Thursday, March 31, 2011

Small Town Nebraska

Just last week I went to Nebraska with my husband. He had to work there for a few days, so I tagged along and, of course, took some pictures too.

Visiting a small town, and seeing that some things never seem to change, can be incredibly comforting. Every once in a while it's really refreshing to escape busy city life and see a little bit of the country. With the hectic nature of our life right now, it was a very welcome environment for us. Things seemed a little slower, and small town pace made us breathe a little easier. Here are some pictures from our time in Nebraska.

Nebraska is one of those states that many people dismiss, but we have visited some really great places there. This visit to Nebraska included a stop at Chimney Rock, and a little historical side trip is always welcome by us! The land is so vast, the pace relaxing, and the sky endless. Nebraska always reminds me to slow down a little, and slow is something I could use more of in life.

Have you seen any of these places before?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Simple Pleasures at Chick-fil-A

I always remind myself that life can often use some excitement brought about by the little things. Just last week, I found myself very excited over something that most people might find silly or trivial. However, it was the first time I had seen anything like this before, and I could not contain my excitement.

Chick-fil-A's food was not the only thing that had me excited. Although the food alone is sort of special, because we don't eat it very often. It's always a welcome treat when we're taking a little road trip and want some delicious fast food. (Did I seriously just use 'delicious' and 'fast food' in the same sentence?!) I normally don't like fast food, but Chick-fil-A is some pretty tasty stuff. I think it might even be real chicken. How can you not love the chicken sandwiches?! You can't pay me to eat a 'burger' from McDonald's. Sick! My life changed the day I experienced my first sandwich from Chick-fil-A, and that was not very long ago. I resisted for a while, because I had not idea it would taste so good for fast food. I digress, so the reason that I was really excited about our meal was actually the awesome little ketchup packets that I found at the bottom of our paper bag!

I mean, how did these little buggers not come into my life sooner? When I was a kid, I used to eat ketchup on almost everything. Once my dad got made at me for putting to much ketchup on my plate when we were eating fish sticks, so just to prove a point, I ate every last drop of it and even licked my plate. Needless to say, he didn't say much after that. Ketchup consumption ensued like it was my job. I probably just loved the colorful condiment because it is full of sugar, and I did not like very many foods that did not taste like sugar. That's probably why I covered most things with ketchup. Ha! Either way, do you have any idea how messy it sometimes is to squeeze ketchup onto fries from those flimsy little packets at most fast food joints? Especially while you're riding in a car. Imagine my amazement to find these cute little ketchup-bottle-shaped packets. Hungry ketchup lovers have the option to dip or squeeze! Plus... this is America, we're all about choices. For real. This little revolutionary ketchup packet made my day. Just so you know I chose to squeeze, and it was a ton of fun.

Sometimes it does not take much to brighten my day. Who would have thought that it was going to be ketchup that would put a smile on my face on that memorable visit to Chick-fil-A?

Have you seen these amazing little dip & squeeze ketchups yet?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever

I had at least a couple of people express interest in the chocolate chip cookies I mentioned in a blog post from last week. Try not to overcook these, because they stay amazingly soft and chewy for days if you almost under cook them a little.

I promised that I would share the recipe so here goes:

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 18 large

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
  • 1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips  * I use Ghirardelli semi sweet (use good chocolate chips)

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper, and lower, middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray (I like the parchment paper option... super easy cleanup).

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. (See illustration below) Be careful not to smooth the dough ball's uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them about 2 1/2 inches apart.

(click on image to enlarge)

Step 3 reads: Each half will have a jagged surface where it was ripped from the other. Rotate each piece 90 degrees so that the jagged surface faces up.

Step 4 reads: Jam the halves back together into one ball so that the top surface remains jagged.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a wide metal spatula.

I hope you love these as much as we do. They're especially tasty straight out of the oven with a glass of milk.

Monday, March 28, 2011

We're Moving!

My husband and I are moving again, and this time I'm not just talking about moving to a new apartment across town. This is going to be the real deal. The really crazy and exciting part, about knowing that we'll be moving, is that we actually don't know where we are moving yet. Fun, huh?! (:

On top of the world

The reason behind our move is that my husband was offered a job at another airline! We worked really hard to get him prepared for the interview. I say we, because my job was to grill him with interview questions and help get him a new suit and play stylist. I am super excited and proud of him for getting through the interview and landing the job. There were around 5,000 applications on file, and out of the 60 some pilots interviewed my husband was one of about 15 chosen for a position. (Alright, I'm done bragging... for now). This new job opportunity is the reason for moving, because the airline he'll be working for does not have a pilot base in Colorado.

He's come a long way...

Our upcoming move will take us out of state, and it will put us somewhere entirely new. (Unless it lands us in Michigan, but I think that chance is pretty/extremely small). There are bases all across the country from the Pacific Northwest to the very Southeast. We won't actually find out more about where he'll be based for around a month or so. Until then we play a waiting game, but we do know that we'll be moving! I figure since I have moved all alone before, that moving with someone very special should be even more fun and exciting.

Road Trip!

There are a few states where we might be based, and they include: Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, or Florida. Which one will it be?! If it was you, where would you like to live?

No matter where we end up, this new adventure will be fun. Either way we are both really excited about this opportunity, and we look forward to what a move will bring.

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* There's so much to write about, but it's hard to include it all. Please excuse me for not being a very good blogger/Tweeter/communicator lately. We have so many things to do in order to prepare for all of this. (:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dinner of Champions

If this is not a perfect meal, then I don't know what is.



Sometimes the most simple dinner is the most enjoyable. Needless to day, my husband was working the night that I enjoyed this as my dinner. He's not as big a fan of instant noodles as I am, but he sure does love the cookies.

These chocolate chip cookies are made using the best recipe I have yet to find. If I had it with me, I would share it. However, I am away from my cookbook. I am really not good at memorizing recipes, so don't even ask me to recall it right now. I would totally forget or mix up one of the most important ingredients, and you would probably end up with cinnamon raisin cookies or something. Seriously. * Maybe I can share this recipe in another post at a later time.

Do you have a go to dinner when you just want something simple and stress free?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hotel Toiletry Hoarding

I have a confession. I'm a hoarder. Don't worry though. We don't live in a rodent infested pig sty or anything like that. My favorite kind of hoarding is much more hygienic than that. I hoard hotel toiletries. At least we're clean around here! Over many years I've collected miniature bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Even though I have enough to last for quite some time, I can't stop collecting those cute little bottles. I can't stop!

all the goods

When we travel, I fill travel-sized bottles with my own products from home so that I can bring home the hotel toiletries. You ask, "Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of the hotel provided toiletries?" Yeah. Pretty much. I use my own products while away from home, but I get to bring home these little gems. The only hotel that beat me at my own game was the Sheraton in Punta Gorda. They use toiletry dispensers in their showers, and those bad boys are attached to the wall. There's no taking their shampoo. I suppose they're sticking it to people like me. Ha!

I've scored some pretty nice products over the years. I have mini products by Crabtree & Evelyn, Gilchrist & Soames, Aveda, and some from the Ritz Carlton Battery Park. A part of me loves keeping the toiletries as a little reminder of our travels. It's fun to relive a good vacation by using the delicious smelling shampoo years later.

I'm growing quite the collection of hotel toiletries. Not all hoarding is bad, right?

If you're ever a guest at our place, maybe you'll get to take some of these bottles home with you. I promise I'll share these some day. Unless we can no longer afford shampoo or conditioner. Then I may them all to myself. Until then, I'm going to continue 'hoarding' and hope to share them some day. Now who wants to come and stay with us?

What is your item of choice when it comes to hoarding?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Out of Sync

I have to admit, that I am a huge fan of sticking to a schedule and having a routine. Being married to a pilot makes that challenging. My husband's scheduling throws a big old monkey wrench into my love for having plans or at least an idea of what might happen next. If anything though, I am getting better at going with the flow of things. However, it's not easy.

My husband and I on a little trip to Estes Park

Lately, it seems like our life has been a bit hectic and we have abandoned any semblance of a routine. Husband gets home after 9pm, and then we eat dinner. We get to sleep around 11pm maybe. Someone *coughAshleycough* likes to read in bed until maybe midnight (maybe 2am if I'm trying to finish a book). Husband gets up early for work, and we repeat. This has been a bit tiring. For both of us I'm afraid. This girl likes her dinner at 6pm sharp! Sort of like we're old folks here. Nothing wrong with older folks, but man do they seem to eat dinner early and stick to a tight schedule. I love it. Hopefully when my husband and I are old, we'll have a strict routine too. That would be so cool. Ha!

Not only have our schedules been somewhat turned upside down, but our apartment is in minor disarray too (I say minor because I'm too anal obsessive compulsive to let it get much further than that). Our lease is up soon, and we actually have no plans as of now for where we are moving to next. Great. We are doing this the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants way I guess. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. It makes things more exciting I suppose. For now, I believe that things are just accumulating around our place in anticipation of being packed away and moved again.

If there's such a thing as a neat mess...
I think it's this.

Seriously though, sometimes being married to a pilot has its perks. It also has its downsides too. Our 'social life' is pretty lame, because we don't have a lot of extra money to spend on fun stuff. We have pretty major combined student loan debt. On top of that, Nate gets his schedule for the following month in the middle of each month. That makes scheduling things difficult, because he has to know pretty far in advance what days off he needs. If something important is coming up, we usually need to know at least 40 days in advance! Even advance notice is not always enough, because he sometimes gets called in to work at the last minute's notice. Though since he has been working in the training department, that doesn't happen as often as it used to for us. His schedule varies month to month too. He doesn't just get weekends off like a lot of people with careers do. That was serious torture for us when I was working every week day. At least it was for me, because I would have a weekend off and he would be working. Thank goodness that has changed. We do enjoy free/cheap tickets to fly places, but we rarely take advantage of it. Being married to a pilot has its ups and downs. That is life.

I really need to work on being okay with...
having plans that are up in the air.

I hope we somehow get back to our 'irregular routine' here soon. Things have been a little more hectic and disorganized than I like them. Plan for no plans. Right now that's our life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Color Me Happy

Last week I mentioned that it was very spring-like in Colorado, and that beautiful weather put me in the mood for some bright colors in my life!

Spring for the day in Colorado

Chelsea, over at A Colorado Cupcake, posted a blog that inspired me to find the perfect polish, so I went on a search for some colorful nail polish that would be perfect for Spring. If the nice weather is not here to stay, at least I can force some cheer out of the day by having brightly colored nails. Yeah! Let me tell you. Choosing the perfect color was not easy. I can be incredibly indecisive, so I walked back and forth in front of all the colors for what felt like a half hour. Ouch. Hard work pays off though! Just remember that.

testing, testing

After testing quite a few colors on my finger nails, I settled on a couple of fun colors from the Essie collection. I did not buy the greens or blues (this time), but I might go back and get 'Coat Azure' sometime later, because it came in a very close third after this polish search. The 'Mint Candy Apple' came in fourth place. If only I had endless dollars to spend on polish. I might have bought them all. After testing and trying and contemplating, I bought bottles of 'Lilacism' and 'Tart Deco'. Just so you know, Lilacism really does "whisper springtime". I heard it. Go get some if you want to hear springtime whispers too! It just might brighten your day. I know it does mine.

Pretty Polishes

I still have nails that look like the ones below, because it's been hard to choose which color to paint all of my nails. Maybe I'll just leave them looking like an experiment gone wrong. Who knows? Not really. Hopefully I'll get to painting them one color soon.

hard to choose just one

Do you have any springtime favorites when it comes to makeup or polish?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Fever

The past few days have been lovely in Colorado! I try not to get my hopes up too much though, because it will more than likely blizzard on us a few times by the end of April. I know that Spring is not quite here to stay yet, but I cannot help but get out and enjoy it while it is here.

Now I grew up in Michigan, and worked retail while in college. It always killed me how spring clothes came out so early in stores, because Spring is a bit delayed in Michigan (and often in Colorado too). I try not to buy many clothes for warmer weather until that weather is here to stay, but window shopping is fun either way!

Yesterday's sunny day also called for a boba tea! (aka bubble tea) Have you ever had this stuff before?! I love love love it. There was a place in Ann Arbor called Bubble Island where I used to get my fix, and I am glad to have found some in Colorado. The weather was incredible, so I sat outside and enjoyed my drink. Unfortunately we will probably face more snow this season, but it did not stop me from enjoying the sunny day we had yesterday.

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Is it Spring yet where you live? How do you enjoy a lovely Spring day?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When One Door Closes...

Seeing how my last few blog posts have been more uplifting, and more than anything they seem to be helping me be more positive, today will be another post similar to the previous two.

Today I want to share this:

I love the above quote, because it's helps convey the idea of another door opening when one closes in life. Sometimes it's too easy focusing on a loss, when we really need to keep moving forward. I was very guilty of that when I was laid off from my architecture job, and focusing on my loss surely did not help me move on from it. It is incredibly important that we move on from losses, or we might get stuck in a pool of negativity. That leads us nowhere fast. When faced with loss, we must look for that open door that's just waiting for us to cross its path.

One of the most important things I have learned lately, is to realize that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. It also doesn't hurt to remember that "what does not kill you, makes you stronger". Everything happens for a reason, and we must have faith that everything will work out for our good. 

Keep looking for that open door in life, once you step through it there will be more. Remember, sometimes the first step is the biggest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Components of Happy

If there is a quote that helps to explain happiness, then this is one of them.

Many people say that actions speak louder than words, but I think words speak pretty loudly if you use the right ones. Your thoughts are kept from others, that is, unless you share them with others. Your actions stem from your thoughts and the things that you say, so to me, actions don't always speak louder. People who impress me the most probably (since I'm not in their heads) start with positive thoughts, and that leads to kind words, and eventually their thoughts morph into their actions. Our thoughts, words, and actions are all connected. We must be careful what we think... because thoughts could lead you places you never meant them to lead you.

That whole "practice what you preach" thing really goes into effect here. If you find yourself giving people great advice, but not taking it, then I think this applies. I am definitely working on this. Something that bothers me, is when I realize that I've just done something that I said I would not do. I hope that my thinking, saying, and doing will be one in the same!

Wouldn't it be great to only think good & positive thoughts throughout the day? Sometimes it is hard to do, but imagine if you did.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Say No to Gossip

Just a few nights ago, I read something in a book that really made me think. The text from the book read, "Gossip is sharing dishonoring information with someone who is not a part of the problem or the solution." This is such an important thing to think about in our daily lives.

look for the good in others...
instead of reasons to dislike them

I have never been a fan of gossip. If you're doing it around me, chances that I have nothing to contribute or get up and walk away are high. There are very few, if any actually, times I can think of where gossip does any good. Since it does no good, that means there is no reason to do it. Gossip does happen, but we need to be aware of the consequences. Speaking negatively of someone else only drives people apart, it does not bring us together. So why do it?

The Golden Rule states that you should "treat others the way that you would like to be treated", and with that in mind I know for sure that I don't want others to gossip about me. Keeping that in the back of my mind at all times, it always makes me think twice before opening my mouth about someone else. If I am not a part of the problem or the solution, then I will keep this mouth shut. Gossip does a great job dividing people, and I cannot think of any cases where gossip helps the situation. It is one thing to gossip, and it is another thing to ask someone for advice, on how to deal with a situation, without dishonoring the person you are asking about in that case. Always keep in mind that you will treat others the way you would like to be treated.

will you decide to try and give kindness...
 instead of judgement?

Treating others the way that you would like to be treated also goes hand in hand with not saying anything at all if you have nothing nice to say. I am definitely far from perfect, but I know areas where I would like to improve and better myself.

Here's to a week of positive thinking and only kind words to/about each other. (:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

ABCs of Me

* Yup, that's me *

I saw this list of ABCs over on Brandi's blog, Home Team Dreams and I wanted to share my answers too. So here goes:

A. Age:  28

B. Bed size:  Queen

C. Chore you dislike:  Dusting, because I have to move everything and dust underneath. Ugh. 

D. Dogs:  None now, but I really want a Golden Retriever or a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.

E. Essential start to your day:  Smooch from my husband (if he's home) and a cup of coffee and reading something inspiring.

F. Favorite color:  Turquoise! It reminds me of the beach, and when I wear the color it looks good with my skin and eyes. 

G. Gold or silver:  Silver... but I am slowly learning to like gold a little more with each day.

H. Height:  5' 4"  Booyah! I'm short. (:

I. Instruments you play(ed):  Alto saxophone when I was in middle school. First chair... band nerd!

J. Job title:  wife for now and amateur photographer. See my photo blog!

K. Kids:  We would love them some day, but just not now.

L. Live:  Colorado... then who knows.

M. Mom’s name:  If I told you then I'd have to kill you. (Kidding! I'm not going to do that. Tell you that is... or kill you.)

N. Nicknames:  Smash, Smashley, Crash, Ash, Trash, AJ, Ashwee...

O. Overnight hospital stays:  Totally broke my ankle on a water slide in 8th grade and had surgery so they could put a screw in my ankle. Spent the night, and all I remember is the nurse checking my toes, by pinching them, all night to make sure I still had circulation. Sweet.

P. Pet peeves:  Mean people, tailgaters while driving, when people gossip all the time

Q. Quote from a movie:  Not sure I have A favorite? Don't watch too many movies.

S. Siblings:  Only child... it's not as cool as you would think.

T. Time you wake up:  All over the place depending on what's going on, but I'm not much of a morning person unless we're doing something really exciting like going to the airport. Then I get right out of bed at 3am if I have to.

U. Underwear:  Under where?!

V. Vegetables you don’t like:  Really not a fan of eggplant. The texture sort of weirds me out. Yuck.

W. What makes you run late:  Traffic jams. I am usually pretty on time, so the only thing that was probably holding me back from an appointment was probably traffic.

X. X-rays you’ve had:  Oh crap. My left ankle that I broke and again two years ago for a bad sprain to make sure it was not broken again, for sure at least one of my knees multiple times (they locked up a few times and had fluid when I was younger), and my back at the chiropractors office (it was pretty crooked from lots of volleyball playing and back arching when I served. wow)

Y. Yummy food you make:  Homemade mac and cheese, cheese and ground beef stuffed pasta shells, chicken parmesan, soft and gooey chocolate chip cookies... and melt in your mouth french toast! YUM! Now I'm hungry.

Z. Zoo animal favorites:  Love the monkeys! They are usually so energetic and active. Last time we visited the zoo they were opening plastic bottles and shaking their treats out of them.

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So those are some interesting, or not, facts about me... and my ABCs. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! (:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Calm After the Storm

Whew. Yesterday I may have had a little melt down, but thanks everyone for the nice comments and words of encouragement.  They are sincerely appreciated, and again thank you all. We really do have the power to lift others up when they are feeling down, and it's nice to receive that kindness from others. We must remember to give it back too.

Honestly, after posting to my blog yesterday... I started to feel better, like I had let a lot of the stress go and accepted where I was at the moment. After taking some deep breaths and realizing that things were not as bad as I thought, everything became a lot more calm and focused. Thank God for that.

After staying up a little too late, sleeping in a little too long, and enjoying my morning coffee... I am feeling more ready to tackle today with gusto. No worries.

Today I am going to work on staying more calm and taking one step at a time when things get a little crazy.

Do you have a morning ritual that helps
you get ready to tackle each day?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Struggle & Pictures

After just returning from a short trip to Texas, one might think that I would be nice and relaxed and glad to be home. Well I'm not. Not at all. On top of our apartment not really feeling like 'home' at all, we have also had some unexpected things sprung on us. Not only do we have a lease that is about to expire, but we also have no idea where we are moving to next. So many things are up in the air (funny that I'm married to a pilot and it's exactly how our life feels at the moment... up in the air) that it's hard to know which thing to try and catch first. I feel like we might hesitate for a second too long and everything will fall down around us. So for now, it's hard to relax and enjoy this 'darned if you do, darned if you don't' situation that we are in at the moment.

I mean, at times I just wish that someone would come out of the woodwork and tell me that they understand exactly what we're going through, but we have yet to find any friends that are in the same (heck even a similar) boat as us. Honestly, one of my favorite things about reading other blogs is that I get to know the writers and can often relate to the things that they write about. It's fun 'getting to know' other bloggers, and it really is nice to know that you are not alone on certain aspects of life.

Seriously, though, is anyone out there in their 20s and super-mega in debt, do not own a house, are not even close to owning one, not sure where you will be living in a month, and kind of overwhelmed with life?! Or is it just me? Whew. Sometimes all I want is for someone to say it's going to be okay. Really, it can be that simple. A little comfort from people who care goes a long way. Thank goodness for the supportive and loving, even if it might be just a few, people that we have in our lives.

It can be really frustrating when you feel like your best is not good enough. Neither of us have necessarily had things handed to us through our lives, and we have always had to work for what we wanted. I am definitely a grateful person, and I cannot begin to explain everything that I am grateful for. However, lately it has been the very little things in life that make me smile, and I guess that's better than nothing at all. In the end I know that I need to be happy and grateful, but sometimes it's just so stinkin' hard!

With that being said,
here are a some things
that do make me smile.

* click on any of the following pictures, and they will link you to more happy *

All of the above images are mine, so if you use any of them please link back to my blog... thanks.

Find something that makes you smile today.

After thinking about loved ones and everything that makes me smile, I feel a bit better. Still have some things weighing me down, but I'll do my best to smile today anyways. Who is with me?!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Small Town Loving

"Gruene, Texas is the place to be!"
(sung to the tune of the Green Acres theme song)

* this song is amazingly appropriate for our visit to Gruene *

My husband and I are sort of in love with Gruene, Texas. The first time we visited Gruene (pronounced like the color green) was last year in the spring. Little did we know at that time, we would visit the small town again within the next year. Our first trip to Gruene began the little love affair that we now have with the small German-settled Texas town that's located between Austin and New Braunfels.

* our favorite coffee shop in Gruene *

This trip to Gruene was very spur of the moment, and it worked out perfectly to stay the night so we could enjoy the town for the evening. Our first stop while driving through town was the Gruene Coffee Haus. Last year there was a really sweet young woman working at the counter who had a conversation with us like we were quick friends, and she left such a good impression on us (amazing what a little customer service can do) that we made sure to stop by again this time. We enjoyed our drinks, used their free wi-fi to access Hotwire and book another discounted hotel room, and then we walked into town so I could take some pictures! Not much has changed in the year since we visited last, and that's very refreshing going from the city to the small town.

* I still need to buy some Fickle Pickles *

After I captured some pictures around town, we noticed big groups of people heading into the famous Gruene Hall (Texas' oldest dance hall), and we decided we could not pass it up this time. Check out this list of very impressive musicians that have played at Gruene Hall. Upon entering the dance hall, we ordered ourselves a couple of beers and found some open seats in the back of the building. The band playing for the evening was a local Austin band called Stonehoney, and we listened to their music for a few songs. My husband and I enjoyed the live music, felt sort of like we were in a scene from Sweet Home Alabama (city kids returning to small town living), and enjoyed every second spent together around a bunch of happy and fun-loving people. With that being said, we're looking forward to our next visit to Gruene Hall.

* Stonehoney playing at Gruene hall *

* Enjoying some brews and tunes *

After leaving Gruene Hall, we walked to Adobe Verde for dinner and, not surprisingly, more live music! Last year a really great musician, Mark Monaco, played while we ate dinner on the covered porch. This time there was a small band playing in the outdoor dining area. While eating dinner, we looked around at the families enjoying their evening out and had such a great feeling of being at peace with the moment. Needless to day, I am sure we'll visit again.

* music at Adobe Verde *

After our short but sweet time spent in Gruene, we hope to visit again. It's really one of our favorite places, even though we have visited few, in Texas. It sort of feels like home, and that's a good thing.

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Have you ever visited a place that immediately felt like 'home' to you?