Saturday, August 31
Tomorrow it will be a new month, and in 22 short days, a new season.
Here are some of my favorite posts from this past summer:
I started off recapping our trip to Europe.
We went camping in June.
In July I wrote about my struggle with humanity and nature.
We also went camping again.
I made blueberry cobbler.
And I cancelled my long-time gym contract - that was easier said than done.
In August I went to Michigan for the first time.
I shared some advice for wedding planning and this great enchilada casserole recipe.
I dreamed about game-day outfits and winter weather attire.
I wrote a letter to my dog.
And I went exploring in the woods.
There was some other stuff here and there, and some more coming up in the future which I am excited to share.
I have always loved keeping scrap books and photo albums; it's a joy to sit down and flip through the pages, reliving adventures - even the small ones, especially with friends and family when they care to look with me. I find much happiness on the days I take time to go back and read posts from good times and bad, to look at pictures from last week or last year and see where I've come from or how we've changed. Sharing this blog is a real blessing.
Friday, August 30
Hello readers! It's already almost September, so I wanted to stop in and let you know what the month of August has looked like according to Anna's iPhone.
1. Anna and Mike visited Bronner's in central Michigan!
2. Pretty sunset en-route to Michigan
6. Anna made that face.
4. Anna drank wine - the only consistent part of her diet.
5. The humans fashioned Bella a hat from toilet paper.
6. Anna caught up on a year's worth of scrap booking.
7. Anna and Bella enjoyed a cuddle on the floor. Anna immediately realized how badly she needed to vaccum.
8. Mike was the best man at a wedding in Davison, MI.
9. Anna got her make-up done by a professional and felt the need to make that face.
Buffalo dominates this month's Instagram coverage a whopping 6 - 3. Maybe I'll have better luck in September. I must think of cuter things to do. Apparently sitting around being fat is no longer winning their affection.
You can follow Anna on Instagram here.
Thursday, August 29
My mom was in town back in May and as is custom when she visits, we bought some plants for the front yard. One of our purchases was this sweet little hanging succulent planter. A few weeks ago I took some pictures with my macro lens after the rain and since this has been a rather slow week, I am sharing them with you now.
Happy Thursday folks.
Category • Photography
Wednesday, August 28
So, Christmas is about four months away. Naturally I'm already in full-fledged wardrobe planning mode and fall is not even remotely upon us. This fall I'm really looking forward to over-sized sweaters and comfortable leggings tucked into boots. Maybe it's because I ate a large dinner tonight and really just want something baggy to cover my food baby. Maybe it's because I find a giant sweater to be reminiscent of my bed comforter so it makes getting up and going to work less painful. Probably a combination of the two. This is what it really boils down to: I love cold weather clothing.
Cashmere leggings // Grey Sweats // Tory Burch Boots // Everything else is sold out already.
Tuesday, August 27
Sometimes I forget how easy it is to go exploring. I don't have to drive for several hours to find some place new. Hitchcock Woods is essentially in our backyard and every time I go it's different. Last time I was in the woods was when Megan came to visit. Sunday afternoon I took Bella for a walk - we spent about 4 hours just aimlessly following trail after trail. I didn't have anywhere to be, no schedule to keep, nothing urgent on my to-do list, so we just wandered. It was barely 80 degrees, sunny, breezy, and beautiful, and we were both content to just be outside.
I'm not entirely sure how far we walked. Maybe 6 miles? I am not very good at estimating distance. Here are some maps:
Does anyone care that much really? I don't know. It's easy to get lost in Hitchcock Woods if you don't know where you're going. Also, depending on recent weather conditions, they'll frequently close trails if they get washed out or unsafe. Apparently quicksand is a real and imminent threat when it rains heavily. I parked at that pink dot at the top of the map, walked down past the Cathedral Aisle Fences, and then made a clockwise loop. It would have been more circular, but the path was closed in two places: where Whitney Drive and Barton's Pond Path fork, and at Barton's Pond Bridge because the bridge was gone...likely due to the 40 days of straight rain we got in July. I had to detour up Wood Cut and then back down to my original trail.
It's a long walk. Bella was exhausted after relentlessly posing for my pictures. And despite the cooler-than-usual temperature, I was sweaty. Luckily we found a stream at the blue dot and Bella got to wade around and cool off for a little while before we headed back to the car.
Aiken is like an Equestrian's wet dream. I would love Aiken if I had even a slight interest in horses. They're pretty to look at. They make fun noises. But beyond that, nothing. Also, I hear they are expensive and time consuming, so that pretty much rules them out as a potential hobby for me. But Hitchcock Woods is a horse hot spot. We ran into quite a few on this little jaunt of ours. Bella loves them. She sits and sniffs and stares - not quite sure what to make of them. Are they friend or foe? After the fourth or fifth sighting she lost interest. It was much more difficult to pry her curious nose away from all the manure on the paths.
A successful Sunday in my humble opinion.
Monday, August 26
How pretty are these tacos? I found this on Pinterest, and while I'd use something like chicken before shrimp, I wanted to share this awesome recipe from Tartine and Apron Strings.
Here's what you'll need to recreate the delish dish:
Honey Lime Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Avocado, Purple Slaw & Chipotle Crema
• For the honey lime tequila shrimp tacos •
2 pounds (454 g) raw shrimps, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons raw honey
juice of 2 limes + 1 lime
1/2 cup tequila
1 medium onion, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle (optional)
2 avocados, diced
1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
• For the slaw dressing •
1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice [about 2-3 limes]
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup light, neutral oil, such as grapeseed
• For the chipotle crema •
1 cup (250 ml) sour cream or créme fraîche [low fat can be used]
1 to 2 pieces of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce [canned]
• For assembly •
12 – 15 homemade or store-bought good quality yellow or white corn tortilla
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Head on over to Jennifer's blog for the prep instructions!
Saturday, August 24
Mike and I love to snowboard. We went a few times last season and are hoping to get in a few more trips to the mountain this year. I've owned a couple boards since high school, but Mike has always had to rent his gear. We've been talking about investing in some equipment for him, and since it's summer time and a lot of the major companies are releasing their 2014 models, old seasons' gear is on SALE.
I did a little bit of shopping and sent Mike some pictures to get his input. Finally we settled on the Burton Ripcord 162 W (to accommodate his giant feet), the P1.1 bindings, and the Invader boot (price was a big determining factor with these two selections - the boots were 30% off and the bindings were 40% off). I think it's a pretty manly set up. With some monetary assistance from my Mom, I ordered online through The-House and scored FREE shipping and NO tax, so the whole shebang was less than $600. Mike's birthday isn't until October but I guess the birthday fairy came early this year.
If you were curious, here are the current setups I use:
The Feather was my first board. It's 154 cm. I have the Custom bindings on it at the moment. I got the Feelgood 156 in 2007 and use it with the Escapade bindings. I rotate boots depending the snow conditions and temperature. The white Emeralds are the warmest, but they are a bit too snug when I wear them with good socks. The Motos are a size 10 Men's so they're too big but I can fit a second layer of socks in when I wear them.
Thursday, August 22
You will be six years old in February. I guess that makes sometime this month your half birthday. I remember the day I brought you home from the
I asked the lady whether the other dog had already been found a home, and she said no, you were hiding underneath the deck. I walked around to the back of the house and coaxed you out. You were awkward. You had big paws and shy eyes and I could tell you were scared. So I kindly told her I'd changed my mind. I'd be taking you instead.
You sat in the front seat with me but refused to look at me. As we were pulling onto my street, you casually vomited all over my car. Like...in between the console and the seat - that place that's impossible to clean. I knew my mom would love you. After she was done hating you.
You were home a few days before the hesitance wore off and your personality began to show through. You played with toys (although we have still not mastered the classics: fetch and tug of war), and you were eating like a champion. I taught you to sit, shake, stay (sort of), high five, high ten, and play dead. We could have joined the circus, but I decided that was not the life I wanted for us.
Just like an unplanned pregnancy, I put off telling my mom about the latest addition to my family until the very last second. Literally. She came to visit me that summer, saw your food bowl sitting on the floor, and said, "Oh, Anna, what have you done?"
She was mad at me. Then I showed her all the tricks you know. And you slowly won her over. Because seriously, you are so cute. Now she even babysits you when Mike and I have to go out of town.
The summer I brought you home was a strange time in my life. I was newly single. I had a slew of sorority obligations. I was living in a house with roommates for the first time. You didn't get all the attention you deserved and I regret that. But you were never mad at me for leaving you alone. You always greeted me with a fiercely wagging tail, happy grin, and a barrage of sloppy kisses. You whine with excitement when I come home after being gone 5 minutes or 5 hours. You don't pout when we bring home new animals (and we've done that a few times). And despite your tendency to be socially awkward, you are a friendly, fun-loving dog and I am proud you are mine.
So, you will be 6 years old in February. That means you've been a part of my life for 5 and a half years. You've seen me naked and you've seen me cry. You've seen boyfriends come and go and you are an excellent guard dog when I'm home alone at night. You are my favorite jogging companion and you always know when I need a cold nose kiss. Sometimes you annoy the snot out of me, but you have enriched my life in ways I cannot describe, but any other pet owner will understand.
So, Happy (Early) Birthday to my Baby Girl, Bella Roo, Pooh Bear, Rooski Dooski, Boo Boo, Smelly Belly, Bella. I will always love you the most.
P.S. Please forgive me and Gabbi for that time we made you wear a colander on your head.
P.P.S. All of the blogs I follow are posting "Bumpdates" or letters to their children, so I thought it was time I followed suit. I am not pregnant. And my only offspring have fur.
Wednesday, August 21
So, our first game is only a couple weeks away. We're starting the season with an away game for the first time in...oh I don't know...decades. We're welcoming Pittsburgh to the ACC apparently. And in order to welcome them, we have to go to Pennsylvania. I think it'd be more appropriate to hang garnet and gold bunting in the visitor's locker room at Doak Campbell and maybe have the FSU team sign their names on a friendly "Welcome" banner or something, alas I do not make the rules.
I remember my first year or two at FSU, I always wore shirts from the campus bookstore. It's like I needed to have "FSU Seminoles" and a Native American spear plastered on my t-shirt or else run the risk of being mistaken for a fan of the opposing team. Towards the end of my tenure in Tallahassee I began to just wear the right colors. Shades of red, yellow, or black. Slap on an FSU button or an accent scarf and I was good to go.
And if you're interested in FSU's 2013 Football Schedule - here you go.
via: 1. (earrings) 2. (necklace) 3. (blazer) 4. (blouse) 5. (sweater & scarf) 6. (crop top) 7. (boots) 8. (dark denim) 9. (red denim) 10. (scalloped shorts)
Tuesday, August 20
I love casseroles. Throw some meat, cheese, and extras into a dish and bake it. My cooking mantra. Usually when Mike and I do Mexican Night, it's tacos. But this Chicken Enchilada Casserole is another one of my faves and it's really easy to make. I stole it from my mom and have slowly made it my own. I'm not sure where she stole it from. It's also undeniably unhealthy.
2 TBSP Fresh Cilantro
4 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken (or Turkey)
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Package (8 oz.) of Shredded Mexican Style Cheese
1 Cup Sour Cream (8 oz.)
1 Can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
1 1/8 TSP Chili Powder
1/2 TSP Ground Cumin
11 Flour Tortillas (6")
I don't usually use fresh cilantro. I don't usually use fresh chicken, either. You may substitute 3 large cans of chicken breast if you want. I use far more than 1 package of cheese so I generally buy a 16 oz. package when I know I'm making this dish. Mike and I really like green chiles, so I usually use two cans instead of one. The recipe actually calls for corn tortillas but I like flour better.
• Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
• Mix together cilantro, chicken, soup, sour cream, chiles, 1 TSP of chili powder, cumin, and 1 1/2 (or more) cups of cheese. Stir it all up so it's nice and goopy.
• Place four tortillas on the bottom of a greased baking dish. They should overlap in the middle. Spoon roughly two cups of the mixture on top of the tortillas. We are essentially making a lasagna.
• Layer four more tortillas to create a two-store casserole. Then scoop the rest of the mixture on top of that.
• Top with remaining 1/2 (or more) cup of cheese.
• Stack remaining tortillas and cut into small triangles using a pizza cutter or knife. Sprinkle over the casserole.
• Spray tortillas with Pam cooking spray (gross, right?)
• Sprinkle remaining 1/8 TSP of chili powder over tortilla triangles.
• Bake for 30 minutes.
This is one of those dinners that tastes way better than it looks. It's also quite messy to serve, so save it for a night when you're not having company over. We like to enjoy with chips and salsa on the side. If you have some Dos Equis, pop 'em open.
Category • Food
Friday, August 16
I'm not sure how, but I stumbled upon Katie Daisy and her shop called "The Wheatfield." She is an Oregon based illustrator and designer and her prints are absolutely adorable. Here are some of my faves:
But if I had to choose just one to buy and put somewhere in my house, it would be this one:
Seriously. Aren't these the greatest?
You can check out the rest of her work on her Etsy page.
Category • Favorite Finds