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12.31.2010

Sew....I Think I'll Start a New Hobby....

I feel like a real wife now.  I have a sewing machine. :)

My mom asked me if I wanted a new purse or wallet for my birthday, but instead I told her that I would really like a sewing machine.  I'm not exactly sure where this strange desire came from, but I have a beautiful new machine and ZERO sewing skills to go with it.  My mother in law also gave me some wonderful sewing accessories for Christmas so now I'm equipped to start some new projects.  I'm thinking I'll get started with some napkins, maybe a table runner or even panel curtains.  I also need to pick the fabric for our headboard so I can finally finish it! 

Does anyone know of any good blogs or resources for patterns and inspiration for a beginner? 

12.30.2010

Tour De Tejas: Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock

To wrap up our Christmas break, B and I took a day trip near Austin to take in some of the sites we've been wanting to explore the past few months.  After a quick stop at Torchy's Tacos for some sustenance, and Summer Moon Coffee for some caffeine, we headed out into the hill country.  So grateful for my company car!
 

The first stop on our list was to Enchanted Rock.  B had been there a while back, but I had not been as of yet.  Mac and Tommy have told us that they loved their excursion there so we thought we would enjoy it as well.  When we lived in Arizona, hiking became one of our favorite activities in the desert.  I've missed big mountains here in Texas, but this was a nice way to get back outdoors.  We took the Loop trail around the outside of the park.  The terrain was beautiful and the peace and quiet was also a treat.  We circled back around and then climbed to the top of the rock.  I was certainly winded after spending over a week layed up on the couch!  It was so windy at the top!  The views of the hill country were beautiful.  Part 1 was a success!

After our hike we headed into Fredericksburg.  Blake had a single mission to have a Fredericksburg Pretzel while we were there.  It was our first stop in town.  I thought it was quite tasty even for a girl that doesn't love pastries and sweets!  We strolled among the shops and popped in a few.  Everything was still decorated for the holidays. There were so many people out and about as well.  Hunger set in and we found some German food at a restaurant we had seen on the Day Tripper show on PBS.  We both enjoyed a cold beer and shared a sausage platter complete with sauerkraut, German potato salad and potato pancakes.  Yum!  Such a cute and quaint town. 

On our way back home we headed to one of the wineries that I've been wanting to experience near Fredericksburg, Becker Vineyards.  We shared a tasting and found a couple wines that we actually thought were tasty.  No surprise that my favorite was the most expensive bottle.  Champagne taste on a beer budget! :)  The setting was beautiful.  I'd love to venture back when things are in bloom, especially the lavender. 

Tired and sore we headed back home after a pit stop off at the new HEB in Dripping Springs. ( My hubby is always such a good sport when I'm grocery shopping!  )  I would definitely recommend our day trip to anyone who is looking for a getaway from Austin.  I can't wait to explore more small surrounding cities in Texas; it actually felt like a mini vacay!

12.29.2010

Our First (Married) Christmas

Blake and I have spent quite a few other Christmases together as a dating couple, but this year was our first time to have our first official married Christmas together! It was a really special holiday season celebrating the birth of Christ. One of my favorite traditions that we experienced this year was Advent at church. It was such a great time reflecting on anticipation and hope of God sending His son to earth in the form of a man. It truly prepared my heart for the season and what it is truly about.


 We have had a tradition during the last couple of years to have a "Holidate" together. This year, my sweet husband, took me to see the Nutcracker after a nice dinner at La Condessa, a restaurant we have been wanting to try. Blake had never been to the Nutcracker before. My favorite post ballet comment was, "Those guys have an easy job; how hard is it to life a 90 pound girl? The hardest thing those guys have to do is wear those tights!" He's a funny one. I enjoyed the show and it certainly got me in the spirit of the holidays. La Condessa was delish! If you go - I highly recommend their ceviche.

We also enjoyed a few holiday parties, including a progressive dinner block party, a white elephant gift exchange with our Gospel Community Group and each had a company party to enjoy. No wonder December flew by! We also had fun decorating our home together. It was fun to combine some of the decorations that we have each been passed down from our families. One of our generous neighbors loaned us their Christmas tree and with some help from my mom we pulled together some decorations for a woodland inspired tree. I'm still enjoying how it turned out and how festive it looks around here. B also did a wonderful job decorating the outside of the house with luminarias and big bulb white lights. Watching Elf while we decorated makes any task more fun!

We headed home to our parents' a few days before Christmas with wrapped presents and several batches of cookies in tow. It was a relaxing few days spent taking walks, prepping for the holiday meals, heading to the movies, playing with cousins and wrapping a few more gifts. Our families bless us in such a big way since they make it so easy on us to get from one house to another during the holidays without missing out on too much.

For Christmas eve we had dinner with my aunt and uncle and Tommy joined our family too. We had fabulous BBQ Shrimp. I hope this becomes our new tradition! Afterwards, the Parrish, Moseley and Erwin families came over for desserts, coffee and Brandy Alexanders. YUM! It was so nice to have everyone together. We made it all the way to 11pm (after a few cups of coffee) for church at KUMC, then headed to bed with Sugar Plums dancing in our heads!

Christmas morning might have been one of my favorite memories of our trip home. Dad woke us up with the traditional Winter Wonderland medley. He handed us each a spoon and we danced around the house. Blake was a bit overwhelmed, but he caught on fast :). We dug into our stockings and had traditional breakfast casserole and Blake's family's Cream Cheese Bread as we unwrapped gifts.

We quickly cleaned up and then headed to the Parrish's. We were excited to not miss Paul and Whit before they had to leave and we all opened our gifts together. It was so sweet of them to wait so I could enjoy watching them open their gifts (that's my favorite part!). Another treat was the fact that the Brown family joined us for Christmas Dinner. I've never had the chance to celebrate with a friend before and it was so great to catch up! We had an incredible meal and spent a relaxing afternoon sitting around the table chatting.

Next we headed to Don and Jill's house for my family's dinner. The kids were going crazy over their new toys and loving playing with their cousins. Too cute. I missed my cousins and it was great to have a chance to chat and hear what's been going on with them. The Parrishes came over (grandparents too!) afterwards to taste test our cookies and watch some football while some of the boys sat by the fire.

We were exhausted by the time 9pm rolled around and headed home to relax and go to bed. It was such a nice day overall. I will cherish our very first Christmas together!

12.28.2010

Weekend in Review: Ashley's Visit

Disclaimer: This post is really old and i've had it saved for a while wiating for some images.... but it was such a great time with Ash that I still wanted to post it!
I'm a little behind, but wanted to catch you up on my weekend adventures and joys....

I had such a great time spending a few days with Ashley. We covered a lot of ground in a few short days, caught up on life and reconnected. It was so sweet to just pick up where we left off. I'm so grateful for her friendship and for the time we got to spend together. She is such a person of depth, substance, wit, intelligence, passion and grace. I'm blessed to know her!

Thursday night Ashley arrived and we headed to Postino for dinner. One of my all time favorite spots in AZ. Over a good beer and some bruchetta we chatted under the misters. We shopped at the waterfront and headed over to Urban. It was a blast to try on a bunch of things together. Solid girly time.

Friday morning I had to go into the office, but Ashley walked into Old Town and enjoyed some time at Sola and other shops along the way. I made it home after picking up my hubs from the airport and we then went to the Biltmore for some pool time. After almost getting kicked out for not actually being guests at the pool, our kind waiter let us stay. We enjoyed a few drinks and some nice weather. Thank goodness for cooler days!

That evening we came back and prepped for Saturday's shower and then got cleaned up ourselves. We headed out into Old Town to meet up with some friends for some Mexican food. It was good to be with friends new and old all at one table. We tried to get into the Vig afterward, but the wait was insanely long - so we all came back to our casa for some vino (the boys chose some alternative beverages) and fun on the patio outside. SO nice to enjoy the last of the evenings where you actually want to be outside.

We got up very early Saturday morning and decided to head to Sedona to show Ashley the beauty of the red rocks and the "Vortex Effect" - just kidding about the vortex. We hiked West Fork Trail just north of the town. It's so beautiful there regardless of when you go. Blake and I did this hike last Winter and the trail was flanked by snow. This time it was a red dirt trail and the creeks were still flowing and the foliage was green and beauitful. It was a great time to chat and continue to catch up for Ash and I. We had lunch by the creek - packed in sandwiches, fruit and granola bars. Yum. It was a quick trip but totally worth it to get out of the heat and into nature. I think we just need that sometimes for our sanity. We stopped at one of my favorite Sedona joints for a Dirty Chai at the Bike & Bean . Blake scouted the merchandise while the rest of us put in our order for some much needed caffine.

Ashley had to return to Texas that night to be up Sunday morning to speak at our home church. I was so sad to see her go, but so thankful I had such great time with her. I'm honored that she would come to visit us during her short trip to the states. So so so thankful for our time together and for her friendship. She is precious to me.

Maybe we will have to make a trip to visit Ash in the Czech so we can do it all again soon!

Will you take me back?

Dear readers,

....or maybe there aren't any at all.....I honestly could be just throwing words out there into a black abyss.  But I've decided that's completely okay.  I think this blog is more for me than for anyone else.  (Well  maybe for my parents who enjoy reading to know the details of what we have been up to).  I have had a couple requests to start writing again - so thanks to those who have encouraged me to get back in gear!

At any rate, if you are out there, will you take me back and forgive me for being gone for so long?  I've once again shown you my lack of commitment to this blog.  I can't believe I haven't written since this summer! 

So much has changed since then and lots of exciting things have happened in our lives.  We are settling into our new marriage (quite nicely if I say so myself).  We've learned so much about each other in the last several months.  Already into month 8, we have managed to weather the storm of a relocation to Austin, Texas, new roles at work and jumping into a new community and new church.  We are loving being back closer to family - just 3 hours away.  We have already spent a couple weekend with each set of parents and cherished not having to get on a plane to travel for the holidays.  God has been so faithful to us in this time.  He's provided wonderful friends here in Austin and a church we are so grateful to be a part of.  We also love our home and exploring new parts of Austin that I never touched as a college student. 

TFTN has a new look for the new year.  I decided I wanted to take it a more simple route.  I'm hoping to still include more pictures as I write in coming months as well.  Would love to know what you think!

Bye for now!

6.28.2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week's plan is again cut short due to my work travel schedule (when is it gonna stop?!). I'm off to Chicago early this week for our annual Region Sales meeting. These meetings never disappoint - just need to get my game face on to be "on" the whole time. If you are in sales, you know exactly what I'm talking about. When I get back, I plan to whip up some yummy meals for my sweetie!


Monday: Cubs game :)


Tuesday: Dinner in the City!


Wednesday: Return home - Grilled Pineapple Turkey Burgers & corn on the cob

Thursday: Date night! Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Friday: Kabobs on the grill!

6.25.2010

Wedding Rewind: Rehearsal Dinner

We hopped in cars from the Wildflower Center and headed over to Mercury Hall. I’ve never seen a downpour quite like the one we were driving in. We literally couldn’t see the car in front of us. It was coming down in sheets, no, more like waves. My handsome beau dropped us off at the front with an umbrella and I headed to the restroom to touch up some curls before greeting all of our friends and family that had come so far to be with us and celebrate us. All of my AZ girlfriends popped into the bathroom with me. It was so good to see them. It made things feel more normal and calm. It was time to celebrate.


My family and friends begin to flood into the beautifully decorated room. The Parrish family did an incredible job setting up the venue and transforming it into something even more beautiful. Mercury Hall was an old Baptist Church that was relocated to South Austin. It had beautiful white wood, and a fabulous lawn. Ruth and company (with the creative assistance of Shannon Jex) created amazing touches to make our Texas Affair come to life. Ruth beaded small mason jars that lined the stained glass windows, Shannon wrote our names in rope on an old wooden fence that welcomed our guests, there were painted boots, personalized with all of our favorites and yummy goodies and beer to snack on before the BBQ was served. It was perfect. They did an incredible job. All the hard work paid off. I can’t believe they put in so many hours of prep for us. So special. Honored.

How cute are all those amazing details that the Parrish family put together?


Family by family – people trickled in, trying to avoid the rain. For most, it was the first time I had seen most of them since they arrived in Texas. It was a sweet blessing to be surrounded by so many loved ones. Some made me tear up when I saw them for the first time, others brought huge smiles to my face. It was a good day. Joy.

Paul and Ruth kicked off the evening welcoming all of our guests from near and far. They laid down some of the “ground rules” of the venue and toasted us. Paul’s sweet words telling me that I am, “As smart and I am beautiful” made me feel loved, welcomed and happy to be a (almost) part of their family. I was taken back by gratefulness. Ruth had a special gift for Blake as well. She had boxed up and wrapped her cut apron strings that she was ready to hand over. She had done the same thing for Paul Jr. when he went off to college. Blake’s came a bit later :). Touched.

Then we ate. It was delish. Texas BBQ is simply the best. And Rudy’s no less. I tried to stomach as many bites of brisket and sausage as I possibly could – but the nerves were brewing in my tummy. I forced a few more bites of beans. Mac said I had done a good job (good enough anyway) and I was allowed to push my plate aside. Butterflies.

We jumped into the pile of gifts we were set to give out to our family and wedding party. It was fun to honor and recognize them. The girls looked perfect in their pretty pearl necklaces and the boys were all set in their sweet sunglasses. They had their party faces on. We had a blast shopping for the flower girls and ring bearer’s gifts. It’s so fun to buy for kiddos. Their huge bag of goodies was hopefully enough to keep them entertained for most of the weekend. They were so cute and gracious. Our sweet friends and family then toasted us. We were humbled by the kind and thoughtful words people communicated to us. Blessed.

There were gifts and toasts and hugs and tears....


And then we danced......


And we danced some more....

Oh boy did we dance!
The square dance callers were hilarious. They got everyone up and out of their seats (my definition of a good party!). The kids loved it. I think the biggest fans were Natalie and Kate Taylor. They never left the dance floor. It was such a fun way to mix and mingle our friends and families together and have everyone celebrate a day before the big day together. Most of the boys congregated on the back patio to smoke some cigars and drink a few beers in their new sunglasses. Grandparents and tired aunts and uncles watched from the peanut gallery that was forming around the dance floor. Sweaty and tired from being in our boots all night the evening came to a close. Content.
I gave my love on last kiss for the evening and he walked me out to make sure I got my beauty sleep for the next day. The next day! The next day! Our wedding day! My parents generously got my sister and I a room to ourselves for the night before. I wanted to badly to stay up with all of our guests and party in my parent's hospitality suite with the best of them. Being a good MOH like she was, Mac gave me 10 minutes and then scooted me off to bed. Cared for.
 
I was getting married tomorrow.
To be continued.....

If you want to catch up you can start by reading about

6.24.2010

Featured on Wedding Chicks!

I'm so excited and simply honored to share our wedding day feature on the Wedding Chicks blog today! It's so fun to see the outcome through photos of all of our planning, prepping, sewing, creating, painting, crafting, adorning for so many months. So many long distance phone calls were filled with the details of our plans. I'm overwhelmed with how they actually did come together into something so beautiful. Despite rain, gloomy skies and an almost-indoor-only plan it all turned out. So much credit goes to the skillful hands of my parents (both mom and dad!). I am also so grateful for (almost) all of our wonderful vendors that brought our vision to life. Another hug goes out to my fabulous girlfriends and family who pitched in when my wedding coordinator was MIA to get it all set up in time. SO. GRATEFUL. Enjoy the feature!

http://www.weddingchicks.com/wedding-chicks/featured-weddings-events/48679/yellow-blue-texas-wedding/

6.21.2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week's effort is to clean out my freezer and refridgerated condiments and spend as little as possible on my groceries, using what I already have in the fridge/pantry. I like a little challenge to spice things up!

Monday: slow cooked pulled chicken (cooked in some salsa/enchilada sauce) with caramelized onions. served with stuffed zuchini (frozen corn and canned black beans)

Tuesday: shrimp and spinach whole wheat pasta with lemon white wine sauce (frozen shirmp and spinach)

Wednesday: goodbye to steve and brett - BBQ shredded chicken in the crock pot!

Thursday: Asain Stir Fry (use the Trader Joe's frozen edemame medley) with ginger root (in fridge) over brown rice with chicken

Friday: Jet setting again!

6.14.2010

Menu Plan Monday

Well friends, this week I won't be cranking out gourmet meals for me and the hubs beacuase once again, I am traveling. Lots of left overs from the shower we threw this weekened are in store for B while I'm away. I promise to have some creative ideas brewing for the next couple weeks!

6.10.2010

Ashley in AZ!

My sweet friend Ashley is coming to visit me this weekend. I couldn't be more excited! Ashley lives in the Czech Republic and is on staff with Young Life there. She has been serving there since we graduated college -faithfully and diligently. She LOVES LOVES LOVES the Lord. Her heart bends toward Jesus and she loves others with passion and grace. Ashley and I have been friends since high school. We are birthday twins too!

Ashley is home for a few weeks to see her brother graduate and be a part of one of her friend's weddings. I am so honored that she would choose to come and spend some time with us in Phoenix. I will cherish the short but sweet time we have together! Here are some fun pics of us through the years....

Ash and I at Thanksgiving at the Brown's our Senior Year of college
Ash visited me in Austin all the way from Mizzou!

This picture is just funny now.....ohhh how things have changed. (This is the night where Blake and I realized we had a little spark that we never knew about!)
I can't wait to spend some quality time together and show her a great time in the Valley of the Sun!

6.09.2010

Bangs...Would You or Wouldn't You?

After growing out my hair since I got engaged at the end of May last year, I'm really wanting a change. My hair was super short last summer - with a cute A line bob. A perfect summer haircut. After a year's worth of growing I am not about to chop it off all over again. I love having a length that I can pull back and try fun things with (waves, curls, straight, braids, twists, etc.) but I think I'm in need of more of a style rather than just and in-between look.

I have adored Zooey's bang for a long time (center top), but I also feel like it's a big committment with such a thick bang that starts so far back on your head. Here are some other celeb bangs that I think are super flattering. I particularly love Reese's. But what doesn't look good on that gal?

To bang or not to bang? (Pretty hilarious innuendos two weeks in a row. I didn't even plan that!) That is the question. What do you think? Yes or No to some summer bangs?

6.08.2010

Wedding Rewind: The Rehearsal

McKenna and I walked back to the hotel on Congress. A few of the bridesmaids continued to call and text and update me on their status of arrival. The butterflies were starting to flutter in my stomach. Again, it was like my tummy knew what was going on but my head was totally not tracking. We headed upstairs to our hospitality suite where the dads had made a giant CostCo run to make sure we had enough food, drink and adult beverages to last us for months (yet we were only going to be there for 3 days)! Not only was the suite beautiful, overlooking the Austin downtown skyline, the suite was full of people. I was a bit overwhelmed. But maybe overwhelmed in a good way. I made my way around the room. I was so excited to see all these faces of the family I love so very much and hug them and catch up. My aunts were helping my mom stuff goodie bags and the dads were organizing the bar (really the bathtub full of multiple varieties of beer and liquor). I then realized I had about 1 hour to get ready for the rehearsal - so I headed off to my room. Hustle.

After I got out of the shower I peeked out the window and saw that it was now pouring down rain outside. My heart sank - thinking about how we were going to pull our outdoor garden wedding off in the rain. Mac helped me pull myself together (no tears) and I continued getting ready to make sure we could leave on time to meet our coordinator and pastor a bit early. Mac did a fabulous job on my make up (she really could quit her job and become a make-up artist if she wanted to) and I put on my new Anthro dress, chunky necklace and wedges. I'm not gonna lie - I felt pretty fab in my new outfit. Even in the Texas humidity and downpour, some how my curly waves turned out. (I think it was the anti-humidity hair spray Mac was packin). My boots were loaded up for dancing later in the evening. I was ready to go. Let's do this.

I walked downstairs to head toward the car and finally got to see B. I hadn't seen him since we left Houston separately. After all the hustle and bustle since we have been in town - just being with him gave me an overwhelming sense of peace. He is the reason all these things were happening. He is the reason I said yes, I would marry him. He is the reason I planned a wedding. Oh how good perspective feels. We all hopped into the car and drove to the Wildflower Center. We were going to our rehearsal?! Really? I could barely believe it! I hopped in the front seat and the girls piled in the back with B at the wheel. I held his hand the whole way there. I didn't want him to leave my side. He really has that calming effect on me. The rain kept pouring...but it wasn't going to rain on our parade. Peace.
We met our coordinator and our pastor along with all of our other bridesmaids, groomsman and ushers under the awnings of the WFC. It was so exciting to hug those girls who I hadn't seen in such a long time since we all live far apart. It was so special to see each person of our wedding party walk up to us. So special that they all made the trip for us. So special that they love us they way they do. So special that they were all there - huddled together out of the rain. Honored.

Heath started our rehearsal by praying for us and for our day. It truly was the perfect way to set the tone for the focus we wanted to have during our ceremony and wedding. It was our hope and our prayer that people would see our relationship with Jesus through the events of our wedding. He lead us through the flow of events and talked us through what each person's role was and what to expect. The actual rehearsal was done in two parts....part one: inside for our back up plan and part two: outside where our Plan A could potentially take place, weather allowing. To be honest, it wasn't super smooth or seamless (mostly because our wedding coordinator turned out to be a total bust)- but I knew that everything would just fall into place the next day. Trying to let go. My flower girls and ring bearer were too cute for words dressed up in their western attire. At least they would be an adorable diversion if everything fell apart! One of my favorite moments was where Liz rehearsed the song she planned to sing during our ceremony the next day. It was such a sweet moment filled with quiet time to connect with Jesus and hearing the voices of everyone I love in one room singing praises to our Father. My mom teared up. I think that was a good thing for her. Release.

Beautiful ladies with their ribbon bouquets all in place to stand by my side....
The boys striking a pose in line...
My adorable husband-to-be. Not sure what he is doing here....but probably something to make me smile or laugh!
Such a proud dad. He's held it together without any emotion this far. The whole time I was thinking, "he's totally gonna loose it tomorrow and be an emotional wreck!"
At the end of the rehearsal a moment happened where everyone happened to be crowded around us huddled under an awning after we had finished running through the ceremony. My sweet sister circled up all of our wedding party and had them pray over us - laying hands on us- and blessing our marriage and day tomorrow. She is a blessing. It was a blessing. Humbled.
Then we were off to party.....
To be continued.

If you want to catch up you can start by reading about

 

6.07.2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm living a single-girl life this week so more left overs and less cooking at home. Nothing too glamorous or exciting to take note of....sorry!

Monday: Cooking with Lex..who knows what we will come up with!

Tuesday: Nicose Salad

Wednesday: Cooking with Brit...another surprise!

Thursday: Ash is in town! Dinner out! Most likely Postino or LGO.

Friday: Left overs!

On another note...last week's meals turned out great. It was really fun to try some new ideas and pull in some fun ingredients to make some tastebud-happy meals! Our two favorites (and most innovative) meals were the Paella and the Sweet Potato/Black Bean Enchiladas. After a couple requests for my recipes, I thought I would at least point you in the direction that led me to these dishes. I made a few notes of what I added or changed to get you started. You know the way I feel about sticking to a recipe....

Easy Paella (Inspired from Rachel Ray)
Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups enriched white rice (For half of the rice, I used a bag of saffron rice)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (I substituted this for the saffron rice because of the price of the threads)
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken broth or stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into thirds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 pound chorizo, casing removed and sliced on an angle
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, 24 shrimp
1 cup frozen peas
2 lemons zested
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 scallions, chopped
Lemon wedges

Directions
In a very wide pan or paella pan, preheated over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, add rice and saute 2 or 3 minutes. Add saffron threads, bay leaf, broth, and thyme and bring liquids to a boil over high heat. (I also added the scallions and parsley early on to flavor the rice) Cover the pan with lid or foil and reduce heat to simmer.
In a separate nonstick skillet, over medium high heat brown chicken on both sides in 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add peppers and onions to the pan and cook 3 minutes longer. Add chorizo to the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
After about 13 minutes, pour in peas, scatter lemon zest over the rice and seafood, then cover the pan again. Stir rice and seafood mixture and lift out bay and thyme stems, now bare of their leaves. Arrange cooked chicken and peppers, onions and chorizo around
the pan. Top with parsley and scallions. Serve with wedges of lemon and warm bread. Yum!

*This was extremely yummy. The perfect date night dish for our Saturday night. I also think this would be ideal for a large group. It made MORE than enough for 6+ servings. I missed the crust that you can get around the edge of traditional paella - but with a great glass of red wine we felt like we escaped to Espana! Ole!


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
Ingredients
1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced * I added a little extra (as usual)
Fresh lime juice from 1 big juicy lime
2 heaping cups cooked diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chopped roasted mild green chiles (I used 2 cans)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I at least doubled this)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder mild or spicy
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8-10 Whole Wheat Tortillas
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can red enchilada sauce

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Choose a baking dish that would hold 8-10 rolled enchiladas. For the Enchilada Filling, using a mixing bowl, combine the drained black beans with minced garlic and lime juice. Toss to coat the beans and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the cooked sweet potatoes with the chopped green chiles; add the spices. Season with sea salt and pepper. Pour about 1/2 cup of red enchilada sauce in the bottom of your dish. Lay the first tortilla in the sauced baking dish; wet it with the sauce. Spoon 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture down the center. Top with 1/8 of the black beans. (I also added a small bit of shredded cheese) Wrap and roll the tortilla to the end of the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top with the rest of the sauce. Top with a sprinkle of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the enchiladas are piping hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

*I added 1/2 diced onion into the black bean mixture. We love onions in this household. I also topped with some fresh sliced avocado. Blake loved these enchiladas and normally is not crazy about vegetarian dishes. He thought it was hearty and satisfying and didn't even need a protein other than the beans. Definitely worth trying!

6.06.2010

And so it begins....

By the looks of the thermometer in my car, summer is officially here. Ouch.

6.03.2010

Wedding Rewind: The Week Before

Since I took a little break from blogging during the month before and after my wedding, I wanted to take a little time and put all my thoughts on paper so I can remember every detail I possibly can to archive it all. I'm not much of a journaler these days....I think my blog is turning into my journal for the most part. I'm more of a verbal processor - so this can be my keepsake mostly for me - but also for anyone else who might be out there reading our story....

The week before the wedding B & I headed to Houston to be with our families and prepare and prep for the upcoming festivities. We actually flew home on my dad's birthday. I rarely get to spend birthdays with my family since I live so far away, but it was really special to actually be able to celebrate him in person. When we got into Hobby, Paul and Whit picked us up and we all decided to grab some lunch together and catch up. We ate some sliders and sat outside on a very cloudy and windy day. I don't' think it really hit me that I can come to Texas this time as a single girl and I would be leaving as a married woman. It had finally arrived, we had finally arrived - but it didn't seem like it was here at all. All I really could think about was the to do list in the back of my mind and the looming dooming weather forecast that I incessantly kept checking on my iphone. Anxiety.

Our dads ended up joining us for lunch after they had spent the morning racing their mustangs together. It's amazing what great friend they have become and how many similar interests and passions they have. Some people say that this is one of the biggest challenges in getting married, but for us we have been blessed to have an extremely easy merger of our two families. They have become close friends during our dating years and it's been so fun to watch. Thankful.

The next few days were spent in Kingwood. My mom and I wrapped up some last minute projects. We honestly didn't have a ton to do because of my parents incredible efforts to organize, reorganize and inventory every single piece of decor we had DIY'd together and separately. We got plucked, pedicured, waxed (torture) and spray tanned - all of those girly things a bride and her mom must do to get ready for the big day. It almost felt like we were getting ready for homecoming or a dance competition like we used to in high school. We shopped for finishing touches for our rehearsal dinner outfits and just spent some much needed girly time together. It was so nice to spend some one on one mother daughter time. I had missed my best friend - the world feels right with her by my side. That's what moms do for us. Grateful.

Unfortunately, the wedding stress seemed inevitable for all of us. We had been working so so hard on this "event" for the last 11 months and we wanted all of our hard work to come to fruition. To be honest, I think the dreadful forecast was the biggest stressor. My dad was our rock and our glue during those days. We came close to high stress-near breakdowns but he was able to put things in perspective for his two emotional ladies, calm us down and help us tackle what was left to be done. He's so constant in his emotions and so amazingly rationale and logical. I'm thankful for that in him. So many of those characteristics I can find in B too...I guess people say you marry someone like your dad. :) I ran to let my stress out. Boy did I run. I'm not usually much of a stamina runner, but it was the perfect way for me to clear my head and focus on what was truly important - Jesus and the fact that He lead me to this week where I was going to get to marry Blake. That's all that really mattered. Exhale.

Mid week B & I got to have one last date night together as an engaged couple. Our friends Jordan and Chris did this and we thought it would be a great idea to do the same. It was so great to step away - not talk about wedding details and have some quiet time together. Over a glass of wine and some fish on the lake we sat across the table, grinning from ear to ear about what was about to happen in a matter of days. Giddy.

My Uncle Don had called us and asked if we wanted to come up a day early to Austin. He thought it would be a good idea for us to have a little extra time to get all the things we had planned to do done before our guest started to arrive at the hotel. Mindy & Nathan were kind enough to open their home for us once more. We toyed with the idea and then decided to take him up on his advice. Wednesday night we packed up the car with all of the bins, boxes, bags and wagons full of decor and gifts and made the trek to the ATX. It's starting.

The drive was incredibly beautiful. I was in Austin 5 weeks prior for my bachelorette weekend and everything still looked dead and suppressed by winter. This was so different, what a contrast. My mom best described it as if, "God had taken a paint brush and placed splashes of vibrant color on a sea of green." The wildflowers were eye popping beautiful. Even if we did have a gray & rainy wedding day - we were going to have a colorful one as we were getting married at the Wildflower Center. We worshiped Him and His creation during our 3 hour drive. I know he knew we needed to see His beauty. He's so good to us. Awestruck.

We were greeted by excited cousins, aunts, uncles and God children. It gave me so much peace to be with my family as soon as we arrived. I jumped on the trampoline with my second-cousins and held my God-daughter. Not the most "bridal" thing to do - but having to redo my nail polish for wedding day was well worth the giggles and laughter and time with those sweet kiddos. We got calls from more family that had gotten into town. Excitement was building. It still didn't feel like they were all here for me and B. I felt like someone else was getting married or graduating and everyone happened to be in town for the event. Could this really be for us? Surreal.

Avery let me sleep in her bedroom so I could get a good night's sleep. Everyone knows that it is the princess room according to miss Avery. I guess being the bride gives you special treatment. Again, it just didn't feel like all this excitement, planning, travel, and fuss was supposed to be over me. Humbled.

I was up the next morning early - restless with so much running through my mind. I broke open my computer, cleared out a few work emails, checked the forecast (still not looking too promising) once again and then starting writing B the card that I had planned to give him on our wedding day before I walked down the aisle. Tears were flowing. I just couldn't wait any longer to be his wife and they day was almost here! I was so so so ready to have all of the wedding to do lists and tasks behind me and just be his wife. That's what I really wanted from day one of our engagement. It's amazing how much we had to get through and get done in order to get to this day. It does seem silly in hindsight. I calmed my stomach with some out of this world breakfast tacos (Austin's specialty) and then my mom and I jumped in the car to go drop off my dress to be pressed and then check into the hotel. On the way out the door the kids joyfully and proudly handed me some pictures they drew for me. Carter had drawn B & I at the alter on our wedding day and Caroline & Avery gave me some beautiful shapes and scribbles on pink and purple paper. Too sweet. I'm ready get this show on the road. Here we go.

We got to our room and checked out the suite and waited for the dads to arrive with the bar supplies and snacks for our guests. Mac arrived in ATX after her drive from Houston this morning. I was greeted with a huge hug and a well stocked survival kit - what a fabulous maid of honor. It was so good to finally get to see her. We grabbed a tea and a latte and she and I walked to a nearby nail salon to fix up the mess I made the night before and get some sister time before the chaos started. The lovely ladies of my bridal party were on their way from their various cities. The texts were flying in. I was so excited to get to see them all and have so many people that I care about in one space. I was truly trying to savor every moment. It still didn't feel real - entirely. The butterflies were starting but my head and my stomach hadn't yet connected and to let me in on the fact that this was actually happening. The last of my quiet moments were wrapping up... deep breaths.

To be continued.

He's a Keeper

My hubby had these pretty lillys waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday. I can't wait until they all open up and their sweet smell fills our house. Let's be honest, every girl feels like a million bucks when her man is thinking of her and brings home flowers. (Boys - if any girl ever tells you she doesn't like flowers, she's lying). I think he's a keeper.

We are loving married life. Learning a ton about each other and learning a ton about ourselves. Working to find the balance of what the other person needs - from downtime to quiet time to social time. Even in the learning and in the change -life just feels like it's the way it's supposed to be. Finally under one roof, waking up together and doing life together day after day. It's so fun to dream about our future, knowing we are going in the same direction. I feel incredibly blessed.

6.02.2010

the romper....would you or wouldn't you?

The romper seems to be this season’s hot new style. I’m not sure I buy into it quite yet. In a sea of frilly ruffles, high waisted skirts and feminine dresses I can’t seem to part with my dinero and buy something that feels super trendy when there are so many other adorable things I have my eyes on (hello Anthro and J Crew’s summer collections). Loren sported a very cute one this weekend from Urban when we were out at night with some fab coral heels and fun accessories.

Not sure I can pull it off.

We spotted quite a few delightful rompers in the city as well this weekend. I’m getting more and more tempted. I think I’d be down for a more casual look with fun sandals or flats instead of the evening look with heels. At least it would be a cool solution for the intense AZ Summers. Here are a few other fun finds that I came across. Let’s see what goes on sale. I’m never one to drop a lot of cash on a trend that I doubt will be around the next season.


To romp or not to romp? That is the question. What do you think? Yes or No for the romper this season?

6.01.2010

I love date nights at home.....

....a slow cooked meal, a glass of affordable, yet tasty red wine and candlelit dinners with my love.

The Weekend in Review: Memorial Day Weekend in DC

This weekend I headed to DC to visit my dear friend Loren for the holiday weekend. I have never been to the city before, so it was a real treat to spend some quality time with a good friend from college and take in some of the sights in our Nation's capital. It was extremely special to be there on Memorial Day weekend, to see the way our veterans were celebrated and embraced for all they have done for our country.

I arrived late Friday night after a 5+ hour flight and we headed out to get some sustinance and a couple beers and some of Loren's favorite local joints. I got the chance to meet a few of her friends (mostly people she teaches with) and see her adorable neighborhood near Capitol Hill.

The next morning we started our day off pretty early with an iced coffee and an egg and cheese bagel from a local shop (so happy that Loren finally decided to like coffee) and walked through Eastern Market. I could do some serious damage at the market. Between the fresh food and the fabulous jewelry finds - living nearby could prove to be dangerous for my wallet! We then headed out on our sightseeing adventure. Loren was a great sport and wanted to show me as much as possible in my 3 day trip. We ventured over to the Capitol building, down the mall and passed all of the incredible monuments and memorials. We also popped in the Air & Space Museum and the Natural Science Museum. After watching National Treasure (one of my favs) on the ipod on the way over, I made sure to let Loren know that I wanted to check out the National Archives. We walked from the Lincoln Memorial over to the Georgetown area and the waterfront. I loved the quaint streets, lined with flowers, and small, unique bars, restaurants and shops. The waterfront was a perfect people watching spot and I indulged on the best crab cake I have ever had. At this point we had probably walked at least 7 miles (we later mapped it out) so we cabbed to China Town to visit the National Portrait Gallery and grab some fro-yo. I loved the gallery. It has such a diverse grouping of portraits and housed the presidential portraits as well.

After we cleaned up after an 8+ mile trek around the city we headed out for dinner in Dupont and then met up with some friends of Loren's for a night on the town. Quite a packed day!

The next morning began back in Eastern Market where we met a friend of ours that lives in the city for brunch. I dined on some amazing crab eggs Benedict. So yummy! I couldn't get enough of the crab there! We all caught up a bit after not having seen each other for quite a long time and then walked through the market again. I bought a really unique necklace made of blue glass from Loren's favorite merchant. I think it might be the summer staple around my neck.


Next we hoofed it over to Union Station. Unfortunately, the station was closed due to a suspected leak of sorts and we weren't able to check out the inside. Instead, we took the metro to Georgetown and met up with some of Loren's pals for a ride on their boat on the river. Loren and I laughed at how no one swims or wake boards like they do in Texas, but just cruises up the river in the sun with drinks in hand. After spending the afternoon on the boat, we cleaned up and grabbed a dinner (we were absolutely famished!) at Old Ebbit Grill, the oldest restaurant in DC. We also walked over the the White House - which was beautiful all lit up at night - and then headed over to the W Hotel for amazing views and excellent dessert and drinks to unwind at the end of our day.

My trip went so fast, but it was so great to spend some time with Loren one on one and see her life on the East Coast. I loved the chance to have deep converstaion and be able to reconnect after living so far away for so long! Thanks Lo for all you did to make it a fabulous weekend and show me all of DC in such a short time! Love you friend!

5.31.2010

no veggie gets left behind...

I really really hate throwing away food. From left overs to fruits and veggies that go bad in the fridge, it just kills me to toss things in the trash - feels like such a horrible waste. With a few new kitchen gadgets in my arsenal, I have been able to get creative with a few ideas that use up some veggies as they are on the brink.

The last two weeks I've used some herbs and canned goods that were about to reach their expiration date to make some delish hummus. I invested (it's a bit pricey) in a jar of tahini. Tahini is sesame paste - similar to a peanut butter consistency - and really makes hummus taste just right. A few ingredients later and a few minutes in the food processor and we have a tasty and healthy snack for the week! Lasts week's flavor combo was cilantro (starting to look wilted and didn't seem to fit into the menu plan), onion and jalapeno (a jar of pickled jalapenos that I used months ago in a pork recipe). I flipped through a few of my cookbooks in search of the "right combination" of ingredients for the hummus but ended up combining a few ideas into one for my hummus. What I found is really most important is the consistency- adding more olive oil to get a creamier and smoother paste instead of a dry and choppy hummus. Oh and don't forget the garlic, garlic and more garlic and a bit of lemon and sea salt. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Who needs Pita Jungle when you have a Kitchen Aid food processor?

Today Blake asked me if I would whip him up some pesto for his sandwiches during the week. I actually had some organic basil leaves waiting for me to find a meal to fit them into (and fast!) so I was able to make it happen. I also had some wilting spinach that sat in my fridge over the weekend so I threw that in for a little more body. The last of my left over toasted pine nuts, some feta, mucho garlic, salt and pepper, and a bunch of olive oil and there you go! I scrapped the bowl with a whole wheat tortilla for my 3pm snack :).

Maybe cleaning out the fridge can actually be fun?

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our menu for the week! Some summery meals with a "fiesta" flare seems to to be the theme. Hope your tastebuds are happy like ours our this week! :)

Monday: Grilled fish with spring mix salad and creamy lemon & spinach quinoa

Tuesday: Chilled black bean gaspacho soup with grilled chicken

Wednesday: Bible Study - left overs or lean cusine again

Thursday: Potluck community dinner at SOLA. Come and join us!

Friday: Paella! I'll give this a go, Rachel Ray style

Saturday: Celebrating Lauren - party at her house!

Sunday: Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. Southwest fiesta salad.

5.29.2010

DIY Headboard: Part 1

We did a little shopping for the materials for our headboard DIY project last weekend. That's one happy hubby in the Orange Palace for Men (AKA Home Depot). With the help from a wedding gift card - B scored some new saw horses (on sale!), a staple gun, and some new blades for the jigsaw. We also got the plywood to cut into the backing of the headboard and some brackets to mount the headboard on the wall with. We also bought some batting and scouted out fabrics to use to complete our look. I fell in love with a certain b-e-a-utiful ikat metallic fabric (that happens to be VERY pricey) - I think I've always had expensive taste. Go figure. Looks like this project may not turn out to be such an affordable solution after all.... We haven't ordered it yet, so I'm thinking about hunting for something more reasonable; but once my heart is set on something, it's usually hard to budge!

I think B's excited about taking on a very hands-on DIY project and come up with some great results. I'm so so so thankful I married a handy man that's excited to try new things and take on fun projects with me.

5.28.2010

Jetsetter

Yesterday I flew to Texas, and back in one day. Quite a whirlwind but also a very productive day. Back on the plane this afternoon - I'm racking up those miles in the sky!

5.26.2010

Backyard Gems

These little beauties are blooming in our pond this week. I think spring is still holding on and trying to not let summer rear its ugly head in the PHX. These make my day along with this perfectly wonderful weather. Nothing is better than still being able to sleep with your windows open at the end of May.

5.25.2010

Wedding Pics Up on Kathryn's Blog!

We were incredible blessed to have Kathryn Krueger document our wedding day. Not only is she insanely talented, she's overflowing with kindess, amazing energy and a spirit that kept us going through the craziness of our day. Take a look at a few highlights of her incredible work.

ENJOY!!!

http://www.kathrynkrueger.com/blog/index.php?link=148&cat=1

My Least Favorite Sport

Once a year I am forced to play in a golf tournament for work. It's a chartity event, so I can't complain too much, but regardless I'm forced. I play once a year. So you can imagine how skilled I am in this sport. In years past I have usually started "preparing" by heading to the driving range two weeks before to brush up on my skills (or lack there of). This year I started three weeks early. I think it's gonna be a good year! :) I get so frustrated with golf because I am such a perfectionist. There is no such thing as perfect in golf and it kills me. I feel like it has got to be the most discouraging sport that exists. Maybe if I could just make consistant contact with the ball I would be much more motivated. I think I need a lesson.

I usually build up a bunch of anxiety about golfing with customers when I am such a terrible golfer. It always turns out fine - thanks to the scramble format - but nevertheless, I work myself up about this tournament, every year. My favorite part of the whole event is the beautiful views at the course. I'm pretty blessed to have a job where I get to spend a day on a gorgeous course in San Antonio, TX.

Friday, Blake and I headed to the range to get back into the swing of things. I swung and missed, a lot. At least there was a very pretty view to look at the range! Maybe once the blister on my hand heals from Friday, we can get back out there to give it a go again. Practice makes perfect, right?

5.24.2010

Rehersal Dinner on Mercury Hall's Blog!

Our rehersal dinner made the Mercury Hall Blog! How fun! Thanks again to Ruth and Shannon (as well as the whole Parrish/Ross clan) for pulling together such a fun and special night!

http://mercuryhall.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/open-house-times-for-the-week-of-april-19th-discounts/

Menu Plan Monday

I LOVE cooking. It really is one of the most fun, relaxing, creative, outlets I have. Most days when I get home from work I am truly and genuinely excited to kick off my heels and jump into preparing a yummy meal for Blake and me. He was pretty spoiled even in our dating days because ever since he moved to AZ, he was fed home cooked meals almost every night. I don't really enjoy recipes (I use cookbooks more as a source of inspiration, i love flipping through them for fun things to try), but I love to find creative and inventive ways to re-create something I may have seen or tasted. It's a fun challenge and I take a lot of pride and joy in my meals. Maybe too much at times. :)

I'm going to be starting a new series titled Menu Plan Monday. Blake and I usually plan out our meals on Saturday or Sunday, shop for our groceries after church and then have a week's worth of yummy ingredients for the week to whip into tasty dishes. If we think a meal was extra yummy it might even warrant its own blog post for your enjoyment. I may not have recipes for all of the meals - but feel free to inquire if you want some guidance on "a little bit of this, a pinch of that." Who knows, maybe I can even get the hubby to guest blog his reviews. I better thicken up my skin! Here's this week's plan: Bon Apetit!

Sunday (last night): zuchini tageletelli with chicken, simple green salad

Monday: marinated grilled flank steak, califlower mashed "potatoes", roasted tomatoes

Tuesday: Apricot glazed pork loin, green salad

Wednesday: Bible Study (Blake eats Pizza, I eat left overs)

Thursday: Cuban Sandwiches (with left over pork), cole slaw

Friday: Left overs - I tend to always cook for at least 3 so we can enjoy left overs for lunch or extra dinners

5.22.2010

A Lovely Little Saturday

To enjoy one of the last cool(er) Saturdays before the insane AZ sun hits in full force, B and I rode our bikes to Vincent's Farmers Market this morning for some great eats and fabulous people watching. We skirted Camelback Mountain with some gorgeous views on our 13 mile trek. One of my co-workers, Meghan, recommended Vincents to me the first couple weeks that I moved here and we got hooked. They are a very high end restaurant in the valley but on Saturdays take over their parking lot with a very gourmet market.

It's such a relaxing atmosphere with so much to taste. We love that high school kids (we think a couple are the owners kiddos) run the show- preparing indulgent crepes, pizza, paninnis and manning the produce section. The paninni guy is our favorite. We can't seem to resist having one everytime we go. It's hard to say no - even at 10:30am to a Shrimp and Chicken Pannini fresh off the press!

I have all this free time now that I'm not planning a wedding.....

This weekend we are going to have a little fun making our rental feel more like a home by doing this. My current challenge is making our giant bedroom feel more cozy and intimate without painting or buying too many things (particularly furniture) without knowing where we will end up next. After starting with some incredibly lovely towels as my inspiration from Anthro (they probably will be less functional and more decorative) and some spa/sanctuary like bedding & pillows from West Elm - we are ready to to the rest on a budget! We've even found a few gems at Marshall's Home Goods, my thrifty decorating haven, to help complete the look. Since our sweet friends, the Kerseys, moved away to Texas this week and let us buy their king sized bed they left behind, we decided we needed something special to frame the space and make our room come together. We think a DIY headboard is the perfect (and cost effective) solution for our maybe not so long term situation.

Here's a little inspiration for what I envision our room coming together to look like. Isn't it lovely? Maybe these relaxing shades of grey with a little bit more of a modern twist (mixed with my must-have anthro style, minus too many girly touches). I'm trying my best not to make it overly feminine for my new hubby! I have a tendency to love things to be fresh, flirty and floral - that just screams masculine, right? Ohh the fun this will be!

I'll make sure to have the camera by our side for the (hopefully) successful DIY project! I'll post the results if it turns out to our liking! Happy Weekend!

5.20.2010

Can Cookies Be a Love Language?

Because if so, that's definitely Blake's love language. Last night we christened the Kitchen Aid mixer with Blake's favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookies. Nothing fancy, nothing too complicated, just the good old fashioned Toll House recipe. Yum Yum. I also loved using new spatulas, cookie sheets and mixing bowls all that arrived yesterday. I think I could get into this baking thing. I really haven't been too excited about it in the past, mostly because following a recipe feels like you have to color in between the lines. But having some fun tools to use sure make it a lot more fun!


Isn't she beautiful?



That's one happy husband :)




We're going to try to make them last for at least five days....we will see how that goes with a cookie monster on my hands.

Thursday Night Date Night

Thursdays are usually date night for the hubby and me. We started this during our engagement and have tried to keep our standing date each week. We try to make an effort to get out and connect, across the table from one another (not sitting next to eachother - we don't want to be "that couple"; how do you chat when you're sitting side by side anyway?) and just spend some time focusing on us. It always proves to be a great time regardless of where we go, what we do, or what we eat.

Tonight we decided to try out a new spot near our house called Blue Wasabi. I love trying out new places in the valley. I think in my 3 years of living here, I've done a pretty good job of covering most of the must-eats, but I'm always up for something new! I can eat Sushi at least once a week in the summertime, but the only affordable way to do that is to make sure you hit up the good happy hour spots. We were really impressed with the food overall, the service was excellent and very friendly too. They have a very large selection of happy hour items. Maybe over half their regular menu (including drinks) is featured at half price from 4:30-6:30. I always appreciate happy hours that go past 6 for the working girl that doesn't always get out of the office right at 5. We would agree that it's worth checking out for happy hour!

What's your favorite spot for Happy Hour in the valley?

Back from Outer Space

....or at least I feel like I am.



I think wedding world seriously put me in another world. I'm trying to come back from the planet of wedding and get a reality check. It was a wonderful, incredibly special and very surreal time. The day was more special, overwhelming, beautiful and sacred than I could have imagined. The honeymoon was the perfect combination of adventure, relaxation and genuine time to connect and catch up. I need to take the time and write down all of the thoughts that I can think of and remember so the feelings and emotions of the day, week and month won't escape me. Don't worry, I'll share the details with you too. Just give me some time to get back in the groove and get my head out of the clouds. :)

I've changed up the blog's look a bit (thoughts/suggestions?), added the few wedding photos that I've gotten my hands on so far, and have a few things in the works for future posts. I'm feeling good about being back in the game again! I'm re-energized about blogging - maybe from being inspired by other blogs that i'm hooked on. I'm excited to share a little bit about our newly wed life, my domestic ideas and projects, a little creativity in the kitchen and maybe I'll even get around to putting some pics up (don't get your hopes set too high)!

For now I'm taking a quick break from working from home to say hello. I love Thursdays. By far my most productive day of the week: free from office chit chat (though I adore my work friends), interruptions, hallway traffic, and must-show-up-but-you-don't-really-need-to-be-there meetings. Plus, I get to have my husband working side by side with me. It's really a joy. No one really believes us that we actually get a full day's work in sitting side by side. I think you would laugh at us if you watched us sit there in our office, not talking, typing away. Kind of makes me laugh just thinking about it. At least he's good eye candy when my computer screen is making my eyes go nutso.

Since Blake's day wraps up a bit before mine, he's setting up our new printer in the office. Compliments of Rob & Linda. A belated Christmas present that arrived in a mondo crate today. It was insanity. So many presents in one room. A collection of gifts and treasures that we have been generously given through showers, our wedding and even last year's Christmas, all waiting to arrive in one tremendously huge (600lbs +) shipment. Our sweet dads built the crate (complete with some hilarious graffiti on the side) and our moms packed everything up to ensure that nothing would break on the transport to Texas. Have I mentioned how amazing they are? They teach me more about generosity and service than anyone I know. We are blessed.

I can't believe that we've found a space for almost everything. Another reason why I heart our kitchen in our super-fab rental. (More to come on our casa soon!) I might be most excited about two gadgets in particular: 1. the mandoline slicer (that I happened to hug and jump up and down when I registered for) 2. my shiny, cherry red Kitchen-Aid Professional Series Mixer (I called it the Motherload when it came out of the box). I already have recipes brewing in my head to utilizes these little beauties! Blake is excited about his tools and his bike repair stand (not new, just sent from his house). Oh the little things in domestic life that make you so happy!

OK, that was a lot of randoms. At least I'm writing. Back to work for me. Must finnish up so I can have a sushi date with the Hubby tonight. Yum.


5.03.2010

A gift

Well I didn't make the countdown all the way to zero. But I never promised perfection. I had an abundant amount of blessings touching my life during the last 25 days before my wedding. Some of the moments were emotional, some stressful, some anxious, some exciting - but what an incredible, blessing experience.

More to come on all of my thoughts, preperations, reactions, etc. on the wedding. For now I am LOVING married life. It's hard to even describe what I love most about it. But I will tell you it's a gift. A sweet and special gift from the Father. I'm starting to understand just a glimpse of why He created it. It's sacred, it's intimate. I am overwhelmed by love and joy to be on this journey with my best friend....

3.23.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 25

1. A long bike ride to the park where we spent some time with Jesus together
2. Thankful hearts
3. A community
4. A creative idea for dinner that didn't go all that well...but was still pretty tasty!
5. The sound of rain on the skylights

3.22.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 28-26

1. Getting to head home after lunch for a work at home -half -day. I enjoyed my patio office :) It was actually pretty darn productive!
2. Getting dressed up - seeing B in a suit is so fun! He's so handsome!
3. Watching Jordan and Chris tie the knot on a beautiful AZ day!
4. Dancing like maniacs on the dance floor with my pals!
5. Feeling energized

6. A long bike ride that made my quads pretty sore with B
7. A little alone time to run some errands and take care of life
8. Showering Hannah with gifts, silly games and girly chatter
9. Celebrating Kristin over Sangria and yummy food with friends
10. Incredible weather - I heart AZ spring

11. Exciting news of OTBC moving to the Chef's Loft in just two weeks!
12. A bold challenge and prayer to ask God to multiply our church by 3 in a year!
13. Spring training games! Such a fun treat to be in the city where they do this every year!
14. Celebrating Ashley's bday!
15. Ending a lovely weekend of celebrations with a little cuddle time :)

3.19.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 29

1. Having a relaxing dinner with my grandparents
2. A spontaneous date night out over a glass of vino at Kazmires - such a dark, cool place
3. March Madness over the lunch hour
4. Letting spring into the house
5. Getting a little sun

3.18.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 30

1. Collaboration
2. My second successful day of bringing my lunch to work
3. Chiro massage
4. Being with the Wednesdays, being treated to a home cooked meal by Kathy and getting a little hyper after eating kisses stuffed into strawberries
5. Laughing with Lex

3.17.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 31

1. Sis saving me some dinero on a sale at Anthro!
2. A really long bike ride through the pretty houses in Arcadia! I heart our new location
3. Planning easter dinner to host at OUR house with some family!
4. Having the windows open at home - yay Spring!
5. Being in love.

3.16.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 32

1. Riding our bikes to Trader Joes to pick up a few filler items for the week
2. Calling my parents and hearing their continued excitement for wedding planning. I have no idea where they get this stamina! They bless us so much!
3. Cuddle naps
4. A new resolution to bring my lunch to work 2 days a week instead of eating out
5. Dancing around the house :)

3.15.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 35-33

1. A fun shopping lunch date with Kristina. I would love to be a stylist in my "other life"
2. Engaging with some our senior leadership team on their visit to our business center - incredible minds all in one room!
3. Cooking a meal with our sweet friends the Kerseys. I truly enjoy their company and the grace they give me when I fall asleep on their couch on a Friday night!
4. Getting to leave work a little early to put the finnishing touches on my outfit for Saturday night's festivities!
5. Getting our rehersal dinner and bridal brunch invites in the mail. What creative family members I have! So fun!

6. A challenging day on Camelback. PLUS - running into friends on the mountain!
7. LGO and sitting on the patio with iced tea in hand with my man
8. A antique store adventure - coming home with 2 pairs of boots for B and I for less than the price of 1 new pair!
9. An incredible dinner made my Alexis and dining with my beautiful house party!
10. SUCH a fun, silly, crazy, girly bachelorette night! I have such sweet friends to throw me such a fun evening to celebrate together!

11. The feeling of sore muscles after a good workout!
12. Arcadia farms w/ Dave and Brit on such a pretty Arizona spring day!
13. Seeing a glimpse of my bridal portraits!
14. A long Friday night catch up with mi hermana. I heart that we can talk about grown up things together now :)
15. SPRING IS HERE!

3.12.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 36

1. A hilarious dance party to Black Eyed Peas in our garage. Yup, just me and Blake. Don't worry, the garage door was down.
2. A lunch time counseling session and finalizing some wedding details with Heath. I'm so encouraged and blessed by our time in pre marital counseling
3. Awesome access to the bike paths from our new house and a relaxing post work-day bike ride with my sweetie
4. Meeting our landlord at their restaurant. So sweet. I just wanted to hug her!
5. A lovely, romatic date night over Salmone Pizza and a bottle of Cab. :) I feel like we are in such a good spot. I. AM. OVERJOYED.

3.11.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 37

1. Having a handful of the Wednesdays over for some potluck fun and great teaching by Brenda Huff!
2. Feeling at home, at home
3. Great discussion about future finances with Blake....maybe I'm kidding myself but it was kinda fun!
4. Wearing my wedding band around the house :) It's like playing dress up
5. Loose leaf tea. YUM

3.10.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 39-38

1. A date-like dinner with my hubby to be complete with some Tuesday night vino and the sound of the fountain on our patio
2. My wonderful mom who will stop at nothing to make sure every detail is taken care of for wedding day
3. Cuddling...It might be my favorite thing to do ....ever
4. Enjoying the last few weeks of having a girl roomie and sharing some accessories...I'll miss you Lex!
5. Texting and chatting with the girls over the weekend's events and feeling so close and loved by each of them!

6. Running lots and lots of errands over the lunch hour - wedding season is here!
7. Getting my rehearsal dinner dress :)
8. Hearing, " you just need to focus on your wedding and personal life this month" at work - how amazing!
9. News of an exciting meeting for Mac!
10. Realizing not only is my wedding coming up, but my honeymoon is toooooo!

3.08.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 44-40

Get ready....this is a BIG one!


1. Feeling so loved by all the comments and feeback about our engagement pics. I can't believe even strangers commented!
2. Getting my wedding dress to ATX in one piece without too many wrinkles!
3. Being ahead of schedule and having a potentailly hectic day turn out very smoothly
4. Having a slow enough work week to escape the feeling of being overwhelmed by 2 days of vacation
5. A sweet boy to carry my bags and get me to the airport on time (B)


6. Meeting all of my hair and make up gals for a test run for a wedding and loving their personalities and talents! I'm so excited to have them make us b-e-a-utiful for wedding day!
7. Feeling so special in my wedding dress for bridal portraits - having someone ask me if I was a model or a real bride made me smile :)
8. An incredible, loving mother who brushed every hair out of my eyes and fixed every pleat on my dress to get some great pics!
9. A fun and energetic photographer. So excited to work with Kathryn!
10. Perfect Austin weather. One of those days that makes you think, "why don't I live here?"


11. My amazing sister and incredible planning skills to make my weekend so perfect!
12. Having 10 WONDERFUL women fly or drive to see me to celebrate along my side doing crazy fun things during a weekend I won't forget!
13. My insanely generous cousin, Mindy, who opened her home up to all of us girls for some insanely fun times!
14. 80s gear in public places. Too much fun!
15. Lizzie's homemade gifts :)

16. Coming home to my love.
17. Having a quiet night with a dinner fixed by B for me to relax and unwind. Not to mention meals planned and groceries shopped for for the WHOLE week!
18. The best breakfast tacos I've ever eaten
19. Saying goodbye to the lovely ladies in my life and knowing I'll see them again in 5 short weeks!
20. Inpromptu dance parties in the living room


21. An encouraging and motivating meeting with my director. I'm thankful for encouragement!
22. Incredible views out my office windows that I take for granted every day
23. Cloud cover on the mountains - makes me feel like I'm in some rainforrest jungle - so relaxing on a rainy day!
24. Being so sore and having bruises all over me - but knowing it was allll very worth it
25. 8:30 bedtimes....Bearenstein Bears and Too Much Bachelorette Party

This Weekend Was AMAZING....

A big thank you goes out to my lovely Bachelorette ladies. You made it an amazing weekend. More to come on all of our fun and funny details of the weekend! :)

3.03.2010

Engagement Pic Sneak Peak!

Enjoy! :)

http://www.stephaniefayblog.com/

Blessings in the Waiting: 45

1. Trying to cook lamb and home. Such a yummy meat!
2. Getting my full deposit back at the old casa thanks to the scrubbing team of AH + KL
3. Finding some sweet prizes for the bachelorette weekend for best 80's get up!
4. Finnshing my packing early and having some time to relax on the couch w/ my B
5. My incredible, giving, generous, loving, selfless.....I could go on....family

3.02.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 46

1. Coming home to an already prepped meal - ready for me to cook as I unwind!
2. An awesome prayer sesh with B - I heart his heart for Him
3. White noise of a box fan
4. A good walk/run to get the heartrate up and de-stress a bit
5. Multitasking

3.01.2010

Blessing in the Waiting: 49-47

1. Enjoying some Tejas Trio and catch up conversation
2. Taking home my dress and veils from the shop. It all fits! Taking it home makes this all feel sooo real!
3. A sweet and generous friend that will stop her wedding prep to help me :) Thanks JH (soon to be JW)
4. People watching at Fashion Square...oh so fun
5. A lovely bit of quality time with Julia over shopping and iced tea

6. Entertaining for the first time at the new house!
7. Pot luck breakfast tacos and mimosas so yummy
8. The smell of Alexis' scones coming out of the oven
9. Getting dressed up to go out and dancing in my bathroom with the girls! Felt like college all over again!
10. Dancing with friends for a night out on the town

11. The sound of rain hitting the skylight
12. Blake's heart of service for me and for others.
13. Having some alone time w/ B and w/ myself to reconnect and catch up a bit on life
14. Grocery shopping @ F&E - I love that place!
15. Having church at the Chef's Loft. Such a cool space. I loved it.

2.26.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 50

1. 50 Days!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Having a very slow work day, I know the Lord provided it to allow me some peace
3. Taking engagement pics at the Farm. It was so much fun! I felt so special and can't wait to see the results!
4. Seeing our living room come together :) I heart my new rug
5. A quick, yet yummy dinner w/ the hubs to be.

2.25.2010

Blessings in the Waiting: 51

1. Coming home to more things hung on the walls! What a treat!
2. A little impluse buy over lunch that gave me some new inspiration for the living room
3. Being with the Wednesday night girls with laughs, tears and the sense of growing community
4. Seeing more and more of my need for Jesus in my humanity
5. Cuddling while we catch up on our reading
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