Sunday, October 31, 2010


I love to travel.

I really do. I love the dreaming & planning ahead, the packing, browsing the glossy travel books & getting personalized trip-tiks at AAA, the breathless anticipation of seeing a bright new place for the first time.

J, on the other hand, doesn't seem to really "GET" it. (And, rather than complain about this, I choose to believe that this is a way I can bless him-- by introducing him to the magic & wonder of a fabulous vacation; and by gifting him with the wonderful memories that will live on for years to come.)

I've got this thing that I like to call my "baby bucket list"-- all the things I would like to accomplish, learn and see before a "baby R" enters the picture in a couple years. And within this list, I have a travel section which is small but mighty :) I have 4 dreamy destinations that I would love to see & explore in the near future-- one of them all ready slated for next year's adventure, and the others... well, I may have to set up a little travel fund and dream for a bit longer. But, you know... just the process is pretty magical:)

You see... when you are in a new place, it is second nature to be completely present. Eyes wide open, drinking in the vibrant colors, sounds and smells of a new place. Logging all these things away into your own personal memory vault; writing all these new feeling and experiences into your life story. Traveling somewhere new brings you face to face with the beauty in the small things, and you are powerless to do anything besides recognize it, and rejoice in it.

And I've been blessed with this multiple times in my 24 years, as I've traveled to and lived in different states (MI, WI, TN & parts of my "home state", Ohio) for my engineering co-ops.Each of those places are precious to me (although some stand out above the rest;), and some of my fondest memories across the board are of exploring my new (if temporary) home on foot.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before on the blog (... in fact, I'm pretty sure I haven't, because it's pretty personal, and I've really struggled with it in the past); but I haven't always been in love with the idea of moving home after graduation. I guess you could say that "it was never really part of my life plan". From the time I was small, I always knew that I would graduate college, pack up my life in a car (erm. or small U-Haul...) and move out of state, striking off bravely to start a new life for myself. After all, that was pretty much what my family had done for generations before me-- and I just knew that I was destined to follow in their footsteps.

And then I fell in love with J. Who, wonderful man that he is, had one inherent fault. He never wanted to leave Ohio. Actually, he never wanted to leave his hometown. Hm. What's a girl to do? Whelp, I married him, and moved back home-- but not without (I'm sorry to say) some complaints and growing pains along the way. (I'll be the first to admit: as much as I've grown in the past few years, I have infinitely more to go! :) I cried and pleaded, but J stood firm: this was his home, and all that was important to him was here; family and friends. And, you know? I couldn't argue with that. The man had a point. And so I adapted.

And then, somewhere along the way, I began to thrive. It's been such a blessing to be close to family (I love celebrating the "little holidays" together as well as the big ones... and, I can't lie, it's nice not to have to spend 8 hours in the car in order to see everyone)-- and, to my delight, some of my best friends (from high school & college alike) have moved to this area as well.

Perhaps more importantly still, my outlook did a 180. I started to see things that I had never seen before, and I started to fall in love with this town. My town. I fell (back) in love with the quaintness of Uptown, the convenience of the (270), the bustling vivacity of the brewery district, and the quiet open spaces of the outlying suburbs which I now call home. I allowed myself to open my eyes and see the beauty in the details, new and old; to view the pulse of the city.... Like, well... a tourist. And it was good.

Today, I am honored to give you a brief picture tour of my hometown.


Saturday, October 30, 2010


Happy October 30, bloggies!

Holy. Goodness. (Can someone please explain to me how it got to be the end of October all ready?)

Lots has happened since my last post. I've ventured into realms of cooking that I've never explored before (stuffed acorn squash? check. Bohemian Wedding Cake-- ala eatliverun? check.) endured tornado-like winds (thankfully, there's no exciting story behind that-- no damage to the house, and the kitties were not blown away... I was momentarily worried that I'd have a permanent ringing in my ears due to the tornado sirens, though ;). I've dabbled in canning (inspiration from the lovely Julie), tested out our whirlpool bathtub for the first time (I am a wee bit ashamed to admit this, as we've lived in the house since April... but, Oh, tub. Bathing in you positively eclipses my lifetime of bubble baths before you...), and survived my 1st cold of the season (actually... I still don't feel like I've totally shaken it, and I've heard similar stories from friends.... there's something nasty out there, y'all...) Life's been busy, but ...aside from the whole sickness thing life's been good. Tonight I'm going to give you a little glimpse into this crazy-busy-good life, via stream of consciousness...

Bits and Pieces:

  • I had this ideal that J and I wouldn't "cave in" and turn our heat on until November 1. And then yesterday J played the cat card. "But, Amy.." he said, "The cats are cold. I came home and they looked like little porcupines (all fluffed up to try and stay warm). And their little paws are cold." ...We totally turned the heat on last night.
  • Honestly, though, until yesterday our November 1 goal seemed totally doable. Because Ohio weather has been a little kooky, even for Ohio. We've been having summer like 70-degree days that make it seem like, surely, the summer has not yet ended-- when in fact we are 1 month and 8 (?) days in to Fall, thankyouverymuch. (...Sigh. I'm notreally complaining about the 'heat'... but, seriously? I would have felt seriously jipped if we don't get at least several weeks of real Ohio fall-- cool 50's, with grey skies and crisp breezes. *Shakes fist at the skies* Hellooo.... this isn't Florida -- I want my 4 seasons, please!)
  • I've been feeling very homey lately... with all the pies and meal planning and (erm) vacuuming (maybe because it's been so warm the cats have been shedding overtime?) I even had my first "gardening" attempt (I transplanted some mums into our front flower bed. If I manage to not kill them, perhaps I'll move on to tomatoes next year...) As of now, the mums are still stubbornly hanging in there... so there may be hope for me yet.
  • Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention another (HUGE) milestone that occurred in tandem with the cold/sickness milestone. I actually was feeling crummy enough last Friday that I took the day off work, to spend the day curled up on the couch under 2 blankets with a tissue box :) Somewhere between hours 2 and 3 of my self-prescribed Grey's Anatomy marathon (Side note: I've never been an avid fan all by myself.... but I loved to watch it with friends in college. Until last Friday, I don't think I'd watched an episode since I graduated-- but you know what? That's some darn good "sick-tv"...) --BARON HOPPED UP ON MY CHEST, BURROWED UNDER THE BLANKETS, AND SNUGGLED WITH ME FOR AT LEAST 5 MINUTES. Needless to say-- for the cat who, most of the time tolerates me at best-- this was huge. I suppose it might have had something to do with the fact that it was cold in the house (read: it was in the 30's outside. I told you the weather has been temperamental....)-- but I prefer to think that he knew I wasn't feeling well, and was comforting his Mama the best way he knew how. (Furthermore, if that was the case, it worked. It warmed my heart all day long :)
  • It occurs to me that this is becoming a very cat-centric post....
  • So on a non-cat related note: I've been loving the "hibernation mode" that we have so naturally fallen into as the daylight wanes earlier and earlier. Although a part of me aches for the times when it is still light when we sit down to dinner, a larger part of me rejoices in wrapping up on blankets and snuggling into the couch after dinner, starting a new season of must-see tv together :)
  • But I'm not terribly fond of the commercial that says, "Food Myth #X: Chopping & Peeling can be kind of relaxing at the end of the day..." ...Call me crazy, but to me, it is :) I'm loving coming home to chop(!) and create a warm meal. It's a fantastic way to decompress after a long (some longer than others) work day.
  • I love that Gracie comes in and hangs out with me in the kitchen while I'm preparing dinner. She lies on the floor and watches me intently, close enough to "keep an eye on things", but far enough away that I don't have to worry about stepping on her. Sometimes she gets so happy she rolls onto her back and watches me upside down, purring all the time. I think she enjoys our nightly ritual as much as I do.
And with that, I do believe that we're all caught up :)

Your Turn: Any good Halloween plans?

My answer: We are being deliciously low key this year (ie: tonight we're chilling at home, eating stuffed peppers and watching Dexter, hehe :) -- no parties or anything. I did get into the spirit on Thursday evening, though-- which was trick-or-treat night. My favorite costumes of the night were those of our little neighbor girls (about 1 and 3 years old) who dressed up as Little Bo Peep and Little Miss Muffet (Miss Muffet was the tinier one, wearing squeaky shoes and carrying a spider candy bucket)-- I about died of the cute :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

One Track Mind

All right, friends. I had every intention of either (a) giving you the 'hometown tour' today or (b) delving into some heavier, personal stuff with a post about patience and faith. However, my plans were thwarted by grey skies threatening rain and a singular lack of energy (it's takes serious energy to write deep posts, you know?)

Today I am exhausted, and all I can think about is one thing: crawling back into bed. That is the one and only track on which my brain will function: a means to an end-- with the end being, of course, Amy snuggled under the down comforter. (With a good book--which may not get read, but it's a delicious idea!-- and my snuggly kitties, of course :) And while in other aspects of my Monday, my lack of focus has proved to be rather problematic-- in this case it has provided me inspiration.

From the time was are old enough to put ourselves to bed, our bedrooms are a place of creativity, renewal and comfort. Because J & I just moved into our house in April, I have been thinking a lot about our bedroom, and how I can make it into a getaway of sorts; a place of rest and peace. Since we moved rather soon after we got married and moved in together (I should point out that when I say "moved in together" I mean I moved in to J's apartment ... which makes a difference in this context:) I was still experimenting with color and design, working to make the place ours.

When J moved out on his own several years earlier, he bought furniture and bedding that reflected his style-- which is very clean & modern -- think: black leather sofa, black-painted iron & glass coffee table, and sheets& comforter in varying shades of gray. -- Which, don't get me wrong-- it looked fantastic. But it was not Amy-style -- and I struggled a little, in the first 6 months of our marriage, with feeling that it was still his place, and I was just living there.

Which all goes to say-- in moving to a new house (and, therefore, new bedroom) I had a chance to make over the room into somewhere I loved, and wanted to spend time in. I put a bookshelf in the bedroom, I bought a new comforter, I hung art, and I brought in the candles.

And now I can say, without hesitation: yes, this is a place where my heart feels safe. This is my haven.

Which is not to say that it is completely finished. This is my "inspiration board" (some of which you will recognize as a reality-- the rest I'll be piecing in, little by little. i.e.: I am so lusting after that cable knit blanket, I saw one in the store and it was the softest thing! ... For now I'm waiting--and hoping-- for it to go on sale :)

All photo credits to, except Cherry wood sleigh bed, credit:

And now it's your turn (and I am so excited to hear from you!): What does your dream bedroom look like? What color is it? What is on the walls? Any other defining features?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A myriad of goodness

Today's picture features one of my favorite subjects, who also happens to be the hardest to photograph. If anyone has practical tips for photographing pets, I'd love to hear them. Remember I have a cheap-o (but good-o) point and shoot -- so I can't do anything too fancy. Currently, I've had the best results when I turn off my flash and use the "close-up" setting.... when she stays still enough :)

This Sunday morning dawned grey, damp, chilly (I'm from Ohio, guys. I know the difference between chilly & cold :) today it's in the 50's, which constitutes 'chilly'. when it gets down to freezing, and *eeep* below, that's cold! Hehe.) Quintessential Fall. Delicious, quintessential fall :)

A perfect day to heat up tomato soup for lunch, hunker down and light harvest scented candles, and snuggle in with my 'fuzzy babies' and a good book.

Speaking of "harvest scented candles, though, I promised to let you in and show you some of our fall decorations*. (*Sigh. for purposes of full disclosure, I must admit to you that this is currently, in fact, all of our fall decorations. Which is shameful for a self-professed Fall-aholic, right?! No worries, I plan on acquiring a little more throughout the season. ... It's amazing how what seems like the perfect amount of fall for a 2 bedroom apartment hardly makes a dent in a 4 bedroom house ... ah, well :)

So here we go!
(In case you're curious, the framed art says, "A good marriage is like a beautiful tree, standing tall season to season, weathering change, enduring and growing.")
As you can see, our decorations are primarily (until I can get in some fall 'retail therapy'!) focused in two areas: pumpkins & leaves upon our mantle and bright mums on our porch. It may not be much, but these small fall-y beacons warm my heart every time I catch a glimpse of them.

And now, I think I owe you a list~

Good List

1. J. Celebrating 1 year together as a married couple (and then 1 week later, celebrating knowing each other for 8 years) was wonderful. I am so blessed to be married to my best friend, and to be able to experience everyday life and growth with him. I'm looking forward to the rest of our life together.
2. These cooler temperatures Rock.My.World. I love the crisp scent in the air, and I love snuggling under our down comforter at night.
3. Warming my cold hands and lifting my heavy spirits with a day in the kitchen :)
4. Day dreams
5. Really taking the time to notice how beautiful my hometown is, and feeling proud to claim it as my own. (My goal is to take you on a little picture tour sometime in the next few weeks!)
6. Lately, I've been struggling because a lot of the desires of my heart are being met with a resounding "not yet" (which, I'm sure you can agree, is sometimes worse than a "no"... sigh... I will flip this to a good thing, I promise!) Still, even at my most discouraged, my faith gives me hope and courage to press on and step forward. Today I give thanks for a faith and a God who is bigger than my fears and failures.
7. Big, soft blankets. They make our couch so much more welcoming.
8. Quiet times.
9. Role models, and seeing in the incredible people around me traits that I strive to emulate. I know that by simply knowing and observing them, they are helping me to become the woman I am meant to be.
10. "Each day offers us the gift of being a special occasion if we can simply learn that as well as giving, it is blessed to receive with grace and a grateful heart."
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Your turn: What tops your 'Good List' this week?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In which I attempt to win back your love with a 'bazillion' pictures

Helllloooooo, bloggies! I'm back!

This is in case you have forgotten (in the past... eeek... month) what I looked like while I was away. Lest you worry that I have abandoned my torrid love affair with coffee, rest assured,your fears are unfounded. The tea you see here is for a couple reasons (a) I thought it would make a cute picture, and (b) it's almost 11:00 at night.... I know when not to tempt fate :)

So, what have I been doing?

Glad you asked :) ...And here is where I will butter you up by not only telling you what I've been up to... but showing you (with a few comments interspersed:)

In case a 'bazillion' pictures, will not, in fact, win you back, the quick and dirty answer is that I went on a mini-vacation with J. to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and where we went had no internet or phone service (which, I'm not going to lie... was kind of nice... it made it seem like a real break from reality that way!) And then, when I got home, my job got crazy busy.
... which isn't very exciting sounding, is it? But these pictures showcase the 'good things' that cannot be condensed into 2 measly sentences. Therefore, I'll let them speak for themselves.

Okay.. so this is an old picture... but I had to include it. Last year on September 19, I married my best friend, Jon. This year has been so good, and I'm excited for many more. I love you, J.

To celebrate our 1st Anniversary, J & I took a long weekend at Mohican State Park. The following pictures are from our 'romantic getaway'.

These chairs may have been the most comfortable thing I have ever had the pleasure of resting in :) I'd love to have one of these big comfy chairs to read & do my devotions in!
What better way to unwind after a crazy busy 3-day work week than to take in a country concert with a friend on Saturday night?!
Ah, and then there was last week, when *just like that* I fell back in love with running.
Truly, madly, deeply.
Of course, it didn't hurt that it was a 5k through a beautiful residential area, and it benefitted a cause that my heart is completely behind-- the Cat Welfare Association.
I give you: The Cat Caper 5k!

Ooooh... can I just tell you how badly I wanted to take these dear little ones home?! Unfortunately, as I would like to make it to my second anniversary... I refrained...

And then, along with all the "play" there was also some work:

..clearly some of us were working harder than others. ...I love the little tongue sticking out :)

So there you have it :) I hope you've enjoyed the "catch-up post" (I sure enjoyed re-living the memories!) For now, little old lady that I am I'm headed to bed... but I'll be back tomorrow with a few more pictures, a few more thoughts, and a Good List.

Your turn: What have you done in the past month to welcome fall into your homes and lives?

(I'll give you my answers tomorrow!)