Happy Monday! I’m so excited to share our guest room refresh with you! When my daughter recently left for college she ended up taking some furniture and bedding with her so I thought that it was a perfect time to give this space a nice refresh! I absolutely love this space… it might be my favorite room in the house. The painted white tongue and groove walls have always made this space feel cozy yet clean and bright.
The only downside to this space is it’s small, so space saving furniture is a must. Because of this we skipped a space hogging dresser and went with a storage bed for all our drawer needs. Besides this one we have another one in our room. I absolutely love our Pottery Barn storage beds and I’ve been meaning to review them on the blog for a while now. It’s on my to do list! One minor drawback with storage beds, though, is that if you plan on opening them often like we do you’ll need a floating nightstand. If your storage bed is more for long term storage you can simply move a regular nightstand out of the way to open it, but that wasn’t an option for us. I really love floating furniture, it is great for small spaces because it tricks the eye and gives the illusion of more space.
I wanted to introduce a bit more color and contrast into the room so I went with these 26 inch pink pillow covers from Etsy, they really makes the room pop! I love pillow covers because they’re easily washable and easy to switch out when you need a change. You can find pretty much any size pillow insert on Amazon so that’s my favorite home decor, pillow covers, and they barely take up any storage space when not in use.
I updated the wall art for a more modern look, black and white photos and prints are my jam, I can never get enough. I love the clean, crisp, vintage look to them. Funny thing is in Scotland I actually got to see a highland cow in person and feed it a carrot. He was adorable and he licked me with his scratchy tongue and guess what? I didn’t get one photo! Do you ever go on vacation, have an amazing time, and forget to get a photo? We took so many great photos in Scotland and I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t get a cute cow photo too… I didn’t know how trendy highland cows would soon become! I went with Art.com for this print, I’ve bought from them for years and they never let me down.
I’ve always loved rooms that are decorated with a heavy black and white scheme but I still need color here and there. I don’t know what it is but ever since we moved into this house I’ve been obsessed with the color teal. I’ve bought a teal sofa and painted my cabinets and doors teal so naturally when I was looking for an accent chair my eye kept catching teal. This chair is such a great affordable price and it’s stunning! It’s always scary buying furniture online, you never know what you’re going to get! I love how the room came together with just a few simple changes!
It seems like we haven’t had a lot of home updates or projects going on, but soon I’m excited to share with you our progress in the loft! We’re just waiting on carpet and in the final stages, the same with the kitchen too, knock on wood everything goes to plan!
Are you looking for a great city to explore? One that offers a variety of nature, restaurants, activities, and arts? How about Calgary! Tucked into the Canadian province of Alberta, this cosmopolitan city has so much to offer. After Toronto and Montreal, Calgary is the third most populated city in all of Canada and is located not far from several national parks. Calgary makes a great day trip when you are road-tripping through the Canadian Rockies or camping at a nearby national park and you just need some city life! So you may be thinking what all is there to do in Calgary? Plenty!
THINGS TO SEE
Calgary Tower – Explore Calgary’s most famous landmark and take in panoramic views from the city skyscrapers to the Rocky Mountains. Be sure to check out their dining options while you’re there!
Studio Bell Museum – An exciting music museum with galleries that span five levels, this awesome museum boast 22 interactive exhibits to give a place that amplifies the love, sharing, and understanding of music.
Stephen Avenue – Also known as 8th Street, this major pedestrian mall is a mix of high-end retail, public art installations, and eclectic boutiques. Foodies and discerning shoppers are certain to enjoy.
Calgary Zoo – Not far from the City, this is one of the largest zoos in Canada and boasts over 100 species of animals and a huge butterfly conservatory. Here you can enjoy close encounters with animals that originate from the vast reaches of the planet.
Peace Bridge – This bridge, designed by a Spanish architect, was constructed to connect the Southern Bow River Pathway and the City Center with the Northern Bow River Pathway and the City of Sunnyside to accommodate the increasing pedestrian commuter traffic. From here you can take in beautiful views of the city skyline.
WHERE TO EAT
Native Tongues Taqueria – Native Tongues is the best, most authentic Mexican restaurant in Downtown Calgary. The atmosphere offers an upscale, modern take on Mexican street eats. With some of the most amazing cocktails and tasty tacos, they are sure to please. I definitely recommend the Hongas Tacos, you’ll thank me later.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese Steakhouse – Japanese Barbecue restaurant where you can actually cook your own dinner. All the dishes are highly flavorful and the portions are quite large.
Phil & Sebastian – This trendy coffee shop is always packed because they offer the best coffee in Calgary along with some great dairy alternatives. Whether you want a classic Americano or an oat milk latte, this modern place will set you up with the most tasty cup of joe in town.
Last Best Brewery Company – The best brewery in downtown Calgary, their beer is frigid cold, and of course frigid and Calgary in the winter just go together. Located in the City Center, it is easily accessible by foot or public transit.
So as you can tell, Calgary is an amazing cosmopolitan city in the Canadian Rockies. There are so many things to see and places to go. If you visit and find yourself unable to leave due to the sheer beauty and bustling excitement, here is a site full of Calgary homes for sale! So now it’s time to hit the road and start your adventure! Eh?
Ever since we returned from Maine I’ve had blueberries on my mind. First of all, if you haven’t read my Maine Eats blog post make sure you do! We literally ate our way through the state, and much to my surprise the state isn’t only known for their lobster but also for their blueberries! I will admit I ate an absurd amount of lobster and I did indulge in a few blueberry desserts but not the blueberry cocktails.
At nearly every restaurant I saw some sort of amazing blueberry cocktail creation, our waitress almost broke me one night but I held out strong! It’s one thing to eat my way through Maine but once I start slurping 500 calorie blueberry cocktails it’s pretty much over for me. I may have split some blueberry desserts with Brian, but as much as I wanted to I left those sugary blueberry cocktails alone. But now cut to a week later and I’m still thinking about them. So ahem… may I introduce you do my own skinny girl blueberry lime gin cocktail recipe?
At just 125 calories per drink and 4 carbs this is my creation of Maine in a cocktail. These delicious cocktails are purply and pretty, low in sugar. and full of blueberry anti-oxidants!
I cut out the sugar by using my favorite alternative, liquid stevia! Mixed with a small amount of blueberry juice, there is a perfect balance of sweetness with no awkward aftertaste. You can find blueberry juice at many grocery stores, this is the one I’m using. I’m using regular juice but divided into a small portion per drink the calories and carbs are still quite low.
I made Brian do all the calorie and carb math… he loves math, so I often assign him math projects. He was extra eager for this one because it involved getting a cocktail as a reward afterwards!
5drops liquid stevia (add more if you prefer it sweeter)
1/4lime wedge, squeezed
In a glass add gin, stevia, blueberry juice, and lime juice and mix together.
Add ice and top with 4 oz of sparkling water.
Garnish with fresh lime and blueberries.
Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g
I did this cocktail recipe the lazy girl way, meaning I mixed all the ingredients in the glass, gave them a swirl and then added ice and sparkling water. If you’re feeling fancy and want to get out your cocktail shaker you should totally go for it. I get it… sometimes I feel cocktail fancy too. Add all the ingredients except the ice and the sparkling water, shake, pour and add the ice and sparkling water while doing a twirl… you are truly fancy!
This is the perfect skinny cocktail for a hot summer day! It’s blueberry deliciousness! If you try it let me know what you think!
As promised, I’m back and ready to share our incredible eats from Maine! Brian and I love food and Maine was straight up a foodie paradise for us!
A little bit of history on how I became such a lobster lover. Going to seafood restaurants growing up, my parents would scan the menu and say “Laura, order anything you want except the lobster.” What happens when someone tells you not to do something? Curiosity gets the best of you and naturally you want it, I was literally 6 years old begging for the lobster. Most of the time I would get my way, dinners that just had the tail were a breeze. On occasion as a small child I would order a whole lobster, literally have no idea how to eat it, and I would look up at my parents for help. My dad would whack away at it, getting whatever meat out he could. Growing up in North Texas we had no freakin idea how to properly eat a lobster, it was pre-internet, but we tried. From my memories even the waiters didn’t even fully know how to shell and eat a lobster.
Naturally throughout my childhood and into my adult years if something said it had lobster in it I ordered it. Ordering lobster was no longer a way to irritate my parents, I had actually developed a true love for the taste of it.
Cut to many years later and my cravings for lobster have only intensified and I’ve fully converted my husband into a lobster lover too. I’ve learned that warm water lobster in my opinion isn’t good and that Maine lobster is the only lobster for me.
Living in Colorado, multiple times a year we have to order Maine lobster and it’s downright heaven. I’m like a puppy dog wagging it’s tail waiting for UPS to arrive with my fresh lobsters. I’ll get down my enormous lobster pot (it’s so big I store it in the attic) and we have a lobster cooking party, making our own stock from the shells and making every delicious lobster recipe possible. Try Ina Garten’s Lobster Pot Pie!
For those who love a good fresh lobster smothered in butter but just can’t be bothered wearing the bib or putting in the work then the lazy lobster is for you! At the Asticou Inn you can order a lobster cooked fresh to order, completely shelled and ready for you. Shelling a lobster is a fun experience but it’s also a bit messy so this is a perfect option when you want to be fancy.
Eating at Stewman’s Lobster Pound was one of my favorite places during our vacation. The lobster cocktail was similar to the mixture of a lobster roll and the lobster claws weren’t just decorative, they still had the tender claw meat inside, yum! Claw meat is definitely my favorite, it came with a cocktail sauce and buttery mustard sauce.
We also ordered a whole lobster and we’ve taught ourselves how to easily shell a lobster but we still have had some tricky areas. When the waitress offered to show us her shelling tricks we were excited. Previously the tail meat has slowed us down, she showed us a few tricks and we can pop out the tail meat in seconds! I can completely crack a lobster in 2 minutes like a local!
Shortly after arriving I discovered that Maine isn’t just known for their lobster but also for their wild blueberries! You’ll find lots of blueberry cocktails, ice cream, desserts, and best of all blueberry pie! Maine blueberries are smaller and richer in flavor and higher in anti-oxidants. Our waitress told us that blueberry picking is such a big deal the schools will close so the kids can help pick the berries.
Feeling adventurous? Then you definitely need to try the lobster ice cream in Bar Harbor! It was unusual but all lobster lovers need to try it once! It tasted like a rich creamy vanilla ice cream with as you probably guessed lobster! Getting a large bit of frozen lobster mixed in ice cream was a little weird but I really liked the small lobster pieces throughout the ice cream.
Of course you’ll find lobster bisque aplenty around the island! I’m pretty picky about my lobster bisque and I know the true labor of love it is to make a batch from scratch. The bisque everywhere we went was downright incredible. This Lobster bisque from Paddy’s Irish Pub had delicious pretzel croutons!
When you talk about food in Maine lobster rolls probably come to mind and there are plenty with lots of variations. Below, this delicious lobster roll was found at the Otter Creek Market and I loved the addition of fresh minced basil!
Shh… please don’t spread the word but honestly when it comes to a lobster roll I’m team Connecticut style, served warm and toasted without mayo and dripping with butter. Having said that, I will never say no to any sort of New England lobster roll. Below, this roll was toasted and a lot dryer with less mayo but still not a true Connecticut style roll. Not complaining at all… it is lobster and I am in Maine not Connecticut after all.
Oh I need to give a shout out to all the french fries we ate, they tasted better than I’ve ever had. Extra crunchy, extra crispy, and extra good in every way.
“What’s with all the whoopie pies everywhere?” I asked Brian. Well it turns out whoopie pies are the official dessert of Maine and freakin good! You’ll find traditional ones everywhere, and we even had a blueberry one that was to die for!
Traditional New England style clam chowder is everywhere along the island and a true classic. This one here was picked up at a small roadside restaurant and is the best I’ve ever had in my life!
Inside Acadia National Park near Jordan Pond you’ll find the adorable Jordan Pond House Restaurant. If it’s a nice day ask for a table outside with lakeside views. They’re famous for their afternoon tea and popovers. Who doesn’t love a good popover? They also serve seafood and many other meals.
A bit of a warning, as of July 2021 they do not take reservations and the line to get in was the longest I’ve ever seen in my life at 11 am, right at their opening time. The line actually went all the way down the stairs by the trailhead. Available parking was also non-existent, nearby full parking lots were full on traffic jams. We returned later in the day at 3pm and it was much calmer and we luckily found a good parking spot.
Feeling like some tacos? Have no fear lobster lovers, you can find lobster tacos too! We enjoyed these delicious tacos at the Nor’Easter Pound and Market.
I don’t know about you but I love a good eggs Benedict! Of course, in Maine you can get an amazing eggs Benedict with lobster on it at The Looking Glass Restaurant while looking at panoramic coastal views! It’s the ultimate breakfast luxury and was walking distance from our hotel.
Craving something lighter like a salad? You can get a variety of garden and cobb salads with a delicious stack of lobster.
Move over crab cakes, lobster cakes are here! At the Terrace Grill you can have lobster cakes topped with grilled pineapple and a horseradish scallion remoulade… you’ll forget crab cakes ever existed.
Besides lobster, Maine is also home to lots of fresh fish including haddock. Another favorite from the Terrace Grille, these fish tacos include the freshest caught haddock with a cilantro lime slaw.
They add lobster to everything here, so be sure to try lobster pizza! This delicious lobster, smoked bacon, and jalapeño pizza was from Getty’s. You can dine indoors or grab it to go.
Did you know there is soft shell and hard shell lobster? I did not know this and it blew my mind! Hard shell lobster is much more common, so if you’ve ever eaten lobster it’s probably been hard shell. Hard shell meat is firmer and contains about 20% more meat, and they’re also sturdier lasting much longer outside of the water. If you’ve ever ordered Maine lobster online it’s 100% been hard shell.
Soft shell lobsters have recently molted and are growing a new shell, which tends to happen July-September. Soft shell lobster has less meat but it is softer and a bit sweeter. They’re also more fragile, and even shipped during ideal conditions they have a high mortality rate. I held a soft shell lobster for the first time during this trip and I although it looked the same I could feel the shell was much softer and bendy, almost like a fingernail.
Soft shell is much easier to crack open too, I was able to crack open the claw with my fingers. This soft shell lobster at Thurston’s was the best we’ve ever eaten in our lives! This rustic restaurant is right along the water and has an incredible variety of seafood to choose from, and the best whoopie pies!
This was my first time eating lobster stew, I was expecting something tomato based with potatoes and vegetables. So I was quite surprised to find lobster stew to be creamy and rich, with just lobster meat and a splash of sherry. We tried it at several locations and Thurston’s won for our favorite lobster stew!
If this hasn’t got you in the mood for lobster or wanting to travel to Maine then I don’t know what will! As I sit here writing this blog post in my Colorado home my mouth can’t help but thirst for the taste of lobster. Dear sweet Maine lobsters… steamed, boiled, and dipped in butter, I will think of you every day until we meet again on my plate.
We just returned from a fabulous week in Maine and I’m so excited to share it all with you! I’ve always wanted to visit Maine, not just for its beautiful rocky coastline but also as you probably guessed, the lobster! For our week long vacation we decided to fly into Portland, rent a car, and head north where we would explore Mt. Desert Island. Pronounced “dessert” because the island is French, Mt. Desert Island is home to many scenic and popular spots including Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
Once we were settled in we made a promise to each other to eat as much lobster as possible, I mean it is lobster season after all! A few other seafood items did slip in but for the majority we stayed true to lobster based entrees. Can you tell how excited we were to eat our first lobster meal in Bar Harbor? Our waitress loved it! You can find my sweater here and Brian’s shirt here. If you’re curious about what all we ate don’t worry, my next blog post is going to be entirely dedicated to the amazing food we ate in Bar Harbor and the surrounding area.
For this trip we stayed at the Bluenose Inn, a charming hillside place with panoramic views of the ocean and islands. The sun rises early on the east coast so most mornings we were up at around 4:30 am drinking coffee to watch the sun from our balcony. Watching the sun create a beautiful orange glow onto the water was an unforgettable experience and totally worth waking up early for.
In Bar Harbor you’ll find dozens of boat rides and other excursions but we wanted to take this trip at a slow pace. We’ve had trips before where we were nonstop going, and for this vacation we wanted to relax and just wander. Action packed trips are amazing but slower ones without schedules are just as amazing. Besides eating the delicious food probably our favorite thing was just to grab a comfy chair and stare into the sea, watching the boats and the gentle waves.
Being early July we had a mix of sunny warm days and cloudy cool days and surprisingly only one day of rain with Tropical Storm Elsa. Below is the view from Stewman’s Lobster Pound, I highly recommend this restaurant! More on that in my next blog post.
Watching the tides change was a really neat experience as well. During low tide you can see the rocks and pebbles of the ocean floor and even dip your toes in the water in certain places. The water is definitely cold though!
You’ll have no problem finding fresh lobster anywhere on the island, you’ll find everything from upscale restaurants to small roadside places with the most delicious food. I’ve been a lobster fan since I was a child, but to my surprise I learned there is a hard shell lobster and a soft shell lobster. This was my first time holding a soft shell and I definitely felt a difference.
We spent 2 days of our trip exploring Acadia National Park, and it is stunning! To enter the park you’ll need to pay a daily admission or have a National Park Pass like we did. Below is the summit of Cadallic Mountain and as of now July 2021 it is a timed-reservation system with a 30 minute entry window and a separate admission price.
It a gorgeous drive to the top with curves and steep drop offs. Living near Rocky Mountain National Park I’m used to steep mountain roads but I can see how some might find this drive to the top a little scary!
The scenic Park Loop Drive was my favorite, this one-way road takes you along the scenic views of the coastline, to the sand beach, the famous Thunder Hole, and many other popular spots!
With any National Park in the summer time you’ll find high crowds. The first day we came to the park at 11 am and it was already packed with no parking and traffic jams everywhere. The next day we arrived at 5 am and it was pure bliss! We enjoyed many popular spots like Sand Beach and Thunder Hole all to ourselves! We did see other people here and there but for the majority of the early morning the park was quiet.
The entire trip was a dream and I was tearful when it was time to fly home. We are definitely planning on returning to Bar Harbor and Acadia in the future to explore other activities. In this blog post I wanted to focus on the simple beauty of the land on Mt. Desert Island in Maine and keep the food separate so it wouldn’t overshadow the beauty, but I’m so excited to share with you our delicious eats! Maine has so many wonderful things to eat besides lobster!