Tuesday, July 29, 2014

two years

Yesterday was our two year anniversary. Two years! Hoorah! We celebrated this weekend with all of our favorite things: French food, City Park adventures, Zach Braff, and, of course, anniversary pie (this year we did cherry, and it was insanely good (and still lopsided, too)). I really can't think of a better way to celebrate the day. It was very "us" and very delicious, and there was even time for a nap. Here are some photos!

We finally made our way to Cafe Degas. I'm not sure how or why it took us so long to eat there, but we both fell in love instantly. From the beautiful landscaping outside to the piles of baguettes inside--it was all very dreamy. I got the steak frites and James got the sauteed rainbow trout. Both were brimming with buttery goodness. We talked about our favorite moments from the first two years and made a list of everything we wanted to do and see in the coming year. It felt very romantic and sparkly...always good to reflect and regroup. We've got big plans!

After eating, we headed out to City Park for a little adventuring. We have been talking about renting kayaks since we moved down here, and this weekend, we finally did it! And we loved it! James is kind of a master, but it was my first time. At first, I was a bit awkward, but I got the hang of it! We had a blast racing around the lakes and canals, paddling next to ducks and turtles, jamming out to rap music, and intentionally gliding under the big fountain. We left the lake that day, sun-tired and happy, determined to acquire a couple of kayaks of our own.

That evening, we went downtown for some more butter-based food. James has been raving about Morton's lobster bisque since I've known him, and that night we each got a bowl at the bar. He was not exaggerating...that stuff is tasty. After getting our fill, we ended the night with a late movie at Canal Place. I am always pro-Zach Braff, so we saw Wish I Was Here. It was pretty good--a little too sentimental at some points--but Mandy Patinkin and Kate Hudson were terrific. And it gave me the cries...like four times. So, you know.

On our actual anniversary, we were both super busy. I was getting the house in order, grocery shopping, and visiting my classroom. James had his first day of surgery (it sounded so cool but incredibly exhausting). So, that night, we kept everything very low key. Dinner, pie, X-Files, and an early bedtime. And, you know...even that was perfect. Even the simplest most "everyday" sort of nights feel special with James. I can't wait for many, many more.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

all sorts of things not to be forgotten

Summer is coming to an end, and I can't quite believe it! I feel like it was May, I blinked, and ended up in late July. How?! Even though it went much too quickly, this has been a beautiful summer--filled with late nights with friends, sweaty days with the kiddos, and too many mosquito bites to count. Here are a few special moments that I don't want to forget:

  • James and I did Bastille Day right this year with a trip to the Bastille Day Fete in Faubourg St. John. We met up with friends for some supreme people watching, music, meandering, and conversation. We capped off the night with a trip to Crescent Pie and Sausage where I indulged in the spiciest pizza known to man, and we all laughed a whole bunch. 
  • Speaking of delicious nights with friends, we got some amazingly good pasta and fresh cannoli at Arabella Casa di Pasta in the Bywater a few nights back. My Italian heart was happy as can be. 
  • Friday was the last day of camp! What?! We had the perfect last week--wonderful kids, treasure hunts, water balloon fights, moon sand, sparkly volcanoes, popsicles--the works. I adored my work this summer, and I'm definitely going to miss those kids (and all those rounds of Capture the Flag). 
  • To celebrate the end of the camp season, James and I went to dinner at my counselors' beautiful cottage in Covington. They live on an artist/nature sanctuary, and it is one of the most incredible places! The property is filled with art and animals (a giant catahoula named Orion, the sweetest cats around, ducks upon ducks, and so many peacocks!) not to mention beautiful greenery and the most adorable one-room homes for local artists. The dreamiest! We had so much fun drinking wine, reminiscing about favorite campers, chatting about everything under the sun, and eating some really incredible cheese. It was, hands down, one of the best nights of the summer. And even though the shotgun can't live up to all of that natural beauty, I can't wait to have K and A over on this side of the lake!
  • It has been raining like crazy down here, but we have still been enjoying our sprints in City Park. They're just a little soggier now, that's all :)
I hope your summer is ending on a happy note! I recently received final confirmation that I will be teaching first grade this year (room 207, represent), so I am getting geared up for all of that excitement! I have meetings this week, and classroom decorating to do, and oh yeah, my house is a disaster...so, I guess cleaning, too :) James just finished his first rotation (neurology--he loved it) and is about to start nine weeks of beastly surgery. It is going to be a crazy month (or three) over here...but in all the best ways. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

fourth of july weekend

I'm going to go ahead and call it: I'm pretty sure we had the best Fourth of July weekend. Like, ever. There were no fireworks, but even still, I am pretty confident our weekend cannot be topped. We were up in Baton Rouge, dog-sitting Lovey, and we spent the entire time eating good food, walking the pooch, doing some serious circuit training, and wading in a $12 kiddie pool while drinking fruity beer. I know. And, yes, it was awesome. And here are the photos to prove all of that awesomeness:

We absolutely loved taking Lovey out to breakfast and then walking her around the LSU lakes. She is such a good pup! And she made all sorts of friends on our adventures (including a precious babe whose first word was "puppy"). I was worried about the heat, but she pulled through like a champ...and then slept for the rest of the day :) After her walks, James and I would go to the "beach" (a patch of sand by the big lake) to do some sprints, pull-ups, etc. I have been struggling to balance my usual exercise time with my camp time, so it felt wonderful to get out there and run around!

And here we are enjoying the best $12 I've ever spent. I hope I always remember those afternoons laying around in that silly little pool--listening to music, talking about everything and nothing. Those few hours could not have been sweeter.

In addition to all of our Lovey time, we also got to see some good friends and some of my family, too. We loved getting to see everyone! And we also loved trying out City Pork (cheese, wine, pork products--doesn't get much better). We also ate a ton of buffalo wings one night and watched Ronda Rousey kick some serious butt (I know she bothers a lot of people, but, man oh man, I love her (read: girl crush)). After all of that excitement we packed up and headed back to Nola.

This past Monday, James started his clinical rotations! It is insane, and exhausting, but he seems to like it so far (after a not so awesome Monday, that is). He is in neurology right now, and starts surgery in a couple of weeks. I am so proud of him and all of his hard work! And doesn't he look spiffy in that white coat?

I'm still "camping" for two more weeks. I cannot believe it is almost over! Where has summer gone?! This week kind of took it out of me, so I am looking forward to a couple of days of movie watching and napping. James and I are in the middle of Rushmore (it is awesome!) and we also have the new Monsters Inc. So, you know...it should be lots of low-key fun :) Hope yours is the same!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

palmer park arts market

Last Saturday, James and I stumbled into the Palmer Park Arts Market. The Market sets up on the last Saturday of every month and is brimming with unique jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculptures, and snoballs, too. We always forget to intentionally make a trip, but this is the second time that we serendipitously drove past during pique art hours. And like that first time, I am so glad we happened upon it!

It has been soggy, soggy, soggy these past few days, not to mention as hot as hades. I feel like I have (weirdly) not noticed the tremendous heat this summer. I'm not sure how that's possible since I have been outside a ton with camp, but maybe because I've been constantly moving, I haven't really felt it? Regardless, all of that "not noticing" changed over these past few days, because holy cannoli--it is an oven down here. As we meandered through the Market, wading through mud, puddles, and fire ants, I could feel bead after bead of sweat roll down my back...but, hey, such is life in south Louisiana!

Despite all that heat, we stopped at a couple of the most intriguing booths (and even caught some printmaking in action), but the best part of the day was our time at Casey Willems' pottery booth. He had some beautiful pieces--berry bowls, coffee cups, plates, etc.--but he had even better stories. Casey hails from Holland and grew up during the War (he even wrote a YA book based loosely on his experiences), and he has been working exclusively on his pottery for almost forty years! How incredible is that? Aaaand, he happens to be the very proud papa to children's book author, Mo Willems. I adore the Pigeon books, so this was all particularly exciting for me. Sometimes I love this place a bunch.

That afternoon, we took my Casey Willems' original for a spin with some hot chocolate and old episodes of 30 Rock. All in all, a great day. And we have officially made a pact to shop exclusively at the Arts Market and other farmer's markets in the area for Christmas 2014. So, get ready for some handmade goodies, family and friends! :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

happiness is...

...blue cheese, crackers, cherries and beer for Friday night dinner. Plus an 8:30pm bedtime, too.

...Saturday morning movies (of the ridiculous and inspiring varieties).

...four-year-old campers who say the funniest things.

...work friends who bring you farm-fresh eggs and just-picked blueberries.

...capture the flag, sharks and minnows, jellyfish hats, and creative movement class.

...lunch at Toups + Sunday night sushi + Monday night Mondo with friends.

...bear hugs and kisses from sweet campers all day every day.

...baking.

...finding old photos.

...dreaming up new adventures.

...killer sunsets on sticky summer nights.

...a random pianist in a field of wild flowers.

...a camper who brings you pink hydrangeas on his first day of camp.

...and brand new nail polish, too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

gone camping + other updates

Wow! How did we already get to June 15? The past few weeks have been flying! Here's what's been going on:
  • I have officially completed my first two weeks as the director of a small summer day camp, and y'all. I am so tired (and sore!), but I am also so, so, so happy. My campers are wonderful! And I love spending my days playing games, crafting, science experimenting, and judging lots and lots of Iron Chef. I am up by 5A and can't keep my eyes open after about 9P, but I'm having a blast. I have about twelve campers per week, and two fantastic counselors, and it has all been a lovely experience. It is definitely challenging and keeps me really busy, but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. Plus, I get to spend time in the pool every day and that is pretty much the best perk ever. Two weeks down, five more to go!
  • Through this whole day camp experience I have discovered that 5-7 year olds are the best. Honestly. I'm calling it now: best ages ever. They are hilarious, and have very distinct personalities, and they really are so much easier than the little, littles. I thought that 3-4's would always be my favorites...but my six year olds have totally stolen my heart. And, as it turns out, this is a really lucky thing, because...I recently accepted a job teaching first or second grade at a local public school! I start in August, and I am super excited! And also nervous. And excited! And terrified. You know how it goes :) 
  • James takes his Step 1 Exam tomorrow. Tomorrow! Eep! He is ready, and I know he will do just fine, but it is going to be a very long, arduous day of test taking. Send some good vibes his way if you get a chance! We'll be celebrating tomorrow night with Taco Bell, Bagel Bites, Ben & Jerry's, and lots of HBOGo. I can't wait. I am so happy that he is almost done with this monster, and I am so proud of him for persevering through a month of constant studying! You're the best, Jameson. 
  • My parents recently moved to Michigan from Minnesota. It is totally crazy, but also exciting. I can't wait to go visit! They got themselves all nice and moved in last week, but came down south for a quick Father's Day visit this weekend. It has been great to see them! We went to my little brother's dance show last night (it was wonderful (as always)!), and we've spent today watching Tin Cup, eating grilled chicken salads, and laughing and chatting a bunch. My dad and I also spent the early morning hours talking about food, drinking coffee, and taking Lovey on a long walk. I love my dad so much, and I feel very lucky to get this time with him. He works so hard, and he and I share a very strong sense of nervousness, but I love when he is able to relax and hang out a little bit. I couldn't ask for a better dad, and I am so happy that we had a little Sunday morning/Father's Day time together. 
That's all of the big stuff. Additionally, we are still loving Netflix, bike rides around City Park, ice cream cones, magnolia blossoms, lots and lots of PJ's coffee and lots and lots of local eats. And summer is still my most favorite time of the year. Hope yours has been hot, sunny, and full of fun! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

inspiring me


"Better days are coming."
Cucumber, lime punch
Vintage Julie Andrews
Happiness in a photo.
Rio de Janeiro. I'll take a yellow umbrella, please.
Number one on the puppy wishlist.
Don't listen to my mom, this movie was funny.

Love that one a lot. 

Happy weekend!