Monday, December 27, 2010

Sweet vacation...

Today is Monday. And it's two days after Christmas. And I am sitting at home in sweat pants, drinking coffee, and NOT at work.

This year, I unintentionally saved nearly all of my paid vacation days for the end of the year. I left work at the end of the day on December 22, and I'm not going back to the office until January! Awesome! Since I have so much time off at once, there are a few things I would like to accomplish during my vacation:

-Get a new bed. Check! I have a new bed, and I love it!

-Learn how to use Lightroom for my photography workflow. See my photography website at

-Design a new header for my photography blog.

-Finish reading The Corrections and re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

-Plan for and organize my exciting blogging project for 2011! You'll hear more about that soon...

So far I am off to a decent start on accomplishing these vacation goals. Tomorrow, I head to Big Bear with my family for a few days in the snow, where I plan to spend a lot of time on my computer with the aforementioned Lightroom learning and blog designing.

Merry belated Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'tis the season...

and I have almost all of my Christmas shopping done! This is the first year I have successfully shopped ahead of time, and I'm super pleased with myself for these reasons:

1. by thinking about Christmas shopping earlier in the year, I was able to take advantage of some great deals on some great stuff.

2. by spreading out my shopping, I am not dropping an obscene amount of money all at once within a four- week time span in December.

3. by shopping online (and early) I have avoided the Holiday Mall Mayhem.

4. by planning ahead, I have nearly eliminated the stress that so often accompanies this time of year...and what's not to like about that?

Friday, November 12, 2010

the skinny debut

Today I wore my freshly-washed, still-smell-like-Cheer skinny jeans. With boots and a cute Michael Kors shirt, I was pretty pleased.

Verdict: Skinny jeans + boots = Thumbs up!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the skinny

This weekend I bought skinny jeans. I've been contemplating this purchase for quite some time...and on Sunday I caved. But I did only buy a $20 pair at Target. Because I am not convinced that they will still be "cool" in a year and a half...

Admittedly, the main reason I decided to finally buy the skinny jeans is because I love to wear my boots. And a girl with boots needs skinny jeans. It's a fact. They are made for each other.

Cheers to the skinny...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

what I love about the ocean that it's seen it all before. Death and new life. Destruction and rebuilding. Endings and beginnings. It was there for catastrophe (both natural and man-made), for triumphs, for every world war and epic moment in our history. So there's something soothing about the rhythmic ebb and flow of waves on the beach, of crashing water on cliffs and rocks. To me, it always seems like the sea is saying something. Something like "Been there, done that..." or "Yeah, it's rough sometimes, but you'll get through it...." or "See? I told you so. I told you you could do it..."

In its inconceivable depth and distance is wisdom. Assurance for the things we do not know, the things that stay hidden in dark places. The ocean has seen it all, and it's still here, meeting the sun each morning and kissing the moon each night.

That's what I love about the ocean.

Friday, October 22, 2010

this weekend...








Location: San Onofre State Beach

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

first day of autumn

I love autumn. It has always been my favorite season. Although, I really can't complain too much about any of the "seasons" here in San Diego. I enjoy them all! Fall is probably the only season I miss from living in the Midwest. Cool, crisp days and nights. Lots of changing leaves. The scent of woodsmoke and bonfires in the air. It's pretty fantastic.

Now that the first day of fall is upon us, here are some fall-ish things I'm planning on indulging in very soon:

- Cinnamon-frosted Pumpkin Cookies from Von's (okay, maybe I have already indulged in these...)

- Squash. Spaghetti, acorn, butternut...all good!

- Apple Cider

- Baking. Starting with these Caramel Apple Cupcakes from the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine.

- Holiday-scented candles

- Christmas shopping! I promised myself I was going to try really hard to shop throughout the year this year, instead of saving it all for December. To date, I have one Christmas gift. I know it's only September...but think about how fast the last nine months have gone...then think about how there are only 13 weeks until the Big Day. Yeah.

What are some of YOUR favorite things about the season?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

another post on dogs

Remember when I said I was going to get a dog? Yeah...still no dog... But one step closer! This weekend I'm going to go hang out with the dog I met at the Big Dogs Rock Adoption Event last month. It's the next step in the process, to spend some time together outside of an event. After that? MUST FIX BACKYARD FENCE! If only I were handy...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I want this

edited by Bill Shapiro

A whole book on "NO"! No being said to other people--not yourself. People like Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix. And Joe Schmoe who lives next door. Because--let's face it--we all know what it's like to be rejected!

Bill Shapiro has also edited another book called Other People's Love Letters, and, yes, I want this one too.

If only I were not currently on a DO NOT BUY ANYTHING personal mandate. Alas. Both are on my Amazon Wish List for later...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Meredith Andrews Ft. Paul Baloche - How Great Is The Love

Love this song by Meredith Andrews. I would highly recommend her stuff. Very meaningful lyrics, and she has a beautiful voice.

Monday, August 9, 2010

from a dog-lover

That's me. I love dogs. I do. They make great companions and are ALWAYS excited to see you, whether you've been gone five minutes or five days. What's not to love?

This weekend I went with my roommate to to the 4th Annual BIG DOGS ROCK Adoption Event at Fiesta Island. And I filled out an application to adopt a dog! A big step and a big responsibility...but I have been thinking about getting a dog since moving into the house.

In my family, pets are treated like members of the family.We give our pets gifts at Christmas and for their birthdays. Sometimes we even sing "Happy Birthday" to them. I am excited about the prospect of having my own furry friend and can't wait to hit up some of San Diego's great dog beaches!

More to come on the dog adoption process as things move along...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

temporary blog design

Okay, people. I just HAD to get rid of the black background. It was starting to drive me nuts! Consider this a placeholder blog design while I work out the nitty gritty details of getting it to actually look the way I want it to. I've decided perhaps it might be easier for me to take it one step at a time, instead of trying to do it all at once, which creates angst, apprehension, and...well...not much else.

So for starters, we've got a nice white background. And, yes, I do realize my header is no longer centered. I'll be working this weekend on a background, and we shall see what happens.

Stay tuned...

Friday, July 16, 2010

it is hot

and I like it! After a few weeks of very un-San Diego-like weather, it FINALLY feels like summer!

Also, I have not forgotten about my visual revamp of the blog...but I am finding it more difficult to work with Blogger's new "Design" portion to update things. Hopefully I'll get it worked out soon, because I'm ready for some change. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010


...this blog is in serious need of a visual makeover!

Watch for the new and improved to arrive in the next couple of weeks...

Monday, June 14, 2010

City of Brotherly Love

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Philadelphia for the first time on a business trip. While I was working most of the time, I did get a chance to sneak out and see some of the city, as well as chow down on a yummy Philly cheese steak sandwich (which I failed to get a photo of).

The view from our hotel room.

Across the street from the hotel.

Independence Hall

Reading Terminal Market

It was a hopping week in Philadelphia, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Phillies vs. Padres game, and the start of Philadelphia Beer Week. Definitely a city to visit again when I have more time to check it out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

palm trees

When the wind blows through the palm trees at the end of my cul-de-sac, it sounds like water, soft waves coming up on the shore. It's very peaceful.

I like it a lot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

sometimes things don't go the way they should

This afternoon was a bit of a failure. I purposely ate my lunch early today, while working, so that I could use my one-hour break to go have the oil in my car changed. This is a task I have been putting off for about two weeks now.

On my way to Jiffy Lube, I stopped at Starbucks. It was a beautiful afternoon, and I knew the Jiffy Lube has a couple tables outside. I thought I'd get myself an iced coffee and sit outside and read my book while they worked on the car.

This was a great plan. Until I got back in my car, took a sip of my iced vanilla latte, and somehow...somehow leaked a sizable amount onto my shirt and my pants. Khaki pants. Pretty much white pants. Right on the crotch. (I still don't know HOW the coffee spilled.) Usually I have Wet Ones wipes in my car, which would have been handy at that moment. Alas, the Wet Ones were sitting in a beach bag at home...I didn't have any tissues or anything that could be used to wipe, sop, or otherwise come to my aid.


You see, I wasn't going home after work today. I was going to my parents' place for dinner, and then to a youth performance of Beauty and the Beast at my dad's church. So I couldn't very well attend with a big coffee stain on my crotch. So...continue on to Jiffy Lube...or make a beeline for Target to salvage my outfit?

I thought I would try to run in quickly and just find a skirt that I could wear with my was black. You couldn't see the coffee...or I could take off the shirt and just go with the black tank top. The trick was going to be finding something that would also match my coral-pink cardigan, which I mercifully was not wearing during the coffee episode. Maybe it would take me ten minutes to grab a skirt and then I could still get to Jiffy Lube.

I quickly realized after entering Target that this was not going to be an easy task. There were no skirts conducive to my needs. Not one. On to the dresses...and yet another problem. My bra of choice today was lime green. Lime green. Which immediately ousted anything white. It also meant I should probably avoid spaghetti straps, since my vibrant bra straps would stand out so much.

I wandered around for probably forty minutes up and down the clothing aisles, smelling like coffee....which I guess isn't such an awful thing to emanate if it can't be the perfume one spritzed on in the morning. There were several cute dresses, but I needed to find one that would match my black flats and my pink sweater. Not as easy as it sounds.

I finally settled on a $15 plain black tank dress, which I figured I could use all summer as a swim cover-up as well, completely justifying my purchase.

Since I was in Target nearly the full hour of my break, when I returned to the car, a lot of the ice in my latte had melted, so it was a little watered down. Back at the office I changed into the new dress and rubbed at the coffees stains on my pants with a Tide to Go pen.

So. Not quite the productive and slightly relaxing afternoon I was hoping for. And my car still needs an oil change. Also, I was very suspicious of my coffee the rest of the afternoon...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's time for a post...

about a few of my favorite things.

The other day at Trader Joe's while perusing the cheese selection,  I espied a wedge of cheese with a green rind. Intriguing! It was a hunk of Dubliner's made with Irish Stout. Of course I want to try the green-rinded cheese made with Irish Stout! It's pretty delicious, by the way.

Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum
It smells awesome. I used John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum for a long time, and I liked it all right. But it's pretty thick. Not only does the Organix Coconut Milk smell delicious, it's lightweight. And it's cheaper. It makes me want to buy the coconut milk shampoo and conditioner too. I am resisting the urge only because every tip I've ever read about taking care of your curly hair insists that you use a shampoo and conditioner made for your hair. I have not found a favorite one of those yet...

The Goo Goo Dolls
Every once in a while I'll find a Goo Goo Dolls song that I just fall in love with. They are one of those bands with a solid record of making great music for years on end. I like the old stuff just as much as the new stuff. In fact, it is about time for a new record. There was a rumor of a new release in the late spring of 2010...which is NOW!

Orbit Sweet Mint Gum
It's not as powerful as spearmint, but just as refreshing. And it's just the right shade of green.

Words and Pictures
Check out my other blogs to see why!
Stephanie Grace Photography

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thank goodness for humor

If you have not seen Axe Cop yet, you MUST check it out. It is amazing. The comic is written by a now-six-year-old boy, and illustrated by his 29-year-old brother. It is all kinds of wonderful. And particularly hilarious. Oh, the creative genius of a six-year-old boy...

This made my week, and I am now a subscribed reader. Look, I am even providing the link for you a third time: You should probably click on it. If I were you, I would go straight to Episodes and start from Episode 1, to get the full story and concept and background of Axe Cop.

Happy reading and laughing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime."

~Martin Luther~

A Happy Good Friday and Easter to all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Carlsbad Flower Fields

This weekend I visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields with a friend. It was my first time. We didn't know we were going on Kids Day. And there LOTS of families there! It was a gorgeous San Diego Saturday full of warm sunshine. Spending it outside in the beautiful flower fields was the perfect way to enjoy the weather.

Beautiful flower fields (and, yes, that IS a port-a-potty in the corner...). Carlsbad is famous for these flowers: ranunculus. Isn't that a fun word? I am pretty fond of them. Here's a closer shot of these cute flowers.

Aren't they pretty? And they come in such great colors too!

Here's a view of the fields overlooking Carlsbad, the outlet mall (yay!), and the ocean. Not a bad view!

Definitely worth the $10 admission fee!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

songs for the soul

Bono said it:
It's such an extraordinary thing, music. It is how we speak to God finally--or how we don't. Even if we're ignoring God. It's the language of the spirit. If you believe that we contain within our skin and bones and spirit that might last longer than your time breathing in and out--if there is a spirit, music is the thing that wakes it up.
So have many others. Tolstoy said that music was the shorthand of emotion. Martin Luther called it a "fair and glorious gift of God." Aldous Huxley  said that after silence, music comes closest to expressing the inexpressible.

Most people I know would say that their souls are stirred by music, especially during wearisome seasons for spirit.

I've always loved music, and it has definitely been something to turn to in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Here's my personal playlist of songs for the soul. These are the songs I find myself turning to when in the throes of pain, sadness, or just general weariness in the state of calamity and destruction of the world in which we live.

I've provided links to the albums. If you could use a little soul soothing, check them out.

The Glorious Unseen 
Album: Tonight the Stars Speak            
  • Tonight the Stars Speak
  • Hear Our Prayers
  • Close to Your Heart
Building 429
  • No One Else Knows
  • You Carried Me
Bebo Norman
  • I Will Lift My Eyes
Hillsong United
Album: All of the Above
  • Lead Me to the Cross
  • Never Let Me Go

David Crowder Band
Album: Can You Hear Us?
  • You're Everything

Album: Hope Rising
  • Arms That Hold the Universe
Bethany Dillon
  • Be Near Me

Album: To Know That You're Alive
  • Guiding Me Home
  • Promise of a Lifetime
Album: It Is Well
  • What Faith Can Do
  • Everything I Need
  • I'm Still Yours
Jeremy Camp
  • There Will Be A Day
Meredith Andrews
  • You're Not Alone (both the band and acoustic versions are good)
  • Draw Me Nearer

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring has Sprung

It is spring in San Diego. I think spring may just be my favorite season here, and I know we don't get a lot in the way of seasons. But spring definitely exists. It is the one time of year when this near-desert locale is green. We have been getting a lot of rain this winter, at least by San Diego standards, and it is totally worth it. All the hills are lush, and random flowers pop up along the freeways. It is warm (usually), but not yet hot and dry like summer. Everything smells awesome. And I really like to smell things.

One of the greatest scents God created is orange blossoms. Seriously, if Estee Lauder could bottle that stuff I would wear nothing else. It is amazing. At my parents' house, the air is so heavily perfumed with it this time of year, it's intoxicating.

  It has rained every Saturday for the last four or five weeks now. I am a little upset that we've had sunny, beautiful days during the week while I'm sitting in my office, and rain and wind on my days off. there are blue skies, some big puffy clouds, and a spring breeze. And the forecast for the weekend is sunny!

So welcome, Spring, to San Diego. We're so glad to see you again.

Happy Spring.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I moved this weekend! In the rain, nonetheless. Big thanks to my dad and my brother for making multiple trips to and from my old apartment and my new house. Yes, house! I'm renting the master bedroom in an older San Diego home, full of 70s/80s flair and charm. We have backyard. And I have two closets. Lots of room for all my shoes!

While I hate packing with a passion, and find moving exhausting, I do have to say that it does wonders for the process of simplification--my goal for 2010.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

in honor of cupid

I've always liked this poem by e. e. cummings:

"i carry your heart with me"

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) 
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life, which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Monday, January 25, 2010


From Come Away My Beloved, Frances J. Roberts
In the morning, lift your heart in song. In the evening, let your requests be made known. And My peace will keep you, and My grace shall be your support.
Turn away from the diverging path; never fear to follow Me. For as the shepherd leads his sheep, you will know with certainty that I go before you. I will bring you to a place of broad pastures, of enlarged vision, of increased fruitfulness, and abounding blessings--and nothing shall prevent me.
 Lately, I've been asking God to bless me. And there was a part of me that felt guilty for it. I knew I was already beyond blessed. I didn't lose my job this year. I didn't suffer a traumatic death in my family. I didn't sit on the brink of starvation, or in the dark and cold at night. I've actually had it pretty good. Even before the international crisis of Haiti's earthquake struck, I knew that I was luckier than most, just by living where I live and being born into the family I was, and I know that I take it for granted. Really, there's no reason not to be happy or content.

But I also know that God wants to bless us. He does. Look at Matthew 7: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."

I read something interesting by Brother Lawrence recently, who wrote:
God has infinite treasures to give us. Yet, a little tangible devotion, which passes away in a moment satisfies us. How blind we are, since in this way we tie God's hands, and we stop the abundance of His grace! But when he finds a soul penetrated with living faith, He pours out His grace on it in abundance. God's grace is like a torrent. When it is stopped from taking an ordinary course, it looks for another outlet, and when it finds one, it spreads out with impetuosity and abundance. (emphasis mine)
It got me to thinking. Am I my own road block? Am I satisfied with too little? How much more does God want to give to us, but we never even think to ask?

I may not know what to ask for, but that's okay. Romans 8:26-27 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."

I'm still getting used to feeling okay about asking God to bless me, and part of that means remembering to acknowledge all the ways in which He already has, and to ask his blessing not only for myself, but in intercessory prayer for my family, friends, even the world.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

from the Word

He brought me out into a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me.
~Psalm 18:19~

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thoughts on 2010

Unfortunately, 2009 turned out to be rather disappointing, and I have an inkling that much of the world feels the same way. I was heartened, however, to receive the 2009 statement for my mutual fund this week and see that, indeed, things have been slowly getting better in the world of investment and stock. I am really hoping that this is a foreshadowing of better things to come in all other worlds as well!

Last January, I posted a letter to 2009 (which you can read here). In that letter I said that four things would happen: (1) I would get a new computer, (2) I would thus no longer have an excuse for not writing, (3) I would finish the novel that I started in 2006, and (4) I would save $30 a month to purchase a week of advocacy for the International Justice Mission.

Of these four things, I accomplished two, which I guess isn't half bad. I purchased a new MacBook. And I saved $30 a month for the International Justice Mission, which I gave towards investigative equipment, as a "week of advocacy" was not in the 2009 gift catalog. As for the other two items, I still found plenty of excuses for not writing, and I did NOT finish the novel. Not even close.

Dare I commit myself, in the face of failure, to write more and finish the novel in 2010? Yes. I do dare.

This year I started another blog all about writing, words, and books. Check it out: Happily, I have been very committed to making sure I post at least twice a week. Usually more. I have also been keeping up with my photography blog by posting at least twice a week. This means that I have already been writing more and have proven that I CAN be consistent and committed. Hooray!

O course, 2009 wasn't all bad. The highlight of the year? Without a doubt, the Mediterranean cruise my grandma took all us girls on in June. Seven lovely ladies, and we were blessed to see Barcelona, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Nice, and Marseille. It was amazing, and definitely gave me the travel bug.

I also had the great pleasure of visiting my best friend, Dom, in Guadalajara, Mexico, in April, where she is an elementary school teacher.

My dear friend and former roommate, Rachel, got married in August, and I flew to Minnesota for a week to take part in all the wedding festivities and support her as a bridesmaid.

I guess, all in all, I can't complain about the past year. It has had its ups and downs--really, a few too many downs, if you ask me. But I know that I'm still beyond blessed. And it should be considered a privilege to get to live life all over again in a brand new year.

Here we go, 2010!