i can't help but share

I've tried to get in the habit of cooking dinner with what we have in the fridge and the pantry instead of getting stuck on one of the many must-try recipes I've pinned over time. That leads to lots of extra grocery shopping in which I come home with things like goat cheese and kalamata olives and flaky french bread.

Sometimes these use-what-you've-got efforts are good. Sometimes they're a disaster. And sometimes its a total touch down [though being the least frequent]. But last night...last night was a touch down!

So I can't help but share.

Four whole wheat tortillas 
One bulb roasted garlic
A package of shredded mozzarella
About two cups of shredded rotisserie chicken [I used leftovers from an herb roasted whole chicken with rosemary]
Roasted tomatoes [I baked them with olive oil and rosemary]
Half of an onion that has been sliced and caramelized
Six leaves of basil torn into small pieces
Balsamic reduction made with balsamic vinegar, honey, and rosemary [I didn't have a bay leaf]

After you've roasted and caramelized and reduced, make sure your oven is at 400 degrees.

Lay your tortillas on your prepared pizza stone, pizza pan, or cookie sheet. With a knife, spread your roasted garlic on the tortillas like you would butter [except its healthy and so stinking delicious!!!].

Sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella on top of the garlic spread.

Layer your shredded chicken, roasted tomatoes [sliced into pieces], caramelized onions, and torn basil.

Then add another layer of mozzarella. But not a thin one this time.

Bake for 10-20 minutes. Just watched to make sure all the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas have barely begun to brown.

Drizzle with your sweet balsamic reduction and slice into quarters.

We ate ours with this strawberry feta salad [the dressing was extra good].

And we ate every last bite.

Which actually makes me sad because I wish I had some right this very second. 


exploring charleston

On Saturday, we started taking advantage of all the great cities we now live near with Charleston being our first pick. After a locally grown brunch at the Glass Onion [Carolinians ingeniously do brunch all day on Saturdays], we tapped into our inner history nerd and headed out to where the Civil War began.

Fort Sumter
Did you know Prince Charles was a Confederate Soldier? I had no idea.
I married a very thorough plaque reader.

It was cool and old and hot. But especially hot.

Back on land, we took ourselves on a walking tour of Charleston's most historic [and most beautiful] neighborhood. With every step, there was another charming detail - iron gates, secret gardens, adorable house numbers, beautiful columns. And a few For Sale signs. We may be moving soon.

Rainbow Row

While we were walking, I told D that we should pretend we were Rhett and Scarlett strolling the streets and waiving to each passerby. He got so excited. Totally loved that idea.

Just kidding. I think he may have smiled and nodded.

The man who owned this bank was a blockade runner and the inspiration for Rhett Butler's character.

While I was looking super touristy trying to get a picture of the infamous rainbow row, we met our new friend Mr. Davenport. As he was locking his front door and walking to his car, asked us where we were from and suggested we head to the Marina Variety Store for dinner. Seeing as how he eats there every morning before work, we thought him a good reference. Talking to him was the icing on top of a perfectly charming, perfectly hospitable, perfectly Charleston day.

We ended our day trip with fresh seafood, a sunset in the marina, and a little sea dreaming.

Proof that I was actually there.

I absolutely can't wait to go back. M and J - next time we're calling y'all!


looking forward to... [summer 2012 edition]

Happy first weekend of Summer to you! Here are some things I'm looking forward to/dreaming about for our first Carolina Summer.

Wears: hat // dress // tunic // necklace // shoes

What are you looking forward to for Summer 2012? Plan something really fun, ok?


frame of mind

Simply, moving a sizable distance from anyone and anything of familiarity is both great and terrible. Exciting and heartbreaking. It's a lot like choosing to move away for college. Or committing to a summer at Pine Cove without knowing a soul. For me, those kind of decisions have always been easy make (yes, let's go and let's do) and heart-wrenching to carry-out. And they've always been for the very best.

The problem with the excitement and heartbreak is that you never know which one is going to strike you and when. I've noticed its the small things. I feel a rush of comfort when we're getting in the car and waving to all of our neighbors who happened to be outside at the same time: Reverend Doug and Mrs. Gloria who have lived across the street for over thirty years and our quirky and talkative next door neighbor, Ramsey, who still says, "Hi Dustin and Rachel!" when he sees us. Still. Or sometimes its the feeling of the cool Carolina mornings or driving over big hills or authentically connecting with people as we visit churches. Its raising the screen on the back bedroom window and kissing D while he's working in the backyard [praise Jesus for Saturdays]. And its especially the closeness it brings to our relationship as we share those excitements and the tough parts too.

The tough parts? Missing people. And meeting new ones. And not having a church home. Also wishing that Sister from Where the Heart Is would drive up in her pick-up turned covered wagon and hand me a welcome basket. She'd especially be able to tell that I'm new if she saw me in the grocery store. I'd be staring at all the aisle markers with one of those "I don't know where anything is in the store" face.

Through it all, I'm learning to not live for the normalcy that I just love to cling to. Or believing that life is only truly happy in those picture-worthy moments: the family in front of the perfectly decorated Christmas tree or the arrival of new babies or fiftieth anniversaries. Though it may not be true, the pictures that you choose to frame usually give the illusion that everything has a time and a place and a routine making this transition time seem, well, not-so-picturesque. But I know my attitude towards the hours spent filling our front porch with to-be-recycled packing paper will matter more than how I respond when we hang the last painting or finally buy a sofa or actually have friends over for dinner. Maybe instead of wedding pictures, I'll fill our walls with an 8x10 of cardboard boxes. Or us eating on the floor while watching TV [which was also on the floor]. Or even a nice shot of air mattresses. Here's to embracing transition.


anna morgan

Meet the new love of my life.

She, like her sister, is an early bird. She was born at 2:15 AM. An hour and forty-five minutes after I got the call that they were headed to the hospital. Three hours and forty-five minutes before I would make it to Montgomery.

When I did make it, the most beautiful and saturated pink sunrise was strutting its stuff in celebration of Miss Anna's arrival. Or at least I like to think so. I did that still-trying-to-be-lady-like run through the hospital lobby until I found the delivery room whose hall was buzzing with plenty of other nurses and excited family members. Being the baby of the family, there is something extra exciting about births. About knowing someone from their very first breath. Especially someone you know you'll remain close to. I mean, I'm already crying dreaming about Audrey and Anna's wedding days.

Meeting that 8 lbs. and 14 oz. of perfection was no different!


Among the four of us (which is now eight!) we've joked about how you'd think my parents had 12 children instead of 2 because of the way huge life events seem to overlap one another. Audrey was due the day I began college. As in, my first college class ever. Kind of a big deal, I guess. She came early. Actually, Molly was sent to the hospital as soon as I picked up my very first bag to pack for the big move. Thankfully, my incredible best friends kept my house key and finished my packing while we were gone. With little Miss Anna, she decided to enter the world just a day and a half after D and I had driven into this brand new state and began to settle into our new home. Needless to say, it makes things much more exciting for our little fam!

What I know to be true of all those crisscrossing life events is the evidence of the Lord's graciousness. If Audrey had come on her due date, there's no way I could have been there. It may have been labor day until I met that beauty. If Anna had been a week earlier, we may have been wrapped up in graduation or our farewell party or some other unpredictable event. This time, I was able to stay through the weekend while D was at a wedding back in Louisiana which meant spending more time with all the girls and not having to stay in our house by myself. It's amazing and hysterical and unbelievable. And undoubtedly beautiful.

Next time? Who knows. Molly and I will probably go into labor at the exact. same. time.

Just kidding, Mom!


wheelin' and dealin': you should go to Loft today

I'm currently luring my dear old computer into uploading the bagillions of photos I took of Miss Anna Morgan Stone. A much deserved and belated post is coming ASAP. I blame it on all these cardboard boxes. And my elderly hard drive.

Just in case you find yourself out shopping with you mom or sister [which I would be jealous of] or your girlfriends [which I would also be jealous of], swing by the Loft. On Thursday, I took the morning off from packing tape and the monstrous pile of packing paper that is currently filling up our entire porch and checked out one of Columbia's malls. At Ann Taylor Loft, everything on sale was an additional 50% off and there were some of those wonderful final sale items as well.

I came home with a few great summer shirts and this skirt that I've been pining for ever since I laid eyes on it.

Mine for $22! And its a tall. Can you believe that?

Two things that made me extra excited about this: 1) My in-dressing room calculations were actually more than the actually total [that never happens] and 2) my amount saved was more than my amount spent! One thousand and three cheers for summer savings!