the 4 minute bun.

When I was little, I would work on a craft and pretend I had my very own crafting show. I'd explain what I was doing and how to do that particular craft. In my head, I was the star of my very own TV show. Well, that's a little bit how I felt making this video. Except I didn't really feel like a star, and it took me about 4 tries just to get my hair to cooperate that I just left it as-is and didn't risk trying it again.

This really is a super easy and cute style, and I hope you'll be able to look past the web-cam quality, my half-gone makeup, and my Packers t-shirt and try it  yourself! I honestly felt really self-conscious doing it, and wouldn't be posting it if I didn't think it was a unique contribution to the world of bun-styling ;) Haha! Anyways, enjoy! And let me know what you think.


Friday's version, a little higher (and a bit of a 32 week bump):

small and simple.




"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."

Today I substitute taught a primary class in church. There were only 3 kids, ages 10-11, but it was probably one of the most profound lessons I've ever been a part of. I felt the Holy Spirit bear witness to me of simple truths, and I think the kids felt it a little bit, too. We talked about how the scriptures hold the simple pathway to eternal life. That like Lehi and the Liahona, all we have to do is have faith that they are the word of God, follow the counsel therein, and act in that same faith. We also talked about other truths, and they were all things that I really needed to hear right now. I am so grateful for this gospel, and for scriptures that teach me that great things are brought to pass by doing that which may seem small and simple.

so-cal insta.


Probably my favorite part of May was the very end of the month, when we went to San Diego for Memorial Day weekend and as a late anniversary trip. I took Friday off of work, so we had a nice long weekend to relax and have some adventures. It was a much-needed vacation, and one I'm sure we'll remember for years to come. We loved it so much that we vowed to make it a yearly excursion. I truly hope it happens.

[stay tuned for more pictures!]

learning.

[My first image post-processed using CS5: the infamous acai bowl, at our very favorite Swami's Cafe in Encinitas, CA. Sorry again, Jacy! Please note: I highly recommend this, but not if you're allergic to bee pollen....]

A couple months ago....gosh I think it was in March....I had the opportunity to purchase an education edition of Adobe Photoshop CS5 for an amazing price (it was less than $200!). I had been looking to upgrade my photo editing software (read: Picnik was closing) and so I talked to my photographer friend and he convinced me to take the leap to CS5, especially since it was such a good deal. TJ fully supported me in this, since I'd been talking about it for a while and he really encourages me to develop my talents.

Well, I got the package in the mail and I was so excited! But I had one problem....I was still running a OS X Leopard on my little MacBook....the same operating system I'd had since I got it nearly 4 years ago. It was really time for an upgrade, and since my system was already running slow, I didn't want to further bog it down with a newer program. So I put it off. 

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago: I was finally able to update my OS and finally installed PS CS5.  I opened up the program, all ready to learn....and I panicked. It looked so different from anything I was used to! I couldn't figure out how to do one single thing....not even as simple as sharpening an image, or changing the brightness.

Thankfully, we have this blessed thing called the internet. I found a tutorial, which I not only applied to the above image, but helped me work my way around photoshop and learn a thing or two here and there. And so, ladies and husband (because he's the only gentleman that reads this, I think), I am on my way to learning something new! It might take a lot of baby steps, and I know it's going to take work, but I'm excited to learn.

If you have found any great tutorials online, please share! Any tips would be wonderful as well. I'm saving the ones I find on my "Picture this." pinboard, as well as inspiring images and other tips. This is truly something I love, and I'm eager to learn more and improve myself.

[less than] 60 days.

He kicked a couple of times for my dad, but as soon as mom would put her hand on my belly, he'd stop moving. Then just before they had to leave to head back down the mountain, my mom put her hand on my belly and said, "Come on baby, move for grandma. I love you!"

And then, she got a good, solid kick to her flat hand. It's pure joy feeling that little one move; I should know.

***

Today is the 31 weeks, 5 day mark.
This means, there are less than 60 days until my due date.
In other words, less than 9 weeks until my due date.
Or in even bolder terms, less than 6 weeks until I'm considered full term.

There's about 4 weeks until baby shower #1 and the last time I venture down the mountain without baby.
And about 5 weeks until baby shower #2.

And I have about 2,596,437 things to do:

*Pick a pediatrician and set everything up.
*Pre-register at the hospital and tour the maternity ward.
*Meet with anesthesiologist and continue regular OB visits.
*Consider taking some type of birthing class....I'm leaning more towards just a breastfeeding class (although it sounds awkward, I've heard they can be really helpful).
*Get the nursery set up (which includes finding places for our junk and replacing it with baby's junk stuff).
*Decorate the nursery (which includes quite a few diy projects, which require some shopping...at least now I     have an idea of what I'm doing).
*Get the rest of the apartment cleaned and organized.
*Consider making and freezing some meals.
*Spend some quality time with TJ since goodness knows that'll probably be a little harder to come by soon.

Writing it all out makes it seem a little more do-able. There's a lot to be done, but all I can really think about is this one task that it all leads up to, and that we're looking forward to the most:

*Hold our baby boy.



hey buddy.

So this normally isn't the kind of thing I'd do...
...but it's really slow at work today, 
and I came across this blog that I've read before, but wasn't following yet.
Anyways, she posted about this website that she found, and so I decided,

"I'm bored, and what the heck?"

I think most parents-to-be wonder what their offspring will look like,
and I'm curious myself. So I uploaded, morphed, and was actually fairly impressed by the results.


 +


=

[could baby boy possibly look like this?? only time will tell]

I think he's actually pretty cute! Some of these things can turn out really weird-looking, or "off" because of the pictures used. Perhaps TJ and I just have really compatible face-structures? I don't think we "look alike" but I have been told that we look "good together," so that must mean our babies will be adorable!

I have to admit, I'm starting to get the itch to just hold my baby and get to know him. TJ's even more anxious than I am because, in his words, "You get to be with him all the time, and feel him moving, and always be touching him." He's right, I suppose. I can't wait to see the two of them interact together. When I get home from work, and we snuggle on the couch, TJ rubs my belly and says, "Hey buddy, I missed you," and it pretty much means the world to me.

Basically, we're excited. And....now I'm bored again. Ha!

PS...I don't enter many giveaways, but I'd really love to win a print through this one for baby's nursery!

simple (grilled) summer recipes.

A little preface: TJ (my husband) has been wanting a grill basically since....we got married. It's a man thing, I suppose. Well, I wanted to get him one for his birthday in May, but it didn't work out. However, Home Depot recently had a sale on grills, so off we went and bought our very own two-burner propane grill. Since we don't have A/C, it's pretty miserable to cook indoors during the summertime (even if the outdoor temps are cooler than in the valley). Since we got the grill....we've used it nearly every day. I love the way girlled food tastes, and TJ gets to help me make dinner and actually enjoys it.

These two recipes can easily be made with or without a grill. But I highly recommend the grilling aspects if you have the capability. Also, I'm sorry for the lack of pictures, but I don't think they're that necessary for these recipes, and usually I'm too hungry or too lazy to bother taking pictures of my food. Ha!

Grilled Pita Pizza

This isn't so much a recipe as it is a concept. I posted back here about my love for pita pizzas. Those ones, I made in the oven. These, I made on the grill. This is a super easy recipe and perfect for having friends over (which we did) because everyone can make their own.

Ingredients:
white or wheat pita bread
sauce of your choice
toppings of your choice

Steps:
1. Light your grill and set it on about medium-medium high.
2. Have each person sauce and top their pizza (the options are literally endless...go for classic tomato sauce/pepperoni/mozzarella, or add onions and bell peppers and sausage; try simple basil pesto with mozzarella cheese; or try this divine avocado and cilantro sauce variation).
3. Place each pizza on the grill, close the cover, and let cook about 10 min or until cheese is melted and crust is crispy on bottom.

*Note: when I make pizza sauce, I just take a small can of tomato sauce and add my own seasonings, like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, and Italian seasoning. I just add them to taste. It's so easy and really inexpensive.


Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Again, this recipe can be done in so many different ways. This would be great to serve alongside the pizzas, or add some grilled chicken or sausage for a main dish. This is also a "remix" of a recipe I've made previously. This recipe might sound like a lot of prep, but I promise it's super easy.

Ingredients:
whole wheat pasta
vegetables of your choice
olive oil, s&p
shredded mozzarella cheese
vinaigrette of choice (see below for homemade version)
meat (optional)

Steps:
1. Light grill to about medium-high and let it heat for a few min.
2. Set a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta; cook according to package instructions.
3. Get your vegetables prepped. I used zucchini, a yellow bell pepper, and tomatoes. I had three rather small zucchini, which I cut in half lengthwise, and then in half again lengthwise, so I had four spears of zucchini from each. I dressed these in a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. For the bell pepper, it can be left whole and charred on all sides to remove the skin, or cut in quarters and charred that way (then you don't have to turn it as much). I did not grill the tomato, just diced it up and set it aside.
4. Grill your vegetables. Place zucchini spears across the grill bars so they don't fall through and get nice grill marks. Let them grill a few minutes on each side, until tender. (For peppers, let the skin char, which allows it to bubble away and be easily peeled off.)
5. Chop vegetables, and combine with pasta, some shredded cheese, meat (if desired...to be honest I used pepperoni when I made this ...the options are so varied). Toss with vinaigrette and serve.

Super Easy Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
olive oil
apple cider vinegar (or whatever kind you like)
s&p
garlic powder
onion powder
dried (or fresh)basil leaves

Steps:
In a small mason jar (like a jam jar), combine a couple tbsp olive oil, a couple capfuls (prob about 2 tsp) cider vinegar, a little bit of salt, a few dashes of black pepper, and the rest of the seasonings to taste (don't you love my precise measurements??). Taste it and see if it needs anything else. 

Well, I hope you try these recipes and make them your own.  Trust me when I say anyone can make these. Thanks for having me Ali, and I wish you and little Rory (and daddy) the best!


my maternity must-haves.

I know there are probably tons of these floating around the internet, and some with much more credibility, but I was sharing these tips with one of my recently impregnated best friends, so I thought I might share them here as well. I'm by no means a fashion expert, and I'm not a maternity expert either. These are just things I've learned during pregnancy, and what's worked for me.

1. A good pair of stretchy pants. (Please tell me you just quoted Nacho Libre in your head.)

This is something I put off investing in until a couple weeks ago, and I don't know why I waited so long. I love  my new yoga pants and I would wear them everywhere if I could. The stretchy, fold-over waistband is super comfortable, and would've been great even from the early stages of pregnancy when I just felt bloated. I just got them in my regular size, and they seem to have enough stretch to them. I can be comfortable, yet still look somewhat nicer when going to the store or lounging around the apartment. Plus, they'll be really nice after giving birth when people want to visit, and I don't want to get dressed. Plus also, TJ loves the way they make my butt look ;)

2. A good pair of maternity pants.

Oh maternity pants. You are quite the struggle. I had a hard time with this, since I needed nice pants for work. Also, most maternity pants didn't fit until I was at least 19 weeks or so. I got this pair at Old Navy (the "Essential Trouser" or something). I spent around $20 because I had a coupon and they were on sale. I didn't love them though...they were a little too short. SO, I used this tutorial, and made them skinny, and now they're my favorite pants besides the yoga pants. They've got some stretch (a must!) to them, I can wear them to work, and I can wear them pretty much anywhere else.

I also just recently bought these ones from Shade, and while I love them, they currently have a stain that I'm trying to get out, because apparently I forgot how to eat without spilling on myself. I love the fit, but the waistband is a little bit too tight for my liking (at 30 weeks now). I got the size I normally wear, and I think any bigger would've been too big everywhere else. I think these would be nice to have even earlier in pregnancy.

 (PS, thank you all for your tips in response to my other post.)

3. Knit tops. Knit tops. And more knit tops.

Are we seeing a trend in the stretch department?? Yes, yes we are. For me, knit has been my best friend. I would love to walk around swathed in knit all day, every day. And, knit is pretty popular these days, and comes in a variety of styles, patterns, and prints. I am still wearing quite a few knit shirts from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe, and my new favorite maternity top is a luxuriously soft knit from Shade Clothing. I love the length, I love the cut, and I love the stripes. I used to be scared of stripes making me look wider, but I already look that way now, so I find myself more and more drawn to them. I've found that a large in regular clothing now fits my pregnancy frame, and the longer the better. I also have 2 stretchy undershirts that I got for $5 each at Ross that are staples in my wardrobe.

[Some of my pre-pregnancy knit tops also do really well as maternity because of the stretch. This one also has an empire waist, which gives me some definition, and a criss-cross "wrap" top, so it'll transition nicely into nursing. Who knew this Target clearance find would be so versatile?]

4. Maxi skirts, comfy dresses, and elastic-waisted anything.

[I apologize for the crappy picture quality...I don't know what is up lately. Also, that's the favorite top I mentioned.]

I don't know why I didn't do it sooner, but I finally made myself a maxi skirt. I followed this tutorial, and it was super easy. I'm not sure how much yardage I actually used (probably about 2), since the knit I bought was $1.99/yd for 60" wide (yeah....I made a skirt for around 4 dollars). Anyways, the fold-over waistband is super comfy, as is being draped in knit (I think I already mentioned this was my dream). It's not perfect, and I still need to hem it, but it is an amazing addition to my wardrobe (even postpartum).

I can also wear this skirt still (just below my belly), thanks to the elastic waistband. And I'm sure you all remember this dress (I can't believe I thought I had a bump then....it's so tiny!). It still works just fine now that I'm significantly larger. Basically, I've been able to make some things work, and I've been able to make things for my wardrobe and remain on a lower budget.

5. Basically, comfort is essential.

The truth is, regardless of the size of your belly, I think comfort is essential when you're pregnant. Personally, I think most of these can apply to any stage of pregnancy. I wish I would have invested in some things (like yoga pants and a Be-Band) sooner so that I could feel more comfortable. However, I'm a big fan of making a lot of my pre-pregnancy clothes work. Being pregnant is so exciting, but it's also sorta uncomfortable sometimes. I think it's important to be able to feel cute and non-frumpy, especially when you feel the opposite of cute some days, yet still be comfortable.

Hope these are helpful to somebody!

may moments.

I got behind. Dropped the ball, if you will.
Truth is, we've had a lot going on, and I let it all pile up, so things that I wanted to blog about almost went away. So, I decided to do a summary of things that we did and enjoyed, so that I still have those memories documented (even if they don't have all the attention I originally wanted to give them). Or maybe I'm just not making any sense. In any case, here are some of my favorite moments from May.

1. Randoms
I sort of did #photoadaymay on Instagram....until about May 18th or something like that. It was a fun way to capture little snapshots of my day. One thing I would like to note, that will show up again later, is that beautiful turquoise necklace that I commissioned my friend Lauren to make. It is so beautiful and I love wearing it. 

We love going to the First Friday Artwalk in our town, even if we don't even set foot in an art gallery. There are usually tons of people to people-watch, lots of live street performers, and other fun things to look at. In May, we went alone and wandered the streets downtown, treating ourselves to a delicious caramel crepe at the outdoor crepe stand. It was a beautiful evening with just the two of us.

2. Shooting
One Saturday we decided to take TJ's shotgun out for a spin. We invited his brother, Skylar, and drove 10 minutes outside town to some cinder pits. I'd already asked my doctor if it was OK, and he said that I would be fine, because the baby is basically under water. Regardless, I had some fun doing a different kind of "shooting" as well. One of the highlights for me was actually hitting a clay pigeon, since I'm used to shooting only stationary targets. I grew up shooting guns with my dad, so I'm glad TJ's got similar fond memories so we can build traditions for our own family.

3. Anniversary
We had a mini-2-year-anniversary celebration on our actual anniversary, May 15th. I had to work, and while I was at work TJ brought me a snack of pringles and a hilarious card that's just slightly blog-inappropriate. When I got home from work, he had a dozen roses waiting for me and the sweetest card that made me tear up (I know, two cards!? he's a sweetheart). I quickly got ready for dinner, and we shared a delicious meal at Outback courtesy of a gift card we got at Christmas. After dinner, we came home and made cookie-n-cream milkshakes and watched Midnight in Paris (interesting movie, we liked it) while snuggling on the air mattress TJ set up in the living room.

4. Birthday
TJ turned 24 on May 17th. Although I couldn't really think of anything to give him, I did organize a low-key surprise for him. I made him one of his favorite meals, and then we headed out the door for a quick church meeting. That ended earlier than anticipated, but we relaxed a little and he got some of his favorite candy (peanutbutter m&ms). What he didn't know is that I had a bunch of our friends meet at the bowling alley (the only one in town). I brought along the "cake" I made (not the one pictured, that's the one his mom gave him the week after) and he was totally shocked when we walked in to several of our friends gathered just for him. At the end of the night, he said it was his favorite birthday to date, which definitely made me happy to see him happy.

5. Eclipse
This is old news now, but we also got to see the natural phenomenon of the annular eclipse. However, we happened to be right in the region where the eclipse could be best viewed. BUT, to get an even better view of the peak of the eclipse, we drove with TJ's family about halfway to the Grand Canyon (only about thirty minutes or so) and had a picnic. Above, you can see our super cool eclipse glasses, TJ's face, the setting sun, and my own belly eclipse which occurs only when my large abdomen-filled-with-child distends between the setting sun and the lens of my camera (otherwise known as backlighting). In all seriousness, it was pretty cool to watch the progression, peak, and then setting.

*** ***
Probably one of the best parts of our month occurred right at the end, and deserves its own, if not multiple, post(s). May was definitely full, so June will be a little quieter and I'll have a bit more time to blog about other things as well. This is definitely my favorite way to document everything that goes on in our lives.