.1 Week Down, 1 Week To Go.

Adam and I have been in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for an entire week and still have another full week ahead of us! 
All I can say: So far, so good :)
There is much to write and photos to share..hang in there friends, big posts coming soon! 

Sending you our love from the fabulous country of 


.Needed: Traveler's Wisdom.

A big realization hit me today as I finished packing for our two week trip to Malaysia..

..we are complete newbies when it comes to traveling!

Adam and I left the country for the first time in February when we took a winter vacation to Iceland.
You would think this prepared us and provided us with the much needed experience to then fly 24 hrs to Malaysia stopping for a connecting flight in Dubai..right?


Our trip to Iceland was truly the easiest vacation ever. I'll break it down for you:

- 5 hour flight
- Everyone speaks English
- English is written on all signs in airport as well as menus
- Shuttle buses provided to get anywhere and everywhere in the city
- Hotel had restaurant inside
- Tour day provided
- Food was delicious and affordable
- Shopping was a breeze
- 6.5 hour flight home

Too easy! There was not one issue, concern, or conflict the entire week while in Iceland. We feel fortunate to have had such a wonderful time but it was almost too easy, does that make sense?

Adam was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Malaysia on a business trip for 2 weeks and spouses were also invited. We spent almost a year going back and forth between the pros and cons of going on the trip and every time, had a split decision: Adam was in, I was out. 

I will not lie, I am scared. After deep thought and prayer, I came to a conclusion: I rather be scared with Adam by my side then be home scared and worrying about Adam.

This brings us to tonight, less than 48 hours until our plane departs from JFK.  

I made a rather detrimental mistake by reading every single word of this and this--rookie mistake I'm sure. Many of my worries have been calmed though thanks to A LOT OF PRAYER and receiving vaccines for Hepatitis A, Malaria, and Typhoid. These were the vaccines recommended for people visiting Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital, where we will be for two weeks.

Something else hit me today as I was folding laundry..

..this blog has 794 followers, surely at least 1 person is a travel "pro" and will comment leaving me something of worth whether it be encouragement or great advice.

So here I am asking YOU for help, for wisdom, for advice, for comfort, for encouragement..


Have you ever packed food in your checked luggage?
What are some tips to surviving 24 hrs on a plane? 
What medicines are available and efficient to prevent motion sickness/make you sleep?
Besides refraining from tap water and street food, what other precautions should we take regarding our meals?
Do we need to rinse our toothbrushes out with bottled water?
Did you suffer from "traveler's stomach" aka diarrhea?

There are so many more questions I could ask..I would truly love feedback from you about your experiences traveling around the world. Lord knows I need more positive reinforcement!

My fingers are crossed I get at least 1 of you 794 readers--please please please, HELP!

Happy Living--Happy Traveling
and remember
--Little Things Bring Smiles--

P.S. A very sincere thank you goes out to my parents who will be taking care of our dog Colden and for my in-laws who will be continually checking in on our house and property. It is a relief knowing our pup and home are safe and sound.

P.S.S. In exactly thirty minutes I leave to pick Adam up at the airport from his other business venture to Vegas! Oh happy day!


.He's a keeper.

Adam is out of town on a business trip and will not be back until late Wednesday night. 
He knows how much I miss him when he is gone and surprised me on facebook with this photo and caption:

Already missin you!
Here is our photo from 2007 Adam was referring to:
 He's a keeper.

Cannot wait til my man is home!


.10pm on a Sunday.

I am home alone.
Adam is away on a business trip to Vegas.
Without me.
{sad day.}
Colden has been barking like crazy tonight.
The night I am alone.
I have checked my front window countless times.
I think he knows he is the man of the house now.
Our fencing "issue" has been finally worked out.
{insert extra $1500.}
Work continues on the fence tomorrow.
Our truck is in the shop and now our car is acting up.
We leave for NJ on Thursday.
Adam is not here to take care of it.
{i love husbands and their "duties."}
He comes home Wednesday night.
I plucked my eyebrows tonight.
Messed up a bit resulting in thin brows.
{not my favorite.}
Also colored my hair tonight.
Bought my usual color, or so I thought.
{Same model on box, different color.}
So now I am here at 10pm with dark hair and light brown-orangish roots.
Fantastic isn't it?
{lesson learned.}
I have trouble sleeping when Adam is gone.
I miss him.
Nighttime is the worst when he is away.
Thankful to have the girls I nanny here in the morning.
I'm planning to see 'Mirror Mirror' with two girlfriends Tuesday night.
And enjoy a dinner out.
Still leaves me with tomorrow night.
I shopped this afternoon for our upcoming trip to Malaysia.
{i didn't tell you?!}
Adam has another business trip and this time spouses are invited.
It's two weeks long.
In Malaysia.
{i beg you, please pray: 24 hr flight, vaccines, food, water, bugs, diseases, sickness, so much more.}
I overreact sometimes.
And worry too.
That's all I feel like sharing tonight.



.What a roller coaster ride.

Remember when I wrote this brief post about having a rough week?--I was pretty vague and did not include any detail of the home improvement project I mentioned. Well today I am going to explain and at the end of it, ask you for prayer.

First, a little background:

Adam and I bought our home in June 2011 and have dreamed of having a fenced in backyard. Last Summer we had different fencing companies visit our home to give us estimates. We were horrified at the prices we were told and knew it was not the time to begin this very grand project.

Since then, Adam and I have been saving our money wisely and working extra hours (for him at the office, and for me keeping the girls I nanny over the weekend) to buy a fence, a big wooden beautiful privacy fence. We successfully reached our goal in March 2012 and were thrilled to inquire about the fence with the companies we contacted almost a year ago. After a meeting or two, we planned out the perfect fence to give us privacy and a yard where Colden (our dog) and his friends could run free.

We encountered our first problem when the men from utilities came out and marked our property. They sprayed those fat, neon orange lines along the exact edge we wanted and needed our 8 foot privacy fence. This is the issue I was referring to here. Adam and I were both feeling discouraged about the news that was awaiting us..

This is when our roller coaster ride picks up: We heard GOOD NEWS! It turned out to be only cable wires underground and not piping! How wonderful and so our fence building dreams began.

Today is day three of the men working on our property. So far the holes have been dug, and posts cemented in the ground. Sounds all fine and dandy right?!--Wrong. This is where our ride takes a turn for the worst..

The fence builder called me outside about an hour ago to explain why they had to end working on our yard until further notice. I felt an ache in my stomach as he showed me the property marker he had discovered under ground while digging a hole for the fence. Sure enough the property marker showed we were building our fence on our neighbors yard.

Sad day my friends, very sad day.

When we purchased our home last Summer we were told the property line was the line of pine trees and our property began on the other side of those trees. The paperwork we received even showed this and so we did not think it was necessary to communicate our plan with our side neighbors. Unfortunately the property marker underground tells a different story.

I am encouraged knowing Adam and I have always been friendly with these neighbors and hope our actions and kind demeanor will be noticed.

The scary part is we were told recently by a neighbor across the street horror stories of how these particular neighbors raised hell for every single previous owner of our current house.

Oh dear.

I am asking you to lift this situation up in prayer. I know it may sound small and not important but for us and our family--we need and deserve the privacy this fence would grant us. I pray our neighbors will see our intentions as sincere and appreciate our honesty in this whole matter. I pray our conversation goes well and both parties are able to communicate openly without hurt feelings or judgements.

Please lift us and our crazy up and down roller coaster ride in prayer and please feel free to lend any advice in the matter..maybe you have had a similar problem?

Thank you for reading and I am feeling a peace in my heart everything will work out in the end. It is simply the "unknown" that is scary.

*update as of 3:50pm: thought about it and the fence has to be on our property to add value to our home..finding a land surveyor this afternoon..many issues to be worked out: moving cable lines, breaking up part of our driveway--all things that sound expensive! yikes.*


.My first Cupcakes.

True story.
I am 25 years old and made my first batch of cupcakes on Friday.

Because I like to keep things real on this blog I thought I would share my embarrassing and awkward conversation with my mom and can I just say, aren't moms the best for always loving you and supporting you no matter what?!..

Scene: Locate Cupcake Mix

Setting: I was in Kroger with Adam shopping for the bridal shower. I decided on making cupcakes as the dessert, even though I have never attempted them before, because cupcakes are well--just cute!

Conflict: Adam and I could not locate a box mix for cupcakes. We saw muffins, breads, and cakes but no cupcakes. We were a bit frazzled and so, we called my mom.


"Hey Mom. Random question for you. I'm in Kroger and want to make cupcakes for Mandy's shower
  but can't find a box with a cupcake on it."- Me

"Oh Katie. Think about it for a second."- Mom

(a little time passes)

"Do you use regular cake mix and simply pour it into a muffin tray?" - Me

"Yes sweetheart. That is exactly what you do. I knew you'd figure it out." - Mom

"Ha, oh my. Thanks Mom, love you!" - Me

Resolution: Buy regular cake mix!!!

End Scene.

Yes friends, that is all sadly true. My new goal is to stop and think for a minute before sharing my ridiculous thoughts out loud. It did make me feel better Adam was just as clueless about the cupcake mix as I was--we make such a good team :)

Now forget everything you just read and feast your eyes on these little beauties. I am very proud of my first batch of cupcakes:
I followed this tutorial to create the intricate pineapple flowers: Annie's Eats. The only thing I will stress from her tutorial is to slice your pineapple as thin as you can. It is harder than it sounds but this is the most important step. I also had to bake mine for an extra hour to really get the pretty coloring and texture needed. I followerd her tip and left them overnight in my muffin tray for guaranteed shaping.

Remember--if I, the girl who was looking for cupcakes on a box, could make these flowers--YOU CAN TOO! Now I simply need to work on my frosting skills.

Happy Living--Happy Baking
and remember
--Little Things Bring Smiles--


.Bridal Shower Brunch.

As I shared with you earlier, over Easter weekend I was honored to host a Bridal Shower for my friend Mandy. 20 invitations were sent out and I was expecting 10 ladies to attend. I was pleased with the number of guests because it made seating a lot easier. I enjoy having my guests comfortable at my home and feel happy when everyone can have a nice place to sit. 

When it came to the menu I knew hosting a brunch would be perfect and it just so happens to be my favorite meal of the day. The time of the shower was set for 11am-1pm. I kept the food very simple and did not go overboard. I wanted to have an assortment of finger foods as well as a main dish. I chose to make my mom's egg bake which I shared the recipe and photos here. As the side dishes, I had fresh carrots and celery served in clear cups with ranch dip on the bottom (idea found on pinterest), spinach and cheese bite sized quiches, as well as my favorite part--the parfait station. I had vanilla yogurt, granola, whipped cream, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries served in bowls with clear cups to assemble the parfaits in. This was the hit of the shower and I am so happy everyone loved it as much as I did, especially the bride-to-be!

Enjoy these photos of my complete table set up, simple and sweet:
For dessert, I made my very first cupcakes. I'll be focusing more on them later on.

I always forget to snap a group shot before everyone leaves..I'll work on that for our next party. I did take a few pictures of the beautiful bride-to-be Mandy with her family and friends who still remained at the shower.

Here is Mandy with her mother Janet, left, and her future mother-in-law Heather on the right.
Above, Mandy is with Kevin's grandmother Priscilla and mother Heather. Below, Mandy is with her main man Kevin and best friend Ashley.
And here is Mandy with me--the host and bridesmaid.
 (I just had to include our out takes--our hands crack me up!)
Thank you for reading!

I'd love to hear about any showers or parties you have hosted recently and your favorite go-to snacks and treats to share :)

Happy Living--Happy Hosting
and remember
--Little Things Bring Smiles--

.Bridal Shower Decor.

This past Saturday I had the honor of hosting a bridal shower for my dear friend Mandy. I was first introduced to Mandy through Adam's best bud in town, Kevin. The four of us clicked instantly and our friendship has grown tremendously in the past 3 years. Adam and I are truly blessed to have two great friends in town and we are excited to experience life together..
..have babies at the same time?! :)
Adam and I were able to witness Kevin and Mandy on their very first date and yes, we felt like total creepers. The four of us attended the same slam poetry night at a local college. We did not sit together but gave the hi sign to Kevin and sat a few rows behind them. We may have snooped occasionally on the 'almost couple' and every time we did, Mandy had the biggest sweetest smile towards Kevin. Kevin kept leaning in to talk and Mandy simply shook her head while smiling and repeated, "really..oh really," over and over again. Oh I how miss the nervous, excited energy from a first date.

The rest is history for the two love birds and on Saturday we celebrated their promise to God and each other. As one of her bridesmaids, I was eager to throw Mandy a shower and to make her feel loved. In this post I will be focusing on the "making it pretty" portion of the shower, the decor. I wanted the decor to reflect Mandy:

  Bright, Feminine, Fun with a side of Sophistication :)

Here is my Making It Pretty:
The details..

I shopped my house, my mother-in-law's house, and the Dollar Tree to complete the shower setup. From the Dollar Tree I purchased the table cloths (in Mandy's wedding colors), square paper plates, clear cups, doilies, styrofoam cups, and tissue paper. Total spent: $15.00. From my own home, I found my leftover wedding center pieces, twine, wooden chest, scrapbook paper, baskets, serving three tier dish, clear utensils, and an extra sterno serving tray leftover from our Christmas party. From my mother-in-law's house I borrowed a lot and ended up using her matching pitcher, creamer, and sugar bowl set as well as two of her silver serving trays and platters.

Setting up was trial and error and simply came down to practicality and what looked best! I used the doilies and twine to create the easiest bunting ever using only tape to hold it together. I hung the bunting in my large doorways as well as our hallway to create a nice backdrop for photos. Any extra doilies were used on the drink station, advice table, and under flowers on the main table. I usually tend to stay away from "girly" decor but I embraced it for this shower and surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it!

The lavender tissue paper was used to fill up my large clear vase topped with twigs from my yard and extra wedding flowers (another perk of using artificial flowers). It was also used to line the wooden chest and the utensil basket. I liked the lighter shade and how it popped against the deep purple table cloths. Scapbook paper was used to label the different foods. I copied the same technique I used here for my wedding. Adam printed photos of Kevin and Mandy (found on facebook) at his office in simple black and white and I arranged them in a heart shape for the photo wall. I am so pleased with how this simple project came out and the best part is it was free, just used double sided tape to stick them up! The "M" and "K" were created using one manilla folder, a pen, scissors, two large pieces of tissue paper, and hot glue. I wrote out the letters, cut them out, ripped tissue paper, glued the tissue paper onto the folder and voila!

I still consider myself young and a bit of a newlywed (when it comes to owning beautiful serving trays, platters, etc.) so I am thankful for affordable stores like the Dollar Tree and more for gracious people in my life like my mother-in-law. I mixed inexpensive with a flare of fancy and in the end, I feel like I successfully fulfilled my goal of creating decor like Mandy:

Bright, Feminine, Fun with a side of Sophistication :)

Tomorrow I will be sharing photos of the food, people, and the special bride-to-be!


.Easter Thoughts.

It is just shy of 9pm on Easter Sunday. I am listening to my Chris Tomlin station on pandora as I sit on my big green couch with Colden sleeping next to me. I hear the distant sound of drilling and hammering and am comforted knowing Adam is content working in the garage. I am eating a bowl of rice pudding while perusing facebook and numerous blog posts. You know what I am noticing?--In every photo from Easter Sunday, everyone looks happy.


It is a beautiful thing to see and fills not only my heart, but more importantly the heart of Jesus.

Adam and I attended church service this morning with his parents and younger brother Alex. The choir led us in beautiful songs depicting the courageous act Jesus did for us on the cross. The choir members sang with their heads held high and were grinning ear to ear while singing to our Heavenly Father. I felt a warmth come over my body and found myself teary eyed at the lyrics. I was smiling; I was happy. We then all sat in on my father-in-law's Sunday school class. You know what I saw?--Happiness. My father-in-law seemed cheery and upbeat while everyone greeted each other with smiles and proudly proclaimed, "He is Risen; He is Risen Indeed!" There was joy in the air and love spread amongst believers.

Adam and I brought appetizers over to his parents house where we all enjoyed a delicious ham dinner together with friends and family. Everyone was happy to be there and happy to be spending quality time. There was laughter, sharing time, and there was music.

When we came home in the afternoon, Adam and I jumped into bed to enjoy a Sunday nap. When I woke Adam was gone but Colden was in his place in our bed, it made me smile. I fixed myself a little something to eat and plopped here on my couch. Adam is working on house projects in the garage so I will not disturb :)

I am happy.

I am feeling such a peace inside and feel loved. Loved by my dog, my friends, my family, my husband, and my Heavenly Father. I felt God's love pour out of me today onto my family members and Adam. It is easy for me to love others but when I think of how much God loves me, it stops me in my tracks. I do not understand or know that kind of love. God loves me so much that He sent his only Son to die on the cross for ME. For MY sins.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Do you know what this verse means?--It means God loves YOU. He sent His Son to die for YOUR sins so that YOU may have everlasting life. YOU are loved, YOU are loved by a Heavenly Father who wants nothing more than for you to believe in Him and to know Him.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He knew who we were before we were born and knew our sins before we committed them. Jesus forgives us of our sins. God displayed the greatest act of love by sending Jesus, His Son, to die for us so that we may know Him..know His love..know His promises..know of eternal life in Heaven. All we have to do is believe in Him. We have to ask Jesus to live in our hearts. We have to use faith to believe the courageous acts of God and His Son Jesus at calvary. We have to use faith to believe Jesus rose from the grave and is alive in Heaven and will come again.

I am loved.

I am a child of God.

I am reminded of God's mercies daily.

I have felt the power of answered prayer.

I know the Lord forgives me of my sins.

I understand God loves me so much, He sent Jesus to die on the cross for me.

I have asked Jesus to live in my heart.

I pray to my Heavenly Father constantly.

I praise Him daily.

I am filled with God's love.

I am happy.

Last year I shared the song 'In Christ Alone' and tonight I have this singing in my heart:

I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Lord now indeed I find
Thy power and thine alone
Can change the lepers spots
And melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

It's washed away! All my sin! And all my shame!

And when before the throne
I stand in him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead
Oh praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Happy Easter friends, know that you are loved.


.Weekending: Williamsburg Edition.

Back in February I contacted two of my best girlfriends from college about planning a girls weekend...I did not have to convince very long, both ladies were in! 

We decided to explore Williamsburg this year after our Washington DC trip two years ago. It was wonderful being around these ladies again and remembering all of the fun we had in college. We have remained very close since graduation, almost three years ago, and will continue to do so.

Williamsburg was great and we only saw a little bit of what it has to offer! Hillary, Cynthia, and I decided to do historic Williamsburg and some shopping. I am not a shopper but it's amazing how quickly you turn into one when away with girlfriends while husband is home..anyone else know this feeling? We walked the streets of Williamsburg enjoying the Colonial lifestyle. You can even say we got a little into it:
As you can see in the above photo, my girlfriends could easily pass as high school students and we get such a kick out of it every time we buy drinks..the waitress/check out guy examines their ID's for a long time thinking they have to be fake. The one in the middle, Cynthia, is actually the oldest followed by myself on the left and the shortie, Hillary, on the right.

Thank you to Hillary who took the photos for the weekend. After taking way too many pictures in Iceland, I boycotted my camera for a while. Lucky for me, Hillary did a fabulous job documenting our day in historic Williamsburg. Check out these beautiful shots:
The weather called for thunderstorms but we were blessed with a great day. The sun popped out every time we felt chilled and hid behind clouds when our skin started to feel hot, it was perfect. We took our time walking around and even stopped to pose for a few pictures:
Some more silly than others...
*I should take this time to mention I was very sick and a bit high on cold medicine. My actions may not have been thought out but the good news is I provided the girls with entertainment for the afternoon--even got Cynthia to cry from making her laugh so hard!* :)

Looking at these photos make me laugh and I know the same goes for the other two ladies. It was fun acting silly and just laughing together--I think everyone needs more laughter in their lives, it feels so good! You kinda had to be there to experience the jokes, so I apologize for you not being in the loop. Hopefully you can see by our faces how much fun we had and thats all that matters. We did visit these lovely sites and shops:
All three of us were missing our pups as we walked all over Williamsburg. I feel like we were the only ones who did not bring our dogs with us. We could not help but smile over our furry friends we made. Next to Colden, our Shiba Inu, Siberian Huskies are my favorite breed: (she was so friendly!)
On Sunday, we spent the day shopping in the outlet mall. The outlets had every big name brand you can think of and we all ended up buying things from Charlotte Russe, go figure. We all had a wonderful time together catching up on whats going on in life. I am blessed to have left college with friends who will always be there for me. Cannot wait to grow old together and wear matching scarves with broaches..right ladies?! :)

Coming home was exciting, I missed Adam. He planned himself a guys weekend and he and 3 buddies went camping. 

He missed me too.