Friday, October 30, 2009

Photo Friday: Deviled eggs

Today we're having a Halloween party at work, and everyone's bringing an appetizer. I made deviled eggs.

Here's the recipe I used (omitted horseradish).

I'm not really into Halloween this year... mostly because I'm too excited about Thanksgiving! But anway - Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Quality time

Today I'm thankful for spending lots of time with my sweet fiance, James!

If you don’t know us, you might not know that he is still a student. He’ll graduate from his Physical Therapy Assistant program in May. I’m excited about this for several reasons – one of them being that we’ll have lots more quality time together!

I met James when we were both students at Sacramento State. We both graduated with our Bachelor degrees in 2008, and the following semester he started the PTA program – which only offers night classes.

For over a year (the whole time we’ve lived together) he’s been gone until approximately 10 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Thursdays! I’m forced to entertain myself after work… but that’s coming to an end!

Next week marks the beginning of his externship, when he’ll be working in a clinic 40 hours a week with normal business hours. Then after work we’ll get to hang out together, yay!

I’m thankful for the conclusion of this education journey for many reasons. More time, more money, more opportunities… lots of good things are happening.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boycott Best Buy

My letter to Best Buy customer service:

I want to share with you the experience I had at Best Buy store #133 in Sacramento, California. I’ve been repeatedly disappointed in my interactions with Best Buy employees, and once again my expectations of reasonable treatment were not met.

When I purchased my laptop at this store in 2007, I purchased an extended warranty for approximately $300 because I was hoping to avoid paying extra fees if I had a problem with it. I was assured that any problems I encountered would be fixed by Geek Squad for free, and I’d even receive a loaner computer in the meantime (Best Buy employees now tell me this was a lie).

When my built-in microphone suddenly stopped working last month, I was not immediately concerned because I had a warranty – I was protected. I expected to receive a service for that $300 I paid.

However, when I brought my laptop to Best Buy store #133 and left it there for several days, Geek Squad called me to say that my computer had a virus, which caused the microphone to stop working. I would have to pay $130 to have the virus removed, and my microphone would then work.

I refuse to give this company any more of my money, so I took my laptop to an independent repair technician, who told me that my computer was not infected with any viruses. Not one. I can only assume that Geek Squad invented this diagnosis as a way to generate maximum profit.

My honest repair technician found that my microphone was assembled incorrectly, causing a wire to become loose. He fixed the problem easily. This is a problem that would have been covered by my warranty, had the Geek Squad employees correctly assessed my problem.

I hope that you will understand my frustration with your company. I purchased a warranty as insurance that I would be protected from these types of problems. Instead, I was asked to pay an additional fee for a problem that did not exist!

My warranty was not honored. The only solution I see to this situation is to receive a full refund for the money I paid for a warranty that now seems worthless. I had a problem that should have received an immediate, free repair. This did not happen, so I am unable to see what I received in exchange for my $300.

Be assured that I will never again patronize a Best Buy store. I have posted about my experience on my personal blog, and will share my experiences with many.

Please contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX for my mailing address, where you can send my refund.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Going to Europe has always been a dream of mine, so now that Rose is studying abroad in Dublin, it’s a no-brainer that I’m going to go visit.

On May 29 I’m going to leave for a 2 week European vacation with her, and I’m ridiculously excited!! We’re not certain exactly what we’ll do yet, but here are my initial thoughts on the plan…

Saturday: Fly out of San Francisco.

Sunday – Tuesday: Ireland

I know Rose will show me around and give me a tour of Dublin, and we'll also go out at least one night there.

Source (Photo by my sister! Who lives in Dublin!)

We’ll also go to the Cliffs of Moher...


I'll leave the Ireland itinerary mostly up to her - she knows what I'll like.

Wednesday – Monday: Italy

We'll fly - it's under $100 U.S.! We’ll probably visit 2 different cities. Right now we're thinking Venice and Rome.

Venice for the beauty...




Rome for the history...

Collusseum (Source)

Trevi Fountain (Source)

Roman Forum (Source)

Tuesday – Friday: Greece

Athens and Santorini, probably. We can either fly from Rome to Athens, or take a ferry between the two countries.

In Athens I want to visit the historic sites like the Acropolis and other ancient buildings. I love seeing history!

Acropolis (Source)

Temple of Olympian Zeus (Source)

In Santorini I want to relax and take in the picture perfect Greek islands. I think it'll be the perfect end to this crazy, exciting trip!




Saturday – fly home :(

I'm sooo excited about this vacation! My sister is the best person to travel with too, both because she's just as excited as I am, and because we're best friends and never run out of things to talk about (I do mean NEVER).

I’m already disappointed that we have to limit ourselves to 2 weeks (I’d do 3 if I could get away with it. I have to save a few days of vacation time for my wedding, though!). I also am already certain that I’ll have to visit again in a few years to see Barcelona, Paris, London and Amsterdam! One trip just isn't enough!

I'm just going to try to take it all in, and enjoy every moment.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photo Friday: Kings Canyon National Park

My mom and I in Kings Canyon National Park,
a few days after Thanksgiving 2006.

My brother was on his high school's cross country team, and we were in the Fresno area for the state championships. Kings Canyon was beautiful, and very cold!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Job

Work has been quite busy lately, so much that I almost forgot to post this! And that’s what made me think of how thankful I am to be employed right now.

I know people are being laid off and having the hardest time finding new jobs. A lot of companies are simply not hiring, leaving the unemployed with little options.

It’s tough, and I’m thankful thankful thankful to not only have a job, but have a job that I like in a company that’s doing well. Our office is thriving, generating profit and hiring new employees because we have too much work to do. It’s a great feeling.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

KitchenAid Food Chopper

Last month I posted about my dire need for a Slap Chop, and shortly after I found a similar product at Target, the KitchenAid Food Chopper. Totally worth the $15!

I used it this weekend to chop the veggies for a new recipe: Rigatoni with eggplant, mushrooms and goat cheese (very good!). It worked great for the onion, garlic and mushrooms. The eggplant was too big to fit in, though.

I especially like it for garlic because I don’t have to touch it and get my hands all garlic smelly (no matter how many times I wash my hands it always stays for like 4 days!).

Of course I threw away the directions, so I couldn’t figure out how to wash it. At first it seems like the blade doesn’t come apart and the only way to wash it is by holding the handle down and washing it by hand. That's every inconvenient. However, the reviews on say that there’s a way to take them apart and put it in the dishwasher. I’m going to have to try that.

I rate this product 9 out of 10 :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free stuff from Traylor Papers

Traylor Papers is offering free stationary! To get it:

"Send us an email to with your name and address and we'll send you a free customized card with your name. Tell us your favorite colors and/or style (i.e., whimsical, classic, girly ..., etc) and we will try to make you a match :) BONUS: post this offer on your blog or wall, send us a link, and we'll send you a few extra! Good thru 10/28/09!"

Here are my faves!

Lime Links Note Cards

Pink Kiwi Note Cards

Patio Lantern Note Cards

Thanks for the info Kelsey :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Leonid Afremov

While browsing pretty pictures today on we heart it, I came across this painting by Leonid Afremov:

I fell in love! The colors in this image are so welcoming and warm. It's something that I must have in my home!

I did some Google spy work and found the artist's web site, where you can bid on his prints for pretty reasonable prices. They're also for sale at

Look at these!

LOVE. I'm going to buy one eventually!

Momzillas by Jill Kargman

Last week I finished Momzillas by Jill Kargman. I tried to start an intellectual book, but just couldn't get into it... so I read more chick lit. Better than nothing!

The book is about Hannah's transition from living in San Francisco to living in Manhattan, as she struggles to adapt while meeting other moms in New York who are stuck up and very competitive. She feels lonely as she tries to get used to her family's new city, where everything seems fake.

This book was okay, although I found a lot of the situations hard to believe. It wasn't very realistic, especially in the end when everything turned out perfectly, fairytale style. It was moderately entertaining for me, but it's just average.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Holidays

Today I’m thankful for holidays! They’re the perfect excuse to get together with family and have some extra time away from work.

I’m getting super excited about Thanksgiving this year, because James and I are hosting for the first time! We always have it at my parents’ house, but this year it’ll be a little different. One sister is in Ireland and the other is going to Thailand for November and December (me = so jealous of both of them).

That leaves my parents, my brother and me (and our significant others) here in the boring U.S. of A. We’re going to change our Thanksgiving location to be at our cozy [small] casa, and James’ parents are invited too. I love hosting get-togethers!

The only thing that I’m worried about is how small our house is (1 bed/1 bath duplex). Oh, and that I’ve never in my life attempted to cook a turkey. I’m sure it’ll be fine though.

I’m totally decorating for Christmas the week before Thanksgiving so it’ll be up at our par-tay. I’m sure at least one person will make fun of me for decorating so early – but they’re just lucky I’m waiting until November!

P.S. I’m so looking forward to long weekends for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! Work has been redic lately!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

DIY flowers, take two

We bought more flowers at the farmer's market this morning (see last weekend's results and instructions here). This time we got dahlias and roses, and they turned out great. The quality of these pics is pretty low - they're much prettier in person!

This arrangement has red, purple and white dahlias, and white roses. For our wedding it'll be more multi-colored with pinks and oranges.

I had enough left over to make one vase with just white dahlias and white roses. I like the colored ones more though.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Photo Friday: October porch

Here are the pumpkins we picked out last Saturday at the Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin & Harvest Festival!

They're sitting on our porch, along with my new cute Halloween sign

and my autumn wreath on the door.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Mom & Dad

Click this button to go to Miss I Dew's blog!


Today I’m thankful for my parents. They’re awesome!

Lately I realize more and more how much I’m turning into my mother. She's one of the kindest, most generous people I know, and yes she gets on my nerves sometimes, but I'm happy to be like her.

If it weren't for my Mom and Dad, I could not be the confident, independent woman I am today.

I love you guys!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wishful Wednesday: Appearance

“I wish” .... I could change one physical trait about myself and that would be ______.

Click the Wishful Wednesday button to go to Kelsey’s blog!

I’m a very confident person, but there are still several things that come to mind with this prompt. I guess the number one would be my legs. They're just way too big, and I don't think any amount of exercise and/or diet will make them petite. I'd love to feel great it short shorts, but it's not happening. That's just the way I'm made, unfortunately.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Goal #52: Buy flowers at the farmers market

For a while, I've been wanting to arrange the flowers for our wedding myself (with the help of several lovely people to whom I'll be extremely grateful). Florists are crazy expensive, and my thought is "how hard can it be?" I gave it a try on Sunday, since it'll soon be cold and they won't be selling flowers at the farmers market.

My favorite flowers are dahlias:

This arrangement isn't by me. I'm just showing you how pretty dahlias are.

I really wanted to get those, but the first stand we went to didn't have any, so I assumed no one else would either. I just bought some zinnias for $6. It was cheap, that's good, but I was sad when I saw beautiful dahlias later on. Maybe next weekend...

Here's what I did. I've done some reading on what you're supposed to do to make them last longer, and these were the things that I remembered.

First I pulled off all of the leaves.

Then I clipped off the ends of the stems under running water, and put them in a vase with water.

I used half of them to make a bouquet, and half for a centerpiece. The centerpiece is awesome, and exactly what I want. The bouquet needs some practice - but that also has to do with me not loving zinnias. Next time I'll definitely make sure to buy the right type of flowers.

Here are the centerpieces:

Thank you Ikea for 100 tealights for $4!

I love them! They'll look even better with roses and dahlias. I don't really have detailed instructions. I just cut the stems to the right length, and put them in the mason jars (which is what I want to use at our wedding. I need to start collecting 3 different sizes for each table). It was easy :)

For the bouquet, I taped together groups of 3-4 flowers with floral tape (err, duct tape. I need to buy floral tape).

Once I had enough smaller groups of flowers, I taped them all together into a larger bouquet at the top and bottom.

This bouquet has about 30 zinnias and it's smaller than I'd like. I would have added more but I wanted to save enough for the vases.

I wrapped the stems with ribbon that I had already, and secured it with a pin. I'll buy prettier ribbon later.

I think it went pretty well for my first go at DIY flowers! I'm confident that this will work out and we'll save hundreds of dollars.

I spent about an hour or less on this. I think with more people we should be able to do more centerpieces quickly.

I'm actually looking forward to doing this with my mom - I think it'll be fun :)

P.S. click here for my list of 100 goals to accomplish before my 30th birthday (buy flowers at the farmers market was one of them).

Update: I put these together Sunday and it's now Tuesday. They still look good. Yay :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

New look

I redesigned my blog last week! What do you think? I got tired of the old one and I think this one’s cute. See the lighthouse picture at the top of the page? I know it doesn’t really match, but isn’t it pretty? That’s the lighthouse where we’re getting married! On the other side of it there’s a big grassy area where our wedding ceremony will be ♥

Friday, October 2, 2009

Photo Friday

I'm going to start posting some of my favorite photos every Friday, because it's catchy and fun... and I think it's a good idea. Sometimes they'll be photos taken by me, and sometimes they'll just be something pretty that I like. I'm having fun already!

For my first Photo Friday I went way back into my MySpace pictures to February 2006, my first trip to Hawaii. This is my brother Tom and I on the North Shore of Oahu.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I fear that I may be going overboard on the "post to match the day" thing (I have another original one coming tomorrow - original as in I made it up... impressed?). Oh well, I came across this idea and it's so cute that I just have to participate!

Click the Thankful Thursdays button to go to Miss I Dew's blog (she's getting married this weekend!)

Thankful Thursday is simple and sweet. I think being optomistic is a great quality to have, and I always try to see the positive in situations. Blogging Thankful Thursdays helps you to appreciate what you have, and there's always something to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful for changing weather. This week it's in the 70s and 80s. Especially compared to last week's 100, this is perfect! My fall wreath is hanging on the door, we're going to the Elk Grove Pumpkin & Harvest Festival, and soon everyone's going to be in a great holiday mood. I'm thankful for Fall!

Images from