Two years ago today the love of my life asked me to marry him. Fast forward to now as happy newly-weds and I could not be more grateful for Adam and all he has brought to my life. Today I was reflecting on the proposal and how much it meant to both of us, and I wanted to share what the day was like as well as give a little context on why Adam proposed the way that he did.
The night before we got engaged Adam and I had returned from lots of Christmas traveling and family visiting. We had been asked if we were going to get married, if so when, how serious we were, and all the questions that come up when a couple in their 20s has been together for a certain period of time. We sat down and I asked Adam where he saw our relationship going and if he had been thinking of getting engaged, we talked about our full plan and he said he might propose sometime after April. Little did I know that at that moment he had already decided he was going to propose the next day.
Fast forward - we had breakfast that morning (egg in a basket and coffee) and I headed out to go pick up one of my very best friends from the Tulsa airport. During this time Adam already had the idea to use the video game Stardew Valley to propose. He headed to Jackson Diamond Jewelers in Stillwater to put the final payment on my ring, and came back to start working on his plan on his farm in Stardew Valley.
For a little background: As kids we both enjoyed video games, and for Adam video games helped him overcome a lot of his personal obstacles in college. I fell off of the gaming wagon in high school and, other than the occasional Smash Bros tournament with our friends, had not played games in a while. It was Adam that re-introduced games to me by getting me a Nintendo 2DS for my first birthday with him with the games Fantasy Life, Pokemon Sun, and Animal Crossing New Leaf for us to play. We played those games so much that spring semester that Adam helped me set up an Xbox Live profile on his Xbox. His dad gave us an older Xbox he had in his house so that I could have my own to play with as well. Then when we first moved to Stillwater Adam helped me set up our Xbox's side-by-side in the living room, so we could always play together.
We played a ton of games, but that first week in Stillwater Adam bought us both Stardew Valley because he'd heard good things about it online. We started playing together, and quickly grew obsessed with it! We probably played it 150+ hours from July-December, and that may be underestimating it. We both made respective farms, joined the subreddit, and bonded over how much we enjoyed playing it together. We would even plan stay-in date nights around it (something we still do on occasion). So Adam's inspiration to propose to me was to write out "Marry Me?" in tulips (my favorite real-life and in-game flower).
I remember walking in and him asking me to look at his screen because he was building something. It is a farming game, so I wondered if it was a new mill or a fun cabin, maybe the multi-player update had come out. So I scrolled through and was surprised to find "Marry Me?" spelled out, and looked over to see Adam on one knee. It was surreal; I was overfilled with joy and warmth. We both teared up, and even our cat Leo joined in our hugging. His proposal was so personal to both of us, and was planned around something we both really cherish and bond over. After that we went out to lunch, called our families from there, and the rest is history!
I posted our story on Reddit, and it blew up! Well, more than any post I have ever posted before at least. PC Gamer Magazine's Luke Winkle even reached out and did an article about us and how great Stardew Valley is for couples. Since the multiplayer update releasing that has only become more true.
As we get closer to concluding our first year of marriage I can't help but ponder on how fortunate we were to find each other. We have taken some time today to celebrate by going out to breakfast, and tonight will play more Stardew Valley.
The picture he proposed with:
The final result:
Welcome Back! I apologize for going so long without posting, it has been a crazy and travel-filled holiday season. Today I wanted to talk about the pour-over Adam and I have been using for the past 2 months and what a great investment it has been. We got it as a lightning deal on amazon through this link, and it was only $16! It is really easy to use and comes with instructions on how to use it, how to clean it, etc. It is extremely user friendly and the shop selling it through Amazon even reached out to give us tips on how to use it properly. It makes an incredible cup of coffee and only requires the regular drip coffee grind (so any bag of pre-ground coffee at your local grocery store will do) and hot water. Check out some of our own experiences below!
When using a pour over coffee maker such as this one you don't need to buy filters because the device is designed to filter the coffee itself. However, as you pour in the hot water, note that when it first fills up and takes a while to drain it is helpful to give it 30 seconds before trying to add more water. This process is called blooming; it adds to the flavor and I personally think helps the coffee start to filter more quickly after the initial pause. We have used the pour over for a stay-at-home coffee cup as well as an on-the-go tumbler and have not had any issues with it. If you love coffee as much as we do, this may be a fun avenue to check out!
Impromptu Date Nights are a way of life for Adam and I right now, and they are some of my favorite moments. On Saturday when we both got home from work I asked if he'd want to use the Cafe Du Monde mix and coffee we brought back from New Orleans to have breakfast for dinner. He pitched taking it one step further and using the Christmas Cookie Cutters to make the beignets in fun holiday themed shapes. Overall we had a blast! You can order the Cafe Du Monde Beignet mix on Amazon, as well as a tin of the Cafe Du Monde Coffee and Chicory to make your own date-night and bring a little bit of NOLA home. Here are some fun tips (you can technically find on the back of the beignet box) to host your own Cafe Du Monde night at home!
This time of year always sparks my interests in chocolate desserts and with a ton of ingredients left over from our fudge adventure/general snacking, Adam and I decided to try out a new chocolate covered pretzel method. We have been on a big S'mores kick since making S'mores Fudge, so here is what we came up with!
S'mores Covered Pretzels
For the next few months we will be welcoming a guest blogger on occasion (Adam Stevens, my sweet husband) to post some of what he calls his favorite "bachelor pad" recipes. He says they are recipes he often eats when I am out of town and at more often while he was single. Here is a little more from him on the topic:
"Bachelor Pad meals are meant to be easy, simple, and hearty. Last weekend while Vana was visiting her friend in St. Louis I made this Chili and ate it all weekend. It was easy to cook and has a rich and savory flavor. I hope you all enjoy!" - Adam
So I am pretty positive my grandma got the main base fudge recipe off of the back of a marshmallow creme container, but man oh man is it good! For the first time Adam and I made it Monday (well, Adam did all of the work honestly) and he made 3 versions of it. If you like smores, cookie butter, or just fudge in general check them out! We made a full 3 batches of fudge and have brought them to all sorts of parties and gatherings.
S'mores Holiday Fudge
Cookie Butter Holiday Fudge
Holiday Fudge (The Original)
After feeling inspired to write something fun by friends and family, I wrote a few short paragraphs of a short story I have been working on. It would be the opening paragraph of a story about my grandmother and her childhood. She was an incredible woman who lived through a lot and was a true cowgirl, so if you would like feel free to read it over. Comments/suggestions are welcome as I am very new to this and it is just a rough draft of what could eventually be a short story.
The Adventures of Cici the Cowgirl
“Just take a deep breath … and go.”
Cici could feel the movement of her horse beneath her as she trotted into the arena. She scanned the area, looking at the crowd and the calves before her as she took a deep breath. The smell of red dirt filled her lungs and it was then that she knew which calf it would be. A small hereford stood a little in front and to the right of the herd. With the judges now behind her Cici gripped the reins in her hands and moved forward.
Cici was only 4’9” at 11 years old. A beauty with a mop of curly black hair, jarring blue eyes, and a warm smile, but she’d never want you to know that. She kept her hair tied behind her head or braided underneath a straw hat most days, a look her mother was not particularly fond of. Cici was commonly teased for dressing and acting like a “tomboy”, but no one ever teased her when she competed alongside her father in cutting horse competitions. No, it was then and only then that she felt like she was part of something bigger, something greater than herself. Working together with her quarter horse Wilson to herd a calf was something as basic and traditional as a cowboy itself.
Who doesn't struggle to find the perfect gift for your closest friends? Especially if you are on a budget! If you've read my post on how to be a better gift giver and you're still wracking your brain for ideas, check out my list below! I organized it by interest so that there are multiple options to look at for each of your friends. I will give a heads up - this list was created out of an age range of 20-38 year olds in mind so I guess you could say best gifts for your Gen Z and Millennial Friends?
1. The Work Friend
2. The Friend Who Likes to Read or Write
3. The Harry Potter Loving Friend
4. The Anime Friend
5. The "Cool" Friend
6. The Basic Friend
7. The Friend with Pets
8. The Friend Who Like to Cook
9. The Friend Who Works Out a Lot
10. The Friend into Super Heroes
11. The Friend Who Needs a Break
12. The Friend That Loves Sports
13. The Friend Who Likes to Travel
14. The Friend Who Likes The Outdoors
15. The Friend That Plays Video Games
16. The Friend Into Art or DIY Projects
17. The Friend That Plays Board/Card Games
18. Best Friend Themed Gifts
I hope these gave you some great ideas of things to get for your friends this holiday season!
On November 7th I was done. I was following my "Last 90 Days" plan of drinking more water, cutting out candy, and all of the other things that go along with it. But as the work day on November 7th came to a close I was disgusted with myself. Then, I saw a reddit thread about Intermittent Fasting (IF). Adam has brought up the idea before, but we were thinking of it as something that would cut out dinner. We were eating breakfast every day so we figured going 7am-3pm or 8am-4pm to accomplish a 16:8 fast seemed impossible. I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but as I read through it clicked that we could limit ourselves to just eating from 12pm-8pm and it would work for our lifestyle.
Now, I know the thought of skipping breakfast can be taboo for some, but for us the idea of skipping dinner and going to bed hungry or not refueling after a work out was worse. I can't say we have been perfect since starting the 16:8 IF cycle, we have had days where we are 30 minutes-an hour off, and one day we did not follow it all together, but we've also had days where we have made it closer to the 18:6 mark. While our weight-loss has been minimal/slow, it has been steadily taking effect without a ton of effort on our parts. We have been exercising alongside starting IF and it has not caused us to be tired or have any sort of muscle fatigue because we are still working to fuel ourselves within the set amount of time.
The benefit I think Adam and I have appreciated the most is the simplicity of only worrying about 2 meals a day. Before when we would meal prep it felt like we needed to spend hours making 3 different meal options to mix up; but now that we are only worried about two meals a day we have gained a lot of free time back. Cooking (something we always have and still enjoy) has been even more fun because we can focus our energy onto one big dinner-like meal to spread out over the whole week vs. trying to make two or three. You can definitely see some of our good days and some of our bad, as well as where we missed out on our own training regimen. But for reference I also included the exercise we did on the days we did it with the lists of what we ate.
You may notice that there came a point in which our lunches started consisting of lighter foods. That is for two reasons: one is that our second week on IF we ate a lot of red meat and it caused me to have terrible acid reflux in the middle of the day. This was a huge issue and we also realized that it would not help us reach our goals of a 18:6 or the One Meal A Day (OMAD) Intermittent Fasting style if we kept having two heavy meals vs. putting more emphasis on one of the meals.
You will also notice that as we hit thanksgiving week things got a little out of hand. We were not able to keep up with fasting but we went in to those 3 days knowing that would be the case. To show that this is not the end but only the beginning of our journey I included December 1st, which was our first day to really get back to intermittent fasting and today we are getting back into making overall healthier choices. I am grateful for what IF has done for me so far and I am excited to see how it continues!
Overall Adam and I have continued to follow the "Last 90 Days" to the best of our abilities! I think two things that have stuck with us the most are drinking more water and taking time to say what we are grateful for each day. IF has sort of replaced the cutting out a specific food, which has been helpful. Reflecting on the thanksgiving holiday and this time of year, what are things in your life you are grateful for?
I am a student affairs professional, an amateur chef, and an adventurer at heart.
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