Jasmine turns 13!

to (my now teenage) little sister, Jasmine
happy 13th birthday!

(I still remember 10 year old me being a bit upset when I found out that I was getting a little sister instead of a puppy)

dear little sister of mine, how did you go from this...
...to this?
from these...
to being nearly past my height?!
dearest Jasmine, I know that you had to come across a lot of change, especially this year
I also know that you not only stepped up to the plate, but excelled in every challenge that was presented in your path
dearest Jasmine, I hope that you always remain kind as you navigate in this ever-changing world
you are very intelligent with a witty sense of humor that keeps your oldest sister on her toes 
dearest Jasmine, thank you for teaching me to become a better person, to set a wonderful example for you and our youngest sister

I love you oh so much


Oh So Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!
we woke up to a blanket of snow in our neighborhood on this Thanksgiving morning,
watched a bit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with our coffee and tea,
packed up our little blue car and headed off to Jacob's family
each of us helped out with dinner and desserts
I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!
I am thankful for family, friends, and everything in my life
edit: nothing beats a pre-Letchworth hike than dessert for breakfast! 

yes, I know this is my first post for the month
November has been quite the ride, but still am very grateful for every bump and celebration



pictures are from this past Saturday, we took one of each other
It is by the author/creator of the webcomic XKCD and it's a very entertaining read.

Also, way too many journal articles (hooray for APA peer review)

How things will pan out as this year is getting closer to its end; with upcoming travel opportunities, wrapping up a major part of my studies, and many more- it's all going to be quite an adventure for sure!

Feeling Thankful:
I am so grateful for the experiences, people in my life, and their wonderful support. I'm always keeping a conscious effort that my daily actions and words reflect said appreciation.

...does coffee count?
Apologies to my nutritionist for that.

(if I have a free window of time)
Alton Brown's Good Eats on Netflix, one of my absolute favorite shows- cooking and science!

Working on:
Photography: clients, personal projects, the never-ending Lightroom queue...
Halloween costumes for me and Jacob (possibly the cats as well)
Planning an outing to the pumpkin patch this coming weekend

Autumn colors, clothing layers, warm embraces, and the scent of burning incense.

To finish analyzing ~30 pages of statistical data by 8am tomorrow- eep!

More sleep and for time to slow a bit down, please and thank you

*inspired by Kaelah of The Clueless Girl's Guide*
what are you currently up to on this Monday?


Happy Birthday, Jacob!

an open letter for my loving husband for today is his 31st
to my dearest darling Jacob,
happy birthday! 
I hope that today brings you much joy on this extra-special Wednesday
you do so much for our little family; I truly appreciate all that you do for I am everyday grateful
thank you for loving me just the way I am,
driving a 20-year old Saab (that did not go in reverse) in an 800 mile round trip multiple times- just to visit me when I lived in the DC metro area,
supporting me as I wrap up my higher education career (and giving me extra encouragement when due dates and exams neared)
thank you for asking my hand in marriage
I am honored that you picked me to be your wife and I'm so lucky to have you as my husband
thank you for teaching me to be more patient and selfless,
to be open to new experiences,
to embrace change and grow,
thank you for loving not only me, our immediate and extended families, but also our cats
thank you for your patience, especially the times I burnt our dinner (which filled the kitchen with smoke...also, thank you for reaching the smoke detectors)
for being such a good sport with regards to me rolling away with the covers in bed every night,
and for comforting me when things got a bit overwhelming
thank you for your kisses, warm embraces, and hand-written notes
for the way you look at me with such love
thank you for the memories created and places explored
 and for your lovely singing voice 
happy birthday, Jacob
I love you more than anyone in my life



oh Thursday, you are my busiest day of the week
I wake up no later than 5:40am to work on household chores and out in the garden,
head out for courses and laboratory sessions, with fieldwork in-between the gaps
and finally, home 

this Thursday was particularly difficult for I started the morning with a migraine (that pretty much followed me as the day went on)
I was not myself for all I wanted to do was to stay in bed, but pressed on with the day's tasks
I felt foggy, slow, and simply "out of it"
I also apologized in advance to my coworkers, peers for any extra cheekiness on my behalf

by the time I met up with Jacob, we were both pretty worn out
Jacob also didn't have an ideal start to today, as he had a two hour dentist appointment and headed to work

so what does one do after an extra-long day?

have a doughnut picnic in the living room!

we took a detour on our way home for a box of our favorites and laid out a blanket on the floor
(the doughnut on the bottom right corner is pumpkin shaped, but had a ghost and "boo" iced on...I wondered why a jack-o-lantern face wasn't the default?)
followed by cuddles and whatever strikes our fancy on Netflix (update: we watched a PBS nature documentary and an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos)

I hope your Thursday went by smoothly and if not, then I highly suggest a doughnut picnic! xoxo


Bits & Pieces: Autumn Hike at Letchworth State Park

hello! just sharing some photos from yesterday's day trip to Letchworth State Park
we woke up early on Sunday morning and arrived just after the sun rose
the color of the leaves weren't at full peak, but still a breathtaking view of Inspiration Point
portraits that Jacob and I took of each other
the Letchworth Train Bridge: built in under 3 months(!) in 1875 and is due for replacement soon
view of the Upper Falls from the top of the train bridge 
Upper Falls + Train Bridge 
one of the many sunlit trails that were hiked
Middle (above) and Lower Falls
it was a lovely end to the weekend, this park is one of our favorite places to be

some highlights from yesterday...

exploring and hiking all over the park to our to our heart's content, which included climbing up to the train bridge 
running back to the car to seek warm refuge (while it was pretty outside, it was also pretty cold with the wind!)
crossing paths with the National Orienteering Championship folks
singing and taking silly photos of each other in the car

Jacob's photos from our trip can be viewed here and here
and mine can be found here

hope your week is off to a lovely start! xo


Corners of Our Home: Mixed Media Wall

after two years of procrastination on my end, we finally got out one of our living room walls decorated!
better late than never, right?
the branches/heart painting, felt dahlias, letter "b", and line drawing are made by me
the XKCD print was my first gift (oh, dating memories) to Jacob that I had signed by the author
the felt camera was made by our oldest niece
the party cat is actually a birthday card (it was bought since it resembles our tuxedo cat, Lilith)
 the framed photo of us can be also seen here
and the sunflowers were taken by Jacob
we are both very happy and pleased on how our home looks more personal and can't wait to add more to the remaining walls
any ideas/inspiration would be greatly appreciated as well

happy October and I wish you all a wonderful weekend!


Recipe: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

I wanted to bake something for Jacob to brighten up his Monday
he enjoyed these cookies very much as an after-dinner dessert
I hope you enjoy this recipe as well!
you will need...

1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
cinnamon to taste (I don't mess around when it comes to cinnamon, as seen in the left picture above)

cream butter and sugar until fluffy 
add eggs and vanilla
slowly add dry ingredients and mix until dough forms

drop onto (I used a 1 ounce scoop) a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (please keep in mind that oven temperatures/times vary)
hope your week is off to a lovely start!


A Picture (or Two) an Hour

just sharing some of today's snapshots: 
morning garden light 
left: breakfast for me, vanilla chai tea (with almond milk) and grapes
right: breakfast for him, coffee, cheesy garlic scrambled eggs, and sausages
Fleetwood Mac + laundry folding  
cat nap
coffee break (espresso + soy milk)
I've had that giraffe mug since my junior year of highschool
afternoon hike
I twirled and twirled to get these photo effects
now how cute is this?! Jacob spotted this little hobbit hole along our hike 
foliage + light 
temptations while grocery shopping
post-dinner dishes

overall a very good day, if I do say so myself

I also found out this past week that I may have a lactose intolerance/sensitivity :( and in the process of completely eliminating all dairy for the next two weeks to monitor any significant changes
I've switched over to almond/soy milk and will be getting nutritional yeast as well
hopefully there will be an improvement with or without dairy, for I would like to be comfortable soon (bloating and nausea are not fun at all)