Life After the Snow

The unplanned days of rest and relaxation that the snow provided were so nice. However, after Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, whatever you want to call it, ended-life went back to its usual hectic self in the Lyles home. On Saturday night, I got out of the house for the first time in days to meet up with some of my dear classmates to celebrate officially being done! After playing a hilarious game of HeadsUp on my friend Swetal's phone (see Ellen play it here. If you haven't downloaded the app- stop what you're doing and do it now), we took a nice stroll down the city streets to Carrigan's Public House. I've posted about Carrigan's before on here. So, I won't repeat myself with the details, but it was divine as usual. In addition to their superb hand crafted cocktails, they also have one of the best beer selections in town. The urban-chic atmosphere is just icing on the cake.

On Sunday, my dad's sweet girlfriend wanted to celebrate me passing me the boards by taking me out for brunch. When she said it was my call on where, I was slightly overwhelmed with ideas since there are so many fabulous places. However, I decided on one of my local Mountain Brook favorites, Over Easy. Their menu isn't complicated and just consists of good, solid breakfast food like biscuits and gravy, buttermilk pancakes, and hearty omelettes among other tasty things. Of course, since it was a celebratory meal- I broke my Whole Life Challenge rules and I opted for the "go big or go home" approach in doing so. I had no regrets about stuffing my face with hash browns, eggs, Andouille sausage, sourdough bread, and gouda grits. I mean, I did split with John.So, that's a little better...right? Probably not, but it was too good to care!

After an interview, job hunting, applying for my state license and a meeting at BSC to discuss sorority recruitment, the majority of the week seemed to fly by! With that said, I was so happy when my sorority big sister and grand-little wanted to get together for dinner to catch up. Since they knew that I was trying my best to stick to the challenge (which is true despite all of my cheats that I have divulged in this post), they agreed to meet for dinner at Whole Foods. I have always loved Whole Foods hot bar, and during my years of being a vegetarian it was actually one of my main choice restaurants. It was so fun to hear all about what is going on in their exciting lives and enjoy their company over a delicious meal.

Thursday, there was yet another reason to celebrate. John's Dad had a birthday this past week and decided to make a stop through Birmingham to have dinner with us. We went to Rojo, whose renowned queso has become an obsessive craving of mine since WLC came along. I blame it on the fact that it was where John and I had our last meal before ridding our home of dairy and comfort junk food goodness. So, needless to say I was thrilled with the choice to go there for Mr. Lyles birthday dinner. For his gift, I decided to bake him a vanilla chocolate chip bundt cake. It was a little bit of a risk considering I had never made that particular cake (or a bundt cake at all, for that matter). It turned out super tasty though and has made a permanent home in my recipe box.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake 

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 pkg (4 serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 12 cup bundt pan with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, mix chocolate chips with 3 Tbsp of the yellow cake mix and set aside. In a large bowl, throw in remaining cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, water, eggs and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, mix ingredients together on medium speed until combined- then turn up speed for one minute. Pour in chocolate chip mixture into the bowl and mix together with spatula or wooden spoon. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before flipping it onto a cooling rack to cool for an additional 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! 

Later that night, NBC started airing some of the pre-opening ceremony olympic games. I had printed out some olympic bingo sheets for the opening ceremony before I realized that the actual ceremony was to be held Friday. However, since I had already made plans for the weekend and knew that I would be nowhere near a TV Friday, I decided to bring them out early. A few of the things to cross off were missing, but we still had fun and I beat John!

Friday was by far the most anticipated day of the week for me. As many of you know, this year will be my first year directing a senior high camp at Camp Sumatanga and this weekend was my first ever meeting with my fellow Deans. Sumatanga has always been home for me and the place where my heart is the absolute happiest. So, the night before I could barely sleep due to my excitement! As usual, camp didn't disappoint since I was surrounded by the most genuine, loving, and caring people. I could go on and on about camp and all of the wonderful things it entails, but I would probably need a new blog just for that purpose. I will say that I am so pumped about this upcoming summer and working alongside my fellow dean, Andrew Heckathorn. It's going to be pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

After the meeting came to a close on Saturday, I headed back to Birmingham. Earlier in the week I won tickets to see Milburn and Vigoda at the Red Mountain Theatre Company (located in the historic Kress Building downtown). To be honest, at the time I won the tickets I had no idea who or what Milburn and Vigoda was all about. I was just happy to have scored a free night out on the town thanks to Birmingham Mountain Radio! At first I was expecting it to be a concert since I did win the tickets from the local radio station. However, I was a little thrown that it was put on by the theatre company. I was even more thrown when we walked in to see about 50 kids on stage singing musical numbers. It turns out that the kids were part of the Red Mountain Theatre Company's Youth Program (they were AMAZING) and the show was a mix of musical theatre pieces, looping music, and original music. It's actually pretty hard to explain just exactly what we saw, but here's a good example. It was so much fun and such a treat to see talent like that first hand.

It was yet another exciting week at the Lyles' house and one full of celebration and treasured time with friends and family. Here's to another great week full of new memories to be made.


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