On Life this Month

DSCN0792Whew, it’s been quite the month, guys.

We’ve been working away, doing some local-ish traveling, enjoying lots of fall-y things, watching too many TV shows, and making small updates to the apartment along the way. Get ready for lots of words.

I kicked off the month with a trip to Pittsburgh for Duquesne’s homecoming. Despite being a frigid first weekend of October, it was great to spend time with some besties, meet the beautiful new daughter of a wonderful friend, and trek around campus a bit. So many good memories from my four years there. The only downside to the weekend was that it was only two days. If only the real world didn’t exist and I could just spend a week trolling around Pittsburgh doing absolutely nothing at all.

I’m also smack in the middle of “campaign” (not political) season for my job, so the work weeks have been a bit of a blur with lots of moving around the city to different government buildings. On the plus side, nothing makes me feel more like an independent lady than lugging my display board and suitcase filled with premiums up a busy non-working Metro escalator, taking my heels along for the ride. And thank you sir, but I don’t need assistance. Strong women unite.

J’s job is keeping him busy as well. I went to a late-night homecoming pep rally with him one Friday evening and it was awesome to see him in his element interacting with some of the students and his coworkers. However, I was called “Mrs. K” on more than one occasion by his kids, and I’m pretty sure my brow earned a new wrinkle every time.

In addition to some work and a little travel here and there, we’ve been doing our best to check things off our Fall Bucket List. Earlier this month we got to enjoy an Oktoberfest party with my sorority alumnae chapter, and this past weekend we carved our pumpkins and had a little beer tasting of our own, with a side of pumpkin cheesecake from Wegman’s. Carrie supervised from the screen door, which has become her favorite spot in the apartment thanks to the cool fall breeze and lots of leaves flying by for her to “hunt.” We also spent the weekend catching up on “How to Get Away with Murder.” I’m not quite sure how I did it, but somehow I’ve gotten J to watch a Shonda Rhimes show with me.
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Things have been coming along on getting our apartment together. In the past I’ve been in a rush to just purchase things to make a space feel more complete, but I’m trying to really take my time this go-around. Luckily, our apartment is small so it isn’t like we have rooms and rooms to fill (only three, actually), but our tastes are constantly evolving and what we picked even two years ago doesn’t fully fit our style any more. Knowing this, we are trying to focus on quality pieces and purchasing things we think will have a longer shelf life in this and future homes. We got the base of our gallery wall hung, and I finally decided on curtains for the bedroom. True story, we have been hanging beach towels in our bedroom windows at night because we didn’t have curtains and the cat would try to climb the blinds if we left them down while we slept. Needless to say, I’m excited for our curtain rod to come in this week so we can hang the drapes and sheers and act like some-what civilized adults. It’s ok to judge us, I do too.

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That’s about life for us this month. What’s new with you? Done anything fun and seasonal or tackled a home project? Enjoy the rest of the week! xx

Weekend in Photos: Laid-Back Fall

It was a quiet two days around here. An an unusual weekend with no commitments, we kept things easy and headed to the close-by Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis for Art at the Park and a stroll to the overlook. We had dinner out, watched lots of football, picked out favorites from the pumpkin patch to carve next week, and sipped apple sangria. Cheers to the week ahead!

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6 Low-Key Date Ideas for the Fall Season

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As the leaves begin to turn and the themed aisles of Target quickly turn from back-to-school to an odd combination of both Halloween and Christmas, there’s no arguing autumn is in full swing. In previous years, this is usually the time when I accept that I won’t see my husband until the end of March due to a busy basketball-centered travel and work schedule. However, the beginning of this summer brought about a promotion and change of work responsibilities for J, and he’s no longer at the office until nine every evening or on road trips through the weekends. With a new found ability to spend more time together this fall and winter, I thought I’d brainstorm and share some inexpensive and low-key “date” ideas for the months ahead.

1. Spend a Saturday afternoon at a local watering hole sharing a pitcher and watching college football
Even non-sports enthusiasts can appreciate the atmosphere of a cold drink, greasy appetizers, and cheers from fans on game day.

2. Head to the kitchen together and spend the day making each other’s favorite cookies
With the exception of after-dinner dishes and heating up frozen pizza, J pretty much avoids the kitchen at all costs. However, if anything is going to lure him in, it’s the promise of cookies. This is a great opportunity to turn off the TV, put aside the cell phones, and maybe even learn something new about each other.

3. Paint a wall in your home and share takeout pizza when it’s complete
Quality time together and little home improvement? Sounds like a win in my book! Painting just one wall is an inexpensive and easy way to add a quick update to a tired space. If you’re anything like us, you’ll appreciate spending the money on paint and supplies much longer than you would a date out.

4. Carve pumpkins and enjoy a meal from the slow cooker
Throw your favorite one-pot meal or stew in the slow cooker and spend a Sunday afternoon carving pumpkins outside. When you come back in you’ll have a hot meal waiting for you to enjoy. This would be an awesome date-in to invite another couple to share in.

5. Go for a hike – or head out on a geocaching adventure
As part of our anniversary date last month, J planned an 8-mile hike and picnic around a local state park. It was fun to get a little lost together and enjoy the peacefulness of our surroundings. I also had a really fun time pretending to see snakes so J would freak out. I think we would love the added adventure of geocaching with our phones and finding “treasure” at the end.

6. Create your own Oktoberfest tasting
So many beer and wine stores around us are now offering customers the option to create their own six packs by purchasing individual bottles of premium beers. This is a great way to try new brands and flavors without too much commitment or expense. Head out with your partner and select a handful of pumpkin or Oktoberfest beers to try and then take back to your home to pour and share while you discuss what you like and don’t like.

Do you have a favorite or go-to low-key date? What’s something small you’re looking forward to enjoying this season?

On Two Years

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Two years ago, I cried my way down the aisle to J. (Don’t worry, they were happy tears.)

A whirlwind of a day, one of my most vivid memories was before we left for the ceremony, standing outside the bridal suite on the top floor of the hotel and looking down into the open lobby. As I took a few nervous, deep breaths, I remember being in awe that the day I had always wondered about was finally here. Feeling beyond grateful, I thought about the friends and family who had traveled to join us, the perfect sunny fall day, and most of all – the guy that was waiting for me at the church.

I never thought I would get married at 24. To be honest, there was a time in high school when I would have told you I was never getting married at all. I never wanted to be the girl that needed a guy to be happy, and to say I was a cynic would be an understatement. Then, when I met J, I realized that it wasn’t that I needed him – I wanted him alongside me.

I think J and I would both agree that the last two years have been both the easiest and most difficult years of our lives. Since our wedding day we have lived in three different apartments, had a handful of job titles, welcomed a fur-baby into our lives, traveled to four different countries, and felt both rich with opportunity and poor with actual bank statements. Through it all, he’s always the one I want to share it with. Our lives aren’t perfect, but we sure have a good time living.

So to J – thank you. Thank you for pretending to care about curtains, for knowing which character in Pretty Little Liars is Spencer, for always offering me the last bite of dessert despite knowing that I’ll tell you to have it, and for holding my hand under the covers at night even though you get warm. Here’s to many, many years to come. xx

My Fall Bucket List

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Right before Memorial Day I shared my Summer Bucket List. As I recapped last week, not everything on the list got accomplished, but it was one heck of a good summer. Having the list in the back of my mind helped me to fully appreciate the season and the opportunities, so I decided to create one for fall as well.

1. Send a Surprise Gift to a Friend
I love to send mail, and try to make it a point to get some sort of written card out to a handful of friends every month. I want to bump that up a notch though and make it a goal to send one small surprise gift to a friend or two this season.

2. Carve Pumpkins
Each fall growing up we headed to the farmer’s market, chose our pumpkins, and sat outside on the porch carving our designs. Inevitably, my brother would pick the most difficult pattern, and I usually chose whatever cat design happened to be in that year’s kit. (You’re shocked, I know.) These days, the fall season gets so busy I usually forget it’s pumpkin carving time until Halloween (which also happens to be J’s birthday) is right around the corner. This year I’m making it a goal to take advantage of a cool autumn day and carve pumpkins with J outside on the patio.

3. Read Books
This is vague, I know, but over the summer I set a lofty goal of 8 books for myself and only got to 5. Despite the fact that I really do love to read, I’m the worst at making time to actually sit down and do it. Knowing that the season ahead is already looking to be a busy one, I’m going to scale back my expectations and just make reading a higher priority on my list.

4. Bake an Autumn Inspired Treat to Share
I love to cook and bake, but in our previous little nest our kitchen was pretty much non-existent, which took a bit of the fun out of it. Now that I’m in a kitchen I can turn around in and actually have enough cabinet space to store all my supplies, I’m looking forward to baking up some fun treats to enjoy and share.

5. Visit a Local Brewery
Like many other states around the country, Maryland’s craft beer scene has really been flourishing. We have a couple of breweries close-by, and I’d love to go check one out. Jailbreak Brewery is at the top of my list.

6. Go to a Football Game
As a former marching band member, nothing makes me more nostalgic for the fall season than the sound of a drum cadence at a football game. I couldn’t care less about watching the actual game, but the lights, sounds, and smells bring back some wonderful memories.

7. Host a Dinner Party
As I mentioned above, cooking in my old kitchen was more of a chore than I would have preferred, so now that we have a bit of a better layout I’m looking forward to having some friends over for a meal, some libations, and maybe even some board games sometime this fall. Who wants to come for dinner!? :)

8. Put Summer Vacation Photos into an Album
We live in a world where digital photos disappear into a computer never to be seen again. I used to love scrapbooking, and while that hobby has probably seen better days from me, I’d like to at least get my photos from the summer into an album. Whether I do it myself or order it from Shutterfly may be determined at a later date, but I’m making it a goal to get them captured in print.

9. Go on a Hike
With the temperatures cooling down and the leaves starting to change colors, there’s no better time to head outside for a hike at a local park or forest.

10. Make Our New Little Nest Feel like Home
As many of you know by now, we moved in August. After our move, we promptly left for ten days in Europe, returning just in time to get thrown back into work and end of summer craziness. We’ve unpacked and are starting to get into a groove around our new place, but we are still getting things organized and decorated. By Thanksgiving (when it is time to put out Christmas decorations!) I’d like to have the apartment cozy and situated. For those who may have not just gone through a move, fall is also a great time to take on an improvement project around your home or freshen up some tired decor.

What’s on your bucket list this season? Anything I should add to mine? What are you baking/crafting/reading/loving this fall?

Weekend in Photos: Charm City

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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!? :)

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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?