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.