July 29, 2011

Rules of Summer.

Three little monkeys in Aspen.

Dear Self,

I've decided that you are probably going to need a few guidelines to keep you productive and prevent your brain from turning to mush for the rest of the summer.  Trust me- you WILL thank me for this later.

a.)  Get dressed and ready everyday... except Saturdays that is.  While it is oh so tempting to stay in pajamas all day long, this habit breeds non-productivity.

b.)  No more than 2 hours of television per day.  Pick up a book instead.

c.)  Meet up with friends at least two times per week.

d.)  Be productive:  learn how to use photoshop, study for Spanish placement test, tutor kids in math.

e.)  No falling asleep on the couch at night.  You know you'll regret it when you have to make your way to your room half asleep and then remember that you still have to wash your face and brush your teeth.

f.)  Do work at the library, coffee shops, and cafes for a change of scenery.

g.) Be creative, don't spend a lot of money.  More sewing and thrifting - less trips to the mall.  Shop your own house.


Only looking out for you. 

July 28, 2011

Mustard Seed of Faith.

Sometimes I have trouble putting my faith in Christ instead of myself.  So silly, right?  In these times I realize how foolish I am being and while I know that the Lord is always faithful and has infinitely better plans than I could ever make, I don't always feel 100% like this is true.  But, as I have learned time and time again, I can't trust my own feelings!

Luckily, my God is patient and says "I tell you the truth if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" - Matthew 17:20b.  Did you know that a mustard seed is really teeny tiny?!  We are not expected to have a huge amount of faith!  But hopefully, as we continue on with our mustard seed sized faith, it will grow and grow and grow.

I'd like to take a minute...

Kelsey, Lindy, and Me

So, I just want to give a quick shout out to my girls Kelsey and Lindy.  These two are not only some of my very best friends but also such amazing and inspiring women!  I love them so much and am so incredibly excited to get the chance to live with them next year in our new apartment.  These girls, along with a team of other CRUers are currently in Australia for a six-week missions trip where they will be serving the local Aussies and sharing the gospel.  I am so very proud of them as they have listened to the the Lord's call for them to GO to Australia, and then obeyed.  Please be praying for their safety, spiritual health, and strength as many members of their team gotten really sick in the past few days.  Oh and you should follow their blogs to read about the wonderful things that God is doing in Australia!  

These are the fabulous UCLAers serving on the Australia team!
(Picture stolen from Facebook.  Hope you don't mind Kels! haha)

July 27, 2011

On my after dinner walk through campus this evening, I was extra in tune to my surroundings (so glad I brought along my camera!).  Its funny how I've walked these same routes almost every day over the past year and never really opened my eyes to notice the beauty that was right in front of me.

Like these HUGE eucalyptus trees along Charles E. Young Drive.

Or these stunningly vibrant flowers right outside my dorm.
(No photoshop on this one people!)

So much beauty in this world.  Thanks God, for your creativity and attention to detail!

July 26, 2011

Bueller? Bueller?


(I have great friends who let me take staged pictures of us.)

Fun Fact:  Ferris Bueller's Day Off is quite possibly my very favorite movie ever.

Words of wisdom from Ferris:

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." 

July 25, 2011

My Summer.

Santa Monica - September 2010

Summer is such a cherished time to me.  I anticipate it all spring long and dread its departure come September.  The thing that I love the most about summer is the change of pace after a busy and hectic school year.  Its a time to relax and enjoy those little things that make summer... well, summer.

For as long as I can remember summer has been a time for fun and adventures.  A time for lemonade.  A time for long afternoon naps that allow me stay up late and enjoy the cool evening air.  A time for lunches with my parents where we empty the contents of the refrigerator and make turkey sandwiches, eat chips and salsa, and talk about what we will have for dinner.  A time for ongoing art and craft projects.  A time for summer camp (well, not anymore... sheesh, growing up stinks!).  A time for running errands with momma bear.  A time for reading enchanting books that I actually want to read.  A time for swimming and the smell of coppertone sunscreen.  A time for crisp cool salads for dinner and skinny cow ice creams for dessert.  A time for pizza Fridays.  A time for back to school shopping...

Don't get me wrong, the past month and a half have been amazing but it just hasn't been "summer" or at least the summer that I have grown to know in the last 19 years of my life.  I anticipate getting reacquainted with this summer in one week when I go home until school starts in the fall.  I couldn't be more thrilled!

July 20, 2011

A day in the hills- Beverly Hills that is.

This afternoon I spontaneously headed east for some window shopping around Rodeo Drive.  And after a few bumps in the road throughout the morning - being turned away from donating blood platelets (because my iron levels were too low... even though I purposely ate spinach and chickpeas with my lunch to raise them. grr!) and encountering a mysterious ATM machine that swollowed my debit card - I finally made it.

Soon after, I stumbled upon the famous Urth Cafe, which I have been dying to try for months.  The place was packed!  There was a long waiting list just to sit down.

Food art at Urth.  And just FYI, the older gentleman greeting customers at the door recommended to me the Chocolate Mousse Pie.  But since it was 7 dollars and big enough to feed a small village, I decided to save it for next time when I bring the gang.

I chose the almond biscotti.  Simple and sweet without being too sweet.

And since I was not about to wait for a table, I took my sweat treat and found this gem - the Beverly Canon Gardens.  Here I people watched, savored the remains of my biscotti, and doodled on my brown paper bag from Urth Cafe.  Let me tell you, that biscotti was just perfect.  In the past, when I've tried these Italian biscuits from other bakeries, they have been hard and left me fearing that I would chip a tooth.  This one, however, was soft and crumbly and oh so delicious.
Pretty fountain, huh?

Then I continued on my way, strolling Rodeo Drive and stopping in The Gap - the only store that a poor college student can shop at in the area.  Turns out there was a great sale - extra 50% off woman's sale items.  Picked up some good basics.

 Great day! Now I can cross Beverly Hills off my "LA Summer To-Do List."
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." 

John Wooden

July 19, 2011

Yellow and Grey.

Yellow and Grey

Sweater, €90
Paige Denim denim skinny jeans, $179
Mystique gold shoes, €165
Forever21 feather jewelry, $3.80
Oversized scarve, $24
Madewell leather belt, $48

During southern California's hot summers, I welcome cool, overcast mornings with open arms.  And while it is utterly tempting to stay in yoga pants and an oversized sweatshirt all morning, I try to throw on some "real" clothes- most of the time, at least.  Lets face it, Saturdays were made to be pajama days.  This outfit has just the right amount of color and bling to fight the overcast blues and is perfect for keeping warm in the brisk morning air.

July 17, 2011

Goals for the week...

Landscape Arch: My favorite arch in Arches National Park located in Utah.
Photo Credit: Flickr
  1. This week I am going to try to give out more compliments.  When I think of a potential compliment, I will actually tell the person instead of just thinking it.
  2. Be positive.  Sometimes I feel like I use complaining in my daily conversations as a way to fill the silence because I have nothing else to talk about.  Not good!
  3. I will give thanks to God for the good and the bad.
  4. Get outside my comfort zone and put myself in situations in which I have to trust in the Lord for strength and guidance.
What are some goals that you have for the week?

July 15, 2011

Carmageddon? Bring. It. On.

Photo Credit: planetc1

Carmageddon (term coined by the media to describe the 52 hour 405 freeway closure, that is said to send Los Angeles into chaos) weekend is upon us.  And while I admittedly am very curious to see if it lives up to all the hype, I have a gut feeling that it will not.

And while I dare not step into a car or bus this weekend, I certainly do not plan on sacrificing fun.  My weekend will consist of lounging by the pool, finishing up several pleasure reads, and spending time with friends who are also held captive this crazy mess we called LA Traffic.

Have a great weekend!

July 14, 2011

Ehh... Lets just go crawl in a hole.

Sometimes I'll say something really dumb... And think to myself, "oh my gosh, did I really just say that," all while momentarily forgetting to breath and hearing nothing aside from the churning of my tummy.  And then once I have regained my composure, I tell myself to stop saying such dumb things.  And then I do it again.  Its really quite awkward and dreadfully embarrassing.  Note to self:  think before you speak!  Yes, I believe I would benefit greatly from this.

Disclaimer: this is really not as dramatic as I am making it out to be.  Logically I know this, but emotionally?  I have not quite recovered from the initial embarrassment.

P.s. Stories of your most embarrassing moments in the comments below are greatly welcomed.  Please remind me that I am not the only one who says ridiculous things!

Magical Words.

Today I'd like to share with you some of the best advice I have ever received.  I acquired this wise trick from my wonderful mother who just happens to be the best business person I know.

"I was wondering if you could help me...."

So simple, and yet so powerful.  This phrase has helped me more times than I could ever tell you.  Here is what you do...  In situations where you need to make a request or ask a question, say the phrase to the person whom you are speaking to and then the make your request or ask your question.  By starting out with "I was wondering if you could help me," you will establish a friendly relationship with the person and, as a result, get better service than you ever would by approaching that same person with hostility and anger.  It is a win win situation.  You will get the service you want and the person serving you will feel your respect and appreciation.

It works because it disarms the other person.  It helps them to see their job as a humble act of service rather than a place where they are belittled by customers and coworkers.  It makes them want to help you.

Whatever you do, never demand someone's help or service.  Even if you have been wronged by them or the company they work for.  Demanding only puts the other person in the defensive position and makes them want to get you out of their office, cubical, station, or work space.  

So, say it to your hotel's concierge person who just may be able to score you tickets to tonight's "sold out" broadway play.  Say it to the grocery store clerk when you want to use a coupon that expired yesterday.  Say it to the waitress who delivered a bad batch of pancakes that were clearly made with a rotten egg or two.

Whatever you do, be polite, be courteous, be kind.  Because you never know who that person is or what they are going through.  They just might be someone else's son, daughter, mother, or father.  

*Photo Credit: Auntie Fashion

July 13, 2011

Ramblings of a Day Spent Outside the Westwood Bubble.

Today I just happened to find myself in my very favorite thrift store located in Santa Monica.  Isn't that how all shopping excursions happen?  Funny how they just kind of happen and the next thing you know you're standing in front of a cash register handing over your credit card.  Anyways, after nearly an hour and a half of perusing the entire store, I was just about ready to cut my losses and call it quits, when my eyes landed on an oh so familiar looking fleece material and distinct cable-trimmed sleeve.  Could it be?!  A North Face fleece?  No, but something just as good...  a Patagonia fleece!

I was suddenly overcome by the "thrifting rush," as I held my breath while fumbling to locate the tag to check the size.  And would you know, it was just the right size.  A match made in heaven.

And while I was in the area, I just had to make my way over to Anthropologie.  It would be a crime not to "just take a look" being so close and all...  I must say I was quite impressed with Anthro's color selection.  The store was stocked with two of my very favorite color combinations for summer:  teal/coral and navy blue/yellow.  Just divine.

And while the bus ride back to Westwood was less than ideal (not exactly a fan of being on a bus for an hour and a half.  45 minutes of which I was standing.  and in too close of proximity to other human beings for my comfort, might I add.), the trip as a whole was just lovely.  

In other news... UCLA has been buzzing with chatter about Spain's Real Madrid Soccer team who has been practicing on campus this week.  Today I got a glimpse of the players and what was exceedingly more fascinating to me- the throngs of people who gather outside the gym to stalk the players.  Really?  I just don't get it.  Maybe its because I've never watched more than ten minutes of a professional soccer game in my life.  Yes, that is probably it.

Happy Wednesday!

July 12, 2011

Right Now I Am Thankful.

It seems as though a common theme in conversations among college girls, is boys.  I know, I know, you're probably thinking "well duh, Hillary.  We all knew that!"  But more specifically these conversations revolve around wanting a boyfriend, wanting to find a husband (you've heard of the infamous MRS degree, right?), and worrying that these two things won't happen or won't happen soon enough.

Here is my point- as women, I believe that we often forget that singleness can be such a blessing.  I know you all have probably heard all this before but sometimes we forget.  I know I do.

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.  Granted, there are many blessings that come along with being in a Christ-centered relationship.  But there also challenges and sacrifices that must be made.  And while these sacrifices and challenges will be totally worth it someday, I'm not going to miss out on what is right in front of me right now.

Now, in this phase of singleness that I have been blessed with…  I am thankful to be able to explore my own interests and passions.
Someday… I will be thankful to have someone special to share these interests with.

Now… I am thankful to have the freedom and time to take on new ministry opportunities.
Someday… I will be thankful to be able to serve the Lord alongside my future husband.

Now… I am thankful to have the chance to develop independence and discover the woman God has created me to be.
Someday…  I will be thankful to have a husband to be the spiritual leader in our relationship.

Now… I am thankful for the wonderful friends and family that I have been blessed with and the time that I have to invest in these relationships.
Someday… I will still be thankful for relationships but I will also be thankful for the time I get to spend with a husband.

But right now?  Right now, I am tremendously thankful.  Thankful and content for this wonderful phase of life!

July 7, 2011

Zucchini Bread.

This past 4th of July weekend, I spent a relaxing few days with the fam bam.  We ate. And ate. And then had dessert.  For ever meal.  And despite the fact that my jeans have been a little too snug this week, it was totally worth it!  One of these desserts consisted of zucchini bread that I baked with my mom.  We doubled the recipe and made four loaves so that we would have extras to share with friends and family.  If you can get passed the mass amount of sugar and oil required for this recipe, then I would definitely recommend making some.

Zucchini Bread Recipe  
In a large bowl mix...
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 eggs (that have been beat until foamy)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil

Stir in...
2 cups sugar
3 cups flower
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Add batter to two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans (pans should be greased on the bottom only.  Do not grease sides).  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with very little or no batter clinging to it. 

July 5, 2011

Westwood Farmer's Market

I've talked about my mild obsession with street markets and flee markets here and here.  Last week, when I realized that the Westwood Farmer's Market was going on just down the street from where I was having lunch with a girl friend, I knew I had to mozey on down to take a peek.  While nothing stood out to me as being extraordinary in comparison to your typical farmer's market, we did walk away satisfied with samples of fresh peaches and Italian wedding cake.  A free Dessert!

July 4, 2011

Notes in Books

Last week I checked out a book at the library and found this little note tucked away in the pages.  In the midst of a stressful situation, it was exactly what I needed to hear.  Relax.

Wouldn't it be fun to whip up a bunch of encouraging notes and plant them in your favorite books at a book store or library?!  Definitely on my summer to do list!