27 Wishes

Why hello October! This year sure came and went fast, didn’t it? I am pretty sure life isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon—if ever!

And with the coming of October, that now means I’m about to turn 27…. so here’s to another set of birthday gift wishes and to being totally self indulgent to blast this off to the Internet. Happy birthday to me… what are some of your current gift wishes?

1. Coffee Bean

My favorite drink of winter: Winter Dream Tea Latte from Coffee Bean! I save up my coffee cash all year just to splurge on this piping hot drink!


2–3. Some New Tunes

Over this last year I have fallen in love with The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men… but of course I only listen to their music online, I think its time to own some the goodness!


4. Ampersand Temporary Tattoo

Last year, I decided that if I ever got a tattoo, it would be of an ampersand. Well ladies and gentleman, I found this awesome Etsy store that sells custom temporary tattoos… and they have an ampersand collection!


5. OPI Nail Polish

I have loved getting back into painting my nails this past year! And of course, I love the OPI nail polish, especially this San Francisco designer set.

6. Bath and Body Works’ Leaves

Ever since discovering the scent when working there many years ago, I just love BBW’s Leaves fragrance! Perfect addition to the perfect autumn day!


7. Movie Tickets

Andy and I are too cheap to go to the movies on a regular basis so we usually plan ahead for the year’s blockbusters… coming soon to a theater near you: Thor and the Hobbit are on our must see in theaters list!

Photo below: seeing Superman weeks after its release, but we still had to be there at least an hour before showtime. 🙂


8–9. New Books

Quite a few new books have just been released, including the paperback version of the Casual Vacancy! Aaaand the final piece to the Divergent trilogy too!


10. Butter Dish

For the last year I have been idlely searching for a colored butter dish, but finding one that’s not white or clear has been a challenge. After a quick search online though, I found this darling dish in Apple Red! Cuuuute!

11. Wrist Watch

Guys, I lost my watch in August! I keep hoping its going to turn up but so far, no luck! So I went back to the Etsy shop where my husband bought it for me… and of course there are so many to choose from! I finally narrowed it down to this watch though, in brown! It has a little bit more to it than the one I had before… but I am still hoping me other one will turn up eventually! 🙂 But I can’t wait until whenever that day may come!

12. Maxi Black Skirt

I’m late to the “maxi” dress/skirt trend… but I do love the one maxi dress I got last year. It’s time to expand the wardrobe with the staple black maxi skirt!

13. Skillshare

Gosh I love perusing the Skillshare site, seeing all the amazing designers I look up to that are teaching their skills to their peers. I can’t even decide with class to take though… from Brad Woodard’s Illustration class to the lettering classes: The Art of Modern Calligraphy or Hand Lettering with Mary Kate McDevitt… or even a combination of them both with Jon Contino’s Illustration and Lettering class.

14. Camera Strap

I’ve been wanting a decorative camera strap for some time now but have never actually looked until writing this post! Now that was fun! Of course, I want a neutral-ish one and totally fell in love with this camera strap, especially the bonus lace-like trim! PLUS it has a lens cap pocket! Yes!

15. Letterpress Wood Type Letters

This would be the perfect addition to our mantel, letterpress wood type letters spelling out our last name: ALLEN. Pick your own letters here.

16. Waffle Maker

Not sure what started this, but my hubby and I have been really craving waffles lately! But we don’t have a waffle maker… so it had to make this list! Yum!

17. Just Dance 2014

Oh how I have loved this “game” over these last couple years… and just when I start to tire of the songs, a new one is released. Thank you Just Dance!

18. Bamboo Tablet

The more and more I grow to love the art of the handmade design, the more I long for a Bamboo tablet that will aid in taking the handmade straight to the screen.

19. ”Partners” Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue

I’ve slowly been decorating our Disneyland themed guest room, but you can’t have a room themed around Disneyland without a miniature of the Partners statue!

20–21. Disneyland Attraction Posters

And of course, Disneyland attraction posters would definitely add so much to the room… after making some tough decisions, I’ve finally decided to start collecting the frames and 22×28 prints. It’s slowly coming together…


22. Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour

In the back of my mind, I knew that you could visit the Central Perk set from FRIENDS on the Warner Bros. studio, but never have I once looked into it! My mom and her friends went just last week and I can’t stop thinking about it! She sent me a ton of photos while she was there, but its just not enough. Now that I’ve seen the outside of the FRIENDS apartment building in New York, including Central Perk, I have to see the inside! That would make such a perfect day!


23. Peter Pan Necklace

When my husband bought me my watch for Christmas last year, he also checked out the variety of Peter Pan themed necklaces. There are a ton to choose from on Etsy, but none were “perfect” to me… until I just recently found this one. I love the vintage feel to it, along with the fact that it covers so much of the Peter Pan story in an “organized fashion” without being too much. But I would customize it with a slightly longer chain. 🙂

24. Point and Shoot Camera

Is it bad that I want a second camera, just to be able to take along for the day to day? It’s my wish list, so I think it’s okay. 🙂

25. iPhone 5S

Well my contract says I can get a new iPhone this year… the release of the new iPhone couldn’t be timed better.

26. Tokyo Disney Sea

This was totally on my list last year too but after seeing this post on Micechat with the Top 10 Scenes at Tokyo Disney Sea, my yearning as only increased! Who wants to go with me??

27. Chevy Equionox

This was also on my list last year, but now the debate has been settled and the mister got his truck so now it’s my turn!!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Another year, another candle on the cake, another list of wishes!

Here’s to the 27, the more official entrance into being in my late-20s.

Grayson’s First Bug Birthday Invitations


grayson-bug-birthday-sketchI can not believe this little boy is now one year… or almost 13 months at this point. Counting in months seems to calm his mama’s heart a bit. 🙂

Jess posted all about Grayson’s party a few weeks ago, which made me *almost* forget to post about it as well!

I just wanted to show you the adorable little invite we created for the party as well as a few other photos I took throughout Bug’s bash. Are you ready for the cuteness?




Jess had the same woman from our church create this cake as you may have seen from Josiah’s party. Seriously, I am amazed at her talents!


We also made a little guest book poster for everyone to “sign.”


And now a few photos of the birthday boy himself, looking so handsome with his new haircut! I felt like papparazzi following him around getting as many photos as I could of him and all his friends.

graysons-bug-birthday-party-photography_0868 graysons-bug-birthday-party-photography_0921

And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete with G and his cake! I love his little grin here!


Here are a few more bonus photos for you!

The adorable Mr. Eli who is turning 5 this month!! Eeek! This may be one of my favorite photos of him yet, taken just seconds after he found out there was a jolly jump!


And then the mommy of the birthday boy and his aunties!

Jess, you really threw one amazing first birthday party!!


To see more of Jessica’s party planning extraordinaire… inspiration board, invitation, and even more photos from the party!

Josiah’s First Birthday Woodland Creatures Invitation

This past year evolved from baby shower invite craziness to first birthday invites! How cool is that?!

McKensie asked me to make her little Josiah’s first birthday invite and wanted it to have a woodland creature feel (in her Google search for this she found Jamie’s invite from earlier this year, that was pretty cool I must say!). She sent me some ideas on the colors and type of animals she was looking for, which was such a big help in getting on the same page for what she wanted. With that in hand, I could confidently move forward with the design knowing exactly what she wanted but with room to add my own touches.

The mood board also helped me figure out my own design rather quickly, and even though I had a pretty solid idea in my head, I sketched it out so the smaller details wouldn’t be forgotten… I love the little squirrel (planned to be a bird but I changed my mind) chilling on the wooden sign. Or maybe the pendant banner…

I had a bridal shower the same day as the birthday party so I couldn’t make it but Jessica took the most adorable photos of how the cake came out, that matched the invite. Oh and of course the birthday boy, dressed in his suspenders, devouring the sweet sugar!

Can’t get much cuter than that, right?


Celebrating 11 Years of Best Buddy Birthdays!

Today is my best friend Amie’s birthday, her 26th birthday. Of course I got to thinking of our past birthdays… since we were 15 Amie and I have spent every birthday possible together. Her move to Washington D.C. for college left a few gaps but otherwise, year after year, we were by each other’s side—I’ve yet to miss one of hers. Could you ask for a better friend than that? I just put this little photo montage of our birthdays together to remember how special this friendship truly is. Happy birthday, Amie Belle, and here’s to many many more!

Third Annual Rachel’s Birthday at Disneyland Adventure!

I had just left my position at the dance studio when I asked Rachel if I could take her to Disneyland on her birthday—it was the Year of a Million Dreams and you were given a free ticket for your birthday. She said yes—of course—and my worries of not seeing the Johnson family subsided. Who knew that that one ticket would turn into a pass, and that year pass would turn into two. And here we are, our third annual trip to celebrate Rachel’s birthday, with many a trip in between.

I’ve seen this young girl turn into a young woman, embarking upon her first year of college. I’ve seen her from braces to implants (ha!), from ballet to “hip hop,” from the awkward middle school stage to flourishing college student. And have loved every minute of it.

Thanks for wanting to spend time on your birthday with me and sharing my passion for the Happiest Place on Earth, Rachel dear. Happy 19th Birthday!

P.S. I had no idea I made you take a photo with your button each year so I had to put those together too!

P.P.S. Rachel has also been so kind to help me learn photography by graciously modeling for me quite a few times, so she may look familiar from these posts:

To My Sassy Seventy Year Old Grandma

My Grandma was always the cool grandma. The one who notoriously hosed my fourth grade class down when the asphalt was just too hot. The one who dances on tables. The one who encourages pajama days—and pajamas worn out to restaurants. The one who treats my best friend as if she was one of her own grandchildren. And the one who has helped watch over me for twenty five years. May she never lose the intense love of life that she has been given!

We celebrated her seventieth birthday on Thursday. Starting the night out at Ooka Japanese restaurant with a hibachi made dinner and ended the night with Casey’s cupcakes at the holiday light show at the Mission Inn. Along the way, I caught some photos that one may consider capable of counting as blackmail, but this is just my grandma, and I am glad I caught her in her goofiness to make us all smile!

Catching food from the chef… I guess after 40 years, my grandpa isn’t fazed by her antics. Actually, that’s not true, I think he must have been concentrating knowing he was next!

My grandma really wanted to go to the Mission Inn to see the holiday light show, but also to have a cupcake at Casey’s Cupcakes. She got really excited about it…

But I will end with a normal photo, three generations of women, and two lovely women I look up to!

3rd Annual Hotluck

Have you ever been to a hotluck? Have you ever heard of one? 3 years ago, Andy was watching the Food Network and heard about hotlucks on the show Unwrapped. It was just three weeks before our birthdays and he told me right away we needed to have a hotluck birthday party. Basically, it’s a potluck but everyone only brings spicy food, which is my favorite food. It’s really fun to see the range of spiciness too! I was rating all of them, but mostly everyone got 1 or 2 out of 5, basically, I wasn’t the best judge as my spicy levels are very different from my friends and family! We also play a game, we call it spicy roulette. Everyone is dealt a cup of some type of food (this year was chili, last year was jambalaya). Only 1 cup has an extra kick of heat. Andy started with increasing drops of Dave’s Gourmet Insanity hot sauce then brought out the big guns with Dave’s Ghost Pepper sauce. The player gets the choice of staying in or bailing on the heat. I only lasted to the final three and got out of there after my first deal of Ghost Pepper sauce! Here’s just a glimpse into the party with a little video at the end of the post!

Left: Dragon’s Breath Chili made by my mom.
Right: Chili Verde made by my hubby.

Left: Oh My Slaw’d made by my friend Brittany.
Middle: H-Row Spicy Asian Meatballs made by my friend Eric.
Right: Buffalo Chicken Dip made by my friend Amie.

Shrimp brought from the Boiling Crab in LA, with the XXX spice, by my friend Lindsey.

Even my friend Lauren, who does not eat spicy food, found something to eat (with lots of sour cream)!

The Spicy Roulette competition begins!

The final two!

Left, Anthony, received a jar of Tat’s Window Maker sauce for second place. Right, Matt, the winner, received a jar of Tat’s 6 Feet Under sauce.

Time for cake… don’t worry it wasn’t spicy. It was Andy’s favorite: German Chocolate Cake. My sister did make cayenne infused peanut butter cookies though!

The bestest friends a girl could ask for!!

Twenty Five, Tacos, and Treats

As with all good birthdays, there was food. This post is actually less about my birthday but more about what I ate on my birthday. But that’s okay with me!

Did you read my 25 Wishes post a couple weeks ago? Well, here I mark off two wishes!

  • seafood dinner
  • chocolate chip cookies

Thanks to my husband and Kathleen for checking those goodies off!

Andy made me, our friends, and my family shrimp and shredded beef tacos. He didn’t want to be photographed even touching the shrimp so you’ll see I had to get creative on that shot! He also made a jalapeno white sauce that they serve at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Miguel’s Cocina, on Coronado Island. Yum yum yum!

Then Kathleen made me cookies!! She makes the BEST cookies! So delicious… here she goes, doing her thang!

Of course, our dumb oven decided to turn off whilst baking these treats so Kat kept a special watch for the remaining of the time.

And here they are, my little loves… yum!

And that was my 25th birthday told in the form of food.

A Video Preview of our Third Annual Hotluck

Have you ever attended a hotluck? It’s like a potluck, but only with hot and spicy food! We celebrated Andy’s and my joint birthdays yesterday with our third annual hotluck. But before that we celebrated with a morning of french toast and then some German chocolate cake baking! Basically, we spent the whole day of Andy’s actual 29th birthday eating food! Here’s just a sneak preview of the night, including our game of the night: spicy roulette. I’ll be posting more photos later this week, so stay tuned!!

This video was made using my new iPhone 4S and iMovie to edit.

Song: Big Wave by Jenny and Johnny

I Choose Dumplings

For over a month, I pestered my husband. Well I know I pester him a lot more than that. But for the past month, I specifically pestered him to make me a homemade seafood dinner on my birthday. He flat out refused. To me, him making me seafood—a food group he downright despises—would mean he loves me. He cares for me. His sacrifice of cooking such a food, would mean he unselfishly loves me and would do anything for me.

Andy has known since the beginning of our relationship that the way to my heart is through food. I just love food. All food. It’s disgusting really. But he learned and memorized—before we had even become official—exactly how I order at every fast food place. A task that only my mother could do. When he first recited to me how I would get a burrito with no tomato, extra sauce, and xyz at Taco Bell and then go on to tell me how I order a burger at In-n-Out and then what I would get at McDonalds, I knew two things: 1, I eat out way to much; and 2, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with someone who took notice of these little details of my life.

Back to today, I was deeply offended that he would not make me seafood. Didn’t he love me, I asked myself. Then, last week, on a night that I thought I was coming down with the flu and had come home early from work and everything… he called to say he was making homemade chicken and dumpling soup. Because I was sick. Because I needed him to take care of me. Because he loves me. And even after all my ranting about some dumb birthday dinner, and after he worked late at a photo shoot, and after running to the store and getting home after 7, he made me dinner.

No, I do not need a seafood dinner on my birthday. But I do need a husband who will stick by me even when I make selfish demands. I need a husband who will take care of me in sickness and in health. I need Andy.

So whatever he chooses to make for my birthday dinner… I choose dumplings.