Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday, Thursday

I have a few random pictures on my phone that I wanted to share. They aren’t in any particular order, so this will be somewhat of a random Thursday. A themeless Thursday .. if you are into alliteration. I am not.

We went for a family walk the other night as the weather is getting cooler.


Barefoot. Just the way I like it.


Koda did a lot of this.


And this was pretty much my view. Lovely, right?


The crepe myrtles are still in bloom and I love them. Plus the deer and bunnies don’t eat them, and that is rare around here.


Speaking of animals eating. Dan and I have a huge muscadine vine that grows on an arbor on the right side of our porch. It is beautiful and helps block the view of the neighbor’s backyard. Last year the muscadines never turned purple, and we learned that we have to cut it back each year if we want edible muscadines. We never cut it back, but also noticed that we weren’t getting many muscadines this year. One night while watching TV, I saw this little guy out the window, enjoying a little midnight snack.


I only got this one with my phone. When I went to grab my big camera, he ran away. I’m sure he will be back – and I’m glad we solved the mystery of the missing muscadines. Alliteration again. Darn it.

I have to share. Sorry Dan. He goes “what kind of animal was that?!” and I said it was an opossum. Dan starts googling and goes, “Kelley, we don’t have a possum, ..I think we have an oh-possum.” …… really?

To his defense, Wikipedia says that in Australia there are animals that are simply “possums” that look just like our opossum. (This is all very weird to type out, by the way). I just started cracking up. Hey - he’s a numbers guy.

And speaking of eating. I made my friend Shannon’s pan fried okra. Which I tried to comment to tell her I had just bought okra from the farmers market, and didn’t know what to do with it, and was super excited to try this recipe, and it was perfect timing. But alas, it wouldn’t send. Blogger must have a thing against rambling.


DELICIOUS. Make it. Read her blog. Do it.

And lastly, I have no transition on this one, except for the word “lastly,” this was the sky on my commute Tuesday morning. 


Absolutely lovely. Always fun to start the morning off with something pretty.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Speaking of fall bucket lists...

I got this little gem in the mail.


I love mail. And there is something about full names written in calligraphy that just makes me so happy. It just screams wedding invitation / formal event, and even though the event itself is no surprise, I get so excited to open them!

Paige and Bryan’s invitation was no exception. I went to middle school, high school, and college with the groom, and college with the bride. Dan and Bryan were in the same fraternity pledge class in college. It’s a small world, I tell you.


Cannot wait to celebrate this wonderful couple in October. Now, the biggest question: should I have the pumpkin spice latte before or after their beautiful fall wedding?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cheers!

Here's to a wonderful coworker/friend, lime green cake pops, the day before your birthday, and not having to work on your actual birthday because that's Saturday! Cheers!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

What's blooming in my yard

Since most of my yard looks something like this:

This was a huge hosta. I am talking basketball sized leaves. I now know that deer will hop a
fence if something looks tasty. Anyway, I will probably do a whole post on before and
afters of bunny and deer dinner my yard. 
I want to celebrate what is actually blooming currently, and managed to survive the wildlife. Mostly thanks to Bobbex.

We have a few gerbera daisies.


A lone, red petunia. Just so teeny and perfect. 


Some lovely beauty bush that I cannot wait to put in fall arrangements.


What has been my absolute favorite, a simple red geranium. These haven't been eaten, knock on wood, and kept their wonderful red color throughout last fall. 



Some weeds. 


Whoops, you weren't supposed to see that. I always weed. There is absolutely no clover in our yard. 

A whole bunch of pink petunias right by the mailbox. I love the tiny bit of teal inside these. 



Light pink begonias.


Red begonias.


Purple angelonia which has grown like wildfire. 


Look at how cool the individual flowers look close up. Almost like bugs. Except not. Because bugs aren't cool. They are terrifying. More like cartoon faces .. yes .. less terrifying. 


And two little bushes of moss rose that have these tiny surprises all coming back. 


So there you have it. What is blooming in my front yard - despite my whines and complaints about the bunnies. But, oh, what my yard could have looked like without them. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fall bucket list

I love summer. LOVE summer. I would take 100 degree days anytime, all the time. I love pools, lakes, oceans, bathing suits, suntans, and HEAT. I love that my morning commute is 15 minutes less without school buses. I love that the days are longer and the light is plenty. I love that the farmers market is stocked with fresh fruit. That pants are optional (summer dresses … what else). And shoes? 100% not necessary in the summer.

And now, in the blink of an eye, here we are at the end of August with a high of 78 degrees. And I am in mourning. It was dark when I left for work, and a fall d├ęcor Pottery Barn catalogue sits on my coffee table.

Photo courtesy of my photographer mama. This is what happens when she gives me a
memory card that already had pictures on it. :)
But fall .. my second favorite season. Oh how I love fall, and pumpkins, apple picking, and homemade things in quilted mason jars tied with a ribbon. Second to Christmas, Halloween is my favorite holiday, and squeezing it at the teeny tiny tail end of October gives us all month to celebrate. I almost don’t want to get excited, because I know that the second I do, Mother Nature will hear me, and in the blink of an eye summer will officially be over.

I debated posting this. What if Mother Nature reads my blog? I decided she was more of a Pioneer Woman kind of lady, and figured it was safe. Shhhh.

Ergo. To ensure that fall doesn’t fly by as fast as summer did, and to make sure I squeeze out every drop of rust-orange goodness, I made a fall bucket list. Every item must be checked off and mentioned here, with photographic evidence.
  • Go apple picking: We go to Sky Top Orchard in Hendersonville every year.
  • Make homemade apple sauce with the fresh picked apples.
  • Drink a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.
  • Make homemade apple butter. Can it. Share with friends.
  • Pick out a pumpkin and carve it.
  • Roast the pumpkin seeds.
  • Make homemade pumpkin sage gnocchi. Share the recipe.
  • Have a back yard bon fire with smores.
  • Go hiking.
  • Make homemade apple pie. Eat it for breakfast. With ice cream.
  • Make a fall wreath. Consult Pinterest if necessary.
  • Make and wear the sweater boot socks that I pinned.
  • Buy a box of Trader Joes pumpkin muffin mix. Make the muffins. Top with cream cheese icing. Call it breakfast, not dessert.
  • Find a recipe for and attempt homemade apple cider. Spike it if feeling crazy.


There you have it – my must do list for fall. As long as we have a few more hot days, and I can maybe con someone with a pool into letting me come visit, I might be getting excited. Just might. Not confirmed.

Definitely not confirmed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Extreme couponing

Okay, not extreme at all. But using a coupon is pretty extreme for us. Don’t get me wrong, we are frugal people. Mom, I said ‘frugal,’ not ‘cheap.’ We like to buy when things are on sale. I like to price check. Shop at Trader Joes for the staples, and then, anything I can’t get, run over to Harris Teeter. And I LOVE a good garage sale. But we aren’t good with coupons.

If we run across a coupon, we will cut it out. And by run across, I mean, it has to slap us in the face, and maybe be handed to us with someone saying “here is your coupon for a free Starbucks!” At this point, we put it in what we have deemed ‘the coupon drawer.’ It holds our straws, fabric samples, and other miscellaneous items. We will then wait until precisely a week after the expiration date, and yell in misery that “WE FORGOT TO USE OUR FREE STARBUCKS!!” And then, drown our sorrows in a not-free, really-too-many-dollars latte. Whew. I feel better.


Rinse. Repeat. 

Our weekend started with an “extreme double coupon week at Harris Teeter” commercial. Dan was hooked. We had to try it. This was our week. 

Harris Teeter doubles one-dollar coupons on any day, but this week they would double up to two-dollar coupons (ie four dollars off). I envisioned myself finally starting that stockpile of trial-sized off-brand body wash to last us until 2030. They would all be free, and I would have extra money left over for shampoo. We would fill an entire shopping cart for $2.83. Today was going to be a great day.

We started by emptying the coupon drawer. “Four dollars off your Double Shots that expired YESTERDAY.” “Five dollars off any purchase at Harris Teeter that expired last month!” “Expires in January 2012!” “Do we EVER go through this drawer?!” “Hey look, a penny!”


Then we bought a Sunday paper. “This better be worth the four dollars.” “Rule number one: don’t cut out the ones we won’t use, that’s wasting money. It’s the only couponing rule I know.” “There are SO many coupons for kitty litter.” “Cat food.” “Cat Treats.” “WHY DO ALL THE CAT PEOPLE GET THE GOOD COUPONS?!” “Let’s get a cat.” “OMG. We NEED a cat!”

You people are crazy.

Koda threw water at our face. We stopped being irrational, grabbed our wad of coupons, and proudly strolled into Harris Teeter. We got my deodorant for 50 cents. Honey Nut Cheerios for a dollar. Break and Bake Cookie Dough for 50 cents (now, I am ALL about homemade, but compared to the four dollar Oreos that Dan likes, this worked for us). A box of Band-Aids and a tube of toothpaste for FREE.

Now, we weren’t rational the entire time. “This one doubles for four dollars!” “Do we use Neutrogena lotion?” “No, but we should find one for $4 and get it for free!” “It’s all like $16.” “That’s okay. Four dollars off. Four dollars SAVED.” “That makes the lotion $12, is that a good deal?” “No, but maybe we need it. We’re saving FOUR dollars!” (I now see how the marketing strategy of coupons works).

Overall, we saved $100 from our coupons. We probably don’t need toiletries for a few months. And I am not a contender for TLC’s newest show “Extreme Couponing turns Hoarding Buried Alive.” If this happens, TLC, I only want one percent of profits. Although, we do have room in our crawl space and under our fridge for some stock piles.

I consider it a success. We vowed to use the coupons in the coupon drawer (ha, we will see). To check the Sunday paper. And to remember which coupons make things free or fifty cents, and buy then.

Meanwhile, Dan will let you know if $16 lotion is, indeed, worth the four dollars saved.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dried hydrangeas

Have yall seen my mom's blog on how to dry hydrangeas? (Who knew the key was picking at the right time?) She was so nice in drying some for me. Currently, I have a large vase in the middle of the dining room table, and another large vase in the living room.


The original plan was to use some short square vases and put one short stem hydrangea in each vase and use this as decor in guest rooms and on shelves around the house.


I think part of it was my fear of cutting these long stems. But somehow I just fell in love with these large statement arrangements. 


I could put dried hydrangeas in every room in the house. I love how they are colorful all year round. Somehow the blues, purples, and greens manage to go with anything.  They aren't fake, but don't have to be watered. Second only to fresh flowers.


Sorry mom - looks like we will be drying more next year! :) Only next year I will have pink to contribute.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A weekend in Greenville

This is a little late, but I wanted to do a quick update on my weekend in Greenville. Friends Shelley, Grace, and Rachel were all coming to Greenville. Kylie and Blair live in Greenville. Dan was out of town, and it had been too long since I had seen these girls. And Tricia decided to leave the husband to his own accord for one night (can you say pizza?). Instant girl’s weekend.

Kylie had family in town, so we were only able to see her for brunch. But still very needed. I hadn’t seen her new bling in person, or hugged her neck since she got engaged.

We all stayed with Blair, including 4 dogs. She is crazy for saying yes super accommodating.


We had a dog there—we will call her Karen, to protect her identity. She had a non-dog name just like Karen. A few times we lost Karen, and it became the joke (I think per Rachel) that it was our drunk friend Karen who we couldn’t keep track of. “Oh no! Who let Karen outside?!” “Karen is taking a nap, she just needs to sleep it off.” “Did Karen just throw up in the bathroom?!” At one point, Brett looked at Karen and said “shots?!” and Karen went ballistic like we had said “treats?!” It made for lots of laughs.

You know those weekends where you are having so much fun, and so glad you went, but you almost wish it were ending soon, because you are exhausted, haven’t been home in a while, and just need to get stuff done?

It was nothing like that. I was exhausted, I hadn’t been home in a while, I needed to get stuff done, and I didn’t care one bit. I didn’t want the weekend to end. We went to the pool on a cloudy day, and I don’t think anyone noticed. When it started raining, we grabbed our stuff and ran under the covering. Then, one-by-one, we set our stuff down and ran back into the pool, hardly noticing the rain.

Photo courtesy of Blair .. I didn't take many pictures.
We went to some of our favorite bars from college, as well as new ones that had opened since those days. We stayed up until 4 am. We sat at brunch as long as was socially acceptable. We dragged our feet leaving Blair’s house. And secretly hoped we would be snowed in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t start snowing, and all good things must come to an end. Therefore, Sunday allowed for cleaning, unpacking, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, etc. And, on 2.5 hours of sleep, I think I did a pretty good job!

Thanks Blair for a wonderful weekend. So wonderful, in fact, that I might show up on your doorstep Saturday. Don’t worry. I’ll invite Karen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Comedy for your Tuesday

Tuesdays are the worst. Mondays, you are still in weekend-mode. Wednesday is hump day. Thursday is Friday eve. And Friday? TGIF. But Tuesdays are just Tuesdays.

Have you noticed that everything bad happens on Tuesdays? Okay, so not bad. But those trivial things that you just don’t want to happen. They happen on Tuesdays. Like this morning, I was running late, so I decided to put on my mascara at a red light. Well I dropped the brush on my new khaki skirt. It proceeded to bounce 3 times, and leave 3 lovely black stains, that I got to wear all day. Tuesdays. (I know .. I shouldn’t have been late, or been putting on mascara in the car .. but I’m going to blame it on Tuesday).

It’s like the day that I went to Starbucks on the way to work, was very excited about my $86 frappucino, and dropped it on the floor on the way in. Tuesday. Or when I was on my way to return the brand new loaner Mercedes, and the girl who didn’t speak English crashed into the back of it. Tuesday. The day I found out that they no longer make Dunkaroos? You guessed it, Tuesday.

Tuesday
Start to notice, and you might find it quite comical.

Speaking of comical, have you heard of Demetri Martin? He has been a favorite of mine for a while. I don’t listen to much stand-up comedy, but I find him hysterical.  He is so incredibly smart that his jokes usually involve a play on words and require a little thinking. They are also mostly one-liners, so you don’t have to listen to a long story.  

Before you watch this video (and come on, you have 4 minutes for a little comedy on a Tuesday), I have a few of his jokes typed out. It’s a fun little preview and will get you in the mindset.

"When you have a fat friend there are no see-saws, only catapults."
 – Demetri Martin

"If I ever saw an amputee getting hanged, I'd probably just start calling out letters."
– Demetri Martin

"I like to use 'I Can't Believe it's Not Butter' on my toast in the morning, because sometimes when I eat breakfast, I like to be incredulous. How was breakfast? Unbelievable. "
 – Demetri Martin

Do you kind of get his sense of humor? And now, if you don't find this funny, please don’t tell me. I spent 4 glorious minutes in the car ride home crying I was laughing so hard. Don’t spoil it.

You can start it at the 40 second mark:


If the video doesn't work, try this link:


Friday, August 3, 2012

My flight home

My flight home on Sunday was a late one. I left Miami at 815, and, with a stop in Atlanta, wouldn’t get to Charlotte until 1am. When I booked it, I thought, “This is really going to make for a miserable work day on Monday. Oh well. You know who would enjoy dealing with this pickle? FUTURE Kelley.”* I assumed that future-Kelley would seriously resent past-Kelley come a 6 am wake-up Monday morning.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. I had enough caffeine to get me through. It allowed me an extra day in Miami, and I was able to get some fun pictures.

Have you ever seen a sunset from an airplane? I know I have somewhat, but not with this intensity. Being a mile in the sky made it seem as if the sunset was being sucked away into the distance, instead of heading down below the horizon. We passed clouds so thick they looked like holes, absent of light, in the sky. Some so transparent, they merely blurred and dimmed the colors. And some filled with lightning, which made for a surreal paradox of both beautiful and frightening.

It made the entire late night travel worth it.

Sunset from airplane
click to make larger

I wish dearly that I was in the front of the plane, and didn’t have this wing, or the distracting bright light in the way. I tried editing out the light, I tried cropping them differently, but something just didn’t feel right about editing the pictures at all. I wanted them exactly as I had seen them, straight out of the camera.

sunset from airplane
click to make larger

I have to be grateful, though, that I didn’t switch to a closer seat on the East side of the plane. Dan attempted to change it, so I would get off faster and have a better chance of making my connection, if delayed. So I will take my distracting wing, over mere darkness in the other available seat.

sunset from airplane
click to make larger

As the sunset went to bed, we were left with just the storm clouds. I did what anyone with a DSLR has attempted, and, at one point or another, has failed. Trying to capture lightning. Except, since I am a novice, I added the following: From a mile in the air. In a turbulent moving vehicle. Without a tripod. On too low of a shutter speed. Too many attempts later, I captured the following 2 pictures.

lightning from airplane
click to make larger

lightning from airplane
click to make larger

I still think they are cool. In contrast, the lady next to me on the plane thinks I’m a complete lunatic. Who takes a million pictures on a turbulent plane, while its pitch black outside? Randomly checking the screen to see that, yet again, that picture was completely black?

Part of me wondered whether my camera was on the list of approved portable electronic devices. The other part of me knew that the on-a-power-trip flight attendant would set me straight if it were not. And a final part of me wondered whether the flight attendant in the black turtleneck was male or female.

The world may never know.

*How I Met Your Mother  … anyone get it?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm in Miami, trick

Alright, I lied.

By 27 miles.

But LMFAO didn’t sing “I’m in Ft. Lauderdale, trick” because it’s too many syllables. That’s the only reason. I heard that they, too, were 27 miles from Miami. So I used the same artistic license with my title.


One of Dan’s groomsmen and best friends lives in Ft. Lauderdale. He just finished the Bar Exam, and we had been promising for a few years to visit him. This made for a wonderful, much needed, long weekend.

Another great friend of ours, Merrick, lives in Korea. He was in the states in between school years and for his sister’s wedding. So Dan conned him into buying a plane ticket to Ft. Lauderdale as well. It had been way too long since we had seen Merrick in person. At one point Merrick referred to himself as “Asian.” Which is quite funny. Because, he is not Asian. He just lives in Asia. See below.


So it became the joke of the weekend. Can we say in unison? Merrick. You’re. Not. Asian. Merrick is known for speaking without thinking. And we are known for putting additional words in his mouth to make it even funnier. Needless to say, there were a lot of laughs this weekend.

Brent’s mom lives on the intercostal waterway in an absolutely beautiful house with a wonderful view.



To show our appreciation, we hijacked her boat.


Posed for a picture.


And set sail. Cue the Little Big Town song “Pontoon”. That song was going through my head all weekend.


We took the boat out two days, and spent as much time as possible out on it. We did a lot of this:


B. Trap drives the boat like this:


Safe. I’m sure. Once out of the intercoastal and into the ocean this is our view. (Mom – I know it’s a super boring pictures with no clouds, don’t cringe. At least the horizon isn’t in the center).


Absolutely, nothing. And just what we wanted. We did some backflips off the boat.



Dan attempted a Superman.


And, while we are making fun of Merrick. You didn’t think we changed subjects did you? This is his “front flip.” Quotes are necessary. Don’t want to lie to yall twice today.


He looks like a zombie falling off the boat. Or maybe one of those fainting goats that paralyze themselves for a few seconds and fall over. (Have you seen those videos? I know what you are doing after this.) We very much love our Asian friend.

Next up, I was a super tourist and took pictures of this guy. Have you ever seen these? I guess they pump water with a high enough pressure to get you airborne.  I tried shouting “I want a turn!” but Brent just sped up.



We watched a lot of the Olympics, went out to dinner, grilled out, shared favorite beers, and tried to get Brent to freestyle rap like old times. It is always wonderful seeing friends who know you so well and stay so true despite the distance. I always say that if everyone would pick one city, I would live in it in a heartbeat. Even if it was, heaven forbid, above the Mason-Dixon line. But for now, until my dream comes true, we are having a wonderful time visiting friends in Miami (whoops, second lie), DC, New York, Greenville, Atlanta, Columbia, etc. etc. Maybe even Korea? (nah..).