Posts Tagged ‘dog’

  1. Mount Dora, FL

    November 2, 2016 by Angie

    My parents have been telling us about Mount Dora for a couple of years now. It has a really cute, quaint downtown and it’s very dog friendly. We finally booked a weekend there at Tremain Street Cottages. My parents are right. We did like it, it is extremely dog friendly, and we didn’t have to drive at all while were there. Everything you’d want to see and do and eat and drink is in a concentrated area around downtown.

    Headed towards downtown Mount Dora

    Walking towards downtown from our cottage

    We got into town about lunchtime so we went straight to Mellow Mushroom. It has a pretty, covered patio for eating outside with your dog. Our server brought Sookie water and she was happy there.

    The pizza and drinks were really good. It’s probably the second best Mellow Mushroom we’ve been to (after the one in Brandon, FL) and we’ve been to many.

    Slice of "Robgeleen": spinach, garlic, tomato, and half artichoke hearts on thin crust

    Slice of “Robgeleen”: spinach, garlic, tomato, and half artichoke hearts on thin crust

    Robbie has strange feelings for this pizza.

    Robbie has strange feelings for this pizza.

    After our wonderful pizza and drinks in the shade, we checked in to our dog friendly room, the Nantucket, at the Tremain Street Cottages.

    This bed is too big. I appreciated the handmade quilt and matching pillows.

    Another view of the main room

    Our little kitchen

    Small room in the back with a little couch and a dresser

    One of two patios for guests

    The Wine Den was high on our list of places to visit. They have some beers in bottles and many, many wines. Surprisingly, they allow dogs inside! There were three other dogs inside while we were there. One dog parent gave Sookie a special dog treat. It’s a really cute, although small, shop and bar. It’s worth the visit.

    Sookie is all tongue at the Wine Den

    One Flight Up is another place I did not want to miss. They allow dogs on their balcony which has the best view in town.

    One Flight Up

    The balcony facing Lake Dora

    The balcony overlooking one of the main streets

    The other side

    We had the hummus platter and Pinot Noir. They boast the best pour in town and I think they’re correct on that.

    We stopped by Pisces Rising’s third annual Halloween block party, Mayhem in Mount Dora. Our drinks were meh and it was not much of a party. It was more for families. There were some decent costumes.

    Mayhem in Mount Dora

    There is a band under the lights.

    Robbie required potatoes so we sat on the front patio with Sookie at the Bavarian Haus. We talked with our dog loving server while eating our double order of pomme frites. She brought Sookie water and two slices of cheese. What a lucky dog!

    Cody’s on Fourth was our breakfast place Sunday morning. They have three or four tables in front of the restaurant where dogs are allowed. Robbie had one of the quiches of the day (broccoli and cheddar) and I had an everything bagel, egg, and Swiss cheese sandwich. Both were very good. The quiche was really pricy for the size (over $10) and they only had decaf espresso left (is that a thing?), but the food was so good we’d eat there again.

    We walked down to the Sunday Village Market by Lake Dora. There were only a few booths and we didn’t buy anything. We liked looking at the lake though.

    Robbie and Sookie at Lake Dora

    Robbie and Sookie being aware of alligators and snakes

    Lake Dora

    Lake Dora

    We also learned that a large, well-kept facility called the Mount Dora Lawn Bowling Club exists. Also, lawn bowling exists.

    Mount Dora Lawn Bowling

    It's a thing

    Lawn bowling info

    Dropping knowledge.

    I was craving coffee after the decaf espresso situation at breakfast so I stopped in at the Village Coffee Pot. It was shockingly horrible. They were out of soy milk which is when I should have run away. Then I was told the steaming device was broken. I was handed a $5 undrinkable iced latte. I took two sips and threw it away. I don’t know how it’s possible to make espresso mixed with 2% milk and ice taste like cold dirt, but the Village Coffee Pot does it. I later saw their sign on the street corner read “expresso”…ugh.

    PizzAmoré was our favorite place. Beautiful, outdoor seating with shade. Great service. The garlic knots were huge and so garlicky. The pizza and drinks were very good too.

    Outside at PizzAmore

    A little garden near the outdoor seating

    Sookie at PizzAmore

    Sookie found some shade under the table

    Robbie at PizzAmore

    IPA and wine waiting on pizza

    Sookie was the star of the party on the street side patio outside Las Palmas Cuban Restaurant. Robbie and I enjoyed 2 for 1 drinks and mariquitas while Sookie made best friends with everyone who walked by. A French family was particularly happy to pet her at length. They gave her a little Eiffel Tower to wear on her Halloween collar.

    French Sookie

    French Sookie

    On our way back to our cottage, we ran into a couple from Vero Beach who go to my mom’s church. For a small town, Vero Beach people are everywhere. We left Sookie to rest in her crate with her dinner while went out to sit indoors at two more bars.

    The Lost Parrot is a Key West style bar run by awesome staff and filled with interesting locals. We had a good time there and would go again. After that we sat inside at Pisces Rising at the bar. The drinks were decent. We didn’t eat or interact with anybody so that’s all I have to say about that.

    We finished up our stay with breakfast at the Highland Street Cafe. It’s a really homey place decorated with kitschy Scottie dog everything. We both got omelets, but I made the correct choice of hash browns over home fries. Man, those hash browns were great. The staff were very sweet. There was nowhere for Sookie to sit so she had to rest in her crate at the cottage, but 10/10 anyway.


  2. St. Augustine, FL

    May 1, 2016 by Angie

    St. Augustine is one of our favorite places to visit. We booked a two night trip for spring break this year. I got the flu. I figured I could have the flu at home and waste our B&B deposit or have the flu in St. Augustine while potentially having more fun, so we went. Spring Break forever, y’all!

    Bayfront Marin House

    Outside our bed and breakfast, the Bayfront Marin House

    We like to stay at bed and breakfasts in the historic district. This was our first time staying at the Bayfront Marin House which we chose mostly because they allow Sookie. She loves going on vacation with us. I think she had a great time.

    Sookie investigates the bathtub

    Sookie investigates the giant bathtub

    our room at the B&B

    Entrance area

    our bed at the B&B

    Very tall bed

    The Bayfront Marin House is fine – great location, relatively clean, nice enough rooms, free happy hour – but I would not stay there if I wasn’t limited by the 68 pound dog factor. The food wasn’t great and things could have been cleaner. We’ve stayed at nicer B&B’s serving amazing breakfasts in the historic district.

    My favorite restaurant in St. Augustine is The Floridian, by a landslide. I think about their tofu all the time. The patio is adorable and dog-friendly.

    Robbie eats soup at the Floridian

    Robbie enjoying some vegetarian soup

    Tofu Cornbread Stack

    <3Tofu cornbread stack<3

    A major reason we love St. Augustine is the walkability. We park the car at the hotel and don’t touch it until it’s time to leave. All the sights, bars, and restaurants are within comfortable walking distance. Here is a photo of Sookie and Robbie enjoying the Plaza de la Constitución.

    Robbie and Sookie in the park

    A park!

    If you have any appreciation for a fine cocktail, the Ice Plant Bar is not to be missed. We made multiple trips there on a previous visit and thoroughly enjoyed it again this time. It’s a classy cocktail bar inside in a renovated, well…ice plant. They take the ice very seriously. They appear to make the majority of their mixers and things in house.

    Old Fashioned

    An Old Fashioned served with a giant ice cube

    Ice Plant Bar is in the same building as the St. Augustine Distillery, where they make craft spirits (vodka, gin, rum, and, soon to be ready, bourbon) from local ingredients. Our friends recommended the free distillery tour which is surely worth doing.

    barrels at the St. Augustine Distillery

    Barrels of rum

    St. Augustine Distillery tour

    On the distillery tour

    We learned a lot and we got to try the liquors in fancy drinks made by our tour guide. I’m still getting emails with new drink recipes from them.

    Pizza Time is on a particularly crowded, touristy street. They were voted best pizza ever in the universe or something. I wouldn’t go that far, but the slices are very good. We ate a couple on a bench outside.

    cool tile wall

    Cool tile wall we saw while walking around

    Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th century Spanish fortress/castle. We’ve never been for a tour or any of the presentations offered, but we do enjoy walking around the property. It’s right on the water and made of coquina making it a very rare building.

    outside Castillo de San Marcos

    Looking out at the Matanzas River

    Castillo de San Marcos

    Castillo de San Marcos

    standing on part of Castillo de San Marcos

    View of the river from inside the fort property

    There are two more places we will never miss when in St. Augustine: Stogies Cigar Bar and Pizzalley’s Chianti Room. Both have dog-friendly patios. Stogies offers a great beer selection and there’s always at least one wine I really enjoy. Once there was a man with a brick oven built into his truck making coal-fired pizzas on the patio. Pizzalley’s Chianti Room has the most insane happy hour I’ve ever heard of. It’s two for one drinks – even expensive liquor drinks – AND a free slice of pizza. There is always a guy singing and playing guitar on the patio. We usually can’t stand that sort of thing but he plays at a reasonable volume and has good taste in the songs he covers.

    We had a stellar cheese plate and some drinks at Cellar 6. It was our first time visiting this establishment. It is not dog friendly so Sookie took a nap in her crate. They also offer an impressive happy hour. I had an espresso martini followed by a less dessert-like martini. Robbie liked his Old Fashioneds. There were people on a date sitting next us. The man was clearly a psychopath. I hope this became evident to his date over the course of their time there because it was evident to everyone else.

    It was St. Patrick’s Day while we were there. I like St. Patrick’s Day, but we usually don’t celebrate on account of all the drunk people driving around. Because we were on foot (as was everyone else really) we went to Meehan’s Irish Pub. It was packed, of course. We realized we’d been there previously during a ghost hunting pub crawl a few years earlier. It has a nice balcony with a view of the river.

    Sookie wants to night swim

    Speaking of the river, Sookie wants to go for a swim! “What’s over there? I know there’s something over this wall.”

    Relaxing

    Sookie being happy in our room

    Sookie cares about a short list of things. Somewhere after popcorn, cheese, and dog park is cuddling. The dog loves to cuddle, but we do all the cuddling on the couch. The only time Sookie gets to lay on the bed is on vacation. Look at how happy she is. She is pure bliss in dog form.

    Pure bed bliss

    Pure bliss


  3. New Orleans, LA

    April 30, 2016 by Angie

    We went to New Orleans for our fifth wedding anniversary. (Five years!!!) It was Robbie’s first time visiting New Orleans and my first time back since spring break 2005, a few months before Hurricane Katrina.

    We stayed in the French Quarter at the Saint Hotel. This hotel is in the running for the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed in. Everything was classy and clean. The elevators weren’t terrifying. The hotel bar is so snazzy. The staff were really nice and even gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne for our anniversary.

    Saint lobby

     Lobby of the Saint Hotel

    The Saint Hotel

     Our room

    flowers & champagne from Robbie

    A very sweet surprise from Robbie: beautiful flowers and delicious champagne!

    giant chair at the Saint
    Angie in a giant chair outside the hotel bar

    Our first stop after checking in to the hotel was lunch and happy hour at Juan’s Flying Burrito in the Central Business District. We got margaritas and tofu tacos. Everything was delicious. We almost went a second time because we liked it so much.

    Angie at Juan's Flying Burrito

    Trying out Robbie’s new phone’s camera at happy hour

    Robbie at Juan's Flying Burrito

    Handsome Robbie at Juan’s Flying Burrito

    go cup!

    Go cup!

    We walked – with our to go cups! – to Barcadia. It’s a bar with tons of arcade games. It was pretty quiet while we were there, but otherwise, no complaints. The drinks were good and we had fun playing Mortal Kombat and skeeball.

    Barcadia's bar

    Barcadia

    Barcadia's video games

    So many games

    After that we walked back into the French Quarter and around Jackson Square. People were out selling their art and palm readings and mime…skills?

    near Jackson Square

    Jackson Square

    Marie Laveau House of Voodoo

    Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo

    some wrought iron

    A very New Orleans building featuring wrought iron galleries

    Bourbon O Bar

    Bourbon O Bar

    Bourbon O Bar was our next stop. It’s very fancy for Bourbon Street. Robbie liked his Old Fashioned.

    Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

    Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar: oldest bar in the U.S. allegedly

    Bar Tonique

    Champagne cocktail at Bar Tonique

    Bar Tonique is where Robbie had his favorite Old Fashioned of the trip, although others came close. I had the champagne cocktail shown above. I started ordering those anywhere I thought I might get a good one. New Orleans makes a mean champagne cocktail.

    That night we went to the Frenchmen Street area. We had dinner at 13 Monaghan. I failed to get any photos. The wait for our food was excruciating, but the food was really good. We ordered the tachos, tator tot nacho things, as an appetizer. They came out at the same time as our entrees – Robbie’s most hated restaurant thing. I had a BBQ tofu sandwich which was worth the wait.

    We walked to the late night Frenchmen Art Market. There were a dozen or so booths where local artists were selling cool things in a pleasant atmosphere with lots of string lights. Robbie got a really nice NOLA tee and I got a crystal necklace I love very much.

    Frenchmen Art Market crystal necklace

    I love this necklace.

    We were told by friends and the Internet to go to the Spotted Cat Music Club. We walked in, saw and heard, and walked out. We aren’t particular jazz fans , so I’m okay with that. d.b.a was across the street. We were interested in someone who was scheduled to play later, but we were so tired. We went back to the hotel and slept hard.

    The next morning we had a fantastic breakfast at The Ruby Slipper Cafe. It is located steps from our hotel. Tasty, friendly, and convenient enough that we ate breakfast there twice.

    Ruby Slipper Cafe

    Breakfast at Ruby Slipper Cafe

    Their “make your own” egg whites omelettes are worth two visits. The biscuits, cafe lattes, and creamy grits are noteworthy as well.

    cafe latte

    Mmm, cafe latte.

    We tried to get a streetcar outside the Ruby Slipper Cafe to the meeting spot for our walking tour. It started raining big time and the streetcar schedule made no sense to our tourist minds. Shout out to Uber for getting us where we needed to go on time. We did a free walking tour of the Lafayette Cemetery and the Garden District with Free Tours by Foot New Orleans.

    Lafeyette Cemetery

    The entrance to Lafayette Cemetery

    Robbie with dead folks

    Robbie hanging with some dead folks

    Society for the Relief of Destitute Orphan Boys

    The community maintains this tomb for orphan boys.

    Lafayette Cemetery

    No relation.

    Lafayette Cemetery

    A bunch of tombs

    porch dogs

    Porch dogs!

    street signs

    I’m really glad we took the Garden District tour. We learned a lot from our guide and saw things we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Afterwards we walked to The Bulldog Uptown for drinks. They have an impressive beer selection. Robbie got to try some local beers he really enjoyed.

    the taps at the Bulldog Uptown

    Impressive selection

    The Bulldog Uptown

    The sign outside of The Bulldog Uptown

    We took the streetcar to the St. Charles Slice Pizzeria location for lunch. They offer slices of their more involved pizzas. True slices – not cheese with stuff haphazardly added before heating it up. The pizza there is top notch. If there’s one thing we know, it’s pizza. Highly recommended. Unfortunately, again no photos due to extreme hunger/hedonism.

    We rode the streetcar again back to our hotel. A streetcar is not quite as cool as a subway train. It’s pretty much a wooden bus. A worthy experience nonetheless.

    Streetcar is coming!

     Here comes the streetcar!

    Robgeleen on a streetcar

    Robgeleen on a wooden bus

    We walked around in the French Quarter a bit, stopping in at Molly’s at the Market on Decatur Street for frozen Irish coffee. It’s pretty much a fast food milkshake with brandy in it. Boom.

    Molly's at the Market

    Frozen Irish Coffee from Molly’s at the Market

    Mississippi River

    We walked along the Mississippi River back to our hotel. It was Robbie’s first time seeing the Mighty Mississippi. His reaction: “It’s brown”.

    We got cleaned up at our hotel then went out on the town. We headed to French 75 bar inside Arnaud’s where we had a solid cheese plate, a French 75 for me (no brainer), and a (sadly subpar) Old Fashioned for Robbie. I think the cheese plate and ambience are great enough to make this a worthwhile stop.

    We had a round at a hotel bar, the Carousel Bar. The main bar is truly a carnival/fair style carousel. The bar and the stools rotate. Pretty cool. Our drinks were very good.

    Carousel

    Carousel Bar

    We walked around the French Quarter and particularly Bourbon Street looking for something exciting. We saw online that the Cat’s Meow offers hilarious karaoke. While neither of us would ever sing karaoke, we thoroughly enjoy watching others humiliate themselves.

    Cats Meow

    My biggest blogger failure must be discussed now. We happened upon a one of a kind DJ in a one of kind bar at a one of a kind moment. We had the best time. I have no idea what the bar is called. I have scoured Google street view. I got nothing. Anyway, here’s a photo of Robbie, the most interesting man in the world, drinking a frozen red bull and vodka (!!!).

    Robbie is the most interesting man in the world.

    Oh man, did we dance. For better or worse, I can now say I backed that thang up to Juvenile in the place of my birth. New Orleans, Louisiana is where I got it from my mama, as it were.

    Sorry, not sorry.

    After that we hit up The DungeonThe Tequila House, and the Industry Bar & Kitchen in quick succession. The Dungeon is a hilariously goth New Orleans staple which my parents remember from the 70s. As a couple who have enjoyed The Castle in Tampa, I thought Robbie should experience it. The upstairs was closed, the entire staff was helping a guy look for his credit card, and it was lame. Tequila House made me a fine drink to go. We had pizza and Robbie had a local beer at Industry Bar & Kitchen while we chatted with our very kind bartenders.

    The next day we got a slow start. We went to Ruby Slipper Cafe again for breakfast and then walked around. We stopped by this park near Cafe du Monde.

    A serene park

    A serene park

    We bought some souvenirs then stopped in at The Kerry Irish Pub for our first drink of the day.

    I really wanted to get beignets at Cafe du Monde but I could feel that I was on the verge of overdoing it with rich food and alcohol so we walked through and bought some packaged stuff to take home.

    On the recommendation of the Internet, we had a round at Tujague’s. Our bartender was phenomenal. The champagne cocktail I had there was probably the best drink of the trip for me.

    Tujague's champagne cocktail

    Awesome Tujague’s bartender

    Tujague's bar

    Tujague’s: a really old bar

    For dinner we went to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant called Seed. Again, hunger/hedonism/germophobia prevented me from taking photos of our food. We got the best nachos I’ve ever had in my life as an appetizer. They had black beans, cashew queso, grilled seitan, guacamole, and other goodies. For the entree, I ordered an eggplant pomodoro that was good but not great and Robbie got a tofu poboy which he devoured and loved. That sandwich was over a foot long and he ate it all.

    seed

    The sign outside of Seed

    We took another Uber ride with the most Lousiana guy ever to Cure. It was happy hour (lucky us). I had yet another fabulous champagne cocktail and Robbie had fantastic Old Fashioneds. This is a serious bar. They don’t mess around with their drinks.

    Cure

    We had one last round at in the bar at our hotel. The Burgundy Bar in the Saint Hotel is small but very upscale. Check out that chandelier!

    Burgundy Bar

    We took our drinks up to our room where I watched the Ted and Heidi Cruz interview on CNN. Ugh.

    Shout out to our Rover.com sitter for keeping our dog alive, fed, and happy. She had a vacation too. Sookie played in a yard with several other dogs the entire time we were gone. Most impressively, the other dogs taught her how to use the doggie door.

    I'm going to do it.

    I’m going to do it, guys.

    I did it!

    I did it!


  4. Orlando, FL

    March 10, 2014 by Angie

    We like to take one night trips to Orlando on a Saturday every once in a while. We went this past weekend and checked out some new bars that we really like. We kinda have it down to a science at this point. We stay at the Courtyard Orlando Downtown. We go to the always delicious Ethos Vegan Kitchen (now in Winter Park) for dinner. Then we drop the car off at the hotel and walk to bars downtown. Once it’s dance o’clock, we walk to the Bar-BQ-Bar/Sky Sixty/Eye Spy compound and hope the DJ plays all the favorites. As the night went on, my photos got darker, blurrier, and generally unusable so here are some highlights from the first few stops.

    After getting Sookie settled in with her DogVacay sitter and checking in to the hotel, we went to an early dinner at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. We got the Boxty appetizer which is two potato pancakes with scallions and sour cream on top. It was good, but not incredible.

    Robbie with boxty appetizer

    Robbie with the Boxty appetizer

    For our entrees, Robbie got the Bay Cakes which are vegan “crab” cakes. He said the dipping sauce was amazing and really made the dish authentic.

    Robbie's Bay Cakes

    Robbie’s Bay Cakes

    I got a new dish, the Blackened Tempeh. It wasn’t blackened in the way that I understand blackened to be, but it was flavorful and good. I liked the collard greens and fresh salsa too.

    Angie's Blackened Tempeh

     Angie’s Blackened Tempeh

    After dropping the car off at the hotel and changing into our dancing clothes, we walked down Orange Avenue. Our first stop was The Courtesy. They take their craft cocktails very seriously. Robbie had a Blue Point IPA that he really liked and I loved my Seba Sour, recommended by the bartender. It is amongst the top three fanciest drinks I’ve ever had, was extremely tasty, and full of booze, so five stars on that.

    Seba Sour at The Courtesy

    Angie’s Seba Sour at The Courtesy

    We tried another new-to-us bar just down the street called The Woods. I had a couple of pretty great vodka gimlets and Robbie had a Widmer Upheaval IPA then switched to whiskey with an Old Fashioned. The bar itself is cool and the bartenders were nice. The music was kind of bad in there but they have a very impressively stocked bar with just about anything you could want, including fresh ingredients for craft cocktails.

    We walked to a secret speakeasy called Hanson’s Shoe Repair. I called the speakeasy on the drive to Orlando and left a voicemail. I was later texted back with the secret password. They only allow 30 people in at a time so we had to wait for a little while downstairs in another bar called NV Art Bar. NV is basically a really expensive, pretty lame waiting room for Hanson’s Shoe Repair. It has good reviews online but I honestly don’t see why; I have a better bar inside my house. Hanson’s Shoe Repair was definitely worth the wait for the kitsch factor and the expertly made drinks. I had the Danny Trejo and Robbie had an Old Fashioned. Both were excellent. Their outside upstairs patio is really adorable and would be perfect for a slightly warmer night. They have speakeasy rules posted and one of them is no photos so…I have no photos.

    It was almost 11:00 so we hoped the dancing would be picking up over at Eye Spy. We entered through Bar-BQ-Bar. It took a little bit for things to get going and it wasn’t the best night we’ve had there as far as the music played or the fellow customers but it was still a great night. The DJ played some jamz and we danced and danced.

    The next day we went to Frank & Steins for lunch before going to pick up Sookie-dog. We had been once before for drinks and to play tabletop shuffleboard and saw they have veggie hot dogs on the menu. Sadly, they sold out of veggie dogs the night before. We got a decent spinach dip but our entrees were pretty bad. Our drinks were good though. Robbie got Bell’s Hopslam on draft which is kind of a miracle. We would definitely go back to drink and play games and probably to give the veggie dogs a try.

    Orlando Bars We Visited & Liked on Past Trips

    Redlight Redlight: A craft beer and wine bar. It has been in three locations over the years. The latest incarnation is by far the best.

    BART: A small bar offering a good but small selection of beer in bottles and wines. They have old arcade games you can play for free while having a drink. It’s a very unique place that I hope continues to live on. You should go to it and actually purchase something unlike most of the people in there.

    Independent Bar: More of a dance club really. It has two levels and a big screen where they show music videos. There are almost always goth characters there to dance on the 80s/Industrial/New Wave nights. I do appreciate a good goth in 2014.

    Milk Bar: A small but cute neighborhood bar. Robbie got a beer he was impressed with but they must not have had wine because I’m pretty sure I got a cider.

    Sonoma Draught House: A nice place even if it’s a little corporate feeling. They have 49 draft beers and a full bar. We had good drinks and a cheese plate on our previous visit.

    Orlando Bar We’d Like to Visit Next Time

    Tap & Grind: A craft beer bar downtown. We read good things but didn’t make it there on this trip.


  5. hand embroidered Christmas stockings

    December 24, 2013 by Angie

    Now that we have a (dog) baby and a fireplace, I wanted a set of matching Christmas stockings for our mantle.

    Almost finished stockings on the mantle

    I bought these red stockings at Michael’s and hand embroidered them with green embroidery floss. I printed out a backwards alphabet and used that to trace our names onto pieces of tracing paper with an iron-on pen. Once the outlines of the letters were ironed onto the stockings, I went around the letters with a backstitch. I then filled the letters in with satin stitches.

    Robbie's stocking on Xmas Eve

    I finally finished Robbie’s today, on Christmas Eve.

    Sookie's Stocking

    Here is Sookie’s hanging above the fireplace.

    Geeked Out Stocking StufferWe got our stocking stuffers early this year. Sookie got her favorite thing: yak cheese. Robbie gave me these awesome Game of Thrones sigil coasters. I got him Spock socks and a bag of mini Twix. Merry Christmas!


  6. wheat-free dog birthday cake

    December 9, 2013 by Angie

    Our little Sookie girl is one year old! Her puppyhood went by so quickly. She still acts (and occasionally misbehaves) like a puppy so she’ll be my baby dog for a while longer. We had a little party for her at her favorite dog-friendly bar, New World Brewery.

    Mommy & Birthday Girl

     Sookie indulged us by wearing a birthday hat, at least for a little while.

    I made her a vegan, wheat-free, (arguably) gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, peanut-free, no sugar added, doggie cake. I found several almost identical recipes online and followed them with a few changes. I most closely used this one and this one. It’s a SunButter and carrot cake. The other recipes called for peanut butter, an egg, and wheat flour. I don’t mess with peanut butter because I’m allergic or eggs because I don’t buy them. I chose to use oat flour instead of wheat or unbleached flour because I avoid feeding wheat to our dog.

    Sookie's cake

    Sookie’s doggie cake

    Ingredients

    1 flax egg (1 tbs flax meal mixed with 3 tbs water)
    1 cup shredded carrots
    1/4 cup applesauce
    1/4 cup SunButter, plus 1-2 tbsp (sunflower seed butter)
    1/4 cup honey (I used a little less than this.)
    1 cup oat flour (quick cooking oats pulverized in the food processor)
    1 tsp baking soda

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8″ cake pan.

    2. Make your flax egg by combining 1 tbs flax meal with 3 tbs water. Stir to combine. Set aside.

    3. Make the oat flour by pulverizing a cup of quick cooking oats in a food processor.

    4. Shred a cup of carrots. I used a vegetable slicer but since the food processor is already dirty that might be your best bet.

    5. Combine the first five ingredients. Stir to mix by hand.

    6. Combine the oat flour and baking soda in a small bowl.

    7. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix by hand.

    8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Mine was actually a tiny bit burnt around the edges after thirty minutes but my oven is wacky and I skimped on the honey so maybe check it at around 20-25 minutes just to be safe.

    9. Once the cake was cool I spread a little more SunButter on top to look like frosting.

    Sookie wants cake!

    Sookie couldn’t wait to eat her cake!


  7. We Love Sookie cross stitch

    August 7, 2013 by Angie

    I didn’t find cross stitch all that enjoyable when completing my first project. I spent most of the time struggling with knots in the floss. I keep seeing so many adorable cross stitch patterns and I like to have a small, portable project for long car rides or to work on when I only have a few minutes so I decided to give cross stitch another chance. It was a lot less frustrating this time! Here it is, an homage to our labrador mix puppy, Sookie.

    framed cross stitch

    Here are two photos I just took of Sookie in the yard, for comparison and because I want everyone to look at my sweet baby dog.

    Sookie Lizard Border

    I googled “labrador cross stitch patterns” and this one from fab.com was by far the cutest. I didn’t need an entire cross stitch kit so I transferred the design to 14 count graph paper (I got here) by counting the stitches to make a pattern. I also moved the heart from the booty area to the chest. I was going to put her name underneath but decided it looked better without it.

    Sookie cross stitch pattern

    Cross stitch pattern

    completed cross stitch

    Here it is completed, ironed, and ready to be framed. I used this method from Instructables.com. I used the thin piece of cardboard that came inside the frame and sewed the edges of the cross stitch fabric together around that.

    closeup cross stitch

    A closeup.

    I’m so happy with the results that I’m planning more projects. I bought two tiny hoops for Christmas ornaments and have a favorite Don Draper quote in the works as well.


  8. easy lap quilt

    May 23, 2013 by Angie

    My first quilt is finally finished! It’s, like, a really big deal to me, you guys. I feel like I wrote a novel or something. Here it is, my pride and joy!

    finally!

    Sneak peak of the back.

    all folded up

     Folded up on my quilting table.

    folded closeup

    After three quilted pillows and a lot of reading about quilting, I went for it. I made the “easy lap quilt” from Bend-The-Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. For the quilt top I used some fat quarters I found at JoAnn’s Fabric and three shades of gray by Kona Solids (I think).

    "designing" the quilt top

    “Designing” the quilt top using strips of different lengths.

    quilt top

    The finished quilt top.

    After completing the quilt top I basted the three layers – quilt top, batting, and backing – together with pins. I had been able to successfully quilt my three smaller projects on my little old sewing machine but quickly had a disaster on my hands when it came to this quilt. Oh, the bunching! I did some more reading and realized I didn’t have the tools necessary to get the job done. I needed a walking foot and my machine couldn’t accomodate one. Robbie is the hero in this story for giving me my amazing new Janome MS5027PR sewing machine (complete with walking and free motion feet) for Christmas. Thank you, Cute Husband!

    After ripping out a lot of quilting stitches – so annoying! – I basted the quilt again on the floor of the spare room in our new house.

    IMG_8036

     I taped the backing to the floor to discourage shifting while pinning.

    IMG_8037

    All basted!

    The quilting took longer than I would have liked but I was learning how to use my new machine at the same time so I guess that’s to be expected. I stitched in the ditch in between each strip vertically and added more vertical quilt lines sort of randomly. I thought it needed more so I quilted some horizontal lines too. I quilted one line on either side of each horizontal fabric join. I struggled with the horizontal quilting because there was nothing nearby to use as a guide. I used blue painter’s tape but it was pretty horrible so next time I’ll use a washable marker of some kind.

    close up of the quilting

    A closeup of the quilting lines.

    Next I squared up the quilt as best as I could. It meant cutting it smaller than I would have liked but it was worth it to get everything ready for easy binding.

    squared up

    Squared up quilt.

    binding

    My binding strips.

    This was my first time binding anything so I was pretty nervous about this step. It really wasn’t that bad! And now that I’ve done it once I don’t feel scared anymore! I made the binding from strips of the quilt top fabrics. I machine sewed the binding to the front of the quilt. Here’s a photo of my first mitered corner.

    mitered corner!

    Mitered corner!

    binding sewn to the front

    Here is the binding sewn to the front of the quilt.

    After that I folded the binding over to the back and blind stitched it by hand. It took quite a while but I’m happy with how it looks. It doesn’t look very sturdy to me though so I hope the hand stitching holds up over time and machine washes.

    blind stitching the binding

    A closeup of the stitching the binding to the back.

    once upon time Sookie was good

    Once upon a time, Sookie was a good girl! She laid on her bed in the sewing room and didn’t try to eat my quilt!

    quilt photo, Florida style

    Some outdoor photos of the completed quilt.

    am I the only one without a pool?

    And below is a photo of the back because I think you can see the binding better.

    back of the quilt

    I’m already thinking about my next quilt. I want to make a larger one with Christmas fabrics but since I take forever I better get started on Christmas now!


  9. Brewing Day: Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA

    April 1, 2013 by Angie

    On Saturday we completed step one of our first batch of homebrew. We are using a one gallon kit made by Brooklyn Brew Shop to brew their Everyday IPA. (Robbie exclusively and very selectively drinks IPA.) Our friends Conner & Tessa came over and helped out. Our puppy Sookie was here too to supervise/interfere/cute it up.

    Here’s a photo of the kit box with the ingredients that came inside. It came with almost everything needed to brew the beer, but not quite. We had to get some of our own equipment in addition to the kit including a six quart stock pot (you really need 3 big pots to accomplish this), a bottle of StarSan sanitizer, a gallon of distilled water, a spray bottle, a metal funnel, and a fine mesh strainer. We used a slotted metal spoon, measuring cup, measuring spoons, and two big pots that we already had. We also bought some stuff for the bottling step which happens in two weeks but I’ll blog about that when the time comes.

    Beer Making Kit

    Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA Beer Making Kit. You’re looking at the grain, the hops, and the yeast.

    Brooklyn Beer Shop’s detailed instructions and an instructional video are available on their website so I won’t bore you with the all the details here. Enjoy a rundown of the major steps with photos!

    1. Wash and sanitize EVERYTHING.

    Dramatic Sanitization

     Robbie dramatically sanitizing the mesh strainer.

    2. The Mash: Cook the grain in water while keeping the temperature within the desired range.

    The Mash

    3. The Sparge: Collect the wort from the watery grain mash then recirculate the collected wort through the grain one more time.

    The Sparge

     Robbie straining the wort.

    Sookie supervises

     Sookie supervises the homebrewing process.

    4. The Boil: Boil the wort and add the hops in stages. At the end of the boil, you give the wort an ice bath.

    The Boil

     The wort is spinning with newly added hops.

    Ice Bath

     Here’s the ice bath we created in the sink. We had to get it to down to 70 degrees before the next step.

    5. Fermentation: The last part of Day 1 involves pouring the wort through a strainer and funnel into the gallon fermenter then pitching in the yeast and shaking it around. After that, we set up a blow-off tube ending in a bowl of sanitzier and put the future beer in a dark, safe place. On Tuesday we’ll switch the blow-off tube for the airlock and two weeks from Saturday we get to move on to bottling.

    Tessa holds the strainer

    Tessa holds the strainer while Robbie pours the beer-to-be into the fermenter.

    Action shot: shaking the yeast

    Robbie shakes the yeast “aggressively”, as instructed.

    That’s all for now – more in about two weeks when we bottle the beer!


  10. buttery chick’n

    March 22, 2013 by Angie

    We’ve been taking Sookie to puppy kindergarten classes at 7:30 on Thursdays which means dinnertime is all crazy for seven weeks. I made sloppy lentils in the slow cooker last week and that worked out really well. I wanted to try something new for the slow cooker this week so I made buttery chick’n from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. It’s an Indian/Middle Eastern flavored tofu dish with a tomato sauce seasoned with garam masala, cumin, and turmeric.

    Buttery Chick'n

    It’s a lot like another recipe I used to make often in college in a wok called spiced tofu from Bobbi Hinman’s totally fantastic cookbook The Vegetarian Gourmet’s Easy International Recipes. Both recipes are delicious. I want to make and blog the spiced tofu soon to compare since it’s been a long time.

    Buttery Chick'n Closeup

    We ate it with saltines because we’re not big rice people. Robbie is kinda picky about “weird” spices but he got seconds. Definitely a keeper!