Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thankful Thursdays (Link Up!)

How is it already Thursday, y'all?  I love short weeks! :)

And there are so many things to be thankful for today...

{I'm thankful} that life's back to normal again, at least for a little while.  This week, I've been getting home at a respectable hour, having dinner with friends, and watching trashy t.v.  So, I've been in heaven, basically. :)

{I'm thankful} for thunderstorms.  There isn't much I love more than thunder and lightning in the summer.  (Although I'm pretty sure I'm the dumbest person ever because I got my car washed yesterday...)

{I'm thankful} that I finally took the maxi dress plunge.  I was searching frantically for a dress to wear to my friend Ashley's bachelorette party on Saturday night and, in an act of sheer desperation, I tried on a pretty blue dress from New York and Company (LOVE that place!) and fell in love.

(Pardon the picture quality - can you believe that none of us brought a real camera? I had to beg a passer-by to take this one.  And isn't miss Ashley [the adorable bachelorette in the red dress] just so precious?  Love that girl to pieces!)

{I'm thankful} that we finally found some furniture for our front porch. 

See the porch?

Here's what we ended up getting.

And, crazy enough, we found it at!  I looked everywhere and found very little that didn't look overly boxy and modern.  On a whim, I checked Walmart, and they had more selection (at the BEST prices) than anywhere else I found!  I'm terrible at envisioning how something will look in a space, so I'm praying that it doesn't look ridiculous, but if it does, we'll just send it back and try another one. :)

And last, but certainly not least, {I'm thankful} that, a year ago today, this little ray of sunshine entered our lives.

(At her first birthday party, really enjoying her cake... :))

Happy first birthday, Stella Jo!  I've had the most fun this past year getting to be your aunt, and I can't wait to see what God has planned for your life!

So that's what I've got this week - what are you guys thankful for?
Also linking up with black tag diaries, The Fontenot Four, First Day of my Life, kate says stuff, and  a punk a pumpkin and a peanut.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Music Wednesday...

A co-worker of Micah's passed along this video to me last week (in an email wherein he told me what a joy it was to work with Micah.  I seriously can't express how incredibly lucky I feel to get to be my sweet husband's wife.  He has to be, without a doubt, the best man on the planet... but I digress.  As usual. :)).

Micah and I watched it when I got back from Florida on Friday night.  After having pushed aside everything but work for the past month, I honestly couldn't have received this message at a more appropriate time.  Because even when things are hectic and crazy, He should always be my focus.  My desire.  

As the video says, anything that I can't stop thinking of is an idol.  Anything I give all my hear to is an idol.  It's time to clear the stage and make room for what should be taking the spotlight:  Him.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's London, BABY! (Part I)

Yep.  It's finally happening.

I told you I'd get you a proper London post, and I'm delivering.

Honestly, y'all - it was the trip of a lifetime.  Flight/hotel paid for by work and just enough free time to see most of the things I really wanted to see. 

And, boy, did I see it. There are so many pictures that I'm going to have to split these posts up, lest I overwhelm you with all the loveliness! ;)

So let's start at the beginning, shall we?

My trip across the pond started with a ~5:00 flight out of DFW.  I felt like a high roller in business class with my fancy food and comfy seat/bed.
And thankfully I was able to sleep most of the way there so that when I woke up and it was 8:00 a.m. in London, my body had at least some sleep to keep me going for the day.

I snuck this picture of our descent - I couldn't believe how lush and green it looked.
After I landed at Heathrow, I grabbed a cab and headed to my hotel to check in. 

I stayed at The Park Lane Hotel on Piccadilly.

This was the bar area where people had tea in the afternoon.  I had hoped to be able to make it down one afternoon for tea, but the timing never worked out.  Next time... ;)

After I checked in, I set off on my first adventure:  breakfast.
I stumbled across a cute little restaurant just a few streets away from my hotel in an area called Shepherd's Market.  Yum.

Walking down random streets ended up being my very favorite part about being in London.  But more about that later... :)

On my way back to the hotel, I saw a double-decker tour bus that was about to pull away, and I spontaneously decided to buy a ticket.  The bus went around most of London in about two hours, and seeing the city from the upper level was amazing (even if it was freezing and drizzling to boot).
I took a lot of pictures on the bus tour...
(The Palace of Whitehall)
(Her Majesty's Theatre)

(Trafalgar Square.  This place was insanely busy/loud.)

(The juxtaposition of these very modern buildings just across the river from buildings that are hundreds and hundreds of years old was so bizarre.)

(Apparently a new Hollister opened up, and they enlisted the help of many handsome young men in promoting it... ;))

(The London Eye and Big Ben)

(I promise I took pictures of most of the real tourist attractions, but I'm saving them for other posts... ;))

After I finished the bus tour, I was famished and ready for something yummy and British. So when I stumbled across this little place...

I grabbed a table and treated myself to...

Fish and chips, of course!  And mushy peas, which were fairly disgusting.  But the fish was delicious!

At that point, the jet lag had started to set in, and I had a lot of work to do, so I headed back to the hotel for the night.  And after staying up until 2:00 a.m. that first night working, I was convinced that my bus tour would be the extent of my sightseeing opportunities.  But it turns out the best was yet to come... ;)

(Stay tuned for Part II - coming soon!)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Project Scripture: Week Twenty-Two...

Whoo hoo!  A couple of days with no work to do and some quality time with my love, and I feel like a new woman!

I should be back to my regular posting next week, but I wanted to share this week's verse (since I forgot last week's verse - so sorry you guys!)


"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2. Cor. 12:9.

Hope you guys are having a wonderful weekend with friends and family.  Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beautiful... but

Florida was beautiful...

... but not nearly as beautiful as being home is. :)

Thankful Thursdays (Link Up!)

I'm drowning in work, y'all.

Seriously drowning.

I'm not sure I've ever been this tired in my life. Maybe when I was studying for the bar exam? Maybe...

I'm writing from (yet another) hotel room. This one's in Florida again.

But there's good news! After tomorrow's deposition, I'm done with the traveling at least for a little while, and my life should get back to normal - at least for a minute. :) So that's what I'm thankful for today.  What are you guys thankful for?  Spill!

Also linking up with black tag diaries, The Fontenot Four, First Day of my Life, kate says stuff, and  a punk a pumpkin and a peanut.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A bit of not-so-subtle bribery in the form of D.C. pictures...

So.  Let's have some real talk about the fact that I still haven't gotten you guys a proper London post.  It isn't because I don't love you.  It isn't because I'm a horrible, awful blogger (although that may, in fact, be true...).  And it isn't because I lost my camera card (although that may also be true - thank goodness for backing up!). 

It's only because I've been working 12-hour days all darned week and got on yet another airplane today...

... which landed here.


Well, not exactly here.  But you get my point.  I'm here on Capitol Hill with all the cool D.C. kids for the night.

And I won't pretend like I'm not totally bribing you guys with more pictures because I totally am...

And I was hoping that you guys might hate me less for totally dropping the ball on London if I shared some D.C. love.

(And love it sure is.  This was my salted caramel ice cream with peanuts, caramel corn, whipped cream [homemade, I might add], and chocolate sauce.  I died of yum.)

(But, hey - it's totally okay because I only had a salad for dinner.  With blue cheese all over it.  And bacon -  which I ate with my hands because I'm from Texas, and we don't bother with a knife and fork when there's bacon involved.)

So please say you'll forgive me?  Those London pictures are coming your way this weekend come hell or high water.  Or bacon.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursdays (Link Up!)

It so doesn't feel like Thursday to me.  My week has been so insane, I'm honestly not even sure which way is up!  But even when things are crazy (and maybe especially then), I still want to count my blessings because they are many and He is good.

{I'm thankful} that I'm wearing jeans to work today.  Granted, I'm only wearing jeans because I'll be headed to the airport in about three hours to head to D.C. for another deposition, but still... :)

{I'm thankful} that I didn't really chop off my hair and dye it fire engine red like I did in my dream last night.  That was not a good look for me.

{I'm thankful} that the scale has been kind to me since I've been back from London.  If you were following along on Instagram (@ryanahargrave), you understand what a miracle that is.  I ate like my life depended on it (which I guess it technically does, but I'm pretty sure ice cream and French macaroons aren't a strict necessity).

{I'm thankful} that I was able to catch up on Grey's Anatomy so that I can (hopefully) watch the finale in my hotel room tonight.  Have you guys seen the previews?? Holy. cow.

{I'm thankful} that after next week's trip to Florida, I should be done with depositions for a little while.  I love taking them, but the travel wears me out. 

And that's what I'm thankful for this week!  How about you guys?  What's going right in your lives?
Also linking up with black tag diaries, The Fontenot Four, First Day of my Life, kate says stuff, and  a punk a pumpkin and a peanut.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Music Wednesday (and a thought)...

This song has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks, and I don't think I've shared it here before.

It's Stronger by Hillsong, and the lyrics (particularly the chorus) are so powerful to me.

You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus, You are Lord of all.

To be able to call sin broken -- to know that Christ's love broke it -- is a truth I don't deserve.  And I don't know if any of you who read these silly ramblings of mine needed to hear this truth today, but just in case...

Christ is all. 
His love is strong enough to overcome whatever past enslaves you.  
It is strong enough to overcome whatever storms are waiting for you in the future. 
His love led Him to the cross so that He could make you new again, and I pray that if you're searching for something -- anything -- you could meet Him there and let Him show you what true love looks like.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Project Scripture: Week Twenty...

I swear to goodness that a proper London post is coming soon!

I got home late Saturday night after my sweet husband picked me up from the airport.  (When we spotted one another in international arrivals, I ran to him, dropped my suitcase and held on for dear life for probably a full minute.  I can't even tell you guys how much I missed him.)  Yesterday, we spent some time with our moms for Mothers Day, and I spent some time just sitting around, trying to adjust to life in this time zone again, so I wasn't really up to sorting through all of my pictures.  But I promise you guys... they're coming. :)

And because I'm going for the worst blogger EVER award, I also forgot to get the Project Scripture verse up yesterday, so without further ado...

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

(Does it get any better than that? His goodness knows no bounds. :))
I hope you guys are having a fabulous Monday.  My mind has sort of refused to leave London, so I'm having a hard time getting things done today.  Here's hoping I'm more productive this afternoon. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

More London Instagram fun...

I'm posting from bed from my phone. It's 1 am here (I never really adjusted to the time difference) and I wanted to share just a couple of pictures from my trip to Westminster Abbey today. It truly was beyond anything I had expected. So, so beautiful and touching. And since the Blogger app on my phone wont let me post text between pictures, you'll just have to enjoy these pictures from my phone with no commentary. :) I leave tomorrow and will FOR SURE have a post detailing how awesome this trip has been (complete with pictures from my big girl camera) when I get back. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursdays (Link Up!)...

Hey guys! Since I'm in London, this won't be much of a post, but I am thankful to be in this beautiful city, and I'm very thankful to have my sweet husband (and puppy) to go home to.  I miss them a ridiculous amount.

I hope you guys are having a fabulous week, and go on and link up your thankfuls below!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Post: Kristin from Kristin's kNook!

Meet Kristin, who is one of my favorite bloggers.  If you don't already read her blog obsessively like I do, go check her out and show her some love!

Hey there, readers of The Ramblings of Mrs. Hargrave!  I'm Kristin.

Kristin’s kNook

I like to write about food, exercise, funny stuff, ironic stuff, more food, stuff I like, and so on.  I was very happy when Ryan asked me to do a little guest-postin' for her. Ryan is off jet-setting it in Europe.  Are we jealous??  Of course, we're not.  However, I would like to go to London for two reasons:

#1 I love the idea of tea time.  It's pretty brilliant to set aside adult snacktime each afternoon, right?
#2  I want to meet Kate.  Like, desperately. 

But I'm not going there anytime soon, so let's talk summertime.  Let's talk summertime drinks.  Actually, let's talk adult beverages in the summertime.

Once the crazy, constant Alaska daylight comes back in the summer, it's like extra hours have magically been added to the day.  And I'm much more likely to whip up a cocktail in the blender on a Sunday Friday night during the spring or summer.

I don't like wine.  It's not my thing.  I won't necessarily turn it down if it's offered at dinner or at someone's house.  But I'm telling you:  We've had the same half-empty bottle of Arbor Mist in the fridge since January.  Yes, I'm aware that Arbor Mist barely qualifies as wine.  But Arbor Mist costs a dollar more than Boone's Farm.  Much classier.  (My favorite flavor of Boone's is "blue", by the way.)

I actually tried to drink the rest of that Arbor Mist last week.  I couldn't get the bottle open.  So back into the fridge it went.

Call me crazy, but all real wine pretty much tastes the same to me.  My palate isn't quite that developed.  Which is probably why I can down a bag of generic marshmallows every week.  And eat queso from a jar.

Despite my non-connessiour-ness, I'm pretty particular about  my margaritas.  Bad Mexican food in Alaska is one of my sore spots.  Bad margaritas at these "Mexican" restaurants is a real sore spot.

At one establishment (*cough*Chepo's*cough*), the margarita tastes like Kool-Aid.  Pure Kool-Aid.  And it was like $8.  Doesn't the thought of that make you sick?  I've been saying mean things about Alaskan "Mexican" restaurants ever since.

Margaritas should have fresh fruit, tequila, triple sec, and lime.  Unfortunately, limes are expensive.  And I generally like to drink more "margarita" than I can make with just lime juice.  So I've devised a brilliant way to solve my problem.  I use a good-quality juice to thin it out and make a great "margarita slush". You could use any combination of juice and frozen or fresh fruit.  Just make sure you have tequila, triple sec, and lime in there.

Oh, and please don't use Kool-Aid.  If it's Kool-Aid you're after, come visit me in Alaska, and I'll be sure that the Kool-Aid margaritas are the first stop on our sight-seeing tour.

Margarita Slush
makes one drink

1 heaping cup frozen fruit (I like strawberries or peaches.)
3/4 cup juice (I used Tropicana Simply Raspberry Lemonade.)
1 T. lime juice
1 t. sugar (if needed)
1 shot Triple Sec orange liqueur
1 shot tequila

Mix it all up in the blender!  Depending on the kind of juice you use, you may not need the sugar.

*If you're not a tequila fan, you could also use rum.*

Thanks for inviting me over, Ryan!  I hope you're having a great trip :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Instagram: London style...

I don't have time for a full blown post because I still have two more depositions to prepare for, so I'm just going to bombard you with London pictures. Mmmkay?

(I was "stepping into the map," as Joey Tribbiani would say... ;))

(Doesn't this picture look like a postcard? This is Green Park, right next to Buckingham Palace. Reminds me a bit of Central Park - a quiet, peaceful place surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city.)

(Oh, hey there, Buckingham Palace!)

(My lunch today.  That chocolate croissant was to. die. for.)

(There seem to be gorgeous buildings like this tucked away on almost any street you find yourself on.  I can't get over how beautiful and historically signficant everything in this city is!)

(This is my hotel.  This room is where everyone has tea in the afternoon.  I love how proper everyone is.)

(Another Buckingham Palace shot.  Love.)

And that's what I've been up to so far in this wonderful, wonderful city.  Hope you guys are having a fabulous week!  Cheerio!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Guest Post: Kristen from Established: 2008

Hey guys! I'm having a blasty-blast in jolly olde London, and I can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back! But until then, one of my sweet blog friends, and a fellow Texas gal, Kristen, has graciously agreed to keep you entertained while I'm gone. Take it away, Kristen! Hey y'all! I'm Kristen and I am so excited to be guest posting for Ryan! I am so super jealous about her fabulous trip but it definitely got me to thinking about my own travels!

Traveling is one of my very favorite things to do. I love seeing new places and experiencing new cultures.

My husband and I try to take a trip every year. So far, we've stayed in the States. We've visited New York, Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, San Francisco and we're planning to hit Chicago this summer!

The best trip I've ever been on, though, was with one of my dear friends. She had been living in Europe and I went and spent about six weeks with her. We traveled ALL over the place.

We went to Rome.






And even Slovakia!
While I don't know everything, I feel like I've gained a bit or two of knowledge and based on all of this travel, I've come up with my top ten tips for world travelers.

1.  Pick a great companion.
Traveling can be wonderful but it can also be really stressful. Make sure that you've chosen someone with patience, a good sense of humor and that doesn't hold grudges. You need someone that will laugh with you when you leave your passport in the hotel room or send your luggage to the wrong city.

2. Travel light.
Make sure you pack clothes that are versatile. Take skirts that can be dressed up for a night out or dressed down for sight seeing. If you're staying in a hostel, do laundry.
3. Take awesome shoes.
I love shoes and I love to look cute but don't sacrifice your feet in the name of style. When I was in Vienna, we were on a tight schedule to make sure that we did everything we wanted to. I don't know that we sat down the entire time. We were exhausted. There's no way we could have made it without quality footwear.

4. Do reseach!
Make sure that you have a plan and that you know about the culture that you're visiting. When I was in Venice, we visited a church and they almost didn't let us in because my friend was wearing a tank top. Luckily, she had a jacket. We had no idea!

5. Try new things.
Maybe you're not really in to weird food or are afraid of heights. Try and put that aside while you're traveling. Experience the weird and you'll find the fantastic. We ended up on a river boat in the middle of Austria. It was wonderful!

6. Be flexible.
Something is bound to go wrong. When I went to Europe, my clothes ended up in Germany and I landed in Bologna, Italy. Luckily for me, there was an H&M down the street from my friend's apartment and we were able to get two or three outfits to tide me over. Also, while we were in Italy, there were a number of train strikes on days that we were meant to be somewhere else. We always had to have a plan B! Traveling is exciting but part of that is the promise that something might change last minute.

7. Don't OVER plan.
You don't want to jam pack your schedule to the point that you can't experience other things. One of the best afternoons my husband and I ever had was in San Francisco on a day that we had nothing planned. We ended up renting a car and driving to Napa. We LOVED it!

8. Take things to entertain yourself.
While you travel, there can be a lot of downtime. In Europe, I played a LOT of rummy. In New York, my husband and I played a LOT of Scramble. Be prepared!

9. Ask for travel suggestions and don't be afraid to go off the beaten path.
I don't know that I would ever have chosen to go to Siena without asking around. I found out about this little Italian treasure from a friend that had lived in Siena for awhile. If you ever go to Italy, you NEED to go there. It's perfect.

10.  Take lots of pictures
I always forget to do this and I regret it.

What are y'all's tips for happy travels? Any dream vacations?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Project Scripture: Week Nineteen

Since I'm out of town for this week's verse, I'll keep this short and sweet. :)

Here is the verse for this week - enjoy!
Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?"

Hi from London!

Oh, you guys.

I am in love with this city.

I don't really have time to tell you about how wonderful this trip has already been.  I could probably do a whole post on just how wonderful the flight was (yeah, I said it... the firm insisted that I fly business class, and it was amazing). 

And I went on a double-decker bus tour of the city today, which could not have been more awesome (even if I was practically frozen by the time it was over - it's cold here!).  I took about a gazillion pictures and obviously don't have time to share them all, but I did want to post these pictures I snagged of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (the name of the bell of the clock on the Houses of Parliament).

Almost every piece of this city holds some sort of historical significance, and it's all so beautiful.  (Plus, the precious little British children with their adorable accents are just about the cutest things I've ever seen!)

And I had fish and chips for lunch today, so I can cross that off my list.

There is so much I want to do and see while I'm here.  Let's just hope that pesky work stuff doesn't get in the way of my sightseeing... ;)

I'll try and check in again soon.  XOXO. 
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