Halloween Party and Weekend R

J and I hosted our 3rd annual Halloween party and we went all out!

There were decorations and thematic food, and a photo booth:

and our costumes took actual effort:

img_8096

img_4183

Tying a bowtie was a slight challenge

Despite the festive-ness, it may be our last party. Do not get me wrong. It was a house full of people we all really enjoy and consider our good friends. But, with the exception of 2 couples, they were all good friends who did not know each other. J and I struggled to be in 3 different places at a time and we ended feeling stretched thin. As I was pondering it I realized at the first Halloween game night it was all J’s friends and I was the outsider. For last year’s it was mostly J’s friends and a couple sets of mine, so overlap. But this year—lots of independent circles. While we are torn about hosting a large event again and ended tired, we are glad we did it. We love our people, and it was a fun time to put on some costumes with tasty snacks.

The Sunday after the party we went to late church service so we could get our house put back together beforehand. After getting home from the “membership interest” meeting (we joined) we went to Piedmont Park and walked the Beltline and trails for about 2-2.5 hours. It was so hot and I did not feel well so there was no running involved. After getting home I prepped our lunches (chopped Brussels sprout salad for me, processed zucchini for J’s veggie side) and made dinner (stuffed cheesy chicken, roasted cauliflower, basalmic green beans, and focaccia bread from the farmers market). I worked on a photo job before going to watch Walking Dead, then hurried to bed.

Fall Highlights

August Highlights

img_7126

September Highlights

  • During one magic weekend ALL of our best friends came into town! J’s BFF and then my BFF. We neglected to take a single picture together, but we had a great time having breakfast with N and her hubs, and then had fun hosting a Labor Day party for J’s (and now my) friends.
  • I went to the Yellow Daisy Festival, and J and I went to Athens to celebrate a friend’s birthday!
  • We discovered the Atlanta Greek Festival food drive through, and are counting the days to the 2017 festival.
  • We celebrated J’s brother’s birthday, and hung out with our friends in Peachtree City!
  • We attended my first GT football game. And left at halftime because #ouch…that score was rough.

img_4134

img_3964

img_3948

Homemade ice cream cake for J’s brother’s bday!

img_3931

Ice cream cake ingredients and fritos for taco pie…the note was necessary.

October Highlights

  • Celebrating baby Piper’s 1 year birthday and taking pictures!
  • Hikes with my love–we purchased annual passes to Stone Mountain
  • Taking off of work early and hiking Kennesaw Mountain with my love, and then followed by dinner with friends in the Marietta square

img_7372

img_7352

Let me know if you want info about the custom made corn hole boards!

img_4064

Hikes with my beloved!

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!

First Anniversary Celebration

J and I celebrated one happy year on August 1! He planned the entire day, telling me only, “do not meal prep for Monday.” We both took off of work and after slightly sleeping in J drove us to our first destination, West Egg and that area of town! We enjoyed breakfast, me a mimosa for old times sake (I may or may not have been sipping on one last year at that time) and taking in the scenery.

img_3530img_3534

After breakfast we walked in all the shops, making fun of some items and dreaming about future home setups in others. J told me to pick out something, but we landed on a bottle of wine at the wine shop and are considering a pillow from one of the boutique stores for our bed (because having 6 decorative pillows on your bed feels particularily adultish). Following our time in that part of Atlanta we went back home to change and open prezzies!

At breakfast all of a sudden J had gotten a big grumpy, which he attributed to being hungry (nothing too out of the norm). After I opened my present though he confessed the real reason—the earrings I put on that morning were similar to the ones he gifted to me! I assured him I really liked them (and do!), and proceeded to wear them that night. I gifted J a canvas printed with a wedding picture and framed the letter I wrote to him on our wedding day (paper theme!). We changed into “hiking clothes” (his instruction) and hightailed it up 400 to the restaurant where we ate at before J proposed (aww). I was still really fully from breakfast and had a salad while J had a dessert crepe. img_3541

We then went to the park where J proposed at, and hiked for about a half hour before needing to come home to change for dinner. While we were driving home J told me where dinner was going to be—Canoe!! We changed into our getaway clothes from last year and then went to dinner.

Canoe was everything I dreamed it would be—perfection! We were seated on the back patio and our table was facing the river and a hummingbird feeder, which had a hummingbird coming by pretty frequently! Our server was well versed in the menu and not pushy. We started with a beet salad on whipped goat cheese (yyyyyyyeeeeeeessssss) that was paired with the server coming by with an overflowing bread basket of breads baked that day. Yes, please. J ordered lamb chops with some rib, foie gras ravioli, and roasted veggies and I had rabbit with raviolis. It. Was. Sooooooooo good! We each had a cocktail (me trading mine with J because he wasn’t a fan of his) and after dinner walked down to the river bar to get another beverage and sit and watch the river go by.

img_3556img_3552

img_3548

Do you see the hummingbird?

We got home and thanks to a friend meeting me in Lawrenceville, shared our wedding cake and sips in our toasting glasses. It was the tastiest day full of non-stop time with my best friend.

img_3560

 

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!

From the library | Recent Reads v.2

Reading has taken a hit recently because I have to study for the GRE, but here are some reads:IMG_2826

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri | This was a fairly predictable read, but was engaging with character development and how challenges were addressed. I puttered out in the last ¼ of the book, but overall enjoyed stepping into this family’s life as they navigated coming to America and struggles they encountered. One thing that continues to stand out to me is how the family wanted to hold onto deep-rooted traditions from the country they moved from while assimilating into America. What they did not want to leave behind was precious, however, some (not all) traditions that were common did not line up with life in America and they frequently had to choose. It was also striking to me when phone calls back to their family were shared–they saw that life went on as “normal” without them and it was devastating after the call, knowing their nearest and dearest were continuing life as normal while they continued to have to work hard for familiarity and friendships.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck | A reread. If you have not read it, please do. That is all I have to say about this. Timshel!

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamond | I picked out this book at the recommendation of my former book club and it was delightful. It followed a young woman living through many of the twentieth century’s major changes and it was such a good read. I do not think we realize how significant some of the things we are living through are, until it is 5, 10, or 15 years past and this book reflected that.

Weekending | June 18-19, 2016

I am going to call it that the weekend started early with a trip to Bantam and Biddy and a shopping trip with a friend. On nights that J has class we meet in the afternoons and I take his car and he takes MARTA home so he does not have to pay to park. I had about 5 miles to go to get to the mall and it took me nearly an hour. This photo captures well everything I hate about driving in Atlanta:

IMG_3028

(Note the light turned red and those jokers decided to go ahead and go and block the intersection). #unhappies

Bantam and Biddy was tasty, but nothing out of this world. However, the company was delightful and we had a blast in Banana Republic. I scored this dress for $26! And the striped one on the chair behind it. Stripes…can’t stop, won’t stop.

IMG_3029

Friday was a normal workday and after running the stairs headed home to relax with J, work on season 5 of The Walking Dead, and go to bed fairly early. On Saturday we hit the ground running. After a quick breakfast we departed for errands. While at BR on Thursday I noticed (and participated in) a $50 off of $100 sale and J got a couple shirts for work. Following grocery shopping we headed back home for lunch and then I had some friends come over for a pool day. It was totally cloudy and below 90 so no actual pool time was had, but it was delightful to catch up (and not bake in the sun). While hanging out someone mentioned “milkshakes” and a craving hit hard. After my friends departed I was scrolling through Insta and someone posted a faux milkshake—frozen banana, milk, and unsweetened cocoa powder. I used to make those all the time and had forgotten about how tasty they were! J heated up the remainder of some chicken pot pie soup I made last week and I had my shake for dinner—we were both pleased with our dinner decision. (Side note: I do not recommend the soup. The flavor was on-point, but the appearance was too unappetizing).

IMG_3036

Sunday I made my return to church after weeks of travel, and we had a low key afternoon. I meal prepped a few things, we went on a long walk (including a stop at Shake Shack for ice cream), and wrapped up TWD.

Weekending | A wedding weekend for Brooke and Zach!

My dear friend and former roomie entered marital bliss on June 11! She had her bachelorette night on June 9, the Thursday before her wedding. I drove to Athens and we first painted pottery (one of her favorites) before dinner at Marker’s 7 (another of her favorites). I painted a mug with a “P” for the near-newlywed and at dinner enjoyed every single one of my raw oysters (sometimes sharing is not caring).

IMG_2854

Friday brought the rehearsal! After a late departure from Atlanta (complete with tears and frustration), J worked miracles and managed to get us to Athens only 7 minutes late to the rehearsal. Brooke got married at the same church J and I got married in and it was sweet to be back there (the first time since getting hitched!). J snapped pics while we ran through the ceremony. We had the same wedding planner, and she’s brilliant! She always runs through the rehearsals starting with the recessional, and it flows so well—we get lined up and in place to begin with, and the show gets going. The rehearsal dinner was in the fellowship hall, and included a sweet slideshow of the newlyweds to be. I loved getting to catch up with dear friends who I do not get to see frequently!

Following the rehearsal J and I went to check into our hotel with a quick stop at an Athens bottle shop (note: beer is cheaper in Athens). We got ourselves checked in, and then met Brooke and her other bridesmaids at my favorite Athens bar—Highwire. J and I enjoyed a good laugh at my delicious cocktail price–$5. $5! Following hanging out at Highwire for a while we walked around trying to choose a place before landing on Fuzzy’s (me mostly remembering my amazing champagne strawberry margarita I enjoyed at some point during the week of my wedding; J dreaming of chips and salsa). I crashed hard while at Fuzzy’s so we called it a night (with no margarita, kthanks), ensured Brooke (who was in no way tipsy and was totally calm and collected) got home okay, and went to sleep ourselves to get ready for WEDDING DAY.

In the weeks prior to Brooke’s wedding I reached out to fellow bridesmaids and her family members and close friends asking them to prepare an encouraging and loving note for her. After collecting the notes on Friday, Saturday morning I pasted them all into a journal to give to her at her bridesmaid breakfast. I choose a journal because I received a great piece of wedding advice from my dear friend Katie—following her wedding she and her husband journaled their wedding day and honeymoon memories so they would not forget them. J and I did that as well and we love it! I was hoping Brooke and her groom would be able to do the same in her new journal.

IMG_4240 2

The bridesmaid breakfast was at Momma’s Boy…YES!!!! We had a fun breakfast and presented the book to Brookie. After breakfast we went back to the hotel to get our dresses and make-up and headed to the church to get ready! Okay…confession time. When my bridesmaid dress arrived 4 weeks earlier (it came in while I was eating my way through NYC) it did. not. fit. Seriously. J got me into it, snapped in the back panel, zipped it, and I gingerly walked into the bathroom to look in the mirror. I took a deep breath and SNAP. There went the back panel. Yikes. Commence operation no-bread-no pasta-no-sugar-no-alcohol till Brooke’s wedding weekend. And guess what!? It worked! Other than two small cheats (a glass of wine one night, and pizza and beer at the lake) I was diligent and the dress zipped and snapped on that day and I was able to (mostly) breathe. Anyways, getting ready at the church was fun—I did lots of gal’s makeup and snapped pics for Brooke of her getting her hair and make-up done. We got into our dresses, snapped some pics, prayed for Brooke, and then it was time for the ceremony! The ceremony was lovely and after a few more pics, we headed off to the reception.

IMG_2906

S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

The reception was at a local barn-venue and BBQ was served. There was some dancing and J was appointed to be in charge of decorating the getaway car. They departed, we cleaned, and then headed off to go celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary of some amazing friends. I was able to see a lot of my Athens Link crowd at this party and it was so good to catch up. After the party J and I decided to go big since we had a downtown hotel and went to the rooftop bar for a couple beers before calling it a night. After leaving I was seized with a desire for a waffle (remember no carbs?) at midnight (hashtag: shame). Shortly thereafter we learned that our bodies (really) hate grease. Waffle House was unkind to both of us and resulted in us dragging ourselves out of bed pretty late on Sunday morning. We walked over to Big City Bread before walking around campus for a few hours. It was fun to show Joe where I was a RA at and where my classes were and we loved looking in the gardens (and checking out the turtles). After a couple shopping stops we were homeward bound for Atlanta and overjoyed for our friend’s new marriage!

IMG_2945

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.