come back again in 2012 ... we'll just have to see ...

I leave you with scenes from Chicago, Round 2:
Next up, Columbus, Ohio, for the Super Bowl!!!!