Archive for December, 2009


I’m working on a Christmas recap post but I haven’t had time to go through all the photos. Blog posts (at least my blog posts) are better with photos. Let’s hope I get it done before Jan. 1.

One thing I love about blogging is that it serves as my own personal diary, helping me remember the things I’ve done over the years. That’s also why I sometimes hate it, because it holds me accountable for those things I do not follow through on, such as some of my 2009 New Year Resolutions.

Rather than clicking over and reading the entire list, I’ll summarize them for you here (and note whether or not I actually accomplished anything).

1. Lose weight  This is a lifelong battle and until recently, I had been losing it. I’m back on track now, but I’m probably only down a pound or two from where I was at this time last year.

2. Pay off our cars Done and DONE! Fingers crossed we don’t have to buy another one in 2010. Life without car payments is a life I’d like to continue living.

3. Take vitamins, floss, cut out all soda, including diet…in short, be healthier Yes, yes, and mostly. I take a daily chewable vitamin, I floss most nights and some mornings, and I stopped bringing a daily can of diet soda to work and have replaced it with water and Crystal Light. However, I recently discovered that Crystal Light has aspartame and I need to find an aspartame-free, calorie-free substitute to make my water taste better. Any suggestions?

4. No smoking With the exception of one crazy night in April during a work trip to North Carolina, I have remained smoke free.

5. Visit another foreign country Well, no, but the true reasoning behind this resolution was to go somewhere we probably wouldn’t (or couldn’t) once we have kids. In May, we went to Hawaii and last fall, though we considered Europe, finances and two Southwest Airlines tickets that needed to be used took us to San Francisco and Napa Valley instead. So while we didn’t leave the country, we marked two never-before-visted places – and states – off our list.

6. Read nine books (nine in ’09)   Oh, so close. Actually, if I finish The Lost Symbol before Friday, I’ll have made this one, but as it stands – and will mostly likely remain – I only read 8 books this year.

7. Get a physician and a physical check-up Done! And all is well on that front.

8. Finish the deck and redo the bathroom  Yes to both! I almost can’t believe we did this one. Finishing the deck was easy, but we dreaded re-doing the bathroom and even though we ran into a few hurdles – meaning we couldn’t get it done professionaly like we had hoped – we finished it anyway and it looks fabulous!

9. Learn a new skill I bought Rosetta Stone last Spring so the hubs and I could brush up on our Spanish, but I never finished level one (there are three levels) and so this will be a recurring resolution for 2010.

Stay tuned for a list of my resolutions for 2010…that’s if I can ever decide on them.

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Thoughts About Showers

The thing I hate most about traveling? Showering at other people’s houses. I hate it. No, I LOATHE it. Especially at my in laws because the shower door was installed backwards and so to turn it on, I have to step into it, turn the knob and jump back out before my entire body is doused with freezing cold water. Of course, I’m never fast enough so my right arm always gets soaked up to my shoulder. I hate that.

This year will be my 5th Christmas at my in laws and though I come fully prepared, knowing all the weird nuances of their house (for example; the bathroom sink knobs were put on backwards, so the “hot” is cold and the “cold” is hot) that cold blast of water from the shower is something I’ve never been able to get used to.

I wonder how many days of not showering it would take before someone would notice the smell? Or, more importantly, before someone would have the nerve to say anything about the smell? This brings up an interesting thought: do you think stinky people know they stink but are just testing the rest of us to see who has the nerve to say something about it? And how stinky does one have to be before they are questioned/told?

And these are the thoughts that enter my mind around midnight, after a VERY long day of traveling, a couple glasses of wine, and yes, a nice long shower, complete with cold water intro blast. Happy Christmas.

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Christmas and Stuff

This year, I got into the Christmas spirit a little earlier than usual. Right after Halloween, I started thinking about all the fun “Christmasey” type stuff I wanted to do. What presents to buy? What cookies to bake? What cards to send?

In years past, the mood didn’t strike me until a week or so after Thanksgiving and by then, it was too late to fit everything in. No special online ordering of presents. No time for cookie baking, unless it’s break-n-bake. No time to wrap everything so just buy a bunch of bags and wrap the super easy stuff. And though it’s not the most important aspect of Christmas, the presents we would give were usually decided upon last minute.

But this year was different.

I baked cookies (twice):

Delicious oatmeal raisin cookies.

And “snowball” cookies.

I also finished my shopping ahead of schedule and spent at LEAST 5 or 6 hours wrapping presents. See?

That’s just one side of the tree. Here’s the other side:

I think it’s time we got a bigger tree.

This year, I was able to take time and really think about what to buy for the hubs. He’s usually pretty hard to shop for because he doesn’t get super excited about anything. Even if he likes it, his reaction is never as great as I would hope. Then again, he’s not five years old and doesn’t squeal with delight over a new toy anymore. He’s also not very forthcoming with the present ideas. I joke that he’s turning into an old man who just asks for socks and underwear. (He really did ask for socks and underwear.)

Because we always wake up at my inlaws on Christmas morning, and becuase we don’t like to haul all of our presents for each other to their house (see photos above. That’s ALL the presents we have to haul with us for Christmas. And somehow fit the dog in the car.), we usually celebrate our own little mini-Christmas here, with just the two of us, the night before we get ready to leave. Except this year, I just couldn’t wait to give him one of his gifts and I suggested we spread out the gift giving a little – one present each night until we leave. That way, the gift has it’s own night to be appreciated, as if it’s the only gift. Or like we’re Jewish and celebrate 8 crazy nights of presents. Whatever.

So the first night, my gift to the hubs was a new pair of snow boots from the North Face. These to be exact. I noticed last year that he doesn’t own one single pair of boots. So if/when it snows this year, he’ll have to go out in his sneakers to shovel snow. Or I’ll go out and shovel it, since I have snow boots that he gave to me last Christmas, which is what I did last year since the hubs was conveniently out of town the day it snowed. But not this year!

And he got me this gorgeous bag (with a laptop pocket) that I can use for work. I really wanted a new work bag. I have a cute red one that my mom got me last year, I think. But I’ve carried it to work every single day for a year now and it’s time to switch it up.

The next evening, as we were getting ready to go to the gym, hubby asked if we could exchange presents again. So we did and he got me this awesome lightweight coat from the Gap that is more casual than my peacoat that I wear to work (and just about everywhere because it’s my only coat). The last few weeks, I’ve just been wearing a zip-up jacket when I go to the gym but it’s just to thin for winter temps, so I was thrilled to get this new coat.

And on a gym-related note, I gave him a super-soft work-out t-shirt with our gym’s logo on it. He had pointed it out about a week or two earlier and I made a mental note.

After the gym, as we were getting ready to go to dinner with our friends Jen & Aaron, hubs decided we should exchange gifts AGAIN. (Not that I’m complaining!) He got me this gorgeous cashmere sweater from Ann Taylor Loft and new tall brown boots. I’m modeling both here, though you can’t see the boots very well.

Did you notice my little snowmen salt & pepper shakers? I love these.

Hubby’s gift was something I ordered online back in early November. In October, while he was in Oklahoma for work, he got to go to a U2 concert. He LOVES U2. Unfortunately, by the time he went to buy a t-shirt, they were all sold out of shirts in his size. So he bought one in my size. For me. Even though I don’t like U2. So I went online and ordered a U2 concert t-shirt in his size that even has the date and location of the show he went to on the back. I was super excited to give this to him and he loved it!

I also got him some new sneakers, but he knew about those so that wasn’t a huge surprise.

I’m kind of digging this daily present idea. I think that until we start celebrating Christmas morning in our own house, we’ll probably continue the tradition.

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Weekend Mornings

The weather must be taking a toll on our sleeping habits. We go to bed around 11 or midnight and still don’t get out of bed until after 10 am, needing a cup of coffee.

And since neither of us are exactly “morning people”, including the dog, our weekend mornings look something like this:

Pumpkin spice coffee, PJs, and a laptop.

Oh, and a large footwarmer hiding under the table.

And when he’s NOT under the table? He’s looking over under your shoulder, reading the interwebz with you.

“Oh hai. I’z reading lolcats. Iz funny stuffs.”

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Cookie baking

Two Saturdays ago, my good buddy Nora came over to help me bake goodies for my neighbors.

Here she is making peppermint fudge (and wearing my Italy apron. She was dressed super cute so I couldn’t let her mess up her outfit).

And me, sans makeup, placing chocolate chip cookies on the cooling rack.

I love chocolate covered pretzels. So easy to make and still so delicious.

Peppermint fudge, chocolate chip cookies, and holiday rice krispie treats. Not pictured are the peppermint oatmeal cookies. Those were harder to scrape off the baking sheet and therefore the casualties had to be devoured. Immediately.  

I bought about 6 or 7 holiday tins, lined them with foil, and put an assortment of treats in each. Then that night at the weekly neighborhood bonfire, I passed them out to all of my neighbor friends. Thanks to Nora for helping me bring some holiday cheer to my neighbors!

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If you haven’t heard about the “Christmas Tour of Homes 2009” you should check it out at The Nester. Basically, bloggers everywhere took photos of their homes all decked out for the season and posted links so you can browse to your heart’s delight at other people’s Christmas decor. It’s a little voyeuristic, but also fun.

And because I’ve been taking a lot of photos around the house lately, I figured what better time than now to share them with you AND join in on the fun of Christmas Tour of Homes. (This is called “two birds, one stone”.)

So without further ado, the photos!

Let’s start with the outside.

I have a thing for penguins and candy canes.

Here’s the other half. View from the driveway.

This is my living room. Note the $20 Walgreens tree we bought during our very first Christmas together, which happened to be just three short months after we started dating. I’ve been meaning to upgrade but with every place we’ve lived, every year I say, “in the next place, we’ll get a better tree.” So, in the next house, I’ll get a better tree. For now, I kind of like this one. What’s different this year is the faux mantle with our stockings. That mantle (okay, it’s a shelf) was originally installed about a month ago to hold our U-verse box, but the box was too wide and is now mounted ABOVE the flatscreen pictured here. But instead of taking the shelf down, I decided to keep it there and use it as a faux mantle since we don’t have a real fireplace.

Now let me show you a few of my favorite ornaments.

The first time I met my FIL, I went Xmas shopping with the family and he asked me what cartoons I watched growing up. I said Care Bears. Later that day, he gave me this ornament. I love that it has the year on it, so I’ll always remember when that happened.

These next few are a little blurry but this is Champ’s ornament. We got this from my mom for Champ’s first Christmas and one day, when I wasn’t paying attention, I heard him chewing on something. He was still just a puppy and when I went to see what it was he was gnawing on, I found his ornament! Out of all the ornaments to pull off the tree and he takes the one that looks like him. Silly dog.

Bride and groom snow-people given to me by my SIL.

I picked this one up this past Fall when we were in San Francisco. Seeing it makes me wish I would’ve thought to collect ornaments from all of the places we visit instead of shot glasses. I guess it’s something we’ll  just have to start now.

Now onto the rest of the decorations!

Wreaths and snowman above the couch. Not pictured: big red bows adorning the top two corners of both windows.

Teddy bear music box given to me by my grandparents a couple of Christmases ago.

My nativity. I’ve never had a nativity set before and truth be told, I’m not big on the traditional nativity sets. I like white ceramic faceless scenes. It creeps me out to be sitting there, watching TV, and feel like one of the three wise men is staring me down. So I bought this simple wood carving the day after Thanksgiving this year and I just love it. Plus, it doesn’t take up much room.

Well, that’s pretty much it for my Christmas decor. I have a few more things that I left packed away. I just didn’t feel like dragging everything out this year. Especially since we didn’t host a party or anything.

Here’s one last photo of my tree, this time with a few presents and my dog. Because he makes every picture better, just by being in it.

And yes, that IS a santa hat as my tree topper. Merry Christmas!

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Too Adorable Not to Share

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Biggest Loser

Note: If you have not watched the finale yet, but plan to, then skip this post. There are spoilers!

So, the Biggest Loser finale was on last night. Let’s discuss.

First, I should mention that this is my FAVORITE show right now. And because each show is always two hours long, and jam-packed with commercials, I am incredibly thankful for my wonderful DVR that lets me watch this show in roughly 1.25 hours instead of a full two. I’ve only had a DVR for a couple of months, so with previous seasons, I was only able to catch bits and pieces. But this season, I watched almost all of it.

For the finale, I had a plan. I would get to the gym right at 7 and watch the first hour while doing some kick-ass cardio (nothing like seeing a bunch of people lose 100+ lbs to get you motivated) and then I’d come home, shower, and watch the last hour on my DVR. Except, my gym decided not to cooperate and was instead playing Fox News (hate), CNN, Travel Channel, CBS, ABC, ESPN, MTV….but no NBC. And the punk kids that work there? Didn’t care that the Biggest Loser Finale was on and decided to play dumb like they didn’t know how to change the channel on the TV. Bastards. So the only show on TV even semi-related to being healthy and working out, wasn’t being shown AT THE GYM. You know, the place where PEOPLE WORK OUT! I wonder if it’s because of the 24 Hour Fitness sponsorship? Hm.

So I did my workout, came home, showered, and watched the whole thing on DVR instead – all the while fielding calls from my hubby and mom wanting to discuss who had won. “DON’T TELL ME I HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET!” and then I hung up. I also avoided Twitter and Facebook like the plague.

But now, NOW I can talk about it.

First of all, I didn’t really love any of the final contestants, so I wasn’t  pulling for a particular winner. Danny seemed like a pretty genuine guy, so I guess I picked him. I had hoped someone like Abby, Shay or Daniel would make it to the finale, but they did not.  

The biggest transformations? Well of course Rudy and Danny had majorly transformed. They were also two of the four finalists. I was a little disappointed in both Liz and Amanda, the other two finalists. They looked great, but I expected them both to lose a little bit more in time for the finale. But by far the biggest at-home transformations were Tracey and Rebecca. And I didn’t like either one of them. They were both super competitive and a little bitchy on the show, but it was still great to see how much weight they had lost. Oh and I hated Rebecca’s hair. And the mini dress she wore when she first walked out? Very hooker-esque. She’s a pretty girl, but she could be prettier with different hair and a different dress. She reminded me of the opening scene of Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts dons the blonde wig.

But how about that proposal? Super cute. And the Subway challenge for Shay? My jaw dropped. I hope to see that girl under 200 lbs in May.

Did anyone else see a couple of shows ago how Bob went to visit one of the former winners and how he had gained all the weight back? And then Bob challenged him to get back into shape and lose the weight in time for the finale? Well did anyone noticed that they didn’t even mention that guy at the finale? I wonder if he backed out. Sad.

At the end, I was so happy for Danny. I swear that guy cries during every single show, but I really liked him. He didn’t have a great story other than he used to be a skinny musician that went to too many pizza buffets and got fat, but he was a likable guy with a cute family.

Did you watch Biggest Loser Season 8? What did you think of the finale?

Season 9 starts Jan. 5! Can’t wait!

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I knew this day would come. I hadn’t exactly prepared for it, but I knew it would happen some day.

My mom has found my blog.

What does this mean? Well, nothing really. It’s not like I have anything negative to say about my parents, so there was no need to panic when I found out that she knew about it. I guess it just means I can’t write about raunchy sexcapades with the husband and I will have to limit my use of the “F” word (see, I can’t even TYPE it! I have to use quotations! Oh the censorship…) but who am I kidding? I don’t write about that stuff anyway. And truth be told, the only reason I’ve kept this blog a secret from my mother is because I didn’t want every last relative, church friend, and acquaintance knowing about this blog. Because years ago, when I was planning my wedding, I had another blog. A blog I told my mom about. And it seemed every single person my mom talked to suddenly knew about it. My aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my mom’s church friends, and even the woman who made my wedding cake. Why did my cake lady need to know about my blog? “Well I thought it might let her get to know you better and maybe inspire her when she makes your wedding cake,” she said. My mother, always with the best of intentions.

But once all these people knew about my blog, I stopped writing for fear I might offend someone. I can’t talk about hating a particular movie, because what if that was someone’s FAVORITE MOVIE EVER?! Or if someone sent me banana bread and I told them it was delicious only for them to find out that I’m actually allergic to bananas and I was just being nice? Basically, I couldn’t say anything negative about anything for fear someone might take it the wrong way.

This time, I’ve sworn my mom to secrecy (as if that’s ever worked) and hopefully she’ll just keep this our family’s little secret (she already told my step-dad before I could swear her to secrecy. This is obviously going to be a challenge for her.)

I guess I’m just glad I never got around to blogging about her Xmas gifts.

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I love this month. It’s the one month out of the year when I actually look forward to the cold weather and all it brings:  flannel pajamas, fuzzy slippers, hot chocolate, warm soups, colorful sweaters and scarves, leather boots, and maybe even snow. Of course, we can’t forget the biggest holiday of the year – Christmas!  Just some of the things I’m looking forward to this month:

Christmas movies – Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Scrooged, A Christmas Story…I plan to watch them all!

Cookies – I already have an afternoon of baking planned with my good buddy Nora and hope to make several batches of delicious treats that I can give out to neighbors and co-workers.

Christmas Parties – I’m only planning to go to two different Christmas parties, but both should be a blast!

Christmas Lights – So many people in our neighborhood already have their lights up (us included) and Sunday night on our way to pick up take-out, the hubs and I spent a few minutes driving around the subdivision checking out everyone’s light displays. Christmas lights make me happy.

Sending Christmas Cards – I LOVE sending Christmas cards and made sure to buy my holiday stamps early this year before the post office runs out (which always seems to happen to me).

Shopping – I’m not usually much of a shopper. I hate the mall and especially hate buying things for myself that isn’t a necessity (think laundry detergent, toothpaste, soap) but there’s just something about the hunt for that perfect gift for someone you love. Even better if you get a great price!

Wrapping – I wrap ALL the presents for both sides of the family with the exception of the gifts my husband gives to me. I’m not super fancy with ribbons and DIY bows, but I love the smell of fresh wrapping paper and scotch tape. Is that weird?

Family Time – This month we’ll spend time with almost everyone from both sides of our family. Though Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be spent at my in-laws, we’ll have fun just like we do every year watching all of our nieces and nephews tear open their gifts, leaving the house in wall-to-wall wrapping paper scraps.

Getting reacquainted with the gym – Even with all the stuff that’s going on, I’m making more of an effort to use my costly gym membership and get a head start on all those New Year’s resolution makers.

What are you looking forward to this month?

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