Saturday, December 18, 2010

Last Hurrah!

As our last hurrah before nursing school and to celebrate our one year anniversary, we decided (more like I decided and did a lot of persuading...) to take a cruise from Puerto Rico.

I don't want to bore anyone with a play by play of our awesome vacation (that would probably make you jealous and sad too) so I'll just run through some highlights.

LAX>JFK>SJU (what I like to call the scenic route.)
Sketchy, sketchy cab that wasn't a cab ride to our hotel in San Juan. Thought I would die. Honest.
Explored Fort San Cristobal which was crawling with iguanas.
Boarded the Caribbean Princess.
Walking Dead marathon until 2am...what can I say? I love zombies. Really.

Snorkeling in 80 degree beautiful waters of Aruba with the Jolly Pirates. Saw sunken shipwreck of WWII ship and found 2 conch shells.

All you can eat pizza on board discovered and exploited.

Bonaire was sticky hot. Tried to rent 2 mopeds which ended up in an epic failure. Whitney is a danger to herself and others.
Movies in the hot tub.
More snorkeling in Grenada aka Isle of Spice. Hung out on Anse beach with Canadians. Islander Miguel sang me a song and tried to rub aloe on my body...would have been flattered, but I think he wanted me to pay him.

Pool and pina coladas.
More free pizza.
Room service USA.
River to ocean kayaking in Dominica. Luke and Whitney aren't such great kayak partners.

Ferry from St. Thomas to St. Johns. Most beautiful beach ever: Trunk Bay. Underwater snorkel trail.

Russian lady telling me I'm too old for school and that I should make babies.
Long, long plane ride home. Long enough to watch Pearl Harbor.
The End to the most perfect vacation ever.
(P.S. Despite this being our 2nd cruise in 2010...we are not cruise people. We swear!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oak Glen

At what point do we become our parents? I remember growing up being forced to help weed the garden, pick green beans every morning and being dragged to Oak Glen every year. I think I enjoyed it as a younger child, but when you are the oldest child, I think you grow out of activities that your younger siblings still enjoy. So you suffer.

But guess who had the urge to go to Oak Glen this fall? Me. Guess who wants a space for a garden? Me. Guess who likes to make weekly menus and grocery lists just like my mom? Me. When does the switch happen? I don't know, but I'm on my way to becoming my parents.

What is Oak Glen? Basically, its a ton of apple orchards east of Redlands, CA. That's it. Apples. Stores with pies, apple butter, apple cider, apple blossom honey, apple patterned get the idea. I begged Lukie to take me there for a romantic fall getaway.

Friday night we headed up to Riley's Farm for a theatrical dinner production of Sleepy Hollow. (The video is totally worth the watch! )

The food was great, there was dancing, a seed spitting and pie eating contest. Cheesy, yes. But it was a great night!

Saturday was spent picking apples straight from the orchard. Perhaps you'll notice in the picture, a sign that says, "No Stealing Apples" meaning you are not allowed to eat apples in the orchard. Apparently Luke did not read the rules and I caught him eating apples and rejecting apples after he'd picked them and tossing them on the ground. He pretty much broke the 10 commandments of apple picking. I would say we narrowly escaped confrontation with the apple police.

It was a wonderful trip! I'm just sad we didn't buy 3 dozen caramel apples. I'm pretty sure this will become one of our yearly traditions.

News just in....! (sort of)

Well, for months and months, I've had to be slightly secretive about my eduational plans. But now that I've let my employer know that I'll be leaving soon, I can FINALLY let the cat out of the bag.

I got accepted to 2 nursing programs!! (after starting pre-reqs in 2008, I feel like its a been a huge battle to get this far, so I'm pretty stoked.)

Originally, I got my letter to Drexel University (located right in Philadelphia.) We went and check out the school, looked for apartments, paid the deposit and were ready to move to Philly. While I was very excited for this plan, I could never get over the fact that this program was $40k for a one year program. We'd worked it out, but it always bothered me.

Just a few weeks ago, a second option presented itself. Ventura College accepted me to start in January. At first, I was really angry when I opened the letter, but after praying we know this is the right choice. While this is a 2 year program, the $5,000 tuition seems much more reasonable. And Luke gets to keep his job. 10 points to Gryffindor!

Thank you everyone for your support and for listening to me rattle of pros and cons of my options. I just hope to survive the next two years!

Monday, October 18, 2010


I got an acceptance letter to Drexel University's Accerlerated Nursing Program back in June. We gave it serious thought and decided to head out there to check it out before committing to moving out there.

The absolute best part of traveling is the planning. I love to read about the history, culture, attractions, and FOOD of a place before I go. I spend weeks gathering information before I selectively plan my time. I make lists and schedules and print out obsessive maps/guides on public transportation. I consult people who have been, yelp, off the beaten path suggestions, touristy to the extreme suggestions. I'm a freak.

Sadly, we only had about 2 days in Philadelphia and our purpose of the trip was scouting out Drexel, so my schemes for sightseeing were cut short, but we did do some really cool things. Mostly involving food. Go figure.

We stayed in the cutest part of town. I almost died at the cuteness. Tall, brick buildings everywhere with old churches on every corner and nice places to eat. Not to mention Rittenhouse Square. Rittenhouse is just piece of green in the city with park benches, people playing chess, walking their dogs, reading or pushing strollers. Adorable.

I received a couple recommendations to go to a restaurant called Alma de Cuba. I would describe it as a very hip, sexy, restaurant/lounge serving Cuban food. Luke was definitely out of his element, but I loved experience. (I've been pretty spoiled with eating at fancy pants restaurants through work.) I got some delicious duck with a currant good. And dessert was even better. Luke got Banana Tres Leches and I got a chocolate almond cake in the shape of a cigar (remember...Cuba.)

We'd planned on going to Pat's and Geno's (two rival Philly cheesesteak joints across the street from eachother.) But on the plane ride over, I sat inbetween two black cops, both named Calvin from Jersey. They were HILARIOUS! They said to forget those places and go to Jim's. So we took a cab and had some great sandwiches. And Diet Dr. Pepper....amazing. I'm pretty sure Luke was in heaven.

If you know me, then you know I have an unnatural obsession with 21 Jumpstreet. I was born in the wrong decade...sigh.

I loved Philly! I'm such an urbanite at heart. I'm really glad I got the chance to go.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Retroactive Blogging: Missouri in a nutshell

Way, way back in September, the Erickson clan gathered together for a family reunion in Missouri to celebrate the safe arrival of Luke's brother, Karl home from Iraq. Let me break it down for you:

The Good:
-Cupcake Contest
-Gun Shooting
-Lambert's (Home of the Throwed Roll)
-Sorghum (a delicious, honey-like substance)
-A Plethora of Diet Dr. Pepper

The Bad:
-Humidity (try having your glasses fog up when you walk outside!)

The Ugly:
-The bugs (I am still trying to google a photo of the bug Luke and I saw on our car...the biggest, ugliest bug I have ever seen and I have no idea what it is...probably a new species discovery.)

Friday, September 3, 2010


Summer has come to a close and school has started, but we've still be busy, busy, busy trying to pack as much fun (oh yeah and work and church and chores) as we can in our spare time. Just some of our latest adventures:

We've been working on my "Things to do while still in the LA area" list, so we arranged a double date with our friends, the Brazees to the Hollywood Forever Cemetary for a viewing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In my mind, it was a perfect outing...picnic dinner, fun movie with friends and lots of candy! The night nearly turned into a diaster when we got separated from our friends. We dropped them off to wait in a line while we went to park the car. Luke and I ended up getting a parking spot in the cemetary which granted us instant access to the movie. Sadly, our friends had to wait in line for over an hour and I was so worried they wouldn't get in at all. They only let 2,000 people in, which sounds like a lot, but the place fills up! I was trying to save them a seat and was so anxious, of course Luke was laughing at the whole situation. Eventually they made it in and we had a good time.
We also hosted a "create your own pizza + games" night which was sponsored by Papa Low's pizza. Everyone brought their own toppings and created their own masterpieces.
I sent Luke to the store that morning to get our toppings and he came home with a 1.5 lb bag of pepperoni. I still don't know what we're going to do with all that pepperoni...
I love, love, love cooking and entertaining. I just wish we had more space so I could throw a real party.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Love and San Diego

So, it's about 3pm on an average Wednesday at work when I get a text from my bestie that she and her fiance are getting married the next morning in San Diego!!! HOLY CRAP!!! (The Navy has a way of imposing last minute/life changing experiences I've noticed...) Crystal and I met through work a few years ago and have been best friends ever since. In fact, every year we celebrate our "Frienniversary" every year with a fancy dinner to celebrate when we became friends. (Cheesy? Absolutely yes. But hey, its an excuse to splurge!) We've worked together, traveled all over the US together, she's been there when I met Luke and got married and I've been there when she joined the Navy. So bottom line, I HAD to be there for their special day.

Quick like a bunny, I got the day off from work, priceline negotiated a hotel room in SD, bought some cupcakes, packed, stopped off in LA to get pick up Will's wedding band and headed down the I-5. The next morning we headed to the courthouse (which is right across the street from the ocean) for their ceremony. I've never been to a ceremony at the courthouse and it was actually nicer than I'd imagined. The lady performing the ceremony actually said some really nice things about love, respect and being faithful to the one you marry. After some "I dos," a kiss and my witness signature, Mr. and Mrs. Will Argueta walked out of the courthouse. We had some cupcakes, a toast and then Will had to go back to work. Crystal and I celebrated the day by going to our favorite San Diego breakfast joint, The Broken Yolk. Let me tell you, the best way to celebrate a marriage is with some bomb French Toast!
On a side note...I LOVE San Diego. Luke is normally not allowed to say the "B" word or the "H" word in my presence (baby or house.) But I've decided that when we are ready to settle down and buy a house, San Diego is my #1 pick so far. Reasons why:
1.) It's absolutely gorgeous there! Blue, blue skies, blue water, great temperatures. You could never have a bad day if you lived there, I'm certain of that.
2.) Technically, it's a pretty large city, but I don't get that rushed or crowded feeling there, even when I'm downtown. It's relaxed and casual with all my urban necessities.
3.) It's in California.
4.) There's a temple there.
5.) Lukie and I could get a sailboat!
6.) University of San Diego has Nurse Practioner program.
Hopefully, we'll end up there soon!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Take her to sea, Mr. Murdoch...

Luke and his friends go sailing every once in a while and I have always wanted to go, but never had the chance...until last weekend!!! We took Chip's vessel, Thug Life out for a sail out of the Ventura harbor. Thinking it would be wise to avoid a potential sea sickness episode, I popped half a dramamine before we set sail. Even though it was my first experience on a sail boat, Chip had me steer the boat out of the harbor while the boys set up the sails. (completely nerve wracking when there are innocent kayaking bystanders in the same waters as a newbie sailor!) I didn't get sick at all and loved being on the water. However, the dramamine made me so drowsy that I zonked out right on the ship! Luckily, I was awoken when we passed a buoy being occupied by a family of barking seals. (in case you are wondering, Luke will not allow me to keep a pet seal in our bath tub...I asked.)

All in all, it was a fabulous day with great weather, company and scrumptious snacks. I'm thinking one day Luke and I should invest in a sail boat and go on some sailing adventures...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Full House + Wedding Weekend

The Brown/Acosta wedding has been a long anticipated event! Chris Acosta has been Luke's longest friend and it was his wedding that we all gathered for. We got to play "How many people can we fit into Luke and Whitney's 1 bedroom apartment?" We successfully housed 6 people for the wedding weekend (more like 6 1/2 if you count the baby in Janel's belly...can you believe she drove from Utah with 3 weeks left in her pregnancy?!! What a trooper!)

It was so great to meet up with all of Luke's posse at the rehearsal dinner at Bucca di Beppos. I think I ate myself into an oblivion...they even had a towering donut cake decorated like a wedding cake. It was so creative (and delish!)

Luke was the best man and he looked super handsome in his suit. Everything about the wedding was absolutely gorgeous...the venue, the bride, the flowers, the bridesmaids and their dresses. The color was pink, so of course I was in love with everything...especially the candy!! Have I mentioned that I like candy? (understatement of the century...) Some of the wedding party also arranged and performed a medley of songs for the bride and groom which was really quite spectacular.

Sadly, toward the evening Lukie got really sick. I've never seem him so ill, so I was really worried. He was in some sort of fever/delirium for about 24 hours, so I got the opportunity to teach his Sunday School class. We played "tithing jeopardy," which seemed to work ok, but I think all the kids were glad to have their real teacher back the next Sunday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Urban Camping

This past weekend we decided to go camping with our friends, the Vreekens. Now, this wasn't what I will call "normal" camping...this was urban camping. After work on Friday, we drove 40 minutes from our apartment, set up camp and were roasting weiners before dark. McGrath State Beach is basically a spot of sand near the beach where they have set up about 100 campsites (all within about 20 feet of each other,) so this is not the type of wilderness where you wonder if you will be eaten by bears in the middle of the night. In fact, I had cell phone reception the entire time, slept on an aerobed and had access to a flushing toilet...practically a 4 star hotel! Bear Grylls would be ashamed of me. Keep in mind that most of my girl's camp experiences followed the "No tents allowed" rule, even in the rain. We slept under the stars on tarps and made lean tos when it rained. Hard core.

However, I must admit that urban camping was so so so much fun! We laughed all night, discovered that roasting corn on the cob in the fire only has a 25% success rate, ate some marvelous peach pineapple cobbler (if I do say so myself!) sang some tunes and lost a box of donuts to the ants.

The best part of camping, as everyone knows, is the s'mores. My parents brought Luke back a bag of the biggest marshmellows that I've ever seen from their trip to Utah. Luke calls them (and I quote,) "The best things that have ever been created." In order to create a successful s'more with these suckers, you need to use 2 full grahams (if they made mega grahams, that would be even better) and a full sized Hershey's chocolate bar. These s'mores are not for the weak. I came out of the experience with a couple of burned fingers, a pant leg smeared in mallow and a very sticky face, but well worth the battle....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4th of July

This 4th of July, the Erickson clan gathered for an official chili cook-off and home made root beer contest. I scoured my recipe books and the Internet looking for the perfect chili recipe. Luke doesn't like soup or anything that even closely resembles soup, so I was determined to find something even he would enjoy. I finally decided using a tried and true Olson/Low family recipe that has been around since the sixties.

Saturday morning, my trusty sous chef and I started cooking...several pork chops, a flank steak, a few roasted anaheim chilis and 5 hours later, we knew we had a tasty concoction! (Even Luke liked it!) As for our root beer, it had been brewing under our bathroom sink for a few we were ready.

Sunday was the day of the big competition (with a very distinguished panel of unbiased judges.) Everyone had delicious entries and we had such a good time enjoying the company. And we even walked away with the win!

(We were awarded a 100 Grand candy bar...which as you might be able to see, did not make it home.)

The root beer on the other hand, was awful! But that didn't stop me from trying all of the entries, from Beer Mon to Sniper Hill. It was a hoot! Somehow, Luke and I also won the root beer contest. However, don't be fooled...I think the prize was "Least Worst Root Beer." I think next year, we may try our hands at home made Dr. Pepper...get ready!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I am definitely not a morning person. I literally have to drag myself out of bed at 7:30 or 8am. But ever since I switched my gym membership to MAC in Moorpark (cheaper and closer than 24 Hour Fitness, plus they have movie ticket discounts which sold Luke on the idea) I’ve been wanting to try some of their fitness classes. Last night I vowed I would go to bed early and wake up at 5:30 am for my first ever spin class. Unfortunately, I was so nervous/excited that I woke up every few hours for fear of sleeping in.

I made it to the gym and I must have had “newbie” written all over my face because the instructor came over and helped me adjust the bike. Despite the discomfort of the bike seat (and I thought I had a fair amount of padding back there!) it was a really fun, high paced class with great music. (Hello, hearing Eurhythmics makes the 5:30am rise totally worth it!) Even though I kept the tension pretty low, I sweat a ton and got a good workout. When it got tough, did I imagine that I was biking in the French Alps with Lance Armstrong? You betcha. When Justin Timberlake and Madonna were singing to me about how we only had 4 minutes to save the world, did I worry that the fate of the world rested on how fast I pedaled? Absolutely. According to the Internet, you can supposedly burn 500 calories in a spin class. This may just be the variety I’ve needed in my workout routine. Hopefully I won’t be too sore tomorrow!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Palm Springs/Mt. San Jacinto

Father's Day weekend I drove out to Palm Springs with my Dad to climb Mt. San Jacinto and spend time with my family. Saturday morning we took the 8am tram up to the trail. There were tons of other people hiking as well. Toward the top of the mountain there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground, which I am not a fan of. For some reason, the thought of slipping on the ice and sustaining a massive head injury on some rocks over 10,000 ft really freaks me out. Anyways, we made it to the top for a quick Kodak moment and headed down.

The reason I hike mountains is to climb them and conquer them. Once I've reached the top, I feel like my duty is done and therefore, my motivation to hike down is pretty low. My Dad had to put up with a pretty slow and extremely cranky hiking partner for the way down (sorry Dad!)

Though, after a shower and pastrami sandwich, I was in much better spirits.

On a side note, this trip was my first night away from Luke since we've been married. You'd think that sleeping without him for 24 years of my life would make this pretty simple, but I missed him terribly. Luckily my grandma was a good replacement on the pull-out couch!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sponge Hands

Luke calls me a "borderline germaphobe." According to, a phobia is "a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it."

I don't know where my sudden love of cleanliness came from. (For the purposes of this blog, please note that there is a clear distinction between cleanliness and clutter.) Maybe it stems from the microbiology class I took last year. Or the fact that now the appearance on our apartment is a reflection on me. But since we've moved in, I religiously scrub every bleachable surface every Saturday. And I use Clorox wipes during the week in between. I find these behaviors to be totally reasonable. I am not afraid of germs...I just don't want them in my kitchen. Very rational, you see?

The only thing that makes me put any weight in Luke's accusations is my feeling on sponges. I hate sponges! They are just a germ reproduction center! And they stink! Despite my best efforts to run them through the dishwasher, I can smell them from a mile away. If one of us uses the sponge, I smell it on our hands and refer to this condition as "Sponge Hands."

Last week was the first time that my fear of getting Sponge Hands prevented me from doing the dishes. Very ridiculous, I know. Perhaps I'm not a germaphobe, rather a Spongaphobe. I don't know, you decide.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

San Diego

Memorial Day weekend was absolutely glorious! Firstly, I got to be away from work for 3 days which is just a wonderful thing. But most importantly we got to get away to San Diego to visit my bestie, Crystal and meet her boyfriend, Will (now fiance.) Congrats you two!

Views of San Diego from the USS Nimitz

We started our journey south by stopping for a visit with Mike and Tina Erickson to partake in some California Cafe Rio goodness. Delicious! We then stayed in our 4 star hotel for a steal of a deal thanks to Luke's Priceline negotiating skills.

We had an amazing time in beautiful San Diego eating at the Broken Yolk (a breakfast joint that we loved so much we went to both mornings,) walking around downtown, touring the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, and going on a fun and romantic dinner cruise.

Photos from the dinner cruise:

I just want to say thank you to all the service men and women in this country. Having a best friend in the Navy and a brother in law in the Army has really given me some perspective on what sacrifices they go through to serve. I could never do it. And Luke informed me that he could never join the Navy because he can't stand up straight in the ships (he was in a continual ducking position during our tour!) We enjoyed the tour, and even got to go to the flight deck! Although, my favorite part was making a FREE peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the dining area.

We had quite the adventure trying to locate where in the harbor our dinner cruise was leaving from. We arrived late, of course and were scrambling around trying to find it before the boat was scheduled to leave. Will ran off to the ticket booth while the rest of us waited where we thought we should be. The next thing we know, Will in aboard a pedi-cab being cycled by a hippie! We had only minutes to go a half mile before our ship left. So all 4 of us piled into the pedi-cab while the hippie pedaled at full speed. He honked his horned and yelled "VIPs coming through" as he plowed through the crowd. We barely made it to the ship in time and we owe it to the hippie who huffed and puffed to get us there. Thank you for getting kicked out of the 10th grade so you could drive our pedi-cab! What a hilarious and memorable experience.

All four of us on the dinner cruise

Why can't long weekends come around more often?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I like Moorpark & Strawberries

I love where we live. Our ward is the friendliest, most inviting ward I’ve ever been in. We are close to family and friends. Everyday I drive home on the 23 freeway and come down a hill looking at the amazing rolling green hills. It’s gorgeous. We are only minutes from the beach and less than an hour to L.A. We also live cornered in some agricultural areas. I try to get most of our produce from a farm that is less than 5 minutes from our apartment called Underwood Family Farms. I love buying produce that was in the ground yesterday as opposed to who knows where it was grown and then transported here. Plus, I figure it is supporting the local economy. Ever since I’ve lived in this area, I’ve anticipated Spring, which is synonymous with STRAWBERRY SEASON!! Strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit and I eat it every morning with cottage cheese for breakfast for as long as the season lasts. If I had to choose one food to live off of for the rest of my life, this would be it. In celebration of this beautiful fruit (not to mention it has the highest amount of vitamin C than any other fruit,) I wrote a haiku:

Ode to Strawberry Season

I love strawberries
Red, delicious and healthy
Picked fresh from Oxnard

I buy them by the flat from the nicest Mexican man on the side of the road. Luke came with me once to get them and they spoke in Spanish. When I went back, he assumed that I spoke Spanish as well! It was funny to reply with just “hi.”

In addition to the oodles of raw strawberries I’ve consumed, I also purchased some rhubarb to experiment with. For mother’s day dinner I made my first ever strawberry-rhubarb pie. Yum!

Friday, May 14, 2010


One day I'd like to have the following letters behind my name:

Whitney K. Erickson, M.S.N., M.P.H., R.N., N.P.

My ideal job: nurse practioner/nursing professor/involved in a non profit international public health agency/pastry chef/mom.

One step at a time I guess starting with the R.N. I hate waiting for acceptance letters. It's nerve wracking and makes me want to eat chocolate.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

I like to celebrate things...any occasion will do...any excuse for a party or something special! So today after work, I changed into my "Mexican Poncho Dress" that I bought on our honeymoon in Cabo. Our intention was to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by having one of our new favorite dishes, Ranchos Huevos. However, due to some unforseen events (mainly the lack of black beans and sour cream in our house) we settled for spaghetti and meatballs (my current obsession.) I thought it was so ironic that we were eating Italian on the 5th of May while dressed so festive, I had to have a picture.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Las Vegas

For Luke's birthday we went to Las Vegas, specifically to see the cirque de soleil show, O. Thurday night we drove to Primm and arrived about 3am and slept in a bed with sheets made of cardboard, I'm sure of it. Friday, we ate ourselves into oblivion at the Rio's World Buffet. After a recovery nap, we made our way to the Bellagio dressed in our finest! The entrance to the O Theater has tons of artwork inspired by the show and costs about the amount of a down payment for a home in Southern California (Luke and I had a hard time resisting a purchase, believe me!) Instead, we had fun taking pictures mimicking their poses.

The actual O show was quite impressive. The performers did some incredible stunts, beautiful dances and some were very funny. The stage was amazing in that sometimes it was a pool, and other times it was a solid stage. I've never seen a show like it.

Saturday, we visited a college roommate of mine who just gave birth to her first son. What a cutie! It was fun to chat with her, and feed the baby a bottle and burp it! Our friends, the Vreekens also joined us for the day in Vegas.

We enjoyed stuffing ourselves with pizza at CiCi's, getting painted tattoos and spending the afternoon at the Silverton Hotel waiting to catch a glimpse of their mermaid. It was a grand day, finished off by deep friend Oreos and Twinkies. I'm surprised we all made it through without any heart attacks!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Birthday Boy

Photo by: Jessica Lewis Photography

It’s Lukie’s 25th birthday on Sunday. We’re going to Vegas for the weekend to celebrate. Hopefully I’ll have something interesting to blog about when we get back! In honor of his birthday, I wrote 25 things that I love about the love of my life. I just want him to know how much I love and appreciate him! (Plus, this is just another trick for you to read another one of my lists!)

1.) Luke has the most positive, optimistic character. He always looks for the good or possible learning experiences in situations. I hope this quality rubs off on me.
2.) He is always patient with me which is a saintly, saintly thing because I tend to run late for everything, have weird neurotic quarks and he more than puts up with me. Instead of getting irritated or rushing me, he simply calls out the time, “It’s 8:03 in the kingdom and all is well!”
3.) He is one of the friendliest, outgoing people I have ever met. Luke could make a lifelong friend in about .03 seconds. I love this about him because he always keeps things interesting. We often have funny encounters with strangers that we meet wherever we go.
4.) Luke is a cinema fanatic! He is my walking imdb.
5.) He loves his family and would do anything for them. This is one of my favorite of his qualities, because family is truly his #1 priority.
6.) He is so funny and makes me laugh on a daily basis!

7.) He’ll try anything once. He even tries sushi, my weird ethnic foods that I love or he’ll even sign up to volunteer at race events with me.
8.) He is a Dr. Pepper aficionado. Need I say more?
9.) He loves kids and is so good with them! He adores his nieces and nephew and it’s so cute to see them play together.
10.) He works hard. Even when its 7pm on a Friday night and there’s a problem at his job, he is always the one to stay behind and make sure the work gets done right.
11.) He is musically talented. He plays the trumpet and I’ll often come home to him singing and playing his guitar. I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve heard him get in church on his singing.
12.) I don’t know where I heard the saying, “Real Men Snuggle,” but it’s true. Luke is a real man and a first class snuggler.
13.) He cleans. Oh my word, I could sing his praises all day about this one. Every night after a full day of work, he does the dishes. I think I’ve taken out the trash once in all of our married life and he always helps me with my “Saturday chores.”
14.) He loves to serve. I’ll admit, I’m not the one to sign up for the Saturday morning service projects, but Luke is willing to get up at 6am on a Saturday to give service. What a guy.
15.) He’s a smarty pants. He’ll help me any time with my homework (especially the math!) Now if only he’ll go take that GRE…. J
16.) He loves the Lord and strives to keep the commandments. He’s a great example to me.
17.) He’s got a big, hearty laugh that just warms my soul.
18.) He’s willing to eat what I cook for him without any complaint. I use ground turkey instead of beef and I know that was a change for him. Not to mention some of the culinary disasters I’ve already experienced…burned bacon, runny cream puffs, and other weird experiments gone wrong. He even ate my eggplant parmesan. J
19.) I hope I don’t ruin his masculine reputation by saying he is the sweetest guy. He brings home Hershey’s eggs when he knows I’ve had a bad day or will pull the covers over me in the morning and when I’ve unknowingly kicked my own covers off and gotten cold.
20.) He’s a good kisser.
21.) He’ll watch the entirety of Dawson’s Creek with me. I was informed by a classmate that I was lucky because her boyfriend would NEVER watch “girly” shows with her.
22.) Lukie is my strong man. Which is great if I need any heavy lifting done…but basically its just nice to know that he could probably kill a lot of zombies if they came to attack us in the middle of the night.
23.) He compliments me nearly everyday and makes me feel pretty.
24.) He’s pretty handy. I grew up in a house where we took the car into the shop or called a fix it man. Luke has already fixed a few things on his car and that just wows me!
25.) Luke is a really calm, confident man. This is a really good thing for me, because I tend to worry and he has a way to calm my worries and make me feel at ease.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keeping up with the Ericksons

Does life ever slow down? It seems like the older I get, the busier I become. Between work, school, church, callings, keeping up with Luke’s social life and everything in between I’m pining for spare time to do things I enjoy (or at least I used to.) Man, I don’t even have children yet…I’m in for a rude awakening! But basically this is just an excuse for me to make another list.

Things I’d like to do if I had more time:

-Exercise like a mad woman
-Volunteer at St. John’s Hospital
-Bake something every week and give it away
-Work on a tan (Can I work on it if I don’t have one yet?)
-Try more new healthy recipes and prepare 3 complete balanced meals/day
-Read for pleasure
-Make more friends
-Start new hobbies (I’ve been mentally toying with the idea of cycling for a while)
-Go rollerblading at the beach
-Pluck my eyebrows more than once in a blue moon
-Take an art class
-Be outside
-Entertain more guests
-Maintain a perfectly spotless home (seriously, how does it get so dirty with just 2 people living there? I’m terrified to think what adding kids will do!)
-Visit my grandparents more often
-Garden (this would also require space that we do not have)
-Find an equally dedicated sushi partner as both of mine have moved away

My next month of Saturdays is already booked up and I have finals, spring cleaning, friend’s wedding and out of town guests all to consider. Maybe one day I’ll have an evening free to pick up a good book!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eating habits, "skinny" fat people and end of anemia era!

Warning: This will be a lengthy rant that may or may not make sense. Do yourself a favor and skip it.

I’ve decided that engagement and marriage have destroyed my healthy life routine. A few years ago, I made significant changes to my diet and exercise habits. Like eating balanced meals and snacks based on lean proteins, fruits/veggies and a complex carb every now and again. And basically I learned that exercise was more than just lifting a few weights or comfortably gliding on an elliptical for 20 minutes…did you know that exercise means getting your heart rate up, breathing hard, sweating (ew…I still try to avoid that) for more like 60-90 minutes? Other “rules” that I made up were saying goodbye to fast foods, red meat, drinking any sort of beverage with calories, etc. etc. I went from looking like this:

To this:

I also went through a lot of internal changes. I took a dance class, started running 5/10ks, climbing mountains, feeling [more] comfortable in a swim suit, being more confident and actually liking myself. All great things. Then I met Luke. When we got engaged, my schedule became super hectic. Somehow, my carefully planned snacks and meals all turned to Red Vines and Diet Dr. Pepper. (Is that really a bad way to go?) I’ve heard physical trainers talk about “skinny” fat people. Basically, there are people who spend their daily caloric intake eating foods with no nutritional value (apparently licorice falls into this category)…they aren’t gaining weight, but they don’t have the nutrients to support muscle growth or body functions.

After being on a licorice/caffeine diet for 6 months my body decided to rebel. I knew I felt tired all the time, but I assumed it was from working, being a full-time student, and planning a wedding. Some time after the wedding, I attempted to donate blood, but was rejected. Lots of blood tests, iron supplements and 3 months later, I was referred to a hematologist for iron infusions. Yes, I want to be a nurse, but that does not mean I like to get poked with needles! It just means that I’m ok with poking someone else with a needle! Anyways, iron infusions aren’t the most pleasant thing in the world. A. I don’t like to sit with an IV in my arm for 45 min. and then get an extra B12 shot B. I’d rather spend my $20 co-pay on something better, like shoes! C. One of the side effects that I experience is joint pain. It’s the weirdest thing. After an infusion, I’ll feel like a 90 year old grandma! My knees and elbows get all hurty and I can barely bend down to pick something up off the floor.

ANYWAYS…I’m declaring this to be the end of my anemia era! My levels are starting to pick up. I’m feeling much more like myself, having more energy and am starting to think about exercise (but let’s not push it, really people.) I’m hoping to start back up at the gym and probably start my “Couch to 5k” program again. It’s just very frustrating to have to start ALL over again. I’ve noticed that my lovely toned legs have turned to mush and that the scale is tipping almost 10 lbs heavier post marriage. So I really need to reel myself back in, get back into my healthy habits and be accountable to me. Since marriage, I’ve found our eating habits to have merged…like I’m eating more pizza and cereal at all hours of the day. No one, especially me, needs a bowl of Frosted Flakes at midnight. Anyone have any thoughts on maintaining a healthful diet while living with someone who is less inclined to follow the same routine? Yes, I know that I make the dinners so I can make something healthy, but I like both of us to be satisfied, plus its really fun to spontaneously indulge on naughty food with your significant other.

So goodbye anemia, delicious, but unhealthy foods and hello gym, whole food, energy, self-esteem and the Whitney as you knew her!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lemon Love Affair

I hosted Easter dinner at our apartment and had planned the menu well in advance…I like planning and list making. And planning usually means I get to make more lists, which is just a blissful thing. For dessert I decided to try a new recipe for lemon crème brulee. I picked about 2-3 lemons at my parent’s house, just enough for what I needed.

I should have known better than to leave them unguarded on the counter, but the next thing I know…they’re gone! What should I have expected? I live with a man who adores his citrus and the only thing he wanted when we spent our wedding gift cards was a citrus juicer. He quickly rectified the situation though, by bringing me a grocery bag full of lemons! Considering that I only used about 3 for my Easter meal, we had tons of lemons leftover.

Normally, I don’t use a lot of lemon in my cooking, but I’ve been seeking out lemon recipes to use up our stores. And let me say…I’ve fallen in love with lemons! Not just a little bit, but I’m head over heels, smitten with lemon! It can be such a light, delicate flavor, or it can pack a punch a really zing those taste buds. Basically, it’s heavenly. We’ve tried the lemon crème brulee (probably one of my new favorite non chocolate dessert recipes,) lemonade, lemon pasta, and my latest experiment: lemon cream puffs.

We still have quite the collection of lemons hanging out in our kitchen and I’m still on the hunt for recipes worthy of this divine fruit. So if you have any, please share!

Please note: This blog post and several yummy desserts were made possible by Robert and Vickie Erickson and their backyard lemon tree. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Horrible Blogger

Back in January I was really motivated to start blogging and fill in memorable events from 2009. In fact, I wrote a lengthy account of my Mt. Whitney adventure only to have it mysteriously vanish from my computer screen. In those 2 seconds my motivation for blogging died. Four months later, I'm having the urge to blog again so I'm going to attempt some posts. My expectations are pretty low. Yours should be too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Let's face it, any blog post titled "Honeymoon," makes you nervous. Or intrigued, if you're the nosy type. But don't worry, I'm sparing the world the juicy details, but I did want to report on our awesome adventures in Mexico!

We boarded our Royal Carribean cruise on and had access to unlimited food at any hour of the day. I think this may have been my favorite part of the trip. They had a buffet that was open 24 hours a didn't really float my boat, but Luke loved it and committed himself to eat at least one hamburger per day. I was more partial to the fancy 3 course meals for dinner. The service was impeccable, everything was Sir or Madam. Each night we had our choice of any or all options of appetizers, entrees and desserts. I got to try escargot for the first time (definitely not a fan, but I've always wanted to try it.) I also loved the unlimited free soft serve by the pool area. I'm only sorry that I discovered it halfway through the cruise. But probably my favorite thing was ordering room service! Luke had thought ahead and brought his laptop with a bunch of movies and TV shows on our trip. Every night we would watch a movie, order hot chocolate and cookies and snuggle! Best vacation ever!

Our three ports were Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerta Vallarta. In Cabo, it was really hot. We walked around the markets and did a little shopping. Puerta Vallarta was my favorite port because we'd planned an excursion. We took a boat to the Marietta Islands to do some snorkeling. We also asked a local where we could get the best tacos in Puerta Vallarta. After an interesting journey, we settled for a taco shack near the best tacos in Puerta Vallarta. Now, when I say taco shack, I mean just that. No running water in these things. No plastic gloves. Just some Mexican lady smashing dough with her bare hands into tortillas. It's a public health nightmare. And yet, it was so delicious. I'm not sure what Luke ordered me...all I know was that I was in taco heaven with a Coca Cola light on the side.

It was so nice to get away after planning the wedding and spending a week together just us. It really was the perfect honeymoon!