Happy New Year! One of the last things we did as a family last year was take a road trip with the cats. This was the first time we took both cats in the car and it was quite an adventure.
During my stay in China, I’ve come across quite the assortment of exotic bugs. They’ve mainly been beetles, but there were plenty of others as well! Here are some I have pics of…
Such bright colors!
I thought the bush had a disease (and in a sense it does), but these are fuzzy powdery caterpillars!
This one reminded me of a ladybug.
This dragonfly on the porch was massive – a good three inches or longer.
My first atlas beetle sighting in the wild!!!
Such a golden fellow.
A more typical insect that made its way indoors.
Omg, such a large skinny beetle.
This had to have been the loudest cicada ever. There was a guy who put their larvae by the trees like this and they seemed to hatch and not leave the tree.
Last week I was going through emails and saw these adorable pie pops from Treatsie. My friend “Calavera” and I decided we had to make them, so she came over this weekend to make some belated Pi Day treats.
While Panda was away on travel, he got a chance to stay at a Ritz-Carlton property. When he left, he realized that he could not find his power adapter, so he contacted the hotel and they were unable to locate it. Weeks later, he was supposed to return to the property but plans got changed and he had to stay at a different hotel in the area. When the hotel staff found out, they offered to send the replacement adapter they got him and delivered it to his new hotel! Not only that, but he mentioned he wanted to get something from the gift store – a rubber ducky – and they even brought that all wrapped up at no charge. Now this is the type of service I’ve heard of from this establishment and it’s great to see it in action. They made his trip that much better with their extra effort and kindness. 🙂
Panda and I had a fun time on our tour of Europe and came home with some great items! Most of our focus was on eating local food, seeing the historical sites, and exploring the cities – but I still managed to bring back some things.
In Italy, I insisted on finding some fun pasta. I had an amazing Milka bar that then prompted the purchase of this giant one. And that bottle of olive oil came from our dinner meal, where the restaurant explained that oil olive is best enjoyed fresh, so when you purchase bread and oil, you get your own bottle to use. Anything unused can be taken home.
In France I had to get something from the Eiffel Tower, as I’m wont to do when I go. Lately I’ve been into unique mugs, so this one with legs caught my interest. At Versailles we had lunch at Angelina and I saw a loaf of gingerbread with honey that sounded good. At Orly airport there was an amazing shop of treats (mostly candy, just the way I like it). I found flavors of Toblerones that I never heard of before! The Oreo Milka looked too good to pass up and the guy kindly offered a discount on the hot chocolate tins, which are gifts for the folks who helped watch the cats while we were gone. Finally, we ate at Exki in the airport and I was a total sucker for their bamboo utensils and grabbed at set to use at work.
In Spain our big purchase was the Tous earrings, which is a brand Panda loves because of the cute bear designs. They’re Spanish, so we were hoping for a good selection and were rewarded with not only that, but excellent prices as well. It happened to be located in an El Corte Ingles shopping center that offered a loyalty card for 10% of your purchase value towards the next one. The amount earned from the earrings was exactly enough to get the three sauce bowls – perfect since I’ve wanted that sort of thing for a long time. Then the points earned from that plus 0.45€ was enough to get that shot glass for my collection! Love the bonus items we got. 🙂 The two drinks were from the hotel.
While in Paris, Panda and I were looking for a popular and special place to have dinner. With much searching, he came across Le Soufflé – offering a completely soufflé experience. They had a three-course meal that was all soufflés!
We eagerly walked there after a long day of exploring and stepped inside to a cozy little entry. A gentleman approached and asked if we had a reservation. We did not, so we wondered what the wait would be.
“I’m sorry, we are booked for the rest of the evening,” he told us.
“When’s the next time you have an opening?” we inquired.
“All reservations for the night are taken,” he explained. “You can make a reservation for tomorrow lunch.”
Disappointed, we stepped out and considered our options for our meal. It was past 9 and many restaurants were closing within the hour. We returned to the hotel to get online and search for somewhere else with soufflés.
With little success, we went to ask the concierge. He immediately recommended the restaurant we had been turned away from. We started telling him how they were booked, but he was already dialing their number. At first it seemed like they might give us a reservation, but then he started shaking his head. Fully booked. :-/
So he began calling a variety of other options asking if they at least served dessert soufflé. Finally, one place said yes – but it was not walking distance and we did not want to take a taxi. So as things looked more and more dismal, I was about ready to just eat at the hotel. Then, out of the blue, the concierge tells us we can go to Le Soufflé!
What?! We were confused. Apparently he had called them two more times and they had a cancellation, so we got in! We quickly rushed over the half mile or so to the restaurant and arrived aright round 10.
At first we planned on getting a set each, but upon seeing the size of the soufflés, we decided to share a single three-course meal. It was 37€ so we were happy to save on the cost too.
This was a fun dining experience and the meal felt very satisfying, even with such light food. I think ait’s great thing to try for anyone new to the city. 🙂
To sniff and eat them, that is. Not just catnip either, though I do have that for them. Missy’s more interested in grass most of the time.
My new plants have been growing in a planter I got this summer. I have catnip, various wildflowers, poppies, and a smattering of other flowering type plants. I hope they make it through the colder weather coming up! I’ll have to find a place inside the home to place them later in fall. I recently planted tomato seeds and Panda saved pepper seeds from the last pepper we ate. I’d love to have my own little garden someday, though for now I don’t have a yard so my options are certainly limited.
This weekend, I received the compost tumbler that I ordered online! I wanted something compact that I could keep on my porch and put my food scraps in. The tumbling kind is perfect because you can rotate the mix around and distribute it more evenly for better “cooking” in there.
It was pretty easy to figure out once I tried out the components. There were a ton of screws to put in! There are some ventilation holes that can’t be sealed so I can’t pour straight liquid. I hope it decomposes well and doesn’t leak!
For secret santa last year, my pledge bros and I did a long distance exchange. Most of us are distributed around the world now, so it was a fun way to reconnect and send each other gifts. I got a lovely bottle of DANI’s lemongrass lavender reed diffuser. When my most recent reed diffuser ran out, I eagerly opened up the box for this one. Little did I know how challenging opening it would be! Since Panda and I don’t drink, we don’t have one of those wine bottle openers that might have helped with the whole process. Instead, this is what happened…
First we tried using pliers and other tools to grip the stopper and wiggle it out. It was the soft rubbery kind though, so it would just bend out of shape and wouldn’t budge. Eventually it started to break apart so I knew we needed to try other methods.
At least now I get to enjoy the lemony smell of my reed diffuser!