Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Random Tuesdays 08/27/2013

Henry Doorly Zoo Desert Dome in Omaha, Nebraska in 2008. 
This meerkat must have done photo shoots before, he posed so well!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Immigration Limbo

The U.S immigration process is  both laborious and expensive. A seemingly easy case of getting a spousal visa takes forever, and ever. We were thinking we might be able to head over to the U.S early next year, but now it seems that was too optimistic of an approach.

It's been almost four months since we sent our I-130 to USCIS. Nothing has been done to our case, even though we were initially told cases filed overseas (U.S citizen living abroad) usually get NOA2 in 60 days or so, since there no longer is a DCF option. That turned out to be completely untrue and the USCIS customer service has given us a whole lot of other misinformation as well. I'm not surprised.

Our case is now in Overland Park, KS and has been there since May. Nothing has been done about it and nothing will be done for another month or so at least, since Overland Park division will not open until the end of September the earliest. So, they sent our case to a place that is not even open yet. When they eventually do open (no one knows when, one customer representative seemed to think it's open, but its not),  they have several tens of thousands of cases waiting to be processed. I'm under no illusion that our case will be processed anytime soon.

How I see their customer service... (from weheartit.com)

Now this really puts a damper on our plans, as we originally thought they would maybe process our case within 9-12 months, so that we could move in the spring. That is not going to happen. 

I know the immigration process is nothing personal, and I know I'm just another unwanted immigrant among hundreds of thousands of others. But I have to say that the fact that they sent our case to a place that's not even open, knowing that they won't do anything about it for at least another 5 months, kinda makes me wonder if we should even bother moving.  Our plan was to stay for 3 years and move back when little man goes to school, that won't really be possible if I get the visa next fall or later.

Oh yeah, I was told to stay optimistic and just wait patiently. Thanks, I'll do that ;)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Random Tuesdays 08/20/2013

New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2009.
They had all sorts of cool decorations; beer-y Christmas lights ;)

Saturday, August 17, 2013


If you read this blog and use Instagram, you may have noticed the Sugar Antelope is now on Instagram :) I couldn't use the app with my own trusty crackberry, but I got a new phone from work. I probably won't be super-active on Instagram, but will upload photos every now and then.

If you have checked out my Instagram photos you've already seen this one:

It's my China rose (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) in bloom, rather pretty! I have no green thumb to speak of, but China rose has been one of the few indoor plants that I've managed to keep alive. Originally I had one mother plant, but I've done some cutting and now I have three roses and one more is pushing out roots as we speak :) Here they are:

This one is the mother plant.

This one was the first baby. It gave up the new (third) baby plant that's next to it rather hazardously. Like I said, I have no green thumb, so I dropped the thing accidentally and two branches came off :D I figured I might as well get another plant out of the mess.

Here's the second baby plant. The photo of the flower is from this one.

This is the only non-rose that we have. It's some sort of succulent house plant, hens-and-chicks I guess. Little man picked it out and I bought it for him. I've had a Christmas cactus before and it didn't die (I gave it away when I moved abroad), so maybe this one will survive as well :)

I'm better with my outdoor garden, I had some chamomile and lettuce growing this summer and they turned out pretty good. Since we most likely won't be living here anymore next summer, I didn't bother with the garden that much. I just bought some pansy seeds and got some color to our garden as well. 

Anyone else have China roses or hens-and-chicks? 
Maybe you could give me a few tips on how to take better care of them :)
 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Tuesdays 08/13/2013

Branched Oak State Recreation Area in West Oak, Nebraska in 2008

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Finland Summer 2013

Schools are starting next week, which means Finnish summer is turning into fall. I'm on unpaid leave from work for the next two weeks, since I have MBA summer school, so I figured I'd recap our summer so far. Here's a photo flood of our Finnish summer:)

We went to the nearby community park a lot

Visited Helsinki

Enjoyed the outdoors in general

Went on a cruise to Stockholm

Highlight of little man's trip

Had some guests from Nebraska, whom we took to Nuuksio National Park

More of Nuuksio

We also took our Nebraskan guests to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Where lil man found this cool thing

Celebrated 4th of July

Went to the beach a lot

And visited Helsinki again

In my opinion summer is not quite over yet, so we'll still have some summer-y things planned :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Random Tuesdays 08/06/2013

Rural road in Southern Vermont, in 2006

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Guilty pleasures: celebrity scents, part II

About a year ago I confessed in an entry that I have several celebrity scents. I think it's time to confess again; I have more celebrity scents :) I've acquired some new ones thanks to trips husband and I have made. Celebrity scents are great for a person like me that gets tired of a scent pretty soon and does not want to wear the same scent twice in a row. They're very affordable and many of the scents in my collection have been less than ten dollars a bottle in places like T.J. Maxx. And now that I actually have a life outside home again, I've been using the scents a lot more.

Here are some pretty pictures of my scents :)

Four times Paris Hilton! Actually I have fifth Paris scent somewhere as well. But here are, from the back left, "Paris Hilton", "Siren", "Can Can" (introduced here) and in the front a small bottle of "Tease." 

My first roommate in Nebraska loved "Paris Hilton" and I do remember it sometimes smelling rather pleasant in our room. It seemed to be The Scent among college girls that year. Years later I cave in and bought the scent myself and I really liked it. Nowadays it's my go-to scent, it's so non-intrusive that it can be worn anywhere. It's not too strong, but strong enough and is very pleasant indeed. It's a subtle and watery fruity-floral (apple, melon, mimose) scent .

"Siren" is a blindbuy, it was only a few dollars, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I really really liked it! It's a bit stronger than "Paris Hilton" and I often wear it when I head out in the evening. It's another floral-fruity (frangipani, apricot, vanilla) scent.

"Tease" is another few dollars blindbuy, and not such a success. It's an alright white floral (jasmine, tuberose, bergamot) scent, but I'm not that into white florals in general.

 The Britney Spears scents from the left: "Hidden Fantasy", "Midnight Fantasy" (introduced here) and "Curious: In Control"

I first bought "Midnight Fantasy" and since I really liked it I decided to invest a few dollars on another of Britney's scents. I chose "Curious: In Control" since I actually do like vanilla, just not the plain The Body Shop Vanilla, scents. This one is a sweet vanilla (vanilla, tonka bean, orchid). It's borderline tacky sweet though, so I don't really wear it to the office that often. But I'm not going to deny, I love it :)

I saw "Hidden Fantasy" on sale at Cheapsmells.com a few months back and decided to check it out. I figured it might be a bit similar to "Midnight Fantasy" and I was right, but in a good way! "Hidden Fantasy" is a bit more grown up, spicier version of "Midnight Fantasy" and I wear it to the office a lot. It's a sweet, but not too sweet (tangerine, vanilla, amber) scent.

Jessica Simpson "Fancy" and one of my newer acquisitions, Taylor Swift "Wonderstruck Enchanted"

I received "Fancy" as a present a few years back, but never used it much. I rediscovered it last year and found myself actually liking it. It's a sweet (caramel, vanilla, apricot) scent and rather strong. I can't make up my mind whether I really really like it, since sometimes it smells really great, sometimes I can't stand it :D I don't wear it too often, since it seems to be scent you can overdose easily with. I've also had "Fancy Love" and "Fancy Nights" from Jessica Simpson, but ended up not liking either of them (the first one was too sharp of a floral and the second one had too much tobacco scent in it) so I sold them forward.

"Wonderstruck Enchanted" is my newest purchase from last week and so far I've liked it a lot. It's another sweet vanilla (I see a pattern here haha), but it's got a twist that I haven't quite figured out yet. I think it has berries and passion fruit, which makes it a bit different from my other vanilla scents.

And the non-celebrity scent gang, from the left Lancôme "Tresor Midnight Rose," Grès "Cabotine Floralisme," Escada "Magnetism" and Van Cleef & Arpels "Féerie Rose des Neiges." The last one I already introduced here.

 "Tresor Midnight Rose" is one of the few scents I've actually paid more than a few dollars for. You can read the rather gross story why here

"Cabotine Floralisme" is another blindbuy from Cheapsmells.com, since it was priced nicely. I remember the original Cabotine from the cruises to Stockholm when I was a kid. I always found the green bottle cap kind of weird looking :D Since it's launch, they've launched a number of different Cabotines. I picked "Floralisme" just because of its price and for the low price it was alright. Definitely not my favorite, but a nevertheless pleasant floral (grapefuit, plum, jasmine) scent.

"Magnetism" is one of my all time favorites. It's really inviting scent with spicy vanilla, red berries and pineapple. It's somehow a very warm scent and I tend to wear it more during the winters.

Whimsically cute packaging of "Hidden Fantasy"

I read somewhere that distinguished nose would not be attracted to celebrity scents, but would prefer designer and niche scents. I like niche scents as well, they're just out of my price range right now. As for designer scents, I don't honestly see a whole lot of difference between them and celebrity scents. The latter might lose in longevity, but I've found them to be just as pleasant otherwise.

What do you guys think? 
Do you have any of the scents pictured here and what do you think about them?

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!