Weekend Update

Friday night we attend the Junior League of Santa Barbara S.A.F.E House Celebration Holiday Party at the La Cumbre Country Club. My friends Eva and Lauren joined us and I’m so glad!


This was my first time attending the JLSB holiday party and it was a blast! The country club was all decorated for Christmas and there were so many people in attendance. During the party, we got an update on S.A.F.E. House and had the official ribbon cutting! So exciting!


In spring of 2017, JLSB announced its new signature project: S.A.F.E. House Santa Barbara.  S.A.F.E. House will be a 6-bed shelter, designed specifically to provide trauma-informed therapy and housing for victims of sex trafficking. Over the past 8 months, JLSB has secured a safe location for the house, partnered with 4 Kids 2 Kids, and has raised $150,000. What’s even more exciting is that S.A.F.E. House is almost ready to OPEN!! What we thought was going to be a much longer project and process, has developed so quickly and is almost ready to be open. Although I just joined back in August, I’m super excited to be a part of this amazing organization and to see S.A.F.E. House open. I know we are going to continue to do amazing work with this huge projects and many others within the community.

During the party we enjoyed appetizers, drinks, chatting with people and of course, taking lots of pictures! Such a great night.

If I’m being honest, the rest of the weekend was somewhat scary with the Thomas fire entering Santa Barbara County 😦 . Saturday Chris had to work and I ended up going to Ventura to get our Subaru serviced. Surprisingly, there was blue skies and clean air in Ventura. Driving back to SB was like driving into an apocalypse. There was so much smoke you couldn’t even see the ocean. We spent the rest of weekend indoors and kind of glued to the TV monitoring the fire and who was being evacuated next.

I saw this photo on Facebook today…

24993367_1598380290242943_8162828145581572324_nSanta Barbara normal vs. today – Lower photo taken on Dec. 8, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. (Kelsey Gerckens / KEYT.com).

SO. MUCH. SMOKE. This really gives you an idea of the air quality we’ve been experiencing along with the below photos from our house.

As for now, we don’t have to evacuate. Thank goodness. But, we made a packing list this weekend just in case we do have to evacuate. As the Girl Scout motto goes “always be prepared”. UCSB postponed finals until the week of January 8th and winter quarter is now going to start a week later on January 15th. Most students have vacated the area but unfortunately, staff is still working on campus 😦 . We’re keeping an eye on the evacuation map, general updates on the Thomas fire and just taking it day by day.

Wishing you all a great week. Please keep us, Santa Barbara and all those either working to stop/contain these fires or people impacted by the fire in your prayers. ❤ ❤



Meeting Cory Richards

Happy Saturday friends! We finally made it to the weekend. Things have been a little crazy in SoCal due to the terrible fires burning in Ventura and LA. We are OK and safe in Goleta/Santa Barbara; just dealing with lots of smoke, ash and horrible air quality.

Thursday night we went to an event on campus, Cory Richards — #LifeNoFilter and I’m soooooo glad it wasn’t cancelled. For those of you who don’t know, Cory Richards is one of the world’s leading adventure and expedition photographers and climber. He is part of the North Face athletic team and delivers stunning images to National GeographicOutside and The New York Times. In 2012, he was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year for being the first American to summit an 8,000 meter peak in winter – Pakistan’s Gasherbrum II. Cory and fellow climber Adrian Ballinger also grew lots of attention with #EverestNoFilter when the two documentated their climb on Everest via Snapchat.

Cory’s #LifeNoFilter talk was incredible and made for a totally awesome night. I honestly had no idea what to expect; I was just excited to see and hopefully meet him! Cory was hands-down AWESOME. He was so brutally honest, raw, totally down to earth, super funny and a real inspiration. This may sound cheesy, but I was really touched and moved by his presentation. Not only were his photographs stunning, but the stories that came with them were just unbelievable. His perspective and take on life is so something I wish I could embody. Although, at times Cory’s story is sad, he still has a an incredibly positive outlook on life and just keeps going.

It’s funny because for as long as I can remember, I have been absolutely fascinated by Everest, mountain climbing and anyone who accomplishes this feat. Which is kind of odd because I’m not a climber at all. Yet, having the chance to be near Everest or attempt to climb it is weirdly on my bucket list. Crazy right?! Anyway, I can’t even remember now how I came across or learned about Cory Richards in the first place. But now having not only seen him, heard his story and meet him (OMG 😀 he’s truly the most honest and incredible individual) I admire him even more.

Through is talk I learned so much about him, why he does the work that he does and his perspective on life. Cory stressed that HONESTY of above all things is most important. I also especially liked when he said “where ever you go, there you are.” TRUTH. That one really hit home. He’s so passionate and very inspiring.

“If my photographs in any way make somebody feel fear, joy, or love or vulnerability, I’ve succeeded.” — Cory Richards

From this short evening I feel like the audience really got to know the real Cory and got a glimpse of what his life looks like. His photos certainly showed us fear, joy, love and vulnerability. If you want to learn/read more about Cory, check these articles out:

  1. After Summiting Mt. Everest, He Returned Home to Face His Demons
  2. To Get to the Summit, Cory Richards Had to Lose It All

  3. National Geographic Creative

After his talk, there was time for Q&A and then Cory offered to meet and talk with people outside. O.M.G. I DIED! Honestly I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I was beyond excited to have the chance to meet him and possible take a picture with him. Hence the HUGE smile on my face below. ❤ ❤ ❤


Chris walked up to him first to introduce himself and say “my wife thinks your absolutely dreamy.” TRUTH hubby, TRUTH. ❤ ❤ Cory and I got to take a picture together first and then ask him a few questions. I think I blacked out I was so start struck ha ha ha. But then we took a group selfie 📷: taken by the very talented @coryrichards himself!! Then I died again.

cory 2

Seriously, this guy is the best! He really took the time to chat with everyone who wanted to ask him something or take a quick picture. THANK YOU Cory for coming to UCSB and for taking the time to talk/take pictures with us! I’m so inspired by you and all the work you do. Keep it up and I sincerely hope we meet again!

Have a great weekend everyone!




Happy December 1st & Holiday Bucket List

Happy Friday and December 1st!


Where the heck did November go?! We are down to the last 31 days of the year…let that sink in for a second haha.

It’s finally starting to feel cooler here in “always sunny Santa Barbara” which makes me so excited! The past few months haven’t allowed for the usual fall clothing of boots, scarves and sweaters. It was like 80*+ on Thanksgiving. Hoping December will allow my boots, scarves and sweaters to come out of the closet and be worn haha. I’m really missing living in the Bay Area and having cooler/fall like weather and rain…although they have had pretty wacky weather too!

Anyway, back in September I did a Fall Bucket List. You can read all about it here. It was super fun to have a list of stuff to do, so I thought I would do another one for the Holidays. So here we go!

Holiday Bucket List 2017

  1. Make homemade hot chocolate
  2. Bake Christmas cookies
  3. Drive around and look at lights
  4. See the SF Nutcracker
  5. Give back to your local community
  6. Attend a holiday party
  7. Purchase a sentimental ornament or a new one
  8. Watch a classic Christmas movie along with anything on this list
  9. Get a Christmas tree and decorate it
  10. Send holiday cards to friends and family
  11. Hang stockings (in our case we need to get stockings!)
  12.  Put up lights outside and inside the house
  13. Go to Disneyland and see all of the holiday lights, declarations and treats
  14. Read a book with a cozy blanket by the fire
  15. Wear red nail polish
  16. Wrap Christmas presents
  17. Find a fun way to display your holiday cards
  18. Make a playlist of your favorite holiday tunes
  19. Read a book by the fire with a cozy blanket
  20. Watch “A Christmas Story” on loop!

What’s on your Holiday Bucket List? Happy Friday friends! Wishing you a great weekend.



HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY to my sister ARIANA!


Wishing my wonderful sissy a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Thank you for being such an amazing, encouraging, supportive, funny and loving sister. I truly feel lucky to have you as my sister and best friend. I love you Ari! Happy Happy Birthday!! ❤️🎂🎉

Enjoy your LAST year in your 20’s!!


30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 26-30

Happy Thursday everyone! Today’s the last installment of my 30 Days of Thankfulness. We made it! Thanks so much for joining and reading.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault

Day 26: HAPPY 4th BIRTHDAY to our sweet twin nieces, Kendall and Madison! I seriously can’t believe these little girls are already four years old…time is just flying by. So glad we got to see them over Thanksgiving. They are at an age where they are so chatty and want to tell us everything! We had the best time playing with them, learning all about Disney princesses and loving them up. Love these sweet girls so much! ❤


Day 27: Today I’m very grateful for both of my parents. My mom and dad mean the world to me and I’m so lucky to have them as parents. They have not only made me into the person that I am today, but have loved and supported me unconditionally. I’m so thankful for all that they have provided for me over the years and for all their love. I love you mom and dad!

Day 28: Giving Tuesday! Today I participated in my first Giving Tuesday and donated to two organizations that are important to me. One organization I donated to was JLSB and the other was Mindful. Since moving to SB I have been getting more involvSTACKED.pnged within the community through the Junior League. I’m very thankful for this organization and for the opportunities it has provided me with so far. Meditation and mindfulness are also really important and big parts of my life. Naturally, I had to donate to Mindful. I love reading all of their articles and staying up to date with best practices. I am eternally grateful for my practice and would be lost without it.

Day 29: Finally getting some cooler/chilly weather. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of sun and blue skies in SB, but it feels pretty good to put on boots and a sweater these days! I’m also feeling very thankful for the health of all our friends and family.

Day 30: Being alive! These quotes and images are beautiful and represent perfectly how I feel.

To be able to experience all that life has to offer is truly a blessing. I’m so thankful for the experiences I have had, the people who make up my life and for being able to continue on this journey called life. I fully believe in practicing gratitude and giving thanks for everything (even the small things) that we have in life.

In thinking more about gratitude, I came across two really interesting articles. The first is from Mindful.org discussing the amazing effects of gratitude. Check it out here. I love the definition of gratitude they provide:

“The quality or condition of being thankful; the appreciation of an inclination to return kindness” –The Oxford Dictionary

The other article is from Robert Emmons that details why gratitude is good. A few things he highlights are:

  1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present.
  2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions.
  3. Grateful people are more stress resistant.
  4. Grateful people are more stress resistant.

Additionally, some of the benefits of practicing gratitude include:                                         heart-tree-Fotolia_46519422_XS.jpg
• Stronger immune systems
• Lower blood pressure
• Sleeping longer and feeling more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated

All of this resonate with me so strongly! Since starting my meditation practice and doing my daily/yearly gratitude journal, I have experienced many of the above benefits. If you don’t already keep a gratitude journal, I highly recommend you start one. It’s a pretty easy habit to form and makes you feel so good. Happy gratituding!

Thank you again for joining me in another series of 30 Days of Thankfulness! I truly feel that we all have so much to be thankful for and I hope you enjoyed this series. Looking forward to doing this blog post again next year!

Have a great rest of your week!






30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 18-25

Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and maybe enjoyed some Black Friday sales.

Here is installment #3 of 30 Days of Thankfulness…better late than never. Enjoy!

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” — Henri Frederic Amiel

Day 18: Attending the USC-UCLA Game! FIGHT ON! Sherry (Chris’ mom) got us some pretty sweet tickets in the 2nd row! Waaaahooooooooo! We were last at a home game in 2014 where it was like a million degrees and I almost died of heat stroke haha. Luckily this game was at 5pm and so much cooler. #pac12afterdark

Thank you Sherry for awesome seats and tickets to the game. We had a BLAST! So happy USC beat UCLA 28-23. Next up, PAC 12 Championship Game! We’ll see ya there! #FTFO #fighton #usc #gotrojans #beatthenorth

Day 19:  Today I am thankful for Emma & Dash. Life with dogs is just so much better. I love these pups more than anything and feel pretty lucky to have them as a part of our family. I honestly can’t remember what life was like before dogs.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Roger Caras

Today and every day I feel very grateful to be their dog mommy and don’t know what I would do without them. ❤ ❤

Day 20: An office with a view! Right outside my office is the Cheadle pond. I love not only having a view outside my office window, but watching all the wildlife in the pond.

Throughout the day people come and sit by the pond, feed the ducks, feed the koi or just take a few minutes to enjoy the view. This pond is also cleaned every Monday (I should know, I see it every week)! Today while watching the pond get cleaned I could also hear the carillon bells from Storke Tower. Feeling very lucky today to have this kind of view at work and to hear the carillon bells. Sometimes UCSB you can be pretty great.

On my walk over to Chris’ office after work, I witnessed an amazing sunset. The sky was lit up with these intense pinks and purples. It looked like the sky was on fire but with pink and purple flames. Love those fall SoCal sunsets…I just can’t get enough!

Day 21: Transition House Impacts Project with JLSB. Transition House is one of our community partners that we work with in Santa Barbara. We prepared food to be served at their annual Thanksgiving banquet for families in their shelter. We also made Thanksgiving decor and kids activities for their dinner.


It felt so good to be doing something like this and giving back to my community. Thankful for finding an organization like the Junior League that allows me to get involved with my community and to give back. ❤

– ALSO –

HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY to our sweet nephew Colton and to my sister-in-law Kristin! Looking forward to seeing them both along with the twins, Kendall and Madison and meeting our new nephew Brennan.

Colton is just the sweetest! Just love this picture with his sisters.

Day 22: I love both of these quotes and found them especially fitting as we get closer to Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to having a few days off from work and spending time with friends and family. Choosing to be grateful every day and counting my blessing not just today, but every day!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone! Got off work early (at 3pm) today so now it’s time to start baking pies and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Hope you all enjoy delicious foods tomorrow with friends and family.



Today I am incredibly thankful for so many things, but most importantly I am thankful for FAMILY. FAMILY is EVERYTHING! I’m looking forward to eating lots of yummy food, relaxing, walking the pups and enjoying the day. This year we will be celebrating with Chris’ mom. Looking forward to doing more of the cooking this year and going to San Diego to celebrate with my sister-in-law and our niblings. Although I won’t be with my immediate family, I will be thinking of them. I love my family so much and don’t know what I would do without their love and support! Hope you all enjoy the day with loved ones. ❤ ❤

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” — W.T. Purkiser

Day 24: Meeting our new nephew Brennan Andrew Cline. Had a wonderful day visit with the Clines today. So glad we live closer and can hopefully see them more often. Can’t believe we’re Auntie Risa and Uncle Chris again! ❤ ❤ ❤

Day 25: Spending time with Dan & Jess in Huntington Beach.

We call ourselves the McDahlins and seriously have the very best time together. I’m so thankful these crazy kids live so much closer to us now. It’s pretty funny that we are all in SoCal now…who would have thought. Love you guys! Feeling so lucky to have awesome friends who are family now. I see many more adventures with the McDahlins! Here’s to a lifetime of friendship. ❤

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” — Dalai Lama

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend and we’ll see you back here next week for the last installment of 30 Days of Thankfulness.



30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 10-17

Installment #2 of 30 Days of Thankfulness. Enjoy and HAPPY FRIDAY!

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day 10: No work today in honor of Veterans Day tomorrow! Sometimes it’s the small things that count. Today I’m also thankful for our amazing dog groomer, Claudia who is still grooming Emma & Dash even though we live in SB. She always finds the time to squeeze us and does such a great job on our babies! ❤ ❤ ❤


Day 11: Celebrating my bestie all weekend for her bachelorette party!! Ashley and I have been friends since 7th grade and I’m so excited for her wedding in March! I can’t wait to see my best friend marry the love her life in Jamaica. We had a blast hanging out in Aptos/Santa Cruz all weekend and wearing matching flannel shirts. I’m so grateful to have a friend like Ashley. Love you chica! ❤

Also, a big thank you to all our military personnel for the sacrifices you have made for our freedom. Today we HONOR YOU and THANK YOU! HAPPY VETERANS DAYS!

Day 12: Sunday night movie night! Just what we needed after my bachelorette party planning weekend and the long drive from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara. Thank you Tof for doing all the driving and letting me pick the movies!

Day 13: Today I am thankful for JLSB Neighborhood meeting I attended. Back in August I decided to join the Junior League of Santa Barbara. I figured it would be a good way to meet people, get involved and give back to my community. During November, instead of having our usual large general meetings we have smaller meetings hosted by different JL (Junior League) members. These meetings take place at someone’s home and are more casual and social. It was so fun meeting more women in the league and getting to know them better.

I’m excited for my involvement with JLSB and what the future holds with this organization. Overall, JLSB promotes volunteerism, develops the potential of women and works to improve the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Apparently there are 292 Junior Leagues in four countries! Each Junior League has a Focus Area and ours is helping to improve the lives of at-risk young women by educating & empowering them to reach their full potential while working to prevent exploitation and injustice in our community. We do a variety of community projects (or “Impacts”) throughout the Santa Barbara community. Can’t wait to get more involved!

Day 14: Becoming an Aunt for the 4th time! Welcome to the world BRENNAN ANDREW CLINE. Big congratulations to the Cline Family who are now a party of SIX! I just know Colton, Kendall and Madison are going to be best big siblings to Brennan. Love you all and can’t wait to meet sweet Brennan! Here to becoming aunt and uncle again! LOVE our four niblings to pieces!

Day 15: Happy 3rd Birthday Dash! This little guy is our wild one and certainly keeps us on our toes! He’s also the ultimately snuggle bug and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We love you so much buddy!


Day 16: Thankful to be living in a beautiful place like Santa Barbara. I mean I guess you can’t beat these kinds of views on your lunch break or around town…

Although I’ve previously lived in Santa Barbara for 6 years, coming back and making this transition has been harder than I thought it was going to be. I really miss my family, friends, old job (this is shocking to me), my old co-workers and the Bay Area. Moving, taking risks and starting new jobs is hard! I’ve only been back in SB for five months and am trying to be patient as everything settles. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient, but I’m taking it one step at a time and trying to enjoy those beach views because I CAN!

Day 17: My hubby. This guy is my best friend, partner in crime, love of my life and the one who makes me complete. I am so thankful for his continued support, encouragement, love and push to be the best version of myself! I love him more than words can describe and I don’t know where I would be without him! The end of 2016 and start of 2017 have been quite the adventure. THANK YOU Chris (Tof) for all that you do, for loving me unconditionally and keeping things moving forward for us despite all the craziness we add to our life. You are simply the BEST! ❤ ❤

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.” – Alice Walker

TGIF everyone. Enjoy your weekend!