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. ;)