We are published!

Feb 28, 2013

Yesterday we finally received the edition of The Texas Wedding Guide that we are featured in!
After winning their engagement photo contest last year (thanks to Charles, of course) we were interview about "our story" and they featured our photo in their latest issue!
If you live in Texas, it should be available at most Barnes & Nobles!
It truly is a great magazine, with great wedding ideas and tips, as well as some awesome vendors, so go check it out :)

Tunesday: Beirut "Nantes"

Feb 27, 2013

Maybe my favorite Take Away Show of all time.
Is that too bold of a statement?
Sorry, Bon Iver.

Our Little Diet Makeover

Now that I finally have a big kid job (and a big kid paycheck) Josh and I feel that we can afford to improve our diet by eating organic whenever possible.
I've been reading the book Wheat Belly, which has really changed my perspective on the potential damage genetically modified foods like wheat can do to your body.
Without getting all hardcore and nutso, I'll just throw some fun facts your way.
Did you know going gluten free has been shown to cure autism, many GI diseases like ulcerative colitis, and also type 2 diabetes and hypertension?
For this reason (and Josh's obsession with all things Mark Sisson, Mr. Paleo himself) we have decided to attempt to go gluten free with a bit of paleo mixed in between.
Basically, we want to just cut the crap.
No more processed, unhealthy foods.
I'd rather feel good physically than enjoy a few seconds worth of a great taste. 
We started last week off by easing into the whole gluten free lifestyle by taking advantage of Sprinkles's buy one cupcake get one free day.
Gluten free red velvet.
Later that week we decided to blow wisely invest in our health some a lot of my first paycheck at the paycheck thief itself: 
Whole Foods. 
Conveniently (for our wallet) the Plano Whole Foods is right across the street from Trader Joe's, so when we didn't find what we needed, we just made another pit stop.
Now, we aren't perfect, in the week we have been "wheat free" we have cheated once or twice, and it was crazy how we immediately felt bloated and sick.
Going wheat free has definitely made us feel more energized already.
Finding new recipes and strange substitutions for many pantry basics is kind of an adventure in itself.
Some of our staple late night snacks as of lately are:
Frozen grapes sprinkled with sugar free jello powder
Chocolate peanut butter sludge
Recipe here
Gluten free cheddar jalapeƱo crackers
Recipe here
Paleo double chocolate peanut butter ice cream sandwiches.
Recipe here
If y'all have any wheat free recipes you think we should try out send them my way! 

Our rather eventful Pecan Lodge experience

Feb 25, 2013

This past weekend was my first weekend on call so we didn't really have many plans other than staying nearby.
Side note: Being on call was a bit stressful.
I'm the type of person that requires constant plans and a schedule.
Just the simple task of washing my hair was scary, because I was constantly worrying things like "What if I get called in with wet hair? I can't scrub in with wet hair!"
Anyways, we braved the conditions and went downtown to the farmers market.
. . . but not because we wanted fresh produce.
I had heard stories of the infamous Pecan Lodge and their "Hot Mess" sweet potato stuffed with brisket and buttery, cheesy, bacony, chipotle sour creamy goodness.
. . . I had also heard stories of their infamous waiting line.
I had to give Josh a good pep talk on the ride, so that he would be prepared to wait at least an hour in line for the "best BBQ in Dallas"
 When we arrived he panicked, but after overhearing experienced people in line talking about how it was well worth the wait he let us stay.
Thank goodness, I was worried.
We quickly made friends with the sweet retired couple in front of us in line, alllllll the way from Alaska.
They formerly lived in Dallas, and we ultimately ended up trading numbers because they had plenty of good advice on local real estate and dentists.
Important folks to know, right?
The anticipation was building (I mean what else do you have to think about during an hour and a half wait in line, other than the actual food you are waiting for?) and we grew nervous that they would sell out of what we were craving (which often happens at Pecan Lodge, I read)
Anyways, during the wait Josh joked "Watch our new friends be the lucky ones to get the last Hot Mess"
 He's never been more right.
The kind lady who was practically my new Dallas BFF ordered the last Hot Mess.
When the cashier told me they were sold out and marked The Hot Mess off of the chalkboard behind him, I just knew Josh had played this elaborate prank on me.
. . . and then the kind soul behind the register offered me a tissue, which I was seconds away from accepting (so that I could wipe the blood from Josh's nearly busted lip)
I was pissed.
So I settled for the pulled pork sandwich and their infamous boneable mac and cheese
(Did you see the review above? Is boneable a word?)
 I was no longer hungry.
This was not the hot mess.

 . . . so I grew a pair and went to ask my new BFF if I could have a bite of her Hot Mess.
True story.
I'm not ashamed.
I needed to know what it was like.
In my defense, she told me that she was honored that I felt close enough to them to ask them to taste their food.
. . . and this one teeny tiny bite was well worth the 90 minute wait.
The farmers market was cool too.
Fresh eggs!
If you are in Dallas (on a Thursday-Sunday from 11-3) and get the chance to go to Pecan Lodge, no matter the length of the line, do it.
You won't regret it one bit.
. . . and make friends with the people in line in front of you, ya know, just in case.

Our Wedding {Flowers & Table Decor}

Feb 15, 2013

Never in my life have I been too into flowers.
This aspect of the wedding was pretty much taken on by my mother
(Other than my one contribution: No roses)
Somehow her and the florist convinced me to allow garden roses (only because they look similar to peonies.
Our bouquets were made of of peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and hypericum berries in shades of coral, tangerine and pink with accents of scabiosa pods, seeded eucalyptus, and salal leaves 
(The florist gave me that description, believe me, I'm not capable of spouting that off on my own)
. . . and the table decorations we made using loose individual flowers placed in bottles (with some vintage books and cameras mixed in between)

I knew I wanted to incorporate slivers of trees into our centerpieces, so we found these is someones yard (we offered to pay them first) and then had a friend slice them into different widths.
For the outdoor table we had candles in mason jars surrounded by moss and also rosemary in lightbulbs.
(I actually stole this idea from Whiskey Cake, in Plano)
In case you've missed any of our wedding posts, you can catch up here!

Guest post: Heather von St. James

Feb 12, 2013

Recently I was contacted by a blogger, Heather, about sharing her story regarding her battle with mesothelioma.
Funny how the blog world works, but her story really hit close to home for Josh and I.
A few years ago Josh lost his grandfather to mesothelioma.
The loss was so hard on his family, but particularly hard on Josh because his grandfather had a huge hand in raising him.
Reading Heather's story about how she conquered this devastating, malignant disease, and how she is still able to be an incredible mother and wife is truly inspiring. 
I hope you enjoy it and that you let her bravery encourage you today.

How I Fought for My Life
Life has a way of turning on a dime when you least expect it. Before you know it, everything will have completely gone downhill. At the age of 36, I got a firsthand experience with that reality. Everything seemed so perfect. With the birth of our daughter in August of 2005, my husband and I were over the moon with joy. Unfortunately, we weren't going to enjoy those feelings for very long.

I returned to work when our daughter was a month old. However, I noticed that I didn't have nearly as much energy as I expected. Considering the fact that I just had a baby, I knew that I was losing weight way too fast. Most new mothers don't lose seven pounds in a week. In my heart, I could sense that something wasn't quite right.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is one of those types of cancers that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos. Unfortunately, I was one of those unlucky children who were unknowingly exposed to it. After going through a series of diagnostic tests, my doctor hit me with the worst news of my life: I had cancer. Without treatment, I was not expected to live any longer than 15 months.

I had sensed that something was wrong, but I never imagined that something so devastating could happen to me. The first person I thought about was my daughter Lily. I couldn't imagine what life would be like for her and my husband if I wasn't around. I knew that I needed to fight this disease for her sake. My husband and I agreed on the most aggressive treatment option and flew to Boston for my extrapleural pneumonectomy- a surgery and form of mesothelioma treatment that removed my entire left lung and all of the surrounding tissue. I had to wait over two months to begin radiation and chemo, but I still needed to be the mother that Lily deserved.

While I was fighting for my life, I needed someone to look out for Lily's. Luckily, my parents were able to keep her with them where they lived in South Dakota. On the same day that my husband and I flew to Boston, Lily and my mother flew from our home in Minnesota to South Dakota.  I was grateful for them and everyone else who helped me get through such an awful point in my life. I hated missing out on my daughter's first milestones. However, I was willing to sacrifice that month of milestones in if it meant having a lifetime of memories with her.

There is absolutely nothing good about cancer. However, the experience was easier to get through thanks to the love and support of my family. I wanted to be around for them and that made me fight even harder. When you come close to losing your life, you'll begin to realize how much you truly value it. If anyone ever finds his or herself in an impossible position, they have no reason to lose hope. There's always a silver lining waiting to be found.

Heather blogs over here so go say hey and check out some more of her posts!

Our Wedding {The Venue}

Feb 11, 2013

Now that I conquered my first week at a new job, I think I can finally get back into the swing of things.
I'll start back with a little post about our wedding venue.
We got married at Los Paloma in Benton, Louisiana.
This event center was actually a skeet shooting range, that over time accidentally turned into a really popular wedding venue.
We wanted to have the ceremony and reception at the same place, and Los Paloma was ideal because it was large enough that we could move the ceremony inside at last minute if the weather didn't cooperate.
(Louisiana weather in November could range from 30-90 degrees) 
Thankfully, we were lucky enough to have perfect weather!
It was a sunny day with the afternoon temperature being around the 70s. 
We had the ceremony on the back porch, between the building and the pond, and we timed it perfectly with the sunset happening behind the pond (for good photography lighting, of course)
Stephanie (the photographer) and I actually went out to the venue the week before the wedding to plan timing of the ceremony with the sunset/lighting. 
. . . more coming later this week on the details and table decor! 


Feb 7, 2013

Remember that time I forgot to blog for a whole week?
Please don't hate me.
This whole new job thing is a bit nuts.
I feel disconnected from the world because of how much I am concentrating on work and all the new things I have to learn, but I have a feeling it will improve with time.

Minden managed to raise ANOTHER million dollars for St. Jude with out auction last weekend.
I'm still in shock.
So lucky to be from such a giving town.
(My mom and her friends, who help run the auction)

While I was home, thankfully I was able to get some crawfish.
The cravings were about to do me in.
Charlie officially got his DNA swabbed and stored.
Poops beware.
This is the first week of our married life that I haven't cooked a single meal.
Worst. Wife. Ever.
BUT, my first day of work I came home to a very clean apartment, bottle of wine, and an incredible steak.
Lucky gal right here.
. . . and then the following three nights we had "celebratory dinners" that did not involve slaving over a hot stove.
This book is my new best friend.
. . . and this is my saving grace.
Come onnnnnnnn weekend.

Friday's Letters

Feb 1, 2013

Dear unemployment,
Siyonara sucker.
I'm officially employed as a Physician Assistant to an orthopedic surgeon and I start Monday!
I've enjoyed my two months as a housewife, but boredom has officially set in.
It's gonna be hard to leave this face every morning though.
Dear Cafe Brazil,
Why you gotta be so darn good?
Dear cutest bridesmaid invitation in America:
I'm SO pumped to be a part of my best friend's wedding, in Grand Cayman!
Dear Carol Paul,
Can I be you?
Dear apartment complex,
Y'all are cray.
. . . but its kinda cool that this made national news
. . . and this is how Charlie felt about it:
Dear Josh,
I am SO blessed to be your permanent roommate.
For life.
Josh lost a bet this week, which meant I had the privilege of posting this on Facebook.
He wasn't too happy about it, but hopefully all the positive comments he received will boost his confidence into making more videos!
Josh's Stubborn Love cover from Emily Kerrigan on Vimeo.

Dear anyone reading this page,
If you want to support St. Judes and also have the chance to win some pretty awesome prizes like a Denali, $1000 VISA card, $1000 to Dillards, Wal-Mart, & Best Buy, an iPad mini, a macbook, a 4-wheeler, hunting trip, fishing trip, or a whole assortment of guns then go visit MindenStJude.com to buy raffle tickets (click the Donate/Raffle tab)
My hometown has hosted this auction for over 30 years, and last year was the first time for us to break the 1 million dollar barrier.
Our town raises the most money for St. Jude than any city per capita in the world.

Since the auction started our little town of 13,000 people has given over 10 million dollars.
Here's some stats of the money raised from the last 8 years:
2005: $509,179
2006: $703,604
2007: $755,846
2008: $788,611
2009: $876,264
2010: $881,885
2011: $943,628
2012: $1,065,235
Help us help the kids of St Jude by breaking a million again this year, and maybe you can win something in the process!
Check out MindenStJude.com, twitter @mindenstjude, or facebook.com/mindenstjude
If you aren't convinced yet, or you just want a good Friday morning cry, then go watch this video.
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