Author Archives: Caroline

The Stairwell – Before & After

Hallway Before 2

It’s been a while since I posted any updates on our home renovation, which is just silly, since we have had some major changes. Probably none are more noticeable than this stairwell, and the hallways connecting to it. See that wallpaper? That has been in this house my entire life. All 29 years of it. This wallpaper has been the defining aspect of my Grandmother’s house, which in essence, meant this house has never felt like mine as long as it’s been up. While it was time for it to go, our home will now be lacking its signature conversation piece, because EVERYONE had an opinion of it. Some loved it and positively begged us to keep it up, while others could could barely stand to look at it. I’ve learned that this is how a lot of decor works, which is why you should never worry about what other people think – someone will always hate it, so just worry about yourself.

Hallway Before

Hallway Before 3

The original goal was for us remove the carpet & wallpaper, then paint from floor to ceiling and refinish the hardwood floors hiding underneath – all by ourselves. This will now be known as the great marital experiment, “let’s really see how close we can get to killing each other before finally stepping over the edge.” Our first attempt at taking down the wallpaper (a whole two hours) marked the moment that I firmly declared that this DIY stuff was for the birds and I would be happier taking a second job at McDonald’s to pay for someone to do the work rather than continue myself. I later stated that I would also be happy to pay for someone to paint rather than have Chase continue it, because let’s just say, he is not my favorite person when he’s been painting all day. Continue Reading →

Introducing: Hendersonville Yard Sales page (HSY)

YOU. GUYS. I belong to this group on Facebook called “Hendersonville Yard Sales,” (HSY) which is basically like Craigslist for our small town (we’re too small to have an actual Craigslist page – true story). Here’s the thing, if you’ve ever searched through Craigslist, you know that typically there are some bizarre ads up there, not to mention atrocious spelling & grammar, and sometimes you wonder, “what kind of people respond to these?” The beauty of a Facebook page, is that you can actually see these people. You can read every comment, you can see photos of every person posting, which makes this the most entertaining thing to come out of Facebook. Ever. Every struggle I have ever gone through in this move was worth it, since it all led me to join this page. Where I can see gems like this:

Puppy ransom

Is this guy selling a puppy or holding it ransom? By the way – NOT ONE of the ELEVEN comments referenced the fact that this photo looks like a terrorist situation. Unless it is a terrorist hold-up, in which case I probably shouldn’t be making fun of it on the internet. Except that if all you’ve got as a hostage is a puppy, you’re probably doing it wrong. OR – someone caught up to the fact that while no one cares when a person dies in a movie, they ALWAYS freak out when the dog dies. So maybe this guy is actually a genius. But for now, I’m gonna go with “probably not” on that one.

BTW – you can try to join the page, but there’s a wait list. Yeah, exactly. Screw your big-city clubs, this is the place everyone actually wants to be.

Risotto with Roasted Asparagus and Poached Egg

Asparagus Risotto

As a kid, I had major issues about my foods touching each other. As in, everything-has-its-own-spot-on-my-plate-and-if-they-touch-even-slightly-I-will-cry, kind of issues. In hindsight, my parents could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they had just served me each item on a separate plate altogether; there would have been far less meltdowns at our dinner table.

As an adult, however, I’m a lover of meals served in bowls, with ingredients layered over top of each other, and I find myself making bowl-friendly meals more often than not. Soups are restricted no more than twice a week, or my husband will begin to complain, as he is more of a knife-and-fork meals kind of guy. When I can’t have soup, one-pot meals are a favorite, as are casseroles that can be scooped into bowls, with spoons and forks serving as equally qualified options for eating.

When I’m feeling slightly more ambitius, dinner will look something like this. It starts with a base, something creamy like a basic risotto, or you could go with polenta as well. Top it with vegetables, preferably some that have been roasted to the point of browned crispiness, aka, the best possible way to eat them. (To date, I have not yet found a vegetable that I don’t love after it’s been roasted in the oven and comes out with crispy edges.) The key to finishing off any bowl is to top it with a poached egg. Always. There are few foods that aren’t made better by the broken yolk mixed in. These are just facts people. Continue Reading →

Lame omens

This isn’t a real post. It’s more of an announcement that the internet has officially made me feel old. Did you hear that internet? You win, so slap yourself some high-fives and lay off for a while. See, I’m 29. 2-9.  I still proudly tell people that I’m “in my twenties,” when in every other way I relate more to people in their 30s. Case in point: As an attempt to avoid actual work last week, I looked at this link:

30 Hashtags Every Thirtysomething Actually Needs

And I was like, this post is speaking to me (except the being single stuff. Thank god I accomplished something society asked of me. That thing about turning down music? True story.) Then I looked at this link:

20 Hashtags Every Twentysomething Actually Needs

And I realized – I cannot relate to any of these anymore. I have vague recollections of what it must have felt like to be this person, but now she’s gone. (Side note – I’m sure there’s a much sadder conclusion to be drawn about me judging my life stage by BuzzFeed lists, but let’s just let is slide for now.)

Also – THIS. THIS is when I realize I’m older than I ever imagined. Continue Reading →

Spiced Apple Butter

Apple Butter

For anyone that knows me from my time at A Cozy Kitchen, you may remember when I first attempted apple butter. Let’s just say, that post was one long rant about how apple butter was without a doubt the most difficult thing I had ever made, and that while it was delicious I had no intention of ever making it again. I handed out the those first few jars to family members at Christmas members by saying, “Hope you enjoy this, I’m never making it again.” And then they all said it was wonderful and would I please make more and I was like, “No chance in hell.”

Fast forward 5 years later, and in the same way that most women forget the pains of childbirth so that they can procreate once again, I got it in my head that I would attempt apple butter once again. I rationalized that perhaps it was my tiny kitchen in LA that made the process of stirring the mixture for 2 hours so difficult, and things would surely be different in my current, roomier cooking space. This doesn’t actually make any sense so please don’t think on that logic for too long. Also, Chase’s dad LOVES this stuff and has done all this work on our house for free, so I figured the least I could do is stir some pureed apples for an afternoon. And hey, I could hand out the jars at Christmas and everyone would love them and look forward to my apple butter every year. What could go wrong?

Well, it’s now well past Christmas, and of the 20 jars that I made, about 15 are still in my kitchen. Why, you ask? Because that shit is every bit as hard to make as I remember (and every bit as delicious), and I have no intention of creating a demand for it. So I’m rationing it out slowly and sporadically, and completely downplaying that I had a hand in making it.

All I’m saying, is this stuff is really good. And if you have an afternoon that you would like to devote to standing over a stove and stirring until your arms feel like butter, then knock yourself out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Fall Apples Continue Reading →

First Signs of Spring

Forsythia Tulips 2

Forsythia 2 Tulips

There are few sights more welcomed than those first forsythia buds struggling to bloom, or the green tulip leaves peaking out from the remnants of last year’s garden. It means the end is near, that is, the end of a depressing, soul-sapping winter and the start of a warm, joyous Spring. Someone make sure Mother Nature got the memo. That woman is forgetful.

Embracing the imperfection

If there is anything I’m tired of hearing myself say, it’s “Sorry I haven’t called/texted/remembered your birthday/been a decent friend, I’ve just been really busy.” Which is unfortunate, since it has become my personal mantra the last few months. I find myself constantly looking forward to “next week” like a beacon of hope, as though all I need to do is get through to the next few days and then I’ll have time to get organized/make a meal plan/return phone calls/write blog posts/look like I have my shit together. I have been waiting on this magical “next week” is since last fall, and it has stood me up like a bad date.

This video may have come at the perfect time, and made me realize that instead of resisting the constant, unending flow of life, perhaps it’s time I started to embrace it. I may never be the person who keeps her kitchen spotlessly clean at all times, or has all her meals planned out weeks in advance with a corresponding grocery list, and I am almost certainly going to be late with a few more birthday gifts. But maybe it’s in the pursuit of this unattainable goals that I can find my best self, even if it is less than perfect. And that may be just fine after all.

The Last Battle

Snow

“Where do you think we should bury her?”

This was not the question I was expecting to ask Chase two weeks ago, when we drove Honey home from the emergency vet’s office. She was still alive and breathing in the back seat, but just barely, and the writing was on the wall of the decision that faced us. We could have already decided to call her life quits back at the vet, but neither of us could stomach her last moments taking place in a vet’s office, where she was most likely confused, panicked, and wanting nothing more than to go home. So we drove her home, tears streaming down our face. Chase and I sat on the floor, petting Honey while she took a nap, and Henry called our regular vet to make an appointment for that afternoon.

Henry left, letting us know that the appointment was 2 hours away. Chase and I lay on either side of our beloved friend, petting her softly while she slept. We cried and held each other’s hands, and then 2 hours later we lifted her, dog bed and all, and carried her to the car. Honey slept peacefully while we drove. Chase parked the car in a sunny spot at the vet’s parking lot, and I sat with her while he let them know we were here. I had insisted that she not be brought inside the vet’s office, since it would only cause her to panic, and so they agreed to come out to the car. When I saw our vet, a kind and gentle man, begin to walk toward the car, my heart filled with a panic I have never known in my life, and continued while he tried to find a vein in her dehydrated, depleted body. This man was going to kill my dog, my friend, and it seemed inconceivable that my job was to simply sit by and watch it happen. For the benefit of her state of mind, I managed to keep it together and reassured Honey with a constant chant of, “Good girl, good dog,” until he had checked her heart and told me she was gone. The memories are vague from there, but I know that I wailed and cried like I cannot ever remember doing, and I hope that it is a long time, forever even, before I see my husband in the state he was in for the next few days. People told me it would be hard, but in the moment I felt wholly unprepared for the loss of our dog. Continue Reading →

Step away from the Twitter

This is not a real post. I swear I have one coming, but I saw this add for Hootsuite pop up in my Facebook feed and was like, “Someone else has to witness this.”

Hootsuite

Let’s just get something straight: if all of your socializing is happening on an iPad and the only friend you have to laugh at your jokes in real life is the dog, you need to: Put. That. Shit. Down. Go outside and talk to a real, live person. To their face.

News flash to advertisers: Depicting someone having a great time with their dog while using your product only works if your product is a frisbee. If your product is meant to better your connection to other people, it should have, I dunno, other people in the ad.

If I had to invite either the girl or the dog to my next party, it would definitely be the dog. At least he has the good sense to be bored by all that shit happening on the screen.

Introducing: Stella

photo(10)

We got a new puppy last month. And no, before you ask, “Santa” did not bring us a puppy. Facebook got us a puppy, in that someone in a group I belong to posted that they needed to get rid of her, and they attached an irresistibly cute photo, and I had an out-of-body experience and commented on the photo, and when I came to, the actual dog was in my house, peeing on the floor.

She came to us with the name Bella, but we quickly re-named her Stella. As one of our friends put it, her name is far superior now that it is after a beer and not a Twilight character.

The number one question that people ask us is how Honey has been handling having a puppy around. I can’t think of a better response than this video: