Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Song of the day...

Joe and I are having a super quiet and cozy winter night at home, writing Christmas cards, lighting Hannukah candles and listening to this song. Something about the beauty of this one always makes me a little teary...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hello two week vacation!!!

If my life had a sound track this morning, these two songs would be playing. So, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited for a two week vacay!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I love being engaged to Joe!

So we're 3 months into the world of wedding planning and I won't lie, it's been a little crazy at times. BUT you know what? I absolutely love, love, love, love, love being engaged to Joe! I love that the novelty of calling each other fiance hasn't worn off. I love that he sometimes calls me sparkles because my ring is so darn sparkly and that I love that sometimes in the middle of a conversation for no reason at all, we just stop and say - "Hey, we're getting married!" And then we both just smile really big.

When we were first engaged, people asked if it felt different and to be honest, at the beginning, it didn't really feel that different to me. But now, with a couple months of this engagement thing behind us (we're like old pros at this now) it actually does feel very different. It's funny, it's not that I didn't think about the reality of spending the rest of my life with Joe before we got engaged, but somehow I think that actually being engaged makes the whole "rest of our lives" thing really start to sink in.

Since Joe proposed and I said yes and we actually committed to this whole committing our lives to each other thing, I've been finding myself thinking more and more about how this man is going to be my life partner and how awesome that is and how incredibly smart I am for saying yes. (Ha! How's that for some unabashed bragging :)). It's true though, there are plenty of times when I think, man, I am getting the better end of this deal :).

Thanks for reading my crazy engagement thoughts everyone! happy weekending!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Song of the day...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving - Parents meet the Parents edition

Well Joe and I are back in town after an epic Thanksgiving weekend with the parents! Both sets! Yep, that's right Amy and Gary met Karen and Tom and well, I'd have to say the meet up was a success. I mean look at these guys, they are practically besties, right?!

Kickin' the kids butts on a post- Turkey meal walk. We needed it after ingesting too much/not enough of my fav. sweet potato soup!

And Karen's deeeeelish pumpkin and zuchinni bread...

As the parents bonded, the kids were busy perfecting our jump shots, obviously.

Jess and Paul - take 1- the starfish jump

Sarah and Joe - take 2 - the toyota jump and the meditating buddha

Jess and Paul - Take 3 - bendy limbs

Thanksgiving day treated us to an awesome sunset from the ridge!

But much to our family's dismay, the calorie burn didn't stop there - Joe and I coerced the crew into a little paper crane folding for the wedding. Here's a shot of Joe leading the crane folding workshop. My dad is probably asking for some extra help on the elusive "square" step, Tom is surely chanting our mantra to himself, "Happily Ever After," - right Tom?! And Paul is probably kicking back and thinking, C'mon Gary, it's not that hard! ha!

They rocked it! Although, not without a fair amount of good hearted griping :).

We even recruited the F4L to help! I'm thinking there might be some forced smiles here, especially from Ryan :).

We folded so many, we couldn't even fit all of them in our luggage!

Joe and I managed to sneak away for a couple runs! Including this "burly" one to the top of the Ramona Dam.

And this one around the lake...

I had to figure in a few ways to offset all the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie I ate so I could fit into a wedding dress or two for the wedding dress shopping extravaganza! My mom, my future mother-in-law and the sister accompanied me to brave black Friday Wedding dress shopping! And well, these ladies helped me find a beautiful dress on a super Black Friday special! I felt so lucky to have us all together for this! Here's a quick shot from our pre-shopping girls lunch at the Winery! For a pic of the dress, well, you'll just have to come to the wedding!

All in all, maybe one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever! Joe and I feel so, so, so, so, so, so, so thankful to have not just one, but TWO families behind us. I have to say that one of the coolest things about getting married is the coming together of families. I just love the idea of family extending beyond blood relations, it's such a peaceful and joyful thing to me. And well I'm super happy to say that this family extending was truly peaceful and joyful!!

-Love, our kitchen crew!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scenes from Friendsgiving #3

I can hardly believe it's Turkey time again and I can hardly believe that this is our 3rd annual Friendsgiving! Theme this year = Damn good food and man did the crew pull through! From butternut squash/mushroom bread pudding to twice baked potatoes, stuffing muffins, pomegranate/grapefruit salad, sauteed brussel sprouts to cider and cedar planked salmon - the food was damn good and so was the company as usual! Kudos to Kat and Erik for coming up with a round of Friendsgiving Jeopardy! Coolest thing about this year's gathering? We're all married or engaged! Ha, how's that for getting old! And at next year's Friendsgiving, we'll all be married! Feeling super thankful for all the love floating around in this group!

The crew folding cranes to build up our appetites...

Joe's cedar planked salmon.

A few of my favs, jars and leaves :).

Jars, leaves and cranes.

Our growing crane collection thanks to Kat, Lindsey and Laura!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Maybe my perfect weekend?

So, I think my perfect weekend consists of the following;

1) Two full nights of sleep with no alarms
2) A couple leisurely cups of chai
3) A hard trail run
4) New music discovery
5) An evening with friends
6) Getting really cool engagement photos back :)
7) A yoga class
8) A car cleaning session
9) Deelish homemade dinner
10) a good blogging sesh

Hmmmmm...am I getting really old and boring? Well maybe so but in any case, I got to do every one of these things this weekend and I couldn't be happier about it! Joe and I did our usual Windy Hill run after a full night sleep on Saturday morning and I have to say, it was one of my favorite runs in quite a while. One of my favorite things about this trail is the way that it changes just about every time we run it, whether it's the seasons, the fog, the rain, the sun, something is always different and I just revel in that! Saturday morning the trails were covered in fall leaves and the combo of the yellow, green and little bits of sunshine streaming through the trees just made me feel so grateful and so alive.

After a hot shower, chai #1 of the weekend, a couple hours of crossing some things off our to-do lists, and a new music discovery (I'm late to the party but Joe introduced me to Tim O'Brien this weekend and I've had him on my Spotify play list all day long today) Joe and I got a little gussied up and made our way out to celebrate Kat and Erik's engagement! Kat's parents threw a beautiful party at their home with a yummy buffet and and an awesome live Jazz trio! Good food, good music and some of my favorite peeps and some cool new peeps always makes my heart sing!

On our way home from Kat and Erik's engagement party, I checked my phone and had a text message and email from Lisa saying that she had posted our Engagement photos. I've been so super excited about getting these back all week and I was practically bursting at the seems on the drive home, anxious to take a look at Lisa's website when we got home! I felt so full of emotion as Joe and I got a chance to go through the photos - Lisa absolutely brought to life the exact vision we had for the shoot. As if she doesn't have enough to do as a mother of 4, she spent hours on Pinterest with me in the weeks leading up to the shoot culling engagement photos to come up with poses, lighting ideas etc. Her dedication to making our vision a reality is more meaningful to me than I could ever explain in words. It feels kind of like a dream come true, that this woman who I have shared so much of my life/relationship joys and sorrows with over the past two years via the blogosphere was the one that was behind the camera capturing the essence of Joe and I. There were a couple moments during the shoot when I just felt like tearing up thinking about how this was all unfolding. I feel so inspired by Lisa's kindness and friendship and so blessed knowing that Joe and I will have these photos for the rest of our lives, to remind us of how in love we are with each other and to share with current family and future family. Whew - I better cut the sap, before I drown myself in a puddle of tears over here - here's a link to the shoot! We're simply over the moon about them...


So, although running is one of our favorite things to do together, I have to say that one of the best feelings for Joe and I is waking up on a Sunday morning and knowing that we are NOT going for a run! You know we love our runs, but we sure do treasure lazy weekend mornings too! We got another good night of sleep and with a hard run behind us, the only thing that we jumped out of bed to do on Sunday was to fire up a cup of coffee and chai! We didn't hang around the house too long though. I have been missing out on my regular Tuesday night yoga class because of basketball, so I told Joe that I wanted to head out for a late morning yoga class and he said he'd go with me! Yay! I love yoga on my own, but I love it even more when Joe joins! So we got our downward dog on and gosh, yoga always feels that much better the day after a hard run :). Our instructor had us think of something we were grateful for to start class and I found my mind racing as I mentally went through my list.

After yoga Joe and I ran a couple errands and then came home and I cleaned our cars. Call me crazy, but there is something so calming to me about having a clean car - I blame my mom and my Grandpa who always take pride in having clean cars :).

And that brings me to now. Joe made the most delicious homemade chicken enchiladas tonight and my belly is full of them and I am sitting here doing something that I love as much as him - blogging :). If that's not a perfect weekend, I don't know what is :).

oooh and a few pics of the weekend that I had to share...

Check out Joe's table! It's finished! The man amazes me - isn't this beautiful? He chopped one of our old IKEA tables up and made a square table with a beautiful tile inlay using tile that we bought n Santa Fe. I love it and it feels so special to have something that h enjoyed making so much in our home oooh and those roses are the flowers he had waiting me on Tuesday night after my first day of basketball practice. He's always tellin' me how proud he is of me for coaching - I'm so incredibly grateful for his support in my pursuit of things I love.

This was the most delicious cup of hot cocoa I sipped as I did some bball practice planning today. Made even more delicious because the mug was made by Lindsey:).

And this is the latest addition to the craft room/gym! A pull-up bar! Rule is, any time you walk by the bar you have to do a pull up :). We'll see how long that holds up!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just a teaser...

Lisa - aka Super Mom of 4 - aka Photographer extraordinaire just posted a photo from our Engagement shoot last weekend. Lisa totally gave us the royal treatment last weekend. We arrived at her place at 1 to apple pie and coffee. After meeting the fam and chowing on some sweet treats we went to check out the photo site she had staked out - it was ABSOLUTELY perfect for us! She even found a couple posts that we could rig our mason jar lanterns from! She let me crash her bathroom to get ready. She spent two hours with us shooting hundreds of photos. She actually laid all the way down on her stomach on the road and on a grassy/weedy field to try to get the best possible shot of us. And to top it all off she tasked her sweet husband and kiddos to prep dinner for us when we returned! Here's a quick look!


We love it Lisa!!!!

Life just got a little crazier, in a good way :)

Well not only am I planning a wedding this year, I'm now into my first week as JV basketball coach at a local private school for girls! Hello hardwoods :)! Season will mean long days from here to February, but I'm super amped about the group of young women I'll be working with this season! More than anything, I'm posting this morning to share just how grateful I am for two things that are already making the big time commitment easier to handle...

1) My new exercise bike! You all know I get a little grumpy when I don't get to break a little sweat - having this guy is already making it easier for me to get a workout in on these long days. I woke up this morning at 5:30 to jump on the bike for a half hour and it felt great to get my blood pumping this morning. It's so nice not to have to wake up even earlier so that I can drive to a gym and then drive back - major time saver!!!

2) JOE! I got home last night at 7 after practice and jumped on the bike to get a workout in. Meanwhile, he cooked up the most incredible pot of Gumbo! I got off the bike, showered and then got to sit down immediately to a hot dinner! And when we finished, he cleaned up while I made a practice plan for today. I feel so, so grateful for his support!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yosemite trip #3

I'm sorry if you're sick of hearing me say how much I love these people, but I just can't help myself. I love 'em and I love that we get to share incredible places like Yosemite together! This year was our third annual trip to Yosemite to celebrate Lindsey's birthday. I'm starting to feel like we are Yosemite pros! Fall colors, perfect temperatures, incredible views of nature in every direction, high energy games of Nutsack, scrumptious brunch at the Awahnee, paper crane folding (more on this soon!) and some of my fav. peeps in the world - folks, it doesn't get much better than that. Here are a few pics of our trip this year!

On a hike to Upper Yosemite Falls - we're heading to the top of that fall.

View of the falls along the way.

We made it to the top! Gorgeous bluebird views.

Sunset with Half Dome.


El Cap with my love.

The girls!

And the boys!

And speaking of boys...that boy of mine worked on grouting tile on our new table when we got home today! Check it out...I love how it's turning out!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Goin' to the CHAPel :)...

Okay so maybe we're not actually going to the chapel. BUT, we ARE going to
Hakone Gardens! And yay! We're goooooooing to Hakone and we're goooooonna get maaaaarried (written to the tune of Going to the Chapel :))!

Hakone is the first place that we saw and it set the bar pretty high for the rest of the venues we visited. We feel so lucky to get to have our wedding at such a beautiful and historic place. Hakone is the oldest Japanese Garden in the western hemisphere - it was first established in 1915. It is modeled after a Japanese Samurai's garden which is significant since my ancestors were samurai! oooh and fun fact - part of the movie Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed on site!

I'll be sure to keep you all posted as more ideas unfold!

In other news, that sweet fiance of mine was busy this past weekend remodeling IKEA furniture. Here's a sneak peak at his work in progress...

....and his newly decorated man-cave - complete with transformers posters and lots of big power tools! More pics on the finished product coming up! Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I appreciate this bride's advice....

"Also, I would advise brides to not get too tied to any idea or vision
of your wedding. The end result of my wedding was quite different than
my initial thoughts, and I think what made it successful was not
rifling at unexpected changes, but rather letting the curves in the
planning road shape the final outcome."

Monday, October 10, 2011

simple pleasures

1) super supportive phone conversation about what else? Weddings! with my future sister-in-law Clare - I am marrying in to such a cool family.

2) going to get fingerprinted for my upcoming coaching gig and having the guy tell me how beautiful my ring is :). (Joe and I have been engaged for over a month now and I still find myself staring at it!)

3) Having a reason to browse through wedding blogs - I love being inspired by the creative and beautiful things that people do.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

props to us :)

Well, no definite wedding venue yet - Hakone Gardens is still a top contender, but we may check out a couple other places this week - in the mean time, I'll be visualizing a wedding venue victory happening for us this week! I'm so ready to get on with the rest of wedding planning!

Besides wedding venue shopping, we've been brainstorming for our upcoming engagement photo session and today we made a couple props that are going to double as decoration for our bedroom and possible decoration for our wedding day. I've had the canvases for a couple years and painted them for my last apartment to add a little color. I've been wanting to add some meaningful words to them, but inspiration didn't strike until Joe and I moved into our new place together. Here's a sneak peek...

This guy has been hanging on the wall in front of our bed since May. We decided months ago that we wanted to put the words, "It's a beautiful day," on it because it's the name of a U2 song (Joe's all time favorite band!) and because we thought it would be fun to wake up every morning and see those words to set the tone for the day. Thank goodness for impending engagement photo dates to force us to finally make it happen! We started trying to stencil the words on, but didn't like the rigid, uniform feel of the stencils - so we painted over with some home made turquoise and made a quick trip to Michael's for some paint pens - I love having the words hand written instead - sure the word day is a little crooked, but it feels much more organic :).

This has become one of my favorite quotes in the past month, it has served as a good reminder that although the craziness of the wedding industry can be overwhelming, celebrating true love is well worth it. Combine that with my favorite gingko leaves and well it just kind of makes my heart happy. Excited to have these up on our bedroom walls and excited to have them ready for our engagement photos :).

Couple simple pleasures from today....

1) beautiful brunch in the city with Laura, Karen, Kat, Lindsey, Nate, Erik, Julian and the love of my life :). We had a delicious dish called Green Earth - how sweet is that?

2) The Wailing Jenny's on Spotify - seriously, if you don't Spotify yet, you're missing out. Lovin' the playful harmonies in this song - think they'd come sing at our wedding?

3) Joe's bbq chicken teriyaki - reason #2984058343 that I am marrying him :)

4) Our favorite post bbq dinner dessert - S'mores on the grill in the back yard

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Simple pleasures

1) Gingko trees beginning to turn golden
2) Pumpkin Candles
3) Engagment rings that fit perfectly!
4) Joe's home made fruit smoothies
5) Fall recipes - pumpkin pancakes, turkey, brie and apple sandwiches
6) Homegrown tomatoes
7) Morning runs
8) KFOG's acoustic sunrise
9) Engagement photo brainstorming with Joe and Lisa
10) Operation October!
11) Homemade tomato soup with Parmesan croutons

And I'll leave you with a few pics of the tomatoes! From the vine to creamy, tomato soup! So perfect for a fall evening!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Keepin' it real

Oh boy oh boy it's been way too long since I've posted - thank you Clare for the little Facebook nudge to get on it :). Dang it, I hate when I let so much time lapse between posts - too darn much happens in the span of 2 weeks to possible update you completely without writing a novel. Joe and I are knee deep in wedding venue searching - no big news to break there yet, but rest assured that they'll be a post when we pick a place and set a date :). I will tell you however that Joe has been the sweetest fiance - he has been such a great partner in the planning process so far and I simply love checking out venues and envisioning our big day together. A couple thoughts on the wedding front - many, many parts of this process have felt extravagant and well, just a little bit crazy. I was telling a co-worker a week or so ago about how part of me felt guilty spending so much money on a single day to which she basically said, "Sarah - it's not every day that you find true love or get to witness true love. Your wedding day is not just about sharing your love with each other but with your family and friends and you just never know what kind of inspiration will spark when people have the chance to witness that. " How sweet - I love that perspective. Also, in my wedding borne addiction to Pinterest, I found a great quote that I'd like to incorporate into some sort of decoration or photo prop for our wedding - it was a simple quote but a true one - "True Love is a big deal." I heart it.

Soooooo, aside from wedding stuff - guess what?!! I got to meet Lisa this weekend! It was just the neatest thing to finally meet a woman who I met through the blogosphere 2 years ago and who has been a constant source of inspiration during that time. She's a simply amazing mother of 4, photographer and creative blogger. She has doubled so much joy and halved so much sorrow and I just feel lucky to know her. She picked out this adorable cafe in Napa which I loved and we sat over a scrumptious veggie omlette and sipped some derwicious chai tea. I came home starving because well, the truth was, we were so busy talking and filling in all the gaps from what we know of each other through our blogs that there just wasn't enough time to eat. It was so fun meeting my modern pen pal - she was just as sweet in person as she is on her blog! Here are a few pics of our brunch spot.

The Boon Fly Cafe. I heart this Barn, maybe Joe and I could just get married in front of that :).

On a side note - our tomatoes are in full force!!! Check out these beauties!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

a moment...

So, I was just going through some of my old blogs searching for the first comment I received from my very dear blogging buddy Lisa. We've known each other for over 2 years now and are going to finally meet in just couple weeks and I couldn't be more excited about it. In doing so, I found myself reading through some old posts and came across a post where I included this quote...

"Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it." p.149

...and well, I just started to cry. I wrote this post on July 8, 2009 - right in the thick of a difficult time and it just made me think about what a neat thing this blog is for me - that I can go back in time and see what I was thinking a couple years ago and look at that from this side of an incredible couple of years. The truth in these words brought me to tears - I was indeed going through a sweet time of grieving, my life was changing and I was in the best possible place in the world for it. I had a feeling that this was the case at the time and now, sitting next to the love of my life and my fiance, I can't help but marvel at just how true it was.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

one of our developing Wedding Themes...

Earthy and Elegant.

That's all. Just had to share :). Wedding venue research is well under way - will keep you all posted on any decisions we make!

Monday, September 5, 2011

We're engaged.

And I couldn't be any happier. I simply feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have found a man like Joe and am beside myself with excitement thinking about marrying him! The way he walks through life continually amazes and inspires me and walking with him just seems like the best idea ever:). Our engagement story feels like a fairy tale and it's been so fun sharing with friends and family and I can hardly believe that this is the story we get to share for years and years to come. I'll share it all in just a minute, but first, I also need to say that, just as incredible as the proposal/engagement, has been the overwhelming love and support we've been receiving from friends and family. I am so moved by the kind words and the genuine welcome I have received from Joe's family and I know that my family extends the same to Joe. Just after they got the news, this is the text I got from Joe's parents -
"Sarah! We are so very happy! We love you and look forward to years and years of memory making with you as part of our family. - Karen and Tom"
I feel so blessed and I can't think of many things more beautiful than sharing our love with everyone. A big, big thanks to everyone who has shared in our excitement! We are so incredibly grateful. Alright here's the story!!!

Joe and I are still basking in the joy of having full weekends now that he is done with grad school and we knew that we wanted to head out of town for the long Labor Day weekend to take advantage the extra day off and to soak in a little mountain air. I have to admit, although I've been a little antsy about getting engaged, I honestly didn't think that this trip would be anything more than a quick one-night getaway. Ha, earlier in the week, I even told Joe that I wasn't sure that I wanted to make the big drive - luckily Joe persuaded me to get over that - thank goodness! I sure would've missed out if I didn't go! We got on the road bright and early on Saturday morning and made our way up to South Lake Tahoe to a place called Baldwin Beach. We had incredible weather - clear skies and crystal clear Caribbean like water! We rented a couple of kayaks and started paddling to Emerald Bay - all the while marveling at the brilliant turquoisy, blue clear water. I've never seen lake water this color - if you haven't been on a kayak in Lake Tahoe - put it on your bucket list - my description doesn't do the beauty justice. In Emerald Bay there is an island called Fannette Island, so we paddled on over and pulled our kayaks on shore and hiked up to the top where there is a small stone structure that used to be a tea house back in the late 1920's. Joe and I were both poking around and after a few moments Joe said he had found a shady spot beside the stone structure with a place to sit overlooking one of the cliffs of the island. So, thinking nothing of it, I followed him. We set our stuff down and I was just starting to find a comfortable place to sit and gosh it all happened so fast! I turned to my left where Joe was and he had a box in his hand and was opening it and I think I said something lame like - "Oh my gosh, is this happening right now?" and Joe got down on one knee and well dang it, I can't remember exactly what he said, but somewhere in there he said Sarah Mariko, will you marry me? My heart was screaming Yes, Yes, YES but I'm pretty sure it took me a couple minutes to stop kissing him and actually verbalize that!!!!!! A boat down below must have seen us kissing because they started hoopin' and hollerin' at us and so I pointed to my ring and Joe yelled out "We just got engaged" and well then everyone started cheering and the boat started honking it's horn and I just kept kissing Joe and reminding myself to breathe! We spent a little bit up in the stone house just taking it all in and had a few people snap some pictures of us. Here's our first photo as an engaged couple - I love that we were adventuring when this happened and I love that it happened so fast that we didn't even have time to take off our dorky life jackets! And I love that Joe had the ring tucked into a sack on his kayak the whole way over! What a stud!

The ring with Lake Tahoe in the back - heavenly I tell ya!

Back on shore and giddy with "WE JUST GOT ENGAGED" love. One of my favorite parts of the day was our kayak back from Emerald Bay to Baldwin beach. As the island faded into the distance, we kept looking back and saying - "Hey, we just got engaged there!" And all the way back we were saying saying silly things like "Hey Fiance!" and "We're getting married!" - super original right? I guess when you're on Cloud 9 - you lose a few brain cells :).

This thing sure does sparkle!!

Us with our island - yup that's right, I'm claiming it.

Joe about to dig into a big buffalo steak. He was so cute - he told me that he was feeling super manly after proposing and needed a meal to match that. I think he's super manly no matter what he's doing!

So WAHOOO, there's the story, he did a pretty damn good job didn't he?! We're getting Married and well, cheesy as it sounds, it's true, I've never felt more sure about anything in my life - Joe is the ONE. He is the man that I want to love forever and grow old with and I've known that for quite some time now. I'm thrilled that I officially get to share it with the world now!

Stay tuned, there's bound to be a lot of love bubbling over on the blog this year!