Here is something you need to know about me and my friend Sarah: we LOVE celebrities.
And breadsticks. But mostly celebrities.
D-list, C-list, B-list—doesn’t matter. We love ‘em. One of the highlights of my LIFE was meeting Ryan Gosling in the Harris Teeter in Charleston when I was in college. On my list of “big life moments,” it falls only slightly beneath giving birth to Lila and meeting Ryan. Just kidding. It falls above meeting Ryan.
Anyway, you can imagine how pumped we were to do a little celebrity-watching on our last trip, which ended in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, our sightings were limited to Jay Leno (gag), and George from Grey’s Anatomy. Not bad, but not great either.
So you can probably guess how excited we were when our trip to Santa Fe unexpectedly turned into a celebrity-sighting paradise.
First, Neil Patrick Harris was on my flight:
It was all I could do to keep from screaming out, “This flight is going to be legen—WAIT FOR IT!!!”
Sarah, at that same time, was running into celebrity food chef Anne Burrell in the NYC airport.
“Is that the one who looks like Guy Fieri?” I asked.
Okay. Not the best, but not bad.
Still, we wondered—was there a possibility that we might even view yet another celebrity during our time in Santa Fe?
On Saturday, we ate lunch at a place called Vinaigrette. You know who else did?
You might know her as an Oscar-winner, but I’ll always fondly remember her as Carly, single mother and Peach Pit waitress-extraordinaire.
It was pretty exciting. You know what else was exciting? The AWESOME salads at Vinaigrette, which we all agreed were some of the best food we had on the trip. Their salads were super fresh, and they all had really interesting ingredient combinations. I tried a rainbow chard salad, topped with orange slices, bacon, and goat cheese. I knew I wanted to try some imitation of it at home, so last night, I put together this little number:
Swiss chard, strawberries, blackberries, blue cheese crumbles, and pepitos. So good!
I also made a fresh herb vinaigrette (!) to top it with:
In the blender, I mixed olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, mint, and salt, then blended until creamy. The salad marinated in the fridge for a few hours, which really helped the flavors to meld:
Not as good as Vinaigrette’s, but almost!
Tell me—what’s your most exciting celebrity sighting?
As usual, I feel like I’m playing catch-up on the ol’ blog. I guess that’s a good thing—things have been busy, but good around here!
Five years ago (?!?), I took a roadtrip with my girlfriends from Seattle to Los Angeles:
This past weekend, we took a reunion trip! Not a roadtrip—I’m not sure we have the stamina for that anymore. I’m starting to realize that 25 is a LOT different than 30, ha. Things have changed for us—a few of us are married, one of us is a mother (me!), one of us has a baby on the way—lots of big life changes can happen in five years. This time, we settled into Santa Fe for a long weekend:
There was a lot more napping…a little less drinking…and most nights we were in bed before midnight. Things have changed.
In many ways, however, we’re still the same—and I’m guessing (hoping!) we’ll be the same for the next ten, twenty, fifty years. And hopefully we’ll still be meeting up for fun travel then, too!
Our trip to Santa Fe was awesome, but I’m not going to lie—travel takes on a slightly bittersweet note when you have a kiddo to leave behind:
The trip was amazing, but I was definitely missing Lila. And nothing beat seeing her sweet face upon my return!
Other than that, we’ve been making the most of our early summer days—lot of play-dates, lots of leisure, and a little work. We have a trip to Shreveport coming up…and then Michigan, Seattle, and Florida! June and July are going to be full of travel, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some fun summer recipes—hope your May is wrapping up well!
A year ago, I wrote this post: “A Mother’s Day Confession: I Feel Like a Bad Mom”
…which has, over the past year, become one of my most-visited blog posts ever. You’d be amazed at how many people google the phrase “I feel like a bad mom” on a daily basis.
Or maybe you wouldn’t. Now that I’ve been a mom for over a year, I kind of get it. Because still, a year later, not a day goes by that I don’t feel like a bad mom for something.
When we visited the botanical gardens, I accidentally brought Lila a 6-month size swimsuit:
…that she basically had to pour herself into. There were more than a few nipple-gate moments. It was a mama fail. And it was also kind of funny. Sorry kiddo!
The other night, Ryan and I went out for a date night. Our nanny stays with Lila multiple times a week, and Lila LOVES her. Still, for whatever reason, on that night, Lila decided to throw herself into my arms and cry as we were trying to get out the door. I had to pry her off of me and basically throw her at our nanny so that we could leave. It left me feeling like—you guessed it—a pretty bad mother.
I guess one big lesson of motherhood that I’m trying to learn is that I’ll never not feel like a bad mother. I’m always going to be failing at something. It seems like a sad thing to say, but you know—it isn’t. Once you can come around to the idea that the goal isn’t perfection, the enormous mission of motherhood seems a whole lot easier, a whole lot lighter, and a whole lot more…well, fun.
People used to talk about how “fun” their kids were, and I’d think—“Yeah, sure. You just *think* they’re fun because they’re your kids!” And so maybe I only think Lila is fun because she’s my kid, but man—that girl is a hoot!
More and more, I try to ask myself—do you want to be a perfect mother (whatever that means…)? Or do you want to enjoy motherhood?
(coffee tastes better from a special Mother’s Day mug! )
I’ll take messy and fun and failing over boring old perfection any day.
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
Almost three full years ago (?!?), I got an e-mail from another blogger named Emily. She lived in Central PA too, and had stumbled upon my blog, and wondered—would I like to meet up for lunch?
We met up for lunch and talked about all sorts of things—food, beer, travel, blogging. When I got home, I told Ryan, “I made a friend!!!” Emily was probably the first friend I made in Pennsylvania who wasn’t in some way tied to our jobs at Penn State Altoona. We made wonderful friends through our jobs too, of course, but I’ve found that when you work at a university, there’s something really nice about having friends outside of academia. For one thing, it means that when you meet up for dinner or drinks, you’re not just going to bitch about your students for 2 hours straight.
Anyway, long story short, we became great friends with Emily and her husband Nick, and discovered all sorts of connections. We formed a small supper club group with them and a few of our other friends, and I can honestly say that that supper club is one of things I miss MOST about living in Altoona.
But, imagine our surprise when, upon telling Nick and Emily that we were Huntsville-bound, they told us that Nick’s brother AND his parents lived in Huntsville! How random is that?! I knew this meant that one day, we’d be able to meet back up with our PA friends.
What I didn’t know was that the next time we’d see them, we’d BOTH have new family members with us!
Emily had Sam a few months after we moved down to Alabama, so this was our first time meeting him. But through the magic of Facebook and blogging, I felt like I knew him already. He was just as smart, sweet, and adorable as I thought he would be. He and Lila had tons of fun exploring all that the Huntsville Botanical Gardens have to offer—splash pools, giant chairs, water misters, butterflies—it’s a toddler’s paradise!
While Lila and Sam played, Emily and I played catch-up with…well, everything! A lot can change in two years!
It was so fun to see our Pennsylvania friends in Alabama! Hope your weekend is off to a good start!
We don’t really have a strong history of keeping things alive in this house.
Well that’s not necessarily true. We’ve kept this kid alive for at least a year:
That’s something, right? And our dogs—we’ve managed to keep them alive too:
…and we’ve even been able to teach them valuable lessons about sharing. Common sense, not so much.
Even Tenny, despite her constant petting-induced aggression, continues to thrive in our household:
But plants? Plants we struggle with. Which is why I’m a little leery about our pallet garden. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE it, and I’m so excited to have it as a summer project. But I’m pretty sure that I could kill a plastic houseplant, given half the chance. So I’m not totally optimistic about ALL of the stuff we planted making it through the summer alive. We planted all sorts of herbs—basil, mint, lemon balm, oregano, rosemary—all sorts of things. I decided to use some of the herbs in our dinner last night so that we could at least enjoy them before sending them off to that great herb garden in the sky:
Pasta (bucatini) with chicken, tomatoes, and herbs, all cooked in a lemon white wine sauce.
Perfect for late spring—meals like this get me SO excited for the summer produce soon to come.
Are you a good gardener? Any tips for keeping things alive?
In case you were wondering if we’d dropped of the face of the Earth:
Nope! We’re still here! We’ve just been enjoying our 45 degree summer days, you know?
Actually, after a few days of straight rain and totally abnormally cool temps for this time of year, it seems like we’re back to almost-summer weather. Whew!
We’ve had a lot going on over the past couple of weeks—my parents came to visit:
…and then Ryan’s parents came to visit:
…and tomorrow we get to meet up with Emily and Sam for an Alabama playdate! So excited!
We’ve been to a few parties:
…for which cake of the Tres Leches variety was made. It was the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. It was delicious. I did not wear my hair like that to the party.
We’ve also been working on one of our big summer projects:
…a pallet garden! And by “we” I mean mainly Ryan and his dad. They built the pallet garden…but this morning, Lila and I helped put the dirt in and plant the herbs and lettuce:
Like all professional gardeners, we had to stop and give each other a kiss every now and then.
Looks pretty good, right? I’m hoping Ryan will write his own blog post about the process—I knew a full-on garden was a little too much for us to take on this summer, but this pallet garden seems like it will be just our speed!
Other than that, we’ve been wrapping up odds and ends for the end of the semester, grading, grading, and grading. We turned in grades on Monday, and are officially DONE for this year—which feels awesome. SO ready to relax and spend the summer together—cooking, writing, playing, traveling…ahhhh.
Hope you’re having a great start to May!
Just to get your Thursday off to a smooth start…
On Tuesday night, the Amazon fairies delivered a much-anticipated package to our doorstep:
A Kelty backpack!
Baxter is always happy to do a little quality control testing. You know—I actually think he kind of liked it!
We’ve been talking about wanting to get a heavy-duty baby hiking backpack for quite some time now.
The weather is getting nicer and nicer, and the trails and mountains around us are just begging to be hiked on—so I finally ordered us a pack!
The Kelty backpack came highly recommended from a few other mamas that I’d talked to— it also had great reviews on Amazon. We ordered the Kelty Journey 2.0, which is their middle-of-the-road pack. It has a detachable daypack, a place to store water bottles, a sunshade for Lila—all sorts of bells and whistles! On Wednesday morning, we headed out to a trail about five minutes from our new house.
None of the bells and whistles would have mattered if she hadn’t liked it. So I got a little nervous when we put her in the backpack and she began to scream bloody murder. Luckily, after we got moving, she settled right down—soon she was sporting a big smile. I think being on my back must have freaked her out a little—usually, she’s strapped into the Ergo, which I always wear facing towards me.
As for the backpack? Two thumbs up from me! It was a bit heavier than I expected, but I got used to the weight pretty quickly. Lila seemed comfortable in it, and my shoulders and back didn’t really start to hurt at all until the very end of the hike. Hey, she ain’t heavy—she’s my baby!
This summer, we’re taking a trip to Michigan, and I’m really looking forward to doing a lot of hiking while we’re there. This pack is going to be perfect for hiking as a family! It wasn’t cheap, but it should last us…well, hopefully through this kid and any others that come along! We like to get outside as much as possible, so I really think this investment will pay off.
Hope you have a great Thursday!