Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh hot cocoa and winter vacation....

How I love thee.....

Joshua put Ghirardelli hot cocoa in my stocking. It is absolutely fantastic. As I sip my hot cocoa, I thought I'd write a quick blog.

I'm on vacation. I know for some that this would mean flying far away to some exotic destination. For me, vacation....real vacation....is being home and not having to work. Being that I travel so much for work, there is nothing better than being home. I have been catching up on all of the chores that I had put off over the Christmas season. My spare room/office had been abandoned as a dumping ground for all sorts of odds and ends. My bead table was a terrible mess from making last minute gifts left and right. We got a new shelving unit for our dining area which made more room in our kitchen cupboards. So, lots of reorganizing....It is wonderful. Does this sound like the most boring vacation ever? Absolutely not. It is everything I was hoping for!

I have gotten out of the house a little. Josh & I picked up Miss Jamie and headed over to Kristen's house on Sunday. Kristen was the gracious hostess that she always is and her family was just as adorable as they always are!


On Monday, I met up with Jamie & her mom to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". I really enjoyed this movie but do warn you, it is very long. So, plan a good 3 hours for viewing. I felt like it was a mix of "Big Fish" & "Forest Gump". It definitely kept my attention. It definitely made me cry. See it...I won't say any more.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the new year. I hope to be organized, rejuvenated and ready to jump in head first! Talk to you soon.....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Santa was very good to me.


We had a lovely Christmas....ate too much, opened lots of presents, drank hot cocoa, apple cider and tea (yes, us Arizonans drink hot drinks too), spent time with family, watch movies....you know, your typical all American Christmas. Joshua spoiled me rotten. He gave me a pair of beautiful earrings from Tiffany & Co. as well as a "diamond" edition scrabble board. I have thus far been playing my favorite game of scrabble on a travel scrabble board. I'm very happy to have the full size now AND it rotates! My Mom sent us on an IKEA buying spree. We finally got a cabinet for our dining area with glass doors. Which is perfect because Josh's mom gave me some of Josh's Grammy's china tea cups. All in all, I was very blessed with many thoughtful gifts this Christmas and thankful to be surrounded by such loving and giving people.

Yesterday, I got to go to see the Nutcracker by Ballet Arizona in the Phoenix Symphony Hall. It was beautiful. There is no other word to describe it! Mike & Erin had extra tickets so they took Loretta and I. We just loved it!!!

I have so much to say, but we are running out the door to pick up Jamie to go to Kristen's house for a little post holiday celebrating. Although Jamie & Kristen have been working together for well over a year off and on...and although I know and love both of them well...they have not gotten to meet each other face to face. So, we thought it was necessary to get together while Jamie is visiting with her family.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Frost/Nixon

Josh & I saw the movie "Frost/Nixon" this weekend. If you enjoy history or politics, this movie is for you.

Starring Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Matthew Macfadyen, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, and Sam Rockwell

For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Frost's team harbored doubts about their boss' ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Would Nixon evade questions of his role in one of the nation's greatest disgraces? Or would Frost confound critics and bravely demand accountability from the man who'd built a career out of stonewalling? Over the course of their encounter, each man would reveal his own insecurities, ego and reserves of dignity--ultimately setting aside posturing in a stunning display of unvarnished truth.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Giant Ginger Cookies


These are my favorite holiday tradition.

"Chewy and delicious, these cookies are giants in both size and snappy ginger flavor."

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 11 min. per batch
Oven: 350 degrees
Makes: about 24 cookies

4 1/2 c. flour (I use wheat flour)
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. sugar in the raw

Mix together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves & salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat shortening with a mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until combined; add eggs & molasses and beat until combined. Using mixer, add half of the flour mix. Add the remaining flour mix and knead with your hands until all ingredients are combined. This can be messy...I always seem to get cookie dough all over the place between the mixer and the kneading. Wear and apron!

Pour the sugar in the raw on a plate. Roll 2 in. balls of dough in your hand and then roll in the suar in the raw until the ball is coated. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and gently push flat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring. They are very soft when they come out of the oven and fall apart easily. So definitely let them sit for a few.

These babies are delicious! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Graduation


I attended an early morning college graduation for my good friend Marietta today. By early morning, I mean 8am. I simply am not a morning person. But I dragged myself out of bed and got there with plenty of time to see the speeches and Marietta graduate. I was impressed by both speeches this morning. It was not that the subject matter was any different than most graduation speeches (which I have seen plenty). What was different is the emotion behind the speech. I could tell that they both were really invested in their speech and boy oh boy does that make a difference in the long and sometimes boring process of graduation. I was so happy to be there and share Marietta's special moment. She has been there for so many special moments in my life - bad days & good days, special days and non-special days. She is an all around good friend and more importantly a good person. Congratulations Marietta!

As a graduation gift, I grabbed a book that I thought was just the ticket...

The TravelerThe Traveler by Daren Simkin



My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
A quick read. Much like "The Little Prince", it is a short story about not losing track of too much time in life looking for something that doesn't exist and missing out on all the great things and wonderful people that are right in front of you. Cease the day!

View all my reviews.

My family is getting together this weekend for some pre-Christmas fun at my uncle's house this weekend. I'm excited to see my cousins and spend some time getting caught up with my nearest and dearest in AZ. I'm hard at work on a few jewelry designs but I can't show you until I give them out. I don't want one of my recipients to stumble upon their gift too soon. I already had Joshua stumble upon his gift in our amazon.com account. OOOOops! I am the worst at secrets...really, I am.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Cheer

I love our Christmas tree. I think that we got the best tree on the lot. It is big, beautiful and full. We chose gem colored ornaments and the perfect star topper. Being that I have had a real, live Christmas tree in well over 10 years, I'm so very excited. Thankfully, I'm a MacGyver of sorts! Josh and I had no idea that Christmas ornaments come with out hooks. So, I had to hand make each hook using my fancy dancy Soft Flex pro tools & 18g Artistic W

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I love the holidays!

I'm so excited. When I go home this weekend, Josh and I are going to pick out our Christmas tree and decorate. I got started early. I found the cute stocking shown above at the Cracker Barrel. They were only $3/ea!!! And I love them...Josh already had a stocking that was knitted specifically for him, but Honey and I have both been needing our very own stockings. YAY! I'm just so excited for Christmas cards and a Christmas tree, hot cocoa and candy canes, baking and making gifts. I love the holidays.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Life is good!

This past weekend, I spent lots of quality time with my love Joshua and his wonderful family. We drove to Tucson and met up for a barbecue (mmmm beer & hotdogs) at his brother's house before heading out to the ASU vs. UofA football game. There was a sea of bright red (UofA) and smattering of gold (ASU) as we wandered into the stadium. For the life of me, I will never understand how worked up some people can get over a game. Obviously, being in the same state, ASU & UofA are quite competitive. But, is it really necessary to yell at each other? I don't know. I just don't think that I'll ever be so into something that I will stand on the corner and yell insults at the top of my lungs at people that I don't know or even at people that I do know. Such a strange tradition. I'm sure that alcohol has something to do with it as well. All in all, the game was very enjoyable. It was mostly nice to spend time with family! I'm not really a sporty girl. I am more into sparkly things....like beads. :)

Yesterday I went to "It's a Wonderful Life" by AZ Theatre Company. It was very cute and will be an annual show in Phoenix that you can catch again next year. It only runs for one week. I highly suggest that you check it out next year. It is a twist on the original story. The actors and actresses are playing radio actors and actresses reading the parts of "It's a Wonderful Life". It's a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

This is a busy week. I'm flying out to attend a few business meetings and then plan to stop in Oklahoma City for a few days to visit my Dad and his family. I can't wait to see my grandmother. I'm not sure if I will have internet access or not. But, I'll do my best to post when I can.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back from vacation


I had such a nice vacation. You may have noticed, I even took a break from blogging. I just needed to shut off the computer and enjoy the real world for a few days...and boy did I enjoy myself:
  • I walked 60 miles in the San Diego Breast Cancer 3day!
  • I enjoyed San Diego for 5 days.
  • I am on book 4 of the Twilight series (Breaking Dawn) - So, I read book 2 (New Moon) & book 3 (Eclipse). These books are real page turners!
  • And speaking of, Erin & I went to the Twilight movie as well!
  • I taught a class at the Gypsy Trader for WigJig ornaments. We made cute angels.
  • I watched countless episodes of Battlestar Galactica with my boyfriend.
  • I slept.
  • I played scrabble.
  • I spent lots of time with Joshua.
  • I cooked and ate Thanksgiving dinner.
  • We hung outdoor Christmas lights.
It was just wonderful. I hope that everyone else got a nice restful break too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Breast Cancer 3day


Well, we did it. All 4 of us walked all the way from beginning to end. I have the worst set of blisters and probably had the hardest time making it through. I attribute this to not training enough - so I get what I deserve! However, I MADE IT! I'm pretty exhausted and still in San Diego so I will write about it with more details when I get home. For now, you can view our photos on Flickr.com. You will find the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly (I wasn't exactly looking like a shining star this weekend). Mostly good though, lots of songs, laughs, smiles and hugs!

PS - picture above is of Chubbs. She was by far my most favorite cheerleader this weekend. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Emeryville, CA

So Jamie and I flew into California today and met up at the Oakland airport. Being that we didn't have anywhere to be, we stopped in Emeryville and wandered around a bit. H&M, Sephora (I think I smelled just about every fragrance), Barnes & Noble....what more does a girl need? Isn't this hat silly....

... I don't think it is quite me. Maybe if I lived somewhere snowy? Nah, probably not! I did get a hat but it was a little more on the discreet side. I also bought Twilight. I have been hearing from everyone that I HAVE to read it.

Then we met up with 2 of my nearest and dearest, Jess & David for dinner at Chevy's.

What a great day?!!! Although we did end up getting lost on our way to Petaluma (ummm are we half way to Sacramento - oooops), we figured it out and all is well that ends well. Pretty good day, if I do say so myself...and I do.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gearing up

Honey and I got new gear today!

Josh (the world's best and most supportive boyfriend) and I went to the Runner's Den, here in Phoenix. It was wonderful. I got personal attention in picking out my walking shoes for the 3day AND they gave us a 3day discount of 10% off of all of our products. What a great deal! Josh set a goal for me, "No Blisters". Now I just have to figure out how to hook my speakers onto my back pack for some walking music.

There is still time to DONATE!


Then, we stopped by the WagandWash. This place is SO CUTE. You can either drop your dog off to be groomed or you can actually rent a space and do-it-yourself there. They had lots of great treats, toys and dog gear. Honey got a new short leash. Although she is the world's best dog, she is not leash trained. She is fine to follow along on a trail without a leash - but since I live in a city with leash laws, a leash it is. Maybe this new short leash will help keep her more on track. Who could resist "pupcakes". She had to have one!

I'm going to be in Northern California this week, Monday-Thursday. I fly out early tomorrow morning - so I guess I'd better pack!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out and vote!


Did you vote yet? Find your local polling place! So, what are the odds? John McCain and I cast our ballots at the same church this morning, 1/2 a block from my home. I arrived a few hours later, but the place was still all abuzz about Senator McCain. I will be on pins and needles tonight to see who won.


Also, if you voted today stop in Starbucks for a free cup of coffee as well as Ben & Jerry's for a free ice cream. :)

Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama

I look forward to being inspired by you for the next 4 and maybe even 8 years. I think that you are just what this country needs! Congratulations Barack Obama!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween


I love holidays. I finally got my pumpkin carved last night and roasted pumpkin seeds. I've been nibbling on them all day. My pumpkin carving techniques could use some work. Let's just say, I don't expect to win any awards this time around!

Tonight Josh and I are going to a Halloween party...parts of our costumes are pictured below. We are going to be masqueraders. Isn't my butterfly mask beautiful? I love it! I've never been much to dress up for Halloween. This time of year always finds me wishing for a little one to dress up in a pea pod outfit or a batman toddler to walk around the neighborhood with. Someday......


Only 3 weeks until the Breast Cancer 3day. It is so hard to believe that it is already here and shortly after we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving! Yay Holidays!!! You still have time to donate!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Runway 08 Toronto

This was such a special event. Pictures are up on the John Bead Website - GO HERE to see all of the lovely Czech jewelry from the runway. Boy, Lisa & I had our hands full...we were BUSY!


With Lisa & I, this is Mike John, owner of John Bead and his mother...who is an active participant at the store. She was very sweet.

This was my favorite. The whole top of the piece she is carrying is sparkly Czech beads. Very pretty!
And this design was over the top nice.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VP debate tonight

I won't be missing it and neither should you! Quality leadership is needed in this country and the best way to elect quality leadership is to have everyone in our country tune in, get to know the candidates, pick the ticket that is just right for you and then vote! I have no doubt that the more people who get out and vote, the more likely we are to choose the right people to run our country.

If you are not currently registered to vote, you only have a few more days to register in most states. GO HERE to learn about registering.

And last but not least, most states need poll workers to assist in making the voting process clean, easy and accurate. If you are able to help, google and find out how to sign up in your state. I will be volunteering here in AZ. GO HERE to sign up to be a poll worker in AZ.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Runway" in Toronto


I'm back from Toronto. Runway 08 was more than I could have ever expected. John Bead built a tent outside their back door with a runway, lights, cameras & plenty of action! It was unbelievable.

John Bead kicked the night off with a dance from an aboriginal, native american. Greg Dreaver had a touching presentation and shared two beautiful dances with us. I had the fortune to also have lunch with him earlier in the day. He is a deep thinker and was a wonderful lunch mate. :)


The show was split into the 4 seasons of the year with 4 different designers. Spring was designed by Boris Hanecka. Summer was designed by Pavel Jevula. Autumn was designed by E. daniely (brand). And winter was designed by Beata Rajska. There was fashion and jewelry for each season.

Between each section the Jablonex representative led us through tutorials on how specific Czech beads were created. Before and after the event, Lisa and I were very busy demoing Soft Flexproducts. We were happy to have been invited to participate in such a lovely event. So it was an educational and informative night for all present.

Here are a few snap shots from the event. I will scan and show some of the jewelry that was modeled when I have extra time.







Very neat! I had one of those, "this is my life?" moments in Toronto. I have a pretty great life and really enjoy not knowing exactly where I will end up next. If you are Canadian, this is an event to not be missed next year! Also, don't forget - John Bead is officially our Master Distributor in Canada. They carry every brand, color, diameter and length in beading wire that we offer.

Read more about John Bead from insidetoronto.com!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dave & Jennifer Vincent

They made it official yesterday at 4pm. It was long weekend of rehearsals, salon appointments, dresses, flowers, etc, etc, etc. The event was beautiful. Jenn planned everything down to the last detail and she did a wonderful job. She was one of the most breath taking brides I have ever seen. Fun was had by all. A big "best wishes for a happy and long marriage" to both Jenn & Dave. :)





Thursday, September 18, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
It always amazes me how much one person can change so many lives, either for the better or the worse. This true story was inspiring. It is easy to see how Greg Mortenson has made and kept so many friends despite distance, time, space or war. He and his wife seem like very genuine and kind people. I didn't know a thing about this book when I picked it up and now I can't imagine having not read it.

View all my reviews.

You should read this book. Greg Mortenson has some good ideas on how to fight terrorism through education & good will. The world is better place for having him in it. This is a wonderful cause!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back from Utah

We made it home safe and sound! The wedding was beautiful. My cousin Danny married his bride Janika in the Utah Capitol Building located in downtown Salt Lake City.


My Mom has 9 siblings...actually my Dad does too. However, Danny is on my Mom's side of the family. I'd say that about half of the family were able to make to the wedding. Here we are....

This is the building as we were pulling away for the evening...what an amazing place to get married!

The next day we went to Park City. We stopped in at the Utah Olympic Park. We got to see the skiers doing their summer practice - VERY COOL! I've never seen anything quite like it.


Josh & I rode a zip line and took a toboggan ride down the side of the mountain. It was fun!

Then we wandered around in downtown Park City, UT. We took an hour long ski lift ride. The scenery and the fresh air were great. Here are my cousin Ash & Josh on the ski lift.

Look at that scenery!!!

So fun!!!

We wore ourselves out on our short 3day excursion, but we had a lot of fun. Utah is a lovely place to visit!

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