Monday, December 30, 2013

A Year in Review....

2013 was a great year, don't get me wrong, but I am so excited about the prospect of a new year with new beginnings and new adventures.

2013 was a crazy blend of stress and blessings — we dealt with unemployment, two semesters, wedding planning, a wedding, honeymoon, a new job, moving to a new city, etc. I am SO ready to get 2014 started!

January: I don't remember much about this month, except that I probably spent a lot of it on Pinterest looking at wedding stuff. We went to a bridal fair in Oklahoma City and Chase tagged along. The poor guy kept complaining about his stomach hurting; his mom and I finally convinced him to go to the hospital.
Despite the smile on his face, he had to have his appendix taken out. I did my best to take care of him and nurse him back to health.

February: Hmm....not sure if I remember anything significant about this month. More wedding planning, trying to diet for the wedding (FAIL).

March: I found my wedding dress! I thought it would take forever to pick out my dress, but the third dress I tried on was the perfect one.

April: More wedding planning, I'm sure. School work, going to class, grading papers, etc.

May: Finished my first year of grad school! We also drove to Alabama (in the middle of the night) to spend the week with my family. It was amazing...I'm hoping we can do it again! (hint, hint, Mom, Dad?)
Gulf Shores, Ala.


June: When we returned to Oklahoma from Alabama, we stayed with my family for a couple of days before we headed back north. Chase received a phone call during lunch one day. He called the man back later that day said said that a company in Houston wanted him to go to Houston that week for a prospective job in Tulsa. After a few months of unemployment, we were overjoyed! We returned home and had our engagement shoot (I know, I know, last minute) before he flew to Houston. Since his lease was about to expire on his apartment, we had to move all of is belongings to my apartment. The job wasn't finished before he left, so I finished moving/cleaning his apartment before I went to spend time with my family.

July: Wedding!!!! But first, Chase returned from Houston after being gone for nearly three weeks. He announced that we had to find a place to live in Tulsa IMMEDIATELY. The following Monday, he went to Tulsa to work, I met him that afternoon, and we looked at places to live. Luckily, we were able to find a nice place with immediate openings. On Friday, we started packing and loading things up and we were moved by Saturday. There were still things to do in Stillwater, so I traveled back in forth. Eventually, we had everything out of the apartment in Stillwater, just in time for my high school besties to arrive and last minute wedding prep. I drove to Oklahoma City to pick them up and we spend the next couple of days doing last minute things. I can honestly say I had never been so stressed. My apartment still wasn't unpacked, I still had wedding stuff to do, and I was trying to spend time with my friends while getting ready for my wedding and packing for the honeymoon. Somehow I survived. People act surprised when I tell them my wedding was super stressful (I still haven't watched the video of our wedding for that reason). But, it wasn't the wedding itself. It was a culmination of everything we had dealt with for the past six months. Even though my wedding day was so beautiful, I was genuinely happy when it was over.

It was so funny — I almost waited until October because I always wanted a fall wedding. But, since we obviously didn't want to live together before we were married, trying to find two apartments wherever we moved was getting troublesome, and since I would be in the middle of a semester, we chose July. And, I'm so happy we did. After we returned from our wonderful honeymoon in Florida, the toughest semester of my life began.

August - December: These months were a blur. My beautiful cousin married the beginning of August and I was blessed enough to do her makeup. She looked gorgeous! My parents celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary on Aug. 15. My parents are my biggest inspiration and I look up to them in so many ways. I celebrated my 26th birthday on Sept. 10 (eek!) and Chase celebrated his 25th on Nov. 8. Yes, he calls me a cradle robber. We did a day after shoot in downtown Tulsa and took some amazing artsy pictures that I am dying to have printed.
I also began my second year of graduate school. I made the commute (3 hours round trip) to Stillwater four times a week and began working on my thesis. I had a hard time with the commuting, keeping everything straight and getting everything done on time. With the great support from my husband and family, I was able to finish the semester with a 4.0. I have never been so happy to have a semester be over! Even though I had a tearful breakdown in the food court of the mall while shopping with his family, I survived. We had a great Christmas with both of our families and are looking forward to celebrating the beginning of a new year.

To all of my friends and family that I have been blessed with, thank you so much for an amazing year! Much love and prayers for an even better year in 2014!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Hey, y'all!

So, it's officially been a freakin' looong time since I've blogged. I don't even remember the last time I sat down to type out a blog.

So, what's happened?

I completed my thesis proposal, finished my semester with a 4.0, and survived 16 weeks of traveling to Stillwater four times a week.

Yes, yes, I know...cry me a river. I'm fully aware that I'm a big baby. But, it was tough for me! And tough, I'm sure, for my amazing husband who dealt with the many tears and stress-fueled rants and stacks of research strewn throughout the apartment, not to mention way too many sandwiches and pizza. God bless him.

It was so tough, in fact, that I met Chase's family in Oklahoma City for a girls weekend two days after my last final and, I had a meltdown in the food court. A complete, ugly face crying meltdown. You know if I cannot enjoy being in a mall during Christmas-time, there is something wrong. I'm not sure what happened — one minute I was fine, the next I was crying because I was still oh-so-stressed. Everyone was so sweet though, and told me their own stories of stressful meltdowns. It made me feel not so completely crazy!

I'm happy to report that everything is finally done and I have been able to chill with my husband during his week of vacation. I have even been able to watch some trashy reality television. It's been glorious.

Anyways, just checking in! It's good to feel like myself again :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

WIfe Status: Prepping for the week

Before we discuss anything, can we please recognize this????

OOOOOOOMG. Fall is my absolute FAVORITE time of year and I love anything and everything that tastes like pumpkin. I had my first pumpkin spice latte today and before I took a sip, I told Chase, "As soon as I take a drink of this, summer is officially over and it's time for fall."

He looked at me like I was crazy, but I happily welcomed the new season through my delicious coffee drink despite the 90 degree temps outside.

I go pumpkin crazy during the fall — pumpkin food, pumpkin scented candles and wax melts, and anything pumpkin I can get my hands on.

Anyways, now that I've made my devotion to pumpkin known, let's move on.

Last Tuesday, after the long Labor Day weekend, I had the following conversation with the professor I TA for:

Me: Hey! Did you have a nice, long weekend?

Her: I guess, but I kind of hate long weekends.

Me: Why is that?

Her: It just seems like everyone goes crazy and I don't get anything done. I like structure.

Me: Really?

Her: Yes, I almost prefer not having long weekends. I like to keep my routine.

And oddly enough, I think I agree with her. I know this will come as a shock to anyone that knew me during my teenage and early adult years: I was always a total procrastinator with a "why do today what I can do tomorrow" attitude. Now, I like my laundry done, my kitchen clean and dishes put up, meals planned and groceries bought, my apartment clean and my things ready to go for the week. I arrive anywhere at least 15 minutes early, just in case I get caught in traffic or inclement weather.

Last week, I had absolutely nothing done. Chase and I didn't even go grocery shopping. Granted, I did grade papers all weekend and complete some freelance assignments but still. I find that when I'm not organized, I tend to be a little more stressed. And when I don't have meals planned and healthy food ready to go, I eat way too much junk from the student union convenience store.

My life is a bit crazy right now: writing my thesis, TA-ing for 20 hours a week, freelance assignments that take me anywhere from 20-30 hours a week, commuting for 12 hours a week, six hours of class (plus homework, papers, experiments for papers) a week and trying to be an awesome wife (cooking, cleaning, laundry).

 I've been eating a very carb-heavy diet since school began; while Chase's foods of crackers, bread and Apple Jacks are delicious, they neither make me look, nor feel good.

Carbs are definitely not my friend and I made it a point to make sure I had plenty of healthy Paleo-ish items to nosh on.

I spent the entire day today cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and getting my things together (and of course, listening to the hubs whoop and holler for the 'Boys!) and I feel so much better than last week. Bring it on!

Here are some things I do to ensure a successful and healthy week:

I prep, prep, prep as much as I can! I boiled eggs, cut up some cheese, washed fruits and veggies, and prepped items for salads. This way, I can just grab and go!

I try to make lunches the night before. On Mondays, I am away from home from 6:40 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. I plan on eating Greek salads for lunch everyday — this one has romaine and spinach, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis, red onion, grilled lemon chicken, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, yellow bell pepper and cucumber. The dressing will be red wine vinegar and olive oil.

I sent my mom a picture of my creation and she replied, "Faythe said that's not a salad...'dang, thatta buffet!'" Haha...I take my salads seriously!

Random note. While making my salad today, I thought about my fifth grade teacher. She was an older woman that had traveled the world with her military husband. She ate Greek salads almost daily. She also used to make us do calisthenics during recess because she didn't believe in free play and called us "lackadaisical" (yes, I had to look up the spelling of that word).

I was enamored by her though, and told my mother that I wished I could sit down with her and listen to her adventures. She also told us that to lose weight, girls should eat 1,200 calories a day and 20 grams of fat. I also started counting calories that year — a fact I had never connected until today. Thank goodness I learned better than that!

Anyways, my food is ready to go. I know that I will be eating hardboiled eggs, berries, and salads while I am on campus. I feel kind of silly carrying a lunch box at the (almost) ripe old age of 26, but I prefer to bring my own food rather than scavenge for something healthy in the union. And, let's be honest. I'm also less likely to eat something healthy when bombarded by chips, candy bars and cookies.

I'm trying to get back into the habit of drinking a gallon of water a day, so I have my water bottles filled (with lemon added!) and ready to go.

I also meal plan. For example, I am out of the apartment until late on Mondays and Wednesdays so my poor husband has to fend for himself, but I know that on Tuesday, we're having salmon and sauteed zucchini with brown rice and garlic cheese rolls (carbs for him), and Thursday we're having bbq chicken with mashed potatoes and rolls for him and broccoli for me.

I planned the meals before grocery shopping, so I already know that I have everything to cook dinner those days. On the weekends, we usually eat leftovers, eat at restaurants or throw together things in the kitchen.

I did all of our laundry and ironed Chase's clothes for the week. I also have my nails painted and hair washed and blow dryed (since I have to be up at 5:30 in the morning). I know what I am wearing tomorrow and my backpack and purse are packed and ready to go!

I find that my mornings are less stressed and sometimes I can even enjoy a cup of coffee without feeling as though I am rushing out the door.

How do you prepare for the week? Do you pack lunches or buy them? Any tips?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to the grind

Oh man, what a week....

Just let me give you a brief run down....

I had 14 400-word articles due for one of my jobs and a 1,250 word article due this morning.

On Monday, I left Tulsa at 6:40 a.m. and stayed in Stillwater until 7 p.m. I got back home around 8:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, I left my apartment at 8:15 a.m. (although I am going to start leaving at 6:40 a.m.) and jumped on a bus at OSU's Tulsa campus at 9 a.m. and rode the bus to Stillwater. I only had to be there for a couple of hours, so I was back home a little after 2 p.m.

On Wednesdays, I would usually leave my apartment around 8:15 a.m. and get back home at 9:20 p.m., but Chase's mom was in the hospital so we went to see her. We left a little after 8 a.m. and got back home around 7:30 p.m.

Yesterday, I left my apartment at 11:45 a.m., jumped on a bus at 12 p.m. and got back home by 7:30 p.m.

This commuting thing is going to get old very quickly, but luckily it's only for a few months! Every free moment was spent writing and I felt "go, go, go" all week. I asked Chase a couple of weeks ago when things were going to slow down and he replied that they probably wouldn't. He was so right.

It is probably going to take me a few weeks to get adjusted to everything — I love living in Tulsa, but every time I leave Stillwater, I drive by my old apartment and I can't help but think, "I would already be home!"

But, oh well. Today has been spend finishing the article, drinking coffee, watching daytime TV and I just baked an original pound cake —one pound of butter, one pound of sugar and one pound of flour. Yikes! It's good, but the texture isn't quite like a pound cake.

Tomorrow, I have to go back to Stillwater for a class, but Sunday, I plan on relaxing and grilling with my husband! :)

Have a great weekend everyone!


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wife Status: Things I've been making

When I lived at home, my mom would implore me to join her in the kitchen. She would try to teach me how to cook things and no doubt was a little upset that I had no interest in such things.

"Brittany, what's going to happen when you get married?" she would ask me.

"Well, Mom, that's what takeout's for and if he wants something cooked, he can cook it for himself," I would always reply.

Fast forward to 2013 and three weeks into my married life. I am (strangely) loving spending time in the kitchen. I've made chicken enchiladas, roast chicken with gravy and roasted potatoes and sautéed zucchini, bacon and chicken macaroni and cheese and chocolate shortcake with fresh strawberries and blueberries. Recipes def not paleo or low carb (and I'm starting to pay for it!), but all delicious!

Yes, many of you reading this are probably like, "Ooooh, big deal."

But, for me, it's a HUGE deal! Especially because I'm enjoying it. Today, I wanted to bake and use my KitchenAid mixer I received at my wedding for the first time. I am still working on building up the supplies in my kitchen (knowing what I need, should always have on hand, etc.).

I went to Supercook and entered the ingredients that I had on hand, which included flour, butter, eggs, milk, strawberries, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and baking powder. The site brought up more than 500 matches, but I chose to make this one. I had never made shortcake before. I was going to make plain shortcake, but I don't have vanilla or lemon zest, so I added cocoa.

The result was a crumbly, yet pleasant slightly sweet cake that Chase described as "chocolate cornbread." It wasn't until I started writing this blog that I realized I forgot the milk. Read the instructions; they leave it out! Haha Anyways, it turned out pretty good, especially when paired with the fresh fruit. Chase enjoyed his with a glass of milk.

As far as the mac and cheese, I received a very pretty casserole dish at my wedding shower and told Chase that I would make a macaroni and cheese topped with bread crumbs, simply because I thought it would look neat in the dish. Somehow, the recipe evolved into including chicken and bacon and Pinterest was kind enough to find this recipe for me.

 I couldn't find straight monterey jack cheese and my hot Betty Crocker mom told me it was usually mixed with cheddar. So, for this recipe, instead of a half pound of cheddar and a pound of monterey jack, I used a half pound of cheddar and a pound of monterey jack/ cheddar mix. For my chicken, I boiled it in chicken broth (I prefer how that tastes over boiling it in water).

This recipe calls for a pound of bacon and, I made the mistake of not following the instructions and frying the first half in strips. It was much easier to cook so much when I cut it up before frying it in the pan. The recipe makes a lot, but Chase has had no problem with the leftovers and I've loved it, because my husband has a home cooked meal that I didn't have to cook!

I'm thinking I'm going to start doing some bulk cooking and freezing on the weekends so we have good food to eat during the week since we're both so busy. It's great to be able to go into the kitchen and pull out something homemade. Of course, our health can't handle us eating chicken and bacon mac and cheese all of the time, but life is short and it was delicious and definitely going into my "indulgent recipes" list.

I love chicken (free range, organic only! After tasting this stuff, the conventional stuff just doesn't taste good) and am always looking for different ways to cook it. I suppose it's also a comfort zone food for me because I know how to cook it. Anyways, while perusing Google for recipes, I came across this recipe for baked chicken. I followed the instructions, but just used two chicken breasts, still with the skin and bones in. (correct term? haha)

It was good, but I may had flour to the gravy next time to thicken it up, per the hubby's request. I also roasted some potatoes in the oven that were coated in olive oil and rosemary and sautéed zucchini and mushrooms. It was a great, simple (Paleo!) recipe that will definitely be in our dinner rotation.

The enchiladas were also Chase's request. My mom pinned the recipe on Facebook and I followed it exactly. I served them with Mexican rice and chips and salsa.

White Chicken Enchiladas

10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used a Mexican mix...really, any cheese mix that has monterey jack will work!)
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilis

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

So yeah! That's what I've been cooking. We've also been doing our fair share of eating at restaurants, but we're loving exploring Tulsa!

We went to the farmer's market this morning and purchased farm fresh eggs, heirloom tomatoes, okra, and cucumbers. The tomatoes are to die for! I'm loving living in a city with so many options and places to shop.

Farmer's market haul!

And, I am soooo terrible with taking pics! My blog looks super boring because it's all text! I apologize — I will be working on that!

Do you cook? What have you been making?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday #1 [is mac and cheese paleo?}

A couple of years ago, I had another blog and sometimes did "WIAW" or "What I Ate Wednesday." This weekly blogger shindig is hosted by Jenn from Peas and Crayons and it's so much fun to see what other people are eating. Swing on by her site to check out what others have been chowing down on and keep reading to see my eats for today which are, admittedly, not the best!

I've been trying to get back on the wagon after the wedding, but I haven't been too successful! And, when my hubby requested homemade bacon and chicken mac and cheese, what kind of wife would I be if I told him no?

Can't start my mornings without it!

I wasn't super hungry this morning, so I just started out with my usual coffee with coconut oil and cinnamon. So good. So addicting. I'm dying to try bulletproof coffee (coffee with butter!), but when I went to Sprouts today, they were out of Kerrygold butter (grassfed butter, a vital component of bulletproof coffee). 

Ketchup added after pic

Lunch was leftovers from dinner I made the other night. I had an unpictured roasted chicken breast and this bowl full of roasted potatoes and sauteed zucchini and mushrooms. I had some kombucha to drink. 

Bacon = love

And then, for dinner....let's just say dinner involved a pound of bacon, a stick of butter, a pound of macaroni, and 1 1/2 pounds of cheese. 


It was super good and received the hubby's approval. I forgot to take a picture of my plate, we also had a salad with romaine, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and cucumbers from Sprouts. I love having health food stores and farmers markets to buy produce at. The cucumbers were so good — Chase laughed at me, but I hate Walmart's cucumbers. They taste like water and the skin is smooth. Sprouts' cucumbers had bumpy skin (which is why I purchased them) and they were so good. Even my non-veggie lovin' man commented on how good they were.

And, it looks like we're going to be eating macaroni for a long time!

Chase bought me a car yesterday and all I want to do is drive around. I've been begging him to go for a ride to get some ice cream, but I don't think it's going to work. There's a place down the road that advertised key lime custard and I'm dying to try it out!

What did you eat? Anyone have tips on cooking for two?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Wonder Woman Myth

It's a career woman, it's a wife, it's a, it's Wonder Woman!

I absolutely love the month of September. Yes, it's my birthday month, and cake and presents are awesome, but I also love the September issues of magazines (which ironically come out in August) and the beginning of fall.

I bought Glamour's issue last night and have been reading it intermittently since last night, going back and forth between magazine and a freelance article I was working on. I had every intention to blog today about adventures in new wife-dom, but then I read a great article and decided to write about that instead.

Let me preface this by saying that I do consider myself a feminist, yet I've also realized the negative implications that feminism has had on modern American women. It has been both a liberation and a burden. Feminism has opened the door for women to do anything and everything they want — but, it's also added pressure to the already busy woman.

Let me explain.

As a newlywed, I've already kept myself up at night with the mounting pressures of being a woman, especially as I ready for my last year in graduate school. Many of these pressures I have not yet faced, but I'm worried how I'm going to handle them all. For example, I am expected (not by my husband, but society) to have a career and bring money into the home, be an amazing wife, be Susie Homemaker and prepare delicious dinners every night and keep an impeccable home, to (maybe someday) be the perfect mom and attend every school play, class party, soccer practice, ballet recital, etc., all while maintaining a tight and toned body and perfectly manicured nails and coiffed hair and keep my face poreless and flawless. Pretty sure that last sentence was a run-on, but you get the idea.

Meanwhile, my husband is pretty much expected to bring money into the home.

The author, president of the business school at Harvard, wrote an article called, "Stop That Woman!" that perfectly expressed all of my fears and woes.

"You know that girl who 'has it all' — perfect job, relationship, body? No, you don't, because she doesn't exist," the article begins.

The author examines different standards society places on women (and women on themselves) including the beauty standard, the marriage standard, the motherhood standard, the homemaker standard, and the work standard.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

"We have opportunities today — to choose our educations, careers, spouses — that would've stunned our grandmothers. But now we're dazed and confused by all of the choices. Feminism was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations; instead, we now interpret it as a route to personal perfection. Because we can do anything, we feel as if we have to do everything."

"...women today face towering expectations: a pileup of the roles society's long heaped on us, plus the opportunities feminism created."

"...oddly, as women have gotten more culturally liberated, we've also gotten crazier about our bodies."

"In the 1960s women needed their husband's signatures to open credit cards; our grandmothers couldn't hold mortgages unless they married...We have more options today, but we've also raised our expectations of marriage."

"We want to be fully involved in our children's care — without compromising time at work, with spouses, and for ourselves. We want men to love our independence and gas up the car. We want to achieve pay equity with men, but we prefer our husbands to earn more than we do. And whether we're working as truck drivers or consultants, we want to be good homemakers, mothers, and wives."

"You'd think that as we work harder at all these new goals we'd at least have cut ourselves some slack on the home front. But no, housekeeping standards have actually risen since our grandmothers' time...women today spend twice the time on housework me do."

And, my absolute fave: "Only Wonder Woman can do it all, and all at once. And she isn't real."

Now, admittedly, I am nowhere near to being good at any of those standards. I went into the grocery store the other day and walked out with hardly anything. It's easy to shop for myself, but difficult for me to meal plan and shop for my husband as well.

Anyone that knows me knows how much I adore my mother; she's pretty much perfection in my eyes. She's gorgeous (and always has been!), an awesome wife and mother, and an amazing cook. She also likes her house to be clean and her laundry to be done. I've often worried that I will never be anywhere near the caliber of my mom, but even she didn't always have it together all of the time (sorry, Mom!)...just most of the time.

She wasn't afraid to ask for help and my dad had no problems making dinner if he knew my mom was busy. Still, she always put those pressures on herself discussed above. It's really not fair to women!

The author of the article said she spends nearly 300 hours on beauty a year (is that all???), while her husband spends only 30. Over the course of her 40-year career, she said she will spend five years on beauty. So, those are five years less that she has then men, but she is still expected to perform as well as them in the office and do more than them in the home.

Something's not right!

Maybe women do it to themselves. I mean, if I just wanted to be a stay-at-home mom (there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, btw!), I feel as though the pressures would be alleviated a little bit (there are still so many things expected!), since all of my responsibilities would lie in the home. Yet, I feel very strongly about having a career.

Feminism is great and all and I have enjoyed the fact that anything I wanted to do, I could do it. But, placing even more pressure on top of what is already expected of women is just. not. fair.

Women are expected to have it all, but really, that's just not possible.

How do you feel about feminism? Does society place too many expectations on women? How do you plan to deal with those expectations?

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's official....I'm a Scott!

Well, yesterday I changed my name on my social security card and driver's license. I messed up at the DMV because I signed my maiden name first — I told the old man behind the counter that I was going to have trouble remember that my name changed. He told me he (Chase) would have trouble too. The man wasn't wearing a ring...soooo, I'm not sure what that means!

The last month has been such a whirlwind. On July 3, Chase returned from his job training in Houston. On July 8, he went to Tulsa to finish his training and we found a place to live on July 9, found out we were approved on July 10, and we moved most of our stuff on July 12. The next week, I was back and forth getting items that we had left. On July 21, we were finally able to get everything out of Stillwater! My besties (one being Lindseyyyyy) flew in on July 24 and we were married July 27 and left for our honeymoon on July 28.

Whew! I get tired just thinking about it. My mom said one day, we will look back and laugh on everything, but I'm still not laughing! I keep hoping things are going to slow down, but I'm afraid they're not going to. I've started some new freelancing projects and have begun looking at my schedule for the upcoming semester (one week!). Because I will be commuting, it looks as though I will be leaving my apartment around 6:20 a.m. and I won't be getting home around 10 p.m. (if I drive) or 12 a.m. if I ride a bus that goes between the two campuses. Man, oh man.

But, even after all of the craziness and stress, the wedding was amazing and I'm so happy to be married to my best friend! I plan on doing a wedding recap once I get my professional photos!

It was so, so good to see Lindsey and Jeannette. I hadn't seen Jeannette in four years or Lindsey in six!!!! But, you never would have guessed it. It was as though there had been no time apart...buuuut, it went by way too fast and I miss them!

Anyways, here are a few pics with Jeannette and Lindsey.

I plan on blogging on the reg now, so posts on the wedding, honeymoon, cousin's wedding, first weeks as newlyweds (haven't burned anything yet) etc to come!

I'm sad to see the summer winding down. Usually about this time, I am so excited for fall! I'm not yet though...maybe it's because it feels as though I haven't had much of a summer (time wise, not quality wise!). 

But then I think about everything being flavored with pumpkin and I'm like hmmm, OK!

How was your summer? Are you excited about fall?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Can I just say....

I really enjoy blogging and want it to be a regular thing. I especially want it to be a regular thing as I get married and learn to navigate the waters of wifedom and domesticity! (Is that a word?)

I'm excited about being a wife, but it will no doubt be challenging. It was easy to feed myself; making dinner for a husband (who has different tastes than me) will be fun to explore! I plan on keeping it mostly pale, but adding potatoes, rice and whatever carbs Chase chooses to eat. I won't force my eating choices on him, but carbs hate me, haha. Luckily, Chase will always try and usually eat what I cook.

Our first "married home" is a 1-bedroom apartment in a very nice complex: gated community, gym, swimming pool, theater room, complimentary breakfasts on Saturday (!!!). I've never really had to share space with anyone, so this will be challenging! Haha. Chase just asks that I don't leave my makeup everywhere.

We're planning on looking at something a little bigger when I graduate and start working. Until now, our new place is perfect!

Anyways, the past six months have been craaaaaazy. Chase and I have dealt with unemployment, job searching, my first year of graduate school, getting engaged, planning a wedding and now, 17 days before I walk down the aisle...we have to pack and move to a new city.

Am I stressed? Yes.

Am I freaking out? A bit.

I still have things I need to do for the wedding and two of my best girlfriends (bridesmaids!) will be here in two weeks.

I'm absolutely soooo thankful for everything. Chase's new job is such a great opportunity for him and his career and our future. And, I already love Tulsa! There is so much more to do here and I've been told Tulsa has five farmer's markets....FIVE! :D

But, blogging has taken a backseat to life and I will probably not go back to regular blogging until August.

Thank you to everyone that has read my posts and I apologize if some have been boring or uninspired. I'm not sure my brain has ever been so scrambled as it has been in the past few weeks.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer!!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quick update: changes

Well, once again, I've been seriously slacking in the blog writing department. Chase and I returned home from my parents after being gone for a week, were home for two days, then he went to Houston for a job interview, we were home for one day, then we went to his parents' for the weekend, went shopping for engagement pics on Monday, and had our engagement pics on Tuesday. And, he started his new job yesterday...yay!

Engagement pics were so much fun!!! I fell in love with our photographer Kriea Arie at the first wedding show we attended and, thanks to my future MIL, we were able to take pics with her. I chose Bricktown in Oklahoma City as the location and I couldn't be happier! I absolutely love old buildings and Kriea went above and beyond my expectations. She took us to some really obscure places...I fell down in my heels, had glass shards in my feet, we were bitten by fire ants, but I think it was totally worth it! I can't wait to see the pics.

I did my own hair and makeup for our pictures. Our session was at 10 a.m. and, since it was already scorching outside, I was glad it was early! But, that also meant no one was available to do my hair. Doing my own makeup was crazy. I followed a photo of a heavily made-up Kim Kardashian and put more makeup on than I ever think I've worn. I freaked out when I couldn't find my eyelash glue, but Chase made an emergency stop at CVS and I applied my lashes in the car.

They may have been applied a little wonky, but hopefully I was able to conceal that with eyeliner! Kriea took lots of pictures of my lashes and complimented me on my makeup so I guess I did alright.

I also got a spray tan and put some fake nails on. I felt kind of silly going to lunch and the mall all dolled up like I was ready for a night on the town! 

We went to lunch at this amazing restaurant called Whiskey Cake. They are a farm-to-table restaurant, which means that they source their food and materials locally as much as they can. They also had locally made products for sale and a garden on-site. Chase had a burger and couldn't stop "MMMM"- ing. He said it was the best burger he has ever had and the waitress told us they use brisket meat that they grind daily.

I had a chicken cheese melt on sourdough (some studies suggest that that the fermentation used in making sourdough bread breaks down gluten....good news, because I love sourdough bread!). It had the best chicken I've ever tasted...the waitress said they let the chicken marinade in spices for 12 hours and they roast it over a spit. The sandwich also had pesto, havarti, avocado and bacon. So good!

We were stuffed, but took home the restaurant's namesake dessert for later. I can't even begin to explain the whiskey cake, but it was heaven! And it was topped with delicious freshly whipped cream.

As I said before, Chase started his new job and I am thrilled! Except, we are now moving to Tulsa after we get married. I'm excited about living in Tulsa, because I keep hearing what an amazing place it is. I just hate packing, moving and unpacking!!!

Update on gluten, amazing (except for Whiskey Cake!). The joint pain I experienced after my food splurge in Alabama has gone away since I dropped the gluten. Totally worth it! I had to abstain from some treats this past weekend, including some yummy looking sweets at a baby shower, but it was worth it! I found an amazing bakery in Oklahoma City called Green Goodies that makes the best gluten free cupcakes! Apparently, they just won an episode of Cupcake Wars. I want to go back....fortunately, they're located near Whole Foods, so I can enjoy one with an almond milk latte!

Sorry for the randomness! I promise I'm trying to get this thing in order!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vacation, goals and going gluten free (disclaimer: long blog!)

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all settled into the new month of June seamlessly. Sorry I haven't blogged in like, forever, but I kind of have a great excuse and I will get into that in a minute!

For now, I want to discuss goals. I love setting goals. And, I think it's great to take a look at everything the beginning of each month to see what areas you would like to improve in! I just got back home from spending a week with my fun, food-loving family and am feeling majorly soft. Time to get back on the wagon!

Here are some of my goals for June:

1. Drink a gallon of water a day.
2. Eat a serving of leafy green veggies at each meal.
3. Cardio for 60 minutes 5 times a week.
4. Strength training 4-5 times a week.
5. Completely eliminate gluten (more on that in a minute).
6. Embrace and have fun with the time left before my wedding instead of stressing and worrying.

What are some of your goals?

The reason I haven't blogged

My family invited Chase and me to join them in Gulf Shores, Ala., to stay at a condo on the beach. We toyed with the idea of going but decided that ultimately, it was probably best that we stayed in Oklahoma. The day we should have left with my family, we went to the lake. It was windy, there were bugs biting us and the water was cold. We were both sad that we didn't go.

My mom texted me and said, "My heart is sad, because there's not a red truck [Chase's truck] behind us." Chase and I talked about it again, decided to go and were on the road in 30 minutes. We were on the road at 6 p.m. for a 15-hour drive. It seemed like a good idea at the time! We loaded up on snacks and fizzy, caffeinated drinks and hit the open road.

The drive through Oklahoma felt like forever. We both thought if we could just get through the state, the drive would go faster! We finally exited Oklahoma and drove across Arkansas. We had both been to Arkansas, so it wasn't really anything special to us. We stopped at a McDonald's off of the highway at midnight for a quick restroom break and a large coffee. We soon realized stopping was a mistake and we left right as police cars swarmed the gas station next to the Mc D's we were at.

I was so excited to drive through Louisiana because I am dying to go to New Orleans. I really don't care how dangerous or dirty that people tell me it is; I want to see it for myself. It was dark (obviously), so we really didn't see much. There seemed to be a white-steepled Baptist church every mile and we drove through a town called Transylvania. We rolled down our windows and let the cool, humid Louisiana air wake us up.

The night crept on and we began to get tired. We finally exited Louisiana and started our drive across Mississippi. I loved Mississippi — trees were everywhere and they were beautiful! Unfortunately, the novelty of being in a new state soon wore off due to our sleep deprivation. We stopped talking and both just stared at the road. We both said that we would stop and get some coffee and breakfast, but we were both so ready to be in Alabama.

We FINALLY drove across the state line of Alabama and it was everything I had hoped for: trailer houses and confederate flags. With the tune of "Dixie" playing in my head, we valiantly braced ourselves for the last leg of our trip. One thing I love about living in the lower 48 after 12 years of living in Alaska is the ability to drive to different states and see different things! In Alaska, you are very limited to what you can see. I mean, of course the mountains, glaciers, rivers, and oceans are spectacular! I just enjoy seeing different things.

Alabama was the worst, especially when we arrived in the town of Mobile shortly after 7 a.m. We were trapped in stop-and-go traffic for what seemed like forever. We had to drive through this scary tunnel. Sorry for the crappy photo! Chase was putting the pedal to the metal :)

We finallllly arrived in Gulf Shores and it was absolutely beautiful! Our condo was literally right on the beach. Chase and I napped for a couple hours and then joined my family playing and relaxing by the ocean.

The view from the balcony of the condo.

We had such a great time and were both so happy that we made the night drive to 'Bama. We sat on the beach, played in the roaring waves, fell asleep to the sound of the ocean and enjoyed the company of my crazy family. One day, my mom, sister and I decided we needed to get out hair done. I found a salon with good interviews on the Internet and we booked an appointment. 
My sis and me
 My sister and I had our hair cut by the same young lady. My mom, however, ended up with an older woman. My mom is notoriously picky about her hair (NOT a bad thing, Mom!!! :)) and my sister and I were both worried. The color was gorgeous. The cut was looking good until the stylist pulled out a curling iron and began setting my mom's hair with the oddest looking curls. She kept puffing up the top of my mom's hair and pushing the bottom down against her neck. The look on my mom's face was priceless. The icing on the cake was when the stylist pulled out a bottle of some mystical potion that she told my mom would "put some bang in your hangar!" Not knowing exactly what that meant and too scared to ask for an explanation, we waited until we were out of the salon to burst into laughter. 

We were able to take some of the bang out of my mom's hangar before going to dinner. The rest of the trip, we kept threatening to put some bang in each other's hangars.

My man!
We chased down the times of the Krispy Kreme hot light for my mom and enjoyed some amazing food! Our favorite place was a little shack on the beach named Bahama Bob's. Our favorites were their fried mushrooms and ranch and the Bob's burger, which was a 1/2 pound best-burger-you've-ever-tasted covered with two slices of swiss, bacon and grilled pineapple. 

We also ate a ton of yummy food at the condo. I guess I kind of forgot that I have a wedding to get ready for! Oops. :) It was fun to let loose and not worry about ANYTHING. I haven't been that relaxed in such a long time. On the drive back, we stopped at the USS Alabama. I spent the first 18 years of my life as an Air Force kid, so I really enjoy military things, for lack of better word. My dad and brother toured the ship and the rest of us toured the grounds. 
We looked at the memorials for the Vietnam and Korean Wars. We spoke to a Vietnam veteran who brought tears to our eyes as he explained to us that he was traveling the United States, visiting the Vietnam memorials. His eyes watered as he explained they were instructed not to wear their uniforms home because people would spit on them. It's so sad to think about those men that were made to go away and fight in a war across the world; they were just doing what they were told. To come home and fear that your fellow Americans would spit on breaks my heart! There was also a WWII vet signing books he had written in the gift shop. It was a neat experience!

Now, to the gluten free part! I had been avoiding gluten for the most part, except for a few minor things, before we left for Gulf Shores. When we arrived, my mom bought me some salad stuff, told me the cookies she made (my mom seriously makes the best cookies) didn't contain flour and I ordered a salad with fish and picked around the croutons my first night there. Then, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I began eating what everyone else was eating. I noticed something weird; my elbows started hurting like crazy.

By the time we left, the pain had spread to my hands. I was in so much pain that I had to take some medication and I hate taking meds. I googled it and found a lot of sites and forums where people had experienced the same symptoms due to gluten consumption. It is either that or rheumatoid arthritis and since it flared up out of nowhere after a period of avoiding wheat, I'm thinking it could be the gluten. I'm going to eliminate gluten the rest of this month and see if it improves. I have some family gatherings coming up, so it will be tricky!

Thank you for reading and have a fabulous Wednesday! :)