The Next Step

The days of my two little bugs walking independently, running, and cartwheeling through life are seemingly minutes away. Both Henry and Emily surprise me and Sean daily at how quickly their balance improves, how fearless they are, and how joyful they become with every new discovery. It’s truly an honor to watch these two souls grow.

Continue reading The Next Step

Review: StudiOne’s Fit Camp {from home}

So remember when I told y’all about that 12 week remote fit camp that I signed up for in Feb? Here’s that original post: Fit Camp! {from home}. Well…I DID IT! I completely loved it, needed it, and desperately want it back in my life again. It was the first time in far too long that I felt like I got my strength back, and then some.

Continue reading Review: StudiOne’s Fit Camp {from home}

Review: Juniper

For our 2nd wedding anniversary, Sean and I decided to dine in (I made THIS: Bourbon Glazed Salmon) but a few days before we also celebrated with a nice dinner out on the town at Juniper in downtown Tulsa. Fantastic experience. I’d like to rave about our evening there for a jiffy. Even if you don’t live in Oklahoma, it hopefully provides a nice window into how on-point Tulsa’s culinary scene is.

Juniper

On my OpenTable online reservation I added a comment to share that it was our anniversary. I wasn’t sure if anyone would notice – sometimes restaurants appear too busy for that sort of thing.

Sean and I arrived around 8pm and were greeted at the front desk with a delightful “Happy Anniversary!” wished by Juniper’s owner, Chef Justin Thompson. Way to make us feel welcome, Chef – thank you so much! That set the mood for our evening beautifully. We ordered the pan fried sweetbreads for our appetizer; a dish that was a bit of a daring culinary adventure as neither of us ever tried sweetbreads before.

While we waited for our 1st course, Sean adorably decided to embarrass me by putting his napkin on top of his head. Very normal dining scene for us. He was successful in embarrassing me, by the way – I blushed and quickly looked around the room, nervously giggling as I saw diners looking our way.

“Mmhmmhmhm….sean……SEAN. Seriously. You’re adorable, but please take the napkin off your head. People are looking, and… I love you.” 🙂

SweetbreadsWe were really impressed with our appetizer (pictured on right). The sweetbreads were pan friend in a sage brown butter (helloooo…) and placed on top of a brilliantly seasoned butternut squash puree, accompanied by crispy kale and hazelnuts. It was a fabulous wintery dish that gave one last nod to autumn cuisine.

Our entree stopped us in conversation. Everything was perfect. The foodie nerd in me has grown to expect a high standard when its restaurant boasts such a thing. So…for me to not only say, “perfect” but also to italicize and bold it in this post is to deliver a heartfelt high five to Chef de Cuisine, Tim Slavin. Nicely done, Chef.

I had the scallops, perfectly seared and seasoned. I am a sucker for seared scallops paired with white beans. It reminds me of the first dish I ever tried at The Bocuse Restaurant on The Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, NY campus when I first visited the campus. It’s absolutely one of my favorite combinations. I loved everything that accompanied this pairing at Juniper – the touch of truffle oil in the white beans, the elegantly ribboned carrots cooked in brown butter, and an added bit of interest from the fried sage leaves.

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Sean had the short ribs which had been beautifully braised in Marshall IPA, then placed overtop a jalapeño pepperjack polenta and roasted vegetables. He took a bite, closed his eyes, and let out a sigh: “…hhhmmmmm.” That’s his version of a “bravo.” He offered a taste, and it just melted apart as slowly cooked short rips should, having been tended to over just the right time and temp.

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Desert was an obvious choice.

“Can I interest you both in our Desert Menu toni….”

“YES!” – Sean and I both interrupted our server with a smile. We chose to split “Justin’s Favorite Chocolate Pie” which was as if chocolate’s “greatest hits” formed an album and this took the number one spot.  It’s a reunion of decadently delicate chocolate mousse, oreo crumb crust, chocolate ganache, and a nicely balanced whipped cream.

We talked and giggled forever. I love that about being married to + in love with your best friend. You can just talk about everything from politics to your future as a family, until suddenly you look up and you’re the last ones in the restaurant. Even the tipsy table of eight had already left. Thank you for making us feel welcome and un-rushed, dear Juniper staff. We appreciated that very much.

We will be back – you can guarantee it. I whole heartedly recommend this to anyone else interested in a fine-dining quality taste of Tulsa.

Happy dining!

Will Run For Corndogs

packageGraphicYou read that correctly. Living Social recently promoted the Corndog Classic 5K in Tulsa this month! It took all of 30 seconds for me to think about it, check out the details, and register.

This Living Social deal takes 50% off the original registration fee of $30…AND offers a few other goodies like a beer/lemonade mid-run (one guess what this country girl’s gonna choose), a t-shirt, and free admission to the upcoming Tulsa State Fair this fall!

Jealous? Live near Tulsa?!

Don’t you worry. You can register here to get the same deal of $15: Living Social Deal for Corndog Classic 5K

If y’all end up running this let me know! Pre-Corndog Classic race photo? I believe it must happen 🙂

Happy running!

Katherine

 

Oklahoma’s like…

I adore Oklahoma. Sean and I had a lovely, but long, road trip out West from where we lived near Washington, D.C. Once we crossed the final state boarder into Oklahoma we were in awe of its beauty and instant serenity. We chose to live in Owasso, and have been here only just a few weeks now.

It already feels like home.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to best describe this unique state of the country…state of our lives…state of mind. It only feels right to describe it from the heart of it all – my senses. I hope this provides a brief perspective of what Oklahoma feels like to a newcomer:

It’s the  feeling…

…of a comfortable breeze brushing your newly Southwestern sunburnt skin every minute of the day.

…of a dry September heat. It’s a heat that packs a “Welcome to Oklahoma” punch to pale newcomers from out East.

…of holding Sean’s hand as we take in this much needed change in our lives.

It’s the sight…

…of white puffy clouds against a baby blue canvas; straight out of the opening of a Simpsons episode.

…of the sun bursting through the clouds while setting over a calm lake, uninterrupted by an endless breeze.

…of nodding heads, open doors, and smiling faces saying “Mornin!” and “Hey there!”

It’s the taste…

…of sweet, smoky, slowly roasted barbecue.

…of locally grown and soulfully seasoned vegetables.

…of a perfectly strengthened mocha latte from my new favorite coffee house.

It’s the sound…

…of patience. Anyone know that sound? It’s standing in line without hearing complaints. It’s listening whole heartedly to a stranger’s story without thinking of where you need to be or how time may be ticking away. It’s accidently spending too much time looking at my GPS after a traffic lighted turns from red to green…and no one beeps at me.

…of roosters crowin’, cows mooin’, and horses snufflin’ early in the mornin’.

…of…(go ahead and giggle)…the wind as it comes sweeping down the plains. Literally. The musical Oklahoma! doesn’t lie.

It’s the scent…

…of torched hickory wood smoking up a pork shoulder all…day…long.

…of grateful growth from the grass after a much needed rain.

…of nearby campfires surrounded by celebrations of a new season and reunited friendships.

 

What a beautiful land to live in. We’re mighty glad we came here.

So that’s what I’ve discovered so far. More updates to come 🙂

Big hugs,

Katherine

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Packin’ & Plannin’

Sean & I have a seemingly endless list of “to do’s” lately: packing, cleaning, errands….followed by more packing, cleaning, and errands. It started off with the typical stress of attempting to organize and de-clutter a home that’s accumulated years of dusty papers, old clothes that we haven’t worn in years, etc. Thankfully, the stress is dwindling as I’ve started to see more clearly again; that it’s all for the best. It really is.

Apart from the fact that we’re continuing our little lives in a brand new, beautiful, part of our great country, I’m realizing what a happy time moving can be when I choose to see it from its best angle. This past week has evoked a million positive memories from our past; the video I put together from my cross-country bike trip in 2007, Sean’s baseball cards and family photos, letters from my Grandmama over the years, medals from high school and college crew races, and so much more. How lucky we are to have a life like this! It’s so easy to remember what we need to do, what we’re doing wrong, and what we should do better. But what I’ve loved about this time of packing is (apart from throwing non-keepsakes into donate and trash piles…’cause that’s a pretty sweet feeling on its own) has been revisiting these memories and organizing them so that we can reach them again when we need it most.

But then, there’s also the part of packing that gets all-consuming and exhausting. Like, when our house is filled with cardboard boxes, paint, spackle, tools, dust, packing tape, 863 pens, 72 un-accompanied socks, enough change to buy our groceries for the next month…oh, I could just go on and on! I’ve learned via this “newlie” (yay!) found happiness in packing that it’s best to give myself time to do something fun each day to break it all up. Tonight, it’s dinner in Annapolis with my girls. This morning, it was playing frisbee with Stella on our front lawn, talking to my mama and sister on the phone, annnnnd planning our road trip in about 6 weeks!!!

This is where YOU come in. I need your advice! I found the awesome site, Roadtrippers, which helps you plan your upcoming road trip. Check out the map I’ve pasted below to show you our planned stops.. You can click on it to make it larger. We’re hoping to do this in 3 or 4 days:

  1. Day 1: Silver Spring, MD to Newburg, MD – first stop to see Sean’s parents
  2. Day 2: Newburg, MD to Black Mountain, NC – next stop to see my parents
  3. Day 3: Black Mountain, NC to Nashville, TN – onward and westward! Hoping to get dinner in downtown Nashville, and for us to see a show at the Grand Ol’ Opry. I’ve been to Nashville & Opry once before and LOVED it. Can’t wait to re-visit w/ Sean! Any dinner suggestions in Nashville?!
  4. Day 4: Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN to Little Rock, AR to Tulsa, OK! – thinking we could do this all in a day (see the hours in between each destination below on the left). Any lunch or sightseeing suggestions for Memphis? What about sightseeing suggestions for a quick hour/so in Little Rock?

Road Trip to Tulsa!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions, friends!!! I can’t wait for this little adventure, followed by the big adventure of living in Oklahoma!

I’ll get back to packing now.

Big hugs, and happy Saturday.

Ooooooklahoma…

I adore this. Despite the 30,289,013 things that are on our big ol’ To Do List before August, we truly can’t wait to call this beautiful state home soon!

We’re moving to…

This post packs some news with a lil’ punch. Are y’all ready for this?

We’re moving!

Last month Sean came home with some news of an opportunity to relocate within the company he works for. This news prompted a solid 30 seconds of silence from me to contemplate what he just said (that’s a long time for me to not talk…trust me). So we turned off the T.V., poured a couple drinks, ignored any chores (hah…twist MY arm!), and really took time to let this opportunity sink in.

We didn’t have to say yes. It was just a really great opportunity for his career…and a location that we never considered, but knew we’d love. We were totally in! Pretty excited about it actually…but were we crazy?!

Many couples our age who live in such an exciting area like D.C. would be like “Hhhhaaaaaaaayyl no!” to this type of move. But for a while now we’ve been dreaming of open land, a significant decrease in traffic, and more simply – just someplace new and different in our beautiful country. We also realized that this is falling into our lives at a time where we don’t have kids, we’re still young (30’s better still count as young), and we don’t know when an opportunity like this will come our way again.

So you’re probably like…”KATHERINE…omg seriously, just tell us where you’re moving!!!”

Hehe…okay.

Watch the first 30 seconds of the video below to get the grand announcement:

Surprise!!! Now I’d like to poll your reaction:

 

So that’s our big news.

As of this August, so less than 3 months, we’ll be all packed up and headed across the country to Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is huge for us!!! Here’s the very little that I knew about Oklahoma when I said “…sure!” last month:

  • Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, lives there! Think we could become BFF’s? We’ll see.
  • Tornadoes. Tornadoes. Tornadoes. Are you following me on Instagram yet? I have a feeling that my posts of the weather are about to get MUCH more exciting.
  • Cowgirl boots! I own one pair. I’m totally in love with them and feel severely out of place when I wear them around here in MD sometimes. Not for long!

That’s about all I knew at first. But now, day by day I’m learning a ton about “the Sooner state” and plan to post more as the countdown to this exciting adventure draws near.

It was an easy decision in some ways, but really difficult in others. Our family and friends mean the WORLD to us, and 90% of them are all here along the east coast, accessible within a day’s drive. Luckily as we’ve started to share this news, everyone has been incredibly supportive and can’t wait to visit! This support has given us the affirmation that we’ve needed. It also means that my time working as the D.C.-area Regional Admissions Counselor for The Culinary Institute of America will come to a close this year as my position is territory based. I have loved working for such an incredible school and will always be an enthusiastic little cheerleader for the world’s best culinary college. That said – the hunt is on to find my next professional venue. More news on that front one day!

In the meantime – I’ll take ANY moving advice I can get. I feel like 3 months is a good amount of time to pack, search for a rental in OK, prepare to be a landlord for our home here in MD, find a great new job for myself, and while we’re at it…plan one heck of an amazing cross country road trip in August! Any advice? Words of wisdom?! Throw ’em at me and comment below!

Thanks for hearing our big news, friends. 🙂