Tuesday, September 4, 2012

new blog

I’ve been told by a few too many people that I should start another blog … like, a “real” blog {whatever that means}.  I assume they suggest such an idea to give me a more notable outlet to share my life stories via the creative world of blogging.  Make sense?  I guess the whole “erik & julie” themed blog isn’t exactly was drives people to read your posts about oatmeal.

so, after a LOT of brainstorming, I came up with a new blog title slash site slash concept.  and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure I love wordpress just yet; however, I’m convinced it will grow on me.  I do, however, love the template I found for my new blog … so that makes things better.

if you are interested in reading my life stories, my amateur adventures into the world of DIY, my 20-something insights, and so on … please join me over at “The Lovely Forecast”.

The reason I landed on this name {again … it took months, and I’m still working on loving it}, is because I like the idea of “the forecast”:


   [fawr-kast, -kahst, fohr-] noun


1. a prediction, especially as to the weather.

2. a conjecture as to something in the future.

3. the act, practice, or faculty of forecasting.

4. Archaic . foresight in planning.

I know it’s a term generally used to determine or predict the weather … but think about it in terms of life.  We can neither determine what is going to happen next, nor predict the future.  However, with God’s grace, mercy, and guidance, we can certainly determine how we are going to respond to it.  Are we going to find joy in our struggles (2 Corinthians 12:9)?  Are we going to respond to the pains of life with His love and grace?  Can we even do so, without abiding (John 15see also) in Christ?

Thus, I want my story to reflect God’s love.  I want it to be a lovely adventure, in which I choose to pursue His wisdom.  Thus, I want my life’s forecast to be lovely.  I want to run in the sun and I want to find a way to dance in the rain.

So for now … it fits.  “The Lovely Forecast” 

it may change in the future, and it may not.  we’ll just have to see how these growing pains pan out.

so, please bear with me as I continue to tweak my new blog.  I fully understand that the world wide web is saturated with bloggers and I am merely adding to a world already filled with creativity, insight, and tips & tricks … and I’m not intending on make millions from this little corner of cyber-space. I simply hope to use it as an outlet for the words that fill up my brain and need a place to be written. I do hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

sand first, then prime, and paint …



last weekend, erik was somewhere around 9,000 ft above sea level with a few fellow backpackers on a camping trip they take every year.  ever since the date was set for their annual trip into the wilderness, I planned to use the lack of distraction {being my cute husband} as the perfect time to get my painting finished. 

I wanted to finish painting our bed, his nightstand/dresser, and a wine rack.  all in one day.

I was actually pretty excited for my painting day, knowing how fulfilling it is to transform something that was once ugly, into something that is … well … no longer ugly. 

watching the paint instantly cover the bruises and scratches an old piece of furniture has acquired over the years is thoroughly satisfying …

although, my use of the word “instantly” isn’t really accurate.

while I love the painting process, I HATE the prep process.  taping is fine.  and even the priming is fine.  but the sanding.  blah! I wish it wasn’t such a critical part of the process.  every time I thought I had successfully roughed an entire layer of stain off the dresser, I’d smooth away the dust to find that I did not in fact sand away an entire layer, but rather barely touched the surface. 

uhhhh.  I had too many projects to complete in one day (day 2 of his trip was dedicated to organization), to waste spend so much time sanding … unsuccessfully at that! (clearly, I should have spent more time looking for my contractor-husband’s electric sander …)

I hate to admit, that when it comes to painting, I’m a lazy DIY-er.  I sanded what I could … and then I went straight to priming.  and oh, did I prime that baby! gave it enough for my black paint to grip on to.

in the end … I’d say it looks pretty good.  we’ll just see how long the paint lasts. 

but hey, by the time it starts to chip, I’ll probably be ready to paint it another color … so in reality, I’m just making the job easier next time around.

pictures of my newly painted furniture to come.  prepare yourselves.  or don’t.  it’s really not like I painted anything a really fun color.  it’s all just black.  BUT, I did try my hand at a very subtle antique job on the wine rack.  could have been better, but for now, on a $5 wine rack, I’m pleased. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

and they were already good …

I know I’ve mentioned it before … but I LOVE mexican food.  in fact, my employer is picking me up a carne asada taco and 3 rolled tacos covered in queso and guacamole, right now.  he asked what I felt like, and I said … “mexican!”

really, it’s never a surprise. 

in particular though, I love tacos and burritos … and the fact that most mexican meals are comprised of the same ingredients in a different form.  easy to keep those staples around the house!

last night, in the midst of this 100+ degree weather, erik and I halted our work on the projects we were wrapped up in, at the realization that we were both starving.

in an effort to think of something that would not require the heating of the house via the oven (and even the stove), we agreed on grilled fish tacos.

and can I just say, they were pretty fantastic.  we had tilapia steaks in the freezer and given their thin nature, they thawed in a matter of minutes.

erik spread them over a foiled bed of olive oil, lemon pepper, & garlic salt, then topped them off with the same seasonings plus a squeeze of lemon and a drop of butter.  and then he grilled those babies to perfection.

meanwhile, I prepared the tortillas, using a new trick I learned in mexico.  a trick that has increased my love for tacos even more … and I didn’t think that would have been possible.

July 2012

at our favorite taco stand in mexico, we saw them throw the cheese directly onto the grill … genious.

after a second or two, they threw the tortilla right on top.  they let it sit, then used a spatula to flip the tortillas, cheese and all.  amazing.

I prepared a couple of tortillas and stacked them, allowing the hot, gooey cheese to keep them warmer, longer.


and then, we topped them off with lettuce (our last minute decision for fish tacos meant the lack of cabbage), tartar sauce, and hot sauce.

can I just say, I was in heaven ….

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

nails, polish, and all that girly stuff …

Yesterday, my youngest niece left the world of childhood and jumped daringly into the world of teen-hood.

Given her southern california roots, it was quite an act love when her family drove her north on i-5 in order to celebrate this momentous occasion with her family.  And for that, I am grateful.

I don’t get to see my sweet cousin enough, nor do I check-in nearly enough via the numerous avenues as are now readily available thanks to the wide world of social networking.  And I hate myself for it.

But that’s what led me to really think about what I wanted to give her for her birthday.  She is no longer a little girl, but she’s not yet a woman (oh dear, never thought I’d reference a Britney Spears song in my blog).  I want her to enjoy her youth and not race towards the next stage of life that promises freedom … or the illusion of it, rather.  We live in a world where girls leave childhood behind before they have the chance to experience it.  And I told her that in my card.  I also told her, that elegance and class are seen as fashion trends, instead of qualities to pursue.  And that, my friends, is a shame.

I did my best to put together a “Teenage Girl’s Survival Kit” … full of all the fun girly things necessary for life as a lady … while attaching tid-bits of advice from her older, grey-hair-going, cousin.  You know, things like, your parents are actually on your side, contrary to popular belief (as is established by most teens these days); and guard your heart, you’ll be softer because of it, etc.

(I should have taken a picture of my survival kit … it looked pretty cute, if you ask me)

One of the things I included was a travel sized pack of nail files.  this may seem silly to anyone who was not raised under the teachings of Barbara Richardson (the quintessential lady, in my opinion).  you see, Barbara, or as I affectionately referred to her, Omie, was the epitome of class and elegance.  She was calm, passionate, strong, tender, proper, kind, forgiving, hospitable, and nearly every other quality of the noble woman as described in Proverbs 31.  and we are blessed to have had her as an example.

now back to the nail files … I’m not sure if it was something she was taught in her etiquette classes or not (yes, ladies, they actually took classes on etiquette … what a novel concept, right?), but she always had a nail file by her side.  by her chair, in her purse, in every drawer of the kitchen and each bathroom; a nail file was no further than a reach. and because of her obsession with the beauty tool, her nails were always perfect.  sometimes they were painted and sometimes not; but they were always beautiful. 

I’m sure, if I though hard enough, I could think of some sort of metaphor or analogy to her nails and the nail file, but work has nearly fried my brain, so I’m not going to think much more about it.

I just loved hearing the resounding remarks of agreement when kate opened the package of nail files, from all of the women in the family.  nice nails are a part of being a lady.  they aren’t reserved for school girls anymore … it can be a beautiful accessory that compliments the “lady” in all of us.  painted or not.

Monday, July 30, 2012

gone grey

a couple of years ago, while sitting in the passenger seat of my momma’s car, I started to notice a bit of a glimmer coming from the top of my head.  it glistened in the sunlight, like glitter from a prom dress.

I flipped the handy-dandy visor down to get a better look at the sparkle atop my head.  my mom nearly drove off the road when she heard me gasp at the discovery of the shiny, grey strand peeking it’s way through my dark brown locks.

amidst her blonde wavy hair, she laughed at me, {how dare she?!} saying that she started to go grey in her early 30’s … so don’t worry.  

DON’T WORRY?!  coming from a head of blonde hair … the color that nearly masks a few greys amidst the lightly pigmented strands!

I was only 25!

setting all vanity aside, what did I do in response to my head’s lack of melanin pigment? I pulled out the teasers … and I plucked

and I continued to pluck for a couple more years.  I dismissed the wives tale that curses three more in the spot of the plucked grey hair … aaaaaaannnnnnd I kept on plucking.

as the years passed and my plucking continued, more grey’s developed.  as if laughing at my disregard for the tale. 

who would have know it was true?

ah, but now there are too many to pluck.  I’d nearly have a bald spot if I kept removing the greys that seem to be strategically placed directly at the top of my head.  they seem to follow my part too … in the middle or on the side, there they are.

so, instead of trying to get rid of them, or spending millions of dollars trying to paint over them, I’ve decided, reluctantly, to embrace them.  it wasn’t so much a choice, as much as it was … well, simply weighing my options:

a) create a bald spot on top of my head
b) visit my stylist {I have never had a stylist to call my own, but now that my friend is a stylist, I suddenly have one} every 6 weeks at the cost of too many pennies from this cheap woman’s pocket
c) or, give in

so, give in I did!

and you know?  as long as my grey strands are smooth and conform to the natural {thanks to the blow dryer} flow of the rest of my hair, it’s not so bad! and thankfully, they are growing into sort of a streak … so I’m trying to channel my inner Rogue {I’ve always wanted to be a super hero} … with a touch of Stacy London …


Stacy London What Not To Wear


I can pull that off …… right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

South of the Border

Hola! I’ve been gone for a week exploring my roots south of the border!  Yup … we went to Mexico with a group from our church … and to clarify, it wasn’t to explore anything, but rather to minister to God’s little ninos through construction, sports, and VBS.

I was the ordained blogger for the trip, so instead of reiterating everything we did, (if you are interested) here is the link to the blog I penned along the way: http://www.cotf.org/mexico/

I am SO glad the doors were opened for us to go on this trip! It was truly a blessed adventure and we pray for provision, as plans have already begun for next year’s missions trip!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

berry stains

the berries are just too good not to sacrifice a few scratches for … and for some reason, when I’m picking berries at my grandpa’s place, my pain tolerance increases.  the thorn pricks and raw scratches acquired just don’t seem to bother me.  I almost don’t even realize all of my wounds until I wash the sweet berry stains from my fingers and the warm water awakens the scratches.  even then, it’s worth it.

to soak in the sun-setting rays while picking juicy morsels of fresh sweetness, in the stillness of the early evening, with nothing but a slight breeze and chirping birds to distract you … simple perfection.  the red stains on my fingers bring me back to my childhood and memories race through my mind.  I’m surrounded by the fields that housed my adventures with the native americans and the swiss family robinson.  and I’m simply, for the hour it takes to glean every ripe berry from the vines, in heaven.

now what can a 2-person household do with that many berries?  oh, I can think of more than enough recipes to fill with sweet antioxidants.  and thankfully, there will be more ripe berries in just a few days.

thanks to my papa, the multiple freezers he acquired over the years, and the oversized garden he never ceases to plant, I know the perfect way to prevent time from stealing the life from my sweet addiction: 

Pick berries {note: the basket should have more berries than your belly by the end of your picking adventure}













Rinse berries and remove the stems


Spread out on parchment paper in a single layer


and freeze!

simple, I know.  tutorial totally not necessary, but I love the step by step process … it’s my favorite food to freeze!

this afternoon, I’ll put them in my vacuum food saver for future smoothies, cobblers, crisps, yogurt parfaits, etc


but I couldn’t resist saving a big bowl of antioxidant goodness for myself