Saturday, November 26, 2011


This Thanksgiving was particularly special.

It was the first time Ryan & I have ever hosted.

...And if I do say so myself, it was a success!

I watched the Macy's Parade as I put together a center piece and set the table with special napkins for the holiday.

The meal was split between my family. We (okay, mostly Ryan) did two turkeys - smoked and oven roasted. My Mom made cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce and apple pie. Frankie made loaded mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. I made homemade mac & cheese, pumpkin pie and pumpkin roll. Ryan also made Yankee style stuffing, gravy and a brandy-butter sauce for the apple pie.

And we watched lots of football...not usually my thing but it just feels right on Thanksgiving.

The next day, we packed up the left overs and celebrated again with Ryan's family then came home, curled up in our sweats and watched the entire first season of The Wonder Years while working on Christmas cards.

It was a beautiful holiday that left my heart, and tummy, full and happy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Hi. I'm Rachel. You may remember me as the girl who used to blog here.

Let's play catch-up, shall we? It's been a busy month. Here are the highlights...

One of my best friends, Kim, got married!!! It was such an honor being a bridesmaid and getting to share that special day with her & Jason!!

(I don't know who took these pics. I jacked them from her Facebook. 'Cause that's how I roll.)

We went to a really cool event at F.I.G. in Dallas for Windows Phone. It was a fun night (though I am 100% loyal to my iPhone) of free foods, drinks, pictures in Angry Bird costumes and most importantly - an amazing set from Young The Giant, one of my favorite bands!

Ryan met Ben & Jerry. Yes, THE Ben & Jerry. And yes, my husband is quite tall.

I also burst a blood vessel in my eye somehow. I'm not 100% sure how it happened, but after spending far too much time googling and on Web MD, I'm thinking its from stress/lack of sleep, possibly allergies. Luckily, its healed now, but for a few days there I was getting some strange looks and lots of people asking me what happened. How attractive...

Now, it's the week of Thanksgiving and I am so ready! We are having our annual Thanksgiving feast at work today, then I get to spend four glorious days off with my husband and family!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Durability Anniversary

Tomorrow is Ryan & my third wedding anniversary. It's called The Durability Anniversary because it is often when a couple is aware of the durability of their relationship. (Settle in...this one deserves the long version.)

Since our actual anniversary is on a Tuesday, we decided ahead of time to celebrate on Saturday night. Ryan took the planning reigns. At first, he wouldn't tell me much. Just that I'd need a dress. Well, I love surprises as much as the next gal, but sometimes, we need details. What KIND of dress? Would a sundress be appropriate, or should it be more formal? Would we be inside or outside? Would I need a sweater? What kind of shoes would I need? As I overwhelmed Ryan with questions, he quickly realized he was better off just telling me the plan.

He was taking me to The Old Warsaw. A little background, this restaurant has always been "in" my life. My Gram and Gramp (Dad's parents) used to eat there. They took my parents from time to time...including when my Mom was pregnant with me. My parents went there occasionally when we were kids. And then, they took Frankie and I one year for my Mom's birthday. There is just some special about that place. I suppose I romanticize it to a degree, because it does hold some history in my life, but every time we would be in Dallas and see the billboard for The Old Warsaw, I'd talk about it. Ryan's a smart man. He listens when I talk. (Most of the time.)

We also decided to not exchange gifts this year. Our fancy night out was gift enough. Well...that and the new dress I bought myself, and the new shirt and tie Ryan bought himself.

I asked Ryan what color he'd like to see me in. He basically just said "No more black dresses". (All I own are black dresses it seems.) We discussed it further and settled on red. I found The One and hid it away in closest so he wouldn't see it until our date.

Ryan asked me what I'd like to see him in. I told him I had a weakness for tall, dark and handsome men in lavender. AKA, my husband in lavender. He bought a gorgeous lavender checkered shirt and a dark gray tie.

I started my date prep in the early afternoon on Saturday. I wanted to look 'perfect'.

The making of my anniversary look.
Fancy nails, curled hair, "sultry" makeup, The Red Dress.

When I was completely put together, lipstick and all, Ryan graciously posed for a few (several) pictures.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I was already filled with memories of my first visit there. I was so excited that I actually had butterflies! We were seated and immediately I was overwhelmed by the ambiance. It is such a beautiful, classy, romantic place. We ordered our 4 course meals, and soon the Maitre’D approached our table carrying a vase with 3 pink roses. I must have looked confused because Ryan leaned over and whispered "open the card".

Y'all. Ryan had flowers delivered TO. THE. RESTAURANT. The card expressed his love, and explained that the 3 roses signified the same sentiment as my engagement ring does. The Past, Present and Future. And for our 3 years of marriage. I was floored, and so touched.

Soon our food arrived. I so wish cameras were acceptable in white tablecloth settings. This food looked as amazing as it tasted. I had a Creme Brie and Mushroom soup as my first course, followed by their famous Cesar Salad. My entree was Grilled Prime Filet stuffed with Lump Crab meat in a Madeira and BĂ©arnaise sauce, with Whipped Garlic Potatoes and Sauteed French Green Beans. For dessert, the most amazing Chocolate Souffle I've ever had. (I can't remember all of Ryan's courses. I was too wrapped up in mine!) After dessert, we sipped our wine and listened to the gentle music provided by a pianist and violinist. Then, our waiter emerged with a single rose and a slice of Pecan Pie decorated with a single candle. He was followed by the violinist. The violinist serendaded us and wished us a happy anniversary as we "managed" to eat yet another dessert. (MORE dessert?! Oh, you twisted my arm, good sir.) In that moment, it just suddenly hit me, just how lucky I am. Ryan really pulled out all the stops...and sometimes I wonder if I deserve him. I sat, fighting (happy) tears, in that moment.

The whole ride home I was on, a very full, cloud 9. I was still smiling ear to ear as Ryan popped the cork of my favorite champange and filled our toasting flutes. (They were a wedding gift from Ryan's parents. We used them on our wedding day and every anniversary since.) Then we settled in for our other anniversary routine...watching our wedding video.

Durability indeed. After three years, I don't think I've ever loved my husband as much as I do now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Adventures in Beauty - Braids

I. Love. Braids.

I always have. If my hair was long enough to braid (it usually was, except for ages 7 & 8), chances are, I wanted a braid in it. My American Girl doll, Molly, came with braids...though I later took them out to practice OTHER braids on. For my 11th or 12th birthday, my cousin gave me a book of 50 braids and how to do them. I wore braids when braids weren't cool anymore. (Ask Ryan.)

So, how thrilled am I that they are now trendy and fashionable?! I get to pull out all my old braids from my arsenal and wear them with PRIDE! And I've learned some new ones too. Like this one...the "one sided" braid.

I saw this braid on Lauren Conrad's blog and tried it that very day. It is SO easy and SO cute. You'll see me rockin' this one often.