About Me

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A 30-something living in the foothills of the Virginia mountains; I'm saved by grace, addicted to coffee and my little sister is my best friend! I devote most of my time to exploring, reading, attending as many Nationals games as possible and documenting life here. My Prince Charming got lost somewhere along the way...but I'm trying to remain hopeful that true love exists.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

A Whole Lot of Nothing

Time is a strange thing; it's constant and yet, I feel like the weekend passed much faster because I did a whole lot of nothing, ha-ha! I suppose it's not exactly an accomplishment that I can admit that I managed to binge the entire fourth season of Game of Thrones over the weekend, right?

Let me not get ahead of myself - the week comes before the weekend - although I didn't particularly do very much during the week either. My early morning routine has changed a bit (exciting stuff here - I know) because I spend most of the hour that I allot for sipping my first cup of coffee now includes "chatting" with my little sister.

It should be noted; out of the nine pictures in this post, seven were taken on the deck. I think it's safe to say that the deck has quickly morphed into the best "room" of the house.

My little love relaxing on the rug.
Yes please - such beautiful colors. I'm like a kid when it comes to make-up!

The best way to spend a Wednesday morning - no doubt.
The work week was a bit slow - there is (happily) not a lot going on at the office right now and it's nice to take the lax weeks and enjoy them while they last. It does make the days creep along a little bit...but granted; it's nice to not be so busy that the day blazes by. A large(ish) chunk of my evenings are spent slaving away on the elliptical - something I've come to find I enjoy more than loathe. I guess being consistent with it now for 9+ weeks helps cement the habit and make it less annoying. Watching the weight on the scale drop each week certainly makes it less annoying too...

Making a pretty good case for lying on the deck all day long...

Thursday night skies...*sigh*

Game of Thrones Night @ Nationals Park
The weekend began wonderfully enough - Danielle and I made our way into DC for Game of Thrones night at Nationals Park. I'll elaborate more on the game in another post (so many pictures y'all) but the getting there and getting back was an adventure! We were in a race against time getting there after some snags at the office; we'd thankfully decided to go the no bag route & crammed everything into wallet-style phone cases. This worked brilliantly, we were able to jump in the no bag line, grab our giveaway shirts and jump in the line to take our picture with the Iron Throne - when we joined the line it was a 25 minute wait. I don't even want to know how long the wait was once we finished! Eek!

The return trip home was filled with overly crowded metro trains, time spent sitting on the tracks due to "single tracking" of the trains...at 10:30 at night, overly excited and sleepy children and finally...finally we made it back to the house! The game was wonderful, it was a great time...but I was so glad to see my bed at almost 1:00 AM!

Saturday - hiding from the rays of sunshine...

Sunset snooze on Saturday night.
The rest of the weekend was a bit of a bust...I was under the weather and so I did what anyone not feeling their best did: I binge watched the entirety of the fourth season of Game of Thrones, took more naps in the middle of the day than I have in months, and generally was just a complete bum. It seemed like every time I looked at the clock, I was shocked by how quickly time seemed to be passing - apparently time flies even if you aren't necessarily having fun!

Sunday sunshine.
So - another week and weekend come and gone. I don't know how your Monday is going, but so far mine has been just fine and the sky looks just as blue today as it did yesterday (see above picture). Here's hoping more gorgeous days and less lazy weekends are on the horizon!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Five on Friday

Weekend - Yes Please! It's time for Five on Friday!

Nationals Baseball - I'm starting this post with my beloved Nationals! This week was a bit of a bust for the Nationals; they only won one of the four games they played...*sigh*...but the Nationals still have a record of 43 - 29 and have a nine game lead in the National League East Division. Max Scherzer carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Wednesday and while the game didn't end in the Nationals favor; the skill and prowess of Max Scherzer is undeniable and I love getting to watch this guy (and the rest of the Nationals) play the game!

Game of Thrones Night @ Nationals Park - is tonight! My friend Danielle and I are headed into DC to enjoy baseball with a side of Game of Thrones goodness! The iron throne will be at the ballpark, so hopefully we'll get to take a quick snap on the spiky seat that keeps everyone in Westeros up in arms. And of course, there is an awesome t-shirt that is being given out to the first 20,000 fans through the gates...so here's hoping we make the cut! 

The Beauty & the Beast Collection from Lorac - I think I have made it pretty plain that I love anything and everything to do with Beauty & the Beast. I have been holding on to an Ulta gift card for months and when I discovered that Ulta had a collection from Lorac of Los Angeles that was themed around Beauty & the Beast - I knew what to use my gift card on! The collection has an eye shadow palette, a blush palette, a lipstick collection and a gloss collection; I didn't splurge and get every piece but I did snap up the eye shadow palette and the gloss collection.

I haven't tried out any of the shadows yet but the packaging is to die for - a beautiful gold "book" case with 16 shadows inside with names like "Beast Mode" (a navy blue), "Enchanting" (a soft gold) and "Spell Breaker" (a sparkly shadow) - I can't wait to try them out! The glosses go on smooth and don't leave your lips feeling sticky, which is a huge plus. So far my favorite it "savior faire", an almost nude color with just a hint of pink! I love it all!

Weekend Plans - My plans for the weekend don't extend past the baseball game tonight, ha-ha! And I absolutely have no problem with that! I am looking forward to sleeping in (if I can...) and maybe catching up on some movies that I've missed over the past few months? My sister tells me Passengers is good; so maybe I'll watch that? I like having nothing and no agenda...I can get up to anything and nothing, ha-ha!

What to Watch - Well, Fargo officially ended on Wednesday night and I am officially down to nothing to watch besides baseball! I am planning to check out the show Will when it comes on TNT in about a month and Game of Thrones seventh season begins on July 16th, but there is really nothing else on the horizon until September. Any suggestions?

And that's all I've got for this week - so until next time, I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

When You Wish Upon A Star....

...makes no difference how much moneys in your car... Wait. What? That doesn't seem right...

When you wish upon a star - your dreams come true! That sounds a bit better, ha-ha! If you are a long time blog reader, you'll know that at present my younger sister is currently on an all expense paid vacation to the sandbox...courtesy of the US military. A couple months before she left on her trip, we jokingly said that we'd love to go to Disney World once she returned...it was just an idea tossed around in jest. Until it wasn't!

As my sister and I have gotten older, we like to focus not so much on giving things as gifts...preferring instead to give experiences. Case in point - for Christmas in 2015, my family went to London. A trip I will never forget and precious memories that can never be taken from me; I wouldn't trade that for the world. After some discussion, we decided that this year for Christmas we'd just prefer to enjoy one another's company and to start the new year, we'd go to Disney World.

The trip - the experience - will be a gift that we can all share. Everyone will pay for meals (I've offered to fund our experience at Be Our Guest...only a few more weeks until we can book our reservation!) and we will have a week to spend together in the happiest place on Earth. I know we are all looking forward to it...my sister and I maybe a bit more than our parents...but then again, we've always been nuts about anything and everything related to Disney - so that shouldn't be much of a surprise.

I'll share bits and pieces of our travel plans as I count down the months (and eventually weeks and days) to our Disney vacation, but one thing I am looking forward to more than anything? Going to Florida in January as opposed to July or August - this may be the first time I go to Disney and don't melt!

In case you were wondering - the video above is where the reference to start the post was pulled from! Of course...of course, it involves the stars of Beauty and the Beast! What did you expect?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Of Dogs & Decks...

Monday - always so good to arrive right on time! A storm is rolling in; a storm that's been on it's way for days, so I figured pecking away at the key while the clouds roll in, the sky flashes and the thunder cracks is as good a way to pass the time as any.

Weekends are always much too short and I can't help but feel that way on this Monday too. The past work week was hectic, the weekend was lovely but passed much too quickly and now another week begins.
Heaven on Earth perhaps?
Tuesday afternoon relaxation with my favorite furball.
I do have to say that having an absolutely glorious deck to relax on has really made the weeknights that much more wonderful. There always seems to be a nice breeze coming from nearby mountains and so lying out on the deck with my sweet pup is a new favorite way to pass the evenings. It's also a plus that I can see the Nationals game on the television through the kitchen window, ha-ha! One must have their priorities in order - and if I can watch Ryan Zimmerman smash a baseball while enjoying a gentle breeze on the cozy outdoor couch - that's a lot of win in one sentence.

Marshmallow skies....
Spying on the neighbors - nosy little goose.
He's definitely a sun worshiper.
In his favorite place - because the entirety of the deck is his favorite place.
I suppose the title of the post is fairly self-explanatory. My dog absolutely despised the deck while it was being built; the sounds of construction absolutely terrified him to no end, but now that it's complete - well, it's the place that makes him happiest. He wants to sit on the deck early in the morning, throughout the afternoon and as the sun sets. The little fella moves from the rug to the couch to the umbrella stand and even creeps under the table from time to time - so long as he's on the deck, he really is content to sit most anywhere.

The weekend passed much too quickly - it seems like when there is nothing to do the weekend flies by...and when the calendar is full; well, the weekend still flies by! Friday night was lazy and lovely - I passed the time re-watching some Game of Thrones and of course; watching my Nationals play baseball.

I spent most of Saturday enjoying my sweet Momma's company - we went to get long overdue pedicures together, enjoyed some ice cream and stopped by a couple of our favorite shops - a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! I passed a lazy evening watching Nationals baseball, an episode or two of Game of Thrones and finishing the evening lying under the twinkling lights of the deck umbrella, watching a movie on my phone. It was pretty divine.

Saturday sunset as seen through the houses...
Sunday was a full and wonderful day - I joined my parents for church since it was Father's Day - I spent the majority of the service doing some long overdue baby snuggling. I spent almost every Sunday snuggling Evie's big sister Amelia; however I go to a different church now, so I have to make up for the lack of Evie's snuggles whenever I can! Once the church service was over, we had a delicious lunch at Carrabba's and then headed back to the house to change and pick up my pup!

Sweet smiles & snuggles!
We roamed around the countryside a bit - my Dad wanted to snap some pictures to mimic some postcards he has - and of course, Watson enjoyed every minute of riding in the car and exploring new and interesting places. I was interested in trying to get him to explore from the shade - it was a blazing 93 degrees on Sunday afternoon...but Watson is never interested in staying out of the sun! We stopped at Belle Grove Plantation and the Old Mill before heading back home to talk with my little sister and let my Dad open his gifts!

Red Barn + Blue Skies = pretty perfect
Gorgeous lilies, defying the summer swelter!
Belle Grove Plantation
A perfect picture made just a little more perfect - hi pup!
I closed the evening with some time spent on the elliptical, a quick supper on the back deck, a bubble bath and some reading in bed. Another week and weekend come and gone. Memories made and days spent - and another week to do it all over again.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five on Friday

...It's Friday! It's always so exciting when Friday arrives; I'm sure we can all agree on that, right? The weekend is looming ever closer on the horizon and before I check out to enjoy my weekend, it's time for my Five on Friday!

As always I'm linking up with April at Smidge of This - if you're looking for another great blog to follow, check her out!

LipSense - Have y'all heard of LipSense? It's smear proof, smudge proof, run proof...lipstick! I've been curious about it for some time now but I wanted to give it a try before I purchased it; it's a bit pricey, but I've decided it is worth it! Two weeks ago I gave LipSense a test run and was thoroughly impressed! I applied LipSense at about 10:00 on Saturday morning at an Arts & Crafts Festival...it was very, very warm out...and the LipSense stayed on through a long, warm day perusing arts and crafts tents, guzzling bottles of water, eating Mexican food (chips and salsa), shopping at IKEA and y'all...when I prepared to go out that night...I still didn't need to reapply or update my color!

What's more - after lunch (and dinner) I wiped my mouth...as you do...and the color NEVER budged. I'm sold and my first color is coming my way soon! I can't wait! Oh yea - April...of Smidge of This; she sells LipSense! 

Disney Countdown - In case you were wondering...the Disney Vacation Spectacular of January 2018 is only 203 days away! One of the most important days of the vacation planning is rapidly approaching though; July 10th is the day to begin making reservations! Be Our Guest - here we come!

Watson - I know; Watson has his very own day on the blog, but he has fallen in love with the deck and spends so much time relaxing, lounging and worshiping the sun. I have snapped loads of pictures of him on the deck and so I had to share two of the many here. Because seriously - he's adorable! 

Weekend Plans - Believe it or not; I do not have a single weekend plan! I love having plans and I love having the weekend wide open in front of me and filled with possibilities. As always; I'm looking forward to my Saturday morning sipping my coffee and doing nothing - drinking coffee in the morning is probably one of my favorite parts of the day - every day - but especially on Saturday! I'm sure I'll find plenty to do and even if I don't..it's the weekend, what's not to love?

The Nationals - Well. *sigh* It has been a week to be a Nationals fan...and sadly, I don't mean that in a good way. It's been tossed around here and there and mentioned from time to time - but the sad truth is that the bullpen is a nightmare and this week that was painfully obvious! The five games played this week yielded two wins and three losses, so I suppose it could have been worse. The Nationals are in New York for the weekend to play a four game series against the New York Mets (ew) and the first game was a win for the Nationals, so here's hoping we are on the upswing! 

That's all I've got for this Friday - have a lovely weekend and show your Dad some love on Sunday!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sweet Summertime

Summer is upon us once more and times...they have changed mightily since I was a child. A child who sat at my desk in class and day dreamed about all the adventures I'd get up to once school was done and I was free to run wild all day long. I've noticed in my neighborhood that I don't see kids outside very much...and when I was a child; I spent most of my summer days under the sun. I can only assume that kids today sit indoors in front of computer games or the TV screen or even glued to an iPad. I fear that kids today are too busy focusing on virtual reality and missing the reality right in front of them....

I can attest to the fact that snakes definitely lived in both the lake and the swamp - and yet - the only kids to play with were a bunch of rough and tumble little boys and so when they waded into the swampy waters to hunt wild creatures; well I certainly wasn't going to be left behind! I spent my summers covered in bug bites and scraped knees...my Mom used to weep, wail and implore me to be more careful because I was going to have terribly ugly legs one day. Somehow both me and my legs managed to overcome all my wild outdoor excursions! 

Another fun feature of my childhood home was a canyon of sorts... If you weaved your way through the trees, you'd emerge on the edge of a vast open field that had been left in a bit of disarray after loggers came through, chopped down all the trees and went on their way. The field was largely comprised of dirt and red clay - and near the center was a canyon carved by summer rainstorms! It certainly wasn't anything majestic or stately, but to a little girl with a friend and some Barbie dolls, it was the Grand Canyon...complete with a spa where mud baths could be applied to both Barbie dolls and the little girls playing with them. The best part of all that muddy adventure? You were sure to get a good spray from the water hose before you set foot in the house again! 

If you made the dangerous...perilous trek...okay, really it was nothing - but remember, little minds see things as much grander than they appear...down into the canyon and back out the other side and were brave enough to take the pathway through the trees, the reward was grand! A field that stretched on for miles and in the distance, under the trees - hay bales that had been placed in neat rows - rows that were perfect for allowing little children to leap from bale to bale to their heart's content! After an afternoon climbing hay bales, there might be a quick trip past the trees and to the edge of the road, where an old shelter built into the side of the hill that was perilously close to falling in was always worth a peek... she (or he) who ventured in the farthest was the winner of the day.

I spent a lot of time every summer with a friend who spent every moment possible outdoors - and so when at her house, I too was outdoors. We swam in the lakes around her house, alluded the black swans living on her property by zipping across levees on her four wheeler and racing breathlessly into the makeshift office before the swans could catch up; laughing in glee when they'd see they were thwarted once again. One summer, we even created a Native American village in a circle of trees in her backyard - she deemed me Pocahontas and she was the friend, Nakoma - we hunted, paddled our canoe "just around the riverbend", spoke with Mother Willow and if I remember correctly, literally spent the entire day lost in the world we'd created. It was glorious!

Another past time that was; yet again, done outdoors was creating obstacle courses to race through again and again... A participant might start on the porch, race down the steps and hopscotch their way across the step stones...jump over the swings, cross the monkey bars, slide down the slide and then bounce across the trampoline before making a circuit around the house, climbing on the bike and racing up the driveway and back down...only done with your race once you were safely back on the welcome mat. And this could be done any number of ways; enough ways to pass the entire morning without realizing half the day was gone. 

I'm sure virtual reality is nice - but I look at kids today and wonder what memories they will have of how they spent their sweet summertime. Will they remember leaping across hay bales, climbing through trees, crawling through culverts and racing against the clock...finishing the day with a long drink of cool water from the hose? Something tells me their memories will be a little bit different and I suppose that's fine. I have my memories and I'm certainly glad they're mine. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Watson Wednesday

So - it's Wednesday and I keep this day of the week reserved for all the Watson sweetness that one blog can hold. Watson may have hated the building process that went into the deck but now that it's completed, it's hands down (paws down?) his favorite "room" of the house.

Surprisingly his favorite spot on the deck is not stretched out on the rug...or even along the cushions of the couch. Oh no...

Nothing gives him more joy than sunning himself...surveying the neighborhood goings on...and taking long naps....from atop the umbrella base. Talk about a goofball; this dog is definitely one.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How Does the Weekend Pass So Quickly?

I started this post on Monday and managed to get derailed, distracted and otherwise disengaged from all thing blog-related. I'm not sure where my head was...but it wasn't here. Weekends always seem to pass in a blur and the past weekend was no exception...

The week preceding it was fairly quick too - my boss was out of town and so work manages to somehow be less busy but the days still pass quickly. I realize that I've been doing this random photo dumps over and over and over...but whatever writing "mojo" that I have seems to be in flux lately and so...photo dumps it is.

The final product of two weeks of construction has wrought a beautiful deck on the back of the house - and has brought an end to my sweet pup's hours long freak out sessions in response to the nail gun used to put the pieces together. I snapped the above picture of him sitting on the deck early in the week; likely contemplating why in the world he tore his bed to shreds as a way to cope with the construction noises. *sigh* Yep - ripped his bed to pieces.

Happily I had foresight and purchased a miniature animal skin rug at IKEA last weekend and I purchased it just for Watson! He wasn't 100% keen on the rug to begin with, but when it became his only bedding option; surprise surprise, he embraced it! 

The past week was fairly perfect as weather goes - gorgeous...near perfect blue skies, fluffy clouds and light breezes almost all week. Hence the pictures of the beautiful night sky and the perfectly blue sky shot from Thursday afternoon. Alas - perfect weather cannot last forever - the weekend arrived and with it, Summer finally made it's arrival too. 

After a rather long work day on Friday, I joined my parents for a drive into the Shenandoah National Park to watch the sunset and hopefully catch the rising of the strawberry moon. We grabbed some Popeye's (meh) before heading into the park and had a quick picnic supper before finding an optimal spot to watch the sunset. Watson came along and thought it was an absolutely grand adventure - most especially the part where he got bites of chicken tender while sitting at the picnic table like the human he thinks he is...


It should go without any explanation(s) that the sunset viewed from above the Shenandoah Valley was absolutely spectacular and I snapped an absurd amount of pictures of the sunset...I've only shared a couple here because perhaps you don't want to see fifteen very similar pictures of the sunset? It was beautiful - words do it little justice and my iPhone camera does little better...but it was a worthwhile way to spend a Friday evening. 

I also snapped what is now my favorite picture of Watson - honestly - is that not the best picture ever?

I included one very weak snap of the strawberry moon...it rose with a bright pink hue, but within about fifteen minutes of climbing over the trees it had turned a deep shade of orange. Obviously the moon was called a "strawberry moon" because of it's pink tint - but I like my interpretation better: that when the strawberry moon rises, it's the best time to pick strawberries...under the light of the strawberry moon!

Saturday...Saturday was mostly a wonderful day, but it was also a day that included a poor life choice. *sigh* After finishing my re-watch of season one of Game of Thrones and taking the dog out to walk, I noticed a neighbor jogging through the neighborhood and for some reason the voice(s) in my head said "you've been using the elliptical continuously for nine weeks - you can jog too!" And so I suited up and headed out into the almost noonday sun and discovered that maybe I should stick to the elliptical for now...

Saturday evening I headed up the side of the mountain...and down the mountain a bit to my friend Katie's house for dinner, a movie and catching up! We had some delicious supper (courtesy of her sweet husband) that I'm still thinking about and watched Beauty and the Beast while catching up with each other. We ended the night taking in the amazing views off her deck - it may be a bit of a beast getting to her house on some steep roads, but the company makes the drive above and beyond worth it and the view...the view isn't bad either!

Image may contain: people standing, tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: people standing, sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Sunday was a day jammed full - we had tickets to the Nationals game at 4:05 and we headed into DC early to peruse the National Mall and take in a museum for a couple hours before going over to Nationals Park. Sunday was; of course, the hottest day of the year thus far and made for some warm wanderings in the nation's capital.

We decided to check out the American History Museum; I don't think I've been in the American History Museum since I visited as a tourist way back in...oh...200? I can't remember, ha-ha! Suffice it to say that it's been a while! We made a pretty good circuit around the museum and saw a good 75%, including eating at the cafeteria - which wasn't terrible - although it wouldn't have been my first choice. Around 2:00 we headed for Yards Park to grab some delicious Ice Cream Jubilee before the game. Always so good - and always worth the line! My Coconut Lychee Lime sorbet was divine and really hit the spot on the blazing hot day!

The Nationals game was...well...*sigh* The seats were good and the highlight of the game was seeing Max Scherzer get his 2,000th career strikeout but alas, we ended up leaving early when the bullpen took over the game and pretty much immediately blew the game. I won't get into it too much, but the bullpen is an absolute nightmare and the final innings of games are always near heart attack inducing these days. It had been a long day and when the bullpen allowed the Rangers to score four runs in one inning, we packed it in and headed for the Metro.

I love being at Nationals Park and I love cheering on my Nationals - I'm looking forward to being back at the park for Game of Thrones night in less than two weeks. Here's hoping the bullpen can figure some things out well before then - or I might be leaving early again! Blegh! 

The weekend was capped off with a late supper from Panda Express - side note: if you're trying to eat food that doesn't have a bajillion calories, Panda is not your choice! It was delicious - but yeah, not so healthy. We had dinner on the deck, under the lights of the newly installed umbrella and I slept like the dead on Sunday night! 

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature


On an unrelated but awesome note - as of today, I've been living in the great state of Virginia for three years! Moving to Virginia is still one of the best decisions I've made and I am so glad I made the leap and made a change for myself! Here's to many more years as a Virginian!