30 March 2011

My last few evenings as a single gal

I am one to enjoy my alone time. I believe this stems from the fact that I grew up in a family of 6. When I was in high school, extended periods of alone time were few and far between. I cherished them immensely!

As a young adult, my appreciation for time to myself has changed. When I get home from work, all I want to do is sit on my couch and turn my cell phone off. I don't want anyone from home, work, or elsewhere to ask me any more questions. All I want to do is sit and watch E! News in peace.

Therefore, I am cherishing these last few weeks until I become a wife. Yes, I'm still very much in love with the hubby-to-be and I'm joyfully awaiting the day that he slips that wedding band on my left finger. However, I know that once this happens, life will never be the same. Sometimes I will arrive home to a boy and a dog, sitting there hungry and anticipating dinner. Sometimes I will get home and there will only be a dog (Luke works out of town a lot), but there will be twice the laundry to do, groceries to buy, etc. Yes, I do these things now, but at a different pace and on a schedule that accommodates just one person. I am still planning on making quite time for myself a priority, but I'm not holding my breath. Life is going to change drastically, but until then I'm enjoying these quite evenings to myself.

{My hot date this evening: thank you notes, a cup of my favorite coffee, and The Nanny playing in the background}

{In other news, the tiger lilies in the birthday bouquet Luke gave me last Friday finally opened and they are GORGEOUS!}

29 March 2011

Feeling blessed, giving back, and living with compassion

I've been feeling very inspired and blessed lately. After what couldn't have been a better 24th birthday and looking through pictures of my first bridal shower, I am reminded of how wonderful life truly is. I'm not living in Japan with the threat of radiation poison looming over me, I'm not an orphan without family, I'm not physically sick or hurt in any way. I'll be the first to admit that I can let the little speed bumps in life get to me and forget how lucky (this is the only other word I can think of besides blessed!) I really am. This makes me think of Francesca Battistelli's newest song, This Is The Stuff, where she sings, "In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed." I am so grateful for the countless ways God shows His love, even when I lose focus!

A couple of weeks ago, my director at work sent me the link to a speech called, "This Is Water," by David Foster Wallace, which was given at the 2005 commencement ceremony Kenyon College. It is a wonderful 20ish minute speech about living a conscious, compassionate life, both as an educated person and as a Christian. If you haven't heard this speech, please, please let me encourage you to listen to it! I'll post the links below. It is absolutely motivating and is the best commencement speech I've ever listened to. One line in particular really stood out to me and challenged me in my daily life, in the way I work with clients, in the way I communicate with friends and family, etc. Wallace said,

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad, petty little unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated and understanding how to think.

You have to listen to the entire speech to fully understand this statement in its context, but for some reason this quote hit me like a ton of bricks. Freedom isn't money, fine clothes, or prestige. It's about being aware of those around you and striving to make a difference in their lives. As previously stated, I've been feeling incredibly blessed. But what does any of this matter if I'm not giving blessings back to others and showing them the love that Christ has so graciously shown me? This is where the inspired part comes in. God's blessings have now inspired me to give back to others in "petty little unsexy ways every day." Just some food for thought.

"This Is Water" links:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5THXa_H_N8
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSAzbSQqals

And now I'll leave you with this, my favorite passage that I read as a religion minor in college (and I read A LOT!). It is from The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), a document of the Reformed Christian faith. It says,

We learn that we are to be patient in adversity, grateful in the midst of blessing, and to trust our faithful God and Father for the future, assured that no creature shall separate us from His love, since all creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they cannot even move.
I just love this quote. It doesn't quite go with the rest of the blog post, but I don't care. I love to share it with people any chance I get!
How has God blessed you lately? How have you given back? Are you striving to live a conscious, compassionate life on a daily basis? Again, just some food for thought. :)

In the grip of grace,

27 March 2011

My First Bridal Shower!

A week ago yesterday, I attended my first bridal shower. I've had many friends get married over the past few months and because of this, I've been able to look through many Facebook albums of shower pictures. Attending your own shower always looked like fun, but I had no idea how much fun I was actually going to have!

 {At my first bridal shower in Beeville}

22 amazing women hosted my shower at FBC Beeville, the church and church school I grew up in. Every last one of these women have watched me grow up, from the nursery to now. They have been my family, Sunday school teachers, elementary school teachers, and my second, third, and fourth mothers! They will never truly know how much they have blessed my life, every last second of it. To have them throw a shower in my honor means the world to me and I am better because of the example of love, service, and faith they have set for me over the years.

{Hostesses (missing a few)}

After catching up with everyone, my Aunt Kathy opened up with a word of prayer. She said such a sweet blessing over Luke and me! Then, my kindergarten teacher, Juanita Blanton, said another really sweet prayer. Again, these are women of faith and integrity that have helped raised me. What a blessing!! We ate some really amazing food and I got to catch up with friends and family I hadn't been able to see in a while. After eating and cutting cake, I was told it was time to start opening gifts. Since Emily and Claire couldn't be at this shower, Becca did a great job of standing in as my MOH and writing down all of the gifts received. Thanks Becca Roo!

{4 of my 8 bridesmaids. Love you girls!!}

{Beautiful shower cake!}

{Love you baby sister}

{The platter to match my casual dishes!}


{Corningware! Get ready for Thanksgiving Aunt Kathy!!}

I had a fabulous time and Luke and I were given some really awesome gifts! We feel extremely blessed to have so many supportive people in our lives. And the best part is that I know this isn't a "one time, just because you're getting married" type thing. These are the friends and family that are forever, that will be loving and supporting us throughout our marriage. 

Thanks again ladies for all of your hard work and for the awesome shower!  I love you all!!

26 March 2011

My Most Fabulous 24th Birthday (Week)!

I turned 24 today and had a fabulous time celebrating with my fiance and friends!! 

On Monday, Luke gave me my birthday presents a little early. He is such an amazing hubby-to-be that is always striving make me feel special. Well, he definitely succeeded on my 24th bday! I love this guy so very much, and not because he bought me birthday presents. I love him because he has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever known. Too cheesy? I don't care. :)

{Bday present #1: new perfume!}

{Bday present #2: a new Michael Kors watch!}

On Thursday, Aubrey, Kubal, and I went to dinner at Water Street Oyster Bar to celebrate my birthday a couple days early. These girls are so wonderful and I was very blessed to get to spend an evening with them! Kubal gave me a "healthy" cookbook for my birthday because she knows I'm trying to expand my cooking skills and just trying to be more healthy in general. What a great gift from one bride to another! Aubrey gave me the movie Morning Glory for my birthday. Love it!! This movie is THE story of my 4 months in New York. Thanks girls!!

{In the car, about to go to dinner}

{Presents from sweet friends!!}

{Incredible women I'm proud to call friends}

{Thanks for the free birthday ice cream brownie Mr. Waiter at Water Street!}

On Friday, I didn't have to go to work because my company considers birthdays a holiday. How great is that?! So, I took the opportunity to run errands that I haven't been able to do because of my busy work days (ex: stopping by the bank, taking a ring to get sized, renewing my drivers license, etc). I also went to Ann Taylor Loft to buy myself some new work clothes (happy birthday to me!!). The best part about shopping was that when I got to the counter to pay, everything was an extra 30% off! Love, love, love!! I spent the rest of my day off relaxing with Brooklyn, cleaning the apartment, and writing thank you cards for my gifts from my bridal shower last weekend. I must stay on top of these!

{Personalized stationary, courtesy of Jules. Thanks momma!}

 {Luke surprised me with birthday flowers on Friday when he got into town after work. So pretty!}

{Aubrey brought me birthday cupcakes this morning!}

Today was a petty chill day. Luke and I went shopping and worked on a few wedding things. This evening, we went to dinner at Niko's Steakhouse. After dinner, we drove around town trying to think of something to do and by the time we realized we wanted ice cream, all the cool places were closed. Bummer! So, we settled for Wendy's frosties. Not a bad settlement!

{Frosty lovin'}

Thanks so much to everyone that played a role in making my birthday so special! I had a fabulous day/week. I've only been 24 for about 24 hours, but so far so good! One friend that wrote on my Facebook wall for my birthday said that she just knows this is going to be the best year yet and I'm going to have to agree with her. I'm thinking that 24 is going to be a great year!!

20 March 2011

Domestic Diva, Take Two

If you read my blog post from yesterday, you learned about my first endeavor with cooking from scratch. The herb roasted chicken, rough mashed potatoes, and green beans were so yummy and fun to cook that mom and I decided I needed to make a second dinner tonight. So after another quick trip to HEB, I had all the ingredients I needed for homemade pizza!

First, I rolled out the dough on a pan. Then I put a small amount of olive in my hands and lightly spread it over the dough. After sprinkling some rosemary, thyme, and chopped onions on the dough, I put in the oven for just a few minutes to get it slightly warmed and golden.

{Before the oven (and onions)}

{After a few minutes in the oven (plus onions)}

After I pulled the pan out of the oven, I added pizza sauce, turkey pepperonis, lean sausage (previously browned on the stove), sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos, and mixed cheese. This completed pizza was put into the oven until the cheese was melted.

{Before it's final round in the over}

And voila! The finished product. I cut in into square pieces and Luke ate 8 of them! I guess this means I did a good job. :)

I also made a second smaller pizza the exact same way, but instead of sausage and pepperonis, I used some of the leftover chicken breast from last night. This will make a great healthy lunch to take to work tomorrow. I'm pretty excited!

{Chicken pizza}

{And of course, making any meal is worth it when I have such a cute dish washer to clean up after me. Love him!}

Domestic Diva

I am proud to announce that tonight, for the very first time in my life, I cooked an entire meal from scratch. And the best part is, it was SO tasty! After my mom read my blog post where I talked about how I can't cook for crap, she decided to give me a cooking lesson. I think this is partially because I never inherited the love for cooking that my sisters did and also because she feels sorry for Luke. I mean, who wouldn't? We don't want Luke to starve after we get married, now do we? So, without further ado, here is the storyboard of my first home-cooked meal!

First, mom and I went to HEB to grab the items we needed to create this meal. We bought chicken breast, red potatoes, green beans, an onion, lemons, light margarine, light sour cream, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. I already had olive oil and the seasonings. 

Next, I pulled out my small cutting board and a small bowl. I poured extra virgin olive oil into the bowl, enough to cover the bottom of the bowl and then a little, and I squeezed half a lemon into the olive oil (no seeds allowed!). Then I began to pull apart the rosemary and thyme and chopped up the parsley. These herbs then went into the bowl to be mixed together and rubbed over the chicken as a home-made marinade. At this point, I had already placed three chicken breast on a small pan.


{I also added a little Nature's Seasoning and garlic powder to the chicken breasts}

I had pre-set the over to 400 so that the chicken could go in the oven immediately after being marinated. After the chicken was in the oven, I began to wash the red potatoes. These went into a medium-sized pot with water covering them and were set to a boiling temperature. I made sure to add a little salt to help them boil faster (thanks for the tip Jules!!). As these were boiling, I began to chop the green beans. These were rinsed and then put into a small frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and a few shakes of seasoning and garlic. A lid went over the green beans to help steam them.

{Brooklyn and I cookin' up a storm! Please excuse the trash in the background, lol}

So at this point, the chicken is in the oven, the potatoes are boiling, and the green beans are sizzling. I added a little more seasoning to the green beans at one point and also realized that I forgot to cut up onion for the chicken. I added this about 15 minutes into the cooking and everything was fine. The green beans were done first, so I turned off the burner, but left the lid on so they would stay warm. Then, I rinsed the potatoes and added some butter, sour cream, a small amount of garlic and some pepper. I mashed these with a spoon. Apparently not completely mashing potatoes is called a "rough mash." They are a little chunky this way. Learning many new things! The chicken was done last and it was just perfectly golden and crisp. The herbs and onions smelled divine!!

{The finished project!}

{I love how pretty this chicken is!}


I'm so sad that Luke wasn't here to experience my cooking ability (who knew??), but that's alright. One meal under my belt means that it will be even better next time. Plus, I think we may use the left over chicken breast, onions, and herbs to make a healthy, home-made pizza tomorrow night. This means another quick trip to HEB, but it will be worth it because Luke will be in town to enjoy it with me! Thanks mom for your cooking lesson tonight! We made need to have a couple more of these before June 25th. :)

But what was for dessert you ask? Well, that would be...

Leftover bridal shower cake!!!
Can't go wrong here.

And speaking of bridal shower, that post will come soon. We had a fabulous time today, but I was so pre-occupied that I forgot to pack my camera. I was SO upset! I'm now waiting to get pictures from a couple of other people that were kind enough to take pictures for me. 

Well, I'm pretty satisfied with my first entire meal that I cooked completely from scratch. It definitely turned out way better than I expected and gave me hope for more cooking in my future. And the best part is, we can all rest easy knowing that there is a pretty good chance that Luke won't be starving to death. Lucky him! ;)

18 March 2011

Day 4 and Day 5

My bad habits:
  • Biting my nails when I'm nervous
  • Taking some thing out of the cabinet/closet/etc. and not putting it back
  • Letting random items pile up in my car until Luke makes me clean it out
  • Reaching for a salty snack instead of a healthy one
  • Adding unneeded items to my to-do list to stress myself out even more
My stress relievers:
  • Reading the Word
  • Going for a long run
  • Shopping (this can also turn in to a stress inducer, ha!)
  • Talking to my mom
  • A cold glass of pinot grigio

    In other news, my first wedding shower is tomorrow in Beeville and I know it's going to be awesome! There are 22 hostesses, count them: 22! These ladies are all so precious to me and I can't wait to spend time with everyone. I even bought a new dress! Be looking for pictures soon!!

     {My beautiful friends/hostesses at my panty shower right after I got back from New York}

    17 March 2011

    Big Spender

    I must interrupt my 30 Day Challenge to make an awesome announcement:

    I got a new car!!!

    Luke and I had been looking for a new vehicle for me for a couple of months now. I had narrowed it down to a Nissan Rogue, Volkswagon Teguan, and a Toyota Rav4. After looking into the different leases (we're leasing, not buying), Luke and I decided that the Rav4 was the best deal for the quality car and amount of money. Plus, it's super sporty, which is always a plus with Luke and I. We need a good car for our road trips and other adventures!!

    {This is my new baby!}

    {Our first picture together}

    {After our big purchase, my mom took Luke and me to Olive Garden for dinner. This is our excited/nervous/but more excited faces. Can't wait to take my new car to work tomorrow!}

    16 March 2011

    Day 3: A picture of me and my friends

    This is going to take picture(s), as in plural, because it is highly unlikely that I'll ever get a picture of all of them together. We all live in different cities now. :(

    {College friends and DDD sisters!}

    {New York friends!}

    {Corpus Christi and camp friends!}

    {My mom and sisters, the best friends a girl could have!}

    I have been so blessed by true friends in life. These girls aren't just friends, they are sisters and soul mates. I've always been told that you should surround yourself with people you want to be like and I can say this is true about every woman in these pictures. Love you girls!!

    "A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17a

    15 March 2011

    Day 2: The meaning behind my blog name

    Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory. A few weeks back I actually changed my blog URL from www.saragreeneyes.blogspot.com to www.saraandluke.blogspot.com. I had my old URL for about 4 years before the switch. I originally chose saragreeneyes because Luke called me "green eyes" a lot. But now that Luke and I are about 3 months out from the wedding, I wanted to give readers a little bit of time to adjust to a new blog URL since my blog is now going to be telling stories of two people instead of just one. :)

    I've changed my actual title of the blog a few times over the last four years, but right now it is called "The Chronicles of Sara and Luke" because that is exactly what it is: a blog that talks about our adventures and journeys together as we prep for the wedding and begin our married life together.

    Cheesy, I know. Got to love it!

    14 March 2011

    Day 1: A recent picture and 30 interesting facts

    {A recent picture: Aubrey, myself and a few more people all went to Brewster for Howl at the Moon on Saturday.}

    1. I am the oldest of four stubborn strong-willed Martisek women who love each other more than life. This wasn't the case so much back in middle school/high school per say, but I can honestly write that Emily, Claire, and Becca are my three best friends in the entire world. I couldn't be more excited to have these girls stand as close to me as possible on my wedding day. And of course, they will be the three hottest babes on the dance floor at the reception!

    2. I break windshields. Ask my dad, because he has paid to fix one in each of the cars I've driven since I turned 16. He would say that this is because I have a led foot and ride other cars' tailgates too closely, but I would have to say it is the luck of the draw. You be the judge.

    3. I have the cutest roommate in the entire world. No, I am not talking about Luke, sillies! He doesn't join me until June;) I'm talking about Brooklyn! Brooklyn is an 11-month-old maltipoo that is the best snuggler I've ever napped with. She is fuzzy, warm, and appreciates a good petting. She also loves to sleep on the mat outside with tub when I'm showering and can't get enough of those chicken-flavored raw hides.

    4. My pinkies are crooked. No, not like, "Oh how cute!" More like, "Whoa, what's up with your pinkies??" Just ask to take a look at my abnormality next time we're face-to-face.

    5. I was born three and a half weeks early and left the hospital at exactly 6lbs, respectively. My mother likes to say that I've been a step ahead of everyone ever since. This is true.

    6. I am currently on a diet. I don't actually believe in diets and it's not like a psyco, "I need to lose 30 pounds" diet. I'm just getting married in 3 months and I don't ever want to look back at my pictures and hate the way I looked. I's like to lose 15 pounds. It's sort of scary to admit this to you all, but hey--maybe it will make me hold to it!

    7. I used to be deathly afraid of riding in elevators, but New York cured me of this. I didn't have a choice there. However, I am still afraid of roaches and falling to my death. Luke will forever be screamed at politely asked to kill any roaches that dare enter our house and I'll always tear up before getting on a plane. I can't help it.

    8. I love eating all things salty. My two favorite types of food are Chinese and Mexican. I also love all items that can be dipped and all types of dip. Veggies and dip. Chips and dip. Fruit and fruit dip. ALL. THINGS. DIP(PED). Can I get an amen?!

    9. I have now worked at my current job for 6 months and I couldn't be happier! I love the news, I love marketing, and I love helping locals grow their business.

    10. My first wedding shower is this weekend and I can't wait! I will hopefully be buying a new dress to wear sometime this week, getting my nails done on Friday, and practicing my, "Oh my gosh, how did you know I wanted this??" face when I open gifts bought for me that I previously registered for. I've always wondered how this worked...should I be surprised? Excited? Expectant? I think I'm over analyzing this...

    11. I love watching reality TV! Kim and Courtney Take New York and The Bachelor(ette) top my list. P.S. I'm SO excited that Emily won!!!!!!

    12. I haven't seen my natural hair color since I was 12. I mean, I know my highlights/lowlights are not  too far from the truth, but the truth hasn't actually be revealed in a while. Also, I will hopefully be rockin' a new bob (let's see how daring I will get!) after the wedding. I've been growing my hair for a while now and I'm ready for it to be short again.

    13. I was #4 in my graduating high school class. I also graduated with a 4.0 in my journalism and PR classes from Baylor. I like to hang my hat on these accomplishments every so often.

    14. I'm an awful cook. Plain awful. Yes, I have let Luke in on this secret. I mean, who can't at least follow the instructions on the side of the box, you ask? Sara Martisek, that's who. I know, it's embarrassing. Any tips, recipes, etc that you'd like to pass on would be greatly appreciated. Or you could just bring us covered dishes for our first month of marriage...:/

    15. I love to workout. I run, bike, swim, play basketball, and lift weights. I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be, but my diet has been a good encouragement. I'll be running in my 7th Beach to Bay Relay Marathon this May with the KRIS Communications team. Yay for running with co-workers!!

    16. I'm sort of messy. Not dirty messy, but more like I have stacks of crap everywhere and I leave things out and about messy. I have to seriously clean up my apartment once a week at least. When Luke is around, the apartment is spotless. I love this about him!

    17. I want to move back to New York. Not to raise a family or anything, but for a couple of years. I want to live in Brooklyn Heights, shop at Peas & Pickles, and eat with Luke at The Heights Cafe at least once a week. I want to travel into Manhattan for work and grow my collection of art and expensive shoes.

    18. I absolutely could not live without my iPhone and Mac Book Pro. I consider myself an Apple snob. Because I think these facts go well together, I will add that I love social media. I love the way businesses can strategically use social media to drive traffic and cultivate leads, but I also love the way it connects people across the world. I mean who doesn't want to know what Snooki is up to 24/7?? (that last part is a joke.)

    19. I can stress myself out better than anyone else I know. I make way too many lists and add extra items to them that I know I can mark off just to feel better about my to-do lists. I over analyze everything and am my own worst critic. If a job isn't done right, I'm to blame, whether this is really true or not.

    20. I was the drum major of my high school band. That one is embarrassing. No need to elaborate.

    21. I'm a Baylor Bear and I bleed green and gold. I thought I wanted to go to UT when I was applying to college, but God's hand was seriously guiding my every move that year. He knew where I was supposed to be and I would never in a million years give up that experience. I would get to know those professors, invest in those friends, and pull that many all-nighters all over again times one million. God Bless Texas and Sim 'Em Bears!!!

    22. I bite my nails as a nervous habit. Gross, I know. So as a nice alternative, I have my nails done on a pretty regular basis. Plus, Luke likes them, so it's a win-win!

    23. As strong-willed and opinionated as I am, I still love to feel feminine and fragile. I love it when Luke opens doors or steps in between me something that might hurt me. I also love a sweet, flowy dress and heels that make me feel sexy when I'm going out with him. These things will never get old!

    24. About 90% of the time, I fall asleep watching TV. I blame this on the Martisek in me. My dad and his siblings all struggle to sleep and can stay up till all hours of the night watching TV. So, as a kid, I would fall asleep on the couch while watching TV because it was always on. I'm a pretty good sleeper, but you can almost guarantee that The Nanny is on while I'm drifting off into that sweet slumber. At about 4 a.m. I half-way wake up and turn it off.

    25. I would love to have my first child at the age of 28, but this will most likely depend on where I am in my career. 28-30 sounds about right, somewhere in there. When I was 13, I thought I'd have a child by the time I was 20 or 21. A baby at that age scares the begeebers out of me now! So naive.

    26. Luke and I will be traveling to Disney World in August for our honeymoon! We are thrilled out of our minds and can't wait for our first official vacation together as a married couple. We're already planning where we will be eating, the shows we want to see, where Sara wants we want to go shopping, etc.!

    27. I could possibly be purchasing a new car this week! Get excited for THAT blog post!!

    28. I'll be 24 in less than 2 weeks! March 26th is the big day and I'm excited!! Except that 24 sounds old to me. I'm sure I won't feel this way when I'm about to turn 40, ha!

    29. I'm in love with my best friend. He is, without a doubt, the voice of reason to my crazy, over-dramatic self. He brings me back down to earth on a regular basis and I love that about him. I met Luke in the summer of 2005 and my life has never been the same. God used Luke to change my heart and I wanted to be better for him. I can't wait to marry this guy on June 25, 2011. As much as I am trying to soak up this "engaged" time of our lives, I can't wait to be Mrs. Luke Riley Hinton!!

    30. When I was seven, I made the most important decision of my life to date: I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I have been through many ups and downs in life, but my God has never left my side. His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105). I'm a daughter of the Most High King!!