©Jessica Hoffman

A Much Needed Break

So, recently I told you that my World Book Day post had to be backdated because of other things I’d tell you about later. Wow, that sounded ominous, didn’t it? It wasn’t anything bad; quite the opposite, really.

Kris and I celebrated our fifth anniversary this year, and thanks to all the time and money we’ve been pouring into the house, we weren’t able to do anything huge. But we decided not to swap gifts and instead take a whirlwind, twenty-four-hour trip to a city we haven’t been to in at least a decade, and never together: Savannah, Georgia. If you’ve never been to Savannah, start making plans now. Well, after you read my post. And maybe also share it. I don’t know. Let’s not talk about all the time I spent completely panicking because I thought we weren’t going to be able to find any available rooms and have to stay home for our first milestone anniversary.

I crawled the city’s CVB site¬†looking for cute places to stay and found this utterly adorable B&B in Savannah’s historic Old Town called Zeigler House Inn. The owner is a positively delightful woman named Jackie, who greeted us with a map of the city and proceeded to plot out dinner recommendations, sightseeing points, and weekend activities.

©Jessica Hoffman

Zeigler House Inn

She explained that we could use the house’s parlor, porches, and library at our leisure, and we should help ourselves to the cream sherry and fresh-baked cookies, fudge, and cupcakes in the dining room. There were movies to borrow and books to read, umbrellas in case it rained, and a single-cup coffee maker. In our room a closet had been converted to a small kitchen complete with mini-fridge and a full set of silverware and china. Jackie had baked giant muffins (they were to die for), strawberry turnovers, and ham-and-cheese turnovers for breakfast. The bathroom was amazing, the bed was ultra squishy, and the whole room was just so relaxing and plush and perfect.

©Jessica Hoffman

Our cute room!

We tossed our bags down and headed to a restaurant really close by called Crystal Beer Parlor. We got nachos topped with pulled pork and jalapenos and sampled some of their beers. Kris had a bison burger that he loved, with sweet potato fries, while I stuck to local shrimp (they were enormous!) and tried-and-true¬†hand-cut¬†french fries. We didn’t do anything else that night; we’d driven there after working all day, so it was pretty late once we left the restaurant.

©Jessica Hoffman

Delicious dinner!

 

Friday morning — our 5th anniversary, yay! — we got up late, lounged around and chit-chatted with Jackie before paying for the room (an excellently affordable price, all things considered) and heading out to face the day. We had talked about doing a trolley tour, but we ended up finding a parking garage and spending literally the entire day walking around and getting lost. It was amazing.

We found art galleries by the dozens, with pieces by local artists that were stunning.¬†There were so many¬†adorable and amazing places, and we soon¬†ended up in touristville, a.k.a. River Street. We watched an employee at Savannah’s¬†Candy Kitchen make saltwater taffy on a 100-year-old taffy puller; bought pralines at another shop; and ate a delicious lunch at Fiddler’s Crab House overlooking the water. We also found Savannah Bee Company, where I nearly had a heart attack because one of their employees sounded exactly like one of my college best friends, whom I haven’t seen in several months. I spent far too much money there. Honey is delicious.

©Jessica Hoffman

Making saltwater taffy

Also on River Street was a craft fair, which was pleasantly empty thanks to unusually cold and wet weather. We met a wonderful couple of musicians named Glen and Joyce who create jewelry from used guitar strings. Proceeds go toward their nonprofit they founded to help¬†mental illness survivors and their families. We turned out to have a lot in common, and we talked for a long time about oddly personal things. It was a beautiful and¬†healing experience that I think I’ll hold on to for a long time. I got their card and bought a beautiful ring Joyce¬†had made moments before I walked in their tent.

©Jessica Hoffman

River Street

We walked around more, and¬†found hilarious little stores, quirky — and occasionally creepy — bars and live music venues, ran into a St. Patrick’s Day themed 5k, and found the most fantastic interior design store called 24e. Kris wanted to go in but I didn’t; their window display alone was intimidating. But Kris is fascinated by art and design and I have a serious love for interior design, so in we went. Yes, it was pricey. But almost everything in the store is one-off, and a lot of it is reclaimed or created by local artisans. They even had a table made from a bowling alley lane, so of course Kris wanted one. We’d have to take out a small loan to pay for it, but hey, who knows; our next house may very well have one. I’d love to make that happen for him — he does so much for me. ‚̧

©Jessica Hoffman

It actually made a beautiful table, surprisingly

We got a grand tour of the store by one of the designers and took his card home. Even if we don’t get that insane(ly awesome) table, we’ll certainly be picking up a few things from them.

We wandered a while longer, not quite sure where to stop and not really wanting to anyway. But we were starting to get hungry so we made our way back to food, stopping to take pictures of an historic African-American church and a beautiful monument to African-American soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

©Jessica Hoffman

The story of the drummer boy was my favorite.

After that, we finally found our way to Jazz’d, an underground tapas and jazz bar, I guess? There’s a delicious tapas restaurant in our home turf so we were looking forward to it, but this was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. We ordered their Tapas for Two, which got us two appetizers, two tapas each, and two desserts. It was a ton. of. food. And every bite of it was amazing. She-crab soup, orange-glazed pulled pork with red cabbage, seared tuna tacos, barbecue shrimp-and-grits, lamb lollipops, creme brulee and a chocolate torte so good we just had to bring home the leftovers. Service was so fast we could hardly keep up, and the atmosphere was a comfortable mix of after-work and nightlife crowds; not too dressy, not too casual.

We went straight home after dinner and ate that torte for breakfast.

All in all, I have to admit – it was probably one of my favorite vacations so far, and I can’t wait for our next anniversary. It’s really great¬†being married to your best friend.

©Jessica Hoffman

But first, lemme take a selfie

Let’s talk about those six months

Let’s all pretend like I didn’t just completely vanish for six months there.

Okay, well, I tried.

I completely disappeared on you all and that’s stupid of me. It’s not to say I’ve been too busy; I’m always busy, but rarely¬†too¬†busy. But there have been a lot of things happening! No photo updates this time, but I’ll give you a¬†quick run-down.

I got a new job at my alma mater. I’m working in statistical analysis, which is interesting and completely not where I thought I’d end up. But it’s fun and who cares, because I’m working here. Seriously. I would sweep floors here, I love it so much. I have excellent coworkers, I’m back among friends and getting opportunities to teach, which as you know, makes me happier than a kid at Christmas.

I went to see Mastodon and Gojira in concert, which, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably got flooded with pictures and video of. It was an amazing show, it’s really your fault for not being there.

I chopped all my hair off again. Oh wait, I do have a picture for that.

Plus a cameo by Husband’s Thumb!

I’m just excited that my new job lets me dye my hair weird colors. Last time was purple highlights. I’m hoping by mid-spring it will be long again, and I’m planning to bleach it again and probably do some pastel highlights. Maybe lavender, grey, who knows. I love it!

Hm. What else. Oh! Christmas was great. It was over in a flash, but it was tons of fun. Sadly, no pics for that. I got a new phone, what do you want from me?

Then January brought another Year of Me resolution, which is going pretty great so far (refers back to hair picture). I have tattoo plans again but may not get them carried out this year, which is sad. But next year it will happen, I’m sure. Also in January I got to have Second Christmas with my mom, sister, and brother-in-law. That was fun! My mom invited me to sing with a band she was in here and that was terrifying but super fun. So fun, in fact, we’re doing it again at a block party in April. No, I do not have photos. Or video. Nope.

February sees birthdays for both my grandparents, so that’s fun. Also my aunt and uncle’s 25th wedding anniversary. We threw them a big party and it was so great. I made them this fun wreath!

It's a phone pic, cut me a break.

It’s a phone pic, cut me a break.

And really, the biggest thing going on right now is that Kris and I are selling our house! Yay! That’s exciting. Also nerve-wracking, but not as bad as I was expecting. We’ve been packing up and hopefully will be out of it soon. We’re staying with family while the house is on the market, and we’re really hoping that doesn’t take long … we’ve decided to build! We’ve picked a plan, a neighborhood, a builder … basically everything. Just need to change “For Sale” to “Sold!” So keep that in your thoughts for me. (That’s also why there’s probably no tattoo this year, in case you were wondering.)

Also I actually do have plans for upcoming posts, although the Breaking Bad idea I kept dangling over your heads may not happen. I have no idea what I’m doing.

But I love you guys! Go out and do something great today.

Ice Storms, Earthquakes, and Any Excuse Not To Write

I’m sure you remember the Snowmageddon That Wasn’t. It was great! A nice day to work from home, chill with my pups and my husband, and just generally take it easy. (Yes, I did manage to get quite a bit of work done, thankyouverymuch ^_~ )

Well, last weekend I went to Vegas for a convention (Look for a post on that soon). The day before my flight home, the weather here started to turn nasty again. Winter storms were predicted and people started looking to and laughing at Atlanta once again. Crazy ol’ backwoods Southerners, don’t know how to handle a little snow and already panicking. Most of us assumed it would be like the week before. Hubs made sure we still had enough charcoal to grill in case we lost power and washed as much laundry as he could stand while I was away. (He hates folding laundry.)

And then the storm hit.

It was clear from the beginning this was worse than the measly 2 inches of snow we got last time. This time, predictions called for 2-3 inches of nothing but ice. And we’ve gotten ice before. But keep in mind we get ice once every ‚ÄĒ what, five or six years? I don’t know. I remember the last time this happened but I don’t have any idea what year it was. I was in high school and I just remember how devastated our little town was and how horribly long it took to get home.

Trees fell and transformers blew all over the neighborhood. Kris tried to keep one tree from pulling our power lines from the side of the house. And while we had our money on the pecan tree or the tree over our power lines being the first ones to go, the cedar on the other side of the house had other plans. I struggled to find a picture of it, and I was kind of sad to realize I don’t have any except this one, from a snow day back before Kris and I were married:

Snow day selfie :3

It’s back in the corner. See it there, all stately and tree-ish?

Aaaaand here it is now, post-Icepocalypse:

Broken tree!

Sad ūüė¶

I’m hoping we don’t lose the tree entirely, but Kris isn’t very hopeful. The trunk is split and from the looks of things, the top was already dying before the storm came through. But now we have a lovely piece of cedar wood inside, a bit Kris brought in after chopping up the branches that fell on our fence. (No major damage there, though, thankfully.) It’s actually quite pretty. And it smells¬†divine.

All in all we escaped fairly unscathed. There’s some minor damage to our chain link fence, but nothing we can’t fix/replace on our own. Our power was only out for around 24 hours, if that. It came on after we’d abandoned ship and headed to the warmth of my aunt’s house. Before we chickened out, though, we tossed on some of our warmest clothes (it’s all hunting gear; no one here has winter jackets, you guys) and wandered around the neighborhood snapping pictures and breaking ice and being children. What else is there to do in weather like this?

And then, because ice storms and snow and power outages and downed trees aren’t enough, we went and had an¬†earthquake. Seriously! Sheesh.

I’ll leave you with this interesting CBS News coverage of the damage in my little corner of the world, and then some of my less-than-professional shots of the aftermath of WINTER STORM PAX [cue dramatic musical score]

A tree! Not my car!!

Oh nooooooo

#

Somehow, no damage to the car

A narrow miss!

#

Icy sign

Just angle the shot up a bit and suddenly it’s ART

#

Prissy Dog

Prissy Dog! Now with jacket accessory.

#

Frozen garden flag

Our garden flag froze to the fence.

#

K, cheesin'

The husband in his natural habitat.

The Snowmageddon That Wasn’t

So. I’m from the South. (Surprise, y’all.) Despite its myriad faults, the longer I stay here, the less I want to leave. I’m sure you saw the headlines about gridlock in Atlanta, the horror stories about some woman giving birth in traffic, people spending double-digit hours in vehicles for commutes that normally take 30 minutes, and more. We aren’t that bad at driving, you guys, we just do not have the infrastructure for all this. Plus, our urban sprawl is¬†massive, y’all. We want the NYC lifestyle but the Dixie scenery. So we build these ridiculous highway systems and then don’t know what to do with them when things like this happen.

Anyway. (That sidebar was free.)

Snow in SC ©Jessica Hoffman

I posted last about how much I love nature and I really can’t express just how true that is. So I was pretty stoked when I got to work from home today. I didn’t run out and play in the snow, but I did take a few pics. I know that isn’t a great shot. I snapped it to send to a friend in Sweden via Snapchat, so I wasn’t really going for pro-quality. But how could I resist? We get exactly one snowfall every four years or less, so it’s kind of a big deal for us. (Obviously.)

Leo ©Jessica Hoffman

Massive Dog agrees.

I also know I don’t have the most photogenic neighborhood, but man, something about snow just makes everything look so pretty. Like my adorable car. Observe!

Snowy cars ©Jessica Hoffman

I love bad weather. I love violent thunderstorms, I love snowfalls, I love power outages and camping in the house and candlelight takeout dinners and whatnot. I love rain and wind and thunder and lightning. Nature is awesome, people; take a step outside and just really look at it.

Iced Berries ©Jessica Hoffman

Snowy berries ©Jessica Hoffman

I want to close with a shot that is¬†not mine but is so quintessentially Southern¬†I simply cannot resist sharing it. I live about five minutes out of the downtown area of undeniable horse country. It’s beautiful and perfect for horse farms, not to mention being the site of some pretty important horse races and other equine sporting events. There’s a road there, a little street called South Boundary, that is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life. Admittedly, I’ve not been to lots of places, and I’ve been out of the country only a handful of times. But this town and this street exemplify nearly everything I love about the South.

South Boundary ©Aiken Info/Facebook

Get outside and enjoy the view.