Weekend Edition (a few days late)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's officially "midterms week" so most of my time as of late has been devoted to studying, cleaning in order to procrastinate studying, and sleeping.  Blogging and eating have taken a bit of a backseat, hence the lateness on this update!  We had a lovely weekend that included 2 date nights (!!) and visits with friends.  It was nice to pull my nose out of my textbook and spend some time being social.

We went out to one of our favorite new spots in Echo Park called Sunset Beer Co.  I took a tip from Caitlin's post and experimented with layering.   I took my first mirror selfie since the days of myspace.  It's the little things, ya know?  

I got to visit my best friend and her daughter.  I admit I'm biased, but I think she may just be the cutest baby in the whole wide world.  I can't get over those cheeks.

It's so neat getting to see someone that you've known for so long in their new roles.  Katie is such a fantastic mother and I love seeing Aryn's face light up when she sees her!

Saturday night we went to see Zac Brown Band at the Hollywood Bowl.  I never thought I'd enjoy a country concert so much but they are incredible performers and we had so much fun dancing and singing along and trying not to get a contact high from the dudes in front of us.

Sunday we napped & studied.

Then something glorious happened- WE CAUGHT THE RAT! Glory Hallelujah!! Tyler spent all day yesterday pulling apart our oven and scrubbing down the insides.... what a guy.  I sure did luck out with this one.

Now I just need to get through 2 midterms and 1 project and we're off to Cambria for a much-deserved vacation.
Thanks for reading!

6 Rules For Soon-To-Be-Engaged Girls

Friday, October 25, 2013

 I have many girlfriends who are in serious relationships and are pining for that perfect moment when that perfect question gets asked.  I know how it feels- I was there not too long ago.  I saw a blog post recently titled "6 Things Guys Must Do When They Propose To A Girl" and it got me thinking about what women should be doing pre-proposal; so here's my list of  6 Things Every Girl Must Do Before Getting Proposed To.  These are things I wish someone had told me when I was waiting for "the Question."

Image via

1. Get off Pinterest- Seriously.  It's easy to spend hours and hours looking at the best photographers and the most exotic locations and the cutest crying grooms-to-be.  After awhile you start to view those things as the standard.  The truth is that the things that make it on pinterest are the best-of-the-best; they are not the norm.  Don't compare your future proposal to the things that have become viral on the internet.  Which brings me to my next point...

2. Don't YouTube proposals- There are some really amazing, extravagant, and lavish proposals floating around on youtube.  There's a 99% chance that will not be yours.  But guess what?  The value of a proposal does not lie in how many youtube views it gets or how many backup dancers your man hired. Your proposal is just as special as David & Lauren's.  Who cares if a million youtube viewers didn't see yours?  Its your relationship; not theirs.

Image via

2. Stop Looking at Rings (unless you're going to be the one picking it out)- This one comes with a caveat.  There are plenty of couples who choose to pick out the ring together, or who both go ring shopping so the dude can get ideas.  This one does not apply to them.  This one is for the girls who want to be totally surprised by the ring they get yet spend hours browsing Robbinsbros.com (or in my case brilliantearth.com) It's not fair to your boyfriend to both want to be surprised and want him to secretly pick out your dream ring.  If you have your heart set on one then tell him; otherwise, trust him to know you well enough to choose something you'll love.

4. Try really, really hard not to be "waiting for it"- This is by far the hardest one on this list.  I can't tell you how many dates I spent acting fidgety and nervous because I thought Tyler was going to propose, only to ruin what would have otherwise been a perfectly lovely evening because I was disappointed. Many couples (us included) discuss when they plan to get married (I know a few couples who had wedding venues booked before they were engaged.)  This can make it really hard to not wonder every moment if "this is it!"  But try to be present: it's a skill that will benefit you your whole life.  There will always be things to look forward to,  but by savoring the exact moment we are in we can lead lives that are happier and healthier.  An added bonus?  When the moment does come there's a greater chance you'll be genuinely surprised.

5. Leave it to him- This will be much easier after following steps 1-4.  The internet makes it seem like a proposal is the girl's moment.  If that were true then I suppose she does have the right to decide if there is a photographer, how many flower petals are scattered, how the guy says her name, etc.  Ladies, I'm sorry to break it to you, but this isn't just about you.  Do your best to let go of your long list of expectations ("he MUST hire a photographer!") and just let the moment happen (even if the moment involves him pretending to pee off a cliff... more on that another time).

6. Enjoy the stage you're in now- This goes back to being present.  Your relationship will never be in the exact stage that it's in today.  So enjoy it for what it is!  Don't waste the precious time you have now wishing for what's next.

What's some advice you wish you'd been given before you got engaged?

Weekend Edition

Monday, October 21, 2013

Between school and work our weekdays are pretty packed to the brim these days.  I work on Sunday mornings so currently Saturday is my only true day off, and we try really hard to make Saturdays count.  We started this Saturday off with a fantastic brunch (complete with mojito mimosas) and were having a grand ole time; that is, until we discovered... there's a rat living in our oven.

...I'm sorry, what?  That's a thing?  That happens to people?  Normal, non-hoarding, reasonably clean people?

Thank GOD our brunch was all via stovetop.  I'm traumatized- though probably not half as traumatized as I'll be once we catch the unholy beast.

Saturday night we celebrated my grandparents' 60th anniversary.  60 years!  When we asked my grandma how she got my grandpa to go out with her she replied, "I was a shameless hussy."  'Atta girl.

Bar lighting is quite flattering on humanoids.

After dinner my cousins and I went to play pool at a bar and I tried really hard to come off as the kind of girl who plays pool at bars.   Mostly I made myself look like an idiot by trying to chalk my stick with hand chalk (there's a dirty joke in there somewhere).  Fortunately the middle-aged group at the table next to us was too busy gawking at our skinny jeans to notice.  Unfortunately my little cousin has an iPhone and shamelessly posted said blunder to the interwebs.

Sunday afternoon we decorated the living room and tried to pretend Wormtail wasn't lurking in the other room.  We had a Thanksgiving-themed dinner with our small group and prayed the Lord would deliver us from the vermin.  Amen.

In anyone reading this has any tips for restoring our oven once the beast is caught I'd be glad to hear them!

Eyeglasses under $10!

Friday, October 18, 2013

It's no secret to those who know me that I am an avid misplacer of objects- that is, I lose just about everything I lay my hands on.  Keys, wallet, cell phone: you name it, I've probably lost it (within the past 24 hours, most likely.)  This has been a serious issue with glasses.  I lose, scratch, and break eyeglasses like it's my job.  That's a pretty pricey transgression when the average cost of eyeglasses is around $200.  But about a year ago I discovered Zenni Optical- an online retailer that sells eyeglasses for as low as $6!  None of their frames are over $50. 

Pair #1, $15.95
I love love love their eyeglasses.  Since they are so cheap I have been able to step outside my comfort zone a little to try frame shapes I wouldn't otherwise try.  You can also upload a photo of yourself and virtually "try on" just about any pair of their frames.  They also offer progressives, bifocals, sunglass tint, and anti-glare coating.

Pair #2, $19.00

I should add that this isn't a sponsored post. I have just been so thankful that this site was recommended to me that I figured I'd pass the info along!

It's Not About The Nail

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We've all heard the stereotype before: men want to fix problems and women just want their problems to be understood.

Okay, obviously that's a bit of an extreme example.  But the truth is that all of us (men and women alike) get stuck in moments where our emotion-heavy right brain takes over our logic-centered left brain.  Small issues seem monumental in these moments and it often seems like there's no end in sight.  It can be particularly frustrating to be on the other end of this exchange; to be the one trying to help someone that just doesn't seem to want help.  Like the boyfriend in the video we know how to solve the problem, but our logic doesn't seem to resonate and certainly doesn't provide comfort.

In their book The Whole Brain Child Tina Bryson and Dan Siegel present a strategy called Connect and Redirect.  The idea is that when someone is caught up in an emotional flood they are viewing the world with their right brain.  In order to be effective you must first connect with them, right brain to right brain.  That means setting logic aside for the moment and empathizing.  It is important to make the person "feel felt" by listening without judgement, providing soothing physical touch, showing empathetic facial expressions, and using a calming tone of voice.  Affirming phrases such as "I can see how upset you are" or "I understand that this is hard for you" can also be helpful.

Redirection can be effective only once the connection is made.  Once the person "feels felt" their left brain becomes more available to participate in the situation.  When emotions have calmed it can be helpful to guide the person into logical problem solving.  It's important to remember that as adults we tend to get more satisfaction out of solving our own problems than by having them solved for us, so avoid telling the person what they need to do.  Questions such as "What do you think might change if you took the nail out of your head?"  are more effective than statements like "You would feel better if you'd just take that nail out of your head."  Obviously, if the person is in imminent danger (as someone would be if they actually had a nail in their head) these rules don't apply!

What are some techniques that you have found helpful when trying to soothe someone? What about when you are the one needing soothing?

DIY City Map Coasters

Monday, October 14, 2013

Below is a post that I did for Baller Hardware's Home Improvement Blog.  I apologize for the poor quality of the photos- that will definitely be the last time I do a project in my office!

Today we are making some adorable drink coasters.  These are extremely easy to make and would be a great gift for any world traveler. The best part is that they are totally customizable- you can use any map you find to personalize them to your liking.

You'll need:
  • 4 untextured tiles (rectangular or hexagonal)
  • City Map (we used this Paris Monument map that's available at Baller Artware)
  • Mod Podge
  • Cheap paintbrush or foam brush
  • Self-adhering felt pads

Remove any dirt from the surface of the tiles by wiping with a damp, lint-free rag.  Dry thoroughly.

Place your tiles face-down on the map and trace the areas you want to use.  Cut out the shapes 1/16 inch inside your traced lines so that the cutouts are just slightly smaller than the surfaces of the tiles.

Paint a thin layer of mod podge on the cutout and adhere to the smooth side of the tile.  Using the handle of your paintbrush, gently smooth over the surface of the cutout to remove any air bubbles.

 Once the cutout is adhered to the tile paint an even layer of mod podge over the top of the cutout, paying special attention to the edges.  Paint in one direction only.  Allow to dry for 1 hour, then repeat.  Allow to dry for 12 hours.

Once the tiles are completely dry adhere a felt pad to each corner.

These are waterproof and can be washed with water and a gentle dish washing liquid.  Enjoy your new coasters! 

Butternut Squash Chili

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chili was a staple in my home growing up.  My mom would make the kind of chili that slow simmered for hours and tasted even better the next day.  It was what my cousins and I ate every Halloween before we headed out trick or treating, so in my mind chili remains synonymous with Fall.  Even though it's still pretty warm in L.A. I couldn't resist whipping up a couple batches of chili for our home group last night.  This one is vegetarian and the butternut squash adds a bit of unexpected texture.  Crushed red pepper adds just the right amount of heat.  I'm all about it!

Butternut Squash Chili
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 4

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 3 Cups vegetable broth
  • 2 lb or approx. 2 Cups cubed & peeled butternut squash. (Trader Joe's does the work for you and sells pre-cut squash)
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • sour cream & shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)


1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion and cook until translucent.

2. Add cumin, crushed red pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add broth, squash, bell peppers, and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add beans and cook 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.   Top with cheese & sour cream, if desired.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Image via
This morning I'm pondering this thought from David Benner's The Gift of Being Yourself:

"In all of creation, identity is a challenge only for humans.  A tulip knows exactly what it is.  It is never tempted by false ways of being.  Nor does it face complicated decisions in the process of becoming.  So it is with dogs, rocks, trees, stars, amoebas, electrons, and all other things.  All give glory to God by being exactly what they are.  For in being what God means them to be, they are obeying Him.  Humans, however, encounter a more challenging existence.  We think.  We consider options.  We decide.  We act.  We doubt.  Simple being is tremendously difficult to achieve and fully authentic being is extremely rare."

Identity is something I've struggled with often and I am looking forward to learning more about how to be my authentic self, in Christ.

What are some ways you have struggled with identity? How do you strive for authenticity in your life?