Wednesday, November 14, 2012

laken b. nix

Well, hello.

At long last I'm making my return to this humble internet home of mine, but only for a short while.  Not because I don't intend on blogging, but because I've created a new space to house my musings.

When I got a husband a few weeks ago, I got a new last name.  So I thought, no better time than now to start a new space using my new last name.

I chose the title for this blog over two years ago, with good intentions but no real plan for where it would go or how it would continue to fit with my posts.  I've put a lot of thought in to starting a new blog using my name, and while it seems kind of awkward and self-promoting at first - it's something I'll never outgrow.  And don't all of the best things seem scary at first?

So, I hope you'll all join me at my new blog (honeymoon pictures!) and please update your Google Reader - or whatever you use to keep up with subscriptions:

Also -- my twitter & instagram names have changed, too.  I'm @lakenbnix on both!

(I'll be leaving this blog untouched, but I've also imported most of my old posts into the new blog for easy reference.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

until then.

Everyday is a countdown these days.

A countdown to the wedding (less than 1 month).  A countdown to the comprehensive exams that determine whether or not I graduate (two weeks before the wedding).  A countdown to the time when I can stop counting down.  

Things are busy.  So, so busy.  My clinical placement is the hours of a full time job and Tyler is at work or class until 9 p.m. every night of the week.  Wedding invitations haven't been printed, much less sent out, and the panic of what-have-I-not-done-that-I-now-don't-have-time-to-do is setting in.  

I don't want to abandon this space, but I want to give it - and you! - my best.  And that's just not something I can do in this season of life.  I mean, if we're being honest, we're to the point of washing dishes once a week and only doing wedding tasks when we can hold our eyes open on Sunday night.

So, I'm going to spend the next two months focusing on studying, getting married and being present in the moment.  I hope you understand and I hope you'll be around in November when I come back.  (I'm planning lots of exciting changes for then, too!)

Happy Fall, everyone!   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


It started to smell like fall last week.  It's still so hot and sticky outside that I can't bear the thought of wearing jeans, let alone a cardigan.  But the smell, the smell changed.  Fall's coming.

If you needed more evidence, pumpkins are starting to sprout in the garden.  As are the butternut squash and rows of greens that couldn't stand the summer's heat.  The tomatoes are on their last leg and the eggplants are getting smaller and smaller.  A new season - my favorite season - is coming and it's already bringing changes.  

But it's not just the garden that's changing.  So many things have happened lately, so many great and wonderful things that Tyler and I can't help but feel recharged and re-inspired.  Life feels different, we feel different -- a very good kind of different.

Last week, Tyler got offered a full time job with the University.  Grown up hours, benefits, Faculty/Staff parking -- the whole she bang.  My heart is completely full with knowing how much he wanted this job and how relieved he feels now, knowing he'll be able to provide for us when we get married (and I won't yet have graduated).

This means no more working on the farm (no more days of bringing home entire crates of free food, but also no worrying if he has or hasn't passed out from heat exhaustion at 10 a.m.)  And this means no more FiancĂ© Lunch Dates, that were oh-so-convenient when we both happened to be at the cottage for the same hour every weekday.

Fall semester starts this week (my last one!), bringing with it a full-time clinic placement for me (think those grown-up hours without the pay) and night classes for both of us.  It also means it's serious crunch time for that little thing called a wedding that's happening in a just over 2 months (!) and Saturdays that are already booked with football-watching and stew-eating.

As if these changes weren't enough to set us on a new path, I've officially moved into the cottage and we've settled in all of our gifts from the bridal tea.  It sounds so materialistic to say it, but having new tools and shiny cookware has completely inspired me to get back in the kitchen.  We've eaten out more than I care to admit this summer and the cooking we have done was really only grilling.  But no longer do I have to use that old skillet that sits lop-sided to where all of the oil runs to the right side or the measuring spoons with the labels rubbed off so I had to guess if it was 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon or the chef's knife that, as Tyler says, "couldn't cut its way out of a wet paper bag."  And speaking of inspiration, Tyler got me Dinner: A Love Story for my 24th birthday last Saturday (he does listen!) and it hasn't left my side since.  Not only did I start over and re-read all of the parts I had already read in the bookstore, but I finished the entire thing - cover to cover, even the recipes - in a day and a half.  We've already made two of her recipes for dinner (both smashing successes) and I'm already mental-listing the number of people who will receive this book as a Christmas present from me (everyone).    

This summer pushed us.  We hit some pretty great highs and fell into some pretty low ruts.  I let stress and anxiety take over in ways I never expected.  I quit writing, I quit cooking.  Tyler was so exhausted from the demands of both of his jobs that he was falling asleep anytime he sat still.  But we grew up a little.  And we grew closer together a lot.  We have a clearer picture of who we are and who we don't want to be.  We know where we're going, at least for the next little while, and that's good enough for us.  

On Sunday, as we got back to our normal routine for the first time in a season, Tyler and I talked about how much we've changed this summer, without even really trying.  "We're such different people than we were at the beginning," he said.  He was right, but I'm starting to think we could say that about every season.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

a bridal shower, with a menu

My bridal tea was on Sunday.  And it was completely overwhelming, in the most wonderful of ways.

I thought I would have time on Saturday to relax -- maybe even lay by the pool and read a book.  I didn't.  Instead, I was with my mom picking up a cake and more ginger ale for the punch and arranging flowers late into the night.  And on Sunday, I thought I would have a minute to sit down, maybe even eat some lunch.  Nope.  The two-hour tea flew by without so much as a slice of that cake I helped pick out and pick up.

But I wouldn't trade it.

The day was beautiful and went off without a single hitch.  I loved seeing my family and Tyler's in the same place, talking and getting to know each other.

We received more gifts and well-wishes for our marriage than we could have ever dreamed of.  I drove back to Tuscaloosa on Sunday night feeling completely exhausted, but oh so greatly loved.  I wondered out loud to Tyler on Monday if this was how I was going to feel once the wedding was behind us -- incredibly grateful, but completely unwilling to ever do it again.  He said yes.

a few snaps from instagram.  follow along: @lakenbrianna


While we were in the planning stages for the tea, I searched high and low for a modern and realistic menu for a Sunday afternoon bridal shower.  And found nothing.  I think realistic is the key word here.  Sure, Pinterest and blogs are filled with pseudo-bridal showers or teas for only 4 guests - and while the photos are gorgeous, they're not exactly practical.  We wanted food to feed the people who waited to eat lunch (the tea started at 2) and snacks and dessert for those who already ate.  Looking back, our menu was balanced enough for the picky palates of 40+ guests, but not too extravagant.  

Here's what we served:
+cheesy grits, topped with shrimp in small cups
+mini barbeque sandwiches (pork)
+chicken nuggets with 4 different sauces
+cheese biscuits

For snacking:
+cheese, with almonds and fruit
+hummus, with raw vegetables
+baked spinach dip with pita chips

For dessert:
+homemade apple pie
+dark chocolate cake
+strawberry cake
+lemon cake
+squares of peanut butter fudge

For sipping:
+sweet tea
+unsweet tea
+pink punch (we used this recipe and received a ton of compliments)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

girl crush.

This is Jenny.  She's the current best friend of my dreams.  I've been reading Jenny's blog since I read about her and her dinner diary on Cup of Jo last year.  And lately, I've been making trips to Barnes and Noble just to read her book, Dinner: A Love Story (which is currently the top of my birthday wish list).

Jenny's writing is just my style, so I've been gobbling up her book, making careful notes about where I left off and already planning to start again at the beginning when I buy it (hey Ty, did I mention my birthday is coming up?).  She's smart and funny, without trying too hard to seem smart and funny.  She cares about real, good food without being pretentious about it and she makes everything seem easy or, at least, do-able.  I haven't passed a single recipe I wouldn't make and I even took an iPhone picture of her Roasted Vegetables and Polenta so I could make it for dinner last night (it was a success, by the way).

I'm currently preoccupied with what I would make if she were to come to the cottage for dinner.  That's totally normal, right?

photo credit |  whole living 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

a new one.

I feel a new season coming.

There's a beautiful newborn in the family (my cousin's).
My fifth and final semester is about to begin.
The cantaloupe, peas and zucchini plants have all been uprooted.
Pie pumpkins and winter squash are ready for harvest on the farm and our own are starting to sprout in the garden.
And last Friday, we hit the 3-more-months mark on the wedding countdown.

Yep, I can feel it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

and I'm off.

It's that time again.  That time at the end of July when the streets are lined with U-Hauls and there's at least one couch outside of every dumpster.  When fresh, smiling new faces make their way to town and those of us that have been here for going on 6 years are smiling, but only because we don't have to do that all over again.  It's moving time in a college town.  

And I'm high-tailing it to the beach.

This is our first and only trip to the coast this summer.  It's actually one of the only times we've managed to make it out of Tuscaloosa, for no reason other than to relax.  I'm sad to say that I'm afraid I've let this season pass.  Between school and the terribly deceiving notion that is an online class, wedding planning (read: talking about how I should be wedding planning and having wedding nightmares instead), an apartment lease that has ended and a cottage that needs tending, I don't have much to show for my summer.  And now that I think about it, I didn't even make a summer bucket list.

We'll only be gone for this weekend, but it's a weekend full of plans.  Plans to read and eat and take naps and drink coffee on balconies and visit newborn babies.

I'll be back soon, probably with a few more freckles.

Ps.  A few weeks ago, I had a lot of people ask what podcasts I listen to.  Here's a few of my favorites.
Joy the Baker
The Splendid Table
Hello Giggles
Spilled Milk