Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's a day of thirties

Today is my 30th post this month.
It's November 30th.
I'm still participating in the 30 for 30 remix
In the last 30 days my readership has gone up by 30.7% (Hi new friends!)

My most popular posts of the month were my Gift Guides
(followed closely by my 30 x 30 Round ups)

I'm so glad I finished National Blog Posting Month!

Statistics aside, this month has been a lot of fun, and definitely motivated me to blog more often.
(it also made me realize how many lurkers there are out there--stop by and say hello!)

I'll be back soon with some Thanksgiving weekend fun, but here's a fist pump for successful completion!

To my fellow NaBloPoMo'ers, how'd you do?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I have a confession to make: I have not gotten the holiday bug yet.

All over Twitter I've been reading about people turning on Christmas music, setting up decorations, and shopping.

I'm just not ready for it!

I haven't been a huge Christmas person the last few years, but other than the freezing temps here lately, it just doesn't seem like time yet. (doesn't it always creep up on us?)

(a bowl of ornaments I put on our mantle in lieu of a tree last year)

We also have limited decorations, and E's not interested in getting a tree since we won't be here on Christmas day (We'll be back in the Chicago area with my family)
I will probably put up our few things in hopes it will get me in the holiday spirit.

Thanks to Amazon.com (and their wishlists), retailmenot.com, and my laptop for giving me a stress-free shopping experience, which will commence tonight.

Are you ready for the holiday season or is it taking you a while to get in the mood this year, like me?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

30 for 30 Roundup: Week Three [Cheater]

Where is the time going? I can't believe I'm almost up to day 22!

I have to admit a couple of cheats this week. Before taking my family all over San Diego I realized I needed a more practical pair of shoes and added my rocket dogs to the mix for this week.


I also added in a casual yellow shirt I got on Target clearance.
I feel slightly guilty about this, but sharing it takes the shame away. so now you know!

I did a terrible job of taking outfit photos, so some of these are just pictures of us out and about that I had to severely crop so you could see my outfits.


I have been so busy with my family, but I can't wait to share our adventures with you this week.
In the meantime, here are some outtakes and close-ups.

Day 16 was my favorite outfit so far of the challenge. I haven't worn tights since we've lived out in Cali, and it was nice to have a brisk enough day that required them.

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Otherwise, I didn't plan nearly enough warm clothes--so lots of scarf accessories have been necessary!

A good use for the stump

eaaarrrly morning



I love this necklace so, so much.

Hope you all had a happy weekend!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Eats

Time is tight with 6 visitors here, but I want to finish this month strong!

Here are a few of the recipes I made for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Pumpkin Cream Pie
(the bourbon really makes the difference--don't skip out!)

Turkey Gravy

E's mom handled the turkey, cranberry sauce/jello and a blackberry pie, and my aunt brought stuffing and a veggie casserole.

The Thanksgiving classics never get old, but I am wondering why no one makes any of these dishes the rest of the year!
I think that must be remedied.

Did you cook for Thanksgiving? What did you contribute?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Story of Us: Opportunity & 4000 miles

Catch up on our story here.

When the spring term resumed I was taking 18 credits, a section editor for my school paper, and working a campus job. I wasn't getting involved enough on campus to really meet people and make friends.
As time ticked by through winter, I grew increasingly dissatisfied with my college choice (I had chosen it primarily to avoid a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend). I wasn't enjoying my program and started looking into transferring to another school, even though it would mean an extra year before graduation.

Studying, circa Dec. 2006

Things were tense and unsettled with my then-boyfriend of a year. We had trouble finding common ground, and I began to realize our expectations didn't mesh.

All these tensions built up into a big argument in early February. I effectively said I was over the relationship, without breaking up. Laid out my reasons why it wasn't working. I was so proud of myself for standing up after months of deference and passivity.
We had a rocky few weeks and broke up in early March.

I didn't know how to be anything but crushed. Despite the slow breakdown of the relationship, it had still been my first. I allowed myself to succumb to the depression of a first break up and was having a rough time.

In the midst of that, I knew that my roommate was still staying in close touch with E and Alex in the UK, and I occasionally popped in on their Skype chats.
But I'm still not sure I can pinpoint why, a few weeks after the breakup, I sent E a random message alluding to my singleness, asking for prayer, and wishing him well.

I didn't think I was expecting a response, but when a few days passed and I hadn't heard anything, I found myself feeling pretty disappointed...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

With Thanks

My family has arrived!

I'm so thrilled to show them around my new home during what will probably be their only visit (at least all together) while we live here in SoCal.

Today our focus isn't so much on what we're thankful for, as much as Who we're thankful to.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a wonderful day of food, fellowship and gratitude for the blessings in your life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DIY Gift Guide: Necklaces

Check out previous DIY gift guides here.

One of the things I'm learning about my 30 for 30 challenge is that I have a serious lack of accessories. Hopefully use of these tutorials will help me remedy this.
Today, it's all about Martha!

First, a necklace I made with crafty cousin C on our family reunion.


We painted different sized wooden beads (purchased from a discount craft website) with acrylic paint.
If I make another, I might try this dyeing method, or at least coat the paint with polyeurathane or some kind of sealant.

To make the flower, you cut a strip of fabric (mine was about 36 inches long and 4 inches wide)
fold it in half, and begin twisting, turning and hot-gluing into a rosebud shape

Then I hot-glued the flower on to the bead. String with ribbon (next time I will definitely use silk because the organza ribbon we used is kind of scratchy)

BONUS: you can wear the flower on either side!

via Martha Stewart
The video tutorial here is great--what an easy project! Just take silk or another thin material, sew a long thin tube and wrap and knot the beads.

I like my necklaces to hang a lot lower so I would probably double the length.

also compliments of Martha Stewart

This one is a little more involved as the pearls and fabric are dyed int he process. Dye scares me, so I'm not sure I'll try this project in color (I think white pearls and a bright colored ribbon would work, don't you?)

Have you ever DIYed jewelry for yourself or others? Would you try it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Last night my MIL and I went to Costco to stock up for Thanksgiving and my family's visit and
E asked me to get our tires rotated--only to find out they needed replacing.

This is just another expense in a growing pile of them. We've spent about $800 on car repair in the last six months, and I got a ticket for coasting through a stop sign (UGH).

Money is becoming far more stressful than I imagined it being. I planned for some car repair, but not that much. We have an emergency fund, but it's pretty modest. It's so frustrating to take one step forward and one step back. It seems like every small financial victory is followed by defeat.

But last night, E put it all into perspective for me with one simple reminder.

We have more than we need--we can always survive on less than what we do now.
And what good does it do to worry and stress? Tomorrow money might be the least of our concerns.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Story of Us: we meet

Whenever we spend evenings with new couple friends, I always ask to hear their stories.
Have you ever asked a couple to tell their love story? They interject with silly details, laugh about the early embarrassing moments, and smile with gleaming eyes in remembrance of the romance.

To me, it's the sweetest story every time.

Inspired by Beka, I thought I'd share our story. It's not as exciting or dramatic as some, but it's ours.
(E is a much better storyteller than I, so I may at times interject his side of things from the story he wrote on our wedding website.)

A fact you may not know about me, for background: I was home schooled through high school, and started college a little earlier than most. I finished two years at a community college before transferring to the school where I met E.

Fall of 2006
I had started at a new school, my parents' alma mater, about 45 minutes from their house. With private school tuition making me a big-time debtor, I thought I would be a thrifty student and commute to school. It became clear within a few weeks that commuting was not going to give me the college experience I wanted. I found it hard to meet people on campus, and I had no place for down time in between classes other than the library.
So because of that, and because I felt ready for a measure of freedom from living at home, I asked the dean of students to find a place for me in the campus dorms.

(E's perspective) A few of my girl-friends had been informed that a new roommate was moving into the residence hall three weeks into semester. The one thing we all knew: she was home-schooled.

The first question I asked about her was, “Is she cute?” because most of us consider a “cute homeschooler” to be an oxymoron. But after meeting Katie, I knew that I had stumbled across one of the greatest paradoxes of my life’s experience: an attractive homeschooler.

Someday I'll talk about all the home schooling stereotypes I've been subjected to--but as you can see--E was pretty skeptical of me before we met.

Which was no loss to me. At the time I was a dating a police officer4 years my senior that I'd met in a local music scene (he was a drummer). It was a fairly serious relationship and I found it difficult to balance college campus life with a more established boyfriend who had moved into his own place.
As a result, I missed out on a lot of the typical college experiences, and didn't spend as much time on campus as I'd planned.

But one of my roommates was particularly close to E and his best friend Alex, and often invited me to hang out with them or eat together in the cafeteria.
We saw each other only occasionally and E always seemed particularly friendly, if not flirty.

I soaked up the attention as a carefree co-ed, but found myself finding more excuses to hang out with my new group of friends.

(E's hilarious perspective): It wasn’t long before I was displaying my charm and wit, only to discover that Katie was “seeing” someone else. Player that I am, I realized that the only way to win this lady’s heart was to play a little game of hard-to-get. So, I packed my bags and flew to England in order to show Katie the E-shaped vacuum which would be left by my absence.

At Christmas break we all parted ways. Cait heading to a semester in Spain, and E and Alex heading to spend a semester in Oxford.

I wasn't sure that any of us would go back to being friends like we had that semester, and I settled in for a very depressing spring...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 for 30 Roundup: Week Two

Tomorrow I'm half way through the 30 for 30 challenge (!)

I noticed late last week that some of the bloggers I'm following from the challenge appeared to be posting a couple days behind me. After looking through the details of the remix, it looks like Kendi didn't mention whether or not weekends counted in the mixing.
She doesn't include weekends, but I (and lots of others) have! It's the difference between finishing in 30 days consecutively, or 6 weeks--but getting a break on the weekends.

At any rate, here are remixes 8-14

Week 2

This week proved to be a little more challenging as my picks were more meant for warmer weather than we experienced. A few days, (today especially!), left me a little chilly.

I have already become a true Californian where 55 and raining feels like the dead of winter.


necklace is DIY


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

TV and time

I have a much greater respect for people who blog daily. Since starting NaBloPoMo I feel like I am constantly trying to relate what I'm thinking and doing into my next blog post. It's' a lot of pressure!

Still, here I am on November 20th and still going, (albeit not going strong).

I have been hearing from a LOT of people lately, both in real life and in the blog world, talk about Modern Family. I currently only watch a couple shows every week: Community, Parenthood and 30 Rock.

We don't have have cable and don't watch any prime-time tv, so I rely on Netflix and Hulu. Generally we keep TV viewing to a minimum because its so easy to get sucked in and spend hours in front of it.
But I might be convinced to pick up Modern Family if I keep hearing what I do from such a diverse mix of people!

Speaking of tv shows--Glee, what gives? I'm kind of over you.

What are your top three tv shows?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Hosts

On Wednesday, all 6 members of my immediate family descend into San Diego for the Thanksgiving weekend. I can't wait!


For privacy purposes, and because I like dorky blog nicknames:
Brother Java, White Choc, Mamalatte, Caramel, Papalatte, Latte and E(spresso?)

can't forget White Choc's new hubby, BIL Americano!

I've spent the last few weeks trying to plan activities that all of them (with very different interests) would enjoy. We only have about two and a half days to sight see, with Thanksgiving and travel time. Here are some of our must-stops for the long weekend.

Peterson's Donut Corner

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(p.s. click on photos to see sources)

You can probably tell some of these places are our favorites, because we take all our visitors to them :-)

Are you hosting relatives for thanksgiving, traveling or staying nearby?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Lesson in Greek & Marriage

Did you know that the English word "love" translates into 4 different meanings in ancient Greek?The common ones used when referring to marriage are Agape love (unconditional, self-giving love) as well as Eros love (intimate love).

Sometimes I have to remind myself that even when the Eros fades, I express Agape, because that's what we promised to do. And both are necessary to keep our marriage alive.
It can be really hard. There are days when I wonder what I have gotten myself into. (I'm sure E has them too)

Pew Research came out with a poll today that said 39% of Americans feel that marriage is obsolete. But I have to say that since getting married, I've come to appreciate marriage (both mine and others) a lot more than I had before. I see its value, and how important it is to nurture and guard the relationship.

Marriage has been singularly the most frustrating, agonizing, intimate and rewarding relationship I could have imagined. But I wouldn't trade it in for anything else.

(I'm sorry I kind of geeked out with that tidbit of ancient Greek. I can't be married to a theological student without picking up something! But this is also a preview of something to come)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DIY Gift Guide: Felt Crafts

I haven't worked much with felt, but when I saw these projects I immediately bookmarked them! These are great gifts for family members :)

The wreath couldn't be a simpler or cheaper DIY project. (Thanks for sharing, Danielle!) So many size & color options. Full tutorial: DIY yarn wreath with felt flowers

The second project I wanted to share is one from the Etsy's handmade blog, The Storque
Pillows are such a fun addition to any room, but add a bright color and ruffles, and they can be the center of attention!
Tutorial here: Rosette Cluster Pillow

This one would be a bit more time consuming, but since I already have some pillow-making experience, it doesn't sound too difficult!

I'm thinking of making a couple wreaths for my mom/MIL and the ruffled pillow for my sisters.
What DIY adventures are you tackling this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday in San Diego

My usual Saturdays consist of sleeping in (until 8-9am), going to a local coffee shop with E and 3-4 friends for several hours. Then we go home and I do chores, work in my garden and read while E studies. I love my low key weekends, but love when the routine is interrupted.

Last week I realized that a Groupon I had for the Fig Tree Cafe in Pacific Beach was expiring, so I emailed my MIL asking her to go along with me since she had recommended the cafe to me in the first place.


We were nervous about weather, (there is outdoor seating only) but in true SoCal fashion, the sun burst out that morning and by the time we arrived for breakfast it was over 70 and not a cloud in the sky.


We split an order of waffles with maple brown sugar apple topping, and their classic Windnsea omelet which is cooked with fresh mushrooms, tomato and spinach.

plus toast, fruit and potatoes!


I enjoyed a latte (of course!) and the sunshine.


I’m so thankful for a great MIL who lives so close to us!

That afternoon E and I caught The Winter’s Tale at the Old Globe using their discount program for those under 30.


the view right outside the theatre

The performance was great and since we’ve caught so many of them this year, we recognized a lot of the actors from previous Shakespeare plays. (we even sat in the audience near the star of Taming of the Shrew!)

The play got out just in time for us to catch the sunset at an early dinner at Level C, the outdoor eating area of Island Prime on Harbor Drive. The setting was gorgeous, and the food delicious. It was E and I’s first non-fast food date night in a long while.


No food pics because I think E would be a little bit embarrassed of his blogging wife. I got a roasted lamb on a rosemary roll and it was incredible—especially the sweet relish topping. E got a burger.


We were stuffed but this view was definitely the dessert!


We can be total homebodies, but it was nice to get home around 9pm and have time to unwind.

Do you go out most weekends, or is it a more rare occasion?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Everything is more romantic in Italy

Have you ever watched a movie and spent as much time admiring the scenery as enjoying the plot?
The other night I mentioned I watched Letters to Juliet. It's a sweet movie about an aspiring magazine writer on a trip to Verona where she discovers the fabled house of Juliet--including a wall which bears the letters of lovesick women seeking the advice of Juliet.
Much of the movie takes place on the Tuscan countryside where the main character finds herself on an adventure to find the true love of a woman who wrote Juliet a letter 50 years earlier.

I loved the movie not only for the sweet storyline, but the amazing views of Verona and Tuscany. While E and I didn't have a chance to see Verona on our honeymoon, we spent several days touring the towns of Tuscany and admiring beautiful views, such as this one:



The film even included a scene in Siena's city square:



This view does incredible things to the romantic in anyone

*all photos taken by me on our honeymoon, June '09

Next girls night, pull out this movie and a bottle of chianti--you won't regret it!

(and if it leaves you craving more, Under the Tuscan Sun is another movie that wins in romantic Italian scenery)


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