Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's 25 Degrees Cooler in Alaska Right Now

During my last week of summer, my family and I went on an Alaskan cruise. I found myself frequently closing my eyes, trying to imprint the feeling of 60 degree weather on my face, knowing that I would be returning to 90+ degree heat in Greenville.

The whole time we were there, my family and I kept marveling at the fact that we were still in the same country we were in just days before in Florida.

The glacier we climbed in Skagway. We had those spiky things on our feet and everything, so it was official.
Our stops included Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria, BC, and a trip down Tracy Arm Fjord. We hiked a glacier, went whale watching, drank more than a few pints in Canada, and generally gallivanted around the cruise ship.

Glacier we hiked again. We refilled our water bottles from it :)

 Me + brothers in front of Mendenhall glacier. I couldn't get over how pretty the blue ice was, almost too brilliant to be real.

 More brilliant, too-good-to-be-true colors

 Pretty houses by the docks

Wet, foggy days in Ketchikan are still lovely.
It was So. Much. Fun. I don't get to spend time with my family nearly enough, so a week with my (not-so) baby brothers and parents was so needed. What a great way to end a whirlwind summer. Cheers, Summer 2014, you were really something; now if you could get out of the way and let Autumn through, we're all a little tired of being sweaty all the time.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday Night Dinner for One ((Baked Ravioli))

Hello there! Whew! The first two weeks of school really got away from me...pretty much just focusing on getting used to waking up to an alarm clock again (insert crying/wailing emoji here).

I don't live at home with my parents anymore, but it is still nice to have a warm home-cooked worthy-of-a-Sunday tasting meal every once in a while. I love to cook and don't mind spending some extra time on a meal if it'll make it that much better, but this recipe for baked ravioli is about as easy as it gets!

I only made a few changes to this recipe to make a perfect and comforting meal for one on the last night of the weekend.

 Some of the things you'll need...minus the ravioli. I used spinach and bacon ravioli I got from the farmer's market...yum!

Layers of comfort. As with most situations in life, fresh mozzarella is a must.

 This kitchen timer makes cooking seem that much more adorable. Mine's from Anthropologie and is sold out, but you can find a similar one here.

Of course, Gatsby needed to test the cheese to make sure it was still good to eat.

Baked Ravioli for One (adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

-Frozen Ravioli (one serving; the ones I got from the farmer's market get quite big, so I used four total)
-Fresh Mozzarella
-Jarred Marinara Sauce (I used Trader Joe's Arrabiata)
-Your Choice of Seasonings (I used red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a small pan (I used a loaf pan) with non-stick spray.
2. Spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.
3. Layer ravioli, sauce, and bits of mozzarella twice and cover the pan with aluminum foil.
4. Bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes. Feel free to broil for a few minutes to get the cheese to brown a bit.
5. If you're like me, dump the whole thing in a bowl and eat it on the couch like a heathen. If you're not like me, place half neatly on a plate and garnish with parsley before enjoying it with a glass of pinot noir at a table like a civilized human being. Go back for seconds, of course.

While this is obviously a great Sunday comfort meal, you can definitely enjoy this as a reward for getting through an especially taxing Monday.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Happened

Since I'm a teacher, I've had the same basic schedule since I was five years old. My life is broken into semesters and is punctuated by well-timed breaks. All my non-teacher friends always express jealousy at my three months-ish of break, but I've never really known any different. There's something so glorious about having that break time to do pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want. I will take the smaller paycheck teachers get every time to have freedom over my time like that (not that I would say no to a raise, don't get me wrong).

I got some good and much-needed mama time...and Gatsby got some Grammy time :)

The thing about having a three month break from your routine is have a three month break from your routine. Days start to blend into one another in that languid way that only summer days can. At its best, you get to work on and do things just because you want to; at its worst, you forget the last time you washed your hair.

 I made some fun friends while in England and played lots of char-ahds (which is like charades, but British).

My family and I hiked a glacier in Alaska. We ate PBJs and filled our water bottles with glacier water and it was one of my favorite days ever.

All of this is to say I haven't been the best blogger the past few months, but for good reason. I've been busy with all the summer things: traveling, spending time with family and friends, hanging out with my sweet nugget, and eating and drinking lots of great food and drink. In the last four months, I've been to New Orleans, England, Austin, and Seattle/Alaska. What?! Picture dump posts are forthcoming. More than having fun, I've had the opportunity to be with people I love and to think deeply about what I want out of life moving forward. What can I say, too much free time makes me existential. Hopefully, some big news is coming soon!

I drank butterbeer at the Harry Potter studios in England. My (not-so) inner nerd was freaking out the whole time.

School (real school, you know, with kids) starts today, and I'm ready for it. I'm ready to wake up at a normal time, do something productive all day, and see my colleagues and students, who I really enjoy being around. I spent my last real day of summer drinking coffee, sitting on the couch with Gatsby, running a few errands, and having dinner with friends.

My brothers and I in front of Mendenhall glacier in Juneau

Goodbye, Summer've been pretty great.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Go-To Souvenirs

Hi there! Sorry for the long hiatus...just so happens that I've been in jolly old England for the last three weeks. Just a warning, the next couple posts are probably going to be pretty Anglophilic.

Hanging out at Highclere (aka Downton Abbey!)

While I hate unpacking after a trip (everything I own is currently wrinkled and smells like suitcase), I love combing through my purchases and reminiscing on the great times I had. 

I bought this painting in Prague from the artist on the same bridge that is in the painting; I still remember walking with my study abroad friends along that bridge at night and staring at the castle in the background.

There is certainly no shortage of cheesy souvenirs out there to tempt us tourists (hello, Queen Elizabeth bobblehead...ok, that one's awesome), so what do you look for when you want to something that makes you smile nostalgically, rather than wonder what you were thinking?

This little print will always remind me of eating scones with clotted cream and wandering around Highclere/Downton Abbey (chatting like a nerd about the various scenes that happened in each room on the show).

I have two go-to's: art and homegoods. To me, the key is finding something that is interesting to look at and that will stand the test of time. Something that sparks conversation is always good, too.

Found these two beauties at a charity shop in the town where I stayed in England. I can't wait to have a friend over for coffee and break these babies out!

Picked this up at a market in the French Quarter on a trip to NOLA with my mom. She has a matching one :)

These are postcards from Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace); as an English major with an obsession with words, I was seriously geeking out the whole time. I can't wait to make a little gallery wall of them!

I'm not the most well-traveled person out there, but I love that looking around my apartment brings up happy memories! What about you? What's your go-to souvenir? If it's royal bobbleheads, I've got a gift shop in Canterbury that you definitely need to hit up :)


Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I feel like this All. The. Time. Sometimes I look around and wonder who thought it was a good idea to let me live by myself, pay my own bills, and teach children when I still haven't figured out how it is that people save money instead of spending it on clothes. Happy hump day!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Do You Believe in Soulmates?

 I read this great blog post the other day that I found on (where else?) Pinterest. In it, the writer says that her husband isn't her soulmate. At first, I thought it must be a pretty cynical take on relationships, but as I read on, it was really eye-opening. I love this part:

"I love my husband. I think he’s pretty awesome or I wouldn’t have married him and had some babies with him. He makes my life more interesting, makes me better, and loves me even when I’m not very lovable (which is a lot of the time). I picked a good one, for sure. And I’m glad he’s in my life.

But if I hadn’t met him, I think my life would still be pretty good. I wasn’t waiting for someone else to come along and rescue me from my horrible existence. I had a good existence before him."

I love that! She talks about how the idea of a "soulmate" is a lot of pressure to put on one person. And she's so right: to me the idea that one person out there is supposed to fill some sort of void not only puts a lot of pressure on any relationship I might have, but seems like an unfair burden to place on myself. How am I supposed to be good at my job, nurture relationships with friends and family, create a complete life for myself if there really is one person that my whole future is supposed to revolve around? If that's true, I should be actively and exhaustively searching for this person around the clock because there are a lot of people out there.

You always hear that you are supposed to stop looking for someone and that's when someone will appear in your life; I've always thought that sounded like when people tell you not to think of a pink elephant...what's the first thing you think of? It makes a whole lot more sense to craft a life that you actually want and love than to end up with a life built around one person because, let's face it, people aren't always around forever, but you have to live your life for a pretty long time.

The post gets a little religious at the end, but if that isn't your thing, there is still a lot to be gained from it. In my opinion, this is an excellent message for us to share with girls, not to make them cynical, but to encourage them to seek their own life, rather than half of one so that someone else can swoop in and "complete" it. Rather than taking away the "magic" of love, I think this pulls back the curtain and reveals something that is, to me, is more desirable because it actually looks and sounds real.

What do you think? Do you believe in soulmates?


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Songs and Memories

I know they say scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, which I can totally understand, but I really think that certain songs can bring up stronger memories for me.


Do you have songs that bring up memories or certain times in your life?

Here are a few of mine:

"A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella
-This always reminds me of my dad because he used to sing it to me before bed time. I've always thought that this would be the song we would dance to on my wedding day. It kind of makes me weepy just thinking about it :)

"Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor
-My dad again. He has a really good voice and loves to's funny, when he comes home after work, you can often find him sitting in the car in the driveway or back in the bedroom singing (loudly) to whatever song is on the radio or his iPod. I just remember him singing this song growing up.

"#1" by Nelly
-High school basketball games/high school in general. The team would enter the gym to this song, and it just has such a confident vibe. This song came out my freshman year, and I remember singing it in the car with friends. God, we were cool.

"Nothing Better" by Postal Service
-Pretty much any angsty time in my life. This is my listen-to-it-on-repeat-until-I'm-crying-too-much-to-sing-along song. Break-up? Crush on someone who doesn't know you exist? Moderate to severe panic that comes with almost any life change? Break out the Postal Service and thank me later.

It's interesting to think about a person from your past (or present) and think of what song brings them to mind. I had a crush on someone in high school that comes to mind any time I hear "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World or anything by New Found Glory. So weird, but those types of things make me smile every time, even if it's bittersweet.

Now go dig through that CD book you know you had in high/middle school! There are some serious gems in there ;)