Saturday, December 22, 2012

No Place Like Home

Wow, December has FLOWN by!  It seems like just a week or two ago we were flying home to Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families.  Because of our work schedules, we hadn't been home in 3 months.  I was getting seriously homesick, and luckily, we had the good fortune to be able to travel home during the week of Thanksgiving.  It was so good getting to see our family and friends again! We drove to Indianapolis the night before we left (my first time ever in Indiana!) then caught an early morning flight to Dallas!  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Adventures in Amish Country

Well, we are already 5 days into December, and I still have so many fall happenings that I didn't get to share.  Now that I am working 40 hours a week on a constantly changing schedule, updating my posts has fallen to the bottom of my priority list, along with running, working on my play and practicing guitar.  I have, however, been visiting family, getting ready for Christmas, going out with friends and spending time with the hubby.  Not a bad way to spend my time off.

But before I dive into the Christmas season, I want to share some more fun autumn experiences!  One great experience we had was our first trip to Amish country and our first time at a pumpkin patch.  In Arthur, IL about an hour south of where we live, there is a farm in a predominantly Amish community known as The Great Pumpkin Patch.  Robert and I went back in October and we had a wonderful time.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thirty Days of Thanks

You're all familiar with this.  It's usually a Facebook thing, but I found it a great exercise so I decided to share it on here, too.

Day 1: Kicking off Thankful November!! I'm thankful that I didn't have ice on my windshield this morning, even though I had to be at work early, I had a lovely sunrise to see, my husband had lunch with me, I had wonderful birthday wishes from my sweet friends and family (that's y'all!), I got to go out with my great coworkers tonight, my dear friend Danielle is visiting tomorrow! It's been a wonderful birthday and a wonderful start to the beginning of the month! Love to you all!!!
Day 2: As I do laundry and clean the apartment, I am so thankful to have clothes, furniture and a home to care for. AND that I have a dear friend visiting today giving me a reason to clean!!!
Day 3: I'm so very thankful for my alma mater, Baylor University. I'm thankful for all I learned there, the wonderful people I met there, and the amazing memories I made there. I wish I could be at Homecoming, but it's still great to watch Baylor winning, even in IL!
Day 4: I am thankful that I am exhausted from my full time job. Even though I closed tonight and I open tomorrow, I'm thankful to be making money, have health benefits and getting management experience!
Day 5: Thankful that we have a wide variety of not only edible, but healthy and delicious food and drinks readily available. Something so many don't have.

Day 6: I'm thankful I live in a country where we can exercise our right to voice our opinions, disagree, and feel safe doing so. Thank you ,Jesus.

Day 7: I'm thankful for the gift of music and my husband's ability to play guitar. Lovely.
Day 8: I'm thankful that I am healthy and able-bodied. Just walking, let alone being able to run and work out, is a blessing I often take for granted. 

Day 9: I'm thankful I have a safe, dependable mode of transportation. So grateful for this luxury I also often take for granted.

Day 10: I'm thankful for the freedom to attend a place of worship with other believers and praise my God as I see fit.

Day 11: I'm thankful for the brave men and women who served in the US military so that I could have that freedom.  Happy Veterans Day!

Day 14: I am thankful for Baylor theatre. What an amazingly talented group of people and wonderful friends. I miss it every day.

Day 15: I am thankful for my education in general. I have been blessed to go to an excellent high school and college that helped me tap into my potential.

Day 16: I am thankful for luxuries like heat, ac, running water, and electricity. We expect those things but how different life is when we don't have them. I am so blessed!
Day 17: I'm thankful for my wonderful, sweet, intelligent, supportive husband.  And I'm especially grateful he asked me out 5 years ago.

Day 18: I'm thankful for the great state of Texas and I'm so glad to be home.

Day 19: I'm thankful for my warm, loving, silly and generous in-laws who have welcomed me into their home these last 5 years.

Day 20: I'm thankful for my wonderful, generous grandfather and everything he does and has done for me.

Day 21: I am thankful for my mom who is kind, intelligent, strong, independent, and one heck of a cook. I got her eyes, her determined spirit, and her work ethic.

Day 22: I am thankful for my dad who is loving, silly, generous, compassionate and has never met a stranger. I got his legs, his appetite and his sense of humor.

Day 23: I am thankful for my sweet munchkin/baby sister Hannah and my precious niece she has given me.  I am so proud of her and cannot wait to see all that she accomplishes!

Day 24: I am thankful for my middle sister Jen, and her beautiful family.  I love getting to watch her sweet kids grow up, even if it is from across the country.
Day 25: I am thankful for my brother Josh and my oldest nephew.  They are two fantastic guys, and I miss them all the time.
Day 26:  I am thankful for my oldest sister Holly and her beautiful boys. All of my nieces and nephews are growing up into such amazing kids and I am so proud of how my siblings are raising them!
Day 27: I am thankful to have gotten to travel and see this awesome world we live in.  I am lucky to have been lots of places, and I hope to go see many more!
Day 28: I am thankful for the people who serve our communities every day like my brother-in-law Ricky the firefighter, my sister-in-law Morgan the nurse, and my sister-in-law Katelyn, the future teacher.  They are true life-savers and life-changers, and I am so grateful for their service!
Day 29: I am thankful for the courageous freedom seekers who traveled to this country centuries ago and braved adversity to start a new life, some of whom are my ancestors.  I am also thankful for the Native American tribes who helped those settlers survive, some of whom are also my ancestors.

Day 30: I am thankful for the holiday season which gives us a chance to reflect on all of our blessings, visit our loved ones, and remember the important things that make this life so rich.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pin Up and Pumpkins

I love Halloween!  Not only do I get to have fun with friends, dress up and eat lots of candy, but it's also the night before my birthday, so I generally milk it for all it's worth.  It's the best reason I can come up with to get the hubs to participate in the festivities with me.  I know, I know, it was over 3 weeks ago, but I don't care.  I have to share the fun I had celebrating my first Halloween as a married gal!

The first project I began was my costume.  Since it was our first Halloween as husband and wife, I thought it'd be fun to go as a classic housewife, since I feel like some days that's exactly what I am.  The 1940's pin up housewife is specifically what came to mind.  Aren't these great?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Touches of Fall

Who doesn't just love when the air gets crisp, leaves grow vibrant and pumpkin spice lattes are everywhere?

This is my first fall as a married woman with my own home to decorate.  Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of space to do so, as you've all heard me lament before.  Likewise, my budget is somewhat to be desired, so the mission was to get some nice, simple touches for the fall season to make our apartment cute and cozy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Small Projects, Big Impression

 Wow, I have been gone a while!

Things like work, crafts, Halloween, my birthday, the election and friend visits got have completely pushed updating on here to the bottom of my priority list. Lately, when I've been getting the urge to write, I focus on my play instead of my blog. But I promised a series on my art/decor projects, and I really only have a few left to mention.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Headboard over Heels!

I have been documenting some art projects that I have done recently, and I am going to continue that little series with my latest decorating craft.  Although this isn't exactly an art project, it's an interior decorating project, and that's still a form of art, right?  I'm thinking so.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Little Piece of Spring


I love being crafty, in case you haven't noticed.  Since my last post was about an art project, I decided to make it a little series.  Our walls were fairly bare when we first moved to Illinois, and there were some paintings at Bed Bath and Beyond, Hobby Lobby and Target that I was really coveting.  Being poor newlyweds, however, limited our budget to necessities, and even with my beloved coupons, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a mass-produced print.  So what did I do?  I did it myself, of course!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Loving the Chevron!

In case you've been living under a rock, chevron's are a huge trend right now.  I think they're great, very modern, clean, simple.  So, when I got sick of having an ugly breaker box stare at me for the last 4 months, I decided that a piece of cool art would do just the trick, and I was dying to have some chevron pattern somewhere in the apartment.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Confessions of a New Runner

Tips, Advice and What I've Learned

I've been running off and on for years.  Over the past few months, it's become a more serious hobby including training and completing a 5K.  Running more than a mile or two, though, takes more work than one might think.  Here are some tips that I have learned since beginning my new journey.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Twenty-Seven Minutes and Nineteen Seconds

Last week, I ran my first 5K.  In 27 minutes and 19 seconds.  That's what eight weeks of training all came down to.  It's my personal best time running 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles.  That's a 9 minute mile average.  I'm pretty proud of myself.

Proof that I ran eight minutes faster than my previous time!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Délicieux, Oui? Oui!!

Bonjour, mon amis!

Anyone like to join me for Saturday brunch?  Today's special: French Toast!  Now, when I went to Paris on a summer study abroad trip, I never saw French toast served anywhere, so I have no clue why it's called "French" toast, but I love it anyway.  We have a local mom and pop cafe in town that serves DELICIOUS breakfast.  They have THE BEST French toast that I have ever tasted!  We can't go too often, because I don't even want to think about the amount of calories in every rich, fluffy, decadent bite.  However, I love our lazy days off when the hubs and I sleep in, stay in our cozy pajamas, and eventually shuffle to the kitchen to make breakfast, or more accurately, brunch.  So, I have developed a French toast recipe of my own.  It's not particularly healthy either, but it's tasty and we don't have to leave the house to get it.  Or put on pants for that matter.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Amazing is It...

...That I am up at 1:00 am?

Not very.

I worked pretty much all day, came home and relaxed while the hubs made dinner.  We watched some of the Democratic Convention, I practiced guitar, showered and am now snuggled up in bed with buzzing thoughts on my mind and a glowing computer screen in my lap.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Life's Little Adventures

Well, it's been a while. 

I've had a lot going on in the past couple of weeks. As you may know, I've been training for a 5K. Sadly, I hurt my ankle while running on the treadmill 2 weeks ago. It was slightly swollen and sore on the inner side. I tried running on it last week, but it was torture to go even one mile. So, after two weeks, several ice packs, heating pads and Epsom salt soaks, I'm going to try again. I hope I haven't lost too much stamina. The race is in less than 3 weeks.
I did the Susan G. Komen 1 mile memorial walk twice before with my Theta sisters.
If anyone would like to make a donation toward my fundraising goal, I (and women everywhere being screened or treated for breast cancer) would be SO appreciative! Click here to support my efforts and help make a difference! 

I also started my glamorous, high-paying new job! Yes, I am in fact, a cafe seller/barista at my local neighborhood Barnes and Noble. Fun Stuff. It's not exactly what I was hoping for, but I knew being in a small city with a degree in acting wasn't going to make a lot of money. I keep reminding myself that I have to work to live not live to work. Therefore, in my spare time, I am learning guitar, training for the aforementioned 5K, and writing a couple of plays. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

All Hail the Birthday Princess

I have 4 nephews and 2 nieces, all of whom I adore!  I haven't gotten to see Ryder or Maddex (my oldest sister Holly's boys) in a couple of years because they moved to Colorado, but they are adorable!  I used to see Micah (my brother Josh's son and the oldest nephew) and Colton (my sister Jen's son) fairly often, as they lived in Texas when I did.  I can't believe how big they are both getting!  Jen had her daughter, Riley, only about 4 months before I got married and moved away, so I've only gotten to see her a handful of times, but she is such a sweetie and looks like her mama.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We CAN Do It!

An Experiment with Canning Fresh Produce

Robert and I were lucky enough to house sit for the Fosters again last week.  We did the standard water the plants, feed the dogs, get the mail and keep the place tidy.  It’s a nice break from the “micro urban” surroundings of Champaign, and we get to relax in the country.  I got some writing done, had quiet runs down the country roads, and as payment for our “work,” they let us take home about 3 pounds of banana peppers, 5 pounds of huge tomatoes, about 3 gallon size bags of blackberries, and 2 bell peppers. 

It’s wonderful having fresh from the garden produce.  Robert’s mom has a large garden she harvests for months, and growing up, my mother and grandmother both gardened a great deal, so we both are used to the privilege of growing and eating our own fruits and veggies.  Weeding the garden, no problem.  Picking the produce, no problem.  Processing the produce… new experience.  We decided we wanted to can some of the tomatoes, pickle some of the banana peppers, process the blackberries and make salsa.  Lots to do.  Lots to learn.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Bucket List

So Much to Do, So Little Time

I have a lot of respect for accomplished people; people who have set goals and achieved them.  Examples? People who can speak multiple languages, are experts at certain hobbies, have mastered musical instruments, have several degrees or have accomplished feats of physical strength and endurance.  Yes, Olympic athletes come to mind.  My talented husband also comes to mind.  He is very musically talented (piano, guitar, trombone in high school, a little bass, drums and is teaching himself banjo), and  he is getting his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.  Smarty pants.  We both speak some Spanish, but we’re getting rusty.  I have accomplished cousins, uncles, friends and acquaintances. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Windy City

A few weeks ago I felt like a city mouse in the country.  This past weekend, I felt just the opposite.  Robert and I had our first REAL trip to the wonderful city of Chicago.  The first couple of times we had been there were just trips to and from O’Hare airport, so it didn’t really count since all we really saw of the city was the skyline, my friends’ apartment and inside the airport.  This time, however, we had a great opportunity to really get to know the city.  And we loved it.

We decided it would be good for me to drive there, since Robert had driven there twice before, and I never had.  It wasn’t really any different from driving in say, Houston or Dallas, except that I had no clue where I was most of the time.  We took the long way to our friends’ apartment so that we could see more of the city.  It was a gorgeous day: sunny, 75 degrees and breezy.  We saw the magnificent architecture, shopping centers, the river walk, the lovely aqua blue water and beaches of Lake Michigan and the colorful mix of people from all over the world walking the streets.  Our first impression of the city was a good one.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fly Over States

I love how big our nation is and how many subcultures exist throughout it.  I grew up around the “cowboy culture” wearing western boots, going to rodeos, and learning to two-step.  Now, I know there are a lot of preconceived notions about Texas, some that are true and some that are not.  While many of us do know how to ride horses or own horses, that does not mean we ride them to school and work.  The entire state does not look like West Texas.  The tumble weeds, cactus and foothills are less common than you might think.  We’re not all narrow-minded, Bible-thumping racists. Some are, but most of us try to love our neighbors despite their particular religion, lifestyle, or heritage.  We do have some darn good Mexican food though. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIYing to Tie the Knot

I love crafts and being creative.  I love seeing new trendy things and thinking, “I can make that myself.”  I am very fortunate to have learned to sew my freshman year of college.  Being a theatre major at Baylor means you have to be very well-rounded in all aspects of the craft, therefore, all students are required to take a costuming class.  I loved it.  I also have had a lot of experience painting, cutting and hot-gluing (advanced skills, I know), so I often put them to use. 

I haven’t had just a whole lot of time since moving to Illinois to get creative.  Paying rent, bills, groceries and gas leaves my crafts budget something to be desired.  Once the job hunt is over and I have a little spare cash and spare time, I will document some of the crafts on my list to try; especially, since Hobby Lobby is just a block away.  That place is my Mecca.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wedded Bliss

I have returned to The Land of Lincoln.  It's no Lone Star State, but there is this guy here I really like being with.  I had a fantastic time at my friend Kiley's wedding.  She had a very traditional, elegant, classic wedding with some fun and quirky details that made it "Kiley."  Here are a few of my favorite pictures.  Of course, since the wedding was four days ago, they don't have the professionals yet, but these are a few my friends and I snapped.

Simple, breath-taking and romantic ceremony

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Thank You for Being a Friend

Happy Holiday week to everyone! I hope you all had a fun and safe Independence Day! Robert and I enjoyed a fun and relaxed morning by the pool, followed by a trip to the Foster Family Farm where we enjoyed some backyard baseball, grilling, sparklers, s'mores and campfires. It was a great time had by all!

I am currently back home in the great state of Texas for the wedding of my sorority sister, former roommate, bridesmaid and dear friend, Kiley.  Yesterday was a long day of travel, beginning with a 6:50 am flight out of Chicago, which Robert drove me to the night before. I was supposed to take the train, but due to delays, we decided driving would be more efficient, which it was.
My grandfather picked me up at DFW then drove me to Tyler where I got my Paisley fix (my 11 month old niece whom I ADORE). I then drove to Houston in time for the bachelorette festivities last night.  It was an exciting and exhausting 24 hours.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fun at the Foster Family Farm

Illinois is farm country, plain and simple.  Robert and I are more used to ranch/oil field country.  But we are starting to learn more about crops, agriculture and the farm way of life.  One very predominate influence we have up here is the Foster family.  They are friends of Robert’s from camp RYLA, and they have been so incredibly generous and hospitable towards us ever since we moved up here.

Last weekend, they flew down to Texas and needed someone to watch their house, so they asked us.  We eagerly agreed and were excited to explore based on their description of the property: 600 acre farm, four-wheelers, pond, indoor pool, king size bed…  It was like an all expense paid vacation to a country bed and breakfast!  Friday night before they left, they took us to dinner with a bunch of their neighbor friends, and we had a great time. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Motivation to Sweat

I have WAY too many t-shirts.  Seriously.  But it’s ok because I like to make new things out of them.  I love making game day dresses out of my oversized Baylor shirts, and someday I’d like to try my hand at a t-shirt quilt.  But right now, my latest craze is the t-shirt tank top.  I LOVE this project because you don’t have to sew!  I brought my sewing machine up here when we moved, but until a couple of days ago, I didn’t have a table and chair the right height with which to use it. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Great Speaker Spruce-Up


 Hello everyone! So, yesterday's post was a little heavy, so here's something to lighten the mood!  I love crafts, so here is a DIY project that I did a couple weeks ago.  I already posted the before and after pictures, so these are all the steps in between! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Pursuit of Passion

I dream big.  I am an artist.  For those of you who don't know me, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance from Baylor University (Sic 'Em!!).  And unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the job market isn't too hot right now, especially in a field that has never offered steady employment anyway.

Actors live a hard life, but they do it because they love it.  It's their passion.  They don't quit.  Not if they're like me.  If they can't shake the bug.  If they're unhappy doing anything else.  Sometimes dreams change, but we creative types, we are constantly asking ourselves, "Am I happy? Am I chasing my dreams? Am I fulfilled?"  I always worry that if I change my career plans that I will always think, "What if?"  I have to give this a shot.  And if it's not meant to be, maybe someday I'll find a new dream that fills me with just as much passion.  But I won't settle.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Week of Firsts

Well, we have been residents of Champaign, Illinois for one week now.  We've gotten a lot done in just seven days.  Last Monday, we had dusty furniture placed awkwardly throughout the apartment, boxes were stacked to the ceiling and trash and debris was scattered across living room and kitchen. 

Now, we are unpacked, organized, decorated (mostly) and settling in nicely.  It's cost us some money and hard work to get here, but it's starting to feel like home.  Opening our wedding presents and setting them up felt like Christmas morning.  I had been waiting two long months to tear into those shiny new appliances and pretty kitchen wares, and man, did it feel good!  What felt even better was taking back some repeat gifts ($260 worth), combined with our many, many gift cards and going on a SHOPPING SPREE in Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It was glorious.  We probably took home $500 worth of merchandise and only spent $5.