Tag Archives: Weekend and Day Trips

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.
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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.

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:

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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

Currently…

Here’s just a brief glimpse into my life lately.

I’m currently…

-Obsessed with Game of Thrones. I fought watching it for so long because I thought I’d hate it for some reason, but I was hooked about 2 episodes in, and Tim and I have blasted through seasons 1 and 2 in no time at all.

-Listening to the new Alabama Shakes. SO FREAKIN’ GOOD.

-Craving Mexican food. Because a) when am I not? and b) it’s Cinco de Mayo.

-Spending all my free time planning our road trip. I love that for only two days in each city, I still need a list of at least 27 restaurants I MUST eat at per city. I plan vacations around food; it’s just what I do.

-Daydreaming about France, particularly Paris. We were about to leave for our two-week French vacay right around this time 3 years ago. Can you tell I’ve got some serious wanderlust?

-Loving spring. Perfect weather. All the promise of summer.

-Excited to be wearing sandals again. I find sandals to be the most superior of all footwear.

-Noticing I need a serious pedicure though, due to said sandals.

-Thankful I don’t have to work commencement this year. First time in 5 years. Whatever shall I do with myself?!

-Feeling really satisfied. That might be the best feeling of all time, by the way.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • I made the perfect margarita recipe! I highly recommend putting a little cayenne in the salt around the rim of your glass.
  • Took two day trips this weekend: one to Edinburgh for a little shopping, and one spur-of-the-moment trip to see my parents.
  • I did really well at getting back into writing each day, but I’ve sucked at taking pictures this past week. Goal for next week.

This One’s For the Ladies

Ladies, I need to rant for a second.

In so many ways, I am shown daily how far we’ve come. I know that it’s an uphill battle to educate the ignorant that feminism is for EVERYONE, but lately there has been a lot of positive activity that keeps me hopeful, from Emma Watson killing it as the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador to #askhermore and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. But sometimes right when you feel like there could start to be a paradigm shift, cue the infuriating jerk to walk in and act like it’s 1950.

I won’t get into the specifics, but the other day I was completely incensed by a conversation with an older man that was filled with callous, chauvinistic questions and comments directed at me in the context of my gender. I was so stunned as it was happening that I could barely react until much later on in the day. I couldn’t believe that someone still looked at the world– and women– in such a backwards and inappropriate way. I was utterly dumbfounded, and then, as time went on, I grew to a place of extreme outrage. Who does he think he is?

I wish that was the only time something like this has happened to me. I have countless other stories, but here is one that really sticks out. My old job consisted of working with a mostly male-led athletic department, and after accepting the position, a WOMAN said to me, “I can’t believe they’d put a woman in that job.” When I asked why, she said “Because you have to deal with all those men. You’d think they’d want someone with balls.” And to that, I simply smiled and said, “Don’t you worry about me. I have plenty of balls.” I wish I’d been able to see out of my shock enough the other day to stick up for myself in a similar way.

The sad thing is, I know each and every woman out there has several stories just like this. It’s hard sometimes to get lost in the negativity, and we do still have a very long way to go. But I just want to take a moment to say a few things to all the ladies out there:

First, you’re awesome. You multi-task in ways a man could never even dream of. You are terrific daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, wives, and human beings all while being amazing leaders, game-changers, homemakers, professionals, and teachers. You’re smart, funny, and powerful. You can do anything you want, EVER. And anyone who ever doubts or tries to diminish you is an ignorant asshole. And that’s the truth.

List accomplishments as of last post:

  • Last weekend was my dad’s birthday, and I made him and my whole family a delicious lasagna based on this recipe.
  • I watched 1985’s Best Picture winner, Out of Africa, with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. It was good though exceptionally long and a little slow-moving, but I’d pretty much watch anything with either of those two actors.
  • Tim and I took a day trip to Indianapolis on Saturday for a little shopping for the house, and we doubled it as a weekly date, too. Really fun, and great to get away– even for the day.
  • I’ve kept up on both photos and writing in my journal still– on a streak!

Birthday Celebrations and Weekend List Accomplishments

I may just be the luckiest girl in the world.

That’s a pretty bold statement to throw out, but let me back it up with evidence.

This past weekend, I celebrated every single second of my 29th birthday supported and surrounded by the people I love most in this world. I am unbelievably humbled by the love shown through countless well wishes,  texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages from friends, family, and co-workers past and present. A sincere thank you to everyone who took the time to reach out!

My actual birthday, which was Friday, began with a tradition that started many, many birthdays ago: French toast. My sweet momma made me French toast for every year’s birthday breakfast from before I can remember until I left for college. It was just one of the many little things she did for me growing up that made me feel special and loved. After mentioning this to Tim in passing awhile back, he surprised me and sweetly picked up right where my mom left off and has made me a French toast breakfast the past 5 or so birthdays, and this past Friday was no exception.

french toast

My day then proceeded with well-wishes from my great new colleagues, a visit from my dear friend LJ– who came bearing the funniest card and an awesome gift that he and my other friend Brandon went in on (rocking a fierce mani thanks to you two, btw!), and finished with a romantic date with my main squeeze.

Celebrations continued all weekend long. Saturday started with lunch with my parents, which we had outside in this fantastic weather, and ended with a bonfire surrounded by close friends. My best friend Krissy went especially above and beyond. She not only set up a really great atmosphere for the bonfire in her backyard, but she also made me an insanely good coconut birthday cake and forever changed my life by introducing peanut butter cups into my s’more repertoire. We are talking friend of the year here, people!

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Sunday will go down as one of the most fun days of my life. Tim, Krissy, and her husband Dave conspired to get me to my first ever Indianapolis Colts game, and let me tell you, they did so in style! Through a connection of Dave and Krissy’s, they were able to get us the hook-up of a lifetime: lower level suite tickets to Sunday’s Colts vs. Titans game. Not only did I get to watch my favorite football team play a game with 3 of my favorite people in a suite with delicious food and drinks, but the Colts won AND I got to witness one of my favorite players, Reggie Wayne, catch his first touchdown pass of the season. You Parks and Recreation fans out there will understand just how excited I was: I had a serious Andy-Dwyer-at-Lucas-Oil-Stadium moment. Easily one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I’m not at all embarrassed about how much I geeked out.

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Sunday night wrapped up with watching more football with Dave, Krissy, and Tim, and playing my newly gifted game, Cards Against Humanity. If you haven’t played that game yet, change your life and order it right now! I haven’t laughed that hard maybe ever. Not sure how this reflects on my fitness level, but I actually woke up this morning with sore abs from laughing. Truth.

I promise I am now done with this humble brag, but I had the most epic birthday and I needed to recount it, if only for myself and because I really do feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

LIST UPDATE:

I mostly spent my birthday weekend celebrating, but I did manage to stay on top of my daily goals from my 29 Before 30 list: #5’s taking at least 1 picture a day (as evidenced from the above  photos) and #21’s writing in my journal daily. I am glad to say I stuck to both of those each day since the start of my blog!

I also managed to stick to one of my weeklies, #13’s weekly date with Tim, and Sunday’s excursion to Indy for the game certainly counts as a day trip towards #22’s goal of taking as many of those and weekenders as possible.

I may only be 3 days in, but so far I’m loving 29!