Panamaniacs 

I’m chaperoning 11 high school seniors on a trip to Panama City for 8 days (that means 8 days free from Pinot Grigio 😥). They’re here for a Model United Nations conference which starts tomorrow. We arrived last night and got to play tourists today. Here are some highlights…

Our day started with a trip to Chagres National Forest. Side note: I’ve been to Central America before, went to Costa Rica in 2012, and Panama is very similar.  I’ve loved sitting in the bus getting to hear the students perspective of everything they see and their excitement with basically everything that happens. It’s great to experience it through their eyes. So back to Chagres…we arrived at the river and were immediately met by asteroid sized wasps, followed by fitting 16 people into a wooden canoe-like boat.  

 
Of course I was terrified of:

1) the seemingly unstable boat tipping 

2) alligator attacks

3) getting my shoes wet with water that was seeping into the boat. 

I never got over the first two fears but eventually embraced the wet foot lifestyle. We took the boat down river and eventually got out and started on a “20 minute stroll” in the jungle.  

 This was where I got over fear #3 as I had to walk in the water if I didn’t want to get left behind the group.  
 
The “stroll” was probably a bit longer than 20 minutes and included slippery rocks and mud. But it was well worth it when we got to swim at this beautiful waterfall. 

  
After getting back to the boat we hopped back in and went back down the river until we reached the Embera indigenous community. It was such a cool experience. They taught us about their culture, showed us some of their native dances, and gave us some delicious food (plantain and fried tilapia). 

    
   
When the boat came back to the dock we jumped in the van and headed to the Smithsonian Marine Exhibit in Panama City. There we learned about the different species of frogs here, pet some starfish and sea cucumbers, watched sea turtles and sharks swim together, and enjoyed beautiful views of the beach.  

    
    
   
All in all, our first day out and about in Panama has been quite a great experience! More to come… 🙂

One tough mother…

Not my typical post on vino…but it’s what’s on my heart today…

mom

I never knew what her favorite wine was. At 14 when I had to say goodbye, I still thought wine was yucky.

I would give anything to share a glass of wine with my mother today. I’d love to visit nearby wineries with her and laugh while we drink pinot noir. I’d like to cuddle up on the couch and sip chardonnay as we giggle at contestants on ‘The Bachelor’. More than anything, I just wish I had one more hour with her. But unfortunately that’s not a reality as 14 years ago today I had to say goodbye.

September 19th is a day I always dread. I contemplated clearing my schedule for the day so that I could sit on the couch, in sweats, and cry. But I know without a doubt that that’s not what mom would have wanted. She wants me to enjoy and make the most of every day. She wants me to praise God for the good in my life rather than sulk about what isn’t going perfectly. Most of all, I know she would want me to live the happiest life possible, always being joyful.

So rather than post up on the couch today I decided to join some sorority sisters and help them with their recruitment weekend. I remember when I was still in college one of the days of recruitment fell on September 19th. I’ll never forget the feeling of being surrounded by strong women and knowing that, with them, I would get through that tough day. My mom always put everyone else before herself and served others in any way that she could. I felt connected to her today knowing that I was able to help others, even though it was the small task of serving lemonade to potential new sisters. (So thank you Allison and Ashley for getting me out of the house!).

I came home from helping the Gamma Phi’s and saw that Jared had left me some flowers, as he has done for the last three years on this date. Mom would have absolutely loved him. Saddens me to know that he didn’t get the chance to meet such an incredible woman but I know they would have gotten along so well.

For those of you reading this that do not know the story, my mom lost her life due to being hit by a drunk driver. One person’s bad decision forever altered the lives of many. She did not pass instantly, it was a slow, years-long weakening of internal complications resulting from the accident. I spent much of my young life visiting her in the hospital and watching her be sick. But I try not to think of these times and the anger I have for the person that caused this pain. I try to focus on the time I had with her and the amazing life lessons she taught me. I’m thankful that I had a mom who taught me to (try to) see the best in people, a mom that showed me to put others before myself (I’m still working on this one!), and a mom that loved unconditionally and had patience in all situations. If there was ever someone who deserved to complain it was her, yet I never once heard anything but gratitude leave her mouth.

I don’t think that there is much comparable to the pain of losing a close loved one, especially one that is supposed to play such a pivotal role in a girl’s life. The day to day has definitely gotten easier. A big part of that is because God has put amazing women in my life that love me so much. But there will always be a piece of my heart missing. Usually around this date every year I go through my memory box of letters mom wrote me, pictures of us together, and some of her favorite Bible passages. This year one in particular verse stood out to me. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Mom was always grateful and always put on a smile, even through the pain. She always praised God for the life that she had, though no one would have blamed her for being angry at her situation. I strive to be more like my mom and this verse was a good reminder of how to live life.

Although she is no longer physically on this earth I know that her spirit lives on within me. And I can’t wait until the day we are reunited in Heaven. We will share a bottle of whatever her favorite wine was and be joyful for all God has done for us.

Dia de Sangria

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on here and I’ve missed the therapeutic, narcissistic bliss I get from writing about my life. So I decided to get back into it with an awesome rundown of this past weekend.

We moved into a new place over the summer and this weekend we threw a little house-warming party. Good friends came, delicious food was eaten, and best of all…there was a plethora of booze options. There was the standard served at most bbq’s: beer. There was also some fantastic margaritas that I made. But the highlight for a wine-lover like myself was the home-made sangria.

I got the recipe from somewhere online, that I now can’t find, and then modified it slightly. Instead of using the suggested Pinot Grigio, here’s where it gets really good, I used Wiens Family Cellar’s Clementine wine. It’s amazing. It made the sangria amazing. And it was quickly devoured at our party. Clementine is a sweet wine with a mandarin flavor. It is so refreshing and delicious by itself but even better in a sangria!

Here’s the recipe I used and modified:

2 bottles dry white wine (I used Clementine wine)

¾ cup grand marnier (recipe said brandy)

12 oz. sparkling water

12 oz. gingerale (I don’t like gingerale so I used peach sparkling water)

It was simple to make. After mixing everything together I cut up 2 peaches, 2 oranges, and a lemon. I let it mix with the fruit overnight in the fridge. Don’t worry, Jared and I taste-tested it several times before serving it to our guests. We ended up using 7 bottles of wine and went through all of it, so it was clearly a hit. The party started at 2ish, sangria was gone by 6.

I’m a wreck in the kitchen (just to give you an example, I tried to make easy mac and the microwave caught fire…yeah, I’m that bad) so to know I was super successful at making sangria was a major confidence boost. Hey, I may not be able to cook but I can make a damn good cocktail.

Best. Day. Ever.

The big day has come and gone, in fact today marks one month since I became a wife. I wish that I could relive that day over and over again, we had such an amazing time and were surrounded by the people that mean so much to us.

I was told throughout my engagement (all 17 months of it) that the wedding day would fly by. People could not have been more correct. I remember intentionally trying to soak everything in that day, imprinting on my mind how fun it was hanging out in the hotel with my girlfriends getting our hair and makeup done, how messy the sparkly-decorated bottles of champagne were, even how yummy the pizza was that my aunt had ordered because she knew otherwise we would all forget to eat. Everything about the getting ready process seemed to be slow and steady.

"Jared and Lindsay" "Jared and Lindsay"

Then we arrived at the venue and I felt like the day flew by from there. I finally got to see the final product that we had spent so long putting together (do I want cream colored linens or ivory linens?…the struggle was real people!). I loved how it all turned out. I could not have been happier with the cake, the aisle décor, the uplighting, I could go on and on…the day was absolutely perfect.

"Jared and Lindsay" "Jared and Lindsay"

I say perfect, but you could definitely say some things went wrong! During the ceremony my cousin/bridesmaid Chelsea was the victim of a fly-by bird pooping. Fortunately for her my other cousin/bridemaid Mckenzie was there to wipe it off her back without skipping a beat. A vase shattered in the middle of the ceremony…seriously still no explanation for this one. But Jared and I just looked at each other and laughed, it was a good tension-relseaser. Again, people said things were going to go wrong and to just let it roll off my back, and that is exactly what we did…which is what made the day perfect!

"Jared and Lindsay" "Jared and Lindsay" "Jared and Lindsay"

In typical Jared and Lindsay fashion, we had a blast at the party (I guess some people call this the reception, to us it was our party). As soon as the dance floor opened it was packed, and I was rocking out with my MOH to R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition” (because obviously that song is one of the best songs ever to grace the sound waves). It took about 10 minutes of dancing before my $200 hair do was up in a bun (logically I needed to have the hair out of my face to focus on my sweet dance moves). The majority of the party was a blur (no not because of drinking but because everything just seems to go by so fast on your wedding day) but I do remember we had the time of our lives. It was worth every penny spent (thanks Dad!) and every stress-filled moment wedding planning because the day turned out exactly how WE wanted it to.

"Jared and Lindsay""Jared and Lindsay"

Now when can we do it again?

"Jared and Lindsay"

Showered with LOVE

This past weekend one of my MOH’s and her mom threw my bridal shower and I felt so spoiled rotten! They hosted it at her mom’s home and had a lovely make-your-own salad bar, a soup bar, appetizers a plenty, adorable desserts that looked (almost) too nice to eat, and most importantly…tons of wine. Other people were pouring my wine the whole time but pretty sure I was drinking pinot grigios and viogniers, and yum, they were all delicious. The house was decorated so nicely. With ivy and bistro lights hanging from the ceiling it felt like we were in an English cottage.

showered 4 showered 3

BTW as I am typing this I am subbing a Spanish class for a coworker and she has me showing a video of Spanish opera…very beautiful but I’m not sure I can have this in the background for the next 45 minutes without snapping…

Anyways, the shower was such a nice afternoon. It was a great feeling to be surrounded by so many women that love me and are so excited for Jared and I to get married. One of my aunts made a toast that brought me to tears and it just reminded me how much my family and friends love Jared too, which is such an amazing and comforting feeling. I also think it was good practice for the wedding because there were so many people I wanted to catch up with but there wasn’t enough time to spend as long with each as I wanted to.

showered 11 showered 8 showered 6

The day before the shower I asked my other two MOH’s to come to my house to help me with wedding prep…and we killed it, and killed some wine. We tackled the welcome gift bags for hotel guests, the bathroom survival kit, the table numbers, the list goes on and on. It was quite the successful day. I had to leave to coach a basketball game but when I came back they were polishing off a bottle of Gia Pinot Noir. I only got a sip of it before it was gone but it was good. I was much more interested in drinking my Mondavi sav blanc, though.

Showered

Hillary and Nina took a huge load of stress off me with their wedding prep help (and cleared some room on our wine racks too). Crystal and her mom gave me the perfect day and made sure I felt like a princess at my shower. All in all, the weekend made me even more excited for what’s to come in another 16 days!

Also, everyone said I was glowing all weekend, but if they only knew it was just a combination of tanning and wine sweats haha 🙂

showered 5

You’re Invited!!!

One of the major perks of being a teacher is having summers off. Another awesome perk is that I work with a ton of people that are talented in areas outside of teaching too! Last summer I was invited to a couple of coworkers dual 30th birthday party, and the invitations were the most creative and hysterical invites I’d ever seen! When I found out one of the birthday girls/coworkers made the invitations I immediately emailed her about creating invites for my wedding, and I’m SOOOO glad I did! She did a wonderful job!

I wanted invitations that were romantic, soft, and classy looking. She had a great portfolio that I was able to look through and combine aspects of different invitations that I liked. The end result was exactly what I had wanted…without knowing what specifically I had even wanted going into it!

invited 2

I’m a big believer that the invitation sets the tone for the wedding. I also think that tying all stationary together gives the wedding an extra touch of awesome, so you best believe that Lauren is also making all of our menus, escort cards, etc. Here is her website if you want to check out some of her other work, she’s amazing 🙂

http://lobographicdesign.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/LoboDesign?ref=si_shop

invited

25 days and counting…

Losing my mind, but it’s ok because: WINE

I am beyond stressed right now—I wish it was all due to wedding planning but unfortunately there is so much more going on too! Catching up on the blog last weekend was like therapy for me (since the typical wine therapy was not an option as I was chaperoning students on a trip). So today I will be enjoying both forms of therapy: writing and wine. Only problem is I have to wait another 8 hours to get home and crack open a bottle.

There are now 29 days until the big day! I so wish this was all I had to focus on. We are in the beginning of basketball playoffs which is great, except it means 11 hour work days and even longer hours on game days. My master’s program started again this week so back at it with homework. I’m also in the middle of BTSA (which if you are a teacher you understand what this soul wrecking thing is) which takes up a ton of time as well. All in all, I am stressed beyond measure and just want to go home and have a glass of wine and cuddle with my puppy (I would say cuddle with Jared but he is a groomsmen in his buddies wedding this weekend and will be attending to dudely duties all weekend…aka drinking fireball and farting in fancy suits.)

losing my mind 2 losing my mind 3

I have a bottle of pinot noir with my name on it waiting for me when I get home…before going to our friend’s rehearsal dinner tonight. It’s a pinot noir from Testarossa winery in Los Gatos. Jared took me there on a trip to Nor Cal for our first Valentine’s Day together in 2013. Highly recommend this place by the way, it’s beautiful and delicious (http://www.testarossa.com/) and now it’s all I can think about while showing a WWII video to my students all day #teacheroftheyear. Thank God it’s Friday and I can smell the freedom, and the Pinot, waiting for me…

losing my mind