Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Reason, Season, or a Lifetime

These are the words that a very wise professor once say to me. He said, "People come into your life for a reason, season, or a lifetime." I've never forgotten these words because they are so evident in my life- especially right now.

I've had to face the fact that some of the friends that I thought would be around for a lifetime, were actually only meant to be in my life for a season. Sometimes, friends simply grow, change, and move in different directions, and that's okay. I firmly believe that God puts people into our lives for a reason, and in time we usually understand what the reason was. I have learned many lessons through my friendships over the years, and am so grateful for this.

Now that I am married, I've noticed that my social circle has slightly shifted. My best friends are either married or engaged, purchasing first homes, establishing careers, and even discussing the prospect of having children. ;) We generally prefer a relaxing couple's night of dinner and drinks, over the bar scene. My, what a difference a couple of years can make! This shift has been a slow and organic one in my life. What's that saying..."Two birds of a feather flock together." Yeah, I think that's it. Anyway, it seems that women easily bond when they are going through similar situations, and this has been the case with my closest girlfriends and I.

I thank God every night for the fact that I can call my best friends anytime for marital advice, where to get a certain cleaning product, how to make a delicious dinner, how to balance career and love, and the list goes on and on. I love my girlfriends with such enormity and couldn't imagine my life without them. God has certainly put them in my life for a reason, and I am eternally grateful! Shout out to my bests!!!

Check out some pics my gorgeous friends...some old, some new, all make me smile!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cost Analysis: Good for Business, Bad for Love

Do you and your partner ever engage in cost analysis when it comes to your relationship? Oh and by cost analysis I mean, "I cleaned the entire house, took the dog out, paid the bills, and all you did was watch football all day?!" Sound familiar?

I read an article recently that used the term cost analysis, which refers to the business strategy of keeping tabs on business related costs and determining whether they are effective/necessary for your business. The article I read compared the "keeping score" effect that often occurs in relationships to cost analysis. Basically, when you are constantly keeping track of what you do/have done and what your partner didn't do/has not done, it's like cost analysis of the relationship. You are "keeping score/track," and while this strategy may be beneficial to a business it is not beneficial to a relationship.

I can shamefully tell you that I engage in this purposeless behavior more often than I'd like to admit. The second that I feel that my husband isn't pulling his weight (especially around the house), I begin to mentally go through all of the things I do around the house, and all of the things he doesn't do! Before you begin to judge my husband, let me just tell you that he actually does a lot around the house, much more than many other men that I know of. In fact, just yesterday I came home to a clean house, with dinner already made and on the stove. Boy, writing this sure makes me feel guilty about my "keeping score" mentality. I guess if I were keeping score yesterday it would be: Derek- 1, Kendall- 0.

The article I read really opened my eyes to the harmful effects that can be caused by cost analyzing your relationship. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, relationships are give-and-take, meaning that sometimes you will give more and sometimes you will take more. This is would be considered the normal flow in any healthy relationship. Sometimes I give more, sometimes Derek gives more (last night), and it's important for me to acknowledge that, and not de-value all that he does bring to our relationship. Telling your partner how much you do and how much they don't do will only push them away, and leave them feeling de-valued. This is not the way to motivate your partner, even though it is easy to think so.

This is my solemn promise that I will stop engaging in cost analysis when it comes to my relationship (especially used as ammunition in an argument..hehe), and I will value my partner for all that he brings to our relationship- wet towel on the bed and all. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fifty Shades: Book review

Yes, the tie, mask, and handcuffs all have meaning ;)

So I have finallllly finished the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, and I have mixed feelings about the read. I originally picked up the book because so many of my girlfriends were reading it and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I decided that it would be the perfect book to read on my honeymoon...and it was ;)

Here I am on the first book in St. Barths

Some of my friends raved about the book, and said that it was THE BEST, while other friends explained that it wasn't a very sophisticated read, and was frankly not very good. Well, my opinion of the books are somewhere in the middle. While I definitely don't think it was the worst book that I've ever read, it's certainly not the BEST. 

These books are perfect for the light summer read. These are not the type of "page turning" books, where you just can't wait to get back to your book to find out what happens next; Because let's face it, we all know what's about to happen next: Sex, sex, and more sex. At first this sounds fun, but after a while it just gets old. My favorite part of the books were the story line, which I would classify as mediocre at best. I actually found myself skipping through the sex parts, because I felt that they became diluted and boring as they seemed to occur every 5 pages. Thankfully the story line picks up throughout the books, and becomes delightfully complex in the third book. 

Overall, I would recommend these books as a light read to someone wanting to spruce up their sex life with their partner! ;) Do not read these books if you are looking for a page-turning, gritty novel, as this is not it. 

Because envisioning Christian Grey and Annastasia Steele is probably the most intriguing part of reading these books, here are my picks for the soon to be movie.

Matt Bomer would be the PERFECT Christian Grey; There is no question about it!

Felicity Jones is the Anastasia Steele that I have imagined; I think she'd be amazing.

I'd love to hear any other thoughts/opinions about this trilogy. Feel free to share!

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Fall-tastic Front Porch!

Happy September! I'm officially allowed to indulge in all of my Fall favorites! One of my favorites is Fall decor for the home. Something about this time of year is magical, warm, and comforting...what's not to love? I have been brainstorming about how to decorate my front porch and thanks to Pinterest, it's never been easier.  

My first front porch purchase is this wreath! I love the colors of the berries in the wreath and it should go very well with our front door (a reddish-orange). I also like that it is very simple and doesn't have a bunch of frilly fake leaves, etc. Something about fake looking foliage makes me cringe! haha.

Below are some of the pictures that I've collected for my front porch inspiration 

Love the mums and the fabric wrapped around the pumpkins.

What an adorable way to use those tiny inexpensive pumpkins!

Stacked pumpkins are cool and unexpected

How pretty is this monogrammed pumpkin?!
I love the rustic feel of using crates- easy and affordable.

I can't wait to use different elements from these pics to make my own Fall-tastic porch! I will be sure to post pictures :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012 not so weekly: Give and Take

Hello blogging world! I have been feeling blogging-guilt about my recent hiatus. With starting to work full-time, (i.e. being a big girl) I have been busy and exhausted. Switching from full-time student to full-time therapist has been quite the transition, and although I have been tired, I feel extremely blessed about this new change in my life. With that being said, I have been paying close attention to the transformation that has taken place in my relationship of late.

When Derek and I first moved in together, it took us some time to get used to being around each other 24/7! Even though we spent a lot of time together before we moved in, there is just something very different about not being able to retreat to your own home whenever you’d like. I quickly realized that when you live with your significant other, there is nowhere to retreat to!

It took some time for us to get into a living “rhythm.” However I have noticed that like any other major life change, people learn to adapt and change to suit their needs. There is a major give and take rhythm happening in my marriage right now, which makes me really happy. We are getting really good at anticipating each other’s needs and fulfilling them. For example: Derek knows that my morning ritual consists of a cup of tea, peanut butter toast, and email/facebook check. So each Saturday morning he wakes up before me and makes my tea and toast while he makes his own breakfast. It’s such a sweet gesture and just one example of what it means to “serve” your spouse.

I try to give or serve him whenever I can also (cough…taking my mother in law to a doctor’s appointment on my day off… cough) haha, I love my MIL and my husband, which makes me happy to do anything I can to help. He is so selfless when it comes to making me happy that it makes me want to give all I can. I am finally starting to understand what my mother always told me about relationships being “give and take.” It’s not always about me, and I’m okay with that. Making my husband comfortable and happy makes me happy, and in turn our relationship has never been stronger.

A recent picture of the Hubby an I on my Bday

I challenge anyone who reads this and is in a relationship to try and "serve" your partner every once in a while! Giving more of yourself is sure to promote a happy and healthy relationship. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Love: Weekly- Honesty is the Best Policy

How many of you have had the fantasy that your significant other would magically guess what you would like for your next Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary present?

We've all done it right? Taken him to the mall to see that gorgeous camel colored fall collection Coach bag; Clipped out a Coach coupon and put it on the kitchen counter; Mention (on many occasions) that you would really love a new camel colored fall collection Coach bag to be your perfect accessory for the next season; Not-so-discretely peruse the Coach website and zoom in on that beautiful bag while in his line of sight...

Then comes your anniversary and he hands you a gift that is in the EXACT shape of a Coach box. Oh it's definitely the Coach bag that you have been wanting for months- What a great guy I have! You tear open the wrapping paper, and oh no...the box doesn't say Coach, it says... Macy's? What? Didn't he know that I wanted a new Coach bag? Out pops the mediocre sweater, and on pops your fake plastered smile.

Okay, can you tell that I loved story telling as a child? Haha. But seriously, this has happened to every woman at one point or another right? We drop hints for months about a gift that we want for an upcoming holiday, etc. and once in a blue moon he may get it right, but typically we just end up disappointed! This is such a silly game that we play in our relationships, when it would be so much easier to just be honest.

Yes, it's true, being honest about what you are really wanting for may take some of the surprise out of gift-giving, but I have found that I would gladly swap the surprise for the gift that I really want. Derek and I implemented this "honesty policy" into our relationship a few years ago, and exchanging gifts has been so much simpler and satisfying ever since. We both get what we really want, and there is no uncomfortable "Um, thanks honey but I'm just not sure this sweater is me...would you mind if I exchanged it?" Or worse, "Oh yeah, I guess I could wear that sweater to dinner tonight, I've just been waiting for a special occasion..."

My Birthday was just last week, and I put my own advice into effect and told Derek what I really wanted for my Birthday...and like magic, I got exactly what I wanted!

It's a new Buffet table for our dining room! We really needed a pretty piece of furniture for this spot and  some extra storage for all of the serving ware, etc. that we got for the wedding. I told him weeks in advance that this is what I wanted, so the weekend of my bday we went shopping and found this beauty! Now I'm happy because I got what I really wanted, and my hubby is happy because I am....and because he didn't have to do laps around the mall trying to figure out what to get me! :)

Here are some final gift giving tips that I've learned along the way:

1. Set a budget with your partner beforehand: I.e. We will only spend $300 on each other for Christmas this year. This keeps things fair, and prevents any possibility of gift giving resentment!

2. If you really don't like the idea of spoiling a surprise by telling your partner what you really want, consider being honest about the big gift that you want (buffet table) but also doing small surprise gifts (fresh flowers and a card- this was my surprise on my bday!) This Christmas we are planning on being "honest" about what we would like for our main gifts to each other but will keep our stocking stuffers as complete surprises! ;)

Anyone else out there think that honesty is the best policy when it comes to gift giving in your relationship?

What's for Dinner

Spinach Lasagna

Each week I try to incorporate one or two new recipes into our weekly dinner routine. Last week, I decided to try a spinach lasagna. I wanted to do a yummy lasagna but without meat (I've noticed that using meat in every dinner really hikes up the grocery bill!) but I wanted it to have some substance. So, I replaced the meat with spinach, and it was delicious! 

Here it is straight from the oven..yum!


1 Egg, beaten
1 Package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
3 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Jar spaghetti sauce
9 Uncooked noodles
1/2 Cup water

1. Heat oven to 350 Degrees
2.In a bowl mix the egg, spinach, ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
3. Layer 9x13 pan with sauce, 3 uncooked noodles, and a third of the cottage cheese mixture; Repeat twice more.
4. Top the lasagna with the remaining sauce and cheeses.
5. Pour water around the sides of the lasagna in pan (this will help to cook the noodles)
5. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until heated through. 
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

*You can adjust the amount of the ricotta cheese and/or spinach to your liking. I like both so I used the full amount for both.

I served this lasagna with a side salad and garlic bread! 

This meal is super easy, and we had plenty of left-overs which is great for a night off of cooking! This is definitely going into the "dinner rotation." Try it out, and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Love Weekly: Date Night

As a new wife, and therapist I would like to pass on some relationship wisdom from me to you! I will be starting a new weekly blog post called Love: Weekly- Hope you enjoy!

Okay, now onto this week's topic: Date night

Yes, yes we all say that we’re going to start implementing a weekly date night, but rarely does it catch on. Too often our busy lives get in the way of the most important thing of all- our relationships. Relationships are a living, breathing thing and much like a plant, if we don’t nurture them they can die. I’ve learned that one of the most important things that we can do for our relationships is put it the time- quality time that is.

Derek and I started a weekly date night a couple of years ago, and our relationship is much better for it. It is an unspoken tradition that every Friday night we go out to dinner (which gives me a break from cooking- yay!) and do something after- movie, shopping, etc. These days our “something after” has turned into shopping for the home (I know, how did I trick him into this one?)

During dinner we’re able to catch up on our week, talk about things we didn’t have time to previously, and sometimes, just talk about family, future, and dreams. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but this is our time to re-connect after a busy week, and I have really noticed a positive difference since implementing this little gem into our weekly routine.

As many of my posts come with warnings, here is my warning for Date Night!

Warning: Do not, I repeat DO NOT bring up negative issues (like the fact that he left a wet towel on the bed that morning, or my pet peeve- left dirty dishes in the sink!) to your partner on your date night!!! I know it is tempting to do because you finally have the time to get this nagging annoyance off of your chest, but date night should be about creating positive memories- not nagging your significant other. There’s plenty of time in the week to bring up these kinds of things (Sunday, perhaps) ;) but date night is not designed for this purpose. I personally know the negative ramifications of doing this, and can tell you that nothing good can come of it! You have been dutifully warned!

I challenge you and your partner to implement a date night into your weekly routine. You won’t be sorry! Can’t wait to hear your feedback. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's my Birthday!

So today I am officially 25 years old. Wahhh! I’m really starting to feel less like a child and more like an adult today. You know how on most birthdays you don’t feel any different? Well this one does feel different. I don’t know if it’s because I am a quarter of a century old, or because so much has changed for me in the last year?

Last year on this day: I had just completed my first year of graduate school; I was living at home with my parents (all expenses paid- oh yeah!); I drove an adorable red, two-seater, convertible; I babysat for a living; The only room I had to keep clean was my bedroom; I was secretly (or not so secretly to my girlfriends) hoping Derek and I would get engaged SOON; And finally I was turning 24, and something about the age 24 still sounds young enough to get away with being “young and dumb.”

I know, I know, 25 isn’t THAT old but something about this age seems to bring with it a new set of expectations. I feel this incredible drive inside of me to light my career on fire! I am ready to tackle this 2-year residency head on, and would like to make a decent living while doing so. I want to work on my craft and try new techniques and interventions out. I want to be on the cutting edge of my field, and further my research on couples. (In case you are wondering I am a mental health therapist) I want to make our house into a home, and be the best wife I can possibly be. I want to make my family proud, and I want to make myself proud!

Wow- that is a whole lot of wanting! Though I guess it’s a good thing to always want for more because if you stop wanting, you stop growing, learning, and achieving (at least this is what I am telling my over-achieving self).

Here are some of the goals that I would like to have achieved by my next milestone birthday (30 years old).

In five years, I hope to:
-Be happily married to my handsome hubby, Derek
·          -Have a child- or two :)
·          -Be strongly considering the possibility of opening my own practice
·          -Be published
·          -Be the exact same size (I will not let kids ruin this bod)…haha!
·          -Have a significantly bigger home with a big yard for the animals and kiddos
·          -Have done appearances in television and/ or radio as an expert couple’s therapist
·          -Still have frequent dinners and outings with my best girlfriends
·          -Become more involved with my church and community outreach

I love goal setting because it gives me a clear path to follow, and a list that I can check off (which is one of my favorite things to do)!

What do you hope to have accomplished by your next milestone birthday?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Honeymoon in St. Barthelemy (St. Barts)

We considered our honeymoon location for a while before choosing to visit St. Barts. We knew we wanted to go somewhere tropical, beautiful, and remote- and St. Barts turned out to be the perfect place! Although I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, I originally got the idea to visit St. Barts from a Real Housewife, i.e. Mrs. Bethenny Frankel herself. Bethenny and her husband Jason went to St. Barts for their honeymoon, and documented the trip on her reality show. I immediately fell in love with St. Barts while watching that episode and have been dying to go ever since.

St. Barts is a small island in the French West Indies located in the Caribbean just south of St. John, and within view of St. Maarten. It is where many celebrities flock to vacation because of its peaceful ambiance, and extremely safe environment. You can literally walk around the island at midnight (we did), and feel completely safe. There are no "questionable" areas to be found, and it is as kid friendly as it is a couple's paradise.

There are a couple of things that one should be warned about before visiting St. Barts.

Warning #1- St. Barts is a European island; This means that most of the women on the beaches/ pools are topless! Even though people had warned us about the nudity beforehand, it was still shocking to see naked women prancing around before your (and your husband's) very eyes. When we were first warned about this, we thought that the only nude people that we'd see would be the ones that nobody wants to see; Boy were we wrong! St. Barts is filled with beautiful men and women, and I think just about every nude woman we saw was quite poor husband! ;)

Warning #2- St Barts is very VERY expensive! I'm talking $40 for a cheeseburger, $10 for a coca-cola. St. Barts operates in Euros, and the U.S. dollar does not go very far there. Of course we knew that our honeymoon was going to be expensive, but this was beyond our imagination. After the first day of spending several hundred dollars on food alone, we realized that there was no way we could keep this up for the entire trip. Thankfully our Hotel (Hotel Le Christopher- more on that in a bit) provided an amazing breakfast buffet each morning. We decided to take advantage of this amenity, and fill up on breakfast each day so that we wouldn't need much for lunch. This way, we didn't feel guilty for indulging in an expensive dinner. It actually worked out really well, and I am proud of our resourcefulness.

If you are able to heed these warnings and tolerate a little bit of nakedness and a lota bit of money, you will LOVE St. Barts! I can honestly say that I have never visited a more beautiful piece of Earth, and can't wait to return again one day.

Lastly I would like to plug the resort that we stayed at, Hotel Le Christopher. This was the most incredible hotel! We had our very own Villa that boasted amazing views, and fresh orchids/wildflowers throughout. The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating upon every interaction- Not to mention they were all young and attractive, which I don't think was a coincidence. The hotel was extremely private, and a honeymooner's paradise. The atmosphere was sexy and cool, and I miss it!

Boy, writing this post has made me miss St. Barts in the worst way! Until next time St. Barts...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm married... now what?

Could you tell that wedding planning was all-encompassing for me? I haven't posted one time since my initial post six months ago- pitiful I know! In the last six months I: planned an entire wedding, bought and fixed-up a house (fixing up still in progress), completed grad school, and married my now husband!  
I must say, writing all of that out makes me feel very accomplished. ;) Unfortunately, my resolution to begin blogging on a regular basis was not kept, so I am back again with a firm resolve to commit this time.

I've given a bit of thought to what I would like my blog to be. Even though I love "life blogs," I feel that I would like my blog to have a certain focus- something that I can really contribute to the blog-o-sphere. I've decided that I would like to focus on my new role as a wife. Even calling myself a "wife" is taking some getting used to. I never realized how weird it would be to change my name and my title in my relationship. Even though many things are exactly the same as they were before we were married, somehow the word "wife" brings with it new feelings.

For example: Who knew it would be so terrifying to share a joint checking account??? Am I crazy, or is sharing a joint checking account with your partner scary, nerve-racking, and worrisome? Every single time I go to swipe my card, I consider so many different things: Will Derek notice this purchase? Is this purchase too expensive? Will he be mad? I don't care if he notices this purchase! This isn't expensive- I got a great deal! He can't be mad about this- it was on sale!!

Haha- Even writing this makes me laugh out loud. I can't believe I am playing this game with myself every time I make a purchase. The funny thing is that my husband is a pretty laid back guy, and not the kind to get angry over something like this. I know that the problem lies with me, and I am hoping that over time I will get used to this whole "sharing an account" thing!

Did anyone else have minor freak-outs about ridiculous things when they were first married? I can't be the only one- right?? :)

Of course I have to leave you with some wedding pics, it's the least I can do to make up for my blog-disappearance!