Day 1 – Traveling to New Orleans

I have a notebook where I have taken notes of what we did almost every day of our trip. I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and I figured it would be helpful if I wanted to make a scrapbook when we’re done. So I’ve made a new blog category, “road trip diary”, where I’ll be writing about our trip in the order it happened, and include some of the pictures we took along the way. I think an online diary of our trip is something I will love looking back on years from now. And maybe you’ll enjoy it too.


On Monday, June 30th, we first drove from Athens to Montgomery, AL, with a short stop in Auburn to see the Jordan-Hare stadium. In Montgomery we sightseed for over an hour, seeing Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King was a pastor and where the famous bus riot took place. We also stopped by the First White House of the Confederacy, which was a great little (free) museum that we both really enjoyed. The entire neighborhood is full of history and gorgeous buildings, and definitely worth seeing.

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Afterwards we looked up a local place to eat and ended up at Mrs. B’s Home Cooking. I have to admit that both the neighborhood and house-converted-to-restaurant looked pretty sketchy, but the food was amazing (homemade southern soul food) and the servings much too large to finish. When we were done we continued our drive to New Orleans for the night. This was definitely a place we’d both really been looking forward to seeing, and it didn’t disappoint!

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Our hotel on St. Peter street was only two blocks away from Bourbon street – probably the most famous street in New Orleans. On our way down there we noticed that it was still completely quiet even a block away, so we figured it must be dead since it was only a Monday night. Turns out that sounds just don’t carry well through the tall stone buildings (all stuck together), because Bourbon street was anything but empty. There are more bars than you can count, and every single one has their doors open with music streaming into the street, while employees try to entice you to stop by with cheesy lines like “couples get in free!” (along with everyone else). It was one of the most colorful streets I have ever seen, both in the literal sense and with regard to all the people drinking in public. A bartender told us that New Orleans is one of three places where you can legally drink in public (which is why all the bars had signs saying “drinks to go”), the other two being Key West and part of the Las Vegas strip – so we have now been to all three!

Bourbon street during the day, when all the bars are stocking up on alcohol (it’s closed to cars at night).
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Our first stop was Pat O’s to try out their specialty drink, the Hurricane. It was delicious, but dangerously strong with 4 cl of rum in each cup. They came up with the drink back when there was a shortage of whiskey because of the war, and they were forced to buy 50 boxes of rum in order to get just one box of whiskey and scotch. In other words, they had more rum than they knew what to do with and needed to come up with a strong drink to get rid of it all.

We decided to walk the street while finishing our drink, and I was almost overwhelmed by all the different impressions. Even on a Monday night many of the bars had live music and a lot of what we heard was really good. Other places advertised for karaoke, DJ’s, or even strippers… We ended up at Famous Door on our second walk of the street, which had a great band that played old classics we both knew and sang along with. I think I could have kept walking all night, though; there was more than enough entertainment. When the bar closed for the night we moved on up the street to “The World Famous” Cats Meow; a karaoke bar that stayed open until 6 am every night. We didn’t have the guts to go on stage since most of the singers were impressively good – especially the guy working there who sang every other song to keep the guests entertained.

It was a great day, and I think we finally passed out some time around 3 am.

Week 3 Of Our US Road Trip

Getting internet access – or even a decent network connection – has been incredibly difficult while we’ve been on the road. And the few times we spent the night in a hotel we were usually so exhausted that we passed out well before midnight. That’s what we get for being busy from 8 am to 9 pm almost every day, but it is a good kind of busy. The kind that makes you sleep like a rock every night, no matter how uncomfortable you might be on your thin sleeping pad. And for once in my life I’m waking up feeling fully rested even if it’s only 7 o’clock in the morning. So we’re definitely doing well. Incredibly well.

I quickly realized that camping and road tripping is a very acquired taste. It’s not very comfortable. You get dirty, sweaty, and cramped in a small tent and a small car. Some times you get stressed out because there is so much you want to see and do and hardly any time to just relax. Then there are endless hours of driving where you’re torn between the excitement of getting somewhere and being tired of being in the car. But at the end of the day I think I have gotten much better at just enjoying the moment. Being uncomfortable doesn’t bother me, I have learned to dress comfortably instead of fashionably (I think I have worn makeup only three times since we left Athens), and the lack of signal and hours of driving have given us plenty of time to just be together and talk, or listen to music, or think and just enjoy the change of scenery around us.

Right now we’re taking two full days off from traveling and have no other plans than relaxing. Andy’s uncle has a cabin at June Lake, only two hours away from Yosemite National Park, and he’s been generous enough to lend it to us for as long as we want. The weather here is gorgeous and we’re currently sitting outside a cute little deli in town, drinking coffee and taking advantage of their internet. We’ve used our electronics very little on this trip, but I think we’ve earned a couple of days of phones, computers, and tvs.

We took this picture in Los Angeles exactly a week ago, when we drove up the mountain to see the Hollywood sign.
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I would love it if you followed me on Instagram (@tmvikholt), where I’m posting pictures from our trip.

Moving From Athens, GA

Last week (not this past one) was absolutely exhausting. We spent almost every waking moment packing; or thinking and talking about packing. So we were tired both mentally and physically, trying to get everything in order. The few hours we took off we spent with friends who we won’t see again for a long time.

We had finally decided on u-boxes instead of a moving truck – so that we didn’t have to drive it to Minnesota – and we had to pick up our pods last Friday morning. Since we had been packing a bit every single day for two weeks, we figured we would be more than prepared, but that’s not how it went. Everything started going wrong from the day before. We quickly realized that we wouldn’t get everything packed in time for the next morning, so we did as much as we could and only slept for three hours before picking up the boxes at 7 am. At noon we were finally ready to start loading our first u-box, after a thirty minute nap, and it took us over five hours to fill it up by ourselves. Then we had to take it back to u-haul’s store to pick up our second box. We also realized that we hadn’t eaten anything but a breakfast bar and quarter of a watermelon all day, so it was definitely time to order some pizza.

Two of our friends saved the day by helping us out with the second box and the heaviest furniture. But even with their help we weren’t finished until past 11 at night. At which point we had accepted that we had miscalculated and there was no possible way that all of our stuff would fit. The guest room bed and a living room chair had to go. And we still had a few boxes and random things that we had to take back to u-haul to pack in our first box the next morning (at 7 am, yet again). We weren’t done packing those things until 3 am. So, as you can imagine it was all just a giant hassle.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself Friday night:
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The weirdest thing about it all was that after two nights of only getting three hours of sleep, 20 hours of almost non-stop packing, and spending two more hours at u-haul on Saturday morning, we were still not very sleepy. I was so thrilled to be done that I was suddenly wide awake. We celebrated with breakfast at Burger king before we went home and decided to sleep for another four hours after all.

After a week like that we were more than ready to spend the next 6 days at the beach in North Carolina with Andy’s family! Our internet here has been horrible, but we are leaving today, so I will try to post a couple more pictures tomorrow. It’s been perfect!
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Taking A Break – Friday’s Outfit

After many hours of packing this week we decided it was time for a night out. Some drinks, a cute dress, and good company was exactly what I needed – although it seriously decreased our productivity on Saturday morning. We traded boxes and tape for Netflix and hot soup. Luckily we still have over a week before we need to be out of our apartment, and I think we pretty much have everything under control. (Although I’m amazed at how many bags of trash we’ve filled so far. Where does all this stuff come from??)

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I’m in the middle of packing down almost all of my clothes, and decided that I needed to wear this dress one more time before it gets shoved into a box for a few months. I know we won’t be dressing up a lot this summer, but I’m still fighting with myself over clothes I want to bring even though I know I shouldn’t. Especially when I consider how great white would look against my future tan skin :P

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Vacation Is Over!

It was so weird to get back to the US on Monday night. First of all I was absolutely exhausted from traveling – I hate it when I end up in the middle seat on a 7 hour flight and can’t sleep for more than 5 minutes at a time. One time I woke up with the man in the window seat leaning over me, which scared me half to death. He was apparently trying to get by me without waking me up. Anyway. What was weird is that my entire vacation had been so packed full of events that I hadn’t had a single second to sit down and think about it. At the end of the three weeks I was actually pretty tired. But a good kind of tired where you know you have spent all the time you possibly can with the people you love, and you’re left with lots of happy memories that will stay with you for years. That is exactly the way I wanted this trip to go. The last month before I left had been pretty hectic, and I noticed that every time I sat down to relax ten different things would go through my mind (“remember this”, “do that”, and so on). But during the few moments I had time to lay down in the sun in Norway and just enjoy life, my mind was blank. Blank and happy. And it was amazing.

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It was pretty great to get back too, though. Especially when Andy’s smiling face met me at the airport! After we got home I only managed to stay awake for about three hours of delicious fast food (which was all I wanted after eating airplane food all day), random conversations, and a few shows on Netflix. Then I completely passed out.

The next four days have been incredibly productive. I was out of vacation mode the second I woke up on Tuesday morning (at 7:40), and ready to get started. Since then we have bought every last thing we need for our road trip this summer, we have gotten quotes from u-haul for moving, we have gotten tons of boxes from various liquor stores, I’ve helped Andy move out of his office at school (I have never seen so much paper in my life), we have stopped by Goodwill with things to give away (although I already have four new bags of clothes we don’t need), we have made a total mess of our apartment while packing, we have narrowed down where to live next semester, and we have even squeezed in a couple of long walks in the scorching hot sun.

Phew! And we have barely even gotten started.

I am also proud to say that we’ve still made time to eat well and enjoy our dinners together. I dragged Andy out of bed at 8 am on Tuesday to go grocery shopping, and we’ve filled up the fridge with healthy food and snacks. So far we’ve made jambalaya, baked cod, and a big batch of homemade salsa to snack on instead of candy (that and baby carrots). And we always make enough for lunch the next day so that we don’t have to spend any more time cooking. Tomorrow I think I’ll make salmon and a vegetable salad.
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Tonight we’re having tacos! You know, since it’s Friday. Have a great weekend!

17th Of May – Norway’s National Day

Two Saturday’s ago I got up at 6 o’clock in the morning, mostly because I was still yetlagged, but also because I was super excited to be in Norway for my first 17th of May in four years! It has always been my second favorite holiday of the year (after Christmas); probably because I was a band geek for 8 years of my life and used to do baton twirling in the parades. Now I just watch, but it’s still almost as fun.

It is also one of the few times a year that I get to wear my Bunad, a Norwegian traditional dress dating back to the 18th and 19th century. The style you were normally signifies where in the country your family is from. Oh, and it is incredibly warm and incredibly expensive!
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After getting ready I started the morning with a champagne breakfast at Madelen’s place before we walked downtown to watch the parades. There are two of them, one at 10:30 and one at 4 pm. The first one has every school in town along with both junior and main marching bands. The second is for every organization that wants to participate, which includes everything from karate to theatre to soccer. And, of course, more marching bands. And in between the parades you eat as many ice creams and hot dogs as you can stomach while visiting the travelling funfair.

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At the end of the day I went to my brother’s place to spend the night. I would normally go out, but my niece’s christening was the next morning and I didn’t think I should be hung over while carrying her up to the priest. ;)

Manicure Monday: Gradient With Glitter

I did this manicure about three weeks ago, before I got to Norway, but I completely forgot to post it. So I figured it would be perfect for a Manicure Monday post. I had just bought a pack of adorable makeup sponges from Walmart (for $2) that I was dying to try out. I love gradients and think they are super easy to do, but I haven’t been able to play around with them since I had been out of sponges for a good 6 months.

I used Tahiti and Rio De Janeiro from Julie G’s new cruise collection for the gradient, and finished it off with Essence Dreams For Sale and a coat of Seche Vite top coat.
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I started off with two coats of Tahiti on all my nails, then I painted both that and Rio De Janeiro on a makeup sponge and applied it to each nail. You’ll need to reapply each time.
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What do you think? Don’t forget to link up your own manicure at Glitter and Gloss blog.
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My First Days As An Aunt

My first five days in Norway went by in a blur. There was so much to do and so many people to see that I hardly had any time to think – just to smile. Yesterday was the first day where I got to breathe, go for a walk, and just take it all in. I love every second of being back, but it’s also pretty weird. I’ve driven through town and seen tons of changes, and I’ve realized that I have forgotten the directions to places I used to hang out as a kid. Everything is so different and yet it still feels like home. And I think it always will, to a degree. As long as the people I love and miss are still living here.

One of the weirdest things about being home is switching languages! Even though I understand Norwegian perfectly it takes me at least a week before I can speak it fluently, without any english words thrown in. There are certain words my brain just doesn’t want to remember. I guess that’s what you get when you don’t have anyone to spreak Norwegian to the majority of the time. I think I might feel more comfortable with English by now, which is a really strange and slightly sad thought. Maybe I should start reading more in Norwegian?

My brother and sister-in-law picked me up at the train station last Wednesday, and as soon as I saw my niece for the first time I completely forgot that I had been awake for over 24 hours. Even though she was sleeping I couldn’t stop staring at her – even though I had missed Steinar and Lene a lot too!
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I spent the next two days at my brother’s place, catching up and getting to know little Helene. She is doing her very best at “talking” and makes the most adorable sounds – when she isn’t screaming for food. She definitely knows exactly what she wants and tells you so in no uncertain terms. But she smiles again in a second when you give it to her. And as her aunt I’m allowed to spoil her, right? Because I’m planning to. Even when my arms get sore and achy I still don’t feel like putting her down.
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I’ll try to post some pictures from this past weekend as soon as I’ve had time to go through them. Saturday was the 200th anniversary of Norway’s national day, and Helene’s christening was on Sunday. Both days went by way too fast. And I can’t believe I already have less than 2 weeks left.

Five Things

Even though my to-do lists seem to be infinite and I never feel like I get enough done, these weeks are still just getting better and better. The beauty of being busy is that I always have something new to look forward to, and I’ve done my best to make the most of the time we have left in Athens. There isn’t much that can beat this past week, though. After endless hours of work Andy finally graduated with his Ph.D, and we spent the whole day with family, faculty, and friends. I don’t think I’ve laughed and smiled that much in a while.

So here are five of the things that made me happy this past week.

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{Andy’s graduation! The whole day was amazing!}

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{Getting to spend the weekend with Andy’s family. We also had dinner with his brother and sister-in-law on Saturday.}

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{These cute sponges I bought to use for nail polish gradients. Only $2 at Walmart.}

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{This adorable owl we found by the side of our trail while on a hike. We just stared at it for a good 10 minutes.}

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{I have way too many pictures from Waffle House Friday night, and they all completely crack me up.}

Andy Got His Ph.D In Mathematics!

Congratulations, Dr. Andrew Talian! I can’t believe you’re finally done. You have your Ph.D and you can take the rest of the summer off before your new job this fall. I am incredibly proud of you and all your hard work, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that you truly deserve this! I can’t wait to go on to the next phase of our lives together.

I love you.
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