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Sandy Update

31 Oct

…Do I know you?

Yes, I’ve officially ignored the blog for a couple weeks.  I just haven’t had the itch to blog much lately and I’m still getting used to things.

Please, be patient with me.

This past weekend we ran into the Frankenstorm named Sandy and came up with no power for two days.  Which is minimal compared too many in other areas.  Thanks to cell phones, social networking and texting; we were able to monitor the status of our family and friends from a far.

Isn’t technology great!

After this past summer’s surprise, 4 day, 105 degree blackout, we had time to prepare for this beast with vengeance.

We did all the laundry we could so we had clean clothes and towels, stocked on water, packed ice, powered up our solar panels (Thanks, Rob S. for the hook up!), gassed up the cars for a quick getaway, if necessary, among other necessary things like candles and batteries.  Ed even made sure to have the camper grill ready for warm food.

We felt prepared and blessed.

Sandy was originally supposed to hit closer to the bay which would have been pretty awful for Marylanders, but she took a spin north on Sunday night, so some flooding and loss of electricity was the most that happened near us.  She was roaring on Monday night.

I enjoyed a book by flashlight.

We received power early this morning and back to normal everyday life.  Thank goodness.  I was getting STIR CRAZY!

Since moving to Maryland 16 months ago, I have experienced (2) hurricanes, (1) mini earthquake, and a major blackout.  I think that is t-shirt worthy.  In Ohio, I survived snowstorms.  It was the norm.

What major super storms have you experienced in your lifetime?

This actually wasn’t my first experience with a hurricane in Maryland.  While vacationing in Ocean City as a kid, another hurricane was brewing that cut our family vacation early.  I can remember the wind being extremely strong and no beach at all.  Fun stuff.

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Harpoon Hanna’s and Ocean City Boardwalk

15 Sep

Ocean City brings back a lot of memories for me.  For years, my family would visit there for vacations and it was exciting to visit again and to bring my husband.

Before heading to the beach area, we stopped by a nearby restaurant for lunch to refuel from our morning bike trip.

Harpoon Hanna’s Restaurant and Tiki Bar

Actually located right outside Ocean City in Fenwick Island, Deleware, we visited Harpoon Hanna’s for lunch.  I had heard of this restaurant last summer from a co-worker who’s daughter worked there while out of college.  After reading the menu online, we decided to put it on the “to do list” for the day.

We opted for an outdoor table on the deck by the water.

It was scenic, peaceful and chilly!

While the sun was out, the wind was breezy near the water.  To warm our bellies, we ordered a bowl of Maryland Crab Soup to start.

This picture was taken post a bite or two 😉

The menu claimed the soup to be a local favorite, which always sparks my attention and it did not disappoint.  The broth was a spicy tomato vegetable filled with small lumps of crab meat.  I think the spice was paprika.  It was very tasty and we gobbled it all up in no time.

For my entree, I ordered the Crabby Sliders.  The sliders included lump crab balls topped with American cheese on mini potato buns.  The plate was garnished with lettuce, tomato and a special bistro sauce that Ed kept snagging to dip his flounder in.

Crabby Sliders

The only thing I would change the next time I ordered this dish would be to remove the American cheese.  I didn’t taste it and would not have missed it.  The crab meat stole the show!

Delicious!

We opted not to order dessert and saved room for a boardwalk treat to come.

When we left the restaurant, I cracked up when we walked to our car…

We were surrounded!

I know we didn’t leave the car this way. 🙂  This weekend just happened to also be Bike Weekend in Ocean City.  It was noisy and crowded to say the least and I’m pretty sure the motorcycle’s beat out the cars by the hundreds.  Apparently we missed the memo on “motorbikes” and not “road bikes” this weekend.

Once parked, we grabbed our bikes and headed to the Ocean City Boardwalk for some more riding.  While the morning gave a cool breeze, the sun was running full blast this afternoon.

We headed down to the pier and relaxed before grabbing and sharing an orange vanilla swirl ice-cream bowl.  The picture didn’t make it’s way to the blog.  We didn’t mess around.

Our pier view.

While much of the boardwalk has changed since I was younger, I was pleased to see some things have stayed the same too.

The “sandman” is still sculpting.

And Thrasher’s French Fries (nicknamed “Boardwalk Fries”) are still around every corner you turn.

THRASHER’S!

After our treats, we were on our way back home for the night.  I love being close enough to the ocean to visit in a day.  Maybe one day we’ll get even that much closer. 😉

What are your favorite family vacations from your childhood?

Some of my families favorite vacations include Disney World and Virginia Beach.  My parents still visit Virginia Beach on a yearly basis and Disney World holds so many great memories for all of us.  I personally loved our beach vacation to Myrtle Beach.  We camped in our camper on a great campground and enjoyed a lot of what it had to offer.  Including a lazy river at the pool.  Fantastic.

Assateague Island National Seashore

15 Sep

This morning, Ed and I had an early 5AM wake up call to start our trip to Assateague Island National Seashore.

We were off to a pretty good start.  Ed racked the bikes and I prepared an on the go, filling breakfast to keep us from stopping anywhere on our 2 hour drive.

I scrambled 4 eggs (2 each) with a splash of milk and shredded artisan cheese and put it on a toasted Nature’s Own Multi-Grain Sandwich Round with a travel mug of coffee and vanilla almond milk for the road.

It was filling, overflowing and cheesy!

By 6:15AM, we were outta there!

The island is located right outside of Ocean City, MD and is occupied by wild ponies and clean beaches with opportunities for running, biking and camping.  I had visited this island once with my family years ago and I knew Ed would enjoy the same experiences I had.

Our starting point.

While the biking bath is not incredibly long, we biked 10 miles and were lucky enough to run into a heard of wild ponies.

Is a group of wild ponies considered a “heard”?  I’m not sure, but we’re going to go with this.  There were close to a dozen on either side of the road and I immediately grabbed my camera to get some good shots.

All the ponies were quite the side show attraction for the morning.  While we were incredibly fortunate to have this experience, these ponies are wild and should not be approached less the 10 feet or more.  These ponies can kick and bite if alarmed and Ed and I followed the rules set out by the National Park about keeping out distance.  Park rangers were on site during this siting to make sure everyone was safe.  Safety first!

After we completed a good portion of our bike ride, we stopped to enjoy the beach and walk through some of the walking paths.

I love the beach and the ocean.  Absolutely in love.  I even found the most perfect shell for Ed to add to his fish tank at home.  We’ll see if he can actually use it.

The perfect shell!

While riding back to our car to head off the island for lunch, we realized that it was a special day around the park.

Maryland Coast Day

While the festivities were small, we enjoyed visiting all the stands and learning about the state and national parks in the area.  The Salisbury Zoo was my favorite attraction.  The had some of the most interesting owls.  They were intriguing.


After celebrating Maryland Cost Day, we headed back to the visitors center before heading out to lunch and afternoon activities.

His bike trip was fulfilled.

Time to go find lunch.

Do you enjoy seeing animals in there natural habitat or are you more comfortable seeing them at the zoo?

Ed and I love visiting the zoo, but seeing animals in their natural setting is rare and enjoyable.  Being from Ohio, I’m used to seeing many deer on a regular basis, but horses are always in a controlled environment.  That I know off.  I am not a bird watcher.  We visited the Toledo Zoo a few years back where the bird exhibits were in abundance.  Since then, I have had no interest.  Maybe my feelings will change one day.  😉

P.S. The Recipe Page was updated and had a revamp yesterday.  Take a look and let me know what you think 🙂

Ladies’ Night – Cuba de Ayer

24 Aug

Girls night happened Thursday night in a fun and unexpected fashion and included a few special ladies.

My friend Kelly and her daughters, Cienna and Charlotte were in the area where I live (they only live about 35 minutes away, but in rush hour DC time, this is a rare occasion) and wanted to meet for dinner.  Of course, I worked 45 minutes late and was currently in my work parking lot when she called.

“Fail.”

But Kelly was persistent and it took a whole 30 seconds to convince me to meet her and the girls for dinner.  They’re currently having a “staycation” while most daycare’s are not in business being the week before school and dad is traveling for work.  Kelly wanted “Spanish like food” and I immediately thought of a great place, but I can never remember the name.  So, a quick Google search and text to another friend while sitting in traffic and I found I was only 10 minutes away from Cuba de Ayer.

Isn’t it such an eye sore from the outside?  I’ve been here twice before and it has DELICIOUS and authentic Cuban food.

We started the meal with Tostones Relleno which included stuffed green plantains with shredded beef.

Yummy!

Just so we’re clear, this was a nice place.  Our meals were not served in styrofoam trays…this was a post dinner shot of a Totstones Relleno which made it back home with me 🙂

Then we ordered our main dishes.  I ordered Ropa Vieja.  I had only ordered pork here before and the beef did not disappoint.  So, tasty! The sweet plantains and black beans were spot on too.  Rice…yeah…that went home in a box for my husband 🙂

The above is a photo of my dish from their website.  I couldn’t get a good shot before the food hit my mouth.

While dessert was tempting, we knew we would be back without kids to indulge in their homemade Rum Cake.

It.Is.Awesome.

The only down fall of this hole in the wall gem is the space.  While we were there on time and able to get a comfortable table, it gets crowded, fast!  There is no waiting area which means when you wait, you are standing right in someones dining area.  I’ve been on both sides.  Both are awkward.

As you may remember from my Simple Things A to Z post, Ed and I are local food restaurant snobs.  We love hole in the wall places and make it a point to avoid chain restaurants at all costs for date nights.  Our taste buds usually thank us.

Maryland Friends

Kelly became a fast friend when I first moved here.  Her, her husband, Jake, and two girls transferred to MD from Miami, FL the same time I did from Cleveland, Ohio in April 2011.

“Yes, there were some tense basketball conversations this past season.  Obviously, I lost.”

Jake and I worked for the same agency while Kelly also got a job at the time they were transferring (Talk about perfect timing!).  Kelly and I work on the same campus and were put in the same orientation class.  We quickly found we both shared a lot of the same tastes for fun and new experiences in life and have since spent lots of time planning events from tea parties to rock climbing.

Moulin de Paris Evening Tea – June 2012

We started experiencing Maryland/DC together.  She encouraged me to go back to school to finish my masters degree and has made it her goal to find a home for Ed and I closer to her house.

Elyse – “What about this house?”
Kelly – “Nope, to far from me.”

And that’s, that.

We’re planning a girls getaway to NYC to visit her sister, Elsa (Maria) in October.  We are SO excited!  It’s sure to be a weekend of crazy girl events, typical touristy attractions (Like maybe the Cake Boss store!) and very little sleep.

So, now I ask you…

“What would you do on a girls weekend to New York City?”

P.S. Did you know you can “Follow” my blog through through your email?  Take a look to the right of your screen and click the “Follow” button to keep up with more food reviews, recipes and workout routines!

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