Warm weather how I love thee ....

It is back to reality for this old gal after 3 of the most gloriously relaxing days ever ... *sigh. This past Thursday my Sister and I shipped off to Miami in the wee hours to cheer on the Hubs as he ran his first half-marathon over the weekend. We wanted to get in as much R&R as possible, so we flew out extremely early in order to make the most of the day. It was totally worth it once we arrived and were able to hit the beach a little before Noon.

After hanging out at the beach for a bit we were finally able to check into our room around 3 and it was definitely worth the wait! I decided to put us up in a boutique hotel (Edgewater Hotel) right on Ocean Drive after reading a bunch of great reviews on Tripadvisor. It was a lot less than staying in one of the chain hotels along Collins and it felt more personal. The service was definitely a lot friendlier and more attentive as well. Plus you got free WiFi in your room, free continental breakfast on the Terrace and beach chairs/towels for the beach right across the street! Tripadvisor never steers me wrong!

* Photo I took from the Terrace via my Hipstamatic iPhone App

Basically for the remainder of the day we took a long walk down Ocean Drive to the tip that overlooks Fisher Island, planned out our itinerary for the remainder of the trip (laying out/bike riding and eating) and had a very relaxing dinner at Sushi Samba Dromo. While getting ready for our little jaunt to the tip of South Beach, I came to the realization that my "bump" is finally out in full force ...

* I guess I can longer say "there is nothing to look at yet," as there clearly is :)

The following day, my Sister and I ate a quick breakfast and headed out to rent some bikes to enjoy the sites!

* I may be killed for posting this haha

* If you haven't caught on by now, Kelsey is my model since I no longer take a good photo....

* My bike along with Fisher Island in the background

* A couple of the wild cats we saw hanging out on this side of the Island

Before we had left for our bike ride in the am, we noticed a group of people setting up a photo shoot right outside the bedroom window on the roof of the building next door.... I never really see this type of thing so up-close in NYC so naturally I was a little bit excited (until they decided to play the same JLo song on repeat ALL DAY LONNNGGGGGG ugh). I told Kelsey that I thought the model resembled JLo but was shot down since her lady lumps were not quiet "lumpy" enough and what celebrity would be vain enough to listen to their own music on repeat for 8 hours?!

* We later found out via Popsugar that it was in fact JLo herself! Damn I have good eyes ;)

After all the excitement of the photo shoot, bike ride and more laying on the beach (what an EXHAUSTING life ha) Mags finally got in from his flight and we headed off to Joe's Stone Crab to get our dinner on and enjoy some delicious seafood! I have read before that this is one of Martha Stewart's favorite eateries in Miami and in the words of Kelsey, "if it's good enough for Martha, it is good enough for me!"

Afer stuffing our gullets, we headed off to bed to ensure some quality sleep for Mr. Marathon!

The Hubs had a 4:00am wakeup call on Sunday morning, meaning I also had a 4:00am wakeup call to ensure proper pre-race nutrition and see him off. Here he is all pumped for the race.... er... as pumped as one can be at 4:30am...

* Excuse the dim lighting... this was all I would let him turn on in terms of lamps

I need to put it out there that I am EXTREMELY proud of Magnus that he accomplished his goal of a half-marathon. He had a few derailments in terms of training for the marathon (Christmas in Sweden for 2 weeks could have set him back), but he really pulled through and he looked so happy with himself after the run. He was truly beaming! Sorry if this is a really lame way to explain  your manly hubbie haha, but it's true! I wish I had a picture of the two of us after the race, but they are on our other camera and being the bad wife that I am, I didn't get any iPhone photos (shame on me!).

I also need to say Thank You to Mags for picking an awesome location for his first half so my Sister and I could (selfishly) enjoy a nice long weekend in the sun! Thanks honey buns! Until the next half ... please let it be somewhere equally as sunny and far away from New York ;)

Is it time for this yet?


First real snow of the season....

where was all this glorious snow around the Holidays? Although I somehow missed taking any real pictures of the snowfall this past weekend, I did manage to grab a couple thru windows in our UpstateHaven:

* Front lawn (or rather bushes) from our kitchen window

* Back lawn from our upstairs bathroom window

As wonderful as the snow was and so pretty to look at, it really put a damper on our drive Saturday am. We started out at about 8:30 and did not arrive at my parents house until 1:30. Giving us a whopping total of 5 hours.... unbelievable! Thankfully, the drive back on Sunday was a breeze.  You would thinking living in New York State they would be a little bit better at clearing off the roads, but not so much ...

Even though out time upstate was limited, we made the most of our weekend by meeting with my Uncle in regards to our upstairs bathroom, FINALLY celebrating Christmas with my Grandma and then dinner with my family on Saturday night. Sunday wasn't so productive.... sleeping in, drinking coffee leisurely while my Mom prepared breakfast/lunch AND banana bread for us to take home. Before we knew it, back to the City we went!

While at UpstateHaven, I snapped a few photos with my trusty iPhone of our bathroom PRE reno. The only thing that has been done thus far is ripping out a piece of wall that connects to our future nursery's closet in order to make room for a new stand-up shower:

* Space for future stand-up shower

* Looking thru the nursery closet into the bathroom

* I think this toilet is a keeper. It has the old world charm (ie nicely beveled edges)

The picture below is the overall look we are going for in our new bathroom:

*Picture taken from thecitysage

In other news, THIS is what my parents dog Ceely spends her days doing during the winter ...

I didn't capture her best moments of laying completely submerged under the wood stove. This dog really likes to live on the edge!

* a little bird watching after basking under the wood stove

Christmas Round Deux ...

The Hubs and I traveled upstate this past weekend to enjoy one last Christmas celebration with my family. The weather was unseasonably warm on Saturday and we all agreed that this year did not feel particularly that festive due to the temperatures.

Despite all that, here is a pic (albeit fuzzy pic) of my parents tree and my childhood stocking:

* Don't be jealous.... I know this stocking pretty much rocks! My Grandmother made this for me as a baby and it is really standing the test of time.

We didn't get to properly exchange our gifts until Sunday morning (sadly without my Sister as she was at work) due to a little get together for my Aunts and Uncles that my parents hosted on Saturday evening, but it was worth the wait! Here are a couple noteworthy prezzies....

* I have been dying to try this baby out for months now... I'm really hoping it will do wonders for my dull, wintry skin (Thanks Mom).

Also, some fun colored knives for our UpstateHaven since we were lacking any sort of proper cutlery (butter knives do NOT count):

On Saturday my Mom prepared some awesome food for the family get together, such as meatballs with fresh Italian bread for open-faced sandwiches.... enchiladas... bruschetta and I whipped up a salad for some added nutrition. Magnus and I also treated everyone to some classic Swedish Glogg ...

*Pre-warming for consumption.

Emma even came out at one point to join in all the Holiday festivities ...

* This is no easy feat for Emma to just hang out on the couch like this. My parents have 2 dogs, one of which is a Basenji who wants nothing more than to play with our cat Emma. I'm sure you can imagine all the noises that ensue once they make eye contact in a situation like this haha

In between all the family gatherings, we had some time to go to our UpstateHaven and check out some painting that has been underway thanks to my uncle David. He put up a new sconce we purchased for the upstairs hallway and has primed one of the bedrooms upstairs as well as finished the other one. Things are looking fantastic up there so far! Soon it is time to start renovating both bathrooms...
Here are a few pics of the upstairs:

* Back bedroom upstairs

* Finished bookshelves with new facing and some freshening up!

* New sconce from Pottery Barn 

We also put to good use some new iittala candle holders from the motherland and festive candles:

* There is also a new candy dish in the center from iittala. This brand consistently has fun items for the house to liven things up!
In addition to the new candle holders, we desperately needed a new throw rug in front of the kitchen sink. I think this jute runner really does the trick!

So there you have it! Those are the changes that have been occurring at UpstateHaven with much more to come in the near future. We will be sure to keep everyone posted :)

The Holidays aren't quite over yet...

After spending almost 2 weeks in Stockholm over Christmas and New Years we are headed upstate this weekend to enjoy one last Christmas celebration with my side of the family. I definitely missed waking up super early to retrieve our stockings and wait for the Rents to get up and open up the bigger gifts, but Stockholm is so pretty this time of year with all the Christmas stars in the apartment windows and candles. We also may have enjoyed far too many Julbords this year ;) 

I am bound to get tons of festive photos this coming weekend, but in the meantime I thought I would post a few pics from Stockholm and of the mini-julbord we enjoyed with Magnus's mom on Christmas Eve:

* Gamla Stan (old town Stockholm)

Now for the food and holiday celebration:

* Clockwise from the white matter on the left side (which happens to be my famous Skagen), we have cooked red cabbage, prince korv (mini sausages), a couple kottbullar (swedish meatballs), julskinka (christmas ham), smoked prawns, aoili, fish roe and in the middle of the plate, rodbetssallad (red beet salad, my personal fav)! This was all accompanied by some hard bread/cheese and vort limpa (swedish christmas bread)... YUMMO people!

* Though a bit jetlagged and tired, Mags is super pumped for the feast!