Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I love my RAK!

Hello lovelies! After taking some time off from the RAK experience, I decided to jump back into it. It seems I can't stay away from altruism. ;)

In November, I gifted:






And I received:
From the fabulous Joli at Actin' Up With Books!

and


From the generous RJ at RJ Does Books!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Happy List



I'm happy...
That I have a blind date on Saturday. We met online and have emailed a few times, and yes I'm all nervous, but I'm determined to have a good time!


I'm happy...
That I met the gorgeous guy on floor 3 (and his adorable puppy) at work today. Did I mention he's gorgeous? And has a puppy? I was bouncing for hours after that. Thank goodness my co-workers are patient women.

I'm happy...
That I can be Santa again this year to a bunch of strangers via Livejournal's Holiday Wishes community. It's like tiny blog swaps, albeit one-way, and even though it taxes my pocket money for shipping, I enjoy doing it. Altruism is such a high!

I'm happy...
That the MEOW fundraiser is still happening this week, despite a recent, and very serious, outbreak of feline leukemia at the kennel. It all stems from cats that were seized from a hoarder, whose face I'd like to curbstomp for that. Instead, I will cross-stitch, craft, and bake in support of this amazing shelter.

I'm happy...
That I live alone. So very happy! The privacy and control are so worth it, especially when I can arrange for friends to come over, and put off doing the dishes, and shower whenever I feel like it. Huzzah for no roommates!

*Today's images have nothing to do with the posts...I just felt like posting Retro LOLs. Sometimes I'm random like that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Meme

Happily stolen borrowed from The Curious Pug! Play along!


1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate, the darker the better.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
When Santa gave gifts in my family, they were always wrapped with a tag that they were from him (in my father's handwriting...hrm....curious....)

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I change my mind on this EVERY year. I love the little white fairy lights outside, but colored lights on the tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? 
Yep, every chance I can. I'm an opportunist. ;)
 
5. When do you put your decorations up?
I usually wait for Dec 1st (been as late as Dec 23rd in the past), but this year I put them up the weekend after Thanksgiving to give myself some time.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
We never have a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. But we DO have a tradition of homemade Eggs Benedict with mimosas on Christmas morning (and French Breakfast Puffs on New Years morning). Those Eggs Benedict, especially with my father's Hollandaise sauce, are amazing.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? 
Instead of cookies one year, I made Santa a veggie sandwich (cut to resemble a reindeer) and some carrots for his crew. My dad, ever the intrepid one, took bites out of the sandwich and nibbled the carrots to make it look like Santa enjoyed the repast....even though my mom later assured me that he was missing the chocolate chip cookies and milk he usually got. That's the sacrifice of parenthood, right there!

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think I was around 7 or 8 years old. I got into an argument with one of my brothers, because I had heard something on the roof the night before Christmas (which I was certain must have been reindeer). My brother insisted it couldn't have been reindeer because Santa isn't real. He wasn't trying to be cruel, he was just trying to be right (and acknowledged as right), but it was still a shock. Christmas morning, waiting for my folks to get up, and he was telling me every single one of their tricks for duping me. I may have cried.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, and I never understood that tradition. The longer the wait, the sweeter the reward!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
We used to have a stash of Southwestern-themed ornaments (intermixed with ones we kids made, years ago), that went beautifully with my parents' house decor), and we top the tree with a hand-carved angel they bought in Germany. Last year and this year, though, I'll be making all the mishmashed ornaments for my brother's tree, as my folks' house isn't finished yet. Last year it was a LOT of baked ornaments. This year it will probably be a lot of cross-stitched ornaments, with no theme at all. I'm debating getting my own mini-tree and decorating it with Dr Who and geek-themed ornaments. :)

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? 
LOVE IT. I grew up in sunny SoCal, without snow, so it's still a new and delightful event for me.

12. Can you ice skate?
 Hahahahahahahaha! No.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
 No...it was never about the gift (or the wishlist), but always about playing with the family and spending the day cooking/eating/being goofy.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
See above. :)

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
 Kahlua Cake, but it isn't a Holiday dessert. ;)

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Now that we're all adults, it's that peace of sitting around sipping coffee while we wait for everyone to arrive so we can open our stockings. It's such a moment of love and tranquility, and usually laughter.

17. What tops your tree?
A hand-carved angel my folks bought in Germany. She's GORGEOUS. And also packed away this year, so the tree-topper is up to my bro (whose house we will have Xmas at this year). If I get my mini-tree, I'll try to find a tiny TARDIS or Firefly or Moya to top it. :D

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
I prefer giving. I tend to go overboard, and give things to EVERYONE, total strangers included. Because of our disparate incomes and desire to overgift, my family has called a truce and instituted a stocking-stoffers-only policy, with a cap of about $25 per person.

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? 
 Yum, in small doses, and if used to stir hot chocolate. Otherwise....too much sugar for me to take.

20. Favorite Christmas show?
They never show it any more, but the California Raisins Christmas Special. We STILL quote from the Carol of the Bells and Here We Come A'Wassailing. :)

21. Saddest Christmas Song?
I'll Be Home for Christmas always gets me a little teary. I can't imagine being away from your loved ones in this season.

22. What is your favorite Christmas song?
All of the peppy upbeat ones that have nothing to do with Christianity. ;)
(Winter Weather, Santa Baby, Baby It's Cold Outside, All I Want for Christmas, etc)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fat Ass Friday

Previous Weight: 168
Current Weight: 170

Yeah, I gained....but yesterday was Thanksgiving, so I'm not too worried about it.
My goal this winter, with all the holiday eating, is to stay at 171 or below. I think it's entirely manageable. I do need to get back into hooping, though. Sooner or later, it will be too cold or icy to do my 2 mile walks, and then I need to have a fitness hobby in place to burn some calories.

On the plus side, both of my parents remarked yesterday that I've lost inches around my middle. Is it a product of my lifestyle, or of dressing better? I don't know, but I'm happy. :)

Friday Confessional


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I confess...
I really hate it when anyone ion my family makes the assumption that I'm an inept child, especially when I'm not doing anything wrong. Is it because I'm the youngest? Or female? It drives me nuts.

I confess...
I finally emailed Blue, since he doesn't respond to my texts anymore, to confront him on this whole "we're casually dating but we never see each other" thing. Honestly, I think he's lost all interest in me and just decided the silent treatment/cold shoulder would be the easier or better way of getting me to go away. I'm amazed that he can't see how fantastic I am, but whatever- I'm moving on.

I confess...
This attitude may or may not be tremendously helped along by a recent dose of *ahem* "sugar". It's amazing how fulfilled life is when all the body's needs are being met.

I confess...
I'm excited about tomorrow's chocolate tour.....even though I'm fairly certain I'll end up unconscious in a choco-stupor by noon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Or, as I like to think of it, another excuse to get together with my family, cook together, and sample ciders. Mmmmm....

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for the experience of blogging, for all of you positive, insightful, lovely readers/commenters, for the internet, for my independence and freedom, for my family and friends, for dark chocolate and red wine, for my health, for my life to this point (good and bad), for music, for dancing, for books, for creativity, for everything.

I wish you all a day (and indeed a life) of gratitude and joy, overflowing with blessings!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Want to Know Wednesday

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{1} What is your favorite food item at Thanksgiving dinner?
My family never has a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, so this is a tough one. We always have a meat (turkey, ham, roast beef, cornish game hens, etc), a starch (usually potatoes-and-something), a veggie side, sometimes another side, and dessert. It's WAY too much food, but that's my family for you....leftovers for daaaaays.


{2} What is your least favorite?
Of the traditional dishes, which I've never had, the concept of side dishes that are sugary are nasty to me. Sweet potatoes mashed up with marshmallows? Ick. Waldorf salad? Ick. Gelatinous cranberry sauce? Pleck.


{3} Do you have a favorite pie? (Share a recipe if you want or just tell us about it and make us drool)
I used to dislike all pie, but thankfully I've changed my tune. A good homemade apple or cherry pie (with fresh fruit) makes me drool like mad. But I'm going to share with you the world's easiest and fastest Key Lime Pie recipe, because it rocks. :D

Ingredients:
Pre-made graham cracker pie crust
A 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice (I prefer Nellie and Joe's Key West Lime Juice)

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together the can of sweetened condensed milk, 3 egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of key lime juice. Stir until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes. Allow to cool, chill in fridge.
Enjoy!


{4} Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
The whole family gets together, and usually starts cooking around noon. We sometimes have pancakes or waffles for brekkie, but almost always we put out cheese and crackers and just nosh for lunch. Lately we've also busted out good ciders and red wine to drink while we all cook. It's a fun time. :)
 

{5} Black friday shopping- Do you participate in the delightful running through the stores in the wee hours of the morning madness or hibernate at home and shop online?
Hell to the no! I don't like a mad crush of people, or frenzied shopping, or the pressure of HAVING to buy something. I spend the day recovering from TG dinner (which usually involves doing the dishes). 
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Happy List


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There's a lot to be happy about these days!

I'm happy...
That my co-author and good friend came for a visit, and we spent the ENTIRE weekend watching Dr Who and noshing. Best lazy weekend ever!


I'm happy...
That I've made a teensy bit of progress in said novel, and also completed my editing task. I had just the recharge I needed last weekend to get back to writing.


I'm happy...
That my folks are in town starting tomorrow, and we're going to have four solid days of family fun (including dinners together, shopping, and a chocolate tour).


I'm happy...
That I finally found a dress at Shabby Apple that fits me and looks good (although it does scream BOOBIES! on me). Also that I found a good pair of jeans at Target.com


I'm happy...
That my awesome Autumn Swap partner, Amber, sent me goodies for decorating my place and enabling kitchen gadgets (cupcake-extravaganza, here I come!)

Autumn is Officially ON

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Another Mamarazzi swap, filled with awesome, has blessed my life (and my home, and mailbox, and tummy).

I was paired with the fabulous Amber from Amber's Life (home of the super-cute girl-on-laptop icon). This girl knows how to SHOP! Every item in my swap package made me giggle maniacally with glee!

Check out the goodies:
 Another themed spatula (this is fab- my whole kitchen is getting more fun, every swap!), a whisk with a pumpkin shape inside it (too cute!!) and Autumn-themed cookie cutters (which I will be using next week to make snickerdoodles and gingerbread cookies by the score-muahahaha!)

 SPRINKLES. Ahahahaha!! I am ALL about the cupcake-making this Fall, and now I can do them up with sprinkles! They're "colored leaves" and "pumpkin mix" sprinkles, so I'm thinking....chai-spiced, appley, pumpkin, and maple-type cupcakes, with cream cheese frosting and these bad boys. I'm going to be all Mad Scientist Kitchen!

 As soon as I set the camera down, these went up on my windows. I have a serious addiction to window clings, and I'm getting a collection for every season and holiday now. Wahoo!

 And then as soon as my camera went down, this went on my front door. Yay! It's hard to see in the photo, but it's glittery, too. And it's sturdy enough to stay on my front door despite gusting winds this week. My own door decor! I may have to leave this up all year. ;)

Isn't he adorable?! I put him on the windowsill, with his clutch of harvest goodies. I think the neighborhood crows are happy with this arrangement. 

I honestly had zero fall decor (aside from Halloween stuff) before this swap. Now, my house feels festive, and ripe for guests, and really warm and welcoming.
Plus, I have even more motivation to bake.
Muahaha!

Thanks so much, Amber!

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 21

OurLifeonaMarquee

I'm thankful for wild places. Being able to go to places of wilderness to meditate, dream, and generally feel awed and humbled by the Universe is a constant pleasure.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 20

OurLifeonaMarquee

I'm grateful for blog swaps. You guys are so generous and thoughtful- every partner I've ever had the joy of being paired with has improved my experience (and given me great decor, eats, coffee, inspiration, etc). It's been a pleasure, and I hope to host and participate in many more swaps to come!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 19

OurLifeonaMarquee

I'm thankful for coffee. Coffee loves me. It's always there for me, to put a twinkle in my cheek and a bounce in my step. Never leave me, coffee. We'll do great things together.

What We're Reading

I missed a month, so here's my Reading list from October AND November.





I can't even begin to plan what I'm reading next month, as I have an entire bookshelf and a half filled with un-read tomes to cherish.