Tuesday, December 4, 2012

[Listen] staying in the moment

Staying in the moment is something I think most people struggle with, and I am no exception. I sometimes wish I had been born in a different era - one that allowed more reflection and fewer distractions. Technology can be so invasive (I guess we make it so), and the fast pace of life around me forces me to constantly be looking forward instead of looking at the present. (That and the fact that people are just always asking - "what's next?").

 For me, staying in the moment this year has been leaving my camera in its bag; not seeing all of my experiences through the lens of a camera, but just enjoying the view from here. It's amazing the perspective you get when the pressure is off to capture the moment in photo. Sometimes, things are best left to memory. This doesn't make for good blogging, Christmas cards, or photo books. But it has made an impact on how I experience life, travel, and special occasions. And I hope it will make an impact on how I write - describing my experiences with words instead of visuals.

I'm also trying to stay in the moment at work. It's been a restless few months and really hard for me to focus on tasks at hand. I've been a day dreamer (and, to be honest, lazy), but not being in my ideal career is not an excuse to become apathetic. I've also discovered (over and over again) that multi-tasking makes for frustration and feeling (being!) unaccomplished. I'm not the only one who thinks so. So a goal for 2013 is to stay in the moment at work. (here's some advice I'm hoping to implement)

I'm participating in:

Join me!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

[create] a haiku for two oh one two

graduation came!
freedom has been good for us
wish we knew what's next

and, for good measure, hopes for 2013:

peace and contentment
traveling to new places
aunt and uncle, we

I'm on the team of #WEverb12, a way to reflect on the year past, and look forward to the year coming through a series of prompts. Kimberly has done another amazing job with this project, and I'm excited for the chance/excuse to write more regularly again. It seems like when I take a break from writing, I get out of the habit. And the only way to beat writer's block, is to keep writing! SO here it goes...

The prompts are divided into five categories: live, create, grow, hope and listen.Whether you post one three prompts or all thirty-one, on instagram, facebook, or your blog, I hope you'll consider joining us! You can sign up as a participant here, and also signup to get the prompts into your email inbox.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

San Diego Craft Night & Book Signing with New Dress a Day!

[Another promotional post, and then I promise to write things that will interest those of you that don't live in the San Diego area.]

Tricia and I have been long-time readers and fans of the popular blog New Dress a Day. Marisa Lynch recently published a book about her thrifting/DIYing adventures and Tricia asked me to help her put on a craft night and a book signing party with Marisa at Kettle Coffee & Tea! (I'm geeking out I get to meet her next week).
If you live in the San Diego/Orange County area, we would love to have you join us on Tuesday, December 4th to create a one-of-a-kind ornament with (what else?) thrifted, repurposed materials, and to hang out with Marisa.

The craft portion of the event (from 6pm-7pm) has a limited number of spaces, so please register to let us know you're coming. You can save $2 on the event fee if you select "Other Payment Options" and pay at the door. The fee includes 1 coffee drink and pastries from Kettle, as well as the supplies and tutorial for the ornament you take home.

If you want to join us for just the party - come by between 7-8:30pm to meet Marisa! Books will be available for purchase at the event and you can get them signed.

More details can be found on Eventbrite!

Tuesday, December 4
Craft Night and Book Signing with Marisa Lynch of New Dress a Day

Crafting, 6pm: $10 at the door to make an ornament with Marisa and the ladies of  Latte Love Blog (Katie) & Twinkle and Twine (Rebekah). Coffee and pastries included!
Book Signing Party, 7pm: Bring your copy of New Dress a Day* to be signed by the author and bring your consignment clothing for a free consult!

Kettle Coffee and Tea
119 E. Grand Ave
Escondido, CA 92027

email any questions to me at latteloveblog at gmail

Hope to see you there!

*affiliate link

Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome, Kettle Coffee & Tea!

When I said goodbye to my co-worker, Tricia a few weeks ago, it was for bigger and much better things. I'm excited to announce that this morning Kettle Coffee & Tea opened on 119 E. Grand Avenue in Escondido!

Watching Trish and her husband Phillip the past few weeks has been inspiring, exhausting, and enormously revealing about life as a small business owner. They have spent 20 hours a day menu-planning, recipe testing, employment law training, wall painting, and floor scrubbing. (I think I can speak for them when I say it has not been all glamorous). E and I have also been impressed by how well they've worked together after less than a year of marriage, and definitively decided that we would either kill or divorce each other if we tried to open a business together.

This is a shameless plug but I do hope that if any of you guys live in the North County of San Diego, you'll swing by and check it out! Here are some of the details:

Kettle Coffee & Tea will be located on Grand Ave in the historic district of downtown Escondido, CA.  Our shop will feature:
    •  A local award-winning roaster who offers hand-crafted, direct trade, single origin coffees as well as custom blends 
    • A variety of brewing methods, including a pour-over bar, french press, and Chemex! Loose-leaf teas by the ounce and by the cup. 
    • A delightful selection of sweet and savory treats from local bakeries and our own kitchen. 
    • A seasonal menu for breakfast and lunch, including pastries, paninis, sandwiches, melts, and salads.

Kettle has a Kickstarter account to help them raise money for all the extras that go along with a new business, including a new sign to go on the storefront. There are some great rewards to be had (especially for locals) that are perfect as Christmas gifts!

If you haven't heard of Kickstarter (I hadn't), here's some more information on how it works: http://kettlecoffeeandtea.com/2012/11/19/fund-and-support-us-through-kickstarter/

Beyond the excitement of having a friend start a business, it's also exciting to see a great coffee shop open up in the area (10 minutes away from work). They're serving Klatch Coffee - which is a nationally recognized award-winning coffee roaster in Riverside County that does direct trade with coffee bean growers all over the world.

The couple are also seriously crafty, and made their own pour-over coffee stand, which I enjoyed use of this morning.
Tricia making Kettle's first pour-over coffee for me this morning!

Kettle Coffee & Tea
119 E. Grand Ave
Escondido, CA 92027
m-th 6:30am-7pm
f-st 6:30am-9pm
s closed

find them online here:

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's not goodbye, it's see you later

Today we had a farewell party for my favorite coworker, Trish (the one who has been bringing in lots of goodies lately). We've worked together in a very small office since I started here three years ago and we've become good friends, (see her amazing DIY wedding here) so it was a pretty sad occasion...

But her new job is a extremely exciting entrepreneurial adventure just a few miles down the road. I'm not fooling myself, it won't be the same at work without her, but I'm thrilled as she gets ready to embark on a new journey that I'll be announcing here in about two weeks.
(I'm happy to be a little involved in getting things started and planning an event with her for early December.) :-)

Stay tuned, San Diegans! (particularly if you're in North County)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Style on the Road: Planning and Packing

I've traveled more often than I stayed at home in September and October, and I have to admit I'm not very good at trying to balance my normal life with flying all over the country. Two friends' weddings, one trip to see family, three work trips and it feels so good to be home!


While on the road I try to travel light and in style, and I've gotten a few questions about it, so I thought I'd share some of my packing tips and tricks.

photo.JPG photo.JPG

On the plane
Some guidelines for what to wear when you're flying.
  • Classy, in case of a first class upgrade (!)
  • Comfortable, because all of my flights are cross-country and warm, because planes are cold
  • Versatile, so I can rewear it, because I pack with only a carry on - even for a ten day trip
  • Wrinkle-free, so I can look presentable if I have to meet anyone after 9 hours of travel
[One thing I should note is that I'm a grad school recruiter, so the dress code when I'm on the road can be pretty laid back. I never wear heels on a flight, or a suit.]

My favorite ensemble is:
Travel wear

Travel wear by lattelove featuring slim fit pants
*denotes affiliate link

In my suitcase
  1. Shoes. By far the hardest thing to pack is shoes - they're less easy to remix and take up so much space! On my last trip I was gone for ten days and my trip included a wedding, a visit to my family, and work - in places where temps ranged from 40-75. I would have preferred to have about seven pairs with, but I forced myself to bring only four: dressy sandals, black pumps, flat boots and brogues. Always wear boots on the plane, because they're a beast to pack.
  2. Clothes that Mix and Match. This seems obvious, but is always harder in practice. The only way to guarantee what I'm bringing will work in several outfits is for me to layout all those outfits on my bed before packing. Every item needs to be worn at least twice - cardigan, blazer and pants should be remixable 3 times on a long trip. The only exception for me was the dress I wore to the wedding.
  3. Accessories. The only way I will pack or wear accessories is if I plan them as carefully as I plan my outfits.One of the most frustrating parts of travel for me is when I don't have my arsenal of belts, scarves, necklaces, earrings and barrettes or headbands to choose from each day. I take two belts - a utility and an accent belt, and put my jewelry in a cloth roll I bought on Etsy. I usually wear a scarf on the plane.
  4. Folding. I'm a fan of the rolling method, but I don't roll everything. Pants and dresses always get rolled and placed on the bottom, but tops do not. I usually bundle pack tops (see #2 here) where I stack all my tops together and fold them around another item.
  5. Packing: Some pro packers like the idea of putting clothing in a large clear ziploc bag so you can compress the air out of as much of your clothes as possible, and compartmentalize. I like this idea for delicate tops and shoes, but I don't pack anything else in plastic bags. I pack rolled items at the bottom with shoes, tops towards the bottom of the suitcase and toiletries go at the top of the suitcase near the zipper for easy access when going through security.
  6. Toiletries. Pack light on makeup. I take the smallest toiletries bag I own and typically bring one foundation-type product, mascara, eyeliner, two eye shadows, one blush and three brushes. Other than the foundation it fits in a snack-size ziploc bag. When I'm staying in a hotel or visiting my family I never pack a hair dryer, or shampoo/conditioner/body wash.
  7. Outerwear. Most of the time I'm traveling from a temperate climate (San Diego) to a colder climate, and have to pack a coat that I don't want to wear during travel. I travel with the coat thrown over my arm or my tote bag and then after loading in my carry on suitcase, I find a place where I can lay it flat over other items in the overhead bin. (*you should always to try to this after the plane has been boarded, because there may not be room, or you may have your stuff squished when someone tries to squeeze their luggage in too small a space.)
  8. Extras. Don't forget the little things! I always use a packing list, even though I know exactly what I'm packing so I don't forget things like: socks, the appropriate underwear, bandaids, feminine products, umbrella, glasses, medications.

Any questions? I feel like there are million resources out there with packing advice (here is one of my favorite collections: http://www.academichic.com/tag/packing/ ), but I hope this was helpful!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's Next? Part 2

It's hard to believe it's been four months since student-life was our reality. It's been nice, but a lot busier than we planned! This post has been half-written for a while, but I've gotten some questions about what's coming up for us, so I thought I'd finish it and share a bit of where we're at in life right now.

Since E graduated with his Master of Divinity degree, he has been doing a few odd jobs here and there and working as an intern at our church. About two weeks ago the librarian at his school retired, and they offered E the job. He's also teaching two courses here - but both gigs will be up in January. We are so thankful he has such a great job for the time in between. (but I'm still not ready to think about student loans coming due next month...)

He spent almost all summer preparing for his licensure exam at the local presbytery meeting. The church denomination we are in (Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA) requires a process to qualify candidates to become pastors. Usually in the last year of, or after graduation from seminary, future pastors are given an extensive written and oral exam to test their qualifications for ministry. If they pass, they are licensed by the presbytery (a group of local PCA pastors and elders). Last week E sustained his exam!! (and did extremely well, I might add :-). Our pastor said he hit it out of the park.)

Now that he's licensed, he can start to look for a call to a pastoral position in a church and we've been asked more than ever - what's the plan?
I'm torn between knowing he needs to become a pastor (ahh!), and being really comfortable where we are right now. We love the San Diego area, we love our church, we both have stable jobs - so it's hard to imagine moving away. But at the same time, knowing this school thing was temporary, I'm getting antsy for a new adventure.

It feels like we spend every other night talking, praying, and dreaming about the different options for the future: short-term missions, long-term missions, planting a church, college chaplaincy, solo pastoring, in an urban church, rural church, east coast, west coast, overseas - who knows? It's weird and unnerving not knowing where we'll be in one year, five years or fifteen years. But it's also exciting and comforting for us to know that God has it figured out for us.

In the meantime, we are enjoying a lifestyle that doesn't involve E studying every night, and a tiny bit of extra income to start paying down our loans. I'm in the middle of travel season for work as a recruiter, and LOVE this time of year, even though I miss a lot of happenings at home. The midwest and east coast are putting on a great fall color show as usual, and I have one more wedding to finish off this wedding season (in Charlotte, NC!).

What are you guys most looking forward to this fall?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What's Good at Trader Joe's

A few weeks ago I made a very rare visit to Trader Joe's. We have one close, but it's just not on my regular circuit of grocery stores, since I have a lot of great markets like Sprouts nearby. So just before leaving I threw out the question on Twitter

You guys gave me some amazing suggestions! I've been working my way through a few at a time during each visit to Trader Joe's, but here's the list in its fullness for you to enjoy.
  • speculoos cookie butter ✓ (yay for my dutch heritage! I grew up eating the cookies that this spread is made of, so not only is it amazingly delicious, it is nostalgic)
  • wine ✓ 
  • hummus ✓ (E and I eat a good amount of hummus and we were amazed at how much better TJ's is vs. almost every other kind we've tried)
  • pretzel thins ✓ (pair with cookie butter)
  • chocolate covered: pretzel thins ✓ (see above), almonds with sea salt and turbinado sugar ✓ (cannot recommend enough; we are addicted), raisins, caramels, orange sticks, coconut bonbons, s'mores, pistachio toffee
  • goddess dressing ✓ (really good on spinach salad)
  • Italian truffle cheese ✓
  • lemon pasta
  • plain tart frozen yogurt
  • salsa autentica
  • double-roasted salsa
  • dried blueberries
  • mint chocolate covered espresso beans
  • kettle corn
  • mingling olives
  • a fig walked into a bar bars
  • pesto
  • edamame nuggets
  • Crotin goat cheese trio
  • almond milk yogurt
  • pizza dough
  • vegetable tempura birds nests
  • ice cream mochi
  • frozen fire-roasted corn
Anything else?

The loot from @traderjoes. Can't wait to get them in my belly.

Edited to add:
p.s. see also the comments section on this post at elefantitas algres
p.p.s. just found the blog What's Good at Trader Joe's

I am apparently not the first to ask this question!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Washington DC travel advice needed!

After an amazing weekend in Carpinteria, hanging out with Rainn Wilson, we're off again. ...this time to Washington D.C because E's best friend is getting married!

We are going to have just a day to sight-see so we want to pick 1 or 2 things to see, and one place to eat to keep things manageable.

So, DC area people - what is your favorite thing or two to do in DC? (bonus points if they are close together/easily accessed by public transport) If you had to pick one place to eat, where would it be?
E and I have both been to DC before (years ago) and seen some of the big sights like the Washington Monument, White House, etc, so I'm thinking a Smithsonian? But what do I know.

Also, it turns out, I'm going to be free Friday evening while the guys have their bachelor party shenanigans, so anything you'd recommend I do that evening?

Friday, August 17, 2012

The mama club

I keep trying to blog about things I think I should be writing about, like what I've been up to for the past few months - what I've been cooking, wearing, where I've been traveling etc. But none of that has been motivation enough to write lately.

Suddenly yesterday I had an epiphany - why not just write what's on my mind? I know that sounds silly and obvious, but it was a freeing realization to just write what I've been thinking about lately.

So, what is on my mind? Incidentally, the topic of babies. I was talking to E the other night about how we have gotten together with couple friends (new and old) a lot more frequently lately, but that I have been the only imbibing female amongst every couple we've spent time with this summer. Between friends who are TTC, expecting, and lactating, I'm feeling a little bit out of the club.

E and I are in the stage of starting to talk about growing our family in a more real sense, with a real timeline (involving years); still, we're not quite ready. But there is something about all my friends having babies that still makes me feel a little left out. I mean, my mom friends are impressed by my knowledge of the physical effects of pregnancy, birth and post-partum, (this is primarily because I have been reading too much OMG Mom), but it is also evident I'm not able to relate to what has changed for them emotionally and turned their entire lives around and upside down.

Maybe this goes without saying, but I really want to stay friends with all these ladies as they become mamas. I think I'm just having a hard time adjusting to their new normal and figuring out how to maintain a relationship that includes my time and love for their babies, but also adult time to talk about non-baby things. It feels a little awkward, like the start of a new friendship.
 Do I suggest we go out baby-free? Do I offer to come over and help them around the house?
How do I talk about my day-to-day work and married life with them, when it doesn't seem nearly as significant as creating and nurturing a human life?

I know a lot of my friends are on the other side of this and maybe struggling as well to maintain healthy friendships with single or childless friends. So please weigh in - I would love to hear what ladies on both sides feel about this!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fast, healthy and affordable lunches

Ok, so I know that post title might sound too good to be true. I've spent years of my life stressing out at 7:25am trying to throw something together for lunch that day. You know, that perennial problem of a full refrigerator, but nothing to eat.

I'm not saying I'm super [lunch] girl, here to save you, but I have picked up a few tips and ideas - mostly from people more awesome than me - to share. Hopefully this will inspire you to plan your breakfasts, snacks and lunches (and dinners) better for minimal stress, and maximum health!

love my Built NY lunch bag!*

Since I started tracking my calorie intake and exercise on MyFitnessPal, I can tell I've been somewhat more intentional about what I eat. But I still haven't lost more than a pound, and I frequently find myself getting stuck on days when coworkers bring in cookies, cake and bagels, because I haven't brought enough food to work to resist indulging. I realized that I conveniently forgot to record a lot of these little indulgences, which is why I ended up continually under my calorie count on paper, but in real life haven't seen the evidence.

So it is time to kick my booty into gear. Now my goal is 200-250 calorie mini-meals 5 or 6 times a day. This is surprisingly less difficult than I thought it would be. Here is an online journal of what I have bought and eaten during the day over a week's-ish time. (what's bolded are my favorites)

Grocery Store
eggs $4
bagged salad $2
fresh fruit (whatever is on sale) $5
Bolthouse greek yogurt ranch dressing $3 (45 calories for 2 tbsp, AND protein!)
shredded rotisserie chicken, or pre-grilled chicken breasts $6
roasted almonds $4 (I love the sea salt and vinegar flavor)
dark chocolate $3 (Trader Joe's has great options for dark chocolate covered-just about anything you can think of. currently eating dark chocolate covered pretzel thins)
hummus $3

Costco (bulk)
Crudites $10 (lasts two people for 1 week of  daily snacks)
Organic apple packs $7
Frozen mixed fruit $5
Kashi: Go Lean Crunch $5
Greek Yogurt $7
Pico de gallo $4

Pulled from my pantry
whole wheat bread
almond butter or natural peanut butter
chocolate syrup
Tortilla chips


Breakfast: greek yogurt, honey, Kashi go lean crunch, 203 calories
Mid-morning snack: 1/3 c of roast almonds with dark chocolate m&ms, 215 calories
Lunch: 1/3 bagged salad, 1/2 c. chicken, yogurt ranch dressing, 180 calories
Afternoon snack: Rainier cherries, cookie, 150 calories

Loving Rainer cherries. And the fact that I can still knot the stem with my tongue in 10 seconds flat. #uselesstalents #sorryyoudidntwanttoknowthat

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs (or hard boiled made the night before), coffee with cream, 190 calories
Mid-morning snack: apple slices, 1 tbsp almond butter mixed with 1 tsp cookie butter, 225 calories
Lunch: Chips and pico de gallo, crudites with ranch dressing, 250 calories
Afternoon snack: 1/2 c. Kashi go lean crunch 96 calories

Apple Slices

Breakfast: 2 slices whole wheat toast with almond butter, 260 calories
Mid-morning snack: 1/2 c. greek yogurt with  1 tbsp chocolate syrup, 140 calories
Lunch: leftover pork tenderloin with mango salsa, coconut rice and asparagus 260 calories
Afternoon snack: crudites with hummus 110 calories


Breakfast: fruit smoothie (frozen fruit, greek yogurt, orange juice or milk, protein powder)
Mid-morning snack: Kashi Go Lean crunch, 96 calories
Lunch: grilled chicken on salad, fresh fruit 175 calories
Afternoon snack: chips and pico de gallo 160 calories


Breakfast: Special K with Red Berries, 2% milk, 219 calories
Mid-Morning Snack: apples slices with almond butter and honey, 253 calories
Lunch: leftover pollo asada with rice, pico de gallo and chips 300 calories
Afternoon Snack: crudites with ranch 80 calories

Total spent = $71

But almost all of these ingredients will last me for 2 weeks +. So it's about $35/week or $7 a day for breakfast, lunch and snacks.


Total time prepping = 1 minute each day

I love storing individual serving of Greek yogurt, fruit or veggies in these Weck glass jars* E got me for Christmas. I reuse the same bags to store chips, cherries, etc so I don't get tempted to eat more than one serving. I leave the bagged salad, roast chicken, dressing, almond butter, almonds and chocolate at work so I don't have to pack it every day.

Despite the fact that my lunch prep is quick now, it does take some time to plan, purchase groceries and get things together at the beginning of the week. But by figuring out what kinds of things I can eat and packaging them up the night before, I just grab two containers and/or bags of whatever food I've gotten ready, and stuff it in my lunch bag, and I'm off!

Obviously, the calorie count isn't going to apply to everyone - this is just what works best for me right now. But however much you eat, it is important to take time eating! Since your body doesn't register that your stomach is full for 20 minutes, I stretch out my lunch break to be eating for that full amount of time. If you have to eat fast, another trick is to eat as much as you know you should, and if you feel hungry, resist eating more for 30 minutes. If you're still feeling hungry then, you can find another light snack. But more often than not, you won't be!

*affiliate links

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The ultimate sacrifice

I have so many things to share and write about - baby showers thrown and attended (3), wedding events for my sister, travel, our crazy growing garden.

But for the past five days I've done little else but think about and pray for a woman I know from church who lost her husband in Afghanistan on Sunday.

It's strange: even though we know a lot of military families, I (ignorantly) thought things were basically over for the US military in the Middle East. I certainly didn't think about or realize US soldiers were still being attacked and still dying. So the news itself was completely shocking.

I have grieved the loss of people much dearer to me - family members and close friends, but the loss of Dan has come as such a huge blow to the church and community. E and I weren't close with Dan and his wife Rachel, but we had mutual friends at church and had attended a few game nights with them. In the past, I have been moved and saddened hearing about the loss of lives of our military members, but this was so close to home.

Dan was a sergeant in MARSOC (special ops in the Marines), and had already been in combat three times and was on his sixth deployment. He received a purple heart last summer in a combat that shattered his knee. Besides being a godly man who loved his family, I don't know how else to describe him except that he seemed way too bad ass to have anything happen to him. It's really hard to imagine one of the toughest strongest guys you can think of not making it.  But this isn't the movies, and the strong guy isn't coming home.

(taken from Facebook)

In part it feels disingenuous to be so torn up over his death, considering there are so many others suffering so much more deeply at this loss. But as Christians we mourn with those who mourn, and I can't help but dwell on the ugliness of death.
I'm just so thankful that death does not win in the end.

The very moment that believers die they are in paradise. Their battle is fought: their strife is over. They have passed through that gloomy valley we must one day tread; they have gone over that dark river we must one day cross. They have drunk that last bitter cup which sin has mingled for man: they have reached that place where sorrow and sighing are no more. Surely we should not wish them back again! We should not weep for them, but for ourselves.
-JC Ryle

Thank you for your service and sacrifice, Gunnery Sergeant Daniel J. Price.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting back on it (again and again and again)

I waited about 5 weeks before blogging about this as not to jinx it, but I have finally started exercising again, and attempting to get my life on the healthy train.

E and I lost some weight about a year and a half ago and it was great to shed the first year of marriage weight, but I didn't form any good habits. I thought briefly about it again during WeVerb11. The pounds, and lethargy crept back up on me.

I used to run (a little) in college but for some reason the motivation hasn't been there the last 3 years. Every few months I would block out an entire evening and try running. (on that note - why does it always feel like it takes SO long to work out - get changed, download a podcast to my ipod, run, then stretch and shower after)?

On the occasion I could actually psych myself up enough to go, I would usually start too fast, feel awful, start walking, complain about all sorts of pain because my form was so bad, get home and collapse on the floor, defeated. This experience would prevent me from working out again for the next 4-6 months.
I also get discouraged when I don't quickly lose weight (after only moderate 2 workouts in one week), so I would quit.

I wanted to get started running this time around because I wanted to lose weight. But more than five weeks into relatively regular running, I haven't lost anything (I keep losing a pound and gaining it back the next week) but I still feel good about what I'm doing. My habits are barely forming and they're pretty minimal at this point, but just the fact that I can make myself get out the door a couple times a week and break a sweat feels like a real accomplishment. I don't think I can say I enjoy it yet, but I never regret it after I go.

I wish I could say what it was that finally pushed me out the door after years of excuses (I always look for inspiration from other people doing what I wish I was!) I don't know what finally motivated me, but here are at least a few things that contributed.

MyFitnessPal.com has been enormously helpful in allowing me to track progress and my calorie intake and burn everyday. (You can follow me there at Latte_Love)

I got new Nike Dri-fit tempo running shorts and a compression sports bra and love them.

I also follow some really inspirational blog friends, particularly Laura, Monica and Callie

Friday, July 6, 2012

Evolution of [Short] Hair

Ever since cutting my hair short three years ago (pwc ftw), I can't seem to keep the same style for more than a couple months. My hair stylist is the best sport, coming up with something new every time I see her.

Feb 2011

April 2011

June 2011

July 2011

September 2011

November 2011

January 2012

March 2012

and, the shortest yet! May 2012
So short!

styled usually a little more like this

There is no cure for the restlessness of short-haired me. A pixie cut next? Not sure I'm brave enough, but I love it on Linda.

To follow along on my short-hair obsessing, see my Short Hairspiration pinterest board.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Italian Zucchini Pie

Can't wait to Nom! Italian zucchini pie. #gardengrown #wemissitaly

After instagramming the making of dinner this week, some you guys requested the recipe. It's been a while since I've posted on here anything food related, so I'm glad to remedy that. But I do post what I make for dinner several times a week on Instagram! Follow me @lattelove.

The best part of this particular recipe is that I was able to find half of the ingredients in my garden! (zucchini, onions, parsley and basil). Nothing like a recipe made with freshly picked produce from the backyard.


This is a family recipe from E's mom and I make it every summer because our garden produces SO many zucchinis. (Sometimes I like to switch up by shredding the zucchini instead of slicing it.)

Italian zucchini pie in the works. Zucchini, onion, basil and parsley from the #garden.

Italian Zucchini Pie
1/4 c butter
4 cups of thinly sliced zucchini OR 2 1/2 cups of shredded zucchini (approx 1 1/4 lbs or 3 med zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
salt and pepper to taste

2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs

1 can of crescent roll dough

Melt butter over medium low heat and saute onions and zucchini for 8-12 minutes (6-8 if using shredded zucchini), adding garlic half way through.

While that's cooking, chop up your herbs and set them aside. In a mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs with a fork, and stir in the shredded cheese. Preheat oven to 375.

Remove onions and zucchini from heat and stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Spray a pie pan with cooking spray and unroll each crescent roll as if it were a pie slice, gently pressing the pieces together to make a crust.

Pour the zucchini mixture into the bowl with the eggs and cheese and combine well. Pour mixture into crescent pie crust and bake for 3540 minutes at 375.

Slice up and serve with arugula salad and a glass of your favorite vino!

Italian zucchini pie recipe up on the blog today! Www.latteloveblog.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Graduation party planning: the details

I thought it might be helpful to go through some of the work we did and costs to E's graduation extravaganza. We had an open house for 80-100 (I never did get a final count as people were in an out all afternoon/evening) and we had a friend cater, so the costs were significantly lower that if you'd hire a restaurant.

We borrowed the tables, chairs and canopies from our church, which was a huge relief and saved us a lot of money. E and my dad picked up everything on Friday morning and set it up in our backyard.

You guys saw these photos (and sadly, I did not get photos of main dishes, or desert), but we did not skimp on food. I wanted a 'foodie' barbecue, and it was the highlight of the party. It was so fun to have everyone be surprised by the lack of typical backyard barbecue food like hamburgers, hotdogs and potato salad, and instead enjoy:

-Baba Ghanoush with pita chips
-Roquefort cheese dip with honey-marinated pears with rice crackers
-Grilled pineapple salsa with tortilla chips
-Smoked haloumi cheese with pickled cherries

-Tri-tip with chimmichurri sauce
-Pulled pork with peach barbecue sauce
-Grilled corn with spicy mayo and cotija

-Brownies with vanilla ice cream and stout caramel sauce

Food for 80 people + tip for our friend: $650

We picked up a half keg from a local brewery, Stone Brewing Company. It was a hit, but we overestimated how much people would drink. We were drinking flat beer for days after to use it up!
Cost: $110 (our friend got a discount)

While E arranged to have beer for most people, I wanted to cover our bases, so I made a large batch of Sangria. We paid a little more than I usually would, so we could get a good Spanish red wine. We used this recipe, but skipped the maraschino cherries and accidentally doubled the sugar (DON'T make this mistake!)
Cost: $38
Time: 20 minutes (+ refrigeration overnight)

I made the bunting we used by cutting triangles from a set of  blue fabric quarters from Joann's. I pinned them in double fold binding tape (also from Joann's) and stitched along the top. I had originally planned to put the bunting on a drop cloth wall hung on the canopy, but it ended up being too windy.
Cost = $13 (Fabric: $5, Binding tape: $8)
Time: 2 hours

Graduation caps
I found this idea after Beka pinned the inspiration photo. To keep it easy, I bought blue frosting in a squeeze can which I used attach the pieces together and for the tassel. The tops are fudge-covered grahams from Keebler and the bottom is mini Reese's with mini m&ms to top it off. It took seconds to put together each one and they were a hit, especially with the kids!
Cost: $18
Time: 30 minutes

Chinese Lanterns:
I trolled Weddingbee boards to find suggestions for cheap reliable chinese lanterns. We ordered them from  jadetime.com. The shipping price is pretty spendy ($11 via UPS), but we got 28 blue and white lanterns in three sizes and they arrived in two days.
Cost: $47

Napkin rolling!
Plates, Plasticware, Napkins
The leftover cloth from the bunting was cut into strips and used to tie the plastic ware/napkin sets together. We purchased the plates, plasticware and napkins in large quantity at Costco and only used about 1/2 of them.
Cost: $45
Time: 30 minutes

Total cost for party

Food and tip for our friend: $650
Beer (1/2 keg from local brewery)& Sangria: $148
Decor & Supplies: $168
Rentals (canopy, tables, chairs): free!

Total: $966 (or about $12/pp)

Thankfully, E's parents helped with some of the cost, and my parents and sister put almost everything together the day before and day of! In some ways I feel like we planned and executed a mini-wedding. I hope someone finds this helpful when planning their own graduation party or backyard barbecue in the future. I definitely loved hosting a big party, and I can't wait to find an occasion to do it again!

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