Monday, February 27, 2012

big weekend

well, one of mine and Kyle's favorite nights of the year has come and gone. we cooked a lot of food, some of which we burned, ate (and drank) too much, and enjoyed the show via our living room.

our dinner was inspired by our Best Picture choice, "The Help." and even though it didn't win, our food turned out pretty great. we used recipes from Hugh Acheson's "A New Turn in the South," which our dear friend Chris so thoughtfully gave us for Christmas. and while our sweet potatoes, fried tomatoes and apple brown betty turned out wonderfully, our fried chicken met an unfortunate end. we let it burn. and then it was raw in the middle. no saving it. and i couldn't take a photo of it, i just couldn't, so it got pitched and Kyle ran to kroger to get some premade fried chicken. Minny would not have approved.

so we enjoyed our food and watched intently as the stars claimed their golden Oscars. my favorite dresses...

Gwyneth Paltrow
Angelina Jolie. holy slit. i love her.
but she really needs to eat a burger.
or six.
Jessica Chastain. huge girl crush.
Michelle Williams
Viola Davis. her earrings were killer
and her face is beautiful.
Natalie Portman 
Octavia Spencer. her dress is perfect.
and then i saw this. and died of happiness. i mean, come on.

Emma Stone. gawd. this might be my
all time favorite dress. and person.
then as i was flipping through party photos online, i came across this surprise. ummm, she's just being Miley. and looking freaking great.
Miley Cyrus. whoa.

like i said, "The Help" didn't win for Best Picture, and i was rather upset. i loved "The Artist," too, but "The Help" just moved me so much and the book was so wonderful, i just thought there's no way it couldn't win. i was wrong. i usually am about these things. the year "The Reader" came out i wanted it to win everything. that was also the year "Slumdog Millionaire" came out and it won everything instead. anyway, my favorite wins for this year...

Jean Dujardin for "The Artist." he was so happy and
adorable. i can't even deal.
Terry & Oorlagh George, father and
daughter, for "The Shore."
Octavia Spencer for "The Help."

Octavia was my favorite win of the night. i started crying as soon as they said her name and i was a mess the whole time she was up there. the best.

also, Meryl Streep won Best Actress for "The Iron Lady." i love Meryl, but i realllyyyy wanted Viola Davis to win. with that being said, i also really loved Meryl's dress and her speech.

Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady"

overall i thought the show was fun and enjoyable and worth all the work Kyle and i put into planning for it. i liked the graphics, and the simple and clean design they used for the memoriam. also, Billy Crystal attended Marshall University for a hot second, people. so yeah.

before the big show, my parents had come to visit for the weekend and left only a few hours before we began cooking. it was fun seeing them, and i don't think they have been anywhere just the two of them since i was born, so i'm glad they got away together. and on their anniversary weekend, no less.

and they brought me a new stove! well, new to me. it's my mom's old one. so cooking for the big event was a breeze. all the burners work, unlike the old one where only 3 of them did, and the oven cooks more evenly and accurately, rather than burning a batch of cookies after 6 minutes. yippee!

while they were here, we ate some good food, shopped around a little bit and just hung out at the house. i know they, my dad especially, has a hard time with me being away. i just hope they see that i'm doing ok and try not to worry too much. :)

i'm excited for nicer weather and springtime plans. and new movies to start seeing for next year. if i've learned anything from being with Kyle, it's that it never ends when you're a dedicated movie-goer. never. 


Friday, February 17, 2012

love (letters)

photo credit: email

i ran across this on one of my favorite sites, HelloGiggles

Hannah Brencher started something called More Love Letters after she started writing and leaving random love letters to people who seemed to need a little encouragement. Hanna says this on the site:

"I never intended to write over 400 love letters. To be honest, I never even planned to write one… This unexpected journey began in October 2010 on a 4 Train in New York City. I didn’t start writing letters to strangers because of a love for the handwritten note. Far less glamorous or romantic than that, I was struggling to get out of bed every morning and I needed an escape from my own sadness and loneliness. So I began writing letters on the train to individuals who seemed like they, too, could use a boost. And it healed me. It really healed me."

so from there, she started More Love Letters, where you can sign up through email to be assigned a person to write to. i just received my assignment for this month's Love Letter Bundle. all the letters received for this bundle will then be forwarded to the chosen person. Hannah includes the story of the person chosen for the Love Letter Bundle, and although I won't give anything away, this person definitely needs some love.

i think this is so great. i can't wait to start writing and creating something to truly bring a smile to this person's face.

if you're looking for a way to grow and love, this might be your ticket. check it out. and even if you don't sign up, maybe it will get you thinking on ways to reach out to others and show them some compassion. everyone needs that sometimes.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

this is a post about valentine's day

it's true. i love valentine's day.

but let it be known that i don't really like red roses. or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. or a giant teddy bear that will take up precious space in my house. i need as much space as i can get these days, and i'm not going to waste an entire corner just for some stuffed monstrosity of a bear holding a heart that says "be mine." truth be told, i think those things can be sort of creepy. power to you if you do love all of those things, but i couldn't care less about that overpriced stuff. i would much rather have a handmade card, a good meal and a goodnight kiss. yes, that'll do. because here's the deal:

to me, valentine's day is and always has been about sharing love with all of the people you love, not just a date. yes, i have been lucky for the past 6 years to have a valentine on valentine's day, and i realize that those who don't have one can feel annoyed or left out or downright sad. but listen to me. you have friends, don't you? and family? a dog? don't you love those people? spend it with them, then. go out with your girlfriends or your buds and have a drink or sushi or pizza or go to a movie. spend the day with someone you love and have fun with, regardless of what type of relationship status they are to you. i sent my friends and family and grandparents valentines in the mail because i love them. today is about all love.

ok now that my little rant is over, i would like to talk about my valentine. 

every year, kyle makes me a card out of construction paper or newspaper or something. a couple of times they have been vintage postcards he has found. they are always wonderful and tug at my heartstrings. i usually cry while i sit in the car and read it, then inevitably have to check my mascara in the mirror. but i love it. i love that his words make my heart swell and my eyes sting. not just because they are beautiful and perfectly written (he isn't a journalist for nothing, people), but because i know he means them. he doesn't just tell me he loves me on valentine's day when target looks like someone spilled pepto bismol all over it. he tells me always. he shows me every day. even when i'm being impossible and hateful and complaining about things that don't matter, he loves me anyway.

sometimes i get stressed because i have this running thought in my head… "we aren't married and everyone else seems to be getting married and we don't have a lot of money and how will we plan the wedding we want blah blah blah…" this happens about once a month, but this last time he said, "we just made different choices than everyone else. we could have been married two years ago and we could both still be working for newspapers and we would still have to live with our parents for a while. but we didn't do that. our choices made things different for us. but we will get married soon. i promise." then i was crying into my sandwich and wondering why in the hell i had been worried at all.

i am so very thankful for kyle. i don't want to think about what my life would have been like if we had never found each other. and i think he is the proof that sometimes you can fall in love at 16 and spend the rest of your life with that person. 

spend today with someone, just as long as it's someone you love. 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

green monster

i know. this look scary. and pretty gross, actually. but let me just tell you. it's not.

i've been reading about spinach smoothies and how they are super good for you…blah blah blah. at first i though "whatever, that's nasty. i might want to be healthy, but not that bad." i'm all about eating healthy foods and limiting the really horrible stuff like processed foods and a ton of sugar and all that, but i've never been on the super health food bandwagon. no flax seeds or any of that jazz. i just eat what i know is good for me and let it do it's thing. so naturally, i would be turned off to such green nonsense, right?!


as i read more and more, i became even more curious. i buy spinach almost every week with my groceries and eat it with salads or sandwiches or in eggs. i also normally purchase many of the other ingredients said to be good in such smoothies — like bananas, peanut butter and other fruits. so…i gave it a whirl.

1 cup spinach
1/2 a banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup milk

blend it up until it's smooth and super green.

i had a glass of water handy in case i took the first sip and straight up gagged all over myself. but alas! it tasted like peanut butter and banana! nothing wrong with that, right?! 

granted, they are no cook out milkshake, but whatev.

these smoothies are supposed to do wonders for your hair, nails and skin, as well as give you super woman energy. i definitely felt energized after i had mine, and hopefully it will strengthen up my nails over time. yay!

i've read a lot of people saying these are especially great for summertime, so i'll go ahead and get a jump start on summer health.

after my first green monster, kyle and i went to the UT game. they played south carolina, and won. wasn't like the best game ever, but still fun. we got there a little late and our seats were next to these two old men. one of them patted kyle on the shoulder and said "there you are! we've been wondering where you were!" ha! and while the game was going on, he would give a little old man "yoo-hoo!" when something good happened. when he was leaving he patted my shoulder and said "see you next time!" i love old people. 

kyle's parents are coming for a visit this weekend, which should be fun — shopping and such, i'm sure. it's always nice to have visitors. although i'm sure his dad will make fun of my green monsters. ;) let me know if you try one, and have a good weekend.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

after a hurricane comes a rainbow

yes, i just quoted katy perry's "firework" in the title. reason?

1. that song is really catchy.
2. that song is inspirational, and if you disagree, well, i don't care.
3. kyle loves it.
4. most importantly, it fits this post. it's actually sort of what the post is about.

kyle and i have been trying to find a church we feel comfortable in and feel good about since we moved here. and every single time we've tried to go to this one particular church nearby, something has happened to prevent it. for instance, the first day we were going to go, we found out last minute that it was their thanksgiving dinner that night. i mean, can you imagine some strangers showing up to your church dinner? i mean, maybe you could, i don't know. we just felt weird about it, so we didn't go. another time, we got there and realized they were having a business meeting and left. i joked about thinking God really didn't want us to go there, but after today, I think maybe that was true. because there was somewhere else He wanted us to go. 

when we were living in georgia, we went to this place called latechurch, where there was a casual atmosphere, a lot of young people, cool music and good messages. oh, and it was in a movie theater. i know crew church in huntington is in the cinema, and although i've never been there, i would imagine it is similar to this, too.

we talk a lot about how we miss going there and wish we could find somewhere like that.

last night kyle found it. it's called knoxlife. he looked at their website, figured out that they owned the coffee shop, remedy, that he has already grown fond of, and liked what they had to say about things. 
they're mission statement is love God. love people. 


so we decided to try it out today.

i tend to have a hard time getting ready for church in the mornings. it's like something always happens. this morning, my back was killing me when i got out of bed, my contacts were hurting my eyes, my hair was unusually tangly (weird observation, i know), and i felt sort of nauseous. some people would say that's satan trying to keep me from going. those people are probably right. i've heard that before. i grew up in a very traditional church, which i still credit with my morals and spirituality. however, as i've grown a little older, i've found myself looking for something else. something new. something more comfortable. something more about loving others and less about rules and schedule. and i was hoping this place was going to be that for me, and that it would be like latechurch, even if just a little bit. so i told myself to suck it up, and get out the door. 

on the way there, i thought "we didn't have time to eat, and now i'm going to be starving and not be able to pay attention." this is a serious problem for me, and i'm sure other people, and has been for years, especially when it involved getting ready with two siblings and two parents and two barking dogs. you get up, yell at your brother to get out of the bathroom, run late, don't have time to eat something, then get to church in a fuss and sit there starving for two hours just counting the minutes until it's over and you can go to Triple-H. story of my life for about ten years. 

please God, don't let my stomach rumble so loud that someone else hears it.

so, we get there. it's in a theater. we see a lot of young people walking in, too. several people have coffee tumblers. many of them just have on jeans. we walk in, and they have coffee. and orange juice. and pastries. and fruit. and krispy kreme doughnuts.

you would think this is what sold me, but no. there's more.

they start the service, and what is the first song the band sings? 

"firework," by katy perry.

i looked over at kyle and smile-cried. i know this might sound silly, but just understand that kyle talks about this song all.the.time. and we listen to it all.the.time. if this wasn't a sign that we belonged there, I don't know what is.

and the girl's voice is amazing. and everyone is laid back. and fun. and praising god. and drinking coffee. and enjoying themselves. and there were young people and old people and babies. the (freaking great) band sang several songs, then the pastor gave his message about freedom. he was funny and interesting and i had no problem paying attention to him. and the two hours flew by. probably because i had a sprinkle doughnut and a cup of coffee in my stomach and i was humming "firework" and the other great somas they sang. one song in particular said something like "greater things are to be done in this city." good stuff.

kyle and i were buzzing when we left. we couldn't wait to talk about it. i told him it's overwhelming how you don't go to church for so long, for whatever reason, then when you do go, you realize how great it is when you do go, and how much you need to go. 

and we really needed to go. so much has happened in the past couple of months, and when we were stress-eating and watching netflix, we probably could have used a good heart-felt song and a prayer. 

so here's to a new our new sunday. i know places like this aren't for everyone. like, i'm pretty sure my siblings would love it and my mom wouldn't. but i think it's for me. thank God we found something inspiring, uplifting, spiritual and open-minded. and that they have coffee.