link love

Feb 13 Link LoveThis picture is of a bird’s nest Will and I found while on a walk in the beautiful weather this past Sunday.  RIP 60 degree Sunday, welcome 25 degree Sunday.  At least we aren’t in Boston.

Here’s a look into what I’ve been reading this week:

These heart-shaped tea bags are the cutest, and just in time for Valentine’s Day : )

I’ve never been to New Orleans, but this seems like the right time of year to go.  King cakes for everyone! One shop makes king cakes filled with salted caramel, roasted pecans, mascarpone cheese and caramello, covered in a praline glaze.  It’s things like this that make me rethink why I haven’t visited.

When you go over to a friend’s house, are you ever the teensiest bit curious about what is in their fridge and their pantry?  I always think seeing someone else’s pantry is like transporting to a secret world.  Are they a cereal, oatmeal or pop tarts kind of person?  Are they a spaghetti hoarder or do they stock up on chocolate chips like they are going out of style (guilty on that last one)?  I just feel like there is so much you can learn about someone from their pantry!  Welllll, lucky for us nosy folks, Grub Street Diet, New York Magazine’s column about what’s eating what, gives us some insight.  One of my favorite food bloggers, Joy the Baker, is featured today, professing her love for Donuts and Girl Scout Cookies.  Be nosy with me, I dare you : )

This week is New York Fashion Week.  In its honor, this article raises an interesting point about the racial divide in the fashion industry.

This is an awesome project.  What would you do before you die?

This is a link I do not love, but I do think that it is important to disseminate it.  The crime that occurred in our community this week makes me sick.  Being around Chapel Hill, it is easy for us to hear the story through local news, but seeing the story and the hashtags (#ChapelHillShooting, #MuslimLivesMatter) spread throughout the world has been encouraging and hopeful for the future of equality.  Our hearts go out to those in our community who lost these three amazing young people this week.

To end on a better note, happy Friday and happy (almost) Valentine’s Day!  What are you doing for your sweetheart tomorrow?

Over and out.



snow memories

A year ago this week, a winter storm hit the South.  North Carolina has a tendency to shut down at the mere mention of a flurry in the forecast, but this was a real snow-and-ice, gridlock inducing storm that was particularly bad for two reasons: the ferocious speed at which it came and the melting and refreezing of the snow, which subsequently created lots of ice on the roads.  It hit at what I thought was a very inconvenient time (funny how snow seems to do that), but turned out to be a great memory.

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February 12th was the long awaited UNC-Duke basketball game in Chapel Hill.  As seniors, all of my friends and I were ecstatic and ready to go see a Tar Heel victory.

That morning I was working in Durham at the Children’s Hospital Radiothon when we saw the first flurries out the window around noon.  As the snow fell rapidly, a quick decision ended the call-in fundraiser early and we scrambled to contact families scheduled to come in later in the day while also packing up all of our supplies so everyone could head home.  By the time I got to my car it had been snowing for 2 hours and most people were already on the road.  Massive gridlock allowed me to go all of 2 blocks in an hour.  Luckily, Will only lived a few blocks away and walked to my car to help navigate our way to a parking deck where we left the car and walked back to his apartment.  At that point I was bummed that I probably wouldn’t make it to the game, but hopeful that the Duke basketball team wouldn’t be able to make it either.

Around 6pm, the rivalry basketball game was postponed-something that has never happened in its 236-game history.  I was snowed in with Will and his friends for three days with the Winter Olympics, no class and the two outfits I had from Radiothon.  It was delightful.  We baked cookies, watched all of the figure skating, luge and ski competitions you would ever want to see and found a yard sign to turn into our own sled (it worked surprisingly well!).

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I also built a (mini) snowman : )

If last year’s weather was any indication of what this year will be like, bring it on-our sledding hills are ready.

sunday sweets: brownies

I got a valentine in the mail from my grandmother yesterday complete with chocolate and a poem.  The poem was:  Roses are red, chocolate is edible, I hope your Heart’s Day is really incredible.  : )

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In honor of the upcoming holiday, here is a nice bit of chocolatey goodness for your valentine.  These brownies are rich, dense and chewy (none of that cakey business).  I don’t like it when people say “these are the best ___ ever,” but these truly are the best brownies I have ever made.  You know brownies are going to be good when you want to eat the chocolate studded batter by the spoonful (is that just me?).

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You should get out your dark chocolate and your baking mits and bake up this chocolatey goodness for your valentine this week.  If they weren’t your valentine before they eat these, they sure will be after.

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies

1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
½ pound (2 sticks) butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon strongly brewed coffee
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup (6 oz) dark or bittersweet chocolate chips*

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Stir the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the eggs, sugar, butter, coffee and vanilla until well blended.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until all the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Do not over mix.

Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the brownies are firm to the touch. They will be slightly soft in the center when tested with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and cool 30 to 40 minutes before cutting (if you have the self-control for that…)

*you can use semisweet or a mixture of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips if you prefer.

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link love

valentines 6Who doesn’t love a good pink and red sprinkled heart-shaped doughnut?  In the battle of cute foods, it wins.

Here are some corners of the internet I have loved this week:

An “immersive” art exhibit opened in London.  It was a ball pit for adults.  You know, like the ones you played in while your mom kept your Happy Meal warm.  Sanitary? No.  Ballin’?  Yes.

These bacon cookies!  Okay, so they aren’t really bacon flavored cookies, just shortbread cookies that look like bacon.  But doesn’t that make them even cooler?

Advice from a 29 going on 30-year-old.  It is so easy to fall into the negatives of life.  Let’s focus on the positives, stop comparing, have some fun and be happy!

One reason it is hard to gauge emotion and sarcasm from a text: emojis and emoticons.   Now making their appearance in court as potential evidence.

Did you watch the Super Bowl commercials?  You go girls.

Words on why people (like me) work for nonprofits.

Happy Friday!

be my valentine?

Spoiler alert: I love making valentines.

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Homemade valentines are the best.  In elementary school, when everyone brought folded rectangular cartoon, princess and superhero valentines for each classmate, I always thought it was so fun to decorate my “mailbox.”  Sometimes it was too much work to make homemade valentines for 20 other kids, but decorating the mailbox was where we could spread our creative wings.

Fast-forward to January 29th of my senior year of high school.  It was a dreary Friday and with the weather forecast promising flurries in the evening, our track coach cancelled after-school practice.  My best friends on the team and I all lived within a mile of each other, so we decided to run together on a trail that backed up to our neighborhood.  The leaves were slippery, the roots were hidden and the trail disappeared under the forestry during parts of our run.  I jumped over a root, landed on the slick leaves and slid, twisting my ankle along the way.  My friends helped me hobble (more like carried me) out of the woods and to the street where one mom came to pick us up and take me back to my house.  After a quick visit to urgent care and an x-ray, I came out with crutches and a diagnosed 3rd degree sprain.

As predicted, we did get snow and ice that night.  Awesome for everyone who wants to go sledding…not so awesome for the one with the newly sprained ankle.  While my siblings and friends spent the weekend outside in the snow, I was stuck inside.  However, we had lots and lots of red cardstock, white paper and floral magazines, which for me meant a weekend to hole up inside making homemade valentines for everyone.  I vividly remember these days of crafting and the red and pink gifts they produced, and every year around this time I get excited to make my own valentines again.

Here’s to a good start!

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super bowl sunday


Last night Will and I got together with some friends to enjoy a potluck and watch the Super Bowl (or the commercials, depending the person).  We ate a delicious assortment of food, chatted with everyone, exclaimed over commercials and the game and watched Katy Perry before the disappointing Patriot victory.  I have any particular affinity toward the Seahawks, I just really don’t like the Patriots. This seemed to be the sentiment of everyone else watching with us.  Down with the Patriots!  But not this year, I guess.

Did you know that after Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest day for food consumption in the US?  Yay for gluttony!  I was a little shocked, but the National Chicken Council (yes, someone has to represent the poor chickens that are now wingless) projected that 1.25 BILLION wings would be consumed during the Super Bowl this year.  The National Chicken Council also reported that if that many wing segments were laid end to end, they would stretch back and forth from CenturyLink Field in Seattle to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts almost 28 times.  Gross.

Not only does wing consumption skyrocket on this special Sunday, pizza, chips, avocados, and beer are at the top of the list as well, with 100 million pounds of avocados, 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 11 million slices of pizza just delivered by Domino’s and over 300 million gallons of beer.  What, America?!

I do admit to consuming my fair share of tortilla chips and dip and my unfair share of brownies (hey, homemade are better for you than boxed, right?) but I never realized how much American’s consumed during this one football game.  After this eating frenzy, the real question is, how high were antacid sales today? Yum.

[to enhance your learning experience, you can learn more in these links]


link love


Some links I’ve been loving lately:

This is such a relevant post in this 21st century world of constant communication and social media.  When should we actually watch what is going on versus looking at it through a lens?

Yes yes yes to this article about Everything for Everyone and doing away with gender in design.  I’m love glitter and everything pink (as evidenced by the hyperlink color), but really, why does pink mean feminine and blue symbolize masculinity?  Did you know that pink and blue weren’t used to signify gender until soon before World War I?  Let’s use all the colors!

I hope I can think of myself like this woman does when I get older.  Rock on.

These salted caramel brownies.  Um, yum.

Art amazes me sometimes.  How amazing are these paper designs?!

Speaking of art, this tree heart installation is awesome and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Friday!

mountain weekend

This past weekend Will and I went on a trip to the mountains.  We stayed with family on Saturday and enjoyed the wonderful company, views, food and weather while we were there.  Sunday morning we woke up to a few inches of snow and took it as a sign to take a slow morning.  After a bit of sunshine and some scrumptious pancakes, we headed out and spent the day in Asheville before driving back home.


This was the view from the grocery store parking lot.  Seriously.

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The Basilica of Saint Lawrence loomed as we entered and exited Asheville.

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Asheville has a lot of art deco style architecture.  The flashy architecture and elaborate gold trims seem like such a contrast to the earthy, hippy style of the shops and people in the town.

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We stopped at Chocolate Fetish for a treat to eat on the car trip home and everything they had looked (and tasted) so delicious.  Along with a few truffles, we got a chili dark chocolate disc, which was just a huge flat circle of dark chocolate sprinkled with spicy chili pepper flavor.  It didn’t last long.  Next time I’m aiming for the sipping chocolate (aka melted chocolate that society has deemed acceptable to drink…yum).

 Thanks so much for hosting us, Riccardi family!  We had a great time!

we’re in a magazine!

Yes, that’s right!  We are so excited to have our wedding featured in The Knot North Carolina!  We both had the best time with all of our friends and family, a crazy dance floor and many beautiful pictures to show it.  I plan to write a separate post just on our wedding day but for now, I want to share the magazine and the pictures featured in it.

Will and I regularly reminisce on our wedding day, and credit the great memories to a few factors.  The first is each other (awww, cheesy but true).  After seven years of dating, it was so exciting and special to finally get married to my best friend and my high-school sweetheart.  The second aspect of our wedding that makes it so memorable are the pictures.  We LOVE our wedding pictures and our wedding photographer (thanks, Graham Terhune Photography!).  We have pictures from our wedding spattered around our apartment and every time we think about that day we both exclaim about how glad we are to have such great pictures.  Not only are they wonderful photographs, they capture so many happy memories and make us smile and laugh every time we look at them.

The third aspect of our wedding day we often talk about is the dance floor.  The dance floor was impressive.  I mean, serious recognition is due to everyone who sweat through their shirt or dress, but kept chugging along on the train and jumping ferociously to “Shout!”  We saw everyone from 2-year olds to octogenarians grooving on the dance floor, and the energy never died.  After the cutting of the cake, it was a dance party for hourssss.

We are excited to share some of our memories with everyone who reads The Knot, but we are also thrilled to have a record of our wedding story that we can look back on in the future.

Now, on to the magazine and the pictures it features!  (Grab your issue now!  Before we snag all of them ;))

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Graham took this picture right after we walked out of the church ceremony and before anyone else had the chance to exit.  It was such a thrilling yet quiet moment as newlyweds and I am so glad it was captured on camera.

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 Will’s cousins were our beautiful flower girls.  I took fabric leftover from the bridesmaids dresses to a local monogram shop, and my grandmother sewed the monogrammed fabric into sashes for each of the girls.

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I loved the combination of flowers and colors in each bouquet.  My talented grandmother made all of the bridesmaids dresses, specially tailored to each person.  It was so special to have the whole family involved in making our big day perfect.

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 The boys.  To make their uniform outfits unique, each of the groomsmen and ushers picked out their favorite pair of suspenders to wear underneath their jacket.  Once the dancing started though, the suspenders were out in full force.

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Will and I arrived at the reception after all of the guests and were surprised to see a line of vintage Triumph cars parked on the cobblestones outside of the reception hall.  My dad organized the detail without either of us knowing.  My sister, who did all of the lovely calligraphy for our wedding, made this sign in secret and displayed it along side the cars.

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 And the getaway.  Long sparklers lit the cobblestones as Will and I ran through the lines of family and friends to the decorated car and headed off to New England and newlywed life.

2014 in review

2014 was a busy year for us.  There were graduations, marriages, and births in our families.  A change in scenery and schools for Will and a new job for me.  We are so thankful for our family and friends who surrounded and supported us throughout this year of change.

Here are a few of the year’s major events:


Throughout the 2013-2014 school year, I, along with the thirteen other students on the stage above, helped lead an organization that raises money for the state’s children’s hospital.  UNC-Dance Marathon (now Carolina For The Kids Foundation) is the largest student-led fundraising organization in North Carolina and is an organization that changed my college experience and my career path.  In March our year-long fundraising efforts culminated in a 24-hour Dance Marathon, where thousands of UNC students stood and danced in honor of the patients and families at the children’s hospital.  After a year of planning, coordinating and fundraising, we were able to announce that we had raised $551,595.87, a record for the organization.  It was stressful, exhilarating, exhausting and exciting, and by far the best thing I have ever been involved in.   [Shameless plug: if you are interested in donating to Carolina For The Kids Foundation, visit their website here].  Oh, nostalgia.  How I miss this.


We did it!  In May, Will and I finished our undergraduate degrees and graduated from Duke and UNC, respectively. The light blue is obviously the better color.  ;)

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 In early June, we had another family graduate!  My little (but not so little) brother graduated from high school with a diploma and a college acceptance letter.  Congrats, mom and dad, we’re off!

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 Another minor thing happened in June…we got married!  We had a wonderful wedding, a reception with non-stop dancing and loving family and friends surrounding us.  Eek, it is still so exciting to look back on that amazing day.  We are so lucky and blessed to have each other and so many supportive people in our lives.  Thank you for being amazing!

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After our wedding, we headed off to a New England honeymoon, where the summer weather was balmy and the sights were beautiful.  We spent the week in Portland, Maine, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and Boston, Massachusetts.  It was a wonderful combination of salty seaside, relaxing nature and bustling city.  After the rush and stress leading up to the wedding, being out of reach with no responsibilities was blissful.  I would go back in a split second…in the summer, that is.

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In July, we headed down to visit Will’s family for a 4th of July celebration.  Growing up, my family never had a strong 4th of July tradition.  Sometimes we were out of town on vacation, sometimes we gathered in a local neighborhood to watch fireworks at night, but it was never anything that we planned our schedules around.  In Will’s family, he, his siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents all meet in Georgia each Independence Day for a family celebration.  Since they can’t come together every Christmas, 4th of July has become their holiday gathering, which I think is so smart and great!  It is a good reminder that anytime can be family time, not just Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.

Our time in Georgia was the perfect all-American holiday complete with family, swimming, pie, hours of grilling ribs, backyard baseball and, of course, fireworks!  We had such a blast chasing cousins, aunts and uncles around the makeshift bases in our impromptu family baseball game and passing the flames from one sparkler to another.

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Later in July, we joined my side of the family and traveled to California!  We took a whirlwind tour of San Francisco before heading over to Davis for a family wedding.  It was the first wedding we attended as newlyweds and it was fun to have the guest experience together and to reminence about our ceremony and celebration a month prior.  Before the wedding, we explored the Davis Farmers Market, ranked one of the best in the US.  The variety of fresh produce was amazing!  If you are ever in the area, definitely check it out.

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In August, Will started medical school and we figured out a new routine and a new phase of our newlywed lives.

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September brought another trip to Georgia and another family wedding!  There was so much love and excitement in our year of many weddings and we were glad to be able to attend them all.  Congratulations to all of the newlyweds! :)


In October, we joined the rest of the town for Halloween on the street.  One family of young trick-or-treaters came to our door before we left for the night and it was way more exciting than it probably should have been.  You know you’re grown up when you have to buy Halloween candy to give out and not just to consume.

We don’t have any good pictures from November (why?) but we made the long Thanksgiving journey to spend the much needed break with Will’s side of the family.  It was great to relax, eat, watch rivalry football and get ready for the Christmas season with excited little kids around.

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December was a whirlwind with Christmas decorating, preparations, planning, visiting and giving.  We made four stops on Christmas day and were able to spend time with all of our family.  Christmas was extra special this year since it was our first Christmas together and the beginning of new traditions.

We had such a wonderful and busy year and I am so excited for the adventures 2015 has in store!

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