Wednesday, September 24, 2014


My sweet friend Mandy and I have birthdays about a week apart. We are both major fans of the beach, bon fires, and s'mores, so we decided to celebrate our birthdays will all of the above! We invited friends for a night under the stars, roasting mallows and just hanging out. The weather was perfect (we had been battling HOT weather earlier in the week!) and the ambiance of the cool breeze, smoky fire, and warm treats was the perfect way to ring in a new year. The saying is true, getting older is much s'more fun with family & sweet friends to celebrate!

Friday, September 12, 2014


Last year for my 25th birthday, I made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish within the year. I had a wonderful year and loved having these goals to keep me occupied and to challenge myself. Although not every goal was accomplished, I learned so much about myself in the days I spent exercising, exploring San Diego, and trying to fulfill myself in both mental and spiritual ways. So, let's check in and see how I did... I'm pretty darn proud of myself! Oh, and cheers to 26! Let's see what this year has in store for me!
  • send a hand written note to someone once a week
    • I actually did pretty good with this task! Not all of them were handwritten, but I tried to text, call, FB message, e-mail, someone every week with just a fun memory I had about them, or just to see how they were doing. It was really fun, and I hope to continue with this! 
  • participate & journal a 3-5 day juice fast/cleanse
    • So, this did not happen. I am planning to do a cleanse in December of this year though after the holidays. 
  • take an overnight trip somewhere in Southern California
    • Does Carlsbad (ahem-- my parents house) count? We could NOT justify spending money on a hotel to get away when our own bed is right here in the city near everything. We did discover a lot of San Diego this past year, and you can see some of our favorite places on this list.
  • read the Book of Mormon 3 times 
    • I'm really sad about this one, but I only read it once. I need to be better about reading my scriptures on a more regular basis. I am going to start a new rule-- I cannot read my book until I read my scriptures! We will see how this goes and if I am a more dedicated personal scripture reader.
  • eat & journal a list of favorite local San Diego restaurants 
  • host a dinner party once a month
    • This is another success! Whether it was with friends, family, parties, or as simple as hosting the missionaries, I was able to accomplish this goal. But, really? I can think of ANY and EVERY excuse in the book to host a party! 
  • complete & journal 5 exercise "challenges" 
    • This was one of my favorite goals to accomplish! I participated in two Jillian Michael's exercise programs (30 Day Shred & Cardio Crush). I started stretching again every night, and have noticed some flexibility come back from my years of dancing. I also did home yoga for a couple of weeks and really loved that. I still do some of the moves in my nightly stretches. And, my most accomplished was running and finishing my first 10K in July!
  • practice new photography/Photoshop techniques
    • I don't know if I really improved, but I can see a difference in my photos from the past year. I'm gonna chalk this one up as a success!
  • bake a pie from scratch 
    • I am hoping to accomplish this goal sometime this Fall. I am dying to bake a pie, but this summer has been too hot for the oven, and I just lost track of time!
  • attend the temple once a month
    • We were pretty good with this one as well. It might not have been every month, but it was every 4-6 weeks or so we got a temple date in. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Last Fall, after living here in San Diego a couple months, my friend Lela introduced me to her family favorite coconut granola. Ever since my first taste, I have been making up a batch every two weeks or so for Derek and I to crunch on. I like to use Lela’s recipe as a base, and then add as much or as little extras to my batch.  A couple Christmases ago, I made a yummy cinnamon cranberry granola for gifts, and it was a major hit. Using that as inspiration as well, this recipe for coconut almond granola came to be. This recipe is not exact, as I very rarely measure, but the mixture of sweet coconut and spicy cinnamon and nutmeg give this granola such a wonderful flavor. The added crunch of almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and caramelized cranberry turns this into a breakfast staple. Paired with Greek yogurt, berries, and a drizzle of honey, this delicious granola parfait has become a go-to in our house. So, turn those ovens back on (it’s September after all!) and pull out the spices that remind you of all things wonderful and get baking!