long-distance strategizing

yesterday, i got off a long distance phone call to germany. i hate hanging up with germany. hanging up with germany means hanging up with one of the souls dearest to my own. someone whose calming voice i don't hear nearly enough. when the call ended i decided (for the 100th time) that i am going to reestablish my game plan for maintaining a meaningful and fruitful relationship with my sweet friend living across the atlantic from me. and she isn't the only one. most of my very closest friends live far away from me. from seattle to california to virginia and places in between. i spent some time brainstorming and poking around to come up with some strategies. 

here are some ideas i gathered:

-what about a traveling journal?
-one of my favorite bloggers posted about 5-minute phone calls. loving this strategy.
-and then there is good old hand written letters. how pretty are these note cards? i could think of a friend, or sixteen, to send these to. 
-this blog had two great ideas: photo texting when shopping (or making new fun meals!) and sending mixes to each other of what you've been listening to/loving lately. 
-send small, unexpected gifts. even something silly.
-have some kind of schedule. for example, maybe commit to skyping once a month, and using a rule like the 5-minute rule to communicate more regularly throughout the month. this way, there is always something to look forward to.

-don't rely solely on social media/blogs. i mean, how many "friends" do you have in the social media world? do you really want to settle for what you have with them, with your bffs? my best friend confessed to me yesterday that sometimes when she reads my blog regularly she is less inclined to reach out to me in other ways, because she feels all caught up. and, she admitted that it makes her miss me more...

like the other day when i was looking at her facebook photos and i actually started tearing up. and i had to stop. i know, ridiculous. i miss that girl.

-then there is always this strategy. which i'm currently feeling a renewed energy toward.

how do you keep in touch with your dearest friends, whether they are close or far? what are some creative ways to keep it fun and meaningful and somewhat regular? besides, of course, buying a ticket to germany for a few weeks...which might also cure my current state of friend-missing.


the madness.

so, yeah, duke totally got hosed in the bracketing, but i am not going to spend a whole post commenting on that. or the number of other questionable decisions i felt were made about the 2013 men’s basketball tourney brackets. because what fun would a post like that be to read? not very fun. so I am just going to drop it right here.

ugh. but it was so lame.

ok, here.

anyway, regardless of how the brackets fall, march is such an exciting time. adam and i literally had this conversation yesterday:

adam: march is such a great month.
me: i guess it’s a really good thing that we are both obsessed with college basketball. i’m glad we’ve always had that in common.
adam: yeah, well if we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t be married, right?

little did i know that our marriage was based on our lifetime love/obsession with the month of march and college basketball madness. ok, it's probably not. but we have both always loved sharing the excitement of this time of year together.

is there anyone else as nutty about this tournament as we nelsons are? it helps if you have a team to really get behind. well, adam happens to be a huge indiana hoosier fan. he always has been. and i, ahem, was born and raised bleeding duke blue. this you probably know already. interesting that this year both of our teams could make a major run for the title. and the only place they could meet is the final game. hmm,

what was that about our marriage and college basketball? wonder what a duke v. indiana championship would do to us…

but in all seriousness, we are rooting hard for both and would be giddy at the prospect of them meeting in atlanta.

(but, just pray for us if they do.)

who is your team? are they in the tourney this year? are you entering your predictions into a pool? could you care less about march madness?


and we all played spades.

my parents are in town for a couple of weeks, living at their nc house. so, last night we got to host them for a little thursday night dinner. dinner with my parents almost always ends with a game of spades. for better, or for worse, we love that game. and nothing gets you in the mood for spades like a little homemade vodka sauce, an arugula pear salad, and a yummy bottle of wine. 

much food and laughter was shared. 

how do you like to spend your thursday evenings?

i hope you all have a beautiful (and restful) st. patricks day weekend. we are heading to northern virginia for my best friend's engagement party! d.c. traffic here we come...


how to meet your neighbors (with no dog or baby).

we moved into our new house on december 15th in a christmas flurry and left 5 days later for seattle. since we got back it feels like time has flown. and while we've loved the new place, we feel a little ashamed at how few of our neighbors we have met so far.

we are both dog-less and baby-less, which i think makes it harder right off the bat. but, seriously, we need to figure out how to get to know these people! how do you go about making friends with new neighbors? are you brave enough to go door to door knocking and introducing yourself (with a plate of warm cookies)? or do you just hang out outside on sunny days and hope that someone with a cute dog or baby walks by, so that you can comment on the cuteness and then awkwardly introduce yourself?

(i feel like this last one is the closest thing we have to strategy so far...)

there is a dog park in our neighborhood. and apparently that's where people go to meet one another. again, no dog. maybe we should make some homemade doggy treats and take them to the dog park? and hang out, dog-less. i'm still brainstorming...

but in all seriousness, what has worked for you? what hasn't worked? or do you prefer to mind your own business and leave your neighbors to theirs?

help me out here!

grazie mille.


chard for dinner!

like i mentioned here, i am trying to make a new recipe every week this year. just to expand my list of "go-to" meals. am i the only one that feels like learning how to plan and make interesting meals every night isn't always easy? this week i wanted to make a new recipe with all that beautiful rainbow chard we picked up at the market saturday morning. so i literally started a recipe search with "chard" and "quinoa." wow, you'd be surprised how many things came up. 

but this recipe for quinoa and chard cakes stood out immediately. it had cake in the name. aaaaand i already had the ingredients. so, yes. that's obviously what i chose.

it was a little bit of work, but it was worth every minute. this was one of the tastiest things our table has seen in awhile. there were no left overs. zero leftovers!

i haven't been sharing many of our new weekly recipes here. but this one was too good. i would have felt guilty for holding out on you guys if i kept it to myself.

please, try it. 
love it. 
tell me how pretty and pink your water turned. 

and by golly, make a double recipe so you can at least have leftovers after all that work! i know i will next time. :) enjoy and happy tuesday!


rodeo, and the blues.

one of my favorite things about durham is the food truck culture. this sunday was the spring food truck rodeo right downtown. and, it was the second of two beautiful spring days we have had. we were soaking it up! about sixty different food trucks parked at the central market. and (it seemed like) every single durham resident was there.

we headed over after church with my parents, determined to show them a real good durham time. and my sweet friend mary met us there too!  i did some major eating from the triangle raw foods truck. my mom and mary couldn’t resist boxcarr farm’s sweet potato ravioli with mascarpone and arugula. adam and dad got some sandwiches which i am pretty sure involved a lot of pimento cheese and grease. and naturally, much fullsteam beer was consumed. as pictured. #myfamdoublefists.

the line for parlour was about a mile long so we settled for the next best thing, at locopops.

the best part of all was watching dad camp out in front of this guy playing the blues. my dad is a sucker for the blues. he stood there tapping his foot and clapping the entire time we were getting food. and then he invited him to church on easter. and gave him a pint of fullsteam. in one fail swoop. i love my dad.

what did you do this weekend? is spring arriving where you live? what fun springtime events are you looking forward to?


re-discovering saturday mornings.

adam's job switch this year means that he no longer works on saturdays! so we have been taking full advantage of this new found freedom/time together. and since the spring is finally arriving here, saturdays are becoming that much more glorious. this morning we woke up and had a sleepy cinnamon roll making and coffee session. awhile back i discovered just how good this gluten/corn free pizza dough mix is. but, there is also a cinnamon roll recipe on the package. i've been dying to try them and since my latest box from vine arrived yesterday, i was re-stocked. 

can i just say i love the smell of water, sugar, and yeast dissolving? maybe just because i know something delicious is coming... 

while the cinnamon rolls rose we headed downtown for a quick round at the farmer's market. there is hardly a place i would rather play on a saturday morning. i always get this fuzzy little feeling of love for this place when we go downtown on a sunny saturday morning and every cute family / dog is out and about. and the food trucks are selling pizza, barbecue, doughnuts, and ice cream at 10 am. durham is a special place people. i know most of you probably don't believe me. and that's ok.

when we got back we threw those sweet rolls in the oven. there was no recipe for icing on the package, but we weren't about to eat icing-less cinnamon rolls. so i whipped up something power-sugary and sweet, and it was embarrassing how fast we cleaned our plates. as shown above. then we napped.

saturday mornings are quickly becoming my favorite time of the week. 

what do your favorite saturday mornings consist of?


young friends. old(er) friends.

one thing that everyone needs is a good friend, or ten. and it is interesting the way that making friends changes as you get older, out of school, married, kids…but we all find a way to make them. because we need them. and one thing that i’ve realized over the years, is the importance (at least to me) of having friends of all ages. i think there are a few girls in my life (ages 7-12) who i would legitimately consider friends. but i also have women in my life who are in their 50s-60s who are my friends. and probably every decade in between.

it’s easy for me to get caught up in the stage of life i am in, and having friends who are in a different stage from mine helps to pull my head out of the bucket and see the bigger picture. 

the beauty of youth and the beauty of aging. 
the mystery of being a child and of bringing one into the world, and raising it.

i learn so much from both. anyone else get this? 

do you agree? do you have friends of all ages, or are most of your friends your age? do you enjoy spending time with people who are older and/or older than you? or do you feel most comfortable kicking it with your peer-like people?

just curious. :)

ps, tomorrow night we are heading to our favorite restaurant in durham with two of our very favorite friends! what are your friday plans? it's almost the weekend!

1. lauren (6) and me.
2. kathy, a dear friend to me. also happens to be one of my best friends' mom. :)
3. three of my small group friends from nc. peer-like folk, but all three are mammas too!
4. um, you've seen these girls a lot. my best friends. :)
5. laura and me. my pretty best friend who is about to get married!
6. my mom's best friend (gail) and her daughter (kendyl). also two of my favorite friends.
7. my grand little in KD, jaclyn. she is just beautiful so i couldn't not post this pic. senior at uva!
8. um, how could these two not be two of my favorite friends? i've known them most of the their lives. ella (9) and ava (7).


notice anything?

so, for about a solid year now i have been desperately wanting to shake things up here (visually, that is). i have not changed the look of my blog basically, since the day it was born.

funny how this blog really became more important to me than i ever thought it would. and i've come to love blogging so much more than i anticipated. and as i've become more committed to this little space of mine in the blogosphere, i've been wanting to show it (and all of you) some love, by making it a more attractive place.

and basically i have one of the most awesome new friends in the world. 

and she was like, "oh, i'll play around with something for you" and i was like "no way. really?" and she was like, "you know it." 

so just like that, the blog gets a makeover. 

i hope you like it. because, i'm wild about it.

i’m also pretty wild about the sweet girl behind it. so please, for your own good, go check her out here.

just so you know, we may be touching things up here in the next week or so, so don't be alarmed!

and you know what? this seems like an appropriate time to say thank you for reading, and interacting with me, and teaching me things here over the years. i think part of why i’ve come to love blogging so much, is all of you. and the great conversations that arise out of some of my most random thoughts. i never thought i’d feel so comfortable being so open. about everything. but you know what?

it’s been wonderful.

so thank you. 

hope you continue to feel right at home here. :)

(and as usual, photo credit goes to eric kelley and earthen vessels.)


name game.

recently, i posted about how to deicide when to have kids. i just loved the discussions that i got to have with y’all about the different things that play into that decision for each couple! thank you so much for your comments. that has got to be my favorite thing about blogging. 

but here is another question / confession. how early is too early to pick out your kids names? is there anyone else out there who started making lists of kids names about the time they started collecting ideas for their future wedding? or maybe even before? i don’t think i have  a single girlfriend who i have not had the “names we love” conversation with.

i wonder why we enjoy doing that so much!

we must feel like the names we give our kids are part of our identity too. am i right?

yesterday adam and i spent time over lunch talking about kids names. sometimes we talk about it while lying in bed at night too.

(well usually in bed, i start listing names and adam just says “no” “no” “definitely no” “are we really deciding this before we fall asleep?” and i surrender.)

but we do have a girl’s name and a boy's name that we really like already, and we are not even trying for kids yet! are we crazy?

do you already plan for future kids names? if you have kids, how early did you start thinking about it?  did you end up using the names that you always thought you would? or totally different names?

the funny things that we all do! ….well, at least us women. :)

happy monday everyone!

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