Monthly Archives: February 2011

House Hunting, Part 2

Wow! What a crazy, busy weekend!

Even though John and I both had the day off on Monday, this past weekend didn’t really feel like much of a weekend.

Saturday morning was our Financial Peace University class (more on this another time…though I will say I HIGHLY recommend forking over the $99 class fee to take this class!) and then we headed out to Corona to look at some homes we had seen online that we wanted to get a closer look at. Since our realtor wasn’t available to go with us because of an open house, we went out to narrow down our choices to ones we really liked. What a day! We were able to narrow it down to 5 we wanted to see more of (we couldn’t get into most of the homes) and went to view those on Sunday.

Sunday was a bit of a disappointment. Houses were either too much work inside, not quite what we were hoping would be inside, or just too far of a drive that we didn’t want to commit to it. So, we headed out again on Monday, this time in Pomona and Ontario to do the same thing we did on Saturday. Look at a bunch of houses, check out the neighborhoods, peer through some windows (most of the homes we looked at were empty…either foreclosures or flipped homes), and narrow down our list.

Well, we find a home we absolutely adore! It’s a 3-bedroom, 2-(full) bath home with a detached 2-car garage. It’s got a good size backyard (though needs a fence across the driveway) and it’s been flipped so everything inside looks pretty new and nice (from through the windows at least). We’re hoping to go take a look at it in the next couple of days…from the inside and if it’s as good as it looks from the outside, we want to put an offer in on it! Eeeeee! How exciting would that be!

I will be sure to update as we go through this process and post photos as soon as we have closed on a house (don’t want to do anything prematurely!). Stay tuned! Lots of excitement coming for the Julius family!

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Shadows, Color and a Super Cute Baby

It’s been a very long time since I’ve participated in photo challenges. In fact, I don’t think I’ve done any in 2011 (or very few anyway).

I already had these photos taken a day or two before the themes were announced, so I figured, I may as well join up this week and share some of my more “artistic” photography!

This one is for Perceptive Perspective’s theme of “Window Light.” I’m not sure if this is what she meant by it, but I have actually been meaning to take this photo for a while and finally did last week! My sister’s cats love to sit in the front window, between the curtain and window, in the mornings, creating some really awesome light/shadow shots!

Photobucket

Next is a photo, I’ll be honest, that I’m not entirely thrilled with. I’m not sure if I screwed up the editing on it or what, but some of the colors look like they’re glowing (anyone want to help me figure out why, I’d really love to learn!). It’s for Faith’s Simplicity theme of “Colorful” (at least it fits well, right?).

This last one is my favorite one, by far! It’s one of the cute babies from our Bible study (there’s 5 of them now…hopefully more on the way soon!). I used one of the black and white actions from Mandy over at a sorta fairytale and I think this is my new favorite action to get awesome black and white images. I love high contrast images, and this particular action does it so well! I think I also used PW’s eye pop action (I’m to lazy to look up what it’s actually called). I’m linking up with Live Every Moment’s black and white theme.

I must say, it actually feels great to be doing this again! I have learned so much on the editing end that I feel like my images have improved a lot over the past few months! I’m excited to use these challenges to continue learning more!

#43: John & Food

You’ve probably heard that saying, “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It couldn’t be truer than with my husband! He loves my cooking (and I love cooking, so that works out nice), especially if I surprise him with unexpected food as I have on two occasions over the past four months.

Back in October we had to get up early on Sunday morning to work the Trunk-or-Treat book at church (we usually go to church on Saturday night, so Sunday is a sleeping in day). My sweet husband let me sleep in a little longer and he got up to go to church so there would be someone at the booth before the service started. As a nice thank you, I made him an egg sandwich and brought it to church for him so he wasn’t hungry. I even packed it in a brown paper bag!

That picture is making me SO hungry! Those egg sandwiches are so good!

For a long time, John has been mentioning how much he’s been craving Chinese food for lunch. Unfortunately, there aren’t any good places to eat near this work and with only 30 minutes for lunch, there’s not really time to go anywhere anyway! So, one Friday I decided to take an extra long lunch and get Chinese take out from our favorite Chinese restaurant (they have the BEST honey shrimp…I eat them like candy!) and then drove out to his work and called him to come meet me out front. He was a bit confused at first but once he saw me and what I had for him, he was very excited!

I only wish I could eat lunch with him more often!

#17: Carve a pumpkin

Yes, Valentine’s Day was two days ago. Halloween was almost four months ago. This post is for all of you who love fall so much! 🙂

I wanted to get my pumpkin from a pumpkin patch. You know, the kind that lets you cut the pumpkin from the vine? Well, if you want to do that, I suggest going before the day before Halloween. And if you plan to take advantage of all the “extras” at the pumpkin patch, such as the corn maze or tractor/hay rides, make sure you don’t go the day after it’s been raining for a week. Lots of mud = closed attractions. Lesson learned! (At least it was just the hubby and I…so there were no disappointed kids in tow)

After visiting what we thought would be a fun pumpkin patch in southern Orange County, we ended up stopping at a farmers market to get a pumpkin. The one plus side to waiting until the day before Halloween to get a pumpkin is that they’re really cheap! The down side, is that the pickings are pretty slim.

I did manage to find a pumpkin I liked (I wanted a big round/oval one), though was a bit disappointed when I cut into it and the skin (is that what it’s called?) was almost 2-inches thick! I couldn’t figure out why, even though I had cut all the way around the top, my “lid” wouldn’t come off. Yeah, had to go another inch deeper!

Emptying the guts was pretty fun to do. We had planned to roast the seeds, but after washing them off, we put them on paper towels to dry and well…the stuck to the paper towels (again, I’m glad we’re learning all this stuff pre-kids!).

After my pumpkin was completely gut-less (difficult to tell because of the aforementioned thick skin (you can see how thick in the last photo), I then free-handed a face from the cutting kit we had purchased. It did come with stencils, but the one on the cover that I really liked, wasn’t included! Good thing I have a decent skill at drawing when I have something to look at.

Once satisfied with my drawing, it was time to carve! This was pretty uneventful and the skin wasn’t quite as thick on the sides as it was on the top, so I didn’t have quite the same problems I did cutting into the pumpkin.

And here’s the final product…on display for its entire two-night appearance!

Isn’t he cute?

#44: Family Portraits 2010

I can’t remember exactly where I heard this idea, but I love it anyway!

A great way to make sure you have up-to-date family portraits is to plan a photo shoot every year around the time of your anniversary. You can see how you and your family have changed and grown from one year to the next and if you do it in the fall, like we plan to (thanks to our October 4 wedding date), we can use the photos for our annual Christmas cards!

For 2010, however, I wanted to do a “Rock the Dress” or “Happily Ever After” photo shoot. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s similar to a “Trash the Dress” session where you wear your wedding dress and do things to “trash” it (I’ve seen things from paint to water to mud and dirt), except you don’t actually do anything to trash the dress. You just get to have the joys of wearing your wedding dress again and reliving the joy of your wedding day, while getting some more unique photos in your wedding attire, or making sure to get some photos you may have missed in the busy-ness of your wedding day. I didn’t want to kiss John before the wedding ceremony, but we were doing most of our photos before, so I gave our photography one chance to get a kissing photo…she got the shot, but when I was looking through the photos of our wedding day, I was bummed we didn’t have more photos of us kissing from that day (yes, I am stubborn!).

For our shoot, I contacted a friend from high school who is working to build her portfolio and not only did she do our photo shoot, but she also did my hair (which I TOTALLY loved!). Thanks Janette of Daneshmand Photography!

WARNING: Lots of photos ahead! I had a hard time narrowing it down! I loved so many of them and wanted to share!












Q & A Tuesday 2.15.10

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day with your loved ones. The hubby and I had a great evening together. Yummy food and dessert (though I think I’ve decided HE’S cooking next year! :-D)!

I know it’s only February, but being a Southern California girl, I love summer, so I’m excited to answer these questions from Roots and Rings for Ten on Tuesday.

1. Any vacations you are looking forward to this summer?
Unfortunately, we don’t have any vacations planned for this summer. We’re in the process of house hunting, so maybe our “vacation” will be moving into our new house!

2. What is your favorite article of summer clothing (shoes are included)?
Flip flops, shorts and tank tops. I can’t pick between those. Love them all!

3. What is your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non)?
I love lemonade. I know you can get it year-round, but it’s so good!

4. Do you tan or burn?
If I put sunscreen on, I will usually tan.  Otherwise, I burn…and it sometimes turns tan overnight and sometimes it peels.

5. Any goals you are working toward this summer?
Hmmm…there’s nothing specific for this summer. Just working on my 101 list and we’ll hopefully be settling into our first house, so probably lots of home “renovations” – I use that term loosely…I’m talking minor stuff.

6. What is your favorite summertime food?
Berries and watermelon. I love blackberries and raspberries and strawberries and they’re so much cheaper and better tasting in the summer.

7. What song most says “summer” to you?
“Summertime” by Rascal Flatts or “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock. I’m sure there are others that remind me of summer, especially in high school when summer actually meant no school, but these are the two songs coming to my mind right now!

8. Any home improvement goals planned for this summer?
To have our own house!

9. What is one thing you hate to see at the beach?
Speedos. Especially on old guys. Yuck.

10. Did you ever go to a summer camp?
We used to go every summer. It was the highlight of the summer (and usually was the first full week after school was out, so it was the “signal” that summer had begun).

And here’s the questions (and my answers) for Hoo Are You? over at Night Owl Crafting…

1. What did you get/give for Valentine’s Day?
I gave my husband a candy bouquet with his favorite candy in a Philly Eagles cup. He loved it. I got a single red rose (so pretty!) and $20 toward my portrait lens.

2. Do you have a vacation planned in the next couple of months or in the summer?
Nope, no vacations planned. We might take a long weekend somewhere local, but we’re trying to save for and buy a house, so vacations are kind of out right now.

3. What is one thing you do to pamper yourself?
I don’t know that I really do anything to pamper myself. My husband does a give really good foot rubs, so I guess HE pampers me like that on a pretty regular basis.

4. What sparks your interest to other people’s blogs?
For the most part, what catches my interest is seeing other people’s ideas, whether is a recipe, craft, furniture, home decor, how they celebrate holidays/traditions, etc. I have a folder on my computer that I save all the neat ideas I see around blogland.

5. What kind of a mood are you in today?
I’m tired today (is that a mood?). I didn’t sleep well last night, so I guess I’m kinda tired and irritable. Hopefully I’ll feel more energized later tonight (I’m a night person, so I usually do).

NightOwlCrafting

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is my second Valentine’s Day as a wife and I must say, I seem to enjoy this holiday much more now that I’m married!

I mention John quite frequently here on my blog, but other than a few photos here and there, you probably don’t know a whole lot about him, so today, a day we celebrate love, I introduce you the man I love!

John is originally from the Philadelphia area and has lived in several different states over on the East Coast before he moved here to California when he was in eighth grade. Some of the things he says come from his time there, and his love for his home-town football team (the Eagles) is quite evident. He’s always so disappointed when he can’t watch them play because the game isn’t being aired here in Los Angeles – and it’s quite funny to watch him watch the games sometimes – he jumps up and down and screams and hollers at the TV. It’s actually quite amusing, and cute, too!

John is also a huge lover of chocolate.  Well, any kind of sweets, really, but chocolate is his favorite, by far! It makes buying or making him yummy desserts so easy because he will love pretty much anything!

My guy is into airplanes…he actually wanted to be a pilot growing up (dang eye-sight). He regularly plays flight simulator games on his computer.

He earned his MBA back in 2009, the spring before we got married, in Marketing and Finance. It’s cute when he tried to get me to understand our (rather involved) budget spreadsheets and cash flows and all that other money stuff.  I’m glad he gets it, because I’m pretty clueless beyond a basic budget!

He’s a total softy, too (in a good way). He loves animals, especially our 3 cats, even if they can be annoying at times! I know that he will make a great father someday (soon, hopefully!) because of how he interacts with our animals as well as other people’s babies and kids. That was one thing that I knew I had to have in my future husband…he had to be good with kids…and he is! (He is not usually a fan of sharing the bed with the cats…this is a rare moment!)

There are so many reasons I love John…he’s supportive of me and all the crazy things I like doing, he does things for me (sometimes without even asking!), he’s a spiritual leader in our home and wants to make sure our kids are raised in a good Christian home, he loves to cuddle…and so much more! I promise there really is a lot more…I made him a book of 104 reasons I love him as his wedding gift (104 because we got married on October 4), and I am so grateful that God has blessed me with such an incredible man to call my husband!

(Wedding photos by Shannon Leith Photography)

What I Learned While Running 4.5 Miles Today

I’m in the middle (well, closer to the beginning than middle) of training for a half-marathon on May 1. Before I started training, the most I had run at a time was only 3.5 miles, in preparation for the 5K I ran on Thanksgiving morning. Last Sunday I surpassed that for the first time by running 4 miles. I was a little worried before running, but once I started, I felt really good and I was able to run at a pretty decent pace too!

So, when it came time to run my 4.5 miles this morning, I wasn’t quite as intimidated by it, but it kicked my behind! I did learn a lot about running distances longer than my “usual” 3-mile runs in the mornings, though, so I guess it was pretty useful in that perspective. But man, I hope my 5-mile run goes much better next weekend…those 13.2 miles seem pretty much impossible after today!

So, what did I learn?

  • Get my lazy bum out of bed before 10:00 to run, especially when the temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-70’s
  • Gatorade doesn’t quench thirst the same way water does, especially when warm. It leaves this sugary-sticky after taste that made me want a swig of water. I think I’ll take water with me on my next run and save the Gatorade for when I get home…and I’ll freeze it so it’s still cool toward the end of my run.
  • Be intentional about starting out slow. If I think I’m going too slow, go even slower. Those last couple of miles were killer!
  • It’s amazing how much difference a good stretch makes.
  • Even though it seems like a long run is NEVER going to end, it feels so great to cross that “finish line” and be able to say “I ran 4.5 miles!”

Only 77 days ’til race day!

House Hunting, Part 1

Well, after a disappointing week not being able to purchase my cousin’s short sale home, we met with our agent today to begin the house hunting process.  We’re still looking in the same area as my cousin’s house, though, and we have some good potential leads.

We’re working out details of our loan right now to see if we can avoid mortgage insurance and get a conventional loan, which would help big time with our monthly payments, and then the house hunting officially begins!

We’re really excited and would love to be moved by the time our one-year current living situation with my sister is up (May 1).

So, what are we looking for?  Here’s MY house hunting list:

  • single family home
  • 3 bedroom
  • back yard big enough to entertain
  • attached garage
  • safe neighborhood
  • street parking for guests
  • move-in ready (no major renovations)
  • good-size kitchen (or potential) – this is the most important room in the house for me

So, that’s my “must have” list, my “would like to have” list is a little bit longer…

  • 2 bathrooms
  • 4 bedrooms
  • no HOA fees
  • newer home
  • open floor plan
  • lots of windows/light
  • no pool
  • hardwood floors
  • fireplace
  • central air
  • master suite
  • walk-in closest or large closet
  • double sink in bath
  • walk-in pantry
  • lots of counter space and cabinets in kitchen
  • island in kitchen
  • indoor laundry room

I will be sure to keep you updated as we begin looking at homes in the coming weeks and hopefully will have good news for you soon!

February “To Do”

I realize that February is already 1/3 over, but I wanted to start putting my monthly “to do” lists on here so I can see how much I accomplish each month – and accountability is always good. Many of the things on my list are for my 101 list, so I figure, why not?

  • Finish our wedding guest book scrapbook (this was actually a January item, but I didn’t quite finish it last month)
  • Post the rest of my 2010 365 project photos and catch up on 2011’s
  • Finish reading Anna Karenina (this is ambitious…why did I choose the longest book ever for my first novel!)
  • Put together my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary album (from 5.5 years ago!)
  • Catch up on my 101 blogs (I’ve got stuff from October…yes, October!)
  • Replant my herb garden (this is one of those things I haven’t blogged about from October…I actually had some herbs and then the massive rain storms came and flooded them…thus the need to replant and start over)
  • Donate blood (planning to do this on my day off on the 21st
  • Set up a Christmas fund and begin saving now
  • Register for and run the Brea 8K Classic on 2/27/11
  • Make my house wish list (yes, we’re beginning our house hunt now…it’s kind of a long story, but we feel that God’s giving us the go-ahead now)
  • Send all February birthday cards (so far, so good!)
  • Set up KatieJ website (more details coming on this one)

So, that’s it for this month!  Hopefully I will be more productive in February than I was in January!