October 23, 2010

Christmas Came Early

One great thing about my job is getting corporate thank you gifts during the holidays. Because I placed such a large order with Harry & David last year, they thanked me this year by sending me a "Tower of Treats." I don't know how Todd and I are going to eat all of the goodies they sent, but I've never been known to turn down chocolate. Seriously. I don't think I have ever turned it down. 

The large box on the bottom is full of pears. I've never been a fan of pears, but I'm going to try to disguise their flavor by making a pear crisp or something similar. I can't let them go to waste, right? My luck they'll be moldy before I ever get to the baking part. That's okay. Did I mention there's chocolate?

Although not pear related,  I did try a new recipe this week. Prosciutto and Gruyere Strombolis are super simple to make and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Tip: buy prosciutto and gruyere from the deli at the grocery store. The recipe only calls for two ounces of each, so it's much cheaper than buying the prepackaged kind. Recipe here.

This week has been really busy, but the best kind of busy. We had friends over for dinner and I had a great girls night that included dinner at Urban Flats (yum) and a movie. This morning Todd and I had an incredible brunch at Marche in East Nashville. Oh. My. Word. We loved it. We thought brunch would be a nice way to celebrate his new job. Thankfully his self-employment season didn't last too long! The problem now is that he's my direct competition. Our discussions about work could get interesting.

How did you spend your weekend?

October 17, 2010

Chili Cook Off

On Saturday Todd and I met some friends in Leiper's Fork to attend the town's annual chili cook off. With nearly 17 different kinds of chili (and a couple of versions of homemade salsa), we left very full. Throw in some live music, a Barney Fife look-a-like and a visit from one of the candidates running for governor, you have a truly Southern festival.

In other news, I tried a new recipe I found on Whole Foods' site. I typically just buy a frozen kit for stir-fry, but Todd watched Food Inc last week and since he was pretty disturbed by what he saw, I bought whole wheat pasta, and organic chicken and veggies. Not sure we'll completely transition to all organic, but it did feel good knowing our food wasn't processed or full of chemicals. 

Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry, recipe found here.

Hope you had a great weekend!

October 15, 2010

Thoughts on Grace

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a new-to-me blog, Chatting at the Sky.  I immediately fell in love with the author’s writing style, so I was pretty excited when she decided to dedicate the entire month of October to discussions about grace (31 Days of Grace). Her posts have become a daily devotional to me and nearly every day I’m learning something new about myself and the way I view grace.

I am fully aware that grace can’t be earned and that I will never deserve it, but my actions lately would prove that I don’t always believe those truths. I have caught myself living as if I have outgrown grace or that I’m now too old for it. As I get closer to my 30s, my self-imposed pressure continues to build. I guess I felt that when I was younger, grace made more sense because I was learning and maturing. Now I feel like I should have it all figured out, I should know how to avoid mistakes and how to live in perfect community with others.

Sadly, I haven’t figured it out. I’m continually failing, and I have been feeling undeserving of grace because well, I should know better than to mess up.

The other night I had a meltdown. Actually it was more of a full blown tantrum. I said hurtful things to Todd and spent the next day profusely apologizing. I kept thinking, would I want a child to see me act that way? No. Am I way too old to be throwing fits when things don’t go my way? Yes. But what did Todd do? He lovingly forgave me, which is one of the most beautiful forms of grace. 

I still need grace. Lots of it. I need grace from God, from the people I share life with, and more than ever I need it from myself.

Check out Chatting at the Sky for more thoughts on grace.

Also, if you’re an owner of a DSLR camera, check out 31 Days to a Better Photo. One of the best tutorials I have seen!

October 11, 2010

Weekend In Pictures

Todd's family spent the weekend with us. The weather was perfect, the food was incredible and the time spent together was priceless.

*Todd's mom bought me a mini bundt pan. We made mini apple bundt cakes with a crunchy pecan topping. My new pan will come in handy for an awesome event I'm attending on November 19th (details to come).
*We introduced Todd's family to Fido. I think it might be my all-time favorite restaurant in Nashville. 
*We spent the rest of the weekend shopping, watching football and laughing at this guy (the actual news clip can be found here). So funny.

Have I mentioned how much we love having family visit?

October 5, 2010

Feels Like Fall

Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be happier. While October brought on some anxiety for me this year, it’s actually one of my favorite months. Every year I eagerly await fall and all the great things that come with it: cool weather, meals in crock pots, mums, pumpkins, high school football games, apple cider, trick or treaters, cozy TV nights with friends. The change in seasons has been good for my soul. To get into the season, we’ve been doing a few fall inspired things around the house:

We gave the house a fall face-lift. After taking the photos below, we did some major landscaping. I'll have photos soon.

We tried an awesome new recipe.

My good friend Allison gave me the recipe for Taco Soup (via AJ, a coworker of mine). I finally figured out how to link a pdf, so if you want to print the recipe and make it yourself, click here.

We baked some yummy chocolate-chip banana bread. I typically use Allison’s recipe (she’s my go-to for great recipes!), but I was out of buttermilk, so I used this recipe and added chocolate chips. 

This week is a busy one. Tomorrow I head to Dallas with this guy. He and I are BFF. Just kidding, but he really is a great guy with a huge heart. I only wish I had time to swing in to see Christine or Jen, but my time in the Big D is just too short. On Friday we’ll be catching a high school football game with good friends, and later that evening Todd’s family will arrive for a weekend visit. So yes, it will definitely be busy, but it will be lots of fun. 

I’m off to finish packing. Have a great week!

October 2, 2010


"I just turned thirty, and I'm finally willing to admit something about life, or at least about my life, and it's this: I should have written in pencil. I should have viewed the trajectory of my life as a mystery or an unknown. I should have planned lightly, hypothetically, and should have used words like "maybe" and "possibly." Instead, every chance I got, I wrote in stone and Sharpie. I stood on my future, on what I knew, on the certainty of what life would hold for me, as though it was rock. What I know now is that instead of rock, it's more like a magic carpet, a slippy-slidy-wiggly thing, full of equal parts play and terror. The ground beneath my feet is lurching and breaking, and making way for an entirely new thing every time I look down, surprised once again by a future I couldn't have predicted." - Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

Beautiful flowers from my sweet husband

First, I want to thank my amazing friends and sweet readers who left comments, called and e-mailed. I heard from friends I haven't talked to in months. Maybe I should unleash my desperation more often! 

Second, the night I wrote my last post, I read a chapter in Cold Tangerines, titled "Writing in Pencil." I realized that I have done exactly the opposite of that in my life. Like Shauna, I'm constantly writing in stone. I don't want to do that so much anymore. I don't want another crisis/breakdown when I turn 30, 35, 40 or 50! I don't want to put unhealthy timelines on my future or goals that end up defining who I am instead of giving me a general direction to follow. I want to be flexible, because honestly, life doesn't fall into place like puzzle pieces. This year I want to let go. I want to enjoy the moment (something several of you lovingly made me realize I'm not doing). I don't want to get so caught up in the "What Ifs?" that I miss the Right Now. That's not an easy thing for me to do, but I want to give it a shot. 

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday with wonderful friends. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about how loved I am. I felt especially loved last night. 

A few shots from the evening:

I'm really looking forward to everything this new, more mature age has in store.