Friday, December 28, 2012

Simple Pleasures

It is seriously difficult to think about anything other than making it through the day when you're not feeling well. Today, is one of those days. I thought I had kicked the cold around Christmas, but it came back with a vengeance. So today, I'm thankful for all of the things that have made it possible for me to make it through the work day.

Photo found here
I love NyQuil, but if I don't get enough sleep, I might as well be a warm-blooded zombie. So, thank goodness for vitamin B-12 and also for DayQuil. It's the only way I'd be clear-headed throughout the day and also the only way to avoid napping under my desk.

Photo found here
I don't know what I would do without El Patio's chicken soup. It has gotten me through more colds and flus than I can remember. It's my go-to soup when I feel all icky and nothing really beats it. It's a comfort food that better be around for a looooooong time.

Photo found here
Not too long ago, I refused to even consider drinking tea. I'd take a taste every once in a great while, but overall, I wasn't impressed with the beverage. To this day, I still won't drink regular iced tea (I think it's disgusting), but I've come to appreciate the hot variety, especially when I'm feeling under the weather. Lately I've been sticking with Celestial Seasonings Chamomile Herbal Tea or Peet's Hibiscus C Blend.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Perfectly Wonderful Christmas

I truly could not have asked for a better Christmas. It started with Christmas Eve at my aunt and uncle's house where we indulged in a turkey and ham dinner and enjoyed our British Christmas Crackers. I had no idea what they were and thought they were simply table decorations, but once my cousin opened hers, I knew we were in for a treat. Each one contained a semi-practical gift, with some opening up shoe horns, mini screwdrivers, golf tees, nail clippers, or a small jewel to hang from your cell phone. My nana and I got the jewels. My iPhone doesn't have a place for one and she doesn't have a cell phone, but I have a feeling she might try to wear hers as a pendant necklace. Funny thing was, that was my first thought for it too! Inside were also tissue paper crowns, which everyone donned, and corny little jokes that gave us all a chuckle. Even though it was a long night, it was a nice evening. To top it all off, we were in for a treat with the night sky where we saw a giant ring around the moon. I attempted to take a photo of it, but sadly it didn't turn out. C'est la vie!

Christmas morning was spent at my parents' house. We all woke up around 8AM, had our coffee, and then moved into the living room to begin opening presents. I already knew my parents got my sister a new 42" flat screen TV for her place and since that was her "big" present, I knew the budget for my presents went up significantly...hence the list I compiled. Much to my surprise though, I also got a TV! It isn't nearly as large as hers, but I think it'll be a nice addition to my bedroom for those mornings when I'm not quite ready to get out of bed, or I'm folding laundry, or I'm not quite ready to go to bed, but I'm ready to be IN bed. Anyway, on top of the small TV, I also got the camera I wanted! I was really surprised because I honestly thought the TV was my "big" gift too. I had told my parents I didn't care if they spent more on my sister than they did on me, but I guess they didn't listen! That's good news for me because I am so pleased with the camera! I still have a few more things to learn about it, but I'm super excited about using it. So far, the pictures are ah-mazing. I mean, check out how FLAWLESS my seester looks...she's that flawless in REAL life. 

I swear I didn't photoshop her, she's just that pretty.
My nana came over later on that afternoon and visited for a bit. My sister and I went in on a gift card for her to Ulta, while she gave us our usual card with a little bit of money tucked inside. She wrote some really nice things in my card and it really warmed my heart. Of course I insisted on a picture with her with my amazing new picture-taker! 

Pocket Nana and I in our faux scarf was a present from my seester!

After she left, my parents, sister, and I went to visit my great-grandma who is in a care facility. She's 94 and usually doesn't quite remember who we are, but we had a very pleasant visit with her nonetheless. She was even hamming it up for the camera...winks and all! It was also really nice that I was able to have a few personal moments with her and when she told me she loved me, I nearly cried. I don't visit her as often as I probably should, and while some days are better than others with her, this one was one of the best. It was great how excited she was about her new snap-front sweatshirt that she's wearing in the picture!

She told me my hair was so long and started to run her fingers through my hair.
Once we were back home, my mom popped the enchiladas into the oven, I started the rice, set the table, and then we all sat down for Christmas dinner. It was like I hadn't eaten in days. I may have actually inhaled my food. It was delicious though! With our bellies full, I recognized that the evening was starting to wind down. Christmas was coming to an end. I always look forward to Christmas, and this year was no exception, but I'm always a little melancholy when I know it's almost over. Not to mention I was certainly not looking forward to going to work today. I'm looking forward to taking down my Christmas tree even less! Everything in time...well, in time for it to be hauled away by someone else so I don't have to deal with again like last year! 

I hope your Christmas was magical! 


Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas List

This year I was somehow able to come up with a Christmas list for my parents (after many, many requests from my mom). While I'm fairly certain they didn't get me anything on the list, I made one nonetheless, which is amazing in and of itself! My parents always get my sister and I one "big" present, so I made a list of things I thought I might want. So, what did ask for this year? Well, since I've been wearing the Michael Kors watch I received last year nearly every single day, I decided not to ask for another watch, but I did make a list so they could choose what they wanted to get me. Here are a few things that made the lineup....

iPad Mini
Photo found here
Not that I NEED one, but I've wanted an iPad for some time now and I thoroughly blame the techie geek within me. Since the regular iPad is a little pricy, I thought the Mini would be a good alternative. Not to mention that I wouldn't dream of getting a non-Apple tablet. I think it would be hard for me to buy one for myself, but maybe some day I'll break down and get one if my parents don't!

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Photo found here
I've been wanting a "fancy" camera for quite some time, but since I'm not a professional photographer it's hard to justify spending an arm and a leg for the equipment. With so many different lenses and the body of the camera being so expensive in itself, I figured a nice alternative would be the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. One of my best friends received it last year as a present and she said it was amazing. So, it made my Christmas list.

Dritz Twin Fit Dressform

Photo found here
Now I'm about as much of a seamstress as I am a photographer...probably less so. That doesn't mean that I don't have a ton of creative ideas floating around in my head. I think this dressform would be the perfect addition to my wannabe craft room (it's a work in progress) and might even inspire me to really put the sewing machine to good use. I've been wanting to use the sewing machine for a while, but I just haven't made the time. This year, I'm definitely going to whip out some sewing projects. So, stay tuned for some craftiness!

A Guitar
Photo found here
Once upon a time, I almost ended up with a hot pink Mary Kay electric guitar. My rational side kicked in though and I chose the brown leather purse instead. Since then, I've had it in my head that I'm a rockstar and I should have an electric guitar. Suddenly, I'm starting a band, I'm an expert guitarist, and my band is headlining a tour. I don't need a reality check...I know I'm not a rockstar, but in my dreams I am! Whether it's an electric or acoustic, I don't really care, I'd just like to learn how to play.

Well, we'll see what ends up happening, but regardless of what I get, I'll be happy. Christmas isn't about the presents anyway. 

Merry Christmas Eve!


Merry Christmas Eve

I know that not much time has passed since the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary and I still can't help but think about the families who will be missing their family members this holiday season and every day from now on. I think about the parents who will miss the joy and light in their children's eyes as they experience the wonder of Christmas and the presents which will remain unopened beneath the tree. I know I was still a little emotional over some of the things I was dealing with this past month, but this terrible incident really struck a chord with me despite the fact that I don't have any children of my own. I just hope and pray that the friends and families affected by this will find some peace during this time.

I am grateful, as always, that I will be able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with my family. I am so thankful that we are all well and able to come together to share in the jubilance the season brings. I'm continuing to look on the bright side of things and looking forward to the new year, which I hope will also bring a fresh new start. Here's to hoping that you all have a very merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

O Tannenbaum

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is going out to get a tree. I've only been out on my own for about 2 1/2 years now, so I've had a total of three Christmas trees. My first tree went where my dining room table is now. I was very particular about what kind of table I wanted when I moved in that it took me more than six months to find the one I wanted. This made it very convenient for tree placement because it was in an area that was unobtrusive, yet I could still enjoy it from the couch.

Tree #2 was a little more difficult because now that I had a table, I couldn't stick it in that corner anymore. No matter which way I turned the table, it just wouldn't fit. I almost put it in the opening of the den since I didn't go in there often, but it didn't feel right. After moving the tree around to every possible opening, I decided to move my television out from the corner it was occupying and moved it directly in front of one part of the sectional couch. Turns out it was the best spot to put a tree! After that Christmas, I didn't even more the television back, which made it easy to accommodate the tree for this year.

I usually stick to a tree that's under 6', but this year, I went a little larger and I'm so happy I did. It definitely fills the space, but it isn't too big.

This year's tree also smells SO good. As soon as I push open my door each day, I'm hit with the smell of Christmas. This is the first year that I've had such a fragrant tree and it makes me so happy when I walk in. It lifts my mood and even makes me feel like I am getting into the holiday spirit. Now if only I could have a tree in my condo all year round!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Looking Up

Things haven't exactly been going super well for me lately. I won't be enlightening you with the nitty gritty at the moment, but let's just say that I've seen better days. Despite the gloom I've been experiencing, I've been trying really hard to stay upbeat. REALLY hard. It's not always easy to stay positive when you'd rather be lounging on the couch, watching television all day instead of going to work and putting on a happy face for the masses.

Yesterday was 12/12/12 and it seemed like everyone was in a frenzy over it. So, my boss bought some scratchers and we got some SuperLotto tickets, too. My boss was a little more lucky than I was and won $500. When I checked my lotto ticket this morning I saw that I won $11 on a quick pick! Not quite the $19 million jackpot I was hoping for, but I'll take it!

Another high note for me this week was going to Christmas in the Park with a friend of mine. Christmas in the Park has been a tradition in downtown San Jose for over 30 years and I happen to know the current President of the committee, so I had to make sure I went to see how it all turned out.

This was only my second time going and it was fun to just walk around, see the animated displays that were set up, and get my mind off of things for awhile. Along with trying to keep a smile on my face, I'm also trying to get back into the Christmas spirit, and this was just what I needed.

I mean, I was even willing to stick my face in the fat snowman cut out! I figured that was a better option than the Christmas tree. Besides, who wouldn't want a carrot for a nose?


Friday, December 7, 2012

Simple Pleasures

When things aren't going well in life, it's often harder to reflect on the positive things. In an attempt to still be grateful for the good things in my life while I'm struggling with sadness, here are some simple pleasures. 

A Finished Christmas List
Photo found here
Anyone who has ever asked me what I want for Christmas knows that I often have a difficult time thinking of an answer. Ask me to make a list and you may as well be asking me to fly to the moon. Usually my list gets about as far as the photo above...blank. This year, after a week or two of my mom asking me what I wanted, I finally put together a list. Shocked? So was she.

Christmas With the Carpenters

Photo found here

One of my best friends turned me onto The Carpenters while we were in school. Now, I can't make it through the Christmas season without listening to Christmas Portrait. Every song makes me smile and I sing along like I've known these songs my whole life. There's just something about it that takes me back and makes me feel like I'm really getting into the holiday spirit.

Christmas in the Office

We don't decorate much here for any holiday, but this year I have two small poinsettias and a a small penguin bowl to hold the peppermints. I've been waiting all year to pull out the penguin again because I was so excited about getting it last year at Ulta. Now I can finally use it!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Private Relations

Baby talk. 

And I don't mean talking about having a baby. I mean talking like a baby. Baby talk is acceptable when talking to an actual baby because they are so darn cute it's nearly impossible not to. It is also acceptable when talking to an animal. It is. Trust me. When it comes to talking to an adult, well, there are rare (I repeat, RARE) occasions where this may be deemed acceptable. Like when in reference to "running home to mommy" or something of the sort. It may also be okay when saying, "pwetty pwease?" Sometimes that can be endearing or at least get you to crack a smile. However, consistently speaking to your significant other in a baby voice is not cute. It may be in the early stages of a relationship, but eventually it will get old. Do you really want to feel like that person's mommy or daddy? Probably not. You want them to be your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife, not your child. Too much baby talk can be a turn off. So ease up on the baby talk and talk like an adult. It will do everyone a world of good.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Artsy Fartsy

It's been a while since I've worked on any kind of art project. Maybe I was waiting for inspiration, or maybe I was just being lazy. Whatever the case, I found a reason to dive back in with a birthday card for Jenn's 25th birthday. I already had an idea brewing in my mind, so I set out to execute it by sifting through the piles of paper swatches I had torn out from magazines. I tend to gravitate toward unfinished edges, so scissors don't usually make an appearance during the tearing out process, or the collage process for that matter. When I need a clean line, X-ACTO knives are my friends.

The front of the card was easy. The bottom layer only consisted of three pieces, but I knew I was going to layer the bright red collaged "25" on top of it so I opted to keep it a little more simple. The final result exceeded my vision.

The inside of the card had an image of several jellyfish with layers of black and white images behind it. I was so pleased with it. I was even more pleased when I decided to scan the image to make a cleaner product for the card and the jellyfish almost seemed to glow brighter than the original.

Collage is easily one of my favorite mediums and even though I don't always rely solely on magazine clippings, sometimes they just transform the whole piece. I'm already planning my next collage which seems to be falling into pink-hued images. I seem to have a tendency to create collages that have a color theme. Maybe it was the series I did during college, but I like bringing different hues of the same color family together to create a beautiful or interesting image. Well, what I think are beautiful or interesting images! We all have different ideas of what art is or should be and I'm no different. If you like my art, great! If you don't, just don't be mean about it. Thanks in advance. There's something about sitting down and working on a project that makes me feel calm and more balanced. Now if only I could create art all day every day! What a life that would be!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekend Recaptured.

This past weekend was fantastic. I got to see one of my best friends turn 25 and it was quite a night.

It started with a plane flight to San Diego. 

The flight was quick and easy and I was in Jenn's car in no time. We had a relatively quiet evening complete with dinner at Outback with her boyfriend and his roommate, followed by a drink at Jenn's favorite bar.

The next night, however, was the birthday celebration and it was a lot more eventful. We ran a few errands in the early afternoon, had a pre-dinner dinner at her parents' house, and then had dinner at Dick's Last Resort

Let's just say it was a little rowdy there. It seemed like we all just ordered appetizers and I got to try the Gator Bites. Yes, you read that right. Gator. As in, alligator. It wasn't bad at all! Less chewy than calamari and a pretty good flavor. The chipotle ranch dipping sauce certainly didn't hurt either. Our server seemed like a seasoned employee and threw around her attitude with ease. She did show us some kindness before we left and gave everyone a beer mug or a hurricane glass. Somehow, with the help of Jenn's brother, it made it through the night in one piece and I managed to keep it in tact on my trip home.

Dick's was the meeting up point for everyone and a lot of our friends from LA came down to celebrate as well. I couldn't believe how many of them came! It was so nice seeing good friends and catching up with everyone and I know it made Jenn's night that so many of them were there. 

The drinks were flowing freely and we eventually moved to the next stop on our trip which was Taste and Thirst. We stayed there for a bit and then continued across the street to Hennessey's where we had live music for a while and where she officially turned 25. We finally piled into cars (with sober drivers) or cabs and made our way over to Gilly's. We closed the bar down, but not before a few people hopped up to sing some karaoke. Once the doors closed behind us, we decided we weren't quite ready to leave, so we walked over to Denny's for one last meal. It was here that I really was able to catch up with my good friend Marshall, which was nice because he only came out when we got to Gilly's.

The whole night went smoothly until one teenage kid (who was likely on drugs and/or drunk) tried to pick a fight at Denny's. Thankfully nothing actually happened, but it was certainly an interesting note to end on. It was 430AM when we finally made it back to her boyfriends apartment. I honestly didn't think we'd be out that late, but it's true what they say - time flies when you're having fun. And in this case, we were having one of those nights that was reminiscent of our college days. Overall, one of the best times I've had in quite some time.

A few hours later after Jenn, her boyfriend, and I made it back to the apartment, we were awake once more. Somehow we all woke up around 730AM. Not much sleeping for us, but it sure seemed like enough at the time. My 550PM flight was already delayed by nearly two hours, so I kept an eye on it and it just seemed to get later and later. When the departure time reached 9PM, I called Southwest to see if I could change my flight to the one at 440PM. Without even hesitating, the operator, Sandy, jumped into action and changed my flight at no charge. NO CHARGE! Take that JetBlue! I was so relieved that it was so easy to do. She almost seemed apologetic when she mentioned I'd have to get a new boarding pass. I told her that was the least of my problems! I didn't care if I was the last person on the plane because I was happy I wasn't going to get back into town after 11PM. So cheers to Sandy for making that process so painless! Even though I wasn't really ready to go, I knew I had to. Work was awaiting my arrival today and there was so much to do. I managed to get a full night of sleep, but I was still tired for the better part of the morning. It was worth it though. So very worth it. And I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.