My favorite season...of all time...is Summer. I love the heat, the fresh and happy fruits, the longer days - I LOVE IT ALL!
Flip Flops. I love my exposed feet and the convenience slipping off and slipping on of those shoes. In particular, I have a weakness for Old Navy Flip Flops. Please tell me I'm not the only one in the world who stands in front of the ever-growing display of flip flops and suddenly, my heart melts at the very sight?!?!
Tanning...with lots of sunscreen, of course. While I'll never use a tanning bed, I do love a nice dark tone to my skin. That said, here is a from one of my favorite shows Jerseylicious (I'm shameless, right?!?!)...watch, learn and laugh:
Movie On the Lawn. Literally, this makes me feel all small-town and summerish. Literally. And with places like this, who can disagree?!?!?
Allow me to give you permission to be jealous. I am here:
Among other things...
The Biggest Loser Finale was Tuesday. Ben predicted that Michael would win. He always guesses correctly who will win reality TV shows. Its incredible. Now, I'm not really sure how to spend my Tuesday evenings.
Recently, a friend of mine said, "Your home is like an art gallery." I almost melted into a pile of goo right there. Oh! How happy that comment made me!!!
I've established several "rules" for my decorating style. I should forewarn you that my tastes are unlike any other, but they helped establish a home that I'm proud of.
1. Lots of pictures of family. I've always hated those Tour of Homes in magazines that are SOOO perfect, but completely devoid of anything that catches a glimpse of those the homeowners loves the most. Ben is always amazed by my constant "need" for more picture frames!
2. All artwork must be local. With a few exceptions, see here, here and here. I've managed to actually accomplish this. Its been super fun! I have art pieces from family and friends, as well as art that I've done.
3. Primary colors. All the magazines and blogs I read say keep one color the dominate option in a room. Buuutttt that is SOOO hard when I LOVE all the colors....EQUALLY! So, in the end, I just adopted all the colors. Literally. My home looks like the rainbow threw up...but I haven't regretted my decision one bit.
4. Read. Read. Read. Read. Have I mentioned I'm a reader? Well, I am. So, I read. A lot. All this reading has helped me tremendously. I don't think I'm a naturally-born decorator...although, I REALLY want to be. So, I read. A lot. My favorite reads are: Real Simple Magazine, Promise Tangeman, Domino book, Apartment Therapy.
Here is the newest addition to my Art collection! Painted by....ME!!! (I apologize for the quality of the picture...it was taken from my phone!)
It happened today. As I was driving. MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS.
When I noticed a spidar on the dashboard....creeping towards me. Except it was one of those jumpy ones. All I could think about was how it was going to jump on me. While I driving 70 MPH. It felt like a century of contemplation as I tried to determine how to protect myself.
Then I realized I still hadn't swallowed the water I gulped the moment before (you know, the moment before I saw the spider?). It only took me a millisecond to decide what I was going to do...and one thought that caused me to hesitate - "I hope Ben doesn't kill me for this!"
I spit, nah...I HURLED water towards that spider. Sadly, it didn't look this graceful:
I was about six years old and I thought I was the world's greatest chef.
Playing behind my playhouse, I concocted all sorts of amazing dishes using only the finest ingredients of mud, grass and rocks. When you are six years old, you make do with what you have.
No one would try my dishes. Except my brother. He was two years old, innocent, completely trusting and the perfect victim taste-tester of my menu.
"Hey Caleb," I said. "Wanna try my chocolate milk?"
He didn't even hesitate. He gulped that entire cup of chocolatey mud-mixture down so fast, he left only the rocks at the bottom of the cup.
I remember staring in disbelief. Not only did he NOT NOTICE IT WAS MUD, he really thought it was chocolate milk. I may have been six, but I understood the value of a secret. I never told him...until later.
Well, that mud-drinkin' brother of mine has all grown up. Its incredible. And, today, he is getting married. I can't believe it. Thankfully, I don't think he will be serving any chocolate-on-the-rocks.
Wait. What's that you say? Not on your calendar? I know, I know..its not a national holiday. Yet.
Lately, I've been devouring this incredible blog entitled Today's Letters. This blog is really neat because every single day, you will find a wife of 5 years writing a letter to her husband. Sounds magical, right? Its really challenged me and got me thinking, "What can I do to celebrate Ben?"
Ben and I do various things to show each other our love. Just to name a few: we hid notes for each other to find around the house, leave love comments on our phones, Facebook and Twitter, he brings me flowers, he rubs my feet, he takes me on crazy hunts to find red velvet cake and makes me cinnamon rolls. (Did you notice that I crave weird foods?!)
Did ya catch what I just said?? HE...He...He...he...Ben does a lot of things for me. So, I decided it was time to host Celebrate Ben Day.So, today, we watched his favorite movie, ate his favorite snack foods, and soon, will eat his favorite dinner....all because Ben is the greatest.
Here is to wishing that you have a celebrate-[your favorite person]-day!
Do you remember that time when Ben said he wanted to run a marathon? Oh you don't? Incredible, because I haven't forgotten...So, its been about a month since my husband declared that not only did he want to run a marathon, he wanted ME to run with him.
At that point in my life, I had several thoughts.
1. I'm not an athlete (I prayed through my misery of 3 years of softball, one summer of gymnastics and cringed numerous, numerous times whenever someone would say, "Hey! Let's play [I'll-let-you-fill-in-the-blanks]!")
2. I have a secret desire to work in a library. (See thought #1 for more information)
Well, I still want to work in a library and I'm still not completely convinced I am an athlete. But, in a short month's time, I am now running - consistently - 1and 1/8 miles every day. It has not come easily, let me tell you. I've had stomach cramps, I've been gasping for breathI've thrown up, I've upgraded to new tennis shoes and I currently have leg cramps. But I feel good. Really good.
In fact, I like running. Did I just say that? I'm excited for the day I can run 3 miles every day. Which, once I get these leg cramps out of my way, I am pretty sure will occur.
I have overcome something I thought was impossible. And, Ben just glistens. Sure, with sweat, but a lot of pride, too. He is just thrilled we have become the "running couple".
I could write and tell the world of our first date. That Monday before I graduated. The one that last 6-8 hours. The one where I was early because I was nervous. And you were nervous because you liked me. I could also recall that gazebo-sittin' conversation, when I told you I never made it past the second date. And you told me you liked me. The one that included Mexican food, conversation about our families, music and many other important first date conversations. The one that ended with a hug you gave, and how I panicked and cringed when you did. Remember that? Our first date?
But, today, lets remember this: how you brought me flowers yesterday. How I scared you half-to-death because I cut my finger while cooking dinner. How you proclaimed you never knew I could cook so well after we loved every bite of these wonderful things.
A year after our first date and 4 and 1/2 months of marriage, I love you. More. More than I ever thought possible.
PS - if you love reading about married couples who work hard at their marriage, look no further than Today's Letters.
A couple of weeks ago, I landed smack-dab in the middle of an intense grieving session. It was heartbreaking. And, you may remember it: my final goodbye to milk products.
In all truth, the main source of my grief was Starbucks. They serve powder based frappuccinos and lattes, so no matter if you get soy milk, you (i.e., me) will still get sick.
Until now. They are NOW serving "However-you-want-it" frappuccinos. When the lady told me that the powder based mixes are GONE, I almost climbed over the counter and hugged her neck. But I refrained. For her sake, of course.
In light of that, I am THRILLED to announce that Starbucks is hosting a celebration! THIS WEEK ONLY! Starbucks HAPPY HOUR!
I recommend the "Extra Coffee Caramel Frappuccino" WITH Soy. But its really "However-you-want-it". Enjoy.
Growing up, you didn't come to my house after you had JUST eaten....because my Mom was going to feed you. Like it or not. Full or not. You were going to eat if you were at my house. It was embarrassing, but now...I'm the SAME WAY. Somethings don't change. Ever.
It was my senior year of college. The last day of class...just days before graduation. It was raining. Again. And, I was paranoid about my hair frizzing up like a white-girl afro. I slipped into chapel, quickly immersed by my friends. From across the expansive auditorium, I saw him.
It was a perfect movie moment. I gasped. And lost my train of thought as I stared at one beautiful man. My friend, Regan, shook me. "Bethany? What happened?" She paused. "Where is he?"
I was never one to notice a man's looks. Honest! I was notorious for walking past dozens of "drop-dead gorgeous" men and never noticing them. Ever. I had tunnel vision and it wasn't on them. Except that day. When I couldn't stop staring at that hottie-of-a-male-specimen.
He was my student. I was his Admissions Counselor. To my friends, to my boss, it was a little bit of a scandal. But he was soo crushing on me. And, I knew it. And, I was...shall we say? "My interest was piqued."
When he came into his Admissions meeting that afternoon, I suspected he'd ask me out. Regan had already give him a campus tour, and I had slipped into her dorm room afterwards to get the scoop on this man. She nodded her at-first-glance approval.
Our meeting lasted an hour. One long hour of me trying to still my heart and shoo away the singular thought I kept having: What would it be like to kiss this man?
He eventually said something like, "We should hang out. You know, since you will be here all summer." I thought he meant when he started college, in August. "Sure" I stumbled out. (Okay, okay, so I don't take the most obvious "do you wanna go out" hints)
Then he left. But, that wasn't the end. That was only the beginning.
Today, one year ago today, Ben and I met. Finally. Face-to-face after months of phone calls as I guided him through the Admissions process.
Today, one year later, my husband and I are going to celebrate that first meeting. And, why not? It changed our lives. For the best.
Who doesn't love a good love story? Well, I'm going to share ours as we hit each monumental day. I hope ya'll are ready...
These days, I'm all about sneaking in vegetables in places Ben would never guess. It is definitely a challenge, because Ben is famous for being a picky-eater.
To be fair, I did warn him ahead of time. I told him, "Zucchini is in your future." His face wrinkled up in concern, in fear even.
In the grocery store, he almost gagged as I placed the zucchini in the bag. And, all I was planning to make? Muffins. That's right. Zucchini muffins, which, if you haven't tried them, you are missing out. 1) Because its a GREAT way to sneak in some vegetables and 2) Zucchini muffins are YUMMY!
Try this great recipe and watch your muffin patrons gasp in surprise that something so GOOD could have zucchini. By the way, I grated the apple instead of chopping, because I didn't want "chunks", I also sprinkled brown sugar on the top before baking for an added crunchy sweetness.
The muffins were a success for Ben. He enjoyed them. I think he was surprised (with every single bite!) that he was eating zucchini and not vomitting. Which, is always a good thing in my book.
I tried to sneak up on Ben with a surprise attack. It didn't work so well. Then, because I am easily distracted, I set the Nerf gun on the coffee table to check Facebook. It was fully-loaded. (What was I thinking?!?)
I hid behind the computer as I watched the Nerf gun "bullets" whiz by me.
Now, I've been traumatized. I don't think we can play with those things again. Scrabble, anyone?