Living in the Little Boxes (on the hillside . . . and they all look just the same).

Once upon a time, light years ago (also known as when I was in high school), I had this journal that asked various questions and one of them was, “what is your biggest fear?”  I wrote that it would be waking up in my 30s, married, with a couple of kids and living in a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, and realizing I had settled.  It wasn’t that I was afraid of being 30, or being married, or having kids or a dog or a picket fence (although I really do not want a picket fence).  I guess I was scared of the possibility of rushing into all of those things we feel we are “supposed” to do, and then waking up one day and realizing I never did the things I wanted to do, or worse, the things I was meant to do.

Enter: 2013.  Here I am: 28, married, no kids yet (but two dogs), and doing something both the husband and I said we never wanted to do: living in a house in the suburbs, in a neighborhood where all of the houses look the same.   Am I living my worst fear?  Have I woken up in a nightmare?  Not a chance!  We absolutely love it.  When we first decided to rent this house we said,  “but we would never buy in a neighborhood like this.  We do not want to live in a neighborhood where all of the houses look the same.”   And now we’re even talked about buying in this area.  I suppose I am like those people who swear they will never drive a minivan, and then the second they are pregnant with baby #2 they hightail it to the minivan dealership.  Luckily for me, I already preempted such crazy behavior by buying a new SUV last month that will accommodate two children and hopefully ward off any crazy “OMG I NEED A MINIVAN” ideas.  Because maybe I can give in to the whole suburbs thing, but I will not give in to the minivan.  😉

Despite the fact that we now live in the suburbs, and love it, we still didn’t think of ourselves as “suburb people.”   I think Dave probably still thinks of himself as a small town kind of person, and I still think of myself as a city girl.  Then, on a plane ride last week on the way back to San Diego, the flight attendant asked us if we lived in the suburbs.  We said yes.  She then asked us if we had dogs.  We said yes.  And then it dawned on us.   Oh my goodness, we are suburb people.  Apparently we not only live in the suburbs now, we also look like and/or act like people who live in the suburbs.  

A short time ago I was single and living in a loft in downtown Los Angeles with a view of city lights and the Staples center.  Now I’m married and living in a house that looks so much like the other houses in the neighborhood that my dad put a soda bottle on the front porch while he was here so he could remember which house was ours after he went for walks.  The only place we can walk is to hiking trails.  We consider driving to the strip mall a couple of miles away “going into town.”  We drive Audis.  We own too many Apple products.  We like wine and cheese.  We subscribe to Sunset and Redbook magazines.  We are kind of like the people I may or may not have made fun of in the past.  We look a lot like a pair of suburban snobs.  Except minus the snob part because I don’t think we’re snobs 😉  Would I change it?  Absolutely not.  I love that I had that time of being a single girl in the city.  But now I love this time of being married in suburbia and planning our grown up lives together even more.

So there you have it.  I’m a suburbs person (suburban person?).  But now this suburban woman needs to get to work.


Goodbye Driving Habits of Yore!

Giraffe Riding Elf on the Shelf for the Car?

Giraffe Riding Elf on the Shelf for the Car?

When I opened the door to my car one morning in early January, I noticed this guy sitting in the driver’s seat.   “I think Santa is trying to tell me to be better about following traffic laws in 2013,” I joked on Facebook.

You see, I had recently received a $400+ ticket for driving 83 in a 65 on the 5 one morning.   A few days before that, I had also narrowly avoided getting a ticket from a red light camera for being too eager to get to that freeway onramp just on the other side.   In San Diego, those tickets are $500.  Y’all, I do like to go fast and I do like to get where I am going as quickly as possible, but I do not like throwing money away.   Especially hundreds of dollars.  Note that my biggest concern here is about wasting money, and apparently not about safety or following traffic laws.   I assume California has figured that out, and that is why the ticket prices are so high.  “You may not care about safety or laws, but I bet you do care about keeping what little money you have left after our high cost of living and tendency to tax the everlivingdaylights out everything possible,” says California.    I was thinking about all of this on the train on my way up to work that morning that I found the Elf in my car.

And suddenly it hit me.  Traffic school.  In the hustle and bustle of the holidays I had completely forgot to take traffic school, and my certificate was due that day!  Panic at the disco!  Or rather on the Amtrak train.  Because that’s where I was.   Luckily I was able to log online and request a 30 day extension.   I signed up for an online traffic school that day and began reviewing some of the chapters.  And then?  I pretty much forgot all about it again.

Traffic school.  Ugg.  In addition to paying an extra fee to the court for the privilege of taking traffic school, you also have to pay the school.  And then you have to sit through painfully boring reading like this:

Your brakes are for stopping the car.  When you want to stop, put your foot on the brake pedal and begin to apply pressure.  You will then come to a stop.”

Seriously?!  How is drawing out every minute detail of how to drive a car going to make me a better driver?  It’s not, y’all.  The point, I assume, is to make it so painfully boring that you “learn your lesson.”  The lesson being not to speed so you don’t get a ticket so you don’t have to sit through traffic school again (rather than not to speed because it is against the law).

Anyway, the point is that last night, after posting my “Goodbye 2012” post, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t finished traffic school.  Talk about an EXCITING Friday night.  If there is one thing I know, it is how to party.  I finished the remaining chapters, took the final exam, and I scored 97%.  I missed one question about when you can enter a bike lane to turn and it is almost driving me crazy enough to look it up.  Almost.  But it’s done!  WOO!

And with that I have also decided to be a more law-abiding driver.  Not just because I don’t want to pay for any more tickets or because I don’t want to take traffic school again.  I realized that I make tons of excuses for my driving.  “Everyone is driving that fast!” “I have a really long commute and it will take me FOREVER if I actually drive 65.” “There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to drive 85 on that long expanse of the 5 through nothingness.  There is nothing dangerous about that!”  I say.  But the bottom line is that I drive that way because I am constantly stressed out and I always think I don’t have enough time.  I thought that getting places faster would make me feel less stressed out, when actually the pressure I put on myself to get places faster stresses me out more.   So I’m going to stop doing that.  I’m going to stop putting pressure on myself to get where I am going in an unrealistic amount of time.  I will leave with plenty of time, drive at safe/legal speeds, and slow down when lights turn yellow rather than speed up.   Hopefully this new plan will not only save me money and time (in terms of the time I spent dealing with the ticket and traffic school), but also make me safer and less stressed.   You win, California.  You always do.

Post-traffic school exam, Dave made a pizza and I made us each a cocktail, which we consumed while watching the very first episode of Matlock, and then we promptly passed out on the couch and woke up at 2 a.m. to go to bed.   Like I said, we know how to party.

Goodbye, 2012.

I have been meaning to get back into blogging again with a “recap of 2012” post, and then I woke up this morning and saw that today is February 1, 2013.  Say WHAT?!  Apparently February 1st is my annual “Hey You, Remember When You Used To Blog?” anniversary.  I still can’t believe that 2012 flew by so fast and here we are all full-force into this 2013 business.   Without further ado, let’s get all caught up on 2012. 

I wish I had been a better blogger in 2012, because it was packed with so many new experiences and fun (as well as not so fun) memories.  It would be impossible to try to go back and recap it all now, but here are just a few highlights:


Dave and I started the year off engaged!

He liked it so he put a ring on it. ;-)

He liked it so he put a ring on it. 😉


I took a weekend trip to Portland to dress shop with my mom & two closest friends.   Picked out my dress within an hour at the first place I went.

A dress that is actually long enough for me.  CRAZY!

A dress that is actually long enough for me. CRAZY! (Excuse the non-flattering look)

I also got to show a little Portland beauty to my native-Texan maid of honor, Krissi (Um, it was cold, y’all.  Note to self:  Don’t go to Multnomah Falls in February.)


Multnomah Falls with Krissi and Rin!

Oh, and approximately 20 years late, that same weekend, I got my ears pierced for the first time.  Click that link to go see the fabulous photo commemorating the event 😉


Dave and I started invisalign.   It was a rough start, but the progress has been amazing.  I wish I would have started sooner!  Click here for more details on getting invisalign and a lovely pic of me getting fitted for the molds.   Apologies for this semi-groddy picture but I am excited about the progress so far.  The top is from around March 2012 and the bottom is from January 2013.  My teeth look even better when not in super-close up mode (so the buttons aren’t quite as obvious).  I am scheduled to be completely done in January 2014.

10 Months In....

10 Months In….

Dave and I also went to Charleston for a wedding (our second trip together) and finally took a carriage tour (LOVED it!).   I am really beginning to understand why those Citadel guys are so obsessed with that city 😉

Our horse... post tour :)

Our horse… post tour 🙂

Me & My Handsome Husband-To-Be at the Boyd-Lynn Wedding :)

Me & My Handsome Husband-To-Be at the Boyd-Lynn Wedding 🙂

Rain on your wedding day is good luck, right? Little did I know.... ;-)

Rain on your wedding day is good luck, right? Little did I know…. 😉


Dave surprised me with a trip to the Wild Animal Park for my birthday, including a giraffe safari ride.   One of the best days of my life!  (for a girl who is obsessed with giraffes!)

<3 <3 <3


We took a long weekend trip to Atlanta to visit Dave’s mom after she had surgery, and threw in some wedding planning and an engagement photo shoot while we were there.  My mom came along for the ride. 🙂

Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.

Stone Mountain, GA.  Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.


Flew by.  It was a whirlwind.  Tons of work.  Tons of wedding planning.  Began trying out the train commute from San Diego-LA.   Hiked this “mountain” with Meghan and Dave and almost died.

Iron Mountain.

Iron Mountain (I thought we were almost to the top before we turned a corner and saw this).


We turned a long weekend in Portland for a bridal shower into an epic Oregon tour with some of our best, non-northwestern friends 🙂  We ate a ton of delicious food, went on a Goonies tour in Astoria, went wine tasting, drove (almost) to Mt. St. Helens, tried Voodoo Donuts for the first time, went to a beer tasting… It was a couple of days packed with fun (and often unintentionally color-coordinated outfits)!


Straight from the airport to Multnomah Falls. Where else??

Beer tasting in Astoria... YUM!

Beer tasting in Astoria… YUM!



Oregon Wine Country.



A crazy amount of work, and finalizing wedding and honeymoon details.  While I booked hotels for the honeymoon, Dave tried his hand at reupholstering some chairs.  To think we almost got rid of this dining set… We LOVE it now!

Before (right), and after (left).

Before (right), and after (left).

Oh, and despite swearing for years that I would rather do pretty much anything other than run… I took up running! 😮

Brand new (girly!!) running shoes 🙂

I started a couch-to-5K program and was up to 2.25 miles shortly before the wedding!  Sadly, due to the craziness of wedding prep, honeymooning, holidays, and various sicknesses… I totally fell off the running bandwagon.  But I really want to pick it up again ASAP.  Even though it makes me want to die.


On September 8, 2012, we tied the knot on Dave’s family’s farm in McDonough, GA!  The week leading up to the wedding and the wedding day itself is deserving of its own separate post.  But for now, a pic!

Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.

Photo courtesy of Curt Collier Photography.


Epic 3 week honeymoon in Europe!  Also deserving of separate post(s)!  Below are pics from Ireland and Rome.  We also went to Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Venice, and London.  More posts to come! 😉







We hosted Dave’s parents and my mom in San Diego for our first married Thanksgiving!  I left the cooking to the seasoned chefs:  Dave and our moms.  I set the table and warmed the rolls.. that counts for something… right??   This trip is also deserving of its own post, so for now I will just leave you with a picture of the food, because, why not??


Thanksgiving Feast


I dubbed it “Christmas Tour 2012.”   We flew from San Diego —> PDX —> ATL —> San Diego.   Also deserving of a separate post.  There were some sad/scary health events, quite a bit of work, and then Dave caught a cold…. But overall it was so great to get to see both of our families for Christmas!

Christmas Day Fashion in McDonough, GA ;-)

Christmas Day Fashion in McDonough, GA 😉

And there you have it.  My 2012 at glance!  Whew… Now I think I need  a nap 😉