Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Bucket List - Progress Check

Wow, can't believe January is almost officially over! I swear the years go by faster and faster.

(Please stop.)

So each month I want to do a progress check on my 2013 Bucket List

For the most part, I'd say January was pretty productive. But in other areas, not so much

Here's the breakdown:

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

-10K Coronado Valentine's Day Race (Feb 17th) - registered

Running has actually been going great, lately! So great that I've committed myself to a preeettyyy lofty 2013 goal. 

In case I haven't mentioned, as of March 1st I'll be officially living with this girl. 

Not only is she an incredible person and friend, but she's a fan-freaking-tastic athlete too. 

{Not to mention she blogs? Match made in heaven, I know.}

So anywho, she turns 26 in October, and her plan is to run 26 miles to celebrate her 26th birthday (aka a full marathon). She told me I should do it with her, and I laughed. 

A lot. 

Until I decided it actually sounds kind of awesome, and I should at least give it a shot. So, the tentative plan is:

10K February
Half Marathon May
Full Marathon October
(+ whatever fun 5Ks I can find in the middle)

Cross your fingers for me?

2. Read 30 books

So far I've read 1 and a half books, so I think it's safe to say that I'm behind on this one. 

But I'm fairly confident that I can pick up the pace!

Follow my progress here.

3. Get a passport

Progress here! Picked up my passport application:

And then realized that I should wait until I've moved so that I can put my updated address. 

So in March, it is!

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

I have a trip in mind, a trip to volunteer in orphanages in Honduras in June. 

No flights book yet! But plans are in motion :)

5. Cross off at least 2 states

This is for my 50 State Challenge.

No flights booked, but various possible trips have been mentioned. 

6. Meet a blogger friend IRL

Again, no flights booked. 

But discussions have started!

7. One spontaneous trip

Yahoo! One I can finally cross off. 

Tahoe: plans were confirmed within 48 hours of leaving. That counts, right?

8. One random act of kindness per month

January: gas station

1 down, 11 to go!

I think this might be one of my favorites to complete. 

9. End the year with 0 balance on credit card

Aaand we get to the saving money goals. 

(These aren't going so hot)

In January, my credit card balance increased by 1%.


10. Double my savings

In January, my savings decreased by 5%.

(Like I said, not so hot.)

So clearly, we can see where I'm struggling. 

Good thing I'm getting my tax return soon?

11. Cut and donate my hair

Yay! I don't totally suck! Another crossed off :)

See here for more before and after pictures!

11. Take Milissa on a sister weekend getaway

Nothing in the books, yet. 

But pretty precious story about this. My sister is 8, for those who don't know. And she just started really reading the Bible (praise the Lord for sparking interest in her little heart!).

So one day she calls me up and goes Amy! I know where we should go on our sister trip!

Me: Where?


How precious is that? 

I told her I'm not quite sure that I can afford that right now, but that we should definitely go together in the future. 

12. Get a blog makeover!

Contacted Amy from the Charming blog, and we will be working on this at the end of February!

Could not be more excited :)

So there you have it!

My progress. 

Or in some cases, lack there of

Excited to see what goes down in February!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time to confess that I'm dating someone

That's right guys, I just can't hide it from you anymore. 

It's time to come clean. 

And you may have noticed when I made a sly reference on Instagram:

It's official, I'm dating Jesus. 

We had the best date at the beach.

And you know what's pretty awesome about dating Jesus?

{Besides the obvious fact that He's the Savior of the world, and all.} 

Apparently, He's got some tight connections with the Man upstairs.

Rumor has it, they're related.

And that means He can pull off the most beautiful sunset to make your date that much more amazing.


Don't be. You can date Him, too!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Too good not to share

Here you go:

Now tell me your day didn't just get a little bit better?

It totally did, right??

You were made to be awesome.

If you watch to the end, you'll see that this video is dedicated to Gabbi, who's fighting cancer
"like a boss."

To hear about someone else kicking cancer's butt, please go here.

A Prayer Request + A Testimony

I've mentioned before that I was saved on a high school church retreat. A summer trip to Catalina, to be exact. 

I was invited by a good friend of mine, Elysia. Elysia and I had been friends since 2nd grade. Growing up, we lived a street away from each other. I spent a significant amount of time at her house, just as she did with mine. We both grew to be very close with each other's families. 

I always knew Elysia's mom, Dawn, to be a strong Christian. I can remember her playing worship music when we would drive in the car. Elysia would say that she could only listen to "normal" music when she was with her Dad, because worship was all that Dawn listened to. 

Any opportunity to bring me along to a church function, Dawn would do it.

I had heard about the Lord many times at this point, and if asked, I would have said yes, I believe in God. 

But Dawn was the first person that I met who was truly on fire for Christ. 

And after everything that this incredible woman has gone through, she is still on fire for Christ.

Dawn and her grandson
Today, Dawn faces a battle with cancer. 

I have asked her if I can share this with all of you. Not only to recruit prayer, but also to provide encouragement. 

So as I'm struggling to find words at this point, I want to instead, share Dawn's with you:

"It's so amazing when you know that God worked through you. 
That's what it's all about -- Jesus working through us,
that's when His presence is the strongest. 
We walk with Jesus and know Him now, 
but when we see Him it is going to be so much more intensely amazing.
At the moments when His anointing is so strong, 
it's only a fraction of what it will be like when we are with Jesus
and we see Him face to face...

I have breast cancer that has spread to my cervix,
it's amazing that this cancer has actually been a blessing in so many ways.
I have never felt the presence, peace and joy of the Lord so strongly.
It's really trusting Him completely. Whatever His plan is, it's okay.
I don't mind going to be with the Lord,
it will be like my own personal rapture --
I just don't want to suffer. 
I think the cancer was instrumental in turning other's lives around
and building commitment and trust in the Lord. 
I wouldn't change anything that has happened. 
God knows what He is doing, His plans are not ours.
I can't imagine life without having Him in it, 
Life is hard.
But when you go through trials, if you lean on Him, 
the trials turn into miracles, answered prayers and blessings."

Please pray for Dawn. 

Pray that God heals her completely of her cancer. That He would provide her with abundant amounts of His peace, comfort and even joy during this difficult time.

And I pray that Dawn's story encourage you that we have a good God

One that can be trusted in all circumstances of life, for not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows. (Matthew 10: 29-31)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Free Glasses, you say?

Was tagged to do a 5 facts post, hence where this came from on Friday:

And it's true, I've got horrible vision guys. 

Unless you saw this post, you probably wouldn't have known. Since that is the only picture on my blog of me in glasses. 

Until now:

When I was contacted by Firmoo, I could not have been more excited to do my first product review on a pair of their glasses. 

If you're a blind bat glasses-wearer like me, then you probably know that paying for prescription glasses can be quite the pain. Especially when you're also investing in contacts. 

Not anymore!

Firmoo offers all customers their first pair of glasses free! You've just got to pay shipping, and bam. You got yourself a pair of super cute glasses delivered right to your door!

And even if you're going to invest in a second pair later on, the prices are still so much cheaper than they normally are! With just as great of quality!

I know where I'll be getting my glasses from now on. 

Check out all of the different cute styles at Firmoo.com.

Happy Monday, lovelies! I've got some good stuff coming for you this week. Get your prayer pants on, cause I'm gonna have some major prayer requests coming your way. So thankful for the incredible gift of fellowship that Blogland has given me.

Love you all.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Girl Behind the Blog - Coffee Date

Okay, first off: Happy Friday!!

Yay for the weekend!!

Today, I'm linking up with 5ohWifey and Rags to Stitches for The Girl Behind the Blog series. It's probably my favorite link up, as I get to see everyone's beautiful faces!! Way to brighten my Friday morning, ladies!! ;)

Without further adieu, here's my lovely vlog:

Oh wait, disclaimer: I apologize in advance for the shaky hands, and does anyone know how to make a YouTube video bigger on your blog? 

5ohWifey came to the rescue as far as the video size goes :)

Okay, now we're ready:

Have a wonderful Friday and weekend, my friends!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

You know you live in Southern California when...

You wake up to pouring rain, and legitimately think to yourself "Does this mean I don't have to go to work today?"

Once you realize that you do in fact, have to go to work today, you start brainstorming what necessities you will be needing to face the situation ahead. 

As if preparing to brave a hurricane, or something.

Instead of Snow Days growing up, you had Fire Days. 

The greatest Natural Disaster that you've lived through was that one time you thought you felt an earthquake.

When watching this video, instead of laughing, you sympathize for Los Angeles:

Okay, maybe I laughed a little too.

Happy Thursday, friends!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Act of Kindness - January

On my 2013 Bucket List, I've got a goal to do one random act of kindness per month.

I have a torn heart about sharing my random acts of kindness. I do not want it to seem like I am doing either of the following:

-bragging about myself for completing these random acts of kindness

-convicting others to do the same

The truth is, I firmly believe that God put this desire in my heart, and I will be praying about each random act of kindness. I will be asking Him to guide me to accomplish what He has chosen. 

And I firmly believe that He is performing these acts, with me simply serving as the messenger. 

So I thought long and hard this morning about if I wanted to share this on the blog. 

And I've come to the conclusion that I do. 

Because this is God's glory that I'm sharing here, not my own. 

The past few weeks, I have been jogging my brain about what to do for my January random act of kindness. Pay for the person behind me in a drive thru? Ask a homeless person what their favorite meal is, and buy it for them? Leave a giftcard at Starbucks for a future customer? 

I thought about using Twitter to reach out to others for ideas. But, ultimately put it off for later in the month, figuring that the right opportunity would present itself. 

This morning, I got into my car for work a few minutes earlier than usual, 6:48AM. Fortunately, the drive to work generally takes about 10 minutes. Some commute, huh? 

As I turned my car on, I realized that I had a completely empty tank of gas. Driving home from Bible study last night, I decided to pull my signature move of procrastinating and leaving the gas for the next morning. 

As I was driving to the gas station (about a minute and a half from my house), I was thinking about Jesus. For whatever reason, it was hitting me very strongly just how good He is. Recently, I've been doing a lot of soul searching of my own. God has been ever so gently revealing to me how sinful my heart is, and how often I have ulterior motives to my actions. 

I was thinking about how Jesus never had ulterior motives. How it was simply impossible for Him to deny His perfect nature.

And then it struck me, how in spite of His beautiful heart for others, we still hated Him. Humans, we're quite special aren't we?

I got out to get gas, and for whatever reason, the idea came upon me to purchase a $20 giftcard to leave for the next person who would walk inside to buy gas. I thought about the measly amount sitting in my bank account at the present moment, and watched the dollar amount raise on my own purchase. 

I couldn't fight it. I knew I was being called to perform my January act of kindness. So in I went to purchase the giftcard. 

The choices were $25, $50 or $100, so I chose the amount closest to my original idea. I went outside to snap a quick picture for my own memory, and walked back in to make my request of the cashier. 

A woman was standing next to me while I asked that the giftcard be given to another customer today, as a random act of kindness. She was simply blown away by the act. Before I left, she asked to shake my hand. 

As I left, I said a prayer. I prayed that the woman realize that she was not asking to shake my hand, but Jesus'. I prayed that all those that were a part of this act recognize the originator behind it. 

And I went to work thinking to myself "This is it. This is what it feels like to be an obedient child of Christ."

Thank you Jesus, for using me in your grand plan. 

I will never understand, but I will be forever thankful. 

Have a wonderful Hump Day, my friends!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God Can

There is so much that I want to post about today. 

Actually, there's been so much that I've been wanting to post about for a while now. But today's not the day to start into the deep stuff.

It's coming, eventually. 

I think 2013 is going to be a year of diving into some raw, real, just plain deep stuff. 

And it's gonna be great, I know it. 

How do I know it? Because it glorifies God. 

And isn't that what we were put on this earth for?

Today, I just want to say that whatever you're facing, invite God in. 

For years, I didn't do that. 

I thought He was too busy. 

No, scratch that. I knew He wanted to be a part of my life. 

But I just wasn't sure if I was ready for that. 

I wasn't sure I was ready to give up everything else for a life of God. Frankly, I was awfully scared of what that would look life. 

What would people think?

How would I ever feel confident and secure in myself if I was supposed to go against nearly every social norm out there these days?

I was scared, guys. Scared of what it would look like to let go of everything I had been clinging to and filling myself with for the last 22 years of my life. 

But I'm on the other side now, and I'm here to tell you that I wish I had made that leap of faith 22 years earlier. 

Yupp, in the womb I tell ya!

He is so good, guys. 

And when I say "I'm on the other side," I mean on 1 out of about 39382378 mountains that I will probably face in this life time. 

But spoiler alert:

God's gonna get me over every. single. one. of those mountains. 

{Can I get an Amen?}

So if you're celebrating something today, celebrate with Him. 

If you're grieving today, grieve with Him. 

Struggling? Give it to Him. 

Confused? Ask Him. 

God can do anything.

And He loves a good challenge. 

I know this, because He picked my heart to change. 

And that, my friends, took years.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Weekend that was Almost the Best Ever

Almost, I tell ya!

Friday night:

Quick run with Madeleine {training for that 10K!}

Had my first skype sesh with L from All Glorious Within. Adore her!!

Night out to our favorite karaoke bar!

Seeing as Gabe is moving to Boston in a mere week (let's not talk about it), Madeleine and I decided to go Gabe hunting. 

AKA drive to both of the bars he said he might be at, hoping to track that boy down. 

Turns out he went downtown.

So of course, being the incredible friends that we are, we followed him. 

Don't worry, he loved it. 


Went on a 6AM run with the lovely Tabitha.

Worked from 8-12, but by "work" I mean met with the board for our Young Employee Success program to plan all of our events for this year. 

My events? A New Hire Trivia Night and the Landshark, which is essentially a pretty epic boat/land tour of Santa Barbara.

Pretty excited to actually plan some events this year. Keep in mind that I just started in October, so let's cross our fingers that my events go well?

(Tabitha's head of all social activities, so gotta make her look awesome!)

As a treat for coming in on a Saturday, we got to go on a wine tasting tour afterwards up in Los Olivos. 

It. Was. Wonderful.

Found out I'm actually pretty good at bocce ball. 

Who knew? 

Madeleine oh-so-generously decided to be my plus one. 

I think we were the cutest couple there. 

At one of the wineries, Sarloos and Sons, there was a cupcake tasting paired with the wine.

By far, the best cupcakes I've ever had. 

After the wine tasting, went to Gabe's going away party where there was a pig roast. 

{I'm sure Jennifer's comment in my above facebook pic makes a looot more sense now, huh?}

And ended the night with some Pitch Perfect and candy. 

{Are you surprised to know that I felt ridiculously sick after all the sweets from the day?... It was worth it.}

If you haven't seen that movie, really do yourself a favor and watch it asap!


Got bagels at our favorite bagel place.

Face Timed for the first time:

Had a wonderful service at church.

Went to watch the Patriots game with some friends. 

And if the Patriots had won, it truly would have been a perfect weekend. 

But you know what, I'll settle for almost perfect. 

How was your weekend?

<<Linking up with Sami's Shenanigans today!>>