Sunday, November 30, 2008

Williams Sonoma Kitchen

Sunday, November 30, 2008
I think it would be so cool to have a Williams Sonoma kitchen one day. I love almost everything in that store... the pans, appliances, utensils, linens, etc. The store can be a little pricey, so I don't know that will ever really happen, but in the mean time, I'll be happy by stocking my cupboards with some of my newfound favorite spices, sauces, etc.

Chili-Lime Rub - Rub this on some chicken and it makes some of the best fajitas ever! Then marinade the meat in the Tequila or Margarita marinade... seriously divine!

This year for Thanksgiving, we let Williams Sonoma help out... We brined the turkey in their brine and the turkey was so flavorful and moist. But the best was the gravy. I seriously don't think I've ever had better gravy in my life. So delicious! They're on sale right now... I'll be stopping by the store tomorrow to stock up!


Cookies 'n Cream

One thing I love about the holiday season is seeing old friends. Val came to Boise for Thanksgiving, and I was so excited that we got to spend some time together while she was here. We decided to go out for dessert last night... Val knew of a place in Meridian called Cookies & Cream that serves ice cream and cookies, and I was excited to try a new place. It was so much fun! We got to pick out two cookies and then our favorite ice cream to go in between the cookies, making a delicious ice cream sandwich. I chose a chocolate chip cookie and a double chocolate cookie with cookies and cream ice cream :-) Talk about rich! Anyway, it was yummy, and we had a great time just chatting and catching up. Can't wait till next time!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Cards

Saturday, November 29, 2008
I have enjoyed scrapbooking since probably middle school. It's kind of funny to go back and look at old pages that I have done. My scrapbook style has definitely changed over the years. Sometimes when I look at those old pages, I cringe at how ugly they are.. you know, the pages with the the star or heart shaped pictures, 30 pictures on a page, etc. I have even thought about re-doing some of the pages, but I stop myself, and remember how much fun I had putting those pages together.

A few years ago, I got into card making... not the kind where I have to use a lot of stamps, but more scrapbook-type cards (I'm still not much of a stamper). I started making handmade Christmas cards three years ago, and have just really enjoyed sending them out. My friends Mandy, Jami, and I spent the morning working on this year's Christmas cards. I thought mine turned out pretty cute, so thought I'd post a picture here!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Continuing with Tradition

Friday, November 28, 2008
Last year I decided to start a new tradition - attending the Idaho Food Bank's Empty Bowls event the day after Thanksgiving. Empty Bowls is a really cool fundraiser to help Idaho's hungry. For $10, you can purchase a hand-crafted bowl, and you receive free gourmet soup from a local chef. Beki and I attended the event this afternoon, perused table after table of unique bowls, picked out our favorites, and enjoyed some fabulous soup. My friend Sally wasn't able to attend, so she gave us vouchers for free soup that she received from making bowls for the event (I totally want to make a bowl next year!). Because of the vouchers, Beki and I each got to enjoy two cups of soup :-) We had potato bacon and tomato lentil... they were both delicious.

So I've been thinking lately that I need to get more involved in my community. I think I might go talk to the Idaho Food Bank to see what kind of volunteer opportunities they have on an ongoing basis. Any other suggestions on great places in Boise to volunteer?


The Lights are Hung, the Trees are Trimmed

It's the day after Thanksgiving... what does that mean? Time to decorate for Christmas, of course! Holiday decorating is a lot of work - packing up the previous holiday or season's decor, getting down new decor from the attic, actually decorating, cleaning up after decorating, etc. Because of that, I like to get up my Christmas decorations immediately after Thanksgiving so I can enjoy them as long as possible.

I have two Christmas trees - one "pretty" one that goes in my front room... It has white lights and I only decorate it with red and gold ornaments. The other Christmas tree has colored lights and is decorated with all the fun ornaments I have gathered over the years. It is tradition that I get (at least) one new ornament each year, typically representing something special I did that year. For example, I have a NYC taxi ornament from the year I spent New Years Eve in Times Square & I have a BSU football ornament from the year I started both my Masters degree and my job at Boise State. I got this year's ornament in Alaska - Santa driving a dogsled team!Besides my trees, I set up my nativity set, decorated my dining room table, hung Christmas lights on the outside of my house, and decorated my front porch.
Now I'm busy wrapping presents. No, I didn't do any Christmas shopping today - I have had almost all my gifts for a while now :-)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Changing with the Seasons

Saturday, November 22, 2008
I love the fact that Boise has four distinct seasons. I don't necessarily love everything about every season, but I do enjoy the change itself. I love hearing the birds chirp on a crisp spring morning. I love the fact that it stays light outside in the summer until 10:00. I love crunching through the leaves in the fall. I love the winter holidays. So along with the change in the weather, I feel the need to change other things... Take my dining room table for example. I have posted before about how I love to have my table decorations match the season and am always gathering new items to add to my decor. I can't have spring decorations on my table in November! These are a couple random table pictures I pulled from my photo archives over the past few years. Each year the table gets better because I'm always adding to the decor.
This was my January table... I needed something after Christmas but before Valentines.

My November table setting - I decorated for Halloween for the first time this year but forgot to take pictures... You'll have to imagine it. It was super cool.

This was my very first table setting for Christmas a few years ago... I jazz it up more now, but you get the idea!

I also have a couple different bedding sets (and am thinking I need another one that is more spring-like). Sometime this week I plan on putting on my "winter" bedding.
Dark chocolate and red - this is my winter bedroom decor

My summer/fall bedding - I love Pottery Barn bedding!

Another thing I change based on the seasons is my hair :-) I go lighter in the spring and summer and darker for fall and winter. My hair right now is actually darker than it has ever been. It's a dark brown with some red in it. It took some getting used to, but I love it!
My hair this summer - my natural brown with some blond highlights

Kickin it with my baby sister - notice the dark hair and bangs!

So since I am a nut about changing things for the seasons, I decided I needed to start changing my blog for the seasons. Watch for a new blog theme coming after Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh How Sweet

Monday, November 17, 2008
Last week at work I got a new computer. My computer was a few years old and was kind of slow, so I was pretty excited to get it. The BEST part of getting my new computer is the fact that it came with an extra video card so I can have dual-monitors. Oh happy day! Isn't this just beautiful!?!
I have dual monitors at home and just think it is definitely the way to go. I can have two programs open at once and see them side by side, and I think it makes me more productive. Gotta love the extra real estate. Wahoo!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Breaking a bad habit

Sunday, November 16, 2008
My entire life I have had the bad habit of biting my fingernails. In fact, if anyone asks, I say I have bitten my nails ever since I had teeth. I honestly don't remember a time when I didn't bite my nails. After I graduated from college, my dad paid for me to get braces to help close the small gap between my two front teeth. I remember it being so frustrating because the braces made it so I couldn't bite my nails. I just knew that after having braces for a year that I would have kicked that bad habit. Well, unfortunately that wasn't the case. I don't think I had even had my braces off a week when I started biting my nails again.

Anyway, this year as part of my Halloween costume, I painted my fingernails black. Because I had parties two weekends in a row, I just left the nail polish on and touched up before the second party. Something must have triggered in my brain not to bite my nails because of my fingernail polish... A couple weeks ago when I took the nail polish off, I was so excited to see white tips on each of my nails. That is so rare! And not only that, but I could actually see the tips of a couple of my nails peeking up over the fingers when looking at the palm-side of my hand. Wahoo! Granted, the white on my nail starts down lower on my finger than most because I have consistently bitten the nails down so low, but I'm excited nonetheless. (I know it's kind of a funky picture, but I couldn't figure out how to take an attractive picture of my hand!) So I wonder if I can keep this up? Guess we'll see. In the mean time, I think I'll just keep putting nail polish on my nails, and maybe even use this as an excuse to get a manicure :-)


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Splash of Color

Saturday, November 08, 2008
I know I've been saying this for a couple months now, but I'm almost done with my house projects for the year (I'd better be since there's less than 2 months left in the year!). My most recent project has been painting! I decided (along with my interior design friend Meiken), that my dining room needed a splash of color. My house is mostly decorated in warm, rich colors, so went with a red. It is beautiful! It also really ties well with the red sectional in my family room.


Green Thumb?

I have planted a garden for the last 5 years, and have always had pretty good luck, especially with tomatoes. Well, this year just wasn't my year. I planted my garden a little late because it seemed like we had 3 winters... whenever it started to get nice, it would get freezing again. Anyway, my tomatoes took FOREVER to ripen, and even a few weeks ago when we pulled the plants out of the garden, there were still tons of green tomatoes all over the vines. I also tried something new this year - watermelon. This spring when I bought my plants, I really wanted cantaloupe (I've had some success with cantaloupe in the past), but the store was out so I bought watermelon instead. Hmmm, I'm not quite sure what happened. I got two watermelons, but they were both the size of apples. Hopefully I'll have better luck next year!

I love fall, but with it comes loads of yardwork. Um, now that I think of it, it seems like I do tons of yardwork all year long. Oh well, it's definitely worth it to have an entire yard of mature landscaping. Anyway, this weekend, we filled 11 of those big paper lawn and garden bags, along with 5 more black trash bags... all full of wisteria clippings and leaves from all my trees. I even cleaned my gutters this week - I hate that chore! The bummer part is that my trees and wisteria haven't dropped all their leaves yet, so I'm not finished yet, but the majority of the work is over!


Thursday, November 06, 2008

8 Things

Thursday, November 06, 2008
I was tagged by a couple of people for this one, so here goes!

8 TV shows that I love to watch:
  1. The Office
  2. Chuck
  3. BSU Football
  4. CSI
  5. Law & Order
  6. Greys Anatomy
  7. What Not to Wear
  8. House Hunters
8 favorite places to eat:
  1. Costa Vida
  2. Melting Pot
  3. Mona Lisa
  4. Smokey Mountain
  5. Dong Khanh
  6. Yokozuno
  7. Bangkok Thai
  8. Whitewater Pizza
8 things I did yesterday:
  1. Attended a conference session on Humor in the Workplace
  2. Listened to an inspiring speaker at the closing session of my conference
  3. Went shopping at Nordstroms (gotta love shopping in Portland!)
  4. Took the Max from my hotel in Portland to the airport
  5. Flew home!
  6. Changed the time on my watch for the 3rd time this week
  7. Did some cardio, abs, and yoga at the gym
  8. Ate a late dinner at Costa Vida
8 things I am looking forward to:
  1. Getting my spare bedroom painted & back in order
  2. Finishing my fall yardwork - raking, trimming, and cleaning the gutters (not that I like doing this, just that it is hanging over my head)
  3. Seeing family over Thanksgiving and Christmas
  4. A relaxing weekend
  5. My cruise to the western Caribbean this spring
  6. Warmer weather so I can ride my motorcycle again
  7. My next massage... guess I better get it scheduled!
  8. Getting Christmas cards and letters in the mail from all my friends :-)
8 things on my wish list:
  1. Paying off my mortgage
  2. A new car... still figuring out which one!
  3. Remodeled bathrooms - I've updated the rest of my house, but my bathrooms are stuck in the 80s
  4. Someone to magically shovel all my snow this winter - last year was a killer!
  5. Season 4 of The Office and Season 1 of Chuck on dvd
  6. A project table for my office - I love the one at Pottery Barn
  7. Traveling to visit all my college buddies - New York, Virginia, Utah, Texas, etc.
  8. A ceiling mount for my projector
Wow - that was harder than I thought! The first couple under each category were easy, but then I struggled to fill almost every one. Hmmmm.... Anyway, here's the last one:

8 people I tag:
  1. Mandi
  2. Mandy
  3. Nancy
  4. Liz
  5. Courtney
  6. Colette
  7. Katrina
  8. Val


Laughing in My Sleep

I have known for years that I talk in my sleep. I have always thought I only talked when I'm super tired, but I don't really know that for a fact. I attended a conference in Portland this week and shared a room with my co-worker Mandy. The first morning, she told me that I had been laughing in my sleep - well she actually used the words "cracking up". Wish I could remember my dream! What funny things do you do in your sleep?


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

History in the Making

Wednesday, November 05, 2008
On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the first black President in the history of the United States of America. Regardless of my own political beliefs, I am proud of how far our country has come, that we can look past race in electing the leader of our nation.

I do, however, have something I just need to vent about. I believe that we should vote for whomever best represents our viewpoints and beliefs on key issues. I have been frustrated over the last couple weeks as I have heard person after person indicate that they were voting for Obama because he is black and that is so inspiring, or they were voting for him because he is young and charismatic. While I agree that it is inspiring to elect a young, black, charismatic president, I was disappointed when people based their decisions solely on these elements instead of the main issues.

All in all, this Presidential election was definitely an exciting one to follow. I think that we need to pull together as a country and stand united, especially during these tough economic times. I will do my best to support and stand by our newly elected President.