It’s Friday and these are my feelings.

tumblr_inline_ncq72uudTe1rw0c9sMy brother’s girlfriend lives in a really amazing house with a bunch of girls. Sometimes they have Wine and Feelings, wherein they do exactly what the name suggests and share their feelings in some solid girl-time. That sounds pretty wonderful to me. Seeing as how my current solo state at home would make Wine and Feelings a pathetic affair — as in, I think by yourself it just looks a lot like depression — I am going to dump some of my many emotions on you, O lovely Internet. Here are some Friday Feelings of late.

My annual viewing of this movie this week has me feeling like Fall is here. It’s one of my all-time favorites and just puts me in the mood for fall weather, cozy food, and imaginary creatures that keep you isolated far from the real world. Is it bad that I always feel like, yep, totally would have maintained the lie and stayed in the Village?

This video recently had me crying. Mostly because BUTTERFLY KISSES Y’ALL. And then I started imaging having to read this poem at the funeral of someone I loved and I just laid on the floor and sobbed for awhile. Yes, those two things are not the same at all as one is the story of someone’s actual pain and the other is just my incessant and dramatic imagination, but still. All the Feelings were had.

This photoshoot had me feeling amazed and in awe the way that only true beauty and ballerinas can. That top photo is one from the series by the amazing M.K. Sadler and if your feeling is not that it is one of the most beautiful things ever, than my feelings would kindly like to tell yours that they are ridiculous, gravely mistaken, and not invited back to the next Feeling Fest. Joking. Kind of. Ok, not really.

This article had me snort laughing out of my nose, the true zenith of responses to humor. By the way, yes it written 2 years ago, and no, I don’t care. Oh the joy of finding things after everyone else on the Internet! I experience that every time someone leaves a lengthy and opinionated comment disagreeing on this post and I just want to be like, “DUDE. This has been up for OVER A YEAR and I promise you that EVERY POSSIBLE FORM OF YOUR OPINION has already been voiced at least 20 times.”

This wedding video had me feeling ridiculously happy. Emily, I always rooted for you to find love, and deep down I think we all knew that you needed more than a man who whacked the last “f” of his name. But what I really love isn’t just her beautiful wedding, but that totally legit, plan o’ salvation, Biblical homily. The fact that heaven will be increasingly populated with reality TV stars thrills me to no end.

I guess that is enough feelings for a Friday morning. But please, join me in this emotion-palooza and feel free to dump below. All Feelings are welcome. But maybe not “Feels.” Still haven’t decided how I feel about that abbreviation that the youths are using these days but I am inclined against it.

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Last weekend.

Last week my little brother mentioned that he and his fiance were going to go down to Charlottesville to visit our older brother and his girlfriend. While it is pretty difficult to convince me to give up my bed and weekends, I am nothing if not a severe sufferer of FOMO and I absolutely would not miss out on a weekend of fun with my brothers and their excellent taste in women. Plus, I was able to tack on a slumber party with one of my best DC friends who just moved there and it happened to be a weekend where there was a JCrew warehouse sale. I won’t bore you with tales of the line-cutters I almost slaughtered at 7:45 in the morning, or the bonds of love we formed with fellow wait-ers who didn’t make the first group allowed in and with whom we waited for another hour and a half, but I will say that I had better technique than last time and I walked out with an impressive pile of loot. I might have even come out with a pair of Madewell boy-cut jeans for $15. Still haven’t forgiven them, but these jeans make a tiny step in that direction.

But I digress.

Zach and his girlfriend Liz, in an effort to convince us of Charlottesville’s cultural, natural, and culinary dominance over DC, planned a perfect weekend for us. Here are nine million photos to provide way more than you ever cared to see of our weekend.

SaltSalt2// Lunch at Salt , where we started our weekend with some pretty tasty sandwiches//Fall2014-28 PippinHillFall2014-34 //The ladies at Pippin Hill Vineyard, wherein we all considered selling all our earthly possession, quitting our jobs, and moving in permanently.//Fall2014-35Fall2014-37Fall2014-44//So, it’s been said that Virginia is for lovers. I would like to submit to you that this past weekend it was for lovers and rockin’ fifth wheels on whom great pity was taken and for whom several meals were paid. Thanks brothers, for letting me crash what might have originally been a double date weekend.//Fall2014-54Fall2014-55// We explored the abandoned and creepy-but-awesome Swannanoa Palace on Saturday afternoon. On the other side of that door there was an old bald baby doll whose eyes were blacked out. Yep, you’re not getting that image out of your head for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.//
Fall2014-56Fall2014-58Fall2014-61Fall2014-64mountaintoast//Champagne and cheese on a mountain top to celebrate the recently engaged couple. More romantic moments crashed by Hannah. No regrets. //Fall2014-75Fall2014-79//After chasing the sunset along the mountain ridge, we stopped to watch those final moments of color. Also, does anyone else look at those photos and think of that scene in Last of the Mohicans ? No? Why do more people not love that movie? Surely it can’t be the total lack of dialogue.//
Fall2014-83//After eating a brunch so decadent that I don’t even have photos (three words : CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON), we went hiking, only to find a swimming hole so clear and magical that half our group just jumped in and hiked wet the rest of the day.//
Fall2014-88Fall2014-84hikeFall2014-101Fall2014-102//Some of us had hands to hold, others have leaves like that given by Little Foot’s mother from The Land Before Time, a true classic dinosaur film.// Fall2014-104Fall2014-109Fall2014-114//Like every other person in the western world, we went apple picking, coming out with a grand total of 2 apples. Apparently you aren’t actually supposed to eat all the apples you pick. //Fall2014-115//And as always, for every time I am in a photo, there are at least five like this, where I bossily grab the camera back mid picture. Truly, it is a gift to be able to be so candidly photogenic.//

Fall2014-116//Fun fact: exactly 1 second after this picture was taken, that apple crashed into my head. And then I ate it, showing it who was boss and all.//Fall2014-120

We ended [the photo-worthy part of] our day eating freshly fried apple donuts on the side of a mountain. I can’t complain. Spending a weekend gorging myself with donuts and laughing with family meant that I am starting out this week behind and racing to catch up. But I don’t regret it. I’ve been saying no just a teensy bit more the past month and it paid off when I was able to say a last minute yes to spending the weekend family and friends.

And sometimes, even if makes for busy weeks, there’s nothing better than fifth-wheeling with some people you love a lot. Nothing better than light and food and donuts and sunsets over the mountains.

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Lyman & Ruth

Y’all, my baby brother is getting married. MARRIED. TO A REALLY AMAZING WOMAN.  I still think of him as the little blond boy who had skinny little legs and followed around my older brother and myself, but somewhere along the way he grew into a man. A MAN WHO IS GETTING MARRIED. When he moved to DC a while ago, it was amazing. Family dinners! Road trips! Movie nights! Ruth moved out here this summer, and if I thought I loved her before, it  was confirmed when she was my roomie for the summer. We would watch Dawson’s Creek just to sing along with the song (yep, go ahead and watch it and then come back), consume lots of cheese, and stay up talking. I could not be happier that she is becoming my sister and that our family out here in DC is growing.

Anyway, enough of my sentimental blubbering. Can’t wait to celebrate these two in March!
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5 Things I Love Today.

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This new lipstick for fall. Because lipstick is the cheapest way to revitalize your entire look. Plus, it makes me feel put-together and it acts as a balm while still providing lasting color. For me, every swipe of lipstick is the cosmetic equivalent of Cam grabbing that bat and announcing “It’s go time.”

These jeans. Y’all remember my jeans crisis? You all were so helpful with jean suggestions and now that the weather is getting a little cooler, I have renewed my search. Last week I got a coupon to Ann Taylor in my inbox and I was bold and took the plunge on a pair that some of my fellow tall curvy friends recommended. They came yesterday and I might have teared up a little about how much I love them. Of course, the mail situation in our building is so bad that I basically cry with relief anytime I successfully receive a package.

This quinoa bake recipe. Really I should just say ALL THE QUINOA BAKES because I have been throwing everything in there, but this one started it all. I have adjusted it a little to make it more veggie-packed and added some extra seasonings, but this is the base. You should probably just make this and eat it for lunch everyday for a week like I do. Because ROUTINE, People, it makes life better.

This show on Netflix. Ok, really just Netflix. But I’ve been rewatching Scrubs lately, thanks in large part to watching a bunch of episodes with my brother-in-law this summer. Monday night I finished the finale and I was sobbing the whole time. And yes, I have seen it before. But seriously… this post-finale behind the scenes thing. IT KILLS ME.

This baby boy. Last week my sweet nephew William came into the world and he is perfection. I don’t get to squeeze his squishy little self till Thanksgiving, but I have given his mama strict instructions not to let him grow until then. Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetOk, you know the drill. What are five quick things you are loving today? Leave a note below or blog on your own and feel free to link back. I love reading all your loves!

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Kale Chicken

kalechicken-1 Despite the fact that I spent yesterday afternoon cooking by the pool and gently imploring summer to stay FOREVER, fall is coming. Maybe. Slowly. But coming. And with it we will revel in pumpkin flavored everything, butternut squash, cool days, and all things autumnal. One day fairly soon, we will look up in the grocery story and see that all those gnarly heirloom tomatoes are gone. Golden ears of corn — gone. Fresh peaches and juicy plums — gone. Bright yellow squash – gone. kalechicken-2 We will wonder what we are supposed to get excited about in the kitchen for the next 7 months until the first spring veggies pop up, and then we will remember: kale. It is always there, always lurking at the edge of the produce bins, always reminding us that its tough and bitter self is there, waiting. Kale is eternal, like taxes and bad drivers who don’t use turn signals.kalechicken-3Luckily, for me kale is an eternally good thing. Remember my kale love and recipes over here? I take a slight break in summer, filling my meals with caprese salad, but I never drift too far from my rough green friend. I like it pretty much any way other than humiliated in the form of kale chips (grosssssss), but my current favorite way is disguised as tasty healthy breading in kale chicken. 
kale Y’all, if you hate kale, I encourage you to start here. My friend Christine made it for me once and it has become a staple in our home ever since. Kale chicken is everything you love about dinner, plus kale and its magic nutrients, minus much of the standard bitter taste of kale. Win, win, win. It wins over the kale skeptics I have found around my table, namely that husband of mine, who even requests it when he gets to visit because it is both tasty and packed with veggies. Plus, it’s cheap because kale is basically a weed and even the Hipsters’ love of it hasn’t managed to make it expensive yet. kalechicken-10 Before I get to the recipe, I need to give a disclaimer: this isn’t really a beautiful dish. It is delicious, but it is also just a giant mess of kale, photographed as I was quickly losing light, in my kitchen that is approximately the size of a shoebox. I dragged some kale into the living room for those first shots, but then it just seemed like such a hassle. Plus, you already know this isn’t one of those life-is-perfect blogs, so above I gave you an awkward out-of-focus picture of me trying to both massage kale, and photograph it at the same time. The things I do for you people, all so you can eat chicken coated in buttery kale. kalechicken-12 In the above post you see 10 cups of kale and almost every ounce of counter space in my entire kitchen. Good times. I think I should just stop trying to convince you to eat this and blitzing you with unexciting kale closeups and give you the recipe. Eat up. kalechicken-14 Kale Chicken

***Recipe given per chicken breast. Multiply as needed. In our home we always cut chicken breasts in half because American chickens have insane chests that are just way more than needed for one person. Also, it saves mucho cash-o.***

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3-4 cups kale, stems removed, washed and drained
  • 3 TBS butter (but hey, more is never a bad thing)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or Italian blend cheese
  • 1/8-1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (approximately… I just throw some in but it’s about that.)
  • Garlic salt
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 and butter the bottom of a baking dish.
  2. Tear kale into small chunks and mix with crumbs and cheese. Massage mixture lightly, not so it is all mushy, but just to integrate everything together and break down the kale a little.
  3. Melt the butter and dip the chicken in it before rolling the buttered chicken in the kale mixture. Y’all, you are really just shoving as much kale as possible onto that chicken and then putting it in the pan and pressing any remaining kale around it. I promise that you will be shocked by how much the kale cooks down.
  4. Pour any remaining butter over the chicken and season with the garlic salt. When I say “season,” I really mean shake that garlic until Edward Cullen and all his vampire pals die from its strength. I’m really not sure if you can have too much garlic.
  5. Bake about an hour, or until top is getting golden and crispy.

kale2Happy kale eating.

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Tyler & Katie

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When I’m alone.

tumblr_ljas4nyFf41qzcf69o1_500So, I promise this isn’t as emotional as that title made you think. Seriously y’all, can’t have too many sappy posts in a row.

Instead, this is a post to legitimately confess the deeply strange habits that one acquires when living alone. Society keeps us sane, people, and without it we become quirkier than we were before. When I lived alone in France, this quirkiness masked itself as culture. In my wifi-less state, I would load episodes of This American Life when I had wifi, and then play them in my little room above the city while I prepared well balanced meals. I listened to classical music, sketched flowers, and read a ridiculous amount of good literature.

But now.

Now I have the Internet, and it has robbed me of the chance to become a dignified and sophisticated woman of mystery, retreating to her quiet home to brood and stuff. So here they are, the strange habits I have adopted without the civilizing presence of The Gaze of The Other, as we say in graduate school, and with the added handicap of time-wasting Internet.

I eat really strange combinations of food, usually selected because they happen to be in the proximity where I am hungry. One night this meant a pile of tomatoes and a pile of green beans. Followed by ice-cream. Another night it meant 2 slices of lemon tart and small bowl of pistachios.  But most often, it means a giant pile of leaves (spinach, kale, things pulled from the tree on the sidewalk as I walked into my building…jk… that hasn’t happened… yet), wilted down with some goat cheese and topped with runny eggs. Because if I had a restaurant, it would most likely be called “Just Put an Egg on it” as that is my  food motto. That and, “Eat Nutella directly from the jar because you cut out the calories of whatever you were going to waste time spreading it on.”

I listen to music with the express purpose of crying to it. Y’all, the occasional weepy post aside, I am not actually a sad person. But I sincerely love crying, a convenient affinity as everything makes me cry. Sometimes I cry along to this one, because cellos sound like human voices weeping and it elevates my soul. Other times I crank up this one and cry as if I too survived a Freshman year of college replete with lost faith and soul-crushing anguish. I didn’t, for the record. Mine was full of baked goods, dutiful Bible study attendance, assignments completed on time, and appropriate levels of sleep. Don’t ever let you tell you that being the good kid can’t be fun. It is so fun, and even if it isn’t always, at least you are well rested.

I quickly eschew my actual clothes whenever possible, donning instead these fine pants and whatever t-shirt is nearby. And by pants, yes, those are leggings. With a magical 6 inch elastic waistband that never judges, only affirms. Haters gonna hate, but I prefer affirmative pants. I mean, I haven’t worn them to work or anything (yet) because I know that leggings aren’t actually pants and SHOULD NOT be treated at such, but talk to me again when James has been gone a couple more months.  He already lamented my “deplorable” shower situation (although, let’s be real: DRY SHAMPOO FTW).

I just don’t go to bed. People, this is a problem. I love sleep and I am a total terror who inspires fear and pity in the hearts of ALL when I don’t get it. But when I am home alone, without others going to bed and inspiring me to prudence… I just end up doing mindless things. Like watching this ballet documentary and then trying out some moves in my living room. Or deciding that 1am is the time to develop abdominal muscles hitherto believed extinct. Or rearranging my closet. Or watching one video after another of babies responding poorly to their fathers’ newly shaved faces (Thanks, Sharon). I fall into pits made by Pinterest, end up scrolling through Facebook albums of people I barely know, and will read whole blog archives of blogs I don’t even care about.

But I know I’m not alone. C’mon people, give me your weird. What are some of the quirky things you do when you are living alone?

Image via here, and I mostly just put it there because I love it and it makes me think of my favorite Andrew Wyeth painting

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