Kate’s Bachelorette Party in Dallas Part 1

Hi guys!! Long time no talk!!  I am so sorry for my absence from the blog at the end of last week and beginning of this week.  My cousin, Kate, and her friends came into town last Thursday morning then it was go go go until they left Sunday.  I have been busy playing catch up these past couple days because I am leaving for the lakehouse in Georgia today.  My life is a little hectic and crazy right now, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.

I have got to fill you in on all the details of my cousin’s bachelorette party in Dallas this past weekend.  My sister, the maid of honor (my cousin’s friend) and I spent months organizing and planning this big event and it was even better than expected.  The boys/dogs got kicked out for the weekend and all the girls moved into my house.  It was so fun!!!  I have a lot to show you so this might take a couple days. 😉 

My sister and I spent so much time ordering and making decorations, signs, party favors, etc., but last week the real prep-work began!  My sister had the brilliant idea to make watermelon jello slices for the pool party we were having at her apartment on Friday.  It wasn’t too hard, but with all the extra gelatin to help the jello stick to the watermelon rind, they were a little rubbery.    

We planned to eat most meals at my house so we could save money all weekend.  Costco was a huge time saver with ready-to-eat sandwiches, quinoa salads, dips, etc., but I did prepare a couple salads too.  It was so nice to have so many meals ready to go when we were ready to eat.  

IMG_1448

My sister order these letter balloons to hang in the living room!  We got these bags (Etsy, I think) for all the girlies! 

IMG_1450

One of the many tables we set up before the girls arrived.

IMG_1453

Thursday morning, my sister and I went to pick up the girls from the airport.  They all flew from New York.  Our first stop was at Boot Barn so the bride and I could get some cowboy boots.  I can’t believe I haven’t had any for all these years!  I will show you my new pair later in this post.

After we went home and got the girls settled, we had a couple drinks, some lunch, and played a few games before heading over to Truck Yard for a drink and a fun atmosphere.  

IMG_1466

We continued our games at our table that used to be a car.  Yes, we were all sweating like pigs because Dallas is HOTTTT right now, but we didn’t care too much.  

IMG_1468

After awhile we headed back home, but not without a picture with the bride as the “I.” #dallasstrong

IMG_1478

How cute is this Instagram sign my sister made for the bride?? Isn’t she talented??

IMG_1481

The bride requested a photo booth so the maid of honor ordered this cute backdrop and tons of props, which made for so many fun pictures all weekend. 

IMG_1473

Thursday night was our “cowboy/country” theme night.  The maid of honor got us all tanks that said “bride squad” so we decided to pair those with our jeans/shorts and boots.  

IMG_1861

How cute is my cousin?

IMG_1809

We had margaritas and taco night at my house before another surprise!  Our limo arrived at 8pm to take us our to Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth for some line dancing!  We had a blast singing and dancing all the way there (and back). 

IMG_1864

A few of our boots!!  Mine are the second from the right with all the funky designs.  I LOVE them and want to wear them everywhere.  

IMG_1818

We didn’t get to ride the bull 😉 but we had a blast completing a bunch of “country/cowboy” themed dares throughout the night before it was time to head home and get some rest for more fun on Friday!  

I will be back tomorrow for Day 2 of the bachelorette party!!  Have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow from Georgia!  

Questions:

  1. Do you know how to line dance?
  2. What did you do this past weekend?  
  3. Do you have any trips coming up? 

Amber’s Bachelorette Bash in Nashville

Hi ya’ll!!  Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday, but I have been so busy getting ready for my cousin’s bachelorette party that is taking place at my house in Dallas this weekend! I probably won’t have time to post until early next week as we have a LOT planned for this long weekend, but I may pop in sometime!  Before the next bachelorette party begins, let’s back up to last weekend’s bachelorette party in Nashville for one of my best college girlfriend’s, Amber.  Amber and I were roommates freshman year of college (Miami University in Ohio) and have been friends ever since.  Fun fact: One of our other freshman year roommate’s (it was 4 of us together in a quad room in the dorm), Katie, is Amber’s maid of honor!  I am so glad we have all kept in touch over the years as it is so fun to see our friendships go from college students, to working adults, to marriage, etc.  Another fun fact: Nashville is now the number one spot for bachelorette parties!  At one point in the weekend, a band leader asked all the brides-to-be to come up on stage and there were about 15… in ONE out of the MANY bars in on Broadway.  Too fun! 

Late Friday afternoon my dad dropped me off downtown at the hotel to meet up with all the girls!  We had plans to do the Pedal Tavern bike at 6pm.  I am so glad we did it late in the day as it was hot!  We brought our wine and beer and pedaled along while the tour guides blasted country music and we waved to everyone.  It was a blast!!!  We had a couple stops at local bars along the way too.  There are SO many different bike companies in Nashville so it was so fun to wave to all the other peddlers along the way.  We even saw one a truck that was painted like a John Deer tractor and had people drinking and singing in the back.  Nashville is a crazy town these days, but in a fun way!  At every red light, our tour guides would say “red light cheers!!!” and we would cheers and take a sip.  The only problem was that we moved so slowly that we cheers at every red light about 3 times! 🙂 

The maid of honor got us all tank tops that said “Last Call for Miss Yaw” (the bride-to-be’s last name is Yaw).  

IMG_1428

The first bar we stopped at was known for their moonshine shots and the second bar had a mechanical bull.  (I did not partake in either of those activities… you are welcome, mom.)  

We got a really late dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe before hitting the town!  

A few of the girls headed back to the hotel after dinner, but the bride and a few of us rallied and stayed out a bit longer.  Hey, you only have one bachelorette party so you have to make the most of it!  And I only see these girls a couple times a year so we weren’t about to waste our time sleeping. 😉 

IMG_1390

Saturday morning we had a little bit of a slow start before grabbing breakfast at the hotel.  We walked around town for some coffee and a late lunch at The Slider House.  I had a salad and it was so good!

Saturday afternoon was spent playing games and getting dolled up with the girls.

IMG_1406

We took the shuttle from our hotel, which was so convenient!

IMG_1409

 We had plans for dinner at Prime 108 located inside of Union Station.  Love these sweet girls! 

IMG_1429

We had the place to ourselves, which was so nice.  The food was delicious, but the company was better!

After dinner we ventured out for a second night of dancing and singing to all the live music on Broadway.  

IMG_1426

My favorite thing about Nashville is that every bar has live music and the live music is amazing 95% of the time.  

IMG_1424

And we completed a few dares too like Tori taking a picture with the cops. 🙂 They were SO nice!

IMG_1413

And ofcourse, the bride and maid of honor couldn’t leave without giving Elvis a little kiss! 😉

IMG_1410

Overall, it was such a fun weekend with some of my besties!!!  I am always so grateful for our friendships and that we have stayed in touch over the years.  Life is short so it’s important to make time for the ones you love! 🙂  Amber, thanks for inviting me to be part of this special weekend and I can’t wait for the wedding!! 

Questions:

  1. If you are married, did you have a bachelorette/bachelor party?
  2. If you are not married, where would you go if you were to spend a weekend with your friends?
  3. Have you ever been in a wedding?

 

Family Time in Nashville

Hi guys, I am back from Nashville and trying to catch up.  It was such a fun trip that went by way too fast.  Today I have some pictures from more family time at home.  I’m working on a post for tomorrow from a bachelorette party for one of my best friends from college so check back in tomorrow for that one!  

Friday morning my dad and I went hiking in a nearby park for a little less than 2 hours.  It was a hilly hike, but not too bad! It was nice to get moving.

IMG_1361

Radnor lake.

IMG_1358

After our hike, I got cleaned up to head to my haircut appointment at Bishop’s Salon.  I know you can’t really tell, but I got about 5 inches cut off.  It feels so fresh!  Fun Fact: My sister and I both worked at Bishop’s Salon during the summer in high school.  Always fun to go back and see everyone!

IMG_1366

After my hair appointment, my dad took me to lunch at Amerigo, a Nashville favorite.  I got a salad with grilled salmon and it was SO good!  After lunch, my dad dropped me off downtown at our hotel for the weekend with my girlfriends!  

I’ll show you the rest of my Friday and Saturday tomorrow, but here is the rest of my Sunday! My dad and little brother picked me up on Sunday morning for a day of hanging with the family.  I didn’t leave Nashville until later Sunday evening so it was nice to have time to catch up with my favorite little dude.  We went on another walk in the nearby park,  watched 10 espisodes of “Guys Grocery Games” (my little brother LOVES it), and just chatted the day away.  

IMG_1421

Love this not-so-little brother of mine! 

IMG_1430

How beautiful is this picture my dad took from our walk?  Nature sure is amazing.  

IMG_1433

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Can’t wait to share more of mine tomorrow!  Have a great week!

Questions:

  1. Did you do anything fun this weekend?
  2. How many siblings do you have?
  3. Did you get to spend a lot of time in nature this weekend?

Hi From Nashville, TN and a Happy Birthday!

Hi guys! Just wanted to pop in really quickly to say hi!  Sorry for the lack of posting, but I have been traveling and have been go go go since I landed Wednesday morning in Nashville!!  

I will catch you up on what I have been up to! My momma picked me up from the airport Wednesday morning and we went straight to a few stores for a little shopping.  Then we headed to the spa.  My mom and I got facials and they were amazing.  It was so relaxing and my skin felt amazing. 

IMG_1315

After our facials, we headed back to my mom’s house and made big salads for lunch!! yum!

IMG_1321

The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging by the pool and reading my book.  It was wonderful. 

IMG_1323

Wednesday night my husband and I went to Antonios for dinner with my mom and stepdad.  We all really enjoyed our meals.  I got the salmon (are you surprised?). 😉

Thursday morning we met some family friends for breakfast at Le Peep.  I got the veggie omelette and it was so good! 

IMG_1330

After breakfast, my mom and I headed to the nail salon for a mani/pedi.  Thanks for all the pampering, momma!

IMG_1332

I got this color on my nails and toes!

IMG_1334

After we got our nails done, we had to run into Kroger for a couple things and ran into this cutie!!!  My mom was her favorite!! Ah, those baby blue eyes kill me. 🙂 

IMG_1333

Once we arrive home, one of my mom’s friends stopped by so I could give them a class on “spiralizing.”  They both have one but hadn’t used it yet.  We spiralized sweet potatoes and yellow zucchini from my mom’s garden.  

We cooked the sweet potatoes in the oven with coconut oil, salt and pepper and we sauteed the zucchini with fresh tomatoes from the garden and topped it all with pesto (my mom and stepdad make fresh pesto, too).  It was amazing!!!

Thursday night my dad took me and my best friend, Rachael, out to dinner last night at The Yellow Porch.  It was so hard to decide between all the yummy options.  

IMG_1342

I ended up choosing the scallops, a special of the night, and they were so so so good!! 

Me and my daddy!

IMG_1348

Me and Rach!

IMG_1346

After dinner we all met up with one of my other best girlfriends for a drink at Greenhouse.  A very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my bestie, Lissa!! We have been friends since grade school and I couldn’t be luckier to have a friend like her! 

IMG_1351

Love these two girls so much!!!! 

IMG_1352

Me and my sweet daddy!  We had a blast!

IMG_1355

I just got back from a long hike with my dad and now I am off to get my haircut (it’s been ONE year!!!) before joining my college girlfriends for a weekend of bachelorette shenanigans! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Questions:

  1. What are you up to this weekend?
  2. How often do you get to see your parents?
  3. Have you ever had a facial?

 

When Did My Pain Become Chronic?

Good morning, friends!!  How are you all doing today?  I decided to discuss a topic I feel like I talk about all the time in person, but not on the blog.  It is something that constantly consumes a big part of my life, but I try to be an optimist about everything so I usually keep it positive on the blog (and in person) and just focus on the good stuff in my life, because really, I have way too much GOOD going on to focus on the negative.  But, let’s be real, we all have things that get us down and sometimes it helps to talk about them.  So today, I am venting to you and filling you in on a subject I try to ignore most of the time so here we go.  

You may or may not remember me mentioning that I deal with really bad back/neck pain every.single.day.  I haven’t gone into too much depth about it on the blog because well, truthfully, I feel like I talk/whine/complain about it all the time in real life so why bother.  I also hate to be that person that is constantly complaining about being in pain.  There are people out there that live each day in much more pain than I do so it makes me feel bad for talking about it.  

I also feel like I drive my family and friends crazy with how much I talk about my back.  If I were them, I would be thinking, “Just figure out the problem already!!!”  But that is the problem.  I can’t figure out the problem and neither can the 30-some doctors I have seen.  Yes, you heard that right, I have seen over 30 doctors in the last two and a half years for my back pain and they are all just as stumped as I am.  

Growing up I had lower back pain throughout my days playing sports, but it never debilitated me.  I was always a healthy kid who stayed active (hey 5am YMCA workouts with my momma before high school daily), stretched, and ate well.  I have always loved running, swimming, and strength training.  Two and a half years ago when I was in graduate school (Health Promotion and Education) I was sitting, studying, and writing/typing for hours and hours.  Gradually, my left side of my upper back, neck, and shoulder began to hurt. (I am left-handed so I thought it was just too much writing and tensing my muscles and that this would probably go away after school ended.). I stopped all intense exercise for 2 months (this was VERY hard for me to do) in hopes that my body just needed some time to rest and recover.  Then for the next year, the only exercise I did was hot yoga 5-6 times a week.  That’s it.  No running, no weights, no nothing.  Just yoga.

During this time I saw a chiropractor, massage therapists, an acupuncturist, and a physical therapist.  I left each of my appointments feeling a bit of pain relief only to regain it usually within the next hour.  My pain was consistently at a 8 or 9 on a 1-10 scale.  

Over the next couple years, I would go on to see many different chiropractors and physical therapists.  I had and MRI and an XRAY, which came back to show NOTHING.  Absolutely nothing.  A little bit of muscle spasming, but nothing that would cause this type of pain.  I worked on my posture, did my daily exercises at home, tried my best to sleep on my back (instead of my side), and even bought a new mattress.  

I was referred to 3 different pain management specialists during this time.  The first one told me that facet injections would help me.  I would have to be put under as the injections would go in my neck (certain spots trigger pain in different areas of the back).  At this point the pain was SO bad that I was desperate to try anything that would maybe help me.  I got the injections (about a year ago now) and was almost pain free…. for 4 days.  Thousands, yes thousands of dollars and 4 days later, I was in extreme pain again.  

It makes me sad to even think about this time in my life.  It is extremely hard to not only be in constant intense pain, but to also look normal on the outside.  I always felt people were thinking that I was exaggerating because I wasn’t bed ridden.  But believe me, some days, it took me hours to get out of bed.  It was terrible.  

The next pain specialist I was referred to suggested trigger point injections.  It is like acupuncture/dry needling, but there is medicine in the needle and the doctor will stick the needle in all the points on your neck/back that hurt the worst.  I did this a couple times with absolutely no relief at all.  

And the search for pain relief continues… Next I tried cupping which is an ancient practice that uses glass cups that are lit and literally suctioned to your back.  It is supposed to help with blood flow, toxin release, and circulation.  I did feel good after my session for a couple days, but then the pain came back full force. 

Onto my current pain management doctor I see regularly… He has prescribed me muscle relaxers, pain medication, and antidepressants (in low doses can help with nerve pain).  I am not one to take medication unless I really need it.  I won’t even take an Advil unless my head is pounding for hours.  My doctor thinks the pain on my left side of my neck/shoulder/back is from stress/overuse.  I am currently the least stressed out I have been in years.  My life is pretty calm/laid back/not stressful this year.  I have a flexible job, I work part time and I travel a lot (for fun).  I do understand that it will take time to get my back better, but lately it has been hurting tremendously and it is defeating when I don’t see improvement.  

I have to miss out on things I enjoy like running 1/2 marathons, water sports, lift heaving weights, etc.  I do not say this to complain, just to explain the pain.  My doctor recently said something to the extent of, “now that your pain is considered chronic….”  My mind literally stopped hearing anything past that word.  Chronic.  Chronic pain.  Isn’t that for old people?  I am 26 years old!  How do I have chronic pain?  Am I going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life?  

I am sharing my story today in hopes that others can relate and realize they are not alone.  Just because someone looks normal/healthy on the outside does not mean they feel that way on the inside.  You never know what others are going through and we cannot judge based on appearance.  If you are struggling with pain/illness/disease, I hope you know you are not alone.  Each day can be a struggle, but we have to keep living and moving forward.  I may be in pain most of the time, but I refuse to put my life on hold.  I refuse to miss out on anything else and I refuse to stop trying to figure out how to fix/manage my pain.  There are days when I am simply exhausted from trying to find new doctors/new medications/new pain relief techniques, but my pain won’t go away by sulking in my room.  I choose to be proactive and keep pushing forward and that is just what I am going to do! 

Questions:

  1. Have you ever dealt with ongoing pain?
  2. Are you proactive about avoiding injuries/pain?
  3. Have you ever had pain/injury hold you back from something you want to do?  

 

 

Weekend Recap 7.11.16

Good morning!! Can’t believe Monday is here already!!  The weekends seem to go by so quickly these days whether we are at home or traveling.  We had a really nice weekend with not too many commitments so that is always nice to be able to go with the flow.  Let’s back up to Friday and I’ll show you our weekend! 

After work on Friday we just relaxed and took the pups on a walk.  When we came back, I was cooking dinner and looked over to see this.  My husband and I sometimes place the dogs like this to LOOK like they are cuddling, but not this time.  They actually did this on their own and I just love Callie’s arm around Riley.  I know she is thinking “mom, I didn’t have anywhere else to put it.” 😉 

IMG_1224

Friday night was a low-key one with dinner at home and a movie.  We chose Father’s Day with Robin Williams and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this one.  It was pretty good… well the part that I actually saw.  I was asleep on the couch by 9pm.  

IMG_1232

Saturday morning we were up nice and early to get one thing checked off our to-do list. Our friends recently moved and offered us their less-than-1-year-old King Tempurpedic mattress.  Um, Yes please!!!  We just got a new mattress earlier this year, but didn’t splurge for the Tempurpedic we wanted so this worked out perfectly.  We are saving our other mattress for when we move in the next couple years and get a bigger house requiring more beds. We thought about renting a UHaul to grab the mattress, but my husband had the brilliant idea to use our boat trailer instead.  We like to keep it classy around here, folks! 😉 

After we got home, we had plans with friends to take a late-afternoon boat cruise.  I stopped at Trader Joe’s (they have the BEST snacks) for some munchies for the boat then we were on our way.  After about 45 minutes on the boat, the clouds rolled in and we headed back to our boat slip.  The rain couldn’t ruin our fun so we took the party back to our rooftop (part of it is covered) for some drinks, snacks, and card games.  And then I saw this!!  I just love rainbows! 

IMG_1243

The sunset Saturday night was so stunning.  

Sunday morning I had plans to work on a couple things for two upcoming bachelorette parties while my husband did some work on our boat.  My husband later snapped this picture of Callie sleeping.  How funny is that?!?!? 

IMG_1249

I got a quick run in on the treadmill before preparing some food to grill for dinner and some lunches to have for the week.  I made a big batch of homemade salad dressing to have on hand (extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, spicy mustard, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper).  I always used to make my own salad dressing, but have recently been lazy and have been using store bought versions.  It is so easy to make your own so I am glad I am back in the habit.  Plus, it is nice to know exactly what is going into it! We grilled chicken, tofu, zucchini and romaine.  

Have you guys ever grilled romaine?  It is SO good!  I just toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper and put it on the grill for a couple minutes.  It is slightly wilted, but still has a crunch.  

Have you guys tried these yet??  I found this flavored seltzer water at Trader Joe’s and I’m obsessed.  They also had a watermelon flavor and a cucumber flavor that I am dying to try as well.  These are great by themselves, but also go great with a little vodka for a healthier adult beverage.  

IMG_1253

Sunday night we had an HOA meeting to attend with our neighbors.  Somehow about a year ago my husband got nominated for HOA President and I got nominated for HOA Treasurer.  It is a nice responsibility and helps us get to know our neighbors better, but I’m sure most of them just know me as the girl that is always hounding them for money (I collect the quarterly HOA dues). 🙂 🙂 🙂 After the meeting and a little reading, it was lights out at about 9:30pm.  And today it is back to the grind!  Another super short week for me so that is always nice!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!!

Questions:

  1. What was the highlight of your weekend?
  2. Have you ever been the head of a club/organization?
  3. Do you like flavored water? 

 

Foodie Friday!

Happy Friday!  I can’t start this post without mentioning what occurred in Dallas last night.  My heart just aches for the families who lost their loved ones.  I pray that our world will be more peaceful.  Let’s all spread love, not hate.  

So last week at the lake, my mother-in-law made this delicious veggie quinoa salad.  I will have to post the original recipe when I get it from her, but I couldn’t wait to get home to make my own version!

IMG_1186

Veggie Quinoa Salad 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups steamed green beans

1 1/2 cups fresh (or canned) corn 

3 cups cooked quinoa 

1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley 

1/2 cup sliced almonds 

Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 

1 teaspoon of honey 

1 tablespoon spicy mustard 

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon pepper 

Start by steaming fresh green beans (you could use canned, but I prefer fresh) and chop into bite-sized pieces.  Cut fresh corn off the cob (I like it raw, but you could steam it) and add to bowl. 

IMG_1196

Next, mix up all ingredients for the dressing.   

IMG_1199

Add cooked quinoa (cook in water/broth according to package directions) and sliced almonds (I buy them pre-sliced) to the bowl with veggies.  Chop fresh parsley.  

IMG_1200

Toss quinoa and veggies in the dressing.  Then add the fresh parsley.  

IMG_1202

Mix it all up!  Add extra salt/pepper if needed.  This salad is perfect by itself or as a side dish.  It will keep for a few days in the fridge.  It just gets better as the dressing marinates! Enjoy!!

IMG_1203

I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy, and fun weekend!  

Questions:

  1. Any fun plans for the weekend?
  2. Have you tried a new recipe lately?  What was it?
  3. Do you have a favorite quinoa recipe?  (I am always looking for new ones!)