Month: December 2013

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the best christmas ever | i’m engaged!

You read correctly, I’m engaged! Surprise!! I waited to put anything online until after our family received the news in person or over the phone, so now I’d love to share all the details with you! It was December 19, in the late afternoon. I was already packed to head out to San Juan for my flight early the next day. Evan and I had plans to go out to dinner before we drove up north, but he suggested we first take Sophie down to the beach to watch the sunset and let her play in the ocean. We weren’t going to be spending Christmas together, so this was our last day before two weeks and 100s of miles would separate us. So we walked down to our beach access, just minutes from our house. I let Sophie take off and explore, and the two of us walked along the water watching the sun dip deeper into the sky. After a few minutes of beachcombing, Evan brought out a beach towel that was stashed away …

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photography: nature from my dreams

I daydream when wandering through Kevin Russ‘ photostream on Flickr. He has such an eye for composition, and a great talent in photo editing – I just wanderlust over all these places he’s traveled and photographed, some of which I’ve visited in the past. I just wanted to introduce you to this photographer if you’ve never come across his images before. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. He is certainly an inspiration to me. I hope you’ve had a great short work week and ready to now enjoy family, friends and celebrating the birth of our Savior! I appreciate all your comments, emails and messages well wishing for safe travels and a great holiday, and I extend the same to you my friends! Merry Christmas Eve!

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busy blogger book club: the omnivore’s dilemma

Okay, I know I’m two months behind on the last Busy Blogger Book Club book, and my excuse is that of all busy bloggers – I got busy. But after finishing this book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I wanted to share my thoughts about how this made me rethink how I eat and what I eat. Michael Pollan is a great storyteller of nonfiction. He put eating into a whole different perspective for me on more than just a physical level (try, moral for one). He approaches eating from three mindsets: the industrial, processed food; the organic and the hunter/gatherer. I can relate to all three, because I have taken part in all three types of eating. I have to admit though, after reading about the processing of meats, it inspires me to eat lower on the food chain. Notice I said it doesn’t make me want to be a vegetarian or vegan — which was what I had heard a lot of with this book -” Oh it turned me vegan”. I went into this …

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homeward bound

And I’m off! Up in the air with Sophie at my feet, making our way to the great state of Texas to spend the holidays with my family. One suitcase packed inside another (I’m flying first class on the way back = three free suitcases! oh yeah!) to bring back all kinds of food and goodies to stock us up for another half a year. I always enjoy returning to Texas in the winter – I love fires, hot cocoa and crisp mornings when I can see my breath. Not to mention Christmas holiday dinners and breakfasts are the absolute best. I packed my running shorts and yoga clothes to at least try to keep up with the exercise routine I’ve been so adamantly keeping to here on the island. And as always, I have my camera so I can snap a few photos of the land I will always call home. Are you traveling anywhere for the holidays? Where are you headed? Someplace warm or someplace cold? Stay safe! [photo by kevin russ, typography …

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culinary: pumpkin spice buttermillk pancakes

This past weekend, I brought out the box of Trader Joe’s pumpkin pancake and waffle mix that I’ve been saving for just the right moment. That moment was when I joyfully found buttermilk at our local grocery (this NEVER happens). I was so giddy, I brought two cartons to our basket until Evan reminded me that I leave for Texas in a week and when would I have time to use two cartons (oh, he underestimates me…), but he was right, I put one back. But from the moment we got home with buttermilk, my mind was spinning with all sorts of recipes I was eager to bake. So I baked. I’ve made these pancakes (Evan: I don’t want any, Me: Yes you will, I’ll make enough for both of us, Evan: No, it’s fine. He eats half..), some muffins and Evan made me biscuits, so far. And now I have this week to finish off the carton. What else should I bake? What are your favorite things to bake/cook that call for buttermilk? Maybe …

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helping kids across the ocean

{source} Today I want to introduce you to an ongoing relief effort for kids in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Some close friends of mine back in Florida, Ralph & Joy Turingan, are both from the Philippines. Ralph was my graduate advisor at Florida Tech and he and his wife have become like a second family to me. When Typhoon Haiyan hit Joy’s town of Tacloban, I was on edge reading her Facebook updates, checking in to see if she had received word from her family. It was unnerving to know someone so impacted by the events occurring across the oceans. She was blessed to discover that her family was uninjured, but of course others did not fair so well. There has been a great response to this disaster in the form of several relief efforts organized by national and international organizations. These folks are doing a great job providing assistance for the everyday needs of food, water, shelter and medical attention. But what about some of the near future needs? Ralph and Joy, …

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menagerie: tis the season

Tis the season for bringing nature indoors, trying new recipes, playing with glitter, getting snugglely by a fire and creating new memories. Here are some things I’m loving on Pinterest this week: Eggnog Recipe | Gold Sequin Leggings | Twig Pencils | Glitter Pot with Succulent Hostess Gift DIY | Funky Wreath | Rose Gold Sequin Skirt | Heaven & Nature Sing | Son of Man Scripture | Baked Mini Cinnamon Donuts | Glitter Cupcakes Start this week off right! Do you have any last minute shopping? Consider something Caribbean and beachy from my shop! This is the last week to place an order before the shop goes on a long, extended vacation. Until tomorrow,

travel: how to fund your wildest dream trip

I had a great chat with one of my bestest and oldest friends last week. Not only did I find out that I get to see her over Christmas holidays back in Texas, but she also introduced me to something that could potentially change my world, let alone change the way I travel.   She works in the film industry, with a degree in media and talent and expertise in documentaries. She was telling me about this crowd-sourcing site for getting your trips funded by sponsors ( like Kickstarter, but for travel), explaining how she’d love to get a trip funded to produce a documentary somewhere she wouldn’t usually get to explore. I was really skeptical at first, after all – if I can’t afford to take a trip, why would anyone else really want to throw money at me to help me go either? But she wasn’t joking! is a crowd funded site that sponsors your wildest dream trips, amongst others. They are looking for adventurous folks with their minds set on experiencing something …

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be beautiful: your beautiful purpose devotional part one

Amongst all the busy, crazy, stressful times of the past couple weeks, I did manage to sit down and devote some quiet time to my own thoughts, prayers and soul searching. I hope that you recall this post where I introduced you to a new series that Meghan and I will be working through for the next two months? Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson is a devotional that we hoped you might would join us as we unravel some of the mystery behind what each of our purposes truly is here on earth. I’ve always had an idea of what mine is, but was just never quite so sure about it…. this book has already helped me address some fears, concerns and insecurities. Let me tell how… I don’t want to approach this sharing by walking you through each chapter and discussing the main points. Instead, I’d like to just share some of what I discovered about myself. I read the first two chapters in Section 1, which focused on bringing to your realization …

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giving something back: charity finder

{source} I receive a lot of solicitations in the mail from various charities – some of them are well known, and others not so much. I love to support causes close to my heart, but I’ve always struggled with believing that my donations actually make it to root of the cause, rather than getting caught up in administrative costs, like paying CEOs (of non profits?) and printing all those cards and letters that they send me monthly. Does this bother you too? So instead of just tossing their letters and free return address labels into the trash without giving them a second thought, I’ve started looking up their organizations on Charity Navigator. A charity itself, this website allows you to look up charities and view how they spend the donations they receive. It’s transparency, and a great way to decide who you want to support. For example, I just received a card in the mail from Water for People, who I have heard of before but have never donated to. So I went online and …