Friday, February 26, 2016

Steven Tyler Concert




Last week, my company was hosting its annual users conference! This year the concert was Steven Tyler. 

Now I am not gonna lie, I was super disappointed when they announced Stephan Tyler as the entertainment, last years Journey concert was just so fun! But I was in for a surprise. We invited Travis’ best friend from high school and his fiancĂ©, and had a blast!  Not only did Steven Tylers rendition of “I don’t want to miss a thing” sound as good or better than the recorded version from his days with Aerosmith, but he was so fun to watch! 

This guy is in his late sixties and literally running around the stage for 2.5 hours. I don’t know how he does it! He was making faces at the camera, had his tasseled microphone and was walking around in basically a pirate shirt jack sparrow style all night. 

Thanks Qualtrics for another fun experience! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ballet West: Romeo and Juliet





This weekend I got to have a little girls afternoon with my mom and sister. My mom got us fourth row tickets to Ballet West’s performance of Romeo and Juliet. We first stopped for lunch at one of my all time favorites, Blue Lemon. I got the coconut curry chicken, and it hit the spot. That sauce is so flavorful! 

Then we headed off to visit my cousin and her baby Evelyn who is in the NICU for being born at 30 weeks. If you haven’t seen the Gofundme I set up for them please read and share and donate if you can! They are going to have a mountain of medical bills when they are discharged. Little Evie's health problems will also continue once they leave. 

Next we headed to the Ballet! In middle school I was enrolled in ballet and pointe and absolutely loved it. We couldn’t afford to keep going with it when we moved back to California, but it will always have a special place in my heart. I loved the 3 hours of silence, where we watched these incredible dancers show off their skills and tell this classic story. 

It was so fun to spend the whole afternoon with my mom and sis, I love them both so much! 


Friday, February 19, 2016

Financial tips, goals and lessons learned



I consider myself a pretty financially savvy 24 year old. I learned early on about debt and how to not get into it. Part of that was from my parents and the other from a teacher in middle school.

When I was in 8th grade I had an incredible Math teacher who told us the story of her 30 year old son's credit card debt and how he had to move home with her to pay it off. Long story short I was scarred for life and decided debt would be the absolute worst thing I could do.

What we live by:

1. Know where our money is going

I watch our accounts often. We recently started using mint, Its awesome to consolidate all of our accounts and loans in one place. I know where we are spending money and when we should be cutting back. Often that has to do with eating out. We are both super into cooking, but when things get busy its way easier to grab some Zupas. We don't have a formal budget right now, but we do have savings plans and for now I feel good about that for now

2. If you don't have money for it, don't buy it.

Thanks SNL, but really we don't buy things we don't have the money for with the exceptions of a car when we needed to buy one and our house. With our car we developed a plan to quickly pay it off when we could. For our house, we decided it was worth it because of the investment, it also may help us out on our taxes as well so thats fun (and a little too adult).

3. If you can be responsible (the key), use credit cards for the benefits they offer.

My husband and I have not paid a dime of interest to a credit card company. That 8th grade story taught me its not worth it. We only buy things on credit that we currently have money for in the bank.  But we do have credit cards because of the perks they can give you if you aren't racking up interest! We have gotten cash back and basically free airline tickets to Europe. We literally got money deposited in our accounts just for swiping them and paying them off immediately. I am organized and obsessive about our account so this works for us, but if you aren't or can't pay them off immediately, its not worth the interest.

4. Always have an emergency fund.

My goal is to always have $1000-$1500 saved away that will only be used if the unexpected comes, which it inevitably it will. The next step is for us to save 3-6 months in our savings account for any major major crises.

5. Save for your future.

Travis and I both give the max matching to our 401Ks, we are so lucky to both have jobs that contribute. I want to be financially secure throughout my life and retirement is a big part of that for me. I'd rather save money now that will grow over the next 50 years and serve me better when I am older and don't want to work anymore. We also have a couple investments and are planning to start paying more that our regular house payment so we can have more equity. Once we have kids I plan to start mutual funds for their educations/missions/weddings.

I won't pretend that Travis and I are not incredibly lucky and privileged, we are. We were both able to finish college with zero debt and got awesome jobs, but we also live by principles that will help us to stay financially secure the rest of our lives.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!




I was feeling adventurous last weekend, and made up a new cookie recipe! I combined all my favorite things: Chocolate chip cookies, caramel and something salty with an added crunch. The end result, pure deliciousness. I only ate about 10. Then had 3 before 11am the next day at work. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cookies-
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cornstarch
1/2 t salt
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 c milk chocolate chips
1 c crushed pretzel rods

Caramel Drizzle-
I used leftovers from my caramel apple recipe, here (I would fourth or sixth the recipe if you use this)

But this will work just as well:
7 ounces unwrapped caramels
1/6 c heavy cream


Instructions

-In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt.
-In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar, sugar and melted butter. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved into the butter. Add in the egg and egg yolk. Then add in vanilla extract.
-Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
-Fold in 1 cup milk chocolate chips and pretzels.
-Place the dough in a large bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 15- 20 minutes.
-Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
-Use 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie. Use your hands to form the dough into balls. Press a few additional chocolate chips onto the top of the dough ball.
-Bake for 10-12 minutes. We like them more doughy so we did 10 minutes and this was perfect. Because of the cornstarch the cookies wont ever really brown so dont keep them in more than 12 minutes.
- Combine Caramels and Heavy cream in saucepan on med/low heat, stir until melted and completely mixed-- be careful not to burn.
-Transfer cookies to cooling rack. Drizzle with caramel.


Friday, February 12, 2016

February Goals 2016



So January passed and I never made goals. Such is life. I did work on things outlined in my yearly goals, they just never went up here!

Its also halfway through February and I am just getting to writing these down. Things are busy I guess. This is what I want to accomplish in February:

1. Practice the piano everyday- NO EXCUSES. Even 10 minutes will help me keep what I have learned fresh
2. Go to the gym right after work 3 times a week with the hubby + 1 or 2 times myself (trying to do shorter workouts more often during the week)
3. Take pictures every weekend when we actually do fun things and document on the blog!
4. Read scriptures every night even when we're tired.
5. Be more patient, kind and loving to my husband even when Im stressed.


Monday, February 8, 2016

6 Months later: Current state of our house

About 6 months ago we bought a brand new house! Its been exciting and we feel so blessed that we can afford to own a house at this point in our lives.

I've loved being able to decorate and put my own touch on things! Obviously, I haven't been able to fill the rooms up yet, because of the responsibility to actually pay my mortgage and other things we are saving for, but I feel great about the rooms we have decorated thus far. And we really have more than we need. We will fill the rest slowly as we need to.

Here's where we are at this point:


Our perfect bedroom, full post here. There are only a couple finishing touches in this room for sometime in the future: Dresser covered in white candles of various sizes (kind of obsessed with idea). 


Empty bedroom next to our room. Someday this will be a kids room- someday- that wasn't a confession. 


Loft right outside our bedroom, clearly empty (besides the lovely router of course). Eventually I want this to be a reading nook with maybe a window seat and some comfy chairs and a bookshelf filled with my favorite books. 



The living room, where we spend most of our time. Finishing touches for this room an ottoman (thinking this one) and a comfy chair, maybe a side table if its not feeling too cluttered. 


Guest bathroom, done. this bathroom has been used like 5 times total. We don't have very many guests, come stay with us. You probably won't want to after the next picture. 


The guest bedroom, with no furniture and a bunch of crap I need to go through. 



I obsoletely adore the open floor plan we have. We cook a lot and love to watch all the netflix shows as we do. 


I was a little concerned about having glass cabinets, cuz messy, but I actually love them, I get to display all of my beautiful white dishes, and it helps me keep everything organized! 


Our kitchen is absolutely perfect. I don't think I could have picked out better finishes if I had designed it myself. Only thing missing: hardware for the cabinets.


The office is kind of at a standstill at this point. I originally new exactly what I wanted to do in here, then we got offered my grandparents old piano (which we could not say no to, its gorgeous and was free!) so it kind of threw off my vision. Eventually I thing I want some kind of shelving, a rug and whatever else makes sense. 


Entryway, just needs this perfect console table from West Elm, maybe in my dreams. 


Downstairs half bath. Clean, simple, done! That elephant picture was a gift from my husband for my birthday. Its from Belgium and perfect. Elephants are my favorite animal, if you didn't know. 


And to finish the tour off we have the most exciting room in the house, the laundry room, not! The only things needed in here are maybe some organizers or something cute? I don't know.

What do you think? Any great interior design ideas for me? Im all ears!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A little weekend getaway to fake Switzerland

Oh the Zermatt. We got gifted a little getaway with couples massages so that was awesome. The resort was ADORABLE.




See what I mean?? They even played festive music outside everywhere you walked! 


The resort was also equipped with a delicious steakhouse and the best bakery! We had steak for dinner and amazing pastries for breakfast, without having to leave the resort. 


Two croissants: 1 topped with strawberries, blue berries, black berries and raspberries; 1 filled with delicious ham and cheese. Perfect. We were stuffed after. 





How cute is this sign? Only about 5,000 miles from the real town of Zermatt. 




Our drive to the resort also happened to be breathtaking. As much as I hate the snow, it is beautiful, I'll give it that. It was a weekend of pure relaxation.