Weekend Recap: Starry Nights and Orchard Days

We wrapped up another fun weekend together. Summer is my favorite – always something to do and such great weather lately! This was Nathan’s only weekend off this month, so we tried to make the most of it while also gearing up/transitioning to him working night shifts, which he’ll do for the rest of July. (Womp womp…)


Friday was pretty chill. We ate dinner at home (leftovers from this dinner – still just as delicious!) before heading to Fridays After Five. We haven’t been since our first Friday in town, so it was fun to go back and see people we know. Last time we were in a sea of strangers, so it’s cool when things like this happen that make Cville feel more and more like home.


Saturday we had fun plans!

First, dinner fuel:

Best pork we’ve ever made thanks to the cast iron skillet!

Then: Starry Nights at Veritas.

We’ve had this on our calendar ever since we found out Nate’s weekend off would coincide. One Saturday a month during the summer, Veritas, one of the local vineyards, opens up their lawn in the evening for live music, dancing, food/picnics, stargazing, and – of course – wine. This is THE place to be when they have it…so many people but plenty of room for everyone! I was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience even though I had such high hopes to begin with.

We met up with a small group of friends there and it was so much fun! We spread out some blankets, watched the sun go down, and shared a bottle of rose.


I can’t believe this is real life ^^^^^

We got home close to 11 and pretty much went straight to bed…#partyanimals. Such a fun way to spend a summer night with new friends!


Sunday we went with friends to church before having an afternoon date just the two of us to Carter Mountain Orchards. We’ve heard a ton about this place and it’s not far away at all, so it was only a matter of time before we made it there. We were grateful this window of time opened up before Nate would be on nights AND while peaches are still in season!


This is about ~10 minutes from our apartment. The views were amazing! A month of living here and I’m still nowhere CLOSE to used to being surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. ❤


We were given some tips for how to pick ripe peaches, each got a bag to fill up, and headed into the orchard.


We lucked out with the weather and it wasn’t too hot while we were there. Perfect afternoon to be out and about which isn’t always the case in July!


We had to restrain ourselves from not picking all the peaches. We tried to go for quality over quantity 🙂

Beachys with some peachys…


After peach picking, we walked around the cute little market store. I definitely want to come back for a slice of their apple pie, some pumpkin donuts, apple butter, ice cream…Ok, I want to come back for one of everything, please!


They open on Thursday evenings to watch the sunset from this view during summertime. Definitely on our to-do list! It’s breathtaking even in the bright light of day, though, and we loved soaking it up with some sweet peaches, too.


And that was our weekend! This week feels short to me because my parents come into town Thursday to visit for a few days, so I’m counting down to some fun times with them. Stay tuned 🙂

Cville Snapshots: Fridays After Five, Farmers’ Market, Old Rag Mountain Hike, & More

Our first week in Cville was a nice mix of work and play. Work = unpacking boxes, organizing rooms, purging closet (singular, because we now only have one…to share…), and furniture shopping. “Play” looked a little different from what we are used to doing in Indy since we are now walking distance from downtown and less than an hour from incredible mountains.

After our families left last Friday, we took advantage of the great weather and walked to Fridays After Five on the downtown mall. Every Friday evening in summertime, live bands play at the amphitheater from 5:30-8:30ish. There were food trucks, local beers, and tons of people. We love live music, so this was a real treat for us – especially because it’s free! This particular night was all blues bands, but it changes every week. We are already looking forward to going back more this summer.


On our first Saturday morning in town, we checked out the Farmers’ Market. We loved the Broad Ripple Farmers’ Market in Indy, so we definitely wanted to get acquainted with the closest one here as soon as we could. The place was hopping!

We didn’t buy anything this time but saw some great selections for all the usual suspects (produce, flowers, etc.) plus some enticing local food stands (Pie Guy, I’m looking at you). We’ll definitely be back! I can easily see this being a staple of our weekends in summertime. It’s about a 10 minute walk from where we live so no excuses not to go regularly!

We’ve really enjoyed strolling around town and trying to figure out the streets here more when we need a break from work/have some extra time. We figured out the numbered streets run north-south here, opposite of east-west like Indy. Good to know! On one of our first jaunts I made a friend:

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…And another time I made use of a brick wall and the brick walkway of the downtown mall for a backdrop:

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On another day with great weather, we decided to venture out for our first hike in Virginia. Having access to mountains and trails was one of the biggest draws to this area for us. We have always enjoyed our Gatlinburg getaways and being outdoors in general, so we wanted to start off on a strong note with a highly recommend trail: Old Rag Mountain.

But first – brunch! With a hodgepodge of groceries (still working on restocking) we fueled up with an Eggo (#childhood), piece of French toast, eggs, and fruit. This plate x2 for us!

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*Please note the lack of syrup. Near crisis moment when we realized we hadn’t bought any here yet 😦 Made do with peanut butter instead. #firstworldproblems

The trailhead is about an hour away from Charlottesville. The whole drive out was beautiful. When the mountains kept getting closer/bigger I knew we were on the right track!

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The parking lot is ~1 mile from the start of the trail and then the trail itself is ~9 mile loop with stunning panoramic views. We made it about 3 miles in and then realized we’d have to climb steep rocks to continue…so we decided not to push our luck on the first trip out and turned around after we got to this beautiful summit.

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The views we saw were absolutely worth it and I would happily do this portion of the trail again! We decided we might need to invest in hiking boots before we tackle the rougher terrain.

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Nathan was definitely more adventurous than me and kept creeping closer to the edge during my photo ops…and I realized I am more afraid of heights than I thought. Ha!

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We are loving the lifestyle in Charlottesville so far and exploring a new place together has been a ton of fun. I think we’ve done a good job of taking advantage of the time before work starts for both of us, and I look forward to sharing more adventures around town this week!

Weekend Eats: Double Date Nights and Oma’s 80th Birthday Party

This past weekend was full of 1) nonstop rain in Indy and b) good food, so I’m going to focus on the bright side with this blog and tell you all about the food 🙂 I’ll keep the words short and let the photos do most of the talking!

First up – Friday date night at Napolese on the northside to celebrate my last full day at work (I’ll be working part-time remotely through May until we move). It was our second time at Napolese but the first time at this location. It was even better than we remembered it and Nate even claimed he’d rather take Napolese to Cville than Mother Bear’s (!!!).

Their menu changes every season so we got to try some new combinations. I started with a salad of course. Their salads are always AMAZING and this one was no exception – the perfect mix/balance of all the flavors and very fresh, local ingredients. (Lots of ingredients hiding under the lettuce in this photo – love how they toss it all together for you!)


Arugula, Strawberries, Shaved Fennel, Gorgonzola, Hazelnuts, White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Next, we shared two pizzas: Hamaker’s Corner and Elliot’s Pie.


Up close is Elliot’s PiePancetta, roasted new potatoes, gorgonzola

Hamaker’s Corner in the back: Pepperoni, Italian sausage, provolone, mushroom

All of it was absolutely delicious! #thatpepperonithough… We had a few slices each and then took the rest home for leftovers to enjoy again later. It is the date night that keeps on giving. Win win!

Saturday I was in Tullahoma for Oma’s 80th birthday party. It was so fun to be with everyone! They held it at a local Mexican restaurant so good food was involved in addition to lots of good laughs, catching up with family, and heartfelt moments.

Mom and I representing the Hartog fam!

They ordered fajitas for everyone and Mom and I shared this amazing platter. Perfect fuel after a day on the road!


Last but not least, Sunday ended with a celebratory meal for Nate after he finished his sub-I rotation. *praise hands*

He chose The Eagle downtown (which started in Cincy and just opened a spot in Indy last year – famous for their fried chicken), which I’d been to once before for work. It far surpassed my memory of it though…I think the company had something to with that 😉 The food is top notch and the price is very reasonable. Plus it’s a casual atmosphere so we didn’t feel too bad coming in a little damp from the continuous rain.

Happy no-more-sub-I Nathan!

First: a beer at the bar while we waited for our table to be ready. And then, the main attraction(s)!

We each started with salads.


Country Green Saladmustard greens, curly endive, frisee, cucumber, radish, candied pecans, mustard vinaigrette

The family-style menu meant picking sharable sides. Luckily we both have similar tastes and easily agreed on the 1/2 fried chicken with mac & cheese and biscuits.

This plus their spicy hot honey = heaven


Mac & Cheese: five cheeses & garlic breadcrumbs


Homemade Biscuits with blackberry jam and honey butter

Okay seriously…best biscuits of my life (yes, even better than Punch Bowl Social).


I told Nate I would rather have those biscuits than a cupcake. That’s when you know it’s serious. This was the perfect amount of food for the two of us and we polished off our plates. We both agreed that if the opportunity arises, we would love to come back here again before we move.

It was a nice way to end to a busy but fun (and obviously delicious) weekend!

Easter Weekend 2017

It could not have been a more beautiful weekend for Easter. We’d heard rain was in the forecast, but all we saw was sunshine. It was just a breath of fresh air (literally) to be able to be out and about celebrating such a fun time of year.

We spent the weekend at my parents’ house near Louisville. The first thing I did was snag a spot on the deck outside and just soak up our backyard. It is always even prettier than I remember (and my memory is pretty rose-colored). It’s so peaceful back there. All you hear are birds singing and the creek running. I think I took all of this for granted growing up and now I miss it! It always makes it really special to share this place with Nathan now, too. ❤

I planted this tree as a sapling in the 3rd grade. Look how big it is now!


My brother was home for the weekend too which made it so fun! We all had dinner at the house (nothing like Mom’s homemade cooking…another thing I miss a lot now!) and I think my stomach hurt from laughing so hard by the end of the meal. Of course, it didn’t hurt too bad to go out for ice cream at Berry Twist later 😉


This is our local ice cream spot that opens in the summertime. It was a staple of my childhood and I’m so glad we got to go back while I was home! I got my usual order of cookie dough (they use REAL cookie dough – such a dream) and Oreo on vanilla. Just as delicious as I remember and a sweet ending to a good day.

Easter morning brought more sunshine. We made sure to snag a few photos of us all dressed up!



Mom put together an amazing breakfast spread, as always. How cute is her tablescape? I told her I felt like I was back at the Cake Bake Shop with all the cute details she added. I want to be like her when I grow up.


Plus – Easter baskets! Our chocolate supply has been fully restocked with all our favorites. Nathan and I both got more than our fair share so I won’t have to steal any from him…yet 😉

For breakfast we had overnight French toast casserole (recipe from the Pioneer Woman, my FAVE), sausage/grits casserole (Nathan’s fave), berries, and bagels. It was such a nice way to start the day! After eating, we headed out to an 11am service at my parents’ church, and then Nate and I headed back to Indy from there.

The weekend went by so fast but that’s the sign of a good time. I’m glad we got the chance to be home together and to catch up with family. Hope everyone else had a sunny, happy Easter too!

A Weekend at Home: Dinner, Desk Inspiration, and a Movie

It was a fun weekend back home! I had plans to visit my 4th grade teacher (she and I see each other ~6 months or so and we definitely wanted to squeeze in one more visit before we move) at her house. She put together a wonderful evening for me, my parents, her husband, her daughter, and her son-in-law. Nathan unfortunately couldn’t join because of his work schedule, and everyone missed him!

First of all, I got the BEST inspiration for our new apartment at her house. She has such a great eye for decorating, and this desk in particular caught my eye. Totally going to be on the lookout for something like it!


The food was absolutely delicious. Everything was homemade and from scratch, right down to the salad dressing. She had baked brie with fig and walnuts to start (I was too busy chatting to snap a pic of it!), then pear and gorgonzola salad, asparagus, salmon, risotto, and fresh baked bread. Drool…

My plate, as presented by our hostess. Not only does she know how to cook, but she knows how to make it all look so pretty!


After dinner, we had our dessert outside by a fire.

IMG_0595 It was the perfect way to soak up the spring weather! We didn’t end up leaving until 11pm. Time flies when you’re having fun! My teacher and her family have always been so special to me, and I’m grateful for the time we had together before we move so far away. I am sure we will keep in touch just like we always have, though 🙂 Thank goodness for email, letters, and trips back home!

The next day, Mom fixed an amazing brunch (as always) at home before taking me to see Beauty and the Beast. Finally!! I’d heard such good things about the movie and it did NOT disappoint. I laughed out loud, got chills, nearly cried…and am still singing the songs 🙂 It was so fun to see it with Mom. Totally worth the wait!

After the movie I headed back to Indy for another week of work, but I’ll be back home in no time for Easter this weekend! Nathan and I will be with my side this year for the first time since we started dating, and Ted will join too. I can’t believe it’s been that long since we’ve been together for the holiday, and I can’t wait!

PS- I found these sundials at home that my maternal grandpa made based on the longitude and latitude of my parents’ house…like he MADE them, by hand. So genius! I thought that was just the coolest thing, and for anyone who has listened to S-Town, you know why 🙂 IMG_0589