Friday, May 28, 2010

Top 3 Thursdays – Friday edition – Vacation Houses

Blog Status: Ella is having a serious case of wanderlust

This post is coming to you a day late, but as soon as I saw this week’s Top 3 Thursday question I knew I had to fill it out. If you want to play along, head over to Kelly’s blog!

Top 3 Vacation Houses or Vacation Spots.

I’m currently suffering from a bad case of Wanderlust. Late Spring/early Summer has always meant travel planning for me. Typically I usually go to Europe sometime in June-July-August so May is always spent planning. This year is still very much up-in-the-air due to my work schedule and school applications for September. What this all means is that right now I have no plans to go anywhere, and this is making me very depressed. I’m going to try and drown my sorrows by fantasizing about the places I’ve been and the places I’m dying to go.

When I saw “Top 3 Vacation Houses” 2 automatically came to mind. I’m currently at work so there are no pictures, but I’m trying to improve my descriptive writing so hopefully I can paint a good picture in your minds.

Number 1.

The House In Spain

A friend of my father’s owns an absolutely gorgeous summer house north of Barcelona with a view that is worth a million dollars. The house itself is an adequate size, kitchen and living room downstairs and bathroom with 2 bedrooms upstairs. What makes it so priceless is the view from the patio and balcony. This house sits atop a hill overlooking the ocean, to the point that if you stand on the patio you see nothing but water. It is a truly breathtaking view. I spent many hours simply sitting in silence looking at the horizon. There is something very magical about this house, it has a hidden power to change people in ways they never thought possible. The salty air drifts in and out of the house as the cool ocean breeze carries it wherever it wants to go. Each night that place where the sky meets the ocean explodes into shimmering pinks and reds as the sun begins its final decent. Even though the night is as dark as can be, millions of stars light up the sky with their celestial designs. I have been fortunate enough to spend time there twice. Once on a weeklong vacation with my father when I was about 13, and once about 7 years later for 2 weeks with an old boyfriend.

Number 2.

The Hotel In Germany

The small German village that I grew up in only boasts 1 hotel. Whatever you picture when you think about small villages in Germany, this place has it. An old medieval elementary school that was originally built in the 1400’s, a giant cathedral that is probably even older, and tiny narrow streets barely big enough to fit a Smart Car. Every year that I go to Germany, I inevitably spend a few days at this hotel. I’m very lucky to still have a few friends from my childhood in Germany, and although they’ve all gone on to other things (med school, flight attendant for Lufthansa and graduate school, respectively) this village is still home. I spend the majority of my time in Germany at my Grandparents’ place about 2 hours from there, but we always go down for 4-5 days during my visit. I’ve come to think of this hotel as a type of second home in Germany. The location is beautiful, surrounded by forests on 3 sides and a pond with fish, frogs and ducks on the other. We always get the same rooms, with an adjoining balcony overlooking the pond. I love sitting outside reading a book with the sound of the water in the background and the smell of nature all around me. This hotel is special to me because for those few days each year I feel like I actually belong back in the land I loved so much as a child.

As for a 3rd Vacation House, I actually don’t have one specific one that I’ve been to more than once. I’ve been very fortunate to have stayed in Vacation houses in Portugal, Greece and France in addition to Spain and Germany. Each and every experience is magical and special in its own way. I generally prefer vacation houses to hotels because I love going to grocery stores and picking up food in a foreign country.

Wow this ended up being a very long and descriptive post, I’m done rambling now I promise.

Happy Weekend Bloggers!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miss Ella goes to Washington!

Blog Status: Ella is tired after a great long weekend with great friends!

I can’t believe another week has now passed since I last blogged! What the eff!? I’ve been home from Washington for 3 weeks and I’m only now getting around to blogging about it. Terrible. Chalk it up to the old adage of “Better late than never”

My father’s-wife was recently (speak October) re-located to Washington D.C for her work. From what I had heard she had a great position there, and a very nice house in Alexandria, Virginia but up until now I’d never been there. My dad actually still lives in Germany at the moment, so the two of them have a sort of long-distance marriage. At the beginning of this month he was going to be spending a few weeks in Virginia and spontaneously invited me to fly down and visit.
I took Friday off work and left early on Thursday to catch an evening flight.

Been-ah (*names have been changed) had to work during the day on Friday so my Dad and I got up early and drove into D.C with her in order to get in a full day of sightseeing. Our first stop was the United States Holocaust Museum. I mentioned in a previous post that one of my main reasons for wanting to see Washington was the museum. It did not disappoint. ß That’s probably an inappropriate comment, I apologize. Anyway, we got there an hour before it opened because we had heard that the line builds quickly and they give out times entrance tickets

We ended up spending about 3 hours at the museum, touring it from top to bottom. Literally. I must say it was very well-organized and very informative. I’ve been to other Holocaust museums around the world and studied quite a bit about the topic in University, but this one was one of the most in-depth. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, not that I probably would have anyway, but every few exhibits there would be walls with influential and powerful quotes – which I found very moving and effective.

After the museum we simply walked in silence a little bit to absorb what we had just witnessed.

After lunch we decided to buy tickets for one of those “hop-on-hop-off” tours. Now, generally I find them extremely tacky and would not be caught dead seeing a city this way, BUT given that I only had 2 days and the fact that most things in D.C are not in walking distance, I relented.

My main sightseeing requests were the White House, Capitol Building, Library of Congress and the Washington Monument.

The White House ended up being smaller than I expected, and the Capitol Building a lot bigger. Very strange. We didn’t have enough time to do actual tours of the places, but even seeing them from the outside was good enough for me.

My absolute favourite thing in D.C (hands-down) was the Library of Congress. I should first explain that I have a fascination with books and libraries. That doesn’t mean I’m necessarily a book-worm, but I find something very powerful about wandering the stacks of old Libraries. This may have something to do with the fact that I’ve spent the better part of my life either playing or studying in a library – but that’s open for discussion.

This place was magnificent. Marble floors and tapestries as far as the eye could see. The actual “reading room” was off-limits to cameras, but if you Google “Library of Congress reading room” you can see what it looks like. I would move to Washington just to be able to spend my time studying at that library. Sad but true. We walked through "Lincolns Library" which features historic first editions of thousands of books. Some dating back to the 1600's.

Even the outside of the building was amazing, and I can imagine it is used quite frequently for wedding pictures.

After a full-day of sightseeing, I fell into bed completely exhausted.

The next day was spent much more leisurely by sleeping in until 8:30 (!) and then taking a tour of various Embassies in Washington. These were also mostly off-limits to cameras, but suffice to say it was very interesting to see how some countries are represented around the world.

All-in-all I had a great time in Washington, and would definitely go back in a heart-beat. I also recommend it as a tour stop for anyone visiting that part of the United States.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let's Play Catch-Up!

Blog Status: Ella is bored at work and is feeling the days drag on

Hello World! I think I took myself onto a sort of bloggy-hiatus the last few weeks, but I promise you I’m back now. I’ve just been so busy and so tired after work each night that I’ve simply not had enough time to blog recently.

A lot has happened in the past 2 weeks, big things like me going to Washington (which will be its own post) and smaller things (like me finally finishing up my applications)

In terms of ShyBoy, there have been some developments, nothing extravagant, but developments none the less. We went to our friend Vee’s wedding together at the beginning of the month. It was a beautiful wedding, the couple got very lucky and had a sunny day for an outdoor ceremony. Unfortunately I managed to catch a sinus infection the day before the wedding so I wasn’t feeling 100% and felt worse as the night progressed. ShyBoy was attentive and took good care of me both at the wedding and on the way home, so all in all it really was a good night.

Last Week I played Paintball for the first time in my life. Have any of you ever played before? Wow what an experience! It’s the closest to combat I ever hope to get. ShyBoy invited me during the week, and as much as I was always a little curious to try it, I was also scared. I’ve heard horror stories about people getting injured and that getting hit really hurts. Anyway, in the end I decided to go.

The first 3 rounds me and a girlfriend kind of cowered in the corner behind some boxes trying to avoid the rapid-fire that was going on around us. I’ll be perfectly honest, it does hurt to get hit at first and I do have bruises – but it’s so much fun. Scary as hell, but the adrenaline also helps the pain and motivates you. After a few rounds we managed to actually get in a few shots and really got into the games.

This coming weekend is a holiday weekend for us Canucks – Victoria Day. Also known as May 2-4. I believe the “original” reason was because we celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday on May 24th but over the years it has become more colloquial for a 2-4 of beer. For some reason May 2-4 weekend is the ultimate drinking holiday. People go up north to go camping or open their cottages for the year, and there are always parties, both up north and here in the city.

I’m having a party Sunday night to celebrate “May 2-4” with a bunch of friends, and a bunch of drinks. ShyBoy still has to decide if he’s going up north with his brother or coming to my party. I could be wrong, but personally I don’t see him going up north. We shall see how it all pans out.

I finally finished up my applications for next year, and I’m surprising myself by taking a slightly different direction than I previously thought. I’m very happy with decision and I think I may have actually found a career direction that I’m happy with for more than a few days. Now I have to play the waiting-game to see what the next step is. Aside from a cottage trip with some friends and a long weekend in NYC with my mom, I have no plans for the summer aside from working because I don’t know what will happen next year.

I think that’s it for now, you’re all caught up!

Ohhh, did anyone else see the Season Finale of Gossip Girl yesterday? Ohh-Emm-Gee is all I had to say, and way to make it depressing for everyone!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Art of Packing: Then and Now

Blog Status: Ella is excited for Washington!

Good Morning! It is a beautiful sunny day here, and I am sitting in the warehouse covering a co-workers desk because he's off sick. Everyone around here thinks I'm ever so helpful because I always volunteer to cover his desk or reception, but what they don't realize is that this gets me out of doing my actual work. It's free time to surf the net, go on facebook and blog - all while being paid!

The idea for this post came to me last night as I was frantically packing for my mini-trip to D.C tonight. I started thinking of what packing for a trip was like 10 years ago to now, and it really is amazing how many differences there are. We think our lives have gotten much simpler, but have they really?

10 Years ago..
My carry-on bag was stuffed with big bulky "CD Holders" and extra AA batteries for my "diskman"

Although all my music is now compiled onto one tiny iPOd, I do need to bring the associated charger, not to mention my PSP that I can't travel without even though it didn't even exist 10 years ago. Not to mention it's 2-part charger.

10 Years ago..
I would throw my 35mm film camera into my bag, one extra roll of "36 exposure film" and then buy extras at my destination

I have my small digital camera in its bulky protective case plus it's own 2-part battery charger

10 Years ago..
We all had actual plane tickets that took up "so much space" and everyone was thrilled when "e-tickets" came out

We all use "e-tickets" and without fail end up printing about 4 pages worth of travel information to go with it

10 Years ago..
We used calling cards or pay phones to stay in touch with loved ones

I feel empty without my cell phone constantly on, and consequently have to bring it everywhere I go which in turn creates the need for yet another charger

10 Years ago..
We bought post cards and "mailed" them off to show the world where you were

We still create post cards and "mail" them off - using facebook, e-mail and a giant laptop.

Need I say more?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meme For Me

Blog Status: Ella is still getting over this darn sinus infection

Happy May Everybody! For the record, I absolutely love this time of year - it's nice enough to bust out the summer wardrobe, but not hot and sticky.

I very badly need to do a post on the wedding this past weekend (read: very very badly) but that's a post that will take a generous amount of time and pictures. For now I just wanted to get out something simple and easy.

It was perfect timing when I signed onto blogger today and saw that the fabulous
Ali had posted a new "meme" and was tagging everyone in it.

1. Who is your style icon? Humm, I tend to look for inspiration in people around me or celebrities, or fellow bloggers! Seriously, if you ever want fashion inspiration Go check out
I am style-ish. Tiffany has the most amazing style - and a shoe collection that would make Carrie Bradshaw jealous!

2. Which is your favorite socialite book? Definitely "Bergdorf Blondes" by Plum Sykes. It's the ultimate NYC Socialite guide. A close second are the gossip girl books

3. Favorite party theme? Humm, probably any type of costume. Halloween is ALWAYS hands-down by far the most crazy and outrageous party.

4. Go to Halloween costume? It's actually a little sad how many trampy totally-appropriate Halloween costumes I have in my closet. Everything from German Beer Girl to ugly French Maid. (I say ugly because it was bought for $5 at a supermarket as a joke - I had to cut about 4 ft off the bottom) But see above question for explanation

5. Extravagance you cannot live without? Ah jeez, I don't have one specific thing, I like all things. Especially all things with labels. Right now I'm hearting Rock and Republic jeans. I'm very hopeful for the Saks Off 5th in Buffalo..

6. Living person you admire? My mom, she's my hero. And my grandfather - he's had an amazing life

7. Greatest fear(s)? Losing the ones I love, and honestly losing the things I love. Fire is probably my greatest fear.

8. Traits you deplore in yourself? Hummm, I'm probably a little too sensitive for my own good - and I trust anyone and everyone.

9. Which talent would you most love to have? I'd love to be able to sing, but sadly I'm completely tone deaf

10. Greatest achievement? For now probably graduating University

Who do I tag? Everyone! If you want to do it - go right ahead