Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 Bucket List - Progress Check

Another month down! And it was an amazing month, if I do say so myself!

Surprisingly, I'm actually okay with the time moving at the friggen speed of light. I'm loving every minute of it, and I've got some amazing things to look forward to this year. So if I can't slow down time, I might as well start getting even more excited about the things to come!

Let's take a look at how these goals are going, shall we?

1. Run at least 3 races (any distance 5K and over)

I'm happy to report some major progress on this goal!

Not only have I completed my first race, but I'm now officially registered for 3 more! If all goes as planned, I will have run 4 races by the end of May!

-10K Coronado Valentine's Day Race: Feb 17th / DONE! 54 min, 8:30 mile pace

-5K Los Angeles Run or Dye: March 9th / registered!

-15K San Diego Hot Chocolate Race: March 24th / registered!

-Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon: May 11th / registered!

That's right, going for the Half Marathon goal again. And as cute as that boot looked, let's pray for no stress fractures this time? Wonderful.

2. Read 30 books

So far I've read 2 and a half books, so I think it's safe to say that I'm behind on this one. 

Time to pick up the pace! Maybe try and read two and half books this month versus the one-ish per month pace I've been moving at? 

Cross your fingers for me, and follow my progress here.

(Quick read recommendations always welcome!)

3. Get a passport

Same update as last month, but I'll be all moved by Friday!

That means I can start transferring everything to my new address, and submit my passport application next month! Goal will be to have this bad boy submitted by the end of the month:

4. Travel outside of the country (preferably missions related)

No updates here. Still hoping to swing that Honduras trip in June, will be praying about it!

5. Cross off at least 2 states

This is for my 50 State Challenge.

No flights booked, but one will be very soon! I'll be crossing off Indiana when I go to The Influence Conference in September. More on that in a post coming soon :)

6. Meet a blogger friend IRL

I will officially be meeting so many of my closest blog friends at Influence, and I can. not. wait. 

7. One spontaneous trip

Tahoe: Back in January

8. One random act of kindness per month

January: gas station

February: check! 

God totally came through with leading me to perform my February random act. This one I chose not to share on the blog, but I am simply blown away by how God has been making it so clear what He wants me to do each month. 

Really looking forward to seeing what He has in store for March! :)

9. End the year with 0 balance on credit card

Alright, these next two were where I was slacking last month. Let's see how February went:

In January, my credit card balance had increased by 1% from where it was on January 1st.


At the end of February, my balance is 11% less than what it was at the start of the year. 

I'd call that progress! 

10. Double my savings

In January, my savings account had decreased by 5% from where it was on January 1st.

Again, whoops!

At the end of February, my balance is 2.5% less than where it was at the start of the year. 

So better than last month, but still in the opposite direction of where I want it to go. I've decided to prioritize paying off my credit card bill, since that's where the interest hits me. 

But savings, you better believe I'm still coming for ya!

11. Cut and donate my hair

Crossed off in January.

11. Take Milissa on a sister weekend getaway

Still nothing in the books, yet

We decided this summer would be a good time, since Mil won't be in school. My mom had the great idea that we go to San Francisco, since her and I had a memorable mother/daughter trip there when I was around Mil's age. 

I'm all for that idea, considering one of my most favorite people in the whole world lives there!

12. Get a blog makeover!

Amy, from the Charming blog, and I just began this process! I am so excited about it, and can't wait until we have the final result!

If you're ever considering doing a blog makeover, I'd highly recommend Amy! One: she's got an awesome name. And two: she is a fabulous designer! And a breeze to work with!

So there you have it!

My progress. 

Or still, in some cases, lack there of

March, let's do this!

<Bucket List progress tracked here>

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


On Monday I mentioned that I went to a Women's Conference this past weekend, and yesterday I blogged about how I met your mother Sherry

What do these things have in common? Well, Sherry is the friend who invited me to the Women's Conference! And boy, am I glad that she did!

There's just nothing like a room full of women who love God. 

I walked in knowing no one (I got there before Sherry), and was greeted with so many hugs and warm smiles. I gave up on the whole hand shake thing, because clearly these were hugging ladies. 

Which was wonderful because so am I

The theme of the conference was Priceless, which is exactly what the weekend was. 

Every single message spoke straight to my heart. Every. single. one. 

We discussed the priceless promises of our God, and specifically how Jesus promises us that there is only one thing worth caring about on this Earth. And no, it's not food or work or exercising or cleaning or any of the other things that I tend to stress about on the reg. 

It's our Heavenly Father

And Jesus took this one step further and promised that time spent with our Heavenly Father will not be taken away from us. After all, spending time worrying about things of this world will never add to our life, will it? But time with Jesus will!

We got a renewed sense of priceless perspective. Those problems that we face on an every day basis? Believe it or not, we can choose to be thankful for those problems and consider them priceless. Why? Because problems in your life can bring you closer to Jesus.

And it's a lot easier to keep that positive mindset as your facing your problems when you're facing them with your priceless partners

Hey all you wonderful blogger friends! You better believe that you are some of my priceless partners :)

We studied the priceless peace that Jesus can give us, and reminded ourselves how appreciative we should be of this peace that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. 

We are called to be peace makers, but in order to be this, we need to first accept the peace that comes from our Savior. 

At the end of the weekend, we were all returning home with some more priceless passion for our incredible calling to be a part of our Father's kingdom. 

And not only that, but I returned home with many wonderful new friends. 

So thankful for our amazing God. His unfailing love is priceless.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Story of a Friendship

Has there ever been a time where a new friend has walked into your life, and you just know the friendship is a gift from God? 

This seems to be happening more and more lately, and I just am blown away by how much God loves us and desires for us to have community

Meet Sherry:

I'm going to tell the story of how I met Sherry, because it's a pretty unique one. 

In order to be told fully, I have to go back to a friend of mine, Jorge. Jorge and I went to college together, and we both were in the same major (Math/Econ, aka the cool kids on campus). Our major was fairly small for our ginormous college, so a handful of us got pretty close as we baaarely made it through our last Math and Econometrics courses. 

We would spend hours cramming for those midterms and finals, and making up answers to homework assignments that we were lucky if we understood the question correctly. 

In those hours, not once did faith come up in conversation. I certainly wasn't living as a Christian would at that time, so why would it?

About 6 months after college, I started falling in love with Christ. I didn't want to keep the news to myself, but I wasn't quite sure how to share it with others. So I did the most logical thing I could think of: I started posting about it on facebook. 

And each time I'd post something in those first few months, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about the response that it would receive. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about what people would think. 

I was always so excited when someone I didn't expect would "like" or comment on a status. It was a reminder to me of how God is so much bigger than I think He is, capturing so many other hearts each and every day. 

Jorge was one of those people that consistently "liked" those comments. And after the two of us finally connected for lunch one day, I found out that God had been pursuing Jorge's heart since graduating, just like He had been with mine. 

Jorge invited me to a Bible talk that he was leading, and there, I met a senior who was applying for a position at the company where I worked. 

Her name was Sherry. 

I told Sherry that I would love to help her in any way that I could, so we exchanged a few e-mails in the week that followed. But months went by, and I didn't hear anything from her. Nor did I see her lovely self at work, so I assumed something else was in store for her. 

That is, until my boss mentioned that we had hired someone new in our department. This was months after that Bible talk, so I had to dig into my archived e-mails to double check before realizing that Miss Sherry herself was about to join my team!

I was so excited to have another Christian on my team. I loved that Sherry brought her Bible to work like I did, and was so inspired by her bible verse sticky notes that she posted around her cubicle. 

I was encouraged by the confidence that Sherry carried. It was so apparent to me that her identity was solidified in Christ, that she lived her life to bring Him glory. She was most definitely an inspiration to me. 

Little did I know, it wasn't in God's plan for us to work together for very long. 

(You can read all about my God driven career change here.)

On our very first lunch date, I told Sherry that I had given my notice and would be leaving in the next few weeks. 

As God would have it, that was our first of many lunch dates. 

Out of all of my coworkers from within my department at my last job, Sherry, the one who I spent the least amount of time working with, is the one who I have kept in touch with the most. 

It felt good to leave knowing that another Christian was filling my shoes. And it felt really good to leave with an excellent example of what it looks like to bring Christ into your workplace.
(Thanks, Sherry!)

My new cubicle is now covered in Bible verse sticky notes. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Girl Behind the Blog Vlog!

Hayy friends! It's that time of the month again, Girl Behind the Blog link up time!

{My fav}

I prepared a lovely vlog for you all today. Complete with the very fashionable "I just left the gym and have not done a thing to fix myself" look. 

You guys don't mind, right? 

Oh, and also, I should probably learn to count. This would definitely be the 4th time I've linked up, not 3rd. Whoops!


I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I spent mine at a women's conference down south in Ventura. 

It was ahhhmazing. I swear, God always nails it with these things, doesn't he? Can't wait to recap more tomorrow :)

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prayer Chain

A few days ago, I texted one of my best blog friends seeking some prayer. I had really felt like I needed prayer over a particular area of my life, so I reached out to Melissa knowing that she would be fully willing and excited to pray for me. 

I am constantly amazed by the friendships God brings into my life to help me grow stronger in my walk with Him. Melissa is absolutely one of those friends. 

And little did I know, God had more in store for our friendship :)

Please ignore my typos, clearly I was just TOO darn excited to pay attention to my quick fingers.

Within a few more texts and e-mails, we were ready to bring Melissa's idea to life, and the Prayer Chain idea was born. 

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. 
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them 
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 

James 5: 13-14

Our vision:

We both have felt it placed upon our hearts to create a weekly link up where bloggers can come together to form a prayer network. 

Going through a rough time? We would love to pray for you. 

Seeing God work in wonderful ways in your life? We would love to praise the Lord with you. 

Feeling as though you need God's counsel? We want to ask God to lead you. 

Struggling with sin? We want to pray for you. 

How can you get involved?

The Prayer Chain link up will take place every Sunday, starting March 3rd. 

Come, join us and share your heart. Prepare a post with some prayer requests. Or let us know what praises you have for your week. 

We want to know how God is moving in your life. And how we can be praying for you in your walk with Jesus. 

And while you're here linking up? We ask that you find one fellow blogger that you can commit to praying for through out your week. 

Feeling led to pray for more than one person? Please do!

Melissa and I will commit to praying for each and every person that links up. So please come back and keep us updated on your requests and praises!

We are so excited, and most definitely feel the Lord's hand in this. So please do spread the word, and come back on March 3rd with your requests for our first link up!

Sweet Home Santa Barbara
Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

For the Newbies

Oh, hello there!

I've been seeing some new folks around here lately (couldn't possibly have anything to do with the ginormous giveaway that I'm a part of, could it?), so I figured it's time for a good old get to know Amy post. 

It might be hard to dig up some new material, since we had this post not too long ago, but I'll see what I can do. 

Sweet Home Santa Barbara is the definition of a lifestyle blog. In its year and a half of existence  it's gone through about as many phases as seasons in a year. 

But according to Santa Barbara weather, that would be 2. 

Basically, as my life has changed, so has this blog. And as I've gotten to know myself better, bloggy here has gotten more consistent. 

My favorite thing to blog about is my faith. In the last year and a half, my relationship with Jesus has become the center of my life. So naturally, that's going to take the front seat in Blogland, too. 

In the past few months, I've been switching gears from cooking to fashion. 

Hoping to get my butt back in the kitchen to try out some more recipes, but for now it seems like my passion is in taking seriously professional quality outfit pics. And getting all sorts of hashtag happy with #ootd.

Now don't all jump at once to ask me to schedule a photo session for you. 

I'll bring the iPhone, you bring the weird lighting. And before you know it I'll have some of these top notch quality photos for you, too!

I also like to blog about my adventures with running, the love/hate relationship that is predominantly love these days. 

But back last year when my good friend running landed me in this lovely boot?

Well, it's safe to say it wasn't as much of a loving relationship then.

I also like to travel, and have some pretty lofty goals, both nationally and internationally

Any new readers happen to be loaded and want to foot the travel bill? 

No? Well, a girl can dream. 

Just like I can dream about my future husband, and how wonderful we will look together:

One day, one day those dreams will come true. 

But until then, this girl's got her heart set on the big Man upstairs. And I'd say that relationship's going pretty darn well for me ;)

Well, enough about me. Tell me about you!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Running for Daisy

Yesterday, I posted the news that sweet Daisy has passed away. First of all, thank you all for your sweet comments and prayers. I am certain that they will be felt by all. 

Some of you mentioned that this was the first you had heard about Daisy. You can read more about her through older posts, or check out the Pray for Daisy website for more information on this beautiful girl and her story. 

This past weekend, I was in San Diego for my Valentine's Day 10K. A few weeks ago, God put it on my heart to dedicate this run to Daisy. I now understand why. 

I posted this shortly after my run:

And I seriously struggle now to find the words. 

It was so good. 

For those that are new around here (hi!), I have never been a runner. I up and decided to train for a half marathon last year, and ended up getting myself a stress fracture


So I made the only logical decision here, and decided to start all over again this year from square 1. Fingers crossed for no injuries!

Training for this race was so different than training for my half. Yes, probably because a 10K is half the distance. But a lot of other things felt different too. 

I guess I just didn't stress as much about it this time. I was training with a friend who had never run before (so proud of her!), so we took things very slow. The most we ran before the 6.4 mile race was 3.5 (ish) miles, at an 11:30-12:30 minute average pace including walking breaks. 

This was very different from the training routine I had for last year's half marathon, and I noticed a huge difference in my confidence level. 

Each time we would stop to walk, I didn't feel like I needed to. When we decided to go at our own pace for the actual race, I decided to just run my little heart out at a pace that felt good, going as far as my body wanted to without stopping. 

Well that pace that felt good? Ended up being an 8:30 mile time.

And that "going as far as my body wanted to?" Ended up being the entire race. 

My ideal goal was to run at a 10:00 pace, finishing just around an hour.

I ended up finishing at 54 minutes, placing 8th in my age group. 

Me! The non runner that I am!

Crossing that finish line? Best feeling ever. 

Not to mention I was pretty blessed with some amazing cheerleaders!

The entire race, I could not stop thinking about how this run was for Daisy. And it made me realize something. I don't want it to stop with this race. 

I want to run all my races for Daisy. 

And I want to invite you to do the same! I know some of you have running goals of your own, so if you've got it on your heart, I'd love for you to run for Daisy with me!

I decided to use a hashtag on Instagram, running4daisy. I'm going to continue to use it, and if you're documenting your own running experiences, please go ahead and spread the hashtag love.

It doesn't have to be pictures from a race, any run is worthy of running for Daisy. I want to celebrate the healthy, strong, beautiful bodies that we have been blessed with by giving glory to her memory. 

Remember her strength as you are building your own.

Happy Humpday, dears! Make it a great one. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


My heart is so heavy, I don't even know how to begin this post. 

That face. That beautiful face has captured the world. Her story has spread like wildfire from city to city. Country to country. Continent to continent. 

And it is not a story of a typical 8 year old girl. Nor is it a story of sickness or disease

Are those things a part of her story? Yes. But they are not the heart of her story. 

Daisy's story is one of faith. Of strength. And of courage

A story of shining for God's glory even on your toughest days.
No matter how tough. 

And that face, that beautiful face, is now up in Heaven staring into the eyes of our Savior. 

That gorgeous girl is now cancer and pain-free, resting in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. 

And while her time here may have come to an end, I am 100% confident that her impact here is only just beginning. A light that bright doesn't fade quickly. 

Because Daisy had the light of her Savior inside of her, and that light will continue to shine. 

Please pray. Pray for the Merrick family. For our church family. For all of those around the world mourning this tragic loss. 

Pray for God's comfort that surpasses understanding. 

And if you would, join us for an International Day of Prayer, the Day for Daisy Love.

Daisy and her family have taught me that prayer changes things

We might not understand why the outcomes are the way that they are, but thankfully we have a God that we can fully trust because of His goodness and faithfulness. 

Daisy and her family have taught me that we can rest in God's promise that He will be with us

And they have shown me that His presence is enough. 

But join with me as I pray that in this season of life, they are given more than just what's enough. Pray with me that they will be abundantly showered in His love. His comfort. His presence. 

And we can thank Him in advance for what He will do with this story of our sweet Daisy Love. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Quote and an Outfit

I have so much to write and so little time. So today, I leave you with a quote for your day:

Quote found from this pin.

And this, my friends, is what I call a Monday outfit:

Shirt: High School
Vest: Thrifted
Pants: Wet Seal
Shoes: Uggs
Glasses: Firmoo

Happy Monday, friends!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

College & Textbooks

When I first started college, I had no idea how much my parents were providing for me. 

Tuition? Pretty obvious. 

But there are so many other added expenses that went along with it. 

Rent. Food. Gas. Laptops (if you're as clumsy talented as me, you went through multiple in your college career).

And good old fashioned school supplies. 

Except when you get to college, your school supplies jump from the $1.99 spiral notebook from Staples, to the $300 math textbook from the school book store. 

Say whaaat?

Mom and Dad may have covered the bill for the majority of my years in school, but by my last few quarters, they started teaching this girl some financial responsibility. 

AKA: I was on my own, and not super stoked about it. 

Clearly I didn't want to fork up all of my savings to books that I'd only be using for a few months, so I needed to get creative. 

This is where online shopping skills came in handy! And here you thought it was just a dangerous habit. is a company that lets you order your books online for a much better deal, like what I did!

With free shipping, there's not much to lose except for that dent in your savings account that would be there had you not gone online. 

And I think we can all agree that we're better off without that dent, anyhow! even has an additional site where you can go to rent your books out to other students, and while you're at it, make some extra cash!

I think my favorite part about this company, is the fact that they have a giving heart. This year, they are donating over 1,000 life saving cleft lip surgeries through their partnership with Operation Smile

And you can read all about their Making a Difference movement here.

For my readers who are still in school, I would absolutely recommend saving yourself some money with

Or even making yourself some money with!

Happy Saturday, friends!

I'm home in Sweet Home San Diego for my 10K! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, 
& can't wait to be back on Monday to share all about the race!