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Set Lists and Swahili :: Our Trip Up North

July 12, 2014

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This was the trip, the trip we had greatly anticipated; the small scale adventure that had awaited us after a hectic quarter. We looked forward to it the week after Allan’s graduation, to time spent with loved ones in fun places. Oh, what adventures lied ahead.

At an unspeakable hour of the morning (4:55 am) we boarded the train and headed north. Zach and Lacy picked us up from Martinez and off we went to their home, a quint trailer on a beautiful plot of land (they have the ability to pick blackberries right outside their door, I mean really?). From there we meandered into town, grabbed some coffee (which we consumed unnatural amounts of on this trip), ate at a local butcher shop, and grabbed some water buffalo ice cream (if left unattended I could consume large amounts). Afterwards we drove into San Francisco and settled into our lovely bed and breakfast in the Hayes Valley.

First things first, I looked for the nearest Blue Bottle Coffee and lo and behold it was a mere .5 miles away. I took it as a sign that the good Lord wanted me to further my caffeine addiction (not that coffee shops are located every .5 miles anyhow). Never you mind that. We found this magical place, stopped at a local bookstore as well, and ate some yummy Pica Pica’s.

THEN, the mewithoutYou show.

Magical, absolutely magical, I tell you. I love this band and have for some time now. I feel like we’ve grown up together, in a sense, and shared in some of life’s major milestones too. For example, the whole reason Allan and I started talking on the phone is attributed to this band. Not only this, but if memory serves me right, I completely bombed one of Jannelle and Clay’s (some of our dear friends) first dates at a mewithoutYou show. (Remember Jannelle?) Anyways, they played the whole “Catch for us the Foxes” album and then some. Brandon even scored the set list for us! What a guy.

The following day we sought out more java (surprise, surprise) at Four Barrel Coffee, which is now easily top three on my coffee list. Then we lounged in Golden Gate Park and unexpectedly met up with an old friend who works in the city at Lyft.

This takes us to part deux of our trip, or the switch off, as I refer to it. Zach and Lacy dropped us off in Berkeley where Amanda and Ryan picked us up. From there we continued our eating spree by consuming delicious pizza at The Cheese Board, a co-op that only serves one item per day. IT. WAS. DELICIOUS.

Fast forward to more delicious ice cream and coffee, which brings us to Oakland and, yes, you guessed it, MORE FOOD. It was as if our food for this trip was carefully curated and we had no shame in partaking. We ate at Bake Sale Betty’s, a place known for its fried chicken/jalapeño coleslaw. OH man, I could eat this everyday. Loved it.

Afterwards we drove to Berkeley to grab Amanda’s books for her up and coming 10-week, intensive Swahili course at UC Berkeley (such a smart girl). I’ve wanted to walk this campus for quite some time now, so this “errand” of sorts doubled as a check off my list of things to see. Ugh. This campus is beautiful and teeming with weird and wonderful happenings (park-core, whisper benches, and beautiful architecture). We ended the night with the delightfully nerdy game, “Ticket to Ride” (which I am now bent on obtaining for the Wheeler household). The next day we packed our stuff, ate breakfast at the Orphan, and headed towards home, but not before making one more stop to visit friends in Fresno.

In part three of our friends-extravaganza, Chris, Erin, and Stephen picked us up from the train station. We crushed penny’s on the train tracks, made our obligatory trip to Doghouse for tri-tip sandwiches, hung out, then headed home (for reals this time).

Ah, what a lovely trip! Enjoy the photos. Till the next summer-adventure post…



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Catching Up :: Pasadena Flea Market

June 15, 2014


School is out, Summer is here, and I could not be happier!

With that being said, the blog returns. I am a maniacal person when school is in session; I work full time and attend school full time too. I barely have time to sleep. Yet, with school being put on hold for three months currently, I can function as a normal person. Bare with me as I catch up on posts that are a few months old, this being one of them.

For my birthday (in April) I wanted to cross the Pasadena Flea Market off my list of things to do. Allan and I met my parents at the famous Rosebowl in Pasadena and began wandering around. After a few hours, and barely skimming the surface of this behemoth of a flea market, we were tired and content with our day/purchases. This place is wonderful. I bought a dress, some shoes, and a few house plants all for under 30 dollars (such a steal). I loved spending time with family and perusing the vendor’s booths. I look forward to delving into the rest of the market sometime in the near future. Enjoy the photos!

Be Right Back :: V E N T U R A

March 24, 2014


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The Winter quarter is done, our dear friends Zach and Lacy are moving back up north, and Allan and I were in desperate need of a break. Therefore, quality time in Ventura sounded real nice. After completing our last final Friday night and after Zach and Lacy worked their last days at their jobs, we packed up, headed out, and hit the road.

We stayed the night in a hotel and woke up the next morning ready for anything unrelated to work or school. We enjoyed a farmer’s market, coffee shop, URBAN OUTFITTERS!, a train ride through citrus and avocado groves (on a vintage 1930’s train car), and walked the pier of Ventura. We are still in a euphoric state of relaxation. I may have snapped tons of photos on my iPhone (many of which were posted to Instagram), but I hardly took out my camera. Here are the few pictures I actually captured on my camera.

Zach and Lacy, you two will be extremely missed, but we are excited for your next adventure. Love you guys.





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DIY Vanilla Extract

February 1, 2014

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School is in full swing, work is busy, and life just never slows down. I finally made some time to relax for the most part today (I may regret this later), to do various errands, shop a tad, and finally put together a quick blog post. This past Christmas ( I cannot believe it has already come and gone) I concocted a few homemade bottles of vanilla extract to give away as small gifts. I followed these directions and bought the beans via Amazon. Everything, from the gathering of materials and ingredients, to actual DIY-ing was extremely easy! Seeing as the time it takes to process/become actual extract takes up to two months we still have yet to taste this magical elixir. Hopefully the ones I made turned out well. One thing is for sure, they definitely smelled great. Go on,  now make some of your own! It was fun!


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Adventuring in Ireland

December 1, 2013


We did it! We went adventuring and we enjoyed it. Allan climbed stuff, loads of photos were taken, and Dooley’s was had. Let me explain. The poor kiddos have been under the weather and Jannelle has been fighting their colds like a champ, needless to say some fresh air was necessary. She graciously drove us from sea to cliff to surf town without a blink of an eye (with two kids under two no less, this woman can do anything). Driving around Ireland on a beautiful sunny day was awesome! We ended up in Tramore, a surf town, and ate fish and chips at Dooley’s. We also walked along the shoreline with Willow and quickly found out how much this little lady loves the water, so much so that she made it sound as if I had kidnapped her when I picked her up and told her the water was far too cold to play in. (Take note of the angry Willow face in the photos) We’re both so sad our time is coming to an end here in Ireland, but we are happy to have shared in moments like these. Enjoy the photos of our adventures, a beautiful Irish sunrise, and some from today at church (I just love Waterford’s church family, I couldn’t help myself from capturing them in photo form).

About Town/Irish Thanksgiving

November 30, 2013


The past few days have been nice. I just wish they would slow down, our time is quickly and sadly coming to an end. We drove into town Thursday to gorge ourselves on delicious Portico Coffee, grab some essential Thanksgiving items (i.e. Turkey and Ham), and just because we wanted to. We also visited the church offices on our excursion. It is awesome seeing Calvary Waterford now especially with how I remember it from the last trip. Last time I was here, about ten people were meeting in an office space. It was awesome to see that, so you can imagine how cool it is to see the state of the church currently. It is thriving, the staff is solid and comprised of such amazing people, and there is a strong sense of family within the congregation. It is wonderful seeing the transformation over a few short years. God is good.

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving! A day late and in Ireland, no less. It was great! We made homemade pumpkin pie (which, by the way, was sooo good), a turkey, and ham and everyone else brought the rest. We stuffed ourselves full of yummy food and then went around the table saying what we are thankful for. Now I know we are a few days past Thanksgiving, but I still would like to share what I am thankful for. I am so thankful for a God who loves unconditionally, a husband who is constantly patient and loving, our health and the health of our family and friends, our ability to attend an educational institution, and the opportunity to be here in Ireland with a dear friend and her littles. There is so much more I could write about, but I won’t bore you with it all. Enjoy the photos of the church offices, and our Thanksgiving day happenings. Oh, and sorry about all the blurry photos. Till next post…

First Days in Waterford, IE

November 26, 2013


We are here! It has been great catching up with a portion of the Worrells, the girl portion anyway : ) We landed in Dublin Saturday, November 23 around 9-9:30 in the morning and were collected by  the Johns (one a bible college student, the other an intern). We arrived at the Worrells a few hours later and simply chatted and hung out. On Sunday we went to church, which was lovely, and Monday we spent lounging around the house doing laundry and hanging out with the kids. Monday also marked the day I finally finished the Fall 2013 quarter of school, thank goodness. So now we are free to enjoy Ireland fully (mostly, Allan finishes CSUB tomorrow) .

Today was grocery shopping day and Portico coffee time! We visited the church coffee shop and enjoyed ourselves some flat whites. John and Danny whipped us up something real nice! The shop is beautiful, the church is amazing, and hanging out with the Worrell women has been wonderful. We are genuinely blessed to be here. Till next time…