Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back to Work

Long weekends are the best, am I right?
How hard is it to go back to work after an amazing weekend on the lake?

Pretty hard which is why I'm posting today instead of yesterday.

This past weekend was just plain fun. I felt a little bit like I was back in college- carefree and relaxed- and I think everyone needs weekends like that more often.

I was down on the beautiful Lake Keowee and we had perfect weather all weekend long. We spent most of the day out on the water on the boat or sun bathing on the dock. We played a lot of corn hole, listened to a lot of country music and ate a lot of stuff off the grill. I also got to see a lot of my sister who picked me up from the airport and then joined us all at the lake on Sunday. 
I just felt like I could breathe this weekend. Like I exhaled a little deeper and sank into relaxed mode as I  crossed over the bridge and saw the lake out the window framed by the mountains in the distance.  Being on the water is good for my heart. Let's just say I kinda hope my parents retire here one day so I can come more often!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lake Style

Tomorrow I am headed back to South Carolina for the long weekend. I am definitely looking forward to more time with friends, on a boat, barefoot, in the sunshine. I will be packing light because I plan to spend all day in sunglasses and my new bikini. Hope you all have fun weekend plans! If you need me I'll be on the lake... 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's been a while since I've linked up with the Hodgepodge. Hop over here to share your answers too!

1. It's National Bike you own a bicycle? When did you last ride a bike?

I do not own a bike and I think the last time I rode one was before high school, so like 10 years ago. But I think I've blogged a couple times now about how much I want an adorable beach cruise.  On my list of 101 things #24 is get a beach cruiser, bike to the metro. And this pretty little (very expensive) gem is pinned on my wish list.

2. What's something you learned in school that wasn't part of the curriculum? 
I don't think this was anything new or groundbreaking, but I definitely learned the hard way that high school girls can be pretty darn mean while at the same time appearing sweet and innocent.

3. What's a food you've never tried, but would like to try? What's a food you've tried, and will never try again?

Weirdly I've actually never had crawfish. I'm not sure how, after 5 years in South Carolina, I never got to  try those mudbugs but I love all shellfish and I think crawfish boils look so fun! As far as a food I'd be happy to never eat again, that would be foie gras. I posted here about how we had foie gras on the train to Paris one Thanksgiving and basically it ruined this "delicacy" for me.

4. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Why? Do you think that's a good trend?

Both. I am about to be 25, I've been out of college for 3 years. I've been living in D.C and in this job for 2 years. It's time to be a grown up but it's not time to be an old lady. I want to say yes to more opportunities, manage my money better, get my oil changed in my car without my mom having to remind me, take better care of my body. But at the same time I still give myself grace. It's ok that sometimes I'd rather watch re-runs of Friends for the millionth time in my sweats than go out on the town. And it's ok that I spent $300 on a flight for a second weekend away in one month. And it's ok that I ate popcorn and a Popsicle for dinner because I also did some yoga. It's all about the balance my friends.

5.Who is your favorite book, movie, or TV show villain?

Most recently it's been "The Governor" on the Walking Dead. He is so awful, I hate hate him. I'm sick of his shenanigans and I can't wait to see him get what he deserves. Also, from my favorite Disney movie, the Little Mermaid, we can't forget about Ursula. She is just the creepiest wickedest sea witch ever!

6. How concerned are you about identity theft?

I tear off my name and address from all the junk mail I toss in the trash just in case anyone decides to go through it and sign up for a credit card or whatever it is you do when you steal someone's identity. But I don't loose sleep over it.

7.Would you rather have an ordinary home in an extraordinary place or an extraordinary home in an ordinary place?

Location. Location. Location.
8. My roommate showed me this kinda cheesy but really powerful video the other day.
Definitely watch to the end, that's the best part.

"Find me here, and speak to me
I want to feel you, I need to hear you
You are the light that's leading me to the place
Where I find peace again
You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the life to my soul
You are my purpose
You're everything
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Something you should know about me...

I am not good at making decisions. If we are going to be friends you need to be aware of this. It's one of the things about myself that absolutely drives me crazy... and it will drive you crazy too.

Which purse looks better with this outfit? 
Chipotle or chick-fil-a?
Do I want to shower now or in the morning?
Should I wake up for ballet  or sleep in?
Should I stay or should I go? 

I probably should have been a lawyer because I can convince myself of any side of any decision. So well in fact that I literally work myself up into a stressed out little ball trying to just make a choice.

Most recently... do I want to go to the lake with friends or stay in town with my parents for the memorial day weekend?

I like to choose the option that makes everyone else happy first. I am a pretty "glass half full" kind of girl and can be happy doing just about anything. I hate letting people down. Disappointing my parents or hurting someone's feelings kills me. I'm not happy if I sense the people around me are unhappy.

Tell me what you want and that can be what I want too.
That's kind of how my decision making goes...

Choosing between two awesome options cripples me.
Cannot function. Have to ask everyone else's opinion. Have to call my sister, poll my roommates.

What would you do? 
Are you sure you don't mind?
Will you be mad?
Am I annoying you yet?
Can you just decide for me?

I chose to go to the lake and honestly it was out of character for me. Ever since I booked my flight I've been feeling conflicted and guilty and now I'm worried that I'm going to spend my weekend at the lake missing my parents.

Even when I FINALLY make a freakin' decision, I still second guess myself, and fret over it, and look at what it would cost to cancel my flight or book a train to my parents. And basically doubt whether any decision I ever made was right.

And I'll probably keep doing that right on through the trip until the next scenario requires a decision.
Just wanted to give you the heads up because it's been taking up all my attention and I can't think of anything else to blog about.

I'm insane, I know.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What I Read in March & April (and in high school)

I'm behind on my reading recaps. Also, I haven't been doing that much reading...oops.

In March I read To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee. And I loved it! I had never read it before, it was never a school assignment for me. I wonder if that had something to do with how much I enjoyed it? Maybe if I had to read it for homework, and then dissect it in class, and memorize quotations to include in an essay, some of the joy of reading it might have gone away.

But instead I just got to soak it in and fall in love with soulful Atticus and the innocence of his children and notice on my own (not because the teacher said so) the importance of this book.

And then I couldn't read anything else for a while afterwards. What can capture your attention in the same manner after that text?

In April I didn't read anything (bad Shannon) because everything else seemed too fluffy and just kinda paled in comparison. Plus I was blogging 6 days a week for the A-Z challenge and I just didn't have the time or energy.

I think I'd like to go back and re-read some of the assigned books from high school that seemed tedious or boring and see if I would enjoy them more now that the pressure is off.

High school books I did not enjoy then and doubt I would enjoy now:
Ficciones- Jorge Luis Borges- a collection of short stories that read like an encyclopedia. The only story I enjoyed was The Lottery of Babylon which was crazy and confusing and violent but readable.
Metamorphosis- Franz Kafka - The man turns into a giant gross cockroach. I don't care what the message was, I was not getting on board with that.

And it would also be fun to go back and re-read the high school books that I loved:
Wide Sargasso Sea- Jean Rhys
Tartuffe- Moliere
Antigone- Sophocles
Eugénie Grandet- Honoré de Balzac

It's a new month and I am back on the reading train. May will be much more successful, there's nothing more relaxing than laying out in the sunshine with a good book.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gone to Carolina...

This past weekend was spent in Charleston, SC aka my favorite city in the whole country. I took off work Friday and after a few delays got in to town late Thursday evening. Stepping out of the airport, seeing palm  trees and feeling the warm breeze,  it just felt tropical (compared to Maryland) and I was instantly in vacation mode. I was staying with my old college roommate and we had so many fun plans for my all too short visit. I had been to Charleston a few times before for fraternity formals and other weekend trips so this time I just got to be a local. 

On Friday we spent a couple hours at my friend's nanny job where we walked around in the prettiest little neighborhood in Mt. Pleasant- my goal was to spend as much time outside in the Carolina sun as possible this weekend.  Afterwards we headed to happy hour at O-Ku on King Street for sushi and sangria and then back to her adorable house with the best porch to relax.

Porch sitting with a grapefruit flavored cocktail in my hand, and hot rollers in my hair, getting ready for a night out is probably one of my favorite things I've decided.

Saturday we slept in a bit and then headed to an easy brunch out at the Glass Onion where I finally got the huge yummy buttery biscuit I didn't know I was missing. After brunch we continued on down the road, shaded with trees and Spanish moss, to Wadmalaw, SC  to visit the Firefly Distillery.
The distillery is located on a vineyard and is just down the road from the only tea plantation in America. Our visit happened to fall on the same day as Winestock Music Festival so there was a ton going on around the property-a gourmet Popsicle stand (I had the salted watermelon flavor), live music, and food trucks. 
We mostly explored the property (where I managed to get 100 mosquito bites) and then visited the Firefly tasting room where I purchased something yummy in a mason jar to bring back north with me. We also ended up on the Charleston Scene website which I thought was pretty cool- for only being in town two days we were quite social. 

That evening we had tickets to the Needtobreathe concert at the Charleston Performing Arts Center. Let me rephrase that... we had the BEST tickets to the BEST concert I will ever see in my whole life forever and ever amen. Somehow, miraculously we ended up with front row seats- literally a foot away from my favorite band!
There is something amazingly wonderful about concerts where you can sing every word to every song. They also sang a really great song off of their new album still in the works called the Difference Makers and it is going to be yet another amazing record.
 And at the end of the concert Bear, the lead singer, grabbed my hand and gave me his guitar pick. A few minutes later a roadie came out and gave me Bear's email address. I basically swooned. Of course Bear's married so I'm not sure what that's about but I definitely emailed him! Oh, and I also got a drum stick. BEST CONCERT EVER!!

It was hard to come down from all that concert adrenaline so we slept in a bit the next day. We then had to scramble to throw together tailgate necessities: publix subs, and Lily Pulitzer cups for cocktails, before heading into "plantation county" to Hyde Park Polo Club. We spent my last afternoon in town watching polo, stomping on the divots and playing corn hole.  
 It was such a fun weekend and so hard to get on the airplane back to D.C. We had perfect weather and a perfectly full weekend that made me miss South Carolina so much more than I already do. Guess it's not too soon to start planning another trip back down there.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Weekend Recap

It's been a while since I wrote a normal blog post I've almost forgotten how. Time to get back into it now that I've recovered from the A-Z challenge.

This weekend was so much fun! One of my roommates got engaged!
I've know her fiancé was going to pop the question since January and I am so excited that I don't have to keep it a secret any longer.

Because as you know...I am the worst secret keeper ever!  And wedding talk seems to come up a A LOT around our house- it's basically a miracle I managed not to spill the beans. Of course I did tell our other roommate immediately after her fiancé told me to keep it to myself (he didn't know about my secret-keeping track record) ... oh well. I have to tell at least one person or I will burst.

So while the two lovebirds were out of town getting engaged, my other roommate and I ran around all weekend to plan a surprise engagement party for their return yesterday. We invited over a bunch of their friends, decorated the house, made a ton of food, and readied the champagne.  

That's the newly engaged roommate in the center- as you can see it took us a few tries to get a decent picture. We're easily distracted- but don't the pom-poms make a cute background prop?  They are super easy to make and they do a lot to up the cuteness of our house- we might just leave them up permanently.

I want to share two new recipes I tried for this party that were big Pinterest successes (I can now almost check off #40 from my list- try 10 pinterest recipes). First, these absolutely delicious bacon wrapped smokies in a brown sugar-maple glaze. They don't take that long to assemble and they were gone in a minute- hence no picture. They are definitely a crowd pleaser-especially when your crowd includes ten guys (bacon wrapped bacon seems to be pretty much every guy's fantasy food).

I also made these vanilla bean cupcakes. They were so moist and  I love the little flecks of vanilla in the cake. Plus, they turned out quite pretty if I do say so myself...
It was such a good weekend celebrating those two sweet friends. I am getting so excited for the warmer days ahead and this little party definitely set the mood for a fun-filled summer.