For a long time, I wondered if I was a mountains girl or an oceans girl.
Now that I live 20 minutes from literally some of the best beaches in the county (I’m talking white sand, emerald green water) I think I can safely say I am a mountains girl.
There’s this feeling you get when you are at the top of a mountain, and you look down and everything is small. You feel wild, untouchable and free with a heavy dose of accomplishment. It’s this untamed beauty that leaves you with the most wonderful sense of perspective.
Sometimes they make you feel big. Sometimes they make you feel small (in the good way). But either way, they leave you with a certain feeling of rightness.
Every summer, I end up missing the mountain in New Mexico and listening to campfire music while looking out over the plains. While Philmont overall wasn’t always sunshine, those are some of my fondest memories. I still listen to an audio recording I made sometimes.
I’m hoping to be able to get back up to New England this fall and do at least a little bit of hiking. I’m sure I will complain nearly my entire way up the mountain, but the view at the top will be worth it.
While I was on the road trip last fall, one of the places we stopped was a thrift store in Nashville called Old Made Good. It’s a super cool store, where the people are giving their old things, new life my giving them a little tweak. Check out their store here.
One of the things I loved the most was the art. They were taking old school painting and collaging over them to give them a modern edge. I bought one, but I also left thinking “hey, I could totally do that.”
Which brings me to today. I was at this big estate sale with Eryn (the house hadn’t been opened since the 1980s) and she spotted this painting.
Being a fall baby, she fell head over heels for it, but was wondering if I could update it. So I instantly flashed back to the Old Made Good painting and said I could make it cool.
Because I wanted to make sure it actually looked nice, I opted to print out a template “wander” and then very carefully cut it out. I then traced it right onto the canvas, and filled it in with black craft paint.
My main gripe with hiking in the Florida panhandle is that the landscape doesn’t seem to change much. It’s very flat, often wet and devoid of the views you get hiking in New England mountains.
However, the Garden of Eden trail in Bristol is everything a hike is suppose to be. There are steep uphills and downhills, plenty of flat stretches to catch your breath on, varying landscape a great view of the Apalachicola River at the end. Eryn and I loved it.
The trail is a little over three miles long, and whoever was given the task of blazing the trail took the job seriously. You can usually see three orange blazes at a time, and even if the blazes weren’t there the trail is so well beaten it would be hard to get lost except for at a couple of intersections.
For the first part of the trail, you hike on a sand path through a meadow with a lot of lizards and some wild flowers. This part is quick, and there is a working water fountain if you want to fill up. Then you head into the woods (bring bug spray) where there is a quick descent, a quick climb and then you walk on a little ridge line for awhile. This is all shaded by trees.
Then there is another down, and another up in the woods. Not long after that, you come out into a meadow where there have clearly been some controlled burns and more lizards. After a short stretch there, you get to the loop part of the trail, which is where the views of the river are. There are also a bunch of trees with name plated to look out for. The wild olive tree was my favorite.
I did the hike in Toms, because I forgot to change my shoes before I left the house. It was mostly okay, but a bit slippery on the downhills so I would recommend up wearing sneakers. The hike takes about two hours. Have fun!
Okay, how do you make non-work friends as an adult?
Since graduating college, I have made all of my friends through work, which is good but I’m jealous of people who have non-work friends. How did they meet people? Did they talk to strangers? Meet them online first? Get a little too drunk (or maybe just drunk enough) at a bar?
I’ve decided to try the website meetup.com as well as a handful of other more old fashioned ways. I’m thinking about trying the free ukulele classes at the library, maybe trying a book club and trying to convince work friends to introduce me to their other friends.
So far, I’ve signed up for “The Coastal Crew” which describes itself as adventures, a yoga group and a mediation group. My goal is to go to one event from each thing this month and see how it goes.
P.S. I already went to one of the ukulele lessons but had to leave early. I’m now thinking about buying a concert ukulele.
I’m so very excited about this. Literally dancing around my front yard excited.
For the first time every, I did May Day, and it was every bit as great as it seems.
I am a spring kid. Back when I lived up North, I waited all winter for the moment when the first flower bloomed and we could all go outside again. Now, that I am in Florida, I can go outside all year, but I still love Spring.
May Day was sort of a bucket list activity, and then my mom sent me a care package that includes streamers and a note being like “Why don’t you have a May Day Party?”
One week later, I am at Home Depot buying a 10-foot pole so I can be all like…
Totally worth it.
The pole was actually pretty easy to set up. A created a wire ring at the top that I attached all the ribbons to the night before. Then, I happened to have a piece hollow bamboo on had that I stuck in the ground. I inserted the pole into that, added some dirt in the bamboo to make it a little more stable and then I was good to go.
I’m pretty in love with how it turned out.
And of course, because it is a brunch there was plenty of food. We had a quiche, potatoes, coconut creme pie, fruit waffles, sweet potato waffles, five cup fruit salad and a blueberry crumble. Plus champagne (side note: I really think day drinking is more fun than night drinking).
Eryn slaving over the berries for the waffles.
The whole thing was super fun. We each walked (danced) .3 miles around the pole before we got the streamers all wrapped up. We weaved in and out, and twirled. I’m sure the neighbors thought we were a little crazy and maybe pagans, but I think it is good to keep people guessing. I would rather be a little wild than small.
Plus, life is prettier with flower crowns and streamers.
So, this one is an oldie, from my first apartment.
DIY hanging ladder shelf. Takes less than two hours to make.
I needed a shelving unit for my porch, so I can up with this easy ladder shelf.
To make it, you need need 1 by 4 boards cut to the width you want (have the people at the store cut it to size for you if you don’t have a saw), clothes line, an o shaped ring that is fit to hold weight, a hook for the ceiling that can hold weight and a drill.
First, paint or stain the wood the color you want. If you are going to keep it outside, I recommend treating the wood in some ways.
Then, at the corners — one inch from each edge — drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the clothes line you are using. You want to be able to still get the line through, but you want it to be tight so there is friction to help keep everything in place later.
Next, cut the clothes line into two lengths that are double the height you want the shelf to be plus two feet. Use a larks head knot to tie center of the string to the o-ring. You should have four strings hanging down from it. From there, thread them through the four holes on what will become your highest shelf. When the shelf is at the height you want, tie and overhand knot under it to keep the shelf in place. Repeat until all the shelves are in place. Then cut away the excess string or leave it. Your choice.
A few weeks ago, I was out on assignment at a road striping business (you never know where aa day in job will take you) when I spied this giant pile of pallets out back.
Now, Eryn and I had been scheming the about the past way to get out hands on pallets for about a week. We tried Home Depot, that didn’t work out. We had scoped out the parking lot at the newspaper, they were all plastic or broken. So, when I saw them sitting by a dumpster I got excited.
At the end of the interview, I casually asked the owner if I could have some pallets. Well, he, the News Herald photographer and a crew member ended up going through the whole pile of pallets to pick out the best ones for me, and then loaded them into my car for me.
Now, that’s Southern hospitality.
At the end of the table project, which I will should you later, Eryn and I had a lot of extra boards from the pallet, and we worked hard to pry every board off the pallet. Pro tip: buy a crow bar. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you can do it with a hammer. There’s no efficient way to do it with a hammer. There just isn’t. Invest.
Once we got the boards off, we quickly stained them a deep brown to match Eryn’s table.
Then, we measured out enough room for nine hooks on the two pieces of wood we took, and drilled pilots holes … in my dining room. No workshop for us.
After that we screwed in some hooks I had picked up at Walmart.
Then a quick test to make sure everything was fitting okay at my place. It’s not actually on the wall hence the crookedness of it.
Then at Eryn’s we attached it to the wall with just two screws. I think the dark wood looks really nice against the light blue wall. She had wanted to paint her kitchen almost a navy blue, but I talked her into a lighter (and I think more liveable) color.
I think it helps to elevate what is otherwise a pretty ordinary kitchen.
For the second installment of our fancy Tupelo honey series, I bring you honey, strawberries and cream crepes. They are so good. The tupelo honey has this very light flavor that really compliments the strawberries. It’s way better than you standard bottle of honey.
So it was Eryn who made the crepes, so I am going to pass this over to her to tell you how it is done.
First off, these aren’t like, real crepes. At least I don’t think. I’ve only had ~real crepes once in my life. They’re a little thicker than the real ones all fancy and cooked on a stone. We didn’t have crepe stones growing up because we are not fancy, and I’m still not fancy now so you can do this fine in your standard, large size skillet or frying pan.
Growing up we always had these (we called them big pancakes because again, not fancy) with butter and brown sugar slathered on the inside. Then we rolled them up and poured maple syrup on them because my family wanted to set us up for a lifetime of diabetes. We then cut them into slices and you could see the little rings of sugar and butter.
The crepe recipe is super simple. Don’t be fooled by anything that says you have to whip out a beater or put the batter in the fridge. Sure you could do that but you’re just delaying your meal of sweet sweet crepes.
Start with two eggs and a cup of flour in a bowl. Whisk them together until they’re all mixed. Then extract all the batter that inevitably gets stuck inside the whisk (it should be just about all of it). I hate whisks for this exact reason but I haven’t found a better way to do it so I’m dragging you all down with me.
Then add in a half cup of milk and a half cup of water. The recipes online say whisk them in gradually but I only have two hands so it just gets dumped in. Whisk whisk whisk until it’s all mixed, then pour in two tablespoons of melted butter and a quarter teaspoon of salt. You can add up to another half teaspoon of butter if you want like, really smooth buttery crepes or hate your arteries (I am both) but any more will change the consistency and consistency is important with these guys.
From here you can get a little creative. I usually add a splash of vanilla, some cinnamon because Katie is a cinnamon freak (don’t tell her I said that) but DON’T add honey because, as I learned today, it will make the consistency a little weird.
So at this point your batter should be kind of watery. The online recipes say this is good but it looks a little shifty to me. I don’t trust it. So I add a little more flour, very gradually, to thicken it up just a little bit. Enough that it’s not just straight water, but not like pancake batter. Thin enough that it will spread easily in the pan. I think tonight I added maybe a little less than a quarter of a cup of flour. So like, small amounts, very gradually because you can always add more but you can’t take it back (a great life lesson found in cooking. someone should write those down)
Lightly grease your frying pan with vegetable oil and set it on a medium high heat. I tried greasing with butter for tonight’s dinner and it just wasn’t the same and they stuck a little more than normal. This is also one of those times I would say let the pan warm up a little before you put the batter in. Once it has a little heat, you’re ready to get your crepe on.
The batter should make three or four crepes, depending on how much batter you use per crepe (obviously). I use between two thirds of a cup to a cup of batter for each one, using a half cup measuring cup to pour. So dip your cup in and pour it into the center of the pan. Then, pour another scoop right after it, before it has time to heat up. Now comes the part that always reminds me of that game Cooking Mama for the Wii Pick the pan up off the burner and tilt it around to spread the batter out to the edges of the pan. It looks thin, especially around the edge, but trust me. Trust me. Then just sit back and watch things heat up. Unlike a pancake, you’ll be able to watch the whole thing solidify and once it cooks enough, you should be able to slide the whole thing around the pan pretty easily. It should flip easily too, once its done. I usually wait until the bottom gets just a little bit brown before flipping them. Literally just a little bit. Like spot of browning here or there, don’t burn them. So once you get that, just flip them, let them cool a little longer, then slide them off the pan into the plate like a pro because you are now officially ~fancy my friend.
You can put literally whatever you want into them. Go the brown sugar route. Throw some strawberries in there. Try nutella and whipped cream. Go crazy. Just enjoy.
This was a long week. I swear Tuesday felt like Thursday and the week just sort of dragged on from there. It wasn’t that any part of it was bad, just tedious. But, that’s okay. Not every week had to be super exciting.
Anyways, I wanted to try a new thing called “this week I’m” to recap my week. So here’s the rundown.
These week I’m…
Eryn and I ran 20 minutes without stopping!!!! We’ve been doing the “Get Running” app on my phone, and this week we reached out first nonstop run. It was hard, but worth it. I did a 5K once, but I didn’t do it without stopping. This, I did without stopping. It’s a big deal to me.
I got a new set of gouache paints, which are an opaque watercolors and completely new to me. I don’t quite get how they work yet, but I did do this painting to remember New Orleans.
Pinterest meals. Eryn and I started a thing where we cook one meal off a Pinterest meal every week. This week we did a potato dish and we made a turkey burgers with a tzaztiki sauce, It’s been a lot of fun and it forces us to try new recipes. I don’t know what we are going to do this week yet.
The Chef’s Table. It’s a series of Netflix documentaries about some of the top chefs in the world. One of the chefs operates out of Hudson, New York, which is the region of New York my family is from so that was really cool. The particular chef also has really interesting ideas about food and farming.
The St. Andrews Mardi Gras parade. It’s a big event they do in Panama City every year with so many beads. I’m not normally a parade person, but catching beads made it so much fun. We brought Addie to the parade, and she was so well behaved. I only had to pick her up when the cannons went of. Treats are her biggest motivator.
St. Andrews State Park! Mom got Eryn and I passes to the Florida state parks, so we headed out to the beaches today. It was in the 60s, which was a little chilly, but it was worth it to wade out in the water and look for shells. We were the only people out in the water, everyone else on the beach was in winter coats.
So awhile ago I showed up my rental cottage in its early days, which it what beautiful then but it is even more beautiful now. I would say just about every space is 90 percent done, but the kitchen is the closest to 100 percent. Therefore, I figured it was time to share some pictures of it.
When I first moved in, the kitchen was painted a deep red and there was a big rust stain in the sink. However, I loved the sink, the window over the sink and the black and white checkered floor. The floor was a bit of a #lifegoal as I told the landlord when I pleaded for the cottage.
I set up a little garden over the sink. The ledge was too small for some of the pots, so I used a piece of pink twine looped through some hooks in the window frames to hold them in place. It’s worked really well.
I picked up the apron when I was in Savannah, because I liked the idea of a Southern apron.
I use a peg board to keep a lot of the kitchen supplies organized. All the utensils with the pink handles are wooden utensils from my grandparents house that I just painted the handles pink on. The wood wasn’t in great shape, so I think the pink was an improvement.
The built in next to the stove has been a lot of fun to style. I change it around all the time. The trick was adding some tall vertical items to balance out all the short stuff.
Then we have the main workspace. It’s usually pretty messy over here.
I spray painted the toaster oven pink. I just like it better this way The hardest part was taping everything off.
Then there is the fridge. I “made” all of the magnets, meaning I glued the stones to magnets. They look pretty cool though, in my opinion.