Monday, February 28, 2011

Being Tourists in LA: Reagan Library

Over the weekend we played "tourists" in our own town, and finally visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

A while ago we visited the Kennedy Library in Boston and really enjoyed it. And so began our desire to visit more Presidential libraries.

So on Saturday we made the hour drive from our home in Long Beach to the Reagan Library in the beautiful, rural, Simi Valley north of Los Angeles.

The museum contains more history of the Regan Presidency that you could ever see read or see in day. Tapes of speeches and campaign ads. Actual news articles, presidential and personal photos, and actual White House itineraries. As well as explanations of various domestic and foreign policy decisions and events. Regardless of your political leaning, it's fascinating to see the history of our country and it's leaders.

Reagan was known as the "great communicator" because of his speeches and his effective use of teleprompters. In the museum they have podium where you can read Reagan speech off a real teleprompter.

(I think he looks pretty Presidential, don't you?)

There's also replica of the Reagan Oval Office. So cool to feel like you're in the President's office.

These are some Nancy Reagan's actual dresses. I always love reading about first ladies and seeing what there wore.

(Currently I can't get enough of Michelle Obama's fashion!)

A lot of Reagan's foreign policy focused on the USSR which was really interesting to read about considering that I visited the USSR in 1990, but was I so young and didn't have much context for what was happening around me.

In the part of the museum about the USSR and communism there's a replica of the Berlin Wall that you can crawl under.

Maybe the coolest part of the museum may be that the actual Air Force One used during Reagan's presidency is housed there.

And you can even go on board!

(We couldn't take pictures on board but it was really cool to see the inside of Air Force One!)

Oh, and did I mention that the views from the museum were spectacular?! What a beautiful place.

The Reagan Library and Museum was fabulous! We learned a lot about what was happening in the world during our early childhoods and had a ton of fun.

I can't wait to visit another presidential library. Maybe Nixon next, since it is near LA too? But I'd really like to visit Clinton's Library in Arkansas. Has anyone been there?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Newlywed Survival Kit

My brother-in-law is getting married in three weeks! So excited for him!

So I had the idea, to make him and his fiance a Newlywed Survival Kit, as wedding present. Basically a kit of things to get you through the first year of marriage.

So far I have...

A Dave Ramsey Book, because money is a major source of newlywed and marital conflict.

My two favorite cleaning products, Bar Keeper's Friend and Castile Soap, becauase we fought a lot about chores in the first year and these products make chores a lot easier!

And some dishtowels off their registry to go along with the cleaning products.

A couples' devotional book, Night Light, because reading and praying together can do wonders.

A Cookbook, because cooking together and cooking for each other is such a fun part of being a newlywed.

And I'm going to put it all in a cleaning bucket, because that's a great way to store cleaning supplies.

I want to add a couple more $5-$15 items, but I can't think of what else to add! What else would you add to a Newlywed Survival Kit?*

*Nothing to racy, ok? This is my husband's brother we're talking about here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun Weekend: Birthday Dinner, Antique Market, & Cooking

You know those fabulous weekends where you feel like you had a lot of fun and got a lot done. That was this past weekend.

Friday night we celebrated the Mr.'s birthday at JiRaffe in Santa Monica. It's a French/American gourmet restaurant that's Zagat rated, but we've never tried it.

It was amazing! We ate burrata and tomato salad, mushroom ravioli with truffle oil, apple pork chops, and coq au vin. And we drank Stag's Leap Petit Syrah. Loved it.

For dessert we had this lemon bread pudding, which was divine.

For a birthday present I got the Mr. a Lacoste Polo and a new Magic Wallet (he wore his old one out) and he liked both a lot.

On Saturday we went to yoga and then I planned out the meals I wanted to make for the week since I'm working from home most of the week. Then I hit Trader Joe's and Albertson's to get all the goods. Friends, this is as full as you'll ever see my fridge...

On Saturday night we watched The Social Network on Blu-Ray. I was surprised at what a great movie it was! I wonder if Zuckerburg is really that big of a jerk.

On Sunday I went with my blog-friend turned real-life friend, Brittney (from Our Poverty with a View), to the Long Beach antique flee market.

There was all kinds of trinkets and trash. But definitely a few treasures. Brittney and I kept commenting that if we were crafty like Young House Love or Brooklyn Limestone we'd able to turn a piece of china + a ceramic bird + a candlestick into some amazing centerpiece with the help of a little spray paint. :)

Brittney bough a cool old seltzer bottle to go on her bar...

And I bought some seashells...

After the Antique Market I went home to start my first cooking project of the week, making my own version of the Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti. I made this recipe last year but thought I could make it bit healthier. So I cut down on the spaghetti, cream of chicken, and cheese. And I really increased the veggies (adding mushrooms, squash, and upping the peppers and unions) and lean chicken.

Here's how it looked, ready to be frozen!

I was able to get three casserole dishes out of the recipe. We're going to eat one tonight, so I will let you know how it is!

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Love USC

Today's post is an ode to my alma mater, The University of Southern California.

From the first moment I set foot on the campus of the USC, when I was 17, I knew that I wanted to be a Trojan.

I feel in love with the quads, the fountains, the iconic Doheny Library and Bovard Auditorium, and of course, Tommy Trojan. I loved the sports, the students, and the academics.

Images via here

I went on to spend some of the best years of my life at USC. Meeting and living with my best friends in the Pardee Tower Dorms, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, and City Park Apartments.

Partying at the 901 Club (the 9-0), the 29th Street Cafe (the 2-9), Traditions (Traddy's), and Fraternities (the Row). And of course, meeting the guy who'd later become my husband at the 9-0 and dating him.

(Do you like this old silly photo of us from 2004? Drinking Bud Light on the porch of The Mr.'s fraternity -- oh, those were the days.)

Oh yeah, and I did study too. I actually studyed a lot. In fact, I graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Communication from The Annenberg School. I loved my major, my classes, and being a part of Annenberg. I was an Annenberg Ambassador and on the board of the Annenberg Honor Society for several semesters.

But, one of the best things about USC is the Football games. The entire campus becomes one giant day-long tailgate and the Memorial Colosseum fills with fans. I love Game Day at USC!

I'd be lying if I said I didn't really miss being at student at USC sometimes. It's just such an amazing experience to be a Trojan.

But at least we make it back to campus for all of the Football games so we can relive our "glory days" for a few days a year.

Does anyone love their Alma Mater as much as I do?

Read about other Alma Maters and link up at Kelly's Korner SUYL!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

By Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672)

Happy 29th Birthday my love!

I thank God every day that you were born. And I'm so glad that I get the chance to celebrate your birthday with you. I hope your 29th year is the best one yet!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mid-Week Mishmash

Remember all those vinyl records that we inherited and wanted to sell? We took the boxes to a couple record stores and it turns out they were worthless. So off to Goodwill they went. At least we get a tax write-off. Good riddance!

(Note: not all of these boxes ended up with us, we only took a few boxes and the Mr.'s parents have the rest)

I'm continuing to work on my digital scrapbook and my final paper scrapbook. I'm trying to catch up on scrapbooking since I'm about 4 years behind. I was thinking that when I finish my final paper scrapbook I'm going either sell or do a giveaway for all my left over paper, stickers, embellishments, etc. What do you think: giveaway or sell?

Thursday is the Mr.'s Birthday. I'm getting him two presents and both of them are things I've gotten him before that he loved but wore out. I think that means we've been together for too long. I'm getting him a "magic wallet" and something else. More on that later.

I've started keeping my vitamins in the kitchen and that makes me SO much better at remembering to take them. I pretty much have to take vitamins with food since vitamins often upset my stomach. I am also thinking of getting one of those "days of the week" pill things that old people use to help me remember to take them, ha! I've been taking Trader Joe's Vitamins and I think they are pretty good. What vitamins do you like?

Here's a fun travel tip. If you know you travel a lot (or even shower at the gym a lot), purchase and keep a second set of cosmetics all packed in a cosmetic bag. The only cost is the initial purchase and you can always raid your travel bag if you run out of a product in your home supply. This saves SO much packing and unpacking time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Journey through my Scent Memories

The first night I hung out with the guy that would later become my husband I told him that scent is the one of the strongest forms of memory.

And for me that is so true. I've always been very "loyal" to a certain scents or perfumes throughout the years of my life, so whenever I smell a certain scent it takes me right back to that time in my life.

So I though it would be fun to take journey through the scents I've worn over the years. My "Scent Memories..."

Middle School and early High School - Bath & Body Works Sun-Ripened Raspberry

I wasn't allowed to wear perfume yet, so I loaded up on the sun-ripened raspberry body splash and lotion. The smell will always remind me of my teeny-booper days.

Sophomore and Junior year of High School - Roxy Hula

I felt like a chic little surfer girl in this stuff. I'm sad they don't make it anymore, I'd love to get a whiff of it.

Senior Year of High School through Sophomore Year of College - Tommy Girl

My first real "designer" perfume. One whiff of Tommy girl and I'm 18 again going to my first fraternity parties.

Junior and Senior Year of College - Michael by Michael Kors
My best friend wore this scent and I loved it so much that I started wearing it too. This is the perfume I was wearing when I met the Mr. and on my 21st birthday. When I smell it I think, "ahhh, to be barely legal again."

First years out of College (2005-2007) - Marc by Marc Jacobs

I'm not sure how I started wearing this. I was wearing it the night that the Mr. proposed to me. It will always remind me of Manhattan Beach summers.

2008 to Present - J'adore by Dior

I was wearing scent at our wedding and still wear it today. I'm sure that someday this scent will remind me of my newlywed adventures.

I wonder what my next scent will be?

What scent are you currently wearing? What scents have you worn over the years? What scents remind you of a particular time in your life?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Ski Utah! Trip Recap

There's a reason the Utah license plates say "Greatest Snow on Earth" -- the skiing in Utah is Epic.

I love sking in Tahoe and Colorado but I have to say the combination of great snow, great resorts, easy travel, and generally nice weather make Utah my favorite place to ski.

The Mr., me, and three of his friends spent three wonderful days tearing up the slopes of Utah.

Day One

The first day we went to Park City Mountain Resort. This is a fun, historic resort and we had beautiful weather there.

Mr. and me on the slopes with Park City (the town) below us:

Me and "the boys" at Park City (I was the only girl on the trip, ha!)

After skiing we had Pizza and Beers at Davanza's in Park City. Total dive, but good food and great prices.

Day Two

We spent the second day at The Canyons in Park City. I'd never been to The Canyons but I was BLOWN away. It's an amazing resort. It's huge with a wide variety of terrain and great snow. If you ski one place in Utah, make it The Canyons, seriously.

The Mr. and I skied non-stop from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM and still didn't cover all the terrain. I was so in love with the slopes there I literally could not stop skiing. I'd love to go back to The Canyons for several days.

The Canyons also has fun base area where several gondolas and chairlifts meet up with outdoor dining and music.

At night we back the Sheraton in Downtown Salt Lake where we were staying and then went out to dinner at Chanon Thai Food. We had wanted to go the famous Red Iguana but the lines were too crazy, so we settled for Thai. It was solid Thai Food but the service was so slow, we almost ate our arms.

Day Three

On day three I really wanted to go a fun little resort called Brighton, but the Mr's friends wanted to go to Snow Basin, so we ended up going there. Snow Basin has great intermediate and expert terrain, but unfortunately there was super high winds that day so several gondolas and parts of the mountain were closed. And many of the runs that were open had poor visibility due to the low clouds and snow blowing up from the winds. So I didn't do as much skiing at Snow Basin as I did on the other days.

I did, however, spend a couple hours drinking beers in the luxury lodges with the Mr...

And the crazy boys...

We did dinner and microbrews at the Beer Hive Pub in Downtown Salt Lake. We did some bar hopping but we liked the Beer Hive the best of any place we found. They have a giant beer menu and some fun local brews on tap (note: all local brews were under 4% alcohol due to local Utah liquor laws I guess).

All and all we had an epic ski trip and I cannot wait to ski utah again!

PS- Another one crossed off the list!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin