Tag Archives: Ian

Recipe Borrowing: “Lara Balls” & Kodiak Cakes

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I like to pat myself on the back for expanding my recipe repertoire (i.e. the meals I can comfortably fix for myself or for Ian and me), but I can’t take credit for devising many of them. Yesterday, I made Brittany’s healthy homemade Lara balls, and this morning I made Kodiak Cakes for Ian’s and my breakfast, idea courtesy of Courtney. Even though I won’t take credit for the ideas, I’ll still show you how I emulated what these fabulous ladies do. First up: Lara balls!

During Ian’s and my adventure at Fresh Market yesterday, I picked up the supplies for both the Lara balls and the Kodiak Cakes.

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First, I pulsed about one cup of whole, raw cashews in my food processor until they were thoroughly chopped.

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Then, I added about 2 cups of whole, pitted dates and about 3 tbsp of natural peanut butter and pulsed until the mixture was wholly chopped.

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I kept having to add PB because the mixture wouldn’t form into shapeable “balls” without more adhesive. When I was finally satisfied with the consistency, I formed the mixture into about 20 bite-sized balls and refrigerated them.

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Ian declared them “very rich,” but I have yet to try them. I sent him home with six of them. I am excited to have ready-made dessert or snacks for the next week or so! I love the idea of such a simple “recipe” with so few ingredients. As you all know, I’m all about easy and simple! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now for Kodiak Cakes! I had read about this flapjack/waffle mix on Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life multiple times, so I Googled where to find the mix in Virginia. I was ecstatic when I saw that the primary store that carries this product is Fresh Market. Helloooo, perfect Saturday! Sure enough, there it was, amidst the Bisquick and Krusteaz. (Is it just me, or is Krusteaz a gross name for pancake mix…?) Now, it’s amidst things in my pantry.

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As you can see from the directions, pancake prep is quite simple — perfect for busy mornings around here. The ingredient list is also quite impressive!

I added one cup of Cake mix with about three-quarters of a cup of water for thicker pancakes.

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And just like that, the mix is ready to be poured onto a hot griddle/skillet.

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“Kodiak Cakes are part of this balanced breakfast!”

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Ian and I both declared this “recipe” a keeper! The mix took less than a minute to whip up, and the pancakes cooked so quickly. We agreed that the whole grain ingredients are definitely noticeable in the taste, but it’s not an unpleasant taste. I can see myself whipping up batches of these mini-cakes on chilly mornings and enjoying them on my porch with a cup of hazelnut. Mmmmm!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you this weekend in terms of “new” recipes. For faster picture updates on what I’m eating, feel free to check me out on Instagram — @annekendall.

I hope you have a sunny Sunday, and a great upcoming week! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Have you ever tried Kodiak Cakes (or another variety of whole-ingredient pancake mix)? Either way, what’s your favorite topping or mix-in for pancakes? Mine is a toss-up between blueberries and pecans!

Fresh Market: A Whole New World

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Today was the day, folks. The day for which I have been waiting for more than six months. The day which made me semi-envy those who were standing in line to be among the first to behold the wonder on September 11th. The day I was so grateful for a small surplus in my budget so I could indulge in a few “splurge” purchases. The day that Ian and I went to Fresh Market.

Fresh Market has revolutionized this side of town like I’ve never seen. Where I live in the ‘Burg, people do the bulk of their grocery shopping at Kroger. I thought the massive renovations “my” Kroger has been undergoing made people crazy… until I saw little old ladies ramming people’s hips with their carts, yoga-pants-clad undergrads intently forcing their way through the aisles, and small children wide-eyed and clutching large bags of candy corn.

I knew we were crazy for attempting our exploratory shopping trip on the first Saturday FM was open after just three days of business, but we set out anyway. I had my list in hand (chia Kombucha Synergies, natural PB, pitted dates, raw cashews, and Kodiak Cakes) and my budget in mind ($25 — ha!). We got a ridiculously close parking spot and forged our way inside amidst the throngs of FM-goers.

I was simultaneously in heaven on earth and overwhelmed. There were several hundred people buzzing around the store, most of them having parked their carts directly in front of the busiest sections of the store. Go figure. No matter — we were both so excited to see what the area’s newest hotspot had to offer that we somehow remained friendly and optimistic the entire time.

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Ian readily agreed to be the basket-holder (as long as he didn’t have to hold my purse ;-)) so I could browse. I can’t even count the number of times something caught my eye and I said, “Oh, wow!” You probably would’ve enjoyed my facial expressions if you could’ve seen me marvel over the bulk bins of wasabi trail mix, the frozen kefir, the bright organic produce, the fragrant seasonal coffees, and the sample stations.

Ian *needed* to be back home by 3:30 for the A&M vs. Alabama game, so we were on a slight schedule. As a consolation prize for myself, I decided to treat us to lunch from FM. He picked up a wrap from the deli, and I had a custom-made deli sandwich. With the exception of lunch and a Clif sport energy packet to try, I stuck pretty closely to my list:

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FM total: $34.91

We made a quick pit stop at Kroger for the natural PB (I’m sorry, but $9 for a jar of PB at Fresh Market is just not my style) and syrup for the pancakes. I said to Ian, “Would you be offended if I got agave nectar instead of syrup?” and he immediately said, “…yes!” He makes me laugh ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Kroger total: $6.44

I would have liked to spend all day more time in Fresh Market today, but it was a madhouse and things were getting a wee bit claustrophobic. We hung in there with the chaos for over an hour, but we were both getting pretty hungry, and I was still, ahem, recovering from last night’s festivities with one of our favorite couples. We got our goodies to go, popped by Krogs for the final two items, and settled in for an afternoon of football at home.

I am beyond excited to make Kodiak Cakes tomorrow morning before Ian heads back to Richmond, and to make Brittany’s homemade Lara balls this afternoon! I also can’t wait to go back to Fresh Market and explore further, perhaps during the week in the morning when it will (hopefully) be less crowded. Lots of exciting stuff coming your way, so stay tuned!

P.S. Do you have a favorite grocery store that just gets you really excited about food? Or am I that crazy blogger who professes her love for grocery shopping, completely oblivious to everybody else’s groans…? Let’s chat!

Thirty-Day Zero Negativity Challenge

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Well, folks, today’s the day that I will discuss the results of Ian’s and my 30-day Zero Negativity Challenge, which concluded yesterday.ย For the record, I didn’t debate much about how much or how little to post. While I don’t believe in airing my dirty laundry on the Internet, I do believe in being honest with myself and with y’all. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

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I implemented the challenge August 5. I loosely based the idea on a newspaper article I’d read about negativity that may exist between couples without their conscious awareness. I don’t think Ian and I were unaware of the negativity that occurs between us, but I do think we were on different pages with what constitutes negativity.

Some days, I would let him know, “Okay, I’m marking down negativity for today,” and he would be like, “Really?! When?” On the one hand, I learned that Ian doesn’t sense negativity in our relationship as I do. On the other hand, I learned that Ian doesn’t sense negativity in our relationship as I do…

All told, I marked down 20 days of Zero Negativity out of 30! The days I marked on my calendar as “negative” were not typically due to actual arguments or serious fights, but more like sarcasm, nit-picking, snide comments, or off-handed remarks that bothered one of us more than they should have.

Let me just add here that I absolutely believe couples should joke, laugh, and be playful with one another, even if a couple’s style includes play-fighting, sarcasm, or playfully picking on each other. After all, if you can’t laugh together, what is all this for? However, there’s a difference between silliness or playful jabs, and comments or actions that take things to the next level and can be hurtful.

Let me also add that I did not mark down the person(s) behind the negativity for any given day. It wasn’t something I thought about until just now, likely because “negativity” is subject to interpretation (in this case, by the calendar-creator). I also don’t see it as necessarily relevant to be specific about who initiated instances of negativity.

The only pattern I saw emerging from this challenge was poor communication, which was always due to one of two things: being pushed for time to talk and having two hours between us.

Overall, I’d say 20 days out of 30 free of negativity of any sort is satisfactory. If I had to assign it a grade, I’d give it a B. I’d like to see us at an A+, but as with anything, making improvements in a relationship takes time. Perhaps this challenge is something we’d like to continue… what say you, Ian? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe it’s the Psychology nerd in me, but I’d be interested to see whether extraneous variables (e.g. the month of August having contained Ian’s first day of class, a wedding, my first day of class, my CPCE, etc.) affected the number of days of negativity. Would a month like, for example, November have fewer days of negativity?

We learned a lot about ourselves, about each other, and about our personal definitions of “negativity.” This challenge was, ironically, a positive experience for us, particularly as we were mindful about how we treated each other and about our honesty with recording. Y’all know I love a good challenge!

P.S. Is this something you would ever consider doing with your significant other? If so, would you publicize the outcome? Just curious!

The Battle of Hormone Hill

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As a blogger, I made a promise to myself when I began this little adventure December 29, 2011, that I would always blog with integrity and be honest with my readers — even if my parents were it! While I have not always been as up-front with you as I would have liked, I have always been honest. Today, I’m gonna be both.

This weekend was a nightmare little rough. It all started on Friday evening when Ian arrived. Bless his heart, he bears the brunt of… well, me. We had planned to see his cousin Bryce play in a Labor Day soccer tournament in Richmond Saturday afternoon. We had also planned to tailgate and attend the University of Richmond vs. VMI football game with my parents. After some careful consideration on his own, Ian determined that our best course of action would be to see Bryce play in the 9:00 game on Saturday instead of the 2:00 game; we needed to leave for UR by 3:30 to allow ourselves ample time for set-up and tailgating. He announced this shortly after arriving at my house for dinner, unbeknownst to both of us that hanger was setting in and that it would effectively pit my parents against me. I know that my family would never intentionally gang up on me, but the combination of low blood sugar, fatigue, OCD, and the sudden change in plans threw me for a loop — causing me to act like a completely immature, whiny bitch for the rest of the night. All of a sudden, I did not want to get up at 8:00 on a Saturday morning, I did not want to sit in the heat to watch a soccer game, and I did not want my parents to agree with Ian that the change in schedule would be best for everyone.

[Please believe me when I say that unlike when I was 14, I do not enjoy arguing with Ian or feeling resentful toward my family.]

Essentially, I punished him for the rest of the evening. I made snide comments under my breath throughout dinner. (There went “zero negativity” for August 30.) I declared that the movie du jour was my choice: Paranormal Activity 4. I set up my own bribe, determining that Ian “owed” me Starbuck’s in the morning and a four-pack of Fox Barrel for the tailgate; he agreed to both. Thus, I went to bed earlier than I would have liked, in a foul mood and with a lot of regret.

I woke up before my alarm on Saturday, so I utilized my extra time to my advantage. I showered and got ready for the day, still in a stormy mood. Before she hastily cleared out of the kitchen, my mom asked, “Are you going to punish him all day?”

I didn’t have much to say as we ate breakfast and headed out the door, Ian dutifully plugging the address of the nearest Starbuck’s into his Garmin. I brought my purse in because I wasn’t entirely sure he was going to pay for my drink, but he whipped out his debit card before my foggy brain had a chance to register the barista saying, “That’ll be two dollars.”

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After more than 12 hours of bitterness, I finally felt bad enough to apologize for my frostiness, as my family refers to it, and my behavior. He excused it as no big deal, and he apologized for changing the plans without notice. Even though the switch had been difficult to wrap my brain around, the 9:00 game was a good decision: it was much cooler at 9:00 than it was at 2:00, Ian’s uncle Wayne treated us to lunch after the game so we could have more time to visit, and I even had time for a nap once we got home.

…or so I thought.

Different people traipsed up and down the stairs of the basement, where “we” were watching “the game,” so I didn’t get much of a nap. Ergo, the bitch emerged again, this time fueled by the heat, irritability over the nap, and being rushed to get out the door on time. The bitch went away after a beer or two and some tailgate munchies, but in truth she was just lying in wait. The first half of the game was unbearably hot, and I had chosen to wear a silky top and dark jeans like an idiot.

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Just as halftime ended and the players returned to the field, the referees announced a 30-minute delay due to lightning sighted in the area. The delay ended up lasting more than an hour, with kickoff finally scheduled for 9:15. When we returned to our seats, they were wet from the lightning-ensuing drizzle. The Bitch was not a happy camper, but she clutched her purse, sipped her Diet Coke, and sucked it up.

We finally had to move at the start of the fourth quarter when the little sprinkle became full-blown rain. Richmond was up 34-0, and they were maintaining the shutout. We called it a night with about 8 minutes left in the game. Bitch was giddy with relief about getting out of the rain and out of wet jeans, but that didn’t last long. Ian wanted to watch the tail end and the highlights from some other game, while I thought he was on his way in to watch Safety Not Guaranteed with me. I eventually fell asleep with the lights on waiting for him, which only sparked a snappy argument when he came in to say goodnight and turn the lights off. I flatly refused to let him go to sleep until we “talked it out” — which accomplished absolutely nothing.

When I awoke on Sunday, I lounged for about 90 minutes before he woke up. If you can believe it, Bitch was still at it, and she didn’t want much to do with Ian. As we ate breakfast and I sipped my coffee, we slowly unwound the weekend and analyzed what had gone wrong. Ian kept apologizing for things he thought he had done, when in reality, I was the one who owed him a gigantic “I’M SORRY!” We were able to part company on good terms, he headed downtown and I headed here.

I had a two-hour drive to think over the weekend and why it had been so sour. It finally occurred to me that Ian had mentioned in passing that about once a month, this theme of irreconcilable differences emerges. Know what else happens once a month?

Yeahhhhhhh. That.

We discussed it last night and determined jointly that my hormones and the BC I’m on may be out of whack. It’s possible that I suffer from some serious PMS (i.e. Prepare to Meet Satan) or possibly PMDD. Either way, it’s something to discuss with my OB/GYN before I require an exorcism.

I am in no way excusing my behavior, my poor attitude, my bitterness, or my seeming inability to perk up. I am merely wondering aloud whether there is a medical explanation behind this repeated event. I’ll keep ya posted, and in the meantime, say a little prayer for Ian’s sanity! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Back In It

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Y’all, I am BACK.

Back in the ‘Burg,
back in my apartment,
back in my semblance of clean-eating,

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(mostly) back in my exercise routine,

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back with my grad school girls whom I missed so much(!),
and back into blogging.

It’s not hard at all to believe I went 13 days without posting. Between wrapping up my summer teaching position, studying for the CPCE (which was this morning, by the way), wedding-planning, and packing, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind of stress and excitement. Perhaps I should have taken a page out of Colleen’s book and simply taken the month of August off, knowing how much was approaching, but alas…

I had several posts I desperately wanted to write: the emotional ending to four summers of work with my students with autism; an update on Ian’s and my Zero Negativity Challenge; a close family friend’s wedding last Saturday; and a few other piddly topics. As much as I adore my blog and sharing my life with you guys, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve really dropped the ball on monthly mileage updates toward my 2,013 miles in 2013 goal. As I begin my 600-hour internship next week, I’ll be putting my time-management skills to the ultimate test! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Right now, at this moment, I am in such a good mood. That counseling exam is behind me, it’s a gorgeous 79 degrees, I am finally blogging (and blogging outside),

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I have dinner plans with some of the girls to celebrate yet another grad school milestone behind us, I have little else on my agenda besides a post-exam, pre-dinner workout calling my name and Pretty Little Liars reruns to watch, and I move my baby sister in to her apartment tomorrow to begin her senior year of college! I am truly blessed, because I could not ask for a much better Saturday ๐Ÿ™‚

This semester, I plan to work diligently to be a more frequent blogger. I think daily posts might be a bit ambitious, but I’m aiming for at least every other day. In other words, my goal is not to procrastinate or make excuses; when I get an itch to write, I’ll write! Thank you all for sticking around during my unplanned and unannounced absence. I write Sarcasm for me, but it means a lot to know there are interested readers and friends out there!

With that, I’m off to hit the gym! I’ll have much more activity in the coming weeks, and I promise to make a better effort to share it!

Positively Productive

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Boy, do I have a lot to share with you! This weekend was absolutely, positively, perfectly productive! So, let’s start at the beginning.

[Bear with me — this is gonna be a long one.]

Friday afternoon, Ian’s parents came into town from Roanoke to do a little rehearsal dinner venue-shopping with us. Because Bonnie has two sons and won’t get to do the fun girly stuff involved in wedding-planning and because she lives three hours away, Ian and I are making as concerted an effort as possible for her to feel included in the decision-making and the planning. Due to extensive research, sight-seeing, visiting, and Q & A, we had narrowed our choices down to three locations… which Ian planned for us to see all in one evening. (Insert obligatory and overly dramatic groan here.)

I won’t deny that I was exhausted, hangry, and irritable. Nevertheless, we set out for our first destination across town. Even Ian hadn’t seen the space, so I was excited when he and Bonnie and Jimmy liked it!

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Quickly, we were on to our next destination. Ian had seen our second location, but I was thrilled when he and his parents were smitten. We still went to our third destination, but our minds were already made up. Before we set out, I had thought I would’ve been happy with any of the three, but after having seen them all in succession I realized that my mind was made up before we ever left ๐Ÿ˜‰

(In the spirit of full disclosure and because I am loving planning this wedding, I will share with you honestly the locations we chose for everything and our opinions of our experiences post-shindig.)

We dined deliciously at Capital Ale House, which has become Ian’s and my favorite Friday night destination for beer and burgers. Their lamb burger, orange chive vinaigrette mixed greens, and Rauchbier cheese dip are to die for.

We dropped Bonnie and Jimmy off at their hotel and turned in early at my house. As much as we would have loved to sleep in…

…we were up bright and early Saturday morning. My mom, my sister, Bonnie and I had a 10:00 bridal fitting appointment at my fifth — yes, fifth — bridal gown shoppe. I may have found The Dress. I said this before, and the dress turned out not to be The Dress. I have a different feeling about this one, though… I keep looking at the pictures on my phone, complete with veil and bouquet, and thinking, I sure would love for Ian to see me walking down the aisle in this!

I tried on dress after dress after dress (which I desperately wish I could share with you!!) until Caroline and I declared we were starving and required sustenance before we wasted away to nothing. Hey, when you have hypoglycemia, you can be as dramatic about food as you want ๐Ÿ˜‰

We met Ian and his dad at Olive Garden, my “alma mater.” Man, have I gotten some strange looks when I jokingly tell people that…

We left in a bit of a food coma, but the jolliness of the weekend was perfectly fitting for the lazy evening that followed. We finally got to relax, so relax we did. Caroline and Ian and I gathered a random assortment of beer and settled in for 21 and Over. Despite its abysmal approval rating, we found it to be absolutely hilarious — the perfect movie to cap off such a great day!

We hit the hay early again, which I don’t hate. [I’m starting to realize at two years post-undergrad just how elderly my tendencies are.]

After church this afternoon, we wandered around in Carytown for the annual Watermelon Festival. Well, first there was brunch at Baker’s Crust, which involved mimosas…

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…and literally the best frittata I have ever had!

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After brunch, we browsed the vendors’ booths for a few hours. I even picked up a couple of really unique jewelry pieces! I love festivals like this with local businesses and all kinds of live entertainment. I hadn’t been in several years, partially because the festival always seems to fall on the hottest weekend of the entire year. It was great to be back, even though it rained a bit and then got incredibly steamy and humid.

I capped off my perfect weekend with a cheesecake milkshake, awkward photo courtesy of Ian:

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Unfortunately, this evening was full of back-to-the-real-world activities in preparation for my last week of work, and the start of my third year of graduate school in just 11 days. No matter: it was a perfectly productive weekend with my one and only, my family, and my future in-laws! ๐Ÿ™‚

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In other news, Ian and I issued for ourselves a Zero Negativity Challenge beginning August 5th. We have recognized that in our relationship, negativity exists in the form of sarcasm, making fun, little jabs, silly name-calling, etc. As our wedding date approaches, we are doing everything we can to improve upon our relationship in preparation. As we have chosen not to live together until after we are married, I am referring to this time as “the things after the rings.”

Our Zero Negativity Challenge has caused me to realize just how often we poke fun at each other and use just a little too much sarcasm. When I told Ian about several occasions I had marked on my calender as days with “negativity,” he was like, “When?!” I told him that I’m erring on the side of caution in keeping track on my calender; as such, I am becoming enlightened.

I think this challenge is going to be good for us on so many levels: awareness, change, preparation, compassion, empathy, and kindness, to name but a few. On or around September 5th, I’ll update you about how our challenge went.

Thanks for bearing with me through yet another lengthy post! I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend!

An Excuse, an Accident, and a Great Listener

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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!

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

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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…

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…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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!

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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!

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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…

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…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.

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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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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 theย Sorcerer’sย 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!