July 2013 | Olive and Tate

Birthday Girl!

Hey Ya'll! 
So, in exactly one week, I will turn 29. 

With that said, I love Birthdays! Well, let me rephrase that....I love other people's Birthdays....I get super nervous about my own. Like ridiculously nervous. When I was little, I would get so worked up before my Birthday Parties that my mom would have to send me to my room, alone, to chill the eff out. That's real life.
(Have I mentioned that I am prone to stress?)
But, Birthday Anxiety or not, I wouldn't be a full fledged Blogger if I didn't put together my Birthday Wish List, so here she is!

Who would have ever thought I'd have Bean Boots and a Canada Goose Full Body Puffer on my Birthday Wish List?? (answer: not me)

I'm out and about checking off my 5 for Friday To Do List with my parents, I can't wait to update ya'll on what we've been up to!
Hope ya'll have a great Monday! 



5 on Friday!

Hey Ya'll! And Heeeeeello Weekend! 
I'm Linking Up with Christina and Co. for another edition of 5 on Friday!

Mom and Daddy (and me and Husband having our first dance in the background)
Ya'll, I am about to tee-tee in my pants (the MOST Southern thing to say. Ever.) with excitement because my parents will be right here in Maine in just a few short hours! 
They decided that the best way to celebrate their 34th Wedding Anniversary was to make a trip North to visit their first born and most favorite daughter.
(I should mention that I am onviously their only daughter.)

So, for today's 5 on Friday, we'll be discussing the 5 things that I.can't.wait to do with my parents during their first visit. 

1. Tourist Time

So, the last (and only) time I ventured to Bar Harbor it looked like this:

Cold + Rain = Miz
I can't wait to drag my parents out there to show off our new home state and to get to enjoy Bar Harbor in Summerish weather (the highs are in the 70's here)! Not only is the area really gorgeous and Mainey, but this season has been really great for nature watching. Obviously, I'm hoping to rope Mom and Dad into the The Most Super Tourist Experience of Whale Watching! I heard through the grapevine that Minke Whales, Puffins and Harbor Seals have all been spotted over the last few weeks. Dude. Harbor Seals live 30 minutes from our new house. What?! 

2. Get Our Nature On

My mom really, really wants to go to Acadia while they're here....and I hope she doesn't have any crazy ideas like actual biking or hiking or anything. I already told my Dad that we can actually drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain and I know for sure that he'll be on Team Drive To The Summit. 
In all seriousness, Acadia is gorgeous and I can't wait to show Mom and Dad the Maine Coastline, Thunder Hole and Cadillac. Of course, I'll sneak in a well deserved lunch at my absolute fave wilderness spot, The Jordan Pond House, as a treat! 

Actual shot of Jordan Pond, in Acadia National Park, color enhanced by Instagram
3. Lobstah
(P.S. People in Maine don't really say it like that, people from Boston do!)

Bar Harbor Lobster Lunch
Ok, believe it or not, we have yet to purchase and cook Lobster here in Maine. Our dear friends Maria and Handsome Andrew (not his birth name, but it should be), gave us a Lobster Pot as a Wedding Gift and I can't wait to bust that bad boy out this weekend! After you read #4 below, I think you'll agree that we'll owe Dad a Lobster Dinner for sure! 

4. Slave Labor

My Dad is a Charter Captain and a General Contractor, which makes him the handiest Dad on the Planet Earth. I secretly called him in tears a day after we moved into the Maine House because it seemed like every.single.thing. was broken and/or older than dirt. He assured me that he would be in Maine soon to fix everything that he could (and told me not to cry about the house in front of Justin, which was good advice, that I promptly ignored).
This weekend we have a huge project to tackle. 
We knew when we bought our house that our back steps/porch thing was in rough shape. We didn't know that it would fall off the back of the house a few days after we moved in....true.story. 

Totally Rogue Steps that we lovingly call "The Death Trap Stairs"
My Dad and Justin are planning to rip the old porch off and build a new one this weekend. I plan to hide while this is happening. 

5. Mossiomo's

Mussels sent from Heaven, through Mossimo, to my mouth. Instagram from our last Date Night with Mossimo

Or, if we're being fancy, Mossimo's Cucina Italiana, but I like to think of it as Heaven on Earth. Mossimo's Cucina Italiana is our most fave restaurant in Bangor. It is the perfect combo of Date Night Intimate but still incredibly welcoming and comfortable.
 Mossimo, the owner and chef, works his magic in the kitchen every single night and we have yet to be disappointed. I am willing to blow every single WW Point I'll ever have, and then go on a run, just to enjoy a night at Mossimo's. Mossimo also owns a bakery down the street and we met him there by chance on one of our very first, rainy and cold, House Hunting Weekends in Maine. Mossimo himself welcomed us to Maine, insisted we join them for dinner, even though the restaurant was booked, and worked us in later that evening. When we arrived, the staff had been told we were coming, Mossimo welcomed us from the Kitchen and we were spoiled rotten with the best Italian food of all time. Every time we return, the staff remembers our name, Mossimo makes us a delicious dinner and we leave fat and happy. I can't think of a meal I'd rather spoil my parents with to celebrate their anniversary. 
(and I can't wait to get my hands on that damn bread!) 

I've been frantically whipping the house into shape so that everyone has a place to sleep that doesn't require hurdling over boxes and shuffling past randomly stashed sofas....aaaaand, I may have one bedroom that is completely shut off to prying eyes because what I couldn't find a home for or didn't have time to unpack has been shoved in there! 
Just call me the Hostess of the Year! 

Have a fab weekend, ya'll!



No Sew Curtains

Ya'll I can.not.believe. that I made curtains. I am definitely not what one might call crafty - I'm sure you caught that when I declared my love for spray paint because it's so effing easy. Spray Paint is about as crafty as things can typically get without me injuring myself. I would like to say, before we get started, that these No Sew Curtains are maybe a step above spray painting but with a major chance of injury - consider yourself warned.

So, in our Master we have a very oddly placed window on the wall that now houses our king sized bed. Centering the bed made the window issue even more obvious and it was just bugging me. I saw on Pinterest somewhere that the best way to make a weirdly sized or placed window look less jail like is to hang curtains around it like it's a normally sized and placed window. That sounded reasonable, except if I do that on our bed wall, I will have one beautifully curtained window on the left and blank wall on the right 2/3rds of the room. 
Did ya'll catch all that? 
Basically, I'm saying the window looks rogue and putting pretty curtains around that will just be putting lipstick on a pig.

In the name of over compensating, I decided that perhaps I might Zsa Zsa the place up a bit and whip up a statement wall of fabulous fabric curtain panels. Justin thinks our bedroom is getting to be a little too much, if you will, (like Kris Kardashian Jenner herself designed it), but I'm still totally in to it. 

I started by reading this post by a design blog that I love, Dwellings by Devore. I wanted long, floor to ceiling curtains so I used the dimensions of the Ritva Curtains from Ikea. While I was perusing the Ikea website for the Ritva Curtains, I stumbled upon this fabric: 

After a bit more Pinteresting, I decided that I could buy a gazillion yards of Tradklover and make curtains for a fraction of the price of buying them. 
I used the dimensions of the Ritva Curtains, estimated how many panels it would take to do our room and forged ahead.

Here's what I used:

1. Yards and Yards of fabric - I hesitate to give you real dimensions because I suck at that. I went with the 119' of the Ritva Curtain for my length measurement and the natural width of the fabric (roughly 60") per panel. After testing my first panel on my widow and the rod I was planning to use, I downsized the length of raw material to 98".

2. Heat and Bond for no sew projects - can be found at any craft store or Wal Mart for roughly 3 bucks for the biggest roll. I ended up needed 6 rolls/packs, but again, you may need less for less panels.

3. A hot iron

4. Tiny straight pins (purchase: any craft/fabric store/Wal Mart for a few bucks)

5. Some sort of measuring device 

6. Sharp scissors

7. Not pictured: a pencil

Step 1

Measure out the length of your fabric
Disclaimer: I made sure to give myself many inches of mistake room on the first go 'round.
(I kept the bolt folded in half to cut the length)

Step 2

Head over to your work space with your freshly cut panel. Open it all up and choose which side you'd like to work on first. On my fabric, it was necessary to "hem" all 4 edges to make sure it looked at least a little classy. I always started with the top because I'm OCD. And how did I determine what was the top? I just picked the end that had the black dots closest to the edge. Rocket Science!

Step 3

Determine how much of a hem you'd like 
For my top and bottom, I chose 2 inches
For my edges I chose 4 because of the Ikea marketing printed down the side. 
The thicker the hem, the easier it is to navigate through the next steps, but remember you are losing width and/or length on your panel. 

Measure and mark with a pencil.

Step 4

Use a super scientific method to mark your hem line down the length of your fabric.

Ha! Looks so crooked!
I should probably go ahead and state that for me, for this project, exact measurements didn't really affect the end result. I knew the panels would be long and puddle on the floor so the exact length to the inch could have some wiggle room. If you want your panels to gracefully graze the floor just so, then you'll need to figure out a more precise method than the one I'm working with. 

Step 5

Fold down the raw edge of your fabric to meet the pencil line.

Pin to hold hem in place

Top Of Panel

Side of Panel
Step 6

Bust out your Heat and Bond Tape
Cut a strip of Tape and lay it paper side up on your seam. 

Make sure the strip covers both sides of the seam so that it will bond the hem together. 

Step 7

Place the hot iron over a small section of the tape.
Hold for 5 seconds

Step 8

Pull the pins out as you are letting your iron heat the bonding tape. After the pin is gonzo, make sure to run the iron over the edge of the hem to make a sharp edge. 

Be careful not to hit those cute little colored balls directly with the iron. They will melt eeeeverywhere. 
Step 9

After you heat up the strip, ensure that the edges are all pressed down and sealed. I would run the plastic scissor handle over the edge while it was still hot to ensure it was good to go. 

Step 10

Complete the entire side that you are working so that you have a crisp hem running the length of the panel.

Step 11

When you complete your side, return to the end where it all began - it's time to pull off that paper backing!

(returning to the beginning ensures that the tape has cooled and sealed)

As you peel off the paper backing, make sure that the tape has covered all of the areas necessary and is bonding all the good stuff together. If a spot looks a little rogue, just cut an appropriate sized piece of tape and heat it over the area needed. No biggie.

Repeat the process for each side of the panel and TA DA! 

Ok, here's the other trick:
 I'm sure someone craftier than me could make a hem on the top big enough to slide a curtain rod through. My MIL could make these with grommets and ruffles and bows in her sleep with a real sewing machine. But I was going for easy. So here's how to make this whole thing the easiest of all:

Curtain Clips!

I bought a pack of large ones to go on the rod that we inherited in our Master for a few bucks.

For the Statement Wall, I went with Dignitet system from Ikea, which also uses curtain clips.

Sneak Peak of the Final Product
(totally un-styled, with bad lighting)

Note how long they are - I actually like that, and if you are going to pull them to the side and tie them, you'll need that length. If you aren't into it, then measure accordingly!

This fabric is super dramatic and I love it (so would Kris Jenner, I'm sure!) and I can't wait to get it all put together and properly photo-documented!



Style Files: Summer Wedding Ensembles

Mornin' Ya'll! Next weekend we're headed down South to celebrate the marriage of dear friends of ours. My Husband is a Groomsman and we're excited to get to see mostly all of his wedding party and our Tailgate Crew for the first time since our Wedding in May. 

But what's a girl to wear?

I love, love, love to dress up (our Wedding was Black Tie) and I really feel like there are too few chances to get Fancy, so I clearly jump on them when I can.

The requested attire is Black Tie Preferred, the Husband will be in a tux (my fave look of his) and we will be in Atlanta in August.

Uh, Hot would be an understatement.

Summer is the perfect time to pull out a long dress in a statement print, an open back or a neon high - low hem...so many fun style choices! So, obv I'm just having the hardest time making a decision.

I love to use Rent the Runway for big events. I actually hate repeating a dress (that sounds terrible, but it's true) and thanks to Instagram, Facebook and every other Social Media App, repeating outfits is super obvious. Have ya'll used RTR? I have been very pleased with the ease and quality...Justin doesn't quite get it...he thinks every dress should be $20 to rent (and one could spend hundred to rent...that's not my method, but it's def possible) but this shiz works for me! Plus once you factor in the cost of dry cleaning, alterations if you need them and shipping if you buy online, the rental savings really add up. Aaaaand, I'm a Snobby B who likes pretty things, designer tags and has a Husband who makes her follow a Family Budget (Buzzkill).
So, yeah, renting is legit!

Want to try RTR?
This is not a sponsored post, I really do love and use RTR, but I will get a referral credit if you sign up. 

What do ya'll think??
I chose dresses from RTR and accessories that I have in my closet 

Option 1: Candy Colored Shoshanna High Low Hem

Summer Wedding Guest 1

Option 2: Iridescent Yumi Kim with Vintage Clutch

Wedding Guest 2

Option 3: Tribal Tibi Open Back

wedding guest 3

I'm leaning toward Option 1...but we'll have to see how that bad boy fits! 



Weekend Round Up

Morning Ya'll! I am nestled into my fave corner chair at the Bangor Starbucks ready to update ya'll on the super busy and productive weekend we had (but damn, can a girl get some internet in her own house? I mean come on! Husband? Are you out there??).

First, let me say Welcome, Ya'll! to all of those who have popped over from Jenni's blog..I'm thrilled to have ya'll and hope that you make yourself comfy stay a while.
(That was a lot of ya'lls, even for me.)

So, I bet ya'll (ha! another one) are wondering how my Lady Date went, right??
Well, it was Heavenly (over the top, but true.). So many of you commented that you completely understood where I'm coming from and didn't think I was a complete basket case....we can all agree that I'm a bit off my rocker but I haven't quite bought the whole farm (yet)...but it is so amazing to have feedback other than the look on my Husband's face when I say something like "I'm going on a Lady Date!"...so thanks for being there ya'll! 

Lady Date:
Ok, so Lady Date recap: I met M at 11 Central (I was late, which I HATE, but I can't seem to get the hang of all of the one way roads around here...and I have successfully navigated major cities on my own...but Bangor gets me all turned around) and we proceeded to have glasses of wine that turned into dinner and then the next thing I knew, 3 hours had passed. The staff was literally cleaning up around us and eating their own dinners...just like a real first date (in the movies)! 
We have so, so much in common and even have similar dynamics in our relationship with our Husband/FiancĂ©. Oh yeah! She's currently engaged! I was happy to tell her that if she needed some Bad Bride Time, then I was her girl! 
I actually had a light bulb moment at dinner...maybe I should start a consulting business walking Brides through the process so they don't have to feel like a Bad Bride! M might just be my first client :-) 
I am so beyond grateful to have found another non-skiing, wine guzzling, judgy B to hang out with. 
There are literally no words.

Weekend Workout Fail:
Ya'll, this is a real story. I found a work out class that seems similar to Pure Barre, which I loved in Greenville. I found the studio online, called the instructor for info, liked the Facebook page, signed up for a 10:30am class on Saturday morning, got up, found work out clothes (that may be the most impressive part of all), left the house on time and then drove in circle for 30 minutes trying to find the studio. Literally, with GPS I couldn't find this place. I don't need much to deter me from working out and circling downtown did not inspire me to get my fitness on. I never found it, went home and made Justin take me to lunch. True Story. 

DIY Diva:
 This weekend I had some help from Justin around the house. I'm having a tough time navigating this little moving experience in our relationship. I know he's working all day - trust me- I get that, but I'm also working trying to unpack an entire house on my own. It's really tedious, lonely and draining. Sometimes, I just need his help when he gets home to do things that I literally can't...like hang the plasma TV's or hang a really big framed piece in our horse hair plaster walls. It really, really bums him out to have to help me when he gets home from work - and he doesn't keep that a secret - and the fact that he's bummed out bums me out. It's a vicious cycle. 

But, I digress. My Husband was super helpful this weekend and we got tons of 2 people projects done around the house.
Hang all of the TV'S on the wall mounts: check
Get our Master BR in livable shape: check
Make sure no one will die on a trip hazard in the front hall: check
Pull everything out of the shed and determine if it is really shed worthy: check (and most of it was not)
Bicker about pretty much all of it: check! 

I managed to get a few of the DIY Projects checked off of my list. 
Behold, our new Master Bedroom lamps, found at a thrift shop for $5 each:

As ya'll know, I'm going for a black and white color scheme with pops of gold, so even though these pups are brass, they just weren't quite right. I hit them with a few coats of my fave spray paint (I effing looove spray paint -so easy!) and they were perfect! 

The Good Stuff!
Subtle difference: the one on the right with a coat of paint, the left is au natural
The black shades were from Target and frankly cost more than the lamps and spray paint put together. 

iPhone photo fail
And next up, the Horns get Fancy!

Blogger Fail: forgot to get a before photo until after I started taping...ooops.
You may remember that these babies were found at the Jockey Lot in South Carolina....and what is a Jockey Lot you ask? Weeeeeell, its a giant, semi permanent yard sale where one can buy anything from a puppy (!!) to a grapefruit. It is, hands down, the BEST people watching in the state. Justin and I would go for the free people watching entertainment (and the food, because lets be real, I do most things for the food). 

Anyways, I wanted to jazz them up for our new Master, so they got a little love from the gold spray paint. I only wanted the tips of the horns to be gold, and I tend to rush and mess things up, so I went ahead and taped the horns all over. 

If you are more patient that me (so, anyone) you prob could get away with just taping off the areas you want to paint so you'll end up with a sharp line. 

Do ya'll see my mistake? Yeah, make sure the edges of the tape are pressed down hard or you won't get a straight line...and you'll have to do those areas again...see below.

Ta Da! 

And we're done! Super easy and fast! Both projects took maybe 5 minutes each...finding the lamps was for sure the hardest part. And, no one was injured in the process (even me)! 
Look out for both of these projects when I reveal our new Master.
And, after this post, I promise to go find my camera and start using it again. Seriously, that is some shoddy photojournalism right there.

I have a very exciting week coming up - my parents are coming to visit on Friday!! I literally can.not.wait. I'll tell you more about our plans soon, but for now, have a fabulous Monday! 



Lady Date

Ya'll, I have really, really big news (waaaaait for iiiiiiiiit): I have a Lady Date on Friday!
 I hesitate to call it a Girls Night, because there will just be two of us...and we met the first time at a bar, randomly, and hit it off so well that we exchanged emails and numbers on bar coasters....so, I kinda feel like it's our first official date! I can't express in words how excited I am to have a potential girl friend here in Maine (if you were here with me, you could see me jumping up and down and waving my arms around, and then you might get the picture). 

It would be safe to say that I had a slow start in the Friend Department when I moved from Charlotte to Greenville two years ago (yes, I have moved twice in two years for Justin...no comment). 
I not only moved into Justin's home,  but to his home town since he was a college student and into his already well formed and tight circle of friends. 
I miiiiight have been dealing with a twinge of bitterness at leaving behind my super fun, big city, cocktailing life in Charlotte and that bitterness wasn't alleviated by a luke-warm welcome into my then boyfriend's social scene. It's all (mostly) water under the bridge now, and I am lucky to have made a very dear friend from that group (who doesn't read this blog because she is sooooo busy and important, xo), Junior League friends and of course, when I began working again I made another dear friend that I am lucky to have had lunch with every single day for 16 months straight (she does read the blog, and has from day 1, and I love her for it). 
But, needless to say, that experience left me gun shy and very, very nervous to pick up and move again so quickly. I adore my Husband and Mark, the sweetest roommate ever, but honestly, a girl needs another girl to talk Spanx, leggings and Bravo with. 

So, that brings me back to tomorrow night and my extreme excitement to potentially have a real friend of my own here in the Great White Northerness of Nowhere (oh, I just came up with that...catchy!).
We're hitting up one of the two trendy spots here in Bangor for wine, apps and lots of conversation.
As far as the convo goes, I have been practicing not coming on too strong, but I have so many questions! For example, is asking "So, whose your gyno?" too much on a First Lady Date? Or how 'bout, "Where might I find a legitimate waxer in our charming town?"...too much? Just right? Maybe I ought to open with "Do you like your dentist?" and see where we end up. 
What should I wear? Right now, I am in Starbucks sans undies as I couldn't locate a box labeled "Clean Panties" anywhere in our house....yep, we're being super honest today...so an outfit will be interesting to locate/put together. 

But no matter what, undies or no undies, I plan to count my glasses of wine so that I have just enough to be charming and funny but not so many that I am inappropriate and scare her away forever. 

No promises on how many apps I'll eat, though. She'll have to get used to my Pac-Man style of eating if she's going to stick around. 

Wish me luck! 

Style Files: Game Day

Game Day

Ok, I won't lie, yesterday was the worst.day.ever. 
Nothing fits into our new house seeing as it was built before the beginning of time. 
A tiny ray of light showed up in the hands of our mail man just when I needed a Beacon Of Hope...my Game Day Dress! 

For those of you who are not Southern born and bred, let me explain that College Football is veeeery important in the South. It took us approximately 2 seconds to realize that people in Maine follow roughly zero College Teams and favor pro sports instead. Anyways, we have season tickets to Clemson Football and still plan to make the journey South for 4 games this Season. (Bye bye bank account). 

In the South we wear  dresses to football games - every activity is a fashion show! And honestly, it's hotter than Hell out there and a dress breathes better than shorts and a tee.

My Game Day Dress for the Clemson Season Opener against the University of Georgia 'Dawgs is a precious pinkish purple and orange shift dress by Joy Joy. And P.S. ya'll, it was a 
steal at less than $100! I always pack flip flops for the walk to the stadium and my Ray-Bans are a must to see the ball. 

The movers are still working diligently today and I'm trying my very best to be tolerant and not cry. But no promises. 



Master Bedroom Design Board

Master Bedroom Inspiration
It's a big day today, ya'll! The movers are arriving in Maine with all of our worldly possessions! I can't express to you how thrilled I am at the thought of not only sleeping in a real bed, but OUR bed...those air mattress are loud as eff. Every time Justin rolls over in the middle of the night, I wake up...and that kid literally thrashes in his sleep. Not. Pleasant. 

Now that we are in the home stretch of the World's Longest and Most Dramatic Move, I am gearing up to get this place Fancy, and fast! Our Master Bedroom is the most important room in the house to me - I like to hide here when I'm stressed, so I need it whipped into shape pronto, seeing as I'm typically stressed at least once a day. The rest of our guest rooms will look basically the same as they did in the Old House, same furniture/bedding/vibe, just a new house. 
But the Master is getting a Makeover, baby!

In our old house, the Master color palette was yellow and grey with Justin's very large, very bachelor like, dark brown/black furniture. I painted the walls a soft grey and snuck in girly touches when he was out of town and couldn't stop me.  It worked, but I'm excited for the excuse to change things up. We will use the same furniture but I'm going to soften all of the darkness with pops of gold. I'm running with what worked on my Wedding Day and am using a black and white palette with pops of metallic and texture to warm things up. 

So here's the Grand Plan:

1. Mint: The wall color is a mint green - I searched high and low for the perfect Mint and settled on Ben Moore's Spring Mint. I think it's calming but brightens the space - and livens up the black and white.

2. Texture: I found this little sheepskin gem at Ikea for like $9 and had to have it. In the winter months, the warm and fuzzy texture will be ideal over our hardwood floors.

3. Hammered Gold: I found the best hammered gold drawer pulls at Hobby Lobby...and they were half off! I can't wait to get them on our Ikea Hemnes dresser and end tables.

4. Details: We already have a set of antlers that I rescued from a yard sale (South Carolinians: it was the Jockey Lot, but how on Earth do you explain the Jockey Lot to regular human beings?!). I spray painted them all white and they've hung in our bedroom, over the TV, happily for a few years...I can't wait to give them a face lift for our new room! (and don't worry, they're plastic, no animals were harmed in the making of this bedroom)

5. Pattern: This Ikea Tradklove fabric was the launching point for the room inspiration. I have grand plans to DIY a wall of curtains to hang behind our bed and disguise an awkwardly placed window....cross your fingers that I don't burn the house down or accidentally super glue the dog to floor...

6. Black: That's our so-brown-it's-black, super masculine, Ikea Hemnes dresser...our bed and bedside tables match. I like the clean lines but am ready to fancy them up.

7. Accessorize: Our house was built in 1920 so we have, like, zero lighting options. No overheads, very few plugs, etc. I'm on the hunt for the perfect gold lamps for the bedside tables...I already have the black drums...any suggestions??

8.  White: And last, but definitely not least, we are updating all of our bedding thanks to wedding gifts from our friends and family! I am sticking with the classic all white bed a la Pottery Barn. A heavy black monogram may show up on a pillow or two to tie it all together...but you'll have to check back and see!

Think I can pull it all off??



Moose Hunting

So, my Husband is a Man-Child. 

I say this from a place of love, (and even he can't deny it) he is a 12 year old trapped in an almost 30 year old body. And why would I begin a Monday morning by calling out my beloved? Because this weekend we went on a 6 hour off-roading adventure in the hopes of spotting a Moose.

From the SECOND we found out we were even maybe moving to Maine, Justin has wanted/needed/been obsessed with seeing a Moose (Moose should be capitalized, for sure). He has told every single person we meet in Maine that he wants to see (and/or hunt) a Moose. These innocent bystanders kindly discuss all things Moose with him....but you can tell they think he's a little nutty. 

And then Mark moved in. 

Now I have two Man-Children to contend with. They fan each other's Moose flames and the next thing you know, the three of us have loaded up the dog, our Bean Boots, a monogrammed pink ikat print cooler full of snacks and piled into my SUV. 

Our painter Norman is a true Mainer, born and bred here in Northern Maine, and he suggested that we head out to a very remote part of a nature preserve to an untamed area called Deer Lake. His directions went a little something like this:

Take the 2nd wooden bridge
(or maybe it's the 3rd...)
Look for a sign on a tree that could be either on the right or the left
Turn right onto the dirt road - it's a well maintained dirt road - so don't turn on a rough one
Drive for many miles...
(good luck)

He did kindly warn us to make sure we had a full tank of gas before we left (or we'd be screwed).

Ya'll, we would be fools to call this an "adventure"....more like "survival skills training 101"
We saw ONE other car in a span of 4 hours of off-roading (and 4 ATVs).

Maybe a visual will help:

Please note the "well maintained" dirt road

At some point I realized that not only were we miles from a AAA Emergency Vehicle, but we were so far off the grid that we didn't even have the cell service to call AAA if we needed them. Justin and Mark were thrilled to be so far out in No Man's Land. I was secretly a nervous wreck....especially as we went from dirt road to loose gravel to straight up rocks and boulders in the road-like area. 
(Justin was literally evil laughing as we bounced over boulder roads and Mark was in the back yelling "WOOOO!" every time we cannon balled through a puddle...boys are idiots.)

Despite my secret anxiety, I had to keep it together because obviously this was no place for girly nerves!
We were on a Moose Mission.
(I had clearly lost the boys to their Nature Buzz...reason, safety and sanity went out the window somewhere between the first bridge made of packing crates and the loss of cell service.)

 Every time we passed a low lying area with water Justin would slam on the brakes and then creep slowly through in case a Moose was grazing near by (do Moose graze? I have no idea, that just sounded good). I secretly thought it was really funny that he insisted to creep so slowly and quietly...as if the potential Moose might not notice a bright, baby blue SUV slowly rolling past their watering hole.

Moose-less foliage
At some point, Mark was kind enough to point out that he had found our relative location on Satellite and we were so far away from any type of main road that he couldn't even see one on the map. The boys high-fived, giddy with their Nature Buzz...I cried silently to myself. 

Believe it or not, and against all odds, we made our way to Deer Lake... and it was absolutely beautiful. Even to a non-nature loving, bug hating, girly girl, it was obvious that we had hit the Nature Jack Pot. Deer Lake is the clearest lake I have ever laid eyes on. The pics don't do it justice because it just looks brown...what you can't see is the crushed rock bottom is brown and you are seeing straight down through the clear water. Mark immediate jumped in, fully clothed. (Man-Child) I wish I had pictures of his face when he realized that he didn't have any clothes to ride home in...

No filter, no effects...

We may have the only Lab mix on Earth who doesn't like to swim...despite Justin tossing her in a few times...Macie hated us/Deer Lake. She refused pics, she's such a diva.

Sadly, despite our best efforts to flush them out, there were no Moose at Deer Lake. 

The boys had not lost hope - after we had our fill of Deer Lake, we attempted to get back to a real road a different way than we took into Nature Land in the hopes of finding Moosey areas. 

We were treated to some of Maine's finest landscape

No filter...can you spot the Eagle's Nest? Dad, I know you are so proud of me right now.
But, sadly, no Moose.

As it often happens, the Adventure turned out to be in the getting there...not in the Moose sightings...and that is really the saddest of all for me, because the Moose Hunt is still on. Every clump of trees we drive by, every drainage pond, every stump shaped like an animal will continue to result in Justin throwing a U Turn or a straight up reverse (Gone In Sixty Seconds Style, except in my Mercury Mariner, so not nearly as cool) to get back to the potential Moose Lands.

Don't worry, the second we spot one, ya'll will be the first to know. Aren't you just thrilled?! 
Yeah, me too.