Maria, Maria, she reminds me of a west side story.

Bad Decisions for the Right Reasons, that was my Thursday night.

Thursday night I had plans to go with my best friend, Indira, to watch her fiancĂ© DJ at the local Blue Note. After the last several months of life taking us both down twisty unforeseen paths, this would be our first night out together in far too long. 

I tried to hype myself up all day long for it. Not at all because I wasn't excited to spend the evening with my sister from another mister, but for the sheer fact that I was exhausted from the week I had just had. And a late night in a smokey bar is no longer our idea of a great night. Either one of us. Five years ago, yes, we were all over it. These days, we would both rather cuddle up on the couch in our sweats. 

Regardless of the lazy nights in we usually prefer, tonight was about supporting Avery so off we went. We said we'd only have a drink or two, and would leave by midnight. HA. 

As the night went on. We had a drink. Or two. And then another... We started to reminisce. OH did we reminisce! Before we knew it, the nostalgia had set in, in full force. 

We met when we were 20 years old, during the days when we were too young to be at a place like the Blue Note, but couldn't wait until the day that we could. 

One of my favorite pictures of us as Young Bucks, when it was cool to have 2-toned hair 
and apparently I thought it was appropriate to show off bra straps....

As the stories started rolling, so did the laughs. I haven't laughed like that in months....maybe longer. I don't think there was even a moment when we weren't grinning ear to ear. My jaw hurt, my belly hurt, and my soul felt revived. 

Its incredible what a night with a best friend can do for your soul. During a moment of intense belly-aching laughter, I looked across the table at what I know is one of the most constantly faithful, heartwarming people I know. We have the kind of friendship that doesn't come around too often. I can and have invested secrets in this woman I would never share with anyone else. I tell her things I am scared to even say out loud to myself. More than that, I can have nights like this with her and moments that I am quite sure I will remember for decades.

Leave around midnight, YEAH RIGHT. 

As the lights came on in the bar, and they started shuffling us out the door, we knew we had made some bad decisions...but for the right reasons. We both needed it, so badly. The intense laughter and bad decision making continued long into the night. Far. Too. Long. 

I say bad decisions because we are no longer 20, we had big girl jobs and responsibilities to take on the next day. I had to be up at 7 a.m. to go home and whip myself into shape for a small photo shoot and a 10 hour work day behind the chair.

After a couple hours of sleep, (something that wouldn't have phased us 5 years ago but seemed absolutely worthless now), I woke up and headed to work. Indira did the same. 

It was a painful day at work yesterday. I hurt, physically hurt....some from the poor decisions, some from the intense laughter and dancing. My body hurt, my soul did not. 

A long day of being miserable, was it worth the few hours and memorable moments of the night before?


And I would do it ten times over. Indie Marie(a), not sure what path I'd be on without you...but I know it would be less colorful, less imaginative, and my heart would have a missing puzzle piece. I know that I would miss you even if we had never met. 


Monday already?

I was a little excited but mostly blorft. 'Blorft' is an adjective I just made up that means 'Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.'    --Tina Fey

Monday, bloody Monday. I'm afraid I have started off my week on the wrong foot. "Blorft," if you will. There are few things I hate more than this feeling. I would even prefer sardines on my pizza or cat hair in my shower soap over being blorft.

Last week I spent hours on my Web Design homework, only for the site to crash, forcing me to start all over from a clean slate. Yesterday, I sat down to redo it, and completely underestimated the amount of time it would take. ALSO, i forgot that it was due at 8 pm. I finished at 9:30. Frick.

I volunteered to teach a color class for our two new stylists this morning. I also underestimated the amount of time color class + lunch + driving to school would take, and arrived at school just in the nick of time for the lab to be closing. The lab is where I need to be to finish the last 3 hours of video editing that needs be done by Wednesday. Double Frick. 

My first Spanish test is on Wednesday. I just took a pretest online to determine how I will do. Practically failed. Triple Frick.

Alright, that's enough with the fricks. 

Time to refocus, take a deep breath, and start over. 

I just wish I was one of those people that dealt with stress by kicking into overdrive. So. not. me. Much like Ms. Fey, the torpor of a possum could not be a better description. Except for maybe a sloth. Because sloths always look like they are smiling, its a creepy "you can't tell what I'm thinking smile," but a smile nonetheless. Yes, I think the lethargy of a sloth is a perfect description for my reaction to stress. I find whoever seems comforting nearest me, latch on, smile, and pretend like life's not happening.

I convince myself all that I need is a Steve Carrell movie, wine, my dog, and a mountain of carbohydrates to drown in. 

What I really need is a life coach and a deep breath, but I'll get to that when I decide I'm ready to actually do something about being stressed. For now, I'm just going to smile, pretend everything is fine, and continue on my way with the torpor of a possum. Sloth.



I just found out that this little ditty won me second place today in the Oklahoma broadcasting and film competition!
I am so proud of my pops and all his artwork, and so excited to place in this competition.


OH, please.

“For as long as you can remember, you have been a pleaser, depending on others to give you an identity. You need not look at that only in a negative way. You wanted to give your heart to others, and you did so quickly and easily. But now you are being asked to let go of all these self-made props and trust that God is enough for you. You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self.” –Henri Nouwen

This has always been one of my absolute favorite quotes. I come from a long line of pleasers and helpers. And, naturally have tried fighting it for most of my life. 

My mom is the utmost champion of pleasers. She was home with my sister and I for all of my life, and as any great mother does- she devoted herself to taking care of us. But once we were grown and flew the coop, she was left with herself and empty nest. Now what? I can remember her telling me once that she had spent so much time taking care of everyone else, that now it was her turn to get to know herself again. To become herself again.

As pleasers, it's so easy to wrap up our entire identity in those we love. It's the worst part of being a pleaser. Because what happens when the ones we have invested so much energy in let us down?
Or what happens when you realize that when all is said and done, it's just you. No one left to hide behind, and you have to reinvent your identity based on yourself and not someone else. 

I love the part of the quote where he says not to look at it negatively. To give your heart to others quickly and easily is as pure an action as it comes. I think the key is to not GIVE your heart away. 
You have to keep your heart for yourself, and share it with others at the same time.
It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't doing anyone any favors by giving them my entire self. When you give away your whole self, you leave no room for growth. How much better of a partner, daughter, and friend could I be if my heart belonged to me. 
How much stronger would my relationships be if i shared who my heart is, instead of giving it away entirely?


Winter Wonderland

I'm going to make this post short and sweet. Yesterday we got SNOW, and quite a bit of it! Massive flakes poured down from the sky for more than 6 hours.


Its no secret that I love snow, (and everything that comes with it-- boots, scarves, and smiling faces). 

On my list of things I adore:
1. Justin
2. Snow
3. Everything Else

So it's hard for me to believe that there is anyone else in this world who could love it more. Honestly, I wasn't sure if that was possible. UNTIL NOW.

Of course it would be the 5 year-old me in dog form that loves this white stuff more than I imagined possible. Stella, one of my furry children, couldn't get enough of it. 

I hope these pictures bring you as much joy as watching her in the snow brought me.


THEN, she discovered the wonder that is 


And my absolute favorite....

 Of course we can't leave out the little one. Although, she was not hardly as amused by the snow...

I just don't know what I would do without these furballs!
Happy Wednesday everyone :)


A Week in Retrospect

It has been a full week since I've blogged. Totally by accident. I feel like last week just washed over me. Honestly, I'm not even sure I can remember anything that happened in the last 7 days. But i shall try!!

P.s. I can't promise any of this will be in the correct order, but I'm quite sure that won't matter to any of you. At least it better not.

Last week I found that I will get to graduate from OCCC with my associates a semester early! Such an exciting feeling. My two advisors, (yes I have two, I simply could not decide between Journalism and PR, so my sweet advisors at the community college let me share them), sat down with me and my pages of transcripts and educational plans, highlighters, and worked some magic. A couple of course substitutions and black magic, and I get to graduate! Yay! Time to apply to Oklahoma City University and start my Bachelor's program in the Fall.

Let's see, what comes next.....

Tickets! OH YES, tickets! On September 6th and 7th I will be camping out in Guthrie and enjoying an incredible weekend of music with my ladies Abbie and Sara, our friend Jason, and my main squeeze Justin...along with a crowd of people who will include many of my other friends, and many people who I'm sure will become my friends. 

These are a few of the bands that will be providing us with quite possibly the most epic music experience to ever be invented. 

I'm sure there were other mention-worthy things that happened last week, but like i said, I can't remember. So I'm just gonna jump to the weekend.

Friday-Sunday I spent the weekend in Austin, celebrating the soon-to-be Mrs. Gruenwald. It was the typical bachelorette party weekend with all the important B's- Babes, Booze, and Beads (Mardigras weekend). EXCEPT, "typical" sounds like I'm taking the excitement out of it. Not at all the case. We had such a blast, and I got to spend time with all of my favorite Stillwater girls. 

Side Note: Austin's van cabs rock. None of them have center seat rows, just psychedelic rugs to sprawl out on. Yes please.

These girls all started out 6 years ago as Justin's friends. But as it always seems to happen, my friends have become his and, likewise, his have become mine. I love these girls. After everyone graduated from OSU, people moved away and went their separate ways as it usually happens post-college. But it seems at least twice a year someone from this group gets married, which inevitably means we will get together and celebrate with the B's. Love it. Soon we will run out of people to get married and we'll have to find some other reason to get together and celebrate. But until then, bring on the Bachelorettes!

So that's my week. And today starts a new one. I will try to be more "with it" this week so I won't have to reach back into my scattered brain to recap at the end. 

I wish you all a RAD Monday! 



While cleaning out my nightstand yesterday I found this sweet note. It was given to me several months ago before my wedding.

Be brave. 

Before I got married there was no shortage of advice coming my way. I got everything from "you should've done this sooner, your eggs are dying"...to "you're crazy to be getting married so young, back out while you still have the chance."
Of course these were the extremes. I also got so many bits of wisdom, coming from a place of love.

- "Never let the fun die."
- "Do everything together around the house, teamwork is key."
- "Always put each other first."
- "Life is hard, marriage is easy when you marry your best friend."
- "Its going to be harder than you think." (obviously the last two people weren't on the same page)

The list goes on and on... But the one that resonated with me the hardest was from Abbie and Sara. Be brave. Honestly, no one in my life has ever told me relationships require bravery. Why not? It seems most people are under the impression that when it comes to relationships, it should be comfortable.

The week before our wedding was our 5th anniversary. In honor of our last five years together I surprised Justin with a backyard full of little reminders of all of our anniversaries.

After dinner, we laid in the tent and wrote our wedding vows. As we were trying to come up with all the things we wanted to promise each other, we mulled through the LONG list of advice people had offered. BE BRAVE. We couldn't get it out of our heads. It became the theme of our promises. 

"I promise to share all my secrets with you."

"I promise to fight for our marriage when its the hardest."

What a novel idea it is to be brave in relationships. In marriages, friendships, families, how much better would they all be with a little courage? Courage to be honest when its prettier to tell a lie, courage to put your neck on the line when its safer to sit on the bench, courage to put your heart and soul into something even when it doesn't feel safe. How much more could you get out of a relationship when you push it to the next level by being brave? 

Sure, its nice to feel comfortable.

But I'm not interested in my relationships being "nice." I want something more, something real. I want to be brave.


MY Mr. Big

OH FRIDAY. Even though my last work day of the week is Saturday, Friday still feels happy. Maybe its a sense of accomplishment, my week is soon coming to an end. Maybe its just in the air. Whatever it is, Friday mornings are so special to me. 

I spent the first part of my morning with my sweet husband, eating breakfast, chatting over bowls of cereal, and sipping on fresh brewed Costa Rican coffee we brought home last week from our grand adventure abroad. On Fridays my work day doesn't start until 10:00, giving me TWO FULL HOURS to myself after J heads to work. Two precious hours. I would have never thought 2 hours was worthy of a celebration until I became a full time student with a full time job. Here in my current world where its hard to find even 30 free minutes, my 2 hours on Friday morning is pure bliss.

After the mister left for work I did a little homework, drank some more coffee, then dug into the long list of housework and chores. Well, what I thought was going to be a long list of chores anyway. On the contrary, I walked around our house like a lost puppy. What am I suppose to clean?

I am one lucky gal. When I married my mister, I didn't realize what a deal I was getting. He is the epitome of "the full package." Every day this week I walked through the front door from work/class (depending on the day) around 8:30 to the best feeling in the world- the smell of a HOME COOKED MEAL! Hoorah! Dinner ready, laundry done, living room swept/mopped, my oh my how much better does it get? Without a complaint, he works everyday 8:30-5:30, comes home, cleans the house, cooks the dinner, and greets me at the door with a hug and a kiss.

So here I am this morning, enjoying my Friday, catching up on the few small chores left over from the cleaning force that has taken over my home, Hurricane Justin. 

I remember my very first day of fall semester. My first day back to college as an adult. I was driving home, feeling so overwhelmed. I called J to let him know I was heading home. He asked how my day went and I told him my concerns. I was worried about my sanity, OUR sanity. We were getting married in two weeks. I told him with work, school, our furry children, housework- "I am just not going to have a social life." Justin's response: "No, you're wrong. WE just won't have a social life. We are in this together. I've got the house stuff, you focus on school. If we have time left over for a social life we'll go have some fun." Without missing a beat, and without any sense of disappointment in his voice, he promised me teamwork. And by golly he has stuck by his promise.

Here's to you J- I couldn't do this thing without you.

My attempt at baked chicken from earlier this week, just trying to be helpful.
 Apparently when you bake a plastic lid at 400 degrees for 45 minutes this is what you end up with. 
I'd say we're better off sticking with Justin's dinners.