For our Midtown Sacramento adventure #2, I asked for restaurant recommendations on Facebook and got some awesome suggestions. We decided to try a totally new place that I’d never heard of called Paesanos. What sold me on this was one look at the menu. Bocce balls (lightly fried balls of pizza dough smothered in garlic butter, parmesan, and basil) and polenta fries (served with balsamic ketchup and gorgonzola sauce)?? Yes please!! We ended up ordering the polenta fries and a pancetta and prawn panzanella (a special that night). Wow, were these good. The polenta fries were so fun and different. And the gorgonzola sauce?!? Yum. Have to say I wasn’t crazy about the balsamic ketchup, which is pretty odd since I love both balsamic vinegar and ketchup. Weird. And the panzanella? Oh that was tasty. If you’re not familiar with panzanella, it’s basically an Italian salad which consists of chunks of bread and tomatoes and other veggies. This tasted so light, fresh, and summery. Good choice! (And by the way, I had to try making my own panzanella at home. Check out Smitten Kitchen’s Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella! It’s delicious!)

polenta fries + gorgonzola sauce = deliciousness


does this picture even need a caption?!

And for dessert? Thank you, Yelp, for pointing out this little jewel. Devine Gelateria has definitely become one of my favorite places. I fell in love with this place at my first glance in the gelato case; it looked legit. It’s the most authentic gelateria I’ve been to in the area, and probably outside of Italy. Did you know that you can go to gelato school in Italy?? (that was news to me) The owner spent time in Italy – at gelato school – and totally knows her stuff. Her baked goods are pretty great too. The waffle cones? Best I’ve had. I would try to tell you what flavors I enjoyed that night … but I honestly couldn’t tell you. I think it was bananas foster and dark chocolate, but seeing as how I actually went here 3 times in less than 2 weeks, it’s hard to recall. 🙂

Mmmmm … gelato.

Next on the agenda … The Little Mermaid. Oh boy, was I ever excited. As a kid, I just loved this Disney movie. I was so excited to see the play. I couldn’t wait to find out how they would do the water scenes and make everyone “swim.” Well I was blown away. They did such a fantastic job, and the girl who played Ariel was amazing. She sounded so much like the voice in the Disney version; I just loved it. Everything from the music to the costumes to the set design was incredible. It was truly a feast for the eyes.

This was such a fun night, and I felt like such a little kid. I mean, we’re talking an ice cream cone and The Little Mermaid. Could this night have gotten any better?!? I submit that it could not.


It’s almost the end of August. My how time flies … whether you’re having fun or not! So here are a few random thoughts on this Sunday afternoon of August …

1. I’ve had a guitar in my possession for about 2 years. I still don’t know how to play it. A few weeks ago, a friend showed me three chords and told me to practice 15 minutes a day. I eagerly sat down and practiced. And the next day, I practiced again. And the third day … I stopped practicing. No wonder I still haven’t learned how to play!

2. I do not like the heat and have decided once and for all that I’m a wimp. When it’s 100 degrees outside, I have conversations with myself that go like this … “Self, would you like to go on a bike ride right after work during the hottest part of the day when you’re going to be absolutely miserable?” “No, thank you,” I reply.  BUT … I have certainly enjoyed some beautiful Saturday morning rides lately (and even a couple late evening ones)! And I have decided I’d rather face cars than the joggers on the bike trail! Last time I rode the trail on a Saturday morning I almost crashed twice, and I decided that there should be a separate trail for joggers, runners, walkers, daydreamers, moms and their strollers, etc. But until they create another bike trail, just because I want one, I’d much rather face large pieces of machinery and narrow, winding roads! Besides, I’d miss seeing the llamas and horses and goats and cool little spots like this:

Wish I could’ve stopped for a good cup of coffee!

3. Over the last month or so, I began listening to some sermons by a guy named Tim Chaddick. He’s the pastor at Reality LA, and I have been super blessed by his teaching of the Word. This sermon on prayer was so amazing, I think you all should go listen to it right now. Ready? Go! (btw, if my pastor had an hour+ to preach, he’d be so stinking excited!)

4. I did something today that I haven’t done in a very, very long time. I went through some Italian vocab!!! And boy am I rusty. It’s amazing how much you can learn and forget … and forget that you learned. The reason I busted out my Italian vocab cards (I feel like I’m back in Greek) and my Italian lesson book (and I just realized I think I let someone borrow one of my Italian books … hmmmm, I should check on that!) … but back to my exciting announcement … Lord willing, I’m going to Italy in October! I’m so excited about this and just praying that it works out. 🙂

5. I am longing for fall to come!! I just want to bake and be warm and cozy and drink hot beverages. I passed a pumpkin patch on my ride yesterday, and it made me even more excited for fall … the fall weather helped too.

6.  “Holiness is beholding and reflecting the character of God.” – Tim Chaddick



By blogging today, I’m doing something I haven’t done in a very … long … time. I’m blogging twice in one month! Woohoo! Gold star for my forehead. So it’s been a pretty good week. And here’s why:

Sunday … Great day fellowshipping at church and being ministered to by the body of Christ. The Church is an amazing thing, for which I’m incredibly thankful. After church, I hit the road and enjoyed a lovely bike ride. Then, I got to go see The Avengers!!! I had been doing my homework the previous week by watching Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. The only one I had previously seen was Captain America, which I loved. I loved Thor (what’s not to love … his people originate from Norway. They’re my people!). Thanks to my buddy, Janelle, I was all ready to see The Avengers, and oh boy did I love it!! And I have become somewhat of a Marvel Comic nerd now. But in my defense, I did not download the comic app!

Monday & Tuesday … I was blessed by a sweet friend from church who brought me what might be my new favorite drink at Starbucks (a tall one pump vanilla cappuccino). Tuesday, I found an extra brain on my desk (it’s been a crazy time at work).

Coffee and a brain … a great start to a busy week.

Then on Tuesday night, my mom and I went to one of our favorite restaurants called Lucca (they have pretty blue glasses) and to see a show at The Music Circus (we bought season tickets for the summer and are quite excited!). We had a delicious dinner, a fun show, and then a yummy dessert back at Lucca’s.

Lucca! I just love this place – from the atmosphere to the food to the service! Everything is just great!

Wednesday … I had my first experience with Korean food! Super fun night out with friends and a very fun experience. As she kept putting more and more food on our table, I just stared wide-eyed. I probably sounded like a broken record with how much I said: “What is this?” or “How do I eat this?” Good times!

That would be dinner for 6 girls right there. 😉

Friday … Last night, we had a slumber party! I mean, how can you go wrong with your auntie and cousin and mom, brownies, staying up late talking and laughing, having a leisurely morning, doing a super fun workout, and having lunch with another cousin?? You just can’t go wrong with that combo.

Today … one of my cousins is getting married! So crazy. We’re all about to go to our first family wedding; exciting times! (Maybe I should stop blogging and go get ready??!)

Finally … I’ve been blessed throughout the week by starting to read (again) John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. If you haven’t read it yet, I totally recommend it. I’ve been meditating on his prayer at the end of chapter 2 …

O to know him [Christ]! Father, we long to know him. Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all-glorious Son. And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become an echo of his excellence in the world.


Blessed by reading Deuteronomy 10:12-22 this morning. Beautiful passage displaying God’s character and His desire for His people. Check out what DA Carson has to say on the passage at the For The Love of God blog.

I wrote a post several weeks ago and was going to post it the other day until I realized that I didn’t remember what I wrote. Since it was about my Southern CA trip in October, I decided to hold off on the post until next week. Why? Because I’m taking a trip to SoCal this weekend! So we’ll just combine the 2 into 1. So today, I would like to share a few quick thoughts that have recently passed through my brain:

#1 – A firm handshake should be an absolute must upon hiring a salesperson. My interest in purchasing their product diminishes when I’m greeted or left with a wimpy handshake.

#2 – I may give up eating ice cream and frozen yogurt during the winter; it’s too cold! Now please understand, I love ice cream. So this is a huge dilemma I’m working through here people!

#3 – Have you ever thought the following: “I wonder if I’m a horrible dresser and my friends aren’t honest enough to tell me the truth?”

#4 – I love PK Sushi. Yes, I have mentioned PK Sushi in a previous post, but it’s just that good.

#5 – If I were to be locked in solitary confinement, I know – without a shadow of a doubt – that I would go insane.

#6 – What happened to the first 15 days of December??? How can Christmas possibly be in just over 1 week??! I thought I was doing so well with Christmas shopping and cooking … but no. I’d like an extra week, please.

#7 – I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been out for coffee over the last few weeks. Weird.

#8 – I love Christmas music, but I get tired of it. I feel horrible that I just admitted that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t stop listening to it! The problem is, there are only a certain number of times a person can listen to the 20 renditions of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “White Christmas.” Unfortunately, some artists butcher these marvelous songs. And I just get in the mood for deeper truth than lines like … “Silent Night, Holy Night” (was it really that silent?) and “Santa Claus is coming to town” (please don’t even try to substitute ‘Jesus Christ’ in there … you’ll just make my blood pressure rise).

#9 – God became man. That just kind of blows my mind. Christ is “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3a) … and He was born as a baby. Humility.

#10 – “Pain is the gift that no one wants but that everyone benefits from.” – Doug Rutt (Pastor at Christian Family Chapel in Jacksonville, FL – great series on Christmas available on their website)

Oops, I forgot #11 – go to the WordPress Homepage … and wait for it …it snows!!! 🙂

So did I mention I don’t have the internet at my house?! Because … I don’t. Which makes blogging a big sporadic. OK, a lot sporadic? Or perhaps nonexistent would be a better term to use. Thus begins some much needed updates. First off (because my favorite CLow requested a pic of my kitchen … ummmm … about 2 months ago), the house!

The end of July and first weeks of August were a bit stretching. But the results were beautiful and the ways the Lord provided were incredible beyond belief! My dear mother has needed a new oven for awhile now. She was still using her 28 year old, original with the house, not working quite right anymore oven. Long story short – she had one in mind that she REALLY wanted, we ended up finding an awesome guy at Sears who found us a super great deal, AND her Sunday School class pulled off “Operation Oven Mitt.” What might that be you ask? They collected money for my mom to get the oven of her dreams – double oven, woohoo (almost as spectacular as a double rainbow)! Such dear people!! We also got laminate flooring throughout the entire house (minus the bathrooms). They are beautiful and we’re thoroughly enjoying them (sorry I don’t really have a picture of the floors; you can see a pinch of them below). And again, God provided AMAZING deals. 🙂 So without further ado, welcome to my kitchen!

Yay for the beautiful, new double oven!

Cookie Time!

Why just the other night I made cookies in the lower oven! Hey, there are 2 missing! Quick shout out to Polly – it’s your recipe and I ended up making them TWICE last week and I miss you like CrAzY. I’d like to state for the record that I did NOT eat them all. I’ve made them for other people … and enjoyed a few for myself, of course. They are weight watcher cookies after all people! I’m practically getting more fit by eating them.

Is anyone still out there checking my blog??! Well, if you’re one of the faithful few, here’s a post for you! 🙂

This is the second time I’m sitting at Starbucks in the last 2 weeks trying to write a blog post. When everything in your life has changed and you haven’t blogged in forever and a year, it’s a daunting task to sit down and write! I mean, where would I begin? What would someone actually find interesting from the past 6 weeks of my life and care about reading? Would you like to hear about my 4th of July and the fun of kayaking, yummy food, a bike ride, fireworks so close debris was falling on us, and homemade cookies and milk? Maybe you’d like to hear about my first few weeks of work – how overwhelmed I have felt, how I made my first bulletin misspelling the week my pastor asked me to add an announcement about my working in the office (including my picture), how the copier and I have not been getting along at all (although, I think we’re starting to make progress, but I could be wrong)? Perhaps you’d rather hear about the chaos of my house – moving things over and over and not being settled, stuff being moved out, new floors going in, my bed being in the middle of my room while waiting for new base boards, purchasing a new oven and dishwasher? I would like to proclaim to the world that as of yesterday, our house is in order (and looking so beautiful!) and I unpacked the last of my boxes! HOORAY! What a relief! Would you find it interesting to read about the copious amounts of Big Spoon Frozen Yogurt that my mom and I have consumed, how many times we’ve eaten homemade popcorn, apples, and cheese slices, and how we can’t wait to start cooking and entertaining now that the house is in order? (I got to cook the last 2 nights – so fun … and yummy! recipes to come!) Or maybe you’d like to jump in on the conversation regarding my decision of purchasing a road bike – tested an amazing Cannondale last week that I really want (oh, and I have the peddles and clips thanks to my friend!!). If you’re into working out, perhaps you’d be interested to know that I miss my membership at LA Fitness like crazy; like I might literally go insane!! I would kill to be in Spin Class with Amy (the best instructor of all times) tonight or Saturday morning!! And if you’re in Southern CA – maybe you’d like to hear about how much I miss you (believe me when I say “I DO!”). And if you’re in Northern CA – maybe you’d prefer to hear me say that I’m so glad to be home and near you again (please know that I am!).

If I had to describe the last month and a half in one word, I’d choose this word: sanctifying.

Don’t you just love it when life goes easily, according to plan, smooth like butter? I LOVE it when life is like that … and that’s not exactly how I’d describe the way things have been. I feel a little like nothing has gone according to my plan lately … and that’s a problem. But the problem is with me. You see, I want to live for my own little kingdom – where I control every little detail and everything goes exactly as I want it to. Circumstances and people all sync with my master plan. But … God’s Kingdom operates quite differently, and He delights to graciously, lovingly, and kindly remind us of this. And thankfully, He’s shown me that I love control and ease way too much. And I’ve had to remind myself that, “… his [God’s] focus isn’t so much on what you will experience and enjoy, but on what you will become. He is committed to using every tool at his disposal to rescue you from yourself and to shape you into the likeness of his Son” (Paul Tripp). So that means moving, being unsettled, starting over, changing churches, remodeling the house, buying appliances, making new friends and rekindling old friendships, being new, living in a mess, not getting to go on vacation to a beautiful island in Florida, and learning a new job are all tools in God’s hand to make me more like Christ. How amazing is that?! God’s love chisels the imperfections out of me and purifies the dross out of my soul. Easy? Painless? Enjoyable? No way! But the end result … wonderful, freeing, God-glorifying, joyful (not to mention so much more pleasant for those around me).

Can I quote Paul Tripp again? His book A Shelter in the Time of Storm (which the above quote was also taken from) has been convicting, encouraging, helpful, refreshing. I highly recommend it! This portion greatly spoke to my heart the other day, so I’ll leave you with his words …

Trust in God isn’t a thin hope in some not very sure outcome. Hope in God is rather a present investment in a future guarantee. What God says will be done. What God has promised will come to pass. His word is reliable because in his grace he wants to bless us, and in his power he has the ability to do anything he has promised to do. When you live with his promises in view, you live with confidence, courage, and unshakable hope. You then become free of anxiety and worry. You become free of vain attempts to manipulate people and situations in order to get what you want. You place yourself in the hands of a sovereign God of grace who knows exactly what you need, when you need it, how you need it, and where you will need it. And because your Father is good, he will never turn a deaf ear to your cries, and he will never abandon you in your hour of need. No, you won’t always understand what he is doing, and you will be tempted to think that he has gotten his timing wrong, but the more you entrust your life to him, the more you will experience his faithful grace again and again.

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