Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!

I thought it would be nice to list a few things that I feel blessed for that happened in the past year. I'm not a big fan of making resolutions because I feel like it just sets you up for failure. How many people go to the gym in January, but then slowly stop going throughout the year? My theory is that it's best to start lifestyle changes whenever you recognize them as something that needs to happen immediately, not just at the beginning of a new year. So here is a list of a few things I thank God for in the year 2010:

1. Marrying my wonderful husband and best friend. Although our dating/engagement period was relatively short, I feel like I have known Mark my whole life. I can't imagine not having him in my life every day when I wake up and go to bed. God really blessed me by giving me a man who is passionate and loving. Being best friends with my husband is always something I wanted growing up, but I never thought it was very realistic. Having someone to sit on the couch with and talk and about whatever and be able to agree and disagree (usually agree though :)) in love is one of the most precious gifts I've been given.

2. Mark and I being employeed. I know that the employment rate has increased by 30% this past year, but it is still so incredibly difficult to find a good and stable job. Although Mark may not LOVE working for Starbucks, it is a job that provides him with what he needs right now. Although I would have NEVER seen myself working in finance, having a stable job that is not stressful and that doesn't involve me waking up at 4 am has been such a blessing.

3. The addition of Mark's family. It has been such a joy to inherit Mark's family. It is obvious that all families are extremely different, but that makes it so much better. I am so blessed to have been accepted and loved by his family which is something I don't take for granted.

4. The kitties. Yes I know, they are like our children. :/ I am, however, thankful that I was given the opportunity to at least help a few stray animals this past year. They could've been dead in the bushes or by atree in the forest area by our apartment, but God decided to put them right where I could see them so they could be helped. Now our apartment is crazy, but at least there is lots of love and excitement.

5. Being done with school. I am so blessed to realize now why I had the urge to finish school so quickly when I was there. I never knew why I wanted to finish quickly--I just knew I did. Now looking back, there is no way I could be in school, be a wife, have Mark in school, and work at Morgan Keegan. It's weird how those little things that don't make sense in the past sometimes reveal themselves to you in such an obvious way later on.

6. First Evan. Although we're still in the process of finding the right Sunday School class, we have really fallen in love with the contemporay service at First Evan (yes Mark converted me from traditional to contempory). Having Cole as our marriage counselor made us grow even closer to the church because we got to see the kind of man Cole was outside the pulpil, which drew us to the church even more.

7. Yogurt Mountain. It's a new frozen yogurt place on Germantown Pkwy that's self serve. I typically don't like frozen yogurt, but this yogurt is INCREDIBLE. I like it better than even custard or ice cream I've ever had.

The end!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and Colds

Mark and I have been feeling a bit under the weather this past week. Mark's had an on and off cough all month and I've been dealing wih congestion. I've been fighting the urge to take a half sick day all day, but I just can't use it unless I'm nauseous or throwing up. I'm just going to have to take one for the team. ha

Christmas has come and gone. We had a wonderful Christmas this year--very relaxed. On Christmas day Mark and I got to spend the whole day at home together so I could rest and try and feel better. These days for us are so rare and we really do enjoy every moment. Mark won the best husband of the year award for buying me my first pair of diamond earings from Jareds! I in turn bought him a Nintendo Wi so he could play his video games after work. :)

I ended up taking down all our Christmas decoration yesterday along with the help of my mom and dad (THANKS!). I thought I was going to be really sad about it, but instead I have to admit that it was kind of nice to see everything looking clean and bare again.

I think it's about time that I get a hair's starting to get too long. Scheduling a hair appointment for me is like scheduling a dentist appointment though. For some reason I hate doing it. Maybe I can try and pull off that 60's inspired look with stick straight hair that goes all the way down your back. I'm probably not too far off now. :/

Much like everyone else this time of year, I would like to start working out more consecutively. I'm usually really good about working out in the summer, but come winter when it gets cold I'm not as good about it as I should be. I'm just never as hungry in the winter's weird I know. I wanted to start working out this week, but this sinus infection/cold/whatever it is makes me just want to curl up with a mup of green tea. The best part is, on Friday the high is supposed to be 66 (yes Memphis, I absolutely HATE your weather). Last time it got warmer then colder I got time for  relapse. Mark and I need to move to Iceland where it just stays cold all the time.

Monday, December 13, 2010


This is what I need in my life right now. Cupcakes! This past weekend  I bit the dust and went to Muddys (I interviewed for them for awhile and they never hired me...I was bitter) and I have to admit that the cupcake I got was delicious. It was a chocolate cupcake with peppermint icing. :) I also learned that my husband apparently loves Molassas cookies, so of course I had to try and make him some. Coming from a person that doesn't like molassas at all, the cookies were surprisingly delicious--very spicy and not too sweet. Now I am craving another cupcake, but I'm not going to let myself get another one. :(

This morning I awoke to the strange feeling that something or someone was really close to me. I look over and Mark is in the bathroom, and then I realize that Clove is sleeping on the top of my pillow. :) People say that your animals take on the personality of the parents, and I think we are subconsciously training our little kitten to be a snuggler. On a different note, yesterday I was changing the sheets on the bed...clean, white sheets. Then all of the sudden Cinnamon jumps on the bed, throws up, and jumps off. Needless to say, my sheets are ruined. That pretty much summed up my Sunday afternoon. I also had to go out to the Wolfchase mall to pick up a few things, and it just reminded me how much I HATE it. People are rude and it is just way too crowded. I get anxiety just thinking about it. Then I headed over to Michaels and waited in line for 15 minutes, with only 2 people in front of me. Note to self:

This past Saturday Mark and I went to the refugee center/apartment to help paint and clean up. I forgot how cathartic painting can be. There is just something so refreshing about seeing a dirty wall become pretty and clean again. Mark and I spent some good quality time painting the base boards and the door trims. :) This was all after I realized that I was too short to paint the ceilings...and dropped paint on the floor (thankfully it's being carpeted).

I got a recipe from for a sweet potato risotto. It sounded good, and after making it, I realized that I love risotto...just not with sweet potatoes. Sad. :( It's ok, I baked my favorite bread the next day to make up for it: Pomegranate Pistchio Bread. It's the best breakfast food because it has mashed bananas in it so it's really filling, meaning you only need a little slice to fill you up. :)

Mark and I are headed to the Singing Christmas Tree tonight with some of the family. I've heard mixed reviews, so I'm curious to see it as an outside observer. I'm so used to being in performance that it's still odd to watch. But don't worry, I have already warned Mark that I will be singing along with all the songs.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Wishlist

I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to my selfish Christmas wishlist. I know that I won't be getting any of these things, but it's still really fun to see what your list looks like after you finish it. Let's begin!

1. Nintendo Wi: I want to get some of the workout games/programs so I can workout at home more. :)

2. Real diamond earings. I've never had some before and they go with anything you wear and can dress up anything.

3. Subscription to Real Simple--my sister introduced me to this magazine and I've been hooked on it. It has the best decorating and organizing ideas.

4. Tall Ugg boots. I have the smaller ones and wear them constantly, but I really want the taller ones too. :)

5. Sephora giftcard. I love makeup so much that I watch tutorials on youtube on how to do different things with it. Needless to say, most of my makeup comes from the drugstore butI love splurging on the nicer stuff at Sephora.

6. Papasan chair cushion. They have red one at World Market that I've been looking at. Mark has a papasan chair but the cushion is digusting (sorry Mark). This would make the chair look and feel so much better.

That's all for now. I didn't want to be super greedy and list 20 things. If anyone else wants to blog about their Christmas list I'd love to look at it! For some reason I love looking at them. :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold Day in Memphis

I don't know about anyone else, but I am getting pretty sick and tired of this Memphis weather. One day it's 40 degrees, the next it's 60 degrees. This is not cool. Mark and I have been coughing like crazy and my sinuses are apparently really mad at me. I'm ready for it to be cold and wintery. I must say that I am really excited to come home from work today because I am making some White Bean Chili in the slow cooker and the apartment is going to smell so warm and comforting. I think the biggest reason I love slow cookers (or crockpots...don't know why that have 2 names) is how the make your house smell soooo good.

Who all has finished their Christmas shopping yet?? I have a few more presents to make and then wrap, but the majority of it is done! This is the first year that  I haven't waited til the week of Christmas to do all my shopping. Mark and I have all our stockings up on the fireplace (yes we have stockings for the kitties..don't judge us haha), so we're buying each other some little stocking stuffers so we have something to give each other on Christmas. Hopefully soon we'll go look for our bikes that we're getting each other for Christmas...I  can't wait to ride them on the Greenline!

I hope everyone stays warm (while it's cold at least). Bring out the slow cooker and make some soup today. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We hope you have a wonderful day full of turkey, pie, and a good nap. Bundle up tonight because the cold weather is on its way. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


So yes, I've been eating light this week so I can save up space for the much anticipated Thanksgiving feast. Yesterday, however, resulted in a really painful stomach ache post salad...I know I can't eat salads without getting sick yet I keep on trying. I'm done with salads. I'm going to be the world's worst vegetarian and not eat salads. Speaking of vegetarianism, I think it's funny how people often equate the decision of vegetarian to being in some sort of "phase." Though I have met plenty of vegetarians who later decided to eat meat, I meet more who have kept it up rather than those who have not. I'm often puzzled when people are completely perplexed about how I live a normal life without eating meat. The type of questions I get are: don't you need protein??, what do you order when you go out to eat?, don't you miss eating meat?, do you ever crave it?.

I just think it's funny because I never think twice about living any differently than anyone else. Vegetarian was a choice for me, not b/c I am animal activist (although I do love them I know that not eating meat is not going to save them), because I never ate it that much and I don't digest it very well. So my answer to all those questions are: yes you need protein, but there are so many other sources for protein that are actually better for you than animal protein is--I order veggie things (sandwiches, burritos, pasta) or I simply order side dishes of vegetables, and sometimes if there's a really delicious menu item w/ meat I'll order it w/o meat or just pick aroud it--I don't miss eating meat...I honestly don't even consider it when I am trying to decide what to eat--and no I do not crave meat, but I never have in my whole life even when I was eating it. Anyways, that's just my spill on vegetarianism. I've come across so many people who don't understand it, but for them I wouldn't recommend being a vegetarian anyways.
I actually challenge people to go a few days without eating meat and see how you feel. Some people (generally with type O blood) will not do well b/c they digest animal protein very well and crave it typically, but for the rest I challenge you to see how you feel once meat is out of your diet. If you feel better, then I recommend trying to go longer periods without meat. After going for 2 years without meat, anytime I have that sinewy texture in my mouth accidentally it's just appalling. Just for an FYI, type A blood is the "vegetarian blood type" that does best w/o meat (it's what I am too).

Moving on, something I've always wanted to do has been lingering in my mind recently. Although I would love to work in or own my own bakery one day (investors, give me a call please ha), I've been hearing about several people who bake things out of their homes and sell them to people. I know that this really constitutes as a business, but I'm looking for a way around that title to avoid all the legal issues. I just think it would be a great side job to say make a few baked goods for someone throwing a party and doesn't have time, or someone who is having their family over for dinner and need something sweet or dessert. If anyone knows more about this or has any advice or ideas, let me know.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Check out these awesome cookies on my other blog. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This is my first official blog post from work and I feel like I should be in trouble right now...oh well. Well we have a new addition to our household--Clove. We really didn't want another cat, but I found a litter of 3 kittens hiding in the bushes in front of our aparment 2 weeks ago. It was freezing outside and they were just shaking and I couldn't stand it. So to make a long weekend story short...we trapped the kittens and the mom (it took awhile) and took them to the Humane Shelter. They wouldn't take them b/c they weren't hurt or abused, so we were stuck with them and nowhere else was open to take them to. We ended up putting the little kennel of cats in our guest bathroom bathtub with some beach towels under it. We kept them there overnight and I decided to play with them since they were there. I pick up my favorite kitten and Mark walked in, saw it, and told me that we needed to keep it. :/ I took him the next morning to the vet, came back, and took the other cats to the Bartlett Animal Shelter. They wouldn't take them either b/c I wasn't a Bartlett I got my grandmother who lives in Bartlett and she filled out the paperwork and they are now safely there. Raising a kitten that is 5 weeks is old SO much work. We initially had to bottle feed and potty train him. I swear I do not know how women handle having babies...I can barely handle this kitten. He is really cute though so it kind of makes it all worth it. :)

Moving on...we (well, me mostly) are really looking forward to our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. I've been watching the weather religiously to make sure that it's going to be cold on Thanksgiving b/c if it's hot I get really cranky. ha I'm going to be bringing homeade mashed potatoes and a caramel apple pie this year. The pie is a new recipe so we'll see how it goes. :) Soon I will begin working on our homeade Christmas presents this year but I can't say anything more b/c they're a secret. :) We also went to Chattanooga last weekend at a bed and breakfast there just to relax for a little bit. After going to a bed and breakast, I'm not sure I ever want to go back to a hotel ever again. The people who work at bed and breakfasts treat you like family. You come into your room with fresh robes chocolate covered strawberries awaiting you. Then you have turndown service...a 3 course breakfast...what more can you ask for??

Mark and I are wanting to take a holiday picture for our Christmas cards this year, but we're wondering if we get a friend to take the picture for us or if we set the timer on a camera? How do most people take Christmas card pictures?? We're obviously newbies at this. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

23rd Birthday =$23 for charity:water

Hey everyone, Mark here! I'm turning 23 on December 15 and am donating my birthday to charity:water. Pretty much that means I do not want gifts, but instead for you to give $23 to charity:water for their work around the world.

You can donate by clicking here. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I can smell the holidays a'comin

I know I know...we are not the world's most steady bloggers. We blog sporadically and it needs to end. My aunt informed me a few weeks ago that I needed to update and I forgot again. I promise to do better! *fingers crossed* Mark and I have been ridiculously busy the past few months. Mark's store has slowly been improving, but it will soon be insanely busy since it's almost the holiday season. He spoke last month at a little conference called Ignite Memphis where people are chosen to speak for 5 min. about ways to improve Memphis. I've been working hard at Morgan Keegan and been enjoying married life so much. :) We both agree that being married is just getting better and better as times goes on.

Now I know my sister will understand and appreciate this, but we started decorating our apartment for Christmas last night. Yes I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet but I just can't help myself! I want to enjoy our Christmas decorations longer than 4 weeks, plus it's one less thing I have to worry about once it gets really busy near Christmas. This year I decorated the tree and bought the ornaments from the Dollar Tree because they're cheap and in case the kitties want to play with the tree, they don't break. I'm going to take pictures of everything once I finish. :) Christmas and Thanksgiving this year are more special than ever because it's our first Christmas as a married couple. I never imagined how much different the holidays become when you are married. Everything is more sentimental because you know you'll be starting traditions that'll last for a long time. I want to fill our home with the warm smells of cookies baking and soup simmering. Speaking of cookies--I'm baking some Earl Gray Tea cookies right now. I found them on They are very low calorie (I think 44 calories a serving) and are not too sweet...and perfect with tea of course.

We also bought little holiday kitty collars for the cats and 10 min. after putting them on we took them off. It didn't go over to well. Mark and I have been eagerly anticipating the fall and winter weather--basically since September. We are both cold weather people and love to bundle up in the cold. We are planning on going to a bed and breakfast somewhere in Chattanooga sometime in November to get away for the weekend. Perhaps it will be our new pre-holiday tradition to get away before everything gets crazy. A tradition we started last year was to go to Waffle House on Christmas morning for breakfast. Surprisingly enough, it's really packed too! We decided that a tradition we want to start for Thanksgiving is to buy cards for each other and write down what we are most thankful for one in another and thank God for blessing up so much.  

Now that it's getting colder, it means that it's time for a few things:
1. Time to buy wood for the fireplace at Kroger.
2. Time to turn off the heat and pile on the blankets.
3. Because we keep it so cold, the kitties are usually on one of us trying to stay warm by the time we wake up in the morning .
4. Time to remember to put your robe by the shower or else the dreaded LEAP to the robe where every part of your body is wet and cold occurs and you are miserable for the rest of the morning.
5. Time for yummy drinks such as: mulled apple cider, hot chocolate, and latte's.
6. Time to plan out your holiday gift list (I even wrote out a whole list of everyone's names we needed to get gifts for at work..yes I am very productive). :)
7. Time to bring out scarves, gloves, boots, sweaters, sweatshirts, and jackets.
8. For girls, time to switch to a heavier moisturizer because the cold weather dries out your skin.
9. Time to lather on lotion more heavily than usual to prevent really dry skin.
10. Time to watch all the cheesy Christmasy movies (Peanuts movies are my favorite!!!).
11. Time to find Mark a stocking b/c as of now, both kitties have one and I have two all hanging up on the mantel...two Olivia's and 2 kitty stockings...I don't look selfish at all right? (One of my stockings is in place of his soon to be stocking so don't judge me haha).
12. Time to buy tins at the Dollar Tree to put all my Christmas baked goodies in.
13. Time to hit the gym harder and run longer outside to burn off those Christmas goodies.

That's all I have for now, but keep expecting more things soon. :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Update

Sorry it has been so long since the last post. Life has been pretty hectic recently. This weekend I had some decorating adventures that even included me going to Walmart...somewhere I haven't been in years. Although I know that Target is more expensive , I would much rather spend the extra money than go to Walmart. I know it sounds snobby, but I really just don't like it. But I was needing some picture frames for a few projects that I'm working on, and for my diploma that finally got its own frame.

Here is the first project I is a collection of Starbucks gift cards glued on to cardboard and put in a poster frame (which I originally got for something else, but it didn't fit). I apologize for the flash on ALL these pictures...I'm not a photographer by any means.

The next project I did involved a calendar my mom gave me last Christmas that has a bunch of old timey food posters. I bought some frames and here you go! I made three of 3, but this is just one.

Then I went fall crazy at Walmart and bought all these really fun fall decorations. By the way, they have really great smelling candles for $3-5. I got Carmel Apple Spice and Pumpkin. The table cloth I bought, well, it doesn't really fit right. I think it's supposed to be for an oblong table, but oh well. You can't tell in the picture anyways. :)

Oh and this tablecloth was only $9 too! What a bargain!

Hope you guys have a great week!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Painting

I finally finished my painting! It was a picture I found online and decided to paint. I tweeked it a little to make it my own, but I really like it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weekend Update

Hello all! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend so far, minus the horrible heat outside. I'm sure all of Memphis is counting down the days until fall weather starts to creep in. That is probably one of my favorite seasonal feelings: you wake up one morning during early fall right before the temperatures have started to drop and walk outside to realize that you need a jacket! Then the nights are cooler and that wonderful fall smell comes. I'm not sure I'm able to capture that smell in words...maybe smokey, sweet, and crisp. Yankee Candle needs to bank on that idea and make a candle called "Fall" and it would be a hit seller. I've been so excited about fall coming that I've been purposefully been using up our summery scented candles so I can buy new fall and winter ones!  

Mark's Starbucks store's air conditioning unit broke this afternoon and the store is now at 95 degrees. I predicted the response of his district manager perfectly too. The correct response: you should close the store immediately. The actual response (predicted by me): you should just get some fans. Ugh...really? I feel badly for the baristas working there. When I worked at my old store that happened and amidst the heat were the awful customers complaining about it. Speaking of good ol' Starbucks, I have to go and work a 4 hour shift tomorrow morning which is odd considering I don't work there anymore. But hey, my manager worked very hard to get my shifts covered so I could start at Morgan Keegan so I suppose it's the least I could do right?

Speaking of Morgan Keegan, I'm still loving the job. I'm happy to say that I'm out of my first week of work. Now I'm a somewhat familiar face and know a little more what I'm supposed to do. Today Mark and I ran some errands and went to a Street Team Meeting for OBS. I was excited about be able to go to church tomorrow, but I can't because of that 4 hour shift I have to work. Oh well, such is life...and it's the last time too. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Job Update

See the big brown building on the left? That's right! That's where I work now! Today I just finished my second day and my brain is in overload mode. I've already reached that 'I'm so lost' to 'I think I'm kind of getting this' to 'I can't even comprehend what I'm being told right now...words going in...out...' Tomorrow I'm going to try and do things on my own instead of observing so we'll see how well this goes. I've already missed the turn to leave my floor, gotten on the wrong elevator, and walked into the wrong department. So yes, I am ready for the whole first week "fun" to be over with. It's hard coming from a job where you are one of the people in charge and knows what to do to not knowing anything or anyone. It has been really wonderful to wake up around 6 and not have to wear nasty black or white polos and a green apron  anymore. The best part of my week by far (and yes, it's only day 2) is that I don't have to deal with customers or clients. I love it!

Mark has been enjoying his  new car. He keeps telling me that it's weird coming home and not seeing me taking a nap. Oh, and I have to thank my awesome brother-in-law Stephen for lending me his extra iBook G4 since my old laptop died. Does anyone want to buy a broken Macbook for its parts maybe??
The kitties have not yet adjusted to my new schedule. They in fact still want to be fed at 4am and will not leave me alone until I do. I'm ready for fall by the way!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Quesadillas

Usually during the summer I honestly don't like cooking that much. I'm not sure why exactly either. In the winter I'm much more prone to cook--maybe because the oven warms the apartment. The good thing about summer, however, is the abundance of fresh vegetables. As a vegetarian, I appreciate the fact that I can go to the grocery store and find a ton of fresh veggies on sale. One of my favorites right now is fresh corn (at Kroger it's usually 3 or 4 for $1). I was trying to decide what to make for dinner and awhile ago I made veggie enchiladas with fresh corn. This time I went on a different route...

So last night I cooked a really delicious meal for Mark and I thought it was "blogworthy." I wish I had taken a picture of it but we ate it up too quickly. Next time I'll take a picture! We were going to make enchiladas, but we decided last minute to make quesadillas instead. They had roasted fresh corn, red pepper, onions, and cheese. They were amazing! If you have a panini maker they make exactly quesadillas in a shorter time than on a griddle pan. I had leftover corn, pepper, and onion mixture but you can use it to make a ton of other stuff. Try using it in soup, on a panini, or in pasta.

1) 3 husks of fresh corn (I used the bicolor)
2) 1 red pepper (any color would taste fine)
3) 1 medium yellow onion
4) minced garlic
5) olive oil
6) margarine
7) 1 & 1/2 tbsp. rosemary
8) 4 whole wheat tortillas
9) shredded cheese
Remove the corn from the husk by cutting it with a knife. Saute some garlic (however much you like really) in olive oil in a saute pan. Add the corn with a tablespoon of margarine and chopped rosemary (fresh rosemary tastes the best). Stir until the corn is tender, about 5 min.
In another saute pan add olive oil and saute the peppers and onions.
Put all your veggies in one bowl and let set for a few minutes to let the flavors blend together.
Assemble your quesadillas by adding your cheese (however much you'd like) and veggie mix. Cook on the panini pan until done and enjoy!

Sorry that I don't have the accurate measurements on a lot of the ingredients. I don't measure anything when I'm cooking, only baking, so it's really up to your how much of something you want. Mark gave them a thumbs up too!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Good Times :)

Things have definitely been looking up for the Hacketts this week! I'm happy to report that I no longer work at Starbucks anymore and I am officially employed by Morgan  Keegan! I will be working in the accounts department, though any other details or descriptions about my job is still unknown to me until I start on Monday. I'll tell you the story of how I got the job:

A few weeks ago my sister  Andrea submitted my resume to her superior because their was a job opening. I didn't get that job so I honestly just forget about Morgan Keegan. After around 4 more job openings/potentials that I was still waiting to hear back from, I get a call one morning when I was eating breakfast with a friend of mine. I had been waiting to hear back from a tutoring job so when I got a call from an unknown number, I assumed it was them. It turns out that it was a man who worked at Morgan Keegan asking me if I could come in THAT day for an interview. I "suited up" (if you watch How I Met Your Mother, you'll get the reference) in my best interview suit and drove downtown an hour early so I wouldn't get lost. I ended up getting to hang out with my sister and see where she works and meet so really nice people she works with. I interview--think it goes well, and don't hear back that week. I get really discouraged and simply assume that I didn't get it. Then I get a call and it turns out I got the job!

The best part of this job so far is that I've gotten to buy what I call "big girl clothes." I've shopped at Ann Taylor for the first time and a sweet girl who works there helped me put a few outfits together. Blazers, slacks, and heels are such a nice and refreshing change rather than black polos and pants. So goodbye Starbucks and hello to the corporate world of salaries, paid vacations (eventually), federal holidays off, weekends off, and the return to church on Sundays. :)

In other news, my parents bought a new car a few days ago and gave their old car to us. Typically my parents gave of the kids a financial gift after getting married. Instead of taking the money, Mark and I opted for the car once they bought a new one. So goodbye to Mark's old Pathfinder (aka "the failfinder") and hello to a 2003 Toyota Camry that won't fall apart!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hello all! Sorry it's been so long since our last post. We are happy to report that we have purchased Mark's new laptop and I am picking it up today at the front office where it got delivered. We'll miss having Stephen's temporary desktop mini in our study though. Since the purchase, Mark and I have been cooking dinner every night so we can try and save money rather go to restaurants. We are trying to use up the majority of our food so the next time we go to the grocery we can restock and not waste anything.  Aren't we just so economical? haha

Not much has gone on this past week. I have been spending time with Mary Rachel, one of my old high school best friends who is living in Memphis again. Mark had a flat tire the day we bought his new laptop online, so my natural reaction wasn't too great. Thankfully Mark's dad had some connections and was able to get the tire repaired without cost from us!  To return the favor Mark and I cooked him dinner and I made a chocolate chip pie. Here's the recipe from Bakerella:
* Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie… Oh My! *
It was pretty delicious, but I ended up throwing the rest away because it's not good for me to keep baked goods in the house. :/ Hence the reason my work gets a lot of brownies and such.

This Saturday Mark is showing a documentary called Worse Than War at First Evangelical Church at 4:00 pm. Everyone is invited! When he first made me watch it, I was honestly really skeptical because the word "documentary" to me means really boring. This film, however, keeps your attention more than most movies can for me.  For people who do not know very much about genocide, it objectively paints a great picture as to what genocide is and where it's happened across the world. Probably the most interesting parts of this film are when the actual criminals who committed the act of genocide are interviewed. The film's narrator/protagonist really aims to get into the mindset of these criminals, and what you find out is shocking and not what you would expect to hear.

Speaking of movies, last week we were out with a few friends and ending up talking about movies and such. This led us to two films that we watched of the weekend: Se7en and The Hunting Party.  Se7en (made in 1995) is a movie I told Mark that he's been needing to watch and he finally did. The Hunting Party is one that he wanted me to watch and I recommend  it to anyone. Go watch a trailer for it! We went and saw Inception too, which is definitely one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Also, on my final note: if you want a cute little coffee shop to go to, there's a place called Square Beans Coffee located in the Collierville Historic District Square that's really cute and has a good selection of coffee drinks. :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Next Week

Hi! Mark and Olivia here! Here's what we got going on next week!

Olivia is:
going to lunch and a movie on Monday with friends to celebrate her birthday :)
working nonstop until next Friday :(
being amazing :)
watching the bachelorette on Monday night. Mark is not.

Mark is:
speaking at the Hope Experience Youth Conference on Thursday night
working nonstop until eternity
hopefully a double date with some friends
returning to OBS after a week off

We recently got cable! Mark is not used to watching TV so it's a new experience for him. Olivia likes to exercise in front of it and then go ride her stationary bike. The cats don't ride the bike.

Kitty Update from Olivia:
Nutmeg has gotten quitter at night but hyper-needy when we get home. He also likes to sleep in the bathroom sink...
Cinnamon is a little nicer than he used to be but still doesn't like a lot of attention. That's good, Nutmeg is like having a 2 year old around.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Keep Us in Your Prayers

Mark here. Olivia and me are both having issues with work (mine are particularly frustrating) and they don't appear to be getting better anytime soon.

Thanks to all of you for helping during this time:

Stephen for giving me a computer to use for OBS since mine is dead.
Paul for simply asking how I am doing and encouraging me to keep moving forward. 
My core staff at work (primarily Brittany, Amy, and Flexer) for being so great.
Olivia's parents for buying us a new garbage can
For my activist peers around the nation who are helping me prepare to transition OBS into an official non-profit.
Anna for giving us a cable plug.
Our cats for being quieter at night (even if we've forced them to be)
Olivia for being perfect :)

Love you guys. By the way, if anyone feels like donating me a $1,000 Macbook Pro for OBS that'd be wonderful. If you want to throw a few bucks towards it I'll give you a hug. 

New birthday update

As of recently Mark and I haven't been having the best of luck, especially with work. Although I'm not going to go into details, work has been a series of stressful situations one after the other. The last event, however, has changed my birthday donation to charity: water idea unfortunately. Yesterday there was an accident at work involving spilt water on Mark's laptop. Thankfully his hard drive was saved, but his computer was not. :(

We're trying to find the most economic and affordable means of alleviating the problem.  Although we would both love for Mark to be able to purchase a new laptop, that would be too much money.  As of now he is using his brother's old Mac Mini desktop computer, but it's only temporary. The only alternative that we can think of right now is to purchase a Mac Mini desktop that has been refurbished and let him use my laptop for the majority of the time (though it's not in the best of shape it will work). Because of our unfortunate luck, it doesn't make much sense to take donations to charity: water when he can't even do any work for them without a computer.  Getting to my point, for my birthday any money would be so gratefully accepted towards purchasing our desktop computer. 

Here's to hoping that our luck improves and things start looking up. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

My birthday is next Thursday!

The weather has finally cooled off thanks to a mid-afternoon thunderstorm that was much needed.  It decided to start thundering as soon as I was taking up the groceries from my car, but thankfully nobody was electrocuted and the bag with the eggs did not drop.  We have finally developed and put our wedding pictures in albums and frames! The wedding seemed like so long ago!

We spent the last two days celebrating a late Father's Day with my dad and his dad.  Unfortunately we weren't able to make it to either family function on Father's Day (you can thank Starbucks for that). After a wonderful marathon of working 9 days in a row, today is my first day off in what seems like forever.  What your parents fail to tell you when you're growing up is that when you get older and marry, summers don't include sitting around watching tv or reading all day.  Oh the past days of no responsibility when all that mattered in the summer was knowing what time the good tv shows came on. Now as an adult (well, hardly an adult really), summers now mean that work still takes up the majority of your time.  Then when your long awaited day off comes, you realize that you don't even have cable and a multitude of cleaning, laundry, and errands await you. 

All these things aren't bad of course, it's just part of the process of growing up I suppose.  I think you know that you are getting older when you have price tag shock with anything above $20 and no longer even look at the clothes section in stores anymore.  If I go into a store other than a grocery store, it's on a mission to get one item and  I'm headed to the sale/clearance area first--something my mother thankfully taught me. 

Now that it's been a good month coming from the honeymoon, I can finally say that I think (think...not positive yet) that our apartment is decorated how I like it.  Before I got married, decorating was just not an interest whatsoever.  It's funny how fast your tastes can change when it's your own place.  I'm still trying to get a feel for what specific style Mark and I have; right now I would say it's more of a modern/contemporary feel maybe?

My birthday is next Thursday and for anyone who loves me enough to get me a present, this year I'm donating my birthday to charity:water. You can donate $22 for my 22 birthday by clicking here!

I figured it would be kind of nice for a few people to have a chance to drink some water you know? I just know that not every person in the world gets presents on their birthday, but not even being able to have something to drink on your birthday makes me really sad. So yes, that's that. I am, however, slightly selfish and only want one thing for my birthday--a mountain bike! I want to be able to ride a bike on the trails at Shelby Farms. Now I know that nobody is going to get me a bike and that's perfectly fine, but sometime in the future I'm going to buy a mountain bike. People without water though are just more important this year. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

20 Things

I promised myself that I would update this blog much more regularly than I used to now that the busyness of the engagement and wedding has finally died down.  I thought that instead of writing a typical blog tonight, I would write a little list of a few things I've learned about being a wife during the first month of marriage. :)

#1. I like to sleep in the middle of the bed. Despite Mark being a whole foot taller than I am, all 5'2 of myself likes to claim the middle.
#2. I have inherited my mother's genes for cleanliness, but unfortunately it has multiplied to a state of neurosis almost. I'm trying to teach myself not to care about having a clean apartment...not working yet.
#3. Clothes will always magically appear in my dirty clothes hamper no matter how often I do laundry. 
#4. Boys eat a lot of food and drink a lot of milk.
#5. Me and power tools do not need to be near one another. Mark had a nice little non-bloody stab in his foot from when I tried to unplug the power drill. 
#6. No matter how hard I try, I'm not very good at hanging up pictures straight.
#7. When your husband is 6'3, everything he hangs up is really high on the wall (as my mother pointed out to me).
#8. Having two cats requires a lot of attention...especially concerning the whole litter box situation.
#9. Every time after I vacuum, my cats both roll on the backs on the floor like its the best carpet they've ever felt.
#10. Boys like to leave stuff out and not put it back in its place (Mark has improved though) :-)
#11. I have a wonderful husband who still is pursuing me and taking me to nice restaurants spontaneously.
#12. Mark loves our kitties more than I do sometimes, though he'll never admit it. :)
#13. I break around 2 glass objects per week.
#14.  It's so much better having a husband to help you bring in the groceries. 
#15. I require more naps than Mark does as he pointed out to me. I also am cranky right when I get up from a nap.
#16. As much as I hate it, Mark can cook asparagus much better than I can.
#17. I love having a husband to run errands with.
#18. Kitties like to take turns sleeping in empty boxes.
#19. Mark and I are both procrastinators about practical things.
#20. Mark reads historical and political literature whereas I read fiction. 

Monday, June 14, 2010


Hello to everyone who has faithfully followed our previous wedding blog. Unfortunately, the blog got hacked and messed up. Boo :(. But now it's back and running again which makes me really happy because I wasn't digging that temporary new website we were using at all.

To update everyone, our honeymoon to New York was absolutely wonderful. The most commonly asked question we got was: "What tourists spots did you go to?" My answer is , not many. We only went to Times Square (kind of a let down) and Central Park (awesome!), and Chelsea Market. We stayed in Soho which is the newest part of New York. We were right by Little Italy, China Town, and Greenwich Village (or "the Village" in NewYorkian talk. :) The two times we had pizza were two extreme experiences. The first pizza was incredible! Best pizza I ever had. The second time we ate at this place called Lombardi's that's supposed to be the first pizza place in New York. It wasn't that great...especially when I got sick from it a few hours later and was in bed the rest of the afternoon. Everyone in New York didn't walk as fast as I thought, we only got lost once (thanks GPS on the Iphone), everyone wears black and leggings, and everyone is really tall and skinny. I felt the urge to wear leggings with my shorts just to fit in with everyone else who towered inches above me.

Life came to a reality crash when we got home from our honeymoon to discover the our air conditioning was broken. It was 90 degrees outside. Ugh. It got fixed though, and has also broken three more times after that too. :) We have a new adopted kitty in our home now. There was a little white and orange tabby that was hanging around in front of our apartment building. It being really skinny, I of course went and bought it some food. A few days later I learned from our neighbors that a family who moved out a few months ago had left their cat outside...declawed. Yes, their inside cat who had no front claws or any idea of how to survive in the outside world was left alone. I couldn't take this so after talking to Mark, we decided to adopt it. Hence welcome to our new home Nutmeg!!

Cinnamon wasn't too keen on Nutmeg for about 2 days, but now they're BFFs. :)

As for me and Mark, I have just been promoted to shift supervisor at work. Basically, I now handle the money stuff and designate where people go and when they get breaks. Best part about my new job is that when customers complain and need to talk to the person in charge, guess who gets that honor? Mark is increasingly becoming anxious about doing his nonprofit work with OBS full time. He's not too excited about starting school in the fall, but there's still time. :) Currently I'm reading The Life of Pi which I had heard so much talk about...and now I know why. It's an incredible book so far. Go buy it! Also, within the next few days I'm going to put some of our wedding pictures on here. :) Yay!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Less than 11 Weeks Away...

Mark and I have done our engagement pictures in Knoxville this past weekend. It was a great time to get away from Memphis, school, and Starbucks for awhile. Unfortunately, and I think that many can relate to this, coming back home and diving into the routine is almost as bad as it was before you left. Thankfully, spring break is next week so we can get more of his things moved over to my apartment. I would say it would be a time to catch up on sleep, but I'm not sure that Starbucks got the memo about spring 4 am, I will still be seeing you. :)

I finally have a bridal shower on the 27th this month! Ever since the day I got engaged I have been most excited about the bridal showers. There really are only a few details left to finalize. We have: the guestlist (which will have to be cut down unfortuately), reserving Old Venice for our rehearsal dinner, and my dress fitting on next Thursday.

Here are some pictures of us and Knoxville!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Results of Our Engagement Party for Charity:Water

Hello friends! Mark here! Just wanted to say thanks for all of those who came out and celebrated our engagement with us! We were excited to have all those close to us come by in support!

Also, your donations instead of giving gifts will make an impact on the ground in Africa! You guys gave $245 to charity:water to dig clean water wells. Thanks for helping! Results are here:

If you want to see more directly how your money will impact lives in Africa, please consider coming to this fundraiser for charity:water this Saturday:

All the event details are in the link! Hope to see you there, and bring a friend or two! Love you guys!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Moving Out

I am on my lunch at work so I primarily apologize if this post is slightly fragmented in word or thought. Much has happened since the last post! I will be moving out of my old apartment and moving into a new 2 bedroom apartment! Mark will be leaving his old room and joining me after we get married. Although the process was quite excruciating (involving co-signing on the lease, etc.), I am really excited to get an early start decorating our new soon-to-be home. So yes, next weekend I will be moving out of my old apartment that I was only in since last June. It just so happens that I will be moving in the day of the charity: water fundraiser at First Evan. Oh well...that's life now isn't it?

Mark will be moving some of his stuff over so we are both searching around for boxes to move all this stuff! I went looking behind some grocery stores, but the only good ones I found made my car smelly so I dumped them. I am just going to use the boxes from work after our order comes in. Thank you Starbucks! ;)

The snow day yesterday was so wonderful! We both thoroughly enjoyed not having school, but then again we ALWAYS enjoy not having school. We spent the day watching cheesy romantic comedies...something Mark rarely does because all he likes are the serious movies that are really good but make you want either to kill yourself after or contemplate the meaning of life until you get a headache. :) So he watched my kind of funnier movies yesterday and it made me happy. :)

Well my work break is unfortunately over. On to make more drinks and caffeinate America.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Getting Near the End

I am finally beginning to feel the burden of wedding planning lifting off my shoulders. This week the caterer, location for the bridesmaids luncheon, and engagement pictures were all booked and planned. Mark and I chose yummy food (including mini Chicago style pizzas and stuffed mushrooms). All the major things are not out of the way!!! Contracts have been signed and the dates have been booked. Now we get enjoy our engagement, of which includes our engagement party, wedding showers, and engagement pictures.

At the end of the month we will be taking our engagement pictures! Saturday the 13th we are having our engagement party in honor of charity:water at my apartment. All friends and family are welcome to come! It is going to be a come and drop-by sort of party from 6-9. Instead of gifts we are taking monetary donations for charity:water. If you need directions just give me a call or text me. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Officiator and Marriage Counseling

Hello all our dear followers. :) Today is a cold and cloudy Memphis day with a precarious lurking of a possible snow and sleet storm tonight and tomorrow morning. Yesterday was, of course, in the 50's. Sometimes I wonder how all the Memphians don't get sick more often from the extreme temperature changes. Currently I'm sitting in Starbucks drinking a doppio espresso macchiato "working on homework"/reading a summary online because I didn't feel like finishing William Paley's argument for the existence of God. I feel so ashamed. :)

On to more important news! Mark and I met with the pastor at First Evan, Cole Huffman, yesterday for our "interview." After agreeing to be our wedding officiator, he is going to meet with us for a few sessions of marriage counseling. We both are really excited and curious to see what kind of things we might not agree on and vice versa. Either way, we will be learning how to work out the future conflicts that are inevitable, but in a way that is honoring to Christ. Mark and I both are striving to have a marriage that exemplifies the model of marriage God intended--something that is only attainable with constant forgiveness.

One thing that we both have been learning recently is the "art of saving money." I have been shopping at Aldi (a really great place to buy groceries where all the money made goes to charities). Instead of spending money going out to restaurants, we have been learning how to make money stretch out by buying inexpensive grocery items and pairing them with frozen vegetables and so forth. We are becoming quite thrifty. :)

I would write more, but I have a trial run with my hairdresser for my wedding day hair! :) Til next time...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Our Honeymoon :)

After visiting the travel agency, my jaw dropped to the floor in astonishment concerning the cost of our ideal honeymoon to Rome. Between the costs of the flights, hotels, car rentals, food, etc., there was just no possible way that we could afford the trip. I must admit that I was really disappointed. It took me about an hour to shake off my disappointment and poor Mark was very kind and patient with me. He even offered to buy me ice cream, but at that point I was inconsolable and just needed time to get over it. We then decided that we needed to stay within the US to save money on airfare. The one place that stuck out to us both was New York! We both have always wanted to go there so we went for it!

We bought our flight tickets and booked the hotel and we are set to stay in a Holiday Inn in Downtown Manhattan, the SOHO area. It's near Greenwich Village, Little Italy, the Statue of Liberty, good shopping :), etc. I have been looking up some of the best restaurants and cafes to visit while we are in the city. I'm so glad to get the honeymoon booked though! I feel like a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. :)

Poor Mark is working at his store, heading up OBS, and doing his 9 hours at school. I know it's already hard on him, but he has a good attitude about it. I'm trying to be a good future wife and cook for him and help relieve stress whenever I can. I come and do homework at his store whenever I can because at this point we have to make time to see each other. We are both ready for May to be here. I must go to bed soon because 4 am soon calls! Til next time. :)

Honeymoon Booked!

Mark here! I'm sure Olivia will be posting all the details later today, but we booked our honeymoon to NYC! The original plan was Italy but plane tickets are already on the rise and we have a budget. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Updates and Thoughts

Hi to anyone who is reading our lovely blog! :) A few little things to update anyone who is interested in our wedding planning progress. Both of our wedding bands are sized and ready to live on our fingers. I had a hard time taking mine off at the jewelry store and now my engagement ring is lonely. :( This was our first week of school and apart from it being tiring, I think it will make us both more productive. It seems like the more things you have to do (like waking up at 4am and not getting home til 10) makes you get a lot more done.

We are scheduling a time to meet with our wedding officiator/pastor next week. We both hope that he will provide us with marriage counseling because he is one of the wisest men I know. Another bridesmaid got her dress last night. That means 3 down, assuming Kacie ordered her dress. :) Our charity:water shower is in the works for February and we are both really excited to donate our monetary gifts to the cause. I honestly can't imagine what it's even like to have to worry about not having water or getting raped or attacked carrying a huge jug of water miles upon miles to my family. This brings me to a small but saddening point. Starbucks has joined with many other wonderful businesses who are taking donations for the Haiti relief fund. Although we have had many customers joyfully give their money, I must say how disheartened I have been with the majority of peoples' refusals to pay. One man angrily told me that he has 6 kids and people like Bill Gates need to help out. My immediate thought, though I unfortunately couldn't say it to him, was that if he and his family are that short of money, why is he at Starbucks spending unnecessary money on such a luxury like coffee. Another man when asked for a donation replied with 'That's ok I'm good.' Of course you aren't the one lying in the middle of the street with debri and fallen parts of buildings lying on top of you and your cut off limbs.

Sorry about the sidetrack. All week the baristas have been dealing with customers grumpily refusing to donate $1 to the fund, yet they spend $4 on coffee 1-2 times a day. Americans simply must get their priorities in check, and if an awful situation like Haiti won't do it, there is nothing stopping God from causing a similar disaster here in America.

I must say that though it is very easy to angry and annoyed with these people, I used to be one of them. My thoughts were on my life primarily, not globally as they should have been. That is where meeting Mark has increasingly enlightened and opened my eyes and heart to what is going on in the world. I've never seen anyone care as much for people who are hurting, suppressed, etc. as Mark does. Though I probably don't tell him this enough, I really do want to have a heart like his one day. Unfortunately my little heart hurts for stray animals I see on the sidewalk instead. When it got really cold here in Memphis I was worried that all the stray animals and homeless people would freeze to death. Thankfully Mark is helping line up my own priorities and open my eyes to see this vast array of people who are terribly hurting that I never really cared about until now. It's true that you want to marry your best friend, which I can %100 say that I am doing, but I am also blessed enough to marry someone who exhibits the love of Christ so apparently that I can't help but want to emulate it. So yes, I know I have rambled on and on...and not really even about wedding stuff. I promise the next post won't be as long. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Come Meet Mark's Career!

Mark and Olivia here! We wanted to invite all of you guys to Mark's next advocacy/fundraising event on February 20th. You can come get a glimpse of what Mark's career is focusing on and meet him as well if you haven't met him yet. Details here:

Let us know if you can come. All the money raised goes to charity:water too!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wedding Bands and 1 Month

Hello all! Today marks an official month that Mark and I have been engaged. :) Yesterday we were both talking and were amazed at how smoothly and stress-free things have been thus far. We're also really glad that the majority of our wedding is planned already. Apart from a few things, such as booking the honeymoon and finding a good caterer (Jims Place East, you have my permission to read this and volunteer your services for free anytime you would like :)), we are pretty much through.

We went to get our wedding bands yesterday afternoon. I am not sure which was better, picking out our wedding bands together or having my engagement ring cleaned! It looks so much more sparkly now! I feel bad because it gets dirty so easily while I'm at work. :(

School has already begun and it is going to be a hard semester for both of us. Mark is taking 9 hours while still managing his store, and I am in my final semester before I graduate and just want it all done and over with. We would appreciate any prayers of endurance and simply energy to work, do school, and finish wedding planning. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Quick Thank You...

Mark here!

It's late and I'm working on Operation Broken Silence stuff. Olivia is asleep at her current home with the soon-to-be my cat as well, Cinnamon. I'm still convinced Cinnamon has it in for me, hopefully not though...

Just wanted to throw out a quick thank you to Olivia's parents for helping us out so much with our wedding planning! Olivia's rocking mom has been especially great at being there when we need her advice and help. For me personally, it's great to know I am going to have two amazing in-laws!

Back to work as my bed calls me...

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Mark and Olivia here. As school will be starting next Thursday, Mark and I wanted to get as much wedding planning done as we could. We originally wanted our venue to be at our friend Eric's house, but expenses and weather backups got to us and sent us to the lovely Carahills II in Gallaway, TN. We now have our location set and we both feel a lot less stressed. :)

Before school begins, next week includes our cake testing appointment (which I am stoked about, but Mark couldn't care less because he doesn't like cake...weird I know) and meeting with our florist, a friend of Mark's. I'm really excited about trying all of the yummy cake samples. :) Picking out pretty yellow flowers is coming into a close second too though. The next stop for us is finding a good caterer for the wedding and finalizing the guest list.

We are both so ready for these almost four months to fly by so we can be married. :) Although the engagement time is definitely fun and I'm sure is just going to get better and better, the light at the end of the tunnel is saying that 'I do.' We are excited about our first wedding showers as well, though I don't know how many poor Mark gets to go to (it's sad how much grooms are overlooked). Til the next post! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wedding Location!

Here's a few pictures of where we are getting married! It's at the beautiful Carahills in Gallaway, TN: