Leaving on a jet plane!

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The journey begins again! On our way to Dublin!


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Meet Fife!

As you may know, a little over a year ago we lost our furry friend Ruffles to a mysterious illness. He left a grumpy, schnauzer shaped hole in our hearts, and Luke without a buddy. We’ve been contemplating getting another puppy for a while now, and yesterday near our apartment Petsmart hosted an adoption event. We couldn’t resist checking it out, and an hour later we walked back home with a new addition to our little family!

I’d like to introduce you all to Fife! He’s a schnauzer-poodle mix (a schnoodle!) and as an added bonus, he looks a bit like a Fraggle. (Yes, we named him Fife because we just couldn’t resist a little Andy Griffith reference!)


We introduced Luke to him before we started the paperwork, and they didn’t appear to hate each other, so we figured they’d be good together. Well, it turns out that they are instant friends! They played all day (between naps) and aside from a little jealousy from Luke when Fife snuggled up to me on the couch, things went pretty smooth!

We’re not sure about his history – the rescue folks think he’s about a year old, but that’s all we’ve got to go on. He’s really sweet and playful, which is all that really matters. Judging by the dirt (which Mike took care of with a bath as soon as we got him home) and the matted fur (which we’ll let a groomer fix on Monday), he’s had a rough go of things recently.

I’m going to start clicker training him this week – he doesn’t appear to know any tricks and a leash is clearly a foreign concept, so I’ve got my work cut out for me! But hey, if I can train a monster like Luke, surely I can get this little guy to do my bidding! Maybe I’ll be able to teach him to close all the doors Luke manages to open!


Oh, and did I mention his ears??? Because they are, in a word, awesome.


I don’t know why both my pound puppies have such ridiculous ears…just lucky I guess!

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I’m back…

I know. I know. I said I would keep writing after the honeymoon….and then there was almost six months of nothing. I am the WORST! You see, it’s hard to write about what’s going on when there’s nothing really going on (and after that honeymoon, how can anything less than epic adventures seem worthy of writing about?)

So yeah, I’m gonna try to get back in the habit of writing here. Since it’s been a while, I should probably catch y’all up on what’s been going on:

We moved to Arizona! After about a month of trespassing on my parent’s generosity after the road trip ended, we found an apartment (the most boring apartment I’ve ever had) somewhat nearby. The complex is pretty cool – dog friendly, which is nice for Luke (they even have the tiniest off leash dog park in the world) and filled with Asian pilots and Indian (dot, not feather) call center employees. They all seem very nice – although rather afraid of Luke so we don’t talk so much as nod politely as we pass each other on the sidewalk. It’s conveniently located and cheap, so it’ll do for now.

I got myself a job working for my favorite company in the world (forgive me for not mentioning the name here, but I would like to stay employed thankyouverymuch!) and the best part is that I get to work from home. They even sent me a shiny new computer to work on. Sweetness! The cool thing about living in AZ is that the cost of living is so low (especially compared to what we were used to!) that my salary is enough to pay our bills, which leaves Mike free to do stuff for our little business venture. That’s right – the Taylor’d Design has his (mostly) undivided attention. (And I get an awesome house husband out of the deal.)

We’ve been enjoying hanging out with my family and their friends – Mike even has his very own Fantasy Football team so he’s truly been assimilated. They keep us pretty busy, although their schedules baffle us a bit. It’s not unusual for them to call it a night at 8 or 9 o’clock on a Friday or Saturday night. My bartender brain has a hard time with this, so I think we really need to find some friends to hang out with after our current crowd calls it quits.

Having said that, we miss our Seattle, Boston, and Santa Monica friends! As soon as we get the old bank account back up to an acceptable level, some visits are definitely in order. In the meantime though, you all could come visit us! The weather here has finally turned and it’s nice enough that we’ve turned off the A/C in favor of open windows and nice fall breezes. It might be just what the doctor ordered for those of you who live where it’s cold and rainy (snowy?) all winter.

So yeah, I hope to be throwing more stuff up here on a semi-regular basis now (I figure if my life isn’t exciting enough to write about, I must be doing something wrong!) so please harass me a bit if I miss more than a few days between posts!

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You wouldn’t think one percent would be such a big deal…

Five U.S. states limit alcohol sales in grocery stores and gas stations to beer at or below 3.2% alcohol: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah. In these states, stronger beverages are restricted to liquor stores. This means that for the Bud Light drinkers in our group (a large percentage), they have a choice this weekend: they can go to the grocery store and buy low point Bud Light for a relatively normal price, or they can go to the liquor store and spend $25 for a 24 pack of ‘normal’ Bud Light which is 4.2% ABV. You can guess what they did. (I hope you guessed that they went to the liquor store.) The thing that I find funny about this is that Mike and I didn’t know about the law when we rolled into town on Friday, so we stopped at the grocery store before we got to the hotel and bought some beer. Do you think anyone noticed that there was low point beer mixed in with their normal beer? No they did not! So really, what’s the point?

But enough about beer! Let’s talk about Vail! If you have never seen Vail, Colorado in the summer, you are missing out. It is absolutely stunningly gorgeous. There are flowers and lush green mountains and snowcapped peaks. It really is like something out of a John Denver song. We spent the day yesterday wandering around Vail Village, which is the kind of tourist trap that Mike and I avoided like the plague when we were on our honeymoon, but is really fun when you’re with a large group. There are shops and bars and lots of people watching.

Now, Vail is an expensive town (aren’t all resort towns) so while we went to the bar for a few beers and an appetizer or two, we chose to have our meals at the hotel where we have a kitchen and the beer doesn’t cost $4.50 a bottle. That’s one of the best parts about hanging with this particular crew – they are all amazing cooks! We have been eating well!

To top off an awesome day, last night just after dark, there was a private fireworks show at the base of the ski slope that just happens to be right outside our window. So I’d like to give a big shout out thank you to whoever paid for the awesome fireworks display that we saw last night. It was very cool.

Today is the big day! Dave and Lisa get married in just a few hours. We’re all looking forward to the wedding. I just know it’s going to be beautiful (and the guest list is filled with awesome people so its pretty much guaranteed to be a good time!) Oh, and it’s in Avon, where there is apparently an awesome Fourth of July celebration tonight, so we get to see more fireworks! I love fireworks. Today is going to be a good day.

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715 miles in one day? Piece of cake!

During our honeymoon road trip, we had a few rules for when we were driving.

1. No sleeping in the car.
2. No interstates unless absolutely necessary.
3. No CDs or iPods – radio only.
4. No games on the iPhones or iPads in the car (you know, so we pay attention to the world around us.)

Yeah, we broke all of those yesterday. We took the interstate even though there was a perfectly good US route that would have gotten us here several hours later. When the only radio station we could get was on the reservation and only played drums and chanting, and then even that faded to static, Mike put in a CD. Mike actually let me drive for a bit, and I was surprised until he confessed that he just wanted to play his game. Punk. We both attempted to sleep, but were unsuccessful (so I guess we didn’t really break that rule.)

Anyway, in spite of all the rule breaking, we managed to have fun on our way here. Yes, we stopped at the Utah and Colorado borders to take our pictures. (I intend to have my picture with a state line sign from every one of the 48 contiguous states at some point. We only need 6 more!)

My parents and Cyndy were the first of our crew to leave AZ for Vail – they left early Thursday morning and drove straight through like we did. Well, when they started getting hungry they texted me asking for restaurant recommendations in Moab, Utah. Being the awesome daughter that I am, I looked up places on Yelp for them and gave them a list of three possibilities that had particularly good reviews. There was a cafe known for it’s breakfast food, a burger joint, and a brewery. They chose the cafe, and instead of ordering breakfast, they ordered sandwiches and well, they weren’t really impressed. Apparently there was fruit in the tuna salad. I felt bad, even as I was surprised that they didn’t go to the brewery! Anyway, we decided that since my mom’s first impression of the place was that it was ‘a Mike and Andi’ type of place, that we would check it out when we drove through Moab. Well, as soon as we saw the sign, we knew that it wasn’t their type of place. Then we parked and looked at the menu and cracked up! It was a total hippie place! Tofu and whole grains everywhere and then there was the clientele! Super crunchy granola types filled the place. We couldn’t believe my parents actually ate there! Anyway, we ordered breakfast food, and it was bombing good. I had green chile huevos rancheros and they were so good! My dad would have loved it! Of course, when I asked why they ordered sandwiches at a place known for breakfast, they shrugged and said it was lunchtime. Clearly they have a lot to learn! Breakfast is good any time!

The rest of the drive was uneventful, but very pretty. The weather cooperated, and there was sunshine and bright blue skies with just enough puffy clouds to make pictures look interesting (see Joanne, I still remember the importance of puffy cloud days!)

We arrived just after five and I’ll admit that we were pretty tired (12 hours of driving will do that to you), but it was time for Dave and Lisa’s barbecue, so we rallied. It was a really fun night. There was a keg in Dave and Lisa’s room, and a steady stream of pitchers made their way to the pool area. The food was delicious. Some sort of Croatian (I think) sausage sandwich – a specially of Lisa’s parents – I’ll have to figure out what it was called so I can make sure I try it again if the opportunity ever arises. (Lisa, if you read this, remind me what those were called! And maybe spell it for me?)

Today we have a free day (the wedding is on Sunday) so we’re going to explore a bit. It’s a beautiful day outside – the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Let’s just hope the weather reports were wrong and this sunshine stays with us the rest of the weekend (or at least until after the wedding!)

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On the road again!

Well, it’s been a pretty uneventful week in Arizona. We’ve been spending a lot of quality time with our computers – beefing up our resumes, writing kick ass cover letters, and applying for jobs. I’ve been applying for office jobs even though I’d probably be happier bartending. Never fear – I’ll apply for restaurant jobs next week. If you’ve never worked in a restaurant before, the application process is a little different than for ‘real’ jobs – mainly because if you apply for a job and they like you, they generally want you to start right away – sometimes the same day you apply. Since I wanted to go to Vail for Dave and Lisa’s wedding, I didn’t want to apply somewhere, get offered a job, and miss out because I didn’t want to work the holiday weekend.

We’ve also been out in search of the perfect northwest Phoenix apartment. We’ve been spoiled in the past with cool, unique apartments, but those don’t really exist in Peoria or Glendale. We’ve looked at about ten places so far, and to be perfectly honest, they all look the same. We’ve got a few more to look at, but I think we’ll end up picking the cheapest one that isn’t too ghetto and call it good.

The other thing that’s been keeping us busy is our new business venture. We have been working on getting our website up and running and delivering our first finished product to our guinea pig first clients. Jen and Steve were nice enough to let us design their wedding Save the Dates and Invitations, and they turned out really good (even if I do say so myself!) Hopefully that is just the beginning for our design business. If you’d like to check out our website, it’s www.thetaylorddesign.com I’ll warn you, it’s still a work in progress so please be gentle – we’ll do an official launch sometime next week once we finish polishing it up a bit more (and adding more pictures of our work!)

Speaking of Vail and Dave and Lisa’s wedding, we are back on the road and headed north this time. We’re going to hit two states we missed on our honeymoon – Utah and Colorado! It’s going to be an awesome weekend! It’s the trifecta – a fabulous wedding, Mike’s birthday, and the Fourth of July! It’s going to be fun!

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Now you can subscribe to this here blog! Exciting, isn’t it?

Okay, so now that the honeymoon is over, Mike and I figure that our lives aren’t necessarily going to be exciting enough to warrant a daily post for all of you lovely people. However, I realize that some of you have become a bit, well, addicted to my rambings. (This is incredibly flattering, by the way!) So, I have decided that I will continue to write (almost) daily updates on the blog for your reading pleasure.

In order to make life as easy as possible for you, my loyal readers and friends, I have four (count them, four!) ways for you to find out about new posts on this here blog of ours.

1. You can visit mikeandandi.com at your leisure. (You can even add it to your RSS reader if you are into that sort of thing.)

2. Whenever there is a new post, you will see a link to it on my Facebook page – so if you’re a Facebook addict like me, you can just click away whenever you see that little ‘There’s a new post’ bit in your feed. If we’re not friends on Facebook, feel free to add me!

3. You can subscribe to our blog – this will result in an email being sent to the address of your choosing whenever there is a new post. It will contain a small amount of the post (not the entire thing!) as well as a link to the full post. In order to do this, just enter your email address in the sidebar on the right side of this page and click subscribe. (If you want to unsubscribe, just put your email address there and click unsubscribe – piece of cake!)

4. If you simply must have the full text delivered to your inbox every time there’s a new post, you can register as a user on mikeandandi.com. There is an option to do this in the sidebar on the right. Just fill out the relevant information, and moments after you click ‘Register’ you should receive an email confirmation in your inbox. Once you confirm your email address, you’re all set – you never have to log in again unless you get sick of me and want to stop receiving my emails! :)

Of course, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns or have trouble registering or subscribing or whatnot, please feel free to ask!

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The road trip by the numbers

We had an extremely lazy day yesterday. We travelled exactly zero miles, and never actually got around to leaving the house. It was just what the doctor ordered. We decided to come up with some road trip stats to share with you today, so here goes:

We went through 40 US States, the District of Columbia, and 2 Canadian Provinces.
For the record, we missed Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah. I think this means another road trip is in order someday.

We drove 14,370 miles over 53 days – that’s an average of 271 miles per day.
Our car averaged 26.18 miles per gallon.
The average price of gas was $3.74.
The lowest price was $3.39 per gallon.
The highest price was $4.39 per gallon.
We used 557 gallons of gas.

Having ‘just married’ written on the back of our car resulted in a lot of attention while driving!
We kept track of some of that attention:
115 honks
122 waves
70 thumbs up
6 fist pumps
4 very enthusiastic woos
2 people yelled sucker!!!
1 round of applause
1 blown kiss
1 raise the roof
And twice a parent in a car full of kids told us not to have too many kids!

We also got the hook up a few times just for being on our honeymoon:
A sweet suite at our hotel in New Orleans
Two nights in the honeymoon suite at the Quality Inn in Orlando, Florida
Lucille’s daughter bought us lunch at Lucille’s Country Kitchen in Warren Grove, New Jersey (in exchange for telling everyone that it was our favorite stop…which it most definitely was – purely for the entertainment value and just how much I blushed when she told us that!)
Free toll on the Interstate in Pennsylvania.

Driving all those miles took a bit of a toll on our car:
1 new windshield in Orlando, Florida
New brakes in Milwaukee
3 oil changes

One of the best things we did was buy a beer from every state as a thank you to my parents for all that they’ve done for us this year – between the wedding, storing all our stuff after we moved out of our Santa Monica apartment, watching our dog, and putting up with us while we find a place in Arizona, we owe them a lot! They’re tough to shop for, but they love beer, so it was the perfect thing. We wound up with beers from 75 breweries! Our car was pretty full by the time we arrived on Saturday!

Everyone wants to know what our favorite part was, and that’s really tough to decide on! We have come up with a list of our favorite cities – the ones we think we could live in someday – in no particular order:

Austin, Texas
Savannah, Georgia
Bozeman, Montana
Chicago, Illinois
New York, New York
Boston, Massachusetts
Seattle, Washington

We also want to give a big shout out thank you to the people who took us in during our trip around the country – it would not have been as much fun to tour the country if it hadn’t been for all of you! Brian and Karen, Dave and Louise, Ann and Doug, Jen and Matt, Amy, Mary and Grandpa Fred, Greg and Jean, Gary, Holly and Kevin, Benita, Glenn and Donna, Doug and Deric, Leslie, Cathy and Val, and of course, my parents – you all rock!

It was also great to see all our friends and family around the country! Dave and Linnea and their awesome kids, Karen’s parents, Karen and Richard, Nyasha, Heidi and Sonia, John and Melinda, Erin, the whole Mechanicsburg, PA crew, the AZ dudes who let us crash their bachelor party in Ohio, and Scott and the whole VI crew in Seattle – thanks for taking time out of your busy lives to hang out with us! For those of you who missed us, we missed you too, and maybe we’ll catch up with you next time!

Last but not least, a big thank you to everyone who gave us gifts off our honeymoon registry – you made it possible for us to have so much fun on our honeymoon. The Larsons, the Robinsons, the Ollers, the McAnerneys, the Pratts, the Taylors, Erin, Faith, Stephanie, and Elaine, Cyndy, Amy, Benita, Erin, Scott, and Lorraine and Raja – you are the best and we so appreciate it!

And for all of you who read my rambling every day (and told me how much you enjoyed it) thank you! We will be posting more pictures on our website in the coming days, so if you want some visuals to go along with all the stories I’ve been telling, keep an eye out for new posts there! This is not the end of mikeandandi.com – there is more to come, so stay tuned!

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The honeymoon is over! (Literally, not necessarily figuratively.)

We did it! We survived fifty three days in the car together. And yes, we still like each other. I know! Amazing.

The last day was a piece of cake, even if it did involve a long, boring drive through the Arizona desert. We slept in a little bit – after all, we’d been gambling until the wee hours of the morning! (Mike will argue that sleeping until nine is NOT sleeping in, but if I paid attention to that sort of thinking, we’d still be in the middle of the country!)

I really thought Mike was going to want to gamble a bit before leaving Laughlin – so I was pretty surprised when he was ready to hit the road right away yesterday. It turns out he just wanted non-casino coffee and some breakfast. To that end, we found Jedro’s Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles, California. I know some of you go to Laughlin fairly regularly, and if you haven’t been to Jedro’s, you really should try it someday. It’s really kitschy and cheesy, and so much better than some lame casino buffet. (Before you object – I’m sure there are some delicious casino buffets – it’s just not our favorite thing – too much stress about gluten contamination and whether or not there will be anything Mike can eat.)

Our last bit of frivolous scenic route driving took us through Lake Havasu City, which is where my parents met and where we lived until I was five. We saw the London Bridge. It’s a bridge! It’s from London! It’s not falling down! We drove by my Grandma’s old house (which looks the same except the tree that used to be out front is gone.) We also drove down Manzanita Drive where our house was, but I couldn’t decide which house was ours, so I took pictures of the two most likely candidates and I’ll have to confirm with the parents which one it was.

Truth be told, there’s not a whole lot to do in Lake Havasu if it’s the middle of the day in the summer (it’s too hot to wander around) and you don’t have a boat. The lake was full of boats, and the water is really inviting – shockingly bright blue against the desert rocks and sand. It definitely made me crave our old boating snack (and my Grandma’s favorite) – some sardines, onions, and crackers. (Don’t judge it until you’ve tried it while sitting on a boat in the middle of a lake in the summer after you’ve been water skiing for a few hours. It’s delicious!)

Now, we could have taken the interstate from Havasu, and shaved an hour or so off our drive time, but Mike and I are both sick and tired of that particular stretch of I-10, so we opted to take the US 60 instead, which led us through a series of tiny towns. There was Bouse, and Hope, and Salome, and Wenden, and I think that Mike was beginning to believe that the desert was never going to end and we would be driving forever. Finally we made it back to Phoenix.

We walked into my parent’s backyard just as Sweet Caroline was blasting on the iPod. It took Luke a minute to spot us, but once he did, he got so excited that he quite literally knocked us down. I think he missed us a bit. My parents will use any excuse to have a party, so of course there was a crowd waiting for us! How fun! We swam, and ate, and had some beers and an all around great time.

So yeah, we’re home and I guess today we have to start our lives again…or at least unload the car and sort through all the pictures we took. My mom has taught Luke that walks happen at five in the morning, so we’ll have to work on teaching him that only she gives him walks at that hour. He also learned how to open their back door, so we are going to bust out the clicker and see if we can train him to close it as well. He’s a smart dog, so I think that’s an achievable goal.

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