You are {BLESSED}

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" 
-Proverbs 3:5-6

If you are not alone, you are blessed.  

If you know love, you are blessed. 

If you woke up this morning, you are blessed. 

If you have food to eat, you are blessed.  

If you have a job, you are blessed. 

If you're in good health, you are blessed.  

If you can see, you are blessed.  

If you are clothed, you are blessed. 

If you have not experienced violence, you are blessed. 

If you have a family, you are blessed. 

If you drive a car, you are blessed. 

If you are:
a friend

you are blessed!

If you want to be rich, just count all the things that you have that money cannot buy
So many people take what they have for granted, whether it be that five dollars in your pocket or a roof over your head.  I realize that all of these have exceptions and that everyone has their own story of hardship to tell, but take a moment today to just be thankful for what you DO have instead of focusing on what you wish you had or wish you didn't have that you do.  Let's be positive today, and give thanks!

A few more 'simple' things to be thankful for: 

1. You live in Peace.  

If you read war time stories or have lived it, you will realize how terrible the situation is.  Lives are lost so easily.  Pain, suffering, and poverty are everywhere.  That we live in peace is a great blessing. 

2. You live in a hygienic environment. 

In the past, life expectancy was very low - it was only 20-35 years in most of the human history.  The main cause was not war but unhealthy environment (coupled with poor medical technologies).  Now, we have a far better environment to live in! 

3. You live in an age of medical breakthroughs. 

Besides having a better environment, we also have much better medical technologies.  Just a simple example: anesthetic.  Can you imagine going through surgery without it?!  That's how people did it for thousands of years. 

4. You have electricity.  

Having electricity is so simple that we forget how our lives would be without it.  Just take a moment to imagine it.  You will perhaps lose 90% of your conveniences if not for it. 

5. You can communicate in an instant. 

In the past, letters took months to arrive, if it did at all.  Now, you can send an email, text, or an instant message and have it delivered in seconds. 

6. You have abundant entertainment options. 

Even kings in the past didn't have a fraction of what we have now.  We have television, movies, and electronic games, just to name a few. 

7. You live in an age of instant knowledge transfer. 

You can learn anything you want instantly through the Internet.  In the past, people might have to travel thousands of miles to find the right libraries.  

8. You can travel quickly and conveniently. 

Your car is more convenient than past royal transport for one simple reason: shock absorbers.  And you can travel around the world in hours instead of months or years like Magellan and Columbus. 

Like I always say, it's the little things!

May today be filled with God's blessings, and may your eyes and heart be opened to even the smallest blessing that has been bestowed upon your life.  ♥

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{Fried Pickle} Madness

Who doesn't just love fried pickles?  Okay, so maybe they aren't the healthiest option out there - but they're so deliciously amazing!  Who's with me?! 
Well, Pinterest struck again, and I found a fried pickle recipe.  You mean I can make them at home for so much cheaper and easier than going out to find some?! YES!  That's exactly what it meant....
So, tried them we did!  We bought the ingredients last week, but it was kind of a rough week, so we kept putting off trying to make them.  But finally, on Sunday evening, Colten and I decided that once he got home from work, we would make fried pickles.  Besides, the jar of pickles was just taunting Colten the entire week...he threatened to eat them several times, but he held off.  Thanks babe! 
Check out our experience in pictures:
They turned out sooooo good!  I know they're not super healthy, but we indulged on Sunday!  And, we plan to indulge again in the future!  A simple, great tasting recipe for an appetizer of fried pickles right in our own home!  Yes please! 
Oh, you want the recipe???  I guess I'll share :).  Here ya go! 
1 jar dill pickle spears
1 cup flour
1/2 cup plain yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 cup milk
Vegetable Oil to cook in
Ranch Dressing for dipping
1. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of at least 1/2 inch in medium sized skillet and place over medium high heat.  Drain pickles and place spears on paper towel lined plate to absorb moisture while you prepare breading.
2. Place corn meal in a small bowl.  Add 1/2 cup flour and seasoned salt.  Stir until well combined.
3. In a separate bowl, pour remaining flour.  Place the milk in a third bowl. 
4. Using your hands, dip a pickle into milk, then flour, then milk, then cornmeal breading.  Repeat until all pickles are breaded. 
5. Carefully place pickles into hot oil and cook until browned, stirring once if needed, about ten minutes.
6. Remove from skillet and place on paper towel lined plate.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with ranch dressing.
*These are extremely hot inside for several minutes after cooking.*
Makes about 8 pickles.
I have these super awesome coating trays I received at my Pampered Chef bridal shower over a year ago instead of small bowls, which worked amazingly for this recipe! 
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{Weekend} Wrap-Up

Linking up today with Sami for some weekend sheeeeeeenanigans! 
This weekend was a fun one! 
On Friday, I decided to finally make a change in my appearance.  I had been thinking about it for a little while now, and it was just one of those days when you decide to dive in and go for it!  And I'm SO glad that I did!  Check it out:

 I just love the outcome of my salon visit.  I was nervous about it because I decided to try a new salon, as the one I was previously going to no longer employed the amazing Danielle, so a change was not only necessary to my hair, but also to my hair stylist!  I took a leap of faith, and it definitely paid off!  The color t technician did a fabulous job!  The picture above makes it look like my hair is black, but it's not; don't worry!  It's a dark brown, and it will lighten (already has) in the next few washes, which is always true after getting my hair colored.  That technician made me feel super comfortable and right at home.  I also have her information so I know who to go back to when I'm ready!  She also cuts hair, but she had to leave to pick up her children, which was totally fine.  She took the extra time and effort to be sure that I was in the hands of another great stylist for my cut - she brought me water, a warm towel, magazines...she was amazing!  The new stylist was amazing as well!  She layered my hair like I've been wanting for a WHILE but could never quite get across to other's dramatic and I love it!  Money well spent, and it was much cheaper than my old salon!  A win-win all the way around! 

Since we were in the mall, husband decided to browse around for a bit.  He's always going the extra mile to get/buy me things that he knows will make me happy....'just because'.  It's so awesome!  When we first started dating, I had to MAKE him tone it down, as he was going wayyy above and beyond the call of duty as a boyfriend.  I didn't need expensive, extravagant things to be happy...and he finally understands that with me, it's all about the little things!  Aaaaannnndddd....sometimes it's about the bigger things ;).  Hey, I'm a girl and I like me some pampering every now and again!  He bought me a new build-a-bear (as he put it, because we all have a little kid inside of us).  It was super sweet and romantic.  I love it. 

Saturday I decided to support my cousin in her dance competition that wasn't too far away.  She had made the team this year and they were performing four numbers!  I love watching dance, and I used to dance in my high school days, so I was all set.  Their age group was from 11:00 to about 2:30pm.  By that time, I was more than ready to go, and Kyra and I were STARVING!  We were sure to capture our starving-ness faces:

Maeve is definitely a great little dancer!  She did very well in all four of her dances, and remembered them all!  The smile on her face proved that all of the effort that goes into a function like that was well worth it.  She was grinning the entire time and was definitely in her element!  Here I am with the little dancer after her thriller production:
I spent the next few hours with my cousins and then attended mass for Palm Sunday that evening.  It was an amazing service.  The Youth Group performs a play of the Passion instead of having to just stand and read it.  The congregation sat down and they dimmed the was definitely touching.  The younger kids throughout the congregation were able to visualize exactly what happened and teared up a bit...heck, I teared up a bit.  I'll definitely never forget that service! 
I ended up spending the night that night, as it was getting late and the girls didn't want me to go, so we headed to Wal-Mart so I could buy some cheap clothes, because I wasn't prepared to sleep over!  The girls loved it!  They went in pajamas and loved every second.  Never a dull moment with those two!
On Sunday, I hung around with the cousins a little in the morning, until the drama began over being locked out of a phone/tablet/other techy devices.  It got a little CRAZY!  It also made me miss the days when we could just hang out without these techy devices and have a conversation or watch a movie or go outside and soak up the sun.  Times are definitely changing, and I'm very blessed to have childhood memories of being outside and spending so much quality time with my family playing board games, putting together puzzles, movie nights, camping outdoors with no electricity.  It melts my ♥! 
I left their house and headed over to my sister's, who invited me over for lunch!  I hadn't seen her in a few days, so it was great to catch up.  However, I hadn't slept very well the past few nights, and she had worked the night before, so we were both tired and a little loopy!  We laughed and laughed over the silliest things, and played some golf on our phones against each other - highly entertaining!  It was great to just relax, be ourselves, and hang out as sisters.  I'm heading back there today to discuss a book we've been reading...yes, we're geeks, but we love us some BOOKS!  :) After she decided she really needed to go to sleep for work that night, I headed home to Ace and enjoyed a relaxing evening catching up on television shows until Colten came home from work.  When he did, we tried our hands at making fried pickles.  That's right, fried pickles!  And they were AMAZING!  Such an easy recipe that we'll definitely be repeating...a few times haha.  More on that experience to come soon! 
Aaannddd...just because I'm in love with my hair, I woke up super early (okay, not 'super' early, but to me it was!) to spend time on my hair and curl it today!  Here's a pic:
I've gotten so many compliments on my hair today, and my shirt!  It's amazing how feeling great about yourself, even it's just a small change that you love, can change your outlook on things!  That's why it's super important to take care of yourself and to take the time to do things FOR yourself!  YOU matter, too!  Be sure to take some time this week just for yourself, even if it's only for an hour. 
Happy Monday, y'all!  And have a fabulous week!
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Newlywed Game {Take 5}

1.  Which does your spouse prefer? Summer or Winter Olympics?
Bri - I'm going to have to go with Summer, as that's his favorite time of year because he LOVES to swim!  I'm pretty sure he was a fish in another life ;).  
Colten - I think she likes them both ... or the summer ones (no...I love Winter olympics!)

2.  What advice would you give your 16 year old self, now with the knowledge that you have found and married "the one?"
Bri - RELAX!  Don't stress out over the little things, and cherish each day!  You think you have it rough now, just wait until the 'real' responsibilities kick in...yeah, that's right...the real world is SCARY!  But, you'll have an amazing man by your side, so don't sweat the 'love' thing ... it'll happen! 
Colten - Couldn't tell you because my 16-year-old self was wild and crazy.  Those were the days...(oh goodness...)

3.  What expectations did you have going into marriage? How have they changed?
Bri - I expected to love love and to live every day with my best friend by my side.  They haven't changed much...I still love love and I'm married to my best friend!  Seriously, I love every minute that we get to spend together and I wouldn't trade it for anything!  I know life throws you curve balls, and dodging them with my husband has been the ride of a lifetime.  No matter the situation, just talking about things with my husband makes me feel instantly better, so I'm all set for forever!  :) 
Colten - The expectations I had were to be married forever to my beautiful wife.  They haven't changed cause we are going to be married forever. (ok, good answer!)

4.  When engaged, what did your spouse most look forward to about being married?
Bri - Living the rest of his life as me for a wife :).  DUHH!  
Colten - Us being married and spend our lives together 

5.  What is your spouse's favorite meal that your prepare?
Bri - Homemade pizza!  I make it every year for his birthday. 
Colten - It's Chicken Parmesan

6.  What is your spouse's favorite form of exercise?
Bri - Weights.  I believe he likes lifting weights.  Yes, weights.  Or walking... ;).  Honestly, I have no idea obviously. 
Colten - I think it's Country Dance on the Xbox 360 Kinect (YES! so fun)

7.  What sport would your spouse most prefer to actually participate in? 
Bri - Football.  He talks about the days he used to play in high school, so I'd say that's a safe answer.  
Colten - Volleyball and softball

8.  What is the strangest food your spouse has ever eaten?
Bri - dog treats. Or, any time he takes everything (including other people's meals if we're out to eat and they're finished with their meal and have leftovers) and just mixes it all together into one meal.  GROSS. 
Colten - I couldn't tell you cause she eats a lot of strange things (I actually don't eat strange things)

9.  Is your spouse a country gal/boy or a city slicker?
Bri - COUNTRY BOY ALL.THE.WAY!  No brainer on this one :) 
Colten - She is a cross between a city slicker and a country gal - she wears those flip flops and shorts everywhere she goes, but she wears jeans when she wants to dress country (just because I wear flip flops and shorts doesn't mean I'm not country...there's a difference between 'country' and 'redneck' babe....come on)

10. Who is the "handyman" in your home? You or your spouse?
Bri - My spouse.  He's awesome. 
Colten - I am the handyman.  I handle all the tools.

This week, we didn't do so well!  Hopefully next week will be better :).  Happy Friday, y'all!

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Book Review: {Remember Me?}

 I was the group leader for March's BOTM (book of the month) for the Chick Lit Book Club on Goodreads.  It was my first time, and I enjoyed it!  I came up with the theme: memory loss.  Now, you know there are some good ones out there with this theme in a chick-lit genre, so I was excited!  Members were able to post suggestions, and then I chose about 4 or 5 of them to put on the actual poll for everyone to vote on.  Then, the votes were in, and the winner was.... 
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.  

The way this book club is set up, the leader has to read the book pretty much before the actual month starts, so that the readers can answer the questions you post as they go!  So, there you have it.  I read and read and read (okay, it really didn't take me long, lol), and then I posted questions.  It was a great experience, but it was also a lot of work!  Now I know why they have a monthly leader sign-up!  It's too much for one person to maintain.  

You can check out the questions and discussion here.  It was a great, quick read, and definitely entertaining!

Remember Me?Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Sophie Kinsella's style of writing.  However, I wasn't totally consumed by this book.  I did like it, and I would recommend it as a quick, light read, but it wasn't amazing. 

I loved the storyline, though - a woman in her twenties losing the last three years of her life in memories, and waking up to a completely different person.  It takes her some time to figure out what exactly happened for her to have changed so drastically, but it's an entertaining ride.  Loved the love story and how Lexi really tries to hold on to her marriage with her Greek God of a husband, whom she doesn't remember.  She quickly learns that she isn't herself with him and leaves him. 

Jon was definitely my favorite, as is true with most Chick-Lit novels.  He's the favorite that all readers want the girl to end up with...and this book was no different.  Overall, great, quick read and memorable characters. 

View all my reviews

If you're looking for a light-hearted, fun, quick, laugh-out-loud, girlfriend kinda read, then this one's for you!  

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Happy Birthday, {Dad}!

 It's that time again - birthday time!  And in honor of my dad's birthday, this post.  
My dad has always been there for me!  I know that we don't always see eye to eye - never have, and most likely never will - but I know that I can always count on him to support me and be there for me to turn to when life gets hard.  Our relationship now is stronger than ever, and for that, I'm eternally grateful. He's a strong, caring, loving, funny family-man and role model.  
No matter the situation, my dad gets the job done - whatever that may be - and keeps pushing forward.  With the things going on in his life lately, I know he has rough moments that I can't even fathom in my short 24 years of life experience.  BUT, I know that he's strong, and he has an amazing relationship with his wife (my mommy!) whom he can push forward with, and together, they do.  
Looking back on those short 24 years, I have so many amazing memories with my dad that I will truly cherish forever.  
From those camping trips growing up... little league games... family holidays...
Infamous Thanksgiving bonfire! 
Making stew with his daddy!
Cutest Christmas Couple
Never a dull moment :) LOVE IT! 'farming' life... the special moments with my dad at my wedding... making sausage for the first time... the countless crazy family moments... visiting home on the weekends... every special family moment that I will cherish forever... every one of those moments when I just needed a hug from my dad.
My dad is a very influential person in my life and always has been.  I love him more than words could ever express, and I'm truly thankful for being blessed with such an amazing father.  He's taken care of scraped knees from my toddler years up to high school sports (softball comes to mind here...).  He's blocked our internet access when we misbehaved (yes, we 'sometimes' misbehaved as kids...) and sometimes even when we didn't.  He's shown me what it's like to live a life for God and to have a loving marriage.  He's shown me strength and courage and hope and how to go after your dreams.  
But greatest of all, he's shown me love.  Even on those days that I disappointed him - and I know there are many... - he's shown me his love for me.  Especially on those important days, such as my wedding day, he's shown me his love.  He's loved me since the day I was born and I know that he will continue to love me, no matter where life leads us, until his very last day.  
Well dad, I know I don't say it near often enough, but I LOVE YOU!  I've always loved you, and I will continue to love you forever.  You're an inspiration to Colten and I's marriage, and you're a role model of a parent.  Thank you, dad, for all that you've done for me and for my siblings.  You've always loved your family, made us feel important, and shown us that love.  Because of you (and mom), I'm the strong woman that I am today.  Life throws us curve balls, and all too often, it's so easy to get caught up in the negativity that we're presented with, but you've taught me that as long as I have love and faith, I will get through the bumps in the road.  You've taught me that as long as I have my family by my side, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.  I know that I've put you both through a lot (isn't that what a child is supposed to do to their parents?? hehe), but in all seriousness, I thank you for everything.  I thank you for not giving up on me even if it seemed easier to; I thank you for giving and showing me your love; I thank you for being you and for sharing your life's experiences and lessons with your family; I thank you for supporting me, even if I failed.
thank you, daddy.  I love you! ♥
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Spring Break isn't just for {KiDS}

That's right!  Introducing, How to Spring Break in the Working World!  Most people enjoyed Spring Break last week, but there are many that have it this week.  It gets confusing...  HOWEVER, I will just expand on last week's festivities and LINK-UP about how to enjoy Spring Break as a real-life adult, without an entire week off from responsibility and stress.  Feel free to please join us, as I'm co-hosting with some fabulous ladies! 

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Let me break it down for you. Everyday this week, there are certain Spring Break-like activities that I and I hope many of you will participate in, then we'll share with each other our working world spring break here! Check it out:

Day One: Hit the Beach!
Wear your flip flops and shades. If they cannot be worn to work then break them out at home. Refuse to wear anything but flip flops and sunglasses, that is on your feet and face...don't be going nude yall.

Day Two: Time to Snack it Out
You heard me right, break that diet today! If you were on a spring break trip right now you'd be eating some fried fish and ice cream. So grab your favorite snacks/ "junk food" and enjoy it!

Day Three: Bring on the Romance
It's time you found your spring break fling...and by that I mean find your favorite beachy romance movie, kick your feet back and rest your sweet bum on the sofa.

Day Four: Refresh Yourself
Bring down that dusty blender and serve up your favorite fruity drink, top it off with a tiny umbrella and ask your hunny for a massage.

Day Five: Out on the Town
You've played in the sun and now it's time to bask in the moonlight. Grab your hunny or your gal pals and go do something fun like put-put!

Day Six: Yellow Polka Dots
By now your tan is looking pretty smooth so it's time to strut your stuff in your swimsuit. No matter where you are, put that swimsuit on. If your weather is nice go outside, otherwise wear it around the house and pretend your bed is the ocean. But please friends, don't be wearing it to work, it's probably not allowed and I will not stick up for you in front of your boss.

Day Seven: Pack it on Up
It's time to cram into the car and go home spring breakers aka clean that house and get ready for spring! I know, I know, but we all knew it was coming.

You guessed it,
It's a LINK-UP!
...and some fabulous ladies are joining as co-hosts!
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The Game Plan:
Grab the button and share the plans, let everyone else know!
Participate in each day's spring break fun and take pictures of it!
Post the pictures of how you participated each day!
Instagram some of the pictures! Make sure to tag them: #SBProStyle (aka Spring Break Professional Style)
Don't have a blog but have Instagram?  It's okay!  Post your pictures away and just be sure to use the hashtag above! :) 
Link up your blog (not each post though, just your blog in general, the same link-up tool will stay up all week)
Follow some of these lovely ladies joining in!

The Co Hosts:
Marquis @ SimplyClarke

Halie @ Penguins,Pasta&PolkaDots

Shae @ Sprinkles & Glitter

Karla @ ForeverNewlyWedded

Kelly @ TodayWasAFairytale

Bri @ My Life Would Suck Without Me

So Link-Up and Have Fun on Spring Break!
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