Jun 28, 2013

moving on

Today Riley and I are headed out bright and early because we are moving our boat from Washington, NC, to New Bern, and we are so excited about it!  Washington is where we bought our boat, and where we have spent the last several months putting our blood, sweat, and tears into fixing her up.  But, the time has come to move on.  The marina that we've been at in Washington is really more of a boatyard, which has been ok while we've just been working on the boat, but now we're ready to have some fun, and honestly, it's just sort of lacking in that department.  We did make friends with another couple while we've been there, and they're moving too, and will be sailing alongside of us this weekend.

Thanks for the memories, Washington!
This will also be our first two day sail on Windbrandt, so we're a little nervous about any kinks that might still need to be worked out.  I've never been to New Bern, but according to Riley, it's the kind of town that looks right up my alley!  Hopefully once we get there we'll still have some of the weekend (and energy) left to do a little exploring. Have you ever been there?  Do you have any recommendations of things we should see or do while we're there?

By the way, you've probably heard it a million times by now, but don't forget that Google Reader ceases to exist on July 1st!  I've started using Bloglovin' myself, and you can follow me over there if you want to!  I also have a Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter account.  So, if you had been using Google Reader, be sure to stay in touch!

Jun 27, 2013


There's nothing quite like a cold treat on a hot summer day.  Even better if it's something sweet.  When I was little, my mom used to make popsicles with one of those little plastic popsicle molds.  She would pour in some fruit juice and pop them in the freezer and we'd wait impatiently for several hours until they were ready.  We didn't really have an ice cream truck that came by our house regularly, offering up a plethora of brightly colored, chocolate covered, creamy, crunchy cones, but we had our little juice pops, and that was ok.  I mean, I guess.

These days I can better appreciate the healthy simplicity of a homemade popsicle.  I've been anxious to try out some of my own combinations and enjoy a cold treat without feeling the guilt of consuming massive amounts of dairy, sugar, and preservatives.  I bought this popsicle mold off of Amazon and picked up a selection of fruit for my first popsicle experiment.

I adapted this recipe from the latest Martha Stewart Living:

(Makes 5 popsicles)
1 cup chopped fresh fruit
3/4 cup coconut water
2 tablespoons agave nectar

Puree in blender. Freeze in popsicle molds until solid.  

I made three combinations: pineapple mango, cherry lime, and kiwi.  I was making less than five popsicles out of each batch, so I just kind of eyeballed my measurements instead of measuring anything exact.  For each flavor I ended up using a little less than a cup of fruit, about 1/2 cup of coconut water, and only a few teaspoons of agave nectar.  For the cherry lime, I added the juice from one half of a lime.

Mine took several hours to freeze completely.  Overall, I was pretty happy with the popsicle mold.  The popsicles came out easily after running the plastic mold under warm water for a few seconds.  But, even with an aluminum lid, my popsicle sticks didn't stay completely straight.

The pineapple mango was the clear winner.  My second choice was the cherry lime, and Riley's second was the kiwi.  I can't wait to try out some more combinations!  My friend Kelsea at Overwhelmed by Grace just made some delicious looking fruit and yogurt pops, so I might have to try those next.  

Have you made your own popsicles before?  What are your favorite flavor combinations?


Jun 26, 2013

evening on the lake

When Riley and I first started dating 6 years ago, we did a lot of outdoorsy stuff (you can read how I really felt about that here).  Riley has a tendency to pick up hobbies and master them pretty quickly.  He was really into whitewater kayaking when we started dating, then mountain biking, then sailing... you get the idea.  And he's good at all of them.  Being, uh, not quite so outdoorsy myself, it can be a little difficult to find activities to do together that we can both enjoy where the playing field is a little more level.

He once confessed to me that the main reason he bought this canoe several years ago was so that he could "take chicks out." Smooth, huh? I would just like to state for the record that I am the only chick that's ever paddled his canoe. ha! Sure foiled that plan, didn't I?

Riley's been working really hard lately, and around the clock it seems, but I was able to steal him away yesterday evening for a paddle around the lake.  It's such a relaxing way to spend a summer evening, and we don't take advantage of it often enough.   I snapped a few pictures (and Riley did too) before I put the camera away and just enjoyed my surroundings.

perfect activity for little (invalid) dog, just tall enough to see out, small enough not to fall out!

I would just like to take a moment to say how nice it is to have a husband who doesn't mind (and has come to expect) me to lug my camera around everywhere and take pictures of everything.  And even graciously takes some of his own, sometimes even of his own initiative!  Oh, and provides me with his waterproof bag in situations where I really shouldn't be bringing a camera in the first place.

How do you like to spend your summer evenings?  Do you and a significant other have a hard time finding mutual hobbies?


Jun 25, 2013

heat conditioning

shirt: Loft shorts: Fossil shoes: Seychelles purse: J.Crew headband: Anthropologie necklace: The Bauble Dept.

I'm officially in conditioning mode.  Heat conditioning, that is, not air conditioning.  I used Gidget as my excuse to stay home from the boat this weekend, but honestly, I just wasn't quite ready to go back after my last trip.  It was so hot and humid that weekend, and on a little boat there is just no way to escape from it.  We haven't gotten to the place where we are taking it out sailing very often yet, so we mostly bake in the hot sun while working on projects, or suffocate in the small cabin with only a tiny fan for circulation (this is being remedied asap).  When we actually get sailing, the wind will obviously make this all the more bearable.

I will be the first to admit that I am a little bit of a wimp when it comes to extreme temperatures.  I'd do just fine with a year long alternating spring/fall.  I've been far too spoiled with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer (except for those few summers I worked in a hot attic studio with no a/c...). I appear especially weak to my husband who says I have not been "conditioned to deal with the heat."  He grew up in an old farmhouse, and also works in construction, and consequently knows all too well how to cope with conditions that make those of us with a more delicate nature fall to pieces.

So, it's going to be a windows open, fans blasting, hot and sweaty sort of summer for this princess.  Also, I realized I have far too many clothes made of cotton and high maintenance fabrics that just kinda drown you in the heat.  Come hell or high water (probably both), Riley's going to get the outdoorsy(-er) girl he's always wanted.

So, what are your tricks for beating the heat this summer?


Jun 24, 2013

and for my next trick...

Riley went to the boat this weekend while Gidget and I stayed home to practice... walking.  

A quick recap: 
4 weeks ago, she had knee surgery.
2 weeks ago, she wouldn't start using her leg, so the vet taped a rock to her good leg.
As of Friday, she still wouldn't use her leg, so the vet taped her good leg to her side, where it is supposed to remain for the next 2 weeks.

Now, she would rather walk on her two front legs.  It's pretty comical (and amazing!) and I couldn't resist trying to catch a little of it on video.  However, this is getting to be a real problem.  If she doesn't start walking on her leg soon, she might never use it for the rest of her life. 

Furthermore... yesterday, in true Houdini fashion, she somehow escaped the bandage entirely.  So today we're headed back to the vet to get it taped up all over again.  

Fingers crossed that it sticks this time.  Literally.

Jun 21, 2013

5 ingredients for a perfect picnic

1. Good food and drinks.  Roasted vegetable and goat cheese sandwiches, a fresh take on potato salad (from this cookbook), and chocolate lemon meringue tarts.  Oh my goodness, this feast was so delicious,  you're definitely going to want to click on those links and replicate.

2.  A beautiful place setting.  Of course, you can use paper plates, plastic utensils and sit cross legged on the grass... but we're talking about the perfect picnic here.

I had never tried Elderflower anything before, but this was so absolutely delicious, I am a fan for life.
3.  Ambience.  Fresh air, trees, and a foggy mountain view set the perfect scene.

4. Good weather.  I'll even take so-so weather as long as the rain holds off long enough to eat.

5.  A good friend.  Even better, a sister-in-law, friend, neighbor combo, who makes delicious sandwiches, has all of the appropriately beautiful picnic accoutrements, and makes for excellent company.

Jun 20, 2013


Do you ever have one of those days where you're just in a funk?  I came across this quote yesterday and was struck by it's profound simplicity.  Sometimes you just feel like a good cry.  Maybe there's a good reason, or maybe there's no reason at all.  It's times like this I usually subject myself to a sad movie that I know is going to make me ugly cry the whole way through (do you inflict this kind of self torture, too?).  But at least it's usually a cathartic, ugly cry.

And it's absolutely true that exercise is good for your mental health.  Or maybe a little bit of extra elbow grease on a project.  Works for me, anyway.  But sometimes even just a breath of fresh air and a little vitamin D works, too.

If all else fails, you can always quit your job, buy a boat, and sail down the coast.

Any of these, accompanied by a little heart to heart with God, will usually do the trick for me.  I could also argue that wine, chocolate, and shopping have helped me out of a funk before, too, but none of those sound nearly as healthy or productive.  So we'll just stick with what Isak says.

What do you do when you find yourself in a mood?  What shakes you out of it?

Jun 19, 2013

how to look put together without really trying

Shirt: J.Crew factory Skirt: Madewell Shoes: Seychelles Clutch: J.Crew 
Sunglasses: Ray Ban Watch: Vintage Necklace: The Bauble Dept.

1. Buy a stretchy knit skirt.  Or another shape that you feel comfortable in, something that you can dress up or down.  Neutral colors and a neutral pattern make it so easy to mix and match.  Black and white stripes are obviously just about as basic as you can get.  But basic is what I do best.

2.  Knot a button up.  Just so that you look like you tried a little, but maybe not too hard.  Also, a looser fit balances out a tighter skirt.  Ironing optional.

3.  Wear sunglasses.  They hide a multitude of sins.  Tired eyes, crying eyes, I woke up late and didn't put any make up on eyes.

4.  Keep the accessories simple.  A single watch or bracelet, and a statement necklace are all you need.

5. Pose nonchalantly in front of a neutral background that compliments... nevermind, skip this one.

These are obviously not groundbreaking fashion rules, but they are the ones that I live by.  Like, everyday.  Because I literally can't stop wearing this skirt.  Seriously, it's so great and versatile that
others have been inspired to go out and buy the same one.

Ok, so maybe it was just my sister.

But still.

p.s. Don't forget about the 10% off promotion on pearl jewelry (like the necklace above) in my etsy shop for the month of June!  Coupon code JUNEPEARLS

Jun 18, 2013

this is how we do weekends in the country

We spent a rare weekend at home, experiencing a small town Friday night (check out this post, if you haven't already!)...

and celebrating Father's Day with my family.

Which always means some of Eva's delicious cooking.  Like, this shrimp scampi...

and this strawberry rhubarb pie.  Leave it to Eva to tempt me into eating something new by sticking it in a pie.  What is rhubarb, anyway?  It's delicious in this pie, that's what it is.

My parents pool beckons... but I have this habit of bringing cloudy skies with me whenever I visit.  One day soon...

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, as well!  Did you do anything special?

Jun 17, 2013

floyd friday nights

I live on the outskirts of the small town of Floyd, Virginia in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains.  It might look like just your average small town, until...

Friday night.  

What draws so many people to this little town on a Friday night? You'll have to click here because today I'm guest posting at Overwhelmed by Grace!  

This blog is one of my daily reads.  Kelsea is not only drop dead gorgeous, but she has a beautiful heart as well.  I can say this with certainty because I have the honor of knowing her in "real life."  Kelsea married my cousin, and now they have an adorable baby boy and are making a life for themselves near Nashville, Tennessee.

Be sure to read my guest post, here, and check in throughout the week for some posts on other destinations!

Jun 14, 2013

the "Big D"

In honor of Father's Day, I'd like to say a few words about my dad.  

My dad is… I don’t exactly know where to start.  He’s a hard worker.  He loves animals.  When I was little he was always bringing home a turtle he saved from the side of the road, or a bird with a broken wing.  Now I always want to stop and save every turtle I see. 

He is always the first to stop and help a stranger in need.  He has a sense of humor that was cringe worthy to his own easily embarrassed teenaged daughters, but is better appreciated with a little space and time.  He had dance parties with us in the evenings and taught me all of my "best" moves.

He takes credit for teaching me to draw stick figures.  I’m pretty sure I have never drawn stick figures in my life, and rather skipped over them entirely,  but we’ll let him have it.  He always brought home a new coloring book whenever I was sick.  He bought me leather craft kits, and kid sized pottery wheels and took an interest in creating things with me.

He can fix anything that breaks.  He loves to give gifts. He wants his daughters to have everything.  He always said his girls could do anything boys could do, but he never showed (serious) disappointment when I didn’t take to fishing or target shooting, failed miserably at sports, and declined to join the family business as an electrician.  As exasperating as I thought he could be while I was growing up, I somehow fell in love with and married a man who shares all of his best qualities.  

So, thanks, Dad.  I love you.

Jun 13, 2013

fruits of summer

Riley and I used up our first batch of strawberries (that we had picked here) pretty quickly.  I had almost forgotten just how good fresh strawberries are.  Since then, I can't seem to stop buying them!  I thought I'd share some of the ways that we've been enjoying them lately.  None of these recipes are anything ground breaking, but they're sweet and simple (just how I like it) and really let the strawberries shine!

I love having smoothies for breakfast.  Sometimes a green smoothie, sometimes fruit.  I make mine with strawberries, pineapple, mango, and almond milk.  I always buy a ton of bananas at the store and then slice and freeze the ones that we don't eat in time.  I find that with frozen bananas and almond milk, I don't even need to use yogurt.  Sometimes, I also add a little bit of peanut butter for protein.  Have you ever tried MaraNatha organic peanut butter?  That stuff is so good!

Herb-crusted chicken with fresh strawberry relish.  Now, I've always been a picky eater, so strawberries with chicken is a little outside of the box for me.  But, this recipe from EatingWell looked so fresh and delicious that I had to try it!  This one is definitely going on our repeat list.  I also made this salad, as a side.  I didn't have any arugula, but I always have some fresh spinach on hand, so I made a little swap.

Strawberry basil lemonade.  I sliced some fresh strawberries and basil and muddled them in the bottom of a glass, then poured in some homemade lemonade.  You could also add a splash of vodka or gin, and some simple syrup to taste.  (confession- I actually tried to make my own strawberry simple syrup, but wound up making some hard candy and a big mess instead.  So I skipped that.  But truthfully, I don't think this needs to be any sweeter anyway.)

An all time favorite.  A slice of angel food cake, some homemade whipped cream, and some fresh, sliced strawberries and you have a simple, delicious dessert that feels light and refreshing.  The only downside is that I never want to stop at just one...

What are some of your favorite strawberry recipes?  Do you have any other seasonal favorites?

Jun 12, 2013

splitting hairs

Shirt: Fossil Jeans, Scarf: Anthropologie Belt, Clutch: J.Crew 
Watch: Vintage Necklace: The Bauble Dept.

I'd like to think that I have a few talents in life.  But there are some things that I'm just never going to master.  

Exhibit A: my hair.
Now, I'm not sure if it boils down to incompetency, impatience, or just plain laziness, but I'm at this point in my life where I could care less about doing a single thing to my hair.  Obviously, as evidenced by the pictures above, some days I forget to even pick up the brush.  We'll just call it disheveled chic.  Back in middle school when I got my own personal version of the "Rachel,"  I would wake up at 5:30 every morning to wash, dry, and meticulously curl my hair.  I'm sure it was totally worth it.

Apparently, I'm having a hard time finding the line between trying too hard, and just plain not trying.

I envy those girls with their natural, beachy waves.  Or the ones who can whip out some elaborate braided, twisted updo like it was nothing.  I never even perfected the messy bun.  Yes, I'm aware that "perfect" isn't really the object of the whole thing, but mine just never looks right.  How do you do it??  And as much as I adore curly hair on other women, thank goodness I wound up with straight, because I'd have no idea what to do with that situation. I'm a "wash and air dry, maybe tie a scarf on my head if I'm feeling fancy," kind of girl.

So, do you have any great advice?  Have you mastered the art of the messy bun?  What are your go to hairstyles?

Jun 11, 2013

ginn's seafood

I am always in the mood for some good seafood.  Every time we go down to the boat we pass so many fresh seafood stands, but we hadn't taken advantage of them because we hadn't had our cooking situation set up in the boat yet.  So, I had plenty of time to scout out all of the stands and choose which one we would take advantage of at the first possible opportunity.  How did I decide?  Well, obviously I picked the most colorful stand with the most character.  Isn't that how you shop for your food?

We bought some fresh local shrimp and scallops at Ginn's Seafood stand, and then picked up a pineapple, red onion and red peppers to accompany them on kabobs.  I'm still getting used to cooking on a boat... I'm so spoiled with counter top space and a dishwasher at home, that it's just going to take me some time to adapt.  We also haven't stocked our galley with all of the necessary utensils and dishes yet, either.  Plus, who doesn't love kabobs, anyway?

We marinated the shrimp and scallops in a honey teriyaki glaze, and chopped up the pineapple, red onion and peppers into bite sized pieces.  Then I skewered everything while Riley got the grill going.  This part always takes me awhile because I get a little particular about pattern making... I know, I know, but why bother making it if you aren't going to make it look good?  We've found that using two skewers makes it a little easier to cook kabobs evenly since the pieces are a little more stabilized.

Riley grilled the kabobs on the tiny grill on the back of the boat.  This grill is going to be a lifesaver in terms of quick and easy cooking and clean up.  It also really helps open up cooking space because the galley clutters up pretty quickly.

We absolutely loved this combination of flavors together.
Riley had picked out these drinks with me in mind.  He chose them solely on the appearance of the bottle.  Does he know what a girl wants, or what?
Evening is quickly becoming my favorite time of day.  The temperature starts to cool down, and the setting sun creates the prettiest light over the water.  Riley finally stops working on his long list of projects (this is not an issue for me), and we get to just enjoy this place together for a while. We sit outside at the cockpit table that Riley built himself and enjoy our home cooked dinner and a cold drink.

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