the big news.

...and there you have it.  really, we have no words to express how excited we are about our littlest addition!


as of lately.

as of lately, i've become exceptionally motivated to get back into blogging.  it could be the cooler temps or my sudden interest in baking or that i'm dreaming of new spaces to call home.

a. and i started the housing hunt just recently and while it's been frustrating and scary at times, it's also been fun to imagine a life in san diego where we're finally settled in a place we love enough to call home.  after months and months of online hunting we're at the point where we know exactly what we want, now it's just a matter of finding it.

aside from the hunt, i'm finally getting my footing with the new job.  traveling while balancing life and work is no easy feat.  when i accepted this gig i knew there'd be a lot of travel but i had no idea how quickly it would change my life.  don't get me wrong, i love it, but finding balance has been exceptionally tough.

now that things are starting to slow down (or will in about a month) i'm excited to dive back into routine and spend ample time adventuring, with the hubs, and crafting to my hearts content.  sounds pretty good, right?!


weekly letters.

dear europe, your old world charm never ceases to mesmerizes me.  i'm so grateful to be here to experience this.  dear hubby, travel isn't the same without you.  let's plan a getaway stat.  dear data plan, i totally take you for granted.  i'll cherish the days of text messages and phone calls.  dear us of a, i'm forever thankful to call you home & can't wait to see you tomorrow.


weekly letters.

dear june, you bring so much specialness to our lives.  thanks for reminding us to slow down, celebrate love, and bbq often.  dear hubby, can you believe it's been 9 years?  i don't think we look a day over 22 and 23...wouldn't you agree?  i know it always hasn't been easy, so thanks for standing beside me, laughing at my corny jokes, being my best friend, and reminding me daily that a love like ours is always worth fighting for.  dear littlest sis, you graduated high school and i'm an emotional mess.  i'm so happy for the next chapter in your life and the many adventures yet to come.  cheers to you & your many great accomplishments.  dear hot tom oil, only 17 days until i get to mow-down on stretch bread and your goodness.


the san juan islands, wa.

i spent the better part of last week working in the san juan islands (rough life, i know...but someone's gotta do it).  the san juan islands are a cluster of islands off the coast of washington state and victoria, canada.  these hidden gems are breath-takingly beautiful and without a doubt, are currently ranked top 5 among the places i've traveled.  if you ever have the opportunity to visit, go.
when it comes to explaining this place, i won't even come close to serving the dynamic and diverse nature and culture justice.  nor will my photos.  so i won't even try.  instead, i'll share where i went, what we saw, and my overall experience.
 ***disclaimer: this is a pretty lengthy post***
flying to seattle from san diego is a short flight.  it's only about 3 hours, and direct.  in airline lingo, that's a dream.  once i arrived to seattle, i rented a car and my co-worker and i headed to pikes place market.  i had been there before but this was her first time experiencing seattle, so we walked around and took in the overwhelming sights, sounds and smells.  it was peony season in washington, and the scent of peonies and sweet peas wafted through the market stalls mixing with fresh fish, ripe peaches and freshly fried doughnuts.  we walked past flying fish and stopped to buy some peaches and rainier cherries for the ride north.  overwhelmed and not sure where to eat, we left the market and had a nice lunch at elliot's oyster house.
after an hour and a half drive, we arrived to anacortes, wa- our home for the next few days.  we stayed at the super-cute majestic inn & spa.  it's newly renovated and they can boast of a roof-top bar, freshly ground coffee grounds for the in-room french press, killer location and apparently, an amazing restaurant (we never had the chance to eat there...).  during our stay, we enjoyed meals at anthony's (unbelievable seafood), adrift, mary ann's kitchen (hands down, best breakfast) and a not-so-good option, secret cove (which was unfortunate since it came highly recommended from locals).
during our stay, we took the ferry over to friday harbor.  friday harbor is a quaint island that has the sweetest downtown, most gorgeous views, hikes and if you're patient, whale watching.  we basically did all of the above.  during our meetings, we were advised to drive out to roche harbor to see the beautiful celebrity homes and picturesque town.  we then drove west side road down to lime kiln point state park (it's considered one of the best places in the world to whale watch) and stopped to whale watch.  while sitting there, we wished we had packed a picnic lunch but then we were so excited to see whales that we probably wouldn't have eaten anyways!
after an hour of whale watching we drove south to the san juan island national historical park and went on a couple hikes through the beaches and meadows.  it was absolutely gorgeous (and again, we saw whales, making the entire experience so much more magical).
on our second day, we drove to coupeville, wa.  our day began with meetings at a local coffee shop and a drive south to fort casey state park.  then in the afternoon we headed up to deception pass state park- a mecca for hiking and stunning views.  we spent the remainder of the day lost in nature, hiking in the forest, along the coast and collecting photos along the way.  you guys, this place.  this place is a must do.
it was a whirlwind couple of days to say the least, but man-oh-man, was it worth it.  i'll be heading back in august and i seriously can't wait.  if you make it to the islands, i hope this helps you plan your travels and if not, i hope this inspires you to put this place on your travel bucket list.


weekly letters.

dear radster, after a long week of travel and busy days, you remind me how important it is to relax, enjoy the now and light a candle every now and again.  dear job, i love you.  i'm amazed at how much joy my career and company brings me on a daily basis.  i'm so grateful for this opportunity to thrive.  dear birdhouse, you might be a little dusty and a whole lot dirty, but i don't care.  i just love having a safe haven to rest our head and have the sweetest dreams.  dear a, you sir are my rock.  thanks for accepting that my open suitcase might have a new home in the center of our bedroom and my side of the sink might actually be yours as well.  your grace humbles me daily and i thank you for that.


greek salad, revised.

for me, simplicity is key.  i like my frozen yogurt tart, my vodka unflavored, my spaghetti with marinara and my salads greek.  & i won't apologize for this.

last night while glued to the news about the fire progress, we opted to make something quick, easy and cool (temperatures are in the triple digits) for dinner.  i'm a huge fan of greek salads and often order them any chance i get.  since we're not only trying to be healthy but stop eating out as often, we decided to try our hand with our own version of this classic salad.

it no doubt, was a winner.

greek salad (serves 4)
1 head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 radishes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup peperoncinis, sliced
2 small cooked beets, sliced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

greek salad dressing
we used this one from ina garten (i added more mustard than called for and was very happy with that decision).

chop and put all ingredients into a large bowl.  for an extra hearty salad add grilled chicken, lamb, shrimp, salmon or tofu (shown).  add dressing as needed and enjoy.


prayers for san diego.

today san diego issued a state of emergency due to 6 wildfires blazing through the county.  watching the smoke fill the skies has been shocking, to say the least.
we're safe and sending lots of love, thoughts, and prayers to the many people displaced and affected by these fires.  #staysafesandiego


weekly letters.

dear sweet hubby of mine, i missed your face.  although we've done this long distance thing time & time again, it never gets easier.  and part of me is glad that it doesn't.  dear travel, i most definitely have a love-hate relationship with you.  i love exploring new cities, meeting new people and all the adventures that come with both these things but i could do without all the chaos of getting there.  dear keens, you're my sole mate.  i could (and have) walk miles in you everyday. i'm lusting for an entire closet of your goodness.  dear birdhouse, it's so good to be back.

enjoy your weekend and happy mother's day to each & every amazing mama out there!


new adventures.

happy weekend friends!  for the past week i've been spending my days in beautiful colorado springs.  this city is rad.  since arriving i've experienced freezing temperatures, snow, heavy winds, sunny skies and 70 degree weather.  it's safe to say colorado is keeping me on my toes. 

despite the crazy weather, i'm so happy to be here.  this is the first of many business trips i'll be taking with my job and regardless of the time change and being away from home, i have so much passion for what i do that i can't help but be anything but rejuvenated. 
life is overflowing with adventure.  i'm fortunate to have a job that allows me to travel and engulfs me in magic every. single. day.  but it wasn't always this way.  i've had to scrape, claw, and in some cases, take what seemed like a million steps backwards to get to where i am today.  and in hindsight, it was (of course) so very worth it.  

so today, as i sit here writing after a long and rewarding day, i say to you- go, fight for what you want and never, ever, settle.  because in the end, when you're doing what you love, you'll look back & realize that all that mud you were walking through was making you stronger and preparing you for everything yet to come.  


weekly letters.

dear mr. a, you plan last minute bonfire dinners for the family on random thursday nights.  between this and surfing at sunset, my heart can't help but pitter-patter.  thanks for keeping even the most normal days spectacular.  dear saturday, you keep me grateful for mellow mornings at home & afternoon tea with new friends.  i cherish you.  dear birdhouse, even though we regularly wish for garages & backyards, your walls encapsulate so much love everyday.  we love coming home to you more than we'll ever admit.  dear 50%-off-easter-candy, damn you & your amazing prices.  my will power loses every. single. time.

hope you're having a great weekend friends!


pottery class.

last christmas, i wanted to get my mom something different.  after spending sometime online, i found a one-day pottery throwing class for her and i to attend.  i figured what could be more fun than getting our hands dirty & hopefully make something in the process.  in my excitement booking this class, i didn't pay attention to where it actually was & ended up booking through a studio in st. louis.  classic jess moment.  lucky for me, they were really cool about refunding us for such a silly mistake.
after committing to this idea, i now had to find something locally, and fast.  i found a pottery throwing class offered through a san diego winery that was surprisingly reasonable.  i called, and they not only had availability, but were starting the class that same evening.  after calling my mom to confirm that she could be available for a 6 week throwing class, we showed up and started to learn about the pottery wheel.
while frustrating at times, there's something so grounding about playing with clay.  the slippery texture of the wet clay, the grit as it spins against the palm of your hand, and the muddy splash of clay that coats everything in it's path, made this class addicting.  we both fell in love.
i really enjoyed learning to throw pottery and also found myself getting exciting to trim and glaze all the pieces i made.  in my opinion, that's where the magic is made or not made, in some cases.  that's the thing about glazing, you really don't know what's going to happen in the kiln.  for example, i wanted to make a mug with an organic feel.  i found a glaze that best represented the look i was going for and dipped my mug.  the final product, despite having that earthy feel, wasn't what i was expecting- but that's okay, because apparently, that's glazing.
time & again, many of my tall pieces collapsed on the wheel and to salvage them, i ended up making some shallow dishes/cups out of the remaining remnants.  once glazed however, they turned out so much cooler than i thought they would.  all said and done, i walked away with 4 finished pieces & still have 2 or 3 more bowls that i need to glaze sometime after work.
this class was so worth while & if i had the time to commit to it for another six weeks, i would have signed up immediately.  i found 6 weeks was just enough time for me to start getting it so i'd recommend an 8 or 10 week class for anyone looking to learn.  if 4 or 6 week classes are the only options, definitely sign up.  it's so much fun & so worth while.  plus, there's nothing cooler than drinking out of a mug that your created.


photo walk // spring.

photowalking: the act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things that the photographer may find interesting.
getting outside is by-far one of my favorite things to do.  there's nothing quite as cleansing as being in nature.  & at times, when i'm out walking, running, or biking i'm blown away by the beauty that nature delivers.  recently, while walking radley & inspired by the gorgeous spring blooms, i decided to take photos of some of the sights along the way.  
this was a fun exercise.  and while researching the idea of a photo walk, i found that there are meetups and annual events focused around the concept of a photowalking.  very cool & very inspiring.  i look forward to doing one of these again and quite possibly with a local meetup. 
please note, all photos were taken with my iphone.