Wednesday, November 30, 2011

thankful to have been home

About a month ago we found out that we were swapping regions with another team and heading to the southeast for the remainder of our program. This news was welcomed with a bit of shock, as we had grown to love our south region. But when we found out that we'd randomly get the week of Thanksgiving off, excitement began to pump through our veins, as we were close enough to Charlotte to drive home for the holiday!

Y'all, we hadn't been home since August.


And yes, I just said y'all. You try spending 3 months in the trenches of the south/deep south! It wears on you...

Anyway, we were blessed with 4 glorious nights in our brand spankin' new home. Although there was still mounds of work to be done around the house, our little escape from work was truly refreshing. And these 4 nights felt like an eternity of time at home!

So what is the first thing you do after being gone for so long?

Clean! Oh man, do you clean. Not exactly what I wanted to do first, but the dust bunnies, cob webs, fallen plaster particles and and layers of yuckiness on everything needed tended to immediately. It was nasty! Definitely getting a cleaning person in there before Christmas...

My new babies came in the mail!

Bryan put up our Christmas lights (that we bought in Mississippi) the very day we arrived home. We were too excited! His good buddy came over to lend an extra hand. Love having accountable friends who are just as eager to see us as we are them!

I stepped away to grab a chai at my newest coffee joint - I'm bound and determined to become a local!

That night I made dinner for the 1st time in 13 weeks. For this special occasion I even broke out my olive oil that we purchased while in Italy!

Dishes. I know how crazy this sounds, but I was so happy to get to do dishes in my new kitchen! Dishes = I'm home

Wine. And not only wine, but my own wine glass. It's been forever since I've drank out of a glass that strangers didn't drink out of before me!

Horrible picture, but so thrilled to be on my couch, with a throw blanket. I crave a couch and a throw while I'm out of town!

Ahhhh, my ring was finally back in it's home. You have no clue how nerve wracking it is to take my ring on and off in hotels as much as I do. I have a designated spot to put it when I shower in hotels, but nothing is the same as the seashell that Bryan found while walking his dog in Huntington Beach back when we first got engaged. This shell is my rings home!

The next morning I was elated to make a healthy smoothie out of fresh fruit

Then Bryan and I headed out to cross some things off of our list. One of which was to purchase the last piece of furniture for our bedroom. Now our set is complete! While Bryan signed paperwork, I relaxed in the most ugly, yet overwhelmingly comfortable chaise... classy.

Bry decided he wanted to "check out" tv's. Next thing you know we're sitting down signing a credit card slip. Oy vey

The reason we live where we live... and not in southern CA anymore....

While I took an afternoon nap on my couch (something I dream about doing while on the road) Bryan surprised me and put together the rocking chairs that I bought back in August. I practically cried when I woke up. Joy.

My throw went everywhere with me, even onto my rocking chair front porch - EEEEEK - dreams do come true!

Bryan has worn many hats in his life, but my most favorite random hat is that he used to hang Christmas lights professionally. He did this for years -- even after I met him. He hung them in LA, therefore he's a complete perfectionist and a true professional, haha!

Ah, a little morning tea in my Orange County mug. Happy girl.

And our new tv. I mean, everyone needs 2 50" flat screens, right? Oy...

That afternoon we had overlapping hair appointments. Cute? Not really. My hair hadn't been touched by a pro since July - I was in major need of a cut and some dimension put back in. I'm hating this brown hair and am excited to start slowly working myself light again!

Love this view out my bathroom window. Now I just need some window treatments so the neighbors don't think we're nudists. Speaking of, any suggestions on what to do with this window? We love the view and don't want to block it out entirely, but also need privacy, ya know.

And, of course, Thanksgiving! Our great friends Briana and Ryan invited us over for a lot of inappropriate conversation and a feast of mass proportions - blessed to have friends like them!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 things about moi

Considering how I'm an even 30 years old, I decided that I'd tell you 30 new things about me that you don't know already.

Sounds fun, right?

Yeeeah anyway... here goes:

1. I have no living grand parents. Neither does Bryan.

2. We moved to Charlotte because we wanted to, not because we had to or got transferred. We chose to leave Orange County on our own and picked Charlotte because we had been everywhere in our travels and believed it's the best place (outside of southern California) to live!

3. My mom gave my brother and I more kisses as a kid than you can imagine. She was always kissing our heads, ears, noses and lips. I never doubted - not even once - that I wasn't loved to pieces. I see myself doing it with Cali...

4. I'm left handed. I can do a lot with my right hand too though, and even some things come more natural to me with my right hand. But I'm a lefty. And being a lefty and wearing a wedding ring is not the easiest of lifelong tasks, trust this! Any lefty's feel me here???

5. I hold my pen and paper really weird when I write.

6. I love FOX News!

7. I'm a proud American, but I'm also proud of my heritage - Irish, Italian, Polish, German and Russian

8. Christmas Eve dinner is my favorite meal. If I were on death row, my last meal would be everything we eat on Christmas Eve. Years when I don't eat this meal, I will probably shed some tears...

9. Easter is my favorite holiday.

10. I'm 4 years younger than my only sibling, and although I pray we will be, we're not close at all.

11. My nails are fake... and have been since I was 16. That's 14 years of fake nails and money down the drain.

12. I have bad asthma and allergies and have my inhaler and allergy pills with me at all times. I have to have "feather free" hotel rooms nightly.

13. I can't fall asleep without white noise in the background and Burts Bee's on my lips.

14. I was hit by a car when I was little.

15. Tennis is my sport. I was on Varsity for 3 years in high school.

16. I love traditions. Not new, made up ones. But traditions that have been passed down in my family for generations. They are sacred to me.

17. I cry. A lot. Mostly over insignificant things. I don't consider it a fault.

18. I'm a proud Catholic. Both of my parents were born Catholic. Both sets of my grand parents were Catholic. Both sets of my great grand parents were Catholic. Everyone took their vows seriously and never got divorced. No divorce in my lineage! Bryan's parents are still married also. The statistics are definitely on our side!

19. I'm closer to 31 than to 30 and I'm okay with that... Actually, I'm really looking forward to what year 31 has in store for me!

20. I'm not much for complaining. I tend to see the positive in all things, and when I can't see the positive, I often don't voice those thoughts. This whole seeing the glass half full thing annoys others at times. But what annoys me is spending even 3 minutes in the same room with a complainer!

21. Bryan and I both came into our relationship with no debt (no student loans, no car payments, no credit card debt, no furniture debt). Outside of our mortgage, we still have no debt.

22. I've passed kidney stones... twice.

23. I look like both my mom and my dad.

24. I'm a closet homebody. Based on my job, you'd never know it. But I love being home the most and can seriously sit on the couch and do nothing all day and be quite content. Just ask Bryan! The problem is that I feel that life passes a homebody by, therefore I force myself to get out and live. I want to experience everything life has to offer, even though most of the time I'd rather be home.

25. I don't sweat the small stuff. Or the big stuff. I'm just not a worrier. But when I do worry, you know it's for good reason. Bryan worries enough for the both of us, so we're a good balance in that realm.

26. I need space. Alone time is important for my psyche.

27. I rarely ask people to pray for me. I will, but it has to be for a very worthy reason (not just because I have a job interview or stressful family situation, etc.)

28. I'm a deep thinker and take time to process my personal growth - I always want to be moving forward and bettering myself. People who think the way they are is "just how God intended" need to be a bit more introspective. I find that way of thinking to be a shallow. I believe that God intends us to be our best selves, of which none of us are.

29. I'm the least competitive person ever. I let people win. I give up and quit. I get through 9 holes of mini golf and call it a day, haha! Winning just isn't important to me. But sometimes I wish it were. Bryan is so competitive, and because of it, he never half asses anything. I find that admirable.

30. My name is Kaitlyn and most who are closest to me call me Kaitlyn. I can't even image what "Kate" would sound like coming out of Bryan's mouth... it's always Kaitlyn from him, my mom, my close friends. My dad calls me dollface!

And there I am, in a nutshell. (Help, I'm in a nutshell!)

The end.

Monday, November 28, 2011

day trip to memphis, tn

Memphis is only about an hour north of Oxford, so we headed up to Elvis' hometown for a day of eating, Christmas shopping.... and more eating!


We were in Memphis September 2010. You can read about great fried chicken, Beale St., a grandma with a lime green tongue ring and what a fried Oreo tastes like here.


Arguably, the best BBQ in Memphis can found found at the Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison Ave. Their award winning Dancing Pigs BBQ sauce and dry rub placed #1 out of more than 600 entries across the country. I am not a large fan of pork, but I am a foodie, therefore I happily devoured my pulled pork on Texas Toast sandwich doused with BBQ sauce.

After The Bar-B-Q Shop we headed over to Muddy's Bake Shop for some mouthwatering cupcakes. Muddy's is a small local bakery and, from my perspective, rivals DC's wildly popular Georgetown Cupcakes.

Red Velvet & Pumpkin D'light


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

how i live my life

"I would rather live short and right then long and wrong"
-John Paul Warren

Venice, Italy

Dominican Republic

Ephesis, Turkey

Thankful for this life this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ole miss

Oxford, MS is everything you would imagine and more - It is quaint, charming, picturesque and full of Ole Miss pride. Football is a religion and the town shuts down on home game Sunday's.

The earlier part of last week was spent working between the Student Union and the famous Grove.

Every home game the football team parades down the walk of champions in The Grove. Think Eli Manning and Michael Orr...

You have not done Oxford justice if you haven't visited the town square. There is no mall in town, only boutique shopping on the square, so clearly we cleaned ourselves up and headed there for a fine night out.

Neilson's is the oldest continuously running department store in the country

William Falkner lived (and is buried) in Oxford and used many of the town's historic sites for his novels, some of which are on the square

City Grocery
City Grocery is the culinary epicenter for Oxford. The chef, John Currence, has been featured in many magazines, most recently September's issue of Bon Appetite. He also appeared on Top Chef Masters season 3. Bryan and I went for drinks (2 for 1 whiskey and diet's, of course) at Irie and then headed over to City Grocery for the most decadent of meals.

Ole Miss vs. LSU

Tailgating in The Grove is unreal - best tailgating school, hands down!

Saturday nights game was a blowout of major proportions: 52-3. Bryan and I were given free tickets to the game... free 3rd row tickets! It was amazing to sit in the stands at Ole Miss and root on these two teams, one of which (LSU) may very well be in the National Championship.

I can honestly say that out of everywhere we've gone on this tour, Oxford is the most memorable for both Bryan and I. What an amazing college town!