Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May Book Review


Okay, so I've been a little MIA. I'm aware. But y'all. Planning a wedding is NO JOKE. It's basically a full time job - and I already have one of those. Not to mention we're "revamping" Jeff's bachelor pad house so it's ready for some newlyweds come November. So, really, I have approximately 15 color palettes going through my head on the reg. Someone asked me my wedding colors the other day and I actually had to think about it.

BUT here I am today with four of my most recent reads. Granted, I've been rewatching Parenthood (and crying my eyes out), so these books have been over the course of the first part of the year, but it's fine. Everything is fine. :)

Also, they were surprisingly all hardback books this time (I normally read on my Nook), so today you get a fancy little cover picture. You're so welcome.

We have a little bit of everything today: chick-lit, chick-thriller, an autobiography of one of my favorite people ever, and the final installment of a winter trilogy. And two of these books I couldn't put down.

Okay, we're starting with the winter trilogy. And while I am fully aware it's 300 degrees outside, I read it in January so it made sense. My suggestion would be wait until the weather cools off to read it, OR if you're going to Antarctica this summer on vacay, bring this book!

Winter Storms
by Elin Hilderbrand

Okay, so the past two winters I've read (and reviewed!) the first two books (Winter Street and Winter Stroll) of the series and loved them. It may seem weird to have to remember characters from year to year (since she wrote one every Christmas), but since she writes from the various characters' perspectives, you really feel like you get to know everyone. It's easy to just jump right back in.

BUT, now that all three books are out, YOU don't have to wait! Unless you're waiting for colder weather. This last book really ties up a lot of loose ends that kept you hanging in the first two. I'm quite sad this little series is over. If you're an Elin Hilderbrand fan (and who isn't?!) don't forget about these this fall!

Okay...now back to the summer beach reads....

It Ends With Us
by Colleen Hoover

I could not put this book down. It was really unlike any book I've read before. I called it a chick thriller because while it wasn't a murder mystery, it definitely had some really heavy parts that made you think. I always know a good book when I count down the hours at work until I get to come home and read, and this was definitely one of those. It'll stick with you for a while afterwards, too.

Now, fair warning - her writing is not PG. At some points I looked like that little wide-eyed emoji. I don't want to share the plot for fear of giving too much away (and you can read the synopsis on the back of the book), but if you're tired of the same ole same ole plot, give this one a try!

Talking as Fast as I Can
by Lauren Graham

So I read this book in a day.

Zero exaggeration.

Granted, I didn't get much else done that day, but I LOVED this autobiography. Because I LOVE Lauren Graham. Loved her in Gilmore Girls. Loved her in Parenthood. Love her in real life. Actually I don't know her but I'm sure I would. And she's dating Peter Krause (#parenthood) and it just gives me all the feels.

If you are a hard-core Gilmore Girls and/or Parenthood fan, you must read this book. She gives a personal account on both the shows and the Netflix sequel series and I was reading like a giddy school girl. She also shares tips on how she does it all. For instance, did you know she wrote a best-selling fiction novel? I DID NOT. Did you also know she and Mae Whitman (#parenthood) are teaming up to do the script write adaptation of The Royal We (#myfavoritebookeEVER). I DID NOT. I mean. This girl does it all. And she never takes herself too seriously.

What I got from this book? Lauren Graham IS Lorelai Gilmore. And that one little realization made me oh so happy. This is a perfect little plane read for your next trip!

This book has also inspired me to read one autobiography each month. Fiction is great and all, but you can just learn good stuff by reading about real live people :)

Save the Date
by Mary Kay Andrews

So I'm not going to lie. I bought this book for three reasons: 1) it's purple, 2) it has a title that is in sync with my life at the moment, and 3) it was on the bargain shelf at Barnes and Noble.

However, I've also read one of her books in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I figured I'd be a fan of this one as well!

If you love weddings, this is a great easy read for you. It's written from the perspective of a florist in Savannah (Southern weddings - heyo!) and walks through the ups and downs of running a small business, dealing with crazy brides and their mamas, and then of course - there's a love story in there too.

I honestly had the same thoughts I had when I read Ladies Night last June. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, really loved the writing, but the book was just really long. And not that I was bored during either book, she keeps you entertained, I just feel like it took me twice as long to read (since it was twice as long of a book).

Now, that being said, if you're going on a long weekend beach getaway and only want to bring one book - I would highly recommend Mary Kay Andrews! They'll give you all the feels, keep you busy during your trip, and you won't have to bring the whole library. Also, if you're a hard copy book person, several of hers rotate on the bargain shelf at B&N, so you can usually find one for less than $7.


And those are my reads this month! (er - the past few months). I have a lot of travels for work coming up the next few months, so if you have any good reads be sure to let me know. Also, if I see you frequently, let me know if you want to borrow any of these bad boys. That's the beauty of a hard copy book. What's mine is yours - after I'm done with it :)

To see all my blogged book reviews, click HERE.

Until next time,

Friday, May 12, 2017

Relinquishing Control

So I think I like to control things. 

To some of you, this may be a "yeah, duh" moment, but I honestly never considered myself a control freak. I mean, last week I blogged about how I have an inability to make a decision. Control freaks don't struggle in the decision making department. 

But recently, things have been happening in my life that I can't control - and it makes me quite uneasy. I was talking about this to one of my close friends earlier this week (you know, sharing my need-to-control epiphany), and she simply said "you're like a mom, you just like to be able to fix things. And some things, you just can't fix." 

I've been mulling over her words for the past few days, and by golly-gee, I think she's right. For every problem, I have a solution; for every dilemma, I have actionable advice; and for every Plan A, I'm already thinking of a Plan B.

And so far, it's been a pretty solid method to live by. But recently, things have been happening in my life, and the lives of people really close to me, that I can't fix.

And it's done something to me. I feel worthless, I feel helpless, and I feel like I'm spinning out of control. 

When I was younger and would go stay at a friend's house or overnight in a hotel, I would always pack up my belongings and zip up my suitcase every night before I went to sleep. I liked everything compacted together in case anything happened. Like why would I have to "leave all my belongings and escape safely from the building" when I could simply grab my well packed bag and get both me AND my things out safely? #sillyfiremen

Continuing on with the suitcase analogy, it feels as if someone unzipped my bag, and dumped all of its contents off of a balcony and into a raging wind storm. 

In the words of Chandler Bing: "can open; worms everywhere."

And you know the worst thing about your belongings flying around in a windstorm? You can't grab them all. And that's how I feel right now. I feel like I can't grab anything and keep it safe. It's all out of my control. 

(Side note: I think this means I'm going to be an overprotective mother.)

But I've decided it boils down to this - there's a fine line between control issues and trust issues. And by "fine" I mean it's dotted, perforated, and might as well be more of a 'blur' than a line. 

So if I'm praying about this stuff, and I don't have control over this stuff, but the lack of control over said stuff still bothers me, I think it means I'm not trusting the One who does have control over the stuff. 

Is it right? No. Is it real? Yes. I'm human.

But I'm human who strives to be better, so we slap ourselves in the face and work on the trust issues. 

It's almost comical, really. I'm reading through the Bible, reading about the countless miracles and masterpieces of God, yet I have trust issues when it comes to current day events of my life. Like, what is that? God delivered a man from a WHALE, and I think my stuff has a better chance of being taken care of in my hands rather than His. 

Which again, is comical. Because if one of my people got swallowed by a whale, I really would have nothing more to offer than a quick wave and a "sorry boutcha." Not much deliverance in these two hands.
(wiggles fingers) 

And while there are approximately 5,183 verses in the Bible related to fear, anxiety, worry, etc. - the one that gives me the most peace is John 16:33:

This is my go to. Yes - we will have tribulation. There will be raging windstorms that flee your sanity/emotions/general well-being 'to and fro' - but we also get peace. And we get to be POSITIVE and HOPEFUL, because the one who can instantly catch all of your belongings in one big swoop? He's already overcome the world. 

So unless your problems are in Mars, you're covered.
Though He created that too - so really you're good either way :)

Is it easy? No. Is it an instant reflex? No. Do I have it figured out? You're funny. 

But every time I feel the (theoretical) winds start to blow and my (figurative) belongings start to slip out of my hands, I just repeat this verse. 

And it happens about 37 times per day. 

Don't let your control issues turn into trust issues. I guarantee you, your problems are a lot safer once you give them up then they are when you cling to them. 

Until next time,


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Game 7: Atlanta Braves

Hello there, Tuesday. 

So, in all honesty, today is my Monday. We had a jam-packed weekend, and then I had some tests run yesterday, so I just decided I needed a one day extension and then we'd start again today :)

This past Sunday was Game 7. In the event that means absolutely nothing to you, let me explain. When I turned 27, I decided I wanted to make a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned thirty. You can see the complete list here, but one of those things on that list was to see 10 out of state baseball games with my dad! 

Game 1 was the Boston Red Sox, 
Game 2 was the LA Angels,
Game 3 was the San Diego Padres,
Game 4 was the San Francisco Giants,
Game 5 was the Oakland A's, 
Game 6 was the St. Louis Cardinals, 

and GAME 7 was the Atlanta Braves. 

(PS I just did that list from memory and I'm quite proud of myself..)

Why the Atlanta Braves, you ask? Because they got a new stadium this year. And we wanted to see it!

Game 7 - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves - May 7, 2017

The flight from Dallas to Atlanta is only about an hour and a half and the game was at 1:30, so we decided to make a day trip out of it. The day trips are perfect in that you have no hotel costs, but you're also at the mercy of the flight schedule. 

For instance, the only morning flight that could get us to Atlanta before the game started left at 7a. Which means my alarm went off at 3:30 Sunday morning. 

Here is our obligatory plane selfie - the sleepy version. 

The plus side? We got upgraded to first class! Things that make taking off in the dark a little more bearable :)

When we landed, we took a train/uber combo to the new stadium. The old stadium used to be right downtown, but the new one was built on the outskirts of Atlanta (which apparently where the Atlanta population is going as well...). 

Since the game wasn't until 1:30 and we got there around 11:30, we had some good time to explore the stadium before the game even started. 

I love these flag pictures. I take them at every game. For some reason they just make me happy. 

Here are a few pictures of the outside of the stadium. It was QUITE packed 2 hours before the game started. There was live music, a drumline, restaurants/bars with lines out the door - it was basically tailgate central.

Hey Bobby Cox!

They opened the doors at noon and we headed in to do some more touring. 

Only after eating a hot dog. Obviously. 

One of my favorite things about the stadium was the "Atlanta Braves Monumental Garden." It's basically a giant pathway tribute to the past of the Braves. Dating all the way back to when they were the Boston Braves. Who knew!? They had jerseys, gloves, bats - even celebratory champagne bottles from way back when. Pretty impressive. I always have all the feels for the nostalgia.

Another pretty cool thing? They have their own custom jersey making shop - right in the stadium! Those jerseys were revolving around the top and they would customize them right there during the game!

I wish the Rangers' stadium had that. I would get one that said "Katy Hamels" on the back :)

Then the game started, and WHAT a game it was!! We decided this game and the LA Angels game were the top two most interesting games of the seven that we've been to. After the first few innings the Cardinals were up 4-0, and then by the eighth inning it was tied 4-4. We saw multiple home runs, double plays, stolen bases, and 2 plays overturned cause the umpire on first base was just not having a great day. 

And you know what else? The people sitting around us were not obnoxious. HUGE WIN. Because we definitely can't say that for several of the games we've been to...

We had to leave in the middle of the eighth, but at the airport we saw that the game went to FOURTEEN innings, and the Braves ended up loosing 6-4. Wamp wamp. 

Man, such a good game though. We didn't want to leave!

Oh and the food? We checked it all off the list. 

Multiple hot dogs? Check.
Peanuts? Check.
Ice cream? Check. 

Ballpark food is some good eatin. 

I also learned why my dad likes peanuts. He likes to create a complete and utter mess. 

I mean, really. I found a peanut shell in my shoe when I got home that night. It got a little easier once he stopped throwing the shells at our neighbors, but still - can't take this guy anywhere :)

Oh, and it was cold. In the sun it was really nice, but our seats were in the sun for approximately 8 minutes of the entire game. So when it was time for ice cream, we found one teeny tiny block of sun and stood in it while we ate. The things we do for our sugar-dairy intake. 

Cheers to Mayfield Creamery!
(that tasted a lot like Baskin Robbins!)

And finally, like we always do, we took our 'seventh inning selfie' in our new baseball hats! By the way, I'm going to need to have a son. And I'm going to need his nursery to be baseball themed. I've got a wall of hats ready to decorate. And then when we're up all hours of the night I can tell him stories of how his grandaddy and I got all those hats :)

And then we got home and had to part ways. These days are always just so much fun, the goodbyes at the end are just so hard. Love this dad of mine! 

We decided we might have time to fit in Game 8 this year, so if you'll excuse me, I need to go look at baseball calendars :)

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Until next time,
Friday, May 5, 2017

{Five on {Friday} Favorites}

Woop woop! FRI-YAY!

And it's Cinco de Mayo!
Who's eatin' queso tonight? (raises hand) Anyone else? Anyone? 

Today we're doing the usual around here. We're sharing five Friday faves :)

1 - Diff Eyewear - Sale Alert!

If you follow me on Insta, you know that last fall I about freaked when JoJo Fletcher came out with a line of Diff Eyewear benefiting ocular melanoma. For every pair of sunglasses you buy, Diff always donates a pair of reading glasses to someone in need, but for these special glasses, a portion also goes to raising awareness for ocular melanoma (a rare aggressive form of eye cancer and my biggest bully). 

So when I saw the cause and saw the purpose - and that they came in purple - I had about a millisecond response rate. 

And NOW these puppies are on major sale for $37! And just in time for summer. So if you're needing a new pair of shades and want to buy with a purpose - these are for you :) 

They also come in pink, but they're out of stock on Diff's website. You can still buy them here, but for full price. Wamp wamp. Purple > pink, anyways :)


2 - Rodan + Fields Micro-Dermabrasion Paste

Okay, so I know a few weeks ago I shared with you a new face mask I am obsessed with, but today I'm sharing my new favorite cleanser. I'm getting married in 6 months, I'm all about the skin care these days :) 

This is a sugar/salt scrub (no oils!) that makes your skin feel baby smooth. It's the perfect amount of exfoliate. It's rough enough to get all the nasty out, but soft enough that you still have skin cells left. Always a win. Now. Hear this. It's not cheap. But the amount you use each time is about the size of your pinky nail (a little goes a loooong way), and you only use it a couple of times a week. I fully believe the jar above would last you for a year. 

I think it's going to be my go-to for the summer. It's the perfect deep cleanse after sunscreen, chlorine, and SWEATING. Because, Texas y'all. #372degreesonthereg

Also - I don't sell Rodan + Fields. So I get literally no benefit from you buying it. 
I just really like it and wanted to share. :) 

You can check it out here.


3 - OPI: Let's Be Friends

This one is humorous. So if you visited yesterday, you know there was a huge (internal, self-created) debacle with my nail color for our engagement pictures, and I absolutely hated them. On Tuesday. 

The color is a very pale pink (almost white), and it initially overwhelmed me. I have big nail beds and it was just a LOT of white. I had to ask 5 friends before I drove away from the nail salon. It was a thing. 

And then by Tuesday night I was used to them, by Wednesday I actually kind of liked them, and by Thursday I was obsessed. So today? They're a favorite. 

I know a good neutral is hard to find, so I wanted to share the find! 

 4 - Eggplant Medallions with Turkey Tomato Sauce

 The delicious (totally healthy) meal I shared Tuesday and have been eating on all week! If you're tired of the same ole healthy foods (I'm looking at you, chicken sausage) and need something a little different, throw an eggplant into your mix. It's easy and totally worth your while :)

You can check out the recipe here.

5 - Vine and Branches

Who needs a new knick-knack?! 

I shared my first Vine and Branches piece when I talked about how we are all doing just fine in life, and then when I went to the wedding of the little brother of the owner of Vine and Branches (did you follow?), THESE were the favors! How awesome, right?

She just restocked her Etsy shop so I wanted to share the goods.  

Here are some of my favorites:


And those are my 5! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Until next time,

Thursday, May 4, 2017

KUWK: on my inability to make a decision

Okay. So it's been a while since I did a "KUWK" post. In fact, it's been so long that some of you may not even know, or remember, what it is. 

Keeping Up with Katy (KUWK) posts are just outlets for me to share things that truly represent ME. They're things that make me who I am. Some are weird (I did one on my coffee mug obsession), some are special (like the time I did one on being a Baylor Bear) and some are honest and hard (like the one I did on how I look a little funny). 

And today's post? Well, today is going to be all about how I straight up have issues

I've already (briefly) shared with you how I'm incapable of making a decision, but after this past Tuesday's events, I've decided it deserves it's own KUWK tribute

Because I can't make a decision to save my life.

^^ ew ^^

So on Tuesday we took engagement pictures. I took the day off to relax, get my nails done, get my hair did, etc., so honestly I wasn't stressed in the slightest. 

THEN as I'm about to leave for the nail salon, I realize I have no idea what color I want to paint my nails. Simple dilemma, right? PICK.ONE. 

Oh but no. I kind of wanted French, but I had a gut feeling that look wasn't really "in" anymore, so I texted three friends to confirm. Not one. Three. Then I decided I wanted a neutral colored nail, but couldn't decide what color. So the whole way to the nail salon I'm talking to Melissa and Kristie trying to figure this out.

THEN the three of us decide I'll just pick a neutral color based on the gel options they have. I am the world's best nail chipper, so I needed the gel. Awesome right? Gel colors are much more limited than regular nail polish. I can pick a neutral, no problem. 

So I thought. 

I find two neutral colors while they're prepping my "chair" and could not, for the life of me, make a decision. So then I have to tell them I haven't decided and subsequently take the pile of creepy-already-painted-nails to my chair with me.  

Foot Guy gets started, and it's quite obvious Hand Girl would really like me to make a decision so she, too, can do her thing. 


I'm sitting there staring at two (2) colors (that aren't a world of difference, mind you - neutral is neutral) telling my dadgum brain to pick one AND IT JUST WON'T CHOOSE. I know a nail color is not the end of the world. I told myself that. But I still couldn't choose. 

So then I awkwardly try to take pictures of the creepy-painted-fake-nails on my own nails to send to my decision-making posse, but Hand Girl was staring at me and sighing. Then my palms got all sweaty and I couldn't take good pictures, and my heart is racing just reliving it. 

I finally tell the lady to paint both colors on a nail so I can make an informed decision. She looked at me like I was crazy. I told her I was taking my engagement pictures that day. She didn't seem to care. 

She paints both colors and I make a decision. 

Just kidding. I asked her which one she likes. She just stared at me. I think there was a language barrier. So I ask the girl next to me. She picked one. I agreed. (I am a champion at concurring.)

Inability to make a decision, Exhibit A. 

Once my nails were painted, I wanted to cry. I thought they were hideous. I never have white nails, and while this was a pale pink, to me it looked like I had trident gum pieces taped to the end of my fingers. 

But they weren't THAT bad, were they? 
Or were they? I couldn't decide.

So I sent pictures. 

I was staring at my hand and could not decide whether or not I liked my nails. IT'S A YES OR NO DECISION. I sat in that blasted parking lot until I heard from all five people that they liked my nails. I then made the brave and bold decision that I did, too. 

Inability to make a decision, Exhibit B.

Then I bought three pairs of earrings that go with the dress I was wearing, but I'll spare you the gory details of that one. As you can imagine, the earrings were definitely Exhibit C. 

So, why am I like this? Did something traumatic happen in my childhood? Am I missing a functioning portion of my brain? Am I just THAT indecisive?! 

You're probably sitting there thinking: "you idiot, just choose." I would be! But I am here to tell you that my brain legitimately shuts down when it comes to decision making. I just can't do it. It's like I cripple up until someone leans one way and I can lean with them. 

So after the affairs of Tuesday I've decided I have issues. 

Is there a self help book? Should I see a therapist? 

I chose the picture above because it gives me anxiety. I could never go on a game show. The ability for me to say "what's behind door number three, Bob?" - yeah, no. Not enough airtime in the world. It took me three hours to be okay with a nail polish.

What's interesting to me is it's usually over things that don't really matter: nail colors, restaurants for dinner, etc. The life-changing decisions? I'm all over those. The everyday normal human decisions that should be no-brainers? Nope, not a chance.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. 

I am completely and utterly incapable of making a decision. 
You know who else is? 
My future husband. 
God bless our marriage. 


Until next time,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trim Down Tuesday: Eggplant Medallions w/ Turkey Tomato Sauce

So I was standing in the produce section of Trader Joe's on Sunday...with absolutely no mojo. 

I was tired of making the same healthy meals. I like healthy foods, but I usually get "on" certain go-to meals and then I get sick of them. 

So I go get Chick-Fil-A. Complete with a large waffle fry.
Unless it's Sunday. Then I get Whataburger.

But, I take engagement pictures TODAY so I decided to persevere. 

Then my eyes landed on an eggplant. I LOVE eggplant. But I forget I love eggplant. It just doesn't naturally come to mind for me. 

But by golly, I bought that eggplant. And I made me some dinner with that eggplant. And my faith in healthy food options was restored. And all the people said amen. 

So today I'm sharing my Eggplant Medallions with Turkey Tomato Sauce!

And please do not be fooled. "Eggplant Medallion" is fancy terminology for "eggplant that I cut into circles." But it sounds cool, right? It's all in how you present it, people. All in the presentation. 

Aren't they pretty?! Also, please note that the serving-ware are plates that my sister used in college. #notyetmarried #donthavenicethings #prettierplatescomeNovember

Okay, so this is quite simple. As I say every time I post a recipe. Cause that's how I roll. 

What You'll Need

-1 eggplant
-1 lb (ish) of ground turkey
-1 jar marinara (see below)
-EVOO, onion powder, fresh garlic
-seasonings to top (I used oregano and parsley)

What You'll Do

Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the eggplant into rings and place on a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle both sides of eggplant with EVOO. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Roast for 25 minutes.

While the eggplant is roasting, brown the turkey in a skillet over medium heat. Add in garlic and onion powder. Once meat is cooked, drain the meat and add in marinara sauce.

Once eggplant is cooked, top turkey/tomato mixture onto eggplant and top with seasoning. 

(I just fold my eggplants into a little taco to eat!)

So this is my favorite marinara. Fresh ingredients, wonderful taste, and pre-made from Trader Joe's. 

OH - and also Charlie approved :)

 One eggplant makes about a bajillion medallions so you can feed to a family or eat as leftovers for the rest of the week! I would just store the eggplant and marinara separately. 

Alright. I have to go primp. Pictures are in like 12 hours. Time is a 'tickin!!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Until next time,