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Monday, December 26, 2011

Time at Home... Amazing and Relaxing...

What reminds you of time at home?

I think of Christmas Eve matching pajamas.

Warm coats and scarves.

My Uncle Robbie making jokes and telling stories.

Random people in and out of our home.

A huge buffet table with lots of food and drinks and people crowded around.

Stripes and color.

Movie and DVD TV show marathons.

I am always astounded when I talk to other people that their traditions are completely different from the ones that my family holds dear, because I cannot imagine anyone celebrating in a different way than we do and I question the validity of everyone else's ideas.  I love to be with people and we always have people sleeping on the couch when we wake up in the morning.  Breakfast includes at least 10 people and    we end up playing games with a different random group every night.

This season of life makes me happy.  I want to enjoy every moment, and it feels like days flash by.  I cannot imagine life without these people.  Is this how everyone feels? Does everyone love their traditions and not understand other peoples?  

What do you do every year? What do you look forward to?

Keep your Christmas traditions alive.  Share them with everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Wish I Could Be With You Today


I love you Bill Rogers and look forward to our years to come and spending every Christmas with you until we are old and gray. 

You were the perfect boyfriend, are such a wonderful fiance, and you will be an amazing husband.

Love you Smiles! Love, Smalls :)


Friday, December 23, 2011

A Perfect Present for a Perfect Boy


This Christmas, I was really focused on getting Bill something special.  I have a few more tricks up my sleeve after this one, but if you have seen It's A Wonderful Life, you will know why this is such a lovely gift.  It is Bill's favorite movie, and we watch it together each year.  I found an artist on Etsy who was able to personalize it for me, and he did such a wonderful job.  It is absolutely perfect, and Bill could not believe it when he opened it up! 


The truth is, Bill really does Lasso the Moon for me.  I know he would do anything I wanted or needed and he amazes me on a daily basis.  I am marrying someone who is not only my best friend, but also someone I am proud to be with.  Bill Lassos the Moon will hang in our house for the rest of our lives, and I hope it constantly reminds him that I think the world of him.


George Bailey: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.


Mary: I'll take it. Then what?

George Bailey: Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair... am I talking too much?


I hope someone else shares our love for this movie.  It melts my heart and makes me remember how important it is to be good to people and do the right thing.  It will come back to you ten fold! 

Merry Christmas Friends! 

Watch a classic Christmas movie with the ones you love this weekend :) 

See you Monday!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

On The Town - Work Christmas Party


What a fantastic evening this was!  When Bill told me he couldn't come, I knew I needed my best galpal by my side, and that is exactly what I got.  Mikaela and I drank wine, played in the photo booth, and enjoyed a room full of cheese.  There were carollers and a string quartet playing, and tons of fancy people toasting and celebrating a year of hard work.


My co-worker Heather was also lovely company.  She and I had a blast taking pictures, and I'm loving getting to spend time with her outside of work now!  It is such a blessing to have a good friend at work.  It has really changed my entire experience.


This new cake pop craze is awesome to me. Cupcakes and cake pops make me happy, and they are just the right amount of cake!  This red velvet cake pop was the perfect icing on the cake (pun intended) for the night.

Thanks for coming with me Mickey!  I had a great time :)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Secret Santa Week :)


In through the door I flew like a flash
Set down your gift, I hope it’s a smash!
Then with a twinkle and gleam in my eye
I quickly disappeared before you could spy
I can’t let you see me I have to be quick
You don’t know my name ’cause I’m your secret St. Nick!

This past week we had Secret Santa in the Office, and it was such a blast! 

For my office, it lasts a week and you leave a little treat for the person you have everyday, ending on the last day with the big reveal at a dessert party.  We fill out wish lists of our favorite treats and places, and then we buy items on the list for the person you have chosen. 

It really is a fun way to grow company morale within our cubicles :)


I got such lovely gifts (as pictured above), but what was more exciting was the difference between last year and this year.  I had just started working here last year when this event happened, but I participated anyway, and I did not know who anyone was.  This year I did the organizing, and people were asking me about the rules and details.  

It is truly amazing how much of a difference a year makes!  This year has been huge in my life, and I feel so blessed this holiday season to have paid off my car and be planning a life together with my best friend :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be Encouraged - Make Room For More

 Sometimes, I find other people's words encouraging and often think about sharing them with my lovely readers.  I stole today's post from About.com.   I felt they said what I wanted to communicate today O' so well.  It is very important to me to take a look into someone else's perspective often! 

Enjoy dear friends.

Make Room for More

Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others,
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing,
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessing,
Returns to you glad.


- John Greenleaf Whittier


"If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving--large or small--it will be used to measure what is given back to you."

Luke 6:38


We have heard people say, "You can't out-give God." Well, you can't out-give yourself either! You don't need to be wealthy to possess a giving heart. Give a smile, lend an ear, extend a hand. However you give, God's promise is tried and tested, and you'll see the blessings multiplied and returned back to you.

I hope these words seperately and collectively bring you encouragement friends!

Happy Christmas Week :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rogers Gardens with Bill Rogers

Bill and I spent some time wandering around Rogers Gardens this week, and took in their presentation of the Christmas season.  If you live in the Newport Beach area, this is definitely a place I would recommend!  It is right around the corner from Fashion Island, and is completely free to walk around and take it all in.  They have tons of deocarations and everything is lit up and so beautiful.  The property is expansive and it was nice to just hold hands with Bill, breathe in some fresh air, and appreciate God's creation.


Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone camera with me, so I could only take pictures of the inside portion, however it let me soak up the rest of it with Bill and not be distracted by taking pictures.


It is so amazing how much a simple night of strolling and looking at plants and hundreds of decorated trees while being with someone you love can bring the biggest smile to your face.  I'm going to be a Rogers :)

Merry Chirstmas Week Friends!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Food I Ate Friday - Chocolate Trifle


At our annual open house every year on Chirstmas day at my parents house in Maryland, we always have people bring over food to share.  It is very much a family style mentality with a table full of goodies and everyone taking a little of everything :)  This is one of the many goodies that was brought 2 years ago, and I am hoping it will be there again this year! 

SUCH an easy recipe and so delicious!

I stole this pictures off google, yours may not look exactly the same! 

CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

 1/3 cup Kahlua
1 2-layer chocolate cake (from cake mix)  (you only need 1/2 for cake for the trifle)
2 pkg. instant chocolate pudding (4 cups)
1 large container Cool Whip
6 Skor candy bars, frozen and crumbled
1 cup chopped nuts

 Crumble cooled cake and sprinkle with Kahlua.  Mix nuts and candy in small bowl. 

Layer in trifle bowl:
1/3 cake mixture
1/3 chocolate pudding
1/3 Cool Whip
1/3 candy and nuts

 Repeat to build 3 levels.  Refrigerate several hours or overnight.


There are so many recipes I look forward to around the holidays! 
Leave me a comment with your favorite Christmas treats :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

C'est la Vie - :)


While my list may slightly differ from this one, the general idea of a list of things I like is fun.

Write one over the next few weeks!  Give one to a friend, significant other, or family member and encourage them to write a list of their own.  Just thinking of things that you like will brighten your day.

Smile friends!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Life Lessons - Living In A Broken World

A very dear friend of mine had a wise series of thoughts the other day.  She brushed them off as her babbling mind going into a weird space, but I found some truth in what she said.  I am going to attempt to break it down here, and if it comes out as gibberish feel free to ask me more and hash it out with me!

We live in a broken world.  God gave us free will from day 1 to exist and do what we wished.  God did not create brokenness, God created free will.  We, as a people, made choice after choice that led us to where we are.  Small nuances of change and ideals that shifted created a completely new idea of what is acceptable in society.  Think about how much has changed in just 100 years, much less over the course of all time.

God is not up in heaven dolling out punishment to those he doesn’t care for.  In reality, we as a human people are making decisions that are causing harm to others.  Maybe it is not a direct decision to harm someone else in a variety of ways, but we have the ability to cling to selfishness.  Necessity is a debatable item between America and African countries.  What we believe we need to survive is very different than what they need.  I do not believe God created that divide, people did…  Technology is an advacenment and a step backward.  Cars are a wonderful things, but without them we would not have car accidents.  We cannot blame a car accident on God; God invented people, we took technology to where it is. 

By creating us the way he did, he knew we may implode, but he did it anyway to give us the freedom to choose the right thing.  Anyone who has ever been in any kind of relationship knows that it feels better when someone offers something rahter than having to beg them to do something nice for you.  How much more true is this on a greater scale.  God doesn’t want to beg us to do the healthiest thing for ourselves… especially if he has already laid out how he wants us to live!

Really run this idea over in your head.  We should not be blaming God for things that are a product of a broken world.  Often people say they were born the way they are and cannot fight it.  People are a product of their environment.  There is so much truth to what they are saying with one exception.  They were born that way, we all are born pre-dispositioned to struggle with certain things.  However, you do have an active choice in front of you daily to deny your struggles and walk confidently in who you wish to be.  When it comes to strength, we all possess as much as we need! 

I’m still working through all this… give me grace to process.  I hope it sheds a little light for you and gives you a new perspective to think about.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Be Encouraged - The Little Book of Christmas Joys

I feel like a lot of people I know stress out about to what to get each other for Christmas.  They spend December frustrated and angry and stomping around or worse, sad and depressed because they can't find that one perfect item.  What a privilege!  Not everyone gets to stress over such things.  Consider it pure joy to have the right to do so!

Bill's parents, aunt and uncle, and cousin got Bill and I a wonderful gift this past weekend called, The Little Book of Christmas Joys.  It is a wonderful way to remind yourself what is important in life.  I want to share a few reminders with you - excerpts from this book.  I hope you take them to heart and bring the spirit of the season back into focus. 

#9 Don't schedule yourself too tightly during the holidays. Before making an appointment, ask yourself, "Can this wait until after Christmas?"

#12 make an effort to attend every Christmas party you're invited to, even if you can stay only for a few minutes.

#77 Call a nursing home and get names of five people who don't often receive mail.  Send each one a beautiful Christmas card. Sign it, "from santa."

#159 If your parents live far away, videotape your family trimming the tree and decorating your home and send it to them to enjoy Christmas Day.

#227 Open Christmas Cards as a family activity each night at the dinner table. Read the messages aloud.

#281 Once or twice take a different route home from work and enjoy the decorations in another neighborhood.


Don't worry so much about presents and wrapping.  Focus on people, quality time and love.

Be encouraged friends.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




Monday, December 12, 2011

A Lovely Engagement Party

Bill and I are so blessed with wonderful friends and roommates.  An engagement party was thrown in our honor about a week ago and so many people turned out for the event.  It was wonderful to see our friends from different areas of our lives come together into one room and spend time in each other's company.


The plan was drinks and food and to be with each other, no agenda, no set ideal on what was supposed to happen.  We celebrated in our own low-key way, and it was so perfect for me and Bill's personalities.  Some people want a night out, some people want a big fancy dinner, we just wanted to be surrounded by friends and family!


I specifically bought this white lacy shirt for our engagement party, which did not feel as silly when I saw these pictures.  I am still in shock that I am going to be a bride and I am going to start planning a wedding very soon.  I knew it was coming, but it honestly feels so surreal to be in love and have found the man I am going to marry.  While some people feel they are owed love, I never thought it would come my way and I am so blown away by the person Bill is and the person he has helped me to become.


When I was surrounded by these lovely people (and many more that I do not have pictures with), I realized how God has been blessing me for years.  He has brought me incredible friends and a perfect man for me and answered so many prayers.  I am so thankful for each of them, and am excited to see where life takes us all!

Love you guys! Thanks for the food and the party and the gifts.  We celebrate everyday we have you all around and can't imagine life without each of you :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Food I Ate Friday - My Pho Obsession



I hope that everyone who sets their eyes on this post has had Pho, and if you have not please stop reading and go get some. 

The secret is out, I LOVE PHO!

Pho is a Vientnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef of chicken.  The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with Vietnamese basil, mint leaves, lime, and bean sprouts that are added to the soup by the person who is dining.

I was introduced to it from a friend at my work, and have been obsessed with it every since.  I love soup, and this soup is fun because you can make it as flavorful and spicy as you want.  A siracha bottle is never far away from me, and the piping hot broth and delicious add-ins make this one of my favorite meals.  It is inexpensive (usually about $5 for a huge bowl), and low in calories. 

All this talking about it makes me want to go out and get some! 

Enjoy your weekend dear friends.  Eat well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Picnics and Daydreams

I could not love the cold more than I do!  Snuggling up under a blanket with a cup of tea and a Christmas tree lit in my living room bring my heart to a happy place.  I love scarves and hats and mittens and coats.  I cannot wait to be in Maryland for Christmas.  I love love love the nip in the air and the fuzzy socks my toes want to be in.

However, the grass is always greener right?

I have been daydreaming about sunshine and a picnic the last few days.  I found myself making a collection of food images that bring me to a summer fruit, pizza party, crab feast happy place.

I hope you enjoy these weather innappropriate images!






Ugh, this collection is one of my favorites!
The last image literally brings me home. 

Have a lovely day friends! 

What have you been daydreaming about?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Craft Fairs

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is all the holiday events that seem to spring up out of nowhere.  If you know me at all, you know how much I love crafts and festivals/fairs and the Holidays... so, Holiday Craft Fairs are absolutely one of my favorite things :)  I have been to 2 so far this season, and I hope to find at least one more to puruse.


I love the variety offered and the ambiance of a church boutique.  There is so much excitement and bustle to make sure everything is just the way it was intended.  I love feeling like a part of someone's favorite day of the year.  These people do not always do this every year, but just by buying something they are selling they are making money for Christmas presents, what a wonderful idea!

I hope you love craft fairs as much as I do, becasue the people selling at them are really excited to bring you what they have made.  Go to a local craft fair during this month and support local artisans!  They will appreicate it more than you know.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Be Encouraged - Spreading Christmas Cheer

I sat for awhile considering how I could encourage someone today.  What are the perfect words to offer that will help change a perspective or a life just by reading them, and then it hit me!

I want to encourage you to be encouraging to others!  How wonderful is it when you receive a hand written note that encourages you in some way?  How blessed do you feel by someone complimenting your outfit and telling you that you look great?  How amazing is it when someone offers to buy your coffee when you are out?  How easy is this to do for friends?

Do those things for others! Encouragement does not come at a cost.  Think about it.  Do it.  It will only take effort.  It will be worth it.

I wish my blog reached hundreds of people so I coud start a revolution today, but I will have to just suggest an idea to the 40 or so readers I have aquired, and hope they pay it forward.  Do something nice for a stranger before Chirstmas hits, with the only follow up being to pass it on.  Leave a note on a complete stranger's doorstep of how valued they are and at the end say, "P.S. Spread the kindness you have felt."  You will never know if it worked, but I promise you that your heart will feel lighter.  

  
Imagine how amazing it would make you feel!  The holidays are coming, and it's time to spread the cheer.  Brighten someones day with nothing in return for yourself  :)

Be Encouraged friends... BE ENCOURAGING! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

An Unconventional Thanksgiving

Well folks, I was waiting for more pictures before sharing this event with the world, but I have not gotten them, and I do not want Thanksgiving to feel like a distant memory when I finally post this!

About a month ago, Mikaela and I were sitting and looking at a magazine that had a few twists on conventional Thanksgiving recipes and we discussed our frustration with the fact that we never have an opportunity to try them!  Every family has their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, and there is not much wiggle room for experimenting.  So, we developed a plan that made me grin from ear to ear.  We decided to throw an unconventional Thanksgiving feast where everyone brought something that was a twist on a normal dish. 

The results were epic wonderfulness!


We had sweet potato fries, cheddar and jalapeno stuffing, an amazing take on green bean casserole, and much much more.  The pictures do not do the food justice! 


This was a fantastic night filled with friends and TONS of laughter.  These friends are so dear to me. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"How Did You Celebrate?"

Disregard the Red Eye!

I feel like I have had 100 glasses of champagne this week, and it still isn't enough celebration!

Our dear friends Mikaela and Adam are throwing us a party this weekend, and I am sure many more pictures of celebration are to come!

We spent the night following our engagement with Bill's mom and dad (who will make the best in-laws and everyone should be incredibly jealous), as well as his aunt and cousin.  We had a delicious dinner and watched a slideshow of all the pictures we had taken of our engagement day.  We re-lived the whole experience for them and they greeted us at the front door with a beautiful card, a bottle of champagne, and humongous smiles.  It is wonderful to be accepted into such a kind and generous family. 

I also got lovely presents from Mikaela and My sisters :)  My sisters gave me the mug with the wedding band as the handle and Mikaela wrote me a wonderful card and gave me a wedding magazine and a bottle of almond champagne!  My best friend from home also sent me lovely presents, for Bill and my future home together.  This has been such a wonderful season of feeling showered in love from everyone surrounding us.


As I mentioned previously, I have a bucket list that hangs in my closet to remind me to dream bigger.   A huge part of my personal celebration, at home and alone, was to look at that bucket list and cross off 2 things. 

Not only did I go on a blind date with Bill when he proposed to me, but I also fell hopelessly in love with him.  Regardless of where this life takes us, I will always love him until the day that I die.  My heart is wrapped up in his, and he is my best friend in the entire world.  I have never known love like this, because it is so different from all my other relationships. 



What a wonderful man I have!  I feel myself blushing and getting butterflies all the time, just from thinking of him!  I think i will relish this stage of our love, because it happens once in a lifetime. 

I love celebrating it with family and friends.  I am so blessed.