images from Debbie Smythe, tuesday mourning, katespadeny, + Ashley Goldberg

I was pretty stuck on what to blog about today so I asked my husband for any ideas. He said to blog about being home. So today’s post is inspired by him 😉 We got back from our trip a couple days ago. It was so much fun to travel and see so many lovely places in England. We were so fortunate to be able to go there for the craft show and add in some extra traveling on the side. But toward the end of the trip, Nick and I realized we were really ready to come home. I never thought I’d ever get tired of traveling but for some reason, I have never been more excited to get home! I realized there is something so nice about familiarity and things you are used to.. which is crazy to say because I love traveling and finding myself in unfamiliar territory. But I think Dorothy had it right, really is no place like home!

Actually, at the beginning of the year, I thought it’d be pretty fun to move to London… I was especially inspired by Jordan, how she just packed up her family and moved to Paris for a year. We talked about it and thought maybe we’d just go for it, I even mentioned the plans to a couple friends. But now having been in London just a week ago, we realized we are not cut out for big cities and we talked about how crazy it would have been if we had just packed up + moved there!! I think I just liked the idea of moving to England (I spent a couple months at this school and it was so amazing) But all that to say, this trip really revealed to us how the Lord truly watches over us and has our best at heart, even though we go about making these crazy plans and think we know what’s best for ourselves. A few months back, we had talked about moving to London and what we’d do for work, how we’d make money, etc. Then the next day we heard this verse in church! convicting? yes. 

If you had asked me in January, I would have told you our plans were to move to London and buying a house was not even something on my mind. How plans change in an instant! One day in March, we just started looking to buy a house and bought our perfect house in June. We daily recognize how blessed we are to have been able to get a house. We are counting down the days until we get to move into our new home! (which will hopefully be happening in November)

Well sorry for the random post but haven’t done a real ‘journal‘ type of entry in a while – it is so nice to be able to share. Thanks for reading :)

2 Years:

Nick & I were married 2 years ago today! It seems so crazy that it’s been just 2 years. But marriage has been wonderful. Sometimes I have moments where I wake up next to Nick and am like, is this guy really my husband? This is crazy. Not weird-crazy but it’s surreal sometimes. Does that make any sense? I guess I just get in a moment where I wonder how I got so lucky to end up with a guy like my husband. Do you have moments like that? Anyway, we took some photos with Jennifer from iartu a couple months back. These were obviously take a while ago because Nick’s beard is back and he currently looks like this 😉
These weren’t taken specifically for our anniversary but I thought it’d be fun just to do a little photo shoot. Makes a fun ‘date’ activity and it’s always fun to get legit photos taken! Plus I really love Jen’s style. 

I bought a heart kite (from here) a long time ago thinking I’d save save it for something fun.

We weren’t sure if it’d work but it totally did! Kites are so fun! 

(I don’t think I spent $90 on the kite, here’s a more afforable one if you’re interested)

We also brought my yellow scooter I got from the flea market for only $70 bucks!
Personally one of my fave finds – it’s yellow + it was a steal! 

ps: if you’re curious about what our wedding looked like, we have a couple wedding videos

here and here (so fortunate to have chaz + ruby make these!)

discussion / what’s your story?

While I was on the plane on the way back from my trip, I was reflecting on my blog and how it all got started. Then I had a thought about how all of you bloggers out there and how each one of us has our own story on how our blogs were started.

I mentioned I’m in Vegas for Pool Trade show, so I’ll be sitting here from 9-6. I may be bored. I may take a nap. But if you have a free moment, would you mind posting your story of how your blog came to be? I’d love to read your stories while I’m sitting here… and I’ll probably be sitting a lot, the days are super long at these trade shows :)
Ok, I’ll start with my story! Summer of 2007, I was close to graduating from college and my friends, Curtis and Mayra started a blog on blogger. I wish I remembered the exact moment and conversation but I think we were in a computer lab and I pretty much ended up starting a blog because they told me to. That blog was called ‘hello loveli‘ and it’s actually still online – you can see it here if you’re curious.. but no judgements, the posts are so random and the way I wrote was pretty silly 😉 I actually love that it’s still up, floating around in cyberspace. I didn’t have many entries. But those were the days when posts were so innocent and new.. and I had only 2 readers – Curtis and Mye. I posted about design and random life-things. I think I may have thought I was cool because I didn’t use capital letters at the beginning of my sentences, lol. No real direction or blog-standard to meet, I just blogged true and genuine stuff about my life and interests. I hadn’t visited that blog while until I wrote this post. I went back through each entry and laughed about the way I wrote. Watched the videos I posted and thought about why I posted those at the time. I look at my designs from back then and smile – I used a lot of fonts then. I guess I still kind of use a lot of fonts. I love fonts!
There wasn’t the pressure of putting out daily, consistent, original content, you know? Don’t get me wrong. I love this blog. It is fun putting together new content for the blog and I’m fortunate to have met so many friends through oh, hello friend. I am honored when a reader comes to a craft show and says hi or someone sends me an email of encouragement. There’s just something so innocent about those blog days so many years ago. When I posted things as if no one was reading, but just because I liked it. I posted for myself. Sometimes I feel like we may loose our blog identity along the way as we read + compare to all the other blogs out there. If that makes any sense at all :) Probably not. I think I may still be on jet lag. Going to sleep at 4am and waking up at 8am is not so good. 
I’m not sure why I strayed from that blog and started up oh, hello friend. I think because I wanted to start a shop and just created a new blog to go along with it. oh, hello friend came to be while sitting at my day job at Avery Dennison, super bored and wanting to start an etsy shop up. But that’s a story for another day. I am definitely here thanks to 2 friends who told me to start a blog all those years ago. I’m so glad I listened to them!
Ok. That’s my blog story! If you’re a blogger – time to share your blog story! How did you get started with your blog? Did a friend tell you to start one? Maybe you were inspired to start one from seeing another blog? Can’t wait to hear your story…be sure to leave links too!

birthday freebies:

So Nick & I celebrated our birthdays last month, our birthdays are about a week apart which is nice because we get both of them out of the way 😉 I’ll be honest – I don’t get super excited when my birthday rolls around each year and the fact that I’m getting older, does anyone? But anyway, this year I signed up for a couple mailing lists for companies that give birthday perks. I’m not a huge coupon person, but birthdays only comes once a year so why not get something for free on your birthday? I think it’s really cool that companies even offer freebies for birthdays, don’t you? I totally want to do that if I ever open a shop. Well, here are a few of them that Nick & I stopped at, along with links for you to sign up too!

First you can start your day off with breakfast at ihop
They give you a free meal (up to $10) I got the crepes, my favorite :)

Then you can stop for lunch or dinner at rubios for a free meal (up to $7)

For dessert, get a free scoop of ice cream from baskin robbins!

and buy 1 get 1 free pretzel at auntie anne’s.

Last stop – free birthday gift from sephora, how generous!

The nice thing about these coupons are that they are good for a period about 1-2 weeks so you don’t have to go on your actual birth-day. Some very extensive lists of birthday freebies can be found here and here :) If you have any to share, feel free to do so in the comments below!

flower fields:

When I saw Lillian’s post about the Carlsbad flower fields, I wanted go check it out right away – I had never even known about this place before! So when I was down in San Diego for business, we stayed an extra night and stopped here on the way back up. It was endless rows of flowers – so lovely. and so cool to discover new places + sights to see through other blogger friends! Nick & I are always looking for fun date things to do together, this was great & perfect for pictures too. The fields are closed now but mark your calendars for next year when they reopen. What sort of places have you been going to lately for dates?

Exploring Orange County:

I received an email from Apartment Guide with a fun challenge to explore my city. I’ve grown up in Orange County but haven’t shared too much about fun places in OC. To be honest, having visited so many other cooler-than-orange-county cities – I have always felt OC doesn’t even compare to some of the other cool stuff going on in other areas. But what can I say? OC has some great weather year round and they do have some cool stuff going on 😉 So Nick & I went and explored. Here are some fun places we came across that I wanted to share with you! Whether you live here or are even stopping by for a visit, be sure to mark these places on your list!

First on the list, let’s start with some delicious pastries for breakfast at Cream Pan in Tustin! This place has some serious reviews and ratings on Yelp. You haven’t lived until you’ve had one of their strawberry croissants!

Next we have a fun morning/afternoon activity – strawberry picking at Tanaka Farms in Irvine! I’ve blogged about this before but it’s just such a fun activity to do as a date or share with friends.

Something we always enjoy doing is visiting the zoo. There are quite a few zoo’s all over orange county, like The Santa Ana Zoo or even the Orange County Zoo. Zoo’s are always a good time.

Then for lunch, we stopped in at Umami Burger. Umami burger used to have locations only in LA but they finally came to Orange County! and boy are we happy about it, these burgers are so delicious. Nick got the “manly burger” and I got a good old fashion “cali burger” .. they put cinnamon sugar on their sweet potato fries – yum!

These are 3 different places but all within about 5 minutes of each other in Costa Mesa – The OC Mart Mix, The Lab, and The Camp. (Umami is located at the camp!) These are probably the coolest places in OC, in my own opinion. I mean, it’s probably as close as you can get to Portland or Austin, which are pretty cool urban cities. There is some pretty stylish design, architecture, shops – it’s a cool hang out for sure. I love Costa Mesa, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Went to college here & met Nick. When we were house hunting, I so desperately wanted to move to Costa Mesa. If you’re thinking about a move, Costa Mesa is a great city! Whether you’re living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide has some great how-tos for making the most of your space, city and neighborhood. We did find some houses in Costa Mesa but the neighborhood’s we were looking in weren’t the best – and it is all about the neighborhood! Check out this article by Apartment Guide – How to Choose the Best Neighborhood for You!

Our last stop was Sticki Picki in Irvine. I had never been before but somehow stumbled upon this on Yelp. Sticki Picki consists of photo booths, and props. These aren’t just average photo booth’s – they’re huge standing ones with serious backgrounds and silly add-ons. It ranges from $11-$13 for a photo booth picture, but it’s really fun. After you take your photos, you go to another booth and ‘glam’ your photos with little cartoon drawings and things – it’s pretty fun and Nick and I spent about an hour at it, haha. Then you choose your layout and get little sticker pictures printed! It was a lot of fun.

So we did quite some exploring. I know there is probably a whole list of places I missed around the area, these are just some of the places we stopped at. Thanks to Apartment Guide for the fun opportunity to have a super-date day with my husband! I’ll be doing one more exploring post, about Austin! A cash giveaway will be included in the next post too, stay tuned :)

If you’re moving to a new city, check out this great article at Apartment Guide. “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook, follow them on twitter and “circle” them on Google+ for real-time tips and updates on exploring your city and neighborhood.

Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. The winner of this giveaway will be randomly chosen and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.

hello friends!

Hi! Well I am back from that crazy long 2 week blog break. So sorry that this blog has been so empty over these past weeks. The first thing I wanted to share with you now that I’m back is our big news!

We are officially homeowners! We got the keys to our house a couple weeks ago. When is move in day you ask? Well we want to do some work on the house before we move in, so it’ll probably be a couple months. The house to me wasn’t exactly move in ready but I guess it all depends on your preference – Nick said he’d move in right now because he thinks it’s fine but I have some other feelings about it 😉 We are fortunate we don’t have to be out of our current place urgently or anything so we’ll take our time to do the work and everything.

We are so blessed to have found a house we simply loved and have a pretty awesome mom who helped us out a bit with the down-payment. House hunting is some grueling, heartbreaking, and crazy business! We ended up getting this house that I posted about back in April.. Yep, the one with the heart key lock, which was my personal favorite feature, haha :) You were all so helpful with your encouragement and advice, thank you! I think we got a great deal.. and it’s a great neighborhood too. I guess some posts about house-renovation and progress will be in the works, hopefully soon.

Well, back to regular daily blogging! Hope you all have a wonderfully fabulous & productive week.
ps: thank you for all your dear & sweet comments about my grandpa, it really meant so much to me.

walter hong, 1927-2012:

Yesterday my Grandfather passed away. I didn’t know my other Grandpa because he passed when I was young so this was the only Grandpa I knew. My brothers & I were planning on stopping by to visit yesterday & we got an email saying he was having trouble breathing and that this was probably the end. We got there around 2:30 and stayed with him until he was gone. I’ve never really experienced anything like that, have you? We were so blessed to have been able to be with him, I know not everyone gets a chance to say goodbye to a loved one. We talked to him, prayed, & sang hymns together. He wasn’t alert but I think he knew we were there. He was not in pain at the end, and he lived a full life of 85 years. Actually, 6 years ago he had a stroke and the doctor gave him 6 months to live. But he recovered back and we were blessed with another 6 years. Death is such a strange thing, isn’t it? I mean, I know it is natural and just a part of life. I’ve had a few friends tragically pass away and that was very sad. But it’s just weird he’s not here anymore. Fortunately my grandpa was a believer of Jesus so for us, death is not permanent. Death is not a curse or something to be sad about. I am sad I won’t see him anymore but have such hope that we will see him again. I bet he’s feasting on all the sugar he wants right now 😉 (he had diabetes for as long as I can remember, it was so sad he couldn’t eat anything with sugar even though he would always try!)

My Grandpa was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1927. He was a lakers fan long before they were the “LA lakers”, but actually when they were in Minneapolis (get it – Minnesota lakes!) Supposedly the story goes that he saw the Rose Parade on TV during one very cold Minneapolis winter and thought “how can it be such nice weather at this time of year?” which lead him to pack up his family & move to Los Angeles. I am grateful for that otherwise my brothers & I may not even be around if he stayed in MN. He had a younger brother who got into acting so I’ve had a random but cool fact growing up that my great uncle is an actor. He was in the military and became a civil engineer. He was a messy eater (I think I got that from him) and really disorganized (also passed that down, thanks gramps 😉 but he was a hard worker and a fighter. Even at 80 years old, he wanted me to teach him how use email. He loved food, family history, and telling us stories. I’ll miss our weekly visits with him and the big smile on his face when he saw us. But I know I’ll see that smile again, over pies and cakes and ice cream in the presence of the One who loves us & extends amazing grace. I was going to get back to blogging this week but I hope you don’t mind if I take another couple days. Thanks for letting me share a little about my gramps with you, dear friends.

little break:

Right now, I am feeling this:

But at the same time, feeling:

So I guess I will just:

Hello my dears. I know I missed Monday’s post and there wasn’t a post today. I am going to take a couple days off from blogging and will hopefully see you next week. We got back from Austin late Monday night and I am pretty tired with all the craft shows we’ve been doing.. Definitely feeling a little blog burnout. This quote by David Allen has really got me thinking. I have so many ideas and things I want to do – sometimes feel like I can just take over the world. I think I may just have a slight problem on focusing (okay, it’s a big problem) and I am finding a lot of my work suffers because I spread myself so thin. I want to do so many things that it keeps me from actually accomplishing things in my life and being productive. You can do anything, but not everything. Now if I can only remember this from day to day.

Not sure if any of this is even making sense 😉 But what about you? Do you feel overwhelmed at times with things you want to get done? How do you get focused and get things accomplished in your day to day? Any tips on being productive? Anyway. We’re having our vintage sale & will be in Santa Ana this weekend for Patchwork – check the events page for more details. Thanks for reading friends – see you in a week .. or two :)

photo credits: 1st: typography by me, photo by brenton little, image inspired by this pin / 2nd: besotted blog / 3rd: a blank blog

buying a house:

So I mentioned last Friday that Nick and I have been trying to buy a house. Some of my closer friends know that my plans kind of change with the wind. Just a couple months ago, our plan was to possibly figure out moving to England next year. (I love England!) Then my dad mentioned we should just get a house because “now is the time to do it” so then we got serious about that and got pre-qualified, got an agent, and started looking. At first it was all so fun and exciting! Checking out houses, imagining what we’d do with the rooms. Then at some point, buying a house officially became not so fun and kind of heartbreaking. 3 offers later & 3 times getting rejected, here we are!
We just submitted our 4th offer on a house we found in the city we currently live in. It was built in the 30’s…and is pretty perfect for us. Nick was so excited about this house because he said it reminded him of the midwest. (He’s from Missouri) He was literally jumping up & down like a little kid, it was pretty cute 😉 It was by far our favorite. It’s in a good neighborhood, it’s charming, it’s awesome. Our friend told us you can change the house but you can’t change the neighborhood, so true. It’s over our price range and needs some work but my mom & her husband said that when you know, you just know. Unfortunately, this house also had received multiple offers. So right now we’re waiting. and we know there is a big chance we won’t get it. and even by some crazy chance our offer does get accepted, we’d have to wait for the house inspection to see if everything even checks out okay and the house isn’t falling apart or anything.. heh. Oh, here are some pics that I instagramed of my favorite parts of this old house:
Front door has a heart keyhole, random but one of my fave parts. Cool mail slot. A super old tub (don’t know if we’ll actually use this but it’s got cool hardware) & a lovely built in bookshelf. It also has a milk door, I love it! It just reminds me of simpler times when milk was hand delivered. So cool. I know it’s silly to share pics of a house we may not get but it’s just too fun not to share.
So all that to say – home buying is crazy! I guess I wasn’t sure what it’d be like. Did I think we’d get accepted on the very first offer we put in? In my perfect world or maybe if we lived in the midwest, yes. But then if we were looking in the midwest, we could buy a mansion with what can barely get us a 2/3 bedroom, 1,500 sqft house here 😉 I know at the end of the day, it’s out of our hands. We offered what we could, and we just have to trust. and maybe it’s just not time for us to get a house right now and we have to be open to that too. (our agent told us that the market just picked up suddenly and there are 1000 or some crazy amount LESS houses on the market then there were last year. timing. go figure!)
I mean, I know it’s different for everyone but how many offers did you submit before you got your house? What is your story? Any advice? Anything to be cautious of or look out for? Would so appreciate any of your own experiences/stories/insights you can offer about this whole thing, it’s such a new and crazy life-experience. We are enjoying this whole thing and we’ve learned a lot so far – it’d just be nice to put an offer in w/o there also being 5 or 6 other offers too. Thanks so much for reading friends!