Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snow day!!!

I'll admit it - I was the naysayer. It started raining before we left and I said they'll NEVER let us up the mountain. We're going to need chains. Thank goodness they didn't listen to me. I mean, it would have been smart to have chains, but the fact is, we arrived at the perfect time, spent a few hours in the most beautiful, magical snow and drove (slid) very carefully down to the city again. I could get used to living someplace like that. Where the air seems cleaner, world seems shiny and fresher and all the problems and challenges of real life are a thousand feet below... I don't know how a little Aussie who spent six years living in the desert of Arizona ended up being a snow bird at heart. But I LOVE it. Best day of vacation so far.

Winter wonderland!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve...

Most years on Christmas Eve, I'm as excited as a little kid. I cook a big dinner, we have friends over or just make it a dinner for two. This year, I am laying next to a cozy fire, feeling a little blue... There's no one reason, it's a combination of things. Like the annoyance of having a broken sump pump and therefore a flooded driveway. Like the exhaustion that can only be expected after a successful, two night run of 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' - it was amazing. Like the 'headache' in my eye that I recently discovered is shingles. Like the many responsibilities of being a grown-up becauce let's be honest, Christmas really IS for the kids. Like the fact that I never got to decorate a mantel this year, because it seemed a little complicated for us to build a mantel... Whatever the reason I'm feeling a little blue, the truth is a cozy fire, Christmas music and a beautiful tree are the best kind of remedy... That, and a reminder that this night, we celebrate the miracle birth of our Savior. Which makes me believe that in the midst of our busy, mundane, overwhelming, ordinary lives, miracles can happen for us too! Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


There are few times in life when I feel like words escape me. But there are no words. Only tears for the parents of those sweet children, heartbreak and a sense of overwhelming sadness. When I look at their little faces, their happy, carefree smiles and think of their presents wrapped and waiting for them under Christmas trees...
There are no words.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oh Christmas tree...

We finally got one today. I took a terrible blurry picture (which blogger isn't letting me upload now! frustrating!!), and my eyes are itching (in serious denial about my Christmas tree allergy :P), but right now, with a fire burning, music playing and hot chocolate in hand, I am happy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Working on it...

The next few weeks are going to be crazy. CRAZY! It seems like every time I look at my emails, I get a mini anxiety attack, between knowing how much has to be done for work, Christmas, and the Christmas musical I'm directing for church, those little 'Last Chance to by...' and 'Order Before it's Too late...' email headlines send me into a bit of a tailspin. I LOVE Christmas, but I can't help but think that this year, it's going to be a little crazier than usual. I have already accepted that I might not get to make tamales, bake and decorate cookies, or host a Christmas party. I just have to keep calm and carry on - and remember the REAL reason for all this hoopla!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tamale Festival!

Moving to Tucson when I was fifteen, there were a LOT of things that were new to me. Sure, we speak the same language, which is a BIG common denominator, but things are still pretty different here. And in the Southwest, there are more unique experiences that were completely new to us. Take, for example, tamales. I love them. Like tasty little presents, wrapped in corn husks and served steaming hot on wintery nights. I make a little batch every year, for my hubby and I. Anyway, this weekend, we found ourselves in Indio, at the International Tamale festival. Apparently that's a thing!
There were tamales from everywhere (even Canada, I heard, although I didn't see those while wandering around), all different kinds and it was a fun atmosphere with live music on several different stages, carnival rides and arts and crafts booths. I can't say I'd drive out to Indio especially for it, but lots of people do, apparently thousands of people attend over the course of two days. I'm glad we were able to enjoy a day there!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Saving the best for last...

So thankful for my wonderful hubby. It's funny to think that we have been making memories together for more than twelve years! That seems like a loooooong time. I love spending time with him, whether it's just running errands together, traveling the world, or everything in between, he makes me laugh more than anyone else I know, helps me find my adventurous side, and has a way of making me feel like together, we can take on the world.

We had a nice little date night tonight, with some gift cards we'd been saving for a rainy day (and it kind of WAS a rainy day too!). As I sat across the table from him, eating and laughing and chatting, I was reminded of just how lucky we are, to have found each other, to be building a life together. Some people can only dream of what we have, and it's a good reminder not to take each other for granted. Thankful for him. Every day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

So many reasons to be thankful!!

This whole month of gratitude has been a LOVELY of just how blessed I am, and of how important it is to make my perspective one of GRATITUDE every day. Focusing on the wonderful things in life has a way of reminding me that I am living a pretty wonderful life - imagine that! Thankful that Christmas is right around the corner! It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Home and cozy...

On a cold, rainy night - and I am SO thankful! For cozy socks, comfy PJs and rainy, wintery weather!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two more things...

I am thankful for a fun night spent with friends at the Angel Tree lighting in Lawndale. There was snow, sledding, hot chocolate, Christmas music and the whole evening just felt like Christmas is already here. Which it kind of is!

And I'm thankful that when we found our house, it came with a fireplace. I LOVE my fireplace, and how cozy everything feels when it's lit. We had our first fire of the winter a few days ago. There was a little experimentation over the weekend, while we tried to figure out a way to build a fireplace surround mantel (the gas key is in the way and the wall is at an angle so we can't make the mantel too big), and we are in the rethinking phase at the moment, but for now, I LOVE my fireplace, even without a mantel to decorate. Although I am thinking something like this, painted white or stained a darker color, might work:

And if it does, I can't WAIT to decorate it!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful for my house...

I know I haven't post pics of my house, and I will eventually get around to it, but I am SO grateful for it! It still blows my mind that for less than $100 more a month, we have three times the space we had in our apartment. And we are buying it! I am so grateful that it's ours, for all the doors God opened to help us get in here, and for every morning I wake up with the sunlight streaming in through the skylight about my bed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's easy to be thankful...

When your day includes a visit to Burke Williams Day Spa... The truth is I hadn't been planning this visit, just found myself with an open afternoon, a gift card and a sudden urge to visit. Spontaneous spa day! The cherry on the top of it all was when I discovered my favorite facialist had an appointment open! I spent a few hours circulating between the sauna, the eucalyptus steam room and the cool misting room. Sigh. BLISS! My facial was perfect and I left feeling relaxing, happy and determined to return SOON! So many things to be thankful for today :D

Friday, November 23, 2012

On Black Friday...

I can't say I'm sorry I missed this!
I am thankful to be home, cozy in bed, laying in even if I couldn't manage to sleep in! I am one of those people who LOVES Black Friday shopping (not the crazy, kill someone for a Wii kind of shopping, but the fun for a few hours Macy's has great prices on stuff kind), but I have to admit it was really nice to just lay in bed, flip open my laptop and shop a few online sales in my PJs. I didn't fight the crowds, stress over parking, or drag myself out of bed super early for the sake of saving a few bucks. And I'm not even sorry! I even have some cute boots on their way to me! :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving turkey brie!

My sister is a genius. First of all, she made a delicious brie en croute (a wheel of brie cheese wrapped and baked in a sheet of puff pastry, served melty and delicious with crackers, bread and/or fingers :P) last year as an appetizer and it instantly became a required part of all future Thanksgiving meals. YUM!

Then this year, as she was plating her masterpiece, she realized it would be pretty easy to make the whole thing look like a turkey. Extra points for THEMATIC creativity!!! All it took was a few small pieces of roasted carrot, two cranberries and a little piece of cracker for his 'chin' (what on earth do they call that?!). Isn't it ADORABLE?!!! Almost too cute to eat, but it was so delicious, we managed to overcome that!

A million reasons to be thankful!

On Thanksgiving, we all meet at my Mum's house for lunch. My sister and I bring various side dishes, we help my Mum set the table beautifully, and decorate the turkey platter. The boys sit around and eat shrimp cocktail. We all eat. And then we just hang out. All day. Until it's really late. Sometimes we play games, other times we make little clay figurines or balloon animals, or we sing and chat... We just hang out. And more than once, every year, it crosses my mind that there is NOWHERE else I'd rather be, NO ONE else I'd rather be with, and NOTHING else I'd rather be doing. Surrounded by the people I love most, who love me back, I KNOW I am blessed. So thankful for my amazing family ♥ 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is almost here!!

Thankful for my kitchen! After living in a tiny apartment with a stove so small regular sized baking trays didn't fit inside with the door closed for such a long time, it is still exciting that I am able to make stuffing, bake sweet potatoes and sauté all at the same time... Also thankful for the Barefoot Contessa's reliable recipes ~ these sweet potatoes are sooooo yummy :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for Amazing Grace!!!

We've been practicing this song for our Thanksgiving service at church... Love it!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Today things didn't really go as planned. My hubby headed up to San Francisco to meet a friend for a 49ers game, and I had a plan. I had cleaned, done my laundry, and was completely prepared for a quiet night of relaxation. Which I had, for a little while. Until I got a call from my hubby saying someone smashed his car window and stole one of his bags. With all of his toiletries and his prescription glasses. Expensive prescription glasses. 

Yeah, I wasn't feeling too grateful when I went downstairs to get some water. And discovered that my freezer door had been left ajar for quite some time. Seriously! And as I threw away semi-defrosted chicken, pot roasts, veggies and fruit, and then started to clean all the melty drips of mush out of the freezer, I thought you know, someone has it worse than you. A LOT of people have it worse than you. 

Which was a good thought, because as I toted my two heaping trash bags out to the dumpster in my cozy comfy sweats (remnants of the night I'd planned to have!), I struggled with holding up the dumpster lid and balancing the trash can to dump the heavy trash bags in. And then I dropped the trash can halfway into the dumpster. Seriously. And as I winced at the grossness of the situation, and cursed my non-existent upper body strength, I fought with the dumpster lid and trash can until I was able to get it out. I walked back to my garage, immediately threw all of my clothes in the wash, and took a LONG HOT shower. 

And sometime in the fog of the steam, it occurred to me - I am THANKFUL. Thankful that my husband's rental car was the only thing smashed today, that he was uninjured. Thankful that what the thieves stole is replaceable. Thankful to have a freezer filled with food, even if it did end up spoiled, I was fortunate that I'd been able to stock our freezer with healthy, yummy food. And I'd inevitably be able to stock it again in the near future. Thankful that I hadn't run into any raccoons while dumpster diving. Thankful for days when everything doesn't go right, coz it's a good reminder to appreciate all the days when things do go right!! :)

Gratitude catch up...

Last week was busier than usual, and sometimes it's nice to look back and realize that you were so busy LIVING life you didn't get a spare second to post :) Here are my catch up gratitude posts...
Might try baking some mini pumpkin pies - SO cute!!!
I'm thankful for my health, and that of my family - something easily taken for granted. Thankful for Christmas music on KOST 103.5! And soooooooooo thankful for a three day work week!! I am really looking forward to the looooooooooong weekend :D Can't wait to relax, enjoy time with family, bake, shop(maybe), read, hang out with friends (hopefully) and just take it easy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm thankful...

That I got to hang out with my Aussie family in Bali!

My mum was already planning to go to my cousin's wedding there, on her way home to spend some time with my Nana, and when I realized that my ENTIRE Australian family was going to be in Bali at the same time, my hubby suggested that I join them! It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity for a family reunion!

My brother and sister were easily convinced and we all spent a week on beautiful beaches, visiting our wonderful family that we live all too far from. It was the most AMAZING week and I am SO grateful for the memories

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More gratitude...

Thankful for music ~ birds singing, Pandora, iPods, my guitar, my keyboard, and the happiness it brings, whether through listening, jamming or writing... Can't imagine life without it. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An unusual one...

Thankful for my washer and dryer!! Seven years living in an apartment frequenting laundromats has an upside - it helps me appreciate doing laundry in my own house :)

So glad not to frequent this place anymore!!! :)

Today I am...

Thankful for my warm, comfy bed at the end of a looooooong day! A long, fun day :D

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hug a Vet!!!

Thankful for all the brave men and women who have fought to defend and protect our freedom and our country! Especially thankful for those who are still in the military, and their amazing families who love and support them. And forever grateful for my Marine, for his service to our country, and that God brought him safely home to me ♥

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another day of gratitude...

Thankful for the Marine Corps ~ happy birthday USMC! In a funny way, the Marines are the reason I met my hubby :) And they protect and defend our country.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Today I am thankful...

Soooooo thankful that it's FRIDAY! Our weeks are so busy, I find myself always looking forward to Friday. Whether our weekends are plan-free and relaxing (rare!), or full of places to go and friends to see, the weekend is always a welcome break from long days at work. Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The sun is out now (of course), but the day started out in the VERY best way ~ raindrops outside my window and stormy grey skies.... LOVELY! Thankful for the glorious rain, that winter is here (finally! Hopefully...) and for my crockpot, which is making dinner for us while we are at work :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More gratitude...

Thankful for true friends ~ they are hard to find, harder still to keep when you move around the way I have and that makes them all the more precious... Especially thankful for my best friend, who I know I can always count on no matter what. He makes the best things better, the worst things more bearable, and always makes me laugh! That he also happens to be my hubby is just an added bonus :D

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rock the Vote!

I'm thankful to live in a time & place in history where I have the right and duty to vote! Never mind my thoughts on whether or not the system works, never mind my questions about the electoral college and how candidates can win a popular vote but lose the election. It's not perfect, but it's a democracy, and people have suffered, fought and died to have the right I was born with.

~ Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote ~

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thankful for my little rooftop garden...

It makes me smile in the morning. And makes me feel like an urban farmer - my Papa is a farmer, so it's in my blood :) And it grows even when I forget to water it.

It's going to be over 90 degrees today in LA, so I took some time this morning to water my little garden. I really need to set aside some time to replant/prune etc. but haven't done that yet. I have been kind of neglecting my summer garden, as I knew I'd be planting some 'fall/winter' crops soon, and I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find one last tomato of the summer. Lovely - and five or six flowers on my other tomato plant, which is thriving despite it's neglect.

I love growing my own food, and love having a little balcony oasis - love my rooftop garden!!! And I'm really looking forward to my fall tomato harvest...

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Thankful for my wonderful church, filled with friends who are like family, my pastor (ok so he actually is family :P) and an extra hour of sleep this morning!

Some of us ~ eating icecream/shaved ice - yum!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful for...

Lazy Saturday mornings with my hubby!



  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4 pieces of bread
  • Maple syrup


  1. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then add milk, sugar and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Soak bread slices in egg mixture for 30 seconds.
  3. Cook on greased, hot griddle until golden brown.
  4. Serve with maple syrup.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Today I am grateful for...

My job ~ just having one in this economy is something NO ONE should take for granted. But having one where you get to do what you enjoy, with people you like working with - I feel pretty blessed! I am grateful for an amazing boss (makes a HUGE difference), an endless supply of reading material, and a cozy comfy office that feels like home away from home.

Fall for a day ~ another perk of my job :D

Thursday, November 1, 2012


November is HERE! And hopefully it will soon bring cooler temperatures for good! With rain :) In honor of Thanksgiving, I'm celebrating with a month a gratitude! I have a friend who once told me that every night before she goes to sleep, she lists five things she's thankful for in a gratitude journal. It seems like such a great idea, a perfect way to put the day in perspective, no matter what went on. While I haven't commited to going quite that far, I am planning to post one thing I'm grateful for, each day this month...

So with no further ado... I am thankful for my little blue Honda Civic! It confuses children (wait, how to the windows go down - well, you wind them down!), is a little bashed up (NOT my fault, someone scraped the whole side of my car last month and I'm still not over it - and they didn't leave a note!), and it needs gas (mental note to stop after work!), which is probably why it's on my mind today. But it's paid off (finally - LOVE not having a car payment!), reliable and is my lil 'Blue Angel'. Don't judge - yes, I name my cars. Actually my Dad named this one. Anyway, today, I am THANKFUL for my car!

My lil Blue Angel is dirty... So this pic will have to do :P

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dressing up...

One of the bummers of being a grown up (and not having kids yet) is realizing that dressing up is really for the kids... Unless you're my hubby, who is basically just a kid at heart. He went to work dressed as Clark Kent today! Anyway, I couldn't stop smiling this morning when I saw this pic:

I mean have you ever seen anything quite so adorable?! I'm sure my little sister had more fun taking pics than this little guy did wearing the costume, but I totally get it. As much as he resents it, little Mumfie (AKA 'The Wolf'), the handsomest young pup I've seen, really wears a costume well. For as long as you can keep it on him. Like this one:

I mean... Superpup?!?!?! He looked so hilarious and cute in this costume... But as soon as it came off, he got back at as for this. He disappeared for about 10 minutes and went potty in the house, and left it for us to find. That was a few months ago. And you'd think we'd have learned our lesson about this little pup and costumes. But nooooooo. I did warn my sister to hide her leather purses though! This pup totally understands payback! :P

I am not dressing up... except for my nails. I figured they could be a little fun and fancy for the day.

I kinda love how girly and pretty they are!!! Maybe they can 'dress up' like this more often :)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's the little things in life...

Like this tiny, indescribably delicious tub of the WORLD'S MOST AMAZING GELATO that my friend recommended. Do you like salted caramel? I am a tad obsessed with it at the moment. Do you like gelato on a hot day? Never mind whether you like hot days in October - that's besides the point. But GELATO makes everything better, even weather that seems like evidence that points to global warming, climate change and enormous problems for future generations... ALL forgotten with one spoonful of THIS. Try it. Savor it. Try NOT to overindulge - I dare you. One spoonful feels a bit like crossing the line :P

I found this creamy deliciousness at Target!!

An open letter to Southern California...

So I have googled searched 'nearest place to see real fall Los Angeles'. And 'nearest snow Los Angeles'. And other cold weather related searches. Because I'm not sure how much longer I can take this bizarre weather. And apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way. I guess I probably need to go read my first world problems blog post. Which I will. Right after I post this open letter to Southern California. Sometimes it helps just to feel like your voice is heard.

Dear Southern California,

It is FALL. Mid-October. Almost THANKSGIVING!!! Enough of this HIDEOUS, hot summery weather. We want to wear SWEATERS and scarves, drink hot coffee/chocolate and eat SOUP and pot roast!!!


Me (and that poor lady I saw at lunch rocking knee high boots, an adorable coat and a sweat mustache.

As if waking up to an 80+ degree forecast wasn't enough, I had to find THIS posted on Facebook this morning too... Sigh.
What October looks like elsewhere

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baking it up as we go...

Somewhere out there in other parts of the world, people are enjoying views like this. I just know it. While we are still seeing temperature forecasts up in the 80s this week. So no chocolate candy for trick or treaters coz it will probably just MELT. Sigh.
Well, I spent a lovely weekend with a few fun house guests, stayed up late (waaaaaaaaaay too late), laughed and chatted the whole time and we BAKED. Yeah, it wasn't cold or raining, but we pretended the weather was baking appropriate and had a GREAT time! Two of my FAVORITE easy recipes to share with a crowd:

Apple Crisp ~ the simplest, most deliciousest (word invention!) creation that evokes the happiest, homiest smells. Mmmmm. No picture (SORRY!) - but imagine... If you have a bunch of apples you need to use (or that you happen to buy at the store with the very intent of baking this!), it's the perfect thing to make!

And Aunt Holly's Banana Bread ~ yummmmmm! Yeah, I know, pictures!!! Sorry! Neither of these treats were around long enough to take a pic, the apple crisp was whisked straight from the oven and out the door to church!

These two recipes are so super quick and easy to throw together, completely forgiving if you get a little 'creative' with the ingredients, and perfect for you to try if baking isn't really your thing. Trust me. You will SUCCEED. And nothing emboldens a baker like SUCCESS!!!

Gosh I want to go apple picking. I've never been, it sounds like SUCH good fun. Of course if I were to go apple picking in Southern California, I'd probably pass out from the heat right now. Exaggeration? Maybe... just a tad :P

Friday, October 19, 2012

If you don't have anything nice to say...

Don't say anything at all. Sigh. That is why I've been so quiet lately. Too busy to get around to posting pictures of my lovely trip. Too tired to get up early to clean my house. Too exasperated by the relentless summer in October weather (with the exception of the next few days, but fret not, the 80+ degree weather will be back next week). Sigh.