MC 5.3: Song after song

Hi friends! Happy Tuesday! This week was another busy one for me, so I didn’t get to practice as much as I would’ve liked. But when I did play I was pretty dedicated – I played the same 5 songs this week over and over! Here are the songs I played:

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

The Only Exception – Paramore

How He Loves – David Crowder

Yellow – Coldplay

O Come to the Altar – Elevation Worship

I like each of them because they have something interesting about them – either they are easy chords in a different key or there’s a minor chord or something unique. It’s a great mix of being challenging but also not too difficult for a beginner to play. I think Yellow was actually one of the first ones I learned how to play when I was taking lessons, and it’s still a great one!


Since next week will be my last guitar update, I wanted to record a video so I could show you guys my progress! And I thought it would be fun to let you guys choose which song I feature in my video next week, so… Ready! Set! Vote!

Come back again next week to see which song was the winner! Until then, I’ll just be strumming along!


new sig


MC 5.2: The Calluses Are Coming!

Hi friends! I hope you enjoyed reading my first update last week on my attempts to re-learn guitar. This week I was able to practice 3 or 4 times, and I am actually starting to see some improvement! I have focused on getting better at variations of G, C, D, E, and A, which to me are the easiest chords. I’m a little intimidated to try to learn F and B, since they are barre chords and use my whole pointer finger. But maybe next week!

When I started a week ago, the strings buzzed and my transitions were pretty slow. But after practicing transitions over and over, I think I’m slowly getting better at it! I usually spend about 10 minutes on chords and another 10 minutes playing actual songs so I can practice strumming as well. My lessons in high school are starting to come back to me a bit. AND I’m finally starting to get calluses! Which normally would be annoying but once they are built up my fingers will start hurting less, so I’m excited.


One of my favorite resources for finding song chords is I have used this website for basically every song I look up, and they usually have a few different versions that people vote on to see which is the best. It also allows you to easily transpose the key (which I use a lot to avoid those annoying Fs). I used it to try to play some of the new One Republic songs, but Ryan Tedder just sings in crazy keys and I couldn’t figure it out!

Anyway, I was feeling pretty proud of my progress so far when from our living room, Matt calls out a song request – Peaceful Easy Feeling by the Eagles. At first, when I looked it up, I thought yes, I can do this. But I quickly realized that A) I don’t really know the song well enough to play it and B) the chords sounded all weird when I transposed it so it just didn’t gel. Maybe that will be a goal of mine for next time. Anyways, hopefully by next week my calluses will be in full swing and I will be able to practice for longer amounts of time! See you next Tuesday!

new sig


Friday Favorites 10/16

Hey friends! It’s time for my October Friday Favorites! I think I have some great ones this month🙂

Stranger Things


I’m sure most of you have heard of the new Netflix show Stranger Things, but I just wanted to toss my two cents in! Normally I’m not one for suspense/thriller, but I got hooked on this show. Because the main characters are kids, the suspenseful moments are a bit more manageable. I love that it’s set in the 80’s and is reminiscent of E.T. and the Goonies. There are only 8 episodes, so it’s easy to go through it fairly quickly, especially since each episode ends on a cliff-hanger! And to top it all off, the amazing Winona Ryder is in it! Definitely worth checking out.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


You guys. These cookies are THE fall baked good you need all day every day. I have made them twice in the past two weeks. They are so moist and chewy and delicious. The recipe makes 72 cookies, so I just made half the batch. But they are amazing! The pumpkin is a great way to mix up a traditional chocolate chip cookie!

Crispy Parmesan Chicken and Zucchini

Matt and I made this for dinner on Sunday night and it was so good! I told him I think it’s the best chicken I’ve ever made. Even though Matt doesn’t like zucchini, he said it wasn’t terrible (small win!). I was really easy to make and tasted delicious!

Target Beauty Box


My coworker told me about the Target Beauty box this week, and it looks like a great deal! Unfortunately, they sell out quickly, so I wasn’t able to get this one. It’s a collection of beauty products (some full size) for $7-10! And you get a coupon for $3 off $15 beauty products, which you can use on the next beauty box! My Subscription Addiction reviews the boxes, so you can check out her thoughts on the latest one. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for the November box!


Oh My My – OneRepublic


I saved the best for last – OneRepublic’s new album came out today! I pre-ordered their album and have been really impressed with the songs so far. Ryan Tedder is brilliant. My favorite one so far is Kidsit’s a great pump-up song! Fun Fact: they recorded this album while touring the world! Definitely give it a listen today!

Thanks for reading my friday favorites! Don’t forget to check back on Tuesday for my guitar monthly challenge update🙂

new sig



MC 5.1: Back to the Basics

Hi friends! I hope you had a great weekend! I had a blast on our church’s high school staff retreat at Lake Havasu. Even though I was sore from tubing, it was so fun to get away for the weekend!

Anyway, this month I am focusing on re-learning guitar! I got my guitar when I was in junior high, and I was so excited. My parents got me a beautiful Fender and paid for me to get lessons for a few years. Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a singer and in high school I started writing my own songs. I even recorded one with one of my guitar teachers, which was a great memory! All that to say, I used to know quite a bit about guitar, but since I went to college, I let my love for playing fall by the wayside as I got involved in other activities. But I always knew I could pick it back up, so I am excited to play again this month! (See my collection of picks from high school below).


This week was pretty busy for me, so I wasn’t able to play guitar until last Thursday. I started off playing a few easy songs, but quickly realized that my chords were messy and I needed to go back to the basics. So I found some free online lessons by Justin Guitar and focused on these 1 minute changes, which were really helpful! He showed how to play D, E, and A and practiced transitions between the three. Sadly, I only played for about 20 minutes before my fingers started to really hurt.

After getting back from the retreat on Sunday, I remembered that I have an old instructional DVD: Getting Started on Acoustic Guitar with Keith Wyatt. It’s classic 2000s. But it really helped me get back to the basics! For the past two days, I have watched a few lessons on different chord variations and focused on doing them well. Hopefully my fingers will stop hurting soon so I can play a bit more and get some more difficult chords under my belt! I’m going to try to play guitar at least 4 or 5 days next week and continue to go from easy chords to more advanced things. Who knows, maybe I’ll post a video at the end! See you next week for an update!

new sig



Monthly Challenge 4.4: Food, fiction, & flowers

Hey friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I think it was record high temperatures in L.A. yesterday for September – it was 106 where I was. Even with the heat, I had a great time exploring downtown LA for my last adventure challenge with my friend Ashley!

Ashley and I have been friends for about 5 years, and she always knows the coolest places to go to because she goes out all the time (vs. me, whose big plan for the weekend was finishing Stranger Things). Most of our conversations go like this:
Ash: Have you heard of/been to this new place in (insert location)? I went there last week and they have really good (insert food).
Me: Nope, I don’t go anywhere because a) I don’t know about any new cool places and b) my husband is a homebody.
Literally 99% of our conversations.

So Ashley was the perfect friend to bring along for my last adventure! It really was an adventure – I had a plan to go to a totally different market but when we discovered it would take about an hour and a half to get there, we decided to be spur of the moment and go to the Grand Central Market instead.

Grand Central, bright and noisy with all kinds of yummy smells, reminded me of the markets I used to go to when I studied abroad in London. It was mostly food places, so I had to walk around them all before deciding. After getting some delicious iced coffee, I settled on Eggslut, because I actually HAD heard of that before (from Ashley of course) and it was on my mental LA bucket list. I ordered their Fairfax sandwich, with chives, eggs, grilled onions, cheese, and spicy sauce. I regretted not getting bacon with it for some extra crunch, but I was not about to spend $2.50 on a strip or two of bacon. Even though I felt so full afterwards, it was a great lunch!


Our next impromptu stop was the Last Bookstore, which was so cool. It definitely has an LA feel to it, bringing lots of different people together to buy, sell, or trade books, spend time in the book labyrinth upstairs or visit the art loft. There were so many different books about basically everything you could think of. I loved that it was a little unorganized and you could wander around for hours if you wanted. It reminded me a little bit of the Hogwarts Library. If you ever get the chance to visit, I would highly recommend it!



Our last stop was the Flower Market, which I was so excited about because I love flowers! Even though we went at the end of the day, there was still a decent amount of flowers. I couldn’t believe how inexpensive they were! Ashley and I both got bouquets for $5 and I saw a dozen roses for $10! Our apartment smells wonderful now thanks to these lovely flowers.



I had a blast getting out of the house this month exploring and going on adventures! It was so much fun trying new things and getting to spend time with friends. This next month I’m going to pick up one of my childhood hobbies, guitar!


I’ll be practicing my guitar skills in preparation for my first challenge update! Stay tuned for my first update next week!

new sig



Monthly Challenge 4.3: Chocolate Heaven

Hey friends! I had THE BEST adventure this last weekend. Even better than the dog cafe. I know, crazy. But my adventure was centered around one of my favorite things in life: chocolate. There’s people who like chocolate, and then there’s me. Chocolate is the way to my soul. Ask any one who semi-knows me.

Side story: A perfect example of my chocoholism is from two years ago when I went on a weekend trip to Brussels when I was studying abroad in London. My friends made the mistake great decision of letting me plan our itinerary for our second day, so I decided that of course, it would be chocolate-themed. We started off the day taking a tour at a chocolate museum/factory, then visited famous chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, had some hot chocolate at Ghirardelli’s, and stopped at Leonida’s for, you guessed it, more chocolate. My new friends quickly realized I don’t kid when it comes to chocolate. It was one of the best days of my life. But as far as chocolate consumption goes, this was a close second.

ChocXO Bean to Bar Factory

This past Friday, my coworker Deannah and I were fortunate enough to leave work early and take a tour at ChocXO in Irvine. It’s a bean to bar factory, so all the chocolate is made there. The tour was about 45 minutes, and surprisingly I learned so much about chocolate, even with the 3 tours I had taken in Europe! Here are a few highlights:

  • First, we learned that all cacao trees grow near the equator, even though Europe is known for its chocolate. The first use of cacao was by the Mayans and Azteces, who ground up the nibs into powder and mixed it with spices and water to make it into a drink. It was extremely bitter, but when the spanish conquistadors brought the beans  back to Europe and mixed it with sugar, it became much more widespread.
  • Cacao pods are actually fruit, and are orange or even purple. We got to try some of the fruit, and it actually didn’t taste too bad! While it may be a bit strange on its own, we both agreed it would taste great in a smoothie.
  • Next we got to try cocoa nibs, which are inside the fermented, roasted cocoa bean. They are pretty bitter and actually taste really nutty! And they are very good for you, apparently!
  • Cocoa liquor is the result of ground of cocoa nibs and is extremely bitter and acidic! The nibs have about 50% fat in them, similar to nuts, so when they are ground up they turn into a paste – cocoa liquor. Although it smells like chocolate, it definitely doesn’t taste like it!
  • After trying that, we learned that the “percentage” on chocolate bars represents the percentage of pure cocoa liquor. So a 70% dark chocolate bar has 70% cocoa liquor and the other 30% is pretty much all sugar! A 30% “milk” chocolate bar is about 70% sugar, so the “milk” part of it is really clever marketing to make it seem healthier, even if there is no milk in the bar at all. Dark chocolate is where it’s at!
  • The best part of the tour was getting to sample their amazing truffles at the end! They were beautiful. We got to split 6, so we tried raspberry, smoked sea salt caramel, grand mariner, creme brulee, and spicy pb&j. They were all. so. good. I was totally in heaven.


After our tasting, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some more amazing chocolate, so I got a box of truffles (I made them last until writing this – I know, impressive) and a little bar. Thankfully Deannah got some cocoa nibs to snack on at the office. My text to Matt afterwards said: “I spent less than $12 on chocolate, aren’t you proud of me?”


I hope you enjoyed reading about my chocolate adventure at ChocXO! If you’re in the LA area, I highly recommend taking a tour! Then you can be in chocolate heaven, too. Stay tuned for my last adventure next week!

new sig



Monthly Challenge 4.2: LA Dog Cafe & Getty Museum

Hey friends! This past weekend, I got to explore downtown LA! Both Matt and I had a pretty nasty cold this week, so by the time Saturday came around I NEEDED to get out of the house. Matt was a trooper and came with me to two things I have been wanting to do in LA for a long time: the Dog Cafe and the Getty Museum.

The Dog Cafe

As some of you know, I desperately want to have a dog. Sadly our apartment is too small to have one (as Matt frequently reminds me when I suggest it), so I was very excited to learn I could spend some time playing with some at LA’s first Dog Cafe! After ordering delicious rose lemonade in the cafe, we went next door and spent an hour playing with about 15 dogs. All of the dogs at the cafe are up for adoption, so you can imagine how hard it was for me not to take one home. There was quite an assortment of dogs, with many different breeds, ages, sizes, and personalities. There were three small ones that were especially playful and spent almost the whole time all fighting over one toy, which was pretty hilarious. There were Mac and Cheese, two lab/pit bull brothers that were incredibly sweet. There was April, the extremely shy but lovable boxer. It was such a fun experience and I was so happy to finally get to play with some dogs!



The Getty

After the dog cafe, we drove over to the Getty Museum! The Getty sits on top of a hill, so it has a great view of LA below. Once we got there, we explored a few of the different buildings, each with different themes. My favorite exhibit was one featuring Bibles and pages of scripture with beautiful elaborate drawings and lettering with gold foil. They were amazing! Although the art was great, the best part for me was the garden. I LOVE flowers and was very excited to see that they had dahlias everywhere! We hit the garden right before sunset, so it was a perfect time to go.


I had a great time crossing some things off my LA bucket list! Special shoutout to my wonderful husband who tagged along even though he wasn’t feeling that great. I have a keeper for sure! I hope you are inspired to go adventure and visit somewhere that you have been wanting to for a while! I’m very excited for my next adventure which includes one of my favorite things in life. So stay tuned for next week’s update!

new sig



Monthly challenge 4.1: Arizona Road Trip

Hey friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Mine worked out really well for my adventure challenge, because we ended up planning a last minute road trip to visit my sister at school in Phoenix! I was able to do not one, but two fun adventures there, with lots of other fun memories in between.

After driving for about 6 hours, we spent the evening touring her school and going out to eat at this cute little ice cream place called Melt. They serve ice cream in Chinese takeout boxes with a fortune cookie, how cute is that? It was also fun to walk around downtown, since it’s famous for its graffiti art.

After visiting her church the next morning, we headed out to Sedona to visit Devil’s Bridge. We walked about a mile to get to the trailhead, and another mile to get to the top. The end had some pretty steep rocks to climb, but thankfully they were flat and stair-like. I thought I had put in my hiking time for the year this last month, but apparently not. I can’t complain too much, because it really wasn’t that bad of a hike and the views were totally worth it! Around every corner there were amazing canyon views that reminded me of how creative God is.

When we finally reached the bridge, it felt like a little piece of heaven. My sister Meleah and I scrambled out and sat down on the edge immediately (which was only slightly terrifying) and then Matt came and joined, too. It was so beautiful! We went right around sunset so the lighting was perfect. The trek back, however, was pretty dark and I was just a little nervous about coyotes and unseen scorpions that might be in the trail. But like true adventurers we didn’t turn on our flashlight the whole time and somehow none of tripped on a huge rock. #win


After a good night’s sleep, we woke up the next morning to go to Paniq, a place with three different escape rooms! We did the Wild West room and had an hour to get out. It was so fun! We first started out in a jail cell and had to get two keys to get into the next room, which was the sheriff’s office. After getting more keys we entered the saloon, which involved a jenga puzzle with loose pieces, a maze puzzle, clues with overlaying pieces to complete words, and putting bottles in the right order to get a code to open a hole in the wall. Our last room contained a poker table with a magnetic poker piece to drag a key through a maze to find our key to get out! We finished the whole thing in 37 minutes, so we felt pretty proud of ourselves. I definitely recommend trying it out if you have one in your city!

Our time in Arizona was super fun, and worth all the traffic on the drive back to LA. Partially because I slept for most of it while my sweet husband drove🙂. Stay tuned to see what adventure I do next week!


new sig



Friday Favorites 9.16

Hi friends! Not only is it Friday, but it’s a long weekend! Time to celebrate with some Friday Favorites🙂

Dessert: Extra Slutty Brownies

If you read my latest challenge post, you know that I celebrated the end of the fitness challenge with the ultimate baked dessert – extra slutty brownies. What is an extra slutty brownie, you ask? Let me explain. Prepare to drool. The first layer is cookie, topped with oreos, smothered in caramel and finished with gooey brownie on top. It’s perfect when you need to bring something to a party, or to eat just by yourself as a little pick-me-up!

Music: Have It All, Bethel Live

Thanks to my sister, I got this album a few weeks ago and I love it. Lately I’ve been super disappointed with Christian music on the radio. It’s just so cheesy. If you haven’t seen this hilarious video circulating facebook about Christian music these days, take a look. This Bethel Live album has been so refreshing the past few weeks. It really feels like you are at a concert while listening to it, and the songs have a lot of depth to them. If you’re looking for some new music, check it out!

have it all

Entertainment: VidAngel

You guys. This is by far the coolest find of the month. I often wondered why we still have redbox or video rental stores in the age of streaming, and also why renting movies online through itunes or elsewhere is so dang expensive. $1 to pick up a movie or $4 to stream online? It does not compute. So I was PUMPED why my coworker told me about this website where you can essentially rent movies to stream for $1! I thought it was too good to be true, but it’s totally legit. I may or may not have used it every weekend since I heard about it (I definitely did). On top of it being super cheap, they have a huge selection (sorry, Netflix, you just don’t cut it anymore) AND if you want to watch a movie without all the sex, language, and violence, you have tons of options to take out all the bad stuff you don’t want to watch! Basically you “buy” a movie for $20 and edit out whatever you want, then sell it back for $19 in 24 hours. Definitely check it out!


Book: Present over Perfect, Shauna Neiquist

This is only my second Shauna Neiquist read, but count me in on the Shauna bandwagon. I was fortunate to pick up this brand new release at a conference and am LOVING it. She puts into words so many things that are a struggle to over-achievers, perfectionists, the responsible ones, people that can “do it all.” The book is about being present rather than perfect, saying no when you need to, realizing you actually can’t do it all. She is so honest and raw – it is such a refreshing book! I think it will be one of the most impactful books I’ll read this year. Please pick up a copy, you won’t regret it!


Food: Chop’d

Chop’d is a new healthy restaurant is not too far from where I work and fortunately my boss just took our whole staff there for department lunch! It. Was. So. Good. I’m not really into those super healthy organic places, but this place was amazing. You could get any salad you want made into a wrap and they had tons of sandwiches, acai bowls, and smoothies to choose from. And on top of it, you pay by the ounce, so you don’t have to get anything huge if you don’t want to, or you can make it more substantial. I will definitely be going there again!

Hope you guys enjoyed my September Friday favorites! Stay tuned for my first adventure challenge update! I’m thinking it will be a good one with the long weekend🙂

new sig



Monthly Challenge 3.5: Cue “Chariots of Fire”

Hey friends! I’ve reached it – the end of my most difficult challenge yet. To recap, earlier this month I set some insane fitness goals that included me working out 11 times a week and basically having no life. Surprisingly I stuck with it a week and a half before realizing that’s crazy for a lazy couch potato like me to go from 0 to 60 in that short amount of time. So I readjusted my goals a bit and kept pressing on. Before I reveal if I was able to make my goals or not, I want to share a few things I’ve learned while doing this fitness challenge.

  • Fitness is a lot about balancing between telling yourself to get off the couch and staying consistent and being a crazy person and spending (what felt like) every ounce of spare time working out like I tried to do.
  • Sometimes the important thing is not what you achieve, but the fact that you tried.
  • Give yourself grace when you fail, readjust, and then get back up again.
  • Comparison never helps anyone. Find what you love to do and do it. Don’t feel guilty for not being good at something that someone else is good at. As Matt (sarcastically) says to me often, “You do you, boo boo.”
  • Laugh at yourself. My coworker who runs a ton busted up when I proudly told her I ran a mile the other day, and I joined her. I know it’s ridiculous, but you gotta celebrate the little things in life.

Now that I’ve passed on my golden nuggets of wisdom that I’ve learned this month, here is my final update on my goals:

✔️ Lunges: 2 sets of 50 reps
✔️ Sit-ups: 2 sets of 50 reps
✔️ Mountain climbers: 2 sets of 50 reps
✔️ Plank: 2 minutes – TWO MINUTES PEOPLE
✔️ Push-ups: 10 REAL pushups
✔️ Squats: 2 sets of 50 reps
✔️ Water Intake: 3 liters of water (my goal was 2)
✔️ Nike Workouts: 7 nights
✔️ Gym/track nights: 8 nights
✔️ Mile time: Goal was 11 minutes but I RAN IT IN 10:30!

By far, the hardest goal for me was the mile time. But I was able to go from not even being able to run 1/8 of a mile to running it in less than 11 minutes. It may seem insignificant to most, but to me it was a huge victory. Hence why I played Chariots of Fire and We Are the Champions on the ride home. #Ihadto

Finally I can take down this crazy fitness calendar I made. 

Even though I really wasn’t looking forward to this challenge, I’m glad I did it. No, I didn’t have perfect form and didn’t always give 110%, but I stuck with it the whole month and kept going. And for that, I will eat my reward slutty brownies (cookie, oreo, caramel, brownies) and celebrate that I made it to the finish line.

Mc September fb

Next month, my challenge will be adventure! I’ll be making outings every week doing things that are on my L.A. bucket list and exploring the city. I can’t wait! Check back for my first update next Tuesday and don’t miss my Friday Favorites! See you then!

new sig