June 30, 2011

UK Edition: A Glimpse of Edinburgh, Scotland

Here is another taste of our travels to Edinburgh, Scotland. Of course we toured the castle while we were there. How could you not?!

Ok, I tried writing a little bit of history about it but who am I kidding, I don't know much about it. Horrible to admit, isn't it? I know. Whether you are looking up to it from across the city streets or standing at its entrance, the castle is beautiful. Especially when it is surrounded by green trees and a luscious garden and park at the base of the volcano on which it stands.

The view of the city is also spectacular. Typical weather, it was overcast and raining, mild and stagnant, and bright and sunny all within an hour. Regardless of the weather, the view was always captivating. I could stand at the castle walls looking over the city for hours. Well, that is kind of what we did. The houses and streets, people, the cityscape, Firth of Forth, sky, everything. Captivating.

Can we go back?! If I can't go back, can I just move here forever? And bring my entire family and friends and acquaintances with me??

Please? Maybe I'll add it to my dreams...

June 28, 2011

UK Edition: Picturesque

I took this shot this past weekend while driving along the coast of the North Sea from Edinburgh, Scotland back to Harrogate, England. I think its absolutely beautiful and incredibly more so in person. It may not be the best picture but the earth, sky and sea all in one view make me want to see more of this place.

Cheers to beautiful landscapes and the opportunities to experience what they offer!

June 27, 2011

UK Edition: Exhaustion

Sometimes its just so hard to keep up with posting! I have taken too many pictures to share. Driven too many miles. Slept too little. Eaten too much curry. Downloaded too many new songs on iTunes. Drank too many drinks. Munched on too many crisps. Walked too many miles. Sat in the sun too long. Devoured too much cheese.

I'm beat!  All in wonderful ways. I need a few days to recuperate and I promise I'll get back to you after that! I'm kind of on system overload - too many good things to share, I just don't know where to start.

This past weekend we went to Edinburgh, Scotland. Oh yes, my dearest Scotland. If I win the EuroMillions Lottery or whatever it is they call it here (its up to £117,000 or something crazy like that) (Um, hello...time for an edit. Make that £117,000,000. Yes, that is millions, silly Rachel, not thousands!) I would travel all over the world and bring everyone with me. Scotland was wonderful and we only stopped at one city. Well, two sort of but more on that later. Here's a snapshot preview of our touring.

So...if you don't hear from me for a few days (again), never fear. I'm still around, just soaking it all in. Literally (the sun and after-sun lotion).


June 23, 2011

UK Edition: Tour Through York, Seventies Style

Remember I told you we went to York this past Sunday? I finally have time to share a bit of it with you. I took way too many pictures, though I don't necessarily consider this a bad thing, and want to share a few of them. Words aren't necessary when viewing a picture, are they? Its more subjective if words are not involved.

As for Seventies in the title, its my newest favorite Photoshop Action (I use Photoshop Elements) from The Pioneer Woman. Her actions are absolutely amazing. I can't get enough of them...which is the main reason it took half a week to post these pictures. Check her out, download some actions, learn something new!

And now, enjoy these pictures, in sequential order of how we experienced the day.

Beautiful bridge in York that we crossed over to be closer to the city centre.

Ducks and ducklings literally crossing a busy road.

Clifford's Tower - the last of two watch towers outside of the castle that still exist.

View between the ducklings crossing the road and Clifford's Tower.

York Minster.

Small display of the city of York and a "You Are Here" gold star in front of the minster.

View of York Minster.

Plaque on York castle walls that reads, "This tablet was placed here by the Council of the City of York October 1898 to record that this portion of the Wall (37 yds (Note: I'm not sure what this part really says.)) was in the year 1889 restored to the City by Edwin Gray, who served the office of Lord Mayor in 1898."

A swan and his or her cygnets.  

A portion of York Castle Wall. A view of York River Ouse.

Sculpture in a garden area.

York rowing races with men and women of all ages racing from nearby towns, including York and Leeds.

A train from the National Railway Museum.

Two more photos from York River Ouse.

A tree from Castle Gardens.

A serene place to sit and relax in Castle Gardens.

View of the Castle Wall.

Did you see everything you wanted to?! Hope you enjoyed this little tour of York. Come back soon for more of this beautiful country!

June 19, 2011

UK Edition: Weekend Recap Preview

Eeee! We went to York and Knaresborough (in England, you know, part of the United Kingdom?) this weekend and I took over 400 pictures! How crazy, right?! I'm so excited to edit them just a bit (but not much because even after a quick run through to correct the pictures' orientation I think they are awesome!) and show you parts of the day. Can you tell I am excited?!

I was supposed to go to bed two hours ago, which is only 10:00 pm but it was a long day and I'm exhausted, but couldn't resist sharing this one picture with you. I took it at the end of the day when I'm pretty sure I was going to start to get crabby if we had to walk much further and was hungry.

Isn't it beautiful?! I could look at it all day. The only thing I did to edit it was run a boost action on it, which adds crispness and I think adds a bit of contrast. Regardless, the original isn't much different than this one.

Look forward to a post about the weekend! I'm hoping to put it together in the next couple of days! Pardon the excitement, I just can't help it. And trust me, if I could I would tone it down a bit.

Lots of love to all! Again, happy Father's day to all the wonderful dads and grandpas out there! That means you too Grandpa R. :)

Good night world.

I Love My Dad

Dad, my life wouldn't be the same without you in it. You are witty, handsome and loving. I'd like to think I get my smarts from you. :)

I wish I could spend the day with you! I hope this post dedicated to you kind of makes up for that. :)

Thanks for being such a great Dad. For always being there for us and for being a real dad. We couldn't have asked for a better Dad if we had the chance. Your girls wouldn't be the same without you.

I love you Dad! Happy Father's Day!

UK Edition: Achtung Minen and Fun with Photoshop

Need a refresher on UK Edition posts? Remember, I'm in Harrogate, England for two months!

Today was a day for a bit of relaxing. We spent part of the day strolling around town through the shopping centres and sitting in Valley Gardens. There were booths set up at Valley Gardens for multiple sclerosis awareness, a fundraiser to send a boy with cerebral palsy to America, a military vehicle display, a small merry-go-round ride, and some dancing performers. We weren't sure if this is something that happens often or if it was special to this weekend. Regardless, it was fun to see things happening and realize that its cool for us to experience but normal for the people that live here.

My favorite part was the military vehicle display. I think its the look of old in a modern setting. Actually, I know that is why because I like that style when it comes to decorating a room too. I can definitely appreciate the vintage and character of things of old.

A quick google search reveals the German phrase "Achtung Minen" is a land mine warning. Like I said, character.

I recently discovered Photoshop Actions, which probably makes me sound like I have been living under a rock for at least five years. Either way, they are awesome and I can't stop editing pictures. Or maybe I should say trying to edit pictures. I think sometimes I go a little overboard on the actions and editing... I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0. It works great for my amateur purposes! I got it for Christmas a few years ago and am glad I'm finally really using it. I wish I always had beautiful scenery and subjects to edit!

I think this last picture is my favorite. (If you haven't noticed, I like the vintage actions probably a little too much.)

Tomorrow we are off to see York! You know what that means...more pictures!

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

June 18, 2011

Luke's Second Post: The Other Halves

Yay! Guest post numero TWO from dearest Luke. He has a lot to share and its pretty cute if I do say so myself. Go on now, read it.

Greetings all from the other side of the world (aka home). I thought you all would like to know what’s been going on here while Rachel is in the UK. She’s been gone almost 3 weeks already! Wow, it has gone by pretty fast but on the other hand to she can’t come back soon enough because I miss her and worry about her. Caboose and I are glad she’s having a good time though!

Caboose and I have been getting along pretty well. It is nice to have each other for the company. It hasn’t just been the two of us the whole time though. My sister Beth stayed with us for about a week after her apartment lease was up while she finished up teaching school. It was nice when she was here because, I have to admit, she took good care of us making supper, doing dishes, etc.

Caboose and I have had a few of our own adventures in the last couple weeks…

We took a ride one Saturday afternoon to a race track that I was going to race at that Sunday night. Caboose was either shocked or amazed. Or maybe he was meowing and I caught the photo at the right time. Needless to say, my race wasn’t the best. It started with a broken throttle cable, which led to missing one of my heat races while changing the cable, and a fair performance. It was fun though. It was my first flat track of the year so I wasn’t planning on setting the world on fire. Now that I have a race and some practice under my belt, hopefully this weekend will be better! Caboose was pretty amazed by the race track and can’t wait to get his own bike and gear!

We also took a trip home for the Memorial Day holiday. Caboose stayed with Rachel's Mom and Dad and I went to my parents to work on my bikes and hang out with my family.

Cell phone quality pictures...gotta love 'em.
It’s been going pretty well at the apartment so far. There has really only been one little incident... Before Rachel left, she had a plant that was looking pretty tough. It needed to be replanted and probably didn’t need the extra water I gave it. Long story short, it didn’t make it. I gave it a proper burial and went to Walgreens and found us a new plant! I had no intentions of buying seeds at Walgreens. I went there for milk, saw they had seeds, and found one that looked good! I wanted to surprise Rachel with a new beautiful flowering plant but that plan didn’t work (yet).

I was amazed when the sprouts came up! I was a little unsure at first but, as you can see, I had nothing to worry about. The seeds are growing like wildfire! It will be pretty sweet once it flowers.

I have to throw in this last pic just because caboose is in it! (We all know how much he is loved around here.)

Well that pretty much sums up the last few weeks in the States. All is good on the home front and I will try and keep you updated. Until then, we (Caboose and I) will be here waiting and missing Rachel. It’s not the same without her here. We love her with all our hearts and pray for her safe return.

Love you honey! (Sniffle sniffle) ;)

June 16, 2011

UK Edition: Run a Mile (Or Four)

First things first, let me acknowledge and thank the wonderful strangers in this world that don't kill you when you ask them a question when you are hot and sweaty, the sun is setting, and you obviously sound like a foreigner. Thank you. Thank you to the young man that told me to just keep running down the hill and turn left. You probably saved my life (and a lot more running...ok maybe not really because I was on the right road and direction, but still). Who knew people like that still existed??

I brushed off my dusty running shoes and used them. To run. Yes, believe me.

I finally ran (for the first time since the Halffer)! What? You don't remember? All that training? You even forgot the freezing-cold-weather training?! Maybe you remember now.

I have really wanted to run while in England but hadn't gotten the chance to. Or more honestly, I have also been lazy when it comes to running, in addition to being busy eating out and seeing the city here. But I did it! And I'm glad I did! The weather has been pretty nice after work this week (minus the rain). It was pouring rain as we left work but a few hours later it cleared right up. It made for a pretty sweaty run but that didn't stop me. It felt great to sweat!

If you read my little introduction you may have already guessed I got a little lost. I was running and running, following my way back to my place from the way I came. I knew I missed my turn when I went down a really steep hill to what looked like I was headed out of town. Not quite right. So I turned around and took a turn on a familiar sounding road (Duchy Road...how do you not remember that?). It looked about right but not quite, so I turned again toward my place. Well, I ended up on a short dead end and knew it was time to ask for help. It was starting to get dark (around 21:30ish) and even though I was wearing a highlighter pink shirt (thanks Meg and Riss!) I didn't want to take a chance if I didn't have to. Thankfully I saw a human sitting in their car with the door open, shuffling through papers or cds. I asked the young man for directions and he quite nicely told me to just keep going. Ahh, I was so happy for nice people! Sure enough, he was right and I was relaxed.

My short, joy-ride jog turned into 36 minutes and nearly four miles (thanks to mapmyrun.com), which I was originally going to blame the slow pace and short time on all the hills and change in elevation but it turns out I didn't have to blame it on anything! I consider it a good run even if it wasn't exactly what I had intended. No worries! I made it home safe and sound.

I wanted to take a picture of the Lunar (?) eclipse tonight so I quick grabbed a camera (after dabbing off at least a pint of sweat) and headed out. I stuck out like a sunburned, sore thumb! Not only was I wearing exercise clothes in a bright color (come on, people dress "smart" here and don't wear athletic clothing out in public), sweating my buns off, and carrying a camera, I was surrounded by families with children dressed in crisp white shirts and black pant school uniforms leaving from what I assume was a band concert of some sort. Ahhh oh well. I wasn't trying to impress anyone (and I surely didn't!).

Have you done any exercising lately? Stuck out like a sore thumb like I did tonight? Twice!

All for now. Cheers mates!

June 15, 2011

UK Edition: Shopping Stores, Here I Come!

I finally experienced my first shopping day while in England. The shops are only open until 17:30 during the week and my Saturdays have been busy. That brings me to this past weekend.

I ventured out for a bit of shopping Sunday morning and, much to my delight, found a few beauties to purchase! The even better news is that I only spent £8.50. How can you go wrong when you spend less than £10 when shopping for the first time in a new country?! Well, one reason I didn't spend more is because I didn't have any more cash and needed to stop at an ATM. I needed to save a little bit of money to stop at the grocery store on the way home. It was also raining. Regardless, it was just what I needed.

As much as I want to share these items with you, I don't! I think some of you may figure out why...

These little guys were so cute there was no way I was going to pass them up! Sure, they might pull my ears right off my head because they are probably to heavy but that didn't stop me. I actually didn't even think about that until now. Silly me. Wouldn't you just love a pair for yourself?! I only bought one pair and I fully intend on keeping them for myself.

This caught my eye as I was walking past the jewelry department and I did a double take. It must be the color that I was attracted to. That and the gold-toned dots and the multi-wrap detail also quietly whispered my name. Ok, so that is pretty much all there is to this bracelet. In other words, yes, I like everything about it.

The colors of this scarf are not exactly what I was looking for but just what I think I needed. Something bright and fun with a pattern but not so distinct that you know what it is. I also like that it is slightly rectangular and not just square, so it can be worn a few more ways than a smaller square scarf.

The color isn't the only reason I wanted this scarf. That is probably half the reason. When I unfolded it to see what the size was I noticed there was an actual pattern to the color. Its a union jack print! The only reason I know this is because the tag says "Union Jack Print." Ha. How could I pass that up when the colors are so great, too?!?

It will be a great reminder of my stay in the UK, though I'm sure there will be many more in the future...especially with so many more shops to be visited.

June 12, 2011

UK Edition: All Bar One

Last night some coworkers and I took the train to Leeds for a night that turned into a slow, relaxing meal with dessert and wine. It was quite wonderful actually. We ate dinner at a restaurant called All Bar One. The food was delicious, the service was spot on and the prices were a little steeper than we would have liked but obviously (or apparently) that didn't stop us.

Planted centerpiece. Pint of Coke. Dinnerware brought to our table on a platter, so carefully placed on the napkin by our server. Red pepper hummus and pitas. Fish and chips. Chocolate brownie and ice cream.

Simply delicious.