Thursday, October 29, 2009

Turning 30

This month I turn the big 3-0. This year it falls exactly on Thanksgiving so I guess I have to be thankful for turning 30. Traveling up to the Bay Area for that somewhat short weekend is always stressful and sometimes dangerous considering we always drive (along with the rest of California), so this year we've decided to stay home in Long Beach. We're going up to the Bay Area on the 12th anyways for my grandfather's 90th birthday (!!) so we'll get to see our family before the holiday. I'm so excited to host Thanksgiving for our friends that will join us, we're planning a huge potluck of yumminess.

There is a lot to be excited over in my 3rd decade. Jeff and I are settling contentedly into happy married life (no longer newlyweds!), we'll have bought our first home, we're both doing well in our careers, we're going to finally get a dog, and God willing we'll make a baby. This is the major life-changing decade I think. I have to be prepared for it so I've been thinking of habit-changes and goals and projects to help me live what I see as a fulfilled life for me. Sort of 30th birthday resolutions I suppose. Here's a list I've started that is far from complete:

I'd like to do more sweet and unexpected things for the people I care about. I love what Shauna and Stephen make for each other. I made this for you...

Watch more TED talks. Sooo interesting and I'm addicted now. I'm especially interested in the Charter for Compassion series of six talks. "Together, these six speakers bear witness to the fact that compassion and the Golden Rule lie at the heart of all religion and all morality." In these bad times, we've definitely seen an increase in violence and pointless vandalism in our city and it makes me so angry and upset. Maybe practicing more compassion for everyone, even those committing these terrible crimes, will help bring me some peace.

I'm going to cook fancy more. Herb and gruyere scones... mmmmm.... Recipe here.

Hold that cold at bay Soup

Leek, Baby Broccoli, Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Tart

Butternut Squash and Orange Cauliflower Soup

I'm going to eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because shoot if they don't make me happy! I love them. And with whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and the good jam, I think they're pretty good for you. Fast to make too which is important since I squeeze in sleep until the very last minute I have to wake up and start getting ready for work.

I'm going to squirrel away and save more money in my 30's than in my 20's, ideally in this awesome gold cast piggy bank by Harry Allen. I better buy this piggy bank while I'm still 29 come to think of it, otherwise I wouldn't be doing a very good job of saving in my 30's. He's soooo cute though!

I'm definitely going to be getting my hands thorn-pricked and dirty more in my 30's as I've caught the flower arranging bug. Mandy and I "booked" another wedding! Our friends Kelsey and Jake just got engaged and they're getting married in May! Kelsey wants a gray and yellow theme like we did for our wedding, and I'm super excited because I'll get to do all the arrangements I thought of AFTER our wedding that I wanted to do! The internet is so packed with inspirational arrangments too. Like this flowers in a waffle cone idea conceived by Jiseon Park and Eunho Kim, via SDesignUnit. So cute!
Learn to sew clothes!! My closet needs an injection of new. I've definitely noticed my taste moving towards comfy, and away from form-fitting and high heels. I don't want that to turn into sweatpants and ballet flats though so I need to find a fashion-forward middle ground. I'm thinking more kitten heels (and better designed heels too, a little built-in padding and arch support goes SUCH a long way), looser dresses and pants. I really want to make these Built by Wendy patterns that I bought on super discount, I think they're perfect.

There. I think that's a good start. Self-indulgent yes, but that's not always bad.

Pretty pictures

Matt and Jana's wedding photographer, Marianne Wilson, just sent me some beautiful close-ups of the flowers Mandy and I arranged for their wedding. The colors are so vibrant, I love them. Check out more of Marianne's work on her website and her blog,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Birthday party!

By the way... for anyone in the SoCal area, we're celebrating Jeff's birthday tonight at Me & Ed's pizza parlor in Lakewood around 7pm, located at 4115 Paramount Blvd, Lakewood. Afterwards we're headed to Joe's Jost at 2803 Anaheim in Long Beach and probably Orizaba park around the corner for some 4-square and Butts-Up action. Wear your tennies.

Happy Birthday Jeffy!!

Happy 32nd birthday my sweets. I hope all of your wildest Be@rbrick dreams come true...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Katie and Erik's wedding

Pictures! Karen let me know this week that the photographer for Katie and Erik's wedding, Troy Grover, just posted pictures so I grabbed a few of the flower close-ups. Mark, Karen, and I worked long hours on these bad boys but I think they turned out beautifully and were well worth the effort.
This is what I walked into that Friday morning. A garage full of gorgeous flowers, and Mark looking stressed out.
The majority of the flowers were roses that needed to be stripped before we could work with them. 4 hours later, all roses were thorn free! And I was bleeding. Look at the tulips though!
I love these purple cabbages, they remind me of cabbage patch kids.

We did 8 of these shepards hooks to line the aisle. We arranged them around 10:00pm on Friday in the dark with just the light of the garage in the distance. I think we were all surpised in the morning by how good they looked!

We also did 75 centerpieces, three for each table. Holy moly!
Mark did Katie's bouquet, I think it turned out so colorful and awesome.
The happy couple, Katie and Erik! They were so sweet and easy-going about the whole thing. In front of me at least. Maybe they beat Mark when I wasn't around, which would explain his demands for perfection.

The photos turned out amazing, check them out here if you like looking at wedding photos!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


One of the things I like so much about the house we are in right now is that the upstairs can be completely closed off from the downstairs. This is a huge benefit considering Lily Mae tends to "act out" all over our couch. In Irvine we had a few accidents (cleaned up thanks to heavy duty dry cleaning action) and then covered the couch in puppy pads and foil. We don't really want to live with our couch under plastic in the new house so I'm investigating "training devices". I came across the SSSCAT which has a motion detector that the cat trips when it gets close to the forbidden area, releasing a brisk spray of aerosol, scaring the crap out of the cat (not literally I hope, that's what we're trying to avoid) and keeping it away from the sofa! It's pain free and sort of humane so I think we'll give it a try.

Putting all our eggs in the Golden basket

We got a house!! Yesterday was an exciting day because we actually got two houses! Both our offers for the Pine house (the Frank Lloyd Wright-esque house) and the one on Golden were accepted! We did the obligatory pros/cons list for each and talked a lot about it. Luckily Jeff and I were on the same page and felt the same about the drawbacks to the Pine house (alley adjacent, needs new windows and a lot of kitchen updates) and all of the pros with the Golden house. So we let go of the Pine offer and are moving forward with Golden. Because it's a short sale though, the bank still has to approve our offer (which Noelle doesn't think will be an issue based on the comps and the seller having agreed to the price and sale already) and they can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to approve it. We're SO crossing our fingers for two weeks because the 30 day escrow after that will close right before the tax credit expires on November 30th. If they take four weeks, we'll be out of luck. $8,000 in April would be pretty sweet so we're praying the bank expedites things.


Our plan right now is to convert the garage into a studio for Jeff. We want to take out the garage door and frame in a couple of windows (there's a door on the backyard side), insulate and get an electrician to wire everything properly for an office, drywall and paint! Easy, right?
This is the view right when you walk in to the living room. The windows on both sides make it nice and bright, and of course we're thrilled with the nice hardwood floors.
This is the dining room right off the living room and the little nook off the kitchen. We don't know what we'll put there yet but we'll figure it out!
Plenty of room for our dining table... perfect!
All new double-paned windows in the house too, a HUGE cost savings. Mandy told me what their quotes on those suckers are and it scared me. Pine would have needed all new ones so that would have gotten pricey.
The kitchen is pretty sweet and was a major advantage over the Pine house kitchen. This one has new appliances (gas stove! dishwasher!!), corian countertops, brand new cabinetry (that we'll probably paint, way too much wood going on in this space for our tastes), recessed lighting, and the wood floors extend into the kitchen.
The 2 bedrooms in the house are on the small side so we're going to have to get creative about furniture placement and closet space. I have a few ideas and 4 years of back issues of Domino to help.
The "master" bedroom. So little! Or cozy? Let's go with cozy.
The bathroom is great, and the only thing I want to change is the flooring. No more linoleum. I'm going to bribe Seth and his tile-laying skills to come and help remedy the situation. The shower stall which you can't see in this picture is pink tile with a black tile border!! So cool!!
The lot is really big, about 6500 square feet (big for Southern California at least!) and the backyard has a nicely built and sturdy storage shed behind the garage. I want to put my raised planter beds for my vegetable garden on the side wall over the gravel and Jeff wants a fire pit in the middle of the lawn. As long as it's far away from a structure, I'm okay with that. :)

I hope hope hope everything goes smoothly with this house, but until a clean home inspection bill of health and the keys are in our hands, we're not holding our breath. Closing on the house by Thanksgiving (and my 30th birthday!) would be amazing though.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Frank Lloyd Wright-esque

That was in the description for this last home Jeff and I put an offer in on this weekend. It also said it was a home for people with ESQUISITE taste (yes, in caps) and that's pretty much the McMillans in a nutshell so we had to take a look. Joking aside, it's a pretty rad house. It's really large thanks to an addition put on the house (a big bonus room with a second fireplace, a bar, and a 3/4 bathroom) and it has a lot of neat original details. And it's a regular sale! This one is also in Wrigley so extra points for being close to Mandy and Seth.

The cute house on Oregon (with the red door) got swooped up by an all-cash offer, even though it was significantly less than our offer. Apparently the seller just wants to be done with it and all cash closes a lot quicker than loans. *$%*!!

Our little baby

My parents had to put Lucie to sleep last week. She was two months away from her 19th birthday which the Vet said made her around 92 in human years. She lived a really good life, thanks mostly to my mom who took care of her 24/7. She was such a sweet kitty and we adored her. I'm going to miss her.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Schnoodle love

Mandy and Seth are puppy hunting now and went from a Mastiff to a French bulldog. I can't wait until they get it so I can get some puppy love in. It made me think of what type of dog I'd want. Of course a rescue, something sweet and mellow, smallish, with soft fur that won't cease being soft as it gets older. I love Sue's schnauzers and I've always loved mini-poodles and now you can have both in one! Introducing the Schnoodle.

picture via Design*Sponge

Buh-bye Lakewood

Jeff and I went to see the house in Lakewood that we were the chosen offer on last night and it was a no-go. Beyond it being terribly awkward to judge and inspect the house as the current tenants watched us, it was just too small. The living room/dining room combo was about as big as just our living room now and there was no space for our beloved dining table. So sadly we declined. We did however see one of the two houses in Wrigley that we put offers on this weekend. The one that had the open house got swooped up for 20K over asking price so that one is out, but the other is adorable, on a huge lot, and has a lovely big dining room. So it's down to that one, the Art Deco, and the Oregon house... Barlin too I guess, but that one seems to have come to a stand still. The saga continues...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Grollers!

Jana just sent me a few pictures of the flowers that Mandy and I did for her wedding and they're so gorgeous I had to share. They scored with an awesome photographer, you can see more pics on her blog

This was Jana's bouquet, held by the lovely maid-of-honor/sister Whitney. We couldn't find the anemones Jana so wanted but we got these look-a-like gerberas instead. The monkey tails were a fun addition, Matt had one in his bout too.
One of the big arrangements that Mandy did. I love the droopy bits hanging down from it. I'm going to need to start learning the names of all these flowers...
This is my husband doing the Michael Jackson Thriller dance with the bride. His hands look creepy.
The sparkler goodbye, how fun!

Monday, October 5, 2009

First comes the house, and then comes...

Babies!!! Just kidding. Then comes Jeff's heart attack. We had our awesome friends Mark and Karen and their baby Henry over for breakfast on Sunday morning and we got to play with the baby. He was so adorable and well mannered, except when he threw up on me. Oh babies... Such a happy little tyke though, very smiley. I get to spend more time with them this Friday and Saturday because I'll be helping Mark with his niece's wedding flowers! Job #2 if anyone is counting...

Are you still keeping track?

Jeff and I put in three more offers this weekend! We ain't joking around! We're here to play hardball with the big boys. Two are in Wrigley and one is in Lakewood. We found out this afternoon that the Lakewood house is ours if we want it so we're going tomorrow night to check it out. We've only seen the outside of it so it could be perfect or it could be totally wrong for us. But at least we were chosen!! For once we came in first. :)

This is one of the two in Wrigley, and the pics online look really promising. It has a big dining room for our table and looks clean and charming.

This one we actually went into this weekend during an open house. It's sooo charming on the inside! It has a formal dining room with a little sunporch off of double french doors which I can already see Lily Mae spending 20 hours a day in, and it has a guest house in the back! It would be perfect for Jeff's studio, lots of storage plus a mini kitchen and a 3/4 bathroom! And it's permitted!!!

This is the Lakewood home. It's in a really nice neighborhood and looks cute from the outside so we shall see...

The other two in Wrigley (the historic Art Deco and the adorable little one with the red door) are still pending and we've heard nada back from the agents. Fun fun fun...