Life Lately

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It’s been awhile since I used this space to do a little life update. To fill the space in between the lines, to ramble randomly, to give a peek into my every day life. So this is what current life is looking like:

Writing: in my One Sentence 5-year Journal from The Happiness Project. My best friend gave me this journal as a Christmas gift and I love it! The idea is to write one sentence each day. It’s an easy way to document moments from each day and be aware of your daily intentions and actions. It will be fun to look back at what I did on a particular day – 2, 3, 4, or 5 years ago!

Reading: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Already entranced by this novel by a favorite author (loved Never Let Me Go).

Watching: Best thing about Sunday is the Sunday light TV line up: Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, True Detective, and Girls. Obssessed with all of them, even if watching them all in the same two days makes me think that there are two alcoholic and twisted detectives running around an English estate trying to kill zombies while Hannah watches pool side contemplating how insufferable her life is.

Thinking: That I can’t take much more of winter. Enough is enough! Last week we were hit with another 12 inches of snow, followed by 2 more on Saturday and another 2 last night.

big pile of snow

Needing: To get into spring cleaning mode. Winter has made me a lazy hermit. It’s time to clean out the house, revamp my workout routine and get in gear with some new meal planning. The past weekend was filled with a lot of this:

And although it was relaxing and wonderful and great – it was too much sleeping and eating and drinking and not enough taking care of my body. Remember when I posed about that pesky newlywed weight gain? Well it’s still there. I failed at following through with any changes – or, when I did, two weeks last that weight gain found its way back. Like the snow, it just keep packing on. I’m ready to shovel out.

I signed up for Weight Watchers online yesterday with a great President’s Day sale. The program helped me lose 15 pounds 10 years ago and helped me tone up last Spring. I love the simplicity and the ease and the ability to each pretty much whatever you want. I know that I need the support and the motivation to take charge or else I fall into lazy habits.

Wanting: It may be caused by cabin fever – but my baby fever is so intense right now. It’s pretty disgusting/bad. Other than that – I’m having a deep need to get new drapes for all our windows, and do a lot of at home projects. Also NEW spring clothes!

Smelling: This candle. It is from the heavens. I’m sure of it.

Raspberry Peach Macaron candle

Loving: The 5-day weekend that was granted to Ryan because of the snow. I loved having so much down time with him and Maggie and lots of morning snuggles:

puppy cuddles

Cooking: A LOT! Hence the need to do something about weight! This past week were filled with cookies, cupcakes, pad thai, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, dip, martinis, and spiked hot chocolate. Yikes!

spiced hot chocolate

Listening: to my Ella Fitzgerald Panda station – her butter voice just pours over the whole house and makes everything warm and okay.

Planning For: This Spring is full of fun events! First, we have Ryan and I’s birthdays in March followed by a bridal shower and bachelorette for my best friend, and we just booked our 1-year wedding anniversary trip. Come on SPRING!

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately!

xoxo Katie
 

 

 

 

 

What Movies Taught Me About Love

I don’t care too much for the rules of Valentine’s day, the ones that say you MUST shell out a week’s paycheck on a romantic candlelight dinner, overpriced red roses, jewelry, or anything else the world of advertising declares is the only way to show your loved ones that you care.

However, I do like getting festive in other ways – like making sweet treats, toasting with an extra glass of champagne, writing sweet notes, and watching my favorite romantic movies. I see it as another day to celebrate all that makes you feel loved – your friends, your family, your partner, or your dog and or cat.

I’ve always loved love stories – and what better time to curl up with your favorite romantic movie then in the bleak and bitter month that is February. They warm my heart and let me have a good cathartic cry. I can’t help it. I love it.

So in honor of my love of love movies I’ve decided to look into the love lessons I’ve learned from my 3 favorite love story movies (in order of their greatness) Love Story, The Notebook, and Titanic.

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These three movies all have a common theme. Boy and Girl from different socioeconomic backgrounds fall in love and stay in love against all costs, whether that be cancer, dementia, or the sinking of a ship. Let’s see how these famous movie couples taught me to believe and fight for love:

Love Story

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(I always wanted to be Jenny with her sleek seventies style – I tried to reenact their romping snow scene, but could never be as cute)

In case you’ve never seen it
My favorite romantic movie of all time tells the tale of wealthy Oliver and middle class Jenny and their journey to love and marriage against the best wishes of Oliver’s family. They grow close through hard times and love each other unconditionally. All seems ideal until Jenny is diagnosed with terminal cancer at the young age of 25.

Lesson’s Learned:

1. Love Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

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Many disagree with this classic line and I did too for many years. It didn’t make sense to me, love means ALWAYS apologizing, even when you don’t truly mean it.

As I got older I saw it in a different light. You don’t need to say you’re sorry to the one that you love and loves you in return because that one person knows that you will always be sorry for causing the other one pain (intentional or unintentional). You have enough faith in your relationship to know that it is strong, that apologies can be given with a simple look, hug, or recollection of your commitment to the other. They are your life long teammate.

2. Life is Fleeting, Share and Celebrate Your Love Before It’s Too Late

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 Jenny and Oliver fell in love quick and surely didn’t hide their love away. Good thing since their love story was cut short. You never know what tomorrow may bring, if you love someone let them know. Then celebrate it, shout it from the roof tops, live our that love each and every day. Or else, end up bitter and alone like Oliver’s poor father…

line The Notebook

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In case you’ve never seen it…who are you?
The movie tells the story of Duke, an old man reading a love story to a woman suffering from dementia. Duke recounts the true love between Allie and Noah, who fought for their love as the world (mostly Allie’s disapproving parents) tried to tear them apart. After seven years of separation the young lovers reunite and realize they are still deeply in love. After hearing this story time and time again, the suffering dementia patient realizes that she is Allie and Duke is Noah – just in time for the two of them to die peacefully together.

Lesson’s Learned:

1. True Love Can Defy All Odds if Both Parties Truly Believe In It

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There is no doubt about it, love is a risky endeavor. But once you take that risk and fall down that rabbit hole into the world of love you must both put 100% faith and trust into your relationship. When you are both in it together, miraculous things will happen. Faith and Love are one in the same to me.

2. You Must Follow Your Own Heart

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The world will try to tell your otherwise. People will try to tear you apart. Ignore the haters and follow your gut. Listen to your heart and take action. Only you can create your own happiness.

 lineTitanic

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In case you never saw it…really…who are you?!
Jack, a romantic drifter, and Rose, a wealthy young girl engaged to a snob, meet and fall in love aboard the doomed Titanic. Jack rescues Rose as she contemplates suicide to escape the social repression of her life. Within the next few days, the two fall deeply in love as Jack shows Rose a whole new world and way of viewing life. When the boat begins to sink, Rose choses to stay with Jack, rather than escape with her wealthy family. The two struggle to survive as the ship goes down, and nearly do, until Jack dies of hypothermia. Rose carries Jack’s memory with her and lives out an adventure and fruitful life. 

Lesson’s Learned:

1. That Mysterious Artsy Guy Who Isn’t Afraid of Taking Chances Makes a Great Romantic Partner

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 When you need a little push or motivation, guys like Jack, will always be willing to hold your hand and lead you on adventures leading to a life of surprises and passion. These guys have a big heart and big dreams and think outside of society’s norms.

2. Love Is Playful

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Life’s too short, live a little! Love’s not all about the big passionate moments. Love should be playful and make you feel alive Take that spontaneous trip, try new and exotic food, pull an all nighter before a big day, let your hair down! Take Jack and Rose’s lead –  Let him draw you naked, have hot sex in the back of someone else’s car, have a spitting contest, dance like fools.

3. Challenges Bring You Closer

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No doubt that when you and your love must endure a great challenge (hopefully not a sinking ship) your love will grow and you’ll learn to trust the other in ways you never did before. When life throws you struggles you’ll learn to lean on one another and tide the storm together. Who knew what would have happened to Jack and Rose if the ship safely landed in the States?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Spread the love!

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Work

why we work a beautiful little adventure

whywework

 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Bonnie, from The Life of Bon, and Taylor, from The Daily Tay, ganged up for a love themed link up – encouraging others to write about why they and their partner “work”.

After deciding to participate I just kept muttering to myself “Why do Ryan and I work as a married couple?” over, and over, and over. I kept trying to recall that one magic moment when everything clicked and fireworks went off and I know we were just perfect for each other. Sorry to break it to you, but I don’t believe moments like that exist. No one is perfect for each other.

why we work katie and ryan abla

While I repeatedly asked myself the question, “Why do we work?” I couldn’t help but envision a well oiled factory machine with many complex parts all working together perfectly to create a flawless and productive product. This analogy may work for some couples (or maybe just in fairy tales?) but my marriage to Ryan is nothing like that.

We are two separate machines and unlike a well-engineered piece of factory equipment, our parts don’t always line up perfectly or complete each other. We don’t work because there is some magic chemistry between the two of us or because it was our destiny to end up together. We work because we work at being together. And it is hard work.

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Not only are we two separate machines, but Ryan and I are often working in two separate factories miles and miles apart. Yet, with communication our two independent factories work together attempting to create a product that will please the other and create a joint profit. Somedays I will create a product with just the hopes of making Ryan’s day, while others I hope that the product I’m creating will work well with the one that he is simultaneously creating for me.

There are days when all lines of communication are down and our attempts are complete failures. We’ll end up creating two useless items. I’ll create a TV remote and he’ll create a picture frame. They are both fine and dandy, but what is a remote with out a TV and a frame with out a picture? These two items are useless alone and they will never be productive together. Failure day at the factories.

Those days are the worst, like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and they are often filled with tears, resentment, and mean words. But no matter what, you are never going to get that TV remote and that picture frame to work together. It’s best to just say goodnight and go to bed. (yes, going to bed angry “works” for us) That TV remote and picture frame will usually be gone by morning and we can get back to work at making something else.

Other days we surprise ourselves and create two separate products that are essential to one another, like a lightbulb and a lamp. You can’t have one with out the other can you? These days far outweigh the bad ones. They, like the lightbulb, ignite our love and give us hope which we use to light the way through those darker failure days. But these days take hard work.

why we work katie and ryan a beautiful little adventure

It’s hard work fitting two different people doing two different jobs together for life. There are days when we both want to quit, that we both want to push the reset button and go back to our factory settings of default. When our machines are in default mode we always come first, we don’t have to think about another person’s needs or ideas. Ryan and I work because we don’t believe in hitting the “reset to default” button. Instead, of the “default button” we select the buttons labeled with words like respect, sympathy, kindness, and patience.

It takes work to be patient when Ryan is dead tired and as grumpy as a toddler. It takes work for Ryan to not jump to conclusions as to why I’m being quiet or distant when I just need some space. It takes work to be understanding when Ryan forgets an important date because he has 5 billion things going on inside his head. It takes work for Ryan to be kind when I forget to rinse out my dirty dishes before putting them in our inadequate dishwasher (once again). It’s the constant little acts of kindness that makes us work.

why we work a beautiful little adventure

We work because at the end of the day our two separate machines have churned out a plentiful array of products. Yes, some are disasters, but others are productive and beautiful. Together the good and the bad create a beautiful work of art. To others it may look like an abstract mess, but to us it is a masterpiece. It depicts our love, our life’s work and tells our story. As with any piece of art, Ryan and I will always view it with a different perception and take away a different meaning. But by choosing to simultaneously admire and to put value in the same piece of work day in and day out; that is what makes us work.

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Sweet Treat For Yourself: beso handbags

beso handbags roxy wristlet Raise your hand if you’re MORE than ready for Spring!

One of the worse things about winter is the fact that style pretty much goes out the window (or hidden under layers upon layers). My hair and skin are dry and my clothes feel boring and over worn. I’m desperate for some new style and some new feminine touches. Anything besides snow boots and puffer coats!

That’s why I was so happy when I stumbled upon the shop beso handbags. These adorable handmade handbags add a much-needed pop of color to your winter wardrobe (and can be used throughout the spring and summer too).

Johanna, the owner of beso handbags, combines modern style with vintage inspired fabric to create one of a kind bags. They come in various shapes and styles and an array of fabric designs that is sure to fit many personal styles.

I fell in love with this Roxy wristlet in coral and white chevron print with aqua ruffle detail. I think it’s the perfect piece to make my outfit pop in the Winter but it will also transition perfectly into Spring and Summer. 

beso hand bags Johnanna’s craftsmanship is suburb and the fabric is high quality.The inside is lined with a soft yet rich feeling teal faux suede. I don’t use a lot of wristlets because I worry that they won’t fit anything. But this size was ideal – I could fit my wallet, iPhone, lip stick, keys, and mini brush. The wrist strap is also detachable so it can used as a basic hand-held clutch as well.

beso handbags roxy wristlet beso handbags beso handbags also carries a few jewelry items as well! Check out this darling vintage inspired rose pendant!
beso hand bags petite bloom necklace  I love the bright teal color of the Petite In Bloom pendant and the way it makes an outfit of winter neutrals complete. The rose pendants is about the size of a dime and hangs on a 18 inch antiquated brass chain.

Why not treat yourself this week? To help you to add some new life into you winter wardrobe beso handbags is offering you 20% off any purchase with the code ADVENTURES20

Better yet, enter to win a   $30 credit to the online shop to buy whatever you want!

The 20% off code is good through Friday February 14, 2014

Enter the giveaway below – you must enter to win by the end of the day February 14, 2014.

beso handbags

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Red Velvet Cookie Cakes

Red Velvet Cookie Cakes Recipe

These little cookie cakes are heavenly. I call them cookie cakes because although they look like mini cup cakes they are most definitely rich cookies. They are simple and fast to make and are fun for a Valentine’s Day treat or any other occasion for a lover of red velvet cake in you life!

Before I reveal this recipe, I feel the need to confess.

I always feel a little like a fraud with my recipe post.

Three years ago the most cooking I ever did was fajitas, brownies, or spaghetti. My kitchen cabinets were empty and I had to borrow most cooking supplies from my mother. It was not a priority and it was not fun.

Flash forward. Now I have a hungry man to feed (seriously, how do they eat so much?) and a tighter budget and I’m finding that I love spending time cooking.

My meals are still a far cry from gourmet. Yet, they are  but they are far closer than my grilled chicken, canned green beans, and peanut butter and pretzels menu pre marriage. I still have a hard time making a recipe with more than 10 ingredients or any that takes longer than 45 minutes.

It’s funny though, how when something became a priority, I found that I actually enjoy it. I find solace in cutting and chopping and a great peace when you have a finished product that is rewarding not only for you but for those you share it with. I still get majorly frustrated when things don’t go rights. For instance, the first batch of these cakes got a little burnt. I blame our ancient oven in our rental with a broken top heating unit. As Ryan said yesterday, “Katie, you can get a little nasty when you’re baking”. I still find baking the hardest of cooking. There’s such a small unit of time between “lightly crisped” and “extremely burnt”.

But after some practice I feel like I can now call myself a good cook and baker – and actually look forward to meal planning and discovering and creating new recipes.

For example – these cookie cakes! Yum!

Red Velvet Cookie Cakes

Ingredients:

1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup Canola Oil

1/3 cup Powdered Sugar

1 bag of Cookies and Cream Hershey Kisses

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to  350 degrees

2. Mix together the cake mix, eggs, and canola oil. Blend in mixer for about two minutes.

3. Roll small balls of the dough and place in a sprayed mini muffin tray. The balls should fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way.

red velvet cookie cakes

4. Bake for 10 minutes (I found this to be the magic number after burning the first batch)

5. While the cookies are baking, unwrap your Hershey kisses.

red velvet cookie cakes cookies and cream hershey kisses

6. Let the cookies sit for 2 minutes and then remove from tin and place on a cooling rack.

7. Sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies and then place a Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

red velvet cookie cakes

red velvet cookie cakes

xoxo Katie

Love Lessons

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Last Saturday morning Ryan and I were in the car, out for the morning running typical errands. We were in a rush to get a few boring but necessary tasks done before driving down to visit his family later that afternoon. We were sitting in silence listening to music.

As I looked over at Ryan I happily smiled to myself and thought how happy it made me to have him to share in the daily mundane, how even just a typical trip to the grocery store was now fun because we were doing it together. As my smile slowly turned into a little laugh.

Ryan turned over and asked, “What I was thinking about?”

What was my response? “Oh, just thinking about everything we have to do today.” I then critiqued the route he chose to take.

What?!

Why did I lie? Why did I hide what I was really thinking? Me, the girl who loves to talk about feelings, didn’t want to express her own? Looking back, I was being so cold.

I don’t understand why I didn’t express my love and gratitude to Ryan in the car that day. Or why on other nights when I miss him terribly I don’t express it to him. Is it because I just didn’t feel like it? That I didn’t want the back and forth banter of “oh I love you SO much” that can sometimes feel overused and artificial? Because I was lazy? Because I wanted him to say something like that to me first?

I know that every single one of those reasons is totally immature and selfish. I’m not perfect.

If there is one universal truth about marriage it is this: Marriage takes a lot of hard work.

In the busyness of everyday it is sometimes hard to remember that such little expressions of love can go a long way. Sometimes it’s just hard to take that extra step. In hindsight it seems unnaturally cold to not do so. Why would I not want to lift my husband up higher, to make him happier?

I’ve never been so sure of anything as I am for my love for Ryan. Yes, we are very different and have different needs. Hearing me vocally express my gratitude and love for him sporadically like that in the car make him smile his big charming smile and make his day. But in my head, I didn’t express it because I think, “oh he knows I love him, he doesn’t need to hear it AGAIN”. But no, he does need to hear it.

Thinking this over made me think of the 5 Languages of Love book by Garry Chapman. It outlines five ways to express and experience love  called “love languages”: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts ofservice, and physical touch. Understanding yours and your partners can help your relationships communication and growth. You can take a 3 minutes test to find out you language. 

Unlike Ryan, I don’t thrive off of hearing the words, “I love you” over and over. Of course I love him and of course I like affirming words of love at times. But, I don’t need to hear it daily. Instead, I thrive off of little acts of service. For instance, my heart melted on Sunday night. I was upstairs working away in the office all afternoon. Around 7 p.m. Ryan came upstairs and surprised me with a cosmo in my favorite martini glass. He took me downstairs and said “why don’t you pick out one of your favorite romantic movies for us to watch together, it’s time for you to relax.” I fell in love a little bit more with my husband at that moment.

I love when he notices that I need a little help around the house, or when I come home and the kitchen is spotless, or he realizes we are out of paper towels and picked some up on the way home. It makes me feel loved because it makes me feel noticed and appreciated. It makes me feel like he is present. I need to tell him that.

Life gets busy. Ryan and I both do things that irritates the other. We both can be highly critical and end up wanting to pull our hair out. But wouldn’t those moments be easier to extinguish with a simple act of love? Wouldn’t they have less chance of turning into a fight or a grudge? Communication isn’t hard, just take the time to do it. Wouldn’t we both be happier?  Why not choose that?

I need to remember to vocalize those happy little inner thoughts that I’m having about Ryan. I need to show my gratitude vocally when he does little acts of kindness from me. I need to give him the love he knows how to best receive. How else can we expect our marriage and our love to grow?

We all need love. There is no doubt that it is complex. Everyone will have a different definition of what love is to them. So, my thoughts, even if I think they are little, or not that important, or silly, may make Ryan feels full of love.

Open up and share, love is all around, you just have to learn to give and receive it in the best way – a lifetime learning process.

If you haven’t already – go take the test and find out your love language!

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

 

(Blast from the Past) Favorite TV Shows from High School Years

Last week’s post about High School notes inspired me to start a new series “Blast from the Past” depicting all things nostalgic from the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s.

Blast from the Past a beautiful little adventure

This week as I was snowed in for a few days and catching up on my DVR (does anyone else get stressed when the DVR gets to be around 98% full?!) I got to thinking about TV. Teen shows have surely changed since the 90’s. Back then there were no vampires, far less sex,  kids weren’t always dressed in unobtainable designer duds, and story lines didn’t revolve around text messages. There I go again, sounding like an old lady complaining about “youth of today”. Sigh. Here are high school Katie’s favorite shows during 1997-2001.

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1. My So-Called Life

1994-1995

Okay, so I was in middle school for this one, but I watched my VHS’s of the show non stop in high school. I wanted to be Claire Danes like no other and Jared Leto was my biggest crush (behind Leo of course!). The shows depiction of a 15 year-old girls coming of age in the 90’s was raw and real, with no over the top dramas or bubble gum pop music and characters. I guess too real for the teen drama niche of TV as it was canceled after only one season.

PartyOfFive 90's tv

2. Party of Five

1995 – 2000

Five siblings are left orphaned after a tragic car accident. Instead of being split up they decide to stick together and raise one another with Matthew Fox taking over as their immature and womanizing guardian. Scott Wolf was dreamy.

Dawson's Creek 90's tv

3. Dawson’s Creek

1998 – 2003

4 oversensitive teenagers with the largest dialect known to man over analyzed their changing hormones and growing pains. How could I not love this show? My best friend and I toured all of the filming spots in Wilmington, NC one summer, we were obsessed. Pacey and Joey for life!

Boy Meets World

4. Boy Meets World

1993 – 2000

Two words: Topanga’s Hair. I also loved following the journey of the whole gang, Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric into adulthood. The stories were sweet, honest, sensitive with the right level of cheese. Who will be watching Girl Meets World?

Seventh Heaven 90's teen tv

Seventh Heaven

1996 – 2007

Hailed as the longest running family drama ever! I loved sharing in the Camden family’s ups and downs. The show dealt with an array of moral and ethical themes. Who could resist this sweet family? Lucy was my favorite.

3rd Rock from the Sun

3rd Rock From the Sun

1996 – 2001

4 aliens pose as ordinary humans to observe life on earth. The perfect fish out of water tale. This charming sitcom first gave us Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I loved laughing at this killer cast try to understand the human condition.

sister sister 90's tv

Sister Sister

1994 – 1999

The most unlikely plot ever – two twin sisters are adopted by two separate parents and don’t meet again until 14 years later…when both families decide to live together… chaos ensued. Twins are fun. 


What were some of your favorites?

xoxo Katie