Category Archives: Happiness

A thank you

Birthday happies

Birthday happies

July is coming to a close and with it ends another beautiful birthday season.
And just as I am each year, I’m overjoyed with gratitude and love.
My friends and family are amazing. It’s that simple.

This year’s birthday celebrations kicked off with the most wonderful family dinner, followed by an evening with a dear friend poolside with dinner, ice cream cupcakes and the most thoughtful gifts, another darling friend surprising me with even more sweet gifts wrapped in some serious crafty love and a Labyrinth viewing with kindreds galore.

Packaged with love

Crafted with love

And that was all before the actual, big day.
All month kids, all month.
People are getting the memo. 😉

On my birthday God granted me with a glorious sunrise and PERFECT weather. NOT a cloud in the sky. No words.
A half day at work wasn’t complete without flowers/cookies/cards from my fantastic work peeps, another surprise visit by the sweetest lady with yet another tasty bday treat (see above: that’s a cupcake in a cone. Mind blown.) and then I was off to pamper myself with new hair and drinks with LUDO! The birthday evening concluded with one FANCY dinner with Fishface. At Seasons 52, they treat you like a bit of royalty with a card, free dessert and a printed picture of you and your companion with said dessert. Food was delish.

Sweetness

Sweetness  

Scallops with summer corn risotto

Scallops with summer corn risotto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sunset viewing atop the Madison Hotel with friends marked the “official” birthday party of the week.
It was a tad hot, but so worth it.
Yummy drinks, kindred reunion and ketchup. What more could a girl ask for.

Memphis Sunset

Memphis Sunset

Sunday…in all its hangover glory… rounded out the birthday the best way possible with my parents visiting.
Cake, presents, homemade cookies. All fantastic.
The icing on the cake…my parents. They are my heart.
Even got double cake goodness as Fishface took to baking after getting IHOP breakfast for us and tidying up the house. The best.
And then…just when I thought we we’re done. Our neighbors, aka Framily, treated us to my fave Huey’s dinner.
Incredible.

Y’all, when I say I’m thankful it’s an understatement. I’m in awe over all the mailed cards, FB posts, surprises, gifts, and events everyone has sent, posted, planned, given and attended.
Thank you to each one of you who make me feel special during my month-long birthday celebration. 😉
Sincerely, I could not ask for more. I appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness.
My soul is so full.

Grateful

Grateful

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Heaven on Earth

 

Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls

Y’ALL!!
I am in full recovery mode from a very fast-paced, yet fulfilling and gorgeous Colorado vacay.
There are more than 2,000 pictures to upload and sort through. And I intend to post a bunch soon, along with some trip highlights.
In the meantime, enjoy this spectacular waterfall pic from Fish Creek Falls. It is definitely one of my top 3 favorite places on the planet.

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Scenes from Memorial Day Weekend

From Friday night to Monday night, I don’t think Fishface and I slowed down a bit.
Memorial Day weekend was jammed packed and so fabulous that we didn’t even turn the TV on.

Let’s recap:
Friday “yard sale prep night” turned into “visit with two sets of neighbors night” and then have “a great number of Blue Moons at best friend neighbor’s house night.” Feared that would make for hangover Saturday, but we came out on top.
Though 5:30 Saturday morning came soon and then it was Mission Yard Sale til noon. Fishface fetched Gibson Donuts for us and the neighbors, so we were all hyped up on sugary goodness. Once the crowds thinned, we all packed up the cars full of Goodwill and library book donations and then treated ourselves to beer and wings for a job well done. Can we say mega cheat day – no exercise and no nutrients. My body was confused.
After a nap, Fishface and I got wild and crazy and decided to hit Lowe’s. (Incoming deep thought: because when God tells you to quite literally build and grow a garden with your husband, you do it. More on that later.)
With no plan, we ventured into the store near dark and picked out a variety of pretties and a dozen bags of mulch.

Basket of Nature

Basket of Nature

Strength training

Strength training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few things of Petunias, Angelina and a rare weirdo Celosia later and we called it a night with promise to begin our next day just as early as we did that morning.
Sunday from 6 to noon we raked out weeds, old mulch, old tarp and finished one part of our garden. We tabled the bigger portion for Monday (because who doesn’t want to spend their off day overhauling a garden), so we could hit the pool with the neighbors. We tried to convince our sweet neighbors to grab a shovel and gloves to help us in this renovation, but only their four-year-old took the bait. 😉
The pool – let’s talk about the pool. I LOVE SUMMER! (yes, I know summer comes in June, but to me if it’s hot then it’s summer). I love everything about it. I was lucky enough to always have some form of pool in my life since I was a kiddo, and I relished every day I could in the backyard. I love the smell of suntan lotion (though I don’t use it), I love the sun as it moves across the water throughout the day, I love listening to my tunes as I float around all day. I just love it all. This was my sole purpose for getting our Y membership – the pool. If it’s sunny, I’ll be there.
So, yeah we took a much-needed, long-awaited pool break.

Heaven

Heaven

After pool and dinner time, it was back to the neighbors for game night. I’m kinda wondering why we don’t just all live together at this point. Ha. And we are seriously addicted to Catan. Might need an intervention.

Catan Denomination (yes that's incorrect on purpose)

Catan Denomination (yes that’s the incorrect word on purpose, because yes I really said that. Ha.)

Project Awesome Garden meant yet another early morning Monday. New tarp was laid, holes were cut, holes were dug, plants were planted, mulch was spread.

Aren't I adorable?

Aren’t I adorable?

Prep

Garden work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished it up just in time to hit the grocery for our dinner cookout with…guess who…the neighbors…lol. We were lucky enough to have a serviceman guest of honor for our Memorial Day cookout. Neighbor John’s Pops, aka Grumpsy, attended our shindig and it was such a joy to chat with him over dinner. A true gentleman!

Neighbor and Grumpsy

Neighbor and Grumpsy

Before that though, since it was gorgeous Monday, I knew where I had to be that afternoon. Back to the pool. I had not one care that we needed to clean or do laundry before hosting people in our home. Pool takes priority every.single.time.

Pool selfie

Pool selfie

Pool was again much-needed after our labor in the garden. Y’all! Gardening is hard work. We were so sore from Sunday, that we regretted not finishing it all that morning, because bending down was near impossible Monday. I’m still not right from it all. Forget the gym – gardening is where it’s at (two turntables).
And finally, after our yummy cookout (neighbor Heather makes the best burgers ever in the world, ever known in the history of mankind!) we wrapped up the weekend with an X-Men viewing.
Now, a little background on me and action movies. I whine every time I feel I’m going to be dragged to one. I selflessly took Fishface to see Thor on his birthday, because there was nothing in it for me. (Lies: Thor is HOT!).  So, when the gang wanted to venture off to X-Men I had a few thoughts: 1. It’s a school night aka work night… I still consider them school nights. 2. I should stay home and write my article for the paper 3. I don’t hate X-Men, but hmm…I really wanna see a Rom-Com. (I always want to see a Rom-Com.)
Procrastination and my better judgement won. I went and not to any surprise I loved it. I must remember I really do love action movies. It’s just getting me there that’s the hard part, then I enjoy every minute of it. Great movie. Go see it.
If you’re still reading, which I hope you are, I’ll leave you with a collage (learned how to do that one – finally. Learning. Winning.) of our garden before and after.

Before & After

Before & After

Oh and one ADORABLE pic of Koda supervising our work. He’s sitting on a bench in front of the window, letting us know he is fully capable of tearing down the house if he should so choose. This dog makes my heart beat.

Dog in charge

Dog in charge

 

 

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The Honeysuckle Run

Sweet motivation

Sweet motivation

Y’all we went on a run Sunday at Shelby Farms (my favorite place in the city) and I’m not even kidding when I say it was beyond EPIC. Beyond!
Let’s back up a bit. The night before we attended a 20th wedding anniversary at a Seafood restaurant. Not like grilled fish with a side of veggies seafood. Nope. A buffet, which meant one thing – all fried food. This restaurant, located nearly in the country, gets patrons from counties away. The food is that good. Sadly, not for this girl. I don’t do most seafood and in recent years I’ve discovered I don’t do buffets or most fried food, so I wasn’t too giddy. But I ate. No pigging out or anything, but I enjoyed myself. Then, there was cake. Damn cake. It goes without saying we knew Sunday’s workout had to be monumental.
That calorie fest coupled with a desperate need for a deep walk through nature, I knew the gym wouldn’t do. Only the Farms would suffice.
After a protein-filled breakfast, we laced up and headed out to tackle the Chickasaw trail, which is 2.75 miles, but we usually go farther to hit a solid 5K. Fishface, the ever encouraging one, suggested we obliterate the trail and run as much as possible to beat our best 5K time. Pfft. I had no interest in setting records. I simply wanted to tune into God, my breath and Pandora.
Without being melodramatic, I must say this day, this run changed me.
Anyone who knows me may slightly understand my unquenchable love for honeysuckle. I’ve even joked that I hope I come back in my next life as honeysuckle. I long for it to bloom all year, usually around Mother’s Day, and I relish every single day I have with it. LOVE IT! Because Saturday turned out mostly rainy and gloomy (which rained out our neighborhood yard sale for the most part. Grr.), Sunday morning remained overcast, which meant great things for me on this run.

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This path, above, ignited every fiber of my being with its scent. Holy moly y’all, it was honeysuckle heaven! And because the sun hadn’t yet crept out enough to burn off the moisture, all the sweet goodness permeated the air. And my soul. Seriously, I think I died from how fantastic all of everything became in that moment. I had run up a giant hill (would never have happened months ago – could barely walk it without getting winded), and had already run a good bit when I got smacked with this beautiful aroma. It was a true gift after the week I’d endured. I tried to capture it with pictures, and with these words, but no justice can be done to describe it.
For the next mile or so, beauty sped me around the path, and all along the way honeysuckle peeped out and said hello. And my feet, my heart, my mind all synchronized. The life-changer hit when I realized it was easier to keep running than to stop and catch my breath. NEVER in my life. That was an odd discovery. Good God it was perfect.

Perfection

Perfection

But then…maybe because my songs weren’t captivating, or because I kept stopping to take pictures or because my mind wanted to entertain unwanted thoughts, the run got harder. Everything clouded up. Though I kept running more than walking, and I finished the whole 5K, I didn’t feel as high as I had felt at the beginning.
Until…
I finally stopped running and walked back toward Fishface, where he filled me in on his Runkeeper stats. Turns out I ran, unofficially, a 39 minute 5K. 39 MINUTES. Cluttered brain and picture-taking all accounted for and I still pulled my fastest 3.1 miles to date. We both did. If you’re keeping track, that’s four minutes off my fastest time. Haha. I can’t even type that without smiling and giggling. That is amazing!  I’m elated that I’ve come from 56-some-odd minutes to 39. Not to mention that is the first time I’ve ever run so much of that particular trail.
The Honeysuckle Run absolutely cleansed my soul with its sweetness. I found strength on that run that I so badly needed – mentally, emotionally, physically. God filled me up in those miles and reminded me that I can do anything. I can run. I can be strong. I can be better. And I’m forever thankful for that reminder.

 

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Per Request :)

Per Request 🙂

 

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Soup’s On

The cool (ha) thing about below freezing temps and being inside a polar vortex is the opportunity to stay in, cook something delish and snuggle. And I’ve DONE all of those things in the past few days.
We kicked this week off with Sunday company and soup.

Soup for three

Soup for three 

I stumbled across this fabulous recipe a few months back. I love everything about Jonathan’s blog. He makes delicious recipes seem conquerable. He is totally an inspiration to this budding culinary gal.
Anywho, I made this soup, which I consider to be a way more delicious take on Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, a month or so ago and my husband flipped for it.
So, when my childhood friend of more than 23 years (how am I old enough to say that) came for a post holiday visit, we all decided to stay in and skip the whole going out and spending dollar bills on pricey eats. I figured that was a perfect opportunity to throw something together. It was a great way to kick off my year of DOING. Part of that whole New Year concept will include cooking more for our family and friends. I love sharing our home and dishes with them.
Back to soup…this recipe is ridiculously easy to put together.

Yum

Yum

Photogenic soup

Photogenic soup

And sooo delicious. I tried Olive Garden’s version recently and I pushed it away. I win at Zuppa Toscana.
But to be fair OG does do one soup well enough that I’ll let them make it from now on. I tried my hand at my addiction – the Chicken and Gnocchi soup.

Simmer Simmer

Simmer Simmer

Though it looks delicious, it was no Olive Garden version. They win at Chicken & Gnocchi. My college try made me realize they must put a bucket of salt into their batches. I used more salt than I would ever use in a recipe and it still needed some. If I try again, I’ll salt it up and add even more stock.
The best part about that recipe was being able to share it with friends. Four bowls this time.

Soup Soiree

Soup Soiree

Clearly, I like taking pictures of empty bowls with spoons.
Everyone filled their bellies, and left their bowls just as empty as they started, so maybe I kind of win at Chicken & Gnocchi 😉

 

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