Monday, January 31, 2011

Living up to my name

Not my real name, but my blog name! I have a bunch of random things for you today. Figure since it's Monday we could have a bit of fun.

1) This past Friday, Matt & I attempted to make homemade lasagna. It is something he has seen done, but I had never done anything like it before. And let me tell you--- it was pretty much the best thing ever. We used Pioneer Woman's recipe, aptly called "The Best Lasagna. Ever." Despite taking about an hour and a half including baking time, it is SO SO SO SO worth it. And another good part? We have so many leftovers that we can eat some now, freeze the rest, and enjoy this amazing meal during another week. 

Doesn't that look AMAZING? Source
2) Matt found this link the other day: Click me! It tells you, based on a person's weight, how many calories they burn doing any activity. I mean ANY activity. Take these examples: (weight as 130 lbs, doing activity for an hour)
  • Unicycling for an hour: 295 calories
  • Ballroom dancing, slow: 177 calories
  • Running, on a track, team practice: 590 calories
  • Sky diving: 177 calories 
Go check it out for yourself, it's pretty interesting!

3) One of the my favorite blogs, Poodleism, posted this the other day, so she gets all the credit for finding it. But, I wanted to share it with y'all. 
Yes, that is the thing that each state is worse at. You can read the explanations here, and for some of them they're quite interesting!
  • Hawaii is actually tied with California for the highest cost of living
  • Go read about Mississippi; it's sad
  • Ohio is the nerdiest state, based on the highest number of library visits per capita. {which seems like the best on this list, honestly}
So there you have some random things to kick off your week! Anyone do anything interesting this weekend??? Have a great Monday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Quick Update...

Last week was the first week of classes, and it will definitely be a busy semester!  Since I like to post here at least once a week, I figured I could give you a quick update.

Wedding Front:
-I have to meet with the florist over spring break to finalize flowers, again. Apparently I'm indecisive when it comes to that topic. Catch up on my past floral adventures here. I have decided I really don't like the rose+gerber combo for my bouquet, but my florist don't just want me having ivory gerbers in my bouquet. Not enough color or something. So, she wants to meet with me to see my facial expressions when she shows me samples. 

Gerbers + Roses; Source
Just Gerbers; Source

-And, not that I'm not already busy enough on spring break as it is (read about that here), I will also be meeting with someone for make-up for the Bridals + Wedding Day. Not that I mind, of course, just not always fun adding things to the To Do list.

-Matt & I have dropped the ball on the wedding website, but this weekend we are going to spend a couple of hours on that. Any other info should go on there besides hotels, registry, things to do in the city, and where the ceremony and reception venues are?

School Front:
-Speaking of the Vegas conference, I have to have my thesis DONE by March 1st. That means in the next 5 weeks, I have to write 3 chapters of my thesis, edit it, get all the citations right, etc. Everyone assures me I'll be fine, but it is still intimidating. At least when the thesis is due to the A&M people in late March, that won't be a big deal. 

-Classes will be intense, unlike last semester. I'm taking a graduate level course which will be interesting, but it took me all weekend to do the readings for it. My other classes won't be a breeze either, but I am taking yoga, and I think I'll need it.

So any advice on the flower front?? Why is it so tricky for me to just pick something and move on???

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Firsts & Lasts

So today is the first day of my last semester as an undergrad. This has been the catalyst for some significant thoughts.

I will be getting married to my best friend in approx 4 months and 2 weeks.

Unless something unexpected happens, the longest time I will be home (i.e. at my parents' house as their dependent child) will be four days.

I will be graduating from Texas A&M University with a BS in sociology & psychology in 4 months.

This semester, I will find out where I'm going to graduate school.

This semester, Matt & I will discover where we're going to live post-honeymoon. (Yeah, that's right. We still don't know)

I am taking my first graduate-level seminar this semester.

I will finish my honors thesis this March.

I will present my thesis at a professional conference in Las Vegas, NV.

I get to see Spamalot with a good friend tomorrow.

I get to go to one last semester of Breakaway.

I get to spend one last semester with my closest friends in the same city.

I get to spend one more semester making mistakes and learning about myself, the 'real' world, and most importantly, God. (It most certainly won't be the last, either)

Of course as I type this, I realize that NONE of these things are guaranteed to me. I am incredibly blessed to get these opportunities, no matter how bittersweet it all appears. And for those above blessings and many, many others, I am thankful.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Orleans, days 3 & 4

Haven't read the first part? Read it here!

After our adventures in the French Quarter, the next day we went to the World War II Museum, what was formerly the D-Day Museum. A little fun fact for you-- the reason why NOLA has this museum is because the boats used in D-Day were produced there. Anyway, my aunt & uncle joined us at the museum as well (my uncle spent 30 years in the Air Force), and it was definitely a great museum. It has a lot to see & read, and it presents everything in a very interesting manner. I would highly recommend it for anyone going to NOLA.

The breakfast of champions-- king cake & Dr Pepper

Yeah, the one thing I took a pic of inside the museum. Airplanes, duh.
  Following the museum, we went to visit my family's crypts. As you may know, NOLA is actually below sea level. That creates several problems, including how to deal with burials. The wet marshes aren't suitable for burying people in, so instead they have the above-ground burials in crypts. I had never seen my family's crypts before, and my aunt had just recently found the map (yes, map) to them, so we went on that adventure.

Walking to find the family...

I believe this is my mom's mother's side of the family

And then my mom's father's family.

Ah, look. There's room for more. Matt? Just kidding...
 Then that night we settled in to watch our Aggies play in the Cotton Bowl. We will not mention anymore about that game. 

The following day, Jan 8, is a very significant day. It is my mom's birthday, as well as Elvis's. It is also the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. Don't remember that significant battle in the War of 1812? Read up on it here (don't worry, I didn't either). So being the anniversary, we decided to visit the battlegrounds. Their brand new visitor center was having their grand opening that day, and they also had reenactors. Matt & I may have been the only people there in our twenties, but it was still fun.

This (rebuilt) wall was a key in the victory

Foreground- Brit; Background- Americans. Check out the pants on the British reenactor

Cannon demo

After that visit was complete, my uncle did a little driving tour of the city for Matt, to show him the 17th St Canal and whatnot, followed by a delicious lunch. I had the most amazing roast beef sandwich ever so you need to go to R&O's, k? Following lunch, we went back to their house and chilled before dinner. My uncle, being the history buff he is, used to do reenactments and he showed us his musket. Matt was very much enjoying all the weapons talk...

My uncle with the musket, complete with a bayonet
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from dinner, but we drove a little bit to meet my uncle's friend who is one of the coolest people ever. He was on the security force of the Air Force in Iraq with my uncle, and has also been a sniper for the swat team. Now he is one of the LA governor's helicopter pilots. He had very cool stories, to put it simply.

The next day we drove home. Nothing crazy there, so I won't share the boring road pictures again. It was a great trip and Matt & I really enjoyed it. Now we're back in College Station & classes start Tuesday. Looks like my winter break is done!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Orleans, days 1 & 2

As I mentioned earlier, the 'big' thing Matt & I did over break was travel to New Orleans. My mom's family is from there, and consequently I have spent a lot of time in that city. Matt had never been, and I wanted him to experience it (i.e. good seafood & beautiful architecture). So Christmas break turned out to be the perfect time. We stayed at my aunt and uncle's house and they were marvelous tour guides as we made our way to various locales.

The first day was spent driving from Houston to NOLA, eating at a good local restaurant called Mr. Ed's, and then going to bed. Very exciting, let me tell you.

Yup, I let him drive my car. Shock.

Welcome to Louisiana!

Have to document the GPS
What a foggy view!

 The second day, and the real first day of our touristy adventures, we spent in the French Quarter. My uncle accompanied us and he has quite an extensive knowledge of history, especially of NOLA. I was glad he came with us so he could tell us the significance of certain landmarks as opposed to me just pointing out to Matt, "Oh look, a pretty building!!"

We took the streetcar to the Quarter-- something that was new to both of us!

Audobon Park from the streetcar

On St Charles Ave-- look closely at the tree & you can see the Mardi Gras beads that live there

Canal St

Our streetcar

Hello Mississippi River!

Have to get the typical tourist pic!

Cafe du Monde!


Lunch- an amazing muffaletta from the Napolean House

Inside the St Louis Cathedral

Where we had dinner-- the fantastic Palace Cafe!
That about sums up our first few days!! I will be posting the next days' posts tomorrow or so.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Premarital counseling, part dos + Meeting with Music Minister

Haven't read the first counseling session?? Go here.

One of the things Matt & I did between New Year's and our New Orleans trip was have our second meeting with Reverend Jones, you know, the guy who is going to perform the ceremony. This appointment was not nearly as awkward as the first one, which was nice, but it was really helpful like the first session was. He read us two passages from the Bible, and commented on them and described his own marriage and how it related.

The first passage was from Genesis 2:24- "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" [NIV]. I know most of us have heard that verse before, but Rev Jones described it in a new way that I hadn't thought of before-- when you get married, you leave your old life behind as you start a new one [parallels becoming a Christian]. He talked about letting bad habits die as well as getting rid of negative people in your life (that is those that think negatively of marriage and/or your spouse). It seems a bit obvious, but I never made that connection before. 

The second passage was the traditional 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a- "
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.|8 Love never fails." (NIV) For this, Rev Jones described various situations in his own marriage. One of the themes he touched on was based on verse 5. In marriage, it is no longer 'me succeeding' or 'you succeeding.' Instead, it is 'we fail' or 'we succeed.' 

Basically, just good things to remember.

After that, we met with the new music director at the church. He is a rather young guy from New York, and very cool & easy to talk to. He was open to anything (i.e. remake of the "I Gotta Feeling" processional), but Matt & I believe the ceremony to be the most important part of the wedding. Obviously it is where we actually get married. Everything else is just (expensive) fluff. Being significant then, we wanted the traditional music. I know I prefer the piano to the organ, and besides not wanting to have the Bridal Processional be the "Bridal Chorus" (AKA 'hear comes the bride...'), I had no preference.

So he gave us several options for each slot where we need to have music, and with the help of YouTube and google, we have been able to come up with a decent list. Once we make the final decision I'll let you know! But I'm excited-- it's going to be pretty and not too formal or traditional. 

How did you pick your bridal processional? Or have you always just known that you wanted to walk down the aisle to a particular song?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wedding bands

One of the things Matt & I did while we were in Austin during New Year's was to look at wedding bands. Not of the singing variety, mind you, but of the pretty & shiny variety (though I guess some bands can fit THAT description...).

Being young and just about to graduate college, we were definitely on a budget. However, my naturally expensive taste combined with what genuinely looked best with my engagement ring resulted in me/us wanting a channel band.
 Diamonds aren't cheap, but we searched at Blue Nile (where my e-ring came from) and the chain jewelry stores in various malls. We eventually found what size in carats we wanted, etc, but the prices were too high. Then we went to the nearby Zales Outlet store, and found the perfect one for $100 under budget! Woohoo!

I know the diamonds won't be as 'high quality' as the Blue Nile ones, but the sum carat weight is small enough that it doesn't matter. Metal is the same. It is inexpensive enough that if we want, in ten years we'll be able to replace it for a anniversary thing. So basically, it's perfect.

Don't worry-- I'm not forgetting Matt! He knew going into the shopping experience what he wanted-- palladium. It's a relatively new metal (in terms of use in wedding bands) and it has the strength and other benefits of platinum, but isn't nearly as expensive. Matt didn't want diamonds or anything else 'fancy,' very fitting of the practical engineer he is. 


We were able to determine the width of the band he wants, but we haven't ordered one yet. We're still waiting on some price quotes from a couple of stores.

So there you have it, our somewhat-easy wedding band shopping trip!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hello out there!

Hi! Is anyone out there? Anyone at all?

Yeah... I know, I've been a bad blogger. I promise that 1) I will be posting a lot more and 2) I have a lot more to actually write about!

The holidays have been pretty busy, especially after Christmas. I spent New Year's with Matt & his family, then Matt & I went to Houston for our second premarital counseling and to meet with the music minister for the ceremony. Then we went to New Orleans for a mini-vacation.

Today we picked up my parents from the airport at 7 AM (cannot complain... they are paying for the wedding... :P), then Matt & I drove to Austin to drop him off. Then I drove to College Station to move in to my apartment. Yeah, a day of a lot of driving, but it's done! Classes start next week, but I have a lot of thesis work to do.

So, here are some upcoming posts for you to look forward to:
-Premarital Counseling Session #2
-Meeting with music minister at church
-New Orleans!
-Thesis & Las Vegas