Enduring All Things: July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thankful Thursday Party - July

Sometimes it's hard to be thankful for what you have. Especially when life isn't going how you planned or you seem to constantly be put in situations that test your faith. It's easy to concentrate on the negative. That's always been the case for humans everywhere. The bad stuff stands out in our minds. My friend, Heather just wrote a post about this on Tuesday and I couldn't have said it better myself. Let's all start making a conscious effort to focus on the positive things in life and be thankful for the things we do have. You can start right here by blogging about what you're thankful for and linking up on the last Thursday of every month.
This month I am oh so thankful for friendship! I am thankful I have friends from my youth group growing up, from college, from Georgia, from Ohio, and from blogging. Friends are so important to have in your life. They truly are God's way of taking care of us.

Friends are the people who cry with you when you're sad. They will just sit with you and be with you if you need it. Like when Canon passed away last month, all of us friends spent the whole weekend together. We didn't do anything exciting. It certainly wasn't a fun occasion. But we were together the whole time. We supported each other.
Friends are the people you spend time with laughing your brains out, making memories, and enjoying each other's company. You go to baseball games and amusement parks with them. Or you just hang out and watch Frozen for the fourth fourteenth time.

Friends are the people who challenge you to be a better person spiritually, physically, and mentally. They push you in a loving way. You have monthly devotionals's and sing nights outside of your bible classes where you can really open up, get to know each other on a deeper level, and pray for each other.
Friends are the people you always hate to say goodbye to. When you're apart there is a little part of you missing.

I am so thankful for friends! I am thankful for every single person on this earth who I can call my friend and I know that God put us in each other's lives to help each other grow.

What are you thankful for this month? Link up below!
Thanks for reading!
We have so much to be thankful for and a lot of us take that for granted. Lets change that! Introducing the #ThankfulThursdayParty linkup with Rachel @ My Wholesome Home and Charlene @ From Bisons to Buckeyes! We will be writing about what we are thankful for and linking  up on the last Thursday of every month. We would love to have you and can't wait to see what you're thankful for in your life!
RachelTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest // Charlene: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
Linkup Rules:
  1. Link up your Thankful Thursday Party post NOT your blog URL
  2. Use the hashtag #ThankfulThursdayParty when you share on social media
  3. Grab the button and display it on your blog so others can join the party


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe: Crock Pot Poppy Seed Chicken

I decided this Summer to cook more crock pot meals. I love using the crock pot in the summer because it is less work in the evenings when we seem to be running around everywhere all the time and it doesn't heat up your apartment and cause the AC to work extra hard like the oven does. I haven't been very successful with this goal though. I always forget to prepare the meal the night before or early enough in the day for it to cook as long as it needs to. I have, however, made a few meals. Here's one I love as a casserole so I decided to tweak it and make it a crock pot meal. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Poppy Seed Chicken
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • (optional) shredded cheddar cheese
1. Spray your crock pot with cooking spray
2. Thaw out chicken breasts and place in crock pot
3. In a medium bowl, mix together soup and sour cream
4. Add poppy seeds to the mixture
5. Spread the mixture over the chicken breasts.
6. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5
7. With about 30 minutes left, shred the chicken with two forks
8. Here is where you can also add optional shredded cheese, salt, and pepper to taste
9. Serve over rice or with crackers and enjoy!
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"That is a Charlene and Pearson Movie"

Once upon a time, my brother and my grandma went to see a movie while he was home from college one Christmas break. They thought the movie was okay, but when they came out of the theater, Tyler said "I think that was more of a Charlene and Pearson movie." When this story was told to me later it kinda made me sad but it made me laugh at the same time. I was sad because Tyler and Memaw didn't enjoy the movie as well as they should have! But I laughed because this implies that Pearson and I have developed a type of movie.

What is that type, you might ask? Hmm... If I had to sum it up in one word, I think that word would have to be nerdy. We like fantasy, we like super heroes, we like scifi, we like a lot of stuff but I really think the only category they all really fall under is nerdy. 
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming to be a real nerd. You know, like the ones on The Big Bang Theory. I'm just a semi-nerd. You know, like the ones who dress up like the ones on The Big Bang Theory for Halloween. I don't play "Dungeons and Dragons", but I love "Munchkin" which is a game that makes fun of it. I've never been to comic-con, though I would LOVE to go sometime. I don't read comic books, though I love the Marvel movies (all 3 franchises), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Batman trilogy. I didn't watch the old Star-Trek series, but I love the new movies. I didn't grow up reading Grimm's Fairy Tales, but I love Once Upon a TimeI think you get the idea. I like the 'cool' nerdy stuff, but maybe I like it a little more than the average person and I'm not afraid to show that.
I have always been a big Harry Potter nerd and a few other books make me get that way. Some of my and Pearson's biggest arguments discussions have been about Harry Potter. We named our dog after a Lord of the Rings character. I get obsessive with certain music and I stalk artists online until I know everything there is to know about them. I've never cared too much about the current pop culture and I would much rather listen to or watch what makes me happy than to have something to talk to my peers about. But I haven't always admitted this sort of stuff out loud. I have my husband to thank for that!
Us as Bellatrix and Voldemort
Pearson showed me that it's OK to be who you are, enjoy what you enjoy and do what you like to do. Who cares if people label you as a nerd? And who cares if people label you as a wannabe nerd? Just be yourself! I'll admit that my likes and dislikes have shifted since we got married, but that's expected. When you live with someone, you're gonna start to like what they like, but I'm certainly not afraid to proclaim what I want to do or that I know way more about a certain person or movie than the average person knows.
Now I throw parties to watch our nerdy TV shows. I make Halloween and movie premier costumes. And I listen to sound tracks of musicals I've never seen. I am not ashamed in the slightest.

What is your movie 'type'? Are you a nerd (or a wannabe nerd) too?
Thanks for reading!
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Inspiration of the Month: Canon Callender

A few weeks ago, a very good friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. He was only 32. He drowned in a lake while swimming out to meet up with friends. He was and still is an inspiration to me.
Canon was a police officer. He put his life on the line fairly often to insure the safety and welfare of strangers. He served and he served well.

Canon always had a smile on his face. Always! He could seriously take any situation and twist it into a positive thing. He never dwelled on the negative things in life. It wasn't worth it. He thought everything and everyone had worth and he made sure you knew it.

Canon loved children. He was always chasing kids around the church building and teasing teenagers. He wanted to be a father so bad, but he never got to.

Canon always made sure we were all safe. He was just a big teddy bear, but for some reason, we always felt safer staying in a cabin in the mountains with all our friends if he was there too.

Canon was shy, but he eventually really came out of himself with his friends. He wasn't ashamed to admit that he loved Disney movies. Even the princesses. And he even started leading songs and prayers in front of the group.

Canon was a follower of Christ. He had a heart of service. He loved taking a trip to NYC to help the church out there and was supposed to go to Nicaragua on a medical mission trip this year. He studied the bible and wouldn't hesitate to call his brothers and sisters out if they needed it. But he did it in love and understanding.

Canon is certainly an inspiration to me. He was ready to go meet Jesus when he was taken and not everybody can say that. I am so grateful for that and the assurance that I will see him again one day.

Who inspires you this month?
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Letter to the World {July 2014}

Hi people! I hope you all had a great weekend. I had a wonderful one. We went to COSI and had a great time. After that, we spent Saturday evening in German Village ending with a play in the park. It was fantastic!

Let's move on to this month's letters to the world, shall we?
Dear Pearson,
You are so amazing! You are brilliant and I am so proud of you for getting the Cellular, Molecular, and Biochemical Sciences Program fellowship! Your brilliance truly baffles me sometimes. I am so lucky to call you my husband.

Dear College Football,
I'm ready for you! Can you hurry up and get here please? Go Dawgs!

Dear eShakti,
I am so excited to work with you for my blog! I cannot wait to get my dress. It's almost all I can think about! I check the mail like 3 times per day as if that will make it come faster!

Dear Germany,
Congratulations! You deserve that World Cup title. I am not a big soccer person, but I did enjoy following the World Cup even if I didn't get to watch many games. When I didn't see, I heard that you did awesome and I can't imagine how exciting that would be for the whole country.

Dear Lois Lowry,
You, my dear, are a genius! I loved The Giver last week. I read it in middle school, but I forgot how great it was. I can't wait to read some of your other stuff. I plan in reading Number the Stars soon and I am so excited!

Dear Work,
Oh boy. I'm working in the office this week and you are killing me. This is only day two. I had a pretty exhausting weekend already. Then flying here always tires me out. And now I've been staying up late chatting with the family and hanging out with friends and I have to get up earlier than usual to get ready and drive to work instead of walking to the office in my apartment. Anyway, all this to say I am exhausted and you are very demanding this week. Please take pity. Please.

Who would you write to this month? And what would you say?
Thanks for reading!
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Friday, July 18, 2014

A Week Worthy of a Friday Countdown

Well folks, I've had a pretty great week. But if you've read the blog at all this week than you already know that! So lets get on with the Friday countdown, shall we?
5 Things I've Loved
  1. My new Brew Station! Pearson gave it to me for our anniversary it it's pretty fantastic!
  2. The Giver. I re-read it this week because the movie comes out next month. I forgot how fantastic it was!
  3. My Sinful Colors nail polish. I got this bottle free from influenster and I absolutely love the color.
  4. My new Purple Mason Jar Tumbler. Pearson gave me this on our anniversary along with the brew station.
  5. These awesome pens. I've been using them to write in my planner and they're pretty great!
4 Articles/Blog Posts I've Loved
  1. This story of a dog's last day on earth (Buzzfeed) -Have some tissues ready!
  2. Susannah revealed the gender of her baby! (Simple Moments Stick) -Been waiting for this for a long time!
  3. Disney Conspiracy theories (Answers.com) -Some I've heard but some were surprising
  4. Amberly shared her answer to the baby question (A Prioritized Marriage) -I truly admire her bravery and honesty (this wasn't posted this week, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately)
3 4 Posts I Wrote (I just had to share all of them this week)
  1. Year 2 (Monday)
  2. An Anniversary for the Books (Tuesday)
  3. Wedding Wednesday - Tips for the Big Day (Wednesday)
  4. Total Social: My Favorite Things #FavTotalSocial (Thursday)
2 Things I'm Looking Forward To
  1. Girl's night tonight
  2. COSI tomorrow
1 Reason to Smile
  1. I'm leaving for Georgia on Sunday for my week in the office and I'm excited to spend time with friends and family!
How has your week been? 
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Total Social: My Favorite Things #FavTotalSocial

Today I am finally linking up with Helene and Sarah for their #TotalSocial linkup! Well, I shouldn't say finally because I have linked up with them before, just not with the blog. The great thing about the Total Social link up is that it is for all social media platforms! All you have to do is use the Total Social hashtag for that month. This month, the hastag is #FavTotalSocial and we're talking all about our favorites! So here are a few of mine...

Color: Purple!!!
Song: This really is a tough one... Maybe I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz. Or anything by Five Times August. Or almost anything from Wicked. Ugh I don't know!
Movie: A three-way tie between The Princess Bride, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (that's the original, mind you), and The Prestige.
Food: Anything Italian
Animal: Zebra
Drink: Diet coke with either cherry or lemon flavor
     To watch on TV: Football
     To watch in person: Baseball
     To play: Fastpitch Softball
Book: The Harry Potter series, of course.
School Subject: Math
Type of Music: Country or Show Tunes
Super Hero: Spiderman
Hobby: Blogging
Musical: Wicked
Flower: Gerber Daisy
Smell: New Books
TV Show: 
     Old: Full House
     New-er: Once Upon a Time
     Old-er: Julie Andrews
     New-er: Jennifer Lawrence
Actor: Hugh Jackman
Singer: A tie between Carrie Underwood and Idina Menzel
Blog Post: 25 Things Harry Potter Taught Me
Helene in Between
What are some of your all time favorites? Go link up with Sarah and Helene!
Thanks for reading!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Tips for the Big Day

It's Wednesday again and time for another Wedding Wednesday post! If you've missed them, here are all my #WeddingWednesday posts so far...
I feel like most brides' wedding days are stressful. Everybody's running around trying to take pictures, make last minute preparations and adjustments and making sure the event goes off without a hitch. This is so sad to me! You should enjoy your wedding day! I know I did, and today I'm gonna share some tips that helped make that possible.
  • Enjoy your last few days of being single! Create memories with your friends the week leading up to your wedding. I cherish those memories so much. Not that I don't hang out with my friends now that I am married, but it's just not the same, you know? Besides, I had a lot of friends come in from out of town for the wedding that I don't get to see very much, so I wanted to spend time with them! Also, having these moments to take my mind off of wedding planning really helped calm me down.
  • Create a schedule to give out beforehand. I made a schedule outlining the entire weekend and gave it to all my bridesmaids. This schedule included the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, bachelorette festivities (just the time, I didn't know what we were doing), bridal luncheon, getting our nails and hair done, and a photo schedule for the actual wedding day. You might even want to make one for the groomsmen and family members.
  • Make a list of must-have photos and give it to your photographer ahead of time. 
  • Drink lots of water both on your wedding day and the few days leading up to it. It is an exciting time and will be easy to forget to hydrate but the last thing you want is to be dehydrated on your wedding day. Especially if it is in the middle of a hot July in Georgia like mine was.
  • Don't put the dress on till you have to on your wedding day. Seriously that thing is probably hot and heavy. Besides, you don't want to get anything on it!
  • If you have family members who aren't able to make it to the wedding (like I did), find a way to live stream the ceremony to them and set it all up ahead of time. One great tool for this is DropcamRight now Dropcam is doing a #PreppinForTheBigDay campaign and they are looking for brides and newlyweds to share their wedding planning experiences and tips.
  • Do a first look and take 'couple' pictures before hand. I know some people say it is bad luck to see each other before the walk down the aisle, but we made the first look special and made a point not to see each other before then. We got married at 7:30 pm, so taking extra pictures after the ceremony just wasn't practical. I couldn't justify waiting till after when I had the whole day before the wedding and we could take our time and enjoy it.
  • Assign a job to each bridesmaid that she will be in charge of on the wedding day. I did this for a couple reasons, one being I could stop worrying about the things I assigned, and two being my bridesmaids felt important and didn't get bored. Some of the jobs I assigned include...
    1. Make sure you (the bride) drink plenty of water all day. As I mentioned earlier, it's easy to forget and you definitely don't want to get dehydrated on this day.
    2. Make sure you (the bride) eat. When I am nervous, I don't have an appetite at all, but you need your energy! Besides, there is so much going on it is easy to forget to eat as well.
    3. Get all your stuff from your dressing room to your car. Especially if you plan on leaving and going straight to the honeymoon without seeing anybody like we did. Having someone make sure your makeup and everything you used to get ready is in the car waiting when you leave will take a lot of that stress off of you.
    4. In charge of the getaway car decorations. I knew the groomsmen wanted our car decorated so I put a trustworthy bridesmaid in charge of overseeing it. Though, the car was still not as tasteful as I would like but that is another story.
    5. Keeping you (the bride) sane. I had someone whose sole job was to make me sit down, relax and take deep breaths. I picked someone who I knew wouldn't be annoying about it.
    6. Keeping up with the schedule and making sure everybody is where they need to be for pictures and whatnot.
    7. Pack a bridal survival kit (like the one from this pin on Pinterest) and be in charge of knowing where it is and getting it if needed. Fortunately, I really didn't need anything out of mine, but we had it in case I did.
  • Try to relax on your wedding day. After all, this is supposed to be the best day of your life, right? Enjoy it!
  • Going along with the above, focus on your husband-to-be. He is all that matters in the end anyway.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Face it, something is going to go wrong. You are trying to pull off this fantastic wedding that you have probably dreamed of your whole life. There are a lot of little details and natural law just says that every little thing can't be perfect. So don't worry if the music doesn't start at the exact moment or even if a bridesmaid trips down the aisle. It isn't the end of the world and most people won't even notice, let alone remember it years later.
  • And lastly, don't let your wedding planner completely run the show. If you want something done and she doesn't, don't cave. This is your day!
Did your wedding go smoothly? What tips would you add to my list?

This is the last post I have planned for my #WeddingWednesday series. If there's anything I've missed or something else you want to know that went on behind the scenes of our wedding, ask in the comments! I would be glad to answer and who knows, maybe I'll even bring the series back in the future if there is enough content.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

An Anniversary for the Books

In case you're wondering, we had a WONDERFUL anniversary!

Pearson picked up a gift for me on his way home yesterday and he could NOT wait to give it to me. I love how excited he gets about these things. I convinced him to wait till I finished work. I only had a couple more things to do and it was already after 5 so he could wait just a couple minutes. Finally, we exchanged gifts. I got him a Miami University polo shirt. I was really proud of that gift until I saw what he got me...
A Hamilton Beach Brew Station! Y'all this thing is awesome! I had mentioned that I wanted a stainless coffee maker because they are better. The coffee never tastes burned and stays hot for a long time etc. etc. Anyway, Pearson went to Target looking for one of these but they were all super expensive and he found this instead. He was so proud that he could get this and a nice coffee thermos for cheaper than the other one. What the brew station does is brews a 'pot' of coffee and keeps it warm in the machine for whatever number of hours you tell it to. When you want a cup, you hold it under the dispenser. I used it this morning and felt so fancy (you already know...). I LOVE it!

After exchanging gifts, we got ready for dinner (Pearson wore his new shirt). We went to Mitchell's Fish Market and it was delicious! We were dressed nice and had a wonderful dinner which almost never happens and guess how many pictures I took... That's right, zero. What? I was enjoying our anniversary without the distraction of my cell phone. But here's a picture of us from a few weeks ago for you to enjoy...
Photo of Couple on Patio
After dinner we went to Jeni's Splended Ice Cream for dessert and we got poured on getting back to our car, but it was totally worth it. We love Jeni's!

And now for the best part of the whole night... When we got home, Pearson checked his email and found out {drum roll please...} he won the Cellular, Molecular, and Biochemical Sciences Program fellowship that he applied for a couple weeks ago! This is a very competitive fellowship open to all 2nd and 3rd year grad students in all the life science programs! At Ohio State, that's 5 programs with probably 30 eligible students in each program. They pick 2 from OSU and my wonderful husband is one of them for this year!!! Oh I am so proud! It pays for full tuition and hefty stipend plus all kinds of other benefits he can put on his resume! He was beside himself and I don't blame him. I am still beaming! Though, of course I never doubted for a second that he would get it.

After we called our parents and he emailed the necessary professors to share the news, it was pretty late, so we played a game of Battleship and went to bed very happy!
Anniversary number 2 = great success! And the celebrating isn't over! We're using our anniversary as an excuse to visit COSI this weekend and I am so excited!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Year 2

Two years ago today, I married my best friend. It's hard to believe it's been two years. They have flown by.
Last year around our first anniversary, I blogged about the funniest moments, the hardest moments, and the unexpected moments of the first year.

Today I want to talk about year two. Year two was different than year one. Not particularly in a good way or bad way. I think it's safe to say that we are out of the honeymoon faze, so our marriage takes more work these days. But I after another year of marriage I feel like I know Pearson so much better. I've seen him deal with responsibilities such as taking care of a dog. I've seen him under stress and pressure with school. I've learned to love him in ways he understands. And I love him more and more every day.

So here's a little recap of year two: (It seems we did a lot more exciting things in the first year. Probably because there were a ton of weddings.)

Fun Events of Year Two:
  • New York Trip for our anniversary last year.
  • Both of our families came to visit. His in July and mine in October.
  • TSO Concert in Cleveland. 
  • Olympic kick off party. We got together with friends for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. We dressed as different countries and had our own Olympic games. (we were Canada if you couldn't tell).
  • Reds Game. We went to Cincinnati for a Reds game with a bunch of friends.
LEFT: NYC first anniversary trip & my family when they visited // MIDDLE: TSO Concert & us dressed as Canadians for the Olympics party // RIGHT: Reds game & us dressed as Shamy for Halloween (more on that below)
Funny Moments of Year Two:
  • We went to a Halloween party as Shamy aka Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory. It was a big hit and I think we did awesome on the costumes if I may say so myself.
  • April Fools Day- This year we didn't trick each other, we tricked out church group at a devo. We told them that Pearson was not doing well in school and decided to leave after getting a masters and that we would head back to Georgia after this summer. Their reactions were priceless! Also, I wrote a completely bogus currently post on April 1st. :)
  • We decided to drive through the night to get to Pearson's parents' house for Thanksgiving. Pip got sick in the car a couple times and when we got to their house, we locked both of our keys in the car. At the time it was horrible but looking back now we can laugh and know we will never willingly drive through the night again, we always give Pip Dramamine when we go on long trips, and we always check for our keys before we close the doors.
Hardest Moments of Year Two:
  • Getting used to a new dog. We got Pip in august of last year and it's been a little bit of an adjustment but totally worth it!
  • My traveling for work. In the second year of marriage, I started having to travel to Georgia for a week at a time every couple months to work in the office. It's never fun to leave your husband for an extended amount of time, but I am thankful for cell phones and Google hangouts.
  • The cold winter. Seriously. This winter was horrible. We didn't see the grass here in Ohio (because it was covered in snow) from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day. I almost never left the house. Especially on those days when it was -12°.
  • Pearson's work schedule. He has been super busy in the second year. In the fall he had a very time consuming TA position and in the Spring and Summer he has been getting ready for his Candidacy Exam. There are some weeks I hardly see him because he leaves before I get up and comes home at bed time. There have even been a couple nights where he hasn't come home. He stays all night in the lab. Not fun.
  • Our friend Canon passed away. Canon was a close friend to both of us who we left behind in Georgia upon moving here. He drowned a couple weeks ago and we went home for the funeral. It was tough. It still is and will continue to be. I am glad we have each other to lean on.
  • Becoming complacent. There have been times when we go days without doing anything exciting. We get off work and watch TV all night till time for bed. We only leave the apartment to take Pip outside. And we like it. We like it for a while anyway. Then we get fed up. Instead we should make an effort to keep the relationship and our married life exciting.
  • TSO Concert in Cleveland. We go see Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas concert every year. This tradition started the Christmas before we were married when we saw it in Little Rock while in school at Harding. Anyway, the first year we lived here, we went to Cincinnati and it was great, but last year we decided to try Cleveland. (They come to Columbus but it is always after Christmas, like the 28th or something). The drive to Cleveland should take a little over 2 hours so we left 3 hours before the show was to start. We hit a horrible ice storm and made it in about 4 hours missing a whole hour of the concert. We were both upset and shaken but we still enjoyed the rest of the concert. When we left, the storm had stopped and they already had the roads cleared so it was a much more enjoyable ride. We can kinda laugh at it now looking back, but at the time it was terrible.
  • Pip getting sick on car rides. Growing up my dogs traveled with us to Nana's house all the time (a 12 hour drive) and never got sick so I certainly was surprised the first time Pip threw up in the car. And the second and third time were surprises too because I thought the first might have been another issue. As I said earlier, now we know if we take him on a long trip, he has to have Dramamine.
Could you see a difference in your first and second years of marriage? What changed?
Thanks for reading!
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Thursday, July 10, 2014

6 Tips to Help Relieve Stress

I don't know about you, but I tend to stress out pretty easily. I don't know if I have a type-a personality or if it's my introvertedness or whatever else that causes me to need everything to go smoothly. I've been working on this lately and I think I have become more calm and laid back in general, but there are still sometimes when I get stressed out and need to take a breather. So I'm sharing with you 6 tips I use to relieve stress.
One // relax in the bath tub. I don't do this near often enough. I can never justify spending the time just sitting there in the tub. But I tell you, I can definitely tell a difference when I do!

Two // cuddle. It's a proven fact that cuddling relieves anxiety. Something about how hugging stimulates nerve endings to send calming messages to the brain. All I know is I always feel better after a snuggle session with Pearson or Pip.

Three // Get a massage. This one is probably a no brainer. Of course massaging your muscles will make you relax. I carry my stress in my shoulders so I'll often ask Pearson to rub my shoulders and I feel better almost instantly. You don't have to spend a ton on a professional massage.

Four // Go for a run or bike ride. Physical assertion always helps me to calm down. I like being outside by myself where I can think and pray and calm down all while pushing myself physically to make my muscles tired.

Five // read. Sometimes I need to just get my mind off of whatever is stressing me out. For me, the best way to do this is to pick up a novel and get lost in it. If I watch TV or a movie, I am usually still thinking about whatever is stressing me out, but when I read, I forget everything that's happening in the real world.

Six // music. I love listening to relaxing, classical style music while I work or study. It helps me to focus on the task at hand and not get too overwhelmed by it. I also love listening to music to help get my mind off of things. I have certain songs that I love to belt at the top of my lungs and just let everything out.

How do you relieve stress? Am I missing anything from my list?
Thanks for reading!


Twitter // Instagram
~What is something you would attempt to do if you knew you could not failGo play the lottery! I'll know for sure I won't fail at winning so the prize money will be allll mines, lol!
~What is something at the top of your bucket list? To travel the world! I would love to travel all throughout Europe, backpack through Brazil, and visit Africa to lend a helping hand.
~What songs would be included in a sound track of your life? 
Oh gosh! There are soooo many I can't even think to narrow them down. I listen to any and everything.

Go give Ashley some love.
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Music

It's Wednesday again and time for another Wedding Wednesday post! If you've missed them, here are all my #WeddingWednesday posts so far...
Music has always been a very important part of my life. I have been a huge fan of musicals since I was a kid. I sang in the school chorus all through middle school and high school. I have always loved singing and harmonizing with the saints at church services or any time we get together. I have always been a big fan of Country music but I love plenty of other genres too. It just depends on what I am in the mood for.

Basically I am telling you all this to say that music is very important to me and was one of the most important things about my wedding. I had been planning on having few songs in my wedding since I was like 8 or 10 years old. So I think this part of the planning probably actually took the most time and effort. I was basically thinking about it 24/7 and always jotting things down. I had a list a mile long that I had to somehow narrow down to like 1/4 the size and it was not fun. But I am so proud of my final list!

For the prelude I wanted a good variety of Country and other genres and I wanted mostly slow and mellow songs for people to come in and find their seats. I thought about listing them all here but I decided to just put a Spotify player at the bottom (because of course I still have a play list of these). So the ones in the prelude start with I Love You This Big by Scotty McCreery and end with You Had Me From Hello by Kenny Chestney.

The ceremony consisted of the following:
~Processional of grandparents and parents: Mama's Song by Carrie Underwood (I knew I would have this one from the first time I heard it)
~Processional of bridal party: I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz
~Processional of bride: Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (I decided to go traditional after trying to decide for quite some time)
~Song Pearson and I sang in the ceremony: Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillatt (I loved this song since I first heard it but I never would have dreamed we'd be singing ourselves. But we did!)
~Recessional: This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole (I loved having an up-beat, fun song to dance up the aisle to after the most exciting event in my life)

The rest on the list were postlude. I wanted all of these to be up beat and exciting as the guests headed out of the auditorium and to the reception hall.

I made 4 different, well labeled CDs using iTunes to give to the sound guy (thanks Mr. Charlie!) at the church building. One had the prelude songs, one the ceremony songs (this one had instructions), and one had the postlude songs. The last CD had all the music on it (except the Bridal March) to be played on a loop at the reception.
My Advice: First of all, know your audience. I made sure not to have any inappropriate songs. Not that I would have wanted anything too bad, but I triple checked to make sure there was no foul language or any kind of innuendos that would give people the wrong idea about us. Also, if you have a sound guy like me, be very organized and straightforward with what you want. Actually, be organized and straightforward no matter with live singers or however your music will be played.

Was music an important part of your day? Did you spend as much time on it as I did? What were some of your favorite songs in your wedding? Or which ones do you love from my wedding?
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Weekend in Numbers {4th of July Edition}

My 4th of July weekend was so great I had to re-cap on the blog. So I thought I'd do another "weekend in numbers" post because the first one I wrote was so fun. Enjoy!
  • 20 - minutes of fireworks watched on Thursday night at Red, White, and Boom
  • 2.5 - hours spent on the bus going downtown and back for Red, White, and Boom
  • 15 - approximately the number of people waiting to be seated at Steak-n-Shake at midnight after Red, White, and Boom
  • 0 - plans we had for the actual 4th of July
  • 2 - Merlin episodes watched on the 4th of July. Very patriotic, right?
  • 8 - stars painted on each of my big toes
  • 4.5 - hours spent in the car going to and from Cincinnati on Saturday for the "Great American Ball Party"
  • 10 - pounds of meat consumed at the "Great American Ball Party"
  • 1 - run scored in the Cincinnati Reds game we attended as part of the "Great American Ball Party"
  • 0.25 - ounces of Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration used on the sunburn I acquired at the game. #EscapeWithHT
  • 91 - minutes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail watched on Sunday afternoon. Again, very patriotic...
  • 3 - hours spent talking at dinner with girlfriends Sunday night while the boys saw Transformers
How was your 4th of July weekend?
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Conscious Efforts of Love - Marriage & Relationship Goals

Both mine and Pearson's primary Love language is physical touch. That means it should be easy for each of us to show love to each other, right? Eh, not so much. I've noticed lately that we haven't been utilizing this language as much as we used to. In fact, the other day Pearson asked me "Why do you always pull away from me?" All he was doing was rubbing my back. I didn't even realize I pulled away. I do it because I'm busy or thinking about something and can't be bothered at the time. How backwards is that? My husband should be my number one. Loving him and letting him show love to me should be at the top of my to-do list. Nothing involving him or our marriage should just come when there's time or after all the chores are done.
So that's my goal this month; making our marriage a top priority again. We are well out of the honeymoon phase by now and we are both really busy and have a lot of things on our minds. It is past time to start making a conscious effort to love each other. In July (our anniversary month) I am going to be intentional about loving Pearson. Not just with physical touch but in every way I can. I will continue the weekly date nights from last month, I will spend time in quality conversation with him every night, we will celebrate our anniversary in a very intentional and romantic way (not sure how yet), and I will not pull away from his touch.

What are your goals for your relationship this month? Be sure to link up with Amberly!
Thanks for reading!
 Marriage & Relationship Goals
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday's Favorite F Word: Freedom

Freedom. That's kind of a loaded word. It means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me it means I am allowed by my government to practice whatever religion I want. It means the government can't tell me how to live my life. It means I can say or write about whatever I want and post it on the internet. It means I can start my own business and charge whatever I want for my goods. It means I can work and make money and use that money on whatever I please.
But freedom can mean so many other things. It means traveling over seas, not for vacation, not to see family, but to fight against other people. It means to watch people die in the name of our country. It means to put yourself in harms way and be trained to sacrifice yourself if it's needed.
To other's, like my good friend Canon who passed away last week, it means to protect other citizens. I never thought much about police officers and firefighters serving our country. Yes they are heroes and I knew that. But in my mind the were never even on the same playing field as soldiers until I went to Canon's funeral. And I know they are not the same at all, but cops put their lives on the line almost daily to protect the citizens of this country just like military men and women do.

If you are a police officer, fire fighter, or soldier, thank you! It's because of you, we are free.

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July weekend celebrating our country and it's freedoms! Don't forget to be thankful you live here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And never forget the sacrifices of those who have served.
The Best F Words
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Reception Decor

It's Wednesday again and time for another Wedding Wednesday post! If you've missed them, here are all my #WeddingWednesday posts so far...
Really I guess this post should say "Wedding Thursday." Sorry it's a day late. I've had a lot on my mind lately and haven't wanted or had time to blog. Anyway, Today I wanted to share my reception decorations with you. I LOVED everything about my reception. 

I loved the Christmas lights and tulle hanging from the ceiling. We borrowed some lights from friends and bought some on sale after Christmas. In this picture you can also see some of the center pieces. On some tables I had candelabras and on others I had tall flower arrangements. Around the table I had big diamonds and pictures of me and Pearson. I borrowed the beautiful table cloths from a friend who had gotten married the year before me.
You can sort of see the two different center pieces better below. 
As we left to the getaway car, people blew bubbles and rang bells so we had the bells sitting in a basket. On the inside of the card was a note thinking everyone for coming.
Below is the candy table which I've talked about briefly before. There were bags that guests could take and fill up with whatever candy they wanted to eat there or take home. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole reception. I thought the table was set up beautifully.
I had an "arch" in the entry way where we all danced into the reception hall. We bought these stars on sale after Christmas as well. Yes they are Christmas ornaments. I think they just add a little flare.
Below is a table full of pictures of us for people to look at and they could write notes to us on paper that we put in a photo album later.
The next few pictures show how some of the food was set up. Since I bought my own arch for our ceremony, I used the one that the church usually rents out for my cake table. I thought everything was put on display so beautifully and I scarcely had anything to do with it.
I absolutely loved everything about it. It was better than I ever dreamed. The sad thing is, I didn't even hardly see any of it during the reception. I had to get my pictures back to see just how wonderful everything was.

My Advice: As I've said before, let people help you. I had an idea of what I wanted in my mind and I told them, but they took that and ran with it. I had people helping that are so much more talented at this stuff than I am and it showed. Also, borrow as much as possible. If you're like me, you have a lot of friends getting married around the same time as you, share the goods!

Were you happy with the way your reception turned out? Did you do it all yourself or did you have help?
Thanks for reading!
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