Friday, April 24, 2015

a week away

I am extremely lucky to have 2 amazing sisters and this week I was able to visit Chels and her kiddos in Virginia.  Sommer and I had so much fun and after a few stressful weeks, it was the perfect little getaway.  Chelsey is the best hostess and took care of both Sommer and I all week! She cooked delicious meals while we sipped wine and chatted about life.  Her kids played with mine and entertained each other for hours (so fun!).  We relaxed outside, played frisbee, drank coffee with maple syrup and cinnamon (new fave), and watched Tommy play baseball.  She even watched my girl while I got in 2 training runs for my upcoming race AND she made cherry crisp which we enjoyed for dessert each night!  The best!  We were just wishing all week that Carrie was here with us.  I'm so grateful to have these two girls as my sisters!

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Insta-Wednesday: Out & About

A couple of weeks ago my mom and I went out to look for vases to use in my wedding centerpieces (modeled after these), and ending up stopping at Issei Noodle in downtown Carlisle for coconut tea with bubbles (tapioca balls) and some shrimp dumplings. And you guys, honestly -- this tea! It is sooo delicious and refreshing. Next time you're out and about, be sure to stop in for some. :] xoCarrie

 Out and about with Chels, Annabel and Sommer yesterday - we had to stop for a vanilla coke for a little afternoon pick me up.  We are loving spending time with our southern people!
xo Dana

 I was hoping to have a photo at the river with Tommy, Annabel, and Sommer for today, but when we went down to the James, instead of the rocky, calm water you see above, we found a raging, muddy mess with not a single rock in sight. And just like that, our picnic plans raced away downstream. Oh well. Regardless, we're having so much fun spending time with family this week! The photo above is a #latergram from our visit to the river a few weeks ago. If you're in the Richmond area, check out Pony Pasture for a great picnic spot when you're out and about!
-chelsey

Monday, April 20, 2015

perfect timing

Sometimes life can be tiring, you know? Of course you do. Everyone knows that. Sometimes stuff happens and you get knocked down a little (or a lot), or sometimes stuff that you thought was long gone and over with catches up to you, or sometimes you just get tired of the routine and need a break. 

Well. 

That was me a week ago, before Will and I headed out on our weekend getaway to a cute little cabin just outside of Blacksburg, down in southwest Virginia. 

Tired. And ready for a break.

Our weekend away was perfect timing and a great chance to slow down, spend some uninterrupted time together, and rest up a little. 

Except we didn't really rest. We walked. A lot. But for me (and thankfully him, too), walking is as good as rest, especially when it's on a really beautiful section of the Appalachian Trail. Today I'd like to share some photos of our weekend, if you'd like to see.

Our cabin - Buck Lair. Find more information about it here.

Lovely view from the front porch.
 
This pretty little stream ran right along the bottom of the hill below the cabin.

On Saturday morning, we headed to Virginia Tech for a walk down memory lane. Although my first year was pretty rocky as I adjusted to being away from home, I greatly enjoyed the rest of my time learning and studying on this beautiful campus.

We happened to be on campus on the day of The Big Event, a day where thousands of students and other volunteers give back to the community by helping with various projects around the school and throughout the town of Blacksburg. A very cool way to live out the Virginia Tech motto, "Ut Prosim" or "That I may serve."

On the Drill Field, looking back across to War Memorial Chapel and Torgerson Bridge.

The Duck Pond - a place where I spent many an hour walking with friends or studying quietly in the sunshine. I also practiced seine fishing on the other side of that bridge, and electroshocking from the back of a motor boat that my classmates and I rode all over the pond. Have I mentioned here before how much I loved my Fisheries Science major? Amazing.


Johnson Hall - my home away from home during my sophomore year. I lived here with my great friend and roommate, Maureen, and together we spent plenty of time eating gummy bears, IM'ing each other from our desks that were right next to each other (remember IM?!), fending off the invasion of lady bugs, and once, watching a streaker in the common area during an incredible downpour. And oh yeah, we studied sometimes, too :)

After our walk around campus and a quick brunch at a restaurant downtown, we headed up to Salem where we hopped on the Appalachian Trail for an 8 mile round trip hike to McAfee Knob. We had hiked this same section of trail on our big hike back in '06, but that day we hiked 23 miles through three great overlooks - Dragon's Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs - on a day that was completely socked in with fog. This time around, it was a beautiful day and we couldn't wait to see the view from the top. That little purple flower growing through a tree stump was pretty cool, too.


Look! A tree-hugger! Love those white blazes.

And there it is. The view that we missed out on nine years ago. Well worth the trip back up.

This is our photo from our first hike up McAfee Knob back in 2006. Fog. This is a much better view of the ledge though. I had to take the one of Will a little closer up because unlike the March day back in '06 where we were alone on the mountain, April of '15 found us at the top with probably somewhere around 100 other hikers...

There were people everywhere. And the most amazing thing? A ton of them were staring at their cell phones. I was SHOCKED at the number of people we passed that were talking on or looking at their phones. I had to do some deep breathing to keep from shouting "PUT THAT THING DOWN" at every single one of them. 

A beautiful day and a beautiful hike on the AT.

On Sunday morning we had plans to meet some friends for breakfast up in Salem at 10:30, but before we headed out, we made a roaring fire in the woodstove, had a cup of coffee and enjoyed a slow and quiet morning. Someday, I would really love to have a woodstove in my house. So cozy.

Front porch, complete with rocking chairs.

Shotgun shells as cabinet door handles in the kitchen. There were also quite a few deer heads on the walls...thus the name "Buck Lair" I suppose!

Cute little bridge across the creek in front of the cabin.


After a great visit with our friends over breakfast on Sunday, we decided to change things up a little bit and take the Blue Ridge Parkway home instead of Interstate 81. A slower pace for sure, but beautiful scenery and no trucks!  Win! We planned to stop for a late lunch and quick hike at the Peaks of Otter but ended up running out of time and just heading home. Hopefully we'll do a day trip with the kids sometime this summer.

We returned from our weekend refreshed and energized and (for me anyway) ready for the last eight weeks of routines and school and homework before summer. Hopefully it won't be a full year before we head out on a weekend away again. I always love spending time with Will and getting back to the things we love to do together that we don't always have time for here at home: leisurely mornings over coffee and breakfast, long hikes, quiet evenings with hot tea and a good book. It's the simple things, you know? 

Of course you do. Everyone knows that.


P.s. Find photos of our 2014 weekend away here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Italian Bites

While I probably wouldn't tell you that Italian-style food is my favorite, I would be lying if I said I didn't love to try out different little places all the time. From inexpensive local counters to more upscale eateries with full bars, sampling white pizzas, antipastos and cannoli is one of my favorite culinary past-times. Recently, Robert and I went to two local Italian restaurants, and I thought I'd share our favorite items to order and a few photographs, for good measure. :] First up: Cork & Fork.  

Robert tried Cork & Fork out prior to taking me, but he was right: I loved it. It's a cool atmosphere with interesting drinks, delicious pizza and my one of my favorite desserts of all time. I honestly don't think you could go wrong ordering anything, but here's what we recommend:

1. Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts. [They're roasted with shallots and sherry vinegar and are just a little bit sweet. I could have eaten the whole plate myself. In fact, I pretty much did.]
2. Veal, Beef & Ricotta Meatballs. [These come in a little cast iron skillet and the sauce is delicious. Robert in particular really loves these.]
3. Aspargo Pizza. [Asparagus pizza with an egg on top. Yes, it's delicious. And it also has something called guanciale on top, apparently pork jowl. I'm not wild about eating jowl, but man is it good.]
4. Sopressata Pizza. [Again, this is Robert's favorite. It's a little spicy.]
5. La Paloma. [This might be one of my favorite drinks of all time. It includes grapefruit juice and the rim is dipped in a mix of sugar and salt. Enough said.]
6. Affogato. [Simplest dessert ever: espresso and vanilla bean ice cream.]


[#5]

[#3]

[#6]

I've written about Piatto* before [post: Little Italy] and although I do love their Spaghetti Con Vongole, I honestly prefer to order a beer and some appetizers. The restaurant is built into an old house, and I recommend sitting at the bar, or (in warmer months) sitting outside. Here are our favorite things to order:

1. Peroni. [Italian Pilsner-Style Lager. It's a pretty mild beer]
2. Calamari Fritti. [Fried squid. Squeeze the lemon and add extra salt.]
3. Pizza Salsiccia. [Pizza with Sopressata. See a pattern?]

[#2 & #3 + a caprese salad]

[#1]

And the best part of tasting all this delicious food? Getting to do it with this guy. :] Next time I'll share some local, slightly cheaper options. (I'm looking at you, Vinny's!). Have a great weekend & as always, thanks for reading! xoCarrie
*Photo Credit: LocalEats

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Insta-Wedneday: In Bloom

The tulip tree is, by far, my very favorite spring-time bloom.  I don't know if its because my mom used to point each and every tulip tree out to us as we drove around town as kids, or because I used to have one right in my own backyard, or just the sheer fact that they are so beautiful from the moment the buds start peeking out to the moment the flowers flutter to the ground; but whatever it is, they will always be my favorite.  My photo above doesn't show you how beautiful these trees really are but I'll share a photo with you that does...

photo credit goes to my man - we miss this tree so much this time of year!

 One of my favorite spring trees is the weeping flowering cherry. I took this photo as Will and I were walking around the beautiful campus of Virginia Tech on Saturday morning, and now I'm planning to plant one in our yard someday. Hopefully over the years we'll also add a tulip tree, forsythia, redbud tree, and a lilac or two. Hope you're taking some time to enjoy all the spring color out there!
-chelsey

One small thing that I indulge in each and every week is fresh flowers from the grocery store. During the winter months the pickins' can be slim, but lately I've had options. And while more often than not I go with hydrangeas or daffodils, recently I went with a huge bunch of pink tulips. If any flower makes me feel like spring is in the air, it's these! If you haven't lately,  treat yo'self at the store next week. ;] xoCarrie

Monday, April 13, 2015

the proof is in the squinting

About a month ago, Will looked at me and said, "Why are you squinting?" And then the conversation went something like this...

"What? Squinting? I'm not squinting." 
"Yes you are."
"I am?"
"Yes you are. You should get your eyes checked."
"No, I don't need my eyes checked. The words are just a little blurry, that's all."
"The words are just a little blurry...?"
"Yes."
"And you don't think you need your eyes checked?"
"No, I'm good. I can still read. They'll never give me glasses. I can make out every single letter."
".......  You're squinting, and you should definitely get your eyes checked."

I can totally admit that I'm more than a little stubborn. Thirty-two years of life will teach you a thing or two about yourself.

When I started thinking about it, I realized that I may have probably have definitely have been squinting when I read for a while now. So yeah, ok, maybe I should think about getting my eyes checked. And then I noticed that sometimes I squint when I'm looking at things that are far away, too. Like when I'm driving.

So I admitted defeat, broke down and made an appointment to get my eyes checked two weeks ago.

Last week I picked up my new pair of glasses. This is how I feel about them...


(By the way, that's also how I feel about taking a selfie, but my entire family was in bed when I realized I needed my picture taken. Terribly poor planning on my part. I'll try not to let it happen again.)
 
But I'm not squinting anymore! Turns out, it's my left eye that's the culprit. I read all those letters on the eye chart with my right eye and didn't make a single mistake. And then I switched that little patch thing and looked out my left eye and couldn't make out a single letter. 

Huh. 

So maybe I was squinting after all. And although they're a pain to get out all the time and even though I sometimes forget to put them on (or don't put them on on purpose, ahem), I have to admit, the words sure are a lot more clear with them on.

The proof is was in the squinting.


Hope you had a great weekend! Will and I dropped the kids off at his dad and step-mom's house and spent a quiet couple of days at a cute little cabin just outside of Blacksburg, VA. I'll tell you more about it next week when I get all my photos sorted out. See you back here on Wednesday!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lately

We've been so busy lately!  Here's a little look at what we've been up to...

 We made a quick and impromptu trip home to my parents house on the weekend of Palm Sunday.  I don't know about you but sometimes I just want to be home, where I grew up and where my family is.  I've struggled a bit with finding the true feeling of home since we moved out of our old house and going to my parents house always feels like home.  Plus, all of the above pictures make me feel so warm and cozy.  <3

Tea parties galore with my little lady.
 
 We painted and colored eggs for Easter last week.  I am personally a big fan of dipping the eggs but my two besties would much rather paint them with food coloring and q-tips. :o)

Last weekend we went to Matt's parents house for Easter and had the best time!  Sommer helped Gramma make bunny cake, we went to my favorite pizza place AND my favorite ice cream place in the Lehigh Valley, had an Easter morning egg hung, went to a beautiful Easter service and had a gorgeous day with family. 

We hope you had a wonderful Easter and a great week!  See you on Monday!