Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You Should Watch This Video

Guys, This video will make your heart smile no matter what kind of morning you're having. 

 "You were made to be awesome"

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Kitty Ownership

I know a lot of kitty haters.
You might even be one of them, but hang in there with me.
I'm going to attempt to do the seemingly impossible and convince you that cats aren't that bad, they aren't bad at all -- and this is coming from a former kitty hater. 

When I met Seth in 2008 and we started dating...he had 4 cats.
Me and my cat allergies were not a fan, but I happened to be a big fan of Seth...so 4.5 years later here we are married, and we both start longing for a pet.
And along that journey of dating, I grew to really enjoy the company of his families cats. 
I grew up with dogs. Well dog singular, we had Sneakers for 15 years. Sneakers was an awesome yellow lab who was sweet and gentle, but grew very old and very lumpy and now her remains are in a little memorial rock on our front porch.
Then came Autumn, our rambunctious Rott-Lab mix. She is loads of fun, always licking you, always wanting to know what you're eating..you know. She still lives at home with my parents, and I miss the crap out of her. I miss the crap out of having an animal around.

A few months ago Seth and I started thinking about cats. Cats were always out of the picture for me.
My dad is allergic, and my mom grew up hating cats because her mom did...you get the picture. 
You see, cat hating is more often passed down then an actual learned trait. 
Anywho, I started doing some research on hypo-allergenic cats. I had heard they existed but really knew nothing...and was scared they would be ugly and hairless.
No offense to anyone who owns a hairless cat, I just can't picture myself loving that kind of creature. 
I stumbled on a beautiful, fuzzy, happy, breed with a DOG-LIKE personality. I thought I had struck gold. 

Now for a bit on hypo-allergenic kitties -- 

People ask about how she is hypo-allergenic all the time. Here is what you have to know. Cat allergies are NOT about fur, I repeat NOT about fur. It is about the protein in their saliva that creates the dander people are allergic to. Penelopes breed of cat is called "Siberian". Siberian cats have very low levels of the protein that creates dander. Most cats have numbers between 40,00-120,000 in their DNA. Siberians have about 40...total. 


Researching cat breeders is like going on a wild goose chase. I found that they never email you back, they don't return calls, and to get anyone to even talk to you you have to pester them. Or get on a wait list. We had a breakthrough when we finally got in contact with a breeder in Southern California. Now, even though these kitties are expensive -- you can't put a price on love. You just can't. 

We finally got in touch with a local breeder that had Siberians that we could just meet to make sure they didn't react with my allergies. After meeting with a strange little cat crazy family that owned eight Siberians and having absolutely no reaction, we were good to go. 

Back to the breeder in Southern California....after we got cleared that my allergies were ok and that our landlord would let us have a cat we decided to pursue adopting. 

This was the first picture I ever saw of little P. 
That face....

Seth and I had also decided that we wanted a male cat. Well, Seth decided that..I didn't really care either way. I had fallen in love with those little kitty faces, I didn't care what sex it was!
After a little coaxing, Seth thought it would be ok if we brought this little sweet pea home.
And we are so stinking glad we did.

I mean honestly, even the hater-est of cat haters can't deny that face.
Now I know there are some nasty cats out there, some scratchers, some biters, and some claw swipers. That does not make the whole cat race doomed people!

I still hate the litter box. And because little Penelope is such a rare breed of cat, and we live in a very high traffic area, we cannot afford to have her outside. The little box is nasty mcnast, I will admit. BUT, air freshener, an automatic litter box, and good non-chemical cat litter has made it so you don't even notice the smell.
(Except for when she pooped twice under our bed which is a whole other story)

What I've learned about kitties in the past few years is this:
They are low maintenance. They clean themselves, they entertain themselves, you can just leave food out and they will come and get it when they want..
They are loving, and snuggly, and sweet. Don't believe the lies.
They are FUN, and funny.. Penelope slides all over the place, chases after a laser pointer like she's got her life on the line, and will roll completely off the couch in deep kitty sleep splendor.

Cat haters of the world,
you gotta get over it.
Find yourself a kitty to fall in love with.
And if you have allergies, drive on down to Garlic land and meet Penelope.
She'll steal your heart. 
We like to call her P, Peanut, P-town, Penny...anything P related. Not "PP" though, that would be weird. 
But honestly,
give kitties a fighting chance in your life.
You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wedding Recap: The Morning Of

Happy Tuesday friends!
Thanks for joining me for another step on our wedding day journey. 

As mentioned last time...I didn't sleep the night before. Seth on the other hand, slept 8+ hours with his hands behind his head and legs crossed like he was relaxing in the sun!

The nerves started to set in as soon as we got to the hotel. There had been so much activity, so much running around, and so little time to actually spend time with Seth. I know it seems silly to want to spend time with him right before the wedding, but at that point he had been living in Gilroy for a month and I only got to see him on the weekends! 

I was lucky to have my girls with me that night, that is for sure! I gave the girls their bridesmaid gifts and we all attempted to hit the hay around 11:00. Melissa, Ashley, and I decided it would be fun to share the King size bed...but us sharing a room never comes without shenanigans. Shenanigans and tears in this case, these sweet girls prayed for me and asked Jesus to calm my anxious heart. 

These are some of the moments I could never forget, not even if I tried.

After about two hours of tossing and turning. I decided that sleeping was a lost cause..and that I was certainly wasting my time even trying! I fumbled around the hotel room for a while, I made sure the slideshow was perfect, I took a bath, and I spent a few hours in the lobby drinking the free coffee! I seriously couldn't wait for 6:00am to roll around, hoping someone would be up!  

It definitely took a while for everyone to wake up, and everyone was shocked that I didn't sleep! It started showing on my face soon enough though. My cheeks were puffy, my eyes tired looking, and I was starting to get irritable. Uh oh.

Luckily, my mama showed with champagne and juice. Champagne can make even the tiredest of brides feel better. 

The hair and makeup promptly started at 9am. Andrea started on each of the bridesmaids hair, and Janet arrived to do mine.  I had been growing my hair out for four whole years for this very day, and I'm so glad I did.

I thought about dying my hair dark before the wedding, thinking I would regret later having so many highlights. To be honest, I wish I had indeed made my hair all one color before the wedding, but I obviously can't go back and change that now!

What bothers me the most is the orangey tone of my hair in all of the pictures. Oh well!

 I got a little cat nap while Janet curled my hair, which took a ridiculous amount of time considering all of the hair spray...I won't tell you how long I had to scrub my hair after the wedding, you'd be so shocked you might fall out of your chair. 

Let's talk about wedding hair for a second. Because I had grown it out for so many years, it needed to be perfect. 

I had initially wanted my hair to be big loose curls, with the top pinned back so it wasn't in the way. I eventually got something that I liked, but I started panicking when I looked in the mirror and felt like Shirley Temple. I totally understand the need for using un-Godly amounts of hairspray to make it hold for the whole day, but it felt like...glue. 

I ended up pulling at it most of the day trying to get it to come down, it was just so tight! My hairdresser used a 1 inch wand, which I regret asking her to do. Wands make for really tight curls that taper and get smaller at the end. Oh well, it ended up being just right. My hair feel just past the top of my wedding dress, had it have fallen any lower it would have taken away from the ruching on the top of my dress!

It was 12:00 before we knew it. It was time to pack up, get in the limo, and head to the winery!
Nerves started at this point even worse than ever. Even though no one knew this was bothersome at all, I loathed when people would ask "are you doing ok?" -- or any form of that question. After a mini break down in the bathroom, we all agreed to not ask any form of that question for the rest of the day! I was getting married, yes I was very excited, but also so very nervous!!

The car ride was nothing short of exciting. The road was super windy and we were all getting pumped up. The girls blasted the radio, requested my white girl dancing, and took pictures of their wedding shoes. 

I tried my best to stay calm when we got to the winery, but that was pretty darn difficult.
Put 8 or 9 ladies in a room, full of nerves, and full of crazy...you can bet I was stressed out. 

By the time we arrived we only had about 2.5 hours to finish getting ready. I really wish that the venue would have let us arrive earlier. One makeup artist for 7 women in 2.5 hours + the bride? Not everyone got full attention, I started freaking out because I didn't initially like my makeup, and it quickly became a mess. 

But, I did my best to keep in perspective what was happening that day. I was marrying Seth, and all of the hard work and effort we had put in the past seven months was finally coming to fruition. That thought kept me going. 


Now, wasn't that a nice emotional roller coaster?
I was biting my lip all over again just typing it out. 

Next time I will cover  the ceremony!
This wedding really was a labor of love, and I'm so glad that all of the little details were photographed and the special moments captured.

Until then,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wedding Recap: Pre-Wedding Events

I've been wanting to do a recap of the wedding for a while now. I'm afraid if I don't do it soon, I'll forget the little details!

I was re-inspired to do a series of posts when my MiL let me borrow her camera to take on our honeymoon and she had pictures  left over from the rehearsal and a few from the wedding day. I love seeing pictures from other perspectives. Some of the guests photos were my favorite of the whole day! 

My stomach starts to churn just thinking of the crazy emotions & anxiety I had leading up to the wedding. Having Seth in school full time at that point made it hard too, I just wanted some time to rest, but that wasn't really possible five days before the wedding! 

Five days before her wedding, a bride should really give up any thoughts of control she might have. I understood that there was nothing more I could do to make things *perfect*, and relinquishing control, or my perceived control rather, made it possible to calm down....a little. 

Because 3 out of my 5 bridesmaids live far away, we decided to leave the bachelorette party until two days before the wedding. In hindsight I probably wouldn't recommend doing that, maybe three or four days before. I didn't want a crazy bachelorette party; I was firm on that, no matter how crazy they all wanted to get, wanted ME to get. Melissa, my MoH, flew in on Wednesday morning -- just hours before the party was set to start! I drove her right to the hotel, at her request, and left to go get my hair done. My only instruction was to wear a white dress, while the rest of the ladies wore black. Oh! And I had to have fun shoes, that was a must. And if you know me at all, I don't really do fun shoes...ever. So I decided that my girlfriends would love if I stepped out of my box a little bit. I strapped on these babies, a decision my feet would surely regret later, but they were fun while they lasted.

My feet look so comfortable...right?

Melissa had a super fun evening planned. It started with some mustaches, my favorite beer selection, and dinner. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Elephant Bar, where I was thoroughly embarrassed by being the one girl that stuck out in her white dress, pink fuzzy crown, and sash that said "Bride to be!".  

Check out those heart shaped cookies turned butt shape cookies with cute designs!

My lovely best friends. I have this photo on my desk at work!

After dinner we came back, played some games, and opened presents. These ladies sure know how to make me feel special. I even got a be-dazzled champagne bottle from Haeley, its waiting in my fridge for a special occasion!

I happily took off my shoes, but when it was time to go out again, there was no way I was putting them back on! I switched to flip flops, and as you can tell, I was pretty excited about it. 

It was Wednesday, so not much happening in general, but we ended up at this awesome little wine bar in Burlingame. To my surprise, it was pretty busy! 

I did my standard creeping in photos...

Let them take one good one without me creeping...

And then we smushed into the car and went home!

My last evening as a "single lady" was super fun. These girls really know how to make me feel special and loved. 

I'm so glad it wasn't any crazier than that. The next day we had to transport all of the wedding stuff up to the Winery -- an hour long journey. And I happened to make/supply all of the wedding decor, so imagine how hard that was to transport!

We had lunch at a local restaurant on the way up, and then got ready for the rehearsal. 
We got there and the arch that my in-laws made was already set up on the lawn. This arch was the brain child of my in-laws and BiL, they took the design from our wedding invitation which had one side of the tree. My in-laws own a machine shop where they cut large pieces of metal for industrial places, or just decorative. My MiL and I painted the arch and they put it all together. I really love how it came out!

It was a spectacular day up at the winery. It was super foggy in the morning but it burnt off, I was confident that our wedding day would have beautiful weather! At this point, I was starting to get nervous. I was running on very little sleep, and there was a few last minute things that were really hard to handle emotionally.  

Right before the rehearsal I started to freak out. Cry, shake, get crazy freak out. My two wedding planners literally came to my rescue, bought Seth and I a bottle of wine, and started getting everyone else together and didn't require anything of us until it was my time to walk down the aisle and Seth to stand at the front. I felt bad having a mini-break down...but honestly, everyone involved in the wedding understood and that helped a lot.

My pride and joy that I had been putting together for the last seven months was now in someone elses hands and totally out of my control.  It is a strange feeling to plan the entire wedding, and that not be able to watch the majority of it happen. I had no idea if things were set up the way I imagined, or if my flower girl even managed to walk in a straight line down the aisle.

Those little details that felt monumental when I was planning them, were now something I had to really give over to the planners and hope that they captured my vision. Good thing they did, they really took my crazy, busy vision of our wedding and turned it into pure perfection. 

We did two run throughs of the whole ceremony -- it went pretty smoothly after I had calmed down a bit. 

Hannah, one my good friends and guitarist for the ceremony, her boyfriend was taking some photos during the rehersal. I had no idea that they would turn out so beautifully, especially in black and white!

I love this one with my dad in the background. A good picture of our relationship, letting me do my thing but still watching with a smile from a distance. 

After the rehersal, we got ready to head back down the mountain to the rehearsal dinner. Lucky for me, my MiL left me out of all the planning for that, Lord knows how crazy I would have been if I was in charge of that too!

We took a few last photos as we left, knowing that tomorrow things would look a whole lot different!

My lovely ladies of the wedding! Including Daryn, my precious flower girl. 

There weren't a whole lot of photos taken at the rehearsal dinner. I remember Seth and I literally buzzing from all of the excitement. We got to sit in the corner of the room that looked out over everyone, all the loved ones that were involved in the wedding and some of the family that came from out of town was there too!

Thanks Haeley, for taking the only picture we have from the rehearsal dinner!

The rest of the evening was interesting.
We got to the hotel that I had reserved for me and the girls.
I forgot to pack pants.
Literally forgot to bring pants, who does that?
What organized bride does that?!
Toby came to my rescue with two pairs of yoga pants to wear to bed and one for the next day which was sure to come before I knew it.

And you know what?
I didn't really need pants to sleep in...because I didn't sleep.
I'll save re-capping that emotional night before the wedding for next time. 

Looking back on the few days before the wedding, I am just so thankful for everyone involved. All of my bridesmaids and friends who dealt with my nonsense, my parents and in-laws who were at my hand and foot for anything I needed, and my hubby for making it all worth the crazy. 

I'll be back soon with some of the fun from the hotel the night before the wedding, and the morning of the wedding too!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Best Chicken of Your Life.

Happy Monday friends. I'm snuggled by the fire on this frigid morning, watching our new little kitten, Penelope, sleep as close as she can to the fireplace. I'll tell you all about her soon, we hope she becomes a little less shy in the next few days.

What I really came to tell you today was this amazing, phenomenal chicken that BM made on Friday evening. It's a party in your mouth. A really awesome party.

I'm a little bummed that I didn't discover this recipe myself. BM has a habit of looking at what we have in the fridge and googling those ingredients to try and make a recipe, where I prefer to find a recipe and then go get the ingredients! This recipe is called "Aussie Chicken", and you should probably make it for dinner tonight. 

Here is what you'll need:

4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
2 Teaspoons seasoning salt
6 slices bacon, cut in half
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (BM took these out for me!)
2 cups shredded colby-monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

I don't have an ingredients photo...well..because I didn't make it :) This is a benefit of working nights, BM gets to do the cooking! (sometimes)

Here is what you do:
1. Rub the chicken breasts with seasoning salt, cover and refrigerate for 30 mins.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crisp, set aside. 

3. In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, corn syrum, mayonnaise, and dried onion flakes. Remove half of sauce, cover and refrigerate to serve later. 

4. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place breasts in the skillet and saute for 3-5 mins per side, or until browned. Remove from skillet and place the breasts into a baking dish. Apply the honey mustard sauce to each breast, then layer each with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle to top with shredded cheese. 

5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Garnish with parsley and serve with the reserved honey mustard sauce. 

Here is what you get:
A happy wife & ...

Who doesn't love a good honey mustard sauce?
This chicken is seriously so dang good, I could eat 3x a week.

Also, stay tuned to hear about this fur ball that we welcomed into our home yesterday! We are most certainly in love. 

Ok, now go to the grocery store, get those ingredients..and make this chicken tonight!
You will not regret it!