New Haircut

The other day Ly finally bit the bullet and went and chopped off 7 inches of her hair. Well she didn't literally do it, she paid someone else to do it. And that lady was awesome. If you need a hair person in the central virginia area...Ly has just the gal for you.

Anyway she's enjoying her shorter hair and how quickly it takes her to get ready in the morning. Yay for fast blow drying/showering/etc. 


A snapshot of Christmas!

Ly + Alan put up their tree a little early this year...and Ly's loving having the holiday decorations up so early. Although there is still something to be said for getting a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and Ly won't be giving up on that tradition so easily. 


New Phones.

About a week or so ago, Lyanna's phone mysteriously stopped working. As in it decided to no longer take its role as a telephone seriously and started to just vibrate all.the.time. Luckily for her, it was time for an upgrade and so she got herself a brand new iphone. Alan was sad and wouldn't you know it a week later his phone "suddenly" stopped working as well:

So now Ly+Alan are both proud owners of new iphones. Any guesses on whose phone is the purple one? =)


Sunrise over the Shenandoah Valley

There is something peaceful about getting up early and watching the sunrise. It is the ideal time for thinking, relaxing and yes, picture taking.


This past week

Well today Alan has his final renal exam. He's been busy studying for his test all week and Ly has been super busy with the stocking drive, other quilting projects, tutoring and of course studying for the GRE. This hasn't left much time for them to hang out but they fully intend on spending some quality time together this weekend.

Ly and Alan's busyness has left the Pandas, Honk, Piou and the Cold to watch movies unattended in bed all week.

Their brains are going to turn to mush.



"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life...don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." -- Steve Jobs

Rest in peace Steve Jobs, you truly were an inspiration to many.


Stockings for Kids!

As some of you may or may not know, Ly has been awfully busy these last few weeks/months working on her quilting business (surprise!) Please go support her at Purple Panda Quilts.

She is currently running a stocking drive, Stockings for Kids, to benefit the foster children she works with. So go check it out, sign up to make stocking and help spread the word so that together we can bring smiles to some kids this holiday season. And for those of you who don't know how to sew or think that it is too hard/takes up too much time - no excuses, there will be weekly tutorials to walk you through the simple process of making your own holiday stocking.

Grab a button and show your support!

Stockings for Kids

<div align="center"><a href="http://purplepandaquilts.blogspot.com/p/stockings-for-kids.html" title="Stockings for Kids"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-J9z4-vOZSoc/Ton5wPAuk3I/AAAAAAAAAIY/CIV_u72ILj8/s1600/stocking-blog-button.jpg" alt="Stockings for Kids" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Make a stocking for a foster child and give them something they can call their own this holiday season.


Birthday Fun

Despite the fact Alan had 2 major exams the week of Ly's birthday (including a national shelf exam) he still managed to make Ly's birthday fun. The morning started off with such a nice surprise - breakfast, Starbucks, and of course gerber daisies (Ly's favorite). Such a nice small gesture really made Ly feel special, especially considering the fact that Alan didn't have much time to spend on her actual birthday (due to the service).

Later in the week, Ly + Alan went on a day trip to Shenandoah, apple picking, quilt store shopping, and even had a mini birthday party complete with homemade chocolate cake AND apple pie. Gotta love Alan's interest in baking. Ly also got showered with gifts. Yay for cookbooks, fabric (lots of fabric!), sewing supplies, books and of course fashion accessories...but the best gift of course were all the birthday phone calls, cards, messages and emails from friends and family. So here's to an awesome birthday week and a new year of adventures!


It's that time of year again...

Well today is Lily's 22nd birthday. Usually Ly writes a long list of the reasons why Lily is the best sister in the entire world, but she has decided to change it up with a poem from their childhood:

My name is Lily
I am silly
I am Lily not Billy!

But in all seriousness, Ly has been lucky enough to get to see Lily on two different occasions this year despite the 3,000 mile distance between them.

1. She got to see Lily when Lil flew out to Richmond for thanksgiving and they made tamales instead of turkey...a tradition in the making. Lily also successfully helped Ly parallel park her car, an event that to this day is legendary.

Proof we actually made tamales!

2. She got to see Lily when she graduated college and they introduced her dad to the wonders of veggie burgers and rode all the carnival rides they could at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk (an event 26 years in the making).

LK + LL after graduation

Twirling really really fast...so fun and worth the 27 year wait!

Unfortunately, the two sisters don't get to spend their birthdays together but hopefully Lil will celebrate enough for the both of them!

So here's to the next year of adventures both abroad and at home! =)


The week of natural disasters

Well last week was the week of natural disasters around here. First there was an earthquake and then a few days a hurricane. Having never been in a hurricane before Ly thought that was much more exciting if you will. So exciting in fact that the power went out early Saturday and has yet to be turned back on.

Luckily (depending on your point of view) VCU didn't run out of power so not only was school and exams not cancelled, but Ly was able to go "borrow" the internet/watch movies/charge her phone and computer on campus while Alan studied.

Here are some photos of our neighborhood after the storm


Study. Study. Study.

Alan has a test in the morning and he's been studying for what seems like days. At least he is enjoying his comfy new chair.


Fifty Cent Book Sale

Ly is addicted to books.

She is also addicted to buying books.

During the time the Ly+Alan lived across the street from the bookstore there was a significant increase in money spent on books in the monthly budget. Alan has since banned Ly from purchasing numerous books at once (citing the fact that they are expensive and Ly finishes them in an hour) and so Ly has become friends with her local library. Yesterday afternoon on her way home from the library, Ly noticed that they were selling books for fifty cents. That's half a dollar for all you non-money-thinking people. There were hundreds of books she wanted but managed to weed some out and came home with three new books. 3 books under 2 bucks? Awesome.


Morning Surprise

This morning as Ly went to make herself some scrambled eggs for breakfast this is what she saw:

Love notes via eggs. What a nice/creative/different surprise from Alan who has been rather busy this week with a pharmacology exam coming up on Friday.

It's the little things that get Ly+Alan through test weeks.



As most everyone knows, Ly is obsessed with Harry Potter. She read almost all of the books with her family out loud and enjoyed every second of it. And when the last Harry Potter book came out the day she got married, Ly convinced her sister and mom to get her a copy of the book at midnight and bring it to her reception the next day so she could read it on her honeymoon. (It did rain a few days, giving Ly plenty of time to read...and luckily Alan knew what he was getting into when he said I do.)

Anyway Ly saw the lasted Harry Potter movie (Deathly Hallows Part 2) in Chicago with Alan when their plane got canceled. She liked it but was a little let down when she realized that the Harry Potter story was over....no more books and no more movies. Sadness. Luckily JK Rowling foresaw this feeling (or perhaps her PR people/publisher did) and announced the release of Pottermore.com, an online harry potter type world that supposedly gives each user an individualized experience with the wizarding world. As one can imagine this news excited millions of people across the globe. Ly got especially excited when she found out that the site would allow a few hundred thousand people early access and immediately set her sights on becoming one of those lucky people. And, as luck/an immense knowledge of all things Harry Potter/the best sister in the entire world, Ly got an account on Pottermore!!

Have you got your Pottermore account yet? Or are you over the whole Harry Potter craze?


Four Years

Earlier this week Ly + Alan celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary. It seems like it was only the other day when Ly said yes to marriage on the banks of Walden Pond, and just yesterday that she said yes in the Salt Lake City Temple for time and all eternity. So even though at times marriage has been a struggle (hello, have you met either Ly or Alan, aka the most stubborn people on the planet?) it has been full of laughter, love, and lots of adventures. Ly certainly wouldn't trade any of it for all the tea in china (although for a chance to actually hold pandas in china....)

So here's to a happy four years and a hundred more!

The Salt Lake City Temple where Ly+Alan were married for time and all eternity.

Back into the swing of things.

As Ly + Alan get settled into a new routine for school, their travels sadly have to come to end...for the time being. Medical school doesn't believe in giving students much time off you see. So instead of relying on us to come see you, you should come see us!


Sayanara Summer!

Ly has been lucky enough to have an excellent summer. Not only did she get to see 14 states in less than 3 weeks, but she also got to fly across the united states to see family twice...and everyone knows how much Ly loves flying. The highlight of the summer, obviously, was the insane amount of time Ly got to spend with Alan without a medical textbook in sight. It was excellent! Camping in the woods, impromptu road trips, weekend getaways, and of course quality beach time. Sadly, every summer must come to an end as Alan starts his second year of med school this week.

Here's hoping this next year in med school goes smoothly -- especially as Alan preps for the Boards.


Photo of the Day

Oconaluftee River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Alan + Ly spent the past week playing in the Smokies. It was beautiful, relaxing, and so very hot. It rained most of the time, which one would think would alleviate the heat but alas it only served to increase the humidity. Ick. Ly was glad to finally be in Tennessee and for the opportunity to appreciate the vastness and beauty of some of the oldest mountains in America.


Acadia Tide Pools: Up Close + Personal

Acadia National Park: Hunter Beach

One of Alan's favorite spots in Acadia was a little rock beach off the side of the Park Loop Road. It was peaceful, secluded and offered spectacular views. Alan enjoyed skipping rocks into the Atlantic while Ly loved the novelty of a beach with smooth rocks in place of sand...not exactly a place to lay out in the sunshine, but beautiful nevertheless.

A glimpse into Acadia National Park

A Trip to Maine

After their California adventures, Alan still had more time off from school and work at the hospital, so Ly+Alan decided last minute to drive up to Acadia National Park in Maine and go camping for a week with a stop in Boston. They had a great time despite some less than favorable (read: rainy) weather for a few days - which was appreciated because it decreased the number of bugs and crowds in the park. Ly learned how to BBQ and cooked dinner all by herself one night, and it was actually quite good. Alan focused on making roaring fires perfect for making s'mores and keeping warm.

They spent the days exploring Acadia - the tidal pools, the cliffs, the waterfalls, carriage roads and of course the infamous Park Loop Drive. Ly loved taking photos but was a bit sad at the lack of animal but she did see a beaver, a bald eagle, lots of seagulls, a ginormous black slug, some deer and a some nesting Peregrine Falcons.

After their Acadia adventures, Ly+Alan drove down to Boston for a few days. It was their first time back to Beantown since they got married. It was fun to see the Longfellow Chapel and their old stomping grounds as well as to explore downtown Boston. The best part, by far, was getting to catch up with some super close friends. If only Boston and Richmond were closer!


Picking strawberries by the ocean

Off highway 1 just outside of Santa Cruz, there is an adorable organic pick your own strawberry farm. Take it from Ly, the berries are delicious and provide an excellent snack for a drive down the coast.