Where to Go this Summer on Vacation

I love to travel, so I have planned to get a little traveling in before the end of the year. Being cooped up during the winter months isn’t ideal but I guess it is necessary given the weather conditions for that time of year. I guess if you live in warm places like Hawaii, California, Arizona or Florida, you can enjoy ideal temperatures year round. But for the rest of us, it seems like we go through our cold spells.

Travel in Brazil

I also enjoy photography so a place that is picturesque and unique is important to expanding my portfolio. Instead of bringing my high end DSLR, I decided to go with something a little more portable. I know a budget of $300 for a camera would limit the options but after seeing a few of them at Best Buy, I gotta say they have come a long way in the past few years.

My idea to travel this summer comes from reading some really interesting travel blogs and also some books related to peoples travel essays. I have narrowed down a few places to visit and would welcome any new thoughts or ideas:

If you could choose between these places, which would you prefer to go during your summer break? Do you have any good planning resources or sites that you would recommend?

Do Vacuum Brands Really Matter?

A few months ago, I looked into getting a new vacuum for my place. Given that only a small percentage of the house has carpet, I was conflicted on whether this would be a good investment, or just stick with the old clunky one I have now. The problem was that the old vacuum was made by Dirt Devil and didn’t have a HEPA filter or anything like that. I am fairly sure that dust was spewing back into the air and eventually back into the fibers of the carpet.

Ultimately, I decided to just bite the bullet and get one. Researching some of the brands online I found one site that talked about Shark and Dyson brands here: http://www.squidoo.com/shark-vs-dyson-vacuum-cleaners. It helped to see that there were a lot of contributors on there who had experience with each brand and could recommend which one worked best. I guess social proof is still one of the best indicators of a quality product.

Getting a vacuum that really works well is important, I had a shop vac for a while in my garage that was more powerful than anything I have ever seen. But, shop vacs are for specific purposes. I wouldn’t go with one for inside the home, but a garage is the perfect place for them.

One thing that I like about the Dyson is the ability to get pet hair out of anything. Here’s a good video I found comparing two of the popular Dyson models.

For my situation, it looks like the DC25 would be the best option. I’ll let you know the results in a later post.

Rustic Design Ideas for your Kitchen

Now that spring is finally here, I wanted to spend some time writing more about what has been on my mind during these past winter (cold) months. The redesign of my kitchen occupies my every thought.

Since moving into my small cottage looking home a few years ago, I haven’t been able spend the time I wanted to make-over the house as it deserves. So this summer, I will be focused and determined to see progress in that area.

rustic kitchen designs

My Plans

More than anything, I want to keep the rustic feel of the cottage, and not go crazy with the whole modern look that I have tried before on my other places. This simple, yet classy look goes a long way.


The appliances will be brand new, but there are several models out there such as the stove and refrigerator that can have that antique appearance (usually means that they will be stainless steel though).

antique kettle vs french press

Okay, so with that, what should you have in your rustic kitchen. First, despite having a kitchen that looks old style in many ways, you’ll still need some essentials like a garbage disposal. It’s the other things like lighting, backsplashes, paint and cabinets that keep that rough but cool look. Some of the smaller appliances can also be functional and old looking like a coffee maker or french press.


Paint can transform a room like nothing else. My friend just remodeled their kitchen and the first thing I noticed was the paint they chose for their cabinets. He used an airless paint sprayer to create a base layer then took a soft sponge to make the a darker weather look.


Simple but unique accessories are also going to add a lot to the room. I’ll start by getting some cabinet handles on the cheap from Home Depot. That will save me a little money, but surprisingly their selection is pretty good.

Overall, I’m thrilled to be doing something new and unique. Plus it gives me something to do during the warm summer months. More about this in future blog posts.