December 31, 2011

Have you seen this?

Have you guys seen this yet?  This kid lived here in Austin, and he ended up passing away on Christmas day, a week after creating these videos (which have now gone viral).  It's a really inspirational and comforting story, though.  What a sweet kid.  His family now celebrates his life and his passage on to a better place. :)


December 30, 2011

Friday’s People You Should Know

Good Friday morning everyone!  Any big plans for New Year’s this weekend?!  We’ll probably keep it low key and just go get some dinner and drinks then head home to ring in the New Year with a little Monopoly (one of my gifts to Matthew this Christmas!).  I tried to get him to play it with me the other night, but he said he was too tired and that the game “requires concentration” in order to “crush me.”  MEN! :P  Maybe his guard will be down on New Year’s Eve, and I’ll stand a chance…

Anyway! I’d like to highlight a few of my most loyal sponsors this morning.  These ladies have all been with me at least six months, and I’m proud to help promote their wonderful blogs.  Check them out if you haven’t already!

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Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny – lifestyle, food, and healthy living blog with plenty of personality and fabulous pictures!  Kelly is the girl you WISH lived next door (so you could be BFFs and so she can cook some of her amazing recipes for you)!


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K. Syrah @ Shoes Never WornK. Syrah is an Indie writer and published author who also happens to be a deployed soldier in the military.  Each of her posts read like a story right out of a book, and I promise you will be fascinated.


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Hanna @ Bouffe e Bambini – Bouffe e Bambini is a lifestyle, food, and fashion blog by the lovely Hanna, who has also posted openly about her incredible weight loss journey (hint: she lost 100 lbs!).  I’ve so enjoyed getting to know Hanna and her sweet family—and the amazing recipes she posts don’t hurt either!


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Kristie @ Kristie Was Here – Kristie is a beautiful writer and PERSON, and her blog is full of raw honesty—like a look right into someone’s lovely journal.  My personal favorite type of blog!  You’ll laugh and cry with her, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll keep coming back for more and more. :)


Have a wonderful weekend!!!


December 29, 2011

Year in Review

When one year comes to a close and a new one stretches out before you, it’s nice to reflect on what is past and peer hopefully into the still-unknown future… wouldn’t you agree?

I just spent some time looking through old pictures and blog posts from the whole of 2011, and it was crazy to think of how much has changed in only one year.  Big things.   Family… finances… law school… this little blog… ME.  And as crazy and scary as life can be sometimes, I am simply beside myself with excitement for the year to come, because it feels like a fresh chance.  I know that’s mainly a mental thing, but who cares? 

I just went back and read my post from the end of LAST December, and I was amazed by how different 2010 and 2011 were for us.  In 2010, Matthew and I had just gotten married and moved into our new home together and were exploring our new city and went to New York and Hawaii, and I started this blog!  And this year… oh, 2011.  Life! Stress! Marriage not perfect—hard! Cancer. Loved ones suffering.  Identity crisis on my part. Questions. What the hell do I want to do with my life? Why haven’t I figured it out yet?  Crazy health scare.  Pieces falling into place.  Beginning to see things clearly…Not all of that was expressed here on my blog, but I certainly still remember it.

2012…  Such high hopes I have for you!  Not because I’m being unrealistic and I think that THIS year will be the one where I actually keep all my resolutions.  Please.  But because I’m starting to understand myself a little better, and I’m discovering passions I didn’t even know I had, and I’m feeling ready to make shit happen.

So basically, that’s my resolution this year.  My mantra, if you will.  Make shit happen.  A little less wishing and hoping and thinking and a little more acting and doing and creating. 

We’re all on our own journey here, and yours will likely look different than mine.  But I hope you’re going into 2012 with a similar mindset: it’s gonna be great, because we’re gonna make it great.  Why can’t 2012 be the year that all your dreams come true? 

And now for a little trip down memory lane… these are some special and/or silly moments I posted about in 2011, so let’s go back in time for a bit, shall we?

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+ One year anniversary celebration in Fredericksburg…

One Year Anniv Fredericksburg 019 copy


+ South America trip of a lifetime!

Peru Day 3 058


+ First ever vlog.

+ “Possibly Voyeuristic Old Neighbor and Why Quasi-Pornographic Photos of Me May or May Not End Up Somewhere on the Internet.”

+ A truly epic “then and now” pic.

+ Took pictures for my mom and Edd… beautiful memory.


+ Law school. ‘Nuff said.


+ Edd’s cancer.

+ My own health scare.

+ Lessons learned in my first 25 years.

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And those are just a few of the highlights. :) Looking forward with great hope and anticipation for the clean slate ahead.  Life won’t be perfect, but It will be beautiful.


December 28, 2011

S’mores Cookies Recipe + Giveaway extension!

Christmas 2011 009 copy Christmas 2011 015-1

Have you guys tried this s’mores cookies recipe yet?  I’ve seen it floating around Pinterest, and my friend made it the other day.  And then I ate one, and my life was forever changed.  They. are. amazing.  The cinnamon adds a little somethin’ extra and is kind of mind-blowing, if you ask me. So, yeah. You should try them!  (I found the recipe here.)  This would be a great treat to bring to a New Year’s Eve party, and I’m pretty sure everyone will probably love you for it…

S’mores Cookies
(or you can make them into bars, see directions)

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces (I like Hershey’s Symphony bars—the chocolate is incredibly creamy!)
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper.

Lay out graham crackers on the pan, an inch or two apart if you want cookies or side by side if you want bars. You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine on low speed.
Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers and press down slightly with spoon or fingertips.
Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces onto the top (break the Hershey’s pieces in half if you want two pieces of chocolate per cookie). Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. If you chose to make the bars, make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.


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Also, I’m extending the Poshlocket giveaway until next week!  So if you didn’t get to enter last week, go here and check it out!  Poshlocket has some fabulous jewelry at incredibly reasonable prices… here’s what I chose from the collection!

Outfit dec 19 052 copy

Best part is that this piece is only $30, and shipping is free!  Enter the shop credit giveaway here. :)  And have a great Wednesday!


December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Well, it’s that time of year again, folks.  The time where we all dump a zillion pictures from Christmas onto our blogs and/or Facebook.  I thought about breaking this into a couple posts, but I think you guys can handle it! ;)

We had a very nice holiday, filled with good food and the people we love.  Edd was home and is able to walk around a little bit now… it was a wonderful gift to have him here this Christmas. Hope you’re all enjoying your new toys and looking forward to the fabulous new year to come! I have this funny feeling about 2012… it’s gonna be a good one. :) 

For now, here’s a few pictures from our Christmas!

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Morning with mom and Edd… (just before all of Edd’s family got there… we missed most of the excitement! [but got first dibs on the amazing breakfast!])

Christmas 2011 018 copy most delicious monkey bread in the world

Christmas 2011 027 copy yummy breakfast casserole my mom makes every Christmas

Christmas 2011 050 copy opening presents

Christmas 2011 052 copy peeps!!! yessssss.

Christmas 2011 076 copytwo special men in my life

Christmas 2011 075-2   pretty mama

Christmas 2011 063-3


Afternoon with Matthew’s side of the family…

Christmas 2011 088 copy sweetest MIL :)

Christmas 2011 100-1 sweetest SIL :)

Christmas 2011 103 copy  Christmas 2011 127 copy_edited-1 good lookin’ family eh?

Christmas 2011 143 copy fall finally arrived in TX

Christmas 2011 154 copy Christmas 2011 169 copy Christmas 2011 171 copy Pierre le cat

Christmas 2011 180 copy Christmas 2011 182-1 amazing.

Christmas 2011 184-1_edited-1 love her!!

How was your Christmas?  Did you get any extra-meaningful gifts?


December 26, 2011

Instagram Christmas preview

in1 in2 in3 in4

1. To Grandmother’s house we go!
2. New shoes + Christmas sweater + beautiful fall leaves in Texas… only a couple months late.
3. Mom’s homemade toffee/AKA CRACK
4. Gracie & Cooper, patiently awaiting Santa Claus
5. Marveling at the beautiful leaves
6. Sweetest and prettiest sister-in-law in the world!
7. Candid shot of the handsome huz
8. Matthew’s Grandma surprised me with a portrait she painted… what a treasure.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and Santa was good to you!  We’re still basking in the glow of a wonderful day… while cleaning up the house (looks like a tornado blew through) and finishing up the wainscoting in our bedroom.  No rest for the weary!

Enjoy your day, friends!


December 23, 2011

A Christmas tradition


When I was a little girl I used to wake up in the wee hours of every Christmas morning and sneak out to the living room to open up my stocking.  My parents knew I did it, and they were fine with it as long as it was after 2 or 3 AM.

Oddly, to date this is one of my very favorite Christmas memories.  I would wake up automatically in the night and feel that jolt of excitement in my stomach when I realized it was Christmas morning—I’d check the time, and if it was an acceptable hour, I’d pad out of my bedroom to find the Christmas tree still lit and heaps of presents piled beneath it. Santa had come! And there my stocking would be—stuffed to overflowing right next to my sister’s.  Sometimes my sister and I would even end up out of bed at the same time (she would usually wake up in the night too), or other times I would see the contents of her stocking spilled out on the floor and I’d know she’d already been there.

Most of the time I’d be alone, though, there in the dark stillness of the morning and the glow of the tree, and that was how I preferred it.  I would slowly empty my stocking, delighting in the wonderfulness of each little treat it held.  Then I’d spread out the contents around me, maybe eating a Christmas Peep or munching on some chocolate.  I’d count the presents to make sure my sister and I had an acceptably similar amount (you know you did it too…), and then I would just sit there for a while, trying to soak in the magic of that quiet morning before anyone else was awake.  I knew the house would later smell of cinnamon rolls and thick cut, frying bacon, and those beautifully wrapped gifts would soon reveal their mysterious contents, but my favorite part of Christmas was always those quiet moments when I sat all alone beneath that fragrant tree, anticipating the morning to come.

And now, whenever I sit in the glow of my Christmas tree, I think of those moments, and how they were the best of every Christmas, and how I’d love to pass along that tradition to my children one day. 

So that is what I wish for every one of you, this year: an appreciation for the quiet moments; the ability to be alone sometimes, and to be happy in your own company; the patience to wait for the good that will come; and that feeling of magic you experience as a child but never really have to lose.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend… I’ll be back at it next week!


PS – If you didn’t catch it the other day, I’m now on Instagram!  I’ll be posting plenty of pictures over the weekend, so look me up if you’re interested! Username jennistoryoml. :)

December 21, 2011

Wrapapalooza 2011

Wrapapalooza 2011 075-1 ignore the hair.

Hello again, and welcome to what I’m calling “Wrapapalooza 2011.”  As mentioned before, wrapping presents is pretty much my favorite thing to do, and I may or may not have something of a wrapping paper fetish.  I just can’t help myself. 

So you can pretty much count on a Wrapapalooza post every Christmas for the rest of my life (yes, I plan to be blogging while elderly)—I love to document the fun in pictures so I can go back and enjoy them for many years to come! 

Ok, enough talk.  Here are some shots from the past couple days!

Wrapapalooza 2011 007-1 Wrapapalooza 2011 014-2 Wrapapalooza 2011 027-1 Wrapapalooza 2011 033-2 Wrapapalooza 2011 053-1-2 Wrapapalooza 2011 070-2 Wrapapalooza 2011 083-1 Wrapapalooza 2011 093-2 Wrapapalooza 2011 108-1 Wrapapalooza 2011 114-2



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