Anniversary Plots

The idea of an anniversary makes me really nervous. Sort of like birthdays and Christmas, there’s so much expectation tied to it, which usually makes me clam up and fail. I’ve already got a project in the works for our anniversary, but here are some things I would love to do if I still needed ideas. Maybe I’ll use these for year two.

1. Take a trip.

Everyone knows how badly I want to purchase an Airstream, but did I tell you about the time I thought the husband bought us one as a surprise? Another story for a later time…

This is actually something we’re doing this year (thanks to the husband’s secret planning skills), but it’s only going to be a short weekend trip. The idea of flying anywhere for a short period overwhelms me, not to mention the price of flights is extraordinary right now. So we’re taking a short road trip to a secret destination, which will be more fun and less overwhelming than a big trip anywhere else.

2. Host a party.

via a cup of jo

This is something I really want to do, but I’m not sure where we’d fit all the people we’d want to invite to our tiny little apartment. Maybe if God blesses us with a house and a big back yard, we can try this on anniversary number 5. I love the idea of having some close friends over for dinner to celebrate another year of our love. Check out the links below for some free photo booth templates from the fabulous Jordan Ferney. She has the best party ideas.

via oh happy day

3. Make a photo montage.

With all the technology available these days, you can make any type of photo book or collage by just uploading some favorite photos to the website of your choice. Even if you’re not picture people, you can gather enough pictures over the last year to make something pretty memorable. Even if you have to include things like this:

What are some creative things you’ve done to commemorate an anniversary or special occasion?

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Texas State Fair

Big Tex was ours last night. Some faves:

Quote: “I feel like fairs used to be more like The Masters, classy, with a lot of rich people…I guess not anymore” – Jen

Moment: I think the parents taking video/pictures of their screaming 2-year old on the motorcycle carousel is going to be tough to top.

Animal: The 1200 lb. pig (see below)

Food: (Tie) Fried Peaches & Cream and Fried Ice Cream. We were too weak (or intelligent) to try the fried butter.

Show: The piglet races. OK, we didn’t actually see them, but they happened…and in our minds they were hilarious.

3 Dilemmas and Two Babies

All parts of our weekend. Enjoy.

1. Drive-in movie. Biggest dilemma: to buy food and drink there or to sneak it in. We debated for a long time and decided to purchase on site. Not because the bible says to obey the law, but because we always tout phrases like, “Support your local businesses.” We don’t picket or anything, but we say it. At least to each other. Inception= good. Salt= better. I was cheering for Angelina when I thought she was a Russian spy, which made me feel less than patriotic and made me care a little less about the welfare of our local mom and pop drive-in. We still bought a Sprite.

2. We posted pics of the flea market trip, but what we didn’t share was the delicious glory we encountered on the south end. Fruit. Lots of it, and really cheap. You know those cartons of strawberries you buy from the store that cost about $2.50 right now? Well we found those for $1 each. And blueberries. And blackberries. Except that they weren’t local, and we’re not sure how they got them so cheap, but pretty sure they might have knocked over a fruit truck on their way to set up shop. We didn’t ask many questions, and we probably have blood fruit on our hands. But they’re oh so tasty. Not like blood at all.

3. If you could somehow find a way to scam a game show and take home hundreds of thousands of dollars, would you? Is it cheating? Check out this story about Michael Larson and imagine the debate we had after listening. Click here, stream episode, and start about 38 minutes in.

Also, Molly Piper had her twins yesterday. We don’t know her and never will, but we love her blog and her babies.

Happy Monday.

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Tourists in Our Own Town

There’s something I’ve always loved about the notion of being a tourist in your own hometown. Right now we don’t have an option: we are tourists. It won’t feel like home for quite some time, so for now, we explore. But it’s easy to become familiar with your surroundings when you immerse yourself in the same environment every day. So today, we challenge you to this: Visit one “new to you” thing every few weeks. Pick one new shop, one new park, one new historic building and check it out. Your town is much cooler than you think it is. Promise.

This weekend, we chose the Bishop Arts District. Here are a few things we found:

Soda Gallery in Oak Cliff

The guy who ran this place was one of the most intriguing people we’ve met in our time here in Dallas. Part salesman, part entrepreneur, part soda lover, he explained to us how he started his business over 4 years ago. He and his partner now sell vintage(y) sodas for $2.50 a pop. Pun intended. He also explained that they sell online and host various parties and events. The wheels in Kyle’s head were spinning faster than he could ask the guy questions. I thought he was going to offer to serve sodas and M&Ms for minimum wage at one point. We promised said business owner that we’d link to his website. Here it is.

Wanting these props for our kitchen...
Cream soda + orange drink = love
Yes, there are things you can't buy at Wal-Mart...

The best part about going to fun places like this can’t be found in the eccentric stuff you can buy or look at it. No, the best parts are the ideas and creativity gleaned from being immersed in such goodness if only but for a short amount of time. We were completely silent on the way home (save an NPR story or two) as both of us got lost in thoughts of business, entrepreneurship, making, creating, giving, selling, and living. Sometimes production comes of those thought sessions, sometimes not, but we always love getting there, to that state of dual solitude. It makes marriage seem mysterious and magnificent even when it sometimes isn’t.

Oh, we'll be back Bishop...we will be back...

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Shop Thrift at Thrift Shops

I can’t remember the last time I bought something new to wear. I bought a few new things for our honeymoon (see how that turned out here), but I rarely shop to buy new clothes. There’s something so compelling about walking into a thrift store, never knowing what you’ll find, but expecting to be inspired. I do it for many reasons, but mostly because I love finding beauty in things someone else threw away.

Here are my favorite reasons to shop thrift:

1. Your house will look like yours- not anyone else’s.

I don’t sign up for Pottery Barn catalogs. They’re gorgeous, and in brief spurts I love things that match and don’t have scratches or dents. But that’s dangerous for two reasons: it’s not me, and it tugs on my heart to spend more money than Kyle has I have. So I pick things that have a story and that inspire me to creativity.

2. It makes me learn new things.

I learned how to re-cover an old chair, not by taking a class, but by trial and error in my own little space. I’m learning to hand embroider because I love Anthropologie but I can’t afford their tea towels. I make pillows out of old scarves because I love the fabric and the total project costs $3.84.  Thriftcore says it like this: The “if only” forces some creativity on your part to create the perfect item. Suddenly you remember how to sand, paint, and use the saw. You’re a creator again. And the more creativity you use, the more you have. So says Maya Angelou, and so say I.

3. It’s cheap.

I never want to pay more than $3.99 for a shirt again. And thanks to people who tire of their clothes, I’ll never have to.

Tomorrow: the pledge we’ve taken as a married couple to buy used things and a list of things we’ll never buy new. In the meantime, get inspired at Thriftcore and ReadyMade.

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Indoor Holiday

If you’re like most people we know, hurricane Alex is dampening your spirits and your outdoor activities. Today, we beg you: do anything besides watch T.V. Here are some fun (and thrifty) ideas to try with the people you’re stuck indoors with you love.

1. Have an indoor picnic.
The last time we used blankets creatively indoors, my sister and I were building tent cities in our living room. Turn on some music and throw yourselves a picnic.

2. Have a game day.

Brush the dust off of your old Scrabble game and get busy. Some of our other favorites: Scattegories, Buzz Word, Bananagrams, Loaded Questions, and Cranium. Fun for all ages.

3. Start a new craft (or finish an old one).

Most craft stores are closed today, but look around your house. You’ll find all sorts of inspiration. Make a pillow out of an old dress, paint some stripes on your wall, finish that scarf you started last winter, cut and paste magazine pics to make a wall collage.

4. Make a new dessert.
Put on an apron and pretend your work in a French bakery. You can say things like “Bonjour! Welcome to my boulangerie.” Oui, oui. Tee hee.

5. Read. You’ll learn something. Or spark your imagination. It’s crazy.

Photo Attribution: Picnic | Game | Sewing | Bakery | Book | Flag |

Date Nights Are Great Nights

The other day I got home from the gym at about 6:00 and walked in our apartment to find my wife’s body contorted upside-down on the couch so that the bottoms of her feet were facing the ceiling. Half her clothes were on the floor and there was a glass of water right next to her face. Here were the first three thoughts that went through my head:

  1. I wonder what the grace period is on getting a marriage annulled.
  2. Why are half her clothes on the floor? Why do I care why half her clothes are on the floor? (I know that’s two but in my head it was just one, trust me)
  3. Lady Gaga. Yankee Stadium. (if you don’t know, don’t Google it)

Turns out she had writers block and apparently her solution to this was to force every liter of blood in her body to flow to her head. She makes a compelling case that we should purchase a pair of these and wear them at all times.

Despite her idiosyncrasies (or maybe because of them?) I love this girl and I love dating and pursuing her. I think, as a society, we’ve turned our relational lives into this: meet, chase, date, fall, marry, settle down. This seems to be the standard “I was raised in a Christian home and I think this is what Kirk Cameron did with his life” thing to do. Well, that’s out. By the way, that was the first of many many shots at Kirk Cameron, it’s just too easy.

The pattern of our relational paradigm has gone (and will go) something like this: meet, become best friends, pursue, date, pursue some more, marry, keep pursuing, have some kids, fight to pursue, build a family, pursue into eternity.

I realized about a year ago that I was going to need to put some systems in place to help me sustain (and, sometimes when I’m less than enthused, force me to continue) all this pursuing. One of those systems is Monday night date night.

We make it a point to get out of the house (uh…I mean 600 sq. ft. apartment) the first night of every week. Sometimes we get dressed up and go to Cheesecake Factory and sometimes we just put on tanktops (yes, both of us) and go for a picnic. Each Monday is special though. It gives Jen something to look forward to, a time when she can relax and know that I’ve planned out our night and she doesn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning or being mad about me for not doing either. It gives me an opportunity to creatively and continuously show her how much and in what ways I love her.

Obviously, I don’t always reach into our engagement week well and bust out 27-part activities for us to participate in on Mondays. But as our date nights have evolved, I’ve learned how much it means to Jen that I picture, plan out, and participate in these dates. She feels loved. I feel like a leader. Everybody wins.

What fun things do you do for date night?

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