Wednesday, September 30

Philadelphia Zoo

Last Monday, Shawn's mom came to visit and we all went to the zoo! Even though we only live six miles from it, Shawn and I had never ventured over there before. Shawn's not a big fan of zoos, for the reasons you would think: animals in too-small spaces, hefty price of admission, lots of kids running around... But I always enjoy a trip to the zoo, and it was something we could do that his mom would enjoy too. So off we went!

We saw lots of different monkeys, some huge (and stinky) fruit bats, a few big cats, some big mammals from Africa, some small mammals from all over the world, lots and lots of reptiles (in particular - a lizard licking a rattlesnake!), a group of happy sea otters, two sleepy polar bears... and lots of other animals. The only place we didn't visit was the bird house because I think birds are a little creepy.

The meerkats were my favorite animal that we saw. They are so silly! And incredibly hard to photograph because they do not stop moving. One of them was running around in circles in front of us to get our attention, while the rest of the group huddled together over a paper bag. The small mammals were definitely the best part of the zoo for me... they even had some sleepy anteaters! Which were a lot larger than I thought they would be.

They also had a few art exhibits featuring sculptures made from materials that can't be recycled. There were bears made from spark plugs, a rhinoceros made from silver platters, small stop motion animals, and some shadow art made from old computer parts.

It was definitely the only zoo I've been to where the animals were incredibly active. Maybe it's because we went early in the morning when the zoo first opened, so they weren't all lethargic like they are in the afternoon... though I like to think it's because the animals are happy there! I did feel bad for some of the larger mammals... the animals in the African section didn't have much space to run around at all, and some of the monkeys looked like they could use more space as well. But Philadelphia zoo recently installed Zoo 360 - mesh trails that run around the zoo, allowing some of the larger animals to roam during the day! We saw a few monkeys using it, and at one point we went behind a food building to catch our breath and caught a tiger laying in the trail, watching the geese in the pond. We were about six feet away from him!

If you've ever thought about going to the Philadelphia Zoo, I definitely recommend checking it out! Apparently it's America's first zoo, too.

Tuesday, September 29

Project 365, 265-271

265/365: Shawn's mom took us to the Philadelphia zoo! Unlike other zoos I've been to, the animals there were very active and eager to interact with visitors. I'll post more photos later this week.

266/365: Ordered some peshtemals for Shawn and I. The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy inspired one is Shawn's, of course. I got this one and intend to use it mostly as a scarf.

267/365: Lloyd is the silliest.

268/365: I didn't take many photos last week.... so more Lloyd silliness.

269/365: Saw this hair clip on Kaylah's blog and had to get one. Also, I'm having a love affair with french braids lately.

270/365: One of my colleagues understands my love of chocolate chip cookies, and brings me some from McDonalds occasionally. They are surprisingly delicious!

271/365: Italian hoagies are my favorite.... but an Italian hoagie panini?! We just stepped up the game at work.

I was going to post these last night, but Shawn turned on season 5 of The Walking Dead and the rest of our evening subsequently went kaput. We watched 7 episodes before deciding to turn in for bed.... the cliffhangers at the end of each episode are too good! And Netflix doesn't make it any easier by auto-playing the next episode. I watched season 1 of the show when it first aired, but was too creeped out by it (probably because at the time we were living in my parents' big empty house in the woods....), then I had Shawn update me on what was going on and got back into the show for season 3. I missed season 4 entirely, but season 5 has sucked me right back in. Have you watched it?

I leave for Madrid on Wednesday, so posts will be a bit sporadic while I'm away. But I'm looking forward to having tons of photos to share with you when I get back!!!!

Saturday, September 26

Packing for 10 Days in Spain

I have been mentally packing for Spain for weeks, and I've had a few items of clothing hanging at the end of my closet in preparation. Packing is always quite the task - first you have to consider where you're going and what you'll be doing, then you have to anticipate what the weather will be like... and if you think you'll be doing any shopping, you have to plan to leave some extra space in your bag for the trip back. There are a lot of factors! I always make a list so that I don't forget the little things, like extra contact lenses and all the cords I'll need to charge my various devices. Thankfully, I don't have to fret too much this trip because I'll be staying with my parents and they have all the little things I may inevitably forget or just not think of to begin with.

My mom sent me a link to the predicted weather for the next two weeks.... rain, rain, rain! That's not what I had initially planned for, but it's easy to toss a raincoat and some water-safe shoes into the mix. Depending on how much it actually rains, I may end up having to buy some rain boots while I'm there. Fingers crossed that it doesn't actually rain as much is predicted!

Here's a list of what I plan on tossing into my carry-on bag:
(I may be slightly over-packing, but I have a tendency to do that...)

+ a short-sleeved white button-up which can be tucked in, tied up, or left loose!
+ a striped tank top, striped t-shirt, black t-shirt, and maroon t-shirt... too many t-shirts? Options!
+ a black dolman-sleeved top which will be perfect for the plane
+ high-rise skinny jeans, chinos, and printed joggers (which are also perfect for the plane!)
+ black shorts, a striped skirt, and a printed dress
+ a drapey cardigan, an anorak, rain jacket, and a black knit jacket
+ leather sandals, huaraches, and funky sneakers
+ a bathing suit, a scarf, a peshtemal, and a small purse
+ various toiletries, my passport, and some books

What do you think, am I overpacking? How do you pack for week-long trips?

(On a somewhat related note... whew! These collages are time-consuming to make! Even with the help of Polyvore. I only had to photograph a few of my actual pieces, thankfully.)

Friday, September 25

Fun Finds Friday #106

A color-of-the-day calendar sounds fun!

The mountains are calling.

I really really like these!

+ I should have snagged these shakers for my collection before they sold....
+ Awesome lego creations; I want a lego bonsai!
+ Joy keeps tempting me with donuts!
+ 50 Nerds of Grey is too good.
+ Mercury is in retrograde and it's messing everything up!
+ Liz's post about not being controlled by fear really resonated with me.
+ Erin wrote up a very useful post about finding cheap airfare.

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, September 24

Books on Vacation

For me, one of the perks of being on an airplane (aside from the fact that it's taking me somewhere awesome) is that I have extra time to read. Especially on international flights. In the past I've breezed through two or three books on 6+ hour long flights. Honestly, what else are you supposed to do with all that time? I have trouble sleeping more than thirty minutes at a time on a plane, and the in-flight entertainment isn't always all that entertaining, so I always make sure to bring a few books with me. Not that I need an excuse to read, but when I'm entirely disconnected from the internet, social media, and everything else going on in the world, books seem like the obvious choice.

The flight to Madrid is 7.5 hours long, and the flight back is just over 8 hours, so I'll have plenty of time to read. Add to that any down time I'll have while I'm there, and five books doesn't sound too difficult to get through... I'm going to download the kindle edition of most of these, just to ease down on the bulk of what I'll be traveling with.

#1 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
#2 The Quantum Universe by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw
#3 The New Ghost by Robert Hunter
#4 The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain
#5 The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Have you read any of these? What's your favorite thing to do long flights?

Wednesday, September 23

Project 365, 258-264

258/365: I've been learning how to mix/shape/bake the bread at work lately! We make no-knead loaves and serve them alongside everything. My favorite work snack is a piece of bread with some farm fresh butter and sea salt sprinkled on top.

259/365: Lloyd, when did you get so tall?

260/365: I love the way Shawn hangs his wires. This is my favorite corner of his desk area.

261/365: Why yes, I did make some donuts from scratch.

262/365: I kinda forgot to take photos on Friday and Sunday, so here is one of Lloyd from earlier in the week.

263/365: I've been having so much fun packaging up things I've sold on Poshmark! Finally, a use for my many washi tapes.

264/365: And another Lloyd filler for a forgotten photo day - oops! Look at those little feet though.

Things have been quiet on the blog lately, but I warned you all that September was going to be a quiet month! I have a few travel-related posts coming up though, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 17

The Cat Life - September

It's Thursday. Here are some cat photos for you to enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16

Birthday Wish List

My birthday is coming up in about a month.... the past few years I've treated myself to one special gift from a list of things I've had my eye on all year. (It's the sweet part of being a self-proclaimed adult who can afford these kinds of things every once in a while.) Every year, my wish list seems to get smaller... or perhaps refined is the word I'm looking for. This year, I've had my eye on these three things:

glasses | purse | shoes

I shared the glasses in a Fun Finds Friday post a few months ago, after trying them on at a pop-up shop near me. I still love them. I always go back and forth about wearing glasses... I love the way they look on my face, but they're simply not practical for me to wear to work. Which leaves me wondering whether or not it's worth it to get a second pair....

That bag has been on my wish list for over a year, and although it's still more money than I would normally spend on a bag, it's a hefty discount from the original price. And it's the mother of all bags, so basically, I wouldn't need another bag for a long time. I'm not a purse girl; it's just not my accessory of choice. I currently have two bags that I cycle between depending on what I need them for - one big, one small. So when I buy a bag, I'm looking for one that can do a little bit of everything.

The shoes are the reason I'm posting this so early. The woman who makes them is in Barcelona, so if I get them I can have them shipped to my parents' house and then they'll arrive while I'm visiting them! They're super simple shoes, but they're exactly what I've been looking for in a black flat. I would pretty much have to pay the same amount for any of the ones I've seen in stores, but who knows where that money is really going? Supporting small businesses is where it's at, yo.

I want them all! But I can't decide. (#libraproblems) They're all in the same price range.... eep! What should I do? I'm already getting the best birthday gift ever by getting to visit Madrid and Barcelona! Everything else is just materialistic splurging. But that's good on occasion too.

Tuesday, September 15

Project 365, 251-257

251/365: I'm back to working on Mondays, so Monday photos are back to being blah. Lloyd is still cute though.

252/365: This is the scene that awaits me every single night. Sylvester yells at us while we're brushing our teeth and doesn't stop until one of us gets in bed. Then, it's cuddle time.

253/365: I drove out to New Hope to visit a friend at her new place. We wandered around town for a bit, grabbed some lunch, then wandered around a wildflower preserve nearby. It's nice to get away from the city and be reminded of nature's beauty every once in a while.

254/365: It has been over two years now and I still can't stop taking photos of this guy.

255/365: Good morning!

256/365: I love getting things other than junk and catalogs in the mail! I've had a pen pal for over ten years now - she's the best!! And, I still can't get over seeing my married name as my last name. It's so strange to me- I spent 26 years with a different name!

257/365: More coloring book fun. I color for 10-20 minutes every day.

Cats cats cats. I haven't done a cat post in a while.... but this post is mostly cat photos so, hey! I told you September was going to be a quiet month...
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