Where We’ve Been Eating Lately

Graham has been home a little over a month now, and in that month we’ve tried two new restaurants. Well… two that were worth writing about.

One of his first weekends back, we headed to Virginia Beach for brunch at Commune. Commune is brand new, and is a sustainable cafe, using locally sourced ingredients as a means to bring people together. We really enjoyed this place. There isn’t much private seating, since most of the dining space is taken up by a large, family style table. The woodwork inside is beautiful, and there is a ton of great, natural light.
2015-11-07 10.45.09-1Graham went with the breakfast sandwich. This beauty was served on a house made brioche bun, with sausage, and egg & fresh greens. This was so pretty, it made me hate that I can’t stomach runny egg yolks.
2015-11-07 10.47.32-1 2015-11-07 10.47.48-1I had the pungo grits: Indian cornmeal grits, hickory glazed pulled pork, fried egg, seasonal roasted veg, smoked peanuts. Since I don’t do runny yolks, they fried my egg well, and it was delicious. The smoked peanuts had a slight wasabi flavor to them, and the roasted peppers were delicious. The dish needed more salt, but other than that it was wonderful. 2015-11-07 10.48.53

Since they’ve taken a break from Le Mu, and have more free time, our friends Sav & Elise have put together a list of restaurants in the area they want to check out. Saint Germain in Norfolk is at the top of the list, so the four of us had dinner there last week.

The interior of the restaurant is beautiful, and the food was incredible. I can honestly say that I have never had anything like it. Our server was a little pretentious (at one point he commented that HE was awesome, and rarely spoke or smiled), but honestly it was to be expected with all of the attention the restaurant is currently getting.

While I enjoy trying new things, the menu is incredibly intimidating. Not just the food menu (which included blood sausage, beef tongue pastrami, fois gras served with cotton candy & pop rocks…), but their cocktail menu as well. I hadn’t even heard of about 90% of the ingredients listed in their impressive variety of cocktails, so I just threw caution to the wind and picked the one that seemed the least scary. I had the Double Cup (citadelle, grape shrub, orange blossom water), and it was absolutely delicious, but when I was trying to decide it would have been nice to have had a more personable server.

2015-11-19 19.54.20-1I couldn’t resist the fois gras & cotton candy. It came out like this, and he instructed us to make a tight ball of the cotton candy around the fois gras, and take a bite. It was the strangest sensation. You got a bite of everything, and if the combination of sweet & salty wasn’t enough, you also get the fizzy pop rocks. 2015-11-19 20.22.46Both couples ordered a few items to create a pretty delicious charcuterie board. We stuck with the safer choices (Oaxacan chorizo, Jamon Serrano (La Alberca, Spain), and a spanish cheese. I don’t remember what Sav & Elise chose, although I know one of theirs was the blood sausage, which I just couldn’t bring myself to try… The meats & cheeses were acccompanied by an assortment of in-house pickled vegetables, jams, mustards, & honey, and house made saltine crackers.
2015-11-19 20.24.57-1Sav & Elise stuck with the charcuterie board, and ordered a variety of small plates. Graham and I were starving, and ordered meals. I had the Chilean sea bass (Chilean sea bass/ brussels sprouts puree/ sweet roasted salsify/ charred Brussels sprouts/ kalamansi lobster nage) and it was phenomenal. The fish was a huge portion, and was so flaky and completely perfect. As was everything else on this plate. I really enjoyed the Brussels sprouts puree, and would love to recreate that at home. 2015-11-19 20.47.48Graham went with the pork belly (maple glazed pork belly/ coarse antebellum white grits/ fermented beet tops/ pickled persimmon preserves/ jonagold kimchi). This was delicious as well. The persimmon preserves were incredible with the grits. 2015-11-19 20.48.04-1We all left Saint Germain so full it physically hurt, but it was an amazing dinner. My only complaint was with the lackluster service. He had warmed up and was friendlier by the end of the dinner, but it would have been more beneficial at the beginning of the meal. There were a lot of the things on the menu I was unfamiliar with, but he didn’t seem open to questions.

We’ll definitely return though… I guess I just need to research on my own beforehand.

Sometimes I just want to ramble.

I was going to do a ‘What I’m Loving Wednesday’ post, but I kind of just felt like rambling today. So, this post is a little all over the place. My apologies…
2015-11-04 09.42.07So, I wanted some ankle boots. I loved these from Nordstrom, but knowing I wouldn’t wear them THAT much (I prefer tall boots), I couldn’t justify the price tag. Enter these MUCH cheaper, similar boots from Target. They were on sale for $35.00 last week, and I LOVE them.

05098e9baa5bf49e2d07cc0483922883When we were in North Carolina last weekend, my mom & I went shopping. She wanted to go into Chico’s, which I’ve always considered an old ladies store. I was floored when I actually found a few things I wanted. Especially these gray skinnies. They had them paired with a ridiculously soft pale pink sweater, and I was kind of in love.

Meanwhile, we were looking for cheap accessories for my mom’s Halloween costume, so we went into Forever 21… where she found several articles of clothing that she loved. What is happening???


My friend Heather got me hooked on Audible at the beginning of the summer. Right now, Living Social has an Audible deal for new customers: 3 months for $9.95. GREAT deal. And if you sign up with ebates, you’ll get 6% back (I know… it’s not much for THIS purchase, but if you’re not using ebates, you should be. And I’d LOVE it if you’d sign up with my link!

Whole Foods opened this morning in Newport News. Two miles from my apartment. I’m a happy camper right now. I absolutely can not wait to go when I get off work, for some hot bar mac & cheese, and a vegan chocolate chip cookie. If you plan on stopping by this week, be sure to check out their doorbuster offers, good for this store only.

z98PWSYHDVkyD9wYUnnqOLhxwUWESV2ZgTshHkLJpIkWhile Graham was watching the Panther’s game on Monday night, I spent way too much money on iTunes. I bought Carrie Underwood’s new album, and then I fell down the rabbit hole of music that was popular when I was in high school. It was a night of Ja Rule, Juvenile, Usher, Ashanti, O-Town, Boyz II Men, Ludacris, Nelly, Eminem, & a few others. After downloading & listening to the songs, I came to the following conclusion: music was much, MUCH better back then.

What I’m Loving Wednesday: The Halloween Edition

Back in Arkansas, the real estate company I worked for participated in Halloween on the Hill. It was a huge neighborhood trick or treating event, and was pretty much hell on earth. We gave out thousands of pieces of candy within the span of a few hours. Some of the kids were cute. They wore proper costumes, and had buckets or Halloween bags to collect the candy. Others were not. There was a ridiculous amount of teenagers, not in costume, with plastic grocery bags. Then there was the pregnant teenager who said (and I’ll never forget this. Ever.) “I’m trick-or-treating for the unborn.” WTF. Here is a very SMALL sampling of the candy we passed out. The conference room floor was always lined with bags as well. 866d4-1cf46584236c11e2a73522000a1faf50_7I’ve never been a big Halloween fan, and two years of that killed what little pleasure I did find in the holiday. But for some reason, this year my Halloween spirit is back! And here is some stuff I am LOVING.
7dbd9d3e0e3f548de97ecfbef72fa5b5These “pun-kins” are seriously the greatest things ever. I’m totally making these next year!

861be0e910e963852ab8e04dd7f84ae5Also from Studio DIY, this cereal bowl costume is pretty much the greatest thing ever. I kind of wish I had crazy Halloween plans, so I could make this. Maybe next year though.

7bcb017099519814f78910c5dfb03107This Nordic Ware Skull cakelet pan is seriously cool. It’s a little on the pricey side, and I absolutely do NOT need another specialty cake pan, but I absolutely love this. Hopefully it’ll go on sale November 1 ;)

And if you’re in the Hampton Roads area, here is a pretty comprehensive list of fun things to do for Halloween. G and I will not be in town for any Halloween fun. Instead, we’ll be in Charlotte, and spending Halloween with friends… the friends in this photo to be exact.12105847_10102190266580377_1436623980407895322_nThis little gem was taken in 2000… I can’t believe it was 15 years ago. We’ll be spending Halloween at Heather’s house with her and her husband, and Randy, and his wife Melanie. I would gladly sacrifice a kidney to be this skinny, and this able to wear “pleather” pants again.

So, Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a fun & safe holiday!

Deployment Diaries: He’s Home!

G is home!!!


Deployments in Arkansas were hard, but bearable. I had a house that needed plenty of work, insane pets, and the best work family that anyone could ever ask for. I felt at home in Arkansas. It took me a lot longer to feel that way about Virginia. Then, almost a year ago, things started to change. In September, we found out that G was deploying in April. Around the same time, we finally made our first friends here. And over the next 8 months, we met more & more amazing people, and our circle of friends grew. These friends helped keep me sane this summer. They kept me busy. Their dogs kept Hermione from driving me crazy. And while I currently hate the apartment complex we live in (long story…), I will be forever grateful that we lived here, because I’ve made lifelong friends as a result.

Arkansas was a 13 hour drive from Charlotte, so other than a visit from my mom during that first deployment, no one came to see me. This summer, with a more manageable drive, I had an apartment full of guests all summer long. My mom came twice (once with my mother-in-law & once with her neighbor & our friend Kelly), and my oldest friends in the world came for visits at well.

So, to my Virginia friends & my family in Charlotte (because lets face it… friends you’ve had for 15+ years are pretty much family), thank you. Thank you for keeping me busy, and keeping me sane. Thank you for dinners out, days by the pool, and way too many jello shots & glasses of wine. I would have survived this deployment alone (I am an introvert by nature), but this ended up being, hands down, the most social summer of my life.

2015-10-27 11.06.58Anyways, he’s home. I’m happy, and the animals are happy. I was honestly really worried about how Hermione would act, but she was happy to see him. It wasn’t youtube or Ellen worthy, but her reaction was sweet. He is her person. Both cats were happy. I knew Buddy would be, but Charlotte’s reaction was surprising. She was asleep in our bed when we got home, and when she saw him, she hopped up, made the cutest noise, and went to him for some head scratches. 10513314_10102198293189987_5235524415814347889_n2015-10-22 22.21.31He came home, and we instantly got back into our pre-deployment groove. Since he’s been home, we’ve gotten back to our nightly walks in Yorktown, had some good food, and spent time with friends. 2015-10-23 18.41.58-1 12065790_10102199072303637_5533259386251016325_n12122549_10208118349583293_6496532927258704916_nSo, another deployment is DONE (number 4, if you’re curious). He’s home, we’re all happy. Now it’s time to get on with our lives. We have a house to buy, and family & friends to visit with in Charlotte this weekend!

What I’m Loving Wednesday

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve posted one of these. But as the stores put out more & more fall and winter things, I’m finding that I want everything. This is definitely my favorite time of the year!

51MIi4p2YyLThe Illustrated Harry Potter is quite possibly the best thing ever. I absolutely do not need another set of the books (I have two complete paperback sets, and I’m working on a set of first edition hardcovers), but I couldn’t resist. Check out some of the illustrations! They’re absolutely GORGEOUS. I’m 32, & child free, and have no problems admitting that I want this for myself, but if you have a child, and look forward to reading Harry Potter with your child, I think this would be the perfect edition to read together. The only down side: one book is being published each year. Ugh.

carmen-ice-bucketOne of the things I’m excited about having at the house we’re going to buy (soon!), is a bar set up. And I want this pineapple ice bucket from CB2 for that bar. Pineapples are the symbol of hospitality, and I can’t wait to actually be able to entertain in our home.

nordic-ware-fall-cakelet-pan-cI love this fall “cakelet” pan by Nordic Ware. I’m so excited about fall flavors, and baking, and I would love to add this to my collection. It’s not cheap ($30), but American Express added a cash back offer for Williams-Sonoma to my credit card this morning. Coincidence? I think not…

6094f92ca04477f09f89274acd850698I love everything on this table. I love the gold flatware, the blue dinner plates, the salad plates, and the bowls. After seeing this, I had the most intense vision ever of our future house. The vision I had was so strong, I almost pulled over to the side of 64, so I could sketch it out really quick. But I’m so excited to decorate my future kitchen/dining room around this table setting.

rachel-kozlowski-mallard-duck-table-lamp-oI honestly don’t know why I am so obsessed with this lamp. But I am. I need this lamp in my life. It’s definitely not cheap ($150), and I have no idea where I’d put him (yes, I’ve decided it’s a him), but I need it. I’m thinking it would look really adorable on the mid-century modern end table I picked up at the ReStore a few weeks ago.

Recipe: Marion Cunningham’s Snappy Ginger Snaps

IMG_5642Graham will be home soon. So soon. And I’m starting to prepare for it. The more tedious preparations involve cleaning the apartment from top to bottom. The more fun preparations involve planning out the delicious things I can’t wait to make for him.

The one thing he was requested, besides his homecoming dinner at Texas Roadhouse, is a pumpkin cheesecake. And my pumpkin cheesecake calls for a gingersnap crust. I had the urge to bake the other night, and after flipping through my copy of Marion Cunningham’s Learning to Cook, I decided to make homemade gingersnaps. IMG_5639 After I made these, I decided there was no way that I could throw these in a food processor and crumble them up to make a crust. These are by far the best gingersnaps I’ve ever had. They’re crispy, but slightly chewy. They have the perfect spicy, gingery flavor. I could easily eat all 34 cookies in one sitting. IMG_5641

Marion Cunningham’s Snappy Gingersnaps

  • 3/4 cup of Crisco (or any solid shortening)
  • 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/3 cup more to roll cookies in)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of dark molasses
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. of baking soda
  • 1/2 t. of salt
  • 1 T. of ground ginger
  • 1 t. of cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the shortening, 1 cup of sugar, egg & molasses, until smooth & well mixed.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger & cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet & mix well.
  4. Pour the remaining sugar to a plate, or on a sheet of parchment. Scoop up a rounded teaspoon of dough, and roll into a ball. Roll the dough ball into the sugar, and place on an ungreased baking sheet (mine was lined with a silicone baking mat). Place dough balls 2 inches apart (do not flatten them out).
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, leave them on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, before moving them to a cooling rack.




I’m never eating rice again. (Deployment Diaries #… It feels like 728.)

So this weekend was a busy one. For the most part it was a lot of fun, but it was also exhausting. My greatest accomplishment was finally moving two blankets from the washer to the dryer. I first washed them last Saturday… And the timing never worked out to move them to the dryer. It seemed I always remembered at around 11:00pm, and out of respect for my downstairs neighbors, I didn’t feel that was an appropriate time to turn on the dryer. So, I ended up washing them 5 times, before I finally got my act together yesterday.

Anyways. Saturday was a good day. Last month, Shana moved home to PA while her husband is in Florida for school. She’s not far from Gettysburg, so Saturday Sarah and I took a day trip up there for a quick visit. It was so good to see Shana, and we had such a good time. My calves are still sore from all of the climbing. 2015-09-26 15.04.58-12015-09-26 17.10.15-12015-09-26 17.37.40-12015-09-26 18.12.20-1If you ever have the chance to visit Gettysburg, you absolutely should. Even if you’re not a history buff. It is unbelievably beautiful there. Depending on traffic, it’s less than four hours from Newport News, and other than their lack of good restaurants (when it came time for dinner, I just wanted to be back in the city!), it’s a really nice day trip. I can’t wait to take Graham up there when he gets home. Hopefully the leaves will still be changing…

Sunday was a little sad. Our good friends have decided to take a break from Le Mu for a little while. I’m sadder about this than I probably should be. There is a serious lack of quality food in this area, and Sav’s food is some of the best there is, and I hate that Le Mu is no longer a weekly dining option.

So, Sunday was their last weekly dinner, so some friends and I went. I was there on the first night, and I had to be there on the last night. And the food was AMAZING. I had a red curry chicken pot pie, with puff pastry…
IMG_5594… and red bean and coconut bread pudding with ginger whipped cream and salted caramel.
IMG_5622However, this might make it easier to lose weight… I’ve been helping them with their social media, and every week before opening they had a family meeting, where we would all taste the food…

They will continue to pop up around the area though, at local food events. If you’re local, you should check them out at O’Connor Brewing on October 9th. Southern Grit, a local food magazine is featuring them in their October issue, and they will be serving food at the magazine launch party. It should be a fun night!


Sunday was also frustrating. I came home from running errands, and found that Hermione had eaten two pounds of dry, white rice. After the dry grits fiasco of a few weeks ago, I can imagine that she felt miserable. She probably felt worse that I locked her in the bathroom every time I left the apartment… Once I was home for good, I moved some pillows and blankets to the floor, so I could cuddle with her, before locking her up for the night. I absolutely HATE it when my sweet girl doesn’t feel good (even if it’s her own fault…)
2015-09-27 23.28.00-1Yesterday, between hourly bathroom breaks for Hermione, I decided I just couldn’t wait until October 1 to start decorating for fall. I went to Trader Joe’s to buy some maple walnut blondies to bring to my BFF in Charlotte this weekend (and a few packs for my freezer…) and I couldn’t resist the mini pumpkins ($0.69 each), the pumpkin pie spice cookie butter (holy eff!) or a jar of pumpkin butter (I hear it’s really good mixed with peanut butter and used as a dip for apples). 
2015-09-28 12.31.44-2