Recent Posts

8.03.2011

Half Marathon, Here We Come!

It must be a good thing that I splurged on a new pair of running shoes recently, because Blake and I are officially signed up for the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in November!  


Not exactly sure what we are getting ourselves into, but I'm looking forward to training to get in shape to make this half happen.  I trained for one in the past and then ended up having to have a follow up knee surgury so I didn't get to run my race.  I'm glad to have Blake by my side to train and hopefully run with.  A few of my girlfriends are also going to be running.  Should be nice to have a few others to train with as well.

Now we just need these 105 degree temps to drop so we can find some cooler weather to run in.  It was still 100 outside when we finnished our run at 8:30pm last night!  (Note to self: don't eat dinner and go run in 100 degree weather)

Any tips or advice on training is more than welcome!  My sister's (she's a seasoned half marathoner) best advice was to strength train as well as get a super cute outfit to run in day of! :) Love her!

Wish me luck!

8.02.2011

Featured!

My friend Ali featured me on her blog, with and i.e..  Hop over and check out the feature today and explore her adorable blog! 

Ali and I met through her husband, Brandon at General Mills while we were living in Arizona.  She would join us for work lunches and happy hours with co-workers and I would always have style crushes on her awesome outfits.  She and Brandon now live in Arkansas with their son Will.  We miss seeing them all the time! 

Enjoy checking out her blog....she's onto something! :)

8.01.2011

Menu Plan Monday

I'm back from a wonderful girls trip to Mexico!  A big cup of coffee for me this morning!  It's always hard to get back into the swing of thing so dinners are going to be simple and easy this week!  Happy Monday to all!

Monday:  Pesto Chicken and Salad
Tuesday:  Grilled fish, Grape/gorgonzola/onion salad
Wednesday:  Burgers, Salad & Grilled corn on the cob
Thursday:  Date night!
Friday:  Red curry shrimp on brown rice

7.27.2011

I'm salivating....

Excuse my gross title....but seriously, this looks incredible

Photo credit:  Elaine Skinner
What an amazing concept!  A transient restaurant that travels from venue to venue (sometimes farm to farm) with ever changing menus fit to echo the setting, city or hands of the people who bring food to the table.  This sounds like a foodie dream complete with local ingredients and a local, celebrated chef all dining elbow to elbow at a long table together. 

If only I had a spare $400 lying around for Blake and I get experience this!

7.26.2011

Running on Empty

I wrote yesterday about how we have been grilling everything this summer.  Sure enough, just in time for a going away dinner party with friends, our tank was completely empty.  I guess I will be eating my words that we will be grilling all of our dinner this week. 


We cranked up our oven and filled it to the brim with pork tenderloin and veggies.  Plan B worked out okay! 

Last night was so bittersweet.  Our dear friends, Carrie and Bryan, will be moving to Dallas next week.  We had one last dinner with them to send them off.  They quickly became very dear friends to us right after we moved to Austin.  They will be so missed!  We have learned so much from them through their friendship.  I have greatly admired their honesty, vulnerability, authenticity and servant hearts.  They have been wonderful friends.  We have had so many fun evenings of dinners at eachothers house and hours spent on the couch chatting.  We have been so blessed by both of them and their sweet daughter Charis.  I am excited to see how God uses them in Dallas.  

Can't wait to go visit them soon when baby Annabelle comes.  Glad they won't be too far away!  We will miss you Hendersons!

7.25.2011

Menu Plan Monday

It will be a short week for the menu plan since I will be traveling for the majority of the week.  But wanted to give you a couple of the ideas we have in the works with the remainder of our CSA box veggies and few fresh things we picked up this week. 

 
This summer we are into grilling EVERYTHING.  It's the best solution to not having to heat your house up by turning on the oven.  It's been fun to try to grill everything under the sun including veggies, pizza, breads, meat, and even fruit.  The grill is not just for burgers and hot dogs my friends!

 
Hope you all have a lovely week!

 

  • Grilled pork tenderloin, glazed & grilled butter nut squash with goat cheese & roasted (on the grill) beet salad
  • Grilled chicken, green salad & grilled zuchini squash
  • Pesto grilled chicken and pasta

7.22.2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Grilled Potato Salad

This was such an awesome dish!  I found this recipe on the Johnson's Backyard Garden FB site.  They have tons of great ideas to use our CSA veggies.  I highly reccomend this tasty summer salad.  I avoid creamy potato salad since it's just not that great for you - other than family BBQs and the 4th of July - so this was a great alternative with a light vinegarette dressing!

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Ground black pepper
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds medium red potatoes, scrubbed
1 large red onion
1 large red or yellow bell pepper
Salt
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
1.  Create dressing by whisking vinegar, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 6 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup dressing and set aside for finishing salad.
2. Slice potatoes into 3/4-inch planks, unpeeled onion into 1/2-inch rounds, and bell pepper into bite size chunks.  Toss in olive oil and season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Grill vegetables, uncovered, over moderate fire until well charred on both sides, 5 to 10 minutes per side (onions and peppers will take less time than potatoes). We used a grill basket to keep the veggies from sliding through the cracks.  Remove vegetables from grill.
4. Toss grilled vegetables with dressing (not 1/4 cup reserved dressing). Toss in capers and cool salad to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Just before serving, toss with remaining 1/4 cup dressing and parsley.
Source


7.21.2011

Second Honeymoon


Here I go on catching you up on life as of lately....

At the end of May, B and I traveled to St. Lucia to celebrate our first anniversary.  The trip came at the perfect time for us where we were both needing a break from work and the business that comes with the day to day hustle and bustle.  We were so grateful for a week full of relaxation!  We nearly missed our connection after sprinting through the Atlanta airport.  Once we arrived, we were in full on vacation mode complete with all inclusive food, drinks and activities.  No pressure, no problem.  (A local idiom that we quickly adopted).


St. Lucia was beautiful!  Above you can see the famous Pitons peaking out of the palm trees.  The island was so lush and green.  We had great weather too.  The forecast looked like rainy skies every day, but we only had one or two showers while we were there  and there were great reprives from the intense sun. 

My handome hubby with some leftover volcanic mud on his face.
One of the best things we did was learn how to sail during our time in St. Lucia.  Blake was a natural!  I was a bit more timid on our small cat boats.  Once we got the hang of it - we did it a few more times while we were there.  We also ocean kayaked, swam in the ocean and did a whole lot of laying around reading and drinking fruity cocktails.  We also did a power boat excursion that took us around the island, stopping at some of the key sites for us to explore.  We saw the famous Margot bay, climbed to a waterfall, took a mudbath near the volcano in volcanic mud and snorkeled.  A great way to see so much in one day!

Yum! After dinner drinks!
Nightime view of the bay
It was a wonderful trip and the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary!  We are already thinking about where we want to go next!  Any suggestions!


7.20.2011

Time flies....

I'm not exactly sure how it is the middle of July already, but it's been way too long since I've been posting regularly!  Time has been flying by.  Just trying to catch my breath, do our laundry, keep up with work, take care of our house and have some fun on the side. 

I'll bring you up to speed and give you the Cliff Notes version of the last couple of months or so....
  • I've been traveling A TON.  I've been to Minneapolis at least 3 times since the end of April, Orlando, multiple trips to San Antonio, Houston & Corpus.  And that's just all for work! 
  • I had a chance to see one of my best friends at work tie the knot on a perfect Arizona day.  She was a beautiful bride!
  • While I was there, I also got to see God's goodness as the ultimate healer. We nearly lost my grandma and He is healing and restoring her.  Praise Him for that! 
  • Blake and I took a much needed vacation to beautiful St. Lucia to celebrate our one year anniversary (again).  It was so wonderful and so relaxing.  I'll post some pics soon of our travels!
  • My sister and her boyfriend (our friend Tommy) visited us in Austin since they were here in town for a wedding.  Great time together! 
  • Bonus!  We got to have lunch with my parents on Sunday since they were here for a marriage conference.  So nice to all be together. 
  • Blake headed to UMARMY with the church we grew up in.  He had a wonderful week serving. 
  • We headed to East TX for our annual trip to Lake Quitman for the 4th of July with Blake's family
  • We just got back from a wonderful trip to the Pacific Northwest.  We got to tack on a few days of vacation to a work trip.  We had some awesome time with Blake's family there and even got to explore Vancouver BC. 
I can't wait to share pictures and more stories about our summer adventures.  There has been so much going on!

7.19.2011

Menu Plan Monday (on a Tuesday)

Life got in the way and the blog was one of the last things on my list.  No excuses though, I'm just a hot and cold blogger these days.

In efforts to get back to blogging I thought I should wait until next Monday to share my menu plan, I will just share it with you today, one day late.  We've been getting a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) box from Johnson's Backyard Garden, a local farm here in Austin.  We are loving all of the fresh, organic veggies.  It's really challenged me to think out of the box and try some new things with veggies I wouldn't normally pick at HEB.  Here's our menu this week!

Sunday:  Marinated flank steak, Grilled Potato & Veggie Salad

Monday:  Melon and Prosciutto Pizza on the grill, garden salad

Tuesday:  Cold & creamy cucumber soup, Quinoa with shrimp & veggies

Wednesday:  Grilled chicken, cous cous with squash and cranberries

Thursday:  Travel day - dinner on the road

Friday:  Eggplant parm

5.05.2011

Calling all prayer warriors.....

Please help us pray for our friend Will Simmons. Will is battling spinal Meningtis and fighting for life. Will and his wife Jenet were sweet friends of ours in Arizona and a faithful part of our church there.


Please pray that God would do a mighty work in healing him, please pray for continued strength for Jenet and for their son Carter and baby on the way. Jenet is asking that we would pray specifically that the Gospel can be proclaimed through this experience and others would see Christ as the great healer and restorer.

Please join us in praying. You can read about their story, hear specific requests and updates on Will’s condition at Jenet’s blog below:

http://wjsimmons.wordpress.com/

Thank you!

4.27.2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Tomato and Watermelon Salad

This is by far one of our favorite summer dishes.  Did i mention it also might be the easiest?  So refreshing and tasty you will want this to be incorporated into your meal plan all summer long!

Equal parts diced or balled tomato (any variety) and fresh watermelon (seedless is best)
A couple springs of mint
Salt & Pepper
Red Wine Vinegar
Olive Oil

Dice fruit and combine in a bowl.  Chiffonade some fresh mint and incorporate with salt and pepper.  (Salt really brings out the flavor, so don't be afraid to use it!)  Pour about 1 T of vinegar over the mixture and 1/2 T olive oil.  Let sit before serving.  Enjoy!

4.22.2011

good friday.

My heart is heavy today thinking about what Jesus did for me on the cross.

Extreme humility.  Extreme selflessness.  Extreme sacrifice.  Extreme forgiveness.  Extreme love.

4.21.2011

Scenes from the Weekend...

We had a fantastic anniversary weekend celebrating year one.  B & I took a 'stay-cation' here in town and enjoyed a day at the Hotel San Jose on South Congress.  


It was really fun to feel like we were on a true getaway.  We walked by a few shops up and down SoCo and then enjoyed the pool and patio with a few adult beverages while we chatted, soaked up the rays and caught up on some reading.    Yum sangria.   



That evening we dressed up a bit and headed to Vespaio for some delicious Italian food.  Mmmmm....rich and savory goodness.  My favorite part of our time together was recapping our year and talking about what we have learned, what areas we are hoping to grow in this year and our favorite memories of our wedding and the past year.  I am so grateful for that conversation.



We came back to our very simplistic, modern, chic room to enjoy some of our wedding cake to wind down our evening.  We didn't get a cake topper since we were living in AZ at the time, so we ordered the same yummy tiramisu cake from our wedding day baker.  It. was. so. good.


The next morning we woke up and had coffee, cinnamon rolls and breakfast tacos at Jo's, right next door.  We headed out for a walk around Town Lake.  We kept enjoying the beautiful day by sitting pool side, coffee in hand, and just talking.  It was lovely.

We had to check out around lunch time and headed back home away from our stay-cation bliss.  Back to reality.  I think I'd like to make this a tradition :)

4.19.2011

things i've learned.

we certainly don't have it all figured out, but i've sure learned a lot about me, about B and about us this year. i am loving the painfully worth-it sanctifying process of marriage.  praise HIM for creating it.  here's what i am learning.....

my resistance in receiving grace.

how selfish i can be. 

how my recharge time and alone time feels fuller with B around.

sticking to a budget is really a huge accomplishment.

adopting each other's hobbies can be just as fun as doing my own.

spending time solo and with girlfriends and finding that balance can be challenging, yet so important.

i married a patient, servant-hearted man. 

i feel safe in the confines of the intimacy of our marriage. 

i truly am married to my very best friend.

we are truly blessed in the blending of two families.

looking back and reflecting on where we have been is such a good discipline and shows God's providence. 

trust is vital.

teamwork is essential.

i like control.  it's an idol in my heart that i want to surrender but continue to stumble over again and again.

having a sous chef is much more fun when making dinner.  a good-lookin dish washer doesn't hurt either. 

a year full of change can be unifying instead of devisive

checking in on where we are "at" regularly is a great practice to stay connected and ensure we aren't skimming over important feelings or concerns.

leaving friends and family to move to a new city is much easier with 2 than all by yourself. 

sometimes you just need to get away.

a date night out, sitting across the table from one another is so much better for us than staying in.

this takes work.  and we're up for the challenge.

we must absoultely love God first before we can truly love one another.

4.18.2011

Menu Plan Monday

A dream-like kitchen! Wish it was ours!
Monday:  Edemame pesto w/ chicken over bowtie pasta, salad

Tuesday:  Training at church, dinner out w/ amigos

Wednesday:  Salmon, salad w/ citrus,  Cous cous with almonds and cranberries

Thursday:  Turkey burger, Watermelon and Tomato salad

Friday:  Chicken Baked potato w/ broccoli & cheese & green salad

4.16.2011

one.

one year ago....

two became one.

The man said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:23-24

4.15.2011

Wedding Rewind: The Big Day (Part III: The Reception)

After walking down the aisle, with our family and friends beaming back at us, we headed out of sight and had a couple of moments alone before our wedding party and photographer caught up with us.  It was a sweet time to just take it in, see the new rings on our hands and just kiss and hug in our near unbelief and overwhelming joy.  Our loving wedding party circled around us and cheered for us.  We did it! We were actually and officially married! Ecstatic

Before we headed inside we spent a little while with the insanely talented Kathryn Kruger to for some bride and groom shots on our own.  We were glad we had a warm up with our engagement photo shoot in Arizona, to get a little bit more comfortable behind the camera.  It was hard not to just hug and kiss and do nothing else just because we were so so excited.  She captured some great emotions that seemed to be just naturally pouring out.  I loved the backdrop the beautiful wildflower laden field and the stone tower, what a gorgeous, natural setting! The beautiful photos now are hung all over our house and are perfect reminders of our special day.  Memories

We sealed the deal with the signing of our marriage certificate with Pastor Heath.  Our parents watched us with Lemon Kiss Martinis in hand.  I loved that they were all 4 standing there watching us make it official.  We hugged and embraced them as they shared in our joy.  I think we were also just all relieved to have made it through the ceremony without a drop of rain.  We were all breathing a little easier at this point! Release

I have to be honest and say that my least favorite part of my wedding day was taking the obligatory portraits. (I'm a realist, as you probably know by now).  I decided I wanted to go through with it because it was so important to me to have a few family shots but it was like herding cats to get everyone in line.  Those Lossmans were ready to get to the party!  Isn't it like that at every wedding though?   We were all happy to be done with the family and group shots and Blake and I got a few last pictures as the sun was setting.  In between shots my trusty bridesmaids and M-O-H bustled my dress, changed out my accessories and helped me put in a new veil and flowers in my hair.  Everything was happening so fast! Everyone tells you it will, but I didn't really believe them.  I thought I would be able to soak in each moment and just take the evening at a relaxing, enjoyable, slow pace.  Before we knew it, we were lining up to go inside to start the party!  Celebrate!

Our band announced us after our wedding party had be introduced and we then made our way to the dance floor for our first dance  We danced to Dave Barnes', "I Have and I Always Will."  I remember thinking that everyone was around us and everyone was watching and being somewhat overwhelmed by that kind of attention.  My sweet Blake, without saying anything at all, reminded me it really was our moment to have with each other.  The early signs of his incredible leadership in our relationship.  We did a few spins and a few small dips but mostly smiled at each other, kissed and took it all in.  I was dancing with my husbandUnbelievable.

Darling, we're both scared
But where love is, fear won't tread
All of these friends here agree
We're right where we should be

Underneath all your white
My Lady, My Love, My Bride
In your darkest hours
Will I love you still
I have and I always will

I guess it's because I just do
Following heaven's clues
This is a big mystery
How I found, you found me

And you are changing now
Your part of me somehow
And I will never be alone

In your darkest hours
Well I love you still
I have and I always will
I have and I always will


My parents welcomed all of our guests with a few extremely kind and thoughtful words. With my mom by his side, my dad blessed us both with his generous sentiments and proud smile.  With my dad always being a crier in the past, I thought that there was no way he would be able to get through his speech.  He did wonderfully and his kinds words will stick with me and Blake for a long time.  They certainly threw an amazing party.  I can't say thank you enough to them for all they did to make our day incredible down to every small detail! Grateful.

Because of drizzle all day long, we decided to go with the rain backup plan for seating.  Unfortunately this meant that all of our guests were not seated together as planned, but they were spread out in the gallery and also in the library for dinner. We had a plate brought to us full of our yummy dinners, we quickly ate and then said started around the rooms to say hello to our guests.  Food was delicious!  I was so pleased with how great it turned out.  I'd highly recommend Circle C Catering for both the taste and value of the food.  I was too excited to eat very much, but it sure was tasty.  With the band starting to play in the background, it was so fun to float around the rooms and see everyone.  I loved catching up with each guest, getting hugs and feeling so so loved by each of them.  I showed off my new wedding band, took pictures with our guests and thanked them for so generously coming to celebrate us.  It was so fun to see co-workers, college friends, high school friends, family friends and family from near and far.  I still can't believe how many people would travel to Austin to celebrate with us! Appreciative

We nearly missed the toasts from our Best Man & Maid of honor since we were in the Library visiting with guests. The band had introduced them, but there was no bride and groom in sight! Paul welcomed me into the family and gave Blake a bit of a tease in the process, like any big brother should. We were honored to have him raise his glass to us.  McKenna gave an always-so-eloquent yet witty speech with a Sugar Plum Fairy theme. So fitting for me and my dancer past and our sisterly history of (extremely) lengthy dance/fashion/theatre shows when we were kids.  Not sure I will be able to give one like she did when that day comes,  she did an incredible job!  Maybe one of the best MOH speeches I've ever heard!  Overflowing

It was then my turn to dance with my dad to John Mayer's "Daughters".  I let Dad pick the song and it was a great choice. We had so much fun dancing.  It felt light and not too sappy.  We laughed and reflected about the wonderful night we were having so far and how everything had fallen into place.  He had really been such a great rock for us during the whole planning process and it was fun to celebrate that moment with him. Blake danced with his mom to "Forever Young."  A sweet moment with the two of them.  Blake is so close to his mom and I'm sure it wasn't easy for her watching her baby boy "fly coup."  Sentimental

We were on board for most of the traditional traditions like a bouquet toss and garter toss.  I wasn't much of a bouquet tosser though.  I threw my flowers straight up in the air and they came down right behind me.  I think I was afraid to throw it too hard and hit something or someone!  My sweet friend Catherine and my cousin Sarah duked it out for the bouquet.  Sarah took the win, ironically Catherine got married next.  :) The Garter toss was hilarious.  My dad decided it would be funny if he pulled up a chair to watch Blake take my garter off.  I think Blake was sweating having him sit there and eye him.  Hey it was legal now! Blake got to pull of not one, but two garters!  One was the garter that my mom made me from a part of her wedding dress and the other one was a surprise Aggie garter just for B.  After the big toss our friend Steve caught the garter and paraded victoriously around with his new accessories.    Merriment

We cut our cake with a little bit of style.  We didn't really want to start our new marriage with the slamming cake in each others faces but playfully fed each other the very yummy cake.  I loved how the cakes turned out.  Our tiramisu wedding cake was almost to pretty to cut into!  Blake's groom's cake was in the shape of Camelback Mountain with us (as hikers) up on top.  The chocolate hazelnut flavor was pretty rich and delicious as well!  Sweet

We danced hard. Really hard.  Sweating and feet throbbing hard.  The band was phenomenal and people stayed on the dance floor all evening long!  Mac did a great job finding this band from another wedding she had been to.  We didn't even hear them live before we hired them.  They were awesome! I loved dancing with the my bridesmaids and all of the girls crowded around me.  I spent a good part of the night dancing with my groom too.  I loved dancing with cousins, the Taylor girls, Aunts and Uncles.  We both had a fabulous time floating around the room with all of our guests.  "We Are Family" got everyone up forming a family circle.  This tends to be a tradition at all of our family weddings.  We even got to witness what we could call a "lap dance" by my Grandma.  It was an awesome moment with grandma sitting on my grandpa's lap in his wheelchair while we spun her around with the whole family surrounding them. I was just so grateful to have so many grandparents there!  I think everyone was having a fantastic time!  The amount of people and sweaty bodies on the dance floor seemed like evidence of that! Loving every moment. 

We ended the the night dancing to "Let's Get it On" as our last song.  Yes, I realize, not the most traditional choice of last songs.  Originally we had planned for this to be our exit as we ran to the get away car.  It turned out to be a hilarious and memorable ending to our evening.  All of our friends and family were circled up around us.  It might have been a little TMI for some our our guests, but we just laughed and winked at each other.  Red in the face

Paul announced the Rudy's breakfast tacos being served outside as our guests lined up to wish us goodbye.  I couldn't believe how many people stayed late to send us off.  Ruth made beautiful yellow, white and blue streamers for everyone to wave as we headed to the car.  We climbed in and waved goodbye as we headed off to our evening at the Driskel downtown.  It still hadn't all set in that this was reality! Even more, I couldn't believe it was all over! Incredible

That's the end of our wedding story.  I'd like to think it ends, "and they lived happily ever after".....


One year later we are still living happily ever after and working hard at it.  That said, we are learning a lot, loving a lot and asking for grace and forgiveness when we fall short.   Keep reading next week to hear all about it.  :)

If you want to catch up you can start by reading about:
....and the ceremony. 

Thanks for reading!

4.14.2011

Wedding Rewind: The Big Day (Part II: The Ceremony)

I walked up the stairs and followed in line behind a beautiful line of bridesmaids in their yellow and blue.  I really had no idea it was already time to start until I was putting on my last layer of lip gloss and having my train carried up the stairs.  Our wedding coordinator was no where in sight until we met her upstairs, but that's a whole other story.  I heard the string quartet playing and the girls walked out one by one.  I had butterflies in my stomach.  I felt like I was on the edge of the high dive, about to jump off.  So so excited!  I couldn't wait to see Blake. Giddy

I peeked out from the main building and recognized all of the faces that had come near and (mostly) far to support us and watch us make the biggest commitment of our lives.  It was truly humbling to see that many people there on our behalf.  Grateful.

My most adorable flower girls and ring bearer took off down the aisle.  They overshot the center aisle and my cousin Mindy went chasing after them.  It was the perfect comic relief I needed, just in that moment, to break the tension and nerves that I was feeling.  God has a wonderful sense of humor, with perfect timing!  Plus one of my favorite pictures was captured with my dad in that moment!  :)  Release

It was my turn.  I then began walking down the aisle arm and arm with my dad.  I felt emotions coming on but I really tried to hold them back in order to experience and take it all in.   I made eye contact with a couple people here and there, but then I saw my groom standing at the end of the aisle waiting for me.  Seeing his face gave me all the peace in the world.  A sense of relief flooded in.  I was then again reminded what all this preparation, decoration, and gathering was all for.  There was deep purpose and it was right in front of me.  Reality

My mom joined us at the front of the aisle.  It was really perfect having her there by my side, just as much as it was having my dad there with me.  She has always been my champion and my dear friend.  I wouldn't have had it any other way then having both of my parents stand up with me and give me away.   Heath welcomed the crowd and then prayed over the next 45 or so minutes, head bowed with my parents on either side of me.  It was time for my dad to give me away.  I couldn't believe it that he made it all the way down the aisle without any tears.  He proudly said, "Her mother and I."  Bittersweet

I made it up the steps without tripping (phew!) and stood face to face with Blake.  He literally did not take his eyes off of me the entire time.  They were glued on to me - it was pretty magical.  At that moment, the sun peaked itself out of the clouds and shone on our faces.  I couldn't even believe it.  It felt like a made-for-the-movies moment.  I laughed and smiled with a sigh of relief.  I think the entire group of guests just relaxed as the sun came out.  Surreal
We had written our vows and had worked hard to capture the extent of the commitment we were making to one another in the words we recited in front of our dear friends and family.  Heath guided us through the ceremony, putting God as the center of the evening, giving Him the honor and praise.  Our vows were pretty lengthy too, at one point I stumbled over a few words, getting tongue tied as I said them out loud.  Blake never flinched, nor did he take his eyes off me the entire time.  Committed


With this ring I give myself to you. All that I am, all that I hope to be. I will lovingly commit myself to you. To love you for who you are. I will love you as Jesus Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. I will love you as I love my own body. I will love you until my death. I will honor you as a joint heir of the Grace of God all my life.


Liz sang 'How Great is Our God' as a true worship to Him.  It's impossible to think about not having Him as the center of the day.  He deserves all of the credit and worship for what He has done in our lives and the creative, patient way he crafted us into who we are to make us right for one another.  He is so Great.  His plan is bigger and greater than we can grasp.  Our best response is to simply worship and honor him with our voices.  Humbled

While Liz continued to lead our guests, Blake and I had communion on our own.  It was such a special thing to enjoy our first meal together as husband and wife as the sanctifying meal that Christ provides for us in communion.  It was a sacred time for us be alone and step away from the crowd that was watching us and have a moment of our own with our God.  This was the only time that I showed outward emotion throughout the whole ceremony.  I remember Blake and I both praying for us as a newly married couple, for our new journey and adventure, for our roles as husband as wife, for our future children and merging of two families.  The journey was just starting here today.  Makes me so excited to see what will unfold for our lives together.  Honored

We were finally announced us as husband and wife, the moment we had been waiting for! We practiced our kiss so many times, I think it was pretty perfect. :)  It sounded so crazy to hear my name next to Blake's name officially as Mrs. Parrish.  That was for sure going to take some getting used to after being a Lossman my whole life!  Something in me decided to give Blake another kiss on the cheek as we turned to face the crowd.  It was sort of an awkward fumble, but a memorable and personal moment as well.  Thrilled!

It was an overwhelming moment looking out at all of our friends and family and completely feeling struck with awe and joy.  All of their faces radiated that back to us completely.  We paused at the top of the steps and took it in before we nearly skipped back down the aisle full of excitement! Joyful.

To be continued....


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

4.13.2011

Wedding Rewind: The Big Day (Part I: Getting Ready)

I got into bed the night before, refreshing the weather forecast over and over again, trying to anticipate which hour the rains would hit again the next day.  I didn't really have much optimism for sunny skies.  I somehow drifted off to sleep thinking about our back up plan and different scenarios, over and over again.  It's almost a miracle I got any slept at all.  Rest.

I woke up the next morning well before my alarm went off - not entirely surprising on your wedding day.  It truly was unreal that it was the morning of my wedding day.  My sister heard me stirring and woke up as well.  She climbed into bed with me and we enjoyed a few minutes of sister time before we got moving.  I looked outside and the skies looked gloomy, but that wasn't going to change anything about what was officially going to happen today.  I was going to marry the love of my life rain or shine!  It's here. 

My Aunt Sue generously threw me a wonderful bridal shower that morning at the hotel in my parents' hospitality suite.  We had breakfast tacos, fruit, granola and mimosas.  I sipped on my mimosa, but couldn't eat much - butterflies!  We also had a chance to do one of the traditions that I have seen some of my older cousins do at their weddings.  Each girl pulled a ribbon out of the (beautiful!) wildflower themed cake to find a unique charm. I got to read the meaning of each charm to each girl as a special "wish" to them.  It was a sweet time to be able to honor my bridesmaids and house party and toast them for all they have done for me to make this special day possible.  My mom was teary as she thanked all of the girls as well for the roles they have played in my life and how they are truly some of the closest women to me.  I loved having so many special women in one room: grandmothers, aunts, cousins, moms, sisters and friends.  Overjoyed.

We wrapped up breakfast and the hair and make-up ladies knocked on the door shortly after.  "J" set up in my parents bedroom and Nisa and her assistant took over the tables in the suite.  Each girl got primped and beautified.  It was so fun to see everyone get all made up.  While we waited, we had a relaxing morning sitting on the bed chatting, laughing and just being girls.  I felt so loved and celebrated and the day had just begun! We were running a little behind schedule, but I knew there wasn't too much I could do about it, even though I checked my watch and schedule over and over again. Everyone was looking so pretty.  Looking back on pictures - I really think I have the most beautiful wedding party.  Each girl looked incredible! God's beauty.

It was finally my turn to get my hair done. J and I had practiced once before for my bridal portraits, so I wasn't too worried at all. I asked her to give it a bit more volume this time. I loved how it turned out. I felt so glamorous! I also had practiced make up for my portraits with Nisa. I trusted her completely to make me look my very best. I think she did a fantastic job with my smoky eyes, rosy cheeks and natural lips. She was just a joy to work with. I had all of the girls except for my mom and my sister go ahead to the venue while I finished up. We quickly got all my things together as Kathryn was snapping a few pictures here and there and then headed to the Wildflower Center. I was trying not to stress that it was raining the whole way there (okay, I was stressing and so was my mom). The skies looked a bit scary actually. Regardless, I had confidence that everything would get taken care of and the back up plan would turn out okay if we had to go that route. Still trying to breathe.

I met all of my bridesmaids and house party down in one of the class rooms that would serve as our bridal suite for the day.  The flowers had already arrived and they were beautiful.  I loved all of the different textures and dimensions - they were just what I had invisioned!  I asked the girls to start getting into their dresses so they could help me after they were done.  They looked fantastic in their navy.  I loved how they tied their bows all different ways too.  The yellow shoes were so striking too against the gloom of the rain.  I loved how each pair of shoes showed off their personal style. Proud

Kathryn and her assistant arrived and we decided it was time to get into my dress.  I loved being surrounded by all of my girls as they helped me primp and climb into the layers of silk taffeta and tulle.  They pinned in my veil, touched up my lips, strung on my pearls, sprayed the perfume I had picked out for my big day, slipped on my heels for me and oohhhed and ahhhed over me, making me feel so special!  I really did feel my very best that day.  It's amazing how a gorgeous white dress can make you feel like a million bucks.  My mom tied my bow and slipped my garter on.  I was ready to go. Ecstatic

We headed upstairs to take some portraits before the ceremony.  The parasols we had ordered definitely came in handy to shield us from the drizzle outside.  We started insight taking a few individual shots and then went outside to utilize the beautiful surroundings of the venue.  Everything was fully in bloom - bright greens and beautiful, vibrant colors the flowers were a gorgeous contrast to the grey skies. Striking

I got to see all my flower girls and ring bearer before hand.  They looked adorable in their yellow dresses and ballet slippers and Carter in his tux.  He looked so grown up!  The flower wreaths on their heads made them look like little princesses!  They looked excited to be all dressed up.  I was honored to have them as a part of my day. Adorable

My dad did not want to see my dress or even a picture of it before wedding day.  It was a really special moment to have him see me all dressed up before the ceremony.  Tears welled up in his eyes.  I got a bit teary too - but somehow managed to keep it under control.  We took a few pictures during the last few minutes as a family of 4.  It was a really special moment for me and for him.  Next, my family and bridal party prayed over me before the ceremony was set to begin. Cherishing the moments. 

It was show time.  Time for what we were here for.  Time for what Blake and I had waited so long for.  I headed up the stairs, the girls grabbed my train, time to line up so we could walk down the aisle, just like the song says, "here comes the bride".......


To be continued....

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

4.12.2011

Anniversary Week

I cannot even believe that it's already been a year since B and I tied the knot!  It truly feels like our wedding was just a few weeks or months ago.  To countdown to the 16th, I thought I would post a few posts reflecting on our wedding week, rehearsal and wedding day.  I started this concept of 'Wedding Rewind' SEVERAL months ago and never got around to finishing it.  Now feels like the perfect time. 

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




So sorry to leave you hanging so many months ago!

Stay tuned this week for more posts about our wedding day and all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions leading up to it!  I promise, I'm going to finish telling you this story.  

And many, many, many more years full of them!

4.11.2011

Menu Plan Monday

Friday:  Grilled Mahi, Cucumber Salad & Quinoa
Saturday:  My family is in town for for dad's bday!
Sunday:  Another detox salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad with Shrimp
Monday:  Pilgrim Sammies & Garden Salad
Tuesday:  Veggie burgers, salad and sweet potato fries
Wednesday:  A visit by Ruth! 
Thursday:  Butternut Risotto with baby bellas and a side salad

4.10.2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

...an oldie but a goodie :)
So so happy to be able to celebrate with you this weekend.  I can't wait for a weekend full of BBQ, wildflowers and most importantly great family time with all 5 of us together!  I know that means so much to you and it does to me too! 

I love sharing my half birthday with you too :)

Hoping your day is great and you feel so loved and special.  We love you so much!

4.08.2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Pecan Crusted Trout

I stumbled on a recipe from Sheryl Crow's new cookbook last week.  This was a great way to have some fish with a little extra protien with the nuts on top. It also has a yummy southern-goodness type taste to it.  I love pecan crusted anything (chicken, etc) so this was a hit at our house.

I would say this is 98% her recipe, I made a couple tweaks here and there.  Hope you enjoy! 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp salt - I added this (it needed it!)
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped pecans
Four 4- to 5-ounce skin-on trout fillets
2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:
In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, seasoning, and garlic powder. In a second dish, whisk together the egg and milk. Put the pecans in a third dish or plate. Coat the side of a fillet without the skin with the flour and then with the egg wash. Press it gently into the pecans to coat thoroughly. Repeat with the remaining trout fillets, so that all 4 are coated on the side without skin. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat and when hot, sear the trout, skin side up, for 2 minutes. Turn the fish fillets gently with a spatula and sear the skin side for 2 minutes longer. Turn down heat and put a lid on your skillet until cooked through.

4.07.2011

Our Newest Family Member....

Are we prego?? ......nope.

New pet, dog or cat??......nope.

Maybe a houseplant??......nope.

Introducing the newest addition to our [bike] family......



We got a great deal this weekend on a new roadbike at a sale at Bicycle Sport Shop.  We couldn't pass it up.  We've been on the hunt for a roadbike for me for several months now and this seemed like the right one for the right price!  I love it!  I can't even believe how much more I already like riding thanks to better equipment underneath me!  It's so much easier to climb the hills.  I can't wait for some longer rides and a chance to get out to the velloway! 

I'm not sure who is more excited, B or me!  :)  Now I just need to get over my fear of clipping in and stop 'faking it' on top of my pedals.  Yikes!

Any ideas of what to name him/her?

4.06.2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Carmelized Onion and Pear Salad

This spring I'm craving all sorts of fresh, sweet and unique ingredients for my salads.  It's been fun to switch it up from my winter veggies-only salads.  I think we're going to be hooked on this one, maybe because of my hubby's love of onions of any sort, but also because it's just such a great combo of flavors together!

1/2 Onion sliced into thin strips
1 pear sliced
1 small handful gorgonzola (I use the light kind if I can find it)
Candied pecans
Spring Mix or Spinach

Dressing: 1 squirt of honey, 1/2 lemon juiced, 1 squirt of dijon mustart, 1 splash of apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil.  How is that for not-so-exact directions?

Directions: Slice onion and saute with a small bit of olive oil on low to medium head until carmelized in a skillet. Slice pears and spread over spring mix or spinach.  Top with onions, cheese and pecans and lightly dress!  Yum!

4.05.2011

We Finished!

Two weekends ago we ran the Cap City 10K here in Austin.  Blake runs a couple of times a week with our friend Bryan in the mornings.  I've been stepping up my running here and there, but was definately nurvous about running 6.2 miles without stopping. 

We rode our bikes downtown (a quick 2 mile stretch from our house) to avoid crazy parking issues and traffic.  It was so chilly that morning in my running shorts and tank top!  After valeting our bikes (how cool is that?  one of the 1,583,885,031 things I love about austin) we made it to the start line to meet our friends on the Congress Bridge.  It was insane how many people were there.  We heard 23K were running/walking that day!

I FINNISHED!!  It was so fun to be around all the runners.  There was so much energy, you didn't want to stop at all!  There were a few bands mixed throughout the course as well and that was so nice to look forward to. 

I am pretty excited that I didn't stop!  We are toying with the idea of doing a half marathon in the fall.  Not sure if my knees can handle it. What are your thoughts on running a half?

4.04.2011

Menu Plan Monday

We've already started the week with some yummy meals this weekend.  Lots of travel for us this week so keeping it simple in the kitchen. 

Friday:  Pecan Crusted Trout, Edemame Sucotash & Salad
Saturday:  Final 4 Party
Sunday:  Tomatillo Pork Tenderloin, Black Beans & Mango/Avacado Salad
Monday:  Zuchini Mushroom Quiche and Salad
Tuesday:  Cous Cous with Shrimp, Broccoli & Lemon Vinegarette
Wednesday:  Feta Spinach Sausage & Salad
Thursday:  Homemade Pizza

3.29.2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Shrimp Ceviche

Ever since our honeymoon, B and I have been obsessed with ceviche.  It's so light, fresh and healthy.  I think I ordered it at least once a day on our honeymoon.  Blake's co-worker shared his favorite Peruvian recipe with us and I put my own spin on it.  Here you go, enjoy!

1 lb of raw shrimp- shelled and deviened
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice (you can just use all lime juice if you wnat)
1 garlic clove
1 small spicy pepper
1/4 tbsp ginger grated
1/2 small onion diced
2 tablespoon of cilantro
1 diced avocado

Bring water to boil and cook shrimp for 1 minute.  Cool, then mix together with remaining ingredients. 
Let sit for approx 30 minssit for a couple minutes. Add cilantro & avocado and serve. 

Next we are planning on trying it with raw fish! 

FYI -It's important to cook your shrimp so the juices don't turn it into a rubbery texture.

I think I owe you one more recipe this week, so stay tuned!

3.28.2011

Menu Plan Monday

So sorry I was MIA last week!  Quite the week and it really flew by! :) 

I spent most of the week in Arizona for some business meetings.  I was able to reconnect with both sides of grandparents.  It was a sweet treat to be able to spend some quality time with them.  I've really missed being close to them geographically.  I was thankful for our time together. 

This week I've had the chance to stock up the fridge and cook some healthy and tasty meals for us.  Looking forward to a 'normal' week in town and a chance to get in the kitchen and come up with some tasty, spring-like dishes.

Saturday:  BBQ Ribs, Summer Salad & baked beans
Sunday:  Grilled trout, Zuchini & Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes
Monday:  BBQ Shrimp & Spring Salad
Tuesday:  Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans
Wednesday:  Chinese Chicken Salad
Thursday:  Grilled chicken, Procuitto wrapped Asparagus with Goat Cheese

3.22.2011

Starting the Day

I've enjoyed the last two mornings seeing the sun come up.  I've been blessed by seeing God's beauty each morning and almost have forgotten how much I love mornings. It's a sweet time of day. 

I need to do a better job of taking in that special time of day since I work from home and usually don't take the time to enjoy it's blessings on a morning commute or some time to just simply pause instead of just leaving barely enough time to jump into my day. 

I love that newness that mornings offer.  Thank you Lord for allowing me to wake up today and that you renew me each day by your spirit!   

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

3.20.2011

Menu Plan Monday

Once again, I'll be on the road this week.  A couple meal ideas for when I get back....

Asparagus, Chicken and Tortellini in a lemon tarragon sauce
Shrimp and Red Curry Risotto
Grilled Chicken with green beans and almonds

3.18.2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Spring Quinoa with Shrimp

I really wanted to post about our favorite, and very healthy side dish, this week, but realized I posted about our Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" a while back.  If you are craving mashed potatoes and want to limit your carbs, this is a great way to go!

Since spring is around the corner I am always looking for ways for our meals to taste flavorful yet light.  I love this meal when I'm in a fix for something fast and fresh tasting and almost in just one pot.   The mint is somewhat suprising but really makes the dish come 'alive'.

Ingredients:
Frozen Shrimp (enough for 2 ample portions)
2 C Quinoa
Olive Oil 2T
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 large chopped tomato
3 T chopped mint
1 cucumber peeled and diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Defrost your uncooked shrimp while cooking your quinoa in a dutch oven.  Meanwhile, saute onion and then add garlic.  Once defrosted, cook shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Incorporate tomatoes and stir in cooked quinoa.  Add all other ingredients and season to taste.  Enjoy! 

I used the rest of the mint and lemon with some sliced cucumber in a pitcher of water for a refreshing treat for the week.

3.17.2011

Kitchen Organization Tip

On of my favorite organizational tools in my kitchen is a pot rack we found at Ikea when we first moved in.  In our last house, we had tons of kitchen space, complete with pull out drawers that housed our pots and pans and their lids with ample space.  We have a little less space under our cooktop in our Texas house so we needed something so the lids wouldn't go flying every time we need one that's under the stack. 

I highly reccomend it - super affordable too!

3.16.2011

Scenes from the Weekend: Part II Around Town

Saturday was an incredibly beautiful day.  It would have been insane to stay inside.  So we didn't. 

We woke up and went to the Henderson's to barrow (babysit) Charis for the morning.  We stopped at Mozart's for a latte and a breakfast taco by the lake.  Charis waved to all of the dogs on their morning outings and we enjoyed the breeze blowing off the lake.  One of those days where you never want Spring to end. 

Next we headed to a farmer's market at Barton Creek Mall.  It's a really great market full of unique finds and beautiful produce.  We snagged some blacked shrimp and salmon boudin sausage.  It sounded too good to pass up for dinner that night.  After dropping it off at the house, we headed down to Town Lake for a walk. 

Good thing Charis loves the stroller, because we walked for a long time!  We started off at South First and Riverside and walked East and then up through Travis Heights- checking out all of the amazing houses on the hill.  A great leg workout.  :)  We strolled by Hotel St. Cecelia and down South Congress on our way back. 

Only in Austin would you see this, mixed in with SXSW on a Saturday on South Congress....
I got to enjoy a great lunch with two of my dear college friends at Central Market.  It was so fun to be together.  It felt just like old times!  I loved the chance to catch up!  What a great Saturday blessing!

Blake had a great idea to ride our bikes down South Lamar to check out some of the thrift stores and local boutiques rather than hassle with traffic.  Again - a great leg workout!  We popped into a few that I had yet to check out.  We didn't take home any finds but it was great to see what was out there. 

On our way down Lamar we noticed that there was a camera crew and a shiny black suburban at the Gourdoughs trailer park.  We noticed a good looking dude with large and very white smile.  I think he might have been a host for some entertainment show or something like that - I skip out on shows like that so I really have no idea who he was.  A few seconds later Jake Gyllenhaal popped out of the suburban and sat down for an interview.  Like crazy tourists, we snapped a few photos on my iphone. :)  (I promise that's really him in the pic)

The rest of the evening we shopped for groceries and made a fantastic dinner and again enjoyed the weather, eating outside on the patio.  Our bodies were exhausted - I wonder how many calories we burned biking and walking!

Sunday AM we were sore but drug ourselves out of bed and headed to the Greenbelt for a hike.  We went to a part of the Greenbelt we hadn't been before and it was a great hike and so beautiful.  Here's a pic of a huge tree, part of the gorgeous scenery on the hike.  (Sorry for the ugly iphone pic, it's all we had with us)


Our weekend wrapped up with a great service at church and then a dinner to wind down and get ready for the week.  It was a fantastic weekend - I loved spending it with my hubby and getting some great one on one time together.  :) I hope it's just a beautiful next week!

3.15.2011

Scenes from the Weekend: Part I SXSW

We had an awesome time enjoying our city this weekend.  The city has exploded with SXSW in town.  I think it nearly has doubled the city in size!  There is so much going on, so much hustle and bustle and so much energy.  It's pretty exciting!  We wanted to check it out on Friday night so we decided to get our workout in by jogging downtown and taking it all in. 

One of the coolest elements of South By are the pop ups - showcasing all of the new technology.  This is the Playstation pop up store.  The screens outside were huge.  Right across from the convention center, it really made a statement. 



Pepsi converted an empty parking lot into a huge party space full of food, drinks and live music.  The transformation was amazing.  It got you asking, what was there before?



This was once Max's Wine Dive and now has been converted into the CNN Grill exclusively for SXSW.  A stage and tour bus were outside.  I can't even believe the size of that sign - all just for 2 weeks!


The pop up Apple store was definately getting all of the attention.  The store popped up just in time for the ipad 2 to be released at 5pm.  The line wrapped around the building and down the block.  I can't believe how fast this store came together.  Rumor has it, they started loading merchandise in around noon to open doors at 5.  Insane!  We ran into Blake's good friend Adam, in from Cali.  Can't wait to hang out with them later in the week. :)

After dinner, we headed back home for a quiet dinner, grilling kabobs on the patio.  We then got away from the city and headed out 290 to the Nutty Brown Cafe to hear a great 80's band with some of Blake's co-workers.  It was a fun and chilly evening!  A nice escape from the craziness going on downtown!
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