A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Low Key Weekend

We had no plans this weekend, but loved every second of it. It was cool, with weather in the 50s yesterday and 60s today. On Friday, we both worked out (Brendan played basketball with friends, and I went to yoga), and then Brendan made us dinner. We watched some episodes of Parenthood, which is my new Netflix show since I finished The Tudors. 


Saturday, we went to the farmer's market, ate at Cracker Barrel, and visited the house to see the progress. We were good and went to the gym. It was my fifth workout of the week, so I was super proud of myself. Brendan made dinner again, earning a husband of the weekend award.


We snuggled with the cats and watched a really sad but good movie called What Maisie Knew. Both of us would recommend it.




Today was super low key. Brendan went to pick up a few things at the store, and I cooked dinner for us and made muffins for our breakfasts next week.


We cleaned up the kitchen and did some laundry. And I watched a lot of Parenthood. I feel a bit bad about not reading or writing in my spare time, but sometimes I just need a total down day, and that day was today.

In other news, September is almost half done. Where is the time going?!

We hope you're able to treasure every last minute of your weekend.

<3

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday, Friday, Friday!

Ohhhh yeah. It's Friday. Here's what I loved about my week:

In a quest to incorporate more protein into my diet, I made this Quinoa Breakfast Bake on Sunday night. All week, I simply microwaved a slice for 30-45 seconds, and I had an instant healthy and hot meal. Brendan wasn't as big of a fan (he found it a little bit bland), but I would definitely make the breakfast bake again. I love having breakfast ready to go. The less I have to think before coffee, the better. On Wednesday, I made a protein smoothie by combining 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup peanut butter, a squeeze of honey, and 1 frozen banana. I shared it with Brendan. Each serving had 16 grams of protein; not bad!


I ate several tasty salads this week, but this one was my favorite: spring mix, strawberries, raspberries, goat cheese, mint, and 2 tablespoons of my favorite dressing. Yum. 

On Wednesday, my new running shoes arrived. I've worn them twice, and I love them. Speaking of running shoes, I squeezed in four workouts this week with plans to go to the gym tomorrow. Yeah!


Also on Wednesday, I got to hang out with two of my girlfriends after yoga. Grilled cheese, tomato soup, red wine, and staying up too late talking was just what I needed.

Today, we had rain and cooler weather (I could wear pants and a sweatshirt to yoga), and the cleaning service came, so our apartment is nice and neat for our weekend. I always feel more relaxed in a clean space.

The week wasn't perfect, but there were certainly many things to love about it.

And now? I'm looking forward to a quiet night in with Brendan, Lola and Zoe.


I'm ready for highs of 69 and 79 this weekend. Perfect cuddling weather. :)

Have a great weekend!
<3

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Thought for Today


This photo is from the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which I visited this summer on my own while Brendan attended a friend's bachelor party. Visiting is, of course, a very emotional experience, and one that I didn't mind having solitude for. I was reflecting today about a specific quote from a movie I watched at the museum that has stayed with me since. It was a woman who lost her husband that day. She said something to the effect of (I'm paraphrasing here), "My whole life was ruined that day, but the years kept passing, and one day I had a new life." I see this quote as incredibly powerful; I think because it speaks so poignantly about a very real fear that I have: the fear that I will lose someone close to me unexpectedly.

For as long as I can remember, I've had some degree of anxiety about losing people I love. I often have catastrophic visions of what my life would be like in these imagined worst case scenarios. Maybe it's a form of self-protection: by imagining the worst, I am ultimately forced to mentally prepare for it. Of course, it's no way to spend life, so I do try to stop these thoughts whenever they occur. However, this quote reminded me of the strength that the human spirit is capable of. Even when encountering the worst, we can rebuild our lives if we have to. They say about life that no one makes it out alive. I'd add to that that no one makes it out without encountering a major loss. At 28, I've already lived through a few. Perhaps when I have anxiety, I'm internally doubting my ability to cope with a loss, but I think the 9/11 memorial is one visual example I have that from disaster comes eventual healing and a literal new horizon:


When I look at that photo, it inspires me to have more faith in myself. I'm a very tiny part of a very large world, which is a small part of a big galaxy, but I have more strength than I give myself credit for. I can use my life to listen to, love, and empathize with fellow humans instead of worrying about what I have no control over.

My love goes out to those who lost on 9/11, on the off chance that any of them read this blog. I don't have the right words, but I have the hope that all found strength.

<3

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Building a House, Month 5: Foundation and Framing

Time flies! We bought our lot exactly 5 months ago today.

When we left off last month, our lot was still awaiting an all important foundation. On August 16th, much to our delight, it was there!

August 16th 

August 16th 

It had just rained in Midland, so the concrete was wet from the rain, not from being newly poured.

The foundation was a really significant step, because it meant that our 150 day countdown until completion could begin. We now had an official estimate of mid-January completion. Later that week, we signed our final (we hope) lease on the apartment, which ends on March 5th, 2015. We hope this will give us plenty of leeway for closing and moving, even if the process does get behind.

The next weekend, we returned to find things looking almost the same. Though the forms around the foundation had been moved. I found this handy article which explains the construction process of building a house and also the correct terminology. I'm enjoying comparing what is happening with our house to their step by step guide. So far, it seems to match.

August 23rd

We also noticed that our brick had arrived. We thought it was pretty early for that, but we were excited because we really liked the color in person. We picked from a sample and had about fifty choices, definitely the most options we had for anything in the process.

Santa Fe Trail 
I didn't know what to expect the next week, but I was so excited when we pulled up to this:

August 30th

We had framing! The room to the left is our dining room, and the space to the right is the garage. For the first time, we could walk inside and see where the rooms would be.

Entry/Front Door 
Breakfast area/back door to porch 

Master Bath and Closet 

Master Bedroom
One of the other bedrooms 
When we went back today, there were some more developments. 

September 6th 
 Mainly, that the house is completely "wrapped," which is good because we got rain today.

September 6th 
 Also, our front and back door are here. Woo-hoo!


View from entryway
 The builders were out today making progress on the community pool area. To the left is a parking lot, which we saw them do a few weeks ago. The structure to the right is new as of this week. We believe it might be bathrooms and changing area, but we're not 100% positive.


After waiting four months, it is so exciting that our construction really began last month. When you drive into the neighborhood, the first view you get is of houses that are all complete, so it really looks like an actual neighborhood (I'll have to photograph this). That's crazy to us, because we remember driving in and having nothing but the model homes there. I'm really starting to dream about what living in our new house will be like. It's definitely starting to feel a little more like a reality, and I'm loving that!

Here's some more things I love:
My cousin Amanda is one of my best friends, and she also was an AMAZING bridesmaid.

Now, I get to return to the favor. I got this sweet note and gift in the mail last night, and I thought it was so cute. My fourth bridesmaid gig, and more importantly, Amanda and Matt's wedding, is coming October 2015!

The next thing I love is that we've had a super rainy weekend, and it's currently 66 degrees outside. My major weekend complaint has been that it is too hot to do anything, so I'm pretty darn happy about the fall weather. We did farmer's market and grocery store runs today, so our fridge is stocked and those tasks are checked off the to-do list. Plus, we even mustered the energy to do an hour long workout today. I did weights and interval training, and it was so exhausting. This was only my 2nd workout of the week (I did an hour of yoga on Wednesday), so I'll probably try to squeeze in a run/walk tomorrow, as our gym is closed. Apparently, the high tomorrow will be 82, so I'm definitely taking advantage of that!

How's your weekend going? We hope it's filled with just what you need.
<3

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Stay

Ahhh, do you hear that? It's the sound of our perfectly relaxed long weekend.

Brendan and I debated, briefly, over whether or not to go camping this Labor Day like we did last year. Ultimately, we decided we were tired from our ten weeks of travel this summer and just needed some time at home, and it was a good decision.

Friday after work, we went out to lunch and then back to school for a workout (my 4th of the week!). We came home to a sparkling clean apartment, as the cleaning service had come for the first time since we returned to Midland, and that was very nice. I love the feeling of a clean place! Brendan made us a delicious and spicy curry, and we watched Shark Tank and more of The Tudors on Netflix.


Saturday, we went to the farmers market and found lots of good stuff, including tomatoes! We ate breakfast at a place we've never been to before called Casa Lopez Cafe. I had migas and Brendan had asado. We both felt like the restaurant was good, not the best breakfast spot in town, but definitely somewhere we'd return. Afterwards, we dropped off some things at Goodwill. We've been trying to slowly part with what we know we won't need at the new house. No reason to pack it and move it, and we're definitely pro others getting some use out things. We also checked on the house on Saturday...I can't wait to share photos with you guys next Saturday, which will officially mark the 5th month since we purchased our lot. Now things are really starting to come together. It's pretty exciting!

Saturday night, we met this cutie for the first time:


Miss Violet was born on June 5th and is the daughter of friends Dagan and Stephanie, who married just a few weeks after us. It was so fun to finally meet their newest edition. We made dinner and visited and just enjoyed being low key. 

Yesterday, I made this excellent dinner. I used the leftovers from three bags of pasta we had sitting around. Then I made a sauce using some of the heirloom tomatoes and the basil from the farmer's market. I topped the pasta with farmer's market goat cheese and the sauce, and a beautiful dinner was the result! 


We caught Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Guardians of the Galaxy at the drive in last night. The first, I really cannot recommend, despite being a fan of the cartoon as a child. The latter was a much better summer blockbuster. As always, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the drive in, and I ate way too many sour gummi worms (they are my Achilles heel to an otherwise healthy diet!)


Today, I got lunch and drinks with friends from work, and other than that, I just stayed in. It is way too hot outside for my September standards (104 right now). I am desperate for some cooler fall temperatures, but Brendan reminds me that I'll have to wait an entire month for that.

We hope your Labor Day was just what you needed, whatever you did!

<3

Friday, August 29, 2014

Power Up

As the first week of teaching began, I found myself feeling utterly and completely exhausted. I didn't know how I was going to get through the zombie phase, but I found a few little "tricks" to help me push past it. I share them with you, in case you need to power up too!

1.) Workout
You have to force yourself to get moving.
On Monday and Wednesday, I did a one hour yoga class, Thursday was a 54 minute elliptical workout with changing resistance, and today, I made up a weight lifting circuit of 6 moves doing 10 reps of each. I did the circuit twice with a 10 minute bike in the middle and 25 minutes on the arc to follow. Total time was 55 minutes. It was really hard to make myself go to class or keep moving (I'm out of shape after doing whatever I wanted all summer), but once I was done, I had SO MUCH MORE ENERGY. Each time, I took advantage of the new burst of motivation and used it to my advantage to make dinner (Monday), clean my kitchen (Wednesday), clean the apartment and fold laundry (Thursday) or power through work emails (today).

2.) Start Eating Healthy
When I'm eating healthy food, I'm eating SO MUCH MORE FOOD, and for that reason, eating healthy can be a bit inconvenient (because you have to plan ahead). But honestly, good nutrition pays off big time in helping to avoid the afternoon slump. Snacks this week include: grapes and cottage cheese or cheddar cheese, apple and peanut butter, cucumbers or bell peppers plain, or a Stacy Smoothie. For lunch, I ate lots of salads (one version I love to makes involves lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of this dressing--it's so good).

3.) Resist the Urge to Stay Up Late
At 11:05PM last night, all I wanted to do was stay up and watch just one more episode of The Tudors, my Netflix obsession. That choice would have had me falling asleep during my workout. Screens of all kinds make it easy to lose track of time. Make sure you set your own bedtime (just like your parents did when you were a kid) and stick to it.

4.) Stop Snoozing.
I first wrote about how to avoid snooze and why here.
Hitting snooze equals stress in the morning and stress in the morning only means you feel more exhausted earlier in the day. Today, I ditched snooze and was 10 minutes early instead of right of time. I get a feeling of calm when I have a few minutes before my students start walking in, and I swear, it makes me a more energetic teacher. The energy seems to last all day too.

5.) Power Your Morning
Coffee, peppermint soap in the shower, and eating some protein first thing are all things that help me feel immediately awake. Find what makes waking up a little better for you and use it. I'm going to change the alarm sound on my phone--I associate it with too much negative. I need to wake up to something new! I wrote some other positive morning tips here.

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! I hope you get lots of rest and get to do all the things you most want to do!



Monday, August 25, 2014

New (To Us) Eats in Midland

Brendan and I had a great weekend before the official start of the semester.

We tried two new (to us) places to eat in Midland. The first was Grub Burger, which has been open for six weeks. This place reminded us a lot of Hopdoddy's in Austin. They have the same concept where you wait in a long line, order your food (gourmet burgers and many beers on tap are their specialties), and waiters bring your food to the table when it's ready. We showed up at around 7:30PM on a Friday night, and we waited about 20-25 minutes in line. The line isn't bad. It moves quickly, and we even got free samples of milkshakes. Once we ordered our food, they brought the drinks after a few minutes, and the rest of the food followed. We maybe waited 15 minutes for our food after ordering. The food was delicious--especially my veggie burger. Brendan's mushroom burger and the sweet potato fries were good. Brendan was especially impressed with the number of beers on tap, and I had a glass of wine. Our total bill was $34.00. Not bad for dinner for two!

We will definitely be back to Grub Burger Bar. It is great for families, groups of friends, or a couple. We wouldn't recommend it for a first date though. Inside, it is loud (we sat outside), and the atmosphere wouldn't be ideal for getting to know someone for the first time. It's the perfect place for a casual dinner though.




On Saturday morning, we got up and did our normal farmer's market run. Afterwards, we were starving, so we headed to the Super Burrito in search of a good breakfast taco. This place is right down the street from the farmer's market, and I can't believe we never went in here before. Not only do they make the best breakfast taco we've found in town (in my opinion), but the prices are really reasonable ($9 for 2 regular burritos and 2 drinks), and I like the laid back and welcoming atmosphere as well. I had the potato and egg taco and added cheese, while Brendan ate the chile relleno and egg taco. Both were good!



We got to see friends this weekend, and we attended the Midland fair with these guys:

Should we give them a real cute family award, or what?!

We also cleaned our closet, cooked some good food, went to the grocery store, and watched several episodes of The Tudors, my new Netflix obsession.

Today was the first day of class, and we both had a good time being in the classroom again and meeting all our students. Fall 2014 semester has begun--ready or not!

I'm a little in shock still, but I'm sure I'll get used to my routine soon. This week is pretty easy (no office hours or tutoring yet), so I'll be able to slowly adjust.

I hope your weekend was a wonderful one! If you are a student or a teacher going back to class today, good luck!
<3



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