Friday, October 29, 2010

Exciting Friday!

Happy (almost) Halloween, friends! This is going to be one fantastic weekend! Why?

1. ESPN GAMEDAY is coming to USC!

That's right, my mighty, underdog Trojans are taking on the #1 Oregon Ducks at home. AND it's our Homecoming! I'm so excited to see the Trojans potentially unseat Oregon in our "red-out" stadium. Look for me in the west endzone!

2. Halloween

Last night, I finally decided I'd be "Little Red Riding Hood" this year (a costume I wore only to a work Halloween party 3 years ago). Because hey, free cute costume! It looks kind of like this (but less racy):

We're going to try to make it to a Halloween party Saturday night (if the big game doesn't last all night) and then we're serving at our Church's Halloween Carnival on Sunday evening.

3. A fun giveaway!

I'm giving away a $45 gift certificate to CSN Stores. Enter here!

CNS Store have over 200 online stores where you can find everything from contemporary coffee tables to fantastic fitness equipment to cookware!

What are you doing for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Digital Scrapboking & Photoshop Elements

One of my the items on my "to-learn" list (and Baby Bucket List) is Photoshop Elements. Particularly to learn how to do digital scrapbooking.

Since High School I had loved to do paper scrapbooking and scrapbooked all of my pictures from 1996-2007. But a couple of years ago I just lost my zest for paper scrapbooking. I figured, if all of my pictures are digital, my scrapbooking should be too. But clearly I've dragged my feet on actually learning Photoshop Elements.

So this weekended I watched some YouTube Tutorials, downloaded some free scrapbooking papers and elements and went to town creating my first few pages.

I started with our 1 year anniversary pictures to test out my skills. Here's how I did...

Not too bad for a beginner, right? Right?

My plan is to do layouts for all of my 2009 pictures, and then put them into a Shutterfly or Blurb Book. Then do 2010. And eventually 2008 and 2007. Yikes! How did I get so far behind?

Are any of you digital scrapbookers?

If so, where do you like to get your scrapbooking elements?

I found a few places that have free elements for personal use that I really liked:

But I'd love to hear if there are more out there (I am sure there are).

Also, what Photoshop Elements advice do you have for me?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Reviews - Summer Edition

The good news is that my 2010 Reading Plan has encouraged me to read more books this year. The bad news is that I've definitely deviated from the plan somewhat. But regardless, I wanted to share the books that I read in July, August, and September with you.

I Will Carry You by Angie Smith

I actually won this book in Pretty Whitty's giveaway, and I was SO glad that I did.

Even though I've read Angie's blog and know the story of Audrey Caroline, the book was still amazing.

Angie is a fantastic writer and I absolutely love how she wove in the biblical story of Lazarus in with Audrey's story. This book touched my heart and grew my faith.

My rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

I read this book in August as part of the Book Beginnings and Bookends Book Club. I'm guessing that many of you did as well.

I did a crap job of responding to the weekly questions -- but I loved the book and really enjoyed reading the weekly comments by Erin, Rachel, and other bloggers.

This book was a total page turner! I basically could not put it down. It was thrilling, touching, suspenseful, and fascinating. Just a great read overall.

My rating: 5 stars out of 5

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Believe it or not, I think I've had this book my bookshelf to read for almost nine years. That's one epic reading fail.

So I finally read it this Summer (which is fitting because it's about Summer in the Appalachians). It weaves together three distinct stories of people living life one Summer in the 1990s. I really liked how by the end all of the stories and characters were tied together. Of the three stories I loved one, liked another, and really didn't like one of them. I found myself almost skipping the chapters about Deanna, but the chapters about Lusa were enthralling. So overall, I liked but didn't love this book.

My rating: 3 stars out of 5

PS- I still feel that Barbara Kingsolver is an amazing reader, and I highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible, which was written a few years before Prodigal Summer. It's one of my favorite books EVER.

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

I know this book is a favorite of many bloggers out there -- so I knew I would like it and it seemed to be an easy read for the last month of Summer. It was definitely an easy read and I zipped right through it. Overall, I liked the storyline, but I found the characters to be pretty one-dimensional and almost caricatures. Nevertheless Baby Proof is a fun, summer, beach/pool read.

My rating: 3 stars out of 5

What books have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This & That

For some reason "this" and "that" makes me think of that Kia Hamster Commercial. I don't care what people say, I love that commercial.

I know I've been an MIA blogger -- I've had a lot of things on my mind that I can't blog about. Maybe sometime later I'll blog about it.

So here are some random things on my mind...

1. I've already started working on our Christmas cards. I think Shutterfly has the best cards for the price. I really like some other sites (like Minted) but Shutterfly is almost as good for 1/2 the price. I'm probably going to use our Europe pictures on the card since that was the biggest thing for us in 2010. Maybe something like this:

What do you think? Where do you get your Christmas cards done? I have no affiliation to Shutterfly, I've just used them before, so I am open to suggestions.

2. Simply Bags sent me a fun, personalized, insulated lunch bag to share with you all. It's so cute and it definitely helps keep my lunch cold at work. Good stuff.

3. I'm thinking about jumping on the Skype bandwagon so that the Mr. and I can Skype with our families far away. My FIL recommended the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema Web Camera so we may be purchasing one of these soon.

Do you Skype? Do you have a webcam that you like?

4. I used to love scrapbooking, but now I never do it. I'm moving more toward digital scrapbooking (I'm sloooowly learning Photoshop Elements). Should I sell my old scrapbooking supplies on my blog? Do people still do paper scrapbooking?

5. I've been slogging through changing my name. Trying to get all of my Credit Cards, Frequent Flier Accounts, etc. moved to my married name. This has only taken me a lightening-fast two years. What I love about the process is that the only thing that is consistent is inconsistency. Some Credit Cards you can change your name over the phone, some you have to fax a form, some you have to mail a form. I love it.

What's new with all of you?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Portland Trip Recap

Last weekend we traveled to Portland to attend the Mr's 10 year High School Reunion and see a bunch of his friends and family. The reunion was a lot of fun, but the stuff we did with the Mr's friends surrounding the reunion was even more fun.

On Friday we went wine tasting in Dundee Oregon. We tasted a lot of great Pinot Noirs and some other pretty good Pinot Gris and Blancs. It's definitely a Pinot region up there.

The landscape there is beautiful up there!

Here we are at Bella Vida.

One of our favorite places was Torii Mor Winery. Here we are at Torii Mor with some of the Mr's HS friends who came tasting with us.

Another vineyard that we loved was Winderlea. In fact, their Pinot Noir was our favorite. And they have a gorgeous view off the back deck of their tasting room.

We visited at total of 5 vineyards/wineries in Dundee. Bella Vida, Erath, Torii Mor, Lange, and Winderlea.

Our favorites by far were Torii Mor and Winderlea. The rest were good, but those were great!

Friday night 12 of us went out to dinner at the Mr's favorite Portland Restaurant, Ringside Steakhouse. So good and so fun to really get to see people and connect! In fact, it was such a great time that I forgot to take any pictures at dinner.

Saturday morning went on a hike with the Mr's Mom and Dad and we then met up with the Mr's brother and his fiance, Katie, for lunch. At lunch Katie asked me if I'd be in her wedding party! I was so touched and honored!

So after lunch Katie and I headed over to David's Bridal. Here we are, all smiles!

We tried on a ton of dresses. This is Katie's sister and me in a couple of our favorite chiffon ones.

Then the Mr. and I headed to The Nines hotel to get ready for the reunion.

We took a couple of pictures by the elevator and then my camera battery died. So I didn't get pictures at the reunion (sad!)

Dressed and ready for the reunion...

The reunion was at the Jupiter Hotel. The Mr. and I agreed that Facebook has made reunions a lot less climatic, but it was a lot of fun nevertheless.

Have any of you attend your 10 reunion? How was it?
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