Monthly Archives: December 2013

Twenty Thirteen

I’ll be honest: 2013 ended way better than it started for me.

I began the year living alone in a little apartment, having just gone through a sort-of breakup with Dave. I spent most evenings in January drinking red wine and channeling Bridget Jones.

(Long story short: We got back together in February).

Since I had some free time and an abundance of nervous energy on my hands early in the year, I started running for the first time in my life. I realized that I kind of liked it, so I slowly built up my mileage and started training for a half marathon.

Post-10 miles

Icing my knees after my first 10-mile run.

In February, I took a little mini-vacation and flew out to Colorado for some quality time with my nephew (and my sister and brother-in-law).

zooA couple months later in May, I took an awesome trip to Chicago. It was technically a work trip, but I had a few days free to hang out and explore the city. I love Chicago so much, and can’t wait to go back.

ChicagoShortly after I returned from Chicago, Dave and I said goodbye to our discretionary income and started house hunting.

Despite the slow torture that is house hunting, the month of June was awesome – I ran my first half marathon, and Dave and I took a trip to the San Diego Zoo, where I became obsessed with red pandas.

red-pandaRight before we left on our trip we made an offer on a house, and right when we got back the bank discovered that some dude stole my social security number in 2007 and used it to lease an apartment in Minnesota. Because of course he did.

We finally worked everything out with the bank, and got the keys to our first home at the end of July.

08-01-13-keyAt first we were all, “woo we’re homeowners” and then we found mold under the kitchen floor and the toilet overflowed every time it flushed and the wiring was all messed up in the kitchen and we were like, “OH MY GOD WE ARE IDIOTS.”

08-05-13-outside-2The house needed a lot of cosmetic work, and we’ve spent the last four months turning it into a place that we love.

In October I traveled to Phoenix (again, for work), where I spent almost as much time lounging poolside as I did working. In my defense, would you be able to work with this right outside your room?

20131021-143439November and December were kind of a blur, and I can’t believe that a new year begins tomorrow. I’m looking forward to completing a lot of house projects in 2014 (installing a kitchen backsplash, building a bar into our dining room alcove, landscaping the front and back yards, hopefully painting the exterior, I am getting hives as I type this list) as well as some possible international travel for work. Oh, and I’ll also continue to blog here. WordPress just informed me that in 2013 I wrote 220 posts, uploaded 848 photos, and that my visitors for the year would fill 7 sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House. Which is weird, because I totally woke up this morning wondering how many performances it would take to host all my readers at the Sydney Opera House. (No I didn’t.)

ANYWAY, thanks for enduring all my posts about cheese and beer and shirtless Chris Hemsworth this year, and I hope you have a fabulous 2014.

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Weekend Highlights

– Old Navy is having a huge sale right now (up to 75% off in store!), and I scored this sequined dress for $11 on Saturday. I’m planning to wear it on New Year’s Eve, only we haven’t made plans yet so my evening will most likely consist of wearing a shiny dress while watching movies on the couch with Dave and the cat.

– Dave’s family came over Saturday night and gave us a bunch of really great Christmas presents, including a brand new barbecue and a New Belgium sign for our (soon-to-be-installed) bar. Whiskers was most excited about the wrapping paper:

Cat in Wrapping Paper– A few weeks ago the Fug Girls linked to this post detailing the top wine moments of Alias, which was clearly a sign from the universe that I need to re-watch the entire series. I viewed an embarrassing number of episodes over the weekend while Dave sat nearby and piped up with a science lesson whenever something happened that defies the laws of physics which is, oh, EVERY 10 SECONDS. And I listened patiently to every single one of his interjections. Just kidding, I was all:

So that sums up my weekend … getting out of bed was especially hard this morning after a week off from both work and exercise. Luckily, looking at Jennifer Garner’s abs for 10 hours straight was a great motivator to put down the toffee and get back to the gym this week. I predict that this evening’s run will not be pleasant.

Christmas 2013

I totally meant to post something earlier this week, but it turns out if I have to choose between blogging and eating peanut butter balls until I feel sick, I will choose the peanut butter balls. Anyway, we had a pretty fantastic Christmas. I mean, as fantastic as it can be when you’re crammed into a room with 20 other people opening a mountain of gifts one at a time and you’re not even drinking.
TreeThe five-hour present extravaganza was totally worth it though, because I came away from it with this amazing gift from my parents:

MixerAs well as this handmade picture from my sister:

Cross StitchI also received this beautiful coat from my grandma, an Orla Kiely makeup bag set, pretty stacking rings from Etsy, and a bunch of other great stuff. Including a hot pink gym bag, which I desperately need to put to good use on account of I looked a lot like this when I got dressed this morning:

Seriously. It’s bad.

My Holiday Plans (With a Side of Nutcracker WTFery)

I haven’t used much vacation time this year, so I’m taking the next four days off of work and heading down to my parents’ house for Christmas. I’m pretty excited to spend the next few days eating, watching Christmas movies, eating some more, baking, and eating the stuff we bake. My suitcase is filled with stretchy pants and Tums.

The only thing harshing my holiday buzz right now is the fact that I won’t be spending Christmas with Dave (he doesn’t get to take much time off around the holidays … newspaper life, I do not miss you). He’s staying here and spending his one day off with his family. On the other hand, when I told him that our extended family of about 16 people all come over with their gifts on Christmas morning and open them one at a time his head looked like it was going to explode, so I’m guessing he’s relieved to have dodged that bullet this year.

Speaking of heads exploding, Netflix recently added “The Nutcracker” to the holiday favorites section on “watch it now.” I loved that movie as a kid, so on Sunday morning I was like you know what Netflix, I WILL watch it now, and then I regretted it because it turns out The Nutcracker is CRAZY. The funny thing is that I don’t remember thinking the plot was weird or confusing when I was 10, but when I watched it yesterday I had SO MANY QUESTIONS. Like, what is the deal with all the rats? Why is this considered a holiday favorite? Why does Uncle Drosselmeyer look like he belongs on the Megan’s Law site?

I’m guessing this was under the “holiday” category because it starts out at a Christmas party? Maybe? I don’t know, I was distracted by the fact that the parents at the party seemed to be intent on teaching their kids that it’s cool to interact with guys who look like this as long as they promise to give you toys:

Drosselmeyer

If you think these toys are neat, you should see the ones in the back of my van!

So here’s what I’m sure of: Clara gets a dollhouse and her little bitch brother Fritz gets a rat puppet, and then also this nutcracker ornament falls out of the tree and Clara grabs it, and then Fritz breaks it (told you he was a little bitch), so Uncle Drosselmeyer bandages him up and the party is over. After that, shit gets weird. Clara comes back out to the ballroom to check on the nutcracker, and the rat puppet turns into this:

Rat King

More ballets should feature killer rodents. How much more awesome would “Swan Lake” be if it featured swan-on-rat fight scenes? YOU’RE WELCOME, ABT.

And just when you think ALL IS LOST, the nutcracker comes to life and kills it before disappearing into the dead rat’s clothing and morphing into a prince with seriously questionable facial hair:

Nutcracker Prince

Curses! Foiled again!

And Clara is all:

12.23.13 Clara

Just kidding. She totally digs his Snidely Whipstache and they fake-sail around the world dancing together blah blah some more cool dancing blah blah they are crowned king and queen and then you realize IT WAS ALL A DREAM. And at first you’re all “whew, at least the giant rat king wasn’t real” but then you realize that Uncle Drosselmeyer happened before she fell asleep so it’s still kind of creepy. The end.

I didn’t really mean for that to morph into the worst movie review ever. I think it’s time that I step away from the computer and toward some sugar cookies. Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

December Photo Challenge Day 17: Lock Screen

If you haven’t noticed, I’m basically just doing this December photo challenge when it’s convenient for me and I can’t think of anything else to write about. Today’s photo is of my lock screen (note to my grandma: It’s a thing on smartphones):

Lock Screen

Dave kind of lucked out here – a few days ago, this screen was a picture of him drinking a Miller High Life while wearing a blonde 80s butt rock wig.

I was kind of afraid to put up the tree this year – due to major space constraints, we’ve only had a little 2-foot tree in the past and Dave assured me that Whiskers would make it his mission to destroy a big tree. Turns out, he really enjoys hanging out under there. He did get pretty pissed when I started putting out gifts, but I cleared him a spot in the front and he got over it. Occasionally we’ll catch him trying to eat a sequin off the tree skirt, but after the gray paint incident we kind of stopped giving a shit about any antics that won’t result in major property damage. Pick your battles with cats, is what I’m saying.

My Holiday Home Tour

Calling this a “home tour” is definitely generous, since I pretty much only decorated my living/dining area this year. In the last five years I’ve lived in a studio apartment, a tiny condo, a 2-bedroom apartment, and a 1-bedroom cottage, so until now I haven’t had the need for a ton of decorations. I decided to just put out what I have and call it good (with the exception of the flocked tree, which I bought this year). I might scout out the after-Christmas sales for a few more things, but honestly I’m not one of those over-the-top holiday decorating people. Mostly because I hate having to put it all away once the holidays are over. Even though it’s not much, I’m loving the warm glow from the lights in the evenings and early morning when I drink my coffee on the sofa:

Living Room 1

You can’t tell, but the Wet Bandits just got their asses kicked by a sassy blonde lady on my TV screen.

Living Room 2

Living Room 3

My mom made the pretty wreath on my mirror:

Wreath

And I added a little tree and pine-scented candle to my coffee table tray to make it a bit more festive:

Tray

I got this glittery wire tree at Pier1 last year, but they still have them in stock:

Gold Tree

I didn’t do much with my tree – it’s flocked, pre-lit with white lights, and has little pine cones nestled in it, so it looked pretty festive just on its own. I just added a few sparkly silver and gold ball ornaments and a few tiny birds here and there:

Bird

Every year I tell myself I’m going to try one of the creative gift wrapping ideas I’ve seen on Pinterest (like this one), and every year I wind up buying cheap wrapping paper at Walmart. This year I went with a selection of reds, whites, and greens:

Gifts

The bows looked a lot better before they had been untied by the cat and re-tied by me 15 times.

So there it is … it’s not much, but it’s a little more festive than staring at bare walls like we have been since August. (After Christmas is over, I’m devoting myself to the search for affordable wall art that doesn’t suck.) Have you blogged about your holiday decorations? Leave me a link in the comments if you have – I’m kind of addicted to holiday home tours.

Finish the Sentence With Jake and Holly

Holly (who blogs hilariously here) periodically hosts “finish the sentence” linkups, so I figured I’d finally stop lurking and start participating. The person with the best answers gets a $20 Target card! If you want to participate, click this button:

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1. My favorite Christmas was….the year I got a Betsy Wetsy doll.

2. The worst Christmas I had…was the year I got a Betsy Wetsy doll. Watching your cousins gleefully play with their Bop Its while mopping up plastic doll piss from the carpet is NOT FUN.

3. That one gift that made me scratch my head and say, “Hmmmm” was…used earrings. “Did you sterilize this after pulling it out of your body?” is not something you should have to ask when receiving a present.

4. One year I….lit a table on fire with some rum-soaked sugar cubes while performing in a holiday dinner theater production. Just call me BURNadette Peters. I can’t believe I just typed that.

5. I think the worst gift to give is….live plants. Thanks for giving me the gift of another household chore, asshole.

6. At Christmastime I typically….have some sort of cheesy 90s Christmas music playing at all times — Mariah Carey, Home Alone Soundtrack, Amy Grant, etc.

7. Typically, family Christmas….turns me into Bill Murray in “What About Bob.” Baby steps to the liquor cabinet.

8. If I could change one thing about the Holiday season….I would mandate that the toy section of all major retailers be housed in separate buildings so I can buy my vodka and hot dogs without witnessing Vesuvius-level meltdowns about Bubble Guppies. THEY’RE CREEPY PLASTIC MERPEOPLE  KIDS, GET A GRIP.

9. It is so hard to buy for….rich people. “Merry Christmas, I hope this $10 Bath and Body Works candle classes up your $5,000 coffee table.”

10. My favorite Christmas tradition is…eating a shit ton of toast for breakfast on Christmas morning, because carbs covered in butter is the greatest gift of all, amen.

11. Santa, baby, bring me a ….Hemsworth. Either one will do. (But try to get Chris first.)