Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Apple Pie, and when it's not allowed

We got married! And then moved across the country to Montoursville, Pennsylvania.

Friday night in Dallas, meet Friday night in Pennsylvania. Nearly 10 inches of snow fell over the weekend, making for a beautiful winter wonderland that kept this Texan indoors. While people may be much more accustomed to everyday life with several inches of snow on the ground, they are just as inclined to stay inside and hibernate on said snow days.

So, in small-town fashion, I baked an apple pie over the weekend. There was no initial planning, other than we had three apples on the verge of spoiling and an extra piecrust from my most recent quiche adventure. An apple pie was the most efficient problem solver. What problems we face in Pennsylvania!

This recipe comes from Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook (courtesy of my grandmother). It’s out of print, but definitely worth the purchase if you stumble upon it. Every recipe I make is a crowd-pleaser, and this apple pie recipe nearly made my husband renounce his beloved peach pie.

A few notes regarding the recipe: While I paid no attention to the apple disclaimer, I find it hilarious that apple pie in the spring is such an abominable thought and left the explanation as it appears for entertainment purposes. Seeking more direction with the baking time, I referenced other apple pie recipes and recommend 45-60 minutes.

Dutch Apple Pie (pg. 273)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup light cream
Unbaked pie shell
2 quarts apples, quartered. The apples are important: Greenings, August and the fall; Winesaps or Rome Beauties during the winter months; Green Transparents in June and July. You have no business making this pie in the spring.

Mix the sugar, flour, and salt thoroughly. Add the cream and beat until thick. Fill the pie shell high with peeled and quartered apples. Pour the mixture over and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon. Bake at 425 until apples are soft. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When Wedding Plans Throw You a Lemon

Immediately following a wedding shower this weekend, my mom, Bailey, and I went to pick out the wedding cake. Yes, I picked out my wedding cake 12 days before my wedding. It's the procrastinator in me. We brainstormed with the help of Pinterest and decided on a beautiful Italian Cream Cake with fluffy frosting and an A&M cake for John. 

As the decisions commenced I glanced out the window into this country backyard in the middle of New Ulm, TX to find an enormous lemon tree. Ms. T.J., the decorator of my upcoming cake,  was quick to offer them up, claiming the more we took the less she had to juice for her mother-in-law. We obliged and took three gorgeously ripe lemons. The citrus scent intoxicating the drive back to Austin as if we had won the lottery of citrus fruits.  And we had. 

Currently half of said lemon is on my face, combined with honey and turmeric. After flirting with the thought of adding oats to the mask, I settled on this pure complexion potion and will probably apply once more before the big day to brighten and exfoliate. 

Mix one-half lemon with 3 Tbl honey, or until the consistency is thick enough to apply on your face. Then, dust in some turmeric (about 1 tsp) and stir until evenly dispersed. 

Apply to face and leave on for 30 minutes, or as long as desired. 

Disclaimer: Don't sit outside with honey on your face unless you're looking to collect bugs. I learned this quickly on our back patio.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And be thankful...

When John and I got engaged, I didn't know what to expect. We were in the middle of a whirlwind romance where everything just fell into place so effortlessly. It was, and still is, surreal. 

But what continues to surprise me is the support from all of our friends and family in this journey. People are there to love, encourage, and support us. It's a wonderful feeling, and I'm so grateful.

A sneak peek at our home in Pennsylvania...

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." - 1 Corinthians 3:15

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Penny Lane

When you move across the country, time stops for a moment. The date is a wandering mystery, while structure becomes a combination of boxes, takeout, and discovering the new city that’s not yet home (aka getting lost). The wrong turns are enjoyable, particularly with mountains and vibrant fall leaves to encourage your path. It’s pleasant. But, it’s also terrifying. Nothing is as it was or ever has been before. 

Embracing change is exciting, but awkwardly unsettling as it slowly adjusts to the new normal (without NeNe’s comic relief). I don't know where to take the dry cleaning and breakfast tacos are a very distant memory. 

This morning we finally made it to the running trail along  the Susquehanna Riverfront. The mountains abruptly take over the landscape and bring perspective to the little encounters of "uphill running" we came across. Every half-mile we would stop to relish the breathtaking (and punny) view. 

I'm so excited to be on this adventure and share the experience with the love of my life. Here we go!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"...to that great clan which cannot keep this feeling separate from that, but must let future prospects, with their joys and sorrows, cloud what is actually at hand, since to such people even in earliest childhood any turn in the wheel of sensation has the power to crystallise and transfix the moment upon which its gloom or radiance rests..." - Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse 

 Just a beautiful, albeit lengthy, sentence with a reminder: Do not let future prospects cloud what is at hand, enjoy every moment as it comes. Starting a new job, preparing for grad school, and moving doesn't leave many free moments to relish, but it's all the more important to take in every blessing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dreaming dreams

"She felt at that moment...she did not want to speak of it, to trivialize this feeling with imprecise words. But later, too, the next day and the day after that, she not only found no words in which she could express all the complexity of these feelings, but was unable even to find thoughts in which she could reflect with herself on all that was in her soul." - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

I'm overwhelmed in this moment. While everything appears the same, my life is turning upside down - in a good way. A new chapter begins professionally as I accepted an offer to be a publicist and social media manager for a PR firm, today an acceptance letter into a masters program for English Literature, hit my inbox, and in 3 days my brother gets married. It all happens at once. I'm thrilled and caught up in the goodness of God. So many things had to fall apart before this could fall together and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's about the journey, the challenge, and never giving up on dreams. 

"Dream until your dreams come true."

Friday, June 21, 2013


My little brother is getting married in a week. What?!  It's crazy how quickly time flies. The past couple months are a blur of showers, games, gifts, and family. Last weekend was the last shower and all the ladies were asked to write down advice for Bailey. I'm not married and would probably be more qualified to tell someone what not to do, but one thing I read the night before jumped out at me: 

"It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV - this is important)

So often the other verses in 1 Corinthians are cited, but I think this point is crucial. It says "trusts" instead of "believes." There must be trust in a relationship, and, alternately, belief. You can't put your belief in another person, but you can, and absolutely must, trust them. (After looking into other translations, "believes" is historically more prevalent and I know nothing. However, I think the point is still very much relevant that there must be a solid foundation of belief for any long-term love to stand a chance. This is also the first time I've preferred the NIV version, so keep an open-mind, folks.)

The other three words bring their own thoughts, but that was a bit of a revelation for me and the advice that I gave my future sister-in-law. Protect, trust, hope, persevere.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

the greatest stories

“We don’t normally face our fears willingly. Usually, God has to woo us into the desert. We are either chasing love or some other desire, and we find ourselves in the midst of a situation in which we have very little control. And when we lose control, we go into a mild form of trauma. But the good news is the greatest stories are lived in the desert. The great lives are lived in the places we most fear. If we fear being rejected, the great story has us standing at the door with flowers in our hands, if we fear losing love, the great stories have us letting that person go rather than clinging to them. If we fear taking a chance on a dream, the great stories have us quitting our jobs.”  -Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

a verse for this moment

I can't really remember the last time someone shared a bible verse with me,  actually, it was probably my Grandmother.  Regardless, it's such a meaningful, hopeful gesture. As I slowly find my own approach toward religion without the confines of school, parents or friends, I realize my struggles are lighter and the days are merrier, and it all circles back to where I began. 

And a verse, recently shared:
And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. - Jeremiah 31: 34

Friday, April 19, 2013

and I think to myself...

it's a wonderful world. In light of this week, everything seems sad, terrible, and hopeless. My thoughts and prayers are continually with Boston and West as I try to gather enough information to make sense of it all. Sense is not to be made,  but I believe there is good in people and there is wonder left in this world. 

Here are the moments that make life - people, places, and things- wonderful, the moments that I have to remember…

HopeMob :: Crowdfunding with Compassion  and one of the most active, effective, innovative community of generosity in the world.

Having dinner with your parents and realizing that not only do they know you better than anyone else; they love you, as no one else will.

Emoticon conversations.

The natural beauty that is right outside, waiting for us to appreciate.

Italian dreams that Pinterest keeps alive.

Waking up to text messages from someone you can’t stop thinking about and realizing they can’t stop thinking about you, either. (source)

Gathering your friends to sit/lie in the sun, drink mojitos and read magazines.

When people pay it forward in the Starbucks drive-thru.

Watching dogs play at the dog park with pure, carefree joy. 

Seeing an old married couple hold hands.

This overwhelming positivity in the wake of adversity.

Reconnecting with old friends and realizing how little has actually changed.

Hearing someone sing softly.

Knowing people survive cancer.

Leaving work and knowing you completed everything you could to the best of your ability.

Being recognized after executing a long, stressful project.

Writing exactly how you feel and what you mean, even just to clarify for yourself.

Phone calls that last well into the night (with theories, banter, and laughter).

Passing a rose bush in the park.

Watching a drummer keep perfect rhythm.

Dancing all night with or without a traditional dance floor.

Driving out of the office parking lot on a sunny, Friday afternoon.

Walking through the streets of New York, weaving through people, only to stop and read in Bryant Park.

Listening to new music on a solo road trip that explains exactly how you feel.

Being colloquial (and other beautiful words).

Lighting candles for a dinner party.

Finding the perfect wine and cheese combination.

Pad Thai, Jam Jar and Before Midnight.

Putting on the perfect pair of shoes, only to realize they are, in fact, still perfect.

Kind words left to a blog for a person they’ve never met.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Infinite Hope

"Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope." - The Great Gatsby

Just the beginning of why I love this book so much. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

a song, recently read

"Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
Though I'm worn

And my prayers are wearing thin
I'm worn even before the day begins
I'm worn I've lost my will to fight
I'm worn so heaven come and flood my eyes"

-"worn" by Tenth Avenue North

This really means that.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

know what you want

This weekend was phenomenal. Hopefully, because I'm apparently still reminiscing. There were outings,  new books, wine, cheese, movies, drinks, dancing, queso, an art gallery, new friends, exercise and George snuggles. I actually found someone drinking a moscow mule out of a copper mug, reaffirming the hilariousness of people. 

After walking the Katy Trail on Saturday to Katy Trail Ice House, a friend and I stumbled upon this beauty... 

Just a reminder to keep dreaming the dreams and live the life you imagined. 
What do you hope to accomplish?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dreamer's Disease

All I know are plans. Plans for the future, plans for the moment, plans to get me there. I'm a dreamer and I just want my life to mean everything, but too often it seems to mean nearly nothing. At what point does it settle down, or is contentment a type of concession?

I think I'm attracted to settlers because I envy their complacency. Complacency in the perfect appreciation of now. To appreciate the moment in such a way that all plans are forgotten or simply lost to the beauty of this very moment. (George only knows this perfect appreciation for every moment in his life and maybe this is why pets bring such enviable, unbridled joy to our souls. Even when he sleeps, he is love.)

So many of my moments are sacrificed to the anticipation of my plans and that is my modern day tragedy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Self Diagnosis: S.A.D.

If my Pinterest is any indication, I'm ready for summer. The thrill of a good chunky sweater is behind me, as I reach for the same black pants, champagne sweater and black boots combination I so readily coordinated back in December. The crisp air is simply cold, annoying and drying out my skin like a tanning bed without the glow.  

 Here Comes the Sun!
(little darlin')

Every kitchen needs an orange tree.

Friday, February 22, 2013

high five for friday

Happy Friday! We did it. I'm still spinning from being at a conference all week, but here are a few insightful thoughts. 
(also- my first linkup with FMGD!)

“And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” –T.S. Eliot

”The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” – Jack Kerouac

“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just another Tuesday night...

"On one page, she addresses such online compulsions as checking “that I am typing your name into the search box and not making it my status.” On another, she confesses that her idea of adulthood includes “obnoxiously large wine glasses.” Readers who use Facebook or who grew up in the golden age of Riedel ware will recognize these stresses....

All at once, you have a thrilling sense of nowness, of the sheer potential of a verdant night with all these unmet people in it. For a long time after that, you think you’ll never lose this life, those dreams. But that was, as they say, then. "
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2013/01/14/130114crat_atlarge_heller#ixzz2JU0nLY2h

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Hiking is one of those great escapes that combines exercise with an overwhelming sense of peace in natural beauty. I am a big fan, but don't go often as Dallas is more of a concrete city. It’s undeniable. This city just built a park in the middle of downtown, over a 8-lane highway, because that was the only way to get a tree in downtown. Maybe it’s trying to be cosmopolitan, but I often find myself desperate for some quality time with nature. On Saturday, I went on a little getaway to the Cedar Ridge Preserve. It’s 30 minutes South of Dallas, and the perfect, serene park with numerous hiking trails. I went with a dear friend and George, of course. 

We completed a 3-mile hike and can't wait to go back. There are a number of trails and it would be easy to spend a whole day at the preserve.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Meaning of Life and other small thoughts

When I was younger, there was this breathing exercise fad that was similar to yoga but without any movement. I would sit up straight and take deep breaths, feeling my muscles work to expand and contract while wishing my belly into a six-pack. It was possibly not a fad but just an infomercial I decided to believe in, but I felt it “work” the two times I humored the program. It’s all in what you believe.

The Power of Now reminds me of this phenomenon because it seeks to isolate this very moment from everything else going on in your mind. Eckhart Tolle highlights this very moment, letting go of anything and everything else, which allows for a happy and calm mind. Generally, I love this book because it presents a concept that simplifies life to a very basic level. It clears your mind and puts an end to the racing thoughts. Where The Happiness Project gives you projects to create a happy outlook, The Power of Now just lets happiness be with you. It’s an interesting mind game.

While I was on board with the mentality (and I do anything Oprah tells me to), this article brought everything together. Happiness is not the point and "the very pursuit of happiness thwarts happiness," said Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist who survived the Holocaust. 

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of a study examined in the article claim.

Every person is unique and that in itself is purpose. No one will bring what you bring. Happiness is simple, selfish and fleeting, but the real importance lies in discovering and believing in a purpose for your life. Read the article, it’s fantastic.