Rainy Day Date

October is so close I can taste it. We have had nothing but gray skies, a full serving of fall scented rain showers, and temperatures that make you want to snuggle the day away. Today I convinced Ryan to take me to Brixx for dinner – actually it didn’t take much convincing, just a little text message whining about the fact that nobody else wanted to go with me. And so we went. It started to sprinkle on our walk over, and the rain continued to fall harder and faster as I ate my tomato and mozzarella wrap and blue potato chips. Have you had blue potato chips? They’re really made from blue potatoes and I think they are maybe the most fantastic chips out there. I also really love October – have I told you?

So dinner was over and I drank some coffee and Ryan provided some useful conversation and then we left. And it was pouring. Ryan will tell you that it wasn’t, but he wouldn’t know a pour if one fell on his head … which it did. I asked him if he would go get the car and pick me up because I was wearing a skirt and sandals and a sleeveless shirt and he said no and I said well can we take a cab and he said sure. And so then we walked across the street to where four cabs were nicely lined up, waiting for people to take to their various destinations. And then we walked right past them and kept walking and crept along the side of a building to try to stay a little dry. I realized that we would not be riding in the back of a warm and cozy cab, but would instead be sprinting hand in hand through the streets of downtown Charlotte.

Ryan led the way and we rebelliously crossed streets when we weren't supposed to and took short cuts through big important buildings that big important people go to work in every day.  We visited the marble staircase that Ashley B fell down two winters ago when we were young single things tearing up the town.  We also snuck through some other places that helped us stay temporarily dry, and when we were running in the rain, Ryan made comments like: “Ooo!  And to your left is the rarely seen Running Tessa” and “Suck it up babe … it’s an adventure!”.   And it was.  I didn’t even cry about it.


Beach Wedding Snapshots

Heather and Phil are married! They are a Mr. and a Mrs. who are off honeymooning and being in love.

Yesterday they had a beautiful wedding held on the sands of Virginia Beach, Virginia under an alter complete with sand dollars, sea stars, and breath taking simplicity.

The ocean roared in the background and the sun shined down upon them as it sunk into the sea for a night of rest. Everything was more than perfect, and Heather made an absolutely stunning bride.

More pictures to come (for now, they’re being stolen from Ms. Lauren’s Facebook page. Thank you, Lauren, for being the only bridesmaid who thought to bring a camera!).


Playing House

This weekend, we played house while we babysat Alekzander. Ashley was getting her hair did, and we got to kick it with the little one while she was off getting beautiful. Alekzander loved looking out of Ryan’s eleventh story windows and checking out all of the sunbathers and cornhole players at the pool below. He has mastered pulling himself up with one sticky little baby hand stuck to the window for support. We went for a big walk to Harris Teeter (a whole two blocks away) and Ryan got me vanilla ice cream to go with the yummy zucchini bread Ashley had brought over.

Alekzander mostly played on the floor with us, but he also checked out Ryan’s pitch that was spread out all over his chaise lounge (I think he was probably trying to steal insider secrets about their stock). He also ripped some pages out of a magazine and tried to text his peeps by opening and closing my phone a gajillion times and pressing every button he could get his chubby little fingers on. Then he played with my three tubes of mascara while I got ready to meet up with my sister at her church.

Since she was running late, Ryan and I had the challenge of dropping Alekzander off at the church’s nursery. After wandering the halls for a while, then finally asking someone where we should go, the drop off went something like this: Hi. This is my sister’s baby. I’m not sure what to do. Then the lady told me to just set him on the floor and he’d be fine. So I said: Okay, thanks. And I put him on the floor and I left. It was a major Aunt Tessa Bug fail. I mean, where were the introductions? The hug and kiss goodbye? Will he ever love me again? Circle yes.

After church, we went over to Ashley and Andrew’s and they cooked us baked potatoes, a tomato and mozzarella salad, corn on the cob, and some carnivorous items that I didn’t partake in. Of course there was a football ice-cream cake too. What? Don’t act like you’ve never eaten ice-cream twice in one day. Remember when I thought I was quitting ice-cream? Apparently that didn’t work out so well for me.



Last night we went to our first Live After Five of the year.  It is very much a summer event – a live band and outdoor gathering in Charlotte every Thursday evening – so I think they should be coming to a close soon.  Luckily it has started to cool down at night and in the mornings, and we had very pleasant weather for twirling around and singing along with familiar faces on the top floor of the Epicenter.

Sheridan and Lynch do tricks:

Lynch looks like he has a bullet hole in his head. 
And sometimes I stick out my tongue:

Not often though - and that is probably a good thing.  The end.


New Meadowlands Stadium

Oh, so, you know … just a quick trip up to New York and back. That’s what we did yesterday. And we attended the first ever game in the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Carolina Panthers didn’t really win (okay, they completely lost), but that’s alright because the experience was amazing.


New York people are big and scary. Especially when you’re just a little Panther and the ratio of fans is about 1000:1. Actually they were (mostly) pretty nice and good spirited. Apparently Ryan and I are fairly good at befriending strangers … we’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Rex is pleased that I am home after a long and busy weekend. I’m pleased too. Plus, it is super Septembery outside. I can’t wait to drive to work with my windows down. Don’t you just love that?


Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon came to the Verizon amphitheater last night, and so we did too. Ryan is an expert tailgater, and he had all kinds of snacks and beverages and music and tickets packed up for us. Even things like a tomato and mozzarella salad, crackers and cheddar cheese, peanut M&Ms, and pineapple juice. I really like him.

We made a lot of new friends, saw a lot of old friends, and really enjoyed the concert. Do you know Kings of Leon? I think they are fantastic. You would probably think so too.

It was a beautiful late summer night with the most perfect temperature for an outside show. We sat center stage, just a handful of rows behind the pit. Basically everything was amazing. My heart did a whole lot of smiling.

Today is rainy and gloomy, a nice transition into fall and a good excuse to be lazy and waste away our day. Tomorrow we are going to New York for the Panthers vs. Giants game. I have a cute new Panthers shirt and I’m very excited about our quick little trip. I love that September is here, and I equally love that it is almost half way over. The end of September means the beginning of October, which is the best of the best months in existence. I want to live my life in a perpetual October. Do you think this can be arranged? Circle yes or no.

[Today we remember.]



Last night we celebrated eighteen months of love.  I like to say that eighteen of anything is amost twenty.  And I think that almost twenty of anything is pretty darn supercallifragilisticexpialidocious (as Mary Poppins likes to say).

I love love loved Mary Poppins.  Plus I had a very handsome date and who treated me to spectacular seats and an evening of magic and chimney sweeps and dancing statues.  He even shared his bag of peanut M&Ms with me.

Ryan woke up singing Chim-Chim-Cha-Roo!  Don't tell anyone.


Full and Yummy

My Monday, which was really a Tuesday, was full and yummy. It involved generic brand Life cereal, a pretend jump rope, a big glass of milk, a visit to the post office, some texts with AB, work, a peanut butter sandwich, a little more work, blueberry Greek yogurt, a quick hug and hello to AB at her place, whole grain pasta, pumpkin cookies, and a few hours catching up with Krista.

See. Full. And yummy.

I also talked to my sister on my commute home. Do you commute home? Or do you just commute to work? What exactly does commute mean again? I like my sister, Ashley. She would be able to tell me what commute means (I think). And she also has Verizon now, which means that we can talk to each other for endless hours. Alekzander sometimes has a thing or two to say too. Usually it goes like this: “bLAh BlaH rAH Rah”. And I say “Oh, me too. Definitely.”

And today, Ryan and I have been dating for a year and a half, which equals 18 months. I asked Ryan if we stopped counting our months at this point in our relationship. You know, like how a mom says: “Hi, this is my baby. He is 4 months old.” And then later she says: “Oh, he’s 13 months now.” And then all of a sudden he is a year and a half and then almost two. Like the months just stopped. “Hi, I’m Tessa. I’m 301 and a half months old.” Really. Because I am.

Ryan had football tonight, which is why we aren’t out gallivanting right now. I did, however, receive an email from him stating that we have a date tomorrow evening. Let’s just say that it’s going to involve Mary Poppins. Really. Isn’t he the best? Are you jealous? Because I would be if he wasn’t mine.

Do you think I use the word "yum" too much?  Circle yes or no.


Labor Day Pumpkin Cookies

To celebrate Labor Day, I decided to make pumpkin cookies. Apparently there is a shortage of pumpkin in the Charlotte area, so cans of pumpkin are really hard to come by. A man at a local grocery store explained to me that last year some pumpkins were diseased because of the hot weather, so they had to ship all of their cans of pumpkin back (just in case), and they haven’t gotten any new ones in stock yet.

Once upon a time, I invented this pumpkin cookie recipe, and I’m going to share it with you now. There is, however, one condition: you have to give me credit for it because I really do think I made it up. I guess you can call it a variation of the fat-free applesauce cookie recipe, but that is with applesauce and raisins … yuck (actually, they are pretty yum, but mine are better).

This is what I look like without any makeup on, wearing my favorite outfit, minutes away from getting my bake on. Did you know that I don’t always have on 8 pounds of mascara? It’s very rare, but sometimes it happens.

Tessa’s Lowfat-ish Pumpkin Cookies

¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
¾ cup pumpkin
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together everything in order. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. (They won’t grow in the oven, so make them the size that you want them). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Please note: Do not buy the canned pumpkin pie filling (like I accidentally did today). It has sugar and spices and some kind of unhealthy syrup stuff going on, and then it’ll just mess up the taste of everything else. So get regular old pumpkin. Also, I like to buy the mini semisweet chocolate chips. Something about them being “mini” makes me feel better about adding them in. Dark chocolate chips are good too.   I almost always double the recipe, and that makes about 36 cookies.

Enjoy your cookies. And Happy Labor Day! Fall is coming … can you smell it? Oh, maybe that’s just cinnamon and pumpkin coming from my oven.


I Lint Rolled My Cat

Week one of the new job is complete. It was a success. I made it ... yay! Mostly, I’ve been waking up at 5:20am, going to the gym, getting to work an hour too early, and then being super tired at night. So mostly I’ve been asleep before 8:00pm, which isn’t totally out of the norm for me, but it happened a handful of times this past week.

And then Ryan came home from New York (yes, another New York trip), and then it was the weekend. On Friday we laid around for a while and then walked to Libretto’s for a slice of pizza. Personally, I think they have the best pizza around – mainly because it is close, quick, crispy, not greasy, and topped with tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms. Our waitress totally forgot that she had put our slices in the oven, and then she sat down and started reading a book. Our burnt pizza was replaced with fresh slices, and we lived happily ever after.

On Saturday we coffeed (yes, a verb), toasted, Targeted, pooled, and dinnered. Ryan is really good at making coffee and we like ours the same way – a little strong with a splash of cream. We both had big lists to tackle at Target, and we did so with ease. Then it was time to go to our friend Hannah’s pool. She lives a walkable distance from Ryan’s in a really nice, new, super stylish high rise. Hannah provided us with honey and sesame seed covered almonds from Trader Joe’s, and I promised to make everyone some pumpkin cookies. Mike, Chris, and Jason joined us, and even though the sun kept hiding from us, we had the perfect afternoon. The weather in Charlotte is finally becoming bearable now that we are into September, and I hope it stays so I can open my windows soon.

After the pool, Ryan and I went to dinner at Fleming’s, where he ate steak and potatoes (surprise!), I ate tomato and mozzarella (surprise!), and we shared macaroni and cheese. I also had some kind of fantastic cucumber drink. Even though our food was excellent, maybe next time we’ll just get cheesecake and chocolate lava cake. Yum! (Maybe next time we’ll take some pictures, too. I’ve been really bad at taking pictures lately. And by that I mean that I haven’t been taking any at all.)

Today Ryan is hosting his Fantasy Football draft at his place. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I guess boys will be boys and waste lots of time on fake football that somehow translates into real football? I’ll waste my time window shopping, thank you very much. Today I have: 1) finished watching The Oxford Murders, which I fell asleep to after 25 minutes last night 2) lint rolled my cat and 3) bruised the nail of my pinky finger (items 2 and 3 are unrelated).  Today I have not:  1) showered.


A Swistakovitch Anniversary

Happy Anniversary, Ashley and Andrew!

I hope you and the littlest A are having a wonderful weekend in the mountains!

(Aren't my sister and brother-in-law super cute?  I think so too.  They're also the best.  Andrew will come save you if you get a flat tire on I-77 and Ashley will make you loaves zucchini bread ... if she can remember where she put them.)