Sunday, December 29, 2013

{Travel} Thanksgiving 2013.

A little late, but here's our Thanksgiving 2013 adventure!

Typically we stay in Memphis, do two delicious Thanksgiving dinners, spend time with family, and generally enjoy ourselves. This year my family decided to celebrate Thanksgiving in East Tennessee since my brothers are super seniors at UT and won't be there next year. My dad rented a cabin on the Clinch River in Clinton, TN and convened upon it Wednesday night.

Before we did Thanksgiving though, Jake and I had our own little adventure. Jake had an interview in Knoxville so we drove to Monteagle for a night at a bed and breakfast (hoped to do some hiking but the weather was nasty) before spending two days in Knoxville.

In Monteagle we ate at a new-ish burger place in neighboring Sewanee. Our burgers were great - I hear the wings are awesome but didn't try them. It had a good beer selection on tap and definitely had a small town college vibe.

After Monteagle, we drove to Knoxville. The weather continued to be disgusting. Here is the road, which was even foggier than this picture shows.

Once we got to Knoxville we drove around campus a bit - still raining...

We visited the new sorority village and I saw my sorority's house. Super jealous!

We had lunch at OCI (well.. Goal Post Tavern but it is the same thing) and we saw this huge picture of Jake's grandfather's football team:

We were able to find Jake's grandfather - their names were typed on the picture:

The whole reason for the OCI visit was the cheese bings. They were as delicious as ever:

After that we walked around campus in the rain with no umbrellas or coats, which was pretty stupid. Then we checked into the hotel, dried off, and got ready for an amazing dinner at Naples, my favorite restaurant in Knoxville.

The next morning we woke up to snow - it wasn't so much that roads were bad, just enough to be pretty.

While Jake was in his interview I met Beth and Brad for breakfast (and Tori!). They were in town for Thanksgiving.

After breakfast I met up with my brothers and waited for Jake to finish his interview before heading up to the cabin. It was right on the river and made for great views.

Jacob and Lydia brought their dog, Ziggy. Jake said he doesn't like small dogs.. but note most of these pictures have Ziggy with Jake.

We did the Thanksgiving thing - ate a lot, watched a lot of TV/football, and hung around. The guys went fly fishing one morning with some local guides.

There was also some studying on my brothers' part, which made me grateful to be out of school:

Here's Ziggy again with Jake:

The whole fam hanging out:

Ziggy and Jake:

The last morning was so foggy -

Then it was time to head back home! A long weekend of doing absolutely nothing... and loving it.

I managed to read three books on the trip over the course of 5 days. I loved all three, which were very different. I read "My Sister's Keeper", "The Paris Wife," and "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore."

It was a great Thanksgiving - it is amazing how much quality time you get to spend with your brothers when they don't have anywhere else to go!

In turkey with family,

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

[Go there}: The New (Old) Chinese Sub Shop.

Want a delicious sub (or maybe some sketch Chinese food...), for a cheap price, with the side effect of feeling really hip? Then head to Chinese Sub Shop (I'm not even sure what the real name of the place is called... maybe Super Submarine Sandwich Shop?).

I've been going to Chinese Sub Shop since high school. We'd go after school sometimes or before basketball games. It never changed.. the same people worked behind the counter, you always got asked "hard or soft roll" (the answer is definitely soft), the same off-brand potato chips were on the racks (dill pickle chips are a must). The decor was dim, dirty, and unapologetic but it made the experience.

A bit ago it was announced that the strip of storefronts where Chinese Sub Shop was located (on Highland by the train tracks) was going to be bulldozed and developed. We all feared the worst - no soft roll sandwiches with a delicious oil/italian dressing sauce, no more dill pickle chips, no more wondering if the Chinese food would be a good idea (it isn't).

Luckily Chinese Sub Shop was proactive and moved across town to Summer Avenue (at Holmes, in an old Long John Silver's). It is now closer to me, there are more lights in the dining area, more places to sit, but there's still the same baskets for your sandwiches, still the same styrofoam cups, and they still don't take credit or debit (hit up an ATM!).

You still order at the counter, get a number, and wait for your number to be called. There's daily specials (a rotation of their subs that are discounted). I got my usual - ham. I don't even eat ham sandwiches any more but I still eat them here. Jake got the tuna salad sandwich, which was listed on one of those top things to eat in Memphis.

You can get an 8 or 12 inch sub. I got the 8, Jake the 12. The 12 is a lot of sandwich.

One neat thing - in the dining area there are framed black and whites of their old space, really well done photos. It was cool to see them hanging there.

So.. definitely go there. But take cash.

In sandwiches and nostalgia,

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

{Life}: Deck the Halls.

This month has been full of travel for Jake as he interviews for residency, so December felt a bit off. We didn't get our tree and decorations up when I wanted and once we did, it felt a bit rushed. We have been doing a tradition of listening to Christmas songs, eating appetizers, and drinking Starbucks (peppermint mocha for me!) to gear up for tree decorating, but this year we got the tree, waited a week because of interviews, and then rushed through decorating because I had a choir concert.

Nonetheless, I'm grateful for the time together and for a house to decorate. Here's our halls, decked.

Our tree sat naked for a week...

The guys liked it.

Down came the decorations..

Beamer got in on the fun:

Sebastian too.

Our countdown calendar, hanging by our bedroom. So fun to move the candy cane.

We made pizza bites (pizza dough, cubed cheese, pepperoni, and jalapeños, baked in the oven at 400) to eat while decorating. Delicious.


We caught Tyson looking for Santa...

I made this Merry Mail sign a few years ago. I since have made them with longer wood with more space between the tails - highly recommend that route. But I love our compilation of holiday cards from our friends and family.

So there are this year's decorations. For fun, here's 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. Pretty funny to see the things we do each year and the ways our house has changed. Here's the living room our first Christmas in the house versus now:

In twinkling lights and stockings on the mantle,

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