Thursday, September 25, 2014

One Hundred

This is my ONE HUNDREDTH POST!

While this may not seem like a giant cause for celebration (ESPECIALLY considering how long I've had this blog, HAAAAAA), it's actually pretty cool to me. Three digits? Whaaaaaat.

So, seeing as how I've hit the triple digits AND Hubs and my first anniversary is this weekend, I thought maaaaaaybe I'd entertain you with some THROWBACKTHURSDAY wedding pictures?

Along with a ridiculously cheesy narration, of course.

You didn't think I'd let you down on the cheese factor, did you? I aim to please :)


Here's to the next hundred posts!

(Thank you if you're still reading this)

---

Pre-ceremony: I didn't want many "getting ready" pictures, but I did prefer for all of our bridal party pictures to be taken beforehand - therefore leaving more time for dancing, eating, and cake. Hubs and I opted to not take a "first look" pic, so our girls' pictures were scheduled two hours before the ceremony, and the guys were to arrive an hour before.

I tell you all of this because many of the guys decided to get there VERY early - and my VERY-soon-to-be husband was with them. So here we are, in the garden beside the ceremony area, taking pictures, and realize we (read: I) have to run for a hiding place.

Thankfully I was able to situate myself (read: SQUAT) behind a VERY LARGE BUSH and remain hidden. Which is quite impressive considering that dress weighed about 30 pounds and I was in 4.4 inch heels IN THE DIRT!




So needless to say, this is me saying "Are they gone?! Am I still hidden?! Can you see the tissues in my armpits???"

Priorities.

I will forever be grateful that our photographer captured that moment.

And those heels? Yep:


Glitter for DAAAAYYYYYS.




Hubs is a Mississippi State graduate through and through. This was my surprise gift to him right before the ceremony. It's a maroon cowbell (State fans will understand!) with our last name and wedding date engraved on it. Love :)


A kiss for Dad before the walk down the aisle :)



Like I said, we decided NOT to see each other before the ceremony, but Ben surprised me (with the help of our AWESOME wedding planner) minutes before the start of the ceremony and asked (through the door) if we could pray together. It was such a special moment for us.

...and obviously for that woman with the large derrière in the photo behind us. 



 OFFICIALLY MR. & MRS!
We were pretty pumped.
And I know you can't tell, but this 5'2 girl got some SERIOUS air, despite the heels!


AND THEN...

It was CAKE TIME.


Have I mentioned my Husband is a State fan?
And those strawberries? I almost FAINTED right there.
SO GOOD.


We toasted with Cheerwine - one of Hubs' favorite drinks:


And then....voila.


Perfection.

---

I HAVE to post this picture -- because you can LITERALLY tell how READY I was to dig in.
Here is Hubs' best man, giving such a sweet, heartfelt speech. They have such a great history together, and he was so genuinely happy for us.

This happiness, however, came in the form of a 20-minute speech.
Okay, I'm exaggerating. But have mercy I WANTED CAKE!

Hence, the "hip prop" and the notable facial expression:



Fun fact: Our wedding cake topper was handcrafted to look like us! 
Christa from Tippy Top Creations did SUCH a fantastic job and I cannot brag on her enough!

A few months before the wedding, we sent her two pictures of us, as well as a photo of my dress and she carved and crafted it to look just like us! She even included the small lace details on my dress and put a little BLING on my left hand!



So then we danced....


And it was wonderful.

...and this will forever be my favorite picture of that night:


My grandparents.
Married for 50+ years, still beaming like they just got married.
LOVE.


Happy (almost) Anniversary, Ben!





Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Favorites

So...where is this year going?

Because in just SIX SHORT DAYS Hubs and I will celebrate our FIRST wedding anniversary!

If all goes well, next week we'll be spending some time in the Folly Beach-Charleston, South Carolina area, where we spent our honeymoon last year.


Kayakin' at Sunset in Folly!


But not before we make a PIT STOP at my parents' house to eat the top layer of our WEDDING CAKE!



Cake + Beach. I shall be a happy gal indeed :)

I may or may not eat the entire thing. But we'll see.

I mean, why else would I do this crazy boot camp thing AMIRIGHT????


***

Moving on! Here are a few favorites from the past week:


ONE. To get us a little more pumped up with our St. Jude half marathon training, my friend Lauren sent me this article: The DOs and DO NOTs of Running Your First Marathon from TheOatmeal blog. So funny - even if you're not a runner.

Source: The Oatmeal


TWO. We visited my parents' house this week so I could take my wedding dress and veil to be heirloomed (preserved), and WOW was it hard to leave it at the bridal shop. I may or may not have felt a few tears in my eyes when we walked away from the store. BUT! It was nothing my mom's homemade apple pie couldn't remedy!


Sub-par picture, yet a wonderful, homemade taste :)


THREE. While we were out, Hubs and I grabbed some lunch at La Madeliene - a fun little cafe right across the street from the shop. A group of us ate there the day we found my wedding dress, so it's pretty special to me. Not to mention the food is incredible and they have the BEST tomato bisque on this earth. SO GOOD.







FOUR. "10 Things I've Learned in My Career" by Joanna Goddard on her blog. Very encouraging for those of us who are still just kind of...trying to figure out life.


FIVE. This is post #99 on my little bloggerdoodle. Which means post #100 HAS to be something special, right? I'm currently in brainstorm mode...merherherrrrr.


Happy Monday, folks!

Friday, September 19, 2014

BENterest

Y'all.

My husband has discovered my Pinterest account.

Not in the sense that I was hiding it from him. I mean in the sense that he never really paid much attention to all of the hype about Pinterest - it was just a thing.
Until yesterday.

Boy oh boy --- what can of worms have we opened here?

After our workout yesterday morning, Hubs happened to pick up our iPad and - for some reason - was drawn to the little "P" that is the Pinterest app (like a fly to a zapper!!!!). I have no idea how this happened or what provoked this action, as I was a little busy trying to de-grass and de-stinkify myself from the morning. AKA ASTROTURF.

{One of these days I might muster up the courage to take a post-workout photo to illustrate just how hard core we look, what with our scratches and bruises and sore muscles covered in fake grass and sweat.}

{{Actually, that's pretty gross. So maybe I'll show you my dirty floor mats instead.}}

But as I was slowly drifting off into a pre-work nap (<- YES), I was startled by these words coming out of his mouth:

"So I found this recipe on Pinterest...."

AWAKE.

What?

I'm not sure if I've ever heard a guy say that before. Not that guys can't enjoy Pinterest - I KNOW everyone can get hooked on enjoy Pinterest and there is likely something there for everyone. It just caught me WAY off guard that my husband - a huntin', fishin', social media hatin' country boy - even looked at Pinterest...even for a short amount of time!

But then again, he also loves food. And Pinterest is cluttered with pictures of food. And hence, recipes.

I was kinda busy yelling "WHAAAAATTTTTTT" to even hear what kind of recipe he found.

Sorry, honey. I couldn't hear you over my exasperation.

But then he repeated it, and then listed a few other recipes he found, and then I laughed.

After which I realized I would need to hit the grocery store at some point that day because we now had a new plan for supper that night. And a Pinterest board dedicated to Ben's favorite foods.

I have no idea how to feel about this.


Photo credit/PLEASE READ:




Photo credit/PLEASE READ:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Quick & Easy Weeknight Meal: Steak Tacos

Hola peoples!

Something WONDERFUL happened down South this weekend.



We had a nice little cool snap and it FINALLY felt like fall!

Actually, it felt like Christmas to me, but maybe that's just me.

I was pumped. A chilly start to the morning meant a FANTASTIC run on Saturday.





We originally only planned on a four-mile run, but the weather gave me so much energy that I couldn't stop and cranked out another mile. It felt FANTASTIC and I could have stayed outside all day. So serious.

All the Fall fans say HEYYYYYYYY!!!!!

We're a little more than 15 weeks out from our St. Jude race, so we're moving slowly but surely forward with our training. It really helps that we've found a nice running group for Saturday mornings - we keep each other accountable AND entertained :p

Despite some way, way, waaaaayyy too early mornings during the week, it feels like we are finally settling into a nice routine lately - and I, for one, couldn't be more thankful! I actually really look forward to getting up early on Saturdays to head out for a run, and BONUS because we're usually done with most of our errands by noon. Free day = SCORE.

Most of the week's dinners end up being quick "go-to" recipes (in hopes of being asleep before/by 9pm!), but I have been able to experiment a little here and there. One such experiment happened last week:



...and it was DELIGHTFUL.

I originally bought these Simple Truth Fajita Strips to use in a batch of stir-fry, but changed my mind one evening when I couldn't stop thinking about guacamole.




Sooooooo steak tacos it was!

I don't know if I've ever tried these fajita strips before last week, but for the next 10 or so weeks they JUST MIGHT be a staple in my fridge! Everything came together in LITERALLY about 10 minutes. If that. Our bellies were fed, our tastebuds satisfied, and we were relaxing on the couch before 7:30 that night.

We had no idea what to do with ourselves. I mean, free time? Really? Is that even a thing anymore on a weeknight?




I sprinkled only a little seasoning* with some fresh cilantro on top (A MUST), then wrapped everything in corn tortillas since they are a bit lighter, but these tacos would be just as great with whole wheat or full-fledged flour torts. And I DEFINITELY recommend making the guac alongside of this - there's just something about fresh guacamole that makes tacos taste even more incredible.





TACOS FOR LIFE.





Quick & Easy Steak Tacos

Serves 2


What you'll need:
1 package of Simple Truth Sliced Fajita Strips (fully cooked)
4 corn tortillas
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lime
chopped cilantro, to taste
dash of cayenne pepper*
dash of onion powder*
dash of chili powder*
dash of cumin*
salt/pepper to taste
suggested toppings: mozzerella cheese, chopped tomatoes, fresh guacamole, hot sauce

What you'll do:
Heat oil on medium heat until hot, then stir in fajita strips and season with powders, peppers, and lime juice. Stir to coat, then turn heat down. Serve hot on warm tortillas with preferred toppings.


*I use these ingredients together frequently, so I keep them mixed in a small jar for easy access :)




Note: As part of our team's participation in the upcoming St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis, we're aiming to raise a few dollars for the organization as well. Every dollar that we raise will go toward helping families whose children are being treated at St. Jude Children's Hospital, so that their focus can be on getting their child well again - and not on expense. If you're interested in contributing to our little pot, check out my page and read more about it!



Thursday, September 11, 2014

For Thursday

Anybody need a little pick-me-up to help us launch into Friday?

Try these on for size :)


one. Puppies. Need I say more?





Photo cred: Google search



two. THIS ARTICLE about Instagram food. Love it.

three. Robin Sparkles. Eeeeverryybody come and plaaaayy...Throw eeeevery last care awaaayyyy.....




four.  Today. #Thankful



five. "The Party" - a HILARIOUS post by the Hyperbole and a Half blog. I was crying from laughing while reading this.

Photo cred: Hyperbole and a Half


Feeling better?

Let's rock on into Friday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Homemade Mashed Potatoes

This is me today:



My arms are sore to the point I can FEEL it when I walk and, ergo, swing my arms!

I understand you, Raquel Welch....I understand you. Do not be ashamed!

Today's workout kicked my hiney. No joke. More sprints, more 45-pound bar in the weight room - YIKES! (no complaints, I love it!) But regardless, it felt GREAT (later. MUCH later) and it feels even greater knowing that after tomorrow's session, we're done until Monday! Whoop whoop!!!!

However, right about now all I REALLY want to do is curl up in bed with a book, some music, and THESE wonderful mashed potatoes.




The photo does no justice, you HAVE to believe me on this.

Since starting this new (read: intense) workout program, my appetite has been a little whack. It usually happens when I have to adjust to a new change in routine. Chicken sounds dry, veggies make me cringe, bread scares me, etc. (I'm weird) And while I do get hungry, nothing ever sounds appetizing.

Except for cake. Always cake.

HOWEVER, after getting home later than usual on Monday evening, ALL I could think about was warm mashed potatoes fresh off of the stove.

Even though we've been eating on the lighter side, we figured it would be okay to splurge on some 'taters as long as we racked up on veggies, too. So we paired it with some (unpictured) steamed zucchini squash and lean grilled chicken and all was right and happy with the world again.



My belly was all "OMG WHAT?????!!!" and begged for more. But I had to resist (a little)!

It's such a simple recipe that it seems silly to post, but it's always a hit with us as well as our families. It may take a bit of grunt work on the prep side, but it's totally worth it for smooth, creamy, perfectly mashed potatoes. Enjoy! :)



Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Serves 2-4


What you'll need:
3 medium to large potatoes
2 tbsp milk (more if you want them smoother and less chunky)
1-2 tbsp cream cheese
2-3 tbsp butter (more if you like the flavor)
1/2 pack of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of Tony's and oregano (optional)

What you'll do:
Peel and chop potatoes into small to medium chunks, then boil until soft (roughly 15 minutes). Drain potatoes and let them cool slightly. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients to taste. Smash mixture with a fork or potato smasher to desired consistency.

Ideas for other mix-ins: sour cream, bacon bits, green onions, Italian seasoning, shredded cheese (I vote  CHEDDAR) :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Excitement!

Before we proceed with today's oh-so-exciting post, can we just PAUSE for a moment and relish in the fact THERE IS ANOTHER ROYAL BABY COMING?????????


Oh Georgie.

Oh Wills.

Oh KATE and your gorgeous hair and clothes!!!!

I am ever so PUMPED.

Let the media frenzy commence!

***

Moving on! Random fact: I'm sore in places I didn't even realize had muscles.

I'm talkin' BOOT CAMP, yo.

It's crazy. This is my third time doing this program (over the course of three years #newbie) and I'm STILL learning new exercises. Today we had to sit on the floor of the weight room, do an overhand grip of the benchpress bar thingy (I'm SO technical ;) ) and PULL OURSELVES UP OFF OF THE FLOOR while keeping our feet on the ground and our bodies in a straight line.



It's a simple move, basically, but an INCREDIBLY hard one for sure!

((How I feel 4 days a week!!!! :D )

Oh, and can we briefly talk about how I have roughly about ZERO percent upper body strength? It's actually QUITE hilarious. Yesterday we were bench-pressing like BOSSES (<- read: normal folks) and when it's my turn...well...it just didn't work.

I tried. I really did. With all of my might, I tell you!

Sure, I could go about halfway up on each rep, but any higher than that and my left arm decided it pretty much was done and REFUSED to move any higher! My right arm, though, it was a beast. So I can tell you I looked PRETTY SPIFFY doing a nice crooked, diagonal, shaky bench press rep.

Or twenty.

At least it worked SOME sort of muscle though, right? Now, it could have been my imagination (<- even though it NEVER EVER is) (EVER) (<- HA!) - but I may or may not have seen the coach give me one of those "Seriously?" looks when he walked by.



Can't exactly say that I blame him, though. I was pretty much thinking the same exact thing while I was on the bench. I laughed a few hours later when I could finally breathe again! :)

No, I am not strong. But that's why I'm doing this! To get better!

And hey - it's all about improvement, right?!



Question:
What is something you'd like to improve on?