December 21, 2015

New York State of Mind

Day 1 was nothing short of a massive success for these two West Virginia unleashed in the big city. The first picture we took on day 2 was in front of our hotel. Not because it was some glamorous or fancy hotel but because it was called the pod. See Kasey and I call each other P {:her little girl even calls me Aunt P:} because we say we are 2 peas in a pod. So this picture was a must. 

After what I think was our only non-selfie picture of the weekend it was off for an early morning coffee run and on to Radio City to see the infamous Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. As we walked through the city it was a much different picture at 8 am than it was the night before. It was Santa Con the first day we were there and there were literally thousands of people, girls and guys, dressed up in Santa costumes going on a bar crawl. This meant by 8:30 that night there were just a bunch of drunk Sanatas loose in the city. It was interesting to say the least. So being out in the city at 8am meant that Sanat's were still in bed across the city and the streets were practically empty. 

 Fun fact for the weekend: The weather was amazing the entire time we were there. It was in the 60s the entire weekend. It was so warm that we both opted for ice coffees on our way to the Christmas Spectacular. 

The chandelier in Radio City was in-cred-ible.

SO we did the obvious thing...take yet another selfie. 

The show was one of the top two highlights from the weekend for both of us. It could have gotten even the grouchiest of Scrooges in the Christmas spirit...until they walked out. As we walked out of the theatre the streets were once again jam packed with tourist. 

After the show we did as the locals do, we grabbed some food from the food trucks. Then we did as the tourist do and ate it in Central Park. 

While at lunch, I found my future husband...but apparently he is dating 25 other women? Really Ben?

After lunch we went to Hillsong NYC at the Best Buy Theatre where John Gray spoke. It was perfect and I loved the opportunity to show Kasey what I am a part of on this side of the equator. She loved it too!

Then we did a bit more shopping, because why wouldn't you? 

We made one last stop at Macy's just to see it...all NINE floors of it. It was an incredible sight to see. Every floor was decorated and I am fairly sure they have every piece of clothing, purse, perfume, shoe, and houseware item known to man. NINE floors of a store that is an entire city block. 

We loved every second of the weekend but after a whirlwind 48 hours, we were pooped. 

NYC we will see you next year. 

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December 18, 2015

Meet Me in New York

In September, my bestie turned the big 3-0 and since I was on the other side of the world and couldn't celebrate with her, her husband and I planned a little surprise for her. The surprise - a girls weekend in NYC in December. Just the two of us. We had been counting down the days until this trip for 3 months. 
We had an absolute blast.  Friday night  she came over to my parents house and we discussed the important things like what our outfit options were for the weekend and confirmed each others nail polish choices for the trip {:black and a deep crimson-because I know you were wondering:}

I didn't sleep a wink Friday night. We felt like two kids going on their field trip the next day. Finally it was 5:20 and time for us to get up. 6am Saturday morning, with caffeine in hand, we were out the door. We only live about 4 hours from the city so by the time we got through the Lincoln Tunnel madness, parked, checked into our hotel room, and set out to take on the city it was only 11 and we had almost an entire day to explore and play in the city. 

Day 1: We were total tourist taking pictures the whole day long. We took more pictures in one weekend than we probably have taken in the course of our 10+ year friendship. The main reason being, is you rarely have pictures with your closest friends because it is rare both of you are looking camera ready. That is how you know they are your bestie - you are totally okay being your less than glamorous self around them on the regular.

Day 1 consisted of... shopping, oogling at the city sights, lunch/dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner, Bryant park, window peeking at Saks 5th Avenue and Macy's, Grand Central Station, St. Mary's Cathedral, and Rockefeller Plaza....and 12 miles of walking in 8 1/2 hours. 

This is a picture of one of the waiters at Ellen's Stardust Diner serenading us at dinner.If you haven't been and are planning a trip to NYC in the near future, I highly recommend it. The entire waitstaff is filled with people trying to make it on Broadway. They are incredible singers and performers and do just that while you enjoy the yummy and reasonably priced diner food. Our waiter just got cast as Shrek in the International Tour for the musical. 

The highlight for both Kase and I, on day 1, was this light show Saks 5th Avenue puts on on the side of their building, to Christmas music. It was stunning.

The madness to get this picture is ridiculous. We look happy in this picture, but before and directly after this picture our only thought was "get me out of this madness." It was craziness along 49th, 50th, and 51st streets with all of the tourist wanting their picture with the tree. We were so happy to have been able to capture a picture with the iconic tree but we were pretty pumped when we could check this off the list and get out of the way of the crazies too. 

Stay tuned Monday for Day 2 of our girls trip in NYC.

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December 16, 2015

From My College Kitchen: Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my all time favorite sights and sounds is my mama's kitchen around this time of year. I love seeing the messy kitchen as Christmas cookies and candies are being made, the smell of yummy goodness coming from the oven, and the sound of Christmas music playing in the house with the sound of the mixer in the background. 
Is there anything better than when the smell of cookies fills the house? Especially when you can tell they are your absolute favorite cookies!
Today, I am sharing my families absolute favorite Christmas cookies. It is my Grandma Miller's recipe and it's to die for. 
If you like Milano's Orange Chocolate cookies than you will love these! They stay moist for weeks...if they last that long.

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. shortening
4 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
2 eggs
2 T. grated orange peel
1-2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 c. plain sifted flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
16 oz. pkg. chocolate chips

  • Cream shortening, sugar and cream cheese. 
  • Add eggs, orange peel, orange juice and vanilla.
  •  Blend in flour and salt. 
  • Stir in chocolate pieces. 
  • Place cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  • Bake on 350 for 12 min.
What's your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?

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December 12, 2015

The Single Girl Diaries: When Longer = Stronger (Pt. 2)

Did another Single Saturday pass without a hottie having asked your foxy self out on a date? What can we say? Boys can be idiots. Well, for those of you not preparing for a hot date night, I have prepared something just for you. {In return I accept cash donations, gift cards, and coffees. Please ship to....jk}

A few months ago I wrote part 1 of this post and I talked about being willing to walk the path you are on longer so that your testimony and perseverance will enable others to walk stronger. Today in this post, I want to take the same thought and apply it to ourselves. 
Sometimes God asks us to walk longer so that others may walk stronger.
And sometimes God asks us to walk longer so that we may become stronger. 
In this season of singleness I have found that both statements are profoundly true in my life. I believe that God is allowing this single season in my life to be a source of strength for other single women, but I believe it would be a mistake to believe that the only strength being gained from this journey would be in others. The strength is for me as well.
Countless times along this journey, singleness has been the fire that God has used to purify and strengthen me. 
I took some time to study the refining of silver a few years back and some of the things I found absolutely blew my mind! I found it interesting, that when a piece of silver is put in the fire to be refined, to remove the dross {the impurities of the metal},the fire has to get so hot that even the metal becomes soft.  Even the part that is good and pure, the silver, must be broken down to a soft and pliable state. It is only in this soft and pliable state that the impurities can be removed to create the pure metal.  
There are times when God has turned up the fire of this season so hot that I felt like I couldn't handle it any more. Those nights where I would hit my knees and cry out of the loneliness I felt  and my inability to understand why this season was playing out the way it was.
Now, as I look back and apply what I learned about the refining fire, I realize that God only turns up the heat so that my heart will become soft and pliable.  It is in this soft and pliable state that he can remove the impurities and shape and mold me to who He needs me to become. When I emerge from the fire not only have the impurities been removed making me stronger, I have also been refashioned to better suit my purpose. 
I don't know the exact reason you or I are still single. I just know that he needs you and He needs me to walk this road longer because he needs to make us stronger for whatever lies ahead. He is building and strengthening our faith muscles as we walk. And when the journey becomes overwhelming and the fire becomes too hot, use it as a trigger to send you running back to the comfort and embrace of the Lover of Your Soul.

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