An Ashville weekend

Long story short, there was an administrative oversight that kept J from graduating in May. I wanted to celebrate my first semester being done, and we needed to get away from Atlanta in the face of disappointment, so off to Ashville we went! It was cold, but that did not damper the fun (except for hiking). We stayed at an air bnb, which may be our last, but the views were delightful (and there were turkeys who came by every day!). We toured Biltmore, had lots of beer, some tasty meals, a failed hike, and a nice river walk. On our way back to Atlanta we stopped at DuPont National Forest for one of the most beautiful hikes of my life—so many waterfalls!! It was delightful to get away and have time with my love!

IMG_8882

About our failed hike…in true T-family fashion, we arrived at our vacation destination to nothing but rain. One morning J checked the weather and saw that there was a break in the rain, so we eagerly went to hike a trail he found off the Blue Ridge Parkway. J was driving up and as were going up the mountain the temperatures kept dropping and dropping. While I had packed us for chilly weather, I did not pack us for winter weather. I told J that if it was below 40 I didn’t feel comfortable hiking in the gear we were wearing and J blew off my comment. We got higher up the mountain and I asked J, “what are those white things on the mountain” and he said “oh just flowers.” Well, we get to the mountain and get into an active snowstorm. Those “white things” were snow. The car said 32 outside. We go to the trail station and they said the road is closed up ahead and it’s only getting worse! We take some pics, and then hightailed it (safely and slowly) back down the mountain to warmth (and more rain).

IMG_5635

Snow storm. In May.

Breweries visited: Lexington Avenue Brewery, One World Brewing, New Belgium, Oyster House (an Oyster beer!), Wicked Weed (x2), Burial, Twin Leaf, and Green Man. My absolute favorite was New Belgium, and J’s favorite was Wicked Weed (hence the 2 visits).

FA3797CF-3323-408B-91EB-959C79BA75D6

That cherry beer…all the heart eyes.

IMG_5752

Photo above: Joe demolished me in EACH of those games on EVERY round.

Restaurants visited: Bouchon French Bistro, Stable Café at Biltmore, and The Admiral. Bouchon was AMAZING. The service was delightful, and I tried mussels there (and fell in love). J and I shared a BBQ meat plate at Stable Café that was super tasty. I found the Admiral to be extremely over-rated. The food was good, but the service and atmosphere were extremely lacking.

Advertisements

Spring 2017 PCB

We were supposed to have a couples beach trip with our dear friends Kelli and Seth, but ½ of the couple got called away to work, but fortunantly Kelli still made the trek down to PCB!

J and I stopped on the way down to PCB to see his parents in Albany. My requests that we be sure to leave by 8 were unheeded and we hit the road to PCB around 9. Y’all. It. Was. The. Most. Exhausting. Drive. Ever. I was driving (because of the two of us, I was the most awake one. And that is as terrifying as you think) and the roads down are long and straight and two-lane highways. J and I were chatting, I was pulling over to run around the car, and I have NEVER been so happy to be to PCB as when we got there. I was insistent on stopping at Wal-Mart on the way in to get coffee and come Friday morning, that was the best decision ever.

IMG_8712

Good morning, beautiful sunrise.

IMG_5376

Good afternoon, clear cold water.

We got the house ready and went to see Grandma before Kelli arrived. Kelli arrived late afternoon (beating us to the house because we were back at Wal-Mart buying more than coffee) and we had fun hanging out before going for oysters! We go to a local place for oysters, and we got there during happy hour. We ordered a round of Shock-tops (HUGE plastic solo cups for $1) and then we also requested some water. When the server went, “Is a bottle okay,” aka, not free, we all turned our noses up and said we’d stick with our beer. The establishments free flowing liquor was further highlighted when the table behind us got happy hour wine and the wine came in the same size solo cups as our beer. We got back to the house and I fell asleep at the table playing a game #typical.

IMG_5367

The next morning was breakfast, beach, lunch, snacky dinner, games, and Moana. Sunday came too soon and we were sad to go home (and even sadder to drive home through a monsoon). It was a great weekend, and we cannot wait for our couple’s trip this fall!

IMG_5373

How else should ice cream get down to the beach?

IMG_8715

My handsome one.

IMG_5412

Drive home!

A Colorado Weekend (January 2017)

J and I were both saddened when we learned that J’s best friend was moving out to Colorado with his wife. One thing that took a bit of the sting out was that his friends were moving to prime ski country. As previously mentioned J is a good skier, and visions of skiing in Colorado began dancing in his head with the announcement of their move. When the idea was launched of a trip out there J leaped on it, and we found ourselves heading out west!

IMG_8404

We and 4 other friends all descended into Denver around midnight on a Thursday night and after collecting our rental boat, I mean Suburban, we drove into Colorado Springs. By “we” I mean J, who rented the car in such a way that he was the only authorized driver. We enjoyed all the bells and whistles of the suburban and gratefully arrived to Colorado Springs at the B family home and passed out immediately. The next morning we dragged ourselves out of bed, marveled at their view of the mountains, I fell in love with their kitty, then we packed up and headed out!

IMG_4782

Our first stop was Garden of the Gods, and it was beautiful. We grabbed Mexican food after lunch then headed up to Breckinridge! We were split between two cars and our car had a blast taking photos and enjoying good conversations. After a while the temperatures got colder and colder (until we got to negatives!), the elevation got higher and higher, and the snow deeper and deeper. We grabbed our rental skis in Frisco and then went to the cabin! After dinner everyone fell asleep pretty quickly.

IMG_8382IMG_8656

The next morning we geared up for the slopes, or slope, in my case. Two members of our party had never skied before and I was terrified, so we started on the bunny slope (which was bigger than anything I tried in NC). After a panic or two, J’s friend coached me through skiing and after a while I got the hang of it! I knew that a lift ticket would be a waste of money for me because I was still far from 100% (or even a solid 50%), so after lunch the guys went to the slopes and a friend stayed with me on the bunny slope for hours. When my knee started to hurt I called it a day and we went back home to shower before the guys came back. For dinner that night we went to Breckinridge and had burgers, followed by beer and conversation back at the cabin. A few of us went into the hot tub and I got to experience my hair freezing solid where it got wet when I got into the tub.

IMG_8543

Saturday came round and almost everyone went skiing, save 3 of us. Us who stayed behind read, chatted, and started sipping on beer around noon. Everyone had a great day! When the skiers came back we all choose to order pizza, so we had another fun night of dinner and conversation. I elected to not go into the hot tub (see: frozen hair) so I played bartender for those enjoying the hot tub.

Sunday came too soon and after breakfast we went back to Breckinridge to check out the snow sculpture competition. We were looking forward to hanging out in Denver, but we got stuck in horrible traffic on the way in and had to go right to the airport. It was a great trip with wonderful people, and J & I can’t wait to go back (and I’m even excited to ski again!).

Thanksgiving Recap 2016

For Thanksgiving this year hubby and I traveled to Indiana to visit family. When we originally planned the trip we were going to work through Wednesday afternoon and then take off (driving), which necessitated a half-way stop. I have dear friends who live in Nashville and we got a hotel and made plans to see our pals. However, the week before Thanksgiving traffic was being forecast at “hell” on Wednesday, especially at the time we were to leave, so with our supervisor’s blessing we took the full day off and left Wednesday morning. I drove us up to Nashville and we spent some time exploring downtown and enjoying a tasty sammie before being run to our hotel by the rain. J was beginning to feel sickly so this was very necessary. After naps and more meds we enjoyed a fun and tasty visit with the G family, stopping on the way home for some Tennessee beers.
img_4369

We hit the road the next morning to go from Nashville to Indianapolis. The time change got the better of us and we ended up being nearly an hour later than our anticipated arrival time…ooops. We had a nice visit with my family, one day visiting downtown Indianapolis and another day visiting an artist community about an hour away. J was sick the entire trip, and the pleasure of driving home fell on yours truly. We laughed that going up to Indy our food stop of choice was Cracker Barell, and coming home we had the same. Our 7 hour trip home took nearly 9, and I was so happy to get out of the car!

img_4386img_8313
While we were unpacking J asked what we were going to for next year’s Thanksgiving and without missing a beat my first answer and instinct was “something tropical.” Boom and done.

The rainiest week at the beach

In the magic week between semesters J and I took off for the beach. We wanted to make sure we had a balance between rest and fun, so each day I planned one activity, and for all the other time our plan was to be on the beach, playing in the waves, avoiding the sun, and sipping on adult beverages.

The weather had different ideas.

img_3647img_3645

When we arrived into town on Saturday we checked the weather and saw “oh wow, it looks like there may be some rain later in the week.” The activity I was most looking forward to was kayaking so J wisely said “let’s go ahead and go kayaking, just in case the weather gets worse” (foreshadowing). We went to Shell Island to kayak and it was great! We rented a tandem kayak (renting a tandem kayak should be a marital prereq, because it works your communication skills. Proud to report we had no fights while paddling away) and took off. While we were paddling away I looked in the water (crystal clear!) and saw that we were surrounded by jellyfish. And not little ones. BIG ONES. I was petrified, as visions of a wave tossing one or more of the murderous beasts into the boat danced in my head. J, well he tried to poke tehm with his paddle. The waves were no joke and once we rounded the Island and went to a beach we noticed how huge they were crashing in. While we were playing (and avoiding jellyfish) one wave knocked me down and took me 30 feet in. We loaded back up and went back out, after J delightfully went me into waves before he hopped in. On the return trip we saw DOLPHINS. I teasingly called J the naysayer because he said that we wouldn’t see any, and then they were like 30 feet away! It was at this point that Mr. “I don’t like a hat or sunglasses” went sunblind, making the return trip extra spicy. I guided my blind husband in and we stopped at Wal-Mart to get eye drops.

That night the WORST storm blew in—lightening and wind like crazy. And then the rain came. And came. And came. And NEVER LEFT. The house is about a 3-minute walk to the beach so whenever a break in the rain came we would grab our towel and beer and run to the beach for about 10 minutes. We could not get in the ocean because the water was closed due to the tide (one gentleman drowned that weekend). The waves were huge and the weather was awful. We got some walks in, went to Seaside for lunch, got some tasty oysters, played tons of board games, watched movies, cooked tasty meals, and studied for the GRE, but our dreams of playing in the waves and renting bikes were for naught.

img_3685

Sunrise! We ran out to see it and look! More dark clouds.

img_3632

Rooftop bar in Seaside!

img_3642

img_3675

img_3664

Beautiful beach! And more clouds. When the dark clouds got to a certain point we knew to run back to the house.

On our final day—I mean, the day we LEFT, we woke up to crystal blue skies and open water and we hightailed it outside. We put on sunscreen and hopped into the ocean with cautious abandon (rip tides were still making themselves known). We played for hours and then found some seashell sweet-spots and collected tons of shells. Since we were going home we did not reckon on being outside for as long as we were and we. Got. Fried. J is already pretty fair skinned and I fry like a tomato…it was an uncomfortable couple of days for us. Salt on this is that a couple used the house the week after us and reported crystal clear waters with easy waves and no rain. Our fingers are crossed for a vacation with more beach time next year!

img_3712

The storms did bring in some great shells!

A beachy 4th | 2016

Every year J’s family gathers at PCB and this year was no exception. I packed up the car Thursday night and we both got off of work a little early to hit the road. I did most of the driving (so J could read for school) and I may have been a slight grouch while driving, but other than that it was an easy and uneventful drive down. Upon getting to PCB we ran to the grocery store and instead of eating out I made a chicken in peanut sauce dish that was ultra tasty. We played games with J’s mom and brother before I crashed hard.

img_4731

This view never gets old.

Saturday morning I went for a run, forgetting that if you don’t go before 7:30, you’re toast. When I got back I had sherbet (you have to cool down someway) and then cut the grass. Oh my gosh it was hot. When I got done I took my first cold shower in years, enjoyed a tasty lunch prepared by J’s dad, then dragged myself down to the beach with family. That night we had leftovers and played more games and lit some of our wedding sparklers. Sunday, our last full day, was full of relaxation. After helping out at a rental property we went back to the beach. The water was full of seaweed so we did not spend a lot of time in it, but sipping a beverage reading a book is better at the beach than the pool I think! After some beach time we went back to the house and the menfolk went to a movie while I napped/read until they got back. J and I went down to watch the sunset and then had burgers (yay grilling!). More games, then it was time for bed.

img_3183img_3156

Monday morning (the actual date) we had to head home to get back to work. Driving was a breeze!! I drove again so J could study and there was no traffic (just about 10 minutes of scary rain).

img_3213

A quick trip to Wisconsin!

After weeks of constant travel, it was with peace and joy that I put my suitcase away and prepared for a quiet weekend with my husband, especially knowing we had travel coming up the following week. Then, on Tuesday my phone rang. My beloved aunt shared that my cousin’s graduation party was going to be THAT Sunday and could I please make it? Cue frantic emails to work, searching for tickets, telling J, and buying a ticket. HAH! It was a very impromptu trip—Saturday-Monday morning.

It was my first time flying Southwest and they are not kidding—get yourself to a computer exactly 24 hours before your flight to get your check in spot. SW does not have assigned seats and you get on the plane based by when you check in. After a miscommunication on SW’s part regarding gates, I got myself onto a flight to D.C. with a one hour layover before continuing to Milwaukee. For folks going to MKE we were told to stay on the plane and after everyone disembarked and me and a few others were still sitting on the plane the flight attendants went, “why are you here?” Because you told us to. Cue some more run around and we had our flight!

Immediately upon landing my aunt (AC) and uncle picked me up, we dropped off our stuff, then AC and I headed down to third ward to see a friend of hers new downtown apartment and get a drink. For a girl who heads to bed by 10, I was pretty darn proud to still be awake at 3:45 a.m. MKE time (4:45 ATL time). We got home and to bed, and the party day came bright!

The fam knows how to throw a tasty and fun party (and for any friends who wonder where I A. get my cleaniness from and B. get my tendency to cook too much food, look no further)! It was a peaceful day of hanging out (other than the massive muscle tension headache I woke up with) and seeing friends and family. Monday morning came bright and early and I got on the plane home, then to MARTA, then back to work. J was doing business travel so I missed seeing him at home on Monday night, and was super excited to see him on Wednesday morning when he got home!

img_4479

So. many. crockpots. And mount buns!

Weekending | Lake Edition!

The following weekend we traded the ocean for the lake! We were kindly invited by a friend to join him and some other buddies at the lake for a weekend and it was a blast. After a run to Publix for sammies and a minor mishap getting the boat going (note: always make sure the kill-switch is not activated when trying to start the boat), we were off for an afternoon of mostly sunny (sometimes slightly stormy) fun on Lake Lanier. My happy place is the water and it was so much fun going around the lake.

J, no surprise, picked up water skiing with ease (as well as knee boarding) and he was a total hottie going around the lake.

P1090373

I, no surprise, did not naturally pick up water skiing and lacked the physical strength to pull myself up on the kneeboard, so I had fun being dragged behind the boat for a while (tubing is more my game).

P1090285

J got some time driving the boat so our host could ski, and consequently blow us all away with how well he skied. After he demonstrated moving in and out of the boat wake J was committed to doing that as well. It is bad to laugh, but in one run while he was trying we looked back at him and saw him completely horizontal in the air before going down. Hashtags “ouch” and “yikes” and “darn I am sorry I was not filming.”

Our fun day on the boat was wrapped up when the sun started to set, and we retreated inside for pizza and beer. All of J’s friends enjoy good beer, so there was a tasty selection to try and enjoy (including some homebrew). After dinner and much conversing I called it a day and fell asleep. The next morning we made breakfast…or tried to make breakfast. J makes great omelets, but when we make them at home we have two pans to work with so the turnaround time is not long. Here, we only had one pan to work with (which is normal) and we edited the plan to scrambled eggs. After buying whomp biscuits we then learned the oven was out, so I tried to make them in a frying pan, which for the most part worked (note, keep the lid on to let them steam). Following breakfast and clean up we went out on kayaks, which was super fun! We paddled around our bit of the lake before calling it a day. We headed home, stopped at the grocery store, meal prepped, and watched Walking Dead till bedtime.

PCB Weekend | Memorial Day 2016

Following a fun weekend in NYC, J and I packed up to go to PCB for the Memorial Day weekend. Traffic was forecast to be hellish, so we were quick to make our way out of town and the drive was uneventful, save the most horrific traffic accident either of us have ever witnessed. We were about to cross into Florida and the accident had just happened—it involved two SUVs, a huge motorhome, and a couple of trucks. We looked up the accident later and discovered speed was the contributing factor and two lives were lost. That sobering moment sparked some tough conversations for the remainder of the drive. We, like so many, get caught in the idea of “we can avoid the bad”, etc. but in that accident we saw those involved had only seconds to react…bleh. It was hard, it was tough, and continued prayers for those families involved.

We arrived to PCB and did our usual Wal-Mart stop before heading to the house where we met up with J’s dad. We made burgers and hung out till J’s mom arrived, and I quickly fell asleep. The next morning we slept late, I cut the grass, and then we hauled ourselves out to the beach for a while. Our beach time got cut short because J’s eyes were bothering him really badly, so we went back inside for what remained of the day. Sunday dawned and we went to visit J’s grandma before heading to an afternoon of the beach (before getting chased away by a storm).

IMG_2735

The storm left a rainbow!

Despite the short storm the beach was perfect! Gentle waves, crystal clear waters…gulf > the Atlantic coast, any day.

IMG_2753

It was definitely hard to leave on Monday, but real life beckoned us away from beach life!

IMG_2746

T’s wear pink on the beach.

 

We are both totally relaxed at the beach (as most everyone is). I do not even bother to pack a hair dryer when we travel, and I rarely bring my computer (except I did this time to work on editing a family photo shoot). We always want to contribute while at the house and somehow we became exempt from any cooking the entire weekend, so instead we cleaned to do our part—me grass cutting (I LOVE cutting the grass), Joe wiping down doors and windows. I was studying for the GRE by upping my literature game was reading East of Eden for the trip, and J read his Harvard review articles on the beach. It was such a relaxing (and sunburn free) weekend! If only it was not a 5.5-6.5 hour drive away!

IMG_2734

A flower from J

A NYC Weekend | May 2016

In May I finally got up to visit my dear friend N in NYC!

Since MARTA is so close I brought my suitcase with me to work and after work hopped on the train to the airport. It is awful to go south from Atlanta on a weeknight and it was awesome to zip along on MARTA right to the airport. The news in recent weeks had been full of reports about how awful the security was but I made it through in 10 minutes–I was so excited! My flight did not leave till nearly 10:00 p.m. so I walked each of the concourses looking for a suitable dinner option and then went to my gate to work on East of Eden until departure. The flight was not too full and the seat next to me was empty, win! I read for most of the flight until I fell asleep about 10 minutes before landing. The C family picked me up from the airport and N and I chatted for a couple hours before falling asleep. Let it be noted that I was awake until 2:00 a.m. For this gal that is almost unheard of.

Up in NYC it gets brighter earlier than it does in Atlanta and at 6:00 a.m. I jumped up, thinking it was nearly 9 based by the light. Once we got up and moving we first made our way to Manhattan for a lunch stop at Serendipidy. Honestly, all I wanted was the frozen hot chocolate and it was a sweet delight. Nothing looked too great on the food menu so I went for the “ultimate BLT” forgetting that I’m not crazy about bacon. It was tasty though! That frozen hot chocolate though…it did NOT disappoint.

IMG_2450

Following gorging ourselves on frozen deliciousness we made our way over to Dylan’s candy bar, then went and walked around Central Park for a couple hours. It was every bit as lovely as it looks in films, and far more crowded than it’s every portrayed.

IMG_2477

We wandered through the zoo bit and I LOVED the huge clock with the spinning animals. After a good long walk (and a fizzy water to recharge) we made our way to walk the High Line and good gravy. We walked SO much. Fortunately it was a lovely day and the walk was along the water so it was most delightful (and crowded). We ended our walk at Chelsea Market and were both desperate for refreshments. Following a glass of wine happy hour we grabbed a bit of sushi to share, shopped a bit, and journeyed on to our next snack stop–Sweet Revenge, a cupcake and bar.

IMG_2528

Dinner was now necessary and I was all “pizza sounds amazing” and our waitress was like “go to Joe’s!” and we figured that 1,300 positive Yelp reviews couldn’t be wrong, so off we went. And hey guess what! 1,300 positive Yelp reviews definitely CAN be wrong. The pizza was awful!! Maybe best edible when tipsy? We traipsed through another couple parks then decided “let’s go find a rooftop bar!” While on route to the rooftop bar I found the one thing I had been talking about since before I bought my ticket: Mister Softee.

IMG_2637

It was every bit as wonderful as I knew it would be! After dying with delight over my soft serve we found a rooftop bar with beautiful views. However, the scene was a little bit too clubby for yours truly so we exited before committing to a beverage.

IMG_2565

Options abound in NYC so we decided to just stop at the next place that looked tasty, and it did not dissapoint! We had a yummy cocktail and some nibbles, then went back to N’s apartment (and I may or may not have fallen asleep on the subway).

The next morning dawned bright and early so after getting ready we headed off to the Museum of Natural History. Friends–this was a huge disappointment. It was smelly and cheesy and the only thing remotely exciting were the dinosaur bones. Everything else was a lot of taxidermy. After crossing the museum off our list we headed over to lunch at Eataly. The establishment was an entire block–full of restaurants, food shops, wine shops, etc. We were told it would be a while until our table was ready so we went to their rooftop to get a beverage. As soon as we had our wine/cocktail in hand our table was ready and we had about 4 minutes to down our very full beverages. We gulped them down (#classy) and got to our table, desperately requesting carbs to absorb the adult beverages we had just finished. Lunch was delightful and we rolled ourselves away from the table with very full bellies to go do some shopping (it’s what we do).

IMG_2593

They were a little stingy with the basil on the margherita pizza.

It was getting colder and rainier, so after a spot of shopping we went to Grand Central. Y’all. It was lovely, and probably my favorite stop of the weekend. The intricate detail in so many elements of the building was totally gorgeous! N knew of a small bar in Grand Central and we relaxed there for a while (sipping on our cocktails instead of gulping as earlier). I was majorly craving indian food so N called her hubs who ordered in as we got onto the train and had dinner waiting on us when we got home. We tried a movie (I tried. She watched it) and then passed out exhausted.

IMG_2619

Sunday morning brought with it my plane ticket home! We grabbed breakfast at a restaurant in her neighborhood (salmon eggs benedict) and then went to her favorite bakery. Oh gosh. Second favorite food stop. I took a video of the desserts, and then thoroughly indulged in a Napoleon.

IMG_2624

I taxied to the airport and got home to my love. You may have noticed, wow, was eating all she did in NYC? Why yes, yes it was. We also walked over 40,000 steps in 3 days, so I’ll take it for what it is. Cheers!