Home Update!

So it’s been a few weeks since I last updated and the house has come a LONG way! Btw, we close in TWO WEEKS! Say, what!? So here are some pictures of the house though they’re not up-to-date with where the house is right now; those will come in a few days.

Yay, new house!

Exterior:

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We’re going to become VERY close with our neighbors if our houses are any indication…

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Kitchen:

Cabinets in boxes…

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Cabinets in the kitchen!

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Foyer and Master Bath:

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So there’s my home update. I think you’ll be surprised once I post the newest pictures this weekend. 🙂

An Ulch House in Progress

My fiance and I put a contract in on a house being built in a new development. As first-time home buyers you can imagine how crazy this process can be. However, it’s also very exciting.

 

Here’s where our house currently stands…sorry for the crappy photo quality.

 

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Dave being silly and “washing his hands in the sink.”

 

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This is one of our spare bedrooms looking out onto the second floor “media center.”

 

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Spare bedroom in the above picture.

 

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View from the mater bedroom. Oh yeah! That’s a lake…just in case you didn’t get that. And that’s all that will EVER be behind us. Score!

 

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The master bathroom. Not too large, but it’ll do.

 

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Where the “magic” happens. Sorry, is that inappropriate? The magic I’m referring to is sleep!

 

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Our garage, which will eventually be more of a body shop/carpentry space for Dave and I.

 

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Stairs! Eee!

 

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View of the living room area and kitchen. I’m standing in our breakfast nook.

 

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Site of our future outrageously awesome kitchen.

 

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Lake view…say, what!?

So that’s our house. 😀 We should hopefully be moved in by late September/early October but with the summer rains in Florida you just never know. Ugh. We’re keeping out fingers crossed that everything stays on schedule and we can move into our first home soon.

Do you have any wisdom to impart to us first-time home buyers and new construction home buyers?

Taste of Berlin…a hidden gem of Brandon

Last night my fiance (oh yeah, by the way, I’m engaged) went to a new restaurant near our new apartment in a city we have never lived in before: Brandon, Fla. We just moved in this past weekend and have only begun our explorations of the area; specifically the food establishments.

via Mr. Dunderbak’s Facebook Page

I need to preface this story I’m about to tell you with a short side story: WE LOVE MR. DUNDERBAK’S IN TAMPA! As in, we would probably eat there every night if we had the financial resources and weren’t concerned with becoming obese. Alas, we do not have the financial resources, nor does the thought of becoming obese appeal to us. We still love to eat and drink there whenever we can, though.

Now that you understand the love we have for Mr. Dunderbak’s I can share with you our experiences at another very authentic German restaurant we ate at in Brandon called Taste of Berlin.

I found this restaurant on tripdavisor.com when I Googled “best restaurants in Brandon.” Taste of Berlin is #3 on their list! And, it’s only about 10 minutes away from our apartment.

via Taste of Berlin’s Facebook page

Taste of Berlin is hidden away in a small shopping plaza and there’s not much parking out front. There’s only about 10-15 small tables in the entire restaurant and they have German signage and paraphernalia everywhere. We were sat at a table and were greeted by a very sweet waitress named Anna (imagine that name said with a thick German accent and you’ve got it). She gave us our menus and left us alone to contemplate what we wanted to order.

At first glance, you’re kind of shocked by how slightly expensive everything is. A .3L glass of hefe-weizen costs $7! A MASS of hefe-weizen costs $19.50!!! The Jaeger Schnitzel (made of pork, not veal) costs $14! I apologize for the excessive use of exclamation marks but I feel they’re justified.

We ended up ordering a Paulaner, a Schofferhofer, a Jaeger Schnitzel and a sliced pork meal with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and gravy. The beers were good, but the food was AMAZING! Well worth the cash we spent on it. And can I just mention the fact that the portions are humungous? My fiance had to finish my Jaeger Schnitzel for me.

I think what I liked most about the restaurant was the German waitstaff who spoke in German to each other. It was kind of like being back in Germany again.

Check out this food porn! via...my iPhone.

Check out this food porn! This was our dinner. Mmm!

So, in conclusion, here’s how I would rank both restaurants:

Atmosphere: Dunderbak’s – 9 (they have live entertainment a lot), Taste of Berlin – 6

Beer Selection: Dunderbak’s – 9, Taste of Berlin – 5

Food Selection: Dunderbak’s – 6 (I actually deducted points because they offer too much American food), Taste of Berlin – 7

Food: Dunderbak’s – 9, Taste of Berlin – 10

Service: Dunderbak’s – 8, Taste of Berlin – 9 (basically because of the German-speaking staff)

So while we still prefer Dunderbak’s over Taste of Berlin, both restaurants are great in their own right. We will most definitely be visiting our Brandon German restaurant again.

Do you have any Brandon or Tampa restaurant recommendations?

Katie Leahy

Munster Rugby Fan in the Making?

For the past year or two I’ve started noticing a trend concerning my favorite sports teams: I like underdog sports. Now, that’s not to say that these sports are considered “underdog” sports in other parts of the world or even other parts of the U.S., but they are what I would consider underdog here in the good ol’ state of Florida.

Munster Rugby Scrum. From irishcentral.com.

I am a huge Tampa Bay Lightning fan (and current season ticket holder of probably THE CHEAPEST season tickets in the NHL); I am a D.C. United

and Newcastle United fan (soccer teams  for those that don’t know); and a Munster rugby fan. Wait…say what? I know, I know.

Rugby? I didn’t have the first clue about rugby until my boyfriend began playing with a team in Tampa. Since then, it’s grown on me.

My boyfriend and I became Munster fans when he found out that my Irish family originally came from Munster, though we later found out that wasn’t true. Oops! However, once we become invested in a team, we’re invested.

No matter how invested we are, it still took me forever to start knowing what was happening during rugby games. A try is seven points, right? Well if they make a try and get the conversion kick points then yes, but a try is worth five of those seven. Things like that.

Now, all this learning and watching the game has led up to the most important moment in this only-watching-Munster-rugby-on-TV girl’s life: GOING TO AN ACTUAL MUNSTER GAME!

Munster Rugby Supporters. From munsterrugby.ie.

It’s true! We have planned a trip to go to my family’s homeland this December. I’ve been wanting to visit Ireland for years and now it’s finally happening. My boyfriend’s only concession to our visit was that we had to go to a Munster game. No problem! So on December 29th, I will proudly be sporting my Munster rugby jersey (and probably a very wooly, quilted coat) and cheering on the Munster Rugby team.

This adventure has all the makings for an American Munster Rugby fan to become a full-fledged Munster Rugby fanatic. Come to think of it, this is starting to sound similar to what I described in my Newcastle United post and I think you can see how that turned out (see second paragraph). I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

P.S. I’ll probably write a post-game…post?…once we get back. 🙂

Newcastle United Supporters are a “Toon” Above the Rest

Last night, my boyfriend and I drove to Orlando to watch a soccer game between Orlando City Soccer Club and Newcastle United Football Club.

Now, to give you a little background on these two clubs:

  • Newcastle United is in the English Premiere League with other football clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Essentially, they’re in a pretty tough league with some of the best teams in England. Newcastle United has Orlando City Soccer Club Logo from orlandocitysoccer.combeen around since 1892.
  • Orlando City on the other hand, is a division three soccer club and part of the USL (United Soccer League). To give you an idea of where that falls in the American soccer ladder, you have MLS which is the major soccer league here in the U.S., then you have the NASL (North American Soccer League), which is a division two league. Orlando City has only been around since earlier this year.

This information is crucial in understanding why supporters of Newcastle United are some of the most loyal and “mental” fans the world has ever seen.

The Toon Army

My boyfriend has been a supporter of Newcastle United (hereafter referred to as NUFC) since 2005. Since then, he has seen his team go through a roller coaster of wins and losses, but mostly the latter. However, THIS is what sets those fans apart. Their unyielding loyalty to their team. Ask any member of the Toon Army (the supporters of NUFC) and they will tell you to get ready for a life full of disappointment, but it never stops them from going to every game or watching every game via TV or Internet and cheering on the Magpies (an alternate name for NUFC).

Newcastle United Football Club LogoI didn’t understand this mentality until I went to my first NUFC game last night. This new experience started off with my boyfriend buying me a replica practice jersey (which comes into play later on). This got me really pumped up. Then we found a place to stand in the general admission section. Not three seconds later, a Newcastle native proceeded to tell us we could jump the fence right next to our section and be in the NUFC supporters section. What are a couple of fans to do but follow her advice? And follow it we did.

As soon as we jumped the fence, we were in a whole new world. A world full of Geordies. Geordies are people from a section of north east England and have a very distinct accent. They are also wicked cool and very welcoming. My boyfriend and I spent the first half of the game yelling out chants and doing what football supporters do best: drink!

We came back to a quiet second half, which turned out to be a disappointing second half as Orlando City scored a goal sending NUFC back home with a loss. Granted, this is preseason for the Magpies and in the middle of Orlando City’s season. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that Newcastle should have won.

Though, to me, It didn’t matter that they didn’t win. I am HOOKED! Especially after I waited around for an hour after the game and got seven signatures from players and NUFC staff on my brand new jersey. I told you it would come into play later.

So with all the excitement of the game, the slight disappointment with the loss (though always keeping optimistic and hoping for future wins), as well as the pandemonium of trying to get signatures without having any form of writing utensil, I am proud to say that I am a Newcastle United fan and will gladly take on all the disappointment in the world if it means supporting a team like this one with fans as amazing as these.

I leave you with this: “We are the Geordie, the Geordie boot boys. For we are mental, for we are mad. We are the loyalest football supporters the world has ever had.” No words are more true.

Do you all have a team you feel the same way about? Or are there any other NUFC fans that share this sentiment?

Katie Leahy

Michelina’s Unique Marketing

Being that I recently graduated college and am on the lookout for a job, my budget is pretty slim. Okay, actually I get a paycheck and then it’s gone within minutes after bills and groceries.

Regardless, I know how to stretch a dollar and Michelina’s frozen meals are HEAVEN to me. Only $1 for a spinach and ricotta bake? Yes, please!

Now, I have been eating Michelina’s since my early college days and have seen numerous new packaging and meals. What I have noticed lately, however, are the made-up adjectives written on the inside. Once you peel back the cover, you can see a word and its definition on the underside.

So, here I am opening my Spinch and Ricotta Bake meal when I notice the word “inexpensifying” staring back at me. I consider myself somewhat versed in the English language, but I have never heard of this word before, nor could I imagine using it in regular conversation. It is a mash-up of the words inexpensive and satisfying.

Now I’m actually starting to like this new idea. I mean, LOL, OMG and FYI were just added to Webster’s so why can’t Michelina’s make up new words by combining a couple? Brilliant if you ask me. I think I might try to start getting tasterful to catch on (that’s tasty and wonderful, by the way).

Watch out! I’m going to start making up a whole slew of combined words because one has got to eventually make it into the dictionary. I don’t think inexpensifying is too far away.

Tagoye! (That’s ta-ta, good and bye. Too much?)

Katie Leahy

You’ve found an authentic pub when…

Four Green Fields, Tampa- picture from tampadailyphoto.blogspot.com

Recently, I began to notice the word “pub” popping up at the end of restaurant names all over the place. However, it is to my extreme chagrin that upon entering the establishment it is not what I consider a pub. A pub is a unique thing. When one goes into a pub there is an overall feeling of comfort, home and raucous merriment that settles into your being. This feeling is not easily permeated through patrons in just any mass restaurant chain or dive bar, but is reserved exclusively for the authentic pub.

After extensive research and information-gathering at local pubs, the following list is made up of what I consider the key components to an authentic pub:

1. Either a completely Irish menu or a section specifically dedicated to the food fare of the Isle.
2. An Irish or English flag hanging somewhere in the vicinity of the pub and almost always surrounded by the flags and scarves of various futbol clubs.
3. Many of the best pubs offer at least one or two nights of live Irish music (and again, the best are performed by Irish men and women)
4. They have the following on tap: Killian’s, Guinness, Smithwick’s, Harp and Kilkenny (the Killians is wishful thinking on my part as many places don’t offer it on tap)
5. The owner of the pub must have some affiliation to Ireland or England either through blood or birth

Now, there may be some great pubs out there that do not partake in all these listed items and it’s okay to still call themselves pubs, and indeed they may be, but the best of the best will have all the aforementioned qualities and then some.

Anyone else have anything to add to the list?

Katie Leahy