Life Lately

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[Hover over each image for its description.] ♥

 

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A Downton Abbey Valentine’s Tea

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My wonderful sister Jackie gave me a Downton Abbey inspired cookbook for Christmas, and I knew I just had to have a quintessential English tea party! The recipes were so delicious, and although I’m not sure how quintessentially English my tea party turned out to be, it was lots of fun. The scones, in particular, with the cream and jam? YUM. So good.

The Menu:

Croissant chicken salad sandwiches

Smoked salmon sandwiches

Cucumber sandwiches

Scones with jam and cream

Oh, and berries!

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I played episodes of Downton Abbey in the background, but we mostly enjoyed our tea outside. It did feel a bit like the English countryside (or at least what I imagine the English countryside to be like) because our grass is so long. Wildflowers have bloomed all over our lawn, and I haven’t had the heart to let Jonathan mow them!

All in all it was a great way to celebrate Valentine’s day!

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Our Home: The Entryway

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Welcome to our home! It’s about time I shared pictures of it, even if it’s only of the entryway. But, hey, it’s a start! I’ll go room by room and post pictures. Much more manageable that way, or I’ll never get around to it. Also, I like to photograph on sunny days, and there haven’t been many lately. It was a gorgeous, sunshine-filled, warm day when I took these! Then it went back right away to being cold and overcast and dreary.

We have a beautiful home with a large brick patio in the front. It’s very shady in the front yard with a pretty oak tree and hedges.

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The window opening to the patio is from the dining room. We painted the door that vivid red!

And this is the entryway:

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The French doors lead to the dining room, and the counter-top you see is part of our kitchen. It’s all very open and airy. It’s so lovely! I can’t believe how blessed we are.

Blast from the Past: The week Jonathan was in France, and Elizabeth had jet lag.

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Jonathan works for a French company, and for a week in May, he had to go to the company headquarters. It was an awesome opportunity but bad timing for me because I had just started a new job, so there wasn’t any way I could go! Oh well, c’est la vie.

Jonathan had a wonderful trip exploring France and Belgium. He took gorgeous pictures. So gorgeous that I plan on blowing up some prints and framing them for our home! Despite taking tons of pictures, Jonathan hasn’t posted them anywhere and doesn’t plan to! The pictures are so lovely, and his trip so nice, that I have to share at least some of them for him. Boy oh boy I wish I could have gone.

I stayed home for the week, working and just being by myself. And suffering from insomnia.

Now, Jonathan and I had been in a long-distance relationship for six years before we were married. Although sad, it was all we knew, and we were used to it. But now that we’re married and together all the time – it’s awful to be apart. Awful.

As in so awful I couldn’t sleep for a week while he was gone.

Jonathan fared better, but soaking wet, in beautiful Paris.

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The company’s headquarters is in the north of France in a tiny village about an hour away from Lille. After flying into Paris (and spending the weekend there), Jonathan traveled north. [Below, Lille]

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This ain’t Houston; everybody’s outside!

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Finally – someone to take a picture of Jonathan! On his last weekend, Jonathan went into Belgium to visit Bruges. [Below, Bruges]

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Jonathan had a wonderful time, and it was such a beautiful trip. I wish we could have been together for it, but I now that we were both happy to be back together again after it ended! We missed each other too much! And I could finally sleep soundly again. Even though Jonathan was the one traveling – I had to be the one with the jet lag! Next time one of us goes abroad, we better go together! ♥

 

Two Kitties and a Red Door

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Our kittens are almost cats. Pout pout. They grow up so fast! So we better make some kitten memories. I had these adorable photos since New Year’s Eve, and just had to share them. The kitties wanted to watch the fireworks! Odd, but cute! We had painted the door a vivid red about two months earlier – both our front door and back door. [Pictured is our back door, which opens onto a patio; visible through the door is our breakfast nook, a tiny bit of kitchen, and our entryway hallway]. I love the way the doors turned out. We have to paint the trim and lintel still, but we’ll get to it eventually…

We planned on doing house projects the week of New Year’s – which we had off, but somehow never made it happen! #noregrets! – just lots of TV, piano-playing, and sleeping all day.

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Well, that’s that. I’m super slowly gearing up for a home reveal. I think we’re just about moved in enough!

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Starting 2015 With A Bang!

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Happy New Year! We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a bang! We fired off fireworks for hours with friends and family! It was a great way to end the old year and ring in the new.

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2014 has been so so good to us. Sure, there were some hardships, but I still can’t believe how fortunate we are. There was so much to celebrate!

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[Above] We are getting so much use out of our new fire pit!

So long, 2014! It was a beautiful year.

A few wants for 2015:

I want to spend more time cooking and less time house-cleaning. More fun and more tolerance for clutter! I want to try gardening and to not give up when it’s probably not going to go so well! (I surmise that I have a black thumb.) I want to carve out a little more time to blog on both my blogs. I want to learn photography. I want to document our lives better! I want to keep in touch better – more phone calls, more Facebook messages, and more letters. It’s never too late to reach out!

I want to get better at my job and take every opportunity for more training and involvement. I want to keep learning economics – holding on to what I do know and learning more of what I don’t.

I want to read more! I usually get nervous about reading, because I get SO INTO books that I can’t manage to do anything else – but I’m going to do it anyway this year, starting with my books I got for Christmas! I also want to put a bit more effort into fashion and make-up. I’ve been getting lazy and letting that sort of thing slide for the past year. I seem to walk this line of being interested in fashion and also not caring enough – there are bigger issues. But I think it would do me some good to actually wear some lipstick, paint my nails more often (I used to), and to have some fun with fashion.

But most of all, I want to be myself – fearlessly – this year. I have been succeeding at this for a few years now; with each passing year, I am more comfortably myself. I am going to be me no matter how odd I may seem to others!

And of course, I want to be a better wife, sister, and daughter. ♥

I wonder what 2015 has in store! Happy New Year!

[Below] Our kitties aren’t afraid of fireworks! Isn’t that odd? They wanted to watch all the excitement.

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California Christmas

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My husband and I spent Christmas in California this year with my family! It was the most wonderful trip, full of fun and Christmas cheer! My sisters had the house bursting with Christmas treasures and treats. It was so nice to be back in California!

[Below] Sisters reunited!

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We flew into sunny San Diego and stayed a few days at my aunt’s and grandma’s home in Coronado. We explored the bay via harbor cruise and climbed all over the ships and submarines at the maritime museum. It was so nice getting to walk along the beach and put our toes in the sand, too!

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While in San Diego, my dad took Jonathan and I to the Pointsettia Bowl. We had a blast. It was such an exciting game with a nerve-wracking win for Navy!

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[Above] There was a fantastic fireworks show at halftime! The Navy football team celebrating with their band!

The next day we headed a few hours north to my parents’ house, stopping to visit relatives along the way. My sisters had headed back earlier, and they had festooned the house to the rafters with Christmas trinkets and one very adorable kitten – a Christmas present for my youngest sister!

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Christmas Eve was a lovely mass followed by a feast of clams and crab legs! Christmas morning was bright and sunny with gift giving and eating chocolates and my mom’s soufflé. I got my favorite – books!!! Later, we had dinner with my grandparents. Isn’t it just the loveliest and coziest home? Everything was a blur of fun and family! I can’t believe how fortunate we are. What a Christmas!

[Below] Can you spot the sweet little kitten?

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[Above] Hustle bustle and serve dinner beautifully! My sisters had adorable figurines for each person’s place setting at Christmas Eve dinner, and Christmas breakfast and dinner. They also baked all those delectable cookies.

I know it’s a lot of pictures, but I actually feel like there aren’t enough! There were so many walks and hugs and celebrating that was so special. I have been away from California for a year, and being back in my childhood home was just so heartfelt. My family was so eager to treat us to such wonderful outings. It was such a lovely, lovely time. I will treasure this Christmas for a very long time to come! ♥

Merry Christmas! Joy to the world!

Christmas Came Early

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Christmas came early this year! Two kittens and a longed-for piano joined us last weekend! My heart is overflowing!

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[Above] Meet our kitten, Ford! Adorable. [Below] Our beautiful Wurlitzer piano!

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When we moved into our house I knew that wall was where our eventual piano would go. I even put up the pictures in anticipation of the piano below them. Sure enough, when we put the piano into place, it fit perfectly! I am just so happy! I keep playing and playing it.

[Below] Meet our kitten, Zaphod! So cute and mischievous, too.

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Happy holidays!

Formula 1 Race

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The first weekend of November, we went to the Formula 1 race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin! Jonathan has been a F1 fan for some time, and he converted me at the 2013 race which we also went to. It’s just so exciting! We looked forward to this for months. We do the full, three-day track experience: practice, qualifying, and the race!

November was an incredibly busy month full of travel for us, so I haven’t posted these photos yet. It was fun, and we were able to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in awhile! I took a lot of husband-and-wife selfies this weekend. As you can see.

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[Above] Day 1 excitement! Practice laps for the teams.

[Below] Day 2 yay, clouds and cool breezes! Qualifying laps for the teams.

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[Below] Day 3 oh my goodness, I didn’t even know you could sunburn your lips! Race day with a win for Hamilton!

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Who doesn’t think sunscreen is necessary in November? Me. I tried to cover myself up with my hat, sunglasses, and a sweater I wrapped around my neck like a scarf. We both came home with a bit too much sun (my lips hurt so bad we had to stop for aloe vera on the way home!). But before we could get home we had crazy traffic getting out of the race. Three hours to go five miles took a lot of the fun out of the day.

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All in all, it was fun, but I think we’ll pass next year and watch it from home. The memory of the hot sunburns and traffic is outweighing the fun of the race for now. But that could wear off in time for the race next year!

 

A quick tribute to my favorite sunglasses pictured in this post: I’m sorry that I left you in a TJ Maxx shopping cart… May you find someone to wear you that enjoys your perfection as much as I did…

Blast from the Past: Boardgames and Beer Bonanza

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2013-12-28 19.48.19Boardgames! Jonathan and I love boardgames. Even better is having all your best buds/groomsmen over for awesome board-games and beer.

This round of boardgames and beer happened last holiday season. We’re going to be away for Christmas this year, so we might not get the chance to have all the guys over for another round, so I’d thought I’d share our fun time from last year. I have all the great photos, so why not?

It was a great night. We were all up ’til 3 in the morning playing.

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It was so much fun. Hopefully, we’ll be breaking out the boardgames again soon. Jonathan has had this new boardgame for a while now without playing it, so we definitely need to figure it out and play it.

Here’s to more boardgames and beer and late nights! And holiday cheer!

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Aww these pictures make me think of our sweet little apartment.