Stephanie as a blonde or a brunette? Place your vote now!

I’m not sure if you noticed this in the post I wrote about our awesome San Francisco photo shoot, but Holly Gauper brought along a sweet wig for Stephanie to throw on and it officially turned her into a brunette for a few hours. When we initially saw the wig the night before none of us thought that it had potential for making its way into any of the photos, but man were we way off…BIG TIME.

Once Stephanie was all decked out in her wedding dress and makeup (which Holly did a fantastic job on) her new brunette wig looked A-MA-ZING! It was crazy just how much of a difference a brown wig can make and as you can see by the photos below it was a great way to give her a whole different look during the shoot.

Now that you’ve seen her as a brunette, give us your vote for the look you like best:

High Five Etiquette

If you know anything about me, you know that one thing that I have an obsession with is the high five (I even wrote something about the history of it). I give them to friends, to strangers and Stephanie and I even give them out while we’re running in the mornings. I’m not sure why, but a high five is just something that puts a smile on people’s faces and makes even the most awkward situation feel ok.

Now that you know my obsession with the high five, it will make much more sense why I thought that all of you should check out this sweet video all about high five etiquette that I found this morning while browsing the interwebs. There are all kinds of situations that I think we can all relate to, so give it a couple minutes of your time when you need a break this morning.

Tamara Lowe tells it (raps it) how it is

Just ran across this video of a woman names Tamara Lowe from Christ Fellowship rapping some sweet lyrics about God and how we’re just wasting space if all we’re doing is living for Earthly things that our culture is telling us is important. What do you think of it?

Adventures in *almost* trashing a wedding dress with the Gaupers

A couple of days ago Ryan and Holly Gauper rolled into San Francisco after driving across the US for a few weeks, flying to China for a couple more and hanging in Hawaii. If you don’t remember the Gaupers, they are the amazingly awesome husband and wife photography duo who shot all of the amazing pics from our wedding about 6 months back. They’ve been taking some time off to see some of their family, friends and have also been setting up some photography workshops along the way. They’ve been at it for a couple of months and are now finally getting ready to start the drive back to their home state of Michigan so that they can get ready for another crazy-packed wedding season.

Before they took off and headed back home both Holly and Ryan wanted to take Stephanie and I out for a shoot around San Francisco, which we were more than happy to do yesterday (ok, we were giddy like little kids to do it). Of course, with Holly and Ryan there’s never really just a ‘normal’ photo shoot and this time was no exception. When Stephanie and I went home for Christmas Holly told us to have Stephanie’s mom ship out her wedding dress to our place in San Francisco so that we could have a trash the dress shoot. If you’ve never heard of a trash the dress shoot, it’s basically just like what it sounds — the bride gets photos taken of her literally trashing her wedding dress. This usually consists of the bride jumping in water, standing around in something messy or some other type of thing that brides aren’t supposed to do while wearing a pristine, white wedding dress. It’s become pretty popular with brides here the past couple of years and it only seems to be getting more and more popular as time goes on.

We were planning on doing something a little more on the extreme side to Stephanie’s dress (like chopping it up with scissors or covering it in paint), but as Stephanie, Holly, Ryan, Nic and I started running around San Francisco together we ended up spending so much time getting shots of us not trashing the dress we didn’t end up actually doing the trashing that we initially set out to do. I’m totally ok with this as I was honestly a little sad about the fact that we were going to ruin the dress that reminds me of the best day of my life, but I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before we get to doing what we initially set out to do yesterday. That dress is trashed, it’s just going to take a little bit longer before it happens.

Like I said, we didn’t trash the dress, but that definitely doesn’t mean that we didn’t get some freakin’ fantastic shots. We ended up spending about seven hours driving all around San Francisco and the photos that we ended up getting out of it are really cool. Check out a preview of what we came back with below and be sure to keep an eye on Holly and Ryan’s blog for more photos and video (and the video is HILARIOUS).

Wedding Deja Vu — A new Hup and Steph project

With all of the free time that Stephanie and I have laying around these days (!!sarcasm alert!!) we’ve decided to start  up another little project called Wedding Deja Vu. Wedding Deja Vu is a new blog that’s going to be all about the things that we’ve learned while planning our wedding, as well as some other things that we’ve learned since. On the blog we describe what we’re doing as Wedding planning tips, ideas and other randomness from a married couple who wants to do it all over again. Planning a wedding isn’t easy and with Wedding Deja Vu we hope that we can use some of our experiences to help other soon-to-be-married couples have a wedding that was even more awesome than ours (which will be tough, but we think we can do it).

To kick off the initial posts on Wedding Deja Vu we’ve been focusing on some of the details that some couples don’t put much emphasis on, but that end up creeping up as their big day gets closer and closer. They’re not the most top-of-mind topics, but they’re ones that all couples who are planning a wedding have to think about eventually.

Here are a few of the topics that we’ve already posted something about (we just started, so bare with us):

It’s definitely a work in process and we haven’t even thought about how we’re going to design it from a look and feel perspective, but we figured that writing good stuff was the most important thing to start with and we can pretty it up a bit later. If you have any thoughts, comments, suggestions or whatever, be sure to let us know in the comments. Also, if you would be interested in writing about some wedding stuff shoot us a note, we’re probably going to be bringing on other writers as time goes on.

Google: Trying Not To Be Evil?

I just saw this now defunct Hungry Beast video about Google and though that I should share. It really gives you a glimpse into what all Google has going on these days and just how far they have gone to make as much money as possible from their flagship advertising products (that generate 97% of their $200 billion market cap). Take a look the video below and see just how Google might be trying harder than ever not to be evil (or are they?).


The New Dork — a tribute to other startup geeks like me

I was just checking out Sarah Townsend’s blog (who I just happen to see on Twitter a few minutes ago) and after a couple of scrolls I was pleasantly surprised to find this YouTube gem that speaks to me and any other Silicon Valley startup geek. The video is a guy rapping a parody of Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind (New York) called “The New Dork”. It’s super well done and definitely worth a couple minutes of your time.

Also, all of the scenes were shot in San Francisco, many of which are literally a couple of blocks away from where Stephanie and I live in SOMA.

One last thing that I should probably mention is the fact that this video was created by the guys who run (which, of course, is a Bay Area startup), so the marketing side of me is definitely jealous of the nearly half a million views that it’s showing right now. Props to those guys for pulling it off, though — this could of been done in a way that was really bad, but they absolutely killed it.

Update: Here are the lyrics if you’re interested in checking them out:

Now Im in the blogosphere, Now I’m in the twitterverse
Fans get so immersed, But I’m a nerd forever
I’m the new Zuckerberg, And since my website
I been cookin dough like a chef servin killa-bytes
Used to be the basement, Back at my mom’s place
Buildin web traffic so that we could sell an ad space
Make way for the, One man businesses
Bail outs finished with, White collar criminals
New sega genesis, Entrepreneur time
Makin big plans, To dominate the online
Yeah, I’m on YouTube, this is one man
Sharin’ google revenue, With songs on my webcam
Science is the new art, Databases day to day
Geeks spreadin’ sheet smarts, Hustle, make the data pay
I could be in Valleywag plus Geekologie
Tell from my avatar, That I’m most definitely

The New Dork,
Social networks – what dreams are made of, There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re the New Dork
This V.C. money is brand new, The geek is now damn cool
Let’s hear it for new dorks, new dorks, new dorks

Catch me up in Techcrunch, Right on the homepage
Hell, I’m on Gizmodo, In a photo bout a phone craze
And Im up in Mashable, weekend trip to New York
Bar pitty, 1oak, parties full of New Dorks
Now I’m pitchin business plans, From the backs of napkans
Micro-lend to Africans, Monetize Kazakastan
Catch me up on linked-in, Dog, C.E.O.
You can see where I be, With the I.P.O.
Now I’m up in skinny jeans, Now a hipster’s lurkin’
Used to be a reject, But now I’m steady jerkin’
Now my glasses mainstream, Now the girlies eyein me
Popular kids copy me, The new swag is irony
Comin’ from the small time, Girls couldn’t find me
Now I scale models, Like I climb on top of Heidi
Start big trends, with tweets that I pass on
You should follow me, cuz I’m friends with Ashton

Church thoughts to chew on for April 11, 2010: Why Does God Allow Injustice?


This week I wanted to get back on track with writing our ‘used-to-be-weekly’ Church Thoughts to Chew On posts because whenever we write one of these up it allows us to really think about the message that was talked about during church and give our thoughts on what all was said. Also, I want to make sure that I’m extending out the message to others who may (or may not) want to hear it. A lot of questions about God, Jesus, Christianity and other things that most ‘religious’ people don’t talk openly about are discussed every single week at our church, so I feel like it’s up to us to do our part to communicate that message to our social circle of family, friends and co-workers and we both feel like this blog is a great way to do that.

After all, just like our Pastor Gary says at the end of every service, the most important part of what we do as a church isn’t what we do during the services each Sunday, it’s what we do once we leave and continue on with our day-to-day lives. Stephanie and I couldn’t agree more.

This week’s message was about a topic that I think a lot of people question Christians about: Why does God allow injustice?

>> What is Injustice?
Before we talk about this some more in detail I think that I should clearly define what injustice actually means. It’s one of those words that we all probably hear a lot in everyday conversations and news, but one that we probably have never taken the time to research. Injustice is defined as acts or conditions, brought forth by forces of natural or human evil, that result in people suffering hardship or loss undeservedly.

So, according to this definition injustice can be split up into two different buckets, human and natural and although each of these types are open to some interpretation, there are some basic injustices that belong to each. Here are a few examples so that you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:

Human Injustices: Murder, terrorism, war, discrimination, job loss, sexual abuse, infidelity, crime, cruelty, sinful behavior

Natural Injustices: Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, birth defects, learning disabilities, diseases, addiction, infertility, chronic pain, untimely death

>> Why Deal with the Issue of Injustice?
Both of these types of injustice result in people suffering hardship or loss undeservedly (with some obviously affecting more than others) and each are caused by either a human or by some force of nature. Both are also very hard to explain and neither of them are easy to deal with and as Christians it would be very easy to simply skip over the tough subject of questioning why God allows these types of things to happen and never really deal with it. But, it’s something that we do need to discuss and here’s why:

1. Faith is hindered by it (many believers drift away from God as a result of injustice)

2. God is misunderstood (many people think that God only hands out flowers and lollipops, which isn’t true. His plan is not all what we, as a culture, would consider to be good, but it’s the plan that will make us into what He wants us to be.

3. Suffering is inevitable (as you can see every single day on CNN or any other news station suffering is happening all over the world and is inevitable, so as Christians we need to try  to understand why it happens and what God’s intentions are with it)

>> So Why Does God Allow Injustice?
Now that we have a good understanding of what injustice is and why we need to talk about it, it’s now time to dig into the real question — why does God allow these terrible and unfair injustices to even happen in the first place? Why does he allow children to get molested? Why does he allow for tsunamis to take thousands of people’s lives? Why does he allow us to become addicted to drugs? These are all great questions to ask and believe it or not they’re actually questions that Christians are more than free to ask God about (how awesome is that? ).

Here are three main reasons why God allows for injustice to happen:

1. It is just a consequence of the fall: If you’re not sure what the fall of man is, it’s when Adam and Eve decided to go against what God had told them to do and ate the fruit from the tree in the garden of Eden. Although this story is usually condensed down to a child-like version, this is the beginning of evil entering into both human beings and the Earth. This evil was caused by both Adam and Eve rebelling and being tempted by Satan due to the fact that God had given them both free will.

Before the fall Adam and Eve felt no embarrassment, no shame, no pain and definitely no injustice, but the moment that they ate the fruit that all changed in an instant. This is the reason why both Adam and Eve both noticed that they were naked once it happened — it was due to the fact that they were no longer the perfect beings that God had intended them to be.

Here are some Bible verses that help support this first reason:

And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. — Genesis 3:22

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. — Genesis 3:16-17

2. It is a useful part of His loving Ultimate Plan: The injustices that we deal with today are a part of God’s Ultimate Plan, which basically has three main sections.

  1. Evil/Brokenness: This is the section that started with the fall and all of the time of brokenness, sin and evil that followed.
  2. Redeeming: This is the section that started with the coming of Jesus Christ, continued on with his death and resurrection and continues up until now. This section is obviously highlighted by is the fact that God gave up Jesus as a way to forgive us for our sins. This section is filled with both sin and injustice, which are all part of God’s plan to restore us to the perfect beings that we were created to be.
  3. Restore: The final stage is when all believers will be gathered to heaven — let the party begin!

3. It develops character and intimacy with him: Although it never seems like it at the time, God brings these various types of injustices into our lives with a plan in mind. This plan might not be realized for many years to come, but that’s where faith and trust in Him to guide you along the best possible path comes in handy.

An example of this is could be someone who had a terrible drug addiction getting through the injustice and turning it into a way to counsel and help others who are going through the same issue. God uses these injustices to help us build character, to help us build our faith and to help us realize that we aren’t in charge of our lives — He is.

Here are some Bible verses that can give you some more insight into this third reason:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. — Romans 5:3-4

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. — 2 Corinthians 1:9

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. — Psalms 34:18

Well, that’s enough for one Sunday — please let me know if you have any thoughts on any of this, we’d love to hear your thoughts!


If you’ve read through this and you’re questioning how exactly you accept God’s free gift of grace and forgiveness and are ready to make that commitment, then please read on!  There is no “magic prayer” or exact wording that you need to pray.  It’s as simple as admitting to God that you are a sinner, and there is nothing that you will ever be able to do to merit forgiveness.  Believe that Christ, God’s son, came to earth to die on the cross and take our sin upon Himself.  Believe that He rose again on the 3rd day, and is alive today.  Dedicate your life to God and invite His spirit into your life.

If you have dedicated your life to Christ after reading this, then please don’t stay silent.  Contact us or someone that you feel comfortable with and tell them!  It’s a long road ahead but it’s a wonderful one, filled with hope, love, and new beginnings.

Also, each of these weekly messages can be streamed/downloaded on iTunes for free. Click here to open up the podcast in iTunes now!

One thing I know for sure…

Surprise..It’s Steph.  Not often that I get around to blogging these days, and that is simply not ok with me.  I always feel so much better after getting my thoughts out like this, but I put it off for far too long.  I do that with a lot of things.. like running.. or laundry for instance.  Something I need to work on I suppose.

Enough with the rambling, though.  I’d like to get started.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately. ( scary I know)  Since moving to California, God has really, and i mean REALLY been working on my heart.  It’s kind of amazing to take a step back and look at my perception of things now and compare them to how I used to view them.  It’s almost a complete 180 in some cases.  I could probably make a list and talk about all of my new perceptions for days, but one in particular seems to stand out.

My perception of success has really been tugging at my heart strings lately.  If you were to ask what success meant to me 2 years ago, I probably would have said something along the lines of “husband, good job, 3.5 kids, comfortable living arrangements.. yada, yada”.  To think about that word “comfortable” now gives me the chills.  We’re completely surrounded by “success stories” out here in San Francisco.  I know so many people that are absolutely living the American dream, and for them I am truly happy.  But for us, I’ve simply decided that unless that is what God calls Ryan and I to do, I don’t want it.  I don’t want to live a comfortable life.  I don’t want to be swimming in money in my posh loft in the city living every day to go to work and to come home and to sleep in my warm bed just to do it all over again the next day.  Nothing great ever comes from comfortable.  Comfortable doesn’t push me to seek God’s direction or to do things that are out of the ordinary for Him.  I want to be content no matte what my circumstances(Phil. 4:11).. but I don’t want to be comfortable.  I think there is a HUGE difference between those two words, and I don’t want to lead to any confusion.

So many times in my life I have made my own plans, and then God directed my path in a completely different direction.  If you want a few examples just ask me some time, I’d be happy to share.  Every single time that I was moved in a different direction, God drew me closer to Him.  He has shown me time and time again, that His way is perfect and that is what I want my value of success to reflect; God’s glory revealed through His will in my life.  To make this relevant I’ll give my current circumstances.  I’m taking pre-requisite classes in order to enter a nursing program.  For the first time since I graduated college I feel like I’m pursuing a career that I absolutely love.  It’s exciting and it’s challenging and I couldn’t be happier.  This time, however, I’ve decided that this decision is completely in the Lord’s hands. If He wants me to complete this program and serve Him through nursing, I will go and serve with all that I am.  If, however, through God’s incredible way of leading He calls Ryan and I somewhere else and I don’t get to complete the program I will be ok with that. In fact, I will be thrilled with that because I’ve learned now that God’s plans are 100% of the time better than my plans.  Ryan and I have so much on our plates right now.  So many goals, ventures, and ultimately decisions.  I pray that our decisions reflect our value of “success” to be serving God wholeheartedly no matter where or what we are doing.  It’s hard not to slip back into the old value of gaining money, power, and comfort but through faith in our Lord’s provision, I know He will lead us in the right direction.  So, I guess what I mean by my title of this post is that I know for sure that I may not know what or where Ryan and I will be in the future.. but I know that I want to be successful.  Not the kind of success that is claimed by typical society, but the kind of success that is only gained by giving your life up to Christ.  That is success in my opinion.

In my desperate attempt to keep this blog half-way short enough to keep your attention I’ll stop here but I think this is a conversation that could go on for awhile. What are your views on success?   I’d love to hear from you and give you some more of my thoughts!