Friday, September 30, 2011

falling in love with boots

Fall is here. Fall is here. Fall is here. Wahoo! Finally this weekend we are supposed to get some real fall weather and I am completely thrilled about it.

The Friday Fancies theme this week is boots and I'm totally stoked about it. I love the look of boots, they are just so classically fall. I put this look together with a fall brunch in mind. Mid morning on a crisp cool fall day sitting by the water, sipping champagne laughing and catching up with friends and family. That sounds awesome to me, who wants to join me??

fall boots

I'm pretty excited about this upcoming weekend. It is going to be gorgeous and I'm planning some pretty awesome runs. I have 6 miles (yikes!) scheduled for Saturday and then an easy 2 miles on Sunday. Mike is flying all weekend so I'll be freaking out and the running will help calm my nerves a little bit. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

waking up right

I love all the seasons. I think that is why I'm naturally drawn to the northeast. I was in the grocery store last week and in preparation for the cooler weather I was looking at some new tea. All summer long I was drinking iced tea so it was time to pick up some new flavored teas to enjoy as I wake up to cooler weather. The only one I saw that intrigued me was bigelow brand's Eggnogg'n tea. Unfortunately I skipped right over fall and dove straight into holiday flavors.

While it is pretty delicious, I'm hoping to find a pumpkin spice tea to enjoy between now and Thanksgiving. I'm really not rushing Christmas, even if it is the best time of the year.

Have you changed your morning caffeine fix with the cooler weather?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I love oh how pinteresting Wednesdays. I really do. This week because I spent yesterday planning the fall birthday/anniversary brunch with my aunt, my theme is brunch. It is my favorite meal to cook for others. I could totally live without it myself because I don't really love breakfast foods at all, but I love to make them for other people. My Aunt Cindy is amazing. She is the epitome of amazing. She is insane physical shape, she is always put together, and she is one of the best cooks I've met. Her baking has always been inspiring to me. My mom was never a baker so I used to beg to go to "Aunt Cindy's house" to bake cookies with her even though she and my uncle had no kids around my age. I was 8 and wanted to go hang out with my Aunt to bake. I cherish those memories so much and I credit my love of all baked goods to her. When I was away at college she always had a rule that as long as I continued to send back the empty tin, she would send me home made goodies. It was a great touch whenever I got homesick.

Any who...Back to this week's post...


Source: via Emily on Pinterest

My last name is Merryman. The "eat drink and be merry" things always get tagged with (man) at the end. We're cool like that. And who doesn't like bloody mary's? Perfect excuse to consume vodka at 10am!

I think every brunch should have home made pizzas. Especially when they look like this.

Fruit with dip is probably my favorite breakfast food in the world. A definite must as a snack on food at a brunch party in my opinion.

Fall salads are amazing. Throw in chunks of apples, craisins, pecans and toss with a vinaigrette dressing, nothing can beat it.

I love this decoration...How simple can you get?

Source: via John on Pinterest

You read my post about how many birthdays we are celebrating, right?? Well we might just need this cake.

Source: via Julie on Pinterest

Obviously I need this outfit to wear to the brunch. I might be running a 5 mile race that morning, but I can totally slip into those heels at the finish line...No big deal. And as for the dress, well I'll just run in that, silly! The earrings might get in the way of my headphones though. darn.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

worth celebrating

My grandfather turns 79 years old today! He worked countless hours to support and raise 7 kids to be amazing adults without a single complaint. He grew up in the south with strong southern values and those values have carried him through his entire life. He has always been there whenever any of his kids or grandchildren needed anything. He's a pretty awesome man.

I'm dedicating today's post to him. He has lived through a lot and come out of it an incredible and inspiring person. He taught my dad to be a man that I looked up to and that says something about his character.

Granddaddy with his kids. My dad is the one in the green! Lovin' Granddaddy's cowboy hat!

I love this picture. Granddad with my cousin Devan. They have an amazing relationship and I love how this picture
captures it.

Laughing at me for taking his picture. Hanging out at the lake celebrating my aunt's 50th birthday part!

We don't do anything small in our family. Halloween is even an adventure! We took over his senior living center when
we stopped in to show him the costumes. (And yes, I was Mrs Potato head last year for halloween!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

calling all creepers...

My mom is out in the dating world. It took me a really long time to be ok with it, but I don't want her to be lonely so eventually I got on board with it. She dated a guy who was decently nice for a while, like a year and a half, then one day after a date she just never heard from him again. Totally weird. They had plans for two weeks later to go on a trip to Florida together and he just never went and he dropped off the face of the planet. Except he didn't, she still sees him driving around and has seen him out and about once or twice. At 50+ this behavior is just weird. It isn't like it was 2 dates in, they had been seeing each other for 18 months!

But alas, she is trying to put herself out there again. I met Mike online using Cupid and my older sister met her boyfriend that way too. Mom has started toying around with internet dating a little bit. If nothing else, browsing the profiles and looking at the pictures is endlessly entertaining. The things that men thing are appropriate to share about themselves in a profile is just hilarious, and the pictures are even better. She has been contacted by a few men, apparently ladies in "her generation" don't make the first contact, and she has started chatting with some. Most of these conversations go nowhere, but after a while she decided one guy was worth going out with. For these purposes I'll call him Joe. 

Joe asked to go out for a quick dinner, that seemed harmless enough and she agreed. They made a date for last Wednesday. She let him pick the place, Perkins, and the time, 6pm. Other than my side note that Perkins is not really a dinner location, but rather a quick breakfast joint, all seemed fine. Then she shows up at the date and he hands her a wrapped box. It was wrapped nicely enough in silver paper (I wasn't there so I don't have pictures of that part) and inside was a ton of Jets (yes the football team!) paraphernalia. Weird. I guess they had talked about how he is a big fan of the Jets and she mentioned that she is a Giants fan. He was "enticing her to the dark side" as he put it. So weird. The box had 3 t-shirts, 2 gym towels, a couple magnets, 2 key chains, some game day stickers for under your eyes, a coffee mug and an autographed picture. Now, I could have believed that maybe this was free stuff that they give all season ticket holders, but 2 of the t-shirts actually still had price tags on them. She doesn't seem to find it as weird as I do. When I saw the giant shoe box full of Jets gear I was shocked. I think it is SO weird....

What are your thoughts??

Friday, September 23, 2011

on the bright side

September and October is crazy time in my family. I'm one of 20 cousins and my dad was one of 7 kids, so there are tons of birthdays and anniversaries all year long, but somehow we get overloaded with them in both September and October. For example this week we had/have birthdays on the 20, 22, 23, 25, and 27. It's NUTS. I'd like to have a major shout out to my Momma who is turning a very young 52 years old today! She is an amazing woman, incredibly inspiring and I hope that I got her strength. I have seen her perservere through things that would have knocked anyone down. Not only did she get through it, she did it with style! Go Mom!! Happy Birthday!!

When I'm feeling down and like I'm not really up for anything I remind myself of the things that make me happy. I'm a lucky girl. I have a fabulous set of family and friends, I have an amazing boyfriend, I get to wake up each day and do something I love, and I have two of the most adorable yorkies on the planet. With this thought in mind, I decided to join up with Erin over at Living in Yellow for her Friday link up, Capturing Joy. I'm also linking up with {av} at Long Distance Loving for Friday Fancies. I was just going to do Capturing Joy but the Friday Fancies theme, the cozy side of fall, happens to be one of my favorite things. So it fit in well with my joy. Plus, I picked a VERY purple outfit which is one of my "happy colors." I can't wear purple without a big grin on my face, it just has that effect on me. So without further ado -


I love this outfit. Like I said, I love purple, but love  it most when paired with grey. And now onto...

Hot air balloon that flew over our heads at the park before the race
started. It was pretty cool. 

Immediately after his race. His legs were killing him, so he hopped up
on this ledge and sat for a minute before walking down to get some
snack-a-licious goodies.
Amazing card I got on Monday, totally cheered me up.

My new haircut, take 2. I got it retrimmed, definitely a benefit of your
aunt being your hairdresser. 

Date night with Mike after the race. We saw Contagion. I loved it but it
was kind of hard to watch and it made me want to never leave the
house ever ever again.

Not sure if you can see what is going on here. But Cooper grabbed a paper plate off the counter and used it as a pillow
under the dining room table. weirdo dog.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

spice things up

Christmas time in my family is kind of a big deal. I don't just mean that we are enthusiastic. I mean we might be certifiably insane. As the holiday season nears, and yes I am one of those people who consider the day after Halloween to be the holiday season, I'm sure you will get a better understanding of our craziness.

Last Christmas (I gave you my heart but the very ne....oops back to my story) I got a set of spices from my God Mother. Now a normal girl probably wouldn't have been very excited about these, but I am not your average girl. I was stoked! I couldn't wait to get home and make a loaf of her banana bread with my new cinnamon. The funniest part about this is that I'm not even kidding. Exotic cinnamon has rocked my world. I've always been a baker but I hadn't gone into more fun flavor notes. I had just started using sea salt! Mmm...sea salt caramel - remind me to post that recipe sometime soon, it is SO good. 

I have nothing but AMAZING things to say about these spices. Back in April my mom went to Colorado for a long weekend to visit some family. While there she stopped at the Penzeys retail store and picked me up a magnet for my car that says "Love people, Cook them tasty food." I LOVE it. 

I made a triple batch of delicious pumpkin bread this morning and I wanted to share my love affair with my penzeys spices with ya'll. We are talking seriously delicious.

Do you have any secrets to your baking? I'd say that the Ceylon cinnamon has become a secret in most of my baked goods, it makes for the best banana, pumpkin or zucchini bread. The China cinnamon has kicked some major tush in some killer oatmeal raisin cookies!

Are there any other special baking ingredients I should splurge on?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


1. The state of being obsessed with someone or something.
2. An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind.

Hello, my name is Julie and I have a pinterest obsession. Which is one of the things that makes Wednesday one of my favorite blogging days! I love sharing my new favorite things with you. The hardest part is picking a theme to go with each week. I know not everyone sees the need for a theme, but I'm that kind of girl, the organized and obsessive compulsive kind. Entertaining is this week's theme, I love it!

My family is a bunch of doodlers, they would love the chalkboard place mats. Plus, I love the clean look of them on the table, for when my cousins aren't around to doodle all over them.

I'm a huge fan of bite sized desserts. There is something about caramel that just screams fall to me. I'm pretty excited about making a batch or two this coming weekend.

I love these tables. With bench seating on one side, it is great for when there are kids around. And then the distressed look of the wood is definitely my style.

I love burlap for fall this year. I love the rustic edge that it adds to an otherwise crisp setup.

More chalkboard stuff. This time contact paper to label food items and show how they should be eaten. Love this idea - I think I'll try it for this weekend's celebration.

Love this table, and really the lighting of this picture, it just makes me want to be at the dinner party.

Source: via Colette on Pinterest

I would LOVE to have a space like this. Now I only have to make 3 billion more dollars before I can have it. *sigh....

I'm heading over to the vintage apple to check out other people's pins.  I can't wait to see what you're pinning this week!! 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

dutchess county classic

Sunday was a fantastic day for a race, really we couldn't have asked for anything better!
In the weeks leading up to the race the Hudson Valley got an overwhelming amount of rain. Because of the rain and the subsequent flooding parking was minimal at the park where the start/finish line was located. They suggested getting to the park by 6-630 in order to get parking and start picking up your packets. They were closing the road that the race would start out on at 8am sharp. I live about 40  minutes from where the race was being held, so that meant that Mike and I set the alarm for 430 to try to be out of my house by 530 and to the park by 615. Let me tell you, 430 comes VERY early!! It was good though because the 3am wake up for Disney will be even earlier, so this was a good practice! We got up, got dressed, tried to consume a decent amount of caffeine, got everything together and we were out the door by 540, only a couple minutes behind schedule, but we planned for that. It was definitely still very dark outside when we left, it was E-A-R-L-Y and Mike and I aren't really morning people. With his nerves mounting and our anxiousness to get there, we had a pretty calm and quiet ride. We got there, got signed in and picked up our loot. Bags donated by Golds Gym, some running gloves and tech tee shirts. By 7 we were done getting our stuff and we stopped by the bathrooms and headed to hang out in the car for an hour because it was also COLD outside! It was only like 43 degrees out. Luckily I had also planned for that and wore sweat pants and a hoodie over my race gear.

So 8 am rolls around and Mike and I head to the bathrooms one more time and then to find my mom and Jess who were meeting us there to cheer us on. There was a 1 mile kids fun run that started at 815 and Mike and I wanted to watch them go. It was really awesome. It was a 12 and under run and the winner ran it in 6 minutes even. She was 11 and completely adorable.

So then it was time for Mike to head to the starting line. A few deep breaths and he was off for his 13 mile journey.

They told us 5k runners that we had to let them get 15 minutes ahead of us before we started our run, so I hung out with mom and Jess for 15 minutes and then I made my way to the back of the crowd at the start line. I was expecting to just use this as my long weekend run, even though 3 miles isn't long - it was a light/rest week. I started out and I was feeling great. I ran the first 1.5 miles at a 10 minute mile pace, which of course made me completely run out of steam! By the 1.5 mile mark/turn around to start heading back spot I was tired, that pace was way too fast for me. I walked a little and I was trying my hardest to get my heart rate down to the 150's, but it took forever. I ended up finishing really strong, maxing out at 9mph, way faster than I have ever sustained for any distance. I finished with a 2:32 minute PR.

After I finished it was about 20 minutes until the first half marathoner finished. The winner finished in 1:13 and change. After we watched him finish, we went and got me some food and water. They had a great assortment of deliciousness. I grabbed an apple and a water and headed back up to wait for Mike to finish. Mike finished at 2:26 and change (they still haven't posted official results yet)! I was so proud of him. He said his legs were killing him and he was a little slow moving, but we grabbed him some food and a water before heading out.

I loved this race. There were a ton of people and it was super well organized. We were stoked when we finished and really happy with the whole day.