thanks 2013!

Oh man. I can’t believe the holidays are over. AND that I haven’t written anything since BEFORE Thanksgiving. YIKES!

Rob, Diesel & I had a wonderful holiday season. I hope all of you did too! I want to finish up my blog series on our trip to the Mediterranean (and eventually our other 2013 trips) but before I do that, I thought I’d share some random moments from the last half of the year… basically another one of my photo dumps. ๐Ÿ™‚

To celebrate our 5th anniversary back in August, Rob & I had dinner at a favorite of ours — Napa Rose.

We ate at the Chef’s Counter once again, which I love because you get this great view of the kitchen…

It’s really such a fun experience.

To many more anniversaries!

We spent one day at the biannual D23 Expo. We wanted to see the Walt Disney Studios panel but only made it as far as the secondary viewing room (still fun to see live though). Outside of that, there really wasn’t enough to capture our attention for a full day. Not to mention that the lines for exhibits were pretty darn long. They definitely need more panels and activities to distribute the crowds better. BUT. The expo had two of the best photo opportunities!

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visiting hogwarts

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! We had a whirlwind few days of eating, visiting family and friends, eating, opening presents… did I mention eating?!? Thought I’d share a little family pic we took before heading over to my cousin’s on Christmas Eve…

Now to FINALLY get started on my Florida trip report! YAY.

I’m going to start with our visit to Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. Where we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Thurs, 12/1. !!!

WARNING: PIC HEAVY ENTRY! (Feel free to click each pic for bigger).

Walking up to the entrance…


The Hogwarts Express! SQUEE!

Then Hogsmeade. It’s so detailed! STUNNING.

And finally…

HOGWARTS. As we were walking up to the castle, I suddenly felt so overwhelmed. Everything looked absolutely perfect and I couldn’t believe we were actually there!

We went on all 3 rides in the Wizarding World, the best of which was Forbidden Journey. It’s not a roller coaster but it’s definitely a thrill ride — the ride spins, twists, and drops you every which way as you soar through Hogwarts with the trio. It’s AH-MAY-ZING. Probably in my Top 3 rides EVER.

It even features a fan-freaking-tastic queue where you see…

The Mirror of Erised…

Professor Sprout’s greenhouse…

the House Points…

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holiday 2010 recap

I’m in denial that the holidays are over. I haven’t even taken the decorations down yet (yes, I know you’re judging me right now :D). I should probably be doing that at the moment but instead I thought I’d write up my holiday recap…

I love having a house to decorate but besides the Christmas tree, I didnโ€™t really go too crazy (Rob would probably beg to differ).

We had a wreath on the front door…

… garland on the banister with our mini stockingsโ€ฆ

โ€ฆ and a few little touches in the great room, like the ornament-filled hurricanes on the entertainment center and the random snowmen hanging out on the bookcase.

Next year I’m hoping Rob and I (ok, mostly Rob) can figure out how to put up lights on the exterior of our house.

My family celebrated Christmas a week early because my cousin Riz was heading to the Philippines for the holidays. She and her brother both had birthdays earlier in the month so Rob and I made our signature cupcakes (chocolate cake with an awesome strawberry frosting). We made one giant cupcake to go along with the regular-sized ones.

I made Rob pipe the frosting, hehe. Weโ€™re not going to win any decorating awards but it was yummy, which is all that matters. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Christmas Eve, my dad came over and instead of cooking for just the 3 of us, we decided to go out for Chinese food. Too bad everyone in Irvine had the same idea and we waited about an hour and a half to be seated. ARGH.

Christmas day was spent at the in-laws watching the terrible Lakers game.

Thanks Carolyn for the pic!

The day after Christmas Rob and I hosted a get together for our friends. We had a ton of food (with leftovers for days) and lots of great company. Itโ€™s so nice to have the space to have everyone over! I hope to make this some sort of tradition. ๐Ÿ˜€ We did a white elephant gift exchange and Rob got a Justin Bieber calendar. BWAHAHA. But seriously, I have no idea what we’re going to do with it.

In between the holidays, we took the time to take care of things around the house. I cleaned out my ridiculous stash of makeup and Rob set up a pegboard to organize our garage (sadly thereโ€™s still a lot of clutter and boxes to conquer).

New Yearโ€™s Eve was low-key as per usual. We had a few friends over and one of them brought his taco cart (thanks Ricardo)! YUM. I was super tired that night and struggled to make it until midnight. Darn old age.

Now here we are in 2011. All in all, it was a wonderful holiday break (though I do have two regrets — not taking more pictures during the holidays overall and not making it to Disneyland to see it all decked out) and Iโ€™m definitely looking forward to this upcoming year (weddings, another trip to Comic-Con, possible vacations).

One last picture to close out this entryโ€ฆ Diesel wanted me to share his awesome holiday card that we sent out this year. ๐Ÿ˜€ Now I gotta work on making my New Year’s resolutions!

december’s happy things

It’s been a really tough past few weeks at work and I haven’t felt much like blogging. It’s the kind of tough where I’ve been waking up in the morning absolutely dreading the day. ๐Ÿ™ But things are calming down now (dare I say it’s even slow?) and I’m eagerly counting down the days until our holiday break… I need it!

But that’s enough of that. This is a no-work zone. I want to think about my current 5 Happy Things!

1. Putting up our Christmas tree.

Rob and I always put up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. What can I say? We’re (ok, *I’M*) always super excited to usher Christmas into our home.

2. Girls’ Weekend in Palm Springs with the BFFs.

We stayed overnight at the Ace Hotel and despite the unusually cool weather for this time of year, it was an awesome getaway filled with lots of food, girl time and even a viewing of Eclipse. Perfect.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

OMG. The movie was amazing. Probably one of my favorites of the 7 so far. I’d love to watch it again. I’ll get to a review soon.

4. Next week’s 3-day trip to San Francisco. Yes, it’s for work so I have work obligations but I’m looking forward to seeing friends and just being in the city again. I miss the hustle and bustle!

5. My domain! The server hosting my site failed earlier this week so it was down for a couple of days. And I missed it! OF COURSE I wouldn’t be able to access my site at the exact time I’m itching to blog. But now it’s back. YAY.

Do you have any happy things to share? ๐Ÿ™‚ Diesel wants to know.

thanksgiving 2010

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! I definitely did. Even though it left me incredibly tired. I feel like I need a vacation from my Thanksgiving vacation. LOL.

Rob and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house for our immediate families so there was a lot to do! I took Wednesday off and spent most of the day cleaning. My cousin arrived on Wednesday night and together we spent all day Thursday cooking for Thanksgiving dinner. We decided on a traditional menu including a turkey, which neither of us had ever attempted to cook before. EEEK. Luckily, everything turned out fantastic and we STILL have yummy leftovers. I managed to take a few photos before we dug in to all the food…

The dinner table.

Dessert and drinks table. I made the pumpkin pie! The best part of it is the whipped cream on top. So good.

The buffet table (aka the kitchen island). Look at all that food! For only 8 people. Yeah, we cooked waaaayyyy too much.

Umm… I guess I got distracted by all the food because I totally forgot to take any family pictures. D’OH!

On to Christmas! ๐Ÿ˜€

holidays on the brain

I haven’t been posting much lately. There’s nothing much going on with me that’s worth committing to the blog. But I’m sick this weekend (runny nose and sore throat, yay!) so here I am.

After my birthday passes, my brain automatically goes on holiday mode. I add my holiday playlist back to iTunes and become one of *those* people who squeals when they see holiday displays in stores. Rob can only roll his eyes and steer me away in silence before I start adding unnecessary items to our cart.

First up is Halloween. We rarely do anything and this year probably won’t be any different. BUT I wonder if we’ll have any trick-or-treaters! I hope so. I haven’t seen many kids in our neighborhood besides our neighbor’s kids across the street, though. Oh, well. I’m still super excited to buy a huge bowl full of candy just in case anyone rings our doorbell. At least we’ll have extra candy around for me to eat if no one does. Heh.

For Thanksgiving it looks like my family has nominated us to host this year. Umm… yay? I’m mostly excited not to go anywhere (what can I say, I’m lazy) but am starting to wonder what we’re going to eat. Hmm…

Then finally Christmas. My favorite. I’ve started sending out wishlist requests. I’m looking for personalized cards to order (possibly with a photo of Diesel, not sure yet). I’m contemplating the purchase of a faux Christmas tree (I love the smell of a real one but dread vacuuming up the needles). And I’m throwing around the idea of having friends over for a Christmas party. Could be fun!

So yeah, those are my holiday plans so far. What about you guys?

Just for kicks, I feel like sharing my absolute FAVORITE gif of the best Sesame Street character ever…

funny GIFs - For me? You shouldn't have

Look how happy Cookie Monster is! AWESOME.

christmas wrap-up

I took down the Christmas tree and decorations today. Always makes me sad. I can’t believe how quickly the days go by now. I still have a few hours of vacation left so I thought I’d do a quick recap of my Christmas…

Thanks Carolyn for the pic!

Christmas festivities began early when Rob and I got together with friends at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knott’s Berry Farm for an all-you-can-eat champagne brunch. The food was ok but the company was great. I can’t believe I have friends who are parents now. !!!

I wanted to see the holiday decorations at Disneyland before our annual passes were blocked out for the year so we made it to the park on the very last day. I love Disneyland every time we go but there’s something extra special about the holiday season…

From the snow-capped turrets of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the daylight…

…to the huge Christmas tree on Main Street (we tried to take a picture in front of it but the Disney employee obviously didn’t know how to use our camera)…

…to the colorful lights on It’s A Small World

…and back to the night-time sparkly lights on Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. It’s truly magical.

Diesel got into the Christmas spirit too. ๐Ÿ˜€

And we took a quick family picture before heading out for Christmas Eve dinner at my cousin’s house. Yes, I’m wearing a candy cane headband. And yes, I did wear the same dress a few days later for a baptism and a birthday party. ๐Ÿ˜€

My family gets together on Christmas Eve, which is great because it leaves us free to spend Christmas day with Rob’s family. I would hate to shuttle back and forth between families.

As usual, we were super spoiled… a few of our treasured presents are pictured here — an acoustic guitar (!!!), Blu-ray DVD player, and DJ Hero for Rob and a pretty pink carry-on luggage, Cal tee, Starbucks mugs (I started collecting them — I have 9 so far), and an Anthropologie gift card for me. *love*

Rob and I no longer “surprise” each other with presents because let’s face it, I’m not the easiest person to buy presents for (read: I’m picky :P). So instead, we normally set a budget and give each other a list. But this year I found a cute ruffle-front coat from JCrew that I wanted and ordered my own Christmas present from Rob. Using his credit card, of course. I guess this is what happens when you’ve been together 10+ years. ๐Ÿ˜€

And it’s back to work tomorrow (nooooooo). I’m not looking forward to it but I *am* excited for 2010 and what lies ahead (gotta do a New Year’s resolution post next time)…

scrooge + a meme


That’s totally how I feel right now.

I normally love the holidays but I’m feeling like a total Scrooge this year. I’m just not looking forward to the family festivities. Like for Christmas Eve, we always go to my cousin’s house where we have dinner, hang out, open presents at midnight, then end the night with a late night snack. I look forward to this! But in the past few years, our gatherings have felt less intimate and more routine. Maybe it’s just me. I do have a tendency to “read into” things too much.

Also, you know that sinking feeling you get when you realize someone probably doesn’t like you but can’t openly show it because you have mutual friends? I hate that feeling…

Anyway, I was tagged by Ceci for this meme so here we go…

Who sleeps in bed next to you?
My little Diesel! Really. He sandwiches himself right between Rob and me.

What did you last eat?
A piece of white chocolate with peppermint bits. Yum!

What kind of books do you read?
Mostly chick-lit and YA. I also go through phases of reading romance. Sadly, I haven’t read a book since August. Reading more is definitely going to be one of my New Year’s resolutions.

What are you reading right now?
I started reading In the Merde For Love by Stephen Clarke back in March but I must have kicked it under the bed and totally forgot about it (this is what happens when you don’t have a nightstand). I found it recently and should probably start over. I also received the first 3 Sookie Stackhouse books for my birthday and I really want to dig into that series.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?
Disneyland! Like that’s a surprise. Or Paris. *sigh* I love traveling.

What’s really creepy?
All Horror movies. I get scared easily.

What’s your current fandom/obsession/addiction?
This season… Gossip Girl, Glee, So You Think You Can Dance.

What did you really want to do today that you didn’t?
I wanted to finish wrapping all the Christmas presents and clean up a little… I worked late and got lazy.

What are you most excited for?
My holiday break. I have a half day on Wed and then I’m off until Jan 3rd! YES. The love/hate relationship I have with my job is leaning towards the “hate” side right now so I’m excited for the time away.

What websites do you always visit when you go online?
I always check out Twitter, LATimes, LJ, and GMail…

What was the last thing you bought?
Bought some Christmas presents at Crate and Barrel last night. Thank goodness the mall was open late on Sunday. We took advantage and finished up our shopping and it wasn’t even crowded.

What do you want right this minute, off the top of your head?
Dinner! I’m hungry. But I’m waiting for the hubs to wake up…

What’s your biggest procrastination method?
Like Ceci, it’s the internet. I can read blogs and window shop online all day.

Are there any bits of childhood that you miss?
Just having my mom around. ๐Ÿ™

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter?
Winter! Even though California’s winters are nothing compared to the rest of the country, lol. i just like the cooler weather because I love cool weather clothes, like sweaters, coats, scarves, and boots.

Say something to the person who tagged you.
Have a wonderful holiday Ceci! Hope that 2010 is a better year for you. *hugs* ๐Ÿ™‚

more list blogging

I always seem to get hit with the lazy stick during the week. After work, I’m online reading various blogs or shopping but rarely feel like putting coherent thoughts together for the blog. Fail. So here’s another list because I don’t want to deal with paragraphs. ๐Ÿ˜€

1. I am SO SICK of Tiger Woods news. I was scrolling through news sites the other day and there were articles that detailed some of the “sex-t” messages he exchanged with his mistresses. I mean, really. Is this necessary? And is it really a surprise that he is a cheating athlete?!

2. I finally started my holiday cards! I sent the first batch out last week. Cards going internationally are going to be late (again)… sorry guys. I went to the post office on Saturday but the line was 30 people deep so I’ll need to try again this week. I didn’t do an official request this year but if there’s anyone else that wants a card, leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll get in touch with you.

3. Speaking of holiday cards, the first one I received this year was from Sarah. Thank you! You’re always so good at getting them out before Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜€

4. Went to a funeral this past Saturday for Rob’s godmother. I’ve only met her twice so I didn’t anticipate getting emotional. But at the very beginning of the mass, when her family was processing up the aisle with the casket, I totally lost it. Like I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face. I think what set me off was the choir singing “Eagle’s Wings,” which was played at my mom’s funeral too. It’s not really a sad song; just more a haunting one that really sticks with you.

5. But on to happier things! Like Christmas! Rob’s been wanting DJ Hero and when I saw that it went on sale for $88 at Target, I went ahead and bought it as part of his Christmas present. Of course, he couldn’t wait and played with it right away. So much that he already has a callous on his finger.

6. If you look at the bigger version of the above pic (just click on it), you’ll see that Diesel’s wearing clothes. It’s a Snuggie! Bwahahahaha. So cute. We picked up a few more to give as presents to all the doggies in our family. No nieces or nephews yet… just doggies.

7. We’re still house hunting and went to another Open House yesterday to take a look at some model homes nearby. There was a *ridiculous* amount of people there. Seriously. You would have no idea that we are in a down economy with the insanity. We ended up not liking any so that was a bust. We’re on the waiting list for a few other communities so hopefully we’ll get one of those (the homes don’t go on sale until early 2010 and there’s a limited quantity and a looooong list of potential buyers).

8. Not a lot of TV to watch right now. Most of my shows had “fall finales” and then aren’t coming back until March/April. Is this a new trend? I actually really like it. I much prefer having back-to-back new episodes in chunks of time over what used to happen before when there would only be a month of new episodes, then 2-3 weeks of reruns, and I never knew when the heck a new episode was going to air.

9. This season of So You Think You Can Dance has been really disappointing. Not because of the dancers; they’re all great. Mostly because I feel like there’s a lot of behind the scenes “stuff” that is killing my enjoyment of the show. First off, I *know* that none of the partnerships or dance styles are “random” so why do they keep billing it as such? Bugs me. Also, the judges need to think about what they’re saying before they say it. I was really upset last week when Adam basically blamed Nathan for Mollee’s lack of “growth” in the first few weeks. WHAT.EVER. I don’t see how that is anyone else’s “fault” but Mollee’s own. I used to think Adam had a lot of constructive criticism for the dancers but now his comments are just like Nigel and Mary’s (ie. useless). I kinda wish they would go back to a rotating third judge because I think the panel desperately needs a non-contemporary voice. Finally, I really really REALLY hate that the final performance show is TOP SIX. Not top 4. WTF. AND it’s only an hour show not 2. ๐Ÿ™ I know FOX had a wonky fall schedule with the World Series but maybe they could have done 1 less audition show and then been able to do a proper Top 4? And maybe pushed the Gordon Ramsay special to next week so the final performance show would be 2 hours? The dancers really got the short end of the stick this year. I really hope SYTYCD goes back to being a summer show… along with the old stage.

10. Only 7 more days of work until Christmas vacation! WOOT.