Celebrating my James

This year, James birthday was a sweet regular Thursday surrounded with some of his favorite fans (his students), notes and trinkets from family friends near and far, a homemade cake with the kids at home (we didn’t even cut it, hehe), and the perfect gift (imho) for someone entering their older 30’s – a massage gun 💥

James is one of the most magnetic people I know, and I like to think he can crack literally any nut. He brings so much thoughtfulness and care to those around him and inspires me to be a better friend everyday. I used to gush about him in my early blogging days (this one is ten years ago!) quite a bit, but for good reason. But also lol.

He brings so much masculine Italian energy to the world. From talking with his hands, to cooking, to familia love and literally taking the shirt off his back for someone, to passion, to exquisite taste. I mean.. I can picture it now – are we already sipping limoncello at Villa San Michele? Either way, he embodies so much of love, compassion, and generosity.

He has accomplished so much in our life together, it blows me away. Pursuing higher education later in life and to now being at the finish line for his Master’s! So many long nights of juggling and dedication to show up for himself and for something he always desired. And then giving his life and knowledge and love away to teach and care for his students every day.

His faith bolsters us all, and he helps us to keep looking to our North Star with every ounce of himself, a great reminder that we have a greater purpose in life. I just can’t say enough about what he continues to become. I cannot be more grateful to celebrate the love of my life, and best friend. Happy 3-7!

An anniversary

Our third! A few thoughts on today.. well, marriage is the hardest commitment I ever made. All the worst parts have had a chance to rear their ugly head towards the one I love the most wayyy more than I’d like to admit. God’s grace, James patience and our collective willingness to push through, gain understanding, get help (let’s be real here people.. getting counsel as a couple is gold) and pray has sharpened us beyond belief! I’m so grateful for this family we’ve been able to create and most of all, our friendship. And let’s just say that it’s all gotten a billion times sweeter with our baby.

Now off to find some cake to celebrate 🙂

ps: here’s our first and second anniversaries

Two year Anniversary

these two years have been a blast, i love being married to my best friend. happy two years sweetheart! marriage is a l-o-t of work, and probably the thing in my life that has challenged, stretched, brought me joy and humbled me more than anything else i’ve experienced before (besides my relationship with jesus). and, because it fits quite nicely, i thought i’d conincide this post with the ‘every day in may‘ series i’ve been doing..

day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy [about you and me hubby]
+giggling late at night before bed and guessing which 80s tv show theme each other is humming
+continually getting to know how you think about life/people & your constantly compassionate nature
+the movies with you, how you know i want nooch sprinkles & exactly what i like to order (brownie)
+your instagram feed. you just make me smile 🙂
+planning trips together of where we want to travel or where we want to take our kids!
+shopping with you: sometimes of a hot mess and sorta dangerous, but so fun!

+your muscles and beard and skillssss
+our love for sports, it’s always a rollercoaster but i wouldn’t trade it!
+gorfing chocolate chip cookie dough together while we’re ‘baking’ (never make it that far!)
+leading the youth as team mastrianna, the joy of sharing that w/ you, knowing we desire the same thing for those we lead.

i love you man o’ mine!!

if you’re participating, i’d love to read your posts too so be sure to tell me about it! xoxo! happy may 14th to you my friends 🙂

Anniversary trip to Monterey

last week, with all the amazing spring break madness/family time/wedding activities, we decided we could use an overnight getaway to nearby monterey. we love visting monterey, strolling cannery row, using our monterey bay aquarium passes (thanks ma!), watching the waves and going to see a movie at our favorite theaters. monterey has a knack for feeling like you’re the only people there and moving just a little bit slower.. it might not actually be but whatever the case, we love you monterey! til next time!


lately there has been lots of talk around these parts. husband wifey chatty talk. talk about house. talk about people. talk about christmas. talk about presents. trees. real or fake. bath soap. toothbrushes. folding clothes. not folding clothes. money talk, which i would like to declare now is quite the victory for us. because let me tell you..we are talking and we are winning. winning sort of finance talking.
and now, a picture for you:
anyways, it’s the type of talk that shouts james and casey crush the world because they’re such good talkers, communicating this and that and conquering all that is family. and i’ve started to pick up on something..
but first, i must let you know that the month of december—for me—sort of goes like this:
wake up and look at christmas tree, become instantly sleepy and cuddly and therefore wake up late (yes, that means no run). listen to bing. eat a cupcake. get ready. go to work. work. eat a piece of chocolate. work some more. option one lunch break—run errands and drink veggie juice (the gross kind) and some berries to set off the sugar intake {supposedly}.
quick picture interlude:
option two lunch break—visit mom and help her make my famous chocolate chip cookies {frantically, i should add..cookies in a pinch are not recommended}, scarf an apple and carrots {we’re still offsetting people}. work. home. dinner. pie. write. work if necessary. house hunters or lakers or andy griffith or seinfeld {currently}. chocolate or tortillas depending on our mood.
it’s not good. i’m not proud. but then again i am. wait, no i’m really not. but it’s whatever.
mmm dough:
so with all the talk and conquering and christmas cookie slash tortilla eating, something has emerged. something i like to call my “pumpkin spice chocolate chip honey bunny” realization. for the last few weeks, the huz has been referring to me by some of the following (these are verbatim, i might add):
+”cupcake delight”
+”love muffin”
+”love cakes”
+”pumpkin muffin”
+”chocolate chip”
+”sugar spice”
+his personal favorite “apple dumpling”
+my personal favorite “my lovely batch of cookies” via text with a row of emoji cookies following.
not only do i go by these names in text and chat, but it also comes along with a slightly cute and slightly wonderful lover voice where every syllable is pronounced and sort of floats a little. it’s just great. i continue to call him the usual babe (sometimes with the “y”) or sweetheart. my my, you might be thinking, not so creative are we? but this coming from a girl who had a minimal nickname household, why this is good stuff people!!
until next time my pumpkin chocolate honey bunnies!

Pillow talk

every night before we go to sleep, we brush our teeth,
comb our hairs (husband’s beard maintenance), say our prayers
(however sleepily i say them) and climb into bed.
and then we decide who will turn the light off.
last night it went like this:
james: hey turd mcferguson, turn off the light.
me (in cartoon nerd bully voice): hey turd mcferrguson, turn off da lightttt.
james: uncontrollable laughing as he turned off the light.
then we fell asleep laughing.


image of monarch butterflies taken by our friend michael at natural bridges in santa cruz
lately, we’ve had more than a couple chances to tell people our love story, which i always enjoy! something i’ll never forget is how nervous i was with james at the beginning.
reeeally nervous.
even though we’d known each other as close friends for three years already, on our first date, i felt like i was going to {sorry for this} throw up more than once. he doesn’t exactly love that i describe it this way 😉
and if i have butterflies, when they get intense, i feel nauseous! this lasted pretty much the entirety of our six-hour first date and numerous times throughout our dating relationship: arm on shoulder, sitting close, you name it…you’d think i was an awkward tween!
sometimes they {of course not as intensely} come back when we’re brushing our teeth together, or seeing each other after a long day of work, or getting ready for a date night.
i still feel like that.
i don’t know if it’s a chemical reaction to something-or-other, or just pure l-o-v-e. but i love those butterflies; they remind me of a specific time and place. where we were just beginning to discover who one another really were. become best friends instead of just friends. holding hands. falling in love.
and even though they make me nauseous sometimes, babe..you still give me butterflies.

Ten things about marriage

So I just want to say THANK YOU again to the three lovely ladies who shared the ten things they’ve learned from their first year of marriage: Nicole, Jenn and Laura! You guys rock, and I was super inspired by your lists..love them.

And to round things off, here are the ten things we learned from our first year of marriage. Can I just say- this was a good challenge! Towards the end, mine got shorter, but still all the same meaningful-wise.

1. Try to maintain a soft heart. I think one of the things that always was so attractive about James was his tender heart. He was willing to be wrong, even if he didn’t fully understand. I think that most hard chats or conversations go so much more smoothly when we’re open to one another, and not to hard-hearted to believe that we didn’t something wrong. That has served us incredibly in this last year!

2. Keep things fun! During our engagement, we couldn’t wait to just have a place. A home together. Now that we have our little slice of real estate {read: currently, two medium sized rooms}, it’s easy to just get used to zoning out on the couch and cuddling which, don’t get me wrong, is really wonderful. But we love having dates and times where we can just talk. So being vigilant about time to just talk and hear one another through dates, special walks, etc. have been really important.

3. Be excited about things your significant other is excited about. One thing that James and I love together are the Lakers. And mostly, we enjoy the same things {Sportscenter, working out, Jesus, food, reading..}. But I have learned to be excited about things James likes in other ways. Like shopping.. James genuinely enjoys shopping {not so much “dilly-dallying”}. When I used to go shopping, it was all about what I wanted. But knowing this about him, it’s so fun to think on his behalf and get him a couple things.

4. As long as your calendar is planned in advance, have date nights planned accordingly. Nothing more need be said, but that date nights are a must! Take time for yourselves to be together.

5. And speaking of..mindless Saturdays together with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a stack of movies is not a crime. This has been one of our favorite things to do: Build a fort, get in our comfiest PJs, hit up the Redbox and grab some Chunky Monkey cause it’s movie day at the Mastrianna’s! This was one of our most beloved ways to cuddle and connect in the last year. Don’t feel guilty about it {my vulnerability}!

6. Serve each other as much as possible with your whole heart. Serving one another is one of the capstones of this last year, and it just feels so good. I love being able to do things for James, and I love having him do things for me. I had a friend ask if it’s hard to always think of the other person and their needs..but it’s really such a joy. I think that’s how God made it to be. So prop up their feet and bring them a sparkly water and some grapes, baby! And soak it up when it’s your turn..

7. Talk a lot about what you think about family. We have learned so much about each other. What are your values? What do you think about kids? What do you want holidays to look like? These are all questions we got to explore together, and the more we talk about it, the more we define our Mastrianna family. Good stuff.

8. Don’t stop getting gussied up. I like it. He likes it. The end.

9. Keep pursuing separately our relationships with God. I had my slip-ups and learning curves with this, but I had to keep at my own personal time with God. Things will mesh, definitely, but keep serving God first, and I’m telling you, it’s way more satisfying.

10. Lots of giggle attacks on the couch make for a happier us. Take time to laugh and don’t be too uptight. It’s medicine!


A year ago yesterday, James and I got married at three o’clock in the afternoon in our little church in my hometown in coastal northern California. The marriage part was our favorite.
I have never been overwhelmed with so much love as I can remember on our wedding day. All of the people that made sacrifices to be there with us. All of the family and loved ones who accomplished odd jobs and requests to make the day run smooth. It was overwhelming to be given so much in every way imaginable!! The joy of our ceremony, the victory of making it to that point, the memories of all our chats and figuring each-other out, all our stuff, all the fun, all the searching for God’s ways cumulated in a moment for us. And boy was it soo satisfying.
This sounds so weird but we felt that covenant get sealed up, we experienced God making us one. It was so much more than a ceremony, it was a big ol launching point for us. This year has been full of lots of trials, triumphs, learning, laughter, and let’s be honest here- lots of Ben & Jerry’s binges. I couldn’t imagine how many things we’d have learned after one little year, but best friend- I take joy in all that we get to look forward to, and to all that’s coming our way!
And FYI! This week, I will share the ten things I’ve learned in our first year of marriage! And I have some other awesome ladies who are going to join in on the fun..So stay tuned!!

I remember it like it was…

a couple pictures from the day we got engaged, the day before Thanksgiving of 2010…
My love,
I can’t believe that was a year ago. Things are sooo different now, better different, and we thought we had it good then! We were still long distance, it seemed like we finally got the hang of relationship via phone, and then I moved home. You talked about our special date day for so long, but I just didn’t put the pieces together. I thought you would wait til I was done with school.

Our day was so special, our silly face photo shoots with your phone, meandering down every beach up the coast for one that wasn’t windy, and I just couldn’t understand why you were a little huffy-puffy about me wanted to go back to the car, hee. And finally walking around our favorite little cliff walk back in town, nobody around, the benches empty, the waves emptier, and we sat on a big rock {prophetic much}.

And then you talked about us, and I cried because you were sweet, and then you fell on the ground, but no…you were kneeling, and then I really cried. I couldn’t believe you took my mom to Sushi to ask her. I couldn’t believe you had planned this whole day for so long, and I didn’t even know. I couldn’t believe that I was wearing a ring on my finger, and it was gold not silver…how did you know that??

But you did it, and I said yes, and a little boy and an elderly couple cheered on the cliffs above. And I thought it was a movie—a movie that I’ll never ever forget.

I love you to the moon! and it grows each and every day.