Mid year review {Listography 2011}.

{Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.}
When thinking about this week's topic- "List your accomplishments this past year," I opened up my list of goals for the year of 2011.  While the list is not "done" by any means- progress has been made on each item (some more than others... i.e. the giganto pile of magazines that haunts me in dreams, and in my waking hours, or the constant struggle to spend enough time with those I love).  Boot camp has been completed, new & old music purchased, many a' films have been watched (thank God for my movie-fanatic son), spring cleaning has sprung, and my most vain proud accomplishment of all... "frumpy" has left the building- for good.

{6th Month Check-in:  June 29, 2011}      

Often, I find that as I succeed in one area, I fail in others.  Case in point:  I've committed to get up at 5:00am tomorrow morning to attend a spinning class, but couldn't manage to fit my post in during the day... Hence- a night of far too little rest.  Definitely not perfection, but progress.  

I would love to hear some of your accomplished goals.  Please share with a link below or in the comments. 

...because {as was my intent in completing this Listography project} sharing is a beautiful thing, and reaching goals together simply makes it more FUN.

Desert highway.

During my Starbucks days, I was plugged in for the majority of my day- morning till eve, weekdays and often, weekends.  Plugged in to my laptop, to my phone, to my employees- peers- employer ("partners" as Starbucks affectionately calls them), to my job.  And when I say "plugged in" I mean "unable-to-unplug-plugged-in"- otherwise known as "workaholic."  While part of this was the nature of the job- and the new position I was either aspiring to- or adapting to at any given time... a lot of it was simply the nature of me- my nature.

And although I am no longer plugged into any job, that tendency still exists.  

And although I have the best little family any girl could possibly dream of - sometimes it takes something beyond them to detach the chord- wherever it may be- Twitter, exercise, Facebook, shopping, Blog posting/reading. Something like...

...a trip to the desert.
My SIL invited us to stay with them at her parent's home in Joshua Tree this past weekend.  Nothing like the desolate roads, the intense sunlight, the laid back cowboy-biker-hippie-desert-vibe to snap you into full-on relaxation mode.  It was a weekend of rock climbing, thrift store shopping, pool playing, star gazing, rib eating, and even napping.

Exactly what I needed... and a 1:00pm post to show that I'm clearly still in the "dessert-frame-of-mind."

a few vacation pics...
{date shakes (despite how they sound, they were delicious!) & ostrich (& emu!) eggs}
{the beautiful home we stayed in... with a perfect back yard for sunsets, sunrises, and a way to enjoy it inside if it gets a little too hot}
{2 places that we could (and will) visit again and again: Pappy & Harriets & The World's Biggest Dinosaurs}
Since these types of places always remind me of my grandpa (who definitely had the dessert/country vibe goin' on), I can see why "Take it easy!" was one of his many favorite phrases.
Well, here's to a week of 'takin' it easy'...

Let's get this party started {Listography 2011}.

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.

first came the affirmations.

now for the PLAN OF ACTION...

(a "list" of our summer to-do's)
...because without a plan, things could get a little hairy.

What's on your agenda this summer??  If you've got a post to share, head over to Emily's to link it up, or share with a comment {always up for more ideas... good thing we've got a little room left on our list =)}.

Introductions & promises.

Lots of eating celebrating this weekend- first, with my mom and her husband, on Saturday night, and yesterday, with my dad and his wife on Sunday.
But before I get into that, let's talk about my father for a sec.  During our lunch at Umami Burger a couple of months ago, he was very "confused" as to why I insisted on photographing our experience in way more detail than he is used to me doing so... the red-lettered sign, the cool lights, the mirror, the old-fashioned soda bottles- of course- the FOOD.  Instead of digging right in, I snapped away... as he asked Ryan- "Does she always do this??"
Needless to say, the blog became the 'butt of his jokes' (yes- he is quite the jokester) for the duration of our lunch (all harmless jokes, btw).  Whether it fit in to the topic or not, it was relentlessly shoved to the forefront.  Tease all you want, I thought.  You clearly haven't experienced the sheer beauty that is blogging.  My own little secret garden of bliss.  

Later that evening, he called.  "I get it," he boldly stated.  Many kind words and compliments later, he subtly informed me, that he wasn't really featured in my blog.  All in good time I replied.  All in good time.  

Now is the time.  Without further ado~ my father.  One of the few people on this planet that can make me laugh until I have tears in my eyes and pains in my stomach. 

My parents were divorced when I was very young, and I really didn't see him often in my younger years.  But, as an adult- it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know him.  When Ryan and I were dating, he started taking karate lessons under the instruction of my dad.  He led Ryan all the way to his black belt.  This was a huge opportunity for not only them to bond, but for he and I to do the same.

As I've mentioned before, he was remarried, and has a beautiful daughter- the same age as Jacob, who my kids (and I) love.  A sister that I never thought I'd have! {She took the above picture by the way =).}

And as I've also mentioned- a lovely wife (pictures next time!) with mad skills in the kitchen... referred to yesterday by my father as "the cobbler goddess".  After enjoying the above, I fully concur.  *Side-note- the cobbler really was this bright.  I couldn't stop staring at it!  She's got secrets I tell you! (secrets that she's more than willing to share)

Since we hadn't eaten enough, we ended the day with pizza.  But to our credit, not just any pizza.  Pizza created with one of Ryan's father's day presents- but this is a post for another day.  All in good time.

I'm {still} in love.


This past May (the 24th, to be exact), my little blog reached a milestone.

It turned 1.

A year ago, I would have thought starting a blog would have been insane.  Self indulgent... Narcissistic even.

I obviously didn't get it.

But I do now.

Seriously.  The friendships, the ideas, the recipes, the sharing, the information, the motivation, the vulnerability, the accountability, the commemoration, and the endless inspiration

Now, I realize that it would be insane not to have a place to share...

A few good men {Listography 2011}.

{Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.}
This was another fun list... pretty much anything that brings me back to some of my movie/t.v. favorites is proving to be highly enjoyable.  

Since we listed our favorite t.v. moms, it's only fitting that we do the same for the dads, right?
Many of my favorite dads just so happen to be the husbands of my favorite t.v. moms-

& as with the moms, the list runs deep, but here's just a few...

Steven Keaton, my all time favorite... subtle humor, accepting, even-tempered.

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Cliff Huxtable... Silly, present, aware, dedicated... and he wears nifty sweaters.

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Michael Bluth... An "A" for effort, in trying to stop the dysfunctional cycle (however, his dysfunctional father was one of the best characters- EVER).

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"Pa"... Strong, loving, respectful, respectable.

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Joel, Crosby, Adam, Zeek... incredibly involved, supportive, hard-working, passionate, charismatic (& I've got a crush on all of them).
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Video via

Which t.v. dads would make it onto your list?

{Share in the comments, or link up @ Danielle's =).} 

*Next on the ol' Listography agenda... Summer To-Do's (better get started on that post a.s.a.p.}.

Firm affirmations, & a loose plan.

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It was our first weekend with the kids out of school.  Yet after the initial Friday excitement, the anxiety slowly started to settle in.  The one that arrives right about the same time every year... at the start of summer.  

Our summers are always a little hectic- fun, but hectic. For one, Hailey's birthday is right around the corner, in early July.  And she is nothing like Jacob when it comes to birthdays.  She's been talking about her party for the past 6 months... how she wants a slumber party, who she wants to invite (his list was always a couple of friends, and the rest- family; hers seems to include all the girls in the 2nd grade, and then some), how she wants to go to Disneyland on her actual birthday- and stay in the money pit hotel.  So, even if I "go small" and accommodate only a few of her wishes, this always takes a little (or a lot of) extra mind share- the planning, and the recovery.  

Then we have our big summer camping trip.  Hands-down, our favorite part of summer- but definitely a lot of preparation and work- pre & post.  For these reasons, and many more- each summer seems to get overtaken a bit- rushed and incomplete, when it's all said and done.  Even though I'm not one to fill each and every moment with major activities & camps (sometimes, our "activity" of the day may be renting a movie, and getting frozen yogurt- and they're beyond okay with that)- the same thing happens each year.

In an effort to avert the madness & shred the stress, I'm starting this Monday- this summer- off with a few little vows.

  1. Less electronics- more nature.
  2. More time preparing meals in the morning (Crockpot!)- less time in the kitchen- more time to play.
  3. Time with Ryan- without the kids (with their 'flex bedtime' this often gets squeezed out of the equation).
  4. Lots of laziness and just enough structure.
  5. Work, then play (let's face it- there's always stuff to get done- summer or otherwise, and when it comes to tasks & chores- my kids do a thousand times better if they know that FUN awaits).
  6. Popsicles & iced coffee daily.

This morning, we'll conjure.  We'll plan.  We'll dream.  We'll record some 'summer to-do's' 

And I'll keep my vows in mind.


I remember one of our first outings, a few years back- when I decided to stay at home with the kids.  My social circle still consisted of family + old co-workers, & a neighbor or two.  I finally realized that I need to make new friends- which is a story of it's own for another day.  Friends that had kids... that could provide me with a little 'adult-time', Hailey with a little playtime (while Jacob was in school), someone for us to talk to- other than Giada (Remember- I was also attending the 'Food Network Cooking School' during this period)... other than my laundry- the grocery store cashier- the Windex... 

Back to the outing.  The girls had a wonderful time.  I had a wonderful time.  This mom was unlike any other  stay-at-home-mom that I had encountered thus far.  She was a rockstar bargain shopper & extreme 'couponer' (and what made this so fascinating is that she had the means to shop full price- just chose not to), she was fun & energetic & down-to-earth & chic & stylish.  She taught me the ropes of staying at home... along with accessorizing, styling on a budget (I was clearly not used to living on a budget), and overall- being prepared.

I was drastically under-prepared.  Play dates and pool visits at her place quickly made me aware of this.  I just didn't think of things like cover-ups, and having travel toys/crayons/paper/etc. on-hand at all times, and extra baggies to put the wet clothes, and insulated lunch boxes for our spur-of-the-moment picnics.  I was the type that rushed to the store to find a bathing suit- to buy sunscreen & floaties (having discovered on our way out the door that the dog consumed the old ones) just minutes before that first summer pool party.

Well, guess what??

 I've changed.
I may not be fully ready for the incessant fighting the "I'm bored" or "I'm hungry" complaints, the coming heatwave... but the beach trips, the play dates, the picnics- BRING 'EM ON.

{Are you ready??}

Where are they now {Listography 2011}??

Each Wednesday, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.

 Image via
This one was pretty funny.  Given my love for 80's/90's pop culture, I often randomly wonder where many people are... way too many to capture on a single list.  Some are celebs that have aged and seemed to have slowly disappeared from the spotlight.  Some have just moved 'behind the scenes.'  Others- the ones I really wonder about- have just dropped out of the spotlight altogether.  Sadly, too many of them experience major health [&/or psychological] issues, addictions, etc.  Nowadays, anything and anyone can be googled, which would probably provide me with many answers to whereabouts, but off the top of my head (& Ryan's, who contributed)... 

List people that make you wonder “where are they now.”
Jake Ryan (don't even know his real name, and don't care)
John (CHiPs)
Long Duk Dong
D.J. Jazzy Jeff
the other bosom buddy
Larry & Balki
Fred Savage (& his "friend")
Shelley Duvall
Shelley Long
Michael Winslow
Mindy (Mork's other 1/2)
Ralph Mouth
Crocodile Dundee 
Mikey (Mikey likes it)
Brian Dunkleman
C. Thomas Howell
Messy Marvin / Ralphie
Dan Monahan (aka Pee Wee)
the boys from Flipper

Whose whereabouts keep you up at night??

Link up a post below if you have one, or share in the comments.  Seriously, it's fun stuff.
{*more fun stuff in store next week}

tangerine & turquoise {sittin' in a tree}...


the perfect summer tank (happen to be wearing it now)
Rica (sunshine in a bottle)
a happy print (color perfection)
stripey belt (playful accessorizing)
the Laiken (i won, i won! @ Fashion's Maven)
travel backgammon (via... everyone needs one of these)

Well worth the dough.

We're at the very end of the most unproductive weekend of all time.  It started off on the right track... a night out with Danielle & Carrie.  And they were just as fun & cute & down-to-earth & feisty &... everything that I've grown to love about them through their blogs.  I admit.  I was a little nervous- for like a 1/2 second.  Once we actually met- those nerves were quickly put to rest.  Just like old friends chatting it up, over squash blossoms, chorizo, halibut, tigerlilies & more.  Women who appreciate a full plate and a strong drink (gals after my own heart).  It was a total pleasure to to meet them in person.  Not to mention- kinda nice talking about blogging with bloggers (since I think I've bored Ryan to death about the topic).

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet and in my kid's opinion- boring.  But after such a full week- we needed it.  Maybe they didn't, but we did.  With a complete lack of energy and inspiration- I had the full intention of not writing a post... just an evening of sangria, beef stew, & Next Food Network star (yes, we're food-obsessed).  

Until I read Kristen's post... Lazy Day.   

As you might remember, we're big fans of homemade pizza.  So, a couple of years ago, my SIL & mom joined forces and gave Ryan a pizza stone.  Not just any pizza stone... a good pizza stone  We. Love. It.  I didn't pay for it, but I have paid for several predecessors, and I can vouch.  This is worth the price.  We've had many $15/20 stones in the past crack after just a few uses.  Not this baby.  And we've used it far more than just a few times- indoor & out.  Plus, it's been an absolute lifesaver for sleepovers & play dates.  Let 'em build their own pizza and your work of 'keeping them entertained' is done.  Entertainment + a delicious child-friendly meal.  Win-win.  

I realize I'm sounding like a commercial at this point, but- we also use it for baking bread.  So... if you're looking for a father's day gift, or you want the man in your life to master the art of homemade pizza, this is your ticket.  And even less than a fancy handbag.

Time for some sprinkles.

It's been a quick, but very full week.  I know I said that I'd report back after last weekend, but a full weekend of no work and all play led to a week of all work and no play.  No time to tell you that we did in fact enjoy 2 movies... in one day- Pirates... with the kids, and Bridesmaids without (loved).  Double the popcorn.  Double the fun. 

And we did in fact enjoy those Aperol cocktails (both versions, but the grapefruit one was my favorite), and the ginger burgers & fries, and the summer strawberry cake, and the aprium tarte.  And the sleepover did in fact take place.  It was a weekend of swimming, family, shopping, movies, and major cooking... & eating.  So needless to say, Tuesday turned up with an extremely messy house and exhausted kids to show for it. 

But Friday's here again.  And it's not just any Friday...
And I consider ourselves pretty lucky to live just minutes away from Elvis' favorite [raspberry-filled jelly] donut shop... The Donut Man.  A little landmark right here in my small town.
But the real treat of the day isn't the devil's-food-with-colored-sprinkle-"delicacy."  The real treat of my day is that I get to meet two of my favorite 'url friends'... Carrie & Danielle (both Shredcrew pals too- although I'm quite sure Jillian will not be on our minds tomorrow evening).  My 3rd 'blogger meet-up' and I couldn't be happier to end a busy week with a "real" cocktail [as opposed to a Twitter cocktail] hour.
And on a completely different note, a couple of weeks ago, I won a beautiful scarf from another favorite blogger- Jody (@ About Last Weekend).  She purchased it on a recent trip to Barcelona, and she liked it so much, that she bought one for herself, and one for a lucky reader.  Well, it was surely my lucky day.  I told her I would post a picture of myself when I actually got out of my 'workout uniform,' brushed my hair, and put make-up on I wore it... which happened to be the other night, at Jacob's orchestra performance.

{I wasn't sure if it'd be cold inside, so this was perfect, as it's large enough to keep me warm too!  I absolutely love it- & her impeccable taste :).  Since I won't be going to Barcelona anytime soon, this should hold me over for a bit.  Thanks again Jody!}

whatever your weekend entails, i hope it starts with a donut

Why i love my country {Listography 2011}.

{Each Wednesday, Danielle, @ Elleinad Spir, Emily, @ Notorious MLE, and myself are working our way through the lists of Listography 2011.}


What do you love most about your country?
The link is at Emily's today, if you'd like to share a post.
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