Krista’s Kitchen: Coconut Curry Chicken

I took a survey on my Instagram last week, and found a lot of people were interested in having me write about what I cook. Let me begin with this: I am not a chef, and before Robert and I got married we joked about how he would be doing all the cooking since I couldn’t even make simple grilled chicken without completely burning it. Like, I would char it completely to make sure it was cooked thoroughly. Now, though, I am all about creating recipes that are super easy, healthy, and tasty. I think cooking is fun, and I am surprisingly capable after learning more about different ingredients. I want to make recipes that literally anyone can do, and without all the work of measuring out ingredients and being hassled with following something exactly.

Today, I want to share my newest creation that I can actually take 100% credit for! I made it last night with some ingredients I picked out from the store, and I was actually anticipating to get a major fail blog post out of it. My coconut curry chicken is now Robert’s favorite dish I’ve ever made, though, and he said he gives it a 9.8 out of 10, which is the closest to perfect he’ll ever get. He said this was comparing it to restaurants and every kind of food he’s ever had. I asked if he’s ever had a dish that’s a 10 before, and he said no. Not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty proud that this was ranked as one of the best foods in his book!

Okay so it’s really easy to make, but before getting started I want to preface this post with something. I cook by eyeballing everything. I compare this to playing music by ear; you don’t need to have measuring cups or any sort of help reading exact numbers for my recipes. I’ll explain how I make everything based on ratios or describing how much flavor you want in a recipe. This, in my opinion, makes things a lot easier and more customizable from person to person. I typically make enough food for 2, so just add more however much you think you need when cooking for a bigger party. Here goes nothing!

Coconut Curry Chicken

Krista’s Coconut Curry Chicken

Ingredients: 
Chicken Breast
Ground Turmeric
Curry Powder
Chili Powder
Chopped Garlic Cloves
Lime Juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Jasmine Rice
Coconut Milk
Carrots
Butter
Ground Cinnamon

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F.

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No, I don’t believe in measuring cups, but this was a good one to display the rice in.

Step 2: make the coconut rice.

Coconut rice is one of my favorite things and is so easy to make! Literally all you do is dump the coconut milk (I love the organic coco milk from Trader Joe’s) into a pot on the stove, cover, and heat until it begins to boil.

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Just a heads-up, if you get the milk with a normal amount of fat in it, it might be partially solid. The first time I made this I threw out the milk because I thought it went bad since it was solid, but it’s supposed to be like this! It will melt into a liquid once it begins to boil.

Once the coconut milk is boiling, add a pinch of salt, and dump in about 3/4 the amount of rice as there was liquid. An easy way to do this is just measure it in the empty coconut milk can.

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Once you pour the rice in the pot, re-cover it, turn the heat to “medium low,” and cook without stirring until the rice is fluffy and has absorbed all the liquid.

Now, let’s move on to the main dish while the rice cooks!

Step 3: Put the seasoning together.

Seasoning chicken is surprisingly easy. The only things I used were turmeric, curry, garlic, lime juice (sorry I put a photo with a lemon, but I changed my mind at the last minute and am not professional enough to retake the photo. Plus, using a lemon instead will not kill you, and is a fine substitute I’m sure), salt, and pepper.

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Start by putting three shakes of chili powder into a mixing bowl. Then, put in a very generous amount of curry powder. After all, the dish is called “chicken curry,” so we need this flavor to really stand out! Add about half the amount of ground turmeric as there is curry in the bowl. I just eyeballed all of this to be more than enough to season the chicken breast with, that way I didn’t have to make up a mixture again or have a naked chicken.

Add a few pinches of salt and pepper, then stir in enough EVOO to turn the mixture into a little bit of a liquid, but still smell primarily like curry. If it smells too much like EVOO, add more curry and turmeric until the marinade smells like seasoning again. Squirt in as much lime (or lemon) juice as you think seems good. I used one of those premade lime juices that you keep in the fridge, and put in about 6 drops. Chop up a few garlic cloves and toss them in there, too. I really roughly chopped it, which is why you can clearly see chunks of garlic on my finished product. I bet you thought those were peanuts or some sort of fancy topping. Nope, just good ol’ garlic!

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Step 4: Prepare the chicken.

I always start off by patting the chicken breast dry with paper towels, and placing it on a cutting board. As I mentioned before, I don’t know a lot about cooking, so I probably hack off a little too much of the chicken. Are those white things veins that need to be gone, or fat that is chewy and gross? Or is it just part of the chicken breast? Regardless, the shape of my chicken sometimes isn’t very pretty because of my lack of knowledge.

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The chicken before I did a lot of unnecessary chopping
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Chicken after I got rid of the suspicious white stuff

Then, cover both sides with salt and pepper. This is a step I only take because I have watched enough of The Food Network to know that it’s an incredibly professional move.

After that, throw the chicken into the sauce and cover it completely. I mixed all the chicken around a ton so it would be evenly coated. Put it on a baking sheet and cook until the chicken is white throughout. You can Google “How long do you bake chicken?” to find more answers on food safety and such. I don’t want to be responsible for any food poisoning, and honestly I just cook it until it seems ready, then cut into it to be sure that it is no longer pink.

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Step 5: While the chicken is cooking, you can take care of the carrots. These are literally the easiest thing to make of all time.

Start by chopping up as many carrots as you’d like. I did four for two people, but they were enormous since they weren’t organic and were likely genetically modified. I don’t typically go this route, but the organic bag was way too big and heavy for me to carry, so here we are with these four foot long vegetables.

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Then, let some butter melt in a saucepan. Once again, put in as much as you’d like depending on how fattening you’d like this meal to be. You could also use EVOO or some other ingredient to sauté. I don’t think it really matters.

Toss a bunch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt on the carrots. I love cinnamon, so I don’t think you can really have too much of it.

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Cook until soft, stirring on occasion. It takes maybe like, 5-7 minutes?

Step 6: Cook everything until it’s all done, then put it all together on a plate. I don’t really know how else to end this, but I think you are capable enough to finish dinner on your own. I certainly have no idea what I’m doing and was able to execute it alright.

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I’d give this recipe an 8/10. I really liked it and am craving it again now that I’m writing about it and looking at all the photos. Minus the ones of the raw chicken — raw meat really grosses me out, which made me almost decide to not include those photos. I think they were necessary to break up the steps and make this an easy read, though.

Please let me know what you think of this if you decide to make it, and if you’d like to see more of this! Since I love to cook now I might be doing a few recipes each month, rather than a million Instagram stories that will disappear.

Single For Valentine’s Day

My favorite holiday is this week! I am so excited that we only have two days until Valentine’s Day, but I am well aware that a lot of people are either dreading the day or just not looking forward to it. Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite days of the year — despite being single for many of them. It’s great having a holiday that’s just meant to show how much you love the people in your life.

Here are an few fun ideas of things to do if you are single this Valentine’s Day:

1. Treat yourself to a massage. Couples massages are great, but you don’t need a date to have a relaxing day. If anything going alone just means you can take your time and enjoy the sauna and other amenities a spa has to offer before your treatment.

2. Binge watch a show and order delivery. This was one of my favorite things to do to relax when I was living on my own in New York. I loved watching Gossip Girl with a pizza from Joe’s and top it all off with a cupcake from Sprinkles. Now, there are a million different murder mysteries on Netflix, The Office and Parks and Rec both have great Valentine’s Day episodes, or there’s always The Hallmark Channel for hopeless romantics.

3. Splurge on expensive truffles. One of the best things I’ve gotten for Valentine’s Day was an enormous box of Godiva truffles. I used to think they were overpriced (And I mean, they totally are), but it’s worth it for a one-time thing.

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4. Go dessert hopping by yourself or with a friend. Check out Yelp for the highest-rated places and taste a few things from each of them. Bring a box to keep the leftovers for the next day!

5. Deliver Valentines to your friends and family. Valentine’s Day has always been a day to celebrate the ladies in my life. My mom and I have always gone all-out for this pink and red holiday, and several of my friends like celebrating it with me, too! I usually celebrate a few different days to get all of my Galentines in, but it’s also a lot of fun to see friends’ faces when you deliver something on February 14th.

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A few Valentines from last year!

So whether or not you have a date this Thursday, make it a day to just love yourself and splurge a little. It’s always so much fun to have things to look forward to in life, and Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to just be excited about all of the love you have in your life. I hope you all have a fantastic day, and feel free to tell me what you’re going to be doing in the comments!

Something Borrowed Blooms Review

What do you think about my bridal bouquet? I chose a simple style with a nice amount of greenery because I wanted my dress to be the focal point of the photos.

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Wedding planning is stressful, and there are a million different details that go into it. Things you wouldn’t think about like napkin colors and textures, what kind of “save the dates” you want to send out, party favors, and of course, what kind of flowers you want for each and every part of the day. You try to figure all of this out while sticking to a budget and it isn’t easy.

I was so lucky that my mom stumbled upon a company called Something Borrowed BloomsThey make bouquets and decor so easy, and are a whole lot cheaper than going to a florist. I chatted with one of the founders of the company, Lauren, about possibly doing a review in exchange for a deal on the flowers. Before I could agree to doing a partnership, though, I wanted to see the flowers in person to make sure I liked the quality for my wedding day. She happily sent me the bouquet from the Sophia collection I had been looking at, which gave me the peace of mind I needed to book all of my flowers with them. Although up close you could tell the flowers were not real, they still looked absolutely beautiful, and the pictures didn’t show that they were created with fine silk. I also learned from this test run that I did not like the scent they used in the bouquets, so I ordered mine without perfume.

We rented flowers for the chairs at the ceremony, and SBB makes it really easy to order in bulk by sorting everything into matching collections. You can mix and match some, however I really liked having a cohesive look for the day. I used the Olivia collection for almost everything, but there was one problem that arose when I placed my order. They were out of the Olivia bridal bouquet! To fix this problem, I ended up ordering The Olivia bridesmaid bouquet for myself (Which was a little smaller than the bridal bouquet, but still a good size), and got a different bridesmaid collection for my girls to hold. I chose The Charlotte collection for them, and it ended up working out great.

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography
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They even have Boutonnieres to rent for the men’s jackets.

We also used Something Borrowed Blooms for every single centerpiece, and they looked absolutely beautiful. I love the pictures we have of our setup because it makes me remember the event so vividly.

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

These bouquets were well worth their price. For $20/centerpiece, we not only got the overflowing greenery and  flowers, but the they came in beautiful silver vases as well. If we were to have done the same concept with real flowers, they would have been at least twice the price. It was so easy to take them out of the giant cardboard box they came in, and literally just set them on every guest’s table. All we had to do after the wedding was throw them back into the box and ship them back to the company. It couldn’t have been any easier, and we felt good about using something that was environmentally-friendly and wouldn’t be thrown out in just a couple of days.

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Overall I would recommend these flowers to any bride who doesn’t have florals as their #1 priority. Most of us are more focused on the dress, the music, and the party, and these flowers made for the most beautiful finishing touches, but didn’t break the bank. They have enough styles to suit the majority of weddings, and phenomenal customer service in case you need help choosing a collection. Since there are so many different things to worry about when planning a wedding, SBB takes all of the organizing and guesswork out of florals and does the work for you. This company is absolutely a godsend and I couldn’t have been happier using them for our own special day.

 

Dating In A Technology-Saturated World

Love is difficult enough on its own, but when you add our little black screens to the mix, things become just that much more complicated. First, let’s talk casually dating. There are a million different apps and websites you can use to meet people. Making a choice — or three — of what you want to use can dictate the kind of people you will meet. There is a dating app for everyone, whether you are looking for a farmer, a fellow vegetarian, or someone who loves Disney just as much as you do. This is great because it takes searching high and low out of the equation and sets you up with a partner who has at least some of the same interests that you do. Even using the more standard dating websites makes finding a partner a little easier because there are usually questions to answer that calculate what percent of a match you are with someone, which saves the smalltalk and goes straight for some of the biggest deal breakers like religion, smoking, or even what kind of family someone wants.

The dating culture now is different than it ever has been before because we have endless options. It is so easy to go out with a person, see a flaw you don’t like, and think, “Well, on to the next one!” when you have access to thousands of profiles online. Odds are there’s someone who fits the bill of exactly what you want, right? The problem with this rationale is that there is no such thing as a perfect person. We live in a time where if something is broken, we don’t fix it — we just get rid of it and upgrade. It isn’t worth the effort of learning how to jump over a hurdle or adapt to a new way of using something; it is far easier to just throw away a broken object than it is to put the time and effort into making ours work again. The same goes in the dating world. Far too often, as soon as someone learns about an issue, they decide to move on to find a different person without said problem. This turns into a vicious cycle in embarking on the search for perfection which, in this world, does not exist.

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Now let’s touch on solid relationships. The little black box certainly doesn’t make finding a partner easy, but once you’ve gotten one they work their little plastic butts off to make everything a little more complicated, despite their initial intention of making life easier for us. Instead of reaching to hold their partners in the morning, people reach for their phones. Rather than sitting together at the dinner table they sit on the couch in front of a television. Hours upon hours each week are spent on Facebook and scrolling mindlessly through Instagram. This whole new age of technology has greatly changed the course of our lives — for better and for worse.

At the end of the day, despite what it sometimes seems, we own technology — it does not own us. We can make our own decisions on how to use it to better our lives and enrich our relationships instead of harming them. I like using my little silver laptop to type words onto a screen and share them on here with you all. I like playing Super Smash Bros and Fortnite with my husband, and I like that I can shop no matter how I’m feeling and that there are people who will drive to my house with a piping hot pizza if I use my phone to order one. Technology is great as long as you know when to use it and how to continue to connect with your loved ones in person. This is why I harp so much on the importance of quality time spent with loved ones, rather than just time. It can be so easy to think you are pouring into others when you spend so much time with them, but if that time isn’t spent wisely it won’t really make an impact on their heart.

I still haven’t finished making my resolutions for the year, but one of them is that I am going to be more cognizant of how often I am using my phone and to put it away more when I am with my loved ones. I am going to invest more time in journaling and having heart-to-heart conversations, and be more productive about reaching my goals for this year. What are your resolutions for 2019?

How To Fill A Love Tank

The more I’ve loved, been loved, and felt broken, the more I’ve learned about the five different love languages and how important they really are. I’ve always known I’m an in-between and don’t have a primary LL, but over the years I’ve noticed that I need at least a pinch of each to make my love tank feel full. The more love that comes in and warms my heart, the more love I feel like I have to give away.

I need words of affirmation to feel like I mean something to other people. Whether it’s telling me that the words on this site matter or that my company is a joy, words of affirmation are currently tied for the lead of what I need coming into my heart. They’re also headlining what I strive to give every day. I’ve always been a big fan of pen and paper, and I write notes for even the newest of friends. I don’t think there will ever be a time in my life where I don’t write to those I love, and if there is, please come find me to make sure I’m okay.

At our wedding, I decided to write each and every one of my girl friends a letter telling them how much they mean to me and how happy I was they could share that day with me. It took hours of work to finish the pile of notes you see at the top of this picture, but every single one of the girls who came to support us means the world to me, and I wanted to remind them that. I wrote most of my notes well ahead of time — before I even knew what color I wanted our bridesmaid dresses to be, what vendor we’d use for flowers, or what flavor we wanted our cake to be. As with several other things I had imagined, I didn’t actually have the time to put these around at all the tables the day of the wedding, so I’m still slowly handing out the notes, but this was one of the top things I was excited about while planning our wedding.

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Photo Credit: Katie Nesbitt Photography

Physical touch has also been an important part of my life, and having a hand to hold or body to hug is really vital for my heart to feel cared for. It is tied as my most important love language right now. I don’t talk very much about my pain with even my closest friends and family, but I’ve felt like I’ve needed more hugs lately. Something about someone giving you a squeeze makes the world feel like it’s going to be alright, even when you feel like nobody could possibly understand how you feel. For just a moment I forget about anything that is hurting or bothering me and remember how much love I have in my life.

Gift giving used to be my top LL. Even as a kid I loved going to the store to buy presents for birthday parties, Christmas, and even small “just because” gifts with my allowance. I think I learned this language of love from my mom because she was so great at leaving little notes and stuffed animals on my pillow or under the covers for me to find when I crawled into bed at night. This practice carried on into college, which was where I reached far and wide to friends for birthdays and almost every single holiday in an attempt to make people around me feel special and cared for. I spent hours shopping for goody bags to make every Valentine’s Day because I wanted other people to love the holiday as much as I did, even if they were single like I often was. I bought chocolates, cards, nail polish, giant bags of pink and red confetti hearts, and topped the presents off with a mix CD made special for each friend. It’s funny to this day how many people tell me they remember my goofy little playlists. Gift giving is something I find really fun and I think most people feel pretty loved when they get a present that was chosen just for them. It isn’t about the thing, rather it’s the fact that someone spent the time and energy to think about you and do something about it that makes this LL special.

We have two more love languages left. Quality time, and acts of service.

Quality time will always be important to me, but I’ve learned just how necessary the beautiful, magical adjective “quality” is. Time, though a really valuable thing to give someone, is only special if it’s attentive and caring. Electronics make it worlds more difficult to get quality time, and a lot easier to give the excuse that you’ve filled this part of the tank in a friend, family member, or partner. I feel tired a lot and am guilty of plopping down on the couch, only to turn on a repeat episode of Friends or the newest Judge Judy case. Although that time can be spent bonding and laughing over the silliness that ensues, it only fills the “quality time tank” so much. The amount this fills for me lingers around the 15% line, because with a big black box in front of my face, there is only so much I am going to learn and connect with someone else.

Quality time is perhaps the most difficult of the love languages to manage because it does depend heavily on the activity and how present each person is with one another. To one — perhaps with physical touch as the highest of the love languages — snuggling up on the couch and catching a game might be something that really fills up their tank. To another person, however, with words of affirmation being important, talking has to be a larger part of the time spent together to actually be quality enough to fill the tank. Hallmark Christmas movies make me feel more connected to another person than anything else on television because I tend to talk through them and bond over how many errors the producers missed or storylines that don’t make sense.

Finally, acts of service. I tend to write about this love language last, because I understand it the least. This is arguably one of the most practical languages that I absolutely need, but it just doesn’t fill me up the way the other four do. It doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling or make my heart leap from my ribcage the way everything else seems to. I need this love language desperately, though, to keep my health maintained and feeling good. Mentally I notice all of the acts of service that are performed for me every day and I feel thankful for them, but they don’t offer the same powerful effect that a hug, love letter, or tasty dessert brought from my favorite bakery do. It registers to me that this is love, but it doesn’t fill my heart the way other languages do.

I encourage my friends and family to keep learning about their love languages, as well as their partner’s, family’s, and friends’. I talk about them so much on here because I truly believe knowing more about the five love languages is a fantastic base of any relationship, and they can drastically change how loved a person feels. It really is interesting how all of the languages work together and how much easier it is to love someone when you truly understand them. The most complicated thing about relationships is that none of us are the exact same, and we all need different things to make us feel content and secure at the end of the day. People are dynamic and what they need might change as they grow, so loving someone is a never-ending task. Love is the most worthwhile thing in the world, though, and means so much more when you’ve worked to make it more special.


Do you have any book suggestions for me to read? I’m always plugging The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, so it would be great to hear what y’all enjoy too!

Base, Foot, and Basket ‘Ballin

This weekend has been filled to the brim with sports. If there isn’t football on Saturday, then there is baseball and basketball going on. If basketball is taking a break, there are three football games and another baseball game to watch. As someone who has enjoyed spending her evenings watching The Hallmark Channel or reality TV, getting married and having sports on television so frequently has been jarring to say the least. In fact, despite Robert claiming he doesn’t watch every single athletic event that is aired, I would be shocked if there was much more available for viewing.

Here are a few things I have learned since taking such a big “interest” in sports for the past few weeks:

#1: Baseball doesn’t sleep. Literally. Like, on Friday (Slash, through Saturday) they went into 18 innings and didn’t finish until 3:30 in the morning. What kind of sport makes its fans watch that darn late?! Rude!! Also, baseball is always on. They apparently have games basically every single day, with a few short months of a break in the winter months. I am skeptical, as I think they’ll still find a way to weasel their way into our homes the next few months. I’ll report back.

#2: A sports fan might root for a certain team, but they apparently like watching anyone play. For example, we are a New England Patriots family, but we still watched the Eagles play, the Chiefs play, the Panthers play, and the Steelers play. Fantasy teams have made this a lot more bearable for me, because it’s actually kind of fun having people on the field to root for, but it still seems excessive to have 3 games in a row on Sunday — especially considering the length of a football game. It seems counterintuitive that a sports fan would spend their entire Sunday sitting on the couch, but that’s how the world of sports works.

#3: Sports can be interesting even to clueless people like me because thinking about everything with a newly-forming sports brain is kind of entertaining. For example, the goal of baseball is to hit a grapefruit-sized ball as far as you possibly can, in hopes of avoiding a few people who are covering the entirety of a field. These people run to catch the grapefruit, and somehow grab it almost every single time despite having so much land to cover! I am shocked every time the grapefruit plops into the glove because despite Robert saying they almost always catch it, I don’t freaking understand how. The grapefruit is tossed far and high, and at incredibly fast speeds. It seems impossible that people could run that far and  fast to catch the tiny object, but they have become masters of it.

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I know enough about sports and the English language to realize my hat is backwards in this picture, but this selfie was taken with the correct head tilt seen in the camera. It would look weird if I flipped it.

To make sports a little more bearable, I have started doing a few things. First, I try to get into the game by Googling any questions I might have. Not the boring questions like, “Why is that guy in the Red Sox uniform catching balls behind the LA hitter?” but ones like, “How many sunflower seeds are found on the baseball field after the game?” or, “Is Nathan Eovaldi dating anyone?” Here is a screenshot of the questions I Googled last night:

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To clarify, I googled the tongue thing because sometimes when I chew gum and walk at the same time, I bite my tongue. How do they do both while running at top speed from base to base?!

Since I love reality television and hearing all about other people’s lives, knowing more about the players as individuals is really crucial for me to have a good time watching any sport. The more I know about their dating lives, what they had for breakfast, how they caption pictures on Instagram, and whether or not they’re generally considered a “good guy,” the happier I will be to watch them play on the field/court/whatever you’d call the ice that is skated upon for hockey games. It’s a lot more fun rooting for people you feel like you know than a random man in a jersey. I mentioned that Robert should start studying about the athlete’s personal lives so he could tell me more about them while we are watching, and he told me that would be “boring.” How is that boring?! Something think is boring is a game that’s score is 1-1 and has no end in sight and nothing to talk about regarding what watching. That was my Friday night, and I’m still bitter about it.

I am going to continue to watch sports on television and will keep you all in the loop of what I learn. In the meantime, I am thankful tomorrow is Tuesday, because it will give me a chance to start watching The Hallmark Channel Christmas movies without being interrupted by a football or baseball game… Please tell me there isn’t any basketball on then.

One Happy Island

I typically write as I go through life, but lately everything has been way too hectic to sit down and share my thoughts on here. Now that I have some free time again, I want to catch you all up on everything. I’m going to start with our honeymoon, then work backwards to our wedding and the planning process.

We went to Aruba for a week and a half, and it was absolutely amazing. I am kind of obsessed with the island now, and despite having a good amount of time there, I wasn’t fully ready to come back yet. Our first day there was exhausting because we had to wake up at 4 in the morning to go. This was our first honeymoon lesson as a married couple. I don’t do well waking up early like that, and it turns out Robert isn’t the biggest fan of it either. So next trip — leave a little later. Noted.

Our flight was pretty easy. Robert carried our suitcases through the airport and I made sure we had plenty of snacks and gum for the road. Even enough, right? Really, though, one thing I am quickly learning about marriage is that it isn’t about evening out the playing field or exchanging chore for chore. I think it’s more of a team effort to create similar goals and desires, then find creative ways to achieve them. We will talk about this in another post, though.

Once we arrived to the resort, we were exhausted. We looked at our beautiful view of the beach, and decided to spend the rest of the day recharging.

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We had such a beautiful view with two balconies, but after finding out it was our honeymoon one of the managers decided to upgrade us to a gorgeous suite. It felt like a dream and was really what a honeymoon should feel like! My only concern now is that we won’t ever get anything quite as nice as this.

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We stayed in a smaller building called “The Villa,” and still had a beachy view from our third floor balcony. We had a private pool and a little bar right outside our room for us and the other Villa people.

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We had a great routine in Aruba. Wake up, eat breakfast at the buffet, grab a cappuccino, and play cards until we were ready to go out to the pool. Then, we relaxed in the cool pool water with a refreshing drink until we were ready to venture out to the beach for the rest of the day.

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The beach at Aruba was one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever been to. The water was bright blue, and the sky was always the perfect shade — with the exception of ten minutes of rain a few days. We enjoyed letting the water toss us around and swimming into the deeper area of the “swim zone” every day. I really felt like the water was so healing and good for my heart.

The last full day of our trip we decided to go on an ATV tour. We had left the resort once before to go explore and shop, but we wanted to see some of the other sights Aruba is famous for. We saw the Natural Bridge, Andicuri Beach, the Alto Vista Chapel, and the California Lighthouse. I was really stiff after the adventure, but it was so worth it. We drove on the streets of Aruba with other cars, then made our way to the beaches to go off-roading. Towards the middle of our excursion it started to rain, so instead of sulking when we got soaking wet we decided to make a game of it and drive through the giant mud puddles that were forming. I had a blast and wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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Selfie after we hit a huge mud puddle. I did not get new freckles this trip; that is pure mud!

Our honeymoon was so amazing and I wish we could go back again like, tomorrow. I highly recommend going to Aruba if you can make the trip, and will offer a few tips on honeymooning in one of my next posts. This is going to be one of the most special vacations, but I know we have so many more great ones to come.


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Honorable mention to our little Iguana friend, Mojito. He loves lettuce and coconut water, and will fight other lizards for food. 

First Week of Married Life

I’m sitting at the kitchen table right now eating a sliver of dark chocolate and catching up on my emails — finally back to my usual routine. Something is different, though. Instead of being in my parents’ home at their warm oak table to do my writing, I am sitting at Robert’s cherry one. I am also learning to quickly correct myself from saying things like “Robert’s table,” “Robert’s living room,” or “Robert’s home,” to ours. So right now I am sitting at our kitchen table, about to write a little blog post about married life.

We’ve been married for 11 days now so I can’t really tell you all of the ins and outs of marriage, but I can tell you that yes, it has been different than being engaged. A question I have gotten since the moment we said “I do” is, “Do you feel different now that you’re a married woman?” At the time it felt the way it does when everyone begins asking you if you feel a year older on your birthday. No, obviously I don’t, is what we all think when we reach the anniversary of our birth. Not much changes from year to year unless it’s a milestone birthday like say, turning 21 and being able to sit at a bar. I digress.

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Saying our vows
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Our first moment as husband and wife. 🙂

The day of our wedding was wonderful, but there wasn’t a major change in my relationship with Robert right that second. Sure it felt good adding a wedding band to each of our hands, but then we focused on having a nice time together on the dance floor and visiting with loved ones. The big change came after the wedding — I finally moved in with Robert!

I had stayed at his place a lot in the past, but I never moved all my stuff in or called it my own. When he first purchased his home I helped him decorate some, but I didn’t think of myself in the equation a ton. We painted the walls a few different shades of gray and got dark wood finishes for his bedroom set and side tables. I thought it was all beautiful, but very masculine. It’s been fun for me to move in and add little homey touches that make me feel comfortable too now. My favorite pieces are fluffy blankets and our little pink and blue Kate Spade vases, and I am sifting through wedding photos to add some nice frames to the mix.

It’s been fun making his our home a little more cozy, and the main thing I think I’ve learned so far is that there are a lot of sports on TV. Like, not only is football on 3 days a week, but each game lasts several hours, and on Sunday they have 3 games in a row. THREE! What?!  I knew that Robert really liked sports and watched them a decent amount, but I usually spent some of that time with my friends or family, so didn’t pay a lot of attention to how much is actually on TV. Luckily I am more invested than I used to be, as I have a fantasy league to look after — and I really want to win this year.

Tonight we are going to be making a Blue Apron meal, courtesy of my sweet friend Kirsten! One of my favorite date nights is spending time together cooking (well, me reading the instructions and Robert doing most of the chopping and mixing) and getting to catch up over homemade food. I’m super excited about evening 11, and can’t wait to write my next update. It feels good to be back. 🙂

September 22

It’s so funny how much web traffic I got on September 22 and 23. I guess a lot of you guys must have known our wedding date! If you’ve ever gotten married, though, you also know just how crazy the time leading up to the wedding is, and then the week or so after.

I am finally back and have lots and lots to write about! I’m excited to share some of my stories about wedding planning, offer advice on what I’ve learned through the experience, and most of all, share what it’s like being a newlywed! So far it’s been really great and so much fun, but it’s also been a lot busier than I expected. I can’t wait to share more with you all! In the meantime, here are a few pictures our photographer, Katie Nesbitt took.

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Life Is All About The Little Things

Robert doesn’t know it (Until now; thanks for being my #1 reader!), but this weekend was one of the best I’ve had. Not for any reason in particular, other than the fact that we got to spend it together. Something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that the very most valuable and wonderful thing I have in my life is time. I honestly could be doing nothing special at home, but as long as I’m with loved ones I am happy. I’ve learned that “simple” doesn’t equate to “boring,” and that contentment is just as great as joy because it can really last for the long haul.

This weekend we just hung around the house and played games, ordered takeout, and took the dogs out for a few walks, but it was really great getting to catch up some after what has been a tiring couple of weeks. I loved getting to chat instead of watching a ton of mindless television, and we even went on a few mini adventures around town — my favorite being our outing to the restaurant where we celebrated our anniversary back in October. No matter how long we are together I always want to have regular date nights, because I think they’re so great for the heart.

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I found 9 four leaf clovers outside my soon-to-be-home with Robert. I’d say this was a good luck charm for our 100 day countdown!

At this point I’m really excited for our wedding still, but I am much more stoked for the entire lifetime of memories and love that is going to come after. Despite getting sick with POTS and having pain be a regular guest in my body, I am overall even more joyful now than I was before I got sick. I think this has to do greatly with recognizing all of the love and amazing people I have surrounding me. I feel so blessed that the everyday beauty in my life does not go unnoticed, and that my heart is content with all of the love that fuels it. All the adventures we have ahead of us are going to be a blast (I am particularly excited for our honeymoon!), but I am also so excited for the countless game nights and dinner dates we have in store for us. I feel so darn lucky to have this life, and I am working to appreciate every gift — big and small — that God has given me.