Lurvin’: The Bar Method

Oh, Bar. I started going to The Bar Method two years ago, when I bought a Daily Candy deal on a whim. I’m not really sure why, since prior to that, I truly believed that I was allergic to physical activity. Sweat? No thanks. But… the deal was insane ($55 for one month of unlimited classes), the studio was 2 seconds away from work, and I was tired of my uber-active mom yelling at me to exercise. 

My first class was on a Friday morning at 7:00am, before work. I had to wake up at 5:30am to get there on time. Extreme. It was the most grueling hour of my life, but at the end of it, I felt that elusive thing that people talk about. You know.. exercise endorphins. Also, sweatiness. I limped down the stairs (a cruel joke for the studio to be on the second floor), and dragged my ass back the next Monday at 7am, still sore. And Wednesday. And again on Friday. Four weeks and 12 classes later, I noticed changes in my body. Glimpses of the “sculpted arms, flat abs, lifted seat, long firm thighs” that Bar swears by.

Two years later, I’m still at it. There’s been a few periods of time when I’ve taken breaks (up to two months, even :X), but I always go back. Yes, it’s pricey, but every class still kicks my ass and I start feeling gross when I stop going. [Do you know what else makes me feel gross? This Haagen daaz sea salt caramel ice cream I’m eating out of the carton right now. But it also makes me feel good. #cantstopwontstop.] Anyway, for all you exercise-haters… I am a true testament to the fact that there is something out there for everyone. I’m glad that Bar is *it* for me, at least for now.

All pictures below from the Pasadena Bar website.


Inside the Pasadena studio (in Old Town), one of 66 locations in the U.S. Read about this history of Bar Method here.


I know, it looks really girly and easy and ballet-ish, but unfortunately… it’s not. Much of class is actually not spent at the barre, and it’s kind of a combination of pilates-yoga-ballet-intervaltraining-mildcardio-isometrics. I love that Bar consults with physical therapists to make every exercise safe, so there’s very little potential for injury, even if you’re working hard.


The dreaded “fold-over” exercise that involves lifting your leg up and down in 1″ movements. If you’re in right form, your legs and ass will start to burn within 10 seconds. And you WILL be in right form, because the instructors come around and (gently) correct you if you’re not.

If you’re curious about Bar, just Google it. There are hundreds of reviews via Yelp, and many, many articles and blog posts and ‘success’ stories. Just FYI, Ellie Kemper’s portrayal of Bar on Ellen is not the best (but how cute is she?).

Anyone want to join me for a class? 🙂 Aiming for 3x/week consistency this year, even with my weird crazy schedule. Huzzah!

Tina Made an Open-Wide Zippered Pouch

Recently inspired to sew again, I tried my hand at making another zippered pouch that was one (or two….or five) steps more complicated than the oilcloth pouch I first made.

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I used Noodlehead‘s tutorial here, with her size chart here to figure out how much fabric I needed. Though I was able to follow along with her steps, it was a bit confusing going back and forth between her two links, as she had 3 sizing and 2 design options, with obviously different measurements. Sooo I’ve re-done the tutorial below for her MEDIUM-sized pouch with a contrast bottom (approximate finished dimensions: 6″ H x 6.5″ W x 4.5″ D) with a list of exact measurements in one place. To note, Noodlehead’s original tutorial is shown in a size small without the contrast bottom.


  • Two 12″x 4.5″ pieces of Fabric A
  • Two 12″x 5.5″ pieces of Fabric B
  • Two 12″x 9″ pieces of Fabric B
  • 2″x3″ of Fabric B
  • fusible interfacing– enough for the first 6 pieces of fabric listed above (I used Pellon Wonder-Under 805)
  • 12″ zipper
  • thread
  • iron

In this tutorial, Fabric A will refer to the exterior top fabric of the pouch (in my pouch, the red fabric). Fabric B will refer to both the bottom contrasting exterior fabric, as well as the fabric of the interior (in my pouch, the black polka dot fabric).

Before you start, iron Fabrics A and B onto the fusible interfacing, then cut all fabric to size (you should end up with 2 pieces of Fabric A and 4 pieces of Fabric B). Another option is to cut all fabric to size first, and then iron each piece individually onto the interfacing (then cut again). The tutorial says attaching interfacing is optional, and if you choose to, attach it to the exterior pieces of fabric only. I wanted to attach it to the interior pieces as well in order to give it more weight, as my cotton fabric was pretty thin and i wanted the bag a bit sturdier.

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Lay Fabric A and Fabric B (12″x 5.5″) right sides together, and sew along the long edge with a 1/2″ seam allowance (pictured left, above). Repeat with your second piece of Fabric A and Fabric B (12″x5.5″). Then open the pieces and iron flat (pictured right, above). These two finished pieces will be your exterior pieces.

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“Lay one exterior piece right side up, lay zipper (teeth side down) on top with the zipper pull at the left – aligning zipper tape edge to the raw edges of the top of the exterior piece.  Tuck in pull side zipper end, just bend it 90 degrees.  You may choose to sew it down, or just pin it in place like I did.  Make sure the metal bit of the zipper is just about 3/4″ away from the left edge.  Layer lining piece on top, right side down on top of zipper.  Pin and baste, you can skip this part, but basting really does help things from slipping around too much. ”

As shown in the picture above, I actually chose to stable the zipper end (bent 90 degrees), as it stayed in place better than pinning, but was faster than sewing. You can take the staple out later.

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“Use your zipper foot and a 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew over basting stitches, but not all the way to the end. At about 1″ before the edge of the fabric, stop, backstitch, and then pull the zipper away from the seam, bending it down out of the way, in towards the fabrics.  The whole point is to pull it out of the way so it doesn’t get caught in the seam.  Continue stitching along the fabrics until the edge.”

I think this (sewing everything together using a zipper foot) was the trickiest part of the tutorial… probably because I was too lazy to baste.  -_- Like Noodlehead said would happen, the zipper and fabric kept slipping around. In the time it took to get it right, I could have probably basted it and saved myself the annoyance. Live and learn…

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“Flip so that the fabrics are wrong sides facing and press.”

Because I attached interfacing to all my fabric, I had to be careful when ironing, for fear that all my pieces would fuse together. I just laid a piece of paper (pictured above, left) on the inside of the folded pieces so that the interfacing wouldn’t touch when facing each other while I pressed the seams at the zipper. Pictured above, right– after pressing.

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“Lay the remaining exterior piece right side up, lay zipper (with fabrics attached) on top – teeth side down with the zipper pull at the right. Tuck in pull side zipper end, just bend it 90 degrees, just like before, making sure the metal bit of the zipper is just over 3/4″ away from the right edge this time. Lay lining piece right side down on top.  Pin and baste.  Using the zipper foot and a 1/4″ seam allowance sew over basting stitches, but not all the way to the end just like before.”

You’re basically doing the same thing as you did before. 🙂

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“Again, about 1″ before the edge of the fabric, stop, backstitch, and then pull the zipper away from the seam, bending it down, in towards the fabrics.  Continue stitching along the fabrics until the edge.  Flip so that the fabrics are wrong sides facing and press. Do NOT topstitch along either side of the zipper at this point, we’ll be doing that in another step towards the end. This is what you’ve got so far” (pictured above, left)Next. flip so that the exterior fabrics are right sides together and the lining pieces are right sides together (with the zipper hidden in the middle).”

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Above 6 pictures: “Open the zipper at least half way at this point! Pin and sew around all edges leaving approximately a 4″ opening in the bottom (or side) of the lining.  You’ll be using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Be sure to get close to the metal zipper ends on one side, and bending the zipper end down into the pouch on the other side making sure it doesn’t get caught in the seam.”  

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“Box the corners by pinching each corner together and aligning the side/bottom seams.  Use a ruler and water soluble marker to mark a line perpendicular to the side seam 4″ long.”

Depending on the pouch size you choose, this side seam length will change– 3.5″ for the small pouch, 4″ for medium, and 4.5″ for large.

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“Sew along that line, trim the seam allowance.  Do this for all four corners (two exterior, two lining).”

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“Pull pouch right side out through the opening you left in the lining.  Tuck in raw edges of opening.”

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“Sew opening in lining closed using a small seam allowance by machine (sewing close to the fold as in the above picture) or hand stitch the opening closed.  Push lining into exterior.  Press around entire opening and carefully along the zipper.

Topstitch using a slightly longer stitch length (and taking your time) around the entire opening of the pouch.”

I skipped the topstitching. I liked the look of the pouch without it, but it’s totally an option.

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“Trim the zipper tail so that you have about 1″ of space past the pouch’s side (be careful not to accidentally slide the zipper pull off the zipper!).”

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“For making the zipper pull tab, take a 2″x3″ piece of fabric. Press all edges in by 1/2″, slip over zipper end. Fold in half, sew around all four edges of the tab.”

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Whew. Props to Noodlehead for all the steps, and check out more of her sewing tutorials here… what should I make next? 🙂

Tina Made Cilantro-Lime Bean Salad

I’m not even kidding right now, I’ve made this salad 4x in the last 2 weeks (just barely adapted below). It contains the best ingredient duo ever… lime + cilantro (pho, anyone?). Actually, it’s a trifecta of goodness, because it also contains avocados (tacos, anyone?). What is it about the combination of these three green ingredients that is so delicious? That was a rhetorical question. Make it now.

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  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 T extra virgin olive
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1- 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1- 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, diced

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Cut your grape tomatoes in half, dice your avocado and red onion, and chop your cilantro.

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Rinse and drain your chick peas and black beans. Mix the minced garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt in a bowl.

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Mix beans with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and avocado. When you’re ready to eat, dress with the vinaigrette. Serves 4-5.

Tina Made Wooden Instagram Coasters

Jason (from Onigiri Everyday) and I got together last week for collabo DIY project #2 (see project #1 here)– wooden coasters with IG photos transferred onto the wood. It’s a project that’s more easy than quick, but suitable for any crafting beginner with a few hours to spare (original tutorial here). We each made a set of six.


  • six 4.5″ wood squares (we bought poplar hobby board from Home Depot and cut to size using a table saw)
  • six square Instagram photos (or any photos, really), mirrored (flipped) and laser printed on regular white copy paper (Jason used Photoshop for this– tutorial here if you don’t know how)
  • matte mod podge
  • sponge brush
  • bowl of water
  • rag
  • credit card

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Print 6 mirrored Instagram photos (Jason worked his Photoshop magic and then laser printed 2 per sheet) and cut them out using a paper cutter (or scissors/exacto knife).

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Cut hobby board to 4.5″ squares (and sand, of course) or if you’re lucky enough to find wooden squares at your local craft store in the right size, then you can skip this step.

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Spread a coat of mod modge onto the front side of your picture using a sponge brush. Don’t drench the paper, but make sure all parts of the paper are evenly coated.

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Glue the mod podged paper down onto a wood square, being as precise as possible and avoiding dragging the paper across the wood. Use a credit card to smooth out and remove any bubbles under the paper.

WAIT ONE HOUR to let your coasters dry.

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After an hour, take a wet rag and place on top of the paper until the water soaks into the image.

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Use your fingertips (NOT YOUR NAILS) to rub off the paper. The first layer should come off really easily. After the first layer, there will be a second fuzzy layer of paper that is much harder to remove. Be patient, wetting the paper periodically and gently rubbing away. You may accidentally rub off some of the actual photo on the wood, which will be okay in the end because it will give your coaster a rustic look…….. is what I kept telling myself. -_-

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All the paper rubbed off! The places where the wood shows through are the places I accidentally rubbed away the photo. After you’re done with this, let your coaster dry and then paint another coat of mod podge on to seal the image, and let it dry. I actually didn’t take any photos after this step (I was too impatient), but you get the idea.

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All of my coasters, pre-final coat of mod-podge.

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My coasters intermixed with Jason’s… we were saying it would be really cool to make a bunch of these and then put them in a frame! Maybe someday…

Collabo success. Happy mod podging!

Tina Embellished a Journal

I have not yet tried my hand at book-binding, so no, I did not “make” a journal. But I embellished one.

An assistant pastor at my church asked me to make a prototype welcome/information packet for new visitors to our church (Sovereign Grace LA). He presented an elaborate DIY idea that involved making a book with perforated pages, pockets, inserts, and flaps.

Anndddd I pretty much shut down his idea. :X Not because it was a bad idea, but because it would be too difficult and time-consuming to DIY hundreds of them. And so we settled for a happy compromise of a store-bought journal (Picadilly brand, very similar to the ever popular Moleskine) with… embellishments.  That is so not the word I’m looking for right now. But moving on.

I basically compiled all the information that needed to be inside, and used scrapbook cardstock, double-sided tape squares, and Microsoft Word. Honestly, this project really should have been done by a graphic designer, who could design something faster and better fo’sho’ (does anyone still say fo’sho’? yes– me). Ah well. Here was my original prototype, which pretty much ended up being the final version, sans the tag on the front cover:

photo 2

Cover: We ditched the Welcome card and added a pen instead

photo 4 copy

Inside cover: A welcome note from my pastor

photo 3 copy

Back cover: Information about getting plugged into the church. The sleeve on the left is for staff members’ business cards. I bought the sleeves from Etsy at the shop Green Ridge Designs.

I used the font “Ostrich Sans” (download here for free), which I found it via A Subtle Revelry‘s compilation of FREE fonts. Get ’em all here!

By the way– to install a downloaded font, open your Font Book (available in Applications) and drag the file (should be a .ttf or a .otf file) into your Font Book. Should automatically be available in Word the next time you open it. I’m using a Mac so not sure what the process is for PC users. 

Anyway, if you want a journal of your very own, feel free to visit Sovereign Grace LA and come say hi. 🙂

A Hot Mess

Today, I turn 29 years old, and my life feels like a flippin’ hot mess– more so than any other year of my adult life thus far. It’s been 5 months since I quit my full-time job, and instead of finding another full-time job, or two part-time jobs (as originally planned), I’m dabbling in multiple little things.

Here’s what I’ve been up to since I quit:

  • I started working 3 afternoons a week at a pediatric OT clinic. Gotta keep up those OT skillzz.
  • I started freelancing as an assistant coordinator for Love & Splendor, an event design/coordinating firm. My first wedding with them here; my second wedding is this Saturday!
  • I met with Zoie Events (another event design/coordinating firm) and will be starting freelance work for them as well this year.
  • I started interning with Bramble Workshop, an event styling/store display company, one morning a week.
  • Starting tomorrow, I’ll be working with Everly clothing twice a week to coordinate and work the WWDMAGIC trade show in Vegas next month
  • Also starting tomorrow, I’ll be taking a Photoshop class one evening a week at the Armory in Pasadena for the next few months.

Aside from all of that, I’m still blogging twice a week, trying to teach myself photography with my new DSLR, am continuing to serve at my church on Sundays and attend small group weekly, and am going to Bar Method 3x/week (3..ish -_-).


Despite the craziness that is my life, I’m so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way since taking my leap of faith and leaving a stable job. It’s been a huge lifestyle change, and my OCD-type-A personality is being massively stretched, but I’ve been learning to live in the unknown. Giving myself this time to explore my interests and passions has been the best gift I could give myself, regardless of the fact that it’s scary. Really scary.

29, bring it. It’s gonna be a good year.

PS- My blog got a little facelift! New banner made by Jason of Onigiri Everyday— lurvin’ his calligraphy skillzz. Look out for our next collabo DIY post coming soon.

PPS- All of my links should be now be showing up as teal, not pink (YAY no more pink)– but things are kinda glitchy, especially in Safari, so please be patient as I figure things out. 🙂


noun \ˈwän-dər-ˌləst\
: a strong desire to travel

Throwing it back (it is Thursday, after all– #TBT) 7 years with these pictures from my first trip to D.C., because I feel like jet-setting so much it almost hurts right now. Domestic or international, it don’t matter.

Let me tell you, the best way to see the D.C. monuments is during the hours after a heavy rainfall. Those hours being 1-4 a.m., when the rest of the city (and tourists) sleep. Bring a tripod (I love mine) with you.

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A clear view of the Washington Monument.

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No photo bombers allowed.

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A quiet moment at the Lincoln Memorial.

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In awe. Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

There was something so magical about walking from memorial to memorial with not a soul in sight. My friends and I were able to quietly enjoy the significance of the monuments without the sounds, smells, and crowds of people normally filling the spaces. It felt surreal, almost spiritual, and most definitely breath-taking.


[All photos above taken with a Canon P&S]

Tina Made Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Why are mashed potatoes considered a holiday dish? They are delicious year round. Just like cranberry jelly in a can, which I really should eat more than once a year. But anyway. Yes, I did make garlic mashed potatoes over the holidays, and have been craving them since. I used this recipe, relying mostly on the accompanying video of Alton Brown himself. I compiled the written instructions with the video instructions, which were a bit different (or maybe just more specific).

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(Sorry for the crappy picture– sometimes, eating is a much bigger priority than stopping to take nice pictures)


  • 3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 16 fluid oz. (2 cups) half-and-half
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4-6 oz. Parmesan, freshly grated

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Crush garlic cloves. Put in a small pot, and poach them in 16 oz. of half and half. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, turn off the heat, and put a lid on it. Wash, peel, and dice your potatoes.

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Soak your potatoes in water for 30 minutes. Then drain the water, put the potatoes in a pot submerged in water (with about 1.5 inches to spare). Add the 2 T of kosher salt, and put them at high heat. As soon as they come to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. While your potatoes are cooking, grate the parmesan cheese.

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The potatoes are cooked when they are crushable with a fork. Drain your potatoes. Mash them with a potato ricer (or use whatever tools you have). Pour in the garlic-cream. Add grated cheese (I ended up using about 4 of the 6 oz., but that’s just personal preference). Mix, and give it 5 min before you eat.

Urgh. So hungry now. Serves 10-ish, no gravy needed!

A Quick Look Back

I know the new year is supposed to be all about looking ahead, but I was looking through my old pictures from 2013 and was fondly reminiscing about some of the good times. A quick look back on 10 highlights, from the year that was keen indeed.

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[January] I played flag football with my church small group against another group (I KNOW. WHO AM I). Even though I was knocked to the ground (always by boys -_-) more times than I actually caught the ball or pulled a flag, it was a surprisingly fun few months of playing. Bonus points for me– I even bought cleats… now collecting dust in my closet.

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[February] Weekend trip with 14 friends to Mammoth! I’ve officially given up snowboarding (I just can’t carve, I can’t D:), so I tried my hand at skiing (second time ever). I stopped falling after a few runs (on the bunny slopes, of course), and successfully made it down 10 runs by the end of the day. It was a weekend full of amazing home-cooked food, (spiked) peppermint hot chocolate, and playing Bananagrams– in a baller cabin. Best.

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[April] The day my mind was blown. Even though I’ve lived in LA my entire life, it was my first time visiting Magic Castle. I can’t describe the experience at all. Just find someone who can get you in and go.

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[May] Los Olivos day trip with my girlfriends. It was a perfect getaway with perfect weather, starting with a picnic on the grass and ending with a stop at the Santa Barbara pier (with lots of wine in between, of course).

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[July] My fifth time in Vegas with the same group of girlfriends for our third bachelorette party– this time for Grace. This crazy picture is from the club Light, and the only feeling I had in Vegas the entire trip was Damn, I’m Old.

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[August] A challenging but memorable week, I went on a mother-daughter trip (singular, without my sister) to Canada and the East Coast (picture above from Philadelphia). I came home with tons of beautiful pictures, and a thankfulness to Jesus that I am now an independent adult who lives not-at-home. :O

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[September] Finished up final bridesmaid duties at Grace’s wedding. We met 10 years ago, during our first few weeks at UCLA. She (and another b-maid, Prisca) lived one floor below me in the dorms, and we hit it off immediately. Exciting to walk alongside her through all these years of change!

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[October] My 2-week trip to Korea was My first time in 7 years, it was a catalyst for my newfound love and appreciation for my extended family, with whom I previously had not kept in touch. It was also an amazing time of bonding with girlfriends, eating like kings, and shopping.


[November] My sister + BIL hosted Thanksgiving, and I actually helped cook for the first time! For better or for worse, I think this is going to be a new tradition. :X


[December] I just really felt the need to end with a Christmas picture. 🙂 This is from my college friends’ 4th annual holiday potluck hosted by Grace and her now-husband Ben. It was a night of tons of laughter as we played Tellestrations, which has become a tradition (and the funniest game ever), drinking games (ack), and ate. And ate and ate.

Okay, an official farewell to 2013. Moving on, moving forward. New memories in 2014 to come, starting now! Peace.