postcards | Firenze, Italia

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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In July, Luke and I took our first ever trip to Europe -- spending two weeks between Italy and Croatia. I took a million pictures, and being that it took me 3 months to even find the time to share them, I'm going to break all of them down into a few different posts over the next few weeks. The first stop on our trip was Firenze, where we spent 3 nights/4 days. Firenze was breathtaking. I wish I could put into words our experience, but I think pictures do it better. Bellissima!
Buongiorno! Breakfast at our hotel (those croissants were the most amazing thing I've ever eaten) // View from our hotel room balcony
From the top of the Campanile. \\ The day that we decided to climb the 414 steps of the campanile, it was 100 degrees outside. We got an early start, beat the lines, but unfortunately not the heat. We were both sweating profusely by the time we reached the top. It was well worth it for the view and the experience. After we climbed back down we got in line to tour the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral itself, but mistakenly got into the line to climb the Duomo (dome). We didn't realize until it was too late, so we climbed an additional 463 steps to get to the top. I was claustrophobic, and the heat was unreal, but once we reached the top I realized my jello legs were worth it for the amazing view. Even just seeing the inside of such an incredible structure -- Brunelleschi was truly a genius. We ended an exhausting and incredible day with vino and pizza...because what else would you do?

love and rum // lime & coconut

Saturday, May 16, 2015

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Luke and I are high school sweethearts. Long story short I asked him to our senior prom, he reluctantly said, "okay," and the rest is history...or something like that. Because of this fact, Luke and I are lucky enough to have a huge group of the same friends from high school. They're the kind of people you know way too much about and in turn know way too much about you. The kind of people who, regardless of how much time has passed or how scattered we are across the country (seriously from Minnesota to Florida to Washington to Colorado to West Virginia), the second we get together it's like no time has passed at all.

Last summer, the lot of us flew down to the US Virgin Islands for the wedding of one of our own. We spent our days in the warm, turquoise waters, toes in the white sand, eating big family-style dinners, and drinking fruity, rum drinks. The Virgin Islands is known for producing rum. In fact, they are so proud of their rum that we were all offered numerous shots of varying flavors, from banana to coconut, upon our arrival at the airport. We, of course, after hours of stressing out about possibly missing our connecting flight in Miami just to make it in time, took them up on their offer, and thus began the best trip of our lives.

So we spent our days cramming nine people into a five-person Jeep (yes, you read that right), beach-hopping, hiking, sipping rum out of glasses and actual coconuts, and celebrating our dear friend Bryant and his new wife, Jenny. On a side note, I have literally never met two people more meant to be together. The phrase two peas in a pod doesn't even begin to describe their relationship. I remember saying more than once that I felt so lucky to be there, the most beautiful place I've ever been, with my most favorite people. I could have fact I probably did because, well, you know, the rum was really flowing in our hilltop villa, and ya know what else was flowing? The love. So this is to those people. The ones I see just a few times a year. The ones who will keep my secrets, will laugh with me, will keep me feeling forever young, will have my back always. The ones who will be in our life forever. These types of friendships are rare, so if you're lucky enough to find it, hold on for dear life...and maybe go to the Virgin Islands, where the love and rum are always flowing.

L I M E & C O C O N U T
from The Beach Bar in Cruz Bay, St. John USVI

This was the specialty drink served at The Beach Bar in Cruz Bay. We stopped by after one of our days at the beach. We showed up exhausted, sun-kissed, skin covered in dried sea salt, and we sat at the bar knocking these back one after another. It is creamy and fruity and I was sure after we left we'd never have something like it again. When Luke and I got back to West Virginia and started missing our friends we decided to figure out how to make our beloved tropical drink on our own, only to discover that The Beach Bar had it posted on their website. Well that was easy enough. So we sat on outside, just like we did at The Beach Bar, and we knocked back one after another, imagining a colorful sunset, and the warmth of being surrounded by some of our favorite people.


1.5 oz Cruzan coconut rum
2 oz. Rose's lime juice
1 oz. Coco Lopez
1/4 of a lime (rind and all)
splash of Sprite
slice of lime for garnish
1 c. ice

Put all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Putting the entire lime in the blender unpeeled is key to the flavor. Enjoy immediately!

tried & true | sausage corn chowder

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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hen I think about a home-cooked meal, this is the first recipe that pops into my mind. This is my all-time favorite recipe from childhood. It was passed down throughout my mom's side of the family. I still ask for it every time I go home, and I'm a full-grown adult.

It is that good, and to make it better it's incredibly easy to make! It is perfect for when you don't have a lot of time to make dinner.


S A U S A G E  C O R N  C H O W D E R


1 lb. ground italian sausage
1 c. chopped onion
4 c. diced potatoes
2 c. water
2 beef boullion cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 can (14.75 oz) creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

Cook sausage and onions.
Drain grease from pan.
Boil potatoes in seasonings for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Do not drain water!
Add sausage and onions and stir.
Add corn and evaporated milk last.
Simmer on low to heat all ingredients.
Do not bring to a boil because it will develop a film.

postcards | saint john usvi

Saturday, July 12, 2014

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Luke and I were lucky enough to travel to Saint John USVI for one of our good friend's wedding. We were able to spend a week on beautiful beaches, drinking tropical drinks (and a good amount of Virgin Island rum), and catch up with our oldest of friends. It's not everyday you get lucky enough to do that. We lounged in the sunshine and waded through the crystal blue waters of Trunk Bay, spent time in Cruz Bay, and hiked Ram's Head Trail (which I cannot recommend enough). We had such a great time, and cannot wait to plan another trip with our friends in the future.
This image is the view from one of the villas we rented for all of our friends. It overlooked Chocolate Hole and I pretty much felt like I was lounging in a post card. The beauty that covers and surrounds and makes up these set of islands is just magical.

postcards | prahbupada's palace of gold

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

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For our two-year anniversary (one June 2nd), Luke and I took a day trip to New Vrindaban, WV to visit Prahbupada's Palace of Gold. It's a fascinating place that you would never imagine finding in the hills of West Virginia. Dedicated to Swami Prabhupada, an important Hare Krishna spiritual teacher and scholar, it was originally being built as a home for Prabhupada's visits, but was not completed before he passed away, so his loyal followers finished it as a monument and tribute to him.

We had a really great time visiting -- learning about other cultures continues to be one of my favorite things about traveling and living in a new place. I'm so happy that I'm married to someone who feels the same way. I can't wait to travel the world with you, as there is no one else I would rather do it with.