31 December 2010

Wedding planning update!

Just a quick reflection: Have I told you all lately how glad I am that Luke and I didn't get married back in August? Believe me, I'd love to be married to that man right now, but God's timing is perfect and I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out! I love that we're both graduated from college and fully employed. This definitely makes planning our lives together much easier! But most of all, I've been so thankful for the past 6 months of life after college without being married. Everyone is different and some girls don't need that time, but God knows my heart better than anyone and knew I needed that time to grow. Since May, I have moved back to Texas from New York, graduated from college, rented my first apartment completely on my own, took my first full-time job, lost my first full-time job, job hunted and worked part-time, found (and LOVE!) my second full-time job I'm at now, lived in the same city as my fiance for the first time in our relationship, and Luke graduated from college. 2010 turned out a lot different than I expected, but I know that this year was a year of big life lessons. It was a year of holding on to God as he molded me and taught me lessons I needed to learn so that I could be a better woman and wife. For this, I am thankful. End reflection. :)

I'm so proud of myself because over the last couple of days I've really buckled down on wedding planning. With tax season around the corner, I know that wedding planning time with my momma is slim, so I've had to get busy! I feel very blessed to have Aubrey in my life, because she's the wedding coordinator at another venue in town. Her expertise has helped me a TON! A couple of days ago, she went with me out to The Ranch at San Patricio to give my wedding coordinator the contract and deposit. Seeing the venue again got me SO excited! We were out there for over an hour and a half just planning and talking. Want to see a list of everything I've been working on? Of course you do!

1) Met with florists to get quotes and compare.
2) Met with a videographer.
3) Booked the ladies that will be doing hair and possibly make-up for the wedding.
4) Discussed ideas with a college friend that will be creating a couple of the details for the wedding.
5) I'm about 2 seconds away from booking the DJ and a _____ _____
(I can't give away all the secrets!).
6) Talked briefly with our photographer, Jade, about wedding photography.
7) Emailed the groomsmen. Gotta love those boys!
8) Researched fun shoes and jewelry for the bridesmaids.
9) Talked with and got quotes from Corpus Christi Liquor Catering.
10) I'm also about 2 seconds away from reserving hotels rooms for the guests.

This is so fun! Although I had planned quite a bit of my wedding prior to moving back to Texas, the planning then had been more talking and researching than actual meeting and decision making. Now, planning is in full swing! Since I don't have work tomorrow, I imagine that even more planning will be taking place. In addition to my list, Luke and I started pre-marital counseling a couple of weeks ago. We met with our pastor, Allen Frans, out at Camp Zephyr and it was really fun! I think Luke was a little nervous because he isn't really one for talking about himself or "feelings," but afterward he told me that he actually liked it. But who doesn't love hanging out with Allen?! We got to tell our versions of the story of how we met (they are EXTREMELY different, ha!), talk about why we want to get married, and what we want our wedding to look/be like. This meeting was simple, just the first few steps. It will get more in-depth as we get going. I'm so excited about this!!!

This about wraps up my wedding updates. I'm looking forward to updating you all as the many details fall into place. But now it is time for this bride-to-be to go to bed.

Happy last day of 2010!!!

30 December 2010

Home sick with a good book

Well, I've officially been sent home from work because I'm sick. Blah! There has been a popular office cold/flu/virus that has taken over the second floor of KRIS and for a while there I really thought I had beat it. But I guess I was wrong. Tuesday afternoon I started feeling a little nauseous and congested. And now, my doctor is calling in a prescription and I'm at home in bed with my kleenex, gingerale, and my puppy dog (Brooklyn is the best snuggle buddy!).

On the bright side, since I can't seem to sleep right now, I'm going to finish this blog post and then get back to Last Night at Chateau Marmont, Lauren Wiesberger's most recent novel. She is without a doubt my favorite author and I'm grateful to her and her novel for making this cold much more bearable!

If you haven't read a Lauren Weisberger novel, please please let me encourage you to do so! She's such a fabulous writer and I love that her books are based in New York (mainly because of my semester-long stay in NYC) because I know many of the subway stops and streets she mentions. Her books are perfect for any woman that dreams of taking on a big city, dominating her career, and chasing her dreams. I'm already looking forward to LW's next bestseller!

Alright, back to bed. But not before I grab another kleenex...

26 December 2010

Christmas Reflections

{Christmas Eve 2010} 

I feel like I haven't blogged in forever, even though it has only been a little over a week. But I mean, I guess I should cut myself some slack. It has been a little crazy with Christmas and all! I just want to start this post out by saying that I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to a blessed and happy new year. Both accompanied by family, friends, and other loved ones, of course. :)

The last few days have been filled with of some of the best food I've ever eaten in my life, holiday traditions that have continued to be some of the last constants from my childhood to now, my four "sides" of the family (including Luke's), and I must admit, some very fabulous Christmas presents! It has always been a personal goal of mine to take some time alone during the holidays to reflect on what this time of the year truly represents for us as Christians. More than good food, family, traditions, or presents, I'm in awe that God would so perfectly plant Himself in our flesh on Earth to save a people that didn't understand or want to accept who He was and still is. This love moves my soul and overwhelms me in a way that nothing else can. Most of all, I have been thankful for God's perfect gift this holiday season.

This year, I can proudly say that this was a Christmas full of "grown-up" presents! Luke and I had a great time opening joint gifts that will go in our future house! My parents bought us a flat-screen TV that Luke has (of course) already set up and plugged his Xbox in to at my apartment (don't even get me started, ha!). I was also given a wonderful vacuum that has worked wonders in my apartment already. Thanks mom!! Emily bought me the most perfect wine rack and Claire gave me a bunch of knick knacks for my kitchen from Ikea. My Aunt Amy gave me a gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond, which I proceeded to spend the day after Christmas. It was already burning a whole in my pocket! I bought a blender and some organizing racks for my kitchen cabinets. Don't worry now. I know that I need to be patient because with getting married comes wedding showers with which you receive many of these gifts. But these were a couple of things I've been needing for a while. Just call me Susie Homemaker. :)

Speaking of wedding, Christmas day was exactly 6 months until mine and Luke's wedding!!! Mom and I did a little wedding planning/talking over the break, so be looking for some wedding updates soon! I'm getting really excited because all of my ideas are coming together. Now, I just need to get some of my to-do list checked off!

For those of you that still have more time off from work or school, consider yourselves extra blessed (and envied!). For those of you who, like me, have to go back to work tomorrow, God bless us all. I know I'm going to need an extra boost in the morning! It's always so hard to go back to work or school after such a fun holiday.

Have a blessed last week of 2010!!!

18 December 2010

Luke's Graduation!

Luke graduated from college this morning! Yes, at 10:30 a.m., his graduation ceremony began and at 12:30 p.m. he was graduated and out of there! We had about 20 people at his graduation and about 30 at his grad party at B&J's. Not only did Luke receive his diploma today, but he also got a new laptop (from me!), a beautiful set of luggage (from my parents. yay for honeymoon luggage!), a new shot gun (from his aunts), and of course graduation money. What a good day! A huge smile never left Luke's face and my heart was so overwhelmed with joy. This is definitely a day I'll never forget!

{Luke getting his degree on the jumbo-tron}

{Luke and I outside the American Bank Center}

{Luke with my family}

{Luke with his family}

{Look at these buddies! So grown up!!}

{Luke with Baby Spencer at his grad party}

{So glad Jay and Morgan could make it!}

What a fabulously happy day!

16 December 2010

He Did It!!!

Yes, after 5.5 LONG years, Luke is FINALLY graduating!! I'm so proud of him! This is especially cool to me because Luke didn't have your everyday, "normal" college experience.

After high school, Luke was pretty much on his own financially. The first year or two he lived with his aunt and uncle and worked two or three part time jobs at a time. Then he was given the opportunity to live out at Camp Zephyr and work as a retreat season staffer while continuing school. But being 100% on his own financially meant that Luke has never been able to take more than 12 or 13 hours at a time. On top of this, half way through college, Luke changed his major. This cost him a semester or two in hours. So, after what has felt like the longest 5.5 years for him, he has finally wrapped up his undergrad. I could not be more proud of my hard-working, persistent fiance who has trusted God to carry him through this time in his life.

I got a text from him tonight saying, "I got all of my grades back today. It's official! I'm graduating!!!" Not that we had any doubt, but it just feels SO GOOD to get those last few grades locked in. Graduation is Saturday at 10:30 a.m. You better believe we'll have a big crowd there! After graduation, we're all going to B&J's Pizza for a lunch party. I can't wait to give Luke his graduation gift, a NEW LAPTOP! I took my time picking it out and really researched. I can't wait to give it to him!

Congrats baby! I love you so much!!!!

 {He never was one for studying, ha!}

In other news, wedding planning has officially commenced! After picking a new date, I kept thinking to myself, "I'm good. I have time." And then I had a huge revelation today that on Christmas day it will be exactly 6 months until mine and Luke's wedding. AHHH!!! I better get a move on! I made myself a wedding to-do list today and e-mailed it to my mom. Looks like we have a lot to do over the holidays! Get excited because I'm sure much wedding talk is on it's way to my blog. :)

I hope that Christmas shopping and holiday cheer is in full swing in all of your lives! Please stay tune for pictures from Luke's graduation this weekend and many more wedding updates! And remember, you can always get caught up by checking out our wedding website at:

12 December 2010

Prayer for Luke

Hello friends! I have a quick favor to ask of you. On Tuesday morning at 8 a.m., Luke will take his second to last final of college EVER! Then, later that same day at 5:30 p.m., he will take his last final of college EVER. He is super nervous, because neither one of them are going to be easy and he needs to do well on both of them. Would you please join me in prayer for him?

Please pray that he'll truly soak up everything he has studied and remember it for the test. Please pray for peace because I know his heart will be racing. Please pray for steady thought and confidence in his choices (A, B, C, D...ya know that good ol' multiple choice!). And please just pray that everything will go smoothly so that we can get these tests behind us and move into the celebration of his graduation.

I know that Luke would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!!!!

11 December 2010

Praying For a Church Home

Some of you know this and some don't, so I'll just fill everyone in. Luke's work schedule does not make much time for the two of us on the weekends. He's always having to work at camp because that's when most groups go on retreats. It's just the way it is. But this aspect of his work has been really tough on us when it comes to finding a church. I've lived in Corpus Christi for 8 months now, and we still haven't found one that really clicks for both of us. Yes, I know that it can take a while to find a church, but of the 8 months I've lived in this city, Luke and I have probably made it to church together 4 or 5 times. So yeah, I'm slightly frustrated about this. I just really want Luke and I to get plugged into a church before we get married so that we can have a church family in our lives as we take this next big step.

Last week after church, I was talking to my dad on the phone and he asked me what I was up to. Poor ol' dad, he had no idea what was coming. I jumped right up on my soap box and started telling him how frustrated I was that God hadn't showed Luke and I a church to call home here in Corpus. Now, my dad is a very godly man that offers solid advice, but even he was like, "Uh...uh...I'm sorry?" I felt bad for him after I hung up, ha!

But I know that God's timing is perfect. And on Friday, after what has felt like forever, He just might have revealed to me what church Luke and I are supposed to attend! I always thought that Luke and I would "choose" this church together, but God sort of just laid this place in my lap and I got that feeling like He was leading me there. I called Luke freaking out! Again, poor guy (God bless the men in my life for my freak out moments), he was working and could barely hear me. I told him, "Luke! I want you to be excited!!!" and he said, "I am. But I can't hear you, I love you and I have to go back to work. We'll check the church out this weekend because I have Sunday off." WHAT?! I was thrilled!

So, I hope I'm not building this Sunday up too much. But the feeling I had when I was talking to a couple of people from this church last week was very similar to the feeling I got when I found my home church in college. It's the most peaceful and joyous feeling! This new church has a Newly Married and Engaged Couples class, which is something we've been looking for. And the worship service sounds like the size and style we've been working for. I've already laid out my Sunday clothes for tomorrow. Yup, that excited. :)

Will you please do me a favor and say a prayer for Luke and I? We just barely ever get to go to church together and I'd really like for us to find a church home we can plug into here. Please pray for discernment and peace. I'd greatly appreciate it!

{Luke and I took Brooklyn down to the bayfront this morning to play in the fountains. It was just too beautiful!!!}

08 December 2010

A Christmas Treat for Bloggers

 {Photo from shutterfly.com}

Attention all of my blogger friends and family!!
I have a sweet holiday treat from Shutterfly to share with you! :)

Shutterfly is giving away 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers who write a post about Shutterfly and all of the amazing creations you can make through this website. 

I've loved and used Shutterfly for a few years now. As a college student, Shutterfly helped me to store and print many pictures from sorority events and my summers at Camp Zephyr. With its very reasonable prices, speedy delivery, and quality customer service, I've constantly been impressed by this service. Although I have never ordered any of these myself, Shutterfly allows its customers to create desk calendars, photo books, birthday cards, and much more! As a bride-to-be with many showers, a bachelorette party, a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, a wedding, and a honeymoon ahead of me, I know I'll be putting Shutterfly's photo books to use!

I wasn't planning on creating Christmas cards this year. However, after I received a couple of them in the mail from friends, I decided I should endeavor to create a 2010 Christmas card. As luck would have it, I heard about Shutterfly's promotion the next day. I was thrilled, to say the least. And get excited, because there is a very good chance that Brooklyn's sweet face will make it into the Christmas card this year!

Don't miss out on this opportunity yourself! Registration for Shutterfly's Christmas promotion ends this Friday, December 10th.

05 December 2010

2011 = 12 Days Paid Vacation

I'm looking forward to 2011 for many reasons. Don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing December away by any means. I love this time of the year! But recently I've had an itch to travel and now's just not a good time. *sad face*

Since I just started a new job back in October, I've only accumulated 1 vacation day (you don't get vacay days for the first two months). Once 2011 hits, vacation days start over. SO, I'm anxious for 2011 to get here so I can book a couple of trips! Since Luke and I have picked a new wedding day, I need to save at least a week for our honeymoon. But I want to go back to New York something terrible and my sweet friend Christine will be living on the east coast all next spring. You better believe I'll be making a trip to stay with her and travel into the city! Luke and I also want to take a trip this next spring with Jay and Morgan (Luke's bf and his wife) to San Diego to visit a navy seal friend of ours that is stationed there. So many trips to plan!

Now is the time to be strategic. I cannot waste any vacation days and I need to not spend any money on unnecessary items. I have to start saving my money and looking for cheap plane tickets. Do you know of any special ways to find cheap flights?? If you do, please share! Because I miss this place dearly...

{At the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, looking at Manhattan}

03 December 2010

List-making boredom

I HATE being bored. There is actually nothing I hate more. As a kid, I knew better than to tell my mother that I was bored because her immediate response was always, "Well, I have some laundry that needs to be folded and put away, or there are some dirty dishes in the sink you could wash..." Get real mom, you knew what I meant.

Unfortunately, tonight I'm hella bored. Want to know the funny part? I, too, have laundry that needs to be done and dishes that could be washed. Oh, how it always comes full circle. I always get bored on Fridays because I'm tired, Luke is back at camp for the weekend, and my friends are either working or studying. Blah!

So, instead of finding something productive to do, I'm blogging. It's just difficult for me after a long week of work to do much more than lounge around the apartment boring myself. I did start my research of the gift I'm buying Luke for graduation. I can't tell you what it is; you might spoil the surprise! But I want to get the best deal that I possibly can on the best item I can find. I think I'm off to a good start. I also sent out e-vites for Luke's graduation lunch, which is slightly productive. But yup, mostly just bored.

I have made a To-Do list for tomorrow. Hopefully this will motivate me to have an extra productive Saturday! Would you like to see it? Do you really have a choice? ;)

To-Do List for Saturday
1) Work out
2) Get quarters for laundry and do 57 loads (I'm that far behind)
3) Clean the apartment
4) Pay electricity and cable bills
5) Buy Christmas gifts for the sisters
6) Make a Target run for a couple of life's essentials

This is all I've got for now, but I'm sure I'll think of a few more things. Sorry I subjected you to this lackluster blog post. But I couldn't help myself. There was nothing else to do. Now, off to bed. This is the best cure for boredom, BTW.

here we go again:)

updates. check 'em out. :)

29 November 2010

Oh Christmas Tree!

So, my Christmas tree is just about finished. I still need a tree skirt, but I can't bring myself to spend $20 on one, which is about what they cost everywhere. Yes, including Hobby Lobby. I think I'm going to try The Dollar Tree or maybe just make one. And I still need some icicles, which have always been on our family Christmas tree growing up. But I haven't been able to find any. Suggestions??

I just had to post some pictures of my tree. It's such a conglomeration of every ornament I found that I liked. The tree started our with just red and gold ornaments. Then I bought a couple of smaller colored glass ornaments. THEN I bought a couple of larger and way cooler ornaments at Hobby Lobby. And THEN I found a set of 15 ornaments at Home Depot that were navy, teal and silver. SHUT UP! I loved them and there was no way I couldn't purchase. Which brings you to my tree...

{Isn't she lovely?!}

{Luke and Brooklyn got into the picture-taking spirit!}

{Brooklyn's first Christmas picture. Oh believe me, there are more to come!}

28 November 2010

Where are you Christmas?

Christmas is here!!!!!!!!
{Well, sort of. We can at least say it's Christmas time.}
Don't hate me, but I like Christmas more than Thanksgiving. Please don't get me wrong, Thanksgiving is great. Family, friends, food and so much to be thankful for. And of course, we can't forget that I was proposed to over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, which makes it that much more special.

But I love Christmas!!!

My Christmas tree and decor went up 4 days before Thanksgiving. I already know what I'm getting all of my friends and family for Christmas and many of these gifts have already been purchased. I e-mailed my Christmas list to my mother a week or so ago. Are you beginning to understand yet??

In honor of Christmas, my blog now looks a little more festive. Hope you enjoy. :)

And for all of you Thanksgiving lovers, I hope I haven't offended you and that you had a fabulous Thanksgiving full of turkey and newly-made memories.

Now break out your Christmas decor!  

16 November 2010

Today's small joys

I joined the Corpus Christi YMCA today! I'm really pumped because I've been missing the SLC at Baylor and the good old gym I worked out at in New York. There is just something about a sweaty weight room, the sound of multiple treadmills running, and people burning off those calories. PLUS, for $50/month, I get to go to any aerobic, zumba, spinning, etc. classes that I want to! I think I may check out tomorrow's 6:15 a.m. step class, or maybe the 5:30 cycling class after work. Anyhoo, I'm ready to get this body back in (better) shape!

In other fun news, Luke brought these pretty flowers to my apartment after class tonight. Aren't they cool looking? He said he picked these out because they look like venus fly traps. Silly boy. :)

14 November 2010

So much love!!

This weekend, Luke's best friend, Jay, and his wife, Morgan, were married. Luke served as the best man and did a fabulous job! The happy couple has been through two deployments to Iraq and over two years of engagement. They were SO ready to be married and smiled through the entire weekend. Luke and I were so blessed to be a part of their special day and it made us that much more excited for our own wedding! Here are a few pictures from the blessed weekend. :)

{Best friends at the rehearsal}

{Luke and I at the rehearsal}

{The guys before the wedding}


 {Us at the wedding}

{Giving his best man toast}

 {With the beautiful bride!}

11 November 2010


I've noticed the last couple of days that it's becoming a trend on Facebook to write on a daily basis things that you are thankful for. I'm guessing this is because the Thanksgiving season is upon us! These statuses have prompted me to think about the things I am most thankful for and I've made a list to remind myself of God's many blessings.

1) I am thankful for Luke. We drive each other crazy and we've been through a lot over the last 6 months or so, but I can't imagine life without him. I'm so grateful for the lessons he teaches me daily and for his never-ending love, despite my (many) imperfections. He has the most incredible servants' heart and I'm so proud to call him my fiance.

2) I am thankful for my family. When I lost my job back in July, my parents stepped in immediately and helped me financially until I started the job I'm at now. My sisters have always been a huge motivation for me. It's hard to fail at anything with the three coolest "little" sisters (THAT's relative) watching your example and playing on your team. My family is my rock.

3) I am so thankful for my job. I don't know if I could appreciate it more at this point. When you lose your first job out of college after 7 weeks and then begin the searching process all over again, the next job is even sweeter than the first. I work with amazing people that challenge me daily. I've always been told to surround myself by people I want to be like. These people are the cream of the crop.

4) I'm so thankful for my Brooklyn. I got Brook a couple of weeks before I lost my first job, and that little pup was a huge motivation to push through tough times. How can someone NOT find joy in tough situations when a 2 pound puppy is going crazy when they get home?? She's the best cuddler, tv watcher, and crum-picker-upper a girl could have!

5) I am thankful for my apartment. When I first moved in I had very little furniture. I felt like my apartment would NEVER feel homey. But I've bought some furniture, borrowed some from family, and just made it work! Every time I add a little something new, it becomes more of me. I love that my Baylor diploma hangs from the wall in the dining area and that pictures of friends and family are all over the place. I love cooking dinner for Luke and I in my apartment and I love watching all of "our shows" with Aubrey. My apartment smells like the Leaves candle from Bath & Body Works and I LOVE it!

{Pictures of my apartment to come soon!}

6) And last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ, the only man who has ever laid down His life for me. He has never left my side; never let me down. When it feels like my world is crumbling around me, He is the only constant. It is my goal every day to live my life for Him and to be an example to His people. I fail miserably, but I know His mercies are new every morning. In the end, He's all I need.

What are you thankful for this thanksgiving season?

08 November 2010

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Tonight I had the honor of meeting Spencer Lewis Payne, Jade and Nathan's newest addition (bebe dos!) to the family. He's just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen! Aubrey and I cooked the Payne Family chicken tortilla soup and ate with them this evening. I can't wait to spend more time with all FOUR of Paynes!

{me and mr. spencer}

I also have another joyous annoucement: 

Luke graduates in 40 days!!!!!

I've seriously been waiting for this day for what feels like forever, as have many other people. Luke has worked a full-time job since he began college and has only been about to take about 12 hrs. per semester to sustain himself. It's been a long five and a half years (especially after drastically changing his major half way through), but I know that God's timing is perfect and I can't wait to see His plans unveiled as Luke takes the next step into a new chapter of life. Oh, and of course we will be throwing a party for him. But more details on that later!

{Luke trying on his graduation gown for the first time about a month ago. Can't wait until Dec. 18th!!}

07 November 2010

My First Peddlers Show!

Today I was introduced to The Peddlers Show in Robstown, Texas. Multiple times a year, a ton of vendors set up at the Richard M. Borchard County Fairgrounds to sell anything from gaudy jewelry to Christmas and Thanksgiving decor to soup and dip mixes to just about anything someone can carve out of wood. Hundreds of people attend and its a good time for all.

Aubrey was given a couple of free tickets to the show from one of her bosses at work, so duh...we went! It took about 2 hours for us to walk around the entire building. We sipped on samples of fabulous coffee, I definitely tried the same pretzels and dip a couple of times, and we ooooed and awwwwed over about 10 baby girls with the largest bows on their little bald heads.

I'm sad that I didn't take any pictures at the actual show, but Aubrey and Brooklyn modeled for me (for your enjoyment!) as I took these pictures of the Christmas decor I bought for my apartment at The Peddlers Show.

 {My items of choice from left to right: a snowman ornament, two wooden tree stand-alone cutouts (for lack of a better title??), a county santa ornament, and a bell ornament}

{My models with the Christmas decor}

{Brook is mostly a fan of the bell. Because it makes noise, obviously}

06 November 2010

Long time comin'!

I moved into my apartment in Corpus Christi back in May. Oh, what a day that was! When I moved in, I had a couch and an inflatable mattress to my name; that's it. Yes, I had furniture in college, but most of it stayed in Waco with Claire. It's taken me a little while to accumulate furniture (my current bedroom furniture, kitchen table, and end tables are on loan), but my apartment looks good! The only thing I'm still missing is a coffee table and an entertainment center.

Well, until now...

Today mom picked up both of these for me at IKEA on her way home from Waco!!! I've been eying the pieces from a far for a while, just waiting for the right paycheck. The "entertainment center" is actually a bookshelf I'm going to turn on its side. A good friend of mine has the same one and did the same thing. I know, I'm being a copycat, but it's such a great idea! Plus, it has a TON of compartments for DVDs, the DVR, picture frames, candles, or whatever I want to put in the compartments. I'll post pictures of both pieces once they're put together (I get them Tuesday), but for now, here's a couple of pictures from the IKEA website.

I'm so excited!!! Thanks mom. :)

"Me" Time

I love shopping with myself.

I go to all the best stores. I don't spend too much time in one place. I like everything that I pick up and ask, "What do you think?" (Ok, maybe not everything). And I don't drive myself crazy. I am the best shopping partner for me that there ever was!

Don't you ever just need some "me" time? I don't have kids, I don't have a husband, and I still value my "me" time as much as those who do. There is just something about not having to talk with someone or be personable. Last night after work, I went and walked around the mall alone. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Shopping and relaxing. It was fabulous. :)

Oh yeah, and I bought a new purse! You can see this bag, plus many others on the Francesca's website. I love their bags because they don't break the bank, but are still super stylish!

04 November 2010

Who writes YOUR paycheck?

As I am nearing the end of my fourth week at a new job, I'm remembering back to a lesson I learned in New York last spring. I had the most fabulous mentor and boss at CBS News when I interned in the press office. Not only did she teach me extrememly valuable lessons about working in the media world, but she also blessed me by teaching me lessons about Who it is I actually work for.

Early on in that internship, my boss was telling me and the other interns about a talk she had recently given to a group of adults at her church. She said that her first question to these people was, "Who writes your paycheck?" One person answered, "The lady in HR." Another said, "The president of my company." These were not the answers she was working for.

My boss went on to explain to us that no man writes her paycheck. God signs that check.

In the working world it is easy to fall prey to your boss, director, or manager. You can choose to not speak your mind or stay out of the issue because you are nervous of what people may think of you. This reminds me of a young teen who sees something wrong happening, but is afraid to stand up for what is right because they think this will cause them to become "unpopular."

My boss in New York was a firm believer in speaking truth, whether or not it was what the recipient wanted to hear. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind in a respectful way or stand up to an issue she did not feel was ethical. She knows Who is writing her paycheck and does not fear losing that check. She knows that as long as she is living her like as an example of Christ, God is on her side. If she was to lose her job, it would be because God has something better for her down the road. What a way to live life! Without fear, knowing that security is not in who you work for on this earth, but Who you work for eternally.

Who's writing your check? Where is your ultimate security?

28 October 2010

Plastic Cups

A couple days ago Luke and I stopped by HEB to pick up a few things before we went over to Jay and Morgan's (Luke's best friend and his fiance) apartment for dinner. After we had picked out a cake for dessert and I grabbed some dog food and paper towels, Luke and I had a small conversation that went something like this...

Me: Do we need anything else while we're here?
Luke: I need some plastic cups.
Me: Why?
Luke: Because you suck at doing the dishes. 

This is so not true. I just can't wash them as fast as he uses them. What a punk!

 {just being us}

27 October 2010

Bowlcoming 2010!

My first homecoming as a Baylor alum was good for my soul. Last weekend was one the of the best weekends I've had in months. Here is an extremely long a recap of my time in Waco:

My manager let me take off of work early on Friday, around 3 p.m., to eave for Waco. I had packed the night before and was ready to leave from work. I was so thrilled to be driving to Waco and was singing at the top of my lungs to the radio that I completely missed my first exit out of Corpus. This caused me to have to turn around multiple times and added 20 minutes to my drive. I was SO frustrated! But this feeling was quickly overshadowed, once again, by my excitement for my first Baylor homecoming as an alum.

I made two stops in my five and a half hour drive from Corpus Christi to Waco. Once outside of Victoria because my car said I had 4 miles worth of gas left in my tank and once in Hallettsville at my parents' house to use the rest room and grab a drink/snack. I made it to Waco by 8:30, just in time to sing the last three songs with the BRH Alumni Choir at Singspiration (my old choir, a huge Baylor traditional worship service).

After Singspiration, I met up with my old roomie, Catherine, and my baby sister, Claire. We headed over to the bonfire to meet up with more friends and hear the results of the homecoming float competition. I saw so many old friends there! The weirdest part of being on campus for the first time since graduation was that I still felt like a student. After seeing and catching up with many college friends, Cat and I snuck into the 9 p.m. Pigskin performance to watch Claire perform with Tri Delta. (When you've performed in Pigskin and Sing many-a-time as a student, you feel as if you've earned the right to sneak in. And hey, I bought a ticket for Saturday. It all evens out.) I cried watching Claire perform for the first time. I didn't think I'd get so emotional, but it's the coolest feeling in the world to watch your baby sister carry on your Baylor/Tri Delta legacy.

 {At the bonfire}

Saturday was busy is the best way. It started off with the Tri Delta Homecoming Breakfast in the chapter room and reunited, again, with college friends. After the breakfast, we walked over to 5th Street to watch the homecoming parade. It began to sprinkle, which should have been a fair enough warning (more rain to come), but it didn't phase me much at the time. After the parade, Cat, Kristin, James, Renee, Amy, Michael, and I headed over to George's for a few pre-game margarit-Os. How I had missed a good margarit-O! For those of you not from Waco, George's is known for their Big-O's, which is cold beer served in a large, round glass. I'm not a fan of beer, but margs? Yup!

 {Imagine this guy, but with a margarita in it. The best way to prep for a Baylor football game! And thanks for the picture TSP!}

After George's, we all got ready and headed over to the stadium for the big game. If you hadn't heard, Baylor's homecoming football game was a bit unusual. The game was supposed to begin at 2:30, but after about two plays into the game, lightening was spotted and a delay of game was called. For about the next 45 minutes to an hour, the teams hung out in the locker rooms while the fans either went under the stadium or waited it out in the stands. My friends, parents, siblings, and I all decided we'd wait it out in the stands. That it, until the torrential downpour began. We all rushed the field and were soaking wet in seconds. Umbrellas broke, rain jackets failed, and no one cared. It was so fun!

 {On the field during the storm! And yup, that's my dad in a trash bag.}

After about another hour, the rain stopped and the game started back up. I don't think it ended until closer to 8:30 p.m. But no one cared because Baylor WON! 47-42, this game made Baylor bowl-eligible for the first time since 1995 and ranked us #25 in BCS. Holla atcha Bears! This was, without a doubt, the most memorable first homecoming football game an alumni could possibly have.

After the game, Cat and I picked up some Food For Thought. Oh, how I had missed those chicken nachos! (I may try to recreate them this week, but I highly doubt I'll be successful.) After dinner, my family and I went to Pigskin (legally) to watch Claire and Tri Delta perform their act, "Come On and Swim!" Claire made us laminated maps of where all she'd be on stage during the performance. She's such a smart little fishy! They did a great job and once again, Tri Delta laid to rest a magnificent act. I can't wait for Sing 2011!

 {This picture was actually taken on Friday night, but I had to show you a picture of the fabulous map Claire made for family and friends. She's pretty legit}

A few of the girls from my Baylor in New York group reunited for about an hour after Pigskin. We got to hug each others necks, reminisce about our adventures in New York, and laugh about our all too many evenings at The Heights Cafe where we poured out our fears of life after college over bottle(s) of wine. Now look at us! Employed, out in the real world, kicking butt! I so proud of us ladies. Love you girls! P.S. Helena and Lindsey, you were dearly missed!

On Sunday morning, Cat, Christine, Kristin, James and I had brunch at Panera. I made sure to pick up a copy of the Waco newspaper (Baylor football on the front cover!) and bought a Baylor Alumni sticker for my car. And last, but certainly NOT least, I bought a cowboy coffee from Common Grounds for my long ride home.

I loved Baylor when I went to school there, but I can honestly say that I think I love it even more now. I finally get why parents want their kids to go to college where they did: because they had some of the best memories there! I definitely want my kids to have all of the amazing opportunities that Baylor offered me. I want them to wear green and gold proudly. It's about tradition, a perpetual bond of friendship (Delta love!), and family. My first homecoming as an alum was perfect; I couldn't have asked for more.

Sic 'Em Bears!!!

21 October 2010

Homecoming Eve

I need you to understand the way I am feeling right now. I cannot stop smiling, I no longer have the strength to hold in my joy. Today is...BAYLOR HOMECOMING EVE!! Best. holiday. ever.

Tomorrow (Friday) I am peacin' out of work two and a half hours early because I'm in a race against the clock to get "home." I haven't been back to Baylor since I graduated in May, against my own will. I can't wait for the bonfire, Pigskin Revue (Claire's first Pigskin. I'm going to cry like a baby), Tri Delta Homecoming Breakfast (first one as an alum!!), the parade, the football game, and spending as much time as I can with friends and family. Seriously, it's better than Christmas. I want to eat at all of my favorite restaurants and drink as many cowboy coffees as I can get my hands on. I CAN'T WAIT TO BE BACK!!! Many, many, MANY pictures to come!

I'm not going to be able to sleep...

 {Homecoming football game 2009 with some of my best friends in the entire world. Can't wait to see you all tomorrow!!}

16 October 2010

Settling In

Woohoo! I made it through the first week of my new job!!! Not like I didn't think I would, but of course I had no idea what to expect. :)

I love my co-workers! Everyone has made me feel very welcome and I already feel like I've been working at KRIS longer than a week. After getting through the standard protocol of HR paperwork, setting up all of my user names and passwords, ordering business cards, etc., I got to spend a lot time with the other AEs as I learned what my day-to-day routine will look like. I know that the next couple of months will be information overload as I grow into this new position, but I'm excited to have so many colleagues to learn from and look up to. What a fun group!

I wish I had a better picture to show you, but here's an iPhone picture of my new desk. I'm working on getting some framed pictures up and just overall making it look like I'm living there. I really want one of those mouse pads that is also a notepad, a small heater for under my desk (I've been told you can get them at Target for like $12??), and I still need to purchase a new planner. It's coming together, slowly buy surely!

{My new desk!}

I'm headed to Beeville in the morning for the Western Week parade. Every year, my dad emcees the parade from the front yard of his office. I guess it's a great central location. My whole family will get together to sit on the tailgates of our trucks and watch the parade. I love family tradition! And I'm excited that Brooklyn will be able to join us this year. Keep an eye out for pictures soon to follow.

Happy weekend everyone!

13 October 2010

Night time thoughts

It's at night, laying in bed, that I believe I do my best, most reflective thinking. I suppose it has something to do with the world slowing down and my ability at that point to take one complete breath after another. And this is where I am right now: laying in bed, just thinking back over my day and over the last few months.

My life the last five months has been nothing like what I expected. I know I write, or at least I feel like I write, about this concept pretty often. But I can't seem to help it. Facing life after Baylor and New York was way tougher than expected. College was more than I could have ever dreamed of, a safe haven where best friends lived and being social trumped all. Oh yeah, and there was school...

But you get what I mean. :)

If you haven't heard, I started a new job on Monday. After being "laid off" back in July, only seven weeks after I began my first full time job out of college, I started to re-evaluate. I began searching for a new job and working two part time jobs. I went to many professional mixers, gave my resume to anyone that would look at it, and tried very hard to meet all the right people. I even applied last minute to grad school and questioned my career choice. Many, many tearful conversations with my mom, friends, and Luke, although they didn't help me find a job (the tears!), got me through the valley. Even though tomorrow is only day three of the new job, I must say that it feels good to wake up with a work purpose. It's been a while since I was this thankful for something. God has taught me much patience, faith in Him, and thankfulness over the last five months. It's times like these that you look back on and say you'd not give up for the world because you grew so much during that low point. I know I'll be able to say this later down the road.

So tonight, as I lay here in my bed blogging on my iPhone instead of sleeping like I should be, I'm sincerely grateful. I am grateful for my new job, my supportive family, friends, and fiancé, my precious little puppy who is ever so sweetly cuddling next to me, my health, this comfy bed I'm laying in, and for my personal relationship with the God who has never left my side. Yes, there are still many kinks in my life to work out. Unfortunately, there probably always will be. But I'm truly happy tonight. And I know tonight's will be sweet sleep.

These are just a few of my night time thoughts. Goodnight.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

10 October 2010

First day of work!

4 loads of laundry. Yup, that's how many I have done today. It is a wonder that I haven't been walking around Corpus Christi naked since most of my clothes were dirty. But hey--at least I'm getting laundry done today, because tomorrow I start my NEW JOB! Must be on my best-dressed behavior. First impressions are a one-time thing. Wish me luck!

07 October 2010

All Things New

I have so many exciting happenings to share with you, my friends!

First of all, GREAT NEWS!!! I've found a new job!!!! I am now an account executive for KRIS Communications. This company owns 7 media platforms, including the local news stations KRIS 6 News (NBC) and Action 10 News (CBS). I will be selling advertising for these 7 platforms and assisting local businesses with their marketing strategies. Last Friday, just a couple hours after accepting the job, my girlfriends here in Corpus Christi took me out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse to celebrate. I was given a black rhinestone pimp cup that read "Loaded" on the side of it (HA!) and a sweet card signed by everyone. Tonight, Luke and I had dinner at Cheddar's with our best couple friends, Jay and Morgan, to celebrate my new job. Needless to say, I feel extremely blessed and surrounded by people that love and support me. I start my new job on Monday and I'm super pumped up about it!

{Me and my pimp cup. Thanks friends!}

I'm also going to continue freelancing, but as a blogger! Remember my old job with The One Bride Guide? Well, I'm now going to be writing for The One Bride Guide Blog. Besides writing the normal weekly blog posts that talk about cool DIY projects, color schemes, etc., I get to pick one day a week that will serve as my own personal "column," so to speak. Monica (the creative mastermind behind this fabulous wedding magazine) has told me that I can call this weekly blog post whatever I'd like. For example (and for lack of a better example), if I decide to write my column on Fridays, it could be called, "Fridays With Sara." I am now taking any and all suggestions! What do you think I should call my personal weekly blog post on The One Bride Guide Blog? 

{Have I mentioned that the new October issue just hit stands? Well, it has and it's awesome!}

The reason I did not start my new job(s) this week is because I am currently in the middle of a very special project. I was asked to serve someone in a very unique way this week. The Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra has its first concert of the season this Saturday. A young man by the name of Nobuyuki Tsujii will be performing with the symphony. He is from Japan, a year younger than me, has been blind since birth, and is a musical genius. I have been driving him and his translators back and forth between their hotel and his practice room this week and I must say that this experience has truly been an honor. "Nobu," as this young man has asked me to call him, is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He sits in the front seat of my car during each trip we make and tries very hard to talk as much English with me as possible because he wants to learn. He asks me to visit Japan and I ask him many questions about his native country. He loves to swim at his hotel pool and has told me about how much he likes to ride horses. Nobu will practice the piano for five or six hours straight without stopping. This is crazy to me! He has played two pieces for me already and I can't wait to watch his performance on Saturday. People may look at what I'm doing and think, "Oh, she is just chauffeuring this guy around. No big deal." But to me, I feel like this is one of the coolest opportunities I've ever been given. Nobu is such a happy person and his blindness does not seem to affect the joy he has in life. He is currently on a nation-wide tour of the states and nothing is holding him back from living every moment to the fullest. Spending time with Nobu has been an amazing opportunity and has challenged me to be thankful for very little bit of my life.

{Nobuyuki Tsujii}    

In addition to all of the cool things I have already mentioned, I have one more "cool" thing to add: THIS WEATHER! I am absolutely in love with it! I wish it could be 82 degrees in Corpus Christi forever. Today, my friend Sarah and I took our dogs on a walk on the bay front. It was so nice to be in such a pretty part of town next to the water. Once again, this reminded me of how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful place and have such wonderful people in my life, including my crazy puppy dog! I've included a little picture of Brooklyn and Molly enjoying their walk on the bay front this afternoon for you to get the full picture of their friendship. They're pretty cute together!

{Little puppy, bug puppy. Friends forever!}

Alright, its late and way past my bedtime. Time for this blogger to go to bed. I hope you all are having a fabulous week so far and have a fun weekend to look forward to. Before I end this post, I want to share a verse with you that has been on my heart lately. I don't know where you are in life right now, but I hope this blesses you in one way or another. Goodnight friends.

"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." -Revelation 21:5