Hollister & High School Flashbacks

Friday, February 28, 2014

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The other day I was cleaning out an old box of crap trinkets and I came across a Hollister gift card from probably... mmm... 8 years ago.  I was about to throw it away but Ty insisted on calling to find out how much was left on it. I'm glad he did because it had 60 bucks on it!  I ventured in and almost passed out from the smell of my teenagehood.  I was also instantly overcome with two realizations:


2. Hold up. I'm TOO BIG to even fit into anything here.

I felt horrible about myself in the way that you feel when a boy you don't even really like breaks up with you. Hollister wouldn't let me wear their clothes because I was too big for most of them, but I wanted to scream "Well fine! I didn't want to wear your ugly see-through fluorescent clothes anyway!"

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But I still had that gift card.  I walked in and out of the store about sixty times and even perused the men's section trying to find something I liked.  I finally found this blouse in a dark corner and was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on.  I also found a pair of jeans (at the VERY BOTTOM of the pile) that I managed to squeeze into.  I found one other basic black tee and headed to the checkout line.  I remembered that, when I shopped at Hollister in high school, I was only able to buy things from the clearance racks because I could barely find a t shirt in that place for less than 50 bucks.  So I prepared to put back most of my purchase but when the sales person rang me up I still had 14 dollars left on the card; apparently they were having a huge sale.

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I left feeling just like I felt for most of my high school career; confused and sorting through a slew of mixed emotions.  On the one hand I was glad to have found a few new pieces of clothing I liked without having to spend any of my own money.  On the other hand I was angry at a store for making me torture myself for an hour and making me feel like I was too old, too big, and too sloppy.  I made a resolution to only shop at places that make me feel good about myself from here on out.  I'll never shop at Hollister again.

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I take it back.  I've still got 14 bucks to blow.

Shop this look:

Southwestern Quinoa Bowl

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today I have the pleasure of guest posting for Katie at A Worker At Home.  I'm sharing one of my favorite weeknight recipes; this southwestern quinoa bowl.  It's easy, healthy, and totally customizable.  Click here to check it out!

Blogger Confessions

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged by Shayla from Moons & Junes to do a little "Blogger Confession" post.  It's been fun reading other peoples' answers and learning about how everyone else came to the crazy point of wanting to put their lives out there on the internet for anyone to read.  It's kind of a wacko thing, isn't it?  But I love it. I really, really do!  Here are some reasons why...

This picture has nothing to do with blogging.  I like it anyway.

1. When did you first start blogging and why?
Like Shayla, I guess I technically started blogging when I started a LiveJournal back in high school (don't you dare go looking for it!)  I can not fathom why I wanted to immortalize my embarrassing teenage melodrama on the internet for all of eternity, but whatever. I did. I started a more "grownup" blog in Chicago to document my time there (and apparently to talk about Star Wars & the Bible) and then started this blog right after we got married in order to keep in touch with our friends & family who are scattered all throughout the country.  And I'd be lying if I pretended like my attention-hungry side wasn't in on the decision, too.

2. Have you had any past online presence?
Myspace.  Yikes.

3. When did you become serious about your blog?
Am I serious about it? I guess I never really thought I would ever be serious about it but I suppose the fact that I get up early so that I can write means I'm at least semi-serious.  So I dunno... within the past six months, I reckon.

4. What was your first blog post?
My first post for this blog was called Dogs & Blogs.  My only thought is... I can't believe I used the phrase "carve out our own little corner of the blogosphere." Barf!

5. What have been your biggest challenges blogging?

Finding my voice.  I'm still working on it.  It feels a little bit like when you are texting someone you have a crush on and you obsess over what you are going to write because you know what you are trying to convey but you don't know how that person is going to read into the things you say.  Do I end that sentence with a period or exclamation point? A smiley face? A winky face? (hint- NEVER end a text with a winky face). And don't even get me started on the perils of trying to convey sarcasm in writing.  It's a process, and I'm learning that the only way to get better is through practice.

6. What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Finding people who have similar passions, struggles, and joys.  There is definitely a community aspect to blogging and I sincerely cherish the friendships I've gained through this process.

7. What is the most discouraging thing about blogging?
On the flip side of #6 is the fact that there are a lot of mean people on the internet... people who want power or who want to be really judge-y toward others or who want to tear others down.  I am really afraid of the meanies because criticism is quite hard for me to swallow.

8. What is your blogging dirty little secret?
I proofread obsessively.  Once in draft mode, once in preview mode, and twice after publishing.  Yet somehow I STILL make typos & grammatical errors! Yeesh.

9. What is your current goal as a blogger?

Gee, I guess I've never thought of it.  I suppose it would be to have a more consistent posting schedule and to be more creative and thoughtful with my posts.

10. Have you learned or become passionate about anything through blogging that caught you by surprise?
Actually, I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying learning about photography.  Ty got a nice DSLR for graduation and it had mostly been collecting dust until I started blogging.  He started teaching me all the photography basics and we have both had a lot of fun playing around with it and learning more about what works and what doesn't work.

So there you have it!  Now it's your turn.  I tag Jenny, Carolina, Chantel, and anyone else who wants to join in.  Leave me a link below if you post one- I'd love to read your answers!

Galentine's Day

Monday, February 24, 2014

A few weeks ago I won an Instagram contest from a local hair salon called Hello Darling for a blowout for myself and a friend .  The owner, Lauren, was friends with Katie from A Worker At Home so I knew she had to be amazing.  My friend Casey and I headed over to her home salon the day before Valentine's Day for a little "Galentine's" pampering date.  We had a great time getting all spiffed up, sipping mimosas, and learning more about Lauren and her company.

After getting married last year, Lauren developed a passion for bridal styling.  She opened her salon in September to create a fun space for brides to come that had the classy feel of an upscale bridal shop, yet the peaceful environment of your best friend's house (spoiler: that's exactly what it feels like!)

Lauren said that after being a bride herself she finally understood all of the excitement and emotions that go into planning that big day.  She wanted to be someone who could walk alongside brides throughout that crazy/ exciting/ stressful process and make them feel beautiful and confident through all of it.  She explained that being the bride's hairstylist is such a special role because she gets to be with her first thing in the morning and help put her at peace for the rest of the day.

Lauren's best hair advice for brides-to-be? "Make sure you are on the same page as your stylist! When people walk away unhappy it's most often because of a miscommunication.  Come ready with ideas and pictures and ask yourself why you like the styles you chose.  The more time you spend in your consultation the more likely you are to get the style that you want."

Lauren, thank you so much for providing Casey and me with such a fun and relaxing day.  Your joy and positive outlook on life are contagious and I'm so glad to know you.  My split ends and I will be giving you a call soon....

Lauren is available for bridal styling as well as cuts & colors. If you live in the Burbank area I highly recommend getting in touch with her! You can check her out on Instagram here, shoot her an email here, or give her a call at 818.632.2375.

Love Notes

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tyler and I have a little history of writing love notes.  When we first started dating he was playing volleyball and whenever he'd leave for a trip I would send him off with a letter to open each day he was gone.  When I left for a month-long trip to India he sent me multiple emails a day and then made a word cloud on canvas of all of our emails.  It wasn't uncommon for us to leave cards on each other's windshields just to let the other know we were thinking about them.  On our way to the grand canyon, where hours later he would propose, Tyler gave me a new letter to open every 20 miles.  Needless to say, expressing our love in writing has been instrumental in keeping us close and connected over the past four years!

It can be so easy to skip over the little things and settle into a comfortable routine in a marriage, but I'm learning how important it is to keep those little traditions alive.  When I look back at that canvas or at those cards I'm immediately reminded of why I married this awesome man.  For Valentine's Day this year I wanted to find a new and creative way to put my feelings into writing.  I found this sweet little photo easel on Tiny Prints and fell in love.

We did a low key Valentine's dinner at home since we were leaving the next morning for Cambria.  I lit some candles, made some short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes & lobster tails, and set the table with the easel at the centerpiece.  I love that it was another opportunity to reuse our wedding photos and the re-writable surface allows us to change up the message.  For now Tyler has it sitting on his desk at work and he loves having that daily reminder that I'm thinking of him.

I'm trying to get better at finding little ways to show my affection for Ty.  Printing pictures, writing love notes, and giving each other small gifts may seem like little things but I'm learning more and more how important those little things really are.

What are some little ways that you show the people around you that you love them?

Weekend Edition: Cambria

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This past weekend we celebrated President's day with an extended weekend visit to Cambria with some dear friends of ours.  Ty and I first visited Cambria around this time last year and we loved it so much that we have been back several times since.  We just can't resist the gorgeous views, delicious wine, and slightly chilly weather.  This time we also got to visit Hearst Castle which neither of us had seen before.

We've talked often about how grateful we are to have found our church.  We church-hopped a lot while attending Pepperdine and, though it gave us the opportunity to hear a lot of great speakers and experience a lot of different types of worship, we didn't get to experience the security that comes with investing in a single place for an extended period of time.  We fell in love with Silverlake Community as soon as we started going last Summer but it has just recently begun to sink in that the friendships we are building may last for years to come.  We've been stuck in that transient-college-student mindset for so long and it is refreshing to look around on a Sunday morning at the faces we've come to love so much and know that, for the most part, many of us are going to be sticking around for awhile.


What did you do for the long weekend?

Friday Favorites

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! I've never been the biggest fan of this day but the older (& sappier) I get the more I take joy in telling those who I love that I am thankful for them.  So if you're reading this please know how thankful I am for you. Truly, the people that I've met from blogging have touched my life in so many ways, and I'm so grateful for the community & encouragement I've gained from this blog.  And today, whether you are single or in a relationship, I hope you are aware of how deeply, truly Loved you are. 

Here are some of my favorite love-related links from around the web this week:

Jenny has a great post about how to love everyone around us today.
I really wish I was wearing this cute & comfy dress tonight.
These Olympics have me seriously girl-crushing on Kelly Clark.
This heart necklace remains to this day one of my favorite gifts from Ty.
A very, very important question: "What would you do in the world if you quit trying to prove you matter and instead simply started to live what you love?"

I hope you all have a lovely long weekend!

Love Without Comparison

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recently I've begun to recognize a certain attitude in people who are in romantic relationships.  It's not a new trend, and it's certainly something I've been guilty of.  It's a way of talking about one's significant other in a way that is intended to lift that person up by shooting other people down:

"Some husbands take their wives out to a boring dinner for Valentine's day... but MINE took me to a rooftop picnic!"
"Did YOUR fiance propose to you at the grand canyon?? Because mine did!"
"Boyfriend got me a new watch for my birthday. Be jealous."

I totally understand the desire to affirm your significant other publicly (the attention-hungry side of me secretly loves when Tyler says something sweet about me on Facebook)  And I think it's okay to declare your love or appreciation for someone on a public platform, especially in a culture that tends to  focus heavily on the negative side of marriage and committed relationships.  But there is a line that is crossed when affirmation turns to bragging and I think that line is comparison.  We aren't satisfied just saying that our boyfriends are sweet; they have to be sweeter than everyone else's.  We can't just say our girlfriends are beautiful; they have to be the most beautiful.  The problem isn't public appreciation of another person; the problem comes when that appreciation turns into a competition and in turn belittles everyone else. 

The internet is already a breeding ground of comparison.  Everyone is putting forth their highlight reels in hopes that their lives will come across as better than their peers'.  We are all trying desperately to convince the rest of the world that we are doing well and thriving and it seems we are unable to do that unless we convince others (and perhaps ourselves as well) that our lives our better than theirs.

In reality, I think this tactic has the opposite effect.  The more focused we are on convincing other people that our lives are awesome the less focused we are on actually living our awesome lives.  The more we try to "outdo" others the more jealous we will become when they "outdo" us.  And the more we try to use our significant others as bragging tools to fuel our own egos the less we appreciate the real flesh and blood people that have been put in our lives.

So this Friday when much of the world is publicly declaring their love let's make a commitment to do so without competition.  Let's celebrate the love we've been given, be it romantic or platonic, without putting others down.  Let's stop the comparing.

Tres Leches Cake

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When Ty and I were scouting places for our rehearsal dinner we knew we wanted somewhere casual with an open space where people could easily talk.  We looked at a couple different places and the last place we checked out was Mas Cocina Mexicana.  The price was right, the space was lovely, and overall it seemed like a viable contender.  And then the chef brought us some of his tres leches cake.  Heavens to Betsy.  After one bite I was completely sold.  I kid you not, we were signing a contract by the end of the day.

I've since thought about that cake more often than is probably healthy for one to think about cake.  I'd always assumed it would be super difficult to make but it turns out it's not.  It's actually frighteningly I-could-easily-whip-this-up-on-any-given-weeknight easy.  It makes a fantastic dessert and an even better breakfast the next day.  Try it out and don't blame me when your pants no longer fit (I'll be right there with ya.)

Tres Leches Cake
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/3 Cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp bourbon (can substitute vanilla extract)
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • blackberries or maraschino cherries for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease & flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Beat together the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat until mixture turns light yellow in color then add the whole milk and vanilla and beat until just combined. Pour over the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.
  4. In the same electric mixing bowl you just used (why make more dishes??) beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment on high until soft peaks begin to form.  Add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff.
  5. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until just barely combined.  Spread the batter into the greased pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. When you remove your cake from the oven it might be really puffed up; that's okay! Allow to cool (and deflate) for 30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, combine the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk, and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream.  Once the cake is cooled use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the cake and slowly pour the mixture over the top, making sure it seeps into the sides of the dish as well.
  8. Allow the mixture to be absorbed into the cake for at least 30 minutes- the longer the better!
  9. Whip together the remaining heavy cream, powdered sugar, bourbon, and cinnamon.  Spread it over the top of the cake and top with cherries or blackberries.

Weekend Edition- The Colorado River

Monday, February 10, 2014

This past weekend we celebrated my dear friend Casey's birthday with a trip to the Colorado River.

Casey and I became friends when we studied abroad together in
Heidelberg.  Our friendship was sealed when we both had our passports and credit cards stolen while on a trip to Rome together.  Since then we've lived together, cried together, and laughed til we peed our pants together (one of which may or may not have happened this past weekend.) It was so much fun to head out to the river with some girlfriends and celebrate our girl with sangria and smutty magazines.  Happy birthday, roommaaaaaate!

How was your weekend? If you have a post about it share in the comments below- I'd love to read it!