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Tales of the floor bed

Alternate title: Tales of the floor bed and other first world problems.

We bought a new mattress about 2 months ago. It is a gloriously comfortable, Simmon’s BeautyRest. With special coils and memory foam.

And better than anything, it is not the cheap mattress, turned back breaker, I bought when I first moved into an apartment by myself more than 6 years ago. (You served your time well cheap mattress.)

We haven’t slept on our new mattress in over 2 weeks.

It’s been hitting 82 degrees most evenings in our apartment since the heat of the summer really set in. We got a little respite from the heat when it rained for a whole week solid. But still, the master bedroom is the farthest away from the air conditioning unit, making it the hottest room in the house.

Luckily, we hadn’t gotten rid of our old mattress yet, so when we figured out the spare bedroom is the coldest room, we decided to pull down the old mattress and make a floor bed.

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You see that futon up there. We slept on it a couple nights before we made up the floor bed. It’s actually got some kind of real mattress on it but it’s size makes it either a one night or a one person option.

The apartment management said there isn’t anything they can do even after checking it at least 3 times and recommended we just set our thermostat at 74 to try to maintain some kind of coolness (HAH!) So the air runs all.day.long. and finally shuts off between midnight and 3am. It also doesn’t matter if we do or don’t cook. Or if we do or don’t run the washer and dryer.

And in the mean time, the heat and the Olympics are making us lazier than normal, so all our clean clothes are making good use of the new mattress as a makeshift closet.

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Seriously, so ready for the heat to let up.

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Meet Me in St. Louis

A few weeks ago I went to St. Louis for  a sorority convention. I didn’t have too much free time, but I was able to see a few things in my spare time. The conference was at the Hyatt at the Arch, so the Gateway Arch was literally right across the street.

I have been to the Gateway Arch 2 other times, once when I was young and in high school, one of our band trips was to St. Louis. I even went up to the top.

I took the Budweiser Brewery tour. The basic tour is free, and at the end you get two free beers. Oddly, also went there on my high school band trip. Did not get to drink the beers then.

 

 

Did a little antique shopping on Cherokee Street.

I met Melissa d’Arabian one of the Next Food Network Star winners. She’s a member of the same sorority and she is super nice.

 

I even got to witness one of the most pathetic pick up attempts in the history of pick up attempts. This guy kept going up to various tables of girls offering things like private jet rides.

Since most of my meals were in the conference hotel, I don’t have too many food recommendations.

Pi Pizzeria I don’t have any pictures of my food from here, but it was awesome. I had a chef’s special with arugula, bacon and some kind of aioli. It was incredible.

The Mud House Is a cute coffee shop on Cherokee Street. Stopped for a break in shopping, so I didn’t have any food, but the decor was really cute, and all the food being brought out looked awesome.

Chili Macs Diner Great place for a cheap, quick breakfast.

The Brewhouse Historical Sports Bar This was one of the restaurants at the hotel. I was hoping to try some local beers, and this place didn’t disappoint. St. Louis has a lot of really great local beers. I recommend the Big Bison Ale.

Our 3rd Anniversary

Actually yesterday was our 3rd anniversary. I didn’t plan a post in advance, and couldn’t post yesterday since we left home at 5:30am to drive an hour and a half to take one of our cars to the dealership. (Don’t ask, major service, hubby who doesn’t trust the NEW local dealership, blah, blah, whatever.) At least we got to see a beautiful sunrise.

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After the car was finished, we spent a glorious day in The Woodlands. We met up with my best friend, we ate pizza and had wine with lunch. We shopped for a little while before we could check in to our hotel. (If you ever need a place to stay, the SpringHill Suites in The Woodlands is very nice, and very affordable.)

Part of our (MY) motivation to go to The Woodlands for our anniversary was that the Trader Joe’s opened there last week. My dad’s happy anniversary message to us included a special message to Taylor that basically said “You’ve got it easy if for your anniversary all you have to do is take her to a grocery store.” So true. But Trader Joe’s was awesome, and I only bought like half of all the things. (We only brought a small-ish cooler, so I could had to force some restraint on myself.)

After storing all the goodies in our hotel fridge, we headed to PF Changs for dinner with my best friend, her little boy and her husband. We figured, we can have a quiet dinner alone any time, and we’d honestly enjoy spending the time with friends. When the fortune cookies came, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because my fortune said

;

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We spent the rest of the evening catching up on True Blood and watching various HBO miscellany at the hotel, before turning out the lights.

It was the perfect way to remember our wedding. Three years later, we still laugh together, a lot. This year, things are getting more serious with house buying talks, but we still try to keep things light. We hope we never lose the love and enjoyment we have for each other. I even love that our relationship typically looks a lot more like this

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Than this. Here’s to another wonderful year.

So somehow last summer I missed posting this, so instead of a garden update from last year, I’m changing it to a comparison of this year vs last year, almost exactly to the day too.

Christmas cactus and unidentified succulent. 2011

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2012

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I really thought the Christmas cactus was a goner after last year but it is doing well.

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Tomatoes 2011.

The tomatoes mostly failed last year, except for one plant that produced about 4 tomatoes.

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Spinach. Didn’t last very long, not even long enough to make a proper salad. Not attempting this year.

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Cilantro 2011- died shortly after this was taken. No attempts this year.

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Jalapeno plant 2011. Got infested with some bugs and I didn’t want the infestation to spread to my other stuff so I threw it out. Didn’t buy another this year.

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2011. Grew basil from seed. Had way too much until it started to get that chemical-y smell and I tossed it all out. This year I bought a plant instead.

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Prayer plant 2011. I didn’t think it was going to make it but it rallied in the past year.

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2012

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Flapjack 2011. RIP.

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Chives 2011. Still kicking it this year.

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Lettuce 2011. Died shortly after. Like the spinach, barely enough to make a proper salad.

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This is FINALLY my last post about Italy.

On the last few days of our Italian adventure, we hung with Cherrye and Peppe’s friends and suddenly it was just like they were our friends too. We went out for pizza to their favorite pizza place.

Then went to a bar for limoncello and gelato.

One night, we learned how to make homemade limoncello. Remember this lemon tree?

Cherrye was all prepared by pre-soaking the lemon rinds, so it would be ready for us to drink.

Here’s an action shot of us pouring and straining.

Peppe taught us how to make risotto then we st down to enjoy 1 Euro wine. Later, some of Cherrye and Peppe’s friends joined us for limoncello before we had to start packing up.

The next morning we hit the road and said goodbye to Cherrye, Peppe, and Max,  thanking them for being such wonderful hosts and friends.

And with that, we said arrivederci to Italy.

So this is my mutant cherry tomato plant.

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You might recall, it looked like this just about 3 weeks ago.

And now it’s grown to about 5 feet wide and almost 4 feet tall. You can barely see the other tomato plant to the left, since the mutant is clearly overshadowing it. Thank goodness I had an old, holey pair of tights in my drawer. I’ve been using strips of tights to tie the branches of the plant up, since a regular cage won’t work in my planter box.

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Here’s what the mutant looks like from the parking lot.

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The first bunch of cherry tomatoes is starting to turn, and there are at least 10 more bunches. I can’t wait to eat fresh, home-grown cherry tomatoes this summer.

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The only other things of note in my patio garden are the beans. I had high hopes for my green beans, but after picking about 10 beans, the plants had enough of the heat and promptly began a slow death. (Note to self, start earlier next year.)

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The snap peas still give me a tiny glimmer of hope since they keep growing taller and taller, but there haven’t been any blooms, so I’ll just keep waiting, likely until they die.

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I don’t have a picture, but the basil, chives and rosemary are doing great. The onions are doing fine, but still have a long way to go.

And last, the giant peace lily that I always keep in the dark corner of the patio is doing really awesome this year and has put out almost 10 blooms so far.

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The coolest thing about Southern Italy is that there are so many places to visit within a few minutes, to a couple of hours driving. So our next day trip took us to Pizzo.

Another cool thing about Southern Italy, is that almost everything is on the coast, so you get beautiful views almost everywhere you go!

For our first stop in Pizzo, Cherrye brought us to the Chiesa di Piedigrotta.

According to legend, some sailors were caught in a very bad storm and thought they’d all die. So they prayed to the Madonna, that if their lives were spared, they’d build her a shrine. So they washed up on this beach, climbed into this cave and began building a shrine to the Madonna.

Over many years, artists have come come to add to the shrine, and there are many aging, yet beautiful, sculptures and frescoes that give thanks to the Madonna.

A trip to Pizzo is not complete without trying the famous Tartufo di Pizzo. To call it just ice cream would be a sin, as Tartufo is so much more. To find it you go into downtown Pizzo and stop at almost any restaurant. Many of them claim to have created the Tartufo.

Make your own taste test contest by trying several places. But anyway, to the Tartufo. Tartufo means truffle, and the traditional tartufo is chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, with a liquid chocolate center, rolled in cocoa powder.

We also tried a white chocolate version that was equally delicious.

After your tartufo. You might want to walk off a few calories, and Pizzo has plenty of breathtaking views.

This is the Murat Castle. We couldn’t go inside the day we visited, but after seeing Murat, during our trip we saw 3 of Cherrye’s 5 favorite fortresses in Calabria.

No trip with girlfriends is complete without a (mostly complete) group photo!

I’ve got one more post about Italian hospitality before we wrap up, so I hope you don’t miss it.