Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writer's block

I have no idea what to blog about right now.  However, I'm trying really hard to push through these writers blocks.  What better to talk about then things I'm loving lately?  Good things are always worth talking about.

Things that we're loving lately:

Wine is  a given.  I mean, have I talked about that enough?  I figure we can take a day or two off of that.

Pineapple.  I wish I could tell you how much I love pineapple this time of year.  I buy one pretty much every time I go to the story.  And when you add chocolate, magic happens.

Counted cross stitch.  Yes, this officially makes me a 90 year old woman.  I'm fine with it.  This is the project I've been working on.  It's a coffee scene with a sign that says "Relax".  Very fitting, given the fact that I use cross stitching to relax.

Low-carb comfort foods.  I didn't know that this was possible, but it absolutely is.  I found a recipe online that suggested using kale instead of noodles.  We chose to go with collard greens, as they are a little sturdier when you cook them for a long time.  I par-boiled the collard greens, and then made my lasagna as usual, just substituting the noodles for greens.  Ammon said that it is better than regular lasagna.  It will be out new way of making our lasagna from here on out.

Downton Abbey.  Holy mother of awesome.  I am so incredibly obsessed.  I'm mid-way through the 2nd season so far, and I only watched my first episode on Monday.  So in love.  I am enthralled by Anna and Bates.  They are my favorite.  All time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The trouble with tastings

I would absolutely, positively vlog more if it didn't take so dang long for my videos to upload.  Really, it's a huge issue for me.  But today I have a treat for you, it's a vlog about wine.  What's even better is that it's absolutely random for being a vlog about wine.  Well, I made it, so I guess that explains it...

I know that some (okay, many) of you are non-drinkers, and may be put off by the content.  Well, you might still find it funny.  I don't know.  I always swore that I would never be one of "those" people who thinks that they are a connoisseur of anything, and yet I find myself treading upon that territory.  I become more and more like my parents every day.

Heaven help me.

So that's your "content" for today.  Sorry if you don't want to hear me talk, or watch a vlog where I don't throw a dang thing.  I'll do better next time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Something Borrowed

There's that old adage, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  It's an adage I think of more and more now that I'm engaged.  Even if I don't follow it to the letter of the law, I love the thought of it, the traditions.  Well, Emily Griffith's book, Something Borrowed, takes the concept to an all new level.

Source: via Maureen on Pinterest

The Premise:  Darcy and Rachel have been best friends since they were 10 years old.  Fast forward 20 years, and we are poised on the eve of Rachel's 30th birthday.  Rachel is taking stock of all of the things that are going right and wrong in her life.  She hates the job that she has always wanted.  And instead of the suburbs home with a husband and children, she's single and living alone in a studio apartment in the city.  Darcy, on the other hand, seemingly has it all.  The perfect job, the perfect social circle, and the perfect fiancee.  That is, until Rachel falls madly in love... with Darcy's "perfect" fiancee Dex.  The story chronicles their passionate affair, and how it affects everyone involved.

My thoughts:  First things first.  I am engaged to a perfect, handsome man.  So from the outset, I can tell you that in all honesty, I did not enjoy a whole lot about this book.  Perhaps at a time when one is not closely examining the complexities and permanent bonds of marriage, the book would be considerably more enjoyable.  But the whole concept about falling in love with your best friends' man just rubs an engaged woman wrong on multiple subconscious levels.  I could not fall in love with this book in any way.  I hated the characters.  I hated the plot.  I felt angry reading it, and could only hope that Rachel dumped Dex's cheating @$$ in the end.  I won't ruin it for you, and tell you what happens.  No spoilers up in hurr.  But I will say that I am taking a break from the sequel.  I can't handle more of that kind of drama.

Buy it, borrow it, or burn it:  This depends entirely on your situation.  If you are angsty and single, buy it.  If you are happily, permanently married, happily single, or never, ever, EVER get even a little jealous, borrow it.  And if you and are engaged, a newlywed, or seriously dating but not fully committed, BURN IT.  Don't even pretend to read it.  Don't try.  It's not for you, my friend.  But I am certain that some of you will love it, and in fact, have loved it in the past.  Just not when you are suffering from the tedium of planning a wedding.

Linking up for the Blogger Book Club with Alyx, Kaylee, and Kim!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Funday

Usually when I post on Sundays, it is to link up with my buddy Alyx for Sunday Confessions.  Well, that is not what this is.  This is my showing you just a little more proof that life is awesome, and that God must truly love us.  Here for your viewing pleasure, my favorite song, "Call Me Maybe" as performed by the Dolphin's Cheerleaders, and the US Military.

Obviously, no further words or explanations are needed.  Happy Sunday, my friends.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Tenacity of Trees

Yesterday I had the great fortune of a mid-week personal day.  Thursdays Ammon doesn't have class, so we high-tailed it to our favorite ski resort.  We love it because my mom gets us free passes there, and it's close.  When you're living on love, those kinds of things are important.

Ammon finally got to try his new snowboard... my parents did a great job picking it out!

We lucked out with snow conditions... A light snow falling all day, no wind to speak off, good lighting, and 3.5" of fresh snow in 12 hours.

 What really impacted me the most, though, was the drive home.  I have made the drive up and down that canyon for 21 years now.  It is beautiful, and every time I make it, regardless of the season, I see something new, or something interesting strikes me.  Today is was the trees.

The lodgepole pine is the predominant tree around here.  They are so prevalent in our mountains that the pine beetle infestation is a real and major concern.  It could de-forest most of the state.  What I noticed today is how tenacious these giant pines are.  They grow out of the side of mountains, sometimes starting perpendicular to the ground and making a 90 degree turn to grow towards the sun.  They grow where there is little dirt, and where their roots often become exposed due to soil erosion.  The have to be able to suffer intense climate changes, the challenge of high elevation, drought, rain, snow, snowmelt, and flash-flooding... sometimes all within the same year.  They have to fend off beetles even after managing to persevere through each and every other obstacle.

It astounds me what these trees manage to do.  How they create a space for themselves where other trees will not go.  And even though the situation with the beetles is dire, the forestry experts say that the trees will eventually come back.  Once the beetles die off, and the old trees are cleared, the new ones will take root.  They will not give up.

And that is a story of the tenacity of trees.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I just have to believe

Is it just me, or has the last week or so been really emotionally challenging?

It's that time of year when many of us who have stayed the course with resolutions desire nothing more than to falter.  The time of year when goals are set for the lenten season, and all of a sudden we feel deprived.  So many people feeling discouraged, stressed, run-down, defeated.  On top of that, we in the northern hemisphere are in the midst of the coldest month of the year, and arguably the most depressing for many.  It's a tough time of year, especially if you are trying to undergo a metamorphosis.  When you seek to become better, faster, stronger, wiser, more able, more healthy, resistance will always follow.  We are creatures of habit.  Our habits are easy, they are convenient, they are comforting at a time when we most need that comfort.

The church I grew up in was always very clear on their views of lent.  It was not a season to feel that "giving up" something should be identified as feeling deprived.  Rather, they identified those 40 days as the perfect opportunity to cast aside thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and things that keep us from fully engaging with God.  That this time is about spiritual abundance, and how much more valuable that is than any thing on this Earth.

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

I no longer practice my faith in the manner I was instructed as a child.  I do not know what to call the space that I am in now.  That is alright.  And while I am certainly not practicing the act of going without something this year for lent, I find myself wondering why I am afraid of drawing nearer to a spiritual practice in which there is no room for hate, for fear, and all the room in a million Universes for love.  Perhaps the concept of filling myself with so much love frightens me, because what do we do when people don't love back?  How challenging is it to love those who wish to not be loved?  What would I choose to give up, however difficult, in the quest for that kind of practice?

Who would I become?  Would I become a person who believes in humanity?  A person that believes we can solve issues through cooperation and greater understanding?

Would I become a person who knows their inherent value and worth, and loves herself freely and without reservation?

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

Oh, how I wish I had the answers to these questions, without having to embark on the journey first.  I wish that I could see what that path held, and decide if I am brave enough to let my light out.  I can't see it though.  And therein lies the problem.  How do I trust that I can do this?

I just have to believe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The thing I was too embarrassed to say

I confess it:  last month when I did my "What's in your Senior Yearbook" vlog, I made a crucial omission.  One of the entries in my yearbook discussed my enjoyment of writing.  I read it out loud as "Keep writing".  There were 2 important letters after that.  I was embarrassed to share with you what it was that I was encouraged to continue writing.

::Deep breath::  Oh God, I hope I don't hyperventilate.  

Alright... I think I might be ready.

That line said "Keep writing FF".  As in Fan Fiction.  It's a part of my writing life that I am so ashamed of that I sweep it under the mat and try to forget as often as humanly possible.  In fact, I had forgotten about it until Alissa's little yearbook challenge.  Writing has always been important, always been a way for me to share my thoughts, feelings, challenges, triumphs, my heart that even I do not always know.  It has always been my outlet.  And my outlet used to revolve heavily around these dudes.

Source: via Diana on Pinterest

And sometimes these guys

I wrote short stories, novellas, and even 100+ page stories about my favorite boyband members.  And then... AND THEN I had the guts to publish them on the internet.  I was so into it, in fact, that I learned HTML and CSS coding.  Do I remember a lick of it now?  No way.  But back then I would never have needed to hire a blog designer... I was rocking the advanced template of Angelfire.  Remember Angelfire?  I sure do.

These were absolutely issues I faced back in those days.  My entire goal was to write a story that anyone would read... I did character development, plot outlines, the whole 9 yards.  I was so into it.  But can you ever admit to these things out loud?  Hell no.  You get shamed and shoved into lockers for far, far less.  So for my "friend" to write it in my yearbook?  Well, it was mortifying.  And looking back?  Well, it's just a terrible reminder of a time that I would just as soon pretend had never once happened.

This confession was brought about by a conversation Ammon and I had at lunch today about my daily writings here.  We brought up the fact that my whole life, I have written in some capacity or another, and that I have even published my writings to the internet a time or two (okay, many times).  Ammon had to full-on double dog dare me to tell you this story.  But truth be told, I love that the internet is an open, accepting, tolerant space for learning who you are as a person, and finding your voice.

So there you have it.  My most ridiculous internet confession.  The confession that I was too ashamed to make.  I must really trust y'all an awful lot.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Did you know?

Did any of you have any idea that there is a ingle enjoyable second of weeding planning?  I didn't, until this weekend.  Up until this weekend, I was convinced that wedding planning meant stress, more money spent, more dieting, more time, more effort, more, more, more.  And then this weekend happened.

We have been having the beverage conversation all along, and believe you me, the beverages we serve at our wedding are going to be pretty dang special.  So special, in fact, that we have already put 5-6 hours worth of thought into said beverages and have made very few concrete decisions so far.  Yes, you read correctly: 5-6 hours of thought, discussion, and debate.  About beverages.  This should clue you newer readers in to just how detail-oriented I am.  It's obscene.

So on Saturday I went to my mom and dad's house to do more wedding stuff.  To plan and consider options that I hadn't yet even begun to prepare for.  And beverages came up again.  My parents had ordered a half of a case of a Riesling, with the intention of using it for the wedding (as long as Ammon and I were okay with it), but given the number of guests, that left 1.5 cases of wine, champagne, beer, sodas, and lemonade still to be determined.  So I did what any self-respecting stressed out bride-to-be would do, and I demanded that my mom and I high-tail it to a liquor store to do some research.  After she fed me some lunch, of course.  Brides have gotta eat, despite their proclivity for diets, after all.

So to the liquor store we went.  I didn't know what was going to happen on this trip, just that we wanted to scope out pricing on some wines.  We know that we want half of our beer to be microbrew, and the other half to be draft, and that part we are leaving up to the men.  We decided that the lady-folk should have the honor and privilege of checking out the wine options.  And boy, were there a lot.  In the end, I bought 2 champagnes, 2 pinot noirs, and the riesling my parents already purchased for sampling.  We decided that sampling is the way to go.  And man, was this my favorite bridal-related shopping trip yet!  Let's face it... alcohol is only moderately important... so long as it's available and not disgusting, nobody is going to care.  Except for me, of course, so why not pick something we love???

My pick

My Mom's pick
So for two nights in a row, Ammon and I rejoiced in suffered through wine tastings, for the sake of our wedding.  We couldn't stand the idea that someone would complain that we served the wrong Pinot with our chicken.

The two we had narrowed down to were the Mirassou Sun Pinot Noir, and the Parducci Small Batch blend Pinot Noir.  Mirassou winery holds a special place in my heart, as we visited the winery often when I was very small.  It's also my favorite Pinot of all time.  But my mom recommended the Parducci, explaining that they're another great California winery.  It came down to Ammon's favorite, as he is not usually a red wine drinker.  And my heart broke to pieces when he picked the Parducci.  He cited that the Mirassou had more tannin, and was slightly more dry.  And while he enjoyed drinking 2 glasses, he didn't enjoy the first half glass.  He loved the Parducci from first taste, telling me that it was "the best red wine he'd ever had".

Sorry Mirassou.  If it were up to me, you would be our wedding red.  You'll get 'em next time, and know that I'll still be buying you on the regular... you just have to share the love with the Parducci from here on out.

In other news, my mom told me that some of my dishes that I had intended to register for were just discontinued.  Eff.  Fiesta-ware, please stop making me cry.  You are hurting my heart by discontinuing the chocolate color.  It would've worked so incredibly well with my color scheme, and now I have to start over.  Not that I've started the gift registry... you would think that I would've, given that it's the funnest part, but nope.  Not so much.  Whoops.

I promised myself at the onset of wedding planning, I wouldn't talk about all of this here.  Then again, this really was a post about wine, with wedding thrown in here and there, so I'm going to call it kosher.  Also, I'm writing this after having split that Mirassou Pinot with Ammon, and man is it hard to type accurately when you're tired and relaxed.  Anywho friends, I hope that your Monday is relaxed and fantastic.  And if it isn't, do yourselves a favor and grab one of these Pinots on your way home -- unless you're pregnant or Mormon.  Then ignore this suggestion, and drink some lemonade instead.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Some Friday Coffee

Friday!  Let's have one of those coffee dates that everyone else adores so much, shall we?

I can not contain my joy that it's Friday.  I totally have a love hangover today.  Or maybe it's the wine that Ammon and I had with dessert last night.

So, how was your Valentine's day?  Was it everything you hoped for?  Ammon made me an origami flower, and I made fondue.  We had beer and cheddar fondue for dinner, and chocolate fondue for dessert.

This is absolutely how our coffee table looks all the time anymore.  I hope you don't mind seeing how we really live.  We have clutter, and we eat off of our coffee table.

This weekend we have a lot to do.  We're needing to get lots of wedding junk done.  I need to figure out flowers.  Research bakeries.  Talk to a DJ.  Finalize invitation wording.  Actually work on my dress.  It's really overwhelming all of the things that we need to get done.  Do you think anyone would notice if we show up to the wedding in pajama pants and t-shirts?  That would be super-fun, right?

I have had an intense tension headache lately.  It isn't always there, but by the time work is done, it's usually in full force.  It makes it hard to get motivated, or to make anything actually happen.  So I didn't work out this week.  It's frustrating, but it is what it is.

Well, I wish I could stay and chat longer, but it's time to get back to the grind.  I'm glad we got to talk today.  Need to have more coffee?  Well, head over to Alissa's blog, she's ready and waiting to chat too.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why I heart this day

I understand that a lot of people dislike Valentine's day.  They call it a Hallmark holiday, or hokey, or a day for romantic saps.  I can promise you that despite not being a "romantic sap", I truly have only love for Valentine's day.  I'm guessing that one of the reasons for this is that I live in Loveland, CO.  A town that wears its love in its name.  We are a city that decorates the town for February 14th, has our own special Valentine postmark, and has even dubbed the downtown post office "Cupid Station".  Scattered throughout the city are painted heart statues that remain all year, every year.  Do you need proof of some of these things?

Anyone can buy a personalized heart, and these hearts are displayed on the light posts on all of the major streets.  It's fun to drive down the road and read all of the professions of love.  Oh, and can we talk about how I totally scored, getting these pictures right at sunset?

These go for miles upon miles, and I think we have so many light posts, just to accommodate the sheer number of Valentine hearts.

The post office does a Valentine re-mailing program for any Valentine sent from CO.  Most post offices have a little gift wrapped box.  But the Loveland post offices have the cute hand-painted vintage mail drop-boxes.

But really, I love the sending and receiving of Valentine's goodies the best.  They are always so cute!  That's why I knew that I had to sign up for Alissa's Valentine's Day mug swap.  A new mug, that's in the theme of love day?  Yes please!  I was lucky enough to pair with Annie.  Girlfriend totally nailed the cute V-day package!  Lookie what I'm rocking these days:

And adorably pink patterned coffee mug that I've already sed 5 times, EOS lip balm in strawberry sorbet, and Essie nail polish in Forever Yummy!  And that card... the spots are all glittery!  It is beyond cute, guys.

If you want to see what I got Annie, head on over to her blog for the big reveal.

I hope that on this day that revolves around love, you find someone to share some love and joy with, be it a spouse, boy/girlfriend, friend, family member, or pet.  Give someone a smooch today, and wear your red and pink, dang it!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Save that money, honey

I feel kind of blog schizo lately.  Last week I had a million things to talk about, and they were funny things.  I was on a roll.  And this week, I want to talk about the deeper stuff, the more important stuff.  I really hope you don't mind... It's going to happen whether you care or not, but I like having a friend or two.  If I start turning into an emo or a sad country song tell me, okay?

So I left off a couple of weeks ago telling you how I gave away the Mary Kay, how I was letting go of some things that really hurt me.  I left it at still feeling terrified, and uncertain.  Those feelings really lingered with me.  Half of the time I was pondering going and asking for it all back.  Despite knowing it was the good and right thing to do, I was in that 7 stages of grief thing.  I'm finally coming towards acceptance, but I would say I'm still pretty angry.  I'm angry that I put myself in that position, and that I was so reticent to move on from it.  It isn't the all consuming rage, it's just the quiet anger.  It's okay.  I know that I am getting there, once and for all.

There is financial backlash from the decisions I made during that time, and I shared that before.  We are trying really hard to start cutting the bills that we can so that we have more funds available for making payments on debt.  We don't want to be so far in debt 5 years from now that we can't dig out!  We are lucky in that we both have good credit, and the ability to make some wise money choices so that we can craft a better life for ourselves.  Some of the things we are doing to save money:

1) We re-financed our car from 12.99% interest to 4.74% interest.  This is saving $130 per month in car payments.

2)  Stop eating out.  I don't know how much this is saving in the long run since we buy more food at the store, but we are saving money here.  It also really helps me stay on my diet.

3)  Stay home.  It's much easier to save money when you don't go anywhere.

4)  Drop the bundled package that's off promotion, get internet on promotion with different service provider, and order hulu+ for out Apple TV.  Total savings, $120 per month.

5) Shop for new insurance for our cars, renters policy, and the scooter.  We haven't finished this yet, but we are hoping to save at least $30 a month when we combine all of our policies together.  If we save more I will be over the moon delighted.

6)  Having our own gym equipment.  We have a treadmill, adjustable weights, and workout dvds.  With all of this stuff, we aren't paying $30 plus per month each for a gym membership.

7)  Bulk food shopping.  We buy as much of our food in bulk as we can, then re-package into smaller portions.  We tend to eat the same veggies several times a week after we buy in bulk, so that we minimize waste.

Compared with all of the obstacles we have to overcome, this does not seem like a whole lot.  However, it all moves us in the direction of being more financially free, more financially well.  Step by step, we are going to make it.

Do any of you guys have any interesting ways that you save money?  I would love to talk more openly and more often about money and money management.  Let's stop this cycle about making the money talk taboo!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This post is brought to you by Pho

I caved last night, on 2 fronts.  Y'all know about the first front:  I have been eating low carb as a means to help me hit my wedding dress goals.  The second front was a secret front.  Ammon and I set the intention of not eating out for dinner from January 16th through February 28th.

Then last night happened.  I came home from work feeling like death itself with a horrible tension headache radiating towards the front of my face.  I had malaise, and just felt downtrodden.  Ammon came home and heard me confess to my ill feeling.  He told me that he, too, was not feeling well.  We agreed that Pho sounded like exactly what we needed to get through this terrible time.

Oh, and the magic of Pho.  Our sweet neighborhood establishment cured me instantly, just like always.  Except now I know that that tension headache was congestion that had not yet broken the dam.  It has now.

Over the weekend, I mentioned the More Love Letters project on Instagram, and had a couple of people ask me about it.  I first heard about this project from Kim, and fell head over heels in love with it.  I'm not the best person to explain the meaning and the greatness of this project.  No, there is an incredible, 5 minute TED talk by the founder of the project, Hannah Brencher, that is far more eloquent than I could ever be on this subject.  Please hear her words, and let them change you as they change me.

Pretty powerful, huh?  This campaign has inspired me to send more letters, and more notes and cards.  It has inspired me to connect in an old, slow, sweet way.  I recently sent a large batch of cards out.  If you signed up for Pay it Forward mail from me and you get a card in the next week, it isn't your Pay it Forward mail.  That will be a much more exciting package, I promise.  This is a connection.  A way for me to reach out and tell you that you are loved and cared for beyond a computer screen.

Sorry if you can't read my cursive.  My hand cramps when I print for too long.

Today I want to open up my offer again.  Several of you accepted last time, but honestly, I want to write all of you a card, or a letter.  I want to be able to brighten your day with a trip to the mailbox.  If you will simply allow me that intimacy of moving from the computer screen to real life.  If you're interested, please leave a note in the comments, and make sure that I have an email address where I can get back to you at.  I know I put the stipulation on it before to create a ripple effect through your own blog, but honestly, that matters less to me than filling you up with joy on a day that you may need it.  So don't be shy, and don't make excuses.  Let's be friends.  Let's save the post office, and make it so they have to reinstate Saturday deliveries.  And let's make this space the meeting space, and the real world our connection space.

Now please excuse me while I go dose up on decongestants and tea...

Monday, February 11, 2013

In which Ammon makes a tough call

This was my one day weekend.  As it's Monday, my usual day off, and I'm getting ready to go to work, you get the rare, elusive Weekend Update from me.  Sorry I can't be more original.

So while most of you spend your Saturdays going on fun adventures, or even just hanging out at home relaxing, I spend 2 out of 3 Saturdays at work.  Now, most of you probably think this is a fate worse than death, I'm sure.  However, my perspective is a little different.  You see, I came from working retail, where I was required to work every single Saturday and Sunday.  Pretty much no matter what.  They even limited the number of people who could request a given weekend, or even day of the weekend, off.  So having every single Sunday, and most Mondays off?  A much better deal.

As a result of this, Saturday kind of becomes my Friday.  I get off at 4, and we get a little extra time together to kick off the weekend.  So last Saturday as I got off of work, it was snowing.  I had walked the 500 yards to the office that morning, and my car was sitting at home.  Obviously, this is entirely unacceptable in my book.  If it's snowing, I'm not walking, even the 2.5 minutes to get home.  I'm a princess that way.  So my favorite knight in shining armor agreed to pick me up in his glorious chariot.

What???  You don't think a 2005 Subaru Outback is a glorious chariot???  You are obviously mistaken.  Oh, and that isn't a picture from today.  That was last winter, when it snowed more than an inch or so at a time.  This winter is a let-down for CO.  And the back of our car doesn't actually have a mustache, I just want to make it marginally harder for all of you to creep on us.

So I get into the chariot, and we whisk off to Wal-Mart to get more syrup for the SodaStream.  We are planning on investing in a Bag-in-box system in the next month or so, but Ammon needed some syrup to get him by in the meantime.  He wanted to linger over juicers until I heard screaming toddler.  I can handle screaming babies.  But for some reason, tantruming toddlers in public places make me insane.  So we dashed for the checkout line before the veins at my temples started pounding out the killing rhythm.

On our way home, we were driving by our favorite local microbrewery.  Remember this post, where I talked about all of the things Coloradoans are obsessed with, and how we love our microbreweries?  Yeah.  Ammon and I are no exception to that rule.  So we agreed to go in and have a brew.  It has been a long time since we did something like that, and we were both in the mood.

I waited in line to get our beers, and Ammon decided to go rescue a little old lady in distress.  She wanted to order from the food truck outside, but couldn't find their menu.  Well, that is because they didn't bring menus (smart call, food truck), and only had it on a chalkboard posted to their truck.  Ammon being the dashing dude he is went and took a picture of the menu with his phone so that the little old lady could look over the menu.

With beers in hand, I fought my way back to our high-top and set them down.  I then Instagrammed a very important picture.  It highlights Ammon's very important decision quite clearly.

He decided he would rather STUDY CHEMISTRY than drink the delicious product of Chemistry I had just procured for him!  In fact, he spent a good 5-10 minutes just studying Chemistry.  I wish I could say this is an isolated occurrence.  It isn't.  Homeboy loves to learn.  He did eventually drink his beer, though.  He knew better than to slight his beer.

Sunday brought church in the morning, lunch at home, and then us going our separate ways to get things done.  Ammon went to get more studying done for Chemistry, and I finished up Accounting homework and worked some more on my trial-run of the wedding dress.

Can you see why I spent so long talking about a dumb trip to a microbrewery?  It's because we're boring.  End of story.

Linking up today with Sami for the weekind update:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Start again

Deep down in my soul, I am a morning person.  It might not look that way, and I might be a quiet morning person (Emily, I know you're reading this and shaking your head in disbelief.  Stop that right now), but I really love and cherish that time.  Because each and every morning, I get the distinct pleasure of being able to start again.  To make today better.  To try something different.  To engage more fully.  To stress less.

Insert cliche Colorado picture here.  Check.

As I have gotten older, I have become acutely aware of the necessity of these new beginnings.  That I don't need to wait until Monday.  I don't need to wait until a new month, or a new year.  I need to wake up and take action with the day I have.

Originally I had planned to do a half marathon in May.  I wanted to accomplish that goal before I got married.  I started training in November with high hopes.  And then something happened, I don't remember what, but something derailed me entirely.  I decided that instead, perhaps I would do an October half, or postpone indefinitely.  I mean, I know that no Midwife in their right mind is going to allow me to run my very first half marathon while pregnant.  I had decided that training for running while going to school, working, and planning a wedding was too much to bear.

Until I woke up Monday morning.  I woke up Monday morning, my Sunday, and went off to my daily blog perusal.  And I found a blog post that mentioned a $15 one-day-only entry fee for a half marathon on August 10, 2013.  The exact day I had originally really wanted to get married on.  I knew I was available.  I knew that it was 6 months away.  I knew that the course for the half marathon had a net elevation loss of 1000 feet.  In Colorado, that's pretty dang substantial.  I knew that I would be hard pressed to find a half marathon better suited to my needs.  So I did what any other girl would do.  I registered, and then I told everyone about it.  Then I picked a plan.  I didn't even look at my treadmill.  I took another day off from running.

But Tuesday, I started again.  After coming home from a drink with a friend, a drink full of new beginnings, I began again on the treadmill.  It was miserable.  I hated almost every minute of the 48 minutes I spent on the treadmill.  The training plan I picked offers the option of a run/walk combination, just hit your mileage.  And I love that.  It takes the pressure off.  It allows me to have good days and bad.  It allows me to begin anew each and every day.

Today is your new beginning too.  I hope that you seize it.  That today is the best day yet.  That today, you make all of those dreams appear in your headlights.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Things my exes taught me

As I prepare myself to enter the "marriage without babies -- yet" chapter of my life, I find myself reflecting back an awful lot on the "wow, that is a long string of men you have dated" chapter of my life.  I didn't find Ammon until right after my 24th birthday... so, suffice it to say, there was an awful lot of dating that took place in the 9 years prior.  I have had some really unique boyfriends over the years, to say the least.  I thought I would share a couple of things I have learned from them over those 9 years.

I think that chronological order is the smartest way to go about this, so let's start with boyfriend #1.  The first.

The saxophone player:  We had know each other since we were 11.  We dated for 2-ish months when we were 15.  He was my first kiss, and taught me that no matter what, always offer the boy the gum.  And find a way to make him take it.  It's important.

My other high school boyfriend was a co-worker.  We worked at the pool together.  We dated for 3 months until he tried to undress me in his car in my parent's driveway.  Awkward.

The Ice Dancer:  He taught me that hockey is an AWESOME sport, and that Ice Dancers are not all batting for the other team.  Some are just coerced into the sport by Ice moms and crazy sisters.

In college, I dated lots of boys.  Too many probably.  The one that really takes the cake is the guy I dated the last few months of my senior year of college.

The Van Wilder:  I met the VW through a friend when we were shopping at Wal-Mart for work, he was buying Count Chocula cereal.  He taught me that it's okay to not have a plan for graduation, so long as your parents think you graduated from college 3 years ago.  I also learned that pizza delivery guys should always shower right after work, and that some people make the choice to live out of their cars.  I also learned that casually dating the same guy for 5 months is really hard -- eventually one person develops feelings (hint:  it wasn't me).

Source: via Brenda on Pinterest

After college, I thought I found the one, and only 7 months after graduating.  The best part?  His mom and my mom were best friends, AND we'd known each other since I was 14.

The mama drama:  If a 30 year old man is telling his mom about your relationship, it's probably not going to work.  Also, this will ruin your moms' friendship.  But, I did learn how to throw back Jager like a champ during this relationship (silver lining?  Probably not).  Way to go.  Side note, most 30 year olds who are interested in a 22 year old may have a maturity issue.  Not that I learned this lesson yet, because right after Mama drama came...

Cabin in the woods guy:  The first time I went up to this guy's house, I was positive he was going to murder me.  He lived in an isolated spot in the Mountains.  It was super-gorgeous, but also a little creepy.  He taught me that southern boys are excellent cooks, there are more than 2 political parties in this country, that bluegrass and jam-bands are incredible, and started my passion for hippie dresses.  Fun times, cabin in the woods dude.  Fun times.  Too bad you were 31 and so not ready to be settling down with anyone, much less a 23 year old.

The cyclist:  Up to that point, the cyclist was my longest term relationship, at a whopping 6 months.  He was an elite level cyclist, finishing up his degree at CU.  As a cyclist myself, I thought it was great, at first.  We could ride together!  Hmmmm, nope, elite level anythings don't have the time, energy, or desire to do a "fun" ride with their girlfriends, who can't even keep up with an "easy" pace.  However, I learned about the magic of the ManBerry margarita.  I also learned that when he asks you to go pick up his butt paste from the cycling shop, you a) will probably get the wrong kind b) feel more awkward than a 14 year old in the "family planning" aisle.

Only one guy stood between the cyclist and "the one" (well, 2, but that's getting way too technical).  He was during my phase where I decided to sow any wild oats I had.  Get all of the cray-cray out.  And my oh my, did I ever.

The Beer Ponger:  This guy never left college behind.  He had a good job, but was $45,000 in debt, with a $650 a month lease on a sweet car.  His rental house was like any good college party house... lots of roommates, alcohol galore, kegerator, and parties 3-4 nights a week.  We went out on the nights we weren't partying.  He taught me that karaoke is a great excuse to party, that "Arrested Development" and "The Office" are two of the greatest sitcoms of all time, and to always lock your bedroom door if you're throwing a rager... you never know when someone is going to pee in your closet.

I hope you enjoyed my own personal walk of shame down memory lane.  I hope you found it entertaining and informative.  If you will excuse me, I'm going to go count my lucky stars that I have a wonderful man who puts all those other guys to shame.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

5 things that terrify me for no good reason

This week has totally turned into "things" week for me.  Every time I have a fun idea for a post, it's something to do with "things".  When I sat down and wrote Monday's and tomorrow's posts on Sunday, I decided to space them out, because they both a) are meant to make you laugh; b) they both feature the word "Things" in the title.  But now, here it is, Monday night, and I have yet another "things" post that I'm writing.

The things are out to get me.

Speaking of which, this is a post about 5 things that absolutely, 100% utterly terrify me.  I can't handle them.  Please don't use this information against me.  That wouldn't be kind.

1)  The CU mascot, Chip:

photo credit,
In high school, we had season tickets for the Women's basketball games.  Chip tended to get a little... friendly with the clearly underaged girls.  It freaked me out then, and I am convinced I will never get over it.  I get shivers just looking at that picture.

2)  Clowns:

Source: via Elaine on Pinterest

As a little kid, I loved them.  I even asked my parents how I could become a clown.  I dressed as a clown for Halloween more than 3 times.  However, as I grew into adolescence, the concept of clowns started to freak me out.  An adult who intentionally masks their identity and hangs out with kids?  Creeper-city.

3)  Psychological thrillers:

Source: via Tamsin on Pinterest

I get that they're supposed to be scary, but I have nightmares about them for weeks on end.  And it isn't just movies... after we read Gone Girl for the Blogger Book Club, I had nightmares about the book.  Hide and Seek is the most terrifying movie I've seen in my life.  Hands down.

4)  The things that "could" happen while I sleep:

Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

I am so afraid that someone is going to break in, or that there will be a fire, that it causes me to have insomnia.  It isn't as bad now as when I was a kid, but it still happens.  But obviously, if I can't sleep because I'm so worried, then nothing bad could EVER happen.

5)  Baby weight:

There.  I said it.  I'm 100% terrified of gaining baby weight, and not being able to lose it afterward.  I'm not even pregnant!  This has been a huge worry/fear of mine for 7 or 8 years now.  Especially since I realized I wasn't going to be mom-tastic before the age of 25.  It isn't going to stop me from having kids, it just means this may very well turn into a neurotic "must lose the baby weight or DIE" kind of blog.  I'm joking.  I think.

And there you have it.  5 ridiculous fears I have.  I'm a total wuss, and that's okay.  What are your crazy, silly fears?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Two-fer Tuesday

I'm feeling really generous today, so I'm going to give you 2 recipes for the price of one today.  The first is, quite possibly, the easiest recipe I will ever share on this blog.  It's almost laughable.  But it's so delicious, you need to understand.

Slow Cooked pork in Green Chile sauce


You Need:


1 bottle of 505 green chile sauce (make sure you get this kind... it is the BEST)
1 2-ish pound pork loin
Cheese, Avocado, and/or Sour Cream

What you do:

Put the pork loin in the crock pot.
Dump green chile sauce all over pork loin.
Set crock pot to "high" for 5 hours.
Shred pork with 2 forks.
Serve garnished with cheese, avocado, and/or salsa.  If you aren't low-carb/paleo, I'm sure this would be great with tortillas.

And if that isn't yum-tastic enough for you...  this next one is a little more involved, but no less yummy.

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

What you need:

1 bottle 505 green chile sauce (see why the two-fer?)
4 green bell peppers
Leftover chicken, 3-4 cups chopped (we used rotisserie)
8oz cream cheese
1 can of Rotel
Shredded Mexican blend cheese (I don't believe in measuring cheese.  You'll figure it out)

What you do:

Pre-heat your oven to 350.
In a bowl, mix cream cheese, rotel, chicken, and some of your cheese.  Mix it well, you don't want someone ending up with giant globs of cream cheese.
Cut your peppers in half like they're boats, and take out the membranes and seeds.  I took my stems off, too.  Put the peppers in an oiled baking dish.
Put your cheesy chicken mixture inside of the peppers.
Pour your green chile sauce all over those pretty peppers.
Put more cheese on top.
Let these suckers bake for 30-45 minutes, or until they're all melty, gooey, and tender.
Garnish with whatever you dang well choose, but make sure you hoard the leftovers for yourself!

Basically, this is my way of telling you all to go buy 505 green chile sauce.  They didn't pay me to say this, we just managed to finish off 2 bottles of the stuff in 3 days.  Yup, we're obsessed.  So what are you waiting for?  Go get some already!  Have a yummy day =)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Things I probably need therapy over

My dad and I have the same sense of humor.  We think we're hilarious.  My mom does not share our sense of humor.  She usually just rolls her eyes at my dad and I.  But really, we're hilarious.

 He took this picture over the summer, and it cracks me up.  Plus, I just want you all to see how talented the guy is.

My dad and I have had a running joke for as long as I can remember about the 8,561,348 things that I need therapy for.  I blame it all on him, so that he will foot the bill someday.  We both know we're joking-ish.  But looking back on the list, I wonder how much is actually joking, and how much is real?  Today I'm sharing with you a few gems from over the years.

1)  When my brother and I were really little, my parents decided to do a Goose for Christmas dinner.  It was the first Christmas we spent in CO, I think.  My brother was only 3 at the time, and every time we would see a flock of Geese overhead, my dad would shout out, "Look, it's Christmas dinner!  Bang Bang (while pretending to shoot the geese with a shotgun)".  My brother quickly caught on, and did this until he was 5 or 6.

2)  My parents would buy a side of beef every couple of years to put in the freezer.  They always named the beef.  Then, when my dad started hunting more, they started naming the ducks, geese, and other birdies.  Now that he hunts Pheasant pretty much exclusively, we're spared the naming of our dinner.

3)  When you train hunting dogs, you have to get them used to the sound of a gun firing, so that they don't get gun-shy.  When my dad first started training hunting dogs, he was informed that the best practice was to use a starter pistol around your dogs on a regular basis.  So for 3-6 months, my morning alarm was a starter pistol going off inside our house.  I was forever grateful when my dad started working with a professional trainer who told him that was totally unnecessary.

Their most recent hunting dog, Shasta, as a puppy.  Photo by Erika Christensen

4)  My dad does an impression of Angela Landsbury singing "Beauty and the Beast".  He used to get a huge kick out of doing it at Disneyland.  Loudly.  Yes, hilarious.  But when 50 strangers turn to stare at your group, pretty embarrassing too.

5)  He used to pretend to blow his nose loudly in his dinner napkin, then hand it to my brother and I for proper disposal.  Also funny, but simultaneously disgusting.

6)  My dad's love for "Will & Grace".  He just loves that show.  Yes, as in present tense.  He still makes reference to it.  My dad loves Jack to pieces.

There are so many other things I have claimed the need for therapy for over the years.  I just can't remember them all.  But this is a pretty standard list of the things we bring up whenever discussing the number of years I will be in therapy.  At last count we were over 50 years?

Do you and your family joke about all of the psychological harm they have caused you?  Or are we just twisted individuals who aren't nearly as funny as we believe ourselves to be?  Have an okay Monday, friends.  You can make it through.  I believe in you.