Ever since we lived in England at the beginning of this year I have fallen in love with thrift shopping. It's sort of returning to an old love for me as I used to be an avid Goodwill shopper in high school (much to the chagrin of my mother who did not think my vintage t-shirt finds were nearly as cool as I thought they were.) In the UK we learned that thrift shops are called "charity shops" because each one is run by a different charity and the money raised in that shop goes to support that particular charity.
Things That Rock
Some things just deserve celebration.
I don't normally do a full post on the pet or pets we are caring for but in this case, our new pet is so cute I just couldn't resist! At least 90% of my photos so far in Bulgaria are just of this little guy - a few of which you've already seen if you follow us on Instagram. I really don't know what I'm going to do when we leave here at the end of the month, I'm going to miss him so much!
For as long as I have been driving north on Interstate 80, I have always wanted to stop at the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota. It started out as a joke - I mean, why is there even a museum dedicated to SPAM? I had to know. Then I met and married Joel, and we started visiting his friends who live just outside of Austin, so we were driving by the billboards for the SPAM museum all the time. And we still never went!
Though Des Moines is relatively small compared to some American cities, this town boasts many of the things larger cities do - good theater, a thriving music scene, and fantastic art. (All this without the traffic and the high cost of living!) One of the best places to see what Des Moines has to offer when it comes to art is the Sculpture Park located downtown, right by the library (and close to the secret garden!)
As I kid I always loved the book "The Secret Garden". Imagine my surprise and delight when as a grown-up I learned that Des Moines has its very own secret garden! Okay, it's not totally a secret - it's actually the test gardens for the well-known magazine Better Homes & Gardens. And it's on Google. However, not many people know about it, and it's rather hidden in the middle of the city, so I'm going to pretend it's my own little secret garden. Plus it's only open to the public on Fridays from 12-2, so that's pretty exclusive!
Here in France, we are housesitting for a British ex-pat named Bob. When Bob first purchased this property the main house was in good shape, but many of the outbuildings were not. One of the first projects he took on was a little 18th century stone cottage right next door. The place was in such bad shape it took almost two years to restore! Now I'm here to share the before pictures Bob took before starting his project, and the after pictures of how it looks today!
I started listening to podcasts a few years ago, though I never did so with any regularity. Over the last six months or so, however, I have been listening to them regularly, and I've come to have a regular cast of ones I love. I used to watch Netflix on my tablet while doing things around the house (making dinner, laundry, etc.) but now podcasts have replaced that habit. It's easier to listen instead of watch something, and I learn something with most of my podcasts, rather than mindless TV watching, so it's a win-win!
Yesterday I shared all about the famous tapestries of Aubusson, France (a small town about 30 minutes away from where we are housesitting. The museum we visited held incredible works art from the whimsical to the historical, to the very contemporary and modern. Right now, they also have one special exhibit based all around the works of JRR Tolkien.
On Friday last week, we returned to the town of Aubusson to visit our friend Suzanne, and to see some of the tapestries that have helped make the area world famous. Fun fact: Aubusson tapestries were name-dropped in the third "Crazy Rich Asians" book as something that super-rich people buy to hang up in their houses! I was so excited when I read that line and was like, "Hey! I've been there!"