Since moving into our cute little house two months ago, we've remembered how much we love to entertain.
Before moving to the mountains we had dinner parties almost every weekend, with really great food, big laughs, and lots (and lots) of wine.
Now that we're out of the mountains, and in digs that are fab for entertaining, specifically our really great backyard, we're back in the spirit of entertaining. As much as possible.
One of the things we've been looking forward to the absolute most has been having a Smash Party, or, more poetically named, a Smash Bash.
And so, as soon as it got warm enough to have a Smash Bash we put one on the books. Which is exactly what we did this past Friday.
We invited some of our closest, and in some cases newest, friends to our Bash. And, looking around, I realized most of them came to us, or at least flourished with us, through Indie Spaces. The Space (as I usually call it) has become a catalyst that has brought us together with some of the most fantastic people. Fantastic, smart, driven, and really effing awesome people.
And each of our little events, whether they be centered around Indie Spaces, or personal gatherings like the Smash Bash, are all collaborations. They're all joint ventures that end in the most fantastic products.
I knew I wanted our guests to create their own smashes. I laid out a tray of fruits and homegrown herbs, asked some of the guests to bring bottles of liquors, and finished it off with simple syrup and agave nectar. We got some of that good crunchy ice from Sonic. You know the kind.
Dinner parties are best when the food is exceptional, and though I like to think I'm a pretty fine cook, there's nothing I love more than handing over the cooking to an actual chef. Which is exactly what I did.
Our friend/neighbor/indie Arron is a fantastic foodmaker/brewer/vintner (and in the process of opening a brewery), and as soon as I mentioned wanting to throw a Smash Bash he immediately offered to make the grub, along with our woodworker friend Ben who has spent quite a bit of time in the kitchens. Our friend Heather from Bohemian Bop also brought a couple of appetizers.
On the menu for our Smash Bash:
Garden Dip (we call it crack, because you can't stop eating it)
Grilled Marinated Pork Chops with Apple-Jalapeño Compote
Grilled Corn with Parsley-Garlic Compound Butter (which we also call crack)
Sweet Potato Biscuits
For dessert, we had more smashes.
We set the table up in our back yard, put on the food, and had at it. The weather was perfect, the food was exceptional, and the bar has been set high. I'm pretty sure it was the best dinner party in all of dinner party history. Our Indie Smash Bash was a success.
All hale the Smash Bash.
So, I have a little problem. An addiction. To green smoothies.
David bought me a juicer two Christmases ago, and we've been pretty avid juicers ever since. They're so yummy and refreshing and kinda super rock my world.
For the past two months we've really gotten into juicing again, juicing daily. We're having a juice every day for breakfast, and sometimes I'll have any leftovers for lunch. So yummy.
Our favorite juice is kale, beet, apple, carrot, just in case you're wondering. No secret formula, just throw it all in there.
Then, about 3 weeks ago, I decided to give the green smoothie thing a try. The problem was that juicing makes me huuuungry. Hungrier than usual. David, too. But, with David's metabolism, he can stand to eat a couple extra snacks a day. Me: not so much.
So, I made a smoothie. I took a couple of different ideas for my first smoothie from around the web, and right off made a smoothie I'm pretty much having an affair with multiple times a week. It's ok; David's fine with it.
Since adding smoothies to my diet I feel like I've become a whole new person. I honestly crave the things. And my body is loving it.
(Weird story: A couple of weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling a bit hungover, and instead of going straight to the phone to order a greasy pizza, which is what my mind and/or body usually craves, all I wanted was a smoothie. A big, fat, green smoothie. Fixed me right up.)
Our skin is looking amazing.
I was one of those bitch-teenagers who had wonderful skin. I know, everyone hated me. BUT, I got payback, because when I turned 25 my skin exploded. The past year and a half have been torture, but, finally, my skin is clearing. I'm sure juicing contributed, but adding smoothies has finalized it. Clear skin, again!
AND, those little wrinklies under my eyes are smoothing out. David's noticing changes, too. Yay, proper nutrients and hydration!
My joints. My happy joints.
When I was 15 I was told I was getting arthritis. When I was 15. I've always had an odd amount of joint pain. Rarely enough to really inhibit me, but almost always enough that I notice it. Not now. My bad knees are happier, my lower back isn't bothering me, and I'm smiling. Big.
Super healthy. Not even allergies.
I have been a really lucky mom in that Cute Kid never gets sick. She's a little over 5 and we've only ever had to take her to the doctor once outside of regular checkups. She was a bitty baby with an ear infection. Not once since. However, she does get allergies when the seasons change. As do I.
But, this spring, even with it's insane amount of pollen, neither of us had even a moment of allergy issues. We're good to go.
So, yea, we're smoothie junkies now. A bunch of freakin' hippies. Hanging out in downward dog and talking about dirt, and stuff. It's fun.
Raw cacao nibs
Ground flax seed
1 T Coconut oil
Handful of blueberries
1/2 cup greek yogurt
Warning: I don't really measure out anything.
Fill your blender with spinach. Don't really pack it, just fill it up. Pour in coconut water until it's at about a 1/3 mark. Blend.
Add a handful of coconut flakes, a bit of cacao nibs, and some ground flax. Add the coconut oil. Blend.
Add the berries. Blend.
Add banana, avocado, and greek yogurt. Blend.
Eat it. I like to put it in a bowl and eat with a spoon. Yum.
Makes 3-ish servings.
The past few months have been a whirlwind. But, finally, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I swear I do.
And honestly, I think part of it has to do with spring. It's getting warmer, and the sun is finally coming out, and I'm coming out of the winter haze and remembering what it's like to focus. Remember what that's like?
Moving into a New House
We've spent the past week moving out of our very tiny make-shift apartment into a house. Finally. When we moved back to Florence in August we moved into a small apartment that we planned on only staying in for a month or two. That was 7 months ago.
It feels amazing to breathe in our house, and move around without bumping into each other. It's only about a mile from the space, so I look forward to summer morning walks and bike rides. Ee!
Being Able to Take Time Off
With moving the studio into Indie Spaces I've gotten to do something that I haven't done in years: leave the office. I don't even take the laptop home with me anymore. It's a amazing feeling!
I even left my phone here one night last week. On purpose. And was able to take a whole night for real off. Oh-eff-eff, off.
Hiring Some Help
I have two guys coming in this week to test drive website management skills. Yup, it's true.
At this point in my website career, I have over 100 website clients. In any given month I'm contacted by as many as 25 clients needing updates to their existing websites. It's a lot to juggle.
So, I'm hiring some much needed help, whose sole purpose will be to handle current clients' maintenance requests. Freakin' stoked.
Transitioning into What I Love
In the coming months, as Indie Spaces becomes more self-sufficient, I'll be transitioning out of web design. Though I always plan to have a hand in web design (this girl does love to code), I do plan on turning a lot of my focus into helping our local entrepreneurs start and run their own businesses. It's proven to be a full time job, and one that I really love. A lot.
Going on Adventures
A few weeks ago I enjoyed a weekend away with David's mom. (Yes, David's mom. We're friends.) It was a perfect weekend in Orlando, playing around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and a whole day spent in an Irish pub.
It made me realize how few of those I take, and remember how important it is occasionally to get away from projects, clients, the space, paperwork and bookkeeping, and a gazillion other little responsibilities.
With that, I quickly booked a flight to Austin next month, will work to finalize a workshop (yes, a workshop!!) in Las Vegas in early summer, and am more excited than ever about a Yoga Retreat in January in Mexico. Now, to finalize a trip to the beach...
On top of all this.... I'm Going to Go Gluten-Free for a Bit
With things being so crazy around here lately, our usually good diets have been crap. I'm currently seriously addicted to the french fries from the restaurant across the street from the space. So, starting today I'm going to go gluten-free for a few. It'll be easier now that we have a properly-size kitchen. Woo, I need an apple.
So, I'm excited for a fresh outlook. And spring. And apples.
As much as I'm dying to share details of our recent Indie Spaces launch, and get back to my usual programming, last week was a big week for our little family. And I have to share it first.
Cute Kid turned five.
It blows my mind that she's gotten so old. I swear she's growing an inch a day, and I noticed the other day that she doesn't have baby hands anymore. She has kid hands. It freaks me out.
In celebration of the Big 5, last week we filled Indie Spaces with balloons and candy and threw a little bash. It was Fat Tuesday, so we got a little festive, but had to tie in her current favorite thing as well: Spiderman.
As much as a little princess Cute Kid is, right now her heart is devoted to comic books and super heroes. And this kid knows her stuff. She spends her free time drilling us about obscure heroes and villains, super powers and costume choices. It's all very intense and serious, and completely adorable.
And of course, we're behind the whole thing. For her birthday we even got her an adorable Avengers tee, with tutu and tights to complete the outfit. It's a ton of fun.
In light of Cute Kid's current interests, a friend of ours volunteered to surprise Lily at her party and come out dressed as Spiderman. I've never seen Cute Kid speechless. It was the best moment of her life, as she told us later that evening.
And so, our bitty babe is now a legit kid. It's really weird. And fun. We'll keep chatting about superheroes, and snuggling upon request. I'm trying not to think about what comes next.
Back in college we used to throw great dinner parties. I'd cook up a big meal of jambalaya or lasagna or white chicken chili, invite over a friend-couple and one of our professors, pop open several bottles of wine, and spend the evening chatting.
We'd talk department politics, actual politics, wine, books, research, wine, movies, local happenings, and wine. These dinners happened almost weekly and I loved them. So much.
At that time Lily was about a year old, and I was still breaking into motherhood. As a young mother with a young family, it was very gratifying to feel so grown up, with all the wine and cooking and politics. It made me feel good. Worldly, even.
Then, we moved to the mountains and life changed.
When we decided to move again, back to our hometown, I envisioned reliving these dinner parties every weekend. Nine bottles of wine, carbs, and good conversation. What more could a girl want?
But, the friend-couple now lives on the west coast and our lives aren't crossing with that of the professor very often anymore. My family's life has changed immensely.
However, I'm still getting that gratifying feeling, but in a very different way.
My new "dinner party moments" come from cups of tea, sitting at tables in various locations, chatting with kick-ass, local, young professionals. We talk about local politics, creativity, books, growth, creativity, movies, local happenings, and creativity.
You know, those moments when you just don't want to leave. The company is good and the conversations are better.
I have a new dinner party.
I wholeheartedly believe that significant growth comes from recognizing positive changes and pushing them forward. For me, it's recognizing my new dinner party moments – those moments in my life in which I wish I could stay forever – and making room for more of them in my life.
And I will be making more room.