Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Decorations

It's not that I'm a grinch when it comes to Christmas, but I've always found it hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it's 70 degrees outside and I wear long sleeves to prevent sunburn, not chills. But Christmas is my husband's favorite holiday, so I'm trying to be more...jolly.

I've branched out and actually helped decorate the house this year!

Here's our stockings (Sam and Rusty included) hung on our fireplace. Dan's in the one with the cute little cartoon Santa. Just a reminder that I need to spend some time and declutter and organize the mantle...

Give me a sale on vases at Target and I'll give you a Christmas table centerpiece, even though we aren't hosting (thank God). The mercury glass vase was $5 at Target because everything is 50% (YAY!!!!) and the green and red tea light holders were leftovers from our wedding {Sidenote: our wedding colors weren't red and green, don't worry. Maybe I'll post about it one day, but we didn't have wedding colors, really...)

Our tree is so sad this year. So so sad. It's our first Christmas with cats and it is not going well. You see the tree? Notice how all the ornaments are in the top half of the tree? That's because Rusty believes that ornaments are the greatest thing ever. We're just lucky that the tree isn't strong enough to support him otherwise we'd really be in trouble. He did bend all the bottom branches down, though, in an attempt to get at the ornaments. Also, because the tree is cheap and old, Sam got tangled in one of the wires for the built-in lights and got a pretty bad shock and shorted out the tree. Fortunately, Sam is fine and Dan fixed the tree, but it was dark for a couple of weeks.

Also, notice the tinsel around the top of the room, but none on the tree? Yeah, cats aren't allowed ANYWHERE near tinsel. Not since one of them got into the decorations box, had a little snack, and threw it up one lovely morning.

See the big red present under the tree? The one that looks like someone drop kicked?

It's Rusty's new favorite thing. Hopefully my grandma will understand.

Gotta love a Christmas with cats.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa Loves Me

I've been quite busy lately (and not documenting it well), but it's time to start playing catch-up. Mainly because I am finally off of work for the rest of the year!

Last Saturday was my work's end of the year party. They rent out a local mini-golf course for the morning and everything is free. Granted, every year, it's the one day that it's rainy, cold, and miserable. Dan and I always manage to have fun anyway. And because my dad works for the same company, my parents and sister get in on the action, too.

My dad got three hole-in-ones and will probably never let us hear the end of it.

The highlight of the morning, though, was getting to see Santa. Why so exciting? Because this is no ordinary Santa's helper. It's my coworker Jerry and his wife. I love Jerry. He's so good to me. We don't work in the same department, but he always tracks me down once a week to check in with me. Such a sweetie.

We patiently waited in line to see him. When we finally got our turn to see him, he kept trying to insist that I sit on his knee. This is me reacting:

I'm not going to be THAT girl at work.

We decided to reenact the majority of the photos we had from childhood with Santa: scared out of our minds.

But we quickly warmed up to him.

He's my favorite Santa. 

Afterward, my mom and I DDRed it up in the arcade. You know you're out of shape when you get out of breath from stomping around on a giant controller. Even ten years later, it's still really fun.

And some other random highlights...

Living in a tiny town
Destroying said tiny town
Yet another hole-in-one
Feeding ducks

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Lost Girl's Guide to Oslo

I love that my job sends me to amazing places. Latest to the list? Oslo, Norway! Apparently, our robots are really big in Norway. So, my boss and I headed out on a whirlwind five day repair job. I was exhausted the entire time, mainly due to long hours traveling, jet lag, a tiny hotel bed, and the like five hours of day light, but it was worth it. Oh, and it was really cold, so I was bundled up the whole time. Like, the coldest-day-in-Arizona-winter constantly cold.

I'll get to my pictures in a minute, but here's some of the things I learned that pictures can't explain.
  • If you ever fly into the Oslo airport and take the train into the city, Dramen is not a stop in the city. It's a town about an hour outside Oslo. And definitely don't make the young woman you travelled with drag her luggage around in the rain as she tries to check the map. No, the hotel is not just around the corner. Stop being a male stereotype and just take some directions.
  • Norway is not vegetarian-friendly at all. No, strike that, Norwegian food isn't vegetarian. If you are a vegetarian in Norway, there's plenty of things like pizza to eat, but nothing traditional Scandinavian.
  • If you bring a candle in a glass jar back as a souvenir, pull it out of your luggage at every security check. Security will automatically think it's a jar of honey or something and won't believe you until they see it. 
Our hotel was really nice and about a block from the heart of downtown. Since we didn't have a car, we didn't get to see a lot of sites, but we didn't have a lot of time, so it was ok.

Anyway, picture summary!

Parliament Building. Why don't we get to have gorgeous buildings like this in Tucson?
National Theater, at the opposite end of the park from the Parliament Building.
Cool tented buildings under construction at the university.
The Royal Palace
The Cathedral
Some portly dude immortalized in metal
Best named store ever
Random photo shoot taking place the harbor
Not our hotel, but so pretty and classy

I don't know what this was supposed to be, but I call it "Tin Foil: Uniting"
The Art Museum
Another view of the Art Museum with a Pegasus statue

The Scream
I'm on viking ship (in the history museum)
In the courtyard of the castle

Ordering the cannons to fire on the fools who attack our castle
Foggy view of the harbor from the castle wall
We stumbled onto a tank on the way back to the hotel

I would have never thought that I would have visited Norway in my lifetime, but I'm glad I did. It was an incredible trip and I'd go back in a second if offered the chance.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This was actually a very busy Thanksgiving for me. Usually, they go like this: wake up late, head over the my parent's house, eat food, sit around and watch TV, and then go home and go to bed. Easy peasy.

This year was different. My mom and I started it bright and early at Reid Park by running the annual Turkey Trot. We'd never run it before, but it's a 5k run consisting of two loops through the park with "obstacles". And by "obstacles", I mean a couple of hay bales and two water hazards.

My mom's friend Rick jumping over the second water hazard
I run with style
The little cutie who distracted people from the fact that I don't actually run with style.
Sweaty post run pic
We finished in 39:05. Not that fast, but a good time for us!

I then returned home to a husband and mother-in-law who were already prepping for a ham lunch. That's what happens when you let your husband choose the menu. Ham on Thanksgiving. Doesn't really matter to me though, does it?

How did I contribute? Styling the main table and the kiddy table. The table cloth isn't wrinkly, it's rustic.

We rounded out the day with some football watching, cat cuddling, and an exciting 9PM trip to Target for some door busters for my sister. Good day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to Pretend to be European

Surprise! I've been traveling again! While it will be a couple of days before I can detail my adventure, but I can say that I've been to Europe again!

I love Europe. And do you know what, to me, is a huge compliment? Someone thinking I'm a native. This time, people thought I was a native on three separate occasions! Three! That's a new record! With a previous record being zero...

The reason I find it to be such a huge compliment is because European women have such a classy, well-defined style, a goal I never seem to be able to achieve.

And since I've finally done it, I'm writing it all freakin' down so I don't forget!

  • Start with a good coat. Classic, warm, and well fitting. This will be the majority of your cold-weather appearance so invest in one great coat that you can style many ways. One of my go-to colors is deep red because it can work with just about any other rich tone. 
  • Same goes for shoes. Classic, warm, comfortable, and water resistant. As much as I love my converse, they aren't warm and they soak up any bit of water like a sponge. Invest in a good pair you can wear just about anywhere.
  • That being said, invest in your clothes. Having one great coat that costs the same as four cheap ones will always be a better decision. The same goes for shoes, especially when it comes to the material. Contemplate styles, colors, materials, etc. long before making any purchases. Do your research and take your time. Split second decisions for crucial pieces can ruin a wardrobe and your wallet.   
  • Skinny jeans in boots can't be beaten.
  • Don't play with too much color or pattern. Know what colors work for you, work well together, and don't be afraid to play it safe. It's better to look classic and boring than hip and bad. Stick with two or three tones (maroon, navy, and chocolate) and keep trends to interchangeable pieces like blouses and scarves, not coats and shoes. 
  • Keep your hair and make up simple. Low buns and messy down styles look better than pony tails and pig tails (my former go-to travel styles). Clean, natural make up with just a thin liquid cat-eye and a great lipstick work wonders.
  • Things missing from this look that I haven't seen many Europeans wear: glasses, graphic tee's and logos, oversized clothing, undersized clothing, backpacks.
That's all I've figured out this time, but it's been a big eye opening experience. It's the first time my wardrobe hasn't been "do as I say, not as I do". I finally feel like I'm starting to get some things right after all the work I've put into it. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Concert History

After my post about the Pat Benatar concert, I started thinking about all the concerts I've attended. It hasn't been many, but I've gone to a few. Since I had to strain a few braincells to remember them all, I figured I better write them down before I forget again. 
  • "The Big One": I'll count this one as "my first concert" because it's the first concert I wanted to go to. I was no longer the tag-along to the festivals my parents attended. It was 2001 and I was 14 and now had musical "tastes" of my own, but let's be real, if a 14 year old likes it, it obviously sucks. This concert was a big radio festival, chock full of one-hit wonders. I remembered Smash Mouth, Mandy Moore, Michelle Branch, Tyrese, Five for Fighting, and LFO, but the rest of them I actually had to search out. The rest of the line-up included (and don't worry, I linked their one song to make your life easier so you don't injure your brain, too) Christina Milan, Jennifer Paige, Blu Cantrell, City High, Willa Ford, the K.G.B., Trickside, and Svala. I highly suggest clicking a couple for a flashback. 2001 doesn't seem that long ago for all this music to be this bad. The day was full of drama as most of it was full of freshmen girls following around their naive crushes and everyone trying to seem cool. The concert went on way too long with all of the set changes and most of my memories involve the throbbing pain in my feet, smushed between my two crushes in a sea of people, watching the last two sets of the night: Mandy Moore and Smashmouth.
  • The Go-Go's: My dad got my mom tickets for her birthday a couple of years ago. Wow, I was probably a senior in high school, so more than a few years ago now. Anyway, they were performing at the casino out on the reservation. First of all, it's a hella long drive to get out there. Secondly, almost everyone there had been a fan in the 80's. These women had grown up with the Go-Go's. It was nice to see them so enthusiastic, but my thought at the time was how lame they all looked. No offense to these women, but they couldn't dance and they couldn't see and they couldn't fit into the clothes they wore when they first saw the Go-Go's. Their spirit was great, but it was a good wake-up call to me that it's not healthy to get stuck in the past.
  • Dashboard Confessional: This one is probably my first actual concert. I was a junior in college, I had just gotten out of my first relationship that had lasted way too long, and I wanted to define myself. One of my friends from my summer in Michigan had been a fan and I had always liked their song "Vindicated", so when they came to Phoenix, I bought tickets. I grabbed one of my other newly single friends (Roommate #1 from this story) and we headed up to Phoenix. It was a night of adventure and errors. It was my first time driving myself up to Phoenix, the GPS (the 2007 GPS) kept getting us lost in ASU, which was crazy from a football game and a Ron Paul parade, we didn't have time to grab dinner, it wasn't actually the full band, just the lead singer, and we stood for hours in a cramped club on sticky floors, surrounded by drunk people. On the way back to Tucson, I ended up on the wrong highway (we just have one in Tucson!) and when we finally made it out of town, we stopped at a gas station for the best microwavable burrito I have ever had. But it was a defining moment for me. I tried something on my own and although it went a little wack-a-doo, I survived and it was fun.
  • Swell Season: After seeing "Once", I was really excited when they came to town. Dan and I went and it was a great show. Romantic and very energetic at the same time, but I declared it the last time I will stand for a concert. Maybe it's because I'm secretly really old, but my feet just can't handle standing for hours at concerts. I just can't enjoy the music when all I'm thinking about are my poor feet.
  • Weird Al: This one's a long story, but most of it can be explained by this: my dad became obsessed with getting front row tickets. He doesn't like to go anymore unless he knows he's got a really good view. So, Dan, myself, and my parent went and saw Weird Al. And this happened. 

        Yep, I was harassed by Weird Al in the front row. My mom was, too. Fortunately, I got to
        harass some Star Wars characters from his show afterward and got these pictures. I was
        so happy. For the record, Darth suggested we pose like we were at the prom. 

  • Pat Benatar: You can read all about that one here.
Given how cheap and old I am, there are no new concerts on the horizon. But using history to predict the future, sadly, odds are my parents will be there.