Six Months

Six months ago exactly, just like today, was a gorgeous Friday in Nashville. I got on my little orange bicycle at my office parking garage to make the short, 4.5 mile ride home. I snapped this picture before I got on the bike – it just looked so pretty with its new “seafoam” handlebar tape.

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I texted Justin, instead of calling, because I was so ready to get on the road and beat the heaviest traffic. I usually call him on my way home, every day. If I would have called him on October 7, maybe I would have been two or three minutes later to that intersection than I was. This is one of the 2,000 things I’ve asked myself “what if I had just…” about that day.

But I did not – I texted and got on the road. Probably 5-7 minutes after that I was on Poston Ave. at Centennial Park when I stopped at a four way stop, eased out into the intersection and everything about my perfect little bubble of a world changed. I don’t remember anything really, between the time I thought “this SUV is going to hit me” to when I woke up in an ambulance asking the nice paramedic to please hold my hand, which he did for about 45 minutes until they had to leave me.

Of course, now we’re six months past that – and in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, and in some ways it feels like yesterday. Days like today, milestones and anniversaries, make me feel very heavy and reflective. I have started to slowly move past the “what ifs” and “if I had onlys…” to just being very accepting of this thing that happened to me and so thankful it wasn’t worse. I think of all the things he took from me that day, but really he gave me a lot too. Well, God did. It was His plan, after all. So, I try to see that and hold onto that. And when a thing happens – small or large – I think, well, maybe that was part of the plan. You were meant to be here to still experience that – or that was just a small thing that is teeing up a bigger thing for the future. Keep your eyes and heart open.

Justin and I watched the movie Patriot’s Day last night, which is about the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt for the two suspects. At the end of the movie, my boy Mark Wahlberg has this short monologue where he says things that I thought were so poignant for any tragedy or loss – on a national, personal or whatever level.

“When the devil hits you like that the only way to fight back is with love…That’s the only thing he won’t touch. What I saw today, good versus evil, love versus hate. There’s only one weapon you have to fight back with, it’s love. We wrap our arms around each other. I don’t think that there’s any way that they could ever win.”

He and others in the movie go on to talk about how love responded to that tragedy so fast, and that’s what the beautiful thing is about a tragedy. After my accident people wanted to know first how I was, and a close second “what about that bastard who hit you?” I’d always respond and tell them the latest on the case, but after some time, I wanted to say “but what about the dozens of people who sent me flowers, brought me dinner, cards, books, comfortable new pajamas, edible arrangements, a singing Elvis, or best yet, came over to just sit and cry with me. Don’t you know about them?” Let me tell you about those people – because that’s what was the most startling if you ask me. Not that one, horrible, waste of space crossed my path that day – but that so many beautiful, amazing people are in my life and they showed up BIG.

So yeah, he took a lot of things from me that day – like my feeling of safety doing normal, everyday things like stepping off a sidewalk, letting someone else drive me somewhere or hearing an ambulance pass. But he was the driver of an eye-opening experience and a reminder to seize every.single.moment on this earth. And to not be afraid of when the last might come. Because friends, that day is coming and we have zero control. Fearing it is a waste of time because you are completely powerless against most things in this world.

Six months was the first big milestone in my head – if I can get there, I’ll probably at least be in intense physical therapy and walking in my boot. Well, I’ve graduated from Physical Therapy, lost that boot at Christmas-time and I’m running and spinning again. I’m more in love with my people than ever. The sun is shining and I woke up with my person next to me today. That’s more than enough and I appreciate it more than I thought possible. I said it six months and one day ago from the ER, and I’ll say it again. Hug your people.

Oh, and I have to call Justin before leaving work every day now. It’s not negotiable. 🙂

XOXO,
Jenn

Perspective

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I am three days shy of being six months post-accident. If you are like “what is she talking about?” you can get the background here. Two weeks ago I officially graduated from Physical Therapy (yay!), so last weekend, I went back to my first spin class. I had spent a few minutes on a stationary bike in Physical Therapy, but hadn’t been back to spin yet. (And no, I’ve not been on a road bike yet). I didn’t think I’d be comfortable standing up out of the saddle and climbing, or being locked into my shoes and pedals. That’s a lot of potential force on your ankle, particularly if you lose the rhythm and the pedal gets away from you.

In August, about six weeks before the accident, my friend Lindsey introduced me to a spin studio in Franklin. It completely consumed us. We were slightly obsessed with the instructors, the room, the bikes…the entire experience. This class is one where your bike is smart and tracks your stats throughout the class, and they are shown on a screen periodically throughout the 50 minute session. Based on your power points (gear + speed), you rank among your classmates. Friendly competition at its finest.

I started in the back row the first few classes. Then, I realized I was pretty friggin’ good at this, and moved to the front row so I could get even more connected to the class and the instructor. In a class of 20 or so people, I wanted to place near the top every time. Especially above the boys. Because when is out-racing boys not fun? I would rank high every class, or kill myself trying.

You get an email report after class saying how many estimated calories you burned, how you stacked up against your classmates, what your average power was, etc. I would compare mine, class to class, to be sure I was improving. It was obsessive, but I loved the competition. I was devastated to miss it after the accident and in denial about how long I’d be out.

10 days ago I went back to my first class. I texted the instructor (who has become a sweet friend) and basically told her not to expect much. I was going to be in the back row, I took my stats off the screen and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to climb a hill or leave the saddle – but I’d be there and be positive. She said that sounded perfect.

With Lindsey by my side, cheering me on, I rode the entire 50 minute class and covered 14 miles. The first time the instructor said “come to third position” (that’s out of the seat, climbing a hill), I stood up. It felt fine. It felt amazing. I was watching my gear, but pushing myself. What I wasn’t doing was watching the screen. Or other people around me. I was so in tune with how my body felt and how much more I could do and I would push to get there, then listen again, and adjust.

For the first time, it wasn’t about beating everyone in class or riding further than them. It was about beating the girl stuck on the couch for the past 6 months. It was about feeling what it is to have every muscle in your leg fire up at once. And to have sweat running in your eyes. Oh my goodness how I missed a good sweat! I caught myself cheering Lindsey on (she wins every sprint, ever) – previously I would have been tasting my breakfast trying to beat her. I caught myself setting tiny goals along the way – “do this hill one gear higher than the last,” or “you’re almost to 13 miles – you can get 14 in before class is over.”

So you see where I’m going with this, right? What happens when we start focusing on how much we can do compared to the last time? Or how much closer we can get to a goal we thought was out of reach? What happens when we enter every challenge as me vs. me instead of me vs. you? For starters, I’ll like both of us a lot better at the finish line.

Healthy competition is so good, don’t get me wrong – but my perspective about how I’m competing and who I’m competing against and WHY I’m competing has shifted and it feels so much healthier. Maybe that’s just part of getting older. Maybe it’s part of wondering if I’d ever ride again. The list of things to be thankful for grows immensely when they are almost all taken away. I pray this new perspective is here to stay. Check me at the door if I lose it.

XOXO,
Jenn

Two Weddings Make a McWife

When Justin and I decided we wanted to elope and have a private ceremony, the next thing we knew was that we wanted someone special to marry us. Someone who really knew us and wasn’t just reading from a script or dropping our names into a template. Enter my little brother, Josh. He was the perfect man for the job, with one exception — he’s no minister.

Then began the discussion of online ordination. You know, “by the power vested in me by the power of the internet, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” This is indeed a thing in many states — but according to the almighty internet, the Davidson County Clerk AND the Williamson County Clerk, Tennessee is one of three states that don’t recognize it. (Disclaimer — I know many friends and acquaintances who have gone this route and have a marriage certificate, so I think once you get that piece of paper, all bets are off. You’re good. Never fret).

But if you know me, you know I’m a rule follower. So, how to solve this quandary? Solution: how about we get all that pesky paperwork out of the way a month in advance so we can just relax and enjoy the wedding day? Read: courthouse wedding!

I did some research and learned that Davidson County does courthouse weddings one day a week for 1.5 hours or so. You call Monday morning at 8:30 to make an appointment for later that week, and they go fast. With looming work travel and a move in our near future, we knew we had to get it done in February (actual wedding to happen March 19). So I called February 8 and we had an appointment February 10. We both put in for vacation that day and counted down the minutes.

I don’t really know what we expected, but I think we thought we’d sign some paperwork and we’d be married. Still, we were excited. However, when we got there it became obvious real quick that we would go in this private area of the Clerk’s office and exchange vows, rings, say I Do’s — the whole bit! It took us by surprise.

Our County Clerk, Brenda Wynn, is about the sweetest lady in the world. When we unexpectedly got emotional, she cried right along with us. If Josh Wade wasn’t already booked, I would have invited her out to Leiper’s Fork a few weeks later. 😉 DSC_0022

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We left the courthouse and headed straight for brunch, naturally. Biscuit Love has been on our radar for a while but it’s always sooo crowded. Guess what — at 10:30 on a Wednesday, you can walk right in. We ordered, and as she swiped Justin’s card she said “did y’all just come from a wedding or something?” (I was still holding my bouquet). I said “yeah, ours.” She said, “NO WAY,” and took his card back — “I’m comping your breakfast.” Errrr, sorry we just ordered the left side of the menu.

As we were finishing brunch, the manager came over and congratulated us and dropped off a bag of goodies — coffee mugs, t-shirts, a cookbook, etc. So, so kind.

We left brunch and drove by our soon-to-be new home that we would live in as a finally married couple. (We were so ready for it to be done!) Then, we went home (to our former apartment) and took a nap. It was pretty much the perfect courthouse wedding day.

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So many thanks to my beautiful, most kind-hearted and selfless friend Lindsey for taking these photos at the courthouse and for making my beautiful bouquet. She offered the day before, so I scrambled and found something suitable to wear — and I’m so glad I did. We will treasure these and treasure the very non-traditional, but very Justin and Jenn, way that we did our entire wedding process. We did what we wanted to do — we made it special and we made it about us. It’s how every wedding should be — not like ours — but however it is that makes the two of you happy and is a reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing. For nobody else and for no other reason than to celebrate your love. And we sure have a lot of it to celebrate.

People asked “did it make it less special since you actually got married in February?” Heck no — did you see the photos from that wedding in the woods? It was amazing! I got to pledge my love to this man twice. I’d do two weddings a month for every month if I could.

XOXO,
The McCombs

Closet Clean Out

I did a massive closet clean out this morning, friends. There’s a huge pile going to Goodwill, but these are some of the nicer items, most hardly worn, so I thought I’d give this a whirl. All items priced for porch pick up (assuming you are local) or will ship to you, just add an extra $5 for the order (not per item).

Email me at jenndawnwade@gmail.com with your wish list! First come, first serve. XO

Ann Taylor tops – size Medium. Both for $10.

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Banana Republic Sloan Fit Pant — blueish gray color. Size 8. Ankle length. My favorite work pant! I have them in every color. $10

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Ann Taylor Loft shorts – all size 6. Jean cutoffs and a pair of brown khaki material and pink khaki material. $8 each or $20 for all three. 

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Size 8 Petite dress shorts from Ann Taylor. These are a heavier material and dress up really well with nice sandals and a blouse. $10.

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Black pencil skirt, Ann Taylor LOFT, size 6. It’s a heavier, almost woven kind of material. Loved this skirt. $8

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Dark green, lace dress from Target. Worn once to a rehearsal dinner. Size medium. $10. Looks great with a bright belt. Hits me somewhere between just above the knee and mid-thigh.

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Ann Taylor striped dress. Size 6. $15. Great for work.

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Flower print dress, size large but fits more like a medium. Wear with a belt and it’s very forgiving if you’re a medium or a large. No zipper – elastic around the waist. Used to wear it casually or to work with a cardigan. Hits me mid-thigh. $10.

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Pink dress with lace detail at the top. Worn once to a wedding. Forever 21 (yes, really), size L. No zipper, could be worn with a belt if you’re medium or large. Hits me mid-thigh. $10. 

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My favorite chambray shirt from Ann Taylor LOFT. Size L, so soft. $10. 

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Have no idea where I got these, but love these shorts. Size 8 — fit more like a 6. Color is navy and white. $10. 

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Meet Princess Fiona Kitten Pants

If you’ve visited this blog more than once (OK, maybe even just once), you know I’m a crazy cat lady. I just friggin’ love a cat. They are insane and so conniving. What’s not to love? And if you knew my Callie Cat girl, you know I have a heart for even the meanest, weirdest ones. Callie was special – feral and wild. But I loved her and she loved me. We bonded over a lot of ups and downs through 10 years together – and no matter what, we had each other.

Since Callie passed in October, I have been a bit hot and cold about another kitty. I finally decided I’d wait until I moved into the new house in November – but then I got the cat lady itch real bad. No, not like allergies – like, I wanted another one.

Justin and I looked off and on for a few months. Then a few Saturdays ago we got serious about it. It’s kitten season, after all. (I don’t even know what that means – I guess every spring/early summer cats just start breeding like mad, because there are kittens everywhere. All the shelters are just overrun with the little darlings).

We went to a place in Spring Hill where there were some real sweeties, but I just wasn’t feeling the strong connection. We moved on up to the Williamson County Animal Shelter, filled out an application (which you have to do to even hold a kitty) and started our search. (Actually, I walked straight in the door, opened a cage and grabbed a cat out and a lady said “you can’t do that. Have to have an application. It stops the spread of disease.” First, WTF. Second, WHERE DO I SIGN. I’m serious kitten huntin’).

After our application process I immediately picked a kitten I wanted to hold. It was so cute and right in the front door when you walked in. We took it to the kitten room where it can get down and run around with you – but it was weird. Sorry cat. It just wasn’t the right fit. I knew we needed one with personality (duh, see Callie) and one that could hold its own against a Golden Retriever at home. This one was terrified of most things, it appeared.

I put it back and went to another room and AHHHHH KITTENS. This is where they stash ‘em. They were EVERYWHERE. Like 5 to a cage/crate. Justin and I were immediately drawn to this one little furball in a cage with three other black males. She was calico and so beautiful. We got her out and took her tiny butt to the kitten room. She was rambunctious but also sweet and purring up a storm. She seemed to love human touch – weird, having known only Callie who would rather claw your eyes out than be picked up by a stranger. After a couple of minutes we just sort of looked at each other and smiled – “I think she’s the one,” I said. He said “yep – what’s her name?” Fiona.

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The past 15 or so days with her have an been adjustment. I forgot what it’s like having a kitten at home. (Read: pouncing on face at night and midnight and 3 a.m. feedings). And turns out, Fiona was only 6 weeks old and not weaned from her momma yet. So it was a little touch and go at first to get her to eat. We ended up bottle-feeding for several days, then she ate wet food for about a week, which makes for a REAL party in the litterbox. Imagine, wet cat food on a brand new stomach that’s never had such delicacies. Needless to say, just like a real baby, Fiona had several blow outs and got several baths. Ever bathed a cat? Yeah, keep it that way.

We are so in love with this little one though – she is growing like a weed and we wish she’d stop. She was 1.6 pounds when we got her and is now a little over 2. So she’s still just about 8 weeks old. She is in love with her doggy sister and wants to be ON HER all the time. Dixie cooperates and tolerates, bless her sweet heart.

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More crazy cat lady posts to come, you can guarantee it.

XOXO,
Jenn

It’s Not that Hot Out

Last Friday I was meeting a group of friends for happy hour. My friend DJ and I got to the bar/restaurant, so very pleased it was Friday and ready to have a craft beer. We parked off a busy four-lane street and when we exited her vehicle, we both heard a dog barking. It was odd, because the street was so busy. About three cars down, there was a dog in a car, windows cracked maybe an inch. It was a furry little schnauzer thing and panting hard. It was 4:30 and probably 85 degrees out.

I looked at DJ like “are you kidding me right now?” I then looked around – as if someone would be standing there holding a sign that says “here stands stupid. It’s me. I’m the terrible person.”

DJ said, “you’re going to do something aren’t you…” more of a statement than a question. Yep. I have to.

The bar we were headed to was in a strip mall – so the car was right in front of a restaurant. I went in and asked the hostess if she knew whose car it was. She said she thought it was “that table’s” and pointed to a couple of girls. She went over and asked, they nodded, and the hostess flagged me over.

I went over to two girls in their early 20’s. I said to one “is that your silver car?” She said “yes.” I said “that’s your dog in the car?” She said yes. I said “do you know how hot it is outside today?” To which she replied…

“It’s not that hot.”

I’m pretty sure I took a step back. Are you serious? Are you friggin’ serious.

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I said “Well. Either you can go outside and start your car, blast the AC and leave it running while you enjoy the rest of your meal. Or I’m calling the cops.” She looked at me and scoffed like ‘for real, cray lady?’ I said “so…?” She got up with her keys.

I held the door open for her and said, “I’m going to this bar here, next door. I’ll be out every 15 minutes to be sure your car is still running.” She said “Ok.”

And I did – I went out once more, looked at her through the window of the restaurant and put my hand calmly on the hood of the car to be sure it was running. Pup’s ears were happily blowing back in the AC. When I went out the second time, the car was gone.

What I should have said is, “listen turd. I’m going to put this fur coat on you, then you go sit in the car with the windows rolled up while I eat this ramen. Then you tell me if it’s really that hot today or not.”

Good news is, the Good Samaritan Law, which allows you to break a window from a car if you see a child trapped inside on a hot day, is being extended to protect animals in TN effective July 1. If it had been two weeks from now, I may have just waltzed into the restaurant holding that dog and said “is this yours?”

Article about the new law: http://m.wcyb.com/news/new-law-for-rescuing-pets-from-hot-cars/33534632

This is eye opening:

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So basically, that pup probably felt like it was 119 degrees. I could smack that girl – still, right now, it makes me so mad. But as my good friend DJ said, “just as there is no test for people to breed, there is no test for people to own animals.” Sad, but true.

Do your part if you see this happening this summer. Stand up for those little critters that can’t stand up for themselves.

XOXO,
Jenn

You’d Make a Good Skier

On Memorial Day I woke up early and went to the gym at my apartment. I know – so many things wrong with that sentence. It’s a holiday – I was off work – but was up early working out instead. I assure you it was only to counteract ALL.THE.EATING.

I felt so good on the treadmill. I listened to music while running for the first time in probably 5 years. When I started training for my first half marathon I was running with a big group (couple hundred people) — and music wasn’t really an option. You were trying not to get run over by a Saturday morning carpool and trying to not pass out while chatting with friends. I found I enjoyed the quiet and the sound of my feet on the pavement. So I usually do my cardio to the rhythm of my panting.

But a couple weeks ago I ran with music. It was awesome. So awesome that I ran a 5K without even really trying too hard. And faster than I normally do. I felt great. Bragged about it all day. Until my ankle started hurting. I figured it was just normal soreness. But the next day it REALLY hurt. Like on my Achilles. I called my triathlete brother who has had his fair share of injuries and most recently, some tendonitis. He gave me some tips (foam rolling and these little exercises on the steps to stretch and strengthen your ankles and calves). That was 2.5 weeks ago and while the pain has moved to the inside of my ankle, it’s still there a bit. I’m afraid to aggravate it, but also afraid of gaining any weight back – so I’ve ben hitting the elliptical HARD for some low-impact cardio.

I don’t know that I had ever been on the elliptical before. I thought I’d probably not be coordinated enough. When I got on it the first time I thought “this isn’t so bad. I’m probably not burning near enough calories.” In 5 minutes I changed my tune. WHAT is happening. Pouring sweat.

I miss running, but have had too many nagging injuries to know better than to test it yet. So, more ellipticalling (a word? Maybe?) for me.

A coworker friend walked by me at the gym while I was hitting it hard and said “Jenn do you ski?” I said nope, never tried it. She said “you look like you’d be a good skier. Real smooth.”

So now I’m all like:

I know.

hFhW7kBXOXO,
Jenn

Life after 30

My brother called me on my 32nd birthday this past Sunday. He was like “do you feel any older?” Without hesitation I said YES because it seemed like the right answer. But quickly I was like “NOPE. Actually – I am healthier and more active than I have been in years. So no, I do not feel older. Oh but I did hurt my ankle running…probably brittle bones…they say that happens. So, no and yes.”

32 is going to be the best yet. I’m sure of it. I know what I want – and thanks for 14 or so years as an adult, I know what I don’t want. (Can I get an amen?)

I read this list recently about “10 things you need to quit doing right now to be happier.” I wish I would have saved it. If you Google this, there are a million lists but none are the exact one that I was reading. So here’s my own summary of the ones I remember.

  • Being around negative people
    Oh my stars – isn’t this profound. We can’t control who we are around all the time – i.e. at work – but in our personal lives, there is absolutely no reason as adults that we have to put ourselves through relationships (beyond the general courtesies) that don’t enrich our lives. I’ve realized this recently – and have the dearest friends ever because I chose them. Fate, luck, divine intervention, etc. brought us together – but we CHOSE to stay together because we give each other what we need and want. We enjoy it – plain and simple. But from time to time, you encounter people that you just think “yep – not forcing myself through that again.” And guess what, you don’t have to. You’re a grown up. Do what you want. Be around who you want. This is not elementary school and you do not have to play with that brat on the playground.
  • Saying yes all the time
    I was a yes girl. I used to say yes then figure out how I’d get it done, later. Or commit to something then whine about it until it was over. Well, why the heck did you agree to do it if you’re so tortured about it? The slogan should be, “Just Say No: to drugs and other crap you don’t want to do.” Unless it’s a professional development opportunity, YOUR JOB, school so it will better your long-term future or something like that – just say no if your heart isn’t in it. Again, like above, if it doesn’t give you something back, why give it all of you?
  • Choosing things over experience
    I feel like this shifts drastically from your early 20’s to 30’s. I would spend my last dime to travel or eat somewhere amazing. But that amazing pair of shoes that cost half my paycheck? Eh, take ‘em or leave ‘em.
  •  Comparing yourself to others
    Lawd, social media is the devil when it comes to this. Because we only see all the sunshine and roses – not all the trips, falls, bumps and bruises. But at some point (late 20’s or early 30’s?) you just have to do you and not try to keep up with the Joneses. It will drive you insane. I’m the guiltiest for posting every fun moment on social media – so this is a work in progress for me. (I think there was a related topic in here somewhere about just living your life instead of documenting every second. Shocker).

Anyways, my point with this is, you really do sort to turn a corner on these things and so much more around 29-something. The best is yet to come – right? Isn’t that what they say? If so, bring it on, 33. (Er…wait. Maybe just let me savor this one a little bit longer).

Thanks to everyone for all of the well-wishes on my extended birthday extravaganza. I felt every one of them and all the love.

Disclaimer – I realize in 5-10 years I’ll look back on this post and realize I still knew nothing about life. That’s just how it goes. 😉

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Summer Sweet Tooth

Now that summer is fast approaching, I’m starting to pull out all the favorite seasonal recipes. I served one when I hosted my Book Club girls earlier this week and plan on making the other this weekend.

Post-Whole 30 and with this new, lighter Jenn, I’ve been satisfying my sweet tooth in healthier ways, and these recipes are perfect for that.

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone and Honey

You’ll need:
Peaches
Mascarpone
Honey

That was easy, huh?

Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit and place cut-side down on a medium-temp grill. Just kind of keep an eye on them — 5ish minutes or so until they get some good grill marks and start to warm through. I’ve never really timed it. Use tongs to turn them over.

Now, you can go ahead and take them off if you want, but I like doing this next step on the grill. Just depends on how OCD you are about keeping your grill clean.

While mine are still on the grill, spoon in some mascarpone (or to be honest, I like goat cheese, as well – and it’s a lot easier to find) into the center of each half. Then drizzle the whole peach with honey. Close the lid and let them hang out just one more minute so the cheese gets gooey. Serve immediately while still warm.

If you follow the link to the photo credit below, she bastes hers in honey butter. Get it, girl.

peaches - foodiecrush.comphoto credit

Watermelon, Feta and Herb Salad

This is the one I made for book club the other night. It is so good!

You’ll need:
3ish cups of diced, seedless watermelon
8 oz. block or container of feta cheese
A good handful of fresh mint and basil

I used almost a whole one of these little guys from Kroger, each for the Mint and Basil.

Fine chop your herbs, crumble your feta and toss it all together with the watermelon. Salt it to taste. That’s it. Serve immediately. We ate the leftovers the next day as well – but that was about as long as it’ll keep. The cheese starts breaking down and it’s just weird. So fresh and summery, though.

You could get crazy and squeeze a lime on it. Maybe drizzle with EVOO. You could make a dressing with a little honey, EVOO and lime juice. But it’s good enough as is.

Photo credit

There you go — two perfect recipes to accompany your Memorial Day grilling extravaganzas. Happy summer, kittens.

XOXO,
Jenn

Wade Beach Trip – 2015

Last week marked possibly my favorite week of the year – Wade family beach vacation week. My parents discovered Destin, FL when I was a toddler. It was still a sleepy Gulf of Mexico fishing town in the mid-80s. (No, that’s not a typo. Shut it). And it’s just been our spot ever since then. Now it seems like everyone knows about and loves Destin – so we’ve pushed our family vacations till just before peak summer season to avoid the crowds and rental rate hikes.

I can’t tell you how much this week means to me. Now that Josh has his own family (who knew a 17 month old person needs double the luggage of two grown adults?), we rent a big house so we can spread out a bit. It is just glorious. Vacations look a little different – waking up at 6 a.m. because there is a toddler pacing outside your door, going to dinner in shifts – but this vacation was the best yet. It’s so fun experiencing everything through my nephew’s eyes. Not to mention getting to hang out with those other people I love so much.

It was also priceless to finally have Justin spend more than a quick weekend with the Wades. So glad he sacrificed a whole week of work to tag along with us. 🙂

As usual, I cried a little when we left. Health and family – the two things in life that are such a deep blessing and we should never take for granted while we’ve got them.

Now here’s some vacation eye candy for you. Most taken by my fabulous sister-in-law, or at least her fabulous camera.

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Until next time, Wades! Love you all so much.

XOXO,
Jenn