Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

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At Thanksgiving

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Missoni bike in the flesh. I almost wet my pants in excitement.

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My arm was sore and I still have a bruise, but it was worth it.

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Hello Kitty in da house!

Buddy at breakfast
Buddy the elf at breakfast

red plaid dress
The red plaid dress from Grandma that she refused to take off for a day and a half

sandwich
Mmm...sandwich...

Cake pop! NOM 
Mmm...CAKE POP!

  waiting for our plane
Leaving on a jet plane

Phew. NaBloPoMo 2011 -- I did it!

Linking up with The Paper Mama for Wordless{ish} Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.

I bought the Elf On The Shelf for Em last year, but she was too young to "get" it. I've been looking forward to it all year, growing more giddy by each set of ideas that'd pop up on Pinterest.

Em is at the age where she believes in everything, except the belief that Mommy and Daddy mean it when they say it's time to freakin' go to sleep already!

I digress.

Tonight at bedtime, we read the book that explains the elf and his job as Santa's on-the-ground helper. She loved the story, and upon conclusion we pointed out that he was already right there in the room, on her easel. Her eyes bulged in amazement, and she got excited when we said she should go meet him.

Then she looked a little panicked and asked me to go with her to say hello.

meeting Buddy 
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I swear she was smiling right before I took that picture!

Em didn't offer any names for our new pal, so I convinced her to name him Buddy after my all-time favorite elf

I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of mischief Buddy gets himself into while he's here!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nailed it

I fell in love with Sally Hansen's Salon Effects nail polish strips earlier this year, so when I realized that I wouldn't have time to get a manicure done like I'd wanted before Brent's holiday party last week, I quickly reached for my stash.

Here they are, freshly done on Tuesday night. 
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I love that it took just a half hour to apply, and I was ready to go -- no drying time. And here they are today, 6 days post-application.
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There's a tiny, tiny chip on my index finger, but otherwise they look as good as new.

Based on my previous experiences with these, I have a few more days before I'll even start to think about removing them.

The one downside is that they take some elbow grease to get them off with polish remover, but that goes along with their ability to last so long. And they don't leave your nails wrecked once they're removed. SCORE.

I saw some adorable holiday-themed versions at Target in September, but didn't pick any up because, well, it was only SEPTEMBER. I haven't seen them since, sadly.

Each time I use these, I get tons of compliments. In fact, as we left the ER the other night, the nurse who signed us out gushed about how much she loved the strips, too, especially because they withstand the frequent handwashing that goes along with her job.

They run about $9 for a set that's good for one manicure (two if you have short nails and cut the strips in half, but that didn't work so well for me the one time I tried that), but I pay more than that for manicures that last half a day before chipping.

This is by no means a sponsored post -- just me taking an opportunity to tell you about one of my favorite products.

Have you tried them?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We are family

My goal this Thanksgiving was to get more photos of Em with her grandparents. Those are the type of photos I cherished growing up and I wanted to make sure Em had some for herself.

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Em had a breakthrough this visit with my mom's fiance. Em used to have this strange fear of Asian men with mustaches. She's recently overcome that fear and is no longer scared of our favorite sushi chef nor of my mom's fiance. She happily played Legos with him and has even asked about him (and my mom, of course) a few times since they left. 

I'm glad she's moved on from that phobia so we no longer have to explain that, no, our daughter is not racist.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Owie wowee

Until 7 p.m. tonight I had no idea what I was going to blog about.

Then as we were getting Em ready for her bath, she decided to make her body go limp and hang from Brent. She started screaming in pain and gripping her left arm, but it's the kind of thing that's happened to her before and usually fixed itself after a few minutes.

When she still wouldn't move her arm in the tub, and then wailed post-bath, "Mommy, I'm sad! My ARM!" we knew it needed more attention.

We took her to the ER, and although her spirits were much better ("I'm not sad anymore, Mommy!"), she still wouldn't move her arm. As we waited the few minutes to be seen, we could tell that she was relaxing a bit and not clutching her elbow so closely.

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By the time the doctor came in, she had no problems using her left hand on the drawing program on my mother-in-law's iPad.
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The doc played with her arm a bit, and either it had already fixed itself just before his arrival or he put the final fix on it. Either way, she was high-fiving me with that arm before he left the room.

She passed out on the way home and in a rare move, let me carry her upstairs and put her to bed without waking up.

Sleep Em post-ER

That's one way to get some blog fodder, I suppose.

P.S. A few Twitter friends mentioned that if this "nursemaid's elbow" continues to happen, we can save ourselves some time and money by having the docs teach us how to fix it ourselves. Interesting!

Steppin' Out - Dancey Dance Time

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Don't know if it was the post-nap photo session or the Harry-Potter-joins-a-punk-band ensemble, but Em started out a little emo yesterday.
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But she eventually perked up.
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 Me: Old Navy, top to bottom

Em: Shirt and sweatshirt, Harajuku Mini for Target
Leggings, Baby Gap
Shoes, Vans

Yesterday we joined Heather, Mike and Annabel to see our second Yo Gabba Gabba Live show.

The theater was extra dark this year, and we didn't want to risk getting scolded for sneaking in our giant DSLR, which was deemed "too professional" to bring into the theater by the first security guard even though I assured him that I'm far from a pro, so we don't have many good pics to share. Here are a few we were able to capture.
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Our Super Music Friends Show guest was Ben Lee, which was totally fine by me and Heather. I suppose I can cross off seeing him live from my concert bucket list.

Our Dancey Dance guest was actor/comedian Brian Posehn, and our group may have been the only people in the audience who knew who he was.

The first half of the show Em just sat there in wide-eyed excitement until the end of that act when they played the Get The Sillies Out song. She couldn't contain her excitement any longer. She busted a move in our aisle along with some other little girls, and then did the same thing the entire second half of the show. I've never seen her so into the Dancey Dance segment.

We bought tickets for this show long before we realized we were moving to Portland, but I'm so glad the timing worked out so nicely with our Thanksgiving visit.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Five

1. Getting ready to head out to Yo Gabba Gabba Live in a few hours. Can't wait for you to see Em's outfit in tomorrow's Steppin' Out post. It's one of those super adorable outfits I wish I could pull off in my size.

2. Thanksgiving here in LA was great. My mom came down to celebrate with us, and my mother-in-law made a delicious meal. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch today. And tomorrow. And the day after.

3. Tomorrow we're headed out to see the Muppet movie. Brent and I are going by ourselves, but if the movie turns out to be appropriate enough for Em, I may take her to see it when we get back to Portland.

4. Brent pulled out his giant tub of Legos his mom has stored here. Em is delighted, and we Santa may build this for her.

5. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I welcome the rest of the holidays with open arms. No Black Friday shopping for me, but I hope to find some great Cyber Monday deals.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

Bubble wrap
Bubble wrap fun


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Hot guy over a hot stove

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"SHE moved to Portland, TOO?!?"


Mirror, mirror
Mirror, mirror on the wall

Once Upon A Monster
Trying the "Once Upon A Monster" xbox demo

Goodwill score
My first Goodwill score. Only $3 and perfect for our guest room!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The party you might want to miss

Picture the three of us at the dinner table, post-dinner. Em has just climbed into Brent's lap. 
Em: Welcome to the Stinky Butt Party!
Me: [laughing] Oh, really?! Who's invited?
Em: The Birthday Tushie!....... SURPRISE! 
Maybe you had to be there...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pinteresting

Remember when I told you all about Pinterest? I said that I never followed through with the pins I collected, but then I got to thinking about it. There are a few ideas I've somehow managed to try.

For Em's party, I whipped up these s'mores on a stick, inspired by a pin
Smores on a stick

I somehow remembered seeing this pin just in time, so the night before Em's third birthday we covered her floor in balloons. She was as ecstatic as one would imagine.
3rd birthday


Our microfiber couches are gross have seen better days, so when I saw this tutorial on Pinterest for cleaning them, I gave it a shot. It WORKED! They're not spotless yet, but they're getting there.

This pin linked to an extensive list of cleaning tips. The day after I read it, I started pouring baking soda on my stuck-on pots and pan. After a short soaking, the gunk came right off. Genius!

I read Mrs. Priss' tutorial for a yarn wreath when she first posted it on her site early this year, but her link and similar projects pop up on Pinterest all the time, serving as a constant reminder. I finally tackled it this week, and VOILA! 

Yarn wreath


I'm going to make a smaller one for Em's room soon, too. I have materials to do this and these for Em, as well.

So much fun stuff! How about you, fellow Pinners? Are you all look and no action? Or have you been inspired enough to try some yourself?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Steppin' Out Saturday - Close to Home




Em

Me: 
Shirt & Boots, Old Navy 
Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger 

Em: 
Shirt, Old Navy 
Leggings, Gymboree 
Boots, Target

Brent and I both have sore throats, so we didn't too much today. We did venture out to the grocery and hardware stores this morning. I wouldn't have gotten as ready if I didn't want my Steppin' Out post today, but I'm extra glad I did because I met one of our neighbors for the first time on the way out. 

Hoping we feel better in the morning. We have a big Thanksgiving week ahead!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Five

1. Today was Day 11 (11!) of the 17 Day Diet. One of the first things I noticed when starting this plan was I really take a lot of what Weight Watchers calls "BLTs" -- bites, licks and tastes -- from Em's food. We try to give her what we eat most of the time, but you can imagine she's not a fan of stuff like baked salmon (although she ate more than half a dozen of the sushi version the last time we were out). Pre-diet, I absentmindedly finished off her mac-n-cheese, chicken tenders, whatever. Or I'd taste her food to make sure it wasn't too hot. Not anymore, although I have to stop myself.

2. Starting the end of next month Em gets to go to preschool two days a week, which is great for everyone. She loves it and is starting to make friends there, and I enjoy the breather and chance to recharge.

3. I ordered this chalkboard contact paper, and it arrived today. Now I'm going to label ALL THE THINGS.

4. I love this song. A lot.

5. Have you entered my Shutterfly holiday card giveaway yet? You should.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Holiday cards from Shutterfly & a giveaway {closed}


As much as it pains me to start talking about the holidays BEFORE Thanksgiving – I'm a firm believer in respecting the turkey – the one area I will admit that requires some early planning is the holiday card.

This year I'm excited to partner with Shutterfly. To get the best prices with the least amount of stress, now is the time to take care of your holiday card, and I'm really excited about Shutterfly's options.

Before we moved to Portland, we were able to squeeze in a family photo shoot with my friend, Winnie. There were some photos that I was excited to use in a thank-you card for all our friends who joined us for Em's birthday/our going-away party, but when I ordered the cards through another online card company, the shipment got lost and I never received them.

I'm going to turn lemons into lemonade and use the adorable pictures for our holiday card this year instead.
I'm having too much fun browsing Shutterfly's card options to narrow it down just yet, but here are a few that are definite contenders.




Because our card recipients span multiple faiths (or none at all), I tend to gravitate toward "Happy Holiday" options, but there are some adorable Christmas-themed cards, too. I also love that they offer holiday thank-you cards.

Here comes the good stuff -- I get to give THREE of my readers 25 free cards. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post, and include your email address if I don't already know how to get a hold of you in case you're the randomly chosen winner. So you can order your cards sooner rather than later, you have until 11:59 p.m., Saturday, November 19 to enter.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congrats to Stephanie, Sarah and Leslie

Disclosure: Shutterfly gave me free cards and shipping for this post, but commentary are all mine. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wedesday


Eyeball kisses

Em has this "trick" she likes to play with Brent, where she creeps toward him while he's chilling on the couch or just after we've finished eating at the table. In a silly, taunting voice, she says, "I'm gonna kiss your eyeball...." Then she crawls into his lap and plants a kiss on the top of his eyebrow, as you see above.

Brent pretends that he's grossed out, but judging by his giggles, he loves it just as much as Em does. 

Linking up with The Paper Mama for Wordless{ish} Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

17 Day Diet: A week later

Today is Day 8 of the first cycle of The 17 Day Diet, and so far, so good.

I haven't had any big cravings, and surprisingly, I haven't really missed carbs. The most difficult part for me is shopping at Trader Joe's and Target without giving in to the holiday treats available. Oh, I suppose I do miss the Salted Hot Chocolate from Starbucks now and again. I'm not pulling my hair out over it, though.

Brent, poor guy, is having a more difficult time resisting temptation because of the huge office where he spends 8+ hours daily. Yesterday alone he had to resist pecan pie, mini cupcakes, candy and cookies. And I don't think that was even holiday-related stuff, just typical stuff that's always there. We don't have anything close to that in the house, so when I feel the need to eat out of boredom, I reach for baby carrots and cherry tomatoes now.

The plan suggests three cups of green tea a day, preferably one with each meal, but that's on top of eight 8-ounce glasses of water, which is a lot of water for someone like me who has a hard time with water intake as it is. I did find some diet iced green tea from Lipton that's delicious, but it goes back to the whole water requirement thing. So today I've started with some green tea vitamins instead and am focusing on upping my water. (I've heard and tried all the tricks: cute water bottle, infused with fruit, etc. I just have this weird mental block to get over.)

I'm trying to up my fitness level. However, the plan notes that you can take it easy since the first cycle limits your calories a bit, and instead just start with simple walks around the neighborhood or mall. Up until today, that's all I've been doing. I dusted off our Dance Central game and worked up a sweat dancing. I'm going to break out my 30 Day Shred DVD soon.

Meal planning has obviously been fun for me, yet I'm thinking I need to increase my protein throughout the day. I don't feel the need to take a daily nap anymore, and I've been sleeping better at night. However, I'm not getting as much of an increase in energy as I've read I should. That could be due to lack of water, too, or maybe it'll come with time and increased exercise.

As of this morning, I'm down 5.5-6.5 lbs. (The scale was fluctuating between the two numbers.) Brent is down 9 lbs. Yes, most of that is water weight, but as the plan notes, that water weight loss helps keep people motivated. I think I can see a bit of a difference in my face and waist. I'm reserving judgement for another week, though.

I realized, after we'd already started, that the 17th day of this first cycle falls on -- DUN DUN DUN -- Thanksgiving! We also have Brent's office holiday party next week, on our 15th day, so things may get a little dicey toward the end of this cycle. We'll probably wait until we get back to Portland after our Los Angeles trip over Thanksgiving to start the next cycle. Brent and I have already made a pact to try to keep each other in check while we're visiting family.

A week into this and I can say that I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested. You have to have the time to put the effort into it, though. You have to plan ahead and at the very least have lots of the right veggies and proteins on hand. The grocery total for the first couple of shopping trips was cringe-worthy, but I'm sure we're saving money by not eating out like we did. It's been more than a week now since we've eaten out, which is record-breaker for sure.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some delicious leftovers to warm up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kiss the cook

I've cooked more these past six days than I have...EVER.

It started with plain chicken breasts. Then I tried taco salads.

I made a chicken salad. Yummy.

I gave turkey meatloaf a shot, and Brent said it was the best thing I've ever made.

One night I whipped up some baked tilapia. Delicious.

I cooked a turkey roast, which was amazing. Admittedly, it was a pre-seasoned roast from Costco, but I used a meat thermometer and everything and cooked it to perfection.

Tonight was the pièce de résistance. I made turkey meatballs, not one but TWO ways, accompanied by eggplant parmesan and spaghetti squash, topped with low-carb marinara. [Edited to add: I made a mistakes with the spaghetti squash. Didn't realize it wasn't allowed on Cycle 1. Oops.]


Dinner


It takes a bit of time to research, shop and prep for the meals, but I've been surprised at how easy it's been to actually pull these dishes off come dinnertime. And all of them are on 17 Day Diet-friendly!

Maybe it's the large, new kitchen with which I have to work. Maybe I like the idea of having a nice meal prepped and ready when Brent gets home. Maybe I'm excited by the increasingly tasty outcomes.

Whatever it is, I'm not going to question it. I welcome my inner Julia Child with open, knife-wielding arms!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In a World of Pure Imagination

Today, thanks to some generous friends, we went here.
Portland Children's Museum
Brushed alligator teeth.
Alligator teeth
Shopped for pretend food.
Shopping
Time to pay at the supermarket
Ate at the cafe, where pretend croissants are totally fine on my diet.
At the "cafe"
Built with magnets.
Magnets
Visited Superman's fortress of solitude. (Or a giant lite brite. Same thing.)
Superman's fortress
Dug our hands in some clay.
Clay area
Built castles.
Lego castle
And we're spent. Hope all of your weekends were as imaginative!