California Town

Beach breeze…warm day…locals and tourists dotting the sidewalks…quaint boutique shops…it really can’t get much better than that.

After a long tiring week at the Concordia Challenge Speech and Debate tournament, mom decided to take me and Taryn to Balboa Island in Orange County before returning home.

Let me just say, it was beautiful.

Yes, I have been to Balboa Island countless times, but this time it seemed absolutely perfect. Between splendid weather and a relaxing Sunday afternoon, it was a piece of heaven.
While we walk along the sidewalk, the tiny beach street is lined with boutiques and shops. Many have changed since I was last there, so Taryn and I couldn’t resist but to take a peek into a bunch of them. While browsing, my mom pointed out a blue headband with a rhinestone buckle. I ended up purchasing the little beauty because I fell in love with it so much.

If there’s one thing I love about boutiques, it’s the mirrors. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I enjoy staring at myself. ;) Instead, I find it fun to do the “trademark girly photography thing” as I call it…take a picture!

As we continue to stroll along, we passed a shop selling door signs. These were some of my favorites…

However, that is not ALL we did. Taryn and I indulged with some Balboa Bars! It’s practically a ­law. If you go to Balboa without getting a Balboa bar, I think I would disown each and every one of you. Well, for all of you non-SoCalers wondering what this infamous “Balboa Bar” exactly is, please grant me the opportunity to enlighten you…

First, let’s start off with one thing…they’re delicious. Completely and entirely delicious. Now, what does this Balboa Bar consist of, you may ask? In short, it is a vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream bar freshly dipped in chocolate and covered in any topping of your choice (sprinkles, nuts, crushed Oreos, coconut, or my personal favorite, Butter Brickle toffee)…they are to die for.

The small joint at which we order these yummy treats is Dad’s Original Frozen Banana (yes, they have frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, but I personally believe the Balboa Bars are much better. :D)

Waiting in line (definitely worth it)...

And here is the result of my delectable creativity…

…And then it was all gone. :D

Now, the reason I mentioned the Balboa Bar first was because we are carrying on to a not-so-appetizing topic.

If there’s one place to find kooky people, it’s Southern California. And this was clearly demonstrated when I saw a couple walking a PIG down the sidewalk on a leash. I seriously took a double-take to make sure I wasn’t the one out of my mind. Dogs are completely fine, but PIGS?? I don’t know…maybe I’m just intolerant…or probably the one thinking straight. Anyway, it was quite a surprise, and after I asked its owner if I could take pictures, she giddily replied, “Of course!!” While I was snapping away with my camera, she proceeded to tell me that it was a boy pig and his name was “Pumbaa” (remember him from The Lion King?). This only made me more confused considering the poor piglet was dressed in a mini pink and orange dress and had a hot pink mani-pedi. (First of all, who paints a pig’s toenails?) So, here are a few shots of the little guy…

Where else but Southern California? ;)

We continued to stroll along past quaint Italian restaurants and electrically colored benches…

And as we crossed back over the bridge on our way home, I couldn’t resist but to take a shot of the sparkling bay…

Don’t you just love California beach towns? <3


A Face Only A Mother Could Love...

When people talk about the phrase “A face only a mother could love,” I doubt they were ever referring to my goat Charlie...

Yes, him.

This saying came true for me the day my dad brought home Charlie; a goat the size of a small horse with an odd facial countenance unlike any I had ever seen. On top of that, he was smiling. I’m serious…smiling. We’re talkin’ wide spread jaws with a cheeky, mouth full o’ pearly whites. His teeth are so straight, you’d think he had braces.

When Charlie arrived, he was accompanied by his wife, Gracie. At least I can say she’s a normal goat. She’s not abnormally large, but just the size any goat should be.

I absolutely love these goats, if you couldn’t tell already, but they can be extremely naughty at times if you don’t watch them carefully. For example…they were once found eating my dad’s prized rosebushes, garden, and newly planted avocado tree. It’s happened once, and trust me, it will never happen again.

To tell you the truth, Charlie basically acts like a big dog. He will follow you everywhere if he’s outside of his pen. Because of this, I’ve had a few adventures involving my dear pal…one of which took place a few years ago. 

I thought it would be a positively brilliant idea to ride Charlie! (I was just soooo smart) And sure enough, after getting on his back, he took off running madly down a hill with me half-clinging to, half-falling off his back for dear life. It was a thrilling experience, but definitely not something I would ever attempt again…

In the meantime, I’m happy just to look and not touch. His face is adorable enough anyway…or is it just me? ;)


The Great Debaters

I got home not too long ago from one of the most amazing weeks of my life...
Yes, folks! None other than an entire week of being an absolute nerd at debate camp!!!

As most of you probably know, I am an avid debater and I truly don’t know where my life would be without it. The communication skills I have developed over the past year are such a blessing and will come in handy once I reach the real business world someday and especially ministering for Christ!

Debate camp can basically be defined as a group of over 200 homeschooled kids, coming together to
a) Praise and worship God
b) Listen to five or six 1½ hour lectures per day
c) Practice debate
d) Socialize
e) Play Frisbee
f) Live and breathe debate theory for an entire week

It’s really that much fun!

Last Sunday afternoon, I arrived at the Concordia University campus in Irvine, CA. Taryn, Valentine Hoffman, and I got settled into our dorm (so college-ish!). The next day, the real fun began. After worship and small group time, we headed to our first lecture. The amount of notes I took from all the lectures that week could probably fill a book, and I think my brain is about to explode. But it’s all cool! Just more tactics, strategies, and theory…exactly what I need. (hee hee)
Fellowship time with hundreds of kids who share a love for Christ and are like-minded in debate is one of the most incredible things ever to be experienced. These kids make my life, and I would do anything for each and every one of them. Building knowledge together is such a special gift, and having deep discussions about what we’ve learned is even better!

Aside from all the theoretical business, we must exercise so we all don't cramp from sitting so long ;)
If you’re a debater, you know what our number one sport/activity is –
Ultimate Frisbee.

One of the most amazing games ever to be played on the face of this planet. To tell you the truth, I rarely get the chance to catch or throw, but I’m always looking for a chance to knock the Frisbee out of the sky. That is when the fun begins.
The comradery is also very special. High-fives and congratulations are heard all around when one team makes a goal. The fellowship is amazing, but we can also get pretty competitive. ;)

Here are a few pictures from the week:

About to leave for camp!

Eating Taryn's homemade blueberry pie with the Hoffmans --- a camp tradition. :)

Me and my lovely girls, Thea and Savy

Smile at the elevator ceiling!!!

Thea, Savy, Andrew, Valentine, Jon, and Soren...these kids make my life.

Valentine and Grace!!! My extraordinary roomies

This is only a GLIMPSE of the amazing-ness that ensues during a game of frisbee. ;)

A handful of the incredible people I know...

Waiting for another lecture to start!

This is the perfect descriptive personality picture...Thea and Taylor with milkshakes, and Savy in the middle with a Monster...

Rachel, Valentine, and me!

Thea and I switched shoes for a day...we felt like twinsies! ;)

THIS girl...is the most beautiful, amazing girl I know. I love you, Valentine! <3

The three amigos...Taryn, Isaak, and Matteo. At camp, they were all pretty much inseparable.

Ellyse, Savy, Tay, Thea, Jordan, and Jon!

With the Hoffman family! Taryn, Valentine, me, Soren, and Isaak.
"A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart." -Kathleen Grove



As I was sitting here at my desk, pondering what would be the contents of this initial post; first and foremost, I considered the title.  Naturally, like other people who are writing a post for the first time, the idea of the most bland name came into my head –


-- or whatever many people often name such a post.

Hence the name of my post: “Greetings”. Yes, yes, I do sound old-fashioned, but it’s better than titling it with something like “Tidings”, is it not? 

Instead of giving a plethora of excuses why I haven’t been able to write any sooner upon the creation of my blog, (such as finishing school, etc.) I would much rather begin this on a more light-hearted note, and spare you any incessant ramblings in efforts of redeeming myself.

So! Enough of that wordiness.  I am SO extremely excited to have created this blog, and I hope that through words and pictures (worth 1,000 words, you know) I might give you a little taste of my everyday life and what it’s like to live in the country amid such a beautiful creation. 

Now, mind you that I am not so absolutely obsessed with my surroundings that I refrain from relating anything else of interest that occurs in my life! You can expect much of that! Because I’m sure I’ll give the “Cinderella” aspect equal attention. 
I hope you very much enjoy this blog, and I can’t wait to see what becomes of my little venture.


P.S. The part of this post regarding the titling of first posts was in no way meant to be an insult to anybody at all. It was only meant in good humor. :)

The beautiful white oleander flowers by the road.