Posts tagged ‘shopping’

July 1, 2013

Ten Things to be Happy About 7/1

I need a healthy dose of gratitude today. It’s been one of those days where every nerve in my body seems to be agitated. From large life issues to the post office changing their lunch hour, everything I do today seems to challenge me.

So I think it’s time to sit back and find a little thanks. Life is beautiful and often far too short to be taken for granted.

 

1. Tomorrow is my last day of work this week! I’m very excited about this. Short weeks are the best!

2. Wednesday, Husband and I head to Alaska to celebrate a birthday, a wedding and the 4th of July! Below is a photo of beautiful Prince of Wales Island.

alaska1

3. I got pretty new rain boots for our trip! I just hope they fit! Cute, right? You need rain boots on the boat. It’s wet and miserable if all you have a tennis shoes.

rain boots

4. My freezer will soon be filled with fresh, wild salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab! The best part about having a family fishing lodge in Alaska is you pretty much have access to really good quality fish whenever you want it, all year round.

5. We have so many tomatoes on our plants! And we harvested two cucumbers and two jalapenos this weekend…oh, and one strawberry last week that went right into my mouth! These were the first tomatoes that popped up on our Early Girl. The plant is full of them now!

tomatoes

6. I get to see my mommy this week! I haven’t seen her in almost a month.

7. I have the most amazing husband ever! Just saying… )

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8. I am alive. I’m going to stop at number eight today. Because what more matters? I have this day. I may not have tomorrow, but I have today and I’m going to stop writing now, and go out and enjoy the heck out of it!

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December 27, 2012

The most wonderful time of the year

Christmas is over. Gone. Past. Done. Most years I could regale you with how much I enjoyed the season. Baking cookies with my mom. Driving around and looking at houses adorned with millions of tiny colored lights. Making a trek to Nevada City for Victorian Christmas. Picking out the perfect tree and then decorating it whilst sipping cocoa and idly tuning in to a Christmas movie in the background. I could tell you about how my DVR is 92% full with every Christmas movie and special that aired. I’d tell you about shopping trips and adventures in wrapping. And picking a handful of names from the Angel Tree.

Katie "helped" with the little wrapping I did do

Katie “helped” with the little wrapping I did do

But this year I got nothin.

I guess that’s not entirely true. Mom and I did our baking. Granted, it was a seriously condensed version of what we usually bake. Only ten different types of cookies plus fudge. You’re probably laughing because yes, that is a lot of cookies, but we usually do about twice that. I did, however, try several new recipes. I’ll share my favorite with you later. I may have to make another batch because I think they all got eaten before I had the chance to take photos.

We also did get a tree and decorate it and I did make hot cocoa. But we got our tree from Home Depot because it was the week before Christmas and they were the only ones with trees left that didn’t belong at Charlie Brown’s Christmas pageant and we just didn’t have a day free to go pick out and cut down one like we wanted to.

I also did some shopping. Two days before Christmas. And that was all. We bought gifts for nieces and nephews and our parents and the rest got homemade salted caramel hot chocolate…which, by the way, was fabulous in itself. I’ll share that with you soon as well. I actually DID get photos of those. For now, here’s Jim making salted caramel sauce.

caramel sauce1

And one of me in the cutesy Christmas apron my grandmother gave me. Jim pretty much made the sauce by himself. I just wanted to pose with my apron.

caramel sauce2

We didn’t even hang out stockings this year. We got new ones. Pretty Pottery Barn ones (granted, mine showed up all messed up from the embroidery machine, but it still works. They did give me a refund in case you were wondering), but we also got a new mantle, which was still too tacky after being painted to put anything heavy on. So it held our cards (and Jim’s birthday cards) and stockings lived on the floor.

You'll have to excuse the phone photos. They're all I've got at the moment.

You’ll have to excuse the phone photos. They’re all I’ve got at the moment.

I bet you’re wondering why Christmas was no big thing this year. I mean it was our first Christmas in our first house and it should have been special right? Well, I think that’s part of the reason. We still haven’t really finished unpacking and the house has pretty much taken all of our energy and attention (minus what Katie requires). Christmas more or less sneaked up on us. We have just been too busy. Not to mention I’ve had a nasty bug of some sort for the entire month of December, so I haven’t felt like doing anything. Not even putting our house together. On Saturday, we had our first of four days off and the plan was to work on getting the rest of the stuff in the garage put away, clean the inside, get it all nice looking again. We sat on the couch and watch the first two Lord of the Rings movies instead. And you know what? It felt darn good.

Now that the holidays are essentially over and my cough is finally chilling out, life can start to find its way to normal. I’m excited for the new year, to get settled into our new home, our new life with our new pooch. I have a feeling 2013 is going to be amazing.

How was your Christmas? Do you have big plans for the new year?

October 17, 2012

One year down, the rest of our lives to go

I know, I know. I promised you a full report when we got back from our anniversary weekend, but things got a little crazy in the meantime. Jim gave us about half an hour to eat lunch when we got home from Monterey before we were off with our realtor looking at more houses. She had six lined up for us and boy were we striking out.

The first one was…weird. That’s the best we could describe it. Not bad. Just weird. Like you walk in from the street to what is essentially the back yard, with a pool and a patio and a bbq area. We then walked around the other side of the house, looking for the front door, but all we found was a small patch or tan bark surrounding the walkway…we’re talking a few feet from the fence to the house. The door was there, but it was…yea, weird. We went inside and into the first bedroom to the right. It had double closets, which was nice….but in the back of the second one was a door…to the next room, the den, basically. Weird, right? The kitchen was nice, good size. The living space was…big…and there was a little..sunroom? except there was no door, so it was more like a nook of windows…it was…yea, you guessed it. Weird. The master was small. Master bath was small. Overall, it wasn’t bad. We didn’t cross it off the list…not till later. But I’m getting there.

Next we saw two foreclosures on the other side of town, the side I don’t want to be on. I gave it a chance. It struck out. What can I say? These houses were AWFUL. Completely trashed, needed so much work AND priced way too high for us to even consider.

There were two houses in Rocklin. One the owners accepted a cash offer pretty much as we were on our way there and the other one, it ended up they weren’t ready to show it yet.

The last house we saw was in central Roseville, pretty much on the very edge between “I won’t live there” and “I’ll consider it for the right house.” We drove up and I wasn’t impressed yet. It is painted a pretty icky brown. But paint isn’t permanent and it really isn’t a huge deal to me. I just don’t care that much. What I did love at first sight was the red door. I have always told Jim I want a red door…in the past we even joked about him buying me a red door for our future house. So this red door was promising.

Once inside we found ourselves facing a lovely open floor plan, three bedrooms, a beautifully updated kitchen (in the exact color scheme I would have chosen myself) a really cool little den with french doors and a cute little backyard, a tiny bit smaller than we were hoping for, but it’ll do.

We put an offer in that night. They accepted the next morning. We had the contract by that afternoon and I was in the loan guy’s office the next morning signing paperwork. That being said, we’re in escrow! We just had the home inspection last night and there are no major problems. The house isn’t falling down or rotting from the inside out, so we’re moving forward. Appraisal should be next week and that’s pretty much our last major hump. As long as it appraises at or above what we offered, we’re moving forward!

So that’s why I haven’t posted about our anniversary yet. I haven’t had time to sit down and edit photos, mostly. And my brain has been on overdrive. Anyway, better late than never right?

The actual date of our anniversary was Monday October 8th, so we decided to take a long weekend, starting in Santa Cruz for a night with Jim’s grandparents.

Highlights of night one:

Hours of enjoyable conversation with the grandparents

Delicious dessert crepes at The Crepe Place (which won out over ice cream at Marianne’s because Jim hates the crowd and The Crepe Place has an amazing outside garden patio area)

Rescuing a cat from under the house

Grandma’s scalloped potatoes

In the morning, we started south for Monterey and stopped at one of Jim’s favorite beaches, Seacliff State Beach.

Toward the end of World War I, when the country was facing steel shortages, this ship, as well as two others like it were built of cement, but weren’t finished until the war ended. This ship, the Palo Alto, was towed here and settled into the bottom and became an amusement attraction with a dance floor, heated pool, cafe and other such concessions. The company that owned it went broke after two seasons and it was stripped and left to the seagulls. (source)

Its kind of sad, really.  It just sits there, half sunk and stinking like seals and seagull poop. We didn’t stay long. Just long enough to take some photos before climbing back up the 150 steps (yes, I counted) to the parking lot.

Once back on the road, it took us close to an hour to get to Monterey. We settled into our room and walked down to the wharf.

You like my gettin all crazy with my saturation? I think it looks cool.

Ok, real time now. This was our view at dinner. Not too shabby, eh?

It just occurred to me that I didn’t take any actual photos of the wharf. Oh, well. I did get this shot of Jim with our appetizer course before dinner (we had an hour before our dinner reservation and we were STARVED).

I know San Francisco is supposed to be The Man when it comes to clam chowder, but I’m not sure they’ve got Monterey beat. The next day we had another bread bowl from a different restaurant and we couldn’t tell which was better they were both so dang delicious…and different.

And I did get this photo of me trying on a cool mask in a store.

That night we picked up a bottle of wine from a little boutique wine shop after chatting wine with the owner for like half an hour. He was cool, knew his local stuff. We also stopped at the chocolate shop along the way and grabbed some dessert to go with our wine.

Don’t these look delish? Mine were the one with the jelly bean on top. It had peanut butter inside and the s’mores one with the graham crumbs on top. Jim’s were peach and coconut…also in the photo above you can see my dark caramel marshmallow and Jim’s key lime which were eaten before the photo below was taken.

The wine was so-so. A little dry for my taste, but it was drinkable.

The next day we went to the aquarium, Jim’s favorite part of Monterey. We were a little early, so we went to look at the bay and finish our coffee.

Jim doesn’t let me take many pictures of him…or us together for that matter. He gets so annoyed. So I’m going to post all four of them.

The first place we went was the penguins because they were being fed right as the aquarium was opening. This is my favorite shot. It’s blurred because he’s diving, but I love the spray of bubbles behind him and how just smooth he seems to be slicing through the water.

From there we went to check out a few other feedings, including the puffins. The one in the bottom left of the photo below was heading toward the door where the guy eventually came out with food. He sure knew where his meals came from!

My favorites are the jellies, I think. They’re so pretty and so bright and colorful. I don’t know, though. Seahorses are pretty dern cool too. They look so peaceful and serene…and also a bit mystical, like they might not exist outside of a fantasy or something.

The rest of the day we spent just sort of roaming around by the aquarium and resting. We got a couples massage, which I think is pretty overrated. There’s not much special about simply being massaged in the same room. Although I’m not sure what else I expected. Then we had a relatively early dinner, followed by another trip to the chocolate shop.

Dinner was interesting. We bought a living social deal for the hotel, which included a room, a spa credit and a restaurant credit. Well the restaurant was Spanish inspired, so they served tapas, which I’ve had only once before and Jim’s never had. It was interesting. And delicious and we would definitely do it again!

Grilled peaches with goat cheese and spinach and a tomato tart. I didn’t get a photo before we devoured our first course: hardboiled egg with shrimp and something spicy, watermelon with feta and fig and goat cheese toasts. Oh man, I want some just writing about it!

Free “Happy Anniversary” chocolate cake with raspberry gelato!

After dinner was the most special, though. No! Not like that.

On the last evening of our honeymoon in Santorini, we shared a delicious bottle of wine and watched the sunset over the Aegean Sea.

For Jim’s birthday last year, my mom bought (Read:imported) him a bottle and we decided to save it for our one year anniversary.

The next morning we left Monterey around 9:30, got home just after noon, ate lunch and met Kia to look at houses! And you know the rest.

September 13, 2012

30 things to do before my 30th birthday

Last month I turned 29. I am not like most people when it comes to birthdays. I freaking love mine! I love that there’s a day that’s just mine and I don’t have to drive or pay or do dishes. I can’t change the fact that it comes around once a year, so why fight it?

Lil Man helping me finish my birthday ice cream…

But this was the last of my twenty-something birthdays. So far I don’t feel like that carries any kind of stigma, at least not for me. I know people tend to go bat-shit crazy when they turn 30, 40, 50…you know, the milestones after 21. But for now, I don’t feel like the world is going to end or that I’ll be instantly rocketed into senility. That being said, I do realize it’s a milestone and it’s caused me to reflect on my prior 28 years and nineteen days and I’ve made a list: 30 things to do before I turn 30. It’s more fun stuff than crazy “Oh my god, I haven’t DONE THIS!” type of stuff, and while I’d love to finish it, it won’t completely screw up my life if I don’t. It’s for fun, for motivation, a little bit of enrichment and some of them are just so I can say I did.

Without further adieu, the list!

30 things to do before I turn 30

(This list can also be found in a tab at the top of the page!)

1. Try 30 new recipes

2. Buy a house

3. Write a(nother) novel

4. Go to a storage auction (like Storage Wars only I’ve wanted to do this since I was 7 and my friend’s parents brought home a whole crap ton of treasures from one!)

5. Read 30 books

6. Sell one of my photographs

7. Paint pottery

8. Create my own signature cocktail

9. Throw a party (in our new house!)

10. Learn to be happy with my body

11. Revamp my wardrobe (get rid of crap I don’t wear, update my style a tick)

12. Figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life

13. Learn to be happy in Roseville

14. Get rid of everything I don’t need

15. Find my perfect lipstick (inspired by my good friend, Jenny, who feels lipstick is a necessity in life)

16. Find the perfect little black dress

17. Pay off all debts (excluding house from item 2 and car)

18. Try one of the crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest

19. Take a photo that really makes me go “wow”

20. Go hiking in Yosemite

21. Purchase a nice (non-Ikea) piece of furniture

22. Read a whole book in one day

23. Learn the live completely in the moment

24. Take a class with Jim (maybe a cooking class, maybe a photography class or a tennis class, to be determined)

25. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet

26. Compile a cookbook of my most-cooked recipes

27. Cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love

28. Get a dog

29. Take a yoga class

30. Have an amazing 30th birthday

So there ya have it. They’re not all amazingly exciting or anything. Some are downright boring and serious, but these are the things I hope to accomplish in the next year. I’ll keep you up to date as I tick them off.

April 27, 2012

Spinach in my smoothie??? + More Adventures, day 1

My favorite mornings come one Friday of every month, when I open my door to head out to work and I’m greeted with the happiest box in the hallway!

It’s my Farm Fresh To You delivery! Fresh, local, organic produce delivered right to my door! This box included so many delicious goodies! Strawberries, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, apples, oranges, a lemon, fresh peppermint (some of which is floating in my water as we speak!), celery, spring onions, and some new potatoes.

I’m so excited to get some recipes together to use this stuff in!

But I promised to talk to you about spinach smoothies, so here we go!

I’ve always been a little curious about this concept of putting stuff like spinach into a smoothie. How in the world would that taste good mixed with all the other good smoothie stuff? I turned my nose up at the thought of it.

But then I read this post by Anna at The Guiltless Life, and she claims you can’t even taste the spinach! So I decided to give it a whirl (no pun intended. lol. I crack myself up.) in the name of eating more veggies. Here’s my recipe.

 

Spinach Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

I handful of spinach, washed and stems removed

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp…or more…peanut butter. I like creamy

approx 1 cup chocolate soy milk (you can add more or less for thickness)

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1 pinch cocoa powder (for more chocolate flavor!…as if I needed it, right??)

1 pinch glutamine powder (optional. It’s a healthy amino acid…for energy)

1 tsp or so flaxseed meal

A couple chunks of ice

Load it all in the blender, whir it around for a while until all the spinach leaves are pulverized, pour in a glass (or a Christmasy Starbucks cold cup!) and enjoy!

Now that I have breakfast taken care of, I can move on to bigger and better things (although it doesn’t get much better, that smoothie was freaking delish!)

After reading my post from yesterday, Jim send me a text that says “Getting a new couch is a mini adventure.” I couldn’t argue with him. I believe change of any kind is an adventure, so I consented. After work I picked up the cash we’ve been holding onto from our wedding and drove down to meet Jim at Ikea. I know, I know. Ikea gets a bad rap, but my current couch has lasted me almost 10 years, so I’m not going to complain for $399. Just saying.

I’ll post pictures of our finished living room when it’s, er, finished. We have a small space and getting it all to fit in there is proving to be a challenge, although not impossible. We just have to be a little creative, and as of yet, our dining room is still full of most of the stuff that used to be in the living room, so I’ll spare you the photos until its ready.

I will leave you with this, however:

Yes, it’s a crappy cell phone photo, but that’s all I could get from the driving position! That’s Jim’s new truck filled with our new furniture! Exciting, right?

I’m still waiting for ideas for mini adventures people! Help a girl out!

Oh, and have an amazing Friday!

November 15, 2011

Christmas comes earlier and earlier

Is it just me or is Christmas coming earlier and earlier every year? I mean sure the date is always December 25, but the holiday season seems to start earlier every year.

Like this year. For the past several years, one radio station in the Sacramento area has played all Christmas music all the time, starting the day after Thanksgiving. This year, they’ve already started. And the earliest I heard Christmas songs on their station was this past Saturday.

Now I don’t think I actually have a problem with this. I LOOOOOOVE Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year and I am all for making it last as long as possible. But every year, come December 26, I am so sick of hearing Christmas song I have no problem letting them fade away for the next ten and a half months.

One good thing about Christmas creeping up on us is that it gets me thinking about gifts earlier. I am an awful shopper. I always wait till the last-minute, not because I procrastinate but because I can never think of something to get people!

This year, in an effort to combat that, I’ve started a spreadsheet of all the ideas for gifts I have for each person in my life.

I’m hoping this will work. Because let’s be honest, not every person in your life is equal. There are people who it is perfectly acceptable, like extended family, to give a plate of delicious cookies to and there are people, like say your husband, who you want to spend a little more time or money or both on. Not that cookies don’t cost a dang lot of time…at least the way my mom and I do them!…but there’s a little less thought put into that than there is something else.

And isn’t that what it boils down to? The thought. Everyone always says it’s the thought that counts. So it stands to reason that you’d put more thought into gifts for those closest to you. And the fact that you give a gift to some one not so close to you shows you’re thinking about them at all.

This year we have an easy gift though: framed wedding photos. That’s going to be my fall back gift when I can’t think of anything else. And of course, parents get them just by default.

How do you handle all of your gift giving at the holidays?

November 10, 2011

Black….er…Thanksgiving?

Before me, my husband spent most of his free time playing video games. And on occasion, he’ll still find a few spare moments in a day to jump on and blow some stuff up.

The newest version of his favorite game just came out, and Wal Mart happens to have it for $28 on Black Friday….er…..at 10 p.m. THE DAY BEFORE!!

Photo courtesy of Gadgetbox on msnbc.com

What is up with that? How is it that Black Friday has managed to creep up and start taking over Thanksgiving? I mean, sure, it’s 10 p.m., the day is almost over, but what next? 10 A.M.????

Not that I’m not excited about the prospect of getting started a little early. My mom and I always go out on Black Friday. We always get up around 6 a.m. and start at World Market where they usually give you a free candy bar with a game piece and a chance to win a million dollars!!!…or something like that. There are usually about seven people standing outside waiting. It’s not crowded. It’s not insane. In short, it’s good practice for what’s to come.

Because we do tackle the mall. And Target and Starbucks (eep!). But we always go into it with the following philosophy: we can control ourselves; we can’t control other people.

That being said, we let the other person get the close parking spot (in fact, we try to find the furthest one away, to be honest. Come on, remember dinner the day before?!). We don’t push; we don’t get mad when other people push. Basically we put on our kindness suits and let people do what they want around us. Who can get frustrated and angry when you’re INTENTIONALLY putting other people first instead of them taking it?

It’s all about your mindset. And honestly, when lunchtime rolls around, I’m ready for a break. I don’t do well on minimal sleep. And I start to get cranky. There’s only so much kindness a person can pump out while on sleep deprivation. So we take a break, get lunch, maybe even take a nap and if we need to, we go out again later.

So maybe it’s not a bad thing to start late on Thanksgiving. I mean we’ve spent the whole day, hopefully, relaxing. Maybe it’s the best time to do a little sport-shopping?

Do you go out on Black Friday, or do you avoid it like the plague?