Monday, August 27, 2012

Beach Vacation

The night of Thursday, June 21 (do we really need to talk about how behind I am again?), Boyfriend and I drove to St. Louis. Bright and early the next morning, we packed up, picked up Boyfriend's sister, and hit the road for Louisville, Kentucky. Why? Because Boyfriend's dad was getting married!

The five(ish) hour ride was pretty status quo, and we arrived in Louisville in the early afternoon. I was promptly introduced to most of Boyfriend's extended family, including his sweet grandparents, and then we left the group to go get ready for the wedding.

The wedding took place at the Peterson-Dumesnil House, which is a beautiful, historical estate in Louisville. When we got to the venue, Boyfriend ran around helping his dad and setting up music for the ceremony, and I mingled with some of Boyfriend's cousins, who are all girls around my age. It was so nice to finally meet them and get to know them a little bit!

The ceremony was short and heartfelt, and the reception--which took place on the large, Southern-style wrap-around porch--was complete with a delicious dinner, music, touching toasts, and great conversation. I really enjoyed mingling with Boyfriend's family and celebrating his dad and new stepmom's marriage. I was even included in some family photos!
On Saturday morning, everyone met for breakfast before heading their separate ways to head back home. We (Boyfriend, Boyfriend's sister, Boyfriend's dad, Boyfriend's stepmom, her two daughters, one of their friends, and myself), on the other hand, all loaded up the cars and hit the road for Destin! I had never been on a true beach vacation before, and my family isn't the best at relaxing on our vacations, so I was extremely excited to soak up the sun on the beach for a few days! The 10-ish hour drive went pretty smoothly for our car (except for the fact that we were inexplicably flashed the finger by several drivers throughout Alabama...which ended up being a pretty funny story to tell later on).
We arrived in Destin that night, explored our big beautiful beach house, and went to bed soon after. The next morning, we woke up to rain and winds from tropical storm Debbie--and what a Debbie Downer she was. We spent the first day waiting out the rain and relaxing around the house. It was still rainy the next day, but I was dying to see the beach, so Boyfriend and I went for a walk by the water. I was surprised at how many people were enjoying the view despite the weather! That night, everyone went out for a delicious sushi dinner.
The next day was hot, sunny, and the perfect day to lay out on the beach, so that's exactly what we did! We walked about a mile from our house to the beach and then another mile or so to the state park where we set up camp. It was pretty much a private beach! I spent some time in the water with Boyfriend, and I soaked up the sun on the sand for a little while. I was in absolute heaven! That night, Boyfriend and I cooked dinner for everyone. After dinner, we all went to a cheesy souvenir shop for neon Destin t-shirts, and then we went out for ice cream.
On Wednesday morning, Boyfriend, Boyfriend's sister, Boyfriend's dad and stepmom, and I went out to breakfast at Another Broken Egg in Baytowne Wharf. Breakfast was delicious, and I enjoyed walking around the little village and checking out all of the cute shops. After breakfast, all of us girls went shopping at a nearby outlet mall, and then it was back to the beach to enjoy another sunny day! This time, everyone went, and we all had a blast in the water and laying out. We went out for a fancy seafood dinner that night at 790 on the Gulf. Our table was facing the beach and we had a beautiful view of the surf at sunset.
The next morning, we all got up early to go parasailing! Parasailing has been on my bucket list for a long time, so I was so excited to go. When it was Boyfriend's and my turn to go up, I was a little nervous, but it ended up being a blast. I couldn't believe how high up we were and how blue the water below us was. We even saw a shark while we were up in the air! I, of course, was freaking out, but Boyfriend thought it was awesome. I absolutely loved it! After parasailing, it was time for me to pack up and say goodbye to everyone. The family was staying in Destin until Saturday, but I had to leave on Thursday to fly to Dallas so I could leave on my family vacation the next day (more to come soon). I was sad to leave the beautiful beach, but I thanked Boyfriend's family for including me in their celebration and family vacation, said goodbye to Boyfriend, and caught my flight to Dallas!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Check

In the past few months, I've been able to check a few things off of my bucket list(s).

From my 23 Before 23 list:
From my bucket list:
Stay tuned for posts about a few of these accomplishments. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Boyfriend's 23rd Birthday

I've fallen so far behind on this little blog of mine. Boyfriend and I have been getting over colds/sinus infections and nasty coughs and, let's face it, life is just busy sometimes. A post about what we've been up to is coming soon!

In the meantime, I'd like to post about Boyfriend's 23rd birthday, which was about three weeks ago. If you know me at all, you know that birthdays are a big deal, and because this birthday was the first in a long time that didn't involve a ride on an airplane, I wanted to make it special. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Boyfriend doesn't care as much about birthdays as I do, so I had a hard time getting him to tell me what he wanted to do for his big day. Determined to make it special, I enlisted the help of some of our friends.

On Friday night--the night before his birthday--I took Boyfriend to one of our favorite sushi restaurants for a celebratory dinner. As usual, it was delicious, and we had a great time talking and eating. It's always fun to get dressed up and go out on a date! We were even able to catch moments of the Olympic opening ceremony during dinner.
By chance, a few of Boyfriend's close friends were coming into town that weekend, and I convinced a few others to make the two-hour drive, so we took advantage of everyone being in the same place and had a day-long celebration. On Saturday morning--Boyfriend's actual birthday--we woke up early and went to our friends Harrison and Alex's house for breakfast.

After a leisurely breakfast of pancakes, french toast, and bacon, we headed to the shooting range just outside of town for a little manly fun. The guys had a blast shooting all of the different guns, and I think they got a kick out of showing all of the girls how to shoot. I had shot a gun before, but it had been a while, so I was a little nervous. I even tried skeet shooting! I wasn't that great at it, but I'm glad I tried it. I definitely enjoyed shooting the smaller handheld guns more, though. Boyfriend was pretty much a pro at skeet shooting, and he had a great time at the range with all of his buddies!
Photo by Harrison Smith
Photo by Harrison Smith
After shooting, we all went back to Harrison and Alex's house to eat and hang out. There was a ton of food--burgers, brats, salad, chips and dip, beer...the works. It was so great to spend time with our friends. Boyfriend kept saying that he didn't want the focus of the day to be his birthday, but I'm so glad he let me throw this "party" for him. We had an absolute blast, and I'm pretty sure that all of our friends did, too.
The only picture we managed to get together
We ended up hanging out until about 10pm. We were all exhausted from being out in the heat all day and eating so much, but there was one more thing we still had to do: cut the cake! After we finished watching The Dark Knight, Boyfriend cut his Batman birthday cake. Pretty appropriate, huh? :)
Happy birthday, Babe! I can't wait to help you celebrate a million more!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Introducing Shabby Apple!

I'm thrilled to announce that What's On My Mind... has a new sponsor: the one and only Shabby Apple! I've been a fan of Shabby Apple's chic, vintage-inspired, stylish-meets-comfortable clothing for quite some time, and I'm confident that you'll fall in love with it, too!

To get an idea of what Shabby Apple is all about, check out a few of my current favorites!

Bellissima
Black Oak
Macaw Earrings
Elizabeth Islands

Shabby Apple is currently running its summer sale, so check it out to get beautiful clothing at a great price! Also, be sure to check out the new Shabby Apple ad on the right sidebar of this page. I'll be changing it out as the seasons and deals change, so check back frequently. Happy shopping!

Dresses from Shabby Apple


Monday, August 6, 2012

Recent Writing and Recipes

Recent Writing:

10 money management tips for the recent grad

Why it’s Important to Hire the Right Employees in a Young Company

What is a Contractor’s Bond?

With surety bonds, insurance administrators in Idaho can file unaudited financial reports

What you need to know about the Security in Bonding Act of 2012

New surety bond requirement for private business and vocational schools in Illinois

SBA to streamline Surety Bond Guarantee application process for contractors

Recent Recipes:

Sautéed Tilapia with White Wine & Lemon Sauce (I didn't bread the fish, I used olive oil and lemon juice instead of Meyers Lemon Olive Oil, and I added mushrooms to the sauce.)
Edible Cookie Dough (No, I'm NOT preggo, I just wanted something yummy and sweet that wouldn't make me sick. I left out the salt from this recipe).

Yogurt-covered Blueberries (I used non-fat vanilla yogurt for this refreshing and healthy snack to munch on at work. I used a spoon instead of a toothpick to dip the blueberries. It was pretty easy, just be careful about shaking off the excess yogurt before you plop a blueberry onto the cookie sheet. A word of warning: keep these in the freezer until you're ready to eat them. Don't be surprised if they start melting once they've been out of the freezer for a few minutes. Best thing to do is eat a few, pop them back in the freezer for a little bit, and then eat a few more. It's good for portion control, too!)
Baked Ziti (I more or less used this recipe, estimating and slightly altering where appropriate. I added spinach and chopped mushrooms to give us some veggies, and I used regular red sauce since that's what I had in the house. I also covered the entire dish with shredded mozzarella before putting it in the oven, which is always a good choice. If you make this recipe, make enough to have leftovers. It tastes better the second day, and we had enough leftovers for several lunches.)
I'll post my enchilada recipe soon!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

If you knew me...

...you'd know I'm basically blind without my contacts or glasses.
...you'd know I wish I was a skilled photographer.
...you'd know I sometimes feel years older than my friends.
...you'd know I'm perfectly content with my life as it is right at this moment.
...you'd know I want a dog to join our little family really soon.
...you'd know I try my best in the kitchen and am genuinely thrilled when things work out.
...you'd know my family is incredibly important to me, more important than I let on most of the time.
...you'd know I feel lucky to have the experience and the job I have. As a recent graduate in a pretty bad economy, it's not something I take for granted.
...you'd know forehead kisses can instantly brighten my day.
...you'd know how embarassed I am that I haven't blogged about my trips to Israel, Destin, and China.
...you'd know I love giving surprises--small or large. The reactions are my favorite part.
....you'd know I love to take naps and sleep in, but I never want to waste my weekends.
...you'd know I'm concerned that I come off as a snob to others.
...you'd know I want to travel the world. I can't think of a place I wouldn't go if ever given the opportunity.
...you'd know being healthy is important to me, but I often lack motivation to take better care of myself.
...you'd know I wish I was craftier. I have boards and boards of crafts and DIY projects on Pinterest that will never be attempted.
...you'd know I'm thankful for the experience of transferring schools and spending those two years at home. I learned a lot about myself.
...you'd know I'm afraid of getting older.
...you'd know birthdays are a big deal.
...you'd know I wish singing was still a part of my everyday life.
...you'd know I know how incredibly lucky I am to be in a relationship with my best friend. It's not something--and he's not someone--I ever want to take for granted.
...you'd know I'm always up for a social event.
...you'd know I'm a planner and that, sometimes, I have a hard time going with the flow.
...you'd know I'm still learning how to be financially independent. It's a process.
...you'd know eating out and chocolate peanut butter ice cream are my weaknesses.
...you'd know I sweat the small stuff.
...you'd know that even though I've had the opportunity to see the world, I'm not jaded or "used" to traveling to far-away places. On every trip I take, I still look around and think, "I can't believe I'm here."
...you'd know I have little tolerance for stupidity.
...you'd know I love getting feedback on my writing. It's the best feeling to know that people read--and like--something that I put a lot of time and thought into.
...you'd know I believe things happen for a reason.
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