July 30, 2016

Our One Year Apartment Anniversary.

Guess WHAT! At this very same time on this very same day of last year, Jarryd and I were moving into this apartment! We have officially lived in this beautiful space for exactly one year! Ein jahr. Un año! {Wow, I don't think I've ever actually written in Spanish on my blog before--that's a first! I don't even speak it...}

Anyway! I can't even believe we've been in this apartment for a year. The time has flown; yet at the same time, it feels like we've lived here for five years. You know?!

I was showing Jarryd photos of our apartment from a year ago of when we first moved in and it was pretty shocking to both of us. Well, it's no "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition" or anything, but to us it's felt like a pretty impressive transformation.

Because of my love for documenting the chapters of my life, I decided to take some photos around the apartment FIRST give the place a good cleaning {haha--just being real here!} and then take photos of our apartment now in July of 2016!

So be forewarned, the changes are nothing radical, OK? Don't get your hopes up, friends. We're not made of money over here. :P And that's the whole thing, there is SO much I wish I could do to this space furniture-wise, picture-frame-wise, area-rug-wise, fake-plant-wise {because I kill all of the real ones apparently} and other useless-small-home-decor-wise but it all comes with a cost. Jarryd and I are both people who'd rather spend money on experiences than attainable objects. Example: we'd rather spend money on going on a date night, or buy plane tickets/train tickets and travel than save up to buy the perfect dining room table set. {Actually, to be REAL frank, I am perfectly content spending all of our money on groceries and baking supplies; I find life so boring when there's no good food around!} That's just us and it's a plus that we are both that way!

Most of the time when we do start buying furniture, it's because we have reached the ceiling of our "I'm-so-fed-up-living-without-having-a-_____" meter. That's how it went for our new end tables. We hated not having places to put our drinks and food beside us while sitting on the couch watching a movie so we finally caved. And I'm so happy we agreed on the style of end tables because I'm in LOVE with them. Mmm! :)

That's not to say we don't plan on buying furniture in the near future. In fact, we've got a little list going on. We need something for the front entrance to put our keys on and such, and just to fill the empty wall we have. {On a normal day we like to fill that space with an old bag full of trash there as a reminder to take it out :P } We also have been eyeing some grey sectional couches with a real high seat depth. Sigh....we'll see.

Anyway, below I've provided you with some Before {July 2015} and After {July 2016} photos of our apartment. Enjoy!! :)

BEFORE: The View Dining Room/Living Room
BEFORE & AFTER of Hutch in 2015:
We can't forget about my crazy hutch! Last year, I wrote a blog post about my DIY Hutch Makeover {If you missed it, Read it HERE!} and added it to Pinterest. As of today, July 2016, it's been Pinned 228 times! How cool is that?! I know to some professional Pinteresters' that number is just smidgeons in comparison to their numbers, but to someone who isn't even passionate about DIY projects, that's pretty good! {I've done 2 DIY projects in my whole life, and I am just fine with that haha!}

I really do love this pale blue beauty. It's definitely the most unique and characteristic piece of furniture we have in our place.

BEFORE: The Living Room
Yeah, yeah, I know we need something to happen on the wall behind the couch. Give me another year... :P
How cute are our end tables?! They have a glass top with gold legs, and they're huge. Like they could probably hold 50+ cans of pop, glasses of water, and mugs of tea if need be. {NOT that I've tried it before or anything...}
Jarryd had enough of having the coffee table in front of the couches, so he moved it in front of the window. I'm not totally sure what purpose it holds, but it's not the worst looking over there. As long as no sunlight is blocked, I'm happy. :)
Plus, with the coffee table by the window we are able to show off our new RUG! It's sheepskin!!! {Faux of course}. But it's so white and so soft and so feathery looking, we just love it. I pray that it stays this way forever. <3 {Please don't change little rug, we love you just the way you are!} We were just so glad to be done with our old rug.
This is where all the magic happens. Well, kind of. I'd say 90% of the magic happens in the kitchen, and 10% happens on this "espresso" desk that I use to take photos of the magic I made that day. ;)
This isn't the prettiest looking space...in fact it's too "busy" looking for my liking; our "tv stand" needs alot of work. And yes, I record Hallmark movies...every weekend...but who doesn't...right?
A closer look and focus on the end tables. :)

BEFORE: The View of the Dining Room/Kitchen
Much has changed here! 1) We 86'd our dining room table set! Honestly, we hardly used the thing. It was more for storing stacks of books and papers, than it was for eating! {We like to eat at our kitchen island or on our couches}
2) That rolling chair absolutely does NOT belong there. That looked so terrible...

We bought barstools!! It was SUCH a good investment! We also cleaned up the space above the fridge, added some decor pieces/it's where I store my rotating cake stand. And that corner of the kitchen unfortunately is incredibly dark even during the day, so we bought some LED strip lights from IKEA and it has changed everything. It actually makes me want to work in that space now.
I went on a bit of a fruit haul on my last grocery trip...Mangoes, watermelon, avocado, apples, yellow peaches, and yellow squash {which is actually from my in-laws}.

 BEFORE: The Kitchen
It's quite bare looking...but the counters are very shiny!
SO much has changed here!! 
I bought that beautiful marble piece at a local thrift store and I am in LOVE with it. If only I had marble countertops...hehe.
 BEFORE: The Master Bedroom
The BEFORE looks better than the AFTER, am I right?! I'm not a fan of dark curtains at all, but with our new jobs both Jarryd and I wake up between 4 and 5 AM, which means we're in bed by 8:30 PM, which means now in the summer it's still bright outside when we go to bed! SO, I had to buy black-out curtains. So sad...their darkness doesn't suit my style-personality at all!
Anyway, our Master bedroom decor is the least of my worries. It's really just for sleeping, you know? BUT we did buy fancy new 700-thread-count grey sheets. We love them!
AND that king-size white blanket is SO SOFT!

BEFORE: The Spare Room {"The Spare Oom"}
Before this was just our storage room, really. You know, the room where you just throw everything?

I seriously love this space when the couches are set up like this. They're not the comfiest of couches, but they look so stylish! And that chaise lounge is the best place to sprawl out on after a long day at work.
And here is the spare room with the couches turned into a bed! Nothing matches in this room, which drives me nuts, but it's a work in progress. Like I said, we spend our money other places...

So, there you have it: our second apartment that we have lived in for one year and we absolutely love it! There's nothing like moving into a never-been-lived-in, brand new, with brand new cost-efficient appliances. {If there's one thing, just ONE thing I would change, it would be to have more windows. There's only 3 windows, and they're all facing the east. I'd love to have just windows everywhere!}

My family is coming to visit in just over a week, and we are super excited to host them and are just downright thankful that they don't have to spend their nights in a hotel! YAY! :)

Thanks for reading, friends! <3

July 19, 2016


"'Ahhhhhh,' Lena said as she waded in. It was funny to hear her voice aloud. Her thoughts and perceptions usually existed so deep inside her, they rarely made it to her surface without deliberate effort. Even when she saw something genuinely funny on television, she never laughed out loud when she was alone." {Ann Brashares}

Yep, you guessed it. I'm reading The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series again. The first book came out in 2001 when I was only 10 years old, and the movie came out when I was 14. I'm pretty positive I never actually read the books until I was at least 13 {I was too busy reading The Christy Miller series, obviously...}.

Call me a total cheeseball but I LOVE these books and I LOVE these movies even more! I would honestly just love to have a "sisterhood" of my own, made up of just me and three amazing women. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in present-day tense a "sisterhood" would actually be more commonly referred to as a "squad", yeah? Well, whatever, I like sisterhood better! "Squads" are more like acquaintance friends who just take selfies together. "Sisterhoods" meet around candlelight in old yoga studios, mail blue jeans around the world, and jump off cliffs. Am I right?!

These books and movies will always remind me of my trip to Israel in early 2011.
HOW on earth does one connect ISRAEL and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants together?! Well, my old college roomie/bestie would watch the movies whenever we had some downtime after a crazy day of traveling and touring. {Char, if you're reading this...I miss you terribly!!} We actually watched it twice during the whole trip. Don't worry, we didn't watch it during the day when we could've been outside exploring THE HOLY LAND. It was always late in the evening when it was too unwise of us to be outside roaming the streets in the dark. You know? For real though, the one time the two of us did walk the market late in the evening we were legitimately stalked. Then again, I got stalked AGAIN during pure daylight in a CHURCH.
{Despite all of the stalking, it was a country where I'd never felt safer. I'd feel safer walking around Israel than I would Maryland, to be honest.}
Oh man, all of the amazing memories are flooding back. {If you've never read about my trip to Israel, you really should!! I actually really enjoy going back to these old blog posts and laughing at my hilarious 19-year-old self--and the photos are awesome too. It truly was a fantastic season of life for me and I can't keep from thanking God for orchestrating such an incredible event in my life! He is SO good. Click HERE to read them!!}

ANYWAYS...back to Sisterhood. The Sisterhood is made up of four girls--Tibby {rebellious, sarcastic, blunt}, Bridget {courageous, confident, reckless}, Carmen {hot-tempered, introspective, passionate}, and Lena {quiet, stunningly gorgeous, introverted}.

In regards to relating to the characters, I always felt like I was Lena--and the paragraph I quoted up at the top is totally totally me. I'm artistic, I'm more quiet than the average joe, I'm introverted, ect., and I was always convinced that guys only liked me for my looks/didn't trust guys. {Just to be clear I do not think that I have that breathtakingly-beautiful-Mediterranean-Greek-Goddess-beauty about me like Lena does--which is pretty much her biggest "struggle"}. I wish, haha!

So yes, I always felt like I was Lena, but who I reeeeeally wanted to be was Bridget. Oh my goodness. Who wouldn't want to be a brave, confident, athletic, long-blonded soccer-superstar?! {In reality, she's the TOTAL opposite of me haha! Except for the long blonde hair thang...} Maybe it's because Blake Lively played her character in the movies and I just love her to bits?

But, as the years have gone by I have learned to fully embrace my Lena-ness and I truly love the quirky introverted self that God created me to be. It feels good. {I'm just glad I'm not Tibby, haha! Oops, did I say that aloud?}

I'm only 130 pages into the first book, and there's 5 books in total, sooooo, I know what I'm doing this summer! Haha! {P.S- *Spoiler Alert* one of the four girls dies in the last book. Crazy, right?! Hope I didn't ruin it for any of y'all.}

Is there any one of my blog readers who actually likes these books and/or movies? Or am I just the only one? Speak up! :D

July 10, 2016

Why am I a Cook?

As most of you probably know, I LOVE learning about personalities and doing personality assessments is one of my favourite activities. {Myers-Briggs is the best!} I have this habit of when meeting someone new, I read them and fit them into little personality boxes with labels such as thinker/doer/logical/passionate/emotional/risk-taker/shy/outgoing for example. And because everyone knows that first impressions are never reliable when it comes to making judgements about someone, this person will do something out of that little personality box I made for them and completely surprise me. And then I'm all out of sorts and have to figure out a new box for them. It's as if I'm just asking to be surprised. {It makes me wonder if I ever surprise anyone about my personality...}

And it's rare that I'll meet someone and think "wow, what an awful personality"; 99% of the time I think to myself "wow, I love their personality--I sure hope it rubs off on me because I really admire ______ about them".

^ Oh man, does anybody else do this?! And why do I do this to myself, you ask? I have no idea. It keeps my mind entertained that's for sure. I just find people and their little quirks so interesting.

I read somewhere that one of the worst jobs for an INFJ personality such as myself, is being a cook. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I DO FOR 40 HOURS A WEEK. How does this even make sense?

I think when it said "cook" it was most likely implying culinary jobs such as "line cook" or "sous chef"--something extremely high-pressure. I work neither of those jobs. My position at work is more along the lines of "assistant to the chef/prep cook". My top priority at work is prepping ingredients for the fruit and salad bar (which means alot of chopping--which I LOVE!}.

BUT, just because my position isn't extremely-pressurized doesn't mean I'm free of that. In fact, I am surrounded by co-workers whose positions are that way. I am surrounded by high stress.
And anybody who knows INFJ's we loathe pressure, stress, negativity, feeling rushed, loud distracting environments, chaos, and too much social interaction. These are all of the things I experience at work--this is exactly what goes on in a commercial kitchen.

In regards to other people surprising me about their personalities, in this area of my life, I completely and totally surprise myself! Seriously! I often wonder if my friends or family can even picture me being a cook because I don't fit the personality type of a cook. {I'm not one to swear like a sailor, you know?}

I also wonder how I've survived this long in the culinary industry. It's been over 3 years of food-service jobs for me and that's actually a long time. In all honesty, I don't dread going to work. I truly enjoy my job and what I do. Absolutely, there are things about my job that I wish I could change; but the positives outweigh the negatives by far.

Positives About My Job:
Routine full-time hours
Routine tasks of working with my hands and still room for creativity
Small team of co-workers (6 of us in total)
A great boss!
Benefits/Vacation Pay/Sick pay ect.
Constantly learning new things/picking up new skills
Eating delicious food and trying new foods
I get to wear a white chef jacket. Woo!

Negatives About My Job:
Loud environment so it's hard to carry meaningful conversations
On my feet the entire time/actually quite physically demanding on the feet and legs {this is the worrrrsssst!}
At times stressful/chaotic/negative
Lack of privacy and socially draining
Waking up at 5 AM {actually this one is the worst!}

I still think it's interesting how I ended up being a cook. Sometimes at work when I am tired of standing and socially drained I find myself day dreaming about what it'd be like hidden from the world in a little cubicle, sitting in a comfy office chair, typing random numbers with my keyboard, with cheesy family photos pinned up all around me, a hot coffee next to my own computer, and my hair and makeup all done wearing a pencil skirt and high heels, and easy access to myself cell phone all day long. Sometimes I think I may have been better suited for a data-entry type job...

Oh well. Often our jobs and careers hold alot of weight in what we consider our identity to be. People might think "Oh she's a cook, so she must be ____, ____, and _____". Yes, I'm a cook but believe me, I'm soooo out of the norm when it comes to chef personalities. I cannot fit into a little chef box. I do not connect my identity to my career; to me they are separate. The only connection there is FOOD--I love food and working with food. Being a cook has never been my dream job and it never will. Is it so wrong for me to say that I'm really only working at my job for stable paycheck and the benefits?

Haha, it sounds wrong in a way...but I'm just there for the money. This doesn't negate the fact that this job is a HUUUUUGE blessing and that I'm incredibly thankful for it! Not at all! God is providing for Jarryd and I and He chose this job for me in this season of life at this time for His specific reasons. He Has me right where He wants me and I am quite content because I make a DAILY decision to live a life of thankfulness and gratitude which lead to contentment. :)

P.S- What is my current DREAM JOB? I would LOVE to be a foodie/baker/dessert blogger. Have a baking business, take photos of my creations, and blog all about it. AT HOME. {Hermits and homebodies for the win!} I'd also like to have a cat, a very very very affectionate and loving cat. Who knows, maybe I'll get there one day. :) <3

July 9, 2016

July Joy.

Wow. Hello my long lost friend--my blog!! I have missed you.

It's currently the 9th of July and things are finally starting to slow down...for the most part.
When I started my new full-time job back at the beginning of February, it was also the time when Jarryd and I had been going to a new church for a little over a month and were both trying to get plugged in there.

Jarryd joined a Bible study group, and I ended up joining TWO. I know that probably doesn't sound that crazy to you, but these Bible studies each had thick books {aside from The Bible} that we were working through--this meant lots and lots of homework. So all the while I was adjusting to a new job and new schedule, I was dedicating most of my time to my new groups. Each group meeting was between 2-3 hours a week, plus when you add all of the in-depth heart-wrenching deep-digging homework to, that takes up alot of time.

But guess what? All of our groups have come to an end! It's bittersweet because we met some pretty great people through it and it's unfortunate not being able to see them on a regular basis now. But we have SOOOO much time now. ...Well, I wouldn't say SOOOO much time, but in comparison to what we used to have, we definitely do!

I'm excited! Having free evenings and weekends again means that I can focus more attention to my baking. AND BLOGGING because blogging is one of my favourite things to do! Hee hee!

I just want to learn anything and everything in the realm of baking! I am following some pretty talented baker accounts on Instagram and it's nothing short of inspiring! Although at the same time when I see their edible works of art and I just feel instantly intimidated. WOW. I can't believe I thought my creations were even semi good--because these are just flawless! Apparently I stink. <<--{These are called bad thoughts! Don't try this at home!}

I'm just being real, yo. {Yo? Really, Jennifer?} I have moments where I lose all motivation to be in the kitchen. When I assess the situation I realize that this loss of motivation stems from either a really dirty kitchen {DISHES EVERYWHERE GAH}, lack of sleep, or lack of introvert/alone time. {Ahhh gotta love that coveted introvert time...} Once those vital three are taken care of, then I get these beautiful little bursts of enthusiasm to bake and try and fail and cry and then try again! It's a wonderful cycle.

So yeah, to be honest {a.k.a "real, yo"} I'm pretty pleased with life right now. And it's only only ONLY because I have learned where to find my true joy. JESUS! Life is so much better when you strive to keep your focus on eternity and not on the things directly around you. If my joy and attitude depended on the people around me, I would be such a miserable person. In my opinion, there's enough negativity in this world and Jesus is my answer to my question of "how do I rise above it all?".

I'm not sure at all where I was going with this blog post. Perhaps I just wanted to give an update on my life currently? Yes, let's go with that. :)

It's been a great Saturday. I've been baking and cooking all afternoon so, that's pretty self-explanatory. Plus, I've gotten some much needed introvert time. Not as much as I'd prefer, but just enough to get me through. :P