PA, we just can’t quit you

New York is beautiful, and we are looking forward to exploring more of the state we now live in… but half of our weekends this May were spent in our former state of residence.

First, Mike & I took an extremely quick trip back to Pittsburgh to surprise our friend Sean for his birthday, and most recently, we spent Memorial Day weekend in Bethel, PA with our friends Will & Christina & Micah & Meg (& their daughter Maeve).

I’m going to share some highlights from both weekends here, with the caveat that I don’t have nearly enough photos from Sean’s party/Pittsburgh, and I have entirely too many from this weekend.🙂


Sean is known for his amazing birthday crawfish boils… and Hallie & Brad got this fantastic cookie cake from (where else?) Giant Eagle. I was super impressed with the frosting crawfish!


Sean’s 3rd Annual Crawfish Boil was fantastic as usual.


I got a picture of the guys (including Mike’s infamous cutoff party jorts), but somehow didn’t get one of the ladies, much less all of us together. Next time! Thanks for the delicious food, Sean (& Caroline), and thanks for the amazing hospitality, Hallie & Brad!


Memorial Day weekend was spent in a cabin outside of Bethel, PA. We played lots of games…


& explored a local swimming spot on the Little Schuykill River. We saw some cool wildlife here including a couple snakes, crayfish, a red-eyed bass guarding her eggs, & multiple red-spotted newts!


On Sunday, we visited the Rodale Institute and scoped out these cool vertical gardens…


as well as these super cute goats.

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Mike also befriended a cat at the cabin… we named him Ned.

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It was an awesome weekend – can’t wait to see all of these folks again in July for another friend’s wedding!




2015 in Review

2015 was a doozy of a year for the Powell/Finewood household. This post is about some of the highlights. (Better late than never, right?) Lots of pictures ahead – consider yourself warned!

January & February

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2015 kicked off with a birthday surprise for Mike. Our friends Will & Kevin drove up from DC for the weekend, surprising him when they joined us at Hidden Valley on Saturday AM. In this photo, he has just walked in & has no idea they are there – even though we thought that he might’ve spotted them in the parking lot the first time we were riding the lift up. That was a fun weekend – thanks again guys for hitting the road super early to make this happen.


Mike & I attempted to build a snowman. This was the result.


Last winter in Pittsburgh was brutal. It seemed like the cold & snow would never end! But, I have to admit it was also pretty at times. I took this photo while out performing monthly water sampling duties for my last job – the stream is underneath all that ice & snow.



Speaking of my last job, a good portion of my time the first few months of 2015 was spent helping organize our office move, including the construction of a conference room in the space. I’d be remiss not to document & remember that experience.


In February, I participated in my yoga studio’s 28 Day Challenge. Getting to yoga 28 times in 28 (actually 27 for me) days was definitely a challenge, and also totally worth it. It was a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anyone. I miss you, Yoga Hive.


The highlight of February though, was the birth of our niece, Graye! We were finally able to go down & meet her at the end of February & this photo of her & Mike cracks me up.


March & April



The highlight of March was easily our trip to Park City, Utah. We met Will, Christina, Kevin, and his brother, Adam, in Utah for a long weekend of snowboarding & fun times. We took a day trip to Antelope Island (highly recommended!) to see the bison & fabulous views of the (seriously low due to drought) Great Salt Lake, and also enjoyed a night out in Park City. The conditions were not great at all (as seems to be the theme whenever we organize a trip out West!), but maybe one of these years I’ll get to experience the fabulous powder out there that everyone talks about.



In April, I saw Will & Christina again when I went down to DC for the weekend to visit & cheer for Will, who was running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. They graciously took me to a DC United game, which was awesome! Then the next day Christina & I had so much fun taking in the beauty of the cherry blossoms & cheering for all the runners. It was a beautiful weekend to be in DC, even if only briefly. Thanks as always for the hospitality, you two!

Another exciting moment for me in April was finally seeing a SSO (sanitary sewer overflow) happen in person! Thinking and talking about sewage overflow problems was a large part of my last job (and likely happens a lot more than you think wherever you live!), so the nerd in me was really fascinated to actually see one occurring. Those two photos were taken on the same day, by the way, about 4 hours apart.


There’s really no good transition from talking about sewage to an amazing wedding… so I’ll just say another highlight from April was watching our friends & former neighbors Matt & Kimberly tie the knot! Mike emcee’d, my friend Sara & I put together the cheese & charcuterie plates (or, Sara showed me how to make them look fantastic instead of weird & sloppy), and I also learned that I can tie a bow tie pretty well after a few glasses of wine.🙂

May, June, & July

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These three months were a bit of a blur. I began the month by spectating the PGH Marathon as it came through our neighborhood, which was super fun. But, we knew we were moving by now, and had a ton to accomplish before August, including finding a place to live in NY, prepping our house to sell in Pittsburgh (which included painting most of the house (inside & out), pulling up carpet (you can see how ‘helpful’ Gus was during this process above), redoing our bathrooms, and getting rid of a ton of our stuff), and a bunch of travel. There were also a lot of fun things to do too… including:


Celebrating Sean’s 40th birthday with an epic crawfish boil,


A beer-focused bachelorette party for my beautiful friend Hallie,


Hallie & Brad’s wedding!,


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and my first trip to California. Mike & I traveled to San Diego at the end of June for the annual AESS conference at UCSD. In addition to presenting and attending sessions, I made sure to squeeze in a quick visit to Torrey Pines State park with our friends Laura & Joe, a visit to see the sea lions in La Jolla, and we also went on a field trip to the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. It was a fascinating experience, and I learned a lot I didn’t know about the US/Mexico border.



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We hit the road for NY right after we got back from California, so we could find an apartment. Then, July was spent packing and moving and getting the house ready for sale. I was also finishing things up at work, and mostly I just remember this being a stressful month. But, we hung out with Kimberly & Matt as much as possible (I greatly miss our dinners together!) and did also get to go to a Pirates game with our friends Jenny & Jason, which was awesome. I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture of the four of us… Next time!

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And most excitingly, toward the end of July, Matt & Kimberly’s beautiful daughter Fiona was born! I’m looking forward to seeing how much she’s grown next time we’re in Pittsburgh. (Edit: I first wrote that back in January when I started this post… I’ve seen her since then & she’s amazing!)

August & September


August was the month that we sold our house & officially said goodbye to Pittsburgh. We loved our four years there, and it will always be special to us.


This was also the month that we learned just how small 500 square feet is. Actually, we’re still learning that every day… although we have come a long way since move-in day (seen above).


As seen in my posts from September… it was a fun one! The Powells came to visit & my dad rode the NYC Century, we took a trip with friends to Goshen, & we went canoeing at Constitution Marsh.

October, November, & December

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The major highlights of October have already been extensively covered here… my friend Sara’s visit & my trip to the Florida Keys with Christina! But we also traveled to PA for our friend Yorty’s wedding, where we got to catch up with friends from grad school/Columbia! I can’t believe I didn’t take more (good) photos with people in them that weekend… literally the best picture I have is one of the food & beer at the Troeg’s Brewery. Goal for 2016: take more people photos than food/drink photos.




November highlights have also been covered: watching NC State beat LSU in OT at the Barclay’s Center, our trip to Annapolis for Mike to give a colloquium at SESYNC, and Friendsgiving in Philly.




Really all that’s missing is December highlights (some of which got talked about in my last post), which included a trip into the city to take in the holiday sights, making marshmallows for the first time (not as hard as you might think!), and traveling back home to SC & NC to visit with our families for the holidays.

Whew! 1300 words later… If you made it to the end, congratulations & thanks for reading! Hopefully all the photos didn’t make your browser explode.

2015 was a crazy year. From Pittsburgh to Utah to DC to California to New York to the Carolinas to Virginia to Pennsylvania to Florida… our household did a lot of moving and traveling last year. I think that will calm down a bit in 2016 (at least for me, we’re 4 months in & Mike has already been to KY & CA this year, so maybe not for him, ha!), but you never know. I’m sure there’s still lots of fun ahead in the remaining ~8 months of 2016… most of which will hopefully find it’s way here! If not here, definitely on Instagram.🙂

Back to “regularly scheduled” posts… soon.




Long time no blog

So… it’s been a minute since my last post, huh?.

To my friends & family members that actually read this… sorry about that. Time flies when you’re job searching & adjusting to life in a new state, apparently. But, I don’t want to give up completely on this small slice of the internet that I have paid a nominal fee to occupy, so I’m going to work on posting more regularly from here on out. We’ll see how it goes!

To start, I do have a post in the works recapping some highlights from 2015 that I’ll aim to get finished up & posted this week. I also want to share some thoughts on my experience with CrossFit now that I’m six months in, so you definitely have those two posts to look forward to if nothing else.🙂

In the meantime, here are a couple photos from the past few months…


Ok, this one is actually from back in November 2015… it’s when we went to Annapolis for Mike to give a colloquium at SESYNC. I used to work with a lot of the lovely ladies in this photo, and it was great to be able to catch up with all of them! Thank you to Melissa for making this happen!


In December, we went down to the city to do some holiday sightseeing. All the store windows were pretty cool, the Rockefeller Christmas tree was a madhouse, and the highlight of the day was definitely the dulce de leche & nutella-filled churros we had in the Columbus Circle holiday market. So much yes.


January 2016 kicked off with a quick trip back to Pittsburgh for Mike’s birthday weekend. Even though there wasn’t a ton of snow, we had to go to Hidden Valley w/Sean & Caroline – lots of fun memories w/them there!


We also got to spend some time w/Hallie & Brad! <3 all these people! We got to visit with our former neighbors & their super cute baby too… we miss them a lot. I didn’t manage to get a group photo, and only have pictures of the bebe that I don’t want to post without permission so I’ll just say #bestneighborsever.

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This winter was pretty easy cold & snow-wise… but we did get hit hard one weekend in late January. I think we got somewhere around 14 inches? It disappeared fairly quickly, but Gus enjoyed it while it lasted.


Apparently I didn’t take too many interesting photos in February & most of March, so I’ll wrap up with this photo from a recent hike Mike & I went on at Constitution Marsh. It’s gorgeous up there.

Alright, until next time… which will hopefully be sooner rather than 4 months from now.🙂