Thursday, October 29, 2015

First Anniversary Adventures!

Hey everyone!

The title says it all; here's what we did on our first anniversary!

I was actually really anxious the night before and I had a hard time falling asleep, so when I was woken up at 5:45am by a huge crash in our closet, I had only gotten about three and a half to four hours of sleep. We keep our walk in closet open at all times because we keep the cats' litter in there and I've been feeling lately that my side of the closet is quite heavy and might collapse (Patrick has clothes on his side but I keep things like photos, purses, my sewing machine, etc. up on top of the shelf, adding extra weight). Worried that one of the cats might be underneath the collapse, I jumped out of bed right behind Patrick and ran to the closet.

Thankfully our shelves did not collapse like I thought and no kitties were harmed in the process. In our old apartment I didn't like the shower rod in the master bathroom so we replaced it with one of those extendable ones. When we moved out, we brought it with us. For a while I couldn't think of what to do with it until one day I decided to put it up pretty high in our closet as an extra storage rod for all of the hangers that we don't use on a regular basis. Then when Patrick bought me one of those hanging organizers with cubbies for all of my yarn, I stuck that on there too. The other day I decided I was going to try to move the bar up slightly so I loosened it. I didn't have enough arms to hold the rod up and also move it up and tighten it, so I tightened the bar back up-- just apparently not well enough. So the floor of our closet was covered in hangers and yarn. Who knew that yarn was so heavy?

At this point I was too wide awake from the craziness to go back to sleep, so I just stayed up.

After Patrick and I did our morning routines (which are comprised mainly of a lot of catching up on social medias), we decided to do presents.

My gift for Patrick
My present to Patrick was a nightmare to get done, honestly. We had decided to stick to the traditional gift list that has been around for quite a long time and go with the given gift material for our first anniversary: paper. I struggled with an idea for him until I realized that puzzles are totally made of paper and Patrick LOVES puzzles, so I ordered a custom puzzle for him. I chose my favorite photo of us that was taken on New Year's Eve 2014 by our friend David Bedno and after a fiasco regarding pixels per inch, I went with Ravensburger on a whim. I had originally planned on going through a smaller, less known site but they rejected the image I uploaded and I had to scramble to find an alternative.

I truly thought that our anniversary was ruined after yet another fiasco in which my bank account was overdrafted. Because our accounts are linked, Patrick can see my account info but since he knew I had ordered his gift, I asked him not to look at my bank statement so he wouldn't ruin the surprise. Unfortunately that is unavoidable when your account is suddenly -$5!

Apparently Ravensburger does a "test charge" and charges you the full amount of your purchase immediately after you purchase it and then they cancel the charge. The point of this is to make sure that you have the funds in your account, however I was not made aware of this and I thought that the money had been taken out of my account and that was that. I didn't notice that they had put it back in because it took the bank several days to cancel  hold on the funds that they charged and then cancelled. Then when the puzzle was actually shipped, Ravensburger re-charged me, but I had thought that the charge had already gone through and I had less in my account than the value of the purchase so my account was overdrafted. To say I was livid was an complete understatement because Patrick had seen the charge from his favorite puzzle brand and clearly knew that he was getting a puzzle for our anniversary. However, he didn't know that you could order custom puzzles and was completely surprised by his gift regardless!

*Though I'll include this statement in my Facebook post because I don't believe either of these people read my blog, I wanted to give a huge shout out and a million thank you's to David Bedno, who graciously allowed me to have the full-sized image of the photo he took of us, free of charge, when I know full well that he would have been completely within his rights to charge me the rights to use his work. A second thank you to Christopher Grafton, who was ready and willing to re-size the image to the specs that the first puzzle company required before I had to switch companies! 

I'm sure I'll post a photo of the puzzle when we've finished it, but here is the custom tin with the puzzle inside! I even got to name the puzzle, which I named "I Love You Always, Forever" after the Donna Lewis song. I change my the description on my Twitter account to a new quote that I like every single Tuesday and last year, the morning of our wedding, I changed it to "I love you always, forever" in honor of our wedding later that day. I thought it was an appropriate title :)

Patrick's gift(s) to me
Patrick's presents to me were just as complicated if not more! He had the perfect gift idea for me but didn't know if the item would get here in time so he got a backup present as well, therefore I got two presents!

Patrick's first gift to me (my "backup" present) was something he knew that I've been wanting for years-- a manual typewriter! I am now the proud owner of a Smith-Corona Super Sterling manual typewriter! It is is complete working condition and even comes with its original owner's manual, correction tape, and the original key to lock the box. I'm so in love with it! It's heavy and it smells old and it's just absolutely perfect. He had to hunt down an antiques store after we moved here because he simply hadn't had time to do so while we still lived in California and then he had to hunt down a working typewriter in the store. To find one in 100% working condition with all of the original parts is a rarity, to say the least. Bonus: It's a pretty color, yay!!!!!

"Happy first anniversary!"

I definitely need some practice with it to learn to use it a little faster but it is perfect and gorgeous and will be fantastic for things like the hand-made cards I tend to make. Why use teeny tiny stamps with letters that look like typewriter letters when you can use a REAL TYPEWRITER?! Excuse me while I go write all of you letters. Expect snail mail, people.

My second gift, the original gift Patrick had been planning, came with quite the story behind it. To date, I think it's the most special thing anyone has ever given to me as a gift simply because of the effort and thought put behind it.

Many, many months ago, I was scrolling on Tumblr and I ended up finding the most incredible set of images. It was a full post of the images from a stand-alone comic called "Hearts for Sale". The story was so simple and beautiful that it brought me to tears. I tried to find where to purchase a physical copy of the comic with no luck-- to my devastation, they were no longer in print.

Patrick remembered that comic and got in contact with the author herself-- in Germany, no less-- and she had a single copy printed just for him. They were both nervous that it wouldn't get here in time, but thankfully it did and I am now in possession of a signed copy of the most beautiful comic I've ever seen and the only printed copy in its edition. Even now I'm getting choked up remembering the lengths that Patrick and this complete stranger-- thank you Julia!-- went to in order to give me the perfect anniversary gift. All day yesterday I kept going to it, picking it up just to hold it, and the putting it down. I must have read it a dozen times (with the binding hardly even cracked so I can keep the integrity of the pages).

You can read the Hearts for Sale comic HERE and you can purchase the eBook format HERE. Prepare to cry. 

The front cover

The signed inside of the front cover

The back cover

After we exchanged presents it was still quite early. Patrick had planned on going to Fred Meyer (a store chain here) to get new drip pans for our stove, however since I was awake I decided to go with him. There we bought several random things including a zip up sweater for me (a real knitted sweater with pockets and a zipper-- how strange and lovely!), a salad spinner, the drip pans we needed, Benadryl, throat lozenges, a few different types of salad and dinner condiments, etc. Like an old married couple, we love just walking through stores and looking at stuff!

When we left from there, I wasn't feeling all that well and I decided to take a nap to catch up on sleep from the night before. I've been having a lot of what seem to be allergies or the start of an illness/cold for the past couple of days and I've been sneezing and sniffling like crazy, so I took a Benadryl and climbed into bed.

We've been on a low-carb diet for the past few weeks and I have been very, very strict about my diet. I feel that I'm the type of person that has to go "all or nothing" in a diet change because if I feel like I'm eating "bad food" (replacement junk food like Atkin's "candy bars" and sugar-free candies and "replacement" bread) then I'll want other bad food and junk food, so I've been sticking to the basics-- a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed meats, etc.... basically stuff that hasn't been processed and no "sugar free" sweets or anything like that so my mind isn't tricked into thinking it's not on a diet because that was the downfall of my will power last time we tried to go low-carb. However, I've been skipping the "cheat days" that most people tend to have once a week but I gave in to one day of extravagance for our anniversary. Today it's back to the grind, but yesterday  after my nap I woke up to Zoup! Bless his soul, Patrick got my favorite Zoup! soup, Chicken Pot Pie, while he was out during my nap. It was perfect on that cold, rainy day, especially after I've been sneezing non-stop for over 24 hours and my throat was a little raw!

Ever since Patrick went to that antique mall to get my typewriter he has been wanting to take me there, however he didn't want to take me before I opened my present in case I figured out his present idea or directly asked for a typewriter myself while I was there. Now that I had opened my gifts, we went to the antique mall to mosey around and check out what they had. It was all really cool!

When we got home, I pulled our my typewriter in order to learn how to use it while Patrick took a short nap. Later he took me out to dinner at, and I quote, "the best Italian place in town", Giovanni's! Since we've been laying off the carbs and today was the one cheat day I allowed myself, of course I ate as many carbs as I could stomach! It was all quite authentic (at least, much more so than Olive Garden or Strings-- or even Mamma Mia's or East Side Mario's, for all of you Livonians out there). I don't even like red sauce but the red sauce on Patrick's dish was incredible. You could even see the hand-pressed fork marks on my hand-made gnocchi. We were both super impressed-- and super full!-- by the time we got home.

The decorative map above our booth at the restaurant

These were the BEST mozzarella sticks, in my opinion. Patrick was indifferent.

My gnocchi (tied for first place as my absolute favorite pasta dish... the other is pierogi and, as a Pole, that's basically my bread and butter) in a delicious parmigiana cream sauce. You know something is good when even I don't put salt on it!

Patrick's cannelloni

Our dinners came with salads (not pictured but definitely devoured) and delicious garlic bread!

Across the street from Giovanni's is the Beaverton Bakery. In the window of their second floor, we have Betty Boop doing a Marilyn!

Awesome clock just in front of the Beaverton Bakery

Although dinner was delicious, it's back to the diet tomorrow! Today was absolutely amazing and so much better than I had ever imagined. I loved celebrating such a special day with the most important man in my life and I couldn't have asked for more! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

First Wedding Anniversary!

Hey guys!

Most of you probably won't remember this off of the top of your head because we announced the big news over two months after we had actually tied the knot, but today is our first wedding anniversary!

I have to say, the first year of marriage wasn't as rough as people tend to say it will be. We definitely had our fair share of sickness and health (and also richer and poorer)! In the last year we've dealt with a lot-- Patrick's leg injury, lots of travel, living in a place that made us miserable, the loss of a kitty and the gain of another one, losing my childhood home, watching an 18 year friendship crumble, worrying about sick family members, moving to a different state where we know a total of four people, my hidradenitis: small disasters, large disasters, and little victories, the list goes on and on.

But the one thing that I know I can say for sure is that, like any good couple would, we stood together in the face of everything that came our way. Every relationship and every marriage is different, but I know that we did what was right for us by eloping. If I'm honest, I actually love the cliche that comes with "We got married in Vegas," because I know that if only one Vegas marriage succeeded, it would be ours.  We are stronger together after this first year of marriage than we have ever been and I have never been more happy or more in love.

I want to thank those of you who have stood by my/our side during this very long process. Through announcing that I was moving to California, announcing my engagement, and announcing our elopement, I have heard nothing but joy and well wishes from almost all of my family and friends. Of course, some of you (and others, of course, who won't read this) were disappointed that you weren't able to attend our ceremony, but I've thought a lot about it and I know that it was the right decision for us.

Most of all, I want to thank my husband, Patrick, for being there to hold my hand through every walk of life. I obviously couldn't have done this without him because, well, without him there would have been no marriage in the first place.

So, without sounding even more like a sappy love story, I'll end this blog here with a statement that sums it all up:

Patrick, I love you more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'll Be Home For Christmas! (And I'm Bringing Patrick With Me!)

Hey guys!

I have some super exciting news! It's been in the works for a while now, but as you can probably tell from the title, I'll be home for Christmas!

I made the decision this past summer to skip my usual 6-month visit home so that I could save the airline points for two tickets home for one trip. That's right, Patrick is finally coming with me! (Cue the laughter of the Californians that know Patrick, because he will most likely have to deal with ice and snow)

Patrick still has yet to meet my family (except for my mother, my best friend's mom, and my other best friend who came with me on the roadtrip to California). The intention was to have him meet them just before our wedding that we had planned for last May, however we didn't end up going through with that event so we had to figure out a way to get him to Michigan with me.

Some of you may know that I fly using the airline miles that Patrick racks up when he flies all over the place for work (so that we aren't paying out of pocket for my plane tickets). This is useful because, as a general rule, all plane tickets cost the same number of points (it just depends on the distance you go) and the price does not depend on the time of year. I say this because it is a key reason why I didn't come home this summer-- that way we could use points for both tickets home for Christmas and not have to pay out of pocket for a holiday ticket, which is quite pricey. Last time I looked at trying to come home for the holidays, the ticket was nearly $1,000. Just for one person.

So when will I be back? My flight gets in pretty late in the day on Thursday, December 17th, 2015 and, because Patrick is travelling not from home but from another state (that he will have been working in), he arrives a couple of days later. Both of us leave quite early on Thursday, December 31st, 2015, so basically I have from the 18th through the 30th to spend time with family and friends.

********I do want to make a very important note: PLEASE NO GIFTS. This is because Patrick and I will not be able to fit extra stuff in our luggage on the way home and we don't want to have to pay to ship anything anyone might want to give us. If you absolutely insist on a gift, please ship it (or have it shipped) to our place in Oregon (just ask me for the address) so that we can open it when we get home and not have to worry about it on the way back. Travelling during the holidays is already going to be stressful and the possibility of having to probably buy an entire suitcase when we get there in order to bring stuff back with us on the plane is a whole situation that we would rather not have to deal with. Getting to see you is a gift in itself! Please don't get us a gift assuming that you'll be the only one and that it will definitely fit in our luggage-- if everyone thinks that way, we'll end up with the whole suitcase thing and I needn't have even said any of this, you know what I mean?********

On our schedule so far is Christmas Eve with my dad's family, Christmas Day with my mom's family, and a trip to Frankenmuth (because Patrick needs to experience Bronner's and Zehnder's, don't you think?). Patrick does have to work for three days towards the end of our trip, however those days are reserved for things that Patrick wouldn't necessarily like to do with me, such as a sleepover with my sisters! I'm also going to need a Jet's deep dish pizza with light sauce, extra cheese, and bacon, with side of Jet's bread and a lot of ranch. Like, enough ranch for at least ten people (but obviously just for me). :P

I'm beyond excited and actually quite emotional because I haven't spent the Christmas holidays with my family in two years (not to say that our Christmases here aren't awesome-- Check out Christmas 2013 and Christmas 2014!), but it will be nice to finally get together with the people I haven't been able to see because I normally only see them around the holidays.

So that's it! That's the plan! If you'd like to schedule something with us or if you've been dying to meet my boyfriend, then fiance, and now husband, please let me know and we can plan a lunch or dinner or something!

Michigan, I'll see you in 65 days!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Halloween/Autumn DIY & Decor

Hey guys! So I am finally getting around to making a post about my Halloween/fall/autumn decor which I am super excited about. It's so awesome to finally have space to decorate (since we now have enough storage space to store things instead of putting everything we own out on display). Most of my decorations are more seasonal rather than Halloween themed because I wanted to put them up early and leave them up through Thanksgiving. The fall decor will come down when the Christmas decor goes up! A lot of this stuff I did purchase as-is from stores like Joann's (which thankfully has an awesome 50% off sale on most of their fall/Halloween stuff right now) but I did make a few things that I'm quite proud of, so here it is! :)

Our front door

Bloody sticky letters/window decals (Dollar Tree)

Our breakfast nook decor

Halloween 3-wick candle holder (Bath and Body Works)

32 lbs of pumpkin goodness (Lattin's). I'll be carving this one in 2.5 weeks or so. 

Our other pumpkins (also from Lattin's)

Our dining room decor

Leaf Garland (The Craft Warehouse)

Pumpkin wreath (Joann's)
We made the decision not to hang this awesome piece on our front door because we had concerns about the neighbors and their sticky fingers. Even though they have moved out by now, we both actually really like the wreath there and will probably put any Christmas wreath that we might get this year in this spot as well.

"Happy Haunting" chalkboard pumpkin (designed & painted by me) and tiny straw owl (both Joann's)

 Our living room cabinet decor

Ceramic pumpkins (Dollar Tree)

Candy jar filled with tiny leaves (both from Craft Warehouse) and tiny gold & cream colored acorns (Target), assembled by me. The hay/straw wrapping and bow made by me (Dollar Tree). 
I will probably remove the bow and innards of this jar and use it for other occasions as well! Tiny christmas bulbs would look so cute in here, no?

What the jar is filled with

 Burlap pumpkins (Joann's) 

"Table runner" (made by me from place mats, burlap, silk leaves, burlap leaves & flowers, and one single pinecone that came with the leaves-- everything but the burlap from Dollar Tree, which was probably from Michael's)

I'm sure both Patrick and our bank account hope that I'll stop where I am with this (I probably will just so that I have more room to add to the decor in the coming years) but if I add anything else, I'll be sure to edit this post and then re-post the link on Facebook! I hope you think it's as rustic and pretty as I do!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lattin's Cider Mill Adventure!

Hey guys! As promised, I'm super excited to share with you images from our trip to Lattin's Cider Mill!

After living in Michigan for 21 years, just a short drive from fantastic cider mills like Parmenter's, I suppose you could say I was spoiled in some ways by the quick and easy access to cider and donuts every time the leaves started to fall. Even if we didn't make a huge outing of it, every year, without fail, my family would always make our way to the cider and donuts so we could munch happily for a couple of days, even if it meant we just drove up the road to Wilson's Barn.

Moving to California meant that I lost this connection with cider mills (and, quite frankly, with the different seasons since California is so mild. No crunching leaves there!). For two very, very sad years I went without any semblance of the fall weather that I'm used to and no cider and donuts. It's a pathetic way to live, let me tell you. Californians have no idea what they're missing.

However, now that we live in Oregon, we do live within driving distance of a real cider mill! Unfortunately most "cider mills" in Oregon are actually breweries for hard ciders and beer (because beer and coffee are both really big around here-- shhhh, don't tell the Oregonians that I don't drink either of these things), but we were lucky enough to find a real cider mill in Olympia, Washington just a couple of hours away!

After a lengthy car ride (which was worth it!) we arrived at Lattin's Cider Mill and found that it was much more than we had been expecting! In fact, being the cider mill aficionado that I clearly am (as all southeast Michiganders are), I would go as far as saying that it was even better than any cider mill I've ever been to! Gasp! I know, I know, I'm a traitor. But you'll see why!

Lattin's Attractions:

  • Farm animals that you can feed by hand
  • Lots of local vendors that sell great things like hand-made jewelry, bags, and candles
  • Food trucks
  • Bounce houses (for the kids)
  • Fresh local produce
  • Apple fest!
  • A huge store filled with homemade artisan products such as pies, soups, canned goods (real canned goods, aka stuff preserved in jars), etc. 
  • A pumpkin patch
  • A corn maze
  • Animals for sale
  • CIDER. AND. DONUTS. They have regular apple cider but they also have blackberry apple, raspberry apple, and strawberry apple cider! They were all great!
We met up with Patrick's sister and brother-in-law, Renee and Jake, for the fun times! We had a wonderful time with them feeding the animals (I tried it and found that it was horrible because I already hate goats and sheep, but they're the easiest to feed, so I gave Patrick my animal food), shopping around, having lunch, and picking out pumpkins. We also brought home some fantastic produce and snacks!

Please excuse the captions on some of these. I downloaded them from my Snapchat Story and there is no way to remove the text.

Ducks for sale! They were selling ducks, chickens, and bunnies here! Very tempting!

Turkeys, aka future dinner (but it's okay, turkeys, I don't like how you taste so everyone else can eat you and I'll just have the Thanksgiving sides)

Gobble gobble!

These chickens were my favorite because they popped their heads through the fence with no concern for whether or not they would get stuck-- and it did look like they were stuck because their feathers would fluff out around the fence holes! Plus all they cared about was food (like me) so if they saw that paper bag with the food in it they would all freak out and run head first towards the fence to be the first to stick their heads out through the holes. Chickens are really dumb...

Our tractor driver for the ride to the pumpkin patch.

He photo bombed us. 

Here I am, trying to take a nice picture, and Patrick is trying to attack me. Typical.
Photo courtesy of Renee Navarre

At least Renee and Jake look great!
Photo courtesy of Renee Navarre

The amazing candle that Patrick bought me while we were there! I wish we had gotten the larger one because I've been burning this one down so much. It smells sooooo good! They don't have a store yet because they're still a very small project/company, but you can find their Facebook here. They've assured me that they will do mail orders, woo! 

Much to the surprise of Patrick, Renee, and Jake, there was a LOT to do here and we had a fantastic time! We will definitely be going back here annually! The best part is that every single weekend in October is applefest, but the mill and store are open year-round! CIDER AND DONUTS FOREVER! 

*I'll be doing a post on my fall/Halloween decorations very shortly. This post was already quite long!