Lars & Sarah Sneak Peek

Just had to share a few bits from my brother's private wedding ceremony on the cliffs in beautiful Palos Verdes, California. Sarah's brother officiated and made us all tear up with a wonderful speech. It was a perfect evening!


They got married on their 10 year anniversary, isn't that awesome? I know they don't need any luck in this next chapter of their lives, but I will wish it for them anyway!


Lars & Sarah :: Fullerton Engagement Photography

My baby brother is getting married in a month to his love of ten years, on their ten year anniversary (!!) and I couldn't be more excited for them. Getting to know Sarah over the years and watching them grow together has been wonderful. I don't know many couples who survived the many changes that happen to you after high school and throughout your twenties, but they've successfully navigated them together and came out stronger. 

Plus, I'm selfishly thrilled to be gaining my second sister in 6 months. :)

Please to enjoy these photos taken around Fullerton one gorgeous afternoon when I was visiting last fall.

I can't wait to witness, photograph and celebrate their union next month! So much excite!


San Antonio Regional Hospital :: KE Design

San Antonio Regional Hospital was a behemoth of a project for my mother's one-woman design firm, but what's wonderful about that is I can see her touches all over the space. The new wing opened in late October and it's absolutely beautiful. I don't know how she manages to make a hospital room seem homey, but she does! I especially loved the comfortable side chair that reclines (anyone that's spent time at someone's bedside knows how welcome those are).

Please to enjoy the latest in my collaboration with my amazing healthcare designer mom.

Check out the custom-designed side table below - the "wing" shelf adds extra space and allows for plenty of supplies to be stashed bedside.

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Besides the patient rooms, the standout for me was the main lobby. Aren't those artichoke light fixtures stunning?

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I always love her textile choices - these chairs are neutral enough for a waiting room, but not boring or cheesy.

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We just loved the playroom! Even the signage is sweet (and no pastels in sight, phew!).

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!


One Year

Today is the one year anniversary of our move to Reno. It's been a banner year for Joel and I, what with finding great jobs and a new apartment, making new friends and culminating in getting married October 1st. Now we're settling into married life, owning a home is within reach and we're accomplishing everything we set out to do by uprooting our lives. All at once it's exhilarating, gratifying and utterly terrifying to think about. But we really love it here and couldn't be more thrilled that our great gamble paid off! (Also, we couldn't have done it without the connectivity of Google Duo, social media and frequent phone calls. And when I say "we", I mostly mean myself, my parents and my BFF.)

On this one year anniversary, I thought I'd share something I wrote late last summer after we had decided to move, in the hopes that it might help anyone else standing at a similar crossroad.

August 13, 2015

It all started because something had to change. He knew it, I knew it, we just weren’t sure what that meant yet.

It had led to some pretty tough and scary conversations. Luck just never seemed to be on our side, except for the way we had reconnected. We knew that more than anything we wanted to get married and start a family; we had these dreams that weren’t out of the ordinary, but we were so insanely frustrated trying to figure out how we could achieve them financially. Especially given how everyone around us seemed to be doing just that (although we knew hardly anyone our age who had been able to buy a home).

Eventually I had to admit, to myself and (even harder) out loud to him, that at 31.75 years old I didn’t have much to show for myself either. A decent job as an executive assistant and a good education, yes, but I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, with diddly in savings (thanks to stupid decisions when I was in my 20s - and let's be honest, that were still happening), and I was still in debt to my university and my dentist. I was barely covering $800 a month in rent to share a tiny duplex. My car was 12 years old and really starting to show her age. After debt, car insurance, utilities, my 401(k), groceries, basic life supplies, a meal out and maybe a new item of clothing, there wasn’t much left over each month.

Middle age felt very close at hand and I had all but given up on ever owning a home in a decent neighborhood, but maybe together we could afford kids someday. Certainly not a home and kids at the same time. But when would that be? After we both busted our asses paying for and finding the energy to go back to school for something to maybe have better jobs five years from now?

I finally realized all these circumstances meant living a life on hold for at least several more years, hoping that housing in Orange County would get cheaper (yeah, right) or I’d find a better paying job, which would require a commute I would hate, but maybe I’d eventually come to terms with that. But my chosen profession maxes out at around $70k, with most making much less than that. And his income is based on lead generation, so it fluctuates and is taking time for him to build.

So essentially we’d keep on paddling in place, never reaching the shore. And I realized that was the true source of my anger and tears and weight gain. I was completely and utterly depressed about the future. Day to day I would be fine, my normal self, and then I’d allow myself to really think about everything and wind up curled in a ball in bed at 7pm.

No. No one was going to just up and hand us the life we wanted. We weren’t going to hit the lotto, and while our parents were as helpful and supportive as possible, we certainly didn’t want to be a drain on them. It’s amazing how much people know this (including us, obvi), and yet keep going in their lives as if it isn’t true. As much as I was holding on for dear life to my core desire of living near my parents for the rest of my days, so that my kids would know their amazing grandparents better than I ever had the chance to, something had to give. I was never going to have both at once. Living in Southern California and achieving our goals had become a pipe dream for us.

So we revisited what he had mentioned a few times since we met, something I had been swearing up and down I would never do: moving out of state. Away from nearly all our loved ones. It was unimaginable. It was unthinkable. But the immovable object remained, and I was thinking about it every spare moment of the day for weeks.

At the time, I came across an unattributed quote that struck home in a big way: Let go of how things should be. I really had to dig deep and reevaluate what was most important to me. Turns out it’s family - my future family, and providing the quality of life I think we’ll deserve. I don’t want to be 40 and finally able to do that. I don’t want to wait to have children with this wonderfully supportive man who is undoubtedly my person and the best thing that ever happened to me. Never mind the extra worry on a woman, however much we try to ignore it, at the thought of bearing children past a certain age. Let’s face it - aging can only be ignored if you have the finances to do so.

So, we revisited that crazy idea. And then we started doing our research to see if it would even be a possibility. We really liked the Reno area, and we had a foothold there - a guest room in his dad and stepmom’s house - that would help us transition. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks: it would be almost exactly what my parents did, nearly 30 years ago, when they left Norway and moved to Southern California. Before Skype, before cell phones, before all of it. If they could do it, why couldn’t we? And they did it with two kids under the age of five.

For crying out loud, we told ourselves, people do this every day. We would be living the age-old immigrant story of uprooting in the hope of a better future for us and for our family. What this country was founded on. The more I thought about it, the more I remembered just how many of our friends had come to the same conclusion in the last ten years. We’ve been having going-away get-togethers for years, with friends moving to Portland, Denver, Seattle, Nashville, Dallas, New York...

And so, after some very long conversations about options and finances and goals and dreams, we looked into each others’ eyes and realized that yes, it was possible, and yes, we had to at least try. If we jumped and failed, at least we had given that life a chance.

The initial conversation involved lots of tears and tissues and reassuring hugs, but we came out the other side feeling closer and more in love than ever before. There was no one else I could imagine trusting enough to do this with. It would really be us against the world, and we might fail miserably, but we had to try to take control of our own lives.

And you know what? The next day, I felt better than I had in at least six months. Lighter, happier, reassured. Finally, finally, I might be able to have the life I’d always wanted. With exactly the kind of man I need. A simple life raising a family together. It just required doing the scariest and craziest thing I could possibly think of. But plenty of our friends had done the same thing and succeeded, right? And in the end, something had to change. I just had to hitch up my big girl panties, take his hand and jump.

So here's to all the dreamers, the gamblers and those willing to take control and be proactive instead of reactive with their lives!


{Stunning photo from our perfect wedding day by the lovely and talented Nancy Orozco - more coming soon!}

5 Things

A few awesome/amusing/interesting things in my world lately...

1. Slothilda. She is amazing and I love her. 

2. Jessica JonesLike most of my friends, Joel and I blew through this series. I just love the film noir touch and how well they balanced her femininity and toughness. Highly recommended to everyone - you really don't need to be a Marvel fan to enjoy because the exploration of what someone with super powers would do is so fantastic.

3. Our new scenery. Reno has been treating us really well, and I'm loving everything about it so far. I'm definitely not over seeing snow and being surrounded by gorgeous mountains (that aren't covered by smog all the time).

4. Old/new family photos. My mom recently had a bunch of my grandmother's old film scanned, and there are some real gems that we've never seen before - particularly from my parents' and grandparents' weddings! My grandmother had a huge archive; she always had her camera with her, but all the same it's crazy when we come across ones we haven't seen.

5. The Awkward Yeti. The best webcomic I've read in a long time! His stuff just cracks me up. This one on New Year's Resolutions is a particularly spot-on depiction of Joel and I. :)

Hope you're all having a wonderful start to the new year!