Archive for March, 2011

March 28, 2011

food + groceries + money

We’re the newlywed couple that’s on a budget, our income is small but it’s really unbelievable how we always have just enough. But I’m not here to talk money, no, no! I’m here to talk about how we get fancy with our meals and make that extra buck stretch.

My husband’s a foodie and I’m just extremely picky. We both love The Food Network and really, all cooking shows. William grew up cooking, the men cooked in the home and that’s where his love of food developed. I grew up in a home where my mother tried really hard to teach me to cook, took her time in showing me but I was too stupid to pay attention so I missed out on it all. I’m not kicking myself in the head or anything (I’ve already done that) but I am just now picking up on how to use the kitchen and use it good.

When we grocery shop we try to buy in bulk what we eat the most (like rice and beans), we buy fruits that are in season because they’re the cheapest and we aren’t compromising our food values or the taste, then we try to use coupons and buy the “specials” next.

Lunches are usually the same for us, so buy what we need at the beginning of the week and usually it lasts us two. Dinners are where we need to get creative. Last night was so yummy, I just had to share. We had Mahi Taco’s with rice and black beans. How did we do it? Simple. We checked our freezer and saw that we had leftover Mahi Mahi burgers from a few weeks back. William decided to chop them up so we could have fish tacos. I made the rice and we cooked a single can of black beans, and voila! A gourmet meal in minutes. With all the right seasonings, we had a really good meal without spending a dime.

All of this seems really silly to be sharing but learning how to buy the right groceries with as little money as possible has been really hard. Even when we had extra cash we’d rather stick to what we do because it seems to work for us. Sometimes we get crazy and go out to our local faves but you know, we save that for when we really need it.

Hope this helps some of you soon-to-be’s and newlyweds! And all you seasoned couples, send all your tips & tricks my way.


Source: 1

March 27, 2011

style crush

I’ve got a serious girl crush
…and I must share.

If you’ve yet to hear about The Man Repeller, you’re missing out on someone/something as hilarious as she/it is chic. I never know if I’ll be left cringing what I read/see or if I’ll be left drooling over what she wears. She’s my newest inspiration and feeds my sarcastic humor. Beware, her blog is not for everyone. Her crude jokes can make some uncomfortable but give her a chance and soon you’ll use “Man Repeller” lingo for everything, even while talking to your husband, in which case you are “Husband-Repelling”, my term of course.

All pictures taken from TMR's blog.
March 27, 2011

murder mystery + date night

Date nights.

We relax and hang out alone, recollect our thoughts of all that’s happened during the week, just spending time with the one we love. This was probably the busiest week I’ve had in a long time that I hadn’t even realized we hadn’t spent a single night alone. My nights out with William are precious to me. While giving all of his attention to me it’s effortless for him, he’s naturally a gentleman.

This week I spent the majority of my time sewing little monsters, in and out of dinner’s with friends and a Murder Mystery Party set in a 1920’s Speakeasy. You know, the us(ual). I dressed as a fortune teller, everything I wore is my normal close which made things super easy. William was a paranoid man who thought aliens/government were getting into his brain. F.U.N.


*All party photos by William Jonathan Photography.

March 20, 2011

spiritual relationships

Today was such a lazy Sunday and a beautiful first official day of Spring. After church we grilled Mahi with our friends John & Holly, then lounged in their backyard enjoying the pretty weather. We came home and napped for what seemed like forever, then had a small dinner & spent the rest of the night creating.

I’m working on making stationary, hand-crafting different things that I will eventually put up to sell. William painted a panda he’s been working on for quite some time now and that leads me to what the message at church was all about today.

A rough sum: “Spiritual Relationships”

We talked about how important it is for us to engage in friendships and what it means when your relationships lead to romance. The feeling of loneliness is not a result of original sin, but rather we were made for relationship. When we get married, we aren’t asked to “die to ourselves,” we are called to help each other “become better than we were,” and “fulfill desires together” while “empowering who we are.” We are to become POWERFUL and DYNAMIC.

I freakin’ love that.

Granted. Marriage is hard and I am not saying that it’s easy, no way no how. We are currently in a place where we must adjust drastically. I no longer live by myself, I have a roommate. He’s male. He leaves his clothes wherever it lands. He loves meat and action movies. He hogs the bed. Oh yeah, and we have the same bank account now.

The good news…

William and I never have to compromise but instead celebrate who we are as individuals, we have the opportunity to grow together, encourage one another to continue fighting for what we believe, to motivate one another to keep reaching our goals and together pursue Jesus Christ with freshness. 

“Jesus’ most intimate moments happened with friends.”
My most intimate moments will happen with William.
We are on the journey of life together & will experience adversity head-on
but we’ll also experience Jesus head-on together, and to me,
nothing could ever beat that.



footnote: all quotations are from the message at River City today.
March 19, 2011

beachin’ it

First Jax Beach trip of the year, for me, ever.
Probably the biggest beach I’ve ever been to, the weather was suh-weeet.
Audra & I chilled on the blanket (you know, the snap snuggie one)
while the boys played some Bocci…with an apple.

Lemme explain.

You see, for our awesome picnic-style wedding we had games.
Bocci was one of ’em, and apparently the little kids who got their dirtylil hands
on our vintage croquet set (which has been broken) also got their hands
on the Bocci set, so we lost the yellow ball. Not to worry. They improvised.
Using an APPLE.

It also happened to be The Great Atlantic Seafood & Music Festival.
Tons of tents selling crab/lobster/shrimp in every way imaginable. It looked so tasty.
We didn’t have any, instead we came home and made our own
stir-fried rice w/shrimp. Budget friendly & super satisfying. I married a chef y’all!

Fun times ahead for us this year.
& I’m so glad you get to come along!

March 19, 2011


Double-date night that briefly turned into triple-date night. Audra, Chris, Melissa & Kevin are some pretty rad folks to hang out with! We went to Moon River Pizza (where we had our rehearsal dinner) and chowed down on some yummy foods. William ordered 3 slices of White Pizza and the kitchen was placing bets on if he could finish it all…needless the say, William won.

We had some Yobe for dessert, then stumbled upon an art show where Chris’s tattoo artist’s wife just so happened to be displaying her work. It was the freshest artwork I’ve seen in awhile, I couldn’t snap any photos of her work but it was beautiful. She drew the outlines of horses and placed geometric shapes in and throughout them, mixing media of neon colors and gold.

I found a corner of original Dr. Seuss works. Of course, William wanted them all. They were pretty brilliant.


Gluten-free friends, if you live in Jacksonville you can take GF pizza dough to Moon River and they’ll cook your pizza on it. It cannot be 100% free of cross-contamination, so if you’re highly allergic don’t do so. I’m sure a lot of local places would probably do this if you just asked!



March 18, 2011

st. patty’s day

Before I get into our first St. Patrick’s Day together, let me introduce to you the ORIGINAL snuggie…



{ahem, excuse the mess}

Complete with snaps to adjust any body type and a sick navajo print. Thrifted – $1! William gives the best presents, he’s the most successful thrift-er I know. Never finding things for himself, always finding them for moi.

Whenever anything is considered a holiday or slightly one, I L.O.V.E. to celebrate it. So naturally, when William came home I asked him what we were doing for St. Patrick’s Day & he said whatever you want, I pronounced that whatever we do we must get green drinks! He laughed and took me on a date. I sadly don’t own a single green shirt, so I opted for a green feather earring and my irish booties.

First stop was Moe’s, which won over Chipotle for us last night because we had that strong craving for heavily processed queso to dip our chips in. We split a meal for $6.41, #WINNING!

Then we stopped by a huge Irish festival in 5 Points held by O’Brothers. It wasn’t quite our scene, a bunch of people decked out in crazy green gear already drunk at 7pm…we opted out and headed over to Kickback’s Gastropub. Where we ran into several people, had our green drinks and made it home and in bed before 10pm.


POSTSCRIPT: My friend Eshy from Sweet Slice of the Foubister Life suggests adding my snuggie to the next 30×30. For the record, the second I put it on we thought the same thing. It’s so chic, completely versatile and hey, I can unsnap that baby and have a picnic on it in an instant!

March 15, 2011

my tuesday.

I am on my way to becoming a homemaker, seeing as I have at least a few more years before we start a family, I’m well on my way to mastering the art of cooking/baking/sewing. Tonight I made Sweet Potato and Carrot Curried Lentils via Daily Garnish and I’ll just say this…William had TWO servings. I know, I’m patting myself on the back for this one.

With the extreme flexibility of my job, I sit and plan things all day. My friend Holly is pregnant and I’m planning a “Welcome to the World” party for her baby when she’s born. It’s a brunch and I couldn’t be more excited, she’s due in May so not too far away. It’s also giving me the best excuse to walk around the little girl section in Target and browse The Baby Blackbird daily! Look at these baby leggings, my mouth dropped at their site:

{Mommas, buy ’em here! Buy ’em NOW!!}


Okay, so how did this post turn into talking about babies? NEXT SUBJECT!!

Two more things. 1.) Do yourself a favor and check out this BICYCLE WEDDING that’ll make you drool. 2.) The best part of today, or tonight rather, is Taylor is coming to town!! She’s actually 20 minutes away & I can’t wait to smother her with a hugs and love. It’s a school night, but we don’t care! This woman is worth the lack of sleep!

Goodnight, friends!


March 14, 2011

add life to your days, not days to your life.

Bagels. My love affair with them was long lived, always eating them at both opportune and inopportune times. In the mornings, toasted with light cream cheese. As a sandwich with fresh mozzarella and tomato. Or perhaps even a late night snack, just plain.

Then, the worst possible thing that could happen to a Lover of All Bagels (which would be me, in case you aren’t following), I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Meaning I couldn’t (and still cannot) eat anything with gluten in it, so basically everything. Including but no limited to: BAGELS, bread, cereal, pasta, fried rice from cheap asian take-out, crackers, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, cannolis, empanadas, quesadillas, even ice cream. I quickly discovered alternatives for the things I could not live with out but sadly, GF bagel hunting has deemed a failure. None of them taste the same, a bagel made from rice/corn flour is not the same as a bagel made from wheat.

Ah, food. So simple but so effing complicated.

Now that you legitimately feel sorry for me (and if you don’t, you totally should!) let me give you some other struggles I’ve had with FOOD. As previously mentioned, I read Eating Animals and watched Food Inc., they WRECKED MY LIFE. I already couldn’t eat normal stuff but now I cringe at the facts I’ve been given. The food industry is disgusting and the USDA is corrupt.

How simple is it the turn the packaging around and read the labels of foods? For me, it was novel! My mouth has dropped at the amounts of unnecessary ingredients found in them, also how horrible these ingredients are. Everything started linking in my head, perspective was placed in front of me and I changed my diet, again. I’m not a snob, I just care what people put into their bodies and am an advocate of it.

Hesitation now put aside, I openly admit to you all my antics with what I’ve been eating. But no fear, I eat greatly. As in great foods in great amounts. I’ve become aware of what I’m eating and don’t just take what I’ve been given. Which is so important because we all want to live long, beautiful and healthy lives. I also believe that no two men are alike, so we need to cater to what fits who we are and not simply do things because others are doing them.

It’s incredible the way people are offended when someone says “I don’t eat meat” or “I’m a vegan.” Always keep in mind, that person isn’t saying that to make you feel bad and it’s also not an open invitation to criticize their eating habits. Appreciate their honesty, applaud it even. But let’s not be concerned with the labels and let’s just do what makes us feel best, encouraging one another to make smart decisions that affect every area of our lives. And focusing too much on something can create anxiety, so let’s not do that either.

If we eat right, it makes us happy. If we’re happy, we have good days or handle the bad days as best we can. We want to add life to our days, not days to our lives.


Footnote: I didn't make the title up, I don't know where it's from. Picture source.
March 14, 2011

wedding time!

The past fews day have been a blur, one of the best blurs that one could really have. Emily Shuman is now Emily Bajalia, friends and family got together to celebrate her and Mike and it was the sweetest wedding…SUPER romantic! The rehearsal dinner was at Maggiano’s, where everyone gave speeches and shed too many tears. The next day started with an early breakfast with the girls at Metro Diner where Brittany got a HUGE pancake bigger than her face.

Weddings nostalgia is so magical, you cry because one of the biggest days of a couple’s life is finally here. So much planning, huge amounts of anticipation! The romance that fills the air, all of it causing the bride and groom to feel like their floating through it all. So much love goes out to the new Mr. and Mrs. Bajalia!

Our course, witnessing two people sharing their own vows with each other brought me to tears and made me think of our own. I was reminiscent the entire time because the memories are still so fresh:) Marriage is THE MOST challenging thing I have ever done, it does not come easy. If I wasn’t so attracted to William in every way possible, this could never work. It takes commitment to work through new emotions but those new emotions are so amazing, you work out the kinks and it’s so much fun.

Happy four months to The Morgans!
Love you bunny.

No one laughs as much as William does when I quote the movie Martian Child, no one else saves all the lime green and yellow jelly beans only for me, no one else puts up with my extreme diet changes and willingly eats my weird cravings. He snuggles me in the mornings and when we fall asleep, he cooks the most delicious french toast and squeezes my hand in conversations to let me know he’s still with me. So much love comes out of this man and I give him so much in return.