Mary’s Spring Wish List {Guest Post}

Today I’m super excited to have one of my fave bloggers guest posting on this space. In fact, this is the very FIRST guest post appearing on Notes from a Newlywed! Woohoo! So without further ado, I give you Mary’s spring wish list. Enjoy!

Take it away, Mary!

Hey y’all!  I’m Mary, the girl behind the blog, Eat Drink & Be Mary.  I get my kicks spending time with family, laughing & clogging.  I’m a warm weather loving girl stuck in the mountains, who blogs just about everything that pops into my head, but I can’t be the only one right?  Now that it’s officially Spring mother nature better be ready to deliver some warmer, spring weather. Amiright?  So in the name all things new, blooming, & springy I bring you…

Del Mar Maxi Dress – White Plum Boutique || Peekaboo Top – Fireweed Boutique || Those Summer Nights Dress – Flourish Boutique || Koozie – Pink House Press || Essie Fiji || Nude Heels || Triple Delight Necklace – Our World Boutique || Aztec Plazzo Pants – Love Mel Rose

+ Loving that koozie?  You can enter to win one (in several states) over at my blog, Eat Drink & Be Mary..but hurry on over today’s the last day.

+ Clearly there’s a trend in my wish list this year: pastel.  I’m loving all things pastel currently.  I haven’t been one for pastels in the past, but I’m totally digging it this year (I’m blaming blogland).  Unfortunately, that means I have barely any in my closet.  Time for a shopping spree?  I’m down.

+ I’m loving all the Essie colors for this Spring, and was considering buying some until I saw the price tag.  Holy jeez, NINE BUCKS for a .5oz bottle of nail polish, when other brands are less than half the price?!  But this is a wish list after all, and I wouldn’t be upset if this ended up in my Easter basket (hint hint Easter bunny).

+ Is anyone else loving these “plazzo” pants?  They’re basically a flowy-dressier version of our beloved yoga pants.  As in super comfy & cute enough to wear in public–yes please.  Someone tell me I’m not alone!

+ For some more “fashion” and a lot of laughs head on over to my blog today, I’m sharing some of my most recent bloopers.

+ Looking to sponsor a blog and get your name out there more, but don’t wanna break the bank? Check out my advertise page.

What’s on your Spring Wish List this year?  What is your favorite item in my list?  I hope y’all will pop on over to Eat Drink & Be Mary and say hello, I’d love to meet your smiling faces! 🙂

Let’s have a round of applause for Mary, huh?! I’m so loving her spring list. If you’d like to guest post on my blog too, contact me and let’s set something up!


I went self hosted!

I am SO excited to announce that I am now officially self hosted. I’m still learning it and working out a few kinks, but all my old posts, pages, comments and pictures are now migrated. I have set up a redirect, but if you’re not already on my new website, please visit me to see all new posts and keep up with me at:


P.S. And watch for a post next week on my new site about how I did it!

Liquid Ice (Plus an Appearance from the Hubs!)

You guys, I’ve been exhausted lately. The last half week of work was really tough for me to stay focused and alert. I stayed up far too late putzing around the house and getting sucked into TV or Pinterest. Bad me. Gone are the days in high school when I could easily stay up till 3 a.m. watching hours of Blind Date with Roger Lodge (anyone else remember that show?) and still get up at 7 for school with no problem. Now, I can’t stay up past 11 or I’m a zombie come the next day.

Now, I haven’t gone a single day without my morning coffee since college. Around sophomore year of college I developed my dependency on coffee to get me through all-nighters studying, then to keep me awake in class, then so I could go to work after classes, and the habit just stuck. If I haven’t had my morning coffee yet, don’t even talk to me. It’s kind of like this:

cranky cat

Anyway (and down the rabbit hole I went)! This week I relied on coffee as always to get me through the day, and for the first time since I can remember, I felt failed by coffee. It just didn’t do the trick. I drank two mugfuls and I still was super sleepy and couldn’t stop yawning. By Friday, I knew I’d have a big problem. I was fortunate enough to have some Liquid Ice in my fridge to grab this morning when I knew I’d need the extra boost.

Now, I typically don’t drink energy drinks. I save them for dire circumstances. In fact the only other time I can recall going out of my way to get an energy drink was in jr. high when I went to a church retreat and my best friend and I pounded Amps when we would sneak out of the cabins at night and run around. Well, and there’s always those jag bombs, but we don’t need to talk about that:) The few other times I’d sip someone else’s energy drink, I thought they tasted gross. Kind of like that weird aftertaste that protein bars have. Blech.

My husband, on the other hand, considers himself an energy drink connoisseur. Seriously, he told me that. So we both decided to try a Liquid Ice in place of our usual drinks (mine coffee; his a different energy drink). Here’s our thoughts:

I am pleased to report that I’m a fan. OK, for one, it actually tastes good. Like, really good. No gross aftertaste, and it’s sweet and kind of tropically/fruity. Two, it did the trick. It kept me awake, without making me want to bounce off the walls, a la my Amp experience. Three, it actually has cool ingredients like CoQ10!

I also like that this company is prominent in the Midwest. At my former job for an area nightclub/bar/concert facility, we frequently discussed Liquid Ice, there’s promotions for them all over town, and they’re just a fun, relatable company. The product is made in the good ol’ U.S. of A, too. Oh, and the can is blue. Even more points.

liquid ice energy drink

I asked my husband to write a short synopsis of what he thought, and he turned around with a full review. So, I present to you, for the first time, straight from his mouth…writing from the hubs!:

“Coming from someone who averaged two energy drinks a day with a couple cups of coffee Mon – Fri for five years, I know what a good energy drink is. I’ve had everything from Amp, Monster, NOS and Rockstar, all which are good on the flavor side. But it’s more than just getting the flavor; there needs to be a boost.

I always went back and forth from Amp and Rockstar (16oz) but I never really fell in love with any of these. The flavor was good, but I always needed to get another to keep the energy level up. We got the Liquid Ice pack at home and I saw the little can (8.3oz) and I thought this would not work. Without reading the back for ingredients, I just went for it. I was at work for about two hours before I opened it up, I took a huge swig and quickly realized that there is a lot packed into this little can. I had half of it gone in the first half hour. Being that it was something new, I didn’t want to pound it all in three minutes and end up running around the office for a few hours.

I finished the can in an hour and I was already feeling the rush. It was a good kind of rush, no shakes or jitters. I was ready to run laps around the office, but I remained focused and hammered out a lot of work.


Look/Feel – small can, doesn’t make you look like a caffeine whore

Can – 8.3 oz can makes it easy to pound it in a few drinks, not recommended.

Energy – 30 minutes after finishing half of the can, I already felt the energy boost

Energy Length – I had the can finished at 11 A.M. and the energy boost lasted until 4 P.M. I did have a slight crash, but nothing major.

Caffeine Amount – Same amount of caffeine per 8 ounces as a Rockstar Recovery (Orange) Energy Drink, so you’re not drinking as much.

Secondary Caffeine – I only had the Liquid Ice and I drank a lot of water so I did not need a secondary source of caffeine.


Taste – Flavor is a 6.5/10, nothing to brag about just your typical energy drink. Similar to AMP Energy Boost (Original).”

Pretty good for his first time on this blog, eh?! Although I disagree on his taste rating. I give it a 9.5 out of 10! It’s a for sure winner in my book.

Have you ever tried Liquid Ice before? What’s your fave beverage when you need a boost?

I received Liquid Ice items for free in exchange for this review; however, all opinions are 100% my own.

Exciting Changes Coming

Happy Friday everyone! I woke up to snow coming down this morning, which is really annoying. Seriously, spring, just get here already. I’m dying to wear flip flops again.

Anyway … I’ve been pondering going self-hosted on WordPress for awhile now, and I’ve finally decided to make the leap. I want that annoying “” to go away in my URL, I want more control of my design, I want to use plug ins, and I want to take my blog to the next level. It’s terrifying, but I’m gonna give it a go.

My whole weekend is clear of any plans, so my goal is to do it over this weekend. I am truly awful at design, CSS, HTML, and anything remotely technical. I apologize in advance if anything appears glitchy on this site because of the switch. I am pretty sure I will screw something up, but fingers crossed I can handle it.

I’ve also decided to offer sponsorships as part of this change. I don’t have enough followers or experience yet to go big, but just a few spots for very cheap prices. Maybe it’ll be a flop, but I’m going with the logic that you don’t know if you don’t try. I plan to offer the entire first month free as a way to get the hang of managing sponsors without feeling bad for taking money in case I suck at it.

If anyone has any tips or advice at all for me on these changes, I would love to hear them. I need all the help I can get.

I would also like to say a great big thanks to a few special ladies who already have helped me prepare for these changes. Amberly, Charlene, Katie and Katie, I wouldn’t be making this switch without your wise words of advice and encouragement. Thank you!!!

Hopefully you all come back next week and see a brand new Notes from a Newlywed. If not, then I screwed up, got discouraged and gave up. Or, I got distracted by spring cleaning instead.

Wish me luck. Thanks all!

Enjoy Your Engagement

As I’ve rambled on about before, I learned a lot in planning my wedding and would do lots of things different if I had a time machine. I don’t though, so let me pass on some tips to you! So many of the lessons I came away with after my wedding could come to one simple thing: I wish I had enjoyed my engagement, and the whole process, more. I get it: It’s super easy to get caught up in the details. You want to plan the BEST day ever and completely lose yourself while striving for a Pinterest perfect wedding. But it could come at a cost. Your sanity.

Save yourself from an embarrassing meltdown like I had and avoid having regrets.

enjoying your engagement tip picture

So without further ado, here’s some of my own tips for enjoying your engagement to the fullest:

-Be organized without overdoing it. Not everything needs to be color-coded and meticulously organized, but you do need a basic system so that you can easily find something when you need it. Keep all your wedding items and papers in one place (the corner of a spare bedroom or closet is great), and have a binder or folder with the most important papers, including a checklist, phone numbers of vendors, etc., that you can take with you to appointments or planning sessions with your bridal party.

-Ask for help! Seriously. Don’t suck it up and do it all yourself like I tried to, because you simply can’t do it unless you find a way to live without sleep. Enlist your bridal party, parents, crafty friends, co-workers, whoever you can get. Bribe them with candy. Whatever it takes to get some assistance in any area you need. And revel in the great people in your life that are willing to take time out of their day for you!

-Stick to (and make) a budget. When you get to the point you’ve realized you’ve overspent, there’s probably not much you can do to take it back, so don’t let it happen in the first place. Remember that it’s more important to invest in your marriage, not your wedding.

-Breathe. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, sit back, close your eyes for a minute and simply breathe deeply. It’s crazy how much something as simple as that can help you calm down. If that’s not enough, walk away and do something else for awhile. Try yoga even!

-Have plenty of date nights with your fiancé. Make time for each other and be in the moment! It’s so important to not let your relationship slide to the back burner during this time. You’re engaged! Enjoy it! Prioritize spending quality time together and find fun ways to connect. I think it’s also important to talk a lot. Get to know each other on a deeper level. Ask each other hard questions. It’s amazing what you learn about your partner when you take the time to ask!

-Make lots of time for you. Go ahead, get massages leading up to the big day, schedule a facial and plenty of pedicures! Pamper yourself, because loving yourself is important too. If you’re tight on money, have an at-home spa day, or devote one entire weekend day to reading on the couch with your fave beverage. Go for a long walk in the park. Whatever it takes to relax your mind, have some fun and recharge your battery without doing anything wedding-related.

-Think about your expectations of your husband, bridal party and close family members and communicate to them what EXACTLY you want out of them. Never assume anything. (I assumed my mom would show up to help me get ready before the ceremony, but she didn’t because I didn’t tell her to be there. She simply didn’t know and wanted to help make sure the church was prepared and greet guests as they arrived, which was nice, but not what I had envisioned. That is 100% my fault.)

-Stick to your guns. Don’t let anyone else persuade you from wandering from your wedding-day dreams. If you really truly want to walk down the aisle to Spice Girls, do it. If you want to serve broccoli-flavored cake, do it. Who cares if someone thinks it’s weird or untraditional. It’s your day. Do what YOU want. They have/had their own day to do what they want.

-Accept the fact that things more than likely will go wrong on your wedding day and leading up to it. You probably will be disappointed in something, someone will make your big day all about them, and people you thought you could rely on may fail you. And as much as all of that sucks, it’s completely normal and there’s nothing you can do about it.

-Remember the big picture. What’s most important at the end of the day is that you get to marry the man (or woman!) you love. View your wedding as a success if that happens. As long as you and your spouse are happy with your decisions, you’re set.

The reason I think it’s so important to have an enjoyable engagement is so that you can carry it into your upcoming marriage. You want to set a good tone for your new life together. You don’t want to go into it frantic and frazzled! You (probably) only get to be engaged once, so you want to be able to look back on that time of your life and smile. It’s a happy time; enjoy it!

Packing a Manly Lunch

foods for a man lunch box

For a long time, my husband’s job was only a couple blocks from our apartment, so he would come home on his lunch break to fend for himself. But now, he’s got a new job that’s out of town and he can no longer swing home for food. On his first day, I packed him a lunch that I would have packed for me … but then he came home and reported that it wasn’t enough to tide over his manly appetite. So I put in a plea for ideas to fill man tummies from my wise sister in law and online, consulted Pinterest, wrote a few lists of my own and now have a pretty good grasp of what it takes to subside a big appetite during the workday.

Ideally you’d have enough leftovers from the previous day’s dinners to pack up as a lunch, but sometimes you just can’t do that. Here’s a list of foods that we like in our household that work great in lunches — for your man or for you!:

Main dish

meat, cheese and veggie
tuna salad
chicken salad
egg salad

-homemade pizzas (even the English muffin or bagel kind!)

-hot dogs or sausage

-pickledinks (or ham, cream cheese and pickles rolled up in a tortilla)


-big salads with black beans

-pasta salad

Sides and fillers

-Cuties or Halos

-other fruit – banana, grapes, apple

-crackers with peanut butter

-celery with peanut butter (and raisins if he likes ’em for ants on a log)

-carrots or broccoli with ranch

-hard-boiled eggs

-baked beans

-Hawaiian rolls

-chips with dip or salsa

-pudding cups


-fruit cups

-granola bars


-cashews or other nuts

-cheese sticks or cubes

-pretzel sticks

-cookies or bars

man lunch box close up

As a last resort, have some frozen burritos, hot pockets, canned soups, Ramen cups, prepackaged macaroni cups or tuna salad mixes on hand he can grab during times you’re running low on the good stuff.

Make it fun and get a new lunchbox, new storage containers with dividers, some small resealable cups for salsa, dressing, etc. It makes it more fun for you to pack and him to eat! (Not that the wife must always pack her husband’s lunch. Cal often packs his own, but sometimes I like to do it for him for fun.)

Oh, and always include a love note!

Why is Marriage Portrayed so Negatively on TV?

jeff dunham and walter

Image from

My husband was watching a Jeff Dunham special on TV the other day, and one of the show’s characters, Walter (a grumpy old man puppet), made a remark that really made me upset. He was talking about his wife said something to the effect of, “When you’re dating, all you want to do is make out in the car. When you’re married, all you want to do is run her over with the car.”

Now, I know it’s just a joke coming from a silly puppet, but I think that’s completely besides the point. It certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve heard someone on TV make a remark about how much they hate their wife. Al Bundy made some kind of comment to that effect each episode of Married With Children. More common themes include men complaining about how all their women do is whine and nag, spend all their husbands’ money, and took their freedom and fun away.

Is it becoming OK to despise your wife? To the point you joke about killing her?! What on earth does it say to still be married to this woman then? I would hope that if a marriage got to that point where you can’t stand your spouse you would no longer be together. Although I do believe divorce is becoming too much of an easy escape in times of trouble these days, but that’s a whole separate blog post.

That comment from Walter was even more painful for me, thinking of how a man, an actual man (Jeff Dunham) wrote that joke. Jeff himself was married for many years, and now is divorced. Maybe he’s just bitter and writing jokes fueled from that emotion, but that doesn’t make it right. Or funny.

I know there’s plenty of other shows on TV that do portray marriage in a better light, or at least in a more real way, but those are few and far between, and I doubt many impressionable youth are tuning in to those shows. I’d like to think that these off-color comments are not making their way into the minds of young people (and adults!), but I’m sure to some extent they are. The more you see or hear something, the more you start to believe it.

It makes me sad to see marriage, which is such a wonderful thing, joked about. Marriage is hard and each couple will have their arguments and issues, but never should it be OK to make comments about how much you hate your spouse. Marriage is sacred. You say your vows to this person to love and honor them till death do you part. (Cue another joke from Walter about the death part.) I don’t know about you, but I meant mine.

Is marriage just a big joke to Hollywood? Doing some quick Googling while writing this post, I found an article that said television can affect how we feel about marriage and our own spouse. I know it’s true to some extent for me. I love the TV show, King of Queens, and in that show, the wife Carrie is often nagging and making fun of her own husband, calling him fatty and other less than loving things. I don’t call my husband names, but I do find myself nagging more than I should, possibly because I see it so much on TV, so it becomes more “acceptable.”

But at what point did it ever become acceptable to make marriage a giant joke? Your spouse the object of ridicule and hateful remarks? I, for one, don’t like it one bit. Not that I know what to do about it, or what my point was writing this post, but I just wanted to get that off my chest. Phew.

My cat is a washer & dryer delivery driver

Linking up with Karly Kim and Jade & Oak for the Pets are People Too link up!

Have you ever had such a bizarre dream, but one that is so cool and out there that it becomes a long-standing joke? Our household has that joke. I wish I could claim the dream as mine, but this gem came straight from my husband’s subconscious.

In his dream, our hot mess of a cat Little Girl (who you might remember from my last post about her) was a washer and dryer delivery kitty. Yes, she had a day job. Not only that, but she had her own company pickup truck to do her job. She got right in the truck, drove around, and installed washers and dryers to people in town.

little girl

When Cal told me about this dream, I instantly thought it was the best thing I had ever heard. Sometimes when one of our cars is out for a repair, I’ll suggest we ask Little Girl if we can borrow her truck. Or if we’re feeling lazy, we’ll tell her to go do errands for us … since she has a pickup and all. As long as her employer doesn’t find out.

We later came up with jobs for all of our pets because that’s how cool we are we have nothing better to do with our lives.

Captain works at the National Weather Service as a weathercat. It made sense since he’s always looking out the window, so obviously we assumed he’s watching for storm clouds or weather patterns. Now every time we see him gazing outside, we say to him, “Clocking in for duty today? Well, have fun at work!”newspaper cat

Fun fact: Captain did sort of have a job for awhile. At my student newspaper in college, I volunteered him as the paper’s mascot, so I took photos of him in various poses wearing our paper, which we turned into ads that ran in it. He also frequently came to the office with me and hung out with all the editors while we worked on each week’s issue. True story.

Brick works at Burger King as a fry cook/burger flipper. I’m really not sure where this originated, but I think we may have been eating burgers one day and he seemed especially intrigued about it, so we had to assume he was trying to learn more about his minimum wage trade. Also, Little Girl often has to bring him to work in her pickup since he can’t afford his own vehicle on those BK wages.


Jade and Oak
P.S. I’m guest posting today for Katie over at A Worker at Home. Go check out my post and recipe for Crockpot Salsa Chicken!

Life Changes & Taking Risks

Exactly one year ago today, I took a risk and made a big life change. At the time, I was beyond terrified about it and overanalyzed every possible scenario it might have on my future.

March 12, 2013, marks my last day at a prior job. I know leaving a job in general isn’t that big of a deal, but for me, in that job, at that time, it was huge. I was at that job for a little over four years. It was my first full-time, post-college professional job in the field I wanted to be in. I loved the work I was doing and was incredibly fulfilled and proud of what I did there. In fact, I had hoped it could have been my career for many many years to come.

But at some point, I knew it was time to go. Out of professional courtesy, I shouldn’t go into any details, and those are beside the point anyway. I had very mixed feelings about it, and a part of me was really sad to be leaving; another part was excited about new opportunities. I bit the bullet and put in my notice though, with a new job on the horizon. It. was. terrifying. It was risky. It may not have worked out! What if I regretted it?! But I made it through, and here I am now!

Hindsight is usually 20/20, and now looking back, I know I did the right thing. I’m very happy with what I’m doing now and think it’s where I was meant to be. It’s so interesting to look back at your life choices and see how everything was weaved together and all your experiences lead to what you are now. I’m thankful for every good and bad choice I’ve made.

Some say that without risk there is no reward. I think I mostly agree with that. We take chances everyday, some big and some small. I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, close your eyes and jump feet first into life.

What risks have you taken in life?


My Favorite Wedding Planning Books

When I was planning my wedding, I overresearched everything. I subscribed to tons of websites and wedding newsletters, got tons of magazines and books and scoured message boards. What I found was that most actually weren’t that helpful. None of the bridal magazines taught me anything, and much of the information everywhere was either common sense, or the same tips regurgitated over and over.

However, there were a few that actually were useful. Ones that I bookmarked, dog-eared and referred to several times. These are my highly recommended wedding reads!


Of course, The Knot website is well known, but I also found it the most comprehensive website out there for all my needs. I also used its virtual checklist to keep track of my to-dos, made my wedding website there, researched vendors and read tips lists, but I most loved their wedding shop. Their prices rivaled other websites and stores, and I bought about half of my decorations and ceremony/reception items from them. They also always had great sales and coupons, so I saved a good amount of money by ordering there too.

Real Simple Weddings. This book was given to me as a gift from a sweet co-worker who told me her sister found it super helpful in planning her wedding. It had chapters for all the big things to plan for in your wedding. It overviewed the different types of dress shapes, flower types for your bouquets, and had the most comprehensive checklist of any source I found. This was the first book I had that really helped me get a handle on planning.

The Knot Book of Wedding Lists. It’s no secret. I love lists. For everything I do in my life. This book had a list for every possible thing to consider in planning, and I found many of them incredibly helpful. Questions to ask your vendors. Order of events for the ceremony and reception. Items to put in guests’ welcome bags. Things to consider for the rehearsal dinner. Duties for the wedding party. Types of stationery to consider. Sample invitation wording. List of shots for the photographer. Dress types for you and bridesmaids. Items to have in your day-of bag. Top reception songs. Items to put on your registry. Organizing your honeymoon. Loved this book.

The Nest Newlywed Handbook. Another book from the folks from The Knot. This one was what I read on our honeymoon. It had great tips for starting your married life together. Tips for combining finances, dealing with new insurance choices, buying your first home, decorating as a couple, throwing parties, having date nights, combining families and dealing with in-laws, starting your family and having children, communicating as a couple, and your futures together. But what I liked most about this book was its list of questions at the end of each chapter. They were questions to ask your spouse and discuss together to get to know eachother and expectations better. One night on our honeymoon we went over most of them, and it was really nice to have those questions to prompt our discussions. Some of the questions included: What aspect of your parents’ relationship do you most admire? Say I get a surprise bonus…do we splurge on something big or save it for a rainy day? What belonging of mine would you throw out first? Who are the five friends you most hope to still have in ten years? What will happen when our parents get old?

The other book pictured that I didn’t write about is one that my husband read. It had very thoughtful ideas on marriage and comes very highly recommended. It’s on my to-read list when I get caught up.

For any newlyweds or future brides, I hope you find these as helpful as I did! For any married ladies, what other resources did you find most helpful in planning your wedding?