Sunday, September 30, 2007

Life is full of beauty, and so is the farm

Saturday was a great day, and much needed. I helped my dad outside on the farm all day, and took some pretty inspirational pictures.

When I'm roaming around my parent's place, I often find myself inspired, yet sad. I always think of the history there. How all of my uncles and my own father grew up there, how my grandfather was born in our TV room; I really appreciate all of the history there. And then, I think of how more and more small family farms are either run out because they simply can't keep up financially, or they are bought out because some new industrial development would like their land. In the two block radius of my parent's house, my Dad recalled how there used to be about 20 dairy farms, and now there are only five. Three of the houses he remembered as a kid are no longer there, having been bought out and then torn down. The landscape is also completely different. We can see brand new houses being built on a far hill, the local gravel company has completely blasted out a hill for rock, and destroyed a farm in the process. There is a ridiculously large ethanol plant going up about a mile away, and the towering silos can be seen from our place. What used to be a view of the horizon as we drive up the hill has now become a view of cement and steel. The roads are paved (though our little section is still gravel, thank goodness!). I remember riding my bike around the entire block and having 3/4 of it being a gravel road. Now, there is only a small gravel section, which makes the rest of it easy riding.

How I long for those simple days again. No cement and steel, gravel roads, hills and farms where there are now holes and rubble, open fields.....I wish farmers and farming could still be as successful as it once was. What happens when we run all of the farmers out?

It's crazy to think the simple days that I long for are significantly different than the simple days my Dad longs for. I love my Dad.

My dad airing up some tires

Worry, worry, worry. I need to stop doing that.

I'm having one of those overwhelming days. I need to take one day at a time.

Instead, I find myself thinking ahead six weeks. At that point:
1. We will have to be moved out of our place
2. Blake will have already gone to, and returned from, Brazil
3. Thanksgiving will be over
5. The Ordination Mass I'm helping to plan (big deal, big stress) will be over
6. Blake will know for certain about a job
7. We'll know about financing for a house
8. Hopefully we'll be moving into that house we like so much
9. I may be entertaining another idea (something of which I cannot go much into detail just yet)
10. I will be much less stressed. Thank goodness.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweet, not that Gwen Stafani song

That's what Jennifer is doing. She jetted off to Vegas today for a long weekend and a friend's wedding....I'm so jealous. I need a vacation from my recent hectic life. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Going once; going twice


We got an offer on our place tonight, we counter-offered, and the terms were accepted. It only took two days....what's this I hear about the real estate market being in bad shape??? Now, we really get to move forward with figuring out Blake's situation, financing, etc. We close on our current place Nov. 30. Its going to come so fast!

I'm really excited knowing that our place is definitely sold (one less thing to worry about)....but still slightly stressed out about everything else leading up to the big move. One day at a time.

Patty Cake Patty Cake

Baker's man....or BakersEdge! Jennifer sent me an e-mail today with the link to this brilliant invention. I am obsessed with the edge pieces of brownies or any type of bar pan dessert, so this invention is really a gift from God (or Jennifer since she brought it to my attention?)! In my mind, it is perhaps a little pricey for a pan, but if I get that many edge pieces out of one batch, it's worth it!

When Blake saw this wonderful pan, he said, "Screw that. They need to invent something that makes brownies with no edges!" Since I'm the baker, he loses.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And the award goes to...

Blake - husband of the year, hands down.

In Monday's post, I had worried about leaving the house cleaning to him for our showing today. When I got home, the house was cleaner than it was when I left! It was amazing! I almost didn't want to set anything down when I walked in the house because I was afraid to dirty it up a bit. How wonderful.
Blake and his lemon smile.

Don't kick me when I'm down

I love this. I hope this is the kind of coach my future kids get if they are active in sports.

An overview: After Oklahoma State's most recent game, an article was published in a newspaper scrutinizing the performance of a particular player. Here is what Coach Gundy had to say:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Come on, did I really need the head start?

I thought Blake and I were getting a head start by putting our place on the market early. In our current real estate market, it takes roughly 4-6 months for a house to sell. So here we are, five months out, and today was the first official day on the market. As luck would have it, we already have a showing scheduled for tomorrow at 5 p.m.

This should be exciting right? Instead, I am currently freaking out about what we will do if this person likes our place. A little background: apparently this young woman touring our place tomorrow had already put an offer an another unit in our building awhile ago. This particular unit was completely trashed and needed an entire re-model. It had been foreclosed upon, and her offer kind of got lost between the realtors and the banks, so she never heard anything back. All signs would point to the fact that she really likes the general floor plan, the building, the area, etc., and just wants to live

This was my immediate reaction after I was informed of the showing tomorrow:
1. Since I'm working all day tomorrow, Blake will be in charge of making sure the place looks spic and span....*crosses fingers*....thankfully, it's still mostly clean from our realtor's visit on Friday!

2. CRAP. I didn't take Sophie, our dog, with me this week (normally, she does accompany me...but I haven't been taking her recently because I'm only staying one night, and returning home late Tuesday evening). Blake and I had already decided she would start to come with me again, but I thought I'd start next week because "what are the odds that we'll have a showing before Wednesday if Monday is our first day on the market?" --> Smart one on my part, especially because I already knew Blake had to work at 5 on Tuesday. ugh. So, I had to arrange for my wonderful cousin, Sheri, to pick Sophie up and baby-sit her until I get home. *Thumping my head* Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Of course, my mind has already traveled to thoughts of "What if she gives us an offer
tomorrow...or sometime this week?":
1. Hooray for our house spending very little time on the market!!
2. I'm happy that thing is sold but I'll definitely miss our very first home.
3. I have no other place to live...yet...besides with my parents for a little while if nothing works out...which I haven't really discussed with them yet, but I'm sure they would be more than happy to have us. :)
4. I know which house I want to be my next home, if other things fall into place first.
5. F***! I haven't even looked into securing financing for a future home (my own fault?)
6. Wait...I can't secure financing because we don't even know if Blake has a job, if he's opening his own practice....blah!
7. I hope that other Doctor is doing his research because I am sick of waiting, and Blake leaves for Brazil in a few weeks. It would be nice to know.
8. BLAKE WILL BE IN BRAZIL! If we get an offer, when do we close? (my realtor informs me that the closing date is completely our decision, so that is good news) *phew!*

I need to stop "putting the cart before the horse," as the old adage goes.

I'll know more tomorrow after the showing....this is going to be an interesting process, especially if my mind continues to freak out upon learning of any showing.

Our lovely living area...who wouldn't want to live here? :)

Friday, September 21, 2007


Blake and I met with our Realtor today. We filled out all of the paperwork, and Monday, our place will officially be on the real estate market. As much as I am excited to move into a house in a new town and start decorating our new place to make it feel like home, I'm saddened to think that I'm going to move from this place that has been our home since we were married. It's quaint, it's cozy, and it's everything that a beginner home should be. Moving and letting it go will definitely be bittersweet.

My farewell photo home tour will begin soon.

Speaking of farewells, today would have been Blake's mom's 57th birthday. We love her and miss her dearly.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


My sister is a bridesmaid for her friend's wedding in Vegas next weekend. She needs advice on her hair style. You can read her post here. The hairstyles, sampled on her head, are below. Which do you like best? French twist on the left, chignon on the right. Any other easy do-it-yourself ideas? Comment comment comment!

How cool are these?

Serving bowls made of old vinyl records. You can even choose your genre! I want one or two or three.....or six - one for each genre! If, however, I had to choose one genre, it would be "crooner" and then I would cross my fingers and hope they have Frank Sinatra in stock. They also have vinyl record snack trays and coasters. It's the music lover in me!

Click here to order and see other views!

I am also very intrigued by this "Buddha Board." This is my version of the zen garden. I want one to draw on so that I can watch (and feel) my stress vanish. Do you think this really works? Click here to read about it! Blake's pretty convinced that his zen garden really does relieve stress. For me, the zen garden is more stressful than stress relieving, because I'm such a perfectionist that I get stressed out when there are extra little marks in the sand that I can't smooth over! This Buddha Board is much more up my alley. I want it in green or blue....just in case any of you out there are in a gift-giving mood! :)

Don't send me flowers

Send me something I can eat!

I saw a van driving around today for Edible Arrangements, and I've decided this is what I want in lieu of my next set of flowers. Just as colorful but also delicious. Bonus: It's healthy! You can check out all of their arrangements here. Isn't it pretty??

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"I wonder if they can check the other stores?"

Shopping with my mom is quite the chore, and almost always an all-day adventure. Today was no exception. Usually I get cranky with her on her shopping sprees, but today, I simply observed her quirky (and cute) shopping habits:

1. When entering a store, always look for signs on top of the clothing racks that indicate everything on it is at least 60% off. Once located, walk (or sprint) as fast as you can to said rack.

2. To get a question answered, nonchalantly walk past a sales associate and say aloud, "I wonder if these are on sale; I wonder how much this is?" or something to that extent. It is much more effective than actually getting the associate's attention first.

3. Try on every piece of clothing that is on sale, regardless of whether or not you actually like it. Today, she ripped apart a coat on the hanger (it's not heavy enough, what an ugly color), but tried it on anyway, and then gave a disgusted look when it didn't magically change into something that she loved after she put it on.

4. Don't be afraid to try on clothes ranging from the junior section to the petite section, to the misses section, no matter what age you are. She found a couple of "racy" shirts and dresses today (think really low cut). Don't worry, I gave her enough grief about it, that she will be searching for a camisole: "Mom, I think you have officially reached your mid-life crisis." haha. My question of the day: "Can you wear that to church?"

5. Always check out stores with weird names because "you never know what you will find." Today's store: Tuesday Morning. It was actually a pretty neat place. It reminded me of the home and decor branch of TJ Maxx. There were some pretty awesome silverware sets, and sheets there at a super discounted price! Mom knows best!

6. Pronounce brand names such as Gucci (pronounced Goo-see) or Dolce and Gabbana (Dull-chee and Cabana) incorrectly. It's just funny.

7. When trying to locate a brand name in the store, ramble off letters like "C I E or E C I or C E I or something" and hope the store clerk can help you find it. Today, she was looking for E C I, but the sales clerk found, C I A instead. We eventually found E C I on our own. I don't even know why she was looking for it.

8. Peruse the shoe section of the same store twice while you are there. You never know when they will add more shoes.

9. In order to save time, try on clothes without going to the dressing room. Nothing perverted or weird, just try them on over the clothes you are already wearing. We found a super cute dress today after mom had been in the dressing room for awhile, so she just tried on the brown and white sleeveless dress over her bright pink t-shirt, and let her white capris stick out from under the hem of the dress. She then said, "What do you think? Just ignore the pink!" As you can imagine, that was pretty hard to do, so Blake and I handed her a brown shrug sweater to go over top of it (the same as what the mannequin was wearing). To complete the outfit, she rolled up her pant legs, and then tried on the display shoes. She bought the dress.

10. Spend at least three hours in one store. How else do you think she gets all of the above accomplished?

My biggest lesson of the day: Don't listen to her when she claims she will "stay right here." Not only does she NOT stay right there, but since she is so short, you can't find her when she roams. She is shorter than the clothing racks. Our most brilliant idea as kids when shopping with mom was to put those silly bells on her purse. We couldn't see her, but at least we could hear her!

The adorable shopper helping Jennifer's house feel like a home last June.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Great idea!

I visit Jordan Ferney's blog, Oh Happy Day, on a regular basis, and I love her idea of taking a photo tour of her current apartment before she moves to her new place (check it out!). I plan on putting our place on the market later this week, so I'm going to give a photo tour too. She has a lot more pretty and interesting things than I do, but I can talk up my lovely couch animals or my "vintage" entertainment center (3rd time owners!). Photo tour to come soon.

While I'm on the house subject, I went through another house yesterday. Five levels (think weird split-level, not skyscraper tall) + two pink toilets + one pink bathtub + one blue toilet in American flag themed bathroom + included old appliances (among them, a microwave from probably 1976 at the earliest) + blue counter tops = Yikes...we are NOT living there.

I also really enjoy Fine Little Day, from Sweden. It's another blog that I visit daily. It's very simple with adorable pictures about real life. It makes me smile. Below is a sample of one of her posts.

This sad sad sight met us yesterday when we was to pick up a friend of Otto.
A drowned hedgehog.

Cute, right? But, also slightly funny - and probably not what you were expecting. I think the little boy (her son) squatting on the edge of that fountain just looks so precious!

My sister has finally started to update her blog on a semi-regular basis, to which I can only reply, "It's about time!" I was starting to feel like checking her blog regularly was simply a lost cause. Then she surprised me with multiple updates in a single evening, and even updates two days in a row! Note to readers: please read her blog on silicone strainers. It's very informational if you are considering one for your kitchen sink! Who knew?


What does this mean?

I had my second children's choir rehearsal today. Last week, 84 kids (!!!) showed up to see what my children's choir is all about. Long story short, it's a group of 4th - 6th graders who get together once a week to practice, and then they sing at church once a month. Usually, I end up with less kids than I started with (thankfully!), but today, I had 96 little children sign in (with more planning to come next week). AH!

This could mean several things:
1. The kids like me
2. They don't like me, but they like the occasional treats I bring for a job well-done
3. They think coming to church for an hour after school is cool
4. They like our accompanist, Mrs. Beckett, and like to listen to her tickle those ivories
5. I'm going to pull my hair out
6. I contemplate jumping off the balcony
7. They actually like singing....could it be?

If #7 is the answer, then I am doing my job. My entire goal when I took over the children's choir was just to help the kids understand how fun singing can be. Once they love singing, and have fun doing it, it's easy to teach them parts, songs in different languages, etc. They are loud and talk entirely too much (I'm working on that!), but when they sing, it's just like a bunch of little angels singing.....too bad their director is soon to be hairless, and broken-legged from a great leap of faith!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekend discoveries

Blake and I went to a wedding for a friend this weekend, and I discovered (and re-discovered) love for some more things in this world:

1. Country sunsets

2. Old friends (and new ones!)

Colleen, Amy, little Alyssa, Jenn, and me

3. The organ at the church in New Vienna. An original tracker organ, one of only a few left in the world. The pipes on this puppy are gorgeous!

4. Mariachi bands!

5. Karaoke - not just fun to watch, but actually fun to do! Yes, it's something I discovered this weekend as part of the wedding after-party. I always thought I sucked at it (though I had only tried it at little family functions), but apparently I have a hidden talent! Then again, I was in rare form this weekend. I had a confidence boost from my little friend named Captain Morgan. Blake says I sounded great, as did all of the drunk people in the bar. But wait, didn't someone tell me that drunk people always tell the truth? I love Karaoke!

Our new friend, Demetrius. He's one good Karaoke-er
Maybe because he's also a DJ in Chicago?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Becky, please update....

I love my readers! You know, the ones who feel deprived when I don't update for a day or two. It really gives me motivation to update, and to keep updating.

I told you guys you were spoiled with my multiple updates multiple days in a do you believe me?

I just want a that too much to ask?

Every time I really want something, I can't find it. This week, it's a nice fall dress...something to wear to all of my upcoming fall weddings (one this weekend) that will keep me warm, but still look dressy at the same time. I would prefer something in a purple, blue, or brown color, without the crazy prints that make me look odd. The big trend seems to be those sweater dresses, but I don't like how they fit, or look for a dressy occasion. Boo. Jumpers are in too, but the last time I wore a jumper I was probably seven, so I don't feel "grown-up" wearing one of them! I'm also not willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money, which means that I'm pretty much out of luck. The cutest dresses I find on a sale rack are only available in a size 2...the only dresses available in my size are quite possibly some of the ugliest dresses I've seen! I pity the fool who actually buys them and wears them thinking they are pretty! Then again, one person's junk is another person's treasure.

This is frustrating.......

The other annoyance in my life is the waiting game which I spoke of in a recent blog. Click here to read it. Blake and I really like one house, only we can't make any moves until we know for sure if Blake has a job, and what his salary will be. It would help if Blake wasn't so busy and if the other Dr. wasn't so busy, and they could actually touch base instead of playing phone tag. Hopefully everything will work out. But, I am going to worry my pretty little head about it until then. To make matters worse, the house we like just had a price reduction and is having another open house this weekend! AHH!!! Well, I suppose the price reduction is a good thing from a buying perspective...but the open house sucks for us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I took the plunge

...I got bangs with my haircut today. It's an idea I've been toying with for awhile (ever since my last haircut), and I am quite pleased with the results, even though they are going to drive me crazy while I get used to them!

This is me being Asian.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

For the cat people

Since I posted such a happy picture of the dogs, I thought I better share a video I saw of "The Mean Kitty Song." Frankly, I think it's cute!

This picture makes me smile

It's so carefree, and look how happy Teddy looks to be running towards me! I am also a fan of Sophie running after Teddy in the background. She's so slow. She couldn't keep up.

I am especially thankful today, the sixth anniversary of 9/11, for everything that I have been blessed with; including such happy dogs!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Do something creative every day

Or at least that's what Paper Source says you should do! I stumbled across the Paper Source store on accident while doing an internet search for scrap booking paper. Their web site is full of all kinds of pretty things! They even have an adorable "how to" section that gives you simple ideas for holidays (how to make a 3-D snowflake), year-round projects (an accordion book, table cards, luminaries), etc.!

When I move, I'm going to splurge and purchase this calendar for the room that will be my office. An adorable splash of color every month!

I love the poster designs from one of their other calendars as well (pictured below). It screams classy, vintage, cool....everything a calendar should be! :)

They also have adorable patterned file folders that I may consider for the organization of music in my office. I'm tired of the same old manila color...

While you're visiting their site, make sure you try out the colorscope. You pick a color or two that appeals to you, and the colorscope gives you a little insight on your personality - once you're reading the personality insight, you can also click on the color name, and it shows you some envelopes in that particular color! C-U-T-E! I picked two colors, and here's what colorscope says about me:
You are spirited and energetic. You are sunny and don't dwell on the past. You are a team player, realistic, cheerful and flexible.

You know who you are and what you want. Popularity, money, and power are all yours. You are kind and generous to your friends. You love to have fun at parties, especially if you are in charge, but you are also a perfectionist. You state your opinions boldly.

Doctor Buds

Doctor Blake met and became friends with Rug Doctor today. They made quite the team, and under the direction of Dr. Blake, Rug Dr. did a marvelous job steaming and cleaning our carpet back to health. Sadly, Rug Dr. will only be around for 24 hours. Since Blake and him became such good friends, I'm sure a tear or two will be shed when Rug Doctor returns home.

The doctors doing some high quality bonding.

Having the big task of cleaning our carpets finished means that our place is officially ready for the real-estate market! Hopefully Blake will meet with another Doctor this week to discuss possible job opportunities, which means that hopefully I will be calling a realtor one week from Wednesday!! I say *hopefully* because it is just that -- hopeful events. When Blake's meeting materializes into a fact, then my phone call will also become fact. AHH! I'm getting so excited!

One huge bug bite

I've been bitten by the travel bug. My book, Eat. Pray. Love. by Elizabeth Gilbert, is making it worse! It's a memoir based on Ms. Gilbert's life, and I am currently reading of her four month residency in Rome. Italy is my #1 travel destination (Rome, Florence, Venice, Turin, Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, Maples, Genoa, many places!). Blake and I had made plans awhile ago to go for our five year anniversary (which is in 2010), and we better get there! Plus, Italian is such a beautiful, sexy, romantic language. I love it!

You would think that having gone to Las Vegas, San Francisco, and more than one trip to Chicago this summer alone would satisfy my travel craving for the time being. Nope, not me. I'm always wanting more. Does that make me selfish, curious, worldly??? I don't know. I find myself looking at airline sites for their cheap last-minute fares. One of these weekends, I'm really going to hop on some of those offers!! $39 one-way to go to Atlanta from here! I'm sold....when I can find a weekend that works. Knowing my luck, when I finally do find that free weekend, the fare will be $109 instead of $39.

I dream of travel, of seeing the world, of appreciating everything this world has to offer, experiencing different cultures...I love everything about traveling - even when your plane lands early, but doesn't get to a gate until it's almost too late for you to catch your connecting flight, or your luggage doesn't make it to your destination at the same time that you do! Sure, sometimes travel can be stressful, but that's what makes the experience exciting and unique. Besides, isn't it great to have a "travel horror story" to tell?

Blake jets off to Brazil for 10 days in October. Even though he's going with the school (they set up clinics in underprivileged communities), I'm still so jealous that he will not only get to experience another culture, but work one-on-one with the people of that culture on a daily basis! Ah!

Saturday, September 8, 2007


I love looking through websites for inspirational ideas on decorating! I've recently been dreaming about our future house (one in particular), and I've already picked out furniture and curtains (actually, an idea of furniture and curtains) for our future sitting/entertaining area.

I like this TV stand and this sofa from Pottery Barn, and these curtains from Ikea. I'm a big fan of the sheer curtains on windows (the ones people can't see in at night!), because they add a nice soft touch, but don't keep the lovely sunshine from coming in! I am a big fan of the whole "simple but elegant" concept. I highly recommend clicking through their sites. If not for inspiration, then just for the pure enjoyment of looking at all of their beautiful things!

The big problem: all of this looking really makes me want to move, or at least have more than my quaint little place to furnish! I have to keep telling myself, "Soon, Becky, soon."

Here are the two furniture pieces...beautiful, right?

Now, imagine those adorable products in this space:

Wouldn't it all look magnificent with red as an accent color?
It makes me want to throw a party with that new platter I ordered a little while my new house of course!
You can see it by clicking here.

I hate the waiting game! And to think I used to be so patient!

Engaged encounter

I met with a future bride and groom today who seem completely clueless about everything that being married entails. They both know that they love each other and want to be married (or do they just want the ceremony and the party that follows?), but outside of that, they seem insecure about their future big decisions (i.e., where they are going to live, if they are having kids, if she is taking his last name, etc.). They want the Catholic wedding ceremony, but aren't even sure that they want to continue with that religious affiliation after the wedding (and they admitted it to the priest!). They are getting married in less than a month. I wish them the best now, and will give them my well wishes on their wedding day. Marriage is work, but it's well worth it!

Everything that happened today made me appreciate coming home to Blake so much more.

Omnia vincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori
Love conquers all things: let us too give in to love

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pretty Latte

The next time I get a latte, I hope it looks like this:

It turns out that Latte Art is becoming more and more popular as a way for coffee shops and baristas to set themselves apart from the competition. This latte looks so cute, I really just want to drink it up! :)
Click here to watch a short segment on latte art (there is a short advertisement first).

As a side note, I realize how completely sad I must look updating my blog multiple times a day and for multiple days in a row. But, in my defense, I'm on my very last week of my "summer vacation" which started at the beginning of July, Blake is studying for his National Boards this weekend, and it's ridiculously hot and humid outside, so I really have nothing better to do, during my breaks from getting our place ready for the real estate market, than make friends with my blog. :) I know how much you enjoy my updates, right? So, consider yourself spoiled with my abundance of entries. In the coming weeks, they are sure to become less frequent.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm Evan Baxter and here's what's making news...

Michelle has some Steve Carell clips posted on her blog, and they reminded me of my first encounter with the comedian: Bruce Almighty.

I laughed so hard! It's nice to just re-live that moment. If you don't remember it, watch the clip!

Do you see it? Where is it?

As promised, my thoughts on Steve and Barry's:

1. Once we finally found it in the crazy shopping plaza, we discovered that it was gigantic. MUCH bigger than I had pictured! So big, I don't even know how we had trouble finding it. Well, I do was around a corner.
2. They have clothes (casual - business) for everyone (babies-elderly), shoes, jewelry, hairpieces, purses, etc.
3. I didn't pay much attention to any of the other clothes outside of SJP's line. Amanda Bynes has a line there too, as well as some Marbury basketball guy, and some golfer.
4. It was clear this store was still fairly new and in the process of training employees, setting up, etc.
5. They had not yet put out SJP's FALL line, so I only got to see what was leftover of the summer line. Another trip may be in order next week or later this weekend.
6. Blake picked up a polo for $6.98, a T-shirt for $8, and I also got a casual BITTEN T-shirt for $6.48. All in all, not a bad trip.
7. Many of the shoes there were adorable (all $9.98), but none in my size. Boo.
8. I would recommend checking it out if you have one within a decent driving distance. It's definitely got a lot of potential and great for shopping on a budget.
9. I don't know if this helps, but Blake said when we walked in that the look of the store reminded him of a nicer version of Old Navy. I agree.
10. In case you were wondering how the clothes actually fit, you can see a picture of me in my shirt below. Please excuse the tag. I cannot say anything about the bottoms, but the tops fit quite nicely. :)

Not bad for less than 7 bucks, eh?

A voice like melted butter

The music and arts world lost a great person earlier today. Luciano Pavarotti passed away earlier this morning. You can see his story by clicking here.

His vocal abilities were, in many ways, unmatched during his lifetime. His voice is as smooth as melted butter. Beautiful every time.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

All work and PLAY!

For all of you work-a-holics, I love Office Playground. It's full of fun, fairly inexpensive stuff for your office. I ordered a Zen Garden from them for Blake's birthday in June, and we are very happy with our "zen." :) Blake is much better at creating it than me, but it really works at relieving stress!

They also sell fun things that I haven't seen since my childhood, but I would love to play with for awhile again. Example: the beloved Barrel of Monkeys!

Fashion is not a luxury. It's a right.

Or so the saying goes for Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line, BITTEN. In fact, her manifesto is: "It is every woman's inalienable right to have a pulled-together stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live. Get BITTEN."

It's carried exclusively by Steve & Barry's (which I read about in the latest Consumer Reports magazine over a shoe called the Starbury II), so you can imagine my thrill when I log on, click through the cute new fall clothing in SJP's new line and realize that everything is priced at $19.98 or less!

Greater excitement came when the handy store locater told me there was a store right here in my town. Guess where I'm going tomorrow? Yep, I'm about to get BITTEN. I love a good deal, and inexpensive fashion is great, assuming of course that it's decent. I'll let you know what I think!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Music and Books....sounds like a shopping section at Target

While circling around the field in the tractor today, doing a little hay-raking favor for my father, I heard a new song by Britney (Gimme More) and a new one by the Backstreet Boys (Inconsolable)! Did I miss the memo that all of my favorite teeny-bopper late 90's music was back in style? I seriously felt like whipping out all of my Britney and BB hits from back in the day and belting them out at the top of my lungs! I'm still not sure what I think of the new stuff, but I definitely felt young again this afternoon! Hooray!

Since I seem to be into discovering all this new music (completely on accident!), Jen introduced me to a song/dance called "How To Crank that Soulja Boy." Basically, she was in love with the dance that went with the song. During my drive home tonight, that song ended up being the #1 request of the day! WHAT!? I had never even HEARD of this person or song before Jen YouTubed it for me! I've embedded the video of the dance (and song) below...the superman part is my favorite (watch the guy on the right). I don't understand the guns in the middle...freaky.

Currently reading:
1. The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. Actually, Blake and I are reading this one together. It was sent to me as a birthday gift from Ryan and Regina (Thanks!). I actually learned about the five love languages as part of my college major, but it's interesting to learn about them more in-depth. Also very cool: discovering what languages Blake and I speak in, and learning how to practice each other's languages.

2. Eat. Pray. Love. by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm only on page 29, but already I love it. A book of self discovery in every aspect. It lifts my spirits. Your life is never so bad that you can't do something about it! I love the quote that precedes her title page:

"Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth"
-Sheryl Louise Moller

Monday, September 3, 2007

I miss my cousins

These two guys remind me a little bit of my brothers, and a little of my cousins in Taiwan! I love their complete ability to be goofy. It makes me long for another summer with them, eating delicious fruit, bowls of rice, playing Nintendo, traveling, hiking, and laughing more than I ever imagined I could in one single day.

I miss you cousins!

I wish the baler would break

In all my years of farm life, I have discovered a love-hate relationship with baling hay. Everytime my father would say the magic words, "we're going to bale hay this weekend," my immediate reaction, was "Nooooo!!" In all reality, it's not a terrible chore, it's just draining . Once you get started, it's easy to continue on...until hay load numbers 10, 11, 12, etc. come rolling in the yard. Sometimes it seems never-ending. You find yourself wishing God would just bring on a mysterious thunderstorm, or even worse, that the baler would break. Most days it was too ridiculously hot to be doing anything, yet there we were, out in the sun, putting bale after bale on the elevator and watching them head into the barn. I was always lucky enough to be on the wagon unloading the bales, until I took my most recent post on the tractor running the baler. I'll never want the post in the barn. Fortunately, that's usually where the "men" go. I've only had to stand-in for the barn post once, and I'm hoping I never have to do it again.

Yet, while I speak poorly of baling hay, I really do appreciate all the labor that goes into it. It's a labor of love really. If we wouldn't bale the hay, and stack it in the barn, my father would have little to feed his animals with during the winter months. And, baling hay has given my family and me plenty of memories and things to talk about. In fact, one of my favorite farm activities was creating "avalanches" of the bales on the wagon as we unloaded them. Basically, we would try to pull bales from the bottom so that those above us would collapse in a hay bale avalanche. Sure, sometimes we would get hit by a bale on the back, in the head, or just on the leg...but mostly it was pure excitement to run away from it!

Even though we ended up with calluses on our hands, sore muscles, and the occasional sun burn, the end result was all worth it. Not only would my dad's animals get to eat, but my dad was happy and appreciative of all of our help, and we got to enjoy our beloved Pepsi Floats! Delicious.

My happy and appreciative father after a long day of baling hay!

Surrey with the fringe on top

I love Jordan Ferney's blog! (Thanks Jen!) She introduced me to an artist named Keri Smith, and while perusing her site, I discovered these cute little cut outs for the musical, Oklahoma! Since I finished playing piano for a production of it earlier this year, I'm especially fond of this little play set, complete with swinging gate!