Monthly Archives: February 2010

beach bound, baby!

The time has come, friends. In t-minus 3 hours, I’ll be heading to the sun (hopefully) and sand of the Outer Banks. It won’t be warm, and I won’t come home with a tan, but there will definitely be “chillin’ out maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool” all the way through Sunday.

When I get off work, we’re picking up my car from the shop (oil change! woo!), packing it up, and getting on the road. We’ve got everything ready – road trip CDs made, wine, books, and yoga pants packed, puppy treats stashed in the suitcase. It should be a few days well spent. It’s time for a much-needed break from all that is the day-to-day, and unless I can hunt down some surfside internet, I’ll be back early next week.



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(almost) halfway done

Well, friends, I did it. This morning, I mailed FOUR (count ’em) MFA applications! I woke up early yesterday, spent the morning hours with my nose in my computer – and a book, of course – at Barnes and Noble, and finally finished the first big deadline of applications. This process has been completely exhausting…I’m lucky to have Al, who went through the whole thing a few months ago. He’s good at reminding me that they will get done. As long as I do them, that is.

Anyway, I have officially turned in SEVEN (count ’em again) grad school applications. This is the part where you’re gasping for air, wondering how in the world I’m applying to grad school when last time you checked I didn’t even know what I wanted to go to grad school for. Well, get that big breath and listen up – you’re not behind the times. I still am not completely sure what I want to do, which is why, after seven completed applications, I still have eight more to do. Absurd? Perhaps. Obscene? Right now, I think so. But necessary? Absolutely. After all, a girl needs options!

I’m interested in so many things that I just can’t seem to pick one. I’m hoping that this application process will do the picking for me – you know, survival of the fittest and all that. I would be thrilled to attend any of the fine institutions I’m applying to (well, almost any) and am looking forward to making plans with Al for the year ahead.

But, since all of that eventual planning will be sure to take up lots of time, we’re taking a little break from real life this weekend – we’re picking up and heading to the Outer Banks with a few of our favorite people. Though the OBX probably won’t look quite like this

this weekend, the sentiment will be there. No work, no worries, and plenty of wine. It’s a long-awaited vacation, and I feel certain I’ll be ready to tackle those eight remaining applications upon my return to (as R. calls it) Charlottesvegas. Happy Monday!

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sibling saturday [1]

"overrun"As promised, today begins sibling saturdays. Not the most exciting name, I know, but I really like alliteration. And today is all about Jake. The photographer of my header image, my brother is an extremely talented graphic designer and photographer. His images are engaging, original, and quite simply, very impressive. Every Saturday (except for next Saturday, when I’ll be at the beach with no internet) I’m going to post one of my favorite images of his. If you want to see more and check out the full-size image, check out his Flickr page. It’s totally sweet. Happy Weekend!

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finally friday

Ahh, Friday. Fridays used to bring mixed emotions for me – for three years, I’ve worked almost every Friday night except for ones I requested off. But not anymore! This month, when I asked to cut back to two nights a week (here’s to mental health!), I got what I asked for. And I also got a three day weekends!

I have been working Tuesday and Thursday nights this month, and have hardly known what to do with myself on my weekends off. It’s been absolutely liberating – and a little bit depressing, when I realized that at the ripe old age of twenty-three, I had no idea what people do on Friday nights. Anyway, I’m slowly but surely figuring it out. And actually, tonight, after a quick romp at the gym, I’m going to work – for fun. Don’t judge, okay? My boss is starting a new thing – Acoustic Fridays and Vino. Pretty self-explanatory, but basically cool live tunes and featured wines from about 8 until 10. And tonight, the tunes go until 11, because tonight is the Great Guiness Toast. One month until St. Paddy’s Day!

Anyway, I’m excited about the evening ahead. Should be relaxing and fun – and give me lots of motivation to wake up tomorrow morning and work on grad school applications all day. There should be personal trainers for that kind of thing — you know, someone to be hovering over you as soon as you open your eyes to remind you that if you don’t write that personal statement or organize that writing sample, well, you’re not going to grad school. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think that would work for me. My wake-up face is definitely not for the faint-hearted; not just anyone can stomach it. My brother, my dad and I all make the same terrifying face when we’re first woken up (mine’s not as bad as Dad’s, though). Just ask Al. He doesn’t even like to rouse me from a nap. Sad, right?

I’ll leave you with some happy pictures from my life this past week – a happy puppy with a snazzy new haircut, and a beautiful Valentine’s Day surprise from my very dearest Al. And check back tomorrow for sibling saturday. I told you, my brother’s a genius, so he gets a whole day on the back burner all to himself. Happy Friday!


a fancy new do, and everyone's favorite underbite :)


aren't they lovely?

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because of you!

Before i forget to do this, I want to give a little bloggerific shout to the people whose online spaces made the back burner exist in my head, even before it had a name “right” enough to exist on my screen. Thanks for the inspiration and the nagging (er, um, I mean, encouragement!). Here’s to you!

Peeps I know and love…and whose blogs are awesome :) – R of R in the Real World, Lauryn of Northside Nest and Lauryn Galloway Photography, The Garm of Taking a Bite.

Others I don’t (technically) know but who make me aspire to high levels of blog awesomeness – Andrea of Kempt, Nicole of Pinch My Salt, Martha of Nibs, John and Sherry of Young House Love, Katelyn of The Inspired Design.

And, super special thanks to my brother, Jake, for being the photographer of the amazing image used for my banner. Check out his Flickr. The dude is a genius.

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warm soup for cold days.

Is it bad when sunny and thirty-nine degrees feels balmy and wonderful? Maybe, but I’m not complaining. Charlottesville deserves some sunshine, and I’m grateful for it. I’m glad I didn’t have time to bring my lunch from home today – I’ll have an excuse to take a quick walk later. It’s actually supposed to be in the mid-40s for the next couple of days, believe that or not. I can’t wait. Is is Spring yet?

Despite my despair over all things chilly, the recent burst of snowstorms in central Virginia has given me an excuse to try my hand at a new challenge: soup-making. Nothing makes me warmer, happier, or more content than a big steamy bowl of soup when you can see your breath outside (and, let’s be honest, maybe in my apartment, too). But I’m picky, so soups are hard for me. Most recipes have at least a couple of things that I have to cut out or substitute. For one thing, I’m not a bean eater. I won’t name any names, but I have a vivid memory of being forced to sit at the table for hours as a stubborn young child until I had eaten a certain number of spoonfuls of horrifically beany stew. Torture, I tell you. Anyways, I don’t like beans. I also like a super hearty soup, which is often difficult without beans.

My quest began earlier this winter. I am a potato soup fanatic, and started out with what I knew I’d love. I made Allie’s cheesy potato soup and Pinch My Salt’s Potato Leek Soup (and love both!), but figured I should branch out. Before the last big snow, I bought all the ingredients to make two soups, and while I enjoyed the vegetable noodle one that I made, the tomato-based veggie was a huge hit. It’s a little spicy and super flavorful, and it looks pretty, too!

My faithful food tasters welcomed the warm addition to our snowy weekend, and the soup was a hit. I made it again earlier this week, and took a picture this time in honor of my long-awaited online space. :)

delicious veggie soup!Though I don’t have a recipe, exactly, (I modified what I found here) I can at least tell you what I put in it and how I do the cooking. Here are the ingredients, by category:

Veggies: potatoes, onions, fresh garlic, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, celery, zucchini

Liquids: vegetable broth, water, tomato juice, tomato sauce and/or puree, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce (only a tiny bit of the last two)

Spices: black pepper, cayenne red pepper, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, fresh parsley

Basically, I just chop the veggies up, then sautee all of them but the potatoes in a giant pan. I boil the potatoes in water and vegetable broth, and then add the sauteed veggies and however much tomato stuff is necessary for preferred soup consistency. Adding more water is okay, too. After that’s all combined, add the spices (or whichever ones you like) to taste, and simmer for around two hours! And then eat a lot, and be happy. Cheers!

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because it’s about time.

And so it begins – the back burner. I’ve been meaning to do this for, well, way too long – and finally, here I am.

As a lover of all things literary, I had to come up with the perfect name for this blog. I knew what I wanted it to mean, and I knew what I wanted it to be, but I just couldn’t find the right words for so long. I tried so many things that weren’t quite right. Some didn’t make sense to anyone but me (and to my dear friends and patient mother who listened to my blog name woes for months). This one was too whimsical, that one was too content-specific. I needed a space for everything, a space for me. It had to be a little catchy and a lot Nikki.

And then it came to me, driving back from Richmond yesterday morning. I don’t know how I thought it up, or even why it immediately seemed so perfect, but here I am. Less than twenty-four hours later, here we are. the back burner. because it’s about time.

I will use this blog for me. For things I love, for things I hate, for things I cook. For pictures I take, for (maybe) stories I write, for ideas I have. I will share this blog with others – with my friends, with my family, and maybe with those I don’t even know. I have high expectations, and none at all. I am here. Because it’s about time.



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