Summer Vibes

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

It's been far too long since I've written, but I trust that you all have gotten along just fine without me ;) We had an amazing Fourth of July weekend up in Cambria with our friends and it was the most perfect Summer getaway.  Lately we've spent our evenings grilling and sipping wine on the roof and taking late evening walks.  We are both in Summer school but I've been able to use my extra time to fix up our apartment a bit more.  Summer is easily my favorite season; there's just nothing quite like soaking in the extra hours of daylight and enjoying the warm, breezy evenings.

In just over a week we will be heading out on a two week Southern road trip with Ty's parents.  Aside from a high school choir competition in Atlanta, I've never really been to the South.  I hear it may be quite a culture shock!  We are going to be hitting up Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi and I'm already dreaming of late nights in music halls and stuffing my face full of beignets and fried fish.  If you have any recommendations leave them in the comments below- I'd love to hear about your favorite Southern spots!

Loaded Miso Soup

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Miso Soup is one of my favorite parts of a sushi dinner.  It's so warm and comforting and the other day I had a major craving for some.   I decided to dress it up a bit so that it could function as a meal in an of itself, rather than just a starter.

Can we talk about how difficult it is to photograph soup?  There really is no good way to make it look appetizing (if you have some tips I'd love to hear!)-- especially when the noodles are this funky grey color.  But don't let the color fool you.  Those funky grey buckwheat soba noodles are fantastic!  Add some veggies and a protein and you've got yourself an easy, well-rounded, one-pot meal!  Make sure you look for organic tofu and miso paste that is MSG free.

Loaded Miso Soup
Serves 4


  • 12 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 6 Cups Vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/2 head of napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup white miso paste
  • 2 Cups organic firm tofu, cut into cubes


  1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions.  Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pot.  Add onion, ginger, and garlic, and cook until onion is translucent (about 5 minutes.) Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, and 1 Cup of water and bring to a boil.  Add cabbage and cook for 2 minutes.  Whisk in miso over low heat for 1 minute.  Add tofu and soba noodles just before serving.

How Frugality Can Improve Your Marriage

Friday, May 15, 2015

It's obvious that being frugal is beneficial for your pocketbook, but did you know that it can also improve your marriage? Researcher Jeffrey Dew refers to debt as the "equal-opportunity marriage destroyer." He explains that consumer debt plays a powerful role in eroding marital stability and lowering marital satisfaction.

Here are just a few ways that frugality can play a part in creating a happier and more harmonious marriage.

1. Like-Mindedness: Perceptions about how one’s partner handles money have been shown to play a large part in marital satisfaction. That is, if you feel that your partner has the same values and priorities surrounding money as you do then you are more likely to feel happy in your marriage. On the flip side, when individuals feel that their spouse does not handle money well, they report lower levels of marital happiness.... In fact, in one study, feeling that one’s spouse spent money foolishly increased the likelihood of divorce 45 percent for both men and women.

2. Increased Communication: Creating and sticking to a budget requires a lot of communication and transparency.... which isn't easy! In fact, a study by Wells Fargo found that many people consider money a tougher topic to discuss than even politics or religion. Frugality increases the chance that couples will be more open with one another about their spending habits and pitfalls.

3. Less Debt=Less Stress: This one's kind of a no-brainer!

4. Increased Contentment: Frugality forces a couple to jump off that hedonic treadmill of always needing more. The temptation of "keeping up with the Jayneses Joneses" is a tough one to resist, but frugality forces a couple to think about what's truly important and be content with what they already have.
I'll be sharing a bit about how we try to be frugal in the coming weeks but in the meantime I'm curious- what are strategies that you have for pinching pennies?

Christmastime Dreaming...

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I know, I know.  It's not even Summer yet so why on Earth am I already thinking about Christmas?? Because it's official...

WE ARE SPENDING CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE!!!! Ahhhhh I get giddy just typing that!  It's something we've been talking about for awhile and last weekend our travel agent friend found tickets so cheap that we couldn't pass them up.  We are flying into and out of Copenhagen, but besides that our itinerary is totally up in the air.  Christmas in Heidelberg? New Year's Eve in Paris? Anything is possible!  Tyler has never been to Europe before so I can't wait to share this experience with him!  If you have any recommendations sound off in the comments below.. I'd love to hear about your favorite places!

Photo via Much More Muchier

High Waisted Swimsuit Roundup

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Summer is just around the corner and I've decided this is finally the year that I'm finally going to invest in a new swimsuit.  Guys, I've been wearing the same bathing suit since my junior year of college.  That's six years!! Every year I intend to buy a new one, and every year I find myself unable to justify spending over $100 on a skimpy piece of clothing.  But this is the year!  I'm head over heels obsessed with the high waisted looks and I've rounded up a few of my favorites here.  Best of all... they're all pretty affordable!

Image 4 of ASOS Mix and Match Contrast High Waist Bikini Bottom

What about you? Have you started swimsuit shopping yet?

The LA Marathon

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile now but in the chaos of the move I misplaced my camera card.  Oops!

A few weeks ago Tyler ran his first marathon.  He had decided only a month prior that he wanted to run it and up until that point hadn't had any training whatsoever.  Once he signed up he began a vigorous and dedicated running routine.  He was worried that he wouldn't finish, but I never doubted him!

Our last night in our old house was two nights before the race.  It also happened to be the night that an incredible light installation was set up to commemorate the marathon's 30th anniversary.  There were a cluster of lights set up at every mile of the marathon route and from our house we had an excellent view of them.  We spent the evening wandering around our neighborhood tying to find the best shot while reminiscing on all the good times we'd shared there.

On Sunday morning we were up at 4:00 AM and I dropped Ty off at Dodger's stadium.  He was giddy with excitement and I had butterflies in my stomach as I drove off.  A few friends watched him at mile 7 and a few others and myself were there to cheer him on at mile 13.  I was shaking with excitement as I saw him approach the halfway mark!

After he passed I got in my car and headed out to Santa Monica to await him near the finish.  I was getting text alerts every 10k so I had a good idea of when he would be coming up to the end.  The anticipation as I waited to be able to see him was almost unbearable and when I finally saw him come into view I started screaming my lungs out!  There were no words to describe the excitement and pride I felt as I watched him run that last block!! I am 100% convinced that he can do anything he sets his mind to, and I am lucky to be married to a guy who inspires and motivates me so much.

Before this experience I never understood why people ran marathons.  I couldn't fathom why someone would put themselves through such torture just for a medal.  But as I watched the city come together to cheer on people they didn't even know, it began to make sense.  There were people from all walks of life running together; old, young, fast, slow, some in wheelchairs, some in handchairs, some pushing others.  While I was standing near the end waiting for Ty there were a few runners who seemed on the verge of giving up.  They were hunched over, obviously in a lot of pain.  And everyone on the sidelines just kept encouraging them- "You can do it! You're almost there!"  and that would give them the strength they needed to finish that last little bit.  I realized that marathons are more than just a race; they are a test of the human spirit and a celebration of overcoming obstacles.  I was moved by the experience of watching, and I know Tyler was changed by the experience of running.

Have you ever run a marathon?  Would you ever?

Linking up at Wedded Wednesday

Last Night on the Hill

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tonight is officially our last night in our first home.

We experienced so many firsts in this place.  Our first meal cooked together as a married couple. (Lumpia!) Our first pet.  Our first big purchase.  Our first dinner party.

I'll never forget our first night in this place.  We had just gotten back from a whirlwind month of wedding prep/ wedding/ honeymoon/ friend's wedding.  We were exhausted and giddy.  We spent hours opening up gifts that had accumulated on our doorstep while we were gone, and excitedly figuring out where each item would go.  Though these were small decisions, they seemed to hold deep significance, as they were some of the first decisions we were making together.

We didn't have a bed yet so we pulled together some old cushions and mattresses and camped out on the floor.  Our room was empty but our hearts were full.  That's kind of how I'm feeling tonight, too, as I look at our bare walls and nearly-empty rooms.

This place has been so much more than a house for us.  It's been a refuge for countless people in need of respite (ourselves included.)  It's been a setting for gatherings through which we discovered our shared passion for hospitality.  It's been a safe place for tears to be shed.  It's held countless bible studies and game nights.  It's held more people than we would ever admit to any fire department.  It's taught me what a safe and loving home can look like.

I'm excited for what's next.  There are really, really beautiful things on the horizon and I know that our next place will come to feel like home in the same way this place has.  In the morning I will choose to brim with anticipation for all the great things that are to come, but for tonight I'm content to steep in the memories we have made here and mourn for a small piece of my heart that we are leaving here on the hill.

Keeping the Dream Alive

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

This past weekend I had the joy of having brunch with three lovely ladies that I've gotten to know through blogging.  Daisy, Jhen, and I met up with Katie at her house for a few hours to eat, laugh, and get to know each other better.  As we were upstairs in Katie's (totally dreamy!) room she asked each of us about our dreams... and I totally froze.  Her question made me realize how long it had been since I had actually cultivated my dreams.  Far, far too long.

It seems like I have spent the past few months so focused on the immediate. The here. The now. The due-in-30-minutes.  The reading.  The writing.  The rushing. The end-of-the-day-collapsing.

Sometimes I feel like it takes every ounce of focus and motivation I have just to make it to the end of the day.  I have a hard time dreaming about the weekend, much less about the next five years.  And when Katie asked that question I realized; sure, I have been good lately at setting goals... learn Spanish, get good grades, excel in my practicum, graduate.  But dreams?  I haven't allowed myself to dream in quite some time.  I haven't let myself imagine an ideal future.  I haven't let my mind wander to a dream that didn't require concrete, measurable, attainable steps.  And that's the thing about dreams...  they provide this painting of the type of life you want to create.  Sometimes dreams turn into goals, but sometimes they don't and that's okay.

It's important to dream for the sake of dreaming.  It's important to be present and enjoy what's now, yes, but it's also important to imagine what could be.  As I listened to these wonderful women describe their dreams and aspirations I felt inspired in a way that I haven't felt in quite some time.  I want to dream big dreams and I don't want to live a life free of imagining the impossible.  

What are some of the things you've been dreaming about lately?

Holding Your Cup

Thursday, January 22, 2015

It's no secret that one of my favorite vacations is wine tasting.  The reason is not because I am some kind of wine snob, but rather because nothing makes you slow down quite like sipping on a glass of wine.  I frequently notice that when I taste a wine at a winery it will taste much different than when I drink it at home.  Unlike at my house, when I am at a winery I am taking my time.  I'm not just drinking but I'm holding.  Examining. Checking the color.  Sniffing.  Analyzing.  Wine is so much better when it's experienced in this way.

I think the same is true of life.  So often I go through life just trying to get from one day to the next.  I don't even bother looking at what is in my "life cup."  I chug it down in order to survive and scarcely notice whether it's fulfilling or whether it's fitting or whether it's sour.  Whether it's full and rich, or diluted and tasteless.  This is especially true when the contents of my life cup are hard to swallow.  I want to pinch my nose and guzzle it down quickly so that I can forget about the unpleasantness.  I rarely stop to examine my cup; to notice its complexities, its aroma, its color.

In his book "Can You Drink the Cup" Henri Nouwen says, “Just living life is not enough. We must know what we are living." We must take a good hard look at what is in our cup; whether it is lovely or flavorless or hard to swallow. We must stop and notice. In order to answer Jesus' question “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” we must know what is in our cup.  We must slow down, hold, examine, and reflect.

PMT Style Challenge

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One of my favorite style blogs, Putting Me Together, is hosting a style challenge for the new year!  I'm so excited to participate because winter break put me in a bit of a clothes rut.  Not that I regret wearing yoga pants/ leggings/ pajamas for three weeks straight.  Not for one second.  But this quarter I'm desperately trying to look a little more put together. 

You see, I'm a big believer of the "dress well to test well" mentality.  When I have a particularly long or stressful day I find I'm much better able to tackle it head on if I feel good about the way I look.  I know that may come across as shallow, but seeing as I have class from 8am to 9:30 pm on Thursdays I'll do whatever I can to get a little extra boost of motivation and energy.

The first challenge was simply to wear a dress.  It seemed easy enough until I realized I haven't actually worn a dress in about three months!  Most of my dresses are either super summery sundresses or fancy cocktail dresses.  This is one of my few "in between" options and I love how easy it is to dress up or down.  It has worked great for all seasons (well, Los Angeles seasons at least) and is perfect for layering.

If you're looking for an excuse to find more inspiration in your wardrobe head over to Putting Me Together and join in the challenge!  Let me know if you do in the comments section- I'd love to see what you come up with  :)

dress: Modcloth 
chambray: Macy's (similar here)
necklace: old, similar here 
watch: via steinmart (similar here)
boots: old navy

2014 In Review- Part I

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I always find the task of looking back over my year to be both exciting and exhausting.  I look at some photos and can hardly believe they were taken almost a year ago, yet other memories feel like they are decades old.  Time is such a funny thing, isn't it?  This year I've noticed how popular lists have become... 27 Ways to Make Your Groceries Last as Long as Possible, 5 Things That Make Californians Weird, and (my personal favorite) 26 Reasons Kids Are Pretty Much Just Tiny Drunk Adults.  Yet I consistently find it difficult to sum up 365 days into one little list.  So I'm doing it in two!  I love looking back at my past years in review and remembering all the wonderful memories I have to be thankful for.  So without further ado...

j a n u a r y

We rang in the new year exhausted, relieved, and holding each other close.  We thanked God for the health of Nana and I stupidly ate garlic right before the New Year's kiss.  Good thing I married a guy who was willing to kiss me anyway :)

We explored and fell even more in love with our city.

f e b r u a r y

I celebrated my sweet friend's birthday with a laugh-and-sangria-filled girls' weekend in Arizona

Ty & I celebrated Valentine's Day with love notes, dinner, drinks and dancing in the park

We took a trip with our good friends to Cambria

m a r c h

I discovered really quickly that online classes were not my jam.  I vowed to finish mine quickly but instead dragged them out for 8 more months.

We played a second season with our church's softball team and contributed to a record-breaking three straight seasons of being un-undefeated (that is, never winning a game. Not one.)

I got to meet up with a friend-via-blogging who quickly became a friend-via-real-life.  I marveled at the ability of technology to bring people together.

(photo via instagram @chantelklassen) 

a p r i l

We celebrated this guy's birthday with a delicious dinner and a fun beer tasting party

We celebrated Easter with both of our families and I felt oh-so thankful to be related to such great people; both by blood and otherwise.  Now all I need is to teach a few of them how to smile.

m a y

I turned a quarter-century.  But more excitingly, my dad turned a half-century!  We celebrated with tacos and a pinata filled with slim jims and mini plastic tequila bottles, naturally.

j u n e

We celebrated weddings and had some much-needed reunions.

(photo via TreCreative Photography)

(photo via Kelly Smith)

I said goodbye to my grandpa, who had just turned 91.  I remembered all of the times we'd had phone calls and when I would tell him I loved him he'd always argue, "I love you more!"  I remembered our trips to the zoo, him teaching me about guns and cars, and the way that, even when his memory was all but gone, his wit and humor were still sharp as a tack.  I am proud to be related to such an amazing person and rejoice over the amazing life he lived.

...part two coming soon.