Monday, December 31, 2012

Cross Country Santa Exchange

For years now my dear friends Jessie, Jen, Ginger, Hayley, Mary and I have done a Secret Santa gift exchange at Christmas time.  We'd sit around in San Francisco, drink wine, open presents and laugh until our bellies hurt.   It was an absolutely delightful tradition.  Then Jen moved to Hawaii, Hayley to New Orleans and I... well, you know all about my crazy year...

So last year, while I was in Peru, we set up a Secret Santa complete with a Google Hangout and, of course, presents, wine, laughing until our bellies hurt... all that good stuff.  It was such a success that we did it again.  

The way it works: we're sent a secret email from a third party Santa (Mary's friend Marissa) with the name of our gift recipient.  We spend weeks and create insane email message chains trying to set a date and time that works for all of us, our work schedules, and across our (now) 5 hour time difference. We mail off our presents to arrive in time for our internet date.  Then we all huddled around our computers and connected via Google.

So here we are: Jen in Hawaii, Ginger in SF, Mary and Hayley in their hometown of San Luis Obispo and me here in Wilmington.  Unfortunately, Jessie had technical issues and missed most of the party. I guess at a non-cyber party, it'd be the equivalent of getting caught in traffic or catching a cold. We missed her greatly.  Seeing these goofball faces and opening presents was a blast.  Such a special tradition. Jeez, I miss my lady-friends.   I love them much. 

I wish we did this every week (because every night would be overkill (right?!?!?)).  We could skip the gifts, obviously.  And anyways, their friendship is gift enough (say it with me now... awwwwwww). 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Family Fun For Everyone

Determined to show my family a good time, we filled their visit with fun activities all around our new town.  We strolled downtown and ate delicious meals; the food in Wilmington is pretty dang great, from unique sandwiches at Chop's to rich Mac & Cheese, French Onion Soup and Surf and Turf at the Brasserie

We also toured around the Battleship, Wilmington's favorite historical attraction.  There were many cool facts to be learned on the Battleship, but one of my favorites is that it became a memorial in Wilmington in 1961 after a campaign where all the school children in North Carolina donated a dime for it's preservation.  Margie had just told us about the effort and how she herself had donated a dime.  My brother, the machinist, of course spent the better part of an hour in the machine shop on board.  He explained to us the heavy metal things that each heavy piece of machinery built and did. It was awesome, even for us non metal nerds. 

After our trip to the Battleship, we opted for some high speed fun.  We hit the Go Kart tracks! It was a perma-grin activity for sure. 

And no visit to Wilmington is complete without a stop at the wonderful Cameron Art Museum.  There is a new exhibit up featuring the works of Zelda Fitzgerald which I thought was pretty cool.  We all enjoyed the work of Wilmington natives Elizabeth Chant, Claude Howell and Minnie Evans.  An exhibit of their studio spaces is currently up too, and is wonderful.  We enjoyed fried green tomato BLTs, sweet potato fries and pulled pork sandwiches at the cafe.

Thanks for visiting, y'all! 

(Speaking of Fitzgerald, any thoughts on this?)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Cheer

My family has been in town for the last week, and it's been a dang good time. Christmas morning we opened presents and then ventured down to Wrightsville Beach for a seaside stroll. 

Trav explained cool ocean things to my dad while Patrick and I looked for seashells.  

That evening we had the pleasure of attending Christmas dinner at Margie's house.  The food was insanely good (we couldn't stop talking about it for three days) and the room was full of chatter and laughter all night long.  At one point we cracked open holiday poppers from which we read corny amazing jokes and each received a lovely paper crown and a mini toy.  

It was a perfect Christmas evening. 

Check out last year's Christmas in Peru...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter Wonderland

Just a mid-December surf sesh.  The air was chilly and invigorating.  From where I sat in the sand, it looked like he was surfing in the sky.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Something Cookin'

This week, our little kitchen has gotten a lot of action.  We love to cook... well... Travis loves to cook... I like to cook and I love to eat. Anyway, among all the wonderful things that traveling and hiking offer, we always felt the void of not having our own kitchen. It's an experience of busy hands, open recipes, sipping wine, listening to music and creating something delicious.

There have been all kinds of tasty, and borderline decadent, items created this week.  Yesterday, we had our first mini dinner party! Our friends Margie and Jocelyn came over and Trav made his signature butternut squash risotto and we accompanied it with roasted beets and a new bacon/walnut/brussel sprout dish. It was a win. He also spent the day baking a walnut loaf which was pretty much insane.

Our kitchen and dining room are the rooms in the house that are the least together so far, but the kitchen is coming along.  We found that quirky white and red enamel top table in an antique shop. It has two leafs that roll out on either side and nearly double it's surface area. It's a little banged up, but man, is it cool. And I finally figured out a way to put up my postcard collection.  I've been collecting these postcard images since high school.  They've become quite tattered with double stick tape and push-pin holes, so I bought a role of magnetic tape and made them magnets.  Now it's like a miniature gallery on our fridge that we can rotate and change as we feel. 

How was your week? Make/eat anything delicious?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Respect The Beard

Too good. Too real. Too familiar a feeling.

Some of my favorite beard moments this year from my favorite, two, and three

Monday, December 17, 2012

Long-Arm Shots

We have a long history of of taking the well known long-arm self portrait. 

Like in Big Sur.

And at Machu Picchu.

And at the half way point on the PCT...

But what if there was a long history of long-arms in history...

Fun, huh?

Images created here

Friday, December 14, 2012

Around Here

Our new coasters from a cool, local shop. Bringin' back memories

Morning coffee and a record (today: The Mamas & The Papas).

Merry and bright.

One of my favorites. What a character. 

Of course.

Awaiting their placement on walls and shelves.

Feet on cold tiles.

The last cardboard box has been unpacked.  The moving, overall, was a breeze. There was one casualty though... I took a box cutter to one of the boxes and sliced right down the front of my down jacket*. Ouch. Time for a repair, I'd say.

All in all, we're (mostly) set up, cozy and, with our tree in place, festive.

*One of my down jackets. Let's be honest. I have three. Gear nerd.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


We don't have an ounce of food in the house and our clothes are still in boxes, but the records are out and alphabetized and Otis Redding is spinning.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sneak Peek

After our stops in PA and NY, we cruised south to NC to check out our new digs.

We found a house on Craigslist in mid October and decided to go ahead and rent it, sight unseen.  I mean...we've made countless hostels, overnight buses, campsites and hotel rooms feel homey for the last 15 months... imagine what we could do with a real house! The owners are incredibly cool and were willing to accept a rental application that featured 15 months of (voluntary) unemployment and the lack of a current landlord or address (excluding my parents, of course). 

So, there were were, standing on the sidewalk in front of our new house, in our new town and at the start an incredibly exciting and totally different type of adventure. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nothin' To Do Today But Smile

I get the news I need from the weather report. Oh, I gather all the news I need from the weather report. Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile....

As we walked the Brooklyn Bridge on a bright, blue-sky day, Simon and Garfunkel's Only Living Boy In New York played on repeat in my head. Stunning days like that made it easy to understand why so many songs (and films, for that matter) are inspired by New York.   

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cozy In Brooklyn (Updated!)

After leaving a fantastic family time in Steel Country, we made our way to New York.  Brooklyn to be exact.  In Brooklyn we got cozy with my dear high school friend Rachel, and her (new!) husband Nathan. We just love visiting these two.

You know those marvelous dinners that just last hours, as you sit and chat and eat and drink and chat and laugh and eat and then order coffee and dessert and chat and laugh some more? That's what we did. Three nights in a row. 

We also took those marvelous walks through the chilly fall air.  Our hands in gloves, hats on our heads and scarves on our necks, we wandered around neighborhoods and spent early morning hours at the dog park. 

And your assumptions are park = dog. And oh, what a dog! Last time she saw Calli, she was months old and snugly and bite-y.  Now, Calli may just be the fastest dog in the East, leaving a vapor trail as she bolts after a tennis ball.  She's long and lanky, well-mannered and sweet.

Rachel and I met the first day of ninth grade and one Friday at a pep rally, I was struck by how cool her shimmery, bright green eye shadow was (hello 1997!). We started hanging out after school, jumping on a neighbors trampoline and became inseparable friends shortly thereafter. I love me some Rach and I'm so glad to finally be in the same timezone. 

I'd only ever spent one, brief night in Brooklyn, but was quickly smitten.  It's busy, but not too crazy, urban but not too gritty. It's just the right mix. Rach, Nath & Calzone: thanks for another incredibly wonderful, cozy visit.  Love, Meeg and Krev.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Say Thanks

Hope everyone had a special and love-filled Thanksgiving yesterday.  We're back in the Texas Hill Country and are cooking our big feast today.  Let's hear it for mac & cheese quinoa, pumpkin pie bread pudding with bourbon sauce, turkey, green bean casserole and gravy. That's what I'm talking about!!

So, the other day I found my self crying 2 seconds into this commercial, in classic Sappy Mags form.

The message is so good. Just tell someone. I love the holidays because everyone feels so much love and gratitude, but we have to remember to say it loud and say it proud. Of course, I also loved that it was a Hallmark commercial (my trailname was oh-so-fitting).  

Well, I've been a bit slow in the blogging department these past few weeks, but I'll be back with pictures and stories from our stops in Brooklyn and Wilmington (!!) and so much more. 

Thanks, y'all, for continuing to read this little blog and for following our adventures.  If I could send you all a thank you note, I would. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Steel Country

Just a few images from our annual Northeast visit. Stop one, Pittsburgh.