Wednesday, December 15, 2010

9 DAYS!!

I am super excited about Christmas! I go home in 9 days! Here are a few of the reasons I'm excited:

1. new baby, Kate!
2. my sugar fast will be over and I'm already planning yummy things to make and eat!
3. mi familia
4. slumber party at Abbey's
5. Mexico Joe's with my college gals

And last but not least, I love Christmas because of the warm Christmas spirit that is all around. I wish I could bottle it up and keep it year-round!

I've already done a lot of fun Christmas activities:

1. Christmas decor with my roomies
2. Christmas shopping
3. Christmas devotional at church
4. watched people make gingerbread houses
5. work gift exchange & dinner
6. Christmas caroling
7. saw "It's A Wonderful Life" at the historic Lido Theater
8. Fashion Island Christmas tree
9. Ugly Sweater Party
10. sang in the church Christmas program
11. went to a church Christmas concert
12. another Christmas party
13. helped get two live trees with friends
14. biked the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights
15. learned how to play Silent Night on my guitar (thanks, Nat!)

Still to come:
1. Disneyland Christmas lights
2. LA temple Christmas lights
3. more shopping
4. golfing (no, it's not related to Christmas but we do it yearly before Christmas so it counts)
5. Balboa Boat Parade
6. at least one more Christmas party
7. slumber party at Steph's (including watching The Grinch!)

I'm sure I forgot some stuff. Such a fun month! Everyone enjoy! And spread the cheer! xoxo

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Best. Cookies. Ever.

Ok, so Cowboy Cookies are probably my favorite cookies ever but these bad boys are a really close second! We were having friends over to play games at my house the night before Thanksgiving so I thought I should make some goodies. My go-to recipe website,, delivered again! These cookies were sooooo good! I will definitely make them again! Here's a picture and the recipe:

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies III


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  1. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
  3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
  4. To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.
I used my handy dandy cookie scoop to make sure the cookies were the same size so the sandwiches would work nicely. And I didn't want to buy heavy whipping cream so I just used milk and it worked great. I doubled the recipe (something I always do for some reason...I guess because we did it growing up with a big family and now I just like to feed people) and made the second half a few days later. The second batch was a little different but still oh so delicious. The dough was cold so the cookies didn't spread out as much. And I must have added more milk because the filling was a little thinner (still tasted great but the filling oozed out the sides when you took a bite). Anyway, you should make these. Right. Now. You won't be sorry!

In search of warmth

My bed is the only warm place I can find. Seriously, how I am expected to get out of it?!? Today I put together my outfit around warm socks. These socks are awesome. I borrowed them from my dad, they are his winter work socks (some people might call it stealing since I never gave them back but I might still give them back someday so I'm sticking with borrowing). I slept in them last night and didn't want to take them off. I have several pairs of boots but most of them would be a little uncomfortable worn over these thick winter socks so I chose my pair of Ugg-ish boots, which I don't even really like but they are warm so I'll keep them forever, with jeans that would fit nicely tucked into the boots and a shirt/cardi combo with a scarf. Unfortunately I'm still not warm...but my feet are! I started the morning with some hot herbal tea and I just keep refilling my thermos with hot water. I love Christmas time but I certainly don't love the cold! Peace out and I hope you are all warmer than me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Adventures in Baking

I love to bake. Yesterday I made a cake for two friends’ birthdays, Mary & Courtney. The cake was super moist and super chocolaty, who doesn’t love that?!? I’m usually a huge fan of frosting and think a cake isn’t really a cake without it but I set my feelings aside and followed the recipe recommendations and it was great. And if I plan to replace frosting with powdered sugar very often, I’m going to need a proper powdered sugar duster. I should have taken a picture but I didn’t think about it until now and I’m not going to take a picture of the mostly eaten cake sitting in my office break room (where all leftovers are devoured). Here’s the recipe:

Too Much Chocolate Cake


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate. If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

A few weeks ago, I made another cake for my friend, Vanessa’s birthday. She wanted vanilla cake, which I didn’t really even know existed, so I did some searching and found a recipe. To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite cake but several of the girls absolutely loved it. Of course, I don’t use cake flour so I found the conversion for regular flour online (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour).

Basic Vanilla Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch cake pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not overbeat.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean — 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  4. Un-mold and cool completely. Ice with Browned-Butter Glaze.

Here’s the recipe for the glaze:

Browned-Butter Glaze


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat until golden brown. Whisk the sugar, salt, milk, lemon juice, and zest together. Add the melted butter in a stream while whisking until smooth.

I also made a delicious pumpkin cheesecake for a dinner I went to on Halloween. I love pumpkin.

Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • 1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese, very soft
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
  2. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).
  5. Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.

I read this tip online and followed it exactly: To prevent the top from cracking, be careful not to overmix the batter, and do not open the oven door while the cake is baking or cooling inside the oven. Who wants a cracked cheesecake, right? However, what I didn’t read online was that I need to use parchment paper in the springform pan so that the cheesecake is easy to remove. Result: cracked cheesecake. I was very sad but it still looked pretty darn good and tasting amazing. Seriously, everyone should try this cheesecake.

That’s the end of my baking adventures for today!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mom & Dad Visit California!

What a fun weekend! My parents flew in on Thursday afternoon. We ate dinner at my favorite local taco joint, Great Mex. Oh, how I love Great Mex! Cheap and oh so delicious. Mom and Dad didn’t love it as much as I do but they still liked it. One problem: they don’t like cilantro! Yikes! How can anyone truly enjoy Mexican food without cilantro?!?

Thursday evening we went to Balboa Island,
where we walked around looking at the beautiful houses and enjoying the cool evening. We took the ferry across the bay to Balboa Peninsula where we walked out to the pier and watched/listened to the waves crashing against the shore. All that walking around combined with an early dinner prepared us for our next stop: Yogurtland. Mom was excited to eat frozen yogurt because she remembered how tasty it was last time she was here


We could have easily ended the night then and there, especially since Mom and Dad were worn out from their day of travelling, but alas, we went to a movie with Naco, Leni, Sarah Dawn, and Jackie. We saw “Secretariat.” That movie was sooooo good! Seriously, check it out. We all loved it, even though we had to sit in the front 10 rows because the rest of the seats had been removed for some reason. I guess we should have brought our lawn chairs.

I worked for a few hours Friday morning while M&D slept in. Then we headed to Wildomar to visit Tami & family! We took the Ortega Highway, which is a windy road that goes over the mountain. I love it but it’s not really passenger-friendly (sorry, Dad!)…the views were still great, though. We stopped at the local dairy to pick up some delicious chocolate milk. I’m not really a milk drinker but that stuff is amazing! We had lunch at Pick Up Stix with Tami, Samantha, and Andrea while we waited for my car to get done across the street. Then we stopped at the Brewer’s house for a little bit before we had to hit the road again. It’s always fun to see my California family! Not to mention that the only time we saw the sun the whole weekend was at their house. That was kind of a cruel joke, Mother Nature. I felt like we were in Seattle all weekend (no offense…had I been in Seattle, I would’ve loved the weather but this is southern California!!). M&D didn’t seem to mind but California is prettier with sun!

Friday evening we went to the Newport Beach Temple. Beautiful place, wonderful Spirit, awesome friends and family. Since not everyone made the photos, I’ll tell you who was there. At the temple: Mom & Dad, Tami & Roger, Samantha, Tabitha (bless her heart), Bishop & Lisa Jarvie, Wendy, Ali, Nat, Stephanie, Chris, Betsy & Nick, Marci & Redge, & Adrienne. Then we went to BJ’s for a very late dinner. At BJ’s: Mom & Dad, Tami & Roger, Samantha, Andrea & Kyle, Tabitha, Landon, Logan, Naco, Leni, Stephanie, Chris, Todd, Wendy, Nat, Ali, Betsy & Nick. Great night!

Saturday morning we went down to Balboa Island and got cinnamon rolls at Cinnamon Roll Fair. Then we went to the Wedge to watch the crazy waves, which weren’t as crazy as I’d hoped they’d be but it’s still a cool spot. Next we went on a whale watching tour. Mom and Dad had never been on a boat in the ocean so they can check that off their bucket lists now. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales but we saw a huge pod
of dolphins and some sea lions. The dolphins were so cool! There were hundreds of them and they swam along with the boat jumping around and showing off. My favorit
e ones were the babies…adorable. We all took motion sickness pills before the boat ride so the good news is that nobody got sick. The bad news is that we were so tired! Mom slept some in the car afterward and I crashed later that night.

After the boat ride, we ate lunch at Café Rio. Delicioso! Mom and Dad really liked this place and we all stuffed ourselves with chips & salsa, sweet pork barbacoa salad, tortilla soup, and a pork burrito! Then we drove down the PCH, stopped and walked around at Laguna Beach, hit a few stores, got a movie, and went home.

Sunday morning I slept in while M&D patiently read and ate breakfast. I had to go to choir practice at noon so they sat and listened to that. Then we were at church all afternoon. M&D met lots of people and enjoyed great talks and lessons. Oh and Mom picked out a son-in-law. I don’t know how she picked just one out of all those options! I’ll see what I can do, Mom.

Sunday evening we went for a walk at the Back Bay. We were in the Bluffs area, which has beautiful homes overlooking the bay. After our walk, we drove around the Back Bay. I wish we would have had more time, I think Dad would have really enjoyed checking that area out a little more. That night we just hung out at my house, watched a movie, ate some crappy frozen pizza, and went to bed early.

Monday morning I dropped M&D off at the airport at 5:45am for their 6:45am flight back to Wichita. Thanks for coming, Mom & Dad! I keep thinking of things we should have done so you’ll have to come back soon! xoxo

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Only one more sleep!

My parents are coming tomorrow! I. Can't. Wait.

Monday, October 4, 2010

California cars

My boss had to go to Oklahoma City on business for a few days last week. I talked to him this morning and he told me a little about his trip. He had time to go to the OKC Memorial, which he was very impressed with. He also went to Bricktown…thought it had potential to be cool but needed more work. He laughed about how you could get anywhere within 6 minutes. He was impressed with the airport. Said the weather was kinda humid but pretty nice. This afternoon he remembered something else about the trip – he said in the Rockwell parking lot, he saw a Porsche, same year and model as his (he gave more detail about what kind of Porsche but that went in one ear and out the other), which obviously caught his eye. After that, he realized that he didn’t see one Mercedes or BMW while he was there. This didn’t surprise me at all, I’ve noticed the same thing. Apparently you can stand on the coast highway and won’t be able to count to 10 before a Mercedes or BMW drives past. And there’s a saying that goes something like, the E-class Mercedes is the Ford Taurus of California. I’ve gotten used to see all the fancy cars everywhere but remember being pretty fascinated when I first moved here. Oh, California…where’s my Range Rover?

Monday, September 27, 2010


While I'm at it, I might as well relay my newest obsession...The Mormon Bachelorette! Seriously, I love it! Basically, there's a super-cute girl who's got everything going for her that lives in Huntington Beach. She's 28 and single. She loves The Bachelorette so I guess her roommates decided to put this together for her. The idea is for her to find her husband. Read the blog for more info/videos. I will definitely be voting! Some friends and I may even figure out a way to attend the rose ceremony on Thursday. My roommate, Nacolynn, actually ran into Aubrey and her date on Saturday night on the Santa Monica Pier! I'm so jealous!

Almost equally exciting...Gossip Girl is back. xoxo

Clothes shouldn't stretch out after I've put them on!

Instead of trying to play catch up for the months I’m behind on this bad-idea-to-create/knew-I'd-never-keep-up-with blog, I’ll just dive right in to the here and now…it’s my blog so I can do what I want, right?!?

I’m having one of those days where I got dressed this morning in an outfit I’ve worn previously and everything seemed fine. Then shortly after I got to work, I realized that my v-neck is a little lower than I’d like it to be. Not a huge deal unless I turn my body in certain positions…then things get a little dicey! Maybe I should safety pin a sticky note to the shirt to remind me the next time I wear it…this shirt requires a tank top underneath!!

I also have a darling black dress that stretches out quickly after I put it on and becomes loose and a little too low cut. Criminy, what is it with these clothes?!? And, of course, I’m always super rushed when I get dressed in the mornings so I don’t have time to think about these things.

So there’s my slight wardrobe malfunction for today. Peace in the middle east.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Yikes, I'm a slacker! Life is full of fun, though, and it's keeping me busy! Here are some of the things that have been keeping me from updating...

There are some days my job rocks more than others. Sometime in April, we celebrated Administrative Professionals Day by taking a boat to lunch. It was super fun and killed a large chunk of the day. Look at that sky!

Wendy, Lulu, and I being cool

Naco, Ali, Wendy, and I on the pier

Landon, Naco, Jeff, Gary, Wendy, me

Group shot! Pismo Camping Excursion
April 30-May 2, 2010

I went to Pismo Beach a few weeks ago with this fun group. We camped two nights, went to the dunes and rode ATV's, ate at a famous cinnamon roll shop, roasted lots of marshmallows around the campfire, and had tons of fun.

Dodgers Stadium May 7

Dianne and I in our rock star seats

Tommy Lasorda was sitting so close to us!

Here's another example of my cool job. Three of my co-workers and I went to a Dodgers game last weekend. We parked right outside the gate, walked into the dugout club where we ate dinner, then out to our awesome seats where we were waited on and given even more goodies! The game was so fun, the Dodgers beat the Rockies 6-5.

Lulu and I killing some time at the "world's largest" gift shop

Jared, Hilary, and me

Arch & I at Serendipity...super windy!

Oh, I miss her!

I crammed Vegas into a day on Saturday. Luckily, my friend Lulu loves Vegas and has a friend there so went along for the ride. We went to my dear friend, Hilary's wedding reception, which was beautiful. And it was so good to see her! She got married in Salt Lake City on April 24th but she and her husband live in Vegas, so they had another reception there. She looked gorgeous!
Coincidentally, Archana and Dustin arrived in Vegas Saturday night for their vacation so I got to meet up with them, too! We met them down at the strip and went to Serendipity to get dessert. We visited for an hour or so and had a great time. It had been way too long since I'd seen them so I was thrilled to catch up!

Delayne and me
My friend, Delayne, from Kansas was also in town over the weekend! I went to a bbq on Sunday evening to see her. We had a great time and she even cut my hair because she's awesome!
To sum it up, I've been having a lot of fun. I had a super busy weekend but got to see old friends and had a great time! Come back soon, friends!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

chock-full of birthdays

April is chock-full of birthdays! Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

April little sis is the big 2-1!! Woohoo, Ash! I remember when she was born, of course. I was in second grade. I was out on the playground during recess and Stephanie (in 6th grade) was in her classroom holding up a paper that said something about Mom having the baby. Of course I can't remember what it said, I'm kind of impressed that I remember that story at all! I mean, seriously, that was 21 years ago...I can't even remember what I ate for dinner last night! Happy bday, Ashley Michelle!

April 18...happy birthday to one of my very best friends, MiCaH!! Oh the stories I could tell! But I won't because how could I choose between our days of cheerleading, lifeguarding, and driving in the grass to our days of karaoke, dancing, Cozumel, concerts, and everything in between!?!? Good times, good times.

April 18...happy birthday to one of my newest friends, Karen! Karen is one of the Costa Rica girls. We met at LAX and got in a lot of bonding that first week of friendship! Karen is strong and tough and tons of fun. She saved me from a crazy tree frog once. And she was just in California for her birthday! Come back soon, Karen!

April sweet niece, Morgan Marie! Morgan just turned 8 and she is one busy little girl! She is quite the little cheerleader and gymnast. This Easter she got the big red egg, which is quite the accomplishment (she was pretty proud of that when she told me on the phone today). And she'll be getting baptized very soon!

April big sister, Stephanie! Happy birthday, Steph! When Stephanie was in high school, we would go upstairs to her room while she was sleeping and ask her if we could borrow her clothes. It worked like a charm but didn't necessarily stop her from being mad when she saw us later! Four kids later and sharing everything, she's still my awesome oldest sister who I love dearly!

April 27...daddy-o!! Happy bday to my awesome dad! He is the best. I mean, seriously, he lived in a house with SIX females!! I don't ever remember him complaining about all of us girls...then again, he probably couldn't get a word in edge-wise! My dad has taught me so much...from working cattle and mowing lawns to taking vitamins and saving money (oops, didn't really catch on to that one!). If I could just get him out of Kansas to come visit this beautiful place I live in!

And I can't leave out Grandma Rose. Her birthday would have been April 22. This picture is from her last birthday, age 91. I think of her often and miss her dearly!! Her influence in my life will never be forgotten.

Happy birthday to all and to all a good night!



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sugar Daddy, please

Omgosh, the things I would do if I didn’t have to work! Seriously, I wasted a good part of my workday yesterday categorizing my spending for the past 6 months so that I can finally create a budget (that’s right, mom, this is happening). If only I had spare time to work on stuff like that! I could organize pictures, learn to play my guitar, do yoga, keep everything really really clean…so much stuff! I would finally take pics/videos of my house like I’ve promised to do for months! And I would read and learn Spanish and do charity work. Seriously, I have a running to do list that you wouldn’t believe. I would write letters on hand-made stationary! Ok, that might be pushing it but I’m trying to prove a point. Somebody find me a sugar daddy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I opened a gmail account two weeks ago so I could start my very own blog. And then I got stage fright and couldn't do it! First, there's the name. How do you even make a decision like that? It's like naming your freakin' child, right? So overwhelming! Anyway, so I've been brainstorming blog names and came up with some good ones. Then I started thinking about the content and reading my friends' blogs. Dude, I've got funny friends! Or the ones that aren't funny at least have kids or something like that to blog about!

Here's what I have, though...a busy life of fun. Yep. I'm full of fun. Some might even say I'm a dirty little fun-haver. It's true. For example, I did the Warrior Dash on Saturday. It was a muddy, awesome mess. I'll get some pics and give you more details soon.

Side note: I love it when I have boys over for dinner and they do the dishes. That really happened! And not just once but THREE TIMES!! And the first two times my dishwasher was broken. That's legit.

PS I don't think blogophoric is a word but I made it up. It means fear of starting a blog. I should probably add it to Wikipedia.