Tag Archives: Date Night

6 Happy Years

Tim and I celebrated six years of marriage on Saturday. In so many ways it seems like that we were married yesterday, and then again, I honestly can’t really remember what life was like before then. That’s my home, my safe and happy place.

I’m by no means any expert, but what works for us is to always be the best of friends first, to have each other’s backs no matter what, and to laugh. A lot. I’m one lucky girl.

We had a great five year anniversary trip to Mexico last year, so we kept it pretty low-key with a nice dinner Friday night at Bluebeard and then made each other a fantastic meal at home on Saturday night. I made the below tomato, watermelon, and feta salad for our first course, and Tim made filet mignon, mashed potatoes, and collard greens for our second. For us, it was the perfect way to celebrate.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I realized I’m a little behind on my recipes, so I’ve made 4 new ones over the last two weeks. Tomatoes right now are PERFECT, so I made this Caprese salad with balsamic reduction and this watermelon, tomato, and feta salad. I also made this Italian melt and this spicy and sweet popcorn.
  • Tim and the pups and I took a family photo! No, it was not professional. Yes, it was a selfie. But for the 4 of us, that is a serious victory.
  • I’ve skinny dipped. Let’s leave it at that!
  • Tim and I had two pretty great dates this past weekend celebrating our anniversary. We also had a fun day trip to Indy.
  • Though it happens slightly after my birthday, we have already planned concert #6- Hayes Carll on 10/7.

Weekend Update

Do you ever have one of those weekends where you have laughed so hard your abs are sore? Tim and I just got back from a quick weekend trip up to a friend’s lake house in Michigan where we did exactly that. This is the second year in a row we have done this trip, and I hope it becomes a yearly thing.

The group of us spent the weekend in the sun, boating, eating deliciously trashy food, getting hooked on a terrible reality competition show, and cracking up every step of the way. I was so tired when we got home Sunday, but so so happy. I even got to do one of my very favorite things in life: jump on a trampoline. I had a trampoline growing up, and it remains to this day one of my all-time favorite birthday gifts ever received. There’s just something about a trampoline that makes me start to giggle uncontrollably as soon as I set foot on it. Pure joy.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Two weeks ago, I made these fish tacos. So easy, so awesome. Last week, Tim and I cooked succotash together. We didn’t use a recipe and based it off what his great-grandmother used to do, but it was similar to this. It’s so good and really is a supper in an of itself.
  • Michigan counted as another weekend/day trip!
  • Two Fridays ago, Tim made me a really special dinner for a date night in.
  • Continued writing and trying to take daily photos.

On a Streak

Sometimes, I get so busy enjoying life that not much comes when I sit down to write. My mind is just an ADHD-zone of what’s been good lately– and there has been so much! I might be in a little bit of a writer’s block, but every day life is in the opposite of a rut. What do you call that? On a streak?

Here are some of the happy things:

-Did you watch A Deadly Adoption, the Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell Lifetime movie? I had the best time watching it with Tim and Krissy, making fun of all the melodramatic language and plot twists.

-We are going to my family’s cabin this weekend with friends, and I absolutely can’t wait! It’s impossible to be stressed there. And watching my dogs play there is one of my favorite things to do EVER.

-Summer fruits and veggies! It’s ridiculous how happy summer produce makes me. The green beans have been amazing, as have the cherries. I’ve been on a major radish kick lately, just cut up and sprinkled with sea salt. I like to drink that with white wine and pretend I’m French. On the one hand, I don’t want the 4th to get here because summer goes so fast after it passes. On the other, I can’t tell you how ready I am for Indiana sweet corn and tomatoes. The best in the country grows here. Spoken like a true Hoosier.

-We started VEEP. It’s the funniest show I’ve watched in a long time. Julia Louis-Dreyfus = HERO.

-We had such a nice Father’s Day down at my parents. My brother, sister-in-law, and Tim and I took care of the food so my mom and dad didn’t have to cook, and we spent the afternoon watching my hilarious nephews swim. It was a perfect day and, at least I think, exactly what my dad wanted to do.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made these Mexican grilled corn and avocado toasts for our weekly recipe. So easy and delicious!
  • Tim and I went out to Restaurant Tallent last Friday for our weekly date. Amazing food, per usual.
  • In the most exciting news: I’ve been planning the Vickers-Jarrett reunion with Lindsey, which I think will be over the 4th, and I.CAN’T.WAIT!!!

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:


Summer Bucket List

I feel like every summer I name several things I want to do, either with my husband or friends, leading with “we should…” sentences. You know the drill, I’m sure. “We should go camping/have a cookout/learn how to can fruits and veggies” and so on and so on. I have no problems verbalizing them. My problem is always the follow through. Life or laziness or both tend to get in the way, and before I know it, it’s fall. One of the best parts about maintaining this blog and my 29 before 30 list is that it’s held me to my word– and for that, I’m so grateful because I have accomplished goals and made memories along the way that perhaps I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I really want to apply a little bit of that same follow through to my summer because right now work is a little lighter with my students gone, the weather is amazing, and the days last longer. And also, isn’t there just something about summer that feels like it’s the time to do fun things?

Here are just a few things I really want to do before my summer ends:

-Take my dogs swimming. Lots.

-Spend the weekend at my family’s cabin.

-Plant an herb garden.

-Have several picnics.

-Get some cute patio furniture.

-Host a brunch.

-Take advantage of my parents pool.

-Visit several of the nearby state parks.

-Go to the drive-in movie theater.

-Make cold-brew coffee.

-Play ladderball or cornhole or both.

-Take some fun daytrips.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made two recipes last week to make up for the lack of one while we were on vacation. First, I made this thin crust pizza, which I topped with olive oil, garlic, fresh tomatoes, parmesan, basil, and pepperoni. I can’t recommend this crust enough– it was SO easy and turned out perfectly. Then, over the weekend I made toasted marshmallow milkshakes. They were amazing!
  • I dealt with a horrible migraine over about 3 days last week, so my sweet, sweet husband booked me a facial and neck/shoulder massage to help relax. I paired that with a much-needed manicure, and thus, treated myself to a pretty fantastic spa day.
  • The night I made milkshakes, Tim made the best cheeseburgers and French fries, and we ate out on the porch for the best date-night in we’ve had in awhile!
  • I kept up with writing and taking photos all last week.


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

The Fine Art of Making a Mix

I’ll be the first one to tell you that when it comes to creating things, I’m not very good at it. In fact, I’m the worst. I was always bad at all art class assignments, I can’t craft to save my life, and I’ve never successfully DIY-ed a single thing. Meanwhile, I’m married to a man who designs and builds much our furniture, has a knack for painting, and DIYs everything successfully. Go figure.

There is, however, one thing I am pretty good at creating: mixes. I don’t just throw a bunch of songs onto a CD or playlist haphazardly. I obsess over everything from song selection to order of songs to title of the mix itself. It’s something I have always loved to do, and it’s a true sign of my love and devotion if I make a mix for you. I don’t know why I take it so seriously and so personally, but I do. I made four new mixes last night for our upcoming road trip, and I totally lost track of time for those few hours. It’s totally dorky how much fun I have doing this.

There are several steps to my process, but here are just some of things I think about when making a mix (be forewarned– #nerdalert):

1- First, who is this for? Even if it’s for me, I’m always planning on sharing it with someone in one way or another, so it’s important to know who all will be hearing it. I like to pick things I know that person will like as well as things they’ve never heard but I’m pretty sure they will like. I like to pick songs that for one reason or another make me think of that person. I like to pick things I know will make that other person laugh or smile. Like I said, it’s very personal.

2- What is this mix for? A road trip, a birthday, a party? The context in which the songs will be listened to is very important.

3- Going off of the above, is there a theme? I love a good theme to a mix. I’ve made mixes of songs that were important in my childhood, mixes of feel-good music, more dirty rap mixes than you can shake a stick at, and so on.

4- Song selection. It’s the most important element after you’ve established answers to 1-3’s questions. This is a process. Set aside a good amount of time for this. I add songs, then take them off, and then sometimes add them back. The songs all have to work together cohesively. Like I said, #nerdalert.

5- Song order. This is another part that takes a lot of time after you’ve selected your songs. I’ve always subscribed by this quote from one of my favorite movies, High Fidelity: “The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.” Songs have to flow from one to the next, and the mix can’t taper off at the end. You have to find the balance.

6- Naming the mix. This is always my last step. Don’t underestimate a good title for your playlist. It helps set the mood and will help you remember what’s on the mix. Bonus points if it also makes you laugh.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made spicy sriracha lettuce wraps for my weekly recipe. Awesome.
  • Tim and I had a date night in last Friday– we can’t be stopped with Game of Thrones. SO GOOD. I can’t remember what we had for dinner, but I do remember Tim picked up dessert from Feast for us.
  • Kept up with writing in my journal and taking photos.