Forever This Much

books, beauty, & other thoughts in Northern California
July 16th, 2013 by Justine

What I Read: Beautiful Ruins

Gabe (a total nonreader of fiction) recommended this book to me while I was trying to find something in the Fort Lauderdale airport bookstore for our 6 hour flight– he said he saw it on a Buzzfeed “Best of 2013 So Far” list. I was doubtful, especially when I saw the chick lit-y cover and font, but I got it anyway, and I’m so glad I did.

beautiful ruins What I Read: Beautiful Ruins

(see what I mean about the cover?)

Read the rest of this entry »

July 12th, 2013 by Justine

It’s Official: Mr. & Mrs.

On May 26, 2013, I married this guy. I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit of a rough road to the wedding, but it ended up being completely amazing, and yep, best day of my life so far. We were SO blessed and amazed with the generosity and love poured out on us by our family and friends–they really made it the best. It was beautiful, it was fun, it was overwhelming in the best way…oh, and there were tacos. I mean, does it get any better?

We don’t have the disc for our wedding photos yet (although we’ve seen the online gallery and they are beyond incredible), and I want to save the big wedding post for those (because they captured every. single. detail.), as well as the recap of the whole day. Which will probably need like 10 posts icon smile Its Official: Mr. & Mrs.

But, here are some of my favorites that were taken on my mom’s camera & friends’ iPhones…

photo 4 Its Official: Mr. & Mrs.

You guys, we were are so stoked to be married.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 7th, 2013 by Justine

Our engagement photos!

About 3 months ago, we took engagement photos with our photographers, to be Adored, in San Francisco. I was SUPER nervous about the whole thing as I am usually not very photogenic, and I especially agonized over what to wear. Wear bright colors! Wear something flattering from almost every angle! Wear something that’s very “you”! Umm…easier said than done! I tried on like eight million outfits and in the end, wore a dress + boots for one outfit, and a sequin shirt + my favorite black pants of all time + a scarf + blue pumps for the other. We went to some of our favorite spots in the city [Golden Gate Park + Nob Hill], and the shoot turned out to be totally relaxed and not something to worry about at all! Our photographers did a great job of making us feel comfortable and catching those cheesy moments that engagement photos are all about. Here’s some of my favorites…

Justine Gabe 11 Our engagement photos! [i'm a sucker for laughing-while-noses-touch photos] Read the rest of this entry »

April 29th, 2013 by Justine

Popping the Question: How to Ask Your Bridesmaids!

BM7 760x1024 Popping the Question: How to Ask Your Bridesmaids!

Hi guys! As I’ve mentioned, I have like, a billion projects going on for my upcoming wedding. This one was actually the very first project I took on after we got engaged, and it’s a super cute way to ask your bffs, sisters, cousins, or whoever, to be your bridesmaids! I’m a particular fan of thoughtful gestures in card form, and since being a bridesmaids is a pretty big financial and time commitment, I wanted to ask them in a way that would convey how much it would mean to me if they said yes! I originally found the tutorial on a website that I can’t seem to find right now [ugh!! sorry! if anyone finds the original, please link in comments!], but it was the tutorial this picture is from. Shall we get started?? Read the rest of this entry »

April 24th, 2013 by Justine

Food I Daydream About: The Marketplace

I don’t know if I’ve ever really shared this about myself here on the blog but…I love food. Like, would probably say food [eating of rather than making of] is one of my top 3 hobbies if I wasn’t nervous about the social judgment. With that in mind, I wanted to tell you guys about a restaurant that I’m equal parts glad [cause I would go here every day and not fit into my wedding dress...or any dress] and sad [cause it's freakin delicious] is located very far away from me in Downey, CA.

This restaurant is called The Marketplace, and it is amazing. My mom and I went down to LA area last weekend to visit my grandma for her 65th birthday and have a bridal shower with my family down there, and my grandma took us to The Marketplace for dinner on Saturday…and we went back for lunch on Monday before we drove home. I have been dreaming about it ever since.

salad 866x1024 Food I Daydream About: The MarketplaceThis is the Chinese Chicken Salad we ordered Saturday night. It basically came in a mixing bowl [it was really that huge] and the most amazing vinaigrette is in that little dish. The chicken was flavorful and tender. The peanuts were plentiful. Yummm. Behind it is the pastrami & FETA panini we also ordered [my mom and I split both of these]. There were SO. MANY. PICKLES. on that sandwich [the way to my heart, FYI]. The meat was overflowing. And those things that look like potato chips? Those are fries. Sliced potato fries…yes.

me mom and grandma 300x225 Food I Daydream About: The MarketplaceThree generations of women with crazy eyes over the food [grandma might be pissed if she knew I put this photo on the internet].

sandwich 1024x945 Food I Daydream About: The MarketplaceThis was my lunch on Monday. The ciabatta chicken sandwich and feta fries. Can I just say that they were not shy AT ALL with the feta cheese? The feta flows freely here, guys. My sandwich was what dreams are made of [i indulge many sandwich dreams]. That orange stuff was some sort of spicy sauce that honestly made my tastebuds rejoice. I saved half of this sandwich for the ride home but I kind of wish I had gotten two and saved one for like…now [what? it's not gross.]. And those fries are a revelation. I want to experiment and make them myself.

eggplant 1024x819 Food I Daydream About: The MarketplaceThis is the eggplant burger that both my mom and grandma got for Monday’s lunch…my mom dubbed it the “Most Interesting Sandwich I Have Ever Eaten,” and then later confirmed that that means it was amazing and delicious. It had mushrooms, sauce, obviously plenty of pickles, and it was so thick and huge that my grandma got sauce between her eyes when she took a bite. I’m not kidding.

OH, and I forgot to mention, its averagely priced…for far above average taste [umm should I get a marketing shoutout for this post or what?!].

So if you’re in the Downey area, you should really go. Because I can’t, and the menu was so extensive…I just want to try it all. I love you, Marketplace!  

April 22nd, 2013 by Justine

Some truths about wedding planning that you should know before you decide to have a wedding.

0bb362d4d9d5797d43e2caf168a47ffe Some truths about wedding planning that you should know before you decide to have a wedding.

This is your brain on wedding planning.

Hi guys. Bridezilla Justine here, just poking my head up from the haze of wedding planning to observe the real world for a second. While the title of this post may sound like it’s super well planned and carefully weighed before being written [I guess the word "truths" may lead you to that conclusion], it’s actually just some late night ramblings from a bride who’s getting married 5 weeks from today and spent half the weekend scraping lead based paint off of really old windows and then inhaling spray paint. So, ya know. Take this as you will.

1. You’re gonna fight about wedding stuff.

The biggest things Gabe and I have fought about? There’s really only been two subjects that seem to come up again…and again…and again. A) Guest list. Who to invite? What about his girlfriend? No, we don’t even really like them. No, you haven’t seen them in three years. I’ve never met that person. Maybe if enough people say no. Etc. B) Cake. Umm…I don’t know. I think I’m gonna chalk this one up to wedding madness and different priorities, but we sure fought about this one a lot. It got to the point where he would just mention the word “cake” and I would turn into a crazed lunatic. It was basically my trigger word for the past 6 weeks or so. After one final blow up regarding [trigger word]-pops last week, I think we may be past it [may be speaking too soon, but I'm being positive]. The point is, you’ll fight. You’ll disagree and probably have to “agree to disagree” Being engaged=romantic, wonderful, precious. Wedding planning= not, about 85% of the time.

2. You WILL BE wedding obsessed for at least 4-5 months before the wedding. 

We got engaged in October. We coasted through November and December, choosing our big vendors, pinning ideas, daydreaming about our big day. Then New Years hit and suddenly I was obsessed. Though I’ve always sympathized with brides before, I now know that no one really knows the extent to which it consumes your life unless you’ve recently [5-7 years ago or less] gotten married or lived with someone planning a wedding. It has to be recent, because I think your brain lovingly lets you forget it after a while. I can tell when someone’s planned a wedding recently when they ask me “How’s it going?” with a look that’s equal parts concern and sympathy. It’s been too long or hasn’t happened yet when they say, “Omg, are you soooo excited?” with eyes of excitement and joyful anticipation. Yes, your wedding will take over your life. You will feel overwhelmed and have moments where you seriously consider eloping [but not to Vegas, to somewhere much classier, like maybe Cancun]. Get used to it.

3. You will need a team of supporters behind you, or you might run away and never come back.

Because the details and projects just…never…end. Even after a weekend like this one, during which we worked hard and got LOTS of stuff done [thanks babe! The image of you sanding 17 (!) wooden two inch cubes will be one I file away in my memory forever], the mountain of projects is still incredibly high. You’ll probably have at least 12 to do lists you’re working off of at any given moment…and almost everything will take longer than you think it will. But if you have people willing to shoulder the wedding obsession with you [mom! fiance! you're both amazing!] and spend their weekends doing yardwork so the backyard looks amazing for your dream taco rehearsal dinner [dad! midgey! i love you], you’ll make it through.

4. It will be crazy. But the true test of love is planning a wedding together. And at the end of it you’ll be MARRIED.

Yep, you read that right. I’ve identified the true test of love. Okay, while this may not be definitely is not the ULTIMATE test of love, it’s a doozy, especially with two very opinionated, headstrong people who care about details and apparently have both been nursing visions of their wedding day for years [that would be us]. But even though it’s insane and crazy and stressful, it’s also fun and exciting. It’s the biggest party we’ll ever plan, and it’s going to be the most important day of our lives so far. As a friend told me right after we got engaged, “Enjoy wedding planning…you only get to do it once.”  Might as well go all the way, right? I can’t wait to marry Gabe in 5 weeks, surrounded by all of our family & best friends, dancing the night away and eating tacos. It’s gonna be awesome, and no doubt in my mind that it’s worth all the craziness. But still…keep in mind before you pin to that secret wedding board you started on Pinterest…you’ll only be wedding free for so long. icon wink Some truths about wedding planning that you should know before you decide to have a wedding.



March 1st, 2013 by Justine

Obsessions of the Moment

frank ocean 1024x682 Obsessions of the Moment

1. This song. My sister turned me on to Frank, and now he’s everywhere, and I love him. Listen to this one, and you might too.

2.  This quilt from Anthro, on sale for $99 and not yet sold out in twin. Also love this one.

3. Jennifer Lawrence gifs like this one. Luckily, the internet shares my obsession and she can be found EVERYWHERE.

4. This book. Only $1.99 for Kindle version here! [My favorites were "North Country" and "Diem Perdidi".]

5. These yoga videos. Cause nothing beats working out at home.

6. Airbnb, cause I love to plan fantasy vacations. Their featured lists are awesome to browse!

7. Window pane signs for my wedding, and creative ways to make them a little different than the usual [any ideas??].

8. Sunglasses like these and these.

9. Girl Scout cookies. Did you get any yet?!


February 27th, 2013 by Justine

That time I did a blog cleanse.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been absent. Very absent. I think my blogging schedule is up to like…once every 50 days on average, which is cool lame. It is now the end of February, but at the beginning of the year, I did something that I referred to as a “blog cleanse” for 40 days. 40 days because it coincided with a prayer challenge that my church was doing, one part of which was to give up a time sucker for 40 days.

At first I thought, Facebook. Then I thought, Instagram. Then, with horror, I gasped as my biggest personal time sucker of all occurred to me: blogs. Reading them. Surfing them. Commenting them. [Hardly ever] writing them. Scrolling through them aimlessly. Reading about and pinning crafts, hairstyles, decorating tips, relationship advice, funny anecdotes, adorable kids, hilarious memes, insightful articles, organization ideas, marketing tools, product reviews, social outrage, make up tutorials, style inspirations, wedding suggestions– you get it. You name it, there’s a blog [or a million], and I love reading them. I love reading other women’s [cause let's face it, I don't read any male blogs at all] thoughts and perspectives on whatever it is they want to talk about or teach me about; I love getting new ideas and seeing what genius things more creative minds than my own have thought up.

But when I thought about how much time I spend reading blogs and the way I read them, I realized something else: I don’t just get inspired when I read. I get envious, and I get a serious case of the wants. I want a gorgeous house to decorate with my newest thrifting and Pottery Barn sale finds! I want a hot pink Zara blazer to pair with my cuffed boyfriend jeans and polka dot pumps! I want to go on awesome, frequent vacations and post amazing vacation photos! I want beautiful children that always do cute things when I’m holding my iPhone camera in front of them! In short, I want a beautiful life that looks beautiful when documented in blog form, and I want people to love reading about my life and hang on my every word and photo.

I do not have any of those things I just listed.*

Okay, but here’s the thing. I do have a beautiful life. I live in what I consider to be the best part of my country [NorCal! Rep it til I die.], in three months I am going to marry the best man in the world, my friends are seriously awesome, my family is indescribably great, and I have a job that is both flexible and allows me to be financially comfortable and save enough to contribute to my [our] truly kick ass wedding. Oh, I also have pretty cute clothes, good medical insurance, and I enjoy my hair [important steps to happiness, people.].

When I thought about my want-prone heart, and my blog addiction, I quit. For 40 days, I didn’t read a single blog. It was really tough, guys. I even had to actively reject links from my mom for Book Week by Jones Design Company and many links from my sisters about kids in cute clothes. I didn’t read wedding blogs. I didn’t read my favorite daily blog on celebrity fashion [Tom & Lorenzo in case you're wondering]. I didn’t even read any Tumblrs!! Yes, that’s right. I basically gave up the internet, and it was hard.

But it was also nice. It wasn’t like I was immediately 100% satisfied with my life– unfortunately it takes more heart-work than giving up blogs to do that. But it did make a difference. It wasn’t something I noticed directly right away; it was more like that feeling of peace you get when you stop doing something you didn’t even realize was stressing you out. Like when you get your alignment fixed on your car, and you suddenly feel like it’s a lot easier to drive, even though you didn’t consciously realize it was always trying to run off the left side of the road before. You know what I mean?

I obviously haven’t given up blogs for life. I love blogs, and I love the internet, and I really love hilarious memes. It’s just that sometimes, it’s nice to identify what’s pulling you off the side of the road, and let it go for a while. My blog obsession has quieted significantly since my blog cleanse, and I like that. Obsession with anything isn’t great [you heard me, instagram!]. And I’m feeling a little more secure about documenting my own beautiful life, despite the fact that I don’t live in New York or have the cutest kids in the world, or have a professional photographer to take my outfit pictures. I’m kind of feeling like maybe what makes a life beautiful is thankfulness. That’s lame and cheesy. Sorry. Sometimes cheesy and true intersect, and I can’t help it.

This got really long, so thanks for reading if you made it all the way down here icon smile That time I did a blog cleanse. have a beautiful day.

love, justine


*Although I am considering ordering a knock off pink Zara blazer on ebay for $20.

January 2nd, 2013 by Justine

Memories I want to hold forever.

I loved 2012. I’m sitting here trying to think of what to say about this year, but the truth is that this year was filled with good things: filled with joy, love, and friends. This year was big, yeah…it was more than big. I was unbelievably blessed to have adventures with all of my best friends all over California, to gallivant around three iconic American cities, to see my sister graduate and take off running for her own adventures, to see my other sister get engaged to her perfect match, to gain a second family from a country I never thought I’d have any connection to, to make new friends, to fall in love with a city I haven’t seen since I was a child, to see many good friends marry their own perfect matches, to switch careers and get closer to my dad, to see lots of amazing live music, to grow closer to my small group and closer to Jesus through community, and oh…to get engaged to the best man I’ve ever known. Who is going to be mine, forever. You were good to me, 2012. I’m thankful for my habit of taking a million pictures of every detail of every day, cause there’s a lot I want to hold on to. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store. Be blessed, be thankful, be happy– and hold on for the ride, cause I got a feeling it’s gonna be a wild one. xoxophoto 1 1 1024x1024 Memories I want to hold forever.

photo 2 1 1024x1024 Memories I want to hold forever. photo 3 1024x1024 Memories I want to hold forever.

November 21st, 2012 by Justine

Being Engaged is Awesome (and has totally taken over my life).

Today marks one month since Gabe & I got engaged– whewWedding madness set in much faster than I thought, and between the wedding, work, exhaustion, and life, my little blog got abandoned. Getting into a writing rhythm was more difficult than I expected when life got busy, and it became one of those things where my goal (posting 3-5 times a week) was overwhelming, so I just ignored it and posted zero instead. Oops :/

559945 565447046812402 427806551 n large Being Engaged is Awesome (and has totally taken over my life).

[my dress looks nothing like this]

So far, we have:

  • chosen our colors
  • booked our venue (AMAZING!)
  • found our photographers
  • booked our DJ
  • sent out Save the Dates
  • decided on a caterer

AND….I bought my dress last weekend! I guess you could say we’ve been busy. We decided on May 26, which is the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, and I. CANNOT. WAIT!!! It’s all so exciting, and I can’t wait to share some projects I’ve been working on. Although we’re not doing a very DIY wedding, we are adding a lot of personal details to make it as “us” as possible. Being engaged is the best…and also stressful. The biggest challenge has been not turning into one of those all wedding/all the time girls, whom I judged intensely before I inadvertently became one. It might just be one of those things you have no mercy for until it’s you, and then you’re all like, hey! I only get one wedding! Let me be obsessed with it! Cause really, being engaged is mostly the best icon smile Being Engaged is Awesome (and has totally taken over my life).