Wednesday, December 28, 2011

it's been too long...

well. moving really puts you behind. and as i said in a conversation with some family over the holidays, once you stop blogging, it's hard to start again. like working out. or plucking your eyebrows. (no?) and then once you start again, where do you start? so. i'm sorry. you're just going to have to miss out on most of the stuff i've done in the past two months. i know you're devastated.

basically, kyle and i have just been trying to find our routine, which i still don't think is quite right. moving is a time-suck.
mall traffic madness
10 things we've done while i was on hiatus.
1. got our first christmas tree together. very sweet and exciting. i almost wish we could just keep it up all year. 
2. watched the entire series of seinfeld. you know, since we don't have cable.
3. experienced the woes of having a useless landlord. seriously, there's no way you've been to that many funerals, had that many sons in minor car accidents and had surgery all in one month. sorry. i'm not buying it. come fix my sink.
4. went to a hockey game, and i was really taken aback by the violence that is encouraged there. but we enjoyed the cheap beer.
5. decorated our new place.
6. shopped at jcrew. we have one at our mall now, so you can pretty much guarantee we will be better dressed. and broke.
7. went to our first real work party. well, kyle's work. my chance to get a new dress.
8. drank a lot of tea/coffee/hot chocolate.
9. went to panera bread to use the internet a lot. yeah, we don't have that either yet.
10. traveled back to west virginia for various visits. 

tree decorating
our first christmas ornament made together
office party
home for the holidays
vintage postcard. tambourine.
old map from wayne high school

in all seriousness, a lot of things have happened in the last couple of months, and it's been extremely hectic and a bit stressful. some of it has even given us very heavy boots, but i know everything will be ok, and aside from the bad, there has been a lot of good going on, too. being with your person is the most wonderful thing.

i hope once we get our internet hooked up in the house, i will get back into a more consistent blog routine. it's almost a new year. here's to new jokes, new posts, new goals, new memories and new love. 


Thursday, November 17, 2011

second star to the right

taylor & me wearing christmas pajamas or something
last weekend was pretty special. kyle and i decided to surprise my sister, taylor, and come into town for her 20th birthday. yes, my little sister is 20. holy crap. anyway, we left tennessee around 630 friday evening and got home right about the same time she and my brother were getting home from the football game. was she surprised? oh yes. she even cried. :)
casey & taylor playing in the snow. i think i'm the
giant purple coat in the background
we had a fun weekend celebrating the beginning of her second decade of life and spending some time together. we had dinner out on saturday with a bunch of her friends, which i rode to with my brother. yes, my 17-year-old brother drove me to dinner in his new mustang. in.sane. then we had dinner and cake at home on sunday with our family. fun fun fun.
the kids helping taylor blow out her 20 candles
brady waiting patiently for ice cream cake
 i was so happy to surprise her for her birthday. i even had butterflies on the way there, and when kyle merged onto exit 8 to my parents' house, i had the same excited/throw up feeling i get when i have surprises for him. and it was especially great since she didn't have a clue and was so shocked she teared up. she is such a wonderful person. i'm so lucky to have such wonderful siblings.

it's hard to believe my sister and i are both in our 20s and our little brother is right around the corner. i'd just like to know where all that time went. one minute we're sleigh-riding and the next we're going to work. we've traded our pirate hooks for cellphones, pixie dust for gas money. neverland is far away and we're just trying to find our own way to another magical place, wherever that is. lost boy or not, i'm glad to have landed here with them.
sister <3
so, anyway, i know it's already over, but happy birthday, seester.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

it's hard to dance with a devil on your back

two songs you need to listen to right now:

"shake it out" by florence + the machine
"all kinds of kinds" by miranda lambert

please, if you never do anything for me ever again, just do this. look up the lyrics. study the music. i can pretty much promise they will both be stuck in your head and that you'll be a better person for having listened to them. and then if you really love me, you'll buy both of these albums and dance and sing around your house/apartment/parents' house/street like i've been doing.


Monday, November 7, 2011

update on everything

not having internet hooked up yet makes it really difficult to blog as often as i want. which would explain the lack of posts or general online presence. so to quickly update a little of what's been going on, here i am, at panera bread, using their wifi.

the house is still a mess, but coming a long nicely. i even have a little porch owl. (thanks, mom)

and pumpkins. it's like a legit porch.
from a local produce store down the street called pratt's country store

and new pillows (thanks, mom. again.).

we've basically just been trying to get organized in our new place. kyle works all day, and i stay home/run errands/clean/cook while he's gone. i've turned into a housewife overnight. hopefully i find work soon. i love being at home, but i'm not trying to be bree van de kamp. so this weekend, since we worked pretty hard on saturday, we didn't do much around the house on sunday.

we spent our first real weekend day doing what you should be doing on the weekends -- whatever the heck you want. sunday morning was spent watching seinfeld, eating cereal and drinking coffee out of christmas mugs.

then we cleaned just a little bit and then left to go for brunch. we found this great little place to eat called The Creamery. kyle says it might be our answer to not having a jim's in knoxville. no spaghetti or SMILE placemats, but a similar feel to the place. we had a great sunday brunch, and if not for our other busy plans for the rest of that day, i'm certain i would have promptly entered a carb coma. oh well. on to the next one.

apple stuffed french toast croissant, eggs and bacon
then we came to panera to use the internet (naturally), and after that, went to a movie. there's was a little mishap with the internet time and the actual time the movie was supposed to play. apparently daylight savings time doesn't apply to google. so we missed the first showing, but walked around this weird mall for an hour to wait for the next one, and kyle bought us some very comfortable/slightly too expensive sweatpants from hollister. we saw "sarah's key." omg. so sad. i won't even talk about it. just look it up if you're curious.

we had also planned to start trying churches to see if we can find one we like. the one we had planned to go to was having their thanksgiving dinner, though. two new people. first time they've ever been here. they just wanted free food. we didn't want to be those people, so we decided to wait until next week.

then after the movie, we used a gift card i had and enjoyed a free dinner, walked around target and looked at christmas decorations and lamps, and i bought us some peppermint mocha coffee creamer. it's no starbucks, but delicious nonetheless. and i'm sure you can see where this is going...

skinny sweatpants that smell like cologne. christmas mugs. coffee. seinfeld. couch. perfect end to a close to perfect day.

along with overpriced fleece, we also bought the new florence+the machine album and miranda lambert album. i'll probably post more about these later, but just trust me. they're both incredible.

in other news, the most handsome man is living with me. 

keep us in your prayers and good thoughts.


Monday, October 24, 2011

tennessee river...

well. we moved.
and now it looks like this...
it happened extremely quickly. kyle got the job, took about 12 hours to think it over, accepted it, we went to look for houses twice within the same week, signed a lease and packed our stuff. 

our dear parents went ahead of us on saturday and unloaded all of our stuff for us. kyle, taylor, casey and i arrived about 7 hours later to a house full of boxes and life. i am forever thankful that it worked out this way, and honestly, think it saved us all a lot of headaches.

we spent sunday afternoon at the grocery store and downtown, showing our families around our new city. my dad said he came her fully anticipating something terrible and ready to pick the place apart. but much to his disappointment (only because he didn't have any real reason to tell me to come home), he loved it. and i think everyone else did, too.

they left around 5, and i don't think it was as bad as the first time i left, but it still wasn't easy. being away from home has never been easy for me, but being with kyle on this new adventure is so exciting. leaving home is just a part of life and can seriously break your (and everyone else's) heart, but i am so excited to be going headfirst into this part of life with kyle.

hot tea and a new candle for our new place
on the way to knoxville, my sister rode with me in the car and she and i talked the whole way. literally, the whole way. like, my throat is sore because we talked so much. but we were talking about my leaving and the changes that are happening, and i told her if i had reached this part of life where i knew it was time to move away and i didn't have kyle, there's no way i could've made it through it, or even done it at all. i think i would be too cowardly to move by myself. not that i'm not independent, because my entire life i have been determined to do things for myself, even when i know i probably need help. but having to be alone in a new place while missing my family and friends? no way. in my experience, going through this with someone i know is going through the same things makes it easier. and fun. and exciting. and what's better than being with the love of your life in a new city and making a new home together? not many things. newborns, maybe. but pretty much, that's as good as it gets.

if i didn't think kyle and i were the real thing, i wouldn't do this. i wouldn't pick up and move. i wouldn't risk not having enough money. i wouldn't put myself through packing and unpacking and being away from my family and friends and not knowing what's going to happen next. but it is the real thing. i mean, i'm his emergency contact at work for god's sake. jokes. but seriously, i am. 

tennessee is pretty wonderful as far as states go, and aside from the zillions of pancake houses it has that basically just make me wanna gag every time i pass one, it's lovely. i'm happy this is where we landed, because for so long we had no idea where we were going to be. but as much as i think we will love it here, west virginia will always be where our hearts are. no matter where we are in the world.

porch owl. i have a porch.
keep us in your thoughts, prayers and hearts. we need positive vibes and support, and i hope you're all as excited as we are. 

here's to new beginnings.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

excitement: part II

if you remember, a few months ago i posted about having the opportunity to write for a new online magazine. well, it's up! sweet lemon mag began as a crazy idea and became an amazing online publication for twenty-something women, and i am so happy i was able to contribute to it.

the articles give you a little bit of everything — health and beauty, career and internship advice, workouts, dating — and as Carly Heitlinger, Editor-in-chief, said in her opening letter,

so in an effort to create a magazine that is the perfect in-between, sweet lemon was born. and it works. i can relate to just about every story in the magazine, not to mention enjoy it.

so check it out! you can find my photo on page 6 with the list of contributors, and my beauty article is on page 51. eek! all of the other articles are really wonderful and current, and i'm very proud to be included among other young women journalists and writers like me.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


disclaimer: i had this written way before i posted it because i was waiting for kyle to post on his blog about this. but here it is now!

you may be one of the handful of people who already know this, but…

kyle got a job in knoxville, tennessee at a design firm called morris creative group. eek! excitement! 

this is the beginning, people. we finally have a chance at a real start to a real life together. i couldn't be happier. or more proud. 

part I
so, obviously knoxville isn't in west virginia, which means we have to pack up all of our stuff and hit the road. we decided on a whim tuesday morning to drive to the volunteer state to look for places to live. kyle's brother, sister-in-law and nephew just happened to be in gatlinburgh, about an hour from knoxville, so we crashed with them and drove into town for the search. 

let me just tell you -- looking for apartments sucks. it sucks about like trying to shave your legs in the snow. we (kyle) drove all over knoxville looking at places we had found postings for online, only to find the "charming 2 bedroom home" was actually nestled over the hill in some sketchy neighborhood with piles of old mattresses in the yards. and if the places we saw weren't going to give us herpes just by looking at it, it costs double our budget. so basically the first day of searching was a complete disaster. we fought. i cried. our feet hurt. it was terrible. 

then on wednesday, we searched some more. and it was pretty much more of the same thing. just less crying. more overall frustration. we went to place after place on our google map we made on my computer, and each place, one after the other, was just a huge disappointment. 

then we looked at this place. 

it's in the same building as kyle's new job, which would be awesome. he could just walk downstairs to work, which means less gas money and more coffee drinking time. plus it's beautiful. but -- it cost way too much. and it was superrrrr tiny. like less than 500 square feet. i'm not even sure kyle's bed could fit in the bedroom. so that was that.

we have a couple of things lined up to look at when we go back again sunday, so hopefully one of those works out. 

at one point during all the frustration and tears, i thought "why are you freaking out? you get to move to an awesome city with the love of your life. calm the eff down." so i did. for a while. i was still frustrated that we hadn't been handed the keys to some amazing loft in downtown knoxville, and of course i don't want to live in a dangerous part of town or somewhere that has to be scrubbed down with bleach before moving in. but, i know if i can just keep everything in perspective, this will be fine. everything will be fine.

part II

so round two of place-hunting commenced sunday evening. we had a few places in mind we wanted to see the next day, so we made a master list while sitting in a local coffee shop. kyle put them in order according to location, and i tried to see what i could gather about the neighborhoods of each using google map street view. kyle also (accidentally) called one of the landlords, who talked to him for 30 minutes on the phone (he's chatty) while we sat in the quiet coffee shop. he set up a time for us to see the place, and we went about our planning.

the next day, we had breakfast, gathered our thoughts and went to meet Mr. Max to see a place on Rose Drive. because of some of the surrounding houses, unusual street location and unkempt yard, i didn't really have very high hopes. then this happened.

aside from some repairs and clean-ups that needed to happen to this place, i was pretty much in love with it -- the old details, the fireplace, the zillions of kitchen cabinets -- i mean, come on. there are some things that need replaced, painted, or wiped down, but other than that, it's pretty adorable. and honestly, i'd rather live somewhere that needs a little t.l.c than live in a cookie cutter place that is the exact same as the neighbors all around us. 

i'm just excited to have a place of my own and be with kyle and be able to decorate. and as awesome as this all is, i still feel that simultaneous feeling of excitement/anxiety/sadness. leaving home is still the epitome of the word bittersweet.

look for your "change of address" card from us. we'll be sending them out asap.


"who would have thought, that when you were trying to kiss on me all those years ago, that you would be moving to tennessee with me?" 
-- kjd (for the record, he was trying to kiss me all those years ago.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

cooking with gp: part seven + some desserts

it's been a while since i've done a cooking update, so here we go.

fish/chicken tacos
a few weeks ago, i made gwyneth's fish tacos...with chicken. see, i'm not a big fish person, so i sort of panicked when i got to the store and i came home with chicken instead. it still tasted delicious, but maybe next time i'll face my fish fear and go with it.

i used the same marinade for the chicken that gwyneth suggested for the fish, if you wanted to grill it rather than fry it. grilled is much healthier than fried, although fried would also be great.

i also made the lime crema, which is basically really tangy sour cream/mayonnaise with lime. i used sour cream instead of vegenaise or mayo, because i thought it would taste better. i'm also weird about mayo. it was really good, and again, i'm sure it would be really good the mayo way, too. i also made some black beans as another topper, as well as sliced avocado. everyone in my family liked this a lot and it was just enough to go around, so no waste. the lime marinated chicken was a great change for taco night. usually it's ground beef for tacos in my house, but these were light and wonderful and not greasy. make these again? heck yes. 

vegetarian chili
i made this for my birthday party — partly because i wanted to try it and partly because there were going to be at least two vegetarians at my party. and honestly, i love some good meaty chili, but this stuff was soooo good. i had a rather large bowl of it, and my brother said "why haven't you made me this yet?" well, brother, because i'm an idiot and didn't realize it was going to be something i will eat all winter/forever. the thing that throws you off about this is the carrot. seriously? in chili? yes. don't stray from the recipe on this one, as i often do out of fear. put in the carrot. actually, put in two carrots if you want. they are delicious.

bourbon mint ice cream
kyle and i made this for my birthday party. he wanted to try this recipe for months, i think, then when my mother randomly brought home the ice cream attachment for my kitchenaid, he was more than ready to try this. it turned out so creamy and good. it sort of tasted like gum. that's how minty it was. i mean, we used all of the leaves from my mint plant, plus some more store bought ones. so, a lot of mint. but it's so refreshing and ice-creamy at the same time. it's definitely not going to be something that everyone loves. but apparently i'm not one of those people. because i love it.

banana chocolate chip cake with whipped peanut butter frosting
my sister threw a surprise party for her boyfriend, mark, and asked me to make a cake. she thought i was just going to buy a box mix and whip it up. no way. i found this recipe online and thought it sounded perfect. and it was. bananas. chocolate chips. peanut butter. yes. please.

the chocolate ganache on top of the whipped frosting really made the cake so much better. it definitely was better than funfetti.

chocolate blackberry cake
i made this cake for my birthday party. it is chocolate cake with a layer of blackberry frosting in the middle with chocolate frosting on the outside. pretty delicious. however, the blackberry center gave me some serious issues. for some reason, the first time i did it, the butter curdled into the mixture and i had to just throw it out. it wouldn't mix together no matter how hard i tried. and it just looked awful. the taste was still fine but there was no way i could spread that stuff into the middle of my cake. so i tried again. the butter still tried to curdle on me again, but i sat the frosting in the fridge for a while then beat it up again and it smoothed out. thank god, because i was running out of ingredients. the cake turned out pretty great -- i don't know if it was my favorite ever, but still yummy.

i also made the topper for my cake. it was just a wooden letter K i bought at walmart, then i painted it with a couple good coats of a metallic gold paint, then added the gold glitter on top of the last wet coat. i attached a wooden rod to the middle using a hot glue gun, then measured how long the topper need to be for the cake and cut the stick. i think it looked pretty awesome with the candles.

i think i'm about caught up now in the cooking/baking updates. i have some pretty huge news, but i'll wait for kyle to blog about it first. some of you already know - but shhhh. ;)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

let's catch up.

glitter toms. yes. i'm a walking disco ball. 
so i've been m.i.a. for a while. last week was in.sane. kyle and i worked really hard to plan a pretty awesome party for my birthday/fall's arrival/a reason to watch a movie outside. it turned out pretty awesome. just check out the invite.

kyle j. dyer design :)

we originally got the idea for the party from here on design*sponge. so awesome and fun. so after a few months of talking about planning it and a few weeks of actually planning, it turned into my birthday party. yippee!

of course, i ended up taking on a lot/too much stuff, and maybeeee felt a little stressed on the day of the party. but with the help of my family, kyle, and friends, it happened and it was beautiful.

stuff kyle and i did ourselves:
felt leaf garlands for the tent
an outdoor movie screen
fresh popcorn
popcorn spices with shakers and labels
food labels
invitation design
my cake
cake topper
chili - regular and vegetarian
bourbon mint ice cream
cherry apple whiskey sour popsicles
spiced apple cider

so yeah -- pretty awesome/busy. i made the felt garland in one tuesday night before (i'll post more details later if anyone is interested), during and after glee and the new girl. as i sat cutting out leaf shaped felt, this happened...

random mustache time
casey+mustache and my felt garland

i'm almost embarrassed at how long we looked for appropriate tape in order to attach these to our faces for instagram. yeah. funsies. i originally made the leaf garland one big string, but then decided to make shorter, uneven strips hanging down around the tent. as i was hanging it up, kyle and my dad did this.

kyle & dad building the movie screen 

there was actually a moment i thought "this isn't really going to happen and these people who think they are coming to an outdoor movie party are sadly mistaken and the party will be semi-ruined." but one minute i was cutting extra leaves for the tent, and the next kyle is telling me to go listen to see if the sound is loud enough for the movie. it actually happened. and it was amazing. people driving up to the house to see a huge movie screen outside were impressed, i think, and i kinda hope people driving by could see and thought "man, i want to go to that party!" 

outdoor movie playing "big" and birthday smooches under the tent
lovely tent with lights and leaves. this is where most of us sat to eat

my cake turned out pretty great, too. at one point, the recipe went seriously awry, probably because i randomly found it online and it may or may not have been legit, but i was able to turn it around. it had to do with the middle layer of blackberry frosting, which i'll explain later, but i worked it out. thank god. and the sparkly gold K i made for the topper looked lovely with my 23 candles and only cost about 2 bucks to make.

hello :) that's my cake and my topper i made myself. glitterrrr

the popcorn idea also came from the design*sponge post. i designed and printed the labels for the shakers i found for 97 cents for a 2 pack. we made the same spice combinations as the people in the post, but since there were no measurements for each, i just taste tested along the way.

spicy — cayenne + paprika + salt
salty — salt + pepper
savory — rosemary + salt
sweet — cinnamon + sugar + salt

all of the spices were great, and since there was a lot leftover, i'll be using them a lot with some fresh popcorn for a nighttime snack for a while.

trying out the popcorn and spices before the party. oh, and four bottles of wine from friends.
labels and spices i made for the popcorn

kyle wanted to try out my new kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment with this bourbon mint ice cream from gq. i tried out a vanilla recipe with fresh raspberries and chocolate chips first a few weeks ago (i'll post some details later), and it worked pretty well, so we knew we could move on to bigger and better things. this recipe has a lot of mint -- all the leaves from my mint plant plus some store bought -- and 1/4 cup of bourbon. and it tastes like gum. i love it, but if you don't want your ice cream tasting on the same level as toothpaste, maybe don't go for this one.

beginning and end of the bourbon mint ice cream.
chocolate and blackberry cake + ice cream.

my friends and family really came through with the gifts this year! i loved all my gifts. i got everything from sparkly shoes to pumpkin butter straight from amish country. everything was perfect for me and everyone really got me things they knew i would love and use -- specifically my milk bottle measuring cups from my sister. she found them at anthropologie and they are gorgeous and stack together to make a milk bottle. genius, people. genius.

my favorite gift. thanks, sister. :)

the day after my party, kyle and i drove to knoxville for a job interview. worked out pretty perfectly for my birthday -- potential job plus birthday getaway!

tennessee. :) and enjoying my new ring, polish and book in the car.
eating at tomato head pizza in knoxville on my birthday.
muffin + latte for breakfast. delish fried green tomatoes for lunch.
lavendar cheesecake for dessert. lemon + sugar crepe for a snack.
pumpkin stew starter for pork roast and a little owl vase from knoxville.
awesome prints from yee haw + some fun jcrew and m.a.c. purchases.
we had a lot of fun driving and just getting away for a couple days, plus the interview went well, so we'll see. could knoxville be our new place of residence?!

i have several other photos from my party and such on my actual camera, but alas, i can't find the cord to upload them. when that little things turns up, i'll update with more/better pics. 

in the next few days, i hope to update on my cooking adventures, more details about my baking, my extreme love for grace bonney's new design*sponge book, how i'm obsessed with "brothers & sisters" even though it's already cancelled and other nonsense in my day to day.

i know i don't have many followers, but what do you guys like to read about most??? nails, cooking, fashion, something else? any thoughts? just wondering.


ps. brooke just gave me my gift but it's not pictured -- sephora shadows and nail polish! love! thanks, lady. :)