Friday, February 27, 2009

American Wife: My Review

I just finished Curtis Sittenfeld’s fictional novel, “American Wife.”

The story is fiction, but is based in many ways on the life of former First Lady Laura Bush. (It is supposedly based on Ann Gerhart’s 2004 biography, The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush.)

It chronicles the fictional life of bookish, naïve Alice Lindgren and the trajectory that lands her in the White House as first lady. Including a traumatizing car crash as teen, meeting her boyishly charming rake of a husband (Charlie Blackwell), her marriage, and journey to the white House.

Personally, I loved it! 5 stars! The first 2/3 of the book especially. Just a great story and amazing writing. It posed many provoking questions about marriage, loyalty, and responsibility.

As a Newlywed I can really relate to Alice’s never-ending love and loyalty to her husband, even when he screws up in his personal life and when most of America is against him. I guess no matter what, he’s always your Man.

I know its fiction, but I really made feel for Laura Bush. Laura Bush has never been super outspoken with the press, so she’s always had a kind of a mystery around her with some saying she’s elegant and professional, and others saying she’s a "Stepford wife". I can’t wait to read her actual memoir coming out in 2010 (I think). I will say after reading this book, I "googled" a lot for her to find out about the car crash she was actually in, her political views, and her relationship with George.

Did anyone else read this? Please share your thoughts! I’d love to discuss it with someone!

PS- I posted to my "She Just Got Married" Blog as well... totally different topic...check it out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exciting News!

No, I'm not pregnant. However, I did just give birth to a new blog baby....

The founder of this awesome website called "She Just Got Married" asked me to be one of her featured bloggers! How cool is that??!!

Now you read even more from at the "She Just Got Married" blog, Newlywed on the Beach!

Why Newlywed on the Beach? Because we got engaged on the beach, got married at the beach, honeymooned on a beach, and now live by the beach. Also, I'm the only West Coast Blogger on "She Just Got Married", so it seemed fitting.

To check out the amazing blogs on "She Just Got Married" just click here:

You can also always click over here from my side bar as well.

(Speaking of side bars... WTF is up with the new followers side bar? Google, you know it's ugly and fugging up our blogs, please fix it.)

Also, want to give a special thank you for the blog love from Adventures in Newlywed. You are such a sweetheart! You can also read more from her on "She Just Got Married" as she blogs there as Texan Bride. Check her out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Help My Dad's Student

Hi everyone!

My Dad is a Communication Professor at San Diego State. One of his favorite Masters Students is doing a study to examine the relationship between media use and social capital.

You can help out this student sooooo much if you would take this short confidential academic survey:

It will take you less than 5 minutes and BONUS! you get to talk about how much you blog. :-) It's fun, and you can consider it your good deed for the day.

(Don't worry, the survey does not ask you for your email address or target you for direct marketing... it's a legit academic survey by a grad student for the sole purpose of gathering data).

Thank you!
The Newlywed Next Door & Dad

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bloggy "Date" with Chic Runner

A few weeks ago I discovered that Chic Runner and I live in the same neighborhood.

So last night we met for a bloggy "date" for crepes and coffee! So fun! We talked about blogging, the blogs we love, church, significant others, and our lives in So Cal. We laughed about how meeting friends on "the internet" seems sketchy, but feel like the blogger network is a little different, than say, "yahoo personals" or "".

We talked about how there a lot of bloggers from the South, Mid-west, and even East Coast, but there are not a lot of West Coast bloggers and even less Orange Country bloggers. Are there ANY Orange County bloggers out there? If so, please leave me comment! (LA bloggers comment too!)

Anyway, meeting up with Chic Runner was a blast! Has anyone met any bloggy friends in "real" life?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Taxman Cometh... and I am afraid

This weekend The Mr. and I got around to preparing our taxes and submitting them to the H&R Block accountant that my company hooked me up with (my company pays for me to have my taxes done since my constant traveling has all kinds of crazy tax implications).

I think we may owe some money. And by some money, I mean a LOT of money.

We saved up a bunch of $$$ this year in case we owe, but I didn't think it could be this much. I've always gotten money back from the IRS and not owed. I'm praying my H&R block dude gives me some good news. So stay tuned for part 2 of our tax saga.

How are everyone else's taxes going? Is anyone "married filing jointly" for the first time? :-)

PS- Don't know if anyone follows California news, but it looks like a budget was finally approved, which means the state can actually give refunds to those who overpaid. Too bad sales tax just went through the roof.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Irrelevant Academy Awards?

There are some writers, social critics, and news analysts out there saying that the Academy Awards are becoming increasingly irrelevant because the films featured are critically acclaimed but unpopular (for example, I think "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" has grossed as much as all of the best picture nominated films combined). Also because, in this downward economy, a bunch of stars drenched in diamonds and designers honoring each others seems hopelessly out of touch with actual America.

I'm sad to report that I've seen none of the best picture nominated films this year. I know, I know, I'm lame! But one of the places in our budget we've cut is seeing movies in theater. Instead wait until they come to

I'm still watching the Academy Awards tonight. Why? The outfits.

The 81st Academy Awards -- meaningless or momentous?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bangs, Bridesmaid Dresses, Country Music, & Peace Corps

What do these things have in common? They’re all the random things my mind this morning!

1. Bangs
For the first time since I was 8 years old, I have bangs. My friend Carey does my hair and did such a great job! I love them! So fun and sassy! What do you think?

2. Bridesmaid Dresses
C, one of my best friends from my Sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, is getting married in June! I’m so excited to be one her bridesmaids. I’m trying to be lowest maintenance Bridesmaid ever, since I know how hard it is to be the bride and the last thing you need is bridesmaid d-r-a-m-a. But I was really happy when she picked this adorable dress from Aria to be the Bridesmaid dress:

I love the sweetheart neck! And the dress is going to be a coral/pink color which I think will look good on me. Like with most bridesmaid dresses I didn’t get to try it (don’t you hate that about Bridesmaid dresses?), so I guess I have to hope for the best when it comes! Has anyone ever had an Aria Bridesmaid dress?

3. Country Music
This week was another crazzzzy week at work. Lots of stress and long hours and I may or may not have had a total meltdown on Wednesday. So definitely TGIF!!! One of the girls who works for me, B, and I were stuck in a conference room working on presentations and listening to my Rascal Flatts Pandora play list for several hours this week. We were talking about how we like Country Music when we’re stressed because it paints such an idyllic picture of life in a Small Town away from the corporate chaos we’re a part of in CA. Does anyone else feel this way?

4. Peace Corps
Next week, my best friend, L, and her Husband are moving to Ecuador for the Peace Corps. She’s going to be gone for over two years! I’m going to miss her sooo much! We met in Kindergarten and even though we’ve lived in different cities for a while now, not being able to see her for two years makes me so sad. I told her that she needs to blog about her adventures and then I can introduce you all to her.

Here’s a pic of us at my wedding (she was my MoH):

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Travel Tips Thursday: Packing Light

Hi everyone! Welcome to Travel Tip Thursday!

Now that Erin’s told you all about how to properly bring your luggage onto the plane, I’m going to share my secrets to packing light so you are able fit everyone into your two carry ons.

Your mission….

To fit this:

Into only these:

How to pack light:

  • Make a list of everything you need to bring. I have a permanent list taped to the inside my closet since I travel so much. This will help you to not over pack and will help to relieve that panicked “forgot something” feeling.

  • Check the Weather for your destination and pack accordingly for the weather (don’t bring a lot of “in case” outfits).

  • Stick to one “base” color such as black, navy blue, grey, brown. Then coordinate outfits, purses, shoes, and accessories to this color. I know it’s hard to pick just one, but this is vital for packing light. Then use a few bright colors to accent your base color.

  • Pick shirts that double for work and night time. For example I will wear a sweater to work on Tuesday and wear it out to dinner on Wednesday.

  • Don’t be afraid to wear things twice. So skip the white since it shows dirt faster.

  • Limit the number of shoes you bring. I think the shoe staples for traveling are cute flats, cute heals that can double for work or going out, and gym shoes/walking shoes. Which is a total of three pairs of shoes, and you can wear one on the plane. Also pack socks inside of your gym shoes.

  • Bring one pair of dark denim jeans. They don’t look dirty fast and can be dressed up or down.

  • Bring one versatile jacket (I recommend black) and wear it/carry it with you on the plane (since they take a lot of room in a bag). Bonus: it can double as a pillow on the plane.

  • Bring SMALL cosmetics. You can only carry ONE small zip lock bag of liquid cosmetics, so buy some tiny bottles or refill hotel lotions/shampoos and use powder-based makeup.

  • Try to carry on one big purse and inside of it bring one small purse or clutch for going out later (you can put your ipod or phone chargers the small purse it while it’s inside of your big purse).

  • Wear a cute track suit on the plane that can later be used for working out or lounging on your tip. Or if your headed straight from the plane to work, wear what you’ll wear to work that day.

  • Bring sleepwear that doubles for lounge wear or that be can be used for working out too (such as yoga pants).

One final note... make that sure your bag closes easily. If you have to struggle to close it will likely bulge and NOT fit in overhead bin.

I have faith that you can fit it all in the small bag! I once packed two weeks of work clothes plus fun clothes for a weekend getaway to Boston in one small roller bag. If I can do it, so can you!

Now to answer some reader questions from last week's Travel Tip Thursday.

From Haley
Q: Did Erin draw the diagram in paint???
A: No, she drew it in PowerPoint and saved the file as .jpeg.

From Linda
Q: I need to know how to get everything into one carry on bag. Can you also cover formal wear? I'm going to Vegas for a wedding and we'll be bring hubby's suit and my party dress. How can I pack those with minimal wrinkling?
A: Follow the rules above. Pack the suit and party dress in a garment bag that you carry on and carefully place in the overhead bin. If you are trying to carry on, then try to pack all of the rest of you and your Hubby’s gear in another carry on together.

From Mrs. Nurse
Q: Can you explain the liquid rule? Can I not put the big bottles of shampoo in my luggage?
A: You can only put big shampoos in your checked bag. Any liquids that you carry on must be less than 3 ounces (basically hotel-sized shampoos) and all them have to be contained with in a 1 quart plastic bag (not a giant freezer bag, more like a sandwich bag).

Be sure to leave me any questions in the comments section that you want me to answer next week.

PS- Sorry this got so long! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cheating, Marriage, and "He's Just Not That Into You"

This weekend, my good friend M and I went and saw “He’s Just Not That into You”. While I had a great time with her and I was definitely entertained during the movie…

I’m about to say something that might be really unpopular in bloggy-world…

I didn’t love it.

In fact, I found it a tad bit depressing. Also, I really didn’t like its messages about marriage and amount of time it spent focusing on infidelity in marriage.

“He’s Just Not That into You” on Marriage: The movie treats marriage is treated as both a desired outcome and a burden. Women long for it, and men dread it. For example, Ben calls a wedding a "funeral". And even though some of the characters do value marriage, it's not necessarily considered a permanent, sacred commitment to be honored by others.

“He’s Just Not That into You” on cheating: A ton of the film focuses on Anna's affair with Ben. It made me so sad for everyone involved in that horrible triangle. I mean, I get the message it was trying to say, “If he’s cheating on you, he’s just not that into you.” But that aspect just really took me out of the film. I really wish that they hadn’t used a married couple. And Mary trying to tell Anna it’s ok to be perusing a married man in the name of true love made me sick. All I could think was “imagine if that was your husband, your best friend’s husband, or your sister’s husband. You would not say that.”

When the Mr. and I were doing pre-marital mentoring with an awesome older couple from our church they told us that they will not even watch a movie or a TV show with marital infidelity in it. Even if they are mid-movie they just turn. it. off. They said that they don’t like even having the idea of infidelity around their marriage and don’t want to validate how flippant society is about cheating. At first I thought “WHOA… that is crazy.” But now that I’m married, I kind of get it.

I know a lot of people loved it, so please don't hate me for writing this! Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy seeing it, but am I alone in feeling it was a bit depressing?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Husband!

Dear Mr,

In honor of your 27th Birthday here are 27 things I love about you:

  1. Your faith

  2. How you always brew me coffee

  3. Your love of USC Football and all things USC

  4. Your kindness

  5. How you cook with me (BBQ!)

  6. Your hair :-)

  7. The way you install and fix things around the house

  8. Your smile

  9. The vows you said at our wedding

  10. Your loyalty

  11. How you love going out to dinner with me

  12. Your calm attitude

  13. How you pray with me

  14. Your fun-loving spirit

  15. Your quest for knowledge

  16. The way you make me laugh

  17. Your deep blue eyes

  18. The way you hold my hand

  19. How you run errands for me while I’m gone

  20. Your patience

  21. How you put up with me when I’m cranky

  22. Your trustworthiness

  23. How you love traveling with me

  24. Your fiscal responsibility

  25. How you love playing sports or working out with me

  26. The way you always call me to say “I love you”

  27. You’ve spent your last 5 birthday with me and you want to spend the next 60 with me as well

I love you!

PS- To my readers, I'm sorry that this has blog has become the gushy mushy blog. It was the perfect storm of Valentines Day, 6 Month Anniversary, and Mr's Birthday. Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled programing.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Wedding Day - Part Three: The Reception

Hope that you all enjoyed "Part Two" of the Newlyweds Next Door wedding series. I bet you can guess what "Part Three" is...

{click to enlarge}

This collage really sums up our wedding reception. It was such an awesome whirlwind time.

We had a fabulous Dance Band, The Ultratones!

We did our grand entrance into the ballroom to the USC Fight Song! Go Trojans!

We danced our first dance to Crazy Love by Van Morrison. We had taken dance lessons and we were still so nervous! Ha!

The Mr. gave me giant kiss when it was over!

Then we danced, danced, danced the night away.

I did some really fun DIY details for our reception...

Our escort cards were pencil starfish and the ribbon color that tied on the tag indicated meal choice.

I created several photo collages of us as kids and of us as a couple over the years for people to look at as they entered the ballroom.

Instead of favors we did donations to Alzheimer's Association and gave people a Sand dollar to signify that donation at their place setting.The text read:"A dollar for them, a dollar for you For each of our wedding guests we've donated a dollar to Alzheimer's Association."
We chose Alzheimer's Association in memory of my Grandpa Jack and in support of Mr's Fraternity Philanthropy.

I had toasting flutes made up for us and they sat our our sweetheart table.

Our reception centerpieces were giant glass cylinders centerpieces filled with turquoise beads and orange roses with floating candles on top surrounded by small tea lights and rose petals. We decorated each place setting with starfish and sand dollars. Each table was named after a beach that had significance to us.

This table was Dockweiler Beach, where I was baptized!

The ballroom featured aqua and tangerine uplighting. Loved it!

I designed our wedding cake with the baker. I wanted it to be beachy without being too cheesy. So I opted for just starfish and sand dollars and turquoise line running down it like water. On the table around it were pencil starfish and votive candles.

What I really loved out our reception is that we got to celebrate with friends from various parts of our lives -- childhood, high school, college, sorority/fraternity, work, church, and beyond. I think that's one of the coolest parts of a wedding, having almost everyone you're close with in one place.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentiens Day - Romantic Memory

Because this day is devoted to love and romance, I've been reflecting on the most romantic moment of my life.

While our engagement was amazing, exciting, and definitely romantic... the most romantic moment of my life was saying our vows at our wedding.

The Mr. started his vows with a passage from Song of Solomon 4:
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!

How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!

He went on to say what he loved about me (including my orgnaization skills, which got a huge laugh from the crowd) and how he promised to love me forever. Neither of our eyes were dry.

So, to my dear and loving Husband: Thank you for your amazing and unfailing love. I love being your wife. Happy Valentines Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Praise! Company Cars and Credit Cards

This will be a short post since today is another busy busy day. I can't wait for this weekend! (even though I have more work to do over it).

I have two great pieces of news from the Newlyweds Next Door!

1. Our car situation

I blogged before about the Mr. and I only having one car between us and having to ride the Metro to my LA office when I was working in town...
Well today the Mr. got a company car! So no more sharing (except on the weekends). This couldn't have come at a better time since my company is having me work in my LA office or from home more and travel by flight to my clients less. I feel like God really rewarded the faithfulness and prudence of our decision to not go into debt to buy a new car for the Mr.

2. Our credit card situation
The Mr. and I have never put ourselves in a situation where we had to pay interest on our credit cards. We pay them off each month. Well about 8 months ago we got at 0% interest card (0% for one year) to pay for stuff for our wedding, new house, etc. Well when all was said and done we had racked up (gasp!) $5,000 on that card (suddenly I realized how easy it is to go into credit card debt). Well today I made the last $500 pay on it! (we never had to pay interest). It feels so good! I feel like calling Dave Ramsey and shouting "we're debt free"! (lol) Well we're not debt "free" but the only debt we have is our mortgage and student loans which have really low interest rates. Awesome!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and are getting geared up for a fantastic Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Travel Tip- One Reader’s Insights on “The Bin Space”

The following post is a guest post from my dear friend and co-worker, Erin.

As a fellow consultant and weekly traveler, I have the joy of sharing Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons high in the sky with THE Mrs. Newlywed Next Door herself. Thanks to her, I’m very excited to be writing my first blog article ever!! (So please bear with me as I learn the style and technique to sharing my thoughts).

As many of you have probably experienced, the hardest part about traveling is the extra time on each side of your flight itself…It’s the hour you get there before your departure time just to check a bag (note- you have to check your bag at least 45 minutes before your departure time or they might not take your bag) and the hour it takes when you land to actually get off the plane and get your luggage from baggage claim. And, not to mention, the added pains of airport traffic and the drive to and from the airport- your one hour and ten minute flight very quickly turns into a four hour journey! The solution you ask?

Carrying on your luggage!

Aside from Mrs.' 3:1:1 tips, it is important to learn the proper way to store your luggage in the bin space itself. Every morning, Mrs. Newlywed and I groan at the travelers who manage to fill the bin with their “personal belongings” and forget that there are 100 other people boarding who would like to share that space with their most precious items. Here are a few tips when boarding the plane and to keep in mind when using the overhead bin space:

  • Is Your Carry On The Right Size? Luggage size requirements are shown as a total number of inches (i.e. 45") this is the total of the length, width and height of the piece. There are standard sets of dimensions that go to make up these totals (for example, 22 x 14 x 9 is the standard for 45") and if you have a bag that is an unusual shape but still within the total number of inches, you may find it being rejected. Most roller bags you’ll buy are either 20” or 22” (20" is slightly easier to fit into the overhead bin).

  • What Can You Bring Onboard? Most airlines allow you to bring one carry-on and one personal item. Personal items consist of: purses, laptop bags, briefcases, canes, jackets in a garment bag, child seats, or backpacks. The key here is your roller bag- as described above- is your carry-on.

  • Where Should I Store My Carry-On? Your roller bag should go in the bin above your head. The important thing is not use all of the bin space so your fellow travelers can share the space with you. Key tip here- turn your bag so the length of the bag is perpendicular to the aisle . You should NOT be storing your bag so the wheels are facing to the side which takes up a greater space in the bin. Believe me, it fits that way.

  • How Can my Roller Bag Fit in the Bin That Way? Turn your bag so that the wheels face OUT. Why? Because there is a slightly smaller space in the back of the bin- almost all bags fit with the wheels facing out (towards you). Now the funny thing is- flight attendants don’t all know this trick and tell you to turn your bag long ways (side to side) because your bag is not going to fit. Let me be the first to share this knowledge- it does!! Turning the bag to have the wheels facing towards you is the secret I wish all travelers knew and used when flying. (there is a diagram below)

  • Where Should I Store My Personal Item? Under the seat in front of you. Don’t use the bin space for that briefcase or laptop bag- put it in the seat in front of you! And don’t tell me you need leg room- that’s BS :-) (is that allowed in the blog world to say?) My little brother is 6’4” and even he puts his backpack under the seat in front of him. So if he can do it- so can you! Now that’s not to say after everyone boarded- if you feel its absolutely necessary to move your bag- go for it! But don’t take away the space for another roller bag and cause them to have to start checking bags. (that’s the first way you’re going to add more travel time to your flight!!)

  • What About My Jacket? Lay it on your lap. And again if there’s space above your roller bag, feel free to lay it across the top once everyone is done boarding. Don't hog bin space with your coat.

  • What If I Get On And There Isn’t Any Room Left Above? Go ahead and kindly ask around if you can reshuffle other people’s items. Sometimes when someone sees you’re trying to make it fit- they might even volunteer to put their backpack or briefcase under the seat in front of them. Also a lot of smaller personal items (backpack, briefcase) can fit two in one space. Its ok to ask around and move- everyone will thank you in the end when you don’t have to take extra time to let the flight attendants check bags.

With those tips aside- do enjoy your travels. And be sure share your new travel knowledge with others- properly storing your luggage can cut-down minutes in your travel journeys!

Thanks, Erin! Look forward to seeing you in the friendly skies on Monday!
And wonderful readers, now that Erin's told you how carry your luggage on the plane and fit it on the bin, I'll tell you how to pack so that all of your items FIT in one roller bag and a purse. Also, if you have any travel questions, leave a comment and I'll answer then next week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Work. Is. CRAZY.

I worked a 15 hour day yesterday. The rest of the week isn't lookin' much better. I'm just trying to keep it in perspective and thanking God that I HAVE a job.

Don't worry though, because I have a VERY special guest post coming tomorrow for Travel Tip Thursday. Stay tuned!

Much love!
Your Newlywed Next Door

Monday, February 09, 2009

Mishmash of Summer Vacations Planned!

While I sit in my cold office while it rains outside, I'm dreaming of of sun and summer.

For this Summer we've have FOUR exciting but random mini-vacations planned. I just finished booking two of them today!

Kicking off the summer - Chilling, tanning, and floating at the Squaw Peak Hilton in Phoenix, AZ. Just the two of us.

Can you say laaaaazy river?

Next Up - My Family Reunion in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri at my Uncle's Lake house.

I heart boat-up bars.

Next - His family camping trip in Ft. Stevens, Oregon.

This is posh camping with hot showers. What else would expect from me?

Finally - Anniversary Weekend at the Hilton San Diego Resort (where we got married)!

I can actually enjoy the amazing property we got married at without the wedding stress. Amen!

None of these are too long or too pricey. The current economic conditions can't support our dream trip to Greece, but I'm really really excited about all of our cool little trips!

(Actually, now that I look at it all, I see one unifying theme in these trips -- water. I've always loved being near water. Too funny.)

What fun trips do you have planned this summer? Is the economy impacting your plans at all?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

You Rock My World!

I just saw that I now have 100 followers! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for reading my blog! I'm so happy that I've met so many awesome bloggy friends in these past couple of months. I talk to my husband about you all like I "know" you in "real life." But seriously, you guys rock!

I’m so honored that Sweet, Sassy, and Always Classy gave me the “Honest Scrap Award”. As part of this award I have to list at 10 honest things about myself. I tried to pick new fun facts that I didn't list here, here or here. So here goes...

  1. I like to cook, but rarely do. Since I travel for work a lot I hardly have a chance to buy fresh food and make meals before I leave town again. Our fridge pretty much only has condiments and beer in it. Sad.
  2. After a fairly secular upbringing, I became a follower of Jesus when I was 21-years-old. I now consider my relationship with God the most important thing my life.
  3. For the last five years I’ve keep a “Scrapbook Diary” (I’ll post more about this some other time). I fill it with items I cut out of magazines and paste together to express my life/mood at that time. It’s actually a really cathartic thing to do and cool memory to have.
  4. I have a great sense of direction. I rarely get lost driving and have the “grid” of Southern California pretty much memorized.
  5. In college I lived in my giant 65-girl Sorority house for two years and sometimes I really miss those crazy days.
  6. I read “The Economist” weekly since my Husband has a subscription, but I’m always a week behind since he reads the most current week, and I get that one after he’s done.
  7. I get really motion-sick, especially in cars. I almost always volunteer to drive when my friends and I go someplace because of this.
  8. My parents are both Professors and sometimes I feel a little guilty for not perusing a degree beyond my BA (but I guess there’s still time right?)
  9. I’ve seen the movie “Jerry Maguire” at least 30 times. For some reason I became obsessed with it High School, still watch it from time to time, and can often find situations to quote it.
  10. I got a sewing machine for Christmas, but I have still not opened up the box it's in. I think I’m kind of scared to start using it my own.

The also received the "This Blog Measures Up" award from Shalay.

Thanks so much girls! You are such sweethearts!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Bedroom Inspiration

Sorry to disappoint... this post is about bedroom decor inspiration...

In mid-2008 I saw this bedroom in a Crate and Barrel catalog:

(I just pulled this image from

I remember loving with bright blue walls and the dark furniture -- But I never consciously tried to copy this room.

Well I must have ingrained that image pretty deep in my mind, because I'm finally done decorating our bedroom and this is what is looks like:

Isn't that crazy?!

Just so you know, I love love love our bedroom! The blue walls make me so happy and the chocolate furniture contrasts oh-so-nicely. We can see the Pacific Ocean while laying in bed, which perfectly ties in with the blue decor.

Also, this is my first "adult" bedroom -- meaning this the first bedroom I've had where the bed is in the middle of the room and has two nightstands (hey! This could be one of my "Signs of Adulthood"!). I guess that what happens when you need "his" and "her" sides.

What has inspired your bedroom decor?

UPDATE: In case you were wondering... the paint is Behr's Brilliant Sea, the furniture is the Polo Set from Plummers, and the bedspread is The Plaza Bedding from Z Gallerie.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Travel Tip Thursday - Saving Money on Flights

Today is travel day for me! I love heading home!

Ok, let's talk TIPS...

One of the first things you should book when planning a trip are your flights. It's usually the most or second most expensive part of your journey and it's often hardest to change.

You can save serious $$$ on your air travel if you follow some key tips:

  • Book your flights at least 21 days in advance (they are rare sales day-of, but your best and safest bet is at least 21 days out).
  • Shop around for flights on Kayak is not like Expedia -- they don't sell tickets, they just show you the matrix of flights across airlines and travel companies to your destination.
  • Look for airports near your destination that might be cheaper to fly into (ex: Boston vs. Providence... Long Beach or Burbank vs. Los Angeles).
  • Choose flights on a Tues, Weds, or Saturday -- these will likely be the cheapest tickets because people fly least on these days.
  • Understand the rules regarding baggage fees on the airline you want to book. Yes, many airlines now CHARGE you (about $15-$20) to check even one bag. Each additional bag costs as well. So do overweight bags. So be savvy about WHAT you airline charges for so you don't end up paying more than planned. A $200 ticket could end up costing a lot more with bag fees, seat fees, and change fees. I found a great website that shows which airlines charge what for bags.
  • Bring your own food. Airlines no longer provide meals for passengers. Many airlines allow you to buy expensive snack boxes, but there is no "free lunch" so to speak. Pack sandwiches, chips, or other non-liquid items so you don't end up starving or paying $8 for some cheese and crackers (like I did once on an American Airlines flight).

Best Airline Deal in the Skies: Southwest Airlines

I know that they have a reputation for being a "low-cost carrier" but I LUV southwest.*

They have this whole "No Hidden Fees" Program:

  • No First Bag Check Fee
  • No Second Bag Check Fee
  • No Change Fee
  • No window or aisle seat fee
  • No phone reservation fee
  • No snack/drink fee (yay for peanuts and sparkling water!)

The best part is the no change fee. Since I travel a lot for work, I change my flights a lot because of meetings or other commitments. When you change your flight from one flight to another on Southwest you are only change a fare difference (sometime there is not even a difference) and NO change fee. Other airlines will charge you $50-$100 JUST to change your flight plus the fare difference. Boo!

I also like picking my own seat on Southwest (by checking in 24 hours in advance you can reserve an "A" boarding pass which allows you board in the first group of people). That way I can avoid the screaming baby or the sketchy looking dude.

I also love their Rapid Rewards, but that's another whole post.

If you have any questions about air travel or any general travel questions that you want me to answer, just leave a comment and I will give "As" to your "Qs" next week, along with the post I have planned.

*I do not work for Southwest Airlines, nor do any of my friends of family. I do not consult for or own stock in Southwest Airlines. I have not been paid in any form of monetary or non-monetary rewards from Southwest Airlines to write about them on this blog. I am simply a loyal customer.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

WWW and Diet Soda

I know I've slacked the past couple of weeks in doing Weight Watchers Wednesday... but I'm back!

I went to my WW Meeting on Monday and in two weeks I'd lost two pounds! Yay! I'm now only about 2 lbs from my goal-weight. Those stubborn last few!

At the WW meeting we got in a discussion about beverages and the WW points in various beverages. Eventually we ended up debating diet soda.

Diet soda has zero points, but according to our leader there are several studies that say that the fake sugar in diet soda that sets you up to crave real sugar and you end up eating more sugary things and gaining weight. Some ladies in the meeting strongly disagreed with these studies and some had anecdotes of losing weight just from cutting diet soda.

I'm not a big soda drinker, but I have a personal anecdote about fake sugars... about a year ago I quit putting artificial sweetener in my daily coffee (I put non-fat milk in only) and quit eating my daily non-fat yogurt with aspartame in it (now I eat the more natural low-calorie yogurt). My sweets cravings were noticeably reduced and I lost about 5 lbs around that time.

So what do you guys think about fake sugars? Diet Soda - friend or foe?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Love Blogging!

Getting to "know" all of my bloggy friends over the past few months has been so awesome and such a blessing! I may not comment on all of your blogs all the time, but you all are constant source of inspiration, laughs, information and fun!

Speaking of fun... The stars have aligned and three of my ABSOLUTE favorite bloggers, Mrs. Newlywed, Mojito Maven, and Erin are ALL holding awesome giveaways right now. These girls are so sweet and generous!

First up: Mrs. Newlywed @ Misadventures of a Newlywed is doing a Lilly Pullitzer Stationary Giveaway. So fun! Go over to her blog to enter by Feb. 4th!

Next up: Mojito Maven @ Make Mine a Mojito is doing Fat Witch Bakery Valentine's Day giveaway! These look delicious! Check out her blog to enter by Feb. 8th!

Finally: Erin @ Blue-Eyed Bride is doing a Valentine's Day Giveaway of Hanky Panky Panties! Cruise over to her blog to enter by Feb. 9th! Can I just say that I am DYING to win this one. And I'd venture a guess that the Mr. wants me to win too. :-D

Switching gears a bit... I blogged a while back about one of my favorite Bloggers, Kelly and her baby Harper. Sweet Harper is making a miraculously speedy recovery. This story has been such a source of inspiration and joy for me. I was definitely on my knees for this amazing family and it turns out that 30,000 people around the blogosphere and world were too. About two-thousand years ago Jesus said, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20) and early this year God showed the power of coming together in prayer through beautiful baby Harper.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Our Wedding Day - Part Two: Cocktail Hour and Photography

Once the ceremony was over the guests went to cocktail hour.

And we went to take pictures!

When I booked our photog, I knew I didn't want "generic" shots. So I hired an awesome photog who does many styles including photojournalistic and industrial.

Here are a couple of our "industrial" shots. I think they look like something from a magazine...

And, because we're a super beachin' couple, we got some fun candids and posed shots on the beach too...

We also took pictures with the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

My Bridesmaids were my two best friends from Elementary School and two best friends from college. My matron of honor was my best friend from Kindergarten!

They all wore silk chiffon halter dresses by Maggie London from Nordstrom, in the color "Clear Pacific" (turquoise). I loved summery and feminine they were!

The Groomsmen were the Mr's three younger brothers and his best friend from college. His Best Man was his best friend from preschool!

They wore traditional black tuxes with turquoise vests under them.

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