ezra's birth story

I had imagined the day you would come for a while now. Naturally and beautifully. With a full head of hair and a calm spirit. A baby boy, (even though we didn't find out for sure until you were born) that I had been lovingly calling Ezzie for a while now when I would cradle my belly. Yet, nothing I could have imagined or can write into words now can pour enough light onto what we experienced that snowy night when you were born.

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I was 40 weeks when I had the first signs of labor that night. I started shaking with adrenaline and had mild contractions through the night. We thought you were coming the next day, a Monday. Your dad took off work and helped me work through contractions. No baby. I labored through Monday night. Every 13 minutes. Every 7 minutes. I would start breathing heavily and humming and your dad would wake up and press on my back. No baby. Tuesday, dad went to work. No contractions. No baby. Tuesday night I labored through the night again timing the contractions. Every 7 minutes. Every 12 minutes. No baby. This whole part for me was a blur and still is. The prodromal labor droned on. I thought it was never going to end and that I would labor without any relief. In vain. Without you at the end. I couldn't see you in it all. I hadn't met you yet, but you were coming. God just had a different plan.

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Day three of contractions, Wednesday, and still early labor signs. I pleaded with God that you would come that day. That He would sustain me and give me the strength to have the natural birth we prayed for after three sleepless nights of anticipation and my body contracting to maneuver you in the right spot. It was the day the snow started to fall and would continue to fall into the night as you were born into the world.

Our doula, Angela, came over that day around noon to try different exercises and positioning to progress labor. The contractions would ramp up and get closer together but then stop. It felt like a long chunk of time and I was getting tired. We called the midwife to tell her I was laboring but she could tell it wasn’t time. Angela suggested a nap so I went back to our room and cried out to God in desperation asking him to renew me and to restore my energy. I pictured the Psalm 23 God letting me rest, inviting me to the pasture and laying with me beside quiet waters as I calmly let the contractions come and go. I woke up refreshed and we decided to brew a cup of "labor day" tea (i.e. a highly concentrated red raspberry leaf tea. 20 bags to be exact). I drank 2 sips of the tea and almost immediately switched over to active labor. We called the hospital again. This time the OB answered and as he heard me work through contractions which were intense he said, “um yes, I think it’s definitely time to head to the hospital.” We were about a 10 minute drive but with the foot of snow it would take about 20 minutes.

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Your dad and Angela started packing the car and scraping off all the snow that had accumulated while I labored through contractions which had all the sudden become 4 minutes apart. I distinctly remember getting in the car and pulling out and the neighbors were leisurely walking in the middle of the road to sled. I remember saying out loud, “Don’t mind me I’m just in labor here!”

During the car ride, I had my most intense contractions so far and they were coming fast and not letting up. (We would later find out that I transitioned in the car to the last stage of dilation.) I remember putting my head on your daddy’s shoulder and my legs completely straight in my seat and screaming through them.

We arrived at the hospital around 6pm. Your dad dropped me off at the front of the hospital. Angela and I walked in as I was working through contractions and he met us with the bags. We got checked in and settled in our room but Cara, my favorite midwife, was with another patient. They asked if I wanted the OB to check me. At that point I just wanted comfort and familiarity so I wanted to wait for Cara. An hour or so later she came to check me. I didn’t want to know how far along I was in fear of being disappointed so I had her tell Angela quietly. She asked if I wanted an IV port and I said sure.

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Brett, our close (soon to be closer) friend and photographer showed up and was a comforting sight. Labor slowed down and they suggested I take a shower to reset around 9:30pm. Once I got in, I instantly felt refreshed and ready for the next stage. I asked your dad why they hadn’t come to put in an IV in and he said I was very far along. I asked how dilated and he informed me I showed up at the hospital at 9.5cm and was ready to push. *insert wide-eyed / anxious emoji here*

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Something in me switched and I was ready to meet you. I tried pushing in the shower. On the birthing stool. On the squat bar and nothing. No urge to push. I started to wear myself out willing my body to take over. My legs started to cramp. I got really tired and cold. I started to think I wouldn’t make it through pushing even with all the coconut water and peanut butter in the world. They started to worry I wouldn’t be able to sustain once real pushing started. Cara and Angela agreed that we needed to try something new. I had two options: get an IV with pitocin to make my contractions stronger and increase the urge to push or Cara would physically go in and coach me and tell me where to push. Cara knew how much I wanted to do it completely unmedicated. I think she knew it would motivate me. I said absolutely not to the pitocin, focused in on my contractions, and signed up for the second option without really knowing what I was getting myself into.

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The next hour and a half I would push productively with Cara’s attentive help and calm spirit.

I remember Angela saying “pressure is good.”

I remember the feeling of my body taking over and what a productive push felt like.

I remember the encouragement from your Dad that he could see the top of your head.

I remember Cara saying how much hair you had and if you were a girl we would need a bow. I knew you weren’t a girl.

I remember they brought the mirror to encourage me but I only saw how far I had to go.

I remember hearing the sounds coming from within me. Deep and loud and guttural.

I remember feeling like this was the hardest thing I had ever done.

I remember your dad saying that Cara was gowning up and they were bringing in the baby warmer.

I remember losing sight of you during pushing and forgetting there was life at the end of the suffering.

I remember hearing another warrior mama laboring in the other room and then hearing her screams stop as her baby was brought into the world and started to wail.

It brought me back to you. Soon I would see you and touch you and hold you and finally know you.

I remember resting in between those final contractions. Cara told me to keep my legs wide because you were right there. I would meet you soon.

I placed my hands on my unswollen belly that now felt so different because you had moved so far down to welcome your little body into the world.

I remember pulling my legs towards me, gripping hard on the back of my knees and flexing my feet.

I remember that final push. You slipping out of my body, forever on the outside now. Cara bringing you up to rest on my chest and being in shock as if I never really grasped that a baby would come out of this whole experience. That laboring and suffering would bring me you.

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You were here. You were beautiful and loud and looking right at me. You looked at me like you knew me. I asked your dad if you were a boy or a girl and he said, “a boy.” And I replied, “I knew you were Ezra.”

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(All hospital photos: Brett Seay)

petit saint vincent

Remember that trip we planned two years in advanced with Caleb's fam? Well, we finally got to go to that island this past November...*insert all the tropical emojis here*

twenty-six

It's true, I'm in my late twenties now.

Whatever that means.

25 was a year of change for us + sometimes I wish I could tell my one year younger self,

"hey, you are enough. your identity is not found in how much money you make or how clean your house is or what stuff you buy or how clear your skin is or even how "good" you are.

there's grace + you are your toughest (most of the time harshest) heckler. be kind to yourself. you are growing stronger. but remember that grace thing because you're not a perfect human, so stop trying to be."

So in a "hello, it's me" -but from the future- kind of style here's what I would remind myself of on those weeks that I struggled and cried and scraped through being a mid-twenties lady.

1/ Top knots + that white vneck will be your go-to. Forever + always. And no one cares or even notices if you wear makeup. Stop covering up + be yourself.

2/ You're going to have to go through a lot of Netflix movies to find those hidden gems everyone is always raving about. Usually on a four dud to one gem ratio. 

3/ You will get a substantial amount of new plant babies + they will flourish. 

4/ Steer clear of cilantro + shrimp. You are allergic. And don't encourage Caleb to eat that piece of chicken that fell out of his sandwich onto the ground - all of it was already covered with food poisoning bacterium anyway.

5/ You will read a book called Wild + Free that will stir + change your insides + the way you think about yourself.

6/ You will use emojis + then start to like them + your emoji game will be strong.

7/ You are a highly sensitive person + that is okay.

8/ You will quit a job + begin a new one. Be kind to yourself during this adjustment.

9/ Stay soft. It looks beautiful on you. -Nayyirah Waheed 

10/ You will attend a conference that will wreck you. Like a deep dive, ugly cry, sit-in-your-fear kind of wreck. But your eyes will open to God + hope + light + the cross. 

11/ You will never like Game of Thrones. Even if you hear about it over and over. And that is also okay.

12/ You will stumble upon your new favorite store + throw away all of your beauty products.

13/ You will discover your heart for fair labor + start changing your buying habits, realizing ethical fashion is less about the clothes + more about a conscious, intentional lifestyle. 

14/ You will travel to Maine + Indy + Boston via plane only to become more confident + independent in your traveling skills.

15/ You will start reading a trilogy only to realize that the third book doesn't come out until December 2016 + you will pitch a fit + vow to never read fictional trilogies again. But you will. 

16/ You will crush hard on One Direction only for them to break up so you will move onto Milk Carton Kids + The Lumineers + Volcano Choir + Coldplay + The National + that kid named Justin Bieber. 

17/ Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. It's in the eye of marketing + it's messed up. Be who you are because "the woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet" -Mohadesa Najumi

18/ You can cook things for yourself while Caleb is away. And your carbonara might be better than his. Just try it. 

19/ You will still have that longing for babies that you've always had + sometimes it hurts + sometimes you're content. But you can wait. Enjoy this moment.

20/ You'll save that stupid fiddle fig from a despicable yellow fungus in the winter that probably released all sorts of spores around your house. But it will have new growth in the spring + become your favorite. 

21/ You will deepen friendships + do life with people who encourage you + bake tedious birthday cakes for you because they get your flavor profile. (Earl grey cake with chocolate lavender frosting, i mean, come on.)

22/ Caleb will travel more + more to far away places. And it will suck for day one + day three the most but then it gets easier. And you, timid one, will slowly become more comfortable, putting away the stun gun/taser by your beside + your car keys on the nightstand. But keep the chairs under the door because, duh, safety. 

23/ You will finally start to feel strong + energized while working out. You have officially drank the kool-aid. 

24/ You'll discover that tailoring your clothes is like, the best thing ever + you will save a pair of pants + jean shorts from the landfill.

25/ You will discover ramen. Looking at you, Dashi + Momofuku, with heart eyes.

26/ The half up, half down top knot will come back into style but you know how to rock it because 1993 was your golden year. 

Stay resilient + confident. Be kind to those crazies at Whole Foods that you meet in the aisle or don't know how to wield a cart. Because you just don't know who is having a tough day + is still grieving Harry Styles cutting those luscious locks. 

dc - travel guide

We recently did a long weekend in DC + walked an almost-marathon worth of miles in 2 days. It was a bit cloudy + rainy + quite cold but it was the perfect little reset that we've been needing. Here is our curated list of favorites:

EAT

momofuku ccdc / kimchi, steamed pork buns + ramen is all you really need to make me happy. we made these reservations a month in advance, even before we booked a place to stay, which seems to be normal for us - food then lodging. it did not disappoint + made all my ramen dreams come true.

milk bar / swirl with crunch is the only way to go. it has both cereal milk flavor (made with cornflakes) + fruity cereal milk (made with fruity pebbles) with a salty, sweet mixture of crunched up cornflakes. you better believe I requested this for my birthday from chef caleb.

a baked joint / mayan black chai forever + ever. paired with nutella, banana, + Maldon salt toast + I could walk for days. also, the hippie crack yogurt is a must.

takorean / still dreaming about that bulgogi + lime crema

2amy's / best pizza of my life - margherita d.o.c with pepperoni. caleb said it was super similar to Italian pizza. also on the must-haves list: suppli a telefono + oven-roasted olives (fyi we took a bus here, as it is a little out of the city)

good stuff eatery / two farmhouse bacon cheese with spike's village fries topped with thyme, rosemary + sea salt with a toasted marshmallow shake on the side. yum.

sweet greens / this is like our whole foods away from home. the addiction started in boston + hasn't stopped since. keep moving south, please!

EXPLORE

so, almost three years ago we visited DC + did all the usual DC things. think monuments + museums. so this time we really wanted to explore deeper into the museum scene + explore some neighborhoods.

noma / this is the neighborhood our air bnb was located + it allowed us to walk everywhere. and I mean, like, 20,000 steps-in-one-day everywhere. it was a little seedy in parts but overall really cool with those iconic row houses.

renwick gallery / wonder exhibit / we actually planned our trip around the second floor of this museum closing. we had a 3 week window + made it happen. it was amazing + the pictures really don't do it justice. 

hirshhorn museum / easily my favorite museum with its curved walls + modern vibe. this exhibit was on perspective.

united states botanical garden / I don't need to tell you probably, but this was my breath-of-fresh-air-spirit-animal palace. so quiet + comforting. caleb says I'm secretly a plant - quiet, reserved, + secretly plotting to takeover.

I look really tired here, but I assure you I got my second introverted wind in this little oasis.

this is my version of rapunzel - let down your flowing cactus

union station / so much bigger than I thought it would be

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washington monument / so i know y'all know what this looks like so I'm only mentioning this here because karlie kloss (!!!) was in this same spot a day after me cruising around on a capital bikeshare bike because, duh, white house correspondents' dinner. this is for you, klossy.

georgetown / we took the subway here which is always an adventure. georgetown is a bit consumeristic + tourist-y but the school/castle was worth the trip

SHOP

follain / if you haven't heard me gush about follain yet then ask me. I love talking natural, healthy, clean skincare with anyone that will listen. It's such an important part of my everyday + I'll be doing a post on it soon!

union market / it is described as a hub of culinary creativity + it was just that + kind of amazing. we loved goshen fresh pressed juice, peregrine coffee, salt + sundry (cutest little shop that was beautifully curated), + of course, follain.

eastern market station / like a farmers market with those weird craft vendors but worth it + it's in a really cute neighboorhood so if nothing else you can pretend househunt

so, that's it. thanks for following along. I'll be making a springtime video of all of our adventures at the end of may + dc will be one of the main highlights. 

thanks dc for being so close, keeping us adventurous, toning our legs, + keeping our tastebuds delighted with new, exciting food.

weekend herbs

this weekend we got so many things checked off our fun list + not-so-fun list. here's a little peek into our restful off-days.

I cannot get enough of this little gem - pine state flowers. I bought two little cactus twins + an air plant. as you can see, I wanted all the plants.

"I want that one + that one. oh, + that one. oh man caleb, that one wants to come + live with us. look cabe, it doesn't have a home. I have the perfect spot for you little plant." (this could also be applied to stray cats in the neighborhood)

after that we ventured to raleigh because I still have not found anything that compares to logan's one stop garden shop.

we also stopped by standard foods where I resisted cheese straws + salt + vinegar chips. popped into lumina for all of caleb's menswear dreams. and sniffed in yellow dog bread company.

and sunday, we grocery shopped, worked in the yard + planted. ya know, just casual homeowner things. I planted some ferns + herbs while caleb sawed/chiseled a hole into our deck ledge that he so lovingly built with his bare hands to make all my herb garden dreams come true.

side note: I have 3 little buds on my peony plant + my summer bulbs are busting through the mulch. holla, plant mama 2.0 over here - moving on to conquer outdoor foliage! *insert flexing arm emoji*

if we aren't overcome with wisteria by the end of spring I will consider it a springtime win. 

whew, what a weekend. add in some walks, a dashi triple date, rooftop drinks, outdoor lighting, tears over the yard guy weed-eating the becomings of my salvia plants, + homemade pizza to make it better.

spring declaration

A little late to post this but here's our Spring Declaration list for March, April + May!

1/ celebrate abbey turning 26

2/ explore the nasher museum of art

3/ attend a third friday

4/ make homemade margaritas or bloody mary's

5/ go on a dashi triple date with our people

6/ devour some maple view farm ice cream

7/ try a raw food + juice bar

8/ attempt to fly kites

9/ enjoy the rooftop at the durham hotel

10/ visit a lavender farm

11/ walk around the carrboro bazaar

12/ string lights on the deck

13/ plant bulbs in the front of our house (working on that curb appeal)

14/ plan a mini-trip

15/ try three new restaurants

16/ document via video

 

a travel guide: boston

Even though I was only there for three days, one of which was rainy + rather brisk, Boston had so much to offer + I'm so glad it was on our adventure list.

The people. The architecture. The brisk walks. That chocolate chip cannolo (side note: we know our Italian over here). Here were some of our favorite things.

EAT

Bakery + Cafe / Tatte on Charles Street / easily my favorite spot, the museli, fresh salad with goat cheese + black sesame seeds, lamb meatball sandwich. 3/9 meals here - check. twice in one day - check

Refuel / Forge Baking Company / great place to warm up when you're touring Harvard, chocolate croissant, artsy space.

Doughnuts / Blackbird Doughnuts / I will say that nothing tops Blue Star Donuts in Portland but we always doughnut where ever we go. vanilla glaze + chocolate sprinkle. yeast only.

Modern Italian / Carmelinas in North End / caprese special, carbonara, baked 4 mushroom rigatoni + red wine for days

Dessert / Mike's Pastry / there is no other. one chocolate chip cannolo + one espresso cannolo to-go

Fresh / Sweet Greens / if you're like us + always overeat on trips. this is the place for a good grain bowl + jasmine green tea. 

SHOP

Follain / my favorite store. clean, effective skincare with non-toxic, natural ingredients made in the US. I spent a large part of my time (+ money) here. knowledgeable, non-pretentious staff that I felt like were my best of friends giving me beauty advice in my bathroom by the end of it.

side note: I could write a whole post about this but the US has very shady "regulations" when it comes to beauty products and most of them contain toxic chemicals (think formaldehyde + synthetic preservatives and fragrances) . some ingredients don't even have to be listed.  i have scoured our personal health items at home + threw away almost everything. even the products that claimed to be "natural" and "organic" If you want more info, I started with Follain's restricted ingredients list + then dove into the EWG's cosmetic database

Niche / plants + things for them to go in

EXPLORE

Harvard /

Beacon Hill / 

Brattle Book Shop / 

Boston Public Library / 

Isabella Gardner Museum / i wanted to live here or figure out to get a Venetian courtyard into our house

We love ya, Boston. Thanks for having a fluffy king bed, easy walking routes, people + their stories, life changing whipped yogurt, and those cannoli.

 

Asheville

Last weekend, Caleb planned a secret getaway trip for two to Asheville. Here's a little video of our day and a half spent there. 

We stayed in the coziest air bnb in West Asheville that was a converted garage which turned out to be the cutest neighborhood. We walked to dinner Friday night to The Admiral. Just to give you a little taste, Caleb had foie gras with nutella that earned lots of thumbs up emojis.

Breakfast in the AM: Taco Billy with coffee and chai from Clingman Cafe.

Walked around downtown + Grove Arcade + toured The Church of Saint Lawrence.

Lunched at Green Sage Cafe where we had cold pressed juice + I had my first ginger chai shake. Chai + coconut milk ice cream + unsweetened coconut milk + ginger syrup - I'm in. 

Walked around the River Arts District (RAD) and found all those colorful walls.

Such a fun, much-needed breath of fresh mountain air.

Also, I'm going to learn to play the forks + washboard like that girl. I've already got the singing voice, duh.

little love

As a nanny, I show my love in unconventional ways.

Like making popcorn for snack + hiding a few chocolate chips in there. Or finding that lone sock, pairing it with it's friend + sticking it in the drawer. Or going to get Mr. Owl from the freezer when there is a fall or bump or even, yes, a scary sound.

These things may seem trivial. But they matter. They don't go unnoticed by those little people. They trust me. They rely on me. And that's pretty special.

Here's how to express your love so that even the smallest person can understand:

I love you more than extra ipad time.

You're as sweet as craisins.

I love you like the cream in an oreo. Or just the cookie. (depending on how we're feeling that day)

You're the nutella to my sandwich or spoon.

I love you more than dragons love tacos.

I love you more than buttered pasta.

You're the Clover to my Sofia. (Sofia the First reference, duh)

I love you more than frozen chicken nuggets for dinner.

I love you more than the breakfast place. (aka Whole Foods)

I love you more than cheesy eggs. (found at said breakfast place) 

I love you more than P loves her tap shoes.

I love you more than all the toys you fight over that I have to put on top of the refrigerator.

You're as cute as a Shopkin. 

I love you more than all those flattened museum pennies you've lost in the couch.

You're the cheese to my pepperoni. (shredded cheese + cold pepperoni, never on a hot pizza)

I love you more than eating + snack time + what's for dinner. (since we're sticking with the food theme)

All of these + then some more feelings added on top. Because let's be honest, I love you to the moon + back is overrated.

 

instagram-less

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." -J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I'm taking a break from Instagram. I didn't intend to do this. I've never felt like I needed to step away - until now.

What am I actually investing my time in on Instagram? Someone else's life. Someone else's words. Someone else's inspiration.

Not my own thoughts. Not my own moments.

It's slowly turned into this.

//

So far, it's not hard. So far, I feel liberated. And it's weird. 

I was kind of drawn and addicted to it somehow. It made me anxious. 

//

I want to be liked, just like everyone else. But maybe for me, it's a little too much.  

I hate mindlessly scrolling. But I fear I'll miss out.

Miss out on someone else's life. Someone else's dream. Someone else's goal.

//

I don't want a life that has been overspent with other people's little details and coveted moments. Noise.

//

I'm trying for February. The whole month. Depriving myself of the social life line that is Instagram. I'll let you know how it goes once I come out of it.

Thanks for the pep talk. I needed the sanity.

as of late

here's a little bit of our life as of late

SHE

as of late I've been mastering my geography skills, like 7th grade style, but with an app rather than an atlas. and you guys, it's hard. so far I can locate all the countries in Asia + half of the countries in Europe. you're probably thinking, wait don't you know North America too? + with that I'll leave you to locate Sint Eustatius.

as of late I'm off of added sugar until February 1 so we've been doing a lot of this healthy peanut butter fudge minus the honey. it is by far my favorite treat, aside from dark chocolate chunks.

as of late Everlane reposted a picture of mine on their Instagram of Caleb + I working from home on the snow day in our most cozy Everlane sweatshirts and I freaked! total #lifegoals status achieved. it's been a little crazy over here. so, hey, new friends. *wave emoji*

HE

as of late the wood shop downstairs has been bustling with action. caleb's been making a coffee table for our friend + drawer dividers for us because, duh. #organizationgoals

as of late he's been trying one new recipe a week, whether it be inspired from a favorite restaurant like Death + Taxes or from our favorite recipe sites, America's Test Kitchen + Food 52

as of late he's been drinking beer (Dale's Pale Ale) from a can because he says there is just something about those snow days. noted.

WE

as of late the fourth Jonas brother wrecked our roads but we had an introvert party for three days and got on each others nerves thoroughly #snowdays. + the kids I nanny for are never going back to school. so that's good.

as of late we've picked our next US trip which will be in April + our big 5 year trip! the picture above, of all the tiny slips of paper, is how we picked our big five year trip. there were five places + each of us had 15 votes

as of late we've been watching football because yes, we're bandwagon fans + go panthers! 

snow daze

We hear it's going to be doing a little bit of this tomorrow. *insert snow flake emojis in abundance* 

Last year's snow lady is going to be hard to beat.

And just for fun, things I'm grateful for today:

1/ wearing puffy jackets and blanket scarves

2/ having only ONE more payment *party popper emoji* on those life-sucking things they call student loans

3/ working with like-minded creatives to do something awesome

Happy almost-Friday!

MAINE

This is a bit overdue but here is our travel video from Maine.

It was salty + sea-y + we were transfixed with those blue hues. I had no idea the east coast could look like that. It's something about the sea that always brings us back. But to be honest, the lobster makes us stay.

PS I'll be back at this in March + blogging more frequently here. I'm shaking it up a little bit with the job situation and saying "no" to things that aren't rewarding and choosing essential things that fire me up. #lifegoals

We're saying "no" to our own security + comfort in money and trusting God's provision. Which opens me up to doing more things I love + can be creative with + am meant to do.

what to do in acadia national park

We visited Acadia on National Public Lands Day which means free entry, no cars until noon + the tourists come in droves. It was the perfect day for hiking + exploring. So we bought our topographical map (like a true Osborne) and hopped on a bus in Bar Harbor.

More pictures + less words so prepare your wanderlust.

SANDS BEACH

THUNDER HOLE

This is my what in the world are those people doing face. I have zero tolerance for tourists who are aimlessly wandering + disregard the line already formed at the bus stop. I'm working on my patience. But really.

JORDAN POND PATH

This little chipmunk was just asking for his picture to be taken. We named him Martin after Martin Luther, of course.

See that double "mountain". We hiked up there. But more like rock climbed our way to the top. 

SOUTH BUBBLE HIKE

Just so you know strenuous 0.4 mile hike really means rock climb, shimmy, + heavily breathe your way to the top at your own risk. Acadia does not use the word "strenuous" lightly. 

I'm proud of us. But we can for sure say that it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. Hooray for traveling in our 20s!

This was our view at the top. Totally worth it.

And this was my face. Victory is ours.

And then I was done.

But then we remembered we just conquered this mountain. And that rocks are not very good tripods.

And that we survived + still liked each other.

Yay, Acadia we still love you even if you led us astray. I really wish you could see the view off the side of the mountain. I'm talking 90 degree angle kind of climbing. We were the lone travelers atop the mountain. That should clue you in a little.

CADILLAC MOUNTAIN

Coming soon: A Maine video of everything we saw but to hold you over here's a video from our trip to the other Portland

a travel guide to bar harbor, maine

After our sailing excursion, we went up the coast to Sullivan, Maine where our air bnb was located. This spot was about 45-ish minutes from Bar Harbor but totally worth it seeing as it was located ON Frenchman's Bay.

The tide was low so we walked out on the murky bottom with the seaweed + the light was unreal. Heart eyes don't even begin to describe this view + that salty air.

Exhibit A

That's just Acadia National Park in the distance calling our names.

This picture, we joke, is Caleb's model photo or either his best attempt at @liveauthenticken. But really, this is my ideal outfit.

And then we did some self-timing magic with a rock as our tripod. I couldn't choose so here are some #truelove photos (insert kissy face emoji here).

Bar Harbor is the downtown scene for Mountain Desert Island which is where Acadia National Park is located. Here are a few of our favorite gems from our time spent there.

EAT

Morning Glory Bakery / we were lame + got bagels because it was 8am but their sweets looked delectable.

Thrive Juice Bar + Kitchen / we popped in here after walking, hiking and scaling rock walls in Acadia so our bodies were craving salad goodness. we both inhaled our choice of greens and shared a chai almond protein smoothie. also their energy balls are the best.

Side Street Cafe / lobster mac and cheese + clam chowder. this is what we looked forward to the whole trip. more lobster, please.

McKay's Public House / dreamy outdoor garden, shepherds' pie, brie + pear toast

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream / pumpkin spice + other fun flavors we ignored. only eyes for pumpkin with that crisp weather

REFUEL

Matsumoto Joe / hand made chai and espresso with little Asian snacks like pocky + dried squid. and the best sausage, apple, brie hand pie.

This was our morning view when we woke up ready to adventure to Acadia. So quiet. 

Bundled describes my outfit of choice while in Maine.

Our favorite hikes, spots + places to be weary of, such as the most strenuous hike/rock climb we've ever attempted, will be up on the blog next!

sailing: camden, maine

After our two day stay in Portland, Maine we traveled up the coast to Camden to go sailing! This town is the cutest. And, bonus points! because we missed the tourists.

We sailed on the Olad schooner onto the Penobscot Bay + it was magical + a bit chilly. Like five-layer-still-cold chilly. But magical.

We motored out onto to the bay + then Caleb helped hoist one of the sails because he has muscles. 

Sail officially hoisted!

I have never been sailing before + if I got sea sick my sea sick bands worked like a charm. Caleb, however, is a pro spending 3 nights on the Lewis R. French (pictured below) like ten years ago with his family.

Hey, large schooner.

As you could see we were quite cold + needed warm beverages + food. Lobster to be exact.

EAT

Harbor Dogs / fish tacos + the lobster roll were super fresh. obviously.

Boynton McKay / for coffee + hot chocolate + doughnuts. oh and we got a moxie which is apparently a maine thing and you either love it or extremely dislike it. it had a very medicinal taste but more like clove root beer which was a win for us.

SHOP

Camden has a lot of cute little shops to peek into.  A lot of tourist-y kind of things + speciality shops. My favorite was the Lavender Store because I'm obsessed + needed a travel sized hand lotion.

We grabbed a coffee for the road + headed up the coast to our little air bnb on Frenchman's bay, a little trek from Bar Harbor, which is the next travel guide! Spoiler alert: pumpkin ice cream, coffee and more lobster were consumed.

a travel guide to portland, maine

Travel for us is a time to reset + refocus. Refocus on each other + our goals + what is important to us. Those life essentials. Those deep soul talks. 

Maine was all that and then some. We were able to escape + explore + be swept up by the sea + God's landscape. It was breath-taking. And a bit chilly + I want to live there. Okay, okay getting way too excited.

I've curated a list of our favorites from our two days in Portland, Maine for a little travel guide.

STAY / Mercury Inn / basically this part is a love letter to our little room at the most cozy + quaint inn

Three words: minimal, personal and sustainable. My three love languages. And that Herman Miller chair. Heart eyes. Oh, + that seasoned traveler. Double heart eyes.

Community breakfast at its finest. Garlic grits, frittata + homemade greek yogurt with maple syrup. Because we were living the northeast life.

Room two we love you + we will be back.

EAT

Local Sprouts Cafe / fresh co-op, chicken salad goodness, Maine Root blueberry soda

Thai / Boda / lobster chips, fried quail eggs, beef skewers, mussels in coconut curry broth, pad thai with glass noodles in the most beautiful egg omelet presentation, thai iced tea + coconut mousse to top it off

Burrito Bar / Ocho Burrito / moroccan + the classic with pork + guac equals heaven

Refuel / Speckled Ax / the strongest iced coffee to my knowledge + the coolest coffee tees that I regret not impulse buying

Oysters / Eventide Oyster Co. / oyster brine martini (what?!), tomato salada dozen oysters with spicy kimchi ice + red onion ice, lobster green curry coconut stew (double what!?), brown butter lobster roll with steamed bun

Dessert / Duckfat / creme anglaise milkshake + cinnamon citrus doughnut holes with caramel dipping sauce. 

SHOP

The Merchant Co. / for all the eco-conscious homewares + funny cards

Pinecone + Chickadee / for the kitschy stuff

Portland Dry Goods Co. / for all the expensive clothes + shoes you wished you had

More + Co. / for all the cute wooden kids toys + the best recommendations from a local

EXPLORE

Downtown Portland / is really pretty to walk around + you are sure to meet some characters along the way.

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Cape Elizabeth / this spot won me over, for real. don't forget your wind breakers!

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse / that hazardous footing is longer than it looks but worth the view. 

Eastern Promenade / for those sailboat #lifegoals 

Urban Farm Fermentory / kombucha, cider + mead all wrapped into the ultimate hipster package. I would go back for that sour mead + blueberry kombucha.

Whew. Nearly 27,000 of pavement stomped in two days, according to the Fitbit, a personal record.

Next up, we traveled up the coast to Camden, ME and did some schooner-ing! Stay tuned!

(p.s. all opinions are my own + I am not being compensated for my post).

last weekend 9.19

Lately, we've been busy. The good kind of busy. The exhausted kind of busy. But still good. Here are a few of our highlights from our weekend.

We're in that season for opening the windows + it is glorious. My plants + I are very happy. 

The deck build has commenced. This is what our Saturday looked like (and by "our" I mean Caleb's). Something like 400 pounds of concrete in this picture.

I should mention that all of the things pictured here fit into Caleb's Passat wagon. You know those stop motion videos of all the things fitting into one lone backpack #wellpacked. Impressive, right? Well prepare to be amazed. 

400 pounds of concrete. Check. A wheel barrow. Check. A shovel. Check. A post hole digger. Check. Those cardboard tube things. Check.

Who needs a truck when you have a dad mobile!? Cruisin' (insert car emoji followed by that weird gust of air emoji here)

The plants to the left of the concrete patio were taken out + will eventually be our wooden deck's new home! Also do you like the greenery I planted in between the cracks of those stairs? Me too.

One of our favorite things these past couple of months have been walking around Duke's East Campus at night. I have the Fitbit to thank for this new found love of walking because the world will end if I don't get those 10,000 steps in. 

As the weather gets cooler, I hope it doesn't deter us from walking. I plan to go until my down puff jacket is proven useless.

I also get to heart eye at my favorite house in Durham on our walks. This one. Black + white + brick. Swoon.

And of course, we were somewhat productive in planning our trip to Maine! Portland to Camden to Bar Harbor with a focus on lobster. 

We are going to the tip top of the country. Like the last state before Canada! You're welcome for pointing that out those of you who are geographically lacking, like me.

Our little cube man says, "Yay for the weekend + Maine."

Now, off to pack warm clothes, draft blog posts + load up on the zinc (I see youcold + flu season).

our weekend in iphone pictures

We crossed some things off our fall declaration list this weekend! We also went sans Olympus camera (I had withdrawals) either because we wanted to be hands free for power walking to the football game or flash photography/video recording wasn't allowed. So here is our wrap up in iphone pictures. 

We've been making homemade lattes as of late + they are my gateway into the more hard stuff i.e. black coffee.

Saturday we went to the Duke football game with our friends. Yay, sports! Somehow we missed the scattered thunderstorms + the sunset looked like this.

Our new office is my new favorite place. Must have desk items for high productivity include: a candle, a latte, a plant friend, pen + paper.

And the highlight of our weekend: The Milk Carton Kids. I can't even express how much we loved this show. The humor. The revolutionary guitar skills. The revelation of Joey having the high harmony. The people that make up an NPR crowd. The simplicity. 

Caleb said he fell in love with music again at this show. I've listened to the album a bazillion times reliving the concert + all those feelz.

Not pictured: runaway goat in our yard bleating and running from strangers. It was quite the ruckus in our little back woods neighborhood. And it was just like that video with all the goats shouting like humansJust like it.

Hope you're having a happy + productive week! 

The Dog Days Are Over

As summer comes to a close, even though that blazing heat (i.e. the dog days) lingers, we must put away the Birkenstocks and those favorite faded denim shorts. But let's review all of those summer declarations we conquered!

/ATE/

S'mores. Check.

Food Truck Rodeo. Check.

Grill out on the patio. Check.

Eat sweet things for celebrations + life stages. Check.

/HOSTED/

So, the cookout didn't happen but an ice cream social did. Not the same but maybe even better. I'm going to say check.

/EXPLORED/

The mountains, the ocean, 2 lakes, a lighthouse, the capitol, + a river.

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/IMPROVED/

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The white floors are still magical + A LOT of upkeep but I don't mind. 

We finished the guest room + hung some pictures so it looked like real humans with faces live here.

/DOCUMENTED/

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Shoutout and thanks to our little Olympus camera + the travel bug + our friends.