early summer rest and relaxation

Kvetch though I do about my academic commitments (and expect more in future posts about summer class and internship!) I also have been on the receiving end of lots of fun this summer. There have been lots of quality hosting, entertainment, and food from my amigos.

I went to Andrea’s for lunch one day (I’m a student and have random breaks in my day. She’s an opera singer and has a somewhat eclectic schedule consisting of nannying, teaching music lessons, and performing; thus, she is sometimes able to meet up with me for lunch on random Thursday afternoons).

She fed me this SPECTACULAR fancy toast inspired by a place in Durham.

– toasted bread
– mashed avocado
– radishes marinated in buttermilk



Then, when my spring finals had concluded but my summer class had not yet begun, I had a visit from my beloved aunt Jeanie and uncle Tim! (With a cameo from various cousins). I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I was too busy soaking up the quality time with them.

I did, however, get a shot of the river walk in Hillsborough, which is gorgeous.


And a super scrumptious dinner at Milltown:

– BOSS corn chowder with chili oil on top
– salad with lambic vinaigrette, sunflower seeds, and craisins
– baguette


Their time here was way too short but we had fun. Hopefully they’ll come again soon, along with more family members who hopefully read this blog and see how fun it is here ūüėÄ

Another fun thing my friends hosted-their bambino’s second birthday party! They had just gone strawberry picking and made dee-licious strawberry cupcakes with strawberry icing for little A’s birthday bash.


This was my first time seeing Tiff and Tom’s¬†new house and it is SO LOVELY! I want to say it was built in the 1920s? You walk up the front path through this lovely flowery garden and then the house is full of pretty¬†arches and windows and brightness. Durham has all these charming hidden neighborhoods I’m just beginning to explore.

The party was a birthday brunch, a brilliant idea. Brunch is the best meal.




I now have way too many friends with babies.¬†But it is fun setting up friends and their babies. Dan and Bethany ended up bonding with Tiff and Tom through me, and they were also at this party. It was super cute watching Bethany feed waffles to little T, who was just SO excited about the party she didn’t feel like sitting down for that long. (Gah look at the baby jellies shoes!)


Another fun occasion for which I was hosted was dinner at Myra and Alex’s. They, too, rock a waffle iron. For this particular meal, they used it to grill fresh apricots (first of the season!) which they put on a green salad (and added unpictured goat cheese and olive oil and balsamic vinegar)


Plus cauliflower steaks and grape compote. Totally delicious, crazy healthy. There was almost too much fiber in this meal, even for me!


It was a good thing I brought wine, because for the movie we watched after dinner, alcohol was mandatory…


Recognize it? AGH!


It was comically terrible. TERRIBLE. The dialogue was just absurd. And I was a fan of the leading man when he was on Once Upon a Time and¬†was actually allowed to rock his Scottish accent and have hair on his body… but man, he was particularly awful and robotic in this movie.

And yes, it was awkward being the third wheel sitting next to a couple watching a movie that was, uh, on the erotic side. Fortunately, their daschund came and spooned with me for awhile.


On Memorial Day weekend, Alli and I took a spontaneous Single Girls trip to the beach! Gosh, it was so fun. In the DC area, planning on going to the beach for Memorial Day weekend is tantamount to planning to sit in at least two hours of stop and go traffic at some point in each leg of the journey (extending a supposedly four hour trip to at least six). Not so in this wonderful state of North Carolina.

As Alli and I motored along, we¬†psychoanalyzed boys,¬†sang along with the Beatles and listened to an entire episode of Prairie Home Companion which included a lovely performance from the Navy Band that reminded us what the holiday was all about (Mom, it took me right back to childhood listening to the performances on the Capitol lawn¬†for Memorial Day). Instead of hours and hours of traffic, we had just a mile of it, when we were literally a mile from the beach. And it turned out there was a drawbridge up (!) so the traffic wouldn’t have even existed had it not been for that. Reasonable! Plus Alli knew a secret (free!) parking lot a few blocks from the beach so we were quickly out of traffic and headed for the ocean!

Yes, the beach was crowded, because duh, it was Memorial Day weekend. But it was sooooo wonderful being by the ocean! Lots of cute families playing together.


There were just a few minuses to the day… the¬†waves were pretty vigorous, and thus the ocean claimed my sunglasses and narrowly missed claiming my swimsuit bottom (thank God, eh?!) And the girls camped out on towels near us spent a depressing amount of time taking pictures with their selfie stick… but it really made me grateful that social media wasn’t the monster it was when I was in college and high school, and that I actually got to enjoy my time with my friends.

Alli and I did take a total of two selfies, and that was just to document our awesome floppy hats!


I attribute the fact that I didn’t get violently sick¬†to my stomach (as I have done when by the seaside every trip prior to this- weird, eh?!) to the hat’s ability to shield me from too much direct sun. And also bringing a giant water bottle and forcing down the fluids even when I wasn’t thirsty. Success!

It was an awesome day, and good to remember that you don’t need dudes to take you to the beach- girlfriends are the best! I took a long long walk on the beach all by myself and felt good about where I was in life.


The day concluded with a cookout at my cousin’s. Love this: I went from about age 2 to about age 24 without seeing my cousin Elisabeth, because she lived in Wilmington. Now, however, she is in my life and¬†she is the best! As Alli and I ran out the door in the morning, I sent Elisabeth¬†a totally last minute text asking if she wanted to get ice cream or something since we would be in her area. She responded by saying that she and her husband and their adorable five year old daughter were having a cookout for their friends and their adorable five year old daughters, and that we should come along.

So after a lovely day at the beach we spent a lovely evening eating heavenly pulled pork, deviled eggs, cucumber salad, and other goodies; playing with Elisabeth and Carl’s super sweet beagle; bonding with my family and their sweet friends; and soaking up the lovely evening in their leafy, shaded, heavenly backyard. Elisabeth has an MPH so she also is a wonderful career mentor for me!

I ended the day back at home after another peaceful drive, tucking myself in with a smile on my face, my entire body coated in aloe vera (oh yeah, I burned my shoulders off). Life is good.


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