Aug 30, 2013

vlog: six things


Well, it's not the highest quality vlog you'll ever watch, and it's certainly the most awkward, but I gave it a shot at least.  It's actually kind of brutal filming yourself, and it's surprisingly hard to "act natural."  Oh, well.  There it is anyway. Thanks Amanda from The Lady Okie and Jamie from Ink and Adventure for tagging me!  I'm tagging the following six bloggers:

Stephanie, Newlyweds: North
Britt, itbritt

Feel free to answer in a vlog of your own (do it!) or a written post.  Or you know, not at all.  That's fine too!  Here are your questions to choose from ( I "borrowed" them from Amanda and Jamie):

1. What recently made you laugh out loud?
2. What is your biggest pet peeve?
3. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
4. What did you do last Friday night?
5. If you could fix one big problem in the world, what would it be and why?
6. Name a book you've read that has made a huge impact on your life.
7. A decade ago, where were you and what were you doing with your life?
8. What is your favorite blog to follow at the moment?
9. Describe the best meal you've ever eaten.

Looking forward to seeing your vlogs ;)

p.s. If you're interested, you can watch Gidget's video in this post.


Aug 29, 2013

take it or leave it

Dress: Anthropologie Shoes: Rack Room Necklace, Bracelet: The Bauble Dept. (here and here)

As much as I love seeing the arrival of fall clothing, I'm not quite ready to give up on my summer dresses yet (especially this one, since I only just got it as an anniversary present).  I'm not even sure if I'm going to have to give them up all together anyway though, seeing as how we'll be traveling south on our sailing trip.  But then again, it will be wintertime, and it can get cool on the water.  It makes for a very confusing packing experience, you see.  I'm not really sure what to take and what to leave.  I know I said we have to cut back and let go of some of our stuff, but surely that excludes my clothing, right?  I mean, there are plenty of nooks and crannies, even on a 30 foot boat... roll up a few dresses here, and scrunch a few skirts up over there... what's the harm?  

Of course, then I'm going to need an iron... and an ironing board...

If you give a mouse a cookie, you know?

Aug 28, 2013

packing it up


We're in full on packing mode around here.  We have five weeks until we need to be out of our house.  I've moved before, but this time feels different.  We are leaving our first home, the one that Riley built with his own two hands, the one that we've lived in together for the past five years.  Typically when you move out of a place, you can at least picture where you're going next.  But I can't. We're just moving to... the water.  On a sailboat.

I have this strange urge to run around the house taking pictures of all of the rooms just as they are, before I pack the pieces away into boxes.  As if an image could preserve all of the memories, safe and undisturbed forever.  Maybe I'm just trying to put off the inevitable.  I mean, what would one even do with those sorts of pictures anyway?

I have a strange relationship with this house.  To be perfectly honest, I was never completely on board with living here to begin with.  Riley had started building it before I was even in the picture.  His plan was to build a house that could be used as two rental apartments for the future.  A smart plan to be sure, but as a newlywed excited about starting a life together, I was a little bitter about not having any say in where we were going to live, or the fact that our house was essentially a tiny apartment out in the middle of nowhere above an unfinished basement/garage.  Before you judge me too harshly, just know that I am completely aware of how blessed we are to have had a house in the first place, and that these feelings were completely trivial.  But still, I have always anticipated the day when we would be able to make these kinds of decisions together.

But now, I find myself strangely sentimental about it.  Even though we will still own it, we're not planning to move back in (obviously we can't say for sure at this point), and it will become home to someone else.  It was our first and it holds so many memories.  We poured ourselves into making it a house, and then a home.  And as I start to pack the tangible pieces of our memories away into boxes, I know that I will be leaving behind a little part of my heart in their place.


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Aug 27, 2013

fried green tomatoes

Although I live in Virginia now, I don't have a single ounce of southern in me.  My family moved from Maryland when I was a teenager, and even though it is technically below the Mason-Dixon line, there was some other imaginary line we must have crossed when we entered Virginia, because all of a sudden we were clearly in the South.

I say "you guys" instead of "y'all," and "cart" instead of "buggy."  I had never had grits before or sausage gravy and biscuits.  And I had certainly never fried anything.  So when Riley came inside from checking on the garden the other day and declared that we should make fried green tomatoes, my first thought was "... and we can watch the movie while we eat them!" (Because clearly I love any excuse for a themed dinner, even if it's just the two of us.)  But my second thought was, "how in the world do you fry a tomato?"

But with my southern country boy beside me, to tell me things like "that's not enough oil," we managed to fry up some delicious fried green tomatoes.  And yes, then we watched the movie.

Fried Green Tomatoes
recipe adapted from here

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
Vegetable oil
Salt to taste



In one shallow bowl, add 1/4 cup of flour.
In another bowl, combine the egg and buttermilk.
In a third bowl, combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Add oil to a depth of about 1/4 inch (I also added a little bacon grease, as well) in a large skillet; heat to 375°. 
First, dredge tomato slices in the flour, then dip in egg mixture, and then dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Gently drop tomatoes into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. 
Allow to drain on paper towels or a cooling rack.


I was surprised at just how much I liked them!  
And then, just for good measure, we stuck them on blt's.  And Riley declared it the best sandwich he's ever had.  And that boy knows his blt's.


Have you ever fried green tomatoes before?  I felt a little out of my element, I confess, but it was definitely well worth the try!


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I'm linking up with Jessica and Ashley today!

Aug 26, 2013

the funny thing about time


Lately, time has been doing this funny thing where it seems to speed up and slow down at all the wrong moments.
Okay, maybe it always seems to do that, but it's always more evident when you have a looming deadline.  Friday night during our drive to New Bern, Riley and I finally wrote out a (loooong) list of everything that we need to accomplish in the next few weeks before we move out and leave on our trip.  There were a few brief moments of relief and satisfaction after completing the list, because it gave us a little clarity and helped free up some brain space by getting it all written down.  Then the feeling passed, and we realized once again that we were stuck in a car for several hours, unable to actually accomplish anything on said list.

You wouldn't believe the number of times that we have driven to the boat and back without ever actually taking it out for a sail.  But, slowly and surely we are beginning to check things off of that long list.  And no matter what we spent the day doing, and regardless of how many frustrating moments we spent doing it, sitting on the boat at the marina, watching the setting sun turn the sky pink, and feeling the cool breeze as the temperature finally starts to drop, always has a way of soothing the soul.



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linking up with Sami today for Weekend Shenanigans!

Aug 23, 2013

the star city of the south


We may be just a little city, nestled in a valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  But, we have our own claim to fame, nonetheless.

On top of a mountain, overlooking the city, rests the world's largest man made star.  The overlook that hosts this structure of steel and neon lights, boasting a gorgeous view of the city below, is the perfect place to take out of town guests or maybe a first date.


Or, if you're really lucky, maybe even one of those old married people Thursday night dates.  You know, the kind that starts with dinner on the couch because you just started a new series on Netflix, and ends with a trip to Lowes... taking the scenic route.  

Not too much excitement, but just enough to get the weekend started off on the right foot.



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Aug 22, 2013

life lessons from the jerk


Have you ever seen the movie The Jerk?  It's an old 1979 Steve Martin movie.  The whole thing is entirely ridiculous, and I don't recommend it.  However, it is one of my Dad's all time favorites, so it was necessary to see it at least once in my lifetime.  That was several years ago, but this one part has always stuck with me.  At this point in the movie, Steve Martin's character strikes it rich, and then loses everything.  As he is leaving his house and everything he owns, he grabs an ashtray declaring that it's all he needs.  But it doesn't stop there, and eventually "all he needs" becomes, in fact, several of his seemingly meaningless material possessions.

As we get ready to pack up our entire house and move onto a sailboat, the words "all I need..." keep playing over and over in my mind.

It is so easy to accumulate so much "stuff."  We have furniture stuff, kitchen stuff, clothing stuff, sentimental stuff... the list goes on and on.  How easy it is to convince ourselves that these material possessions are so much more important than they really are.  And so now, how do we take a household full of things that we have accumulated in the last five years, and narrow it down to the bare necessities?  What do we really need?

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to weed out some of the excess.  To break away from the "stuff" and be free to focus on the things that really matter.  To live life without the constraints that having stuff also brings and get back to the basics.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy for me.  Materialism is certainly something I struggle with.  And I can almost guarantee that at some point during this whole process I will be caught saying, "But I need this... and this..."

Are you also waging a war on materialism and consumerism?  
What do you need?


Also, does anyone have any tips on minimalist living?


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Aug 21, 2013

the perks of country living

Shirt: J. Crew Pants: Loft Watch: Vintage Necklace: The Bauble Dept.

1. There is no shortage of greenery whenever you happen to need a contrasting background for a picture of yourself in bright red pants.

2. The only ones photo bombing your pictures are the deer.

3.  Posing along the side of the road in a leopard print top and tight red pants will in no way be misconstrued as, you know, inappropriate.  Mainly because (fingers crossed) there is no one in sight.  Unless of  course, you do count the deer.


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Aug 20, 2013

grilled peaches and mozzarella


Did you know that August is National Peach Month?  Naturally, it must be celebrated.  I was looking for a new and interesting side dish to try, because all too often I resort back to the same old boring side salad.  When I came across this recipe, it reminded me of a caprese salad, and looked equally easy and delicious.  And easy and delicious are the only two qualifications I have for random food holiday celebrations.

Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad
adapted from here

1 peach, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
1/3 cup olive oil

4 peaches, sliced (1/4-inch)
6 oz. baby arugula
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 (1/4-inch) slices


1. Combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor for about 10-15 seconds, or until smooth. Add oil, and pulse until thoroughly combined. 


2. Coat grill grate with cooking oil, then preheat on medium-high. Brush both sides of peach rounds with peach dressing and grill for about 3-5 minute on each side, or until grill marks appear.


3. Dress each plate with arugula, then alternately layer grilled peach rounds and mozzarella slices on top (I layered mine three times then added a few extra peaches on the top). Drizzle with remaining peach dressing.

In Riley's professional opinion, each bite really needs to consist of all three components in order to get the maximum flavor experience.


Speaking of peaches, does anyone else remember the song "Peaches" (by The Presidents of the United States of America)? I literally cannot say the word "peaches" without thinking "peaches come from a can..." (usually out loud, in song form.) Riley thinks I'm crazy, but I swear it was a real song.


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I'm linking up with Jessica and Ashley today!

Aug 19, 2013

have you ever seen a man read an instruction manual? twice?

working on installing the autopilot
a rainy Saturday and bright Sunday both made us so grateful for the cover of the new bimini
a lot of reading... instruction manual reading, book reading, and more instruction manual reading
the bimini, without the connector that covers the rest of the cockpit as well


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Aug 16, 2013

my american pickers moment


1. These roses were definitely the highlight of my week!  There is nothing sweeter than a Tuesday evening surprise bouquet of "just because I love you" roses!  Aren't they just gorgeous?  Fresh flowers just have a way of brightening my day every time I see them.  Especially when they were such a thoughtful and unexpected gift.


2. I felt like I was in my very own version of American Pickers yesterday as I wandered around my in-laws old farmhouse.  Except of course, for the crawling around and getting dirty part.  And the fact that the treasures were already laid right out in front of me, and I didn't actually have to pay for anything...  But anyway, I am the proud new owner of this gigantic and ornate frame, and I can't wait to get a mirror for it and put it to good use! (you know, after it sits in storage for a few months while we're sailing...)


3. The weather here for the past few days has been absolutely amazing!  Just cool enough to tease me into thinking that fall might be even closer than I had dared to hope.  That, paired with the sudden arrival of so many beautiful new fall catalogs (like this one from Ruche) makes me so anxious for it's arrival!


4. Speaking of, we're headed back down to New Bern this weekend to install some exciting key pieces on the boat, a bimini (it shades the cockpit of the boat) and an autopilot!  Never in my life would I have thought that I would be excited about such things, but they are going to make our trip so much more enjoyable and I am so thankful that they were possible!


5. I came across this photo of Gidget and my mom from last summer, and it was just too cute not to share :)



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          THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Aug 15, 2013

the boy behind the blog

You already know that Riley has been a willing and cooperative photographer, and I've also gushed about him here.  But when I came across the "Boys Behind the Blog" link up, I thought he just might like to take the floor and speak for himself for a change.  You just never can be sure what's going to come out once you get him going, though...

His best imitation of the blogger outfit post pose.  Appropriate for his debut, no?

1. What would you do with $1,000,000?
PAY TAXES.
Perhaps it would be nice to have a million dollars (or what was left of it after Uncle Sam got his piece...), but I don't really put a lot of stock into having a lot of money.  I'd worry that it would make me lose sight of the satisfaction I get from the hard work I invest into achieving certain goals.  That being said, if I had to keep it, I'd probably do the exact same thing I'm doing now.  Just, go for a little longer and worry a little less. (he's referring to this.)

2. What is your dream job?
My dream job would probably be owning real estate rentals.  So, I would be building rental properties with profits from the properties I already owned and using the trade skills I already have to grow my business.

3. Who is your celebrity crush?
Mila Kunis.  She reminds me of my wife.  Small, brunette, fiesty, and funny.

4. What is your favorite sports team?
Green Bay Packers.  Because when I was in the second grade they had Antonio Freeman, who played for a local college.

5. What was your AOL/AIM screen name back in the day?
I think it was kickinman.  I can't remember it exactly.  I used to do martial arts from my early youth until I was about 19.  While I no longer train, I feel like it would be a great benefit to other youth to learn the practice of courtesy, integrity, perserverance, self control, and an indominable spirit that martial arts teaches.


There's probably a lot more he'd like to tell you, but we'll just stick with the five link up questions for now :)

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Boys Behind The Blog
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