Friday, July 31, 2009

coupled up.

It seems that everywhere you look people are coupled up.

and when they're not coupled up, they're breaking up.

from celebrities to regular folk.

you can't really avoid the mad world of coupledom.

That got me to thinking about all my wonderful friends and their significant others.

What kind of couples are they?

What kind of couple are we?

As we get closer to the wedding (359 days to be exact) , devling more into the planning process, we keep getting asked the same question: "well whats your couple style".

I have no idea how to answer that.

I mean, I have my own personal style, and so does he.

But together?

Hmmmm, never really thought of it that way.

Anywho-that got me to thinking about all the fabulous two-somes I have the privledge to be friends with. And I started to think that the couples we know pretty much run the gamut of proto-type couples;

the Celebrity Couple (not officially famous- but looks and acts like it), the Fashion Forward couple (please don't step on the new Gucci's), the Laid Back couple ( Can I wear shorts?), the Good time couple (what time does the party start? ) , the casual couple (chillin & grillin), the politically conscious couple (well my view is....), the "perfect" couple (whatever YOU like dear), the uber religious couple (and the Lord said" I will smite thee").... ......and the list goes on

And I wondered:

Where do we fit in?
How do other couple's perceive us?

Because the truth is:
none of the above labels are who those couples really are.

It's just how we choose to categorize them.
It's so much easier to put people into a box and check them off as being this or that.

For example: I have a fabulous friend. She and her hubby are super cute. They look fabulous whenever they go out, they know how to have a good time and have somehow cultivated this "image" from others of being a "Hollywood" couple, simply by the events they choose to attend. But this couldn't be farther from the truth.

They are the most down-to-earth, regular folks you could ever meet.
Wonderful family, strong morals and values and just REAL people.

But people see pics of her and of him and them together and think : Wow, they are like superstars.

My friend is baffled by this.
What a hard image to maintain, it would exhausting to keep up that kind of pre-text ALL the time.

We tend to categorize people into boxes and thats where they stay no matter what.
They may not be those people and once we get to know them, we now have to change our mental image of who they are.



What kind of couple are YOU part of?

Do you find that you and your significant other are categorized into a couple box amongst your group of friends?

How do you feel about that?

And do you think other's perception's of your relationship/lifestyle is fair?

Please enlighten me as I've been super curious all week long!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

a second look - mostly pictures

Alright folks, as promised here are few more pics of the (mostly) finished new digs!
Of course we will add odds and ends here and there but all of our furniture is in and the boxes are finally ALL unpacked!

the living room - backside

kitchen -LOVING the counter & cabinet space

the dining area

view from the living room

(i'm dying because those pillows aren't straight)

view into the living room

the pinkest room ever

more princess pink - still not quite finished

Our room -
I can finally do yoga in front of the mirrors in my OWN room!

view from the second floor into the living room

We are so happy here! Everything we need and could ever want is close by
(with the exception of a few choice family members - I'm talking to YOU Valley dwellers!)
This has been such a blessing to find this house, turn it into our home and now we can enjoy it as a family.
Thanks to all who helped move, listened to me moan about finding a place, packing and then unpacking.
Hopefully soon we can have a cook out!

preparation. need all your prayers

have a job interview tomorrow
it seems like I have been preparing for interviews for so long.
will be glad when I can stop.
I need lots of prayer on this one.
this time it's for a "proper" Beauty company and is definitely right up my alley.
It feels right.
Even before the interview
I am coveting all your prayers out there in cyberspace.
I am excited, not really nervous (yet) but want to make sure I have my game face on and come PREPARED!!!
thanks in advance!
check back for an update!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

sneak peak

here are a few before pics of our new digs....will post more this weekend once the last few boxes are out of the way!

our realtor, shadow of babe & the kitchen/dining area

my pretty
pink tree
view from upstairs into the living room

master bedroom

living room
more pics coming soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

letting go. casting stones in glass houses.

WARNING: this is a venting post!!!
after several conversations with a variety of both friends and family over the last few weeks I'm seeing a pattern and this has been on my mind.
I'm one of those people who is a firm believer in "letting go" and just moving on.
from any situation.
but lately i've noticed, i'm having a hard time with this.
It seems that the "injustices" that I have observed, and experienced are at the forefront of my mind and I just can't seem to move past it.
This bothers me.
We are not supposed to hold onto our anger as it will fester in our hearts and minds and usually manifests itself in other ways.

And I'm not ANRGY, per se, more than I am hurt and confused.
I'm always left wondering "why would ______ do/say /act like that?"
Do I really deserve this kind of treatment? The answer is obviously NO.
No one deserves to be treated unfairly but it happens.

I was listening to Nina Simone earlier and one of my favorite songs "Don't let me be misunderstood" came on and it got me to thinking about some things both past and present.
I AM just a girl whose intentions are good - but it seems so often that people misunderstand them and me, even though I pray that this will not be the case.
No one is perfect and we have all done/said things that were maybe not so nice or that maybe even we regret.
We all have skeletons that should someone choose to dig or reveal them we would be mortified at what they might find.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" John 8:7
I tend to think , the past is the past and anything that happened; well thats just water under the bridge.

But how do you let go and move on when it seems others in your life DON'T want to move on?
At what point do you pull them aside and say "hey, I'm not the same person you once knew. whatever it is you have an issue with was in the past. lets just move forward".

Why doe we feel must we judge others?
Do we do it because we want to point out someone else's flaws (real or perceived) before they discover ours?
"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye"

And must I ALWAYS be the bigger person?
Because truthfully, somedays, I want to be 15, cop an attitude and start some drama.
but really where is that going to get me?

So I wonder: do you have anyone in your life that you feel has a grudge or some issue with you that they refuse to let go of?

How do you deal with it?

new digs!

I haven't posted in about a week. A real post anyway. not the last little dash of excited gibberish that I threw out into the blogosphere. And I'm finding that I miss it.

So here are some highlights!
this past week in the new house has been fabulous!
We are so excited to be in and well on our way to getting settled! The downstairs is pretty much done, but there are a few miscellaneous items that have yet to find a home. The a different story. We got all the boxes unpacked and most everything put away with the exception of the office and Sweet Pea's room. But that will be done by Tuesday of this week for sure.
I will post pics once it's all done, I really have a hard time taking pics of my house in this state of disarray which is why there aren't any as of yet.

By Wed I was burned out on unpacking so my good friend Niki ( who is also my new neighbor!!!) brought her kids over for a swim. I haven't seen her in about a year as they had moved up north for a bit and are now back so I was SUPER excited to see and talk to her in person!!
That evening the family headed back out for dinner and stumbled on our local farmer's market! Whoo Hoo!! Fresh fruit! The strawberries were DIVINE and I will be saving $ this week just to pick up some more!
Thurs - Babe hung up most of the pictures so it really feels like home now! He has been SO amazing throughout this whole process and it's such a blessing to have a man like him. I thank God everyday for allowing me to come to my senses!
Friday - Sweet Pea and I headed down to Long Beach and met up with a friend of mine from H.S. whom I hadn't seen in 10 years!!! I know it sounds pretty random but keep in mind I've known her since I'm 12 ( we cheeered together in jr.high and h.s.), she was one of my first friends on Facebook, and we have always liked each other but just lost contact as I moved away right after high school.
We took the kids to the "beach" (read the bay) and just enjoyed catching up with one another.
It was really fun and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the time we spent! Thanks Shan! <3

Saturday - one of my Sis-in-laws (Mimi) had called earlier in the week wanting to get some pool time in so she swung by w/ some chicken for Babe to throw on the grill, we called up one of our other friends and he brought his daughter and GF over to hang for a somewhat impromptu cookout. Babe's brother and younger sister even made the trek from Pasadena!
I love impromptu family get-toghethers!!!

We've had such a lovely week and I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store!
Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

so excited!!!

ok so I've been busy moving and haven't had much chance to update on here.

I promise I will post w/ pics later in the week but I have to share some most exciting news!

I have a blogger friend Melissa (I actually went to high school with her) who writes thelensflare for her photography business Melissa Brandman Photography. I have been following her business as she's delving deeper into all aspects of photography and I must say that I LOVE her work. She's done a couple family photo shoots with several of our former classmates and I am always so impressed with how they turn out!

They are not the conventional - lets sit here and pose like so - they are out in nature and really capture the family and couples personalities!

So she just did a wedding this past weekend and posted the pics here and they are amazing!

First of all I love the attention to detail and how she manages to capture everything in the pictures, the background, the couple and the magic of the moment!

So needless to say I jumped at the chance to have her photograph OUR wedding next July and she said YES!!!!

I am so excited!

See, I was a bit worried about the whole photography situation. I've had friends who were so dissappointed with their wedding photos after they shelled out MAJOR duckets for a "world class photograhper". I also wanted someone who would get to know us as a couple before they just came in and started taking random pics, someone who would say "hey whats your vision? and which family shots are the most important to you?"a LOT of candid-ish shots that really show our personalities and I think Melissa is just the woman for the job!

So thanks again Melissa for agreeing to help us out can't wait to see how it turns out!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

B.F.F's ..... I Love 'em!!

A few days ago I posted this about friends and friendships.
In light of that post I have spent the past few days talking to my two best friends and have to give them a special shout out!
People say that "best means best" and you can't have more than one best friend. Well, I beg to differ.
I am so blessed to have several women in my life that I can call friends. And even more blessed to have two in particular who have been there the longest and pretty much know me better than anyone. I cannot lie to them, I cannot pretend with them, I cannot hide things from them , nor can I keep a secret from them.
Sorry folks! They are like that life vest that keeps me from drowning in a sea of uncertainty.
One (Michelle) I have known since high school. We bonded after school one day, ended up giving her a ride home and really liked her. The next year we had drama together , I found out she too knew all the words to "Whoomp There it Is" and I felt I had found a kindred. We have been friends ever since. She has seen me through so many ups and downs that I can't even begin to recount them all. We have been broken hearted, lost our way and down on our luck but so long as we had each other - nothing even mattered. Even when I moved away for college. Our bond stayed strong. Her mother says" what I like about you guys is that no matter how much time has passed, you are still the same with each other. It's like no time has passed at all".
We've had unplanned babies (me) a marriage ( her) and two subsequent pregnancies (her again) and through it all we have remained!
My other BFF is my college roommate - Pie. No, thats not her real name but that's what I have been calling her since 1997 and see no reason to stop now.
Somehow God saw fit to make us roommates our freshman year. I was nervous. Had never lived with another girl before but we talked before we got there and she seemed okay. Once we got to school it was like I had known her all my life. Going away to college you become "instant bff's" with girls and then fall out just as quickly. Not my Pie. Our bond came out of a love of chips and salsa and meeting boys. Thank God we were able to room together our Sophomore year as well!
She was the first friend I told when I was pregnant, she threw me a baby shower ,came to the hospital while I was in labor and brought me "personal items" when I needed them the most. She is the god-mother to my Sweet Pea. The love I have for this woman is unyielding. She has such a good heart and her laughter and sense of humor are uncanny.
This is why I have chosen these women to stand up for me at my wedding to Damon and be my Matron's of honor. They have been there since Damon and I were just a dynamic friendship duo and have always encouraged and supported our relationship!
Mia Pie, I love you so much!! there reallyaren't enough words.......thank you for being such a good friend! You are such an amazing woman and I can't wait to see what life has in store!
Michelle my belle - You are my best friend tried and true, my ride or die chick and I am for you!
I love you so much and am so proud of the woman you have become!!!
Missing you both terribly,

Domestic Challenge!!!

Greetings Everyone!
My friend Rachel has offered up a Domestic Challenge to us all here. And I for one am SO excited to take part!
All you have to do is simply use the products in your pantry before going to the store and doing a MAJOR overhaul.
For the most part I am really organized and do very well making money/ groceries last but it seems as of late my dollars aren't stretching very far!
Also, as we are moving into a new home and thus begining a new routine I wanted to start fresh and figured this was a great way to do it!
We have found that we do better financially when our meals for the week are planned out in advance and stretch for a day or two. So I will only be going to the store for dairy, produce, and meat until I run out of whatever is located in the pantry.
I'm pretty sure this is going to be a serious challenge for me as I suffer from "cravings" and sometimes lack creativity in the recipe department. But no matter, I am ready and willing to face the challenge and rise to the occassion!
I will post pics of the new pantry this weekend once the Internet is established over there.
Wish me luck and if anyone wants to take part! please join in!!!

moving day!!!

just a quick post as I have not been on here much this week!

my mind has been whirling and I have so many things to discuss but that will have to wait my lovelies for we are MOVING!!!!

yesterday 7/15/09 we went to pick up the keys, do a walk through and start unloading the cars!

Since it's just Damon and myself it's nice that we are able to take these first few days to really get to know our new digs and were able to unpack quite a few boxes so
we will pretty much have all the small things moved before the fellas come over on Saturday to get the heavy stuff!

You know what that means?

Amber will be enjoying the organizing portion of the move and will NOT be lifting a single box!

Whoo hoo!!!

I will post pics as we continue to make progress so you can see the before's - when its just a house; and after's - once we turn it into a home.

I realize however this will not all happen within the next month but will be an ongoing process, but Oh the possibilities!!!

I'm so excited!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

i like this

" Like a butterfly dancing among the flowers, immerse yourself in the sweet nectar"
Beacause it's Monday and in light of all the packing, moving and organizing craziness that will ensue this week I will use this quote as a reminder to stop, breathe, not only smell the roses but take the time to learn the names as well.
I know that I have been moving too fast lately and have been "settling" for mediocrity.
No more.
Since we move this week - this will be a fresh start.
Take charge of my actions (or lack thereof) and re-FOCUS my attentions
to where it needs to be.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Nana Bear!!!!

As you may have realized we have a LOT of kids in my family so there is always a celebration of some sort going on.
This weekend was no exception.
We celebrated the 3rd birthday of the littlest princess......Nana Poo Poo Bear
Yes thats what we call her - she even calls herself Nana!
Our fabulous cousin Jodi hosted a Candyland -themed party for her on Saturday at
"Swimming Waters" where the kids got swim and eat candy galore
While the adults were free to eat, mingle and get their margarita on!!!

My other neices even made faux sushi out of rice krispy treats, gummy fish and fruit roll -ups!!! Which I managed to NOT get a picture of. :(

My favorite part of the day was when we sang Happy Birthday, her eyes lit up and she kept looking around in awe as we all sang to her!

I'm not sure she realized it was HER party until we sang "Happy Birthday dear Nana"!
It was such a fun day with the family, the kids had a blast and so did the adults!
Thanks Jodi for hosting and inviting us!!!!
Happy Birthday Poopy Pie!!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

it's my party......

I have a small confession.
I'm a bit of a party animal.
I like being a guest and a host.
I like to have people over for appetizers and drinks and to mingle.
and lets face it - I like to open presents
I mean who doesn't?
Which is why I am so excited about all the fun parties one gets to have as a Bride-to-Be!!!
It's amazing!
While working on a guest list for my Bridal Shower I got to thinking,
Do I really need ALL of these women there?
The answer: no, not really but it's what I WANT
It's my party and I'll invite who I want to.
Bridesmaids: check
college friends :check
former co-workers: check
mothers friends: check
long-lost high school friends: check
And isn't that what all the hoopla is about?
It's MY day and all about me right.....???
(LOL - I can't even type that w/ a straight face!)
However, when I really looked at the list I realized that it has grown by leaps and bounds.
So now, I want to have not only a Bridal Shower,
but maybe a Lingerie Shower like they used to do ,
as well as a Bachelorette Party
Is that too much?
I mean, there are so many friends and family members who live out of state and I want to include EVERYONE!!!!!
And want everyone to be able to come to something.
AND I know that not all people mix well in all surroundings, some Bridal shower ladies would not have so much fun at the Bachelorette Party and vice versa.
So my lovelies, tell me, who did YOU invite to your Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party ( if you had one)
Was there anyone who came you wish didn't and anyone you wished you'd invited instead?
I need all the help I can get!!!!

how manyof us have them....FRIENDS!!!!

when I think about what that song says:

Friends, how many of us have them.......Friends, ones we can depend on......

I really wonder - How many of us have friends that we trust and can depend on for ANYTHING?
Most folks have fair weather friends, friends who only come around when they want something, work friends, school friends, church friends, the "long lost friends" and even "frenemies".
But how many out there really have that close bond with another human being?
This is a subject very close to my heart as I often find myself feeling as if I have NO friends at all.
And at others too many!
With the wedding coming up next year, it's been interesting to see who is a REAL friend and who's coming out of the woodwork just to eat cake.
Truthfully , sometimes, life does get in the way, and we tend to not make time for friends as much as we do our weekly trip to Target.
"I'm too busy with work/school/family ( insert activity here) right now, I'll call her next week"
For those friends in other states and countries - we convince ourselves that its too late to call and they are probably too busy to talk anyway.
But how do you know that your phone call isn't exactly what they need right then?

Friendships are a vital part of our functionality as human beings.
Our ability to bond with another seperates us from animals and gives us that sense of community.
And I LOVE my friends.
From the oldest and dearest to the newest and youngest.
All my friends matter to me.
And so do my relationships with them.
I have friends of all ages, from all walks of life and schools of thought.
And it has made my life richer.
My friends are my family.
They are there for me when my family is/was not, they listen to my ideas, appreciate my peculiarity and enjoy my stories.
There are times in my life when I don't think that I would have made it through were it not for the love and support of close friends.
I am SO thankful!

My goal for the rest of this year and next is to really make and effort to spend more time with my friends.
Which, I think I have a good chance of with all the wedding activities.
Sounds odd I know, most people are concerned about the lack of time they spend with their family.
Not me. My family is tight. We roll deep. All the time.
But sometimes........
you just need to be with your girlfriends!!!!
So ladies be on the lookout for LOTS of ladies nights IN's and OUT's!!!
If we haven't been that close before - get ready.......we're about to get up close & personal!!!!


So tell me, do you have a great group of friends?
What makes them so great?
How often do you see them?
Are your friends friends?
Any good suggestions for a ladies night out?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thirsty Thursday - Raspberry Iced Tea

Welcome Back To Thirsty Thursdays!!

Today I am featuring a drink from Down Home with The Neely's :
Gina' Raspberry Iced Tea ~
10 bags Raspberry Zinger tea
4 bags Hibiscus tea
12 cups water
Sugar Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 pint raspberries
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Place the tea bags in a large heat proof picther. Boil the water, pour it over the tea bags and allow it to steep for at least 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, an allow the tea to cool.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer briefly, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the raspberries, then allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Combine the tea, raspberry syrup, and fresh lime juice in a large pictcher.
To serve, pour the sweet tea into large glasses filled with ice and garnish with sprigs of mint .
Enjoy Lovelies!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ch-ch-ch- changes....

As I have said several times before we are moving.
And a week from today it will be official.
We go pick up the keys and do a walk through early Wednesday morning!
I'm super excited for all the things we're gaining in the move.
Better school district, closer to Damon's job,
more activities for our family,
closer to my mom and dad,
and other friends and family
as well as the joys of getting to "shop" my furniture and
breathe new life into my living space!
But I am super bummed out that my darling Sweet Pea is very distraught about the move.
She has been adamant about not wanting to move for a while
Even going so far as to point out "For Rent" signs in our area. :(
We tried to entice her by reminding her of all the fun new things she will get to enjoy
Painting and decorating a new room, her own bathroom,
a backyard, she'll still have a pool and we'll have more friends close by.
I can't really imagine how she feels.
I never moved as a kid.
My mom lives in the same house I grew up in.
My room there still has the same wallpaper from when I was 8.
So you see what I'm saying.
I don't really know what it's like to start over at 7.
However, I do remember having to make friends every summer at camp so I guess thats similar.
While I am certain that she will ultimately thrive in her new school and make a ton of friends.
I just pray that she will be able to deal and work through the reality of not living in this same house.
She will now need to learn a new address, make new friends, and start fresh.
there is beauty in all this and God willing, I have the ability to show her.
A new neighborhood to explore
A pool and playground
Local movies in the park
Art classes
A small garden for her flowers in the backyard that includes a fire pit for roasting marshmellows
Being closer to Disneyland!
One day she will look back and realize that it wasn't SO bad.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the simple things

* my daughter laughing at something funny in her room. all by herself.

* a guaranteed kiss on the face from my fiance in the morning before he leaves as I lay "sleeping"

* daydreaming about my honeymoon - will it be Negril or St. Lucia?

* floating in the pool on summer afternoon

* blowing bubbles on a walk

* turning a regular house into our home

* a text, email, or phone call from a family member saying they enjoy the blog :)

*getting all the laundry done in one day

*reading a book with my Sweet Pea

Check out my girl Christina's blog for more Simple Things!!!

truthful tuesday

the last couple days I have been thinking about honesty and how important it is in life.

as a person who has willingly stretched the truth a time or two ( or twelve)

I often wonder how honest we are with ourselves and others.

As I have gotten older I've found that I am able to get away with certain truths because of my age and have learned to be more honest / candid with myself and others.

So today will be my truthful Tuesday, and I will share a few of my truths and perhaps you will share a few of yours with me?

  • I spent the better part of my early twenties working hard and pAArtying harder - having my daughter kind of saved me from myself and got me focused on a bigger picture

  • I absolutely adore makeup and don't generally go a day without it.

  • We have a FABULOUS group of friends and family and I can't wait until our wedding day to see them all together!!!

  • I am not nervous about getting married but am nervous about writing and reading aloud my vows

  • I am fluent in sarcasm and use it as my weapon of choice

  • My fiance is my BEST friend and knows me inside and out and still wants to hang out with me. I think that's pretty cool.

  • I want to write a book - a novela of sorts but am not sure how, when or what it will be about

  • I am happy to have turned 30. I finally feel like it's all coming together

  • High school wasn't very fun for me. I had friends and was considered "popular" ( I guess) but I never really felt like I fit in and couldn't wait to get out

  • Going away to college felt like travelling to the moon. The atmosphere was different and it took some getting used to but thats where I felt like I came into my own

So do u have 10 truths for a Tuesday?

Monday, July 6, 2009

because I needed this today.

back to one.

and now I find myself at one....
had 2 pretty great interviews but somehow they fell through
so still no job

Although I am disappointed I have to look on the bright side right?
That just means this wasnt the place I'm supposed to be

There is, I'm sure, something better out there for me.
I just have to be patient and I'll see.
But why do I kinda feel like they broke up with me
And this too shall pass.......

just waiting for whatever the Lord has instore for me

Sunday, July 5, 2009

happy 4th!!!

We had the pleasure of spending the day with our good friends the Arrigo's and their family.
Joe and Damon have been friends since high school.
I met Joe through Damon over 10 years ago and we became really close.
Then when Joe met Teon she and I became close and we were even pregnant together!
They recently moved back to the area so we were excited to see them and spent the day at Joe's mothers' house - kids in the pool, grown ups watching and enjoying the weather!
The day actually passed with only 1 child getting hurt!!!!
Of course it was my kid but hey, thats what happens to accident prone people.

As the day wore on , and the whistle and crackle of fireworks grew louder we all moved out to the street to see a lovely fireworks "display". Because of where we were, we could see the fireworks from the Auto Club Speedway's Red, White and Cruise as well as the ones from Quak Stadium. Joe's mom bought a box of Safe and Sane fireworks for the kids and Sweet Pea held her first sparkler!!!
She was a little sketchy at first and didnt really want to hold it unless I was holding it with her.

But she finally got the hang of it.
And I can't say that I blame her.
I am terrified of fireworks.
I have a major fear that the embers will come down and catch something on fire.So I was a little relieved that Miss C showed some caution when it came to the sparklers.

All in all it was a great day spent w/ good friends.

Hope everyone else enjoyed their day too!!!


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