Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hub City: Table Rock State Park

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."

Next up... Table Rock State Park. One of the best things about our move so far has been reconnecting with our college friend Thomas. The boys have their weekly boys' night, and I'm "allowed" to join them every so often. Thomas couldn't wait to have local friends to be adventurous with and had been raving about this hike since we moved in.

On Sunday morning we headed up to Table Rock State Park for a hike. Most of our hiking gear is still in Georgia, so we made do with what we had. Luckily, although strenuous, it wasn't anything we couldn't handle.

It was so relaxing to trail along behind the boys, listening to their random discussions... everything from their "Top Five" lists to their plans to make hiking part of their training regimen. Made the 7.2 miles go so much faster. Five hours later we were back down at the cars, relaxed and content after soaking in the outdoors all day, yet ready to take off our shoes and get some real food.

Hub City: The Beacon...

"French fries. I love them. Some people are chocolate and sweets people. I love French fries."
-Cameron Diaz 

Introducing a new feature, "Hub City Highlights," to share our adventures in and around Spartanburg SC. A little bit of trivia for you... the city got its nickname because of its location at the intersection of quite a few train tracks. A map of the tracks looks like the hub of a wheel. It doesn't hurt that it has also been designated as a "Bicycle Friendly Community."

First up... the Beacon Drive-in Restaurant. It's a bit of a local legend and Southern tradition. It's been featured on the Food Network's show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and been advertised on billboards as far away as California. And, on Saturday Rob and I got our own taste of Spartanburg.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday night delight...

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau

We were looking forward to spending our first weekend in this new city of ours. To wander. To explore. To dream. Unfortunately though, Rob ended up having to work all day today, which is a real bummer. And, last night he was just plain tired, so we had to downgrade our plans of wandering and exploring.

Instead, we wandered over to the pizza place next door and explored the menu. Turns out it's a pretty popular place, and we grabbed the last table in the dining room. We filled our bellies with pizza (me!) and chicken bacon ranch pasta (Rob!).

Then, we wandered over to the grocery store and explored the frozen food aisles. We each treated ourselves to a Butterfinger ice cream bar.

Finally, we wandered home and explored our dvd collection to find just the perfect James Bond movie to wrap up the night.

There will be other days to wander and explore the city.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Type + Photos = LOVE!

"Typog­ra­phy at its best is a visual form of lan­guage link­ing time­less­ness and time."
-Robert Bringhurst

Last week I fell head over heels in love with the work of Julian Bialowas, especially the 365 Quotes project. I'm still trying to decide which one to buy for my walls. This one, or maybe this one... oh wait, maybe this one, or this one... Maybe all of them.

In a moment of sheer inspiration and shameless imitation, I adopted his style for some of my Washington photos from our trip last summer. I had been struggling with finding enthusiasm and creative mojo for a photo book project to chronicle the journey... everything I put together just didn't feel right. That is... until last weekend, when I threw some big, bold quotes on top.

Here are some favorites. They might even be wall-worthy themselves.

Can't wait to tackle our Yosemite photos now!

Makes me smile...

"You're never fully dressed without a smile."
-Martin Charnin

Inspired by Brains On Fire's list which was inspired by Kat White's list, here is my list of twenty things that make me smile :)
  1. Solving puzzles
  2. Looking through old photos
  3. Curling up with my husband at the end of the day
  4. Cute kids doing cute things
  5. Finding a good deal
  6. Getting compliments on a home-cooked meal
  7. Cake with icing
  8. Singing to the songs on the radio
  9. Completing a strenuous hike, bike ride, or other exercise
  10. Catching the punchline of intelligent humor
  11. Going home
  12. Being able to chat online with people through the day
  13. Planning vacations
  14. Dreams of our future family
  15. M&M blizzards
  16. When Georgia Tech wins
  17. Connecting with a child/teenager
  18. A sharpened pencil with a full eraser--it's got to be really sharp!
  19. Coming home to a clean house
  20. My husband's song parodies

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School projects...

"It’s art if can’t be explained. It’s fashion if no one asks for an explanation. It’s design if it doesn’t need explanation." -Wouter Stokke

Wanted to share another design project that I've been working on. Callie was in the market for some notecards that she could send to her youth group students/volunteers throughout the year. She needed a 1) birthday card, 2) a thank you card, 3) a card to welcome guests, 4) a thinking of you card, and I threw in an 5) anytime notecard in for free.

Each can be printed on her own printer, stuffed into an envelope, and then sent along its merry way to brighten the spirits and faces of each recipient. 

We've decided that we should make a new set for each school year! Which is totally awesome!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This gets a little deep...

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone, I never found the companionable as solitude.
-Henry David Thoreau
This past weekend we had the privilege to socialize with two different friends, in two different social settings, and in fact, in two different states. It was odd to have such vastly different experiences so close together.

Saturday night we went out with one of our college friends and her new-to-us boyfriend down in Atlanta. We hit up of the best Mexican joints in town, but of course being the best means having an hour wait. We grabbed margaritas and staked out a spot for ourselves on the porch. When we were finally seated, we had to yell across the table at one another to hear, and with my bad ears and all of the noise, I just couldn't stay up with the conversation. Rob keeps in touch with Ashley more often than I do, so I just kind of felt lost. Enjoyed the company and the conversations, but felt bad that I couldn't add more. The food was delish though.

Sunday night Rob and his friend Thomas (another college friend who happened to be a groomsman) went bike riding, and then came back to the apartment to chill out a bit. At the last minute I offered to cook dinner just to prolong the evening. I threw some tortillas on the grill pan and make grilled pizzas for all of us. It was casual, it was somewhat spontaneous, and it was wonderful. The conversation wandered from here to there and back again, but always interesting, even if it was occasionally cringe-worthy guy talk. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the differences between extroverts and introverts. I've always known I was an introvert, but wasn't exactly sure what that meant until I recently read several articles by Marti Olsen Laney. This weekend just further illustrated the concept for me: even though I had fun in the crowded restaurant with acquaintances, I just felt overwhelmed; on the other hand, at the small gathering in a space that felt comfortable, I wanted the night to go on forever.

By the way... if you're interested to see where you fall along the continuum, check out this quiz (Scroll down to the "Being an Introvert" section). I scored a 26 out of 30!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Party hardy...

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The wedding from this past weekend was super fun. Pretty fancy, but lots of unique, personalized touches that kept it down to earth. (Plus, I happen to know that the bride and her family did a lot of it themselves!)

One of the highlights however was a photobooth. You've got to click on that one to see us up close!

And, my other favorite touch was a cupcake favor decoration station. I think you were supposed to take them home with you because they were in these cute little plastic containers. But, sssshhhh... I ate two instead of wedding cake.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Freshman friends...

"You can always tell a real friend:  when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."
-Laurence J. Peter
As you may or may not know, Rob was a RA in the freshman dorms all the way through college. On one hand it gave him a chance to delay maturity... on the other, he made some wonderful friends and built an extraordinary community. No place is more social than a freshman dorm. Believe me, I know... I basically served as the "freshman mom."

Over the last couple of weekends, we had the privilege to attend some weddings of Rob's old residents. Our little babies are growing up. Tear. But what's so neat is that in both cases, the group of guys that they were randomly selected to live with for a year became friends for life. What a special bond--and one that I'm proud to be a part of.

Over drinks, dancing, and wedding cake we reminisced about the days in the dorm (including some that we didn't know about at the time) and caught up on the many adventures since then (it's amazing how well each of them is doing).

Rob's first group of residents from Spring 2004:

Rob's last group of residents from the 2006-07 school year:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Calling all crafty people...

"Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does."
-William James

Just finished designing an adorable postcard to advertise the Epworth Arts and Crafts Fair in December!!

They are still accepting seller registrations--you don't have to actually be there, as long as you provide (can be shipped!) at least 10 items to sell. If you're interested, let me know and I can forward the application on to you.

I'm still deciding exactly what I'm going to make and sell.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spartan living...

"He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Almost exactly a month ago we signed a six-month lease on an apartment in Spartanburg. A week later I joined Rob here full-time. Although we don't plan to stay here long, I thought you might want to see our humble abode. 

Humble it is... While most of our furniture is staged in our house in Georgia, we've brought only the bare necessities. We're trying to embrace this life with less stuff. I'm trying to push away the urge to decorate with curtains and artwork because we really don't want to put a lot of money into this place, especially right now! So welcome to spartan living in Spartanburg!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boys' night out means a girl's night in...

Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days.
-William Shakespeare

Rob went out for trivia and wings with his friend Thomas... they're apparently starting a Wednesday night tradition. On the other hand, I may be starting one of my own...

[clockwise from top left]
Skinny Girl Margaritas. Which I saw that Maegan had posted about on Facebook a month or so ago. And, because I had never seen them before, I went searching online to find the nearest retailer... which happens to be less than a mile from our apartment. And, of which, I filled my glass tonight. And, because I haven't imbibed in quite a long time, it's embarrassing to say how little it took to feel the buzz. (Let's say it was less than half a glass). And, now I'm feeling pretty good. And, it's a wonder how many times I'll have to press the "Delete" button in this post to make it somewhat readable. Gosh... I hope it's readable.

Math problems. Because who doesn't love doing math problems when they've been drinking.... No, really. My father-in-law calls once or twice a day with questions about algebra. Because he's taking online courses to finish up his college degree (he went into the Marines when he was just a couple of course shy of graduating). And, because no one else in his family is patient enough to help (including his wife, his stepson, or stepdaughter), he calls me. And, it doesn't hurt that I just spent two years teaching this stuff.

Chips and salsa. It's the dinner of champions. And, it tastes good. Enough said.

And, don't I look cute today. I'm really glad that I decided to buy a hip-fitting belt for that last job interview. I may not have gotten the job, but damn, I got a really cute belt.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Apparently I talk funny...

"To speak and to speak well are two things.  A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks."
-Ben Jonson

Click the PLAY button below to listen to this post!
It seems I talk funny to the people around here. Never mind that I moved from a town just two hours south. Everyone I've met here in Upstate South Carolina has commented on my "accent." In the used bookstore, at the sno cone shack, and even the kids and fellow teachers where I tutor. They ask, "Yur not from 'round here are ya?" or say, "y'know, I like listenin' to you talk." 

Huh? You're the ones with a crazy-ass backwards way of speaking. I mean, really... I can hardly understand you. Will you repeat yourself please?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Making it a habit...

"Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going."
-Jim Ryun

While trying to embrace this little "vacation" I have going right now, I have also decided to try to establish some good habits. They (the almighty "they") say that a routine takes about three to four weeks to establish. I'm halfway through week two on all three, so hopefully I'll make it through.

First off, I bought a new water bottle with the hopes of increasing my water consumption and decreasing my coke and food consumption. Of course, when Rob saw it... his reaction was, "we don't have enough water bottles already?!?!" But, this one is just for me and had to meet my specifications--clear sides, comfortable opening to drink from, and rather sturdy. So far, I've been filling it up throughout the day, taking it with me as I walk to Sylvan, and carrying it around the apartment with me. My daily intake so far has been about two bottle-fuls. I'm still having a caffeine-free coke around lunchtime, I have noticed that I've been snacking less--although that could be because we simply have very little food in the cabinets.

Drinking more water brings us to my second goal... exercise more. Although we brought my bike up to SC in one of our early moves, it's just too bleeping hot to ride. I envy those of you who enjoy a long run, but I've come to terms with the fact that I'm an aerobics kind of gal. So instead, I've been grooving every morning to a workout video. I've decided to use the same video for five days in a row, and then start over with a new one each week. That way, I can really improve throughout the week, but still get variety in my workout. This week's video is a killer with its wall-sits and planks. But, hopefully I'm getting stronger and might even lose my little pudge (hey, how'd that get there anyway?)

Lastly, after watching CJane's vlog explanation of her zone cleaning, I've been inspired to divide our new little apartment into six cleaning zones. On Monday I tackle the bathrooms, Tuesday the bedroom and closets. On Wednesday I clean the kitchen and the laundry room, while Thursday is for the dining room and the living room. Friday is all about the guest bedroom/office area, while I leave Saturday and Sunday for laundry. We're beginning to embrace our 2-bedroom apartment and its lack of furniture (as most of it is still sitting in our house, staged and waiting to be bought). But, I've made it my goal to keep it as tidy and as uncluttered as possible.

Now, the trick will be to see if I can keep up with these routines. Especially when (notice I said when, not if) I get a full-time gig!!

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