Saturday, October 15, 2016

Aaron and Sabrina's Wedding

Greetings faithful blog readers! Time to play catch-up and tell you about our recent travels to Middleburg, VA to enjoy the festivities of Aaron (Brendan's cousin) and Sabrina's wedding.

We rented a lovely house for the weekend and stayed with Brendan's family, aunt, uncle, and cousins. The space was perfect for what we needed: two outdoor patios and a hot-tub (sadly the pool was already closed!)

Friday during the day, Brendan went to sample cider with the other relatives while I got my nails done with his mom and sister. My mani/pedi was much needed, and my mom in law was super nice to treat me. Friday night, we dined at the Blackthorne Inn, a restaurant in a stone house that was once owned by George Washington. We had a private room perfect for conversation, and everyone enjoyed an excellent meal!

Afterwards, we headed to the wedding venue, the Salamander Resort, for a pre-wedding fire pit gathering. There were s'mores, but I'm pretty sure that everyone was too full from dinner! 

Finally, it was time for the wedding. We enjoyed getting ready in the house and taking some group photos before and after the ceremony. Here's a large part but not all of the Egan family! 

Our family :) Happy 39 year anniversary to Brendan's parents today (10/15!)

One very fun thing about Brendan's family is that all seven cousins were born in a ten year time span. That means that between the cousins and significant others, there are fourteen of us very close in age, which always makes for super fun family gatherings. Here's a few of us.

Of course, the best part of any wedding is seeing a happy bride and groom. Aaron and Sabrina were both glowing! 

We returned home Sunday night and had a very exhausting week catching up on work and sleep, but it was all worth it to see our family and be a part of another Egan wedding celebration! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

6 Years Lucky

It's hard to believe but oh so true, Brendan and I shared our first kiss six years ago today in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This photo was taken a couple of weeks later at a party for visiting poet, Gary Jackson. I remember flying home from SCMLA to make it to the reading on time. I was so excited to see Brendan, to hear Jackson's reading, and to see my friends. 

Back then, it felt like everything was just beginning. I was starting to think about applying for jobs and knew nothing of where life would take me or how things would turn out. I wasn't scared though. I had a feeling that Brendan and I would stay together, that our relationship would grow despite all the upcoming changes. 

I talked about Jackson's poem "The Gap" today with my composition students. It's funny how even though so much changes, who we are is so influenced by where we've been and, more importantly, who we've been there with. I feel lucky that the last six years of my life have been shared with this amazing man. Everything has changed so very much, but we're still wholly in love. There's no one else I'd rather come home to. I'm home wherever he is; if that's not luck, I don't know what is. 

Happy six years, Brendan. Thanks for making them the best years of my life. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Life in LulaRoe

Greetings faithful blog readers! 

I'm checking in after a busy week traveling to Virginia for a family wedding (more on that later) to share one my newest obsessions with you. It's no secret that I love comfortable clothes. When I was a kid, I would ONLY wear dresses, and I didn't own a pair of jeans until fifth grade (I had to wear them in a school play and absolutely HATED the feeling and didn't wear jeans again until middle school). As an adult, I definitely want to be comfortable at work, but sometimes that's hard when I also need to look professional. Enter LulaRoe, a company that lets me have my cake and eat it too. 

What it is: 
I started out with just one pair of leggings and a Cassie skirt, but then I couldn't get enough. Since I heard of LulaRoe a few weeks ago, I've bought four pairs of leggings, two skirts, and one dress. So far, I love everything. I'd say the Cassie skirt is my absolute favorite. It's a stretchy pencil skirt that can be worn for work or play. At $35, it's also a great deal. Here it is in a X-small. 

And here it is in a small (and after a long day at work teaching and tutoring!):  

The Nicole dress is another favorite. I ordered Small, but I could wear a Medium as well: 

By far, the best sellers I hear are the leggings, and I can see why. They are super soft (some call them "butter leggings), and there are a million fun prints. I couldn't resist these with keyboards and guitars. Leggings make the perfect lazy Sunday lounge wear, but I have neutral colors that I can wear under a dress for a day at work. This is especially good in the winter when I will wear trousers, but I'd be so much more comfortable in leggings and a long sleeve dress. I was even lucky enough to score a pair of Halloween leggings (which trust me, wasn't easy) that I'm saving for the end of October, and you can bet I'll wear them to work with a black dress on the 31st! I wear leggings in OS (one size), but they are also available in tall and curvy (TC). 

How it Works: 
Shopping for LulaRoe isn't like shopping for normal clothes, and that's part of the fun of it. Consultants host pop up parties, and you have a limited time (usually 24 hours) to shop the albums or the link. If you are shopping albums, they are uploaded onto a Facebook page, and you need to comment "claim" and leave an email address if you see something you like.  If you are shopping a link, it opens a webpage with all the seller's items, and you can click the button that says claim. You need to pay your invoice within 24 hours usually, and the sellers ship to you that fast too! 

LulaRoe makes a limited number of each size and style in each pattern, so if you see something you like, it could be hard to find again. That said, I don't recommend getting caught up in the frenzy. I don't shop from sellers that have thousands of followers commenting on every post; I find that stressful and much prefer to shop parties or private sales. Sure, there are other people shopping, but you can take more than one second to decide if you want something! 

My Party and the Bomber Blondes Amy and Britney: 
I'm hosting a party tonight at 6:30PM central time, so tell me on Facebook if you'd like to be added. I choose to work with Amy and Britney (The Bomber Blondes) because they have a very organized and easy to shop website, and they give a 10% discount to all teachers, military, nurses, and first responders, and I think that's awesome and know a lot of my friends that would appreciate it. They also have great shipping prices ($1 for one pair of leggings, $3 for 1-2 items, and $6 for 3+ items). Plus, for every 10 items you buy, you get a pair of leggings for free. 

I'm definitely interested in picking up an Amelia and a Carly to add to my wardrobe, plus, for the right print, I'll be back for more Cassies, Nicoles, and Leggings! 

Happy shopping! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Oh Hello October!

Greetings faithful blog readers.
In truth, I don't know that I've ever been more excited to start a new month. I am simply ready for all things fall, and the start of October coinciding with the weekend gave us time to fully celebrate the arrival of a new month.

On Saturday morning, I woke up and declared that I was going to make it my ideal day. It's such a magical feeling to be able to wake up and do whatever one wants with a day. After taking our time getting ready, we started the day with brunch at Lori's. We both had the special, chilaquiles, and it was absolutely wonderful. From there, we headed to Fiddlestick Farms for opening day. Fiddlestick Farms is $15 for people ages 4 and up (children 3 and under get in free). There are many attractions, most of them geared towards kids, but we still had a great time checking out the corn maze and hayride, picking pumpkins, and taking some fall photos.

A word of caution: actually wear athletic shoes for the corn maze and bring sunscreen. I severely underestimated the difficulty and thus the length of time we'd be in there, and I ended up both sunburned and with tons of dirt in my flats. Not my most prepared moment!

A tip for pumpkin picking: the hayride will take you out to more pumpkin patches where you can pick pumpkins right off the vine and also have a selection that includes more varieties than the display at the front. We got six squash of varying sizes for $16.00 and found that large orange pumpkins are cheaper at HEB but all of the other varieties at Fiddlestick Farms are a deal compared to HEB.

Fiddlestick Farms has a rule against bad language, but as we left, Brendan was so excited that he exclaimed: It's ****ing decorative gourd season! Luckily, no one heard except for me, and I thought his excitement was hilarious. After we returned from the farm, we were exhausted (probably in part from getting so much sun). Brendan found the energy to make my favorite butternut squash recipe. We altered the ingredients slightly to use what we had on hand, but the result was as tasty as always.

I'm looking forward to the leftovers of this tonight!

After dinner, we watched The Night Of. Only two more episodes to go! The tension is extreme!

Yesterday, we went to HomeGoods first thing, so I could pick up a wreath and complete our front door decor.

I also picked up a pumpkin scented candle to get me in the October spirit (even though the weather isn't exactly cooperating; it's still in the 90s this week!) One reason I'm SO excited about October this year is because last year, we missed Halloween in our new house due to a work conference. This year, I can't wait to be here to dress up and hand out candy. I have great memories of Halloween as a child. Everyone in my childhood neighborhood would go all out to make Halloween special (we're talking backyard haunted houses, creepy decorations and music, and tons of candy). When I lived in apartments, I never had a trick or treater (except for once in Lake Charles, when I was unprepared and had to give out a bag of Chex Mix to a pretty disappointed kid). This year, I'll have so much candy! I'm still brainstorming about what we should be for Halloween. Any suggestions?

Last night, we ended the weekend at Dagan and Steph's house watching the new HBO show WestWorld. The show was so, so good and super creepy.  It's uncanny valley to the extreme, and if you have a fear of mannequins and robots (as I do), you may never sleep again! This temporarily will ease the void left by the wait for Game of Thrones.

This week is going to be fast and needs to be highly productive as a result. We leave town for a wedding in Virginia at the end of this week, so I have to make every hour count. Time for a pre-workout nap!

How did you welcome October? We hope it was with open arms; happy fall y'all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trans-Pecos Music Festival

Greetings faithful blog readers!

I know I've been slow to update lately, but I do have lots of exciting posts planned in my head for the fall!

This weekend, Brendan and I took an adventure to Marfa, TX to attend the Trans-Pecos Musical Festival with our friends Kristen and Alex. Alex drove the whole time, which was amazing, and we were also able to meet up with our friend Rich at the festival. This was our first time attending Trans-Pecos, and we had so much fun that we can't imagine not going back in future years.

We left Midland at around 8AM after stops at the gas station and grocery store. The first stop was setting up our tents (and giant blow up air mattresses; this is "glamping," okay?) The second stop was a baseball game where the Marfa Gallos played the Austin Playboys and where I was actually able to find a vegan hotdog. I also had two delicious popsicles (watermelon cucumber and peach basil)! I didn't pay much attention to the game, but I hear the Gallos won.

After that, we went to the Big Bend Brewery, but sadly, they were closed, so we went to my favorite gift shop Brown Dog Gardens instead and then went to Planet Marfa (an outdoor bar) before heading to Pizza Foundation for dinner. The four of us ate two pizzas this large, and we didn't have regrets about it either!

 After arriving back at the campsite, I took a serious nap!

I woke up to this beautiful sunset and this handsome man:

It was finally time for the music! Ben Kweller started with all new songs.

Followed by Calexico...

Followed by Neko Case, who performed until around 1AM.

The music was awesome; we were glad to get the chance to see performers that we have listened to a lot over the past decade. The drive home on Sunday was spectacularly beautiful. I ended the weekend feeling so grateful for the friends we have and the fact that they don't let us miss out on amazing things we probably wouldn't have found out about on our own. I started this week feeling so happy and relaxed. I think the fall semester has started to get stressful, and one night away was just what we needed.

Tonight, we'll be seeing Jim Lovell, commander of Apollo 13, who is speaking at Midland College. Don't miss it if you're in town!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Getting the Swing of Things

Greetings, faithful blog readers.

I let more than a week go by without updating. September is always a big adjustment for us: we've been back at work for a month now, but it still feels pretty new. Learning names, getting our classes on track, grading, and returning to meetings all takes a lot of energy to readjust to. There has been a lot of napping in my life, and this week is only going to get crazier: I have three meetings to attend, two workshops to teach, and we both have doctor's appointments on top of all the normal stuff. It'll be a busy week for sure, but I'm excited for the approach of fall.

Here's a few things that made life happier this week as we were getting into the swing of things:

We tried doing our HEB shopping on Tuesday morning this past week, and it was a good idea. The store was so much less crowded, and it was a much more enjoyable experience than usual. Tuesday night, we made quesadillas, one of our favorites. Wednesday, I made stuffed peppers in the crockpot, and we had our friends Kirsten and Alex over for dinner, which was a good way to destress mid-week.

We got so much rain this weekend! Friday, we went to Thai House for dinner (our favorite) and were surprised when we came out and it was raining. The storm even caused us to lose power. Luckily, it was restored in time for Shark Tank and 20/20

Then, we had a beautiful day on Saturday, which was good because we've officially started browsing for my new car. I'm looking into Honda CRV and Mazda CX5. I looked at Ford Escape but wasn't as impressed. I'll probably check out Toyota Rav4 and the Hyundai Tucson before it's all said and done. Any experiences positive or negative with any of these cars? Please share. It's been a long time since I've purchased a car, and I can't say I love the car shopping experience, but there are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon. 

Saturday night, it rained hard complete with a lightening show. I was happy for our trees and all our plants. We watched another episode of The Night Of. I do like this show (on HBO), but it's stressful and anxiety provoking. I'm SUPER excited about the new HBO show Westworld starting next month. I'm also looking forward to catching the first episode of ABCs Designated Surviver this Wednesday. Also on Saturday night, I got to catch up with my friend Corley. We have similar world outlooks and can always help each other stay positive despite the horrid uncertainties of this sometimes cruel and often chaotic world. It was good to talk. 

Lola basically slept through every storm. The Sentry calming collars are a new must in our house. The cats seem so much happier with them. We order them from Chewy and also order cat food there too (you can have food sent automatically, so it's one less thing to worry about buying).

Last, but not least, another great part of our week was ordering dinner from our friend Jennifer's new venture The Runaway Dish. If you live in Midland, we highly recommend her delicious vegetarian cooking. It's such a treat to have cooking taken off your list of to-dos every once in awhile. Especially when you are in the midst of a busy week! I'm not sure what was more awesome: the dinner (sweet potato and black bean enchiladas) or the leftovers I get to eat for dinner later this week!

Well folks, I hope you all had a great weekend. Make the last four days of summer memorable: fall begins on Thursday!

Here's to that!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

West Texas Weekending

Greetings faithful blog readers!

I'll start off by backtracking a little and saying this week, though short, was packed with events: club fair, meeting with our student group, welcome party for the writing center, etc. School has officially started, and I've officially been reminded of why I don't wear heels to work (it always takes one day of limping to remember).

But the best event of the week was Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires coming to our campus to perform at a free concert on Thursday night:

They were amazing. I can't wait to buy Amanda Shires's new album next week; her voice literally gave me chills. Isbell and the band were incredible. There was even a fiddle and an accordion, so you know I was happy. 

Anyway, we kicked off this weekend by catching MCT's production of Sweeney Todd last night. It was really well done, and our friend Mitchell plays the lead, and he was fantastic in the role. I highly recommend catching a performance if you live in Midland! 

This morning, we headed to the museum to volunteer at Septemberfest. It was rainy, but it was still fun to see all the artists' booths. The fest runs through tomorrow: they have food trucks, bounce houses, a petting zoo, and entertainment for the whole family. The main attraction is dozens of artists' booths where they sell crafts, jewelry, and art.  They charge $5 for adults and $3 for children/seniors, and Septemberfest will run until 5PM on Sunday (tomorrow). 

Afterwards, we treated ourselves to brunch at Lori's. I couch napped later while Brendan watched the Red Sox game since bottomless mimosas at Lori's live up to their name. 

Now, time to make something delicious. We hope your weekend if off to a good start!

Lola, for one, is jumping for joy:



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