Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011

I'm not going to post about the worst of 2011 because that is sad and depressing. Here is my Best of 2011:

-Discovering Mumford & Sons. For a month straight, the only thing I listened to while in my car was their album, Sigh No More. It calmed me, soothed me and comforted me.

-Getting up at 2:00 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding on tv. Some people said I was crazy but I didn't care. I loved every second of being awake that morning, facebooking and tweeting about it with others, texting my mom and my sister who were also awake, crying at the sight of Kate and being mesmerized by the entire scene. I would do it all over again. Maybe when Prince Harry gets married!?

-Attending the Railroad Revival Tour with my friends. That was a DAMN good show featuring the above mentioned Mumford & Sons.

-Finally making our guest room more than a storage and crap collector space. It was a lot of work to put it all together but painting and decorating it was worth the wait.

-Going to Washington D.C. and New York in July. Even though we didn't go during the 4th of July liked planned, we still had an amazing time and I am dying to get back again. My husband, on the other hand, has requested a beach vacation since he isn't too into the whole walking miles and miles a day in the humidity and heat.

-My sister-in-law's graduation from high school. Revisiting the place where I graduated *gulp*14 years earlier was exciting! I was so proud seeing her walk across and get her diploma (holder).

-This moment and also this moment. HILARIOUS!

-Mad Men. Arrested Development. Two shows that I fell in love with. I'm so anxious for March when Mad Men returns and I'm working my way through the three seasons of Arrested Development. Totally excited about the additional episodes and movie happening in the future.

-Being partially correct about the lives of people that I shouldn't care about. I'm attempting to drop my celebrity gossip addiction in 2012.

-I can say that this day was the highlight of my year, which is strange because 10 years prior was a horrible day. Awful day. A day that still makes me cry. But this year, I honored that day with pride in my heart.

-Participating in the 30 Day Photography Challenge. It was such a cool project to be a part of. I got to use my camera in a way that I had never used it before and felt challenged to be creative with my subjects. I hope I can do something like this again.

-The introduction of "The Boob Necklace." TM Me.

-Reading "The Hunger Games" Trilogy. These books made me love reading! I'm counting down until March when the movie comes out! I hope it doesn't disappoint!

-Each and every moment I was able to spend with family. Birthdays, basketball games, holidays, day trips, froyo excursions, etc. My family is EVERYTHING to me. I love you all so very much.

-Growing closer to my husband. We have been together a little over 7 years and a lot of times I find myself thinking how lucky I am to have him. What an incredible person he is.

-Continuing this blog, connecting with readers and expressing myself freely. My first blog post was February 26, 2008. It is hard to believe that I've been blogging here for almost 4 years. This post is my 977th post. I should reach my 1,000th post by the end of January which is just crazy. I've covered so much and I really love looking back and reading posts from the previous year.

Thank you to all of my readers who "tune in" to see what I have to say. I value your comments and support of this tiny little blog. What does 2012 have in store? I'm not sure. I'll figure that out on January 1. For now, I'm going to enjoy the last day of 2011.

Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is awesome for everyone. That we get through the rocky roads, enjoy the smooth paths and appreciate each other always.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A House becomes a Home: Part 1

I've spent a lot of time this break working on decorating parts of the house that have never been decorated or decorated not to my liking. It has been fun finding pieces to display in our home and although I have a very nervous trigger finger, I've been able to march up to the cash register with confidence and I'm happy with how things are coming along.

The fireplace mantle. Sorry for the color. The lighting in our family room is horrible and I didn't feel like editing!



From left to right (my husband switched the figurines!)
Empire State Building (Home Goods)
Picture of the ESB from Rockefeller Center (taken by me, frame and stand Walmart)
Globe (Home Goods)
Leaning Tower of Pisa picture (taken by me, frame and stand Walmart)
Leaning Tower of Pisa (Home Goods)
Clock (Lowe's)
LToP and ESB figurines purchased in Pisa and NYC, respectively. 










The dresser in our bedroom has been a crap catcher since we got it. I would see pictures on Pinterest and other blogs where people had nice trays and jewelry trees and I thought, "I WANT." After much searching, I think I done good!
Those framed pictures used to be on our (boring, plain) mantle. I think they look nice on the dresser.

Both trays are from Home Goods in the bathroom section.


Jewelry Tree from Home Goods.








And finally, our not yet completed (or started) but semi-planned out wall.

This is going to be our travel wall. I've selected 8 5x7 pictures of places we have visited to go around a 20x20 map that I found here.  I'd like to pick out some cool, unique frames instead of the standard boring plain frames. This wall is right at the top of our staircase so it will be seen from upstairs and downstairs.

Right now, there is a just a piece of pink poster board as a placeholder for the map (it shipped today so hopefully, it will arrive soon!). I'm going to have to get a custom frame since 20x20 frames are damn near impossible to find. The results of this wall will be shared soon!



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I am awake

What a long day! It's almost 10:30 and I'm not asleep yet despite a husband and a cat snoozing away in bed and I just dropped my phone on my face.

Anywhoo, the picture in this post is how my hair turned out. I pretty much love it and feel like I'm in the witness protection program because it is so dark! Husband liked it but thought it was a little too dark without enough highlights. Thanks Paul Mitchell. I'll just bring him with me next time so I get it exactly right! Haha!

The real reason I'm awake is a bit of a gross story. I wasn't sure if I should blog it but I'll be vague and just say that I went to the ER tonight (in a car not an ambulance) to have something removed that was becoming quite painful. The numbing has worn off and the pain meds I took at 9:20 have just started to kick in. I've been tossing and turning for the past hour trying to sleep and ignore the pain but that wasn't working. The pain is going away thank goodness. I hope I don't have to deal with this "situation" again!

If I'm feeling up to it, I'm hoping to drive up to Sacramento so I can grab some cat food, visit my cousin and friend and maybe stop by Ikea. I've been doing some home decorating that I'm excited to share with you all but I'm waiting for a few more pieces to go up!

I hope you all have a great Thursday . Can you believe 20 freaking 12 is right around the corner? Wow!!!!

New Year, New Hair

I have a hair appointment this morning and I'm thinking of going back to my dark haired days...


Source: google.com via Michelle on Pinterest

Love this

Source: google.com via Michelle on Pinterest

And love this





I like the highlights in this color. My husband is also a fan of highlights...and Minka Kelly. Not sure if the color is dark enough though.










   I like this color but is it too dark? I wish it was a better angle of the hair.


I also really like this color but again, it might be too dark. Is there some gray in her bangs?

I really wish you could go to your hair stylist and make your hair grow 5 inches. I covet long hair.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas was here

The build up to Christmas is always exciting. Decorating the house, wrapping the presents, planning the day. Then it comes and goes in a flash and you have memories and pictures and a messy house to put together again. But I wouldn't change it for the world. We had a wonderful weekend!


A little something I picked up at Home Goods last Monday. I can't resist!

And another something I got for $5.00 at Safeway on Friday morning. A real (fake) Charlie Brown tree!

Uncle Chris and Diana decorating the gingerbread house. A tradition for our family!

A kitchen full of cookies and candy.

Chris did a great job working with Diana on the house!

We ate a yummy dinner. I made this roast with garlic and rosemary. YUM.

Lots of presents under the tree.

Love and laughter all around

She pretty much LOVED her Miss Piggy doll from us. Such happiness!

I got a nice bottle of EVOO and an olive oil sprayer along with a Sephora gift card. My mothership!

After we cleaned up, I set up the tripod and took some pictures. I was wearing sweats. It was a long day of wearing jeans that have shrunk.

Me and my wonderful amazing mom. I love her so much! She stuck around and cleaned up the kitchen and insisted that I just sit down and relax.

Christmas morning....

The A's meat brander made my husband a happy man. I love waking up early, turning on the tree and opening our stockings and presents with just the two (three) of us.

Nerd points for me! He said this is the best gift I have ever given him! Besides the gift of my love.
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My brother in law's fiancee was my secret santa and drew this adorable picture on my gift. She knows I love snowmen! And my present was this great watch. So excited to have a nice watch to wear again!

My husband got me a new alarm clock so I had to say goodbye to my trusty Sharper Image alarm clock that I've had for 14 years, since Christmas 1997.
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The house is getting back to normal although I will not take all the Christmas stuff down until later this week. It was disappear slowly day by day and the house will feel empty but I'm going to spend my break this week working on hanging things on the walls and filling in space that snowmen and santa once filled. 

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Can you believe 2012 is just a week away!?!?!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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May your day be merry and bright!!!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A surprise homecoming

My friend Jennifer got a wonderful surprise last night and the news cameras were there to capture it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#WEverb11: #19 and #20

#19
Tell us about your biggest belly laugh in 2011

Just one? Not possible. 99% of the moments I spent with my husband I am doubled over with laughter. Nothing I can share on the internet for fear of embarrassing him (we call this "marriage secrets") but he is hilarious. I did good.

I'd have to say seeing The Book of Mormon on Broadway was my biggest belly laugh. It was the funniest, most shocking thing I have ever seen. It also made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy inside. I can't explain it.

#20
 How has technology affected your life (positively or negatively) in 2011? Do you want this to continue for 2012?

Oh man. Technology. I fear sounding like an old ninny but somedays, I wish to chuck technology out the window. I'm old enough to say "I remember when we didn't have this/that/the other thing" and I'm proud of that! Do I depend on technology a lot? Sure. Do I need it? Ugh, yes, I guess so. Can I live without it? Yes. I really think I can. I have it so I use it but somedays unplugging would be nice!

I think I/we are too connected to our technology. I want to institute a tech free day where we put the phones in a drawer and give each other 5 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact.

I also love learning new things which I get to do by being connected. I got a Kindle this summer and I've read more books in the past 4 months then I have read in the past 4 years. That is true. Sad, but true.

In 2012, I'd like to take a step back, limit my usage and dive into more useful hobbies, get more things done around the house and put my focus back on memories instead of "things."

Monday, December 19, 2011

A whole lotta #WEverb11

#13 READ
What book or article changed your outlook on an issue or life?

Sadly, I can't think of one thing that I read that really changed my outlook on anything. I know reading blogs is always entertaining and it was comforting to know that other people were going through infertility issues. It can feel like a lonely time but when you read the words other people write that are similar to the thoughts in your head, it feels comforting.

#14 BREATHE
How did you make space + peace for yourself in 2011?

Exercise. Exercise is me time. I love to block out the world (and the annoying people at the gym) and just lose myself in sweat and breathing. When my husband was working nights earlier this year, I started going to the gym at 3:30 a.m. and I really found myself enjoying that. It was more than just a time for me to exercise, it was to prove that I could do something worthwhile and push myself beyond my comfort zone. I didn't make excuses and just DID IT because not doing it didn't allow me that time I needed to connect with myself.

#15 SURPRISE
What event of 2011 affected you in an unexpected way?

The failure of IUI #4. I specifically remember not feeling horribly sad when I found out that it didn't work. You would think after 4 tries, 4 failures, the 4th negative test would be heartbreaking but at that point, it just felt like I was doing some weird trial and error with my body and that it wasn't supposed to work because the other three hadn't. I just felt like my body was playing a joke on me and I wanted to laugh after but it didn't feel shocking or body numbing like the others. I just had to pick up the pieces and move on and after the three previous failures, that was easy to do. Going into it, I thought "if this thing doesn't work, I'll be crushed." But that wasn't how I felt. Sure, I was disappointed. Sure, I wanted it to work but it didn't and there was not a damn thing I could do about it at that point. I expected heartbreak and what I got was a shoulder shrug.

#16 PERSEVERE
Describe something that disappointed you in 2011 and how you persevered.

In an attempt to not be INFERTILITY all the damn time, I'm going to think of something else but just so you know, the fact that I'm not dealing with a newborn or ready to pop right now really pisses me off and at random times, makes me cry.

My weight. My weight disappointed me. I have the knowledge to not gain weight. I know what I have to do to maintain. Yet 2011 just sucked. Why didn't I just say NO? Why don't I place more importance on my health and my weight? And not just for the health aspect but damn, I hate when my clothes don't fit! But in terms of weight loss, tomorrow is another day and I can make the decision to say YES or say NO and do what I need to do. I can make small changes over time that lead me to a healthier goal. And no matter how cliche it is, the holidays are tough but the more I give myself positive self talk and come to terms what my real goals are, the more I will be inclined to succeed and get back to a place where I can wear my cute clothes and feel confident when I look at pictures of myself.

#17
What did you discover (big or small) in 2011?

Mad Men. I discovered Mad Men on Netflix in August and we watched all 4 seasons (52 episodes) in 6 weeks. We got through the first season in one weekend. March can't come soon enough. I might have to rewatch the last few episodes of season 4 to remember exactly what happened. If you haven't watched Mad Men, I highly recommend it. It is the awesome.

#18
What lesson or advice were you able to pass on to others this year? Why was it important to share this information? (Or… what lesson would you like to pass on to others that read this?)


As I get older, I realize how important it is to highlight what life is really all about. To me, it is about laughter, family, friends and moments. Letting go of the superficial. Stepping out of your comfort zone. Indulging in something amazing. The moments of this year that bring a smile to my face are those times when I did all of the above. And as we wrap up another year, a time when a lot of people get reflective about what they have accomplished, I can look back at pictures and see memories that I created with loved ones. I can visualize actions and hear voices. Those are what matter the most. I hope to make more of an effort to make an impact on other lives next year so my joy and memories can be cemented into the lives of others, connected through common bonds and shared happiness.









The things we remember

Happy Monday! Normally, I wouldn't say "Happy" Monday but since I only have two days of work before a loooooong vacation, it is happy to me.

I have dentist and eye doctor appointments this morning to fill half of my work day and even though I kept reminding myself to grab my mouth guard and my glasses, I forgot them at home.

What did I remember to grab before walking out the door? A box from Icing on the Cupcake so when I use my Groupon today, I can get an extra cupcake for free for bringing in an old cupcake carrier box.

Team Fatty!

I'll be back later today to catch up on my #Weverb11 posts. I are horribly behind.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Quirks

1. I eat the cane part of the candy cane first so I'm left with a little hook at the top of the stick and then I pretend its a tool the dentist uses which is weird because I'm eating 100% sugar.

2. Our Christmas decorations are not classy. They aren't silver and blue. We have snowmen and santa and reindeer and a fake 1 foot tree with a small tree skirt. We have gift boxes as decorations and cheap decorative plates on coffee tables. It looks like the Christmas aisle of Target threw up in our house and I love it.

3. I'm 32 but we still get new pajamas on Christmas Eve from my mom.

4. Yesterday I purchased 2 new rolls of wrapping paper. When I got home I went in search of bows and ribbon, I opened the closet in the guest room and saw 4 rolls of wrapping paper in the corner. Whoops.

5. This Sephora for OPI nail polish, Good Tidings We Bling, SUCKS. It chips off within a day of painting it on. No matter how many layers I put on, no matter if I use a top coat or not, it chips. Half of my pointer finger nail chipped off in my sleep last night. I basically have to repaint my nails each morning.

6. We are hosting Christmas Eve this year and I'm picturing the menu in my head and I want to start eating now. I think I'm going to make a beef roast in the oven, mashed potatoes, veggies (well, my sister will make these) and an apple pie. Our house is going to smell SO GOOD!

7. I have 24 hours of work left until vacation starts on the 21st. I scheduled a couple of doctor appointments for Monday so I'm only working a half day.

8. I hope my Secret Santa gifts go over well with the recipients. I think doing Secret Santa is so much more fun than stressing out and getting gifts for everyone in the family. Normally, that would mean buying presents for 9 people. It is nice to just focus on two people (one per family) and make it something fun and exciting.

9. I want to make this list a round 10 items but I'm running out of things to post.

10. I have a serious obsession with Peppermint Bark but have never made it myself. I need to make some but I'm afraid I'll just eat it all in one sitting.

What are your Christmas Quirks?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

#WEverb11: Catching Up!

I really don't want to give up on this even though I've fallen behind and I am currently sick. So if none of this makes sense, blame my brain not functioning at 100%. It will make for entertaining reading later on though, right?

#10
 Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking, home decoration, crafts, photography … whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself?

We finally decided to decorate an upstairs room in our house and started with the guest room. I was inspired by Young House Love's bold guest room and wanted to go with an Italy/Venice theme since I had some art work that matched. I'm not a super creative person and my husband was responsible for picking out pictures and wall colors to decorate our house but I LOVED turning this room into something I am really proud of. I have also loved using my camera more this year and finding moments to take pictures even if that means just standing in my backyard and capturing the sun setting or forcing my cat to pose for me. It never hurts to have a new tool in your tool box.

#11
What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012?

This might be hilarious considering my sick brain. I'll give it a shot:

1. Be nicer/kinder/more thoughtful.
2. Make better decisions about what I eat. Limit the junk food I ingest.
3. Make weight training a priority.
4. Give to charity more, whether through time or money.
5. Make some serious decisions about the path of our lives and stick to them.
6. Expand my horizons, career-wise.
7. Create a regular cleaning schedule so our house isn't messy all the time.
8. Travel somewhere new that is within driving distance. Northern California has so many treasures that I have yet to visit.
9. Rework my wardrobe. I really don't like most of my clothes. I'd love to find some time (and money) to get more grown up clothes into my closet.
10. Create distance between myself and social networking. I've thought about deleting certain apps from my phone several times but the addiction...it is strong in this one.
11. Swim. I want to start swimming again. I love swimming.
12. Host a party. We have friends over for UFC parties but I'd like to have a game night or something every few months that gives friends a chance to laugh and have a good time together. We have great friends that we don't see enough!

#12
 What was your healthiest habit of 2011? What would you like to change or do differently in 2012?

I gave up Junk Food for 21 days in November. I really didn't think I would be able to do it but I did. I had cravings but I pushed them down and I learned that I don't really NEED these foods to survive. I've thought about adapting this each month next year in some way. Maybe the first 21 days of each month are junk food free? For me, this is necessary. I need a challenge. I don't like failing or letting myself down. I carry guilt with me so if I cheat, I feel bad. I don't want to just go cold turkey and not eat junk at all because that isn't possible but if I can resist for a few weeks a month, I can continue to prove to myself, month after month, that I can live without junk.


I'm going to stop there and completed #13 and #14 when my head is a bit more clear!






Friday, December 9, 2011

#WEverb11: #8 and #9

#8 Choose


What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

This year, I made the choice to keep going. We underwent our first IUI on January 8th. When it didn't work, we did another in February. When that didn't work, we took a month off before trying two more times. We chose to keep trying. To keep believing that the next one, that would be the one that worked.


But that didn't happen and sadly, I became so numb to the failure of these procedures that the last one didn't even phase me. How sad it that!? A 4th failed IUI, this time with injectable medication costing more money and time to use, didn't leave me all that disappointed. I was more angry and upset at #1, #2 and #3 for not working. By #4, I just figured my body sucked.

So another choice was made. We chose to stop. We chose to live. We chose to spend our time together happily instead of being stressed and overwhelmed by the decisions that infertility causes you to make. It has been nearly 7 months since we underwent a treatment and I'm feeling a little anxious but that choice we made, first to undergo these procedures at all, then to keep going and then to eventually stop resulted in a happier 2011. Memories. Love. Relaxation.


#9 Appreciate


In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012?

 It was July 28. We were on a walking tour of the World Trade Center site in New York. Our tour guide, Julie, was talking about how she lost her husband when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. She talked about how he left her a message, a message that was printed at the Tribute WTC Visitors Center, a message I had read and cried next to just minutes earlier. Julie talked about how incredible her husband was. They had only been married a few years.

I sat next to my husband while Julie was talking and as a wife, my heart broke. I held his hand and realized that she would never hold Brian's hand again. While retelling this story, which I'm sure she has told hundreds of times over the past 10 years, she got tears in her eyes but explained that she loves talking about him because it keeps him alive.

I felt grateful for so many things in that moment. Grateful that we went on this tour so I could hear Julie's story. Grateful that she, a stranger to me, was remarried with a couple of kids. Grateful that I didn't personally know anyone that day in September because the pain and grief I felt for others was overwhelmingly painful. Grateful for my husband and my family. Grateful for the ability to take a week long vacation across the country. It poured out of my heart as I sat and listened to her talk. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. Her strength was incredible.

I hope to show more gratitude to people who really deserve it in 2012. People do so much good for the world and since I share this earth with them, they should be thanked and told how important they are.
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This post is being pimped by....

Can I be honest? I love free stuff. Who doesn't? If I remember, I call those stupid survey numbers on receipts from Michael's or Chili's with the hope that I will win a $500 gift card. That would be my best day ever.

Can I be honest again? I love blogs. I love reading about people live's and their adventures, trails, tribulations, recipes and more. I love blogging and have found great joy in having a place to share my own thoughts since 2008. I'm almost 1,000 posts in and I still have a passion to keep this thing going. I'm not sure how many people read this (yes, I do. I check my stats weekly) but I like that I can look back at this as a scrapbook of my life.

That being said, I am sad to see what some blogs have become. Basically, they are giveaway sites. Product reviews. What used to be blogs filled with heartfelt stories are now online ads for cameras, vacuums, sweaters, etsy shops, momtographers, etc.

Enter my contest! "Like" them on Facebook! "Follow" them on Twitter. Another give away next week! This post is sponsored by Mama Nell's Bow Making Shop! This post is sponsored by Photography by Jassmyn ! This post is sponsored by Swingin' Hanks Auto Body Shop!


In an effort to be the next Ree, it seems that some bloggers accept every free item thrown their way. That is their right of course. They want to make money off of their blog and if they are popular enough for huge companies to want to partner with them, I'm sure they are well on their way to being career bloggers.


 I can admit something-I might get a little jealous that these people started off small, rose to "fame" and get cool opportunities to take part in interesting ventures in business. Wow, they got to go on that trip for FREE? They got that product for FREE? They got to meet WHO?


But I miss the heartfelt stuff. I miss the small spaces on the internet that "feel" private and cozy. I don't have a huge readership but I have regular readers and I didn't get them by pimping myself out on a daily basis. There is a place for everyone in the world of blogging. I guess I miss the days when it felt more focused on sharing stories instead of sharing products for exposure.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

#WEverb11: #7

Travel
Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?


Whoops. I kind of touched on this in my #6 post but I'll go a bit deeper. 


In April, I traveled to San Francisco for the Annual Nany Ferry Ride to honor my late grandmother (aka Nanny)


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In May, I walked less than a half mile to our local fair, the Dixon May Fair

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In June, I traveled back to my old high school to watch my sister-in-law graduate


Graduation 099


In July, I traveled to our nations capitol

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And New York City

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In September, I traveled to San Francisco to stay with my mom for the weekend while she enjoyed retirement in a condo across from the home of MY San Francisco Giants

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P.S. We got to be on field prior to the game for the September 11th ceremony. Hugest honor of my life. That's me, under the arrow.

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In October, we traveled across town to go to the pumpkin patch

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BOOB NECKLACE!!!!!!

In October, we also traveled up Highway 50 to go to Apple Hill for the first time
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In November, we traveled to San Jose to the Westminster "Mystery" House for my sister-in-laws birthday. That place is weak. Sidenote: This picture was taken with my iPhone4S. Pretty awesome, right?

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So this year was full of travels. Near and far. Each trip cementing a memory that Ill have forever. I'm not sure if I have a favorite. Each place I went I spent it with family. Some new places and some annual traditions. Milestones were reached. I hope 2012 brings more traditions, more milestones and more memories created outside of the walls of my house.