Friday, September 27, 2013

How Shopping & Fantasy Football Are Basically the Same

Jonathan and I are going on a wee bit of a shopping spree tomorrow. We've been planning this for a few weeks now and have just been waiting for a free Saturday to go. We even have a set dollar amount for each of us to spend so we don't go out of control. If you're like me, you typically only buy things as you need them, rather than going on a shopping spree just because. So needless to say, I've been pretty excited for this day.

We were talking about it earlier this week and Jonathan goes, "I'm not sure what I'm going to buy...I doubt I'll even hit my budget." I laughed and told him I've been prepping for weeks and I'm more concerned about going over budget!

I was talking to a friend about this at work this morning and realized the time I've spent prepping for this shopping trip is about the same amount of time people are spending on their fantasy football team. Now, I don't know much about fantasy football, but I do know it seems like quite the commitment. How could fantasy football be anything like a shopping spree, you may ask?

1. Research. I have spent the last several weeks checking out the websites for my favorite stores. I've checked out the new arrivals and I've pinned some of my favorite items on Pinterest so I don't forget about them when shopping day comes. This is much like researching the stats of the players you'll want on your fantasy team, only my shopping version was much more fun.

2. Game plan. We have a lot of ground to cover in our one day of shopping. I want this necklace from Anthropologie and after doing my research, I know the only store in our area is at a different mall than the one we're planning on going to. I also know that Target got some really cute running shorts in recently, so we need to factor a Target visit into our day. Not to mention that while we're there, we'll need to grab coffee at Starbucks, so it only makes sense to go to Target first to fuel up for the day. Considering all this and trying to plan so we're not wasting time driving back and forth, I've had to develop a "game plan" for our day. I'm not quite sure how this relates to fantasy football, but I do know the term "game plan" is thrown around a lot in sports.

3. Back ups. Did your wide receiver get injured last week? Did your fantasy team quarterback get benched for the season? You've gotta have a backup plan for this stuff in fantasy football...players you're ready to trade for and whatnot. That necklace at Anthropolgie? I realized it is on Clearance and while I've already checked online to see if our store has them in stock, that's not a guarantee. I've already got a back up plan in place to order it online the moment we leave the store if they don't have it in stock. I know what stores sell the shoes I want so I know where else to look if I can't find my size. In fantasy football and shopping, you've just gotta have a backup plan.

 4. Stress. The other day, I sat at lunch while my male coworker spent the entire hour negotiating back and forth with his friend via text about a fantasy football trade. It was stressful to watch, never mind the stress he seemed to be under trying to convince this dude to trade with him. I’ve obviously never been part of a fantasy football league, but from what I can tell it is pretty stressful. I’m half kidding on this one because in the grand scheme of things, planning a shopping spree is pretty darn fun. But when you think about it, trying to decide between spending money on shoes vs. clothes, jewelry vs. scarves, bottoms vs. tops, can be a little stressful. I mean, we’re not working with an unlimited budget here, so these are pretty serious decisions.

What I guess I'm trying to say is fantasy football people, I get it. I have a new-found respect for the work you put into this. Just like prepping for a shopping spree, it's not easy but it's worth it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Engagement Photos

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today marks just 100 days until our wedding and I couldn't be more excited about life right now.

This past Saturday morning, just one week after our engagement photo shoot, Jonathan was working and to be quite honest, I was being a lazy bum at the house. Just as I was getting motivation to get up and go grocery shopping, I received an email from our photographer with our engagement photos. It was like Christmas morning! I proceeded to spend the next hour or so looking through them, then calling my mom and viewing them again while she looked. I couldn't wait for Jonathan to come home from work so I could show him. We sat down later that afternoon going through the hundreds of proofs we were sent to pick our favorites to share with friends and family.

I wanted to take today and share some of those favorites with you guys. I honestly never thought I'd never have photos like this. They are so fun and flattering and I think they really represent us. Our photographer did an amazing job capturing our relationship and personalities. We were able to get some really good shots at several different spots in downtown Orlando. We couldn't be any happier with the whole experience. Thank you to Lora Rodgers Photography for capturing us so beautifully!


What do you think? Did you have an engagement photo session? How did you incorporate the photos into your big day?

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Weekend in the Kitchen

Happy Monday! It was another wonderful weekend in my world. We had friends over Friday night, I spent lots of time in the kitchen and we enjoyed time with the family on Sunday. It was perfect and to top it off, we already got our engagement photos back and I can't wait to share some of our favorites with you this week!

Like I said, I spent lots of time in the kitchen this weekend and it was glorious. I'm really starting to enjoy meal planning and cooking, not to mention I got to do some baking, too. Baking is my happy place and I couldn't have been happier working away in the kitchen while Jonathan did his own thing around the house.

I saw this recipe for BBQ Bacon Wrapped Chicken and Apples on Sam's blog last week and couldn't wait to try it out. I've been meaning to start using the crock pot more often so this was a great place to start. I loved being able to throw everything in the crock pot and go relax with Jonathan for a few hours while it cooked. The house smelled amazing and it was absolutely delicious! I love recipes like this that only require a few ingredients and still leave enough for leftovers.

I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but doesn't this look yummy?
On Sunday, I decided at the last minute I wanted to make cookies to bring to a family get together that afternoon. I recently pinned this recipe for White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles and figured this was the perfect time to try it out. The scent of snickerdoodles baking might be one of my favorite smells of all time and the fact that this one included a little pumpkin spice made it so much better. These were so easy to make and are so yummy! 

fresh out of the oven :)
 I'm attempting my first pot roast in the crock pot for dinner tomorrow and I can't wait to see how that turns out! I hope your weekend was as wonderful and delicious as mine! 

Linking up for Weekend Shenanigans!

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's Good. It's Really Good.

Have you ever been in the middle of something and suddenly it occurs to you how freaking awesome it is that you're doing whatever you are doing in that moment? That you're exactly where you hoped you'd be one day?

I've been staying at Jonathan's all week while I finished up everything at my house and whatnot. I stopped at the grocery store on my way there after work yesterday to pick up a few things for dinner and as I was walking through the aisles, grabbing all the necessities for chicken Parmesan, I couldn't help but smile to myself.

It may sound silly, but I can't explain how happy I felt in that moment, just picking up groceries for dinner. Just knowing I have this wonderful man waiting at home, someone to cook for, someone to sit down at the dinner table and talk about my day with...this all means so much to me. In the years leading up to this time in my life, it wasn't elaborate dinners out or getting a fancy engagement ring I longed for, it was simple things like having a man I love call me asking when I'm going to be home. It was standing over the stove cooking pasta and having that man come up behind me and wrap his arms around me. It was me getting out of my car and walking up our driveway to the man I adore working away in the garage.

This photo has nothing to do with this post, but I couldn't not include a photo.

With all the chaos in life lately, I just want to take a minute and truly soak in these simple little things that make me overwhelmed with joy that I've got all I ever wanted out of this life.

I've got a life full of absolute joy and love with a man I absolutely cherish. It's good. It's really good.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Bittersweet Day

Tuesday was an emotional day.

I took the day off from work to move the rest of my things out of the house and clean in preparation for the closing Wednesday morning. This was the day I'd spent the last few weeks preparing for.

In the weeks leading up to the closing, I was great about getting rid of things, organizing and prepping for the move so I wouldn't have as much work to do when the time came. My weeks of hard work paid off because even though I still spent the entire day cleaning and moving, I know it could've been a lot worse.

I'd worked so hard prepping for the move and preparing myself mentally to say goodbye to my first home. I was so ready to move out, to get one step closer to marrying and moving in with Jonathan.

I felt so much relief over selling the house so fast. I was ready to lock the door one last time and drive away from my first home, a place that holds so many wonderful memories--dance parties, girls nights with my sisters, baking extravaganzas in the kitchen, that time I decided to paint the master bedroom and bathroom by myself (not my best decision), the time my family helped me decorate for Christmas after I got home from a two week hospital stay and so many more memorable moments.

I was prepared to sell my house and let someone else start their story there.

Our last day at the house.

One thing I hadn't prepared for and never could have, was saying goodbye to Blake. It was months ago that we decided Blake would have a new home with my roommate once the time came to move, then the house sold quicker than I ever could have guessed and everything just happened so quickly.

I never could've prepared myself to say goodbye to Blake on Tuesday. He was by my side all day as I cleaned and packed the house. We planned on Natasha (my roommate) picking him up at the end of the day and taking him to her new townhouse and as the day went on, I found it more difficult to prepare for. I couldn't even look at him without crying. Anytime I sat down at the kitchen table to take a break, or to cry, he would jump onto my lap and sit with me for as long as I sat there.

When I finally finished cleaning and the house was empty, I spent the last hour in my home just sitting there holding my sweet puppy. He slept in my lap and opened his eyes to look up at me a few times. Honestly, I think he was just glad I was finally sitting still for a while so he could cuddle. When the time came for me to leave, I lost it. I said goodbye to Blake and cried the whole way to Jonathan's house.

The thing is, I know this is the right thing to do. Natasha is going to take such good care of him and I know he'll be happy. I know Jonathan and I made the right decision to give both our pets a new home. While Blake might miss his momma and I will miss him, we'll both adjust and the best part is that I will still be able to visit him anytime. Unfortunately, none of this makes it any easier to say goodbye.

I've had Blake since he was just a few weeks old. When I first got him, he was so little he just slept in my lap when I took him somewhere with me. As he got older and his right ear started to stand straight up while his left ear flopped down, people always asked about it and told me it was so weird. I just told them it's what makes him special. He's quirky and his biggest flaw is that he is just too excited about life. I know giving him a new home was the right thing to do, but he's still my little boy and it was more difficult than I could have ever imagined to say goodbye to him.

Just a few days after I brought him home.
This might be my favorite of all time.
Thanksgiving 2012.

One thing I've realized is that doing the right thing is sometimes the hardest thing. Making the decision to give both our pets away wasn't an easy one for Jonathan and I. It's easy for people on the outside to judge our decision, but this was the right thing to do for our relationship and our future. It's not something others have to agree with or understand.

I know in my heart that Blake will be more than okay, otherwise I wouldn't have given him to Natasha. I know I will feel better soon. It's difficult to say goodbye and Jonathan will go through the same thing when his cat goes to a new home soon. We're going to help each other through it and as long as we know we did the right thing for our relationship and our future, it will all be okay.

Needless to say, this week has been emotionally exhausting. I've gone from feeling complete sadness over saying goodbye to Blake to feeling absolute relief and joy signing the closing documents for the house the next day. It's been a bit of a roller coaster, to be completely honest. I'm just grateful for my fiance' and my family. These wonderful people in my life have been so supportive this week. They've shared in my joy over the sale of the house and made sure I wasn't alone in my sadness over Blake. Poor Jonathan has basically had a front seat on this emotional roller coaster all week. Thank God for his strength and patience!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our Weekend in Photos

one. Friday night was spent catching up on our marriage prep class homework. This is how excited Jonathan was to be doing homework on a Friday.

two. When we finally finished our homework, we opened a bottle of wine and started Season 1 of Orange is the New Black. We were instantly hooked and proceeded to watch most of season 1 by the time the weekend was over. 

three. Saturday was our engagement photo shoot in Downtown Orlando. My sweet sister did my hair and makeup. This is us right after she finished. So thankful for her help!

four. This is my sister's puppy, Lady cuddled up in her bed while we did my hair and makeup. She is too cute with all her toys. 

five. Jonathan and I were all smiles on the way home after our engagement photos. We had such a fun day and can't wait to see how they came out! We should get to see them in about 3 weeks.

six. Saturday night we went out on the town with Jonathan's best man, Tim. He moved to New York a few months ago and was in town visiting for the weekend. We had so much fun and can't wait to see him again soon.

seven. Even though most of my things are being stored for now, I had to go ahead and find a place for my sunflower at Jonathan's house.

eight. After marriage class was over on Sunday, we headed over to my house to load the trailer with the items we wanted to put in storage until we are ready to move it into Jonathan's house. We were able to load the trailer and unpack everything in just a few hours. I have still quite a bit of stuff to take care of at the house on Tuesday, but this was a good place to start.

nine. We also finally placed our wedding invitation order through Wedding Paper Divas. Here is a little preview of what we ended up with. I can't wait to get these babies in the mail!

Linking up with Sami for Weekend Shenanigans. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

it's a new day.

Hi, remember me?

I know it's been pretty quiet around here lately. 

With the wedding less than 4 months away and trying to coordinate the sale of my house, along with moving out of it, the thought of sitting down to blog hasn't been very appealing.

Honestly, I've let it all become too much to handle. My coping skills have gone completely out the window and to make matters worse, Jonathan has been feeling the same way. We are both at our limit right now, that's for sure. He's working 6 days a week and his one day off is typically spent in our wedding prep class, attending some wedding related meeting, making wedding decisions, etc.

Outside of work, my free time has been spent going through my house trying to figure out what to throw away, what I need to put in storage, what I can go ahead and move over to Jonathan's until the wedding, what I am going to bring to my parents' house while I stay with them for the next few months and what to give away. Switching gears from wedding planning, to house packing, to negotiating closing details has just been making my head spin.

We are both keeping things in perspective knowing that all the stress now is for a much greater cause and will be so worth it. We absolutely cannot wait to be married on January 3 and we know that the headache-inducing decisions we are making on what we think are silly things like linens, cups, table sizes, etc., are all going to be so worth the headaches when we are celebrating with our loved ones the day we are married. We know this. We know the sale of my house so quickly is an absolute gift from God. We'll be extra thankful when we come home from our honeymoon and don't have to deal with the stress of selling/renting/moving out of my house. We know this.

That doesn't mean we don't let everything get to us now and again. Our coping skills aren't where they should be because we are just weighed down by everything going on in our lives. There have been so many times lately where I've let a small hiccup get me so upset and worked up. In those moments, it's like I'm watching myself and thinking, "This isn't  you. You're better than this. You don't let things like this get you down. Who are you and what have you done with the optimistic, happy, rainbows and sunshine Amanda you used to be?"

I can recognize that I'm not dealing with things as I should be, that the stress I'm under is making it difficult for me to cope as I normally would. I can also recognize that this doesn't mean I've changed or become someone I didn't want to be. This isn't permanent. I know they'll always be something to stress about and worry is a part of life, but I need to not carry the burden of that stress and worry. I need to have faith and understanding that everything will be okay and my worrying won't make a bit of difference in the outcome.

The good news?  In just a few days, I'll hand over the keys to my house and with it, much of my stress and anxiety will be gone. The stress of being a landlord and friend, the stress of HOA payments, the stress of trying to keep up with the needs of a house I only spend a few days a week at. This will be gone. Sure, you can bet I'll shed a tear over this chapter of my life coming to a close, but that's another post for another day.

I'm really looking forward to the time I'll spend at my parents' house over the next few months, spending the hour or so before bedtime reading or relaxing rather than cleaning out my garage and being able to truly enjoy the final stages of planning our wedding since my focus won't be on my house anymore.

The even better part? This is all leading up to starting the new year marrying the absolute man of my dreams, moving in with him, making his home our home and enjoying life as husband and wife.

What I'm also trying to say here is that I'm back. I want to get back to writing regularly and enjoying it. I'm looking forward to filling you all in on some more wedding details and share everything else I've been up to. I really do love this blog and I'm excited to be able to make this a priority again.

I hope you're all doing well!