Tuesday, May 31, 2011

patio upgrade

Our patio has been driving me crazy for about the last two months. It is easily our favorite part of our apartment - but has unfortunately been in decor limbo since we moved in. This weekend I made a few changes that have me falling in love with this space all over again! It is certainly not finished, but we are very happy with the progress. Here is the before...


I hate fake flowers. Truly despise them. However, I dislike empty pots on my table anymore - hence why they have been there for the past month.



Not to be dramatic (because I never am) but this little corner made me want to throw up every time I saw it. Seriously, what is going on there?!


The patio transformation began as any good transformation should, with a can of spray paint. I knew the black table had potential - but the color needed to be changed first. So myself, a few sheets of sand paper, spray primer and Satin Strawflower Rust-Oleum spray paint went to work on that bad boy. A few hours later we ended up with this:



As for the large green candle seen in the first picture, it had unfortunately been damaged beyond repair during the move to San Diego. My sweet bosses at my previous position in Las Vegas had given it to me and I loved it - a 3 foot tall candle, what's not to love? However, the injuries sustained in the Uhaul made it unrepairable and I had to bid it farewell. The column, which I got a few years back from a Thrift Store for all of $8 was looking a little dull. Fortunately, it was nothing a little spray paint and a trip to the nursery for some lovely flowers couldn't fix. I also found this rough looking piece of wood under our deck...



...Which was perfect for a little sign to tie in the yellow of our new 'bench' with the rest of the patio. Here are our after pictures:





(Deep cleaning our deck is next on my to-do list...)




I had mentioned here that I want to update the table to a bright fun color - which I still may. My question to you is, should I paint the table to match the yellow of the bench? Should I do a different color to mix it up a little? Or should I simply change the fabric on the seats to a fun pattern that has a little yellow mixed in?

Monday, May 30, 2011

happy memorial day!

Happy Memorial Day from our little family to yours. We are so thankful to the wonderful service men and women who defend and protect our country every day! Here is a taste of Memorial Day in our home...






Hope you all enjoy this wonderful day!


P.s. that above deliciousness is simply this dish with this recipe's sugar glaze - very worth trying!

Friday, May 27, 2011

friday funnies

To get you through today...



What would Jesus do...if there were only this much coffee left in the pot? *He would brew more!


Brain




Click image for link - Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

lately

Lately we have been...


Eating wonderful food from neighborhood cafes (the world's best veggie sandwich on gluten-free bread can be found here)



Enjoying events Preston plans at work, like his recent Meet the Brewer evening. I discovered this delicious beer - easily my new favorite! (P is pictured above with his sweet work girls!)



Planning upcoming vacations and dreaming up our future plans (picture above from my parent's Chicago escapade)



We've been taking long walks in the beautiful sunshine - and finding pretty flowers EVERYWHERE. The city next us is supposed to be the 'Flower Capital of the World' and we are certainly not too far behind!



We've taken Sebastian to the dog park at the lagoon - where he enjoyed running in the water... and rolling in the mud.



I've been organizing our storage areas around the house... which of course led to finding old yearbooks and super cute pictures of Preston J!


And that has been our life lately! Well that, and obsessively watching American Idol of course. Hope you are all having a fabulous week!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

summer lovin'

I so love summer. It makes me want to frolic on the beach in sundresses during the day and sip cocktails on the patio with P and Sebastian in the evening. Here are some things on my summer to-do (and wish) list...


 First I want to make this yummy key lime cake -

Step 1: Prepare three round 9″ pans by lining the bottoms of each with 9″ circles of wax paper.

Step 2: Grease the wax paper with Pam and then sprinkle with flour.

Step 3: Mix the cake mix, lime jello, oil, eggs, orange juice and water together for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed.

Step 4: Pour an equal amount of the batter into each of the three lined cake pans.

Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

For the glaze-

Step 6: While the cakes are baking, knead two key limes against a hard surface to loosen the juice inside of them.

Step 7: Cut each of the key limes in half.

Step 8: Squeeze 1/4 cup of fresh key lime juice into a small bowl.

Step 9: Pour 1/4 cup of bottled lime juice into the bowl of fresh lime juice.

Step 10: Mix in 4 tbsp. of confectioners sugar.

When the cakes come of out the oven, and while they’re still warm, use a spoon to drizzle the glaze mixture onto the entire surface of each of them.

For the icing-

Step 11: Mix the margarine and cream cheese together.

Step 12: Mix in the remainder of the box of confectioners sugar.

Step 13: Add the vanilla, and mix until it’s smooth.

Step 14: Remove the first cake from its pan, discard the waxpaper on the bottom of it, and spread a layer of icing on the top of it.

Step 15: Remove and stack the second (wax paperless) cake on top of the first one, and spread a layer of icing on the top of it.

Step 16: Remove and stack the third (wax paperless) cake on top of the second one, and spread a layer of icing on the top of it. Use the remaining icing to cover the sides of the cake.


Then, eat and enjoy the deliciousness!


I would serve the key lime goodness with this fresh summer lemonade -


Strawberry Basil Lemonade:


2 parts Bacardi Dragonberry Rum
1 part lemon juice
1 part simple syrup (I used sweet lime juice instead)
3 basil leaves
3 strawberries (hulled and chopped)
2 parts Sprite (the recipe didn’t say how much to use but I did two parts)


Muddle two basil leaves and two strawberries, then add those to the fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and Bacardi rum in a shaker with a bunch of ice. Add the Sprite and you’re done:

strawberry basil lemomade


As for the wish part of my summer list, here it is. If I had a little bittle near by, which I so wish I did (I still have hope one of my older siblings will produce more perfect offspring and then spontaneously decide to move to San Diego) I would be fashionably hiking with the little bean as such...



How darn cute would Ari girl look in there? Source


My goal this summer is to get good at golf. Not unrealistically good, just good enough where I can play 18 holes, not get frustrated and  actually keep score. Embarrassing that I'm not even good enough to keep score, I know. I played on a course for my first time this past weekend (we went on Sat & Sun) and I had so much fun with my Preston J!


I'm also planning on creating some fun, DIY Patio Furniture. We have a table out there, but it just isn't fun enough for me (it is our glass dining table that was in our kitchen eating area in our Las Vegas house, if you were wondering). I think we need something bright and energetic to go with our fabulous view, maybe something along these lines...



Source


After receiving a note in the mail yesterday from my sweetheart of a friend Alex, I have decided this summer I will also be writing more letters. I love getting things in the mail and know others do, too! Preston happens to be one of these people, so feel free to send a heartfelt note to our mailbox to him so he doesn't get jealous of all the pen pal letters in my future. :) Here is my first, of many, letters to be sent to friends and family.



My last summer to-do item is to camp. On our patio. I picture candles, smores, waking up to the beach and sleeping in something similar to this...



Happy summer, sweet friends!


 

Monday, May 23, 2011

p+m favorites

When I first created this blog, I did so because I like the idea of tracking what we're doing and what we love each moment - and one day being able to reflect on all of these things. We were talking this week about how old we will sound one day when we tell our kids, 'We were born in the 80s!' Then Preston said, what if in 15 years Scott McCreery is the new Garth and we could say that we saw him when he was on American Idol?! So, in the spirit of giving our (way in the) future children something to look back at and laugh, here are some things that we are loving right now...

 


1. American Idol - We're addicted. I sometimes get a knot in my stomach before the results show.


2. Banana Oatmeal Cookies - Way to yummy to be kind of healthy. I won't even say how fast we go through these.


3. Washington Wine - Yes, please.


4. Edamame - I am feasting on these little guys as I type this - they are a little piece of (good-for-you) heaven


5. P's New Clubs - Preston's getting new golf clubs and is very excited about it.


6. My Grey Toms - They make my feet very, very happy.


7. Mad Gab - If there were such things as professional Mad Gabbers, that is what Preston and I would be.


8. My light denim jacket - My favorite thing to wear when paired with a bright sun dress. I know it seems very Saved By The Bell-ish, but I promise I look at least kind of cool in it. 


9. Disneyland - And each other. And being goofy.


10. Starbuck's Recycled Glass Mug - My sister brought me a pair of these last weekend and they are my most favorite cup in the world! They are perfect for a glass of wine, a bit of milk or as a flower vase or M&M holder.


The quote is there because we love our life - and try to appreciate it everyday by drinking wine out of cute glass mugs while watching American Idol wearing a denim jacket. That, my friends, is happiness.


 

Friday, May 20, 2011

living smart

I said yesterday that I don't think money should drive any decisions. I whole heartedly believe this. I accepted a job making less than other positions I had been offered out of school. I've walked away from positions that paid great. And I don't regret a single choice. Preston and I joke that in college we could make $200 stretch for weeks so we have nothing to complain about now. Here are some of our budgeting tips that help us stretch, save and enjoy our earnings. It isn't rocket science - but it helps us!


*Make a savings plan. We opened up a joint account and set our long term goal for our honeymoon savings and then set mini goals along the way that we need to meet to make sure we are on track. By motivating each other, and keeping track of our saving, we are able to stay on track with our plan.

*Love the leftovers. Most meals that I cook aren't intended for just two people. Often I make enough for 4-6 servings. Instead of eating a (often flavorless) Lean Cusine for lunch or grabbing take out, I bring the leftovers. If I don't think I will want it for the next few days I freeze it and save it for a few weeks down the road. Chili, lasagna and enchiladas work great for this! While you're at it, cut some of the processed food. Fresh, seasonal produce from a farmer's market is typically more fresh (lasts longer) and less expensive than from the grocery store.

*Find an apartment/ townhouse with utilities included in the rent!! I know this is not possible to find everywhere - but it is worth trying! This is SUCH an incredible money saver and allows you to accurately budget your expenses without any surprises (anybody who has had a $400 energy bill during a Vegas summer knows what I am talking about...) After 4 months of living in our apartment P and I still talk about how much we love all-inclusive rent! 

*Find your go-to places. Preston and I love date nights. And eating out. We plan this into our budget and love our nights together! We have found some great local spots that allow us to have a fabulous night without spending tons. Our favorite neighborhood sushi place has 50% off rolls when you dine in - which means we can get 5 fresh, delicious rolls for $20!

*DIY/ Craigslist - It's no secret that I love Craig and his list. I also love antique markets, thrift stores, nearly everything on Etsy and anything that can be done with spray paint. If you make it or alter it yourself, rather than buying things that make your heart go pitter patter at Pottery Barn, you will save moolah. And, if you're like me, you will probably like it more because you found it/ made it yourself. Remember our head board?

Welp, that California King sized beauty cost me all of $20 at our Carlsbad thrift store. Seriously. I bought it a month before we moved (when we were visiting) and luckily the sweet store emloyees let me keep it there until we moved to California.

*Annual Passes - These bad boys can be a great money saver - if you're smart about it! We purchased our Sea World passes for $76 each (thanks to the Fun Card - what a deal!) and have been 3 times so far this year. That's about $25 a visit for a day full of fun! We also just purchased our San Diego Zoo annual passes. It was $96 for a two person annual pass (thanks to a great local deal and the sweet lady at the ticket counter who gave ys $10 off) and includes annual passes for the SD Zoo AND the Safari Wild Animal Park. We also get two free guest passes, 10% off food and drinks and many other perks! We know this may seem nerdy - but when you have one family full of littles (mine) and one family who loves theme parks (Preston's) and a really geeky couple (us) - these annual passes are fantastic!


Our zoo passes also includes free SkyRides!


*Ditch the car. Alright, just kidding. I so wish that I could do this and bike everywhere. I hate you California gas prices!

*Don't focus so much on saving money that you forget to have fun! We love to eat out, experience new things and enjoy every second - we just try to be smart when doing so!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

sending love...

...to our many, many friends who just graduated - you did it! We are so blessed to know so many wonderful, smart, talented people and are beyond excited to see all that you go into the world and accomplish! I am SO far beyond on my congratulation cards - they are coming though! P and I are having a blast trying to navigate this world as recent graduates, so while we may not have it all figured out we thought what we would share what we do know!

Preston - Take a risk. Don't just settle for the very first job you get offered if you aren't completely happy with it.

Morgan - Don't worry! Breathe! This is one of the first time's in our lives that things aren't mapped out. After MANY years of school, summer, school, summer, school, we've now ventured into uncharted territory. While scary, it is also exciting. The world is at our finger tips! It is easy to get a little nervous when every grandma, uncle, friend of a friend is asking, "What's next? Now what!? Where are you going to work? Where have you interviewed?" News flash: Most people do not have their job or next move planned the day they graduate. I read that as many as 84% of recent college graduates are unemployed at graduation. Take time, enjoy your freedom! You don't need to take the first offer you get, or the second, or the third. Take a chance! The most important thing is your happiness. It is not worth it to do something you don't love. Don't let money drive your decisions. Trust yourself - and remember to enjoy every second, even when you have no idea what the next moment may bring!

Because every post is better with pictures, here are some of the beautiful new graduates...


Molly graduated from Gonzaga University, where she majored in Applied Communications. On her blog, she writes, "I hope this blog will inspire you to be creative and think big. Life is crazy, but that does not mean you have to be. Enjoy simplicity." You inspire me everyday Molly!



Lauren graduated from UNLV, where she majored in Comprehensive Medical Imaging. Doesn't that make you feel smarter just saying it?! Despite having to take the hardest courses UNLV has to offer, working crazy hours while also completing her clinicals, she is always SO thoughtful! She never forgets a single event (birthday, good byes, graduation), always makes amazing handmade goodness (seen all throughout our home), and is perfect in just about every way! Thank you for always being such an incredible role model L Bap!



There is no way we could ever say enough great things about these two. Sweet, loving, funny, ALWAYS positive, smart, generous, caring - you name it, they've got it. They both graduated from UNLV, where they studied Hospitality. Toph and Caitlin - you brighten our life and we are so proud of you!


Cheers to the wonderful graduates! We are now selfishly hoping that you all get fabulous, too-good-to-turn-down job offers in San Diego and are forced to come live near us! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

air guitar & picking a wife

It has set in that my sweet sister and family are back home and I will not have any more play time with them for at least a couple of months. Talk about a bummer! I am so glad P and I got to spend so much time with them on their vacation. We loved every  minute. For the sake of embarrassing Remy when he is in high school, I have to share a couple of his seriously hilarious moments with you all!

*On Sunday morning before we head to the zoo, Preston and I were getting ready in the bathroom. Remy was already fully dressed and ready to go and came in to see us. Naturally, being the four-year old boy that he is, he decided to hop into the shower. He promised not to run the water so I told him to go ahead and hang out in there. He then took off his shirt... then pants... then undies! And of course, a several minute air guitar session ensued. However, his version of air guitar happened to involve his male unmentionables and was the funniest thing I have ever seen.

*We were in Disneyland just about to get on the Train ride and out of the blue, Remy looked at Preston, Hannah and I and said, "My peepee (read: male parts) is like a hair. I mean it's soft as a hair. Ya know?" We had to turn away so he didn't see us DIE laughing (which would have ensured that this statement was then repeated to everybody who came within a 10 foot range for the next 10 days.)

*Remy's hilariousness is not limited to his privates. Luckily he is ridiculously funny when it comes to just about everything. After they left today, Remy asked my sister, "Mom, who is going to be my wife?" She told him, "When you always want to share everything with someone and you can't wait to see them everyday, that's who you marry." He then asked, "So can I pick Auntie Momo?" How cute is he! I am missing you so much Remy Shae!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

sweet faces

They are on the plane back to Seattle right now and I miss these sweet faces already...


Arianna fully appreciated the 'Shamu, Shamu!' chant



She had the CUTEST summer outfits all week long - she was easily the best dressed girl at all the theme parks :)



Remy was so happy to see Uncle P - and even made a really goofy joke that Preston was the new favorite (serious bruising to my ego)



Luckily playing with Arianna, especially when she made her 'WOOW' face, brighten my mood


 


We loved the zoo - so much so that P and I are annual pass holders now!



I have a thing for elephants after reading Water for Elephants... and a thing for cute little girls with their hands down my shirt



 Yesterday morning my sweet sister and brother in law treated us to Goofy's Kitchen for breakfast - SO MUCH FUN!


 



We also made time during the trip to visit Uncle P at work - and Remy got to make his own gluten free pizza! I told Remy that they were going to hire him to open up the new store - which he took seriously and told his parents he had to move down to California for work purposes. Score!


 

Friday, May 13, 2011

friday flashback

My Grandma Lucy was the sweetest and spunkiest woman I ever met. She loved with her whole heart and was SO incredibly funny. She was this tiny, beautiful woman who was always up to date on fashion and celebrities. She would mock my dad and joke with him nonstop - but was always quick to let us know how great she thought he was as soon as he was out of earshot. She seemed to always know what you needed to hear - case in point, she called me her 'pretty girl' for years, particularly when I was going through some serious awkward stages! Besides being stunning, she was also incredibly talented, and always eager to teach others what she knew. She spoke fluent Chinese and English, was very smart and was an amazing artist. I am so blessed to  have known such an incredible woman...


Thursday, May 12, 2011

ideas, ideas

I've loved the idea ever since I saw The Holiday (which happens to be the one seasonal movie I could watch anytime of year). The thought grew in my head even more so after reading that she is doing it. How fun would it be to do a house swap for a vacation? I know there are many who might not like the idea - my Preston included, who prefers to stay in hotels rather than with friends and family. But to a girl who loves nothing more than to entertain at home, have sleepovers whenever possible and would prefer to sleep with my mom or sisters rather than alone when visiting home - a house swap sounds incredible! It seems so much cozier than a hotel, you'd have neighbors (even during your holiday!) and wouldn't at all be concerned about the 6,500 people who've laid on the comforter before you (wait? you don't worry about that too?!) AND you'd save money! I think it is a fabulous idea and would so love to do this - whether with our friends in Las Vegas or family in Seattle and beyond! So, for the next many years it takes me to convince P that this is a fun idea, I will be day dreaming about home swapping and spending a holiday in these spaces...


I would read this book right here



Or maybe take a dip in this pool



Then I'd probably bake some cupcakes here



And then enjoy an evening cocktail here