Road Trip Home

Shrimp Salad

I arrived in Sweetwater around 6:20, just in time to unpack my Carlita and make it to my hair salon appointment on time.  Later, I was able to scratch off one item from my food wish list, shrimp salad (and less healthy in the background, fried pickles).  It was so delicious!   My mom and I rented a movie that evening but didn’t end up watching it.  We just waited until my daddy got home from work and chatted into the wee hours of the night.


The next morning, instead of waking up early for a round of golf as planned, my parents slept in and I went for a run.  I forgot how extremely dry and hot west Texas is!  My run was miserable.  Later that morning I undid my run by eating a stack of pancakes and marked off yet another food item from the wish list.  To be fair I only ate about 1/3 of that ginormous stack but I also had 1/3 of a hamburger.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted breakfast or lunch and my wonderful parents decided to indulge my inability to make decisions and split the burger with me.

Golf MommyThe heat was bearable out on the golf course due to the cool breeze wafting about the open lawns.  I’ve never golfed and I didn’t this time either, I just watched my dad play.  The first and last time he invited me to go with him I asked if I could bring a book.  After he said no, I decided to stay home instead.  It wasn’t boring like I thought it would be but you won’t catch me watching a golf tournament on television any time soon.

Texas Theater

Nice picture mom!

Immediately after golf we rushed over to the Texas Theater, the only local movie theater.  It has been in a constant state of renovation for as long as I can remember.  Let me just say this place brings back so many memories!  The theater definitely needs some love but we enjoyed watching Despicable Me 2 together despite the peeling paint, sunk in chairs and sticky floors.

New Tennis

On Sunday, my mother and I headed to the big city of Abilene for some shopping.  I needed a new pair of sneakers and we found these bright pair at Academy.  Can you be in love with a pair of running shoes?  They are soooo lightweight and pretty.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  While in Abilene that day we also marked another item off the food wish list, paletas!  YUMMY!  I have yet to find a place here in Tulsa with Mexican style paletas that are this good.  I love the ones at Mary’s in Abilene because they have a large flavor selection, most include with or without chile options and most paletas are the frozen juice kind not the creamy kind.  If you’ve never had paletas that last part may not make sense.  Some paletas are more like frozen juice with a healthy amount of pulp included while others are more like fruit flavored ice cream.  I prefer the juice kind because they taste more natural and have fewer calories, I think.





A few other moments to remember.  My parents have a small herd of cats that have taken up residence outside their house.  There are four teeny kittens and it took all my strength not to capture them and bring them all home.  Too Cute!  There was also a trip to Dairy Queen, yummy in my tummy!  And check out that glorious sky I saw on the way back to Tulsa.  Now after that fun and relaxing trip home, I’m ready (kinda) to start the new school year.  Today is my first day back.  Wish me luck!


There’s No Place Like Home


Leaving home to head home.

I’m headed home today!  I’ve downloaded some new music to sing along to on the fabulously exciting 7 hour drive!  Not actually looking forward to that part of this trip but I am pumped to visit my hometown one last time before the school year starts.  There’s not much to do in Sweetwater and that’s fine because all my time will be dedicated to my parents and occasionally, when they’re busy, a few arts and crafts projects I’m bringing along.  My precious Mom and Dad have started to fill my schedule for the few days I will be there, haircut as soon as I arrive, golfing with my Dad Saturday morning, Carlita will get her first oil change and tire rotation Monday.  Like I said there’s not much to do when I visit home but there is PLENTY to eat!  One of the toughest parts about going home is choosing where and what to eat.  My mother’s home cooking is fabulous but there are also SOOO many good local restaurants that I crave.  Really the best thing Sweetwater has to offer year round are their restaurants… Big Boys messy barbecue sandwiches, Mrs. Allen’s family style meals, huge shrimp salads at Skeet’s Restaurant, hearty breakfast burritos from Lisa’s Cocina and melt in your mouth pancakes from Oak Street Cafe.  Oh goodness!  Maybe I should try and fit in an extra day of running this week because 3 just ain’t gonna cut it.

If you see a crazy person singing on the road in West Texas wave because it’s me!  I’m taking an extended weekend trip so I’ll post a weekend wrap up on Wednesday!  Oh and don’t forget to check in next week, I have an AWESOME band to feature on Monday and a tasty recipe to share on Friday and some other fun stuff in between!

Weekend Low Down

Starting since Thursday we have been so rushed.  Every moment filled with a task needing to be accomplished and too many others awaiting their turn.


Richard has been working hard since Thursday night to complete a major DIY project he undertook, finishing our desk.  He is so pleased with the way it turned out and I am so proud of my handy-man!  I’ll probably do a separate blog focusing on that project later.

IMG_4672 photo-1


We also had lots of errands to run and crafts to complete before this weekends big event, our engagement party.  I’ll post more on that later as well.  This was the first time both of our families had come together.  I think it went really well!  I am never happier than when I’m surrounded by my family and Richard and I know Richard feels the same… except with his family and me.  The flowers and cake and all the little projects for the day turned out better than I had imagined!


Also Richard’s white coat ceremony was this weekend.  My parents stayed in town the day after the engagement party to watch him be cloaked… yes that’s what it called when they put your white coat on you.  I am so absolutely proud and in aww of my intelligent and ambitious fiancé.  Though, I must admit, I am anxious about the stress and workload that awaits him and our relationship these next four years.


I made beef enchiladas for the first time using a recipe my mom recited to me over the phone.  I was a bit disappointed with them at first but, after my mom and dad tried them and gave them a thumbs up, I feel better about how they turned out.  (I’m glad you liked them, Richard, but I don’t trust your opinion of Tex-Mex food quite yet.)


We took our inaugural Sunday evening stroll.  I’m trying to initiate a few new traditions that will hopefully help us maintain and strengthen our relationship particularly through these next four years, this is one of them.  I think a Sunday evening walk will help Richard get some much need moments away from his books and will give us a chance to talk, spend time with our four-legged son, fit in some light cardio and allow us to soak in some tranquility and nature.  But I’ll probably need to find some time to get new sneakers in between now and next week’s Sunday stroll.  These have seen better days!


Also Carlita is really growing up!  She hit the 6,000 mile mark on Sunday.  I remember when she barely had any miles on her!!


And Richard’s mommy made us bitty curtains for the small four pain window on our front door.  Richard dreamed up what he wanted them to look like and they turned out exactly as he imaged them.  Perfect!

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve likely seen many of these photos already.  If you don’t follow me already, search for me under WhitneyOrtega!

What do I do with this?


Everything is now in our house and who knew we had so much junk!!!! Does anyone else ever feel like selling/donating it all and starting over? I do… But that would be silly because I have no money for that!

Right now I’m working on organizing the kitchen but that is proving very difficult since we downsized BIG TIME in that particular room. It’s also tough because most of the cabinets are out of my reach… Darn my shorty genes!!!… so I’m having to weigh the importance of each item before choosing its new home. I’m hoping to find a cabinet that can become a makeshift pantry and maybe even buy/find/make a moveable island that will help in food prep. I made chicken salad for dinner, one of the least demanding recipes, and ran out of counter space almost immediately.

The picture above is of this awkward shelf in the bathroom that is now just a catch all but needs to be a place for storing makeup, hair accessories, wash rags, nail polish, and oh I guess Richard can put a few of his things there as well. The problem is that I don’t want these things just sitting on the shelf as they are now. Also the shelf is to shallow for most baskets. What can I store all those items in that is both functional but also decorative, keeps everything out of sight, and isn’t too pricey or bulky? This isn’t a hypothetical question so please let me know if you have any ideas! Leave a comment.

Movin’ On Up


Yes another post about the moving. I wanted to give you a little peek at our new place!

Our kitchen is a little small but we love all the shiny new matching appliances! When we looked at the place it did not have a dishwasher but the landlord offered to put one in for a $15-$25 extra a month. We decided it was worth it to avoid any arguments about who has or hasn’t been doing their fair share of dish washing.

The view from the front door shows our dining area. To the left is our living room but no photos of it because they all made it seem really small.
Here are some of the things we aren’t in love with. Our front door has a small four paned window and though cute from the outside it could pose a bit of a privacy issue. The owner solved that by screwing in this charming (read with sarcasm) piano printed mirror. The lighting fixtures are absolutely retro but not in a cool way. And the piece de resistance… Our pink and maroon bathroom. It is something I can’t change so I’ll have to figure out a way to integrate the colors in a fun and stylish way. Any ideas???

I LOVE the promise & imagination of a new space. I love the open area. The emptiness gives you room to day dream about where you’ll put your current furniture and the new furniture you now plan on purchasing! Then you actually bring the boxes in and, for me, the day dream is ruined. I focus on the mess and where will I put everything… after all my daydream furniture is just in my mind and I usually haven’t even stalked my purchase (the act of staring at a desired purchase for hours at a time over a period of days maybe even months and years) online yet.

This time while I relished in the open emptiness I took photos and measured as many things as I could think of walls, windows, cabinets, ceiling to floor etc. It’s so much easier to do all this measuring before the junk is in. I’m not quite sure what I need the measurements for but I’m certain eventually I’ll be grateful that I have them on hand.

We also made phone calls and got all of our utilities and internet turned on. This may be extremely silly but this process became way more exciting than I thought it would be after I was asked about my relationship with Richard (who is listed on all the utilities). I could finally tell a perfect stranger “oh he’s my fiance”. I know they don’t care or know how this change is still very recent but I know and that made this mundane task that much more exciting and fun for me.

TITLE NOTE: If you’re not a Jefferson’s fan then you won’t get the reference I’m going for but we’re moving to the Riverside area of Tulsa so I just keep singing “We’re movin’ on up to Riverside! We finally got a piece of the PIIIIIIEEEE-AYE-AYE-IIIIIIIIIIIIIEEE!!!”