Monday, December 23, 2013

Candy Cane Popcorn

This recipe should really be called Candy Cane Crack Popcorn because I literally can't stop eating it.

Perhaps the addiction comes from the combination of sinful ingredients. You be the judge.

Here's the recipe:

I dare you to just eat one bite. Or even two. :)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Be Merry Banner

Ah...Christmas! My favorite holiday of the year. I love decorating my home this time of year, especially with handmade (or pseudo-handmade) pieces.

I bought these mini stockings a few years back. I was going to make gifts for my co-workers, but it turns out they don't hold more than a piece of candy or two, so back in my Christmas bin they went.

Until last year...

When I opened my bin, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a whimsical banner to enjoy every year!

This project was so easy to make. Supplies: $1 stockings from Michaels, EK Success X-Large Snowflake Punch, Pebbles Corrugated Alphabet Stickers, white cardstock, red rhinestones, and Glue Dots.

Simply punch the snowflakes from the cardstock, add a letter sticker to the middle, and place red rhinestones on each snowflake tip. Then adhere each snowflake to the middle of each stocking.

The best part...the little hooks on the stockings made it so easy to thread a white satin ribbon through!

Here's to being merry!

Monday, December 9, 2013

One Fine Day

After months of planning, the big day was finally here. Most of my hard work, sweat, and tears was wrapped up in the rehearsal dinner, which just happened to be on the Fourth of July. To read about my 120 hand stamped place cards (never again!) along with the 120 cupcakes with stamped "Love is Sweet" picks, check out these two posts on the Paper Crafts Connection blog:

Let Freedom (& Wedding) Bells Ring
Let Freedom (& Wedding) Bells Ring, Part II

It's funny…there was so much work that went into the rehearsal dinner. Mostly because all the decorations were handmade and required a lot of patience (to make, to set up and take down). And I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'd love celebrating the Fourth of July on an old-fashioned paddle boat surrounded by all of our family and Holly's closest friends. That said, it was a great relief NOT to have to do much for the actual wedding day, besides performing my Maid of Honor duties.

The days leading up to the wedding, I had a manicure/pedicure, waxed my eyebrows, and got my first spray tan. The morning of the wedding, all of the bridesmaids, my mom, my mom's best friend of 40+ years, and our "Little" flower girl McCall gathered in the bridal suite for a few hours of pampering and girl time.

I love this picture to pieces!
Holly ordered pizza and we took turns sitting in the make-up chair and getting our hair done. It was my first time having my make-up airbrushed on (the secret to flawless skin) and trying out fake eyelashes. The results are amazing! If Holly was Cinderella for the day, I felt like the Fairy Godmother with a magical makeover. 

Sadly at midnight, the tan disappeared and the fake eyelashes fell off.
But before the clock struck midnight, there was countless breathtaking moments. Here's just a few (courtesy of Callaway Gable Photography, the official wedding photographers):

It's show time!
The Father of the Bride and his girls.
Snow Bride and the Seven Bridemaids
The Ring Bearer holding a cute sign for the Groom.
The well-dressed Groomsmen sporting their new Proof sunglasses!

The gorgeous rotunda at the Pelican Hill Resort.
A part of the ceremony included a handfasting ritual.
Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Hendrix!
Sealed with a kiss!
The Smith-Hendrix Wedding Party
The Groom's Family
The Bride's Family 
The Mother of the Bride and Holly
The kids had so much fun playing in the petals after the ceremony.
Then it was time for the reception! Here's the gorgeous tables.

The suspended wedding cake was a big hit!   
And it took a miracle (or just the right song!) to get Brent dancing.  
The Co-Maid of Honor and Brent hug it out.

This picture sums up a perfect day. My dad said it best: "It was a ridiculous, over the top wedding, but Holly's ridiculously happy."

Congratulations, Holly & Brent!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Fiesta-Themed Couples Shower

Before Holly’s glamorous wedding, her bridesmaids threw her and Brent a Fiesta-themed couples shower in Dallas. Since Brent grew up in El Paso and loves Mexican food more than anything, this theme was a no brainer.

Holly’s seven bridesmaids divided up the assignments with her friend Alayna volunteering to host the party in her backyard. It must be said that most of the work was done by Alayna and her husband (who opened up their lovely home) and Chelsea, a fellow bridesmaid and party planner extraordinaire. My modest contribution was this umbrella wreath (an idea I found on Pinterest):

All you need to recreate this wreath is a Styrofoam circle, a bright ribbon, and a box of umbrella drink picks (I bought an assortment of 72 picks at Hobby Lobby for $4.99).
Alayna and her husband set up tables in their backyard and had a yummy fajita dinner catered with homemade tortillas. There was a Mariachi band playing some sweet Spanish tunes and even the light on-and-off rain added to the evening’s ambiance.

Chelsea pretty much handled the majority of the decorations, which included wild flower centerpieces for each of the tables, a fun display for her Margarita-flavored cupcakes and these colorful invitations:

After we finished eating, the guests were divided into 4 groups with someone from each group selected to be the “bride”. The objective was simple: create the most gorgeous wedding dress…out of toilet paper! The best part of this little game was someone managed to talk Brent into playing the role of blushing bride. And the first order of business was to strip him half naked so the magic could begin!

Then it was each bride’s turn to walk down the “aisle” to determine who had the best wedding dress, and more importantly, who wore their dress the best. 

The Toga Bride
The Debutante Bride
The Mummy Bride
The Sexy Bride
It was a tough competition, but Brent stole the show! 
Who knew toilet paper could be so versatile? :)


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Other Side of Lortab

Oh, I miss you. What a good friend you've been these last few weeks. But all good things must come to an end. And frankly, I'm thrilled to get back to my pre-pill days.

It's been awhile.

When I last left you, I was headed into laparoscopic surgery to remove some persistent ovarian cysts. Since it was my first surgery, I had NO idea what to expect. I met with my doctor the day before and she explained the surgery would last about an hour, barring any complications. And then I made the mistake of asking what those complications could be. Let's just say the worst is death! I actually had to sign a paper saying I understood the risks of surgery and there's no guarantee that everything will go according to plan. 


My mom was able to take the day off from work, and as a R.N., I was happy to have her by my side for the day. We checked in around 10:30 a.m. (with a beeper, like at restaurants!) and things went very quickly from there. I changed into a gown, scrub bottoms, fuzzy socks and then the nurse came in to start my IV.

And it only took one stick! 
From there, I filled out lots of paper work, gave them a urine sample, and took note of the special date on the board:

That's kind of cool. Perhaps even lucky!
Around 11:30 a.m., they came to get me. And just like Grey's Anatomy, they put a shower cap over your head and wheel you down to the elevators. I quickly waved goodbye to my mom and up I went. The only thing that annoyed me is they left me sitting in my hospital bed for 30 minutes right outside the operating room. Doctors and nurses would come out of other surgeries, wash up, check their phones, and make small talk. All the while I'm just sitting there in my blue shower cap. The anesthesiologist finally came and introduced himself and asked if I had any weird reactions to anesthesia (to which I answered, "I guess we'll find out."). Then my doctor showed up and it was game time. My first reaction to the operating room? Crazy coldness. They transferred me to the operating table (which is very small, by the way) and covered me with a warm blanket. 

Then it was lights out.

The next thing I know, I'm waking up in a large recovery room. There's a clock across the room and it reads 3:00 p.m. Hmm...I must still be on drugs. They said it would only be an hour. Then I noticed a yellow bag near by bed and without warning a nurse removes a catheter from me. Hmm...didn't see that one coming. My doctor then comes in and says something with a sweet smile, but I'm too out of it to register. They wheel me back to a recovery room where my mom greets me with a kiss. Before they can even move me to the bed, I tell my mom I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. She helps me shuffle down to the bathroom, but nothing happens. Hmm..that's weird. I swear I had to pee. 

I get back to the room and my mom explains that the surgery went well, but in addition to the cysts, they ended up finding lots of endometriosis, which needed to be removed, via laser. Because the surgery went longer than expected, my doctor gave me clearance to stay the night if I needed the good drugs. Funny enough, I was in a lot of pain, but it wasn't that much worse than my pre-surgery pain. Honestly, I was just relieved it wasn't all in my head and that I was able to give the residents a good show. 

I ended up going home mainly because I wanted to be in my bed and see this sweet girl:

She stayed by my side throughout my whole recovery.
The first few days post-op are not a lot of fun. The goal is to keep the pain under control, so you're popping pills every four hours. Oddly enough, my four small incisions didn't hurt much. I'm guessing the real pain was from all the lasering. My surgery was three weeks yesterday and today was the first day I wasn't alternating Tylenol and Advil around the clock. Hopefully I've turned a corner. Of course, all the lovely get well gifts have helped tremendously. I'm so lucky to have friends and family who dropped everything to make me meals, bring me flowers, movies, magazines, and CANDY!

Thanks to my Debbie-Time for these sweet treats!
I had my post-op appt with my doctor last week. She showed me some incredibly cool and very disturbing pictures they took during surgery. There's nothing like looking at your insides up close and personal. Because I have a severe case of endometriosis, we're going to have to aggressively treat it going forward. There's many hormone-suppressing treatments, but all carry some not-so-fun side effects (hot flashes, bone density loss, depression, weight gain, and possible permanent menopause). I've opted to go with the Depo-Provera shot because the side effects are less severe than others. We'll see if it's the miracle drug for me. 

Sadly, the recurrence rate of endometriosis is as high as 40% following surgery. But I'm learning to wrap my head around this diagnosis. It's my thing. But I'm also learning that sooner or later we all have a thing. Some have more than one thing. And we still lead happy, productive lives. I've also gained enormous empathy for those that deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. My brief tango with it has been memorable, but I can't wait to get back to normal. Or find a new normal. As long as it's Lortab-free, I'm game to try.