Wednesday, September 22, 2010


What inspires you? Is it a person? A place? A song? A book?

Surprisingly, I draw much of my inspiration from the internet. Don't get me wrong, I have my fair share of brilliant and supportive friends and family who challenge and love on me. But let's face it, life is busy and some days I just don't have the opportunity to engage with those people as much as I would like. And that's where the internet comes in. It provides this seemingly limitless source of new information, ideas, and invitations that feed my brain, demand my creativity, and trigger new goals. Today I wanted to share some of those sources of inspiration, on the off chance that perhaps you might be inspired too...


Young House Love -
The couple at Young House Love share stories, advice, and DIY projects as they settle into their first home and raise their precious daughter Clara. From mood boards to roof repair to environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies, they've got it all (and with weekly giveaways how can you resist a visit?).

How About Orange -
Graphics, prints, and fabrics, oh my! Jessica is a textile designer that introduces us to eye-catching designs in prints, fashion, and housewares.

Ohdeedoh -
Okay, maybe I'm a little biased, but what could be more entertaining than browsing nurseries put together by design-savvy parents?! Baby books, wall art, strollers, and toys all hand-picked by our friends with impeccable taste over at Apartment Therapy.


Smitten Kitchen -
The recipes Deb shares from her New York kitchen are anything but ordinary, and her photos can only be categorized as food porn. As if that weren't enough, she also shares pictures of her sweet son, who is quite possibly the cutest little boy I've ever seen.

Pioneer Woman -
Dieters beware, Ree's recipes aren't exactly butter free. What she lacks in health-consciousness she makes up with charisma. Her website includes several sections aside from Cooking that document her life as an accidental country girl.

Tastespotting -
This site is full of eye candy, quite literally in some cases. Tastespotting is a visual recipe book. It's also a great way to find other food blogs whose tastes appeal to your own.


Jasmine Star -
Jasmine's blog features a sweet mix of personal and professional posts, with photos from her most recent jobs, advice for aspiring photographers, and quips from life behind the lens.

Jessica Claire -
Voted one of the top wedding photographers in the world, Jessica shares a glimpse into her life through images from her work.


Big Mama -
Big Mama somehow manages to interest you in the mundane (and not so mundane) happenings of her life as the wife of P, landscape company owner and avid hunter, and mother of Caroline, a precious, saucy, energetic second grader. She's witty, she loves the Lord, and she's an Aggie. And her daily posts always manage to make me smile.

Jen Wilkin -
This is a newer addition to my blogroll, but don't let that deter you from checking it out. Jen's writing is God-centered and thought-provoking.

Monday, July 26, 2010

{Better Late Than Never}

Okay, okay, for real this time. I am seriously going to try to get into a regular routine of updating the blog with the exciting (and not so exciting) happenings of our life. But...for your own safety, better not hold your breath.

I know a lot has happened since I last updated, but I've been doing a horrible job of capturing things on film, or SD card more accurately, lately. So here's a brief and most-likely boring rundown:

-We attended no fewer than four weddings, showers and a funeral. All were beautiful celebrations of life, love, and Jesus Christ with close friends.
-We went to support our friend Chris's band, Sleeperstar, at their concert in Deep Ellum. We stayed out past 2am people. It was epic, both the concert and the fact that we managed to stay up that late without caffeine IVs.
-We hosted Kasper and Maria for a week while they were visiting the States from Denmark. Their stay was fantastic and outings included Tex-Mex food, a fireworks extravaganza, a visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards, Texas barbecue, and a tour of Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
-We celebrated my 26th birthday at Hattie's. Two words: tomato bisque. Dinner was followed by a viewing of Eclipse, the most recent installment of the Twilight movie saga. My husband really loves me.
-We redecorated our bedroom. Most of it is complete, but the big blog reveal will have to wait until more of the final details are in place.

There are other things going on in our lives as well; most I'm just forgetting about and some I'm saving for future posts (mostly as insurance that I have things to write about).

For now though, I'll leave you with this tidbit. Lately when looking at photography blogs I've been challenged to imagine what the photos looked like SOOC (straight out of the camera). It seems like once I see a photo one way, I can't easily envision it any other way. It's incredible how editing can make the same picture feel so different.

A picture of Andreas from Hattie's in July (SOOC):

And now, with a few changes. I know I'm biased, but I think he is just so handsome.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

{Bits of Our Weekend}

This weekend we:

...grilled fajitas with friends.

...organized a new hard drive.

...went grocery shopping at a local market.

...went to lunch and a movie with friends.

...mowed. weeded. edged.

...replanted the hydrangea in hopes of capturing its original color.



...watched the World Cup.

...roasted a whole chicken for the first time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

{Two Green Thumbs Up}

Our yard has been undergoing a major makeover this spring, and while we are still in the beginning stages of the process, things are definitely looking better.

Shortly after moving into our house my Mom helped us create a couple of flower beds in the backyard. And shortly after that...I let them get overgrown. Oops. But on a recent visit, my Mom inspired me yet again to attempt getting the yard under control, and this time I'm following through.

Flower bed #1...

...featuring yellow flowers... flowers (hey, I didn't say I'm a gardening aficionado)...


...and bell peppers!

I have tomatoes and jalapenos planted also, but no veggie sightings on those plants yet.

Flower bed #2...

with pretty roses...

...and mint, thyme, rosemary, chives, and cilantro. The big herb on the far right of the bed is the cilantro, and despite my astonishing neglect over the last year it is thriving. The plant doesn't die. In fact, it spread into the yard, and the air smells like cilantro every time Andreas mows.

It hasn't stopped with the backyard either. Between natural soil erosion and the shade of the growing tree, our yard was a mix of weeds, dead, and on its way to dead. Andreas used Round-Up to prepare...

...for the sod installation!

Ack! Scary time in the process!

And the final product...

We still have quite a bit of work to do, but I think things are looking quite nice!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I See London, I See France

At this rate, it could be May by the time I get through my description of our one week vacation, so I'm going to take a different approach this time.

On Wednesday, Andreas and I got up at 5:45 am to catch the Eurostar train to get to Paris. Speed story. We...

...walked to the Underground
...rode the train to Kings Cross Station
..bought coffee and muffins
...burned my arm with the coffee
...ran super late for the train
...were forced to trash brand new coffee
...were escorted through security
...ran to the train
...had glorious sleep on the way to Paris
...arrived at Paris Nord

...hiked to Sacre Couer

...passed sleazy shoe vendors on the street
....enjoyed beautiful views of Paris

...ate Nutella crepes...that one deserves a pause.
...walked through quaint streets of gift shops
...ate a delicious baguette sandwich
...walked to the Moulin Rouge

...took the Metro to Notre Dame
...had seriously. tired. feet.
...wandered through the Quartier Latin
...relaxed by the Seine...check out the love locks on the bridge

...ate French France!
...found free toilets
...walked along the Louvre

...ate apple cinnamon crepes
...endured the pouring rain for far too long
...trudged toward the Arc de Triomphe...note the cloudy skies at Haggan Daaz...vanilla caramel brownie ice cream and Illy coffee. Yes. Please.
...saw the Arc de Triomphe

...walked to the beautiful Eiffel Tower

...rushed to train
...ate snacks for dinner while watching Lost at the hotel

Whew! This post is much like that day - rushed, full, exciting, and probably a bit erratic, but at least we are through Wednesday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

London Day 2

Tuesday morning we took it slow. We slept in, got ready at our own pace, and headed downstairs to experience our first breakfast at the hotel. When we booked this trip, one of the perks of our package was that breakfast was included, and we were anxious to see what exactly that entailed. I mean, was this going to be a cramped room with a cold cereal bar and a waffle iron? Breakfast totally exceeded our expectations. Waiters served tea, coffee, and toast, and the buffet included a traditional hot English breakfast as well as pastries, cereals, yogurts, fruit, breads, cheeses, meats, and a variety of spreads. The first morning we wanted to try the English breakfast, and I have to say I wasn't all that impressed. It was just too heavy for an early morning meal, especially considering the amount of walking we were doing each day! We were, however, very grateful to have the hotel breakfast available. Quickly getting ready at an early hour to venture out into the drizzly, windy, cold London weather for breakfast just sounded awful.

This picture doesn't really have to do with anything, but it was taken on the street on the way to one of our many destinations, so I figured I would throw it in here at the beginning of the week...

Our first stop of the day was Tate Modern, the city's modern art museum. And guess what? Apparently, Andreas and I do not appreciate most modern art. We wandered around the museum for a while, enjoyed a Pollock or two, blankly stared at a material piece that included ravens pinned to the wall with arrows, and decided we were ready to leave shortly afterward.

Just outside of Tate Modern is the Millennium Bridge, a foot bridge that connects the museum to St. Paul's Cathedral. Fun fact - when the Bridge first opened in 2000, it had a serious wobble that required the bridge to close immediately and not reopen for over a year!

Andreas was convinced we should buy a hot dog from a vendor nearby for a quick snack. We totally should have opted for the roasted peanuts. They smelled waaaay better.

At St. Paul's Cathedral we took a fantastic tour through the Geometric staircase, the cathedral floor, the crypt, and the Quire. Our guide was adorable and passionate and obviously enjoyed his job very much. At one point he asked our group if any of us were Harry Potter fans (he was about to reveal that part of the fourth movie was filmed in the location we were visiting) and I stood there alone with my hand proudly raised :). After the tour we climbed up to the Whispering Gallery and beyond. That was an adventure in itself with 500+ narrow stairs and involved a fair amount of huffing and puffing on my part. The rain and wind at the very top cooled me down in a hurry.

The views of London from the top were incredible. The locals refer to one of the buildings in the background of our picture as 'The Gherkin' due to it's pickle-like shape.

The last thing we did at the Cathedral was attend their Evensong service, during which most of the lesson is sung by the choir.

After spending the entire afternoon at St. Paul's, we were famished and exhausted. We stopped at Pizza Express for bruschetta and pizza before heading back to the hotel. Once home, we realized the train tickets we had purchased to visit Paris the next day required that we print them online before presenting them at the station. We begged the receptionist to print our tickets at the front desk, and she kindly obliged us since the hotel hadn't opened their office amenities to customers yet. With that minor detail taken care of, we decided to take a walk around Westminster at night. Probably not our brightest idea. Granted, it was beautiful, but we had a lot to take care of before catching our train at 7:30 the next morning.

That night was pure chaos. We got back to the hotel, cleaned up, and only then started planning our day in Paris. We had a general idea of things we knew we wanted to see (the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, duh), but we didn't really know what all Paris had to offer and we certainly weren't familiar with the lay of the land. We spent the next few hours hurriedly considering friends' suggestions, travel site recommendations, blogs, Google maps, Metro prices, train times, potential weather, what to pack, and shoe options. We knew we were up late, but didn't actually realize how bad it was until our neighbors started knocking on the wall for us to quiet down. Woops! We had a trip to plan! After getting everything sorted out we finally got to bed, but of course it took both of us forever to fall asleep. We had a million thoughts, concerns, and ideas racing through our heads and I'm not sure either of us ended up getting more than four hours of sleep. We did make it to our train the next morning, but just barely...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

London Day 1

Call me old fashioned, but I definitely have some paranoia regarding blogging about vacation while still on vacation. So, now that we are back in town, we are so excited to share some highlights of our adventure with you!

Lucky for us, the tube runs all the way to Heathrow Airport, so getting to the hotel wasn't difficult. Well, not too difficult. Getting two massive suitcases, a carry-on suitcase, a backpack, a purse, our coats, and ourselves onto the train was slightly awkward. At one point I was actually buried underneath our luggage to accommodate other passengers who were determined to sit through our journey into town. This was the intro to Lesson #1: London is FULL of tourists. The tube, the streets, the sites, the shops...are all buzzing with people.

When we arrived at Park Plaza before 10am, we were worried whether they would be able to accommodate us that early. Amazingly, they had a room prepared and we were able to unload and clean up. Here's our hotel in the middle of downtown Westminster (picture taken from the London Eye, so it's a bit hazy):

Hello Wedgewood china mugs.

Hello modern, beautiful bathroom.

Hello crazy model looking over our room (that's the closet).

We embraced the opportunity to explore our hotel, unload our baggage, organize our room, and freshen up after the long flight. After a brief rest, we set out for our first day on the town. Our hotel sits just to one side of Westminster bridge...

..which also is home to Big Ben and the London Eye...

...and Parliament.

Needless to say, we were introduced to quite a few famous places right off the bat. Several vendors were selling snacks on the bridge, and we thought it might be nice to eat something. This led us into Lesson #2: London loves cash. Granted, vendors accepting cash only didn't come as much of a surprise, but as we continued on our search for lunch we realized that many establishments did not accept credit cards. We finally found a cozy, crowded pub that accepted plastic and enjoyed a traditional British meal - fish and chips! It was very good and seemed a much better option than steak and kidney pudding. I know, I'm sure you think I'm close-minded, but that just sounds awful!

We decided to spend our first afternoon on a double decker bus tour. That way we could get a feel for the city and sights. We saw a few sites that we actually didn't return to later - London Bridge, Tower Bridge, City Hall, and the Tower of London. We would have loved to have seen everything up close, but we just didn't have the time! On the tour we experienced our first London rain, which is why we don't really have any pictures from that day. Taking pictures in an open-roofed, moving vehicle while it's raining was just a little more than we could handle on the first day, but we had fun nonetheless and our guide was entertaining.

After the bus ride, we wandered through Piccadilly Circus to Chinatown. We passed a few mom and pop shops that looked promising for dinner, but again...we had no cash with us (refer to Lesson #2)! It worked out for the best because we ended up eating delicious pad thai at a restaurant further down the road.

It was a long day, and after dinner we were ready to kick back and relax. We headed back to the hotel for a movie and some much needed sleep!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! [Updates]

A lot of things have happened since I posted last...almost a month ago. Woops! Things have been hectic around here, but the chaos has been due to a full social calendar so I can't complain. I've meant to post several times, but I have been majorly slacking in the photo department and a blog entry is just so much better with pictures. Here's a brief rundown on Vang updates:

-Andreas and I had a great Valentine's day at home. We enjoyed a low key, three day weekend and some much needed respite. Andreas was awesome and got me a sewing machine as a Valentine's present!
-We booked our 'honeymoon' trip to London!!! With the aid of OCD and my mother's genes I have put together an exhaustive list of sites and attractions covering everything from Buckingham Palace to Abbey Road to Platform 9 and 3/4. That's right Harry Potter fans, read it and weep. We are also going to see Wicked at the famous Victoria Theater, which I am totally excited about!
-Andreas is still playing soccer with several guys from work at a local indoor complex. It is entertaining to hear their collective commentary as the group of 25-30 somethings play against teams composed of high school soccer players. To say they get some serious exercise on Sunday nights is an understatement.
-Andreas attended our church's Men's Retreat a few weekends ago. Call me crazy, but for some reason I just don't think a Women's Retreat would go over as well with one large communal bedroom (although Andreas did say the snoring level was tolerable).
-We are finally in the process of becoming members of the church we have been attending for three years. Last weekend we participated in a very fruitful and educational membership class, and I am looking forward to becoming a covenant member!
-We bought a new couch! Our old couch is still in good condition, but we always knew we would eventually replace it. Andreas should have known not to take me into Crate & Barrel...that store is dangerous to our wallets!
-I got a cyst removed from my scalp, but don't worry it's nothing medically serious. The only reason it's even worth mentioning is because I've been putting it off for years and I finally gave in and had it taken care of.

On an ending note, I leave you with this...

It's a combination of two things I have been playing around with recently - my sewing machine and digital scrapbooking (which I'm very new and not very good at).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh Snow You Didn't!

Yesterday was a special day in Dallas, Texas. We experienced a record-breaking 12.5 inches of snow in a 24-hour period!

It was so beautiful! Check out our house. Our front yard was a solid white blanket. Usually there is a bright, full bush to the left of our house entrance...but it was smothered in snow.

I don't think anyone in the metroplex anticipated this kind of snowfall. Our neighborhood was just one of thousands to get snow, and we were lucky enough to keep our electricity!

I read today that every single state in the US has some snow accumulation - including Florida, Louisiana, and even Hawaii (on mountain tops - but hey, it counts!). That. is. crazy.

Yesterday Andreas and I worked from home. The roads were mostly just slushy, but the prospect of working while watching the snow fall all day was far more appealing that sitting in a cubicle! It seriously snowed big, beautiful flakes all day long. It was amazing. And at lunch we got to make this guy!

Can you believe this is my first legit snowman? I think I remember my Mom and Dad having a picture of me when I was pretty little with an equally little snowman, but I'm sorry to say I don't remember making him.

Andreas took a break from throwing snowballs at me to pose with our new friend.

I know that snow can be a nuisance, but I really enjoyed this short stint of snowfall. It was gorgeous and fun, and it did a great job of getting me amped up for the Winter Olympics!

Hope everyone is enjoying watching the opening ceremonies tonight!