what am i doing with my life?

Thursday, November 5, 2015
Do you ever find yourself constantly thinking, "WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!" 

I certainly do.

It's not like anything is that bad. Nothing is really going wrong. It's just not right. I don't feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be.

Marriage is great, I love our home, I have a good job, I'm decently fit and pretty and have things to work towards and look forward to....but I'm not satisfied. There has to be something more for me out there!

I want to be passionate about my career. I want to do something that makes me truly happy. I want to help people. I want to do something worthwhile. I want a lot of things......but I don't really know what exactly they are or how to get them.

Some refer to this as a quarter life crisis. I support that terminology. Clearly I don't really have a solution for it, I'm just here to tell you that you're not alone.

It seems like everyone around me has such a successful life. The perfect work from home job that they love. A beautiful, happy marriage and family. The perfect body, hair, nails and wardrobe. A blog or Instagram that gets butt loads of views and likes even though their content doesn't seem that great. It's just not fair! I feel like I work twice as hard for half the results.

But then I look at my own Instagram. My life looks pretty perfect, too (because I try way too hard to portray it that way). And it's totally not. At all. It's a bunch of ups and downs and not really knowing where I'm going but making the most out of each stop along the way. It's beautiful mess. So I can only assume that everyone else's "perfect" lives are that way, too.

I don't really know where I'm going with this post......but to put it simply, I hope we can all find our way to where we're meant to be. That we can find true happiness with where we're at, and where we're headed. And may we find it sooner than later.

Here's to hoping that what we're looking for is right around the corner. But for now, let's enjoy the present and stop waiting for the perfect life to come knocking on our doors.

That being said, if you have any advice or ideas or suggestions or a friendly, "I feel ya, girl", please share.

The end. Sorry for rambling.



Here I am looking glamorous and perfect and trendy on our recent trip to NYC, living the dream and all. But what you don't know, is that I had a huge zit on my chin that kept bleeding and scabbing over and the back of my shirt was sprinkled with sweat marks because I sweat more than the average twenty-something woman. Not so glamorous. Not so perfect. Ew. 

The Martins Do Manhattan

New York City.

One belongs to it instantly...as much in five minutes as in five years.

My bucket list has been sprinkled with New York adventures for a long, long time. I had a lot of expectations, and it met or exceeded every. single. one.

We practically ate our way through the city. Early breakfasts, morning snacks, mandatory lunches, afternoon snacks, mid-day coffee, late night dinners with cocktails and desert. We agreed that we walked enough each day to make up for all those extra calories. No big deal.

I can't even begin to tell you my favorite sites, foods, or things to do. So instead, here is a collection of thoughts.

  • New York City is constantly as busy as the mall at Christmas. No one cares if they are in your way. At first it is terribly overwhelming, but you learn to deal with it.
  • The buildings are built literally on top of each other. They can't go out, so they go up. And leave NO room in between. Its a beautiful thing to see, but it made me thankful for my backyard. 
  • There's no way Carrie walked around in heels all the time. I got a blister on day 1 in my comfiest pair of boots that have stood up to many-a-OSU football game. 
  • The Subways are hella confusing; we just started to figure them out on our last day there. They are also very dirty.....bring hand sanitizer....but typically the fastest way to get across town.
  • Traffic is just like in the movies. Honking, swerving, people walking in front of cars. Yikes.
  • The food. Oh my taste buds. See below for a list of restaurants.
  • In every city, there's a neighborhood I fall for. In NYC, it was The Village. Much different from The Village, Okla. 
  • I've never seen so many dogs in my life as I did in NYC. I guess people don't have backyards, so they are forced to take their dogs on walks day in and day out. It's a beautiful thing.
  • I think I heard more foreign languages during our trip than I did English. 
  • There is literally a Starbucks on every single corner and not many other options when it comes to decent coffee. 


























The low down on food:

  • Nomad Restaurant. I give their foi-gras truffle chicken five stars. OMG.
  • Ess-A-Bagel. Probably the best bagel I've ever eaten. And I ate it at Tiffany's. 
  • Laudreé. I didn't know macaroons could be THAT amazingly light and deliciously flavorful.
  • Serendipity 3's Frozen Hot chocolate. Delicious, but not quite worth the wait or the hype.
  • Fedora. Easily the #1 cocktail of the trip, and of my life. "Esmerelda, I Love You" was named that for a reason. The food, however, was not worth the price. 
  • Doughnut Plant. I've eaten a LOT of donuts in my life, and I can say without a doubt that these are the tastiest donuts by far. So much so that we came back again for more. Also, their bathroom has a disco ball.
  • Momofuku Noodle Bar. It may be in the sketchiest of 'hoods, but their ramen is top notch and the shrimp buns are, too.
  • Magnolia Bakery. I see what the big deal is. Those cupcakes are damn good. The banana pudding, however, was subpar; I could make it better at home. Also, I wanted to murder someone in that storefront. It was a shit show. Pardon my French.
  • Shake Shack. I get it now. My taste buds are born again. They'll never be the same. 






What we did:

  • Explore Eataly and have a beer on the rooftop. It's a maze, but it's a cool maze with a lot of food.
  • Have Breakfast at Tiffany's. And drool over the diamonds, obvi.
  • Window shop on 5th Avenue. It was a little depressing because we couldn't afford anything.
  • Sit on the Met Steps like in Gossip Girl. Xoxo.
  • Stroll through Central Park (next time we'll rent bikes so we can see more of it).
  • Walk the High Line - an old railroad track that has been converted to a walking trail / park.
  • Find the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. apartment building in The Village
  • Visit Rockafeller Center and go to the Top of the Rock (AMAZING view of Central Park!)
  • See Times Square at Night. It's so bright it's like day time. It's also SO insanely full of people and I don't exactly want to go back.
  • Go to The Lion King on Broadway. It was the highlight of my trip. Oh my, Mufassa. 
  • Walk the Brooklyn Bridge





Not to rub it in, but it was an absolutely amazing trip. There was so much left undone (and so much that I want to do again). I can't wait to go back.

Looking at you, Mr. Martin. 

just call me joanna

Friday, October 23, 2015
Fact: I've seen every single episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper.

I'd like to thank Chip and Jo for inspiring me and teaching me everything I know.

Somewhere in the midst of a Fixer Upper marathon, I started wondering what Joanna would do to our house....after a few mock ups and tossing around ideas with "the hubs," we decided to knock out a wall in our very closed off kitchen. It took the space from so-so to so open. So functional. So usable. So perfect.

Granted, as with most renovations, we ran into a few hiccups. And a lot of mouse poop. It took twice as long as expected, but the results were just what we wanted and so worth it.

Before & Afters:



Chloe likes it, but obviously not enough to walk into the kitchen.




Let me just pat my own back for being such a great interior designer. I just love what our little urban farmhouse has become.

Now offering my services to the OKC metro. You can pay me in homemade cookies.

basic white girl

Friday, September 4, 2015
On a particularly long Friday....the Friday before a three-day weekend, mind you...I found myself daydreaming of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, blanket scarves, booties, flannel and crisp morning air.

What a basic white girl. 

Needless to say, I spent the slower part of my day working up some fall designs to display in frames on our buffet table. Fall designs led to Halloween, Halloween led to Thanksgiving and naturally, Thanksgiving led to Christmas.* Did you expect anything less? 

I thought I'd share them with you, out of the goodness of my heart. And my love for the holidays. Feel free to print them for use in your own home, as well.

You're welcome! 

*I may or may not have listened to my Christmas Pandora station while putting these together. Can you blame me? 















cookie monster chronicles: part 2

Monday, August 31, 2015
I promised I'd update you on the status of #cookiebattle2015, so here I am. 

My second attempt at grain free cookies was a success, I suppose. No, they didn't satisfy my major craving for homemade chocolate chip cookies, but if I closed my eyes and tried really hard, it was almost like I was eating an almond joy. 


I guess that could be referred to as a win-lose? They taste just "healthy" enough that I'm not tempted to eat the whole batch at once. Another win-lose, I think?


I found these grain free, coconut flour cookies via Pinterest. I made a few edits in my version below...the name, being one. The dough was very crumbly and hard to form cookies out of, but it seems to hold together OK once baked. They look a lot denser and drier than they actually are. 


These were good, don't get me wrong, but I think I'm going to make the real deal next and finally satisfy my cookie craving. 




Paleo Almond Joy Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of coconut flour (SAMs has really great prices if you use coconut flour a lot!)
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil ( ^^^ )
  • 3 tbs of raw honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut (I used sweetened because I had it on hand. Oops. This may have contributed to the almond joy taste.)
  • 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips (the original recipe called for more, but I think they turned out too chocolatey. Go ahead and add 3/4 cup if you are a chocoholic. I used the chips with the least amount of added sugar I could find. I think mini-chips would work best as the large ones made the balls of dough hard to form. You could also chop them into smaller pieces.)

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Melt the honey and coconut oil together in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the coconut oil, honey, eggs, vanilla and salt.
  4. Stir in the coconut flour, coconut and chocolate chips.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and roll balls of cookie dough. Place on the baking sheet and gently press down. They will not expand while baking, so make them the shape you want to eat!
  6. Bake for 12-15 or until golden brown.

cookie monster chronicles

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
I'll admit it. I'm a cookie monster. I have absolutely zero self control when cookies are placed in front of me and I'm OK with that.

HOWEVER. I try to live a mostly healthy lifestyle (think: limited amounts of grains, sugar and alcohol) and 17 (because I'd eat at least 17) delicious fresh baked cookies don't exactly fit the criteria.

Insert grain free, paleo-ish, chocolate chip cookies. I feel like these are healthy enough that you don't blow your entire diet and use up a cheat meal, but they still give you some* cookie satisfaction. This recipe only makes 12 cookies, so you are forced to spread them out over a few meals.....as opposed to eating 17 of the 36 cookies my usual recipe makes within the first 20 minutes they come out of the oven. Oops.

I found this recipe via Pinterest. I made a few extra notes on my version below. They turned out very fluffy, almost cake-like, which I didn't particularly love, but my hubby sure did. I found a different grain free version that I plan on testing out over the weekend in our fancy new oven range. I'll be sure to keep you posted on the outcome! #cookiebattle2015

*note: they most certainly did not fill the chocolate chip cookie void I've been experiencing as of late, but they will get me by a while longer until I can bake my usual recipe for a crowd and not be "forced" to eat them all myself


Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (Grain Free)
Makes 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli, but had to chop them into smaller pieces. I tried for the chips with the least amount of added sugar.)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the chocolate chips. It will start off runny, but will thicken as the coconut flour absorbs the moisture. Add in chocolate chips and stir to distribute.
  3. Roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball and flatten on cookie sheet. These cookies will not spread on their own, so shape them how you want them to turn out.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.


home

Sunday, August 16, 2015
One of our favorite parts of getting married was the copious amounts of boxes that showed up on our front porch. Presents! So many presents. Kitchen gadgets, house decor, linens, gift cards...the list goes on and on!

My very manly husband commandeered the kitchen and all of it's entities, but the rest of his bachelor pad was mine to do with as I pleased. And I made our little urban farmhouse - we're still getting used to saying "our" ;) - the absolute cutest. I firmly believe that Joanna Gaines would applaud my efforts.

The front porch. Welcome!




The living room.


The dining room.

The master bedroom.

The full bath.

The hallway.

The guest bedroom, now taking reservations.

The den.


The kitchen (my favorite parts of it, at least).


And of course, as you saw in the hallway, a house is not a home without a dog. A dog who is almost always found on this rug.


We love our little home. Thank you for sending us so many pretties to fill it with.

brunch in the 405

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
As Ron Swanson once said, "There is not a sadness in the world that can't be cured by breakfast food."

I love breakfast food. It's basically my love language. In my mind, the only thing better than breakfast is brunch....because it includes bubbly, of course.

Stella Modern Italian has been a date night go-to for us for quite some time - their mac & cheese will forever change your life. We'd heard rumors of their Sunday brunch for a while now, and decided it was about time we give it a try.

The conclusion? Worth it. 

Although we stuck out like a sore thumb (think: everyone had grey hair and drove Cadillacs), we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There was no wait (as opposed to Stella's neighbor, Waffle Champion... We love you WC, but we're not about crazy lines when we're hangry), we were immediately served lemon poppyseed muffins hot out of the oven, and the service was, as always, impeccable. Plus the Bloody Mary bar and Mimosas didn't hurt matters any.

I ordered lemon ricotta pancakes, because who doesn't love pancakes? It came with the most appetizing maple butter I've ever laid eyes on, and it tasted pretty good, too. Cole ordered their "Green Eggs and Ham." Not the usual green eggs and ham, mind you, but poached eggs topped with a spinach-artichoke puree, prosciutto and parmesan. I have no words. You just need to experience it for yourself.


We left with full stomachs and full hearts. Cliche, yes, but true. Happy brunching! 


wanderlusting

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
I fully believe that the post-vacation blues are a real thing.

After an amazing week in paradise with "the hubs" (am I using that phrase correctly?), I found myself in a funk. A bad one. Yes, marriage was great, getting back into a day-to-day routine was rejuvenating to say the least....but....does it have to be over?! 

After months of anticipating the wedding/honeymoon, I had a void in my life! I had completely forgotten how to relax and enjoy today. I was so used to the go-go-go, plan-plan-plan. The honeymoon was absolutely incredible, but once it was in hindsight, I was left with a yearning to go somewhere and do something again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving married life and learning how to relax and enjoy the little things again....BUT...

I was craving travel. Putting an itinerary together. Exploring new places. Eating my way through an adventure. Freeze-framing the moment with pictures. Figuring out what the locals think is worthwhile. I was wanderlusting hard.

The day we got back from the Bahamas, a friend from college posted something on Facebook that caught my eye.


That's some pretty solid advice. I couldn't get it out of my head. 

We sat down over the weekend and discussed our household budget: bills, spending money, debt and savings. We were 100% on the same page when it came to travel. We needed to do it, and do it as often as possible, before life expenses and kids and all that comes along [several years down the road, I might add]. Cole suggested we put a certain amount of each paycheck into a vacation fund and start planning bi-yearly trips to places on our stateside bucket list. 

Obvi I said yes. 

First up? WE'RE GOING TO NYC THIS FALL! And I. Can't. Wait.


It's been on my bucket list for years, but now I need your help. 

Where do we eat? What do we see? What do I have to get a picture of/with? HELP!!

Signed,

An NYC Virgin 




the best day of my life

Sunday, July 5, 2015
It's true what they say.

After months and months of anticipation, planning,  and stressing over every intricate detail, your wedding day comes and goes in the blink of an eye.

It's over? Already? But I'm not done, yet!

Surrounded by our closest friends and family, June 5, 2015, was truly the best day of my life.

I woke up at my normal hour of 7 a.m., wide awake like a kid on Christmas. I sat criss-cross-apple-sauce in bed with several of my bridesmaids and chatted about life, love and boys, like thirteen-year-olds might. We ate brunch and drank coffee, like adults, and relaxed until it was time to get our hair done.

That's when the day went into fast-forward mode.

Hair, makeup.... (blo. gets lots of thumbs up on my bridal hairstyle. absolute perfection.)



The dress? Allure.


Something old, new, borrowed and blue.


Before I knew it, my dad arrived to whisk me away to the McGranahan Barn. We chose this venue partly because of the historical background, but the outdoor ceremony setting and the rustic, yet classy feel inside the barn didn't hurt matters any.


The boys had a good day, too. At least it looks that way.



Yes, we elected to do first look pictures, and I fully support it.



As you can see, our photographer, Candi Coffman, gets all the gold stars.


We had the cutest of ring bearers and flowers girls. I can't even.


Our wedding party wasn't so bad, either.





The ceremony was just as I always dreamed.


As was the groom. [insert heart eyes emoji]


We sneaked away for a few sunset photos before the party started.


Can you say amazing? This puppy is getting blown up on my mantle. When we get a mantle, that is.

We ate Roxy's Ice Cream in lieu of a groom's cake and played yard games.



We danced the night away... Well, Ryan and I danced.


And before we knew it, before we even got to talk to half of our guests, the night was over.



And we lived [are living] happily ever after.

It was the best day, you guys. Better than I could have ever imagined. I'm sad it's over, but so happy about what the future holds for us. Thank you to everyone who played a part in it.

All my love,

Mrs. Martin


P.S. Happy one month anniversary to us! Time flies when you're having fun.

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