Ringing In the Christmas Cheer

 photo 11a_zps3073a707.jpgChristmas in November for us here in Texas! Last weekend, an early snow storm just in time for us to decorate for Christmas and venture to Austin/College Station for early Thanksgiving celebrations. Seeing Bopant's sisters and my friends in Aggieland was the perfect wrap up to the snow.  photo 6a_zps2069f1f9.jpg photo 7a_zps364920f3.jpgOur lookout gnome was buried belly high in snow, but you don't see him complaining!  photo 5a_zps15db3219.jpg  photo 9a_zps57968553.jpg photo 12a_zpsd1c9a429.jpg
Since we are a bit tight on space in our little cottage, we opted to order a 4 foot tree and have a miniature little bundle of Christmas joy. Officially having our own real place and beginning a decoration collection makes me feel a million times more "adult"ish. Decorating our place and getting into the holiday spirit has been a quality kick-off to the Thanksgiving festivities. In other news, we watched the new Disney movie, Frozen, last night and it was just amazing!! Grab your nearest child and head to your nearest theater asap. I might or might not have teared up in the first 10 minutes.. classic sign of a solid Disney film. Hope you are all each relishing (literally) in this Thanksgiving day and might even be knee-deep in snow! I personally can't wait to stuff my boca full of pumpkin goodies and stuffing from dawn till dusk. What are your favorite holiday treats or traditions?

Our Little Love Story

Since today is our official 6 month wedding anniversary, I figured this is the perfect opportunity to share our little love story with you tots! I just love this little goober. Hope you enjoy this peak into our past. photo 4_zpse45b7723.jpg Once upon a time, in a far distant land [Lubbock] lived two quirky souls. One brisk July 2010 night, these two crossed paths at Sugarbrowns coffee house [rest in peace] while listening to a couple of local musicians. Who knew what began as a slightly awkward first impression would blossom into this crazy love we've got brewing today.

As in all good fairytales, timing intervened between girl and boy testing true love. Girl ventured into the Promise Land [WHOOPTexas A&M UniversityWHOOP] separating the two by one nasty road trip [7 hours no stops]. Boy and girl visited each other throughout her first college semester, soaking up little moments and good tunes at Austin City Limits. Over Thanksgiving 2010, girl and boy finally took the leap of faith and dove into a [Facebook official] relationship.

 photo 2_zps3f938f54.jpgEmbracing time together during academic breaks, they began to fall in love with each other and the Lord more as life took them on one whirlwind of a journey. Boy met with girl's father weekly for coffee, Bible study and shooting lessons... just kidding on that last one [I think]. The two entwined their families and lives, beginning to watch God unfold possibilities of their future.

Girl went to an academic meeting with her business advisor and realized [thanks to dual credit and summer school] she was scheduled to graduate a year and a half early in December of 2012. Boy had a similar experience, realizing he would graduate a year early in May 2014. Girl freaked out, having little to no life plan and multiple path options. After much tribulation, she felt called to return to Lubbock after graduation.

Boy knew the sound of wedding bells was playing in the near future. He gathered some beautiful friends and headed down to Aggieland. Picking the perfect spot in a park clearing, he got down on one knee and asked girl to join him in life's beautiful adventure forever. Girl said yes. Girl and boy got married in May 2013 and set sail for Europe the next day, spending the next 3 months backpacking and exploring the world together.
 photo 943f55f1-d89e-4e58-871e-bf906b6339fb_zps3008582a.jpg There you have it folks. Girl and boy embarking in life, hand in hand [or foot in foot].

and they all lived happily ever after... 6 Month post by mismatchedsimplicity on Grooveshark

Kina Grannis. Royals - Monday Morning Motivation

Sweet Kina Grannis stole my heart when I stumbled on her YouTube channel way back in high school. She has one of the buttery voices that can cover just about any song from any genre and sound like a million bucks. Such a picture of creative talent and pure angelic vocals.

We're Moving to Dallas (in May) - A Post from Husband

These last couple weeks have been hugely shaping for us. Not only have they been insanely busy, but they have also been instrumental in the “big story” of our lives. A couple of weeks ago, I attended an interview with Bank of America for a job starting after I graduate in May. The week of the interview, I wasn’t feeling too excited about it. It’s been our dream to go to Portland, uproot our lives, and start fresh. Dallas doesn’t exactly give us that opportunity. I told D’Ann: “I think I’m going to cancel this interview, why am I even going?” She encouraged me to stick with it and go anyway; if anything else it is good interview experience. So I went, did the two division interviews and left. I had mixed feelings. I connected with one interviewer, and not so much with the other.
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A few days later I get a call inviting me to go to the Dallas for final round of interviews! Wow, this is strange- I thought. How can the Lord let this happen when he knows he has called us to Portland? He must have us confused with some other college-married couple. 
 
So I venture on over to the large complex Lubbock International Airport system – that’s a joke – and am feeling excited! The company gave me a stipend for the day to spend on food. A.k.a … living large. (Once again, that’s another joke, if you know my wife and I, we wouldn’t know how to “live large” even if we read it in a manual.) So, like any coffee lover should, I got a Venti Salted Caramel Latte (the Venti because that was my idea of spending, and the salted caramel because that’s what you get when it’s fall).
 photo b2_zps1ae2baeb.jpg The rest of the day seriously could not have gone better. I felt at peace, very calm, and focused throughout my interviews. The Lord definitely was in that place! It went so well that I found myself talking to one of the interviewers about cycling and London pubs. Get this: he’s got his own cycling team! I could not have asked for more! In the 2 weeks prior to final round of interviews, God did so much work in Annie’s and my heart. Through random conversations, a sermon, a movie, a chat with our parents, and everything else the Lord prepared us to be “okay” and even “excited” about things that we didn’t think were in our plan.
 
The end of the story goes like this: I got a call back getting to pick between the two divisions I interviewed for, and the job starts at the end of June in their Dallas office! So, its official: I will be working as a Credit Analyst for Bank of America. Not credit in the terms of “personal credit”, but kinda sorta “business credit”. We have been so blessed and so prepared for this moment that I can’t even describe our excitement! Our dreams for Portland are still very much alive, and we are trusting God that he will fulfill those some day. But for now, we are walking into the next chapter.

Guest Letters from Young Wives

Let me intro this post by saying that getting married right out or still in college is not for everyone. Nor is it a standard others need to hold themselves too. 93% of Bopants and my friends are single. Many of whom are in their upper 20s. One of my fall goals was to have more collaboration posts with guest writers. My first one was a hoot. My favorite part is seeing how people answer the same thing completely uniquely. Today, I have asked some fellow young wives to write a letter to themselves, their husband or just share thoughts on marriage. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Meet guest writer and lovely wife #1: Kelsey and Nate remind me of cocoa and whipped cream. Sweet, warm and forever displaying this endearing "come stay a while and chat with us while our husky roams the room"demeanor.

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Our next guest, and conveniently also a Kelsey, has been a friend since high school. Let me be the first to say that sophomore Kelsey & D'Ann were a jumble of hot mess.. or at least I know I was. I love when Jesus reconnects people from your past after radically redeeming you both. She's neato and John Michael is cute as a button, too.
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Julie is that cooler friend's older sister I've known and loved forever! She's the perfect mix of classy, goofy, international, genius & expert snow cone maker. Archie found himself a steal. Thankful for these two & their love for each other & Christ.  photo Screenshot2013-11-18at102702PM_zps6929aba8.png  photo 571cbcf6-bf7d-4640-a2f9-6c3291f3288a_zpsc7cf0ccb.jpg Lastly, Jordan served as my senior high school girl's D-NOW leader while Matt co-served as the dude's leader. I remember bugging her during one of our 2am "should be discussing Jesus but instead are squeaking about boys" chats about if she and Matt ever did or would date. He was one of my best friend's older brothers and I was bound to put them together. Turns out Jesus beat me to the punch, marrying these two cuties.  photo Screenshot2013-11-18at102920PM_zpsbb732704.png photo a5919bae-7fe2-4b56-a91b-2d56964039b7_zps68f4fce4.jpg

My Favorite Teacher - Monday Morning Motivation

Could be my sentimental feelings toward my Sissykins and Papa Bear in the teaching field, but this video had me happy as a clam :] Hearing people appreciate people is the bestest.

Seven Day Snapshots

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This past week has been full with family visits, work events, fallish food and Christmas decorating (photos coming soon!).
-My dear friend and Sissykins goes all out every Halloween for her middle school science classes. I had a hard time choosing my favorite day photo from her collection, but here she sports her creepy fortune teller face, orange attire and dry ice!
-Raven, Amrita and I all went to our first Tech football games of the season with Bopants and some friends. We lasted till about 10 minutes into the second quarter before we finally left to warm up and chittychat. So I'd say that was a success!
-Orange rolls have become a weekly staple in our cottage. We finally crossed off last month's goal to dry a new local restaurant. East Moon even molded our rice into a heart with a cherry! Good company and happy bellies all around.
-Papa Bear dabbles in artwork on the side of education and had a block print art show opening on Monday. Over 250 people came out to support! It never ceases to amaze me how my father can draw such a crowd due to his friendships and community relations. My amazing San Antonio grandparents came into town for the show, so I got to soak up some treasured time with them. Grandpa's giggling face gets me every time!
-Read this depressing frustrating novel, but this quote knifed truth into me.
-Raven and I participated in the local studio art tour this past weekend. This gorgeous oil cross painting was the ultimate show-stopping favorite for me.
-To celebrate Bopants new employment (WHOOOOOP!) we devoured pumpkin almond pancakes and avocado crepes from Manna Cafe. I could go on and on about that yummyness.
-Papa Bear & Sissykins flew to Houston to present at a teachers conference and kicked bootie as per usual. Momma Bear got recognized as an Spirit of Philanthropist Honoree at a luncheon I attended with work. I always enjoy a good family side by side :] This clan is the greatest.

Phew! Sorry this Seven Day Snaps kept running on. Told you it's been a packed past week... but, I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

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Top o' the morning to you MadiPadiFoFadi,

Whilest in the midst of our daily dose of Will & Grace re-run watching, Bopants chanted the "Mike's Super Short Show" jingle. Not sure how on earth that 2000 Disney mini-show surfaced in his mind all these years later, but tis life with this nugget. In case you forgot the tune, I found the top rated clip - which has innocent baby Miley as an added timeline bonus. Gem. Am I right or am I right?
Since you don't watch the Voice as obsessively as yours truly, I feel OBLIGATED to share this DYNAMITE Florence & the Machine cover rocked out by one of my favorite season singers. The heavenly belted note at 1:26 makes me literally want to cry. No words. Also, let's all just appreciate for the millionth time Florence's outfit choice from last year's ACL. Oh the memories of that festival. Not to mention her unforgettably unique show photo 3c83feb9-cfca-4bdd-a33b-055291a1aea5_zpsd30b692c.jpg The contrast and similarities between these two boogers is mind boggling to me. Since we were blessed enough to have so many extended conversations this past week, I'm coming up with a lack of things to share with you in this weekly letter... Hmm..

Raven and I went on a Studio Art tour this past weekend, which meant that some awesome local artists opened their home studios for people to waltz around and appreciate masterpieces. Each home also hosted at least 3 other artists, so we definitely got our fill of Lubbock art appreciation and culture. So good for the soul. One of the artists, Marsha Davis, creatively painted her entire house vibrant beautiful colors. This was just the front. Mouthwatering..  photo aaa_zps172a35b0.jpg Sorry for the massive photo, but it truly deserves to be on display. I want to be this bold and unique as a house owner one day. Welp, I love you to the moon and back in a How Do You Roll all you can eat sushi serving rocketship :] Can't wait for you to come visit us. Keep rocking and rolling to the Smiths until then. I wholeheartedly endorse your obsession.

Over and out,
AnnieBannieFoFannie

Western Spaghetti by PES - Monday Morning Motivation

With 12 million views, I suppose I'm a bit behind on the times. It's no secret that I adore a good stop motion film. Not to mention all the western world observations. Job well done, Pes. Job well done.

Cross Country Correspondence photo texa3_zpsde5ac9aa.jpg

Another juicy post from my bfffffffffl Madi Mae, who has agreed to partner up with me on a interweb correspondence while we live apart in the great state of Texas. You can see our previous letters to each other here & here. I miss her loads for many reasons, but one is her creative humor. See exhibit A: 

Dearest D[apostrophe]anny, 

This letter is dedicated to the British 80s post punk band The Smiths. I have possessed an affinity for The Smiths for some time now, but ssshheeesssh. I’ve been consuming their jams like oxygen and even more than sleep (‘cuz, ya know. College). The best days to jam out to this lovely band: Rain. Particularly, cold rain. Thankfully, College Station/Bryan, Texas has been welcoming this weather with open arms!.... Well I’m welcoming it with open arms and even offering to help get Rainy Weather on her feet till she can find permanent residence in this town of ours (I don’t think she will stay for long. She never does.); thus, I am taking full advantage of Rainy’s stay and soaking up (no pun intended) all of the cold Smith-y weather there is.

Reasons why The Smiths are awesome:

1.) They have a prime time for when to be played (like all bands), but they still jam so well with summer heat waves.
2.) British.
3.) Their lyrics are witty and insightful.
4.) EXCELLENT writing music.
5.) Need I say more? photo feb7ca08-f5e9-4598-a11f-3e931ef7c60b_zpse01a7cdf.jpg
6.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knM7ow5vMPA Literary songs are my jam. “With love and hate and passions just like mine. They were born. They lived and then they died. Seems so unfair. I want to cry.” Vividly addressing the fact we all die and we all experience the same emotions regardless mixed with the absurdity of it all; yet somehow, the song still remains upbeat and fun. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE. 
 photo b216d059-b7ac-4b60-92ad-185ae9740d28_zpse0cbd2ea.jpg7.) Because if I got marry any famous movie star, it would be Joseph and obviously he wasn’t acting in this movie. He OBVIOUSLY loves The Smiths. Totally not an excerpt from a movie. Totally real life. Totally. 
8.) Disclaimer: I promised I loved The Smiths pre-500 Days of Summer. 
9.) 80s music man. 
10.) I don’t need a tenth reason. D’Ann- if you don’t believe me yet or haven’t experienced all the things I am describing, you must complete the following or this message will self-destruct: a.) Make sure it is raining 
   a.1.) If it is not raining, perform rain dance until it does. 
   a.2.) Wait till next rainy day (but this is boring and might take a while).
   b.) Listen to a full album of The Smiths (best hits to start off) either while reading/driving/baking/painting.
   c.) This could also be considered option 2- make some hot chocolate, be pantless (because pants are stupid), listen to their best hits, close your eyes, and breathe. 

This might be as good as peanut butter or pumpkin cider or kitties. Well… maybe kitties. Till next time, Dibbles. 

Miss Madison Mae

Pressing the Pause Button

In the course of the past few weeks, I've realized the creeping loom of stress and tension seeping into pockets of my everyday life. When time breezes by so fast you almost miss the rustling of each hour passing, I notice my body tends to take on heaps of unnecessary over thinking/worry/control/etc.. This month has been marked by that feeling. I'd like to blame it on the time change or big events at work or future planning. But tonight I found my back knotted with pain and mind wandering down ridiculous roads and finally. I.  just . p a u s e d. Let myself breathe and stop and listen.

November is one of those annoying social media months when I literally want to punch every person for posting about thankful blessings after about day 4. Today, I ranted to my new coworker (who is a rockstar and a blissful office mate, might I add) about how I might just boycott the internet all month to avoid all the gushy statuses. Yet now, I am awakened to the reality that I haven't focused on gratification in my own life in quite some time. So here I am. Swallowing my pride and joining the bandwagon. I am in DESPERATE need for an attitude refresher, re-adjusting the focus of my eyes from problems to gratefulness. So apologies in advance if you are already over the thankful trend. But, from one tongue biter to another, maybe just do a quick heart check and see if you might be rejecting all the joy in preference of wallowing in negativity.  photo thankful_zps799fbc98.jpg
What are you thankful for?

Weekly Wishes: November Goals, October Review

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In the season of trying out new things, I am mashing up our monthly goals inspiration from last month with the wonderful Weekly Wishes link-up hosted by The Nectar Collective.
 photo 1aa_zpsea5567af.jpg Surprisingly, we actually completed 80% of our October goals. Assuming that last month was the first time Bopants and I sat down to goal plan, I'm shocked we stuck to our "wishes" so successfully. I never got around to creating homemade cocktails, but I did locate pumpkin cider, raspberry cider and blueberry beer in our city - so that's a definite successful alternative!!

One of my goals last month was to read a book per week. Along with these 4 reads, I re-read both the Twilight and Hunger Games series.. so I suppose that's one area I over excelled. Below are my reviews of the new reads.

Weekly book read reviews:
1. Love Wins by Rob Bell - Controversial author in the Christian sector, I re-read this gem and truly enjoyed the art of asking intentional questions. Challenging observations on foundations of faith and current teachings.
Favorite Quote: “Love demands freedom. It always has, and it always will. We are free to resist, reject, and rebel against God's ways for us. We can have all the hell we want.”

2. The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simes - Overall summary follows the adventure of a high-powered Manhattan attorney who discovers love, purpose and joys of a simpler life. All in all, decent predicable read that reminded me of Sweet Home Alabama.

3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - The second staple in the Lunar Chronicles series, the creative adaption of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf just won my heart once again. The whole series and smaller half books have been a pleasant reading surprise.
Favorite Quote: "I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you."

4. The Why of Things by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop - Following a family's journey of moving on with life after the tragic suicide of 17-year-old Sophie, Winthrop invests the reader in each family member's grieving through various narrative shifts. My only complaint was that there wasn't much wrap-up conclusion, which could easily be her statement on life in general.

 photo 1ab_zpsa019bd49.jpg Annie's November list:
-work on resume update design
-purchase at least 5 Christmas gifts for others
-pre-plan blog posts
-mail surprise gift cards to at least 3 friends
-make a new friend

Bopants' November list:
-purchase Christmas tree
-finishing hanging up house decorations
-eat pumpkin cookies (are we seeing a pattern here from last month?)
-invest in cardigan wardrobe


The Nectar Collective

Yo Mama Battle - Monday Morning Motivation

Because these chaps are creative geniuses and sometimes we need a good musical interruption. Rhett & Link share the type of friendship I envision Jesus & I to sharing once we are reunited and sippin Sangria up in Heaven.

His&Hers, November Edition

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Hers: want, needlisten, read

We have a noticeable fall inspired color palette of holiday cheer! Not even mad about it one little bit. We are planning on decorating our little back house all Christmas-y this weekend, so maybe we'll purchase that precious tree from Bopants' need list and jam to some A Boy & His Kite. I still can't even believe it's officially NOVEMBER!!! Yipeeyiyayyoh!