Thursday, December 30, 2010

A toast

Welp, 2010 is almost over. It's been a good year. I got a promotion, a raise, and a new job within the same month, I got married, got a new set of parents and a sister, got a house and a yard to plant flowers in, went to Hawaii, scuba dived with turtles and had my first Christmas with my Hubs.

It really was a great year. But with the passing of yet another birthday (am I seriously 27!?) and Christmas, which seems to fly by faster and faster every year, a lot of questions and thoughts come to mind. One of the thoughts that is constantly in my prayers and thoughts is "what is my purpose in life?" Big question, I know. And of course, only God knows the answer and will reveal it in his timing, BUT...I'm really hoping and praying that answer comes soon.

I'm not getting any younger (last night, I purchased my first anti-wrinkle product!) and I'm just really beginning to wonder what is it that I'm living for? What is waking me up and motivating me to live every day? When will be my last day on earth? How many New Years is it going to take for me to finally achieve my resolutions!? Morbid thoughts, I know, but they have been weighing heavy on me lately.

One thing I do know is that I don't want to just let life pass me by. I hate how the big, important moments in life always seem to just fly by and become memories that I can post photos of on facebook...But, I also know I can't live for those days either because the majority of life is made up of the mundane. I want to live my life with purpose...all of it, the big important events and the mundane. But how?

Not sure when this happened, but I've become addicted to online shopping always looking for the next big thing to purchase. I think its the affect of nesting. I just want to add more fluff to my "nest," but if I'm honest all the new fluff really doesn't make my life any better.

Instead of investing in the superficial, I want to invest in my husband, friends and family, and myself, and by myself, I mean working to become a more involved citizen, and a stronger woman both spiritually, physically and mentally. I want to read a book and actually make it all the way through even if I only gain one nugget from it. I want to be more adventurous and go on a trip with the Hubs and my friends on a whim. I want to not be afraid to make the first move with a new friendship and actually follow up there after. I want to focus on strengthening and nourishing my body with physical activity and fresh food, rather than sitting on the couch in a food coma. And, I want to know God better. I want to really know him, and live my life for him instead of how I think the world wants me to live.

I want to keep my word. Last night, the Hubs and I were discussing about how one day, we want to go to Spain and drink sangria in a creepy hole in the wall bar hidden in an alley, travel to Prague to pick up some awesome mulled wine spices, and sky dive in Australia and swim the Great Barrier Reef. I stopped the Hubs immediately, and said "Let's not just say 'someday we will do this and that' because who knows when our someday is up. Let's instead say 'we will do this and that' and make plans to actually do it.

No more wishing and hoping through life. I've only got one chance at this, and I don't want to waste it.

So here's to 2011!

Wishing you more happiness
Than all my words can tell,
Not just alone for New Years Eve
But for all the year as well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheap AND Easy

The Hubs and I missed the boat on sending out Christmas cards, but to be honest, they are expensive. And as newlyweds with one of us in med school, we just don't have the funds to purchase lovely Christmas cards or the stamps to mail them :) 

I designed the card below on, and I'm thinking I'm just going to print these out at home or  Walgreens, glue them to some paper and wallah. A Christmas card. Perfect for handing out to friends and loved ones :)


Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.

Christmas is alive and well in the Hubs and J household! Christmas movies are on pretty much non-stop, the house smells of evergreen, lights flicker from our 10 christmas trees (yes, 10 christmas trees...I'm a bit obsessed) and hot cocoa is available 24/7. My mother-in-law surprised the Hubs and I with a fabulous wreath for our door and a lovely flower arrangement for our house. It's all fabulous! Only 2 more weeks to enjoy it all too! I must take it all in!!!

Here are a few of my recent projects :)

My new Snowman cookie jar from mi madre.

First attempt at needle felting a snowman. I ran out of room for a carrot nose...I think the carrot nose might make him look cuter. I'm gonna have to fix that.

The mantle with homemade circle-punch garland and homemade, glittered "JOY" garland. I'm pretty proud of the outcome, if I do say so myself :)

A closer look at the mantle {sigh}

My $6, homemade wreath all from Target. Very if only it would stick to the window!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just a thought

photo courtesy of The Pleated Poppy
I was discussing Thanksgiving with my father-in-law the other day, and he was feeling a bit bummed by the post-Thanksgiving Day blues. He loved having the family home, watching movies together and enjoying everyone's company. It got me to thinking about Christmas. I always can't wait for Christmas day, but it's not really Christmas day that holds the real magic for me. It's the days leading up to Christmas.

With only 3 weekends before Christmas, I've decided that I'm going to live my holiday season deliberately. After planning a wedding for a year, and feeling like the actual wedding day went waaay to fast, I'm not going to let stress and the busyness of life take away from my enjoyment of life. No falling asleep on the couch or getting stressed out by my to do lists this year. I'm going to soak up every moment with all my loved ones. Because life isn't really made up of big moments, but the every day, little moments. So here's to December's little moments! May they all be merry and bright :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's my Berfday!

Today is my birthday. I am 27 years young. My mother tells me it was snowing when I was born at 12:05 in the morning. Glad its not snowing 27 years later. I only love snow when I'm skiing on it.

My cup is definitely overflowing today. I am feeling way too blessed and a bit moved to tears by the love that has been shown to me by friends and family.

My Wicked cake :)

Last night, my loving hubs made me a two-layer cake made of carrot cake and spice cake with cream cheese frosting. He even made fondant. It took him 4 hours to make...4 hours he could have spent studying, but instead, decided to bake me a cake. It was a green cake. I asked him why it was green (and was going to have a black bow, but molding fondant is difficult), and he told me I had to guess why and that it had to do with my present. Green and Black...Hmm....Money? No. Make-up? No. Shoes? No. We went on like this for about 5 minutes. He said its something I've been wanting to do and see. A movie? No, but close. There is a musical playing in town, "Spamalot," so I guessed a musical. He stared back at me with a grin stretching across his face. Then, a glimmer of hope popped into my head and I spoke the word outloud..."Wicked"? He smiled even bigger. He is taking me to Chicago for the weekend to see "Wicked"!

Once it sunk in that he wasn't joking, I think I immediately apologized for being rude or mean lately, and thought, "I don't deserve this." I had a dream last night that I told him that, and then this morning, I told him about the dream and about how I really don't deserve this. And he responded, "Yes you do. You are a wonderful wife and my best friend. You do wonderful things for me everyday and I am happy to be able to give back to you by a weekend trip to Chicago to see your favorite musical."..."Man, I really don't deserve this," I thought. He even wants to buy me a dress for the show. Is your heart melting yet? I'm almost in tears just replaying it all in my head. Feeling very "Pretty Woman" except for the whole prostitution thing.

But, it's done. My mom and the Hubs have been planning this since October, and my mom is helping out with the costs because she is wonderful like that. We are taking the train to Chicago on Saturday morning, spending time before the show shopping and exploring Chicago, and then heading to the greatest musical on Earth. But, what I'm most excited for is that I get to spend a whole weekend with my man. And that's the best gift I could ask for.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cupcakes, chicken and Christmas

What do you get when you mix cupcakes, chicken and Christmas (besides a lot of alliteration...haven't used that word in awhile...)?? A random blog post! YAY :)

Ok, so cupcakes. These aren't really cupcakes, although I did use my cupcake pan. I decided to be an adult this Thanksgiving and participate in the food preparation. One of the three desserts I made were miniature pumpkin pies. And dang, were they good. Like "I-gained-10-pounds-in-one-day" good. Mmm!

My first few tries were rough, but eventually I got the hang of molding the dough in the cupcake pan to keep the pie looking somewhat like a pumpkin.

On to the chicken! Last night, I attempted a new recipe: Asian Glazed Drumsticks. I was a little intimidated by the raw drumsticks, and the process of removing the fat, but they sounded delicious and my tummy wouldn't let me back down. The Hubs and I are (for the most part) very healthy eaters. I only make recipes where I know the nutritional info. One of my favorite recipe sites is Gina's Skinny Recipes because she provides the nutritional facts and she provides great step by step (day by day...sorry, I had to :) ) instructions. After removing the fat, the process was really easy and inexpensive. I bought 10 drumsticks for $5.89, and I had the majority of the ingredients at home. The smells in the kitchen are really indescribable, and the Hubs was speechless at dinner. He was too busy chowin down and lickin his fingers.

And last but not least, Christmas. Our walls in the living room are a beautiful avocado green. So as not to overload on green holiday decor, I've been toying with some other ideas. I'm really diggin' pink, orange, silver and blue. Sound familiar? Here are some of my inspirations and our entry way. Needs some spicing up, I know, but girl just got paid. I'm planning on hitting up Hobby Lobby and Michaels this weekend :)

Our "unity candle" table with a silver Christmas tree, mercury glass votives and vintage snowmen.

The green background is pretty close to our wall color...isn't it fab!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Everywhere you go!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Hub's and J's house. And boy, oh boy, does the Hubs just love it. He nestles in front of the big screen with a cup of hot cocoa spiked with peppermint schnapps and settles in for a long winter's game of Call of Duty: Black Ops. The tree adds a nice glow to whole scene, and casts a bit of a halo around his head. How angelic :)

Anyways, here is some of our holiday decor. Still a work in progress, mind you! But, please notice my new picture I bought especially for the Hubs :) I love you Hubsman!

Our First Christmas Tree

I think the mantle needs more glitz. I'm looking into garlands :)

Bah Humbug!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

"Hey kids! Everybody pose around the raw turkey"
Oh family traditions. I'm happy to say my family hasn't made me pose with a raw turkey...yet. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The Hubs (aka Scrooge) tells me that it's just another day of people getting together to eat food. But, it's always been so much more than that for me. Waking up early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the smells of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pumpkin in the air, and families gathering together, laughing and embracing. There just was always something magical to the day for me. 

My family always celebrates the holiday on my mom's side. Her mother passed away around the holiday many years ago, and ever since her death, all the children (there use to be 8, but now 7 - God Bless Uncle Tommy) gather together to celebrate the holiday. I've got a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins, and we'd all pack into a house, and chow down on noodles, cheese dip, cranberry jello and pie. 

Mmm...noodles. It's really the only thing I eat on Thanksgiving. My uncle makes the best chicken and noodles EVER, which he starts cooking days before the holiday. And, I only get them once a year...but not this year. This year, I'm celebrating the holidays with my new in-laws, and I'm excited to experience some new traditions! 

I'm also contributing to the holiday spread this year! Tonight I will be a baking machine! Just call me Betty.  Here is what I'm making for my first holiday with the in-laws:

Good gawl! Then tomorrow, I'm waking up early, going for a run, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Hubs, and then it's over the river and through the woods to the In-Laws house we go!

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! So much to be thankful for this year :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crazy weather

November is acting really strange this year. One day its 70 degrees, and the next day, its cold and raining. I'm so confused. On Sunday, I wore shorts to the grocery store (when I wasn't laying around), and today, I'm wearing a sweater and scarf. I'm so confused. Last night was cold, dreary and dark. I fell asleep at 7 p.m. My body just doesn't know what to do with itself. Did I mention I'm so confused because seriously...I'm really confused.

On a different note, I've been trying to make my Christmas list, and I'm not really sure what I want. FYI - In addition to being confused, I'm also indecisive. Ask my mother and mother-in-law. They'll agree. Wedding planning put them through the ringer, for sure.

But, I think I've got my list completed. Of course, these items are just a wish list, but if one feels so inclined to purchase any of these for me, it would be greatly appreciated. {Cough, Cough} Hubs.

2. Boots
3. Febreze Luminaries 
5. Purse
6. PJ's
12. True Religion Perfume

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Perfect Weekend

Of all the days that's in the week
I dearly love but one day
And that's the day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday.
~Henry Carey

There is nothing I love more than a lazy weekend, much to the dismay of the Hubsman. How did I spend my weekend? Hmm...laying in bed, watching movies, occasionally getting out of bed to eat or go the bathroom. 

I did go running twice, but I mostly spent the days mentally preparing myself for the holidays by drinking hot chocolate and watching the Holiday and other Christmas movies.

Saturday night I went over to a friend's house for a Girls' Night. We each made a dessert with pumpkin, drank wine and watched Sex and the City 2. Nothing like cream cheese, pumpkin, wine and Carry Bradshaw to heal the mind after a long work week.

The Hubs begged me to be productive, God bless is Type-A, OCD heart. But this little girl had no responsibilities and no obligations. Just the need to lay in bed and think about how blessed she is to have a free weekend with nothing to do but relax.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm a scent

Just googled "Calamity J" (yes, I'm vain like that), and found this perfume...

Love the logo :) So leather and lace, huh? 
Watch out Hubs!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Color love

Slight obsession with pink, turquoise and orange. I just can't get enough.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Subway Art Freebie

I had to share this find! I don't normally start spreading Christmas cheer until after Thanksgiving, but I love subway art and I love Christmas. So naturally, I was ecstatic when I found this little gem. Just click on image, download, print, frame and wallah! Art!

Enjoy and Your Welcome.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Visions of blue glass, chalkboard paint and glitter dancing in my head

As a newlywed married to an opinionated Hubs, I am trying to find a balance between my love for all things vintage and his love for the ocean and rustic "cowboy" style without coming across country. We strive to keep things balanced (I am sure all you oldy but goody wives out there are laughing at me because is there such a thing as balance in a marriage?!), but we like a challenge so we strive out of spite. Anywho, I really am trying to make our house OUR home and not MY home.

So I have a spare bedroom/craft room where I display all my favorite things so as to avoid taking over the house. Here are some things I am LOVING right now :)

All this color and glitter just warms my little heart!

1. LE Smith Moon & Stars Turquoise Glass
2. Chalkboard Menu in a vintage frame
3. Vintage ornaments
4. White Christmas Tree
5. German Glass Glitter
6. Vintage frames painted in a fabulous color

Monday, November 15, 2010

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Me & My Hubs (Photo by LemonLime Photography)
Heaven... I'm in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.
And I seem to find the happiness I seek...
~ "Cheek to Cheek" by Irving Berlin

What an awesome weekend of absolutely nothing! I slept in late, went Christmas shopping, made a ridiculously awesome tasting dessert for the Hubs, a reunion with the Hubs after being gone in California for 2 weeks, painted furniture, worked in the yard, made chili, watched The Nanny (I've become obsessed after loathing the show during my sickness) and chilled out with my Hubs. I had no priorities, no obligations, no appointments. Just me and the Hubs, and it was fabulous. And now, here is something else that's fabulous - Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Ooey-Gooey Caramel Sauce. Talk about a spoonful of heaven. YUMMO!
Make this recipe...Your tummy will thank you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Hubs is coming back and your gonna be in trouble!

Isn't he just the cutest Hubs you ever did see?
Hey nah! Hey nah! The Hubs is coming back home finally! He has been off in California doing a pediatrics rotation, eating $10 sushi, riding his bike to work and enjoying the sunny weather while I've been cooped up at home coughing my head off and watching reruns of The Nanny. FYI - he gave me this cold thanks to being on peds rotation. Grr!

Anywho, I'm going to make him Pork Carnitas and this delicious pumpkin bread pudding drenched in ooey-gooey caramel sauce. Am I awesome or am I awesome? FYI - I'm awesome.

Wipe off drool from chin...YUMMO!

pumpkin bread pudding & ooey-gooey caramel sauce
(recipe adapted from

Bread pudding ingredients:
2 cups half & half
1, 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 cups 1/2 inch cubed stale french bread
1/2 cup golden raisins (i omitted these)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Ooey-gooey caramel sauce ingredients:
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
* i’d suggest doubling, even tripling the caramel sauce… i prefer to smothered bread pudding. & don’t worry, if there’s any leftover, you can stand over the sink & lick the spoon, i won’t tell anyone – it’ll be our little secret.

Bread pudding preparation:
preheat oven to 350 degrees. whisk half & half, pumpkin dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon & vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. gently fold in bread cubes (you don’t want to stir them so much they turn to mush). stir in raisins & chopped pecans (if you choose to use them). transfer mixture to 11×7 glass baking dish, although i prefer to use a large oven-safe bowl. let mixture stand 15 minutes. then bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare ooey-gooey  caramel sauce:
whisk brown sugar & butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. whisk in cream & sugar until sugar dissolves & sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

To serve:
i prefer to serve the pumpkin bread pudding warm, sift powdered sugar over bread pudding, & drench with warm  ooey-gooey caramel sauce.

I'm Baaack!

Girlfriend is alive and kickin'! Hey yo! After 2 weeks of fighting off bronchitis, I'm beginning to feel like my old self again. I've never had bronchitis in my life, so at first, I just thought I was being a big whimp. But after 10 days of being sick, I thought it was time to go to the old doctor. Sure, enough, I was sick. So I loaded up on some good drugs, and I'm feeling better. Not 100%, but maybe 60%.

In the meantime, I've been crafting up some projects, which I'll soon have completed to show, but I've also been browsing some blogs and websites. I am in LOVE with houndstooth right now! Black and white, brown and cream...whatevs! I love it! Anybody a Project Runway fan? Mondo Guerra, the should-have-won-but-instead-was-the-runner-up on the show, ingeniously mixed together houndstooth with stripes, bold colors, etc., and I immediately fell in love with the pattern. Here are some fun uses of the pattern.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posts. Still sick, my friends. The parentals can concur. I had a coughing fit in the middle of a store this weekend. Make-up streaming down my face, snot everywhere, eyes bloodshot. I was pretty. Mi madre walked away and acted like she didn't know me. It's that bad. But saw the Doc yesterday and she gave me a diagnosis, bronchitis...bleh, and some good drugs. Hoping to be on the mend soon. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Be still

Just as Jesus calmed the storm on the waters, so he calms the storms in me. Sometimes He speaks loudly to me to make sure I hear Him. Other times, He speaks in whispers to see if I am listening.

Silence is a powerful thing. Last night, I sat in bed feeling overcome with emotions. I've been sick with a cold the past few days, and whenever I'm sick I feel down and lonely. Irrational, I know, but last night was no exception. As I laid in bed trying to write in my journal, I decided instead to turn to my Bible. I've been reading the book of Mark. The intro to Mark in my Bible describes this chapter as a disclosure of Jesus' love, compassion and service to His people. Sometimes, I have a hard time grasping the breadth of God's love for me. He's so far away it seems ruling over the world and taking care of business. How can He love me? What have I done to be deserving of love and mercy?

I am learning through God's word that THAT is the greatness of God's love. I've done nothing to deserve His love. Even as a sinner, Jesus gave His life for me. That is the beauty of grace.

For a long time, I have striven to be a strong, confident woman, but God revealed to me last night that I am like the seed planted among thorns. I hear the word, but the worries of this life - the need for acceptance - come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. As I read Mark 4, I became ashamed and angry at myself. Who wants to be the seed among thorns? Why can't I be stronger? Why can't I be more confident in myself?

Then I was silenced. And I heard God whisper, "Be quiet, Julie. Be still." Let me tell you, when God tells you to shut up, ya shut up! I continued to read my Bible. Even now, the love that God showed me last night brings me to tears because of all the things God could be taking care of in this world at 12 a.m., He chose to speak to me.

In Mark 5:21-34, a woman suffering from 12 years of bleeding believed that if she could just touch Jesus' cloak, she would be healed. As Jesus passed by through the crowd, the woman lightly touched his cloak and "she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." The Bible literally uses the word "freed," not healed or rid of, but freed. No longer prisoner to her sufferings. Whoa..."Realizing the power had gone from Him," Jesus turned and asked "Who touched me?" Now the crowd was thick, but Jesus kept looking to see who touched him. The woman came forward trembling and told Jesus the truth. I love this part...Jesus said "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Can't you just feel the compassion he felt for this woman. No? I guess its on of those "you had to be there" kind of things or maybe, you'll just have to read it for yourself and see.

Meanwhile, a child was dying nearby. The friends of the family told them, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother with the teacher." But Jesus ignored them and said, "Don't be afraid; Just believe." Interesting. He could have said, "Don't listen to them, I'm Jesus Christ, yo. Haven't you seen the miracles I've performed?" But no, He told them to not be afraid and to "just believe." I heard God say to me, "Don't be afraid, Julie. Just believe."

Reading on in Mark 6:47-50, Jesus had gone up to a mountain to pray while His disciples waited for him on a boat. As night fell, the boat was in the middle of the lake and Jesus was alone on land. Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. The disciples were frightened, but Jesus said "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." God whispered, "Take courage, Julie. It is I."

As I sat in silence trying to understand what God was saying to me, I heard "My dear Julie, you are looking for strength and confidence in all the wrong places. Don't you know that you are weak, but I am strong. Find strength and confidence in Me. Believe in Me." Then peace came over me. Nonetheless, an old song came to mind. "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me..." I sang that song over and over to myself. "I am weak, but He is strong."

Find strength and confidence in God. Why didn't I think of that? Maybe because God needed to tell me and show me His love. He knows what I really need after all, and its not acceptance from others. Not only did he create me and save me from my sin, but my life/my story is also in His hands. He is in control, and He works through all things for my best interest. He knows that what I really need is more God. So, I will continue to be quiet, take courage and just believe.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Man, I love this woman

Laura Bell Bundy is, in two words, Frickin' Awesome! She was in the musicals Hairspray, Wicked and Legally Blonde, AND now, she's gotta country music album. She is living my dream, dang her! But I still adore, thee. Plus, she's corny, she knows she's corny, and she's layin' it on thick. Gotta love it, and if not, well Bahumbug to you too :)

For the love of crafts

After 5 days of hot glue guns, glitter and paint, I have 5 blisters on my fingers. That's a blister a day folks. And it's all because I had an itch to craft. I can proudly say it was worth it. Now, I just hope the hubs likes it. I'm gonna go with a no, but I can cheerfully expect a pat and kiss on the head, and a smile that lets me know, "Yes, you are crazy." Oh well, enjoy the fruits of my labor :)

I love glitter in large doses.
Nothin' a little paint, scrap paper and modge podge can't fix!
Kitchen art
Our Thankful Garland
Each day, we write on a leaf what we are thankful for. The hubs will be partaking in this activity...oh yes, and he will enjoy it :) Love you Hubs!

And just a cute photo of the Hubs and I on our honeymoon...Oh how I miss my Hawaiian tan!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Prints

Here are some fun Halloween and Thanksgiving prints! Just download, print, frame and tada! Art :)