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Friday, September 5, 2014

High Five for Friday {w/ life}

Whew. What a week. There’s something about coming back from an extra day off that makes you feel like you deserve just one more.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Non-GMO, "Morena" Sugar: Zulka Sugar {w/ reviews}


It's in the name of my blog.

But believe it or not, for years I have not paid any attention to the type of sugar options available. Its silly, I know. For someone who shops at three different grocery stores -- because I know what items are the best quality and price and where to find them on what day of the week -- I have never thought twice about what type of sugar I buy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Reading {w/ life}


What are you reading this summer?

So far, I've devoured The Fault in our Stars (John Green), The One and Only (Emily Giffin) and Little Earthquakes (Jennifer Weiner).

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Very Vegan Dinner {w/ restaurants}

We have two sets of vegan friends. 

Well neither are completely vegan -- one couple will eat dairy if they're eating out, but is vegan at home. 

The other is vegan 80% of the time, but with a gourmet-style chef for a dad, their cheat items tend to be duck confit and lobster. Quite the way to "cheat" if you ask me. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

twenty-six {w/ life}

I turned twenty-six a few weeks ago.

It was a fun day, filled with birthday wishes and sweets. After work my husband, parents and I went to sushi at one of my favorite places.

The thing about 26 is, when I hear it said aloud, it sounds so old. I know, I know -- it's not. But, it sounds that way. So leading up to the day, I thought I would start to feel anxious or nervous about it.

Last year, before turning 25, I had an almost quarter-life crisis.

I was one red onions on my salad when I asked for none away from losing it -- quitting my job on the spot and picking up to move to Italy. A dream my husband and I would love to have happen, but it's not in the cards any time soon.

You see, I felt like I had to be at a certain place in my life and career to feel like I'd made it.

And I wasn't there.

I felt like people around me were moving on and up, and I was staying still. And the looming two-five seemed like the deadline to signal that I was not where I thought I would be. That my life was the same, and I was the same, as I had been for years.

But that wasn't true.

On the surface it was. I had the same job from when I graduated three years earlier, I had the same house, car, dog, family, friends, hobbies and interests. And these were all great things. Thank the Lord I had many of these same things, husband and family and friends especially.  So while I felt like everyone else was changing and I was staying the same, really God was using that time to change things within me. He was helping me curate my interests and talents, to learn to put myself out there, to be more open with people, and figure out how to navigate relationships that were difficult. I was just so focused looking through my telescope at the future and things far away, I ignored everything going on under my nose.

Well, the Lord changed a few things on the surface -- namely a new job and new friends in a new church small group -- and voila! Turning 25 was no big deal. But not because I realized that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. No, it was because I felt accomplished. Which is not a good or mature reason.

There's a phrase I've always loved: "Bloom where you are planted"

I've struggled with that. Always looking forward, planning ahead, thinking about what's next.

I need to learn to bloom where I am planted, instead of digging a spot in another planter and waiting for God to pick me up and drop me where I want.

Contentedness, it's something I need to work on.

Not now, because right now I'm very content. I'm a 26-year old with a great husband, family, friends, dog, job and house. And right now I feel very blessed.

But, there will be times when things are not as I wish or hope or dream or even like. And I need to learn to be content with that.

So yes, 26 came easy this year. There was no stress or nervousness or odd anxiety like I experienced in the early months of 2013. And I'm not sure if it was because I'm learning to embrace life as it happens, thank God and enjoy every minute of it, even the weeds, or if it's because things are rosy right now. But I know that I'm working towards the former.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Con Casa {w/ house}


After months and months of searching, we finally found a house.

Who knew it would be such an ordeal, and a long process. We sold our condo in the blink of an eye, and as we learned over the next few months, every house on the market was going fast. There was even a shortage – there were several thousand fewer homes on the market in San Diego than average.  

Some of our friends who were also on the house hunt ended up putting in dozens of offers, only to have them rejected or ignored. They found their home a few months ago – it’s perfect and was worth the wait. So while it was a longer process than we hoped, I remained optimistic that we would find the one.

We ended up putting in three offers on three different houses.

Cold Feet
The first one, we got cold feet about. It was one of the first houses we saw. The inside was lovely – clean, fairly neutral but dated enough for us to be able to renovate some of the things we wanted without feeling guilty about tearing out something that was perfectly good but not to our taste. The backyard was small – but we talked ourselves into it because there were several parks nearby. We knew we had to act fast, they had already received another offer, so we submitted our offer and waited. Then we started rethinking. The price was steep – more than we originally planned. And the backyard was shrinking each time I thought about it…. Where would my garden go? So we decided to pull our offer. {Our realtor told us they were planning to accept it.}

Safe and Sound 
A few weeks later, after seeing a few dozen houses, we found another one. We saw it, loved it and put in an offer. This house was HUGE. I’m talking, way bigger than anything else that was in our price range. 4 bedrooms, 3 car garage (husband was giddy about that fact), a living room and a family room, a dining room and a breakfast nook. And it was way less than other houses in the neighborhood. We put in an offer, not thinking they would accept it (since we went in under asking price), but they did. We were in escrow. It was exciting.

A few days after our offer was accepted, I decided to check the crime rating in the neighborhood. I knew the area and was nearly positive I wouldn’t find anything, but thought I might as well. I checked the public service websites and began a very stressful 24 hours. I won’t get into the details, but let me just say: ALWAYS check before you put an offer in on a house. It will save you the heartache. We decided to back out of escrow. Some people may think we overreacted, but for us it was the right decision. We were looking for a home to live in for several years, and hopefully start a family in, and we knew we needed to be somewhere we both felt comfortable.

Third Times the Charm 
Every weekend we were out searching, putting our realtor through the ups and downs of everything, but nothing seemed to meet our needs.  Finally, late November, we found another house we were interested in.

It was the right size and had a nice backyard – the corner lot – in a good neighborhood. It didn’t have any extras, and everything was in really bad, actually pretty horrible, condition. But we saw the potential. We knew we could make it ours.

And we are.

Slowly but surely we are taking the house everyone thought was too far gone and making it our home.

I don't mean to be a tease when it comes to pictures of our place, but believe me, everything is mid-renovation so the pictures will come, but right now everything is about half done. Half done flooring, half done bathrooms. 

I shared this sneak peak on Instagram the other day. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

You've Got Mail {w/ life}

I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the 
middle of a conversation. I pretend that we're the oldest and 
dearest friends -- as opposed to what we actually are, people 
who don't know each other's names and met in an "Over 30" 
chat room where we both claimed we'd never been before. 

What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer, 
I wait impatiently as it boots up. I go on line, and my breath catches 
in my chest until I hear three little words: You've got mail. 
I hear nothing, not even a sound on the streets of New York, 
just the beat of my own heart. I have mail. From you.

This movie always makes me feel happy. Like a silly, can’t stop smiling, heart is filled with sunshine kind of happiness. I’m not sure what I love most about it – the characters with such relatable zane and quirk, the internal monologues that they share with each other as messages typed onto a screen, or the way they challenge each other and relate in such a deep way without even realizing it. Or maybe it's the way they meet in the end and Meg Ryan's character says:

I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly. 

I think it's a sweet love story of passion, whimsy and unexpected compatibility.

It's a common theme in fictional love - two people from different worlds meet and fall in love, often despite their own best instincts.

While it's heartwarming to think about, read in books or watch on screen, I'll take my simple, uncomplicated love any day. We may not have had any major obstacles to overcome, differences to settle, or feuding families to appease (read: Montagues and Capulets). But we have a love that's honest and real. One that's about commitment, communication, laughter and joy.

After eight Valentine's Days together, he's still the only one I want to BE MINE.

P.S. Have you gone to Google today? The sweet video clips should bring a smile to your face.
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