Friday, June 28, 2013

June Update!

These months keep flying by - what. the. heck!? - slow down, please.
Just when I feel like I'm on top of things, (like these goals for example), I get completely caught up in everyday life. Thankfully, at the end of each month I get the chance to sit down and reflect on the way I've spent my time this month, and what I should try differently next month.

Here are my goals for the year:
I'm proud to say that I'm pretty solid with blogging, running (/training for the 10k), studying the bible, exploring Pittsburgh (and taking advantage of the wide-range of amazing events/locations it has to offer), composting, and getting out (and getting off the couch!)
I'm kind of okay at following my cleaning schedule, praying more, reading more, and volunteering, but I'd still like to get a bit better at all of those.
I am sorry to say that I have fallen (essentially completely) short in opening my Etsy shop (though I'm made some small progress over the last two days), teaching (I'm actually thinking of applying for a totally different full-time job, just to have some sense of stability and routine), & scrapbooking.
I said that once summer came around I'd have more time to work on my Etsy shop and scrapbook, but it seems that summer has already arrived and I have yet to step up to the plate. 

Regardless, I'll celebrate the successes I have had, and continue to try to make some improvements each month. I know Yoda wouldn't agree, but all we can do is keeping trying.
(If you get the reference, you just passed question #34 of my best friend test.)
(Okay, there's no test... but it does make you pretty awesome.)

How did you do with your goals for the year??

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Hello Dear Friends!

I just wanted to give you a friendly reminder that the beloved Google Reader will officially be shut down on July 1st. However, I do not want to lose the relationships I've built over here on my blog and I would really love for you to take a second to follow me on Bloglovin', if you don't already!

Also, you can transfer all of the blogs you already follow just by signing up and following a few short instructions - they've made the transition quite a breeze! 
I truly value all of your comments and involvement in my blog & look forward to continuing this wonderful journey with you

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Power Of Prayer

I have seen God do many incredible things through prayer.
Sometimes He provides exactly what I ask for, other times He provides various opportunities for me to choose from and gives me some room to grow and learn, and another part of the time He has something completely different but definitely better planned for me. 

Which reminds me of a sign I saw years ago in a little Christian book shop (and then later found on Pinterest - thank you, Internet!)

Anyway, all this to say, I have happily added a "Can I Pray For You?" tab on my left sidebar!
It actually goes straight to my email - like my email button - (mind-blowing I know,) but will automatically insert "prayer request" as the subject and right when I open it I will pray for you and whatever your situation may be!

(I originally saw this "prayer" option over on Newlywed Moments and asked Emily if she wouldn't mind me borrowing her idea - she didn't )
 Looking forward to praying for you, dear friends!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Weekend Update - Now A Blog-Hop!

I'm so excited to announce that I have officially made my "Weekend Update" a blog-hop with the help of my dear blogging friend (and possibly distant relative), Char from Char|Treuth!

This is a great way to connect with some new ladies and build community here in the blog-world. It's super simple, so "hop" right in and join us!
Now, here's a recap of my fun-filled weekend!

Friday - To celebrate my last day of nannying (for the summer) Dave and I went to a delicious Lebanese family-owned restaurant (and got to use a gift card gifted to us from the family I nanny for - aka FREE DINNER!) We both love to eat and we're both of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern decent, so when we find a good place like this, it feels like home and we just eat it up! (Pun intended.)

I wanted so badly to take some photos of our wonderful spread of freshly made hummus, grape leaves, shish kabobs, and more, but it was a very small, very intimate restaurant, and it just didn't seem appropriate. So re-read that list of scrumptious dishes and just use your imagination

Saturday - I started off the day with a run (who am I!?) and then I worked until six.
It was pretty crazy at first since we're having an incredible tag sale but fun and pleasant as usual.

Then Dave and I went food shopping and rented two movies from Redbox. TWO!
I don't know what we were thinking since we're basically senior citizens and can't stay up past 12am, but we watched the first, Guilt Trip, and it was awesome!
One of the best parts about this film is that the mother-character is an exact replica of my mom.
I'm pretty sure someone from Hollywood must have been filming our interactions together, because it is her, to a tee, and I loved it!

We also snuck out of our apartment before bed to see the Super Moon (it was SO bright!)
I must say I prefer Harvest Moons, but this one was still nice to look at... and attempt to photograph (...with my iPhone.)
Sunday - Church was wonderful, as always, and then watched our second movie, Silver Linings Playbook, which was also really awesome!

Another thing that was awesome was the brunch we made:
A super tasty version of home fries
We ended our evening with a gender reveal part hosted by our two lovely friends, W&L. We enjoyed some delicious BBQ, homemade salads, sweet desserts, and found out that they're having a baby BOY!
We are so excited for them and all that their future holds! (Also, we can't wait to have a cute little baby to play with at our couples dinners!)

Make sure to link-up so I can read about all the great things that you filled your weekend with!

Grab a button!
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Running Lately

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about Runners Encouraging Runners and I wanted to revisit this topic and give a bit of an update. While I am training I have been trying to smile at everyone I pass (runner or not) and until today the results have left a lot to be desired.

But I am so happy to announce that while out running this morning, I got nearly half of the people I passed to smile back at me - runners and non-runners alike!

I also ran passed another couple that was running and the dude HIGH-FIVED ME!! 
Can you believe it?
It was such an awesome moment - and totally inspired me to give it my all!

I wish more runners would put out a little extra effort to encourage fellow runners, but I am so happy for the small victories I've experienced so far!
I hope you'll give the runners you pass a wave, nod, or if you want to be awesome, a high-five!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dave Says...

When I saw this link up over on Wifessionals I couldn't resist asking Dave to write a post.
Dave and I both spend quite a bit of time sitting on the couch in front of our laptops, but we're usually doing very different things. (Unless of course we're watching Netflix.)
If he had it his way, I'd be playing LoL with him & if I had it my way, he'd be my personal blog assistant haha So, in an effort to get my way, once a month he'll answer a set of questions created by Stephanie & Mallory. What a fun way to get him (and all the boys behind the blogs) involved!

Anyway, I'll stop rambling and let him take over.

1. Does your wife use your real name or a nickname on her blog?
Well I suppose I was born David, but I wouldn't really call Dave a 'nickname.'

2. If you had a blog, what would the title be? 
I'm not sure.  I suppose it would depend on the sorts of things I'd want to blog about.  If it were about theoretical physics I'd probably play off some of the funny terms used to describe things in particle physics like flavour and charm.  Maybe "A Particle-ularly, Quarky Blog."
3. Do you ever feel ignored by her because of the blog?
Nope, I'm pretty sure she started blogging because she felt ignored by me.  Turns out engineering PhD programs are quite demanding and so I'm often too busy to feel ignored and just busy enough to have to ignore her a bit more then either of us would prefer.

4. How has her blog changed or evolved throughout your relationship? 
Cosmetically it has gotten a significant overhaul as well as a new name.  Content-wise I don't think it has changed much, but she does post a lot more often now.  At the same time though she still just posts about whatever is on her mind or going on in her life which is nice.
5. What is your favorite post on her blog?
I think I most enjoyed her blog post about Nicaragua recently.  It made me remissness about the time we spent there and I also got to talk with some of the friends we made there (via facebook chat) after reading it.  But I also enjoyed her post about the Thirteen in Thirteen goals that she had set.  It has been great to see her take steps towards those goals regularly.

-N & Dave!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Child's Heart

I was at my favorite place yesterday, sketching some flowers and enjoying God's creation, when I heard some kids talking to their mom.
"Did you remember the pennies?" One said hopefully.
"Oh darn not again..." Another added, seeing the look on moms face.
"You guys should try and remind me before we leave next time." Said mom.

"I have some pennies" I said, thinking nothing of it.
"Oh no, please, we'll bring some next time" said the mom.
 "I really don't mind, but what are they for?" I asked. 
"There's a wishing fountain in the other room" answered mom, as I handed the oldest three pennies
"Thank you so much!" The child shouted.
"Make sure you two thank this nice lady too," said mom to the other kids.
"Thank you so much, really, thank you! You're so kind!" They all said as they literally jumped for joy.
I handed them three pennies and their gratitude was immense.
Three pennies, for three wishes, that's it.

It was such a lovely and beautiful interaction that it nearly brought tears to my eyes, and really got me thinking. What a great example and clear understanding of why God wants us to have a child's heart.

Matthew 18:3 says, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (NIV) And C.S. Lewis explained it well when he said, "He [God] wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head."

I gave some kids three pennies and they were filled with joy and gratitude. Imagine how we should react to the gift if eternal life and the grace and mercy that God gives us everyday.

Something to think about,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Nicaragua is a place that I hold very dear to my heart.
Ever since Dave and I took a/(our first!) short-term mission trip there, in March 2011, we haven't stopped thinking about the impact it has made on us.
We truly loved the people, the culture, the climate, and the joy that the folks emitted.

While we were there we worked with a wonderful group of people - and the founders of - Managua Christian Academy. We interacted with hundreds of kids in their makeshift school (a parking lot with tents while there buildings were renovated after an overwhelming flood), helped facilitate worship, cooked, played, ate, & prayed with many different people there.
We lived life together for nearly a week - and it changed our hearts forever. 

When I found out that some Compassion Bloggers were taking a trip to Nicaragua, to work with some of the sponsored families and children there, I was elated!

Knowing that Compassion International (my favorite organization) and Nicaragua (as far as I know, my favorite place) were going to be connected in some way was great. Then, I got an email to get involved and share a bit about what the bloggers are doing there, and I was even more excited!
Today is the day that eight bloggers leave for a trip that will change their lives, and as I was reading one of their posts about doubts and fears, I couldn't help but think how differently they'll feel after they return back to the states. 

I remember being a bit nervous before going to Nicaragua because I only spoke Spanish conversationally, and I had never been on a mission trip before - nor have I been to a country/area quite like Managua, Nicaragua... But God is so good and always takes care of things perfectly. 
And often times all I can think of is returning and serving there again!

I know that the Compassion bloggers headed to Nicaragua are going to have an amazing, life-changing experience, but would you say a few prayers for them?

Just a short "tweet" to God, as I like to say, for their travels, strength, love, health and overall open hearts and minds.

Also, would you consider praying for the families and children they are going to meet and serve?
That they may have health, happiness, and above all, an eternal & loving relationship with God.
I know I'm asking a lot here, but could you also drop in some prayers for me? Unlike Edie who knows she is living and serving in the right place/community (where she lives) - I am struggling with my calling to serve others, internationally, while living in the states for at least another four years.

Although I really love Pittsburgh and all it has to offer, I feel as though my 'home' may be somewhere else in the world & I'd appreciate some prayers to help me truly discern my calling.
Many thanks,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekend Update

It seems like the weeks are going faster and faster these days.
 Sad thing is, now that it's summer, I'd like them to slow down!

At least we're still able to fill our weekends with great things like food, friends, and laughter.
So that's a plus.

Friday- Dave and I volunteered at our church's Strawberry Festival, which was a ton of fun!
We helped run some of the games and the moon bounce and it was great to watch a ton of kiddos run around and play outside in the beautiful weather!
Then, we went out to grab a few drinks with some old and new friends.
It's been so great to get to know more people from our church and community.
Pittsburgh has the friendliest folks!

Saturday- I worked in the morning/early afternoon and then we had our friends V&L over for a game of Ticket to Ride. If you haven't played it, you should, 'cause it's awesome.

We also made some deeee-licious buffalo chicken dip and stuffed our face with that and some pita.
Oh, and I found this in the bag of shredded cheddar:
Dave and I thought it was hilarious!

Sunday- We went to church, and then I went to work. It was my first work-filled weekend, which was a little tiring, but overall pretty good. I really enjoy working at Anthropologie; and I just can't say it enough. The people there are incredibly kind, the environment is continually inspiring, and the customers are (generally) awesome.

And I get to buy cute & quirky things like this top
After work and dinner, Dave helped me train some more with the hardest run ever. 
It was a tempo run with a one mile warm-up @ at 12 minute pace followed by three 800 then 400 meters @ an 8 minute pace and 10 minute pace, respectively. 

Seriously, it was the hardest thing I've had to do yet (and I thought running 5 miles was going to be tough!) I wanted to quit many times, but praise God I pushed through and actually did well (/ran pretty close to my goal times.)

 I am so amazed at how my body is changing, and how quickly I am learning to run well. I am by no means a great runner, but I have improved quite a bit which is very encouraging. 

Well, that about sums up my weekend - what did you do?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Good Day

Yesterday was so lovely.
Not that I have many bad days, thank God, but some days are more "good" than others.
Yesterday was one of those days!

It started with a fairly easy day at work & a walk in the beautiful sun with the two kiddos I nanny for.
Then I came home and made dinner for a wonderful (newish) friend who is mentoring me!

We ate, chatted, read, learned, shared, and drank tea.

It's the simple things, really.

I'm so grateful that God has answered my prayer for a mentor and desire to know Him more.
It's a great day when you realize that God has clearly answered your prayers! 
(It's also a great day, when you realize you have an awesomely great God who loves and desires you!)

I hope you know that, friends.

P.S. Another thing that made yesterday great was my longest run ever! 5 miles, no walking - woohoo!
Many thanks to my patient husband for running at a 12min/mile pace & training me <3

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Update

Summer is in full swing here - and that means we're busy.
Busy doing awesome stuff!

Friday...  we ran, ate, and then went to a free concert in the park.
None of these people are us or our friend. I just like taking panoramic photos...
 Did I mention it was Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros?! 
We went with a friend who was visiting for a conference and we had such a great time.
They put on an incredible (and generously long) show!

We did some household chores, went to the Three Rivers Arts Festival with another couple,
 brought home a cute new friend, got a paper cutout of Dave, 
and had a picnic!

Became new members at our church, had another picnic, kayaked for three hours, 
(This isn't actually our group, because I was too nervous to bring my phone... but we kayaked to about this point!)
had dinner & studied Ephesians with friends and celebrated our dear friend Matt's birthday, and then took a four mile run to end the day!

I love soaking up the sun, spending time with friends, eating good food, and being active.
Spring/Summer really turns me a different person, and I'm so glad it's officially here!

What fun things did you do this weekend?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Threadflip - Shop My Closet!

Hi friends, happy Sunday!
I wanted to write a quick post about Threadflip - have you heard of it?

It's this great website where you can buy & sell pre-loved clothes for great prices!

It's very user friendly, customer service is great, & there's a small convenience to sell your items.

I have been using Threadflip for a few months now, and I've found some great deals. I've also made a few bucks selling some of my pre-loved items that weren't getting much love from me as of late.

I just posted some new items, great for the summer, and I would love for you to check them out.
As well as the thousands of other great items on there - from jewelry, to shoes, dresses, and more!
 (Also, it's fun to browse every once in a while, and favorite things you dream of owning haha)

Anyway, I hope you're all having a great Sunday!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Two Of My Favorite Things

May I present to you a beautiful compilation of incredible animals set to a get speech/dupstep mix


P.S. A few of these clips are from commercials/Photoshopped, but the coolest aren't - you can tell pretty clearly which is which.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Who, me?!

You guys, Sara over at Sara in Texas nominated me for a Liebtser Award, who cool is that?!
 photo Liebster-Award_zpsbd152319.gif 
It's so encouraging to know that I've been able to connect with my readers.
And to be affirmed that someone's actually reading this stuff haha

Anyway, I graciously accept!
 photo falldown_zps5547c4a8.gif
The Rules
1. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator & list 11 random facts about yourself
2. Nominate 11 new bloggers (nominees should be other blogs ~200 followers ((I used Bloglovin' for stats)) who you feel deserve to be noticed), create 11 questions for your nominees, and link them in your post
3. Let them know you've nominated them for the award
4. Copy and Paste the award on your blog!

And with that, here are somethings I get to share with you!
1.  What's your favorite summer outfit? 
Dresses are definitely my favorite outfit for summer (and spring, when it's warm enough!) I love the comfort, ease, and beauty that a simple dress can bring.

2.  If you have a typical day, what is it like?
Working two part-time jobs means my "typical days" can look quite different... However, since I work as a nanny more often, we'll just go with that. I wake up at 6/6:15, throw on some jeans and an old t-shirt, get myself ready, grab a Greek yogurt and lunch, and head out the door. I have an easy commute (about 20 minutes) and then I'm with two boys (aged 2 & 4) for about nine hours. We play, read, scream, cry, laugh... you know, the usual. Then, I head home, cook dinner, and snuggle with the hubs - usually while watching something on Netflix. If the next day is a work day, I'm in bed by 10/1030 and then I rinse and repeat.

3.  What type of posts would you like to write more of?
I would really love to be able to do some reviews/give aways for various Etsy sellers! I'm a big fan of handmade things and art in general, so it'd be an honor to team up with a small business owner with similar values and interests to my own.

I would also love to do more home/DIY posts...
 but there isn't much work to be done on a newly renovated apartment.

4.  Where's your favorite vacation spot? 
Hm, this is tough. We went to Disney for our honeymoon (my first time visiting all the parks) and it was such a blast that I'm tempted to say Disney. But it's also quite tiring (and expensive!) So, probably Aruba. It's relaxing, warm, beautiful, and the locals are super awesome!

5.  How many times a day do you check social media sites?
Eek. I'm ashamed to say I probably check Facebook and email 15-20 times a day!
It's usually when I'm bored/waiting around - but still, that's a lot!
I also check Instagram about that much, but it's more like visiting a museum because I follow some extremely talented and creative people!

6.  What's the best book you've read lately?
 Oh dear. I've been reading so many books lately it's hard to choose! A current favorite would probably be More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger. Read it and let it change your life.

7.  Favorite website besides your own blog :)?
Like Cool is probably the first blog I ever discovered and I just love it.
It showcases new/up-and-coming products, art, and nifty gadgets.
It's also super easy to read and you can easily spend an hour just jumping around pages.

8.  If you could only watch one movie for the rest of you life, what would it be?
Forrest Gump, hands down. It's a love story, drama, action, comedy, & has an incredible soundtrack!
9.  What's a DIY project you're hankering to do?
I've wanted to plant my own terrarium for some time now - but I just can't bring myself to do it!
I'm afraid that it'll die (like all my succulents do) & I'm just not sure where we'd have the space for it.

10.  What relaxes you the most?
There are two things; being outside and enjoying creation (whether it's walking around, sitting at a park, etc.) and random cuddles with the hubs.
11.  What's your go-to easy meal for a busy night?  Take-out, recipe, whatever!
My to-go recipe is something my grandma used to make, which may sound weird, but tastes great!
Detalini pasta & Bean Soup.
It's yummy, has some basic necessities like carbs and protein and takes no time at all!
Also, Dave and I are kind of addicted to Domino's pizza so that's definitely our go-to take-out!
11 Random Facts
1 - I'm an only child
2 - I grew up on Long Island
3 - I got married when I was 19
4 - I'm really good at folding clothes
5 - My guinea pig's names are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson
6 - I love playing ultimate frisbee
7 - I don't have a twitter & I'm okay with that
8 - I read and re-read all of my posts way too many times before I publish them
9 - I have my teaching certification in Early Childhood & Elementary Education
10 - I prefer healthy food (fruits and veggies) to junk food (cookies and chips)
11 - I have a humble but lovely record collection

And the nominees are...
Tara @ A Brew of Blessings
Becky @ Running on Happy
Char @ Char|Treuth
Katie @ 10 Cups of Chai
 Lanesha @ We Are The Tabbs
Katy @ All Sorts of Pretty
Whitney @ Keeping Up With The Cyperts
Corina @ Cocorrina
Kate @ Words and Things
Hannah @ Wonderfully Sewn
Dylan @ Dream Brite

1. On average, how long does it take you to write a blog post?
2. What is your favorite charity and why?
3. What's one of your favorite books?
4. What is one of your happiest memories?
5. If you could move to a different country which would you choose?
6. Why do you blog?
7. Tea or Coffee?
8. If you could have any career what would it be?
9. What's your favorite store to shop in?
10. What's one of your guilty pleasures?
11. Where is your favorite place to hang out in your town/city?

I'm so excited to read all of the nominees responses! And thank you again, Sara, for sending this award my way! I had such fun sharing more about myself and creating new questions!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekend Update

This image has nothing to do with my weekend, but it is pretty hilarious.

Friday - Dave and I ventured to a beautiful local park and found (what will be) our favorite place for picnics this summer! We also got a couple Pittsburgh hot chocolates (which are basically just really delicious cold hot chocolates) from our favorite local cafe.

Saturday - We lounged, I worked, we ate. 
Then we watched Jim Gaffigan and laughed ourselves to sleep.

Sunday - We went to church, had our monthly crepe date (the best tradition we've ever had!) and then hosted a couple friends for dinner. Oh, and we took a walk for some froyo on this perfect night!

It was a quiet but nice weekend - which is good because we have a full week ahead!
I'm working M-F like a normal adult, and we're hosting a friend who is visiting from out of town.
Then, there's next weekend which is chock-full of fun!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, too!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Update

This month has been long. Good, but long.
I'm glad to be moving forward - but I'm also glad about the progress I've made and the faithfulness with which I have tried to tackle this goal list

Blog - It's been a bumpy ride this month. I started strong with the May Challenge, blogging everyday for a few weeks, but then life caught up and I slowed down. All in all I'm happy with my blogging involvement, I've discovered some lovely new ladies to follow, and I've confirmed that blogging as a career is definitely not for me! (If that's your thing, KUDOS to you!)

Run a 10k - Dave and I found a training plan that looks good, Dave's foot is officially cleared for running (so I have a training buddy!), and we start on Monday! Wish me all the luck - Dave's a champ, so he doesn't need any haha

Cleaning - Daily cleaning (10 minutes/day) has been more consistent, weekly cleaning not so much, and monthly deep clean is very much a habit. I really want to master this one, and soon!
Praying - My goal is to pray without ceasing and man, is this hard! I have been taking some baby steps to get us to pray before meals and bed, but this so easily escapes me most days.
Do any of you have prayer routines that might be helpful?

Teaching - I submitted another application and would appreciate some extra prayers!

Reading - I recently ordered One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and have really been enjoying it! I had heard of it in passing through various blogs, but it was officially recommended to me by Char after I posted this.

Studying - I am so happy to say that I have been reading and learning about the major people and events of the bible (I am so bad at history that I constantly need refreshing) and I finally got the book my mentor and I will be studying. God is good!

Exploring -Yes, yes, and yes! The weather is beautiful, the hubs is done with classes, and the exploring has begun! Just last night we ventured to a local park and discovered it's awesomeness!

Volunteering - With my transitions and CPJ's lack of immediate need I haven't really done anything this month as far as volunteering is concerned. However, I will definitely be working with them in the future, and I am also looking at volunteering at a couple of church events this month.

Composting - Easy-peasy. I highly recommend you give it a try!

Get Moving -  Getting off the couch is much easier when you are all caught up on tv shows. Which I am. Just sayin'.

Now I'm looking forward to some (hopefully consistent) warm weather, my time off from nannying (which starts near the end of June), and more adventures with Dave and some great friends!