Monday, September 14, 2015


This weekend I went back to school.
After undergrad then grad school I never thought I'd be back in a classroom!

I'm attending Georgetown to get a certificate in Early Intervention. I currently work in early intervention providing speech therapy to infants and toddlers birth-3 with special needs. I'm hoping to be better equipped to work with families and gain more skills as an early interventionist. 

This is a mostly online course so I'm still working full time with my cute kiddos. I could never leave them! :) I'm feeling a little crazy for going back to school but Blake promised to help me with my homework ha. 

I've already learned a lot after two days, like did you know there is a huge "word gap" between children born into low income families vs higher income families? By age 3, children born into low income families have heard about 30 MILLION fewer words than their affluent peers.

Kinda scary. I want to change that :) 
No matter what your income level- TALK WITH YOU KIDS!

Wish me luck as I remember how to use blackboard, write research papers and use ABA formatting blah blah blah :S

P.S. More info on the 'word gap' issue

Monday, July 13, 2015

Best of Beijing

We booked a day tour through out hotel to hit the highlights of Beijing. We totally lucked out because tour group can be really big and lame but we only had 4 other people in our group! Our tour guide was awesome and told us lots of interesting facts throughout the day. My favorite is the classy "I heart tequila shirt". Nice.

Our first stop was Tienanmen Square. This is the entrance gate into the Forbidden City and has a lot of cultural significant. I loved the Forbidden City! I kept picturing Mulan scaling the walls to save the emperor. The Forbidden City is huge and made up of a bunch of different buildings. I had no idea how big it was, it took a good 2 hours to walk through. Our tour guide told us lots of interesting facts about the various emperors and royal families. Apparently one of the emperors was so paranoid about being murdered that he had the top floor of his sleeping quarters made up into 9 different identical bedrooms. He would randomly sleep in a different bedroom every night so one one knew exactly where he was sleeping. The emperor believed he was the son of heaven and that belief was very apparent in the layout, order, and overall feeling of the Forbidden City.

Then we drove about an hour and half to the Great Wall. Unfortunately by that time it was late in the afternoon and 100 degrees but we were still excited. Blake randomly got a really bad headache RIGHT as we arrived at the Wall. The Great Wall is so huge and steep, pictures do not do it justice. You have to climb over huge large steps to reach different look out towers.
Blake and I started the climb but Blake quickly started feeling worse and worse. When he felt like he was going to throw up/pass out, we took a break. We sat down right in the middle of the staircase to let people hold onto the railings to go up/down. Then this random Chinese lady came and sat next to Blake. I figured she was just taking a break too but then she put her arm around Blake and started smiling for her friend taking pictures a few steps below. I was so confused...this was not really a picture worthy moment with Blake hunched over with his head in his lap. Blake perked up and started smiling when he realized what she was doing. We started laughing and smiled with her for a bunch of pictures. She was super nice spoke to us for a few minutes in Chinese then started climbing up the Wall.

Blake and I laughed about how random and weird that was when another group stopped us for a picture. This time it was 3-5 women. Blake's headache had mostly gone away by this point. Clearly the man loves a good audience. So we snapped some more pictures and made our way up to the first resting point/look out. When we got to the look out, over 10 groups of people just grabbed our hands, linked arms or put their arms around us and just started snapping pictures. People then started busting out their selfie sticks and the party really got started. We were there for over 10 minutes taking pictures with people. It was so fun, random and bizarre! I didn't get a ton of pictures because we busy being in the pictures. This guy below loved Blake and posed like that for a good 2 minutes.

At the second lookout point, the same groups of people wanted to take our picture again! They brought new friends and did some different poses. Everyone was so nice and smiled at us a lot. A lot of women pointed to my teeth and smiled and nodded repeatedly. So I'll take that as a compliment? It was the same story climbing down the Wall, different groups either blatantly taking pictures of us or just grabbing us to take with pictures with them. It was all very flattering. I basically know what Beyonce feels like.

China doesn't have Facebook but has something very similar called Renren. I bet Blake and I are FAMOUS on Renren. Someone look into that for us. #chinesecelebrities #chinesebeyonce #chinesejayz

We were beat by the end of the day but a fantastic day touring such a cool city! Then it was back home to America in the morning.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Flight to Beijing

The flight to Beijing was AMAZING! We felt so spoiled and pampered. Normally these first class tickets run thousands of dollars so paying our killer deal of $400 made it all possible. The flight attendants were so nice and fun. They were on the same return flight with us Monday and could not believe our short trip- they thought we were CRAZY haha.

They feed you a fun 4 course dinner. Our chairs swiveled so we could face each other and eat. It was so fun! We had to turn down the free champagne though #mormonprobs
Granted the food is still airline food but we got ice cream sundaes for dessert. #fancy
They give you free pjs to sleep in and a sweet amenity kit with eye mask, slippers, socks, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Blake was a good sport and tried not to act too embarrassed when I made him take pictures of everything.

Blake and I both slept great! We both slept about 7 hours and watched movies on our personal TVs. Sleeping so much definitely helped with the jet lag.

It was such a fun flight I was almost sad when it ended. 15 hours flew by!
We landed on Saturday night and headed to our hotel. We stayed up for a couple hours then headed to bed for our full day tour the next day.

Friday, April 24, 2015

april happy list

planning our first Nats game of the season
our besties Allie and Ryan got engaged!
Amy's visit
General Conference
Diore glow nail polish (recommended by my fave blog)
spring weather- finnnallly!!!!!
my mom sent me a surprise wish bone necklace, I've been eyeing one for years!
our fun  weekend in Atlanta
chocolate covered cinnamon bears- best candy ever
going to Utah TOMORROW to celebrate my mom's birthday!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beijing for a day

Yes we are crazy.

Its no secret that Blake loves all things travel. He is linked into this "flyer talk" group that gets together once a month to do dinner and discuss all things aviation. I stay home and watch Gilmore Girls :) They email back and forth about different deals that come up throughout the month as well.

One night I was showering and Blake comes running into the bathroom screaming that someone from his flyer group had just emailed him about a mistake fare to Beijing China. An airline had miscalculated the fare from a couple thousand dollars to $400 in business class! He booked a flight as fast as he could because mistake fares are only up on websites for a few minutes before the mistake is caught and taken down.

I finish showering and ask Blake how long we are going for and he replies, "one day"
I got bamboozled!

We are going over Memorial Day weekend and he couldn't get off any more time from work. So we will be in Beijing a whopping 24 hours. Yes we are crazy. But it at least we get to lie down flat in a little sleeping pod and watching movies on the 13 hour flight, right?  Yes we are crazy.What an adventure!
A bunch of his flyer buddies also booked tickets on our same flight so it will be a party in business class! One guy had these luggage tags made as gifts for everyone to commemorate the trip.

Yes we are crazy.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trader Joes favorites

A few of my favorite blogs have recently posted their trader joes favorite lists. I love reading what gems people find at TJs (best grocery store next to wegmans) so I thought I'd add our list to the mix!

freeze-dried fruit
bags of apples- so cheap and a normal size, not gigantic 
reduced guilt chunky guacamole- put it on chicken, fajitas, pita chips, anything!

nonfat greek yogurt- black raspberry and coconut cream are my favorite!
reduced guilt string cheese

chocolate croissants- made with real butter and frozen into shape. All you have to do is proof at room temperature the night before. They'll be puffed up and ready to bake fresh in the morning!
chicken tiki masala paired with the naan
corndogs (don't judge)
mac and cheese (amazing!!!)

reduced guilt pita chips with sea salt
joe's O's 
kettle corn
whole wheat pretzels
popped potato chips

refrigerated pizza dough
handmade tortillas
pumpkin bagels (seasonal)

tomato and roasted red pepper soup 
various lemonades- perfect for parties
spices (21 seasoning salute)

smashing smores! best treat ever!
sea-salt dark chocolate-covered almonds 
chocolate lava cakes 
chocolate covered pb pretzels pillows
basically any other treat they sell

want to try: 
julienned root vegetables
kale quinoa salad kit
colored carrots

tell me if there are any gems I'm missing out on!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Amers came to town

Amy had spring break last week and was a feeling a little stir crazy. Blake generously donated some of his miles to fly her out last minute. I tried to pamper her with a good People magazine, chocolate, face mask and mini amenities in the hopes of bribing her to come back soon. Our air mattress had broken so I went to Costco to pick up another one before she flew in. It was some deluxe version with a headboard and everything! For the same price as our old one! Score! Now we had a very fancy guest bedroom ;)

Our main goal for the weekend was to find Ben and Jerry's Tonight Dough. Wawa, aka the best convenience store known to man, came through and we found some after searching a million grocery stores. Unfortunately we were heading back from Richmond and still half hour away from home when we found it. Sooo we just had to eat most all of it in the car driving home :) 

We spent the rest of the weekend shopping, watching shows and just chatting. It was the best! We also had to take her to Sugar Shack of course.

Sunday night we joined with some extended family out in Oakton for a delicious birthday/Easter dinner. It was great to catch up with everyone.

Your visit was too short Amers! Come back soon!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

march happy list

pretend house buying on real estate apps (also depressing given DC housing prices :S)
a sunny Seattle trip a few weeks back
2 snow days!
House of Cards marathon
planning our Primary's Easter egg hunt. I love holidays!
bright lipstick for spring
finally finding the Tonight Dough. Best. Ice cream. Ever.
putting my parka in storage
stalking this purse online praying it goes on sale someday
buying $80 tickets to Utah for next month- score!
spring sunrises/sunsets
buying matching sunglasses with my Mom, Amy and Angie
a surprise donut tee shirt- thanks Blake!
buying mistake fare tickets to visit Beijing over Memorial Day...more on that later
Amy's spontaneous spring break visit...more on that later too!

yay for spring!

Monday, February 23, 2015

February happy list

[My happy list is shorter this month because all I reeeallly remember from this month is being sick. :S I guess being consistently sick in the winter is the downfall of working with toddlers]

Just an idea but I want to start a book club and the though alone makes me happy. Whos in???

A fun Valentines day. We celebrated the weekend after and Blake surprised me with chocolate covered strawberries that I forgot I requested :)

Finishing two great books- The Storyteller and Wonder

Sugar Shack opening!

I finally got an Arvo watch. Our good friend started the company and I've wanted one forever! Thanks Blake :)

Sara and Will visiting 

The Oscars. I loved award show season. All the dresses! (heart eye emoji)

We are heading to Seattle this weekend! I've never been so excited for rain and grey skies. At least the temperature will be above 30 degrees! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

life lately

We have had a exciting couple of weeks here. We took a quick trip to Vegas to get some sun and see good friends. Blake has shown me the finer side of Vegas and we always have such a good time. Our friends, Julie and Bryce were nice enough to let us stay in their gorgeous new house. We loved staying with them and will definitely be back soon. We also got to meet up with one of our favorite couples, Allie and Ryan. Allie flew with us from DC and we had a  great time tagging along on her hometown date ;) Best takeaway from the trip- order the Neapolitan shake (not on the menu) at In N Out. #yum

We had two visitors this weekend, Blake's sister Sara and her husband Will. We took a fun day trip to Richmond, VA. Blake and I love to stop in our favorite town, Short Pump, to hit up the Sonic, big Target and Hobby Lobby. We had to take them to the original Sugar Shack of course. I promise we eat other food, but a visit with the Behnkes always involves good donuts. We ended the trip at the awesome mall with our favorite restaurant, Firebirds. It was a great Valentines. Thanks for coming!

Fingers crossed for a snow day tomorrow!

Monday, January 26, 2015

sprinkle tears

Blake and I have been big big fans of Sugar Shack donuts ever since we tried them in Richmond. We have been anxiously awaiting their Alexandria opening for a while. Blake surprised me with a fun Saturday adventure to attend the grand opening! I cried sprinkle tears of joy.
The line was out the door but standing in the rain with other donut enthusiasts was fun! 
If you tweeted a selfie in the shop you got a free donut- score!
There are no set flavors on the menu. Every 10-20 minutes new flavors come out like 
lemon poppy seed, pb oreo, salted caramel, caramel oreo, maple bacon, apple crisp, strawberry, snickers and classic staples like chocolate sprinkles.
This is a dangerous addition to the neighborhood. We will be back...tonight ;)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

winter essentials

With a few snow dustings under our belt, we're gearing up for another brutal DC winter. These are a few of my winter essentials to hopefully survive another polar vortex.
I love the few days a year when I wake up to a winter wonderland like this!
*source: pinterest

*My absolute #1 winter must have is good slippers. These LL bean slippers are incredible and I really wish I could wear them to work.

*Blake has recently sold me on flannel sheets. In the past, flannel sheets have always gotten sweaty and gross by the morning. But these flannel sheets are perfect, never sweaty and oh so cozy.

*It's no secret I'm a sucker for hot bubble baths. This bubble bath was a random TJ Maxx find and has been my favorite ever since. Grapefruit wins every time in my book.

*Hot chocolate with mini marshmellows. Duh. Stephen's is just the best so convince your really nice mom to mail you some tins since it's not sold in DC (?!)

*Even though no one sees your socks, wearing cute wool socks always helps getting dressed in pitch black darkness. I always find cute cheap ones at TJ Maxx.

*I love to cuddle up with a good book in the winter. A few recommendations: Wonder, Code Name Verity and the sequel Rose Under Fire, Potato Peel Society, French Women Don't Get Fat, Bossy Pants. I'm going to start Boys in Boats soon and I can't wait!

*I love to steal Blake's comfy grey sweatshirt. Why are boy sweatshirts so much warmer?

*Getting the motivation to walk to our complex's gym in the snow can be a bit of challenge. Jillian Michael's home work out videos saved me on more than one occasion last winter. Her 30 day shred is no joke. I also really like the yoga one.

*Remember spring is just around the corner and that means cheery blossoms!!!
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Monday, January 19, 2015

january happy list

The new Maroon 5 music video Sugar
Brunches with girlfriends. I love a good french toast.
Cara cara oranges. I love citrus season!
Rifle paper weekly list pad
I finally got a volcano candle :) Best gift giver award goes to Amy!
Blake got me hooked on these cool notebooks
Judging all of the golden globes best dresses
New work out shirts
Trader Joe's tomato and roasted red pepper soup. Best paired with gooey grilled cheese sandwiches
Quick Vegas trip at the end of the month! In n Out here we come!

*Best of all was coming home to a surprise care package from my mom and sister. It was just the midweek pick me up I needed. Even when we're miles apart, moms always know what you need. xo.

Monday, January 12, 2015

salted caramel + nutella stuffed cookies

Blake has been begging me to make these salted caramel + nutella stuffed double choice cookies for about a year now. A mixture of forgetfulness, hesitation (the recipe looks harder than it is) and laziness has resulted in zero cookies for Blake.

While he was away last week it was the perfect time to whip up this recipe. I like making a mess when I bake, no "clean as you go" process for me. As a result, I find it best to bake when Blake can't witness the chaos :)

I used rolos rather than making my own caramel (thank you Target clearance holiday candy) and was pleasantly surprised with the easy recipe. It's more time consuming than difficult. Also I didn't have flaky sea salt and just tried using table salt to sprinkle on top --- don't.

All in the all the cookies turned out delicious The cookies don't look too appetizing since it makes a thick brownie-cookie base but trust me they are good. Blake was more excited to eat them than to see me. A baking win in my book.

Be warned these cookies are dense, we're talking Levain style dense. I think next time I'll add pb chips instead of  caramel and try to make knock off Levain pb cookies- one of my favorite NYC treats.


Monday, January 5, 2015

current addictions

With Blake out of town all of this week (don't come kidnap me if you are a creepy person reading this), I am filling my time with my current addictions.

First up, Tilt To Live. While I used to play a good Mario Cart game back in my day (go Wario!), it's been a while since I've played any video/iphone games. But Tilt To Live has me hooked. Hard.

Next I plan to make some good progress on my new years resolution this week to drink more water. My recent Target clearance steal- a giant mason jar tumbler is definitely helping. I am addicted to water bottles. It's weird.

I've only been alone one night and I'm already half way through Amy Poehler's new book Yes Please.  She is so good. But it has some swears just to warn you. I love staying up way too late caught up in a good book.

Lastly I think I'll have some solo dance parties listening to this song on repeat:

I also might throw in some glitter crafts and a Harry Potter marathon for good measure.

Come home soon Blake!