Thursday, December 27, 2007

Belated Christmas Post

Christmas was really wonderful this year because my 10-month old niece was home with us. It's so hard having her grow up in Colorado and I crave these times to see her and watch my brother as a daddy! It was also a BLAST watching my parents as grandparents. They itch to spoil her and cuddle her and rain kisses down on her.

Because Danny and Shannon were here the week leading up to Christmas, I kinda worked a modified week in order to spend time with them. They left on Christmas day, Shannon and Grey up to Santa Cruz, and Danny back home to work the following day. During the week, we hung out, had a girls dinner, had an open house at my mom and dad's, a family dinner at my house, then the big Johnson family hoopla at mom and dad's on Christmas Eve. All 10 of my grandparent's great grandchildren were there and Santa even made an appearance. : ) On Christmas morning, we all slept in a little, then tore into a million gifts. It was sad seeing them leave. We also visited my mom's mom that evening. It makes me terribly sad to see her all alone (she's a recluse) and I don't understand why a person chooses to live that way...

2007 Christmas pic
My and my pretty sissy
Okay, how freaking cute is she?
Grey-bug eating sweet potatoes. It was a crack up to watch!
Our big Christmas gifts were plane tix to Hawaii this summer. Grey got a new Hawaiian outfit and some stylin sunglasses!
How Miss Kitty celebrated Christmas...snuggled in my bed, snoozin away! This made me laugh!
I should also mention that Barbie and I went to Christmas Eve Eve service at Mariner's. The music was incredible and the message really inspiring. Because Christmas Eve is usually nutso at my house, Christmas Eve Eve service has kinda become my tradition. Back in the day, churches used to celebrate Advent and I really feel like a lot of our teachings about Jesus' birth have diminished a little. Having said that, being at church on the 23rd really recharged my batteries. I hope that you all felt the presence of God as you celebrated His birth, too!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Santa Lucia Day!

A couple years ago (gosh, I can't believe it's been that long), my clever coworkers Wendy and Krissy-pooh made me a card for Santa Lucia Day...I used it for an invitation and called it "Sammy Lucia Day" as that was the name of my cat back then. I found it again today in order to shoot it off to a couple of family members in honor of the Swedish holiday!

Santa Lucia Day is the beginning of the Swedish Christmas season when the oldest girl in the household dresses up in a white gown with a red sash about her waist and wears a wreath of candles. Naturally, I never wore real candles as I've always been, my mother made me wear battery-operated candles - safety (and hair) first!

Any way, here's the fabulous pick. I still love it as much as I did then. Sooooo creepy, yet sooooo cool!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Company Holiday Party

On Saturday night, my company had its annual holiday party. It was AWESOME! We rented out a yacht in Newport and had a big shindig. Of course the moment I got there people started asking me if I'd brought a date, so I naturally gave a few people the finger. Anywhooo, the moment we walked onto the boat, we were handed a glass of champagne and were escorted up the stairs to where the dinner was held. There was a full open bar, a DJ, and downstairs there were casino tables. Some people got tanked and even planned it because they hired drivers for the night - no joke! I was alone, so I tapered off pretty early in the evening. So, after dinner, which was scrumptious, the gambling began. I'm not much of a gambler, but after a quick trip to the restroom, a bunch of the dealers taught me to play blackjack. Pretty soon, the table had filled up and it got rowdy - name calling and all. : ) Each chip earned got you a raffle ticket and by the end of the night, I had won Laker tickets! I'm excited to go because I've actually never been to a basketball game. Finally, the dancing began and I'm telling you, there are some dancing machines in my company! It was a blast!!! When we arrived back at the dock, all employees were given freaking iPods!!! Not a bad way to celebrate! Too bad it was freezing and rainy that night, but even though it was, I didn't feel like I'd missed out on anything.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Not so Martha Stewart

I was proud of the fact that I had my tree up and most of my gifts wrapped until I looked at it in a photo. Martha would NOT be proud. I need more color and more lights... BUT, I went to the Depot on a whim on Wednesday night and grabbed a tree that was still tied up, and am pretty impressed that I got a good one! : )

I'm also trying out a new living room layout. I've got my couch and chair flipped and angled. I think I like it like this.

Also, for those of you who have NOT taken advantage of the Bombay Company Going Out of Business Sale, you've GOT to check it out. I got some killer fancy schmancy ornaments for dirt cheap that were originally more than $20 each! Nevertheless, after seeing these photos, I've decided I absolutely need to add more colorful ornaments. Good thing my storage closet isn't too far away! : )

Monday, December 03, 2007

Vegas, baby!

Went to Vegas this weekend with some campaign friends and had a GREAT time...except for the fact that the crazy weather out here on Friday cancelled most of our flights, though some arrived after 1am... After rebooking and heading back out on Saturday morning, I met up with Julie and Lisa at the airport and we drove over to STJ's house. We all got ready, went outlet shopping, then came back and made a big dinner. Clarke and Jason came over for dinner and Jason brought some DELISH cupcakes for dessert! They were so pretty I had to take a photo of them!
After dinner, we all got gussied up and headed to the strip to the Venetian. STJ's hubby is their lobbyist, so we got in to Tao through the VIP list. The club was really fun, but really packed. There are dancing girls and naked girls in bathtubs was really odd! Before we headed home, we did what any normal group would do and had InNOut. : ) On Sunday morning, we got up and had brunch and lounged around and hung out before heading to the airport. I love this gang!

SAS, me, and Clarke being silly before hitting the club!

Tom & Ani, Jason & Clarke, SAS, me, Jules, Lisa, and STJ at Tao - What a blast!!!


Over Thanksgiving weekend, my mom made plans for the family (minus Danny and Shan) to go and see Wicked. It was AMAZING! The four of us went to dinner at The Ivy, then went and saw the show. I thought the story was really good and the music was awesome. Here are some photos of us Johnson's being goofy as usual!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I am a match-making genius!

On Saturday afternoon, my friends Chris Schnaider and Lori Flinn became man and wife and it's all because I invited them to my birthday party two years ago! : ) Actually, I can't take credit for this, because it was really Lori being "in the zone" and bolding asking who the single guys were -- I should be taking lessons from her!

They're a great couple - both have big hearts, vivacious personalities, and big bold laughs. I am certain that their future holds a lot of love and a tremendous amount of fun...and football!

Lori getting escorted down the aisle by her brother. She made her own veil and jewelry -- what a stud!

Exchanging of the rings.

The reception was at an awesome Italian-like villa in Sierra Madre. Here's Jennifer and I having a photo shoot by the pretty fountain... I have about 30 of her and Sean trying to get "just right", too. : )

Me, Jennifer, and Clare -- the Three Amigas!

Weddings are such a wonderful and joyful event and I will never grow tired to seeing friends pledge their lives and endless love to their chosen one. It's an awesome reminder of the love our Father has for us! If only I could stand at the alter with anticipation and excitement to pledge my endless love to the Lord like that on a daily short I fall...but what an awesome goal, nonetheless!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Does Anyone Have a Recipe for These???

So my favorite holiday cookie is yummy and chocolate with a powder sugar coating on it (shown below). Does anyone have a delicious recipe for them??? I'd love to try making them ASAP!!!

And what is your favorite holiday cookie? Making them with friends is always a treat!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Birthday Pics - Updated

Monday, November 5, was my birthday which means that I'm officially "in my 30s"... no more JUST 30. ; ) But, as with all birthdays for the last 15 years, I celebrated with my family in the traditional way -- with a kickass dinner at HIBACHI in Anaheim Hills! Yummmmmm! My cousin Carlee is two years younger than me and has a birthday two days before mine, so we frequently get the whole group together and this year was no different.

I have to give Carlee a little shout out here. She's really one of the coolest chicks I know. Having been raised across the street, she's more like a sister to me than a cousin. I'm SO BLESSED to have her in my life and just adore her to pieces. She's laid back, really creative, an AWESOME mom, a supportive and loving wife, a hard worker, and a great friend! Happy First Annual 29th Birthday, Carlee -- I love you!

I also have to thank my mom and dad for my cool gifts! I got a new suit, some patio furniture (yeah!), and a new watch (the exact one I lost a couple of months ago and really wanted!). My parents are so generous and wonderful and aside from loving them for who they are, I also really like them! : ) I'm a lucky gal!

Me and Carlee (and Bryson who is hiding)
Darrol, Stephy, and me
Carlee and Bryson - how cute is this?!
The whole gang!
Pete and Sara-Britt Guinta, Julie and Craig Johnson, Carlee, Bryson, and Bryan Barnes, me and my fam, and Mandie and Jake Johnson - what a motley crew!!!

Then on Saturday, the 10th, my girlfriends threw me a little party. It was AWESOME and 100% JJ-style. We went to this great wine shop/tasting room in Costa Mesa called Wine Styles. They organize all their wines by flavor or "style". On Saturday, Jennifer and Clare arranged a private tasting party for me and my friends with all whites since they know how much I love them. We had about 7 wines to taste ranging from champagne to chardonnay with Pino Biancos and others in between. It was so much fun there. The owners let the girls bring in veggies, cheeses, and treats, too. Afterward, a few of us went next door to a yummy Italian restuarant, then Jennifer and I had a slumber party at Clare's house. I am AMAZINGLY FORTUNATE to have great friends who know me so well, support me unconditionally, and let me know that they love me. Over the last few days, I've really learned what friendship is all about and I am so thankful for the gals who came out and celebrated my second annual 30th birthday!

Me and Rebekah (love this girl!)

The two Jennifers! She organized the party and bought me some yummy wine that I liked!
Crazy Clare and Me (and a little of Jennifer's nose!). Clare made these FANTASTIC cupcakes and bought me a beautiful top and a wine bible! I think I'll read through it and mark all the vineyards around the world that I must travel to!
The group, consisting of Jennifer, Rebekah, Cherie, Clare, Emily, Mamacita, Susan, and Suzanne

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Glory Days

I was in Sacramento and Napa for a work conference on Thursday and Friday, so I decided to stay over with friends on Friday night. I met up with a group for dinner and then a couple of girls and I hit a cool place for breakfast on Saturday. Then on Saturday night, Sarah flew in and stayed with me before an interview. We drank a bottle of wine and talked into the wee hours of the morning, then miraculously woke up bright and early and then had breakfast at the Beachcomer down in Crystal Cove...LOVE that place. While we were eating, we both said we worried that the CFS days were our "glory days" and confessed that we were afraid that we'd never have it that good again. I love my job, but the people are so different and I guess I even am now. I live in suburbia and rarely get to see my friends because they're not my neighbors and coworkers. I am really happy with the place that I'm in, but it's a totally different way of life and I guess I just have to readjust my mindset...anyway, here are some cute pics.
Julie, Erin, and JJ at dinner in Sac

Macedo, Ani and Tom

Sarah and I at the Beachcomer

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stinkin Adorable!

Elderly couple gets $1,600 hotel room for $10
Patrons of 50 years ago offered stay for the price of their original visit

CHICAGO - It was 1947 when newlyweds Larry and Mariam Orenstein honeymooned in Chicago, paying just under $10 a night for a room at The Palmer House. Six decades later, the couple stayed in the hotel's penthouse suite for the same price — part of an offer for long-ago patrons.

The Palmer House allows one-time guests who visited more than 50 years ago to stay at the historic hotel for the price of their original stay — provided guests can submit an original receipt. The Orenstein's room goes for $1,600 today.

The Milwaukee-area residents, both 81, saved their hotel bill, along with other items from their wedding.

"I feel wonderful," Larry Orenstein told the Chicago Sun-Times at the ornate, downtown hotel. "I feel 2 years old."

The long-running deal at the 136-year-old hotel has been offered to guests since 1925. But customers have taken advantage of the offer fewer than 10 times over the last 25 years, said hotel spokesman Ken Price.

In the end, the Orensteins did not even have to pay the $10-a-night bill. As a gift, their 12-year-old grandson, Ze Orenstein, footed the bill.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween at Work

So, we have a mandatory dress up policy here at work. I thought it was a hazing thing for the new employees, but no, it's a real deal. At lunch time, we're having a big catered shabang and a costume contest, then at 3pm all the kids come for trick-or-treating and festivities.

My department was having a hard time deciding what to go as, so Boss Lady and Assistant went to a costume shop in downtown LA at 9am one day last week. There was obviously no way I could make it to the costume store, so they said they'd pick something good out for me... I NO LONGER TRUST THEM. See below:

Me as Glinda the Good Witch
(yes, the costume is too big and yes, I AM wearing a hoop skirt)

Me, Assistant, and Boss Lady

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

My friend Emily has great style, even when she says she doesn't! : ) When I was at her house last week, I got some ideas for my bedroom. I love my quilt, but I've been wanting to class up my room a little. I've decided that over the next year or so, I'm going to replace my bedroom furniture with some nicer pieces, but in the meantime, I realized that I could use some nicer curtains and accent pillows to add class. What do you think?

new silk dupiani curtains and throw pillows
I used to have a quilty slip cover on that chair and have decided to make one out of silk dupiani, too!

CO and TX!

These photos are a little late in coming, as I've been pretty darn busy since I've been back, but I wanted to share nonetheless!

I had a great time with Dan, Shannon, and Grey-bug. And TA-DA, she has her first tooth, and maybe even more by now as there were a couple that appeared to be close. With the one, she kinda looks like a jack-o-lantern, but she's just scrumptious!!! Shannon and I took her to have her first Halloween photos taken. She's going to be a Skunk and she did so well in the little hat for the photos...I think I would have cried if I'd had to wear that scratchy hat, but not her! We also went to my Aunt Candy's new house in Highlands Ranch, which is just up the way. My aunt made an AMAZING home cooked meal which included rolls from scratch. She's a really talented cook and it was fun seeing her new digs!

Grey in her new Halloween kitty hat I brought her.

Me, Aunt Candy, Grey, and Shannon

On daddy's lap -- don't worry, we were in a parking lot and the vehicle was not moving. I'm sure Officer Johnson would want me to put that disclaimer in there!

After my trip to CO, I flew down to Austin to stay with Robin, Jon, Mackenzie (my goddaughter) and Travis Ayers. It was so fun seeing their new home and visiting with them for a couple of days! They've only been down there since April, but have already found out all the short cuts and good shopping. : ) They live in a darling neighborhood, which I loved. On Saturday night, we had a bit of a girls night (Mack came too) and we met up with one of my best gals from college, Jamie Kay, and Lindsay, a great friend of mine from grad school. It was so fun catching up and hearing about all the news!

Me and Lindsay (she's a stay at home mom now to Zach and also has a really cute online business. Check out the link in my "friends" section!)

Mack and Travis doing arts and crafts!
Me and Mack. She looks just like her mommy!
Robin and me (sorry I look so scary!)

On Monday, Jamie Kay and I drove through the rain to Fort Worth. I had a great time catching up with her on the road. We got to Emily, Jason, and Connor's house and spent some fun time hanging out, then went to Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant (a college favorite) -- mmmmmmm!

Jamie Kay brought Connor an airplane - her hubby Michele is a pilot!

Emily and I went to dinner with Ashley Dixon, a dear friend from college and sorority sister

Here's me and Connor goofing around. He's a complete doll!!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sara-Britt's Wedding Weekend

So my sweet cousin got married this weekend to a great cat, Pete. Sara-Britt Johnson is now Sara-Britt Guinta and tomorrow she and her husband will be off to their honeymoon in Guatamala (sp?). She was probably one of the most excited brides I've EVER seen. : ) It's always fun with the family gets together for big parties like weddings, etc, and last night was no different than usual...I just wish that I had taken today off like everyone else...I'm TIRED!!! : )

Emily, Sara-Britt, me, and Missie celebrating SB's marriage in advance. : )

On Saturday, everyone went winetasting in Temecula. Here are a few of Sara-Britt's bridesmaids and friends, and me and Missie. Sara-Britt is the gal in the purple. Ponte Vineyard is really yummy. I joined the wine club!

This was classic. At the last vineyard of the day, we saw this wasted lady who was passed out at a picnic table... As you can see, we weren't the only ones photographing her. Ha! I can only imagine that she had a burned booty the next morning.

Missie, Emily, and I. Emily is like an extension of the family and Missie flew out for the week. Didn't she JUST go back to school??? : )

Unfortunately, I don't have very many good photos from the wedding. It was really dark and during the ceremony, we got stuck in the far back...nice way to treat family, huh?! I'm working on getting some more from my dad and Carlee's husband Bryan...stay tuned.