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What I Did on Summer Vacation

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I’m still here! I’ve been in Portugal the past two weeks, and I had every intention of posting at least once while I was there, but it never happened. Blame the sun and the warm weather and the lure of the Atlantic Ocean beaches… it makes a girl lazy. I’ve only been back for a few days, but I already want to go back. I had so many great ideas for my story-in-progress while I was over there too.

A few highlights of the trip: traveling to the area of central Portugal that my husband’s grandfather was originally from for the first time and meeting a waiter who just happened to have lived in Newark, NJ until he was 11, lying out on the beach, grilling the freshest sardines we bought at the Loulé market, hiking the marshes so close to the Faro airport that the planes took off directly over your head and flocks of flamingos flew off to their own private area inaccessible from the trail, karaoke with a group of very drunk Brits at the bar downstairs from our apartment, and the Ilha (island) de Tavira.

I’ll give you all the full recap soon, but in the meantime, here’s a small  photo teaser of the things I did and saw while I was there.

photos from Portugal

Clockwise from top L: the mountain town of Gouveia, Loulé city center, the Island of Tavira, and my very first galão of the trip from the bar downstairs.

Basil and Barbecue

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There’s this paper/craft shop in town that I like browsing around in and they have a lot of cute journals for people who don’t have the patience or the time to really journal. Most of them ask you to write in a sentence or two each day. There’s one that asks what you’re grateful for each day, and that was the inspiration for this post.

Things I’m thankful for today, or, 10 Reasons my Sunday was awesome:

basil

Basil!

1. My husband got the basil at right for $2.50 at the local farmer’s market. It’s practically a tree! The roots are still intact at the bottom. We already had a small basil plant on the patio, but this is triple the size of that one! And besides, you can never have too much fresh basil. I love fresh basil. It’s my favorite herb. Yep, I have a favorite herb – doesn’t everybody? And yeah, that’s him holding the basil, and yes, I blurred his face. Just because I’m cool with posting all this stuff for everyone doesn’t mean he wants to be famous.

2. I went to the park to hit the tennis ball against the wall, and I didn’t suck quite as spectacularly as usual.

3. Freshly made tortilla chips with salsa verde & hot sauce from our local burrito place.

4. Trader Joe’s Green iced tea. Something so summer about really cold iced tea, and TJ’s is the only commercial one I like – not sweet.

bbq

pesto chicken

5. BBQ! In particular, the pesto barbecue chicken we made (okay, my husband made) using the above basil. Yummy.

6. Jersey tomatoes, from my in-laws’ garden. So. Good.

7. I painted my toenails mint green.

8. Real liquorice from TJ’s – although I have to confess I ate the entire container in two days. oops.

9. Big thunderstorm at night in which I literally saw lightning streaks, not just a vague lighting up of the sky.

dark clouds

Dark clouds rolling in

10. Olympics: Got to watch Misty May and Kerri Walsh crush yet another opponent in beach volleyball (sorry Italy!) – I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by them, or by beach volleyball (and only beach volleyball – the indoor version doesn’t do it for me) but I love watching them play. Even though you have to be careful not to blink or you might miss an entire set.

What are you thankful for? I want to hear what makes your weekends awesome.