Our Last First Date

I know a lot of people have heard “our story” before, but today marks one year since my LAST first date, so I found it appropriate to share it with people again. 🙂 

M and I first met on February 9th. After meeting him I truly thought I wouldn’t talk to him again. Not that he wasn’t a great guy, it was just something I saw happening. I mean fairytales only happen in the movies, right? The day after Valentines day, and the day before our first date, M sent me the most gorgeous flowers at work. The card read “To my new best friend”. Little did I know, he truly WAS going to become my best friend! (And if you were wondering, I still have that card. I’m cheesy and sentimental like that.)

flowers, couple, love, dating, marriage, wedding


Our date night rolls around and I remember being SO nervous, but in the same sense I was trying to remain cool. I mean hey, he was an older guy. 😉 I was taking pictures of every outfit I owned, texting my friends asking what I should wear. Literally down to the jewelry. I finally found “THE OUTFIT”. Much to everyones disappointment, it wasn’t even that spectacular.  

ootd, ootn, date night, selfie


M picked me up and we went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Flagstaff. Our waitress came by to get our drink order and M order wine. A whole bottle of it. I remember just thinking “WOW! That is FANCY!” Hahaha. 

wine, tavera, cork


This was the kind of date where I was nervous to eat because I didn’t want to miss my mouth or have pepper in my teeth. Ya, I was still nervous at this point. 
Our first date was literally the best date I had ever been on in my life. We talked about everything from friends, to life goals and favorite foods. I remember M telling me he wasn’t just dating to date, he wanted to be settled down within the coming years. Funny thing was that’s exactly where I was at with my life. Usually wanting to settle down drives men away makes them run the total opposite direction, but not with M. That’s when I knew he was different. 
Later that night we were just driving around my town and I asked him to pick a way to drive, left or right. Thank God he picked left. Due to the fact that he chose left, we drove out to a beautiful part of town, sat in the car, and shortly saw a big the largest shooting star i’ve seen in my existence. Seriously y’all, this was something you only see on TV. We saw it first hand! 

We both made sure to wish for something. 

After that first date, M and I didn’t spend a weekend apart from each other. I truly didn’t think things were going to work long distance, but they did. They were better than ever. 


If you would have told me a year ago that I was going to meet this man, move twice, buy a home, and get married, I seriously would have laughed. HARD. I didn’t see my fairytale happening for a few more years. God had different plans though. He had BIG plans for both of us. 

I found out on my wedding day, standing up there with my best friend, we both made the same wish the night we saw that shooting star. We both wished that was going to be our LAST first date. How amazing that it actually WAS our last first date? We are truly, TRULY blessed to have found each other. My life is so much more amazing with him. I wouldn’t trade our life for the WORLD. 

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Homemade BBQ Ranch Dressing & The $12 Salad!

We’ve had this dish twice now in the last two weeks. It is delicious! 
This is such a simple thing to put together and I promise you, everyone will love it! 
My dad raved about this dressing and told my mom she had to get the recipe, so here you go mom….and all other people interested in a delicious homemade dressing with the $12 salad. 

Okay, okay, okay…it’s not really $12. We were joking the first night we had this that if you were to order this salad at somewhere like ‘Chili’s’, it would be $12.

Ingredients for Dressing:

1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup Mayonaise 
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup BBQ Sauce Of Your Choosing
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried dill 
Salt and Pepper To Taste

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. 
I like to make this ahead of time and let it chill in the fridge for a little while, but however you do it is up to you. 

Salad:

1 Head Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Can Black Beans
1/2 Can Corn
1-2 Avocados 
2 Tomatoes
2 Green Onions
2 Grilled Chicken Breasts

YEILD:
THIS MAKES ENOUGH FOR 2 PEOPLE


The awesome thing about this salad? It is SO versatile. You can truly add whatever you would like in it. This is what we have found works for our tastebuds, but again you can add anything you want! 
Add all ingredients into a bowl, mix, & enjoy! 

salad, homemade dressing, delicious

homemade dressing, salad, delicious

salad, homemade dressing, delicious



This dressing can be used on so many different things! It can be used as a dip, in wraps, and even on sandwiches! Try this one out, I promise you won’t regret it! 

Have you ever made homemade dressings before?
What is your favorite kind?!

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Vino Backyard Designs Review + GIVEAWAY!

My oh my!
 How cute is the product I get to review for you guys?!
I was sent this Monogrammed Stamp, however all opinions are my own. I also chose for our wedding date to be added, but the possibilities are endless as far as what to put on yours! 

If there’s one thing I love, it’s people who are starting their own business. It is something near and dear to me and I fully support anyone who is trying to do such a thing. 
That is exactly what Victoria and her boyfriend are doing with Vino Backyard Designs

I am a sucker for cute packaging. When my box came from Vino Backyard Designs I was so impressed by the packaging. I mean really, how adorable is this?!
I immediately tore this bad boy open because I was SO excited to see the product inside! Needless to say, I was NOT disappointed. 
monogram, stamp, crafting, diy
monogram, stamp, crafty, diy, vbd
I knew a stamp like this would be perfect when it came time to send out our Thank You cards from the wedding, and I was right! How amazing is that monogram in the middle?! Plus our wedding date? ADORABLE! I’m just truly truly in love with how cute these are! And using these on our thank you cards really did look awesome! (well, I think so anyway)
monogram, stamp, crafting, diy
monogram, stamp, crafting, diy
(my stamping needs work, hush)

I absolutely loved my monogrammed stamp! And now if you ever get mail from me, prepare to see this being used on the envelope. 😉 

Lucky for YOU guys, the amazing people behind Vino Backyard Designs want to giveaway a Monogrammed Return Address Stamp! Enter using the form below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Things I’m Bad At

For your entertainment, I present to you…the things I am bad at! 

1. Meal planning. In fact, I am writing this blog post in order to avoid meal planning. Do you meal plan? I need to find a simpler way of doing this! 

2. Using metal utensils on metal pans when I shouldn’t. Sometimes I just don’t have a clean rubber spatula when I need it. Don’t judge me. 

3. Staying on Pinterest far longer than acceptable. The plus side though? My home decor boards and recipe ideas are flowin’!

4. Getting my nails re-done when it’s time. I hardly get them done in the first place, so when I do, I usually let them grow out to an unacceptable, ridiculous looking state.  

5. Drinking the right amounts of water. I just simply don’t drink that much.

6. Having cute handwriting. I missed that class somewhere in my life and my handwriting has forever suffered. 

7. Scheduling blog posts when I should. Apparently all good bloggers meticulously plan out their posts. I on the other hand write them when i’m laying on my living room floor trying to avoid the things mentioned in point numero uno. 

8. Using far too many hashtags on instagram. #sorrynotsorry 

There you have it, a few things that i’m really bad at! 
Do we share any of these qualities?! Let me know. 😉 

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How To: The Perfect Patty

Sometimes there are people who can whip up the perfect hamburger concoction, form it into perfect little circles, and grill them up like a boss. 
I am not one of those people. 
And if you aren’t either, this is the perfect post for you!!

Tuesday night we decided to grill up some burgers for dinner. I had bought ground meat and thought to myself, “how hard could making a burger be?” Until I realized I had no clue what I was doing. But alas, I did it. It was delicious. It was magical. It was perfect. 

Although I will tell y’all what I put in the actual burger mix, the real beauty here is how to make the perfect patty! Seriously, prepare yourselves….

Burger Mix:
-Ground Meat
-Green Onion
-Salt and Pepper
Mix together in a bowl until combined. 
hamburger, burger patty, perfect hamburger
Alright people, ready for the magic?! I used a Pyrex bowl to mix everything in and then used the same bowl to press the patty into. BAM! The perfect circular patty! Literally the easiest thing on this planet. 
hamburger, burger patty, perfect burger
hamburger, burger patty, perfect burger
I was even thinking that using smaller sized Pyrex bowls, you could make different sized burgers. Obviously. But using the smallest bowl, you could make the easiest sliders of any kind! YUM! 
pyrex bowls
After I made these I was feelin’ like a champ. Literally walking out to the grill saying “Not gonna toot my own horn, but I did pretty DANG good on these patties!” And what do I do?! WHAT THE HECK DO I DO?! I dropped the plate. HAHAHA. Go ahead, laugh, because i’m still currently laughing about it. M clearly thought it was comical too because he said “make sure you put in your blog post that you dropped the plate of them.” Thanks babe, thanks. 

How do you make your burger patties?!
What’s your favorite kind of sliders?

(I am in no way affiliated with Pyrex and all opinions are my own)

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Officially a MRS!

Did you guys miss me?!
Eh, didn’t think so. But nonetheless, I’M BAAAACK!
And the most exciting part?! I’M NOW A MRS!
I feel like i’ve been waiting for this for just about forever, but in reality M and I haven’t even been together a year. 
Hey, i’m just excited we’re married now. Don’t judge me. 

To everyone who attended our wedding, contributed in some way, and sent kind words of encouragement, THANK YOU. You all mean the world to us. 
Our wedding was my idea of perfection. Everything from my makeup, to the food, to the weather. It was all flawless. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better day. 

I will starting a ‘wedding series’ on the blog to highlight each area of our wedding planning/big day. I think going through things step by step will be helpful to any other brides in the area or anyone taking on the task of wedding planning! 
I am excited to start this and I hope at least a few of you will be excited to read along! 
If you have any questions or specifics you’d like me to talk about in this series, please comment or shoot me an email. I love to hear from you guys! 

After the most amazing week away on our honeymoon, it’s actually nice to be home and getting into the swing of things. This weekend we have a little girl turing four and we have an entire house that needs unpacking/de-cluttering. Wish me luck! 

I hope all of you have had a wonderful few weeks! 
Did anything exciting happen in your life recently?!
Do you have any post-wedding tips?!
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It’s The Final Countdown!

9 days until one of the best days of my life! 
And where am I currently? 
Laying on my living room floor feeling sick as a dog. Lucky me, huh?!
Actually, I am pretty lucky because I have an amazing man here who is fetching gatorade and midol for me. Nothing screams romance like that, huh?! 

It’s officially crunch time and I have 492 things on my “To Do” list. This was not the most opportune time to feel like I got hit by a 10-ton truck. But nonetheless, trying to get ready to leave for the wedding must go on. We are headed down to the valley this weekend so we can be down there the week of the wedding to finish up last min. details and meet with the people we need to meet with for our final meetings. 

My living room currently has all of our wedding items sprawled across it. Truly, you would think I am a hoarder of some kind. I promise you, i’m not. (Although my sister would beg to differ) The next two days will consist of packing up the cars with what we need to take, packing for the honeymoon, and getting our house clean because when we get back we are having a birthday party for a special little girl!
Uhm, do I really have an (almost) FOUR year old?!?

You know when you have a million things to do and you just want to take a nap instead? That’s where i’m at with my life right now. Except I really am sick and I really feel like death, so that’s acceptable, right?! Luckily my amazing future mother in law helped me with our favors yesterday and we were able to finish those! Just a few more things I need to get in place and we are pretty much set for the big day! EEEE!!!

I figured this will probably be my last post before the wedding, but in the off chance that something super exciting and blog-worhty happens in the next fews days, i’ll be sure to fill you all in! We leave the next morning for our honeymoon (which I am BEYOND excited about), so I will be back in a couple weeks. 
If you just can’t get enough of me, which I know all of you can’t, you can follow me on instagram. That’s where I make most of my appearances. Something about filters and hashtags just really revs my engine. No but really, follow me over there and check out the shenanigans that will be taking place this next week. Family and best friends flying in, bachelorette party, and any other kind of mischief I can get myself into. You won’t want to miss the fun!    

I hope you all have a great couple of weeks! Wish me luck! 
Next time you hear from me, I will be a MRS

P.S. – How cool is it that this is my 50th post?! 

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Eggplant Parmesan: Recipe

A few nights ago I made a surprisingly delicious Eggplant Parm. I looked around so many different sites for a recipe and each one was having you deep fry things and make pasta from scratch. I didn’t want to do either, so I made my own recipe, if you will. I posted a picture to Instagram and more than one person asked for the recipe, so alas, here it is! 

This dish takes a little while to prepare because you need to let the eggplant dry out, but I promise you it is worth it in the end. 

Ingredients:
-1 Eggplant
-Pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
-Low fat mozzarella 
-2 eggs
-1 cup flour
-2 cups italian breadcrumbs
-Salt
-Parmesan

Steps:
1. You need to let the eggplant dry out as much as possible. Cut your eggplant into about 1inch thick pieces and lay them on a cooling rack, cookie sheet, or whatever you want. I used a cooling rack. Liberally salt them. This helps the drying out process. I let mine sit for about 30 mins, then flipped them over and salted the other side. Let sit for another 30 mins. After letting them dry out, I patted mine dry with a paper towel. After you have let them dry, cut off the outer skin. 

2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and set a cookie/baking sheet inside.

3.Put your flour on a plate, whisk your eggs in a bowl, and place the breadcrumbs on another plate as well. Next, dredge each piece of eggplant in this order: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs. After all pieces are coated, pull the cookie sheet out of the oven and cover with about 4 tablespoons of EVOO, followed by your covered eggplant. Place in the oven for about 30 mins, flipping the eggplant to the other side after 15 mins. Pull out and turn oven to 350 degrees. 

4. After eggplant has cooked, you are going to assemble the eggplant, cheese, and sauce in a baking dish. Do one layer sauce, followed by eggplant, slices of the mozzarella and repeat. Also between layers, I did liberal sprinkles of parmesan cheese. 

5. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melty, about 15 mins. 

Note:
1 eggplant made enough for two people plus leftovers for lunch the next day. If you are feeding more people, up your eggplant count. 
I used store bought pasta sauce for this recipe. 

We served ours with salad. 
Have you ever had Eggplant Parm?
Did you like it?

Let me know if you try this recipe out and how it was for you! 

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Best Christmas Ever

Our first Christmas together! How special is that?!
This was definitely a Christmas I will never forget. We were lucky enough to be able to spend the holidays with both our families. We did our Christmas with his family on Christmas Eve and then drove to see my family for a few days. 

On Monday I got to experience my first Progressive Dinner. This is a tradition his family does and it was so much fun. In my family, our only real traditions are opening a present on Christmas Eve and going to Outback! (HAHA!) Anyway, Progressive Dinner is when all his family gets together and goes from house to house and has something different to eat at each one. The first house we went to we had salad, rolls, and delicious spiced cider. Then we went to his Aunts house and had the best homemade chicken noodle soup. I’m talking homemade noodles and all, people! And then back to his mom’s house for dessert. At his mom’s house all the little kids dress up as characters in the nativity and they act it out. It was adorable. Also, Santa pays a visit at the end and hands out one present to each kid. Oh and did I mention going to each house we rode on a hayride and sang christmas carols!? How fun is that?! If you know me, you know I loathe don’t really like christmas music, but hey, it was a lot of fun. It was such a fun night and I can’t wait to keep doing it for Christmas’ to come! 

(Christmas is about tamales, right?!)

 

The next morning we got to do Christmas with his family. I will just say one thing, this Christmas I got S-P-O-I-L-E-D! Hey, i’m not complaining. 😉
 Baby girl asked for three things: A bike, sick baby, and a robe.  
ONLY a sick baby though. She wanted to play doctor! 
Well, all her doctor dreams came true with grandma and grandpa! 
She got her sick baby and then some! 

(my future MIL got a baby grand for christmas and I have no idea my knew how to play)

After all the excitement of this Christmas, we headed to my parents house to spend the rest of the holiday with them. 
(we do Christmas jammies the night before)

(with her robe that grammy got her)

Daddy pulled out the big guns and got baby girl the princess bike she had been wanting! She was reluctant at first saying she “couldn’t ride it until she was bigger”, but she quickly got over that! 

M and I both had really amazing years when it came to gifts. I got everything I could have hoped for and more! 
(The top bracelet has mine, baby girls, and M’s birthstones as well as my initial with a diamond. The bottom locket has my new initials on the front and then inside was the picture from the first night we met and a picture of our cute little fam bam.)

I also got a lot of things to start homemade canning. I got M “The Total Money Makeover” and I have LOVED reading it so far! 
Also, I had a life changing event happen. For as long as I have lived, I have hated cheesecake. Like loathed entirely. But I tried this cheesecake my sister and brother-in-law had brought and WOW! It was seriously the best cheesecake i’ve ever eaten. It was from a company in New York I believe called ‘Juniors’. It was heavenly, people! 

For the most part, that wraps up our Christmas. It was the best one i’ve ever had. I loved spending it with M and his family and also being able to see my family as well. Baby girl had the best time ever and ultimately that is my Christmas goal, to make sure she’s happy. 

As much as I love Christmas, I’m ready to say goodbye. Why? 
BECAUSE THREE WEEKS FROM SATURDAY I WILL BE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!! 
How crazy is that?!?! It’s crunch time for the wedding and I’m so so so excited! 

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas with your family and loved ones! 

What was your favorite gift?
Do you even exchange gifts?
Have any of you read “The Total Money Makeover”?

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We Have Carpet!

Okay, this post is a little long overdue seeing as we got carpet a few weeks ago, but nonetheless, here is the post to fill you in on our first real “update”.
WE HAVE CARPET! 
If you’ve ever had new carpet put into your home, you would understand my excitement. Especially considering what we started with. However I kind of liked the concrete floor we had before, what do you think?! 😉 

BEFORE:

 AFTER: 

BEFORE:

AFTER:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

It’s crazy what paint and some carpet can do, huh?!
This big room had probably not been deep cleaned in literally 10+ years. 
LUCKY US! 
If you’re ever renovating a house or doing any “flipping”, these are a few of my suggestions.
1. You will need paint. 
And then more paint. 
And then some more. 
And then when you think you’re done, you’ll probably need some more. 
Make sure you’re remembering what paint colors you are buying. We signed up for a ‘MyLowes’ card and it tracks everything we buy, making it much easier to remember things. 
2. Carpet is not cheap. 
That’s really all it comes down to.
 We opted for the ‘in stock’ carpet which saved us some money, however carpet can get costly so make sure you budget for it.
3. The tile you see in front of the door and around the fireplace? 
(which I realize there isn’t a picture of this, but let’s just pretend and i’ll share all about it in another post.)
 M laid that with his dad and cousin, saving us quite some money by not having to hire a professional. They did such an awesome job on it and I am so thankful for a handy man! (You’re the best babe!)

This room was a big project. 
We’re slowly working on each part of the house and I can’t wait to keep sharing updates with y’all! 
If you ever have questions about our renovation, please feel free to ask! 
(Comments or Emails are wonderful!) 

Have you ever done a big house project like this before?
What were your most frustrating and/or easiest parts?

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