Hey, how are you? Remember me? It’s been awhile…
So I took a little time off from the blog, from work, from life. Just a little bit–a few days north of Dallas visiting my BFF (one of a few), Veronica, and then a few days down in Corpus Christi on Padre Island National Seashore. I have to say, both trips were wonderful, refreshing, and much needed! I’m sorry to have neglected you all this past week, but don’t worry–now that I spent ALL day cleaning up my house and catching up on laundry–I’m ready to hit the ground running. I have quite a few things in mind for you! AND I need to catch ya’ll up on my July challenge. It hasn’t been exactly easy since I’ve been out of town, but we are still hanging in there.
It had been almost a WHOLE YEAR since I saw Veronica last. So so so sad. Interestingly enough, it was when she had just moved from Texas, and I was getting ready to move to Texas. Now she is back in Texas, and my husband and I are planning to move out. We just can’t seem to get our timings right.
So here’s a little background about Veronica. We met in junior college when we had an interior design and an art class together. I was not a big fan at first. I thought she was loud, and I hated how her orange sneakers matched her orange backpack. You know, because I am, and was, the epitome of fashion (HA!) I had 2 more semesters where we had no classes together, so I didn’t think much about her, until she happened to be in my final biology class. Knowing we were in the same program, she asked me where I was planning to transfer to. Turns out, we were both going to Illinois State University. “Oh great” I thought, “more of those orange sneakers”. Little did I know how close we would become during our final 2 years of school. Nothing can bond people quite like sharing the same college courses, projects, and struggles. Not to mention, just kind of growing up together. You learn a lot in those college days. And you also eat a lot of Mexican food, and drink a lot of margaritas (and alcohol in general). You also learn what leaving a spoon in a blender will do when you flip it on. But I digress…
Veronica is married to her highschool sweetheart, who has moved her from our hometown area of central Illinois, to Texas, to Mississippi and finally back to Texas. They dated for a long long time before they actually got married. I was lucky enough to be by her side on her wedding day, and she was by mine on my big day too. Not only does she share my passion for great design, but she has a quirky sense of humor and sarcasm that just draws you in, and she genuinely cares about what you have to say. She’s independent, so dang smart, and detail oriented like you wouldn’t believe. She also has 2 crazy cats, and a new-ish puppy edition to their house.
Ok, so the reason I am going into so much detail about Veronica, is because she has offered to write a few guest posts here on The Kolb Corner. Some of her posts will be her favorite recipes, but the biggest–most exciting–will be her posts called “House to Home” where she will show you before and after photos as she transforms her just built house, into a lived in home. I am so excited for her–and just a teensy bit jealous–to be able to start with a blank canvas and create something beautiful, and cozy. I can’t wait for her to get started so I can live vicariously through her.
So like I said–I spent a few days with her at her new, gorgeous house. This was the first time getting together in almost a year. Amazing how you can go so long without seeing one another, but you just jump right back into it like you get together every week! Apparently we have both been starved for girl time, because a lot of the projects we had planned to tackle together, didn’t get done. Instead we drank, ate, shopped and talked–and talked, and talked and shopped and ate and drank some more.
She planned out a great menu that consisted of chicken enchiladas, guacamole, and mojitos for Friday night, and fancy appetizers like Goat cheese, Proscuitto and Fig Jam crackers, Bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp, Caprese salad, Chocolate mousse, and chocolate covered strawberries, for Saturday night. Needless to say, we ate well. She even made sure the ingredients she bought were whole foods without added preservatives and ingredients just for me <–that’s friendship!
Just to tease you a bit, here are some of those mouth watering foods we
On Saturday we made a trip into town to check out some antique stores, and of course, a Salvation Army. I found this poppy painting at one of the antique stores. I don’t know what it is about this painting, but I was immediately drawn to it. I even finished walking around the entire store trying to decide if I had to have it or not. It was one of those items that I would have regretted not buying. Again, I don’t know what makes it so special but I HAD to have it. It was $12. I will probably get it a nice frame–maybe an antique or distressed white?
At Salvation Army, I found these floral plaques that I thought I would paint and mount some sort of vase or candle holder to, to make sconces. I’m thinking a navy blue and I may leave the gold along the rim. They were $2.50 each.
Finally, hidden away in a corner I found this little side table. It is solid wood and has some sort of a stone insert on the top. I’m thinking of painting it similar to my coffee table to go in the living room. I may replace the stone with either wood or a piece of glass. Not sure on that one yet. The best part?? This baby only cost me $2.50!! I am not sure the tag that was on it was correct, it was sort of placed on it haphazardly. After some coaxing from V, we carried it to the counter and the clerk rang it up at $2.50. Didn’t hesitate at all! Believe me the thing is FILTHY and is in definite need of TLC, but for a solid wood side table, you can’t beat that price.
All of my finds totaled $19.50. I’d say I did pretty darn well.
Oh the possibilities!
So I spent Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday morning at Veronica’s, then drove home Sunday night. My husband and I decided last minute that we should make a trip to the beach. I was off on Tuesday and Wednesday, originally because my in-laws had been planning to make a trip down, but decided not to. Since we both had the time off, we figured it would be the perfect time. So I worked until 4 on Monday and then we headed out. It’s a 4 hour drive from our house, to Corpus Christi. We stayed in a hotel that night, on the bay near where we had stayed the last time we were in Corpus. Man was that a nasty hotel room! I have long since retired my trusty can of Lysol spray when traveling, but I really wished I had it along with me this time. I showered before bed and felt like I needed a shower AFTER my shower. Even though the rooms were disgusting, the front desk staff was extremely friendly.
We woke up semi early to catch the sunrise on the bay, and we took a run–yes you read that right–on the beach. By run, I mean we went about 1/4 mile before my leg started throbbing and burning. At least we got up and did it though. Then we walked about a mile up the beach and back–with me having to stop on occasion to rest my poor leg. After our run/walk and breakfast, we toured the USS Lexington. It’s a decommissioned air craft carrier that served in WWII. That was really really neat. BUT in true Amanda fashion–I have no pictures to prove just how cool it was.
After our tour we grabbed a few things from the store to eat for dinner and breakfast the next day and headed to the beach. We camped on Padre Island National Seashore. It’s 50 miles of uninhabited beach and national preserve where they have annual sea turtle releases and the like. It’s $10 for a week pass, and you can set up camp right on the beach. For 5 miles the beach “road” is maintained, but after that 5 miles it gets pretty hairy and you better have 4WD. We camped right towards the end of the 5 miles in a pretty deserted area of the beach.
Of course, when we got there the first thing we had to do was get in the ocean. I was a little disappointed because there was seaweed EVERYWHERE–floating in the waves, washed up on shore, brushing against my legs and creeping me out while I was swimming. I was also nervous because there were a ton of jellyfish washed up on shore in the bay that morning, so I was afraid they would be everywhere on the beach too. Luckily we didn’t run into any.
Next we tried setting up our tent. Emphasis on the word try. We tried several different ways to set that baby up. Sadly, the wind kept blowing the poles down. I don’t know how many times we picked up that giant kite of a tent and rotated it trying to get the angle just right to avoid the wind. Finally, my husband had the brilliant idea of using our tie straps and literally tying the tent to our car so it wouldn’t blow over. That is the only reason we even had somewhere to sleep. After we finally had the tent secured and standing upright, my husband looked at me and said “I was ready to just throw the tent into the wind and say *&# it. Let’s pack up and go” I’m glad we didn’t wait until that evening to put up the tent since it took us a good hour to finally get it standing.
You should have seen how much sand was in the tent! Piles and piles of it. I was warned about beach camping, but I didn’t listen.
For dinner we decided that we would try a campfire. The hubby got it going pretty good, considering all of the wind he was fighting. He was able to dig down in the sand–thanks to me packing a shovel–and build up a trench to protect the flames. We used hot dog sticks stuck down in the sand and a cooking grate to lay over the fire to cook our dinner. We had chicken sausages and potatoes in a foil packet, and warmed up a can of green beans. Not the most glamorous dinner, but it was pretty good–had our potatoes been cooked all the way.
When we finally went to bed that evening, we slept in a pile of sand on our air mattress. It was pretty though, being able to see the stars and hear the waves crash on the beach.
Unfortunately, we both didn’t sleep very well. Not only was it uncomfortable lying in sand, but sometime between when we fell asleep and 1 am, the moon rose. It was the brightest damn moon I have ever seen! It was like someone was shining a spot light on us while we slept. Then there was the wind. Sometime in the night it had picked up from crazy windy, to hurricane force winds. I really thought the tent was going to come crashing down on us. My husband and I both agree that we will take that freezing night in ABQ over this night on the beach, hands down, anytime. We were so happy for the sunrise.
We had planned to take our time the next day packing up, and just enjoy the beach while we could. However, after that horrible night, we decided to pack up right away and head home. We stopped at the visitor center on the way out to use their showers. I was SO excited to take a shower–even if it was a camp shower. To make it even better, the showers had just opened and there was no one in them. But, just my luck, the overhead showers didn’t work, so I was stuck with a foot sprayer. You best believe I knelt down to wash all of the sand out of my hair with that foot sprayer, though! There was no way I was spending the next 4 hours in the car with a sandy, salty, head of hair.
Even though we did not enjoy ourselves camping on the beach, it was still nice to get away, and it’s something we can cross off our bucket list. When we were leaving the campsite, we saw others that were tent camping with small children. I can’t even imagine how horrible that would be! We will be sticking to camping in the woods and campgrounds–with facilities–from now on, that’s for sure!!