That’s right! We are headed back to San Diego after a wonderfully life-changing experience here in Portland. The move is truly bittersweet this time around. We have to say goodbye to people who have changed us. But we get to go home to be closer to our family. These 16 months have been the best thing ever. I feel like we were mean to be here for this season. My life and my perspective are truly changed.

Moving FAQ

1. So why are you moving again?

Joel was promoted at his work. Hooray! And our long term goal has always been to be back with our parents and siblings.

2. Are you going to transfer with Starbucks?

Nope. I would love to get another job – something full time would be awesome. Soooo…I hope you’ll think of me if you hear of something! 😉


Remain Present

Life can be overwhelming. It seems the biggest struggles I’ve faced this passed year-ish have been 1.) Living in the present and 2.) Not worrying about the future. I think this season more than ever I’ve been constantly bombarded with worry and fear about what’s to come. Literally, Joel and I could move at any moment; moving for a job seems like best decision to reach our long term goals. And at any day, a job could be posted, Joel could have any interview, receive a job, and we could move.

We would be sad to move. We’ve put down roots here. We have jobs and friends. We enjoy the Northwest and all it’s beauty. We enjoy the city of Portland and all it’s unique features.

And while we enjoy these things, my heart lingers in an unsettled posture not sure of what to feel or to think, paralyzed by what tomorrow, or even this afternoon, could bring.

But I have to press through the unsettledness and remain present. Tomorrow? Who knows what will happen?! Today, I’m here. Today has a purpose that I don’t want to miss out on.


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This morning I woke up sick, disoriented and out of it. And as Joel and I took the normal drive to drop him off at work, my heart became full. It’s crisp outside – Oregon did not delay the start of Fall. The streets are damp but the sun is out making the streets bright. And as I sit here drinking my pumpkin spice coffee, I am overwhelmed by all the things in my life to be thankful for. I love this season. I’m thankful for a season that allows me to sip on pumpkin drinks and cozy up under blankets. I’m thankful we have a home – even though it is not perfectly decorated – it keeps us warm and gives us a place to rest and relax. I have a wonderful husband who takes care of me and loves me even when that’s not an easy task. We are able to eat throughout the day. Even though sometimes it seems like money is tight, we are still able to fill our bellies. I’m thankful for the church we’ve found – for the vision they have and that we get to be a part of. I’m thankful for the connections we’re making. It has been a slow process but we are able to greet people at church because we know their name and they know ours. I’m thankful for this move and how it’s changing us and challenging us. And I’m thankful for our family, for supporting us even when it’s hard and we miss each other. There are so many reason for us to be joyful and on a regular basis, I forget. I don’t acknowledge the things we have and I just complain about the things we don’t have. I hope you are reminded today to be thankful for the things in your life even if times are tough or you’ve lost hope. There is a plan for you. And that plan is divine and has a great purpose.

Month Two + Three

I’m baaack! It’s been a crazy couple of months here in Oregon. And, to be honest, some of my inspiration to blog has faded away. BUT, I’m here.

Last month, we had multi-day visitors here: my sister and her bestie, Nooshin. It was definitely a busy week while they were here. We went to Multnomah Falls, explored downtown (food carts and Powell’s bookstore), went to the Tillamook Factory and bonfire’d on Canon Beach, spent another day wine tasting and blueberry picking. Since my day-to-day life looks a lot like nothing, I was pooped after they left.  It was nice showing them around – showing them where we go grocery shopping and the Target I frequent. It makes it feel more like home.


Also in this last month, Joel and I made our first trip home to San Diego.  I kept saying it was kind of a sucky first trip home. We were there Thursday-Monday. So it was short. There are more people we wanted to see, but there was so little time. It felt like we popped in a popped out. It didn’t help that we went to Pasadena to the Justin Timberlake and Jay Z concert that Sunday-Monday (which probably deserves a whole separate post).  But, it was good to see my mom and the rest of the family. The little babies are growing up so fast. We also got to see a few friends which was really nice to catch up with them.



After we made it back, it was time to celebrate our first anniversary. WOW, a year went by FAST. It’s crazy reflecting on this year with Joel. We have lived 3 places since we got married…which I do not recommend. Moving is no fun. I would’ve never thought that at the end of our first year a marriage, we would be living out of San Diego or in a completely different state for that matter! To celebrate, Joel took me a brunch cruise on the Willamette River that runs through the middle of Portland. It was a beautiful day. We had bottomless mimosas and enjoyed each other’s company. Dinner that night was a sushi place….it was….not great but that’s okay! The next day we enjoyed massages in the morning and shopping in the afternoon.


After our big anniversary weekend, we found ourselves in Seattle. If you know my husband, or ever had a conversation with him about baseball or the name he desires for our future child, you would quickly learn that Ken Griffey Jr is, by far, his favorite baseball player. A cut out of KGJ was at our wedding and wedding festivities, for goodness sake. So this particular weekend KGJ was being inducted into the Mariner’s Hall of Fame = a pre-game ceremony AND a KGJ bobble head to the first 20,000 fans at the stadium. WE HAD TO GO. And we had some friends from SD meet us there!


After everyone got to the airport, Joel and I stuck around see Seattle and got to meet up with Eric to show us around. It was nice to walk around Kirkland, where Eric goes to school, and see University of Washington, and the Fremont Troll, and eat at Mexican food place (the owners were from SD!) I didn’t get a picture of the three of us, but we made it Gas Works Park so I got a great shot of the city.


Now, we are getting ready for our vacation to Santa Cruz (to see my beautiful cousin get married!! YAY!) and then on down to San Diego again! Woohoo! Hopefully there will be some time to celebrate Joel’s birthday. Then MAYBE, life will slow down and we can focus more on making friends.

Adventures In Cooking, Part 1

Blogging recipes is probably one of the hardest things. First, I am a baker. It’s much more relaxing and comes a lot easier to me than cooking. When I cook, I do not have everything organized or ready to go. For instance, the other night I made Spinach Artichoke Pasta and as I started making it, I was like “Crap! I have to mince the garlic” Then I would follow a couple steps and “Crap! I have to grate the cheese!” Running all over my kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off.

I do have to say, I’ve had some fairly successful attempts at cooking. Here are some of the recipes I’ve tried from Pinterest and my thoughts about them (click the picture to go to recipe):
One Pot Pasta – This was SO good and SO easy! Throw everything in a pot and you’ve got dinner! It definitely is a twist on pasta and just as easy as heating up pasta and red sauce. According to the picture, the pasta is supposed to soak up the liquid, mine did not. So I just fished the pasta out with tongs – still good.


Spaghetti with Garlic and Red Pepper – This was VERY garlicy. I could not get the garlic out of my mouth after I ate it. I probably wouldn’t make this again because of that. But it was easy and different than regular pasta.


Broccoli Cheddar Soup – This was good. I didn’t feel as insane making this as I did some other meals. This recipe calls for some weird spices which I didn’t add (nutmeg and cardamon) and it was still really good.  I also used the Colby Jack not the Velveeta alternative. And I did not use hot sauce. Next time I make this, I’ll probably use an extra sharp cheddar so it has a little more flavor.


Spinach Artichoke Pasta – The process of making this was chaotic. And to anyone who decides to make it – make sure you have everything measure/prepared BEFORE making it! Maybe that’s common knowledge but to anyone who is new at cooking like me…there ya go.


Parmesan Garlic Baked Fries – These were reallly goooood! They didn’t all turn out AS crunchy as I would’ve liked but they were still really good.  The only prep is soaking the slices of potato before baking them. It felt like I couldn’t really mess these up. Tasty little guys!

*All the recipes I share will be chicken free – since Joel is allergic. I replace all chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Month One

We’ve officially been in our apartment for one whole month which means one whole MONTH in Oregon! That seems crazy. It’s been one month since we’ve seen our family and our friends (except for Eric). It’s been one month since I’ve hugged my mom or gone shopping with my sister. Since we played with our nieces and nephews or squished their little cheeks with kisses. And while I try not to get too emotional about it – it’s sad. I miss them. And I count the days to see them again (34).

And as much as I’m sad, I can also begin to see purpose to being here. Joel and I are enjoying a lot more time together. We are focusing a lot more on our relationship, relying on each other’s friendship, depending on one another’s company. We have explored, adventured, and gotten lost. We are becoming more of a we.

My Aunt, Uncle and cousins have been overwhelmingly generous in our transition. They have been people we can rely on, trust, and hang out with regularly – even if it’s to watch the Bachelorette which is quickly becoming a Monday night ritual. I am thankful for them.

We desire to be more connected. As we try to settle into our new surroundings, we also want to meet friends and find somewhere to use our talents. It would feel lame if we left this place and no one knew we were here! As we jump into the next few months, pray for us to find that connection.

Coupon Crazy!

I just started couponing…literally, this morning. While I’m not currently bringing in any income, I feel like part of my job right now is to save money on the things we purchase.  I’m very excited!

The coupon world is becoming more accesible for people who do not have time (or patience) to sift through papers and keep the little coupons organized. Two really great things I’ve found are through VONS (or Safeway for all my non-Southern California peeps) and Target.

VONS has a program called “Just for U.” If you have one of their club cards that you use at checkout, you can be a part of their program. Go to their website, register your card/phone number, and select your coupons.  The coupons will automatically be used at checkout when you type in your phone number. Um…EASY.

Mm, I love me some Target. It’s my go-to place. Target just came out with this thing called “Cartwheel.” Kind of the same concept as VONS but I will explain it anyway. Download the Cartwheel by Target app. Sign up via Facebook. Choose your coupons. At checkout, they will scan your barcode straight from your smart phone and BOOM. Savings. One of the things with Cartwheel is that when you sign up, you are given space for 10 coupons. The more Facebook friends that join, the more spaces for coupons you have! Cartwheel also keeps track of how much you’ve saved. So, even though 5% off seems insignificant on one item, you will be able to see how it all adds up.

I had to share these with you all because they are so accessible. I know I do not like using coupons because of the time it takes. I mean, those people who are ultimate couponers spend so much time at checkout while the cashier scans their coupons. I want to get through checkout with ease, without a sigh from the customer behind me. And I think these programs give me an easy couponing experience. Plus, who doesn’t like to save some dough?!





It seems surreal that exactly three weeks ago, Joel and I were moving into our new place here in Oregon.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you probably saw my updates from the road. The drive was long but it felt like it went rather quickly….if that makes any sense at all.  Early on a Monday morning, we drove off into the darkness to start our road trip. Joel’s brother, Zach, in Joel’s truck and Joel and I in my little bug.

We made it through LA smoothly, missing the big hit of LA traffic. And as we drove, it was HOT. By 10am, I was heating up. So why not turn on the AC you ask? because it BROKE. The week before we left, and with all the items on my checklist that week, it did not get fixed. So, as we made our 13 hour drive up the coast, sitting on my black leather interior, roasting in the California sun, it was uncomfortable to say the least.

The drive was a whole lotta nothing. Nothing too exciting until…Mt. Shasta! Holy cow, I was dumbfounded by the beauty of this place. We would drive around the corner and the mountain would peak out between these hills covered in green. The trees were incredible. The detail is hard to capture on my little iPhone 4 but these trees went forever. In pictures, they look like piles of green, but in person, you can see the detail of every little tree.

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In one whole day we drove through the entire state of California and made it to Oregon!


After a full night’s rest, we headed out for day two. The weather was cloudy, colder, and a little more comfortable in my un-air-conditioned car. We had a fairly eventless drive until about Canyonville AKA the middle of nowhere, OR. It took a while to notice the rain pickup behind my car was not rain but smoke from my engine. We pulled over and my poor little bug was smoking up a storm. We thought that maybe we could save my car, that all it needed was some oil (it was due pretty soon for that). Zach went to a nearby gas station about 2 miles away and got some oil. We dumped it in. And tried to go for it… Nope, within fifteen seconds my car was beeping and smoking. We called AAA, and they got there within 20 minutes.

While we waited, we researched nearby places to get a tow for my car to Joel’s truck. The friendly guy at one place who didn’t have what we needed said he would call around to find it. He called us back with a U-haul place that had a car dolly and it was 7 miles up the road!

When we arrived at the U-haul location, the worker said their was only ONE guy who knew how to work the computer to get us the dolly. He was on his way but it would be another 45 minutes! We waited 45 minutes…the one computer genius never showed. So the worker said, “I’ll give it a try…” So what felt like 2 hours later, they finally let us leave with a dolly. The most frustrating thing was that I COULD HAVE DONE IT ON MY PHONE! It’s not like they have a special system. They literally went to and reserved the dolly. I could not believe that we wasted so much time sitting outside this service center.

**Note to readers: If you need to reserve a U-haul, you can use your smartphone to do it and you don’t have to wait for the ONE guy who knows how to use a computer.**

I’m very thankful that Joel’s brother was there, and that we did have another car or else this would’ve been a much bigger bump in the road.

After we got the car on the dolly, it was smooth sailing. We made it to my Aunt and Uncle’s in just a few hours and everyone was there to greet us!

We took my car to a mechanic the next day. My water pump had broken. My poor little car just couldn’t drive that far!

Here are pictures of our new place.  This was the view on the first, wet day we moved in. Also, I’m very excited to have a pretty kitchen!

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Here are a few more pictures of the clouds since we’ve been here!

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DIY – Painting Chairs

Back in October, Joel and I bought six chairs from a discount store called GTM. They were navy but they were so dark, they almost looked black. They were so inexpensive that I though I could just paint them.

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It took me until last month to actually complete this project. Before getting started, I did a ton of research. I went to several sites including these:

Here’s how I did it!



I used this deglosser from Home Depot so then I didn’t have to sand:


After the deglosser:


Then I used a spray paint to prime the chairs:


I’m going to pause here to discuss paint color. I kept going back and forth on whether I was going to spray paint or hand paint. Part of me was up for the hand painting. I’m not very artsy so I don’t get to do that much and the idea of painting something by hand seemed relaxing. Well, I was looking for a specific color. I thought I had found it in a spray paint…so, after priming my chairs, I just went for it:

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BAHHH!!! This color was so BRIGHT! It was like the highlighter version of the chair I envisioned. Needless to say, I repainted it. SO if you mess up, if you choose the wrong color, DO NOT FEAR! It can be fixed!


I got samples of very similar colors and brought them home next to my dining table and then chose! It was not, however, an easy process. Choosing a paint color, whether it’s for a piece of furniture or a room, can make you feel like you’re losing your mind.

Here’s a final picture of how the chairs ended up:

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I am really pleased with they way they turned out.  They aren’t as harsh as the dark chairs which I love! Things I learned about painting furniture:

  • Prep work is important. Do research.
  • Don’t spray paint while the wind is blowing!! It causes the paint to dry mid air and dry in little balls on your furniture.
  • Spray paint goes on way easier and way faster than hand painting.
  • Let the paint dry for as long as you can before using it…like days or a week if you can.
  • Don’t be afraid of ugly, thrift store, discounted furniture. Imagine what it could look like with a fresh coat of paint!


Wow, so I am really bad at big announcements…sooooo….here we go. We’re moving! Joel and I are going to move to Beaverton, OR! And WE ARE SO EXCITED!

We first had a conversation about the sense of adventure in our lives. Both growing up in San Diego, we started to feel like we hadn’t experienced much in our lives.

For me, I grew up going to every school that was close to my house. That was not the way I had intended for it to be. I wanted to go away after high school. I saw my older sister enjoying her time up in Orange County and wanted to do the same. I wanted adventure.  In retrospect, I’m glad that didn’t happen because if I had gone away for college, I wouldn’t have met Joel.

For Joel, he grew up in San Diego and only went off to Bethany for one semester of college. He came back and has been in San Diego ever since.

We want stories. We want adventure. So when it seemed that opportunities here weren’t really working out, and I was finishing school, we looked at each other and said “Let’s see what happens.”

We knew we wanted to move somewhere with family. We knew we wanted to stay on the west coast. I had a lot of excitement about Oregon where my Aunt, Uncle and cousins live.  Joel checked the job listings, and there it was “Assistant Manager” in Beaverton, OR. Beaverton is the exact town where my family lives.

He applied and within a week was offered the position. It felt so clear. This is where we are supposed to go.

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SO on May 20th, just days after graduation, we are driving up to Oregon. We’ll be living in Beaverton which is just west of Portland. We are so excited and are completely blessed with supportive and loving friends and family.  If you’re ever in the area, you’re welcome to stay at Hotel Del Smith. Don’t worry, though, I’ll keep you updated on our lives, DIY projects, recipes, etc.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  ― Eleanor Roosevelt