Saturday, December 1, 2012


Planning for a future by yourself is difficult.
Planning for a future with your person is daunting.
Planning for a future with any other players is downright impossible. 

The past months of learning to live with another person, starting a new career, moving to a new state and trying to decide where I'm headed from here has been exciting and terrifying. Mostly terrifying at times. 

One of my "persons" encouraged me to read a book discussing the process of learning to live with uncertainty. The book is written by a Buddhist nun. If there is one person I am certain I could never meet up with on the uncertainty train, it's a nun. 

I am the antithesis of a nun. When I think of a nun, I think of someone selfless, content, calm and devoted to study as well as prayer. I can hardly hold still long enough to make a decision about what I'll eat next. Prayer is me talking to the big-greater-being on my way to work and in bed most mornings. And the conversation that happens in my bed could be argued to be nothing more than procrastination. Waking up and getting moving has become exponentially more difficult as a result of daylight savings. 

What I'm trying to say is this: I am certain that I am entirely uncomfortable with the idea of uncertainty. But Anne tells me that "certainty is missing the point entirely."

Anne Lamott is like a nun. She's like a nun with dreads. A nun who prays with cuss words. Maybe I could meet up with that kind of nun.

I think I need to buy her most recent book. I could three essential prayers, Help, Thanks and Wow. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Real people get married too.

I thought I really understood weddings. I thought, considering my parents are ministers, that I had seen it all. I thought I had heard every mini-sermon, sang every hymn and read every scripture. But despite my many and varied experiences, I wasn't ready for what this wedding would be.

You know those people that seem to just orbit each other in a way that could never be interrupted? That's Chelsie and Jerrett. They revolve around the same sun. They know who each other are and they celebrate their differences. They bicker and they tease each other. They're a real couple.

I think the bride even admitted to calling her soon-to-be-groom a not very nice name the night of their rehearsal. In true Chelsie and Jerrett fashion I saw her shuffle over to apologize before we practiced their impending wedding. I saw her redistribute her weight and awkwardly stare at the ground while she considered how to try and take back calling her fiance a dick (when he's more like a saint).

Because real people that are really in love fight. And they apologize. And they get married.

It was a perfect wedding. It was a perfect day. It was perfect because no body involved was perfect - and they knew it.

Below is proof of everything stated above. You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday - I almost didn't make it...

hehe, happy Friday! :-)

I made it.

Not only did I make it to another Friday - but I made it through my first spin class!

Last night I did a spin class for the first time, and let me tell you: I've run 12 miles and felt more confident that my heart would keep beating.

Who are these people who teach spin? My instructor weighed maybe a buck-oh-five tops and never lost her breath during those 45 minutes of insanity. I would think the strain on her boney little butt would at least lead to a gasp every now and then.

Up - down - up - lean over the bike - down again.

I have plenty of cushion and that was a bit much for MY rear end.

The house music was a nice touch. It's what I imagine a club in Eastern Europe would be like. A club full of stationary bikes. With a waif-like-hummingbird shouting commands at you.

I'll be going back next week. There's no way I'm not losing some poundage taking that class.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Everyone wants that one picture with their significant other that feels like it could be in a magazine. Wide spread reports from friends and family tell me that this one may be mine. Thank you Ms. Holly Lambert (formerly Bagzis) for snapping this without our knowledge.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Pinned Image

This week has been a come-to-Jesus kind of week for me.

Since moving to Jacksonville, I feel like a lot of my life has been somewhat rumpled and without focus. After an illuminating doctor's appointment, encouragement from a new friend, the end of election season and long awaited travel approval for my job... I feel like I have no excuse for blundering through my new life each week.

So... some goals. And please, encouragement is much appreciated through comments.

1. Stop eating junk. This should be easy, but with a free meal plan and campus food it is painfully easy to skip the salad and order bbq sliders.
2. Drink more water. Soda doesn't count. Wine doesn't count.
3. Utilize the free myfitnesspal app you downloaded. So far so good with this one. It is really great. I log my food intake and exercise. It's a great way to feel responsible for what I choose to eat. My username is acbranaman if anyone else wants to join and friend me!
4. Find a way to work my body every day. Even if it's just a dog walk - do it! No more couch potato nonsense after work.
5. Set daily task goals at work, to avoid getting discouraged or distracted. I have a white board - time to use it.

These all seem manageable and I'll keep you updated on progress.

Anyone else working on getting healthy as we enter holiday season?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Puppy Love

This weekend was definitely a dog-park weekend. I think Bella met her soul mate.

I'm working on their wedding date and venue. I'll keep you posted. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rockstar Brother

My little brother has always been the type of kid that I knew was capable of doing amazing things. When he commits to something he really gives it his all.

He moved out to Seattle to try his hand at total independence, and I could not be more impressed by what he is doing for himself and for the quality of his dailiy life.

Recently, he posted this commitment on facebook, encouraging his friends and family to keep him accountable.

I told him this would make an amazing blog. If you agree, and would be interested in joining him in one or more of these monthly commitments... let me know!

A 12 Month Plan by Matt Branaman

And ladies... he's single.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in, I'd love to share how each month is going with people. My hope is that this will help to make my life feel more fulfilled and enjoyable. So here's the plan. (I apolog...
ize in advance for the alliteration but as lame as it was it was fun coming up with stupid month titles lol)

12 Months to Enhance my Life:

Nutritious November: Heavy emphasis on exceeding recommended intake of all vitamins and minerals via juicing and enhanced diet.

Disconnected December: Minimum screen intake needed to stay functional for work. Focus heavily on spending as much time outside as possible and remaining active.

Jamming January: Take full advantage of my resources of having a roommate who is very experienced and loves to dance. Learn to dance and spend at least an hour each day practicing and go out dancing at least once a week.

Flip through February: I don't read nearly enough... If at all outside of the internet. For the month of February I'm going to spend multiple hours a day reading and taking full advantage of the Seattle Library located right outside my door.

Musical March: Spend a month learning an instrument. I've always wanted to learn piano and was blessed with the hands to do so. Spend the month focusing on practicing piano and learning to play. Undecided on whether I will go for a self taught approach or lessons.

Athletic April: Focus of the month, EXERCISE!! Spend as much time as possible working out at the gym, biking in my free time, and honing my body in my free time.

Martial arts May: Known by few I am actually a yellow belt in Karate! I was once a 3rd grader with fists of fury believe it or not. After a 14 year hiatus I think its time to get back on the saddle and take lessons learning to discipline my body further.

Jogging June: I have always hated running, I was asthmatic as a kid and I never got the bad taste out of my mouth from it. For the Month of June I'm going to try and run as many miles as I can in my free time.

Jittery July: Though I'm not as addicted as most I still use caffeine to pick myself up in the morning or energy drinks when I'm feeling worn down. For the month of July I'm going to go without all the stimulants I've grown accustomed to.

Aging august: I grew up in the a Narthex so I'm very used to talking to an older crowd. There are tons of people who spend their days bored and lonely in nursing homes. For the month of august I want to spend my days off visiting complete strangers and trying to soak up some of the wisdom they've acquired over the years.

Studious September: For the month of September I'm going to pick something to study and try and learn as much as I can about it. Reading and studying not for a grade but for the purpose of enriching my understanding of a subject.

Outreach October: For the month of October I want to focus on helping others. Find as many places as I can to volunteer helping those in need.

While each month has a definite focus my hope is that after spending a month doing something it will become a habit and each of these changes will become apart of my weekly/daily routine.

- Matt

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Candy for kiddos


Halloween has never really been my kind of holiday.

I firmly believe there are costume people, and there are "no, thank you, please, I don't want to..." people. I fall solidly into the second category. I do however, love to see the costumes that kids pick out for themselves on halloween.

Last night, we went over to a friends for chili, beer and handing out candy. They live in one of the more popular trick-or-treat neighborhoods, so we got a good look at the variety of costumes this year.

Princesses were an ever-popular choice, as was batman, spider man and cowgirls.

My favorite though, was definitely the kid who showed up in a wrestling unitard, cape, and tighty whities. The tighty whities were on the outside of course.

Me: "I'm curious about your costume..."

Kid: "Yah... me too."

I started cracking up and gave him his well-earned hand-full of candy.

Kids are sassy and it makes me laugh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Knitted Rooms

Pinned Image

Knit me a nap please. I want to crawl into a knitted room. Just like this one. It's so stinkin' chilly outside. I thought I moved to Florida? And apparently Florida colds don't let you go just because of a restful weekend and some dayquil.

New states are hard.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Clock Clock White

Everyone: "When are you guys doing this whole getting wedding thing?"

Luke: "2030 is looking like a really good year."

This was one of my favorite repeated conversations at the wedding in Boston last weekend.

Timing is everything. And Luke jokes around a lot, but I have to agree with his approach. We have so much else that we are working on right now. How I ended up here is beyond me. But where I'm going is going to be here before I blink.

Balancing budding careers, finances, friendship, family and health is a full-time commitment.

My recent obsession with purchasing a historic home in Jacksonville has helped me consider the timing of each and every dream on the list. Some are going to have to come later rather than sooner.

2030 here we come.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This to That

From here on out, I will have to post about my dream-rennovation without real plans to purchase the reno-home anytime soon.

After spending a weekend in Boston (post on the Harvard wedding to come), Luke and I have definitely discussed the timing of purchasing a fixer upper. With students loans to pay off and other foreseeable costs in mind, our fixer upper can wait.

That being said... a girl can dream can't she?

Imagine if this (my would-be-reno-house) went to ---->  that....

*sigh...* so many ideas, so little time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Further Investigation

"Well, if I wasn't already suspicious you were seriously considering buying a house, I am now CERTAIN you are considering it."

That's what my significant other had to say when I told him I went and scoped out the house I showed him online this weekend.

What I found, during my investigation, is that the house would need an incredible amount of love and care. The front is beautiful, the lot has a wonderful feel to it, and there are homes right up and down the street that have already been restored and remodeled.

My immediate concerns:

1. It is a raised foundation. I know very little about them, and it frightens me a bit that there is such an easy-access home for critters under the house.
2. The side of the house facing the open lot next door, needs a complete overhaul. There is a random door that leads nowhere and aesthetically it is completely no bueno.
3. It is very obvious the roof is in disrepair and all the windows need to be replaced. The attic window is flat out missing.

My immediate loves:
1. The front porch is perfect and there are brick planters built out to the sidewalk entrance. Even the sidewalk tiles are octagonal and speak to a different time. I love them.
2. The back yard area has an unreal amount of potential to be an incredible outdoor space.
3. The bones of the house seem to be begging for love and care.

I'm in a pickle.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Investment Property?

I go to this particular coffee shop in this run-down but slowly up-and-coming historic neighborhood right off downtown Jacksonville.

Whenever I make the strange and harried drive back to this caffeine-provider, I find myself staring at the houses just waiting to be honed into quirky, perfect works of art.

I made the enormous mistake of doing a quick, seemingly harmless search for homes in "THE" neighborhood.

Anddd I found this house... it has my hardwood floors, my doorways, my molding, my back porch, TWO fireplaces and... wait for it... my claw foot tub. Take a look.

316 5th Street, Jacksonville FL

316 5th Street, Jacksonville FL

316 5th Street, Jacksonville FL

316 5th Street, Jacksonville FL

It's understandable if the pictures above don't excite you... but they send me over the edge.

This house is $27,900. It would be a $125 a month mortgage. I live in a house that doesn't have rent or utilities. Does anyone else out there understand why I can't stop thinking about buying that house and refinishing that tub while interest rates are bottom of the barrel low?

Someone... please. Tell me to stop obsessing over this house. Tell me this is not what they mean by investment property.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Around the house...

The ongoing saga of getting-the-house-painted continues.

The house that we live in is owned by the University where Luke works which comes with some wonderful perks. We are not responsible for anything. That's the biggest one.

They even paint the whole house for you... when they feel like it.

We are two months in and no paint. However - my wonderful man assures me it is in process.

Once the walls are painted and the chartreuse guest room and sunflower yellow kitchen/dining room are no more, we can attend to some long anticipated projects.

#1 prepping the guest room for  beloved guests. A recycled window and shutters are going up on the wall opposite the bed, and an arrangement of funky vintage prints to the side. The window is similar to the one below.

Old Window frame ~

#2 Getting our giant world map up on the wall in our bedroom and hanging our pallet art. What we are building is something we found in West Elm, somewhat similar to the pallet shelving pictured below.

Pallet as wall display shelves. Pull out selected slats, stain and hang.  Good for a rustic cabin interior or wabi sabi exterior patio.  I could see this on my fence filled with small flower pots or succulents.

Updates as our tortoise-like house progress continues.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

And we're back...

I feel like the title of this post is influenced by my obsession with the new HBO show Newsroom.

If you haven't seen it, steal the closest persons HBO-Go password and watch the first season.

Smart, funny and overall driven by lovable characters.

In other news...

The past 2 + months have been somewhat indescribable. I have moved in with my man, settled in Jacksonville, started a new job, gone to South America, vacationed in Savannah and tried to make friends.

Below - are some instagram highlights.

 Bella bug on our roadtrip from Fort Worth to Jacksonville. 

The new house in Jacksonville, yet to be painted inside... slowly but surely I will manage to make this place home.

Beach times with the man. Couldn't ask for a more wonderful place to relax just 10 minutes from home.

Street art in Montevideo, Uruguay. One stop of three on my first international work-trip. Argentina and Paraguay were also visit sites.

The Savannah weekend in heaven - at our new favorite get-away "Richard's Carriage house". Thanks

Me trying to re-learn to ride a bike in Savannah. Yes, you really can forget how... luckily I remembered before we hit the busy streets.

And that's a decent summary of my transition to life in Jacksonville, FL. There are more adventures to come, and the international travel component of this new gig should make for fun blog posts.

Thanks for reading. I'm Alexis Branaman, stay classy blog-city.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New home

Sooooo.... this is our new house in Florida. Yes, OUR. Moving in with my dreamy significant other.

The man is already there and getting the walls repainted in our colors and getting the backyard landscaped as best he can. Could I be more excited? Not likely.

New life - here I come!

First, off to run a half marathon in Alaska.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Last night my significant other and I took domestic to a new level.

We decided to pinterest for inspiration for his new house. 

Here are some of our agreed upon favorites:

game room

living room

eclectic bedroom

Love the eclectic mix of furniture and the lighting. Ideal for an office

Realization: Eclectic and vintage is required for our agreed upon style. 

How lovely.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dog Park Entertainment

My roommate and I went to the dogpark yesterday and found that being the voices for each dog at the park was endless entertainment. 

Imagining a dog's voice, and what they would say to humans and other dogs, makes an hour fly by. 

Our favorites yesterday:

dog portraits 02 Beautiful dog portraits

The Bull Dog: "Stop calling me pig dog. I'm beautiful." Voice of a Russian Gangster.

dog portraits 06 Beautiful dog portraits

Non-descript bird dog: "Where'd you put the ball? I'll get it. I love it. I love you. Man I'm thirsty."
Voice of an over-caffeinated LA housewife.

dog portraits 24 Beautiful dog portraits

Boxer: "I playyyyyy I play I play I play!!! Bird! Squirrel! Dog! Human!" Voice of a 5 year old.

dog portraits 01 Beautiful dog portraits

Hounddog: "Arrooooooooooooooooooooo - do you hear me? Arrr arr arroooooooooooo!" Voice of Goofy. 

dog portraits 13 Beautiful dog portraits

Boston Terrier: "You are bigger than me. But you kill my father, prepare to die." Voice of Inigo Montoya. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vacation Highlights

Vacation Highlight Reel: Casa Morada in Islamorada, FL

Spending a week of nothing but relaxation with "your person" is a tough thing to come home from. I'm currently experiencing vacation withdrawals. 

Sea Kayaking out to the middle of nowhere and running into a school of dolphins ain't half bad.

Seeing a dear friend for the first time since living together in Africa three years ago... one of the highlights. Snorkeling was fun too.

Staying in a suite that made me feel like I should double-check that I had the right room was a trip. I said to my partner in crime "Are they really letting us stay here?"

Since I was a little girl I have had two favorite animals. Sloths and manatees. I like things that move so slow they grow moss/algae. Within one hour of our arrival at Casa Morada, a manatee swam into the cove. I got to pet the beautiful sea cow and get in the water with it. I was beside myself with joy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I may be crazy...

I may be crazy, but all the best people are.

Can I get an amen? Tuesday makes me crazy. Is it still Monday? Is it Wednesday yet?

I need a nap.

Today I have google earthed my boyfriend's new place of employment (in Florida) and become frustrated when I couldn't get close enough to see the house he will be living in. I've managed a very sketchy study aid for my exam, and I made a lunch out of sundried tomatoes, peanut butter, noodles, artichoke hearts and crackers. (not in that order).

Sounds like a Tuesday right?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Is life good?

Is life good?

Is life good today? Yes. Good.

Will life be good every day? No. Change Something.

Ok. Good huddle. Go team.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012



Definition of THANKFUL

: conscious of benefit received <for what we are about to receive make us truly thankful>
: expressive of thanks <thankful service>
: well pleased : glad <was thankful that it didn't rain>

The third definition is my favorite. I am well pleased. I am glad. 
I am thankful for so many things in my life this week. I found myself walking across campus through the wind yesterday, thinking about how often I forget the lengthy list of things that are going well, especially when things don't feel like they're going at all.
Despite frustrations, disappointments and unwanted surprises, I am so thankful for the life I lead. I have friends, family, pets and a significant other who loves me. I have a career that challenges me and a home that makes me feel rested and safe.
I have every reason to be thankful.