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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012: Our Year in Review

2012 was good to us! Here's a look back..

This was our second year living in Baltimore, and we just keep loving it more and more..
view from a water taxi
we enjoyed Derek's company seats at Orioles games!


Kaiah turned 3!
baby girl and her cupcake


We got engaged!! I turned the corner in our apartment one evening.. absolutely unsuspecting.. and there Derek was.. on one knee! It was such a perfect, intimate, and special moment between us that I will cherish forever. 
I can't wait to become Mrs. Ziese!
THE ring!!! An endless circle of diamonds


We celebrated our engagement in Jamaica a few weeks later!! 
We spent four days on the famous 7-mile beach in Negril..

..and four days on Negril's cliffs! 
Our villa on the cliffs was built atop a huge cave, and we spent our days in complete privacy, jumping into the water 30 feet below.


We moved into a beautiful new apartment. We are looking forward to having more visitors in 2013!
our view of the sunset from our terrace!


This is my favorite picture of 2012..
I adore them <3


October 8th, 2012 marked 8 years together.


Derek turned 24!


We enjoyed fancy parties and celebrated all the successes that 2012 brought us.


Derek surprised me with a trip to New York City the day before Christmas Eve!


I can't wait to see what this year brings! 

Happy 2013!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

silver bells, silver bells..

it's Christmas time in the city!

just a few snapshots of how we have been enjoying the holiday season here in Baltimore...


our apartment, all dressed up for Christmas

our tree! It is almost nine feet tall. I really wanted a big one since we now have the space!

Baltimore's Washington monument

34th Street in Hampden. This picture was actually on Bing.com a few days ago, along with tips on how to speak Baltimorese. It is Baltimore's own Miracle on 34th Street!



Thursday, November 22, 2012

thankful


I can't believe that it has been over a month since I last posted something. And by that, I mean that this month has completely flown by! Derek and I have both been extremely busy at work and traveling a ton, so we have really been looking forward to spending time with our families today and tomorrow.

Today, tomorrow, and every day, I am thankful for..
                    ..the love that always fills my home.
                    ..the distance between Baltimore and Virginia. Hah! I mean I am thankful that they
                       are not so far apart. My parents and brothers mean so much to me and it is so nice to live  
                       close enough now to see them more often.
                    ..evening runs with my future husband. It is our chance disconnect from the world no
                       matter how crazy the week is.
                    ..our little bear, Kaiah. She brings us such an immeasurable amount of happiness. I can't  
                       wait for her to be our flower girl! She is already practicing.
                    ..experiences that push me out of my comfort zone. I have started living by the motto,
                       "what would you do if you knew you could not fail".
                    ..the opportunities I have had to be a traveler, experience new things, and see the world.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

eight years..

Eight years ago, on the most perfect fall evening, Derek took me to the movies and asked me to be his girlfriend. 

It seems like just yesterday that I was picking out the perfect outfit and spending hours in front of the mirror getting ready for that night. I was full of butterflies, but I felt like I had already known Derek for my whole life. 

If you had asked me then if I thought that one day I would walk into our living room and see Derek on one knee, asking me to be his wife, I probably would have just giggled.

Well here we are, eight years later, and a few months ago I turned the corner in our apartment, truly, completely, absolutely unsuspecting, and there he was..on one knee! He was smiling from ear to ear, with the most incredibly beautiful ring in his hand, and I’m sure he said some very sweet words but I don’t think I was listening to them very well. All I remember were the four words that I had dreamed of hearing for so long... “Will you marry me?"

Eight years later and I love him more than I ever thought possible. 

Eight years later I still wake up and pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming and that this is real.


homecoming -- October 2005

Christmas 2006


Cologne, Germany -- Summer 2008


Summer 2009




Negril, Jamaica -- August 2012

I am so happy that I met Derek when I did, and I am grateful for all the years of memories that I got to make with my best friend.

This year, we got engaged! We celebrated our engagement in Jamaica. We moved into a beautiful and spacious new apartment and Derek was admitted to graduate school.

Our eighth year together was pretty amazing and I can't wait to see what the next year brings!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

turkey and quinoa stuffed peppers

This recipe feels like fall! It is warm and hearty, but it is also super healthy! These stuffed peppers prove that comfort food doesn't have to derail your healthy habits.

Ground turkey is a low fat alternative to ground beef. We use 95/05 ground turkey that is freshly ground. Quinoa is very high in protein (14% by mass) and calcium, it decreases appetite, and is rich in amino acids and vitamin E. It is a great alternative to rice.Tomatoes have the antioxidants lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin A, and they also reduce inflammation. Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C, and because they are baked in the oven, the nutrients do not escape as they would if they were cooked in another way.


Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients
          3 cups quinoa, cooked
          1 lb lean ground turkey
          1 large onion
          2 cans diced tomatoes with no salt added
          1 tbsp cumin
          2 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
          salt to taste
          shredded 2% milk cheese
          5 or 6 sweet red bell peppers

Directions
          Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
       
          Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.

          Spray some olive oil spray in a large saute pan and heat on a medium flame. Add onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan. Saute about 2 minutes and add ground turkey. Season with salt and garlic powder, and cumin and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add the tomatoes and let simmer for a few more minutes.

          Combine the quinoa and the meat mixture in the large saute pan.

          Prepare the peppers by removing the stem and all seeds by cutting off the top, or cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove all seeds. Place the peppers in a baking dish and spoon the meat mixture into each, filling them up as much as possible. Top the peppers with shredded cheese.

          Place the peppers into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until peppers are soft.

       



Thursday, September 6, 2012

our trip to Jamaica


We're back at home after 9 days in paradise. We were so so excited to get home and see our girl, who spent the week being spoiled by her Oma and Opa. We are extremely grateful that my parents were able to enjoy our apartment for the week, and take such amazing care of Kaiah. We came home to a warm dinner and a freshly bathed dog. They are absolutely wonderful.

It was so nice to relax and disconnect from the rest of the world. We celebrated my birthday, our beautiful life, 8 years together, and our engagement. We spent the long tropical days talking about how much fun we have had together the past 8 years, and about all the things we are excited for in the years to come. We also read a few books, jumped from a few bridges, and ate a goat.. I can hardly believe that last one my self.

We left for Jamaica early Saturday morning, and had our toes in the sand on Negril's 7-mile beach by the afternoon. We were lucky that tropical storm Isaac spared Jamaica, only causing some wind and a few waves in the usually crystal clear, calm water. After four nights on the beach, we moved to the cliffs of Negril, which are located on the westernmost tip of Jamaica and are actually made of fossilized coral. Our little villa was extremely private, and about three feet from the edge of the cliff. From our terrace we could see the Negril Lighthouse and the cliff divers at Rick's Cafe. The view was breathtaking and the sunsets were incredible!

We can't wait to be back in the Carribean doing some wedding planning!




Saturday, August 18, 2012

a peek inside our new home

These pictures were taken when we were just barely moved in, so please excuse the lack of decoration!

living room ...which is actually even bigger than it appears in this picture!

kitchen

terrace off of master bedroom
view from terrace


We absolutely love it already!

We ended moving day watching the beautiful sunset!

moving day


We have so many amazing memories in this little apartment.

A year ago, we got a big opportunity in an unfamiliar city and we took it. We took a little leap of faith, trusting that everything happens for a reason.

We came to Towson for Derek's interview on a Tuesday, he got the job offer on Wednesday, and we came back to Towson on Thursday so that he could attend meetings and so that we could house hunt. We stopped by the building that we now live in and were told that no apartments were immediately available. The next day, Friday, we got a call from our building to tell us that they had worked it out and a 1 bedroom was now available. We drove to Towson on Saturday, signed our lease, picked up our keys, and went straight to our rooftop pool! On Sunday, my wonderful parents brought Kaiah and some more boxes. Monday was the Fourth of July, and Derek started work on Tuesday. Whew! Did you follow that? It was a whirlwind of a week.

But we couldn't be happier with how things have turned out.

We feel at home in Towson and we really love this charming city of Baltimore.

I found a job that I absolutely love, and that constantly challenges me.

Derek and I grew closer while we shared 600 square feet and 1 closet with an 80 pound bear dog. We learned that more is not always better, and that we didn't really need so much 'stuff''.
I would not trade that experience for anything.

This was the apartment where we had our first real Christmas Tree.

This was the apartment where Derek proposed.

We grew a whole lot in this apartment, and it is bittersweet to let it go.

But as much as we’re going to miss this place, we are so beyond excited for our new place and what’s to come. More room. An office space for Derek to study without distractions. Four timesas much closet space. A balcony where we can watch the sunset in the evenings, where I can plant a little garden, and where Kaiah can spend her days watching the world go by 15 stories below. A guest room for our favorite people to come and visit.


The best is yet to come..

Monday, August 13, 2012

bits & pieces

We had a very eventful week and weekend! On Thursday night we went to an Orioles game. The weather was beautiful and although I don't know anything at all about baseball, it was a lot of fun. Derek explained a lot to me, but we were in the third row and I was more focused on being ready to catch a ball!

Over the weekend we visited our parents, which is always so nice. We had lots of wedding ideas to talk about. I am so grateful that my parents will be driving a moving van up with some furniture for us next weekend. I can't believe we are moving in 4 days!


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