Wednesday, April 30, 2014

december backlogs: long live friends

Everybody do the Chandler smile!

Welcome to the third annual Friends party. Oh, how we all love Friends.
Friends has efficiently permeated our relationships, resulting in constant quotes, references, and reenactments of this classic show. 
To celebrate this, Allison hosted the first Friends party 1L year. It was so much fun we decided to do a sequel, which culminated into a well-rounded trilogy when Greg and Allison moved back to town!

This time around, the only ones left in Lynchburg from the original group were me and Stephanie. We decided to open it up as a couples party, so Dusty and I carpooled out to Salem with Stephanie and her husband Josh. Our other friends Heather and Chris decided to come all the way down from DC to join the party, too! It was such a fun reunion!!

The menu was pizza, of course, and Allison made her amazing deep dish for the occasion.
We also had chocolate pie and cheesecake, because, the one with the cheesecake!

We always like to try and dress up as our favorite characters, and we each pick our favorite episode for the evening's marathon. It's always a fun and eclectic selection!
I decided to dress up as Phoebe, as I did 1L year. Dusty was going to dress as Mike, but he was a little bummed because Mike pretty much dresses exactly like he always does. He wanted a real character.
So, naturally, he chose Joey -- as Freud!

Greg and Allison went all out for their Chandler and Monica outfits.
If you've seen this Halloween episode, then you'll know how great this is!

Best costume award.

It was just great to be together again. Especially since so much had changed! Both Allison and Heather had had little girls that past April, Stephanie and Josh had graduated and were moving at the end of the year, and Dusty and I were getting read for our last semester of law school! It had all gone by so quickly.

So cute!

My favorite episode will probably always be The One with the Videotape. It's pretty incredible.
But, for those who care to know, this is my list of the top 10 Friends episodes (from a Facebook post I made our very first month living in Virginia, when I was still unemployed!):

Get ready for this. These last few days of unemployment have been spent making this, I wouldn't say I am ready to laminate this...but it's pretty darn close. 

My top 10 favorite Friends episodes. 

1. “The One with the Videotape” (season 8)
--Because it’s brilliant, and hilarious. Nuff said.

2. “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” (season 5)
--Because I don’t think there is anything funnier in the history of friends, than when Phoebe screams out “My eyes, my eyes!” and they get Ross to jump into their excitement. I also enjoy "naked Ross". And on top of everything else, Phoebe’s dance to seduce Chandler. Chandler  Monica.

3. “The One with the Stoned Guy” (season 1)
--Because of tartlets, sugar-o’s, and dirty talk!

Side note: I've recently been rewatching this season, and it's so great. I also love "the one with george stephanopoulos"'re still getting to know the characters, phoebe wears footy pajamas, the girls have a sleepover, and rachel realizes she's gonna be okay -- "i have magic beans!"

4. “The One where Ross is Fine” (season 10)
--Because of…everything. This entire episode. Oh my goodness. From Ross’s fajitas, to his L-O-V-and-E…hahaha. 

Side note: the one right before this, “the one after joey and rachel kiss”, has some of my favorite phoebe moments. Her and Mike on the plane, and when she’s talking to Precious, Mike’s girlfriend…”Dang it woman, pull yourself together! Have some pride, for the love of God!”

5. “The One with the Embryos" (season 4)
--Because of THE GAME. The rooster and the duck, and because of Mrs. Chanandler Bong…(and I love the intimate Phoebe/Embryos conversation. It reminds me why Lisa Kudrow is so great).

6. “The One with all the Cheesecakes” (season 7)
--Because of Chandler and Rachel. I love them together, and this is the only real episode where they’re paired up for a significant amount of time. I also love the portrayal of Phoebe and Joey’s relationship…I love that they spend so much time together. And David returns!

7. “The One where Eddie Won’t Go” (season 2)
--Because I LOVE the Eddie episodes. His laugh, his creepiness. And the Goddess meeting. 

Side note: “the one with phoebe’s husband”, also from season 2…phoebe never ceases to surprise, and i love the back-and-forth that reveals that chandler has a third nipple! "whip it out, whip it out!"

8. “The One with Ross’s Inappropriate Song” (season 9)
--Because of the rap. And, I love fancy Phoebe at Mike’s parent’s house. I love everything about this episode.

Side note: season 9 is a great. I love mike. I also love “the one with phoebe’s birthday dinner”, because of the baby/eagle fiasco.

9. “The One with the Apothecary Table” (season 6)
-Because I love Phoebe and Rachel as roommates, and love that they make an entire episode around pottery barn. Ah, the days of yore.

Side note: a close runner up to this is “the one where paul’s the man”…because I really like Ross and Elizabeth’s relationship, and Bruce Willis is hilarious. When Ross is behind the door in Paul’s room, and he slinks down to crawl under the bed…kills me every time.

10. “The One with the Giant Poking Device” (season 3)
--Because “if you’re alive, you ANSWER your phone!” and “Monica bang”…”It’s just a blood bath in here today!”

december backlogs: every little bit

luna enjoying winter wonderland // getting my hair done // the finished product
dusty before finals // apple cider while watching the sound of music
vintage christmas market // the christmas tea // law wives at the christmas tea

I think December was one of my favorite months of the entire year.
There were so many wonderful moments, and as I was looking through all of our events and photos and get-togethers and festivities to put together some backlog posts, I just couldn't narrow them down.
I figured showing a reel of my Instagram account would accurately portray what this month was like for us.

Our house was fully decorated for Christmas, which is always so much fun. It makes the month merrier, for certain. The beginning of the month always means finals time for Dusty, so he was pretty busy studying and staying up super late with his study group to prepare.

On the day of the finals meal (the law wives put together a finals meal every semester, for law school students and families to come and eat for free to ease some of the stress of that week) I went a little crazy and got my hair done! Red tips/ombre. I absolutely loved it, once it mellowed out a little bit. It has been really really fun having a slightly daring hairstyle. At this point it's more of a strawberry blonde, and I kind of miss the brighter red! Maybe I'll do it again.

Emilie and Victoria and I all gathered at Emilie's house (which is one of the most beautiful apartments I've ever seen -- they rent the upstairs of the house to another law couple, and they've completely renovated the basement. It's like looking at a catalogue) to watch Carrie Underwood's The Sound of Music. I know the show got a lot of flack, but it was such a fun girl's night! I really liked it. Emilie had cookies and this amazing apple cider that she mulled herself because she's just legit like that, with whole cinnamon sticks as garnish and everything. I think I drank like 15 teacupfulls.

On the first Saturday of December, we had book club (we had read Brandon Sanderson's Legion), and afterward I headed down the street to the vintage Christmas market with one of my book club friends, Allison. The market is always really fun, I've actually managed to go every year! They usually have a spring and a Christmas one. It's a pretty huge event, full of local vendors and vintage shops.
But this time they held it in this really cool building downtown that's mostly glass. It was a really cold day, and they had complimentary coffee from White Hart right outside the door. We browsed a bit and shopped. It was so fun!
That same day we had the Christmas Tea for the law wives, which was always my favorite event!

lazy mornings with tea and muffins // reading and cuddling // our home
done with finals, time for sushi // seeing the hobbit // at the farmer's market
victoria and i // friends // friends party // making gingerbread houses
my masterpiece // dusty and colinoria // dusty's masterpiece // handmade cat necklace

On December 8th, it started to snow. I woke up early and made some chocolate chip muffins (I had to wing the recipe because we didn't have any eggs, but they turned out so delicious), brewed some strong tea, and woke Dusty up. We bundled up on the couch with the cats, and he worked on studying while I read The Book Thief. 
Just looking at those photos brings back such a lovely warm feeling. I absolutely loved that day. It was a beautiful and cozy winter day that made me start thinking about how much I was going to miss this home.

On December 11th, the boys were officially done with finals! So we went out with Colinoria to celebrate with half-off sushi at Wasabi. We spent that week and weekend having so much fun with our friends. We went and saw the midnight showing of The Hobbit, hung out at the farmer's market, and had our third annual friends party. It was the absolute best, because Allison and Greg had temporarily moved back (so she was able to host it, like the past 2 years), and our other friends from DC came down for the weekend, too! It was a mini reunion of our original group from 1L year. It was really cool.

The next day we had a crazy awesome gingerbread house decorating extravaganza. Dusty's gingerbread house even had a pool. We ate so much frosting.
I think the four of us were there for hours, building our houses and laughing as they all fell down at least once (or in Colin's case, like, five times). Dusty and I had gone to Target and bought everything to make them, and had basically sent them a text saying, we have the goods! You're coming over! 
One of the many reasons why we love Colinoria.

To top it all off, my friend Stephanie sent me this absolutely amazing handmade necklace of our two cats, Luna and Eva. (Check out her Etsy shop). I totally burst into tears when I opened up the package. It was the best early Christmas present ever!

Mid-December meant it was time for Christmas celebrations to commence!
Dusty and I always have our own little Christmas celebration (1st year2nd year), so we went ahead and had one right before Dusty's family came into town! We opened presents and went to ihop, because for some glorious reason, that's our little tradition. There's something delightful about crappy ihop coffee for the holidays. Mmmm.

We also had the best time going to see Frozen with Colinoria. They had Christmas crackers, which we had never heard of, but Colin has some British heritage and they've always been a fun tradition for them. Basically you each pull on the end (kind of like a thanksgiving wishbone -- the one with the bigger end gets the prize!), they shoot out confetti like a typical New Year's confetti popper, and inside there's some sort of gift! I got cuff links, and Dusty got a bookmark. They're pretty spectacular.
But the best part is that inside each one there's a shiny gold crown. So we put on our crowns and waltzed in to watch Frozen.

our "christmas" // favorite gifts // traditional christmas ihop
christmas crackers and frozen // the view of DC // the capitol
good stuff eatery // funny girls // sister bloopers // dusty and wyatt
the tidal basin // me and FDR // desserts from steak and shake // breakfast downtown

The rest of the month was family-tastic. Dusty's family flew into DC, so we went down there to spend the first few days of their visit in the nation's capital! We had a blast. We toured around and just enjoyed each other's company. There's so much to see in DC! Dusty and I had been there several times before, so mostly we just sat back and let his family take the lead.

Once we all got to Lynchburg, they settled into the house they were renting for the week, and we started showing them our city little bit by little bit! One of the first items on the docket was to show them downtown. We ate at Market at Main for breakfast, one of our favorites!

lavender lattes // at white hart // i object! at the law school // kissing over lynchburg
christmas eve service // christmas cat cards // sibling love // sibling bloopers
merry christmas morning to you // walking around rivermont

It was so fun having them in town. His parents had visited us before, but never around Christmas, and his siblings had never been here. They got to see our crazy Winter Wonderland apartment, too!

We showed them downtown Lynchburg, had them all experience White Hart and the famous lavender latte, gave them a tour of the law school (where we all got to sit and goof around in the courtroom -- shhh! don't tell!) and the rest of campus, including Snowflex, which overlooks the city of Lynchburg.

Because they rented a house for the week, we were all able to fit in one place! It was a blast. There were enough beds for all of us. We all went to church together for the Christmas Eve service, and then were able to celebrate a pajama-clad Christmas morning.
We continued sightseeing the next few days, as well, going around the Rivermont area and showing them some of the super cute shops and historic houses of the area.

We took them over to Hollins Mill Waterfall, which ended up being a really fun spot for our day of sightseeing! The waterfall is gorgeous, and it was such a cool crisp day that there were icicles all along the wall by the water. We all took photos and shivered in the cold!

hollins mill // waterfall // monticello // snow cones
jimmy's on the james // fried oreos & donuts // christmas photoshoot
downtown taco truck // tacos from taco shark
farmer's market puppy // d-day memorial // market at main

The next stop was Monticello, which is one of those must-sees of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson's home is so full of history and interest.
We've been there I think four times now, having been with all our family on each of their trips!
We also took everyone to Caribbean Snow for snow cones, because it's another must.

Dusty's brother and sister-in-law had to leave a little bit earlier that week, so our last big dinner out was just the six of us couples and little Wyatt! We took them to Jimmy's on the James for some yummy food and dessert.

While the whole family was still together we did a family photoshoot, and the pictures turned out so great. We all wore green and navy and grey, and some of the pictures of Dusty and I are some of my absolute favorites.

On their last full day in town we went downtown to show the fam the farmer's market, and we had lunch at the Taco Shark truck. Seriously some of the most delicious tacos I've ever had! One of mine was a winter butternut squash taco that pretty much changed my life. Taco Shark has been closed ever since then, trying to upgrade and redo their kitchen and whatnot, so this is the one and only time we've ever had them!

We finished our day at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, which is absolutely stunning. The surrounding mountain vistas are beautiful. They have a really great tour there, and I'm so glad we got to go!

We ate at Market at Main one last time before they left, and it was really hard to say goodbye, especially to Wyatt. They left from downtown to go back to DC, to spend a little more time in the city before hopping on their flight back to Arizona.

The tail end of the month was really exciting at work (as exciting as interlibrary loan can be!)
We were finally moving into the new building. We were going to have windows! This was a big event. It was oddly sad saying goodbye to the old closet room of an office, seeing my empty desk and bidding it forever adieu. It had been a good little corner of my world for a while. I remember first walking in there, and hoping they would pick me to work there!
The first few days at the new building there was no electricity in our office, but I still had to work. Don't ask me how, because nothing worked and I couldn't do any work, but I still had to be there. So, I sat on my desk, daydreamed, stared at the window, read books. It wasn't all that bad. No one else was there, since they all still had vacation time saved up.

On New Year's Eve, we headed back out to Salem to see Greg and Allison and celebrate the New Year and both of our anniversaries! They were married on New Year's Eve, and we were married on New Year's Day! So we hung the banner, clinked our glasses and hung out all night together.
We had fondue for dinner and dessert. Yum yum yum. Bread and cheese is always a great idea. For dessert Allison had prepared an amazing platter of things that go well dipped in chocolate, sweet and salty alike. I'm definitely thinking that fondue should be a NYE tradition. We need to get a fondue pot!
We set off confetti poppers (Dusty and Greg had a confetti popper war, really), we toasted, we laughed.
I had to work the next day, so we weren't able to spend the night, like we did over Thanksgiving. And since we didn't want to be driving past midnight, we decided to put on a NYE episode of Friends and do the big countdown with them! It was really fun.
This was our last big event with Greg and Allison before they told us they'd be headed back to Illinois. It really bookended the year and our extra bonus time with them!

empty old office // brand new office // sitting on my new desk
driving to salem // happy anniversary // new year's eve // allison and i
goofing off // nye fondue // cheers to the new year!

All this to say...December was a month for the books. It was such a great month, and going through my packed Instagram and trying to "summarize" it all was nearly impossible. I loved it. It was the perfect way to end a great year.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

november backlogs: thanksgiving

A while back I mentioned that our dear friends Greg and Allison had hugely surprised us by moving back to Virginia, after we had said our tearful goodbyes to them upon their graduation from law school the previous May. They were a year older than us, so we had been preparing for them to leave us eventually. 
They moved back to Illinois to be with their families...but now they were back! 
We helped them move in and get settled in their new town of Salem. It was a cute little town with a fun main street, and...they kind of hated it. 

Which brings me to the other thing I mentioned: that they are actually currently back in Illinois. They were actually only back in Virginia for 3 months before deciding to move home again. 
I won't get into too many details, but the point is, they missed us and decided to spend our last fall semester closer to us. I can't really blame them!

As Thanksgiving was drawing closer, we decided to spend the holiday together! They didn't have family coming in and neither did we, so we headed out to Salem on Wednesday night. They got a babysitter and we went and saw Catching Fire!
It had come out the week before, and we had all patiently waited to see it together. It was actually really cold and snowy that night (I remember because on the way into the theater, Dusty grabbed a snowball from a car's bumper and pelted it into my hair), and it was so fun to all bundle up into the theater and see the movie! We had seen Hunger Games together when it came out (we even had a party), so it was perfect.
The movie was awesome, by the way, one of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations ever!

We spent the night at their place and in the morning, it was time to celebrate!

Allison was a beast and actually made a full turkey, and it was gorgeous.

We watched Thanksgiving episodes of Friends, naturally, but mostly we ended up kind of centered in the kitchen (because it all smelled so darn good), helping and/or playing with their kids!

Once it was time to eat, we could all hardly control our glee.
Greg did the honors of carving the grand Turkey, and we all settled in for a long afternoon of eating, eating, eating. 

Also, side note: they make super adorable children. 

The menu:

Herb and Butter Turkey (hand gutted by Lady Allison)
Jalapeno Cheddar Stuffing
Grilled Parmesan Red Potatoes
Pecan-crusted Sweet Potatoes
Crescent rolls
Chocolate Pecan Pie

I mean, slap my arse and call me Judy. What a feast!

It was the best.
The holidays are such an intimate time, really, and usually reserved for family.
For me, all jokes aside, if they came back for only 3 months and the only benefit was us being able to spend Thanksgiving together, then...I truly am incredibly thankful for that.

(They had also recently celebrated Aidan's birthday, so his banner was still up!)

Greg and Dusty battled over the wishbone, and after trying 2 or 3 times (it was still too greasy), they finally were able to break it!

Another Schanaker victory!!! 

So so happy for that extra time and those memories! 
Thanks again for your wonderful friendship, you cutie pies.