December 31, 2013

2013: In Review

Well, I guess it's already that time again! Time for another end-of-year review. I swear it seems like yesterday that I was doing my 2012 in review post! Time really does fly! I enjoy doing these posts though because it helps me keep track of things we've done each year (since I am so bad at writing in a journal! Which I need to get back to doing!!)

Anyways, here's a very brief summary of what went down in 2013 for J and I:

Jason and I started 2013 in the Philippines. We were living in Borongan in my father-in-law's house. J was doing his garden and music things. I was semi-doing my little baking business. And we both kept busy with all our jungle dogs. It was a quiet, relaxing and peaceful life we were living out there. But you know, with so much free time on our hands, our minds start to wander. By March, we decided we wanted to pursue other things and left Borongan.

We spent a few weeks in Manila with J's grandma. I'm not a huge fan of Manila. In fact, I really dislike it. But we were able to get out quite a bit. We went to Intramuros one day and walked around. We even went on a roadtrip to explore Banaue and Sagada with J's sister and her fiance who were vacationing in the Philippines. We had an adventure of a lifetime! We were really happy that we decided to join them and experience a part of the Philippines we had never experienced before. We really enjoyed it and we hope to explore more of the Philippines the next time we're there (which will be soon- hopefully!)

Then in mid-April, we left the Philippines after living there for 9 months. It was bittersweet. It was our home for the last 9 months and we were getting used to it, but we were also ready and excited for some new adventures!

Since we were in Asia and had a little bit of extra money, we decided to go go Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before we headed stateside. J and I LOVED KL. The food, the people, the diversity, the interesting history and culture... there was just so much to love! We even had to make an episode of The Hungry Backpacker, even though we were only there just a few days.

We were quite sad when we had to leave KL. We wanted to explore other parts of Malaysia, but ran out of time. We loved it so much there, we even talked about how we could see ourselves living there one day! Hmmm... maybe. Just maybe. You never know with us!

 At the end of April, we were in California. We were able to make it just in time for my mom's birthday, which she loved. We were in California for about a month. We spent the whole time spending time with our friends and family. We were able to go dirtbiking,  go camping with a bunch of friends, go on a 3-day, 30-mile hike, and just have good times and enjoy with our people (like making this video for a Justin Bieber cover we did).

All the while, we were getting ready for our next adventure... NASHVILLE!

We made a cross-country trek on our move to Nashville. We took our time and made an epic roadtrip out of the whole thing. First, we stopped at the Grand Canyon and camped there a couple of nights. Then part two was going through NM, OK, TX and AR. Then we spent a few days at the Ozarks, which we really enjoyed. And then, finally, we made it to Tennessee!

We settled in a house in East Nashville after a few days of being homeless. We loved the area. I got a job a few weeks after that. Then, in August, we were flooded out of that house. Not something I ever want to experience ever again.

After some more time of being homeless, we finally found a place close to my work. J finally found a job. And we've been trying to recover from that flood since then.

On a lighter note, in July we were able to make a roadtrip to Maryland and spend 4th of July weekend with Jason's family. It was a great time and so hard to leave and go back to reality! At the end of August we celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary. In September, we celebrated J's birthday. We celebrated our third Thanksgiving and Christmas as a married couple. In December, I was able to go back to California for a few days where I also got to spend my 29th birthday.

And all this leads me up to today and this 2013 in review post. It started off as an awesome year, with some tough spots in the middle, and at the end, we're trying to get those tough spots out. But things are looking up. We always try our best to stay positive. We're blessed to have amazing people in our lives who have always loved and supported us. We never forget that.

Here's to a better 2014! Cheers!

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December 30, 2013

Winter Vacay part 3: Christmas 2013

I got back to Nashville from California at 5am on Christmas morning. I wanted to be back for Christmas so that J and I could spend the holiday together. I came home to a really clean house and this box, beautifully wrapped by J:

I wasn't expecting anything because we had talked about how we weren't going to get each other gifts. But he said that this was going to be useful for both of us:

A slow cooker! I've been wanting one of these bad boys for a long, long time! I am so excited to use it (we already used it once to make stock from the ham we had!). I did cheat a little and bought J a couple of shirts for Christmas. Because really, I had a feeling he was going to get me something anyways =)

We made a nice little Christmas lunch/dinner of  spiral-cut ham, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, butternut squash bisque, and apple pie. We watched a few shows then headed out to the movie theater to watch 47 Ronin in 3D (good movie, bytheway). After the movies we went to Dave & Buster's. We won the jackpots on a couple of games and ended up getting about 2,700 tickets! We used most of those to get a food chopper and magnets (which I needed for our fridge!) and we still have over 300 tickets. Our favorite games are Wheel of Fortune, Deal or No Deal, the game where the light goes around and around and you have to stop the light on the jackpot, and the game where you drop coins in and they get pushed and you have to try to push other coins over the edge (I should really learn the name of those games, lol).

We had a nice, relaxing, and fun Christmas. Hopefully next year we can spend it with our family!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and that you're enjoying these last few moments of 2013!

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December 29, 2013

Winter Vacay part 2: My Birthday!

On the 23rd, I celebrated my 29th (yikes!) birthday! I was lucky enough to be in California, so I was able to spend my birthday surrounded by family and friends (the only piece missing was J!).

My birthday was started off by a trip to the DMV. I know, I know-- not fun. My driver license expired right on my birthday and I had already renewed via internet twice before, so this third time I had to renew in person. But luckily I had made an appointment and I was in and out of there in 10 minutes!

When I got home, I woke my parents up and demanded (nicely) they take me out to breakfast (I'm a brat like that). We headed to Mrs. Olson's- one of my favorite breakfast joints ever! The food is nothing less of amazing and portions are ginormous. Like, no joke. The weather was perfection and Mrs. Olson's is right on the beach, so after breakfast, I had to dig my toes into the sand- something I've been missing for so long!

The majority of the afternoon was spent running around- getting last-minute things for my party and getting my hair did.

Then it was finally time for my party. We had a white elephant gift exchange party at the Thai restaurant my mom manages. It was so much fun! A lot of people showed up, including friends I hadn't seen in YEARS. One of my good friends even drove all the way up from San Diego just for the day and surprised me! It was so sweet of her to do that for little 'ol me. The food was good. The gift exchange was fun (I ended up with a really nice Kelty backpack! Score!). Overall- it was one of my most favorite birthdays yet!

28 was overall a pretty good year for me. I hit some really rough patches though, so I'm hoping 29 will be a little better for me. So here's to my last year in my twenties - hoping it will be my best one yet! Cheers!

Thank you to all who greeted me on my birthday! I appreciate all the love! xoxo
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December 28, 2013

Winter Vacay part 1: California!

Like I mentioned last Friday, I was off to California -- aka HOME! And since then, I've pretty much been non-stop busy!

I was only in CA for 4 days, sans husband. I was super bummed he couldn't make it, but also really excited and happy to see all my family and friends! Each day I was there was jam-packed.

I got in Friday night. My parents picked me up. I came home to a stocking on my bed that "Santa" had left me that was filled with goodies (my mom is the cutest thing in the world, bytheway).

Saturday morning, I woke up. I sat down on the couch and looked at our Christmas tree and the karaoke machine sitting in front of it and thought "Yup-- I'm definitely home!"

Then most of the day was spent getting things ready for my birthday party happening the next day. Then the fam and I went to eat dinner at a place called Anacapa Brewing Company. My bestie Erika also joined us.

After dinner, Erika and I headed to a pub to meet up with some of our other friends. It was fun- lots of laughs, dancing and good times.

Sunday, my parents and I headed to the thrift stores- a favorite tradition of ours. And, I don't mean to brag, but my hometown has the best thrift stores! We worked up an appetite while shopping around, so we headed to Gen Korean BBQ for lunch and ate 'til we couldn't move anymore!

Later in the evening, my friends and I went to watch Frozen. Really cute movie. Maayyybbeee a little too much singing for my taste, but that may be because I'm getting too old??

Then, Monday the 23rd. A day I was looking forward to because it was my birthday and a day I wasn't looking forward to because, well- it was my birthday. My 29th birthday, to be exact. Wowzers. But I will say this- it was one of my most favorite birthdays ever! There will be a post with details & pics coming tomorrow- because I think a birthday post deserves to be by itself, am I right?

Tuesday was Christmas Eve. My fam and I had a little relaxing lunch at home. We opened presents and hung out. My other best friend came over so I could see her kids, whom I haven't seen in a long time! Then we headed to another family party for a quick hi and bye because my parents had to take me to the airport!

My trip back home was excellent- I'm always so spoiled when I'm there and it was so good to see my family and friends. It was hard and easy to leave-- hard because all my people are there, but easy because I missed my husband so, so much. I don't know when I'll be back in Cali, but I hope it's soon!
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Secret Santa week

On the week of Dec. 16th to 20th, we did Secret Santa at work. I've done Secret Santa before, but this was a little different for me. When I've played in the past- you just give your person something on the last day. But at work, it lasted the whole week and we gave each other little gifts throughout the week and the "bigger" gift on the last day.

It was actually really fun because I was always excited to see what I was going to get each day. I also was excited to give my person their gift and see their reaction. My secret santa would have a person deliver my gifts to me. And I would just leave my gifts for my person at her desk because I knew when she was gone and when she'd be back. It was fun and everyone would always speculate who was their secret santa.

Here are the things my Secret Santa gave me:

A Vanilla-scented candle, Snickers, comfy socks and a mug filled with chocolate.

And on Friday, the last day, she gave me a generous gift card to Target which she delivered herself to tell me she was my Secret Santa. It was my co-worker Allison-- and I really had no idea it was her the whole time! I thought it was someone else... She's such a sweetheart and I really enjoyed everything she gave me!

The person I got also had no idea I was her Secret Santa. I think it's funner when you don't know! It was a fun-filled week at work. I definitely like the week-long secret santa better ;)

Anyways, I am currently getting things together from my California trip/my birthday/ Christmas, so stay tuned!
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December 21, 2013

O Holy Night {by yours truly}

Last year, I graced the internets with my song "Dope Girl Swag" as an early Christmas present.

This year, J and I did something more festive. Here's this year's little early Christmas present to you all from J & I-  our rendition of  "O Holy Night." Enjoy.

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December 20, 2013

...and I'm off!

Today I fly to CALIFORNIA!! I'm so excited, y'all don't even know!

I get to see my fam and friends. I get to spend my birthday with them. I am just so happy!

But- a major bummer is that J won't be by my side. I am really sad about it, but I'm only going to be gone for a few days. I'll be back Christmas morning, so we'll be able to spend the holiday together.

So, with all this being said, it may look a little bleak around here for the next few days. I'll try to find some time to post a little somethin somethin, but no guarantees.

Anyways, hope you all have a very lovely weekend! I sure am!

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December 19, 2013

The Boy Behind the Blog: Breakfast & Holidays

Another round of BBTB is upon us! I just want to thank my hubby for taking 5 minutes every month to answer the questions and getting a little involved with my blog & supporting me and my hobby.

Now, on to the questions and his answers:

1. What is your favorite cereal?
 I assume that "cereal" here is referring to processed, packaged food that is really nothing more than wood pulp flavored with sugar, artificially dyed and fortified with chemically derived vitamins, and marketed to unassuming children who have no concept of what should and should not be considered "food".  So probably Cookie Crisp.

2. Pancakes or waffles?

3. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I like the tradition of replacing holiday traditions with shopping days, because let's be honest, why would I spend time with my friends and family when I could buy things I don't need?

4. Finish the sentence: All I want for Christmas is...
All I want for Christmas is sharks with friggin laser beams on their heads.  Is that so much to ask?

5. What was your best moment of 2013?
Can't pick one.  There were too many.  Let's say every moment up until the one when we moved back to the U.S.

Mal Smiles

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December 17, 2013

Tuesday Tunes: Jessy Lanza - Kathy Lee

My husband was going through The Guardian's Best Albums of 2013. He played this song and I instantly loved it. I've had it on heavy rotation ever since. I have yet to listen to the rest of her album, but this song is a winner. I love the beat. Makes me just want to sit down, bob my head and chill out (and maybe do a little dance). A good-vibe song, for sure.


Join the fun!

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December 13, 2013

High Five for Friday: Cookies, Chai & Snow

I'm long overdue for a High Five for Friday post!

Here are five of my favorite things from this week: 

1// I baked chocolate chip cookies using my favorite recipe! They were so good-- and all gone within a couple of days!
2// I've been sippin on my favorite chai tea a lot lately - thanks to my mom who sent me two containers of it!
3// I got into Snapchat a lot over this past week. I only have a few friends on it, but I really enjoy using the app & sending snaps to my friends a lot!
4// My husband played an open mic last night. I always love watching him do his thang!
5// We had our first snowfall of the season this week!!

How was your week??

{Linking up with Lauren}

December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Fave & least fave part of the day

It's been quite a while since my last Wedding Wednesday post-- since August, to be exact (yikes!) -- I decided to get back on it.

Today I'm on number 12:
favorite part of the day and least favorite part of the day: can be anything.

Well my most favorite part of the day is when I get to be with J. Cliché, I know, but it's so true. We're so lovey-dovey when we're alone, it's sickening. . . but I love it! And don't worry- we know how to control ourselves in public. =)

Least favorite part of the day is- duh- when we're away from each other. It's ridiculous, I know. One time I went to the movies with some friends- I was literally gone for about 3 hours- and I was missing him like crazy. Ridic, right?! And I hate when I have to leave him to go to work or vice versa.

I've had some people tell me we're in a "honeymoon" phase..."enjoy it while it lasts...", etc. etc. but we've been together for 7 years (married for 2 of those years) and we've always been like this.... I think it's no phase.

Granted, we're not perfect. At all. We have our ups and downs. We have our fights. But that never affects our love that we have for each other. We'll continue to be the same 'ol ridiculously lovey couple always.

Anyways, hopefully I can keep up with Wedding Wednesday, I only have a few more left to go! You can see my answers to numbers 1-11 here.

Here are the Wedding Wednesday prompts if you'd like to participate: it all began: how you met, first date, first kiss, how long did you date? first picture together.....etc.
2.when you knew he was the one: self explanatory.. but how and when didyou know?
3.proposal: how it happened, how long were you engaged for? was it atotal surprise? pictures of that... etc.
4.the ring: tell us about it! did you pick it out? did he? pictures!tell us about his ring too!
5.engagement/bridal pictures: let's see em!
6.the colors: show some of the flower and colors you used
7. the dress: was it what you always imagined? did you have it made for you? white or ivory?
8. the little accessories: you know, veil? shoes? jewelry? what did your bridesmaids wear?
9. the reception: where was it at? show us some pictures! what day did you get married?
10. the cake/food: i love food. so tell me about what you had at your wedding!
11. your song and/or the first song you danced to at your wedding: share a music video or lyrics if you can!
12. favorite part of the day and least favorite part of the day: can be anything.
13. honeymoon: where did you go? was it good? ;) haha...jk.
14. thoughts on marriage: what is the easiest/hardest part? if you could change anything, what would it be?
15. first place that you lived together: pics if you have them!
16. kids: do you have any yet? if not, when do you plan on it? how many do you want? any tips on good/bad birth control?
17. most recent picture of you and your significant other and what you love most about them :) and any other thoughts.

December 10, 2013

Fall Bucketlist: a recap

In September, I made my Fall Bucketlist. It was quite modest with only 6 things on it {compared to my general bucketlist that has a bagillion things on it} and I honestly thought I could complete all 6 things. But I wasn't able to because ya know- life happens.

Let's see how I did on my Fall Bucketlist with a little recap:

1. Bike ride around town to see all the color-changing leaves!
    I sort of kind of was able to do this one. I was able to bike around and see some leaves, but most of my color-changing observations were done on foot.

2. Bake a pumpkin pie
    Our oven was out of commission for a while, so I unfortunately  wasn't able to do much baking. I was bummed, but we bought a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving instead... wasn't as good as the homemade stuff though.

3. Drink / eat everything pumpkin/pumpkin spice flavored that I'm able to! Lattes, flavored coffee, cookies, muffins, bagels-- even Pumpkin Spiced Kisses!
    Oh yes- I definitely tried my darndest to complete this one! I had pumpkin spice coffee from Bruegger's on the regular (plus their pumpkin bagel & pumpkin spice cream cheese!), pumpkin donuts from Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts,  pumpkin spice ice cream and pumpkin spice Kisses (which were SO GOOD).

4. Go to the pumpkin patch, pick out a cute little pumpkin & paint it!
    Nope, I wasn't able to do this one. I had this whole pumpkin patch picked out and everything, but things came up and we never went. Oh well. Maybe next year!

5. Get lost (or dominate!) in a corn maze.
    Same answer as above.

6. Go to the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival
    Yes- I was able to do this one! You can read about it here.

So I was able to complete half of my bucketlist. I enjoyed all the autumn colors while it lasted and being able to walk outside without having to put on 20 layers of clothing (right now, there's snow everywhere. Meh.)


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December 09, 2013

Living in the Philippines means...

Living in the Philippines means...
+ dealing with brownouts that can last for a few days (cultural note: "brownouts" are blackouts)
+ feeling earthquakes that happen almost weekly and freaking out, while the locals are just chillin', like nothing is happening (one night there was a pretty big one, so J and I ran outside for safety... we looked at our neighbors' house, and they were all just eating dinner in the kitchen, chit-chatting away. We felt pretty silly.)
+ dealing with dreaded typhoons
+ getting looked at all. the. time
+ having to take 2 showers a day
+ sweating when you're just sitting there, even with two fans blowing on you

+ packing on baby powder to help with the sweat
+ taking bucket showers
+ dealing with pesky, gnarly mosquitoes
+ eating rice with every. single. meal.
+ having "Hey Joe!" yelled at you all. the. time.

+ not minding the Geckos in your house because they eat all the bugs
+ having really slow internet-- reaaaallllyyyy ssslllooowwwwww
+ getting out of the shower & your hair stays wet for several hours afterwards
+ you forget what feeling cold is like
+ finding baby geckos on your bra in the closet
+ never wanting to wear jeans
+ swimming in warm water at the beaches
+ eating lots and lots of yummy Filipino food!
+ having easy access to yummy fruits at cheap prices

Philippines was a great place to live. We've been back in the States for about 8 months now, but we can't wait to go back!

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