Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Things

I love it when people surprise me.

It's the little things in life that just get you sometimes, and my sweet friend Leah came into work today with a little gift. You see, Leah is a lover of music and is helping me become cool with every song recommendation that she throws my way. I asked her for a few suggestions and she delivered in abundance with a list of "must listen" artists and two personalized CDs.

Man, what a Friday treat.

And just because you stopped by, I'll give you a treat in the form of Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal (aka, my parent's dogs).

It's no secret that I love these two, so please get hyped for Friday and enjoy...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Ramblings

If it's going to be cold, might as well have a cute jacket to sport around - am I right?

I just love these stylish little duds from Smythe:

In other (completely unrelated) news, I joined a co-ed kickball team! This isn't completely random, seeing as how I was on a co-ed softball team with the same group of guys this past Summer. However, last night was our first game and from the looks of things, I think it's going to be a lot more social. First of all, you lose ALL ability to look athletic when you are getting pegged from behind with a big rubber ball. Also, have you ever tried to throw a kickball? It's absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, we didn't walk away with a kickball victory last night (9-8) but I'd like to think that it was just our learning curve. Stay tuned for more tales from the field and hopefully a few pics!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Razzle Dazzle

Here are a few things that I've come across and can't help but love. Per usual, there are a few design inspirations thrown in for good measure.

A little bird bowl! This ranks low on the practicality scale because I can't imagine running this through the dishwasher, but still - love it.

Where on earth do you wear a dress like this? I think the first thing that comes to mind is New Year's Eve, which is inconvenient since I've already sworn off NYE festivities for next year. Where there's a will, there's a way. Don't be surprised if you see me prancing around Albertson's in this little number.

Lastly, anyone else (besides Bailey and Me) a Belieber?

Happy weekend, buddies. I'm sure to soak up some of this Texas sun and hit up a tennis court or two. Doesn't it feel like Monday is so close already? Just kidding.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Praying for Haiti

The act of suffering in this world is one that confuses many people. I have to tell you, in reading the recent events in Haiti, I can't help but wonder - why does this have to happen? Not only does this country not have the ability to help themselves, but the odds that are stacked up against them in their efforts for prosperity are seemingly too great. The problem here is that many look to these tragic world events and try to seek justice and love out of them. It’s hard to sit back and know that the loving and compassionate God that I know and defend is looked at as evil and unfair, and yet, I can’t make sense of it either.

So what can I offer?

The cross.

I can’t defend much about the ugliness of this world, because the truth is, if I pay too much attention – it overwhelms me. The sadness that certain events bring to my life sometimes outweigh the good and instead of attacking it with the Gospel, I oftentimes just ignore it. I’m really ashamed to admit this because Lord knows that they’re so much work to be done that it simply can’t be overlooked. Tim Keller gives perspective to the ultimate sacrifice in Christ’s death as not only the great act of suffering, but the greatest. Keller explains that, “the death of Jesus was qualitatively different from any other death. The physical pain was nothing compared to the spiritual experience of cosmic abandonment. Christianity alone among the world religions claims that God became uniquely and fully human in Jesus Christ and therefore knows firsthand despair, rejection, loneliness, poverty, bereavement, torture and imprisonment.” Out of all of those desperately suffering emotions, I am fortunate enough to have barely skimmed the surface of a few of those. The idea behind Christ’s fulfillment on the cross is that he would rescue us from the sin of this world that would absolutely crush us. The question is now whether it would end us, it is how.

The argument that beauty comes from pain is an ideology that is proven through the ages; great suffering oftentimes comes with even greater return. Some of the most prominent biblical figures walked through the depths of pain and suffering to not only glorify and praise God, but to devote their lives to him in a way that would choose emotional and physical pain over worldly happiness. However, not all suffering is completely justified. Many have experienced “senseless” deaths and acts of injustice that simply have no explanation. But the truth is, people experience these terrible conditions and use them for roles of reform and social justice. Without the depths of despair experienced in these life sufferings, we might never know the richness of grace and forgiveness. The Lord is able to provide hope to those of us because He endured it as well. The suffering of this world is not an empty act of an unjust God, and for those of us that believe this should use it to offer but an ounce of grace that has been poured over us by a loving One.

Please visit Compassion International for ways in which to donate to families in need.

"God whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to a deaf world." ~ C.S. Lewis

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lovin' From the Oven

Didn't you know? Sunday nights were made for dinner parties.

Last night's menu:

-homemade ribs
-roasted potatoes
-sauteed green beans
-chocolate cake with coffee ice cream

Our oven in over-drive

Potato prep

Cheese diversity

Friday, January 8, 2010

Good Fortune

Nothing beats a little good fortune for the new year. Here is what I received in today's cookie. I have absolutely no qualms with this outlook -

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Little Squirts

Here we are on "vacation" riding the trolley in Zilker Park. By the looks of things (check out Mom and Nana in the background - sweet hair, gals!) the timing of this picture can most accurately be dated back to the early 90s. Little Taylor looks about 3 or 4 and the random man that is almost out of the frame is wearing a pair of shorts that would make George Michael completely jealous.

My family would go to Austin every Summer for a long weekend getaway to one of our favorite Texas destinations. I have sweet memories of going to the University co-op and buying the newest and best little Texas gear (read: tiny wind shorts with UT on the tail) and taking hundreds of pictures of us giving the "Hook 'Em" sign. It wasn't until my early teens when my family moved to the Austin area that I realized what a love I have for all things Austin...including the Horns. Game day has practically been a holiday in our household and quite frankly, there is no other team that I'd love to cheer for than the favored team of my childhood. Well, except the Aggies, of course :)

Hook 'Em Horns!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Romance, Love, and Yada, Yada, Yada

So this past weekend my friends and I traveled to the Texas Hill Country for what was sure to be a cute, lil, cowboy wedding. A few of us stayed in a local Bed & Breakfast, home to Lisa and Claude, two of the most attentive and nicest people around. We laughed at the thought of sheer terror that must have raced across their mind as 5 very chatty 20-something girls walked into their home with hanging clothes and rolling luggage for a short weekend getaway. If anything, we were mere educators to Claude...

“Claude, meet High Maintenance.”
Claude: “Nice to meet you, Ms. Maintenance.”

Anyway, the weekend was an adventure in babysitting as we all leaned on each other for moral support. When one person would start dragging from fatigue, there we would be with pretzels dipped in peanut butter, hardened bread soaked in oil, or a Dairy Queen blizzard with extra cookie dough bits for recovery – lifelines for a female weekend. Bailey and I joked as we honeymooned in the “American Beauty” room on the second floor of the B&B that we felt like teenagers in this strange house. I say strange, only because this was my first glimpse into non-hotel traveling. While going through our introductory tour I couldn’t help but ask Lisa about the house rules in regard to curfew...that’s right, I stared this grown woman in the face and asked her “if there curfew?” Not one of my finer (or brighter) moments, but I was quick to say that I just could NOT get comfortable in this Jumanji house. It felt like everywhere I turned there was a doily here, an afghan there, like I had just stepped into a sweet old lady’s home for the weekend. Anyway, they couldn’t have been more hospitable with their freshly brewed coffee, homemade chocolate chip cookies and decanter of local wine – all of which, quickly put me to ease. While a few of us stayed in the Jumanji house, the rest of the girls stayed in the La Quinta.

The fleet of Tahoe's that got us to-and-fro blazed the trail between the two of our stays throughout the weekend. Personally, I feel that some of our finer moments happened in those cars. Lest we forget jamming out to “Check Yes or No” while coming back from our chicken fried steak dinner on Friday night, singing the Glee soundtrack in its almost entirety on the way to the ceremony or, better yet, jamming out to Mariah Carey in line for DQ Blizzards post-ceremony. Really, the behind the scene moments are always what makes these short little weekend getaways worthwhile.

Love, nuptials, and a lifetime commitment aside, we’re the gals that keep things light. Leave it to us to be the first ones in line for the pork tenderloin buffet or the date-less attendees that have no shame in swinging a few 8th graders around the bluegrass dance floor, because in all of the weddings that we’ve attended together we’ve held to the same mantra – if you attend, attend with gusto. We gave our love to the happy couple and watched them glide across the dance floor like two love-drunk puppies. In an effort to get the perfect first dance shot I managed to get about 10 sequential photos of the back of their heads. There the sweet shot would be, I’d snap the camera and...boom, terrible angle. I finally gave up and settled for an across-the-dance floor Chi O pose with Bailey, only to realize that we were backwards and instead of switching hand gestures, we tried to switch places. I realize that this mental picture isn’t quite as funny not having been there, but the beauty of it did not lie in the fact that we’re not very smart, but more so in the fact that it was likely captured by the wedding videographer. The good news is that the anger that Katie and Nate will feel towards our goofing off during their special moment will be erased by the fact that we’re semi-idiots.

The weekend ended with us wearily recapping our experiences, turning the heat up to a toasty 73 degrees before bed and bidding farewell to the Jumanji B&B. The next morning, we were all on the same page of breakfast tacos and a quick return to the big City as we blazed Northbound I-35. Nothing beats home after a fun-filled weekend, but then again, nothing beats a good wedding story.

My first dance photography attempts:

A small glimpse into who we are*:

*Thank you to the unnamed boyfriend for all of the "candid" shots. Ahem, you know who you are...