Posts tagged ‘travel’

May 30, 2013

Ten things to be happy about 5/30/12

I haven’t written one of these posts in a while. I’m not really sure why. But I thoroughly enjoy them and it’s a good practice in gratitude, which everyone can use a healthy dose of every now and then.


1. My  brother is bringing me Starbucks! I can’t wait. I am seriously dragging today.

2. Tonight is yoga! When we started, I was nervous about the heat because the place we go to basically only does classes with some amount of heat. It’s been okay, though. I’ve actually been really enjoying it.

3. This weekend is my friend Stephanie’s bachelorette party! We rented a house and we’re spending the weekend relaxing, eating delicious food, and doing all sorts of girly fun stuff.

4. I am almost finished editing photos from Jim’s dad’s wedding! And they turned out pretty great. I’m happy with them. This is one of my favorites so far.

jim and nancy

5. My friend Reanna and I are Costco shopping for the weekend today. I know maybe that makes me kind of lame, but I love Costco!

6. Jim and I are going to Alaska this year! We’ll be spending the 4th of July there as well as attending a wedding of close family friends of mine. I’m beyond excited! Below is one of my favorite photos from our last trip in 2009…too long ago.


7. I joined a new book club! Two might be a bit to keep up with, but that’s okay. Just another excuse to read more! And I’m really excited about meeting and getting to know a new group of girls. You can never have too many friends…or read too many books!

8. We got a new juicer! Not that there was anything wrong with our old juicer. We’re donating it to a friend, and we upgraded. Our new one can do more greens and also can make almond butter and ice cream, which is really exciting!


9. I made a really yummy quinoa salad two nights ago. We’ve been eating it for dinner the past two nights, and I have it for lunch today. Just another hour and a half! P.S. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

10. I got my wedding ring cleaned yesterday! And its so shiny and pretty today.  It’s an amethyst, so it’s purple, and when it’s clean the stone turns to such a dark color. It’s almost like a different ring.

Your turn! What are some things you’re really happy about today?

October 4, 2012

October madness: Train and House Hunting

Welcome to my life, October! My busiest month all year, I think.

I gave you a brief rundown of all the goings on of this month. Last weekend we saw Train in Reno with my youngest brother and his girlfriend and my mom. I wish I’d gotten some photos, but we were having such a dang fun time, I didn’t even pull my phone out once to take one. My bro took some video. If you want to check it out, his ID is MrTacoBoat. My favorite part of the show was the mash up they did of  songs through the years. And there’s a point in the Drops of Jupiter video where he moves his phone around and gets a shot of all of us. If you’re into that kind of thing. For now, I guess the best I can do for you is this: both bros and I at my wedding.

My youngest brother Dan is to my left. Matt is to my right. He’s 3 years younger than me. (photo by Sarah Maren Photography)

I love my bros. I got pretty lucky in that department. They’re pretty awesome people and great brothers! This is actually one of my favorite pictures from our wedding…you know, that doesn’t feature Jim and I.

Anyway, so today is Thursday, and Jim and I leave for Santa Cruz on Saturday morning where we will begin our one year anniversary celebration with Jim’s grandma and her husband, Lutz (who is for all intents and purposes “grandpa” but we call him Lutz…I guess because he’s not Jim’s mom’s dad? I dunno. But it works).

The only photo our photographer got of the four of us. It’s cute, but it’s supposed to be a portrait. What the heck? (photo by Sarah Maren Photography)

We are spending the night with them on Saturday before heading to Monterey for the rest of the weekend. I got a living social deal for a hotel there that included credit at the restaurant and the spa. We’ll probably go to the aquarium, cruise around town, go to the beach, maybe check out Carmel for one day. Who knows. We don’t have plans further than the dinner and spa reservations I made. We are exchanging gifts on Friday, I think, because we both bought things that were way too big to bring with us. I wish I could show you now what I got Jim. I’m SOOOOO excited about it. He’s going to absolutely LOOOOOOVE it. I just know it.

Last week, we buttoned up the last of the crap we needed to do for our pre-approval for our home loan, so this past week, we’ve been looking at houses. The market in California, and specifically the area we are in, is insane. There are so few houses and so many buyers that there are often multiple offers on one house and bidding wars are pretty common from what our agent tells us.  It’s a little discouraging for first time buyers, but not impossible, and we have a conventional loan, not a FHA, so we should be okay.

That being said, we found a house we love! I’m trying so hard not to get too excited because the likelihood of us getting the first house we put an offer on is pretty slim, I guess. But it’s so cute. It’s the perfect size and it has a really nice yard and it just needs some minor work…interior paint and carpet. The layout is great and there are some neat little unique features. The neighborhood is really nice, schools are great and there’s a park just around the corner.  I think it would be a really great first home for us.

Anyone else ever use the Snipping tool in Windows? This photo is from Google Maps. So freaking amazing.

We saw it on Tuesday night, the day after it came on the market. Tonight we’re going back to see it during daylight. I CAN’T live in a house that feels like a cave, so we need to see what kind of natural light it gets…and hopefully I can see that through the awful bright paint.  Our moms are coming along mostly because they’re curious but also because we value their opinions. The seller isn’t reviewing offers until Sunday, so tomorrow we’re sitting down with our agent and putting together our offer. We’re hoping people are scared off by the paint and also the mild smell that betrays the fact that the current owners have cats. And it’s not updated. Our agent says the seller wants a family or a young couple ready to start a family, and we fit that bill perfectly!

We also looked at a different house on Tuesday. It’s a bit different. It’s brand new. Built in 2008 and its questionable as to whether its been lived in at all or not. It’s technically zoned as a condo because it’s in a development made up of six houses that all share the same driveway. They all have their own garage and their own yard. They’re independent of each other, but they share a driveway. The one we liked faces out to the street, so it’s not sharing a driveway like the others are. It has a very small yard, but the square footage is good and the layout is good and we’d be comfortable there. It’s not a dream house. It’s a first house. And it’s priced $60,000 less than the one we are putting an offer on. The downside of this one…besides the small yard and close neighbors…is that it’s currently tied up in a bankruptcy deal with the two houses next to it and a decision won’t be made on the case until January. At that point, it might not even be for sale depending on the judge’s decision. So this one is in the backup position at present.

The one we are looking at is the one with the star. The one that google marked is also for sale, but it’s smaller and just too cramped in the corner for our taste

I’ll keep you posted on our house hunting progress. It’s so exciting! Cross your fingers for us that our offer will be accepted on Sunday! I’ll try to post again before the weekend, but if not, I’ll have a full recap when we get back!

January 12, 2012

10 things to be HAPPY about

I used to make a list in my journal every morning of 10 things I should be happy about. At the time I was suffering from pretty serious depression (mostly the kind that made me want to sleep all the time. I want to be clear that it was never bad enough to contemplate ending my life…just sleeping it away), and it was a way to try and bring my spirits up first thing in the morning. Start the day right, if you will.

I’ve since stopped making the lists….I’ve actually only recently started writing in my journal on a regular basis again. It’s quite theraputic…but it takes up a lot of time sometimes if I have a million things to say, which I usually do.

Back to the list. I love reading things like this on other people’s blogs, so I figured rather than writing mine in my journal, maybe I’d write it on the blog instead. Not every day of course, maybe just once a week so I can share what’s going through my head.

#1: My husband

I know that’s probably an obvious one, but I can’t help myself. I still look at him almost every day and think “Wow, I am actually married to that man,” and a little tingle of joy creeps up my spine and fills my heart with happy.

At Bryce Canyon during our month and a half journey around the country


#2: Going to tea with my mom tomorrow

In a particularly bad time in my life, my mom and I stumbled upon a cute little tea room not too far from her house. That tea room has since closed down, but we still make a habit of getting together for tea once in a while to relax and forget about the outside world for a couple of hours.

At the Russian Tea Room in NYC for Mom's 50th birthday


#3: I got to see my nephew today!

Love this little guy!

#4: I got my name change started!

I’ll have my new social security card and driver’s license in about 2 weeks. Then I’ve got to get started on changing my credit cards, insurance, etc, etc, etc.

#5: We FINALLY got our Christmas tree taken down.

I know, I know, the tree is supposed to make you happy. And it did. But now it’s time for Christmas to go back into its boxes until next year.

#6: Our bikes are done.

We took them to the bike shop to be “tuned” and they’re finally ready for us to pick up. We used to go for a ride every Sunday morning, but something happened to mine and the first gear wasn’t working, and let me tell you, hills are no fun without it!

A Sunday ride from about two years ago

#7: I’ve gotten my photography business started.

Okay, I haven’t actually shot it out into the world, but I’ve gotten my paperwork for my business license (I want to go by Stephanie Sutherlin, but it has to be a legal name before I start using it for business) and I have my website all ready to launch as soon as the business is ready. I also have business cards started and I’m working on pricing and policies, etc.  I’m beyond excited!

#8: I finally watched Something Borrowed!

Okay, so the movie wasn’t as good as the book. I wasn’t expecting it to be. But I went over to Jim’s step brother’s house and watched with his wife and daughter and ate a ton of crap I shouldn’t have eaten and drank just a tad too much wine and had an amazing time with a great friend. So I consider it a success.


#9: By the time I finish this post, it’ll be a reasonable time to go home.

I feel like poo, and all I want to do is curl up on my couch with some tea and a box of tissue and do some high quality resting. I may even trade the couch out of this equation for my bed. That’s how ick I feel right now.


#10: I checked everything off my to-do list today.

I made all the calls I’d been putting off. And I addressed all the difficult things at work that I’d put into a stack mentally labeled ” to do later.” And for that reason, I believe I have earned my early leaving.

If you need me, I’ll be the lump under my favorite fuzzy red blankey.