As we hiked up to take our second Christmas card picture (last year’s here), we realized we had unintentionally started a holiday tradition. One where we hike through the cold snow hoping to find a picturesque spot before the pups get too cold, quickly switch clothes, snap a few photos while shivering in between takes, and hoof it back down the mountain at double speed to the warmth of the car. Every year it is type two fun that we end up reminiscing happily over throughout the year. But that’s the best thing about traditions…they start unknowingly and last in your memory forever. Whatever your traditions, embrace them fully and cherish this time with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!


November Highlights + December Goals

November was a crazy month. One where we aren’t really sure where time went or what we did to fill it before we realized it was over and already into the next month (which may explain me posting this with only 10 days left in December). I’m looking forward to focusing on everything surrounding the holiday season this month since it is my favorite time of year. Even though I’m bummed that for the first time in my twenty-nine years of life I won’t be spending Christmas with my family, I am excited to start new traditions with Justin and celebrate as our own little family of four for the first time.

1. Purchase, wrap and mail Christmas presents to family back home
2. Continue our tradition of seeing “A Christmas Carol” at our favorite theater
3. Angel tree gifts and Toys for Tots
4. Create a Christmas Day playlist
5. Decorate gingerbread houses
6. Watch a new-to-us holiday movie (White Christmas, maybe?)
7. Celebrate our first Christmas alone with a full three course meal and starting new family traditions
8. Get a new job
9. Complete the first two weeks of this workout
10. Update our 2014 scrapbook through at least October


1. The prettiest merchandising in Vancouver
2. Cold, rainy Seattle weather calls for lots of snuggles under mounds of blankets
3. Imitating art
4. My ridiculously amazing parents dry packed our favorite ice-cream and drove it 8 HOURS to us – such a great, thoughtful surprise!
5. Finally reunited with my family for the first time in way too long
6. Attempting family recipes since we couldn’t be home for the holiday
7. Convinced Justin into trying Jillian’s Ripped in 30 with me – his funny outbursts made the whole workout worthwhile
8. To everyone’s disbelief, it SNOWED in Seattle
9. Thanksgiving Day entertainment in the form of this hilarious new app


Book Review x 6

Below is a brief recount of six books I have read over the past few months. I would absolutely love to hear if you have previously read any of them and what your thoughts were! And even more so, I would love new book recommendations (I think this one is next)! Looking for more recommendations? View past book reviews here.


Looking for Alaska by John Green: Miles “Pudge” Halter lead a boring life, craving “the Great Perhaps”. When he meets the clever, sexy, screwed up, and fascinating Alaska Young at Culver Creek Boarding School she pulls him into the Great Perhaps and nothing will ever be the same after. After reading John Green’s most famous book, The Fault in Our Stars, I immediately reached for this one, which I think is a million times better than it’s more well-known counterpart.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight: In the middle of the most important meeting of her career, Kate receives a phone call from her daughter’s school; she’s been caught cheating and consequently is being suspended immediately. By the time Kate arrives at Amelia’s school, her stress turns to grief when she is greeted by firetrucks and police cars and the shocking fact that her daughter Amelia is dead. After months coping with the thought of Amelia jumping to her death, Kate receives an anonymous text: Amelia didn’t jump. If you loved Gone Girl and Gossip Girl, you’ll love this.

The Racketeer by John Grisham: The fifth federal judge in the history of the United States has just been found murdered in his remote cabin with his young secretary and an emptied safe. Malcolm Bannister, currently residing in a Federal Prison, knows who killed Judge Fawcett, but all information comes at a price and Malcom Bannister, aka the Racketeer, has his. A fast-paced, whodunit with enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: At the age of seven, Libby Day survived the murders of her mother and two sisters and testified that her fifteen year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes finds Libby and offers to pay her money for details in hopes of finally setting Ben free. Through Libby’s search the unimaginable truth emerges and lands her back where she started – on the run from a killer. Completely disturbing and haunting (much more so than Gone Girl).

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai: The biography of the girl who was shot by the Taliban and awarded the Noble Peace Prize for her outspoken fight for equal education worldwide. Recounting her family’s history in part one was extremely daunting. The brief overviews of the country’s history and the countless names in part two were subsequently under and overwhelming. However, the final three parts that told the story of her fight for education rights and her life held my attention much better due to my ability to connect her words with the recent accounts on the news that I was already familiar with. Although the slow start is a struggle, Malala’s life is beyond inspiring and a great reminder to each of us to fight for the rights of others and our beliefs because one person can make a difference.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: Following the death of her mother, a divorce, and a run of reckless behavior, 26 year-old Cheryl Strayed finds her inexperienced self alone on the Pacific Crest Trail hoping to figure out her life. As a woman who also has felt (feels) lost and confused and turned to travel as a path to the discovery of answers to personal struggles, I found this book extremely relatable and hopeful. Justin and I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at an REI event and found her even more impactful in person. Looking forward to seeing the movie starring Reese Witherspoon.


October Highlights + November Goals

October was an exciting, busy month consisting of lots of visitors, moving into a larger apartment, and fall arriving. There was something about the change of seasons that not only brought cooler weather and colorful trees but also a change of direction, attitude, and purpose. I’m thrilled to finally be succumbing to my need for a creative outlet and be back in the world of blogging. Happy November everyone.

1. Update 2014 scrapbook through October
2. Mail one just because care package (brother)
3. Finalize and order Christmas cards
4. Sign up for an instructional class (i.e. cake decorating, sewing, flower arranging)
5. Implement a daily vitamin regimen
6. Get sweaty at least two times a week (8/8)
7. Attempt Hummingbird Bakery’s Apple Pie recipe (recipe coming soon!)
8. Plan a two-day getaway to Vancouver to see this guy perform (would love suggestions)
9. Setup the 30th birthday savings account for completing this list
10. Weed through workout clothes and the closet to donate items to Goodwill

October Highlights1. The ironic colors of Lake Blanca
2. Considering my dad has been proudly sporting the salt and pepper look since his 20s, the need for this product was inevitable
3. By purchasing an indoor plant light we have officially been deemed true Seattleites
4. The easiest farmer’s market outfit and my go-to as of late (scarf/bag)
5. My three favorites playing at our favorite park
6. Celebrating Oktoberfest in the cutest town

April Highlights + May Goals

With my work load picking up, a trip planned at the end of the month, and my less than perfect track record with these monthly goals, I decided to scale down my expectations for myself this month so I can focus on the rare downtime and bask in the fun. Happy May!!

May Goals:
1. Frame four pictures (one from this fundraiser)
2. Run in my first COLOR RUN!
3. Take the two West-E Elementary Education teaching tests (scheduled for July)
4. Send another just because care package
5. Finalize San Francisco plans and cross #78 off my list
6. Update 2014 scrapbook and start/finish China pages
7. Run/workout three times a week (5/12)
8. Blog post at least three times a week (0/12)


April Highlights:
1. Trying to decide if I need this romper?
2. We kicked off our kickball season last month and are currently 2-0 #winning
3. Runs are made more enjoyable when you have a view like this
4. Our sidewalks are covered by this deliciously smelling, pink gorgeousness
5. Basically fly-fishing experts now
6. CHICKENS running free in our city neighborhood! Talk about free range!
7. Gasworks Park – the perfect view of downtown with room for the girls to run while we picnic
8. #thatpnwbridge that is becoming #instifamous and is super creepy
9. Friday night bowling sessions with new friends