Monday, October 31, 2011

resort dreams

In a few days I'll be in sunny Florida. Thinking about warmer weather has got me thinking about sand between my toes and sun on my face. I love snow and sweaters and curling up under blankets, but it's a little ridiculous to need a break from the cold in OCTOBER!

resort dreams

ps. sorry for the weird formatting... polyvore + my blog don't get along well.

Friday, October 28, 2011

the day I quit my job

It's true. On Monday the 14th I'll wake up and not have to go to work. Why you ask?

Because I'll need the last few weeks in November to pack OUR ENTIRE HOUSE! We don't know exactly where we're moving to yet, but we do know that it will be in the Warrenton or Culpeper area. 

Back in August I explained why Andy and I chose to live apart for a bit and how this move might end up happening. My bosses weren't too surprised (but obviously not too pleased either). They had also known that this was always a possibility. It's frustrating, because we thought we'd only be living apart for one month and that become two and then three... and the wait was all because we wanted to stay in Harrisonburg. (but you might remember that the wait wasn't ALL bad...)

I was so thrilled when I got the job back in late January. I'm bummed to leave! I'll write more about that on my "last day of work" post.

I've seen one place so far, and it was in Culpeper overlooking the dumpster behind Food Lion. No thanks.
On Tuesday I'll venture up to Warrenton to see a house, and *hopefully* love it and get it and live in it. We shall see...

I can't believe we're leaving Harrisonburg. This news has been overwhelming and disappointing and confusing and stressful and exhausting. 
My sister and I were chatting on the phone yesterday and she said something to me that made me start quietly sobbing as I was driving back from Culpeper. 
She said, "I'm glad that you are so sad to be leaving Harrisonburg. That shows that you invested in relationships there and that you got involved and that you made great friends."
Isn't that beautiful? She captured it perfectly - the reason why it's painful is the same reason it's joyful.

God gives, and He takes away. And then He gives again. I know what it is to be content with my portion, and I know that this move is not a surprise to God. I was going to simply type this verse out, but how beautiful is this stamped piece of art

Thursday, October 27, 2011

snippets from around the web

'cuz everyone needs a little clip art in their life

even fashionistas have bad days
I’d never classify myself as the patient type, but lately I’ve found myself even more irritable than usual. I’ve been avoiding movie theaters due to the loud breathers/talkers/seat kickers that inevitably sit beside me, I find myself irrationally annoyed when drivers park their cars too close to mine, and recently I ditched an interior design project because it was taking longer than expected.

on what she loves about Christmas
- Moments like this morning when Leta asked, "You know how Santa, like, is always aware of when I'm bad? Well, then why doesn't he just know what I want for Christmas?" And because I hadn't even put on my clothes or had my coffee, I hesitated a little too long. So she answered her own question, "I just have to say it out loud so he can hear it, right?" I'm pretty sure she's safe to raise herself from here.

one guy's thoughts about going in for a kiss
"Mary and I had been friends from the age of 3, and I had always had feelings for her. One night, as college friends, we went to dinner, and I told her, 'I think there's something here,' to which she responded, 'I think you need to think about that.' I said, 'Ok, I've thought about it for almost 20 years, but I can give it another week or two, I guess.' She ended up staying with me that night, so I just went for it! I kissed her while we were about to fall asleep, and she was like a rock! Nothing! No response, no reaction, no reciprocation. So I thought, well, that was a great friendship that I just screwed up. Fast forward, a few weeks later we were on spring break together...yada yada we're married." -- Austin, 29

on finding amazing deals on overstock
You know how shelter magazines make the homes they feature seem lived in thanks to great prop stylists? Well, while the way they position throws to look perfectly imperfect baffles me (although I am pretty darn good at styling), that little touch—with all of its texture—really makes a huge difference in creating a welcoming feel. Check out the Oxford Decorative Throw Blanket in its array of colors. And after you purchase it, let me know how many hours it took to make it look perfectly imperfect. NOTE: Speaking from experience, this is bound to drive you crazy.

good luck trying to get into one of these restaurants
Exactly 19 lucky souls (chosen at random from the membership rolls of and the New York City Municipal Credit Union) gather on the corner of Keelhaul Terrace and St. Flocellus Street in the Rottenwood section of Brooklyn exactly 19 minutes after sundown every evening (a security force of pensioned-off Guardian Angels enforces the temporal parameters), mill around aimlessly until the unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat of a driveby gang shooting is heard from two streets over, and then line up in ascending order of height along the curb while Blutwurst and his team race by on their vintage Schwinn Couriers and toss exquisitely crafted morsels (Mangalitsa pork-fat shooters, rattlesnake-and-cannabis hand rolls, rabbit tartare with catfish-liver crostini, and the like) — though never quite enough of them to go around —into the air above their heads. Hilarity ensues.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

He will quiet you by his love

God is my favorite author.

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter of Jerusalem!
 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
 Behold, at that time I will deal
with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
 At that time I will bring you in,
at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes,” says the Lord.

-Zephaniah 3:14-20

Sunday, October 23, 2011

lessons from the weekend

If you want to make your dog frustrated -
     a) put your hand high up in the air at an awkward angle and tell her to high-five it. she'll automatically put her paw up in front of her and high-five the air, but when you say "no, high-five here" and wave your hand a little bit, she'll frown a puppy frown and huff and puff and sink to the floor and bark under her breath. don't stop telling her to high-five you until she at least TRIES to reach your hand. then you can praise her (but she'll still be exasperated).
     b) sing the first ten seconds of this song over and over with your husband. (is it singing or humming? it's a mix, right? it's weird.) your dog will HATE you. but it's funny, i promise. her ears will twitch and she'll sigh heavily and look worried/bored (she's trying SO hard to act nonchalant but goshdarnit she hates that noise). she'll shift positions so she's no longer looking at you, but her ears will still twitch. then you'll raise the pitch and volume of your voices and she'll stand up really fast and shoot you a dirty look and then high-tail it out of the room with her hair sticking up.

When your husband says he wants tuna and popcorn, he means he wants you to make him tuna and popcorn at the same time. Not tuna for dinner and popcorn for dessert like a normal person. Tuna and popcorn on the same plate. He'll look at the fancy tuna sandwich you made him that has lettuce on it (see? fancy) and the sun chips on the side, and he'll say, "so did you not make popcorn?"

If you've been trying for years to get your husband to dress up with you for Halloween and every year he says no and acts like that is the most embarrassing thing you could possibly make him do, DON'T GIVE UP. One year he will surprise you and go with you on a giggle-filled trip to the store and you'll hold hands and discuss outfit options and it will be pretty stinkin' cute.

Orange juice really does help when you have a cold. If you're not much of an OJ drinker, try it anyways. I think I have more OJ than blood in me right now.

making popcorn on the stove is really fun.

Friday, October 21, 2011


this is what comes up when you google "sick"
well played, Interweb.

I don't know what is spreading around but I do know this - I don't like it. GO AWAY GERMS. On Tuesday it was a sore throat and thousands of unproductive nose-blowing. On Wednesday it was both of those, only amped up, PLUS a fever. Ramen + hot sauce and chex mix, pretzels, saltines, toast, Italian bread, chocolate covered raisins and watered down cranberry juice seemed to help. I woke up Thursday morning with a fever but HEY-O, I had LOST weight. Then I had no appetite and hardly ate anything and then I was pretty much the guy in that pic all afternoon...  then the fever broke but the sinus headache came on strong. Today I woke up feeling much better than yesterday but still exhausted and headachy and fuzzy.

the moral of the story is STAY AWAY FROM ME (or end up like this)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

chicago - part 2

~ a weekend in pictures ~

wheeeee we're in chicago!
view from outside the aquarium
posing outside Soldier Field
gorgeous view of lake michigan from the dolphin pool

view of navy pier - (it's the middle left portion of the pic)
the guys
happy couple at navy pier
did I mention we were happy?

on the ferris wheel w/ Jenny

our pizza. don't you just wanna dive into it?
oh hi
I could've played in the museum shop all afternoon
LOVE this pic and the sick ferris wheel in the background!
tornado simulator
ooo space-y
Brian Urlacher took a break from the game to cheer w/ the fans.
this fan was hilarious, though. 

that's one pumped up bear's fan!
Andy enjoyed high-fiving all the fans around us
the Rennies <3

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

chicago - part 1

what's up with my blog posts having more than one part?

well... I'm exhausted. I hardly slept last week, which was random and miserable, and now I'm playing catch-up and I think I'm getting a cold. So, bear with me here.

All of our Chicago pics are on my friend's camera, so part 2 will have our pics. here's one to tide you over (thanks Wikipedia)

Since I'm a) tired and b) sick, I'm gonna go with a rundown of events. First off, we went to Chicago b/c our friends George and Jenny invited us to join them. They told us of a sweet hotel+football tickets deal, and because we love them and love the Bears, we just had to do it!

- arrived to Chicago in the morning and met our friends George and Jenny at the airport (we got an incredible view of the skyline from the air - my favorite part about flying)
- took the L into the city and then walked to our hotel (I don't remember anything about this part other than chatting with Jenny the whole time and being annoyed by the wheels of my carry-on bag)
- walked to the aquarium and took in the gorgeous views of Lake Michigan + the skyline
- ordered Chicago-style hot dogs (YUM) and discussed whether or not we should pay more money so we could skip the incredibly long line outside the aquarium
- I walked back to the hotel with Jenny to purchase discounted VIP tickets while the boys went to the shop at Soldier Field
- saw a dolphin show, a bunch of jellies and other fishies (including nemo)
- took the L to Navy Pier and kissed my hubs at the top of the ferris wheel
- stuffed our faces at Giordano's- we got pepperoni+sausage and it was scrumptious

- decided to have a little breakfast date at Yolk (George and Jenny went too, but we sat at different tables). b/c I have to tell you what I ate b/c that's how I roll... I got the french toast w/ eggs and bacon. I didn't think I'd be able to eat a single bite because I drank a mocha while we waited for our table.
...I ate every single bite.
- took the bus to the museum of science + industry and had our minds blown by all the fascinating exhibits. My legs pretty much fell off while we were there so Andy and I didn't see the whole museum, but our favorite part was the baby chick hatchery. I loved seeing Andy's face light up when the chicks hobbled over to investigate his finger against the glass.
- Andy and I relaxed at the hotel while George and Jenny searched for a jersey for their little boy. They found a Devin Hester jersey for me at TJMaxx for $30 - thanks, Reids!
- enjoyed a free dinner at Tribute (part of our package), which we all expected to be sub-par b/c it's attached to the hotel.... but it was phenomenal! I'm pretty sure there were five entrees we could choose from and we also got a complimentary salad. We passed up the complimentary cocktail and dessert b/c we were so full! I was nervous that the fried chicken would be just okay, and who wants just okay fried chicken? So I ordered the burger. It was a great burger, but Andy got the chicken and it was probably the best fried chicken we'd ever tasted. I choked. (this is something on my hate list)
- walked to Soldier Field and had an absolute blast cheering on the Bears and witnessing a great game

man, it was good times. we're so blessed to have George and Jenny in our lives and we'll never forget that weekend in the windy city! we're already talking about next year - there's still so much to see!

Friday, October 14, 2011

guide to Harrisonburg: where to eat

thanks to the many people groups in town as well as the demand for both cheap eats and fine dining, the dining scene in Harrisonburg is surprisingly diverse. I can't think of anything we lack!

where to eat...

BEST PLACE TO BLOW YOUR DIET - Jack Brown's located downtown and Tacos El Primo (aka The Taco Truck) located near JMU

a rather depressing photo from here
the photographer must have come in at 3:30 p.m. on a weekday or something, because this place is never empty! I've gone right when it opens at 11 a.m. and those barstools fill up FAST. the beers are just as famous as their burgers, but I've only ever had their food! their plain ol' cheeseburger is simple perfection, but my favorite is the Elvis - which has cheese, smoked bacon, peanut butter and mayo on it. "The Chiflet" is also delish - but "The Showalter," which is the same thing only served between two Krispy Kreme donuts instead of a bun, is even more mind-blowing. The website doesn't list all of their specialty burgers - I'm pretty sure they have two specialty burgers a day now. Don't be lame and just order a burger (haha sorry Doug if you're reading this) - get sweet potato fries and a fried oreo, too! You can share those, I won't mind. Dip your fries AND your burger in the lip-smackingly good Jack Brown's sauce. Also, people will tell you that the interior of the bar is super tiny. It is. There's only one table in the restaurant. BUT there is outdoor seating and there's a lovely heater out there and they put a blanket on each seat when it's chilly.
The Taco Truck at it's old location on South Main St.
and then there's The Taco Truck. I've never called it "Tacos El Primo" because the people who introduced me to it (hey, Amber!) called it The Taco Truck. (That was back when I was a features intern at the DN-R my sophomore times.) The truck has moved to a spot off of Reservoir St. between Cantrell St. and the Wal-Mart shopping center. so here's the deal - order a carnitas burrito (my personal fav), pay, sit at a picnic table and wait for your burrito, then take it from the chef and grab all of the napkins your hands can hold. it's a greasy lil bugger, but it's fabulous.

BEST FOR DATE NIGHT - The Local Chop and Grill House - just outside downtown

photo from the News Leader
Head to the restaurant side if you're looking for a unique fine dining experience - but I prefer the bar side for the more laid-back atmosphere and wallet-friendly meal. They've changed the bar menu around since I last went, but I would order the bison, steak and duck sliders with a side of duck fat fries. Hopefully my date would be willing to order something different so we could eat off each other's plates (that's the way I like it, baby!) If I went to the restaurant I'd order the white truffle risotto balls and a filet mignon with the local chimichurri and their yukon gold mashed potatoes and polenta w/ marscapone. Andy and I went to the bar side for our 2nd anniversary dinner and the restaurant side for our 3rd anniversary and both of us thought that if you can get just as amazing food for cheaper, why wouldn't you? So yea - bar all the way! The Local Chop and Grill is inside a neat old produce exchange building (we looked at renting an apartment here).


a view of (and from) the taratsa, from here
Who doesn't like Dave's Taverna? What I love about Dave's is that everyone has "their dish" that they just can't get enough of, and everyone follows their rave with a rant about the terrible service. Cracks me up. Andy and I  are in love w/ each other, and Dave's pastitsio. I finally tried their steak and cheese on a pita, though, and people... if you like steak and cheese sammies... get on this one. Their tomato-mozzarella salad and spanakopita is super yummy, too, as is everything... mmm... I want. Oh, and eat on the roof if the weather is nice!
(does anyone else get a little worried by Dave's spiral staircase? every time I watch a drunk girl walk down it I think she's going to fall to her death. take the other stairs, girlfriends!)

pic of my fav soup by this blogger

BEST LOCAL FLAVOR - A Bowl of Good, located across from Eastern Mennonite University

My fav at A Bowl of Good is the tom kha gai bowl, which is a thai coconut chicken soup served over rice.
the maharaja bowl is also delicious, as is the bada bun bowl. I've only tried those three dishes, but I've heard great things about all of their food. 
BEST FOR HIPPIES (hehe. jk. no, but really.)  - The Little Grill, located just outside of downtown

from here

The Little Grill is best known for their Sunday brunch, but it has a varied menu that caters to vegetarians and vegans. I've yet to go to brunch, but I like their regular menu so I'm sure it lives up to the hype!

BEST FOR A MORNING DATE, with your guy or with a newspaper/book/Bible - Mr. J's

-sorry, no pic-

Whether you're getting a bagel w/ cream cheese or w/ breakfast or lunch goodness stuffed inside, Mr. J's Bagels and Deli is sublime. Their french toast bagel is super delish but when I get a breakfast sandwich I like to get it on an egg everything bagel. Mmm mmm mm. Mr. J's is classic Harrisonburg. I used to see the same person there every time I went - and I never went on a certain day or at a certain time! (No, he's not homeless - he just loves Mr. J's like every good Harrisonburgian...burgie...burgite...) There are multiple locations.

BEST ICE CREAM - Coldstone. Kidding, kidding. Kline's, duh!

from here

Kline's is something you're supposed to embrace when you live in Harrisonburg. With incredible custard-style ice cream and a weekly "special" flavor, it's not a hard place to love! When the students come back the lines at Klines triple in size - for good reason. I particularly enjoy the espresso chip (it's coming up, yay), chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter cookies and cream and banana (but then I have to get a second scoop so I can get one of banana and one of chocolate). My last trip was to try the lemon gingersnap and ohhh mannn was it yummy! There are two locations in Harrisonburg, and they never have the same specialty flavor.


some of you will wish I had talked about Clementine or Beyond or Artful Dodger or Cally's (well guess what, Cally's CLOSED) or Taste of Thai (I know, I know... it IS delicious) or Blue Nile... but I haven't been to Blue Nile, and while I do like the other places, they aren't the best of anything in my book. Well, Clementine might have the best interior. Ok, I'll give it that one.
(I've heard Thai Cafe and Thai Flavor are just as good as Taste of Thai and that they're cheaper - I need to check those places out immediately. who is with me?)

we're getting some new places in town, such as "Flip-N-Burg-R" (yea. weird name, right? it's almost completed and it has two locations. one has a double drive through and everyone else in the H'burg got excited and thought it was a Sonic and I was all "Ew stop. Please don't be a Sonic - PLEASE let it be a Checkers!" but it wasn't and we were all mad.) We're also getting a pub, which should be amazing b/c the owner is the guy who own's Vito's (an incredibly lovely restaurant in an incredibly depressing Food Lion shopping center). Also getting Quaker Steak and Lube, which sounds... terrible. Cally's will become a Capital Alehouse, which I'm excited about even though I thought Cally's was a great restaurant.


and that, dear readers, is my guide to Harrisonburg. if you wanna know about our nightlife, talk to someone who has really experienced it. One of these days I need to check out salsa night at the Dodger. My real dream, though, is to find some brainiacs to play Team Trivia with me at the Dodger or Clementine. Andy is incredible at trivia, and I surprise myself with what I know (thanks love for reading and crossword puzzles), but a) Andy's not here right now and b) I'm no good with political trivia or sports trivia. 

for the rest of my guide to Harrisonburg, click on the "guide to Harrisonburg" label at the very end of this post.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

guide to Harrisonburg: where to shop (part 2)

yesterday's post featured shopping just outside of Harrisonburg. today I'm going to share with you my three (er, four) favorite places to shop downtown:

where to shop...part two


photos from the shop's facebook page- I don't think Sara will mind :)

I adore this store. Sara has the sweetest vintage furniture and accessories! I knew Sara, the owner, in college and I'm so, so proud of her for being brave and starting her own business. I'm also extremely grateful that she brought such cuteness (affordable cuteness at that) to downtown! While you're on Market Street, check out Mint next door and meet Anna - she grew up in Harrisonburg and always wanted to own a boutique downtown. I always want to try on every single item in the store.

BEST PLACE TO BUY LOCAL - Harrisonburg Farmers Market

from here
Gosh darn it I just love the farmers market. So does Washington Post writer Julia Duin - check out her article on the market here. This is also the best place to get a real feel for what the city is all about - hospitality and community. The market is open on Saturdays and Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and you can buy your breakfast and/or lunch here. Tuesdays have become my new "bun day." Go on a Saturday - there are more vendors, and you'll find plenty of handmade items along with gorgeous, local food.

BEST UNIQUE GIFTS - Ten Thousand Villages

(no pic of this store, sorry)

If you like international goods AND fair trade values, this is the shop for you. I'm so happy they moved from the Dayton Farmers Market to downtown Harrisonburg. Plus, The Yellow Button - the closest thing to Anthro we've got -  is right next door. I looove the clothes and accessories @ The Yellow Button - the owner, Miranda, has flawless taste. Want style inspiration? See what Miranda's wearing.

ooo..I just have to add this one too...
BEST WOW FACTOR - The Friendly City Food Co-op

from here
After a couple years of waiting for this to happen, it happened. And it's GOOD. That's why I consider it best wow factor - Harrisonburg is really stepping it up a notch with this store, which has a Trader-Joes like feel to it. The co-op is such a fun place to pick up local foods and specialty grocery items, and they have a great grab-and-go section as well as a coffee station and salad bar. Like the farmers market, the co-op sells more than food - so it's worth checking out even if you aren't hungry!
Along with The Yellow Button and Mint, Duo sells stylish, youthful clothes and even has a consignment section - think high-end Plato's Closet for the young working woman).

For great thrifting, head to Hess Furniture or Mercy House (Mercy House isn't downtown, but it's worth going to - I mainly go for their books and dishes). Stop by James McHone Jewelry on Court Square and try on some gorgeous antique jewelry just for kicks - we got my wedding band there.

click here to view more Harrisonburg shopping options.

up next... where to eat!
click here to read "where to stay" and here for "where to play" and here for "where to shop: part one"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

guide to Harrisonburg: where to shop (part 1)

we may not have an Anthropologie or Crate & Barrel, but other than the disappearance of our Gap Outlet, Harrisonburg's shopping scene continues to improve.

where to shop...part one (outside of town)

BEST - The Cottage in Dayton (yep, it's simply the best.)

the Cottage used to be a bank - they use the vault for storage
just the other day a friend of mine pulled me aside and said "girl, will you take me to The Cottage?" I'm becoming the girl that takes people to The Cottage. seriously, I've taken at least eight friends to this shop because I LOVE IT that much. it's a home decor shop w/ a TON to look at. the owners are super sweet. they know me by name now and the last time I went in they asked me if there were any updates on Andy's job situation. Presh! Dayton is only minutes away from H'burg. 

BEST FOR COOKING/BAKING INSPIRATION - Kitchenwares and More and The Cheese Shoppe at the Dayton Farmer's Market

bulk items @ the cheese shoppe
This market is one big warehouse type building with lots of shops inside. Many of the shops have merchandise that wouldn't appeal to our generation, but I love browsing all of the gadgets at Kitchenwares and More and the dried goods at The Cheese Shoppe (they have they most amazing macaroon mix... all you do is add water and I like to dip them in melted chocolate). 

BEST FOR BOOKWORMS - the Green Valley Book Fair in Mount Crawford

How to describe the Green Valley Book Fair... it's a huge warehouse full of books - all different genres, all age levels - and most of them are under $6. So basically, it's a book lover's dream. It's the TJ Maxx of books. I always go with a set amount of cash to spend, and every time I go I have to constantly thumb through my stack and agonize over which of them to buy and which to put back. I went yesterday and bought "The Postmistress" and "The Grace Awakening" for myself and a few others to give as Christmas gifts. Mount Crawford is about 10 minutes from town.

check back tomorrow for part two of "where to shop."
click here to read "where to stay" and here for "where to play."

p.s. all my images are found from google images