Thursday, June 30, 2011


A few Fridays ago I went to Monterey for the day with two of my siblings. First we hung out on the beach. It was a gorgeous day, and we entertained ourselves for hours taking jumping pictures. We started out jumping off a little slope. By the end of the day we were throwing ourselves off a 9-foot cliff. I use "we" very loosely, as I was a bit too scared to do it more than a couple of times.

me attempting to play the air guitar - while in the air

my little sister

my younger brother - kung fu fighting

Then we went to Fishermen's Wharf for some clam chowder and treats.

These colorful lollipops were tempting....

My little sister had never seen how taffy is made.

we had to try quite a few different flavors :)

I for one love chocolate covered fruit - like these apples.

and I thought these chocolate covered bananas with different toppings would be easy to duplicate at home. I think I'd like to try the m&ms, nuts, and marshmallow ones :)

We also went to Cannery Row and ended up getting some awesome ice cream sandwiches from a Nestle Tollhouse store. There were quite a few cookie and ice cream choices, and each sandwich is made to order so you can completely customize your treat. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy eating :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sonnet 118 by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest: 
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Best Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don't those cookies look delicious? They were! I had the opportunity to do some baking when I was at home two weekends ago, so of course I made chocolate chip cookies! Baking these is my therapy - working with the ingredients and the dough does a lot to relieve any stress I'm feeling and I enjoy giving them away to friends. Plus, there's that added bonus of, you know, getting to eat them!

I use the recipe from the back of the Nestle Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. But I've made this recipe so many times now that I have it memorized. It was first taught to my by my older sister, Rebekah, and it was taught to her by our dad. So it's kind of a family tradition. I always double the recipe, which means I end up with about 6 dozen cookies. Here's the recipe with the doubling math already done for you:

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)
1 cup butter (softened)
2 tsp vanilla extra
4 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
chocolate chips*

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugars, butter, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly mixed. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and soda. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture (I find that it's easier to stir if you only add half the flour mixture at a time).

Now it's time for my secret trick. Pick up a bit of the dough. You'll notice that it's really sticky, which will make it hard to roll into perfect little round balls for baking**. At this point, you'll need to add 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups of more flour, until you can pick up some dough and have it stick only slightly to your fingers. The trick is to be able to roll the dough without it pulling but you also don't want to add so much flour that the cookies are dry. If you hit the sweet spot of added flour, the dough will be easy to roll and you'll have extra fluffly, chewy cookies.

Now stir in the chocolate chips - as many as you think you need. Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit and start forming the balls of dough and placing them on your cookie sheet(s). Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

I rarely add walnuts to the recipe because some people in my family (here's looking at you, Jonlad) don't like them and a lot of people have nut allergies. But I happen to LOVE having walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies, so I made about 2 dozen worth of these.

Here are most of the cookies, in various stages of cooling. Aren't they beautiful? I told Brother 2.0 to take the cookies on the paper plate over to the neighbors; not sure if they ever made it, though.

*The Nestle bag has a measurement for the chocolate chips but I never use it, I just pour chocolate chips in until I think I've reached the right amount.

**Yes, I always hand-roll my cookie dough. It's the way my family's always done it and I think it makes the cookies more personal. Additionally, it's great for when you're baking with little kids because then they really get it on the action - just make sure their hands are clean!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photo of the Week

Dreaming of Ireland. Someday the hubs and I will go here....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #16

Things of note from the past week:

Adri recommends reading this book review of Unnatural Selection by Mara Hvistendahl.

Adri enjoyed this scarily accurate predictor of musical taste and this interesting analysis of the song, "12 Days of Christmas."

Centsational Girl shared an easy tutorial on how to make a lavender wreath.

Adri has never eaten a pop tart - not once in her entire 23 years - but she thinks these homemade pop tarts might be worth making AND eating.

Came across Katelyn James' photography blog and love it! Could literally spend hours reading her posts - scratch that, already have spent hours reading them!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nail Polish Color Wheel

image from here
Don't you love this collection of nail polish? I am going to use this to help fill out my own assortment. I mostly own the shades in the 10am - 2pm section. Time to fill out the hours of 3pm-9am :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


"A friend to all is a friend to none." - Aristotle

friend (noun)
  • one attached to another by affection or esteem
  • a favored companion
acquaintance (noun)
  • a person with whom one is acquainted
  • a person whom one knows but who is not a particularly close friend
Sometimes I need to be reminded that most of my Facebook "friends" are actually mere acquaintances in real life. Lately I've been feeling that giving the title of "friend" to people who would be more accurately classified as acquaintances cheapens the title of friend for those people I actually am "attached to by affection or esteem." I want my close friends to know that I don't easily consider people friends - at least in real life - and that I don't share my thoughts, feelings, and hopes with just anyone. On the contrary, there are very, very few people I share those things with.

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be 
well tried before giving them your confidence." - George Washington

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Decor Ideas For My Next Bedroom

I (Adri) will be moving into a new apartment sometime in the next month-and-a-half and I'm excited to have a new space to decorate! Here are some of my ideas for my new bedroom:

1. This is my current setup with my bed and desk. I'm definitely going to change up the wall decor over the desk (see #3) and I'm thinking about adding some pillows. I really like this pintuck pillow (in cobalt) and ruffle pillow (in blue) from Urban Outfitters. Obviously, I won't be buying them unless they go on clearance.

2. I'm not sure how many windows my next room will have because I actually haven't seen the exact room, but I'm thinking I'll go with something along the lines of one of these curtain options:
  • I like these crisp blue curtains from Pier 1 Imports. The only drawback is the hefty (for me) price tag. If I decide to go this route, I'll have to take the DIY approach.
  • I love the subtle burnout design on these white curtains from IKEA and the price for two panels would only be $25.00! I probably couldn't make 'em for that!
3. For over-my-desk wall decor I'm envisioning either these two prints for some typographical inspiration:



Or a collection of smaller prints like these for cycling inspiration:


source unknown



4. I'm still on the lookout for an area rug and an affordable (= less than $100) chair similar to this. I've been in love with these chairs ever since I first saw them at Marshall's (where they're usually knocked down to $130).


Monday, June 20, 2011

Photo of the Week

A few weeks ago, I spent the night at my parents' home and had to leave rather early to get to work on time. As I was driving down the driveway, I just had to stop and capture the beauty of the sunlight streaming through the trees on our Willow Lawn (so called because, well, it's a lawn, and there are four willows planted down its center).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #15

This week Rebekah...

Learned how to make delicious iced coffee in bulk.

Discovered 7 ways to style a bookshelf (love the on-the-bias technique).

Tasted cake pops for the first time...and is addicted :)

Meanwhile, Adri...

Was introduced to The Civil Wars by a friend. Choosing to share just one of their songs is not acceptable, so here are two different songs that Adri really likes: I've Got This Friend and My Father's Father.

Thought these tips from Joe of on knowing when NOT to buy articles of clothing are equally useful for men & women.

Appreciated this advice on remembering names from Brett & Kate of The Art of Manliness.

Liked this discussion on teaching grammar to children.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Grand New Store

You may remember that I was disappointed not to be able to visit the new Costco in Lodi on my birthday due to the fact that they delayed its opening. It opened last week however, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go in on the first day! Here are some pictures from the event:

Yay for a shiny new sign on the side of a shiny new building! So glad there's finally a Costco in Lodi, now we just need a Trader Joe's!

I went with my mom, brother 2, sister 2, and my friend Ri. We were shocked to see the pricey items that were for sale at the Lodi Costco, like the $100,000 car above and the multi-thousand dollar mirror below. We have never seen anything like these items in the Stockton Costco. My mom observed that the demographics for Lodi must be vastly different than those for Stockton and I think she must be right.

Just so we're clear, I do not like this mirror. I think it is gaudy and tasteless.

We were also surprised to see these expensive jeans - again, something you'd never see in the Stockton Costco. I think the most expensive jeans I've seen in the Stockton Costco were $36.99. I could be wrong though. At any rate, you'd never see $89.99 and $112.99 jeans there!

I love that these three ladies got all dressed up to go to Costco on opening day! (Okay, okay, so they probably weren't dressed up for Costco, but I like to imagine they were.)

Me and my friend outside Costco after our tour of the inside. Photo courtesy of my mom.

Congratulations, Lodi, you're finally getting on the map! Perhaps someday soon people will stop calling you a "farm town" and will instead apply the label I've been lobbying for the past couple years, "agricultural community."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues

I have been reading Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (which is quite entertaining - I highly recommend it) and came across a section where he describes 13 virtues he tried to live by. Each week he would focus on a different one. He ordered them in a way that they would gradually build one on the other. I think this is a great idea, and am thinking about doing this over the next 13 weeks. I will let you all know how it goes :)

Here they are if you are interested in trying this too!
1. Temperance - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
The most difficult part for me will be limiting my coffee and sweets intake. I'm guessing this week will be great for my waistline ;)

2. Silence - Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
I'm going to have to think more about how to put this into practice. At least it will make me more aware of my topics of conversation.

3. Order - Let all your things have their place; let each part of your business have its time.
This is challenging in a small apartment, but I also firmly believe everything needs to have its place - including work!

4. Resolution - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
I might skip this one, or change it a bit to be more about fulfilling commitments and thinking carefully before making new ones.

5. Frugality - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; that is, waste nothing.
I can already tell that this one is going to be a challenge! We try to live a very frugal lifestyle, but I still find it tempting to splurge on a latte or one more top or an organizational item for the house. I need to think long term before spending money.

6. Industry - Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary action.
This one is also going to be tough - I really enjoy unwinding with a few shows from netflix (to say nothing of the time I spend on facebook, blogs and pinterest). But I can see how this will help increase my productivity exponentially!

7. Sincerity - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice - Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation - Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries, so much as you think they deserve.
I like the part about not resenting injuries - it's very easy for me to get caught up in thinking about any slights from work or my personal life.

10. Cleanliness - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11. Tranquility - Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Another good one - trying to keep calm when things beyond my control go wrong is a challenge for me.

12. Chastity
I don't need a week to practice this one - I'm always faithful to the Hubs :)

13. Humility - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
This week will sum it up nicely :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Projects

image from here

I've found that I am great at starting projects, but not so good at finishing them. Perhaps posting them here will help me do a better job of seeing them to completion?

I want to take advantage of the summer weather (once it finally shows up in CA!) to do some apartment-improvement projects.

1. Paint an area rug for the kitchen (and living room if the Hubs will let me) using this or this method

2. Make this shoe storage dresser if I can convince someone to let me borrow their kreg jig :)

3. Make these map coasters - using maps from places we've traveled to together (Maui, New Orleans and Cabo, to name a few)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Photo of the Week

Even the trees know how to party in New Orleans.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekly Round-Up #14

Things we like this week:

Rebekah is enjoying these watercolor paintings.

Centsational Girl shared a great DIY project - how to turn a half wine barrel into a lovely planter.

Adri liked this post from the Art of Manliness on how to open doors for people.

Rebekah is excited about the start of a month of thrift store refashions.

Three songs that Adri has been enjoying recently hit the country airwaves. Here are her favorite lines from each, along with a link to YouTube videos:

  • Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean - Memory lane up in the headlights / It's got me reminiscin' on the good times / I'm turnin' off real life, drivin' that's right / I'm hittin' easy street on mud tires
  • Homeboy by Eric Church - You're gonna wish someday that you were sitting on the gate of a truck by the lake / High school flame on one side, ice cold beer on the other / Ain't no shame in a blue collar forty, little house, little kid, little small town story
  • Take a Back Road by Rodney Atkins - And like a memory from your grandpa's attic / A song comes slippin' through the radio static / Changing my mood, a little George Strait 1982 / And it makes me wanna take a back road / Makes me wanna take the long way home / ...Tear down some two-lane country, who knows / Get lost and get right with my soul

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Closet Organization

For her birthday my mom has requested a closet makeover. I am excited to help her organize and purge this space! Both she and my dad lead very busy lives, so having an organized closet will help them feel less stressed, I'm sure :)

Here are some of my thoughts:

Their walk-in closet's back wall is mostly unusable due to a large window, so it's almost better to think of it as his and hers walls. I like this idea (we would take out that lower third rung, so there would be only two rungs for hanging clothes). With or without the wire storage racks on the bottom.

I also like this idea for dad's side - those shelves might provide enough storage that he could do away with his dresser (or at least free up some of the space in the over-flowing drawers). It depends on how much he is willing to purge/put in storage bins in the attic ;)

This hanger for storing my mom's scarves

This hanger for my dad's belts

This hanger for my dad's numerous ties (hopefully we will only need one - it holds 40!)

My mom also worries about protecting clothing and less frequently used items from becoming dusty.
I like these linen drop-front boxes for visibility and ease of access (I like the pricetag less, I will research more to get a better deal if they decide they like this).

I also like these much more economical boxes for storing purses. At a mere $5 each, this would be a clean and dust free solution :) I would make little tags for each box so mom could easily tell what is inside.

For my parent's nicer and rarely worn shoes, I would splurge on these $9 clear shoe storage boxes. Love the drop front - this would be incredibly easy to access!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

God in a Box

A few weekends ago, driving home from the Chico Wildflower with my friend and her husband, our conversation turned towards how different God's plan is for each of us.

I was telling them about how I'm going to grad school next year to earn my MA degree and that I wasn't particularly excited about it (I'm finally starting to get excited though!), but I feel strongly that I am supposed to teach at community college and of course, in order to do that I need an MA.

Growing up, I always thought I would be married by this time in my life, probably with at least one kid either born or on the way. The last thing I ever thought was that I would have just received a BA and be gearing up to obtain an MA. My parents friends would look at me and my older sister and say that I would probably get married before her. My sister and fellow blogger was always the one who wanted to go to college and then get a post-grad degree, probably in law.

But God had different plans for us, and that's a good thing.

As we were talking, my friend Miranda shared how she'd always thought it wasn't very smart to get married young. But here she is, 22-years-old, and married to the love of her life.

And that's a good thing, too.

Because God can't be put in a box. We rarely know what his plans are for us until he shows us - and he has a unique plan for each individual. What his plan is for someone else may not be - probably is not - his plan for you.

And I'm glad that's the case, because it means that God doesn't put us in a box, either.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer Outfits

For this post I was originally going to find some "outfit boards" as I like to call them to post here...of course with links to stores where you could buy all the items needed to make up the outfit. But then today I realized that that's not me. I don't look at outfits and then click the link and $120 later voila! An outfit is born. I use it as inspiration to keep in the back of my mind when I go bargain hunting at Marshall's, Ross and the clearance section of other stores I like (Gap, Banana Republic, Forever 21, AE and Target). So I'm not going to post links to the full priced options here - because I know it will just be that much sweeter when you find the gold bangles, boyfriend tee or gladiators on sale somewhere else :)

image from here

I really like the cut of this top - and the idea of a loose fitting top over shorts.

image from here

I like the idea of dressing up a basic tee (or sweater tee) and shorts with a lightweight scarf

image from here

I wear black shirts a lot, so this board gave me a few ideas for ways to accessorize that basic look.

What are some summer looks you are loving?