Friday, July 31, 2009

Mini Vacation Update

Vacation has been wonderful. I leave you with just one picture from our trip. This is from the top of a mountain we climbed in the Adirondacks on Tuesday.

We hiked 3.6 miles, 3,300 feet of elevation, to the top of a 4,626 foot mountain. Giant Mountain was no joke. There may have been tears, and there may have been vomit. That's all the information I can disclose at this time! More pictures from this hike to come later!

Tonight we're staying in London, Ontario, and then tomorrow we head for Northern Michigan. Keep following my twitter for more frequent updates!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

And we're off

By the time you're reading this, we should be well on our way to Philadelphia! We got up early today to head to a Phillies/Cardinals game. Hopefully, we'll get some nice weather while we enjoy a beer or two with some peanuts!

Yesterday was technically day one of the road trip. It almost doesn't count since we just drove two hours to my parents to drop off Layla. They are graciously taking care of her for the two weeks that we'll be away. She's going to have a great time, though, as I know she'll enjoy her time with my parents' two dogs, and my mom will feed her too many table scraps.

Here's all of our food and snacks, ready to go....

And here's the back of the car, before & after we packed it...

And this would be our odometer. I hope to have another shot at the end of the trip to compare!

I'll be doing a few blog posts through out the trip, mainly to document what we've been up to. However, don't expect too much from me! I won't be keeping up with Google reader. I'm almost afraid of what it's going to look like in two weeks! I'll be tweeting from the road with J's phone, so if you want to keep up, follow me on twitter.

I hope you girls have a great two weeks! I'll miss all of your kind comments and keeping up with your lives, but I promise to catch up when I'm back for good in two weeks!

And just for fun, I have to share this picture of J and Layla that I took yesterday in the midst of packing. She's our baby...even if she does weigh sixty pounds! Melts my heart!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wedding Dress

I've decided to play along with Kelly's "Show us your Life - Wedding Dress" today! It only seems appropriate since we're just two days before our one year anniversary!

I tried on a total of 3 dresses, and the dress I ended up with, I hadn't even picked it out to try on. The girl at the shop, Bridal Elegance in Richmond, suggested I try it on because she thought it would look good on my body type. I said okay, mostly to be polite. I have this weird complex where I feel bad when I don't want to do something that the store worker wants me to do. But in this case, it was for the best. The dress fit perfectly, and she was right. It looked so good on me. I wanted to no beading on my dress, but looking at the dress, you can see I changed my mind!

Looking back, I think if I had more time, I would have tried on more dresses. When we went dress shopping, I was down to six months, and I sort of just wanted to find something since I knew it would take several months for the dress to get to me. I did love my dress, and I think it looked great one me. My favorite part is how small it made me look! It may not have been comfortable, but it did a good job making me look tiny! If I did it all again, I'd probably look at more mermaid style dresses. I love the way they look, but who knows if I'd end up with one!

Thanks for looking! Oh, and if you're curious about the bracelet I wore, this post tells the story behind it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

water shoes and a new lens

My water shoes from Lands End are here! I am ready for the lake. Zebra mussels and all! Nothing's going to cut my feet this year!

I also rented a lens (from here) for the trip and it arrived today. I am already in love! I'd been thinking about buying this lens, and now that I've played around with the rental, I've decided to save my money. It's exactly what I was looking for.

Now if only my suitcase would pack itself...

**Thanks for all the book suggestions on yesterday's post!**

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July '08 vs. July '09

A year ago I was a crazy person trying to finish programs, favors, guest bags...etc. Glad to have that in the past.

Now, I'm a level headed gal just trying to finalize the details for the road trip that we leave for on Friday. Tomorrow, I'm headed to the store to stock up on car snacks. I've got a pretty solid list, but I'm still open to suggestions! And the healthier the snack, the better. I know we're going to be eating out a lot, so the healthier we can keep the snacking, the happier I'll be!

In addition to food planning, I'm trying to figure out what books to bring along. Here's what I've got and what I'm considering bringing with me....
  • A Sophie Kinsella novel I got at the library. A solid chick lit option
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns...a friend let me borrow her copy forever ago, and maybe I'll finally get around to reading it (thanks LES!).
  • The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan (author of Marley & Me). Got this one as a Christmas gift and have not picked it up, yet.
  • Blue Like Jazz...After many recommendations, I've wanted to read this for about 4 years, just never made the effort to do so. Maybe this will be the right time. I bought it about six months ago, so it's on my shelf and ready to go!
  • The Daily Five...a terribly boring book I want to read before school starts to help with Language Arts. Thrilling, I know!
I've got a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, so any last minute suggestions are welcome! Feel fee to look at my Goodreads list to see what kind of books I'm interested in and have enjoyed in the past!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please tell me I'm not the only one...

Last summer before the wedding I was living at home with my parents for about a month. As I've mentioned before, J and I don't have cable, but while living with my parents, I was able to watch as much cable as I liked.

During this time, I began to watch the train wreck otherwise known as Secret Life of an American Teenager on ABC Family. This is really one of the worst television shows on that I've ever seen. But you want to know what's really awful? I am still watching it. One year later. Without cable.

What's that you're asking? How do I watch a show on ABC Family without cable? Well, let me tell you. I watch it online.

I know. I deserve to have my internet cut off for using it for such a terrible crime. Because really watching this show is a crime. The acting, the plots, the's all just terrible, but I keep watching because I want need to know what's going to happen next!

So...anyone else out there watch this incredible series? Or am I really the only one?

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Year of Marriage in Pictures

I share an anniversary with Megan from Tales of the Trees, and last week she motivated me with this post on her blog.

With our one year anniversary less than a week away, here is our first year of marriage, in photos:

July '08: Our wedding day

August '08: This is us in Portland during our honeymoon.

September '08: A friend's wedding in Wilmington, NC

October '08: No pictures together from this month
But I do have each of these from our pumpkin carving session!

November '08: Again, no photos together. Not even on Thanksgiving.
Instead, I have this one of J with my parents' dog on Thanksgiving.

December '08: In Savannah, GA the week after Christmas.
On 12/26 we left VA for a week in Charleston and Savannah
It was nice to get away after the craziness of the holidays!

January '09: Our posed picture for the premier of LOST!
Look how "into it" we were!

February '09: Another month with no photos together.
Just a lot of candy hearts that we ate for Valentine's Day!

March '09: Visiting my family.
Here we are with Layla and my brother.

April '09: At an engagement party for two of our close friends.

May '09: Another wedding for another friend!

June '09: Shocking, we went to another wedding!
This time J was the best man.

July '09: This is us two weeks ago before heading
to the Avett Brothers concert that was in town

There you have it! Our first year of marriage, documented with my Nikon. It was fun going back and reminiscing over the first year. I'm excited for many more!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weddings 5 & 6 for 2009

We had a lovely weekend away at another wedding! We were actually invited to two weddings this past Saturday, but only we were only able to attend one. However, we were able to go to a cookout for the other couple on Friday night and spend time with them and other guests. It was especially nice because the couple lives in Kansas and we don't see them much.

This is where the cookout was. Do they have a beautiful back yard or what?!

J and me with his sister

We headed out Saturday morning for the wedding we were going to in Northern Virginia, just outside of DC. It was a gorgeous day and the bride, a friend of mine from the teacher program in college, was beautiful, as well. It was nice getting to see some of my other friends from college and catch up on each others' lives. During our year of grad school, we only had 26 girls in the program, and we were very close. It was so nice getting to hear how their first two years of teaching have gone! There were some great stories that were shared at our table.

Bride & Groom

All of my teacher friends and me with the bride

Outside in the gardens

One nice thing about weddings in Northern Virginia is we have plenty of places to stay for free! I have so many friends that live up there so it's silly for us to pay for a hotel. We stayed with one of my best friends there and got up and had bagels with her and her boyfriend today. I could eat an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese every morning of my life. Easily!

Before heading back home we stopped at Ikea!

No big purchases, but Ikea is always fun to walk around and we got some great ideas for some projects we've been thinking about doing around our apartment. We did get some matted picture frames that I'm planning on hanging in a grid layout over our bed (inspiration for the grid layout comes from Ali Edwards). I'm excited to see how it turns out!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Great Things!

Great Things That Have Happened in the Past 24 Hours:
  • My new straightener came in the mail! My hairdresser used this straightener on me back in April and told me she loved it way more than her old CHI. Since then, I've been contemplating whether or not I should buy it; after all my old straightener was about $25 from Target. I ordered it from Amazon on Tuesday, and it was here yesterday. I am already in love. My hair is so straight and it doesn't even start to frizz when I go out into this awful humidity we've got today. This straightener was worth every penny!
  • We went out for a seafood dinner last night thanks to my class! They gave me a $50 gift certificate for a restaurant we had never been to, and we really enjoyed it! And who doesn't love a meal that's entirely free?
  • We bought our new (to us!) car! We got an '06 Honda Pilot and I love it! We were looking at several different SUV's (mainly the Toyota Highlander & 4Runner, Honda CRV & Pilot, Volvo XC90, Subaru Forrester, and the VW Touareg) and after reading consumer reports, test driving, looking at gas mileage, and thinking about what would be best for us now and in the future, this was what we decided on. Prior to this I had a 5-speed Nissan Sentra (with no CD player, iffy cruise control, and heat that was never hot enough), so I feel like I am really moving up in the world! (PS, notice the very straight hair in this picture!)

And that's it for now! We're headed off to another wedding today for a friend of mine from college. We're going to get a chance to see both of our families and see some other friends over the weekend, as well. And best of all, we get to test the new car on a mini road trip!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

me right now

I don't post much of my scrapbooking on here anymore, but I made this layout today, and I'm loving it. I often scrap about "events" in our life, but I also want my scrapbook to represent me and who I am right now at 25.

Thanks for looking!

In other news, we are now the proud owners of a new car AND my new straightener came in the mail today! I'm already in love with both. More on this tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

warning: geeky teacher post!

I am back in teacher mode this week as I am attending a three day elementary technology camp put on by my school district. I am learning lots, and I'm even a little excited to get back to school to try out all of the cool things I've been learning. But not too excited...I still have plenty of laziness left in me to enjoy my next six weeks off from work!

Some things I haven't enjoyed about my camp, however, are the women here who know NOTHING about technology. They say things like...

"Wait, slow did you make that font show up in bold?"

"STOP! I didn't see how you saved your work!"

"A hyperlink? What's that?"

"Can you go back again and show us how you minimized that box?"

"What was that? A URL? How do I find one? What is that?"

"How come I can't see the screen?" (honest to goodness, her computer had not been turned on)

Other than these women who don't know what a mouse is, I've gotten a lot out of my course. I've made two things that I am pretty proud of. So please humor me as I share them with you!

First thing I made was an interactive poster on this great FREE site called Glogster. I made a site about the Earth, moon, and sun. Even if you're not an educator, look at Glogster. It's really fun to play around with if you have a minute or two.

Second thing I have to share is a VIDEO! I'm planning on making this a model for a project I want the kids to do. And yes...that's my pretty video you are listening to on the video!

Ok, that's enough geeky teacher things for one day! Thanks to those who looked at my work!

Monday, July 13, 2009

What we've been up to...

This past weekend J and I drove to Richmond to hang out with my mom and little brother for a few hours at the Tomato Festival. While I loved seeing my mom and brother, I was especially excited to eat some fried green tomatoes. And boy oh boy, did I eat some! I watched the vendor deep fry them, and then I devoured them and LOVED them! In fact, I ate them so fast, that there was no time to get a picture.'ll just have to imagine all of that deep fried yumminess!

Saturday night we were bums and hung out at home and watched some TV and enjoyed some pizza from our favorite pizzeria with a six-pack. I have to be honest, this is my idea of a perfect Saturday night. Since getting married, I've become a bit of a homebody. I love going out, but I am just as content to stay home with J and enjoy each others company here.

And Sunday, I made the greatest chocolate chip cookies. I am telling you...if you need a fabulous chocolate chip cookie recipe, this one is it! The secret ingredient is captain crunch, and they are the perfect mix of chewy and crunchy and so sweet. And trust me. There is no fat and they will not put a few more inches on your hips. I swear. The two sticks of butter in the recipe are canceled out by the fact that you're making them with breakfast cereal. And we all know breakfast cereal is good for us! Right? Get the recipe HERE.

And then today we FINALLY sold my car. It's been about a 3 week process for us, but the car has sold. Hopefully by this time next week, I will have a new car! I've got to take a class this week for school (Technology Boot Camp for Elementary Teachers...we'll see if I pick up any great tips/tools here), so the process of buying a car, may take longer than I had hoped for, but it definitely looks like we'll have the new car for our upcoming road trip!

10 Random Facts

The lovely Megan tagged me to list 10 random things abut myself. Let's begin!

1. When I was in high school, I was in show choir. For those of you who are thinking, "What's show choir?", imagine sequins and jazz hands and too much makeup. That was me. If you watched the show Glee that aired on Fox this past spring, that would give you a good idea about where I dedicated a lot of my time in high school. This little fact might get it's own post, possibly with pictures, one day.

2. I do not eat mushrooms. They are fungus and I am totally disgusted by them.

3. I've lived in Virginia my whole life. Different parts of the state, but I've loved them all.

4. When I was a little girl in preschool, I refused to wear pants. My argument to my parents was, "But Miss Piggy doesn't wear pants." I was a very stubborn child. Some might even say I still I am. They don't know what they're talking about, though!

5. I get way to many magazines in the mail. Every time I see a good deal on a magazine I'm moderately interested in, I want to subscribe! I personally subscribe to Real Simple and Glamour. I also subscribed to Domino, but they went under this past spring (still sad about that), and I now get Architectural Digest in it it's place. I'm not a fan. My MIL got me subscriptions to Everyday with Rachael Ray, Taste of Home, Cooking Light, and Cooking for 2. In addition to my magazines, J gets Field and Stream, and some backpacking magazine. We have no idea why he gets these in his name. None of our family or friends have fessed up for getting these for him. Anyway, if you look back that's 9 magazines a month. Like I said in the beginning, way to many!

6. I've never cared much for Dave Matthews. This seemed to be a crime in high school and college.

7. I had to have oral surgery about 2 years ago because I had a cyst in my jaw.

8. When I was student teaching, I had a class of kindergartners where about half the class had black teeth or had holes in there teeth. I was teaching during there during the month of February which just so happens to be Dental Hygiene month. When I gave out toothbrushes, about half the class had never seen them before.

9. I love the taste of Dimetapp.

10. In my junior year of high school, my English teacher let me borrow the first four books in the Harry Potter series. I read all four in about three weeks. Since then, I've been a fan. I've reread most the books, and I am very excited to go see the new movie this week!

I'm going to tag my three most recent followers: SEC, Brown Girl, and Heather

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another crock pot BBQ for ya...

Last month I shared a pulled pork barbecue recipe on here, and it sounds like several of you either tried it or were planning on trying it. It was quite the hit!

Since I now know that there are some serious barbecue eating readers out there, I have another recipe that you've got to try. This one is a Carolina barbecue, which for those who don't know, Carolina Barbecue is usually made with a vinegar based sauce and Virginia barbecue is made with a tomato based sauce. Both are delicious, but certainly different. The barbecue I shared last month was a Virginia barbecue, hence all the ketchup in the sauce. The one I'm sharing with you today is made up of mostly apple cider vinegar.

I found the recipe here, but, like last time, I made a few adjustments. Below is the recipe I used when I made it. My adjusted recipe was enough for about 5 sandwiches.

Here it is in the crock pot before I took it out to shred it!

Carolina Barbecue Pulled Pork

1 onion, quartered
2 T brown sugar
1 T smoked paprika
2 t salt
½ t ground black pepper
1 (2lb) pork butt or shoulder roast
(I got a shoulder roast)

Sauce Ingredients
1 c cider vinegar
1/3 c soy sauce
1 ½ t crushed red pepper flakes
2 t sugar
½ t dry mustard
1 T garlic salt
¼ t cayenne pepper

Place onions in crock pot. Blend brown sugar, paprika, salt and pepper; rub over roast. Place roast in crock pot.

Combine vinegar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne pepper and stir to mix well. Drizzle about 1/3 of mixture over roast. Cover and refrigerate remaining mixture. Cook roast on low for 8-10 hours. Remove meat and onions, discard onions and shred meat. Add juices from crock pot and remaining vinegar mixture (a portion may be reserved to pass). Serve plain or as sandwiches.

I served our barbecue on kaiser rolls and we ate it with pasta salad. A very easy meal, and so delicious! Maybe I'll do another post with my oh so very simple pasta salad recipe.

Friday, July 10, 2009

a good book and the beach

I spent my morning by the ocean trying to finish the book I'm currently enthralled with, American Wife. It was a beautiful morning to sit by the waves and get some sun. And there's really no better place to be wrapped up in a book than when you're by the water. I've always loved reading on my vacations, and now that school is out and we're living so close to the beach, it feels like a permanent vacation some days. Such a blessing!

I decided to read American Wife after reading Newlywed Next Door's review a few months ago. I picked it up from the library two weeks ago and I am really enjoying it. If you don't know anything about the book, it's a fictional memoir of a first lady, and from what I've read online and in the forward at the beginning of the book, I know it's loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, a woman who I truly admire. Curtis Sittenfeld is the author, and while I've never read any of her other work, I've decided that I'm a fan. I've got about 50 pages left and I hope to finish it this evening.

Before I finish, I want to say thanks for all your television suggestions on my last post. I 've added a few things to my Netflix queue!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


My summer vacation is in full swing and while I've been very productive, I've always shared a lot of time with my sofa, the television, and the dvd player. Don't judge me. I really do work insanely hard for ten months a year, so my two months off are for lots of rest and relaxation (and a little extra time in the kitchen).

Thanks to my wonderful Netflix account, I've watched several movies, which I've enjoyed, but I'd really like to find a great TV show on DVD to get hooked on. I love watching TV shows on DVD because it eliminates commercials, and you don't have to wait week to week to watch it. Instead, you can watch it marathon style...which may not be healthy if you're watching something like 24*.

Here are some of my favorite shows that I've come to love thanks to DVD:

Such an odd show, but it is by far one of the funniest shows I've ever watched. And I just about die everytime Portia de Rossi comes on screen because I would kill for her hair.

A friend gave us his DVD's for HIMYM last summer and we watched the first three seasons in no time. Anything with Doogie Houser in it is good in my book.

I watched the fist two seasons of LOST on DVD in about two and half weeks. It was all I could think about. Now I'm a crazy fan (like many of you!) and spend far too much time thinking about this crazy island.

This show is just juicy and addictive. The plot which revolves around polygamists living in a normal neighborhood is so far fetched, but you can't help but want to watch more.

J and I watched the first season of True Blood last month, and while sometimes it seems cheesy to us (the fangs make me laugh everytime), we still really enjoyed it. I haven't joined the Twilight bandwagon, but this show has made vampires seem pretty interesting to me!

My parents were big Dexter fans and let us borrow thier DVD's this past winter and it took no time to hook us. This show is absolutely revolting at times, but I loooove it. When my mom shared the plot of this show with me, I thought there was no way I'd get into it, but I was so wrong. It is so well written, and I find myself cheering on this crazy serial killer. Once you get past the blood and guts, you'll love it!

I saved Friday Night Lights for last on purpose. This is probably my favorite TV show on right now. While I love so many other shows, there is nothing with as much heart as this one. The characters are so beautifully crafted, and it makes me want to pack up and move to a small town in Texas each time I watch it. Seriously, if you've never seen it, give it a try! I want you to share some of your favorite shows with me! I'd love to find something to watch during the day, serious or funny! One of the best perks of my job is my free time in the summer and I have been loving every minute of it. We don't have cable, so the afternoons are very quiet around here. So please my wonderful readers...I know some of you love television as much as I do, so please share away!

*During the summer of 2005, J and I had this genius idea to watch season two of 24 in twenty-four hours. We are iditos. No one should watch that much Jack Bauer in such a short period of time or it will really mess with your head. I was serisouly convinced I was being followed by CTU.