My Unemployment Soundtrack

Being unemployed in a new place where I don’t know many people has been difficult and frustrating. Thank goodness for having a wonderful husband and family and friends to keep me going. As of now I have been out of work for 3 months, although one month doesn’t really count because of the wedding and honeymoon. I’ve found you go through a cycle of emotions and at least for me, a struggle with how to fill your day. The cycle for me has been anger that turns into a depressive sadness. I don’t allow myself to stay sad for long and I become motivated again. When I see a job that seems like it would be a good fit I become very excited but then the waiting game to hear back from an employer starts.

I do not understand how an employer won’t even contact an applicant, even just to tell them that they are not being considered. So, when I’ve been selected for interviews, I’ve been very ecstatic and optimistic. Then the second waiting game starts. The right opportunity will come along, but in the meantime instead of turning this into a diary entry, I figured I’d share my playlist for each of the emotions of unemployment. I should also mention that unemployment leads to watching TONS of crime dramas on TV.

John Mayer – Gravity
Matisyahu – Sunshine
Joni Mitchell – A Case of You
OneRepublic – Feel Again

Angry (Anger doesn’t suit me, so I try calm or fun music)
Ed Sheeran or John Coltrane Pandora station
One Direction – Heart Attack & Rock Me
Mumford & Sons – Babel (the whole album)
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

Phillip Phillips – Home
Aloe Blacc – I Need a Dollar
Jessie J – Domino
Outasight – I’ll Drink to That
Imagine Dragons – On Top of the World

Any suggestions to add? 🙂

Cheers, Nikki


Adventures in home brewing

We both have a love for beer and as a big “hint” for one of Ben’s wedding gifts Nikki gave a home brewing kit to make a summer wheat. Today was the day that we were finally able to taste our beer (good news, it was delicious!) so we wanted to share the process. Brew number one was a success and now we are on to an IPA.

Brewing process summary

Our kit included all of the ingredients we needed. The below picture is the start of the process – making a mash. This takes an hour and requires you to keep the temperature steady throughout the process.

"Your basically making oatmeal"

Once you’ve made your mash, you boil water to 170 degrees and use it to make your wort. The mash is placed in a strainer and you pour the water through the strainer to make the wort. We used a spatula to help it.


Once all the water goes through the strainer, you take the wort and a new pot and pour it through the mash one more time.

Making wort, step 2!

Now you’ve made your wort (pronounced “wert”) and using a funnel, you pour it into a jug. You place a tube into the jug and have the other end going into a bowl with sanitized water. The spoon we have in the bowl is to keep the tube down in the water – don’t worry we didn’t drink it.

Two weeks later you bottle your beer! And then it sits for two more weeks! The actual bottling process was a two person job and because of that did not yield any pictures. We’ll try to take some with the IPA. We place the bottles in our second bedroom closet which is a cool and dark place.


It’s easy to say the we are hooked! Ben has already ordered cascade and centennial hops and fine mesh pouches to try dry hopping with our next IPA. We’re having a great time making our own beer and look to keep filling our closets with beer and developing new recipes…(Ben put a very large amount of hops into the IPA)…so we’re excited for our homebrew journey.

Momma Walters’ Visit

Momma Walters came to visit us in Fresno!

Ben and I showed her our home, the university, and even fit in a trip to the Central coast. On Saturday, we got to spend some time at the Harvest Fall Wine Tasting at some local wineries on a beautiful day! We visited Engelmann Cellars and Moravia Wines.


Mom at Moravia


Mom and I at Engelmann Cellars


Husband and wife PDA 🙂


One of the landmark windmills at Engelmann Cellars

On Sunday we made the 2 hour trek to Paso Robles and Pismo Beach. We fell in love with the Paso Robles area. We stopped at Firestone Walker Brewery and had some delicious beer. Ben’s favorite was Velvet Merkin, which is Velvet Merlin, but aged in bourbon barrels for 18 months. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. My (Nikki) favorite was the XVI Anniversary Blend an oak-aged strong ale. Mom’s was the 805 ale which is only available in that area code! I love the local touch.

The lush green hills in the area surprised us, we felt like we were in the south or on the east coast. Ben and I can’t wait to get back to this area to do a little bit more exploring. This weekend was about showing mom the lay of the land and that HAD to include a trip to ocean. Just down the road from Paso Robles is the town of Pismo Beach. The sand is very fine and it was a bit windy, but mom got some good souvenir shells and a sand dollar.


Pismo Beach!

By recommendation, we waited in line for 15 minutes of a late lunch crowd to Splash Cafe. Ben and I got the bread bowl Clam Chowder (amazing!) and Mom got a Spicy Ranch Burger with fries. We will definitely be going back there when we have a chance.


Bread bowl Clam Chowder from Splash at Pismo Beach

It was great to have a weekend with my mom and look forward to more hosting/adventuring.

Cheers, Nikki

Role Reversal

I’ve (Nikki) been in Fresno for one month now and it’s been such an adventure to get used to a new place. We’ve been to Yosemite, we’ve scouted our local eateries and wineries, we are trying out home brewing, and are planning out our weekends for the rest of the year. 

The one thing that I did not expect having to get used to is the role reversal of Ben and I. When we lived in Denver, Ben would stay up late and still be in bed when I went to work in the morning. In Fresno, that is my new gig and Ben is ready for bed at 10:00 or 10:30. Ben is a much better cook than I am, but since I have more time, I am the one doing most of the cooking (besides grilling, of course). Couch snuggling has even changed. I would always get tired and fall asleep while watching TV or movies on the couch and now Ben is doing that.

Of course some things have not changed: the schedule of my day revolves around food. What will I be eating and what time will I be eating it. Ben is still searching for beers available in Fresno that can compete with Crazy Mountain Brewing Company (zero Amber Ales have even come close). 

The best part about being in Fresno is having quality time together and unlimited adventures across the state of California to discover. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted about all of them. 🙂