Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three Amazing Years

Taking the day off from blogging to celebrate three amazing years with the man of my dreams. I love you, Layne Fletcher (so much... too much).

Photo by the incredible Sanae James.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Navy Yard Shooting

It is always frightening when someone opens fire on the general public. It is more frightening when it is in your own backyard. I tried to pacify myself by recognizing that I work in Northwest D.C. and the Navy Yard is in the Southeast, but the District is only a few miles wide. It put a definite chill in my veins today to think about potentially two lose gunmen around any corner.

While the news reports are still twisting and contorting as they worm their way toward the truth, I just wanted to take a second to recognize today's fallen. Be safe everyone.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

RIP Navy

Guys. My whole life just flipped upside down. I was floating along so blindly, just trying to buy some pink craft paint and then - BAM. All my dreams, dashed in an instant.

Perhaps I'm being a tad dramatic, but the whole color scheme of my home is at stake here. I just learned that Layne does not like bright colors.



SET! As in dresser, highboy, vanity, and matching mirror. I painted it LAST SUMMER. And he just sat there, letting me do it. Letting me decorate my home exactly as I pleased without expressing his alternate opinion for even a moment. What madness is this?!

While it is very sweet that he lets me do whatever I want, I just can't continue living this lie. I want my husband to come home to his home as well as mine. I want him comfortable and loving it, not existing in it without opinion. Equality is a pillar of our marriage; I think it should extend to everything.

So, I marched him straight to Pinterest and we went through pages of bedrooms and living rooms and I made him point out to me which rooms he liked and specifically what he liked in each of them. In conclusion, the geometric prints and bright colors have gots to go. Welcome to my life, Neutrals! So long Navy, Pink, Green, Turquoise, and Orange! (Now that I list those colors, I actually feel a little overwhelmed myself...) I am actually pretty excited for this new adventure in decorating. Layne and I have a surprising amount of overlap in our tastes, so there's no reason not to go full force. I have never stayed neutral, so this is a big step.  We're breaking into whole new territory here! Wish me luck my friends. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today, We Remember

I don't really seem to have it in me today to explain what this day means to me. I am tired and sad and nostalgic. My mom told me that a boy a few years younger than me from my church at home died this morning. He had been battling cancer for months, and while we all knew he couldn't hold out much longer and I am glad his pain is over, it seems almost cruel to mar this day with another tragedy. 

I was in sixth grade in 2001. Just on the cusp of teenage angst, but holding onto my childhood as it seeped away, cupping the last of it like water in my hands. I was zipping my backpack, waiting for the horn to signal the carpool mom outside, when my dad walked in the house shouting, "The towers have been hit." I was too young to know what in the world he was talking about, to understand how the burning buildings on the screen would change me. But that was the moment where the last vestiges of my childhood slipped away and I realized we aren't as safe as we assume. The world is a scary place outside the circle of my mom's arms. That was my tipping point, when I knew I was growing up. I had to.

As I have reflected on 9/11 over the years, my reaction is always the same. A lump forms in my throat, tears sting my eyes, and my chest feels hollow and heavy simultaneously. But it took on new meaning when I moved to Arlington. I drive past the Pentagon almost daily. I tunneled under it on the metro today. I see the massive building, the swarms of people who work there, and I think... it's too much.

We can't live every day focused on the reality that we live in a cruel world. I read somewhere once that humans need to live embracing a certain amount of denial or we would constantly be paralyzed with the fear of the dangers around us. But today, we remember. I remember, and I pray for the safety of my family, and those who risk their lives to protect us, and I thank God for this nation that I am so proud of, so grateful to be a part of. I hope you carry a prayer in your heart today, too.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We Missed the Cherry Blossoms!

On my blogging, um, hiatus (we'll call it that instead of a batch of extreme laziness), cherry blossom season happened. Cherry blossom season is nothing short of magical. If you have never seen our National Monuments sprouting from the thousands of blossoms of pale, pale pink, you have never seen beauty. I loved it so much last year that this year I actually took a vacation day so I could start taking photos at sunrise and walk the whole Mall. It is my favorite thing about living in D.C.

Get ready for a photo heavy post!

This should show you how dumb the National Parks Service is. Right before prime tourist season, they begin work reinforcing the Monument, visible from basically every spot in D.C. Hence, all my shots are in silhouette.

Look at just how thin the blossom leaves are - they are so incredibly delicate!  The wind blows, and petals dance in the air on the way to the ground.

The blossoms grow in clumps and feel so soft they could melt away in your hand,

I loved how still the Tidal Basin was all morning, before the paddle boaters are out.

By the time I made it around the Basin, the sun had fully risen.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Good-bye Summer, Hello Monday!

This weekend was a perfect farewell to summer if there ever was one. Yet it is still so hard to wake up Monday morning and leave the slow, ambling ease of hot, humid D.C. summer days behind. Uggghhhhhh…

Can’t I just go back to bed?

The weather was beautiful all weekend – no humidity and in the 70s! If this is September, sign me up. I’ll let go of summer if my hair can remain straight and smooth after I flat iron it! Since it was so nice, we took a bike ride. We headed down the Mt. Vernon trail and I should have taken pictures of the harbor. #BloggerFail It was beautiful and green in that lush, Virginia way.  Sure, we were both a touch saddle sore afterward, but the view across the water and the beautiful marshes more than made up for it.

Layne and Emma having a blast at King's Dominion.
We also headed down to King’s Dominion this weekend for Layne’s Employee Appreciation Day. I love roller coasters, so I was all in on this plan. We had Amy, Andrew, and Emma tag along and it was SO. MUCH. FUN! I wasn’t sure how to do an amusement park with a baby, but with the parent swap system and the world’s most even keel infant, it was a breeze! The only downside was waking up the next morning and realizing that at the old age of 23, I’m just not as young as I used to be. My body can’t be rattled around that much without being a little achy afterward!

So even though we’re a little worse for the wear as we begin our week, we must press on. The Redskins play tonight and I am slowly relenting and letting my excitement for the autumn season mount. Football season has begun!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Adventures in Scone Making

The other day Layne was trying to watch the first BYU football game of the season and I was desperately trying to get him to change the channel. I am not typically the kind of wife that won't watch sports with her husband, but it's not cold enough for football yet! I'm just not ready to give in to fall. In any case, I quickly lost the battle, and decided to pick up one of our cookbooks. I went with "Taste" by Neiman Marcus, marking recipes as I flipped through. Fortunately, there was a lightning delay at the game and before long we were back into the Breaking Bad marathon that has been rocking our Labor Day weekend. But not before I caught the cooking bug.

Layne and I really do love cooking, but the layout of our apartment along with the amazingly antiquated and insufficient swamp cooler system has left the kitchen absolutely broiling all summer. It has been a while since we've been in there in any official capacity. But flipping through "Taste" reinvigorated me. And while, yes, I did have to stop several times to go stand in front of the cool air in the living room, I think the final product was well worth it!

I am the baker and Layne is the chef, so I decided my first adventure would be to bake something. I've been wanting to try making scones for a while now, and thought now was as good a time as any! I found this recipe by Tyler Florence for blueberry scones with a lemon glaze.

Here are my thoughts on making this recipe. After cutting in the cold butter, it wasn't quite as crumbled as I expected. I had thought to see the peas you usually get when making a dough. It probably would have been ok to add more butter actually, because they came out flaky (which I like in a scone), but maybe just a tad dry (though the glaze helped a lot with that).

The recipe cautions against over mixing, and I was instantly certain that I would be guilty of that and the scones would be ruined and we would be having cold cereal in no time. I mixed til my dough was just barely holding together, which made the cutting and transferring to the cookie sheet far more difficult than it needed to be. Don't be afraid to have your dough hold! 

Here's the dough, laid out and cut and you can see how lose it was. I had to keep pressing the blueberries back in to their doughy confines, as they rolled their escape. After popping the cut scones into the oven, it was on to the glaze!

The glaze came together very quickly. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, so I've pulled together a list of quick tips for how to get the most from your citrus. 

After cooling the scones for a few minutes, I brushed the glaze on and enjoyed! They're very filling, but I still ate two in the first 10 minutes because they were SO GOOD. Eat warm to enjoy most. Happy Eating!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

TV Time

Ok. So by "exciting things," I really did mean exciting things. I just can't tell you about them yet. It's all very hush hush, secret type, you know? For now. But I'll let you know ASAP. Sorry to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Instead, let's talk about one of my favorite subjects: TV. I watch a crap load of TV, guys. No joke - it's an addiction problem. When you watch the amount of TV that I do, you definitely cover the bases. I watch all the shows that everyone watches: Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, blah, blah, blah. But I also find I watch a number of shows that the rest of the world is overlooking. I'm talking true gems like BBQ Pitmasters with Myron Mixon ,the winningest (or sexiest, as we always say) man in BBQ. Or Top Shot, which just wrapped it's All Star season and has trick shots that will blow your mind. How about The Hero, hosted by none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which really speaks for itself?

All fantastic options. So the next time you're channel surfing and you see one of these shows, don't be shy. They'll convert you in no time.

Here's a Top Shot clip (they don't usually have this old guy narrating) on a few of the trick shots they do. Seriously, mind blowing precision guys. Mind. Blowing.

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