25 January 2010

600th Post & a GIVEAWAY: Kirtsy Takes a Bow

I was so excited to see that this book was in existence. And then, I was even more excited to GET the book. And then, as I was about to purchase it on Amazon, I thought, hmmm. You know, I should get two. And give one away!

So, here it is!

So I used Pete's Mac to take a picture of it. I was too lazy to find my camera and upload the images and whatnot. So they're not top dogs. Sorry about that.

Kirtsy is one of my favorite resources. I visit it daily (usually multiple times daily) and am never disappointed with the oodles of material I find. So many of my daily blog reads were originally "found" on Kirtsy. I know I've referenced Kirtsy on my own blog many times.

The book is "a celebration of women's favorites online". And that title cannot be more true. There are chapters about design & crafts, family & parenting, politics, world & business, fashion & style, food & home, arts & entertainment, internet & technology, travel & leisure, and body, mind & spirit, all written by fabulous women who have created fabulous blogs. There are so many great words and thoughts that are present in this book. It's definitely one of the most inspirational books that I own.

So. Leave a comment with your name and email address (or blog address), and tell me what inspires you the most! The giveaway will be open until Friday, January 29th, 10 PM CST. So get yer comments in!

Oh, and happy 600th post to me! I can't belive I've written 600 posts. I'm so happy I've been able to become virtual friends with you all!

Paxil, Round II


That's how I feel right now.

I've been super moody and cranky and depressed. I've been continually going off of the Paxil - 20 mg one night, 10 the next, so on and so forth.

It was going well during Christmas break. I was super tired, but I had plenty of time to sleep. I worked every day, but it was in the afternoon, so...it worked out well.

But now, with school. Ugh. Like I said before. It's just too much. I'm in class from 2 - 5 hours a day, and then I was working every day for at least three hours...I talked to my boss and am now just working three days a week, as opposed to five. So I'm hoping that will make things a little bit better.

But so far school + going off of Paxil = hell. I mean, the thing that sucks is that it could be so much worse but I'm kind of good at feeling sorry for myself. It's easy to, when the chemical imbalances in my brain are going super crazy and I hardly have time to just sit and breathe.

So I'm thinking about going back up to my normal dosage. I want to, in a way - but on the other hand I have no desire to do that. But I just have been getting these horrible, anxious feelings in the pit of my stomach that I am super used to having, but haven't had in a really long time. And it's just too hard to deal with that feeling and go to class and work and do homework and attempt to carry on a social life. The worst part is that I've been getting nervous before social situations. I haven't had that feeling since freshman year of high school. We had people over on Saturday and for like, an hour before people came over, I was just nervous nervous nervous. Which was annoying because the people that came over are some of my closest friends.

So. I'm toying with the decision to go back on fully. It's not like I'm pregnant and have a time that I NEED to be off of the meds or anything. I just wanted to get off of them, but I think I'll put it off for awhile longer. Just so that I can get through this school year without feeling like shit the entire time.

Also, I never said thank you to all the people who wrote thoughtful comments or send supportive emails to me, after I first posted about Paxil here. Your support means the world to me!

Oh, and consider this a reward for you if you've read all the way to the bottom of this post - I'm going to be having the first giveaway on the blog tomorrow! So keep your eyes peeled. It's a pretty sweet prize. I would want to win it :)

Honeymoon Spot #5: Hearst Castle

Location: Near San Simeon, California

This is another place that I have visited, with my family, when I was there last time.

William Randolph Hearst was basically the biggest magazine/newspaper publisher in the '30s and '40s. Meaning, he had tons of money and spent it on a huge castle.

Hearst Castle is now officially a California State Park. The house is huge - there's over 115 rooms in the main house, and there's three "satellite" guest houses that each have over 15. Insanity.

There's a pool that's beautiful and has ancient Roman statues decorating it.

There's indoor tennis courts and swimming pools that have lapis lazuli tiles on the bottom. So you can't really see into the water and it's kind of spooky but also really pretty.

There are like four dining rooms (really, feasting halls) in the main house. This one is cool. I like the flags.

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4

Honeymoon Spot #4: Britex Fabrics

Location: San Francisco

I've heard wondrous things about Britex Fabrics from multiple bloggers - but mostly Jordan.

Here in St. Louis, we don't really have any GREAT fabric stores. Yes, there are some places. But those places don't have the fabric or trimmings or notions that I want. The stuff is pretty boring. Not all the time...but it's very...mainstream. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm trying really hard to be politically correct but you know what? St. Louis has nothing that I want, in terms of fabric.

So. Just seeing the pictures of Britex Fabrics makes me giddy.

There are four floors. And apparently they are all glorious.

This? Yeah, above. Those are all drawers of BUTTONS. Look at all the colors! And all the little boxes!

And zippers! Look at the zippers! How pretty and colorful! It's like a rainbow!

I am saving my pennies now so that I can go crazy in this store. I hope there's a comic book store nearby so Pete can hang out there. Because I can already tell you he won't want to be in Britex with me.

photos 1, 2, 3, 4

Honeymoon Spot #3: In-N-Out Burger

Location: All over California and parts of Utah and Arizona

If you haven't had an In-N-Out burger...well, I won't even try to describe it. It's amazing.

I was lucky enough to eat a couple last time I was in California, which was six years agoish. AMAZING. There's only five things on the menu - double burger, cheeseburger, hamburger, fries, and shakes & beverages. Oh, WAIT. There's also the SECRET menu. Which isn't even printed in restaurants, you just have to know.

The french fries are strips of potatoes with salt. And that's it. No other weird preservatives/additive junk/whatever. Just potato and salt and fried and delicious.

And the rest of the food is delicious and well-prepared, too - nothing icky or gross or unhealthy for you.

The best part? It's a fast food place. So it's not even that expensive.

It is my personal goal to eat at In-N-Out at least five times while on our honeymoon.

When I want to California with my family sixish years ago, my dad, sister and I spent two hours driving around LA the second night we were there. We had gotten In-N-Out the evening before, and we were all obsessed with it, and we had gotten directions from the dude in the hotel lobby, but we kept getting lost. Over and over again. And, since my dad is the stereotypical man (at least in this regard) who refuses to ask for directions...we eventually pulled over at some other place in LA and bought burgers there. There was chili in them. It was gross. And not of In-N-Out quality.

Also. My dad travels a lot and after we had returned from CA, he was back out in LA a couple of weeks later for business. He came home with paper In-N-Out hats, stickers, and gift certificates for my sister and I. I've been tearing the house apart and can't find the gift certificate. I haven't given up yet!

Photos 1, 2, 3


So. I've had two weeks of school, and here's what I think of my final semester so far.

It's okay.

I'm taking French 210. It's really, really rough - I took French for four years in high school, but with a teacher who was extremely incompetent and spoke in English the whole time. Which was great for me then, but now...well, I wish it had been a bit different. So I took French 110 and French 115 for college credit while in high school, but I had to take a 200-level language course in order to graduate. Which is why I'm here.

I'm also taking two theology classes - Christian Beliefs and Social Justice. Christian Beliefs is entirely another theology class, not unlike any of the other theology classes I've been taking since first grade. So it's boring boring boring.

But social justice is great. It's been a nice, quiet part of my day. We journal and have nice, civil discussions. I like the journaling part. By the end of the semester, we have to have our entire notebooks filled. It's great.

I'm also taking an English class called The Age of Romanticism. It's pretty good. So far we've read two books and I liked one (The Sorrows of Young Werther) over the other (The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau). But the discussions in class are somewhat tedious and can be boring.

The last "in person" class I'm taking is Ethics. I actually really enjoy that class. Right now we're talking about fallacies in news/discussion which is interesting. Obviously I don't believe everything I read, but it's crazy to see the breakdowns of the different types of lies and weird wordings that happen on a daily basis in our world.

And lastly, I'm partaking in a senior capstone course to complete my education degree, since I'm not student teaching (which - okay. Thank GOD. I would be kicking myself if I was). I'm writing a 20 page paper about music in the education systems. I know that's super broad, but I don't quite know how I will narrow it down yet. I'll keep you updated.

So. That's that. As for other things that have been happening in my life - it's been super grey and gross in St. Louis the last two weeks (pretty much). I've been watching The Office when I'm not at school. I've been keeping up to date on my homework (I know we're only two weeks in, but that's still impressive for me). Still working away at Wilson. I really, really miss Shannon. Shannon made Wilson bearable.

And that's about all I have to say, really. I've been pretty boring the last couple of weeks, but I'm looking forward to diving into the blogging world again. I've missed it!

Sunshine Wall

I love this idea. I would like to incorporate it ASAP.

19 January 2010

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Songs I'm Embarrassed to Like

So I got really excited about doing this when I saw it on Bridgett's blog, but then as I complied my list, I realized that I'm not really EMBARRASSED to like any songs. However - these are songs that it would seem like I may not like, for many reasons. Examples: I've said that certain songs annoy me. I don't usually know those "now" songs - the ones that are on the popular music station and are played on MTV. Anyways - here they are.

1. "Teenage Love Affair" - Alicia Keys
2. "I Gotta Feeling" - The Black Eyed Peas
3. "Promiscuous" - Nelly Furtado & Timbaland
4. "Drop it Like its Hot" - Snoop Dogg
5. "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" - CSS
6. "Glamorous" - Fergie
7. "Single Ladies" - Beyonce
8. "Evacuate the Dancefloor" - Cascada
9. "Here it Goes Again" - OK GO (I got so sick of this song and was all, ugh I hate this but I really like it)
10. "Got to be Real" - Cheryl Lynn

17 January 2010


So I decided I'm going to do a little spotlight on each of my bridesmaids. I talked about Megan awhile ago - my bestie (ugh, really? Sometimes I wonder why I say the things I do), and I've been thinking about my friend Shannon a lot lately.

Shannon is, in a word, great. I met her my sophomore year. She was one of my residents when I was an RA (resident adviser). She really, really reminded me of my friend Sarah (also a bridesmaid) when I first met her, but I don't see it at all anymore. It's weird how that happens...

[I think this is the first picture taken of us together - Shannon, Laura, me. We had a huge pep rally/soccer game the first weekend of their freshmen year and went all out]

I pretty much fell in love with Shannon right away. She was outspoken and hilarious and adorable, and she listened to me. She wore sweatpants and had no problem wearing them day after day (my kind of girl). She spent time in my room, watching good TV shows and hanging out and talking. We talked about our old crushes in grade/high school and how it was sad nothing ever amounted from them (well, hers did later).

[hanging out at our floor dinner at Blueberry Hill]

Anyway, she's awesome. And as the year went by I kind of fell more in love with her. She became my favorite resident (I won't lie) and we became really close. She started working at Wilson with me, which was great, because she was the girl that was all, "Kaylen. Really. Calm down. Those kids don't mean the horrible, mean things that they say." which was nice, because it did make me calm down. I'm the kind of person that remembers mean things that people to say to me.

So the last two years Shannon and I have hung out a lot, in each other's rooms and apartments and whatnot. But. But. Last week, she flew away. She's a junior and she's studying Spanish and secondary education, and so she's spending a semester in Madrid, fine-tuning her Espana (is that how you spell it?) and generally being a rockstar.

[also at Blueberry Hill - Shannon, Me, Katie, Sarah]

And holy crap, I miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiss her so much. I miss texting her about weird, inane things (pooping? Seriously.), and seeing her adorable face at work, and hearing about her day and the adventures she and her friends have. Basically she's a real college student. I'm not.

But mostly I just miss being able to talk to her. I took that for granted. We talked at work, on the phone, in person - and I can't do that at all now! Wah wah wah. I know. Complaints, complaints.

If you want to read about a lady who is living her dreams, hanging out in Madrid, and having awesome European adventures, check her out here. Also - she wrote a blog post about me awhile back that made me giggle like a little girl. She was so cute - all like, "So...I wrote a blog post about you." and I was like, "really?!?!" So I went right home and read it and giggled. Like I already said.

Baking Cakes in Kigali

The first book I read in 2010 was called Baking Cakes in Kigali. I finished it late last night - it was really, really great.

The story is about a woman named Angel, who lives in Kigali (in Rwanda). She bakes cakes for a living. Her husband, Pius, works at a university in Kigali. Both of her children passed away (one from AIDS, sort of, and the other was shot during the war), so she and Pius are in charge of the five grandchildren that have been left behind. It's really a heartbreaking story, in some parts - there are lots of scenes that discuss the genocide and the war that occurred in the area, and there are some really, really sad characters. There are children that live in dumpsters, a hooker named Jeanne d'Arc who is 17 and is caring for her two younger sisters and a boy they just found one day, that had no one to take care of him...

It sounds depressing, but it was really, really great. I was alive in 1994. I was only five or six, but still - it's insane that the Rwandan genocide happened recently. According to wikipedia, over 500,000 people were killed over the course of 100 days. Sick. So sad.

I think my favorite parts of the book have to do with the oppression of women. Angel and many of the other female characters struggle to make themselves heard and change the way that society views African women, and it was cool to read about that. The language of the book was confusing at first - some run-on sentences and weird phrases, switching back and forth between Swahili, French, English, and another African language that I forget - but the reader gets used to it.

Anyways - I would recommend this book to women. I don't think men would really get a lot out of it, but I feel that it women would enjoy reading about the baking portion (it's interesting to see how Angel bakes her cakes - it's hard to her to find all the ingredients and the reader follows her around the village where she gets everything she needs), along with just reading about women in other countries that have a much harder time than we do. I'm not a very patriotic person and I do tend to take my freedom for granted. This was a reminder that I needed.

11 January 2010

Food, and a Hiatus

There are afternoons when I'm spending lots of time online, and I see a recurring theme. This afternoon, for example. Showed me food. Lots and lots of food.

One thing that piqued my interest is this story on the Saveur 100. I can't say that I want to frequent all the restaurants/try all the recipes, but I wouldn't mind seeing/preparing/eating the majority of them. If I was going to subscribe to a food magazine, Saveur would be it. Not only does everything sound delicious, but the food styling/photography is awesome. That will do it, for me.

The other food-related thing I came across today is called TasteSpotting - "a community driven visual potluck". Oh, my. Everything is so pretty and yummy-looking. I think I'm most excited to try these.

In other news. I think I'm going to take a little blog break. For a couple of reasons. And we all know I like making lists.

1. I need an Internet break. I've been spending way too much time on the computer. I need to read books and decorate the apartment and do crafts. I do a lot of those things, too - but now that school has started back up, I'm going to have to prioritize. And we all know I loooooooove the Internet and I looooooove blogging, but I think I'm going to take a couple of days.

2. I need to get into my new schedule for the next four months.

3. I was going to do have a blog giveaway as my 600th post here on happy notions - but this post will equal #592! And I don't have any awesome great ideas yet! So I need to slow down. Well, I have a few. But in order to give these things away, I need to receive/create/get them first. So just wait.

Something's Gotta Give!

Even though today was my first day of school back, I've been feeling very, VERY overwhelmed. Why, you ask? Well...I'm in French 210, to start. The last time I sat in a French class was three and a half years ago. Walking into class today basically told me that I don't remember very much. More than I thought, I guess, but...not enough to persevere in this class. There is no option of not doing well. It's my last semester and I need to get a really, really good grade. I would love to close out my college career with straight A's. I've always been soooooooooo close.

Then there's my other classes. I've only had one other so far (Christian Beliefs) and it doesn't seem too bad. I'm taking two theology, one philosophy, and one English class, in addition to the French. Also, an independent study. Which will probably be easy. I think I just have to write a big paper and I'm good at those.

Outside of school, there's...well, everything else. Wedding planning. Saving money. Getting to work on time. Waiting to hear back from the RFT. Thinking about finding other jobs in the future. Trying to be a good fiance to Pete - as in, talking to him. We hardly saw each other last week, and that was when only one of us was in school. This week, both of us are back in classes and basically we won't see each other at all.

The whole situation reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld (surprise, surprise). It's from one of the most famous episodes - "The Contest" - and Jerry is complaining to Kramer about everything going on. "Meanwhile I'm dating a virgin, I'm in this contest - something's gotta give!"

10 January 2010

Only Six Months to Go!

Last we checked in, according to the wedding countdown, we only had eight months left.

Now there's only six and it's insane.

We've gotten a lot of other stuff done...

1. Registered at Macy's. Now we're registered there and Crate & Barrel.
2. Finished our wedding website
3. Created and sent out save-the-dates
4. Got Pete and Steve (the best man, and Pete's twin brother) fitted for suits, at Savvi
5. Planned our entire ceremony, minus the music
6. Finished creating our guest list. 303 people. I'm pretty sure 303 people cannot even fit into the room we're renting. We'll see.
7. We sent in our first payment to the reception place.
8. I found a woman to press my dress and show me how to bustle it. Because I already forgot.
9. We have all the hotels for our honeymoon booked!! My aunt, who travels the world and teaches baking classes, has a timeshare/reward thing for Marriott hotels. So her gift to us was paying for our first week of honeymooning. Awesome. Then, we got a GREAT deal on a hotel in San Francisco. Six nights for $530-something.
10. We've done some research on rehearsal dinner venues.
11. I've looked around at flowergirl dresses (Bridgett, I need to email you about this).
12. We set the date for my first bridal shower, with my family up in Chicago!
13. We have cake stuff figured out! Our friend, Lindsay, is baking cupcakes for the guests and a small, two-tier cake for us. Eeeeee!
14. We've asked some of the people to do readings, etc - but we still have others to ask! We should get on that.
15. I ordered and received my wedding headband! I chose the white.

The next "big" things I'm going to be working on this week are:
- calling around florists
- ordering shoes
- reserving blocks of hotel rooms in St. Louis for the out-of-town guests
- figure out transportation (anyone want to offer a clean, roomy car for us? My car is too small, and so is Pete's, for my dress. It's fluffy. Pete's is also disgusting. Our friend Matt sat in the front seat and got chocolate all over his pants. So, I don't really trust wearing a white dress in it...)
- research hair/make-up artists. I realize that this would be a great place to cut costs, but I HAVE NO CLUE how to make my hair/face pretty. I'm just not one of those girls.
- compose day-of timeline

[photo by the super-talented Ryan Gladstone...aka our photographer!!!]

My Life as Seinfeld

He gets the coat from a wig master, who is staying with George. The coat was made as the technicolor dreamcoat, from the play. The cane came from Elaine (whoo! a rhyme!), because she was finished reviewing it for the J. Peterman catalog. And you saw how he got the hat.

When I was a freshman in high school, I made a "hot guy" collage. It had pictures of Matt Damon, Josh Hartnett, Robert Carmichael (lead singer of Rooney), etc. And I also put a picture of Kramer on there. I don't think he's hot, by any means. But he makes me laugh harder than most of the other guys on the collage probably could.

I showed it to my parents when I was finished with it, and mom said, "I bet Kramer would be proud to be with all those young men."

When I first started dating my first boyfriend, I tore the collage up. I was afraid he would judge me for it. I really, really wish I still had it. Oh well!

Honeymoon Spot #2: Alcatraz Island

Location: San Francisco

I've never been to Alcatraz. I'm pretty sure I haven't been to the Ferry Building, either.

But Alcatraz! When my family and I went to San Francisco six or seven years ago, we tried to go to Alcatraz, but there was a waiting period of THREE WEEKS. Three weeks! That's how backed up they were. It seems hard to imagine. People book times to go out to Alcatraz? Weird.

Either way, I'm excited to actually check it out. I was secretly relieved when I went with my family. I thought it was going to be very scary and dark and drippy and haunted, but it doesn't seem like it will be.

Ugh. While searching for facts about Alcatraz, I saw a link for "hauntings", and being the masochist I am, I read it.

I don't know if I want to go anymore.

Regardless, it seems like a cool place. It's a piece of American history, and even if we DON'T go, it looks pretty cool in the distance.

Honeymoon Spot #1: Ferry Building Marketplace

Location: San Francisco, CA

The Ferry Building Marketplace is one of those places that just looks perfect in every way possible. It's located downtown, it has local/seasonal stuff, it's by the ocean...

I mean, the building itself should be good enough, right? No. The stuff inside it...it's perfect. There are two stores that specialize in olive oils! Taylor's Refresher has what seems to be some of the best burgers and fries in the area (besides In-n-Out - that will be for a post another time). Ciao Bella, home to my favorite raspberry sorbet, has a stand here. The Cowgirl Creamery sells cheese. Good, good cheese, and Acme Bread has a stand there, too - so we can make a little picnic out of the day. If we're feeling Mexican, instead of cheese-and-bread (although I find that highly impossible), there's Mijita. And then for dessert? Miette AND Recchiuti.

I could probably spend all day in this place. Reading firsthand accounts (I love Yelp) tells me that it's bright and airy and very clean and happy and fresh!

[according to this picture, Ciao Bella and Miette are right next to each other. Good thing I'm losing all that weight before the wedding, because it seems I'll be gaining it back quickly on the two week honeymoon.]

08 January 2010

Food Fights

I've always wanted to have a food fight. If someone can donate their time and space to have one, I would love you for forever and forever.

Two of my favorite videos involving food fights:

They are both glorious.

Honeymoon 2010 or Bust!

I realized that I never shared the honeymoon plan with ya'll. So here it is.

The wedding is on July 10, 2010. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to leave first thing the morning after (I'm kind of already dreading it, but we already booked all the hotels so it's too late to change it). We're driving the whole way there and back, which I am so excited about. I love road trips, and so does Pete. We've already decided to get some books on tape/CD. I started receiving This American Life podcasts four or five months ago, and we're both experts at making mix CDs, so...it's going to be great. Also, Mary Helen (Pete's mom) has agreed to let us borrow her minivan, which is great, because God knows that I'll amass all kinds of stuff on this two week adventure. I'm going to ask my mom if we can borrow her GPS system, too. So we're all set!

The first day - July 11 - we'll be driving from St. Louis to Albuquerque. It's about a 16 hour drive, so it will take all day. It will also be the most boring part of the entire drive. Oklahoma? Psh. Flat.

We'll leave in the afternoon-ish on July 12 to head to the Grand Canyon. We'll be aiming to get there by sunset. It's so pretty at sunset.

July 13 we'll leave Flagstaff and head to Las Vegas. I'm really excited about this, because of all the places we're going on the honeymoon, I haven't been here. I want to gamble!! (not a lot, don't worry)

July 14 we'll head out of Las Vegas and drive to the Joshua Trees in California and spend some time there. After that, we'll continue on to Los Angeles. We'll be here for three nights.

July 17, we'll head up the coast. We're taking two days to get up to San Francisco, which will leave plenty of time to explore Hearst Castle + San Simeon, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, etc. (pictures below are the places listed previously, in order)

July 18-24, we'll be in San Francisco!

And that's that.

I think I'm going to start spotlighting different sights we're hoping to take in on the honeymoon. Maybe a couple a week? It will help get us excited. Not that I'm unexcited or anything.

Also, I know I've been spitting out blog posts lately. I start school on the 11th and I have no idea how my schedule will be this semester. I'm taking 18 hours (as usual) and while I don't think it will be too intense, I really have no idea. So I'm blogging a lot now to get ready for the fact that it may be awhile before I have a chance to sit down and revisit the happy notions dashboard :(

images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Roller Coasters

Okay, okay. So I one of my resolutions (here) was to comment more on people's blogs. Really, there's no reason I shouldn't do this. I'm logged into gmail automatically and if I'm already on their site...duh.

Another thing that I should be better at doing is responding to comments on this blog. I get them emailed to my gmail account, so I do read all of them, but when someone asks a question, I think - oh yeah I'll tell them the answer when I see them/I'll send them an email/etc. So. I'm going to get better at that.

And the reason I'm talking about roller coasters is because in the above link (resolutions), Bridgett commented and said, "you've never been on a roller coaster?!" And...well, I have. See, that's the thing. I've been on this:

That's right: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, in Disney World, Orlando-FL.

The story of HOW I got on the coaster is kind of funny. See, I don't like being scared. This is obvious by my choice of movies (romantic-comedies, foreign films, etc). I've never been to one of those horrible haunted houses that pop up all over the city around Halloween, either. Basically, if adrenaline is pumping through my body I'm afraid I'm going to die. So I try to steer clear of these things.

However. When I was 12 or 13, we got a call from some timeshare company. I answered the phone at home and when my mom picked it up from another floor in the house, I didn't hang up. I heard "timeshare" and knew that "timeshare" = vacation. The guy talked about the whole thing - "we'll put you in our fanciest Marriott hotel for four nights and you just have to spend one day at our timeshare meeting!"

As it turns out, some of the days that they allowed the promotion to happen during were days dad was already going to be in Orlando for business. So we skipped two days of school and headed South.

We spent a day at the Magic Kingdom, a day at EPCOT, a day at SeaWorld (since dad works for Anheuser-Busch, we had free passes at the time), and of course - a day in the timeshare meeting.

Anyway. Magic Kingdom day. It was the first time we had been to Disney in which Emme and I were old enough to really begin to appreciate things, so mom bought a Disney World tour book. She had read about this ride, called Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. According to the book, it's "a leisurely ride through mining country". So we get into line. Why not? It sounded nice.

The closer we get to the ride itself, the more and more screams we're hearing. "Oh no, that's from Splash Mountain," dad reassured his three scaredy-cat girls. "That's not from the ride we're about to go on."

Well. They were, actually. Mom and I got into one car, and dad and Emme into the other. I was wearing a baseball cap and it promptly flew off my head. Mom was clutching my arm, screaming the whole time, yelling "THE CAPS ON MY TEETH ARE GOING TO FALL OFF!"

So. That's how I got into a roller coaster. Because some dude wrote in some book that it was "leisurely". After a brief Google search, it seems that it doesn't ever go faster than 35 miles-per-hour. Which makes me feel brave, but also silly. Because that isn't that fast at ALL.

And that's the roller coaster story. However, Pete and I are going to Disneyland on the honeymoon, so I'll defintely ride a rollercoaster there. Hey, maybe it will even be Big Thunder Mountain Railroad again!


One of my new years resolutions was no sweets until April.

It sucks.

I mean, you all know how much I love sweet stuff. Cupcakes are an addiction. I love baking. I love looking at sweets.

But you know what? For what it's worth, I haven't eaten any artificial sweets since December 31, 2009. Wait, no, that's not true. I made a mistake. I walked into the kitchen at Wilson and glanced at the "treat jar" (kids get something from the treat jar if they've done a good deed or something) and saw a bag of mini marshmallows in there. I grabbed the top off and had a small handful of them (maybe seven or eight) before I was like, "oh CRAP."

But really. That's pretty good for me. We're almost a third of the way through and I've had no other sugar? Not bad.

Anyway. The whole reason I wrote this post is because I saw the CUTEST picture over at doe deere blogazine. It has sweets, cursive, lights, red and white stripes, and pink.

I want to go to there.

Old Man Crush #3: Michael Palin

It's amazing to think that I had no clue who Michael Palin was two months ago.

So here's what happened. Pete said, "Hey, John Cleese is in this hilarious TV show called Fawlty Towers that we can stream on Netflix." And I said, "okay, great, let's watch it!"

And I fell in love. John Cleese will be another Old Man Crush, another day.

Also, information about Fawlty Towers will be another blog post. Because we DEVOURED it and it was AMAZING.

So, after we finished Fawlty Towers, Pete realized that I wasn't really very schooled in Monty Python. Yes, I've seen The Holy Grail, and I knew about a couple of the more famous sketches (Dead Parrot, Ministry of Silly Walks, etc), but that was about it.

So, Pete began to educate me on Monty Python. I had bought the entire 16-disc Flying Circus set for his 21st birthday, so we had everything already. I saw documentaries, interviews, and episodes. And I gobbled it up.

Michael Palin...oh, Michael Palin. Why are you so adorable?

I think I really, really first fell for Michael Palin when Pete showed me the Lumberjack song. Seriously. Just THINKING about it made me laugh. So hard. Watch for yourself:

So, that was that. I mean, lumberjacks are unbelieveably amazing (have you seen Pete? He's totally a lumberjack) and here is Michael Palin! He's so cute and adorable and he sings about it! [Fun fact - the girl in the video above was married to John Cleese for ten years or so]

So that pretty much sold me. I continued to watch hilarious clips from Monty Python - this one is a favorite, too:

[although Terry Gilliam's face is the funniest]

Also - here's just a little montage to Michael Palin

However, Monty Python only lasted so long. He was hilarious in it, obviously, as were the rest of the Pythons. But more recently, Michael Palin has been involved with travel documentaries. Really, really cool ones, too. Pete and I are working our way through Around the World in 80 Days, which is all about Palin going around the world in 80 days, taking the same route that Phileas Fogg took in the book. He cannot take planes, only trains/boats/cars. And he's trying to beat the record.

It's really, really good. I've been blown away by it, actually. He's so charming and funny and inquisitive. I think my favorite episode is when he spends a week (I think it was a week?) aboard a shipping boat with 18 Indian crew members. He helps them keep the boat in top shape, he learns how they cook, he sleeps on the deck, under the stars, learns all of their names. It's so sweet, and cool, and just incredibly motivational. It makes me want to travel.

Finally, he's done other documentaries, too. The next series we're planning to watch is called Pole to Pole, which is a lot like Around the World in 80 Days, but he'll be traveling from the North Pole to the South Pole. Awesome.

So. Another old man crush called to your attention.

(far right - bottom. what a cutie!)

Paris in the Snow

.....le sigh.

It's so pretty! So so so so so pretty! I would definitely go RIGHT NOW, even though it's freezing cold. All pictures are from Cherry Blossom Girl. I hadn't visited her in awhile. Image overload.

07 January 2010

Map Wall

I've had this idea for a couple of months now to get a ton of maps and put them on the wall, collage style. I saw it in some magazine or catalog at a family's house that I was babysitting. So I took a picture of it with my phone and thought, "hmm. someday".

Well, Pete had a snow day today and so did I, so...we decided to DO it!

I wish we had planned better, though - we took down all the pictures on one of the walls in the living room, because we were going to do it there, and then we decided against that and put it up in the dining room...ugh.

But we spent a good amount of time stretching our arms above, holding the maps up in place, and pricking ourselves with thumbtacks. Pete was especially fond of putting tacks in his mouth and talking.

I said, "Pete! Take that out of your mouth. I know you feel cool with it, and being able to talk, but if it drops down your throat and tears your esophagus..."

Pete: "you know where the hospital is."

Uh, okay.

Anyways. I really like it. And the cool thing is, is that we can still hang pictures on it. Except they should probably be framed, not just the print.

Biggest Swimming Pool in the World

Have you heard of this place? It's insanity. According to the website, the pool is one kilometer in length and has 2.5 million liters of water. It's in Chile, at the San Alfonso del Mar resort. Fancy!

Party Mixer

Seriously? This sign belongs to me. It needs to go up in my blue kitchen, near my red Kitchenaid. It would match perfectly!!! I would buy it but I'm trying really, really hard to not spend money on things I don't "need".

I wish I could register for wedding stuff on Etsy.