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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Put the Camera Down! (lessons from a 2 year old)



If you couldn't already tell from my Instagram feed -- I take lots of pictures. Pictures of nothing, really. I like to think I see the beauty in the mundane, but really I just like playing with filters & editing things & sharing pieces of my life. I see Apps like Instagram as my visual diary of daily life.

Maybe one day I'll look back & ohh and ahh over all the random little things. Or maybe I'll laugh at myself. Either way, it's something I enjoy doing now.

But occasionally, I'm reminded that sometimes it's good to put the phone/camera down & just enjoy where I'm at, and who I'm with. And this weekend, that reminder came in the form of my little blonde-headed nephew Danzig.



We had wandered down to Guadalupe River from my Grandparent's River House, and he wanted to put his feet in. So we were putting our feet in, practicing standing up on the top step in the river (because he is after all 2 and can't quite swim yet in a flowing body of water.) --- and I was having a field day taking pictures.

How could I not? He was so happy in the water, the background was perfect & I have an inordinate love of photographing this little guy.  But then he looked up at me and said, "Put the phone in the water!" ... To which I of course replied, No, that'll break it. But Danzig just insisted again, "Put the phone in the water!" .... as if wanting me to break it.

And then he started splashing me. And not really me, but my phone. He was eying it with disdain. It was a game to him - he laughed and splashed and I jokingly ran away - but it was something more than a game. He wanted me to put that phone down & just spend time playing in the water with him.



So I did.

And you know what? I had just as much fun. I have the memories. And I got to bond with my nephew on his terms.

Finding that balance of taking pictures to just living in the here & now isn't easy when we all literally carry a high-quality camera in our pocket. But it's something I'm trying to find.

****
And speaking of pictures, my good from Valorie of Valorie Clark Photography is giving away wedding photography services for free. For anywhere in the continental US. Go here for details. ♥

win your wedding photographer!

****

Have a Lovely Day!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On Marriage: Moments of Certainty

There are occasional moments when I look around me and realize that beyond a doubt, I made the right choice marrying C. Moments like these are precious. And they stick in my mind like a picture in a collage. I've learned to slow down whenever I find myself experiencing such a moment. Because they don't last forever.

This weekend, when I turned around to see C playing with our 2 month old niece Pepper, I had such a moment. (I also had one the first time I saw him hold our now 2 1/2 year old nephew Danzig in the hospital.) He was so casual with her -- way better with her than I was, in fact! And you could just tell that he was happy pulling on her chunky legs and feeding her a bottle. He was even so kind as to rock her to sleep to allow my mom, sister & I the time to go track down a doughnut for Danzig.

It's something about seeing the future. Seeing a side of him I don't see often. The sweet and tender side. He's going to be - and strives to be - a great dad. We're not ready for kids yet - but I know when they come, I'll have a great partner. And that makes me excited.

But for now, I"ll just take this moment & store it away. ♥

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

my favorite shots of the weekend

It's slow going around these parts. I had such a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, spending time with family, eating & drinking way too much. Sleeping in but being woken up by my nephew yelling DONUTS!!

It was quite lovely. But also exhausting.

Here's a few of my favorite shots of the weekend:







Be back full-swing tomorrow ♥

Friday, May 25, 2012

10 Things, Volume 19

glimpses of my week....


1) I've been out of my house before 7 two days in a row now. Not my favorite thing in the world....

2) But one of those times was to see a building explode.

3) And the other resulted in me getting to eat a Carne Guisada breakfast taco. So not a bad trade off.

4) I've marked TWO really old movies off my To-Do List this week. I saw Wings, the 1928 Best Picture silent film, and You Can't Take it With You, the 1938 film based off of a play. I just love old movies ♥

5) So You Think You Can Dance premiered last night! And I was just reminded one more time how much I despise the auditions. There's really no classy way to keep it entertaining, and while SYTYCD isn't as bad as American Idol, it's still not my favorite part. Luckily it doesn't last long.

6) With that said.... the dancer mom Bree from McKinney, TX, and her two-year-old ballerina daughter totally made me smile/cry. That made the entire episode worth sitting through. {video}

7) We're heading out tomorrow afternoon to go celebrate C's graduation with friends & then spend time with family for Memorial Day.

8) Which means I finally get to see my niece Pepper again!!!! I haven't seen her since her birth. So I'm beyond excited.

9) And I'm totally making this drink recipe from Joanna's blog to sip all day on Sunday. I've never been a Gin girl, so I think this is the perfect opportunity for me to branch out!

10) But before all of those festivities start, I'm starting up Memorial Day weekend the right way and going shopping!! I'm meeting an old friend at the Cypress Outlet Malls tomorrow... and am so ready to find some amazing stuff :)


Hope you had a great week!!
{Have a wonderful weekend}

In case you missed it: just me time || taking the next step with food || be proud & brag

Thursday, May 24, 2012

No. 5: Be Proud and Brag.

This article has been circulating like crazy lately. And for good reason. It gives 15 tips on marriage that are insightful and fresh, even though it's not really anything new. It speaks the truth and I think anyone can learn from it.

I may work my way through each point eventually, but this morning I wanted to focus on #5: Be Proud and Brag.



C just graduated college, and I cannot stop thinking how proud I am of him for sticking to it and getting it done.

When we started college, we were young, in love, and totally lost. But C quickly got his bearings about him and began his quest to become the man that he is today. Through our entire freshman year, he worked his way through the Subway-land and found himself as an 18 year old assistant manager.

He's always been not only a hard worker, but a smart one. Anyone would be lucky to have him on their team.

But he didn't just work hard. He took care of me, drove me around (since I didn't have a car). He entertained my friends (since I was in a dorm and he has a house). He let me do laundry at his place, and watched all night Gilmore Girl marathons with me.

All the while I fell more in love with him.

While our Sophomore year started off rocky, by Christmas, C had a new job, was transferring to Texas A&M the following year, and he was making amazing grades while once again taking care of me while my family was going through some tough times.

He's always been that rock holding me up. That anchor keeping me in a safe and sane place.

And when Junior year came, so did an unexpected engagement.

Little did I know, but C sold plasma for over a year, while working 40 hours a week (while taking classes, while dating me) in order to buy me a ring I'd be proud of for years to come.

And in one of his most romantic gestures ever, he gave me that precious ring when I was least expecting it, because he wanted to sweep me off my feet. I still tear up thinking about how beautiful and promising that day was. And I remember the fear and excitement in his eyes when we decided to not wait until after graduation, but to get married in 5 months.

But he held firm, married me, and took a year off school so that I could finish while he supported us.

When it came time for him to go back to school, he never slowed down. Once again, I found myself blessed with a man willing to work full time, go to school full time and still find time to leave me love notes.

Every day since I met C, I've been impressed with his commitment and love and passion and drive. He is a man of honor. A man of his word. And a man every father should be proud to have his daughter marry.

And this past weekend, his hard worked paid off. He received his diploma. He is a college graduate. He has plans for the future. And I know he'll persist until he gets them done.


C, I love you. I am proud of you. And I am amazed every day by the fact that I am lucky enough to have you by my side. Thank you for everything you do.... Especially the things I'll never know about. Congratulations on graduating. Can't wait to see you continue on.... ♥

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weekly Loving.

Oh what a lovely week I've had! Here's a few of the favorite things I've found on the web...

  • Peppermint Lemon Sticks (from A Subtle Revelry). Definitely bringing this to the family Memorial Day festivities!




  •   Putting my crafting/sewing skills to the test, this DIY workout shirt may be the perfect way to get a little more excited about hitting the gym...



  •  Saying goodbye to Kristen Wiig on SNL this weekend was so sweet! I got so chocked up during the goodbye dance number at the end. {Which you can watch here}

  •  As I'm planning on my move, the desire to garden is overwhelming. Even though I have the most brown thumb ever! But here's a great "easy-to-grow" garden set up. Even I may be brave enough to try it out...

Source: boyslife.org via Amy on Pinterest

  • I'm loving all the pretty pictures my friends are posting on Instagram! It's so cool to follow so many great people & get inspired by their daily activities.

To see what others are loving, head on over to:
The Kind of Love and The Vintage Apple

Have a Lovely Day ♥

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Dear Food, Time to Take the Next Step



    If you've looked at my Instagram feed lately, you may think I have a problem. Nearly every picture posted over the past few days is of food -- glorious, glorious food. And I admit it.

    I do have a problem.

    Food & I have a tumultuous relationship. It's a never-ending cycle of love/hate, indifference/obsession. I've always been infatuated with food. You may even consider me a "foodie." But my love of food came way before I ever heard that term. I just liked good food. Always. And I was blessed to travel enough growing up that I experienced a bunch of different cuisines.

    But I also grew up with a lot of bad in my relationship with food. Mostly overindulgence. Sometimes blandness and indifference. It's why I'm always yo-yo dieting. I've never really found that perfect middle ground. The one where I'm allowed to thoroughly enjoy the art of food. Where food can be more than healthy for you, but where it can actually make you healthy. (Gasp! Concept!)

    And so I'm lost in the big world of culinary possibilities. I read countless books - cook books and food science books and food culture books - and they all teach me something. But at the end of the day, I'm just one passionate girl without anywhere to turn.

    But that's changing.

    I've resolved to settle down with food. We need to develop an adult relationship. No more of this on-again/off-again teenage nonsense. We need to learn to respect each other, and care for each other. We need to value the other, and give each other the necessary space.

    So be prepared.

    What this means for you is an array of meals and recipes and lifestyle changes to come. I want to dive not only into different ways to make food, but different ways to enjoy the entire culture of food.

    Hope you don't mind ♥

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Monday Musings: Just Me



    I spent the entire weekend alone, while C was out of town on business. Its something that's taken effort getting used to. I consider myself an introvert, and staying home is usually our norm, but there's just something about being alone. I am extremely dependent on the people around me.

    But each time I'm left alone, I fare better than the last. And this weekend was no exception.

    Saturday was my day of complete and total relaxation. I watched more episodes of Gossip Girl than I'd care to admit -- and intermittently took naps between episodes. Since, you know, watching TV is such hard work... But by the time I officially went to bed on Saturday night, I was caught up on all my TV, well rested, and ready for the next day.

    Sunday was my day of productivity. I cooked, I organized, I wrote in my journal. I watched the 1927 Academy Award Best Picture Wings [checking one more off the list], all the while stretching a bottle of Prosecco out over the day. I think Mimosas may be my productive juice.

    I also ate really fancy, as my Twitter/Instagram pictures show. (Recipes to come, naturally)

    And like magic, after two days of just me time, my battery is full. I'm so ready for the summer and all the upcoming changes.

    Here's to a great week!

    PS - {Post 100 of the year! Trying to make it good!}

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Long Weekends Are Awesome, Even if They're Only in My Mind



    You know when you get to that point where you just need to rest?

    Well, that's where I'm at.

    I like my mental breaks, and it seems I'm needing them more than usual as of late. But I'm also more OK with taking them too. I'm realizing the benefit in them. So, I'm taking an extra-long internet weekend. Hope you don't mind :)

    But fear not! I'll still be over on Twitter & Instagram. So follow along there.

    {Have a Lovely Weekend}

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Weekly Loving.

    Happy Wednesday! The weather here is so perfect & I'm so ready for a great day ♥

    Here's what I'm loving this week...

    • Orange, Banana & Pineapple smoothies from Val SoCal. Perfect for the summer afternoons coming up!


    • This cute outdoor planter/bar. I'm thinking I may have to try it out at our new place.


    • Getting random pictures from my sister of my nephew Danzig. Spider Man!


    • I love the giant "C" printed & hung by binder clips. So cute, no?


    • This is what I made for dinner Monday night. Spinach-stuffed pork loin with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans. I have to perfect the recipe a bit, but expect it soon ♥



    And that's it for this week.
    To see what others are loving, head on over to

    {Have a Wonderful Day!}

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    What Say You?


    We have fun here right? Like "jump in bouncy castle" type of fun....

    I know I do. Waking up every morning & hitting "publish" is always a little rush of excitement. It's putting just a little piece of me out there for the world to see. I don't share personal stuff here everyday, and every day's posts isn't mind-blowing. But they're my posts. My effort out there for you to read.

    It's scary and awesome. And I over think it way too much.

    But in my over thinking, I'm always searching for ways to make your & my experience here a better place. At the new year, I sought to stop being an "internet DJ" and write about my own experiences. The 5 O'Clock Happy Hour (while one of my favorite things to put together) has long passed. {and if you weren't around for those, I'd post a quick highlight of the day's news at 5 every. single. day.}

    I made tweaks to my weekly schedule (because if I don't have a weekly schedule, I can't produce), and I've been very happy with myself and with what I've hit "publish" on.

    But it's time for a change again. And this time I'm asking you.

    What do you want to see more of around here? Fashion. Photos of my life. Marriage posts. Food & Recipes. Goal-Setting. Movie/TV Reviews. Tech/App Tutorials.

    Tell me by voting in the poll on the side.-->

    Your opinion matters more to me than you realize. I'm here to write because I love to write, but I'm also here to entertain. So this is where the two meet ♥

    Have other ideas? Leave in the comments!

    {Happy Tuesday!}

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    From Juneau to Houston.


    When your weekend starts with sushi on a Friday afternoon, you know you're in for a really good time. And that's where mine started. Sushi then Houston. That's how we do it down here. I added in a little Alaskan Wheat beer too. So now I can say I've had a beer from Juneau, Alaska. (And that I know how to spell Juneau.)

    We went to Houston to see one of our favorite bands, Thrice, on their farewell tour. It was sort of sad. But before the sad, it was really fun. Almost too much fun. Like have bruises on my feet because I was stepped on so much, and my glasses are too loose now because a crowd surfer kicked them off & I had to catch them in mid-air, kind of fun.

    And that was all on Friday.

    Luckily, Saturday & Sunday were really low-key. In short: tacos, 4 hours of bocce ball, 4 hours of pool, loud music, a whiskey-tasting show down, cheese fries, wings, picture bombing, slight sunburning, and not enough water. And a breakfast pizza Sunday night was the cherry on top.

    So now it's back to normal week-day routines. And I like that.

    Happy Monday ♥

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    10 Things, Volume 18



    1. I love summer. Every day we're closer to it, I can feel myself getting a little happier.

    2. My youngest sibling Clark is graduating from high school next week. I have no idea where the time went! But I couldn't be happier for him.

    3. And my dad is living in Wyoming for the next few months. This is the view from his apartment. I definitely want to visit!

    4. It's been raining on & off this entire week, and I love it!

    5. After yesterday's post I'm feeling so ready to simplify my life & get rid of things! I'm slowly pulling out old clothes that have fallen apart. Books are next. Though that'll be harder.

    my week: coffee dates with myself, cheesy smile, iPad reading & walks in the rain ♥

    6. Last night we went to see This American Life Live! It was awesome.... Love me some Ira Glass ♥ The show was full of amazing performers and performances, from dance to musicians to multi-media story tellers. Mike Birbiglia even produced short film for the show! {Watch here}

    7. And tonight we're heading out with friends to go see Thrice play their last show in Texas for the "indefinite" future. It's so bittersweet to see them one last time. Hopefully it's not the last time...

    8. I've been experimenting with Google AdWords at work, and it's so fun to play around with things. It's definitely a learning experience. Hopefully I'll get good at it.

    9. As I'm watching all the old Academy Awards Best Pictures, I'm falling in love with Robert DeNiro and Diane Keaton. They are amazing. (The last two I've watched were The Godfather, Part II & Deerhunter, so they're on my mind.)

    10. I'm making my breakfast pizza this weekend and have seriously been dreaming about it all week. This may be the best thing I've ever made.

    Have a Lovely Weekend!

    {While I'm not here, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram}

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Project: Declutter 2012

    My April goals did not go well. I basically messed every single one of them up. It was quite depressing. But then I realized it wasn't me failing so much as me setting myself up for failure before the month even began.

    I did successfully complete the April Photo a Day Challenge.


    Falling this short of my goals caused me to put off my May goal setting, because I was too preoccupied with my failures to focus on anything else. It took me taking a sick day and sitting on my butt all weekend before I finally mustered up the guts to stand up again and move onward.

    After some really great heart-to-hearts with C, I have decided that my life needs simplification. I am failing at my goals because I've made everything complicated. So I'm mapping out a route to uncomplicate my life.

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 


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    {Step 1} Follow less blogs.
    Following 200+ blogs is exhausting. There's no way I could ever keep up with that many lives & fully enjoy it. So I've cut back to my top 20(ish) favorites. I want to interact more & make my blog-reading time more meaningful. Quality over quantity.

    {Step 2} Follow less media.
    I unfollowed every celebrity news source on Twitter & am working through on Facebook & Instagram. Cutting a little bit of gossip out of my life is something I've never had the guts to do. It's time.

    {Step 3} After 5, put it down.
    To better appreciate my weekends & evenings, I'm putting technology down. (though let's be honest... not completely. just more). I want to focus on gym time, journaling time, and face-to-face time with C. Living life instead of just "writing" about it.

    {Step 4} Start throwing things away.
    We're moving & my favorite part of moving is getting rid of stuff. Project: Declutter 2012 is starting soon. And boy is it going to feel good! We've been at our current place for 3 years. So if it's still boxed up & hasn't been used, it's gone.

    {Step 5} Focus on things that relax me.
    I went to get my first pedicure of the year last week and oh my goodness it felt amazing. It's so nice being pampered. And on my sick day, I let myself sit & relax in front of the TV all day - and it was definitely a cure all. Writing in my journal is definitely a stress-reliever too. I'm thinking, if these are the things that make me feel better, why not do them more?

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 


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    It's not a perfect plan, but it's a plan. I'm sure there's better ways at decluttering and destressing my life, and I'd love to hear some suggestions if you have them! But what I do know is that I cannot keep going at the pace I am, because I'm running in place. It's time for me to simplify and cut back...

    Happy May ♥

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Weekly Loving...

    Things I'm loving this week....

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

    Chocolate Cake in a Mug



    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

    Monogrammed Glass Coffee Cups

    Source: etsy.com via Amy on Pinterest


    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

    Sweet Potato Burger



    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

    Wearing Pretty Things in my Hair

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    I'm loving Neutral Milk Hotel right now.
    In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel on Grooveshark

    To see what others are loving, go to

    {Happy Wednesday!} 

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    My weekend, in pictures.


    It was a lazy weekend for us. Full of too much TV, sitting on the couch way too long & even some junk food sneaked its way in. It was the no nonsense, low-key weekend that I needed. We have some really busy weeks coming up... so we're keeping it simple around here for a while.

    Have a lovely Monday ♥

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    10 Things, Volume 17


    1) April flew by, didn't it? I looked up & realized the Photo a Day Challenge was on "Day 30" and seriously had to do a double take.

    2) But then I realized that May 1 meant we're so close to summer! I don't know about you, but summer is just better. Even though, now that I'm out of school, nothing's really different. It just feels more fun.

    3) And with the month turning over to May, I realized my niece Pepper is already a month old! I'm afraid to go home to see her, because I know I'm going to be completely shocked at how quickly she's already growing ♥

    4) We signed a lease on a new place this week! So I'm slowly saying goodbye to my current place... and I'm about to start a new Pinterest board for cheap & easy decorating ideas! (can you tell I'm excited?!?!?!!!)

    5) I opened up Tumblr for the first time in a while yesterday, and discovered one of my pictures had been reblogged & commented on... and then I noticed one of the comments was "I think I saw the person take that".... so, hello random person. Say hi next time :)

    My sick day... writing, watching TV, eating soup & looking at pretty pictures ♥

    6) C made me a Barley and Leg of Lamb Split Pea stew that was absolutely amazing. So perfect for a sick day (I may even get him to share the recipe!)

    7) Yesterday I stayed home sick and caught up on all my TV shows. It was definitely much needed rest. I'm still not 100%, but the weekend is here. So I'll use that as more recovery time.

    8) My dad is moving to Wyoming for the summer to manage a golf course. Which is as weird to read as it is to type. Hoping to get up there at least once to visit.

    9) My copy of Amy Atlas' Sweet Designs came in the mail yesterday. I'm so excited to read it this weekend ♥

    10) This weekend is all about relaxing, because the next few after that are going to be eventful! I love having plans, but I definitely have to make sure to sufficiently rest before and after. Getting old I guess.....

    {Have an Awesome Weekend!}

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Our Newlywed Pad.

    Well, it's official: WE'RE MOVING!

    On July 20 we'll be starting the move out of our "newlywed" apartment & into a duplex with a little more room, a yard, and (most importantly) an opportunity to decorate a new place!! But of course, as things usually go, I started thinking about all the memories in this place. We spent our first 3 years in this little apartment. And a part of me is sad to see it go.

    And so I did what any person would do: I took pictures so I could always remember...


    The room we spend the most time in is our "lounge". The lounge houses our TV, our main couch, C's aquarium. It's our "hobby room", with concert posters framed & on the wall. Framed lyrics of our favorite songs, and signed album covers are all over. A collage I've been working on for over a decade is always there to make me smile. We eat most of our meals in here, and it serves as a great second bedroom when needed.

    (We have our TV in the second bedroom instead of the main room so that no one has to come home to the back of the other's head, which was something we were both very passionate about. It also gives us the option to close off the TV when we want.)


    Our dining area has always been a work in progress. My friend Sarah Joy painted those lovely swirls for me almost 6 years ago, and they have always been the focal point of anywhere I've lived. They inspire me daily & make any space feel like "home." We took the leaf out of our table about a year ago, and felt like idiots when it freed up so much space & we hadn't thought of it before!

    And then I added my bar cart a few months back. It isn't at all how I want it decorated yet... but it's a fun goal to aspire to, right? C mostly gets irritated with it & will push it out of the room when it's "in the way". Oh, boys.


    Our dining room & living room are actually just one gigantic room... the living room is just set apart by our big red frame wall. The bottom picture is actually what you'd see if you walked into our apartment. We're bold people, what can we say? The frame wall carried over from C's bachelor years. It's a never-ending project, and displays so many of our favorite memories. It's the thing I'm most excited about re-creating in the new place!


    Our kitchen is small, but I've created some wonderful things in it. My old dorm microwave peaked back up out of storage when we moved here, and my cherished Kitchen Aid mixer was the first thing to be prominently displayed when we moved in. As our glassware collection grew, our storage space diminished. And so a glassware display hanger was installed. I kinda love it. ♥


    And the bathroom. A surprisingly big area, where the toilet/shower have a door which separates them from the vanity area. This is what I'll miss the most when we move. My red makeup organizer (DIY here) has been so handy! And, like most of the rooms in our house, a friend's original art is displayed.

    Our bedroom is the only room I didn't take a picture of, because it's the only room we never "finished". We literally have stacked chairs in one corner, an extra table in another, and a book case holding about twice as many books as it should hold in another. One of my goals for the next place is to create a relaxing bedroom for C & I. ♥

    {One thing to note is that everything in our house is a garage sale find, or childhood furniture, or given to us by someone. It was a feat trying to make all these odds & ends fit together, but I've been very satisfied with the results.}

    And that's my home tour. It'll never look the same again, because over the next few months it'll be covered in cardboard boxes. I can't wait!!!

    {Have a Lovely Day}