Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Review: Blink

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

In the beginning, Blink was a difficult book for me to enjoy because it felt as if I was reading a psychology text book; however, once I got to about midway, the book read fairly easy and became more interesting.

Blink is about first impressions. It is about how the unconcious mind works within the first few seconds a person comes in contact with something using their senses...sight, sound, smell. Gladwell's examples that support the theories he presents are fantastic. [I even performed the new Pepsi challenge on all of my friends! Unlike Gladwells acquaintances, all of my friends seemed to guess correctly, but I'm pretty sure that they are cheaters. Ha!]

This book falls under the non-fiction category, which is not a genre that I usually prefer [and it was nothing like Outliers, which still hails as my number one pick for this year], but I would recommend it to someone who likes this kind of read.

I am now one-third of the way through my Bucket List goal of 30 books before my 30th birthday [or 30 books in a year]. I have been so busy--and reading hasn't been a top priority for me lately--that I am worried I won't hit this mark...and that fact is quite sad to me...but I will only have to try harder, eh? Yeah...


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Okay, so I have to talk about my new most favorite toy, EverCare:

Pull your mind out of the gutter, it's not a vibrator! In fact, right behind that metal opening are three little razors--so that would be painful.

It's a $5.99 fuzzball shaver! [once again, take the mind out of the gutter]. I'm talking about the pilling on sweaters. This tiny, handheld contraption will remove all of those pesky fuzzies that are formed from wear and, *Voila!* The sweater looks brand new! It is fantastic.

I realize that this is not a new invention, but it is a new-to-me product and I'm undeniably smitten. I found it the other night at the store when I was shopping for Andy's Christmas gift--an iron. Yes people--I said in that little heated object that presses shirts. It's what he wanted...ha ha ha!

Happy Merry Holiday's, Y'all!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Club: Then We Came to the End

So...I've been a bad blogger. Two months since my last post [but in my defense, October is the busiest month of the year in my life...and November I was just super lazy]. Here is a post I've had in my queue for awhile...I'm not changing any of deal with it! Ha ha!

The reason I am posting all of my books, etc. on here is because I need to keep track for my 30 Bucket List [which I'm not doing so well on!] Bear with me! ...and Family? I will have our happenings up soon...I hope!

September 2009 has wrapped up and with it, another book club accomplishment. Our read was Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. This novel takes place in an office environment filled with employees of various personalities. You have the crazy guy, the unstable girl, the bitch, the prankster, the serious guy, the gossip, the know-it-all, the misunderstood. Every character has his or her own story within a Marketing Company that is on a downhill slide, each patiently awaits 'walking Spanish down the hall' [getting fired]. Much of this book was laugh-out-loud funny and most of it I could relate to as an employee who does the weekday 8-5 grind. I found myself picturing numerous people at my firm in place of the quirky characters in the book. It was a fun, fast read and comes highly recommended by me! Woot!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review: Outliers

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is a non-fiction story of Success. Gladwell's theories on why certain people are successful--due to opportunity, wealth, intelligence or even being born in the 'right' year--are incredible and I could hardly put the book down. I am not usually into this genre of book [non-fiction leaning more towards educational], but Gladwell has a knack for smooth writing, incorporating stories that captivate the reader. [To be honest, if this book was not given to me by a family member, I never would have glanced twice in its direction.] I am definitely going to pick up his other two books, Tipping Point and Blink, which are supposed to be very similar to this read, just on different topics.


Book Review: Deep Dish

Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews is another chick-lit book that I read to pass the time between novels. This book, about a 30 year old woman chef who competes with a hunky male chef for a national television show, was a fun, carefree read and didn't require much effort to get in and out of the story. The content was simple, as most chick-lit books are geared towards people who read seldomly, and, of course, the characters fall in love--so it was also a feel good book. Sometimes a girl needs a feel good book, right?

The curious thing about this choice is that I am not a fan of Mary Kay Andrews and yet, I continue to pick her up at the book store. I have read four of her books and none of them have impressed me; however, the cover art of her books scream *Girlie*, enticing me from the bookshelf and I just can't resist. I think: Maybe this book will be a great one… Always disappointed.

So, if nothing else, it is another book towards my ultimate goal of thirty and for that, a pat on my back!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Race for the Cure [Tulsa, OK] - September 19, 2009

[Above is a picture of my race shirt. I am an avid Oklahoma State fan...and yes...I was wearing the shirt as the picture was taken!]

As you can see from my 'Operation Dumbo Drop' sidebar on the right, I haven't been running [or doing much activity at all] for about a month, so I was really nervous about Saturday morning's 5K. I honestly thought I would be walking most of it, but was pleasantly surprised that I didn't take my first stop until after 18:00 minutes had passed! After that, though, I stopped pretty frequently.

Saturday morning was BEAUTIFUL--perfect weather with the right amount of sunshine and breeze--in Tulsa, Oklahoma where my brother-in-law Daniel and I ran for Team Bubbies! he beat me...but not by much!!! I was very shocked that I was able to finish the race in 34:10 after not having run for so long. It isn't a great time, but I'm very happy about it [although I am super sore today!]

I hope that Saturday's race is the kick start that I need to get back into a regular exercise regimen--especially with the Oklahoma City race in a couple of weeks.

Here is a pic of my watch--which was started and stopped as soon as my foot hit the mat. Turns out, it was pretty accurate, as my official time read exactly the same!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: Wilt on High

Wilt on High is the third of four books of 'Henry Wilt' by English author, Tom Sharpe. Since I mistakenly read the last book first, this was my final piece in the series.

The Wilt books are laugh out loud funny. They all revolve around a little, squirmy Englishman named Henry Wilt who gets himself into pickles without doing anything at all, but rather being at the wrong place at the wrong time. He is a professor at a Technical College and everything he says--and all of the explanations that he gives for situations--are very literal and rely heavily on technicalities, which does not help any of the messes that he finds himself in. In Wilt on High, there is a murder at the tech, drug trafficking and Russian spying--all of which Wilt is the prime suspect for and none of which he has done.

Henry Wilt is also blessed with an idiotic wife, Eva and four terrible quad-daughters. What a mess!

I highly recommend this series to anyone that would like a light, funny read--and doesn't mind crass references and isn't afraid of a potty mouth.

Book 6/30

Book Club: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

August's pick for Book Club was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This book, which takes place the year after WWII ended, is written as a series of fictional letters to and from many different characters. The main character, Juliet Ashton, is a successful writer that wrote humorous columns during the war and begins to focus on more serious material, in search of the perfect subject for her next book. As fate would have it, a man on Guernsey Island happens upon her information and blooming correspondences, budding relationships and a new life for Ms. Ashton quickly follows suit. There is so much more to this story from the perils of war time [famine, restrictions, German soldiers] to a strong, quick minded girl named Elizabeth and her precocious daughter, Kit. We get background stories on so many different characters: men, women, children, writers, editors…this is by no means solely a book for women!

Due to the format of this book, I was able to get through the entire read in two days. [I read very slowly!]. The letters, some short and some long, gives easy stopping and start up points for the reader and, although they are fictitious, I felt as if I was reading the private correspondence of people who lived long ago and have since passed. Before this book, I had never heard of Guernsey Island, so the research I was able to do after finishing created an even stronger home for the characters in my mind.

Jennifer made a delicious Potato Peel Pie for book club and it. was. awesome!

I enjoyed reading this book.

Book 5/30

Friday, August 7, 2009

Book Review: Peony in Love

Peony in Love by Lisa See is an exquisitely written novel based in 17th Century China. The story, told in the first person, revolves around a young woman named Peony who becomes engulfed in lovesickness, becomes obsessed with a play that revolves around love called The Peony Pavillion and dies of her 'illness'. Peony then becomes a ghost and describes the circumstances she experiences in the afterworld as well as her feelings and what she needs to do to make things right in order to move on. She interferes with the mortal world, makes mistakes, learns how to grow from a young lady to an adult and watches over the family of the love of her life. Peony also learns the history of her family through the words of her deceased grandmother and then her mother and is able to continue on her journey with their help. Love is stronger than death.

This book toys with a reader's emotions. It sent me spinning in a cycle of happiness, sadness, anger and elation. I will never be able to wrap my head around the pain and suffering that a woman had to endure in China. Women were expendable, a piece of property that had no worth and were confined to stay within the walls of a family compound. Women were not able to choose the man that they spent the rest of their life with, but rather forced into a loveless marriage for wealth or family gain. Don't even get me started on the footbinding nonsense...

Reading literature such as Peony in Love definitely makes me realize how good my life has been and how much of my freedoms that I take for granted on a daily basis.

Book 4/30

Friday, July 31, 2009

Book Club: The Eyre Affair

Our Book Club chose The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde to be our July book. This novel revolves around a Special Operations Agent [for books] named Thursday Next and her adventures through cities, time/space and books to catch the villan in this book, Acheron Hades. Yes, I said books--as in leaping through the pages of classic novels and poems.

I am not a fan of science fiction or fantasy novels. Twilight was an exception because who is to say that vampires are not real? Certanily not me! I am not a Harry Potter fan either [put your guns down!].

[Okay, I did love the Time Traveler's Wife, too…so maybe I am just selective,.]

Either which way you look at it…I was not a fan of this book. It was brought up as a choice for a couple of months, so we decided to just go with it…errr…they did. I wanted no part of this book before, during or even now--but it wasn't a terrible book. At all.

In fact, if I was a fan of this genre, I would have loved this book and devoured the entire series.

I think that if you enjoy reading…and you enjoy this genre, then pick up the series. You will like it. It had some entertaining parts, such as the villan being named after a mythological hell…and Tuesday's boss being named Braxton Hicks.

There was just too much "unreal" for me to enjoy it.

Book 3/30

Thursday, July 30, 2009

25 MORE Things About Moi

I am repeatedly getting tagged on Facebook from people filling out a '25 Things About Me' list. Frankly, I don't know how to fill out the notes on Facebook, but I am quite familiar with my blog, so I'm just going to write them here and then post a link on my new addiction. Sounds like a plan, Stanley!

As you know, I posted a more extensive About Me list last year, so it was very difficult coming up with 25 more items in addition to my previous 100. So…here goes it…

1. I love to put cinnamon apple sauce on everything [including Ravioli's]
2. I once pulled a back muscle in the shower while belting out Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful"
3. I have a magnificent view of the Myriad Gardens from my office window
4. I believe in God, but do not believe in organized religion
5. My sister and I were only grandchildren on my father's side, yet my grandparents could hardly stand us.
6. I love Indian Food. Every birthday, that is my meal choice. Period.
7. I sobbed uncontrollably at the end of Benjamin Button
8. I have become quite addicted to milk chocolate covered almonds of the Hershey variety
9. I want to move to the Eastern part of the United States
10. I love my friends - real life and bloggers!
11. I always route for the underdog
12. I am usually the underdog
13. I cried the first time my husband beat me at mini-golf
14. I am very competitive
15. My new celebrity crush is Bradley Cooper [although he does not replace my previously mentioned crushes: Ryan Phillippe and Ewan McGregor]
16. I think mowing the lawn is oodles of fun
17. My mom and I once bought 200 lottery tickets…and ended up winning only seventeen dollars
18. I once got chased to the police station by a crazy woman in a truck after I flipped her off in the Taco Bell drive-thru line
19. You can win me over with a cupcake--my ultimate weakness
20. I floss every day
21. I rarely wear make-up
22. I am addicted to Mafia Wars
23. I once licked all of the salt off of my airplane bag of pretzels and then gave them to my mom to eat [she wasn't happy]
24. My favorite gum is Trident: Original Flavor
25. I love love love Chocolate Chip, Orange, Zucchini Bread. Yum!

So there you have it. Not a super exciting list…but it took a LONG time for me to come up with 25 things and cross reference them to my old list. I only put one thing on there twice and that was 'I do not like to swim in public bodies of water'…so that item is doubly true.

Book Review: Twenty's Girl

I have been reading such serious and/or uninteresting novels lately that it was time for a light, airy book. Twenty's Girl, by Sophie Kinsella [my fav. chic-lit/British author] definitely hit the mark. This story focuses around a girl in her late twenties [Lara] who is being visited by her dead great-aunt [Sadie]--yes a ghost. Unknown family history and scandel is unraveled and a strong friendship between two unlikely characters is born. This book comes highly recommended by moi [to females].

Although some people brand chic-lit as 'lame' and 'brainless' literature, I feel as if the books are a break away from reality and everyone has a happy ending. I especially like these light books when they are set in different countries and this particular book has only strengthened my desire to visit London.

...I certainly want to know what a 'dough ball' is… sounds simply delectable!

Book 2/30

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Midnight Streak - July 25, 2009

Last night at 11:00 p.m., I ran my second out of ten 5K's for my Bucket List. I participated in the Midnight Streak [no we didn't run naked] and it felt I beat my previous run time by a little over 2 minutes--I ran 3.1 miles in 31:09!!! So. Excited. About. This!!!

I followed up my run with a late night IHOP meal. Nothing better than eggs and greasy bacon after a nice run, right???

Here's a picture of my watch. I don't know how I'm ever going to time something else and be forced to delete this...b/c I highly doubt I will ever be able to beat this time!!!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bucket List: Granny Bowling

Another mark off the 'ol Bucket List for me. I bowled an entire game granny style last night--sober! It was a lot of fun [the company was even better!] and I bowled a 44, which was only 32 points below the 'real' game I played right before it. So I'm not a pro-bowler…whatev's!

As you can probably imagine, I debated putting this picture up. In the end [pun intended], it was the right thing to do. Do NOT judge the Lopez--or no soup for you!

Three down, Twenty Seven more items to go! Chuggin' right along...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Freedom Run and Downtown Dash

July 4, 2009

Andy and I participated in a 3K Freedom run in Bethany, Oklahoma on Saturday morning. It doesn't count towards my Bucket List [duh, it's a 3K], but I knew that signing up for it would motivate me to push hard for my 'homework'. I did push pretty hard--I came in 21/71 women and that made me super happy! I wasn't thrilled with my time, though--plus they didn't have a start mat to clock my real time and I like to start in the back of the pack. Anyhow, it was a fun run, good homework and I was glad to get it out of the way early!

June 13, 2009

This post is long past due! Jennifer and I decided a good way to kick off boot camp would be to run a 5K the Saturday before torture began. We ran in Oklahoma City's Downtown Dash--and this was the first of ten 5K's that I plan to run before my next birthday! Andy and Sarah ran with us, too--Sarah pretty much kicked arse! The 2009 Downtown Dash was an evening run based on one of the most humid days ever. It was pretty much breathing in liquid air and I am thankful that Jennifer hung back with me. [Note: Jennifer runs MARATHONS and a 5K is easy peasy for her--but she held back just for me and we got to talk! woohoo!] Needless to say, my time wasn't so hot, but it was good--and I can definitely beat it in my next run! Won't be hard anyway!
After the run, the plan was to go to McNellie's, a bar in downtown OKC. They handed out pint glasses at their water stop and if we brought them in, we got a free pint of beer. Well, we had an 8 year old little girl with us and she wasn't allowed in [which we didn't know b/c the race was not only family oriented, but it is a bar/restaurant type of place]--PLUS, because I didn't have my i.d. with me and I obviously look like a teenager [*smiles*], they would not let me in.

Andy and I headed over to Mama Roja with the Mobs and had a delicious meal! My last great meal before boot camp--woohoo!

Andy and Jennifer:

Danny, Sarah and Samantha:


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Book Club: Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay was our June pick for book club. This book was about a young jewish girl who was taken with her family during the round up of Vel'd'Hiv' in France on July 16, 1944 by the French government. In order to save her brother, she locked him in a cupboard and promised him that she would be right back for him.

Sixty years later, a journalist is researching this event, one that was shameful for the French and an event that not many people knew about, and finds a connection between her and Sarah's family. She is determined to figure out the mystery of what happened to Sarah and her family, while fighting circumstances of her own life.

Although there were parts in this book that weren't to my liking, they were very few. The story reopens the reader's eyes to the horror's of the Holocaust and is heart wrenching. It amazes me that there are 'skeptics' out there that are convinced the Holocaust didn't happen...are in denial of human flaws and evil.

Here is the cover of this book:

Book 1/30

Saturday, June 27, 2009

One Down, Twenty-Nine To Go!!!

In a million years, I never would have thought that the first thing I accomplished on my bucket list would be to Kill a Spider by Myself, but I did it. It was scary, my heart raced with anxiety...but he's dead and I killed him by myself.

Whew! I'm glad THAT one is out of the way!

In other bucket list news, I am two weeks away from finishing boot camp, I am 119 pages into War and Peace, I am 1/30 on my book list, I am 1/10 on my 5K's...and I am 19 pounds away from losing 25 pounds!

That's all I can think of from the top of my head, but I think that after less than a month, I am doing pretty good!

One item down, Twenty-Nine items to go! Woot!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Three Students. Less Than One Year.

I was a private school kid. I'm neither proud nor ashamed to admit that, but it explains the reason I went to a small school in a big city.

We had around 65 graduating students in our class, and our entire highschool had approximately 300 students--so everybody knew everyone else. When something tragic happens to one of our alumni, word spreads quickly and with the digital age being what it is, said word gets around faster than Kate Hudson in Hollywood.

You can imagine how shocked the former student body was earlier this year when a student of the class of 1996 [two years above me] overdosed and passed away. It was a numbing sensation for me--knowing that two days before I found out, he was living, breathing--ALIVE. RIP Ryan Miller.

This past week was particularly tragic. Early in the week, a student in the class of 2000 [two grade below mine, and my sister's class] passed away in his sleep. Just like that...dead. The news was crazy, another student in a small highschool in one year. What are the odds of this? RIP Michael Hager.

On Tuesday, it only got worse. A student in the class of 1997 [one grade above mine] passed away. This death had the most impact on me--mostly because I knew her better than the other two students, she was constantly on facebook, her last status update on Sunday, AND her younger sister graduated in my class. I can't imagine what her family is going through--I never want to imagine it. The cause of her death is undetermined right now, but it is suspected that she had a seizure--a result of a car accident she had in high school--and died. She didn't show up for work and her father went to go check on her and found her body. RIP Ryanne Hauschild.

I am having a really difficult time wrapping my mind around mortality right now. None of these people was over the age 31. We can go at any minute--any second, just like that. Just whenever God wants to call us home.

In addition to death, Life Goes On. The facebook status updates went from sympathies to the type of chips they are eating at that moment.

It's going to happen to all of us and we have no control over it, unless we choose to end it all early. Live it all...Live it well...and tell those that you love how you feel. That's about all you can do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Club: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Our May book was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith. I was against this book from the very beginning, mostly because I am not a fan of the following:

  • Sci-Fi

  • Zombies

  • Jane Austen

  • Oh how glad I am that I resolved at the beginning of book club [July '07] that I would read every book, no matter what. This book, as silly as it sounds, has shot up to the top of my favorites list. So much that I may even consider reading the original Pride and Prejudice again.

    Grahame-Smith's twist on Jane Austen's masterpiece made the book highly entertaining and I would love to see it turned into a film. In an article I read on the new author, he breaks the book down by 85% Austen, 15% himself [zombies]. We still have the Bennet/Darcy love story that swells the heart with added fighting scenes, unmentionables and the living dead feasting on brains.

    It's great…light, easy, fun…and comes highly recommended by moi…!

    Today's book club treats were a parmesan frica cup with spinach salad and a citrus vinaigrette dressing symbolizing a meal that would have been enjoyed in Jane's time and cupcakes with 'brains' decorated on top of them to symbolize the zombies that Grahame-Smith included in the novel. Thank you, Jennifer and Afton, for the delicious food. We all appreciate the time and effort you take to make book club extra special!

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Bucket List Reveal

    It was really difficult for me to find 30 things to put on this list that I haven't done [and a few I haven't done 'as an adult'], and I thank you for your awesome response to my suggestions blog a few weeks back, as I got most of the ideas from that!

    My bucket list timer officially started this morning and I have one year to get everything done [crosses fingers]. I had a cute picture to go with this blog of a plastic purple bucket with pink notepads and pens [thank you Mill's], but I can't find it!

    Anyhoo [that was for you, ASM], below, please find my to do list!

    30 Things to do before 30:

  • Read [at least] 30 books in 12 months

  • Read War and Peace

  • Create a Self Portrait

  • Run a 10K

  • Have an impromptu food fight

  • Explore Wines [and hopefully find a fav!]

  • Karaoke [Not just attend, perform]

  • Spend a Saturday volunteering

  • Create a Signature Dish

  • Extreme Ironing [any ironing for me is extreme]

  • Write one letter per month to Jadyn throughout my 30th year.

  • Have a *girls only* weekend

  • Make it through 30 days of boot camp [starting June 15! Yikes!]

  • Watch every episode of The O.C. from start to finish [since sis keeps buggin' about it]

  • Do a Chinese Fire Drill!

  • Toilet Paper a house [Beware! One of you is the victim of this item!]

  • Run ten 5K's this year [round down to 30 miles! Magic Number: 30!]--Sarah, Sarah!!!

  • Lose 25 pounds [I CAN do this]

  • Keep a plant alive for a year

  • Kill a spider by myself

  • Find a better alternative to curse words [I'm going to start using terms that I read in G.I. and MLS's blogs to replace my cursing! Bugger!]

  • Go to a Drag Show [Lacy Lace, ready or not...]

  • Family Trip - Just the four of us!

  • Make New Friends

  • Read Little Women

  • Go Camping - with an actual tent and actual bugs! [I have never done this]

  • Bowl an entire game granny style

  • Prepare a meal - by myself - and surprise Hubs with it

  • Every Friday for a month - do not say one thing negative [this is going to be hard!]

  • Play in the mud [Oklahoma Red Dirt] on a rainy day. [Yuck]

  • There you have it, my official 30. I expect many of you to participate in these events with me...and once I cross something off of the list, it will be blogged about--I mean, that's why I have a blog, right?? Right.

    Happy Birthday To Me!!!

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Craptastic Running

    Unless I am being chased by a psycho-murderer, running will never be this important to me:

    Some people are quite dedicated to their sports...

    Friday, May 22, 2009

    Book Review: The Wilt Alternative

    It has taken me over a month to finish this book and not because I didn't like it! The Wilt Alternative by Tom Sharpe was a delightful read that had me laughing out loud in some parts. This is the second of four books in the series [remember, I've read the last one out of order?] and I just love it. Of course--and I say this time and time again--I do love everything British!

    In this novel, the Wilts have been taken hostage in their own home, in the end driving their captors completely bonkers. I will say that Henry Wilt's wife, Eva, irritates the living hell out of me. She is depicted as a fat, foolish lady who does [and says] the most ridiculous things. It's maddening how frustrated I get with her...and her four quadruplet daughters who are written as terrors.

    This series is great. I highly recommend picking it up--IF you can find was hard for me to get the four books as they are out of print and not mainstream here in North America.

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Boot Camp

    I have heard of 'Boot Camp' style programs all over our city--in fact, my SIL brought it up to me a little less than a year ago and it sounded amazing. The problem was the fact that the only session I could do would be early morning [we are talking 5:45 peeps!] and no one was able to go with me! Oh, right...and the bloody course costs $275 for 30 days of intense training!!! [Did you like my use of 'bloody'???]

    When my friend, Jennifer, brought it up to me yesterday due to a Tweet from our mutual friend, Afton [gots ta give cred where cred is due!]--I thought it would be a wonderful gift to ask for as a birthday present! My parents readily obliged, with certain conditions, and now I am officially signed up for the session beginning June 15!

    The thought of it is nerve racking...but if it does what it claims, then the results will be REMARKABLE!!!

    CLICK HERE for the deets to Boot Camp!!!

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    *Bucket List*

    I am going to be 29 in less than a month. [gasp!] That leaves one year before I close the chapter on my 20's forever.

    In this last month of being 28 years old, I would like to come up with a list of 30 things to do before I am 30 years old--and that's where you come in, Reader. If you can think of anything fun/exciting/new that I can add to my list [In other words, What would be on your Bucket List?], please comment or email me your suggestions so I can pull my list together before June 2.

    I have quite a few friends who will be 29 this year as well--one eight days before me [you know who you are!]--so this should definitely be a fun post!

    Note: Traveling long distances [i.e. anywhere in a plane] will not make it to my list.

    Saturday, May 2, 2009

    O.D.D. - Checkpoint #3

    Operation Dumbo Drop is still going quite well...almost been a month since I've started this mess and the results are definitely there...even if they are appearing slowly. I haven't gotten on a scale in a while because I don't want to be disappointed when it shows me -1, so I'm just going to avoid that bad situation for as long as possible ;o)

    I will tell you...there is one person in particular out there who inspires me completely with this whole weight loss thing--and he/she has no idea they are doing it. This person is not only beautiful and fit on the outside, but he/she is SUPER nice, great and fun. That person deserves the biggest THANK YOU if you think I am talking about you, I probably am--and You Rock!!!

    On another note--but not entirely unrelated--I would like to spit out my current frustration: What the HELL am I thinking trying to run a 5K [3.2 miles]??? I ran the treadmill today and I can BARELY get to 2.7 in 31 minutes, non stop. This is with no wind or hills...Just a flat run in an air conditioned gym. I had Hubs drive me through the actual course when we were done and there are SO many hills! I will be lucky to finish...and now I'll leave it at that.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Book Club: Angels and Demons

    Book Club read Dan Brown's Angels and Demons for the month of April. I must admit, I am not a fan of this genre of book [historical fiction] and did not particularly like The DaVinci Code. I am also not a fan of movies such as National Treasure, Indiana Jones or, well, The DaVinci Code--so this book was pretty much doomed [for me] from the beginning. In fact, I was not looking forward to reading this book so much that I actually cheated and listened to it on tape to and from work every day…but the version was unabridged, so it took awhile to finish it!

    Although I was shocked at the end, the book was pretty much a puzzle throughout. Langdon is a super genius with amazing timing--as he happened to be present when most of the major events occurred. In addition, he was nearly killed more than once…in reality…he would have been dead first try…he isn't a super hero for crying out loud.

    I don't want to divulge too many details here…mostly because the movie is coming out in a few weeks and if you haven't read the book, I don't want to spoil it for you.

    I will say, however, that the camerlengo is played by Ewan McGregor in the movie…and I can hardly wait! Plus, it is always fun to see a book that you have read acted out on the big screen…at least for me it is. Whether I liked the book or not!!!

    In honor of our Angels and Demons theme, Jennifer made divine treats for today's meeting: Angel Food Cake and Deviled Eggs. YUM!!!!

    Thursday, April 30, 2009

    Holly's Kitchen - Tater Tot Casserole

    Another post regarding the Lopez Family Eating on a Budget!!! Today's edition is from Holly's Kitchen--Tator Tot Casserole. Sounds divine, right? Tator Tot's incorporated into a family meal? Heavenly...

    Ground Beef ($3.88)
    Tater Tots (2/3 bag) ($1.52)
    Onion ($0.89)
    Cream of Chicken (1 can) ($1.44)
    Mozzerella Cheese (1/2 bag) ($0.75)

    Total Cost: $8.48

    We were able to make six meals out of this which amounts to $1.41/meal. We didn't need a side for this meal, as it was pretty filling. Also, this meal has been the easiest to prepare so far…just layer the ingredients! Thank you, Holly!!!

    Couple of side notes:
    1. The prices of the ingredients above are based on the amount used. We have used the remaining ingredients in other meals that we have made.

    2. Since our last paycheck, we have saved another great amount of money by not eating out…I was able to apply more to my car payment because of it…it is WONDERFUL!!!

    Next up: A Pot Roast from Kelly's Kitchen!

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Marathon Cherry

    I popped my marathon cherry this morning when my sister and I did the Half Marathon (13.2 miles) walk for the OKC Memorial Marathon. I finished in 3:49:08 which makes me so happy because I was going for 4.5 hours!!!

    You may see walking and think 'oh, that is easy peasy...anyone can do it'. No. You would be wrong about this. It was hard and extremely brutal on my poor feet that have blisters forming in more than one area!!!

    I lost my sister at mile 10 where my husband picked her up after his volunteering job...and I trekked on alone...which wasn't so bad until I got to the finish line and walked front of thousands of people. I got over the awkward feeling as soon as I saw my husband, sister and daughter's smiling faces cheering me on!!!

    I even got a medal -- Hooray!

    So...although this is an experience that I will soon not forget...I don't think I will tackle such a big marathon again...unless I've put in the proper amount of training.

    Looking forward to our May 9th 5K! Woot!

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    O.D.D. - Checkpoint #2 turns out that Operation Dumbo Drop is really working. Fo' Shizzle! I have been working really effing hard [see side bar]...and have lost a little over 5 pounds at this point...I'm super amazed--it has been about 2 weeks since I started. From experience, hard work [for me] in the gym doesn't pay off and I get really discouraged and quit. This time around, though, Hubs has really been encouraging me with this whole racquetball playing.

    Interesting fact: Racquetball will burn 600 - 700 calories/hour depending on intensity. We play I am probably at the higher end of that spectrum.

    Racquetball mixed with the running I am doing in order to train for a 5K that we are participating in on May 9th is proving top notch results...gotta keep up the hard work!!!

    Side Note: The endurance I have built up for running is fantastic...however, climbing a flight of stairs will leave me winded for a few minutes...Interesting, Interesting...

    As London Tipton says on The Suite Life of Zak and Cody [keep in mind I have an eight year old daughter...and even if I didn't, I can't promise that I wouldn't watch the Disney Channel!]: YAY ME!

    Friday, April 24, 2009

    Arts Festival Friday

    Our firm gave each person an extra hour for lunch to take any day this week to spend lingering around the Arts Festival...which happens to be across the street from our building. I am not a huge fan of art [don't hate, Neo], but I am a fan of fair food and spending an extra hour of lunch away from the office, paid--even if it scorching hot outside with a thousand people in a tiny area. Today was the day that my friend, Monica, and I decided to go on over.

    I spent my art viewing time looking for that I could display OKC's biggest cock downtown...but we only found one. One rooster in that whole festival and it was a painting:

    The picture was taken with the iphone...and you might notice a glare from the glass...can see the tent on the other side of the area we were in and if you look really really really hard, you might see our silhouettes, but it's doubful.

    We focused mainly on the food. It was pretty good...we shared an upside down pizza [which quite honestly I was disappointed in because I actually expected it to be upside looked like a pizza to me]...and then I had a Double Chocolate Cobbler w/ Framboise Reduction. Sounds delectable, right? It was a freaking brownie and ice cream. I can't tell you how my heart sank when I saw this dessert that I have been craving for days. Literally...days.
    Here is my dessert...right before it was tossed in the trash [aka bin, for you English]:

    Well...that was my 2009 Arts Festival experience. Not really worth sharing, but I did anyway!!!

    Update: Below is Monica's dessert. It was, as she quoted, "not a let down". It was a Banana Royal...and she loved it!

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009


    Last night marked the first two games of our second kickball season. We lost a few players this time around [Oh how we shall miss you, Jennifer!] and we gained three new peeps [Welcome Stephanie, Kit and Brandon!].

    Our team name: Balls to the Wall. Everyone has a cute name that has to do with Balls and I just have a cute name in general: Snappyberrie. Berries are technically balls...of sweet yummy goodness, but according to the team, it isn't dirty enough. But I'm not a dirtygirl, so I will stay sweet and innocent with Snappyberrie! heh heh.

    Back from my tangent...we lost our first game last night by one run due to a bad call on the ump's part--but that was the first time our entire team had gotten together and played [plus SOMEONE didn't know a leading off rule that totally would have scored us another run!] that was our warm up game.

    We dominated the other team during the second game--actually, we run-ruled them in the fifth inning [Boom Boom Pow!]. It was great, although we had to stop the game early because of it. We were run-ruled at least one time last season and it wasn't the best feeling it's nice to be on this side of the equation!

    Here's a snapshot of the shirt I will be wearing every Tuesday night for our games [unless we get cute little tanks which were discussed and therefore will post at a later date because I know the excitement of it all is overwhelming!]. Yes, this picture is recycled from last October, but I didn't take any pictures last night...bad, Lopez!!!


    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Decisions, Decisions...

    So...should I, or should I not take this elevator down when I leave work this evening? [Keep in mind, I am on the top floor of an office building downtown]

    I'm going with a big, fat NOT.

    Bonnie's Kitchen - Lasagna

    Yay! Another post on the Lopez Family Eating on a Budget!!! Today's segment has to do with an idea from Bonnie's Kitchen--make a large meal [or numerous meals] on Sunday and eat it throughout the week. We chose Andy's super yummy lasagna, which not only tasted fantastic, but was also dinero-saving!

    Ground Sirloin ($4.18)
    Onion ($0.89)
    Crushed Tomatoes ($1.00)
    Tomato Paste ($0.58)
    Lasagna Noodles ($1.48)
    Ricotta Cheese ($1.62)
    1 egg ($.10)
    1 bag Mozzerella ($1.78)
    Mushrooms ($0.62) x 2 cans

    Total Cost: $12.87

    We were able to make eleven meals out of this which amounts to $1.17/meal. Since each meal was pretty hearty, there was no need for a side. I can hardly wait to try the next recipe/idea!!! Thank you, Bonnie!!!

    As a side note, in the two weeks [measured from paycheck to paycheck] that we have been eating on a budget and not going out/picking up lunches and dinners, we have saved roughly $200.00! Holy Wow!!!

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Saturday's Stupid Situation

    Today my sister and I thought that it would be a great idea to walk around the lake in order to train for our 13 mile walking marathon. Those of you that know the lay of our city, Lake Hefner is roughly 9.5 miles around and this isn't the best way to start training for a marathon--especially if you started the morning with 55 minutes of racquetball followed by a 20 minute run. In addition to working out this morning, I sat through an hour and a half of pure sun at the soccer field, so I soaked up some rays sans sunscreen...then walked around the lake. Needless to say, I am now a human lobster, skin burning as I write this AND my feet have blisters, blisters and more blisters. I can't walk. I can barely move and I will be lucky to be able to get out of bed in the morning.

    How are we going to make it through 13 miles in two weeks? We aren't spring chickens anymore at 27 and 28 years old!

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    *Operation Dumbo Drop*

    As you can see on the right hand column of this site, I have started working out. Between reading Reese's blog as well as Sarah's, I have initiated a Lopez Operation Dumbo Drop. There is no chunk of change waiting at the end of the tunnel this time, just results [and fitting into the majority of the clothes in my closet!]'s to wishing myself *Good Luck*...I'm hoping that if I keep status updates with my ODD column, motivation for success will follow!

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    Peter Griffin Sings

    Help! I can't get this song out of my head!!! It is my all-time favorite Family Guy episode...and my favorite part in the song is when Peter is sitting at the table reading the paper...

    I can't get it out of my head and my co-workers are probably coming up with a plan to murder me!

    Who Made Cuppie Cakes?

    Me! Me! I did! I did!

    ...and they actually taste good!

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Sarah's Kitchen - Easy Chili

    A few days ago, I posted a blog about the Lopez Family Eating on a Budget. I got an incredible response via comments and email [and one facebook!] and now I will be posting follow-up posts intermittently, with one recipe from each that I have tried! The first recipe [chosen by Andy] was from Ms. Sarah. It was super *delish* and easy on the pocket book!

    Ground Sirloin ($4.18)
    Bell Pepper ($0.78)
    Hunt's Tomato Sauce ($0.82) x2 cans
    Onion ($0.89)
    Bush's Chili Magic ($1.80)
    [Our side was steamed Corn Niblets ($1.00/bag)]

    Total Cost: $10.29

    We were able to make four meals out of this [three for dinner and one for lunch], which amounts to $2.57/meal. We were fortunate enough to have the spices [chili powder, garlic powder] at home already, so we didn't need to purchase those items.

    It was great that we didn't have to forego taste to eat on a budget! I can hardly wait to try our next recipe!

    Below is the comment from Ms. Sarah that led to this delectable meal:

    Easy Chili that is (in my opinion) Award-Winning

    Chop up one green pepper and one onion.

    Put chopped green pepper and onion along with about 1 to 1 1/2 lb of ground sirloin (sirloin makes it a bit healthier)altogether into a frying pan and brown meat.

    2 - 15 oz cans of regular tomato sauce into approx. 8 qt pot on stove. Mix meat and veggies into tomato sauce, place on low heat.

    Put in chili powder, garlic powder (about 2 tsp), onion powder (about 1 tsp), and black pepper to taste. You will use LOTS of chili pepper (about 4 - 5 tablespoons, maybe) and kind of a lot of black pepper. I usually cover the top of the ingredients with chili powder quite a few times while cooking. I throw a tsp of fresh garlic in when I have it.

    Simmer/Low for 1.75 to 2 hours. Stirring every 15-20 mins. Do not boil.

    Put in Bush's Chili Magic - Chili Beans Mild about 15 minutes before serving.

    Voila! It's fab. Usually makes enough for a few nights. Heats up even better.

    *Don't forget to drain the meat and veggies to remove extra fat!*

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Bonus Commode Story!

    I was just telling my friend this story and decided I had to put it up here, too...b/c it was cracking me up as I wrote it to her.

    When my stepson was 5 and my daughter was 3, she saw him going to the bathroom. Daughter then proceeded to point at Stepson and said to her father: "I wanna pee out of my belly button like Ethan!"

    Good Times...

    Queen of Commodes

    Every parent has at least one story revolving around the commode. Here is one of ours.

    When Jadyn was two and a half [May 2003], she would spend the evenings quietly entertaining herself in the playroom by watching a movie or playing with one of her thousands of toys. On this particular night, Andy and I watched Jadyn go in and out of the playroom, and we assumed she was going to her bedroom. The only room between her playroom and her bedroom is the bathroom, but we kept the door shut so she couldn't play in there. [We all see where this is going...]

    As I went back to go check on Jadyn, I found her just in time to see her drop a large block into the toilet and flush...and then heard her say "uh-oh", when instead of going down, the water started to rise.

    Turns out, Jadyn had been going in and out of her playroom to get blocks and flushing them down. Andy decided to take the toilet off the floor to fix it...and this is what he found:

    The first picture is the pipe in the ground, filled with blocks and the second picture is the actual toilet...and yes, that is a little Kelly doll sticking out of the bottom of it!!!

    Jadyn's situation also allowed us to realize how nasty the people who lived in our house before us were [we had only been living there four months at the time], and due to this episode, we went out and got a new toilet and floor!

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    ...Another One Bites the Dust...

    Daughter leaves the room to take a shower. She comes back, so overcome with emotion that she doesn't realize she's stark naked, and says:

    'Well, you got your wish. Clover's dead. Happy Birthday, Mom'

    It was no secret that I openly loathed the rodent. I hated how she smelled, how she did her business in her wheel [leaving it in a constant state of wet], and most of all, I hated how she stayed up all night long, trying to escape from her cage, waking me up in the process...every. hour.

    So now, the Lopez *fam* lives in a stink-free, pet-free home and it's lovely. We were clearly not meant to have hamsters as [you will remember] three died in less than a month and a half. First Hammy, then Rosalina and now Clover. That has certainly got to be a record of sorts!

    R.I.P. Clover, you little stinky critter.

    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    The Power of Super Glue

    29 Year Old Father: 'You want me to glue your fingers together, puppy?'
    8 Year Old Daughter: 'Sure'

    Fingers are then glued together with super glue and 8 year old cannot pull them apart. Panic ensues. Knife used. Skin cut. Rubbing alcohol applied. It stings. 15 minutes later, fingers are apart with a film of glue on both index finger and thumb.

    8 Year Old Daughter: 'Now you do it, dad'
    29 Year Old Father [hesitates]: 'Okay, but only because you did it.'

    Fingers are then glued together with superglue. 29 year old, being big, bad and tough, acts as if it is no big deal. 30 minutes later, fingers still haven't come unglued, but progress is being made. Eventually, 29 year old's fingers are unglued, with a patch of skin having been peeled off of the thumb.

    A few hours later...

    28 Year Old Mother: 'So, why did you glue your fingers together?'
    29 Year old Father: 'I wanted her to develop a healthy respect for the power of super glue'
    28 Year Old Mother: ' why did you glue your fingers together?'


    Good Lesson Learned? I hope so...

    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Ace of Cakes

    Cake is my ultimate weakness, so naturally, I would love a show about cake. I watch Ace of Cakes every week and the work that they do is amazing. I love watching them put the cakes together, the little stories behind each cake, and I love watching the amazingly talented Anna, Kathryn and Ben do their stuff. Duff [owner of Charm City Cakes] is the star of the show, but you never really see him working on too many cakes, so this is the reason he isn't listed on my 'amazingly talented' list. The artists make beautiful cakes look so simple and inspire me [for 30 minutes at least] to become an award winning pastry chef!

    On that note, I do have a bit of criticism. The cakes are more like art than they are edible creations. They cover wood and other inedible material in fondant as well as cakes--and from experience, fondant and gum paste are not all. It is hard for me to figure out which part of their final product is the cake and which is art made to look like the yummy pastry.

    I never see any of the employees washing their hands or any sanatizing bins anywhere on the show and this bothers me greatly. They touch the crap out of these cakes...they touch materials that don't look clean to these cakes and when they do piping, the artist's faces are about an inch from the cake, no mask on, leaving them to breathe all over the cake. Yuck!

    I began thinking about this when I saw the office manager [red head, is her name Mary Beth, I can't recall...] delivering a cake. She drives to her destination, brings the cake inside and starts assembling it--by pulling it out of the box with her bare hands.

    I am very fortunate to have a family member that makes AMAZINGLY wonderful cakes. A family member that I know is clean and takes great pride in her work. So, if I ever need a piece of art to wow the pants off of a crowd [not to mention if I'm ever in Maryland and have oodles of extra cash on hand], then Charm City Cakes it is...but you will not catch me eating one of those creations!!!
    Here are a few pics of the spectacular and fun work that you will see on Ace of Cakes:

    Click Here and view the photos on the website to see some of the other amazing cakes that Charm City Cakes has made.

    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Eating on a Budget

    Andy and I are really bad about going out to eat; in fact, I think we eat at home approximately once every two weeks. We do this out of convenience sake [and the fact that I can't cook]. It is really hard to go home after working an 8 hour day [lately we have been following this up with 1+ hours at the gym] and muster up the energy to stand in front of a hot stove/oven. It's a double waste for me since, as previously stated, I really and honest-to-goodness cannot prepare an edible meal.
    So with this post I am asking - no, BEGGING - for some help/advice. I would LOVE it if you would comment or e-mail me regarding this post with dinner ideas that are simple and easy on the budget [and tasty. Let's not forget tasty].

    Once I tackle this problem...its on to expensive lunch issues!!!

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    Officially Entered!

    Well, it's official. I am entered in the Oklahoma Memorial Half-Marathon. It is virtually impossible [for me] to train for the running portion, so my sister and I are going to walk. All 13 miles.

    I refuse to forgo the $55 entry fee, so I better lace up the walking shoes and hit the treadmill...after racquetball, of course!

    Now I need to figure out how I'm going to drag my happy arse out of bed on the day of. I've still got time to ponder that issue.

    Like the little engine that could said 'I think I can I think I can...'

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Happy Birthday, Boo!!!

    Happy 27th Birthday to the person who has been by my side, causing mischief since I was two years old!!! I hope that you have the most fantabulous day ever, Steph--27 will be a good year, I can FEEL it!!!
    [Everytime you get older, I get older...sigh...]

    Here is a picture of Sleeping Beauty. Add a few wrinkles, white hair and saggy skin--and that is what she will look like in her coffin as well! Ha!


    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Book Club: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

    Our March book club pick was The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoyed this book because it was very short and the subject matter was light. It is the first in a series by McCall Smith and I look forward to whizzing on through to the final book. Written by a British author [lately my favorite kind!], The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a hit in Europe and is about to be a made for TV series on HBO, which I am highly excited about!!!

    Today's book club treats were a scrumptious banana cake and some Bush tea. Yeah, I said Bush--as in African Bush, the place the tea originated. This herbal concoction gained popularity and sales due to the widespread acclaim for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency!


    Bush Tea: