Travel Tuesday: Alcatraz

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I’m so behind on my travel posts! I have so many other places to cover, but today I want to jump ahead and talk about our day on Alcatraz Island back in September!

Alcatraz Island is most known for the infamous federal penitentiary, but it was also a Civil War fortress, the first lighthouse on the West Coast, the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power, and bird sanctuary.  Now the island is a part of the National Park Service and visitors can tour the island and penitentiary. If you want to visit Alcatraz, it’s HIGHLY recommended that you buy the ferry tickets ahead of time. The Alcatraz Cruises site is the official National Park site to buy tickets.

My mom and I like to get an early start to beat the crowds, so we bought the early bird tickets. The early bird tour starts at 8:45 and the next tour isn’t until 9:10, so you get a pretty nice head start. Once the ferry drops you off on the island, a park ranger greets the crowd and gives a quick rundown of the island. From there you can watch a short video about Alcatraz or head up the main prison building.

We decided to take full advantage of being the first group on the island and headed up to the prison instead of waiting to watch the video. It’s a pretty steep climb with a couple switchbacks to reach the main prison building, so bring comfortable shoes.


The audio guide that’s provided for the self-tour is very well done. It’s full of interesting information about prison life and even includes interviews from former Alcatraz prisoners and guards. The tour takes you past the laundry area, through the showers to the different cell blocks including the maximum security wing.

You can also tour the outside area and gardens. The view of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, it was too foggy to see the Golden Gate Bridge that morning. 


OK, so here’s where I admit why my mom and I were so excited to visit Alcatraz - One of my grandpa's cousins was Kathryn Kelly, wife of George "Machine Gun" Kelly (2nd from the left). She was thought to be the mastermind behind the "Machine Gun Kelly" image and several of his successful bank robberies. In 1933 they kidnapped oil tycoon Charles Urschel and held him for $200,000 ransom. Eventually they were caught and sentenced to life in prison. After threatening to escape Leavenworth, he was sent to Alcatraz in September 1934 and was one of the first groups of prisoners on the island. He became inmate AZ#117. You can read more about George “Machine Gun” Kelly here.

I’m sure that being involved in crime and being sentenced to prison brought shame to the family name at the time, but now it’s considered interesting family history. Anyway, after touring the different areas of the prison and walking around the island, we headed back down to watch the film and catch the ferry. The film was interesting, but it wasn’t necessary to watch before visiting the island so I’m glad we did that last. By the time we boarded the ferry, it was starting to get pretty crowded on the island. We were definitely happy about our decision to take the early bird tour.


We had such a fun morning exploring Alcatraz. I definitely recommend getting tickets if you are planning a trip to San Francisco. If you don’t mind getting up early, the early bird tour is definitely the way to go. Although I bet the night tour is also fun (probably kind of creepy too).

MummyTravels “Inspire

Office Update – New Desk, New Layout

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I just realized that my last post about our office was in March 2014! Can you believe it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve finished a project in there?!?! The only change I made to this room during those years was updating the gallery wall.  Obviously I took down all of my ex-boyfriend’s stuff when we split up, but I never finished it so I never shared an update. Anyway, this is what the office looks like now:

As you can see, we replaced the DIY farmhouse desk with a desk from World Market (the Teagan Desk)…and we got a new computer. The screen is so big that I ended up taking the TV off the wall. It looked weird having two similar sized screens next to each other. The chair is from the guest room and is just temporary until I find something that I like that’s not ridiculously expensive. 

We also moved the treadmill to the garage. It freed up so much space and looks so much nicer, but now we’re trying to figure out how to arrange this room. We moved the couch to where the treadmill was, but I don’t like it there, so we’ll probably move it back under the window.

Yeah, so basically this room went from almost done to needing lots of work. I’m not even sure what I want to do in here. Our new desk is deeper than our old one so I don’t think the pullout from the couch will fit anymore if it’s under the window. So I might have to switch that out for a daybed…or just forget about an extra bed completely and put something else in here. So I have no idea what I’m planning to do in here, but I’ll be back at some point with a new mood board. 

In the meantime, what’s your opinion of day beds? Are they practical for an adult to sleep on? I feel like they are more for kids, but maybe that’s because the last time I slept on one I was still a kid. I like the idea of putting one in the office, but I just don't know if it's practical.

Friday Five

Friday, January 20, 2017

One – White Christmas

I know everyone is over the holidays by now, but since I didn’t talk about Christmas in December, I have to talk about it now. My boyfriend, the dogs, and I went to my parents’ house for Christmas and it snowed! I can’t remember the last time we had a white Christmas! It was Abby’s first time in the snow and she LOVED it. Ringo hasn’t played in the snow since he was a puppy, so he was really happy too.

Two – Macey

Meet our new foster dog Macey! She was on death row at the pound for being fearful and she is a bit skittish, but she’s definitely getting more comfortable around us (she’s such a cuddle bug). She has a cough and is super skinny, so she’s pretty pitiful right now, but we’ll get her healthy and fattened up in no time! Ringo is warming up to her, but Abby still isn’t happy about having another dog around. There haven’t been any fights…Abby just wants nothing to do with her. Hopefully she’ll come around…

Three – Eyelash Extensions

(don't judge my wild eyebrows)

I got eyelash extensions and I love them! BUT, to be honest, I hated them the first couple of days. It took a few days to get used to the look of them and how they felt wet. Seriously, the first time I washed my face and then opened my eyes with wet lashes I freaked out. After a few days I got used to them and now I’m so happy I splurged on them. They’re not cheap to upkeep, but #treatyoself

Four – Abby’s Birthday

My sweet Abby girl turned five a couple weeks ago! She has been the best part of my life during that time period. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love that dog. So we celebrated her birthday with her two favorite things – treats and cuddles!

Five – Driving with Dogs

We bought car safety harnesses for the dogs when we road tripped to Montana over the summer. We don’t really use them driving around town, but we like to buckle them up on longer trips. Abby doesn’t mind hers and Ringo didn’t care on our Montana trip, but now he HATES it. He’s figured out how to turn himself around and slip it over his head (or get it stuck around his head).

On our last trip we had to re-buckle him multiple times, so when we went to visit my parents over Christmas, I sat in the back with him. That little stinker still tried to slip out while I was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO HIM. With me in the back, Abby got to ride shotgun (which she loves). It was kind of annoying trying to have a conversation with my boyfriend from the backseat, but it made the ride SO much easier…so that’s probably how we’re going to ride from now on.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Anyone have any fun plans? My friend Michelle and I are having our monthly craft night tomorrow! Oh, and we’re dog sitting for a friend so we’ll have five dogs in the house this weekend…wish us luck!     Cup

January 2016 vs. January 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Every January for the past few years I’ve taken pictures of my main living area and compared them to the previous January. It’s fun to look back at the changes and updates made in a year. The changes from January 2013 to January 2014 were the most drastic (adding the sectional, painting the china hutch), but the 2014 vs. 2015 one is fun too (entry table/travel gallery wall). Last year’s comparison feature the dining room makeover and colorful accessories, but not much else. This year’s changes are even more subtle. The most notable updates are: new curtains and blinds in the living room, new artwork in the dining room, and a new kitchen rug.

January 2016

January 2017

January 2016

January 2017


January 2016

January 2017


January 2016

January 2017

January 2016

January 2017

And finally, here’s how the main living area has evolved over the past five years:

There’s still more I updates I want to make to these rooms, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2017 Home/Life Goals

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Remember me? I used to blog here somewhat regularly and then radio silence for over 2 months…honestly, I just didn’t feel like blogging, but I’m baaaaaaaack.

So...I wrote a full post recapping my 2016 goals, but once I was done writing, I realized that it was super boring and could be summed up in a few lines instead of needing a full post. So before I jump into my 2017 plans, let’s quickly review my 2016 goals.

My first goal was to landscape the backyard and finish at least one room. Well, I didn’t finish any rooms, but I did have the backyard landscaped. It was one of my biggest (and most expensive) projects to date, but it’s so nice to actually enjoy spending time out there. Some of the weeds have started growing back around the pool and a couple of the plants didn’t survive the hot Phoenix summer, but overall it still looks great. Oh and, our fruit trees have started producing fruit, so we now have fresh oranges and lemons!

My next goal was to do more crafts and small projects. This goal was a success thanks the monthly craft nights my friend Michelle and I started doing. We’re continuing this into 2017, so there’s a lot more crafting time in my future.

My last goal was to be more active and eat healthier. My boyfriend and I joined a gym together a few months ago and I’ve started hiking more, but overall this was a big, fat fail. I think I’m about 10-15 pounds heavier now than when I made this goal, so obviously I need to step it up!

OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk 2017:

Let’s start with the blog:

#1 Be Consistent
My goal this year is to blog more consistently. I’m planning to alternate posting once a week and twice a week throughout the year. I think that’s a schedule that I can stick to and produce quality content for. I don’t want to ever post filler just to keep up with a schedule.

Now let’s talk house projects:

#2 Finish a Damn Room
Seriously, the living room, laundry room, office and master bedroom are SO close to being done. I need to get my act together and finish them! So my goal this year is to finish two rooms in the house. That’s totally doable…even for a slacker like me.

#3 Declutter
Maybe I’m just feeling inspired by the start of fresh year, but I’m ready to purge. We have SO much stuff for just two people (OK, most of it is mine) and I’m ready to start clearing it out. I’ve also decided to start a decluttering series on the blog to hold myself accountable. Hopefully it’ll help inspire some of you who are feeling the same way too. I think I’m going to start with the master bathroom. There’s so much stuff in there for such a small room!

Time to get personal:

#4 Eat Less Meat

I’m not putting my usual exercise more/eat healthier goal on the list this year because I feel like that’s too obvious. This year I want to be more specific and my goal is to eat less meat. If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be making this goal now, I would have laughed in your face. However, my boyfriend has inspired me to eat less meat and I can’t deny the benefits. It’s (usually) healthier and cheaper plus it’s good for the environment.

Typically I plan five dinners a week, so my goal this year is to make at least two of those meals meatless. The other three meals will probably include chicken or fish/seafood. We don’t eat very much red meat for dinner. I’ve been pinning meatless meals like crazy, but if you have a favorite recipe, please send it to me!

# 5 Read More
In 2015 I read 53 books. In 2016 I only read 7 books…I love reading, but as you can see, I didn’t do much of it last year. This year I want to read WAY more than 7 books, so I’m making it one of my goals. Plus reading three classic novels is one of my ’30 for 30’ goals, so I feel like it’s important for me to set a book count this year. I don’t think I’ll make it through 50+ plus books this year like I did in 2015, but I can do better than 7 so I’m going to say that my goal is to read 24 books.

Those are my goals for 2017. I think they are all achievable and I’m looking forward to checking in on my progress mid-year.

How did you do on your 2016 goals? Did you make new ones for 2017?

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