Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Superbowl Madness is Upon Us

This coming weekend marks the one and only weekend out of the whole year that warrants me watching a football game in its entirety on television.

It does not happen often. I tend to avoid television football altogether and if it must be on, I flip back and forth with some of my favorite shows.

My Fair Wedding, anyone?



I used to work in sports, so you'd think I'd enjoy them. And I do. In person. Something about sports on television is just not that appealing to me. But that's another post.

The superbowl however, is a giant unto itself. The fanfare, the spectacle of it all, it’s just amazing. And yes, the football is good too. But lets be honest, I watch it for the ads.

I was an advertising major in college, so I like to think I can recognize the good from the bad, and I have a great time trying to do so. But regardless, I can appreciate the creativity that goes into these ads. Most years, I am left clearly impressed. Last year, surprisingly, didn’t blow me away. But I did love this little gem from Volkswagen…



…and I’m beyond excited to see what they do this year, particularly after this.



This week, I will be working on my Super Bowl Wardrobe, easy peasy since both teams have the same colors. Even though neither is my team (and the 49’ers were so close!) I’m rooting for the Pats. Lesser of two evils in my mind.

Beyond that, I’ve been pinning some fun superbowl ideas, like these.






^Find it here

^Find it here

The bestie is throwing a superbowl party this weekend, so I don’t want to disappoint. Pictures will follow, I promise.

What are your superbowl plans? Anything Exciting?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Confesh Sesh

Confession #1 - I really need to work on my weekend blogging skills. I've been MIA the past couple of days, and it is so not ok. But, in my defense, I was faced with a pretty daunting task this weekend, which of course leads me to...

Confession #2 - This is what my house looked like when I got home from work on Friday night.





Oh, how I wish I could tell you this is a joke. But it's not. Busy weeks = no time for laundry. And that box in the second picture. All of that stuff used to be in the trunk of my car.

Please, please, please, tell me I'm not the only one who lets it get this bad.

Needless to say, a good part of my weekend was spent taking care of this mess. And we got it done. Yay! But that leads me to

Confession #3 - I suck at taking pictures. I say this because I didn't take any after-shots of my lovely clean, living room. Which is awful, because now how are you supposed to believe I actually took control of the above situation? Well, I suppose you'll just have to have a little faith in me ;)

What I did take pictures of though, are my new table settings. Back in December, my Grandma bought me these gorgeous placemats and matching napkins for my Bridal Shower. Then, last weekend, my Aunt and Cousin sent me the dishes I had registered for.

Ready to see them all together? Because let me tell you, this is some beautiful stuff here.
The place setting by itself



and the whole table set...




I am beyond excited. I don't even want to eat off of them. But of course, I will. I like food too much.

Sorry for keeping you guys hanging the past couple of days. I've got some exciting things to share this week.... and I promise to take pictures of them :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Effortless Grace Takes Hours of Routine

I don't want to say too much leading into this post, because I want to let what follows below speak for itself. You'll see what I mean when you get there. But I will give you some background.

For the Orlando International Fringe Festival last year, the company I dance with, Emotions Dance, performed a show entitled "Excerpts," which included several pieces we had performed in previous shows that were now in our repertoire. Some of these pieces came from a show we performed called "Poetry in Motion," where we collaborated with local musicians and spoken word artists to put together a show that highlighted more than one art-form.

One of the spoken word artists that we had the honor of working with, and who rejoined us for the Fringe Festival was Curtis X Meyer. I was privileged enough to perform a solo alongside his performance of a poem called "Elegy for Les Paul."

In May of last year, Curtis wrote the poem below, entitled "Effortless Grace Takes Hours of Routine" and blew my mind. I joke that I feel like a Shakespearean muse, to be included in a poem so beautiful, but truthfully I've never felt so honored.

I strongly encourage you to google Curtis's work. You'll find him under Curtis X Meyer through any search medium (Google, Youtube, Twitter, etc.) And if you're in the Central Florida area and have the opportunity to see him perform, I highly recommend you go. I promise you, you will thank me :)

But, that's far more than enough of me talking. Find Curtis's poem below.

Effortless Grace Takes Hours of Routine

Copyright © 2011 By Curtis X Meyer

"For the women of Emotions Dance Company"

I have never seen the battlefield, young boys

made men in the face of certain death, so much dust

and testosterone; explosions echoing the drum in one’s jugular

born of impossible surges of adrenaline, charging

like Roman armies throughout one’s veins. But I have seen

dancers carry poise like a gun over their shoulder, women

who know how to turn posture into a weapon. Women,

who when they collapse look half-dead, soldiers

shaking post-traumatic – the part the audience doesn’t get

to see once they skip backstage. I have been

in this dance studio practicing for our production

in which I perform poems to a musical backdrop

as they twirl and gallop in front of me, offering

choreographed interpretation. Here at rehearsal

after completing another bit, the hands of Amanda and Dionne

grip the support bar like a life preserver, each panting

as if in labor about to give birth to a whole litter, arms and cheeks

red as the face of a man who’s just swam the length of the Atlantic

to dodge the flames of the shipwreck. Training without shoes,

Amanda’s feet look like a coalminer’s lungs. And I

can’t help but feel like a fraud, as I recite some trite words

and stanzas, struggle to memorize my cues to pause

so they can have their solos – tornadoing, standing

on one foot balancing on their heads and limbs families,

boyfriends, classes, and day jobs like rods supporting plates.

The first day I came in to rehearse with Stephanie, I saw

a black racer on the shores of a nearby lake lunge

at a resting leopard frog and miss. Hours later, I knew

what it was like to have a mouth unable to keep up

with speed and strength of legs the length of progress.

I told Scott part of me’s always wanted to pursue ballet

ever since my sister’s junior recital. When I said I’d prefer

to know its movements to breakdancing, explained

that through muscle control, all dance is a form

of pop n’ lock, he laughed as I fumbled a sloppy attempt

at a cross-legged plié. How could you not

admire the leaps of gazelles, the discipline

of statues? How can you warm yourself by fire and not

stand envious those who mirror its flickers, marvel in respect

of this temporary capsule full of flesh and fluid shifting, a body

pushed to its limits? How can you not stand in awe of a man

lifting a 200-pound woman over his head, held aloft by a single toe?

If you have never suffered for your art,

you have no idea what art is. When the doctors

told Stephanie she’d need months off to recover

from the car crash, I knew whatever pain

she was going through was mere annoyance

compared to the frustration of being unable

to take stage, the same way I’d go crazy

if someone told me to take half a year off

from writing. Ladies, when they say it looks easy,

say effortless grace takes hours of routine. When they ask

why you train in front of mirrors, tell them it’s because

they’re the only judges harsher than gravity. When they call you

frail and petite, spin around their minefields of criticism

like dolphins navigating columns of bubbles. Dare the wind

to try to catch you. For every bruise they can’t see beyond the borders

of your costume amassed fighting off barrooms of invisible ninjas

with your high-kicks, remember, every callus is necessary en route to

the final bow. They will call you timid, weak. You are nothing

if but warriors.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Our Love Story, Part II - The Proposal

Ah, the proposal.

Every girl dreams about her proposal for nearly as long as she dreams up her wedding. Ideas of what you want change obviously, but I've always said the same thing since I was a little girl. "I want it to mean something special to us, and I also want a really good story." When I was a kid, that story usually involved sky-diving (why, with my fear of heights, I have no idea?) I think I just thought it would make for an exciting tale.

Well, we didn't go skydiving, but I think Anthony did a pretty darn good job fulfilling both of these requirements, so I'm always excited to share.



It was New Year's Eve 2010. Anthony had planned our New Year's Eve dinner for us that evening at a little place called Pannullo's. It's one of our favorite places to go, and there is not one thing on the menu I don't love.

The thing is, I didn't want to go.

I had a feeling a proposal was imminent. I think when its that time in a relationship you start looking for it everywhere. But I was sure he wasn't proposing that evening. And Pannullo's was where I wanted to eat dinner on my proposal night. Being my logical self, and a little bit of a snoopy pest, I assumed I would see a ring within two weeks. I knew Anthony wouldn't want to go to Pannullo's twice in two weeks, which clearly meant he was taking me somewhere else to propose, and for whatever reason, I kept thinking if I could get him to back out of our Pannullo's reservation, he would be more inclined to take me back the night he actually proposed.

No lie, (and I am not proud of this little fact) I called my mom that day COMPLAINING about how we were going to Pannullo's that night and how disappointed I was that I wouldn't get my Pannullo's dinner proposal. She at the time knew two things:

1) My ideal proposal story, which I can't give away.

and

2) What Anthony was actually planning that night.

She told me to stop being such a brat and we hung up.

Eventually I got out of my bitter, not-being-proposed-to funk, got dressed and headed with Anthony for dinner.

We got to the restaurant, where the conversation over dinner went something like this.

Me: "You sure you don't want to propose to me tonight. This would be perfect. You know this is my favorite restaurant, right? OUR restaurant??"

Anthony: "Stephanie, you know I don't have the money for a ring right now. I really wish I did, but I just can't propose yet."

Me (Looking Defeated): "Yeah I know... but really? Are you sure? Really? Really? REALLY?" (Read jokingly) 

Poor guy.

After dinner, we were supposed to go to Anthony's best friend's house to ring in the New Year, but we had some time to kill, so Anthony walked me down Park Ave. and to "Our Stage," a little stage in the middle of the park that he had danced with me on on our second date, and taken me back to for our one-year anniversary.

Here's where it starts getting good ya'll so buckle your seat-belts. 

He helped me onto the stage and started dancing with me, just like we had on our second date. Then he pulled out my phone, saying we needed music to dance to, he didn't like the quiet.

On comes "Marry Me" by Train, and on came the tingles. We danced for a little, he sang to me a little, then told me to stand back while he did a little solo to the song. I let go of him, watched him do his best attempt at a spin, then saw him drop to one knee.

Heart palpitations and tears begin here.

I don't really remember saying yes, but he told me I actually managed to get the word out. I was in awe, of my man, of my ring (hello new bling), and of the fact that he literally knew my ideal proposal to the T. Apparently, he told my mom the plan before the actual night and she had to stop herself from laughing because I had told her months before that if he ever proposed that's how I wanted to do it. It amazes me how well he knows me.

Meanwhile, Anthony had his best friend on standby around the corner, so he could snap some pictures of us after the proposal, so for your viewing pleasure, I present... Our Engagement Night.













Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wanna Leave a Legacy?

I clearly like to talk.

I enjoy sharing my stories with those I meet and love hearing the thousands of interesting stories I get to hear in return.

And something I’ve noticed as I continue to talk?

Everyone else likes to talk.

It is a common thread amongst all of society that we enjoy those moments where we get to share that little piece of ourselves with someone else. We get to make a connection with a stranger, a friend, a co-worker. We have the unique opportunity to create a moment that will not and cannot be duplicated, however insignificant it may seem.  But the truth is, we all like to talk, because we all like to be remembered.

When we share our story with someone else, we become a unique character in that person’s story as well. We are no longer individuals, but part of the greater thread of intertwining lives that is this earth, that is humanity. And it is through our interactions with others, our unique relationships that we create and share, that we truly become significant and are truly able to take advantage of the great opportunity we have to share the greatest story of all. The one story that truly defines us.

The story of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When you think about the legacy you want to leave, what does it involve? Does it center around some great career goal? Do you envision a long line of ancestors? Truly, these are all significant achievements and can all accumulate to become a part of our living legacy. But what about the bigger picture? When you leave this world, will it ultimately be better than when you entered it because you were here?

So often, when I talk with other Christians, I find many times focus is on the things we aren’t doing as somehow qualifying us as “good enough” to be in the presence of Christ. You’re not cheating, you’re not lying, you’re not stealing, you aren’t disobeying the laws, both heavenly and otherwise, and that somehow defines you as a child of God. I wholeheartedly believe that this perspective is not even half of the bigger picture.

Let me begin with an example. When you are asked what you do for a living, do you begin with a long list of the things you don’t? If I, let's say as a writer, answered that question by saying that I am not a carpenter, I am not an electrician, and I am not an actress, would you feel satisified by my response? I wouldn’t think so. You would continue to ask what title I use to define my work self until I gave a definitive answer of who I am and what I do.

By the same token, while we do not define ourselves in Christ by what job title we hold, I do believe we are defined by what we do.  If I were to answer how I worship and glorify the Lord each and every day, I do not believe a list of things I do not do would suffice. It is in the ways I approach my everyday tasks that I worship the Lord. It is in the way I approach those around me that I glorify His name. It is in my constant endeavour to shine His light in the world that I define myself.

With that said,I would like to propose a challenge. Look at the legacy you are leaving. Look at how you are defining yourself each and every day in the little things you do. Keep focusing on your goals, they challenge you, and keep life interesting and fun.

But sometimes, just once in a while, breathe, and realize what’s really important in your story. This will help you write it.

I’ll be working on this too.

My Inspiration:


Monday, January 23, 2012

What a Weekend!

Reflecting on my five favorite things from this past weekend...

5) Sleepy Time - Remember on Friday when I said I would be sleeping in ridiculous amounts this weekend? We’re talking 30 something hours in two days people. That’s both impressive and obnoxious at the same time.



4) Betty White’s 90th Birthday Party Special – When I am 90 years old, I want to be wearing gorgeous dresses like this,



have a big gala to celebrate, and have as many friends still around as Betty White (note to my bridesmaids – I’ve added that to your to-do list. You have to stick around as long as I do so start taking your vitamins friends, we’re in for a long, fun ride.)

3) Hanging out with Some Awesome Kids -  Anthony had to work on Saturday so while he and a coworker of his set to put up some built-in wall units, I got to take his pal's kids, aged 4 and 6, to the park.





They were so well behaved, and beyond fun, and gave me little gems like this:

- "Mrs. Anthony (after I told them Anthony was going to be my husband,) where is the hope button on your radio?" (If you live in Central Florida and listen to z88.3, you'll get this)

- "So if you're a grown-up why aren't you a mom?"

- 6 yr old: "So, you like Anthony?"

Me: "No, I love him."

Both kids: *gasp* Giggle Giggle Giggle

I had such an amazing time!!

2) Shopping with the Best Friend – What would I do without a little girl-time to keep me sane? When the bestie called and said she was in need of a little closet sprucing in the form of new blazers, you have to know what my answer would be. I love this girl, and my, does she look fabulous in her new blazers.



1) Reconnecting with myself and my man – I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately, with work and the wedding especially, and at the same time have been beating myself for feeling that way. So my “solution” has been to keep pushing and pushing and frantically trying to get things done. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind, that everything else becomes non-priority, even when it should be at the top of your list. Excessive sleep mixed with an intentionally open weekend, meant I had a chance to reconnect with the guy I get to marry so soon (89 days guys) and remember why I love him so much (and remind him why he loves me too.) It. Was. Wonderful. I love this guy so much! He knows me far too well and still loves me for it. I am a lucky girl!

Friday, January 20, 2012

TGIF

Thank Goodness it’s Friday because I am exhausted. It has been a long, busy, overwhelming, stressful week full of work and wedding planning and cars being totaled, and brakes failing, and me just wanting my goals to happen faster (COME ON WEDDING, HOUSE, and PUPPY)

Oh, the joys of being a Type A personality!

So, forgive me if I am absent this weekend. I have very big plans that involve me, my oh-so-comfy bed, lots of pillows and a good friend of mine I like to call the sandman. Sleep is calling my name and I can tell you we certainly need to be reacquainted.

In other news, the Youth America Grand Prix regionals are coming to Florida this weekend. For those of you who aren’t in the ballet world, the Youth America Grand Prix is one of the top premiere ballet competitions in the world, and one of my favorite experiences as a dancer growing up.

Here I am competing with a variation from Paquita in the 2006 NYC Finals


^ Pardon the fact that I’m in the middle of moving and my legs aren’t as straight as they should be.
*Also pardon my creepy pointer finger, my worst  ballet bad habit.

I remember being so intimidated and so excited and so ready to take on the big competition. The emotions involved in this competition are hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. This is a competition that can make or break a career. Every big company has a representative there, so you will be seen.

They’ve captured those feelings in a new documentary, called ‘First Position’

Watch the trailer below.



I cannot wait for this movie to come out. To relive those experiences. But in the meantime, good luck to everyone competing this weekend. Live in the moment. Live on that stage. And let your love and passion for ballet shine through your movement.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Our Story, Part I

Yay for new features! From now until April 22nd, aka the day I get to marry the love of my life, I will feature a wedding themed post every Wednesday. Before I get too deep into details, however, I thought I should start at the beginning. Give you a little background on our love story.

Besides, who doesn't want to hear more about this cutie??



Anyways, the story begins in January of 2009. A friend of mine was hosting a birthday party for her then boyfriend and had invited me to join in the festivities. I wasn't sure how many people I would really know, it was primarily going to be his friends, but I figured I would go to make the gender ratio a little less lopsided.

It was there that I met Anthony. Apparently, he and the birthday boy had played ball together in High School. I made the first move, and the second, and the third... but it's ok, it was absolutely worth it :)

We talked for a while that night, about our goals and our dreams, you know the substantial stuff you always talk about at parties. ;) But our conversation really was one of the best I had had with a guy I had just met.

As I was leaving, I offered my number, and here's the clincher to the story. Anthony asked me if he should put it in his phone as anything special. My response?

"Yeah, put it in there as Stephalicious."

You can't make this stuff up.

That should have been his clue right there that I was not your average girl. That would have scared a good 90% of the sane male population off. But it worked for me, and I suppose it must've worked for him too.

A couple of weeks later we had our first date, where we discovered that we went to the same elementary school, that we literally lived around the corner from each other when we were 9 and 10 years old, respectively, and that I am a terrible, terrible, bowler.

I bowled an 8. Not possible, you say? Oh, but it is. Clue number two for him. But he stuck around, long enough for us to fall in love. Long enough for us to realize that we wanted to grow old together. Long enough for him to decide to propose. But that's another story.

Look for Part II next week. Until then, how about some of our first pictures together?







Sunday, January 15, 2012

Responding to A Call

What an amazing weekend!

And it's not even over yet! I have the day off work tomorrow for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but that will probably be primarily spent cleaning house. My apartment is so messy right now, I can't stand it. But then again, for some reason, the only area of my life that my OCD perfectionist tendencies do not extend to is housework. Strange... ;)

Anyways, yesterday was a pretty uneventful lazy Saturday. Though I did have an amazing dinner with the hubs-to-be. Today was almost equally uneventful, but starting the day off with a powerful worship service always sets everything in a different perspective.

Something that's been on my heart recently is my tithing. As silly as this may sound, tithing is one of the biggest struggles I face in my faith walk. I tend to budget down to the last penny, and when I'm planning a wedding, and wanting to buy a house in the next year, and have bills to pay, pulling out that ten percent is always so hard for me. Shamefully, I always seem to find some excuse.

I talked about this with Anthony today, and he's been feeling the same. So, we are committed to making this a powerful year for us. We are really trying to respond to the call, and are making every effort to go above and beyond what the Lord is asking of us. Part of my plan in kicking this off  is to cross off one thing that's on my 27 before 27 list.

Write a $1000 check to the church.

Now, $1,000 is not 10% of what I have in my bank account at any given time. It's certainly much more than that, in fact. But for some reason, I feel the need to do this. So, sometime within this year, I will accumulate that amount and will give it.

I have to admit, I am very hesitant to post this, because a verse that has always stood out to me from the Bible is in Matthew 6: 1-4.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I think we see a lot of this in today's society. Good deeds done for individual reward and glory, and I am cautious to step into that realm. My purpose in sharing this giving goal with you, is not to say look at me and what I am trying to do, but rather to highlight a struggle that has been placed on my heart, as I'm sure that I can't be the only person to face it.

Beyond that, Jesus also called us in Matthew 28:19-20 to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Wherein lies my biggest struggle, something I have faced my whole life as a Christian. Balancing living a holy life without drawing attention to myself, but still drawing attention to Jesus. Leading someone to the word with my testimony, without making myself the example. Jesus is the only example.

I am imperfect, and therefore any individual attempt to lead people to righteousness will always fail. But directing someone's gaze upward, to the source of salvation, assuming they have an open heart to receive it, will allow God to show them his perfect ways.

God has been faithful to me in my life and I am trying my best to respond. I have faith that through his words, I will reach whomever I need to. I have faith that his call is to serve a greater purpose. I have faith that he will use his church to do far more with my money than I can. And I have faith that these words are not for me, but for him.

Have you ever felt that struggle in your own life?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kobe on a Budget

Who doesn't love Kobe Steakhouse?

Or just hibachi food in general?

I certainly do. In fact, I went to Kobe on my birthday back in November.



The only problem with Kobe is that it is not the cheapest restaurant on the planet. And for a bride-on-a-budget like myself, or really anyone on a budget, which is most of us, it's just not possible all the time.

I've been craving Kobe lately, and in particular their white sauce. Then today, I stumbled upon these beauties while grocery shopping.



I've had Makoto's ginger dressing before and it is to die for. But I have never seen their white sauce before. I'm not even sure how long it's been available. With those right in front of me, I knew what I was making for dinner tonight.


^ American Salad with Mushrooms and Ginger Dressing - Teriyaki Sirloin, Stir-fry Veggies, and Fried Rice


I've never made steak before, I don't usually eat it, so this was stretch for me. And it was soooo worth it. I loved it, Anthony loved it, and the Makoto White Sauce, though it smells a little like Ranch at first, tastes absolutely delicious on top of it all.

The test though, is if we saved any money doing it our way.

The prices for Kobe aren't on-line so I couldn't do a very accurate check, but I know that when we go, we usually spend about 40 dollars plus tip. So, were looking at around $50 total for a night at Kobe.

Our version:

Salad: $2.69

Mushrooms: $1.99

Ginger Dressing: $2.99 

Sirloin: $4.63

Stiry Fry Veggies: $2.50

Bogo Uncle Ben's Fried Rice: $ .75

White Sauce: $ 3.99
Total: $19.54

So, not the cheapest meal I've ever made necessarily, but definitely cheaper than going out. Beyond that, we have half a bottle left of both the white sauce and the ginger dressing, as well as half a bag of salad, and 3/4 of our mushrooms. Taking that into account, our meal cost us $13.70 or $6.85 a piece, not terrible for a date night at home and certainly much better than we would've done at Kobe.

I highly recommend the Makoto sauces to anyone who hasn't tried them. They are absolutely delicious!

In my grocery store, they can be found in the produce section. I think it would be similar everywhere.

What are your favorite restaurant copy-cat meals to make at home?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meeting Jesus Where You Are

You know those mornings where you just meet the devil at the door? The weight of him trying to push you down is so heavy, that you feel the pressure to break?

That was my morning. For no real reason at all. Just life’s little stressors getting to me, and a nagging voice inside my head saying “You’re not good enough. You can’t reach your goals. You’re just not capable. You’re not this, you’re not that, you’re just not!”

I got in my car this morning, knowing I needed guidance, knowing I need to seek God, but God always knows how to meet you where you are.

Stumbling around Facebook last night, I noticed a youtube video that seems to be popping up everywhere. A good amount of my friends re-posted, my boss sent it to me. Everyone has seen this thing. The title?

“Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus – Spoken Word”

I have to be honest, I was a little concerned when I saw that title. I hold dear to my beliefs and know there are many out there who attack that faith, and also know that sometimes even the most sincere-hearted attempts to speak truth, can be blown by one wrong word that allows the skeptics to poke holes in your testimony. So, with something gaining so much popularity, I was just praying that this video was done well.

I didn’t have a chance to watch it last night, and so at a red-light (no you-tubing and driving please,) I hooked my phone into my auxiliary cable in my car (I know, I know, just one day after I defiantly argued for the necessity of CD players…) and played the video through my speakers.

Here it is:



This guy speaks the truth, and some-times it doesn’t matter how many times you have heard it, the Word of God just hits you like a ton of bricks, and you are humbled and on your knees before him.

That was my experience with this video. I cried in my car, I broke down before God and worshipped him. It’s amazing the power He can bring to even a morning commute.

It is so humbling to know that my God forgives my imperfections, and in fact says to me, “No you ARE perfect, because you are my creation.”

I don’t have to be “good enough” because He is beyond my portion and will never fail me.

I don’t have to be “on” all the time. I don’t have to meet my standard of perfection. Because the truth is, I will stumble and I will fall down, and I will never be good enough for myself. I face my own limitations, held by my weakness, but am free in all of the Lord’s perfection.

I glorify the Lord today for His Word and His provision and am humbled by His grace.

II Corinthians 12:9 NIV
" But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CD Players only Appeal to "Older Motorists"?

Did anybody else hear the news this morning that automakers are leaning towards removing CD players from new cars? Read the article here.

Apparently, they only appeal to "older motorists."

Well, I am 22 and I love my CD player. In fact, when I bought my car last April, the fact that it had a six disc changer made it all the more appealing.

I get it, MP3 players are THE thing right now. And don't get me wrong, I definitely have my days where Pandora streaming through my phone and into my car stereo is exactly what I need. I've discovered a ton of great new artists that way. But, there is something about being able to choose my songs, being able to flip through my CD tracks that just makes me happy. There is something about finding a mix CD from 8th grade that just fills you with a joyful nostalgia that Pandora just can't replace. Sorry.

In defiance of this news this morning, I went and found the oldest mix CD's I could find and jammed out on my way to work. Gems like 'Mambo #5' and (don't judge me) 'Aaron's Party' filled my stereo. I clearly also had a penchant for Alanis Morrisette, Christina Aguilera, and anything that resonated with broadway or musical theater undertones in middle school.

Old Picture (Back in my VW Beetle Days). It just happens to sum up how I felt jamming to my music this morning :)

Considering I just recently bought my car, I won't have to worry about this any-time soon, so that's a plus, but I want your opinions.

How do you feel about CD Players going the way of the VHS tape?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Things I Love: Kindle Fire!

As I mentioned in a previous post, Anthony got me a kindle fire for Christmas!!!



It is my new obsession. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this thing. I have to be honest, I was hesitant to jump on the e-reader bandwagon to begin with. I love love love to read, and at most times have 3-5 books being lugged around in my purse, so the I knew a kindle would be a nice respite from that. But I was concerned about me actually enjoying to read it.

My fears have been calmed however, with the arrival of this wonderful little tablet.

#1) The screen picture quality is amazing, so I'm not straining to read like I thought I might be.

#2) And this is semi-embarassing. I absolutely adore the fact that the kindle tells me the percentage of how far along I am in the book. The OCD side of me, and there is a decently large OCD side of me, loves keeping track of that percentage, even more than I enjoy flipping pages.

#3) It saves my page for me. Nuff said.

Now as much as I would loooove to say I use my kindle strictly for furthering my intellect through the written word, let's be honest. The first two things I did when I opened my fun new toy?

I downloaded Angry Birds...



and I downloaded Words With Friends..



and now I am addicted to both, and spend way too much time playing both of them.

Currently Reading:

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins



Waiting for me in my library:

The Witness by Dee Henderson

Falling Star by Diana Dempsey

The Bad Mother by Nancy Rommelmann

Sparks Fly by Kevin Lucy

Suggestions? Fellow Kindle Owners, got any favorite apps I should try, books I should read, etc.? I'm seriously loving this thing!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The List

I don't know why I wanted so bad to do this today. I suppose I've been wanting to make one of these for a while, but today just seemed the day to do it.

I've seen a lot of these lists out there, but primarily got the idea here... http://www.30before30project.com/

I loved the idea. We all have those things that we really want to do, but somehow get pushed on the back burner with the realities of life. When you write 'em down, and then share them, those ideas become more real, and you become more accountable to them.

Rather than a 30 before 30, I opted for a 27 before 27. Why?

1) I'm 22 now, which gives me 5 years to complete the list. 8 years just felt like I wasn't challenging myself enough.

2) I'm aiming for #27 to happen right around the time I hit 27, so the end of the list coinciding with the deadline just seemed like a good fit.

3) I will be 27 when my ten year high school reunion rolls around. Who doesn't want a list of fun stories to share with old friends?

With all that being said, here's my list...

  1. Write a Book and have it published

  2. Take a Spontaneous Out of Country Trip

  3. See the Grand Canyon

  4. See the Meditteranean Sea

  5. Start my own business

  6. Help build a house with Habitat for Humanity

  7. Own and decorate my own blog-worthy home

  8. Pay off all non-mortgage debt (I don’t have a mortgage yet, but plan to soon)

  9. Read the Bible in its entirety

  10.  Earn a Graphic Design degree

  11.  Take a girls only road trip

  12.  Learn to paddleboard

  13.  Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome

  14.  Lead someone to Christ

  15. Buy a Pro camera, and take a photography class

  16. Open a retirement account

  17.  Mentor Someone

  18.  Take Anthony to a Broadway Show

  19.  Take a spa day (or weekend!)

  20. Make a dream come true for another person

  21.  Have six –figures in savings

  22.  Be in a magazine

  23.  Make a Snow Angel

  24. Write a cookbook with Anthony

  25. Grow a garden

  26.  Write a $1000 check to the church

  27.  Get Pregnant

Anybody else out there have a list? What are some things you've been dying to do?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Veilzilla

You know that moment when you realize you are acting completely opposite of the way you believe is an acceptable way of acting?

Or has that only happened to me?

Today was one of those days.

I've been pretty good about being non-bridezilla throughout the last year of my engagement. I've taken everything as it's come, found compromises along the way, and have been pretty laid-back about every decision we've made. The only thing that really matters to me is that I get to marry Anthony at the end of the day so no snag has seemed that big.

And then today happened. The last piece of my wedding ensemble that I needed to pull the whole look together was the veil. And according to the on-line tracker this morning, it was waiting for me in my mailbox. I was so excited and ran to my mailbox the minute I got home from church, pulled the packaging apart, and pulled out my veil...

What I ordered should have looked something like this...



Not too poofy at the top, plain, simple, lays flat. I don't want to put a picture of the exact veil, because I still don't want to give anything away.

What I got looked more like this...



I tried so hard not to be upset, but for some reason, it just hit me the wrong way. I cried, I started second guessing everything, I turned into a veilzilla. And my poor poor fiancé had to deal with me. And my poor mother got a crying daughter on the phone. I was awful.

Luckily, I didn't spend too much money on the veil (you get what you pay for I suppose). And luckily, I have a nana who can make about anything and is going to make me a veil that is exactly how I want it. But unfortunately, I learned that there is a small bridezilla inside of me. Hopefully I never meet her again. Compared to what you see on t.v., I was still an angel. At least I've never been that bad. Let's be honest, if I were that bad, Anthony wouldn't be marrying me, and my friends would not be my friends. I would probably be embarrassed to be seen with me.

Now that that's done and over with, I hopefully won't have any more moments like that. Even I can't handle it.

For all of you who have tied the knot, or are tying the knot now, did you have any moments that made you feel totally ridiculous? What was it for you?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Puppy Fever

It's official. I'm done for. I have the fever.

PUPPY FEVER!!!

Everyone around me is catching baby fever, and that's all well and good, but I am not ready for that yet. What I want more than anything right now is to be the mommy of a little fur-baby and I am ready for it NOW!

Anthony and I went to our local puppy store today and met the cutest little guys. From some feisty bull-dogs to a beagle that I almost kidnapped (dog-napped?), I was already starting to fall. Those just weren't the breeds we were looking for, and we hadn't gone in with a full intention to buy.

After dinner tonight, we started looking on Orlando rescue sites, most of which use PetFinder to showcase their available dogs. As a side note, I am all about adopting from a rescue rather than buying from a breeder, though I definitely want a puppy as opposed to an adult. There is something about training and raising a dog that just feels like you're creating a bond. (Plus it'll give me the opportunity to see if Anthony is as good at training as he says he is ;) )

Some of our favorites...







And then we found him. The puppy I want to be mine. He is perfect. I am in love.



See even more of him Here.

This dog is exactly what we've been looking for, and even though we have always said we were going to wait until after the wedding, my heart is so torn now.    Ah, Paddington with your adorable puppy face... why do you do this to me?

I'm not 100% sure if it's the right time to adopt, though I know we both have the hearts to take care of a puppy. But I sure want to look into it.

For all you puppy owners out there, when did you know you had found the one? What are your suggestions for puppy adoption?

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Lack of New Year's Resolve

I am an utter failure....

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to really put the time into this blog, and write on it everyday, starting with the coming of 2012.

Well, here we are my friends. It is January 6th and I am just now writing a post. That means I have already failed my New Year's resolution, less than one week into the new year. Who's with me in believing in second chances?

I realized I haven't posted on here in over three months, so I should do some updating before really going ham on this thing. (I swear, sometimes I am so gangster I can't even handle it)

Since we've last talked, I've had my Kentucky Derby Bridal Shower...









I've got Bridesmaids from out of town, so doing this 4 months early just made sense. And we all had so much fun!

We followed the Bridal Shower, with my amazing bachelorette party...



Can't get much better than that.

Besides all of those festivities, we've had Christmas (my wonderful Fiancé got me the brand new Kindle Fire. It's amazing!) and New Years, which brings me right back to where I started.

My apparent lack of New Year's resolve.

We're now three months out from the wedding, so I'm full swing in wedding planning mode. Expect lots of updates from me on that. That's another New Year's resolution of mine. To pull this wedding off with out a hitch.

The final resolution? I buy a house in 2012. It will happen.

I'm starting my "New Year" over, and my resolutions are becoming goals. It's never too late to make it happen, right? Wish me luck!

Anybody else out there drop their resolution already? What are your motivations?