Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Gorge at Watkins Glen (part 3)

Continuing the mini vacation series of Elmira, NY I'd like to tell you about a beautiful place:
The Gorge.

It's a serene and unbelievable place to set your eyes upon. It has many waterfalls and carved out tunnels and what feels like a million steps that take you all throughout The Gorge.



It is usually a pretty easy hike up since the steps are already in place for you and they're not terribly steep. Unfortunately, I was feeling utterly under the weather which we're blaming on the red eye flight and my inability to adapt to the weather.





I could go on for days posting pictures of this place but nothing compares to what it looks like in person. Nothing compares to the feeling of peace and calm while walking through The Gorge. We hiked in the summer  heat and that day was super humid that every time we were nearing a waterfall I immediately perked up because the cool mist was just perfect and refreshing enough to push me through to the next one.

I encourage you to visit this place if you're in upstate New York this summer. You can learn more about this state park by clicking here.

Tell me what you think if you've been to the Finger Lakes and this park by commenting below!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake (part 2)

We took a nice little drive to Watkins Glen to check out the largest of the Finger Lakes- Seneca Lake.
Coming from the dry and rather lifeless desert that is Phoenix
(if you ignore the giant cement buildings that is our metropolis)
Watkins Glen was a breath of fresh air (literally).


Husband and I took a nice walk out along the harbor and just took in
how absolutely charming this place was.

I could have stayed forever.



 The picture above is what we saw on our walk back. Super charming place!



THEN we found this place! It was a super awesome winery
with a very helpful gentleman who helped us choose
a couple of bottles to bring back with us.



According to Husband these wines were very good for their region.
He's a fan of dry reds and is slowly starting to
dabble in whites, however he's not quite sold yet.

I'd like to hear if you've tried wines from the Pleasant Valley
and what your favorite regional wines are.

Comment below!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mini Vacation Destination: Elmira, New York (part 1)

Husband and I took a red eye to Elmira to visit with family. Besides hanging out by the pool and grilling, I wanted to do something that I didn't get a chance to do the last time we were in town.

It was something that has always been on my bucket list- "Glass Blowing".

Although I didn't get to actually handle glass in its most beautiful state in my opinion (2300 degrees F) I was able to watch a live demonstration on glass blowing.

The Corning Museum of Glass was a really neat experience. The availability of parking was awesome even in the peak summer months while all the kids are out of school and attending summer camp field trips. Before we even started a self guided tour we were greeted by a gorgeous bright yellow glass sculpture which you can read more about by clicking on the link.


We knew it was going to be a neat thing to do but we didn't realize that all military members (and their family) are given free admission into the museum with valid I.D.! (Kids and teens get in for free everyday, military or not just in case you were wondering).


I was taken aback by how stunning glass can be. The most intricate details and the most abstract objects all made out of the same material. Below are a few pictures of my favorite exhibitions.





The market place below the museum is almost like a wonderland with all the sparkling glass vases, bowls, flowers, and just about anything you can think of out on display for purchase. It was tricky because there are glass objects from all over the world brought in so you have to search for the glass that was made locally.


This is what Husband and I picked out to take back home with us. It is a votive candle holder that was made in Ithaca. It's absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't be happier about the whole experience.



Tell me about something that you got to cross off of your bucket list by commenting below!



Summertime Faves

I figured it was time to go over my summertime favorites!
    
Since I've been spending a good amount of time out in the sun (wearing sunblock of course) I definately want to lather my skin in something soothing and something that highlights my new sun kissed glow.

Hawaiian Tropic's After sun lotion in Papaya and Coconut is my go to product of the moment. It's so creamy and decadent and perfect for rehydrating my skin after soaking up serious sun rays. The smell is so pleasant, it reminds me of sitting on a beach back on Guam and sipping pina coladas. =)


 As far as clothes and accessories go, I can't get enough of my Old Navy Jersey dress. It's so light and comfortable for any occasion. I wear it with my favorite pair of black and salmon pink flip flops from Roxy or with slouchy boots for a more dressed up look.




 
Husband and I have come across a fantastic snack- HUMMUS! We can't get enough of it this summer. We eat it on everything and it's the go to snack food during all hours of the night.


When we're partying all night we have to keep ourselves hydrated and there has been no better way than with our super fabulous YELLOW party cups made by Hefty! The color screams summer fun and I absolutely love it!!! We're also huge fans of the pink ones!


Favorite songs that if I could have my way
I'd put them on an 8 hour loop until September 1st!:










I'd like to hear what your summertime favorites are right now
so comment below and don't forget to wear sunscreen!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What a tarte!



On most days I can curb a craving but this day wasn't one of them.
I had three gorgeously green Granny Smiths sitting in my fruit bowl
and I had to find something to do with them.

Instead of just eating them like Husband would do I
found myself cutting butter into flour and soaking the apple slices
in cinnamon and rum simple syrup.

I looked to Smitten Kitchen for inspiration and found this recipe
and I knew my day would immediately improve.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, although I know it would have been just as heavenly.

These are the little changes I made to make myself feel better:

Dough:

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Splenda Sugar Blend
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
4 1/2 tablespoons chilled water

Filling:

3 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tbsp water
3 tablespoons Splenda Sugar Blend

Glaze:
1/4 cup Apple juice
4 tablespoons Splenda Sugar Blend, reserve 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

I added butter to the simple syrup I made with rum and cinnamon
and tossed the sliced apples in it until my crust was ready.

Instead of using a pie pan I just made a free form crust
which gave it a more rustic feel (less heartache about cutting into a beautiful pie).

The cooking time escapes me as I usually
eyeball anything baking through the glass door
 and I follow my nose timer... I know it wasn't in the oven for the full 45
minutes since this tart was about 7'' in diameter and filled
 with less apples. Give it about 20 minutes and check on it-
once the sides are golden brown it's ready!

I had the glaze reducing on the oven while the tarte was
baking then I just drizzled it all over the warm
 tarte and sprinkled the remaining
Splenda Sugar blend on the crust.

It was really amazing for an impromptu pie.
The crust was way better than I had expected and to be honest
 I like my version better than a "normal" pie crust.
It was way less sweet and not as flaky
(because I used less butter)
but even better than I could have predicted.

I hope you give this a try
and comment below on how it turned out.
Also, stop by Smitten Kitchen's blog
 to see the other amazing recipes and perhaps you'll get inspired like I did!








Friday, July 1, 2011

Mini Vacation Destination: Portales, New Mexico

My brother and sister in law moved to the middle of no where this past Spring.
Before heading overseas this summer,
Husband and I wanted to visit with them.

It was a little over 10 hours to drive from Arizona to New Mexico.
Not really a tough drive (since Husband did all of it.. haha) but kinda boring
once we got to the high desert plains.

While visiting them in the really really really small town of Portales, NM
we decided to take a little road trip south to check out
the famous alien stomping ground of Roswell.


Upon driving into the city, there were cute alien images posted just about everywhere.
They were on billboards, chain link fences, and hotel signs.

It wasn't as cool as I thought it would be-
I didn't get any weird freaky feeling as if extraterrestrial life forms were hiding amongst the people.
So that was kind of a let down. Oh well...



We did end up going to the Bottomless Lakes state park
and that place was really cool.
It was very windy on that particular afternoon
which isn't a rare occurrence for the part of NM that were in.
But that day it was especially windy and we weren't allowed to rent any paddle boats
so Husband and Brother just took a real quick swim in the largest
and deepest lake called Lea.




Leave a comment below if you've been to Roswell or any place similar and whether you've
had any creepy or unexplained event occur while there!