Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holidays: stressful or fun?

Don't let that title mislead you too much, but my thoughts this year have really been around how the holiday season seems to be less fun than it used to be...

  • As a kid, Christmas was one of the most anticipated and excited days of the year. All the magic of Santa and family and gifts really built up the joy of the season.
  • There aren't many little kids in my family. Little kids make {almost} everything more fun. Someday there will be more little kids... :)
  • In a serious relationship/marriage, it is difficult/impossible to please both people or both families. We both want to make sure we spend time with our own family as well as each other so that leads us to celebrating Christmas a grand total of SIX times.  
    • You see: my family alone has 3 Christmas celebrations (my mom's side extended family, my dad's side extended family, my immediate family) + Marc's family similarly has 3 Christmas's = 6 Christmas celebrations that will be had this year. That is A LOT of Christmas. Do not for a second think that we don't want to spend time with our families, it is just a lot of traveling, eating, cooking, prepping, celebrating and "Merry Christmas-ing..."
  • Christmas shopping. While I love buying gifts for people and giving them (I am a people pleaser and I like making people happy! Gift giving/receiving makes most people happy!) The less fun side of Christmas shopping for those like myself who waited until 1 week before Christmas to begin are: parking lots, traffic, long lines. Get the picture? Yes I know, this is entirely my own fault for waiting so long... but I have been so preoccupied lately with other of life's happenings.
  • I no longer get a "Christmas Break" of several weeks like I did during school. It's just wrong to think about how I have to go to work on December 26th...
So as to not let this post be a complete holiday downer, here are a few reasons why Christmas is MORE fun than it used to be...
  • This year, we have 2 Christmas trees :) We have a mini tree and a full size tree in our house. I love the smell of them, decorating them, looking at them, snuggling by them .. insert Marc rolling his eyes ;)
  • Now that I am older and make more money, I can buy more useful and cooler gifts for people. Sometimes my frugal self gets in the way, but I try to not let it overwhelm me at this time of year!
  • The Jammie Fairy still visits my house every Christmas Eve. I LOVE the Jammie Fairy!
  • As my family has grown, so has the love that is shared during the holidays. This may sound cheesy, but I am very much a "the more, the merrier" type of person, and now that I have Marc's whole family and my sister-in-law and my sister's boyfriend to celebrate with also, the fun just grows with each person added!
  • Christmas music is the perfect antidote to a long stressful day at work. It is much harder to be unhappy while sitting in traffic for over an hour on the way home from work when I am blasting Christmas music. An entire month of Christmas music is a month of happiness :)
  • I get to have my immediate family over to our house this year on Christmas morning. This year, I am planning some special surprises to spice things up a bit. I'll be sure to post all about the 2012 Baldwin Christmas Games....!
  • Christmas movie marathons on TV. I love the movie ELF. It's hilarious!
Now, I'm off to continue filling my head with Christmas tunes and lights and cookies!

Happy Holiday season to everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

9 months til we say "I DO"

I can't believe it, only 9 months to go! This morning when I noticed it was the 14th, I was thinking it was 10 months to go, but after some counting, I realized it's actually only 9 months! I swear I used to be good at math...

Along the lines of wedding planning, this is what we have accomplished so far, surprisingly, Marc has been very involved in ALL of these choices (except for the dress and shoe choice of course!):
  • Chose the venue: Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club
  • Set the date: 9/14/13
  • Chose the caterer: Affair to Remember
  • Decided on our color scheme: navy blue, coral, cream and green (aka the garden!)
  • Purchased my dress: from Glamour Closet in SF
  • Took my dress to my favorite seamstress: she is currently working her magic to make it shrink down a few sizes :)
  • Purchased my shoes: from (they will arrive in the mail today, maybe I'll share a picture of those soon!)
  • Selected our wedding party: 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen
  • "Proposed" to our ring bearer: my cousin's little boy, he'll be almost 3 years old come wedding time
  • "Proposed" to our flower girl: Marc's little cousin, she will be 7 years old come wedding time
  • Chose the music/band: Marc's uncle will play at our ceremony and DJ at the reception
  • Selected our officiant: my uncle will perform our ceremony, he even got ordained online already!
  • Purchased our favors: I ordered them online today at
  • Purchased our invitations: bought them at Michael's on Black Friday, we will print them ourselves
  • Selected a photographer for our engagement photos: my sister and her bf gave this to us as an early wedding gift! We will take the photos in January at a beautiful outdoor location.
  • Made a wedding website: we will share it when it is complete
  • Purchased Marc's wedding ring: got a sweet deal on Black Friday
WOW! When I spell it out like that, it feels like I've done a lot and I don't feel so overwhelmed by everything else that has been going on which has taken me from wedding planning. We still have lots of little things to do, but I'm so glad most of the main stuff is taken care of. Now that I have an entire room in the house to dedicate to wedding planning, let Wine Wedding Wednesdays begin!!

If you check out my "Weddings" Pinterest board, you will get a pretty good idea of what look we are going for! Here is a sneak peak of my favorite color sheme inspiration picture:

274 days to go!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Home Sweet Home

We are officially moved in to our new home. Well, the home isn't new, but it sure is new to us! This weekend was one of the most exhausting, exciting weekends I have ever had. I am so amazed at how much we were able to accomplish in those 3 days (I had Friday off work to allow us to get some extra stuff done at the house before move-in day).

***Be prepared for a very long post.........

Thursday night, we headed over to Lowe's and finalized our paint color choices and bought the paint for our master bedroom, living room, dining room and family room. Then, we stopped by my parents house to borrow their suburban and painting tools in preparation for the painting marathon that would happen the next day.

~ Friday ~

Marc and I woke up early (8am is early for us)! I had a doctor's appointment then I grabbed some coffee and bagels for us on the way home. While I was gone, Marc made about 50 trips to load up my parent's truck with some of our belongings so we could take a load over to the house. By the time I got home, he was ready to go so we just ate our delicious bagels and I changed into my painting clothes and off we went. We arrived at the house at about 11. While Marc unpacked the truck into the garage, I opened all the windows to get some fresh air in the house and started washing the walls in the master bedroom and prepping the room for painting. We took down the blinds, the closet doors, etc. My dad rolled up on his trike (a super cool recumbant trike with a motor assist that he uses to get around town and ride for fun since he doesn't drive) and brought us some putty to fill the holes in the wall. Luckily he called us that morning and said he was headed to Home Depot and asked if we needed anything, he knows us too well! Meanwhile, I made 2 trips to my parents' house for tools and a vacuum. It's less than 2 miles away so it's a short drive. :) We began painting our bedroom a pretty grey-blue color and were hurrying since the carpet cleaners were scheduled to come at 3:00. I was the edger and Marc was the roller, we are a great team and got the room done just in time to clean out the room when the carpet cleaners arrived. My dad even rode his trike down to Wendy's to grab us some lunch which we enjoyed sitting on the floor in the middle of the living room. :)

Painting the master!
 The carpet cleaning really made a big difference, there are a few pet stains in the carpet as the previous owners had 2 small dogs. There are still a few stains that probably won't come out, but we are working on getting the smell out, I can't wait until the house smells like "us." The carpet cleaners were great until they dumped the dirty, gross smelling water out of their vehicle right onto our driveway... that was just rude. Marc said, "That smells nice." and the guy responded with, "You get used to it." Really? I'd rather not get used to the smell of sewer on my driveway, thank you anyways. End of rant.

My dad headed home around 4 to get a few things done then he and my mom came back over and brought dinner (Los Panchos, yum!) and we were back to painting the living room. My parents were a HUGE help! We were able to finish painting the living room, which has vaulted ceilings! and the dining room. We finished up at about 11:30pm so we were all exhausted, but we are so glad we got it done. The living room is a light earthy green color, and the dining room is a medium brown color, it's called Cafe Ole, so that gives you an idea.

Look at those vaulted ceilings in the living room!
We finally got back to our apartment at about midnight where we quickly showered, climbed in bed and fell asleep to rest up quick for the next day.

~ Saturday ~

Marc and I woke up at 7am to finish packing the apartment. We were literally RUNNING all morning to try to finish up and get another load of stuff into the suburban. We met his parents, brother and friend at the house at 10:30. They brought a 20' Uhaul with lots of furniture for us from his Nana's place and from his parents. It is really nice not to have to buy any furniture right off the bat, the house is full and we get to focus on making other small improvements to it instead of buying furniture. Thanks everyone!! Right after we all got there, my sister-in-law arrived to help too. While the boys all began unloading the Uhaul, the girls and I started in on cleaning, or should I say, bleaching the house top to bottom. Shortly after, my sister and her boyfriend arrived, carrying the cutest mini-Christmas tree as our housewarming gift!! We put them straight to work! Within an hour, the Uhaul and suburban were unloaded and the kitchen, bathrooms, linen closet and window sills were all clean and ready to be loaded. Like I said, our families are AMAZING!

Marc and I still had all our big furniture at the apartment that needed to be loaded into the Uhaul and I needed to do a final cleaning of the apartment before our walk-through at 2:00. Again, we were running around like crazy people trying to get it all loaded. I had no idea how much stuff can fit into a 700 sq. ft. apartment.... we filled the Uhaul again! I cleaned much too thoroughly because the property manager just opened one cabinet, the fridge and oven and then glanced at the bathroom and she was done. Did we really need to clean the ceiling fan, microwave filter and scrub on our hands and knees for days?! NO, we did not.

This is when Marc and I said our final goodbye to our first place together. It was a perfect place for us, but after a year and a half, we outgrew it and were ready to take on a new challenge together. We loved our time at Spring Meadow, but we were not exactly sad to say goodbye ;) that place was tiny! 700 sq. ft. is not enough for two strong-willed people, no matter how much love there is! So we closed that chapter and opened a new one on that sunny Saturday afternoon.

While we were gone, I left the rest of the crew at the house to do some more cleaning, line the kitchen shelves, etc. and my mom did a Subway run for everyone. By the time we got home, my mom, Marc's mom and my sister-in-law had completely unpacked our kitchen! Those women can work!!! After lunch, we unloaded the Uhaul from the apartment, Marc's brother and friend put our bed together, my mom raked the leaves, my brother tore out some overgrown plants from our porch area, everyone was busy busy busy all day long. We finally stopped working and ordered Chinese for dinner. Just as it arrived, so did our beautiful refrigerator, washer and dryer!! That fridge is amazing, it's a Samsung with french doors and the freezer on the bottom. Thank God for Black Friday or else we would never have been able to afford that thing!! That experience is a whole post in itself...

My mom and I decorated the mini-Christmas tree and set it up in front of the big window at the front of the house. It immediately makes the place feel like home :) We are going to get a full-sized tree too, but this one is so cute!! Note the mini-rocking chair that Marc's dad snagged from our apartment dumpster, that place was a gold mine for goodies that people didn't want!! It wasn't actually IN the dumpster, people would just leave their unwanted things next to it for the taking. He said it's for "little Elizabeth" someday :) It's a keeper!!

After dinner, Marc's family headed home and mine hung out to watch a movie. We were in bed and asleep by 9:30pm after the longest 2 days of our lives!

~ Sunday ~

After waking up several times to the new house's noises, Marc and I were up for the day around 9. It took us quite a while to find towels and shower stuff... but when we finally did, we discovered the shower had a temperature limit on it.  We toughed it through some luke-warm showers and headed out to Target to pick up a few essentials and some much needed FOOD! Sunday was spent unpacking random boxes of things we would actually use in the next few days. We did lots of laundry which was actually fun to do with our very own washer and dryer. My Grammie came over to see the house and brought us lunch and some homemade blueberry bread. She approved! A big deal if you know my Grammie... Marc and I washed some of the blinds out on the driveway so we could have some privacy at the front of the house at least for the night. Those blinds were so dusty!! And do you know what dust is? Skin. Other people's skin. That just grosses me out so bad we had to take care of it ASAP. My sister came over in the evening to drink some champagne and share some design ideas; she even let me borrow her Domino book, "her life" so I am sworn to protect it with mine!

That basically sums up a crazy busy weekend of moving, fun and excitement. We are SO glad to finally be living in our home and cannot wait for all the memories that are to come. We know we will be living there for a very long time. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Packing our lives away!

We are currently packing, packing and more packing! Or should I say, Marc is doing a lot of packing... :) It has been so nice to come home from work to another section of the apartment packed away in boxes. It is much different having his help this time compared to last time when I did most of the packing on my own before we moved in together.

Just one little corner of boxes, this box pile has
tripled in size since I took the picture this weekend!

Our official move-in date is this Friday!!!! December 7th! We are so excited it is literally hard to sleep at night. The house is finally empty from most of the sellers' enormous amounts of belongings.

It is amazing how much stuff people accumulate over the years...I think we have learned we need to do annual purging of our excess stuff that has not been used and either donate it or toss it so we don't end up like "Hoarders."

I hope to remember to take pictures of the house before we put our furniture in so we can see some before and afters and show our progress as we make it our home.

This is going to be a very busy week of packing, moving, painting, unpacking and relentlessly thanking those who are dedicating their weekend to helping us move. Thanks in advance to all of you!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How I finally chose my wedding dress

Let me tell you how absolutely amazingly fun wedding dress shopping was!

Spending great quality time with my best girlfriends, sisters, mom and future mother-in-law while trying on some of the most beautiful (and most hideous...) dresses I've ever seen while everyone oooh's and ahhh's, how could I not have a blast? Seeing as I've been fantasizing about shopping for wedding dresses since I could walk, and maybe even earlier, it was a dream come true!

I ended up trying on dresses during 4 separate occasions, spread out over 2 months. The first time consisted of going to 2 local dress shops with my mom, mother in law, sister (maid of honor), sister in law (bridesmaid), and best friend (bridesmaid).

I learned that I could identify very quickly exactly what I did NOT like! I would put one on, walk out and show everyone, stand on the pedistal for about 2 seconds and say, "Next!" And off I went to try on the next one. This came in very handy because during the first appointment I was able to try on probably 10 dresses in the first hour. I thought that was very good considering all the work to get into those things!

My amazing sister/maid of honor did a fabulous job at taking pictures throughout the day, I have SO many on my phone (which is on lock down for the next year so Marc can't catch any glimpses of THE dress)! Here are a few:

"Pulling dresses" with my mama

Mom, Kelly and Paula waiting patiently for me to reveal the first dress!

Browsing with Vallie - "candid" shot :)

After that day of searching those two stores, I thought I had my heart set on the ONE.

I went to David's Bridal with my future Mother in Law, we had a fun time, but still didn't find anything to top the ONE from before.

I had heard about this store in San Francisco, The Glamour Closet, that carries all sample dresses for discounted prices and since I only get to shop for my wedding dress once in my life, I knew I had to at least go there for fun. So this past Sunday, I planned to go there with my sister and 2 of my bridesmaids. However, before I went there, since I knew if I found one, I would have to buy it on the spot since they're all samples, I wanted to go back and try on the ONE on Saturday. If you're not confused, good job! :) So Saturday, my mom and Val and I went to try on the ONE from the first time and we loved it just as much! I just felt so happy and fun in it. So I told the consultant's I'd be back, I was just going to have some fun at the Glamour Closet but would be back to buy that ONE in a few days.

Boy was I wrong about that one!!

***Side note about The Glamour Closet: One day about 2 years ago, my mom, sister and I were in SF and wandering down the street north of the Financial District in the Italian neighborhood looking for a place to grab some lunch,and we pass a wedding dress shop. We all three stop abruptly to gaze longingly at the beautiful dresses in the window and I announce, "I'm coming HERE when I shop for wedding dresses." We gaze some more, and continue our hunt for food.

So off we go to wait in line before the store opens in SF. We pull up to the shop and my sister reminds me that THIS is the place I said I was going to come back to someday when I got engaged. Isn't it so amazing how things just come full circle sometimes? Bless her and her superior memory! ;) Anyways, we were about 10th in line, so we were told it'd be an hour and a half before I would get to head into a dressing room. So we leisurely browsed and chose the allotted 8 dresses I would try on that day. The 8 we chose were of such a wide variety because it was going to be my last ditch effort to try on something "crazy" or different and see if I would change my mind and stray from the first ONE. At about the 3rd dress in, I was totally thrown off my guard when I fell in love with another dress and could do nothing but stand and stare in awe of how beautiful it was. Now this one was THE ONE. The ONE AND ONLY. As I turned to walk back into the dressing room to try on #4, I turned to my sister and said, "I think I'm changing my mind..." and her jaw hit the floor! I love my sister and her so suiting reactions to every fun and emotional moment! She had seen me run and dance and laugh in the first dress and was as sure as I was that my mind was made up from that moment.

I plowed through the next few dresses and went back to try on THE ONE. Veil and all, I was sold. The consultant asked me: "So, is this your dress?" and I turned around and looked at my best girls and said, "YES!" and both my sister and I burst into tears! We are such girls!!! HAHAHA! Even a random mother of a bride who was shopping there asked to take our picture while we were hugging, it was such a magical, beautiful moment. I thought it was something that only happened in movies and on "reality" TV, but I was so wrong. To all our amazement, I had changed my mind and chosen a dress that was COMPLETELY different from the other one and so much more beautiful!

Surrounded by beauties!
I literally walked out of the store with a wedding dress!
I forgot to mention, this dress was *before tax* under my budget!! Woo hoo!! and thank you to my lovely Mom and Pop for buying it for me <3 The only catch, is it's a sample size 12, so my "personal seamstress" is going to see if she can work her magic on it so I can avoid taking it to another seamstress! She's super talented so I'm sure there will be no problem, I have faith in her!

After I said YES, we marched off to celebrate over some champagne and lunch right up the street. Did I mention this is the same place my mom, sister and I went to lunch that day we first discovered the Glamour Closet? Well it is! Again, the universe meant to put us there...

delicious Sofia Coppola champagne that has held a near and dear place in my heart

Since my mom wasn't at this appointment, I rushed home and tried it on for my mom and dad who loved it!!

That sums up probably my longest post ever, but it was such a blast I wanted to capture every detail!

No hints about the dress for another 297 days! Don't want Marc to get any clues except one: it's white!! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Marc and I are officially the owners of a wonderful 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,700 square foot wonderful home!

After riding the Short Sale roller coaster for nearly 4 months, we survived the ups and downs and rounded the last bend this morning. Our Escrow Officer confirmed everything and the process is finally over.

I can't believe it has actually happened!

Now all we have to do is make sure the sellers (now our renters...well free renters) pack up all their stuff and move out by the agreed upon date of December 1st. Good thing Marc and Mr. Seller are buddies and Marc calls him frequently to check in and make sure everything is still on track.

The next step that Marc and I are planning to take is those 2 scary words.... JOINT CHECKING. It's the logical thing to do since we now own a home together and will be paying for everything together, why bother writing checks to each other each month to pay the other one back for the bills they paid...? But the details remain: When should we combine finances? How should we do it? Whose bank do we go with? Who should pay the bills? Should we still have separate checking accounts or credit cards for our own "private" purchases?

I'm totally open to suggestions on how to manage being first-time homeowners and gradually combining the other aspects of our lives in the months leading up to our wedding.

Such an exciting day! Another post to come about wedding updates - 298 days to go! :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why everyone should have 6 calendars

It is extremely frustrating to plan for something to happen at a certain date or time and do all the preparations to make that happen, only to have that date be changed again. I know this is life and I need to learn to deal with changing schedules and be flexible and understanding when obstacles arise. However, that does not make it any less frustrating!

It doesn't help that I am someone who lives religiously by her calendar! Let me illustrate for you my obsession with calendars: 
  • I have 2 calendars posted on the wall at work: one for personal, one for work
  • I use my work Outlook calendar for work and personal events
  • My iPhone calendar also houses most work and all personal events and reminders
  • We have a white board calendar on the fridge at home that tracks the current month's work schedules, personal events, birthdays, holidays and the nightly dinner menu.
  • We have another dry erase *Pinterest* calendar on the wall at home in a picture frame that shows the next month's happenings. (I posted about this calendar here and my plans to make it. I did, in fact, get around to making it. It turned out great!)
So there you have it, 6 calendars to help organize my life (and Marc's life)! I wish that everyone used this many calendars and stuck to them

In case you were wondering, this venting session is directed to the sellers of our house who have asked us if they can live in the house for 2 more weeks because they aren't sure if their next place of residence is going to be ready by December 1st. Never mind the fact that they knew they'd need to move out on that date back in AUGUST. Never mind the fact that they have not started packing. Never mind the fact that they are borderline hoarders and it will take a small army to move everything out of that house. I think they could highly benefit from some more calendars to help them keep track of what day they need to vacate our house so we can move in and get settled before Christmas and live happily ever after!!

Ahhhhhhhhhh, I actually feel much better now ;)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Almost Homeowners!

In just a few short days, Marc and I will be homeowners! We are scheduled to sign the papers at the title company today or tomorrow and will close escrow on November 6th or 7th.

I want to recap the timeline and process of buying our first home so we can remember this exciting time of our lives.

The house is 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car garage, almost 1,700 square feet and a perfect sized yard for a dog to run around and play. It was a short sale but the process went a lot quicker than most short sales are moving right now. We submitted the offer in late August and found out that there were 4 other offers. It was the third offer we had put on a house (the first house had a total of 22 offers, the second had 15 offers!) and we knew from only a short 15-minute showing, that it was the place we would make our home. The home we would come home to after our wedding, the home we would bring our future children home from the hospital to, the home where we would host Christmas for our families, the home where we would really begin our life together. In order to better the chances of our offer being chosen, Marc and I wrote a letter to the sellers. Yes, we wrote a sappy letter on stationary and included it with the offer. And guess what?!

The next day, August 30, 2012, our realtor called and shared the news we were waiting for: the sellers chose our offer!!! As a counter-offer, we agreed to allow the sellers to live in the home until December 1st at no cost. We worked out that it wouldn't be more than a couple weeks after we closed escrow and we really felt for the sellers - they're an older couple in their 60s-70s who appear to have some health issues. Marc and I decided we didn't want to lose the home over just a few weeks and we hope that if we (or our parents/grandparents) were in the same position, someone would show us/them some compassion as well, so we agreed.

The next step was to wait for the bank to approve the short sale which was estimated to be in about 30 days. And on October 5th, after signing what felt like hundreds of documents and emailing back and forth with our realtor, our broker and the listing agent, we received the approval from the bank!

The appraisal was ordered and it came back above our offer, which was great news! Next, we hired an inspector to come out and take a look at the property and make sure everything was in good shape. The inspection was a little awkward because Marc and I both wanted our dads to be there since they're very handy and hadn't seen the house yet, Marc's mom came along as well. In addition, the sellers were present which was weird because they followed us everywhere and we didn't really feel comfortable enough to poke around. At least we got to spend some quality time in the home and solidify the decision we made to buy the house.

We have lifted all the contingencies and are now just waiting for the papers to be ready to sign (and for mine and Marc's schedules to cooperate so we can go sign them...).

Here is a sneak peak of the front of the house - just from the listing:
2429 Center Avenue, Martinez CA
{from the listing on}

I can't believe how quickly it feels like this process is going. We are beyond excited to move out of our TINY one bedroom apartment into our first home and make it our own. We already have so many plans for painting and decorating other changes we want to make to it. This is a time of our lives that we will never forget!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It must be fate. Today is my very best friend's birthday. We have known each other for EXACTLY 25 years. We were destined for best friendhood the day her mom pulled my mom's hair in 7th grade Spanish class (what was that, 43 years ago??). Can it get any more "meant-to-be" than that? I think not.

Now, birthdays are great, I'll be the first one to tell you that, but that is not, on it's own, the reason why I'm writing about fate. Today, I looked on my "Big Day" countdown app and noticed that it is exactly 333 days until the day I say, "I DO" to my other best friend.


If you didn't get the hint by now, my favorite number is 3, and three 3's is just the best!! It must be fate.

Happy Birthday to my Vallie!

Monday, October 8, 2012

So much has happened!

I know it has been MONTHS since I've posted, let me just say that it has been a crazy crazy few months and other things have taken priority over this bloggy.

Let me try to fill you in brifely, and maybe down the road I'll do a post about each exciting event.
  • I got engaged!!! He proposed on a cruise in the Caribbean and I was 100% surprised. It was amazing. And the ring, is amazing and exactly what I had hoped for!
  • My brother got married to my wonderful new sister-in-law in Chicago. It was the most magical wedding and week of celebrating.
  • We bought a house! Well *almost* bought a house. It's a short sale and we are opening escrow today/tomorrow. It is so much more than we dreamed our first house would be and we are so thrilled to move in and make it our own!
  • I got a new job! I love it, I love the company, I love my new co-workers, I love the opportunities I have ahead of me with this company.
  • We set our wedding date and chose a venue! September 14, 2013 is now scheduled to be one of the most memorable days of our lives! <3 Here's a little sneak preview:
  • My wonderful friend gave birth to her sweet baby girl this past weekend. She is absolutely adorable in photos, I can't even imagine how much I'm going to fall in love with her when I meet her in person!
Now I have some very exciting things to discuss and document on this blog, so I hope I will be posting a little more often :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Instagram / Pinterest Randoms

I have a bunch of random things this to share this week so this post is going to turn into a Pinterest / Instagram collage ....

1.  Hydrangea Wreath: This blog makes this wreath look so simple to make and very cheap! I would love to make this for Paula's bridal shower or even for my own spring decoration. Love!

2. I love painting my nails and doing nail art - I wish I had an endless supply of nail polish colors.

3. I took this photo for the bobby pin because it's a cute subtle way to spice up just plain old pinning back my bangs. And then the geniuses over at The Beauty Department posted this to show us all how to make the bobby pins stay. As a side note - this bobby pin is from a friend of mine's Etsy shop called Vintage Bobbie - they have some really cute hair and jewelery accessories - go check it out!

4. Mason Jar salads: I got the idea from Pinterest (of course!) and tried it twice this week for my lunches at work. It really keeps the salad fresh and the lettuce doesn't soggy since the dressing is at the bottom. Just shake it up and pour it onto a plate (or eat it right out of the jar like me) when you're ready to eat!

5. How cute is this old whiskey bottle vase? This was taken at happy hour in SF at Aventine. Their truffeled popcorn is TO DIE FOR! Plus it's only $3!! yum.

6. Something fabulous happened this week. Marc and I booked a 5 night cruise to the Caribbean!!!!! It was so cheap and we both are in desperate need of a vacation, so we booked it on a whim! We will be cruising in paradise at the end of May. This worked out perfectly because it's the week after our 3 year anniversary <3 SOOO EXCITED!!!! 58 days! :)

My next post will be: how NOT to spray paint vases... so come back soon!

Happy Friday!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pins of the Week

Since Pinterest is another latest obsession of mine, I will start a new weekly post to share my favorite Pins of the week from Pinterest. But for this first one, I am just going to highlight my favorite Pinterest projects that I've either completed or hope to do soon! The titles of each one link to the pin on my pinboard, happy pinning!!

If you don't follow me on Pinterest already, click my button to the left!

1.   Makeup rack out of cake stands. I have this cool gold charger plate that I found at a thrift store that I would love to use for this. I could either spray paint it white or leave it gold for some flair!

2.   Neclace holder out of door knobs - I made this one actually! It looks very similar to this and I love it, I love that it serves as decor and a jewelery rack. Here's a pic of the one I made:

3.   Spray painted vases: I have 2 vases (in obnoxious orange and purple) that I will be spray painting white this weekend!

4.   Detailed spray paint: I am contemplating adding these designs to my vases before painting them for an added touch of creativity... we'll see how crafty I'm feeling!

5.   Dry erase calendar with paint chips: I picked up some paint chips in all shades of blue at Home Depot this week when I was buying the spray paint for #3/4. Now I just need to find an old frame I can use for this and it will be super cute! I love to be organized with a big calendar and this one is way cuter than the ugly white dry erase one on our fridge currently.

6.   Braids: I was bored after work one evening and tried out this do from Loved it! This one is actually of my hair, not the pin... :)

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A bit of an obsession.

I have a new obsession. I think I have adopted it to attempt to ward off other obsessions creeping into my brain...but that's a whole other post.

New obsession: house hunting!

Now this is a little premature as Marc and I both know we aren't going to buy a house as bf/gf, but it is just so fun to look! This week, I took it a little too far. I went ahead and got us pre-qualified for a loan... yes, I did. My reasoning for this was so that when I do my daily browsing for the perfect house, I will know what price range I can look in.

After taking a step back and realizing I might be freaking a certain someone out by this...I am putting on the brakes!! Now, I am not slamming on the brakes, I'm just lightly stepping on it :) Home ownership is definitely a big step and I know we will make it someday, but I want to make sure I'm not rushing it. Let's face it, when I get excited about something you have to all but chain me to the floor to keep me from marching full speed ahead! I just like to be working on a project - to plan and make decisions. I think it's a sort of thrill ride for me, maybe I'm addicted to planning? Maybe I'm the last one to realize that about myself too...

With that being said, I will try to keep my HGTV watching to a minimum (or to just when I'm home alone), stop showing poor Marc my "dream house" of the day, press pause on my loan application process, and stop emailing our realtor. Yes...I even found us a realtor. Obsess much?!

Needless to say, my mantra for the week is:

Good things happen to those who wait.

Be patient, self!

Maybe I should go out to Chinese food so I can try for a fortune cookie with this message inside...? It would surely be a sign from above!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I have been so scatterbrained this week. I don't know what it is, but something just has my brain going a million miles a minute. I guess you could call this my "Thursday Randoms" - even though I didn't make it to Thursday:
  • I know Courtney on the Bachelor is crazy... but it was recently brought to my attention  that she reminds me of someone I know! Someone who is a friend! And not because she has portrayed herself as a nut case (with the help of some editing on behalf of ABC)!! More like her body language. It made me like Courtney way more when I thought of her like my friend :)
  • The time in my life has officially started where everyone around me is getting engaged, married or having babies and I LOVE IT!! I am obsessed with all things wedding and baby so I couldn't be more thrilled to have more love and happiness in this world.
  • SVUAA. I have relapsed. My freshman year in college I became addicted. Not to the usual type of thing college kids get addicted to, but to the one and only Law and Order: Special Victims Unit!!! I had started to wean myself off this show the past few years but during the past weeks, I relapsed. I am watching 2-3 every night after work. Somebody needs to stage and intervention.
  • Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. I was in Anaheim for work last Friday (across the street from Disneyland to be exact!) and I was in such an ecstatic mood all day long. I think it was osmosis.
  • I love babies. I got to play with the cutest little 6 month old baby girl ever on Saturday. As lame as it may sound to some, it was the highlight of my week! She is so cute and she's already crawling and pulling herself up on things to stand up! Her parents are going to have their hands full!! Marc and I get to babysit her next week, I am so excited to play with her and have her all to myself for a few hours! :)
  • Draw something!! This is such a fun game on the iPhone. I just started playing and love it already!
  • I am SO excited for One Tree Hill to be on tonight! I can't believe there are only 4 episodes left of that entire show!! It has been with me for many years and I don't know what I will do without it. A big thanks to Rene for introducing me to the show!! :)
That's all I can really think to let out right now... that is ok for me to be sharing with the world at least. There's always more, but this helps to just type out some things.

Happy Hump Day!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Another year older

No, not me -- this week, Marc turned 26! To celebrate, I took Monday off and we headed to the snow for some long overdue tubing at Squaw Valley. This was our first trip to the snow together and we had a blast! I hadn't been to the snow since high school! The weather was beautiful. It was so warm that I ended up taking off my jacket and gloves and just tubing in my ski pants and a long sleeved shirt. Top it off with a little sunburn and the trip was a success!

Birthday boy!

When we got home that evening, we decided to invite his twin brother over for some birthday dinner. Marc and I made a delicious meal! Mexican Tortilla Chicken with sides of Mexican rice and refried black beans. The chicken was totally invented on the spot and turned out delicious! The recipes are below if you want to recreate them! Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos - probably because we gobbled it up so fast - I found this photo on the internet and it looked sorta similar to this, but without the sour cream on top:

Mexican Tortilla Chicken:
3 chicken breasts
1 c. salsa
1/2 c canned corn
1 tsp cumin
hot sauce (to taste) – we like Tapatio
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

Combine salsa, corn, cumin and hot sauce in a small bowl. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish. Top each breast with salsa/corn mixture, crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then broil for a few to get the cheese/chips crispy.

Refried Black Beans:

2 cups whole cooked black beans (or canned)
3 tbsp water
1/4 cup shredded cheese
hot sauce

Put black beans in a sauce pan on medium heat with water (use as much water as you need to make them the consistency you want), when it heats up, give them a good mash. After they're the consistency you like, add a little cheese and hot sauce and stir and let simmer for a few minutes to meld flavors. That's it!

Grammie's Mexican Rice:
Grammie taught me how to make this when I was just old enough to help in the kitchen. It never fails to impress dinner guests with my Mexican flair! :)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup white rice
1 chopped white or yellow onion
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons Caldo de Tomate - tomato boullion powder (or 2 cubes)

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil. Add rice and onion, stir frequently until browned. This just gives it a little extra flavor, don't burn the rice! 5-10 minutes is plenty. While the rice is browning, dissolve caldo de tomate in hot water. Transfer rice/onion and broth to rice cooker (or sauce pan on stove top), push the button and let it cook!

Needless to say, it was a great birthday! I always say "thank you for being born!" because I always love an excuse to celebrate and do something fun!

Happy (belated) Birthday Marc!! <3

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

Here it is!

I am officially ready to reveal my blog now that I've spent some time learning how to customize it thanks mostly to Mrs. to Mama for writing this post. It motivated me to sit down and follow her simple step-by-step instructions to make this blog my own. Now I am only just beginning my journey into the blog world - well I've been reading for years, but never writing my own. So HERE WE GO!!!

I hope my posts aren't too random and substanceless ... I am just getting in the swing of things and hopefully this blog will help me document my life in these fun years of my twenties! :)

With that said, come on over and follow me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To snooze, or not to snooze...

To start, I am not the most religious person in the world, I consider myself more spiritual. But I was raised Catholic; I went to private school for 2nd though 6th grades, had my First Communion, was Confirmed and attended church on most Sundays until college. Once I went away to school, I didn't make an effort to get involved in a church and would only really go with my family on major holidays (Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day). Throughout the years though, I have still carried on the tradition of giving something up/taking something on for Lent.

**that's the backstory to this post**

In the past, I've given up ice cream, soda, and other typical stuff, and taken on tasks such as waking up 15 minutes early every morning to do sit ups, doing "good deeds," etc.

This year, for Lent, I will be doing 2 things. #1 is to follow the mantra: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Marc and I have gotten into a bad habit of silly name calling and having short tempers - nothing worthy of a reality TV show or anything, just more than should be a part of a playful and loving relationship like ours. <3 I'm thinking this won't be too difficult since all I have to do is love the man I love and take a calmer approach to any disagreements we might have. :)

**sidenote: as I Googled this phrase, I've been informed by Wikipedia that this is called The Thumperian Principle, named after Thumper from Bambi. Now that's cute! :)

However, for #2, I am taking on a much more difficult task... I will be {attempting} to give up pressing the snooze button in the morning! dun dun dun!

Let me tell you how severely I overuse the poor snooze. Each night, I think about what time, at the very latest, I can wake up and still make it to work on time (and by on-time, I mean 10 minutes late... oops!). Then, I subtract 45 minutes and set 2 alarms on my phone to go off 5 minutes apart. This extra 45 minutes is to allow myself plenty of time to snooze and psych myself up to get out of bed in the morning.

I don't know when or how I got into this routine, but the person who I feel sorry for the most in this story is Marc. The poor guy has to sleep through my alarm going off every 5 minutes for 45 minutes until I finally get the motivation to drag my booty out of bed! I give him so much credit because he has never complained about this once! I don't know how he does it because it's not like he's a great sleeper - it takes him a long time to fall asleep and he wakes very easily, where I usually fall asleep within seconds and sleep like a rock!

So here we are on Ash Wednesday and Lent begins. I was all psyched up to get up right when my alarm went off and nix my usage of the snooze. 6:30 rolls around and... instead of pressing snooze, my genius self decides to just TURN OFF the alarm. Because, technically, that's not pressing snooze, right?? Wrong!! I proceeded to sleep an additional half hour and was late to work. Of course. I failed miserably.

After this morning's display of zero self-control, I am determined to do better tomorrow! It just so happens that tomorrow I need to wake up at 3am to catch a 6am flight for a work trip, so it will be that much more of a challenge for me. I am hoping this additional challenge will give me that extra push I need to get my butt in gear tomorrow morning!

Wish me luck!!