Monday, December 27, 2010

My View of Winter

So you may have heard about a blizzard in the Northeast. Mitch and I were trying to fly back to New York when the Eastern seaboard closed. I plan to post a full account of our travels after I've deboarded a plane, taken a train, and gotten out of an automobile... and gotten back home. For now, this is the only view of winter we've had in two days.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inaugural Voyage

Well, helloooooo everyone! For those that haven't guessed yet, this is my (Mitch) first post on the blog.

I thought it was appropriate that I start today in order to offer some closure on L'episode de la Souris. I was first introduced to Fievel while I was working last Friday. Amanda, as she previously mentioned, called in a bit of a panic. I tried to relay all of my mouse-catching expertise (read: put a bowl over it, slide a flat surface under it, and flip!), but it amounted to nothing. Fievel got away.

As fate would have it, Fievel showed up the day I left for Atlanta for the SEC Championship (more on that to come). Apparently, he showed up a few more times over the weekend, but despite Christen's best efforts, I returned to a mouseful house. In the meantime, the ladies put out a number of mousetraps.

Now. Last night, Bo got a little worked up over something in our room. We were sure he'd found Fievel. I went to investigate, but we couldn't find anything. When Bo lost interest, we started to wonder if he'd smelled Fievel at all.

Turns out, the dog is just lazy. He DID smell Fievel. He just lost interest. On a side note, if anyone is interested in a dog, we might have one available. How disappointing.

How do I know he found the mouse? Because I got another call at work today. The lever was flipped. One of the mousetraps was sprung, but Amanda wasn't going to check it. That was left to me when I got home. As the old saying goes: nothing says "Welcome back my love!" like a deceased rodent.

Sadly, the mouse trap does not shield the "caught" mouse from your vision. It just encloses him on two sides so you don't have to touch him. When I checked it, I saw Fievel. In case you were interested, he did not make it out West. He's in the trash can outside, and we are once again rodent free.

Just let this be a lesson: mousetraps do not "catch" mice. They kill them. Amanda was less upset about this news than I was. When she said she wanted him "gone," she did not mean "outside." Glad we had this talk. I'll post on a more interesting topic some other time.

PS. If you want to know why Amanda and I love Auburn so much, watch this and remember none of these people went to the game but still took the time to hit Toomer's:

War Eagle everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Mouse and Wonderful Friends

What do these two things have in common you weekend!  I shipped Mitch off to Atlanta to cheer on the Auburn Tigers (War Eagle!) while I hosted three of my closest friends from Charlottesville.  We had the most amazing girls weekends.  We shopped, ate a lot, laughed even more and encouraged one another.  It was so much fun to show them our new home and our new neighborhood.  They enlightened me to the world of ABC Home and we visited an old favorite that my best friend Katie introduced me to last summer.  We enjoyed wonderful desserts to celebrate Emmaline's birthday on Friday night and on Saturday night we saw one of my favorite Broadway shows.  They had a late flight out last night, so we were able to spend the whole day in Williamsburg shopping, eating and drinking coffee.  They are wonderful friends that I will have for a lifetime.  

You might be wondering where the mouse comes into the equation.  Well on Friday afternoon before the girls got here, I was cleaning the apartment and noticed what I thought was a very large roach in my hallway.  I went to put on my shoes to kill said roach, but as I got closer, I realized that it had a tail.  It took a second for me to process the fact that I had a mouse in my house, but when I did, there was a LOT of freaking out.  I ran and grabbed my phone and called Mitch.  He tried to coach me on how to catch the mouse, but I was too terrified to get close to it.  I searched for my big girl panties for a good ten minutes before I headed down the hall, broom in hand.  I jabbed the broom under our shoe rack, behind the coat rack and into the umbrella and wouldn't you know, nothing happens.  I will repeat NOTHING happens!  Where did it go?  I did a quick check around the apartment and didn't see the mouse, so I carried on very cautiously with my cleaning...I did have company coming in three hours after all.  Friday night and Saturday came and went with no sign of the mouse and just as I started to let my guard down, he showed himself.  We got in from the show after midnight Saturday night and as I was changing into my pajamas, I saw him dart into our room from the living room.  I panicked, put on my boots and ran to the guest bedroom to tell the other girls.  I was about in tears because it was late, there was a mouse in my house, and all I wanted to do was sit down with the girls and eat a late night snack as planned.  As I tearfully broke the news to the girls, Christen comes to the rescue.  In her words, she "is clutch in these types of situations."  We spent around two hours trying to coax the little mouse out and almost got him several times, but he is about as fast as Speedy Gonzalez.  We admitted defeat around 2:30 and went to sleep.  We picked up a few of these while we were out yesterday, but the little mouse has not shown himself again.  I kind of knew this was going to happen at some point, but I didn't think it would be this soon!  Momma and Daddy, we will try to make sure little mousy is gone before you get here on Saturday!  

A few pictures from our fun weekend!  I hope you enjoyed yours as much as we enjoyed ours!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rain and Christmas Music

I just experienced one of the trials of living in New York City, the rain!  When I woke up this morning, I noticed that it was extra windy outside, but I didn't think too much about it.  I got ready to take Bo for our morning walk and to doggy daycare and on a last minute thought grabbed my raincoat since there was a chance of rain (I decided against the umbrella because of the wind).  We got outside and it was as windy as predicted and it was misting just a little bit, but no big deal.....until I turned the corner of our block and almost got blown away with a gust of wind and a flood of rain.  I stayed dedicated to the task at hand, get the dog to the park so he can go to the bathroom, but I would be lying if I said that I didn't think about quitting halfway through.  By the time I got Bo to doggy daycare, we were both a wet mess.  The daycare owner took one look at us and couldn't help but chuckle.  By the time I got home, my face was dripping rain and I looked like I had just jumped in a pool.  Needless to say, I will be asking for these rain boots for Christmas because I hear they are the best for rain and snow.  It was quite the experience and luckily made me laugh instead of cry.  

When I got home wet from head to toe, all I wanted to do was throw on sweats, drink a cup of coffee and listen to Christmas music.  So I grabbed one of my Christmas china mugs and had a wonderful cup of coffee spiced with cinnamon and listened to one of my favorite Christmas albums.  These are my two favorite Christmas albums (one and two) what are yours?

The next time when it is raining and all you have to do is run from your house to the car, say a little prayer of thanks because I know I never gave it a second thought....until I was walking down the street soaked in rain and car less.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

From the Rockettes to Ikea and Everything in Between

Mitch's parents came up last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  We had a wonderful week together, and they were so helpful around the apartment.  Mr. Mike did so much hanging and repairing that he became friends with the owner at the hardware store around the corner.  Thanks to he and Mrs. Ellen, our apartment now feels complete.  We accomplished so much while they were here: we made a trip to Ikea; we hung curtains, pictures, window panes and a pot rack; we saw the Rockettes and West Side Story; we cooked four pecan pies and one squash casserole; we ate and ate some more; we hung out at the dog park; we replaced light bulbs; we sewed pillows; we washed dishes; we shopped and last but not least, we cheered on the Auburn Tigers to victory.  It was a busy week, but a wonderful one.  

We joined ten friends for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a fabulous time of food and fellowship.  Seriously, the food was absolutely amazing!  The whole day made me so thankful for our new life here in Williamsburg and the group of friends that God has already blessed us with.

After the McGuffeys left yesterday morning, Mitch and I walked down the street about four blocks and picked out our Christmas tree.  One of my favorite things about living in the city is that I can walk a few blocks and get just about anything I want, Christmas tree included.  We didn't have to figure out how to transport it to our house and get the least amount of needles in our car, we just had to hoist it onto Mitch's shoulder and walk.  Christmas tree day is one of my top five favorite days of the year.  It seems like something changes in the air when you step out of your house to go pick out the perfect tree, and the feeling in the air doesn't go away until Christmas day.  Do you feel the magical feeling in the air or is it something I have made up in my head?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had the opportunity to reflect on God's blessings in your life.  Now on to Christmas!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Loveliest Village on the Plains

This past weekend, Mitch and I traveled down for the Georgia game and our annual tailgate.  The tailgate started nine years ago in a dorm room in Berta Dunn Hall. Ann, Laurie Beth, Caroline and I were sophomores and roommates in the ADPi hall, and we wanted our parents to come up and help us participate in the beloved tradition of tailgating before what is always one of the SEC's most anticipated games: the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry (Auburn/Georgia for the uninitiated). That day we set up shop across from the theater building at the top of the hill that every Auburn student dreads.

That first day was filled with wonderful fellowship and, of course, delicious food.  Laurie Beth's dad is a catfish farmer and provides some of the best fried catfish you could ever ask for.  Seriously, I (and now Mitch) spend 364 days waiting for the one day a year that we get Mr. Donny's catfish.  We lost the game that day, but we started a tradition that will continue for years to come.  What started out as a small tailgate with our parents has turned into an event that rivals a wedding reception.  The following year we relocated behind the Fisheries building and have been there ever since.  It is always a wonderful time to reconnect with friends, to reminisce about prior tailgates and to celebrate being part of the Auburn Family.

We flew all the way from New York for this one day. That's how great it is.  We could not get to campus fast enough, and the day did not disappoint.  As always, when we arrived with our contributions, the table was already set and filled with food and drinks. Best of all, the oil was already being heated for catfish and french fries.  Laurie Beth and her parents have taken the torch and organized the tailgate pretty much every year for the past eight years, and they always do a fabulous job.  They are gracious and giving hosts that get there at the wee hours of the morning to ensure a wonderful day for everyone at the tailgate.  Mitch and I spent the day talking and laughing with old friends, hanging out with our families, holding new babies, cheering on the Tigers, going hoarse from cheering and rolling Toomer's Corner.  The game was incredible, and I was so proud of our team!  They love each other, and we love them.  It was about as good of day that you can have on The Plains (only to be topped by the Saturday three years ago when I tailgated with a new diamond ring on my finger and a husband-to-be by my side. Mitch had the foresight to pop the question the night before with our friends and family in town).

There is something electric about campus on game day.  I experienced this feeling as a student, and it has only grown with time.  I don't quite know how to explain it, I would say it is some mixture of the excitement you feel before a first date and the comfort you feel with an old friend.  There is nothing else like it!  

Sunday morning before Mitch and I left town, we had a little walk around campus.  These walks are so special to us because we started our relationship walking and talking around campus.  We admired all of the new buildings and decided that, while they are wonderful, we wouldn't have changed one thing about the set-up while we were students.  And besides, it gives us a chance when our children go to Auburn (because they will) to use the phrase "You don't know how good you have it.  When we were here...."

I am so thankful for Auburn and the part it has played in my life.  While I love Auburn football as much or more than the average fan, that is only one small reason the place is so special to me.  I love it because it is where I grew into a woman, where I found a deep relationship with God, where I made lifelong friends, where I found the profession that I love, where I finally got 'sisters', where I made mistakes and learned to pick myself back up, where I saw what loyalty looks like from the Auburn Family, and where I fell in love and found the man of my dreams.  It is such a special place, and it truly is "The Loveliest Village on the Plains."


Friday, November 5, 2010

Christian Music

Mitch put me on a mission to find good Christian music, so I figured I would ask around and see what people thought.  Who is your favorite Christian band or artist?  Do you have a favorite album?  We got so spoiled with lots of great music at our church in Charlottesville, and while we love the church we go to here in Williamsburg, it just doesn't use music throughout the service as much as we are used to.  Music has always been integral to worship for both Mitch and I, so we need to fill the void outside of our church service.  We love hymns and a more mellow sound, but please let us know what your favorites are!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Today I Am Thankful For......

  • Bo Carnell and the fact that he will spend literally all day cuddling on the couch with me.
  • The rain and how it makes it okay for me to spend the whole day cuddling on the couch with our dog.
  • My friends and how they like reading blogs as much as I do.  Katherine sent me a link today to the best blog: Today's Letters
  • The Bagel Store and their delicious bagels and pumpkin coffee.
  • My wonderful husband who goes to work every day for 9+ hours, which gives me the liberty to spend a rainy day on the couch.
  • Discovering new restaurants with Mitch on a date night in our neighborhood. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things in Brooklyn (Part I)

A lot of people have been curious about our apartment and neighborhood in Brooklyn, so here are a few of my favorite things inside and outside of our apartment in Williamsburg.  (Note, I promise to post pictures of our transformed apartment, but I am too much of a perfectionist to do that before I have everything the way I want it will probably be a few more weeks)

A few of my favorite things:

Because we could not get to our everyday dishes for quite sometime, we used our fine china cups and saucers for several weeks.  It was fun to be in the middle of boxes and complete disarray and drinking my much needed morning coffee out of our fine china that I love so much. 

Have you ever used this soap before?  It smells so wonderful!  I knew my friends Emmaline and Katherine used it, so when I saw it in every store we went into up here, I decided that I would try it out.  Now, I will never go back.  It is worth the extra couple of dollars to have the fragrance of geranium and lemon verbena everytime I wash my hands or wash the dishes.  And since there is no such thing as a dishwasher up here, I need something to encourage me to wash dishes!  If you have never had the pleasure of smelling the sweet aroma of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Geranium soap (my favorite), I would encourage you to go to your local Target and get it quickly.  No thank you's are needed; just consider it a gift from me to you. :)

I literally stood on our bed so that you could get a good picture of just how big and useful this $2.99 Ikea bag is.  I have used this bag for EVERYTHING!  I have quickly learned that when grocery shopping, it is better to have everything in one big bag that I can carry on my shoulder versus four little bags that I carry with my hands.  And it is better to carry your clothes to the laundry mat four blocks away in the Ikea bag versus carrying them in the laundry basket that will make your out of shape arm muscles hurt the next day.  I mean seriously, it carries so much and then when I get home and don't want it cluttering up our room, I just fold it down and put it away in a drawer or box or cooler or whatever is sitting around at the time.  By far the best deal I have seen since we came to the city!

Le Barricou is probably my favorite restaurant in Williamsburg.  As we discover new places, it may slide out of first place, but I doubt it will ever fall too far.  It is a wonderful French restaurant about a ten minute walk from our house.  Mitch has been going there for a while throughout his various stints in Williamsburg, but my first taste was  last summer when I came up to visit him during his internship.  It is everything you want in a restaurant: quaint, nicely decorated, helpful wait staff, reasonable prices (for New York) and delicious food!  We love their brunch on the weekends; they give you these delicious croissants that make me feel like I am back in Paris.  And we love their dinner; pretty much we love it anytime of day.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend you make it here; you won't regret it!

Last and certainly not least, MY MOM!  Sorry Mom for the blurry picture, I had to take it off of Facebook.  She came up a week after we moved in to help us get settled, and she was a lifesaver.  She came ready to help, and help is what we needed.  Boxes were everywhere and she had a mission to unpack as many as we possibly could.  She was great because all I needed to do was give her a project and she would take the reigns and go!  She lined kitchen cabinets, she organized kitchen cabinets, she helped us decorate the living room, she helped us pick out our rugs and she spent about two hours at Target helping me buy everything under the sun.  She was a trooper and sweetly dealt with my indecisiveness.  Do you ever wonder how mom's seem to know everything?  She threw out so many nuggets of knowledge that never would have even crossed my mind.  Thanks Mom for being so wonderful and for helping us out when we needed someone to come in and just do!

Mitch has some favorite things that he wants to talk about, so be looking for that this weekend.  And his tend to be more outside of the house, so you will get to see a little bit of our neighborhood!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall is in the Air and so is Taco Soup

We are joining our church, Resurrection Presbyterian Church, and in order to do that we had to attend a class to learn about the church and PCA theology.  To start off the class, our pastor decided to do a "What is your favorite thing about Autumn?" icebreaker.  There were answers such as football, the crispness of the first day that you realize you need a coat, and the smell of bonfires.  My answer was the changing of the leaves.  Even though I first truly experienced this just three years ago when Mitch started at UVA and we hiked in the Shenandoah mountains, it has definitely become my trigger that fall is here.  It was my favorite time of year in Charlottesville, and I am so sad to be missing the beautiful mountains this year.  BUT if the leaves changing is my favorite thing about fall, my second favorite thing is soup!

I never feel the liberty to cook soup in the warmer months, so it is a wonderful day when I cook the first soup of fall.  Yesterday was a wonderful day!  I chose taco soup to let my dutch oven know that is is officially fall and that it is time to get its soup on.  I first discovered taco soup when I was in Auburn getting my MaC (Masters in Accountancy).  One of my roommates, Amy, and I were cooking dinner for a big group of friends, and she decided that taco soup was the best choice.  Thank you Amy for bringing such a delicious and easy recipe into my life; it has become a staple!  I have adapted the below recipe slightly from the original, but really it is hard to mess this up.

Taco Soup

2 lb. ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel
1 (28 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans, undrained
1 (11 oz) can whole-kernel corn, undrained
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 taco seasoning packet
shredded cheese, sour cream and jalapenos (optional)

Brown beef and onion.  Drain, then add the remaining ingredients; mix.  Simmer on the stove for two hours or cook three to four hours in the crockpot on low.  Top individual bowls with cheese, sour cream and jalapenos.  (I have also left it on low in the crockpot all day while I was at work, and it turned out great.)

I love to serve taco soup with homemade tortilla chips.  They are super easy and delicious!

Tortilla Chips

1 package fajita size flour tortillas
Paula Deen's house seasoning (1 part garlic powder and pepper to four parts salt)
Vegetable oil or peanut oil

Heat the oil to medium heat and quarter the tortillas.  When the oil is hot, fry the tortilla quarters in batches so not to crowd the skillet.  Once slightly brown on each side, remove from the oil and place in a paper towel lined bowl.  Sprinkle the chips with the seasoning as soon as they are removed so that it sticks to the chips.

Below are a couple of pictures of the soup.  While it may not look the most appealing, I promise it is delicious!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Before we moved on to post about our new home in Brooklyn, we wanted to pay tribute to the place that was our home for the past two-three years and that has stolen our hearts.  Charlottesville is an extremely unique place that functions like a small college town, but has a lot of the perks of a larger city.  You can do anything from apple picking to watching polo at a vineyard to rocking with The Boss to eating some of the best Japanese fusion tapas you could ever imagine.  We found a church that we loved and made lifelong friends there.  People say that the place you start your marriage/life together will always hold a special place in your heart, and Charlottesville filled up more of a space than we could have ever imagined.  Below are some pictures of our friends and time there. 

Our first Christmas

Our home in Crozet

Some of our sweet friends and small group

Our favorite thing to do on a pretty day was to hang out at the local vineyards.

Our first anniversary in DC

Our second anniversary at Blue Ridge Mountain Inn, our favorite B&B right outside of Charlottesville.

The Blizzard

Libel Show at the law school (it is a production that Mitch was in all three years)

This was taken in Lexington, VA when the whole family came up to visit for graduation....she loves her aunt!

The GRADUATE!!!!!!!

We have so many more pictures and things we want to say about Charlottesville, so there will definitely be another post.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Beginning.....

Mitch and I both just read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn while on our bar trip to Europe and LOVED it!  While we were on this trip, we decided that since we were about to start a new chapter of our life in a new city, we wanted to keep our friends and family in the loop.  Then we had to make the decision of the name for said blog. Me being the accountant and the less creative one in this marriage deferred to my better half and former graphic designer to come up with a really catchy name.  With the book being fresh on his mind, Mitch came up with the name A Blog Grows in Brooklyn.  When he pitched it to me, I loved it because: We are living in Williamsburg which is where the book is set. We love to read just like Francie. We are writing a blog, and Francie loved to write. Most of all because if you read the book it is a story of Francie's life, and that is just what we want this blog to be.  Nothing too fancy, just a place for us to write about the happenings of our life.