Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Book Club - The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Our book club book is reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett this month--and I'm jumping the gun by posting this so early since we don't meet until mid-November, but I have to pimp this book out. It is amazing. It is a story told in three points of view about African American maids in the early 1960's. I couldn't put this book down--it was amazing and I hope everybody in the world reads it and enjoys it as much as I did!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Let's Play Catch Up!

The past four months have been filled with work, kickball, soccer, 5K's, tennis, book club, new school year, birthdays, friends and babies! With all of that on my plate, I have found it hard to sit down and blog, although I miss it dearly.

Important Lopez points are below:

  • Our Summer Kickball team had our best season yet, even getting 2nd place in the league tournament. Go Balls!

  • Hubs and I ran the 5K Midnight Streak and were pretty pleased with our times, considering we went in blind, without training for months!

  • Hubs and I ran the Tulsa Race for the Cure--and I got my best time ever in a 5K, which was a very big deal for me.

  • One of my besties had a baby girl that I adore and a month and a half later, my sister-in-law had her second son who I lurve sooo much!

  • Hubs and I spent hours and hours playing tennis--during the extreme summer temperatures, we played around 10pm - midnight and that was much fun.

  • After quite the hiatus, I finally picked up the leisurely art of reading again and have read many books--having just finished the trilogy by Steig Larsson, who wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

  • Oh…and best of all I have lost 12 pounds!!! Hard core diet and exercise--no pills, no boot camp and no bucket list to aide in my progress.

    Here is what October 2010 has in store for us [in order]: Saturday football for Hubs, weekly kickball, Daughter's birthday, another 5K, trip to Six Flags, Hubs birthday, Halloween Party, Stepson's birthday, Halloween! Hopefully I'll be a good blogger and update as the events occur, rather than four months later…

    I mean, I must, though, if you are going to see my Halloween costume, right? The first time I've REALLY dressed up in YEARS!

    And if you missed my birthday party post, please see below!

    ***My 30th Birthday***

    It is amazing to me that I spent an entire year counting down to my big 3-0 and stop blogging 3 days before the big day. That's dedication, right?

    The Lopez life is a crazy one and it has been go-go-go since then...but I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I didn't write about the best birthday party I've ever had! I love my friends and family for making it beyond special.

    And now, the deets...four months later...[please be sure to check out the entertainment section!]

    My parents supplied the alcohol in the form of a keg--that we totally floated, which may have had help with all of the beer pong that was played! And my Jell-O shots were amazing--we even put little plastic babies in the virgin Jell-O shots for the pregnant girls--one of the girls being a whore who sleeps with other women's husbands while she is married to their husbands best friend! Hubs smoked brisket and we got the best Mac 'n Cheese in OKC from Iron Starr BBQ. mmmmm! Rum soaked melon balls and delicious brownies topped off the birthday feast!

    Jell-O Shots:

    And here is my pretty cake, made by my mother-in-law and all about MOI!:

    One of my besties [Racy Lace!] ordered a moonwalk for my party and the man delivered it at 1pm that Saturday and didn't pick it up until the next morning, so we had a lot of fun with that [as you can see in the pictures!]

    The highlight of my entertainment was a stripper. A female stripper. I got a female because I knew that girls would stick around to watch another girl strip, but guys would hightail it out of there so fast! ha ha. Men. I will say that this was the first time I ever got a lap dance, and thank goodness I was too drunk to remember it! Oh...and the stripper loved the moonbounce!  also below, sitting next to me is a dirty whore who slept with my husband and is pregnant with his this MY birthday party...and then proceeds to pass the baby off as her husbands for the next two years.  A lovely piece of white trash, this girl.

    Party Favors
    My party favors were little champagne bottles with my picture--an idea I actually stole from a highschool classmate from facebook!

    It was a wonderful night...with wonderful least, from what I can remember it was!

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    T-minus-5 Days and Counting...

    I like to blame the Gemini in me for my capricious personality. It basically gives me a valid excuse for getting bored of things easily--and makes me feel better about not completing my Bucket List...oh I came so close. In five days, I will have crossed that threshold to 30 and I'm quite excited about it. ( I'm mostly excited about the party!) I don't know where the time went, but it's here and I'm lovin' every bit of it.

    The Lopezes have been so busy these past months--so much of which I would ordinarily post on here, but haven't...I'd like to blame the Gemini for that fail as well. We had a fantastic ski trip with our friends in March and we had an entire kickball season where we had our best season yet! My stepson ran a track meet this month and graduated into middle school! My daughter got numerous awards at her assembly and was promoted to the fourth grade.

    The biggest 'away' thing has been the fact that we spent 3.5 months renovating our house...Andy did it all on his own...and I have before and after pictures that I can't wait to post!

    The most exciting time I spent away from blogland was the weekend of April 17th. I fulfilled three Bucket List items that weekend and had one of the most glorious times ever with my BFF. I went to Dallas to have my girls weekend (check!) and we went to an AMAZING drag show (check!) at the Rose Room. I am now obsessed with drag queens--I LOVE THEM! The next night, I had a whole lotta shots and got my ass up on stage and sang karaoke (check!) with the girls! I can't put into words how fun this weekend was (although I tried!) and how much it meant to me. My BFF is amazing. She has been such a big part of my life...for almost 20 years...and I love her til death do us part.

    Below are a few fun pictures of our weekend...and below that are the *FINAL* results of My 30 before 30 bucket list...

    Here is a pic of my BFF:

    Here is a pic of my favorite Dallas drag queen:

    This drag queen had a killer bod:

    This drag queen danced to really fun 70's music and it made me like him/her a lot!:

    and *PROOF* that I really did get up and sing some karaoke. Four Non-Blondes "What's Up":

    And Now...the results of my *BUCKET LIST*:
    Read [at least] 30 books in 12 months Made 20/30
    Read War and Peace
    Create a Self Portrait I tried this...too embarrassing to even publish here
    Run a 10K FAIL
    Have an impromptu food fight FAIL
    Explore Wines [and hopefully find a fav!]
    Karaoke [Not just attend, perform]
    Spend a Saturday volunteering FAIL
    Create a Signature Dish FAIL
    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 - Mr. Shane was the victim
    Run ten 5K's this year [round down to 30 miles! Magic Number: 30!] Made it to 7/10
    Lose 25 pounds [I CAN do this] FAIL
    Keep a plant alive for a year FAIL
    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!] I am cursing less--but my mind has gotten dirtier. Go figure.
    Go to a Drag Show
    Family Trip - Just the four of us!
    Make New Friends love love love this one!
    Read Little Women Currently at page 300/472--so so close
    Go Camping - with an actual tent and actual bugs!
    Bowl an entire game granny style
    Prepare a meal - by myself - and surprise Hubs with it - Jan. 12 turkeyloaf
    Every Friday for a month - do not say one thing negative [December]
    Play in the mud [Oklahoma Red Dirt] on a rainy day. [Yuck]

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Deer Creek Classic 5K - March 6, 2010

    With my seventh 5K behind me, I seem to be lacking the motivation to complete my next three by June 2nd. Yesterday's run--with zero training going in--was extremely hard. The course was hellacious...or should I say hillacious, as there were so many uphill battles to conquer. Alas, I did it and am moving forward.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Bucket List: War and Peace

    War and Peace

    by Leo Tolstoy

    This post is a 'twofer', as I get to strike an entire item off of my Bucket List as well as add one more book to my count [however, if I get close to June 2 and my book goal doesn't seem possible, I will be counting this book as '3', since it was 1,256 pages. My list, My rules. Ha!].

    I started this book in June, read about 200 pages and stopped. When December rolled around, Hubs asked me about it and then told me to just give up because I was never going to finish the book. Yes, psychological motivation totally works on me…I picked it up mid-December and finished it last night.

    The book was amazing and I can see why people would devote their time to reading it more than once. Almost everyone has an opinion of this book, mostly the same: boring and I have since come to the conclusion that those peeps have either not read the book [most likely] or got a crappy translation of the book [possible].

    There are so many characters in the book, so many Russian names, but the story was tightly wound around three main families: Rostov, Bolkonsky and Bezukov. Each family is of high society and is connected together through some sort of relations. At first, the characters were so hard to remember and they were constantly called by different names [i.e. Marya, Masha, Marie would be one person], but once the story got flowing, I was hooked.

    I would love to know if Natasha Rostov was based on someone that Tolstoy knew. She is described as beautiful, talented and adored, yet her plight and sorrow hit the most in the book leading to a relatively happy ending. Pierre was another favorite character of mine--an bastard child trying to find meaning in life and the true base for happiness. He finds it in the most unlikely place: a prisoner of war camp.

    The battle scenes didn't hold my attention as much as the stories surrounding them. The history that Tolstoy threw in there was rather dull, but those bits were few and far between. As a reader 200 years later, it was interesting to see Tolstoy refer to the views of 'historians' about Napoleon, the war, etc. and the numerous books written about the whole debacle.

    With over 1,200 pages of material, I could go on and on about how intrigued I was with this book--go over each of my favorite characters, as the list goes on. Had I read War and Peace in highschool or college, I don't think I would have truly appreciated it as much as I did [and I am most certain that going back to read it again wouldn't have been an option and I would have missed out on this magnificent book.]


    Book Review: Reflections in a Golden Eye

    Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers was a really dark novel. There were six characters in the novel: The Langdons, The Pendertons, a Filipino servant and a young soldier. Each character was greatly disturbed in his/her own way. Mrs. Penderton was having an affair with Mr. Langdon and even though their spouses knew about it, they ignored it outwardly, but suffered their own demons. Mrs. Langdon was suicidal, caused so much stress to her body that she ended up dying of a heart attack at a young age. Mr. Penderton was extremely angry and took it out on the poor soldier--who was was just a weird character himself. Mr. Penderton actually ended up murdering the young soldier. The little Filipino servant was extremely flamboyant and I could just imagine him dancing around like a fairy. He faithfully served Mrs. Langdon until her death.

    And that, there, is pretty much the entire novel in a nutshell. It was short (127 pages!) and the content pretty much surrounded the characters, their interactions and struggles.

    Although I didn't love this book, I wouldn't recommend it above two of other McCullers works, which I thoroughly enjoyed: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding.


    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Book Club: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

    The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe is a novel about a young girl who has just taken her stressful qualifying exams and is spending the summer doing research for her dissertation. In addition to her Harvard graduate work, she has also been asked by her mother to go to her grandmother's house--that has been abandoned for over 20 years--and clean it up to put on the market to pay back taxes. While there, the young girl finds a mysterious key that leads her into the past--and she stumbles upon a family history that she knew nothing about. A family history that goes back to 1692, during the Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts. Her modern life and her roots combine together to form a very well written story.

    This book has piqued my interest in witches and I plan to do more reading (non-fiction) on the subject. It has also brought back my longing for a visit up east to where North America (as we know it) began. I suggested a field trip to Book Club, but they didn't bite. Go figure!

    Also in book club this week, we had another special event--a shower for Baby Ventura. We each brought our favorite baby story book so mommy has lots of literature to read to baby. Due early next month, although I hardly think she'll make it to the end of this one, I am so excited to meet Baby Ventura!


    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Sweetheart 5K - February 13, 2010

    Saturday morning, Tulsa hosted a Sweetheart 5K that I eagerly entered. It had been 3 months since my last run with virtually no activity in between and only two proper jogs to train for it--so, needless to say, I was a bit nervous.
    This run turned out to be huge for me, as it was the first one that I have done all the way through without stopping to walk. My time wasn't even in the top three of my best times, but my feat has pleased me beyond any other.  I am so excited to have finished my sixth 5K for the Bucket List...and anticipate our next event in two weeks!

    Going through my posts, I realized that I had not posted my November 7, 2009 run. It marked the halfway point through my list.  5/10

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Kelly's Kitchen - Pot Roast and BBQ Sammiches

    Almost a year after my last Eating on a Budget entry, I am back with two delicious and money saving recipes from my dear friend, Kelly. Both recipes are made in our slow cooker--which gives us a reason to actually use this wedding gift!

    The first meal was a Pot Roast:

    Potatoes - $0.75
    Celery - $0.94
    2 Cans Chicken Broth - $2.00
    2 Chicken Breasts - $2.66
    Cream of Corn - $0.50
    Grand Total: $6.85

    We made 7 meals from this (2 dinners and 1 lunch) which brings it to around $0.98/meal. We also threw about 2 servings away because we can only eat so much pot roast before becoming completely sick of it. Also, the prices above are based on the quantity used and we were able to use some of the ingredients (celery/potatoes) to make other dishes. And… coupons are amazing. The chicken broth and cream of corn were each purchased with coupons.

    The second meal was Barbeque Beef Sandwiches:

    1 Rump Roast - $5.95
    BBQ Sauce - $1.00
    Bread - $0.75
    Grand Total: $7.45

    We made 6 meals from this (2 dinners) which brings it to about $1.24/meal. This meal was, by far, the easiest to prepare…just stick the roast in a crock pot with 1/2 cup of water, slather BBQ sauce on top of it and let it cook while you are at work! The meat was so yummy and fell apart easily, making delicious sandwiches!

    Thank you so much for these amazing recipes, Kel! You are one of my oldest friends and I heart you so much!!!

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Super Bowl Sunday: Colts vs. Saints

    I loathe football. I would rather spend the few leisure hours I have off of work doing anything I wanted rather than spending 4+ hours on a Saturday watching football. I've tried to enjoy it, but I don't have it in me--even if I am surrounded by people that I love. Last night was no exception. While *the fam* watched the game, I spent some QT with my daughter and a few minutes on the treadmill. That's just how I roll…and I can see the best commercials today, so I missed nothing.

    but I digress…

    Although I had no intentions of watching the game, Hubs did ask me who I was rooting for, The Colts or The Saints. I quickly replied with the latter, to which Hubs asked why. It's simple. Reggie Bush plays for The Saints and Kim Kardashian dates him, so I know who he is and therefore feel more familiar with that team. After a quick eye roll, Hubs tells me that I know Peyton Manning as well. My reply was this: No, I do not know who Peyton Manning is. What I do know is that his brother is Eli Manning who played in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago against The Patriots, whose quarterback is Tom Brady, who is married to Gisele Bundchen.

    So, the moral of this story: If a player graces the pages of Us Weekly or is a regular on, I know who he is and will root for his team.

    Below I have listed a few other ways for an NFL team to be noticed by yours truly:

  • A player falls out of the back of a moving truck during a domestic dispute (Chris Henry, Bengals)

  • A player is murdered by his mistress (Steve McNair, Titans)

  • A player is shot in the leg during a home invasion (Sean Taylor, Redskins) -- in this case, the fact that his love was Andy Garcia's niece didn't factor in at all

  • A player makes a big show of retiring from the NFL and then immediately returns (Brett Favre, Packers/Vikings)

  • A player graduates from my high school (Wes Welker, Patriots)

  • A player has the name Adrian Peterson, aka Hubs 'man crush'

  • I am done impressing you with my vast knowledge of football now.

    The End.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Book Reviews: Chasing Harry Winston & What the Dog Saw

    I must admit that I picked up this fluff novel to pad my bucket list numbers, as I'm pretty concerned that I haven't made it halfway through to my goal yet; however, I think my literary tastes have morphed into adulthood, as this book took me almost a month to read for the sole purpose that I wasn't that into it.

    Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger [yes the same lady that wrote The Devil Wears Prada] is a chick-lit book about three 29-year old women who have neither married nor have kids although the clock is ticking. They have made a bet with each other to accomplish something out of their comfort zone by the time they are thirty. Adriana will stop sleeping with every man she meets and get a ring. Emmy will stop her monogamous relationships and start sleeping with a guy from each continent, except the obvious Antarctica. Leigh's life is perfect, so she doesn't participate in the bet; however, towards the end, her life has gone from stuffily straight-laced to unpredictable and happy.

    I may not have been into this book…but I did start feeling super old. I am at the same point in my life as the three main characters. I am about to turn 30--although my life is pretty put together: marriage, kid, job, house…Adriana constantly points out how "old" she is and the young 20's girls are getting all of the hot guys. Emmy points out that men their age are either ugly, married or gay. It really makes a girl feel old, ya know?

    In the end, none of the girls fulfill their end of the bet and each decides that life is good without a man--and maybe 30 is just the beginning. Well, that's the stance I'm going to take. I really don't have a choice, do I?

    I don't really recommend this book…I do feel like the author is writing in hopes of making the book into a movie. I've read all three of her books and I do think this will be the last.


    If you have been following closely, then you know that my mind has been having a secret love affair with Malcolm Gladwell. (Praise be to Susan who introduced me to him!) What the Dog Saw is compilation of the best articles that Gladwell published in The New Yorker--articles that I may never have read had they not been bound together in this book. Each article is filled with answers to questions that I never thought to ask--reasonings for certain things I certainly found interesting.

    Por ejemplo, my sister in law recently introduced the Lopez clan to a series on television called Mad Men, which is based in the 1960's and focuses around an Advertising firm on Madison Avenue. As I watch the series (which I love!), I am reminded of Gladwell's article entitled True Colors: Hair Dye and the Hidden Histories of Postwar America which focuses around women in that era and the beginning of breaking from the mold, which leads to the modern day woman.

    Each article has a unique spin and Gladwell's extensive research makes for an interesting read. Malcolm Gladwell really knows how to make a reader think. Even a person who is not much of a reader can pick this book up and read each article, put it down and come back to it later. (I mean, Hubs finished this book for crying out loud!)


    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Bucket List: Extreme Ironing

    Last week, ice and snow conditions in Oklahoma shut down schools and gifted me two glorious days off work for a full four day weekend. It also allowed me the opportunity to cross another item of the 'ol Bucket List: Extreme Ironing.

    I must say that any ironing for me is extreme, so going out in the snow in shorts and a tank top was just the icing on the cake. [I was going to go out in flip flops, but I just couldn't do that to my toes…so yes, I am wearing giant, cozy UGG's.]

    Now sing the Queen song with me: dunuh nuh nuh nuh…another one bites the dust...

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Bucket List: The O.C.

    After six grueling months of sporadic viewing, I finally finished the entire series of The O.C.. Mindless hours wasted on this teeny bopper drama…and I had to keep pushing forward in order to complete this item on my list.

    This series had the same story plot over and over--the only difference being the new character thrown in every once in awhile. When Mischa Barton decided to quit the show at the end of Season 3, a frequent appearance (yet small role individual) on the show (Taylor) became more prominent and pretty much took Marissa's place, becoming Ryan's love interest and they started their on-off romance.

    The drama didn't just revolve around the teenagers either. The adults had an ample amout of drama too--especially Julie Cooper who pretty much slept with every single man on the show. Ultimately all of the characters were linked together somehow by marriage or the Ex-Factor.

    I will state for the record that my favorite character on the show was teenage Kaitlyn Cooper. Beautiful, devious and quick witted, she made the show pretty tolerable.

    Despite loathing the series and making fun of the acting every chance possible, the final episode with the kids growing up and the adults moving on made me a bit teary eyed. As ready as I was to finally be free of this show, I was surprised to be a bit sentimental about leaving Ryan, Seth and Summer behind. This was definitely a great way to shut the door on teeny bopper shows [um, The Hills/The City does not count] and proceed through the door with a big, fat 30 written on it!

    Thank you, Stephanie, for not only the suggestion to put this on my list, but for purchasing the entire series to make it possible for me to complete this item!!! You rock!!! [There is no sarcasm there]

    Another Bucket List Item Bites the Dust

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Book Club: Lush Life

    Lush Life by Richard Price was our book club pick for December. It was a super quick, easy read, but I feel like the audience was directed more towards the male gender rather than, well…me. The main characters were male from the victim to the main detective [even the female detective talked like and had mannerisms of a male] to the friend to the grieving father to the killer.

    This is a story about a young adult who is murdered on the streets of NYC and his acquaintance is initially accused of the act; however when he is exonerated, the search is on for the true killer. The reader knows throughout the book who is the murderer, but what the author shows is all sides of the incident:

  • Reasons why the killer [who I found myself sympathizing with] committed his act.

  • The downfall of the character who is falsely accused--and he seems to fall far very quickly.

  • The processes that the detectives go through--the red tape, the 'higher ups' and, of course, the politics of it all.

  • The grieving stages of the victim's family--that I found most difficult to read…I can't begin to imagine the sadness of a family that loses a child. An only child.

  • All in all, I did enjoy the read. It was like watching a detective movie or a tv drama such as Law & Order or CSI [but definitely not as scientific!] If this sounds interesting to you, I suggest picking it up!


    Today we had a special treat in Book Club, as we celebrated the upcoming nuptials for Lauren! She ties the knot in two weeks and she is going to be a beautiful bride! We had cuppie cuppie cupcakes and presented Lauren with a gift certificate to a cooking class to enjoy with her soon-to-be husband, Trent.

    In other book-related news: as you can see, I have 19 books left to read before June 2, 2010, including War & Peace and Little Women. I am really stressing out--not to mention the fact that I have so many things on my 30 before 30 list left to do--so as a favor, please cross your fingers hard for me!!! HARD