Friday favorites: Hawaiian happiness

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just wow. what an amazing week it’s been! i can’t believe today is our last full day here. there is so much to tell. and i completely intended to do some in-depth posts while i was here, but guess what: i have been too busy actually enjoying my vacation to write about it! i still hope to do some longer posts (like the ones from France) when i get home, but wanted to post a few quick hits here and share some of my favorite moments from the week so far. enjoy and happy Friday, everyone!

1. Pearl Harbor
SONY DSC this spot was on the list of places i knew i wanted to see, but i really had no idea how moving it would be and how patriotic it would make me feel. the exhibits do a fantastic job setting up what was going on in the world leading up to the attack — a lot of which i seem to have tuned out in my high school history classes. well worth the few hours we spent soaking it all in.[/caption]

2. North Shore
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after our Pearl Harbor visit, we took advantage of a napping girl and headed north to Oahu’s famed North Shore. we parked and got out at Lanaikea Beach. Miss Girl’s pants immediately came off and she went crazy running along the rocks and in the surf. she seemed so completely at home, i couldn’t help but have some major flash forward moments to her as the quintessential badass surfer girl . . . and start wondering what if she went to school out here.

3. getting lei’d
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it took 3 full days in Hawaii, but i finally got lei’d! Miss Girl was not happy about any of it. in her defense, it did kind of itch. they were so beautiful, though!

4. rainbows
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yes! double rainbow! what does it mean??? no idea, but we have seen multiple rainbows every single day since we’ve been in Maui — a complete relief, considering that it was basically pouring down rain at the airport when we arrived on Wednesday. we were afraid we wouldn’t even see the sun, much less beautiful sights like this. luckily the weather in Ka’anapali doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what’s going on 45 minutes away in Kahului. once again . . . #westsideisthebestside

5. ahi poke
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omg, y’all. i’m pretty sure i’ve had some version of this before, but this fish salad (pronounced po-kay) is like all i want to eat here. the ahi is amazing and every version is a little different. kind of like how in the south, everyone’s got a chicken salad recipe and no two are the same. the one pictured above is from Koa’s Seaside Grill in Lahaina on Maui. we stopped in to grab a bite (and a fruity cocktail) at an odd hour and were pleasantly surprised by a killer happy hour menu. i won’t even begin to guess what was in this, except some kind of seaweed and some chili peppers, but it was amazing. perfect with the homemade tortilla chips and rice crisps. definitely need to experiment with some recipes when i get home!

Friday favorites: Hawaii Five-OMG!

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thanks to the magic of scheduled posting, when this little slice of life hits the interwebs, i will be on a plane to Hawaii! it’s not a secret i’ve been keeping from you guys intentionally, it has just been an insane couple of months, during which i’ve quit one job, started another, lost a beloved doggie, launched my Wine Shop At Home business, bachelorette-fêted and married off a dear friend, met Biz Markie and started running again. whew!

not only is this a much needed vacation over Miss Girl’s spring break, it’s a really big deal: Spy is turning 50! back last autumn when we started talking about how to celebrate his half-century, my idea was to throw him a big Hawaii Five-0 themed luau. not one to enjoy being the center of attention, he countered “Let’s just go to Hawaii, instead.” i think my response was something like “Okay, Moneybags.” but the next thing i knew, it was booked. and he is beyond excited. and so am i. (that glass above was part of a pre-trip Christmas gift i gave us to keep the excitement going.) Continue reading

Friday Favorites: slacksplaining my absence

hate blog posts that begin with an apology for having been gone for so long, for not writing, for ignoring readers in favor of real life pursuits. so i’m not going to be that blogger. suffice to say there has been a lot going on in my world recently and now that the dust has settled a bit, i thought it would be fun to catch y’all up on 5 of my favorite things that have kept me so incredibly busy the past month or so. settle in. this one might be long. thanks for sticking around and happy Friday, everyone!

1. shopping
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y’all can have your shoes and jewelry. i’m a sucker for a handbag. and after i missed out on an amazing 75% off black Kate Spade tote at their holiday surprise sale because i was trying to be responsible and not splurge on myself (what was i thinking?), i vowed never to let an obsession of the moment get away again. i am utterly in love with this delicious creation. the Grand Street Colorblock Gabriel is the perfect size for normal pocketbook stuff like a wallet and make-up, plus roomy enough to tote around a small laptop and my notebook — making it the perfect size to stash everything needed for, say, a plane ride. originally $478, i snagged it for about $160 including tax after having the internal debate again for only about 3 hours this time. amazing bag. amazing deal. and no, you may not have one because, just like the bag i went gaga over at Christmas, this one is sold out!

2. sipping wine


so, that i have been sipping wine is clearly nothing new. but what’s different this time is that i got to do it a couple weekends ago with some of my best girlfriends during a fun-filled day of winery touring in Virginia to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of them. we hit Pippin Hill for lunch and bubbles, then a white and a red at Dave Matthews’ Blenheim. we followed up dinner in Charlottesville, accompanied by (probably too much) bourbon, with a good old-fashioned gab and grub session (over more cocktails, obvs) in our jammies in the living room of the adorable 1750s farmhouse (complete with cows, chickens, goats and maple syrup taps on the trees) that we had rented for the weekend. i cannot think of a more perfect address for a bachelorette weekend than Dick Woods Road. (i’ll just leave that right there.) so many laughs and so much love, beautiful views and delicious tastes . . . it was a fantastic weekend full of all my favorite stuff. can’t wait to go back up for the wedding next weekend!

3. sneaking around playing Tooth Fairy


OMG IT FINALLY HAPPENED!! after moping around for months because all her school friends were losing their teeth, Miss Girl finally had a little wiggle. then a big wiggle. then at 7:00 last Saturday morning (because you know it couldn’t happen at the crack of dawn on a school day when we’re up anyway), she raced into our room, jumped on the bed and announced that her tooth had finally come out. and she carried the evidence in her hand. well. i’d been thinking about it since that first wiggle and casually browsing Pinterest for cute ideas on how the Tooth Fairy would deliver her goods, but of course never actually downloaded any of the gazillion printables i’d looked at. bedtime Saturday night was go time for me and of course, at that point, i couldn’t find anything i thought was exactly right. so i whipped something up on Canva. and i think it turned out pretty cute, if i do say so myself! after my covert operation was done, Spy deftly slipped my handiwork under her pillow. the next morning, we were met with another exuberant early wake up. though, i think she was a little disappointed that her haul was only $1. but, as we like to say around our house: you git whatchya git and you don’t pitch a fit. 

4. snuggling by the fire
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this one’s a lame. i know. but y’all. do you know how many hours can be consumed just trying to get and stay warm? i am a summer girl, 1000%. and all this cold, dark weather lately has had me ready to curl up in pajamas and a blanket, binge eat and binge watch until things thaw out. so i’ve traded in my flip flops for fuzzy socks and have kind of done just that on a lot of recent nights and weekends, which is honestly just so unlike the usual me who is always busy doing something. my state of mind and my waistline can’t take much more of it. coooooome on, spring!

5. snagging a new job
I feel the start of something new!

(image: quotesgram.com)

today is my last day in my current job. for a variety of reasons it’s probably not appropriate to go into here, i just wasn’t that into it anymore. seriously nothing terrible, but it’s like when you’ve been dating someone for a year or so and it just doesn’t really seem like it’s going anywhere. there’s still things you love about them, but you find yourself fantasizing about being in a different situation. then some hot young thing winks at you from across the room and you know it’s over. that hot young thing approached me and we flirted for several weeks before deciding to make things official. i start my new gig on Monday and i’ve got all kinds of mixed emotions about making the move. but overall, i feel like the change will be a good one that will have a positive effect on some other areas of life. more on this later, probably, but for now i’m looking forward to a new week and a new chapter!

 

Friday favorites: best of 2015

happy 2016, y’all!! i’m tired. and not just because i stayed up too late on New Year’s Eve and drank too much! (i mean, maybe that’s about to happen. i’m writing this one early — for once — so i’ll have to let y’all know!) and not because i had a terrible year (i’m already seeing the Facebook posts about “good riddance to 2015!”).

no, we just had our normal post-holiday visit with our folks in the northern colonies . . . a 5-day jaunt to Richmond and DC to visit our parents and friends, which was fantastic, as always, but wow. just so much after the whole month or so of activities. with crazy weather, we arrived back in Atlanta around 10:00 Wednesday night. i had to show my face in the office for a bit on Thursday. and then finally, finally settled down to a little quiet with surf ‘n’ turf cooked (and being eaten on a rotating basis since we all are more in nosh mode than sit-down), 3 girls upstairs in the playroom watching the Seacrest New Year’s Eve show (better than 3 girls screaming in my kitchen! — i just made them promise to let me know when One Direction comes on!), the husband watching football in the livingroom and me in the office drinking wine, reflecting on the past and wondering about the future.

whoooooooshyogapantsfeelgoodrightnow . . .

so i know i haven’t posted in a long time. there has been a lot going on here. nothing totally bad. and nothing totally good. but enough life stuff to have kept me focused on other things and not writing regularly. i’m working on what fixing that looks like, as well as broader new year’s resolutions and such. in the meantime, before i can look forward, i wanted to spend this post looking back at some of my favorite moments of 2015 (in no particular order of course!). it really was a good year, as years go. hope y’all feel the same! and if not, as they are saying in Facebook memes, today is the first blank page of a 365-page book — write a good one!

France
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i mean. there could not have been a more amazing vacation and week of togetherness for me and my family than our Spring Break in France. can’t wait for Hawaii 5-0 (neither can you! stay tuned . . .).

glamping!
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seriously, yurts-so-good was maybe the funnest weekend of the year. despite getting in uber trouble for joining the wiccans in their full moon ceremony (sheesh), this was an epic weekend with amazing friends who i hope we’ll keep forever. so. much. love.

Lily
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there have been a lot of ups and downs since she arrived on our scene last January. for example, ups: she is an amazing snuggler. downs: she eats everything . . . shoes, rugs, the house (literally) . . . somehow, the ups make up for the downs and just less than a year later, i cannot imagine life without her.

Parker
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no. my cat dying was not one of my favorite moments. i still miss him terribly. that last morning with him, when i knew it was not going to end well, we had a good snuggle and a good conversation. and in that last few hours, i know we solidified everything we’d meant to each other in the past 15 years. big, good stuff.

DC
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Spy and i never actually lived in this amazing city at the same time. maybe crossed paths at The Tombs, we’ve decided, but that’s it. post-Christmas visit confirmed our love for all the in-town awesome. we really don’t get back there enough and visits always make me miss it. just maybe Miss Girl will go to Georgetown like her dad and we’ll just have to be up there like all the time . . .

Writing 101: a map and a stat

antique France map

aww hell, y’all. i just realized Blogtober starts tomorrow. looks like Helene and Tay are maybe not playing this year, so not sure which group i will link up with. (alternates, anyone?) with a backlog of Writing 101 posts, plus an urge to get back to some of my normal posts, maybe not finding a prompt list and linking up is a smart thing. but whoever said i was smart?

at any rate, figured i should crank out some more of the assignments i already have, while i can. luckily, once again, i have found a way to combine posts. yay, me! gold star for creativity and perfecting the slack. Day 16 asked us to search our stats for a post idea and today, Day 18 (today!), asks us to use a map as our muse. in response, i say thank god for France. then you say WTF? and then i explain . . .

my series of posts on our trip to France this past April was by far the most viewed and shared set of content i’ve created since starting this blog a year ago. it was one of the first times i got totally mesmerized by my own stats and really got pumped to try to keep the levels up. in particular, views on a post about Strasbourg skyrocketed after my Twitter share of the post was picked up by local tourism authorities. it taught me a lot about the importance of social media in blogging if you want your work to get read and shared widely. in the past 5 months, i haven’t been able to replicate the dynamic. also explains to me why travel bloggers do so well. oh well.

so obviously, i need to drop my day job, pick up my family and go back to France all the time and write about it. duh. but in absence of this option, what? well, we are thinking of Hawaii for next spring break. can i break my own record next April? we’ll see. until then, i’m mining my stats for other trends and topics. stay tuned . . .

September first: yurts so good!

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first time camping in forever, y’all! and definitely my first time staying in a yurt. 19 went into the woods. 19 came out. there were no lions, tigers or bears. though there may have been a racoon, a tarantula and a coven of witches performing a full moon ceremony. true story.

all in all, our weekend adventure was a total blast. i was completely impressed at how well kept and un-creepy the whole sleeping and bathroom situations were, aside from the Friday the 13th scenarios that kept playing in my mind every time i had to walk the 100 yards up a dark path from the campfire to the loo. personal issues, i guess. we had a couple little bugs scamper across the floor at night. i was much less worried about them being buggy and more worried about them waking Miss Girl, who insisted on sleeping on the floor, true outdoorsman that she is. she also insisted on peeing outside the entire weekend and was kind of mad at me that i wouldn’t. i had to draw the line somewhere. besides, i would totally take Jason over an ass-full of poison ivy any day.

so, here are a few pics:

Friday night after everyone arrived and got set up, the kids ran around like maniacs while the adults cooked, cocktailed and caught up. Cards Against Humanity inevitably came out (white people do like $5 foot longs, thank you very much.) and i was glad we had those jelly jar tea lights to read by! i think i mentioned that we spend a lot of time with most of these folks, as we’re all neighbors and the kids are in school together. but it was fun to hang out in a different setting with a different set of activities and discoveries going on.

speaking of activities, Saturday morning, we all piled onto a pontoon boat and cruised around Lake Hartwell for most of the day. i so love being on the water and it feels like it’s been ages since we were on a private boat. it reminded me of the weekends we used to spend with friends cruising the Potomac in Spy’s family’s boat when they still had the house there. nothing better than the sun on your face, wind in your hair and an occasional spray of surf.

anyway, the guys had found 2 awesome spots last year that they wanted to show everyone. the first was an area with some cliffs, where the popular thing to do was climb the rope and jump off into the water. that was mostly for the dads and older kids, while the rest of us — including my heights-fearing self — watched from the comfort of the water, gently floating in our life jackets. the second was a little cove with a great beach and an underwater terrain that dropped from 0-10 feet almost immediately. the kids loved swimming around in the deep water. i could do without the alternately sandy and mucky bottom (which has always freaked me out in lakes), but the beach was a perfectly nice spot to sit and watch all the fun. the whole day was so much fun in fact, that it nearly sealed the deal on the idea of taking a lake vacation next summer instead of our annual trip to Tybee. guess i’ll have to get used to the muck.

more maniacs running, cooking, cocktailing and catching up ensued after we got back to camp. another sleep with the with the windows open and cicadas singing and it was time to pack up and head out. just in time, because after a beautiful Saturday, Sunday morning threatened downpours several times before we actually got out of there — luckily with not much more than a sprinkle. all in all an awesome weekend that i’d be surprisingly happy to do all over again.

here’s to trying new things and a happy September!

Friday favorites: into the woods!

in just a few hours, we’ll be heading to Tugaloo State Park with 4 other families for the weekend. 9 adults, 10 kids (omg, how did we get outnumbered??), 4 yurts and 2 pontoon boats for 2 nights of unlimited fun. we are so excited! the other 4 families are all neighbors or former neighbors. all the kids go to school together (or would if A&G hadn’t picked up and moved to South Carolina. boo.) and i just think they are going to have such an amazing time together, i can’t wait to watch! the adults are all some of my absolute favorite people to hang out with, so i know we all will have a good time, too. this is how memories get made, y’all! anyway,  i’ve got about a million things still to pack and do before it’s time to pick up Miss Girl and hit the road, but thought it would be fun to write a quick glamping-themed favorites post in honor of the coming adventure. i’ll give y’all a full update when we return! have a great weekend, everyone!

koozies for boozies!
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obviously, there will be beer. so obviously, there had to be koozies! really random, but i’m loving Discount Mugs to print these (and the ones i made for our Tybee trip). they do runs as small as 25, which you know is unusual if you’ve ever tried to get any of these things printed. so far, i always get mine double-sided. they have a decent online design tool or you can upload your own art (i’ve only done mine with their tool). this time their designer didn’t match what i’d done, but it was a quick turn-around to get it adjusted and i think they look great. definitely recommend them for this kind of thing!

mood lighting
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so, as i was raiding my pantry at 11:00 last night to find random snacks Miss Girl won’t eat or other stuff we can unload on our friends (not really/really), i found the perfect solution for the 1,000 pack of Ikea votives i’d put in the packing pile: jelly jars! remember that time i made all that peach jam? and then apple? yeah, so i had a dozen jars just sitting on the shelf gathering dust because none of that has happened in forever. they’ll be perfect holders to give a little light and sparkle to our campsite! (image: homedit.com)

grub on the go
TheGirlWhoAteEverythingWalkingTacosi won’t lie. the idea of planning and buying everything for a meal for 20 people that can be stored in a cooler and cooked outside was totally overwhelming to me. thank goodness, in the end, we took the more sane approach of jointly coming up with some really basic meals (burgers and burgers . . . maybe a hotdog) and sent 2 people to Costo to buy everything. in the meantime, though, L had done some searching for good meal ideas and other stuff (love her Pinterest board for it!). this idea for walking tacos is completely fun. didn’t make the cut, but maybe some random Saturday we can make these and eat them in the park. (image: The Girl Who Ate Everything)

speaking of Pinterest . . .
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i mean. i should have guessed, but never really thought about it before. yes, y’all. there is a ton of shit on Pinterest about glamping! probably a good idea i didn’t discover this until like 6 hours ago or i would have made myself crazy finding beautiful, delicious, amazing things to do, make, eat and wear that would never. ever. happen.

lake sunsets
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being on the water is one of my favorite things in life and i’m so excited that we’ve got 2 of these to look forward to this weekend at Lake Hartwell! (image: Southern Lake Living)

summer sunset: week 7.5

my, how time flies! we have been having fun, i suppose, but i mean where on earth has the summer gone? school starts a mere 3 weeks from yesterday! THREE WEEKS, y’all! between that realization, having just finished up our big summer vacation and working on a holiday campaign for a retail client, my mind’s already drifting to fall weather, sweaters and football. totally crazy, i know, right?

anyhow, i know i haven’t done one of these posts in like a month, so there is tons to catch up on and probably a ton i’m forgetting about (the mind is old and feeble, so bear with me). but here are a few things that have stuck with me this past few weeks.

1. a week at the beach is better than a week at the office, no matter what. in my last post, i wrote a little about how this year’s annual beach trip maybe wasn’t quite as fun for everyone as usual. on top of that, i know i returned to Atlanta feeling a little like i needed another vacation. but you know what? for 7 entire days, i barely got dressed beyond a swimsuit or put on make-up, didn’t worry what time it was or even know what day it was. beer at 10:00 a.m.? bring it. spending an afternoon on the porch with a book? hell yeah! things might have felt a little different this year, but they damn sure felt better than spending that week at work.

2. you can survive a week vacation with 2 pairs of contacts. yeah, so that moment when we’d been in the car for 4 hours and i suddenly realized i forgot to pack contacts. that was pretty awesome. luckily, i managed to dig up 2 and a half pairs in my toiletries bag that had been there god knows how long and 1 in my make-up bag. bonus: i actually did remember solution and there was a case stashed in there somewhere, too. i managed to stretch the first 2 through all week and didn’t even end up blind or with pink eye!

3. you can never eat too many fish tacos. seriously, y’all. i had a bona fide thing last week. North Beach Bar & Grill and Tybee Island Social Club hooked me right up. i was in heaven.

4. hot dogs make fantastic pill pockets. right. so the day before we came home, we got a call from the kennel. Lily had fallen victim to Atlanta’s Great Bordetella Plague of 2015 (that and canine influenza are apparently out of control). both she and Clara were put on antibiotics and a cough suppressant. that first night home, after several failed attempts to shove the meds down their throats (how many slobbery, spit up pills can one girl take? sheesh.) i had the brilliant idea to cut off hot dog chunks and shove the pills in the middle. worked like a charm! the girls love them and i didn’t have to make a special trip to the pet store. win, win!

5. after 7.5 weeks of summer, i’m not the only one thinking about fall. at some point in the past few days, Miss Girl very earnestly asked me when she was going back to school. contrary to what i would have expected the meaning behind the query to be, her tone told me she was hoping my answer would be “soon.” i asked if she missed school, she gave a resounding “yes!” honestly, i don’t blame her. in addition to football and sweater weather, i’m looking forward to a more productive daily routine — even if it does mean getting her out the door for the bus at 7:15.

hope everyone’s had some great fun and great stories so far this summer!

behind the door

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well, The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge to share an image of a door got updated this morning literally right after i decided i would go for it and write this post. okay, so whatevs. this is more a story than a photo, anyway. it’s definitely not a great photo. nor is it a great door. the numbers hang crooked and a few cobwebs hang in the corners above it. the tiled hallway that leads to it is always covered with sand and strewn with beach bags, toys and flip flops. but it is the entrance to the place i’ve lived for the past 6 days and the place where we’ve spent a week every July for 4 years now with 2 of our best friends from Richmond and their children.

the modest little beachfront condo that lies behind this door is currently filled with a holy disasterpiece (as Miss Girl would say). there are a thousand markers, paper airplanes, towels, blankets, bathing suits and half-eaten plates of lunch scattered and piled on every surface within a 5 year old’s reach. i dread this evening’s last-night ritual of pulling our shit together (and our of every corner) in anticipation of packing the cars and evacuating at the ungodly early hour of 10:00 tomorrow morning.

but the other, more important thing this condo is filled with is memories. Continue reading

munch out on your lunch out: beach edition

Fish Taco & Sweet Potato Fries

even though we just bought like $1,000,000 worth of groceries for the week, when the kids said “let’s eat lunch out!” we couldn’t say no to a stroll up the beach to one of our favorite spots on Tybee Island. North Beach Bar & Grill is the quintessential beach bar, but with really good food. i love the Caribbean feel of the brightly painted exterior and decor. you can definitely lose an afternoon on the patio or cozied up at the outdoor bar. inside, the large windows are always open and fans pull the beach breeze through the restaurant. with the exception of a salty bartender one time a couple years ago, the staff has always been amazingly friendly and attentive. definitely a fun and family friendly atmosphere for a vacation lunch!

we started with some yummy homemade flour tortilla chips with salsa. Spy also got the asparagus and crab, which was basically a pile of lump crabmeat on a bed of asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes. yum. a round of burgers and grilled cheese for the kids kept them happy (and tasting Miss Girl’s burger, i was a little jealous i didn’t order one for myself). an amazing lobster roll was one of the many lunch specials. i went with a solid standby, the fish taco, which was the perfect combination of something fried, but still light. their sweet potato fries are truly spectacular — tossed in sugar and then drizzled with a balsamic reduction that is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy. we also couldn’t resist having just one (really!) Cruzan Confusion, a combination of 8 rums with orange and cranberry juice. that could have turned bad really quickly.

bellies full, we made our way back down the beach to our tent for an afternoon of jumping waves and digging our own tidal pools . . . and planning what to do with all those groceries.