Sunday, April 29, 2012

Computer Troubles

Hello there!

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Katey and Casey in Ruston. I took some pretty pics that I would just love to post on the blog and on FB, but my computer is having some issues. The monitor went completely off on Thursday night before I left town and it is not fixed yet. Hopefully it can be saved! I will definitely be posting a wedding weekend recap as soon as I can. Until then, a picture-less post from my iPad is the best I can do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WILW: Great Harvest

One of my favorite food and fitness blogs, Peanut Butter Runner, has been mentioning bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. for years.  I always thought it looked so good, but sadly, there was no Great Harvest close to me when I lived in Mississippi.  One thing DFW has going for it is that you can pretty much find anything you are looking for food-wise somewhere in the metroplex.  I was absolutely delighted to discover a Great Harvest just a few miles north in Plano. 

This is the best bread ever!  It may seem lame to devote a blog post to bread, but (a) I love bread, and (b) this bread really is a million times better than any grocery store bread.  The only thing better would be my Mom’s homemade bread, and unfortunately, it is not really all that nutritious. 

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Also, this bread fits in with our new eating plan – 100% whole wheat and from a local bakery!  Win-win.  I am obsessed.  I have been eating a LOT of toast lately.  We are on loaf number three of the month.  Although our new eating plan doesn’t include an excessive amount of bread, I am (obviously) thrilled with this new discovery!

Great Harvest also has really tasty looking sandwiches, all types of nut butters and spreads, cookies, and other goodies.  And, they give free samples of all their baked goods when you visit! I am dying to go for lunch one day.  Lunch date anyone?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clean Eating

Starting on May 1, Austin and I are planning some major changes to our eating habits.  Neither of us eats too terribly bad, but we each have certain issues that could definitely benefit from the changes we plan to make next week. 

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Austin has been working CRAZY hours during his busy season, which has resulted in a ton of meals eaten out over the past few months.  I, on the other hand, have really been noticing lately just how much sugar I consume every day.  For some reason my sweet tooth has had quite the growth spurt over the past few years. 

So, our plan is to live it up in Ruston this weekend celebrating at the wedding and then basically purge whatever we have left in our pantry that doesn’t fit in with our new eating guidelines when we get back to Dallas.  I have read about so many versions of clean(er) eating on numerous blogs, but the post that is closest to what we will be doing can be found here.  One of the first places I read about this concept was here

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To summarize, what we eat every day will consist of as much as possible of these things:

  • WHOLE foods (“more a product of nature than of industry”)
  • fruits and vegetables
  • dairy: milk, eggs, unsweetened yogurt, cheese
  • 100% whole grain/whole wheat bread (more on my new favorite source for this tomorrow)
  • seafood
  • locally raised meat (in moderation)
  • water, milk, coffee, tea
  • dried fruit, nuts, and seeds
  • minimal use of all natural sweeteners (honey or 100% maple syrup)

And NOT these things:

  • refined grains (white flour, white rice)
  • refined sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup, cane juice, Splenda, etc.)
  • anything out of a box, can, bag, package, etc. that has more than 5 ingredients on the label
  • deep fried food
  • fast food

(source: this blog post)

By far the hardest part of this for me will be to give up refined sugar.  I put white sugar in my coffee, brown sugar in my oatmeal, and I love dessert.  I think Austin’s biggest challenge will be cutting out the processed/packaged foods.  I will definitely be recapping our progress, and I am hopeful that me putting this out here on the blog will be some good motivation and accountability.  Of course, I am not going into this thinking that we will never eat dessert again – knowing both of our personalities, I know there will be “cheat days” within reason.  However, I am really excited about the healthier changes to come!  Wish us luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

New ‘Do

New hair! 

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This reminded me…as soon as Austin’s busy season is over I WILL talk him into doing a hair “vlog.”  I will probably have to do two different videos.  Two of my law school friends used to refer to me as “Emily: sometimes curly, sometimes straight” before they knew me.  There were two other Emilys in our section – I guess this was how they told us apart?   

My work day was busy today, but it was a good busy – they day flew by! 

I went to a new eye doctor here in Dallas today and really liked her a lot.  I wanted to give her a huge hug after she gave me some allergy drops for my eyes that are like magic!  I shopped for some new glasses and am pondering a glasses purchase next weekend.  It’s an exciting life I lead, I tell you! 

I am off to read some of my current book before bed.  I told my Mom earlier that I am having to barricade myself in our room and not spend any time in the living area tonight.  Our complex is being painted right now so we had to move everything that usually is on our porch inside.  Yuck.  There is a pair of duck waiters with mud-caked boots draped over one of my kitchen chairs.  So, to summarize, I will only be spending time in the study, bedroom, and bathroom until we can move everything back out to the porch!  But, this gives me a great excuse to make some headway on this list of books I posted earlier this year. 

Currently reading: The Sisters by Nancy Jensen

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our Weekend

Well, I’d like to say our weekend consisted of some super-fun spring things, but really it was nothing all to exciting.  What was WONDERFUL was the fact that Austin barely had to work and we got to actually enjoy a weekend break from work together. 

We enjoyed some early morning tennis on Saturday… except for the rude “tennis instructor” that interrupted our game to tell us to get off his “reserved” court.  I can’t really let myself delve too much deeper into that story without wanting to hit something, so I will stop now, but just know the court most definitely was not reserved!    Austin did have to work until Saturday afternoon, and I had a hair appointment.  I’ll have to blog a pic for my mom and sisters tomorrow after I fix it for work.  Saturday afternoon we got to go to the grocery store together and then Austin grilled some steaks for us for supper. 

{and for some reason I cannot get the pic of our supper to post on the blog!}

Today we had a wonderful morning at church!  This was our Sunday to greet which is always fun.  We had a big group in Sunday school and an encouraging and challenging sermon in church.  I think I say this every week, but I love our church so much! 

This afternoon I did a little cooking for the meal we took to Scott and Cass tonight and tackled my ironing pile.  I am about halfway done with it…which is just thrilling for y’all to read about I’m sure. Winking smile 

I’m so very excited about my 4 day work week and heading to Louisiana on Friday to see my family and to celebrate Katey and Casey’s wedding! 

Sorry for the picture-less post! Although, I doubt y’all want to see a picture of my ironing pile.  I am making a vow to do better and take some pics this week.  I can promise that I will have lots of pictures in my weekend recap next week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Faves

Y’all will have to forgive the lack of blog posting this week!  I am so glad it is Friday, and here are a few of my faves from this week:

The “Mama always said…” article from the May Southern Living was so good!  Definitely one of the best things I have read in SL in a while.  Last night, reading my new magazine trumped my best laid plans to blog…and iron.  Some young Louisiana designers were also featured in this issue as well as one of my favorite blogger/designers

I really want this seersucker suit for work.  Obsessed! Wish I could figure out how to get a picture on the blog… or on Pinterest.  I know it would fit right in in Jackson, but I’m not quite sure how something like that would go over in the big D.  That definitely wouldn’t stop me from sporting it though! After perusing the Jolie & Elizabeth website, I am pretty positive one of the girls that is modeling their clothes went to law school with me.  Small world! 

I am busting out my new flat sandals today.  I don’t think I have ever worn flats to work, but I figure what better day to do so than a Friday? 

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And now I’m going to get my Windex…

Hope your Friday flies by!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WILW: Payless

Yesterday on my lunch break I got out of the office to run a couple of errands.  I happened to be near a Payless with a little time to spare, so I went in on a whim.  I came out with two super cute new pairs of shoes.  Not a bad lunch break for a Tuesday!  They were having one of their famous “BOGO” sales, and I couldn’t resist these two for summer:

Brands BrashWomen's Mallory Wood Wedge Sandal

Brands BrashWomen's Queen T-Strap Sandal

{images from Payless website}

I also spotted some really cute shoes from the Christian Siriano line for Payless, especially his these fun black patent leather peep toe sling-backs and colorful wedges. 

Brands Christian Siriano for PaylessWomen's Le Chic Peep Toe Pump

Brands Christian Siriano for PaylessWomen's Siriano T-Strap Wedge

My new wedges are making their debut today and putting a little pep in my step this Wednesday!  Hope y’all are having a great week so far! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baseball & Flower Beds

We started off our weekend at a Frisco Rough Riders game on Friday night.  Going to the game with several other couples from our Sunday school class was a fun, but I have paid dearly for my outdoor fun as the weekend has progressed.  I am dying a slow death from allergies.  This time of year just kills me!  Needless to say, “making an appointment with an allergist” just shot to the top of my to-do list for the week.  I have tried every type of OTC allergy medicine as well as consumed quite a bit of local honey, but neither of those have really solved my problem.  I am ready for some shots! 

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On Saturday morning Austin and I got in a quick workout and run at the Katy Trail before he headed off to work, (so lame!) and I headed to Lake June Baptist Church for a missions project our Sunday school class was doing there.  We “beautified” their flower beds at the church.  Once I finally got there (after my 30 minute detour from getting lost…) most of the real work was done.  I was really disappointed about this, Winking smile but I did manage to get some action shots and a good pic of the whole group.

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The rest of my weekend has been a total snooze-fest!  Austin has been working non-stop and I have pretty much just been laid up on the couch with a box of kleenex.  We had a great Sunday morning at church this morning, and I got out and ran some errands, but all in all a pretty low-key weekend.  I am fixing this Pinterest recipe for supper, and we are catching up on last week’s Mad Men episode tonight!



Hope y’all had a happy weekend! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Almost Friday!

This morning when I woke up I really thought it was Friday for a good little while.  When I came to the realization that it was only Thursday, it was a bit of a let-down. 

However, the happy news I woke up to made up for my disappointment – our friends Scott and Cassandra had their baby!  We are so excited for them and their new addition!  I don’t think Cassandra will be making it to her birthday celebration tomorrow night that our Sunday school class has planned… We will miss them both at the baseball game we are going to tomorrow and at our missions project get together on Saturday.   

We are planting flowers and doing some gardening work at a small church in the Dallas area on Saturday morning.  AKA I am taking pictures of everyone else getting dirty and doing manual labor… just kidding, sort of. 

Other than church functions, I am hoping Austin and I can squeeze in some tennis this weekend.  His work schedule is the craziest it has ever been, but the week is almost over, and he doesn’t have to work this weekend!  Last weekend I won four of the five games we played.  I am sure he will be wanting to redeem himself :)  Must have been my new tennis outfit and sweet wrist band (nerd-alert).

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Today is my Grandma’s birthday – happy birthday Grandma!  (She is the one on the far left.)  She makes the best banana pudding, the best roast and gravy, the prettiest flower arrangements, and has beautiful handwriting.  Love you!

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Colorful Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

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I made these stuffed bell peppers on Saturday night.  I have never been a fan of stuffed bells, but Austin likes them, so when I saw this recipe in Real Simple a few months ago, I decided to give it a shot.  Well, I am definitely a convert.  These were so good and so very easy!  I made a few modifications to the original recipe which can be found here (I used ground turkey instead of ground beef and brown rice instead of white rice). 

I was eating the filling with a spoon while I was putting these together – delish. 

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers (from Real Simple magazine)

1 cup rice (white or brown)

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 green onions, sliced (white and green parts separated)

1/2 lb ground beef (or turkey!)

1 cup frozen corn

1 4.5 oz can chopped green chilies

1 teaspoon cumin

4 oz grated cheese (1 cup)  - recipe calls for Monterey Jack but I used a mix of cheddar and gruyere

salt and pepper

4 large bell peppers, halved with ribs and seeds removed (I only used three and just had a little bit of leftover filling which was great on top of a salad the next day!)

salsa and sour cream for serving

Cook rice according to package directions and heat oven to 375.  Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat.  Add scallion whites and ground beef or turkey.  Cook meat until no longer pink (3-5 minutes).  Stir in corn, chilies, cumin, cooked, rice, 1/2 of the cheese, and a little bit of salt and pepper.  Arrange the bell peppers, cut side up, in a 9x13 baking dish or pan.  Divide filling among the peppers and add 1/2 cup water to the dish.  Cover tightly with foil and bake until peppers are soft – about 30 to 40 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and bake about 5 to 7 more minutes.  Serve topped with salsa and sour cream.

Have a happy Wednesday friends!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stamped Stationery

My latest obsession is making these cute stamped cards with matching lined envelopes.  The past couple of weekends I have loved playing with my new stamps and Martha ink pads and creating fun cards to have on hand for every occasion. 

Of course I will start with my obvious favorite little trio.  I could just about DIE over those eggs!

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I also went a little crazy with balloon cards. I think these are just so cute for birthdays!

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I definitely come by my card-making love honestly.  As anyone who regularly reads this blog knows, my Mom makes me a different card each month (last year they were birds, this year they are hand-stitched).  We also made all of the cards I used as thank you notes for my wedding gifts.  I even remember us making the invitations for my graduation party my senior year of high school.  Making cards is one of our very favorite things to do when we are together. 

One of my very favorite memories from our year of wedding planning was a weekend spent in west Texas at my grandparents’ big old wooden kitchen table cranking out blue and green bird-stamped cards for my thank you notes.  I think we ended up making over 300 total!  Having my Mom to card-make along side me is just about the only thing I can think of that would have made my weekend craft sessions more fun! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

I almost became a hand-raiser in church this morning – that is how good the music was.  I am not anti-hand raising by any means, that has just never really been my preferred style of worship…just to clarify!  Maybe I am saying this because today is Easter and the songs are so fresh in my mind, but Easter hymns are my FAVE. 

Speaking of Easter hymns, I feel real bad for the poor people in front of me today.  Allergies have about gotten the best of me, so I am sounding pretty nasal-y.  Add that to the fact that I cannot carry a tune in a bucket and the result was very likely some bleeding ears in the First Baptist Dallas sanctuary this morning.  Maybe that is why the family in front of us joined the church this morning?  Running away from my singing during the invitation perhaps?

Aside from the allergies, our first married Easter has been just wonderful!  Having Katey and Casey over for lunch today made me feel like such a grown-up!  We had a great lunch, and I had so much fun this weekend getting everything ready.  Here are some pictures from our day.  There are probably more pictures than anyone other than my mom wants to see of the table, but I thought it turned out pretty cute. 

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We were happy Scott decided to come to church with us today!  We didn’t even make him take a swim in the baptistery and get dunked like a true Baptist :)

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After church Katey and her finace Casey joined us for lunch.  They are only three very short weeks away from their wedding date!  We are all sooo excited for the festivities! Katey and I both had birthdays in March so we celebrated those and Easter today – thank you for my birthday book, friend.   

For lunch we had ham, hash brown casserole, salad, deviled eggs, roasted asparagus, and rolls.  Yum!  It is hard to beat a good Easter lunch spread!  I meant to get a picture of everything before we served our plates, but completely forgot.  Here it all is on my plate – delicious. 

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And for dessert, we had lemon mousse (recipe from this blog). This might have been my favorite…

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I missed my family today and our traditional egg hunt… and getting an Easter basket – ha!  (Austin didn’t even deliver a Reese’s egg.  I must educate him for next year on the necessity of jelly beans and Easter candy on Easter Sunday morning.)  I have to admit I was secretly glad to hear from my sisters that they didn’t even bother hunting eggs – clearly it would be no fun without me :)  I will get to see them all in a few short weeks though, and today was a wonderful day starting some new Easter traditions with my new husband in our new city. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

He’s Alive

Things I love about Easter: pretty bright spring colors, birds, eggs, nests, bunnies, hash brown casserole, Easter dresses, getting to finally wear nude shoes, getting to carry my favorite summer Kate Spade purse, the over-the-top church service, egg hunts, and my family’s Easter traditions…

Things that really MATTER about Easter: He lives! 

I am going to venture to say that Easter is the most important holiday that I, as a Christian, celebrate.  It even tops Christmas in my book.  Easter is a celebration of the greatest miracle and the most generous gift ever given. 

I am so thankful for the peace that comes from knowing that I am His – I get to spend eternity with Him in heaven, and I am saved by His grace.  I am so thankful for His willingness to endure such awful torture and pain on the cross so that I can have forgiveness that I could never deserve.  My salvation is secure, my home for eternity is waiting for me, and I am so loved and so thankful. 

I hope each of you has this peace in your heart as well.  He loves us all so very much.  Easter is the day we get to joyfully celebrate that He lives despite the pain and suffering of the crucifixion that he willingly endured because He loves us. 

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:17

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  John 11:25-26

“…He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.”  Hebrews 7:27

“ I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” Philippians 3:10

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Things

I missed doing my WILW post yesterday, but to make up for it, here are two things I am loving today (Things I’m Loving Thursday?):

I stocked up on prayer journals at Target today.  Love these pretty floral notebooks.  Nothing like a pretty journal to get the prayers flowing – am I right?  Just kidding! 

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This little pretty that has gone to work with me twice so far this week!  LOVE my new pretty Chanel bag from my wonderful in-laws.  They brought me this gorgeous purse all the way from New York City.  Love them!

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And, sadly, one thing that I am not loving.  I killed this precious plant.  I don’t know what happened, but I lost her.  Not for lack of trying to keep her alive though.  I put this thing outside to get extra sunshine every day for two darn weeks.  I even made her a cute little sign that said “please don’t take me, I’m just trying to get a little extra sunshine” with a picture of a sun on it. 

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I may have even shed a tear when I had to finally give it up and throw my once-lovely plant away.  How crazy do I sound right now?!  What a loon.  But really, I loved this plant so much!  It is making me sad looking at how pretty and leaf-y it used to be!

Mel, just for you – her is my best effort to duplicate my sign on Paint for you (it was on a hot pink post-it):

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How pitiful?  I am kind of embarrassed. 

I think my apartment is bad for plants – it doesn’t get much light at all.  The only thing I have managed to keep alive here is boring old ivy.  Non-negotiable factor that next residence must have: sunlight + ability to grow pretty flowers, plants and herbs! 

Last but most certainly not least, I am loving that Easter is this weekend.  Easter is my absolute number one favorite holiday.  I will have to dedicate a blog post tomorrow or Saturday to all the things that make Easter the best.  This will be my first Easter not at home with my family, but Austin and I are excited to be here in Dallas for Easter Sunday at our church.  We are having my BFF Katey and her fiance over for lunch after church, and I have had fun planning the menu and table setting for that this week!  Pictures to come!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

OOTD

Loved wearing my new jacket yesterday – thank you Mom!  I was running a tad bit late yesterday so all I had time to snap were these lovely phone pics. 

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My new blue jacket definitely brightened my Monday.  Now I am off to figure out what in the world to wear today.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baby Shower for Cass

We celebrated the first baby of our Sunday School class yesterday at a fun baby shower for Cassandra and Miss Evie. 

I helped host with Faith, Rebecca, and Sarah.  I loved how everything turned out. 

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Thanks to Pinterest, we had strawberry pretzel salad and make-your-own individual fruit pizzas.  We also had two cheese balls, tea, and punch.  We didn’t go too heavy on the food since the shower was at two o’clock and we figured most people would have just finished lunch.  Although, the fact that I ate lunch before the shower did not stop me from sampling a little bit of everything :)  I love shower food! 

Sarah made some adorable cloth diapers with ribbon and letters that spelled out the new baby’s name. 

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We had an area set up to make bows for baby Evie.  This was definitely a hit!  Our Sunday School teacher Donna showed us all up with her bow-making skills.  I am pretty sure I will never have a little girl to make bows for, but if and when that time comes, I am going to need serious lessons.  (I say that because I am convinced God is only going to give me little Austins.) I remember my mom making all of my bows when I was little… Mother, I need some tutorials!

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Jessica made baby Evie the CUTEST bib along with several other embroidered things.  She has a fabulous machine that does monogramming – I was obsessed!

We are all so excited to meet this little girl in just a few short weeks, and we had a wonderful time celebrating Sunday afternoon!