Archive for the ‘Life Happenings’ Category

We’re Moving!

May 22, 2014

After two amazing years of exploring and experiencing everything California and making some of the best friends we’ve ever had, we’re moving back to Texas!! We’ve always known that Texas would be our forever home and we couldn’t imagine living this far away from our families for the rest of our lives so it was only a matter of time before we found our way back. We knew that living here was a temporary season in our lives and it’s hard to believe how quickly it flew by! It’s definitely going to be bittersweet to leave because the friendships that we’ve made here run deep and we know that we won’t ever be able to replace them. In spite of that, we truly feel that God is calling us back to Texas to begin the next stage of our lives, to buy our first home, to be near to family and to forge new friendships.

The transition is going to be relatively quick, we roll out with our Uhaul truck in less than 10 days, so the packing has already begun! This is what our living room looks like right about now…


We have big plans for our last weekend in California including a SF Giants game, wine tasting, the Art & Wind festival and our going away party. It will be a great last hurrah with friends and then next week the serious packing begins!


Would You Believe Wood

April 1, 2014

March 1st, 2014 was opening day for my Etsy shop, Would You Believe Wood, where I sell hand painted signs made from reclaimed wood…just typing that sentence still gives me butterflies, I can’t believe it’s real and not a dream! I’ve always enjoyed being a “crafty person” and I knew that someday I wanted to sell my wares instead of creating solely for fun. That day has finally arrived and I couldn’t be loving it more!

You can see what I currently have for sale and request custom orders here:

And here are a few examples of my work!


This Mr & Mrs sign was made for my sister-in-law and her hubby-to-be. I love that they used it in their engagement photo shoot!


This anchor sign with Hebrews 6:19 is probably my most favorite, the turquoise doesn’t hurt :)



This Texas sign is pretty fun and the best part is that it’s completely customizable; I can make it with any state in any color combination. Endless possibilities!wybw_05

Here’s a look at what my painting process is like…I create a template on my computer, print it out, cut out the lettering with an Xacto, adhere it to the sign, then paint over the stencil.


Here is proof that I’ve been creating things out of wood for literally 20 years now. There were always plenty of scrap pieces to play with in dad’s workshop. Check out my about page to read a little more.


And here’s what my “workshop” looks like now. It’s not huge but it’s just enough space for what I need to get the job done. My go-to tools are my jigsaw and my power sander; I don’t know what I would do without them!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately, lots of cutting, sanding, building, painting, photographing and listing. It’s been a lot of fun to learn from the Etsy community and I’m excited to improve, grow my business and add more and more items to the shop!



2014: Q1

March 12, 2014

What? We’re almost through the first three months of 2014? And my last post was about Christmas? Oops. In my defense I have a legitimate excuse…I started my own business! At the end of January I quit my job at 24hr Fitness and got to work submitting paperwork to obtain a business license and all that other fun stuff that comes with becoming a small business owner. It’s been quite a process, sometimes challenging, sometimes frustrating, but at the end of the day I’m finally doing what I love full time and I couldn’t be happier. Big shout out to my incredible hub who let me quit my day job and who is letting me stay home and build signs all day long; he’s the best.


My business is called Would You Believe Wood and I design and build hand painted reclaimed wood signs to be sold on Etsy. If you’re not familiar with Etsy, it’s basically an online marketplace for individuals to sell their handmade goods (anything from jewelry to home decor to art to clothing). I’ll be sharing another post soon with more details about my new venture.

But for now back to the original purpose of this post, a photo dump from the past three months. It’s honestly the easiest way to “catch up” without actually writing a bunch of posts…some might call it cheating or lazy but I prefer the word efficient :)

Let’s start from the beginning, aka: 12:00am, January 1, 2014. We rang in the new year once again with great friends, great wine and great food. Last year our wine won second place in the blind tasting but sadly, this year we got second to last. Womp, womp.



We are bound and determined to make our California friends love football as much as we do but that’s no easy task, they weren’t brainwashed growing up in the South like we were. These pretty cupcakes for our Superbowl party helped though!


The first week after I quit my job I helped a friend renovate her bathroom; we had almost no idea what we were doing but we were excited to learn from her dad and brother who are both contractors so we figured we’d be ok. Basically every morning Haley’s brother would stop by and give us instructions for the day, then we would get to work for a solid 8+ hours and go to bed exhausted. It was fun…most of the time…if you call mixing thinset a billion times fun. It was definitely fun learning how to use a wet saw to cut tiles :)


We started by tearing up the existing vanity, floor tile, hardware and shower insert. Then after lots of prep-work (the part you never think about but takes the longest) we laid the floor tile and lined the shower with waterproofing. Here we are a couple days later laying the floor to ceiling subway tile in the shower. Haley was the butterer and I was the layer, the dynamic duo!


And here’s the beautiful shower after grouting! I am in love with that pebble floor…it was a pain to install but I still love it.


Here’s a before photo during the demo…


And an in progress photo before the subway was grouted and before the shower door was installed…


And finally the gorgeous after photo!


For Valentine’s Day Mark and I spent a weekend in Monterey and we stayed at a cute little 18 room boutique hotel called Hotel 1110. It was super nice and a welcome change from your typical Marriott, very “hipster.” We had an amazing dinner at our go-to fancy pants place, Restaurant 1833, where we tried bone marrow for the first time and indulged in their famous bacon cheddar biscuits with maple chili butter. The weather was quite beautiful and sunny while we were there so we spent our afternoons walking along the beach searching for sand dollars.


Things are finally budding, flowering and greening up around San Ramon thanks to a few good rains over the past two weeks. I don’t want to speak too soon but unless something else blows through in the near future I think we’re in the clear for our 8 months of non-stop sunny gorgeousness. I personally cannot wait for the temps to break 80, this girl misses her long Texas summers.



December 22, 2012

We did it! We finished our first ever half marathon! It was a pretty chilly morning but our toes quickly thawed once we began running. Here we are at the start all the way in the back with the 12+ minute milers.


Mark and I ran together for the first mile, mainly so I could help hold him back to prevent him from starting off at too quick of a pace. Eventually he broke away and said he’d meet me at the finish line, then it was time to go to work. The first couple miles flew by since the crowd was still rather thick but people slowly thinned out and I was able to focus more on getting into my interval rhythm.


In the weeks prior to the race we had considered driving the race route to scope out the hill we knew we would have to climb but we decided to keep it a surprise. I’m kind of glad we did because otherwise I might have been a little nervous…I mean, this hill was pretty sizable. At about mile 5 we began our ascent and didn’t see much of a break for a good 2 miles. After one last steep stretch of road we reached the top and were greeted with a beautiful view of the foggy valley below. It was breathtaking. While running up above the fog we were warmed by the sun and as we descended again, into the fog, the temperature dropped back down at least 10 degrees {a much welcomed refresher after the climb}.


My initial time goal was 2:45:00 but after crossing the half way point I knew I could make it in 2:40:00 as long as I stayed conscious of my pace. So with a new goal in mind I jogged the entire backside of the hill, skipping my intervals for a couple miles while I had the energy, and made an attempt to pass someone new on each run interval. It was kind of fun because I generally stayed with the same 10-15 people for most of the race; I passed them, then they passed me, and so on.

As I crossed the finish line the timer read 2:40:39 which made me sad since I was just over my goal but after looking up my official time according to the GPS chip in my bib I had finished in 2:39:09! Because we started so far back we didn’t cross the official start line for a full minute and a half after the gun.

Britney race results

Though my finish time, pace and overall placement isn’t anything too impressive, I am super proud of myself {and my hub} for accomplishing this. We worked really hard to train and there were plenty of times when neither Mark nor I wanted to go out and run but we encouraged each other and found a way to get it done.

Mark’s goal was to finish in under 2 hours but thanks to his knee pain flaring up again after mile 7 he came in at 2:12:27; not too shabby at all, he did awesome! Since he finished before me he was there cheering me on at the finish line :)


After the race we hung out at our group’s tent for a little while chatting with our friends and taking advantage of some free Chick-fil-a sandwiches. Then we headed home to an ice bath and LOTS of stretching.

What a great experience, and I got to share it all with my hub :)

Becoming a Runner

September 27, 2012

Me 6 months ago: “I hate running. My mind gets bored too easily and running can’t hold my attention. There’s no way I’d ever train for a long race. Those people out on the streets at 6am are nuts. I’d rather just run while on the soccer field.”

Though that last part is still true I hate to admit it…I think I’m starting to enjoy running? GASP. I never thought I’d see the day. Me? Actually like running? No way, never gonna happen. Yet here I am, training for a half marathon. How in the world did that happen?

I didn’t  just wake up one day and decide to commit to this but it wasn’t exactly planned either. Mark and I have found a great church home here in San Ramon and during one of our first visits a short presentation was made in the announcements about Team World Vision and what they’re doing to make a difference across the globe. Basically TWV is a sub-program of World Vision that focuses on marathons and other races as a way to fund raise for the organization. She talked about how if we raised $50 per mile then during the race we would know that with each mile marker we passed we were providing water for one more person ($50 is the cost for water for one for life). It was a great pitch and she had me totally hooked. So we stayed after church and talked with the group to get more info and ironically this is how we ended up meeting our new-found friends which we now hang out with weekly.

In the following weeks I researched half marathon training schedules, bought new tennis shoes, downloaded the Nike+ app to track my progress and started running. At first, the constant pavement pounding didn’t feel natural at all but the excitement of beginning training gave me the adrenaline I needed to keep going. And after a few weeks of sticking to my regimen I was starting to like it a little. Now (almost 2 months later) I look forward to my runs, it’s a great way to release stress and get outside in this beautiful California weather. It’s not always easy to motivate myself to get out there but I’ve “let myself” listen to Christmas music while running a couple of times now, it definitely helps (I know it’s September but it works so hush).

This is going to be a HUGE challenge for me but I’m excited about continuing to train and I can’t wait to cross the finish line knowing that I’m contributing to something much bigger than myself. If anyone actually reads this and you feel compelled to donate, here’s my TWV donation page.

With my birthday coming up at the end of October I’ve decided to donate any birthday moolah that I receive as well!

Leaving the Past & Looking Forward

August 20, 2012

In August of 2005 I knew exactly what I wanted to be; after my first few weeks of architecture courses I was hooked and completely in love with the idea of becoming an architect. My degree was very challenging in many ways and I had to work harder than I ever had for anything else before to earn it.

But over the years this shining goal that I was striving for became tarnished, bit by bit, by some hard facts:

– Becoming a licensed architect takes about 8 years, similar to becoming a doctor, and they don’t earn as much as they should.

– Architecture is a project-based career meaning lots of long hours to meet deadlines and constant stress.

When I think about fact #1, a couple thoughts come to mind…I consider myself to be an efficient person and I personally can’t justify spending so much time, money and effort working towards a career that isn’t going to pay me back. On the other hand if I truly love architecture, shouldn’t it be worth it regardless of compensation? Do I really love architecture as much as I thought I did in the beginning of undergrad? Am I just using this as a reason to quit because I’m lazy and I don’t want to put in the hard work required to become licensed? Or am I just afraid of failure?

Fact #2 is probably the most important one to me…not long after beginning my first semester of undergrad I met Mark and little did I know then but having him in my life would significantly alter what I deemed important. Jump ahead to the present and the top of my “Life Priority List” looks something like this: our future family, our marriage, family and friendships. This is my core. Everything else including money, careers, material things and social status fall below those top items and are in the peripheral. The last thing I want is a career that competes with the top of my list, penetrates my core, steals time from my family and causes me to be stressed.

I worked for a couple of years in a project-based environment and I would find myself thinking about the work I had yet to do when I was at home, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I didn’t wanted to spend time outside of work with my coworkers because they never talked about anything besides the ongoing projects. Their work literally consumed their entire lives and I never ever want to see that happen to me.

It’s not easy for me to come to terms with the fact that I don’t have a life-long career plan. It’s not easy for me to see my friends graduating with their masters degrees and going on to become architects. It’s not easy for me to explain to my parents why I’m not utilizing the degree that they paid for. It’s not easy for me to hold back the tears when I’m innocently asked if I’ve applied for any architecture jobs lately. It’s not easy for me to go to job interviews and explain why I’m pursuing something outside of my degree. It’s not easy for me to swallow my pride and work at an $8.25 an hour job, knowing that I’m capable of much more.

All of these thoughts have been stirring in my heart for a very long time now and it’s something that I’ve prayed about incessantly. In the end, there’s no short answer as to why I am no longer pursuing architecture. That’s why I have written this out; it’s the long answer. Getting all of this off my chest is therapy for me more than anything else; keeping it all bottled up inside for so long was beginning to tear me down.

Basically, I’ve decided to put this behind me and start looking forward. I may not know what my next job will be or where I want to be working in 5, 10, 20 years but I do know this…that I want to be the best wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, cousin and someday mother that I can be. As long as I am doing my best to be those things, I will be happy and I hope that I can continue to trust God and his timing with the rest.

– Afterthought –

Mark and I were talking the other day about how we each came to the decision to attend Texas A&M versus any other school. I realized that I chose A&M for it’s top 10 architecture program; I didn’t even apply anywhere else. Architecture brought me to A&M which led to Mark and I finding each other…if that was the sole purpose of architecture in my life, then I’m OK with that :)

To the West Coast!

March 9, 2012

After five long months of waiting, the day has finally come when we can officially announce that we are moving to California! To make a really really long story short enough to put into one paragraph…way back in September Mark was given the heads up about a job opening in CA and we jumped at the opportunity after much thought and deliberation. Fast forward a couple months and things still hadn’t progressed because of a few new management hires and some internal restructuring. Then, just as we were starting to get really frustrated with the whole situation, Mark began working in CA as a sort of trial run to ensure he was a good fit for the job. And now, nearly four weeks later, we have the official offer letter!

I’ve been out here with Mark all week long and we’ve been feverishly searching for a new place to call home. It has taken us a few days to pick our jaws up off of the floor get over the sticker shock of living in California but we’re slowly getting used to the idea of paying twice as much per month {but that doesn’t mean we like it!}.

Deciding on whether or not we really want to move to another state hasn’t been easy but after much thought and a lot of prayer we’ve come to the conclusion that staying in Texas is the safe and easy thing to do and 20 years down the road we would never forgive ourselves for missing this great opportunity to get out of our comfort zone, take some risks and have some fun doing it.

Leaving our family and all the wonderful friends we’ve made here in Austin is definitely going to be the hardest part about this move {not to mention the cheap housing, low gas prices and real Mexican food}. I’m going to miss playing with my soccer team, being only an hour from my parents, seeing maroon and orange everywhere and the overall friendly-ness of Texans. There are many reasons why this decision is so hard, and in a way, that’s how we know it’s the right one. We know in our hearts that Austin will always be there for us and we hope to be back in a few years when we decide to settle down permanently.

I can’t begin to describe how relieved I am to be able to share this news, news that our lives are about to change in a way much bigger than we could ever have imagined. We’re taking a huge leap and to be honest it’s a little scary for our conservative-control-freak-selves; but if we can’t take a leap of faith and do something scary and unknown in our mid-twenties {when we have almost nothing to lose}, then when can we? We would greatly appreciate any prayers, good thoughts and blessings that you could send our way as we embark on this new adventure together!

Paleo Challenge: Week 1

January 23, 2012

On the 15th Mark and I began a 30 day Paleo challenge and so far it has been just that, a challenge. The Paleolithic lifestyle is pretty simple: eliminate processed, man-made foods and focus on getting nutrition from whole, unprocessed foods {aka: REAL food}. On this diet we get to eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts and we exclude breads, rice or grain of any kind, dairy, legumes and all things sugary. It may seem crazy to give up the conventional food pyramid with its suggested 6 or more daily servings of grains but the more we researched and considered Paleo the more it began to make sense.

This all-inclusive post from FITBOMB goes deep into the details of how our bodies are made to consume certain foods and how the American carb and sugar-laden diet is slowly changing our bodies for the worse. It’s a crazy long post but it’s worth the read if you’re interested in knowing more.

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far from this Paleo lifestyle change:

  • Fat = friend…consuming a higher than “normal” amount of good fats does not automatically mean you will die from heart disease. There’s nothing wrong with using your leftover bacon fat to saute the next meal’s onions in.
  • If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not, don’t…when your food choices are all healthy ones, your body will tell you when it needs more.
  • Carbs were calling the shots…the first couple of days into our Paleo challenge I had a constant, dull headache and I felt nauseous at times; I could just feel my body pouting, saying ‘Hey! What’s going on? I want some bread!’
  • Temptation will lead to failure…we removed all temptation by ridding our entire apartment of non-Paleo foods; out of sight, out of mind.
  • Preparation & planning are key…I printed off a calendar and every Sunday I plan out our meals for the week, make a grocery list and go grocery shopping.

Now, do we plan on living with a strict Paleo diet for the rest of our lives? Maybe! It all depends on how we feel when day 30 rolls around. They say it will take about 2 weeks for your body to fully adjust from a carb-based diet to a fat-based diet so hanging in there for an entire month is important. My guess is that we’re going to feel amazing and thanks to this 30 day challenge our meals in the future will be more centered around meats and vegetables instead of grains and sugars. Here’s hoping that weeks 2, 3 and 4 are just as great as week 1 has been!

New Year’s ReVolutions

January 10, 2012

I love the beginning of each new year; I always find myself filled with so much hope and excitement about making a few overdue changes and adjustments in my life. Edie says it better than I know how…

“I am a complete sucker for a fresh start. The new year is like manna from heaven.

I’m overwhelmed with list-making and dream-seeking and soul-searching. Hope swells and washes the memory of past failures clean.

I couldn’t care less that I’ve made this list 20 times before and didn’t follow through with it.

As a matter of fact, this tendency toward renewal and resolution  wasn’t even our idea.

We borrowed it from our Father who promised new mercies every morning and fresh starts ‘seventy times seven’ times.

I completely believe deep down in my heart that this year will be different. You couldn’t convince me otherwise if your life depended on it.”

Amen sister. What an amazing attitude to adopt…who cares if there are those few resolutions that appear on my list year after year, it’s OK to fall short because there will always be another fresh start, in Jesus.

I’m a list-maker at heart so I never miss the yearly opportunity to compose a list of self improvements and 2012 was no different. Except this time it was a little different; I wanted to shoot higher than I ever have before, I wanted to “make resolutions with reckless abandon.” So I did.

– Always be joyful, inside and out. {1 Thess. 5:16}

– Pray continually; be thankful for every tiny gift. Set aside time with God daily. {1 Thess. 5:17-18}

– Live healthy: be active, eat more veggies, drink more water.

– Read at least 20 books…feed your brain!

– Be in the moment, relish this chapter of your life.

– Explore new hobbies.

– Use your God-given talents to serve others. {1 Peter 4:10}

– Love more intentionally.

Here’s to a wonderfully blessed 2012.

Two Years Gone By

October 2, 2011

A couple weeks ago Mark and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. We went to a nice dinner downtown and enjoyed each others company while walking the streets of Austin afterwards. It’s so hard to believe that our wedding was two whole years ago; I guess time does fly when you’re having fun. It’s funny though because I feel like I can still remember every detail of our big day…

  • Lou Mandy picked me up on our way to begin the day at the hair salon but we were running a little late so we drove on the then “closed” Knob Hill Rd because it was faster.
  • Getting to see all of the beautiful sunflower arrangements for the first time.

  • Looking at pictures on someone’s digital camera of Mark seeing his surprise apple cake.
  • Peeking through the window of our dressing room to watch all of our guests arrive.

  • The minute or so alone with my dad just before we walked down the pathway to the ceremony.
  • The cow heard mooing from a field nearby during our wedding vows.

  • Trying not to look Mark directly in the eyes because I knew I was going to cry.
  • The amazing feeling of walking into our reception and seeing every single person that I love filling the room.
  • Seeing people having such a fun time with the iMac photo booth.

  • Dancing my last dance with my Papa.

Though it’s hard to decide on a favorite moment or piece of our wedding day, I’d have to say that spending time with my family and friends was by far the best part of it all…well, that and actually marrying the man I love!