hello… it’s me. i was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.


sorry. couldn’t help myself.

just like Adele, i feel as though i should use this song blog post to explain my absence of 7 months. very much unlike Adele, i did not spend my time away counting my millions, mastering the art of the cat eye, and birthing a baby. i know, i know, disappointing on so many fronts. but honestly, i don’t really know how to explain why i fell off the face of the blogosphere. my last post in May (!) was all about the grind. at the time, we were living in a hotel due to a kitchen flood that left us homeless and stressed to the max smack dab in the middle of finals during the first freaking year of medical school. i still can’t believe that happened. but alas, we made it. B finished the year like a champ and we eventually resettled back into our flood-free condo. and ever since then? still grinding… aside: are you are watching that new show on FOX, The Grinder? hiiiiilarious. quick premise- derpy (but adorable) Fred Savage is a lawyer and his brother, Rob Lowe, is a dreamy actor who stars in a television show (called The Grinder) in which he plays a lawyer. the show gets cancelled and narcissistic Lowe feels qualified to work in actual law due to his success as The Grinder. he joins his brothers law firm, hilarity ensues. anyway, the show gives this whole idea of “grinding” the levity it desperately needs. because we all think our own daily grind is so righteous and important, amiright? trust me, just watch it. also- i got a beef with Rob Lowe. i coined it first, this whole grinding thing. i’m like the OG Grinder. and now i’ve said the word grind one too many times. moving on. but can’t i get a writing credit or something? med school ain’t cheap.

anyways, before that loooong aside, where was i? ah yes, still grinding. we went straight into summer in which B did research and i pounded the scorching hot Houston pavement doing my salesgirl thing. i had a pretty successful year for the first year in this territory and that translated into so. much. hustle. then the second year of med school kicked off in August and it felt so very different than the first. not bad different, just different. we were definitely more equipped to handle it this time around, but there were adjustments all the same. i’m starting to think that every year of the medical journey is probably going to feel quite different from the last one just to keep us on our toes. that’s more or less an update since May, but no one wants to read about busy busy blah-blah-blah so here are a couple of fun things- we celebrated our 10th anniversary over the summer and spent a wonderful week in Turks and Caicos. i might write a separate blog post about it at some point but it mostly consisted of turquoise water, fruity drinks, French people, and techno dance music. that whole vacation started out kind of bizarre but by the end of the week we had fully immersed ourselves in bizarre and had the best time ever. we also got to spend a white Christmas in West Texas with our family. that is exactly what my heart needed to close out the year.

as of now, i find myself doing what we all do this time of year. i’m rifling through the events of 2015 and trying to decide how i feel about them. what kind of year was it? even now in retrospect, it was kind of a blur…hence the not-so-mysterious disappearance of the happy redhead. it wasn’t a bad year (though it had it’s moments), it was just a wild year. but we survived. we always do. honestly, i shouldn’t have expected any different. i mean, when one party is in medical school and the other one is starting a new job, you kind of just get through it, right? but now we get a chance at a bright, shiny, brand new year. it might turn out a little crazy too, but i guaran-damn-tee ya it’s gonna be good. i decided against writing resolutions for the new year as they always prove pretty meaningless by February and instead decided on a mantra. though i like to pretend i’m a writer, i stole this one straight outta the mouth of one of my favorite rock-and-roll writers, Brian Fallon, of The Gaslight Anthem. in 2016…

“i don’t wanna survive, i want a wonderful life.” 

you should definitely listen here↓

boom. B-Fal (i don’t think he would mind that nickname, do you?) drops the mic. mere survival isn’t enough.

as far as blogging is concerned, that’s yet to be determined. for a while there, when i couldn’t find my way back to it, i considered shutting the whole thing down. i worried that maybe i had exposed too much or that maybe it was just a season in my life. but that’s the thing about seasons, right? they come back around with each new  year. there’s also still some nagging part of me that needs to do this. it’s a sort of therapy for me. i also worried how you would ever cope without my many music and television references. ;) if you are one of my dear, sweet, loyal readers, you know that i am a fickle being. i hope you love me regardless. i hope you will come back to visit even if i can only manage to post a mundane life update every once in a while. but i promise you this…i want so much more than mundane this year. i’m striving for wonderful.

i wish the same for you. happy 2016.

happiness is…a new year.

the grind

sometimes when i get really stressed out, i find myself fantasizing about other people’s lives. i pick a random person out of a crowd or someone that i briefly made eye contact with in a convenience store and start to write their life story in my head. it could be a fifty-something-year-old man in dusty boots and a light blue work shirt. someone that i normally wouldn’t identify with. i imagine he works hard during the day, using his hands to create or repair. maybe he leads a crew of men. his job is laborious, but he finds it enjoyable and fulfilling. i imagine he’s been married a long time with a couple of adult children. maybe he even has beautiful, fresh-faced grandchildren that he bounces on his knee with his weathered, calloused hands. his laugh lines stretch across his face as he smiles and sings to them. i bet they adore him.

seriously y’all, i imagine this stuff in minute detail. ridiculous, right? and admittedly, kind of bizarre.

the psychologist in me (remember? the one who actually has a business degree) knows this has got to be some sort of coping mechanism. getting a little lost in someone else’s story keeps me from having to think about my own. it’s an escape. i think the same goes for television. no matter how busy B and i find ourselves, we just can’t seem to give up our favorite shows. there’s something therapeutic about sitting down for an hour and getting lost in someone else’s story, especially if that story involves any sort of espionage. (our fave!)

but what’s even more ridiculous than the fact that i actually do this bizarre thing, is the fact that i always envision stranger’s lives to be easier than mine. in my imagination, that man’s life is simple and unaffected by the many complications of life. laughable, i know.

every now and then i’m forced to come to terms with exactly how laughable this really is when confronted with the reality of someone else’s story. you see, i’ve been feeling pretty sorry for us ever since the great flood. it threw our lives into upheaval and we’re just muddling through. as i checked us into an extended stay hotel 13 days ago, i overheard the lady checking in next to me chatting with the desk clerk. they had obvious rapport due to previous stays there. she happily exclaimed that they were here for her husband’s last treatment.

wow. now that’s real life. and totally not the story i usually write for people in my head.

that encounter gave me the perspective i desperately needed in that very moment. it reminded me of that saying…something about, “be nice. you never know what kind of battles other people are fighting.” everyone is fighting some sort of battle. most people are fighting them very privately. i will no longer let myself be deceived by the assumption that someone else has discovered the kind of simplicity that my life seems to be lacking. which reminds me of another saying by Theodore Roosevelt, “comparison is the thief of joy.” well said, Teddy. no truer words have ever been spoken.

so where does all of this leave me? i have a two-part answer:

1. i think it’s important (and a little bit scary) for me to acknowledge out loud in print that this is hard. moving across the state, the first year of medical school, looking for a new job, starting a new job…i mean, no one said it would be easy (ha!) but right now it’s all feeling especially haaaaaard. i would venture to say that B and i have developed a pretty high stress threshold over the years, but we definitely tend to teeter on the edge of that threshold. one of the dangers of living on the edge is that it doesn’t allow much room for unforeseen crises. i’m blaming the great flood for being the one thing to finally push me over the edge. but being able to acknowledge the fact that this is hard (without allowing myself to feel weak or inadequate…that’s the big part) somehow makes me feel a little bit better.

*aside- i also use this analogy when i have to explain why we don’t have children. it goes a little like this… “you see, there’s this stress threshold and i’m kind of already teetering on the edge…” this is a truthful (in my case) and polite way to answer the question and every now and then it even garners a little bit of sympathy and a pat on the back because i’m obviously already overwhelmed enough. and tada! i haven’t even trademarked that one yet, so you can use it for free if you need it. you’re welcome.

2. this is the part where i suck it up, buttercup. we are not living in an extended stay hotel in the Texas Medical Center because someone has cancer. we get to go home (to a mostly renovated condo) in 8-10 days. we are healthy. we are blessed beyond measure. when life becomes a grind, B and i like to fist bump (because we’re nerds) and remind each other to just “grind it out.” meaning, don’t fight the process. keep your head down, stay focused, and just push through it. because each of us knows that the other one is tough enough to do just that. this is, however, the first time since we started this med school journey that i’m wishing the time away. i promised myself i would never do that, but with 3 weeks of finals bearing down on B and the thought of moving/cleaning/unpacking everything in our condo…ugh. so there. i said it. i am wishing this month away. you hear me, May? you kinda suck. either way though…we gonna grind it out.

due to the downer nature of this forever long post, i’m guessing that right about now you might be asking yourself…

“has the happy redhead lost her happy?”

the answer is no. for the most part, i still wake up happy everyday and go to bed happy everyday. everything in between is taking a little more effort as of late, but if you’ve ever read my about page, then you already know that’s the whole premise of this blog, right? happiness doesn’t always come easy. it’s up to me to create my own happiness. the word create is a verb. an action word. it takes work. effort. that just means i need to work a little harder on my happy right now. and happiness is definitely something worth working for.

because this post needs a pic. this is hotel livin’, y’all. glamorous.


happiness is…perspective.

the great flood

silence. finally!

the last bright green industrial fan has been retrieved and the cat has cautiously tippy-toed out from under the bed. she will not be pleased, however, to find the floor coated in a layer of grit and debris. the velvety pink pads of her feet have never touched actual earth, and now there’s dirt…in her house! *gasp!* but i shouldn’t give the little diva too hard a time because it’s possible that she is the victorious heroine of this entire plotline. orrrrr, she just got up for a mid-night snack and decided to complain when she realized she would have to swim to her bowl. the latter is more likely. anyways, my Facebook post from last Thursday sums up the recent events at our condo pretty succinctly…


but who needs succinct? the whole point of having a blog is to elaborate on life events, amiright? so elaborate i will. brace yourself.

it’s been 8 days since The Great Flood of 2015, as i have not-so-endearingly come to call it. mostly because i’m dramatic. honestly though, sometimes i feel a little guilty being so dramatic about The Great Flood. after all, we do live in a part of the country impacted by real life hurricanes. i mean, some of the buildings in the medical center have actual submarine doors on them to protect really really expensive equipment from water damage. a girl i work with once had 5 feet of water in her house post hurricane. all we got was a measly little inch or two. but isn’t it amazing how much damage that mere inches of water can inflict? water damage is the. worst. anyways, the water obviously had to be sucked out. that took place several hours after this sleepy redhead stumbled into the puddle in the living room. then the baseboards and flooring came up. then we lived with the loud, merciless roar of at least 10 industrial sized fans for the next 4 or 5 days while everything dried out. THEN there was mold growing in one spot so that had to be cut. out. of. the. wall. so gross!

this all gave me what i thought to be very valid concerns that we might actually die of the black lung. B was all…”black lung? what do you even mean?” me: “you know…what the pirates get from living on dank, moldy ships.” B: “Natalie. pirates get scurvy and it’s caused by a vitamin C deficiency.” N: “ohhhhhhh.” (wow, i just gave you a pretty honest account of how most of the conversations go around here. embarrassing.)

i still don’t know what black lung is. i’ll save that question for another day. i know when to stop.

so in case you need a recap (it’s really just a list of complaints at this point. i love lists.): no floors. no baseboards. a hole in the wall. no timeframe whatsoever as to how long we will be living this way. aaaaaaand it looks like we will have to completely move out in order for all the repairs to take place. that makes 3 moves in 2 years. but who’s counting? ugh. everyone seems to be hustling for the most part- getting measurements, working up estimates, etc. it just takes a while when working with insurance. by the way- this seems like the appropriate place to insert a friendly little PSA:

BUY RENTER’S INSURANCE!!! seriously! if you are renting and do not have renter’s insurance, GO! stop whatever you are doing and DO. IT. NOW!

i realize that didn’t feel much like a *friendly* PSA since i yelled REALLY LOUD at you, but i had to…because i’m a true pal. i want what’s best for you. i hoped we would never have to use it, but i am SO glad we have it. renter’s insurance is relatively cheap and could potentially save your butt should a couple of measly inches of water destroy your custom upholstered sofa and beautiful rugs, including an authentic cowhide that you picked out with your husband on vacation in Taos, New Mexico.


but for the most part, we feel lucky it wasn’t worse. had The Great Flood happened during the day, that water could have run for 10 hours without us even knowing it. yikes! scary thought. so we will carry on, because that’s what we do. my dad wisely reminded me on the phone that we have made it through worse things. darn right we have.

i will leave you with a few silly pics. happy weekend! may yours be full of fun and devoid of water…on the floor at least. the pool sounds okay. ;)

the disgruntled heroine…




came home from work on Monday to this…cement floors, furniture shuffled around, and a sweaty husband who had commandeered the clean up crew and was helping rip up floors. instead of studying. hashtag leadership. or hashtag procrastination? could go either way. 


can’t even believe i’m sharing this one. grody.


sometimes you just gotta stop and have a drink…


happiness is…dry floors.

an analogy of B



do you watch Modern Family? if so, you will totally appreciate this analogy. if not, you should. you really, really should. the funniest show on television, by far. anyways…

i am married to Jay Pritchett.

if only that meant i was Gloria… *sigh* but seriously, my B is turning into Jay Pritchett. 

if you don’t watch the show *gasp* (do it now! go!), i guess i should tell you about Jay. he’s in his sixties (double B’s age, mind you!), the father of the bunch, and married to the stunning Sofia Vergara (Gloria). he’s an old Navy man with a gruff exterior, but in reality he is a huge marshmallow. in a nutshell, i would say that Jay is outspoken, an excellent complainer, and always a tad cantankerous. but somehow manages to be charming, i think. oh, and he loves a good scotch. 

how is this B, you ask?

exhibit A: we went from having sandwiches to cocktails due to a lack of parking…

today after church we drove to Rice Village to get a quick bite to eat. i suggested Zoe’s Kitchen. it’s yummy, inexpensive, and fast. B had major studying to do y’all. so we locate Zoe’s and circle the block a couple of times looking for parking. then we drive down a block. then 2 blocks and contemplated walking in our church clothes. then debated over paying for the parking garage. finally, an exasperated B sees a trendy looking restaurant on the corner and asks if i had heard of it. yes, i heard it was good. before i knew it, he had whipped into the valet line and *grumble, grumble, grumble* something about “the d*mn parking” *grumble, grumble, grumble.*

so instead of a quick, inexpensive meal, we valet parked and spent way more than we intended on a fancy brunch. ha! and it. was. amazing. i had the most delicious peach bellini in the entire world. seriously- it was like an alcoholic snow cone. and B was a happy, fun date. he just had zero patience for the parking…

exhibit B: he rescheduled his own birthday celebration because he was just too darn d*mn tired… (let’s be real here- Jay and B would both say d*mn.)

his birthday was earlier this month and it fell during a particularly difficult week. B preferred his birthday float on by without any sort of recognition…we’re kind of at that age- they’re not so fun anymore- but i said he had to pick something. he chose a steak dinner and we made plans to go out the weekend following his actual birthday. but after taking 4 exams in 5 days, the boy was low on sleep and enthusiasm. it took us an entire week to declare a re-do. i booked him a massage (to make up for the fact that i didn’t even buy him a b-day gift #wifefail) and i made a reservation at a nice steakhouse he’s been wanting to try. oh and i let him pick out a bottle of scotch. that’s all the boy really wanted- red meat and scotch.


so just for fun and in honor of his birthday, i asked made B participate in a (mostly) rapid fire interview. if i had a video camera, i would have recorded this Modern Family style with him sitting on the sofa, but this will have to do. i hope it’s a fun way to get to know the smart, insightful, witty man that i married. the guy who wants to discuss world events and politics over breakfast. the fella who eats the exact same thing for breakfast (seriously, i call it the ‘B Special’) every single day. the dude who is so tough he makes me feel safe, but is so kind he takes me shopping. what a guy!

what would you rather be doing today on your birthday?
B- fly fishing.
N- what? so random. have you ever even been fly fishing?
B- no, but today seems like a good day to start.

seriously, what would you like to do for your birthday?
B- pretend it didn’t happen.
N- awwwwww, so sad.

B- i thought this was supposed to be rapid fire. i protest.
N- okay, okay. here goes.

favorite television show?

favorite food?
prime rib.

favorite beverage?
McAllen 18.

(it ain’t cheap to feed this boy!)

what television character do you most identify with?
Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead” and of course, Jay Pritchett.

what would be your weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse?
samurai sword/katana.

what’s your favorite thing about me?
your personality.

what’s your favorite thing about Lola? *snickering*
that she sleeps…a lot.

favorite book?
any book out of the Vince Flynn, Mitch Rapp series.

if you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Pope Francis. even though i’m not Catholic, he’s high on the list.

place you would most like to travel to?
Emirates stadium in London to watch Arsenal play.

this is a loaded question…but if you could do anything other than be a doctor, what would you do?
day trader. well, wait…do you mean anything? i would be a professional soccer player if i had the skill, but that’s not what you’re asking so i guess day trader. or maybe a professional poker player.

okay, so here’s a good follow up question…what do you want to do next year for your birthday?
B- go to las Vegas.
N- yep, knew before i asked. 12 months to save your pennies.

what is your biggest hope for this year?
B- turks and caicos is pretty high on that list.
N- heck yeah!
B- my biggest hope would be to just enjoy this time for what it is.

what is your biggest fear? and it can be something silly, because you could go dark really fast…
B- *laughing* snakes. i hate snakes.
N- what is mine?
B- getting stabbed in the shower.
N- yeahhhh, scary sh*t. (i watched Psycho at a formative age. that scene stuck with me.)

how do you feel about being featured on the happy redhead?
B: it’s quite awkward, really.
N: think your friends will laugh?
B: i don’t know that my friends read your blog.
N: ouch. rude.

if you were on survivor, how would you win?
those are trade secrets. i can’t divulge that.

what would be your best survival skill? it doesn’t have to be physical…
knowing when to be quiet.

i saved this little gem for last. it’s my favorite…

if you were stranded on a deserted island, by yourself- not on Survivor but in real life, what three items would you want with you?
B: a coffee pot. with coffee. can that just be one?
N: ok, i’ll give you that.
B: a satellite tv.
N: oh my gosh. okay.
B: and a cow.
N: so you could milk it or eat it?
B: hmmmm, maybe i’ll have to forgo the satellite tv for a bull. so then i can have cattle.
N: so you’re basically going to turn your deserted island into a cattle ranch? *laughing* is that what i just heard?
B: uh yeah, i guess that is what you just heard.
N: so to recap- coffee, a cow, and a bull. i guess you can take the boy out of West Texas, but you can’t take the West Texas out of the boy.

cheers to you, my “old soul.” you get more handsome every year.


happiness is…celebrating my man.

remember me?

has it really been 30 days since i wrote a blog post? if you and i were texting, this would be the part where i insert that wide-eyed, embarrassed/surprised looking emoji.

you know, this one…


it wasn’t even a conscious decision on my part. i didn’t give up blogging for Lent, i didn’t run out of things to say, i just, i don’t know…let it slip? i really wish i could report that in the last 30 days, i had some sort of life-affirming experience or attended super fun events, but in reality i have spent the last month working on…


how adult and boring of me, right?

and i think i’m getting there. hooray! i gave myself a deadline and decided that i had until the end of the first quarter of the year to “pull my sh*t together.” (i have a funny story about that phrase. remind me to tell it to you sometime. it involves B yelling, me fainting, and ugly crying. gosh, it’s a good one. i’ll tell it sooner than later, promise.) but anyways, back to the first quarter…salespeople do everything in quarters by the way…April 1 marks the beginning of Q2 and i am feeling ready and able.

i guess when you’re a grown up, life becomes a series of buckets. you want to carry them all, you need to carry them all, but if one is sloshing over the side and the other is empty, you’re likely to lose your balance, fall, and bust your face. we all have different buckets i suppose, but mine mostly consist of B, work, church, exercise, and blogging.

for a while there, my work bucket was overflowing and everything else seemed to suffer. this was to be expected since i started a new job in January and had to quickly learn new products, new customers, and a new territory. aaaaaand get used to driving all day every day in Houston. do not let that be lost on you. at 16 years old, i learned to drive in a small town of only seven thousand people, where i never actually learned a street name and thought you could turn left on red for at least two years. one near death experience at malfunction junction (yes, that’s what we called it. told ya- no street names.) with girlfriends screaming from the backseat taught me otherwise. now i can navigate Houston like a boss. well, at least the southeast section of it. i’m pretty darn proud of myself. i have also grown accustomed to the longer work days and don’t feel nearly as tired as i did a month ago. (read about that in my last post here.) we have pretty consistently made it to church and have even joined a small group. i also had the luxury of wonderful time with B over his spring break this month. we took advantage of every moment. i miraculously made it to the gym three times last week and did yoga once, which coincidentally reminded me of how bad i suck at balance- figuratively and literally. but i’m keeping that bucket full because it’s operation bikini body around here, y’all! we are planning an anniversary trip this summer. woot! and now, for the blogging bucket. gosh, i missed it. even if no one reads this silly thing, i have realized how important it is to my sanity. i work solo most days and the interaction i find in my wonderful little online community is gratifying and fulfilling. thank you for that.

aren’t you glad to have taken the time out of your busy life to read this breathtakingly exciting update on my life? sheesh. i promise to be more exciting next time. hmmm, maybe i’ll start working on that fainting story…

but for now, i would love to know…how do you strike a balance in your life? what’s important to you? how do you manage it all? basically, i’m asking you to share the secret of the universe. i know you have it…

happiness is…striking a balance.

perception vs. reality

tonight i have a date with Vince {Camuto} and Calvin {Klein}. i suspect B will probably tag along too.

DSC_0197 DSC_0193

tonight we are attending a semi-formal event to benefit the chosen charity of B’s med school class. glamorous, right?


that’s the funny thing about blogging. from this here keyboard, i can construct a post to get you to believe *almost* anything. i carefully curated my new dress and shoes for the photos above. it was silly. i moved it all around, shot from different angles, and then cropped/enhanced the photos.

afterwards, i put everything back where it belonged and didn’t think a thing about it. a few minutes later, i walked by and caught sight of this…


not so glamorous, right? all i could do was laugh. laughter was the only appropriate response. because this, my friends, this is my life. a new shiny dress hanging next to my bathrobe. clean laundry hanging on the door that i just canNOT get motivated to put away. a stack of clothes on the floor (!) that i haven’t had time to take to the dry cleaners. the laundry basket behind the door is full. the floor needs swept, the rug needs vacuumed and…my name brand dress was on CLEARANCE! i timed it just right and caught the store trying to get rid of the leftover New Years Eve dresses in order to make room for the bright, cheery Easter dresses. honesty is much more refreshing, right? i hope so because honestly…

i. am. exhausted.

you know how you can bust your butt in the gym for 6 months, get in the best shape of your life, and then after just a couple of weeks of no exercise you find yourself horribly out of shape? (which i totally am right now.) i have decided that the same goes for work. i am out of work shape. i think i’m getting back into work shape, but not without some aches and pains and a lot of sweat. i am working long days, trying to get a handle on my new territory, and doing loads of training. one day i actually came home, took a bath, and was in my pajamas by 7:00pm. also- i can no longer make it through a television show. and we watch exciting shows! never fails, at about the 40 minute mark, B looks over and i am out cold. does anyone know how Blacklist, Elementary, or The Americans ended over the last 2 weeks? neither do i. while telling my sister about my predicament, she commiserated and said that she felt the same way after returning to work from maternity leave. that made me feel a little better…right up until i remembered that she was tired because she had just given birth to a tiny human! i just have a tiny fat kitty who is largely self sufficient. waaaaaah! i don’t even recognize this girl. but you know what? this girl is happy. this girl is employed. i am truly loving my job and ultimately feel very satisfied by this new super busy pace of life. even if it means i might have to spend all of Saturday catching up on laundry.

but today, today is Friday! so tonight, i will slip into my gold shiny dress and gorgeous new heels, i will apply my make up with a heavy hand (eyeliner covers all sorts of exhaustion), and i will go out with my man. because on Friday nights i get to be young(ish). i get to be fun(ish). i might even get to dance. not really though because i’m pretty (ish) at that too. but i will definitely have a cocktail. i have earned a cocktail.

but imma need a nap first.

dress: Vince Camuto (seriously, if you have a dress wearing occasion coming up…so cheap!)
shoes: Calvin Klein (DSW. sorry, no link. they weren’t on the website.)

i made it til 1:00am! fun was had by all! the Rice Hotel is gorgeous and i’m kicking myself for not taking more photos. here’s a couple…



happiness is…a night out.

food is love

i plan to spend Valentine’s Day getting my car serviced! kidding. kind of. i will only spend *most* of Valentine’s Day getting my car serviced. she’s due for an oil change and i scheduled to get the windows tinted afterwards. since all of that will probably take a while, the dealership agreed to loan me a car. so really, i will probably drive myself to the mall and spend most of V Day shopping. no complaints about that!

then we plan to spend the evening cooking. B and i have a unique take on Valentine’s Day. we typically don’t do gifts or plan anything elaborate, but it’s fun to plan something special to eat. i think food is our love language. and we absolutely loooooove to eat out, we just don’t loooooove to eat out on Valentine’s Day. i don’t know…something about the crowds, the rushed service- it’s just too much pressure. it stresses us out. wow. the longer i type, the older and more crotchety we sound. ha! we are exciting people, i promise! so in lieu of dining out this year, we decided to cook a special meal at home. and no one does special meals better than Ina Garten. i received one of her cookbooks for Christmas, but haven’t had the time to try many of the recipes. actually, the only one i have tried was the chocolate cake with mocha frosting and omg. it was decadent. i baked it before a tough medical school week in which B had 4 (!) exams. because chocolate is the only way to cope during a week like that. see? told ya- food is our love language.

this pic was taken pre-baking as evidenced by the lack of flour on my clothes and chocolate on my face.


so here’s my Ina Garten inspired menu that my sweet Valentine and i have planned:

Rosemary Rack of Lamb


i have never in my life made rack of lamb. Ina makes it look pretty easy though. we will see. *fingers crossed*

Easy Tzatziki


i didn’t even know what tzatziki was until we moved to Houston and ate Greek food at Niko Niko’s. safe to say, i’m a fan.

we are still trying to decide on sides. there will definitely be restaurant style mashed potatoes…coarsely mashed, lots of garlic. yummy. but i still need a vegetable. leaning towards asparagus, brussel sprouts (that one does NOT thrill B), or maybe a greek-style salad with strawberries and feta.

for dessert i’m thinking chocolate covered strawberries or just to keep it really simple, maybe even picking up a mini bundt cake from Nothin’ Bundt Cakes. have you tried that place? oh my goshhhhhh. beyond delicious. and i know myself well enough to know that a nice dinner and a homemade dessert is just too much pressure.

hope we can pull it all off. i’ll report back…

to continue with the food theme, i thought it might be fun to do a foodie inspired photo card for B. because you know i’m not spending $4 on a real card. here’s what i got so far:

B, i love you more than a fat kid loves…


you and i will be together…


and i’m glad that Lola is living proof that you will still love me when i get big and…


that’s all i got so far. whatcha think? romantic, eh?

whatever love language you happen to speak- gifts, flowers, dinner out, dinner in, cuddling on the sofa, hanging with friends, skydiving (i met a girl this week who is going skydiving with her boyfriend! seriously! so rad.)- however YOU like to celebrate Valentines Day, i hope it’s super sweet.

happiness is…a full heart AND a full tummy.

song of the day- Monday edition

this is me- well, the cyberspace version of me- stomping into your bedroom, flicking on the light switch, and saying in my best singsongy voice, “it’s time for…


(for the backstory on song of the day, click here.)

this is my JAM y’all. my happy song if you will. hope it makes you happy too. and maybe even makes you dance a little.


if you’re still all sleepyface after that one, watch this adorable viral vid. i dare you not to feel enthusiastic about your work day/school day afterwards. how fun is this teacher?

and just for giggles- Uptown Funk even causes Ellen to sing and dance…on the treadmill. this is totally going to be me this evening. watch out rec center. i’m coming for ya.

feeling good? we got this, y’all. Monday ain’t got nothin’ on us.

i’m taking my cues from Bruno today cuz i’m…

stylin’ while in, livin’ it up in the city.

don’t believe me just watch.

happiness is…Monday morning. (whaaaat? oh yeah, i said it.)

How I Wore It- Part 3 & $100 Pink Blush Giveaway

today is the third and final post of…

How I Wore It

a style series collaboration with Pink Blush and 4 fashionable blogger friends- Samantha, Deidre, Medge, and Lauryn

(if you missed part 1 and 2, click here and here.)


if i had it my way, this is how i would dress every. single. day. of my life. forever and ever amen. remember my requirements for ‘play‘ clothes? comfortable + fun + edgy. this colorblock dress is flowy and oh-so-comfortable. i love the muted tones and modern look of it. and the faux leather jacket? come on! adds sooooo much edge. throw in a stack of bracelets, killer heels, bright red lips, and boom! ready for a fun night out. as a a matter of fact, when B takes me to the Bush concert in March (SHHHH…he doesn’t know this yet!) i am going to slip back into this exact same outfit. rock on!



pink blush dress





colorblock dress: Pink Blush
faux leather jacket: Pink Blush
tights: Express
shoes: Gianni Bini
bracelets: Alex & Ani, Lily & Laura
lipstick: MAC, Russian Red

this week has been FUN! thanks for all the love, dear readers! also- how gorgeous is Houston? gosh i love this city. these photos were taken in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Fine Arts. all photo cred goes to my dear hubby B, who in the midst of a crazy week (4 exams! #medschoolproblems) was willing to walk around with his bride and snap silly pics. he must love me or something. ;)

i can’t wait to see how my blogger girls styled this one up! click below to take a look…

Samantha Elizabeth
Deidre Emme

annnnnnd this is your LAST CHANCE to register for the $100 Pink Blush giveaway! don’t miss out! winner will be announced on Friday.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


How I Wore It- Part 2 & $100 Pink Blush Giveaway!

welcome to the second installment of…

How I Wore It

a style series collaboration with Pink Blush and 4 fashionable blogger friends- Samantha, Deidre, Medge, and Lauryn

(if you missed part 1, click here.)


for this one, i recruited the help of my baby sister. welllll, less recruited and more bossed. and then bribed. but hey- i am the big sister, she is the baby sister. those of you with siblings (especially sisters!) know exactly how this goes. the middle sister and i got pretty good over the years at getting the baby to do whatever we wanted. our favorite line is, “Abbie will do it!” hehe. however it came to be, i am so happy that she came to visit and was willing to play dress-up for my blog. it was like having a life size Barbie doll. soooo fun! you wanna know what really makes me mad though? when we lived under the same roof, we never wore the same size! (there’s 10 years between us.) but now that we live several hundred miles apart? same. darn. size. sometimes life just ain’t fair, y’all. but i showed her a really good time in an effort to entice her to move to Houston. we could instantly double our wardrobes and i just so happen to have big matchmaking plans for her and JJ Watt. ;)

my Sis’s style is a mixture of vintage, bohemian, and just all around Texas gal. (you outta see her boot collection! drool worthy!) we had fun styling up Pink Blush’s dusty pink knit sweater a couple of different ways. it’s perfection with her skin tone and blonde hair! of course, it doesn’t hurt that the girl is a total knockout.

thanks again for your help, Barbie! er uhhhh, i mean Abbie. ;)

DSC_0122 - Version 2

pink blush abbie sweater


sweater: Pink Blush
leopard dress: H&M
tights: Express
shoes: Toms
earrings: Kendra Scott
necklace: White Plum


pink blush abbie scarf


sweater: Pink Blush
scarf: Pink Blush
jeans: American Eagle
boots: Gianni Bini
bracelets: Alex & Ani

and just for fun, here are a few photos from our joint photo sessions over the weekend. sisters are the best, y’all!






i love Pink Blush, my sister now loves Pink Blush, and i know you will love Pink Blush too!

make sure to check out how my blogger gal pals styled up the dusty pink sweater too. seriously, these gals are fantastic and have such class and style.

Samantha Elizabeth
Deidre Emme

and DO NOT FORGET to register to win the $100 giveaway! cha-ching!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

happiness is…playing dress-up.
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