Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Cheer

We had an incredibly cozy, lovely and joyful Christmas together. We missed our families a lot, but it was kinda fun to celebrate with just the two of us in the morning. We woke up early, flipped on our electric fire place and turned on Nat King Cole while delicious scones baked in the oven. (Fisher fair scones to be exact. The most moist and delicious scones you will ever have!)

After opening a few gifts and watching a couple Christmas movies, we headed over to Alan & Cynthia's house for card games, Grandma's macaroni & cheese and lots of laughter. Our only set back the whole day was keeping an eye on the weather app on Matt's phone after hearing about some tornado outbreaks near his family in Alabama. Thankfully, the storms passed and they were kept safe. Praise the Lord!

We're excited to see them all in a few short weeks when we head out there for some family time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rustic Wrapping

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is wrapping up gifts! I love a little sparkle as much as the next girl, but this year I went with a more rustic vibe. I went on a walk through one of my favorite parks and gathered up a few branches, pine cones and twigs and placed them on my brown paper packages tied up with string. 

My favorite one so far is not pictured below but involves a sprig of rosemary from our plant outside.

I'm still working on making some gift tags, but these gifts look right at home tucked under our little tree all the way from Oregon. 

Bring the outdoors in! (Spiders not welcome.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 Although we're only a few days into December, Christmas is in full swing around our house. After church on Sunday morning, Matt and I ventured out in the rain (California pretty much shuts down if it sprinkles, so this was pretty risky) to find a Christmas tree. We learned our lesson last year that we need to go straight to the places that sell trees from the northwest. It's pretty laughable to stroll around some parking lot and point to a wrapped up tree that just got pulled off a truck from Oregon, but hey, it's one of the small trade offs you make around here for 50 weeks of sunshine annually.

Don't be fooled by the patch of blue sky and Matt's squinting eyes in that picture, it was surprisingly wet and chilly all weekend! Our yard suddenly has grass now and I don't have to avoid eye contact with my neighbors when I water my garden (I've been getting intimidating looks from people who are rudely reminding me that we're in a drought this year; thank you rain!) We stayed indoors, drank hot chocolate and decorated our house. Matt "offered" to put the lights on the tree for me this year, and let's just say it looks incredible! 

Last night we drove into Hollywood with Dan & Bean to go see "The Surjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant On Ice", or essentially, Sufjan Steven's Christmas concert. It was incredible! He released a new box set of Christmas songs this year and it's wonderful. He played a combination of songs from that, songs from his old albums and classic Christmas songs. We were handed song books when we walked in and invited to sing along to any and all songs that he played. It was amazing. I can't explain how it felt to look around a venue, in the middle of Hollywood, filled with hundreds of people who are loudly singing about the hope of Jesus. Oh, and everyone was dressed a bit ridiculous, including us! (If you can't wear leather pants in Hollywood, where CAN you?)

Let me tell you, that man seriously loves Christmas. Probably more than anyone I've ever witnessed. Except maybe my mom. Sufjan demands a serious presence, it was indescribable. He would look up from his piano and boldly sing the lyrics about his faith to the audience. He even laid out the gospel pretty clearly after singing a hymn. If you haven't enjoyed any of his Christmas music yet, I encourage you to listen to it! Sufjan is a genius.

I will be crafting my life away to catch up on Christmas cards, gifts and some inventory for a holiday bizarre that's coming up in a couple weeks. Why can't December be six weeks long? I wouldn't mind!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Saki Jane

Today is the lovely Saki Jane's birthday. I met Saki through my brother when I was a freshman in high school. She quickly became my fashion icon and even quicker than that, my friend. I was completely enamored with her! (I mean really, how often do you get to be real life friends with your fashion icon?!) She introduced me to lovely things like Modest Mouse music, leather boots and blogging! (Maybe at some point I will reveal the URL of the blog I had in high school, but it's pretty embarrassing..) I remember sitting on her floor when I was 15 as she taught me how to sew buttons and I thought she was the most fabulous person in the world. I still think that! I simply adore this woman, she is the epitome of adorable and has impeccable personal style. She is polite, sweet, a loving friend and an amazing artist! She has sewed and created many incredibly pieces for me, but of course, my all-time favorite of her master pieces was my wedding dress. She took a few ideas that I had in mind of what I wanted, put together a few sketches, created a pattern for herself and sewed the most beautiful, silk dress I've ever seen, complete with cascading ruffles down the back. The picture below does not do it justice! She is an amazing seamstress. 

Here's a picture of Saki and me from high school. I had just walked in a fashion show she was being featured in when she was around 19! So talented!

The gorgeous dress I had the privilege of wearing! 

Happy birthday, Saki! I love everything about you and just adore everything you do. You are hilariously unique, thoughtful, fun and joyful. Thank you for coming into my family's life and never leaving! Whether you are showing your support at the auction, sewing something last minute for my mom or keeping up with my crazy brother, you feel like family to me. I love you! We all love you. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


We spent another wonderful Thanksgiving with our church family at the Clother's house. After sharing the good news of fried turkey with them last year, Matt was once again nominated to provide the bird for our feast. Although I had my camera strapped around me most of the evening, I didn't really end up taking pictures so the ones below are borrowed from my friend Louri:

Here's us parading one of the turkeys down to the 400 degree oil...(I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that I was a vegetarian at one point in my life. However, fried turkey is the most moist and flavorful thing I've ever tasted in my life! And only takes 40 minutes to cook; everyone should try it at least once!)

A very happy southern man.

Lots of hungry men gathered around the birds while Nathaniel and Matt slice and dice.

Getting caught sneaking more pie...

It was really easy to remember how blessed we are as we enjoyed a warm, delicious meal amongst friends who have truly become family to us. We definitely missed our blood families a lot though! The next day, we were both off work and spent it hibernating away from the Black Friday madness. We had a hilarious time trying to take our Christmas card picture by ourselves without a tripod (imagine stacked stools and books) and cooking up all our favorite Thanksgiving meals together to have leftovers for the next week. We made a big batch of spiked cider and invited a few friends over to watch Christmas movies and eat pumpkin pie (still trying to perfect the family recipe....).

Welcome, Christmas season!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy birthday, my lovely Brittney! 

There is so much to celebrate about you, it can hardly be contained in a day. You are kind, loving, generous, hilarious, patient, creative, smart and one of the best friends I have ever had. I can completely be myself around you and still be completely loved by you (which is no small task, people, I am a handful). You always pick up my calls and know exactly what type of pep talk I need in a crisis. You are the best wing-woman a girl could ask for and the classiest lady I know.

I love you very much and I'm so thankful for your life; thanks for letting me be a part of it!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Here are a few pictures I rediscovered on my computer this weekend that made me smile:

This was the first picture ever taken of "us". Matt's brother took it when we were visiting the set of The Office during my second visit down here. Those are our "Jim & Pam" faces.

This picture was taken by my sister the day she helped me move down here. We ate lunch at what is now one of our favorite local spots and couldn't stop smiling and staring at each other. 

This one was taken by our friend Dan a few days after we got engaged. 

Snuggling during a family camping trip in Oregon, just a few weeks before the wedding.

I love finding old pictures!

Friday, November 2, 2012


 Although I was a little bummed I wasn't scheduled to work on Wednesday (and make lattes in a costume), I did enjoy having the day to myself because I was way behind on Halloween decorations. I'm not a huge fan of orange, spiders or cobwebs, so in general I stay pretty low key until the day of. I watched reruns of Halloween episodes of Boy Meets World, cut out some paper bats to dangle from the patio and spray painted a pumpkin. (A full tutorial for that can be found on this blog.) Even though Halloween has come and gone, I'm going to use my pumpkin as a centerpiece for the rest of autumn! 

I got some of our favorite candy, lit some candles to light the steps on our porch, put on my mask and let the madness begin. We had a really fun night! A few friends came over to watch Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo with us. It's one of my favorite movies and Matt had never seen it! I'm way too much of a wimp to watch scary movies, especially at night, so this thriller was the perfect Halloween pick. It's not very often that I get to show Matt a new movie (that he actually likes), so it was really fun to sit back with our friends, drink hard cider and hear them all try to guess the outcome of the plot. 



I can't believe it's already November! Only a few weeks until I can shamelessly & exclusively listen to Sufjan's Christmas albums. And oh man, am I going to be taking advantage of it this year since he came out with a new one! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Salted Caramel Corn

I've had a few people ask me for this recipe recently, so I thought I'd share it. It's Matt's favorite treat and since I usually only make it in the fall, we've been having it a lot lately. This recipe was given to me by my good friend Jannet, baker of all things sweet and delicious. It is hands down the best caramel corn I've ever had and is severely addictive! Be prepared to inhale the entire bowl. In fact, it's probably best if you divide up servings so you don't find yourself protectively shielding your guests' hands from the bowl during a movie night at your house and then get talked to by your husband about sharing. Er, just a suggestion...
You will need:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 quarts popped popcorn
1 large brown grocery bag

While your popcorn is popping, combine the sugar, butter and corn syrup in a glass bowl for the microwave or a sauce pan on the stove top. (I usually don't have corn syrup on hand and often make it without it. It still comes out delicious, but doesn't thin out the caramel as well.)

Heat the sugar, butter and corn syrup until it boils for two minutes (around 4 minutes total in the microwave).
Stir in the vanilla and baking soda. 
Pour the mixture over the popcorn in a clean, brown grocery bag.
Fold the top down and shake it around.
Microwave the bag for a total of 3 minutes, shaking and turning over every 40 seconds.
Sprinkle sea salt over the popcorn and enjoy!

Although it seems weird to microwave the caramel corn, this step helps it spread evenly over all the popcorn. You can skip this step if you don't have a microwave, but it will be a bit chewy instead of crunchy.

This is the perfect snack to enjoy while waiting for trick or treaters! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Beloved.

It's barely 8 o'clock in the morning as I write this, and there's already dishes in the sink, wrapping paper on the floor and the faint scent of cinnamon from our pumpkin pancakes this morning. Today is Matt's 28th birthday and I can't help but reflect on the amazing man I get to celebrate. Here are just a few reasons why...

28 things I love about Matt:

1. That incredible smile. It makes me melt.
2. His love for food.
3. How sweet and wonderful he is to his family.
4. His incredible work ethic.
5. His alter ego that makes an appearance during football games.
6. His incredible knowledge of the Bible.
7. The way his southern accent comes out when he says "everybody".
8. His amazing cooking skills!
9. The way he winks at me when we're across the room from each other.
10. His fantastic book collection that I married into.
11. The way my name looks in his handwriting.
12. How much he loves dogs!
13. The way he says "yes m'am" to everyone when we're back south.
14. How he patiently re-watches the endings of movies with me when I (without fail) fall asleep during them. (Seriously, every time! He is so sweet.)
15. What a great and loyal friend he is.
16. His personal style and industrial taste.
17. How responsible and mindful he is! He does an amazing job of taking care of me and anticipating our needs.
18. What a well-rounded man he is, I swear he is good at everything he tries!
19. How good he is at planning spontaneous, thoughtful dates for us.
20. What a perfectionist he is! Things get done right around here.
21. How great he is with kids. I swear there is never a crying child if he's around! Baby whisperer. That will come in handy.
22. His great head of hair.
23. What an honest person he is.
24. His beautiful blue eyes. They give away his every emotion!
25. His die-hard loyalty to Alabama Football! (Roll tide)
26. How patient he is with all my craft and DIY ideas, especially the ones I leave half-finished around the house.
27. The amazing shape of his mouth! (Sorry darling, I couldn't help myself!)
28. How completely unfazed he is by all my ridiculous tendencies. He takes everything I throw at him in stride!

I love you Matt! I'm so glad I get to be a part of your life everyday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY feather mask

So far, Matt and I don't have any big Halloween plans. But, since we just moved into a neighborhood full of families with little kids, I'm assuming we're going to have some trick or treaters this year! I needed something I could throw on really quickly every time the doorbell rang. (Because seriously, how much more fun is it to receive candy from people who are dressed up? Remember?)

We'll probably be marathoning "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and feasting on caramel corn, so I figured a mask would be the easiest thing. I picked up a simple, white mask and a bag of feathers all for under $5 at Michael's.

 I replaced the elastic strap with some soft, black ribbon. Next, I cut off the tips of a handful of feathers and starting at the tip of the mask, I hot glued them in layers.

 After doing both of the points near the eyes, I snipped up small black feathers and hot glued them in layers all over, trying to keep the feathers laying in the same direction. It looked like this before I trimmed it:

Using very small, sharp scissors, I shaped the mask by trimming away all the fluff from around the edges.

I'm probably going to wear this with a black, cotton dress and some red lipstick. And if anyone asks, I'll tell them I'm a bird for Halloween!
(Although this is a very simple and affordable alternative to the expensive department store costumes, it comes with a big price: chasing after small pieces of feather all over your house! Snip the feathers carefully.)