5.31.2014

wedding planning [honeymoon]

When I got engaged back in December, I was ready to take on everything that had to do with wedding planning. Even though at that time the wedding was over a year away, I was too excited (and too OCD) to wait. I believe we got back from our cruise and saw our first venue within the next few days. It was one I always thought I would get married at, but the feeling wasn't there when we visited and the price kind of blew us out of the water. I was disappointed, but it just wasn't the right fit. We continued looking, later finding our venue the next week with our moms by our sides. It was a special moment, and I knew it was the place even as we were simply driving up to it.

To me, gut feelings are how you should decide on most everything, especially when it comes to your wedding. That little voice that whispers "this is it." You want you and your future hubby to be reflected in all aspects of that special day. It is in fact your day.

Matt definitely lets me take the reigns of planning, mostly because he's a guy. But also because he knows this is what most little girls dream of and I was one of those girls, and also because we mesh well together. What I like, he likes, and vice versa. Most of the time.

I was gun-ho for our venue right away. It took him two-and-a-half hours to warm up to it, just because he likes to see all the options...and prices. I get it in the logistics of things, but I wasn't giving up on the "heart wants what it wants" thing. We saw one other venue that day, and the feeling was dead there...for both of us, including our moms. Nothing we saw really compared. Granted we had only seen three prior to making our final decision. We booked the venue the same day we saw it.

It's honestly perfect.
Outdoors with a Tuscan feel and just a magical feeling. That's the most important part. I can see our friends and family there, and I can see Matt at the end of the aisle, and I can see our first dance.

With a love for Italy, the Tuscan style really sold us both, and that swayed us into looking into Italy for our honeymoon. We've both been before, but never truly experienced it. I was in high school when I went, and while I did a lot, I was a teenager with no appreciation. He's been on tour, but all he sees is the inside of a bus and a venue.

We contemplated a beach honeymoon for a millisecond, but with a fear of sharks and a love for adventures (and wine), we decided on Italy. My mom is an excellent trip planner, and laid it all out for us. How many days here, where to stay, what to do. She's been a real lifesaver.

I'm happy to say that we booked our flights to Italy. We will be spending two weeks there as newlyweds. Starting in Rome, traveling to Positano, traveling to Florence, and ending in Venice. Our last day in Venice is actually my birthday. SCORE!

I feel incredibly fortunate to have this chance to marry a wonderful person, enjoy a beautiful ceremony and reception as I had always dreamed of, and travel across the world to one of the most magical places. I don't take any of it for granted. We have the love and support of our families and friends, which I can't be thankful enough for.

We also have the work ethic and the "responsible" way of thinking that has allowed us to make this all possible. No, we don't take a lot of trips or go on a lot of dates, but we have a whole lot to look forward to because of it. It's not easy (as you read here), but it will be so worth it.

Always keep the bigger picture in mind. Always.

Our flight confirmations!




5.29.2014

exploring arizona

Matt and I headed up north yesterday to explore Page, Arizona. It's something we've been wanting to do for quite awhile, mostly because Antelope Canyon is up there. We explored the canyon, which was surreal, headed to Horseshoe Bend, and ended the day at Lake Powell. I'll have a vlog up soon!










 

5.28.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Girlfriends
I love these gals so much! So supportive, loving, and funny!
 2. Puppy play
Charlie met Padme for the first time and they loved each other!

3. Sushi
Enough said! 

5.23.2014

foodie fridays

[recipe via Food Network]
With Memorial Day approaching, this looks like the perfect dessert to serve at a family get-together or party. We will be having a party. Maybe I will whip this up!


Ingredients

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pecans
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For the filling:
1 2/3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
5 cups mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries and blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dry sherry


Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Make the crust: Pulse the flour, pecans, sugar and salt in a food processor until the pecans are finely ground. Pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons ice-cold water and pulse until the dough just comes together.

Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disk, wrap and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Put the dough in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust begin turning golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and continue baking until the crust is golden brown, 15 to 20 more minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the filling: Whisk 1 cup milk, the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Heat the remaining 2/3 cup milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. While whisking, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and is very thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust and refrigerate until set, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make the topping: Toss the berries, sugar and sherry in a bowl and let sit at room temperature, 20 minutes. Top the tart with the berries.



5.21.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. Reunion
Matt came home! blessthefall played a home show and then he came home with me. I was so happy!
2. Top of the Rock
We had a staycation at The Buttes and really enjoyed ourselves. Dinner at this place was amazing. I had carnitas and Matt had a fancy version of chicken and waffles. Drooling! After dinner, they set us up outside with champagne and we stayed (unknowingly) until after they closed. It was perfect.
3. Baby Miles
My sister and her family came in town. It was nice to see them, especially my little nephews!

5.16.2014

two years


happy two year anniversary.

to the one person who will never fail to make my heart skip two beats. not just one.
who makes my stomach hurt from laughing.
whose heart is two sizes too big.

i can't wait to marry you.
i can't believe i get to keep you.

i love you, matt.


[if you need us...we will be smooching, eating pizza, and drinking daquiris by the pool all weekend.]




foodie fridays

I love guacamole. Like sometimes I feel like I could be in a relationship with it. I would probably love it more that it loved me, so it would never work.

Anyways...

Pear and Pistachio Guacamole, anyone? Thanks, Food Network.


Ingredients

3 Hass avocados, halved, pitted and cubed
2 firm ripe Seckel pears or 1 large Anjou pear, cored and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno, minced with some seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios
Lime wedges, for serving
Blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

Directions

Toss together the avocados and pears in a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice, coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the garlic and jalapenos until combined. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the pistachios and serve with lime wedges and blue corn tortilla chips.



5.15.2014

the inbetweens of goodbye's and hello's

Can I be honest? I did say I was going to be more honest and candid on here, didn't I?

Being away from Matt has been f*cking hard. Like, really hard.

Which is strange because most of the tours he goes on I can handle life and being alone and managing our house and dogs just fine...after the first night. The first night is full of snotty pillows and tears I could fill a 32 oz jug with. Then after my emotional breakdown I move on, and I start anew in the morning. I have a life. I have my routine. I have a lot going on outside my relationship. That all makes the distance and the time easier.

But hell, this time nothing filled that void. I was pissed. I was sad. I was confused. I was all sorts of "hot mess" emotions. And he knew it. He asked me if I was medicated once. Obviously joking.
I think..

I don't know what made this time so different and so much tougher than the others. I thought after two years of this "hello - goodbye" relationship I would be a pro at it. I was mistaken. Maybe it's because we had two months together before he left, which made his presence comfortable and dependable. Or maybe it's because I had so much going on that I just needed that like physical support. He is a damn good virtual support, but sometimes you just need a hug and maybe a bowl of ice cream handed to you while you sink further into the oblivion of the couch.

I didn't go out to visit him this time, which s u c k e d.
I usually don't get to go out anyways (and it's not that big of a deal), unless it's summer and I'm not broke. As a teacher, this is rare, but sometimes we make it work. Going out to visit just wasn't plausible, even though it's the only thing I wanted. If you read one of my recent posts (here), you know the stress monster I've been.

So, where am I going with this?

Sometimes it's hard to have the bigger picture in your head. You want the golden egg, and you want it now (any Willy Wonka fans out there?) Sometimes the things you want right, right now just aren't feasible with the more important things you want in the future. I guess this was a lesson I needed to be taught this time around.

Right now it's time to be an adult, work my job, save money, collect vacation days. Sounds boring, but necessary in order to make sure our wedding is nothing short of magical and well-planned. This is something I've waited my whole life for. I needed to change my outlook in order to appreciate the bigger and better thing that is coming my way.

He comes home today. After 39 days apart, I can finally have my hug and maybe that bowl of ice cream.






5.14.2014

what i'm lovin' wednesday

1. New locks
I sometimes get that spontaneous urge to change my hair, and then I do. So...now I'm a blondie.
2. Lip Scrub
This stuff is BOMB. I got it from Abe's Market.




 3. Bridal Magazines
Something about flipping through these pages and drinking coffee is so relaxing.




5.13.2014

nasty gal wish list

I need. I want. Why is Nasty Gal like a trap? You get stuck on there and realize you can't get out without purchasing anything.



5.11.2014

sunday spark

[image source]

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO MY MOM, SISSY, MOM-IN-LAW, AND SIS-IN-LAW!
Also, Happy Birthday to my sissy!
Love you all so much!



5.10.2014

taking on too much


Okay guys, for awhile there (the past few weeks) I felt so incredibly stressed. I was working a lot. It's the end of the school year, so it's chaos. I had a dog I thought was sick because of some alarming vet test results. I had a personal training textbook that seemed too daunting with anatomy that I refused to touch it. I had social media and a blog to keep up with, which may seem silly to some, but when they become somewhat of a second job then it really isn't all that silly.

So, whyyy did I take on another project?

1. I always wanted a YouTube Channel

and

2. I have so many ideas that I want to put in motion and goals to accomplish

and

3. I must be crazy.

I tend to have these ideas and I want to set them all in motion at once. Then I find myself in a whirlwind of stress. It's a common cycle for me. I know I do it to myself, so I won't play the whole "woe is me" bit...for too long at least.

I've always been so after everything in life. I want things and I want them now. I don't feel like wasting any time, especially when it comes to pursuing my dreams. I truly believe that working your ass off gets you places, hence the aforementioned "stress whirlwind."

Right now, I feel much better in the place I'm at. Perhaps, I've gotten the hang of vlogging and editing and uploading and exploring the wonderful world of YouTube. Or perhaps, my time management skills have significantly improved in the past couple days. Or perhaps, I knew I could handle it all along. Well, at least for now.

My question to you is, when do you know you're taking on too much?



5.09.2014

foodie fridays

[image source: Cooking Light]

Pain Perdu

Whaaaa?
Similar to French Toast, but a lil' fancier.
"Pain Perdu--literally "lost bread"--was traditionally a simple breakfast of day-old French bread dredged in beaten eggs and pan-fried in butter."
 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 (1-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberry halves
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 

Preparation

Combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer in a large shallow dish. Pour milk mixture over bread, and let stand until milk is absorbed (about 2 minutes).
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Arrange 8 bread slices in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is golden brown. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 8 bread slices.
Combine 2 cups water, wine, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat. Add fruit to pan, stirring well to coat. Serve sauce with bread slices. Sprinkle each serving with powdered sugar.

mother's day sale


SALE! SALE! SALE! 
For the first time ever, both of my ebooks are on sale at the same time. 
Each one is $5.00, so you're getting 2-for-$10! 

Each ebook contains:
  • healthy recipes to get you bikini ready
  • detailed instructions
  • pictures
  • calorie and macro info
  SALE ENDS SUNDAY. 




5.08.2014

morning routine

A peek into my mornings before I head into work. There are enough hours in the day to complete the things you find important. You just have to utilize your time. Maybe wake up earlier. Get a planner. Set aside distractions, like the TV or your phone.




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