Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #38

Happy Almost New Year!!!

Some fun things we found this week:

Ashley made a gorgeous silk streamer garland

Ashton has been craving veggie sandwiches all week...delicious!

...and on the less healthy side, this hot chocolate is the best!

a pretty lace cowl

Thursday, December 29, 2011

O You Whom I Often and Silently Come by Walt Whitman

I've always thought this poem was a beautiful representation of unrequited love. Or a nice way to tell someone you're stalking them - your choice :).

you whom I often and silently come where you are that I may be with you,
As I walk by your side or sit near, or remain in the same room with you,
Little you know the subtle electric fire that for your sake is
   playing within me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Adri's Finish List

The fact that this post is two days later than I said it would be does not bode well for FinishYear (somehow that turned into a compound noun over the weekend), but I'm not going to let that discourage me! Here are some of the things I am going to finish in 2012:

My siblings' band will record at least one EP or an LP album
For the past few years I have managed my siblings' bluegrass band and we have wanted to record an album for several years now, but it hasn't happened. This goal is dependent on a lot of other people, but I'm going to do everything I can to make it a reality. And although as manager, at first glance it seems I wouldn't be very involved in the process, I actually have written the lyrics for most of the songs we have. So I have a very large stake in this project and I am so excited to see it come to fruition!

I will audition for a community band or symphony
It's been many years (more than 5) since I've played the flute seriously. I pick it up every now and then, but my skill level is not anywhere near where it used to be. For a while now, I've wanted to get back into playing the flute, so in 2012 I am going to practice & audition for a community band or symphony. I'm not sure if I'll actually join said music group (assuming I get in...which is a pretty big assumption), but at least I'll be playing my flute again for at least a portion of the year!

I will finish a metric century
This was actually one of my goals for this year, but it didn't happen so I'm moving it to next year :). I will be participating in at least 2 metric centuries (The Zin Spin in Lodi, CA and The Mildflower in Chico, CA), so hopefully I will reach this goal in the Spring. If not, then I'll just have to keep signing up for them until I finish one!

I will finish reading Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
I first started reading this book as a senior in highschool. I started it again just over a year ago. And although I'm well over halfway through, I haven't picked it up in a few months. What I have read so far is excellent and I need/want to finish it soon! The book is an extremely intelligent explanation of the Christian worldview and I have learned so much from reading it. I highly recommend the first half of the book, at the very least ;).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #37

The week before Christmas...

...Jon Acuff wrote a post inviting us to finish something next year. Check back on Tuesday for Adri's list.

...The Economist published an article on Ernest Dichter's influence on marketing. The article uses the phrase "suss out." Which makes me happy.

...I became nostalgic for the days when I sang in a Handel's Messiah production and spent hours practicing for it each December. You can catch some of my favorite parts here, here, and here.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family and friends!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Apartment Holiday Decor

I was really hoping to put up some nice Christmas decor in my apartment - even though my roommate and I didn't get a tree (our apartment is too small and we'll both be with our families for Christmas, anyway) - and even though finals & my work schedule did their best to prevent me, I was still able to decorate a little bit! Here are some photos:

(Sorry for the poor photo quality. I lost my camera and have not been able to find it anywhere! All of these photos were taken with my phone, which has an indifferent-at-best camera.)

This wreath made with a frame and ornaments was inspired by this project I pinned on Pinterest. If I have time, I plan to redo it (I think it would look a lot better with the ornament hanging lower) and trim the ends of all the ribbons. But for now, it gets the job done. And with only a few days until Christmas, I'll probably just call it good and do it properly next year :).

This was a fairly cheap project, I got the frame from Goodwill for $3, the ribbon and the little ball ornaments from the dollar tree (less than $2 total because the ornaments came in a set of 9), and the really cool spiky and swirly ornaments from Michael's for around $4 for both. Everything else I already had on hand for other projects, so this one only came to around $9! Not too shabby, I think, especially since almost everything can be reused or repurposed.

This photo shows how badly those ribbons are in need of trimming. I meant to do that, but then completely forget in the excitement of hanging it up and taking pictures.

One other bit of decor I put up in our apartment is this little miniature tree that I've had for a couple years now. Aside from spending $1 on some fresh ornaments, everything here was already on hand!

 I love the little ornaments, especially the shiny silver ones. They really bounce around the light. The skirt for the tree is a bit of a red scarf I've been working on. I put it on hold over the holidays and simply wrapped it around the back of the tree and stuck the needles through the other side to keep it together. I think it adds a really interesting texture to the base of the tree!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Three Years of Happily Ever After

Three years ago I married my best friend. It was the best decision of my life.

It seems crazy to think that I could be more in love today than I was three years ago. And yet, as much as I thought I loved him then, it is nothing for the depth of love I now feel.

I think sometimes we think love is an emotional high, and sometimes it is. But I think a lot of love is being there to live through life's ups and downs together. When you see each other at your lowest and most vulnerable, but don't back away. When they see you at your ugliest and most unlovable, but love you through it.

And that togetherness, that unit, helps you to become better than you ever were alone.

I love you so much, babe. And I'm so glad that I get to spend the rest of my life with you, as we learn to love each other better.

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Happy Anniversary, my Love!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Photo of the Week


Three years ago, the hubs and I honeymooned in Maui. This picture is making me miss the islands!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Failure to Post

You may have noticed that we haven't posted in the past week. We were planning to post. But a variety of things - chiefly in the form of final projects (Adri) and lack of internet service (Ashton) got in the way. We'll be resuming our normal posting schedule soon, and we have a lot to show you! Everything from winter wedding stuff (Ashton) to holiday apartment decor (Adri), next week should be fun & festive!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #36

Of interest from around the internet...

One of the contributors at Language Log did a fascinating structural analysis of an ad and a country song.

Centsational Girl shared her family's Christmas playlist.

....or maybe you are already tired of Christmas songs. Here is a funny video of some favorite Christmas tunes for those who are already jaded :)

Need ideas for holiday baking? The Small Things Blog is coming to the end of cookie week, and there are a LOT of recipes to choose from.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Nails

I thought I would share some of my favorite nail looks for this holiday season - to go along with Adri's holiday outfit post from yesterday :)

First, can I just say that essie has the most gorgeous shades of polish I have ever seen? I love, love, love them! At $8 a pop it's a bit pricey, but not only are the colors beautiful but it holds up amazingly well - I've been wearing essie on my toes for a month and it hasn't even started chipping yet!

This shade is on my buying list - I like it as a substitute for red - I think it makes its own statement, but can also be a more neutral choice too.

I also like the idea of using a neutral base and then putting a bit of sparkles on the tips :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Fashion Guide

In an effort to make December less stressful, I decided to put together some fashion mood boards with ideas of what to wear for different events I plan to participate in this Christmas season. I thought I would share them in case they can be of help to anyone else. Enjoy!

1. Ice Skating with Friends and Family

Ice skating is one of my favorite winter activities and I haven't gone at all in the past two years, but I'm hoping to change that this year. Here's what I'm thinking about wearing:

The red scarf and gloves provide a pretty contrast to the cream-colored
sweater. Boots keep your feet warm on your way to pick up your
skates. Broken-in bootcut jeans let you move with ease and grace.

2. Caroling

Growing up, my family would spend several evenings caroling each December. We surprise caroled our music teachers, close family friends, pastors, and my parents' colleagues. It was always a lot of fun and my siblings and I have some great memories from that tradition. This year, we won't be caroling as a family, but I will be surprise caroling a few people with some friends.
A festive plaid or print scarf adds Christmas cheer to your outfit,
while the wool tights and jacket keep you warm.

3. Open House Holiday Party

Every year, my family has an open house on Christmas Eve and it is so much fun! I think it's my favorite event of the entire year - our house is filled with food, laughter, music, and lots of friends, some of whom I only see once a year at our open house. Since our house is so full, it can get pretty warm, despite California's cool night temperature at that time of year. As a result, I usually opt to wear something less warm knowing that I can always add a jacket if I go outside.

Comfort and ease of movement are key when you're hosting
an open house. A satin-y top, wool slacks, pretty ballet flats,
and elegant but simple jewelry help keep you cool, collected &
gorgeous while you juggle the responsibilities of hostessing.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Photo of the Week

It rained hard during most of my drive down to SoCal several weeks ago. At one of our gas station stops, however, we saw this rainbow in the sky. It was an auspicious beginning to our SoCal adventures!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #35

Are you as excited as I am that it's finally the month of Christmas?!?! I joined The Art of Doing Stuff's Christmas Pledge back in November, so now it's three weeks of sipping hot cocoa and admiring the festive lights and decor :)

Some things we've been enjoying on the internet:

Ashton loves the idea of an advent calendar of books - a different Christmas tale for each night.

This information could be dangerous...

A sweet 16-minute short film.

Adri enjoyed this brief history of Google search.

Jon Acuff wrote a great post on realizing that other people are always more interesting than you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fall Fun: Daytrip to Apple Hill

Wow, I can't believe it's already the first day of December and that in just 21 more days it will officially be winter! This autumn has gone by so fast, which on one hand has been a good thing, but on the other, has left me feeling like I haven't soaked up this beautiful season as much as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I did get a chance to go to Apple Hill with the other young adults from  my church here in Sacramento.

For those of you who don't know, Apple Hill is a well-known destination for apple picking, Christmas tree getting, and all other kinds of goodness. Despite having lived within 2 hours of it my entire life and having countless friends who make yearly treks there, I had never gone there before! Let me just say, it does not disappoint! People praise Apple Hill so much, that I was sure it couldn't live up to all the hype - but it totally did! I hope to go back soon and spend more time looking at the crafts, taking in the scenery, and enjoying all the yummy apple-centric pastries and beverages. Here are some photos from the day:

What a view, am I right? It was breathtakingly beautiful - and cold!

"Everyone! Look like you're having fun!" resulted in the above photo where everyone looks slightly scared/scary.

Our fearless young adults leader, Ashlei.

Some of the YA (young adults) ladies. My two best friends are there on the left.

Ah, orchards! We walked around this one for a long time and picked some of the apples left behind from the harvest.

One of the farms we stopped at had this awesome fire that we gathered around to warm up. And we sang the full version of Father Abraham while we were there. Yes, we did get some strange looks.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this International Harvester.

Have you ever been to Apple Hill? Are there any destinations near you that are an autumn must-visit?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mo' Movember Humor

Even this car is getting into Movember :)
(more info on Movember can be found here)

The Calendar of Facial Hair

Today marks the last day of Movember (long known as No-Shave November and commonly known as November), so in honor of it, I thought I would post this Calendar of Facial Hair. It was created by a Bible study I co-led last year. One night, we were all sitting around and the guys started talking about how they weren't shaving for No-Shave November. Some of us felt that it wasn't fair for November to be the only month associated with facial hair, and so this calendar was created:

“Januhairy” - Don’t shave or pluck or cut any hairs on your body. Give your back hair a chance. 

“Fu-bruary” - In honor of Valentine’s day, because nothing says “I love you” like a full Fu Manchu. 

“Moustache March” - We will not alter this month as it has been laid down by our forefathers as the correct thing to be doing at this time. 

“April Fus” or “Anchor Beard April” - Two to choose from this month. Don’t let the French have all the fun.

“Mutton Chops May” - May your chops be fluffy and (not necessarily) white. 

“Well-Groomed June” - With the arrival of summer, it’s time to stop hiding the fact that you’ve been living in Januhairy for the last 6 months. Keep yourself well-groomed. A full shave is optional. 

“Summer Soul Patch” - Give your face a chance to cool off and your spiritual life a chance to grow. 

“Augoatee” - We know it doesn’t rhyme or alliterate, but give us a break, we tried hard. And you know you’ve been waiting all year for the goatee. 

“September Sparrow” - Set sail for awesome this month, show your pirate spirit, and get ready for International Talk Like a Pirate Day by growing a Jack Sparrow facial thingamajig. 

“Octoberfest Beerd Bong” - Don’t let one drop go to waste. Facial hair makes an excellent alcohol reservoir, though few have been fortunate enough to discover this fact prior to the publishing of this publication. 

“No-Shave November” or, for the more brave among us, “Neard November” - shave all facial hair except for what grows on your neck.

“Decembeard” - Keep your face warm for the first of the chilly winter months by growing a full beard by Christmas.

Did you know that there's a World Beard and Moustache Championship?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Is there anything cuter than a pile of sleeping puppies? Me thinks not :)

My parents just had a litter of 7 goldendoodle (half poodle, half golden retriever = a sweet tempered, family dog that won't shed) pups. Seriously, they are such sweeties! I mean look at those ears:

Waking up and groggily looking for mama. Their mom is so good too. She was outside and one of her pups yelped and she flew to the door to be let in so she could check on them. I'm amazed she heard that one little yip from so far away.

These guys have the sweetest faces, and they grow up to be such loving companions. Makes me wish I had a bigger place so I could have one too.

Looking at these pictures just makes me want to snuggle with a puppy :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Whirlwind Trip to SoCal

As I mentioned this morning, my friend Kelsey and I spent Veteran's Day weekend in Southern California because I was presenting a paper at a conference and she was kind enough to keep me company so I wouldn't have to drive there are back on my own. We decided to make the most of our time in SoCal so we hit up Hollywood on Saturday afternoon and spend Sunday at Disneyland.

Hollywood wasn't quite what we expected. It certainly isn't as glamorous as it looks on TV or in movies, but it was still fun! We decided to visit the wax museum and since it was a combo ticket, we went to the Guinness World Record Museum as well.

Captain Jack Sparrow greeted us as we entered and I so I snapped this photo for my sister and co-blogger, Ashton. She loves Johnny Depp!

I love Gwyneth Paltrow, so I just had to take a photo with her. It was amazing how life-like the wax statues were...not that I recognized that many of them, but I suppose that comes of growing up without watching many movies.

Ah, the entrance to Disneyland.

Kelsey insisted we go on the It's a Small World ride and though I was dreading it, it actually was really awesome! The song did not get stuck in my head because they change it for the holidays.

The decorations inside were amazing. This is as simple as they got.

Since I went on It's a Small World, Kelsey humored me and we rode the carousel together (I don't know what it is about them, but I ride carousels whenever I get the chance).

Here we are together in the lower left hand corner of the mirror.

The mast of the pirate ship we set sail on.

Mike Fink, King of the River's cabin. Davy Crockett was visiting! I had to snap this photo because I have way too many good memories of singing "Daaavy, Daaavy Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier" with my siblings.

Ah, the haunted mansion. It was awesome!

Before dinner, we watched the parade. The chimney sweeps were our favorite part. These guys were super talented!

We ended the evening with a trip on the Disneyland railroad followed by the holiday magic fireworks show.

Overall, we had a great time in SoCal, though we were both very glad to return to the land of tree-canopied cities and rarely-glimpsed skyscrapers.

Photo of the Week

A friend and I drove down to Southern California for Veteran's Day weekend. On the way down, we saw a lot of cotton bales along I-5, something neither of us had ever seen before, but knew instantly when we did. When we got to our hotel room, I wrote a Haiku about it:

Driving to SoCal
Cotton bales fresh harvested
Lining the highway

Check back this afternoon for more pictures from our trip!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #33

Happy black Friday! I hope you all get some amazing deals today - or stay home and relax while eating leftovers :)

Some entertaining things from around the web:

Barbie and Ken wedding photos

The everyday life of a stormtrooper

Useful key fob :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Childhood Memories

I don't remember many of my childhood clothes and accessories. Sure, I have impressions of favorite dresses, that pair of striped three-sizes-too large shorts I always liked to wear, a favorite metal purse (it had a picture of hello kitty on the front). But none of these things conjure up the feelings of warmth, contentment and security like seeing a pair of these slippers.

Growing up, as the weather became crisper my Mom would pull out the Land's End catalog and turn to the slippers page. Back then the slippers she would buy for us looked very much like the one pictured above - right down to the contrasting trim and 'sleeve.' I would eagerly await the arrival of my pair - I always chose bright colors: purple and turquoise, pink and purple, lime green and purple (I kind of liked purple). When the UPS man finally delivered them, I would tear through the plastic packaging to feel the soft fleece. I always felt toasty and warm with them on. It's funny how just the thought of these slippers takes me back to cold early mornings, jumping out of bed, pulling on my slippers and running to the couch so I could wrap myself in a blanket. Evenings playing in our cold cement-slab playroom, feeling invincible to the chill. Late nights reading while wrapped in a down comforter with music softly playing in the background. Lazy weekend mornings. Opening Christmas presents. The common thread through all these scenes: my garishly bright yet warm slippers.

Is there an article of clothing or accessory that instantly transports you back to your childhood?