Friday, November 30, 2012

More (Super Weird) Thoughts on Growing Up...

When I was little, I was a worrier (who am I kidding? I still am...) I worried about everything, big, small, important, unimportant. That's just how I was (am). Funnily enough though, one day, I kind of looked at things differently. I just decided that some of those things were just things that you learn to do as you get older, and definitely NOT something to worry about back then. Some of those things were important, and some were not. Believe me, I still worried (worry) about a lot of things, but a few of them just turned into things that I "would learn when I was older". 
Two of those worries in particular come to mind, and I can vividly remember thinking about them. 
The first was Learning to Drive. I remember so well, sitting in the car and panicking that I didn't know which pedal was gas and which was brake. Panicking big time. I think I was 9. Seriously? at NINE years old, I was worried about learning how to drive... Not something your average child worries (or even thinks) about. But, after stressing and thinking about it for what felt like forever, I finally realized "This is something that I'll learn when I grow up" and you know what? I did. I passed my exam and have been driving for 10 years now (holy cow! 10 years?!)
(I could have sworn that I had a photo of me in my first Civic, somewhere on this computer, but alas, no luck).

The second "When I grow up" moment is something that is SO ridiculous, and yet, at the same time, so fitting for this rainy day. When I was younger, I had I mean worst. It's thick, wavy/curly, and uber frizzy. My mom had it chopped short for gymnastics because I refused to let her brush/comb/touch it because it was so unruly, and it would hurt so bad. We had many a fight over hair brushes and I remember screaming bloody murder just having her try to untangle it. One day, after several years of this (thanks Mom):

And this (again, thanks so much Mom):

(Sorry Sammi for dragging you into this also)

I finally came to the conclusion that learning how to "do" and manage my crazy hair was something that I would learn "when I was older" 
Well, now I'm older and I'm still learning how to deal with it.. Don't get me wrong, I've come a LONG way. I have some good hair days, thanks to some miracle products (and a million headbands for the not so good days:
Bouncy Cream by ISO was recommended to me by a friend, and it's the BEST for curly hair.

It's a 10 Leave In Conditioner is my new favorite go to. I spray it on when my hair's wet, and again when/if I blow dry or straighten

Most days though, including this rainy Friday, I revert to my childhood roots (haha roots... get it?) and leave the house like this

I guess it's proof that even when you're "grown up" you still have things to learn...
Happy Friday! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

To Move? or Not to Move?

Okay, here it is... a serious post! Well, kinda. This time of the year always gets me thinking about changes, new things, and new places. It's the end of the year; 2012 went SO fast. A TON of amazing things happened: we got our first niece, family is all happy and healthy, and oh yeah, we got engaged. Along with the year ending, the lease on our cozy (little) house is up in February. After almost 2 years in the place, we've finally gotten it how we want it. (But that doesn't mean I don't fantasize every day about selling everything and buying ALL new stuff) 

(had to throw the handsome pup photo in)
Last year, it was a no-brainer; we had nowhere else that we wanted/needed to be, and we didn't even blink when we re-signed the lease for the second year. This year is different. Andrew's in the middle of applying to grad schools all over the country, his commute to work now is over an hour, we've been other places that we LOVED, and although my job is here, we're seriously considering picking up and moving. It's a funny situation though, half the time, we want to pick up NOW and just go. Anywhere else. But then, we think about our family, friends, and our (rented) but OUR little house. (Plus, there's the small fact that we have a wedding in about 8 weeks, and moving, moving now before it would be crazy town.)
Then, there's the fact that if grad school is a go, we could NEED to move somewhere else. That is exciting to me also; a new city, new house, new jobs, new everything... but I keep coming back to OUR house... I know it's not "ours", and it's only one bedroom. We (half) joke all the time, that if we ARE staying in the area after February, we'd see if our landlord would sell to us... But only if the house is sound enough to add a second story at some point. (Perks of marrying an architectural designer: he knows  this stuff)
We've also looked at moving into a loft Downtown. SO different from our little freestanding 1920's Bungalow. But so much more freedom to do what we want. Blank walls, concrete floors. So many options! I don't know, at this point, if I would want to go from a single-family house, with no attached neighbors, to sharing walls, ceilings, and floors (Andrew's slowly convincing me though, that in that type of building, you don't even hear your neighbors) 
And then, there's the option of buying. Something we've only briefly looked into very recently. I'd love to buy an old house, knock down some walls, and fix it up ourselves. Andrew agrees, but if we don't know where we're going, and if it'll be temporary if we do the grad school route, how can we even consider that? 
A good friend of mine said that the best thing she and her husband ever did was move to an area that was less expensive than where we grew up, so they could buy a home and have complete (monetary) freedom to do what they wanted with it. 

I've never lived outside of Southern California, and I am definitely a CA girl at heart. I'm super close to my family, we see them almost every weekend.
But, I think I'm finally ready to step out of my comfort zone for at least a while. I'm a way better flyer than I was before, and I don't get so anxious about getting on a plane. Seattle was a great experience for me/us. It was the first place that I've been to that I could actually see myself moving to. 
Right now, if we go the grad school route, we could be in LA, Seattle, or Lexington, KY. Andrew really thinks we'd do well in Nashville, and there's always NYC as an option as well. (We have family and friends almost all over the country, so I don't think we'd be alone anywhere we went)
At this point, I'm on the fence about everything. Nothing sounds BAD, they all sound kinda good. I just keep thinking about my family and our little house here, and how it's become OURS.
In the end, all that really matters is Andrew, Me, and Neville...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Under the Weather...

Today I'm feeling pretty lousy. Cold, cough, and last night's fever have really taken it out of me... So instead of the post about my shower that I promised, here's something that took a little less brain power on my part (and plus, I'm waiting for a few more photos from the day)

Some things I'm currently obsessed with (hint hint for those who buy me gifts):

I'm a voracious reader. I love to read and I LOVE books. Jane Mount is an artist that interviewed a bunch of famous people about their favorite books, and PAINTED their bookshelves!
Some of her pieces are available here, and visit her blog/site here.
Love Love Love her stuff!

Ever heard of Everlane? No, well you should. They are amazing! High quality basics: tee's, sweatshirts, scarves, and tops for men and women at amazing prices. They cut out the middle man and only sell directly to the consumer online. Andrew and I both have one of their tee's... $15 each and feels like Theory.

Sorry for the small photo. Mill & Bird is based out of North Carolina and every bag is hand cut, hand punched, and hand saddle stitched! No sewing machines used at ALL! I could definitely use one, (or three) of her gorgeous bags for work, travel, basically all.the.time.

So that's all for now, my brain's a little fuzzy and I feel a Ny-Quil induced nap coming on soon. Happy Wednesday and I PROMISE I'll be back soon with shower photos.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Part 2: Another Recap...

Thursday morning, before we went to my parents house, Andrew and I participated in the Long Beach Turkey Trot. As I've posted before, I barely run... like barely... and I'd never, until Thursday run more than 2 miles. So Andrew and I got up at 6:00 Thursday morning, threw on our running clothes (including the new Nikes I treated myself to the week before) ate a banana (yuck) and drove down to the Belmont Pool (along with the entirety of Long Beach) to Trot.
(my sweet new orange Nikes)

 Now, like I said, I've never run more than 2 miles, and that was only 2 weeks ago, so needless to say, I was super nervous before we got there. When we arrived, I saw people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and I started to feel a little better. Andrew and I stayed together most of the run, but he's got better endurance, so he passed me a few times. I ran about 85% of the race, and was super proud of that fact, even though I was totally exhausted, probably because I didn't train At. All. My goal was to finish in 45 minutes or less (I know, 15 minute miles... so slow). Our official time was 38 minutes and some change. 
Here's us after we crossed the finish line!

Something else I can now cross off my bucket list. I completed a 5K and didn't die!

After the race, we showered, packed up Neville and the car, and drove to Brea for the Jass Turkey Weekend Extravaganza, as I like to call it. 
When we got down there, my parents were already up and making breakfast, so after a Bloody Mary, eggs, and bacon, we got to work. I don't have a ton of photos from the day because we were pretty busy, but here's 2 of my contributions:
The majority of the family likes the canned cranberry gel (ugh) but I prefer whole berries. 

2 bags of Trader Joe's whole cranberries boiled down with 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water. (I like to add a few pieces of orange or clementine to add a little flavor.) This seriously is one of my favorite things to make. It's so easy, and I don't know what it is... Maybe it's because it's so pretty...

 Now this photo is a little boring. And off center. And just not a great photo. I was TRYING to get a good picture of the centerpieces I put together. We have an amazing flower shop here in Long Beach called Devynn's Garden that is my go-to place for all things floral.
They have a huge selection of lose flowers, and they're all reasonably priced. So, Wednesday, I made a trip down there before work and picked up some fall-ish branches and flowers to put on each of the 4 tables. Nothing crazy, or too extravagant, just something to brighten them up. (PS: love my grandma's vintage gold bud vase)

I wish I had gotten more photos of the food from the day. Everything was amazing, as usual, and after dinner, the cousins (minus me) went Black Friday (Thursday?) shopping, while Neville, Andrew, and I snoozed on the couch from about 7:30 on... Oh, after Neville got out and took a little jaunt around the complex, with Andrew running close at his heels...)

There's 2 months left until our wedding (EEK!) I'll be back tomorrow with a post about my beautiful family-thrown shower!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Part 1: A Recap...

So, I know I said I'd be back last Thursday to write about the project I mentioned at the end of This Post, but I got a little sidetracked. Thanksgiving weekend was crazy town in our house, in fact, we got home last night, after being at my parents from Thursday morning on... But nonetheless, here's a recap of the crazy crazy weekend:

Thursday: Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving (27 people crammed in my parents living room)
Friday: Black Friday Shopping (no 2 am business for me, though)
Saturday: Family Photos & Early Hanukkah (the whole fam comes in town so we celebrate early)
Sunday: My Family Bridal Shower (a better post on that later this week)

Crazy town, right? But, we love it. There's lots of food, laughs (alcohol), and drama, but it's family. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Wednesday during the day, I decided that baking Granny Howlett's chocolate pie wasn't enough of a challenge for me, and I wanted to try something I had seen on Reading My Tea Leaves. Erin posted the super simple (so I thought) instructions on how to make Boiled Apple Cider Syrup. Perfect! (I thought): Only 1 ingredient and 1 step... How hard could it be?!
The gist of it all is that you basically boil down a bottle of apple cider until the water evaporates and it turns into syrup, which you can then put on pie, ice cream, or in the case of my idea: Bourbon.

I picked up a pack of 4 small Ball jars to put the syrup in, and planned on making a little gift by adding a small bottle of Bourbon and a bottle of soda water to make This Recipe

I just dumped the whole bottle in and let it go

Erin was right when she said it would take hours. It looked exactly like this from the moment I poured it in, for almost 1.5 hours. 

I don't have a photo of my finished product for this batch. Why, you might ask? It's because after 2.5 hours, it finally was reduced to like 2 inches, but wasn't thick, so I decided I had time to change clothes and get ready for work. Well, in that 3 minutes that I was getting ready, the damn syrup burned! It was the consistency of molasses, and smelled like burned sugar. So in the sink the whole pot went, and Andrew was given strict instructions to try it when HE got home, and to guard it with his life, especially the last 2 inches...
Here's his finished product

2 jars of cider boiled down to these 4 little jars. We tried the cocktail linked above and success! A great fall drink, with only a few simple ingredients. So, thanks to Andrew, my 2nd project of Thanksgiving Eve was a go.
I'll be back later with more recaps from Turkey Weekend 2012!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twas the Day Before Thanksgiving...

and at the Clark/Jass (soon to be just Clark) house...
I was workin' my butt off in the kitchen, while Neville whined at a mouse. 
(squirrel really, but it didn't rhyme...) 

Thanksgiving every year is at my parents house in Brea. We've been hosting it for as many years as I can remember. It's my absolute favorite holiday, and I can't wait to have it at our house (when we have a big enough place)
It's our tradition to get to my parents house early and cook together as a family... There are usually large amounts of Bloody Mary's, and 80's dance music involved... I don't expect anything different for this year, except Andrew and I will have run our 5K before we got there...

Just because it's not at OUR house, doesn't mean there's prep goin' on here today... I've been running around all morning getting last minute things. Along with Thanksgiving being a crazy food holiday, in general, the Jass holiday is even crazier because we have so many food allergies. My mom and sister both have major gluten issues... Mom has Celiac and Sammi just got diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Both of them, (and me) are also dairy free. One of my mom's favorite (favorite) things in the whole world is chocolate. Always has been. So when we figured out that we could modify Andrew's grandmother's infamous Chocolate Pie to make it gluten and dairy free, my mom forgot about the stuffing and sweet potatoes she couldn't eat and is happy as a clam with her own pie.
Gluten free items are way easier to find now than they used to be, but it still takes a few trips to get exactly what I needed.

Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and our new market, Lazy Acres all carried what I needed, but it took a trip to each to get it all for the pie. I'm not allowed to go into specific details about the recipe (I may never end up a Clark if I give the secrets away) but here's the general ingredients (gluten and dairy free, of course)...

Mix 'em all up

Throw it in a pie crust (again, gluten free of course)

(I added a little fresh ground cinnamon on top. My favorite is from Trader Joe's)

Bake... and then you end up with this chocolatey, amazing, goodness...

Yep. That's it... SO awesome AND gluten and dairy free... Can't beat it... With a little whipped cream (or whipped non-cream) on top... My favorite part of the holidays. Plus, it freezes AND saves well!

I'll be back later (or maybe tomorrow) with a post on another yummy project I'm working on this morning, taken from one of my favorite blogs
Happy Turkey Day!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pinterest Picks 11.20.12

Busy day today... Here's a quick Pinterest Pick post to get you through...
For 11.20.12


                                                              This Cake

 This Cake Too


Monday, November 19, 2012

A Post on our Wedding... Finally!

I know one of the main reasons I started this blog back up was to keep track of things I wanted to remember, such as our wedding (duh). But, of course, I haven't even done that yet. 
At least I'm blogging daily at this point... woohoo!
This past Saturday, Andrew and I took one of our most favorite drives, to one of our most favorite places. The road to Palm Springs is always an exciting one for us. 
Maybe because at the end of it is The Ace Hotel... 
our favorite hotel, and the place where we're getting married!

The storm clouds were amazing this trip, and although we hit rain on the way back, we had a clear drive the whole way there.

Although I wish we had headed up there for a relaxing weekend away, we went to the Kings Highway (at the hotel) for our menu tasting for the wedding! We met up with Taneka, the coordinator there, and spent 2 hours tasting everything we had picked out before. The food at the Kings Highway is always amazing, and of course, didn't disappoint. 
Here's a peek at the items we chose from

Seeing "Jass Clark Wedding Tasting" at the top of the menu was totally crazy and made everything feel so REAL!
We ate our way through appetizers, salads, main courses, and sides, until we could barely breathe. (Plus, we tasted champagne and a mixed drink option, of course)
I, as usual, took notes on everything, and we left there with a pretty solid idea of what we wanted. Success!
The drive home was rainy, but so gorgeous as usual.

I love this view as the clouds passed over the mountains.

We went back to Brea and spent the rest of the weekend with my family (and took a trip to Upland to see David & Amber).
Come Sunday, we had work to do... Our invitations (which we designed) had come from the printer (!!!) so we got to work. We decided that we wanted the envelopes hand written, rather than paying for labels, or printing them ourselves, so Sammi and I took that job. Dad organized the packets, and Mom and Andrew stuffed and embellished. I don't want to get into too much detail and give things away, but here's a sneak peek...

I know it looks like madness, but it really was quite organized! So, now all that's left is stamping our return address on the back, and adding postage. They'll go out right after Thanksgiving (which again, I thought was NEXT week) 
We're SO happy with how everything turned out, and can't wait to send them (and receive responses)!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Another Project.. That was Actually Andrew's...

At my first bridal shower, I was given a Crate & Barrel gift card for $50, (Thank you Lynn!)
It was sitting in my wallet when I got an email from CB2 (C&B's more contemporary site) saying that they were having a lighting sale. Not thinking much into it, I clicked through the sale items, and lo and behold, found This piece of amazingness...

$149 down to $63! AND we had our gift card! Boom. Done. Ordered that moment. (After the card was applied, and with tax and shipping, we paid $24.25)
Now, you might ask, where was I planning on putting this golden piece of awesomeness?
Over the dining room table (duh)
This is the old fixture over our dining room table. Off center and all around fugly. 

Fugly, right?

Off center because of the double duty the room plays as office and dining room...
(Sorry for the dark photos... It's the best I could do!)

So, right off the bat, I knew where it was going. We planned on swagging the red cord over so the globe hung over the middle of the table even though the actual electrical connection wasn't set over the middle. 
The golden goodness was delivered yesterday afternoon!
After unceremoniously ripping apart the box (I knew we were keeping it),
This is what I found...

I nearly cried, she was SO beautiful, and SO perfect... Bigger than I anticipated, but that made it even better! I dared not try and hang her on my own. I know nothing (really, nothing) about electrical stuff, and Andrew has had experience with it. Plus, he's a guy, so he automatically knows how not to shock himself installing lighting. 
So last night, Andrew came home, and made it his mission to hang the light before I returned from work. He hung the damn thing in the dark, with only light from the flashlight and iPad guiding him...
Why, you ask, was he in the dark? Because our WHOLE house (minus the stove and fridge) are on the SAME fuse. So when he turned off the power to the old fugly fixture, the whole house was in darkness...

I wish I had a photo of the flashlight balanced on the ladder, but I don't. Because it was dark.
About an hour and a half later, on my way out of work, I received this photo:

It was up! Not swagged yet, but up nonetheless!
I was giddy with excitement the whole ride home, and when I pulled into the driveway and could see the glow through the window, I was even more stoked!

When I walked in, I saw her in all of her golden glow-y goodness! (The cord's still not swagged to the perfect height, and is a little kinked from packaging) But she's perfect! Exactly the right piece for the room, definitely a good purchase.
Here she is this morning, a little more used to her new place of glory

(The cord will un-kink itself over time)

Oh, and for now, she's using a regular bulb, but since it's exposed, we'd like to replace it with something better looking at some point, like one of these,

But for now, she's good to go with her big, round bulb.
So, another project completed... And I didn't do anything to help, except start dinner (which really, I just threw chicken and veggies in a pot and called it a night)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

On my Newest Project (and Why it's not 100% Done)

When we moved into our house almost 2 years ago, we knew that we would have to create a home office in our dining room. We were both working from home at that point (Andrew still in school) and with only one bedroom, we knew the giant dining room would have to pull double duty. 
So we made a trip to Ikea (The land of good design for cheap -- says Andrew)
A few hours later, we came home with 2 desks and a file cabinet.
(This is the closest I could find on the Ikea website to what we bought)
Here's what it looked like 2 years ago when we first put them together...
(We promptly replaced the brown shades after this photo)

The 2 desks fit perfectly on that wall, and we felt SO adult to have our very own home office..
Of  course, we thought that the file cabinet would fit under the desks and we planned on putting it in the middle of the two... Sadly, it didn't fit under the desks. at all.

So, the little file cabinet found a home on the other side of the room, by the kitchen, and for the last 2 years it's sat there, in all of it's white and birch boringness, holding one ounce of the massive amount of books that we own. 

Until last week. Last week, I needed a project. As if planning my wedding, working, and freelancing wasn't enough, I needed something crafty to do. So, after reading about This Project, I decided to get my paint on. 
I took a trip to Home Depot and after 20 minutes hemming and hawing over which color I wanted, I decided on this baby:
Rust-Oleum Gloss Key Lime.

(I also brought home a dark teal, but then decided that it was too matchy-matchy with our dining chairs)
I emptied out the drawers (they needed to be purged anyway) pulled them out, and sanded the faux-birch down to give it a little grit.
After taping off the areas I didn't want painted, and laying down a million paper bags to cover the back steps, I followed Sherry's advice from Young House Love and sprayed several suuuper thin coats (maybe not as thin as I should... I'm a fan of instant gratification...)  until I got this result...
(The photo frames on the side were an added bonus... not part of the project)

After 24 (almost) hours of drying,
I was able to put them back in the base... (minus the top one because a twig landed on it and it was being re-painted) 

Now, you may notice, that the bottom drawer face isn't painted... And why is that? Well, it's because the damn drawer won't come out! It's screwed in, and I couldn't for the life of me, figure out how to get it off! But me, being one for instant gratification, put it all back together anyway, and here she is, back in action... With her shiny new paint coat... minus the bottom drawer.
(Sorry for the lousy Instagram pic... still get the general idea)
There's a weird shadow on the middle of the 2nd drawer... I swear it's more even in real life. 
Andrew likes the bottom drawer naked... I'm not sold... I WILL make him take the face of it off soon so I can finish it up!
So, the sad, boring almost-rejected file cabinet got her own facelift in our office/dining room, and I got my craft on. Everybody wins.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pinterest Picks 11.14.12

From 11.14.12

On Workin' Out for the Wedding...

Andrew and I aren't in bad shape... We eat healthy, and try to be active, but we both decided a while ago that we needed to kick it into gear for the wedding. 
About 2 months ago, we started running together. This, if you know me well, is a big deal. I HATE to run, no I LOATHE it... like really. I have horrible lung endurance stemming from years and years of asthma and sinus problems, and running generally makes me an angry person.
(We tried training for a 5K 2 years ago... it did not happen)
This time was different though. I knew we had a few months until the wedding, and I really wanted to feel good in my dress,
and this time we have Neville, who LOVES to run.

So, I sucked it up, and we started taking Nev out in the evenings to run. Well, turns out, since he loves it, I can put up with it... I even somewhat enjoy running now. My endurance still sucks, and I have yet to pass the 2 mile mark without wanting to die.

(It's laundry day, so Andrew's socks had to do...)
Here's my run from this morning... Neville didn't come with me because he's got a tweaked hip... so it was just me and some Peter Bjorn & John...
It's not fast, but for me, it's the first time I've passed the 2 mile mark on my own... Pretty proud of my slow-ass self...

We signed up for the LB Turkey Trot 5K which, I just realized yesterday, is NEXT WEEK... as in 8 days from now... Someone recently told me that their goal each time they ran was to "not die". I'm taking that to heart.
 So hopefully I can add that 3rd mile without dying before then...

Our next big feat into getting in shape came in the form of a Living Social deal Andrew purchased in September. We've been hearing a ton about CrossFit lately, and CrossFit 5150 in Signal Hill had a deal for an unlimited month. So Andrew purchased 2 of them.
Everyone I had spoken to about it has said "Oh it's great, I only barfed the first 2 times" or 
"Oh I LOVE CrossFit! I only puked the first time!"
So naturally, I was terrified. I hate throwing up, and I hate feeling like a quitter... Which would most definitely happen if I barfed...
We put off going until last Thursday after work. I was SO nervous... Like really almost didn't go...
Long story short, I really liked it! I loved that there was a set workout (the WOD) but you worked as fast as you could, and you could modify if you needed. 
Let me tell you though, we were both SO sore Friday night and Saturday... but good sore, and sore in the same places... So I guess we did it right!
We'll see how we fare after a whole month of it. In the meantime, we're running, and eating healthy to get in shape for the Big Day!