Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Homeownership

Many of you know about our Hunt to Homeownership if you've been a Stress Case reader for a while.  It was a long battle, and there were many many times that I thought we would not be winning the war.  But alas, we did and we are now homeowners!  And that is something that makes me very proud!

It is rare to be a 25-year-old (and we were 24 when we closed escrow, and 23 when we put in our offer, for the record) homeowner in Southern California, especially in the beautiful and expensive Orange County.  If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought I would own a condo in this beautiful county by this age, my answer would have been how?  Because prices, even during a down market, are high in this area.  So high that it sort of makes you question your decision to settle here.  I mean, when you hear about people owning four-bedroom homes in other states for half of what you paid for your 2-bedroom condo?  It can be jarring.

So, why then?  Why buy in Orange County?  What is the best part of owning a home in Ladera Ranch, California?

First things first, the sense of pride in ownership is a feeling I've never felt before.  The sense of accomplishment that not only did I manage to buy a home before I turned 25, but I did it in one of the most expensive counties in the country?  Feels good.  Feels empowering.  Did I do it alone?  Heck no.  But I did it!  We did it - a "we" that includes my Handsome Husband; my parents, without whom we would never have been able to save the money that we used for our down payment; our real estate agent, who dealt with a whole lot of crazy over the six months we waited for our escrow to open and close; and the real estate market, which allowed for us to even entertain the thought of buying property.

Secondly, I will always stand by that Orange County is the best place in the world to start and raise a family, to grow up, and to live.  It's beautiful, it's safe (Mission Viejo, which neighbors our town, Ladera Ranch, has been named safest city in the world more than once), and I personally believe it values families and children in a very special way. 

It's the little things - the way our town meticulously keeps the flowers that line the streets perfectly in bloom.  The way there is always something going over on the Town Green (I mean, the fact that we have a Town Green is adorable as it is).  It's the sunshine that comes out nearly every day of the year, and the endless options of what to do in the sunshine.  These are just some of the reasons I love owning a home here.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Quotable Tuesdays

Monday, April 29, 2013

Never Ever EVER

 This is a repost from January 2012 to join in on the fun over on Neely's blog!  But all of these are still totes applicable!

"Can you turn up that techno music?"

"I just wish someone would buy me a velvet comforter."

"Can you pass the brussel sprouts?"

 "There is too much glitter on here."

"No complaints."

"Another wedding?  Haven't we been to enough this year?"

"Ew, who drinks soda?!"

"No, I don't really feel like dancing."

"Why can't I gain just a few more pounds?"

"No, don't worry about returning my call."

"Who puts rhinestones on office supplies?"

"____ is the new pink."

"No thanks, I hate milk chocolate."

"Yoga pants as an outfit choice?  Yuck."

"I have way too many pairs of underwear."

No April Showers Here

In April...
I got to spend a lot of time with Cousins Halloween and Teeny Girl, as their mama Cousin Study Buddy studied into the late hours with my very own Handsome Husband.  Law School final time is a real joy, lemme tell ya.  But the only saving grace has been hanging out with my two little friends so much!
We had a long overdue dinner with Baker Girl and her husband, The Esquire, over for dinner.  We got to catch up with them, and we loved hearing about their new home plans, their exciting jobs and just catching up with an all-around wonderful couple.
We celebrated Lucky P's arrival and Tutor Girl's second time becoming a mommy with a Sip and See at Grandma Beach Bum's house.  I put together a super (in my never to be humble opinion) adorable and useful gift that you can see HERE.

We had a fun morning at the Farmer's Market at Orange County's Great Park with Mother-in-Law Red and Mr. Bear.

To celebrate two years of smiles for Sister Swimmer and her BF YOLO, and for me to get some camera practice, we headed to San Juan for some cutesie photos of the happy couple!

Handsome Husband's family got together at Lucille's BBQ to celebrate two special birthdays!  Grandpa Backgammon and Uncle Lighting!

Another HH Family event - the Annual Family Golf Tournament!  For the past few years, I've enjoyed attending the tournament and taking photos, as this girl is no golfer.

We had a fun night out in LA to celebrate the birthday of my dear friend, Best Friend Swagger!

I had a fun day with Gardening Mom, hopping around our community garage sale, hitting up a garden show or two, and doing some craft area organization!  May sound boring to some, but we live for some good sorting of craft supplies!

HH got deep into studymode for his upcoming finals, which start May 1st!
Linking up with Jennifer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Sweets Swap REVEAL Link-up!

Spring Sweets Swap

It's that time, ladies!!

Join us, 
and share what your new blog friend sent you for the Spring Sweets Swap!

I was paired up with Annabelle from The Carolina Country Girl, and it turned out we had similar tastes in sweets!  We both love Cadbury eggs, mint chocolate, and chocolate in general!

I was delighted to receive her package, check out all the goodies she sent me:

I died over this dreamy pastel yellow color!  You can expect to be seeing a Nail Files post in the very near future with this gorg color!

And I love a good tumblr!  I have quite the little collection of these guys gathering, and I am so happy to add this cheery pink one to it!

To see what I sent Annabelle, head over to The Carolina Country Girl, STAT!

Link-up your goodies below, ladies!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Things Thursday: Things I'd Like to be in Another Life

1. A Doctor.  I will always wish I would have had the study habits and natural ability to go down this road. 

2. Wedding Coordinator, but not J.Lo style where she falls in love with the groom.

3. A Lawyer.  I may make fun of my Handsome Hubs for all his law-talk, but I totally think this is something I could have done had I put my mind to it and wanted to.
4. A Teacher.  I think it would have been fun to teach high school.
5. Marketing Big Wig - I almost went down this road (though who knows if I would have ever become a big wig).
6. Portrait Photographer - I love to take photos of people, and have gotten very into it since receiving the most generous gift, my DSLR from HH last Christmas!
I mean, I'm no professional, but I did take this adorbs shot of Sister Singer and her Boyfriend YOLO.
7. Celebrity - I mean, if we're talking about things we'd like to be, they don't necessarily have to be things we have any business doing.
8. Professional Blogger - hell, I'll consider doing this now if someone has an offer for me!
9. Along the same lines as #8, an Author.  Which also, don't count me out just yet!  I've still got a lot of sentences left in these fingers and lots of years left to live!
10. A Make-up Artist - I used to be much more into makeup than I am now.  I was basically my friends' go-to girl for Prom looks back in the day!
Spring Sweets Ladies!
The reveal link-up is tomorrow, use the button below to share with your readers!
Can't wait to see what everyone got from their new blog buddy!

Spring Sweets Swap

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Adventures in Pinterest: Mini Apple Pies

I am so annoyed with myself for taking forever to get these up on the blog, mostly because they were such hits that I wanted to brag right away!  But scheduling posts tends to lead to a delay between real life and blog recap, so here we are almost two months after I made these adorable guys, finally seeing them on Stress Case in all their glory!
My Pinspiration:

My Version:
I don't actually even like apple pie, but I had to try these out since it is a fave of Hat Dad's, and I made these for this birthday!  I'll direct you over to Stock Piling Moms for the full recipe and instructions, as I followed them to the tee and they turned out wonderfully!

I used a tumblr I had lying around (shout out to our wedding photographer, D2 Photography!) to cut out the perfect size mini pie crusts!  It didn't fully cut the shape out, so I used a paring knife to cut around the shape.

I was quite liberal with the pat of butter atop each pie.

What I didn't photograph was cutting out the inidivual shapes to go on the pies.  I used the above paring knife and just freehanded each letter and the hearts.  I did Daddy because I am five years old it was his special day, and I wanted it to be personalized!  I did hearts on some, and even left some naked!

These were such a hit with the fam, I can't wait for another occasion to make some mini pies!

Monday, April 22, 2013

30 Before 30

I have a 101 in 1001 list, and while I should probably focus on getting those little items checked off, after turning the big 2-5 last month, I was thinking I should focus on a few big goals for the next 5 years.

30 Before 30
in no particular order
1. Go to Hawaii.

2. Buy a second house.

3. Buy a new car (to me, I ain't hatin' on used card).

4. Go on a vacation outside the country with Handsome Husband.

5. Generate income from something creative - Etsy shop, photography, writing, etc. (Stress Case blog doesn't count!).

6. Get a Bachelor's Degree.

7. Complete a Project 52 or 365.

8. Attend a Blog Conference.

9. Go on a camping trip with our friends.

10. Go on a girls' weekend that we must take a plane for.

11. See Miranda Lambert live in concert.

12. Go to Stagecoach Country Music Festival.

13. Learn to do something new - golf, crochet, snowboard - anything that I wouldn't normally gravitate to!

14. Be in a wedding.

15. Take a pole dancing class.

16. Write a book.  It doesn't have to get published, but I have to write it.

17. Do the Susan Komen 3-day Challenge Walk.

18. Spend New Years in the snow somewhere.

19. Upgrade my DSLR.

20. Become a Mommy.

21. Host a shower for someone - baby shower, bridal shower, engagement party, etc.

22. Bake bread from scratch.

23. Go to an Ice Bar.

24. Run a 10K without stopping.

25. Grow a pair (not literally or the photos would be strange) and get a budoir photo shoot done.

26. Go to an NFL game.

27. Fly first-class.

28. Leave a 100% tip for one lucky, and hardworking, waiter or waitress.

29. Throw a surprise party for someone.

30. Own a piece of David Yurman jewelry.
Have you ever put together a 30 Before 30 list?  Leave the link in the comments, I'd love to see what's on yours! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tandem Stills and Motion Phone Cases

Last month, my Handsome Husband surprised the heck out of me with a new iPhone 5 for my birthday!  It was an especially sweet surprise because we had vowed not to get each other presents as we went on a big vacation just weeks before both of our birthdays!
After the man surprised me, I spent a few days stalking Etsy in hopes of finding the cutest new phone case, but my tendency to overthink had me carrying around a naked phone for a few weeks. 
And then, the blogging/social media angels stepped in and I got an email regarding Tandem Stills and Motion Phone Cases, asking if I would like to try one out and possibly host a giveaway for one lucky reader to win a new case also!
After checking out their online shop, I was overwhelmed again, but for good reason!  They had so many gorgeous phone cases to choose from!
I mean, seriously?!  I die over the puppy underwater - Cute Apartment needs to get an iPhone so I can get her that case!
In the end, I decided on one that was very me:

I like to think of this case as representing looking ahead and I love that message.  It was fun to pick something a bit out of the ordinary for me - normally my phone would be covered in hot pink, chevron, glitter or rhinestones (or all four at once), so it's been nice to go for a completely different look!
The colors in the case are gorgeous, and it has held up quite well for the few weeks since I covered up my naked phone with it.  I've managed to drop it a few times, and there are no scuffs or scratches on the case, and my phone has been very resilient!  The image does not seem to be printed in a way that it is peeling or will begin to peel in time on this case - a problem I have had with other similar cases from other brands.

HH, my permanent hand model
This is by no means a "tough" case, and if you are very rough with your phone or have small children who you let use it, this is probably not the right case for you.  But for those of you who are relatively gentle with your iPhone, this will work just perfectly to protect the back of your phone and give you something gorg to look at, too!
Tandem Stills Motion, Inc was kind enough to offer one lucky Stress Case reader a phone case of their choosing as well!  Enter via Rafflecopter below!

I was given an iPhone 5 phone case from Tandem Stills Motion, Inc. for review, and offered a credit for one case for a Stress Case reader.  All words and opinions are my own.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Retro Facebook

This post was completely and utterly inspired by the greatness that was Alison's post about old Facebook profile pictures.

Looking through your old Facebook profile photos is a humbling thing.  It really reminds you of how young and dumb you were.  Why did I think a photo of myself with a girlfriend grabbing a boob and my tongue sticking out was remotely appropriate? 

But while humbling, it is also hilarious, and after Allison shared with us, I was inspired to share with you - a walk down Facebook Memory Lane.

2007: 19 profile pictures
I joined Facebook days before the end of 2006, so moving along.
Most prof pics (what Best Friend Fashionista called them at the time calls them) included a sidekick of Fashionista or Swagger.  I even had one with a former high school teacher! #nerdalert
Swagger is going to kill me for this.
I was also very intent on showing my FB pals how much oh-my-gosh-crazy-cool underage drinking I was doing, as my photos were littered with red cups.
And yes, I'm smoking in that lower right photo.  Tsk Tsk I know - don't worry, I quit over three years ago!

2008: 15 profile pictures
This was the year I started dating my Handsome Husband, so there were lots of couple photos popping up this year.
Before HH became my permanent profile photo prop, I had a couple other trends in 2008:
I had a photo shoot done with some Ex-Douchebag Boyfriend's car, and really wanted people to see how great of a model I was.
I also made sure everyone got a good look at my signature pose with Best Friend Fashionista.

And again, with the red cups!
And one of my favorite pictures, made my profile picture a whopping three days before HH and I called it official:
Taken on the Arizona trip where we had our first kiss.
2009: 18 profile pictures
I got engaged in 2009, so you better believe I told the Facebook world by uploading a photo of my bling!
I turned 21 in 2009 also, and made sure everyone knew it with the obligatory taking a shot on your 21st birthday photo.

Bling bling after getting engaged on April 4th!

Apparently HH and I did a lot of dancing after getting engaged - celebrating the best way we knew how!
We also had our first set of engagement photos taken in 2009 (we had three, don't judge, we were engaged for almost two years AND I won these for FREE!).
2010: 24 profile pictures
This year wins for the most profile pictures in one year!  Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
For me, apparently 2010 was the year of the childhood FB profile pic.

My sweet HH (just my fiance at the time!) graduated college, and everyone needed to know how cool THAT was!
I also graduated nursing school in 2010, and loved this photo of Nurse Sarcasm and I taking the Nightingale Pledge.

2011: 23 profile pictures
We got married in 2011, what kind of photo do you think dominated this year?
2012: 11 profile pictures
The amount of profile pictures dropped way down in 2012, am I (gasp) growing out of FB?
I had to have a throwback photo (pre #tbt) on our anniversary to our wedding day.
We headed to Disneyworld in 2012, and of course I had to show off how much fun we had.

And I ended the year off with celebrating hosting my first-ever Christmas Eve Dinner, like a regular ole housewife.
And by the looks of it, I finally upgraded my everpresent red cup.
And for kicks?
My Current Facebook Profile Picture:
I'm so grown up, y'all.
Turned in my red cups of booze for cupcakes.

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