It's the Holiday Season Woopdidoop

Monday, December 26, 2016

I'd say this was one of the most unique Christmases I've had. I guess that starts to happen as you add a second half, double your family, and work schedules alter your traditions.

 We had our first Christmas Eve brunch with the future in-laws, Mom, Dad and Mimi, and 
Christmas night, we enjoyed dinner with Dylan's parents. I attempted to relax in a hot tub, but I confirmed they're not relaxing for me. 

With Dylan working Christmas afternoon, I studied a bit for the GRE before texting Meryl to see what she was up to and got the nicest invite for dinner with them. So I strolled on over with the pup, arriving at their house soaked for the second holiday in a row. We ate the most delicious pork and learned about Puerto Rican Christmas traditions and Meryl's character of a dad.

Down their street I walked to join Benton and his parents for hours of board games and a beach walk before heading back home. Codenames is quite a fun, thinkin game. 

The goodness continued this morning with a dreamy walk on the chilly, gray beach and lunch with Mom, Pa, Grandma and Rachel at Barbara Jean's on the intracoastal. 

A perfect Christmas weekend.
So stinking grateful for my time with family and such loving friends to bring me in with their fams. 
Merry Christmas everyone! What made your hearts explode this Christmas? 

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Christmas Time at the Dylabby House

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year, and today reality hit me that it was Christmas time and I hadn't decorated! I woke up this morning and went straight to Publix for meal prepping and became overwhelmed with excitement at the little details I wound up with. Candles and flowers were all I needed to send my hormones to euphoria. 

Later we went to get our first real tree, had Dylan's parents over for dinner and finished decorating this humble abode. This place has gone through a lot of changes since last year.  
I hope everyone else is enjoying the holiday as much as I am. If not, get on my excitement level! It's joyous!  

Thanks Benton's parents for these lovely candle holders
Peter the Pine
And thanks, Mama for these Christmas sand pipers!

They don't call these Christmas cacti for nothin. Look at that cool bloom! I didn't even know it did that!
Ol' Nelson the Nisse tellin tales to our greens.
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4 Months Later...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Holy mackerel guys,
I knew I'd been failing miserably at this whole blog deal, but I didn't realize it had been since MAY. Since then, I said "Yes, of course!" to a man with a ring on his pinky in the Atlantic Ocean. That man and I trekked around Costa Rica and Panama for two fantastic weeks.

I jumped back into the craziness of Lindamood-Bell and am thoroughly enjoying it. We have the most intriguing, fun kiddos.

In July, I witnessed another of the Bests become a wife to her very comical hubs. Such a fun wedding, as you can see from a snapshot below.

One weekend, I finally visited Ms. Leslie Wiles in her new Georgia home and had our senses overloaded at the Buford Farmers Market. That place is nuts. We filled our cart with fruits we never heard of that needed intensive cutting instructions and safety warnings.

I started on my track to GRAD SCHOOL for speech language pathology. Now I've covered four types of colleges: private Christian college, community college, university, and bigger university with a football team. Super excited to have found this career. Wishing I'd realized it sooner! I also had the pleasure of shadowing my best friend at her work. Besties Private Practice coming up.

After too many missed summers, I went on a trip to Alabama to visit the Grandparents. It was Alabama appropriate with okra picking and frying, grilling out on the back porch, potting plants, embroidering, and Sunday morning at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

Much more recently, I had a lovely reunion with Dana and Martin and a Labor Day BBQ at The Bakers' new house where I put Grandma's fried okra into practice. Success!

I ran 0 miles in the entire month of August. I think that's the first 0mile month I've had in like 5 years. The heat was too easy of an excuse. Changing this soon. Tomorrow?

I discovered the deliciousness of this quinoa shrimp meal that you should try ASAP. And this pork heaven.

I will try try try to do better with this. Maybe I'll even share my post about our Central American adventure on here soon. One can only hope.

Pa got a selfie stick, so we selfie in front of breakfast. 

Caving Festival

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Bring clothes you don't mind trashing,"  they said.

"It can't be that muddy," I said...

This caving festival opened my eyes to a new kind of dirty and adventure. First of all, the setup was a unique one with a bunch of caving enthusiasts camped out on someone's large property with music, barbecue, and camp fires. 

We only did one day of caving which wound up being ok, considering the adventure that was to come.

We entered Hollow Ridge cave and started off finding a huge viewing room with crazy structures that looked like crystals and giant lady parts. A "lights out" had us in the darkest moment I've ever experienced. I started out feeling pretty confident, feeling the benefit of the ab part of yoga classes kicking in.

We continued on and started a tight section where I kept hitting my head on the top, so I just chose to look down and crawl forward. My light fell off my helmet getting covered with mud, so not really doing its job in any way at this point. I reattached it but it fell off again, this time to its tangled demise. So I was inching my way with a mangled mess in my hands that kept getting stuck in the mud and causing so much extra trouble. Then the mud continually pulled my kneepads down to my ankles and my pants a little too far down. I surrendered to both of those struggles and just apologized to the crawler behind. I imagine they couldn't see anyway.

"What's it look like up there?" One of us periodically shouts to our guide.
"We're on the right track!" 
So we trusted and kept snaking along.

Finally, after maybe 20 minutes of lurking through the mud, we hear a "Welp, we gotta turn back!" come from the front. We wiggled around and back we went through the pancake space. This time we've discovered a new technique of rolling to save energy whenever it was tall enough. We finally made it out after what we guessed to be two hours.

Our concluding bath and float in the Chipola river was a magnificent feeling. The chilly water freeing our bodies from layers of mud... a view of the bright blue sky and gorgeous Florida trees above while floating in the water... Heavenly. I wish I could share that picture from my brain with you guys.

Who else is into caving?! I imagine anyone that does it has at least one story. At the time, we were glad we didn't know what was in store or we might not have done it but certainly felt accomplished.

This sport is wacky, and I'd totally do it again. 
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Weekends are for...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Weekends are for...

Hiking new places. Little Talbot was the place this Saturday. A duney, driftwood delight.

First time ferry rides. Sierra, being scared of a car was not a fan of a car on a ferry. 

Cafe sitting. Cafe Karibo in Fernandina was the perfect backyard oasis after our hike. Dog friendly, tree canopies, and a caramelized onion, basil, turkey sandwich creation. 

Post hiking cuddles.
Barbecues and laundry according the the smells on my run. (That's actually what inspired the idea for this post that I think I'll make a regular). I did the laundry but missed out on the barbecue. 

Running! Got two runs in this weekend, even after the hike! *pats herself on the back*

Green Room for a tequila-infused beer special, Cards Against Humanity and adult convos about grad school, babies, and the housing market.  

Helping brother and sister-in-law paint their very first house! 

Sunday morning naps. These don't happen often but when they do, they are enjoyed to the max. 

Another fantastic weekend. 
I hope your weekend was filled with the things you love! 

Today's Gratitude {Papa Edition}

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The month of March was one of sadness, family time, story sharing, tears, and laughs. It was the month we lost our Papa. He passed in early March and it's, as I'd expect, still hard to believe it. 
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Galentines Day Brunch

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Somehow when Amy said she "went Trudy O'Connell on our Galentines Day Brunch," I wondered what she could've planned. Clearly I just wasn't thinking. 
Growing up, any occasion my best friend's mom hosted was worthy of a magazine article or Downton Abbey scene. You'd find three kinds of cookies, at least two cakes, maybe a pie or two, rice crispy treats, jello, homemade candies, perfectly decorated tables, trinkets, party favors and all. These party throwing expertise have certainly been passed down to Mrs. Sapp. 

I showed up to an entry table decked out with adorable signs of love and glitter. Walking into the living room, I find a table set with the sweetest rosette tablecloth and tea set. A handmade cross-stitch made by Trudy herself, perfect for the occasion, was found displayed with a book of Shakespeare love sonnets that I attempted to bless the group with later. A chandelier was draped with glittery hearts, the sweetest flowers were bursting in the middle of the table, Valentinesy beads on each chair, and goody bags for each of us with homemade gifts sat near our place setting. She couldn't have done a better job making it perfectly girly and sweet.  

And the food? We had to restrain ourselves from over-stuffing our bellies with heavenly French toast casserole, Christmas egg casserole, and fruit, as we'd be eating pizza later. Some tough decisions had to be made concerning which drinks to fill our adorable floral tea cups and fluted glasses with first: OJ, spiced tea, or coffee? All three were consumed, nonetheless. 

Post brunch, you would've found us sitting on the couch, girl talking for hours, watching our Galentines day inspiration, educating ourselves on our presidential candidates through SNL, and making Taylor Swift's chai tea cookies. Some of our heart-shaped and "I love you" sign language cookies made it back to our significant others as planned.

We completed our food consumption goals at Satchels in our matching pizza shirts. Post dinner, you'd have found us cuddling on the couch, once again. 

Grateful for this incomparable brunch and weekend with these steadfast friends. 

"I lift pizza to my mouth everyday."
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Valentine's and Washington

Monday, February 15, 2016

This Valentines Day was made special and sweet with a beach walk with the babe and pup,
one of the best seafood dinners at North Beach Fish Camp; scallops and shrimp broiled to perfection,
and the oh so romantic movie, Wall-E. 

In honor of, nej, due to coincidence, we cruised over to Washington Oaks State Park on Washington's birthday. We explored the (short) Florida trail* and mused at this unique, rocky beach. Never seen one like it before. The rocks, the palms. the rocks. Glad we didn't skip over that beach when my thoughts tried to tell me, "oh it's just another beach."

It was an overall perfect weekend. How was your Valentine's Day/Washington weekend?

*Florida trail makers, please get some longer, continuous trails around here with no gift shops in the middle. Thanks.
Min Lille Havrmanden

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How to Host a Mardis Gras Party

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hosted the first of hopefully many of these ridiculous fests. Our Mardi Gras celebration was complete with

Shrimp and rice that turned out even better than expected
Abita beer, first tested in New Orleans 
Bananas foster, thanks to the Neighbs 
A Benton-made Ouija board 
An attempted seance
And Dr. John... A must. 
Next year, we're hoping for some warmer weather to satisfy our beads and parade dreams. 
Here's some Dr. John for ya. 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Biggest confession for today is how the thing that makes me the maddest is forgetting a crucial ingredient in the process of transporting between my and Dylan's houses. Once it was the brown sugar for the chocolate chip cookies. Another time it was the flour for the blueberry muffins. Today it was my healthy leftovers for dinner... Nearly ruined my whole night. I went from a super positive, motivated, healthy mood to a 1 Publix Chicken strip, banana, and cake, I don't wanna do any work, don't wanna watch a movie because I'd feel bad about not doing work Mood.

I'm spending one night away from the pup, for her to have a day with dad tomorrow, and I miss her already. 

I'm terrible at estimating things with numbers, be it wedding, party, or class attendance, amount of chocolate kisses in a jar, or temperature. Today I estimated "it was about 50* outside." This was the reality. 

And it's a short one today, folks, as I'm hitting the pillows at 9:30 tonight. Linked up with Sarah
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Today's Gratitude

Saturday, February 6, 2016

It's been a tough couple of weeks over here. Stressful situations at work, a worrisome diagnoses for our fur baby... The best cure in times like these, is to express gratitude.

 Lately I've been grateful for...
The loveliest day last Sunday, finally executing our Riverside exploring day. An out of this world appetizer and sammy at Biscotti's, strolling all around the sweet streets, and a quick swing and game of fetch by the river made me happier, or at least as happy as our pup with a giant stick.

My goofball babe making me laugh in the midst of my eyeball waterfall the other day.

These sweet critters and morning cuddles.


Evening Thoughts

Friday, January 29, 2016

When your dog is comforting you after a tougher day and she pukes on you, you just kinda say "that's ok." 
Thanks, Sierra, for your silliness, calm kisses, and cuddles. 

Happy Friday, everyone! 
What can always turn your frown upside down?  
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Sunday Entertaining

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Last Sunday was a day filled with one of my favorite things:

First, we hosted a brunch at my place with Dana, Martin, and Kristin complete with eggs, biscuits and homemade tomato gravy, fruits, bacon, sausage, mimosas, blueberry coffee and Cuban coffee thanks to Kristin. The tasty food, warm coffee, and mimosas warmed us up on that chilly morning. 

That night, we hosted a chili dinner party with Dylan's side of the friends, followed by some Settlers of Catan. I did mostly that recipe plus a bunch of extra spices. 

Planning, preparing for, and hosting friends in my home is the best. It's such a pleasure to serve friends tasty grub, drinks, and fun. Our Beach Friendsgiving two years ago satisfied that urge to the max. 

What are your tips, favorite things to serve/do/listen to while hosting friends?

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Sharing my first "confessions" for a change today, linking up with Sarah.

I confess...
This post has been saved for over a month. Finally committing to it. 

I just wasted a groupon for two months of unlimited crossfit. I mean, technically I still have like a week left, but I don't see it happening. I have been running more and started three months of yoga though, so that's something.

My embroideries have been "saved as drafts" on Etsy forever now. I've said I'm going to do the art walks first and then go more public, but that hasn't happened either. Next art walk! Here's one of em.  My favorite original so far. $18 for this cute little guy! Pubished this one just for you guys! (Or you can just comment/email/whatever so I can ship it to you! :)

At my pottery class the other day, I got excited and proud of myself thinking, "This vase is way better than I remembered! Alriight!" Then my sculpting friend came in and alerted me that it was actually hers. Mine was not at all as smooth or shapely. Big let down.

It took me 7 months to ship sweatshirts back to friends from this hiking trip, and two months for a birthday gift. Mailing things is not my strong suit. I could put it as a "weakness" on my wishful job application

I don't know how I'll ever have children, when dealing with my pup's health has me so emotional and stressed. Cried from worrying about what it is, cried from putting her in the crate the first and second time... Pray it's an easy fix for this sweet Honey Chicken!

I still haven't finished my poem about our New Year's New Orleans trip. SOON!

We thought a pillow decoy would keep this comfy-seeking pooch off the bed... 

I still have my Christmas lights up with no plans of taking them down anytime soon. 

All except some embroidery pictures, Sierra is the main only subject on my phone. I'm becoming one of those dog mamas. So here she is with the pillow decoy. 
 and at the vet 
 and longing to get into my clean laundry
 and being too cool at the beach 
  And lastly, helping with schoolwork

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New Orleans New Year 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A little trip to New Orleans?
For New Year's Eve? By all means!
We drove through a street we thought looked rough
I wasn't so sure if my selection was good enough
But "you've reached your destination"
was the GPS's notification
A book in the home called New Orleans' Unfathomable 
We thought it looked like it could be habitable 
With all the character in the French buildings 
We thought we could overlook the increase in killings 
Our tourist selves drank hand grenades and hurricanes 
walking down Bourbon certainly entertains 
We toured the oldest house and learned about D-Day
And how Europeans came to change our sinful, American way
Our bellies were stuffed with beignets, coffee, rice and beans
jambalaya, muffaletta, African, and Japanese
Cafe Rose Nicaud was my favorite place to rest
writing and sipping gingerbread cappuccino was simply the best
Took a trolley to the romantic Garden District
around the beautiful houses and shops we frolicked
This town was even different than expected 
But it was certainly amazing as suspected 



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