Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Peace, Love, and Trust


So something equally awkward and awesome that happened this week was that Josh and I created and hosted a 70s-themed Jeopardy game for our Pastor’s birthday party. Let’s just say the 70s was his era. I was “Alexa Trebek” and Josh decided that his attire suggested he should be named something uber-hippie, so he went with “Moon.” It was a blast, and the questions were awesome if I do say so myself.

Josh and I are spending a lot of time and energy getting involved with our church lately. It seems kind of silly in light of the fact that we are still struggling to find full-time jobs, but honestly . . . these are the people who give us the strength and support to get through these uncertain times. They are the one’s who remind us to trust in God–that He is in control.

Our faith family is with us through all of the awkwards and the awesomes 🙂


  • Making no money, so yeah, that’s a concern.
  • Our laptop’s keyboard has decided not to work again after the third time getting it “fixed.” Hello again, campus computer lab.
  • It rains a lot in Rochester even in the summer. Who knew?
  • A bunch of my theatre friends and I were so pumped for the Tony Awards, and then we got super busy . . . and forgot to watch them! Fail.
  • Going to a grand opening of a local bar and being told at the door “You can’t get in if you’re under 21.” “Um, I turned 21 in January. It says so on my ID . . .” “You say that, but it could be somebody else’s ID, and we can’t be liable.” “What??” “Well, okay, you can go in, but if you try to get a drink or even sit at the bar, we’ll kick you out.” WHAT?!?!? 1/22/1992 PEOPLE! I had two different guys tell me this same thing. So confused . . .


  • Applying for two positions at my alma mater of Roberts Wesleyan College where I would be working with people I know and love. Praying so hard!
  • Family vacation is less than two weeks away, and hey! Josh and I are pretty free with this whole unemployment thing going on:-)
  • Poutine. Living this close to Canada I had to try it. Wow.
  • Sunny days in the 70s. Just right 🙂
  • Speaking of the 70s, this:


What I Wore: Piko Party!


Marshalls top, American Eagle jeans, Payless leopard flats, silver hoop earrings from who knows where, watch from Loomis Barn

Josh and I went to our friend Piko’s birthday party recently. Piko is from Ethiopia and is one of the most colorblind people I’ve ever met. It enables him to see people for who they really are and what they have to offer–and he is one of the most brilliant, well-rounded, warm, engaging people I have ever met as a result.

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This backyard party boasted Russians, Jamaicans, Hungarians, Swiss, French, Africans from all over who spoke French, and then Josh and I . . . yeah, we felt pretty darn uninteresting lol. Oh, and then there was Piko’s girlfriend my classmate Rachel who is a black Jew. Can’t get much more interesting than that.

This group of people were the open and loving type that making conversation and laughter completely effortless. We were truly blessed to spend an evening with them.


Playlist for You and Your Valentine

Hello, music-lovers and just plain old lovers 🙂

What are you planning for your Valentine’s Day tomorrow? A classy night out? A cozy night in? A crazy girl’s night?

Well, this playlist is perfect for not knowing what you want to do. Just play your way through the tunes–some of them romantic, some sexy, some just plain fun–and see what happens.

  1. “That’s Amore” by Dean Martin
  2. “Accidentally In Love” by Counting Crows
  3. “You and Me” by Lifehouse
  4. “Freelove” by Depeche Mode
  5. “Sway” by Michael Buble 
  6. “Kissed You” by Gloriana
  7. “Cupid”by Sam Cooke
  8. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle
  9. “When Did You Fall” by Chris Rice
  10. “Always Be My Baby” by David Cook
  11. “Lonely Road” by Fernando Ortega
  12. “Everything” by Michael Buble
  13. “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
  14. “I Will Be Here for You” by Michael W. Smith
  15. “Annie’s Song” by John Denver 
  16. “Lovefool” by the Cardigans
  17. “Open Arms” by Journey
  18. “Heaven” by Bryan Adams feat. Jason Aldean
  19. “Write About Love” by Belle and Sebastian
  20. “Just What I Needed” by the Cars

    Making the Most of December

    This isn’t really a to-do list, because almost none of these things are necessary for any reason. They’re just a bunch of things that I think will help Josh and I make the most of this Christmas season. It’s sort of like a Christmas bucket list . . . but not really because many of the items reappear on the list every year despite the fact that they’ve been “crossed off” every year prior.

    Okay, I don’t know what it is . . . but it will be fun!

    There are enough items both traditional and unique for you to choose one everyday, if you want. Whatever you do, be sure to make the most of your December.

    1. Go ice skating.
    2. Make eggnog or mulled cider.
    3. Buy children’s gifts for Operation Angel Tree.
    4. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
    5. Splurge on a professional performance of the Great Russian Nutcracker ballet.
    6. Cuddle up in front of a fireplace.
    7. If you haven’t yet, decorate a tree. If you already have, decorate someone else’s
    8. Watch the movie White Christmas with a cup of white hot chocolate.
    9. Chop wood for a family that relies on a wood stove.
    10. Tired of Christmas music? Try traditional Celtic music.
    11. Go caroling with friends.
    12. Make chili for chilly carolers to come home to.
    13. See how many film versions of A Christmas Carol you can watch in a day 😉
    14. String popcorn and cranberries.
    15. Go to Wegmans and Sam’s Club on a weekend for holiday samples.
    16. Learn to knit or crochet.
    17. Send Christmas cards or letters updating family and friends on your year.
    18. Get invited to a Christmas party. This could be tricky . . .
    19. Make a snowman, snow angels, etc.
    20. Go to midnight showings of The Hobbit(December 14) and Les Miserables(Christmas Day).
    21. Go to a candlelit service.
    22. Kiss someone under the mistletoe. Warn them first.
    23. Shop a holiday craft bizarre.
    24. Help young relatives make a wreath or ornament.
    25. Help your family with Christmas dinner.
    26. Take a super late walk in the snow on Christmas Eve and see if anything magical happens.
    27. Make homemade soaps with personalized scents for gifts.
    28. Read A Child’s Christmas in Wales.
    29. Declare a snowball war.
    30. Watch at least one terrible Christmas movie. Try Kiss Saves Christmas.
    31. Go for a sleigh ride

    Awkward and Awesome Thursday: So Little Time


    • The wall is the most iconic thing about Avila, and we still haven’t climbed up on it after more than four months.
    • I mentioned a certain Mary in last week’s A&AT. This girl went to high school with Josh and I in the tiny trailer school back in northern PA. How on earth did we all end up in Spain at the same time?
    • Cowering under the table in grammar class as the imperfect subjunctive mood gets the better of me–and my dear professor taking a video and posting it to YouTube!
    • My little sissy having a bad day and not being able to be there for her 😦
    • Fertility goddess statues in art class.
    • The Spanish train system hating my friend who came to visit Monday, but she finally made it here!
    • Finals coming up muy pronto!
    • The projects my classmates put together to sum up our experiences in Spain. I laughed and cried. Mostly laughed. 
    • Prezi. I haven’t had an excuse to use this program in so long.
    • Allie spotting me 20 euros to buy red desert boots. I am really European now!
    • Having Monday afternoon coffee with choir buddy Monica Claire. Haven’t seen the girl in five years, and now here we are in Spain! Talk about names I haven’t heard since high school . . .
    • Mary coming to visit Avila this Saturday.
    • Spending time with all of our wonderful Swedish friends next week!
    • Meeting up with Rob in Madrid and then giving him a tour of good ole Avila.
    • Hopefully going out one of these nights with all of our Madrid-based computer engineering buddies we met in Dublin. 
    • My Nuria ❤. She lights up my days. Unless it happens to be grammar class . . . then I hate her.

    Equally Awkward and Awesome: So many places to go and people to see, so little time.

      The Art of Dating: 100 Cheap/Free Dates

      This is an update/repost from a piece that I wrote almost a year ago when Nine to Phive was just a baby blog. It has then grown exponentially since Josh and I have found ourselves living in a small Spanish city with little to do and even less money to do it with. Let’s just say we’ve had to get creative . . .

      And we have! The wheels in my head haven’t stopped a-turnin’ since arriving in Avila with my sweetheart whom I hope to never stop dating as long as I live

      I now present as our gift to you a true treasure, our list of 100 Cheap and Free Dates. Please note that those date ideas marked with an asterisk (*)  are dates Josh and I have tried. Ones marked with two are the dates that we absolutely loved and continue to do every now and then. 

      We will still have so many great dates to try when we get back the the States!


      1. See who can come up with the best dinner out for under ten dollars**
      2. Make a craft project. Try a collage, mobile, or holiday decoration*
      3. Attend an auction* 
      4. Rent a video, pop some popcorn, grab a blanket . . .** Like going to the movies only you can talk and cuddle!
      5. Prepare a formal dinner at home, candles and everything** 
      6. Make and fly a kite. Bringing out the inner child can show a lot about a person. 
      7. Plant a tree or garden*
      8. If (and only if ) you are both of age, mix up creative cocktails at home instead of springing to go out for drinks
      9. Attend a local school sporting event.*  
      10. Cook a fancy foreign dessert together**
      11. Go horseback riding 
      12. Make chalk drawings on the sidewalk. Maybe play hopscotch.**
      13. Pick strawberries or other fruits and eat them with cream**
      14. Roller-skate, ice-skate, or bowl*
      15. Create a mini golf course in the backyard and play through it
      16. Go tubing, sailing, or canoeing**
      17. Organize a treasure hunt
      18. Interested in photography, salsa dancing, Italian cuisine, or something else? Take a class together.
      19. Do a long overdue  project around the house.* Repaint, install a new shelf, use your imagination.
      20. Make a bonfire and roast marshmallows*
      21. Order Chinese takeout (or sushi) complete with chopsticks* 
      22. See a high school or community play**
      23. Eat a picnic outside or even at home on your bedroom floor*
      24. Have a traditional teatime with a unique flavor of tea and scones or cookies**
      25. Visit an outdoor market or festival with street performers and food carts**


      1. Dance. At a party. At a club. At home with the radio turned up. Whatever.**
      2. Go to a park and bird-watch, play tag, dodge sprinklers, play in the grass . . .**  
      3. Visit a cemetery to look for funny epitaphs or do rubbings of old headstones
      4. Do photo shoots of each other**
      5. Fish using borrowed equipment
      6. Go window shopping in a classy neighborhood*
      7. Take a moonlit walk** 
      8. Many museums and art galleries have free admission after hours.** Check it out.
      9. Watch the sunrise and eat breakfast together on a weekday.** I recommend smoothies. 
      10. Go to a pet store and hold a puppy 
      11. Play computer or video games at his house** 
      12. Raid your attic or basement for long-lost memories*
      13. Take a drive to a place with a great view**
      14. Visit an old bookstore or library and see who can find the strangest book* 
      15. Tour a historic site in your area** 
      16. Learn the rules to an obscure card game**
      17. Visit a relative or friend you haven’t seen in awhile*
      18. Have your own ping pong or air hockey tournament** 
      19. Write a poem, short story, or musical piece either together or for each other**
      20. Get a blanket and some bugspray and gaze at the stars**
      21. Watch a parade or look at Christmas lights depending on the season**
      22. Challenge his or her parents to a board game** 
      23. Play charades**
      24. Sneak into a hotel pool or hot tub
      25. Give each other massages**
      26. Go for a jog**
      27. Make a scrapbook with pictures of the two of you*
      28. Play “Name That Movie” or “Name That Song” 
      29. Read and discuss a book, article, or the comics*
      30. Brainstorm for solutions to a world problem** 
      31. Watch TV. Game shows, mysteries, and comedies are always fun.* 
      32. Wash a car on a hot day* 
      33. Play the dictionary game with friends or family** 
      34. Go swimming at a pond, lake, or public pool** 
      35. Make up ‘Mad Libs’*
      36. Volunteer at a church, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter**
      37. Hunt for rocks, toadstools, arrowheads, etc. 
      38. Hike or backpack on a nature trail
      39. Get out your camcorder and tape a homemade short film to post on YouTube** 
      40. Play the Price is Right in a supermarket
      41. Go shopping for new threads for him*
      42. Talk about your favorite boy and girl names.** Probably only for pretty serious couples 😉
      43. Visit a local farm 
      44. If you are both in school, study together at a cafe**
      45. Go for a bike ride.** Super romantic if you can get your hands on a two-seater!
      46. Practice sports skills*
      47. Learn tricks on a trampoline*
      48. Attend an outdoor movie.** Especially if you are in college, these are often free.
      49. Play ultimate frisbee*
      50. Visit a lake and throw bread to the ducks and geese**
      51. Have a grass, pillow, water, or snow fight*
      52. Put a jigsaw puzzle together
      53. Teach each other something new.** Can you play the ukelele or sink a slam dunk? Share!
      54. Tell ghost stories in the dark* 
      55. Write public confessions of love in sidewalk chalk
      56. Go to an open house in a fancy community
      57. Play hide-and-seek*
      58. Play at a playground and ignore the stares.** But don’t ignore the kids. You might trip on them.
      59. See who can make the best design for a paper airplane* 
      60. Climb a tree and read together 
      61. Interview each other with silly questions and videotape it to watch later
      62. Test-drive a sports car
      63. Visit shut-ins or hospital patients*
      64. Spend a day at the beach
      65. Hitchhike or couchsurf**
      66. Cuddle by a fireplace and tell stories about favorite memories
      67. Practice saying romantic phrases in a foreign language**
      68. Babysit your friends’ kids for an evening.* Surprisingly fun to do as a couple.
      69. Draw portraits of each other
      70. Walk a dog and maybe teach it some tricks. Borrow a friend’s if you don’t have one!
      71. Volunteer together as models at a beauty, hair, or art school for a free pampering*
      72. Play Truth or Dare*
      73. Visit a costume store and try on their wares for major laughs
      74. Have a YouTube party.** “You have to see this one!” “No, you have to see this one!”
      75. Write a bucket list together**