Monday, August 24, 2015

The Impromptu Gathering

It was about 5pm a few Saturdays back when my sister in law called to ask what we were doing that evening. Even though we were knee deep in painting the downstairs bathroom and none of us had showered that day, my answer was "Nothing, why?" She said she had a bunch of steaks for the grill so why don't we come over for dinner and hang out?
I had run to the fish market earlier that day and bought mako steaks so I offered them up so it would be a surf and turf style meal and told her we would be there in an hour. We grabbed a chilled bottle of wine as we ran out the door, stopped and bought some ice cold beer along the way and within an hour we were relaxing on their deck watching my nieces roll around the lush, green grass.

this my friends, is the life

The sunset was spectacular,  the company even better and I knew that all the planning in the world could not have turned out a better Saturday night. 

I love spur of the moment gatherings. Forgoing all the planning, cleaning and perfecting (since I am still somewhat a total Type A, although I am admittedly becoming more of a free bird in my old age) makes for a more enjoyable event. Something that is so organic and real. And fun most of all.
Earlier this summer Charlie and I were talking about how difficult it sometimes is to get together with the people we care for the most. Everyone is always so busy that sometimes we are making plans a month in advance and by the time the date actually rolls around with so much "life" happening in between, who even knows if you will really still feel like getting together?  
I can't help but wish life was a bit more sporadic so when you pick up the phone last minute and say "Hey, what are you guys doing tonight?" the answer will be "Nothing, why?"
It seems like that is when the magic really happens.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

House Hunters: The Perfect Home For Me

It's been a while since I did a House Hunters post although I have been spending 99% of my free time searching online for homes these days. Our search has taken us father west then we ever thought we would go, but life is funny like that sometimes. And yes, we are still looking in Tennessee. That state has my heart. I'm pretty sure it's settled into my soul as well. 
As I comb through listing after listing I sometimes worry that finding the right house is not going to be as easy as I thought. I'm also scared that I may find my dream home but that it might be in the wrong location. This has actually already happened to us. Sigh.
Instead of sharing listings that are sort of right, I decided to show you a home that is exactly what I want, with an ideal piece of property in an area we really want to live in. 
Built in 1907, this historic gem is located in the quaint town of College Grove not too far from the infamous and swoon worthy Franklin, Tennessee. It sits on just over 5 acres and even has the first letter of our last name on the front door. Coincidence? Maybe not...

 Perfect view from the front porch

 Adorable outer buildings

 And a barn!

 And flat land to grow food!

Let's look inside:
 Simple but perfect.

 With a cookbook collection numbering over 400 titles, ample book storage is definitely a perk.

 This kitchen. Oh, this kitchen.

 Yes and yes.

 And another shot because the kitchen is just so good.

 Again, simple and perfect.

 Got to be honest, I don't mind the wallpaper. Would probably change it but it does not offend or bother me in any way.

 Simple is the theme here and it is just so, so right for this house.

This is what I love. This is what I want. 
This is also about $100k over our budget. Insert wailing emoji {here}.

It is roughly the same size as our house now which is just right for our family of four. It is in Williamson County which has top notch schools in towns where you can also have acreage. A perfect scenario for us. While we are all in love with it, we cannot even dream of trying to stretch this high. We want to move in order to have less overhead, not more. Being foolish defeats the purpose of our move.
It's just hard to see things like this and then look at some of what is in our budget and one of two things seem to happen. 1. The house is amazing but the land is not. 2. The land is great but the house is not. It's really frustrating.
On the up side, every time I get up from the computer after a long session and wander through our house I am taken aback by how beautiful and perfect it is. And while it wasn't beautiful or perfect 10 years ago when we bought it, we made it this way. 
Unfortunately, we just haven't found anything we want to put that same energy into again and I am not willing to settle for a house I am not in love with no matter how great the land is.
Maybe if we hold out long enough they will drop the price? Here's to wishful thinking!

*I created a House Hunters board on Pinterest of listings that appeal to us. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

B Is For Bourbon

(wasn't I cute?)

When I was say, 7 or 8 years old I caught a nasty virus that had me bed ridden for days. My father felt bad for me and surprised me one night when he came home from work with the Annie soundtrack  from the Broadway play (on vinyl ~ holla!) to cheer me up. I listened to that album on repeat until I am sure my mother was lamenting her "Hard Knock Life" and dreaming about "Tomorrow"  when I would hopefully tire of it and stop playing it. Unfortunately for her, once I was back on my feet I not only incessantly played the album but began to use the hearth of our fireplace as my "stage" where I would reenact the entire show. Again and again and again and again.
THEN the movie came out in 1982 with Carol Burnett (game changer!) bringing the whole thing to life and renewing my obsession with that spunky little redhead. I saw it in the movies and when the betamax tape came out (showing my age here) I naturally watched it on repeat. One of the scenes long burned into my memory was of Miss Hannigan and her bathtub gin. When she sank into the whole tub of it? Hilarious! Although truthfully, I may not have fully understood what was really going on, but her garbled drunken mannerisms were definitely funny to a young kid.
As an adult I came to understand what was up with gin and why Miss Hannigan would immerse herself in a tub of the stuff. It's like the nectar of the Gods. Seriously. Smooth, refreshing; to be honest I have often thought I could be quite content soaking in a tub the stuff myself. It's that good. With a generous splash of tonic, it has long been my go to drink. Add a hefty squeeze of lime juice and one to garnish the glass and it just screams "Summer!"
I am sure you are thinking "Why is she going on and on waxing poetic about gin when I thought this blogpost was going to be about bourbon?" Well, I am just getting to that part.
While gin and tonic has always been my summer drink, bourbon (ah, here we go!) and whiskey have been my favorite fall/winter liquors for the past couple of years. I have shared about my love for the old fashioned before, and this summer's fresh produce has me rethinking my seasonal drinking habits. Slowly sipping this powerful drink is pleasurable enough, but the liquor soaked fruit in the bottom of your glass is equivalent to the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. With each bowl you eat, the anticipation of getting to that trinket builds and builds. Same thing with the old fashioned. Each sip you take gets you closer to that fruit patiently waiting at the bottom. 
When I found myself grabbing the bourbon off the bar again in order to whip up these delicious Peach Old Fashioned's I started thinking that maybe the old days of gin and tonic are doomed to obscurity like betamax and vinyl. And my old hearth dancing days.

Summer Peach Old Fashioned

Muddle a few peeled and pitted peach slices (be generous), two maraschino cherries (the more the merrier), two dashes of Angostura bitters and one scant teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of a small rocks glass. Add ice then top with 2oz. of good bourbon. Give it a gentle stir. Add a few small peach slices to the top for garnish and because they will just sink to the bottom and marinate in all the goodness.