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Showing posts from March, 2012

Food I Ate Fridays - Martha Stewart Coconut Cupcakes

I absolutely adore coconut, so this week I wanted to share a recipe with you for coconut cupcakes that I found on Martha Stewart's wesbite.  I made them back on Valtninte's Day for some of my favorite people, and I added a raspberry on top.  Mine did not turn out quite as pretty as the website showed, so I used their picture instead.  You can find the link here .  What I liked most about these cakes was the denseness.  Now don't get me wrong, I also love light and fluffy, but the heaviness of each cupcake made it feel like it was worth the calories :)  They will melt in your mouth and bring a smile to your face.  Isn't that what good eating is all about - smiling... :) I got lazy and used pre-made frosting, but I will also include the recipe on this post for the frosting Martha recommends.  If you make it, let me know how it goes! Ingredients 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup packed sweet shredded coconut 6

A Reflection Of Myself - Painted In Red

Sometimes a song really reflects my heart, and this Sara Bareilles song does just that.  The way she puts her struggle is beautiful and poetic, and I hope you gain from this song and that her self expression helps you to see your own.  This is my story from way back, and something I have overcome.  I love how she puts it, because this journey of doubt and frustration never ends. I want to encourage you to be sure to write out your feelings, whether it is a personal journal or a public blog.  It is worth the energy - it clarifies.  If you are someone who struggles to express yourself in words, allow yourself to reflect others expressions.  Whether it be a musical artist, a poet, or an author; allow their expression to help clarify your own personal journey.  Their words can ring clear something you are having trouble expressing.  Listen without judgement.  Allow others words to wash over you and help you understand yourself. I've Been Down, I've Been Out I Did It All

Trading Spaces - Hannah with Grounded Parenting

As I am sure you remember from this previous post, Hannah Ground Herman and I traded places about a month ago.  Her words of wisdom and experience were not forgotten by me, and we are trading again today because it really blessed us both to share our personal space and open up our world to the other’s audience.  Make sure you read every word of her heart.  She consistently lays it all out there.  Be encouraged by her dear friends, she is a busy mother of 2 who takes the time to write to you and encourage you in your walk.  She is just like me, a woman of God working to sort things out.  Give her both your ears, and open up your heart today. "The following are her beautiful words... "Books don't change people; paragraphs do, sometimes even sentences." ~ John Piper, A Godward Life Think back to a really great book you've read. One that somehow altered the way you thought, changed your perspective, shifted your view. Maybe it was so engaging that you dev

Faith & Josh - I Treasure You Both

This is my beautiful sister and her wonderful boyfriend.  They are such an unbelievably talented couple.  Now, I know you are probably thinking I am biased, and I guess that is partially true, but if you had been there this night you would not be able to deny it for one moment.  This was the night of their senior recital, and I welled up with tears quite a few times realizing how amazing it is that God blessed them with so much musical ability, and that he brought them together to understand each other as a beautiful couple. When my parents were in town a few weeks back, this is the main reason they were here.  Faith and Josh spent a lot of time putting this night together, and it is really important to have as much support as they can.  She sang in at least 4 different languages, and he played many difficult pieces of music.  Every time they walked on the stage, I was absolutely blown away.  My degree was in International Business, and this world would be so foreign to me.  I

Food I Ate Friday - Cooking Pho

I have told you about my love for Vietnamese Pho multiple times, but Bill and I took it to a new level when we attempted to make it from home.   Let me tell you, it turned out awesome! Now, I know if you are a traditionalist, when you see the “Spice Paste” packet, you roll your eyes and say I have no idea what I am doing.   However, I tend to disagree.   I didn’t say it was as good as traditional Pho cooked for hours from scratch, I just said it was great.   My favorite part about Pho is the fresh ingredients and how they taste in the hot soup.   The spicy flavors and the crunch of the fresh ingredients mixed with the soft noodles and meat.   Ugh, it’s just so good!   Following the directions was easy, and we have noted a few things we would change the next time around, but I just want to encourage you on this “Food I Ate Friday” to try new things at home.   It is so easy to get sucked into routine, pick up food on your way home, or eat something unhealthy because it is “e

Oh What A Beautiful Birthday!

Oh what a birthday we had this year!  Just as a reminder, Bill, Chris and I all share a birthday.   This year, Dannae and I sent Bill and Chris on a scavenger hunt where they saw everyone pictured.   We met under the pretenses of going to dinner as a group of four, and then Dannae and I dropped a note at the front door and drove off in a cloud of smoke!   The boys went to a park around the corner, a Trader Joes with wine tasting, a revolving sushi bar, and then to Peet’s coffee.   At each stop were dear friends and lovely treats.   They LOVED it.   We knew they would, but they just really milked it and soaked it in.   I love love love being able to do this for people that I love.   They came back smiling and ready for more. Once they had returned to Chris and Dannae’s for the surprise and hugging, we headed out as a giant group to get Pho, and enjoyed the night together.   It was so fun to just be out celebrating, and it is such a rare occasion to have 3 birthdays in the sa

C'est La Vie - A Red Canoe In The Mountains

I stole this wording from a previous C'est La Vie Post, but it still rings so true I decided to use it again!  "I want to make this section of my blog relaxing images.  When I hear this phrase, I feel tension release.  I imagine a hundred different scenes that all transport me into a place that would make me rest easy.  Isn't it amazing that we each have different places and things that speak to our hearts? My goal with this is to give you images that can transport you elsewhere into a relaxing realm.  Every time you see a C'est la Vie post, take a deep breath and remember that life is a blessing."   I hope this image speak to someone today.  I know I can imagine myself with the fresh mountain breeze in my face in that little red canoe, and all my troubles melt away. Relax today my friend.

Be Encouraged - Between The Rains

As I mentioned in this previous post ,   I have been doing a Bible study on James over the last few months, and loving the teaching I am receiving.  Beth Moore recently discussed her idea of what it means to be "Between the Rains".  I love the explanation she offered, and I hope I do it justice when I share it with you today. She begins by explaining that we all have seasons of our life where we feel blessed and taken care of.  We feel untouchable and like everything is going according to plan.  These are the seasons of rain.  Sometimes a light mist, and sometimes a deluge, but all the same they are seasons of rain.  We feel an outpouring of blessing in our circles and directly onto us.  Our lives are exciting and we wake up with a bounce in our step every morning.  We are not scrounging or wanting.  Everything seems good and not stressful.  However, there are also seasons of drought.  Where we feel like God is far away.  We don’t understand why things are happening

A Season Of Reading - The Hunger Games

 I haven’t been withholding from you and not reporting on books I’ve read; I just took a reading hiatus while I was focused on 5k training and Bible Study.  However, my life is leveling out, and I tore through a book last week I want to tell you about.  Now just FYI, whenever I see a book blow up in popularity, I am very skeptical.  I am sure you are too.  This was no exception.  However, when a lot of my friends had read and raved, I started thinking I just needed to commit and jump aboard the train.  So, I borrowed it from some friends, and sat down to give it a chance.  If I am honest, I was hooked from the beginning.  It is absolutely not a nice story.  In fact it is full of evil, deceit, manipulation, fear and so much more.  What caught my attention at first was that I relate to the way the main character (and many other characters) responded to the ideals presented by the Capitol in the book.  Her sense of moral and understanding of the way the system was set-up as

Food I Ate Friday - Mongolian Barbeque Birthday Dinner

Oh my how I love this stuff.   I love anything interactive as far as food goes.   Salad Bars, taco nights, making sushi, and Mongolian barbeque are some of my favorites (that list could go on for awhile).   There is something so fun about getting a plate and having every option available to you that you could imagine.   I love being able to try new combinations and flavors together.   When my roommate, Mikaela, asked me where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner, I got really excited to try a Mongolian Barbeque place in Southern California; since it used to be my favorite thing to do with my mom!     We walked in to a mostly empty restaurant, and I instantly got excited.   The Asian décor, fish tank at the front door, and hot tea poured upon our arrival all made me smile.   I love these places! We ordered chicken and pork and piled veggies on top, after they grilled it all up we returned to our seats to find fun little appetizers waiting for us.   Sweet and Sour sauce, de

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Oh Polyvore

As if I needed another obsession, I was admittedly Facebook stalking the other day, and courtesy of my dear friend Hannah @ Grounded Parenting , I started playing with a website called Polyvore .  Ay ay ay, it has become an addiction quickly.  I do not dress this way, or find clothes to be particularly important in my life, but I do love creating.  This allows me to do so!  Bringing colors and prints together IS something I love, and whether or not I do this on my own body is a totally different story! The looks I have put together below are all soft and have pops of color that I love.  I would absolutely wear all of these outfits.  What is most important to me is that an outfit really speak of a person's personality, and somehow these clothes represent mine!  Simple and basic, yet fun and cozy. So take a moment to scroll through these 3 outfits, and let me know what you like best!  I have a few favorite items, but you will have to ask to find out what they are :) 

Family and Flowers

 My parents pictured top, Bill's parents and aunt kath with Bill & I in the bottom  I already told you about my Farmer’s market love here, but I did not include pictures of being there with people we love.   My parents were in town last week, and while I had to work every day, just knowing I could see them when I got off work was so lovely. On the Saturday before they headed back to Maryland, we got to spend a blissful Saturday entirely together.   My parents were staying at Bill’s Parents house, and we spent so much time in the sunshine becoming a family.   It was wonderful to see them all getting along so well!   Bill and my birthday was celebrated that night with Pizza and family and friends.   That morning was spent walking around the market and buying oysters, pizza toppings, and chapstick.   As mentioned before, I love everything this setting, but spending it with people I love is even more rewarding.   The colors and the experience feels more vibrant when I

The One And Only Seattle

I only gave you a sneak peak of Seattle last week, but now I want to tell you a little more about our trip! Bill and I flew up to meet my little brother and his girl in Seattle last month, and let me tell you it was wonderful.     We arrived and met at the hotel to get a good night’s sleep and head into downtown early the next morning.   After an amazing breakfast, we spent our first day walking through Pike’s Place Market, sampling everything handed to us, and breathing in the fresh rainy air.   It was great to have time spent with these two, and not having to split our attention.   We just enjoy each other’s company… So much.   We laughed and talked and just enjoyed the setting.   Bill’s uncle lives near this beautiful place, and his aunt happened to be up there the same weekend we were, and they spent so much time showing us around and telling us all their favorite hidden gems throughout the area and the market.   We could not thank them enough!   They took us to their

A Penny For Your Thoughts - The Healing Takes Time

A lot of people tell me they could never be “as nice as I am.”   While I consider it a compliment that people recognize that characteristic in me, it also makes me sad to hear that.   It is a daily decision to die to my desire to lash out and treat people disrespectfully, and to actively give people respect and kindness.   I am not naïve to how nice I am, it is completely intentional.   I strongly believe that anyone can make the decision to make kindness a lifestyle as well.   I often think of the thousands of ways the world would improve if people would just be nicer.   I do not act this way out of a desire to appear like a better person; it is deep inside of me and a choice I made awhile back.   It gets easier every day. I have not always been this nice of a person.   In high school and the beginning of college I blended in with everyone else who talked smack and didn’t have any intention of mending burned bridges.   I have grown leaps and bounds and intend to continue to do s

Food I Ate Friday - Fresh From The Market

Farmer’s Markets fill me up with joy.   I LOVE the fruit and the veggies and the samples.   The smells and the freshness.   Ugh, just thinking about it overwhelms me with happiness.   I love being in the sunshine and the bright colors I am surrounded by.   I love tasting all the hybrid fruits with so much juice you cannot contain it and it drips all over the ground.   I love the people who are so passionate about the product that they grow and why the natural route is the best.   I love walking around amidst the people and the puppies and the music and the laughter.   I love the fresh picked flowers.   I love the seafood packed on ice.   Bill and I spent Saturday morning with his parents, my parents, and his aunt meandering our new favorite farmers market in Orange (more pictures to come!), and it was such a refreshing experience.   We all sampled and smiled and just enjoyed the sunshine.   I can’t understand how someone would not enjoy that environment, it is SO relax

Engagement Pictures Revealed!

Just looking at these photos fills my heart up.  There are so many I loved, so I picked some of favorites to share here.  Know that none of this is an act; I am so in love with this boy.  Sigh...  Engagement pictures were something I had been looking forward to since the day we got engaged, and they turned out better than I ever dreamed.  This was a perfect morning with my perfect boy.

Our Honeymoon Plans

 We have officially booked our resort in Phuket, Thailand!   I can’t believe we are going to go on this amazing adventure.   We will be getting Thai massages, eating tons of Thai food, riding elephants through the jungles and bays, and going to Thai cooking school.   My parents gave us a week of their time share, and the resort looks absolutely breathtaking.   It is so amazing to have a boy who wants to do these things with me.   I am looking forward to language barriers, strange unidentifiable food, and lots of interactions with some of the happiest people on earth in the land of smiles.   It is going to be an adventure we will never forget. Sometimes people feel like it is strange to travel so far away for such a short period of time.   Some people don’t understand why someone would want to go somewhere so unique for a trip like this.   However, we know that this will be something we will never regret.   We are planning to soak it all up and love every moment of it

Be Encouraged - Forgiveness and Apology

I think there is something to be said for actually saying when you are sorry, you were wrong, or you were in denial.   I always hear people say they have moved on, but in reality, they have not - based on their actions, words, or aggression towards the other person.   Even if it is passive aggressive, it is still not a healthy way to approach someone or something.   I strongly believe, in order to move on in your heart and head and life, you MUST verbally and/or publicly apologize.  Peo ple hide behind emails and text messages these days, when what is important is to have the awkward conversation.   Sometimes distance prevents the actual conversation, and an email is all you have.   However, there is something about sitting in front of a person and pouring your heart out to them.   They feel your pain and they see your hurt.   If it is possible, it should be your first resort, not the last one.   Technology prevents honest conversation often. I recently had an encounter with s

It's My Birthday... And All These Guys Too!

Today is such a special day.  It always has been.  I have always shared this day with my twin brother Christian, pictured above.  We truly have a unique "twin bond", and he is without a doubt one of my very best friends.  I love him differently than anyone else.  I miss him constantly.  I love that we always have this day to focus on each other and our friendship, and to remind ourselves to invest in each other.  Not just because we are related, but because we love each other so much :) I also have the pleasure to share my birthday with the gentlemen pictured below!  Bill, my fiance you have heard all about, and Chris, a wonderful friend of ours who makes everything more fun.  They make my life better.  Bill is the love of my life and I cannot imagine my day to day without him.  It's fun to share our birthday and to make it really special and a week of celebrating!  We have already had a few days of fun, and it will continue throughtout the week.  Chris i

Seattle Sneak Peak

 I recently returned from Seattle and was overwhelmed with my love for that city.  It is hard to put that love into words, but I will take a stab at it for you. I love the smells of fresh seafood and baking goods.   I love the markets full of fresh flowers and fragrant fruit. I love all the happy dogs. I love the light rain and lack of umbrellas. I love the coffee cups in everyone’s hands. I love that the city wasn’t pretentious at all. I love how fresh the seafood was. I love that everything we wanted to do was in walking distance. I love that the people of Seattle are active and outdoorsy. I love that I instantly felt like I belonged. I love the crisp feeling in the air. I love Seattle.