I’m bad at making coffee.

You guys, I have a confession: I can’t brew a pot of coffee to save my life. Or rather, I can’t brew a DRINKABLE pot. Whenever I try to brew coffee using your basic drip machine, it either comes out way too dark/thick, flavorless and watery, burnt tasting, or full of grounds. I’ve tried using exactly the amount of grounds suggested (our machine even came with a fool-proof scoop with EXACT directions depending on the amount of coffee you’re brewing), more (which is what most people recommend doing), or less (after a pot that came out particularly tar-like). I’ve tried the ‘classic brew’ setting; I’ve tried the ‘rich brew’ setting. There’s no adjusting the water level – it’s not the type of machine where you pour the water in depending on how much you want to make; it’s pre-measured in a reservoir.

This is probably why I like the Nespresso so much: it’s literally idiot-proof. You CAN’T screw it up. I also talk a lot about how much I love our Ninja Coffee Bar, but if I’m being completely honest, I miss our Keurig…I’m just embarrassed to admit it (I mean, the coffee wasn’t great…but it was fine, and you can’t screw it up! Plus, all the waste…ugh.) But it’s not the Coffee Bar’s fault! It’s mine!! I’m completely incompetent when it comes to freaking brewing a pot of coffee!! I KNOW it’s my fault, because Jeff’s brewed coffee in the same machine with flawless results.

I’ve thought about potentially investing in a fancier, more manual coffee situation (pour-over? French press?) to see if it produces better results, but I’m skeptical…if I can’t freaking brew DRIP coffee, what’s the likelihood that I’ll be successful doing something much more complicated? I need help. Are there classes you can take on how to brew drip coffee? PLEASE share your tips for brewing a delicious pot of coffee…I’m serious, ANY tips you have, drop them in the comments! I’ll be hiding in the corner over there…

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Happy Friday!

22491565_1790119311025300_4416195702525801088_nSince I worked last weekend, I have a three day weekend this week, starting with today – hooray!! I’m off to get my hair done (darkening the color up…I’ve been digging the cinnamon/tiger eye balayage trend, and I think I might get bangs even though I know I’ll immediately regret it), and then I have some errands to run followed by our usual pizza night. We don’t have any concrete plans for the weekend, but I think we might do something spooky (Bates Motel/haunted hayride?) and I’d like to bake something fun – I’ll report back on Monday! Have a fantastic weekend!!

Is Quirky Still In?

As I pulled my standard-issue Apple earbuds out of my bag at work today surrounded by co-workers wearing nice, cushy over-ear headphones (I don’t like wearing things that mess with my hair – it’s bad enough as it is), it occurred to me that I have quite a few little “quirks”…and not cute ones, like pronouncing the word “bagel” funny (which I’ve also been told I do, but I digress), but more so traits that teeter a very dangerous line between being a little eccentric and full-on high maintenance/cantankerous. Let’s discuss:

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“This is what cats do, right?”

~ I eat my food like a bird/squirrell. This might sound cute (or at least like I’m trying to be cute), but really it’s ridiculous/disgusting. I break apart crackers. I’ve been known to eat a cupcake with a fork, and take 3 hours to finish it. I pick cake pops (cake pops, for Christ’s sake) into tiny little pieces. This isn’t because I have a tiny, delicate appetite, but because I view eating food as my primary hobby and prefer to make a tiny snack last several hours so that I’m eating at all times.

~ I have stage fright to an alarming degree. I can’t do ANYTHING in front of anyone if I feel the tiniest amount of pressure, or I freeze up or screw whatever I’m doing up beyond repair. I don’t really even like to drive with other people in the car, because I feel like they’re critiquing my every move. I turn from a competent adult to an actor in an infomercial who’s unable to hold a fork without fumbling and ultimately tossing it into the air and throwing their hands up in defeat.

~ I can’t make faces on demand. If someone tells me to make an “angry” face, I’ll forget what to do with my bones and skin. I also can’t do any accents, at all.

~ I don’t like when I can hear other peoples’ music – for example, if they’re wearing headphones and their volume is just a tiny bit too high, or if someone is very softly playing music on their computer. It drives me absolutely bananas.

~ On a related note, when people are in public and play videos or music on their phone out loud without using earbuds, it makes my blood boil. I can’t think of much that drives me crazier. Some people hate hearing people chew, I hate hearing peoples’ phones. Sometimes Jeff will try to play me a song or show me something on his phone and I have to practice yogic breathing to keep from losing it. I don’t know if it’s the tinny quality of phone speakers or what, but it makes my skin crawl.

~ I really don’t like brightly colored plastic bottles of soap/dish detergent (or anything else, really). I refuse to buy certain brands of products because I hate their packaging. I don’t like having anything “busy” visible or on display. Same goes for candles or really even tissue boxes.

~ This is very disgusting and I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I’m whatever the opposite of germaphobic is. If it weren’t for societal pressure, I’d probably never wash my hands (I know – I told you I’m disgusting) – unless some sort of debris actually gets on them, at which point I can’t wash them fast enough (I hate being actively dirty; I just don’t care about germs). I do attribute the fact that I very rarely get sick to this, though – I expose myself to so much bacteria, I’m probably immune to the majority of bugs that go around (I don’t really know how that works, but that’s what I tell myself).

~ At the movies, I only like to sit to the left of my viewing partner – this may just be a “couple-y” thing that I’ve developed over years of going to movies with primarily Jeff (at restaurants, he always wants me to sit in the seat facing the door – I don’t really understand why – I think he explained one time that it’s due to me being left-handed or something – but I just do it out of habit now, even if I’m with someone other than Jeff), but it’s still a little odd.

~ I put mashed potatoes in my chicken soup – I’ve done this since I was little (I got this habit from my gramma). This isn’t quirky; it’s genius and you should do it too.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, but I know there’s more…I can’t be alone here, right? What are some freaky little things you guys do?

 

 

 

 

Digging

I haven’t done one of these in a while! Let’s see…

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Lightroom: As is DREADFULLY apparent by looking at this blog, I’m really, really bad at photography. I want to learn how to get better, but I just don’t have the patience (keeping it real). Plus, I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures, I currently only own the crappy zoom lens that came with my SLR camera, and I very rarely actually use it, so it’s difficult justifying purchasing a nicer lens. Anyway, I’ve tried my hand at photoshop several times, but it’s just way too complicated. A couple of weeks ago, I came across this blog post, and boy did it change things for me. I signed up for a free trial of Adobe’s Lightroom and got right to work editing my photos from Savannah…holy crap, it made a world of difference. Even having used my “crappy” lens. While it’s still kind of unlikely I’m going to lug my “nice” camera around frequently (maybe more so when we have a kiddo), I definitely think it’s worth it to invest in Lightroom, and maybe I’ll actually shill out for a nicer lens (this one’s only a couple hundred bucks, and I’ve read great things). If you have any interest in learning how to edit photos as a beginner/hobby photographer, I would highly recommend giving Kelly’s post a read.

Manchester Orchestra: More specifically, their most recent album, A Black Mile to the Surface. HOLY MOLY it’s good. Every. Single. Damn. Song gives me chills. I’m not typically one to listen to an album all the way through (I’m a shuffle/playlist fiend, much to Jeff’s chagrin), but I’ve had this album on repeat for the past week and I’m not even remotely sick of it. Andy Hull is a damn genius.

My Nespresso Machine: Guys, I’m in love. I still love my Ninja Coffee Bar and the Nespresso machine isn’t a substitute for an actual coffee machine (or however you prefer to brew coffee), but when I want an espresso based drink it’s SO EASY and SO GOOD. I bought a real espresso machine “for Jeff” (ha) for Christmas several years ago, but it was a lot of work and cleanup, so it ended up getting neglected and put away after several months. And the “espresso drink” function of the Ninja is really no good – it’ll do in a pinch I guess, but there’s no substitute for real espresso with crema. I’m frankly shocked at how good the Nespresso capsules are, plus there’s a huge variety depending on the strength and flavor you’re looking for. And the best part of all: NO CLEANUP. Aside from rinsing out the Aeroccino (the milk frother thingy), there’s literally nothing to clean. It’s glorious. I got mine from saving up points from my work’s rewards program (you guys, this rules – other things I’ve scored using this program have included Ray Ban Clubmasters and a Le Creuset stock pot, among other things), but you can grab the model I have here.

LL Bean Wicked Good Moccasins: I typically get a new pair of slippers every year, because I’ve been buying the fake shearling ones that wear down and end up stinking HORRIBLY after 3 months. I finally invested in a pair of authentic shearling moccasins from LL Bean, and my feet are SO happy – it’s like I’m walking on a pillow made out of clouds wrapped in unicorn fur. They’re basically Uggs, but in moccasin form (and from LL Bean, which I’ve developed a renewed obsession with recently). I’ve had a pair of Ugg boots that have lasted something like 10 years without wearing down or smelling (although to be fair, I haven’t worn them with any amount of regularity in probably 5 years), and the lining in these is basically the same so I’m hopeful it’ll hold up. They’re also great gifts for the fella in your life.

The Frame: This isn’t something I have; just something I want desperately. I read this blog post from Emily Henderson, and it blew my mind: The Frame is a TV that Samsung makes that functions as ART when you’re not watching TV. It’s slim and sleek and looks like an actual gallery frame, and it comes with something like over a hundred pre-loaded art prints (but you can upload ANY art print your little heart desires), and it FLAT-MOUNTS to the wall like an actual piece of art, while still being able to adjust and tilt. You can even get the actual frame part in different finishes. I’m obsessed. Now to convince Jeffrey (ha!!)

Loafers: GIVE ME ALL THE LOAFERS. I’m crazy about ’em. Mulestasselpenny loafer, I love ’em all. I don’t love wearing heels on a regular basis and I’ve been wanting something that’s not a boot or a ballet flat, but is dressier than a sneaker, and loafers are the absolute perfect solution. They look amazing with jeans (and you can wear them with cropped jeans or full-length styles, which can’t be said for a lot of other types of shoes…or at least, I can’t pull it off with a lot of other styles of shoes, haha), but you can also wear them with skirts and dresses, or slacks. I’m really loving this Halogen pair with a collapsable back – you can wear them as mules or not, depending on your mood (or temperature).

 

 

Hello!

Phew, it’s been a crazy couple of months. Between travel, house projects (mainly the bedroom), work, and life, I haven’t had a lot of time or energy to write…plus, if I’m being honest, anxiety has been rearing its nasty little head during the past few weeks. I this this is because there’s so much uncertainty and potential for change in the coming months – benefit enrollment is looming at work, and I’ll be increasing my coverage since we’ll be trying to get pregnant in the coming months. When I sat down to review the plan options, it just kind of hit me – will we be able to get pregnant? If we do, will everything go smoothly? Will the baby be healthy? Will I be healthy? Will we be good parents? How will a baby affect our relationship? And so on and so forth. So…nothing bad, just a lot to think about making my (already anxious) head spin. Ch-ch-ch-changes!

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Anyway…the weather is finally turning crisp, and there are already leaves on the ground – it seems like that short cool snap we had several weeks ago made the leaves turn earlier than normal around here, despite the fact that the temperature had been hovering around 90 degrees (!!) until the past few days. It’s really starting to feel like autumn, my fluffy robe has been pulled out, and I’m itching to bake all the things. Life should finally be settling down just a bit around here (until holiday craziness hits, of course), so hopefully I’ll have time to share some of the fun stuff that’s been going on. Although I’m itching to share a bedroom reveal, we’re still working on the finishing touches…but so far, I’m loving what we’ve done. It’s finally feeling like more of a calming retreat than an unfinished room with some furniture thrown in it (and after 4+ years, I’d say it’s about time). I also have pics to share from New Orleans and Savannah, so stay tuned!

Time keeps on slippin’ (slippin’, slippin’)

What’s the deal with time?

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This is the post where I try my hand at the comedic stylings of Jerry Seinfeld. Just kidding. But, so…okay, before all of my friends started breeding (haha), I used to marvel when someone would talk about how busy they were on a constant basis. I’d think to myself, “doing WHAT?” At the time, most of my friends were childless and either in serious relationships or married, many of them homeowners…but so was I, and I CERTAINLY wasn’t busy. I’d look at the free time stretched out in front of me with no end in sight, and wonder what these people (mostly women) were doing wrong (or more realistically, panic about what I was doing wrong that was causing me to be so free – was I a loser of some sort? Did I not have enough friends? Was I just incredibly lazy?!) And I was working crazy hours at the time!

I think that I must be some form of slightly late bloomer, because I’m now finding myself in the exact same position these other ladies were in about 5 years ago. I feel like I’m always running around, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the things I need to do done. When I try to schedule things with friends it’s not just them who have a packed schedule – now we all do. But here’s the weird thing: I have NO IDEA why I’m so busy. Nothing’s really changed that much – part of me feels like having more financial freedom has made us more busy just on the grounds that being broke kind of prevents you from doing ANYTHING…but for the most part, I still don’t know what the hell all of this running around is for at the end of the day. If I’m catching up with a friend and they ask me how I’ve been, I almost always answer with some form of “good…busy, busy, busy!” – but I can’t really elaborate. When I look back on my week I’ll remember being busy, but I honestly don’t know what I did to make myself feel that way. Every holiday season for the past few years has crept up on me, and when it hits I feel like it was just Christmas two months ago. WHERE IS ALL THIS TIME GOING?!!!

So, that’s where I am. I don’t know if it’s something about my career that’s making me feel like I’m run ragged, or the fact that we’ve been traveling more, or what. But, on a related note, I took a 4-day weekend this week and we’re finally going to re-do our bedroom, which means I need to get running to the paint store and home depot, and it also means we have about 10 pieces of furniture to put together, in addition to cleaning and painting and moving things around. Plus, Jeff wants to see IT at some point this weekend, we have the Heart Walk on Sunday, and we need to take a trip to Ikea (which is about 45 minutes away) to return our old MALM dresser (which they’re still accepting as a recall!) and pick out a new one. AND I want to get a nice, long run in every day. I’d also like to hit up a local orchard before the honeycrisp apples are all gone, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen between everything going on this weekend and our trip to New Orleans next weekend. So, yeah – busy.

So if I’m a bit absent, that’s why…but I’ll try not to be. I still want to share pics from our trip to Savannah, and there are a few home projects that I’d like to share (including the bedroom, once that’s done – I’m pretty excited about it!) I hope you have a fantastic weekend – this weather is a dream come true! Pick some honeycrisps for me. And stay safe if you’re in Irma’s path!! ❤

 

 

 

Hold, please!

I’m still playing catchup from vacation, so I haven’t had time to post. I’ll be back soon…until then, here’s a shot of one of the 5 bajillion beautiful houses in Savannah.

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The most wonderful time of the year

We’re back from vacation (more on that later!), it’s dreary and raining, and it feels like fall! I don’t even mind the rain – I pulled out a spicy candle and lit that sucker up, and I couldn’t be happier. Although I’m 100% certain we have several weeks of blisteringly hot weather left before autumn sets in for good, this week of fall-like weather we get at the end of summer every year has always been my point of no return. Bring on the apples, the pumpkin spice lattes, the scarves, and the cool breezes.

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Instagram Etiquette

Do you have any Instagram pet peeves?

Mine is when people (typically people who don’t use Instagram often, or ones who are new to IG) spam my feed with a ton pictures over the course of a day (or often, a few minutes). Especially now that you’re able to upload albums, there’s no excuse for feed-clogging! I say keep it to a couple posts a day, max (or maybe three or four if you’re on vacation or something…but even that should be spread out over the course of the day, and it’s still pushing it).

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A thing I definitely shouldn’t have posted to IG, but did anyway

Another thing that drives me bonkers is when people post 50 snaps or IG stories of live music (I may or may not be guilty of this myself). I know it’s tempting when you’re swept up in the moment, but a blurry video with sudden LOUD, distorted sound is a hard pass for me, dawg.

If “to post, or not to post?” is a question you struggle with, check this handy little guide. Or, y’know, just go ahead and post. Who am I, the queen of Instagram?