Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Christmas Tradition

When I was a little girl, my dad would allow us kids (and mom) to open one present on Christmas Eve. I'm not sure where the tradition began or when exactly, but every year, that one special present would be matching Christmas jammies. Some years they were great, and others they were funny, but each year, it was very thoughtful.

As we got older, mom got more involved in buying the pajamas. When the SIL came along, and then the babies, they got REALLY thoughtful. This year, we all got organic cotton Christmas PJs that made us all look like elves! But did we care? No way, we LOVED them!

Thanks mom and dad for continuing this tradition each shows us how much you love us!

Christmas Cards

I LOVE getting Christmas cards from friends, family, and colleagues each year. I keep them in a pouch by the door and look at them frequently.

This year, I decided to do my own card. As a single gal, I don't really love the idea of sending a photo of myself. But this year I had a funny idea and thanks to my sister's graphic design talent, I sent one out that makes ME laugh.

What do you do with Christmas cards? Do you keep them, toss them out, or save them until the following year?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Annual Christmas Eve Eve Open House

I had a party last night and I took no pictures. Bad, bad blogger.

The end.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Chair That Needs No DIY

Christmas came early for me, but I haven't had a chance to blog about it. {C'mon, you know how it is...}

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up something very special from my grandparents. Growing up, my grandparents lived next door to us, and then they moved to the desert. Only for the last few years have they been in an assisted living place, which my grandma loves because she says she never ever has to cook again. But I digress.

Grandma had this amazing writing desk and chair that I would play for hours at. I'd play secretary. Yes, I had high aspirations.

Well, when they moved into their most recent assisted living place, space was at a premium, so Grandma said that I could have the old desk and chair. Well, my parents have the desk for now (space is a premium at MY house, too), but I have the chair.

This chair is special, not just because it was a gift from my grandma, but because it belonged to my GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER!!! An uncle gave my grandma and grandpa the chair as a wedding gift. Yep, this is a certified antique. And guess what?! This chair will never be touched by my DIY-lovin hands!!! It's incredibly perfect and beautiful just as it is!

Thanks Grandma, for gifting me with this oh so special gift, and for entrusting me with a little piece of our family's history!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm an adventurous girl, there's not denying it. And, I like a good dare. The more bizarre the better.

Recently, my friend Lisa sent around an email to our small group/wine club about a site she'd heard of called You send them $10 and they send you a surprise. I felt like $10 was worth my curiosity, so I ordered something right away.

Each day that I waited, my curiosity grew. I checked the website to see what kinds of things they offer. Turns out, it could really be anything. AND, if you don't think your surprise is worth the $10 you paid, you can return it for a full refund.

Here's an example of the recent "somethings" that were sent to people.

But now that I've got your hooked, you probably want to see MY "something", huh?!

Well, ladies and gents, BEHOLD, the world's greatest $10 diamondite bracelet:
What do you think? Was my $10 worth it? I found the whole process totally hilarious and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But then again, I love a good dare!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Furniture Shopping Can Be a Source of Great Laughter

I've decided to replace my dining room table and chairs. It's time. One chair is totally broken and a health hazard (for me because I won't let anyone else sit in it!), and I fear that my table may be ending her run here on this earth.

I've gone to a few furniture shops lately and I've done my research online, but goodness sakes, it seems like all the major retailers are out of touch with what the average consumer wants these days!

For instance, I'm not all that sure that many people are in the market for baby blue leather sofas right now.
And I'm not too sure that people are shopping for 80s-style headboard and end table one-piece units these days.
Or how about the super pricey table with a lazy susan built right in? Doesn't seem to scream "I am current" to me.
I was tempted to buy this $1000 tv console/bad fake fireplace, but them I heard the fake fire sounds and decided that it wasn't such a good buy anymore. (PS - how bout those chairs??? MEOW!)
Oh dear...this bed is larger than my condo.
Pardon the quality of this photo, I kept sneaking my camera in and out of my purse for a stealth shot. Can you guess where the bodies get buried in this Sopranos bed?
I almost bought this lamp, because I need a new one. But the cherub's boobs are better than mine and I'd feel jealous every time I turned her on, so I opted not to buy it.
So, what do you think? Are the furniture shops out of touch these days, or am I??? What's the craziest thing YOU'VE seen at a furniture store?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Confessions/Sometimes You Just Have to Make Do

1. I had guests over last night and I was unprepared. Then I got stuck in traffic. I had approximately 20 minutes to swing by the store, grab something edible and throw it in the oven before they arrived. I freaking made Shake N Bake pork chops and they were DELICIOUS.

2. I've finally started taking vitamins. But I'm pretty much a three year old and take them like my niece.

3. I'm a pretty easy going and nice person, but I'm dealing with anger right now that stems from hurt. I'm praying that I don't let that ruin my Christmas.

4. My Christmas cards finally arrived, but don't fit perfectly into the envelopes I bought, so I have to trim them all. I plan to drink a bottle of wine while working on them, so I'm pretty sure some of them will get wonky.

5. I go to church on Christmas Eve Eve because I prefer not to deal with the parking situation on the holiday. I'm pretty sure that still counts though.
Do you have any confessions this Christmas season? Are you "just making do" in some areas of your life???

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Do You Eat for Christmas Dinner?

I was recently talking with my mom about what she wants me to bring to Christmas Eve dinner with the whole fam. My parents are hosting the big family get together this year because my bro, SIL, and the kiddos are in town. She's sure to go hog wild for the babies! But back to the food... My cousin Carlee jacked me and is bringing the sweet potatoes this year. Instead, I'm making some sort of peppermint-y ice cream dessert. FINE by me! No baking, no problem!

This got me thinking about what we traditionally have at our family dinners. For some reason, we ALWAYS have root beer at Christmas and drink them in the dark red goblets that my grandma and grandpa had when their kids were young.

For some reason, root beer is an obsession for Swedes. (Incidentally, A&W is WAY better than Mug!) We never questioned it, we just went along with it, because that's what you do with family traditions. Come to think of it, I wonder if my grandparents even know why they started the tradition... Anywhooooo, one year, someone forgot to buy it and you'd have thought someone keeled over and died on the Christmas table. That will never be repeated.

Do you have a traditional meal or dish at Christmas-time? Turkey? Ham? Swedish Meatballs (my FAV!)? Christmas goose, perhaps?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh Tannenbaum

As previously mentioned, I've been SLAMMED lately and as a result, my sad little condo hasn't been looking much like a castle.

HOWEVER, on Monday night I bought and decorated my Christmas tree and I feel like I'm on my way!

There were a few other late folks at the Depot getting trees, too, but I'm pretty darn sure that I bought mine faster than they bought theirs'. You see, Christmas trees are something that I'm so NOT high maintenance on, that you could almost call me careless. I walked in, saw the first one, and bought it. Sure, there may be a few holes in it, but girl, I freaking blinged this sucker up!

Sadly, it's always hard to snap photos of trees with their lights on that really do them justice. But trust me, my tree is least in my humble opinion! : )

Are you a bargain shopper, a precision shopper, or a carefree shopper like me when it comes to your Christmas tree? Inquiring minds want to know!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas at Work

This year at work, we decided to cancel our annual Christmas party and instead spend the amount of money that we'd traditionally spend on frivolous things on feeding families and buying gifts for the less fortunate. It was a great idea that somehow got stuck in my lap...and it was a project that has truly monopolized my last couple of weeks, but as of Friday, it's over!

I bought gifts for about 200 kids and enough food to feed fifty families. It was a huge effort, but seeing my coworkers excitement as they took part in this hands on project was well worth it!

I know a lot of companies are doing similar projects right now. If yours has done something like this, I want to hear about it, too!
All went well, until my boss gave me a special elf hat to wear. You can see by the look on my face how excited I was to wear it. {smirk}Now that this HUGE project has been complete, I can finally focus on decorating my own home (got my tree last night - thanks @MrAshleyPerez for helping!), and go see my brother, SIL, and the niece and nephew who just flew in. Oh ya, and there will be much more blogging, too. YAY!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Santa Lucia Day

I'm lazy, so I'm reposting this from last year! Nonetheless, Happy Santa Lucia Day to all my fellow Swedes!

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!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Improve Your Personality

A friend just sent this article to me and it's a MUST read. It's ridiculous...and you know how much I love the ridiculous!

The best quote (in my oh so humble opinion) is "You can develop all sorts of discussions ranging from whether or not women are as intelligent as men, or should smoke and drink whiskey, to the male opinion of red fingernails on girls, or their use of slang or profanity." (page 8).

Want to read more, go straight to this "Studies in Crap" article in the Kansas City Pitch.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snoop Dogg in your Stocking!

My apologies to my cousin for copycatting her blog post from yesterday, but I am OBSESSED with this. Snoop Dog has done the voices for the TomTom personal GPS device.


Please watch this and join me as we howl in laughter together! And don't forget to ask Santa for some D-O-double G!

PS - you can also get the TomTom with Homer Simpson's voice. DOH!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Salsa or Guac?

Oh gosh, I'm going to really upset some of you right now, but I have a confession...I don't like guacamole. I DO like mockamole, though.

Anywhooooo, I got these adorable servers (salsa, guac) for my birthday and I've been remiss in blogging about them. I promise you, your mexican dinner table isn't complete without them. AND, they come with recipes for both from scratch. But girl, you know I like my salsa straight out the Pace Picante Sauce jar. Yes, I am THAT white trash girl. But that's okay, I accepted it long ago. : )

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Totally Radical 80s Party

A good friend turned 40 recently, and his darling wife decided to throw a fabulous 80s party in his honor. It was the first theme party that I've been to where EVERYONE dressed up and took it seriously. And, as a result, this was one of the most fun nights I've had in years!

As you can see, we're a shy bunch. {smirk}

Since my photography business has been growing, I've had the opportunity to try a bunch of fun things...and I basically used Greg's party as an excuse to try one more: THE PHOTOBOOTH.

When I showed up at Greg and Kelle's house on Saturday afternoon to set up, I think they were totally blown away. They should know better than to underestimate my desire to take things to the next level. : ) I rented the most hideous 80s backdrop at my fav photo I was walking out I heard one of the guys behind the counter tell another guy that he owed him 10 bucks because he said it would never be rented.

During the party, people would stop by for awkward prom pictures, group shots, etc. And then I played paparazzi the rest of the night...when I wasn't too busy dancing...or drinking "Gnarly Sex on the Beach".

In order to fully kick the night off, Clare and I had our photo taken in a typical 80s pose!
Here's the birthday boy and his darling wife. She told me that he thanked her that morning for his party and she said to him, "don't you mean MY party." : )
See, I told you people took it seriously! The guy with the mohawk went to three places to try and get it done and then ultimately went home to figure it out himself. VERY respectable!!!
Don't forget the 80s dance moves!
My hilarious friends Chris and Lori. I was pissed that Lori's crimps turned out better than mine. I spent THIRTY MINUTES making my fro!
Oh, I'm sorry, did somebody say track suit and a gold tooth?!
On the left is Kelle's group of friends that she's had since 7th grade. Gotta love it. Tracy, on the right, is wearing her "coed" dance dress, not prom, as she corrected me, and she has triplets. I hate her for that...but love her for bringing wine coolers.
SEVERAL of the boys pegged their pants and wore vans!
It's really a shame that I didn't have more fun...oooh look, you can see my TOTALLY AWESOME eyeshadow!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Great Thing About Flea Markets

While in the desert this weekend, we stopped by a flea market at the College of the Desert that has existed for years and years. Going to COD, as the market is called, is something my grandmother used to LOVE doing. Filled with mostly junk, used golf balls, and socks, every now and again you can find unique items. But on this trip, we had very little luck.

However, we did stop by this little gem...a "shop" called Gadgets and Neat Stuff. While it contained all sorts of random items, the name made me giggle so much, that I had to buy a nail file and clippers...just to support the owners. I mean, how could you not love a shop with a name like that!
Here in Orange County, we have a HUGE swap meet at the fairgrounds just about every Saturday and Sunday. The OC Marketplace is known for its variety of products. I once had couches custom made there and know plenty of people who get brand name hair products and clothes there.

Do you have a huge flea market or swap meet where you live? What is the best thing you've purchased there? Are you planning to get any Christmas gifts there?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Not Too Hot to Trot

This year, my dad decided that we were all going to do the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I'm NOT a runner and found this idea less than appealing, but then again, I knew that as a family, this might be a fun plan.

We left their house by 7:30am on Thursday morning and headed over to the park, randomly finding a parking spot right up front. A 5K race, we really only planned to walk. My mom broke her ankle severely a couple of years ago, so it's amazing that she can even go for walks, let alone 3 miles at a time.

I jogged the first mile and the majority of the third mile, my dad and sister speed walked, and my mom brought up the rear, but we all finished and enjoyed ourselves! And that seemed to be the theme of the day. I saw huge families in with their own team tshirts, moms with their babies in strollers, elderly folks holding hands the entire way, and toddlers participate in the mini-race. There was a big raffle at the end and lots of yummy snacks for the racers.

I may have complained about doing this silly race, but I can definitely see this becoming a new family tradition. VIVA LA TURKEY TROT!
My favorite thing about the race was the fact that some teenager literally did the whole race in a turkey costume!!!
Or did I just love the old people who held hands the whole way??? I AM a sucker for love!!!
Does your family have any fun Thanksgiving traditions???

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Wouldn't Be the Same Without You

Dear Turkey Carver from 1973,

I love that my parents only bring you out once a year when it's time to carve the turkey for our Thanksgiving Eat-a-Thon. I love that you were a wedding gift that they received and they've never bothered to replace you. I love your funky funky mustard color. I love that you live in the cupboard in your original box that has yellowed over time and is just as worn as you. I love that my mom does the entire Thanksgiving meal (except for the sweet potatoes, which are my specialty), and yet, my father stops all hors d'oeuvres eating and football watching to use you just before we eat.

Thanks for being a part of our holiday tradition...Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without you!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Heart Faces Challenge: Tooshies

I'm participating in the i Heart Faces challenge this week on...TOOSHIES! I've snapped a few shots that would work for this challenge, but this is one of my all time favorite shots from Sara and Hector's Day After shoot. There's something about the hold and the angle that I just dreamy!
Check out i Heart Faces for more great entries!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Made Up Diet Program Beginning on Black Friday

12/6/09 Update: I lost 1.5 pounds last week following this kooky plan!

Recently, I took the family photos of a friend I haven't seen in a while. She looked good...damn good (yes, cuss-worthy). When I asked her how she had trimmed up, she told me about a program through her church called Prism. I sent away for materials and had some girlfriends over to discuss it. The program goes in six-week increments, which we liked, but seemed pretty rigid, which we didn't like. So, after a couple glasses of wine, we made up our own program with rules, etc, and this was the email that resulted in that conversation. Enjoy and feel free to laugh at us!

Okay ladies, here we go, the much anticipated Kaleidoscope Diet Program. Yes, I’ve already changed the name. I like it better than the other name we came up with. XYZ, we’re basing our program on Prism, but decided that there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that a normal person could do it, so we did a little editing. No biggie, right?

The Kaleidoscope Program
    The 6 week program begins on Black Friday. Now black for more reason than one.
    FINE PRINT: XYZ’s birthday wine tasting adventure is a free day (as is her actually birthday for HER, should she choose to participate). December 23-25 are also free days. The program should have ended on January 15, but now will go until January 18 due to the Christmas Eat-a-thon.

    Try not to drink.
    FINE PRINT: If you must, you must also work out AT LEAST three times that week.

    No refined white flour products – only high fiber or 100% whole grain carbs for us!

    A daily food journal is a must.
    FINE PRINT: Yes, we will shame each other’s food choices and guilt each other into eating better.

    No sweets or desserts for 6 weeks, with the exception of the aforementioned caveats.

    Learn to incorporate beans or fish for protein.

    Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

    FINE PRINT: You can call your friend retarded if she doesn’t drink water – ahem, me.

    DAILY vitamins with a B complex are essential.
    FINE PRINT: Even if we don’t lose an ounce of fat, at the very least, we’ll get shiny hair and skin.

    When eating out, aim for salads with dressing on the side, grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, or whole wheat pasta dishes. No dinner rolls.
    FINE PRINT: Every time you eat a dinner roll, Jesus kills a kitten.

    Weekly weigh-ins with transparency…that means getting our fat asses on the scale in front of each other.
    FINE PRINT: Mocking is not encouraged. Only happy words.
    FINER PRINT: Weekly host will read scripture to us, encouraging us not to be gluttons and to rely on the Lord to fill us, instead of Breyers White Mint Chip ice cream covered in Magic Shell.

The Kaleidoscope Contract

I, Chubby McChubberstein, do solemnly swear to uphold the Kaleidoscope Program for six weeks. I will encourage my friends’ weight loss goals by sticking by them through the “angry hungry girl outbursts” and “psychotic standing in front of the fridge wondering what the hell I’m going to eat moments” and will provide them with good advice and a carrot. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I’ll try to work out a little. I’ll avoid processed foods. Maybe I’ll even cook once or twice {cough, ABC, cough}. On free days (i.e. XYZ’s birthday and Christmas), I’ll TRY to make conscious food decisions. I’ll admit that fast food really is the devil and plan my lunches ahead of time. I’ll make it to January 18, a little bit skinnier, a little bit healthier, and a little bit happier. AMEN.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm Thankful for You!

This year, as I start my morning with a turkey trot and end it with an eat-a-thon, I'll take time to immerse myself in thankfulness. My pastor says that spending time being thankful each day, improves your genuine attitude all year long and I absolutely want to emulate that!

I am blessed to have a family that is outrageously wonderful and loving. I also have an amazing "urban family" filled with irreplaceable friends. I have a job that I like which provides a roof over my head, and speaking of that roof, it may be small, but I'm thankful that I own it in a time when many people fear that they'll have nowhere to turn.

And I'm thankful for my funny little online life. What began as a digital scrapbook has become something I enjoy so much more. I've met and "met" some truly wonderful people through the interwebs. Some days I scratch my head and wonder why the heck I'm doing this, but somedays, I get comments that make me smile from ear to ear. So thank you for that. Thank you for reading and for stopping by. I've gotten so much from you, whether it be encouraging words, or great ideas from reading your blogs, too!

I hope this day, and this long weekend fills you up and prepares your heart for the upcoming holiday season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just In Time for Black Friday

I know you've all been stressing out about what to get me for Christmas, so I thought I'd offer up a couple of suggestions, just in time for Black Friday.

As a southern Californian, I didn't spend much time in Neiman Marcus growing up. Sure, we had them here, but they were few and far between. Moving to TX for college though, made it seem as common as a Macy's...just a heck of a lot more expensive. Everyone in TX was familiar with the CRAZY and INSANE Christmas book, but each year I saw it, I was blown away by how flipping ridiculous it was. Now, I check it for laughs, and today, I'm sharing some of my favorite gift ideas from the 2009 Christmas Book with you!

First of all, even though I don't play the guitar, I have been feeling like I need a custom made one for $12,000. Sure, it might make sense to get one at, oh I don't know, a MUSIC store, but I'd prefer the label. So, if you want to get me one of these, it would be super.
I've also been thinking that I need a crystal purse in the shape of a camel. It would go perfectly with my blinged out African Christmas outfit. And it's a bargain at $6,000.But, what I REALLY need is this personal aircraft. Seriously, life won't be complete until I have one of these. Naturally, it's on sale for $250,000, so it should be a snap for you, right?!Now, if you really want to surprise me and get me something I don't really NEED, but really really want, please check out this CUPCAKE CAR. Isn't it the cutest? You REALLY should get one of these for me! $25,000 isn't too much for a bloggy friend's gift, right?Thanks for indulging my trip down REDONKULOUS Lane. I hope you find something lovely to buy me...and maybe a little somethin' somethin' for you, too!