Thursday, April 28, 2011

Of mice and men

by Steph

I know I've been missing for a week but here's the thing: my sister's wedding is in less than 10 days. I have been finishing centerpieces, favors and little details of the wedding.

Every night has been the same: go home, cook dinner, pop a movie to play in the background while I get some crafting wedding stuff done. My husband has graciously been helping me so that's good.

I'm hoping that once we get to my parent's house next weekend, I'll find time in the 3 days we'll be there to upload some pictures to Blogger but we'll see. It might be crazy and hectic and I won't even remember that I have a camera, let alone a blog. That's also why my husband will be the photographer for the weekend. He remembers these things.

The title of this post was because I really didn't have anything new to write about so I thought I'd write about my encounters with mice. And men (not really on the men part).


***SHUDDER***

Mouse story #1: Once upon a time, I lived with my roommate Sarah in an apartment. It was wonderful. The closet was huge, we had our own rooms and the pool was perfect for laying out. Coincidentally, this is where I spent many Saturday's trying desperately to get skin cancer a tan. Well, one day, we were sitting on the sofa watching Friends (of course) and Sarah screamed. She had allegedly seen a mouse the size of a rat run across our kitchen from underneath our dishwasher to underneath the fridge. I panicked. I do NOT like having more roommates that a) don't pay rent b) leave messes or c) have tails. I think I remember us running to our rooms and shutting the doors so we wouldn't have any critters joining us in our beds.

The next day, Sarah got some traps from someone at her bible study. We set the traps out and waited. They were the sticky kind so at least (hopefully) we wouldn't see any severed heads or anything. Although we had heard stories of mice getting trapped and chewing their own feet off in a desperate attempt to escape. EWWWWW.

I don't remember how long it took to get the mouse but I do remember coming home and Sarah telling me that she had found it. Trapped. In the mouse trap. Instead of coming remotely near to it, she called a guy friend who promptly came over and disposed of our mouse.

Oh yes, and because she's Sarah, she took pictures to show me. Even though I didn't want to come near the vile vermin, I did still want to see the gory details. It wasn't the size of a rat, but it might as well have been for all we cared.

The end.

Mouse story #2: Once upon a time, I lived with a lovely girl named Laura in a guest house that was settled in the canyons of Santa Clarita. The house was old - made completely of bricks. We called it the Pride & Prejudice house because of how it looked. I loved that house. I loved Laura. I did not love our landlord because she was a crazy. But for the 9 months we lived there, it was good.

One day, Laura informed me that she thought we might have a mouse. Again, shudder. Gross. Eww. Hate non-invited roommates. Apparently she had heard some scratching while in her bedroom so she set some traps around our rooms and kitchen area (also the sticky kind).

The next day when I got home, Laura informed me that she had found the mouse in the trap UNDER HER BED. She had left it there because there wasn't a chance that she was going near that thing. But now it was late at night and she needed to go to bed. So we decided we didn't have a choice and had to tackle it together.

First, she lifted up the bed skirt. We both looked straight into the demon eyes of the mouse and screamed and ran back into the kitchen. We would later see that the mouse would poop itself out of fear from the two giant humans screaming in it's face.

Then slowly, laughing and crying, we went back into the bedroom - this time armed with a pair of tongs. I slowly grabbed the end of the trap with the tongs, screaming the entire time. I mean, full on screaming. Like the mouse was crawling up my leg, except it wasn't. But I acted like it was. I slid the trap into a paper bag from Trader Joe's and Laura quickly rolled the top and ran the bag outside - screaming, laughing and whimpering the whole time.

We moved out a month later.

The end.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday. The third day.

by Steph

If you know what that title is from, we are friends. Get it? Ha. So every now and then I like to highlight a store... I get obsessed with whatever it has that's new and love everything from the store for a few weeks and then just as quickly as it began, the obsession ends.

This time around, it's American Eagle. I go through my bouts of loving American Eagle for a few reasons. They have simple classic pieces that are my casual, go-to selections. They have an AMAZING sales rack. You can almost always find something you wanted a few weeks ago on major sale if you just have the patience to wait. Also, their jeans/shorts don't make me feel like a fatty.

Unlike my Hollister jeans. Those make my butt feel unwanted and if I don't wear a belt, my butt tries to escape everytime I bend over. But that's another story.

When shopping for summer, "modesty" can so easily fly out the window. Short shorts, see-through tanks, skimpy swimsuits, buttcheek grazing dresses... the list goes on.

That's probably why Old Navy (who, I think, is owned by the same company as AE) is such a favorite of mine... they make long shorts that aren't bermuda shorts, they make loose fitting tanks that are comfortable and lightweight and everything's cheap.

Back to AE. They are like the upgrade of Old Navy. The styles are similar but the prices are not. (Unless you wait for the sales rack expedition.)

Here are a few things I'll be keeping my eye on for a few weeks to come...(and by "keeping my eye on" I mean "will not be buying but mostly dreaming about buying...")

Click here to find your own summer staples...










Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vacations, Weddings and Pot Roast

by Steph

I'm going to go backwards. First, the pot roast turned out lovely! The meat was tender and fall-apart-y and all the veggies were cooked through. I pulled some of the juices out, poured into a skillet and added flour to make a thick gravy to serve over it all. It was delicious and yummy and my husband approved! We have a TON of leftovers so it's a good thing he liked it because we'll be having it a few more times...

Is it wedding season? I'm in 2 weddings in May, both in LA, we can lay by the bay, eat some hay, whaddya say? (Name that movie!) Rhyming weirdness aside, I have some serious stuff to get done before those weddings. Centerpieces, bridesmaid shoes, wedding gifts, fun lingerie gifts, pastries to cook, etc. The list goes on!!! I'm trying not to panic... but it's really creeping in. Thankfully, I have Good Friday off of work which means I can get some stuff done with no distractions. Hopefully.

Vacations!!! We're going to Palm Springs in June for Resolved. I don't know if I count it as a vacation because our days will be filled with amazing worship, sermons and fellowship with old friends.

BUT the Lord is so good to us! There is a possibility that we might be able to take our honeymoon after all! Exactly one year after we got married!

When we got married, money was tight and vacation days were in short supply. I took 2 days off work and we drove to Monterey for an overnight trip. (We did, in fact, lay by the bay.) It was wonderful but all too short. We spent the next few weeks being exhausted by all the wedding-and-moving-into-a-new-place-madness. We both knew that eventually we would like to take a real honeymoon but weren't sure how we'd pull that off. Enter: God's goodness and blessings in our lives!

Here are the options:

1. Hawai'i (for obvious reasons)

The famous Ka'anapali Beach has lots of resorts and we'd want to do the fun stuff, like drive the road to Hana, see the sunset at Haleakala and take surf lessons. I think it could be super fun and relaxing too!

2. Eurotrip

This trip will be the most expensive. Also, my husband isn't sold on the idea of spending a week or 2 in a place where they might not serve steaks with A1 Steak Sauce. I'd love to see Europe - Paris, London, Milan - but I also want to relax a bit and I don't think we'd do much of that here.

3. Disneyland / San Diego

This is my favorite for very obvious reasons. I LOVE DISNEYLAND!!! Ever since high school, right up until about a month ago, I've had a season pass. Both my sisters and my parents have passes also so clearly it's a family thing. We go for a few hours, hit up the usual rides (Pirates and Haunted Mansion - maybe Indy if I'm lucky) and then people-watch while we have dinner either at the Planet Pizza or the chili dog place on Main Street.

I like this idea for a few reasons... It would be the cheapest trip. We could rent a car and drive down to San Diego for a few days and hang out at the beach. We could see my family and they might even join us! And I love Disneyland. Did I mention that I love Disneyland? Because I do.

Here's the problem: my husband is not a fan of Disneyland. Maybe it's because he was deprived as a child and only got to go when he was 3 years old and then didn't go for 21 years until he met me. Maybe it's because there's lines and hot weather and stickiness and sweatiness and lots of people and kids and waiting and walking. (To be fair, he has a bad back from pitching so walking and standing for hours really does a number on him.) And because he loves me so, he goes every time I want to go. He'll suck it up and come along for the ride (literally). I'd like to think I'm not a bad wife by torturing my husband with hours of physical pain, but let's be honest - I am. Although, I let him rest in between rides and I make sure we get him some ice cream! I keep offering to rent a wheelchair but he seems to think those are only for the real handicapped people... whatev.

So... which one would you pick?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pioneering Pot Roast

by Steph

After browsing my usual blogs yesterday, I stopped for the usual hour (or 3) on Pioneer Woman's blog. I searched her dinner menu for a new dish to make. My husband is sweet but I think he's getting tired of chili and grilled chicken.

Most of the recipes on her blog are kind of complicated or froufy. If you've been reading my blog, then you know I do NOT CLAIM to be any kind of good chef at ALL.

I like her less complicated recipes like the ones where she cheats and uses Kraft Parmesan instead of the real stuff. Not the ones where she uses real sprigs of rosemary. But we'll get to that.

I decided to go with the pot roast for one big, giant reason: I could prepare it the night before, let it cook while I'm away at work and come home to a ready dinner. Perfection.

THIS IS HER PICTURE - NOT MINE!!!
(Lest you think that I suddenly am a whiz at taking pictures and managed to get them on to my blog. Also, lest you think that I make something that looks that good)

Here's the thing though: she cooks everything in a pan for a bit and then cooks it altogether for 3 hours in a Dutch Oven for 3-4 hours. I didn't want to cook for 3-4 hours and eat at 10pm at night so I thought I'd just throw all her ingredients into a slow cooker and leave it on low for 8 hours.

I chopped the carrots and onions but did not grill them. I also salted and peppered the pot roast like she does but again, did not cook it. I added 3-4 cups of water, instead of beef broth. I also threw the potatoes right in because I don't know what "mealy" is so I'm not sure I care if they turn out that way. I also added mushrooms and garlic and of course, I used dried spices. I'm sorry Pioneer Woman, I don't have a garden. I live in an apartment. My garden is the bush outside our window.

Please don't be like me. Follow her recipe. She knows her stuff.

I have no idea how it turned out because I just did this last night and I'm hoping for the best when I get home tonight.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Surprise!

by Steph

I did not finish DIY wedding projects this weekend.

I did not clean our apartment and make it a peaceful, welcoming place again.

I did not run errands or accomplish anything that I needed to.

For a very good reason, I didn't get anything done this weekend that I was supposed to.


Surprise!!! We went to LA!!!

After a series of confusing events, it turned out that my husband did NOT need to work this weekend. We decided that we wouldn't tell anyone since it was so last minute.

The Lord is so gracious to us and He completely had His hand in all these things that happened in just a few hours.

I surprised both my sisters. They cried. I cried. It was fun. :) Unfortunately, my baby sis is forgetful and mentioned to my mom that we were coming so we weren't able to surprise my parents but it was still fun to see everyone.

Since the trip was so last minute, we didn't have a chance to get together with lots of friends but I did get to have some face time with a few of them, even if it was just a few minutes to chat and hug and scream and laugh and cry and hug.

I am so thankful for the friends we did get to hang out with and most of all for the Lord providing the means to make this quick trip!

We'll be back in LA in 3 weeks for my sister's wedding (insert: panic). I have a lot to do before then!!! And on our drive home, we got a wonderful surprise that might allow us to take our honeymoon finally! The Lord is SO gracious. He takes care of us and always provides - even when we don't know how He will do it! Even when He uses means that we wouldn't expect. We're learning to trust Him more and more for everything.

Oh and this is how my husband drives.

Holding a cup of iced tea and a cup of lemonade and making an on-the-road Arnold Palmer.

Did I mention he was supposed to be driving?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friday list

by Steph

This will be a text only post. I've run out of fashion things to blog and I'm too intimidated to keep blogging about food. Did you know there are a bagillion trillion food blogs? People who are way better cooks and way more creative are blogging about recipes that they've been doing for ages. I'm not going to even attempt to be in that category. I'll just be in the "hey, this is me - the over-confident, know-it-all who gets humiliated in the kitchen on a regular basis" category.

I've also decided to take a new approach with my blogging. I'm going to assume only my closest family and friends read this - because I'm fairly certain that's the case. Hi everyone!

I'll still blog about fashion but I'll target the normal every day girl. Not the fashionista living in a high rise apartment of New York. I'll still write about recipes, but I'll be sharing things I learn in the kitchen with my friends and family. I will make NO CLAIMS WHATSOEVER to be a professional chef.

I'm really going to try to figure out how to get more of my own pictures on this blog because I've got a stinkin' awesome camera and lens and I really want to share with you guys how I'm learning to use it.

This is titled Friday list because today is my Friday. I had taken the day off work because my sister's having a lingerie party tomorrow night and a co-ed wedding shower on Saturday in LA. My husband and I made plans to attend both, hoping he would be able to get the time off of work.

He didn't.

I'm doing my very best not to be bummed about it because I know he feels bad and I want to be a supportive, loving wife. I miss my family terribly but I will see them in a few weeks. I decided to still take the day off tomorrow to give myself a chance to catch up on wedding DIY projects for my sister. Also, I've been slacking in the home-care area since I've started on wedding projects so hopefully with my hubby away at work tomorrow I'll make some strides on making our home a welcoming, peaceful place again.

Living 300 miles away from your family is hard. I accepted the change in location, thinking it would be easy peasy. Whenever I miss them, I thought, I'll just hop in my truck and drive there.

Unfortunately, time and money don't allow for that. But God has been so gracious to me and I've been able to rely on Him for the strength to start new here and continue to grow and be sanctified. I'm just going to do a little pro's and con's lists now because I can.

Things I miss (in no particular order):
  • living with my sisters.
  • coffee/sushi dates with amazing, encouraging friends.
  • Grace Comm.
  • Disneyland.
  • the OPTION of going to the beach.
  • internet.
  • Stonefire Grill.
  • Tommy's.
  • I'm hungry.
  • What was I outlining again?
  • Oh yeah, things I miss.
  • I won't even start on the people I miss.
  • You'd get bored.
  • Or you'd start crying because you are probably one of those people and it would depress you.
  • Sharing closets with roommates. Brian is not fashionable and we don't wear the same size clothes. Mind you, his pants are too small for me. Yeah, you just think on that one for awhile.
  • 4 minute commute to work.
Things I don't miss:
  • traffic on any freeway you want to take.
  • This list is short.
Things I like about Sacramento:
  • living with my wonderful, amazing, godly, perfect husband.
  • our church that's committed to the truth! Even if they're all Russian. I'm learning. Privyet and dasvidanya!
  • the H&M at the mall 15 minutes away.
  • my husband's job that he thoroughly enjoys and looks forward to every day, bless his hard-working heart.
  • our $699 a month rent.
  • Adalberto's. Their super nachos will make you fat.
Those are just my attempts to get a better perspective on why God has us here in Northern California at this time. I'm working on having a better attitude and being supportive and Lord help me, sometimes I fail!!! But that's the wonderful thing about His grace. :)

Also, I got my swimsuits from J. Crew yesterday. Yes, I tried them on and proceeded to wear them around the apartment for about 30 minutes. Then it got cold. Yes, I secretly wished I could somehow wear them to work today. Yes, I'm a strange, weird woman. Don't you judge me! Don't you dare judge me, Lizzy! (Name that movie!)

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pregnancy Plight

by Steph

No, I'm not pregnant. Yes, I titled this post pregnancy plight because I'm mourning over the fact that I'm not pregnant for COMPLETELY selfish and vain reasons. You should probably know that I'm selfish and vain if you haven't already gleaned that from reading my blog.

The only reason I want to be pregnant, is so I have an excuse to wear maternity clothes. Yes, roll your eyes. I am that ridiculous.

I'm sure you've already read my ode to maternity stretchy pants and my love for Old Navy's collection of maternity clothes.

Well here it goes again.

I happened over to Old Navy's website after I had a scare this weekend. Not a pregnancy scare, I mean, I drove past the old Old Navy store and it was GONE.

I was scared. I panicked. I cried. I was emotional and unreasonable. I asked my husband to immediately take me to the next nearest Old Navy 15 minutes away to make sure I hadn't been abandoned completely. He said no.

The next day, we wandered over to Michael's to get some artsy, craftsy stuff. Michael's is next to Best Buy and as long as my husband can check out cool electronic stuff next door, I'm free to shop at Michael's as long as I want. In fact, I'm usually the one who has to drag him out of Best Buy... it should be the other way around. But he's a shop-a-holic like that.

So we pull into the driveway of Michael's/Best Buy and there it was... that wonderful, blue, all-caps, Arial font sign: OLD NAVY!!! It had just been moved right next to Michael's!!! Unfortunately, they're still putting up shelves and stuff so it wasn't open just yet but a wave of relief washed over me and all was right in the world again.

To overcome my scare of having to live without such a staple as Old Navy, I decided to do some online window shopping. And yes, I ended up in the maternity section. But really, Old Navy?!?!? Come on!!! Must we all have babies growing in our bellies to benefit from whomever selects your maternity collection?!?!

A few other things: your maternity mannequinns look like me after I've eaten too much and yes, I would like you to start a new line of stretchy waist jeans for non-pregnant woman.

Please.

Here's a few picks from their maternity collection and their regular clothes collection... Now if I can just convince my husband that we should have kids so I can get a new wardrobe.

Did I really just type that?

Lord help my soul.













Thursday, April 7, 2011

Taking the plunge

by Steph

I took the plunge yesterday. I bought 2 J. Crew swimsuits.

Yes, you read that right.

T-w-o.

$168. Including tax and shipping.

I'll wait while you faint and recover and start reading again.

Because I nearly fainted when I clicked "Submit order".

Let me back up. When I got married 6 months ago, my husband and I decided that we'd each have our "me" savings. Money that was set aside from each of our paychecks into our own individual savings that we could spend how we see fit.

Now I have never been one to save anything. When I get gift cards, they literally burn holes in my wallet so I have to spend them the next day. Sometimes even the same day. Every year for my birthday and Christmas, my parents have learned that gift cards are the best gift that give me the greatest joy and here's why: the gift is really SHOPPING. Shopping, I love. Shopping, is the best gift. Shopping, is something I don't do anymore now that I'm responsible with all my credit cards and paid off all that debt.

Back to my savings. I've been saving for 7 months now and it wasn't much... just $25 every paycheck. I've been checking J. Crew's website because the swimsuit I wanted has been in a whirlwind. It's been taken off their website several times since I first found it because it was sold out. And every time I checked, they didn't have my size. So I decided to check again yesterday and there it was! In my size and everything!

As I was about to checkout, I paused as I realized that I was about to spend $109 on a swimsuit.

Then the banner at the top of the page flashed at me. 20% off your order of $150 or more.

It taunted me. Only $41 more dollars and I could save 20%? Well... surely I could find something for $41.

Or... I could just invest in another swimsuit.

I sat there. Unsure... so scared. I hadn't spent money like that since I was back in my college years when I was racking up credit card debt as quickly as I was racking up the clothes in my closet. I bought $90 shoes like it was a cup of Starbuck's coffee. Then thousands of dollars later, I had to cut the habit. Cold turkey. The only time I could shop was when I got gift cards. No more shoes, no more new outfits, no more going out whenever I wanted. Eventually the debt was paid off but the result was an intense panic everytime I wanted to buy something. Do I really need this? Can I explain this purchase to my husband?

Except I did have that savings...

I wouldn't be putting it on a credit card, this was money I already had. And it was ALL MINE. To spend however I wanted. I knew my husband wouldn't mind because we had decided not to judge how the other person chose to spend that.

But I was still scared. This was going to blow 80% of my savings. With one click. I hyperventilated. I panicked. I froze and couldn't move forward. Even saving $35 didn't make it better. Suddenly, everything was hazy and I didn't want to be where I was.

Then my good friend Jen reminded me that it was an investment, a modest one, it'd last me long and I needed the swimsuits plus they were adorable. She's my friend because she encourages my spending.

So I took a deep breathe and clicked.

There it went. Whoosh.

I held my breathe. Wondering if the feeling of guilt would come. And it didn't! It wasn't an impulse buy, it was a thought out purchase of something I could truly say I needed. So now that I've aired that I feel so much better. And I really am happy with my purchase.

See what I got....they're so pretty...



The flowery one is the one I originally wanted and the black is a backup. It's slimming. :)

I hope you enjoyed my story of struggles and triumphs. Tomorrow I'll tell you about my annoyance with Customer Service reps.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Glamorous?

by Steph

I just started in this whole blogging thing 2 months ago. I was a baby and new to the world of blogging. I came upon Cupcakes & Cashmere and instantly loved this girl. She lives in LA, is wonderfully fashionable and loves flea market/thrift store finds. Her creativity inspired me. She was living my past life with a better job and more expensive shoes. We're BFF's even though we've never met. And she has no idea who I am. And she's in LA. I miss LA.

Then I noticed she had something called a blogroll.

Scrolling through her "frostings", The Glamourai caught my eye. This girl was living the life I wanted. The life I would've had if I had moved to New York as originally planned instead of getting married and moving to Sacramento. She's extraordinarily fashionable and also loves flea market/thrift store finds. She is as creative as Emily in C&C but with a city style, instead of the easy, breezy Cali style.

What do they have in common? They're super fashionable, creative, fun, make their own jewelry, have amazing jobs and blog.

What do I have in common with them?

Almost nothing.

I've never owned designer shoes and the only designer purse I've ever had was a Coach purse my parents bought me ages ago. I don't dress up and take pictures of myself everyday because you'd get bored of seeing the same old jeans and top routine. I don't have a glamorous job - I sit at a desk and do Customer Service-y stuff. I tried once to make a necklace and it bombed in my face.

But the thing I love about these girls is that we share the same taste in clothes. I see their outfits and think - yes, I'd totally pair that together. I see their "what I'm craving now" and I think yes, I was craving similar things. I don't have much in common with these girls except our love for fashion.

All that to say... I was OVERJOYED AND ECSTATIC to see The Glamourai do a post on one pieces. Kelly, you have no idea how you've made my day. I posted about my love for one piece swimsuits not too long ago and I'm so so so happy to see we share the love. You have no idea who I am - but you inspire me to keep loving fashion and keep reading your blog. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

by Steph

Today is April's Fool Day. I'm not much of a prankster, nor am I gullible so it's a pretty blah day for me.

Here comes the outline:
  • I won't even begin to tell you what my husband April Fooled me with. It's disturbing in more ways than one.
  • Last night, I was about to fall asleep and in my head I thought I was falling off the bed so I flailed and jerked but really, I was laying in the middle of the bed and scared my husband out of his wits. Probably why he April Fooled me.
  • It's been on the positive side of 70 degrees all week. I'm ecstatic.
  • Sunny forecast all weekend means I'll be laying by the pool in my swimsuit and floppy hat eating bon bons.
  • Oh yeah, no swimsuit. Yet.
  • And I can't remember what I've done with my floppy hat.
  • And I'm not allowed to eat bon bons. It's not in the budget.
  • But cookie dough I have. And cookie dough I can eat by the pool.
  • I think I'll stop daydreaming about getting fatter in a swimsuit and start thinking about exercising so I don't look like a beached whale this summer.
  • It's Friday! Oh happy joy joy day!
  • These are my random thoughts. They seem so much more less random (yes, that was much more less) in an outline. Don't you think?
  • I've been wearing dresses and sandals for 2 days. It's wonderful. My legs are so happy to be free of jeans. They're also a bit timid because they haven't seen the sun in ages.
  • I was sitting on our balcony with my husband after I got home from work yesterday and there were 2 things that disappointed me: he (the fully white boy) is more tanned than me (the half Mexican half white girl). Secondly, my skin was literally glowing in the sunlight. And I don't mean a pretty glisten. I mean it hissed, recoiled and sizzled when I exposed it directly to sunlight.
  • Thanks to my half-Mexican-ness, I got a tan line after sitting on the porch for 30 minutes.
  • It's gone as of 10am today.
  • We ordered a new lens for our SLR camera that I'm super excited about! We read tons of forums, sites, research stuff, reviews, more sites, more forums before deciding on which one we wanted. Then we found out the one we wanted was on back order. So we decided to get a refurbished one. I'm kind of nervous, but it comes with the same warranty as a new one so hopefully we won't have any problems.
  • I adore summer. I wish I was back in the days when summer meant laying by the pool, trips to the beach, mall and Disneyland, going to the movies to keep cool and swimming right before bed to sleep well.
  • Those days are gone forever....
  • I get to see my friends/family 4 times in the next 2 months. Yay!!!
  • 5 weeks until my sister gets married.
  • 2 hours until I'm free for the weekend.
  • I'm out of bullets.
And for you summer sandal lovers...