Melissa Melissa H

All articles by Melissa

 

Friday Randomness 3-10-17

Ken and I are in the throes of planning a vacation in September for Ken’s 40th birthday!  I think we’ve decided on a week in the Canadian Rockies. Seriously, Lake Louise, the Icefields Parkway, and Moraine Lake just look so stunning!  Can’t wait! Speaking of birthdays, we hosted lots of family last weekend to celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday. He’s had a very rough few years health-wise, so we’re so thankful to be celebrating this birthday! I’ve had a really miserable cough for more than a month now! At one point I was coughing until I gagged and threw up,...
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New Orleans during Mardi Gras – Where we Ate

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 I wanted to cover all our dining experiences in New Orleans during Mardi Gras in a single post. I don’t think there was a single place that disappointed us!  Ken is not into “fancy” dining or seafood or any sort of foods that one cannot pronounce. So the restaurants we went to are relatively inexpensive and are great for folks not looking for anything overly elaborate!   Jagerhaus Address: 833 Conti Street // New Orleans, LA // 70112 Meal: Lunch TripAdvisor Reviews Yelp Reviews...
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Putting in an Offer on an Investment Property (and some due diligence questions)

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Ken and I found a good duplex as our first investment property! Before we put in an offer our the duplex that we liked, we had our real estate agent pass along some requests for information to the seller.  Since the property already has tenants, we wanted to make sure everything was reliable and above-board.  These requests included: Copies of the current signed leases for both units (and the garage, which is rented separately). Copies of cashed rent checks for the past six months (to show tenants’ reliability for on-time payments) Recent property tax...
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Ruby Princess – Ship Amenities Review

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 In my previous post in this series, I reviewed our cabin, a mini suite, as well as my dad’s accessible stateroom. This post will give an overview of the ship and ship’s amenities! Let’s start with the outdoors! Outdoor Activities and Pools The rear of the ship (aft, yes, I know), was home to a small pool and some hot tubs: There were also two larger pools, as well as some hot tubs, in the middle of the ship. One of the pool areas in the middle...
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We’re about to become real estate investors!

As part of our efforts to achieve financial independence and retire early, Ken and I have been talking for several years now about purchasing some rental properties. Within the past year or so, we’ve started to do a lot more formal research on the topic, and over the holidays, we even scheduled a few property viewings with a realtor.   Over Christmas, we found a duplex that we liked and we’re planning to put in an offer. We’d be long distance property owners (but I’m familiar with the area as it’s the neighborhood that I grew up in and that...
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Using Paintable Wallpaper to Cover Wood Paneling

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Basement Renovation

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Basement Renovation In my Basement Renovation introduction post, I outlined the COUNTLESS (okay, you can count them – five) options we considered regarding our faux wood paneled walls in our basement. We ended up going the route of paintable wallpaper, and I cannot begin to tell you how pleased we are with the results! (P.S., We bought our paintable wallpaper from Amazon here.)   Once we decided on paintable wallpaper, I contacted three local wallpaper contractors that I found on Angie’s list. The first contractor essentially laughed at our suggestion...
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Friday Randomness 1-6-17

Happy new year everybody!  I hope everyone had a great holiday.  Ken and I went to Pittsburgh to visit with my family for almost a week, and then had a belated Christmas Day celebration with Ken’s family from Baltimore at our house on New Year’s Day.  Did you have any holiday travels? We got an Amazon Echo and two Echo dots for Christmas!  We’ve been having a blast with these.  Perhaps most entertaining is how our 3.5 year old niece and 20-month-old nephew have caught on fast that trying to yell “ALEXA!” can trigger a response. However, neither of them...
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Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa Review | Pools, Lounging, Restaurants, etc.

In Part 1, I covered our one bedroom suite at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa, the lobby, and some of the outdoor seating areas. But now, let’s get to the REALLY fun parts of the hotel! The Pools, the “Ramblin River,” and Outdoor Lounging We spent the vast majority of our time in the pools with our niece and nephew. The pools were huge, relaxing, and had plenty of free inner tubes to lazily float along the ramblin river endlessly. This “beach” area was especially popular, and allowed for a shallow water area for kids to play and...
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Ruby Princess | Cabin Review | Mini Suite and Accessible Staterooms

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 Ken and I had booked a mini suite with a balcony on the Ruby Princess. This was our third cruise together. On our first cruise (a Caribbean cruise), we had a balcony. But on our second cruise (a Mediterranean cruise), we had opted for no balcony to save some money. We really regretted the decision on that cruise. So we decided that for all cruises in the future, we’d book a balcony. This review will cover our mini suite, as well as a handicapped accessible, obstructed view...
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Last December on SuperNoVAwife

Here are some highlights from previous Decembers on the blog! 2015 I covered part one of how we installed recessed lighting in our basement drop ceiling. 2014 I talked about what I like to buy when I’m on vacation. (Because Christmas ornaments are a huge part of it!) I reviewed different aspects of our Florida Keys Road Trip, including giving an introduction to our trip, and reviewing the Hampton Inn Key Largo. After explaining to a young cousin how to use her iPhone while going on an upcoming trip abroad, I decided to write a post about it. Oy, I...
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36 Hours in Seattle

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 We had less than 36 hours to spend in Seattle before our Alaska cruise boarded. We’ll definitely have to go back in the future to spend more time there, but we tried to squeeze in a few highlights. Ken and I are huge Dale Chihuly fans. We’ve seen his work in so many places in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and in Pittsburgh (not blogged about). So, when we heard there was an entire Chihuly museum in Seattle, we put that at the top of our to-see list! Chihuly...
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Bourbon Street Balcony Party during Mardi Gras 2016 (Bourbon Vieux)

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 Bourbon Street Balcony Party During Mardi Gras When I first started researching things to do in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, a Bourbon Street balcony experience was near the top of my list. But, strangely, it was difficult to find any consolidated information on the different balcony options during Mardi Gras. I was able to find like two or three options, but that was it. I actually resorted to Google Street View. I’d look at the names of the restaurants and bars along Bourbon...
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Modern Spoon Display

Way back in the day, I used to collect spoons. Yes, spoons. It all started when I was 11 years old, and my then–21-year-old sister had gone on a trip to Paris. As a souvenir, she brought me back a spoon. And like an 11 year old brat, my reaction was something like, “A SPOON?? WHAT A LAME GIFT! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH A SPOON.” But, after getting over my initial bratty disappointment, the spoon spawned a collection hobby over the course of 10+ years. Everytime I traveled, whether with my family or by myself, I bought...
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Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa – Hotel Review (Part 1)

Earlier this year, Ken and I went to the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. My sister and her family had recently moved from Pittsburgh, PA to the Dallas, TX area, and had learned about this resort during one of their trips to Dallas while house hunting. It quickly became a favorite for everybody, my niece and nephew included! My niece and nephew liked it so much, in fact, that we decided to celebrate their birthdays there (my nephew turned 10 and my niece turned 3, just two days apart). So, my dad flew down too,...
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Mardi Gras 2016 in New Orleans – Days 3 and 4

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 Our Mardi Gras madness continued! Our third day in New Orleans started with a trip to Mardi Gras World. (It’s open year-round, not just during Mardi Gras). Mardi Gras World makes and stores a lot of the parade floats. I was a little worried that, since Mardi Gras was currently underway, that perhaps it would be empty or not as fun to see. Luckily, my worries were unfounded! This place was a photographer’s dream (er, in our case, an amateur photographer’s dream!) Mardi Gras...
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Basement Renovation (Introduction)

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Basement Renovation

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Basement Renovation A while after we had finished installing the recessed lights in our basement, Ken and I started to seriously consider a major basement renovation. But, we wanted to keep the budget pretty small. Here is what we wanted to do: Remove the basement bar. Although it was a fun conversation piece, and we thought it was fun when we first moved in, we never really used it for entertaining. It was at an awkward spot. We couldn’t really use the area behind the bar for anything, since it...
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Grand Hyatt Seattle (Hotel Review)

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 After our gorgeous ride onboard the Amtrak Cascades Line, we arrived at the Seattle train station around 10PM. We quickly found a taxi and took it to our hotel, the Grand Hyatt Seattle. We stayed for two nights, and both nights were free. A year earlier, I had applied for the Chase Hyatt credit card, which offered a bonus of two free nights. Although the Grand Hyatt Seattle may not have been the most valuable use of those two nights, the night were expiring within a month,...
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DIY Recessed Lighting Installation in a Drop Ceiling (Ceiling Tiles), Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series DIY Recessed Lighting Installation

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series DIY Recessed Lighting Installation DIY Recessed Lighting Installation | The Process so Far! Now that the actual lighting fixture was installed, it was time to rinse and repeat, over and over again, for each fixture we wanted installed. As a reminder, this was the layout that we were following to install the lights (each box with an L indicates where we were going to install a light). We had it printed out and consulted it continuously throughout the installation process. As a reminder, we decided to have three “zones” of...
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Amtrak Cascades Line Vancouver to Seattle (Review)

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 After our quick stay in Vancouver, it was time to make our way to Seattle, the embarkation city for our Alaskan cruise. And what a scenic journey it was! As I mentioned in the introduction for this trip report, I kinda tripped upon the Amtrak Cascades Line as our method of transportation from Vancouver to Seattle. To recap: My original plan was to just stay at an inexpensive hotel near Vancouver Airport, and then drive the following morning to Seattle. (Our flight wasn’t arriving in Vancouver until...
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Mardi Gras 2016 in New Orleans – Day 2

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 After our first jam packed day in New Orleans, I think we managed to cram in even MORE stuff the next day! We started out with brunch in a New Orleans neighborhood called the Magazine District (we took an Uber there from our hotel since it was about a 15 minute drive. Also, more on where we ate in New Orleans in a separate, future post!). After brunch, we walked around the Magazine District. It was such a cute neighborhood! Magazine District Of course,...
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A few hours in Vancouver, B.C. (Alaska 2015 Trip Report)

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 Arriving in Vancouver in the wee hours of the morning and then having a train to catch to Seattle at about 6PM, we certainly didn’t have much time do see even a sliver of the sites that Vancouver has to offer. But, since our transportation option to the Pacific Northwest took us to Vancouver, we decided to make the most of the short time we did have in Vancouver. We spent all that time at Stanley Park. And holy smokes, we probably could’ve spent another full day...
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Florida and Space Shuttle Launch 2010 (Blast from the Past Post)

This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text.   I wanted to revive my “Blast from the Past” posts. Thanks to a recent trip to Florida (and another one forthcoming for our trip to Disney!), I started to think back to previous trips to Florida and thought I’d cover those trips! Back in 2010, Ken and I knew that the NASA shuttle program was coming to a close, and we decided to get tickets to...
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Mardi Gras 2016 in New Orleans – Day 1

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016   After we arrived in New Orleans around 12:30 in the afternoon and checked in at The Roosevelt, our room wasn’t ready yet so we headed to the French Quarter for lunch (more on where we ate in a future post!). While we were eating, we got a text from the hotel front desk that a room was ready for us. We finished our lunch, and as we headed back to our hotel, we tripped upon our first Mardi Gras parade! This parade was...
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Westin Grand Vancouver (Hotel Review)

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 By the time our flight landed in Vancouver, we transited Canadian immigration and customs, and stood in a long taxi line, it was about 3AM when we got to our hotel, the Westin Grand Vancouver. We were only staying for one night, but they had graciously already pre-approved a (very) late checkout for us of 4PM the next day. I had long lamented what hotel to stay at in Vancouver. Which was silly because we were going to be there for such a short time. Did we...
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Gifford Pinchot State Park Camping Trip, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Gifford Pinchot Camping Trip 2015

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Gifford Pinchot Camping Trip 2015 Our camping trip weekend was a bit different than our previous camping trips in that, well, we didn’t actually spend much time in the actual park! Usually we’d take time to hike trails (I use the word “hike” very loosely here since I’m no adventurer!) and stop by the visitor’s center, but we just ran out of time on this trip. We spent most of our time at fun sites nearby. Pennsylvania Railroad Museum One of those fantastic sites was the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum in...
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Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Review (First and Business Class) – JFK-YVR

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 After our long, but lovely layover spent in the British Airways lounge at JFK, it was time to board our Cathay Pacific flight to Vancouver! You can read more about why I sat in business class and Ken sat in first class in my previous post, but here’s a quick excerpt for the lazy: I had originally booked two business class tickets on Cathay Pacific, knowing that they usually open up first class availability at the last minute. The idea was that I would switch our seats...
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Friday Randomness 5-20-16

Ken and I are officially ALL CAUGHT UP ON GAME OF THRONES!  We did some serious binge watching of Season 5, because we were having too many close calls on spoilers from the current Season 6. We typically don’t binge watch shows, so the fact that we watched season 5 in less than a month is CRAZY. Plus, we don’t have HBO (or HBO Streaming), so that always eliminated the chance of ever being truly “caught up” on shows. But, we’ve had a free trial of HBO on Verizon Fios, so we’ve been able to stay up-to-date on the current...
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DIY Recessed Lighting Installation (Part 2)

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series DIY Recessed Lighting Installation

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series DIY Recessed Lighting Installation So, after removing the old, ugly light fixtures that we didn’t want anymore, it was time to start fresh with our new fancy recessed lighting! Keep in mind that we are NOT electricians! This is just the process we followed for installing the lights. We bought our recessed lighting mounts from USA Light. We started out by buying the “housing,” aka the fixture, and a few different kinds of recessed “trims”, including recessed light trims that only point down, ones that you can point in different directions, and...
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Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans (Mardi Gras Hotel Review)

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 Back in February, Ken and I took a bucket list trip! Mardi Gras! I did a quick recap post when we got home, but I’m starting the full trip report today! Starting with a review of our hotel, the The Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria property. We booked our hotel for Mardi Gras 11 months in advance. I opted for the Roosevelt, a Waldorf Astoria property in New Orleans. It was close to most of the major parade routes, close to the...
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Tips for Planning a Group Vacation to Disney (Or anywhere really)

Like I’ve mentioned a few times now on the blog, Ken and I are planning a trip to Disney in the fall.  In addition to me and Ken, Ken’s sister, her husband, and their 7-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son will be coming too.  (And maybe Ken’s dad too).  We offered to pay for their airfare and hotel, and everyone will be responsible for getting their own Disney tickets. This will be mine and Ken’s first trip to Disney in SEVEN YEARS. My sister-in-law and her husband went to Disney for their honeymoon back in 2003, but haven’t been there since,...
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Gifford Pinchot State Park Camping Trip (Campground Review)

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Gifford Pinchot Camping Trip 2015

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Gifford Pinchot Camping Trip 2015 Back in October, Ken and I went on a camping trip. I had been wanting to do a lakefront camping trip, and this spot definitely delivered! We camped at Gifford Pinchot State Park in Pennsylvania, just outside of Harrisburg, PA. It was about a 3 hour drive from the Washington, DC area. In this post, I’ll give a review of the campgrounds. We booked site 116 in Loop A. We were able to make a site-specific reservation. Based on the campground map on Gifford Pinchot’s...
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British Airways First and Business Class Lounge at JFK (Serving Cathay Pacific Passengers)

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 For the first leg of our trip to get to Seattle for our Alaskan cruise, Ken and I had a short hop flight on American Airlines from Washington, DC National Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Since our Cathay Pacific flight to Vancouver was leaving out of JFK, we had to take a taxi from LGA to JFK. It was a flat rate, around $40 I think, and relatively quick despite being the beginning of rush hour. We had booked a fairly early flight from DCA-LGA to...
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DIY Gift Wrap Storage Made from PVC Pipes

The holidays are now long over, but that doesn’t mean that gift wrap still doesn’t come out! It’s just more for birthdays and baby showers these days. In the past few years, I’ve developed a kind of wrapping paper obsession. I have a really hard time walking past a cute roll of wrapping paper without buying it! I attribute these impulse purchases to one thing: A massive improvement in my gift wrapping skills in the past few years! I used to be a TERRIBLE gift wrapper. Then I finally made myself watch tutorial after tutorial for properly wrapping gifts. And...
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Results of my January 2016 Credit Card App-o-Rama

I decided to go ahead and apply for some new credit cards a few weeks ago. I was starting to get a little panicky over Chase’s new 5/24 rule, so I especially wanted to get my husband in for a Chase Ink Card since he has fewer applications on his credit report than I do.  I applied for cards for both of us, which is a first for me. Usually I’ll just get cards for the one of us. But, I’ll explain in a minute why that was! Capital One Venture Ah yes, Capital One.  You don’t hear much about...
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Las Vegas 2015, Part 2 (Fremont Street, Stratosphere, and Circus Circus)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Las Vegas 2015

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Las Vegas 2015 Continuing on with the trip report from our Las Vegas vacation last year! Fremont Street by Day We had both been to Fremont Street before, but those visits had been brief. So we decided to go back and take our time and walk around. We debated for a fairly brief amount of time whether we wanted to do that Fremont Street Zipline. We decided against it. Maybe next time! We stopped by “Container” Park on Fremont Street. I thought it was going to be like an actual...
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A Quick Recap of Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 We just got back from New Orleans the other night.  We have hundreds of pictures to sort through, pants that are tighter from all the food indulgences, and a newly developed sense of respect for all that New Orleans does to put on such a crazy celebration every year.   A full trip report will be forthcoming, of course, but I wanted to do a quick postmortem / recap while things are still fresh in my mind.   I had low expectations. To be honest,...
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Meal Plan for our Camping Trip

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Assateague Camping Trip

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Assateague Camping Trip I wanted to give a quick rundown of our campfire (er, and Coleman Grill) cooking during our camping trip at Assateague State Park. Camping Cooking Prep Before we even left for camping, I had a food prep checklist so that we could minimize food preparations at the campsite. Because, although cooking around the campfire is fun, finding 5 different ingredients and dirtying a dish to stir them all together is a whole different story. First up, pasta salad. I made a big batch of pasta salad. This...
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My Disappointing Experience (x3) Trying to Use VRBO.

Ken and I are planning a trip to San Francisco in the summer. One of Ken’s friends is getting married in the Bay Area, and we decided to make a vacation out of it. The original plan was to do four nights in San Francisco, as well as four nights in the Monterey Bay or Big Sur area. Hotel options in the Monterey and Big Sur area seem fall into three categories: 1) Lower end chain hotels far from the beach and other scenery, 2) Uber budget motels that would have been fine for my taste 8+ years ago, but...
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Las Vegas 2015 (Bellagio, Springs Preserve, and Pinball Hall of Fame)

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Las Vegas 2015

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Las Vegas 2015 Last year, we went to one of my favorite vacation destinations for a last minute birthday trip: Las Vegas! We’ve been to Las Vegas several times together before, including 2008, and 2012, as well as in 2011 (2011 is not yet documented on the blog!). Bellagio Conservatory – Chinese New Year Theme We were in Vegas right around the time of Chinese New Year, and the conservatory at the Bellagio had stunning Chinese New Year-themed decor! The conservatory never ceases to amaze me. They always have the...
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Ocean City, Maryland (Assateague State Park Camping Trip)

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Assateague Camping Trip

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Assateague Camping Trip I’m desperately trying to get caught up on a lot of trip reports that I started and never finished! Today, I’m finishing up the report on our camping trip to Assateague State Park last year! Assateague Island National Seashore is actually quite close to Ocean City. It seems like Ocean City is a HUGELY popular vacation destination for folks in the DC metro area and beyond. I have multiple friends and lots of family that go to Ocean City pretty much every year for a week during...
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A very DC Christmas!

Although Christmas has come and gone, I thought I’d give a recap of two very Christmasy tours Ken and I took! First and foremost, the White House Tour! White House Christmas Tour I had requested White House Christmas tour tickets from our Congressman’s office back in July. Two weeks before the tour, we were notified that we had received tickets (sent via email), and there was a long list of instructions for the tour. (No bags of any kind, including purses. No cameras with lenses longer than 3 inches, no cameras with detachable lenses, etc.) The tour was for a Friday at 8:30AM...
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DIY Recessed Lighting Installation in a Drop Ceiling (Ceiling Tiles) – Prep Work

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series DIY Recessed Lighting Installation

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series DIY Recessed Lighting Installation Last year, when I talked about our DIY DVD shelf project, I apologized in the post for the terrible lighting in our photos because our basement was so poorly lit. Our basement has zero windows. It has a set of french doors that lead out to our patio, but the doors are directly under our deck, meaning we get virtually no light. We had a whopping three ceiling lights in our 600 square foot basement, one of which we actually uninstalled after we moved in because...
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We’re Going to Mardi Gras! Here’s What We’re Doing to Prepare

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2016 I mentioned in passing a few times that we were thinking about going to Mardi Gras, and then that we had decided to go to Mardi Gras in 2016.   Surprisingly, it’s been difficult to find a good consolidated list of information about Mardi Gras.  For instance, where the best viewing stands are for the parades, which bars/restaurants have the best balcony options for bead throwing on Bourbon Street, and how crowded non-Mardi Gras events and venues (like the general tourist attractions) are during...
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Naples and Pompei, Italy – Europe 2010 (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise)

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise) This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text. The last stop on our Mediterranean Cruise was Naples, Italy. We were nearing the end of our two week trip abroad, and we were pretty worn out and tired. We walked around Naples for a little while (no photos, gasp!) and then went on an afternoon excursion (purchased through the cruise...
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Last November on SuperNoVAwife!

One Year Ago: I wrote one of the most popular posts here on SuperNoVAwife: Our wall-mounted Ikea Jarpen shelves that we use as a behind-the-sofa console table. I described our trip to the STUNNING Antelope Canyon and Page, Arizona as well as our time in Monument Valley, Utah and Moab, Utah in 2012 as “Blast from the Past” posts. (From our Southwest USA Road Trip!) I lamented whether we should get travel insurance for future vacations.  (We did end up buying it for our Alaska Cruise) and when it is worth it to redeem frequent flyer miles for domestic first class (which we...
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Rome, Italy – Europe 2010 (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise)

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise) This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text. So, the idea of visiting Rome as a stop on a cruise is kinda crazy. Only twelve hours in one of the most historically-rich cities in the world? What to do? Focus on one or two major sites and be done? Or try to do a whirlwind tour of the entire...
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How we Picked Shore Excursions for our Alaska Cruise

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015 After Ken and I booked our Alaskan cruise, we started researching the cruise excursion options.  As you can probably tell from our Caribbean Cruise in 2007 and our Mediterranean Cruise in 2010, we generally do a mix of independent travel and cruise-organized shore excursions.  We had read before that Alaskan Cruise shore excursions can be VERY pricey, so we wanted to make sure we budgeted appropriately, both for time and expense, and determine if independent options were more cost effective than the options offered by the cruise...
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Pisa and Florence, Italy – Europe 2010 (Blast from the Past)

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise)

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Europe 2010 (Spain and Mediterranean Cruise) This is a Blast from the Past post. These posts chronicle our travels and other life events before we started blogging!  These posts are usually heavy on the photos, but lighter on the narrative text. The next stop on our cruise was Livorno, a port city close to Florence and Pisa. We took the opportunity to see both cities during our short day! We booked another ship-offered cruise excursion. The excursion was essentially transportation to both cities. Once we were dropped off in Pisa and then...
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Friday Randomness 10-16-15

We went camping last weekend at Gifford Pinchot State Park in Pennsylvania (just south of Harrisburg).  It was a relatively short drive from the DC area (except for all the Friday rush hour traffic we hit), and we had a gorgeous lakefront campsite!  So relaxing and just nice to be outdoors!  We stay indoors much too often. As soon as I get back from a trip, I always start planning another trip.  I can’t help myself, it’s a compulsion.  I was thinking about another beach camping trip next year, like our trip to Assateague last April.  But I was thinking that...
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Alaska Cruise 2015 – Trip Report Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Alaska Cruise 2015   I’m starting a new trip report today all about our June 2015 Alaskan cruise.  Our trip also included a day in Vancouver and two days in Seattle, which I’ll cover in the trip report as well.  Our out-of-pocket costs on this trip were limited to paying for the cruise.  Our hotels in Seattle and Vancouver, our flights, and a train ride were all covered by points.  Man I love this hobby! Booking the Cruise This part didn’t require much work on my part.  We’d be cruising...
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