Our 3rd Anniversary Day in Pictures


Thank you all so much for the lovely comments wishing us a happy anniversary! You made my day. And Jordan's too, though he'd never admit it. Did you know he not only reads every post but the comments too? It's true.

Last year Jordan and I had a pretty low-key second anniversary. I documented our day in pictures, which you can check out here if you so desire.

This year, we decided that now that we're a really old married couple, we should continue the trend of low key. A trip to the black hills of South Dakota and a visit to Mount Rushmore is in the works for this fall (yay!), but for now we decided a staycation was the best option for our days-off-work availability and our budget. I also didn't want to confuse anyone by actually having something to put in the travel category of this month's Project 12 post.



The day of our third anniversary looked like this:

The alarm clocked buzzed extra early so we could hit up the local iHop for breakfast before work. Because that's how we do it in Oklahoma. Classy. (This is also what we did last year.)

Pancakes, sausage, and eggs over easy for me. (Although a Belgium waffle ran an extremely close second.)

Hash browns, scrambled eggs, and biscuits and gravy for Jordan. He'll always be an Oklahoma boy.

Fun fact: In the middle of breakfast, he sprinted to the bathroom and was in there for so long that the waitress came by and asked if he'd left me. Not joking.

She literally said, "Did he leave you?" To which I said, "Yes," and then promptly burst into tears. Okay, I am joking about the tears part. But she did ask me that. It was awkward.

After breakfast, we both headed to work.
*If you're as obsessed with my desktop calendar image as I am, download your own here. I'm pretty much in love. Yes, I'd marry this desktop calendar if I wasn't already married. It's not weird. Thanks to Charlotte for linking to them originally!

At lunch, I read my book and then took a car nap. Brilliant idea, car naps are.
When we got home, we exchanged gifts.

And by gifts, I mean I gave Jordan nothing, and he gave me a lime squeezer he picked up at Walmart earlier that day because "he was thinking of me."

That guy.

We actually did exchange cards, which is a yearly Valentine's Day and wedding anniversary tradition. No gifts, just cards.

Then we got Johnny Carino's (Italian) and stopped for cupcakes. Johnny Carino's catered our wedding reception, and we also had a cupcake stand at our reception. We didn't even think about the similarity until after we ordered, but we're pretending that we totally thought about it in advance and planned it that way.

And then.

Then while we ate pasta, we watched my favorite actor beat up on bad guys in my favorite movie series.

So that's how we spent our third anniversary. It was a "good day." 
See what I did there?

Couch selfie! 

We're both glowing for some reason. It's either the lamp or the love beams sprouting from our hearts.

I'm going with love beams.

A week later, we used a gift card to hit up PF Chang's for an actual grownup anniversary date, wherein I showed the waiter my grownup ID and ordered a mojito. Because yum.

Cheers to year four!

Sometimes I Wish I Were Famous


Today I'm (finally!) linking up with Tamara for one of her weekly Wednesday topics.

Last week, John Green's latest YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars, finally came available at the library. It was a quick, interesting book that only took me a few days to finish. But for such a small book, it really made me think. (This is a highly undervalued reason to mix YA into your reading list every once in a while, for those of you who think it's not a genre worth spending time on.)
Anyway, I bookmarked a few quotes from the book, but I chose one short scene that I most want to share with you (no spoilers):

 * * *
"You know," he said after a while, "it's kids' stuff, but I always thought my obituary would be in all the newspapers, that I'd have a story worth telling. I always had this secret suspicion that I was special."

"You are," I said.

"You know what I mean, though," he said.

I did know what he meant. I just didn't agree. "You say you're not special because the world doesn't know about you, but that's an insult to me. I know about you."
(pp. 240-41)
* * *

Sometimes I get this feeling that I'm no one special. 

I'm not famous. When a movie star dies, their films live forever.* When an author dies, their books become classics that generations of students read in English class.**

Who will remember me a hundred years after my death?

I know that's kind of super depressing. This isn't a feeling I get a lot, but sometimes when I'm driving my nondescript car down a nondescript back road in the middle of a state that sits in the middle of the country, it's easy to think I'm no one special.

That's why I thought that quote was so great. Sometimes it sounds so fun to be famous. Not the paparazzi part or the tabloids part or the five Hollywood divorces part. Just the famous part.

But as cheesy as it sounds, we're all already famous to the people in our lives. 

Our friends, our family... Just like John Green's character said, wishing for a different life is insulting to the people in your current life. It's also insulting to the God who created us, because more than anything else, we're special to him. He knit us together (Psalm 139), and we're insulting him to say we don't like the life he gave us.

This is something I've been struggling with lately, and so I'm preaching to the choir, but here's the bottom line: we need to be not only satisfied, but content and even grateful for who and where we are. It's a waste of time to wish you were someone else.

Doing that is failing to understand just how silly that sounds to the people who like the you that you already are.
*Unless it's Sharknado. I think we can all agree that one can just go away.
**Unless it's Twilight. Please no.
*Get in on my reader survey before it closes! Check it out here.

The Lady Okie Turns 4! (Includes a reader survey!)


I kind of feel like blog years work like dog years. Four years in Blog World is like four times that in Regular World years, right? I guess that means I just got my driver's license.

Wanna know where I went for my first solo drive after getting my license as a young sixteen-year-old? I picked up my friend Jill and drove to get some ice cream. 

I know, I know.
Party. Animal.

Anyhoo, today is not about me. It's about the Lady Okie Blog! Four years ago Saturday (May 24, 2010) I wrote my first post. I'm still going strong 700+ posts later. Kind of. To be honest, sometimes I feel like I'm limping, but I'm still moving at least!

Here's my most viewed post (14,500+): Crock-Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe

It's impossible for me to pick a favorite post, but here are 4 stood out as I looked back through my archives:

1. A Blizzard and 3 Eggs--I wrote this back in 2011, and it's still one of my favorite stories.

2. My Grandpa's Inappropriate Tie--One of the most ridiculous family stories and still one we all like to laugh about.

3. 10 Reasons Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby--I just think this post is hilarious and brilliant, and it sort of went viral when it got shared on Canadian Running Magazine FB page and got over 6,000 views in one day (that's a lot for me!). My first taste of blogger fame, if you will.

4. How to Start Running--Last year I wrote a 7-part series on how to start running. I'm really proud of those posts, because I feel like I did a good job giving an overview of running that hopefully inspired and encouraged the people who read it.

And now for....
In honor of that fateful day back in 2010, I am giving away something mysterious and fun.

Enter to win by leaving me a comment! Tell me you want in. Say hi. Tell me how awesome I am. Just say something, and I will choose 4 winners via Random number generator next Friday, May 30.

**Also before you go, please take 4.3 seconds and fill out my survey. There are only four questions, so it shouldn't take long at all. The survey responses will involve pie charts if that's any incentive for you (it should be). Thanks in advance for your support of my blog. This whole blogging thing wouldn't be half as much fun without all of you reading and commenting.

And happy long weeeeeeekend! Wahoo!


Runners Tell All: Share a Running Picture (or 5)


"Runner's Tell All" is a monthly linkup for runners of all ages, skill levels, and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie. Each month we'll have a different topic, and you can find all the topics listed here. We are accepting two sponsorship spots for each month, who will receive a sidebar ad on both blogs as well as entry links in the giveaway. 100% of your sponsorship money will go directly toward running-related giveaways. Find more information on sponsorship here. 
We have 2 spots available for June!

I went through all my old race pictures and tried to find some really good ones to share. Unfortunately, I usually don't screen shot the professional race photographer pictures, so I couldn't find any where I was making a hilariously terrible face or anything like that. Tamara definitely beats me on best worst race pictures.

Unless you count the following delight, which was taken exactly .2 miles after the above photo. I finished my second marathon and then fell on the grass repeating, "I'm dying. I'm dying. I'm dying." 
Apparently to my brother that meant, "Please take a picture of me."

Anyway, I decided to choose a couple of pictures that stood out to me as I looked through my archives. It's fun thinking about on all these races. If you haven't already, feel free to check out my running page for race recaps filled with running pics!

In the picture below, I'm running the Texas Motor Speedway half marathon. We started inside the Texas Motor Speedway and then ran outside the stadium before finishing by weaving through pit row and then doing a lap on the actual race track. It was a very unique experience. That track is crazy steep. 

What's the most unique place you've ever run? Tell me!

This next picture kills me. 
It was taken by my mom at the end of the Dirty 30 mud run I did in 2012.
I don't understand this. For crying out loud, people. It's a MUD RUN. The word dirty is IN the title.

How do you finish a mud race completely clean? 
By walking around the mud pits. That's how. 

Clearly she wasn't down with this action:

So, note to everyone: if you sign up for a mud race, expect to get dirty. Finishing a mud run completely clean is the opposite of cool. Swimming through the mud is most of the fun! I love mud races. I'm excited for my Tough Mudder in October. Excited and nervous, that is.

Finally, my first half marathon deserves a nod. My friend Hilda took this one of me as I neared the finish line of the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in Wichita, Kansas. Looking at this picture brings back the feeling of nearing that finish line for the first time. 

Those are just a few that stood out to me. Now I want to see yours! 
Link up below with your race or training pictures, and have fun meeting other bloggers.

(Saturday, June 21)
[The linkup will be open all week if you can't link up on the weekend!]

Your Favorite and/or Proudest Running Moment
Crossing that first finish line? Running a mile without walking? 
What's your proudest running moment to date? 
Brag on yourself!

So yeah. We're not telling you what's in this mystery box, but Beka and I have put together some fun running stuff, and we'll send all of it to the winner! *Note for our international friends: feel free to enter! If you win, we'll work with you to figure out how to get you your prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Runners Tell All Linkup Rules

  1. You MUST leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners! Don't be lame.
  2. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (I've done it before too, so I'm not joking.)
  3. Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button below and add it to your post.

Blogger Confessional: My Writing Process


[screenshot from my recent vlog]

Today I'm participating in a blog chain linkup of sorts. It's like a blog tour, where each blogger writes about a specific topic and then passes it on! I got tagged by Allie (read her writing process post here), and I'm tagging Jenny.

To be honest, I feel like calling this a blogger confessional is a tad dramatic. I'm not going to be sharing any dark secrets or anything, but I liked how it sounded, so I'm going with it.

I feel like I'm constantly working on blog posts in my head. Sometimes I fall asleep composing posts. It's crazy how much blogging changes how I think.

Specifically, three things right now are in progress:

My Project 12 recap post for May. I try to add things throughout the month so I don't have to try to remember it all at the end. Those posts are my favorite to write, I think. I've never been a fan of weekend or weekly recap posts, but this monthly recap is totally working for me!

Runners Tell All is on Wednesday! We'll have another giveaway and another fun prompt for you guys, so I hope you come back and join in. This is seriously the most fun I've ever had with a linkup, besides maybe the Blog Every Day in May that I did last year. That was fun too.

My FOUR-YEAR blogiversary is on Saturday! I can't believe it. I'm not going to have a huge giveaway or anything (read: hashtag budget problems), but I am going to have a mini giveaway Lady Okie style and a four-question reader survey! If you missed the answers to my last reader survey, head over and check it out.

I'm planning on posting my blogiversary on Thursday night so you can read it before the long weekend. I don't want it to get sucked into the black hole of vacation posts. So check back, please!

On the surface, it's easy to think of all "lifestyle" blogs as the same, but each one is so different because each blogger is different. I know. I'm a genius.

Over the last couple of years, I've really tried to focus on posting quality content even if it means fewer posts. And I guess I'll toot my own horn a bit: I think I'm a good writer. I can write funny pretty well, and I like to think my blog offers some encouragement and inspiration and a glimpse of my real life with a "quality over quantity" kind of feel to it. 

I put a lot of pride into my blog and want everything I do on here to be fully "me."
Also, side note: I hate myself just a little bit for all the air quotes in this answer.

The short answer is that I write what I feel inspired to write about. A big part of that is what I think will make a good story and what I want to remember.

My funny family stories are some of my favorite posts, because I can practice my creative writing skills and at the same time write down a memory. I love going back and reading through my archives and running across things I'd forgotten about. It's probably the best part of blogging, second only to the awesome people I've gotten to meet both in person and online!

I've talked before about how I don't have a posting schedule. This is largely due to the fact that I don't have sponsorships. Right now my process is based on A) whether I feel like writing and B) whether I have time to write. I pretty much always have a post topic in mind, but it comes down to time and motivation. Sometimes I don't feel like writing, and when it comes to blogging, I've learned not to force it. 

More specifically, most of my blog posts are crafted in my head first, either while commuting to and from work or running. I seriously write the best blog posts while I'm out on a run. (Can I get an amen from my runner friends?)

I need to at least know what the first couple of lines of a post are going to be. After that, I just type whatever comes to mind. My friends all say that when they read my blog, it's like I'm talking to them. My writing is largely stream of consciousness and is pretty much how I speak (for the most part). 

After I'm done with a post, I go back and edit. I know most of my posts border on obnoxiously long (at least compared to a lot of other bloggers who post tiny things compared to my novels), but believe me when I say that my posts are edited way down from what they were originally. You're welcome.

I edit my post a few times, checking for grammar and such. Then I add the title. Sometimes it takes me a while to come up with a good title. After I hit "publish," I'll read through it again and correct any more typos I see (there's always at least one gosh darn it).

From start to finish, photo editing included, it takes bare minimum one hour to put a post together. That's a conservative estimate. It's more like 1.5-2 hours on average, sometimes longer. That's why it blows my mind that people can post 5 days/week. There's no way.

Since this is a confessional, I'll admit something I'm kind of ashamed of: I read back through my own posts a lot. Like, a lot. Sometimes I'll read an old one and be like, "This is hilarious!" Yes, I'm that blogger who reads their own posts and then is all, "Wow, self, you're such a good writer." Humility is not something I was blessed with.

So that's it! A little bit of insight into my blogging life.

Like I said, I tagged Jenny, who's going to write something in a week or so. And of course if you want to answer these in a post of your own, go ahead! Leave me a link in the comments or shoot me an email. I'd love to read about your process too. Thanks again to Allie for tagging me!

Tell me: What are you working on right now?
oh, and you might also like...

5 Things I'm Terrible At


I saw this post on Courtney's blog and knew I had to write a post of my own. Love this idea! Let's get started:

1. Crocheting Hats

Scarves and blankets I've got down. Basically anything requiring a straight line is great, but you can forget about hats. I've tried multiple times, and I always just end up with circle-shaped pot holders. 

Not really a functional hat, if you see what I'm saying. 

You guys, I'm dying right now.

I literally typed "pot holders on your head" into Google, and that picture came up. The caption is "pot holder head--Larry." OMG. The end forever. I love the internet.

2. Whispering

I'm pretty sure I have an undiagnosed medical condition that prohibits me from a functional whisper. My "whisper" attempts come out as normal inside voice volume, which is to say that my whisper is completely useless. 

What's the point of people watching if you can't whisper, "Look at that guy wearing socks and sandals," and then chuckle quietly to yourself while secretly battling the fear that you will soon be uncool enough to not care that you're wearing socks with sandals?

You know that scene on Friends when Ross gets on to Chandler and Joey for being too loud?

Okay, well this is me and Jordan every. single. day.

3. Spelling the Word Rhythm

Seriously, what is the deal with this stupid word? Every time it takes me like 8 tries, after which I give up and use the online dictionary. I want to add two Ys for some reason, although where I would put the second one is beyond me. I forget about the first H and want to add an E somewhere, and basically it's just not good.

4. Beating My Brothers in Any Game Ever

Both of my brothers are the annoying type of boy who's good at every stinking thing they try. They're like game wizards or something, and it just makes me so---

Actually, I don't want to talk about it.

5. Dancing

What are you terrible at?
What's a word you always misspell?

The Cutest Boy I'd Ever Seen


Today is our third anniversary.

I won't pretend to be so cliche as to say it was love at first sight, but gosh darn it if I didn't walk into church that day in January 2009 and think he was the cutest boy I'd ever seen. When my Illinois friends asked if I'd found me an Oklahoma boy yet, I told them that there was a cute boy in Sunday school class.

"But," I said, "he'll never ask me out in a million years." 
Then I paused dramatically.  "He's too cute."

Let's just say up to that point in my life, my experience with cute boys had been next to no experience at all. When I saw them, I put my head down and ran away.

And I guess you could say that this time when I ran away, the cute boy chased me; although technically I was the one to ask him out on our first date. If you know me at all, this shouldn't surprise you.

The rest, as they say, is history.

p.s. a few marriage posts from the archives in case you're interested
-a letter to my newlywed self
-our second anniversary day in pictures
-when you decide to love anyway
-the best marriage advice I ever got

The Lady Okie Vlogs: 3 Things Every Popular YouTube Video Has


By special request from a loyal reader, I have made another vlog! (For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, a vlog = video blog.) 

Jordan may or may not make an appearance, and there also may or may not be dancing. So yeah, you're gonna want to watch this. (There's a special outro for those of you who stick around to the end!)

It's less than 3 minutes long, which is, coincidentally, the number of hours this took me to film and edit, so I HOPE you all enjoy this video. Otherwise I wasted my Friday night when I could have been doing something productive like baking cookies.

This is, in my opinion, a far cry above my first vlog. Improvement! Soon I'll be making $40,000 a month with my YouTube channel, and you will say, "I knew her when..."

The Bandwagon


Skinny jeans.
Harry Potter.

That's just a short list of the things that at one point in the not-so-distant past (and let's be honest: the current present) that I refused to buy, watch, read, and wear because everyone else was doing it, and I don't like jumping on the bandwagon. 

Call it hipster. Call it difficult. Call it stubborn.
The fact is: My refusal to do things that everyone else is doing is not a new character trait. 

Ever since I can remember, I've hated matching. Forget about group t-shirts. I'll bring a cardigan just so I can look a little bit different. Sometimes Jordan and I will accidentally dress in a similar color for church. I will then demand that one of us change. When I left my first real job, my coworkers played a brilliant prank on me involving my hatred of matching that was at once hilarious and super annoying. You could say it was the best prank ever.

At first, it starts with the principle of the thing: everyone is obsessed with it, so I don't want to do it. I only got a Twitter account last year. I waited years after my friends had all read and reread the Harry Potter series to finally dive in. I still haven't seen Frozen.

After the initial refusal, however, it becomes less about the principle of not jumping on the bandwagon and more about not doing it for actual reasons. Or, in some cases, doing it for an actual reason.

Sometimes, I eventually realize that I'm an idiot for continuing to hold out for basically no reason at all. Twitter is awesome. I like writing witty one-liners. Skinny jeans look good on me, and they're (shocker!) comfortable. The HP series is really, really good.

Other times, I'm not not doing something merely because I just haven't gotten around to it. Take Frozen, for example. I'm not opposed to watching it, but we don't really watch movies very often, and I don't have a kid, and I just haven't gotten around to it. The same with most popular TV shows. At first I didn't watch "Orange is the New Black" because everyone was obsessed with it. Then I just didn't get around to it because I'm currently on Season 5 of (ahem) One Tree Hill. I pretty much put on a cone of shame every time I turn it on. It's truly the stupidest show ever. But that's a post for another day.

The final category are things I've decided I legitimately don't want to do. It stops being about the bandwagon. I have (what I think are) legitimate reasons for not doing something. Example: I'm one of 5 people in the US who does not have a smartphone.* I talked about that when I wrote about the social media rabbit hole. It used to be about the fact that everyone had one. Now it's about the fact that I don't want one.
(*not a real stat but probably pretty close)

I'm not sure what it says about me that I usually decide I don't want to do something if everyone else is doing it. I feel like this must be a fatal flaw of mine, because to be honest, it annoys me. On the other hand, I definitely would not jump off a bridge just because everyone else was, so that's good.

Still, I know I have the potential of missing out on some things. Like the awesomeness of Harry Potter. Other times, I'm glad for it, because I've seen that "look up" video shared about 50 times in the last week, and I'm like, "Girl without a smartphone over here! I look up all the time! Come join me, won't you?"

Anyway, I know this is mostly a ramble. But I've been thinking about this topic a lot, both as it pertains to me personally and as it pertains to the things I do (or don't do) on this blog. Using Disqus, offering sponsorship, hosting giveaways, doing linkups... The list is almost endless. For the past 6 months or so I've been frustrated by my desire to "fit in" the blogging world by doing these things, even as I try to balance my desire to do my own thing and not care what anyone else is doing or says I should do.

So I guess here's my question:

-Do you refuse to do things just because everyone else is doing them?
-Do you find it hard to balance jumping on the bandwagon with the potential to miss out on awesome stuff?
-Where's the line between being stubborn and legitimately not wanting to do something?