Off to Sacramento!

Going to Sacramento was pretty much a YOLO trip. My friend, Alex, spontaneously invited me to tag along on this mini road trip. I had nothing planned but to play, be productive (I actually had plans to get work done at a coffee shop), and spend the night at Briana’s place! We left SoCal at 6:20am for the road trip up north.

I slept in the car for a good few hours with my head bobbing back and forth, side to side. I’m sure I wasn’t pretty when I was sleeping. We only made one stop at  Harris Ranch in Coalinga, California which was the midpoint between LA and Sacramento. Have you heard of Harris Ranch before? This was my first time ever hearing about it so I was pretty excited to explore.

According to Wikipedia, Harris Ranch is the largest beef producer and the largest ranch in the West Coast! I don’t doubt Wikipedia because when we got to Harris Ranch, we knew it was cow town by the smell and look of the area. It’s a different culture and environment there in a good way!

Not only do they produce beef and have a ranch, they also have an inn, bakery and deli store, and a fancy shmancy restaurant.

We made a stop here to stretch, use the restroom, but mainly to pick up some darn good cookies! Make sure to get their Pecan Drops and their classic Chocolate Chip cookies. I will never forget those cookies because they were so good! Even though they only have 22 reviews on Yelp, this place has 4 stars.

Harris Ranch has a country and homie feel with the homemade goods and decor!

This couch wasn’t part of the decoration. It was actually functional for seating.

After a short exploration at Harris Ranch, we were back on the road!

I must mention that as we were driving by a field of cows, Alex had to roll down his window to say hi to them. It was the worst idea ever because the smell of manure rushed into the car! The car did not smell clean for quite some time. Never again, Alex. Never again!


San Diego Adventure

Five of my friends and I drove down to San Diego for the weekend just to relax and enjoy each other’s company! We were supposed to leave in the morning to do the Potato Chip Hike in Poway but it ended up being an epic fail. One friend didn’t wake up on time and another lost their car keys. It was a rough start in the morning!

It was a little bittersweet to not have done the Potato Chip hike because I wanted to take an epic picture on that thin cliff like the one below:

On the other hand, it worked out that we didn’t hike because I’ve heard from others that it’s the most painful hike ever. It’s so painful that there is no way of making it fun because of the nasty uphill.

Since we didn’t hike, we all met up at Phil’s BBQ. I felt a little guilty eating there because I wish I could have rewarded myself with it after a good long hike. There’s always next time to genuinely reward myself for that.

So don’t hate me for what I’m about to say. I’m actually not a huge fan of Phil’s BBQ because I think it’s a little overrated. They have great food and service, but it’s not worth the one to two hour wait. Luckily, our wait was less than 30 minutes but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there. There’s nothing too memorable about the food where I have a go to entree that I always order. It all tastes the same as Lucille’s and Wood Ranch. There’s no special sauce that strikes me and makes me want more of. One thing that might set this place apart from Lucille’s and Wood Ranch is that it’s cheaper. It’s more on the casual side where they give you a buzzer for your order and they have bibs!

After eating, we went over to the beach house that we rented out from Air BnB. We hung out at the house and then headed over to the beach to play some volleyball. We somehow couldn’t find any volleyball courts at the beach. I think it was meant to be for us to not do any physical activity for the weekend. We were forced to relax as God was not giving us the opportunity to work out. So we came to a point where we hung out by the water and enjoyed the breeze while the waves were crashing.

We got the chance to watch the sun set! Oh man, it was beautiful! It was crazy how subtly yet quickly the sun went down.

For dinner that night we went to Cotixan Mexican & Seafood. I suggest that you don’t go there. The food was cheap and a-ok. They definitely give you a lot there but it doesn’t give you that feeling of “Oh-em-gee. I need to come back here again next time.” Apparently it’s the Mexican version of McDonald’s because there are so many chains of it.

That night after dinner, we all ended up being grannies. Josephine commented, “It looks like we’re at a retirement home!” After she said that, we looked at each other in the living room and noticed that we all had blankets on our lap and we were literally watching Betty White’s: Off The Rockers. It was pretty funny how ridiculous we were that night for not doing much on our weekend vacation. I think we were all pooped out from just a long day of being out and about.

The next day, we hung outside in the backyard and soaked in the sun. The guys were taking charge of the kitchen. They made us some good guacamole dip for our afternoon snack. Then they stepped up even more for our late lunch! They grilled vegetables and made chili to go with our smoke apple sausage hotdogs! Well done, boys. Well done! We were all definitely stuffed after lunch!

Later, we had a jam session. The guys brought a keyboard and guitar from home! We had some talented artists in the house. Derek was on the guitar, Jerry on the keyboard, and the lead singer was Cindy. Josephine and Phil were the backup singers. I was the manager and producer of the group, making sure that everyone was doing their thing.

At night, we went out to Classics Malt Shop for some ice cream. It’s a cute little mom and pop kind of shop. Then we headed out to Gas Lamp. We checked out a restaurant known for their Ryan Gosling restroom. Say what? Mhm…that’s what I said. There is one stall in the woman’s restroom where the walls are covered in Ryan Gosling’s face! Josephine, Cindy and I were in the Ryan Gosling stall for quite some time SnapChatting our experience there.

Rather than showing you pictures, I thought I would try something new and make a video. Here’s a clip from the trip:

In general, there’s not much to do in Gas Lamp but to walk around and check out some bars and restaurants. Though Gas Lamp wasn’t that exciting, it was still fun because of the people I was with! Thanks Cindy, Derek, Jerry, Josephine, and Phil for making our weekend trip short and sweet!

Pinspired Potluck

I’m kind of in this big phase of being a Pinterest addict. I have no shame about that because there are many people out there who are addicted to it also and have yet to admit that they have a problem. It’s actually not a bad thing at all or is it? Well, we all just want to be creative and innovative with food, fashion, and crafts. What’s wrong with that? There is no problem except that we are hoarding so much online in an organized manner using our boards.

Ok, ok. Pinterest is everything as in it’s good and bad. It’s however you see it. I used my Pinterest addiction in a positive way impacting a community of my friends! One day, I said to myself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea to gather some friends and have a potluck where we make food from what we’ve pinned on Pinsterest?” Then bam, the phrase ‘Pinspired Potluck’ happened just like that.

I somehow found an app on my iPad called Phoster where you can make posters using quirky templates. You just need to change the content of the poster however you’d like. So I used one of the templates and brought a Pinspiration feel to it and created this:

I created a Facebook event and invited some friends who I had’t seen in awhile since high school. I really wanted to see how everyone was doing since so much has happened for a lot of us whether it’s graduating from college or having a baby! Everyone wrote on the wall what they were bringing to the Pinspired Potluck. But funny thing was that, no one brought what they said they were going to bring! Except for Andrea. Thanks Andrea for following the rules! (I’m guilty!)

I bought some red paper plates and white utensils just to carry out the Pinterest colored theme of red and white. With a homie touch, my friend Connie made name cards for everyone attending.
Name Cards

I used a white porcelain bowl for the strawberries with cool whip and had iced tea in a clear glassed pitcher. I really wanted to carry a simple and subtle theme to my presentation. Luckily, it all worked out without having to buy anything.
Pinspired Potluck

Here is what the menu was for the Pinspired Potluck:
Top left: Tina’s Tea Sandwich ~ cucumber and cream cheese
Top right: Amy’s Zucchini Boats ~ zucchini, topped with tomatoes and melted cheese
Bottom left: Emily’s Mexican Casserole ~ bean, cheese, spicy shredded beef, tortilla made in crock pot
Bottom right: Tina’s Macaroni Pasta ~ homemade three cheese sauce with broccoli and sausage
The Food

Melissa’s main dish: Sausage with homemade smokey peach sauce
Melissa's Dish

We had more than enough food to feed each other for dinner. We all definitely ate a lot of good food that afternoon. After eating all that Pinspired food, we had to end it with dessert, of course. Andrea brought some mouth watering cupcakes.

Dessert: Andrea’s Cupcakes ~ Chocolate cupcake with nutella topped with a Ferrero Rocher
Andrea's Cupcakes

The cupcakes were a great way to sum up the Pinspired Potluck! The cupcakes were sweet and everyone there was sweet too! I really appreciated everyone taking the time from their busy schedule to make some yummy food and spend some time catching up!

Pinspired Potluck is definitely going to happen again next year. Bringing food and friends together can never go wrong! Hopefully, we can do something like this for the Christmas season too! Thank you Amy, Andrea, Emily, and Melissa coming out to the first Pinspired Potluck! Thank you to Kinsey for being such a cute little baby! Also, special thanks to Connie for helping me out with presentation!

Melissa & Kinsey. Emily. Tina. Andrea. Amy.

Melissa & Kinsey. Emily. Tina. Andrea. Amy.

Creative Christmas Cards

I had a bunch of left over decorations from my ugly sweater project. So with all that stuff, I thought it’d be great to use it to make homemade Christmas cards!

Craft Supplies

I had a bunch of stickers so it was easy for the most part to make the cards. I say “for the most part” because it takes me awhile to be creative. I made all the cards simple because I’m pretty simple like that.

Christmas Cards

The top left card was made out of ribbons that I bought for a buck or two on sale at Michael’s. I learned how to make the bow from YouTube! I just typed in how to make bows. Something like that.

Christmas Cards2

This one was made out of wrapping paper and tinsil. The tinsil was actually for wrapping purposes but I used it as decor. The wrapping paper was only of Christmas trees. So what I did was, cut out one tree. Cut the one tree into smaller and funky shapes. Then glued them on awkwardly by only connecting the trunk of the tree. Then wahl-lah. Your Anthropology Christmas card. Originally $35 dollars but made with $2-3 worth of decorations.

Christmas Cards 022

Here are more of the cards that I made:
Christmas Cards 025

If I can make these cards, so can you! I didn’t even use Pinterest for help!

Ugly Sweater Parties

I’ve been wanting to go to an ugly sweater party for the longest time! I was determined to make an ugly sweater for some Christmas gathering. There was a Christmas party at my church and I told myself that I’d make an ugly sweater even though there was no dress code. So I bought some fabric, sequence, and some holiday stickers from Walmart and Michael’s. I also used some small ornaments from my Christmas tree. I think I spent a little less than $12 on my sweater which included the sweater itself ($5) and the decor. I had to make myself a budget for the sweater just because it was going to be ugly and because it was going to be a one time kind of a thing.

Ugly Sweater Party #1
The day after I bought my ugly sweater materials, I found out that my church was having an ugly sweater competition! It was perfect timing! I’ve never worked so hard a project that I wasn’t going to be graded on! I didn’t even procrastinate on this! So a lot of love and time was put on my sweater. Though a good amount of time was spent on my couture sweater, it was really fun putting it together when it came down to it.

So I wasn’t the only one wearing a homemade ugly sweater. A few competitors/friends made their own too! Who do you think won? Drum roll. The one on the right at the end. Michelle! Her sweater was definitely ugly!


Ugly Sweater Party #2
My company was encouraging all employees to wear holiday sweaters and anything festive for our annual holiday party. Once I found out that it was ok to wear “holiday sweaters”, I immediately knew I was going to wear an ugly sweater. This time, I switched it up a little. I made my sweater cugly aka cute ugly. A lot of my coworkers were impressed with my sweater. They all liked it but I’m not sure if that meant they liked it because it was more ugly than cute or the other way around. Either way I took it as a positive comment!


The cool thing about our holiday party was that there was a photo booth! So my coworkers and I took one! I had to put a Christmas tree hat on just to match with my ugly sweater even though you can’t see the tree!

Ugly Sweater Party #3
My last ugly sweater party was a girls only gathering! Before going over to the party, I had to buy some salad since it was potluck. I went to Ralphs with my ugly sweater on. People started looking at me intently. Well, they kept looking at my sweater. I was getting really uncomfortable so I ended up zipping up my jacket. I’ve never felt so self conscious before! It was a little humorous though. At the grocery store, a kid complimented out loud about my headband with the big bow. So that was nice but I was still self conscious about the ugly sweater. Anyways. At the party, two people, including myself, were the only ones who wore our ugly sweater. I kept my sweater still cugly.


Knowing that I was able to wear my ugly sweater three times made the craft work worth it! I can’t wait to make another ugly sweater next year!

Chelsea’s Bridal Shower

I attended my first bridal shower for my best friend who is getting married in June! I have to give credit to Lexi (Maid of Honor) and all the other bridesmaids for putting so much love into this bridal shower. This bridal shower was elegant, fun, and filled with many blessings.

Invited guests were given recipe cards to write down their favorite recipe to give to Chelsea. A box was handmade to put in all the recipes. Great idea from Heidi!

Lexi prepared all of the yummy finger food! Everything looked and tasted great!

I also made something small for the bridal shower. I made wedding marshmallow pops! They were fun and easy to make! The marshmallows were dipped in melted chocolate, smoothed out, and decorated with sprinkles. No oven was used!

Chelsea gave a sweet little speech of gratitude for all the women who made an impact in her life at her bridal shower. That definitely made me tear up! After sharing her thanks, it was time to play! Everyone was paired up to make the most beautiful wedding dress out of toilet paper!

Afterwards, Chelsea opened up many of her gifts and did not use a pair of scissors at all! Congratulations to Chelsea for not using your bare hands!

Below is a picture of the bridal shower: me, Shannon, Chelsea Hybskmann aka Bride aka future Chelsea Abraham, Heidi, Lexi, and Sarah. We’re only missing Jenna!

Chelsea, I can’t wait for the big day! I am so excited for you and Eric!