Merry Christmas!

I can't believe its already here - I mean, where did December go?!

While I was just able to spend time with my parents and brother, it will still be a somber Christmas as we won't be seeing any family. But, S will finally have a day off of work (yay, for retail - sarcasm). And so will I. And here's our plan:

Christmas Eve
7pm Christmas Eve service at church
9pm Yummy, yummy appetizers and goodies
Christmas Day
sleep in (Yay!)
maybe go snowboarding - depending on our energy level
cuddle with the pups
more yummies by the fireplace and a Dexter marathon (yippee-yay!)

Now to make me list of all the yummies to make, grocery shopping and preparation. Yikes! Better get busy.

I'm thinking fondue - which S will hate - but I will love....hmmm, yup, we're having fondue for sure!
Merry Christmas!


Gregorito Practicing His Vows

Lots of pictures

The happy couple at the pre-wedding party

Day of the wedding



Party On


We made it! We're in Costa Rica and the weather is beautiful and the people are amazing. Maria's family is FANTASTIC. And boy, can they party! I wish I could upload pictures, but I forgot to bring my cord for the computer. Her cousins all look identical and they can dance and party like nobody else I've seen! So much fun! We had a two live bands at the party last night which was held in Maria's mom's house and backyard. You HAVE to see the views from this house - AMAZING! And while we couldn't always understand what was going on, or the songs, etc, it was an awesome experience. I'm so happy that my brother found someone like Maria, and that we can be here to experience this wedding weekend.

Here are some key things that come to mind after last nights EPIC party:
  • Gregorito (loved it when they all chanted this)
  • Two live bands - one Nicaraguan calipso-type band and a Mariachi band
  • Lots of kisses from Maria's family and friends - everyone greets each other with a air-kiss on the right side
  • Maria's crazy aunt dancing with the grill cover to the firepit
  • Fireworks
  • Beso, Beso, Beso
  • Amazing food
  • Cousins that look 14, but end up being 23 years old
  • Crazy driving on the way back to the hotel - thankful for Maria's uncle (VP of Delmonte) for ushering us back through San Jose safely
  • and I just can't get over the friendliness of everyone here - from the hotel staff to Maria's family and neighbors
It's truly a blessing to see Greg and Maria surrounded by so much love and support. This is what memories are made of.

And I feel like I can't even do the events of the past 12 hours justice because we are still in the midst of all that is occurring. I need time to process everything so that I can write coherently about it all.

After the events of last night, I can forsee that we need to get as much rest as possible for tomorrow's wedding and reception, and work on some dance moves!


Santa left a sister under my tree!

I'm the only girl in my family - stuck smack between two boys. I love my brothers - tons in fact. And I never knew what I was missing by not having a sister. In fact, many would say that being the only girl was probably better than having a sister. But I don't know. I sometimes wish I had a sister, especially as I got older. But guess what Santa brought me for Christmas?! Yup - a shiny new SISTER! And her name is Maria - isn't she pretty?!

Obviously she's the one with dark hair - that other guy is my brother.

They are a perfect pair. She's a smarty - getting her MBA and working as a Marketing Director in conferencing and events. She graduated undergrad with a degree in opera performance! Yeah, that little 90 lb frame can belt out some latin love songs like non-other!
And she's sassy, too. Which is good for my straight-arrow, super-serious-at-all-times little brother. She makes him laugh and relax and do crazy stuff. Like dress up as Bleeker and Juno for halloweeen - aren't they perfect?!
Yup, I'm pretty stoked to have such a cool new sister for Christmas. I'll post beautiful wedding pictures next week. We're off to Costa Rica for the wedding - Maria's home! It's gonna be EPIC!

And just in time, too, cause we're getting snow in the city - and we'll be heading to 70-80 degree days south of the equator!

In the words of my mom (from her email to me yesterday), Party on! (yup, she really said that. Too funny!)


I'd rather be...


I mean, really. Who is actually getting work done this week - or next week for that matter. I could be home making these:

Felt wine sleeves from 33 shades of green.

Or this table by Ana White in a customized size for my craft room.

Or this table for our new dining room table, also by Ana White.

Or a simple sewing desk?

Or these from Pretty Ditty
Oh, I just want to go home and be crafty!


Lovely - quick - Weekend

How was your weekend? Mine was lovely - but it sure went by quickly! Zoom, zoom!

I worked a lot this weekend, but did manage to get some things taken care of - including a fun little meet up with my running partner for mani's and pedi's and some holiday shopping!

We hit up this cute little shop near our homes called Fingers and Toes. This is the salon that I took my mom to for her first pedicure ever. I was very impressed with the professionalism of the salon, and it's welcoming and couture environment. Oddly enough, I met the owners while at Pier 1 on Friday evening! Completely random!

I had heard rumor about a new methodology of manicures called Shellac. Apparently it's supposed to last for 2-3 weeks. It's extra hard and long lasting. I decided to give it a shot since I have a hard time keeping paint on my fingers. I'm not sure if it is the "style" of the shellac or just the manicure in particular, but she cut off all my nails! I had been growing them out, and granted, they had started to chip and break, but they are all gone now. All the same length, and short. Oh well. I guess this is the style now.

I did pale pink on the hands and a deep purple (to match my dress for the wedding) for my toes. We had a great time chatting and catching up while we got pampered and the staff even offered us a glass of wine - which we of course accepted with huge grins!

After our spa indulgence I finished up some shopping for the niece and nephews. After a long day I was ready to go home. I threw a log on the fireplace, grabbed a glass of wine and wrapped presents by the fire - with the dogs training to help me tie bows, etc.

What a great way to get in the holiday spirit!


Just Breathe

Dude....I know it's ONLY December 8th, but I'm freaking out just a tad about holiday stuff. (Where did October go? I still have pumpkins on my front porch!)

Ironic from the girl without a single holiday decoration in her house. I know.

I just ran through my calendar and it is JAM PACKED with lots of unfun stuff - like work. Leaving me with exactly 30 hours total between now and December 25th to get a TON of stuff done.

And somehow S seems to think that we have all the time in the world. Yeah, he's a little naive. But in a really cute and slightly comforting way. I love how he says we have PLENTY of time to get gifts and get them wrapped and shipped back home, etc. Get this? He even offered to help with the shopping. So sweet. If only he had offered to stand in line for 3 hours at the post office to get everything mailed - now that would have earned some brownie points!

Here's my little list that's causing me to panic in a big way with my time management:
  • Pick up Mason jars
  • Hit the grocery store for hot cocoa ingredients
  • Hobby Lobby for ribbon and raffia
  • Put together gifts for neighbors and co-workers
  • Find baseball stadium coffee table type book for oldest nephew
  • gift card to Barnes and Noble and a clip on reading light for the nephew
  • Search for and purchase neat-o little zipper pouches for iShuffles for nephews and niece, some earbud organizer thingy would be ideal, too
  • Find some cool stationary items, stamp set, etc for niece (to go with her new desk)
  • Break down and finally buy a gift card for SIL because I still don't know exactly what to get for her birthday, and everything I do want to buy would be disastrous to ship
  • Ditto with best friends birthday gift
  • Finish wrapping and drop off wedding gift to brother sometime between now and tomorrow (PLENTY of time, right?!) since they leave on Saturday for wedding-ville
  • Which brings me to the wedding list: find passports, again
  • Through a bunch of random clothes into a suitcase and call it packing - what's the weather supposed to be like?
  • Don't forget all important dress and shoes for the wedding - everything else I think I can live without or purchase there in an emergency
  • Gift for the family housesitting and dog sitting for us while away at the wedding
  • Thankfully an appointment to get a mani/pedi is already on the calendar with a good friend - killing two birds with one stone, yes!

All this and I have tonight and tomorrow, a smidge bit of time on Sunday - and that's it folks. I better get in gear!

Happy Holidays!


Progress But No Tree

I think I need to take a class on effective communication - with a spouse!

Somehow, I'm not exactly sure, we decided against getting a Christmas tree again. Six years and no tree.

Well, actually, "decided" is a strong word. I wouldn't say there was any particular decisiveness associated with the awkward conversation that went down in our house last night. I'd call it more a lack of action that led to no tree. Seems to be our trend. We can't make decisions, so things happen more due to lack of action.

Here's the scenario I came home to last night - as an insight, I took a late lunch and went home to find S on the couch "thinking" about getting his day started - at 1pm. Usually I would totally judge (because I know you are too) but he's had a rough week and deserves to sleep in a bit to recover and rest. But....he did mention that he would be working on the bathroom. And we had plans to get our Christmas tree and decorate last night too. I know - for all of you doing the mental calculations there is hardly enough time to put up bead board and re-install the toilet and sink and be ready to go get a tree by 5pm.

And that's not even mentioning the extra-curricular activities of window shopping and such that S decided to do before even getting the bead board.

So - back to my story - I get home at 4:45pm and see that S's truck is in the driveway with the garage closed, but the front door was open. I parked in the driveway next to his car and....

Let me take a moment and ask what you would do. Would you open the garage door and go in the back door? Or would you see the front door open and enter the house through the front door?

Right. I bet 90% of us would go through the open front door, right? Except the screened door was locked. So I rang the doorbell.

Bad decision. Dogs barking. S upset that he had to come upstairs to unlock the door. Oh, geez!

Not a good way to start the evening - one that was supposed to be filled with Christmas cheer!

So no tree but S continued work (with lots of assistance from me) on the bead board around the bathroom. Not exactly the evening I had anticipated, but I guess I can't complain about the progress on the bath.

In other good news, I'm getting a new camera - very soon! Finally! Pictures of the progress coming soon.


The ultimate in DIY

I have a special event coming up very soon that requires me to look fancy and put my hair up for a little celebration! I have my dress, I have my shoes. Now the question remains - What to do with my hair?

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I have the simplest hair care regime. Wash. Dry and Go. No styling. No product. No fuss. So when it comes to "special occassion" hair, I sometimes freak out. Especially since we will be in a location that I can't just head on down to my favorite hairstylist for a quick updo.

I have to do it myself. Scary. So here are some pictures that I've come up with that I like. Now to see if I can recreate the look for the big night.

Looks so effortless. But I know better.


Not so hot

Feeling a little under the weather - still. It was a short and unproductive weekend. Super sad face. And its lingering.


Christmas Card

Family Wall Red Christmas Card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

Reclaimed wood

If I had a camera (still waiting....) I'd post a picture of what our basement remodel is looking like, including our painted fireplace which remains mantel-less.

But I have an idea....

Drum roll please... I want to do a hanging reclaimed wood beam mantel. Yes. Hanging. Not mounted. Suspending from the ceiling with rope. Sounds weird to you maybe. But in my mind it is B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.

Imagine this
or this
or this
or this

But with rope hanging it from the ceiling.

Now I just need a good resource for reclaimed wood in the right size....Any ideas?



I've got lots of gift shopping to do - and not much of it is for the holidays. Two of best girlfriends are turning 30 this month and I'm on the hunt for the perfect b-day gifts.

So I've turned to Etsy...

Isn't this gorgeous

or this one

Or this one

or this

Loving Etsy!

Loving this...

Every great day starts with a grande vanilla non-fat latte. I'm in love.



The technology fairies must have heard my pleas yesterday. Our computer is back - and with a new hard drive. And the Wii is working, too! (not that I ever play it unless the niece and nephew are here.) Yippee!!

So last night Seth and I explored this new thing called the "intraweb" on our new silver box (computer). And it was amazing! We even played with this little application called the PhotoBooth. And we got some good laughs out of that one!

Love technology - especially when it's working!


The Irony

Sorry for the recent absence. It seems our home is electronically challenged at the moment. Here's a brief list of all the things that aren't working right now:
  • the "p" on my blackberry - making it incredibly challenging to email, text or do anything really, although it has caused me to be a more creative writer find ways to say the same thing with words that don't include the letter "p".
  • apparently the Wii is not recognizing the wireless controllers, which has proved exceptionally frustrating for S and his friend as they can't play the new Goldeneye game that just came out. Thankfully, other than his frustration this doesn't affect me. Selfish. I know.
  • my camera - remember, nothing was "wrong" with the camera, per se. But this makes almost 4 weeks since I've had a camera. Yikes!
  • oh, and did I mention that part of my absence was due to the fact that our hard drive failed on our Mac. Yes. On our mac. I thought those things were invincible. Apparently not. I'm waiting for an update from our tech guys at work. Have you ever lived without a computer? It's so challenging! And shows how reliant I am on recipe websites, weather checking, and other nonsense.
  • That's about it - but, really, isn't that enough for one person?!

And may I just remind everyone that S works for a certain electronics store....seems a little ironic, doesn't it?


Girls and Power Tools

If you haven't already stumbled across Ana White's blog, you should really check her out. She is AMAZING.

Last fall I made this:
Which looks like this now.
And I did it all. by. myself. (Mostly because Seth would have never let me use power tools alone! But what happens while he's at work, well, that's my little home remodeling secret!)

Then I found this website. And I fell in love.

I shared my love with my mom. And my super handy pops made this for my mom's new deck.
Wood-Slat Double Lounger
(Photo courtesy of West Elm) This baby retails for $549 WITHOUT the cushions to make it comfy. Thankfully my dad made it for a fraction of the price. Now if only he could make one for me!

I've already made these
but I stained mine instead of painting them white. They still need to be hung. We're currently in matrimonial negotiations on where they will reside.

What should my next project be?

Psst - just don't tell Seth that I'm using power tools!


Happy Thanksgiving...

I'm having a really hard time being positive right now. I'm so frustrated. And I feel so lonely. I miss my family. And I hate not spending holidays in my mom's kitchen in Nebraska. I miss traveling home to Nebraska to see friends, sitting on the deck with my pops drinking coffee and watching the squirrels, helping my mom in the tiny kitchen that IS home, sleeping off the triptophan in my old bedroom. That's what Thanksgiving is - and that's what I miss. Simple really.

I'm trying so hard to make family a priority and to instill some new traditions even though we don't get to see much of our families during the holidays. I'm frustrated that S doesn't share this vision with me, but instead wants to go play football with kids from work while the rest of our family in Colorado participates in the Turkey Trot. My honest thoughts? He sees those kids EVERY DAY at WORK! We only get to see my brother and SIL once or twice a month - and its THANKSGIVING for crying out loud!

Spending the holidays away from all our family isn't a new thing, so I should be used to low key uneventful holidays by now. But I have to be honest, I HATE S's job. I hate that we never get to travel. I hate that we never get time to do the fun things associated with the holidays (holiday light parade, zoo lights, holiday parties, holiday shopping, decorating the house, etc). I hate that even if I wanted to travel to see family for the holidays that S wouldn't be able to come with me - thus defeated the "family-ness."

It's no wonder that we never put up a Christmas tree. By the time Christmas is here my resolve to have a great family holiday season has been drowned in loneliness and frustration. It seems its happening earlier than expected this year.

I know I should be a little more thankful right now, especially considering it is Thanksgiving. Maybe my attitude will change by tomorrow - especially when I go home tonight and lay everything out in preparation for Thursdays meal.

Pray for an attitude adjustment for me - I think I'm turning into Mrs. Scrooge.

Ideas. Ideas. Ideas

My SIL might be getting the niece and nephews their own iPod's for the holiday. How about this cute carry-all for my niece?Customizeable gadget case with Amy Butler Lacework in Grey Doubly Padded for great protection SEE SHOP ANNC. FOR FREE SHIPPING OFFER

Just $14.00 on Etsy by MushyBug

Or this little travel art kit for the middle child who loves to draw
Vintage Fabric Pencil Pouch, Travel Art Kit, Scribble Kit, Reclaimed Vintage by Whoopsie Daisies on Etsy
From Whoopsidaisies on Etsy for $25.00

But then what to do for my 10 year old nephew.....


Furniture Rant

Is it just me or do people using Craigslist in Denver have extremely inflated asking prices? Maybe I'm just insanely frugal, but you should see what people think their crummy old VENEER furniture can get!

Check this out - as an example. Really?! Granted it probably is hard wood - not veneer - but really?!

Although, I should mention I found this gorgeous beauty for only $85.
No, I didn't buy it, although how adorable would it be with some new modern fabric?!

And this is gorgeous, but $400 gorgeous?

Joi from Nuestra Vida Dulce always seems to find chic and fabulous finds on craigslist - for much more reasonable prices. Personally, I feel like the Denver craigslist market is inflated.

All I want is a simple desk that I can use as a sewing table, or an old console table to use in our entry way. I'm more than willing to refinish it - in fact I would prefer to! But there is nothing out there that fits the bill.

Subtle Changes

Our neighbor's house is for sale. Last weekend they had an open house and invited all the neighbors to come by - an interesting gesture but seems more honest than sneaking neighbors creepily spying on your house, I suppose. Until we learned that the owner is also a realtor. No doubt trying to stir up some business as well as sell her home.

Anyways, we went to the open house. In the pictures on the flier, her kitchen layout looked like ours, except she had a more open entry way.
See that "window" looking cutout? That's what I want!!!!

And these counters and cabinets that go under the window...
I would love to do that to this

So jealous. Its what I would love to do. But our extra large window prevents us from adding the cabinets and countertop that would add so much space!

But - she did have another great idea. And so simple! Why didn't I think of it. See, we both have a built-in unit like this
And she had removed the doors (and painted the back wall as an accent). So guess what I did this weekend?

You'll have to wait until tomorrow when I can take a pictures or it!


Gift List

I've officially started my Christmas gift list. Our family isn't "big" on gift giving. S and usually do a gift to each other but its without too much ceremony. For example, a few years ago for Christmas he gave me my gift early while we were in the car on the way to dinner. He reached around to the backseat and handed me a Dillards bag and said "Merry Christmas." It was the perfume that I had wanted. No ceremony. No wrapping paper. No gift sitting under the tree for weeks just waiting for me to unveil it. And since we haven't spent a Christmas with family since - well, for a really long time (retail management jobs!), we don't really do gifts for our family either. The only kids in the family are a niece and two nephews that we don't get to see on Christmas.

But this year I don't care if we don't get to see people. By golly, we're having Christmas!

And this week it starts with making my list.

However, now that I look at my list, I'm realizing that 1/2 of it is Christmas and the other is birthdays and bachelorette party and wedding stuff!

Here is what our December looks like:
  • Bachelorette party for family member
  • Two 30th Birthdays for best friends
  • SIL's birthday
  • Poppa's birthday
  • Brother's wedding (in Costa Rica - yeah, be jealous!)
  • Christmas!
I have a feeling its gonna be an expensive month!



Totally played hooky yesterday to do a little of this:

Ok. I guess its not hooky if your boss approved the time off. But still, it was a weekday, and other people were working. Which always makes it more fun!


Something Old, Something Awesome

I love thrifting. It's sort of a new addiction. When I first moved to Colorado over 6 years ago I found a great Goodwill with lots of great finds - probably because it's close to the posh neighborhood of Cherry Creek!

Now that we are in our second home, I've been thrift-looking for furniture. Almost a year ago I can across two of these beauties.

Being the good housewife that I am (and knowing that S would think these were a waste of money), I hid them in the back room of the basement. At least until they could get a new coat of paint and some new upholstery.

And now they look like this! Aren't they gorgeous? Sorry for the poor
picture quality. Maybe when I get my new camera I'll repost with updated and better photos.

And yet S still isn't sure about them. Oh, boys will be boys!


A Late Life Goal

Music has always been a very important piece of my life. As far back as I can remember, I was a musically-inclined kid. I was in every musical production at church and I was never shy about singing in front of others. My freshman year of high school I earned a spot on the select singing choir, Image. We led chapel worship, performed at school events and concerts, and even did performances throughout our community as well as an annual tour that took us to Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis.

While neither of my parents were into the performing arts, my mom frequently had a CD playing while she made dinner, cleaned the house, or sat on the back porch. Especially during the holiday season I can always remember Mannheim Steamroller or other holiday music blasting from the kitchen while we made cookies or prepared a meal. And I'm the same way today. Our iPod dock lives on the kitchen counter where I can switch it on when I walk in the door. I love having music playing while I fold laundry, mop the floors or play around in the kitchen.

One of my best friends in high school was also in the select choir, and she played the piano beautifully. I have fond memories of her sitting at the piano magically making beautiful music from those black and white keys while I sang along. I miss that. Our little jam session - or as our other friend called our opportunities for "harmonization." When we did a girls reunion a few years ago we couldn't help but have Sarah play her baby grand piano while Abbey and I sang along.

The piano player and I at Junior Formal...
And then a few years ago

I've always admired those who can play the acoustic guitar. In fact, I'd call it straight jealousy. So now that I'm 30, I'd really like to learn to play the guitar. Only problem is, I want to play it NOW. The learning process is slightly intimidating. I want to be like Sarah - I want to sit down with my instrument and play beautiful music. But I can learn something so intricate this late in life?

How about you? Do you have a life goal/accomplishment that you want to fulfill?


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