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Life Lately

{sunday driving with the mrs.; the top half of a favorite outfit; this week’s guilty pleasures- gossip girl and talenti salted caramel gelato;  a very yellow breakfast; a big bouquet of my favorite flowers (peonies), which are finally in season!; a bit of book club reading to round out a trip to the gym; a veg-tastic dinner; a mercifully large margarita}

Last Sunday I finally started to feel better in the early evening, so Kate and I decided to take a little country drive in the rain before running a few errands. We stopped at Fearrington Village (we got engaged at the inn there!) so she could pick up some coffee before continuing on. Somewhere around the Orange County (where we live)/Chatham County line, we came across what is basically our dream home (pictured above). It had a gorgeous front porch, pretty gardens, an awesome barn complete with a mural, and overlooked a pond. I’m sold! Sadly we aren’t looking for a house, nor was this one on the market, but it’s still fun to pretend, right?

This week was all about little indulgences: wearing work-appropriate outfits that felt like pyjamas, watching truly mindless television while eating insanely delicious gelato, making tasty (and actually pretty healthy) breakfasts, buying myself two bunches of my fave flowers, getting my sweat on, finally getting some pizza (I’d been craving some for ages!), and getting the most perfect cocktail. I mean, really, is there anything better than a good margarita?

Here’s to another great week ahead!

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Life Lately

{sunday brunch with friends- mexican shrimp cocktail + chilaquiles!; strawberries; azaleas; delicious salad with tempeh; more strawberries from the farmers’ market; healthy breakfast; bibb lettuce; our first csa box!; delicious bruschetta made by our friend p; wonderful times hiking with friends}

This week went by so quickly! It was filled with good eats, the arrival of our town’s first Wednesday farmers’ market, along with some truly delicious strawberries. Another arrival? Our first CSA box of the season (check out this website for CSAs in your area)! This is our third year using the same CSA and I’m so excited for all the great produce that’s in store over the coming weeks. Plus it’s always nice to see the immediate effect the arrival of CSA season has on lowering our weekly grocery bill. In this week’s box we received bok choy, kale, green garlic, radishes, and turnips. Most are going into our lunch stir fry and we already ate most of the radishes in yesterday’s salads.

Last Sunday we met up with some friends for a seriously delicious brunch. Afterward I did a bit of clearance rack shopping and then we had over my friend A from grad school who was back in town for work. It was so fabulous to see and catch up with her! Our weddings were right after each other’s in October, so we weren’t able to attend. It was great to swap stories and hear about how married life’s been going so far.

The rest of the week was kind of a blur, filled with work, food, exercise, couple time, and {not nearly enough} sleep. On Saturday we got up bright and early to head out to Hanging Rock State Park to meet up with friends to camp for the weekend. Unfortunately, impending storms cancelled our plans to stay overnight, but we were able to squeeze in not one but two hikes before heading back home. First {after spotting this Mini Cooper decked out with eyelashes. I guess it was important to the owner we knew it was a she?} we did the .6 mile (round trip) Lower Cascades hike, which took us down to a pretty waterfall area. Kate and I had our lunch at that point, since we’d gotten a much earlier start than our friends who had stayed the night before. After this little jaunt we were ready to tackle the Hanging Rock hike. It was steep but it was great! I had a great time hanging out with friends while getting my sweat on. And the views from the top made it completely worthwhile. A perfect way to recharge and take in some more of this beautiful state.

Having our overnight stay cancelled meant we got to have our friend P over for dinner, which she graciously cooked for us {as an aside, I’m pretty sure there are few things better than having someone else cook for you in your own home}. It was SO good. Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and veggie sausage on the side. Definitely something for us to recreate as many times as possible this summer, especially since we’re currently growing both tomatoes and basil! We all caught up, chatted, and watched the movie “Sliding Doors.” A perfect low-key evening.

Sunday morning I woke up way earlier than necessary and decided to make the most of it with my first visit of the year to our gym’s pool. I swam 1,050 meters in 40 minutes and felt great. I came home to Kate cooking banana-walnut pancakes, which was equally awesome. We watched “CBS Sunday Morning” and then spent the morning listening to music and reading. Sadly, I started to feel super under the weather for the next few hours, so I spent most of the rest of the day curled up on the couch watching “Gossip Girl.” I rallied toward the end of the day to run a few errands and am hoping whatever threw me for a loop has long since passed!

Did you have any fun adventures last week? What’s in store for the week ahead?

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Life Lately

{iced coffee + banana oats w/ almond butter, chocolate chips, + chia seeds (aka my new fave breakfast); irises in bloom; my best gal; cool enough for running tights!; a collection of brooches; hair curling, a process; pretty event space- the calm before the storm; pretty friends; someone’s regalia arrived!; left over flowers for us to enjoy; getting my sweat on; baby time!; diner breakfast with my gal; wandering the handmade market in carrboro; saturday afternoon with queso, guac, + wine on the patio}

I know this is a bit belated, but here’s what I was up to last week! It was quite the whirlwind, but full of wonderful things. I hope this week is treating you wonderfully thus far!

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Life Lately

{sunday night dinner of fish, sweet potato fries, and broccoli; a quick jaunt to wilmington for work, plus a view from the river walk; beautiful carolina blue sky; a favorite outfit from the week, sketchily photographed in my office building’s gym; strawberries growing; close-up tulip; dinner out with friends, followed by a book reading; the spread for this month’s book club (we discussed ‘the immortal life of henrietta lacks’ by rebecca skloot); azaleas in bloom; BUYING OUR NEW CAR!!!; a celebratory meal afterward; a quick trip to ikea while in charlotte; friday night date with my favorite gal, including dinner at red robin (veggie burger + bacon!), a trip to the bowling alley to play big buck hunter, and froyo afterward; new flowers and plants- ranunculus, pothos, spider plant, and bluebird; saturday brunch with wonderful friends; saturday evening birthday party for a friend, complete with lots of baby time and unpictured dancing; easter sunday brunch, followed by a wonderful easter egg hunt put on by the mrs. for the second year in a row; some afternoon time on the patio with my latest read (‘wild’ by cheryl strayed, about her solo hike on the pacific crest trail); a sample of this week’s lunch (mediterranean quinoa salad); and, back where we started, sunday dinner (same as last week’s, but with my favorite roasted brussels sprouts instead of broccoli)}

Last week was quite the whirlwind, but sort of in the best way possible. Work was productive and exciting, Kate and I made our first major purchase together, and we got to spend a whole heck of a lot of time with friends, which is always a treat. I’m so thankful for this little blog, too, because even when I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I can look back on my week in photos and see that there was so much good in it. Much more than anything that had me stressing. I keep trying to remind myself that I can do anything, but I cannot do everything. I want to be fit and healthy, an amazing wife, daughter, friend, and employee, have a thriving and fulfilling career, be involved in many volunteer activities, grow and cook my own food, blog frequently, read a ton, cultivate several hobbies, be extremely well-rested, and have ample down time. Clearly achieving all of this at any given time is impossible. I feel as though I’m continually re-learning how to say “no” to things and prioritize what is most important. All while simultaneously figuring out exactly what those priorities are in the first place. I mean, I’ve got the big ones figured out (health, marriage, family + friends), but what falls in place after those and in what order? Is this part of what it means to grow up? I’m thinking it just might be.

How was last week for you? Anything new, exciting, or particularly grown up? And, since I posted this a day later than I’d meant, how is this week shaping up so far?

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Life Lately

{tulips, beautiful weather for walking, freshly-cut irises, strawberry buds, baby smiles, Brussels sprouts + burritos, growing basil, perfectly-dressed salads with other eats, a visit to my alma mater, skirt time, neighborhood cat, dogwood petals, lone tulip before + after, sunday brunch, target candy samples, belted scarf}

This week was a wild one. We have a big event coming up soon at work, plus lots of little things that kept popping up and seemed to fill my days more than usual. It was super-productive, but really exhausting. This may sound a bit dramatic, but it was all I could do to keep breathing, moving forward, and remembering all of the good things, both at work and in the world outside. Added to this was a summit I’d been helping to plan at my alma mater, which went from Friday afternoon through very late Saturday. It was energizing and inspiring and went a thousand times better than I’d ever planned. I also got to see old friends, meet new ones, and stay with one of my besties, all of which were good for my soul. I made the impromptu decision to drive back home after the final event on Saturday (instead of staying one more night) and it was so good to sleep in my own bed and smooch on my wife. Although I wasn’t able to sleep in on Sunday, we had a great time going out for a nice leisurely brunch, and then I grocery shopped, loafed around, and was treated to a delicious dinner cooked by the Mrs!

Speaking of Mrs., I actually need to start referring to her as Doctor, since she passed her dissertation defense on Monday! Words can’t describe how incredibly proud I am of her and how excited I am for her to be making her dreams a reality. Much celebrating commenced on Monday evening with friends and now we’re just biding a bit of time before we celebrate her graduation. Exciting times in our household! I’m just hoping that this week is more calm and relaxing than the last. Fingers crossed for that for y’all, too!

How about you? What’s new?

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Life Lately

{some tulips i got to brighten up my desk; post-work drinks on a patio. hooray for the return of outdoor seating!; wiig-ing* it for a work event; wisteria in bloom. it smells heavenly!; spotted in carrboro; replenished fruit bowl; one of three orders of nachos we had last week. oops?; raspberry margarita with friends; cupcakes from our favorite store; rain over jordan lake on the way home; sunshine less than five minutes later; so psyched to be getting in some gym time; all dressed up for a fundraiser; nice healthy sunday breakfast; afternoon reads; dogwood blossoms; unc during a post-church stroll}

Last week was a bit of a wild ride! There were work events and meetings (including one for part of the day Saturday), plans with friends, squeezed-in exercise, and little dates with Kate. On top of a packed schedule came the news that we need to replace one of our cars a full two years earlier than we’d planned. This led to a trip to Greensboro late on Thursday to get in a few test drives before the dealership closed! It’s sort of hard to believe, but this will be the first major purchase we’ve made as a couple! We’re still weighing our options, but will hopefully have everything sorted out before the old car dies completely.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this on here (though I probably have in person if the topic of church has happened to arise), but Kate and I have started looking for a new church to join. We love, love, love the minister at our former church, but were never able to feel completely a part of the community for myriad reasons. We may end up back there in the future, but for now we’re exploring our options. So we’ve started church hopping! This weekend was our second go at visiting a new church, which is both nerve-wrecking and exciting. While neither we’ve visited seem to be ‘the one,’ it’s been a really positive activity for both of us. Plus, our visit yesterday left us right up on Franklin Street, which meant we got to partake in one of our favorite lunches {the spicy eggplant quesadilla from Cosmic Cantina} and take a bit of a walk.

I’m hoping that yesterday’s mellowness is a sign that this week will be much calmer than the last!

Has anyone else been feeling particularly busy? Any exciting plans for the week ahead?

*Wiig-ing: References Kristin Wiig’s wardrobe of blazers over dresses in ‘Bridesmaids.’ My friend Patty and I feel particularly fancy whenever we Wiig it.

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Life Lately

Springtime has been treating us well so far!

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Life Lately

This past week went by so quickly! I feel as though I blinked and it was suddenly Friday. Trust me, I’m not complaining. Last Sunday I spent some time roasting up some of my farmers’ market finds to use in this week’s lunches (black beans + rice). The results were pretty tasty!

On Sunday night, I was finally feeling better, so we headed to P’s in Raleigh for an Oscar viewing party. We had quite the spread of appetizers and desserts to eat while taking in the pre-show (my favorite part, even though Ryan Seacrest tested my enjoyment of the red carpet proceedings this year) and the awards themselves.

After work on Monday I came home from the gym and chopped up all sorts of salad fixings for the week’s dinners. Tomatoes, mixed greens + romaine, Trader Joe’s light champagne vinaigrette, radishes, green onion, carrots, and sauteed tempeh. So easy and so tasty!

On Wednesday Kate and I had an impromptu date night to a sit-down Mexican restaurant followed by the world’s least expensive frozen yogurt trip ($3.20 for us both!). At least I sprang for a margarita at dinner to make up for it…

Even more flowers bloomed this week! I absolutely love the variety of crocus we planted in our garden- white and purple striped with bright orange stamen (?).

While working from home (aka a different coffee shop), I snapped this photo in between all of my email sending. I love these lanterns!

After work (and before a three hour board meeting!) on Thursday, Kate and I took a quick trip to Staples for exciting things like printer ink. Fortunately, Kate found all of the items on our list while I lusted after all of the beautifully displayed Martha Stewart products that came out recently. Thank goodness for good spouses!

On Friday, I took a quick lunch break to meet up with a friend who was sadly moving out of town this weekend. We hit up City Beverage in Durham, which has some of my favorite decor in the area, not to mention a great menu. I got my standard: the bahn mi chay sandwich (it comes with tofu) and a side of garlic fries. Om nom nom.

After work, Kate arrived home to find that her brand new iron had come in the mail. Have I mentioned that my wife does all of the ironing (and laundry!) in our house? It is indescribably awesome. Anyway, our old iron bit the dust, and so she did some hardcore research before settling on this one. I’m happy to report that it’s every bit as awesome as she’d hoped.

Saturday morning Kate baked banana-walnut-chocolate chip muffins while I visited the farmers’ market. I then met up for lunch with a friend from college who was in town for the UNC-Duke game, followed by some grocery shopping. It was so good to catch up and hear about her life in Charlotte!

Saturday night we headed to a friend’s in Raleigh for dinner and games. We had so. much. food, y’all! One friend brought fondue with baguette and apples for an appetizer, another brought brie + strawberry preserves with baguette, and we brought some goat cheese and baguette. Basically it was carb-central, and I loved every minute of it! We had such a great time catching up and cooking together and our friend R did a great job with dinner! After dinner we started out by playing Hoopla and then eventually transitioned to writing down three secrets about ourselves, putting them into a bowl, and having everyone guess who put what. We ended up each telling the stories behind our secrets and it was such an unexpectedly fun way to get to know really good friends even better.

This morning I finished making my first batch of iced coffee of the year (I use a bastardized version of Pioneer Woman’s method and keep it stored in airtight pitchers in the fridge). So easy. So tasty. So much less expensive than stopping at Starbucks before work!

During the day we did a run-walk around town with a friend, went out for more Mexican food for lunch, did even more grocery shopping (I swear it’s a rabbit hole), and I made vegetarian chili and cornbread.

We’re now camped out in front of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (just as good the second time around!) with a double batch of granola cookin’ in the oven. Here’s to a great week ahead!

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Leap Day

Happy March, y’all!

How did you spend your extra day yesterday?

Even though I was working all day, I wanted to do a few things to make it feel a bit more like the once-every-four-years experience it was.

On the way to work I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts (where I rarely visit since they don’t carry soy milk!) for an egg and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel. One of our interns had gotten a sandwich from there awhile ago and I’d been thinking about how good they were ever since. It didn’t disappoint! I also picked up a few chocolate munchkins to share between conference calls.

I also set aside time to send a thank you to my mama for her sweet and thoughtful Valentine’s gift (some money so Kate and I could go on a date for our first married V-Day!) and to send an email to a friend I’d put off for a bit too long.

After work, I treated myself to a nice, sweaty visit to a BodyPump class at the gym. I don’t go to the classes offered at my gym nearly as often as I should, and yesterday was the perfect day to start taking advantage again! I then came home for a nice dinner and evening with Kate. All in all it was a pretty excellent Leap Day.

What about you? Did you do anything fun yesterday

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Saturday at the Market: Durham Edition

If you’ve known me and talked with me for awhile, you know that I have a bit of a thing for farmers’ markets. I love getting up early, armed with my own basket and bags, to visit local farmers, see neighbors, pick up fresh and local produce, and sample as many different cheeses, breads, and other baked goods as possible.

So far in North Carolina, I’ve been to the markets in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, and (my totally biased personal fave) Carrboro. While I love the routine and ease of getting up and walking just a few minutes to the one in Carrboro, it’s also a fun treat to see what other markets have to offer.

 

 

On Saturday, we headed up to Durham to meet up with our friend P and her parents, who were in town visiting for the weekend, at the market there. This was only my second time visiting, and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

 

 

Since Kate and I arrived a bit before everyone else, we went ahead and picked up most of our purchases before it got more crowded. Though I don’t have any photos of them, we ended up coming home with two bags of mixed greens, a head of lettuce, a bunch each of kale, Swiss chard, radishes, and green onions, three heads of broccoli, and two tomatoes. Perfect for all of our meal plans this week!

 

 

After our purchases, we met up with P and family at Monuts Donuts, who had four different flavors available. We tried a bunch of them, including the maple bacon bourbon (!) flavor, but the clear winner of the bunch was the chocolate earl grey. It was wonderfully moist and cake-like with plenty of chocolate and tea notes in every bite. It was so good I went back for a second one to bring home for Sunday’s breakfast.

 

 

We then perused the market, which included stops at Kona Chameleon for P, tasting samples of chocolate babka and chocolate chip mandel bread from Berenbaum’s, and more time to peruse the stands in the market itself.

My one complaint about the Durham market, which may just be because I’ve only visited in winter, is that there seems to be a dearth of stands selling produce. In order to get our veggies, we often had to stand in lines up to 25 people long. I’m happy to wait awhile to get what I’m looking for, but feel this is definitely more extreme than any other market I’ve visited. We’ll have to go back once things warm up again to see if there are more produce vendors in the coming months.

 

 

It was cooler than earlier this week and SO windy out. I didn’t even realize how cold I’d gotten until after we’d gotten back into the car. I should have bundled up more! I also don’t think spending that much time outside did anything to help the cold/allergy situation I had going on. Luckily I was able to spend the rest of the day Saturday and much of Sunday recovering on the couch!

 

 

After ample time at the market, we headed over to Parker & Otis for lunch. We battled the crowds and managed to score a table large enough for our group. I didn’t take any photos, but trust me when I say that our meal was delicious. The grilled cheese with bacon (bad vegetarian!) with a side of pesto pasta salad (filled with green peas and wilted spinach) was absolutely perfect.

 

 

Before we left, P’s sweet parents gifted us with a container of popcorn from Garrett’s (at O’Hare Airport). It’s the Chicago mix, which was a fun combination of cheese and caramel. Although I wasn’t sold on combining the two in the same bite, both Kate and I enjoyed each flavor a whole bunch!

 

 

Later that night, I used some of the veggies to make a pizza for Kate and myself to enjoy at home. Trader Joe’s whole wheat dough topped with tomato basil marinara, leftover roasted sweet potatoes, Swiss chard sauteed in a bit of olive oil, broccoli that got nice and crispy in the oven, and organic shredded mozzarella. Paired with a Kennebunkport Brewing Co. blueberry wheat ale and a game of Monopoly it made for the perfect end to the day!

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