What Happens in Vegas...

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If any of you know me, you can probably guess that I am not a "Vegas" kind of person. I mean I have been to Vegas a few times, but I have only been there as a place to stop over on my way to where I am really going. I don't typically stay up later than 10 pm, I don't love big crowds or being around people who should have stopped drinking hours ago, and I HATE the smell of cigarettes. I am pretty much the opposite of Vegas.

With all of that said, Zach and I took a 24 hour trip to Las Vegas, Nevada recently to celebrate a friend's 21 birthday. It was the best way to do such a crazy city, in my opinion. We drove out on a Saturday and got in around noon, checked into our hotel, and got some lunch. We gambled for a couple of hours with the birthday girl, went to Top Golf, and had a huge birthday dinner. In the morning, we got up and went to brunch, checked out, and drove home.

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If anyone is wondering, no, I did not win any money. Neither did Zach. We did have a lot of fun losing it, though! Zach likes to play Wheel of Fortune and that's pretty much the only game he played. Since I don't know how to play cards and I don't know enough about sports to bet on them I mostly just had fun watching other people in our group get excited about winning. I did play Wheel of Fortune a few times but I mostly just liked watching the big wheel spin and light up.

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One of the coolest things we did while in Las Vegas was the brunch we went to on the day we left. We went to Hell's Kitchen, the Gordon Ramsey restaurant. Everything we ate was incredible, but the coolest part was that the kitchen of the restaurant was set up just like it is in the show! There was a red and a blue team and you could see into the kitchen from where we were sitting. There was a video of Gordon in the front of the restaurant spitting out some of his classic food insults at anyone who walked by. After listening to a few Zach announced that Gordon Ramsey is his spirit animal!

We loved having the chance to celebrate with our friend for such a milestone birthday and were happy to have an excuse to check off another state from our list of places to visit. We spent the whole way home trying to decide if we should ever go back and what we would do if we did. Do you have a favorite thing to do in Las Vegas or are you someone who tries to stay away? Let me know so we have some ideas if we ever go back!

I JUST CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!

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Happy Monday! Did you have a productive weekend? Zach and I spent the weekend working on all the projects that have been sitting around our house for the last year and we just never seem to get around to doing. For those of you that don't know, Zach has lived in our home for 2 years and I moved in just over a year ago. You would think that since we have been there so long we would have everything put away and decorated and have it all together.... but at 24 and 25 home decorating seems to always get bumped from the to-do list by the latest Game of Thrones episode or a nap.

I am not sure exactly what happened, but one day I absolutely could not stand looking at the huge pile of mail on our kitchen table and the 6 pairs of shoes in the front hall. I am by no means an organized person (I can barely even see the floor of my closet) but that day I just lost it. At that exact moment, I needed everything put away and for there to be no more piles of anything in my house. When Zach asked me what I was doing running all over the house moving things around I shouted "I JUST CANT TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" I looked insane. Zach told me I WAS insane. I acted insane. Now the house is all clean and it was definitely worth it! Simply picking everything up took about 3 hours since Zach and I hadn't done that since.... well probably ever. Once all the random stuff was put away we started realizing what kinds of projects we had been putting off for months.

The first thing we did was hang curtains in our bedroom. We have glass French doors in our master bedroom and I love them. It is awesome to get to look out and see all the lights at night and to be woken up in the morning by natural light. What I don't love about them is that they leave us with very little privacy. In about 2 days we went from not having any idea what we wanted to having everything done! I really should have recorded us hanging the curtain rod and attempting to hem the curtains to the length we wanted because it was pretty entertaining, but since I didn't you will have to imagine what happened from this picture.

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We decided the next step would be to hang the pictures we had sitting in a pile on our pool table. We spent 45 minutes looking for the perfect place and 1 minute actually hanging the pictures. In my mind, hanging things on the wall is such a time commitment and labor intensive project but as it turns out the hardest part is just deciding where things should go. It only took one nail to hang most of the frames on the wall!

The last thing we did doesn't really count as decorating because you can't actually see it when you walk in our house. It was more of an organizational thing. My aunt and uncle gave me their crystal glassware before I got married. It is a beautiful collection of Waterford goblets and serving ware. For the last year, it has been sitting boxed up in my office without being used or a permanent home. Zach's parents also recently gave us a set of china that they were getting rid of. That, too, was sitting around in the house in a moving box without a permanent home. After two different trips to Bed Bath and Beyond we finally got the proper storage, packed everything up and got it put away. Now, instead of having my office full of kitchen things maybe I can actually use it for its intended purpose!

Are we the only ones who let things pile up in the house until someone loses their mind? I feel like other people must let this happen, too. Also, what was the last wedding gift you finally put away? I still have one more thing sitting up in my office that I am trying to find the perfect place for (Being so short means I can only reach the first shelf of my upper kitchen cabinets without dragging out the ladder!). Let me know so I know I am not the only one who doe these things!

Kinda Trying to be Healthy, Kinda Liking Eating Pizza on the Couch

Hey guys! I know I haven't been keeping up with posting every Monday and Friday like I have been trying to, but sometimes life gets in the way. I've been soooooo behind on everything from grocery shopping to laundry that sitting down to write a blog post about what we have been up to just didn't even make the to-do list. But here I am, back at it, and ready to let you all in on what we have been doing!

How many of you made New Year's resolutions that you have long since forgotten about? I am sitting here with my hand raised high. Both Zach and I made goals to be healthier. We said we would eat more veggies, less dessert, eat in more and go out less. We also said that we would use the home gym that we worked so hard to put together. I am sure most of you can guess that by the middle of January these ideas went right out the window.

Two weeks ago, we both re-committed to this new healthy lifestyle. I made a menu full of veggies and protein. I looked up workouts and announced that I would be working out 4 days a week. Zach did the grocery shopping and got tons of fresh produce from Trader Joes. It looked like we were all set up for success. What could possibly go wrong, right?

By the time Friday rolled around, I had worked out exactly 0 times. I had also cooked 0 meals from my healthy eating meal plan. To make it even better, I texted Zach on my lunch hour saying how tired I was and we quickly decided that ordering pizza and garlic knots from Zitos was the best possible decision we could make for the day. It was delicious, but clearly not in alignment with working towards being healthy. Finishing off a quart of ice cream while watching a movie, eating a giant shave ice, and mowing down a bag of gummy bears over the weekend also didn't get me any closer to being healthy. I clearly have a problem.

Since I am clearly failing at working towards a healthier me, I am hoping you all can help me out. Zach wants to get healthy with me, so let me know in the comments below what your favorite way to be healthy with your partner is. Do you have a favorite healthy recipe? I would love to try it! Do you and your spouse work out together? What do you do that you can both enjoy? I am hoping that between now and the end of May Zach and I can make some serious progress towards our goal and I would love any suggestions you have to offer!

What I Wish I Knew Before Going to New Orleans

If you didn't read my last post, Zach and I just got back from our spring break trip to New Orleans! We thought we were really prepared for the trip, but once we arrived we realized that we weren't as smart as we thought we were. We had prepared for the weather, the humidity, and made plans for what to do while we were there but we still missed preparing for some things that would have been helpful to know. Just in case anyone was wondering, I thought I would share the things I wish I knew before flying 3/4 of the way across the country.

1) Walking is the fastest way to get around. Unlike here in Southern California, taking a Lyft or an Uber is not going to get you anywhere in a hurry. Every night on our way to dinner we would check to see if calling a car would be easier or faster but it never was. Walking everywhere not only saved us a ton of money, but it also saved us 10-20 minutes everywhere we went! The French Quarter is so crowded in the afternoon and evening that some of the streets get closed off to cars. The rest of them have so many people in them that it just takes forever to get through. Zach ended up with sore ankles from wearing the wrong shoes and I ended up with multiple blisters in places I wouldn't have even thought possible. If you are planning on doing anything more than just staying in your hotel, make sure to bring comfortable shoes that you won't mind walking all over the city in.

2) California has different standards of dress than the rest of the country. I packed some sundresses, jeans, t-shirts, and sandals figuring that I could pretty much make an outfit for any occasion out of what I packed. Just for good measure, I threw I medium-formal dress, a blouse, and a pair of wedges. In Southern California, wearing jeans is acceptable for almost any occasion so I figured I would be fine. Zach, luckily, packed a blazer and a couple of button up shirts for the trip or we really would have been in trouble. Most of the restaurants we went to for dinner had a business casual dress code that specified no jeans. Some of them even said jacket preferred. Even just for day-to-day activities, I noticed that all the locals, or at least people visiting from the south, all were dressed much cuter than I was and NO ONE (besides me) was wearing flip-flops. If you live outside Orange County, maybe you think I am crazy for saying jeans were my plan for the whole trip, but if you are from here and are planning a trip to New Orleans, make sure you bring plenty of "dressy casual" and business casual clothes.

3) Everything moves just a little bit slower. This really was not something I was expecting. From the moment our plane touched down, the passengers got off the plane slower. When we caught a Lyft to our hotel, the driver drove slower. People talked slower and waited longer to take our order at restaurants. When we were walking in the streets everyone walked slower and nobody seemed to mind. People ate slower shopped slower and greeted each other slower. I loved it! Zach was going insane.

I really try to plan for every trip we go on. I hate being unprepared and try to think of everything I can before a trip. Still, almost every time there are things I miss when planning. Have you ever had something pop up on your vacation that you weren't prepared for? Did it work out or did you have to scramble to come up with a solution? Let me know in the comments below so I know I am not the only one this happens to!

New Orleans, Louisiana

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As a teacher, March is the WORST. Those of you who have normal, year-round, 9-5 jobs are all about to start making fun of me, but it's true. It is the only month of the whole year where you have students every day. There are no random holidays, no teacher work days, and no professional development days- just 4 1/2 straight weeks of students coming to school every day with spring fever. If you are a teacher, you get it. If you are not, I dare you to try teaching in March.

As someone who likes hanging out with my husband, April is the worst. Not as bad as being a teacher in March, but it's still not great. Zach has a work trip almost every weekend in April which means I am home alone a lot. Even when he is home, there is work to catch up on from being gone and in-town swapmeets to run. It seems a little unfair that these two months back up against each other, but right in between there is a magical week where everything seems to go right- Spring Break!

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When Zach and I picked a wedding date, we really over thought it. We thought about birthdays and holidays, work schedules, we changed our minds 100 times, and finally settled at the end of March. The first week in April is spring break every year and we decided to get married just before that so we could take a spring break trip every year. Last year, we went to Maui, Hawaii for our honeymoon and this year we went to New Orleans.

Across our 5 day trip, Zach and I visited 4 state museums, took 2 tours, ate at 12 different restaurants (some of them twice!), and walked over 62 miles. Neither one of us had been to Louisiana before and we loved exploring the city together. The people, the buildings, and the food gave us the perfect respite from our crazy lives.

Our favorite part of the whole trip was just walking around and looking at all the beautiful architecture. From walking around the French Quarter and admiring the shops and shotgun houses to wandering down St. Charles street and shopping for our imaginary other life we loved seeing all the architecture that was so different from what we have here in Orange County. We both felt like we had stepped into another world where uniqueness was celebrated and conformity did not exist. Instead of pre-planned neighborhoods where every house was one of 3 floor plans each house had its own unique styling and details that made it stand out from the next.

I learned that Zach loves wrap-around porches and traditional details. I learned that I love bright colors and rocking chairs. Neither one of us would have been able to tell you that we liked these things before spending hours walking around the streets of New Orleans aimlessly taking picture after picture of strangers homes hoping they weren't watching us.

It ended up being the perfect way to wrap up a month straight of teaching and prepare for a month hardly seeing Zach-After all the activity we managed to cram into one week we were both ready for a break from vacation. I don't even think Zach minded waking up early for his work trip the day after we got home after being stuck with me 24/7! Either way, it was the perfect way to break up the two worst months of the year in a way that made each one totally worth it.

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Zach and I set a goal to visit all 50 states together as a married couple and so far we have only been to a few. We live in California and have visited Hawaii, Indiana, and now Louisiana (we also visited Utah, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Oregon while we were dating). Where should we take our next trip to? If you have a favorite state to visit, let me know down below and tell me if there are any can't miss things to do! We are already thinking about our next adventure and I know we will go somewhere next year for Spring Break, too!

Day 365

I cannot believe that Zach and I have been married a year. A YEAR! I feel like we just got married a few months ago. This time last year we were eating the first of many shave ices and taking pictures in our matching husband and wife shirts. Since we just celebrated our anniversary yesterday, I thought it would be fun to look at what the first year of marriage has taught me.

I feel like I should start out by saying that I really thought I had everything together when I got married last year. I felt like I had all the skills necessary to be a great wife and that I would be the most patient, understanding, loving, put-together 1950s-era housewife while still working full time. Anyone who is married is probably already laughing at the ridiculousness of this idea. If you aren't married, or if you are about to get married and have this same idea about what you will be like as a new wife, good luck. It just isn't going to happen. Everyone told me this and said learning to be married is "an adjustment" and that there is a "learning curve" and to make sure and "be patient with each other while you figure it all out" but I was positive that those words of advice were only for those people who weren't ready for marriage or were really immature. Apparently, I was one of those immature people since I assumed these things would not apply to me.

The first thing I learned this past year is that I am absolutely horrible at time management. I regularly am running out the door to work with my shoes in my hand and praying that traffic is on my side. No matter how early I wake up for work, I always seem to waste all but the last 10 minutes. Most days I am forced to choose between a cute hairstyle and a full face of makeup. Some days I am putting my hair in a ponytail and swiping on mascara in my car sitting in the parking lot at school. I don't know what I do in the mornings other than get ready, but without fail, I am always running out of time.

The second thing I have learned in my first year of marriage is to ask for help... kind of. More like I have learned to accept help when it is forced upon me without too much complaining. Sometimes the only way the laundry is going to get done is if Zach helps. Sometimes I just don't have time to make the awesome dinner I planned for the night. Sometimes I fall asleep because I refused to ask for help the week before and I am flat out exhausted but there are chores to be done. Zach often helps hang up the laundry, he has gone to the grocery store for me, and he has brought me things when I have been sick. For the first 9 months of our marriage, I insisted that as super-wife I could do it all and never needed help with anything. I am now learning to accept these gestures of love and not feel so guilty when I can't make everything happen on my own.

The last big thing I have learned this year is that I am either a WAY better cook than I thought or that Zach is WAY less of a foodie than I thought. Zach grew up eating out at restaurants multiple times a week. I was constantly trying to look up new and exciting recipes to compete with the meals I knew he was used to. Other than one time making butternut squash soup, Zach has loved (or pretended to love, maybe its all a lie!) every meal I have made. Sometimes I make stuff up based off of what is in the pantry. Sometimes I have no idea what I am doing until dinner ends up on the plate. Sometimes I follow a complicated recipe that takes 2 hours to make. It doesn't really seem to make that much of a difference. It is usually the meals that I thought were going to end up terrible that end up being added to our cookbook and make it into the regular rotation.

That's it... I only learned 3 things all year. JUST KIDDING! I learned and grew so much this year, these were just the top three things that stood out. It was hard to let go of my idealized version of what my first year married would be like but if I hadn't I never would have learned what I did. Leave me a comment below with something your marriage has taught you or what the ideal of your first year of marriage was like (and if it held up to the real thing!). I love hearing from you and can't wait to see everyone's thoughts!

Thank You, Next!

How many of you have heard of the show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix? How many of you have actually watched it? Finally, how many of you drank the Kool-Aid and ended up searching your home for the things that bring you joy?

I have officially joined the club and have spent multiple hours over the past two weeks deciding what brings me joy and thanking things that don't before adding them to my donate pile. I love holding on to things way past their expiration date. I still had a pair of jeans I wore back in high school that hasn't fit in years. It is pretty much a miracle that I still had so many random things since I grew up with a mother who LOVED to clean out closets and drawers (and boxes and desks and backpacks) and would make everyone who lived with her weed out their wardrobes at least once a year. If I didn't have a mom like that my own baby clothes might still be hanging in my closet!

It is probably no surprise that I have never enjoyed cleaning out my closet before. I hate cleaning and I hate getting rid of stuff. I only decided to watch Tidying Up With Marie Kondo to see what everyone was talking about and so I would understand all the social media references to tiny boxes and finding joy. I was shocked when I found myself spring cleaning on March 2 and piling every article of clothing I had onto my bed.

I started with my closet. It had probably been 3 weeks since I had seen the floor and I figured it was the best place to start. My closet is the "junk drawer" of the house. It is pretty big, so almost anything fits in it. Any time I don't know what to do with something or need to stash something before someone comes over it ends up in my closet. Don't have time to fold the laundry? Put it in the closet. Unpacked the suitcase but haven't put it away? Put it in the closet. Didn't have time to pick up before guests arrived? You guessed it, put it in the closet. I have cleaned out my closet many times in my life and I have hated it every single time- except this time. All I could think about was the Ariana Grande song where she thanks all of her ex-boyfriends before moving on. I know, I was getting rid of clothes and not boyfriends but the concept still applied! The whole concept of keeping things that bring you joy and ditching the things you feel apathetic about or dislike was mind-blowing. By the time I was done with the closet looking at my clothes made me so happy. The closet looked scarily empty, but I was happy.

I was so happy, in fact, that I moved on to my drawers. All my t-shirts have been folded and stacked up. Pretty soon I was stacking up Zach's t-shirts, too, so everything could fit in the drawers without having to shove (I did NOT throw out any of his stuff... Just wanted to make that clear). I even got Zach to go through his sock drawer and decide which socks brought him joy. I doubt he kept socks that brought him joy, but he did go from 65+ pairs of socks down to 30. I even convinced him to thank the socks he was throwing away.

I don't know what it is about the Con-Marie method, but I can honestly say it is a life changer. I keep looking around the house and seeing more things to tidy up now that my clothes have been taken care of (my desk, the guest room, the closet in the music room, etc.). Who knew that something as simple as a closet could bring me so much joy?

Out of curiosity, how many of you are pack rats and how many of you are minimalists? I feel like even after clearing out tons of stuff I am still worlds away from minimalism but at least I am not a borderline hoarder!

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