Friday, December 31, 2010

Stuff I can't live without...

As a girl who loves to cook (and bake!), there are a few kitchen tools that I definitely couldn't live without. And just in case there are any fellow cooking enthusiasts out there, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

1. Garlic press

I'm fairly certain I didn't register for a garlic press for our wedding because I thought it was a supremely lazy thing to have around. But after about the fourth time that I had to mince garlic for a recipe, I decided that I desperately needed one. And I'm in love with it. I cook a LOT of pasta and use a LOT of gresh garlic, so it was definitely worth the money. :)

2. Scrub brush

When I picked up a relatively soft-bristled plastic scrub brush at Ikea a few years ago for $1, I had no idea it'd become an absolute necessity for washing dishes. I know you can find them at other places, but if you happen to be at Ikea anytime soon, you should definitely pick one up. You can't beat their prices! :)

3. Calphalon Commercial Hard-Anodized 12" Everyday Pan

I bought this pan on Amazon a year or so ago for about $35 (a FANTASTIC price!), and I'm obsessed with it. I love that I can use metal utensils on it, and it is absolutely perfect for carmelizing onions. Wow, that sounds lame. But it's true. This pan would make a wonderful gift for anyone who likes to cook.

4. Olive Oil Bottle

I stumbled upon one of these at Walmart, and I am so thankful that I did because it makes cooking with olive oil a cinch! I use it so often that we just leave it out on the counter by the salt and pepper shakers. I also bought one for liquid dish soap, and I love that it's pretty enough to leave out.

5. KitchenAid Stand Mixer

If I didn't love my Aunt Tammy and Aunt Brigitte before they bought us one of these as a wedding gift, I certainly did afterward! :) Seriously, y'all... it's amazing. It would definitely be a splurge, but you can often get the white mixer for around $150 with a good sale. If you're a baker, this is definitely something you need to have in your kitchen.

6. Pyrex Bakeware Set

This was another wedding gift, and if I could remember who bought it for us, I'd send a huge shoutout their way. It's got just about everything you need to prepare/bake/store food. And maybe I'm the only one, but I really, really hate Saran Wrap, so I just adore the lids.

7. Heavy Whipping Cream

So maybe this one isn't actually a tool, but heck if I care. If you come to my house, you can bet your bank account that I'll have a carton of heavy whipping cream somewhere in my fridge. It's as necessary as air. Or cheese. Or Micah. (Okay, maybe not Micah, but it's pretty close.)

8. Immersion Blender

Micah's dad has one of these, and I always thought it was the coolest thing. If you've never seen an immersion blender, they're small, hand-held blenders that you can put down into liquid-y things to blend/puree them. They're great for cream of vegetable soups, salad dressings, and marinades. The one I have has all of the attachments shown below, which, in theory, seem super cool. But I've never used them. :)

Guest room update...

We FINALLY found plum sheets to go in the guest room, so it's basically done, although I've still got to put something above the bed. My mom is planning on painting something for me that has black, white, plum, and silver in it, and I can't wait to hang it up proudly! She's pretty fantastic. :)

Anyway, so here are a few pictures of the (almost) finished product. We also got our living room furniture today, so I'll post pictures of it soon! :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Two things...

Well, Christmas came and went, and we definitely had a wonderful time visiting with family and remembering the Reason for the season. I'm feeling a little better, although I'm still not at 100% percent. And I spent Thursday evening in the ER, but that's a whole other story. The good news was that the CT scan was negative. And I feel like I'm getting a little better every day, so maybe the head pressure will just magically disappear!

But I really just wanted to drop in and share two things with you.
First, Micah and I bought some furniture a few weeks ago, and some of it came in this weekend! We only intended to buy new living room furniture, but we saw this bed, and it was SUCH a good deal! Plus, I think it's a little more me than the other bed we were looking at. Well, what do you think?
It looks black, but it's actually a rich mahogany brown. And as soon as our new bedding comes in, I'll post pictures of the finished product. :) The living room furniture should arrive sometime next week. Yay!

The second thing I wanted to share is actually a recipe. I posted it last week as part of our Christmas menu, but I ended up not getting my act together last Sunday, so I didn't get to make it for Christmas at my Mamaw's. But I made it tonight, and it was amazing. SERIOUSLY amazing. So check it out here, and make it at your earliest convenience! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Fourteen: AGAIN!

Someone (ahem, Lauren) reminded me that I never posted a picture that I love for Day Fourteen of the 30-day blog challenge!

So, at long last, here is a picture that makes me blissfully, incandescently, and undeniably happy. :)

Have faith...

In light of all the bad in the world, it's easy to become a little disenchanted. It's easy to forget about how selfless and giving we humans can actually be.

But, as my friend Ally says, we should have "[f]aith in our wondrous capacity for hope and good, love and trust, healing and forgiveness."

So if you are in need of a little faith, check out this blog post. I'm not even sure how I ended up there, but I'm definitely glad I did. It's always wonderful to be reminded of how much good can come from the generosity of others.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's been up...

I hate going this long without blogging. It really is such an outlet for me, and I miss it when go too long between posts. But I've had a rough past few days, so you'll have to forgive me.

Driving to work on Friday, I started feeling this pulsating pressure in my head. It wasn't a headache, exactly, but it was incredibly uncomfortable and made driving fairly difficult. When I got to work, I absolutely couldn't concentrate on anything, and I started feeling weak. Thank goodness my sweet Momma works just five minutes away, because she came and got me and took me to an urgent care clinic. They couldn't figure out what was wrong after doing a full neurological exam, pregnancy test, and bloodwork (all negative, thank goodness!).

Since then, the pressure in my head has stayed fairly constant apart from Sunday evening when it went away and I was THRILLED... until it came back the next morning. I thought it might have something to do with a medication I was taking to clear up my skin (thanks for that, bar exam!) and had a checkup with my dermatologist yesterday. But he wasn't sure what was causing it.

This morning, the pressure has decreased slightly, and I went to see an internist, who thinks it could be a side effect from the medication. We're just going to wait a week and see if it goes away. If it doesn't, I'll be headed in for an MRI next week. I'm working and basically fully functional - the pressure is just distracting, and I don't focus very well.

Anyway, I'm sure everything will be fine (although I've definitely had a few freakout moments and have googled every variation of "pressure in my head" that I can think of). God has it all figured out, and I'm at peace about it. I'm just ready to feel better! :)

And if I don't get back here before then, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas! There are many things for which to be joyful - especially the birth of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Menu

Because my brother and Faith AND my mom and Steve are going out of town for Christmas, we're having our Chrismas celebrations with my parents this weekend. Plus, my Mamaw always does her celebration the Sunday before, so I've got a lot of cooking to do this weekend!

Here's what I'm planning on making for each day.

Friday: Christmas with Mom & Steve

Theme: Fondue!

Mom and Steve are handling basically everything, but I am going to make this Chimichuri Sauce as a dipping sauce for the meat. I'm also trying to think of another dipping sauce that I can easily whip up. I will also probably bring these Sausage Balls. I've never tried this recipe, but Mom and Steve love spicy things, so I'm pretty sure they'll be a hit.

Saturday: Christmas with Dad & Lori

Theme: Casual/Meatball Subs & Appetizers!
Lori is fixing a LOT of food, so I didn't want to make too much. I think I'm just going to bring a homemade southwestern ranch dip to go with the veggie tray that Lori's buying, and I'm also going to make this to-die-for Banana Pudding.


Theme: Mexican!
The big-ticket items are already being made (enchiladas, queso, guacamole, etc.), so I'm going to try out a new recipe that looks so intriguing. It's a Mexican Pasta, which sounds so strange, but the pictures look just absolutely delicious. So I'm gonna go for it.

I'm also making some Tortilla Roll-Ups. I'll probably tweak this recipe a bit to make it a bit more southwestern (I'm thinking I'll add in some salsa, cayenne pepper, and grated cheddar to the cream cheese).

Now, I've just got to make the grocery list and send my sweet husband to the store. It's pitiful how bare our fridge and pantry are. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Greek Pasta Salad

I made this the other night, and I thought I would share because it was delicious!! I made it Sunday evening so it would be ready to go for dinner on Monday, and it kept perfectly (I just added in a little extra olive oil when we were ready to eat it)!

And for those of you who think it's acceptable to use bottled Italian dressing as a sauce (yuck!), this is much better and almost as easy. :)

Greek Pasta Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (don't settle for another kind of vinegar - the red wine has the perfect taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon white sugar
1 package dry Italian dressing mix (I added this in because I like a little more kick than the recipe calls for)
2 1/2 cups cooked {spiral pasta} (the original recipe called for elbow macaroni)
3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms (I left these out because Micah hates them)
15 {grape} tomatoes, halved (the original recipe called for cherry tomatoes)
1 cup sliced red bell peppers (I left these out)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 (4 ounce) can {sliced} black olives (the original recipe called for whole olives)
3/4 cup {sliced pepperoni}, cut into strips (the original recipe called for pepperoni sausage)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, basil, oregano, black pepper, and sugar. Add cooked pasta, mushrooms, tomatoes, red peppers, green onions, olives, pepperoni, and feta. Toss until evenly coated. Cover, and chill 2 hours or overnight.
Make sure and add the feta last or it'll break down and get chalky. I also added lots and lots of salt - it really brings out the flavors! And the recipe could probably use another can of olives - I ADORE olives! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010


Here's the sky outside my house tonight. High five, God. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A man worth loving...

A few nights ago, I stayed up much later than I should have re-reading the last Harry Potter book. (Yes, again.) As I was drifting off to sleep, stretching my leg across our way-too-big bed to nudge Micah's toes with mine, I thought about a conversation I had in high school with one of my spiritual heroes.

She shared something with me that honestly defined the way I have approached every relationship I've been in since then. First, she quoted Proverbs 4:23, which says to "[g]uard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." And then she told me to make sure that, when I give my heart away, I give it to a man who is worth loving.

After that conversation, I took a long, hard look at my past relationships and realized that I'd never considered how precious it was to let someone have a piece of my heart. I'd been giving it away without considering the consequences. And even though I always tended to date sweet, good-hearted guys, from that point forward I was a bit more cautious in who I dated.
It wasn't long after that that I started dating Micah.

And the bottom line of this post is that Micah is, without a doubt, a man worth loving.

He's a man worth giving my heart to.

As I was laying there next to him the other night, in awe of God's grace, I wondered how many women can honestly say that about their husbands. I wondered how many women value their heart enough to guard it. To give it away only to a man who is worthy.

Because I look at Micah and know that there's no way that I could find a more worthy man - not only because of the way he treats me but because of how he treats others.

I know that the old lady who was able to park two spots closer to the store because Micah backed up and re-parked to make sure he didn't park his truck too close to the line appreciated him. And I know the store clerk who didn't have to walk the packages of cookies I decided I didn't want all the way back to the right aisle because Micah made me put them back myself appreciated him - even if he never had any clue that they were gone. And I bet that the guy in the car next to us on the highway appreciated that Micah missed his own exit so that he didn't have to cut in front of someone else to get to it.

I feel blessed to be with that kind of man. The kind of man who really does make the world, particularly my little corner of it, a better place.

So, although I haven't seen Shelly in years, this one's for her. This is a big thank you for reminding me, all those years ago, that my heart is a precious commodity and that only a man worth loving deserves it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


... it has now been a whole week since I've blogged, which is just not okay. So this is me blogging (albeit very poorly) so that no one thinks I've gone and disappeared or fled for the border. No, I've just had a LOT going on! I think we had something going on every night last week AND the weekend.

And last night I was just too sleepy from staying up until 2:00 a.m. the night before reading a book that was definitely not worth it, so I crawled in bed not long after I got home from work. (Although we did eat a delicious pasta salad that I had made ahead the night before - I'll definitely be sharing that recipe here soon!)

But I promise I've been taking note of all of the silly (and not-so-silly) things that have been popping in my head this week, so I'll share them soon. I'm sure you're all dying with anticipation. (Oh how I wish there was a sarcasm font.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cursed, wretched, blasted, no good, very bad day...

Today has been one of those days. The kind of day that makes you wish you had just stayed in bed asleep. But I didn't stay in bed asleep. I freaking got up, and everything just went downhill from there.

First of all, I woke up to this.

What, you may be asking, in the world is this?

Well, it's a burn on our carpet in the middle of the living room floor. Of our rented house.

And how did it get there?

Well, I left my curling iron sitting there for an entire day, of course.

And the worst part is that yesterday morning, as I was leaving the house, I thought, "I'd better check and make sure I turned off my curling iron." But then I thought, "well, that's just silly. Of course I turned it off!" So I left for work, and because Micah and I grabbed dinner last night and crawled into bed as soon as we got home (yeah, we're old), I didn't bother putting the curling iron back where it belongs. (Apparently God's punishing me for being forgetful
and lazy.)

This morning, I woke up and smelled something strange as I walked through the living room, so I picked the curling iron up and saw the burn mark. And freaked out in a big way. Micah had already left for work, and when I called him, he was so sweet and understanding. He didn't yell or tell me how crappy I am; he just calmly said "well, what can we do? We'll just get some new carpet." So, even though I felt about
this big, I went about my day and actually had a decent day at work.

After work, I hopped on 75 North and headed toward NorthPark mall to meet my friend Rebecca for dinner at Blue Mesa off of Northwest Highway. Went I went to exit, I turned left onto Northwest Highway and basically made a U-turn, thinking I could get onto the southbound service road. And you definitely can't. It just shoots you right back onto 75 South.

So I had to get back onto 75, exit, U-turn to go back North, and try and turn left at Northwest. But, of course, I was in the wrong lane, and it put me back onto 75 N, past my exit. Frustrated beyond belief, I made another U-turn, finally made it onto Northwest Highway, and got into the left turn lane to turn into the parking lot of the restaurant but got caught at the red light. And then I sat there.

And sat there.

The light is quite possibly the slowest light on the planet, (even though my green arrow only lasted about 3 seconds) and I sat through five red lights until I was the second car in line. The little rich girl in front of me with her Mercedes and SMU bumper sticker (no judgment) apparently couldn't be bothered to notice that the light had turned green, and she sat through the light for the three seconds it took for the light to turn red so that I had to wait another 4 minutes for the next green light. I wanted to cry.

But I finally made it to the restaurant, had a WONDERFUL time visiting with my sweet friend, and got in my car to head home to my love. But I noticed that my low fuel light was on, and I remembered that I had tried to get gas last night, but I stopped in the ghetto and got accosted by a homeless man and, after I gave him all the change I had, I rushed back into my car and left. Even though I only pumped about 3 gallons.

So I figure I need to stop and get gas at some point, and I decide to exit Garland Road off of 635. Wouldn't you know that, like Northwest Highway, Garland Road is also one of those stupid exits with no service road, so I get pushed onto the southbound lane of Garland Road, U-turn to try and get back onto 635 because there is no gas station in sight, and see that Garland Road goes straight across 635 and doesn't have an entrance ramp onto the highway.


So I check my iPhone, see a way to get back to 635, and pull into the first gas station on my way. I pull in and proceed to pump 19.9 gallons into my 20 gallon tank, get back into my car and try and go under 635 so that I can turn left and get back onto the westbound lane of 635. And I swear to you - no joke - I can't. I'm at this weird intersection of 635, Saturn Road, and Centerville, and all I can do is go right and get back onto 635 going back toward Dallas.

At this point, I'm dangerously close to tears, but I was able to U-turn and go back the other way on 635. I'm all jubilant that I'm finally on the way home and don't notice the cop pulled over to my right with his lights on. According to a new law, I'm supposed to have slowed way down or gotten into the left lane, and I obviously didn't. I see the cop take off and pull onto the highway, but apparently at that point God decided that I'd taken enough of a beating for one night, because the cop drove right past me.

So now I'm home, and I'm fairly certain that I'd better head to sleep before I cause any more trouble. But first I'm going to unplug every appliance in the house. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The house so far...

My Aunt Gem requested that I post a few more pictures of the house, so I'm obliging her. Now, keep in mind that we're trying to avoid hanging too many things on the walls, and we haven't bought a lot of new things for this house yet, so it's a little sparse.

This is the living room. It's actually a pretty large space, and I think a sectional and an oversized chair would fit well in it. But I'm still not really sure what colors I'd like to use in the living room. I'm thinking about warm bronzes and greens and chocolate browns. Maybe with a few splashes of a cerulean-ish blue here and there. Or maybe the bronze, chocolate brown, and a pretty deep red. I'm really not sure.

This is a view of the kitchen from the living room. I'm seriously in love with the kitchen, especially after Thanksgiving. There is plenty of room for everyone to gather and visit, and the island is perfect for setting food out for a buffet.

And there is plenty of counter space for all of my gadgets and knives and canisters. I'm also not sure what design ideas I have for the kitchen, and I probably won't do much in there. Decorating a kitchen depends so much on the cabinets and countertops and floor that I'd rather not spend a lot of time and money in this room when we'll be moving fairly soon.

Here's the little breakfast nook. Well, actually the fairly large breakfast nook. My brother laughed when he saw our tiny Ikea table and chairs in this big space. But I'll hopefully be getting a new kitchen table and chairs at some point. I like the idea of a round table for the breakfast area.

And here's the master bedroom. It's probably one of the more pitiful spaces in the house. It's a pretty big room, and we don't have much furniture to fill it up with. But, as I posted before, I definitely plan on decorating this space soon. :)

This is the master bathroom, and I really love it. It has two separate vanities and a separate shower and garden tub. I really missed having a big bathtub when I moved to Houston, and I'm definitely taking advantage of this one while I can. Again, I have no real idea what direction I'd like to go with the bathroom, but I'm guessing I'd probably want to carry the yellow/white/espresso theme in from the bedroom.

This is the guest bedroom. I love black and white together, and I'm in LOVE with the idea of using plum as an accent color. I found these pillows at Pier One, and I'm actively searching for some plum sheets. I'm having the hardest time finding the right shade of plum - everything seems to be either too purple or too red.

The walls aren't as bare as they look in this picture. I do have a few things hung up, and my mom is actually painting me something for above the bed. And once we get a new bed for the master bedroom, I plan on moving the silver-ish one we sleep on now into the guest room. I think it'll go well with the colors and the mercury glass accents in there now.

Here are a few pictures of the bathroom attached to the guest bedroom. More black and white, obviously, and I also want to find a plum nick-knack or two to stick in there. Maybe a plum hand towel and a plum candle?

So here's my embarrassingly bare dining room. It's just that the walls are so big that it'd take some fairly large pictures or mirrors to fill it up, and Micah really doesn't want to have to put in any drywall screws. The table was Micah's grandpa's, and I was definitely glad to have it on Thursday. I think the next step will be to get a bigger dining room table and to put this table in the breakfast area.

This is the formal living room. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this space and the piano, but I actually kind of love it. I'd love to have a big comfy chair to put in the right side of the room near the window (which you can't see in this picture). For now, that's where the Christmas tree is going to go. If I can ever get it decorated. :)

This is another bathroom. It's kind of in the back of the house, and no one ever uses it, but I'm told that you can never have enough bathrooms. :)

Last, but not least, this is the office. With my Idea desk and Target bookshelf. Eventually, I want a really nice set of office furniture, but this will definitely do for now. I have a few beachy pictures hung in black frames on the other side of the room, but it definitely needs more decoration. Slowly but surely, I suppose. :)

There are also two more bathrooms, an extra bedroom, and a media room upstairs, but there is really nothing to see in them. The fourth bedroom is being used as storage for all of our unpacked boxes, one of the bathrooms is a half-bath and super tiny, the other bathroom is upstairs and basically empty, and the media room has an entertainment center and our old TV but no other furniture. Mostly, I was too lazy to go up there and take a picture. :)

And that's it! As I add new things, I'll definitely post them. And just as soon as I get my tree decorated, I'll post a picture of it, as well. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving food...

Well, we're finally rested up from Thanksgiving and about ready to start decorating for Christmas. But before I move on to the next holiday, I thought I'd post a little about the dishes we made for Thanksgiving. Everything everyone made was WONDERFUL, and I'll go ahead and share some of the recipes with you. :)

For a pre-meal snack, I made Micah's mom's spinach dip recipe. It's so delicious, and super easy. Plus, you can make it the night before, and it's ready to go the next day. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients: one 10 oz. box frozen spinach, 8 oz. sour cream, 8 oz. cream cheese (softened), one package Knorr vegetable mix, dash onion powder

Directions: Thaw spinach and drain. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with crackers.

For the meat, we deep-fried a turkey and two chickens. Micah had never used a turkey fryer before, but everything was delicious. If you haven't tried fried turkey yet, you really should. It's incredibly moist and has a great flavor if you use a good injectable marinade. Just be careful with the oil, and don't set your house on fire! :)

I made smoked gouda mashed potatoes, and they were really yummy. The smokey flavor was really different, and I used Yukon Gold potatoes, which made them super creamy. If you're interested, I got the recipe here.

My sister-in-law also made some DELICIOUS cheesy potatoes. If you want the recipe, leave a comment, and I'll make sure to get it from her.

Cranberry Sauce
I made a Pioneer Woman recipe, and it was delicious. The only issue was that it wasn't super thick, so if you like that kind of thing, this recipe isn't for you. But the pomegranate juice gives it a really great flavor, and I really enjoyed it. You can get it here. (I added a bit more sugar, but you may not like it as sweet as I do.)

Creamed Spinach
This recipe was kind of a disaster. It's actually a GREAT recipe, and I've made it several times before and loved it. But it's NOT a good recipe for Thanksgiving because you have to really watch the cream to make sure it doesn't boil over. Also, you have to wring out a LOT of spinach, which can take awhile, and it's not something you can do ahead of time.

But you really should try the recipe at some point. It's easy and scrumptious (just make sure and add plenty of salt!). Go get it here. (And if you want to save some time, don't bother with the tomato and blue cheese. It's really just for presentation. Instead, just make the spinach as directed and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.)

I tried my Mamaw's tried and true cornbread dressing recipe for the first time, and I actually think I did it pretty well! It may have been just a teensy bit too moist, but I was just happy it wasn't dried out. :) Leave a comment if you'd like the recipe, and I'll send it your way.

I didn't actually get around to making the gravy because I ran out of time, but I had planned on making this recipe, and I'll definitely be making it at some point.

I didn't make dessert because everyone else was bringing something, but I absolutely must share the Peanut Butter Pie recipe Faith made. It was rich and creamy and not too peanut butter-y. Go check it out here, and make it at your earliest convenience. :) If you don't like the Oreo crust, I think it'd be just as yummy with a graham cracker crust.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Well, everything went smoothly today, and I'm happy to say that my first attempt at hosting Thanksgiving was a success! I promise I'll post a breakdown of everything we made and the recipes for each dish later. I'm also going to post a few pictures of the house (as my sweet Aunt Gem requested) since we finally cleaned it from top to bottom last night.

For now, though, I'm going to relax for just a minute before we have to pack all the food up to take it to Micah's parents' house for dinner.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving and has found some time to reflect on all of God's blessings in your lives! We have much to be thankful for! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The last two days...

... have been a little busy. Or actually a lot busy.

Yesterday began with me frantically trying to pack for Austin, get ready and dressed, and get to my Uncle Tyler's house in time for my Mimi's surprise party. We all had a wonderful time celebrating her birthday, and I was reminded how much I love spending time with my family.

After lunch, I got on the road toward Austin. I had to be in Austin today for a work meeting and to be officially sworn in as a lawyer. And my very best friend from when I was a little girl actually lives close to Austin, and I hadn't seen her in FOREVER, so we made plans to eat dinner together and for me to stay at her house. I worried that it might be awkward, considering how long it had been since we'd seen each other, but it definitely wasn't. She was the same sweetheart she has always been, and I really, really enjoyed getting to catch up with her after all this time. And she even made me breakfast this morning! (Thanks again, Amber - it was delicious!)

After I left Amber's house, I headed toward Austin for the swearing in ceremony. All new lawyers have to take an oath to uphold the law and represent our clients with the utmost good faith, and there is an official ceremony in Austin where most new lawyers come and take the oath together.

Apparently it's kind of a big deal because when I walked in the convention center (just a teensy bit late), there were lots and lots of families there to see their loved ones take the oath. It didn't even occur to me to ask Micah or my parents to come and watch, so I felt kind of pitiful sitting there alone. But it was really a neat thing to be there to take the oath, and I'm glad I went. And now I'm officially able to practice law in Texas!

After the ceremony, I had to go to the firm's Austin office for a meeting with a couple of attorneys there. We finished in about two and a half hours, and then I got back on the road and headed home. The drive wasn't bad at all until I was about twenty minutes from the house. There was a wreck, and I couldn't exit in time to avoid it, so I sat there for an extra twenty minutes. But it gave me some extra jam time, so I didn't mind too terribly much. :)

So now, after watching last week's Modern Family (if you haven't watched that show, you really should - it's hilarious), Micah's watching Monday Night Football and cleaning and oiling his fishing reels, and I'm blogging. And I'm pretty sure I'll be in bed before 9:00. :)

And last but not least, I have to send a heartfelt "Happy Birthday!" to my sweet Mimi. Love you, Mimi, and I hope today was wonderful! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More new stuff... eventually!

Our next goal for the house is to buy new master bedroom furniture. I've settled on this canopy bed, I think.

And I'm fairly certain I want to go with a white/yellow/espresso color scheme. My whole problem with our current master bedroom situation is that it doesn't feel quite warm enough for me. It's a lot of chocolate brown, and it's a little monotonous. So I think a punch of yellow and white will brighten up the room, and pairing them with the espresso will give some much-needed contrast. Here are a few bedspreads that I love.

I was initially more interested in the second one, but Micah and my mom both prefer the first one. They think the second one has too much yellow to blend easily, and I'm fairly certain they're right (as usual). Plus, I think I like the idea of mixing the contemporary look of the bed with the classiness of toile.

And even though I know I shouldn't even be thinking about living room furniture yet since we'll only be in this house for a year and I don't know the layout of the living room we'll have next, I can't help but drool over this sectional. We dropped into Rooms To Go a few days ago just to look, and when we sank down into it, we both fell in love with the color, design, and comfort.

It also has a matching chair and ottoman that would go nicely in front of our fireplace. But for now I'll just admire them in pictures. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Stuff

Well, this weekend has already been amazing, and Saturday isn't even over yet!

Last night, we went out to Micah's parents' house because his brother and his fiance got MARRIED! It was a real small, quiet ceremony, but it was wonderful, and I am so, so, SO happy for them. Seth is a great guy, and Diana is amazing, as well. It was a blessing to get to see them begin their lives together.

And then this morning Micah and I got up and went to see Harry Potter in IMAX.

Oh. Em. Gee.

I absolutely loved it, although I've actually loved almost all the Harry Potter movies. Never as much as the books, of course, but definitely enough to buy them all. :) I won't go into any detail in case you haven't seen it yet, but I'll just say that it was fairly true to the book, and if you don't remember what happened in the last movie, you might want to watch it again before you go see the new one.

After the movie, Micah and I grabbed lunch at Texas Roadhouse. I just really love that place. The food is always delicious, and it's not super expensive. Plus, their rolls are so good they make me want to cry.

After lunch, we dropped by the Conn's Clearance Center in Mesquite to check out their TVs. My stepbrother had gotten a great deal on a TV there last week, so I wanted to check it out. We've been pricing 55" LED TVs for awhile, and the best I could find was either a Vizio for ~$1400 or a Best Buy Black Friday special on a Samsung for $1500.

Unbelievably, we ended up getting a 55" LG LED TV for... $1000!!!!

It was a floor model, I think, but it's in great condition, and the picture is fantastic.

(We were watching The Hurt Locker.)

It took me a little while to figure out how to adjust the picture to my liking, but I finally got it. So I'm thrilled with our new purchase, and I'm ecstatic that I don't have to brave the masses on Black Friday to find a TV.

I also wanted to show you our new dishes, as I promised that I would. Pardon the picture quality - it's from my iPhone.

Here's a picture of a bowl. It's a grassy green with a scalloped design and beading around the rim. I love the antique look and the pretty design. I was THISCLOSE to buying Fiestaware, but these were significantly cheaper and just a little more me. :)

Tonight, Micah and I are just cuddled up on the couch being lazy. I'm fairly certain I'm about to relax with a bubble bath and a book. For me, life doesn't get much better than that. :)

I hope you are all having wonderful weekends, as well. Praise God for this wonderful, cool weather we've been having. This is my favorite time of the year!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Real Life...

So now that I'm done with the blog challenge, I can actually write about what's going on in my life - not that it's incredibly interesting or anything. I feel like there have been so many things that have happened over the past month that I didn't get to share, but for the life of me I can't remember them now!

Work is going well. I really love the firm and everyone there. I've had a few really fast-paced short-term projects in the past week or so, so I've been working like a crazy lady. Things should slow down again by the end of this week, though. :) I'm getting a lot of responsibility already, which is fairly horrifying. But it's also amazing that they trust me to do more than document review (although I have done a little of that, too). :)

We're hosting Thanksgiving for my Mom's side of the family this year, and I'm still not sure what I'm going to cook. I've got a few ideas going, but I'm still trying to figure it out. The good news is that it gave me an excuse to go get new dishes! More than half of our bowls, which were cheap and from Ikea, broke in the move, and I wanted a set that served 12. We found some at Macy's, and I'm in love with it! I can't find them online, but I'll take a picture of them and post it soon!

I hate to post and run, but I'm pretty exhausted and about ready for a bubble bath. It has been one of those days. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day Thirty: A Picture

Wow. I finally made it to Day Thirty! And I'm honestly trying to figure out the perfect picture to end this challenge with. I think I'll go with this one.

Well, but maybe I should use this one.

On second thought, I think I'll use this one.

But I can't just leave out this one, can I?

Alright, alright. I'll leave you with this one. It's really my favorite anyway. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Twenty Nine: Wishes

Katie gave herself three wishes, so that's what I'll give myself.

And let me first distinguish wishes from hopes because I'm crazy and feel the need to explain why I'm crazy. My first thought was to wish that I'd be able to have children one day. (Don't ask why, but I have this weird fear that we won't be able to conceive. Kind of like how I used to be convinced that I was going to die before I could marry Micah. I'm crazy, I tell you.) But then I realized that that's not really a wish - it's more of a hope. You hope for things to happen in the future. You wish for things to change/happen now. I'm not sure why this distinction is so important, but I just wasted thirty seconds of your life that you'll never get back explaining it to you. I really am sorry about it.

Okay, back to my non-hope wishes. :)

  1. I wish that people were truly colorblind. Not literally, obviously. But I wish that race just wasn't ever a factor. In anything. I've felt strongly about this since I was a little girl, and it wasn't always easy growing up in the South. And in a rural area, no less. I just think God created and loves us all. Period.
  2. I wish that the food that tastes the best had the fewest calories. Now wouldn't THAT be a pretty wonderful world?
  3. I wish I was a more perfect picture of God's love. I feel like there are so many ways that I could better live out His Word, but I'm just constantly missing the mark. Thank goodness for His neverending grace. It never runs out, no matter how much I screw up. :)

Day Twenty Eight: Something that stresses me out

It's so funny because I honestly don't feel stressed very often. But at some point my body must take over and exhibit some physical manifestations because I feel like my parents are always telling me not to stress. :) Maybe when I tell them about all the things I'm juggling right now they just feel stressed for me and project it onto me. No? You don't buy it?

Well anyhow, certain things DO stress me out. I'll just go ahead and make a list. It relieves my stress (ha!).
  • A messy house. I don't care if it's actually filthy; so long as everything is put away, I'm totally fine. My OCD husband, however, is not.
  • Feeling yucky. Because then I worry about how I might start feeling worse than I already do. And then I think about how if I start feeling badly enough I might have to miss work to go to the doctor. And then he might tell me that I'm actually sick. And I'm just too busy to be sick.
  • Shopping with other people. There are very few people that I can actually shop with. Especially when I'm really on a mission, I don't really care for shopping with other people. I rarely have the same taste as anyone else, and then I feel like we have to stay together, and we end up spending time looking at things we don't really care about - and that's just inefficient.
  • Umm...
Wow. I'm really racking my brain here trying to think of other things that stress me out, and I've got nothing. I swear I'm generally pretty laid back. I figure God will handle the big stuff, and everyone says you shouldn't sweat the small stuff. That about covers it, right? :)

Day Twenty Eight: Pets

I'm definitely an animal lover. Growing up, we always had pets - including non-traditional ones like newts and birds. But my first pet was a cat named Dorothy (I told you that I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz...). We also had several dogs, including a toy poodle named Epiphany Bell Esprit who had the whole family wrapped around her paw. She definitely wasn't a good dog, but we all loved her anyway.

When I was five, we got Fluffy, who stayed with me until just a few months ago. Losing her was heartbreaking because it really was like losing a piece of my childhood, in addition to the fact that I had had her so long that she was basically a family member. I also had a cat named Friendly, who really was the friendliest cat you could ever imagine. She died just a few years ago, and my mom was absolutely devastated.

Of course, I can't not mention Shadow. He was the German Shepherd I got for a birthday present my freshman year in high school. Of course he ended up loving my Dad more than all the rest of us put together. He was a precious dog, and I was sad to say goodbye him.

So now, we just have Miss Lilly. She's spoiled rotten, and she's definitely not much of a Lab by nature, but I love her to pieces.

I mean, really. How in the world can you say no to that face?

Day Twenty Six: A Picture of My Family

Yoo hoo. Is there anyone still out there? I don't blame you if you've given up on me and sworn off my blog forever, given that I'm definitely past my thirty day deadline for the Blog Challenge. But if, by chance, you are still reading, I'm going to do my best to finish these darn things tonight. Remind me next time I set out to challenge myself that I'm really a quitter at heart. :)

So... a picture of my family. Well, my parents got divorced when I was a sophomore in college, so it's been awhile since I had a picture of all of us. So I'll post one of my favorite pictures of the four of us.We're actually at the beach here. I'm pretty certain it was Port Aransas. My family used to go there every year when I was younger. My whole extended family from my Dad's side went, and I absolutely loved it.

This is me and my cousins on my Dad's side who I just adore. (Another beach picture.) And oh my goodness, look at my hair - it's insanely long!
This is me, my dad, and my stepmom at my college graduation.
And this is me, my brother, and my stepdad at my step-grandpa's house. Standing in front of a multitude of dead animals on the wall. Yep, I'm from the country. It's just what we do.

I can see that I'm going down a dangerous path here. I started thinking about how I should post pictures of me with each of my grandmas. And then one with my aunts. And then one with my other cousins... and then I'd really have lost my audience. So I'm going to call it quits with this post before you all leave me forever. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day Twenty Five: iPod Shuffle

I'm assuming that, for this challenge, I'm supposed to put my iTunes on shuffle and list the first ten songs? I apologize in advance for the randomness of my taste in music. :)

1. In Your Eyes (Acoustic) by Ben Harper

2. White Houses by Vanessa Carlton

3. Wonder Why They Call You B*tch by Tupac (um, yeah... sometimes I'm a little thug)

4. If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger by George Strait

5. Forever by Mariah Carey

6. Give Us Clean Hands by MercyMe

7. Kick Your Game by TLC

8. Do You Have to Let it Linger by The Cranberries

9. This is Me by Dream (wow... even I'm judging me right now)

10. The Arrival of Baby Harry by John Williams (from the Harry Potter Soundtrack... yeah I have all of them, and I'm not ashamed)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day Twenty Four: Something I've Learned

I'm recycling old posts again, but I honestly loved this one, so I'm glad I get to share it again. :)

I know I'm only 23. But I think there a few things in this world that I can say for certain are true. One of the PostSecret secrets from this morning got me thinking about it.

1) There is a world outside of high school. When you're there, people tell you that. But you can't really comprehend it until you leave. And once you do, then you'll understand.

2) Season 7 of "Friends" is, by far and away, the best season. It was kind of downhill from there.
3) A true, forever and always kind of love DOES exist. I know because I found it. Or him, I should say.

4) Reading makes you smarter. It expands your vocabulary and improves your grammar. You should read.
5) It doesn't take much to make the world's best chocolate chip cookies. Just don't cook them as long.

6) What's wrong in your life right now won't seem like such a big deal in twenty years.7) You can't do anything you set your mind to. I never understood why parents tell their children that. I mean you want them to dream big, but you don't want them putting on a Superman cape and trying to jump off the roof.

8) Don't believe your parents when they tell you it won't last. You really might marry your high school sweetheart. :)

9) Organic bananas ARE better than regular bananas. Trust me on this one.

10) There IS a true and loving Savior who can change your life if you let him. I know this because He changed mine.

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