Friday, August 30, 2013

Courthouse Wedding

I've been a really bad blogger, but I don't really care. Sometimes the pressures of keeping up with this are more than I feel like dealing with (more on that soon, I hope!) and it's more fun to do other things instead. However, I thought that I should probably share with you all a pretty important event that just happened. This Tuesday, as in three days ago, we got married!

For me, it seems rather silly to make a big deal about it. Andrew and I have been together for about nine years, have owned a house together for three, and have lived together for six. To be honest, the only notable difference in how things are for us post wedding is the fact that we both have wedding bands. Other than that, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say we both feel the same way we did a week ago, a month ago, or even a few years ago. I would assume that's probably a good sign, right?

Either way, we had a short and sweet, ceremony at the Circuit Court of Baltimore City that included the two of us and our good friend Marshall as our witness and photographer. The ceremony itself lasted probably all but three minutes. We waited in the the marriage licensing office prior to heading to the civil marriages room longer that our ceremony took, and I'm quite fine with that!






Highlights from the day included the random congratulations we received from all sorts of people when we came out of the courthouse-- businessmen and addicts alike. Apparently no matter what situation people are currently at in their lives, they still believe in and are happy about love.

After our ceremony, we headed to Fells Point to one of our favorite pubs, Koopers, where we had a few beers and enjoyed some crab dip. Probably about five years ago, Andrew made a fake proposal when we were having dinner at Koopers and not so seriously chatting about the future. I even suggested that I should wear a twisty tie on my ring finger from that moment forward. As we enjoyed our beers, we realized that we had come full circle, sitting at Koopers yet again.

We then went home and took naps. Yup. We're awesome like that. Who doesn't want to take a late afternoon nap in a chair in the living room on their wedding day? After waking up from the nap, we just looked at each other, laughed, and said, "Now what?"

We had late dinner reservations at our favorite restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen. We dressed back up in our outfits for the day and headed out to dinner after a brief prom-like photo shoot that involved our neighbors and a whole lot of joking and laughing. Then it was off to dinner-- a two and a half hour event that involved some of the most amazing food. Naturally, the night ended with us passing out on our couch and sofa chair in the basement in a complete food coma. Now if that isn't a low-key day, then I don't know what is. And after all is said and done, I can't even fathom how anyone would even want to subject themselves to the stress of planning a bigger event than a courthouse wedding.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Camping Trip

This past Thursday was Andrew's birthday. For his birthday this year, he wanted to go camping. On Friday evening we set out to drive a couple hours out to Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland. A two hour drive turned into three after nearly running out of gas and then aimlessly driving around in the dark trying to find the campground. And that is all you need to know. We shall never speak of such gas incident and driving around in the dark incident again.

Regardless, we arrived at our campsite around 10pm, had to set up in the dark, and proceeded to make a fire so that we could eat some food, drink a clandestine beer (alcohol is banned in the state parks, but we like to be sneaky), and then go to bed. Lilah may or may not have decided that she was going to curl up all 75 pounds of her in between my knees. Yes, that dog is amazing. And by amazing, I mean a jerk. Not really. Well, at least not most of the time.


Saturday morning involved dutch oven egg bake making and lots of delicious French press coffee. After our ridiculously huge breakfast, we set out on a five mile hike around Lake Habeeb. It was a gorgeous trail with plenty of little spots for us to stop and let Lilah swim. Hiking and swimming all day long? Lilah was on cloud nine.







After our long afternoon, we returned to our campsite for some chips and salsa and more clandestine beer. See how sneaky Andrew was being?
 And since this camping trip was only a weekend long, a lot of it revolved around food since we weren't out and about as much as we usually are on bigger trips. So for dinner, we made the most delicious chicken enchiladas ever in our dutch oven. Yum.



We woke up to rain on Sunday morning, so quickly made a pancake and bacon breakfast and then packed our things up to head back home. Despite it being a quick trip, it was great to be able to relax and not have any obligations. Phones were turned off because there was no reception anyway. House projects were put on hold. No errands needed to be run. We could do whatever we wanted to do in the moment. And the best part about today? Lilah has been passed out sleeping in the living room all day. Not a peep. :)

How was your weekend? Did you do anything adventurous?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School

This is the first time in many years that I am not going back to school. Before, I was either a student or a teacher. I cannot even begin to explain how freeing it is to watch others get ready for another school year, while I know that I just simply don't have to do that. It became increasingly apparent that I was loving this little fact yesterday as I met up with two former co-workers for lunch. Seeing their stress about getting back to school made me realize just how relaxed I am and how happy I am that I'm not heading back. That being said, my mind was still a little on the topic of back to school as I had requests for back to school pencils. I just wanted to pop in briefly to show you two sets that are currently available in my shop.



While I have probably seemed to be obsessed with pencils these days, I promise that I have some other new cards in the works that will be making their way into the shop. I also promise that I'll be back tomorrow with a post that doesn't promote my shop. Stay tuned if you like seeing awesome transformations of rooms.... ;)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Vintage Kingsley Hot Foil Press

When I first introduced you to my new line of pencils, I also showed you a glimpse of the hot foil press that I purchased in order to make the pencils. Many of you asked about the machine, so I left that post with a promise of an up close look at the machine. I was able to get the machine on eBay along with all sorts of extras that came with it. I received a nearly mint condition machine that really only has one flaw it's missing its handle. I have remedied that with a screwdriver for the time being, but Andrew said he would make me a handle.

In addition to the machine, I received three sets of type, several additional typeholders, a box full of unused foil, a box full of extra spaces, some press pads (that I hope to use if I print on paper), some miscellaneous paper work for previous orders of foil and spaces, and the original envelope containing a user's guide to the machine. What is most incredible to me, is to see the dates printed on the order forms-- one dating back to July of 1959. One of the boxes is postmarked July 18, 1951. Using that information, it is clear that I have a machine that is at least 62 years old! All of this came at a fraction of the price as what most of these machines tend to be listed at for just the machine alone. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten such an amazing deal.








This hot foil press has been super exciting to use on many levels. I have learned a new process that is really a lot of fun, hands on work. In addition, each time I use the press I feel as though I'm using a piece of history.

Do you have an vintage finds that you absolutely love?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Travel Daydreams

Today while I was working, I daydreamed. Sometimes it's nice to just escape all pressing issues and just be with your thoughts. My daydreams were of travel. Maybe this daydreaming was brought on by our upcoming trip to Australia, or maybe it was something that was in my subconscious after last week's eruption of Yellowstone's Steamboat Geyser.

This time last year, Andrew and I were on an epic road trip across the United States to some of my favorite National Parks. At Yellowstone we waited with anticipation for nearly 45 minutes during a break in our hiking with hopes to see Steamboat Geyser erupt. Its time was soon up and we had nowhere to be, so we took our chances. Our luck did not pan out, but that was fine by us. After all, we were surrounded by some of the most incredible natural elements of our country, and that was enough.

As my work day concluded, I felt drawn to go back through my photos from those travels. Amongst them, I found an image I had snapped of one of the most amazing sights I have seen, and probably will ever see. Three times I've been witness to Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic spring, and three times I have left in awe.

The beauty that we find on this Earth is incredibly awesome-- and I mean awesome in the truest form of the word.

What are you daydreaming about these days?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Apricot Mini Cakes Recipe


One thing that I love about summer is the bounty of delicious fruit that it brings. When I spotted this recipe for apricot mini cakes, I knew I needed to try it. I love light desserts that are fresh and not too sweet, and these cakes are just perfect! Just enough tartness from the apricot and a little bit sweet in the cake batter and a sprinkle of sugar on top. And they're light enough to enjoy one or two after a big summer grilling meal.


Apricot Mini Cakes

What you'll need

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 apricots
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add in the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla and incorporate well. Add in the flour mixture alternately with the milk in two additions, ending with the flour. Pour a small amount of batter into a greased cupcake tin (should make 12 cakes!). Halve and pit the apricots and slice them into quarter inch slices. Place a few apricot slices on top of the batter in each cup. Sprinkle each cake with the 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops are golden.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Favorites

It's Friday! Is it just me or did this week fly by? Lots of exciting stuff has happened this week. First, I launched my new line of pencils. They are truly a labor of love, so it was awesome to see them received so well by you all! So thanks for that!! Last night was spent at First Thursday for some live music and a beer or two. We were lucky to snag one of the very few bistro tables that are part of the park. Afterward, we stopped by our favorite sushi place to grab some sushi to go and a six pack of IPA to celebrate IPA day. (Yes, I realize we are beer nerds.) Tonight we head to Oriole Park for another O's game. Baseball and live music are seriously the best things about summer! With Friday here, I figured it was time to share a few things that I've been loving lately.

You may already know I'm a sucker for turquoise, and this necklace from The Bauble Dept is one that I could definitely see myself wearing.
via The Bauble Dept
While we're on the jewelry subject, the colors of this necklace are beautiful. It almost makes me ready for fall.
via Swell Caroline
I'm a list maker, and I love these new brightly colored and hand lettered moleskines from EmDashPaperCo.
via EmDashPaperCo
I really, really can't argue about the colors of this little pencil case.
via Lindock
If I weren't on a spending freeze, I would instantly snag this vintage coffee grinder. It takes me back to my childhood when my parents used a similar grinder on a daily basis.
via CrolAndCo
This abstract print is most definitely unique. Bright, simple, and modern.
via Pink Fox Designs
I absolutely love the design of these stamps. Clean lines and modern.
via Present and Correct
What are some items that you've been loving lately? Any big plans for the weekend? I think this is the first weekend that we have nothing on the calendar and can do whatever we please! Happy weekend everyone! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Living

I've written before about how teaching had drained me. I felt like I was so stressed out I wasn't living life anymore. I had no spare time and I turned down so many opportunities because I knew they would overwhelm me more than I already was. After finishing the school year in June and knowing that I was not returning, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

Transitioning from the mindset of having a summer off and to realizing that this is not a permanent vacation is something that I've often worried about. I need constant reminders. Andrew is good about that. He treats my days like they are work days and checks in with me at the end of the day-- How was work today? What did you get accomplished? How were sales today? Did you get any new wholesale leads? Then there are the reminders of the non-work stuff. Like the, don't worry about getting that done tonight. You have all day tomorrow to do that. And I actually get to live in the moment.

This past weekend, my best friend from college came to Baltimore to visit with some friends that had invited her down from Hoboken. She had all day Friday free while they were at work, so I spent the afternoon with her at an amazing restaurant on the water sipping fantastic cocktails because I could and because I felt like it. I had worked like crazy that morning and could do whatever I wanted for the whole afternoon. Later that evening, Andrew and I went to Merriweather to see the Lumineers. We took a picnic for dinner and sat on a blanket and I worried about nothing because I didn't have to.

Saturday ended up being a relaxing day. We went to pick up our wedding rings (woot woot!) and then later that evening biked to the Orioles game. We have been biking as much as possible to get to places within the city now that I have a bike that I actually enjoy riding. However, I've been apprehensive. I'm not daring like Andrew who rides his bike every day to work, zipping between cars and narrowly missing (and once hitting) opening car doors while traveling full steam ahead. In fact, merely a few moments before we left via bike, I tried talking him into taking the car instead. I wasn't ready to bike across the city yet, I argued. It scared me.

After the Orioles game, we hopped back on our bikes to ride home via the bike path and the safest route possible that I had made Andrew promise to take. As we were trying to work our way through the crowds of pedestrians that were clogging the bike path on Pratt Street, I decided that I needed to do something to avoid the jammed path. I spotted an opening in the heavy Pratt Street traffic and I went for it. I sped down the street on my bike at full speed, passing people on the sidewalks and keeping up with cars in the street. And in that moment it hit me. I was free and I finally felt like I was living again.

Imogen Heap Cycling though London
via lomokev
As I turned off of the busy downtown street back to our quiet residential route, Andrew caught up with me on his bike and yelled, "You did it! I wasn't expecting that at all, but you just did it!" And you know what, as silly as it may seem, I felt like a whole new person with a whole new lease on life. Maybe it's a metaphor for bigger things-- knowing that taking a giant leap into a new adventure will be ok. Or that things that may feel scary are actually not as a big of a deal as they seem. Either way, that bike ride was just what I needed.
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