Friday, March 30, 2012

A Little Cupcake Splurge

This is also from our trip to DC a couple weeks ago--trying to finally catch up on things!

Before we headed back to BV and Lexington, we went to Georgetown Cupcake in Bethesda. I can't justify paying $3.00 for a cupcake....unless its the chocolate peanut butter fudge. Oh sweet mercy is that one good. The peanut butter frosting is simply addictive! That is the one cupcake I am willing to pay that much for. And, lucky for us, this time when we went, we didn't even have to wait in a line--It was just meant to be!

So of course we got a chocolate peanut butter fudge, and then a couple of their specials: the irish cream and chocolate mint crunch (thin mint).

Cupcakes in hand (and about to go have Vietnamese at the Green Papaya), and this is one happy girl.

Happy Tastebuds

On our last trip to DC we stopped in a Trader Joe's to kill some time, and ended up stumbling upon one of the greatest treats ever....

That's right! Chocolate covered edamame!

Man oh man, were those suckers good. It was kind of like a chocolate covered nut, but the edamame wasn't as dry and gritty like some nuts can be. Soy beans dipped in chocolate---who knew?! These definitely got us through some long nights doing homework and studying for tests.

What unique--or downright crazy--snacks and treats have you found?

Monday, March 26, 2012

For Sarah Tipps

Today might not mean much to some people, but to me and many others, today is Sarah Tipps' birthday.

I met Sarah in the Muse Machine production of Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2006. She was soft spoken and quiet, but such a sweetheart. Even if you didn't know her too well, you still loved her. She was always such a kind person to everyone.

On March 23, 2009, Sarah passed away.

I remember every detail of the night that I found out. It was March 24th. I was in Nancy Lemmon's room, working on a paper for LIB 120 on her computer because mine was broken. I was wearing SVU sweats and a red sweater. I sat at the desk while Nancy sat on her bed doing homework. I took a break and got on Facebook (like most students do), and saw a heartfelt post by Trevor Coran (a fellow Musie) about Sarah. I started to get nervous--something was definitely up. I searched Facebook and googled Sarah's name along with Dayton Daily News, my hometown's newspaper. The first result was her obituary. I burst into tears, shaken by what I found. I couldn't comprehend what had happened. If I think about it too hard, I still can't. I was a wreck after that for quite a while. I had a difficult time focusing on school work, and my panic disorder (something I struggled with at the time) was sent into overdrive.

I realized in the months after her passing that I didn't (and still don't) handle death well. A couple of my great grandparents and both of my dad's parents have passed away, but I hardly knew them, so I didn't really feel much when it happened. Maybe that's why Sarah's death affected me so deeply--because I actually knew her and had a relationship with her. Even now, I'm still so concerned about my friends and family and their safety. One of the things I even struggled with in a long courtship with Joey was the fear that something would happen to one of us before we could be sealed in the temple and then we wouldn't get to be together forever. Its taken me a lot of work and faith to not be afraid of that anymore.

Though those things have come back to my mind tonight, the one thing I'm thinking about most right now is the fact that I didn't remember until today. I didn't remember the anniversary of her death until I realized it was her birthday. That makes me feel horribly guilty. It makes me feel like I forgot her, or care less about her and her family that still has to live without her. I know people say that when something like this happens, you have to pick up the pieces and keep living, but I still feel bad that I forgot. How do you not forget, but keep living without existing in sadness?

I'm grateful though, that once I began to think of Sarah, my heart was filled with peace and comfort, and I know it comes from a knowledge of the gospel, the plan of salvation, and a loving Heavenly Father. I'm so thankful to be a member of a church that believes in eternal relationships and life after death. I can't imagine how happy Sarah's parents will be when they get to be with their sweet daughter again. I'm grateful for being taught these things so that they can help me in times of sorrow or struggle, when my mortal mind can't fully understand why things happen or how they will be made better. I'm grateful for the relationship I did get to have with Sarah, however short it may have been. What a wonderful person she was.

Dear friends, I wrote all of this not to make anyone uncomfortable by the personal content. I know I needed to write it out and give physical form to my thoughts, but I think I also needed a reminder of how precious my friends and family are, my faith is, and my own life is -- not just my sheer existence as a human being, but my ability to enjoy and experience so many things.

Life is incredible.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our Attempt at Homemade Pho

I'm sure you've figured this out by now, but Joey and I love Vietnamese food--especially Pho. Problem is, the nearest Vietnamese restaurant is an hour away, so we usually don't get it unless we've planned a trip for wedding stuff or something. We knew that making it was time consuming and pretty tricky, but when I found out that there was an organic pre-made beef pho broth, we thought hey, this might work!

So a couple weeks ago, Joey and I headed to the new organic grocery store in lexington to pick up the broth and the other ingredients we needed. Broth in hand, we then spent perhaps ten minutes searching for rice noodles (which we knew they had a month or two before). No dice. Next we checked for bean sprouts. again, nothin'. Having already been to walmart, we didn't want to go back there, so we headed to Kroger. We were able to snag some basil, but they didn't have bean sprouts either. So to MacGyver the crunchiness of the bean sprouts I thought we'd try another common Vietnamese ingredient: cabbage. We also found the rice noodles, and headed back to my apartment to get things cooking. 

Joey prepped the steak while I diced some onions and got the noodles ready for the broth. The moment I poured it into the pot, I knew this wasn't going to be quite right. The boxed broth was a cloudy, milky brown color, and normally beef pho broth, well...isn't. But kept working on it, adding all of the ingredients and mixing in some sriracha and hoisin like we always do. I took a whiff of the soup, which gave me more cause for concern. It smelled a little sweet and in general, funky. 

Joey and I sat down to eat, topped our bowls with the cabbage and a little more sriracha, got out the chop sticks, and took a bite. And the verdict?


It was all wrong. The broth completely lacked flavor, and what it did have was way too sweet--we're thinking a little too much star anise--ok, a lot too much. And I have no idea what they put in the broth to make it that cloudy color. The noodles were ok, but too much like regular vermicelli pasta. And the cabbage just didn't come through for us. Joey was able to eat his bowl (mostly because he was super hungry) but I could only manage a couple bites before I looked at Joey and said 'I can't do this. We're going to Wendy's'. And we did. And I loved it.

I guess this is what we get for trying to mess with a good thing! Looks like we will stick to our tried and true Vietnamese restaurants and trust the experts. But hey, it was an adventure, and at least we tried something crazy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We're Still Alive


My, its been a while, hasn't it?
Life sure has been busy. 
Who knew that being a full time student, working two jobs, 
and planning a wedding would be so time consuming?? 

And because I've felt so behind in my school work, I knew I couldn't in good conscience update the blog, because that would mean I had extra time, and that I wasn't spending it on school work, which I so desperately need to get back on top of. But darn it, I wanted to blog today, so I'm doing it!

A Few Things from Meg and Joey:

Our health challenge has pretty much gone out the window, as shown by the fact that I bought a box of blueberry frosted pop-tarts....and ate them. People, I never eat pop-tarts. But I saw them one day at food lion and just had to have them. Ice cream and dark chocolate hershey kisses have also been in abundance. We are still eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit, but the ban on sugar just wasn't cutting it. There is just too much stress right now! I know I know, fruits and veggies actually help you feel better emotionally and physically more than sugar, but that doesn't change the fact that when I'm stressed and have had a long day, I don't want to sit down with a nice stalk of celery or a carrot. Gimme the ice cream people!

The visit with our caterer a couple weeks ago went so well! The menu was exactly what we were hoping for. It tasted fantastic and looked so great. It really took a lot of stress off knowing that no matter what, our guests are going to have some dyn-o-mite food. So basically, if you're coming to the wedding, you are one lucky duck.

Speaking of the wedding, I am so so so happy, because my dear Aunt Jen and Uncle Lee are going to be coming and will be a part of our sealing! We didn't think they were going to be able to make it, but by some serious blessings from Heavenly Father, everything worked out and they will be coming to the east coast for our special day. Joey and I are so grateful that things worked out so well. Jen and Lee mean so much to me and have always been really supportive; it really means the world to me to have them be there with us. Hooray for happy news!

Joey and I are beyond excited that spring is here. We love the fresh air, the buds on the trees, and the daffodils everywhere. It feels great to say 'so long!' to winter and 'hello!' to spring! ...And have we mentioned that we get married in the spring?? :)

We hope everyone else is enjoying the new spring weather and doing so well!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


70 days.


So far its been pretty fun--you know, planning your perfect, dreamy wedding, looking at blogs, and collecting photos. But its officially stressful now. As in, I have now lost sleep to wedding plans and stress, its officially stressful.

I know every person who plans a wedding gets stressed and I'm no different, but it doesn't mean that I don't feel like pulling my hair out or crying any less!

Money is always stressful. It feels like we try to be as cheap and thrifty as possible, and yet things still add up.

To save money we had to cut down our guest list a lot. So of course I'm horribly nervous about offending people. And we still have a fairly large guest list, even after all of that. Joey and I have joked about hoping we have a small group show up so we don't have to pay for as much food (just a joke, not an insult to anyone), but we at least wanted our families there. I understand life happens, and I'm not mad (because what would that change?), but I'm pretty bummed out that most of my aunts and uncles and none of my grandparents are even coming. I mean of all of the people I would want there, I'd like my family to be there.

This week I've been trying some of the DIY plans I had....and they are flopping majorly. I tried these yarn globes that you make with balloons, yarn, and watered down glue, and it was just a big slippery mess. I'm sure I could get it down with some more practice, but the time and mess isn't worth it, especially when I planned on making big 18 inch ones to hang in the tent. I've also been spray painting bottles, tea cups, and cake stands I made, and those aren't looking as great as I had imagined either.

And you know what? I really wish I had my mom here to help me. Sometimes it stinks planning a wedding without your mom with you to help you get these things done.

Ok ok, I won't be a total downer. We did have a miracle last week: One of my good friends and her husband are going to make our wedding cake and decorate our reception for us for much less than we would've had to spend with a bakery and wedding coordinator. They are potentially saving us $600-1,000. Friends, you two are major life savers!


Joey and I are headed to Lynchburg today to get some supplies for the reception, and then tomorrow we are going to DC to meet with our caterer--and then on Saturday we are going to our good friend Charlie's wedding! Oh happy day! Hopefully that will help put all of this wedding stress in perspective. After all, when all is said and done, Joey and I just want to be married, and that's all that matters to us.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Paint.

I just mixed paint.
And it was incredible.

I took a watercolor class in the fall (turns out, I really dislike water color), but I haven't touched oil paint since senior show last spring. For that, I am embarrassed.
But tonight I dug out my paint and palette knives (and searched desperately for my bottle of liquin) and just started mixing. The moment I smelled the liquin and paint as I mixed and sculpted it with my palette knife was almost indescribable. I felt grounded, stable. I felt at home. I felt more like me. I immediately relaxed (the fact that I've been living alone for the past two days while my housemates are on spring break or working had been getting to me) and let that artistic therapy take over. Sure, this might sound silly--you're probably thinking that I smelled those paint chemicals too much. But I think that I got back to something that is really a part of me. It was like coming home to something I've always known. 

A Little Color

Its snowing right now. Its March 5th, the start of spring break. And its snowing. 
And I don't like it.
It only makes it feel like Spring will never come, which means our wedding will never come. 

So, to cheer myself up, I thought I'd post something I love: flamingoes from a Spring trip to the National Zoo. How charming are they? I just love 'em.


In other thoughts, I can't get this dream of mine out of my head. World, when I grow up, I want to be a graphic designer. I mean I really want to be a designer. When I think about all of the classes I've taken and the jobs I've tried, design is the one thing I keep coming back to. I never get sick of it; each project is different. I can do it from home and can have a family at the same time.
I've been trying to design for people whenever I can, branching out from the Travel Study and Ballet Company work to designing wedding invitations and prints for friends, but sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I mean, I've been painting for 10 years and I feel like I'm starting to get a decent grasp on that, but design? I feel like I'm at square one. Sometimes I make something and I think 'shoot, this looks pretty good!'. But then I look at design blogs and I realize how far behind I am. I feel like I'm having to relearn how to be creative.
My plan is to design like crazy this summer and just keep practicing; I really want to do freelance design work, maybe design invitations and wedding and event products. Hopefully I can learn more and really get this off the ground. It makes me nervous and excited and a little confused, but quite hopeful. I feel like I've really found something that I'm passionate about and can do for a long time without getting sick of it.

So, here's to following your dreams!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Did It.

We ran away.

Well, for a weekend.

As many of you know, Joey and I are beyond done with school, Lexington, and being engaged, and feeling quite burnt out. And last week it was really getting to me. Well, we decided Wednesday that on Thursday night, we would go to Joey's ASME dinner in Lynchburg, and then simply get in the car and just drive to Virginia Beach in the middle of the night. We only told our moms and our roommates, and then escaped as fast as we could.

What We Did:

  • Stopped at Wendy's for a Jr. bacon cheeseburger and root beer at 12:30am as we made our way to VA Beach.
  • Enjoyed the 80 degrees and sunshine on Friday.
  • Totally loved the seagulls hanging out in the parking lots (even though they're dirty and obnoxious).
  • Ate pho and spring rolls at Pho 78, Joey's favorite Vietnamese place.
  • Got blown around by the crazy wind quite a bit.
  • Played with puppies, got my wedding makeup at Sephora, and drank peach Boba at the mall.
  • Enjoyed Chanello's Pizza (a VA favorite) and a movie with Joey's dad, Jeremy, and Alex, and also played with Jeremy's albino pet rat, Boo.
  • Stopped by Bonefish Friday night to have appetizers and catch up with Joey's mom.
  • Cuddled up and watched Thursday night's episode of the office and shared a pint of vanilla bean ice cream.
  • Had my first fresh Krispy Kreme donut.
  • Went down to the beach (one of my must-do items when we go down there).
  • Found the rare pickle potato chips at a Wa-Wa (unfortunately for Joey!).
  • I saw a hermit crab for the first time and found a "Virginia is for Lovers" shirt (which I had to get before I left VA) at a surf shop at the beach.
  • Ate the famous lobster taco at Baja Cantina, a dive at the ocean front.
  • Enjoyed edamame, french fries with herbs and truffle oil, and parmesan chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and mushrooms at the swanky new Yard House
  • Found room in our stomachs for lemon raspberry and godiva chocolate cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory (which was also Joey's first time there).
  • Relaxed and watched Monster's Inc. on Sunday morning.
  • Mustered up the courage to drive back to Lexington and the real world. 
  • Saw blossoms on the trees in Richmond and smiled knowing spring is approaching.

We definitely ate a lot of food that weekend, but we like to relax by finding cool new restaurants or going somewhere we've never been before and trying some dynamite food. Its our thing, I guess! Even though it was short and we had to come back to real life, it was such a wonderful weekend and gave me the break we both needed to get through the rest of the semester.

And I just have to say, Joey is so incredible. He knew that I was down and unhappy and felt like I was suffocating here, and he decided to put his classes and projects on hold for a couple days to take me away and make sure that I was taken care of. I love that we always know exactly what the other needs to feel happier and more alive and are willing to do pretty much anything to make it happen.

I sure do love him!

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