Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

[in london, oct 2012]

Happy 28th Birthday, darling. This is the 5th New Year's Eve/Birthday that we've spent together and I am beyond blessed to have you by my side. You are the best friend a girl could ask for. You make me smile and laugh and let me warm up my cold hands and feet on your warm body. I love that you put so much thought and effort into our marriage and that you never underestimate the power of the little things. Thank you for always supporting me and trusting me and making sure that I feel loved. One of my resolutions in the new year is to make sure that I am the best wife I can be to you, because you are one heck of a husband.

Tonight, let's party with our friends and drink champagne and celebrate you and your birthday! I love you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve from Omaha!

Nicholas and I flew to Omaha this morning to spend Christmas with his family! We made it safe and sound, after an easy flight. Now, we are sitting around the living room, drinking wine and hanging' out with the fam! Oh, and did I mention that the temperature outside is like 11 degrees right now!? Good thing we're inside by the gorgeous Christmas tree!

It was just three years ago today that Nicholas asked be to be his wife, and I said "Yes!" BEST. DECISION. EVER. This is our first Christmas in Omaha, and although I miss my family back in Texas, I am happy to be here with my handsome, wonderful, precious husband! ... Snow and all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scotland, Part Three: Whisky Tasting.

After a full morning touring the Castle, Nicholas and I were in search of a quick lunch. We strolled down the Royal Mile from the castle, passing by all of the tartan-selling souvenir shops. (This is probably why I'm obsessing over a plaid Christmas!)

We ended up in the Grassmarket neighborhood and I spotted this restaurant, Mussel and Steak Bar. For some reason, mussels sounded perfect, so in we went!

^1/2 kilo of mussels in a shallot, garlic, white wine and cream sauce

After lunch, we made our way back to the Royal Mile, stopping in the shops along the way.

 Look who we found playing in the street!..

Our next stop was some whisky tasting at the Scotch Whisky Experience. This was a great way for us to learn more about whisky - not only do you get to hop on a ride that takes you through the process of making whisky, but you get to taste whisky from different regions of Scotland! Fun.

 These were the barrels that we rode around in!
After the ride, we learned that the different regions produce unique flavors in the whisky based on what is in the air. For example, whiskies from the Islay region have a salty taste because it is on the coast...

The finale of the "experience" was in a room that housed the largest collection of whisky in the world... thousands and thousands of bottles! And, we (of course) tasted more whisky in here!
^It reminded me of wine tasting (which I'm very familiar with!) because you look at the legs, and the color and clarity, etc.

^See how some of those bottles look a bit empty? The whisky that evaporates overtime is known as the "Angel's Share!" And, the angels over Scotland love their whisky!
^Oh, and in this room we paired our whisky with a bite of sea-salted chocolate!

Slainte Mhath! 
(Which means Cheers or Good Health in Gaelic!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scotland, Part Two: Edinburgh Castle.

To start off our first full day in Edinburgh, we visited Edinburgh Castle!

Of course, before we made our way to the castle, we had to stop for some hot coffee! Caffe Nero saved our lives; we probably got coffee and breakfast there 4 or 5 times! (They had this delicious hot breakfast sandwich with mustard, ham and hard boiled eggs. I ordered that every time!)

 ^Edinburgh Castle

Check out this stunning view from the castle walls...

 Oh, and we found out that the little chapel - St. Margaret's chapel, which was built in 1120! -
 inside the castle can be used for weddings...
 There was a bride (who must have been so cold because the wind was whipping up there!) walking into the chapel with her father and the priest right as we were walking by...

Here's the another shot of the chapel... (and my favorite tourist!)
See how tiny it is?! 
I wonder how many guests they had inside for the wedding ceremony!

 We explored some of the crown jewels held there, the Stone of Destiny, and an fascinating Prisoner of War exhibit.  
The prisoners were kept down in a stone vault/dungeon and they slept in hammocks.

The exhibit was set up to appear just as it had while there were prisoners there. Some of the stories are quite unimaginable, but all true. For example, there was one prisoner who tried to escape by hiding in the dung barrel. (Nasty!) But, when the dung was thrown over the castle walls, the prisoner was smashed to pieces on the rough rocks below the castle!  

Next up, lunch and whisky!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Scotland, Part One: Edinburgh.

After an amazing time in England, Nicholas and I took a 4 hour train ride to Edinburgh, Scotland. We were able to see much of the countryside and eastern coastline of Great Britain during the ride.

The train was moving too fast for us to get any good pics, but it was gorgeous!
^And, we read our GB Guidebook.

Once we arrived in Edinburgh, we headed to our hotel and were so pleased - we had a view of Edinburgh Castle from our room!

^Trying to get online!

We bundled up and walked down to Rose St. for some dinner and drinks. (It got dark really early here!)

^Cute yellow chairs outside Jamie's Italian. (Jaime Oliver's restaurant)
We ate dinner here a different night. It was yummy!

The Abbotsford is where we stopped for ale and dinner our first night in Edinburgh. We sat by a fire place and contemplated eating haggis but decided not to when we looked up what it was!! (Although, we did end up trying it later in the trip!)

After dinner, we wondered over to George St...
^Another view of the castle!

... and on George St, we decided to have some after-dinner drinks at Tigerlily. According to the Tigerlily website, "Tigerlily is a favourite place to see and be seen amongst those in the know in Scotland's capital city. ... a fitting blend of elegance and opulence befitting of George Street's illustrious history." We definitely chose a happenin' place!

(from google images)
It was a MUCH different scene than the pubs we had been frequenting! The music was bumpin' and the drinks were amazing...

My favorite:
Nick's favorite:

... and then we walked backed to our hotel to get some rest because we had a lot more to see and do in Edinburgh!