Five Things

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Phew, we’re almost to the weekend, friends!

Now that we’re more than halfway through September I think I’m past due to get back into a schedule of posting around here. I feel like I’m on repeat with this, but it’s been a busy month and the days are just flying by. Rather than sharing my highlights from the week, I thought I’d share five things I’ve been loving this month.

1. Birthday Celebrations

I kicked off the month with my 26th birthday. We kept it fairly low-key since we were still recovering from our trip and 26 is a rather ordinary age, but we took advantage of the Labor Day  long weekend and went out to dinner in Annapolis. We celebrated with a good meal, strolled around town, and enjoyed some ice cream at our favorite Annapolis Ice Cream Company, courtesy of the wonderful birthday gift certificate my mom sent me. I also received quite a few fab cards from friends and family around the country, which made my birthday week extra special.

2. At-Home Happy Hour, Al Fresco

After almost two years of having nothing more than some concrete steps to call our outdoor space, J and I have been taking full advantage of the patio area at our new apartment. Evenings have been spent out at our bistro table enjoying dinner and good conversation. Fridays are usually low-key for us, and we’ve been enjoying some at-home happy hours with a glass of wine or beer and snack plates to wind down the week while we enjoy the late-summer evenings. It’s entirely possible I’ll still be sitting outside in December in a scarf and winter coat, determined to make the most of the space.

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3. Fall is in the Air

Now let me throw it out there that I also love spring, summer, and winter (well, the holiday season part of winter.) But there’s something so refreshing about fall, and I have some pretty amazing memories associated with the season.  Our wedding anniversary, for one, but also high school football band season, being on my own for the first time when I moved to Pittsburgh for college, raking leaves around my hometown neighborhood with my brother and our neighbor/sister/friend, and so much more. After a whirlwind of a summer I’m so excited to welcome in the fall season.

4. New Cookbook Love

I’ve been a longtime reader of the How Sweet Eats blog. The author, Jessica, is so personable and genuine in her writing, and I always look forward to reading her posts.  When her new cookbook, Seriously Delish, launched earlier this month, I couldn’t wait to get my copy. In addition to recipes, Jessica shares wonderful stories, tips, and insight, and I’ve spent a little time every evening this week browsing through the pages. Now, who wants to come to dinner!? :)

seriouslydelish

5. Kicking Off Kickball Season

In addition to my birthday, the start of September also meant the start of our kickball season! Earlier in the summer a friend of mine invited J and I to join the kickball team she and her husband play on as part of the Kickball League of Baltimore, and we happily accepted the invite. We have games every Wednesday evening in September and October, and so far we’re 3 for 3! I even got brave enough to catch the ball last week, which I followed up with an embarrassing proud squeal.

What’s something you’ve been loving lately?

Update on My Summer Bucket List

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So, my Summer Bucket List. It feels like just last week I was writing up the list and anxiously anticipating the summer months ahead. Now here we are in the middle of September and I’m already Googling new cognac boots and spending too much money on fall scented candles from Bath and Body Works.

This summer went far from planned. To start, we moved. We had started looking at some new little nest options but weren’t planning on moving until later this season. However, we fell in love with an apartment and it was priced appropriately. In this area those two factors mean ACT NOW. So we did. While we accomplished some things on the Bucket List, many got left behind or forgotten altogether. Despite that, it truly was an amazing summer. We traveled, we “cheers-ed”, we laughed, we lived in the moment, and we were certainly never bored.

Here’s the rundown on our list:

- Read 8 books between Memorial Day and Labor Day

So, I didn’t make it to eight. I think I read five? When I created the list I anticipated reading much more on my vacations to Cape Cod and Europe than I actually did. Aside from travel time in the car or planes, I hardly read at all on those trips, which is actually probably a good sign. I will say that by creating a book list I really made it a point to pick up the titles I wanted to read. The list helped put the reading process back into my daily routine (even if I was only reading a few pages before bed), and that was ultimately the point. I definitely plan to create a fall reading list to share later this month.

- Go to Six Flags

Yep, we didn’t make it. We truly had no free weekends, and with all the other awesome things we were doing it never even crossed our minds.

- Attend at least one outdoor concert

Woo! We can actually cross this one off the list. Early in the summer we saw that Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson were going to be performing at Wolf Trap and we scooped up tickets and blocked out the evening on our calendar. Wolf Trap is a really fun and unique concert venue with a rustic vibe. They allow everyone to bring in their own blankets, picnic baskets, and alcohol, so we packed up nibbles and a bottle of wine and had a really perfect summer date night.

- Try three new restaurants in our area

I know we had to have done this, but I’m having trouble remembering what restaurants we frequented all summer. Crepes, BBQ, and lots of fresh seafood were all part of our summer diets, and we made it a point to try out new spots when we went out. While not at all in our area, the best meal we ate this season was hands-down at Barbecoa in London.

- Visit two new local Farmer’s Markets

I made it to the Annapolis market (meh), but so far I still haven’t gotten to Fell’s Point for theirs. Free Saturday mornings were at a premium. It is still on my list to get to though, and fall markets are sometimes even better than summer!

- Go to Sandy Point State Park

Nope, didn’t make it. Like Six Flags, it never even crossed our minds. Maybe next year!

- Visit a local winery

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to an actual winery. I did get to a few wine festivals and tried lots of new local wines – even finding some new favorites and go-tos. Boordy still has some events happening this fall, and I’m going to keep this goal for the coming season.

- Make homemade doughnuts

In the midst of travel and moving this never happened. For a couple of weeks there I was doing minimal cooking, let alone baking. Now that my pots and pans are unpacked and I’ve gotten the hang of my new gas stove (love it!) I may give this a go.

- Have a picnic outside on a blanket

We did this a few times, but as mentioned above, my favorite picnic was definitely at the Gavin/Matt concert.

- Make caprese salad using basil and tomatoes from my own plants

So the neighborhood we lived in before we moved in August was pretty residential and had deer. Lots and lots of deer. When my first few tomatoes started to appear back in June the deer swept in and ate my plant down to a stump. It is just finally recovering and has a few lone green tomatoes sprouting, but I have low hopes. We have much better outdoor space at our new apartment and I can’t wait to start fresh in the spring.

- Craft something

I think I crafted a few things over the last few months, but I honestly can’t remember. I did finally get around to staining an unfinished wood crate over Labor Day weekend. We used it as part of our wedding reception decor, and I’ve been meaning to stain it for two years now. Inspired by my new outdoor patio space and a three day weekend, I set about staining it and turning it into a small bookshelf/side table. I love the end result and the bit of personality it adds to our primarily Ikea-furnished living space.

- Buy a piece of artwork while traveling

Unfortunately, this never happened. We never saw anything that really struck us that we loved enough to haul around. We do plan to go through some photos and hopefully get some great prints from our travels to add to a gallery wall that is on our to-do list.

So, we didn’t do all that well at crossing things off the list, but so is life. What was something on your summer bucket list that you never got to? Or, what was something fun and unexpected you did this season? xx

Across the Pond & Back: Photos from London & St Andrews

We’ve officially been back from Europe for two weeks. It feels like a lifetime. We had an amazing time – filled with laughter, good friends, bubbly, and glow sticks. I’ll start getting back into some regular posting around here in the coming days, but for now, I’m going to stay in a state of wanderlust and reminisce.

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On 26, and a Reflection on 25

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Today, I turn 26. I always feel a little nostalgic on my birthday. Not just because I’m another year older, but because on September 2nd, the day usually falls on or around Labor Day, marking the unofficial end of summer.

This summer season, and this year in general, have been a whirlwind. You always hear that the days/weeks/months feel shorter and shorter the older you get, but never was that quite so apparent to me until this 25th year. And to be honest, I always thought that was just something old people said.

As I reflect on this year’s past, I am filled with joy. To keep it real, years #23 and #24 were rough. Fresh out of college and feeling like every step I took was a major life choice was no playground. Suddenly, I was away from my friends and support system, and even more suddenly, making new friends was harder than it had ever been before. Add planning a wedding and feeling constantly broke to the list, and you can imagine the mood swings. There were some wonderful highlights of course, but there were also some major slumps.

Then, around 25, things started to click. I widened my social circle and put myself out there. I grew confident in my career and as a young professional, and I celebrated a year of marriage with my wonderful husband. I (we) traveled. We explored our own city as well as many more. I stopped comparing myself to friends and acquaintances on social media. I drank spinach-filled smoothies for breakfast and ate dessert every night. I found my own, real, personal style. I also finally settled on a hair color (for now).

As I step in to my 26th year, and as the season changes from summer to fall, I am nothing but optimistic about the months ahead. A big reason for that is you – my family and friends. For the support you give me and J, for being there even when I don’t call as much as I should, and for being by my side through some of my best memories of the year – Cheers. Bring it on, 26.

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Rambles on Life Lately

Carrie

Hi friends! Sorry to have fallen off the radar these last couple of weeks. In addition to the usual catch-up that ensues upon returning from vacation, J and I decided to throw a move on top of that. Let’s just say we tend to live by a “power through it” motto.

After returning home from our Cape Cod vacation a week and a half ago, we immediately started packing up our apartment to get moved to a new community later in the week. Living off Subway sandwiches, we spent this past Thursday and Friday after work packing our cars and making trips to the new place with boxes of what can be described as nothing more than “stuff.” First thing Saturday morning I headed to Pittsburgh to celebrate the baby shower of a wonderful friend while J and his brother and BFF loaded the U-Haul with our furniture. By the time I returned Sunday almost everything was out of our old place (including the cat!) and we finished our last cleaning and to-do’s there before dropping off our keys.

Exhausted and slightly overwhelmed, we are now getting ourselves settled into the new space. We are really excited about the community, and we are both ready to get it put together so that it starts to feel like home (aka – decorate!). It’s a brand-new apartment community that really appeals to young professionals, so I think it is going to be a great fit for us. Even better? It’s a non-smoking community, which if you’ve ever been a non-smoker living in a huge apartment complex, you’ll understand how awesome that is. The hope is that we can settle here for a bit. This is the third time we have moved since January 2012, and while moving is a great opportunity to purge the junk we don’t need, we’re both pretty sick of it. When we first came to the area we had no idea what we were looking for in terms of an apartment, and we were utterly blown away with sticker shock. After being here for almost three years we know our favorite restaurants and neighborhoods, and where the best middle ground is for our commutes (I’m in DC and J’s in Baltimore.) We’ve also learned that you unfortunately get what you pay for! Hopefully this is the community we’ve been looking for to meet some new people and enjoy the next few years.

In case you’re wondering, the cat is doing ok. She has moved from about a 9 on the terrified scale to a 3. She’s been exploring the space and has been alternating her time between trying to jump on the countertops (not ok), hiding in my master closet amidst the boxes, and peering out the sliding glass door to the scope out the patio. I took advantage of the move to buy her a new bed as her old one was getting pretty rough, and after a full 48 hours of sitting on the carpet next to it and staring it down, she finally cuddled up last night.

Overall, with the exception of our trip to Cape Cod (which was perfectly beautiful and relaxing), the last few weeks have been chaos. Pumpkin ales are already on tap at our favorite watering holes (too early!) and summer is flying by. While we scope out some new furniture options and talk gallery walls, we’re also getting set for our trip to England and Scotland in … 11 days!?!

Posts may be a bit sporadic around here through Labor Day as I work through the boxes, take advantage of the last weeks I have to enjoy the sparkling new pool I now have access to, and travel to Europe to celebrate the wedding of some wonderful friends. I’ll check in whenever I get the chance – now go outside and enjoy the sunshine!

xx

Week in Photos: Cape Cod

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Fit for a Friday

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has had a great week! It’s been a busy one around here, but as of this evening J and I will officially be in vacation-mode for the next nine days. Can.not.wait. To kick off your weekend, here’s Fit for a Friday – a compilation of musings, findings, and favorite links I’ve stumbled across in the past week.

This picture story has gone absolutely viral over the last week, so you’ve probably already seen it. In the chance that you haven’t – click with caution. While sitting on the couch the other evening J was scrolling through his phone and says, “Oh this is really sad, but it’s nice – you should read it.” Within seconds, I was SOBBING. Mind you, I cry pretty easily, but this story is exactly what it tells you it is, “beautiful and utterly heartbreaking.”

I listened to the kids play off in the distance. And thought about my two babies at home. I loved protecting them.{via}

Oh my gahh. As if I didn’t already love Uber enough! Please make this a regular thing!

How cute are those white flowers in the colored water? So fun!

This piece spoke to me perfectly. I have been so many women already in my short time, and I know I will continue to evolve into many more women to come. I’ve been rebellious, I’ve been restless, I’ve been a good partner, and I’ve even been a bad partner. I’ve been a daughter, a sister, a friend to many, and a used-to-be friend to as many more. All I can hope is that in my roles to come I choose to be kind, loving as a wife, and content with whoever I am. Definitely a nice read for a woman at any stage of her life.

Well friends, that’s all I’ve got for today. Things will be quiet around here over the next week while I enjoy some much needed R&R, so have a great week and I’ll catch up with you soon! xx