Christmas Breakdown

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We had the best time with my family back in South Dakota.  We spent 5 full days with family and friends and were spoiled with presents!  I got a bunch of nice sweaters, an amazing Clarisonic Mia 2 {can already feel a difference on my face!}, a purse, a Bronco's jersey, and lots of other fun stuff. 

I wanted to post some pictures of our Christmas decorations because I am so happy with how they turned out this year in our apartment.  We do our best to make this apartment feel like a cozy little home and I love doing it.  It also makes me anxious/excited to have a house to decorate some day :).

We decided to put our wreath on the inside of the door so we can enjoy it in our home and avoid any chances of someone trying to take it for themselves!

 I'm slightly obsessed with the gold glittery tree I picked up  at Target.  Also the bowl of candy greeting me when I get home from work every day. Ha!  Wrapping pictures may be my favorite inexpensive way to cheer up the place.

 Stockings hung by the chimney with care :) 

 Kitchens need Christmas cheer too!

I took these pictures from my phone so they aren't the greatest, but you at least get a little glimpse into our festive home!  I hope you all are enjoying your post-Christmas days and getting ready for the New Year!!

-T-

St. Thomas: Wedding, Love, Fun in the Sun!

We had the most amazing 4 days in St. Thomas this past weekend.  Dennis' little brother Nick married the beautiful Sarah with their toes in the sand like they've always dreamed.  When they told us this summer that they wanted to get married on the beach in December, we knew it would be a little difficult to do, but we also knew that we couldn't miss it for the world.  These two are a match made in heaven and they had a picture perfect wedding on the beach that they both really deserved.

Dennis and I flew overnight into Miami and then on to St. Thomas.  We spent the first day walking around town and checking out all the little shops. We had lunch at an awesome little restaurant that made AMAZING drinks.  I had a 'Painkiller' and it truly wiped away all the pain I had after 13 hours of travel.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie:

We met up with more family, checked out our room at the hotel, and headed into town for dinner and drinks and Senor Frogs.  I am so thankful that Dennis' family truly feels like my own.  I have so much fun with them and I feel completely comfortable around them.  It made our vacation that much better because we could all just relax and enjoy each others company.
Our view from the room:

We spent Friday at the beach and rented some snorkeling gear from the hotel so we could explore all the fishes in the ocean!  Friday night we went to the rehearsal dinner and then out with the wedding party.  The night was full of lots of dancing, drinks, and loads of laughs.


On Saturday we slept in, went to the beach for a few hours, and I headed up the bride's quarters to  get ready for the wedding.  Sarah looked absolutely stunning.  She was everything a bride should be and she was absolutely glowing with happiness the whole day.  Just look at her smile!

The wedding went off without a hitch and we headed to the reception to eat some delicious food, drink some rum punch and white sangria and dance the night away.  The waves were crashing in the background and everyone had an amazing time.

We spent Sunday walking around town and doing a little bit of shopping before we headed to the airport.  It was bittersweet to leave but we were so thankful to have the opportunity to go that it was all worth it.

We are in full vacation recovery mode in our house but soon we will be washing and putting away swim suits and packing sweaters and sweatshirts for our next adventure to South Dakota {starting Friday!}  I hope you all are having an awesome and relaxing week before Christmas!  This month keeps getting better and better :)

-T-

Off the grid

Well folks, we are officially signing off and will be off the grid for the next 4 days.  I am beyond excited to celebrate the wedding of Nick and Sarah {my future brother and sister-in-law} and we are not going to let technology interrupt one second of our mini-vacation!



I will be back next week with lots of good pictures and a full recap of our trip!

I hope you all have a great rest of your week!


-T-

Less than 6 months to go!

Yesterday marked 6 months until our wedding day.  I get more and more excited with each month that passes but this one was extra special.  We've been engaged for nearly a year {1.1.14 officially} and while I think this year has gone by faster than any before, I truly feel like we are finally in the home stretch of our engagement. 

I have LOVED being engaged. I love that any time I introduce Dennis as my fiance {or vice versa} people smile and congratulate us and give us the chance to pretend like the news is brand new all over again.  It never gets old announcing that we are on our way to husband and wife. 

This week was also extra special because we sent out our Save the Dates in the mail, and friends and family started texting and messaging me the second they got them.  It's difficult to put into words how insanely happy it makes me that we have such an amazing support system and that they are all just as excited as we are for our big day. 




We are spending this Sunday night simply relaxing and getting ready for a super short work week before we head off for St. Thomas! Only 3 days to go!  After months of being crazy busy, I think a little R&R is just what the doctor ordered :)


-T-

Does Christmas just taste better?

Before you think I'm crazy and truly think that Christmas has a 'taste', hear me out. :)  I am a chocolate lover to the core.  Doesn't matter what time of the month it is {although I definitely use mine as an excuse to eat more} I crave something chocolatey all the time

Reese's peanut butter cups are one of my absolute favorite chocolate candies.  I LOVE them.  However, I truly think that their holiday themed chocolates taste way better than the normal ones {Easter eggs, Christmas trees, etc.}.  Am I the only one on this crazy train? 



In other chocolate-lovers news, the other day Target was having a sale on Ghiradelli holiday chocolates so I had to pick up a few bags of my own so I could have a festive little bowl of chocolates in my entry way.  They are addicting but I limit myself to 1-2 squares a day maximum.  I promise. I have some self-control here people and only 6 months till Wedding Day 2014.  But a girls' gotta live a little and indulge a little more.  Happy wife, happy life? 


Anyway, if you are like me and love the holiday season as much as you love chocolate, I give you full permission to indulge a little with a holiday themed treat!

Happy Wednesday my fellow Chocolate Lovers!

-T- 



*Please note this post was not sponsored by anyone and all opinions are my own!

It's beginning to look a lot like...

CHRISTMAS!!  I cannot say enough how much I love this time of year.  The joy, the celebration, the love.  Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care, our Nativity scene has taken it's place on the mantel, the tree is decked in lights and ornaments...our home is warm and cheerful and I absolutely love it.

Every Winter, our favorite lil man Capone {English bulldog} gets calm and lazy.  He appreciates partial-hibernation as much as his parents do and it makes for some pretty great, cuddly evenings together.  We used to be more strict about him getting up on the furniture, but cuddling with him is so so worth having to clean the couch 4x as often as before.  The other night, he jumped up on the chair and fell fast asleep, snoring away.  He wasn't cuddling with us but it was so darn cute, I didn't want to disturb him. Absolutely love this little guy.
I am loving having this blog as a forum to document the little details of our lives right now. D and I are incredibly happy, beyond blessed, and absolutely in love with each other and this little life we've created.  Someday we hope to have house full of babies and puppies {2 max, I promise :) } and that will be perfect in it's own right, but for now we are soaking up every minute of this "simpler" life. 

Off to go cuddle up with my boys!

-T-

Winter!

Yesterday, the high was in the 50's, and today the high was in the 40's. Slightly chilly but not earth-shattering cold by any means.  Tomorrow the high is supposed to be in the teens with snow and on Thursday the high is supposed to be 8!  8 degrees! Single digits.
 
I have a love/hate relationship with Colorado weather.  I love when it goes from 10 degrees to 60 but not a huge fan of the reverse. I kind of wish I could hibernate in the winter months. :)  Since that is not a possibility at this moment, I have to settle with bundling up in cute boots, cozy sweaters, big scarfs, and warm mittens.  Top it off with a steamy hot cup of coffee and I'm a pretty happy girl.

If you live in a snowy place like I do, I hope you're bundling up and staying warm!  If not, I envy you 4 months out of the year.  Happy Hibernating!

P.S. Did I mention that our beach vacation COULD NOT come soon enough?!

-T-

Travel and Feeling Blessed

D and I are 9 short days away from hopping a plane and flying to St. Thomas for his brother's wedding! Not only are we thrilled to both be in the wedding, we are ecstatic to celebrate the love and commitment of two amazing people that I will soon be lucky enough to call my brother and sister-in-law.

On another note, we are insanely blessed to be able to take this trip after a super eventful and slightly expensive year.  I was thinking today that I will have traveled outside of the U.S. 3 years in a row from 2012-2014.  I absolutely love getting the opportunity to get out and explore the world a little bit, even if it's just a little corner. In 2012 I went to Mexico with my family to celebrate my sister's 30th birthday.  We were in Costa Rica earlier this year in May for one of my great friend's weddings and we got to spend an entire week in Costa Rican paradise.  We'll head to St. Thomas for a quick 4 days to cap off this year and next year we'll get to venture to Jamaica for our honeymoon!


We don't have a ton of money by any means but we make it a priority to travel and experience the world a little bit when we can.  Traveling to Italy, Greece, and Ireland {among others} is on our bucket list and I know someday we'll make it happen.  Whether you take off for a weekend getaway or a month long trek across Europe, I highly recommend getting out and going on some adventures.  D and I plan on making a bucket list for us as a couple and for our future family and I want it to be on display somewhere in our home so that we are constantly reminded to get out and try new things.

I hope you all are having a fabulous Monday!  I'm spending my night day dreaming about travels, drinking hot chocolate, and trying to finalize our wedding website!

-T-



December!!

I cannot believe it is already December! We have had such an awesome and productive weekend and it feels like a great way to kick off a new month. First off we have 90% of our save the dates going into the mail tomorrow. I am really excited to cross that off the to do list and have people start getting them in the mail!
Secondly we got all of our Christmas decorations up and most of our presents wrapped. I absolutely love how cozy and festive our little home is. We only have a couple more gifts to get and we will be set.
We leave for St. Thomas on the 11th, come back on the 15th and leave for Christmas in South Dakota the 20th! It's going to be a busy busy month and I'm ready to soak it all in.

Happy December!

-T-

Brrrrrrr.....

We have had such a beautiful Colorado fall and I have been incredibly thankful for that.  HOWEVER, I'm not quite ready to let go of Fall and jump into this whole freezing cold Winter business. We had a few icy cold days last week and a sprinkling of snow and while it's undeniably beautiful, it quadruples my commute time to work and overall just makes me want to hibernate.  {Desperately need to convince my boss I should work from home from December-March :)}
In true Colorado fashion it is supposed to be back up in the 50s this week so I am thankful our Thanksgiving weather should be perfect.  I am so excited to spend the day celebrating with D's family, eating way too much food, and taking time to remember what this life is really all about.  I'm thankful everyday for the life I have been given but I love dedicating an entire day to being thankful.  I will be missing my family very much this year and hopefully can sneak in a chat/Skype session with them when we're all relaxing in our turkey comas!
On a different note, I love this table setup!  I have almost burned through all of my Thanksgiving candles and I'm really looking forward to busting out the Christmasy ones next weekend.  We are slowly getting out our Christmas decorations and hope to have everything setup by the end of the week.  We are also hoping to have our Save the Dates in the mail by the end of the week!  Busy busy busy time of year but oh so worth it.

We are winding down this Sunday night by watching some Broncos football and eating pizza and wings. :) Healthy food needs to be on the agenda Monday-Wednesday because Thursday is sure to be a belt-buster.

Happy Sunday/Start to Thanksgiving Week!

-T-

Karma

D is in the Army Reserves and once a month he meets up with his Unit and does "Army stuff" as I like to call it because I truly have no idea what they do.  This weekend was one of those weekends.  He played flag football last night after drill and by the time he got home it was nearly midnight. He had left all of his stuff from both Army and football in the car, knowing he was going to repeat the same routine in 7 short hours.

This morning he went out to find that his car had been broken into somehow and his backpack full of a computer and Army paperwork as well as his football bag that unfortunately included his wallet, were stolen.  Our immediate reaction was panic and we started calling all of the people you call in a situation like this: police, bank, insurance carrier, etc.  We got almost everything "taken care of" and I started to break down a little.  We've had a rough couple of weeks.  Yes, we have our health, our home, and our little family.  We are healthy.  The majority of the things taken were just that..."things."  But it's still a violation.  It's a violation of our space, our lives, our "home" practically since the parking lot is just out front of our apartment.

We will get through this like we will get through everything.  I pray for strength every day to face life's challenges.  What I hope these people understand though is that Karma is real and very powerful.  They will get what is coming to them.  And in the meantime, we will continue to be happy for everything we have and cherish the things that no one can take away from us.

It's been 3.5 hours since we found out what had happened and that is all the time we are going to devote to that incident today.  We are going to move forward, watch football, hang out with my sister, cook up some deeeelicious pork loin, and spend time together.  We are going to take this Sunday back and put it to work.  I hope you all are having "less exciting" weekends!

-T-

Yummy dinner ideas

The other night I got home after a long day and wanted something comforting, delicious, and easy for dinner. Enter Kraft to save the day. Please note this post is entirely my own thoughts and opinions I want to share because the meal was so good.
All this meal required of me was some chicken, pasta, and mozzarella cheese.  I didn't have any spinach to add like it recommends but I'm sure that would have made it even better.  There are two sauces in the mix.  One you use with the chicken and one with the pasta.  It makes such a delicious, creamy, hearty combination.

I wish I had taken a picture of the finish product but I got distracted by eating it. :)  If you are looking for quick and easy dinner ideas, head to the store and pick up some of these! You can really customize it to whatever you like and it is sure to please any member of the family. 

Happy cooking!

-T- 

Future 'House Husband'

I've joked a lot with D this week and last that if I could just get a raise at work, he would make a lovely 'house husband.'  While I've been working crazy hours and he's been applying for new jobs, he's been cleaning every corner of the house. I am so thankful to truly have a partner in this life.  He is there to pick up the slack on things I just can't manage and he is always encouraging me to cut myself a little slack and believe in my abilities.  I truly would be lost without him!

We continue to pray that he finds a good job with a company that brings a lot of positivity into his life.  He has a lot to offer and I have no doubt he will find something when the time is right.

On a completely different note, I am getting so anxious to decorate for Christmas!! We haven't gathered a whole lot of fall decorations yet and since we will be gone for so much of December we are really looking forward to getting our decorations up so we can enjoy them as long as possible. I am soooo looking forward to this holiday season.  Thanksgiving will be spent here with D's family and Christmas will be back in SD with mine.  This season is our last as an 'unmarried' couple and each month we get more and more excited for what next year has in store for us.  2013 has been filled with far more blessing than heartache and we remind ourselves of that daily!

I hope you all are having a truly wonderful week and remembering the important things in this life.  Tomorrow we are going to D's great aunt Rosie's funeral and it's times like that, that truly remind us to hold our loved ones close and gain perspective.

Happy Wednesday to you all! Good job on making it over the hump of another work week. :)


-T-

A Simple Life

At least once a month I sit around and dream up a life that is slow and simple.  I always picture the South.  I picture us building a little life in a small town where stress is minimal and the pace is calm and where kids still run around barefoot and play in the street. Surely a place like this has to exist somewhere right???  I've never even come close to living in the South but I imagine it's like this. D would move in a heartbeat if I told him I was ready.  :)

The only other conceivable place I think we would move would be back to South Dakota.  I'm not sure we ever would but it would be amazing to live closer to my family and if I could convince my sister out here to move back there too, all three of us could live close and have our kiddos grow up together.  I loved growing up with my cousins and having such a close knit family and I hope our future kids have that someday too.

This post is pretty random but as I sit here in front of the fire with my boys on a chilly fall night, I can't help but dream up that kind of future.  Truth be told, if we never move I know we'll build an amazing and very happy life right here in the beautiful mountain state, but a girl can dream....

What a week...

I find it slightly ironic that when I finally decide to start a blog, I get busier than ever at work.  This week was such a blur and included 14 hours of overtime and very little food and sleep. Needless to say, this three day weekend could not have come at a better time.  Forgive me if this post is a bit scattered...a  lot has happened this past week and I don't quite have all my ducks in a row just yet.

D lost his job earlier this week. We are remaining as optimistic as possible and I think he will find something very quickly considering the number of recommendations and referrals he already has.  We are truly thanking God for the amazing network of friends and family that we have that are always willing to step in and help out when we are in need.  We continue to pray every day that something comes his way so we can smoothly move into this next chapter.

 Work for me was jam packed with stressful days but thanks to my amazing fiance, I've been able to put things in perspective. I think I'm getting a lot of positive exposure at work right now and working with some senior execs within the company.  This particular project has not gone very smoothly just yet but they are confident in my ability to help out with the project and I know I can make it work.  Mistakes will happen and I'm working on not being so hard on myself about every little thing...I am human after all!

All I need is some quality time with my boys (D and Capone) to really put things back in perspective.  Our family is what matters. Our health and happiness take priority.  There will be rough days in this crazy little life but as long as we keep our focus on our overall well-being, the little things will truly fall into place.  That is my mantra this week and I will continue to say it to myself throughout the crazy days because I know happier ones are just around the corner.

Speaking of...I got to try on my bridesmaids dress for my future brother and sister-in-laws wedding that is in just over a month.  I love it so much!  And it's truly a dress I can wear again which I thank her for. I know I will be comfortable and confident while standing up with them on the beach in St. Thomas.  We take off in one month from tomorrow!  Luckily we already had this trip paid for so it will be a nice, relaxing vacation with some of our favorite people.

D is letting me decorate for Christmas early this year since we will be gone for almost 10 days in the month of December and I like to enjoy the holiday decor as long as I can. :)

Anyway, I hope any of you readers out there are having a wonderful weekend.  Keep your loved ones close and remember that they are what matters!



-T-

The First of the Month

The first day of every month is so exciting to me.  I love the feeling of a fresh start and I LOVE getting to turn to a new page on my calendar.  Everything feels new to me on the first day of the month. I don't focus on the fact that rent is due, I focus on the fact that I get to have another monthly-anniversary with my guy and that I get to countdown yet another month on our wedding countdown, etc.

So, I figured it's better late than never to wish you all a Happy November.  Don't wait until Thanksgiving to focus on everything you're thankful for.  Start today.  And if you're like me, your day started off with a pretty red cup, a small reminder that the holiday season is among us!  So exciting :)



I am really looking forward to this weekend!  After a couple hours of work tomorrow, I get to go wedding dress and bridesmaids dress shopping with one of my absolute besties!  Sunday is going to be full of family time and some relaxation.  Perfect way to unwind, catch up with good people, and refocus ourselves a little before another crazy week begins!


Pumpkin Cheesecake



I am a die-hard cheesecake lover.  Unfortunately, the fiancĂ© is quite the opposite so I don’t make cheesecake-anything very often unless I can find people to share it with.  My team at work has monthly pot-lucks so this month I decided to bring my famous {all thanks to Paula Deen and the Food Network circa 2007} Pumpkin Cheesecake.  It is so perfect for fall and a recipe I fell in love with a few years ago when I made it for my family back home.
I HIGHLY recommend letting it sit in the fridge overnight.  The longer the better with this recipe.  The first time I made it, I only had it in the fridge for 4 hours {per instructions} and then we tried it and it was pretty meh.  We had more the next day and it was sooo much better because the flavors really had a chance to settle and the pumpkin flavor was much more prominent. 
Happy November!

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