Saturday, January 30, 2010

Making Room for Love

 Yes.  I want to find love.  I want someone to look for love and find me.  But maybe past relationship are prohibiting me from moving forward to the place I need to be.  I know about this, twice in the past year.  It's definitely been a growing experience; not necessarily a pleasant time, but needed.  So, maybe it's time I need to make room for love in my life.  So, once again, let's see what I can glean from an article...
  1. Honesty - Every heard the saying "honesty is the best policy"?  When it comes to Exes, this doesn’t mean you need to tell them off or reminding them of what they did wrong, but the opposite. It’s being honest with yourself about the strange cocktail of emotions that a break-up can trigger.  If you’re unresolved in any way about your Ex, these underlying feelings can become unnecessary baggage in your dating life. Make an effort to be honest with yourself.
  2.  No Fault Policy - Whether you feel like you were a victim or a volunteer with your Ex, it’s better not to place blame. The more fixated you are on getting even, proving a point, or feeling vindicated, the less available you are to nurture warm, fuzzy feelings for someone else. By lowering your pointer finger, you’ll find that you’re now free to hold hands with someone new. (ok, that was all taken word for word, maybe because, um, guilty!)
  3. Clear Boundaries - When your boundaries are clear you can spend less time and energy protecting yourself. Draw lines in the sand with your Ex. Know your limits and be direct about what they are. Once you can do that you’ll be able to choose who gets under your skin and who stays at arm’s length.
  4. Be Quiet - Talk less. Listen more. When you converse with your Ex, be willing to hear their requests and respond without getting defensive. If you can't talk it out, you may need to use email instead. It’s easier to be clear and to avoid engaging in go-nowhere, exhausting conversations in writing. Writing (and reading) information in an email prevents you from reacting. -Don’t push their buttons. -Don’t build your case. -Don’t say things that will incite arguments. You might miss love calling if you’re in a screaming match with your Ex.
  5. A New Approach - Come on, if you keep playing the same old song you keep dancing the same old dance. If your interactions with your Ex keep producing the same unsatisfying outcome, for goodness sake, try a different approach. Prepare an alternative (dare we say better) way for handling your Ex.
  6. False Intimacy Can be Dangerous - While you don’t need to be overly guarded, sometimes part of having clear boundaries is not letting your Ex get too close to you. Yes, that means physically (virtually impossible for me, thank goodness), emotionally, spiritually and financially. No, they cannot fix your sprinkler system anymore or tuck you in when you’re sick. Too much intimacy with an Ex can be confusing to everyone. It can reignite old feelings that were better left snuffed out (I couldn't agree more!). More than anything, it distracts you from giving someone, anyone, a chance.
  7. Say Goodbye - Saying goodbye to an Ex might be the most obvious thing yet it’s often the least common thing people do. Don’t walk down memory lane anymore. Don’t revisit old wounds and hurts. Don’t reengage. If this person constantly reactivates bad feelings and brings out your worst self, it’s time to let them go for your sake as well as theirs. Just keep walking forward without looking back. (This is something I've had to do, I had to tell D that we couldn't be friends.  As much as he was a good friend, a dear friend, I just couldn't do it.  It was too hard to keep that line in the sand.)
You deserve a second chance. I deserve a second chance.  To truly create an opportunity to meet your new love you need to focus your energy on moving on. The love you’re looking for is ahead of you, not behind you. If you stay focused on the road beyond the windshield you’ll get there much sooner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ten for Tuesday (on Wednesday)

Sorry that this wasn't out yesterday.  Problem is this: 1) I was too busy being excited about meeting the twins on my extended "martini" lunch break, 2) I was actually busy at work, and 3) last night I had about 25 people over for dinner (in my little 900 sq. ft. house, let's just say it was cozy).  So that let me no time to answer these very important questions. 

But I'm answering now!  Better late than never!

No question theme this week.  Just random questions.

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?Graduating from Cal Poly in 4 years (and a quarter).  It's hard to first get into Cal Poly and then graduate in 4 years.  I'm proud of it!  And I know my parents are too.  I from college is blah, blah, blah gonna be most everyone's "most pround of accoknow that graduating mplishment", so here's another one.  I am also proud of following my dreams and seeing them through.  When I get a bug up my butt things get done (as long as they're within reason). 
  2. How much did you weigh when you were born?
    I was wittle.  A mere 6 lbs. 2 ounces.  I think.  I'd have to refer back that birth announcement thing my mom made for me that's hanging on my wall in my office.
  3. What is your favorite perfume?
    Victoria Secret Halo.  Which is a huge bummer because they don't make it/sell it any more!  The last bottle I got I ordered through amazon.  Whoever has a supply out there, keep it in stock please!
  4. How many siblings do you have?
    Three.  I am the oldest of 4 kids.  But we're not kids anymore.  The baby is going to be 22 in less than a month.  My (almost) 26 year old brother is getting married in less than 9 months.  At 23, #3 will be graduating from college this May. And I'm.turning.thirty. in less than 4 months.
  5. How many children would you like to have? (Or how many do you have?)
    I'd like more than 2, but less than 4.  Somewhere in that range is the magic number.  Honestly, as long as we're (because obviously I'll be married) financially comfortable I wouldn't be opposed to 4.  On thing is for sure though, I am not going to be a Michelle Duggar and pop kids like popcorn!
  6. What is the best class you took in college?
    Totally honest here?  My absolutely favorite class(es) was beginning and advanced floral arranging!  I know, you're probably thinking "why in the world would you take floral arranging?"  Well, it counted as ag elective units that were required for my major (Agribusiness).  And it was hands on and I got to be creative.  And my teacher and my aunt were AGR little sisters/friends when they both went to Cal Poly.  Ok, that's not a reason that I took the class, but it's a cool fact.  My favorite class as required by my major was something about business plans.  Basically, I learned how to, and wrote a business plan for a fictious business for 10 weeks.  It was fun!  My plan ended up being about 80 pages.  (Maybe I should put that in my proud accomplishment list)
  7. What was your favorite game to play when you were a child?
    Ummm...I have a horrible memory of my childhood.  (and not because I didn't have a good childhood, I just have a sucky memory)  It comes to me in spurts.  Right now I'm remembering chinese jump rope during recess at school.  Did anyone else play that?  With the long stretchy circle?  I don't remember how to play it now though (bad memory remember?).
  8. What character on Friends are you most like?
    Let's see who I'm not like:  Pheobe and Joey - I'm not spacy.  Ross - I'm not a science nerd, but like him I'm an idiot when it comes to the opposite sex.  Monica - I'm not as OCD as she is, but I am slightly Type A.  Rachel - ...  Chandler - ...  I guess I'm most like Rachel and Chandler because I can't think of a reason why I'm not like them.  But don't ask me how I'm like them, cause I don't know.  Honestly though, Chandler was the first one that came to mind as the character that I'm most like.
  9. Are you a phone person (ie do you like talking on the phone)?
    No, not really.  Once I'm on the phone I'm fine.  But I'm too afraid that I'm going to interupt whatever that other person was doing.  Or by me calling them I'll be bugging them.  Or if they don't answer then they must not want to talk to me.  I'm weird like that.  I'd rather they call me.  I'll answer.  I promise.
  10. What was the best vacation you ever took?
    That's a hard one.  I've gone on lots of vacations.  Growing up we had a motorhome.  Mom and Dad would load us up, after packing of course, and we'd take off for 2 weeks driving to different National Parks.  Or they'd load us up and off to the coast we'd go for a weekend.  As I've gotten older I've come to recognize that vacations are a must in order to keep my sanity.  Plus I love to travel and go new places and see new sights.  So I try to take 1 trip that requires flying every year.  In 2009 it was to Florida.  In 2008 it was to Hawaii and Alaska.  2007 I went to upstate New York.  I don't know where I'm going in 2010 yet.  Ok, so I know I didn't really answer the question, but every vacation is special for it's own reason and it's had to choose between them.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Happy Blogiversary!

    3 years ago today I started this craziness.

    Why?  By golly, I don't know.  To share pictures, to tell stories, to voice an opinion, etc.  I've enjoyed it.  All of it, even the "emo" moments I've had and the sharing/pouring my heart out word-vomit posts I've done.  I think I've grown from and through things just by having someplace not on paper to take what's running through my brain and getting it out there.

    I hope you've enjoyed it too.

    In honor of today being my blogiversary I'm doing a giveaway.  (bear with me, I've never done a give away before)

    What am I giving away you ask?  Well, I'll be giving one lucky person a jar of the world famous Santa Maria seasoning, made with love by my mommy.  (Mom, I'm gonna need a bottle of Santa Maria.)  Santa Maria is pretty much the most versatile seasoning you'll ever need.  Sprinkle it on beef, chicken, veggies, eggs, pork, fish, etc.  You get the picture, it can go on everything!

    Here's what to do.  Leave me a comment telling me your favorite post of mine from the last 3 years, a story/memory that involves me, or just something downright random.  The comment must be left here, on the blog, not on facebook.  You have until Friday the 29th at 6pm Pacific time to enter.  Over the weekend I'll draw a name and we'll go from there.   Sound easy enough?

    Ready set go!

    And today, I finally get to go meet my bff's brand new twin girls, Carson and Harper.  (because waiting 4 days since their birth is just way too long!  I'm so excited!!!  Stay tuned for pictures of my "nieces"!

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Motivation Monday - Elitism

    Mi Cocina es su Cocina

    My parent's kitchen is currently under construction.  It looks like this...

    Notice there isn't even a ceiling!

    Being as 1) I live across the street from my parent's, 2) have a fully functioning kitchen, 3) a kitchen that they technically own and I pay to use, and 4) need to eat dinner every night, my kitchen has become my mom's 2nd kitchen. 

    It's kinda nice.  I get home from work and there she is cooking away!  The house smells good, the lights are on (except for the porch light, mom, turn that one on too please).  I help set the table and call dad and Chris over (Kait is generally already there) then we eat!  We do the dishes, then they all go home (Kait generally stays). 

    Quite the win win if you ask me!

    Sunday, January 24, 2010


    I know there is something that some one is dying to ask me.  So I'm jumping on the formspring bandwagon.  Just follow this link and ask away!

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    Surprising Uses for Your Dishwasher

    I have a dishwasher.  Unfortunately, as one person, sometimes it takes a week to fill it full without running it half empty.  So I wanna know how else I can use my dishwasher.  Here's what I found...

    Things you can put in the dishwasher:
    Baseball caps get bent in the washing machine, but not in the dishwasher!  And use one of those ball cap washing contraptions.  But don't wash them with dishes unless you want food caught in the fibers.
    Action figures and other small toys, that is, if you have children.
    Shoes like flip flops and rain boots (remove liner, lay horizontally).  Not crocs though.  Good thing I don't own any.
    Tools with plastic or metal handles.  Just remember to hand dry to avoid rusting.
    Ceramic cabinet knobs do well in the silverware tray.
    Hair brushes and combs made of plastic.  Not wooden or natural bristle brushes.  Remove hair first so you don't plug up the drain.
    Fan grills, switch plates, and vent covers made of plastic, aluminum or steel.  Enamel, painted, or plated should stay out.
    Shin guards, mouth guards, and knee pad can go on the top rack.
    Garden tools, but if they were used with pesticides wash without dishes.  Also, they're a no go if they have a wooden handle.
    Light-fixture covers are good to go on the top rack.  Use caution if they're antiques, painted or enameled.
    Potatoes can get nice and clean on the top rack on the rinse cycle (without detergent). 

    Things that really shouldn't go in the dishwasher:
    Cast-iron, enameled-cast-iron, and cooper pots and pans are on the no no list.  Cast-iron rusts, enameled-cast-iron chips, and cooper dents.
    Formal dishes and nice flatware can get worn with repeat washing.  Here's a rule of thumb, if it's something you'll cry over harming or losing, don't do it.
    Crystal glasses because food particles can etch them and heat causes cracks.  And hand dry with a towel that wasn't laundered with a fabric softener, which can leave a film.
    Wooden spoons can warp and crack.
    Brass items because hot water can remove the protective layer that forms on brass.
    Good kitchen knives and steak knives because they'll dull faster.
    Wooden cutting boards can swell and contract leaving them unlevel. 
    Insulated mugs and containers have vacuum seals which will be ruined if water seeps in.

    Technically acceptable in the dishwasher, but too questionable to try:
    Computer keyboard - Place the keyboard facedown on the top rack, don’t use detergent, and skip the drying cycle. Afterward, unscrew the back, if possible, or pop off the keys (take a picture beforehand so you remember where they go). Air-dry two to five days. Pray the Computer Fairy is looking down on you, then reassemble.
    Broom ends (and dust pans, scrub brushes, and vacuum attachments) - Shake off the loose dust into the trash first.  Stick brushes and attachments in the silverware basket and broom ends and dust pans on top.

    Salmon, but prepared for your dishwasher to smell like fish for awhile.

    So what are you going to try...?

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Today is the Day

    I'd love to tell you that I have some witty blog coming today about life with pictures, etc.  But I don't.  At least not yet.  But what I do have is some good news...


    I received a 5:15am wake up call to Hakuna Matata (yes, that's Rylen's ringtone) letting me know that they were on the way to the hospital.  That 45 minutes earlier her water broke.  Then I couldn't go back to sleep and debated just getting ready and coming in to work super duper early.  But then I zzzzz... out.

    About 8:20am I received an update call:  4.5 cm dilated, contractions 2 minutes apart, epidural had been administered (in case they have to perform an emergency c-section), and the expected EDT (estimated delivery time) is early afternoon.

    So, by later today I will be an doting, spoiling (non-blood related) AUNT! 

    (Unfortunately, due to the stupid H1N1 bug, besides Rylen and the hospital staff, she is allowed 2 people max in her room and to cross "the line", which means that I can't visit until they are home.  Same goes for her sister and dad and mom-in-law (that's visiting from NY), only Jim and her mom are allowed in then entire time she's admitted.  Hospital rules.)

    How to Save on...

    We're all in a place right now where we're trying to cut corners and save whereever possible, without completely changing what we're used to, our quality of life.  So how about some tips!

    Bulk up on the basics...
    Purchase oranges, potatoes, and onions in bags instead of individually.  They're staple items that you'll eat before they go bad.  Plus, you'll pay about 1/2 the price. 
    Don't buy nongrocery items at the supermarket.  Health and beauty goods are normally cheaper at mass-market retailers, like Target (I love Target)
    Opt for frozen seafood over fresh. Vacuum-packaged salmon, flounder, and tilapia fillets and bags of frozen shrimp cost 20-40% less than their counterparts at the fish counter. (If that sounds unappetizing, consider that most “fresh” fish has been previously frozen during transport.)
    Buy ground beef and chicken breasts in bulk or family size packages.  You'll save about 20% per pound on ground beef and 50% per pound on chicken.
    Find out an item’s cost per unit (CPU).  It’s generally listed on the shelf sticker next to the price. It'll tell you what an item’s cost per pound or ounce is, which can keep you from getting hoodwinked by packaging.

    How to save on garden supplies...
    Shop early, supply and demand rules at garden centers, and the selection is greatest early in the season.
    Purchase cell packs. Buying one large marigold plant for $8 can give your garden a head start, but a four-pack of smaller ones costs half the price and each of the tiny plants will grow to the size of the large one in just a few weeks.
    Plant tough varieties. Daylilies, asters, and hostas are all vigorous and low-maintenance, which means you won’t have to make another trip to the nursery for replacements. (Or if you have a brown thumb like me they plant may live longer than the others.)
    Attach a timer to the spigot. A sprinkler or a soaker hose left running wastes a lot of water. Spend $15 now on a mechanical water timer and save on tomorrow’s water bills.

    How to save on a cell phone...
    If you send or receive more than one text a day, sign up for a texting plan and you’ll avoid the average 20-cents-per-text charge.
    If your phone usage spikes after dinnee, ask about extended calling hours. For an additional $5 to $9 a month, some carriers, such as Sprint and AT&T, offer packages that allow you unlimited calls after 6 P.M. or 7 P.M., compared with 9 P.M. for most typical plans.
    If you talk for fewer than 200 minutes monthly then a prepaid plan is for you.
    If you signed up for phone insurance, slash this cost immediately, even if you’re clumsy. That $5 to $8 monthly charge adds up, and you’ll still have to pay a $50 deductible if you need to replace a broken phone. The replacement, which is often just a refurbished used phone, will cost about the same as a new one.

    How to save on car expenses...
    Forget that "every 3,000 miles" rule.  A survey by AAA found that 95% of drivers had oil changes too frequently. Only heavily used cars, such as taxis, need one after 3,000 miles. Normal usage typically requires an oil change every 7,500 miles.  (I knew the every 3,000 rule was bogus!)
    Shop around.  For out-of-pocket repairs that could cost several hundred dollars, get three estimates. Tell each company that you're shopping around so it will quote you au competitive price, and feel free to haggle.
    Stick with the dealership for tricky repairs. They sees the same makes and models, so it can be better than an independent auto shop at fixing, for instance, a mysterious rattle.
    Fix windshield chips immediately because a small chip can lead to a full crack. A repair can be done in your driveway for less that $100 (search "mobile glass-repair service" and your ZIP code online to find a company). The cost of replacing a windshield: $500 to $1, 200.  (uh oh, I better get those chips fixed...)
    Skip the extra warranty. Car dealerships make big profits from them. Standard warranties generally cover you for three years or 30,000 miles (whichever comes first), and some car are covered for their lifetime, 10 years, or 1000,000 miles, which demonstrates their reliability.
    Review your insurance annually. Monitor the value of your vehicle as it ages, and drop collision coverage when the annual premium approaches the car's worth.

    How to save on home repairs...
    Get free DIY advice online.
    Be flexible.  Ask a tradesman if he has a hole in his schedule, then inquire about a discount if you book during that time.
    Learn the lingo.  Before calling a contractor, you’ll be better informed-and less likely to get taken-if you can speak his language.

    How to save on medical bills...
    Ask for freebies or discount coupons. Your doctor may distribute samples of everything from over-the-counter cold medicines to asthma inhalers or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medicines.
    Request a three-month prescription. This option can reduce costs up to 33%t. 
    Consider generics.
    Enroll in your company’s flexible-spending account. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but you can pay for out-of-pocket expenses with pretax dollars. (I just did this starting beginning of January.  I've heard good things about signing for for FSA.  Check with your employer though, many times there is an open enrollment period.)
    Try mail-order pharmacies. Those affiliated with your insurance company save you time and gas and cost about a third less than retail pharmacies.  (I do this, and I do save 33%)
    Avoid a no-show penalty.  Many doctors’ offices charge this fee, which can run around $25 (about the price of an insurance copay). So if you don’t plan to attend, make sure you cancel your appointment in advance.
    Stay healthy. Some employers and insurers offer wellness incentives that can save a few hundred dollars for employees who visit the gym regularly, eat healthily, or enroll in smoking-cessation classes.
    How to save on pet expenses...
    Groom midweek. Friday through Monday is the busiest time at pet salons. Many charge 20 percent less for midweek appointments.  (Luckily, Riley doesn't require grooming...)
    Pay attention to changes in routine. Pets are creatures of habit, so take any changes seriously. Excessive panting can indicate a heart condition; increased water consumption could be a sign of kidney disease. The early fix is usually a change in diet. Later the condition might require hospitalization and result in a big bill.
    Don’t skimp on food. Cheaper brands have possibly harmful preservatives, such as BHT, and fillers, like corn, which may cause allergies.  The first two ingredients on the label should be animal proteins, not by-products, grains, or vegetables. The cost can run to $1 a pound, versus 50 cents a pound for lesser-quality food, but you’ll save in the end.
    Adopt. Enough said.
    Consider pet insurance. Starting at $22 for a dog, policies at sites like will cover annual checkups, vaccinations, accidental injuries, and some illnesses. This can translate into major savings, since some ailments cost thousands of dollars to treat.  (I've actually been thinking of looking into this, what, with Riley on meds and frequent check ups now.)

    Lord have mercy this list is getting long...

    How to save on clothes buying...
    Search clearance sections. Type “clearance” into the search field of a retailer’s website.
    Register with Check off your size, favorite brands, and clothing preferences (dresses, denim) and you’ll receive a weekly or daily e-mail alerting you to online sales.
    Get a store credit card. Certain big retailers give special discounts to cardholders. Kohl’s sends out 30 percent off coupons four times a year, Gap cardholders get 10 percent off the first Tuesday of the month, and American Eagle gives 20 percent off on your birthday. (I don't agree unless you do a lot of shopping at one particular store.)
    Time shopping to coincide with sales. Gap and Banana Republic, for instance, both mark down midweek. Shop on Wednesday and you’ll find a large selection of sale items. Ask favorite stores about their policies.

    How to save on your dry-cleaning bill...
    Apply makeup, hair spray, and perfume before getting dressed. They can all stain fabrics. Allow these products to set for at least five minutes before pulling on your clothes.
    Abate odors at home. If your sweaters are a bit stale (but not stained), use heat-activated dryer sheets, to freshen them up.
    Spot-clean. If you get a small stain, treat it immediately with a product like OxiClean Spray-A-Way and save yourself an emergency trip.
    Check your local newspaper for coupons and deals.
    Practice moderation. Overcleaning can decrease clothing’s longevity, so dry-clean only when necessary.

    How to save on holiday...
    Mail flat rate for heavier items. Choose this two to three day shipping option (for domestic destinations) from the U.S. Postal Service and pay the same amount regardless of box weight.
    Send out holiday postcards. If you choose the standard 4 1/4-by-6-inch size, you’ll save 15 cents a card (using a 27 cent stamp instead of a 42 cent one).
    Say so long to expensive wrapping paper. Cover your gifts with butcher paper instead of “designer” paper.
    Stock up on wine by the case to present as hostess gifts. Most retailers offer a 10% discount on larger orders. Some will even let you mix different brands in one box.
    Top gifts with yarn.
    Stick with serving a signature punch or cocktail.  Stocking a full bar can be quite costly.
    Ditch disposable stemware. It may seem cheap, but the price of plastic can really add up, since you’ll have to buy it for each party. Instead, visit a restaurant-supply store (check your Yellow Pages to find the nearest one). You’ll find reusable glass stemware for around $1 a glass.

    How to save on winter gear...
    For parkas, fleece, and other clothing: Shop large chain stores, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, to find the best deals.
    For ski equipment: Check out a ski swap.
    For snow shovels: Seek out holiday sales.
    For firewood: Check local newspapers for firewood suppliers, then cut and split your own or hire a neighborhood kid to do it.

    How to save on Halloween...
    Steer clear of the costume aisle. Try some of these homegrown options instead.
    Sweeten the deal. Drugstore “fun size” candy assortments average about 14 cents apiece. Oriental Trading Company offers lesser-known brands, like Wonka’s Laffy Taffy, at 7 cents a pop.
    Head straight to local farms. You’ll save $5 to $10 per gourd, since grocery stores mark them up at this time of year.
    Liven up your home with glow-in-the-dark paint. Decorative lights can cost $26 per string, so use the water-based paint ($5.50 for one ounce, to personalize pumpkins.

    Wow!  There are a lot of good tips in there.  Did you see any that you think you could use?  Or do you have any tips of your own that you'd like to share?

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    How to Throw an Awesome Party (that people still talk about weeks later)

    My bloggy buddy, Jill, made a simple request, she asked if I could dedicate a post on "'tips for throwing a party people will still be talking about weeks later' (or something along those lines)".  Jill, of course we can work something out!

    Maybe I have an advantage to this party planning/throwing business.  My parents own a catering business, so I've got lots of experience with food.  And they also love to entertain.  Any reason for a party and they were planning!

    So here are some tips for those that want to throw a party that will be talked about weeks later:
    1. Pick a "theme" for your party, or something to "build" the party around.  The theme will help determine many other aspects of the party, such as the type of food, decorations, invitations, etc.  Example:  For my Christmas party, the idea was to have a wine and cheese party, which to me means something a little nicer, something a little more elegant.
    2. Now that you have a theme or idea, now it's time to plan a menu.  Wine and cheese to me, meant having a variety of wines for people to try/drink, a variety of cheeses that pair well with those wines (besides cheddar and jack), and finger food appetizers.  I admit, I didn't branch out too much from what I already know how to make.  But I also knew that what I do know others like. 
    3. Decorate accordingly.  I was lucky, when you throw a Christmas party at Christmas time (orwhen you decorate for any holiday) you're about done!  I rearranged some of my furniture to allow for more standing/talking room.  I got a bulk pack of candy canes to use all over (and they doubled as a treat!).  I got 2 bunches of flowers from Costco (inexpensive) that I mixed and arranged.  Oh, and I lit candles.  Candles add nice mood lighting and just add that much more.  You have to watch out though, there is a fine line of over and under doing it.
    4. Send out invitations.  And I don't mean text, e-mail or evite people.  I mean like go to Staples, or you local office supply store, and get some invitation paper or templates or whatever.  Mailing the invites is that much more personal and inviting.  By the way, for RSVPing, I like "regrets only".  I find that if you say RSVP, people that are planning on coming don't RSVP, but if you say regrets only those that can't attend will let you know.  Plus then you don't get a bunch of phone calls saying "I'm coming."
    5. Plan ahead.  I'm a planner.  I like a plan and I like following a plan.  So here's my advice, don't throw it together at the last minute.  Make a budget.  Make a shopping list so you're organized when you go to the grocery store.  Prep as much food as you can ahead of time, this way you'll be able to interact more with your guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen, and you'll be less likely to stress.  People will be able to tell if you're stressed and not having a good time because of it.  When you're relaxed, your guests can relax and everyone has a good time.  In order for me to feel less stress and more ahead of the game, I took the day before off from work.  That way I didn't have to do all my grocery shopping late after work, as well as cleaning, and decorating, and prepping.  And it was perfect!
    6. As far as during the party, unless it's a dinner party, or a baby or bridal shower, don't have an agenda.  I don't know about you, but when I get together with friends in a fun, casual atmosphere, I just like to visit and socialize.  I don't want to have to watch a clock and rush guests.  I'm not much of a game person, so I don't want to have to coordinate and organize those.  Plus it I don't want to disrupt conversations that are going on.  And honestly, unless I'm falling asleep standing up, I'm not gonna kick anybody out.  Hence why a few guys stayed until after 1am.
    7. It's the little things.  People will notice the little extra touches you do.  Like the 3,000 candy canes I had scattered around my house, people noticed.  If you have music playing, keep it the volume high enough to be heard, but low enough that you don't have to yell over it.  I even put a massive jar full of M&Ms out (4 bags fit in the jar...), it was fun to see people eat the M&Ms and others tell him that it was a guess how many are in the jar game and that he just threw it off.
    8. If all else fails, have fun!  And don't sweat the small stuff.  If something doesn't happen according to plan, don't worry about it.  Half the time your guests won't even know.  Just relax and enjoy yourself and enjoy your guests.
    I didn't think I did anything out of the ordinary, but people thought it was extraordinary.  How does that sound? 

    How about some pictures?  Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

    Are you inspired yet...?

    Disclaimer, I'm no Martha Stewart, or Sandra Lee, or any other food/party planner person guru. I'm just a simple person who has ideas and ideals and follows through.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Help the Helpless

    I don't know about you, but I feel helpless.  Helpless that I sit in my posh little world, in the middle of posh California, on the far west of the posh United States.  Helpless about the complete tragedy that shook (sorry, bad pun...) through Haiti a week ago. 

    I've felt earthquakes.  Minor ones, aftershocks mostly.  In fact, just a week and a half ago I "saw" the results of the earthquake off the coast of northern California in my parent's pool, it was sloshing back and forth.  And I remember the big quake of 1989 that shook up San Francisco.  But I don't remember feeling much of anything about it back then though.

    But now, my heart aches.  It aches for the Haitians.  To me, no amount of money will fix what's happened.  Sure, it will help with medical supplies (which are much needed), and it may help in the rebuilding efforts of their capitol city and fix their infrastructure.  But it doesn't fix the devastating loss they experienced. 

    And all I can do is sit here and think of how I can help.  How one single person can impact their lives.  Truth is I can't.  No amount of money donated will seem like enough.  Honestly, the only way that I could maybe feel like I'm doing something, anything is to be there.  To help in the efforts to lift their spirits and rebuild their city and homes.  That's a ways away though.  Maybe, when volunteer groups (people without a "speciality") go over I'll be one of them. 

    But I know that there is prayer.  I can pray.  And God can do a mighty thing through prayer.  He has before and He will again. 

    So this is what I ask.  If you can, give.  There are tons of organizations out there that are taking donations specifically for Haiti relief.  Just think of the impact we would make, if you and everyone you know gave $5 and everyone they know gave $5, and so on and so forth.  There are tons of other places you can give:  Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and World Vision to name a few.  Me? I gave to Compassion International. Why that organization you ask? Well, because I sponsor a child through them. Because they are actioning in response to the Great Commission, because they are advocates for children, "to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty", because they are teaching the young about God and Jesus and how to follow them.

    If you can't give, then pray.  Pray for peace among the nation, pray for healing, pray for those that are working around the clock searching for those that are trapped, there are a million and one things you can pray for for Haiti.

    This is the point where I wish I knew the Bible well enough to reference a verse.  But I don't.  I know there there are plenty in there that are applicable.  Just pick it up and read any of it.

    Ok, I'm getting off my little soap box now.

    Katie Turned 25

    December 28th was my buddy, Katie's birthday.  Her 25th birthday to be exact.  I won't tell you how much younger she is than me.  But here's a hint, she just had a mini landmark birthday and I'll be having a mini landmark birthday.  Please, don't guess though!  Don't say it out loud, it makes it true when you say it out loud and I don't want it to be true.  So, I'm staying in denial.

    So, as I'm flipping back through my pictures to pick the ones to post, I've noticed that I didn't get any of the birthday girl!  At least, no good ones.  I fail!  Enjoy them anyways.

    People talking.  Hello Katie's side back...
    George and Devon.
    Cake time!  Nobody thought to get candles though.  So matches were used instead.  (cool slow shutter with light effect)
    Match candles = big fire on cake!
    And not even all of them were lit.
    Me.  And a giant glass for wine.  I swear you can fit about half a bottle in there.  Although, I did not test that theory.
    Peter and Lauren even joined us from Jerusalem via skype!  Most of us haven't "talked" to them since they left last July.  It was so good to hear some of their stories.  Lauren is one of the most animated, expressive people ever!
    Mitch waving good-bye to Peter & Lauren.
    By the time we submerged from the "skype room", most of the people had left the party.  So the few of us left talked for a few more minutes then all headed out too.  I swear, it was 10pm one minute, then the next time I looked it was 1am.  Oops...

    Happy Birthday Katie!  Let's do it again next year!

    Ten for Tuesday

    It's Ten for Tuesday time!  This week it's all about...Books!

    1. Favorite book(s) when you were a child and why?
      Oh my goodness, this question is making me go back into the recesses of my memory...  The first books that came to mind were the Paddington Bear books.  I loved his rain jacket and rain boots.  And, yea, the Berenstain Bears too.  I even had a cassette tape (that's right, a tape!) that read along with one of the books I had.  Good times...
    2. First “grown-up” book you remember reading (i.e. written for adolescents or with adult themes, such as The Outsiders or Catcher in the Rye).Ahhhh...  I honestly don't remember.
    3. Favorite movie that came from a book (even if you didn’t read the book and just love the movie).
      If I'm gonna watch a movie that was first a book, I always make it a goal to read the book first.  For the most part, if I watch it first, I won't read it even if it was on my "to read" list.  Just about anything Nicholas Sparks turned movie - The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and even though I didn't like how the book ended I'm excited about Dear John. (Did you know that Sparks not only writes the books, but he also writes the screenplays for the movies?)  I know there are many more movies out there, but those are the first that come to mind.  Which reminds me, when does The Time Travelers Wife come out on DVD?  I haven't seen that one yet.
    4. Movie that you loved so much that you WISHED there was a book out so that you could find out more about the movie.
      Love Actually.  The Holiday.  Confession time, I like reading the kinds of books that if they were made into movies they'd be a total chick flick.
    5. Worst book you’ve ever read?
      Shoot!  What was that one book called...?  Ok, I know there was one this one time, but I can't remember what it was.  That's how good it was.  I'm probably gonna get shot for this one, but I could not get into Wicked.  I loved the play.  But the book, totally different and I just struggled to get to the point that I did before giving up.
    6. Book that everyone raves about that you either a) haven’t read and feel slightly dumb for not having read it or b) have tried to read and hated and so feel slightly dumb that everyone is getting something you don’t.See above - Wicked.  The Twilight series, I really have no interest in reading them.  (But Chelsea, the Harry Potter books are so good! :) )
    7. If you were forced to choose only 3 books that you could read for the rest of your life, which ones would they be? (Or if you were stranded on a desert island, which 3 books would you want there with you?).
      1)  The Bible.  2)  I'm gonna need something comical, so maybe like Big John's Bathroom Reader or something like that.  3)  (Mentally scanning my bookshelf...)  I'm drawing a blank.  How about... 
    8. Name one book that if you could recommend that everyone you know read, what is it?
      The Bible doesn't count, 'cause that's an obvious one.  I would recommend Captivating.
    9. What is your “guilty pleasure” reading?Yep, chick lit all the way.  It's really not that bad.  It's not dirty or raunchy, it's clean (for the most part), feel good kind of books.
    10. What book (excepting the Bible or other major document of your religion/faith) has changed your outlook on life the most?
      I don't think any book besides the Bible has changed my outlook on life.  I could see how some have possibly aided, but not changed.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Monday Musings

    I haven't done this in awhile.  So I think it's about time to have a new episode of Monday Musings.  Or, in other words, there's a bunch of randomness going on up in my noggin and I need to get it out.  I'll keep adding throughout the day, so stay tuned.

    Rounds 1:
    ...I forgot my banana at home.  Banana = breakfast.  Breakfast = sitting on my kitchen counter.  Don't worry, it's safe there.  But if I don't eat my bananas soon I'll have to resort to making many a-banana recipes.  Plus I've got like 5 in the freezer.  Banana peanut butter cupcakes anyone?

    ...I don't want to eat oatmeal for breakfast, but it's all I've got at my desk.  At least besides a can of green beans.

    ...It's raining outside.  Which is a really good thing here in the central valley.  And we really need snow that later will melt and help water the crops during the summer.  But it's raining.  And I have a small aversion to umbrellas.  I just don't like them!  Something else to juggle and handle.  And when it's raining and windy, well, there's really no point in an umbrella.  It'll either a) flip inside out, and b) won't protect from sideways rain.

    ...I have 2 loads of laundry to fold when I get home.

    ...Hummm...wonder what mom is planning on making for dinner at my place tonight...? (must post on that)

    ...Jill, I'll also post on how to throw a bomb party that people talk about for weeks following!  (add that to the list)

    Round 2:
    ...What the heck!?!  2 times now I've scheduled something to post and it stays in draft.  That's why you heard about the NYE party before the Christmas party.  I better keep an eye on this thing, it's starting to have a mind of it's own.

    ...Due to the weather, it looks like it should be about 4:30pm.  Therefore, I don't want to be here anymore, my mind is in shut-down mode.  Not that I need that kind of excuse for my brain shutting down.  It shuts down frequently, and without a moment's notice.

    Round 3:
    ...I love my new hair straightener.  No, I'm not vain, I just have difficult hair.  It's either, blah wavey/curly or after a quick blow dry and straighten it's, well, straight.  And I'm trying to grow it out.  I'm horrible at growing it out, I get bored and say "chop it off".  That's why one of my 101 in 1001 is to only get trims and to grow it out.  So that's what I'm gonna tell my hair lady Wednesday when I go in for a trim and color touch up, "just a trim, I'm growing it out."

    ...I love Crystal Light's water packets with live active.  But I can't find them anywhere any more, which makes me really sad.  The 2 grocery stores I frequent no longer carry them.  Was I the only person in the country that drank Crystal Light Live Active Natural Raspberry Peach flavored water?

    ...The palm tree that I can see out my window is bent sideways from the wind.

    Round 4:
    ...Wednesday, in addition to getting my hair trimmed, I need to get my eyebrows waxed.  It's long overdue.  I can't keep them in control anymore.

    ...Foot heater + rain boots = smells like melting rubber.  Most of the afternoon I've been chillin' in my socks.

    ...I'm dreading going to WW.  I was good all last week.  And then the weekend hit.  And although I wasn't bad per say, I also wasn't good.

    ...I've gotten quite a bit caught up today.  I feel a little accomplished!

    Round 5:
    ...I'm teaching myself how to add texture to pictures in photoshop.  That would be "learn one thing a in photoshop a week" for my 101 in 1001.

    ...My parent's kitchen has no ceiling.  It looks like a war zone.

    Round 6:
    ...OMG my dog had BAD gas!  It seriously smells like skunk in my house.

    December/2009 Update

    Let's get these 2009 resolutions done and over with!
    1. Run (not walk) a 5k race.
      12 - This did not happen. 
      10/11 - Ok, you know what.  Let's just forget about this one for the year.  'Cause I'm gonna tell you the same thing after December.  I failed!  What I need to do is get into a regular walk/jog/exercise routine.
      09 - Nope, still hasn't happened.

      08 - Negative ghost writer.

      07 - Dare I tell you the truth? I'm sure you can guess what it is. Boo me!

      06 - How do you spell out the sound that is made on games shows when they get the wrong answer? Yea, that's the sound I'm making right now.

      05 - Ummm... I admit it. I SUCK! Besides moving the massive pile of bricks from my backyard I did
      04 - HA! Well, I maybe went on a couple walky-jogs. I've yet to sign up to race in anything. Need more training!

      03 - Definitely went walk/jogging more often in March. Oh, and crunches, I've done some crunches!
      02 - I've gone walking a few more times than I did in January. That's progress!
      01 - So, ah, I've gone walking once or twice. That's a start!
    2. Read the Bible in a year.
      12 - Completed!  In December I read/finished:  Psalm, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Luke, Ezekiel, and Isaiah.
      10/11 - I'm right on track to be done on December 31st.  In October I completed: Revelations, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Nehemiah and Ester.  In November I read through: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter and Jeremiah.
      09 - Finished reading John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, 2 Chronicles, Malachi, Jude, and Ezra.  Currently a little behind with reading, but will be caught up by month's end.
      08 - Completed 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah.

      07 - In July I finished reading Mark, Hosea, 1 Kings, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah.
      06 - On track! Finished reading Romans, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel and Daniel.
      05 - Keepin' up! Finished reading through Judges, Job, Ruth, Acts, and Joshua.
      04 - Still goin'! Finished Matthew, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
      03 - On track! In March I've finished reading though Leviticus, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.
      02 - I'm doing just dandy with this. I've completely read through Genesis, Exodus, and Hebrews. I'm almost done with Leviticus and Proverbs.
      01 - So far, so good!
    3. Lose 10 pounds.
      12 - I don't even know where I am with this.  Well drat, I just calculated that I gained 2 pounds from 1/1 to 12/31.  At one point in 2009 I was down 10 pounds, back in March.  Does that count?  No?  Yea, I didn't think so either.
      10/11 - My chart isn't updated.  So you don't get to see the little line that goes up and down from day to day.  I'm about at the same point I was in September, and my goal is to stay there into the start of 2010.
      09 - Dropped another 3.1 pounds!  Go me!
      08 - Down .2 pound.  Yep, every little bit counts!

      07 - So I don't know where I am. Mid July I got a new scale, which wasn't the same as my old one. There was about a 4 pound difference. So you'll get a number come next month. I'm just gonna go out on a limb and say I maintained.
      06 - From the first day of June to the last day of June I weighed the same. There of course was variation throughout the month.
      05 - Broke even...
      04 - I warn you, I wasn't down. I kinda slipped. See chart below... (Shown is March and April)
      03 -Down 1 pound. Hey, it's a loss! See chart below...
      02 - 5.5 pounds down...from returning cruise weight...
      01 - So what if I told you that I was down 9 pounds by my own scale in just January alone? Yep, it's true. Wanna see my chart? Of course you do!

    4. Post a picture a day...taken on that day... instead of a quote a day.
      12 - Done!  And I included my daily bible reading in the posts.
      10/11 - Yep, it's done.  Although, just like in past months, the pictures aren't necessarily from that day.
      09 - Almost caught up...
      08 - Working on getting caught up.

      07 - Yep.
      06 - Something like that. It's getting done regardless. I have been playing more with photoshop and have been using photoshopped pictures.
      05 - Yep. A picture is going up each day. Sometimes there are lags between days due to intermittent internet.
      04 - Still not a picture from that day, but posting pictures from within the time frame of the date. Flowers are in bloom and beautiful, plus they're easy subjects, so I've taken a lot of flower pictures.
      03 - Still not doing the best on the picture being from that day, but whatever, I'm posting a picture a day.
      02 - After the cruise I slacked on taking a picture a day. But I was still posting a picture a day. I'll work on that...
      01 - Ok, so I've slacked a few days. But I get caught up!
    5. Have monthly dinner party, or at least invite some friends over for dinner.
      12 - I wouldn't say it was monthly, but I did have friends or family over multiple times in 2009.  I'll say I completed it!
      10/11 - I'm thinking back... I can't remember if I did this or not.  Can anyone remember?  I am having a Christmas shindig though!
      09 - Hosted TND in September.  Homemade pizzas was a smashing hit!
      08 - Denied!

      07 - Hosted family. That's about it. July = hot = me no wanna cook in my west facing kitchen.
      06 - TND was at my place last Tuesday of June. Other than that it's just been my family. Nothing new and exciting has been made though.

      05 - Boo! I've had my family over. But I did gather friends for my birthday dinner! BJ's...
      04 - Well, I had people over, wait no that was May 1st. Ah! Yes, I had a lunch buffet sandwich building business thing for those giving souls that helped work on my path. (I still need to share my path don't I?)
      03 - Woot woot! Hosted TND on the 5th Tuesday. Total about 15 people came. I made this for dinner. It was good! Making a vow to have people over more often.
      02 - The last couple weeks I've had my family over for dinner on Friday nights. And I've volunteered to have TND at my house the 5th Tuesday of March. I'll let you know how that goes.
      01 - I failed for January. February isn't over yet though...
    6. Down size possessions...aka clutter
      12 - Every church yard sale I'd send at least one garbage bag full of stuff.
      10/11 - Yea, I'm still finding stuff to get rid of.  I've got another yard sale pile started.
      09 - Sent pile to church yard sale!
      08 - Pile growing..

      07 - Moving things every now and then. I've got a little pile building up to get rid of.
      06 - Finally got the stuff from my baby box transferred into a rubbermaid box. I've found a few things around the house to move into the yard sale pile. Always a work in progress.
      05 - I rearranged my back room. Now when looking in it looks less cluttered. That counts, right?
      04 - Decided that my back room needs to be cleaned out and rearranged, especially the closet. So that is going to be my project for May.
      03 - Sure...? I actually physically removed the bags of stuff to get rid of. So I guess that counts since it was cluttering up my room.
      02 - I rearranged the living/dining room and went though some more of my closet.

      01 - I've gone through my closet and through my pile of purses.
    7. Try new recipes from the cookbooks I have. (see #5, they will be guinea pigs...)
      12 - I need to stop going straight to the web to find recipes when I have a nice little cookbook shelf full of books.
      10/11 - Oh...Kait and I made a recipe from PDub's site...sooooo good!  I've made zucchini bread and sweet potato bread.  They were good!  I also made a really yummy low cal, low fat Taco Soup.
      09 - Created best topped pizzas ever!
      08 - hummm...

      07 - Yea, ok, you got me. I'm pretty sure I didn't try anything new.
      06 - See #5.
      05 - New recipes tried for Memorial BBQ. One recipe is posted on my recipe site, the others will come shortly.
      04 - Sure I've made stuff. What have I made...? Cake pops, I made cake pops!
      03 - Family = guinea pigs. Poor family...
      02 - Ummmm... I haven't tried anything new. But I've tried new things that my mom has made. Does that count...?
      01 - Boo me! How does cereal sound? Mac & Cheese...?
    8. Exercise a minimum of 3 times a week (walk/jog, Wii Fit, DVD, etc., see #1 which will lead to #3) 
      12 - Fail.  Big time fail.
      10/11 - See #1.  A full time routine starts in January.  Problem this time of the years is a) I'm uber busy, b) it's dark before I get home from work, and c) I am not a morning person.
      09 - Walked lots while on vacation.  That counts, right?
      08 - Haha... ump...

      07 - I think maybe I went on a walk. Once. I did do some yard work. Three times. Wait! No, I lied. I went on more than one walk when I was down south. Haha! Victory!
      06 - See #1. Eeerrrrnnnnttttt, maybe that's how you spell it.
      05 - Boo...
      04 - See #1. I really need to start doing something, anything.
      03 - Need to make a REAL commitment to do this on a regular basis. Once the habit is made I'll be in good shape. The time change has really kicked my butt though, I get home and I just want to be lazy.
      02 - Boo! I'm still on the once a week average. Time to kick it into gear!
      01 - I've averaging about once a week of exercising on purpose. But I do activities that include activity.
    9. Daily make time for God. 
      12 - This one is hard.  Sure, daily I have a little conversation with God.  But it's the quality I really need to work on.  I also think this is one of those things that as Christians we will constantly strive to do better at and will never be where we think we need to be.  But at least the effort is being made.
      10/11 - Besides my daily Bible reading, I'm not very good at this one.  Especially since my reading doesn't always happen.  With time, it'll come.
      09 - Realizing that I suck at this!  Need to make a point to spend one on one time with God, and not multi-task with God.
      08 - Need to work on this more and more.

      07 - Started an awesome bible study book with my group called "Me, Myself & Lies" by Jennifer Rothschild. I highly recommend it.
      06 - Reading the bible daily is a help, fo shizel. Daily being stretched and molded.
      05 - Will be a continuous work in progress for the rest of my life.
      04 - Prayer, reading, bible study, church, worship, etc. I do it all, but I'm still lacking. I'm by no means perfect.
      03 - If you count my daily readings as time spent with God then I'm doing well. Although it's not always necessarily quality time though...
      02 - There is always room for improvement here. But I'm human and I'm trying. I pray more regularly and I'm in the Word daily. That's definitely moving in the right direction.

      01 - Doing well. Spending lots of time in prayer. I'm not even kidding.
    10. Travel somewhere new.
      12 - I didn't go anywhere in December.  Why?  Well, because I was just too darn busy!  I this one for 2009 is completed!
      10/11 - In October I went down to the ranch for a weekend and to Reno for a weekend.  In November I went to Apple Hill for the day with friends.
      09 - Went to Florida.  'Nuff said.
      08 - Stayed close to home in August.

      07 - Drove, by myself, down to Southern California for a twofold vacation: visit my college roommate and her family in Rancho Santa Margarita and to attend a cousin's wedding in Claremont.
      06 - Didn't go anywhere in June. Stay tuned for later months.
      05 - Traveled to ummm, the big town of Lodi. For the Zinfest. I had never been to that part of Lodi before, so it was new, therefore I traveled somewhere new. Go me!
      04 - I went to my favoritest place in California, back to where I went to college, San Luis Obispo. Although it was a quick day trip, it was well worth it. I saw family, I drank wine, I ate at Firestone's and walked around downtown, and went to Pismo. I need to go back again, but next time for a little longer.
      03 - Currently there are no travel plans and I don't like that! I need to plan something asap to make me feel human again!
      02 - Um, did I go anywhere in February? I don't think so. But that's ok!
      01 - Just got back from a cruise to Cabo about a week and a half ago.
    There we have it.  My year in review.  My year according to my resolutions.  Good-bye 2009!  Hello 2010!

    Motivation Monday - Opportunity

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Christmas Party

    Christmas.  Christmas time.  You know what Christmas time means to me?  It means sharing the holiday with friends and family.  With those you love.  With those you hold near and dear to your heart, and those that reciprocate back.

    I love entertaining.  The fun of planning a menu or picking stuff to make.  Trying new things.  Thinking outside the box.  Having a real reason to clean the house.  Wowing others with a) yummy food, b) a clean, fabulously holiday decorated house, and c) a time well spent fellowshipping with friends.

    So, here we are, me trying to get caught up and you peeking into my little corner of the world.  How about on to the pictures?  Yea, good idea.  Warning, these pictures are...flashless.  I don't like using the flash whenever possible.  And even when I should be, I don't.  I need to work on that.

    I tried to get all cool and set up my tripod on the counter.  It didn't work out so well.  But hey, you can see the spread.  And from one end of the house to the other.  Oh, and just ignore that goof with the remote.  I need to learn how to be more sneaky with that...

    George and Devon.  So cute...  George took the remote and had some fun with it.

    Liz and myself.  She's fun.  She's in my Bible Study group (we consist of 1/2 the group).  She's single, like me.  So we commiserate a lot with each other.  Or we just get together to enjoy a glass of wine and giddy girl talk. 

    Carrie and Katie.  Carrie flew in all the way from Chicago for the party.  Well that, and the fact that she's from California and it was Christmas break.  And she missed her mommy.  But I'm uber honored that she made a special trip to Turlock for my party.


    Oh pretty fire...

    Scott, not asleep yet, which is shocking.  He's a good, fun guy!  And he has an a-mazing voice.

    Random.  How 'bout that angle?

    The catering crew even showed up!  No, I didn't have the party catered.  The one with the cheesy grin, you make recognize her as my favorite future sister-in-law, Colleen.  The one sipping her hot buttered rum, that's my sis Paige.  Poor things had to help mom with a catering job.  I'm glad they where able to come over after though.  Colleen, next year, ugly sweater party!  At your place!

    I ended up with about 75 candy canes.  No joke.  I wanted some to decorate with, therefore I ended up with a bulk pack.  Then more showed up.  I have about 30 left.  Anyone want any?  I use them stir my hot cocoa.

    So concludes the party.  Good time had by all.  People are still talking about it (which makes me happy!).  Obviously there are more pictures.

    Hummm... Now I need to have a reason to have another party...  Any ideas?

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    New Year's Eve Bash

    New Years Eve.  Always a great excuse to have a paar-tay!  And an excuse to have an adult beverage.

    Or two.

    Devon and George hosted this year's (2009) at Devon's new house.  It was great fun!  And you know how I'm gonna prove it?  Yep, with pictures.  Brace yourself.  It's gonna get a little crazy up in here...

    Room shots!  (not to be confused with the jello shots that were consumed later...)

     Amiee, George, Lori, Rachel, and myself.  Lookin' quite lovely if I do say so.

     Devon's family.  The tall one in Red?  He's the one I went to see in Reno playing football.

     Another room shots!

    And there was some Rock Band...

    Do I look haggard?  I think I look haggard.  And my hair wasn't cooperating.  It was supposed to be curly (like from an curling iron), but it ended up just going blah.

     Food shot!

     Goof shot!

    We'll end with more Rock Band.  Don't mind the chopped off heads.  It's about 5 pictures "stitched" together.

    And, yea.  That's about it.  I got home that night around 3am.  Then had to wind down.  In bed around 3:30am.  And then I slept.  And slept.  And I didn't get up until about 12 hours later.  And you know what?  My dog slept too. 

    Check out all the pictures.