Friday, July 30, 2010

Disney Music

In addition to loving just about every musical on the planet, I am also a lover of any Disney movie with a great soundtrack. Particularly those from the 90's before Pixar came in and took over in Disney animation. They tend to have my favorite music.

In no particular order (because my favorites change based on my mood) , here are my top 5 favorite songs from Disney movies.

{Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6}

5. "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)" from Hercules. I particularly love singing this one loudly in my car. Fits very well into my vocal range!

4. While I love just about every song from the Tarzan soundtrack (mainly because I love all things Phil Collins) "Two Worlds" is probably my favorite. Only because I think of the movie and the way this song is used in it. I am pretty sure Tarzan was not a huge hit among the Disney films, but I always thought it was one of the better Disney animated movies from the 90's.

3. "I'll Make a Man Out of You"from Mulan. I'll be honest with you here. I really only love this song so much because it's Donny Osmond singing. I don't want to know what that says about me. This song comes on all the time on my Glee Pandora station and I LOVE IT.

2. There's something sweet, and almost kind. But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined. But now he's dear, and so unsure...I wonder why I didn't see it there before...

Picture me singing this one for you...I could sing the whole Beauty and the Beast soundtrack front and backward for you. This just happens to be my particular favorite.

1. And finally, "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. But c'mon, what little girl from the 90's didn't dream about singing like Ariel? Being the voice of a Disney princess may or may not have become a lifelong dream of mine after seeing this movie at the age of 6.

And you may be thinking, "Hold up, Rachel...where is The Lion King in this list? It's only some of the greatest Disney music written in our time. We all love a little Hakuna Matata. How could you leave it out?"

And to that I say, oops. I really should have given myself 6 spots of Disney favorites. I hadn't thought it through and now I am ashamed that I didn't think this through a little better. But, because this is my blog and I can do things how I like, we're going to add a 6th spot and award it to the entire The Lion King soundtrack. There is not one song from this movie that I don't love. How could Disney go wrong with Elton John and Tim Rice? They can't! Which is why I constantly find my self humming "Circle of Life"...well really just the tribal music in the beginning. You know, the "AAAAAAAAHHHH SUH-BIN-YAAAHHHH"...please tell me you know what I'm talking about?

And also just for fun...I read this on wikipedia this morning and thought it was interesting...

The story, which was influenced by the Bible stories of Joseph and Moses and the William Shakespeare play Hamlet, takes place in a kingdom of anthropomorphic animals in Africa

Who knew!

So please 'fess up...what are your favorite Disney tunes? Or are you part of the crowd that loathes a good Disney song?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Club!

Last week Erin at Blue Eyed Bride mentioned how she'd like to be in a book club or bunco group, and I immediately thought, why not have a blogger book club?

And that my friends is where the idea behind our new book club, Book Beginnings and Bookends came from! We are so excited to have an online book club where we can discuss a book together. I know there are a lot of us who are avid readers, so why not enjoy a book together?

Head on over to the site to find out more info....Book Beginnings and Bookends. It will give you all the details about our first book. It's one that we're both pretty excited to read, and we'd love for you to join us!

PS...thanks Mom for helping us come up with the clever name for our book club!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Girls Beach Weekend

This post is way overdue!

Let's begin by saying that I had what I would consider to be a fabulous high school experience. I had wonderful friends, I was very involved, and some of my favorite memories today are from my high school days. I know that's not the case for everyone, and I feel fortunate to look back on those four years as four of my favorites.

Two weekends ago, some of my good friends from high school (well, we really go back to elementary school) came down here for a beach weekend. We got a hotel at the oceanfront and enjoyed a weekend at the beach. Since graduating from high school in 2002, it's rare that we are able to get together with all of us living in different parts of the country. We see each other at weddings, but as you all know, a wedding weekend flies by, especially for those in the wedding. It was nice being able to hang out and just relax with no agenda. Not all of our "group" could come for the weekend, but it was still so much fun being together.




We're hoping to do something again next summer, and start the planning earlier so that everyone can come. Maybe Charleston? I'm liking that idea!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Europe Trip, Part 7: Bike Tour in Nice

As mentioned in my last trip recap, we did a bike tour in Nice.



I found the bike tour company on the web...here is their site. We chose to do tour #2 of the French Riviera. Here are some key points from the website that I took note of before signing us up for this tour...

"... a five-hour round trip, with two 80-metre climbs, that opens up the French Riviera in all its beauty and diversity."

"Routes designed for your safety, minimising steep climbs"


"
This is a sporty tour with a few hill climbs, requiring a medium level of fitness"

All these things led me to believe that J and I could handle the tour. We wanted something active, but something that wouldn't kill us. Medium level of fitness? Perfect, I work out several times a week, and J plays ultimate frisbee and runs. The tour seemed like a good fit. Turns out it was not a good fit, at all...but we survived.

I'll start at the beginning where I will tell you about Matt the Jerk, the tour guide. Matt the Jerk was British and may have been the most arrogant man I've ever met.

He was so incredibly rude to me. The tour consisted of just J and me and one other girl, Kina (she was very cool). Matt tolerated J, he flirted with Kina, and he couldn't stand me from the start. Before even leaving he handed me a whistle that was in the shape of a duck beak and said to use it if I got behind and couldn't keep up. Only me. No one else got a whistle. (And I'm proud to say that I was most often ahead of Kina, thankyouverymuch, and I never had to use that darn duck whistle).

He made rude comments about my athletic ability to me, was frustrated with me when Kina and I would be behind him by about a minute, and when I asked questions about the bikes and gears he made it a point to mention that I should already know how to use a bike. Mind you, nothing on the website says you have to be a distinguished bike rider to participate.

He made the day painful and miserable. Him and the heat. It was in the high 90's and very muggy the day of our tour, and it felt like the sun just beat down on us wherever we were.

The tour was beautiful and we saw all kinds of neat sites (many famous and huge homes and yachts, Monaco and where Grace Kelly drove her car off a cliff, churches), but between Matt and the heat it was not what I was hoping for. Let's also go back to the part of the website that mentioned the tour routes were designed for safety, minimizing steep climbs. Yeah, that was a BIG lie. The entire tour was one steep hill after another. And best of all, we were going up and down these hills on major roads. We were being passed by buses, trucks, cars, and motor bikes as we were flying down hills. Additionally, Matt the Jerk did not obey any traffic signal. This meant when we came to red lights, he flew through them. Yes, this must definitely be designed for my safety, HA!

After the tour, J, Kina and I went to get a beer together and we all laughed when we began to talk about how many times we felt like we were THIS close to dying. There was more than once when I was begging God to let me live through the tour. It was that scary at times.

Am I glad I did the tour? No way. For 50 Euros a person, it wasn't worth it. Especially because we were treated so poorly and rudely. I may have held up the tour a total of 10 minutes with my walking up a few hills, but mind you, Kina walked those hills too. There was no need to treat me poorly. I can't possibly be the most out of shape customer he's had. If you're in Nice, my advice would be to find another way to see Nice. And to Matt, if you treat people poorly, don't finish the tour by asking them to go and review you on tripadvisor.com. That isn't going to work out real well for you.



Two good things about Matt the Jerk? He took some nice pictures of the two of us, and he took us to a wonderful sandwich cart to get some lunch. But that's it. I have yet to think of any other redeeming qualities in him.


So there ya have it...we left the tour with beautiful photos, really sore butts and thighs, and quite the appetite.

Next recap will be my last...Geneva, Switzerland!

Monday, July 26, 2010

2 Year Anniversary



Today marks 2 years since our wedding day. 2 YEARS! How did time fly by so fast? Some days I still feel like little newlyweds, and then there are other days when I can't remember life before marriage.

In the two years we've been married, I've learned a lot. I've learned a lot about myself, about my husband, and I've learned the most about how to be an "us". We've had ups and downs (mostly ups!), and I wouldn't trade a single moment of it if I could.

This second year of marriage we experienced a lot together. We moved from our first apartment to a home. We took our first trip to Massachusetts together for Thanksgiving. We rode on a boat under Niagara Falls together. We traveled overseas. It's been a good year!

When I met him under my desk, hooking up my work computer back in May of 2004, I never imagined he'd become my husband. But after a few months of getting to know him, I knew he would be more than my boyfriend, and more than my best friend.

To my wonderful husband:
I love you and can't wait to see what the next year will hold for us!

Photos by Jennifer Colina

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Menu Monday on a Sunday

Because it's summer and most of my life seems to be upside down and because I have no schedule or consistency in my life, we're doing Menu Monday today, a Sunday. Deal with it.

J was traveling for work last week and I drove to my hometown to visit my family for the week which meant no Menu Monday. I am sure you all were crying and wondering what I was busy eating. On the two nights I ate here at home, it was leftovers and frozen potstickers via TJ's. Through out the rest of the week I enjoyed some barbecue and coleslaw and corn on the cob one night, some movie theater popcorn while watching Inception one night, and some pasta salad and fried chicken at a local event for my college one night. A thrilling week of meals, and I didn't have to cook a single one of 'em!

I did cook a little on Friday afternoon when I made some fried green tomatoes using a tomato from the garden. It was incredibly delicious and I plan to make more since we have tomatoes coming out of ears right now. I used pieces of this recipe, but I made a few adjustments. I added in some garlic powder to the corn meal and didn't use any flour. I only used about a tablespoon of panko breadcrumbs as opposed to 2 cups. I also cooked mine in peanut oil instead of vegetable oil.



But enough about greasy snacks. Time for some real meals. Here's what's going on in our kitchen this week. Lots of new recipes!

My Meals:

J's Meals:
Happy Cooking!

Friday, July 23, 2010

PSA: Mozy.com

If you are like me, you take hundreds of photos, download lots of songs from iTunes, and you have many a documents saved on your hard drive that have value to you.

Hopefully, you are smarter than me, and you've done this before now, but just now, TODAY, I finally backed up my files. ALL OF THEM. I've read so many horror stories on blogs of people who have lost everything because they didn't have things backed up. And for months (okay...more like years) I've been saying I need to do it. I can now happily report that everything is saved thanks to Mozy.


I first read about Mozy about a year ago on Ali Edwards' blog. I remember reading it and thinking, Boy I should sign up for that. And here I am a year later finally doing it and counting my lucky stars that my hard drive didn't crash in the last 12 months.

Mozy cost $4.95 a month and you get unlimited back up and it's all done over the internet. No external hard drives, no thumb drives...it's all on the web. Can't beat that.

So this is me, telling you if you haven't already done it and you put it off over and over like me, find a way to back up your files! You don't want to lose your favorite photos or all those 99 cent tunes you've paid for on iTunes.

*Mozy did not pay me a cent or compensate me in anyway to write this. I just care about my readers and hate to see people lose everything on their computers!!*

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Europe Trip, Part 6: Nice, France

Another recap post! Are you sick of these yet? I have this one and two more left then it's back to normal. I love having the details of our vacation documented on here, but I'm wondering if you my poor readers are sick of me telling you how hot it was and how great the food was...only a few more recaps!

Today, let's talk about NICE!


I last wrote about our trip to Cinque Terre. The day after Cinque Terre we boarded the trains early for Nice, France. I found a little studio apartment in Nice off of VRBO.com.

The listing for the apartment said it was located near the city center, on a hill (HA!) , and only 5 minutes from the nearest bus stop. What the owner failed to mention was that the 5 minute walk to the bus stop was all down hill. STEEP down hill. In fact, a mini mountain would be a better description. The owner also failed to mention that buses stop running in Nice at 8pm. This meant if we went out to dinner in the city, we had to walk the 45 minutes back up the steep hill to our apartment. Not ideal for a vacation. In fact, the first day there, I may have broke down in tears. It was so darn hot (no AC) and the thought of having to walk up and down that big hill every time we wanted to go somewhere just about killed me.

I'm sure you're thinking, Oh...poor Rachel, stuck in a beautiful apartment with a pool, right down the street from Elton John, in the French Riviera. BUT PEOPLE, it was hot and that hill was big. This was supposed to be a vacation and walking up a mini mountain each day just to get to our place was not my idea of fun.

This sort of gives you an idea of where we stayed. The mini mountain looked so much higher in real life...
But as I'm sure you've already guessed, I put on my big girl pants and got over it after a good cry. Was I mad at the VRBO listing for being a little deceptive? OH YES. But did I still enjoy Nice? YES. So let me tell you about the good!

Things we enjoyed in Nice:

The port and the beautiful boats here.


Eating at La Zucca Magica (The Magic Pumpkin), this was an Italian Vegetarian Restaurant.


The beach! Believe it or not, we actually didn't spend time ON the beach, but it was fun enjoying the boardwalk and the people. I will say, I had to be careful in choosing what picture of the beach to post since there were many topless women. Don't want to post that on the blog!


Ma Nolan's...the Irish Pub. We went here everyday for a drink. Even better that they served a cider beer with ice in it!


And we also liked this little Irish band who played music there one afternoon...


The wine, bread, and cheese we bought at the local grocery store and devoured in our apartment on our balcony every night


And on that note, I loved our balcony where we drank the above wine and ate the bread and cheese...

Our pool...the best way to cool down after walking up the hill in the sun.


And the views. We loved sitting up here with our wine as the sun set...


Eating Nicoise Salad and the sandwich version, Pan Bagnat!


And then of course, we just loved being together and seeing the sites!




While in Nice, we did what was supposed to be a "medium level of fitness" bike tour...this was an event that has earned its own post, as we almost died several times on this tour. There's just so much to share!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Europe Trip, Part 5: Cinque Terre

In my last post, I told you all about our trip to Genoa, Italy. During our second day here we took a day trip to Cinque Terre. As it says on wikipedia, it is a rugged portion of the Italian Riviera. It's a National Park made up of five fishing villages. You can hike on trails from city to city or take a boat or train. We opted to hike, which gave us some great views, but it was quite the hike. We were surprised by the steepness of the hills, but managed. It was also a very hot day, so that added to the intensity. We look like a mess in all the photos, but they only go to show how hot it was! Anyhow...despite the heat and hard work, it was gorgeous.

Beach in Monterosso

Mediterranean

Looking back at Monterosso from that start of the trailApproaching Vernazza

Quite beautiful


Our first view of Vernazza

Us

Vernazza

Smiling, despite the exhaustion and heat!

Cooling off by the breeze of a passing train


We started in the Northern town of Monterosso and made it to Vernazza and Cornigilia. In Vernazza, after the first two hour hike, we stopped and found lunch at a little place. We enjoyed pesto pizza and a panini. I must have been too tired to photograph it.

Somewhere after lunch I went to the use the bathroom and was sadly disappointed to find that all the bathrooms here were essentially holes in the floor. Friends had told me about these and I'd read about them, but I was really hoping we would avoid them. No such luck. It was one of the moments where you just bite the bullet and say, "When in Rome...". It was a cultural experience!

By the time we made it to Cornigilia, we had been out in the sun for close to 6 hours and were just drained. We opted to just take the train back to Genoa and skip the last two cities. A little piece of me regrets this, but then a bigger part of me remembers how hot and exhausted we were by 4 PM when we caught the train back home.

Monterosso

Steep steps on the trail

Handsome (and sweaty) hiker

If you look closely, you can see the sweat stains


I know it's really shot in Hawaii, but LOST...anyone?

Not my prettiest picture, but pretty landscape!

Vernazza
Vernazza

A little bar on the mountain between Vernazza and Cornigilia...best Gatorade I've ever had!

A beautiful (and rather muggy) day!