Monday, July 30, 2012

Loretta & Zach's Wedding

 Matt had the privilege of being a groomsman in his good friend Zach's wedding on Saturday. The two of them shared a room in college, inevitably resulting in a brotherhood. Zach was also a part of our wedding and blessed us greatly with his support and excitement for our relationship, so we have been looking forward to helping them celebrate their marriage for a while.

I came into Matt's group of friends pretty late in the game and missed the development of their friendships. Most of them live in different cities and are in different seasons of life, but when they all got together it was like nothing had changed. I felt like a fly on the wall of their apartment sitting with them at the reception. I mean, just look at how happy Matt is! 

A huge plate of Famous Dave's catering and cold beer didn't slow me down on the dance floor. I grabbed my date by the hand (Bethany was a class act date, by the way. I highly recommend her to anyone whose significant other is in the wedding) and didn't leave the dance floor until the bride & groom left. I was able to snag Matt off the sidelines for a romantic slow dance and convince him to join in for the last song, but other than that he unleashed me for the night to get dancing out of my system and enjoy a few conversations with the guys. (As he always rediscovers, dancing is never out of my system...)

Unfortunately, I was too busy tearing it up out there to snap a picture of the DJ! Our good friend, Nick Howell, had the mic for the night. I felt like we were all back on staff at camp together, initiating dance offs and competitions. It was a really fun night and a beautiful wedding. 

Congratulations Zach & Loretta!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Berry Pickin'

One of my favorite treats is raspberry jam. I love using a spoonful to top off a bowl of vanilla ice cream, slathering a warm scone or sweetening up yogurt. My wonderful mom always stocked our fridge with homemade jam growing up, so I've had a hard time switching to store bought flavor (and prices). As I've mentioned before, berry picking is one of my favorite summer pastimes and I wanted to make sure I made jam this summer. So yesterday afternoon I went over to Bean's house and with matching hats atop our heads, we headed out to Underwood Farms.

The smell of warming fruit increased and the kitchen was filled with laughter, The Lumineers and red, sugary smears. I love having a friend like Bean in my life, with similar interests and a similar heart. (I swear that girl is an Oregonian deep down!)

I couldn't resist taste-testing the jam that evening, so I baked a raspberry jam crumble pie and gave myself a stomachache indulging in my favorite fruit preserve.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bethany is back!

Our beloved Bethany is back! She has been out of town most of the summer, working at a summer camp in Iowa and visiting family. She got in on Wednesday and we all reunited over a dinner at our friends Dan & Bean's house. She's staying with us for the next week until she leaves on her next adventure. Here are a few photos from the weekend borrowed from my phone:

While Bethany and I were running errands on Friday, we stopped by our neighbor's house from our old neighborhood. We found them relaxing outside in their beautiful yard, sipping wine and snacking on Dutch candies brought from out of town guests. Just when we thought spending time with them couldn't get any more delightful, they introduced us to their newest member of the family, Pipo.


We strolled out of there hours later, carrying bags of fresh produce from their garden and millions of pictures on our phones of their barnyard animals. Oh, how I miss the daily delight of living next to them!

Monday, July 16, 2012

We're moving! Again.

If it seems like I was just writing about how we're "finally getting settled into our new place" it's because we were. We've only lived in our place about 5 months and we're already busting out of here. When we first moved in to our little duplex right in midtown, we knew this place was temporary. We kept our eye on Craigslist and made the most of our little love shack. Whenever I grumbled about the train that woke us up in the middle of the night by shaking our bed (resulting in a couple hours of tossing and turning and some unfortunate moves on Words with Friends) or not having a dishwasher, Matt would always roll his eyes and say "Those are such first world problems, we're fine" (I can hear my sister laughing at me all the way from Kenya). And he's right. We are beyond blessed to call this place with a roof, food and a warm bed our home.

But then this little gem popped up on Craigslist with words like "fireplace" and "vegetable garden" or my personal favorites, "porch" and "pantry". We checked it out and were completely smitten with its 1936 charm and birch trees sprinkled throughout the yard. The woman who owns the place has done an incredible job restoring it and is graciously renting it to us for what seems like a steal when I calculate how much money I'm going to save making fresh orange juice from the trees in the backyard.

As we glanced over the rental agreement, I kept telling myself not to be swept away by the aesthetics of the place, but to think about it practically. We want something that allows us the space and amenities to open up our home to our family and friends, and this place fits the bill perfectly.

And just so happens to have a dishwasher.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


 As much as I love quiet nights in with just Matt & me, we try to split up at least once in a week. He needs a relaxed night at home to himself and I have no idea how to give that to him. (Seriously, what do you introverts need "alone time" for? What are you doing? Why can't I come?!) So last Saturday, a few of us ladies piled into the car and drove the beautiful 25 miles out to Santa Barbara. If you're wondering to yourself "I thought you lived two minutes from the beach? Why are you going all the way out there?" then you probably haven't been to Santa Barbara. It's the best. 

So, Matt got the day to himself (a dream come true for him & my worst nightmare) and I got to laugh, play and explore with my friends. Highlight: eating a huge salad, vegetarian chili & a hearty serving of cornbread for lunch. A few things that I have to enjoy away from my meat-eating, gluten-free & vegetable-intolerant husband. 

By the time I got home, I was ready for a quiet night in with my introverted husband. I don't think we'll ever fully understand each other's methods of recharging, but hopefully we'll always be really good at prioritizing them.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Creme Brulee

If you can tear your eyes away from our messy kitchen, you will see Matt's Friday night masterpiece: a small, creamy, rich and delicious dish of creme brulee. After peeling away vanilla beans and tossing them in a jar of sugar for a week (hello, new favorite way to sweeten coffee), it was ready to be carefully whisked and folded with cream before being flambeed by my miniature craft torch to create a golden sugar crunch. It was the perfect sweet treat for our date night in. 

What can I say? He knows the key to my heart.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Holiday in the Sun

These are a few highlights from yesterday's holiday. Watching a girl stand on a cooler and DJ music for her group of friends crowded around the edge of the beach, slow-cooked brisket tacos smothered in a rub of coffee, cinnamon and red wine among other tantalizing flavors (that smiling man above the tacos is a genius) and lots of laughter and fun with my friend's kids exploring the beach. 

Although we'd rather trade in the beach scene for a backyard barbecue involving a swinging hammock, it was a wonderful midweek treat to have Matt off work for the day! 

Monday, July 2, 2012


Coming home to this face made me almost forget all the family and friends I left behind in Oregon. Almost. We had a laid back weekend, with a much-needed date night involving the new Wes Anderson movie and homemade White Russians. We stopped by the Ventura Meat Company on our way home and snagged some fresh bacon for our Sunday morning breakfast.

(I can't even believe "bacon" and "meat company" are in my vocabulary now. I was a veg-a-tar-ian, people. I normally dislike bacon, but I had to try a few pieces of this fresh & local flavor.) I still don't really get what all the hype is about...