Tuesday, July 30

year one: what i've learned so far


As we get closer to the one year mark, I have been thinking a lot about all that I have learned during this first year of marriage. Although in the marriage ball game we are still just rookies, this past year has been one of growth and new experiences. Not only have I learned a lot about my husband, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself. I have learned a whole lot about life and I am amazed at how marriage really teaches you so much. I have learned that no matter what I do, my husband and I will never have the same appreciate (or lack there of) for spicy food. I have also learned that I am a bed hog. It was never a problem before, but now it is a weekly conversation. But it all seriousness, I have learned a few life changing things as well.

1. marriage just makes you married

I read that line somewhere and it resonated so much within me. I believe, especially as girls, that we feel like we will have it all figured out once we get married. We will know what we want out of life, we will no longer feel insecure and that it will all be just peachy within your relationship. Well, I hate to bust your bubble, but that is most definitely not true. If anything, marriage amplifies any issues or conflicts that were already existing. You and your spouse are both broken, sinful humans and that doesn't change once you get married. Now, you are just married, broken, sinful humans trying to do life together. Now don't get me wrong, I love being married but it doesn't change who you are or who your spouse is. There are still days when I feel insecure about myself. There are times when I struggle with knowing what I want out of life. Those things don't go away once you get married, but the beautiful thing is now you have someone to share in those things with. To talk to on the most intimate level and know that they love you regardless.

2. forgiveness and grace are the best gifts ever

I never fully understood the concept of grace until I got into a good, healthy dating relationship. One of the hardest lessons I learned was how to forgive well. Come to find out, I can be quick to hold a grudge over little things, even against myself. But that doesn't go well with having a healthy, joyful heart. I have had to learn the true meaning of forgiveness and grace. Not only has this concept helped in all my relationships, but it has helped me understand God in a new way. And it blows my mind to know that God gives us that same kind of grace when we are willing to accept it. And that has been life changing in so many ways.

3. communication really is important.

Just in case you didn't know already, men and women are very different. From our physical make ups to the way we process information. And if you want to learn that first hand, just get married. Again, don't get me wrong, I am thankful that my husband is different than me. God purposefully created us that way. Plus, I would probably be very annoyed if I had to deal with someone just like me all day. Yet, I have learned that men and women also communicate differently. I had always heard that communication is the key to a good marriage but I didn't realize how crucial that was. I have always thought I was a good communicator. Turns out-- I'm really just a good talker. Real communication takes effort and energy and is so worth it. Taking the time to have genuine conversation and discussions will make the difference between a mediocre marriage and a healthy, connected one.

As we come up to our first anniversary, I am reminded everyday of how blessed I truly am. I am so thankful for the man that Jake is and for all he has brought to my life and our marriage.

And all I can really do is say thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, July 26

five on friday: afternoon edition


I full intended on writing this blog this morning, but frankly I was just too exhausted. So you are getting an afternoon/early evening edition. I am linking up with some great ladies for Five on Friday!

  1. We're still trying to catch up on sleep from last week, but it has been a good but busy work week. So we're both thankful for Friday. We're ready for a little relaxation together.
  2. The boutique is having it's biggest sale of the year right now, so there is a whole lot going on there. Seriously awesome shopping deals!
  3. My mom visited yesterday to do some blueberry picking. We walked away with 43 lbs of blueberries. They are my favorite so I am super excited to finally have some yummy fresh berries.
  4. I finally got this cook book in the mail this week! I've already tried one recipe and am extremely please with how it turned out. I can't wait to make more recipes. I feel like I just keep flipping through the pages with excitement.
  5. Lastly, we're going on our first round of house showings tomorrow!!! I cannot tell you how excited I am to actually visit the houses I've been looking at online. Eek! 
That is all for today's edition of five on friday. Now I'm off to spend some much needed relaxation time with the hubs!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 25

wedding picture gawking part II

So I wrote this blog a long long time ago and promised that I would post most pictures of the our wedding day. Welp, I sure didn't ever do that, so I figured it was time to hold up to my end of the deal. As we're getting closer to our one year anniversary, I still look at these pictures all the time (maybe I should get a hobby?). But they are just so wonderful and I cannot say enough good things about our photographer, Kim. So without further ado, here are some ceremony & post ceremony pictures!
















 




 

I promise I will post reception pictures soon!

Wednesday, July 24

summer bruschetta

 

One of my favorite things about summer is cooking with lots of fresh ingredients right out of the garden (or from the farmers market). There is nothing like fresh fruits and veggies that can make your taste buds just dance. Now, I am not one who typically loves tomatoes as a major ingredient. I enjoy them in recipes but can't just eat them plain. That is why I love bruschetta. You can enjoy tomatoes as a primary ingredient but have other flavors to compliment them.

The other day, I found myself with a handful of extra tomatoes and basil, so naturally the best way to use those items is in summer bruschetta. I used parts of this recipe but also just added what I thought would taste best. It's easy and delicious.


Start by cutting up your tomatoes, you want them in bit size pieces but not so small that they just all end up mushing together. I used five good sized tomatoes. Once they're chopped, put them in a bowl.

Next, I added three gloves of garlic (adjust to taste).  I chopped 6-8 fresh basil leaves and added them to the bowl. Then, I added one tablespoon or so of olive oil and approximately one teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Also, as a little salt and pepper (to taste). Mix them all together and you're done!

See simple enough! We didn't have any french bread at the time so I toasted some regular bread and we cut it up into smaller slices. We just spooned some on our bread and scarfed it down enjoyed! We stored it in the fridge for a couple days, but it really didn't last very long in our house. It is so fresh and filled with summer flavors that it's hard to not eat it in one sitting.


So if you find yourself with some extra tomatoes, this recipe is a great way to use them up!

Monday, July 22

a fair amount of fun

We have returned from the land of corn dogs and cotton candy. But to be honest, it is a bit bittersweet for me. As much as I love sleeping in my own bed and taking a shower with an excessive amount of hot water, I so miss the faces, conversations and laughter we shared. My favorite part of the whole fair is spending unplanned time with my family-- aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. We rode rides and played skee ball. We watched a rodeo and a lawn mower derby. We shared stories and lots of laughs. We all tried stealing the baby from one another so we could hold her yet again. It's what family and tradition is about. I loved each moment of the weekend and am so thankful to have it. 

And since I'm so darn exhausted, I'll just leave you with a few pictures to tell the rest of the story. Yes, there were tigers at the fair. And yes there were many more animals than chickens but I failed to photograph most of them.





**Just a little FYI-- that is my baby cousin and my parents great niece. Just in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, July 17

it's that time of year again


If you know anything about my family, you know that when fair time comes around life as we know it pretty much stops. And guess what?!? It's that time of year again. It's time to head back to Illinois to see the animals, eat some seriously bad for you food and spend some much needed time with the fam. So I am going to be checking out of the blog world til next Monday. But you can still keep up with me via other social media outlets. And don't worry, I'll give you a full recap when I return!

If you haven't already be sure to check out my Facebook page and follow along on Instagram.

Have a great week!

Oh and I'm linking up with the Blog Hop today hosted by The Dwelling Tree and All My Happy Endings.


Tuesday, July 16

on missing people


Distance can be difficult. It's hard on relationships. And if there is one thing I've learned in the past few years, it is that it is hard to be away from those you love. Ever since I moved to Indiana for college, I became increasingly aware of this reality. Growing up I didn't really have to deal with being apart from people. Most of my family lived within a twenty minute radius of me. And I loved that. I grew up being close to family and friends. Now a days, distance has become more of a constant reality.

When we moved to Northern Indiana, we were excited to be closer to both sets of our parents. We live about two hours from mine and about an hour from the hubs. This is a big improvement. However, my best friends are spread amongst the midwest-- Illinois, Indy, Memphis, Nashville-- to name a few. And that stinks. I miss them. I miss being able to meet up for coffee or to just hang out. I miss going shopping with my mom on a whim or getting together with my best friends after a rough day.

What makes it even more challenging is that as much as we love to see our friends and family, traveling is hard too. It's tough to be away from your home weekend after weekend. It's hard constantly packing up and jumping in the car. Not to mention, it's expensive. But in order to see the people closest to us, this is our reality. So we deal with it and we pack up and go.

My heart so deeply desires community. I grew up knowing pretty much everyone in my town. I didn't really enjoy it then, but now that is something I truly miss. I miss knowing my neighbors or being able to run and get a cup of sugar from someone down the street. And I've come to realize that is why I so deeply want to be settled into a house. I'm secretly hoping to find those kinds of relationships in a neighborhood. Although, it takes effort and energy, this is what I need to feel settled.

Moving back to Illinois or being close to all our family isn't a reality. We deal with our situation the best we can. I love being married and I am so thankful for Jake. He really is my best friend and it feels like home as long as we're together. But I know that we both needs those other relationships in our lives also. So we're trying. We're striving for something a little deeper. But it just takes time. That is where I am today. Missing those I care for and hating being far away from friends in need. But here is to knowing that at the very least, they are just a phone call away.

Monday, July 15

winery weekend

Oh, welcome back to Monday! I don't know about you guys but we had a pretty good weekend in these parts. I realized that once you make your Summer Bucket List visible to your husband and family, they help you get things marked off and that is what we did this weekend.

Awesome fact. We live about 30 minute away from the midwest wine country-- i.e. we live near Michigan. There are a good number of wineries not far from us. The hubs and I both really enjoy good wine, so we figured it was time to take advantage of our proximity to area wineries. After I got off work on Saturday, we jumped in the car and headed north.

Since we hadn't been to any of the wineries before, we based our stops off of word of mouth and a couple random picks. We managed to visit four wineries by the end of the day. I would say three of them we really enjoyed. One of them was-- err-- a bit disappointing. So I will share with you about the other three.

We started out at Round Barn Winery. Let me just say we WILL be returning. We had heard good things about this place. And it was just a fun place to hang out. They not only are a winery but also a brewery and distillery. There was lots of options for many different pallet preference. They also had food and live music. If it wasn't our first stop on the trip, we probably would have stayed their all day. It had a great ambiance and we really enjoyed it.

 

Our third stop was at a well known winery and restaurant, Tabor Hill. One of my co-workers told me about this place and I am glad we went. They had great staff that really knew their wine and, of course, very tasty wine. They also had some of the most gorgeous chocolates I have ever seen. Seriously...almost too pretty to eat.

 

(Everywhere we went my favorite never changed. I just really love a good cab sauv-- that's how the cool winos say it). 

Our last stop was just a random selection and it was a good one. It is a newer winery called Gravity. My favorite part was that each wine you tried came either a pairing of cheese or chocolate. Score! The wine was good too. Oh, and they had a great outdoor seating area with a very nice view. 



All in all I would say it was a pretty success adventure. One which we will be eager to take friends on when they come for a visit!


Also, I'm linking up with Northern Belle Diaries & Postcards from Rachel to help bloggers follow along on Bloglovin'! If you aren't already signed up for it, you should. Its a great way to follow all your favorite blogs. Oh, and follow Keep It Simple there, too!
 

Thursday, July 11

currently

 

Big news!! We have two flowers! It's only taken since May for these babies to bloom, but we're finally seeing the fruits of our labor. Ok, really it was one night of planting them and remembering to water them. But still, I feel validated that these efforts didn't fail. All our other baskets and herbs aren't thriving, so I'm thankful for these two pretty flowers.

I'm stealing today's blog idea from this lady. I think it's fun and I hope you do too. Because I know you are just dying to know more about my everyday life. Anyway, currently I am...

Eating: Well, it's still morning time, so I'm actually just drinking coffee. Eight O'clock medium roast. If it were up to me, it would be hazelnut flavored, but the hubs isn't much for flavored coffee. So, I sometimes will make a pot of flavored goodness just for me.

Purchasing: These tops from Express. $9 tanks-- yes please! And of course, there is a strong representation of stripes. I have a serious stripe addiction.


Looking forward to: A weekend of being home-- with the possibility of doing some house shopping. Woo hoo! The summer is slipping away and we haven't been as proactive as I thought we would be. Whoops. We still have plenty of time, but I wanted a house, like...yesterday.

Contemplating: If and when I should have my blog redesigned. And by whom. And what color scheme to use, what images to use, and all those decisions that come along with it. I am leaning more towards doing it, but I just have to pull out the wallet and say yes. I think it is in desperate need of a fresh look. Thoughts?

Listening to: A Love Like You by The Bergamot. This song plays in the boutique and I always find myself singing along to it.

Reading: Like normal, I'm in the process of reading two books. This typically happens when the first book I start doesn't excite me as much as I'd hoped, and then I find one I like better. The first book I started was Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Ann Quindlen. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. I have a differing opinion on some topics she refers to which I think is why I'm not fully invested, but its still a decent read. I'll finish it...eventually. The second book I'm reading is Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. I am eating this one up (no pun intended). I love a good memoir about food and community and this hits those topics. Plus, it is chuck full of recipes. I'm also a bit envious of Jenny's career-- she has worked at multiple magazines including Real Simple. Ugh, if only we lived in New York.

Thinking about: If I really want to work out this morning or not. I am pretty sore from the last two days and I think it would be great to take the day off. But I'll probably end up just doing it, so at least I can feel somewhat accomplished for the day.

Feeling: Blessed, but a bit tired. Last night ladies at the boutique had a bridal shower for one of our co-workers. It was so refreshing to spend time with like minded, fun women. It reminded me of how fortunate I am to work in a environment with so many wonderful ladies.

Craving: Chocolate. But that's nothing new. Pretty much anytime of day, you can assume I am craving chocolate and resisting the temptation to indulge myself.

That's all for today. Thanks for stopping! Until next time...

Wednesday, July 10

wishlist wednesday: kitchen edition

I have been on a big cooking kick recently, i.e. wanting to try new recipes. I blame it on the fact that I'm currently reading this book and it has tons of recipe ideas. Of course, which in turn has led to my desire for more kitchen gadgets. I'm pretty sure I have a problem (don't take me to TJ Maxx or Crate & Barrel unless you want to spend an excessive amount of time searching for unnecessarily items for the kitchen). Regardless, I have been compiling a mental list of items I'd like to add to our cupboards. However, we already have limited cabinet space, so most likely, it'll have to wait until we get a house-- which will not be lacking in cabinet space. Cabinet space is a make or break for me in the house hunt, fyi.

On to more important things, here are some kitchen accessories which I would just love to add to my collection.

Chevron KitchenAid: this doesn't match my kitchen colors, but I still think it is fun to look at and would add a little spunk to the counter.


Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs: This is just one of many cookbooks that are on my wish list. I am not sure if I would actually use many of the recipes out of here, but a real cook needs this in her collection, right?!?


Ramekin: How adorable are these?!? I have been wanting to find some cute ramekins, and this one is a winner.


Ceramic Onion Canister: we use a lot of onion in our house and I don't have a great way to store them for optimal freshness. So obviously, this is the answer to that problem.


This apron: I have a minor obsession with aprons. As in, I have three times as many aprons as we do bodies to put them on in our house. What's one more to the collection? Too cute!


These items would make my kitchen complete, don't you think?!? Now if I can just convince the hubs of the same thing.

On a totally different note, good news-- Winnie is much better today than she was yesterday. Thank goodness for antibiotics!