Thursday, December 6, 2012

Southern Comfort Zone

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I heard the best new song. I was going back to our sweet hometown to see my family. I left the Coastie here to work and take care of the furry children (aka pets).

This new song has become our new favorite. It's about being grateful for our Tennessee roots and our Southern way of life. We love our sweet tea, living in the Bible Belt, and the slow, friendly pace of life.

However, the song is also about having the courage to leave our Tennessee home so that we can explore the world. We have a deep longing in our souls to meet people that are different from what we are. We long to experience other cultures. We enjoy trying new foods. We want to be the people we are meant to be - that just means we have to expand our horizons with new places, people, and experiences. We are the type of people that can't stay "home." We need to explore, taste, see, climb, touch, hear, and soak in other parts of the world and the country. We have to leave our peaceful, wonderful, awesome "southern comfort zone." We have to leave this comfort zone in order to have all of these adventures.

That doesn't mean we don't also respect our roots and miss home. We do miss home. We aren't homesick, per se, but we miss the comforts of home - friendly faces, people who already "know" our stories, the food, smells, the pace, and the values.

Enjoy Brad Paisley's "Southern Comfort Zone."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introducing the newest member of Team Preston

We can officially announce the newest member of Team Preston!

(And no, it is not a baby!)

BUT, she is the cutest thing since Honey Boo Boo.

Introducing... Princess Buttercup Preston!!!!!

Our sweet new addition is a rescue from a local shelter. The Coastie fell instantly in love with her and came rushing home to beg me to meet her and adopt her. I am so glad we did!

About Buttercup:

Age: 3.5 years


Breed: Red Border Collie/Mix

Hobbies: chasing lemons, going to the dog park, sleeping, going on walks, wrestling with the Coastie

Cutest things about her: she never ever barks, she doesn't mind her big brother Mr. McGee, she obeys commands pretty well, and she gets us out and moving every day.

Welcome to Team Preston, Princess Buttercup!

So Thankful it's Thursday!

Happy Thursday, happy blog readers! We've been in a whirlwind wrapping up October. Strange things happened, but also really good things!

I guess the most important thing to make note of is that I am officially employed again!

Yes, that's right! I am working at a kidney dialysis center as a clinical social worker. My supervisor is so stinkin' smart. I have so much to learn. I know I look like a deer in headlights most of the time, but I am excited to be learning so much about dialysis, our patients, and how social work is the unique factor in ensuring best patient care to our clients. I only work three days a week right now, but that means I get four day weekends with my handsome Coastie! I am over the moon happy!

In other news, the Coastie and I finally explored a unique town nearby during their Scarecrow Festival. This town might possibly be the cutest thing we've seen since Gatlinburg back in the day. Here are a few good photos:

Then we found this amazing Greenspace reserved for the town. The history began with Chinese settlers. The town has preserved only one of the buildings, but the landscape and the hidden creek are what truly captivated us.

Believe it or not... this is a blackberry bush! We instantly felt like we were "home."

By the creek, people had built several cairns with the rocks.

And finally, more scarecrows to end the trip.

These were actually moving! The scarecrows were connected to the bike wheels, powered by a motor, so it looked liked they were actually "riding" the bikes.

So we are extremely thankful this Thursday! We have jobs, a home, each other, and HOPE.

Be thankful today!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple Pickin' and Pumpkin Carvin'

The Central Coast may not have all four seasons, but Team Preston is sure making an effort to create fall here on the coast. Fall is my favorite time of year: the smells, the food, the colors, the activities, the nip in the air... Sigh. I miss East Tennessee. Heck, I miss anywhere that has leaves changing colors!

My sweet, thoughtful mother sent me the BEST package the other day. It had leaves and peacock feathers pressed between wax paper. I have them hanging in my kitchen windows. That way, every time I look out the window, all I see are gorgeous fall leaves and colors. Thanks, Momma!

We've also been trying to create some fun fall memories here in paradise. First, we went to a Fall Festival at a local farm. They had apple picking, games, fresh apple cider, and good food. We got to pick our own apples and even a pumpkin!

Then, we got together with some other Coastie friends and had us a good ol' fashioned pumpkin carving! We nibbled on yummy treats (thanks to my friend and mine obsession with Pinterest) and sipped on pumpkin ale.

Perez and his boy working on a spider pumpkin.

My handsome pumpkin carver!!!

S just watched... the little cutie!

C pretending to carve. He is really good at posing! 

C liked watching my Coastie work his pumpkin carving magic.

The finished product!

This is us as we really are.... :)

T and R working on their pretty pumpkins.

All the pumpkins! We had so much fun!

The boys were mostly interested in playing (or playing ON) my Coastie.

Happy Fall Y'all!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My First Earthquake

I just experienced my first earthquake.

My. Holy. Goodness.

Thankfully, we are fine - no tsunami sirens, all the pets are fine, and Josh is at work, so I'm assuming he's okay.

But wow... how terrifying!!! At first, I thought it was our new puppy, who is very, very sick, banging against her crate. I thought she was angry at me for keeping her so quiet and calm. Then I realized that a 40 pound dog can't shake the candle holders and glasses all the way in the living room.

So, I Googled it. After about 5 minutes, I found evidence of an earthquake of a 5.8 magnitude. Thank goodness it's epicenter was a few hours north! But those few seconds of shaking uncertainty... I am in no rush to relive those moments. I rushed around the house afterwards, but all the pets are okay, nothing is broken, I am not broken.

We survived! After such a tough, terrible, heart-breaking week (not to mention an evening spent at the emergency room for pets), I am so eternally grateful we survived this first earthquake!

Well, California, you have certainly proved to be an adventure in these first 3.5 months. What else have you got in store for the Prestons???

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday's Favorites: Homemade "Paper" Towels

I am going to go on record that I hate paper towels. Not in the hard fact that I despise the poor, unknowing towel, but I do not care for the principle of cutting down trees simply to make my life and mess easier to clean up.

I think the only reason and plausible use for paper towels is to drain bacon grease off freshly cooked bacon.

That being said, along with the bacon shortage of 2013 quickly approaching, I have quit using paper towels.

*Moment of silence for all the mornings without bacon in our near future.*

So, as I strive to be more earth-friendly and nature-conscientious, I decided to make my own "paper" towels.

I followed the tutorial found here: DIY Towels. I didn't follow the blog tutorial exactly to the letter, because it's just a great starting off point.

To make these, I bought a yard of cotton fabric and a yard of terry cloth. I made a 10 in. x 10 in. template and cut 12 squares of each fabric. Turning the cotton patterned cloth over, I pinned one square of cotton to one square of terry cloth. Then I simply sewed the two pieces together, leaving a 3 inch space open. I used that space to fold the "towel" in on itself so that the color side of the fabric is now showing. Then I finished by hand-stitching the last 3 inches. (I like invisible seams, so I didn't finish using the sewing machine. The original tutorial advises you sew again on the outside and down the middle, but I didn't like the aesthetics.)

As a very inexperienced sewer who can barely sew in a straight line, this was another perfect project for me. I got a dozen towels that look great in a cute basket on my kitchen counter! My husband even uses them! This will save us money and trees for the future. What's not to love???

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Life in California is moving right along. I am thoroughly loving being at stay-at-home wife (for now), but I am so ready to get back into my passion of social work. Until then, the Coastie will have the cleanest house and best food of his life.

So, this week, I am most thankful for:

Time with him.

Homemade pumpkin cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

Skype dates with the bestest.

Phone calls from family that feel like I'm just down the road and haven't missed a beat.

Encouraging words from a good friend.

New recipes and the old favorites.

My first interview in California (even if I don't get the job).

Sunshine when I get to see it.

Mums and pumpkins.

Hikes that totally kick my butt.

Good books.

Enjoy a few photos from our hike!

Bishop's Peak.

I survived!!! We made it to the top. I must say, I felt victorious after a virtually vertical climb in the desert sand, rocks, and no shade. 

Be thankful today!!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Team Preston vs. Year One - WIN

Last week, we celebrated, rejoiced, and congratulated ourselves for reaching our first wedding anniversary. The Coastie decided to name the year and create a sports-like tag on it. So here it is:

Team Preston vs. Year One - WIN

We are Team Preston and we officially beat the first year of marriage - all the challenges, joys, adventures, moves, squabbles, and huuuge learning curves. We survived it and became better individuals and a better couple.

So, to celebrate, we went out to a fancy-schmancy dinner at the Madonna Inn.

It's a really old, really expensive hotel. But the restaurant is also famous for its giant, delicious cakes and incredible food and decorations.

The decor was intense... All pink and gold and flower and cherubs.

Poor Coastie... he was so overwhelmed by all the pink.

But he was a great sport and got all gussied up with me!

Yum! The Coastie said it was the "best steak I've ever had. Ever."

In all our finest!

One year later, the rings are still proudly on display.

Congrats to us! Take that, Year One!