Sunday, September 13, 2015

I'm back...

I recently took quite the hiatus from writing. For two years I have been completing my masters in education. During this time, writing became an assignment rather than a hobby. Thankfully, recently I  finished my program and can return to documenting my adventures as a married twenties-something.

This summer seemed to fly by with so many events to look back on. Caleb && I embarked on many trips which included Nashville to visit friends, Louisville to travel along the bourbon trail as well as family trips to the Outer Banks and to northern Michigan.

As I return to teach for my fifth year (!!!) and change classrooms, I realize how much life has occurred within three short months. We celebrated with friends as they tied the knot, showered expecting babies && packed for a move to a new area and apartment. 

As of last Spring, I thought my life would look a whole lot different than what has expired. I originally planned to be living in Michigan or Chicago. I was ready to put a bookend to our adventures in D.C.; however, God had quite a different story. Caleb && I are starting our fourth year in Virginia (something I never imagined would last this long). And yet, God’s promises are good and He is faithful. 

Here’s to another trip around the sun on the east coast!

^^^ my sweet friends reunited in nashville

 ^^ outer banks

 ^^^ celebrating three years of wedding bliss

my kind of meal...

year five teaching (ahhh)

^^^ best  wedding date, ever.

Road trip # 3 of the summer.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

happy father's day, dad

moving away from home has been fun && difficult all at the same time. 
i love exploring new places and enjoying weekend trips (i'm actually kind of obsessed)
one thing i do miss, though, is celebrating my family on special occasions, i.e. birthdays, memorial day, mother's day and ... father's day

today, i wish i could be home to sip coffee and watch the today show, cook out, listen to jimmy buffet at the tiki bar && ride in the new red convertable 

 as i reflect on father's day, i realize how incredibley thankful i am for both my parents and the impact they have had in my life

if you have ever met my dad, you are instantly graced by his smile && roaring laugh
he is a man that never lets life get in the way && never allows obstacles stop him
people used to ask me when i was younger if my dad had limitations because of his handicap, 
they were amazed that nothing (&& i mean nothing) was too far, too hard or too challenging
he is the man that taught my sisters and me how to ski, searched high and low for every antique camera for centerpieces at my wedding, ran around the track cheering for us as we competed in the 800 meter dash,  volunteered when we needed a cheerleading coach, taught us how to drive, prayed the Lord's prayer on the way to school && listened to every big or small worry we ever had

he is the dad that has dropped everything to talk, listen or literally come find us in times of crisis
each birthday is a holiday and each visit, a vacation. he is the man invests in your life && takes on your interests as his own. he is selfless && a prayer warrior
most importantly...
when you talk to him, you feel like you are loved, cherished and the most valuable thing on this earth.

my dad is an extroardinary man. 
his motto:"live life in the moment" is one that my family refers to daily

words cannot describe the man my dad is to me in my life or my sisters' lives. 
happy father's day, dad. you truly rock our world :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

#3 bon appétit: estela (nyc)

It felt like spring in my beloved city. The last trip caleb & I took to new york, we were greeted with rain and cold (don’t get me wrong, we still had a great time; however, the weather this time around was a sweet surprise).

I had many “places” to visit, most of which included food. Considering I was on a post-vacation depression from Disney, I dived into planning this trip and had quite the list.

The first stop was Estela. Bon appetit’s #3 rated restaurant in the nation. ((I was so excited to try all 3- && thankfully each one was settled on the east coast & within drivable distance))
it’s funny, some people visit baseball fields, others visit every state, some like to see lighthouses- mine, restaurants.

In my personal opinion, estella should be rated #2, a close second to roses luxery. We started with baratta cheese which I have never had && honestly had to “google” it.  The treat tasted airy and whipped. I love cheese and whipped crème so the combination of the two was delightful. Next, we tried the lamb ribs, incredibly tender, perfectly spiced &&  on a different planet from all other types of “ribs” I have tried. We ended the meal with dumplings in a delectable mushroom broth. I have this recent obsession with mushrooms and this dish truly hit that spot.  I would definitely say it is one of those places that you crave once you leave.

My second favorite spot on the trip, next to Estella, was a little pizza place hidden in Brooklyn, Paulee Gee’s. we got to meet the owner && had “hot honey” drizzled on the pizza- I have never experienced “hot honey” but I am now a believer.  

A close tie for second, yet coming in third, on our last night was la espana. I wanted to surprise caleb and took him to this "mystery" dinner. He loves speakeasy bars && this was a restaurant similar to one (seriously new york- what don’t you have up your sleeve!?!?). As we walked in the front, caleb looked at me and murmured something like “this is it?”- I couldn’t wait to tell the maître de our “password” a.k.a. our reservation, and enter into the downstairs. (at this point, caleb quickly changed his perspective on the whole experience && I loved watching his face light up). I can’t say I have really ever eaten in a basement at a restaurant; however, this felt like we had just hit the spot of an all-exclusive setting && I love finding these hidden gems.

Other favorites on the trip included Brooklyn brewery (double chocolate stout), dough (order the doughnut with the almonds on top!), jacob’s pickles (biscuit pancakes, bacon crumbles && fried chicken...seriously, yum!), Chelsea’s market && momofuku milk bar. Okay this place, momofuku, although its’ crazy name, has a serious following and a line to show for it. But for good reason- because it’s so unique: cereal ice cream which literally tasted like cereal & rosemary caramel sea salt ice cream- seriously, every word I just spelled out, you can taste && crack pie- which literally is eating butter && sugar

If we hadn’t treated ourselves enough, we dived into a City Bakery chocolate chip cookie (seriously worth the trek) && a Witch’s Brownie (my favorite brownie in the city) for the ride home!

All in all, it was a wonderful treat to visit the city, again.
I obviously can’t wait to go back!
Until next time, NYC, you are for dreamers (&& eaters)

 ^^^^ milk bar. yummy!

 ^^^ hidden gem in the city- speakeasy restaurant^^^^

^^^ these are a few of my favorite things..

^^^ my favorite building (way off in the yonder..)

^^^ life on the high-line

^^ yes, we ordered deep fried pickles at jacob's pickles

first course at estela :)

^^^oh central park, how i love you :)

&&& city bakery chocolate chip cookie... wow! dreaming!

Monday, March 9, 2015

oh disney

i think i had forgotten the "magic" of disney.

the last time i embarked on the magical land was shortly after graduating college. i remember being so anxious about "real" life during that last trip. i then had no job, no place to call my own && a nice, crisp white piece of paper declaring a college degree framed nicely with no where quite yet to hang it... the only plans i really had during this time in my life was a trip to disney, a tradition my family had for vacation nearly every year, yet i hadn't returned since.

now looking back, within these three and a half short years, i have moved to two new states, held two different teaching jobs && been married. during these years, there has been so much "life" that has occured, traveling and experiencing so many new and exciting events and places, yet i sadly seemed to have forgotten about the magical land i once loved so much until this past week.

(i actually must admit, i was even slightly embarrased to tell friends i was going on a disney vacation and cruise. i almost felt "too old") silly me- you are never too old for disney!

the trip this past week was a year in the making.
my sisters && significant others traveled to the "magical" land to celebrate my parents thirtieth anniversary.

it seemed fitting to celebrate my parents here considering disney was a place my parents took us since we were babies. a place that tends to shine as highlights throughout our growing up years. we loved it all: character breakfasts to rides like splash mountain to viewing the electrical light parade, not to mention our beloved resort, riverside at port orleans &&& don't even get me started on the mickey shaped waffles, the piano man && chocolate covered rice krispy ears.

so many treats, locations && memories come to mind when i think of all my experiences at disney && this trip was very nostalgic and reminiscent of them all.

i think i love disney because it's the kind of place that allows you to let your hair down, you forget about "real" life and enjoy the little delights that we far too often pass by. it seems okay to eat chicken tenders & fries for lunch when your in your twenties, wear goofy hats and ears, sing along to every familiar tune && actually believe it is a magical place, because it truly is for my family.

during this trip we embarked on some of our favorite traditions && tried new ones, like the cruise, something we have never done before. i must admit, it was wonderful to wake up to waves every morning & anticipate the day's activities. bahamas. disney's private island. day at sea. magical kingdom. animal kingdom. grand floridian character breakfast. polynesian luau. everyday (for the past seven days) was filled && marked by events that will be treasured and stored as new, favorite memories.

the trip was truly delightful. one that i don't think any of us will ever forget.
i am thankful i had the opportunity to come back to the place i loved growing up && was able to share it with my "grown up" summers family && husband.. or should i call him, goofy now.
thanks disney for another truly magical week. i promise i won't wait so long next time.

"it's kind of fun to do the impossible"- walt disney