Monday, September 23, 2013

Life lately - silly and serious

Life lately - silly and serious. Silly First.

Lately, I've been obsessed with all the plants around my house. This one below in particular. I kept wondering why my favorite plant looked so sad. Errvvday. Just watering and watering and wondering, what the heck is happening to this plant. 

Then, I took a closer look. And, this!!!!

Hashtag amateurgardenerproblemzzzzz!!!!

Not only did he (she?) eat my whole plant, he/she then politely peppered my plant with a million eggs. Yuck! 

But now, to kill or to not kill the catapillar - that is the question my friends.  I can't off a future butterfly is what I told myself. But after a long week of deliberation, and a lot of staring wistfully at my sad plant, I caved and bought some organic pesticide. If I want to up my game in the gardening , I must use pesticides.

Then, this showed up on my doorstep right after I got home from our vacation in the rain forest. (Which I've already talked about way too much, but you can read about it here, and here. And oh here too.) Ohh West Elm. How you always read my mind.  

Can I get a green master bedroom makeover please!?! Heck to the yea. 
This might take a while, I wouldn't hold your breath on this one. 

On a more serious note, how about my Fall goals. Oh wow, does Tessybear even know what a goal is anymore! Psh, those are only for New Year's, whatcha talking bout Willis!

But really.  In all seriousness, this year has been a great travel year for me. Which is good, because I got bit by the travel bug hard. But with no scheduled trips for the rest of the year, work, personal or otherwise, I'm trying to buckle down and focus again. I want to learn Español, of course attempt to lose 10 lbs. (When is losing weight not a goal?), and try to finish the house. Our third floor is practically untouched in the décor department, and I really want to tackle the master bedroom.

 Since 2013 is practically over, I'm trying to keep it simple and only pick a few goals. its only acceptable to have 15 goals in January :)

Ok ok. That was all silly. What is everyone else up to lately? Really, do tell. I'm sure it's more exciting than catapillars ;) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pictures I'll Never Forget

I've talked enough the past two days- So I'm linking up with one of my favorite bloggers, Jenni from Story of My Life, for a wordless post. I've already said too much :x 

Memories :) 

- Tessy 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Whale Watching and Surf lessons - Pura Vida!!!

FIRST OFF I AM LOVING ALL THIS BRITNEY SPEARS NEWS!!!!!....but this post was scheduled and in the que....Costa Rica Part 2!!

We loved the Arenal region, and we loved our hotel even more. The staff was amazing, the volcano was gorgeous (you can read about it here) and the rainforest felt relaxing and exotic all at the same time. We were sad to leave, and didn't think there was any way we could top those three days.

Wellll. Costa Rica had a few tricks up its sleeve. So off to our second city, Manuel Antonio we went. 

But first, another crazy drive. This drive took around 5 hours (shout out to Costa Rica ride! They were amazing). And this time, I had Dramamine. Thank god. I resisted, like the stubborn person I am, since Dramamine makes you sleepy. And who wants to fall asleep on vacay?!? Not me!! But after feeling like I was gasping for air and spinning in circles, we took a break and I ate half a pill. 

Then we took our second break. We stopped at the usual souvenir shop: 

Then our ride told us to walk across the bridge, but don't try to swim. 
And HOLY moly. This was what we were staring at: 

This should have been an indication.... We were headed to a real-life zoo.  Without cages. Seriously y'all! And our travel agent picked this city and hotel, so I was pretty blind going into it! 

We finally get to our hotel, Arenas Del Mar, and we took this long little road to the Eco-resort. This resort appealed to me, because it was where the rainforest meets the beach. I wanted a full week of rainforest :) The views were spectacular. And unlike our first hotel, the foliage was overgrown and just, well, wild. No perfectly manicured gardens at this place.

^this picture was taken from the hotel "lobby" - a completely open air restaurant next to the concierge. UM, PARADISE FOUND^

^This picture was taken from our Catamaran cruise- but it gives you some perspective as to where the hotel was located^ 

 We kept saying we felt like we were shipwrecked on some deserted tropical island. It definitely took a few hours to get used to. And then, we planned our activities - and I stacked those suckers. Back-to-back stuff!! 

First up on day 2 in Manuel Antonio: A catamaran cruise to whale watch. We were told we had a 95% chance of seeing them since it was whale season in Costa Rica.  Sold. This has been on my bucket list for forever, and I for sure had no idea it was going to be possible on this trip. And we found them! I was like a little 5-year-old shrieking all over the boat every time we saw one. I was in total awe of these creatures. 

^ a mama whale and her baby ^

^ as close as my zoom lenses would take me^

^every time we spotted the spray, everyone would gasp with excitement. We think we saw three whales total, but it's hard to say^ 

Then, surfing lessons! No rest on vacation! This was one of the activities The Hubs was super excited about. Surfing is hard stuff!! 

 What was crazy was that it started storming while we were surfing! We finally called it quits around 4:30 p.m., and retreated from what had been one of best days yet.

I shall return with a post on our last day. I planned to only write two posts, but these posts are becoming way too long for my taste. Hasta mañana! 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Costa Rica - part uno

Ahhh yes. Finally. Time to sit down and write an ol' blog post. I've folded two loads of laundry so I feel like I've earned it! Which, how high this blog sits on the priority list is another story for another time; but generally, if I'm feeling behind in life, I don't blog.

Another weekend has come to an end, and it was a good one. I love the busy pace of fall, even though it is still scorching hot here in Houston. No hot pumpkin spice lattes for this girl yet - we are just gonna have to wait for the weather to cooperate. I'm a diehard iced coffee girl anyway :)

So before I forget, I want to tell you all about our trip to Costa Rica. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen - and we both left so incredibly happy with our choice. It's taken us a couple trips, but we've realized that we don't enjoy a vacation with too much downtime. Me especially. I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie, while my husband is a nature lover. Matt suggested Costa Rica, and I have an extreme fear of bugs that was making me very hesitant. But after some research into all the adventureous activities, I realized a trip to the rainforest was the perfect compromise for us! The options were seriously endless with zip lining, walking tours through the rain forest, hikes to volcanoes, surf lessons, national park tours filled with wildlife, and white water rafting at the top of our list. 

after two weeks of practically living on tripadvisor (they even have an app!) and talking to this travel agency in Costa Rica - we finally agreed! We were headed to Two locations in Costa Rica for our 2013 vacation and sorta-of-delayed anniversary trip. You can find details of booking the trip at the bottom of this post. 

First off - the drives in the country are a sight to see themselves. Once you are 20 minutes from the airport - you are staring at mountains and green grass for miles. Coffee, sugar cane, and indoor plant farms are EVERYWHERE. I really could have used some Dramamine on the first ride. But here are some pictures of the first car ride. 

After 3 hours of bumpy driving - We arrived at our first location: the Arenal region, in a town called La Fortuna. The main attraction in this region Is the Arenal volcano, which has been dormant for two years. It first blew sometime in the 60's, and experts say it may become active again in 100 years. The volcano is also what warms up the natural springs - which we never tested out because we ran out of time! 

Most hotels in the area have a view like this:

Or on a gloomy day, this view: 

Every day was kind of a toss up, and everyone wants to get that one view of the tip in broad day light sans clouds. We finally saw it clearly on our last day, lava steam and all :) 

We had no idea our first hotel, Nayara Spa and Gardens, was a big honeymoon destination. Which we found a little funny, but we met a bunch of brand new couples. I know every hotel has some kind of ranking, but just to throw it out there.. It's supposedly one of  top 5 most romantic hotels in the world, and rated one of the best hotels in Central America. Needless to say, I was most excited about our first stop, and hardly researched our second hotel and location. Here are some pics of Nayara: 

Each room was a private 'casita,' with a indoor and outdoor shower (see below). My favorite was the jacuzzi on your patio. It was so relaxing to sit on the patio and listen to the rain.

^jacuzzi on the patio^
^pool with volcano view^
^outdoor shower^ 

We loved Nayara so much, and I would definitely recommend this hotel. I wish we had more time at this spot.  Our last day we didn't participate in activities because we felt guilty leaving  and not fully enjoying the hotel grounds. 

Now the activities portion of this area - I think you'll be happy with any activity you pick here. It was just so hard to pick and squeeze it all in!! We went zip lining at a place called "sky trek." 

And then a walking bridges tour called "sky walk," which was a three mile walk through the rain forest. You walk over bridges like this: 

This tour was definitely a favorite of the trip. Finding waterfalls was super exciting, and I can't wait to find some more around the world! 

Excuse my drowned rat look, but I just couldn't resist this funny pic! 

1. I booked our flights, but used the travel agency for hotel reservations and all transportation. We did not want to rent a car once we got there. Roads inside the country are notoriously windy, bumpy, and improperly marked. 

2. We booked all of our excursions through the hotel. We couldn't pick from the Internet, and wanted to see how the weather would play out. 

3. Take Dramamine if you get car sick easily. 

4. Most activities in CR are in the morning. So driving days feel kinda wasted. We stayed 3 nights here and didn't feel we had enough time. 

And that's all I could think of for now! 

Toddles and happy Monday. 


Monday, September 9, 2013

Back to reality today...

So, we are most definitely back from THE MOST (no, seriously) amazing. vacation. EVER.

I am just trying to ease back into regular ol' life. We had such a good time being off, but it came to an end today. I came back to work, and Matthew started his first day at his new job. Well, his job isn't scary new, because he is going to work for the family business. But nonetheless, it's a huge change for us!
If you haven't read here lately, we went to Costa Rica on vacation. It was above and beyond our expectations. Truly. If you like nature and adventure, this vacation is truly for you.
When we got back to Texas, we got right back on the road and headed to Austin, TX to see Mrs. Jessie get hitched. Then it was all about Football in the Cook Casa!

SIGH. I'll be back to reminisce later!!!

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