Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What a Workout!

I'm not talking about the gym but rather the workout our credit card got this weekend when we went shopping for a few things. By few I mean 3 rooms worth. Oops. (Sidenote: I did join Aspen Athletic Club here in West Des Moines and couldn't be happier. Yea for BodyPump, Zumba and More!!!) House shopping is slowly (wait, who am I kidding?) quickly becoming my favorite way to spend free time! There's nothing like picking out an appliance that is new and has all these features and buttons to play with! Or living room furniture and imagining the pillows, wall art and miscellaneous items that will pull the room together. Couple those things with the fact we have both a Homemaker's and a Nebraska Furniture Mart (the MECCA for home shopping) and I'm in heaven. Here are the results of our shopping extravaganza!!


We actually thought we had this stuff all picked out and were just stopping by Homemakers to look at it again before buying it. Turns out we, and by we I mean Tim, found something weliked more. The cool thing about the couch is that chaise lounge is reversible so we can put it on the left or the right. That pretty much sold Tim and he was so excited about it I couldn't say no. So this collection was purchased.

Luckily the stitching matches the ottomans on the coffee table we already purchased!

It got delivered today but the guys at our mailbox (Going Postal in West Glen) are SUPER nice and are storing that box along with our TV that was ordered off eBay and delivered in 4 days. I forget that things can make it places in under 10 days without going Priority!


The kink that the above put in is that the kitchen table and chairs were part of the same collection as the original family room furniture. We decided we don't care.

Thank you, Julie Fromm, for being there to answer my urgent text about what color chairs to go with. I desperately needed advice for someone with an artistic flair of which I have zero. We went with two Stone and two Salsa. Luckily the Stone (the light tan to the right of the red (Salsa) colored chair) marches the ottomans under the coffee table which matches the stitching in the family room collection (kind of like 'Going To Grandma's House and I'm taking something that begins with...)

Next it was on to appliances which equals fun gadgets!!

This is our refrigerator. I don't really know what to say about it. It's a Frigidaire. It has a really

cool on-the-door water/ice dispenser that has all these digital options. I can't wait to use it! Oh, and the price tag was wrong so we got it for $300 less than we should of. Score! Takes so little to please me sometimes.


This might be what I was looking forward to the most. After living on St. Thomas and having an all in one washer/dryer that never really dried anything I can't wait to have a real grown up washer and dryer!! To be fair, I was lucky to have anything on STT. I should be grateful that I didn't have to drop off my laundry or waste days off at the laundrymat.

The washer has some new-to-me technology that incorporates a fan so if you forget you washed the clothes and they sit there a 'fresh fan' comes on and keeps them from getting musty. Awesome! The dryer has steam so I'm confident I'll be doing MUCH less ironing. Or, at the very least, a lot less dropping-the-clothes-off-at-the-dry-cleaner-just-so-they'll-press-them runs. Oh- and it has a shoe rack. A SHOE RACK! Why you ask? And I did because I had no idea what it was- to put your tennis shoes on so they don't whack around the dryer! Or sweaters or delicates you don't want tossed around. Again, awesome.

Delivery is scheduled for all of this for the 12th and I cannot wait!! Of course, since the truck is coming on the 11th I guess I'll have to make a path for the delivery guys... Now, off to convince Tim our yard is not big enough for a riding mower, Again, a battle I'm quite prepared to lose. Not that I'm going to put up much of a fight. I'm picking my battles- mama wants some wall art!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Overwhelmed... With Convenience!

Okay, I'm not sure what I expected out of Des Moines or what I truly pictured it being like here. Fine, yes, I do know what I pictured- a small town feel with older houses and lots of fields everywhere.

I understand it's the state capital but, let's be honest, so is Jeff City, MO and there ain't much there... Sue me for being stereotypical!

I didn't expect a beautiful downtown much less one filled with people out having a good time on St. Patrick's Day. I didn't expect an AWESOME parade that was over 2 hours long and had one float HANDING OUT BACON! I'm told by my friend Kara, who grew up here, we are about 5 minutes away from the HQ of the Pork Society of Iowa AND they serve a pork chop on a stick at the State Fair in August. Wow. No more turkey bacon for the Byrnes! Which is fine, I read it's one of the things making Americans fat anyways....

We've been here a week now and I'm absolutely in love with the city of West Des Moines (yes, Des Moines is big enough to have a West designation thank you very much). It's an amazing city (mmm hmm, I said CITY) with SO much to offer. Coming from St. Thomas I am literally overwhelmed with all it has to offer! I've tried to go grocery shopping but I'm not sure where to start- Walmart? Target? Dahl? Hyvee? Trader Joes? Costco? I HAVE OPTIONS!!! And I can use COUPONS! I've found myself going multiple times because I keep forgetting things and it's an easy in and out experience. This is very exciting to me and I've actually had to upgrade my Shopping List Ap on my iPhone in order to help me get organized (ListPro in case you are wondering)!

Everything here is so new... and nice! I mean NICE. Right around us is everything anyone could want- bars, restaurants and the nicest mall I have ever, I mean ever, been in. There's several gyms to choose from and they all offer amazing things- pools, new equipment, group fitness, tanning- at a pretty ridiculous price.

Even the gas stations are nice, new, all-brick buildings!

We've even found a house! It is actually the first one we looked at. The real estate agent thought we were nuts (actually 'people who just wanted to look around a new development and waste her time' to be exact) as we called from the driveway and asked her to come open it for us to look at. She clearly was happy with us when we signed our offer letter 24 hours later though! We know it's crazy to buy the first place you look at so we did our due dilligence and looked at 10 more and toured 3 more but we kept coming back to the first place we saw. I have a rule when I shop- if I find something, look around and keep coming back to it buy what I caught my eye first... so we did and we close April 11th (sooner if our loan officer can get thru the red tape that is the IRB, poor lady is getting a lesson in how the VI operates).

Now it is time for the fun stuff to begin- the shopping for the house! I've relegated most of our Chicago furniture to be basement worthy so there's lots to do and the possibilities are endless! There's an awesome store called Homemakers that is the mecca of furntiture stores. We found basically our entire living room set and kitchen table & chairs there in under an hour. My list of things to buy just keeps growing and growing and soon we will be playing 'item survivor' in order to prioritize things. We ordered our first item on line last night- a SUPER COOL coffee table with fun ottomans that double as storage and seating underneath.

Trust me, it rocks.

Well, now we are off to St. Louis for a quick trip in and out. Tim has some training at AB HQ and I have some movers to meet and miscellaneous items to pack! During that oh-so-exciting drive I'll be figuring out what to do with this blog. Obviously it's time to change the background and update the bio but I'm thinking I'll keep the name. Cornfield Telegraph just doesn't have that ring to it... nor is it even true!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Ultimate Island Bucket List

Well, the time has come for us to say goodbye. As I've watched friends come and go over the last 2.5 years I've also watched them scramble to try and complete their bucket list in time. Guess who's on the other end of that now?? We are down to less than 4 days to get a whole bunch of things done and food eaten!!! Here are the things that we've found to be essential to do before you leave this island! Anything in bold has been completed. I tried to do this last week with parentheses and X's but apparently that screws with HTML!





Antigua (I get to check this one off 4/26 at least!)



Hans Lollick

Hassle Island (now that the Real World is over there, I don't care to go anymore)

Jost Van Dyke

Norman Island

Puerto Rico

Saba Rock

St. Barths

St. Croix

St. John

St. Kitts/Nevis

St. Lucia

St. Maarten



Virgin Gorda

Water Island

Special thanks to Cameron and his amazing catamaran, Heron, for taking me out on my very first boat trip and getting me addicted to being on the water; Adrian Hale for putting up with our drunk butts many, many Sunday Fundays and Nicolini for flying us all over the Caribbean. Without you guys we never would have seen so many things!!


18 Holes at Mahogany Run

8 Tuff Miles

99 Steps

Bar Wars

Baths at Virgin Gorda

Botanical Gardens at the Great House

Bowling at VI Christian Ministries

Butterfly Farm

Buy a Lottery Ticket

Circumference the island on a boat

Coral World

Day Pass at Sugar Bay

Dinghy Rental on St. John

Drake's Seat

Drink at the Car Wash Bar

Duffy's Ladies Night

Eco Kayak Tour

Experience the BMV

Fed the Pigs Beer on St. Croix

Have a Banana Dacquiri at Mountaintop

Hike all the trails on St. John (have 4 left, I WILL get this done before Friday)

Hike Paradise Point hill

Jumped off of Willy T

Kontiki Party Barge

Napped in a Hammock on Jost

New Horizon's Boat Trip

New Year's Eve at Foxy's

Night Snorkeling

Obtain Health Card


Parrot Club

Red Hook 500

Ride the Ferris Wheel at Paradise Point

Ride the Tram to Paradise Point

Ritz Pool

Santo Bar

SCUBA Certification

Skydiving in Puerto Rico

Sibs for One (not actually the bar but physically having one at Sibs)

Sleep on a boat

Slide on the abandoned boat off Wyndham

Snorkeled the Indians

St. Thomas Caribbean Cinema

Sunday Funday on Jost

Sunrise on the East End

Sunset at Mafolie Hotel

Sunset at Paradise Point

Swim With a Stingray

Swim Up Bar at Limetree

Tortola Full Moon Party
Vegas Night

Walk From One End of an Island to the Other

Walked Peterborg Point

Water Island Movie Night

Whale Watching



Amigo's ($25 AYCE and AYCD? Duh.)

Banana Tree Grille

Barefoot Buddha (I can get my PB/Chocolate Frozen Cafe & my mail? Yes, please!)

Bella Blue

Beni Iguana

Betsy's Bar

Blue Orchid at the Great House

Brook's Bar

Buddha Sushi (Pre-8 Tuff Carb Loading host 2011)

Cafe Amalia

Cafe Amici

Cafe Roma

Caribbean Fish Market

Caribbean Saloon (specifically Terry Fries!!)

Castaway's Happy Hour


Coco Blue

Coconuts (best hot dogs on island)

Craig & Sally's

Delly Deck

Dog House Pub




Fat Turtle (specifically Fat Turtle Fridays)

Fatty's (specifically Texassippi Rib Night)

Fishtails (bottomless hibiscus, 'nough said. Pre-8 Tuff Carb Loading host 2010)

Grand Cru


Grille Room at Mahogany Run (wild mushroom risotto... tear)

Havana Blue
Heidi's Honeymoon Grill


Hospital Cafeteria

Hubby Bubbly

Hull Bay Hideaway



Island Time Pub (not sure how to survive without that pizza)



Kokapelli (Pre-8 Tuff Carb Loading host 2012)

La Tapa

Latitude 18

Life's a Breeze Pool Bar

Lotus (thanks, James, for PB&J/Fruity Pebbles sushi!)



Molly Malones (where Penny was ALWAYS our waitress)

Morgan's Mango

North Side Bistro

Oceana (best. chef. ever. Jen Litwin)

Old Stone Farmhouse (going tonight, I'm crossing it off)


Pie Whole

Pizza Amore

Quiet Mon


Room With a View Happy Hour

Schnitzel House


Skinny Leg's (Mmmm... GTO...)

Soggy Dollar Bar

St. Thomas Dairy

Sydney's Peace and Love

Taco Hell

Tap Room

Texas Pit BBQ

The Cellar

The Rock

Tickles (thanks for the golf balls, Lou!)

Uncle Joe's BBQ



XO (gosh I am SO going to miss that grilled cheese)


Wow. Just when I feel like we've accomplished a lot I realize there's a lot to come back to do/see/eat/drink! Thank you to Ashely Armitage for sharing her bucket list to help jog my memory! It's hard to believe our time here is almost over. I hope to be able to cross a good lot of these off the next few days, wish me luck!