Sunday, May 31, 2009

Honeymoon Memories!

It's been about 9 months since we went on our Honeymoon and I had yet to make or order a photo album of our Honeymoon until today. Inexcusable, I know.

I was talking to Blue-Eyed Bride over email about our Honeymoons last week (since we both Honeymooned at the Grand Wailea in Maui) and decided it was about time for me to get this album done!

I used to be really into scrapbooking, but now that everything is so digital I think I like making digital albums better. I've used Kodak Gallery and My Publisher before. But my friend recently made a book of her trip to Africa using Blurb and it was fantastic. So I decided to go with Blurb this time.

With Blurb you download software, arrage your photos and text within the layout choices, and then upload all of the pages to They then send you a high-quality photo album/ photo book in the mail. It's pretty cool!

I'll let you know how the book looks when I get it in the mail next week! Here is preview of the cover shot:

Have you made digital photo albums or books like this before? What company do you like best? My Publisher, Blurb, Kodak Gallery, Creative Memories or another? Or do you still like paper scrapbooks and albums the best?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poolside Bookworm

For me there is almost nothing better than reading a really good novel poolside or beachside. I haven't read a good novel in few months but that's about to change. One of the reasons I love blogging that I get so much wonderful advice -- even on reading!

Like when I reviewed American Wife, a bunch of you told me to pick up "Prep" by the same author. Also, I've seen on several of your blogs that you enjoyed the book "Redeeming Love".

Well, look what I got this week:

I can't wait to relax this weekend by the pool and get started on one! Which should I read first?!

Also thank you for the help with my magazine quandary. After careful condsideration I got subscriptions to:

And a trial subscription to:

One quick note: these subscription were SO cheap. The price you pay for one Redbook at the airport is almost the cost of an entire year's subscription. Crazy.

So far I like them all, but I'm really liking Women's Health a lot.

What are you reading this summer? I need more recommendations for after I plow through these books (I'm a fast reader and sometimes once I start reading I can't stop!)


Also, since I'm following up on stuff. I chose shoe #1 from this post. For a wedding where I know I'll be on feet a lot, I had to go with the shoe that was most comfortable and this one rocked the comfort test!


Finally, I wanted to send some love out to:
Chic Runner - She's my Long Beach blog buddy and is running the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon this weekend in my hometown! So awesome!
Blue Eyed Bride - She was one the first blogs I started following back when we were both engaged and she's having her baby boy any day now! So exciting!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank You!

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone for your sweet comments, beautiful prayers, and kind words about my grandmother and my lack of domestic goddess cooking skills. I'm so lucky to have such amazing bloggy friends. You girls are the best!

I believe that Our God is an Awesome God and I trust that He can bring good out of even the worst situations.

Also, I haven't yet thanked everyone for all of your wonderful comments about my kitchen, dining/living room, and overall condo that I posted as part of Kelly's "Show Us Where You Live Friday". It really reminded me of just how blessed I am to live in Southern California in a home that I love. There are things that I often take for granted: like having a job, or being in good health, or just having the opportunity to live in the time/place that we do.

And just overall, thank you. Thank you for reading my 'lil blog and for sharing your lives with me via your blogs. I've learned so much from so many of you (for example: am I the ONLY girl in America NOT doing Shred?) and truly treasure you all.

With love,

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Feeling Blue

If you haven't noticed, my blog is generally really upbeat because I am actually a really upbeat person. I'm usually smiling, laughing, telling an animated story, and generally loving life. I think I laugh more at work than is generally considered normal.

But today I am feeling sad and I don't want to hide it.

Last week I found out that my Grandmother has breast cancer. She is my only living grandparent and is so dear to me. Although the prognosis is not horrible, it really hit me hard when my Mom told me this weekend that we're likely cancelling our family Christmas Cruise because this could be her last Christmas and she won't be able to come on the cruise with us now. She's been there for almost every Christmas of my life and thought of her not being there is just so sad.

(My Grandma, Dad, and me on her 90th birthday last summer)

Also this morning I found out that my friend from High School's Dad passed away yesterday. Are we really old enough to be losing our parents yet?

Also this isn't even in the same ballpark as those reasons, but on Monday the Mr. and I spent all afternoon making a clam chowder with clams that he himself clammed in Oregon and brought back home for us, and the chowder turned out just awful. Somehow the cream base tasted really yucky. The Mr. hid it well, but I think he was really sad. It made me realize that I am, in fact, a really horrible cook. I finally faced it, I'm just bad. Ladies there is a reason I don't do "Menu Mondays." I know it's 2009, but I feel like a failure as a wife due to my complete lack of culinary skills.

Oh and, our kitchen still has a faint clam smell to remind me of the disaster. Lovely.

And finally, the blog URL migration is still in progress, so I know that some things are bit funky and maybe your links to the Newlyweds Next Door have not migrated yet. Sorry about that. Worse is that somehow in the migration I lost my entire "blog role"/links list. Not cool, blogger. Not cool.

Ok, I'm done. Upbeat blogging starts back up again tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All Grown Up!

It is time for my little blog to grow up -- get a driver's license, go on it's first date, sneak into a bar or two.

That's right, Newlyweds Next Door has it's own URL:

Do not worry! You don't have to change anything! You will be automatically redirected to the new url if you click on my blog through Google Reader, your favorites, links, or any subscription program. Same blog, grown up URL.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Our Home: Dining Room and Living Room

Here is our dining room!

Does it look familiar? That's because I showed you a preview of it with the kitchen post. The reason is, we don't have a "true" dining room We have our dining area between our kitchen and living rooms (give me a break, we live in a so cal condo. Space is limited!). So I'm going to show our dining room and living room since I missed living room week!

These adorable Crate & Barrel photo coasters sit on our dining table. They have a few wedding and engagement pictures in them.

Here's the living room that is right next to our "dining room" table.

The brown leather couches are from Plummers (a Southern Cali furniture store). The coffee table is from Crate & Barrel (Mix table). I hate our couch pillows. The blue ones are from Pottery Barn and look like total crap. NEVER buy the linen pillows from PB. They look horrid after a day. Any suggestions on where to buy new aqua-colored pillows?

This Nambe Bowl (another wedding present) sits on our coffee table. I love Nambe. Wish I could afford more of it!

This is our favorite place to sit and look out on the water.

Here is the view you see from that chair if your turn it to the window:

This is a brand new end table from Crate & Barrel (we got it yesterday!). The lamp is hand-blown glass. A wedding present from my God parents. I love the blue bowl on the bottom shelf. Reminds me of the ocean.

I really love these leaning shelves in the living room (again from Crate & Barrel). They hold fun wedding memories like our "unity sand" and our guest book. They also have my favorite books and some fun family photos. And lots of shells. You know I love shells.

Finally, the Mr's baby... the 61" DLP Flatscreen TV. A wedding present from my uncle. Also pictured, the PS3/Blu-Ray Player, DVR, speakers, stereo, the 5 disk DVD changer. I thought I was getting married, not moving into the frat house.

Hope you enjoyed seeing our dining room and living room! Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Yay for the start of summer!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Black Tie Optional?

I just got the beautiful invitation to my friend's summer wedding. On the bottom it of it read "black tie optional." Now, I know for a wedding this really means optional, but I'm guessing that a lot of men will wear tuxes. And since I'm a sucker for guys in tuxes, I told the Mr. that I think it's time that he invest in a tuxedo. Plus we're probably going a cruise for Christmas and New Years and he'll need one for that too (more on that later).

Do any of your guys own tuxes? Do you have any tux buying advice? Like where should he look to buy one? Men's Wherehouse? Macy's? Boutique? What brands are good quality for a good price?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Did you plan it before he put a ring on it?

I have a wedding planning confession to make… I started planning my wedding about a year before I got engaged. That’s right, a full year before I had the bling I was crusing around saving articles, “right-clicking” on photos, swooning over dresses, and comparing wedding venues. I didn’t dare let the Mr. know this – I felt like it was a bit too much “psycho girlfriend” for him at the time (of course now that we’re married I've clued him on my former craziness).

While planning our wedding I started reading wedding blogs and I realized that I was not alone. In fact, lots of ladies out there had been covertly planning their weddings for years. Some had even been reading Martha Stewart Weddings since High School.

So girls, it’s your turn to confess. Did any of your start planning your wedding or hunting for wedding ideas before you got engaged? If so, for how long? Or if you’re not engaged yet, do you ever lurk on wedding blogs or

Please tell me that I was not the only one!

And just for fun, here's a picture of me the night I got engaged.

I wonder if I'm thinking, "let the real planning begin!" Kidding!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Recap: Bridal Shower, Angels & Demons, and DIY Screens

Happy Monday! Is it me, or does the weekend never seems to be long enough? But at least next weekend is a three day weekend!

Saturday morning I went to my friend, C's Bridal Shower in Santa Monica. It was beautiful! Right on the beach, delicious food, lots of fun!

Of course I forgot my camera (bad blogger!) But here is pic of her and us Bridesmaids at her other Bridal Shower in West LA:

Then Saturday evening the Mr. and I drove down to Laguna Beach to meet my Dad to have dinner and get my Wedding Dress from him for my Trash the Dress. We had dinner at the amazing Las Brisas Restaurant. Another stunning view from the restaurant. Check it out:

I guess it was Prom in Laguna Beach, because the restaurant was filled with teens all decked out for Prom, which was pretty fun to see.

We also went and saw Angels and Demons with him. The movie was entertaining but there were so many plot holes in it that I just couldn't get past. Kind of a bummer, because I remember enjoying the book when I read it in college. I would give the movie a C- or D+.

Sunday I was supposed to have my Trash The Dress. But my photographer got sick and we had to postpone it. Boo!

So instead the Mr. and I went Costco for some grocery shopping. While I was there I also picked up this little guy:

A new iPod nano in my favorite color! The Mr.'s old iPod mini finally died, so he got my old Nano and I got a new one since I use mine all the time. Isn't he a nice husband?

Speaking of how much I love my husband...

On Sunday we also went to Home Depot where he purchased materials to make our own window screens. Why did we have to make screens?

Our Condo has these beautiful windows that push open like this:

And have no screens.

Now that our kitten, Judah is getting bigger, we needed to screen those windows so he won't jump/fall out of the windows and plummet 10 stories down.

So the Mr., by himself, built screens that we can insert into the windows and remove when we need to close them. Isn't he amazing?! I was very impressed.

Judah, on the other hand was more interested in chewing on the screen building materials, so I had him help me with the laundry. Some help he was....

Oh, and I almost forgot - On Sunday night we capped off the weekend with 4.7 magnitude earthquake centered about 10 miles from where we live. Our building was shaking for what seemed like forever, but thankfully nothing broke. Always exciting living in old shakey town!

Friday, May 15, 2009

So You Want To Read My Diary?

A while back I posted that I keep a "scrapbook diary" and a couple of people asked "what is that?"

What I do is when I read a magazine I keep it and then cut out words, phrases, or pictures that I find meaningful and keep them all in a shoe box. I also will keep mementos like ticket stubs or love notes.

Then when I'm going through a stressful time, or a important time, or just a time where I need to get my feelings down on paper I go through the box and pull out any pictures or words that summarize how I'm feeling and past them into a journal page or two.

It's the most calming and cathartic thing I do. It helps me to really visualize my feelings. And it makes a cool keepsake.

For example....

This is the page from when the Mr. FINALLY told me he loved me back in college:

This is the page I made after my baptism:

This is the page I made after we got engaged:

And this is the page I made after our wedding:

Do you do anything in particular to release your emotions? Do you keep a journal? A diary? Scrapbook? Blog? All of the above? None of the above?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

100th Post - 20 Questions with the Newlywed Next Door!

It’s officially my 100th post!

In honor of this momentous post, I’m answering your questions! Seriously great questions everyone! I’ve bucketed them into a few key categories. Here goes…

Married Life

1) Shoshanah asked, “I don't know if you've told the story before, but how did you and your husband meet?”
We met the first week of our Junior year at the University of Southern California. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but we met at the Campus Bar. We were both “Greek” (Fraternity/Sorority) and this bar is THE place for Greeks to hang out. We got introduced by a mutual friend, at the end of the night he asked for my phone number, and the rest is history!

2) Emily asked, “ What is your favorite thing about being married?
Living together and sharing the small moments – waking up together, making breakfast together, having our own home. See, we didn’t really live together before we got married, so living together full time is so great! But overall, just feeling like a “family” together is really cool.

3) ~K~ asked, “What is Mr. Newlywed's most annoying habit that drive you insane?”
Hilarious! A few months ago I would have said, either leaving dirty dishes in the sink or leaving his clean clothes in dryer – but he’s gotten so much better about both! {thanks hun!} He does do this “knee bouncing” thing when he’s sitting out the couch, sitting at dinner, or riding shotgun in my car. Sometimes the shaking just drives me bonkers!

4) Rachel asked, “Who cooks the most in your home? You or Mr. Newlywed? What is your favorite thing to make?”
I’d have to say it’s about 50/50 – but neither of us cook too much, especially during the week. The Mr. grills out a lot – steaks, salmon, bratwurst, chicken, etc. but I do more actual recipes. My favorite thing to makes are soups and stews in my crock pot! So easy, healthy, and tasty.

The Future

5) Crazy Shenanigans asked, “Where is the one place you would never want to live?"
At the risk of insulting someone, I’d have to say Alaska. Don’t get me wrong, Alaska is beautiful – especially in the Summer. But the thought of constant cold and darkness for half of the year makes me chilly and depressed just thinking about it! I'm a born and raised So Cal girl! I need my sunshine!

6) Tara cut right to the chase asked, “when are you two going to have kids? : )”
You sound like our mothers! Kidding! If it is God’s plan for us to have our own children, it will be between two and five years from now. This is going to sound crazy, but I’ve read so many infertility blogs that I’m so paranoid that I won’t be able to have my own children. Crazy, huh? Right now we’re just enjoying be newlyweds and focusing our careers and post-graduate education.

7) Brittany Ann asked, “Where do you see Mr. Newlywed and yourself in 10 years?”
Wow, a lifetime can happen in 10 years! Ideally we will still be living in Southern California (in a much bigger home) with one or two children. I’d like to be in upper management at that point, or even better, running my own business. But who knows, life could take us anywhere!

Southern California

8) Cristina asked, “What is the best thing about living in so-cal?” and Emily ask “what is your favorite part of living in cali?”
It’s cliché, but the best part is the weather. Living at the beach it’s almost always between 62 and 85 degrees and never too humid. And the ocean is so beautiful -- I find the ocean so calming and inspiring. I also love the cross-section of cultures. Billboards in Spanish, amazing Korean BBQ, you name it!

9) Shoshanah also asked, "do you have any favorite tourist-y things to do in SoCal?"
I love to go to the beach – beautiful and free! I also love shopping at the famous shopping areas – 3rd Street Promenade, Beverly Center, The Grove. The Sunset Strip is great for bars and restaurants. There are also some great museums in West LA, including the still active La Brea Tar Pits. LA also has great sports teams: Lakers, Dodgers, and USC Trojans! All of those teams have great venues and festivities for games.


10) Mrs M. asked, “What has been your most favorite place you visited?”
First of all, let me say that I am so blessed. My parents took me to so many amazing places growing up – All over Europe, Japan, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, and all over the rest of the US so it’s really hard to pick one. But, I would have to say Australia. Sydney is just an amazing city. I also love London and Madrid.

11 & 12) Mrs. Potts asked, “What has been your least favorite place to travel?” and “What is your number 1, swear by travel tip?”
I really can’t think of a “least favorite” place. I really like traveling in general. When I was traveling to Seattle almost every week from Nov 2005 – Feb 2006 I experienced “the most consecutive days of rain since the 1950s.” That was pretty miserable. Like I said above, I don’t do well without sunshine.
My #1 travel trip is the one that my guest blogger Erin blogged about a couple of months back. Most carry-on roller bags will fit in the overhead bag with their wheels out. You don’t need to turn them sideways. It’s a huge space saver and can help you and other to not have to check bags!


13) Marie asked, “I noticed you reviewed American Wife. I loved that book as well! That said, what is your favorite book?”
Thanks for asking about books, Marie! Reading is one of my favorite things to do. My very favorite book is “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s told from the perspective of five women over a 30-year span. A-mazing book.
Other favorite fiction books: I Know This Much is True, Nineteen Minutes, The Lovely Bones, and A Thousand Splendid Suns,
Favorite Non-fiction: The Bible, The Barbarian Way, The Purpose Driven Life, and Outliers

14 & 15) Southern Bride asked "Where do you like to shop? And what are your top 5 favorite movies?"
My works clothes are all from Express, Banana Republic, Macy’s and Nordstrom. Most of my weekend wear is also from a combination of those places plus Forever 21. I like Forever 21 for cheap, trendy clothes and accessories.
Favorite movies are: Office Space, Jerry Maguire, Forrest Gump, Boondock Saints, and Father of the Bride. Random, I know!


16) Mrs. Potts also asked, “Your hair always looks so pretty. What products do you use?”
Mrs. Potts! How did you know that flattery will get you everywhere!? You are too sweet! So in all honesty, I’m really “mean” to my hair. Since I have naturally wavy hair, I blow it out and curl it about 6 days a week. I use “John Frieda Sheer Blonde” shampoo and conditioner and switch it up with Pantene Pro-V. I’m a total believer that your hair can get “used to” a shampoo/conditioner. My favorite product is Kerastase serum. Totally tames frizzies and smells amazing.

17) Katie asked, “when you were little, what did you want to be when you ‘grow up’?”
When I was really little I wanted to be a doctor. Then I realized that math and science were not my strong subjects; I was much better at social studies and history. Then I wanted to be a news reporter for a long time. Then in high school I really wanted to work in politics – press secretary, campaign manager, etc. Then at USC I got really interested in Business and ended up in consulting.

18) A Balancing Act asked, “What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?”
When my husband and I were first dating my parents came up for a Football game at USC. I was sitting apart from them in the student section. During the game I started to feel really sick from a medication I was taking and the Mr. took me back to his Fraternity House to take care of me. After the game my parents couldn’t find me and went back to my Sorority House. They ran around my house looking for me, making huge fuss until one girl told them that she thought I had gone to TKE Fraternity. They then barged into TKE asking every guy where I was. They finally found the Mr’s room and barged in to find me asleep on his couch. Of course the story got exaggerated (my parents found us hooking up, he drugged me, etc.) and was the talk of both of our houses for the next week. Needless to say, not the best first impression for the Mr. to make on my parents. But I guess all’s well that ends well.

19) Kelley asked, “If you could be any food, what would it be and why?"
Wow this is tough because I love food! But I’d be a potato – mashed, baked, boiled, fried, you name it! That way I’d be delicious, versatile, satisfying, comforting and loved by almost everyone in one form or another. Mashed potatoes are my favorite food -- we even had a midnight mashed potato bar at our wedding.

20) Ingrid asked, “when are you doing your Trash The Dress?"
This weekend! So excited Any tips??!!

WOW. This got really long! Thanks so much for reading it if you made it this far! Also, thank you all for reading my blog for the past 100 posts! You all are so amazing! Your support, comments, and friendship mean the world to me. I can't wait to share the next 100 posts with you all!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ask Me Anything!

It's almost time for my 100th post! Isn't it about time for a Q&A? Yes, it is!

So, put me on the hot seat! If you have any questions you'd like me to answer about anything, now is the time! Leave them in the comment section and when I answer it, I'll link to you. Or, you can email me at if you'd like to stay anonymous. Lurkers, this means you! Ha!

And just for fun... here we are at a Casino Night Fundraiser for Scholarships that we went to last weekend in Hollywood:

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