Thursday, December 31, 2009

I love the OO's

Ten years ago today, my New Year's Eve was not much different than what I have planned tonight-hanging out with KROB (fifth wheel then, Scott wouldn't enter the picture for ten more months), with a low key night at her parent's house with pots, pans, and Martinelli's at midnight. Tonight however, there will be Champagne I can assure you.

The last ten years have literally flown by in the blink of an eye, and I thought instead of a year-end recap, a trip down decade lane was in order with notable experiences and events from each one.

This was a really tough year as a sophomore in high school. There was lamo teen drama on my dance team and it really brought Kerri and I down. Things took a turn for the super amazing in October when Scott asked me to homecoming and our love story began. He definitely was the best thing to come out of that year.
The dance team also traveled to NYC that year, and I set shame aside for ten minutes and acted like a crazy woman to introduce a Blink 182 video, "Adam's Song," on TRL from Times Square. Let it be known that was when Carson Daly still hosted and the show was in its heyday. Best part-calling my classmates back home to turn it on and watch, and those who happened to see it talking about it when we came back. And no I don't feel badly for that poor girl next to me. She did not wear her favorite band's concert shirt and wave it around to get their attention.

This was my favorite year of high school. Between dating Scott and being an officer in ASB, as well as Kerri's co-captain on the dance team, it made for some awesome memories, including a cringe-inducing rendition of "Like a Prayer" at Spring Show. Which we reprised at my bachelorette party for some lucky patrons.

My senior year of high school was packed with activity between all of my extra curricular activities. One of the highlights was spending a ton of time with this girl:
Janae has to be one of the friendliest people on the planet. She is giving and has a heart of gold, and I am lucky to count her among my dear friends.

Late 2002 also brought me to college, the first of four I would eventually pay tuition to, and the only that gave me the thoughtful and amazing new friend, Ashley. We both joke now how each of us thought the other looked normal and nice enough to sit next to in our Freshman Foundations (or some awful name of that sort) class. We were even lucky enough to have several other courses together that semester (by luck) and the next (by planning). With her living on campus, I'd come on Tuesday nights after work and we'd watch Gilmore Girls together. She made college for me, even if only for one year together.
By 2003 I had started working at what I consider to be my first job. Technically I did have a hostess/waitressing stint at Ruby's Diner and about five minutes at the Coffee Bean (sensing a theme?) but I landed my dream college job-working at Style Leader, a now dead (RIP SL!) dance/cheer/skate/performing arts store that actually welcome crazy stage moms inside and allowed me to custom design Halloween costumes and $10 bathing suits. But mostly, it brought me these crazy awesome friends:
I had my first major surgery in 2004, to remove a cyst in my thyroid. Weird, I know. I also spent my first holiday with Scott's family in Blythe for Thanksgiving, and we took our first and only college class together-swimming at Cypress College. The fam bam traveled to Yosemite and hiked Half Dome (kidding, though we did see it), as well as spent time with our extended clan, the Harashas.
An annual tradition for a number of years, KROB, Scott, and a handful of other friends made the trek up to Big Bear Mountain for several snowboarding trips. I truly miss these week-long adventures and wish that our lives weren't all so busy that we could find the time (and work time off) to carry on the tradition.

My parents remodeled their house, and I remember several nights sleeping on the living room floor, on two mattresses, with the floor ripped up and watching LOST together. Most notably, my first friend got married, Mandy, to her high school sweetheart Joey, and I could not have been happier to stand up for her on that day.
2007 was the second year in a row that Scott went to Africa. The first year was hard because I did not know how I'd deal with his absence for six weeks. This time around, he went for nearly three months and I know he was having the time of his life, but I was practically a hermit crab despite Kerri's best efforts. Sadness aside, we were able to talk on the phone a few times thanks to a sat phone his friend Adam had, and I stayed up every night into the wee hours hoping to catch him online. The day he came home the second time, was almost as good as the day he proposed to me.
That same summer, my friend KM married her high school sweetheart, Andrew, in Dana Point Harbor in front of family and friends. Again, I was honored to stand next to these two as they tied the knot.
Scott proposed, I said yes, and we tied the knot eight months later. Not much can top that, although KROB's engagement is a close second ;)

The year I really took a hold of this blog. If you go back far enough, I really had some random thoughts back while Scott was in Africa the first time, but truly found my voice this year. It's been a fun outlet for me and the writing that I enjoy without professional limitations. Like many have said before me, I enjoy the community that it brings together, both near and far.

Additionally, my dear friend Ashley, the best thing that came out of Chapman University, got hitched! Her beautiful wedding still brings a tear to my eye when I think about it.

I am eager to see what 2010 brings, especially 16 days in when my best girl gets married, and beyond. Cheers to you and yours and a prosperous new year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Five Christmases

Wednesday, Dec. 23, dinner with Krob at their house
Krob played hostess with the mostess, as they always do, with a Promelli's meatloaf and delicious Paula Dean potatoes, and plenty of vino. It was the perfect kickoff to the holiday.

Thursday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve with Scott and my Mom
I had my first Christmas Eve, albeit for three people, and it turned out great, especially with the addition of my mom's famous potato casserole. I did not take a single picture of the spread, but it was delicious. And, combined with watching a home video of previous Christmases and a few birthdays, it made for the perfect evening. I am just sorry my sister and dad could not be there.

Friday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day with the Haseltons
Brunch with Scott's immediate family was delicious and simply lovely. We spent a good portion of the day there before succumbing to the ultimate desire of a nap at home.

Saturday, Dec. 26, Breakfast with Lauren and Scott
One of my dearest friends, Lauren, has to be busier than jet-setting celebrities with her softball playing and coaching schedules. It is simply amazing to be able to catch up with her when she's home for the holidays. She has been a friend of mine since 4th grade, and was even Scott's prom date before we started dating. She very lovingly let me pursue him in 11th grade when I asked :) We hit up the Sugar Shack in HB for some delicious monster burritos and hash browns.

Saturday, Dec. 26, Cousin Christmas Party
This annual tradition is not complete unless there is a rousing game of Catch Phrase, wine, cheese, and more wine. Good times had by all, 'nuff said. And this I actually took my camera out for.
Scott and I in our holiday best.

Scott, Abs, and Mark enjoying the pipe.

Hostess Audra and I, pre Catch Phrase when I had to make the controversial move to the boys' side.

Sunday, Dec. 27, Haselton Christmas Dinner-Extended Edition
Epic dinner number four featured prime rib, turkey, the famous potatoes (round 35 if you are counting) and many more munchies that have found their way to my belly. Let's just say Jillian and I had time together today and I was regretting every single bite. Almost.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Fare

In the past four days my kitchen has seemed to continually have the oven powered at 350 and dishes moving from dirty to sparkling in a matter of minutes. I am a self-proclaimed maven.

Christmas with KROB
Marscapone Toffee Chocolate Bars
Everything I have made from Giada is delicious. These are no exception, though quite rich. Super easy recipe.

Christmas Eve (and no pictures were taken sadly. I was too busy moving things and never even took my apron off.)
Holiday ham
This was my first ham, and it came out great. Easy, affordable, and ham sandwiches through Valentine's Day.
Spinach salad
Cheesy Artichoke Tarts
The tastiest little poppers ever-an appetizer must have.
Caprese Salad
HazelNutella Cookies

Christmas Brunch
Fruit salad with vanilla honey yogurt
I love Ina Garten, and her yogurt here is supreme.

Cousin Christmas Party
Cheesy Artichoke Tarts
Prosciutto Wrapped Pears with Herbed Cheese

Haselton Dinner
Mom's Famous Potato Casserole

I am good for not turning on the oven for a good two weeks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

As my 25th year draws to a close there are a few things about the way I operate that I want to work to change. They are not necessarily bad, but the other side is more appealing. And I might as well do it before I am receiving 'over the hill' birthday balloons, and still pliable.

No more people pleasing! I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I am a People Pleaser and will do things to make things easier for others but a strain on myself. Or bite off more than I can chew at the expense of my own well being. But mostly, not being honest with others or myself when it's something that might cause conflict. I hate those 'con' words: conflict, confrontation, cons in general-of the prison variety. Anyway, things are changing, now, in 2009, as I realize how much more freedom it allows me. Feels quite liberating actually. I've put it to practice a few times and the outcome is never as bad as I think it will be. And, if it is tough at first, at least I can live with myself the next few hours. It's important to institute this practice in myself, albeit late, so that I can instill the same values in any future children. I never want to be known as a pushover and high time to change now.

I will try my best to finish everything I start. I give up too easily. I heard it from my parents growing up and I hear it from Scott now. It's hard for me to understand that just because I don't get the skills/project/task in the first 10 minutes, does not mean I should give up. Which is why I don't play any instruments, fix computers, or assemble anything. This will change, as again I don't want to be a quitter.

I am going to try my hardest to implement these now, as I don't need a clean slate or day off to do it. The sooner the better, and I can feel the effects of accomplishment all the quicker.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I have never seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I realize this and the others are classics, but for some reason I never watched them growing up-too much Home Alone perhaps.

I set aside time today to see it, finally, when it aired on AMC but ended up having to leave in the middle of it for a sale at Michael's. I know, lame, but I had a lot to buy and it was an extra 15% off the entire purchase, plus I had a 50% off one item coupon that was expiring.

Hopefully, before the end of the year, I will see the end. I really was enjoying it.

Tonight however, Prancer is on the agenda. Scott is non too pleased, but I cannot wait.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The First 15 Seconds

There can be something about a song that can hook me in the first 15 seconds and I am a fan for life. I could be listening to a CD in my car and anticipate it's arrival and still find myself falling for it as if it was the first time. The surprise airing from the radio is exhilarating and feels like a gift, as corny as that sounds. Seeing as I don't have any musical ability in the form of voice or playing, I really am appreciative of these artists and bands for what they have to offer. Especially on days I really just want to feel good, get amped up, or need it to sit in an hour of traffic on the way home. For example:

Jessie's Girl: If you have ever been to a wedding/bar/place that allows any sort of movement with Kerri and I, you know that this song has a magical effect on us. We practically jump out of wherever we are sitting to bust a move to Mr. Springfield. And the reason for me? Those first few chords of the guitar. Scott actually watched it physically happen one time out eating post-surgery and it torturous as I could not showcase any dance moves for the song, which means the next time I hear it outside my car, there will be time for compensating...

Sweet Home Alabama: Again, it's all about those first few guitar chords that are infamous for me pleading with Scott to two-step with me. Such a feel-good song, and generally loved by most.

Old Time Rock & Roll: It did it for Tom, Heidi, Kobe (only found that out by Googling just now), Taylor, and me. Classic rock song. Enough said. It's that piano at the beginning that always bring me out of my seat and onto the dance floor.

Starlight: I'd be remiss if Muse was not on the list, and this song in particular, with its signature bass beginnings, just puts a smile on my face and visions of a rockstar in my head. Their entire albums can sit on repeat in my car and I never tire of them.

Sweet Child o' Mine: Now this is arguably the most recognizable guitar riff in history. Shall I explain any further?

Not surprisingly, all of these songs were incorporated at our wedding, even Muse. Newer songs are slowly making the list too, but I have to give it a few years so I know that it's not just a top 100 hit of today. It's all about 15 seconds of staying power.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Haystacks, the Craton Way

As I mentioned yesterday, one of my family's Christmas traditions in the food sector are haystacks-the easiest, no bake, cookie/candy goodie ever. Enjoy!

12 oz chocolate chips (milk, semi sweet, whatever you like)
6 oz butterscotch chips
1 bag Chinese chow mein noodles

Over a double broiler, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips. Pour in most of the bag of chow mein noodles (I usually use about 3/4 as I like the ratio of batter to noodle to be in favor of the former.)

Using a spoon, scoop out each "haystack" at any size you desire, to form little mounds. Resist the urge to eat-they need to cool on wax paper!

Enjoy! What was that about two steps and not much clean up required!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Traditions Old and New

This time of year is a one of reflection, family, friends, and optimism. People tend to be more giving, yet somehow a little scarier on the road. Not sure how that works out. Anyway, there are elements that take me back to my childhood Christmases and of course, look forward to years ahead with Scott. I decided it would be appropriate to share some of my favorite Christmas traditions of yesteryear and of course, some newbies.

1. Baking of course, specifically haystacks (quite literally the EASIEST goodie ever) and peanut butter balls with my mom growing up. It's my understanding these are popular, but I'll post the recipe too.

2. Making ornaments for my teachers in grade school, based on one that my mom made for hers and still hangs on my grandparents tree.

3. Waiting for my dad to get the video camera ready and my mom the coffee before my sister and I could go see what was beneath the tree. Let's not forget the several years that Katie was a baby and I was seven years older and the child just kept sleeping. That was torturous. Like she really had any idea about what was going on at 2 months or 14 months old! Oh, I digress.

4. A few years we made homemade pizza on Christmas Eve as a family, which was really great. Different toppings, low key at home, it was awesome.

5. The years that my mom and Kerri's mom conspired about Santa's presence. He left glitter all over our hearth, and also at Kerri's house, but additional boot prints really drove us wild. Ah, the magic of childhood.

6. Seeing as Scott and I have only had one Christmas so far married, our traditions are still developing. Last year, we popped open a bottle of Champagne at midnight which was quite special, and have exchanged ornaments a few years now.

7. Scott took some of his own family's traditions and incorporated them with us on Christmas morning by sprinkling candy around the gifts under the tree, which was really sweet.

8. Movies of course, are a staple this time of year. I can never get enough of Elf, Love Actually, and Family Man. I admit that I have never seen Christmas Vacation and have planned to tune in on Saturday night when it airs on AMC!

The holiday season is fun, filled with family and friends, and certainly good cheer. Let us not forget what it's all about and take time to enjoy it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

This weekend, The Boy and I trekked with a few friends to the oasis off the 15 freeway, Las Vegas, for a Muse concert. Oh my gosh, was the concert AMAZING. I actually missed my days when I braved the pit, because this one was rocking. The band plays supremely well live-just like the CD, only better. I could go on and on about their talent but my writing would never do it justice. If you enjoy the band, I say see them if they come your way. You may experience whiplash pains the following day, but it is beyond worth it.

The concert was the highlight of the trip but it also lended itself to a fashion first for me. After several years hemming and hawing, I finally caved and bought, then actually did wear, skinny jeans with boots. I realize this is a very popular look these days, but I've always felt a little unsure about it. Sadly I did not take nearly any pictures this trip, so I give you this poor-hotel lighting phone photo:
Now a little background on boots and me. I loved them as a kid. I asked and received them for Christmas several times, and had a cute white cowboy pair, and a black, ankle scrunched pair, all well before 4th grade. 15 years later, they are all the rage (never left vogue, but I strayed) and I am down to buy a pair. Well, Scott actually detests the look of girls in boots and was even more appalled to see that I had "put my jeans into them." I however, struggle with chic winter looks because my only closed-toed shoes are work-wear and Converse (and Vegas is about Louboutins, not Chucks.) So, I WORKED the boots and jeans, both Friday and Saturday night. I felt good, but my feet felt awful about two hours in. Scott believes that it was God telling me he also does not like boots and skinny jeans. I'll suck it up to pain is beauty, concerning the giant blister on my big toe. Sorry hon, the boots are staying! AND what is most fabulous, is I paid only $80 for the boots and new jeans combined. Gosh I love a good deal.

Vegas was great, but it definitely reminded me of my great love for California's anti-smoking laws. I am not crazy for rights-restricting legislation in general, but I have only just finished laundering the stink out of all our clothing, and making the dry cleaner pile for tomorrow.

This was a fabulous weekend, one definitely worthy of being named our mini-winter vacation. And Muse will continue to dominate the airplay in my car to and and from work. I cannot get enough of them.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Getting Back in Shape

This week marks 6 weeks post surgery, which means I am allowed to jump back on the exercise bandwagon. Figuring baby steps were in order, I attempted the tread mill on a steep incline to burn, and would see how I felt before running. WOW, I did try, and it felt like my legs weighed about 95 pounds.

I realized this is the first time I have ever stopped exercising in my life, as I've always done something-softball, dance, dance team, the gym, or simply walking the dog.

I am hoping that with a few more sessions, and even keeping up with The Shred again, I'll regain my energy and strength. Even though I complain and moan internally about having to do it, I realize how those endorphins really do kick in and make you feel good. And the morning-after pains really make it feel like you did a good job.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas with a Cat

Christmas trees and cats are like oil and vinegar. The minute our tree was up this weekend, Atticus was in it. Of course it's an animal and his instinct is to climb, I understand that and can't be that mad at him. However, knocking ornaments off to make toys, chewing the tree and it's lights, while also simulating the Olympic games at the base, is unacceptable.

One would think 30 times in timeout in a span of 15 minutes would teach a cat something. Not so. Therefore, in comes Google and its famous searches. Mine? "Keeping cats out of Christmas trees."

Some "proven" suggestions:

1. Sprinkle pepper on the tree skirt and that cat will dislike the smell.
Outcome: No change. Not bothered.

2. Place Irish Spring soap underneath the tree skirt. Again, scent will deter cat from coming near tree.
Outcome: The one open bar was just to see if sans box would make a difference. You can guess it did not.

3. Spray the tree with citrus scented perfume.
Outcome: I did not even try. I am not spraying raspberry body spray on our pine scented tree that already has whiffs of Irish Spring.

I decided to go back to the squirt bottle and add some lemon juice. Well, now the cat just smells like lemon scented water when wet. And I'm convinced he thinks it's a game when I lie down like a soldier with a squirt bottle pointed at him.

I am fighting a losing battle.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Confessions

Dear friends and family,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. 2009 has been an incredible year for Scott and I, and we were so glad to have you part of it.

After a year of marriage, we can honestly say it has been utter perfection. Clearly our stars were bound to align and bring us together. Our love is what Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems are made of.

Naturally you are very curious to know what we've been up to the past 12 months. Well, crave no further, I know you've been on pins and needles waiting for the post. We acquired a new addition to the family, Atticus, back in the spring. He is quite the spirited cat and brings much excitement into our lives.

Scott is enjoying his job where he works in software development. He's practically a genius. He has taken orange peels and turned them into diamond rings. Yes, it can be done, with the right equation and enough episodes of "How it's Made" have allowed him to be the Most Interesting Man in the World. Look for the replacement in the commercials in early 2010.

I keep busy cooking gourmet meals each night, following days of planning events and making the world in North Orange County a better place for everyone. My contributions are likely to earn me a nomination for Miss California.

We hope your 2009 has measured up to everything you wanted and more. Ours certainly sets the bar high and we always tell our loved ones to reach for the stars.

Have a joyous and healthy holiday season.

The Haseltons

PS-As you can hopefully see, the holiday newsletter is high on my loathe list. If it must be done, make it matter-of-fact and about sharing good news, not reinventing the mundane to sound amazing. We are all human. I'm no Scrooge, but do want to teach a writing lesson that is more about reporting and less creative with the one-uppers of holiday newsletters from the family.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bridal Hair

KROB's wedding is quickly approaching and I am beyond excited for these two to tie the knot. Today, I went and had the final fitting for my bridesmaid dress and it is tres chic, though if you know Kerri, that is how she rolls. They will definitely have one stylish party between the two of them!

Now that the dress is nearly done, I need to figure out the hair situation. In the past few weddings as a bridesmaid I have worn my hair up, as it tends to lose any curl after 20 minutes, and I just feel it has better hold. I also realize that I have a thing for the side 'do. Not that we didn't already know I love the 80s.

Example A:
The Brownell Wedding
(Third from right) A side chignon was perfect for a harbor-side wedding where any curl I'd even achieve 3 minutes in, would last 5 minutes total. It was a win-win.

Example B
The Aceto Wedding
Second from left. Winery wedding, side chignon again, but slightly sassier with a deeper bang sweep and man-catchers (term copyright Tim Sampson). Style was inspired by Michelle Williams 2008 Oscar hair, when she wore the goldenrod gown and red lipstick.

So now I need to find something for my fine, thin, brown hair. I have endlessly Googled "Oscar Hair" and combinations of my favorite actresses but have come up empty so far. Perhaps a "do" is what I should avoid after all, and go with a more voluminous normal-day look instead. The dress is long, strapless, and lovely.

By the by, I did not create either of these styles. Professional girls who have talents beyond ponytail/all down/somehair up-somehair down did. Don't let me fool you into thinking I have hair and makeup talent.

Perhaps I'll just wake up inspired that day with an idea for a good look.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Secret Desires

I secretly desire to be a rock star. And I can't get enough of this 30 second commercial.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If it isn't broke, don't fix it.

There seems to be a trend of companies updating 80s cartoon classics into hip versions suited for today's kids. To that I ask, why is it needed, and secondly, are they not creative enough to develop new ones? I am sure it boils down to marketing. Those who loved Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, and My Little Pony are likely approaching the age to having kids of their own and perhaps likely to bring the retro products home.

I, however, balk at the idea of these "upgraded" doppelgangers. It's the OG for me, or nothing.

Exhibit A
Rainbow Brite, 1980s
Who couldn't love Rainbow Brite, the Color Kids, and their Sprites?!?

Rainbow Brite, 2009
WTF. Why does she look like a warped version of Sailor Moon and aged about 10 years??

Exhibit B
My Little Pony, 1980s
Those lovable horses! I'll never forget my stable full of scented, bejeweled, winged, and even one Easter Bunny-gifted seahorse.

My Little Pony, 2009
Those eyes are staring me down like the creepy Bratz dolls. These are no Cherries Jubilee Mom!

Exhibit C
Strawberry Shortcake, 1980 and 2006

Such a loveable little girl! Her friends had the best names: Huckleberry Pie, Plum Puddin, Apple Dumplin, and T.N. Honey. And the foe: Peculiar Purple Pie Man, naturally. Strawberry Shortcake actually debuted as a line of American Greetings cards and saw makeovers in 2002 and 2006. Though she is not the Shortcake of my youth, at least there is a sliver of a girl in the caricature.

And some people still believe nothing good came out of the 80s. Just add these to the list that includes Ronald Reagan, Pat Benatar, "Jessie's Girl," and of course, my friends and husband.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hello December

Welcome December. It's been 12 months since we've seen each other, and yet we meet again. Where on Earth does the time go?

The holidays bring out the best (and worst if you are at the mall in parking lot) in people, and each year I hope that it spreads into January a little further.

If you are thinking about opportunities to give back, consider Project Serve. I can think of no better way than to help our soldiers, of which 30,000 have found out they'll be going back to Afghanistan in the very near future. These are sons, daughters, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends to someone. I am blessed to have most of my family in a 30 mile radius, or a quick phone call away. For our families serving, that is not the case, and it's the least I can do help make their family's Christmas a little more magical.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Commercials that Reek

Ever notice how perfume and cologne commercials have some of the weirdest (and I use this term LOOSELY) plot lines, ever?

These celebrities and models hawking their signature scent are always roaming in a dreamy field of wildflowers, an enchanted forest, or perhaps paradise beach, and occasionally chasing or being chased by some unattainable love interest*. I find myself with furrowed brows and a tilted head by the end of the 30 (and let's hope not 60) second spot.

I think the tried and true method of the scented samples in magazines are great. Perhaps by saving on commercial advertising, Faith, Reese, Shania, SJP, JLo, and the rest of them can make larger bottles and sell more, or shocker, save the money.

*I can tell you that Scott would not chase me in my perfume as to him, I smell like a grandma (and for the record, I rotate between Ralph Lauren Romance, SJP Lovely, and Estee Lauder Pure White Linen). The 'grandma' business is a constant debate.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Red Shoes

It's a sad day. My red shoes need to be put out to pasture.

I love these shoes. I bought them about 4 years ago on an impromptu trip to Urban Outfitters before I met up for a dinner date with Abs. They were perfect: a lightweight peep toe-wedge, featuring cute cutouts, and of course, were red. Like a LBD, I think every gal needs a good pair of red shoes.

The Red Shoes just called out to me, and I remember I found it odd that they lacked a brand name and their box was just the plain, blank white variety. I know they came in an vanilla color as well, that I believe my friend Krissy later purchased.

They have lived a good life with me. The elastic next to the buckle has been repaired nearly 10 times and they always pulled through. However, I am beginning to walk out of them from the uber-stretched elastic strap and the wedge is looking like hippopotamus skin.

Rest in peace my favorite shoes. You completed many outfits, took me to my first post-college job, were captured in our engagement pictures, and of course, were part of my daily life. And I thank you for that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Merely a Muggle

Life boils down to two camps, and you must decide which one you belong in:

Harry Potter or Twilight.

I literally wear my Gryffindor badge of honor on my sleeve. I have admitted to anyone that may ask, that I've read the series six times, maybe seven. Who's counting? The world that Rowling created is such a fabulous fantasy, layered with friendship, love, and sacrifice. Her web of this fictional world required extensive planning and research, beyond the story I can appreciate her absolute devotion to all that is the essence of Harry Potter.

Twilight on the other hand, is arguably similar in the fairy tale world that coexists with humans. Though a little more Romeo & Juliet, it captivates readers young and old, just like HP. Granted the fans are primarily women, and I can attest that I fell under Edward's spell. By casting a rather dreamy actor for the role (and I love the venn diagram that it produces with the lovely Rob Pattinson and his humble HP beginnings) it catapulted the character to tangible status. Simply, this page turning series is a harlequin romance. Edward is the perfect man doting on Bella-what other woman wouldn't want the same?

Like many books, movies do not always transfer to the screen. That is a tough pill to swallow as a devoted fan. I bashed my teeth 5 minutes into "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" this summer. It was an utter disappointment. The artistic direction was comepletely lacking. Add to the fact I stood in line for four hours to see the midnight showing and was definitely a grump about its complete crap translation.

Sunday morning, Scott and I went to see "New Moon," when I realized how desperately I wanted to see it. I have read the Twiglight series only once, probably two years ago, or when the last book came out. I didn't have such a fresh mind going into the movie, and after seeing the first which was laughable, knew not to expect much. Did anyone else completely loose it when any of the vampires gave their infamous glare? Jasper in particular has the same exact face in every scene. I just about hear the director saying "I'm going to need a little more vampire brooding." I suppose the book is not always looked to for guidance in these cases.

These books are exciting, adventurous, and engaging stories. One is more of a romance with the other having occasional romantic moments. They are page turners and have made readers out of many children, teens, and adults-I have seen several friends take them up after declaring themselves non-readers. In some ways its exciting to be a part of this fantasy phenomenon, books that may be classics someday (well, I believe Harry to be more likely, but if also judged by Twilight then that as well.) I have such a love for this literature it reminds me of my younger years when I could not get enough Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Babysitters Club.

I am waiting on pins and needles to read New Moon again, borrowed from my sister, but apparently the series is loaned out among many friends. I tried to buy it at Barnes & Noble on Friday but they only had it in hardcover (not a fan) or paperback with the movie cover-NEVER ok. I am hoping the fabulous Costco will have the set in paperback that I can purchase.

Oh, and to answer which camp I am in-very much Harry Potter, but I would still declare Team Edward. Cedric Diggory did come from Hufflepuff you know.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I had to take my belly button ring out for surgery and have not put it back in yet. I think my navel looks slightly deformed, but this could just be from the absence of flair.

Truthfully, I forget I even have it between October and May. When summer roles around and I don bathing suit, I stupidly recall "oh yeah, you're there!" Silly I know.

So Merry Christmas Dad. One daughter loses a ring, another gains. At least you are at a net zero!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Things I Will Never Understand

I think it's pretty fair to say many people do a lot of deep thinking on their drive to work. It's a period of self-reflection, and for me, channel surfing away from morning talk, except for Ralph's Showbiz Report on KROQ.

I often have ideas for blogs during this period, and make my mental to-do lists that I am convinced I'll remember, yet never do.

On a recent drive, I started thinking about things that I will just never understand, in no particular order.

1. Workaholics. Perhaps it would be a different story if I owned my own business, however life is too short and my personal life and time are too much a priority.

2. Chronic exaggerators. So funny to hear a shared experience from one of these people when all you can think is "when did any of that happen?"

3. People who must "reply all" when it's completely unnecessary.

4. Negative Nancy attitudes on FB, Twitter, and the like. There is a lot of crap in this world. We can always find something positive to say. The fact that you have an Internet connection is amazing itself for some.

5. Star Trek

6. Dead fish/limp noodle handshakes. Ladies no excuses. Men, really?

7. How someone figured out to look inside pineapples, coconuts, pomegranates, and other crazy fruit to find something edible inside.

8. Why social equality is still not commonplace in this world.

9. Pple wHo MUST tyPE in tha maNNeR daT ILLUSTRATES tHEiR inteLLagUnce LEVEL. And excessive use of the <3 and ♥.

10. Lactose intolerance. Just seems like a cruel joke on those who suffer from it. I could not live without cheese and don't know how others do it. Hats off to you. I am happy to share your chocolate milk.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Back to Work Recap

This concludes the week that I returned to work post surgery and wow its been a doozy.

I wore a skirt Monday-Wednesday, and yesterday due to immense fatigue and cold weather, I had no energy to shave my legs and thus had to wear pants. Big mistake. The waistband and fabric rubbed the swollen incision every time I stood, sat, or moved at all. Today will be another dress, though this experience has told me I do not own enough skirts/dresses and of those only two accommodate tights. I can't do colored tights or leggings, so it's black only and my husband suggested nude but then I would feel in costume or that I'd regressed back to the dance team and forgotten to take them off for the day following the morning rehearsal. Perhaps this illuminates more fashion phobias I need to get over. It will likely leggings before colored tights.

My energy levels have been ok. Usually around the afternoon I am most fatigued and sore but only due to the increased movement. It's a hurdle I need to conquer, but none too quickly.

Overall, some days are better than others. Shooting pain can't be helped much when I am out of my prescription because my doctor has weaned me off, though ibuprofen does a great stand in job. I had some long days due to catch up and deadlines, but as they say, c'est la vie.

I am thankful to have good friends there to check on me to make sure I am not lifting anything (Leah and Cristal) and of course just doing well throughout the day (Andrea). Thank you guys :)

All I can say at this point is TGIF. After three weeks off that feeling came back real quick.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taking on Twitter

I have been using Twitter for a couple months now after much resistance from those who loved it. Because blogging has really become a part of my life, I can see the appeal that Twitter offers as a lead in to that, as well as the platform for mini-blogs, connecting with new people, marketing a business, and simply following friends in their daily lives.

Like many, my resistance retort was simply "I have nothing interesting to say." My thoughts tend to be mostly work/personal life/random to-do lists, but certainly sandwiched between a few illuminating ideas, if I may say I can conjure a few, and random rants of course. I figured the few brilliant ideas were worth the sign up, and so it began.

Being an active follower of many blogs, I enjoy being able to see what these people are doing in real time, because I already have found something in common with them. It's also great having a glimpse into what my real life friends are up to, though it never makes up for dinner dates with you CLI ;) And the ability to follow such influential individuals could not be any more accessable-President Obama, Dodgers baseball, Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift, and Candace Cameron Bure (please cue Monica Gellar-"I know!")

Twitter is a powerful tool for business, though I doubted its capabilities at first. As my social media guru Rayanne continues to impress, the social media platforms of the world are not going anywhere-time to embrace them.

I suppose my one issue with Twitter revolves around member usage. I don't quite understand the conversations that take up my screen between people-isn't that the point of a direct message or good old fashioned email, or instant messanger? Don't get me wrong, two or three conversations between people is fine, but 30 tweets back and forth is so silly. I understand you only have 140 characters but it floods my page. Of course I could just not follow these people anymore, but I do enjoy what they have to say when I don't feel like a creepy eavesdropper.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with Twitter too?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I am always the optimistic one. Sometimes it's hard to take a dose of your own medicine.

It will be fine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peeping Toe

Seems I tend to gravitate towards one shoe type.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spinach & Artichoke Dip for Dinner

Thank you Rachael Ray, you have turned my favorite appetizer into a meal that is even figure friendly. Make this and enjoy.

*The recipe serves four, so I halved everything just for two and it still made nearly enough for four people.

  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, defrosted, drained and quartered
  • 1 small bundle farm fresh spinach, stems trimmed
  • 1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock, just eyeball the amount
  • A handful fresh mint leaves (I left these out-but next time might use red pepper flakes for some kick)
  • A handful lightly toasted slivered almonds
  • Kosher salt or freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic - peeled
  • A handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (This is EXPENSIVE cheese! I opted for tubbed Romano and it was great, for way less)

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up it up to a boil to cook the pasta, season with some salt and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add artichokes to heat through and lightly brown at edges.

To clean spinach, fill sink with water, swish spinach around and let grit fall to bottom of sink. Dry leaves before using.

In the bowl of a food processor add the shallot, 1/2 cup chicken stock, spinach leaves, mint, almonds and salt and pepper, to taste. If you have a hand held small-holed grater or a zester, grate garlic into the food processor. Adding a whole clove can result in stray big pieces of raw garlic, too bitter to bite down on. If you do not have a hand held grater, mince garlic and mash up into paste with a little salt. Turn processor on and add in about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Scrape the spinach pesto into the artichoke pan and loosely cover with foil. Bring mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta and the cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fancy Phone

I have finally joined the fancy phone club. It took a number of years, but my techie husband has been salivating for the Google Droid phone and this past weekend he divorced us from at&t and we went back to Verizon.

I also selected a Droid phone, but it's not the developer coveted one that he picked-it's step sister is my guess, by HTC, where his is Motorola. It's pretty fabulous though. I love having my email, Twitter, and Facebook at the fingertips. How did I ever get by before?!?! I would wager that it's quite similar to the iPhone with a few differences. I am enjoying the navigation and information that is at my fingertips.

I decided that I needed to make the switch from the text/call variety to smart phone mostly because of the need for mapping and Internet access. There have been so many times as of late that I have needed directions or a phone number that could have been simply provided by a browser.

So far I am digging the phone and can see how much of a tool it becomes with its capabilities. I am also now addicted to the silliest of games, Abduction. If you have the phone or its available on others, check it out. Thank me later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Confessions

I refuse to watch scary movies. This bums out Scott because he really wishes I would watch them with him, but certain types absolutely terrify me.

Commercials terrify me for certain flicks that are currently in theatres right now. I kid you not-absolutely freak me out.

I lie in bed and night while he sleeps listening to noises that I can't explain and my brain runs wild with possibilities.

I realize this takes down my fun meter, however I am very aware of my limitations. Sometimes the cheery movie following a conceding ok (which rarely happens) doesn't even help. Taylor Swift on SNL last night-nope didn't do it when I woke up sweating from a dream following our viewing of the Ted Bundy movie last night. I would have rather lost brain cells watching Ed Bundy on "Married with Children." A little reprieve was the terrible screenplay and acting in the movie, but the fact that it was based on a real person did not escape me.

I am watching all the HGTV and TLC today that I want.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food Network Junkie

J'adore the Food Network. I am so envious at the speed in which they move and most of the meals they come up with. (I say most because some foods I will never be a fan of.)

However, there are some shows that I will stop what I am doing to catch, or feel like such a lucky duck if I am home early enough from work to see:

Everyday Italian & Giada at Home
Is there anything that Giada De Laurentiis makes that is not amazing? Her Italian recipes and modern favorites are simply delectable. And she loves wine and cheese-my kind of gal.

30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray
Honestly, I am not a fan of Rachael herself. Her voice and overwhelming gestures kind of grate on my nerves, however, I like her concept of quick meals, even if she moves at warp speed and I can't always do them under 30 minutes.

Paula's Home Cooking with Paula Deen
It goes without saying this one loves her trans fats-as do I! I actually prefer more of Paula's desserts than meals, because I can justify the butter in cake/brownies/treats more than entrees that would otherwise remain healthy with other alternatives.

Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten
Confession-I actually used to change the channel when Barefoot Contessa came on. I was a young fool, what can I say. I love watching her, with her fabulous ingredients and rich, satisfying meals and desserts. She is comforting to listen to as well-I am always at ease with her on in the background.

And now for the "Needs Improvement"

Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee
Love her concept with the store-bought/homemade ratio. Do not like her matchy-matchy set. It is really distracting and I can't concentrate on what she is making because I am consumed by the drapes/apron/lipstick/hardware/towels/napkins all coordinating. Nobody's home looks like that.

Down Home with the Neely's
Oh my. Is anyone else uncomfortable watching them? I understand they are very much in love but it's borderline wanna be Down Home with the Naked Neely's. They seem like really sweet people but ultimately it's too much PDA for me.

I love the inspiration these shows provide me for it eventually puts dinner on the table. I certainly am not creative enough to come up with week after week of new entrees, and I love that watching them is informative and cathartic after a long day as well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Surgery Recovery-One Week

Let's see it's been 12 days since surgery, and the time has flown by.

Each day I find something I can do a little bit better, and they are huge milestones:

-I was able to walk downstairs to the mailbox several times this week. Granted I was ready for a major rest upon my return, but it was progress.

-I can sleep on my left side during the night (clutching a pillow to my stomach), which is amazing because I am normally a side sleeper, but have been restricted to my back. Scott is loving it as I don't sprawl/nudge/take over the bed that way. I do require a pillow underneath my knees still, as my body feels like it's stretching to its capacity while flat. I am pretty much one giant lump in bed with all of the pillows.

-I can bend down and pick things up that fall onto the floor, such as my Chapstick which Atticus likes to chase under the couch.

-My appetite is slowly returning. Some tastes have changed, and I hope it's only temporarily, as a need for coffee is virtually non-existent. Scott did make steak and ahi tuna two evenings, both of which I really enjoyed.

I am grateful for all of the well wishes, cards, and calls from friends and family-they really brighten the day and are sincerely appreciated.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anniversary Pictures

A few weeks ago, Joel Maus of Studio EMP took anniversary pictures for Scott and I, as a nod to the first anniversary gift which is paper. Scott was a total trooper, seeing as it was something that made me happy and I am so glad we did. Cheers to many more years together and a break from picture sessions!

My personal favorite

And we continue to live happily ever after...

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I have always known how blessed I am in life, growing up in loving family, having great friends, a safe place to live, enriching activities, and opportunities to grow.

Many of my friends and associates are involved in different causes from cancer fundraising to domestic violence support groups, and service organizations. There is no doubt that I believe in all of these efforts and support them whenever I can. I simply have not found one that has resonated with me in a way that has moved me to actually give beyond a donation--the gift of time, or even grassroots advocacy.

In 2006 and 2007 Scott journeyed to Africa to experience an adventure and time out of the OC bubble with our friend who works for Invisible Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit that works dilligently to educate the west about the war atrocities taking place in Africa, specifically Northern Uganda and surrounding areas. Scott spent 2-3 months there each summer for two years and I know that it changed him as a person, in the most positive of ways. If interested in learning about the history of this deplorable 23-year war, click here.

Last night, we were pleasantly surprised to catch a great documentary on Netflix-"War Dance." The movie struck a chord with Scott, discussing the war, internally displaced person (IDP) camps, and even featured a great friend. The movie showcases a remote village, Potongo, and the children there competing in a music competition in Kampala. Through three featured kids, the documentarians, much like Invisible Children's, captured their stories of survival, struggle, and the most resiliance one can even imagine.

This movie, and Scott's experiences there, really make me ponder how lucky I am to have been born in a location that is safe and free of warfare. The same goes for places in the Middle East and other areas of strife and supression. Religion and theology aside, I do not think anyone has a choice of where they are born. I see the simple needs these people have for a comfortable sleep each night, safe travels, and fearless living.

I understand my feeble blog post isn't going to change anything. However, if someone reads it and possibly watches the movie and sees the dire situation there, passes it along to a friend and so on, perhaps more individuals will see these people, who receives virtually no recognition by the press and government.

Protecting humanity is an issue I will stand up for. Life is never fair, but there are basic needs in life that should be met, no matter the culture or location, and acts of atrocity need to be addressed and the consequences fierce.

We are all human and deserve to live in a neighborhood, if not a world, of peace.

Sunday Confessions

Today I woke up and had a response tweet from Stacy London on Twitter.

Four words directed at me. It was beautiful and possibly the most memorable November 1st in my life.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Things I Have Learned While Being Home

1. Walmart has far, far too many commercials on the telly.

2. I need to appreciate the simple things in life more-like easily moving from laying to sitting, sitting to standing, and backwards. Or coughing/sneezing/blowing my nose, which all require use of stomach muscles.

3. Women who give birth, I bow down to you. Even if you don't give birth and are a mom, I still bow down you.

4. I have missed daytime television like Regis and Kelly, Ellen, and eternal reruns like Law and Order.

5. We need new couches. My back is dying from compensated posture from the procedure and the Craig's List couches flaws are not helping.

6. I thought I had a substantial rotation of daily websites to visit. Turns out, kind of low when there is nothing new each hour.

7. My apartment community does a lot of landscaping each day, beginning at about 10 a.m. on the nose. Tends to interrupt my morning drug-induced nap.

8. Seriously, moms, hats off to you.

9. My appetite has been rather strange and thus have not been able to take full advantage of The Food Network. It's so sad, yet some things are just unsettling to watch them make.

10. I could get used to being home all day. Easily.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Memories of Halloweens Past

I love Halloween, or any reason to dress up for that matter. My mom was the best growing up-always making my costumes from patterns that we scoured over at JoAnn's in the McCall's books, then selecting the fabric and perfect trims (hello early rhinestone obsession). I need to learn how to sew for any future children I may have, as I just can't buy costumes in a bag. I either piece them together through thrift store finds, or for a few years, had the awesome hookup with the Big SL custom-making a few.

This year, because of the surgery, I'll be home recovering, and living in an apartment complex does not provide many trick-or-treaters. I love seeing kids in their costumes which is the ultimate treat for me. Hopefully soon I'll learn how to piece together a bobbin through a class or at least my DIY diva BFF, Kerri.

Now who doesn't like a trip down memory lane? Here are some of my most memorable costumes from the past twenty-something years. Special thanks to my mom for not only sewing 90% of them, but also scanning the pictures and emailing them to me :)

Who doesn't like Christmas a little early?

Classic Halloween staple-witch with creepy green face, and my cousin Amy as some form of trooper.

My childhood neighbor and friend Joanne, whom I spent many a Halloween's with!

...or simply afternoons in preparation of Halloween, playing dress up.

Probably my favorite costume-Miss America. Kept that sash around for a while!

Kerri always loved those "Scary Stories" books growing up-much braver than I, and went with an appropriate costume that year. Her mom puff-painted the "Erin" megaphone on my uniform.

Beginning of the awkward stage and end of those costume years! I had an unnatural obsession with "Grease" for longer than one should My sister made the cutest Pebbles though.

The laptop these pictures were on crashed so I am left with only this proof-sized option from a few years ago. I LOVED this military outfit. Bought the real deal at an Army surplus and had SL take it in, in a few choice places. Kerri made for a pretty cute librarian herself.

Believe this was in 2006 and probably the last time I really dressed up. Kerri was a soda shoppe girl and I was supposed to be a gangster but sans fedora, all I really looked like (or confirmed to be) was a Broadway babe or glittery librarian. Either was fine-costume sparkled and Kerri and I had our signature Romy & Michelle pose down.

Happy Halloween!