Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favorites

Happy Halloween!!!

We had a very slow week!  Derek worked late almost every night so we didn't do a whole lot! I don't know what was in the water around here but Penn State and Dallas BOTH lost in overtime and the Eagles lost in the last few seconds.. rough sports week around here :-/ Neeldess to say, we spent Monday catching up from Penn State and Tuesday catching up from Monday Night football.. by Wednesday the week was half over but we were finally up to speed!

Of course the highlight of our week was our Penn State weekend
We weren't the only ones in town - apparently Ryan Lochte caught a lot of attention downtown 

 We've been noticing how pretty our new backyard is - the leaves we have are just beautiful and I looked out the other day to see a beautiful sunset too

"Paint the Front Door" has been on the never ending to do list for so long now and this week, I finally fixed it.  It might look easy because it's just a couple little white spaces but it was certainly a challenge and took hours due to multiple coats. But in the end - another item is crossed off the list, wahoo!

We keep talking about going green and now we're finally doing it - we started our "green" smoothies this week

Last night we celebrated Halloween Eve here at the Sotherden's!  We had Halloween pasta and meatballs for dinner and Derek carved one of our pumpkins so we can light it up tonight handing out candy (if we can transfer it over to my parent's house)
We got this on a whim one day when we were out shopping - it turned out to be really good; I hope they make some for Christmas
 We had some left over creamy ice cream from Penn State so we finished the night with
"Monster Mash"


Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Month in Review: October

October has been one of the best, most peaceful, calm months we've had. We were home the entire month and it was fantastic, how life should be!  {Fast forward to the new year and I think there is what our new year will look like possibly with our phones unplugged}

Needless to say not too much to show for our month; but we did a few things…

 Both of us agreed it was so nice to be at the mall and not looking for a dress for this or a necklace for that and just "shop"
 We finished out family wedding season and helped Carly and Cale celebrate their big day
 We had a blast being able to just come home from work on a Friday and meet up with friends on a whim or try some new places in our new neighborhood and just go with the flow
Our bar installation was pretty much finished - Since these photos we've made it look a little more homey and stocked it and the front panels should actually be installed next week!
 I mean this is pretty much what our month looked like… relaxation
 We had some of the family over for the Penn State/Michigan game and celebrated our 
 Davey, Derek and I made a trip to Pumpkinland to gather some pumpkins for the new house while Mom and Steve were in sunny Arizona
 We had a surprise date night at home - we had dinner at home on a Saturday night because we finally were not on the go - it was fantastic - then we had a double date via face time, technology at it's finest 
 As well as another surprise date night at my very favorite (which we live farther from now) El Gran
We put a lot of effort into getting our house decorated on the inside and the out 
 We had an extremely fun weekend at Penn State for the big game (and sadly our first and last of the season): Post Here
We celebrated Halloween and activities that go along with it 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bora Bora Travel Tips

There's a different way of life out in the French Polynesia and lots of differences.  If your traveling there or plan to; here's some tips that could help you out…
Packing Must Haves:
Bug Spray or Wipes
Outlet Adapter(s)
One outlet adapter will work for one item so if you plan on charging your camera, iPad, cell phone, using a hair appliance, etc. you might want to either bring at least one or borrow from the front desk
Conversion App on your Cell Phone
Inflatable Rafts 
You can either blow them up or have them blown up once you arrive - we brought little one person ones but the people in the hut across from us brought a 5-6 person raft; anything is possible
Water Shoes
Your phone might not work for international calls even if you have international roaming - texts, emails, internet use will work just fine especially on hotel properties - most offer free internet

You can bring two bottles of liquor per person from the duty free shop in LA and get mixers at the local stores to make enjoying your deck for Happy Hour easier
Don't over plan - pick a couple excursions you want to do and spend the rest of the time enjoying the resort - just bouncing around from your bungalow dock, to the pool, to the beach can easily fill a day

Definitely leave time for naps on the first day and do an early dinner.. You will need time to adjust to the time zone especially after a nine hour flight
If you stop on other islands, it's great for the experience but make sure Bora Bora is your longest stay
We met some people who spent more of their time in Moorea and to each their own, but they mentioned they wished they stayed in Bora Bora longer

Research the bag requirements before you go - but don't let it scare you.  Flying from the states to Tahiti there is a very heavy bag allowance but on the inner island flights there is no
t and the requirements can make you think your bags won't make the cut - they most likely will - we had to only pay $40 roundtrip for the extra weight and were traveling as "divers" to make it easier
Use a travel agent for the flights, hotels, transportation - it makes things so much easier with the slight language barrier and price difference.  Set excursions and meals up with the hotel concierge when you arrive or over email before you go - the locals are super nice and happy to help

Pack extra bathing suits and cover ups/tshirts - you might go swimming off the dock in the morning and want to be dry to go in for breakfast, etc.
If you're able to stay at one of the hotels on the outer motu, do it - they are more private and reserved, less choppy and tend to be pretty 

Split your trip up - ourselves and many couples we met opted to stay at two resorts while in Bora Bora (possibly more depending if they stopped at other islands) because each hotel has pluses and minuses, different scenery, different activities and an over all different experience

Don't waste your time exchanging money at the airport - just get to the hotel and they can easily do it for you
Check the voltage on your hair appliances ladies - if they are high voltage, bring a smaller one
*note* my beloved nume wand didn't work AND shorted out

You might very well look like this sometimes a lot of the time; embrace it
Water shoes are a must - the water is beautiful but the sand is not soft - there are shells and coral everywhere
Bring plenty of sunscreen (it can be expensive out there) 2-3 bottles should be good - probably bring a little bit higher than what you usually use
The staff is super friendly if you take the time to talk to them; they love sharing about their island

Don't be surprised if a quick rainstorm pops up for an hour or so - you are on a tropical island
Take lots of photos - they don't quite do the beautiful island justice, but they come pretty close

Where We Stayed 
All of which we would highly recommend 

In Los Angeles we stayed at The Beverly Wilshire and can't wait to go back to celebrate many anniversaries (can't go to Bora Bora for all of them)

In Tahiti we stayed at the Intercontinental Tahiti{If you stay at any of the intercontinental hotels on the islands - there's four - join the ambassador program before you go, the two free bottles of water each day are worth it but also a room upgrade, welcome gifts, late check out, early check in, fresh fruit, etc.
In Bora Bora we stayed first at the Intercontinental Thalasso Resort & Spa
And we finished the trip at The Four Seasons Bora Bora

Differences between the Intercontinental Thalasso and 
the Four Seasons Bora Bora:

{Intercontinental Thalasso}: Better activities and more planned things to do, better beach huts, bigger mini bar, one big fish hole to look at fish (coffee table), bigger lower dock and better to swim off of, people really use their docks
{Four Seasons Bora Bora}: Like all Four Seasons; you can't beat the service, plentiful water all over, Better upper dock, snorkel stuff on your dock, very long beach, four smaller holes to look at fish in room - more for nighttime use, people really use the resort main areas - beach, pool, etc.