Saturday, March 31, 2012

Just popping in.

I wanted to pop in real quick on a Saturday.  I'm headed to Athens today to spend some time with my family since it's my sisters' spring break too.  I'm taking my computer, so I won't be lost and alone in Georgia.  Being on spring break (and having a glorious two week spring break) has made me really grateful for a some things recently.  I'm grateful for...
  • Having the time to sleep long enough to feel rested and wake up on my own.
  • Having the time to eat my breakfast and drink coffee while I blog
  • Waking up next to D Bailey D & Bailey when it's not dark out
  • Running errands during the day
  • Although it bemoans me to say it, I'm grateful to have a job that allows me this wonderful spring break no matter how fast it may fly by.
  • D: for taking me on awesome trips, for helping me purchase things that make me happy, for taking care of and loving me
Of course I could go on, but I'll keep it simple and sweet.  I just stumbled upon Whitney's blog the other night (and now I'm currently obsessed), and she reminded me that I'm free to be happy.  Sometimes it feels like a never-ending battle when the majority of your days are consumed by a job that feels like it has more frustrating days than not (or days that give you literal, physical anxiety...I should probably take something for that).  I need to keep my head up and remember to make that daily decision to be happy.

[It's a midset.]

[I saw this a while back and tried to make it a daily mantra - I think it faded after a few weeks]

[I've got some ideas for this]

Let's go forth and be happy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Let's meet up with Lincoln.

After leaving the Washington Monument in DC, we trekked over to the Lincoln Memorial.  The walk (even walking against the insane wind) is really beautiful.  We couldn't have asked for a prettier day.  On the way to see Lincoln, we passed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

 [The memorial was really well done and moving]

[Maybe I look a little too happy to be in front of a war memorial?]

I must say, it is really beneficial to read up on the meanings behind the memorials. says,
"Nineteen stainless steel sculptures stand silently under the watchful eye of a sea of faces upon a granite wall—reminders of the human cost of defending freedom. These elements all bear witness to the patriotism, devotion to duty, and courage of Korean War veterans."
Knowing more of the meaning behind the memorial really makes it come together for me.  We continued the trek to the Lincoln Memorial.

I said this was my favorite memorial, but honestly we didn't get to see too many more.  We missed out on the FDR memorial.  There is just something so beautiful and moving about the Lincoln Memorial though.


 [Renovations on the Reflection Pool so it was empty]

My regret is that we didn't get to see the memorial at night.  That's on our list next time we head to DC.  After leaving the memorial, we walked back in a different direction and got to see some other cool sites.

 [Willow tree on the water]
 [Amazing instagram picture D took of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall]

[Terrible picture of the White House, but that's about as close as we got]

We walked back to the car, and headed back to Virginia for dinner with our friends.  We ate at Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant in Falls Church, VA.  In 2010, it was actually voted for the best of DC vegetarian restaurants.  I was really pleased, and it was delicious!  We ended the night with sour beers at Churchkey in DC.

I wish we wouldn't have been so full because they have a kick ass menu there that I would have loved to try.  They hand-make their tater tots and have some cool vegetarian options.  If you're into beer, they have an amazing selection of rare and unique beers.  They keep beer styles organized in different refrigerators with temperatures that don't compromise the quality.  Churchkey is on my list as a place I need to spend much more time at next time I'm in DC.  

On Tuesday, we got to spend a full day in DC exploring.  I'll pop in with more on that tomorrow!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I think I can see the President from here.

After watching the Hunger Games (did I mention we saw it in IMAX?!), we headed to Washington, DC.  DC is only about 4 hours from Raleigh, so we got in town about 9 Sunday night.  We stayed with some friends and headed to have dinner and drinks at Mad Fox Brewing Company.

[Pretzel bites + a pilsner]

Max Fox is actually in Falls Church, VA about a mile from where we were staying.  They brew their own beer and foster a pretty cool atmosphere in the place.  They had a solid food menu as well.  It's definitely worth checking out if you head about 7 or 8 miles outside the DC area.

We I took Monday to sleep in a bit while D got up early to do some work.  The weather was projected to be around 60 and pretty sunny.

I opted for this flowy blouse from Target (which I am in love with by the way) with my dark skinnies.  I paired it all with my Toms, which don't match but were well worth the decision.   

After our later start and fueling up at Starbucks, we spent additional time trying to figure out how to get into the city.  Since we drove to VA, we could easily drive into DC.  There was also a metro station about a mile from where we were staying.  After much debate and driving around, we decided to just drive into DC.  We got a spot on the same block as the Smithsonian Museum of American History, so we figured it was the perfect place to start.

Museums can take up a significant amount of time, and I certainly don't want to bore you with a million pictures from a museum.  Here are a few of my favorite things I saw at the Smithsonian.

[Top R to L: The Star Spangled Banner Exhibition, old pins used for propaganda; Bottom R to L: More propaganda (which coincidently I can still relate to), the presidents exhibition, revolutionary lighthouse light]

There was so much to see and do in the Smithsonian that we just did not even get to see it all.  The museum is free though, so it's worth a walk-through even if it is quick.  After leaving the museum, the weather was windy (20+ mph winds!) but beautiful and sunny.  We braved the wind and walked out to the Washington Monument.

[Yeah, that's a tiny D in the bottom middle]

The park areas around the monument are gorgeous and open.  Due to the windy conditions, there were lots of people out and about flying kites and picnicking.  

 [If I lived in DC, I would totally be hanging out here!  That's a view of the Lincoln Memorial as well]

[View of the Capitol Building from the Washington Monument]

Tomorrow I'll update on our favorite monument and how we spent the rest of our first day in DC.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beer, bikes, and rain.

I told you all about what I had in store for last weekend.  Let me tell you it didn't disappoint for kick-starting my spring break.  We just got back from DC, and I'll let you in on all that fun tomorrow!  For now, a delayed weekend update.

Sure enough, we started our weekend off at Raleighwood with a little beer and pizza.  We saw Sherlock Holmes, which I liked a lot.  I forgot how awesome the cinematography was from the first film.  Can you really go wrong with Robert Downey Jr., anyway?!

I mentioned the chicken coop may be an option for Saturday.  Even if our friend had been available, all day looked like this.

 [It started like this...]

[...then went to this]

Instead of coop building, we spent a good 3+ hours cleaning the house and packing.  Don't worry though, I self-medicated to get through my hatred of cleaning.

[Um, yeah...those clothes solidify my hatred of cleaning.  Beer makes everything better though]

I am SUPER thrilled because I was able to get my bike!  I just need a helmet and a little practice, then I'll be ready to hit the road!

Of course we rounded out the weekend by seeing the Hunger Games.  I pretty much loved it.  I thought the small changes were legit in conversion from book to movie.  I loved most of the casting (except Gale!) and thought Jennifer Lawrence was amazing.  I won't overload you on Hunger Games commentary though.  We headed straight to DC right after the movie which was a wonderful time!  

I'm still trying to savor every moment of spring break before it slips away too quickly. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend agenda.

Since I'm officially on spring break, I've got some exciting plans lined up for my weekend!  I'm going to try and photo document, so I have plenty to update you on next week.  Now on to the important weekend plans...

Raleighwood is a bomb movie theater/restaurant in Raleigh that D and I frequent a ton.  It's basically a restaurant in a movie theater.  The food isn't amazing by any means; we're usually content with a pizza and a pitcher of beer.  They have an ok selection of beer, including a local craft beer.  They play older movies there that have moved on the the dollar cinemas.  D has been dying to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie, so we'll be hitting that up tonight.

Saturday plans are a bit up in the air.  I wanted to work on building our chicken coop, but D isn't sure that we can get help we need on such short notice nor is he sure he wants to spend all Saturday doing that.  Legit.  I just want to make sure we get it done sooner than later so we can get some baby chicks.  Not to mention (and this little fact totally slipped my mind), we need a truck to transport the supplies.  Grr.  I'd really like to get the ball rolling on this though.

I don't want to jinx it, but I think I'm getting a bike on Saturday too.  It's via Craiglist so you never know how/if things might fall through.  While I know I'm still going to be a bit nervous on a bike, I am so thrilled to have a (hopefully) decent bike for riding around.  I'm hoping we spend the rest of Saturday enjoying the spring and outside while it's still here. 


Sunday brings even more excitement!  You know I'll be heading to see the Hunger Games in IMAX.  We pre-ordered tickets but waited for a Sunday show.  D and I are both regretting that decision, but it'll give me something to look forward to, right? Right?


Right after the Games, we're headed out to DC for a long weekend trip.  D and I ended up double/over booking trips for ourselves during my spring break.  We're going to be apart and in different places, so we wanted to find some sort of quickie, close trip.  DC it is!  I'm really excited to be able to see the city for the first time!  I won't be back until Wednesday or Thursday next week, but best believe I'll be instagraming(@itskristin16) and tweeting!

Happy Friday!

Cooped up.

Last year I tried my hand at gardening.  I was pretty lazy, and it was a hot summer.  I didn't water it like I should have.  I let myself get overwhelmed when the cantaloupe and cucumbers started taking over everything.  It was a definite domestic fail for me.  I kept telling D (and plenty of others) that I dropped the ball with the garden and I'd understand if he didn't want to give the next "thing" a try.  What's the next thing you ask?


CHICKENS!  That's right.  I've been wanting chickens ever since we moved into our house.  We eat plenty of eggs and would love to have homegrown eggs.  D is on board with the plan.  We have friends that have chickens and experience building coops.  

There's a nearby farm having a sale on chicks in April.  This means the race is on to build a coop.  I'm not sure if we can make it happen in time since D is traveling a bit this month and next.  I've already started searching for inspiration for kick ass coops though!

[There's a tractor coop that is moveable depending on the weather, sun, etc.]

I like this a lot.  It seems pretty in depth for us though.  I doubt we will make ours as "pretty."  It even has a tin roof!  We have a privacy fence as well, so the roof couldn't face in that direction.

 [via stephmodo]

I think this one is perfect.  You don't have to get complicated by building a roof.  There's a large shaded/covered cooped area as well as the elevated coop for eggs.  I don't know that I necessarily need the window, but the hinged door would be a necessity for egg collecting.  

I'm really excited about embarking on our chicken adventure!  It should be easier to raise chickens than a garden, right?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's time.

I have been a bit sporadic with my working out and running.  I made a training plan and had a lofty goal of running 8 races this year.  Um, yeah.  I ran none of those races so far.  Stress has caught up with me, and dishing out the race fee of $30+ has been used in better other ways.

Almost exactly a year ago, I made a commitment to run a half marathon.  Five months later, I did it.  It's time to make a new commitment.  I don't want to jump ahead to marathon status.  I want a bit of a change, a challenge.


TRIATHLON!  This will be a major challenge for me.  Why?  Well I'm not a good swimmer or cyclist.  I don't even own a good bike.  I've been scouring Craigslist for a decent beginner road bike.  I purchased my first modest one-piece swim suit for swimming at the Y.  I'm working on building a training plan.

I am officially beginning the training as of April.  The tri's I'm looking at are in August.  I figure five months is plenty of time to train.  I still have to purchase more gear (because tri's take so much more "equipment" than running).  

Tell me, have you ever done a triathlon?  Any advice?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekend getaway :: Relaxation.

We spent our last full day of the getaway by not doing too much.  We started our day by heading up to Max Patch.  It's a super easy one and a half mile hike which allows for stunning views!

 [Part of the Appalachian Trail]

Of course we brought the pups along for the walk.  It was gorgeous up there.  The hike was a nice way to start our day of relaxation.

D and I pretty much spent the entire day eating, reading, and drinking.

 [Gorgeous views to grill to]

 [Finally made a dent in this one...probably the only way I finished in a legit amount of time]

[Kick ass homemade dinner + Argentinean wine]

It was such a perfect weekend.  I could not have asked for anything more.  It was my first time visiting Asheville as well as trying a vegan restaurant.  We did lots of drinking and hot tubbing.  Now, if I could just get away from the scary mountain roads, I'd be down for this monthly!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weekend getaway :: Eating vegan.

After hitting up some super cool Asheville breweries on our weekend getaway, we had an early reservation at Plant.  It's a really cool, chic vegan restaurant in downtown Asheville.  Asheville is very "Portlandia"in that there is a lot of focus on sustainability and the environment.  You can check out Plant's full philosophy, but basically they are offering "offer flavor-sophisticated scratch-made food using only carefully chosen ingredients that come from the earth.  Each dish will reflect a multicultural influence of the best vegetables, spices, and techniques that inspire us to eat."  I've never eaten at a fully vegan restaurant, so I was pretty thrilled to try it.

[I love the open kitchen]

D and I were pleasantly surprised to see that our fav beer was on tap at Plant, so we promptly ordered a round.  Then we moved on to the important

Starting at the top left and going clockwise: 
  • Our app, tofu "cheese" with bread and olives.  This was D's least favorite.  It was actually one of my favorites.  It totally tasted like cheese to me as well.
  • D's main, peppercorn crusted seitan, truffled cauliflower, grilled broccolini, tomato & wine sauce, and shitake bacon.  We both loved this dish.  Neither of us had ever tried seitan (google it if you've never heard of it), but it was amazing.  Every component of that dish was perfect. 
  • For dessert, we got the "black out pie" which is a chocolate peanut butter mousse with ice cream and a berry agave.  D felt it was super rich (probably because it was made vegan).  It was still a major hit.
  • My main, smoked portabello steak, spinach and garlic, crisp loaded polenta, cherry tomato salad, and a v1 sauce (their housemade version of A1).  Overall, I was happy with my dish but didn't love it.  The waitress recommended it, and we heard it's their top seller.  The polenta was the best I've ever had, but I still would have gone with D's over mine.
I would definitely recommend checking out Plant if you're ever in Asheville.  They have a few other vegan/vegetarian spots (and most are vege-friendly nonetheless).  We headed back out on to the windy mountain road and ended our night in the perfect spot.

[Hot tub under the stars]

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend getaway :: Asheville style.

I told you we were headed on a weekend getaway for our second anniversary.  I know it's been a week since we've been back, but it was a perfect, relaxing weekend.

[Our cabin in Hot Springs, NC]

We spent the night getting settled in.  Of course we brought the dogs.  The rain foiled out hot tub plans, so we ate, drank and played a little Scrabble by the fire.

[Greeted with homemade blueberry bread and a personalized card!]

 [Upstairs loft in the cabin.  Yeah, imagine if you have to pee in the middle of the night]

 [Our little kitchen/Scrabble playing grounds]

[Hard decisions to be made.]

[Pups by the fire.]

Of course we started the day with a little coffee.  Then we made our way down the mountain to wonderful Asheville.  The mountain road was winding and stressful, but the trip was more than worth it.

 [Layered up - hipster style

[Definitely check out Sunny Point Cafe in Asheville! Amazing food!  I got the Huevos Fucheros.  Just be sure they actually give you the vegetarian option you order...]

After chowing down at Asheville, and a disturbing lesson learned in asking about food that doesn't necessarily taste veggie style, even though you ordered it that way, we headed out to visit a couple local breweries in Asheville.

 [Pisgah! We heart local breweries]

 [Pisgah tastings!]

[And organic?!  What!]

[More delicious flights to be tasted]

Wedge was probably the coolest place we visited in Asheville.  It was artsy and hipster.  They have a kick-ass outdoor area with corn hole and a train that rustles by in the background.  There's peanuts to nosh on and some of the best locally brewed beers I tried.  

We didn't stop with the beer tastings.  I'll update on our first vegan restaurant outing soon!


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