Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We've Moved!

Looking for new posts from The Newlywed Naslunds? You can now find us here.  See ya there!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Heroin on the Mind : A repost

It was a strange week in my hometown of Flower Mound. To give a brief background, 17 young adults (ages 17-24) were arrested in connection with a heroin ring. In, what my parents used to coin, "Crime Free Flower Mound". Of course, that wasn't true, there is no such thing. But, I digress.

Upon learning of this huge bust, the news circulated quickly, and before long I learned that I had a direct connection to one of the young adults arrested. I used to babysit for him. Of course, that was many years ago, but it didn't matter. My heart was so heavy - not just for his family - but for the families of all involved.

In the link directly below, you will find the blog post that prompted this one. My dear friend, Lindsay, who I link to often, wrote an absolutely beautiful post about the goings on this week. I urge you to read her post, because it closely reflects many of my feelings as well:

As I state in her comments section, I have known people who fought serious addiction, from both alcohol and drugs and have witnessed, first hand, the devastation left in its path when one cannot survive this addiction. It's so easy to judge addicts when you don't understand it and it saddens me that the majority do just that - judge instead of love. 


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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hippy

Last night, two of my best friends & I had a fabulous movie night with Lindsay and two of her friends. It was such a fun, laid back night with a lot of laughter and love. Toward the end of the night, we were all trading stories and somehow got on to the topic of Lindsay and I being judged for our "free spirits". Lindsay's story is not mine to tell, but I will share mine.

I was at a local grocery store picking up a bundle of (organic) bananas. I was wearing a shirt with several peace signs on it and had feather earrings in. A lady walked up behind me, looked me up and down, turned up her nose and muttered "F---ing hippy." I was IN SHOCK. I could not understand how my standing there had caused her enough harm to spew those words. I gathered myself, gave her the biggest, cheesiest smile I could muster, threw both hands into peace signs and said "Peace" before walking to another line. Now here's the point of this story...lately I've been called a hippy a handful of times, and each time it was meant as an insult. I am still trying to wrap my head around this. Now, without stamping a "label" on Lindsay, I will just say that we are very similar in heart and spirit. She, too, has been called "hippy" with a negative connotation. So, after we left her apartment she sent me an email with the definition of "a hippy".

Here's what we think people, who are using is negatively, think hippies are: "The recent term hippy more commonly refers to drugged out dirty teenagers, or later joiners of the movement who just wanted to be cool and did not really care about all the issues. Most 'hippies' will not be offended by the term, because in its originality, it was interchangeable with the term 'flower child'... There tends to be a very misunderstood association of hippies with hard drugs."  <- That right there could not be more wrong.

Here's what we think of as hippies: "The original flower child movement was made of people who promoted love over hate, wanted to end the war, were very intelligent and politically active, were unsatisfied with today's culture and wished to expand their minds and those of the people around them. They tended to be very liberal... They were very concerned with the world around them, not just war, but poverty, women's rights, civil rights, youth's rights, and the preservation of the environment."

Yup. That pretty much describes me to a tea. And you know what? I'm PROUD of my free spirit. I think it makes me a more open-minded, loving person. (And no, I am NOT saying that if you aren't of a hippy mindset that you don't have an open-mind or that you aren't loving.) So, call me a hippy all you want, lady at the grocery store. I'll smile and wish you "Peace" every time.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Why I Care About the Royal Wedding

Over the past week, Facebook and Twitter have been bursting with comments, both good and bad, about the Royal Wedding. And it seems the US of A is split down the middle. I have a LOT of friends who couldn’t care less about today’s Royal nuptials. But I have just as many who, like me, got up hours before the sun to watch Wills & Kate tie the knot.

For me, this is a deep seeded "fascination" if you will, but not just of Prince William. It’s an obsession with Britain as a whole. I’ve always found the English to be so romantic and proper. I “mastered” the British accent in elementary school and often pretended I was British. (Yeah, I know, that’s probably weird. But I wanted to be an actress, so to me, practicing accents was tooootally normal.)

BUT, back to Wills. My bedroom walls were plastered with posters of “cute boys” from an early age. But none lasted the test of time like Prince William. Just ask my Mother. I think I was 11, maybe 12, the first time I hung a poster of the dashing Prince. And the collage à la Wills grew, updated and changed continuously until ALL the posters in my bedroom came down when I moved into my first apartment at 19. See, my 12 year old self truly believed that *I* could be Prince William’s wife someday. And come on. What girl doesn’t dream of being a real life princess when she grows up! I mean, his mother made it look so rewarding and glamorous to be a real princess. She got to do amazing charity work AND go to balls?! Sign me up!

This leads me to my next point. I LOVED Princess Diana. LOOOVED. In 3rd grade, for our annual “Parent’s Open House”, my teacher told us all we were to choose an icon in history and learn everything we could about that person. Then, for Open House, we would be dressing up like them, and doing presentations for the parents. I’m going to go ahead and let you guess who I picked - that’s right, Princess Diana. I poured over books about her, marveling, studying. My Mom let me wear my fancy Easter dress (complete with matching hat and gloves), my Sunday shoes and even took me to get my “hair done” like hers for the big night. I was SO proud as I told all the parents a million things they probably already knew about the Princess. Five years later, I also remember my Mom letting me get up in the middle of the night, and cry my eyes out, watching her funeral on TV. My love for William grew as I watched him walk in that tragic processional, being so brave.

But this is about a WEDDING! The happiest day of a girl’s life! (Until the birth of her children, I’m told.) I think by now I’ve proved my love for all things Royal and British. Even though I’ve never met Prince William, and probably never will, I still feel invested in his life somehow. (In Harry's too.) Like we’ve grown up together! So this morning, as I groggily turned on the TV just in time to see the gorgeous Kate take her first step into Westminster Abbey, I almost felt like I was at the wedding of a lifelong friend. And that, my friends, is why I care about the Royal Wedding.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up

It was weird watching Idol last night without Stefano. I had several contestants I really liked, but I didn't have that same excitement or commitment to one person. It was also a weird Idol night because I have some positive opinions about a couple of contestants I've not really liked much this season.

Jacob - I am still a fan. But I can certainly understand why people are starting to grow tired of him. He is not for everyone. But I thought he did a great job last night and I totally agreed with the judges that it was great seeing him let loose on stage.

Lauren - My Mom is not going to be happy. She is probably going to read this as a Lauren bash, but I assure you all, it's not. I still really love her. I still think she has the most potential to be great of any girl, maybe even any contestant, this season. However, her young age is becoming more and more apparent. Poor girl is terrified of taking risks. I felt like her performance last night could have been so much more, if she'd just jumped over her fear.

Scotty - I am SO glad he changed it up a little. While it was still true to his country roots, I loved the "softer" side of his voice. And can I point out that he DID NOT hold his mic like a flute?! YAAAAY! ;)

James - I really loved the first 1/2 of this song. I loved hearing his beautiful voice singing totally a cappella. I wasn't as crazy about the second 1/2, mainly because I felt like this was going to be the song when we'd get a "shriek free" performance, but alas, we did not.

Casey - I am still a huge Casey fan. I still think he is incredibly talented. And I liked his performance last night. I loved the scating, loved the showmanship, loved the jazzy feel but I wish he'd do his angry-barky-growly thing a tad bit less. Maybe he's been spending too much time with the Queen of the Over-Growl? ;)

Haley - Speaking of Haley...STOP THE PRESSES! No one is going to believe this...but I actually enjoyed Haley last night. I LOVED her duet with Casey (though Casey had a lot to do with that) and I actually didn't hate her solo performance. I do think she had some trouble hearing herself, though. I'd still be okay with her going home tonight, but I think it will be Jacob.

(On a related note, I am LOVING The Voice.)

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Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Just What You Do

Ryan started a new job at the end of March. He worked from 7am to 3pm. It was early, but he seemed to be handling the 5am wake-ups with ease. Well, at the end of last week, they announced that they were going to mandatory 12 hour days for a while. So, here's how our typical day would go:
Ryan wakes up at 5. Rachel rolls over and goes back to sleep until 6:30.
Ryan leaves for work at 6.
Rachel works from 8-5.
Ryan works from 7-7.
Ryan gets home around 7:30, showers, shovels dinner into his mouth.
Around 8pm, we finally get to sit down on the couch together and talk, watch TV, SEE each other for the first time all day.
Ryan goes to bed at 9pm.

Yeah. I was getting ONE HOUR of face time with my husband every day. That wasn't really enough for me. See, I enjoy his company...I did marry him, after all. So, I started getting up with him at 5am. I feel like we both start our days off better after getting a little time in the morning to talk, hug, have our coffee together. I was telling a friend that I'd started doing that and she asked me "Why would you do that?", seeming baffled that I would willingly get out of bed at 5am. I shrugged my shoulders and said "An hour a day just isn't enough for me. So, it's just what you do."

 The plus side? I can get a lot of my chores checked off before the sun even comes up.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up

Not just a few weeks ago, there was a night on Idol where I thought pretty much everyone was amazing. This week was quite the opposite. I think it was one of the most underwhelming, boring nights of Idol this season.

Let me start by saying, the "cast offs" performance of "So What" was train wreck. For a second I thought, this has to be a joke. It wasn't.

Scotty - Wow. And I don't mean that in a good way. SO BORING AND PREDICTABLE. I get that every teenage girl in America is voting for him a bazillion times each but...I'm really over him. He refuses to branch out. The only positive? They poked serious fun at him for holding his mic like a flute.

James - Oh James. I just don't need all the shrieking. It's not the same as singing. I was okay with his performance (though no one can sing that like Matthew Bellamy) until he decided to take the octave during the chorus at the end. What was he thinking? Not good. On a related note, he always coughs a lot right after he sings which makes me think he is really wrecking his voice with those shrill screams. I'd really like just one week where he doesn't do that.

Haley - I texted my bff with the following words when Haley started to sing: "Dude. She is gonna get punched.in.the.face." *Disclaimer: I do not condone punching Idol contestants in the face...unless they ruin songs by Adele. Which is what she did. It was terribly pitchy and she just doesn't have the chops to take on a song like that. I think the thing that bothered me the most was that she didn't seem to "get" what the song was about. She performed it like a light hearted up-tempo jam. Maybe she's never gone through a break-up?

Jacob - The song he chose is another one that is extremely personal for me. I cried through the whole thing...but not necessarily because of how he sang it. Really, that song just makes me cry every time, no matter who is singing it. I thought Jacob was just okay this week...nothing special, but also not the worst of the night.

Casey - Several of his fellow contestants commented in the little pre-performance interview that he is "a genius". I agree. I think he does things with music that NONE of the others have the aptitude to do. Period. This week was no exception.

Stefano - So.Adorable. Oh, and he sings like a champ every week. I truly don't understand how he keeps landing in the bottom 3. He is so much better than a few of the others who are still around. I thought last night showed he has the full R&B package. Singing? Check. Dancing? Check. Stage presence? Check. Swooning fans? CHECK CHECK CHECK. Someone enlighten me...why isn't anyone picking up the phone for him?!

Lauren - I wish the glowing reviews could continue...but Lauren let me down a little last night. She is SO DARN TALENTED but last night's performance felt a little karaoke to me. It becoming clear she is really scared to take chances. Not that I blame her...she is only 16. But that's why she needs to stay on the show...because the longer she is around, the more she will pick up on.

For the first time since the season started, I'm really only worried about three (maybe four) people being safe. I voted, I did my part...we'll see what happens.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Taco Sense - My BIG Blog debut

Something amazing has happened.

In the form on tacos.

The brilliant site Taco Sense asked me, yes ME, to spotlight from time to time with some of my Latin inspired recipes!!!!!!! (I could use about 20 more exclamation points there.) I am so honored, and SO stoked, to present my first post (of hopefully many). Check it out, then poke around the rest of the site...especially if you're a fan of tacos. And really, who isn't?! (Hey Lindsay - there is even a vegetarian writer!)
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Turkey Taco Chili = WIN!

It's been a little while since I've posted a recipe, so I thought it was high time! This is another circumstance where I found a recipe that looked good, then sort of...tweaked it. The was originally meant to be more like a soup than a chili, but I thought it would be better (in our house at least) with more of a chili texture. And I think I was right. Ryan and Frankie agreed. ;) And it could not be easier, which is a huge plus.

Turkey Taco Chili


1 lbs ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1 can corn, with 1/2 the liquid
1 can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz tomato sauce
1 can fat free refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can low sodium chicken broth
Adobo** seasoning to taste
Cayenne to taste

In a large pot, brown turkey on medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks. When cooked through, drain and set aside. Add a pad of butter into the pot and add onions and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add meat back in. Add tomatoes, corn, beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning, chicken broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer about 30 minutes.

**I've had a few people email/Facebook me asking what, exactly, this "Adobo" seasoning I often use, is. I attached a link in the recipe, to show you the exact brand I use. They make many different types, we just stick with the original, which has a red top. Ryan has been cooking with Adobo for as long as I've known him, and I'd never heard of it before. Now, I LOVE it. It's just a really well balanced, very flavorful Latin-type seasoning that really brings any dish to the next level. And no, they aren't paying me for this...though I'd totally let them. ;)

Anyway, this turned out really, really delicious. Enjoy!


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up

I've really enjoyed this season because no two contestants are alike! Everyone this season really has their own vibe going on, and I dig (most of) that! So, here's where I stand on Movie Week:

Paul - I love Paul. This is known. And I liked his performance, but I don't think he will win. I don't think enough of America really "gets" him. That being said, I'm not worried for his future. Like so many before him, I think the importance here was for people to see him and launch his career.

Lauren Alaina - I love her. Ryan doesn't. He hates most of her song choices. I think she is young, but really, really talented. I hope she stays around for a while because I think she could learn SO much from Idol.

Stefano - It seems like America is really split over him. After reading all the comments last night on Twitter, I've come to the consensus that you either LOVE him or your really, really don't. And like Paul, everyone knows where I stand. I think he is awesome. I think he is a classic R&B guy and I think he brings solid vocals every week. Lately, I feel like his showmanship has really improved and I do not understand why he keeps landing in the bottom 3.

Scotty - I might make some enemies with this one...Meh. I was not impressed. I did NOT hear the same thing the judges heard. Like, at all. I thought it was borderline terrible, in fact. There, I said it. BUT, I do think he'll be a successful country singer. I think its time for him to leave Idol and get picked up but a country label. And maybe someone at said label can tell him how ANNOYING it is when he holds his mic like a flute. Yup, I'm still on that.

Casey - This is a very, very personally emotional song for me. I was really excited to see what Casey was going to do with it. I wasn't loving it until about 55 seconds in. Then, all the sudden, he fell into his zone and it was fabulous. He is really so immensely talented. I've said this before, and not to toot my own horn, but I started vocal training at like 7 or 8 years old. I learned about all the techniques and theory and singing in majors and minors. He NAILED that. My worry? Because of my "trained ear", I fear America may not have seen the amazing talent I did. My own mother, who raised two kids with musical "abilities" had to watch it more than once to grasp that.

Haley - I don't even think I need to talk about her. Everyone already knows my opinion here. I hope she goes home tonight.

Jacob - Like Stefano, America (via Twitter) is really split over Jacob. I think he's fabulous. But I worry he is starting to be a little predictable, like Pia was. However, I think he, too, will be just fine. A gospel label will scoop him right up. That doesn't mean I want him to go home yet, though.

James - He's another one that I think is going to be just fine post-Idol. He really did own the stage last night, and I think he has proven that he knows who he is. I still could go without all the screaming but, apparently that's just me. ;)

To sum it up, I'd say there are a handful contestants that could go home TODAY and I think they'd be fine. Someone would sign them, and they'd put out a record...that I would probably buy. But...that doesn't mean I WANT them to go home yet.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Breakfast

I. Love. Breakfast.

It's been my favorite meal for as long as I can remember. Pancakes are at the top of my list, followed by scrambled eggs with cheese, and bacon. And waffles. And biscuits. And bagels, oh bagels! I even love cereal, especially in bed - morning or late night. I love brunch and breakfast for dinner. I seriously love breakfast.

Breakfast is also an important meal for me. Being hypoglycemic, making sure I eat the right things in the morning is essential. Too sugary, and I fight glucose spikes all day. Not enough protein, I get shaky within an hour. I've worked for a long time on trying to find the right balance. In the past few months, I discovered that eggs are really great for starting my day/blood sugar off right. I looked for healthy recipes that I could make ahead of time and just heat up in the morning. I found one, and then (of course) I modified it to fit me! I give you...
 

Broccoli, Egg and Cheese “Muffins”



2 stalks worth of broccoli florets
4 whole eggs
5 egg whites
1/4 cup reduced fat medium or sharp cheddar
1/4 cup good grated Parmesan (the kind you shake from a jar won't melt well)
1 tbs olive oil
A shake or two of garlic powder
Kosher/sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Steam broccoli with a little water. (Or do what I do and cook the broccoli in a Zip-loc steamer bag.) When broccoli is cooked, mash into smaller pieces and add olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Mix well.

Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray and spoon broccoli mixture evenly into 9 slots. (I made it in all 12 and they didn't have enough egg in each "muffin".)

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, eggs, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into the greased pan over broccoli until a little more than 3/4 full. Top with grated parm and bake until cooked, about 20-25 minutes. (I turned my pan halfway through.)




 Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up

Jacob – “Man In The Mirror”. First, I am a HUGE MJ fan, and this is one of my all time favorites from his discography. Second, Jacob did a really good job. And to have the lady who co-wrote it sing with him? Super cool.

Haley – “Piece of My Heart”.  I LOVE this song. But dudes, I’m sorry, I just don’t like her. I haven’t from the beginning. Ryan gets a weird vibe “from” her, and her growls bugs the crap out of me. So…there ya have it, haha.

Casey – “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”. What a GREAT song choice for him. I loved it. And I LOVE when he plays his upright, and I totally agreed with judges – he’s making the upright cool!

Lauren – “Natural Woman”. To steal Randy’s phrase; she “slayed” it. I think she is incredible.

James – “Why My Guitar Gently Weeps”. In my top 10 favorites EVER. I think he did a really good job with it, though I could have done without the scream at the end. He was clearly very emotional during the song, and I think that always lends a lot to the performances. 

Scotty – “That’s Alright Mama”. He holds his mic like a flute, and that bugs me. But, I thought he sang it well and I loved seeing him kind of all over the stage, really putting on a show.

Pia – “River Deep Mountain High”. The minute I heard her say she was singing this I got really excited. I turned to Ryan and said “She’s gonna KILL IT!” Aaaand I was right. ;)

Stefano – “When A Man Loves A Woman”. Goodness gracious I LOVE HIM. I am a serious sucker for R&B and Soul…and this dude delivers. I would stand in line for his album today.

Paul – “Folsom Prison Blues”. YES, YES, YES, YES, YESSSS! I’ve been waiting and waiting for Paul to do something totally amazing (cause I could see he had it in him)…and this was it!!!!!

Seriously, I really liked everyone by Haley tonight!! Now…how do I ever decide who to vote for?!



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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Letter

Growing up, my Mom worked really hard at teaching Frankie and I what it was to be a good friend. She taught me to befriend the new kid at school, to talk to the "uncool" kid on the play ground, that if you aren't going to invite all the kids in your class to your birthday party that you don't hand out invitations at school. She taught me that being a loyal friend meant that you were there even when it wasn't convenient. She taught me that to be "popular" meant that you had as many friends, from as many different social circles, as possible. For a few years of my life, I hung out exclusively with the "in crowd", until I realized that I was forgetting everything my Mom worked so hard to teach me...and that I was really missing out on some amazing friendships by limiting myself to one crowd. (One crowd of people who weren't even very good at being a good friend, looking back.) And as I got older (and got married) she taught me that staying close to your friends was almost more important once you started a family of your own, because they help you remember who YOU are as you get lost in the day to day.

So, what's the point of this? Well, it may appear to be a humble brag, but I assure you it's not. Today I got a beautiful letter via email from a friend who has always been present, but we're not as close as we were years ago. I asked the author of this letter if I could share it, and she agreed, as long as she stayed anonymous. And, while this letter is an overly-generous thank you to me for being there for her during a tough time she had recently, this letter re-instilled some really valuable lessons.

"Dear Rachel,
We hadn't talked in a long time other than the casual Facebook happy birthday salutation when you saw my status. And there you were back in friendship overdrive making sure I was okay. I don't even know how to say this the right way, but I'm going to try. You are a "crisis friend". You're the person everyone can trust and depend on to step up in the time of crisis. And you always do. Without thinking you helped pick up my pieces and without judgment allowed me to pour out my heart to you, then you did everything in your power to try and help me put my pieces together again. There aren't many people like you in this world, you know. The friend who walks directly into the fire instead of away from it. But that's what you do, and I really just need to thank you for that.
But the thing about being the "crisis friend" is that when the crisis is over, sometimes I am too quick to fall back into my routines and forget that you are just as awesome as an "everyday friend" as you are a friend in crisis. I imagine I'm not alone in that fault. I can't do anything about anyone else but I can say that I am going to try and be a better friend to YOU, because maybe someday you'll need a friend to walk into the fire, and maybe it can be me."

I must have read the email 5 (or 10) times. I might have cried through it once (or twice). All I could think about was the lesson(s) my Mom taught me. And then I thought...maybe I, too, should work harder to be a better "everyday friend". And that maybe if we all work harder to be better "everyday friends" this world would be a happier, less lonely-feeling place - not just on the bad days, but on the best days too.

 And to my "anonymous" friend, thank you, again. You've inspired me to be a better...me!



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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Denton Women's Collective Hosts Clothes Swap in April

Unless you are new to my blog, (if so - WELCOME!) you probably read my post about "My Cause". If you haven't read it, I urge you to. It's something very near and dear to me that I hope to continue to share it with as many people as possible.

As we grow and develop, we are exploring different ways to positively impact the community. Lindsay brought with her an awesome idea from her days in Norman, OK. And we have decided for our April meeting, THE DENTON WOMEN'S COLLECTIVE will be hosting a CLOTHES SWAP!


Ladies, clean out your closets! Any CLOTHES, SHOES, JEWELRY, BELTS, SCARFS, JACKETS, PURSES, SUNGLASSES...anything goes! A great rule of thumb - if you haven't worn it in a year, or if it’s something that keeps getting pushed to the back of your closet, you probably won't wear it again!

It will be held on Sunday, April 17, 2011, from 2:30-4:30pm in Lewisville, near Vista Ridge Mall.
(There will be wine and light snacks provided.)

It is a free-for-all, so when you come in, you will drop your items in the appropriately designated area...and then, you take whatever you want! Whatever is NOT selected, will be donated to the Denton County Friends of the Family in Denton.

This event will be FREE and is for WOMEN ONLY. You are not obligated to join the collective by attending the clothes swap (though obviously we'd love it if you decided to).

If you are interested in participating, or would like to know more, please feel free to contact me!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Heavy

It's been a heavy couple of weeks in our home.  I won't go into much detail, because not all of it is my story to tell, but it started almost two weeks ago and hasn't really let up. Several events have led to our current "heavy", and while I know everything will be okay, and all parties involved will make it through, I've struggled to keep my usually optimistic demeanor every day. Forgive my brevity in this post, and any absence I have from this blog I love so much...as I may be focusing my energies on other things.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Just a little update

I realized last night that I hadn’t been keeping up with my blog (or Facebook) updates on my weight loss journey as much as I should be. One way I keep accountable is by posting everything for the “world” to see. So, I am here, and honest. I’m still at it, don’t worry, but February wasn’t kind to me. After many birthday celebrations (not mine), Valentine’s Day, other events out of my control, I did the best I could, and would lose a pound one week, just to gain two the next, etc. This was the battle all month long. I know, it’s my own fault. I certainly could have tried harder. Then I we went to Nashville for 4 days at the very beginning of March and this time, I just didn’t even pay attention to what I was consuming…and honestly didn’t want to. Ryan & I don’t vacation much, and when we do it’s usually a long weekend visiting family, so I wanted to relax and just…enjoy! And I did. We had a great time, but my eating habits are struggling (okay I’M struggling) to snap back. And because of it I haven’t felt 100%. I know what needs to be done, and I will do it. So, there’s the honest truth. I haven’t given up, or stopped caring. It’s still very much my goal to live a healthier (thinner) life; one I WILL achieve and continue to work at. So, if you are one of the many people loving and encouraging me…Don’t stop!! I still need you!! :)








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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up

Top 12

Naima – I like her, but this was not good. I don’t know what else to say about that.

Paul – First, how stinkin’ cute were his parents?! I really, really like him. It’s kind of refreshing having a singer who focuses on the softness in his voice, not the power, but at the same when he belts it out, I just love his tone!

Thia – I thought she sang really beautifully. But she comes off very jazz lounge-y to me.

James – He was born 20 years too late. If he were his age in the 80’s, he would have given all hair bands a run for their money. I could definitely tell he was sick, but he wasn’t the worst of the night, that’s for sure.

Haley – The thing I like most about Haley is her gorgeous hair, haha. That being said, I still think she’s over sings/does too much.

Stefano – When he announced what he was singing I yelled “SHUT UP” at the TV (and Ryan). One of my all time favorite songs and he KILLED IT with his cool R&B stylings. LOVE LOVE LOVE. And thank you, Fano, for not being pitchy for a single second.

Pia – Her little story about her Grandpa reminded me so much of my relationship with my Gramp. TEARS!  And I still think she is the best girl this year.

Scotty – The way he holds his mic bothers me. Beyond that, he is a good, albeit predictable, country singer.

Karen – She is a fine singer, but I am always bored.

Casey – Nirvana?? YES PLEASE!!! I love that he brought “Casey” to the song instead of trying to sing just like Kurt Cobain. He was kind of an “angry singer” with it, but I dug it. Then again, I dig Nirvana. :) And I totally agree with Randy, I LOVE that Casey is fearless with his music.

Lauren Alaina – Her sweet crying Daddy was too cute. It was really clear she wasn’t feeling well, but she still sang her little heart out.

Jacob – Another of my favorite songs. :) And I just love him…but he was kind of a hot mess this week. Parts were delicious, and parts were disastrous. 

The theme for the night was “pitchy”. Sadly, most of them were at some point. Also, props to JLo for finally being real with the contestants, and not worrying about just being sweet.


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Monday, March 14, 2011

The Accent Vlog

So, the fun little challenge, or game, or whatever you want to call it has been circling the web and until today I just enjoyed watching them. I first saw it on The Healthy Tipping Point and I loved it, then slowly but surely I had other friends (both In Real Life and just in the blog/Twitter world) start doing. So, today I jumped on the bandwagon.

Here is my Vlog: (That's Video-Blog if you've never heard of a Vlog.)
video

Now, here was the fun part for me. Ryan watched the video and started telling me all the words I pronounce "wrong". He refuses to make a video (because he knows I'm right) so I'm going to have to try and type this all out...

Like I joked on the Vlog, he said I pronounce SURE incorrectly.
He also said I pronounce MILK, BOTH and SYRUP incorrectly. All of those are in the video except for MILK...which is pronunce like it's spelled.

So, here's my best effort to show how Ryan's pronounce these words...you already know SURE. He says BOTH as "bowlth. MILK as melk. SYRUP as seer-up (mine is more sur-up).

There was only one way to settle this. We looked them up in the dictionary online, where they include an option to hear the word correctly pronounced. Anyone want to guess who was right on all four words in question?? Oh, right, it was ME! Now, I'm a gracious winner and I will say that SYRUP was pronounced both ways online. The speaker actually said "seer-up OR sur-up".

To reiterate what I said on the Vlog, I challenge YOU, my lovely reader, to participate. Here are the words and questions:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught
  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  • What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  • What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  • What do you call gym shoes?
  • What do you say to address a group of people?
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
  • What do you call your grandparents?
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  • What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  • What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Have fun!!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up

Last night was the Top 13 - & Here are my thoughts.

Lauren Alaina – The song did NOTHING for her vocally. I still think she is a great singer, but last night was VERY forgettable.

Casey Abrams – Holy goodness!!!!! I LOVE this guy and this song was KILLER. He is THE most talented guy this year. Period.

Ashton James - I guess I’m watching a different girl than Jimmy, because I thought she was just okay. In fact, I usually just think she is okay. The end was definitely better than the beginning. Maybe she kills in rehearsal and then gets nervous on stage?

Paul McDonald – Ryan Adams is one of the greatest songwriters EVER, so the fact that Paul picked him was AWESOME. And he picked one of my favorite Ryan Adams songs. I really like Paul. I think he is SO different and has such a unique way of doing his craft. He is definitely more Indie (which means I am a huge fan) but I worry “America” won’t get it.

Pia Toscano – I won't lie, it bugged me that she thought her song was a Celine original (it was first done by Eric Carmen in 1975) but DANG can Pia sing! I love her voice…I think she is spectacular.

James Durbin – I have really enjoyed seeing everyone’s personal “Idol”. I found it interesting that James picked Paul McCartney, seeing as he kind of comes across as a 80’s hair band rocker. But THIS made me love him so much more. He did a beautiful job with the song…and you got to see what a wonderful voice he has.

Haley Reinhart - Sorry, I am just not a fan, regardless of her flawless palate flips. She does too much (growls, runs, palate flips, etc) and I start to become annoyed.

Jacob Lusk – Jacob is great. First, he picked “I Believe I Can Fly” from Space Jam. Second, he opens his mouth, haha. I will say, sometimes I think he over does it and I wish he would just hold a single note instead of running all over the place, but that's only sometimes.
Thia Megia – I liked the first half much better… when she picked up the tempo, she had some trouble settling into a few of her notes and in her case, I feel like 15 is too young for AI.

Stefano Longone – He picked a great Idol, really fits his style. And he did such an great job and the arrangement was SO cool. I love his smooth runs when he hits those money notes. “THIS DUDE!” is what I kept saying during his performance, haha.

Karen Rodriguez – It was just okay for me. It was rocky and predictable in my opinion. If she went home tonight, I'd totally live.

Scotty McCreery – Well, I do love Garth Brooks AND the Garth song he went with. Buuuut I was iffy about this. He slid into every note at first. The second half got better and he is still a huge potential country music star...I just don't think he is anything special. Sorry!

Naima Adedapo – I really dug this, even though she lost her breath a little in the middle. And I don’t there has ever been an Idol break into dance on stage! It was super fun and showed how versatile she is.

So...who did I vote for? A lot of people - Casey, Paul, James, Stefano, and Naima...and I threw in a few votes for Pia and Jacob.



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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Idol Wrap-Up - It's BAAAACK!

BACK by popular demand! (And by popular I mean 4 Facebook messages...hey, I'll take it.) I kept most of them short and to the point since I am covering all of them, not just my favs.

It's American Idol Season 10...


TOP 24

Top 12 Boys:

Clint Jun Gamboa – He’s got a good voice, but the song ate him up until the end. Plus he’s a bully so I don't like him.

Jovanny Barreto – Odd song choice, a different song would have probably served him better. He has a nice voice, but it was boring.

Jordan Dorsey – He rubbed me the wrong way all through Hollywood week. I think he thinks more of himself than anyone else ever will, haha. He just hasn't ever really knocked my socks off.

Tim Halperin – At this point I was starting to lose hope. Tim didn't help. Love the song, but it was boring.

Brett Loewenstern – He gets on my nerves slightly but he’s a good singer.

James Durbin – He is so cute, his story is SO touching, and he has a really great voice…and I am SO glad he kept the lid on the screaming till the end. That will get old really fast.

Robbie Rosen – I love this kid. Another strange song choice and he was slightly pitchy, but I still think he's got the goods.

Scottie McCreedy – Some people are born into things. This kid was born into country music. I don’t think he could sing anything else though, haha. But, stick with what you’re good at…which he does. (For the record, I typed this before JLo said it. And yes, that means I take notes during Idol so I can blog it the next day. I'm cool like that.)

Stefano Langone – I’ve loved him from the moment he opened his mouth in the audition round. I think he is SO cute and so, so good.

Paul McDonald – He is just so awesome. SUPER cute with a smooth, unique sound and style. Love him!
Jacob Lusk – When he sings, I feel it deep within my soul. Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds. He reduces me tears. I don’t know what else to say.

Casey Abrams – This dude is super talented. When my brother, who loathes everything Idol, gives an Idol contestant props…he’s special. And WOW, is he special!!

All in all, I was pretty underwhelmed with the first half. If I had my way, I would have replaced the first four with Luke James, Rob Bolin, Deandre Brackensick (fast forward to :35) and Colton Dixon (fast forward to :35 again, ha!) who all got cut during the Hollywood rounds.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"My" Cause

So, many of you already know all about this because you're either a part of it, or I've gotten on my soapbox around you and told you all about. But, I've decided to share this with my bloggy friends too. So, this is my cause...

Denton Women’s Collective
And What It Means To Me

If you know me very well at all, you know I’m a passionate being. When I find something I love, I dive in with both feet. And recently, a cause has struck me so deeply to the core, that its almost as if I didn’t have a choice in the matter…my feet jumped for me. At the start of 2011, I stated that one of my goals for this year was to volunteer more. In a way, this is fulfilling that for me…and so much more.

Ever since the Glamour article featuring Lizzie Miller, I couldn’t help but think, “Why is it causing such uproar, both good and bad, that this NORMAL, BEAUTIFUL woman is revealing her REAL, BEAUTIFUL body?” But I assumed, based on the reactions, that I was alone in that thought. Let me introduce you to the Denton’s Women Collective. A friend, who I’ve only recently started getting to know on a deeper level, Lindsay, sent me a simple Facebook message inviting me to join a FB group she was trying to get started. She touched on what the group was about and I thought, “That sounds an awful lot like what I’ve had running through my head lately.” So, I joined. Well, I couldn’t make it to the first meeting, but I emailed Lindsay and started an exchange of thoughts, and it was in that moment that I had a revelation. Lindsay and I could not be more opposite in appearance, but we are so very similar in heart and mind. And isn't that what makes us all so great? So, here we are. Committed to our cause. And our cause is this - Women.

It’s a hard world to live in for a woman. Especially a young woman. We are under constant scrutiny to fit into a certain mold. But why? See I think we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough and definitely beautiful enough – just the way we are. But the startling statistic is that in today’s world girls start dieting younger and younger; in fact 80% of 13-year-olds have attempted to lose weight. Why? Because they don’t feel good enough. And that, right there, is what I aim to change. I think we can do something to help women to realize that their self worth is SO MUCH MORE than what they look like. That being smart, strong and independent is even more important than fitting into society’s mold for “the perfect woman”. I have big dreams for this group. Dreams I'm sure I'll blog more about. But for now I'll leave you to digest that this is just me trying to do MY part to change the world we (women) live in.


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Just a little Update

Just a little update so you all don’t think I have forgotten my little blog existed! (PS. I really had to fight the urge to type “y’all” in that previous sentence.) Not much has been going on with us, hence the quiet blog. Just the normal every day stuff!

I will say that, though the past few weeks have been slow going, I have lost a total of 15 lbs! The running joke is that those last 2 lbs were all from my hair cut, haha. But, regardless, even though I don’t really feel much change, my clothes are definitely fitting better. My current frustration is jeans. I am “between sizes” so, one size is falling off my hips (so I am constantly pulling them up), while the next size is still a liiiiittle more snug than I like. I have a belt, but then I get the weird bunchy fabric thing around my waist. Not cute. And frustrating…in the best way possible I suppose. Man that turned into a whole paragraph about my weight (loss) when it was only intended to be a sentence or two!

Other than that, I am just getting amped up for a super exciting rest of 2011! I can now officially announce that one of my very best friends, Kim AND my cousin, Katie are BOTH getting married this year!!! And I am SO blessed and honored to be a part of BOTH of their big days!!!! And let me just say…bridesmaids dresses are also GREAT motivation to stick with Weight Watchers. ;)

We are also gearing up for a fun trip in Nashville, TN next week! Spending a few days in one of my favorite cities in the U.S.? YES PLEASE! So, Ryan, Frankie & I will load into the car and make the drive. I am really looking forward to spending some serious quality time (8+ hours in a car) with my two favorite guys. And then of course, equally excited about being IN Tennessee with my family! I'll post more on that after the trip.

That’s all I’ve got for now…Happy Friday!


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Monday, February 14, 2011

The Story of Us

WARNING: This post is LONG.


My “friend” Kara (her hubby & I went to high school together and though she & I haven’t actually met, I feel like I know her thanks to her darling blog) recently blogged their story and it inspired me. How lovely to have to have it all written out to never miss a detail and for their daughter to read when she is older. And while we don’t have children yet, we will eventually, and like my Maternal Grandmother and his Paternal Grandmother kept journals, this is pretty much mine. And since Valentine’s Day has a lot of significance for us, I decided today was a good day to post this. That was a lot of rambling to get to this…Here is our story!

Ryan & I both grew up in Flower Mound. (I was born in Dallas and moved to FM in time to start 2nd grade. Ryan moved from Wisconsin to FM in 4th grade.) The first time I met Ryan, I was in 7th grade, he was in 6th. His best friend at the time, Matt, had been known to come play flash light tag on Friday nights on my street. I saw Matt in the hall way so I walked over to say hello. Standing next to him was a lanky kid with jet black hair…and half of his head shaved. Yes, you read that right. He had a bowl cut on one side, and a buzz cut on the other. (You don’t forget a hair cut like that.) Matt introduced us, as well as middle schoolers do, and I remember thinking his dimple was cute (he just has one), but his hair cut was too weird. Matt and I stayed friends but I didn’t really see Ryan much. He played drums, which I thought was cool, but that’s as far as my middle school memories of Ryan go.

Fast forward to my senior year. I was in both choir and drama, and because of that, I occasionally had to take my core classes with underclassmen to get them all in. This was the case for World Geo. The first day of class, I walked in and spotted my friend Miranda, so I sat next to her. While unpacking my books, I glanced over and saw Ryan. He had filled out a little, but looked the same. I smiled at him. He looked at his desk. Through the entire semester, I’d try to talk to him and he’d look away. We watched a movie in class one day (Crocodile Dundee to be exact) and I sat next to him on the floor. He actually got up and moved! That afternoon, I tracked Matt down after school and told him I had a crush on Ryan but that he acted like I had leprosy! Matt assured me he was just shy. I didn’t buy it. That Friday, Ryan (very nervously) asked me out on a date. Our first date was April 27, 2002. We went to Chili’s for dinner, and he kept going to the bathroom. He told me later that he was so nervous, he was throwing up! (Which I found strangely sweet.) Things moved pretty quickly from there. We just “clicked”. We talked on the phone non-stop and at all hours, he made me smile until my cheeks hurt. And then, sitting on my parent’s driveway, we had our first kiss and he asked me to be his girlfriend. Things were perfect all summer and into the fall of 2003. I had graduated high school, and he was entering his senior year. I went with him to his homecoming dance, got to know his family, met him for breakfast before school. We said “I love you” with ease and spent many, many nights with Sonic $1 sundaes, swinging at Rheudasil Park.

A couple pictures of us then


At the beginning of 2003, things got rocky. Around Valentine’s Day, Ryan showed up at my house with a ring box. Inside was a silver band with “Ryan & Rachel” engraved on the inside. He told me it was a promise ring; that he wanted to marry me. He was moving faster than I was ready for and I freaked out a little a lot. In a panic that I was only 19 and too young to be this serious, I broke up with him. What he didn’t know was though I kept a strong front, I cried for hours. Almost immediately I regretted it, but I couldn’t just take it back. A few weeks later, my best guy friend was killed in an accident. I got the call at around 7pm. I couldn’t tell you the exact time…everything is still a blur to this day. I sat in shock for about an hour, after I called my parents. I was house-sitting at the time, and they offered to come over and stay with me. I said I was fine. (Lie.) I sat on the front steps of the house where I was staying, reeling. I don’t remember picking up the phone, or dialing his number, but I must have called Ryan and told him what had happened because twenty minutes later he was sitting next to me. What a site I must have been (seeing as I barely remember that night). He stayed until my insisting I was okay finally worked. I wanted so badly to call him the next day, tell him that I still loved him, but I was so embarrassed he’d seen me that way that I didn’t.

We didn’t talk for almost a year. Then, out of the blue, he called me to tell me he’d met someone else. I acted like I didn’t care, after all I’d been dating other guys since we broke up too, but when he hung up, I cried my eyes out. I decided it was time to swallow my pride and get him back. Clearly, I still loved him or my heart wouldn’t hurt like that. He was living in Denton, so when I knew I was meeting some friends at a bar in Denton to watch a band play, I called and invited him. He showed with a friend of his, and we hung out, casually flirting. I even wore the promise ring he’d given me around my neck, in hopes he’d realize what that meant. His friend asked me to dance, so we danced. I kept my eyes on Ryan the entire time. At the end of the night, I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek and said “call me”. In hind sight, I should have just said “I love you” but, at that point I didn’t realize that my sweet husband can be pretty dense. ;) And he never called. A few months later, July of 2004, was my 21st birthday. My parents were throwing me a huge party, so I decided I’d invite Ryan. I didn’t know if he’d show up. I was so excited when I saw his truck pull up…until he walked through my front door, holding the hand of his new girlfriend. It was as if I’d been punched in the stomach. But, I put on my big girl pants and acted unaffected. He only stayed for half an hour, and then he was gone. Really gone. He called me sometime later to tell me he was moving to DC with the girl he’d brought to my party and I accepted that I’d let the love of my life get away. (If I’d been smart, I would have realized he called to tell me so that I would try and stop him. Darn you hindsight!) I went through a string of bad “relationships” after that, comparing them all to Ryan. Not long after he moved, I was at home one night, talking to a couple friends on IM when his screen name showed up. And he messaged me. We didn’t do more than small talk but I had butterflies the whole time. A few months passed, and we’d talk online from time to time. (I will now openly admit to spending far too much time on the computer, watching for his screen name to pop up.)

January 2006, Matt called me to let me know Ryan was back. DC and the girl hadn’t worked out and he was home for good and wanted to see me. I was hesitant. And nervous. I told Matt I’d think about it. The next evening, there was a knock on my apartment door. I’d been out late the night before and wasn’t looking my best; sweats, hair up, glasses and no make-up. Without thinking, I opened the door. There was Ryan. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. He said “Hi.” That was it. He pulled me close and we must have hugged for a full minute before Matt cleared his throat. I hadn’t even noticed him standing next to Ryan! We sat outside and the three of us talked for hours. As was the trend with us, things progressed pretty quickly and we pretty much picked up where we’d left off. Matt & I took Ryan out for his 21st birthday on February 7th and after his fair share of “truth serum”, he told me he has never stopped loving me. I blew it off.
On his 21st birthday

We had our “first date” (round two) on Valentine’s Day 2006. A few nights later, we were on the phone and he told me he loved me again. I told him “Don’t say that unless you mean it, Ryan” and he said, “Okay. (Pause) But it’s always been you. (Pause) I love you.” He was staying with his parents, but could only stay there temporarily, so in April, he moved in with me. He slept on the couch every night, and was only going to stay until he was back on his feet and could get his own place. Eventually, he did, but we’d grown accustomed to seeing each other every day, so a few months later, he decided to officially move into the apartment.

Things were awesome and we began to talk about marriage in 2007. I’d known for a LONG time that he was The One, and I was ready to be his wife. He seemed to be on the same page. But, in mid-January 2008, something changed. If I mentioned marriage, he shut down, or changed the subject, or said he wasn’t ready. I didn’t understand what had changed but I tried not to bring it up again. He was acting so different, and I started to get worried. I was NOT going to lose him again. A week before Valentine’s Day 2008, he was being extremely distant, almost mean. I was a mess. I went to my Mom’s house and bawled to her, telling her I just KNEW he was dumping me. She tried to reassure me that she knew he loved me, but I didn’t believe her. The next few days were awful. I walked around on eggshells, just waiting for him to tell me it was over. Two days before V-Day, he told me he had made reservations at Dakota’s Steakhouse in Dallas and to wear something nice. I was more confused than ever. I called my Mom, freaking out again, telling her that he was taking me for a nice dinner to soften the blow of dumping me. She did her “Mom thing” again, just listening and saying nice things to me. Valentine’s Day arrived, and he was really acting odd. He barely smiled or even looked at me while he put on his suit, and I got ready. He hardly said two words on the drive to Dallas. We ordered our food and he picked at it. The waitress asked us if we wanted dessert, and Ryan quickly said “no” even though I’d told him I wanted to split some cheesecake. After our meal, I asked if we could take a picture in front of the waterfalls outside of the restaurant.


His forced smile had me 100% convinced this was it. He was done. We got back into the car and headed back to our apartment. I was fighting tears. Then, he took the wrong exit off the highway. I was confused but didn’t say anything. We were heading into Flower Mound. At this point I asked “Where are we going?” and he told me he was taking me to get dessert. Suddenly, we turned and we were headed toward Rheudasil Park. It was cold and sprinkling as we got out of the car and he led me to the swings. I sat down on one of the swings and Ryan paced in front of me. He starting nervously rambling about how much he loved me and that he wanted to be with me forever. That he’d always wanted to be with me forever. Then he started to cry (yes, I am PROUDLY married to a man who cries) and said “What would you say if I asked you to marry me?” I squealed “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” as he pulled a box out of his jacket pocket and opened it to reveal a 3-stone ring. He said “For our past, our present, and our future. Will you marry me?” He tells me I said “Are you serious” ten times before finally saying YES.

The next day, the planning began. We carefully discussed having the “normal” yearlong engagement, and that I’d always wanted a fall wedding, so that would really be a year and a half. It didn’t take long to decide we just wanted to be married and that it wouldn’t be TOO crazy to get married 9 months later. So, on November 8, 2008, we said our “I Do’s”.



Even though our road was long, and sometimes rocky, our paths just kept leading to each other…and I am grateful every day that they did. I love you, my forever Valentine!!



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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Locks of Love - The Big Chop

I am blogging this morning with almost a foot less hair than I had yesterday...and I'm totally okay with that.

Yesterday afternoon was The Big Chop, so I nervously sat down in my stylists chair, handed her a ponytail holder and measuring tape and took a deep breath. I won't lie, when she handed me the detached ponytail, I had a moment of panic. My hair hadn't been this short since 5th grade...and seeing it now I wondered if I could pull it off. (I'm still not 100% sold that I can...) but then I shook it off remembering that this act wasn't about me. I reminded myself of the whole reason why I was doing this to start with...

Thinking back to my pre-teen and teenage years, I cannot even fathom what it would be like to not have had a full head of hair. My locks have been called my "defining characteristic" and my "reigning glory". (Dramatic, I know.) And there is a child out there who doesn't have that. How could I not use my "gift" of thick, fast growing hair to help them? So, as I stared, still in shock, at that ponytail, I remembered it was so totally worth it.

So, without further ado, I AM going to make this a little about me, and debut my new look...


 BEFORE

 The Ponytail

 AFTER!!


 Ready for my big "reveal" with my best friends

So, I leave you with this...If you have long hair, or think you have the patience to grow it long enough, I really encourage you to do this. It's so rewarding and worth every inch. :)



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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

This blog is going to be pretty short and sweet. American Idol comes on soon, and you all know how that takes over my life. BUT, I did want to share this recipe with you. I adapted it from a recipe I'd seen in Cooking Light. It turned out really good, even though Ryan opted to not eat his in the lettuce. (He's changed...just not THAT much.)

 Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

Filling:
1 lb ground sirloin (sub for turkey if you’d rather)
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup matchstick or julienned carrots

Sauce:
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
A 1 inch strip of Sriracha, or to taste   

8-10 leaves of Boston lettuce

In a large pan, heat a bit of olive oil, add onions and garlic. Once translucent, add meat. Cook through. Add in red pepper and cucumber. Cook for 5-7 minutes until slightly wilted.

In the meantime, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and Sriracha until sugar is dissolved and set aside.

Add carrots and toss in sauce.







This made about 8 lettuce wraps (or tortilla wraps for Ryan) of filling and calculated out to about 3 Weight Watchers Points per wrap! I will definitely be making this again. 

Enjoy!


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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snowpocalypse - Part II

Well,  the sun is out this morning and the temps are starting to creep closer and closer to the above freezing mark. It will be nice to be able to get out into the world safetly today!

I know my friends and family up north laugh at us, here in Dallas, as waves of panic sweep the city, but lets be honest here. Texas just isn't prepared for this kind of winter weather! We don't have snow tires, snow blowers or nearly enough sand trucks to handle ourselves when ice and snow clouds take over our skies. So, we lock ourselves inside and wait it out...venturing onto the roads only if completely necessary.

I'm a rare breed here in the Lonestar state. I loathe the heat and count the days for Spring, Fall and, mostly, WINTER! That being said, icy roads don't bode well for me. I panic. I'll admit it. But boy do I love when the ground is covered in white. It's just so pretty!

Monday night we got hit hard with a thick layer of ice coating this fine metropolis. The news stations all sang the same song - STAY HOME. So, both my boss and Ryan's boss closed the offices and we stayed put. Conditions were still icy, but more drivable, Wednesday and Thursday so back to work I went. Then, Thursday night, we got hit by another storm, this time snow. It was so beautiful, but apparently snow on top of unmelted ice equals danger. This time the news stations called it "the worst we've seen" and again, our offices thankfully closed. So, we stayed put. Again. Here are a few pictures I snapped of our conditions:

Day One, while I know it looks like snow, this was SOLID ICE. 

 Day One, another shot of the ice.  

 Day Four, snow covered ice

 The snow was about 4" deep where we were, only a few miles away got as much as 6"


 Ophelia (my Jetta) covered in snow and ice
No way I was going anywhere. My tired were all inches deep in the snow/ice mixture.

A few hours into our fourth day of Snowpocalypse, Brittany decided that since she was only a mile or so down the road, she was going to brave it and head over to Kim's apartment. Lucky for us, Kim & Jason live in the same complex, just one building over. So, when Brittany arrived, Ryan & I just walked over. Soon, Kim & Jason's apartment was brimming over with our friends and we made a whole day of it. (And I do mean a whole day...they hosted us for pushing 12 hours!)
 We spent some time outside enjoying the snow. Kim and Brad thought it would be fun to try and walk on the frozen canal...except it was only frozen on the surface. No one was harmed in the taking of this picture.

So, in summary, Snowpocalypse may have made driving conditions extremely hazardous, but it made friendship conditions improve. :) 



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