Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Definitely Fall Y'all!

Due to my vacation in August/September, August's monthly recap was never posted!  So lucky you - double monthly recap today!

In August…

We celebrated Fashionista’s 23rd birthday a few weeks early, because she was off to India over her actual birthday.

Birthday Girl Fashionista, Handsome Husband, Me, and Dimples

Nurse Sarcasm and her husband celebrated their first anniversary, and I remembered the wonderful times we had at their beautiful wedding last year.

I got my annual fried food fix when Handsome Husband and I went to the OC Fair with some friends.

Twin Unicorn, Twin Uni's Garter-Catchin' Boyfriend, Handsome Hubs, and Swagger

HH and I enjoying a spiked totally innocent ICEE at the Fair.

My Handsome Husband and I celebrated our 3 years of love – our “dating anniversary”.

I finished up my online summer class just in time for a 2-week break before fall classes start.

Best Friend Cute Apartment moved into a new (wait for it…) cute apartment!  She is now steps from an awesome Taco Tuesday watering hole, and minutes from the beach!

I started off the Fall semester – going to be a rough one with a science/lab course, 2 online classes, and work, but I will make it happen!

We headed off to our Tour de Oregon 2011

In September…

We watched Best Cousin marry the love of her life in a beautiful ceremony in Albany, Oregon.

We went to a fun mid-week lunch to celebrate Grandma Beach Bum’s birthday!

Sister Swimmer and Sister Singer had their first day of their last year of high school – they are growing up way too fast!

The soccer itch really got to Handsome Husband, and he started playing in a men’s league.

We did things big when we celebrated for Cute Apartment’s 26th birthday – jello shots, beer pong, and getting down at a local bar!

The Birthday Princess and her little princess, Roxie.

Sister Singer took to the stage again as one of the leads in her high school’s musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

We got to watch Handsome Husband’s alma mater’s soccer team play in the LA Galaxy’s home stadium – The Home Depot Center.

We had the great honor of being invited to Fashionista’s parents’ 25th Anniversary Party – and watching as their friends and family showered them with love and celebratory words.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things Thursday: Things I Do While Other People Watch Football

Fabulous Fall Blog Challenge

Today's topic is: Favorite Football Pastimes

Due to my lack of personal football pastimes, I am sharing with you, my readers: 

Things I Do While Other People Watch Football

1. Study (FACT: one time I studied during the Superbowl, in the middle of the living room, while my parents were having a Superbowl Party)

2. Sing songs loudly to distract from their game - often little tunes I make up about that particular moment in time, because I am so musically inclined.

3. Mock them when they stand up, cheer, shout at the tv, etc.

4. Paint my nails.

5. Eat - love football food.

6. Pretend I am watching, but really I am daydreaming.

7. Ask questions about the game, then stop listening when people start answering.

8. Color.

9. Ask if I can change the channel...the answer is always no.  

10. Talk about girly issues, my friends, television, just about anything but football for as long as allowed, until the football watchers officially snap.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Top 3 Reasons I Don't Talk Politics

A few days ago, on my way out of the house for work, I overheard Hat Dad and Gardening Mom having their daily morning chat over coffee and newpapers (cute, right?).  While grabbing my Nutrigrain bar, I listened to a sound that is all too familiar in the morning at this house - political chatter.  Hat Dad loves to rant talk politics, and Gardening Mom (while I don't think she is nearly as into it as HD) obliges, which I guess is the name of the game of marriage - compromise (slash listening about things you don't care about and nodding and smiling...not that that's what Gardening Momma does...nope not at all!).

Since I overheard the conversation (fair warning: if I hear your convo, I'm a part of it), I stepped in and shared a fairly entirely off-topic tip that I will also share with you, my loyal readers.  I said,

"Just a tip: Don't ever play the 'If someone gave you $300,000, what would you do with the money' Game, because for the next few days, you will be waiting for someone to come give you $300,000."
(Told you it was off-topic.)

Anyways, circling back around to politics, after being inspired by my lack of anything political-related to say when waltzing into my parents' morning convo, I've decided to share with you...

The Top 3 Reasons I Don't Talk Politics

1. I am simply not educated enough.  This is embarassing, but I just don't know my stuff well enough to debate politics.  While I thrive on debate (seriously, start an argument with me,, I opposite-of-thrive on looking stupid.  And logic tells me, if I start to debate or even just casually talk politics and I don't really know what I'm talking about, the chances of me looking stupid are high - and homegirl don't like those odds.

2. People are so passionate about politics, and I just don't care enough.  What I mean by that is this: there are lots of things I am passionate about, some of them in the political family, but in general, I just don't get heated over political issues.  Seriously, I can get more into Big Brother scandals than general poltical chat.  I don't so much mind just chatting about politics or political issues, but I don't want to yell about them.  The easiest way to avoid such confrontations I have found is to simply

3. I don't know where I stand.  This really goes hand in hand with #1.  I simply am not sure how I feel about many political issues, and when I think I have made up my mind, it seems to change the very next week.  You can't very well debate your little political ass off, and then change your mind shortly thereafter, it makes you look finicky (and no one likes finicky folks). 

Someday, I would really like to learn more about politics (eliminating #1), make educated choices and pick where I really stand politically (discarding #3), and feel more compelled to talk about politics and defend my views (erasing #2!).

But, for now, I will settle for laughing at the political cartoons I can actually understand, and above all else, loving my country and always looking towards bright futures as an American, regardless of political affiliation!

Midweek Hop

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quotable Tuesdays

Fabulous Fall Challenge: Fall Recipes

Fabulous Fall Blog Challenge

Today's topic for this awesome challenge is: Fall Recipes

There are so many yummy dinner recipes that remind me of Fall (soups, crock pot recipes, roasts), but the foods that really scream Fall to me are the yummy pumpkin and cinnamon sprinkled desserts that are popular around this time of year!

Pinterest is filled with these kinds of awesome recipes for Fall! 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Here are some of my favorites I've spotted over on the Pin!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes 

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fabulous Fall Challenge: Fall TV

Fabulous Fall Blog Challenge

Today's topic for the Fall Challenge: Fall TV

So y'all know I love me some TV - I mean, I give you my thoughts on Fridays for Boob Tube Babble.  So you know I had to participate in the challenge today!  Here are my thoughts on some of "my" shows (do you guys claim ownership on TV shows by calling them "yours," too?):


Gossip Girl premiers tonight!  The wait is over - there were definitely some loose ends at the end of last season that I am interested to see how the show chooses to tie up!  Although I saw a promo that seems to be based on 3 of the main characters moving to (or just visiting?) Hollywood, and I'm a bit skeptical on how interesting that will be.

Love 90210 - have since it started.  The first episode was a little bit of a snoozefest, but Annie's storyline should be fun to watch unfold.  I hate to say it, but I feel bad for Adrianna, and wish they would all sort of start to forgive her.  Am I the only one who can't stand Navid and Silver together?

Grey's Anatomy - I've been a fan for a long time, and even though I agree with a lot of ship-jumpers that the show is no where near what it was in the earlier seasons, I refuse to quit!  (Even though the first episode was quite boring, and I really hope the season improves.)

Private Practice - I think that PP has actually stolen much of the intensity that Grey's used to have and now seems to lack.  Love this show, love Kate Walsh, can't wait for the premier this week!


Hart of Dixie might look a little cliche, but I love Rachel Bilson (Seth + Summer 4EVA), so I will give it a chance.  It also premiers tonight.

Revenge - I haven't watched the premier episode of this yet (it aired last week), but it looks alright, so I thought I'd give it a chance.

Best Friend Cute Apartment and I had plans to watch The Playboy Club show last week, but I was lame and had to get some schoolwork done.  I need to catch up and watch the first episode and see if this show is a keeper on the DVD sched!

Pan Am looks like it has so.much.potential!  I haven't watched the premier episode yet, but I have a good feeling about this new show!
What are your Fall must-watch shows?

PS Don't judge me on my TV choices - I have the genre selection of a 15-year-old

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grateful Sundays

This week, I am grateful for marriage.

Last night, we watched as our dear friend Fashionista's parents were surrounded by some of their closest friends and family celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with." - Mark Twain

Hearing the speeches, and watching the outpouring of love for this couple made me so grateful for the institution and cultural interpretation (too many sociology classes) of marriage.

"We don't love qualities, we love persons; sometimes by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities." - Jacques Maritain 

I am so grateful that I have a partner (especially one as amazing as Handsome Husband!) to go through life with - someone to hold my hand when things are scary, to talk it through with when things are confusing, and to pop bottles when things are good!

"Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh everyday, ah, now that's a real treat." - Joanne Woodward

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boob Tube Babble: Exclusive Interviews Make Me Giddy

So it's been a little while since I've talked teev with y'all, but I'm back!

Boob Tube Babble

I mentioned months ago that I was seriously invested in the Casey Anthony trial while it was being televised (and if we are being honest here, for the three years my bestie Nancy G talked about it leading up to the trial).

As we all know, Casey Anthony ended up being found not guilty (note: she was not found innocent), and much of the nation was outraged, and felt justice was not served for the sweet little girl who lost her life one way or another three years ago, little Caylee Anthony.

While the trial wrapped up weeks ago, the lives of those involved, most notably Casey's parents and Caylee's grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, are still understandably unravelled. 

Since the day the trial wrapped, I have been psychotically anxiously awaiting the first interview (so likely to be *exclusive!*) from either George, Cindy, Casey or any combination of the three. 

Last week my dreams came true, when Dr. Phil premiered his Fall season with not one, not two, but three episodes full of exclusive interview footage with George and Cindy.

While I appreciate their candidness in a time that must continue to be grappling as parents and grandparents, I'm gunna be honest here,

I was underwhelmed.

Perhaps it was because I was so immersed in the trail and the events surrounding it that not much of the information they revealed was new to me, perhaps it was because I have never found the couple as suspicious as many and wasn't trying to catch them in some kind of slip-up, or maybe it was just kind of an interview with some pivotal points surrounded by a large layer of fluff.

From a psychological standpoint (not that I am a professional by any stretch of the imagination), it seems that Cindy Anthony has some deep-rooted denial that was, at times, disturbing to watch.  Other than those moments though (and the very sad stretch where they spoke of George's depression), I just kept finding myself uninterested.  (Being real: I fell asleep during part of the 3rd installment).

Did you watch this interview special - what did you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spotlight on Stress Case!

Last week, I was lucky enough to win a spotlight and sponsorship spot over at The World As I See It!

Go check out all the very sweet things she has to say about little ole me and Stress Case right over HERE!

Thank you for the sweet lil spotlight, Margaret!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fabulous Fall Challenge: Halloween Memories

I am so excited to jump right into Neely and Amber's Fabulous Fall Challenge!  Hopefully I can keep up and participate more than just today, because I love Fall!

Fabulous Fall Blog Challenge

Today's topic is one I just cannot not chime in on:

Halloween Memories!

I love Halloween (it's my second favorite holiday, only after Christmas) and love dressing up in costume!  Here some of my past looks for Halloween:


Me: Slooted up version of a 50's waitress
(I just so happened to work in a diner at the basically I was myself for Halloween...just a lot more skanky)
Fashionista: Race Car Driver

Walking the streets (we sure look like we should be doing that afterall) in Santa Barbara - THE place to be if you're a college student around Halloween time


First Halloween with HH
Me: Nurse
(Oddly enough, this is just months before I decided to change my carrer path and become a nurse!)

Keepin' it classy.


I am no Harry Potter fan, but thought it was too hard to pass up HH being that little ginger from the movie (Ron?)

Sadly, I cannot seem to find photos of 2007 and 2010.  Last year was actually pretty fun - we were Fred and Wilma Flinstone!  While I don't have a photo of my costume, or Handsome Husband in his, I do have this little gem:

Sister Swimmer showin' of HH's homemade costume!

What's your take on Halloween?
As a girl, do you take is as an opportunity to get slazzy without judgment? (I do.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What WE Wore Wednesday V.2

I thought it was totally fun doing What WE Wore Wednesday last week, so I decided to do it again this week!  But this time I'm hitting you with 4 lovely ladies (okay 3, plus little 'ole me) and their fashions from Cute Apartment's big birthday celebration!

pleated poppy

(L-R: Cute Apartment, Fashionista, Kindergarten Teacher, and Me)
Unfortunately I don't have a great picture of all of the wonderful girls who were out that night, nor do I have one that shows off all our cute shoes together!  Take my word for it - we were a good looking birthday-celebrating crew!

Birthday Girl Cute Apartment's Outfit
Birthday Crown: decorated by the crafty birthday girl herself!
Dress: Forever 21
and check these shoeszies out:
(Also, the little weiner dog is a cutie too.)

Fashionista's Outfit
Jeans: J Brand

Kindergarten Teacher's Outfit
Sweater: Nordstrom
Top: Target

My Outfit
Skirt: Pink Ice

Here's another look at me and Fashionista's outfits:

Glow stick glasses courtesy of Party City.

remember when I said there would be lots of signature "lovin' life" picture taking during the birthday festivities?

Oh, there was.

Quotable Tuesdays

Monday, September 19, 2011

Project Hope in Haiti, Part II

To read more about this little series of posts, and about Gardening Mom and Sister Swimmer's journey to Haiti, go HERE.

Monday, July 18
Today was very slow. Walked around the Espwa compound and saw the class rooms and building they are constructing and the orphanage area. 

There are two female med students here at the quad and one of them went on a walk later in the day with SS and A to the girls area where the girls were very excited about SS and A's hair. 

A with some of the girls from the orphanage.

Our work project will be helping to unpack and inventory a couple of large containers of supplies and we also might be doing some painting this week. When I was picturing the containers I was picturing a large crate but they are actually about the size of a mobile home. 

At the quad there are about 10 bedrooms, a common bathroom, a dining room and kitchen and a chapel.

K and Gardening Mom in the quad.

It is not as hot as I thought it would be except in the middle of the day. There is no hot water but you don't miss it because you would not want a hot shower anyway. The living area for the orphans is about as basic as it could be. Many of the kids are not actually orphans but are here for school and bc their families do not have enough to care for them. During the school year there are over 600 kids but during summer about 175. The kids who are here now have no adults in their lives other than those at Espwa. 

I was feeling very uncomfortable and shy at first but starting to get a bit more comfortable now. I feel like this email is very disjointed and jumps around a lot and that is kind of how the conversations are here too. 

Tuesday, July 19
Today we had our first work day. A crew of about 11 Haitian men/boys and the four of us OC girls led by Z, whose regular job is a commercial real estate broker in Indianapolis. Is it any wonder the reconstruction effort is challenged? It takes considerable time to sort through supplies and organize the work crew before we head out. Many of the crew are former residents of the orphanage, Espwa. 

Once we have supplies loaded we head out to prime the home of S, a pretty Haitian woman who I am guessing is about Casey's age at most, who lost a leg in a car accident fleeing Port au Prince after the earthquake. It takes two car trips to get all the crew there. S's home is technically not part of Espwa but there are many homes and families that are tied into or otherwise dependent on Espwa. S has two children, boy and a girl, both look to be under five years old. I am pondering how it must have been for her to be in the hospital losing her leg, who cared for her children then. I am reading a couple of books on Haiti in the evenings, one about the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the other more generally about the challenges of medical care here. I recognize that what I am reading is coloring my impressions and that my impressions are influencing my reading.

There are close to a dozen children at S's when we arrive, all very curious about the blan which is the word for white people but I think applies to any non-Haitian. Besides S, there are three or four other adults, one is an older man the others women, one of whom is sitting mostly naked as we arrive, another woman is assisting her in a bath. There are two or three other shelters besides S's house, hard to call them much more than shelters. It is two rooms, you enter into one and pass though to another. The two rooms combined are probably the size of my walk in closet at home. One of the books I am reading says that there is not sufficient sleeping space in many homes for all of the occupants to sleep so they sleep in shifts. 

S greets us each saying Bon Jour and a kiss, the traditional Haitian greeting. We were greeted the same way by the cook and the woman who assists in housekeeping this morning. Only the women though kiss other women, none of the men have attempted to greet us this way. The children all wear hand me downs many of which are obviously American, one of the girls has a t-shirt with a funny saying on it that I wish I could remember now because I noticed the irony of it when I saw it. Some of the little boys are wearing only shirts with bare bottoms and some are completely naked. One is playing with a plastic bottle that has been cut up and fashioned into a toy truck with a string on it. He gets into a little tug of war with another boy about it at one point.  

The home was built with steel supports covered by cement or stucco. We will prime and paint the house this week. We start to paint and it it quickly obvious that we have far too big of a work crew for the job at hand and also too few rollers. The crew is very concerned about spreading drop clothes which puzzles me since the floor is concrete and will also be painted or left bare, so what difference will a few drips of primer on the floor make. 

A and Sister Singer prime the house.

A and K priming the inside of the home.

We finish the entire home well before lunch and head back to the quad at Espwa for lunch. The plan is to do two more homes in the afternoon after lunch. K and I share with Z that he has much too big of a work crew for the job and that the four of us plus two guys to get the higher spots is all that is needed. A is concerned that by telling him that we might be taking work away from the men, who are being paid for this effort.

Lunch on Tuesday was tuna fish salad sandwiches with alt choice of pb if you didn't want tuna. 

There is a cat here and it had kittens that are in the back of the chapel - one the med student girls said there were six but I have only seen two, both grey tabbies a bit smaller than Diego when we first got him. 

A cuddles one of the house kittens.

We had eggs for breakfast Monday and pancakes this morning. Lunch Monday was grilled cheese with something like ham. Dinner is between 6 and 7- Sunday was pumpkin soup with noodles in it, Monday dinner was plantains that were cooked like chicken nuggets and some grain kind of like brown rice and quarters of chicken and this warm slaw that was supposed to be served on the plantains but I put it on the rice too and there was a sauce also to put on the rice. Hat Dad would not fare well here with the food. Tonight dinner was chicken nuggets and very good French fries. 

I think my biggest fear here is that someone in our little group will need medical attention. Helps that K is a nurse but that can only go so far. I obsess over every bug bite and am concerned whenever SS is tired.

Many people have cell phones and they are conversant with modern music, one of the men/boys asked SS today if she was Beyonce's sister, lol. They are obsessed with Justin Bieber.  How strange it is to have Bieber mania and starvation co-exist, how you can have a cell phone but no bed to call your own.

I am not writing in my journal but using these emails as my journal instead as well as a way to communicate with you all at home. Some of the Haitians really want their picture taken and some very much do not. Voodoo is still alive here and I think there is some suspicion about capturing someone's image.

Most of the men that are working here on Espwa wear jeans and tshirts but looking at their Tshirts you realize that most of them were left behind by someone visiting because of the logos and writing on the shirts. Off Espwa I have not seen many men other than the ones we are working with. Most of the women are wearing hand me downs but some look very basic and others have put their clothes together in a kind of sexy way. When we toured Espwa on Monday some of the teachers were in the classrooms and even though school was out they were dressed in suits or dresses. One woman had on a very business like suit and heels and then we saw her leave and she jumped on a scooter to go home.

Stay tuned for the Part III of their journey.
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