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life happens.

Our next door neighbors have a giant holly tree in their yard. It’s at the front corner of their back yard, if that makes any sense, and the reason that’s important is that the location of it makes it hang over into our driveway. Big time. I, for one, am thrilled about this. Christmas decorations cost money, and holly hanging over my car is free.

The point is – the last time I posted on the back burner, I hadn’t even noticed any berries on the holly tree. I started to see them a few weeks ago, and their unripe greenness reminded me of how bright and Christmasy they had been when we first saw the house. One morning this week, I got into my car, heading to work, and noticed that the berries had started to get yellow. How could it be that time of year already?

Today, as I sit on our couch in our living room, looking out into the crisp autumn afternoon, the berries are bathed in cool sunshine. They are a deep orange-y almost-red, and I can hardly believe it. Life happens. Life is busy. Holly turns red practically before your eyes these days.

And so, in the spirit of taking the time to notice what’s going on around us, here is a recap – with some pictures, don’t worry, I know I’ve been long-winded already) – of the past month. It’s been a good one, a crazy one, a memorable one. Enjoy!

Let’s see. Where should I start? Well, I’m still doing yoga. It has been so incredible for me. I’d heard about Bikram yoga for a long time, and had always been too chicken to try it. I started in July, and haven’t really looked back. I try to go to class at least three times a week, which usually means I go to class three times a week. With a full-time, “traditional” job, it’s often tough to fit in the 90-minute class, but it’s worth it. The studio is about ten minutes from our house, and the benefits I’ve reaped since starting are well worth the scheduling challenges I face. I feel better in so many way, including that much of my chronic back pain is now nonexistent. Cheers to Bikram. I’m an official convert.

Okay, I know. It’s time for some pictures. You know I love to take pictures of food, so that’s what I have. I’ve made lots of great dishes recently – this was a Cooking Light fish and tomato and basil saute:

I also made butternut squash soup for the first time. How amazing does this roasted butternut look?

Next came the big batch of basil pesto, some of which is still in the freezer. Check out this picture: Charlie is a BIG dog, and the basil plant is as tall as he is!

I also made the very unique and ridiculously delicious acorn squash quesadillas with tomatillo salsa from Smitten Kitchen. They’re like nothing else I’ve ever eaten, and we loved them. Here is a picture of the squash before roasting and a picture of the quesadilla filling cooking on the stove.

I also made from-scratch pumpkin pie this month. Strange, but true. I roasted and pureed the pumpkin myself and everything.


The crust was kind of a disaster – it was perfect underneath the pie but burnt on the top edge – but the rest of the pie was delish. This picture doesn’t really do it justice. It was much lovelier in real life!

I guess I’m getting out of order here, but the cooking topic brings me to yesterday morning. Carrie, Kus and I decided to make brunch here – and it ROCKED. The menu included mimosas, cinnamon hazelnut french-pressed coffee, cinnamon raisin french toast with fresh fruit, and spinach and ricotta quiche. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. It was to die for. I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures.

I had the pleasure of visiting R. in Charlottesville a few weeks ago, which is always well-worth the drive West on 64. I miss living in the same city as her. Maybe one day. :)

All three members of my immediate family have celebrated birthdays in the past month, too. My mom’s was a big year, if you know what I mean, so Dad threw her a huge surprise party. It was awesome. She had no idea. I sent my brother art supplies in the mail for his birthday, and we were all together again to celebrate Pops with a lovely dinner made by mom on Friday night. Again, I’ve got to remember to start taking pictures of things other than food. Sheesh.

I also did a little Fall decorating at our house – for some reason it seems that I’ve only taken pictures of one room, but here they are. What do you think?

My MFA program is…well, it’s going. I still get frustrated a lot, but I’m really working on it. I’m trying to remind myself that it’s okay for things not to be perfect and it’s okay for me to not feel like writing every second of every day. It’s just a crazy time, and it’s hard to me to balance everything.

Work has been crazy, but I like it that way. I’d so much rather feel like a chicken with my head cut off than be sitting around bored all day, doing nothing. I feel really fortunate to have found this job when we moved to Richmond, and it continues to be good to me.

Finally, last weekend we got a small group together and headed up toward Wintergreen to hike Three Ridges. It’s an almost 15-mile loop, so we did it over two days. We got on the trail at about 3pm on Saturday, camped Saturday night, and came off the trail at about 12:30pm on Sunday. It was awesome. We really needed to get away, and it was the perfect place to be. You just can’t beat Fall in the Blue Ridge. You really can’t.

And in case you need a laugh to end on, tomorrow is my last class at a local yarn store – I am allegedly learning how to knit socks. Tomorrow makes class #4 – and I seriously don’t know if I will be able to get through the second one after the class is over. Those things are complicated. And yes. You read that correctly. It has taken me four weeks to knit PART OF one sock. Gah.

Anyway, thanks for being here, and thanks for reading. Cheers to you and your loved ones, and enjoy life happening. :)

xo

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a few dedications.

to our house. you are so great. you were meant for us – because we’ve felt at home here since the first time we set foot in the front door. i am excited to make you even more “ours” – including projects like, well, getting enough furniture to make all the rooms usable. :) not to be a downer, but i do wish that my things would all find their permanent homes here SOON. like my camera’s computer hookup. if i don’t find it soon, nobody will read this blog anymore and i will never dedicate another entire paragraph to you for the world (or 20 people) to read.

to alex. we are going to have the same last name in 27 days. YESSSSSSSSSSS. :)

to petsmart. thanks for giving roxie the worst haircut of her life today.

to dominion harvest. my first ever delivery was totally awesome. thank you for sending me asparagus and kale and bok choy and broccoli and goat cheese and lots of other rockin’ stuff.

to bok choy. i was excited when you were in my dominion harvest delivery. i didn’t like you as much as i hoped to. dangit.

to my parents. you are fantastic. for real.

to my brother. i am so proud of you. i try to tell you as best i can, but i really am. you are so talented and hardworking and i’m lucky to be your sister.

to lauryn. jared’s party ROCKED on friday. i love you guys.

to carrie. i am so glad you’re here. for real, girl.

to this post. you weren’t supposed to be sappy.

good night! :)

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off and running.

this week has been long. well, technically it’s been short – because my office is closed on easter monday. but this four-day work week followed a six-day work week. so that makes it seem longer.

tuesday and yesterday, i worked both jobs. today, i was grateful for the drive straight home. it’s so much better than the drive from job to job.

anyway, the point is – even long (long/short?) weeks have their up-sides. and lucky for me, this one is no exception. see for yourself:

maybe a promotion. more later.

the run i went on when i got home tonight. a necessary evil in a week like this one. :)

bringing home two new toys (from the clearance rack, no less!) for c & r. watching charlie literally jump for joy, and seeing roxie ten minutes later guarding both of the toys and growling when he gets close to them. she’s 1/6 of his size.

an email from betsy. it was fabulous enough to hear from her, and even more fabulous to learn the details of her oh-so-rapidly approaching return to this virginia.

taking a walk with carrie on my lunch break yesterday. it’s so nice to have friends close by.

tons of goodies on sale at kroger 10/$10 this week – including but not limited to goldfish crackers, easy mac, hummus, and pillsbury cinnamon buns. yesssss.

gchat. enough said.

dinner out with alex, thanks to a gift certificate i won at a work party earlier this year. nothing like cheese fondue, wine, and my favorite boy. technically that was monday night, but we’ll count it.

and the grand finale –

KNOWING THAT IN 24 HOURS I’LL BE IN A COZY CABIN IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH THESE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (plus a couple more):

i mean, honestly. a week can only be so long when there’s that to look forward to. :)

moral of the story – if you feel like making a list, make one about the good stuff. the longest of weeks will seem like a moment so fleeting you’ve forgotten the bad parts already.

back next week, loves. thanks for reading. xo

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we’re here.

WE’RE HERE. in our house. OUR house. our HOUSE. OUR HOUSE! Sorry. I’m excited. I say that in my head about forty million times a day. Not sure if it makes me more crazy or less so to actually type it out here, but anyway – I’m excited. But I already said that. :)

Here’s a quick peek at one of my favorite and smallest projects we’ve done so far. We inherited this lovely closet on closing day:

Yes, that’s a combo of a really old paint job AND some lovely wallpaper. Here’s a bit of a closer look:

And so, I gave our coat closet a facelift. I painted it. Yes, I painted the wallpaper. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to. But I did it anyway. We had the toughest time getting the wallpaper down from our hallway, and we’ve just now started spackling to cover up the removal damage. Anyway, I took my chances for the closet, and so far – it’s holding up well! The bottom color is what’s on the wall in the room, and the upper color is what’s also in our bedroom (and will probably eventually go into the hall). Check it out!

So yeah. This probably doesn’t look like that big of a deal, but it makes me happy. It’s cheery, and it’s very us. And the best part is – now the closet has coats in it! YAY!

Okay, enough for now. Happy almost Friday!

xo

PS: And because everything is better with pictures of a pretty dog, enjoy. :) Charlie’s favorite part of the new house is definitely the yard. Doesn’t he look handsome in it?

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and friends are calling!

Outside the snow is falling – and has given me the unexpected but perfectly timed break that is this day.

The road conditions got so bad so fast this morning that my boss sent us all home at about 10:30! I got a nap, made cupcakes, and have cleaned things up around the apartment. I am so thankful for this restful day! It’s so nice to be home, in pajamas, to refuel for the rest of the week and weekend.

My gratefulness for this little break is also due in part to the AMAZING time we had last night on our Tacky Light Tour with Down Under Limousine. It was SO fun and also hilarious in so many ways. Imagine 14 people (most of whom were celebrating the completion of their first full semester of graduate school), on a pimped-out minibus, listening to music ranging from holiday tunes to “Like a G6” (yes, I’m serious), drinking beverages including spiked cider and wine, and getting chauffeured around to see tacky lights. How epic is that?!?! And epic it was. So epic that I was almost late for work this morning. :)

And, on a completely unrelated note, please enjoy this picture of my adorable dog. She did this herself – no staging. And yes – she is ON the pillow and UNDER the stuffed animal. And as for the stuffed animal – don’t hate on Rabbie, ok?

Happy snow day! xo

 

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fall + puppies = love.

I come to you today feeling famous. That’s right, famous. Here’s why:

After a year and a half of checking the lovely Katelyn James’ blog obsessively, I’M ON IT. Me, Al, and our furry babies finally got our photo shoot. I’ve been admiring Katelyn’s work since I was in Lauryn and Jared’s wedding last June, and was thrilled beyond belief when I got in touch with her this summer and found out she was available for our big day.

So, last Friday, we strolled around with Katelyn for a couple hours – and HERE ARE THE RESULTS! We had such a blast, and are totally in love with the pictures. I’ve been looking at them nonstop since she posted them yesterday. :)

So, hop on over to Katelyn’s blog – and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave a comment on our post! If we get 100, we get a free large print! We’re at 15 now, so we have a long way to go!

PS: Disclaimer – if you visit her blog, be prepared to visit it again. And again. And again every single day. I’m serious. It happened to me. :)

PPS: Tell all your friends to comment, too! Hehe.

xoxo

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sibling saturday [34]

Raja would be so embarrassed if he knew this was online. ;) Isn’t he cute?

J’s online. Happy weekend!

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