pure joy

Inspired by WeezerMonkey's post, I thought I would share a couple of recent inexpensive purchases that have resulted in an extraordinary amount of joy.

First, while at Target, my absolute weakness, I discovered 100 calorie pack Cinnamon Sun Chips. Yum!

Second, also at Target, a pink and tan Issac Mizrahi raincoat went on sale. I've been eyeing this jacket for some time now, but couldn't rationalize spending $60 on it. I wasn't even sure if it was a "so ugly, it's cute" kind of jacket or if it was just ugly. Well, when I saw that it went on sale, it suddenly appeared super cute. Looks cute with jeans and a white t-shirt.

We leave for New York tomorrow night at 11:10pm. I am so excited! We have a jam packed weekend planned. Friday morning, just a couple hours after we land, I'm going on a Sex and the City Bus tour and then in evening we have tickets to see Duran Duran (obviously, Rob's guilty pleasure). Saturday we're looking forward to strolling the streets, eating some delicious food, and hitting up some recommended shops before seeing Legally Blonde in the evening. Sunday we're meeting some East Coast family for lunch and more roaming the streets. We leave bright and early Monday morning, actually it may not even be bright when we leave. We land in LA at 10:30am. I took the entire day off, but Rob, the workaholic in the family, is heading straight the office. We decided to rent an apartment from Craigslist for $180/night rather than spend $300/night on a ghetto hotel room (and last year when we went to NYC, we brought home bed bugs from a decent hotel). I'll let ya'll know how the apartment rental goes...may be the new way to travel.

Have a festive, but safe, Halloween!


blonde redhead

As the quintessential procrastinator, I thought I would update my blog rather than get some studying done for my mid-term on Monday. Cramming really works better for me anyhow.

I finally spent some time today reading and responding to my favorite blogs. I'm not sure if you find this true, but if I don't check daily, I feel guilty. After an entire week I actually felt overwhelmed! If I had access to blogging at school, my entire lunch break would be spent staying on top of all ya'll's lives and I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed. OCD? Maybe, but I'm completely addicted!

Thursday evening we were invited by our friends Greg and Sheila to see Blonde Redhead at The Wiltern. Beforehand, Rob and I grabbed dinner at the new Whole Foods in El Segundo. Wow, that's a serious Whole Foods! The ready-to-eat food options were incredible, the chocolate bar was mouthwatering, and the floral department was vast. If I lived in the area, I'd be there everyday searching for an excuse to buy something. Once we arrived to the Wiltern, we enjoyed a couple cocktails before Blonde Redhead played. Greg and Sheila are from New York, so it's always great talking with them about NYC. Sheila and I discussed fashion trends, celebrities, and she filled me in on some shops to hit up next weekend when we're in NYC. I really enjoyed Blonde Redhead, they have some really incredible sounds for only being a 3-person band. While I was extremely thankful to be there, I felt guilty because I'm sure my brother, who is a fan, would have appreciated it more. Rob recorded many of the songs, so we made him a DVD...hopefully that will suffice.

The highlight of my day today was getting my first facial. What a treat! My skin is so soft and supple right now. Gabe and Mimi are throwing a Halloween dinner party this evening that will be fun and festive. I'm sure the decor and food will be superb.

Hope everyone is having a happy and safe Saturday evening!


pumpkin update

Even though I'm in a hurry to get out of the house for a meeting, I couldn't resist snapping a quick photo of the pumpkin mush on our front door. I'm in awe of what happened! What was once our beautiful pumpkin so abruptly became mushy-nastiness that left a stain on our welcome mat and on our wall. Can someone who knows about carving pumpkins tell me what went wrong? Was it really the severe heat and ash in the air? I'm stumped...


weekend in rewind

I've been a bad, bad blogger! It's been over week and I haven't updated my blog or checked my favorite blogs. I can't wait to get caught up on what's been happening with everyone! Here's a quick recap of our weekend.

Friday: We bought a giant pumpkin to carve a fancy, giant 'T' and opened up a bottle of wine for the job. We were both excited for our first pumpkin carving experience together. It made us really feel like a little family. Here's the end result:
My scary "carver" husband
Digging for seeds and guts
The "T"

Sadly, with the horrible heat, wind, and ash, our first family carved pumpkin now looks like this:

On Monday...

Saturday: Rob's Aunt Sarah turned 75 and we celebrated her big day with a birthday lunch at Claim Jumper. It was great to catch up with everyone and enjoy some good comfort food.

Happy 75th Sarah! Everyone

Saturday evening we met Rob's former boss at Tracht's, a delicious new restaurant in the downtown Long Beach Renaissance Hotel. The food was superb and the service was great too, contrary to some reviews we read. I loved the filet mignon and Rob loved the purple yams. The cocktails were refreshing too. Overall, we highly recommend for a special occasion. With Pink Berry located just around the corner, our evening concluded with the perfect dessert.

Sunday: After church, I made my way to Huntington Beach for Julie's baby shower while Rob braved the Anaheim winds to attend a festive Oktoberfest event. I've know Julie for nearly 17 years. She and my brother used to date a long time ago and we remained friends after they parted ways. Julie has seen me as a bratty middle schooler, a dorky high schooler, and a spastic college student. It's definitely absurd to think about how long we've known each other. I have one incredibly embarrassing memory and she was there to witness that moment and happily reminds me about it to this day - it's actually really funny (though I can't dare to write about it on my blog, but I'll share in person). Julie is expecting baby Nathan to arrive early November. I'm so excited for Julie and Rick! They are going to be wonderfully loving parents.

Julie with the baby shower party planners, Alexis and Kelly
Custom onesies were hung everywhere, this was my favorite
Rob had a great time at Oktoberfest too! He ate lots of German-type food and beverages. With the unruly wind and devastating fires, Rob came home with ashes on his face.

I hope everyone is safe during this crazy fire storm that California is experiencing.

Praying for firefighters, volunteers, and families affected by the tragic fires...


the struggling vs. the high-falutin'

It's official, my teaching situation has been finalized. In the morning, I'll be working in 'da hood and in the afternoon I'm working in a neighborhood where the average price of a home is well over one million dollars. Seriously, the kids in the morning use ropes to lock their jaloppy bikes (I'm only kind of exaggerating, though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the kids got their bikes from breaking someones lock) and the kids in the afternoon are locking up their expensive Paul Frank bikes with pricey locks (I actually have a PF bike myself). While I have to drive to two school sites everyday, I'm really excited for the opportunity to work with two very different socioeconomic groups. Obviously, the parents in 'da hood tend to be less involved and frankly, absent, while the well to-do parents bring their attorneys to school meetings. As a new teacher, I feel fortunate to experience both right away. While I'm still questioning my decision to teach special education, and I may request a transfer to an elementary school site for next school year, I'm happy that all the drama has subsided and I can now actually focus my attention on the kiddos, that is after all why I decided to teach.


my (our) weekend with sean

Gosh, the weekend flew by! Our weekdays are so hectic and literally, I’m sad when Monday rolls around. Here’s a quick recap of our weekend before I hit our white fluffy sheets – I’m beat today!

Friday night Rob wasn’t feel well so we just hung out and relaxed, quite unusual for us and it was heaven!

Saturday we work up bright and early to head to our church for phase IV of Project Haggai. For the last several months we’ve been working on renovating our church. I forgot my camera so I’ll have to wait to post pictures of our hard work. Essentially, we are renovating our entire church to a more contemporary look and feel (brown and tangerine are the inspiration colors). This process will take a very long time, but little by little, our little church on the corner will soon standout as a true gem in Long Beach. Here are our new logos:

Saturday evening we went with Emily and Joe to GS and the movies. We saw Sean Penn’s new movie Into the Wild. Wow, it’s incredibly well done and very thought provoking. I won’t give any of it away, but I highly recommend ya’ll see it! I’ve never been a particularly huge Sean Penn fan, I didn’t dislike him nor did I seek out his work, but I’m definitely going to pay more attention to him now - more to come on why…

Sunday after church, we went to lunch with Rob’s parents. We checked out this new restaurant, On the Mark in Belmont Shores. It was really good and the service was great, with the exception of the owner’s daughter who was super precocious. She was cute at first, taking our drink orders and asking if we needed anything, but then she just got weird when she started asking me where we live and walking back and forth pretending to question me like I was on a witness stand. Perhaps we should hook her up with WeeMo. I was probably not the best luncheon buddy – I was kind of grumpy and a bit concerned about completing my homework. Sorry Marie and Terry…I’ll be better company next time. Nonetheless, it was wonderful spending time with you.

Sunday night we had dinner plans in Hollywood with one of Rob’s potential business partners and his lovely wife. While I typically don’t like having late dinner plans on Sunday evenings, I was really looking forward to hanging out with this couple. They are really down-to-earth and funny. When we arrived to their house, they had two restaurants in mind, one of them was at the Chateau Marmont…uh, yeah, sign me up! I guess the pizza place they also had in mind is really good (it was nearly a 2 hour wait), but I was ready to celebrity watch! During dinner, which was really good, we didn’t see anyone. But when we headed to the bar and lounge area my celeb-dar really kicked in. As Rob and I walked on the lounge, he whispered to me, “did you see Sean Penn?” My response, “NO!” Then I had to casually walk back to scope him out. I swear Sean Penn made eye contact with me! I excitedly told Rob and the others and they kind of laughed at me. Whatever, I knew the truth. Just a few minutes later though, Sean Penn walked by our table and he totally made eye contact with me again! This time though, the others saw! I guess my little pigtails and new Gap jacket really are irresistible! Thus, the title of my blog, “my weekend with sean” – except Rob wanted it to be “our weekend with sean”. Sorry, babe…Sean was checkin’ me out…but don’t worry, I wasn’t checking him out…

This is what Sean looked like last night...


gal to gal

In an effort to dedicate at least one post to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I've been searching and lurking for blogs that have "gone pink" during the month of October. While I discovered lots of blogs that dedicated posts to "being pink", I found a virtual walk website (thank you Kristi and thus, Martha Stewart), Gal to Gal Foundation, that I thought was really creative and perfect for techie-chicks.

The Gal to Gal Foundation was created by the founder of Design-Her-Gals, a super girly stationary website. The foundation aims to provide women diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer with the support they need to maintain their dignity while receiving treatment throughout the progression of their disease. The Gal to Gal Foundation partners with existing organizations dedicated to the emotional and financial well-being of those diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, including Making Memories, an organization that grants wishes for Stage IV patients and their families.

So let's get to the super cool part...Design-Her-Gals launched the first virtual walk across America! Your gal will walk from Boston to San Francisco and stop in 29 other cities along the way. Obviously, no training is necessary! The only thing you have to do is create "your gal"! The foundations goal is to register one million stylish walkers. For only a $3 donation (and a few minutes) you too can create a stylish walker.

Meet Alyssa T., she joined on Day 10 in Atlanta, GA.



Jessica recently made a gratitude list that I loved.

At this moment, I'm thankful for:

husband : laughter : snuggling
emily & joe's fertility doctor : baby-making dreams
girlfriends : unconditional support
our church : prayer
cherry tomatoes : salt & pepper
our condo : our jobs
keekee : warmth
ipod : music
school : education : safe
pink : brown
brain : creativity : thoughts
pretty paper : scrapbooking : photos
white comforter : sweet dreams

What are you thankful for?


fun weekend

After another rocky day at school (I'll save the details for when I know what the heck is actually happening with my teaching life), Rob decided that he wanted to do something different...and different it was! We saw HAIR - The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical in Hollywood at The Met Theatre. It's definitely reinforced that Rob is the perfect hubby for me when he wants to see musicals with me. Wow, it was awesome! When we arrived the actors were roaming around the house area and the stage area, some were dancing while others were meditating (I'm serious). Once the actual show began, we were blown away with the talent! These people could seriously sing! And bonus...they dropped their clothes right before intermission...

Saturday we had a lazy, yet productive, morning planning our New York trip in November - Duran Duran and Legally Blonde here we come (his and her guilty pleasures)...Once we found some motivation, Rob dropped me off at Starbucks so I could get some homework done while he pumped some iron. In the early evening we headed down to Laguna Beach for a "fancy" dinner with one of Rob's former business partner and his new wife. I say "fancy" because it's unusual that we actually dine somewhere that requires a reservation, unless it's a special occasion. The girls had a great time reminiscing about wedding planning and wedding weekend celebrations and the guys enjoyed their tech talk. We ate at this incredible restaurant, 230 Forest Avenue in downtown Laguna. I had filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes and Rob had an ahi salad. They both were really decadent (needless to say I went above and beyond my daily points requirement). On our way down to Laguna, I realized I didn't have an adequate jacket so we made a quick pit stop at Gap where I picked up this tweed jacket (mine is actually a dark heather grey and black). Thank you Marie and Terry for the birthday gift card!

Sunday was the big bloggers brunch at 26 Beach! I was so excited (and nervous) about this event all weekend! Sunday couldn't come fast enough! I had such a great time meeting the authors of some of my favorite blogs! Thank you WeMo for organizing this great event! I took a few pics, but of course, WeMo offers the best recap with tons of pics and very specific details about the food we each selected. Really, next time I'm in the mood for a serious decadent breakfast, I'm heading to 26 Beach where I can order french toast Elvis style (PB and banana) or Reece's French Toast - yes, that's right...french toast stuffed with peanut butter, chopped Reece's and topped with grated Belgium chocolate and served with chocolate sauce...surely this would put me over the monthly allowance of Weight Watcher's points. Seriously though, it was so fun meeting everyone (even though we actually already know everything about everyone) and hearing their actual voices (Jolene and I thought it was weird to hear everyone speak). Like our wonderful brunch organizer said in her blog, I also hope this was just the beginning of some real-life friendships.

We were all a little camera happy
And we got treats too...thank you Ballin_Axehammer!
Lilcee was perhaps the happiest blogger
Leeney and her panties
All of us
After the brunch, I took a quick nap, tried to do more homework (with no luck), ran a few errands (including GS), watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition (and sobbed) and went to bed. So sad that another hectic week is already in full swing...

Rob took this pic last night...we heart the LBC!


a new meme

R, the fabulous author of Married Not Buried, tagged me for a new kind of meme. Here goes it...

Four Jobs I've Had In My Life
1. Top of the Bagel - a local bagel shop in Solana Beach, and my first job
2. Gap Kids - a job where I spent more than I actually made
3. Mattel - the coolest internship ever, despite the OTT (over-the-top) corporate environment
4. Saatchi & Saatchi - my first "real" job after college (and I place I often return to when I'm not teaching)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over
1. Clueless
2. Legally Blonde 1 & 2
3. Just Like Heaven
4. Truth or Dare (Madonna's early 90s concert tour documentary)

Four TV Shows I Like To Watch

1. Orpah
2. America's Next Top Model
3. Project Runway
4. Friends
**this question is hard because there are too many TV shows I enjoy**

Four Places I Have Vacationed

1. New York
2. Cancun
3. London
4. Paris

Four Of My Favorite Dishes (I wasn't sure if this implied dishes I make, which would be a joke - I wouldn't be able to come up with 4, so these are 4 of my favorite foods)
1. Chicken Parmesan
2. Sushi
3. Golden Spoon (any fro-yo really)
4. Bean & Cheese Burrito

Four Places I'd Rather Be
1. Hawaii
2. Some amazing island, like Fiji or Bora Bora
3. New York (my absolute favorite city)
4. Italy

Four Websites I Visit Daily
1. People.com
2. Trent.blogspot.com
3. The blogs I've listed on my "Daily Reads"
4. Cnn.com

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging
1. Jolene, writes about this "Crazy-Little-Thing-Called-Life". She's the one who also introduced me to the insanely addicting world of blogging!
2. Amber, a fellow pink obsessed blogger. We both think we were actually separated at birth because of all our similarities.
3. Mimi, my wonderful SIL, who writes about ENJOYING : {Life}
4. Kay, a fairly new loyal reader who always responds to my posts with very thoughtful words of support.

Happy meme'ing ladies!


surprise and delight

Before I recap our weekend, I’d like to thank you all for your e-love! When I came home from school (well, actually from getting a mani/pedi) on Friday, I had so many supportive messages about my school situation. I never thought that I would receive such kind support from friends I’ve never actually met! The Internet is seriously amazing!

Our entire weekend was a surprise and delight! We originally didn’t have any plans at all…just plans to hang around our place and work on homework (me) and work on computer stuff (Rob). Turns out we had a really exciting weekend!

Friday afternoon Rob suggested we see Across the Universe with our friends Jolene and Gerric. J & G are always super busy, so I was thrilled when Jolene ditched the laundry to hang out with us! Gerric and Rob and huge Beatles fans, and Rob really wanted to experience this movie with another Beatles lover. We all agreed that the first half of the movie was really good, the second half lagged, but overall the music was awesome. If you want to hear 30-something Beatles songs in one movie, then you should definitely see this movie.

Saturday, while Rob worked on some church business with Pastor Tom, I worked on some homework for the class I’m taking at CSULB. That evening, we were planning on working out, eating in and renting a movie, but Rob got a call from his friend Brian saying he had baby duty all weekend, so we invited Brian and baby Maggie to join us for dinner at our place. I made a delicious chicken dinner from a Weight Watchers cookbook Mimi let me borrow. My baby fever (really, “our” baby fever, but Rob won’t admit it) was plentifully satisfied as Brian let me feed Maggie and give her a bottle. She is the sweetest baby and Rob and I predict that she’s going to be super smart. She has a very wise face for a 10-month old and quietly takes everything in around her. Even Rob fed her for a little while, but we both enjoyed giving Maggie back to her daddy when she started crying. Brian had to get Maggie home for bed by 7pm and Rob and I were wiped when they left! We were asleep by 9pm…really, the perfect Saturday evening for this ol' married couple!

Meet Maggie!
"Can't a girl eat without the Paparazzi showing up?"

Sunday was a day filled with “The Happiest Place on Earth”! Our friend Susan works at Disney and had a couple of extra Disneyland tickets waiting just for us! Susan and Griff asked us the other day if we were free to go with them on Sunday. We have never been to Disneyland with a child before, so we were really excited to experience Disneyland through Corbin’s eyes. We had a blast going on some of Corbin’s favorite rides…Buzz Lightyear, Autopia, Tiki Room and some of the adult’s favorite rides…Alice in Wonderland, Pirate’s of the Caribbean and of course, “It’s a Small World”. After dinner at an Italian restaurant in California Adventure, Rob and I hit up the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Wow, that ride was awesome! The Halloween decorations around Disneyland were really cute and festive, but I loved California Adventure’s Halloween d├ęcor – it was candy corn themed! Thank you Griff & Susan for sharing your Disneyland tickets with us! We really enjoyed spending the day with you guys!

Corbin and I on Autopia
Corbin patiently waiting for his Dole Whip
Griff and Susan had a break from Corbin as he rode with us most of the time on the rides
The Lauerman Family
Corbin among the candy corn vines

We arrived home just in time for me to be too tired to do any homework. I had to wake up super early in order to finish cramming for my test (turns out I was over-prepared after taking the test tonight). My day at school went well, the kids were good and I’m ready for Back-to-School Night tomorrow evening. I did find out on Friday the fate of my teaching location, well almost found out…I’ll be at the school I’m at now 50% of the time and soon I’ll find out where I’ll spend the other 50%. Definitely not an ideal scenario…this means managing 2 classrooms - and I’m new! Hard to believe that the school district would see value in placing a new teacher (or any teacher for that matter) in this position, but frankly, I’m done trying to figure out what the district wants anymore. All I can do is manage my expectations and keep learning with a positive attitude.