September 28, 2009

Big City Bound

First, I want to thank all of my amazing readers for your comments on my last post. You are all wonderful and I'm thankful for each of you!

It has been a busy week/weekend. We spent lots of quality time with two of our closest friends, Josh and Christi. We had dinner at their place on Thursday night, they came over for dinner at our place on Friday and we met in the middle for lunch on Sunday. It's such an incredible gift to have friends like that; friends you never get tired of being around.

Todd and I have quite the adventure ahead of us. I've known that it could be a possibility for me to have a work trip to New York since I started my job. I wasn't in my position two months before I was sent to Los Angeles. But two years went by and I still hadn't been sent to the "big city," so I was beginning to think it might not happen.

Funny how things work out.

I have a trip scheduled for New York this week. On my birthday. And Todd is going with me! I'm having a hard time holding in my excitement.

I may be MIA this week, but I will be back soon with a fun update and lots of pictures. I can't wait to experience all that New York City has to offer: the sights, the food, the shopping.

Seriously, pinch me!!


Have a great week!

September 22, 2009

Rocking My World

I don't have a fun travel story or any new recipes to share tonight. To be completely honest, Todd and I had chips and salsa for dinner. That was the entree and the side. Fancy, huh?

I may not have made a dinner to brag about, but I sit here tonight feeling like the most blessed girl in the world. I have decided to look at the blessings God gives me a little differently, all because one verse is rocking my world.

To give you a brief back story (I'm skipping the messy details), some close friends of mine are struggling. Poor decisions have caused a lot of pain and I was at a point where their drama was becoming too much to handle. I brought this up to my amazingly wise friend Allison and she quickly put me in my place. She reminded me of the story in Luke 5 where some men, wanting to help their friend, lower him through a ceiling to see Jesus when they couldn't get through the crowd to make it in the door. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said, "Friend, I forgive your sins" (Luke 5:20). In reality, it was the faith of the men who knew the only way to save their friend was to take him directly to Jesus. Allison explained that we have to be like those men. We have to lower our hurting friends through the ceiling to Jesus. We have to carry them. Have I mentioned how wise she is? I felt very selfish for convincing myself that the drama was an inconvenience to me. As I spent time reading my Bible last night, I flipped to Luke 5 to look at that passage a little closer. I didn't even get to verse 20. Verse 8 was enough to make my head spin.

In the same chapter, Luke shares an incredible story. Jesus is preaching to a crowd of people and they begin closing in on him. He gets into a boat, allowing everyone to see him. After speaking, he tells Simon Peter to get into the boat and asks him to let his nets out for a catch. Peter tells Jesus that he's been fishing all day and hasn't even caught a minnow, but he'll try again. Peter drops the nets and they are immediately filled to capacity. He says to Jesus, (are you ready for this?) "Master, leave. I'm a sinner and can't handle this holiness. Leave me to myself."


When is the last time you responded to a blessing that way? In all reality, Jesus was just blessing Peter's career. He was a fisherman. Fishing is what he did. I'm sure he had seen a big catch before. But Peter knew this was from Jesus. He was so blown away by the kindness of God that he wasn't able to handle it. I don't know about you, but I often get accustomed to blessings. I get up every morning and go to my dream job. Not just the dream job, but the dream company that I prayed for specifically. I prayed for nearly two years for my career, yet even when I got the job offer, I don't remember saying, "I can't handle this holiness."

I don't want another day to pass without showing this kind of thanks for the blessings my Savior has so lovingly given me. When I look at my husband, or talk to my parents on my drive home from work. When I pull into my driveway and grab food from my pantry. When I wake up in the morning with a healthy body, I will think to myself, "I can't handle this holiness."

But here's the best part. After Peter said those words, Jesus said to him, "There is nothing to fear. From now on you'll be fishing for men and women." Jesus wants to bless us. He wants to pour His grace and mercy on us and He wants us to be thankful. But we can show our thanks by telling others about His goodness; by fishing for men and women.

I may have just written a novel (thank you for sticking with me if you have read this far!), but I don't want any of my blog readers to think that I have this shiny, happy life where everything falls into place all the time. If you take anything away from the things I write about or mention, please know I don't take them for granted.

I am very thankful.

September 20, 2009

Jay Leno Fitness Plan

I'm not a morning person. I've never been a morning person and trying to become one has proven to be pretty difficult. But, I have a new plan for getting up early and hitting the gym that has actually been working and I have someone to thank: Jay Leno.


I know that sounds crazy, so let me explain. I've had a habit of watching The Tonight Show since I was a little girl. Even as an adult, I would fall asleep to The Tonight Show. I knew that if I was still awake when it got over (11:35pm), I needed to get to sleep fast because 6am would soon be approaching. Now that Jay's new show is on at 9pm, Todd and I have felt a bit like Pavlov's dog. Before last week I couldn't tell you the last time I was in bed before 11:30, but last week we watched Jay at it's new time and we were both in bed by 10pm, and I worked out in the morning twice! I think that might be a record for me. It's funny how a TV show can mess with your head and make your body think it's later than it is. I also bought new workout gear just in case I don't stick with the early bedtime. Hopefully cute gym clothes will motivate me. We'll see!

In other news, Todd was gone all weekend. He scored amazing Cardinals tickets, so he and a few friends drove up to St. Louis for the day yesterday. Today he was at the Titans' game all day. It has been quite the weekend for sports at our house. I didn't see much of him at all, so tonight when he got home I had dinner ready. Two new recipes ready to go. I think I'm trying to force fall to get here because I made a very fall dinner, perfect for a cool night.

Main course: Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew


I found this recipe in the latest issue of Cooking Light. I am such a fan of this magazine. I also made some cheese-garlic biscuits. Yum.

I found my dessert recipe (Apple-Cranberry Crumble) last night while I was at Allison's, flipping through her latest copy of Martha Stewart Living. Unfortunately the recipe isn't online yet. If I find it, I'll add the link. For now, I'll add the closest thing I can find. Instead of cranberries, I added raspberries and it came out delicious.


The picture I took of the finished product was blurry. The result will look a bit like the photo below.


This weekend was my first full weekend at home in a really long time and I can't tell you how much I needed it. I actually feel like there was a break in the week instead of the days continuing to run together.

The only downside is that when I'm home I like to cook, which means I eat. A lot. Good thing I've got a new plan for staying in shape. Hope it works this time...

September 15, 2009

Happiest Place On Earth

We're back! After a 6 day trip to Orlando, I'm finally home. Sleeping in my own bed. It feels good to be back.

I must admit, it was pretty great to be "working" from Disney World. I really am blessed to work with such amazing artists who continue to make me fall in love with my job when at times I want to run away from it. I even had the chance to get to know a co-worker better (we make great roomies we've decided), so overall it was a really good trip.

Todd arrived in Orlando on Saturday morning and we immediately hit the parks. It was his birthday afterall. Todd had never been to Disney, so it was really fun watching him experience it. For two and a half days we were able to be kids again. It was a really nice break.

We started things off at Magic Kingdom.


Todd and I joined two of my coworkers to ride one of the roller coasters. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. My boss Steve is terrified of roller coasters, but we convinced him to ride one of the easier rides. Todd and I both had tears in our eyes from laughing so hard. Steve screamed like a little girl the entire ride, shouting "lordie, lordie, lordie." So funny.


Todd and his Pooh. This was supposed to be a funny Twitter joke. I'm sure you get it. :)

The next day we went to Animal Kingdom. It was by far our favorite park. If you love zoos and theme parks, you're in luck because AK has it all. I worked up the nerve to ride another roller coaster. I hate roller coasters. Hate them. But I wanted Todd to have fun, and asking him to ride alone wasn't acceptable. I'm still pretty impressed with myself for getting on the thing!
animal kingdom coaster

We wrapped up our Disney adventure at Epcot. Again I faced my fears and rode a new ride called Soarin'. I had to ride it twice because the first time I was too scared to enjoy it. We made a date night out of our visit and ate dinner in Japan. If you're not familiar with Epcot, there is an area of the park that represents countries from around the world. The detail is pretty amazing and for a moment, you really feel like you have traveled overseas.


I would like to say that everything about our trip was perfect, but unfortunately I lost my driver's license, so getting back to Nashville was not the easiest. I was almost in tears as security searched me. I'm just hoping there is nobody in Orlando pretending to be me!

I'm so thankful that Todd and I were able to go on a fun trip for his birthday, but I'm also so glad to be home. The cooler weather makes me want to cook warm dinners (I've found some great fall recipes that I'm excited to blog about), curl up on the couch to read good books and spend nights at home watching new TV shows with our closest friends.

That reminds me, I can't forget to set the DVR for The Office!

September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend '09

Something happened this Labor Day weekend that I wasn't expecting. Something so frightening I can barely type it. I realized Todd and I are probably ready to be parents. Not what you were thinking I was going to say, huh? Now I'm not saying I'm anywhere near ready. I'm a planner and it's just not in the plan yet. But I started thinking and honestly, we could do it. We both have good jobs. We bought a house that we could see ourselves starting a family in. We can actually afford childcare, especially when my amazing friend Christi says she would watch our baby for free! She may have been partly kidding, but what she means is that we would have help.

So where is all of this coming from? I met her.

London Sidney Rozell.


I couldn't keep my hands off of her!



Todd likes her too.


I have said I'm waiting until I'm 28 and I am sticking to it. Wow, that's only a year away. So, maybe 29!

We really had a great time visiting family. My dad and Todd's mom celebrated birthdays at the end of August, so while I packed and waiting for Todd to get off work last Friday, I thought I'd give my mixer a whirl and make some birthday cookies. I tried a new recipe and I don't think I'll use it again. The cookies were just a bit too sweet for me, but it was fun and I didn't have to arrive empty handed.


I'm back in Nashville. Doing what I do best...packing. My awful job requires that I spend the week at Disney World. Ha! I have a week full of meetings, but Todd is joining me in Orlando on Saturday to celebrate his birthday. I will have updates and pictures soon.

Hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

September 3, 2009

Franklin Farmer's Market

Apparently Franklin has an incredible little farmer's market that I have been unaware of until now. Maybe it's because I don't leave my house before noon on Saturdays. I should probably work on that. Had I known about this place, I would have put my weekend chores on hold to load baskets full of fresh fruits, veggies and baked goods. I've been to the Nashville Farmer's Market, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't have the charm that the one in Franklin does.

I don't have a free weekend until the middle of the month, but when I do, you can guarantee I'll be up early to hit the Franklin Farmer's Market!





Now I just need to find some great recipes to make with my fresh finds!

September 1, 2009

The Best Burger

The Pioneer Woman thinks so anyway.

It's going to be a busy week. Todd and I are visiting family this weekend and tonight was our only night to hang around the house just the two of us before our trip. I thought I might make a fun dinner before things get a little crazy at the Stepp house.

I made the Pioneer Woman's favorite burger. It was this burger recipe that got me hooked on PW in the first place. I originally found the recipe here, from one of my other favorite bloggers. I'm so glad she shared her pregnancy cravings with the blog world.

I wasn't sure how it would turnout, and having to live up to the PW can be a bit intimidating. I mean, look at her version:


Sadly, mine didn't turn out quite that pretty. But that's okay, because they tasted really good. That's the whole point, right?

I married a fairly picky eater when it comes to vegetables. Until this year he wouldn't eat onions or tomatoes. I'm telling you, this burger was yummy!