Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week update: My first week of being 28

My first week of being 28 has turned out to be a little more interesting than I anticipated, for better or for worse.

Summertime in the office is semi-awful. My work load is slow and there is basically no one there. However, thanks to my colleagues (and a very tiny snake) it turned out to be a pretty hilarious week. (You can find the video via my Facebook page). I am very grateful for my very crazy coworkers with whom I am happy to share everyday life adventures.

But it's been a hard week too. I am not really sure that people tell you just how hard relationships can be when you are young. We just get the disney versions of everything until suddenly we're adults and we're just supposed to now how to navigate through. Right. I am not sure why communication sounds so easy on paper and is so hard in real life. All this to say, life is tricky. Relationships are tricky. But at the end of the day, I am still grateful to be by my boyfriend's side even through the mundane and the messiness. If I had to pick, I would pick him every single time.

In other news, it is hotter than *fill in the blank here with whatever cliche you want to use*. Seriously. My weather app even chose to show cacti for the weekend forecast. Back to running the old AC. I am grateful to have central air, but since I just moved into this new place I feel anxious about what my utilities bill will be. I try to make smart choices, but it's hard to make rational choices in 98-100 degree weather, especially when the options of cool, control bliss is so readily available. I will say that up until Friday, I did manage to leave the house open for almost a whole week. In the middle of June, that feels like a small victory.

I should mention that today is father's day and I get to see my father today! (Since he lives in North Carolina, this does not happen very often). Actually, my parents and my sister and nephew are on their way to Kansas RIGHT NOW! Needless to say, I am pumped out of my mind. I've been missing my family something fierce for the last couple of weeks. I am excited that they will be here by the evening. I am exactly sure what we'll do this week; but it doesn't really matter. I will just be happy to be around them. (Plus, I basically spent all day yesterday cooking food. It's going to be a yummy week).

Other than that, I continue to fill up my instagram account with Scout and coffee. Two of my favorite things.
This is Scout's new thing. Every morning when I try and get ready for work, she jumps into the sink and tries to pull out the sink stopper. 
Scout helping with meal planning for the week
 I've had two cups of coffee today. It's been a really good Sunday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Week Update: Birthday Weekend

Ready or not. I am 28.

It feels fine.

I still have never really worked (or gone to school) on my birthday. (The kind of exception is that when I was in Chicago cooking for DOOR, I had to make a meal. But that does not really count since that "job" was essentially volunteering with a small stipend). Anyway, this year the tradition continued, since my birthday fell on a Sunday.

Let's be real: I try to celebrate my birthday for more than one day. When it falls on a weekend, that is particularly easy to do. Thus my birthday celebrations included going out to an amazing restaurant in Wichita called Public at the Brickyard, (which was named on a random internet list of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Kansas) with my co-workers on Friday night.
On Saturday, it included going to garage sales as a part of Hesston garage sale day as well as dessert prep for the next day.

Okay, sure. It is depressing to make your own birthday cake. (I might not do it next year). But it wasn't too bad since I have a ton of Joy the Baker cake recipes I want to try and a new cake box to keep them in.
It looks like I failed here. Sure but it still turned out very tasty. There is nothing a little frosting can't fix. Okay a lot. 
On Sunday, Levent and I started the day by going to brunch at Taste and See in Wichita. (Recap: the brunch was average but I am glad we tried it. Also, why can't every brunch experience be like the ones they offer in Asheville)?
The day also included some solid introvert relaxing time...
my first motorcycle ride at twilight...
and, of course, lots of dessert.
Yellow cake with buttercream frosting + chocolate peanut butter ice cream
Overall, it was a good day/weekend. I did miss my family like crazy (but I did get to talk with them and will get to see them in a couple of weeks).

Levent asked me during brunch if I have any 28 year of life bucket list items. And I am not sure that I do. For one, I am not always a good self-started. But I thought about his question for a little bit and came up with the following:
1. To not move this year. (Please Lord let that be true).
2. To try and find ways to eat healthier (she says with a giant cake leftover in her fridge).

I might've just jinks myself by saying that I don't want to move, but I feel like it could be a reasonable item. The same goes for eating healthier, which, to be fair, has been a part of my "2015 resolution" from January. I am not about to try anything crazy. Rather, if I can find ways to make at least one of my meals/day super healthy, then I think I am off to a good start.

I just need to figure out what to do with the cake in my fridge.

Here's to another year of life!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kansas Beauty

I get really frustrated with Kansas sometimes.

But then there are the times when she persuades me with her beauty.

 It's a tricky relationship.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Week Update: Thoughts on staying

I wasn't supposed to be here this weekend.

No ma'am. I was supposed to be in Wooster Ohio, attending the wedding of my dear Bluffton friend, Stephanie. But stress, money and allergies got the best of me and I decided to not drive 28 hours in 3 days.  I know I made the right decision but it still sucks, especially watching the wedding reception unfold last night via Instagram.
I have come to terms (sort of) with all parts of Kansas life (the crazy heat, the wind, the vastness, etc) except the part of being really, really far from loved ones. I am never going to be able to adjust to that. I think that every week that goes by I miss being around my sister. (She was, after all, the one that originally brought me out here). That's not going to change.

I love living by myself and am slowly starting to really enjoy my new rental house. But my budget is even tighter now, meaning I have to make those hard choices of not traveling and being where I want to be.

Kansas was never intended to be a long-term plan. But now that I've been here, plus or minus, 4 years the thought of leaving feels a little impossible. After all, I like my job (and at this point have no idea what else I would do), I love my boyfriend (who just started a new position as well), and feel fairly rooted here. Moving someplace different, especially some place where I know no one, is frightening.

But I am getting ahead of myself. After all, who knows what the future will bring. Hell, I didn't even know I would be moving (just down the street) a month ago. Stuff happens. The best I can do is try to be like my sister's old dog, Scooter, and just live in the moment. (Or I guess Scout, who is very moment based too. Well, expect sometimes she cries for her dinner way before it's time to eat. I know, a girl after my own heart).
Staying home this weekend was good. It was the right choice. Because I wasn't supposed to be around this weekend, my attitude about it was not anxiety-filled (which can usually be the weekend tune for me). It was like suddenly having a couple of bonus days at home. So I jumped into my summer bucket list. During the noon hour on Friday, I went lap swimming with Diana at the Newton rec pool. (It was very refreshing, even if I felt like a drowned rat for the rest of the day). I also started a batch of vanilla extract, which will be done in August. Plus, I have some dark chocolate fudge pops firming up in the freezer (more on those later). Check check and check.
Not only that, but this weekend I made time for writing at a coffee shop (Mojo's), did some gardening, had supper with a friend and did not have high anxiety at all.

Yes. I am glad I stayed home.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015

Okay folks. It's that time again. Fill up your bucket with oceans, sunshine and fudge pops. (Okay, well that first one is unrealistic for this Kansas life I am currently living). Summer is here, y'all. Let me tell you. Kansas wasted no time getting this party after a really damp and cool spring. The calendar changed to June and BAM it's in the high 80s. Feel it. It is here. Immediately.

For the last two summers, I decided to make a list of all the things I wanted to do these hot, sticky months. (Full disclosure, I got the idea from the Joy the Baker podcast. Shocking. I know. I'm such a fan girl). Looking back on 2013 and 2014's list, it looks like I am not really thinking out of the box here. Every summer I want to do the same things, do outside things, garden, eat a lot of yummy food and maybe go someplace cool. But hey. I am fine with those goals. No shame in my summer game.

Even though this is more or less the exact same list as last summer, without further ado, here is my Summer Bucket List 2015

1. Go swim laps with Diana at the Newton pool during our lunch break

2. Make popsicles and homemade ice cream.

3. Go out for brunch in Wichita with Levent

4. Make homemade vanilla extract

5. Have a dinner party on my new (to me) deck

6. Start making yogurt again

7. Learn how to make ricotta cheese

8. Take Scout to the vet to get her rabies shot. (This sounds lame, but I have been putting it off and if she escapes one day (which she has before), I want her to be safe).

9. Read Harper Lee's new book.

10. Work harder on eating more vegetables at every meal

11. Settle into my new house by decorating it and maybe creating some wall art myself

12. Be completely chill about my garden. (Hey, if I get to eat stuff out of it, that's a win. No need to be a nut job over it).

13.  Figure out how to go to Raleigh (and thus the beach) with my sister

14. Go swimming just for fun

15. Hang out with my favorite travel friends, Jilly and Lucas, in Chicago

16. Once a month, take my camera someplace locally to take picture (hopefully with my friend, Amy).

17. Go on a picnic with Levent to the Arb

Cheers to you, summer '15. Let's jam

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week Update: New place, new space

I am writing this post from 209 E Knott St, a grand total of 3 houses down from where I used to live. It's been a pretty hectic weekend of packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking, you know the drill.
One last Scout picture at the old place 
My new reading nook in the "dressing room" 

She is overly excited about the new rug
I've decided to call it quits for the weekend. Only a couple of boxes remain, and they probably will continue to sit on the floor in the dinning room until (as my sister put it) the walls have a chance to speak to me.

I am glad to be here. I just hate the process of trying to settle in. However, there are a lot of great things about this house that I think will make it a pretty effortless process. For one thing, this place has the cutest back deck. I cannot wait to string twinkle lights and pretend like I am going to start being social to the point of having summer dinner parties in the twilight.

This house is significantly larger than my old space, thus widening up Scout's whole universe. She has many windows it sit in now, lots of places to explore and screen sliding door with the best view of the neighbors 4 dogs and a rooster.

There is a garden space in the backyard! While it is too late for this season (as I already have plants doing poorly in the community garden) I am excited to be able to live in the same place where I grow things. I did, however, manage to transplant my flowers, hostas, herbs and some free-agent tomatoes (that came up on their own).
And that brings me to another point, the trees! This house has a yard full of old trees. They are tall, keep the house cool (which is awesome for the spring/summer) and smell delicious. (Since it's been so damp these last couple of weeks, the "woodlands smell" the trees and grass are giving off remind me of my grandparents' home in Pennsylvania. Divine).

It was a year ago that both Levent and I moved into different spaces. (Apparently, I always move on Levent's birthday weekend. Ugh). Right after that move, I got sick. And guess what. Today, I have a really sore throat and am not feeling awesome. I hope it's just allergies and exhaustion. Otherwise, it's clear that moving makes me sick. I hope this is the last time (for at least a year or so) that I have to move

Oh well. I am just happy to finally be here.