Tag Archives: Daily Pic

Conflicting Lessons from Gunner and Georgia

Last Wednesday was so special because it was both of my dogs’ birthdays. Yup, both Gunner and Georgia were born on July 1, just 3 years apart, respectively. Those two truly are members of our family, and Tim and I just couldn’t love them more. They are each very much their own dog, with hilariously unique personalities.

In honor of their birthdays, here are the most important life lessons I’ve learned from Gunner and Georgia, in which I’m sure you will see just how different they are:

Gunner:                                                                  

1- Most people are only ok. Be selective. When you find really great people though, don’t hold back at all in showing your love for them.

2- Food is only ok. Except for sweets. Sweets are their own and vastly superior food group.

3- Hold a special place in your heart for your mother.

4- Being sassy will often times get you what you want.

5- Everything can be fixed with a butt-scratch.

6- Even though your little sister is super-annoying, sometimes it’s fun when she tags along.

Georgia:

1- All people deserve a chance. Be open-minded. When you find anyone, and I literally mean anyone, don’t hold back at all in showing your love for them.

2- All food is delicious, and nothing is more motivating than the promise of a meal or tasty treat.

3- Hold a special place in your heart for your father.

4- Being sweet will often times get you what you want.

5- Everything can be fixed with a belly-rub.

6- Even though your big brother is the COOLEST, sometimes it’s fun to put him in his place.

I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have both of these dogs in my life. I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with them!

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made these cocoa brownies two weeks ago for my weekly recipe (rich and awesome), and this cold brew coffee (easy and so tasty) last week.
  • We ended up having to cancel our trip to see Lindsey and Brian. Our washer acted up, and we had a 3-day weekend to address it as well as a host of other issues around our house. Why does being an adult have to involve doing really un-fun things instead of the things you actually want to do?
  • I finished book #8, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. There were a few laughs, but if I’m honest, it was probably my least favorite I’ve read this year.
  • I kept up with writing and taking photos. Below is Tim about to give Gunner and Georgia their birthday treats.

image

Vickers vs the Chipmunks

I had heard many stories of people battling some type of rodent or furry creature that was destroying their yard (and I remember a particularly epic war from my childhood between my dad and some moles), but I don’t think I really got how intensely frustrating these creatures can be until this first summer as a homeowner.

We are currently losing the fight for our yard to chipmunks. And we don’t just have 2-3. We have an entire chipmunk community living in both our front and back yards, and they have built an insanely intricate network of tunnels and holes all over the place. They are living in wood piles, under our deck, in the crevices of our patio, and under our shed. And they are inviting ALL of their friends to come join them.

I always thought chipmunks were cute before, but let me tell you, their charm has worn off quickly. They are taunting and teasing and torturing our dogs– making Georgia and Gunner believe that they can be caught before darting down into one of their holes, causing those naughty-ass dogs to try and dig after them, creating bigger holes and muddy paws and noses that have to constantly be cleaned off. OOOOF.

In an effort to take back our yard, we have started capturing the little guys in a trap by luring them with almonds and then taking them to some woods across the highway for release. So far, we’ve caught 4 but I swear I have not noticed a decrease. Vickers 4, Chipmunks 20.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I checked off a few summer bucket list items over the course of the last week, and one of them was hosting brunch. I made these sparkling negronis for my weekly recipe. Take one of my favorite cocktails and make it brunch-friendly by adding bubbles? Yes, please.
  • I started book #8: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Very funny!
  • Tim and I both had a weekly date and a day trip on Saturday when we went to Indy for a little fun and shopping.
  • As has been extensively documented here, our yard is a serious work-in-progress. We have a lot of weeds to kill, trees to cut down, and grass seed to plant before we can plant much of a garden…BUT we did buy some cute pots at Lowe’s and planted some calla lilies and hydrangeas that we surrounded with a few annuals to pretty up our front porch. My hope is to not kill the hydrangeas and lilies so that we can plant them in the yard next year.
  • I’ve kept up on writing and taking photos. Below is a picture of our new plants:

image

Our Road Trip Through the South

We just got back from the best vacation– a road trip that took us from Indiana through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. We, of course, loved where we stayed, but had such a great time between the stops, too,  as we were talking, listening to music, and watching the scenery go by as we drove. Tim is a southerner himself, having been born and raised in North Carolina and then living in Tennessee for a few years before we met in Nashville, and although I was born and raised here in Indiana, I have always had a strong affinity for the South– I love the friendly people, the food, and the slower pace, and I absolutely adored my time in Nashville during undergrad. So when it came time to choose a route for my 29 before 30 road trip, the South was a natural choice.

I’ve mentioned on here before that I plan vacations around food, and we ate like absolute kings on this trip. We also got to see both the mountains and the ocean, and we stayed in really residential areas in AirBnb’s the whole time (outside of a downtown hotel in Savannah) in order to both save money and get the experience of a local. So great.

Here a few highlights from each stop:

Midway, KY: Our very first vacation meal was breakfast in Midway on our way to Asheville. Midway is between Louisville and Lexington, right in the middle of bourbon and horse farm country. It was such a beautiful little place to make a pit stop, and we headed to the Midway School Bakery for country ham, egg, and cheese biscuits which were amazing. I can’t wait to go back!

Asheville, NC: This free-spirited, foodie-centric mountain town was right up our alley. Not only is Asheville totally gorgeous, but it has an unspoiled quality to it– it’s cool without trying too hard. The RAD (River Arts District) is full of great studios and co-ops where you can see artists working on new pieces while their other work is on display. We had the best time wandering around this area and poking in and out of various studios. The RAD was walkable from West Asheville, which was where we stayed and was a great home-base for us. We had so much great food in Asheville, but my favorites were probably our lunch at White Duck Taco Shop, a dinner at The Admiral, and the best donuts I’ve ever had in my life (no, seriously) at Hole Donuts. One of my favorite things we did in Asheville was drive a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We drove up to Mount Pisgah, which was probably one of the most beautiful scenic drives I’ve ever experienced. We chose not to do the Biltmore on this trip because it’s pretty pricey and we also were only in town for two days, but I could definitely see us doing it on a return trip.

Durham and Chapel Hill, NC: Our next stop was a day trip through the campuses of Duke University and the University of North Carolina. My husband and I are both huge college basketball fans (with Tim being a die-hard Duke fan), so we wanted to take pictures by these famous basketball arenas. Tim got his picture in Krzyzewskiville and by Cameron Indoor, but unfortunately we were there on Memorial Day and couldn’t get into the museum/hall of fame there. Next, we visited the Dean Dome and wandered through UNC’s campus, which is the oldest state college in America. It’s probably the most beautiful college campus I’ve ever seen outside of IU. We had fantastic BBQ with Tim’s family in Chapel Hill at The Pig and stayed the night in Burlington, NC with Tim’s dad before heading out for more vacation the next day.

Charleston, SC: There are so many museums in Charleston, but all you have to do is walk around the downtown area and you are immediately surrounded by so much Revolutionary and Civil War history. We loved looking around the cemetery at St. Michael’s and reading the historical preservation signs on the houses from the 1700s. The gas lamps, breeze from the coast, and Spanish moss hanging from the southern live oaks make Charleston ridiculously romantic, too. We fully exploited the access to fresh seafood and had particularly memorable meals at The Ordinary and Leon’s Oyster Shop. Charleston is so perfectly situated with a handful of great beaches so close by, and we enjoyed two of them: we laid out and swam in the ocean at Folly Beach and had ridiculously great Italian fare at The Obstinate Daughter on Sullivan’s Island. We also loved the area we stayed in Charleston: near Hampton Park in a really pretty up-and-coming residential area that was about a mile walk to some great Upper King cafes, bars, and restaurants.

Savannah, GA: We had only planned our stays in Asheville and Charleston and decided to leave the rest of our itinerary up in the air so we could make decisions on the fly depending on how we felt. After two days in Charleston, we decided that Savannah being under 2 hours away was too tempting and we’d have to go see it. We took a really beautiful and scenic route down highway 17 and made stops at the Angel Oak (which is HUGE and estimated to be 300-500 years old) and Beaufort (the second oldest town in South Carolina) along the way. Savannah has that same charm from the Spanish moss and southern live oaks, but also has block after block of gorgeous squares. It may be the prettiest city I have ever seen in the US. We had great burgers at The Public, and enjoyed rooftop cocktails while overlooking the Savannah River at the Top Deck Bar. We also loved wandering around Savannah with drinks in hand due to it’s open container freedom a-la-New Orleans. One thing I’m dying to go back and do is a nighttime ghost tour. They were all sold out while we were there, but we did have the happy accident of wandering into the bar at 17Hundred90 which is supposedly haunted and was also just such a cool place that was filled with locals.

Nashville, TN: My love for this town is evident. I grew up traveling to Nashville often as a kid, and then jumped at the chance to go to college there. It’s the place where I met my husband and we had our wedding, so it will always hold a really special place in our hearts. Therefore, a road trip through the South wouldn’t be complete for us without a stop in Nashville. Even though we were only there one night, let it suffice to say we made the most of it!

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made sauteed onions and peppers to go along with brats before we left on vacation last week– an Ina recipe, so you know it was good! Clearly, I cooked nothing while on our trip, so look for two recipes in next week’s post.
  • Not only did I complete my road trip, but I also checked off ordering the most expensive bottle of bubbles at a restaurant! It was French, made exclusively of pinot noir, and paired with oysters, so let’s just say it was perfect.
  • I wrote every day while on vacation and took a ton of pictures! Here are a few below:
The biscuit from Midway School Bakery

The biscuit from Midway School Bakery

Climbing a tree over the French Broad River along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Climbing a tree over the French Broad River along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The spread at The Pig

The spread at The Pig

Before dinner at The Ordinary

Before dinner at The Ordinary

A square in Savannah

A square in Savannah

Driving into Nashville at sunset

Driving into Nashville at sunset

On My Mother

With Mother’s Day having just passed, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment or two to express just how lucky I am to have the woman I call Mom in my life.

Never on this earth has a more gentle and compassionate person existed than my mom. She is the person who always sees the good in people and knows how to bring it out of them. She is never demanding but always endlessly supportive. She is considerate and so very gracious. She is a person of the highest integrity.

I have a lifetime of memories with my mom because she always been there for me, but what really stands out for me is that she has never once forgotten a big day or big moment in my life (or my siblings’ lives either, for that matter). She always wrote good luck notes before a big test, track or gymnastics meet, or interview. She has never let a single Valentine’s day, anniversary, accomplishment, or birthday go by without a sweet card. And whenever I’m stressed or having a really busy work week, she always sends me a text to let me know she’s thinking of me and knows I’ll make it through. She is the single most thoughtful person I know.

Thanks, Mom, for all you’ve ever done and will continue to do for me. You really are the best, and I love you!

List accomplishments as of last post:

  •  I made pesto, and then proceeded to put it on everything: steak, grilled asparagus, tomatoes, sandwiches. So good!
  • I worked on tracing the other (maternal) side of my family tree. Another item checked off!
  • Sunday was a total date night in, complete with Thai food and a Game of Thrones binge.
  • I’ve kept up with writing and actually have slowly eased back to at least taking a few pictures a week. In the spirit of my post though, here’s one of me and my sweet mama from a few weeks back:

image

Spring Things

We are finally having some consistently beautiful spring weather here in Bloomington, and it’s woken the whole town up. Everyone’s out: walking, riding bikes, eating on patios, grilling, and just soaking up the sunshine. It’s amazing how easy and natural it is to feel positive in those first days of spring weather, when summer is just around the corner.

Here’s just a few things that have got me feeling really happy currently:

1- Flowers! We had some surprise daylilies bloom in our front yard, and campus is blooming everywhere, too. So pretty.

2- We found someone to install our fence for a decent price. Cheers to no more early mornings where I have to take the dogs out in my pajamas and pray my neighbors don’t see me!

3- I love when it’s the perfect temperature to ride in your car with the windows down and open the windows in your house. It’s been EXACTLY that temperature.

4- Tim and I are starting to think about a May vacation. I think we want to do a road trip through the Low Country! Fun fact: I LOVE trip-planning and become totally obsessed with researching the location, where to eat, where to stay, and what to do.

5- Last night we grilled out and ate on our deck. Perfect ending to such a nice day.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made this tasty baked broccoli cheese rice for my weekly recipe.
  • I started working on my family tree. I traced my dad’s side back already pretty far, and it was so neat (and also funny) to see some of the names.
  • Tim and I had a really nice little date night Monday after a really long work day.
  • I’m still staying up on writing and taking pictures. Below is one from last night.

image

 

Over It

Bloomington has now been covered in snow for the past two-and-a-half weeks, with fresh snow falling every so often, and I woke up this morning to a wintery-mix of snow and sleet. It’s safe to say I’m officially over it and in bad need of spring. I’m tired of wearing boots every day, I’m tired of trekking through the snowy slush on the way to my car each morning, and I’m tired of looking at it, too.

I think spring missed the memo that it is now March, and it’s ok to show up. I know it’s bad to wish away days, but I need spring to hurry up and get here already. There is something renewing about spring– the earth wakes up, and it drags me out of my wintery funk and rids me of my cabin fever.

The time springs forward this weekend, and hopefully the warmth will come as our days get longer. Until then, I’ll keep dreaming of sitting on the back porch, turning off the heat in my house and enjoying open windows, blooming flowers, and spring vegetables. Doesn’t that all sound so nice?

 

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made the best baked chicken parm for my weekly recipe. It made so much, so there were tons of leftovers, which was perfect because this stuff gets even better after a few a day or so.
  • Tim had our weekly date last Friday night– he made me dinner at home, and we lit a fire and listened to music. So nice!
  • I HAVE to get back into watching my Academy Award winning movies… I still have so many to go, and it’s my list item I’m most nervous about finishing. We did get our TV and DVD player and set up finally, so maybe I can get going on those this weekend.
  • I have stayed up on writing and taking photos each day. Here are a few from last week:

 

Snowy sunset

Snowy sunset

My boy

My boy

Date night wine

Date night wine

Don’t Call It a Comeback

…..I’ve been here for years, rockin’ my peers and puttin’ suckas in fear.

Just a little LL Cool J to set your week right.

The last two weeks were a blur of painting, renovations, packing, and moving, but we are now living in the new house! We officially moved in on Valentine’s Day… I know, leave it to Tim and me to serve you some old married people realness. It sounds really lame, but it was actually super sweet to spend that day unpacking and settling our lives into our first home. We celebrated with pizza and bubbles in front of a fire, and it felt like the best way to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

But then something happened. We woke up early Sunday to continue unpacking and setting things up before a much-needed grocery store trip and Target run for a few necessities and some impulse throw pillow purchases, and then we made plans to host our best friends for the inaugural dinner party. We came back home to clean and prepare to show off the house to our friends, and I was going around cleaning our bathrooms. When I went to clean and then flush our downstairs toilet, things suddenly got REAL.

I’ll spare you the details, but the floor drain in our basement suddenly began to flood, and I just froze in panicked fear. Irrational thoughts raced through my head like, “two days in and our house is broken!” ” and “should we just go ahead and move out?” We ended up having to call a plumber to come out on a Sunday night– can you say overtime rates?– and 2 hours and $300 later, our issue was finally resolved. It was really stressful at the time, and it sucked to have to unexpectedly spend that money, but it makes for a pretty funny story. Our friends still ended up coming over, the night was salvaged, and we survived our first fiasco, but man do I feel like we dove head first into this whole homeownership business.

It’s a good thing we are totally in love with the new place, and when we woke up to our beautiful backyard covered in snow and I got to take my dogs for a fun walk in it– it all seemed pretty worth it.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • As I mentioned last post, I pretty much took the last two weeks off to focus on finishing up renovating the house, packing, and moving, but I did manage to still cook my weekly new recipe. Two weeks ago I made this cobb salad sandwich, and last week I made this pepperoni pizza grilled cheese. We were eating on the go a lot, so sandwiches were our best option. Both were good!
  • I just picked Mindy Kaling’s book back up and hope to finish it soon.
  • I did a poor job staying on top of writing in my journal, but I started it up again, as well as taking my daily photos. Here are a few from over the last few weeks.
Painting upper cabinets

Painting upper cabinets

Painting lower cabinets

Painting lower cabinets

Finished product

Finished product

Valentine's/Move-In Day Dinner

Valentine’s/Move-In Day Dinner

Sunrise in the field behind our house

Sunrise in the field behind our house