Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life Lately

Wow! Its been a while. What can I say- its summer time, and we are trying to relax (on those few occasions when we have a chance!) in addition to enjoying the wonderful weather we have been having here at home. Time really has been flying by this summer- hard to believe that it is almost June, and we have under ten weeks before heading back to Sweden. Feels like just yesterday that we came home!

We have certainly been busy here at home. I started working back in March, and am right back in the swing of that. In just two short weeks (looks like I better get ready for this!) my grad school classes will start again. Nick is already training like crazy for the upcoming season, and his training is only going to get more intense (and increase in volume!) as the weeks go by here. For now, let's take a look at life lately for Nick and I!

biking in Minneapolis summertime

Once the weather turned nice, Nick and I headed out to buy a new bike for me! We've taken plenty of rides so far, and will definitely continue to as the summer goes by. Plus, my best friend lives just about five miles down the bike path from me- so I'll be heading to her place often!

Minneapolis Sociable Ciderwerks dog friendly

This past weekend, Nick headed out of town for the day on a golf trip. It made for a perfect girls day with myself, previously mentioned best friend Julie, and Lily. After a day of shopping (and napping for Lily!) we went to check out Sociable Ciderwerks, a new cider brewery in Minneapolis. One of the best parts about Ciderwerks is that it is dog friendly- so Lily got to join us for a night on the town! 

Nick Angell Minneapolis

We took our first trip up to the cabin this past weekend, with many more yet to come as the summer rolls by. What could be better than a day spent lounging next to the lake, with a fire at night? 

Memorial Day Twins baseball game

Of course, the classic baseball game on Memorial Day had to happen. Twins lost (of course), but Nick and I were just happy to make it to the game- I worked until the end of the 6th inning, so we were only able to catch the last 2.5!

Minneapolis biking Tin Fish Lake Calhoun

A pic of Nick and I in the middle of our first bike ride of the season. It is just over 5 miles to Lake Calhoun, which is the perfect distance for a leisurely ride up to Tin Fish, a quick stop for a water break, and then heading back home. 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the summer! I (hope I can!) promise to be around blog-land more often, but we all know how busy the summer gets. Have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Travel, I'm taking a break from you

no one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow
"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and
rests his head on his old, familiar pillow" -Lin Yutang
Ever since I first heard this travel quote years ago, it has been one of my favorites. The quote specifically speaks to me after this past year, and the last several months of traveling.

In the past two months, I have crossed 33 time zones. Finally, yesterday, we returned home and currently have no flights booked (or planned) until we head embark on our new venture to Västerås. In the meanwhile, we will be enjoying quiet nights at home, and the pleasure of having a place to call home and always return to.

Don't get me wrong, I love traveling. The last several months of been wonderful, and offered so many great experiences to me. However, it has been exhausting, and after several busy months of traveling there really is no better feeling than resting my head on my old, familiar pillow, surrounded by the comforts of home. Travel, I'll see you again soon- but in the meanwhile, I am happy to take a break from you.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Unique Mother's Day Gift

Happy Mother's Day!

While in Thailand, Nick and I came across several shops that had artists who could do custom paintings for you. We decided that with Mother's Day coming up, this might be a cool idea to get a unique (and completely personal!) gift for both of our Mom's. All we had to do was select a picture we wanted done, e-mail it to the artist, and come back four days later to collect our paintings! 

my parents, Nick and I at Lambeau Field
hockey player painting for Nick's Mom
Of course, we stopped by a couple of times to check on the progress of the paintings. It was cool to see who the artist sketched them out, then started filling in with some coloring, and eventually did the final touches!
the sketched out painting with a little color
the final painting for my Mom
the final painting for Nick's Mom
We were really happy with how each of the paintings turned out! The final paintings are almost dead-ringers for the pictures that we wanted done. A personalized painting seemed like the perfect gift for each of our Moms. So, today, Mary & Erna- happy Mother's day and enjoy your day! We love you both!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My First Ice Bar ever- in Thailand!

One of the things Nick and I were able to experience on our honeymoon was the world's only tropical Ice Bar. We figured that as long as we had time, we might as well make this one of the stops while we were on our honeymoon- and it even reminded us of home, especially as Minnesota got about 6 inches of snow the day before we went!

Koh Samui ice bar Thailand
the main bar at Bar Ice
We were staying in the Chaweng Beach area, and there is a free shuttle from the main strip to Bar Ice. Once you arrive there, you pay an entrance fee (about $10/person) which includes a drink. Because we had received fliers from a promotional worker, we got two drinks with the price of our entrance- so getting in was pretty much free!
tropical ice bar Thailand
enjoying my drink at Bar Ice!
Koh Samui Ice Bar Thailand
Nick and I at Bar Ice
Ice Bar Thailand Koh Samui

Ice Bar Koh Samui Thailand

Visiting the ice bar was a pretty cool experience. Bar Ice is the world's only tropical ice bar, and the -7C temperature is nice when you consider the heat outside! I had wanted to visit an ice bar for awhile just to check it out, so this was the perfect time- and price for it. The inside of the ice bar is a little bit smaller than we were expecting, but as we were visiting while it wasn't that busy we still had plenty of space to move around. One of the highlights of our visit was the staff and owner at Bar Ice. While chatting with one of the bartenders, we got to know him fairly well and he introduced us to the owner. It was cool to hear their stories, what brought them to Koh Samui, and how they enjoyed the change in life (they were both from the UK).

If you are in Koh Samui, Bar Ice is something I would recommend doing if you have plenty of time and want something a little bit different- otherwise, I wouldn't consider it an absolute "must-do!"

Monday, May 5, 2014

Running my First 5K: Koh Samui Midnight Run

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! It was certainly been a busy one for Nick and I, between returning from the honeymoon, dealing with jet lag, and then the excitement of signing a new contract with Västerås. On top of all of that, today I start my new summer job and Nick is really beginning his summer hockey training. However, for my readers that follow me on twitter or instagram, you know that despite being in Thailand on our honeymoon we didn't completely fall off the staying-in-shape bandwagon!

One of my goals from my list of 30+ things I want to do before I turn 25 was to run a 5K. During the research Nick and I were doing on Koh Samui, Thailand for our honeymoon, we discovered that while we would be in Koh Samui there was going to be the 2nd annual charity Midnight Run 5K. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to cross an item off my list and run a 5K, in addition to the perfect way to motivate us to remain active while on our honeymoon. As soon as we found out about the Midnight Run, we knew we had to participate!

The first thing we did was check out when the Midnight Run would be held. Originally, it was going to be the first day we arrived in Koh Samui- maybe a little bit tough, with the 12 hour time difference! However, the run got moved to our last Saturday of the trip, on April 26. This was pretty much perfect timing, because it allowed us to get adjusted to Thailand time, and gave us a good reason to go for a run almost every morning while in Koh Samui! The day of the race, we headed off to register and then relaxed for the remainder of the day.

Koh Samui Thailand Midnight Run 2014
my race tag for the Midnight Run
Truth be told, one of the most difficult parts about the race was waiting around until midnight to begin! However, we headed over to the race a little bit early and just hung out and people watched until it was time for the race to begin. There was actually a pretty good crowd of people there, and the people running the race were a good mix of Thai people and tourists.

Koh Samui Midnight Run 5K
everyone getting ready to run!
Koh Samui Midnight Run 5K
Nick and I pre-race
 As the minutes ticked down closer to midnight, the crowd naturally moved closer and closer to the starting line. Words can't describe how hot this was- with temperatures at the time being 95F/35C, everyone was definitely warm and sweaty before the race even started! Finally, the clock struck midnight and we were off!

Koh Samui midnight run 5K
post-race: a little bit more tired & sweaty, but feeling great!
 Running in the Koh Samui Midnight Run 5K was actually a really cool experience, and I think a perfect way for me to run my first 5K. The race path took you through the main, touristy part of Chaweng Beach. As you ran, it was really cool to have people- mostly Thai people- cheering you on and encouraging you. Because this was a charity run, I think the Thai people were really supportive and appreciative of the race. As mentioned, I've never participated in a race before- but it was such a great feeling to have random strangers cheering and clapping for you throughout the entire time you were running!

Once the race was over, Nick and I were both tired and sweaty, yet it was such a great feeling to have finished. I know that I will be running more 5Ks in the future, and I am so happy that the Midnight Run was my first one! For any fellow runners out there, what have your favorite races been and why?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Signed, Sealed & Delivered

Nick Angell VIK Hockey
Nick signing the VIK contract
As of today, Nick and I officially know where we will be for the upcoming 2014-2015 hockey season! Nick has signed a contract with Västerås hockey team. We are so excited for the upcoming year, and looking forward to a great season! It was a hard decision to leave Karlskrona, as Nick loved the city and all the fans, but we are anticipating another great year in Västerås.

Thank you to all of the wonderful friends & fans we met in Karlskrona. We look forward to seeing (and hopefully beating!) you throughout the season.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Home- & our Honeymoon in Thailand Overview

Wow! Today, thanks in part to jet lag, I was able to watch the sun rise in Minneapolis. Crazy to think that yesterday I was watching it rise from the Bangkok airport, about to head home. Well, we made it home safe and sound, dealt with some serious jet lag last night, and will now hopefully get back to a normal schedule pretty quickly!

In short, our honeymoon in Thailand was amazing. We were able to do and experience so many new and cool things, that there is no way to possibly cram it all into one blog post, let alone ten. For my readers, be prepared for a massive amount of Thailand posts coming your way. To start things out, and give you an idea of what to look forward to, I thought I would go with a little overview of our honeymoon time!

Thailand honeymoon
As excited as you can get for 20+ hours of flights! 
The first leg of the trip was of course traveling! We were as excited as you can get for our honeymoon, especially knowing that you have over 20+ hours of flights ahead, plus all of the airport time. I had made sure to pack a full bag of carry on essentials- check that out here!

Songkran Koh Samui 2014
Nick after Songkran 2014
On Sunday, April 13 we participated in Songkran, which is part of the celebration in Thailand over the Thai New Year. Pretty much, it was a GIANT squirt-gun fight for the entire day, with the water meant to cleanse your spirit. 

Full Moon Party Koh Phangan April 2014 honeymoon
at the Full Moon & Thai New Year party in Koh Phangan
We were fortunate enough to be in Thailand for the coinciding dates of the Thai New Year and the Full Moon party. On April 14, we headed to Koh Phangan for this giant party on the beach. It was such a wonderful time- a great party with people from all over the world!

beach in Koh Samui Thailand honeymoon
the beach in front of our first hotel, First Bungalow, in Koh Samui
 A great majority of our honeymoon was spent lying next to either the beach or the pool- truly a time to relax for both of us!
fish spa in Koh Samui Thailand honeymoon
getting ready for my fish foot spa!
While on the honeymoon, we both received spa massage treatments almost daily. You could walk into any number of the massage parlors and get a 30 minute for massage for $3- so we took full advantage of that!

Thailand honeymoon Thai Cooking Class Chaweng Regent
Nick and I with our instructor at the Thai Cooking Class at our hotel
One of the activities we decided to do was take a Thai Cooking class through our second hotel, Chaweng Regent Beach Resort. The class was a fun experience, and we came away with some recipes we will definitely be using again!

Koh Samui Midnight Run Thailand Honeymoon
Nick and I after the Koh Samui Midnight Run 5K
Another cool thing we were able to do was participate in the 2nd annual Koh Samui Midnight Run 5K. I had never run a 5K before, so it was a cool experience to run my first one while in Thailand (despite the 95 degree heat!)

Thailand lucky balloon honeymoon
lighting off our lucky balloon our last night in Koh Samui
 Throughout the trip, we had seen numerous lucky balloons being launched off, so of course we bought one. We decided to light it off our last night in Koh Samui, as a way of saying good-bye to our primary honeymoon location. So much fun, and cool to watch it drift off across the night sky!

Chaophyara River Cruise Bangkok honeymoon Thailand
River cruise in Bangkok on the Chaophraya River
Our second-to-last night of the honeymoon we cruised down the Chaophraya River in Bangkok. It was a great trip, and a good way to see some of the sights, plus have a nice dinner to end the trip.

Thailand tuk tuk ride honeymoon transportation
a Tuk Tuk ride in Bangkok
Throughout Thailand, one of the more common (and affordable) modes of transportation is tuk-tuk rides. In Koh Samui, this meant riding in the back of a pick-up truck. In Bangkok, this meant riding in the back of a little three-wheeled scooter. A very interesting ride, thats for sure!

Koh Samui Thailand honeymoon beach
out and about touring the island of Koh Samui during our honeymoon
Our honeymoon was such a great time! These are just a few of the highlights from the trip. In the following weeks, make sure to keep checking back for further updates, stories, and history on all of the things we were able to experience while on our honeymoon in Thailand. Lastly, a quick thank you to my readers who continued checking up on all of the blog posts I had scheduled while I was gone. I truly appreciate your readership and comments, even if  I wasn't 100% active during the honeymoon!

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