Tuesday, December 16, 2014

8 Things That Happen Every Christmas

I'm totally stealing this idea from Misty. Hope she doesn't mind...

So, I love Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of the year, after all.

And I'm loving this holiday season more than any other I've ever had. For obvious reasons, I think.

Anyway, I don't really have a lot of Christmas traditions anymore since it's just been me for pretty much my entire adult life and all the things we used to do when I was a kid have gone by the wayside because my mom APPARENTLY feels silly telling me the Nativity story while I fall asleep in my pajamas waiting for Santa Claus to make his appearance.

So there aren't a lot of traditions anymore and even while I'm thinking about this right now, I'm not sure if I have 8 things to round out this list, but I'm going to do my best...

1. Watch all the Christmas movies.



Elf has become my very, very favorite Christmas movie. Even more than Love Actually, It's a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story. I also love White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Bridget Jones's Diary, Christmas Vacation, Die Hard, and all the Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. I just like to watch Christmas movies. Christmas movies are my favorite.

2. Listen to all the Christmas music.



I LOVE Christmas tunes. Old, new, doesn't matter. They all make me happy. Except that stupid "Do They Know It's Christmas" and that lame "War is Over," and don't get me STARTED on "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time," "Thistlehair the Christmas Bear" or "The Christmas Shoes."

3. Buy all the Christmas presents.

I LOVE giving gifts. Way more than I love getting gifts. I mean, don't get me wrong. I LOVE getting gifts. But my favorite thing is picking out something that I know someone is just going to love and then watching them open it and get excited about it. It's seriously my favorite thing.

4. Check out all the Christmas lights.



I haven't gone out looking for lights yet this year, but it's one of the things I love. I always wanted to live in the Griswold house and have crazy Christmas decorations. And I love those houses that sync up their light displays to different Christmas carols. There's a street in the town where I work where the whole street is synced up. I really want to go see it.

5. Read all the Top 10 Lists.

This is the time of year when critics and magazines and bloggers start compiling their lists of the bests of the year. And I love those lists. Best and Worst movies. Best and Worst songs, all of it. I love lists.

6. Bake all the Christmas cookies.

My mom and I have some standard fare that we always make. Candy Cane cookies and Butterscotch Potato Chip cookies, and M&M cookies and fudge. Of COURSE there's fudge. It isn't Christmas without fudge. We had a great time baking this past weekend. More on that later.

7. Read all the Christmas stories.

Okay, so really I just read A Christmas Carol and Skipping Christmas. But I love reading them both every year. They're quick reads, and fun, and put me in a great mood.

8. Read the Nativity Story.

And, of course, I always read Luke's account of the nativity on Christmas Eve night. It dates back to that tradition we had when my mom used to tell us the story under the Christmas tree before sending us off to bed. I've continued it by reading the story on my own every year.

What are some of your Christmas traditions? Or Hanukkah? Or Festivus?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Review Extravaganza: April, May and June: Things go from bad to very, very good...


And now I continue with recapping my 2014. Which has been one of the weirdest years of my life...

You can freshen up on the entry rules by going back to this post.



April started out simply enough.


During Spring Break, I had finally gotten around to building an outdoor rabbit habitat for my dear Bruce Wayne. But then I decided he was lonely and needed a friend. So I adopted a baby bunny whom I called Hare-isson Ford.



Oh my gosh was this new baby cute or WHAT??? The only problem was that he was a bit of an escape artist and liked to find new ways of getting out of that hutch and disappearing into the yard.

But Hare-isson Ford and Bruce Wayne got along REALLY well, so the escape attempts were just a small annoyance that I finally solved.

I went to visit a friend one day, and when I was leaving her apartment, I discovered that my beloved Hyundai Accent, Smurfette, had been attacked and left for dead on the street.



The next couple of weeks were a blur of insurance settlements and rental cars and buying my may-as-well-have-been-new Hyundai Tuscon, Coco.

Then my dear friend Marly moved away, making me the last member standing in our old Book Club. Everyone else had moved away already. Some not nearly as far as others, but I was literally the only one left.

And then, suddenly, unexpectedly, tragically, Hare-isson Ford died. My heart broke.

He died while I was on my way to the airport to visit my dear friend Stacey and her totes adorbs family in Dallas.



May was kind of a quiet month.


Allena succeeded in finally getting me to join the world of essential oils and I have not looked back!

I discovered that my Coco is a bit temperamental when she decided to ruin an awesome night of hanging out with my nephew by refusing to start.

And I threw a baby shower for my friend Jennifer. It was fun, but a LOT of work.



And then June came around and everything changed.


I lamented about never going to the prom.

I made a few friends and some enemies by writing a response to a popular blogger's post about religion.

For some reason, I allowed myself to be convinced that running a half marathon would be a good idea.



The weekend of the half, which was in Salt Lake City, my friend Kelli somehow convinced me to join Tinder. I was apparently very easily convinced to do things in June between the half marathon and now dating and especially Tinder, two things I SWORE I would NEVER EVER EVER do.

And yet, there I was, signing up, chatting with some interesting guys, and making dates.

One date that I didn't write about was with this one guy. Divorced, dad, really nice. So nice that I decided to keep him around. In fact, the post I just linked to under "making dates"? In that post, I talk about how I didn't have a man in my life and had no expectations for dating and I wasn't expecting to meet anyone special. I wrote that post the day before I met Chris.

Funny how things change.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

4 Things

I totally stole this idea from Lauren (with permission, of course). But it was fun and I hope you enjoy it. And feel free to take it if you're looking for something to blog about.


4 names people call me other than my real name: Kare, Kare Bear, K-Lo, Weiner

4 places I have been: Honduras, Paraguay, Argentina, Buttonwillow

4 things I don’t eat: Baby seals, dogs (I don't think), plain Triscuits, jalapenos

4 favorite foods: Pizza, penne pasta, Brussels sprouts (for reals), McRib sandwiches

4 things I’m always saying: "um, actually", "I can't even", "like", "really?"

4 places I've lived: Idaho, California, Utah, Montreal

4 things I'm looking forward to next year: Spending ridiculous amounts of time with Chris, going to Erin's graduation in Connecticut, finding a new job, going back to school(????)

4 movies I have watched more than once: Star Wars, Love Actually, Steel Magnolias, Elf

4 places I would rather be right now: Ice skating at Rockefeller Center (that's a thing, right?), cruising the Seine, cruising the Thames, pretty much anywhere with Chris

4 books I recommend: Gone Girl, A Game of Thrones (the whole series), Sycamore Row, Good in Bed

4 TV shows I watch: The Walking Dead, Castle, American Horror Story, Friends (ALL THE TIME ALWAYS)

4 jobs I've had: Cashier, telemarketer, Operations Assistant, Tutorial Coordinator

By the by, I guest-posted at Lauren's blog yesterday and shared all about my love for Essential Oils! Go check it out!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Mom's Cooler than Your Mom

Today is my mom's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

And it seemed like a great day to share something we did several, several weeks ago: a mother/daughter photo shoot!

This actually dates back to Christmas. Um...now that I think about it, it was the Christmas BEFORE last Christmas, which means I'm even worse of a slacker than you ever knew. Whoops!

Anyway, through a series of reasons, we never could coordinate to get those darned photos taken.

And then my dear friend Marly launched her own photography business.

Now, so you understand, Marly isn't just another blogger that grabbed herself a fancy camera and started calling herself a photographer. This girl is seriously talented and has a great eye. So when she announced that she was in business, I knew I had to book a session with her immediately.

So I did just that.

I was blown away by the level of detail and professionalism she had put into this brand new venture. There were contracts and releases to sign and packages to select and then we chose the date and time for our session and met her at the main library in Riverside, right near the Mission Inn. She found the location herself and it turned out to be a great place.

Here are a few of my favorites from the day:





Isn't my mom gorgeous?

We had so much fun!

Marly doesn't just snap pictures and tell you how to pose. The entire session was just natural with great conversation, sharing fun memories, and a lot of laughs. I mean, I was already comfortable with Marly because she's one of my best friends, but she just has this way of putting you at ease in front of the camera and making the entire thing so relaxed and fun. She's amazing.

AND.

She's offering readers of this here blog 10% off a session. Just tell her I sent ya whisper the secret password: "Karen is awesome."

The only caveat is that she lives in California. So those of you that are far away have to pay for her travel expenses. But I'm sure she wouldn't mind that at all. Particularly those of you that live in Italy.

But the good news is that she serves Southern AND Central California, and can probably be convinced to travel to the Bay Area too because of where she lives. If you make it worth her while.

*This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my session just like any other customer. And if I hadn't absolutely loved the entire process, I would never have blogged about it.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Quick Update/Announcement/Thing


Hey all!

I want to thank everyone who has voted so far in the 2014 Blog Awards! I'm very excited to see the nominees racking up the votes. Some of the categories are too close to call yet!

Anyway, this is just a reminder that there is still time to vote. Voting will close tomorrow night--

(or, realistically, Thursday morning when I get to a computer to turn off the responses.)

--So make sure you vote and spread the word!

Thanks! Y'all are the best!




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Monday, December 8, 2014

Review Extravaganza: January, February, and March

I'm so excited to be participating in the 2014 Review Extravaganza! We have some fabulous prizes you could win if you play along with us! All you need to do is grab the button and join in the fun.

(Posts need to be linked by Friday in order to count as an entry.)

You can freshen up on the entry rules by going back to this post.



So this week we're going back to January, February and March.

I'm such a dunce. I was trying to remember how I spent New Year's last year and couldn't remember until I dug into my archives and remembered that, um, DUH! I was in Honduras!!

I never did write about just how I spent that New Year's Eve, because it was a little traumatizing. But Honduras overall was a great experience. Except for when a storm knocked out the power and the water for two days.

I announced my 2013 Blog Award winners a little late. But better late than never, eh?

And I shared my overall experience of volunteering with Honduras Child Alliance. It wasn't the most favorable of experiences, but wasn't terrible either.

In February, I broke my arm again. Because, you know, why not?

I was nominated for two awards in Angie's Best of Blog Awards, which was such an honor. Even though I didn't make it to the final round, it really was an honor just to be nominated.

We also had the Olympics. Which seems impossible that it was THIS YEAR, but it's true. Oh, Sochi...Thanks for the memories!

Then Harold Ramis died and I was sad about it. He was a big part of my childhood, after all.

And then I turned 37.

March arrived and I bragged about how I celebrated my birthday with a limo and a fancy dinner. So, SO fun!

I shared my experiences being in a "Mid-Singles" Ward (for ages 31-45).

I answered a very difficult question when I wrote about Mormons and Homosexuality.

And I went to my very first Spring Training!

Then baseball season started and I was a happy, happy girl.

So that's how I spent the first part of the year. How about you? You know you want to join in the fun, so DO IT!





2014 Review Extravaganza




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Friday, December 5, 2014

My "Grown Up" Christmas List

It's hard for me to say that with a straight face because, well, here is my wish list:


1. 50mm/f 1.8 lens for my Nikon D5300
2. a TARDIS necklace
3. a Batman sweatshirt, obvs
4. Narwhal slippers
5. a one-can Cooler/Warmer with USB
6. R2D2 USB gadget car charger
7. Star Wars socks
8. Femmes Fatales of Firefly posters
9. J'aime Le Bat Homme t-shirt
10. Houses of Lannister, Baratheon, Stark and Targaryen t-shirt

Pretty much everything is available on ThinkGeek except the camera lens, which is available all over the place. 

Actually, you can probably get me just about anything from ThinkGeek and I will love it.

And no, this post is not sponsored by ThinkGeek. But if they would like to sponsor me, I've also got my eye on a set of Star Wars prints that would look fab in my soon-to-be-taken-away office.

What are you wishing for this year?

And don't forget to vote for your favorite bloggers! You have until Wednesday!!

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