Wednesday, August 29, 2012


 Finally, my favorite part of moving has arrived: decorating. Now that (mostly) everything has been unpacked and put away, I've been styling our house and getting to some DIY projects that were put on hold while we were living in our smaller place. I bought this miniature hutch at a rummage sale fundraiser for Daisy Merrick a while back and finally got my hands on it this week.

  It ended up costing me less than ten dollars to do! I bought sample sized paint & primer at Home Depot ($6) and a weaved place mat from IKEA ($3). At some point, I'd like to line the inside shelves with
 fabric, but for now this little baby is tucked in our entry way, reminding us of Daisy's incredible story.

One of the downsides of renting a house is not being able to paint the walls, so I hung a few embroidery hoops on one of the empty walls. (Not pictured: the large embroidery hoop with linen in it and a very crooked stitching of "home sweet home"...)

I must say, Matt is quite gracious about living in such a girly house. Usually our styles mix together really well in a modern-yet-rustic sort of way. I make an effort to reflect masculinity in my decorating with wire baskets and earth tones, but then the next thing you know, we have paper pom pom clusters hanging over his record player. Poor guy.

We're heading out this weekend to celebrate our one-year anniversary! We've rented a little cabin in the woods near Yosemite National Park. Neither of us have been there before so we're really looking forward to it. This week it's been fun to think back on what I was doing a year ago. Right about now I was being buried half alive in lace, burlap and hot glue. I can't believe it's already been a year!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

San Diego

My beautiful cousin Jillian got married this weekend! After work on Friday, Matt and I were about to pile into the car to drive the 4-ish hours down to San Diego to join my family. We were going to grab dinner in LA and wait for traffic to die down a little bit until Matt had an ingenious idea: take the train. So we ordered a couple eTickets, headed down to the station, boarded and enjoyed mediocre wine and snacks as the sun went down.  I wasn't sure what to expect since I had never traveled by train before. At first I imagined us chasing after it, holding onto our hats and tossing our suitcases inside the door before the conductor pulled us up by our hands. That never happened, but I have to say, it's going to be disappointing driving places now. As much as I love a good road trip, taking the train was so much better than switching off driving in Friday night traffic. 

The wedding was absolutely beautiful and I am so excited for Jill! She looked so beautiful and happy. I wish I had the guts to lug around my camera that night; the pictures on my phone just don't do anything justice.

After the reception, my family headed out to fulfill one of my dire needs on the trip: to go to Miguel's and eat their delicious cheese sauce. My sister lived in San Diego all through college and she introduced me to this San Diego-only delicacy years ago on one of my visits and I couldn't leave without having it again. In fact, the next day as we were strolling around Old Town, we stopped in and got a bag of chips & dip for the train ride. (Enjoying cheese is a really big part of my life.)


We brought my brother back with us and he's been visiting for a few days! I'll be sad to see him go back to Portland tomorrow, he's one of my favorite people to have around. You never know what to expect.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


 Oh my goodness, these delicious treats hardly made it on the platter! I don't normally do recipe posts, but this dairy & gluten-free dessert is too finger-lickin' good to keep from you guys. I threw these together for a dinner party with friends that have some dietary restrictions (literally "threw", I was frantic. I think that's how my best work is accomplished...) and was pleasantly surprised when they came out moist, chewy and delicious. I couldn't stop sampling them!

1.5 cups of your favorite baking mix (I used Pamela's GF Baking & Pancake Mix and highly recommend it)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1.5 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil

-Stir the coconut oil, brown sugar & white sugar until creamy.
-Mix together the rest of the ingredients and then fold in the chocolate chips. 
-Press mixture into a glass baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


 One of the many things we love about our house is the garden that we've inherited. Both the back and front yard are filled with mature fruit trees, plants and herb gardens. The back yard has a few young tomato plants that I'm determined to keep alive.

Here's our little rosemary plant that's been spicing up our dinner the last couple nights. I didn't take pictures of our wilting basil plant, because I'm ashamed of how much I've sabotaged it within the week that we've been here.

Bean came over yesterday to see our new place. She has a thriving vegetable garden of her own so she was able to give me some tips and helped me tie up the branches to keep them off the ground. I'm excited to get my hands dirty out there and see if I can actually keep something alive.

After mixing coffee grounds and egg shells in the soil with a spoon this morning, I headed out to the flea market to see if I could find some old gardening tools. I went later in the day and was able to snag these items for a great price, including the rocking chair! What's the use of having a porch and garden to look out on if you don't have a rocking chair to sit in?

I can't wait to repaint that chair and maybe sew a little seat pillow for it. I'm hoping to find a few more gardening tools with wooden handles and paint them white. Not a very practical color for something used in the garden, but when has practicality slowed me down?

My mom has always had a beautiful, flourishing garden, but apparently green thumbs aren't hereditary. As those poor plants are at my mercy, I could use all the advice I can get!

Friday, August 10, 2012


On Monday morning, I had the extreme pleasure of joining the Hoeffner family at Disneyland! As you can tell by the crowd in that picture, we weren't the only ones who had the idea for a midweek adventure to the Magic Kingdom. We hit all the best rides in a few hours and ended our day sipping mojitos in the shade at the one and only bar in Disneyland.

 I loved waltzing around all day with my favorite little man, Josiah. Thanks again for letting me crash your party, guys!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kees & Erin

Matt and I took a break from moving on Saturday to drive up to San Jose for a friend's wedding. We were pretty tired from moving all our stuff the night before (I swear, Matt is one of the hardest workers I know. He got off work on Friday night and showed up to the house in a Uhaul!), but not too tired to join in on the celebration of Kees & Erin's marriage!


Matt met Kees through our good friends Dan & Bean when they were groomsmen in Dan's wedding a couple years ago. It was so fun to spend some time with them at the wedding. Bean kept me company on the dance floor while our husbands caught up over some refreshments, including a unique beer that a friend brewed for the bride & groom! 

On our way home the next day, we stopped in San Luis Obispo (or SLO, to all the locals) to have lunch with Matt's good friend Trevor. A few of our friends went to college in SLO and always rave about how great it is there, so we couldn't help but wander the streets a little before heading home. Sure enough, it was just as lovely as everyone says it is. I found an old, wooden, white breakfast tray in a furniture boutique downtown. Images of stacked magazines and a plate full of muffins filled my head as I carried it to the car. It will always remind me of my first trip to SLO!

We took the back way the rest of the way home and enjoyed a traffic-free trip with a gorgeous view.

I must admit that I am loving wedding season this year!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Kat!

Today is my beloved Kat's birthday! It is a joy to have her in my life. I've collected quite a number of pictures with this lady over the last five years, but here are a few of my favorites. They're all from our second summer at camp together and as you can tell, we were inseparable. Well, as inseparable as you can be when you're leading a cabin of ten girls around.


 These pictures absolutely kill me. One of the many things I love and admire about Kat is her ability to completely give herself over to whatever she's doing. Whether it's a conversation, a Mexican dinner or the role of a camp counselor, she puts in her whole heart. Doesn't she look like so much fun? 

Now we are both married and live a state away, but that does not slow our friendship down at all. If anything, it sustains it! I am always blessed by Kat's thoughtfulness and love through the postal service. Just the other day I came home to find a handwritten letter and a picture of our mud-covered faces from camp.

I love you Kat! If it's not obvious by the immense joy on my face in every picture, I love, enjoy and cherish your life and our friendship. Happy birthday! I wish I was there to help you celebrate your birthday over a warm, freshly baked pazookie.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Raspberry Jam Crumble

I apologize for teasing you all with pictures of that delicious thing without the recipe! It's seriously a treat and can be easily altered for food allergies. Just omit nuts or replace with gluten-free flour.

2 1/4 cups flour (I used Red Mills All-purpose GF flour)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans (or grind in food processor)
1 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 of your favorite jam

-Combine all the ingredients together, except the jam, in a large bowl.
-Beat at a low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
-Measure out two cups of the mixture and set them aside.
-Press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased 8 inch baking pan.
-Spread the jam evenly over the top.

-Take the two cups of crumb mixture that you set aside and crumble it on top of the jam.
-In a 350 degree oven, bake for 40 minutes or until lightly browned.

Then, either shamelessly eat it out of the pan while it's still warm, or enjoy it in a socially acceptable manner by cutting it into bars once it has completely cooled.


This is a tour of our new house that I wish I could take my mom on, but a virtual version will have to do.

As you walk in, the living room is to your right.

I took this standing near the fireplace.

Standing from the kitchen peering into the pantry/craft storage.

A peak into the back room.

Taken from the back room. 

We couldn't resist having an empty house sleep over to celebrate getting the keys. Our air mattress kept us awake all night (sorry Kat & Luke, we made you guys sleep on that during your visit!), but it was still fun to wake up in the morning to the place we'll now call home, filled with morning light, and enjoy coffee on the front porch. 

My photography and touring skills leave something to be desired, so I guess you guys will just have to come visit us and see the rest. I didn't take any pictures of the garden or backyard or my favorite part, the kitchen. (I keep finding myself greeting the dishwasher whenever I walk through...)

I better get back to googling "composting" and "organic gardening", but if anyone asks, I'm packing.