Tag Archives: Apartment

An Excuse, an Accident, and a Great Listener

Standard

I hate being away from le blogge for such an extended period of time (i.e. only writing once a week), mostly because I miss sharing my life with you guys! Every time I have a topic to write about and I don’t write, it feels like I held in a sneeze. It’s like I’m waiting to feel the sweet relief that is a published post, tied up neatly with the metaphorical bow of a catchy title and ten thousand tags. I can’t blame anyone but myself, though, for choosing alternative activities. C’est la vie sometimes.

In much more exciting, non sneeze-related news, Ian and I just spent an incredible weekend with two of our favorite people, Lauren and R.D. Lauren and I have been friends since we were freshmen at Longwood, and Ian and R.D. became friends when Ian pledged the same fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma, at Hampden-Sydney. They live in Virginia Beach, and we finally had a free weekend to go and visit them in their beautiful new apartment!

I’ll start at the beginning.

I picked Ian up straight from work on Friday, hangry (the term he dubbed for hunger + anger, during which I morph quickly into a bear and then back again as soon as my blood sugar is stabilized) and ready to get on the road. It should have been less than 90 minutes between downtown Richmond and where Lauren and R.D. live in Virginia Beach, but we knew we’d hit horrendous beach-goer traffic on Interstate 64. And we were exactly right. Somewhere between Yorktown and Williamsburg, we got into a fender-bender. The other driver wasn’t paying attention and let her foot off the brake between bouts of stand-still traffic, so she only caused the tiniest of dents in my bumper. What should’ve been a 90-minute trip became a 3.5-hour journey between bumper-to-bumper, waiting for the police to come, and battling the Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Nevertheless, we arrived at our friends’ apartment just before 7:30, hungry and ready to get our Mexican on. They took us to a local favorite hotspot, El Tapatio. I didn’t waste any time drowning my sorrows (dramatic much? ;-)) in a jumbo marg!

IMG_0671[1]

As soon as I was properly *hydrated*, I buried my face in some grub.

IMG_0672[1]

I know that I need to lay off the processed carbs, but there’s just something about bottomless chips and salsa that does a weary soul good. (Okay, I’ve milked it enough. I guess we can move on now.)

As soon as we were back at the apartment, Lauren broke out the Angry Orchard, and Ian and R.D. dove headfirst into rum and Coke. Five hours and many ciders later, Lauren and I were still having one of our heart-to-hearts on her bed, while our significant others…

IMG_0679[1] IMG_0680[1]

…were down for the count.

[Bear with me, as I’ve noticed that one of the recurring themes of this weekend was covering the lens of my iPhone slightly with my finger…]

Thankfully, my OCD and my over-planning had led me to blow up Ian’s and my air mattresses before we went out to dinner, so our beds were waiting, and more than inviting. Lauren and R.D. graciously offered us their guest room/office and their second full bath for the weekend for our living and sleeping quarters. Within minutes, we were both sleeping like babies.

Saturday had much more of a lazy start. I awoke at 9:45 after about 5 hours of sleep, and after a short conversation with Ian, I fell asleep again until noon. Lauren had a strong cup of black coffee waiting for me when I finally emerged. We went to this quaint little diner for brunch, where I had the most excellent Eggs Benedict and fresh fruit. Lauren had a mimosa that smelled to die for, but I thought water would better suit my recovery 😉

After brunch, we spent an hour or so wandering around Harris Teeter. I’m a huge fan of Whole Foods, but I could easily see myself becoming HT-loyal if there was one near Ian or me. After all, I found my splurge drink: grape Synergy Kombucha with chia seeds!

IMG_0682[1]

I took mine for a dip in the pool as soon as the groceries were unloaded. It wasn’t hot or humid, but the water was calling our names. We had planned to hit the beach, but the forecast of thunderstorms for the rest of the evening put a stop to that in a hurry. We all agreed we’d try the pool for as long as we could, and then begin dinner preparations.

Can I just say that Lauren and R.D. are so fortunate to be able to live in such a beautiful and lavish apartment complex? I don’t mean to expose their business to the world, but I am incredibly jealous of their new digs and all that their rent includes. I mean, look at this pool!

Lauren, please don't be mad at me... but you are so freaking cute!

Lauren, please don’t be mad at me… but you are so freaking cute!

IMG_0685[1]

As can be seen behind R.D., there was also a spacious hot tub we tried out for about five minutes before we decided it was just too hot for hot tubbin’. Poor Ian tried to get in a few minutes of study time…

IMG_0683[1]

…but the storm put a damper on our pool visit after about 30 minutes.

No matter! Lauren got right to work on dishes of chips and salsa, and we enjoyed watching the storm from the porch.

IMG_0688[1]

Not many people would allow me to unload multiple times in one weekend, but Lauren is one incredible friend and one patient listener. She’s also a good advice-giver without being judgmental or condescending. In my opinion, not many people achieve that balance! Thanks again, girl! 🙂

As soon as we were all cleaned up, Ian got to work studying a bit, R.D. got to work on some video games,

IMG_0690[1]

and Lauren got to work on dinner: shrimp, steak and veggie kabobs.

IMG_0694[1] IMG_0693[1] IMG_0692[1]

She swore I could not do a thing to help her — and she was probably right, judging by the beauty of our dinner — and that I should relax and enjoy being her guest.

IMG_0698[1]

I was pretty full between the kabobs and the couscous, but we decided that a trip to Coldstone was in order, anyway. I cannot thank Lauren enough times for driving all weekend and for truly treating Ian and me like guests.

My absolute favorite flavor: That's How I Roll

My absolute favorite flavor: That’s How I Roll

After we got back from Coldstone, there was a surprise waiting for us: Lauren and R.D. threw us a party! There were only seven of us total, but we rabble-roused enough for about 20 people. We even dug out ye olde HSC game table and played pong and flip cup.

IMG_0702[1]

Not only did I rock at flip cup and help carry our three-man team to victory, I rocked this hilarious koozie of Lauren’s:

IMG_0701[1] IMG_0700[1]

We partied undergrad-style, complete with a rousing game of Kings, until the very late hour of 11:00, when everybody crashed in front of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Our party guests bid us adieu around midnight, and we called it a day. I was all too happy to crash on my double-sized air mattress again.

Ian and I got up at 9:30 this morning, got ready, packed up, and hit the road. I cringe when I think about our McDonald’s breakfast, because my eating habits have been pretty abysmal lately. Spruce it up however you like and title it whatever you want; an egg white sandwich from McDonald’s is still egg, cheese, meat, and bread. My iced coffee kept me going through a few small bouts of low blood sugar, but I was determined to make it to Richmond without stopping for lunch. Ian and I have become unabashed experts at being cheap-asses.

I dropped him off at his apartment shortly after 1:00, and I got gas quickly before heading home. Even though I was desperate for a nap and a shot (or five) of caffeine, I somehow managed to study for more than two hours for the CPCE I am taking August 24.

As of right now, I’m not long out of bed. I just couldn’t wait to share this magnificent weekend with my blends! Hopefully, I’ll be back before another week passes… Ta ta!

Advertisements

Grown-Up Weekend

Standard

You may or may not be able to relate to this, but do you ever feel like just because you’re in your 20s, in professional school, working, or living independently, that you’re not quite a grown-up?

I’ll be 25 in December, I will begin the third year of my M.Ed. program in 25 days, I have my own apartment where I attend school, and I am planning a wedding… but I still do not feel like a grown-up.

Maybe it’s because I still call my mom to ask, “What do I do?!” for the simplest of queries.

Maybe it’s because I will wait until I’m on my death bed to see a doctor. (Though the way I hear it, a lot of grown-ups do the same thing!)

Maybe it’s because I conveniently seem to forget about appointments I’d rather not go to (e.g. the OB-GYN).

Maybe it’s because I have chosen to live with my parents (from the time I graduate in May) until Ian and I are married in October.

Whatever the reason, I, A.K., do not self-identify as a grown-up. Nevertheless, Ian and I decided to engage in some “grown-up” activities this weekend. For example, we hosted our first cookout at his apartment. We invited several close friends, including two of my favorite heterosexual life partners whom I have known since freshman year at Longwood, Rachel and Charlotte.

IMG_0620[1]

IMG_0629[1]

We carefully prepared our menu: blue cheese-infused turkey burger sliders with all the accoutrements, baked beans, and curly fries. Our couple-friends, Mark and Heather, brought one of the most delicious and unique cheese balls I have ever tasted! Plus wine. It’s definitely not a grown-up cookout unless there’s wine involved 😉

IMG_0626[1]

We asked our guests to arrive around 7, so we began preparations at 5:30. Ian had done the grocery shopping earlier in the day. As nervous as I was about someone who doesn’t eat tomato or avocado choosing the perfect ones, he did splendidly with the insanely detailed thorough grocery list I gave him.

He caught me a bit off-guard while I was trying to slice and dice the perfect little onion and tomato wedges and figure out the sliders:

IMG_0618[1]

IMG_0619[1]

[Don’t worry; I usually cut vegetables with my eyes closed, so I’m a bit of a pro.]

Ian and Mark manned the grill while we ladies waited for the beans and the fries to be ready.

IMG_0621[1]

IMG_0624[1]

The men must comment on the status of cooking meat, in addition to the size and heat of a fire, the poor gas mileage on cars, what good time they’re making on a road trip, and the score or status of any sports event imaginable, amiright?

The sliders turned out much smaller than I had anticipated and the blue cheese flavor wasn’t as prominent as I hoped, but everyone proclaimed the meal a success. I considered it a success myself afterward when everyone sat around moaning about how full they were 😉 I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was glowing when Charlotte complimented my ability (read: luck) to have the sliders, the fries, the veggies, and the beans done simultaneously.

IMG_0625[1]

A wonderful evening was had by all! I was sad to see everyone go, but it was 11:30 before I knew it and Ian and I were fading fast. We finished cleaning up and hit the hay. Asleep by 12:30 on a Friday night? One of the most grown-up bedtimes we’ve had since I met this HSC gent.

Saturday morning, we slept in and did absolutely nothing. It was positively glorious knowing we had nowhere to be and nothing to do. Ian made me a breakfast of scrambled eggs, Chobani Flip, toast with apricot jelly, and apple cinnamon oatmeal. We did a little wedding-planning business, and then we settled in for the Harry Potter marathon. My lazy butt needed a nap toward the end of the first movie, and I awoke at the beginning of the fourth thinking, How long have I been asleep?! Turns out, the movies were being played out of order. Momentary panic.

Around 3:00, we packed up and headed to my house. We ate an early dinner and then Ian and I, my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend piled into the car for the 90-minute drive to Spotsylvania. My dad and I ran in the Spotsylvania FCHC Twilight 5k at 7:30. Ian served as my gracious photographer as I stretched, got prepped, and tried to get “into the zone.”

IMG_0634[1] IMG_0636[1] IMG_0641[1]

You probably know by now that my dad and I run races together, and we keep pace with one another. I am the watch-wearer in this relationship. Our goal for months now has been to finish together in ≤34 minutes.

We started off fairly strong with a 10:37 first mile. We lost a good bit of speed as we rounded the halfway point on the out-and-back course at 17:14. We hit mile marker two at 22:25, and I was pretty certain we weren’t going to make our PTR. To say the course was “rolling” was a gross understatement. There were some hills, man. Plus the humidity was killer.

When we rounded the last turn leaving the neighborhood and I could see the finish line in the distance, I said, “Let’s go, Dad!” and he said, “Go!” I didn’t think I had much left in me, but somehow I took off. I sprinted toward that finish line, hearing our four supporters calling my name and cheering me on.

IMG_0644[1] IMG_0646[1] IMG_0648[1]

Dad finished strong just behind me:

IMG_0649[1] IMG_0651[1]

I clocked myself at 34:36. I couldn’t find the “stop button” immediately as I crossed. The chip I wore strapped to my right ankle clocked me at 34:38, finishing 118th out of about 200 runners. Dad was clocked at 34:53, finishing 119th. According to my official time, I averaged 11:09-minute miles, so we should have been right on pace to finish within our goal.

IMG_0657[1]

As soon as I caught my breath — which I never thought I would between the humidity and pushing so hard at the end — Ian and I headed toward the snack tent for a banana (and the requisite post-race pics).

IMG_0654[1] IMG_0656[1]

After the race, we celebrated with custard from Carl’s, a Frederickburg favorite, as evidenced by the crowd snaking around the building. For a shop with only five flavors, the place sure was hoppin’ at 9:00 on a Saturday night. I was too pooped to snap pictures, but Ian and I split a chocolate sundae with chopped nuts. The custard hit the spot with my sweet tooth and wet my whistle, but it can’t hold a candle to Sweet Frog or Coldstone.

Things got a bit silly on the drive home as Rob, Caroline, Mom and I cracked up at the Instagram account @youhadonejob. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. These ridiculous mistakes will have your sides hurting!

It was to bed early for everyone as soon as we got home at 10:45. Yet again, I felt like such a grown-up: splitting a sundae, participating in an out-of-town race, and getting to bed at a decent hour in preparation for church today.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful, fun-filled, adult-like weekend. Talk to you again soon!

What were you up to this weekend? How did you get out and move?

Grocery Haul Line Item

Standard

Hello and happy Sunday, blends! I’m back at my little apartment for a long, blissful, peaceful, relaxing week of… class. Whomp.

Anyhow, I haven’t written about my grocery shopping exploits in awhile, so I thought it would be fun to update you on what I’m eating these days, how much I buy to feed a household of one, and about how much I spend per week on food. Here goes, in no particular order!

DSCN0294

I was falling a little behind on my TP supply. Get it? 😉 ($7.99)

DSCN0295

My fridge is always stocked with Chobani. This week, all Chobani was 10/$10, so I even indulged in a few Flips.

DSCN0296

In the grains department, organic frosted flakes cereal ($2.50), store-brand whole wheat rotini ($0.99), spicy blue corn tortilla chips ($2.79), and 100-calorie whole wheat sandwich rounds ($3.19).

DSCN0297

My “shame buys”: basil pesto ($3.69) for chicken pesto pasta this week, and soups ($2.69 each). I try not to buy these types of items often, because pesto is so high in fat, and because brand-name soups have a tremendous amount of sodium (34% RDV in just one of these cans!).

DSCN0298

In the beverage department, my impromptu purchase of Metro Mint water (on sale 10/$10), practically sugar-free and low-cal cranberry-pomegranate juice ($2.74), and store-brand skim milk ($2.19).

DSCN0299

I thought I was in desperate need of Orbit gum (2/$3), but it turns out there were two packs of strawberry flavor waiting for me in the pantry. Oops!

DSCN0300

Not-quite-ripe bananas — just how I like ’em — ($0.59/pound = $1.20), organic strawberries ($2.28), and white grapes ($2.99/pound = $5.20).

DSCN0301

As far as veggies go, one green bell pepper ($0.78), two Roma tomatoes ($2.28/pound = $2.51), one cucumber (4/$3 = $0.75), one Vidalia onion ($0.99/pound = $0.64), whole carrots ($0.79), baby spinach ($2.99), and Steamfresh frozen peas ($1.39) and a veggie blend ($2.69).

DSCN0302

One-half dozen grade-A large store-brand eggs ($0.99) and feta crumbles ($1.89).

DSCN0303

And last but certainly not least, my protein department: antibiotic-free, hormone-free, 100% vegetarian-fed, cage-free-raised chicken breasts ($3.95), and farm-raised boneless and skinless tilapia fillets ($3.99).

Drum roll, please……

My total haul for the week cost $83.42, and I saved $12.35 using my store points card. Woohooo!

Some of these items will last me longer than a week, such as three chicken breasts and four pieces of tilapia, a carton of juice, the TP (I should hope!), pesto, pasta, and gum. I needed to make a large grocery shopping trip today since I haven’t been at my apartment for a month and the fridge was looking pretty bare. That explains my high bill, as a typical weekly trip ranges from $40-$60. However, my fruit and veggie haul for this week was pretty typical, with some items varying depending upon weekly sales (e.g. grapes instead of pears, baby spinach instead of a butter bibb blend).

That about wraps it up! I’d love to hear from YOU about grocery shopping! Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I love seeing what other foodies and health nuts buy each week.

Snow Day!

Standard

Happy snow day, blends!

I don’t know about you, but here in Central Virginia, I got between 3 and 4 inches of the heavy, wet stuff. I was beyond excited when it started snowing around 10:00 last night. It had been raining most of the afternoon on into the evening. The trucks and plows weren’t able to get out to salt the roads due to the rain, so I thought there was a pretty good chance the snow would stick 😉

This morning, I awoke early to see several inches covering cars, trees, rooftops, and sidewalks… but wet, black pavement. That meant the roads had to be clear, which meant life must be continuing on as usual. I even had an inclement weather text message from school, stating that the college would be functioning on time and as scheduled. Bummer.

(I really don’t know why I was so excited for an honest-to-goodness snow day, because I don’t have class or Practicum on Wednesdays anyway!)

It snowed like hell from the time I woke up until early afternoon. At times it practically looked (and felt and sounded) like a blizzard; the trees were bent sideways in the wind, and it whistled between the apartment buildings. Around 1:00 this afternoon, the snow fizzled out and the sun even came out to play. There’s nothing I love more than a snow day, and there’s nothing I hate more than the sound of snow melting, dripping from icicles and rooftops into gutters, and running into the sewers. A wee bit of an exaggeration, but it really does make me sad when the beautiful white snow melts away and leaves huge muddy puddles and street chemicals behind. Sigh.

There’s also nothing that helps me be mindful like snow. I’m not very good at slowing down and really taking notice of my surroundings or what’s happening within myself, but snow does that for me every single time. I focus intently on watching it as it falls. I try my darndest to catch the perfect flake on my tongue. (Yes, Mom, I still eat snow.) I listen as the snow filters through the trees and lands softly on the ground. I love the smell of it before it arrives. I take notice of the color of the sky and the way it traps light in its low ceiling. I make sure to get my hands wet to really feel its consistency and its coldness. I walk in it and listen to it crunch and squeak beneath my boots. I don’t worry about Instagramming it or tweeting it or letting everyone else know that I, too, am experiencing the snow. I just am with the snow.

Maybe I’m a bit too obsessed with snow, but it has been my absolute favorite form of weather since I was a tiny kid.

Despite my best efforts to re-watch seasons one and two of Pretty Little Liars — because, tragically, I don’t have access to season three and I’ve run out of excitement about Netflix — I accomplished everything on my to-do list. And then some!

The couch is actually calling my name again now that three loads of laundry are done… Great catching up with you!

Question: What’s your favorite thing to do on a snow day?

Saturday Secrets

Standard

What I’m sharing with you today constitutes not so much secrets, but more so confessions. “Saturday Confessions” isn’t alliterative, though.

(1) Last night was the first time in a loooong time I’ve gotten together with just my girlfriends. Five of us went out for dinner and drinks, and we had an absolute blast. Yeah, of course our boyfriends, fiances, and husbands came up in conversation, but they weren’t invited! GNO was just what I needed to cap off this hellacious week. The confession: I’m terrible about making plans with people. When someone says, We should get together soon! I’m always apt to say, Yeah, let’s do it! and then wait for the other person to initiate the plan-making. It’s not that I won’t make plans, it’s that I’m lazy and I prefer to be the invitee rather than the inviter…er. Since I graduated from Longwood, though, that’s begun to change.

(2) Friday is typically my cleaning day. I actually don’t mind vacuuming the entire apartment, Swiffering the kitchen and bathroom floors, scrubbing the tub, polishing the sinks, washing the linens, etc. Cleaning not only puts my type-A mind at ease, but it gives me that sense of accomplishment and pride before I have company. The confession: I sometimes do what I call the lazy-man’s cleaning of the toilet. I douse the entire bowl in this fresh-smelling cleanser I found, turn on the fan so the bleach fumes don’t knock me out, and give it 20 minutes or so to do its thing. The cleanser gets rid of any yuckiness, and it’s all gone in a flush. I don’t always actually scrub the bowl with the brushy scrubby bristly thing. Oops.

(3) I acquired my first-ever credit card! The confession: I’m probably the only 24-year-old (or younger) who doesn’t want a credit card. I like having my finances all in one place, organized via online transactions and the Post-It Note app on my computer to keep track of expenditures. [OCD much?] My financial advisor (i.e. my dad) strongly encouraged me to get a credit card well in advance of the wedding so I can start building some credit other than paying rent and the electric and cable bills on time. Y’know, being an adult requires a lot more than you bargain for when you’re little and you can’t wait to be a grown-up…

(4) I have finally started enjoying the way I look in pictures. Of course, I still feel the need to approve them before my friends Instagram, tweet, or Facebook me… The confession: I never remember to charge the new digital camera I requested for Christmas. I keep forgetting that it isn’t battery operated like my previous camera. The five of us looked so jolly and rosy-cheeked last night with our schooners and our Sex With an Alligator shooters, but of course, A.K.’s camera was deader than the alligator that went into our shots. Hence the perpetual lack of photos gracing the blog. One day I’ll get it together!

Have a magnificent Saturday, blends! Feel free to share a confession if you like 😉