Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year In Review

Check out 2011's review HERE.


We rang in the New Year  at our local Dueling Piano Bar, with my dearest friend, Cute Apartment.

Cute Apartment hosted a Very Merry Taco Tuesday Club Belated Christmas Party, which sadly was one of our last outings as the group sort of splintered in the coming months.

I managed to spell my own last name wrong, and document it at that.

Handsome Husband's family spent a Day at the Races in Santa Anita, and we made some moola by betting on horsies with cute names.

My favorite girlfriends and I took off the Arizona for Girls Weekend 2012, a tradition started the year prior in Palm Springs for my Bachelorette Party.

I got together with my blogging buddies, Neely and Amber, and co-hosted the Fabulous Valentines Challenge here on this little blog.

I started my Lots of Link Love series, and have loved spending the year recapping my favorite posts around the blogosphere.


Cute Apartment, Tutor Girl and myself headed to San Diego for my first-ever (and sadly, so far the only) Blogger Meet-up!  You can read about it on their blogs HERE and HERE.

HH's fam hosted another quarterly Poker Tournament, and Handsome Hubs himself took home the trophy this time!

We celebrated our first married Valentine's Day together, which truthfully was quite uneventful, but for some very sweet surprise gifts in my car after class from HH.

Tutor Girl and I hosted a Springs Sweets Swap on our blogs!

I had a friendship end unexpectedly, that truth be told still leaves me quite confused and hurt (10 months later).

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and I surprised HH with a dinner full of friends in San Diego.


As always, March was filled with birthdays - my Hat Daddy-o's, mine and HH's to name a few.

We officially started our Hunt to Homeownership on March 3rd - the day that we saw our home for the first time.

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a local pub, but not before being super social (as seen below) at a house party.

HH and I headed to Vegas for the weekend with Cousin Ronomon and Tutor Girl to celebrate our birthdays, anniversaries, and anything else we could think of at the time!

I celebrated my 1-year Blogaversary with a week of guest posts about Why We Blog.


We celebrated Easter with a brunch at Aunt Fancy Chef's House, and a dinner with Cute Apartment and her new boyfriend, Number Cruncher.

The fam, HH and myself headed to the little town of Blythe to celebrate some family anniversaries and birthdays - and spend some time with my favorite cousins.

Grandpa Backgammon celebrated a birthday in fun way with a night of wine tasting, lovingly planned by Gma Beach Bum!

The Family Golf Tournament came and went, and again I served my purpose as non-golfer, but super great photographer.

Twin Unicorn and I marched along with Grandma Beach Bum in the annual March for Babies Walk in Newport Beach.


Sister Singer performed in her last musical in high school, and we cheered her on like always.

We celebrated Mother's Day with a brunch in Newport Beach, followed by a fabulous Potluck at Grandma Beach Bum's.

I chopped off my super long hair to donate to Locks of Love.

HH and I headed to Palm Springs for the weekend with some of our closest friends to celebrate Memorial Day!

Felt like a real grown-up when I had to take a day off work to serve at Jury Duty for the first time.


Another month full of birthdays - Sisters Singer and Swimmer turned 18, and Gardening Mom celebrated one too (and y'all know I know better than to share a grown ass woman's age on this blog!).

We got together to celebrate Mr. Boot Camp's college graduation - fajitas, Patron and beer made for quite the little shindig.

Handsome Husband had a stomach ache one night that ended up being appendicitis and resulted in him having an emergency appendectomy - this was scary and I wrote about my minor parking lot breakdown HERE.

We watched Sisters Singer and Swimmer walk across the stage and throw their hats in the air as they graduated high school.

To round out their big graduation weekend, we headed to Arizona to celebrate their accomplishment and Fathers Day with Best Cousin and company.  Best Cousin wrote about it HERE.

We got together with some of our dear friends from San Diego to wish Twin Navy well on his adventure to Boot Camp (and incidentally, we will be seeing him again for the first time since next weekend!).

We jetted off to Florida for our long-awaited Disney World trip with my Sisters!

While I was in Florida, I had some fantastic bloggers share their stories about life When They Were 18.


We had a low-key 4th of July with multiple barbeques and some fireworks at our beloved local lake.

We were finally knee-deep into escrow for our first home, and we had an inspection near the end of the month.

The fair came to town, and we enjoyed a day with our friends.

I planned a fun Family Girls' Night Out at The Melting Pot, and we enjoyed martinis and fondue on a lovely Tuesday night.


The month started off extreme with our annual Arizona trip.

HH and I celebrated four years of being an us by going to an All American Rejects concert at the Fair!

My amazing Handsome Husband had orientation for Law School, and attended his first official day as a Law Student!

We headed up to Los Angeles to celebrate BF Fashionista's birthday at a fun sushi restaurant.

Cousin Ronomon had a birthday and we spent a day at the park celebrating.

Right before the month ended, we closed escrow and officially became homeowners!


We moved into our new home, and rejoiced that we had finally made it there!

Grandma Beach Bum celebrated a milestone birthday, and we had a lovely night out at the St. Regis to celebrate.

Our incredible friends helped us over one long weekend to paint the majority of our house, and we were insanely grateful.


I celebrated my one year anniversary at my big girl nursing job, and even got a little raise!

We got to head to San Diego for Alumni Weekend at HH's Alma Mater and spend some time with our old friends.

Gardening Mom and I headed to a family Halloween Party, where I rocked my Honey Boo Boo costume all night long!

Handsome Hubster was the coolest guy around when he brought my Halloween Layer Dip to work for a potluck.


We finally got to celebrate our newfound homeownership with friends and family when we hosted our Housewarming Party at the beginning of the month.

Tutor Girl did us a total solid and took some photos for our Holiday Cards this year.  See some hilarious outtakes HERE.

Best Cousin came for a visit and we had some wonderful girl talk.

Mother-in-Law Red celebrated a milestone birthday and we had a wonderful brunch at Grandma Beach Bum's in her honor.

We got to attend the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony for HH's (and Gardening Momma's) company again, and enjoyed some music, food and friends as always!

I spent a weekend in LA visiting with three of my favorite girls ever: Sister Swimmer, and Best Friends Fashionita and Swagger.

Cousin Ronomon hosted a fantastic birthday dinner for Tutor Girl in their home fit with amazing homemade Italian food.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with dinner at Gardening Momma's and dessert at Grandma Beach Bum's.

HH's family had their annual Ladies' Baking Day where we got to make tons of holiday goodies together!

The family weekend for HH's family continued, as we got together to take portraits as a group.


I hosted a little girls' night in when I had a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Viewing Party at our house.

We were very multicultural when we attended our town's Christmas Tree Lighting and Menorah Lighting all in one weekend.

HH and I got to pick out our first ever real tree together for our first Christmas in our new home!

Handsome Husband, Cousin Study Buddy and I hit the road up to Orange for a little shindig to celebrate the end of finals for our law students (first semester, that is) - all dressed to the nines in ugly Christmas sweaters of course.

Aunt Fancy Chef hosted another wonderful Ladies' Tea for us to celebrate the holidays together.

Gardening Mom has a beautiful Hanukkah Dinner, and I didn't consume nearly enough latkes to tide me over all year.

I hosted my first big holiday at our home: Christmas Eve.  With beef tenderloin, Christmas music, and a trip to see the lights around the neighborhood - the night was a wonderful success.

Handsome Husband and I had our first ever alone Christmas morning together, and it was glorious.

Christmas Day was long but lovely - presents at Gardening Mom and Hat Dad's, brunch at a local golf course with a gorg view, and an afternoon and evening of family fun at Grandma Beach Bum's.

We had a fabulous night out with some of my oldest friends at our very favorite dive bar.

And funny enough, tonight the year will end just how it started: at our local Dueling Piano bar with friends, booze and lots of laughs.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Monthly Recap: Yes, I'm Still Doing Them

November and December flew by almost entirely un-recapped!  Tune in next week when I reminisce over the whole past year.

In November...
We hosted our Housewarming Party - it was so wonderful to see our friends and family come and celebrate our accomplishment in buying this home.  Our Journey to Homeownership really felt like a war, and it felt good to celebrate our victory.
Left: Dr. Groomsman, myself and Best Friend Dodger
Right, from top to bottom: Myself and Soccer Girlfriend (Groomsman Concussion's longtime girlfriend, to be exact), Cuties Cute Apartment and her boyfriend, and my girl Future Dr. Babies and me
We got together with Cousin Ronomon and Tutor Girl and their sweet son, Lil C to take some quick photos for our Christmas Card this year - check out the hilarious outtakes HERE.
My Best Cousin came for a visit, and we disgracefully did not take a single photo together!  However, it was so nice to catch up with her, and spend some time one-on-one with one of my very favorite people.
Election Day came and went, and Handsome Husband and I rejoiced in the our living room over the results.  I don't talk politics much on the blog, but my lady parts were scared there for a minute.
Mother-in-Law Red celebrated this big 5-0 and we had a lovely brunch with the fam at Grandma Beach Bum and Grandpa Golfer's place.  You can find the recipe for the Nutella Pastries I made HERE, and the fun gift we gave the MIL Red HERE
We kicked off the holiday season with another Tree Lighting hosted at an outlet center owned by Gardening Mom and Handsome Husbands' company (yep, they work at the same company!).
Handsome Husband's wonderful boss and her kind husband took us to a LA Galaxy soccer game - a conference final game at that!  And luckily, they won!

I finally headed up to LA for a long overdue visit.  While there, I managed to squeeze in a dorm visit and dinner with Sister Swimmer, a night out with Best Friends Fashionista and Swagger, and a wonderful brunch!
Loyola Marymount University visit, night out at Laurel Hardware, and brunch at open air dining Faux Pas Bistro
Handsome Husband's family got together to celebrate another November birthday - sweet Tutor Girl's!  Chef extraordinaire and Tutor Girl husband, Cousin Ronomon, created the most wonderful Italian dinner we got to enjoy in celebration of TG's special day.
Cousin Ronomon and happily pregnant Tutor Girl posing at her birthday dinner
Thanksgiving brought a super yummy dinner prepared by Gardening Mom, followed by dessert at Grandma Beach Bum's table.  So much food, so little time.
As if I didn't gain enough weight on Thanksgiving, it was Girl's Baking Day the day after Thanksgiving, where we kept the tradition going another year by getting ourselves covered in flour and baking far more than necessary amounts of cookies.
The family weekend continued as we took family photos with HH's entire extended family.  The photos turned out beautifully, though the act of taking them wasn't exactly relaxing (strong winds, short dresses, small children and eight women in the do the math).  We were able to let off some steam at the Family Poker Tournament later that night though - I got second place again.  Or First Place Loser, as I like to call myself.

In December...
Sister Swimmer and I got to attend Jingle Ball (all because of HH's amazing ability to win tickets to just about anything and everything), a local concert hosted by one of the biggest radio stations in our area.  The highlight?  Taylor Swift's amazing show.  The low?  Our terrible seats - get it together, KISS FM!
I hosted my first Girls' Night In, when I had my favorite local ladies over to watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at our home.  Read more and see photos HERE.
Handsome Husband made it through his first semester of law school, and to celebrate he (and myself and Cousin Study Buddy) donned ugly Christmas sweaters and hit up the end of the semester/Christmas party hosted by a law school friend.  HH also celebrated the occasion by drinking a few too many beers, and following that up with a shot of hot sauce...straight out of the bottle.  He was in rare form.
Aunt Fancy Chef hosted another wonderful Ladies' Holiday Tea - read about it and see some pretty photos HERE.
Gardening Mom hosted a wonderful Hanukkah dinner full of latkes, brisket, and some pretty menorah lights.
I hosted my first Christmas Eve Dinner, a tradition I hope to continue for years to come.
HH and I had our first-ever Christmas morning alone (only took us 5 years), and it was so fun to spend the morning with my love in our quiet little home before we spent the rest of the day shuttling between houses.
And next week, we will spend our last night of 2012 singing and dancing the night away at the same place we did last year.  Isn't it funny (and comforting, in a way) how so much changes a year, but at the same time - so much stays the same?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Card Photos: The Outtakes

Big thanks to Tutor Girl for these hilarious outtakes and the other pretty photos that came out of our little Sunday afternoon photo shoot back in November.  You're the best, TG!

Handsome Husband with a little bit too much power behind his boost up for a piggyback ride.

HH doing something goofy while I'm cracking up...the usual.

Can't even focus, too much laughing.

Looks like a little preferred pose debate going on here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Honest Christmas Letter

I just about died laughing reading Anna's Christmas Letter No One Will Be Receiving, and had to write my own ultra-honest letter.

Dearest Friends and Family,

How can it already be the holiday season and new year again?!  Time sure does fly, doesn't it?  We hope this letter reaches you in good spirits, and that you and yours are enjoying the holiday season!  And hope you had a great Chrsitmas, cause you know this aint getting out before then.

What can we say about this year?  It's been one full of changes, exciting and exhausting.

We went through the worst form of torture there is possible - buying a condo via short sale.  I almost jumped off the roof of said condo to send a message to Chase Bank on how insanely assbackwards their entire system is.  But alas, I survived and we moved into our condo at the beginning of September, and as such, still have an absurd amount of things to unpack.

With our newfound privacy came back the spark to our relationship...if you know what I mean bowchickabowwow.  The privacy didn't only bring sexytime though, it also brought with it some real knock-down drag-out fights - you know the kind where if you saw it later you'd totally be disgusted with yourself.  So that was fun.  Thankfully we really love each other, and Handome Husband is good at apologizing.  And I'm really good at pointing out when and exactly how he should. 

Speaking of HH, what a year it's been for him!  From getting offered admittance to multiple law schools and scholarships aplenty to surviving the everpresent family drama to thinking he broke his arms when he finally had a chance to go to the gym for the first time last week - it's been a big one.  His muscles have been like balloons this year - getting bigger when he had all the free time in the world over summer, and deflating a bit when school started to consume his life.  Oh, and he's gotten closer with Cousin Study Buddy than he ever saw coming, due to them both going to law the same the same track...with almost all the same classes.  Keepin' it tight in our family, it's what we do. 

And speaking of keeping it tight, I've gained about 10 pounds this year, so that's neat.  My clothes still fit, but I look sort of like a sausage that's too big for the casing.  My new years resolution isn't even to lose weight necessarily but just stop eating like it's going out of style.  My diet of Coca-Cola, bubble gum, and Spaghetti-Os has not prevailed in 2012.  I'm still working for the local Children's Hospital, so my eardrums are blown from screaming children and my confidence shot from overdemanding parents.  But my heart is full from saving lives yada yada.

So that's that.  Until next year!

Handsome Husband & Stress Casey

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Quotable Tuesdays

Wishing you all the happiest of Holidays, and hoping your Christmas is filled with love, joy and laughter.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lots of Link Love

Wouldn't you know it Thursday got away from me without this post going up. There are too many great posts to not share before Christmas though, so please check out these wonderful bloggers and their fantastic posts over the past two weeks!

Lots of Link Love
Like Tara, I think it's important to emphasize the importance of community in the blog world and not only focusing on ourselves and our own blogs, but to spread lots of blog love to those who deserve it.  Every other Thursday, I will highlight the posts over the last two weeks that touched me, made me laugh, pulled at my heartstrings, and inspired me.
  • Angela shared her aw-inspiring birth story - seriously y'all need to read this one.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Ladies' Tea

Every year, my Handsome Husband's Aunt Fancy Chef hosts a Ladies' Holiday Tea and every year, it is so much fun!  I've only been able to attend three times, and each time has been at a different fabulous location!  From gorgeous hotels to fancy restaurants (and it used to be in her beautiful home, as well!) - Aunt Fancy always picks a wonderful place to have some tea, some cocktails (mimosa for me, thankyouverymuch), and some holiday fun.

This year's tea was held this past weekend, and thanks to Tutor Girl and Mother-in-Law Red, I've got some photos to share!

The entrance into the beautiful Motif Restaurant at the St Regis Monach Beach
Just a sampling of the fantastic food they had - tea sandwiches, yummy salads, and sweet desserts!

Tutor Girl and MIL Red

Grandma Beach Bum and my Gardening Mom

The whole gang
From L-R: Tutor Girl, Me, Cousin Study Buddy, Cousin Teeny Girl, MIL Red, Grandma Beach Bum, Aunt Fancy Chef, and Gardening Mom
Stop by Heartfelt Happenings today where Tutor Girl is dishing some more on the Holiday Tea, and read her post from last year HERE to see photos from Holiday Teas from the past!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Warm Wishes

Linking up with Miss Kristen and the SITS Blog today to show off our holiday cards, and cannot wait to see all of YOURS!  Comment below with a link to your post if you've showed off your gorgeous holiday cards this year - love seeing everyone's different choices!
You can see our card from last year HERE.

Friday, December 14, 2012


A few weeks ago, I hosted a little girls night in to watch the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, one of my most anticipated television events of the year!  Here's the thing: I love this show.  And while I joke about it being depressing, I really think women should support women, and other women looking good is not something to take as some kind of personal insult - it should be motivation, if anything at all.
So, some of my favorite ladies brought some goodnies to my pink, glittered, rhinestone covered condo, and got a little buzzed on a Wednesday night watching hot models walk down the runway
PINK panty party favors, and some glamourous wedding leftovers for decor

Our spread - my go-to quick appetizer: cream cheese, salsa and crackers; eggnog muffins from Ms. Art Teacher; chocolate chip meringues; homemade pumpkin muffins from Ms. Does it All; homemade Pinterest pizza rolls from Cute Apartment; fruit salad and some super yum crackers and dip from Twin Beauty School

A really oddly composed photo of some gorg flowers in a vase that was a housewarming gift from Ms. Art Teacher, a glittered champagne bottle (made my none other than yours truly), and some more pretty wedding leftovers
The champagne bottles were quite the hit - they were all over Instagram!

From L-R: Twin Unicorn, Ms. Does it All, High School Teacher, Moi, Cute Apartment, Ms. Art Teacher, and Twin Unicorn

Showing off our party favors - ow owww!
PS. This post shows off little glimpses of our new home.  I have a Holiday Tour coming up, and in the new year, expect to see lots of befores and afters and a full tour of our humble abode! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Things Thursday: Things I'd Love to See Under the Tree This Year

In all serious, all I need for Christmas is time with my loving family, and some sweet sparkly lights.  But, a girl can dream about some other pretty gifts under the tree too - and these are the gifts in mine.

1. My far-fetched dream, but a DSLR is on my list and has been for years.  I have these teensy little dreams of becoming a family photographer on the side - but my camera blows.


2. A Silhouette Machine - you've no idea how many more Pinterest projects I could complete if this was in my arsenal!


3. New scrubs.  My dryer has shrunk most of mine, and no, it is most definitely not the 15 extra pounds I've packed on that is making my clothes snug!

4. An Erin Condren planner for 2013 - I have loved mine this year, but cannot stomach the $50 price tag. 


PS I think the ultimate thoughtful gift would be the "Favorite Things" with someone putting in your favorite things, or things that remind them of you...ah, I die.

5. Some super cute trinkets for my new home - I'm super into fleur de lis, crowns, and keys right now...oh, and all things burlap and neutral.  I'm not the most exciting home decorator, I know.

6. This flat iron that I was introduced to back in May by Twin Beauty School that I have been dreaming about ever since:


7. A magazine subscription would be so fantastic - big fan of Cosmo, US Weekly, and Real Simple right here!

8. Cooking classes - there is a local place here that does "date nights" which sound like so much fun!


9. Some goodies for my iPhone and iPad are always wonderful - I'd love a mount for under my kitchen cabinets to persue Pinterest on mid-dinner cooking, a back-up battery charger for my phone, and a really nice alarm clock docking station in particular.

10. This little beaut to try and get my teenage skin to realize I'm closing in on mid-twenties here, and it could stop with the acne!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Our first date came and went, and amazing it was.  We laughed like we had been laughing for months, but this time it was different.  We were laughing and holding hands.  Giggling and stealing kisses.  It was like falling in love with your best friend...which is probably because it was.

That first weekend we spent after deciding to give things a try was deliciously joyful.  It was so fun to be "out" for lack of a better expression - to have admitted my feelings and not feel like there was the unspoken secret between us and everyone who knew us - little did I know at the time, it was no secret, it was pretty obvious there was something between us the whole time.

I will always remember our Friday night date to El Torito Grill (not El Torito - there is a difference!).  We ran into someone we went to high school with, and laughed about how random it must have been for her to see us together.  We had a wonderful dinner, and headed back to the car where we went to Redheaded Kid's mom's house, whom I re-met (I had originally met her as a dorky looking 12-year-old, my hopes are that I made a better impression as a dorky looking 20-year-old).  When we got in the car a certain super popular song by a certain woman-beating singer (coughChrisBrowncough) was playing (this was pre-beating though, so it was the jam) and we decided this would be our song (another reason to hate Chris Brown - he ruined our song!). 

It was also in this moment, whilst listening to Forever, that we realized the date - August 8th, 2008.  08.08.08!

Redhead: 08.08.08 would be pretty easy to remember, want to make this thing official?
Stress Casey: You've got a way with words.  Sure!
And that's how we became an official we.
PS. By far, one of the sweetest conversations I've ever had with HH was when we were at his mom's house later that night, grabbing his laptop to make things Facebook Official.
Stress Casey: Okay, you go first and then I'll accept.
Redhead: No, you go first, no one will believe that I'm dating you if I go first!
So adorable.
And no, the irony that I am posting this on 12.12.12 is not lost on me.

Want to catch up on the story of how my Handsome Husband became my Handsome Husband? Find out how we met, what it was like going to high school with HH, how he reappeared in my life after moving to San Diego for college, and how he went from a memory to a best friend in weeks. Read about how I found out he wasn't thinking of me as just a friend, what he did for me while in Europe, and our first kiss.  You can also read about how he was a total jackass played hard to get right when I was ready to give him a shot.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Came Early: Giveaway WINNERS!

I hope you all enjoyed the wonderful giveaways I had for you last week!  I'm very excited to announce the winners of the six fabulous prizes that were offered up last week!  Winners, check your email - you've got 48 hours to respond after I've sent them off to claim your prize!

Sponsorship Bundle Winner:
Christie from Satisfaction Through Christ

Stand Mixer Decal Winner:
Provided by Lil Punkin Creations

This one is great, the winner is none other than Sister Swimmer!!

PROOF that I'm not cheating for good ole SS:

Gorgeous Earrings Winner:
Provided by Brunch With Amber

The wonderful Tara from Fabulous But Evil
Graphic Design Etsy Shop Credit Winner:
Provided by Frog Prince Occasions

Amanda from Life Accoding to Amanda
Life According To Amanda
State Print Winner:
Provided by DaisyKate's

Jenna from Step by Step
and finally,
Scentsy Warmer and Bar Winner:
Provided by Amber

Be sure to check your email if that's your name to see if you're THE Jennifer!

Thanks again for reading this blog, and for entering these super fun giveaways!
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