Monday, November 29, 2010

Art Class: Collage

No, not a typo. I am, in fact studying collage.

collage (noun):
  • an artistic composition of various materials (such as paper, cloth or wood) glued on a surface.
My personal definition is much more colorful, I feel:
  • cutting stuff up and putting it back together; but better.
Except I think better is subjective...

During our ceramics class last semester, I met Alyssa. She's an awesome artist who had a similar motive for taking art classes at Saddleback. We decided to take jewelery making together this semester, however schedule prevented this awesomeness from happening. So while perusing the Saddleback Course catalog I came up Collage Class. Somehow I convinced Alyssa this would meet our requirements of arts and crafts. So far, so good.:

I'll keep you updated in case at some point I actually accomplish the course description goal of developing personal imagery.

Also, I fail at photographing art... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent is the beginning of the Catholic Liturgical calendar and marks the beginning of preparation for the Christmas season.  I am not currently Catholic, and I wouldn't call my conversion particularly successful so far, but Gavin and I are still celebrating Advent.  I don't have nearly as many holiday traditions as I would like, and advent gives us the perfect opportunity to develop a few new ones!

Our first project was an Advent Wreath.  Gavin was such a trooper and agreed to head to Micheal's on Black Friday (we went late in the day, don't worry!)  We couldn't find the candle holder we wanted, but we are cleaver and creative and were able to make it work!

I really like that the Advent Wreath seems to borrow from so many different traditions and incorporate them into a Christian celebration of preparation for Christmas.  The general idea is that each Sunday leading to Christmas, we will light one of the candles before dinner on Sunday, culminating in lighting the white candle on Christmas.

I'm not an expect, so for more information on advent, check out this link or just google it :) .

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What's for dinner? Thanksgiving edition!!!

A blog about what we had for dinner!  If you want to see our cookbooks, check out the cookbook shelf link at the top my the blog

I almost gave Thanksgiving it's own post, but then realized this week would really consist of only two meals in preparation for and recovery from Thanksgiving, so skipped it!

Monday: Pasta with garlic and Olive Oil  Molto Gusto 
This recipe looks plain and I was really expecting to hate it.  It was actually pretty good! (I guess when you add enough salt and cheese, anything is good!;) ).  I'll give this cookbook points for ease, but you certainly aren't going to impress your in laws with any of them that we've tried so far.

Tuesday: Mexican Cheese Soup.
This is a great little slow cooker recipe. Gavin loves it with chips. I had it over french fries Wednesday for lunch.

Wednesday: Alyssa's Pasta Salad.  
For some insane reason we  still had collage class on Wednesday.  Alyssa brought pasta salad which was very good.

Thursday:  Thanksgiving!
Gavin and I spent the holiday home together, but it didn't stop us from cooking like there were going to be about 12 people coming over for dinner!!
Our Thanksgiving Table
 We recently received our first set of China and could think of no better first use than Thanksgiving dinner!
 Turkey: Gavin and I roasted the smallest turkey we could find! (11 lbs).
Stuffing:  Gavin made his Grandpa's stuffing recipe.  It was delicious, but clearly intended for a larger turkey, we ended up with an entire baking dish of extra stuffing!
Buttered Carrots
Mashed Potatoes: My husband makes the best mashed potatoes.  <3
Dinner Rolls
Pinot Noir Poached Pears with Muddled Wine
 Poached Pears with Muddled Wine: Our first dessert course was mine. I combined a recipe from the William Sonoma Healthful cooking cook book with one from the Ikea 365 cookbook. The wine smelled delicious in the house all day and we loved both the pears and the warmed wine.  I would serve them with ice cream next time.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate Mousse:  Gavin made the second dessert course which was a Tofu Chocolate Mousse, also from William Sonoma healthful cooking cook book.  We had a little issue with the texture, but it was still excellent.

Friday: Turkey and Vegetable Soup.
I always try to make soup from the leftover turkey bits, and sometimes have some major problems, so changed my methods up a bit this year and made some awesome homemade broth and soup with fresh veggies! I considered making homemade noodle, but we were out of eggs.

Saturday: leftovers   
Sunday:  leftovers

It's only Saturday morning, so I'm still guessing about today and tomorrow, but I'm pretty darn sure that's what we're having at least until Monday or Tuesday!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


A.    Amy.  Yep, I’m grateful for me.  I’m grateful for who I am and who I am becoming.

B.    Bubble Baths.  I’m grateful for the ability to relax in an awesome bathtub will a million little bubbles to cheer me up.

C.    Cuddle blankets-  Enough said.
D.    Droooid- Don’t tell Gavin, but I’m grateful for the droid.  I’m grateful I have a phone for work, to keep in touch, to listen to the radio, to play games with friends.  Yep.  I like my Droid.

E.    Elephants- I’m grateful for my education (CSUF=Titans, Titans = Elephant, E not used yet, just go with it).  I’m glad I live in a society where I was able to get an education and can continue to learn and take classes. (I realize Education would have been an easier, albeit less exciting word for this)

F.    My Friends.  I am lucky to have friends who I can call in the middle of the night to say, ‘I’m not crazy, right?’,  or to spend a full day wandering around Ikea with or just sharing life with.

G.    God.  I’m not sure where the best place to find God is yet, and I am not sure when I ever will.  But I’m can’t deny that He has helped me, and I’m grateful.

H.    My husband.  I can’t imagine a more perfect fit for me.  He has proven so many times that he is exactly what I need.

I.    My In-laws.  In addition to finding an awesome person to share my life with, I got the added bonus of a family who loves and cares for me.  I am so grateful for the friendship, support and love I’ve found in them

J.    My Job-  I don’t always love my job, but I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful that I have a meaningful and useful way to use my skills to contribute to the world.  I’m grateful the world is willing to pay me for my contribution.

K.    Kids-  I’m grateful for children.  I’m grateful for their enthusiasm about everything.  Especially my nieces and nephews.

L.    Library-  I’m grateful for the library where I can check out audio books to keep me safe and sane while driving

M.    Music-  I’m grateful to have access to music that can cheer me up, comfort me, or make me dance.

N.    Nights at home.

O.    The Ocean-  I’m grateful for the beautiful view Gavin and I discovered a few weeks ago.

P.    The Present-  I’m grateful for Now.  Even when now isn’t exactly as I wish it were, I’m grateful that I’m alive and healthy and have so many things to be grateful for.

Q.    Quiblar-  I’m grateful for the little nightlight I bought last weekend to cheer me up.  I’m grateful that a 7 dollar toy from Ikea can cheer me up.

R.    Roberts-  I’m grateful for Family.

S.    Sundays-  I’m grateful for a day to catch up and hang out.

T.    Tomorrow-  I’m grateful for the future.  Whatever it holds, I’m grateful I have tomorrow to plan for, look forward to and experience.

U.    The Unexpected-  I’m (usually) grateful for the unexpected.  A letter in the mail, a note or candy in my lunchbox, a rain day in the middle of a hectic week.  I’m grateful life isn’t too predictable.

V.    Video Games-  I’m grateful for a form of entertainment where I can be a famous singer, an assassin, a hero, god, or a Sim.

W.    Whiteboard-   We have a whiteboard in our kitchen with our weekly menu on it.  The whiteboard is great, but really I’m grateful for a husband who is willing to shop, cook and clean with me so we can eat fresh healthy food at home.

X.    Et cetera-  Everything else, my healthy, my car, my safety equipment at work, our house, love, sunsets, Halloween, change, memories, photographs, art, shadows, freeways, email, perception, soda maker…

Y.    Yesterday-  I’m grateful for the past. I’m grateful for it’s role in getting me to where I am today and for teaching me what I needed to learn

Z.    Our Zoo.  I am so happy to have our beasties around to cheer me up and cuddle and run around like crazy to make us laugh

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wedding Planning: The Tasting

I wrote this at the time of the tasting, but decided not to post it. :)

I was very excited about the tasting. Despite working a million hours a week, I'd arranged weeks ahead of time to have the day off. (As it turned out I ended up working for a few hours to watch our batting cages be poured anyway, but it didn't kink our day! (plus, concrete splatters are a nice accessory, right?)) If I hadn't been required to work, I likely would have dressed up for the event because I like to dress up. I was probably more comfortable in my regular clothes.

Look, a table for two... kinda.

We arrived early and there was no one in the room so we just made ourselves at home! :) I had no idea there were quite so many ways to fold napkins... We finally settled on one that we thought would hold the menu cards nicely.

We hadn't eaten much as we were warned there would be lots of food. We were not disappointed! I felt a bit awkward because with each course the responsible chef would come out and tell us about all the ingredients and how it was prepared. Then he would stand there and watch and wait while we ate it. They were all very nice and very helpful, but I felt weird with them standing over me. Plus I would NEVER say I didn't like anything in front of the person who made it! It wasn't a huge problem because everything was very good, except the bread. I think the bread was pretty bleh.

Bleh Bread. It is pretty.

The first 'real' course were the crab cakes.

Crab Cakes

The crab cakes were good. I wasn't thrilled with the andouille sausage. The presentation was very nice, although the lobster bisque was apparently intended to be served in a more frothy state. The crab cakes were eventually cut, primarily because I didn't think they were worth the asking price and there was too much food anyway.

Next we got to pick: Soup or salad

Potato and Leek Soup

Summer Salad on Watermellon

I missed the soup presentation, which was very nice. The soup bowls arrived with a little pile of potato and leeks and the soup was poured over the top. The soup was good, but not as good as the salad. Plus, in July after sitting outside for an hour, who wants to eat hot soup? I think Gavin's favorite course was the salad. While I loved it, this is likely never going to be true for me, I'm just not quite rabbit enough.

Finally! The Main course!

Next was the main course. It was BEAUTIFUL. We loved the presentation of the side by side lobster and steak with the corresponding sauces. It was served with an excellent risotto, but we decided I couldn't live without mashed potatoes so they were swapped. (We also experimented with a mashed potato appetizer I just realized I failed to photograph, but it flopped). Gavin and I both found the meat slightly overcooked, but still excellent. I even ate all of my veggies.

And Desert

I'm still not sure why we need a desert course when we are going to have wedding cake, but after I saw it, I decided not to push the issue of dropping it. To be honest, the mickey rice crispy made it irresistible (well played Disney although despite constantly changing it on our order form they still served hearts at the wedding). As far as the taste goes, it was way too much chocolate for me. I did snack on all of the dunkable items.

Last, but not least, Cake

We tasted four cakes:

1. Red Velvet cake with cream filling
2. White cake with strawberry and cream filling
3. Orange Cake
4. Red Velvet Cake with cheese cake filling

Number 4 was AMAZING!!! I rarely eat much cake, but it was awesome. I ate my entire slice. they ended up letting us keep the cakes (we gave 1 and 2 to our florist) and I ate almost all the rest of 4! Gavin liked the Orange cake as well and we had both at the wedding (and they served us both!!)


As it turns out, I am very glad we had the tasting. At the tasting, I was able to enjoy the food. At the wedding, we were determined to eat after hearing so many people say they didn't get to enjoy the meal at all. We intentionally went back to our table for each course. But I couldn't taste the food! I remember what it tasted like, but I remember eating it and just not noticing that it had flavor at all! Sensory overload, I suppose!

We also had a fruit spread at the cocktail hour.
Fruit Display

Menu Cards

The Cake!

The Staff was Amazing!  Love this picture.
I didn't get pictures of all of the courses on the day of the wedding, but there were a few.

I do remember the cake, it was much better when my husband fed it to me!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What's for Dinner?

A blog about what we had for dinner!  If you want to see our cookbooks, I added a link at the top of the blog.

Monday: Meatballs in mustard sauce with boiled potatoes. Ikea 365 Dinner Ideas Cook Book 
I was expecting these to be not nearly as good as the awesome meatballs we made a few weeks ago, but actually I was really impressed.  I didn't have the required spicy mustard so I used yellow mustard and horseradish.  I also didn't realize I was suppose to cut up the pickles, so I just had them on the side.  I don't each much meat lately, but I adore meatballs!

Tuesday: Chicken and Biscuits:  Slow Cooker recipes.
We liked this recipe last time, so made it again.When I got home, after a long day, I wasn't in the mood to stay in, so my super husband took me to Casa Ranchero for some awesome Mexican food and margaritas. Still made great leftovers.

Wednesday: Veggie Dinner Jalepano and potato frittata and corn soup. The Veggie Cookbook and Williams Sonoma Newlywed cookbook 
Not the most successful dinner we've ever had, but it made an AMAZING breakfast for leftovers!!  We also missed Alyssa.

Thursday: Would be girls night: Greek food instead  
The best laid plans don't always work out!  I had intended to go to girls night, but life got in the way so Gavin and I stopped at a little Greek resturant in Escondidio.  I had falafal that wasn't half as good as the one Alyssa made me last week (but still good) and Gavin had a gyro.

Friday: Video game Coma.
Sometimes you just need a night off.  Friday was mine.  I had leftovers, fast food, red bull and fallout until I died one too many times!

Saturday: A Night in!  Hot Dogs
Turns out I still don't really like hot dog despite my enthusiasm for them while camping recently. 
Sunday:  Meatballs in red pepper sauce Newlywed cookbook
More meatballs!!!  I couldn't help myself!

I still love this recipe.  This photo is Gavin's 'tv dinner'.  Gavin was playing the Sundays so I stole a play from Nathalie's play book and served him dinner at his computer on this awesome tray we got in London a few years ago.   

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Run Run Away

I'm still not a runner. I run, I make running schedules, I wave at other runners I pass, I even shop at runners stores! But I'm still no runner.

All summer, I ran three time a week, more or less, and normally even looked forward to it after work (when it wasn't too late and I wasn't too tired, those days I dreaded it!). I wasn't running far, and for the most part I ran the exact same trail every day (don't tell the serial killer, I know they look for these patterns!) I felt like I was making progress and everyday I went a little bit faster and it was a little bit easier.

Little did I know, my running path was about to make a sharp turn (this is where a Dateline would cut to commercial, fyi)

I had decided that to help me sleep the night before the wedding, I would go for my run. Despite our best plans, we were running a bit behind schedule that day, but I was out the door and running by 7:15. I headed to the trail with the dog, leaving Gavin and his parents at home. I was running along the trail when suddenly I crashed, hard. I didn't know it until almost a week later, but some animal had burrowed under the trail, so while there wasn't a visible hole, when I stepped on the weak spot it caved under my foot sending me sprawling. I crawled up and stumbled home sobbing. Luckily, Gavin's dad was still there and took a look at my ankle which was fortunately was only rolled and not broken or sprained. I had road rash up my leg and on my hands. Besides becoming a memorable part of our wedding story, ( I was able to walk/dance fine and only had minor discomfort from the road rash) the fall had a tremendous impact on my running.

Band-Aids, the new garter.

Suddenly, I could no longer run confidently and found myself staring at the ground directly in front of me all the time. I ran a few times on our honeymoon, but even then, along the beautiful Jamaican beach, found it quite challenging to convince myself to go.

When I started running, I didn't buy shoes. I decided that if I kept it up though the summer, then I could buy shoes as a reward. I had solidly earned the shoes and  eventually buying them was probably one of the things that convinced me to not give up.

Currently, I'm still running. My goal is 6 miles a week, but I'm struggling to make it with the bumps life is throwing me.  I've decided to take a much more patient approach with myself and be proud of what I can do, and where I improve instead of negative and harsh.

Regardless, I'm still signed up for my first 5k on Thanksgiving and I'm going to do my best.  Given the last few weeks, there is at least some possibility that the mental picture I have of being the last person across the finish line (complete with 90 year old women with walkers passing me at the last moment) will come true, but I will do my best and I will be proud of myself.  And I will hopefully not fall.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What's for dinner?

A blog about what we had for dinner!

But first, a new look for our table for fall! The linens were a Wedding gift from Gavin's cousin who recently returned from India.  The flowers are left over from Chris and Lisa's fantastic wedding centerpieces.

Monday: Shrimp Stir Fry. From Crate and Barrel Newlywed Cookbook My Super husband was so kind as to make the grocery list and do the shopping on Monday morning because daylight savings time made us both too lazy to do it Sunday. I had no idea what I'd be making for dinner Monday night!  I was initially disappointed, but the recipe came out great and was pretty easy (besides forgetting to cook the rice while I chopped everything up)

Tuesday: Coq a Vin William Sonoma Healthful Cooking.  We are just gonna through this in the failure pile and spare you an picture.  Suffice to say, some things shouldn't be made out of healthful cooking book, when on a time crunch! 

Wednesday: Veggie Falafal with Alyssa SUPER tasty.  I'll probably make them again and share the recipe then. 

Thursday: Mini meatloaf with three mac and cheese: Rachel Ray 365  We make this all the time, so decided it would be a great dish to make for my mom's visit.
Friday: Happy Hour at Applebees with Jen Jen was so nice to meet me in Bell Gardens so I could stop by and visit my husband at the Bike.

Saturday: Movie Date Night In!   Pizza, Baked Potatoes, Champagne and home made beer!  Well, we liked it!:)
I really like how this photo came out.

Sunday: Baby Corn and Sparkling Water Well, it's the truth!  I had a big lunch at Ikea with Alyssa.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Happiest Day on Earth

***See Some of the wedding video here!***

Gavin and I have been married for three months and I'm realizing that it's never going to be easy for me to write this blog. I think I've started it half a dozen time and every time ended up starting over. I was happy to have Nathalie and Jacki's blogs to read in the meantime! :) It's impossible for me to write down everything I felt and everything that happened. For the same reason I'm having a nearly impossible time ordering pictures!!! There are so many great pictures of the day, but on the other hand, none of them fully capture all of the feelings and the true beauty of the day.
Our wedding was perfect. It was everything we dreamed it would be. The few things that weren't exactly as we planned I didn't even notice until days or weeks later. The worst thing that happened actually happened the night before the wedding when I fell running (I'll write more on that in my next running update). I was scared to death I'd broken or sprained something and wouldn't be able to walk down the aisle. But by the next morning, I was okay and ready to marry my husband.

The girls came over to my house to get ready while the boys went golfing. My hair lady stressed me out a bit when she started saying she wouldn't finish on time, but in the end, everyone looked lovely! After feeling rushed the day of the rehearsal, I made a point to take time to collect myself when I started feeling frazzled and remember what this day was for and remember to take it all in!  Special Thanks to Nathalie for being a HUGE help with that and for getting these pictures of all the pregame!  I really cherish them.
Time out to Relax!

Mimosa with my flower girl
Paparazzi shot of taking the dress to the Limo

I remember on the limo ride over that everything looked slightly different, and I wasn't convinced it was just the tinted glass. From the minute we got to Disney, time started to fly. Particularly the time between arriving and the wedding. One minute I was tossing my clothes over the dressing partition and the next minute I was walking down the aisle!

That's my clothes flying :)

I felt so beautiful

Gavin and I met up before the wedding. It was magical. He looked so handsome, so happy and so in love with me. We exchanged letters and private vows we had written and held hands and exchanged stories from the morning. Afterward, I felt collected and peaceful. It was perfect.

Sharing our private vows

Next, we had the bridal party party together for pictures and our first surprise showed up, the carriage! Everyone was buzzing with excitement!
Everyone went to set up for the wedding and I sat in the carriage feeling like the luckiest princess in the world. I sat there listening to the music start and remembering meeting Gavin, remembering our first all night conversations, our first kiss, the moment he first told me he loved me, and then my song came on, and it was time.
Feeling like a Princess

When I pulled up, Gavin says there was a gasp as everyone saw me in the carriage. I didn't hear it, all I saw was Gavin. He looked so handsome and so proud.

Gavin thought I was going to pass out at one point (he may have been correct, I'm not sure). Other than that, the ceremony was beautiful, but it was also a blur. I'm looking forward to seeing the video to recapture all of the details I couldn't keep track of at the time! Father Bill did an amazing job. And just like that two became one. We were married!

I didn't want to spend much time taking formal pictures, so we rushed through that part and it was off to the party!

The reception was a blast. It is incredibly magical to be in a room full of people who traveled from all over the world because they love you. Dinner was delicious (I think, I couldn't taste it, but I remember it from the tasting!) Gavin bought me a 1990 Dom as a wedding gift and that was amazing as well.
We felt the first dance was going a bit long so decided a dramatic bow would be our best escape!

Dress problems clearly didn't affect my joy! :)

Right before the cake cutting, our second surprise to our guests: Mickey Mouse! It's hard to say who was more excited, the kids or the grown ups (or the bride! :) )

Gavin Cutting in on Mickey!

The night flew by and before you know it, it was time to sneak away with my groom. There will be no blog on that!

There are tons of details I left out, and tons of great photos I omitted, but I plan to post a few posts about the planning so maybe a few more will sneak in then.  I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful day or a more wonderful husband.  Gavin has been the most amazing person to come into my life and I am so grateful for the love and support he has shown me, especially over the last few months.  I know he'll be by my side no matter what happens.
The planning was tedious and at times miserable, but in the end it really was worth it.  I am so grateful for our family and wedding party and all of their help.  I am so blessed.