K & S

Our first year married in Boston

Life Lesson: Never Take Yourself Too Seriously.

One of the things I love most about Stephen and I’s relationship is that we never take anything too seriously. We terrorize each other constantly, impersonate other people in public places (Stephen’s impersonations are the BEST) and generally try to have as much fun as possible, as often as possible. Even boring situations become entertainment when the two of us are together.

A couple of weekends ago, Stephen and I went to Portland, Maine for the weekend. We took Amtrak from Boston to Portland (my first Amtrak experience) and it turned out to be a great way to travel. We marveled at all the things you aren’t allowed to do on an airplane that you are allowed to do on Amtrak e.g. charge your phone, carry on as many bags as you want, carry on giant bags, buy cheap beer and wine, sit wherever you want—it was great. There weren’t a lot of people on the train but we entertained ourselves by trying to be as obnoxious as possible…taking pictures of ourselves (me), laughing until snorting (me), and having strange, loud conversations to see if we could disturb other passengers.

Once we finally got to Maine, it only got better…and by better I mean that we forgot to bring cash, had to take cash out of a sketchy ATM that I’m pretty sure hit us with a triple ATM fee…and then grabbed a cab and where on our way. Portland was a DREAM for me—picturesque lighthouses, fluffy white snowfall, coffee & scones from a local bakery (if you are ever in Portland, check out Standard Baking Co.), fresh Maine lobster, and amazing clam chowder. It was the perfect getaway to explore New England and the first time either of us has stayed in a Bed & Breakfast.

While we were in Portland, we Yelped (yes, it’s a verb) and checked out some local gems, including a hole-in-the-wall local establishment (Fisherman’s Grill) that took us two passes and a phone call to locate. Our conversation went something like this:

K: “Hi, where are you located?” FG: “We are located on xxx street.” K: “hmmm that’s the address Google shows too.” FG: “Where are you now?” K: “We’re right in front of the train tracks” FG: “Look 400 ft to your left”

It was that small.
After we got back from Portland, I started thinking—why is it that whenever we travel for fun I make an effort to check out all the local places, but whenever I travel for work I gravitate towards Starbucks and Panera like some sort of beacon in the vast sea of Central Illinois? Why not take the same approach for work travel that we take for fun trips?

Since this realization, I’ve made a conscious effort to expand my horizons and try more local places while I’m away from home during the week. I can’t take credit for the latest idea—it came from another IBMer at a group dinner—but it’s the best idea yet. During an IBM group dinner this week, the guy that I was sitting next to casually mentioned that he doesn’t stay at a hotel when he’s in town. So naturally, that left me stumbling over “so whhhhhere do you stay?” The answer? A Bed &Breakfast! Who would have known?

A little bit of Googling and fifteen minutes later, I cancelled my Marriott reservation and booked a stay at the Vrooman Mansion (see here: http://vroomanmansion.com/), a vintage mansion and historic landmark near downtown Bloomington. We’ll have to see how it goes but from what I’ve seen on Trip Advisor, it sounds promising. Lesson learned? It’s all about context, people. I would have never thought to stay in a B&B instead of a hotel while traveling for work…the same way it totally throws you off to run into people you know outside of the place or situation you know them from or when you try to be super professional at work and then realize that the person you were emailing is 22 and more college than corporate.

On a side note, Stephen and I are headed to Atlanta next weekend for Christmas and I can’t WAIT to be on vacation. I just haven’t figured out yet how I’m going to get a week’s worth of work clothes, 11 days worth of regular clothes, AND all of our Christmas presents to ATL without checking a bag. I just might have to give in. Merry Christmas!

Six Years

With Thanksgiving coming up, I realized that I have more to be thankful for this year than ever before. Next May will be 6 years since my mom passed away and it seems like I am finally getting back to the me I was before the word “cancer” changed everything.

In a lot of ways, our engagement was a difficult time for me, and for the two of us. While there is so much excitement around a wedding, it was often painfully obvious who was missing.

Now with the all of the craziness of the wedding behind us, I’ve had time to take a look around and think about where we are now.

Only 5 short months after losing my mom, Stephen came into my life. We were both 17. I still remember one of the early conversations where I told Stephen my dream to be a lawyer. It’s a good thing things change.

Two weeks into our relationship, I knew there wasn’t going to be another guy after him. It’s amazing that at such a young (and stupid) age that things could be so clear.

Since the day when we were both 17 and Stephen asked me to be his girlfriend by my car in the high school parking lot, we’ve made it through high school graduation, going away to college in different states, 6 months of dating long distance while I studied abroad in England, college graduation, and my first job.

Fast forward 6 years from that day–we are living Boston, Stephen is living his dream and working on his Master’s in Percussion, and after a year and a half of crazy projects (that brought best friends AND great cocktail party stories), I am finally making peace with my job and in a good place.

After all that has happened in the past 6 years, who knows how different things might be 6 more years from now but I’m looking forward to it. I am finally realizing that I have everything I’ve ever wanted–and I’m thankful.

Cooking with K&S

Anyone who knows me knows that I have NEVER been a cook, but after getting married and getting all this new kitchen stuff I decided to turn over a new leaf. Stephen and I agreed before we were ever married that we would share the cooking responsibilities. We agreed that someday when we have a house he would be in charge of the grill and that I would be in charge of sides & desserts.

Since moving into our tiny apartment in Boston with its hide-a-way kitchen (our kitchen literally has closet doors on it), we have taken a stab at cooking. Here are some of the meals we have tackled so far, mostly due to Kelly’s recommendation to check out http://www.skinnytaste.com (which I love!) and of course, due to Pinterest…

Eggplant Parm

Shrimp Fajitas

Spaghetthi with turkey parmeasan meatballs

Chicken Enchiladas

Spinach baked ziti

Grilled flounder & avocado tacos

Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken (Pad Thai)

Zucchini Lasagna

Turkey meatloaf & ranch potatoes

Shrimp & grits

Chicken enchilada soup

Mexican stuffed sweet potatoes…not one of my favorites, it’s not easy to scoop the filling out of sweet potatoes, cook the skins, and put it back in later

Chicken Pesto &; Artichoke Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Spinach alfredo pizza

Buffalo chicken pizza….can you tell we really like pizza?
Out of the things we’ve attempted so far, the meatloaf was definitely our proudest moment although all of the pizzas and the spinach ziti were also really good. Anyone have any favorite recipes or food blogs? Being new to this, I’m still not ready to graduate to any kind of complicated cooking techniques..but I’m game for easy recipes! (:

Cooking with Basil & Playing Pre-tuned Radio

I’ll be the first to admit that what my husband does is not typical. If it weren’t for my own stint in the high school band, I probably wouldn’t know what orchestral percussion was either.

I’ve gotten used to that look of utter confusion (especially when talking to consultants) when I tell them that my boyfriend, fiance..now husband is a classical percussionist.  “He plays the drums?” “What’s the name of his band?” Uhhhhhh something like that.

Last night, I went to one of Stephen’s concerts at NEC. I was looking forward to hearing this piece that he was in because his part called for “pre-tuned radio.” Yep, that’s right…radio. We got to the end of the piece and I realized in a panic that I somehow missed the radio, only to find out later that when Stephen went to turn it on during the piece, the batteries had apparently died because all he got was silence. Bummer.

It was a cool piece either way though and made me realize that percussion is a lot like cooking with spices…

When I first started cooking, I had a tendency to ignore the spices that recipes called for, especially if I didn’t already have them on hand.  I didn’t want to buy something I was just going to use a pinch of once. A few dishes in, I realized that spices really make food good–without them, food isn’t usually worth eating.

Percussion is a spice too–without it, music seems to be missing something…and I bet I know at least one person who agrees.

Momentary Marriage

It’s hard to believe that Stephen and I have been married for 2 months already! It seems like so long ago when Stephen dragged me to Piedmont Park on a hot July afternoon last summer and shocked me by getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him (after I had given up guessing when he was going to propose). After that, the 13 month engagment flew by and the wedding ceremony & reception that we had spent over a year planning somehow seemed only 15 minutes long.
I’m still waiting for our marriage to feel real. So far it still feels like Stephen and I aren’t really husband & wife, but the same thing we’ve always been. Our marriage feels temporary, like one day I’m going to wake up and be living with my college roommate in our Midtown apartment again.

I had been considering the idea of “temporary marriage” when I came across this video in a blog post on Ruthie Dean’s blog, RuthieDean.com. It’s an amazing and heart-wrenching perspective of the shortness of marriage.

I started reading the book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper that’s mentioned in the video and loved this quote near the beginning of the book: “Marriage is more than your love for each other…In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal–it is a status, and office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man.”

This past Sunday, our priest gave a great homily on marriage as a temporary state that points towards eternity. He compared a husband & wife’s marriage vows to Christ’s words at the Last Supper as Christ says “this is my body given up for you.” Our society points towards weddings, even marriage, as the end point. It’s so inspiring to be reminded that marriage, however great a gift, is only a small glimpse of what’s to come.

New England Style

Stephen & I have been living in Boston for a month now so I’ve started putting together a list of  some of my favorite Boston things so far…

Cannolis…whether you’re on the Modern Pastry or Mike’s Pastry side

Hunter wellies. Every girl seems to have these! Thinking maybe I need a pair?

High buns..Boston girls are all about the ballet high bun

Sailboats… and anything nautical themed {stripes}

Slouchy sweaters & chunky scarves

DD, every Bostonian’s favorite coffee…unless of course we’re talking about Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fenway…still not over how cool it is to hear the crowd sing Sweet Caroline from our living room

Newbury Street…aka shopping mecca.

Aaaand the list is still going! We’re working our way through Boston’s best brunch places (so far we’ve been to 3). Tonight we’re headed to Cambridge to hear Stephen & Raley play open mic night.

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