January 31, 2014

Insta Friday

One of the bloggers that I follow posts pictures from her instagram every Friday and I have decided to start doing that as well. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery, right? Also I am hoping that it will encourage me to take more pictures. I sometimes will think about taking a picture or posting one to instagram, but then never do. So here is my one picture from instagram this last week!

Gavin and I went to a bar called the Patterson House last Saturday after we checked out a place that had west coast swing dancing (it was a flop). Patterson House is an unmarked bar and set up to feel like a speakeasy and is super classy. It was fun and drinks were delicious, but at $12 a pop we will probably opt to make our own at home most of the time.

Here is hoping I have a few more pictures to share next Friday!

January 30, 2014

Beer of the Week (vol. I)

As I mentioned in my last post, Gavin is going to start guest posting pretty much every week. As most of you know, or maybe not, Gavin is a craft beer enthusiast and he drinks a new beer almost everyday. So, I thought it would be fun for Gavin to pick his favorite beer that he had every week and review it here. I might occasionally chime in with a beer or cider that I particularly enjoy, but for the most part Gavin will be sharing his favorites.

Now to get us started on the first installment of "Beer of the Week" we have Stone Brewery's Enjoy By 2.14.14 IPA

Name: Enjoy By 2.14.14
Brewery: Stone Brewing
Brewery Location: Escondido, CA
Style: Imperial IPA
Cost: $8.99
ABV: 9.4%
Number of Stars (out of 5): 5 Stars

Delicious in every way that an IPA should be (or at least in my opinion). This beer isn't going for the heavier malt and grassy hops that you'd find in a traditional English IPA. Instead, this IPA has grapefruit, peach, and passion fruit notes commonly found in West Coast IPA, likely using Centennial or Citra hops. This beer also follows the West Coast IPA style in that it is very light on the malt flavor allowing the hops to be the main focus. While it is hop-heavy, it does not overpower you with a nice balance from start to finish.

When Greg Koch (owner/founder of Stone) made this beer, he had one intention: drink it fresh! Hence why the name clearly states when to drink the beer by. He made the beer specifically not to last (not totally sure how) and to drink as soon as you get your hands on it (which I was happy to do). The good news is they put a batch of these out every couple months so keep on the lookout for the next round (or check out:

Gavin will be back to share some more beers soon!

January 27, 2014

Our Winter Vacation

Gavin and I were super blessed to be able to take a whole two weeks off of work to travel to the west coast and spend a week with each of our families. We started our vacation off in California by visiting some breweries with Garret. Our first stop was at Russian River in Santa Rosa. At Russian River we were able to get a taster of every beer they had on draft and I even liked a few!

The bar at the brew pub

Garret and Gavin tasting beer

Gavin and Garret had been collecting rare and interesting beers from all over. They had collected 48 beers to try over the week that we were in Oakdale. There were a total of 13 adults there for Christmas and anywhere from 3 to 9 people trying the each different beer, so the twins weren't trying to drink 48 beers on their own in a week. It was a fun week for everyone to try a lot of new and different craft beer!

All the beer the twins had collected to try over Christmas

It was so nice in California that we often spent afternoons outside just enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. It was such a refreshing change from the weather in Nashville! Also you can see our sweet niece Harper in the picture below. We loved being able to spend more time with her playing and getting to cuddle with her.

Also I got to have aebleskivers (or ebleskivers) for the first time! They are a Danish type of pancake that Gavin's family have made for a long time. The inside ends up hollow and you can fill it with jam, jelly or Nutella (my personal favorite). They are really delicious! 

Making Aebleskivers

We also went to a local park by Gavin's parent's house that has a historic covered bridge to take some family pictures. The covered bridge was pretty and it is awesome that the bridge has been kept in tact over the year.

Inside the Covered Bridge

Gavin, his siblings and his parents

As is the normal at Sturgis family gatherings, we did some shooting! I have really grown to like shooting and always enjoy it.

Gavin shooting while his brother Andrew instructs

Another normal at Sturgis family gatherings is food, lots of really good food. 

The Tapas Spread

Dates wrapped with prosciutto and stuffed with cheese. Yummmmmm

Then soon it was Christmas morning!

All of the stockings waiting to be opened

Precious Harper sleeping beneath the Christmas Tree

Although the picture above was really cute Danica put Harper in her pretty Christmas dress and we had a little photo shoot.

Yep, she is cute!

We gave Garret a kettle to brew beer in!

Gavin gave me a tripod that went along with the DSLR camera he got me! I was a happy happy wife!

I gave Gavin a book written by the founder of Stone Brewing about brewing and cooking with beer.

I also enjoyed playing with my new camera!

Gavin and Garret decided to use all of Garret's Christmas presents and brew the first batch of Sturgis Bro's Beer!

R: Garret steeping the grains in the water. L: Gavin pouring in the malt extract.

Gavin and Garret pitching the yeast into the carboy.

The beer has now been bottled and Garret has tried the beer is good! We should be getting a couple of bottles soon. Gavin is really excited to try it soon.

We enjoyed our relaxing week in California with Gavin's family, but soon it was time to head North to Oregon. The first thing we did after getting into Portland was go to one of my cousin's wedding. We go to catch up with one of my other cousins and aunts and uncles.


The next morning we had our second Christmas morning with my parents and my Aunt Kay and Uncle Terry.

I wonder what was in that box?! Hint: Oregon Gear!

My parents gave us a bottle of the wine they made.

I had seen a photo of a dog positioned in front of Christmas trees or Christmas lights and I really wanted to try to recreate it. I personally think it turned out pretty well!

My Bailey dog posed supper well

We went to three breweries in Portland over a couple trips up there. The first trip we went to Deschutes Brewery and Cascade Brewing

I got to catch up with my roommate from UofO. She is actually going to come out for CMA Fest!

At the Deschutes Public House in Portland.

In California I had discovered that I liked sour beer and Cascade Brewing and Barrel House is a mecca for sour beer. I liked all but one or two of their beers. If you are ever in Portland I would 100% suggest that you visit Cascade even if you don't like beer!

Outside Cascade Brewing

 Another day we went up to Hair of the Dog Brewery. This was actually one of the breweries that the show Brew Dogs suggested visiting in Portland. Brew Dogs is a show about these Scottish men brewing beers in conjunction with different breweries across the country in crazy ways.

With my parents at Hair of the Dog.

Later that evening we met Lynn at Santiam Brewing in Salem. Gavin liked most of the beers at Santiam and I even liked a few too!

After Santiam we headed to a new growler fill and tap house place in West Salem. Overall, we got to try a lot of new and interesting beer while in Oregon.

One of the last days in Oregon we went over to the coast and it was one of the nicest winter days on the Oregon coast I have ever experienced.

The Newport Lighthouse Gavin and I toured

Oh, how I had missed the ocean.

The bridge in Newport is pretty cool.

We also visited the Rouge Brewery while in Newport and even went on a tour of the brewery.

The newest Rouge and VooDoo Donut beer being bottled

 The sunset that night was stunning over the ocean.

We also were able to visit with friends and enjoy resting and relaxing at home in Oregon. I was so so thankful that we were able to spend a week with each of our families and know that we were super blessed to be able to take that much time off from our jobs. We are already looking forward to the next time we can visit the West Coast and even next Christmas when we get to be with both of our families again.

January 26, 2014

Back Into Blogging!

Well hello again! Somehow 6 months have flown by since I last posted and Gavin and I have been so busy. I know that I have said this before, but I really am trying to get back into the swing of blogging consistently. I have some things coming up that I am pretty excited about! There will be some DIY posts, recaps and Gavin is going to start guest posting.

Here is a quick recap of things that have happened in the last 6 months:

June: CMA Fest was amazing with my parents, Garret (Gavin's twin) and Lynn (one of my very good friends from home) coming out for the whole long weekend. We also went out to California again for one of my dear college friend's wedding in San Luis Obispo. My birthday, our anniversary and a visit from Gavin's sister and her husband were also in the mix of things!

CMA Fest

Meeting Kip Moore

Drinks made by Craig Campbell

Out to dinner for our anniversary

Julia's Bachelorette Party

At the wedding

Dinner at Red Pony for my birthday. Yummmm

July: Was much more low key just being in Nashville. We spent a rainy 4th of July around downtown Nashville and saw The Band Perry for free! Gavin's birthday was the first time he has been apart from his twin Garret on their birthday. I also baked Gavin a 10 pound cake. We took a weekend trip down to Atlanta and stayed with Gavin's Aunt and Uncle. We got to experience some Atlanta originals including Sweet Water Brewing, The Varsity, and Coca-Cola. Gavin also traveled for work to New Jersey and Michigan.

Cake I made for our church 4th of July Picnic

I got to meet Kellie Pickler!

The Band Perry

Sweet Water Brewing

The Varsity

The World of Coca-Cola

August: I got my current job as an AmeriCorps member at the PENCIL Foundation here in Nashville! I am serving in a program called PACE (PENCIL Academic and Career Enrichment) doing an after school program with Metro Middle School Students. We also went to a free Jake Owen concert. Yep, we love Nashville!

Jake Owen Concert

September: Gavin and I visited Danica (Gavin's sister) and her husband in Virginia. We went to an Oregon Ducks football game while we were there as well (GO DUCKS!). Our sweet niece Harper was born on September 10th, just a few days after we left. I started programming with students after school the second week of September.

Oregon vs. Virginia

Brunch with Danica and Gary

October: Was also a really low key month. We both were in the full swing of things with work. We started the month off by going to an amazing intimate Switchfoot concert. I went on a women's retreat with our church. It was a great weekend away from everything to connect with other women in the church and grow deeper in my relationship with Jesus. Towards the end of the month Gavin and I drove over to Memphis for a Jason Aldean and Jake Owen concert. Gavin even got to meet Jason Aldean!

Switchfoot Concert

At the Jason Aldean and Jake Owen Concert

Jason Alean Performing

November: The month started off with a benefit concert put on by Dierks Bentley. Brett Eldredge, Easton Corbin, Jake Owen and Luke Bryan all played in addition to Dierks Bentley who played for almost an hour! Yep, we love Nashville! We went out to Virginia for Thanksgiving and had a wonderful long weekend visiting family and our adorable niece.

Brett Eldredge performing

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Gavin and Harper

December: Seemed like it flew by! We had Gavin's work Christmas party in downtown Nashville and like last year it was a great night. Our young married's group had a Christmas party the next week that was a fun night of food and games. Then the next week we flew to California! I am going to do a little more detailed recap of our west coast travels tomorrow.

Before Gavin's work Christmas Party

Playing Games at the Young Married's Christmas Party

Wow! I had forgotten how many fun things we did this year! Here is to many more amazing memories with friends and family in 2014!