Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pearl Passion

Merry (Belated) Christmas! *sigh* I can't believe it's come and gone. I'm trying to drag it out as long as I can, though. My decorations always stay up until New Year's, and I'm still drinking egg nog and egg nog lattes and eating leftover pumpkin pie. Mmm, just can't get enough!
Even though it's over I have to say that it was pretty great, while it lasted. We had family from out of town visiting, some of whom stayed with us, and we had a great time! I just wish we could do it a little more often. Maybe not the presents craze more often, but the family-from-out-of-town-get-togethers... maybe twice a year instead of just once?

And while I certainly wouldn't want to have to endure the Holiday shopping craze more than once a year, I sure have fun with it while it's here. I think the best part is giving someone a really great gift and watching their reaction when they open it. The present from me and my sisters to my mom made her cry (always a good sign), my sister loved what I got her, and the framed picture my husband and I did for his brother was greeted with, "Wow, this is amazing!". Definitely the kinds of responses I was hoping for. I think the best gift is one that you know the person wants but didn't ask for and isn't expecting.

My husband did exactly that. He had to be a stinker and blow our budgets for each other in order to get me two really great things that I didn't ask for because I thought they were too expensive. He went WAY over budget... made me feel bad actually because I didn't do that for him (maybe next year...). ;) But one of the things was a BEAUTIFUL pearl necklace! I had mentioned it to him some time ago and I was shocked to learn he not only remembered, he even remembered what kind of pearls I wanted and the pearl size that I prefered. How sweet is he??? Needless to say I've been wearing them ever since Christmas. Thank you, Babe, I love them!!!

I am such a jewelry girl and I'm so excited to add these to my collection. They make me feel classy, feminine and sophisticated when I wear them. And I love how, like a diamond pendant, they look great with a dressy outfit but also go well with nice jeans and a sweater. A great piece for every girl to own!

Well I hope everyone got what they wanted this year... and maybe more. ;) I hope you all had a great Christmas!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here's yesterday's prompt from The One-Minute Writer:

Would you ever be a cast member or contestant in a reality television show?

YES! Only if I get to pick the show, of course. And the only one I'd be interested in doing is The Amazing Race. LOVE that show. The travel, adventure, challenges... I just think that would be awesome. I'd get to do, see, and experience all kinds of things that I otherwise wouldn't. Most other "reality" shows that invade people's lives so we can watch their personal drama, while I admit that I do like to watch some of them for the entertainment and often ridiculousness of it, I don't think I'd want cameras following me around and documenting my life. But The Amazing Race - bring it on!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Shopping!

I am so excited that I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping! I got quite a few things online, which is always nice, but I also did quite a bit in the stores and luckily have found everything that I was looking for. I only have 2 more presents to buy and I know exactly what I'm getting and where I need to go to get them. And fortunately, they are small, unpopular items so I know they won't sell out. *sigh* Now I can relax and just enjoy what is to come!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is all of the beautiful decorations everywhere, the Christmas music playing in all the stores, and the pretty little lights twinkling everything. So festive and beautiful! I just can't help but smile when I drive past a lovely display in someone's yard or enter a store and see everything. I guess that's part of why I like to finish my shopping early. Then I can go to a mall and casually look around for something extra I may want to get but can enjoy myself in the process. Then maybe get an eggnog or Peppermint mocha latte and do a little people watching. Ahh, yes, that is a nice part of the season. But not my absolute favorite part... more to come on that later. :)


Okay, here's another prompt from The One-Minute Writer. I need a little help right now because I haven't written in over a week (oops!) because it has just been sooo busy (I know, everyone is experiencing that right now). But anyway, I'm a little out of practice, even though I know I've got TONS of things running around my head that I could write on. Nevertheless, I like this prompt so right now I'm going to use it. :) Here goes:

In what way are you a little (or more than a little) crazy?

I get told fairly often that I'm "crazy", but as soon as I read that question my mind immediately flew back to my college days when everyone told me that I was CRAZY for joining the crew team, in addition to my full-time studies, part-time work, and also being on the dance team. Basically, when I want something I go for it, even if that means overextending myself so that I'm running around like a crazy woman trying to fit it all in. I've learned to be better at it, though, and I do my "overextending" in much smaller, manageable doses. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas is Here!

Last week was totally crazy.... We had just gotten back from San Diego Sunday evening and then I had to go out of town for a couple days for work. Lots of packing, unpacking, doing laundry, etc. and then I had two parties to go to back to back on Saturday so I was gone the entire day (I know, poor me). ;)

So needless to say I hadn't gotten to any Christmas decorating until just today. In fact, I'd almost forgotten about it because I'd been so busy. But once I cleaned the house and started pulling my stuff out I quickly remembered how much I love to decorate for Christmas. Little white lights everywhere, red holly berries adorning the wine table, wreaths on the doors, a brilliant red tablecloth for the dining room with more berries and a bejeweled fruit centerpiece, and of course the china Nativity set atop the fireplace mantle complete with stockings and a little fiberoptic Christmas Tree to grace the hearth. I love how my house looks like Christmas now!

Dream House

Here is a writing prompt from two days ago at the One-Minute Writer Blog:
You are designing your own house. Describe it.

My husband I were lucky enough to design and build our own house 3 years ago. We are on a acre in rolling hills and we absolutely love it. But since this was our first time building a home we obviously learned from the experience and there are definitely some things I'd do differently.

Our house is 2750 square feet, which is pretty big considering we have no kids, but if we do have children, ideally I'd actually like it to be bigger so that we could still have guest rooms. We both have siblings that live far away and I just love providing them with their own bedroom and bathroom when they come to visit... so more rooms is something I'd change. I'd also make the family room big enough so we could fit 4 full sized soafs in it like my parents have, so that there is plenty of room for people to sit. And a bigger kitchen. Basically, I like to entertain and I like for there to be plenty of room for everyone to be comfortable.

When we bought our property my husband was trying to get me to go for 5 acres but I talked him into a smaller parcel... now I would actually be okay with more land so then we'd have more room to do other things. Like maybe a guest house/in-laws quarters? I've definitely learned that I like space so the more I can have of it, the better. Although if we ever do decide to build again and make it a big, family, entertaining house, hopefully we could also afford to have a weekly visit from a housekeeper so I wouldn't have to clean the whole thing myself. ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Universal Studios

My hubby and I had the best time at Universal Studios last weekend! I had only been there when I was 3 years old but the one thing I did remember I was thrilled to learn they still have - the studio tour on the tram that goes by the "lake" with Jaws!!! Since I knew it was coming I even got a picture!
(Look out!)
The Mummy ride was super fun - imagine a really fast roller coaster with lots of quick drops and turns... but all in pitch black darkness so that you can't see what's coming next. Awesome!

The Water World show was also pretty fantastic,
as was the Backdraft show.
It was a long exciting, and fun day!! Oh, and here is a fun little quote from one of the exhibits that I just had to include in this. ;)
HA! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm Baaack!

Whew! Just got back last night from a long, fun-filled week in San Diego! I have barely had a chance to breath, let alone upload any of my photos. Oh, and when they say that flying on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest flying day of the year, they are right! It was an absolute madhouse at the airport. We were actually fortunate enough to be on a flight that wasn't delayed - yay for us! And we managed to get through the crazy long lines relatively unscathed. But while it wasn't so bad for us, I don't really recommend it. Maybe next year if we go anywhere we'll fly home on Monday instead?

Well, tomorrow I must travel out of town for work but I promise to add more stuff after I return. And some pictures, too! ....More to come!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time to Fly

Greetings! Tomorrow my hubby and I are off to the airport to fly down to sunny San Diego for the holiday festivities. We are very excited about our upcoming trip to visit his family. This past week was crazy busy with work so hopefully when I get back I'll have some time to blog about some of the things we did... maybe even include some pictures. :)

Right now I've got to get back to packing my 15+ outfits, 8 pairs of shoes, 4 or so handbags, plus some hats, scarves, and other accessories, oh yeah, and all of my bathroom/beauty supplies. No, I'm definitely not a light traveler! (I know I pack way more than I can wear but I like to have options while I'm there, ya know?). ;)

Happy Thanksgiving to all and I will see you when I get back next week!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pretty Pumpkin Cake

So I saw this neat pumpkin cake on TV and thought I'd try it out. You have to have a bundt pan to make it. I used a spice cake mix and made two cakes... once they were cool I inverted one and put it on the cake plate. I prefer homemade frosting so I made cream cheese frosting and used food coloring to turn it orange.
Then I put the other cake on top so it started to take on the shape of a pumpkin.

Then frosted the rest! I had set aside some of the frosting so I could color it green and used that to frost an ice cream cone, which I inverted and stuck in the hole in the center for a stem and... voila! You have a pumpkin cake!

Cute, huh? I think next time I'll shave down some of the middle to make the two cakes a little more seamless, but overall I think it came out pretty well!

It was pretty tasty, too. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chocolate and Cabernet

One of the things Jake and I love doing together is wine tasting. We are lucky enough that we live within an hour of about 30 wineries so if we want to go wine tasting it is only too easy. Quite a few of them are about 30 minutes away and the closest one to our house is a mere 15 minutes, so we decided to hit that one up this afternoon.

The wine was great, as usual, and sometimes they have snacks or appetizers for their guests. Today it was an enormous chocolate fountain with various treats to dip in it. Yum! The strawberries were delectable! I couldn't stop eating them, and combined with my wine, mmm, what a delicious way to spend an afternoon.

And of course I brought my camera with me so I could traipse into the rows of the vineyards. The leaves were the most stunning shades of red and gold. Especially red... wow was that red vibrant! I haven't had a chance to look at my pictures yet but I can't wait to see them. The fall colors are just gorgeous right now. Another lovely day!

Bad Art, Good, and Great

Last night Jake took me to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you haven't seen them perform live I definitely recommend it. I love their music and hearing and seeing it in person was very impressive and a rewarding experience. Of course I had to play their CD again today because apparently I didn't quite get enough of it last night, and while listening to it I decided to browse on their website. I really liked this one part and decided to copy it into my post below:

"Once when asked what Trans-Siberian Orchestra was about, Paul O'Neill [the creator] replied, "It's about creating great art". When asked to define what great art was, Paul said, "The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. And there are three categories of art; bad art, good art and great art. Bad art will elicit no emotional response in the person that is exposed to it, i.e.; a song you hear in an elevator and it does nothing to you, a picture on a wall that gives you the same emotional response as if the wall had been blank, a movie that chews up time.

Good art will make you feel an emotion that you have felt before; you see a picture of a forest and you remember the last time you went fishing with your dad, you hear a song about love and you remember the last time you were in love. Great art will make you feel an emotion you have never felt before; seeing the pieta, the world famous sculpture by Michelangelo, can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they've never had one. And when you're trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger.

Anyone can do it. Go into the street, throw a rock at someone, you will make them angry. The emotions of love, empathy and laughter are much harder to trigger, but since they operate on a deeper level, they bring a much greater reward".

Well said, and I couldn't agree more. Good art is about creating a positive emotional response. While only amateur I am still an artist (photography, painting, writing) and how I hope to at least produce good art... but great art is definitely something to strive for! Granted what is bad, good, and great is going to be different things for different people. Just like that cliche "one man's trash is another man's treasure." I guess the key is to create what makes you happy, not what you think other people will like. If you put yourself into it and you are pleased with your creation then you have succeeded, right? And if others are moved by it as well, then that's an extra bonus!

So what moves you? What art do you enjoy?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Ug! I cannot even tell you how glad I am it's Friday!!!! What a day. What a week. What a month, so far. I am SO glad the weekend is here and I fully intend to enjoy it. So this post will be very short as I relinquish all my stresses and wish a fabulous weekend to everyone!!

TTFN (ta ta for now!!) ;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chasing Sunsets

I'm not sure if that is an actual phrase or not but I use it none-the-less. It refers to me racing as fast as possible with my camera to a specific location before the gorgeous colors of the sunset fade or dissappear altogether. Yep, chasing sunsets.

I just did that this evening. Jake says to me, "Babe, take a look at this. Do you think you can get to Scott Road fast enough?" (By, "Scott Road", he refers to a beautiful oak tree on Scott Road, not too far from our house, that I have many times tried to capture with the perfect setting sun, but either the sunset wasn't pretty enough or I got there too late). As soon as he says this, I groan, even before I see what he is referencing. Not 30 minutes before I had seen the cloud layers and thought of how tonight might the night for a perfect sunset. I was right, but chose to ignore my feeling and go back into the house to finish washing dishes. Damn chores!

I grab my camera, tripod, and sweater and bolt for my car. Pulling down our quiet street as quickly as it is safe to do so, I silently curse myself for not heeding my earlier intuition. Sure enough, as I crest the hill I can see the brilliant pink is already fading... shifting... draining from the sky before my very eyes. Mere moments later I am at the tree but, alas, I am too late.
Oh, but there will be other times. Other times to achieve the perfect silhouette of the old knarled oak tree....

Name a Star...

...at the International Star Registry!
Ever heard of it? Yep, you get to name an actual star! For anyone who likes astronomy, star gazing, or just happens to be a romantic, this is an awesome gift. My husband loves astronomy (he has his own telescope) so last year for his birthday I had a star named after him. You don't have to use the person's actual name, you can name the star anything you want... a nickname, a special phrase, whatever your heart desires. And you get a beautifully designed certificate with your name of choice and a detailed star chart with your star highlighted so you can see exactly where it is in it's constellation. Pretty cool, huh?

This banner below will take you directly to their website....
Star naming at Star Registry.

Now what am I going to get him for his next birthday???

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another year older...

...and another year wiser. At least, I like to think so! ;)

Remember back when we were kids and all we cared about was getting presents? Don't get me wrong, I still like my presents (as you can probably tell from my post on the 9th) ;) but it's not just about that anymore. Back in the day Mom would have to remind me to read the card before tearing off that shiny paper to see what glorious treaure lay beneath. (Card?! Who cares about a stupid card?!?) Now, I like getting the cards as much as the presents. Especially the sentimental ones. Getting those kinds of cards mean that you have people who love you and care about you and they want YOU to know how much you mean to them. Pretty cool, huh? But then, once I'm done reading them, I'm still pretty excited to open the present and find out what I got! Aren't you???

Monday, November 10, 2008

Smells Like September, October and November

Last night we were driving home and it was chilly out so we had the car windows up until we turned onto our street. Then I put mine down just enough so our mini schnauzer could joyfully stick her nose out in wind, as she so loves to do. Ahhh, the smell of fall!

My husband and I noticed it immediately. A mix of rain with smoke from someone's wood-burning fireplace. Such welcome and comforting scents! Yes, it is the simple things that makes life so grand. We drank it in, acknowledging it as a reminder of what is here and a promise of what is still to come.

Have a fabulous Monday!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Okay, my birthday actually isn't until Tuesday this is basically my birthday weekend (yay for me!). My in-laws were in town so they took my husband and I out for a fabulous dinner last night complete with wine, great food, and good company. Oh, and a lovely little present at the end. So my hubby offered to give me his present yesterday instead of having to wait until Tuesday and I said, "Well, yes! If you're going to give me the choice then of course I want it today!" :) (Can you blame me??)

So out comes the little velvet box. Thump, thump - my heart quickens a little with anticipation. The lid opens and my eyes are dazzled by the tiny diamond cross pendant lying so prettily inside. Only half an inch long, it is small, delicate, and oh-so-feminine. I love it! I love how simple and sweet it is. :) I couldn't find a picture that is exactly like it but this one below is pretty close, mine is just smaller:
Jake sure knows how to take care of me on my birthday. :) Oh, and did I mention that he had originally purchased those gray Ugg Cardy boots that I wanted so badly and couldn't find? Little did I know, he bought them from the online Ugg store but once I came home with my victorious purchse he had to send them back and go to Plan B. Isn't that just the sweetest??? I am a lucky girl! Here are some other lovely cross pendants that I found at Diamond Harmony, just in case you're in the market for one yourself. ;)

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Friday, November 7, 2008

A Child's Innocence

Today's Writing Prompt: Child
What affect has a child, whether yours or someone else's, had on your life?

If I had children of my own I’m sure I would write something different but since I don’t I will not choose one child in particular.... Children can teach us so much - with their sweet innocence, carefree attitudes, abundant love, never-ending faith, and the ability to notice and rejoice in tiny miracles. It is a sweet reminder of how we should be!

Reminds me of that song I learned when I was 3:
"Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world!
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world!"
Can't help but smile, can you? :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Minute Writer

I just discovered this fantastic blog: The One Minute Writer. It gives daily prompts from which you are encouraged to take just 60 seconds to write about. What a fabulous idea! Anyone can do that!

Today's prompt is: Jeopardy!
If you were on the game show Jeopardy!, what interesting story would you tell to introduce yourself?

Wow, that is actually a tough one... you probably would want something witty, interesting, and at least a little entertaining to get chuckle out of the audience, but also something that would clue them in as to the kind of person you are. So what could I say?
That I...
Have a thing for shoes and own over 120 pairs?
That I...
Designed my own tatoo?
That I...
Won first place in the science fair in 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade?
That I...
Am an amateur photographer and I once staged a photo with old cars to make it look like it was taken in the 60's?

I read a lot of other people's posts about this and they mention anything from their very young childhood, to giving birth, to silly stories at any age, to a serious description of their personality. I really have no idea what I would say... so far I think my last idea is the best (that one actually is interesting if you know the whole story) but if I actually was going to appear on Jeopardy I think I'd have to call my Mom, my closest friends, and confer with my husband before deciding on what story to tell. If I ever make it to Jeopardy, I'll let you know. :)

P.S. That was way longer than 60 seconds!

Survey Says...

So a friend of mine recently sent me one of those fun little surveys and I decided to play along and answer everything and send it back to her. So here are my answers.

1. What is your occupation? Area Sales Manager
2. What color are your socks right now? Not wearing any but my bonsai flip flops are comfy!
3. What are you listening to right now? Classic rock
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Chicken burrito
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Not well
6. What is your favorite sport to watch? NASCAR
7. What is your favorite drink? Alcoholic or non? ;) For the first it's a Hazelnut Martini (or, Hazelnutini, as I call them... throws the bartenders every time)...
...and probably Cinnamon Dolce Latte for the second.

8. Favorite food? Uhh, can't possibly pick just one so here goes....
~Fav breakfast: french toast with hash browns...
...or a cinnamon pastry

~Fav dessert: creme brulee...
...or pumpkin spice cheesecake

~Fav cookie: snickerdoodle (big surprise, right?)

~Fav appetizer: sweet potato fries

~Fav sweet accent: cinnamon

~Fav savory accent: bacon

~Fav herb: dill or cilantro

~Fav easy food: tacos

~Fav salad: Tomato caprese

~Fav cheese: parmesean or smoked gouda

~Fav meal from hubby: stir fry or chicken casserole or mashed sweet potatoes, or pretty much all of his creations

~Fav meal from Mom: fried chicken with mashed potatoes and homemade gravy
Are you getting hungry yet???? (I could go on but I'll spare you). :)
9. What was the last movie you watched? Made of Honor
10. What is your favorite season? Ooh, I love them all but Fall and Spring are the best!
11. Ocean or pool? When I want to swim - pool, when I want a view or to take pictures - the ocean.
12. Living arrangements? Me, my hubby, and our doggy Addie
13. When was the last time you cried? Hmmm, it's been a while so I'm not sure
14. What is on the floor of your closet? The shoes that don't fit on the shelves. (Someday I'll have to do a separate post just about this....)
15. What did you do last night? Watched a little TV, worked on a project.
16. Hawaii or Florida? Hawaii
17. What inspires you? Kindness of others and the beauty of God's nature.
18. What are you afraid of? Losing those close to me
19. Cheesy or spicy hamburgers? Definitely cheesy!
20. Favorite dog breed? Mini Schnauzer!
21. Favorite day of the week? Saturday
22.How many states have you lived in? 2, Cali and Washington
23. Birds or reptiles? Odd question but I'll have to go with birds. Just prettier.
24. Mountains or Beaches? Depends on what I feel like photographing
25. Favorite type of Music? Anything that has a good beat that I can dance to!

I think I should mention that after I sent all of my answers my friend replied back in hysterics, laughing at my answer to #8. Well, I can't help it! I just love food! ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Great Handbags

I am such an accessories girl and with handbags it is no exception. I usually have any where from 3 to 6 purses on the end of my desk (at home) at any given time so that I can switch purses to better go with my outfit or mood. I tend to like designer bags but something certainly doesn't have to be super expensive for me to buy it. Just well made, good quality materials, and the right style to suit my needs. And I love to find great things on sale! It feels like such a victory to own an quality, well-made bag that you know you paid a lot less for, right?

So far I've only purchased one bag from Hobo International but I do like their stuff. And when I saw that they are having a sale through November 9th on their Spring 2008 line I just had to do a post about it. Who cares if it's from the spring season?? If you love it that's all that matters! (I'm so not one of those girls that will only carry a bag of the current season and gets rid of anything older than six months... some of my favorite bags I've had for years!).

So here are all of their bags on sale. I think my favorites are these:

The patent leather Jodie bag. I love the orange color but that one is already gone. The silver is beautiful though, especially with the gold hardware! And only $75.20~
The darling Gwyneth clutch in ivory for only $49.60.
Happy Shopping!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Jack o' lanterns

Okay, these technically aren't jack o' lanterns because they don't have lights inside, but this is how we do it. And I know this post is a little late but I kept forgetting to take a picture of these, so here it is, albeit belated. :)

Growing up we never carved pumpkins because Mom always said it was wasteful. So us kids would draw on our pumpkins and we'd save them until Thanksgiving, when Mom would cut them up and use them for her pumkpin pies (which, by the way, are delicious). So the hubby and I do the same thing, except I don't make the pies. I take the pumpkins over to Mom's house so she can make the pies! One of these days maybe I'll learn to do it myself, and just maybe mine will taste as good as hers. Until then, rock on, Mom!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

Such cute little kiddies running around trick or treating...

... I hope everyone has a very safe, and FUN Halloween!!!!!!!! Ta ta for now! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cat Bowling, Anyone?

Wait, whaaat? No, I am SO not for the harm or endangerment of any animals, and when I first saw this I was skeptical, too... but for a little mindless, harmless, Halloween fun, you have got to try out this game! It's the perfect way to break up the monotony of the day. Check it out here.

By the way, I really sucked the first time through but after the third round I got pretty good! :)