holdin’ out

This is my SECOND salty caramel mocha from Starbucks this season.


While everyone around me is going crazy over Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I’m holding out until it’s cooler.  I mean, I wore shorts to school yesterday!  (Granted, we’ve had some fall-like weather; check out the sky behind me. In moments, it was yucky and raining.  Boo.)

Anyway, I just can’t get into fall/pumpkins/candles/decorating until it’s really crisp and full-on jeans weather.

And so I wait.

This weekend’s agenda: PAINTING!

all together now

After I left State College, I drove to Warminster (located in Bucks County, which is outside Philadelphia) to stay with my sister and Mommy, who is visiting.  This is what I saw in the kitchen!

My sister lives in my parents’ house right now, so it’s kinda neat “coming home” to visit her.  Interesting note: the original house my dad bought is the left half of the existing structure.  I barely remember this, but he bought the place right around the time he and my stepmom were getting married, and for some reason she didn’t see it beforehand.  It was teeny tiny with a pepto bismol-pink kitchen, dirty navy blue shag carpeting and brown walls.  She cried.

Needless to say, they gutted the kitchen and actually doubled the size of the house with a two-story addition (the right half of the house with the front door) to add a master bed and bath, as well as laundry, a half-bath and a living room on the main floor.

Mommy and me 🙂

After three mornings of running in a row, I took the opportunity to do some (hot) yoga.  I tried using Allison’s beginner yoga DVD as a guide, but it was going too slowly and had too much talking for me, so I clicked on some Pandora yoga radio and did my own thing.  Got SUPER sweaty–it is humid here!

After cleaning up, Mommy and I went to Bucks Bagels (Andrew’s favorite) and Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee. Side note: Dunkin’ Donuts are EVERYWHERE around here.  Like, one at every intersection.  I love their coffee–and so must everyone else–since every time I visit there are more instead of less.  (Let’s just say that in three days, both the staff at Bucks Bagels and the closest Dunkin’ memorized my order.)

Mommy and I spent the afternoon in Doylestown so she could walk around and see the quaint little shops and things.

Look!  I parallel-parked!  And on the first try!  (This is, for me, a HUGE accomplishment.  Have you seen the size of my car?)

Actually, it was a testament to God’s provision the entire afternoon.  First, He got us to D-town without a hitch (I’m here so infrequently that I get turned around a lot and never quite know where I am…), placed a parking spot right in front of me, helped me parallel-park, and then allowed Mommy and me to return to the spot with just 6 minutes left on the meter (even after totally getting side-tracked in a store along the way), as the meter maid was coming down the road writing tickets!

We had our rehearsal dinner here at Paganinni’s, although until I walked up to it I didn’t remember the name.  Isn’t that terrible?

One of my favorite store: The Paper Unicorn.  Go figure; they feature stationery.

This journal really spoke to me.  The colors are exactly me, and the phrase sums up my need to slow down and enjoy the season I’m in.  It’s something I’ve really been thinking a lot about lately; not rushing through things so I can move onto the next thing, which is something I do all the time.  It is SO HARD for me to just chill and enjoy the moment.

Allison, Ray and Danika met us in Doylestown and we all enjoyed the shade in a small park for a little bit before Mommy and I headed to our last stop: Artefact.  It’s an antique furniture store just up the road from where we live.  It’s definitely a “mommy” place.

While there, we found a couple of these multi-colored fruit baskets that were made in Italy.  Mommy told me that her mother had given her one that her father had brought back a long time ago.  Then, we saw this purple and teal one.  I died.  (Well, not really, but I liked it a lot.)  It wasn’t so pricey that I couldn’t just up and get it, but I thought maybe I should ask Andrew first, so I snapped a photo and walked away.

We walked next door so I could get Mommy her first taste of Rita’s, and what do you know?  Out she came with my purple fruit basket as a surprise!  She said she wanted her daughter to have one from her mother, just like her.

The next morning, I grabbed coffee from Dunkin’ (again) and attempted to get another blueberry bagel (our favorite), but Bucks was out!  The nice lady remembered me and wrote up an order for two for the next so I could be sure to get some.

I was forced to try the new bakery that opened up just down the road from the house, The King of Tarts.

I grabbed a bag of their English Tea Biscuits and an icing-filled donut to share.  Yum.  Afterward, Mommy, Allison and I headed to Goodwill (a favorite), a used-toy store (where I picked up some wooden frog and fish pull toys for Danika that were a huge hit) and Target.

And what would a trip to PA be without a Silvio’s cheesesteak?  WORTHLESS, is what it would be.

They make their own bread and their cheesesteaks are to die for.  No kidding.  Mommy and I split a cheesesteak hoagie (add mayo, lettuce and tomato) with sauteed onions and mushrooms.  Hey, no one said it was healthy.  And Grandma Utz’s handcooked chips–seriously good.

I took the afternoon as an opportunity to do my nails on the deck while Danika played with the hose.

Us girls took a walk and I showed Mommy the first house in which I babysat some kiddos when I was 12:

And the Moland House, which is next door to my parents’ house, is where George Washington and his troops camped in 1776!

That night we made popcorn in their little popcorn maker (it was great) and then watched “Mimi’s Adventures.”

Mommy goes by ‘Mimi’ and has made some videos for Danika and Caleb (my nephew) of her going around Albuquerque to places like the zoo or the aquarium, and during the Balloon Fiesta and such. I really enjoyed watching them.  It’s right up her alley; she used to make videos of Allison and me to send to dad when he was deployed.

Morning number 3:  I grabbed Dunkin’ coffee (yet again) and added a blueberry cake donut (our absolute favorite) and our blueberry bagel from Bucks.  We shared a blueberry yogurt to round out the meal.  Think we like blueberries much?

I walked to the bakery earlier in the morning and look what I found!  A pineapple-shaped cookie!  I got one for mommy for her plane ride home.

Mommy is headed home and I’m headed to a girlfriends’ house before I head out of town as well.  I had a wonderful with with both Allison and Mommy.

Goodbye Allison!

coffee taste-off

The other day I happened to be in East Aurora over lunch and decided to continue my quest to try various coffees and form an opinion about how they taste.  This isn’t the point of this post, but I’ll go ahead and tally up my findings so far:

-Tim Horton’s: terrible!  It’s bitter and acrid and burned-tasting.

-McDonald’s: not bad, certainly acceptable in terms of drive-thru coffee.  Not a huge fan of their McCafe drinks–they’re way too sweet, but when I ask for less syrup, they seem ‘off’ to me.

-Starbucks: LOVE their new blonde roasts (Willow and Veranda).  Whether I get plain coffee or a “fru-fru” drink, I’m always happy.  Plus, they’re happy to accommodate my “may I have half the pumps of flavor, please?” requests.

-Orchard Perk: it’s the cute little coffeehouse here in the village that is oh-so-convenient on my way to and from school.  However, whatever roast I had the other day wasn’t all that great.  I’d be up for going back to try another roast, if they have one.

-Taste: their coffee is OK (their fru-fru drinks always cool down too much!), but it’s the atmosphere you go for, anyway.  They have multiple roasts, and now that I’m becoming somewhat of a coffee ‘connoisseur’ (ha! hardly…), I feel like I can make a good decision when presented with options.

-Firefly: Perhaps the best brewed and most extensive selection. They source from two different small-batch roasting companies and have multiple roasts (with descriptions!) available at all times.  Each cup is hand-poured or french press, so while it might take five minutes, it’s worth it.  I keep getting Stumptown’s Columbia roast.

-Panera: LOVE their hazelnut roast–who doesn’t??  AND they have all-you-can-drink iced coffee in the summer!  Fantastic, except for that time I was studying and lost track of the time, and the number of cups I’d had…

-@ home: we have a Keurig and a tried and true favorite is Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee (we’re high class, I tell you….)

-Dunkin’ Donuts:  LOVE their coffee!  It just has a really smooth taste and I’m always happy no matter what I get.  I typically just order a regular cup and add plain cream and sugar since I like the flavor so much. The problem, of course, is that there is one in East Aurora, so I can go ALL. THE. TIME.  The only thing that prevents me from going more is that it’s located in such a spot that makes it a little hard to get in and out quickly, nor do they have a drive-thru, so it’s not the quickest of stops.  But then again, I’m not exactly known for lightning-fast decision-making, either.  (My husband is falling off his chair laughing right now, I just know it.)

Shall we say I might be a bit over-caffeinated?  I blame school.