Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A Year in Review

2012 has been quite the year!

As it quickly draws to a close, I'm left thinking about all the interesting things I've gotten to experience, both good and bad:

1) I had birds living on my front door
2) We got hit by a crazy storm
3) I recovered from a bad case of the plague
4) Discovered Pandora
5) Hit 50 sales on etsy!
6) Got a real full time job

I also:


Got my Hair Cut extremely short (and was able to donate again!)


Adopted Marvin


My photographer friend, Katie, had a baby!


Learned to weave baskets


Went on an Epic Road Trip


Saw these two awesome people get married


And moved!

Overall, 2012 has been a pretty good adventure!  I'm very excited for 2013 and am looking forward for all the good things to come!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Move


Hello Everyone! I have big news...

I MOVED!

It was a bit of a surprise, but I got a new position at work that enabled me to afford a place that allows pets.  So, even though I loved my old place, I took advantage of it and packed up!

Unfortunately, I am currently still living out of boxes and walking around misplaced furniture.  But I absolutely love my new place and can't wait to have everything set up and ready to go!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!  I'll see you soon!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Storm Update

Screenshot from AEP's Website
These are the updated numbers of people still without power from the storm that hit on the 29th.  It's nice to see those numbers out of the 60,000 - 300,000 range.

Problems haven't stopped, however.  I just watched another huge storm rush through from my window and heard the fire trucks heading out again as soon as it was over.  Another big one hit last Tuesday and knocked power out again for a big chunk of people who had just gotten it back on.  AND the amount of power being used a few days ago by people who had finally gotten it back almost caused a blackout.  It seems like we can't really catch a break up here.

But it's nice to see these numbers today.  Two days ago it was still in the 150,000s.

Just wanted to write a quick update.  Things are getting back to normal, slowly but surely.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy July 4th!


I enjoyed a fireworks show and ice cream with friends today.  My first one in years! (The fireworks...not the ice cream. I enjoy that regularly...)  Definitely a fun time! 

Power is trickling back on across the state as damage gets cleaned up, and things are definitely improving quickly thanks to all the wonderful help we've received from out of state.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say "Thank you!!!" to all the people working extremely hard to turn the lights back on.  Food and water drives have starting in places where power isn't expected to be back on until later this month, and cooling shelters are still popping up across the state.  My mom's power came back on today as well, three days early.  Hopefully everyone's comes back up sooner than expected!

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Land Hurricane

Things here in West Virginia are a little intense right now.

On Friday I got off of work at 3:00 and headed home to make a tasty dinner.  Instead, I took a seriously long nap and didn't wake up until almost 6:30!  Once I was up and adam though, I headed downstairs to start cooking.

Once downstairs, I noticed some dark clouds happening.  It's been seriously hot the last few days...Friday it hit somewhere around 104!  So I wasn't surprised to see a thunderstorm rolling in.  I decided to head upstairs and wait to cook until the storm was over, just in case the power went out.

When I got upstairs, I watched a pretty intense storm rush through...blowing shingles off my roof and trees were almost horizontal.  My power flickered several times, but it never really went off and the storm was over pretty quickly.

Photo Source: The Herald Dispatch
I had no idea how bad it had been.  From where I was, I had seen worse storms blow through.  But I am one of very very few people in the state who has power right now.  That storm had winds clocked at 89 mph and in Charleston it flipped a plane at the airport!  So many trees and power lines were uprooted and downed that around 640,000 people in West Virginia alone were without power.  

And are still without power...

My area was extremely lucky and kept power for the most part.  In Kanawha County, where my mom lives, most cities are without power, some blacked out completely.  It's trickling back on in some places, but at the moment the date to have power again isn't until Friday.  Some counties are going to experience or already are experiencing a water shortage due to a lack of power at the treatment plants.

Photo Source: The Herald Dispatch
On my way to work yesterday, there were people lined up forever trying to get gas.  A lot of people who live out are used to power outages and have backup generators.  The problem is they run on gas, and most of them are only meant to last a few days, so most people need the extra gas to power their homes until the power is back on.  Then a lot of people are traveling trying to escape the heat and find power so they need gas.  

The problem is that a lot of gas stations have no power...and no power means no gas.  The City of Dunbar in Kanawha County ran out of gas completely yesterday afternoon around 2:30pm, along with several places in South Charleston.  I know of one or two stations here that ran out, but luckily power has been restored to several places around here and the rush passed.  I was able to get gas earlier today thank goodness.


There is also currently an ice shortage.  I've seen lots of signs on stores who are out of ice.  And every hotel in the City of Huntington is completely booked for the week by people trying to escape the heat. 


Photo Source: The Herald Dispatch
This is what happened to the Riverfest Stage in St Albans, my hometown.  They were set up for the weekend, and the storm basically destroyed everything.  


There are still roughly 300,000 people without power, and the Governor and the President declared a state of emergency for West Virginia.  Heat shelters have been set up all over the place to get people out of the 100 degree weather, and help is being called in from everywhere.


My mom and brother are coming up to stay with me for a few days while the clean up is going on to get out of the heat.  I am beyond thankful for electricity right now.  Hopefully everyone gets theirs back way before the estimated date.

If you live or know someone who lives in West Virginia and are without power and need supplies, let them know that Barboursville has power for the most part.  We also have gas and ice at a few stores, so if you're in the area (or can get here) and need it, as of writing this, it's here.  I'll keep you updated of major changes on here as the week goes on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Etsy Roundup: For the Birds

I spent far too much time on sites like Etsy and Pinterest exploring all the awesome things people make and do.  It really blows my mind how talented some people are!  I've actually spent almost all day on the computer today exploring, and I wanted to share just a small peak of the awesome I came across.

I love birds.  This is probably common knowledge, since I had some living on my front door.  My living room is even decorated in birds!  Here's some of the cool bird themed things I've added to my "I almost can't live without" list:


From left to right: 1) Bird Bag by LBArtwork 2) Vinyl Bird Decal by Vinylfruit 3) Bird Necklace by The Dandellon Jewelry 4) Bird Journaling Cards by MeShoppa 5) Bird Mask by Tom Banwell 6) "Creative Birds" Art Print by The Fox and the Teacup 7) Yarn Bowl by DarriellesClayArt

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Road Trippin: St Louis

Once enjoying the sunshine of Oklahoma City, we hit the road for our last stop before home, St Louis, MO.  The weather was perfect for our drive, and we made the 8 hour trip in no time.  After grabbing a quick dinner, we crashed for the night, ready to enjoy the city the next day. 



First stop of course was the Gateway Arch.  Our hotel was right across the street from it, and we had a great view from there.  I bought tram tickets in advance so that we could avoid the line and get to the top without too much of a wait.  



The Tram was very interesting.  It's basically a lot like a barrel with little seats, and I don't recommend it if you're claustrophobic!  It's not a bad ride, only taking about 4 minutes to climb the 630 ft to the top, but I've very glad there were only two of us in the little pod!     


Unfortunately, we left the nice weather in Oklahoma.  Right after riding the tram back down from the top of the Arch, the downpour started with no signs of letting up.  We purchased some ponchos along with our souvenirs and made a mad dash back to our hotel which was (thankfully) very very close to the park.  We dried off, changed our soggy clothes, and munched on snacks while hoping the rain would let up.


Once it got down to a drizzle, we headed into the city to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis.  The mosaics on the inside are made from thousands of cut tile, and it is really amazing to see.  It's also free to visit, but be sure to check the mass schedule as to not interrupt services.


Once we left the Cathedral, I was really excited to find that the rain had stopped!  I had really wanted to go to the zoo, and even though it was cloudy and would very likely start raining again, we gave it a shot.


The St Louis Zoo is great because it's free to visit!  You just have to pay the $15 to park, which is great.  And, because of the rain, it was cool out and not incredibly crowded.  That was bad at the same time, because some of the animals weren't out for us to see, but it was still a great visit.

And now, we're on the road for home, this little adventure over.  I can't wait for the next one!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Road Trippin: Oklahoma City

Heading from New Orleans to Oklahoma was quite the trip, so we stopped to rest for the night in Dallas.  The trip to Dallas in itself was insane thanks to lots of road work and a very bad accident.  Most of the interstate in southern Louisiana is built up on a bridge because of all the water and swampland, and a truck flipped somewhere ahead of us on the road.  Since you're on a several mile long bridge, there wasn't really anywhere to go, so people were getting out of their cars and chatting with each other for the hour or so we were stranded there.  I know of at least two cars who ran out of gas, and another that got bumped by a semi.  It was really bad.


But finally, after forever, we made it to Oklahoma City.  And probably the most amazing Sleep Inn ever.  We actually stayed two nights in Oklahoma so that we could see everything.  There was actually a lot of neat things that we didn't get to do, but we hit a few major ones that I was really excited for.


The first thing of course is Rt 66.  Oklahoma contains the longest stretch of the mother road, and they have a whole museum dedicated to it.  The Rt 66 Museum was actually about an hour and a half outside of Oklahoma City, but it was well worth the trip to visit.  It had a bunch of interesting information about America's Highway, and had an original stretch of the road nearby.


Then there was the very random Museum of Osteology. It contained several skeletons of many many different kinds of animals, including a humpback whale.  


The museum is small, but it's also relatively inexpensive, about $6 to get in.  It was very interesting and it would be a great place for kids since anything not protected by glass is allowed to be touched.


To end our day, we visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, which was remarkable.  We spent several hours in the museum, and could have easily spent more.  I was only 6 years old when this bombing occurred, and I knew very little about it until I came here.  The museum is very worth visiting, but be sure to come back at dusk to visit the memorial as well.


There are 168 chairs dedicated to the 168 people who died in the bombing of the Murrah building on April 19, 1995.  The smaller chairs represent the 19 children who died in the attack, most of them in the daycare located on the second floor.  The chairs stand in the place the building once stood, with the only remaining wall surrounding them.  In front of the chairs, where 5th Street ran before the bombing, is a reflecting pool, and on either side of it are the "Bookends of Time."  One says 9:01, the other says 9:03.  The bombing occurred at 9:02.


This was a very beautiful memorial.  The people involved in designing it truly did an amazing job, and I think everyone should visit here and learn the impact of violence.  It was very moving, and something I will never forget.


Even though Oklahoma was one of my favorite states, the time came to leave, so we packed up the car to hit our last destination before heading home.  Stay tuned!

Road Trippin: New Orleans

After having fun with the gators and lower gas prices ($3.10 in some places!) in Alabama, we headed off for the 3 hour trek to New Orleans, LA.


I have always wanted to visit New Orleans, and my visit was very exciting!  I found this awesome little hotel on TripAdvisor that's right off Bourbon St in the French Quarter.  It was very reasonably priced for a place in the heart of everything and I was really impressed by the photos online.  


The Hotel Le Marais is a super cute boutique hotel with fun modern decor.  I really loved the mix of old and new with this place.  The outside was typical French Quarter and kind of plain.  You'd miss it if you weren't looking for it.  But inside is a complete contrast that was really well done.


Our room would basically be decorated similarly as my dream New York apartment.  I love the windows and the shutters, and there was black tile in the bathroom shower that I loved too.  


Upon check in you receive a complementary drink from the bar, which is in this area.  It's a quiet area to chat while enjoying your drinks (Mmm Green Apple Martini) comfortably from these awesome armchairs.  Again, this could be my apartment.


You could also enjoy your drinks in this area outside.  The patio furniture is awesome...I love those little round chairs with the umbrellas.  And there's a pool.  It's very small, but still enough to enjoy after a long day of wandering New Orleans.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to enjoy the outside for too long.  The rain kept following us, but luckily held off until we were already on our way back to the hotel for the night.


So I still got to see Bourbon Street and all it's interesting things.


And shop a few cute little shops for goodies.  This window is from a store called Razzle Dazzle that I thought was a lot of fun.  There were so many colorful and eye catching things all over the store that I could have looked around forever.


Sadly though, I didn't have forever, and had to hit the road the next morning for another adventure on America's Highway...


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Alabama: Alligator Alley

The next stop after Savannah was the several hour drive to New Orleans, LA.  Since we weren't willing to drive it straight through while falling asleep at the wheel, we made a pit stop in Foley Alabama.  It was a good plan too, because the drive that day was very very stormy and the weather seemed to have no plan on lightening up.  There is an Outlet Mall in Foley, which is why I originally picked it, but we didn't get time to really enjoy it.  We were exhausted by the time we got there...the interstate we took was one very long 390-some mile stretch of boring boring flatland...then with the time zone change and the storms, it just wasn't happening.

The weather was amazing for the trip out, though, and we decided to stop at a place I had found online during my original planning process: Alligator Alley.


I had found it online somewhere (maybe Trip Advisor?  I find lots of things there...) and thought it would be an at least interesting way of wasting the few hours we needed to waste in Alabama.  Check in time for New Orleans wasn't until 3 so I wanted to find something besides the Outlet Mall to do before we had to hit the road.


I definitely didn't expect to love it!  It was definitely worth the stop and the very very VERY reasonable $10 entrance fee. 


Alligator Alley houses several hundred gators that have been removed from areas where they were considered a nuisance.  The farm was built to give them a natural environment while educating people about them.


Like I said, the entrance fee is only $10, but I highly recommend spending the extra $4 on the cup of food.  Why?  Because it's fun to feed alligators, of course.


And speaking of feeding, they do 3 feeding shows a day that are very interesting.  They feed the gators wild pigs that hunters send to them for that purpose.  Apparently, southern Alabama has a wild pig problem, and hunters do a good service by keeping their numbers down, kind of like Deer here in West Virginia.  That thought kind of blew my mind...replacing deer with wild pigs...but yeah.  Back to Gators.


 I got to hold one. ^_^  This is a two year old baby gator and one of the workers carries him around for people to hold all day.  There's no extra charge to do it, and since he does it all day there's really no line.  He actually walked up to us and asked if we wanted to hold him.  Um, yes please!

Captain Crunch is a Big Gator
I was extremely happy with my trip here.  The park isn't huge but it's definitely worth visiting if your in the area, especially if you have children.  All the kids there loved it and it was lots of fun!


After that short rest, we're off to Louisiana!  To be continued!