Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 23:Plans

I can't believe there are only 2 days until Christmas. For this Christmas, I'm spending it with my boyfriend Brian and his family and friends. I arrived yesterday afternoon to a very white New York State. The train was running late so I spent about 16 hours on the train, as I predicted because it usually falls an hour behind at least.
Once I was finally off the train, I couldn't wait to go to Tim Horton's. It's my favorite bagel, donut, iced tea place. Brian and I went to Tim Horton's and our friend Marc met up with us there. I had been trying to get a hold of Marc for the last month and he disappeared...finally he responded when I was on the train yesterday morning and I was so happy to see him. It was a perfect addition to my Christmas weekend to catch up with him and hang out for a bit.
The roads cleared up and the snow slowed down, so as me and Brian drove to his friend's house it was much faster than his long drive to come pick me up. We had a nice night with some family friends and then cuddling on the couch watching some tv before finally going to bed. Sleeping in a bed was soooo much nicer than sleeping on the train the other night with people snoring everywhere around me.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 20: Favorite Christmas Meal

My favorite Chirstmas meal would be Christmas day dinner. Usually my family gets together with my cousins and aunt and uncle in Wisconsin and we have a nice dinner together, including turkey, corn, bread, salad, and more. I find the meal to be pretty much like Thanksgiving, the only difference is that it's December and we open presents as well. It is still pretty tasty though.

So today would be day 291 of days without measurable snow. Chicago broke the record this year.  I don't know for sure if Chicago got measurable snow where they take the measurements, but outside my window, there is no snow on the ground. We were dismissed an hour early from work to get home safely due to the storm coming. It was quite rainy as I drove home and stopped at a couple stores. By the time I was finally leaving the last store, it had started snowing, but I don't think that lasted very long. We were supposed to have an inch on the ground by midnight...there is just over an hour left till midnight and no snow on the ground that I see. I know other places were hit quiet hard though.

Tonight I made gingerbread cookies and they turned out really good. My cat enjoyed watching me make them and licked some of the flour from my hands when I was done cutting them out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 19: Favorite Stocking Stuffer

My favorite stocking stuffer would be Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the shape of Christmas trees. Oh and peppermint bark!! Love that!

I also wanted to share another picture from last week. Did a bridge at the office with the Christmas decorations.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 18: When do you open gifts?

When do I open gifts on Christmas? Well (when I have gifts), usually first thing in the morning, might eat a bowl of cereal or maybe just grab a piece of candy from my stocking to munch on and then open gifts as soon as my parents get up and ready. When I was younger we used to open gifts at around 7am, because I just couldn't wait.
This year, I got tires for my car for Christmas and I just got them this Sunday since I got a flat tire last Thursday and was driving on my little donut spare tire for a couple days. I wanted to get winter tires, but apparently no one stocks those in Chicago...weird. So then since I knew my 2 front tires were good, as I have replaced both of them rather recently (this recent flat was my second flat and third tire that needed replacing in 3 years), I was going to just replace the 2 back tires, but I got to Pepboys and they no longer had the same tires that I had previously purchased at Pepboys when replacing my front tires. Then they also had that buy 3 get one free deal, but you had to get at least 3 tires installed for that deal. So we went with that and the guy gave us a discount since they didn't have the other tires which would have been cheaper. So I got better tires for the same price. Now with this deal, I told them to keep the front tires (knowing they were still good), but when my dad went to pick up my car, they had forgotten to put my old front tires in my trunk. They threw them into a huge tire pile and there was no chance in finding my tires, so instead we got another 2 brand new tires. So rather than 4 tires for Christmas, I got 6 and for the price of 3!! Now in case I get another flat, I have 2 spares. Let's hope these tires last their 50,000 mile warranty though and I won't have to replace them for a couple years.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Real or Fake?

No question about it, I choose real. Why? Because I just love the scent of the real tree. I know it's more environmentally friendly to have a fake tree and also saves you money over the years, but I just love real trees! Ever since we got a fake tree at our house 5 years or so ago, I miss the real tree, the smell of Christmas and even the poky needles of the tree when putting on ornaments. I will definitely have a real tree in my future home!

In other news, I had my normal Friday yoga class today and we dedicated our practice tonight to the people in Connecticut. My co workers and I just couldn't believe it when we were reading about it online. It's so sad what is happening in our world. My thoughts and prayers go out to those families in Connecticut and the innocent children. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wrapping paper or Gift Bag

Oops I missed yesterday, Christmas tradition...well I can't really think of any other than going to my cousin's house for Christmas day each year, but sometimes they come to our house too.

Moving onto day 12, wrapping paper or gift bag. I prefer wrapping paper, for both opening presents and giving presents, though sometimes things are tricky to wrap. I love wrapping presents in wrapping paper though!
Also Happy 12/12/12 day!! Hope everyone had a great day!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The smell of Christmas!!

My favorite Christmas scent is the smell of a Christmas tree. That is why I prefer real trees, but we have a fake tree for our house since real trees can be pricey, but I just love the smell of them. I love how at the mall they decorate and put up a giant Christmas tree, it is just the smell of Christmas to me as I walk by them and makes me so happy.
my kind of winter scene

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Easiest person to buy for

Making this post short and sweet since I was so busy today. I went to the movies for the first time in months and saw Playing for Keeps. It was pretty good, probably would give it 4 out of 5 stars. Afterwards I went shopping and got some Christmas cards to go with gifts I have bought already.

I would say the easiest person to buy for is my sister, there is always some sort of make up thing she wants or something which I can easily find.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 8: Christmas Decor

So I would post a pic of our own Christmas tree in our house, but we haven't gotten it decorated yet. The plan is to decorate it tomorrow night, then maybe I'll get a picture with it. So instead, I decided to get a picture off google of a lovely Christmas decorated room that I hope resembles my future house decorated for Christmas.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 7: Most memorable Christmas

So I'm not really sure what my most memorable Christmas was, but Christmas 2010 was fun with my best friend, Mercedes and (at the time) her soon to be husband. There was tons of snow and we had a blast. I have enjoyed the unusual warmth of this December so far, but it is a bit weird that it's raining in December instead of snowing. So let's take a trip back to December 2010:

I can't take credit for this awesome snowman, it belonged to the neighbors, I just had to take a pic with it

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 6: Favorite Ornament

I almost thought I wouldn't be able to blog today because this morning I got up and the internet wasn't working. My dad was on the phone with the company and it was 6:30 in the morning. They said they wouldn't be able to come out until tomorrow, but luckily the internet has returned on its own...for now. I just hope it stays, because last time the internet stopped working out of no where, it took 2-3 weeks for them to fix it.
Anyway onto today's Christmas Blog post. Day 6 is favorite ornament. I'm not really sure I have just one favorite, but seeing as we haven't opened our Christmas tree ornament boxes, the one that comes to my mind as my favorite is my Tweety bird Hallmark ornament. It lights up green and says "I've been weally, weally good this year" and you can turn it and it lights up red and says "I've been a writtle bit bad this year."

Also, today at work we finished up our decorating for Christmas. Yesterday we hung lights and today we put up the garland and decorated the little tree we have. I didn't get a very good photo from my phone, but here it is. 
we are so festive!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 5: Best Gift

My best Christmas gift was my car 3 years ago, it was a Christmas/birthday gift and I also traded my meal plan at school for it, in other words, I decided to pay for my own food and my dad paid for my car, because if you were to add up the high cost of the meal plan for the rest of my semesters at the time when I got my car, it almost covered the entire cost of my car. To me, that was a good trade. It meant I could pick what I wanted to eat at the store and then make myself food.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Favorite Song

Day 4, favorite Christmas song. I'd have to say my favorite song is Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.

Monday, December 3, 2012

No Santa...

Day 3:When/Where did you learn Santa wasn't real?

I honestly have no idea when I realized Santa wasn't real. Maybe it was somewhere around 6th grade or so, probably later than most, but my parents (my mom) was sooo good at being Santa and acting surprise. My parents got gifts from Santa too, so how could I not believe he was real?!? My mom would buy gifts, my dad would buy gifts and they would wrap them and say from Santa. I don't know what happens in other houses, but I don't think parents usually get gifts from Santa. I guess it was a great way for me to keep believing. I also had separate presents that said "from mom and dad." So if I had those presents from mom and dad, I didn't suspect that Santa wasn't real.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2: 2012 Wishlist

December 2nd of the blogging challenge is your 2012 Wishlist. My wishlist is short, but they are expensive items. For this Christmas, I want 4 new winter tires for my car. With having to drive 20 miles to work each day, I am adding miles to my car faster than ever before and in the past 2 years I have replaced 1 tire a year, 1 due to a flat and the other due to it being worn out. It's time to replace all 4 at once.

Item 2: I want a tablet, an android tablet and I've been looking at different tablets for a while, but I want to really make sure I love the tablet I'm getting so that I don't want to replace it after a year or two with something better. Lately I've been looking at the Asus Transformer tablets, since I was able to play with my cousin's during Thanksgiving. Hopefully I'll be able to make a decision soon and make that purchase.

Lastly, this Christmas I get to spend with my boyfriend, Brian. I'm looking forward to it as his family seems to have more traditions than mine and hopefully it will be a lot of fun. Plus I haven't seen him since the beginning of October.

That's pretty much it for my wishlist this year. I've become more practical and think about each purchase I make these days about things I really need versus just buying a bunch of things I want. I'm trying to sell/get rid of a lot of the toys in my closet, because when I do eventually get my own place, it will be small and I just don't need all the stuff I have at home.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Taking the Challenge...

I've decided to participate in the 25 days of Blogging Christmas Challenge from Peanut Butter Jenny. You can check out her blog at PBJenny! I highly recommend her blog! She's a great designer too! Here is the challenge:

So today is December 1st, my favorite Christmas movie is The Polar Express. I remember when it came out in theaters and I went with my family to see it in 3D, definitely one of the best 3D movies I've seen as well.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween cookies

My work held a Halloween Potluck yesterday and you had the choice of donating $5 towards food or bringing a dish. I choose to bring a dish as I had found some cool and creative Halloween treat ideas online. I decided to make tombstone brownies.
I used a basic sugar cookie recipe and hand cut tombstones because I couldn't find a tombstone cookie cutter just by itself anywhere. I then made a batch of brownies and had no idea how I was going to get the cookies to stay in the brownies, but while the brownies were still fresh from the oven, I put them in and put some frosting around them to act like glue to keep the cookies in place. They didn't turn out half bad. If there had been a most creative dish award at my office, I bet I would have won, as most of the desserts were store bought.
The potluck was a lot of fun and it was nice to have such a filling meal for lunch. Usually I just have a sandwich and some granola bars, but I made sure to fill up my plate with meat before adding the sweets on top.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pink Hair for Hope

For the last few years I've looked into getting a pink hair extension for pink hair for hope, but I've just never found a place close enough when I had the time or I get busy and forget. This year I remembered to look up places near by and being at home now I found a place just a couple miles away. I called them up and they had an appointment time open. Next time I definitely have to schedule in advance as they were really busy, but I got my hair extension and am so happy to have it to support breast cancer for the month of October!

My New Appreciation for Fall

The last 4 years, I've been in Buffalo, NY for Fall. I had forgotten how pretty Fall really is outside of a cement and pine tree campus. Sure there were some pretty neighborhoods in Amherst and Buffalo, but I really didn't leave campus much other than to go to the grocery store or the occasional trip out for dinner. Last week, we had such a gorgeous fall day in the 70s and I sat outside to eat lunch along the bike/walking path around my work building.

 We have a nice pond and all the leaves had started to Fall. I enjoyed every second outside that day. Unfortunately since then, it has been in the 50s and 40s and quite windy on top of that, so I usually eat my lunch inside now with a co worker though, so it's nice to have a break to chat about non work related things.

Last weekend, my boyfriend, Brian, came for a visit. I was so much more relaxed with him here. We also got a chance to celebrate our 3 year anniversary. I got him a kindle and a wallet. He surprised me with a diamond heart necklace. I thought he was going to buy a tablet for me, so I was completely surprised and real diamonds! Diamond is my birth stone which I probably constantly remind him of as I've never had any real diamonds. I'm one lucky girl! Love him!

Saturday night we went out for dinner at a stir fry type of restaurant and then we went to see the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which was different from what I expected from seeing the trailer  but we both enjoyed it.

Sunday we went to a pumpkin farm with one of my friends. There was a corn maze and lots of different animals to pet and feed and of course some big pumpkins! We picked out a big and perfect pumpkin. I also did a bridge at the pumpkin patch, because you don't get many opportunities to go to a pumpkin patch. The picture is absolutely priceless with a little girl staring at me like what is she doing? 

aren't we cute?!?

bridge over a pumpkin

Brian carrying our perfect pumpkin

having some fun
So I may not be able to pick apples around here, but at least there was a fun pumpkin farm to go to. A perfect afternoon activity!
Now the pictures of my simple pumpkin carving. One year I'll make a really really cool pumpkin and spend lots of time planning out the picture, but I didn't have a lot of time, so I went simple.
happy pumpkin!

our family pic with our pumpkin
It was a great weekend full of fun to celebrate Fall! Fall is pretty, but I'm still not liking these temperatures outside falling, because winter is right around the corner....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yoga and Reliving Australia through Photos

Today I went to my Friday Vinyasa Yoga class after work. I was told about this class one Friday while I was in the locker room and heard some ladies talking about the store Lululemon and joined in on their conversation mentioning that a store was in Evanston. They told me how great the instructor was and so the next week I checked out the class and I have now gone to 3 classes! I've done quite a few yoga classes with many different instructors and each instructor is different and I feel like most of the yoga classes I've done have been hatha yoga. Vinyasa yoga has definitely become my new favorite kind of yoga and this instructor seriously is AWESOME! Today we started a normal warm up routine with different breathing exercises and then suddenly we were doing some cardio to get moving with some nice workout music that sounded like it could fit into a zumba class. He always makes us laugh while we're in some pose during the class, which often makes the pose much harder. The class time flies by which is good and bad. Good because then I'm not looking at my watch like "omg 45 min left and I'm already sweating like crazy!" and bad because it's just so fun I don't want it to end sometimes. So anyway today we did the bridge pose in yoga and then had the option of doing the wheel pose. The wheel pose is my favorite and what I call a bridge pose. After class the yoga instructor complimented me on my wheel (bridge) pose and my 1 legged bridge as well.
Wheel yoga pose or what I refer to as a bridge pose. This is at Manly Beach in  Sydney, Australia
bridge pose

While I was in Australia in Spring 2011, I made a friend named Jenny who was also studying abroad and she gave me the idea for more interesting pictures. She would do the splits or some other fancy pose. I decided to do a bridge. So each place I went in Australia, I tried to find a place to do a bridge. Since then I have now continued to do a bridge each place I go. So here are some bridges from Australia where it all started...

my 1 legged bridge at the Blue Mountains. I love how the people in the background are like WOW

sand dunes

Sydney Botanic Gardens

Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia
                    My arch in my back definitely improved overtime in Australia and I love doing a bridge everywhere I go now, even if I get weird looks. I think one of my favorite photos was doing a bridge on the glass floor at the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower this summer. I have to admit I was never really scared to step on the glass floor, but doing a bridge and looking at the city upside down is a bit scarier, but makes for an AWESOME picture!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cancer Donation!

I know I've been a terrible blogger lately, I just don't feel like there is much to write about, though I should probably write about my workout schedule sometime soon. My life is pretty much work and working out. I love the accounting department and how I keep learning new jobs in the accounting department. Also it was definitely useful to be a HUD Specialist beforehand so that when I call for HUDs while in the accounting department I know exactly where to verify information.

Anyway this post is about a new blog that just started and I wanted to talk about it. I believe I mentioned another blog I read which is 366 Random Acts. Since I started reading that blog, I've been trying to do my own random acts when I can whether it's a small donation to someone on the street or a fundraiser or even just helping a person out which costs nothing at all.

Throughout the year, there are many fundraisers and events that raise money for cancer research. I know some people who are close to me that have survived cancer or are still fighting and so I like to donate to these events when I can and especially when I know people participating in events. Yesterday I received an email at work from someone who is running in the Chicago Marathon next weekend to raise money to fight cancer. He has started an organization called 52 to 52 to fight cancer. He plans to run 52 races in one year to help 52 people. Today I donated $5 to 52 for 52. I wanted to spread the word to any readers I may have and you can read more about it on his blog

Thanks for reading and I promise to post more soon!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Gerber Generation Photo Search 2012

Hey! For anyone who reads my blog, first I'd like to thank you and I will hopefully have another post shortly after this weekend as I'm planning to head to Michigan to visit my best friend. Also if you could vote for my friend's baby starting on Tuesday September 4th for the gerber baby, I would really really appreciate it. Thanks! Here's the link!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Camping Part 2

Tuesday we decided that we wanted to stay at Rollins Pond for another night, but our site wasn’t available for another night, but there were others open, so we took a drive around and picked one. We stopped at Brian’s house for lunch and then headed back to set up the tent once again.

shaking out the tent to pack it up
Then we went out onto the pond (side note: this pond was bigger than Wolf Lake in NY and the definition of a pond is “a body of water smaller than a lake” according to 
Brian canoed while I kayaked. I have only been kayaking once before in my life and that was on my family trip to Hawaii in 2007, so that was a while ago and I’m not the best kayaker yet. It was definitely quite the workout for my arms. Despite all the working out I do, I clearly don’t work those particular muscles enough. I felt that I got better as we went on.
ripples in the water and the lily pads. just thought it was pretty

me kayaking

We kayaked across and then to one of the islands where we got out and walked around a bit.

BRIDGE on the island

just doing some yoga posing
soaking up the sun. really love how this photo turned out

Then we went around the next island and then headed back. Before we knew it, it was time to start dinner. We had steak, corn on the cob and beans. It was delicious! I then watched a chipmunk finish the few burnt kernels of corn I had left on my cob.
I could have watched this little guy forever. He was so cute!
At sunset, we took out the canoe and kayak again and watched the sun set behind the mountains.

A little later, the stars were out and we did a little star gazing and saw a shooting star. Living near a big city, I don’t get to see many stars, so it was like a once in a lifetime viewing for me. When I told that to Brian he said “next time, we’ll make it twice in a lifetime.” It was a great end to the evening though.

The next morning it was time to pack up and then do a bit of driving and switching cars again as Brian drove me to Albany to leave from the airport. This vacation was just what I needed though. A little getaway into the woods and peacefulness. 

Camping Part 1

As I said, I went camping for a few days in New York. Whenever I mention I’m going to New York to my friends here in Chicago, they automatically think the city and I was nowhere near the city. My train ride was a long 14-15 hrs. Luckily, a nice girl, named Ally, sat next to me when we got on in Chicago and we actually talked for a couple hours before getting some sleep. She was heading home after visiting her mom and siblings who recently moved to Chicago. It was the first time I had actually had a conversation with the person who sat next to me. She was my age though and we talked about college and things. She was only traveling to Indiana though, so her train ride was only 3 of my 14 hrs. I then gave her my number before she got off the train for the next time she is in Chicago.

By the time I got to Syracuse, it was nearly 1pm. My boyfriend, Brian, met me at the train station with a Tim Horton’s iced tea that I had requested. It’s the one place I really miss about New York. We then met up with our friend Marc. We walked around the huge carousel mall, had a late lunch and then went to mini golf. I did terribly in mini golf. I think I have gotten worse as I have gotten older. LOL. We didn’t have time to go to a camp site the first night so we stayed at a hotel in Syracuse.

The next day (Sunday), we headed to a water park in Old Forge, NY. It was a bit chilly in the morning for a water park, in my opinion, but it did eventually warm up. We went on many slides and went around one of the lazy rivers. Brian did a few more things as I soaked up the sun in the afternoon because I was cold for a so long as we waited in lines, though they were short. My favorite 2 rides were the tube slide that is like a toilet bowl. That one I actually screamed as I thought we were going to get stuck and then we went down backwards. Luckily Brian sits in the back and I sit in the front, but I still always worry about flipping over. We also did a race on a mat, though we failed at starting at the same time. It was a “surf” slide because you slide on mats and it’s like you are surfing waves I guess. It was a pretty cool water park. I’d like to go again on a day where it’s warmer than 70 degrees. I’ve been completely spoiled with these 90 degree days this summer that I’m so used to them now and 70 seems cold.

That night we camped at a park nearby. We set up the tent and made a fire so that we could have smores. I have been craving smores all summer it seems, so I finally was able to satisfy my smores craving while camping.

Monday morning, we had pancakes and bacon for breakfast at our campsite. It was delicious! Then it was time to pack up, as we had to check out by 11am.

We then went for a hike up Blue mountain. The hike was 2 miles each way. I’ve never really been on a real hike before and that 2 miles felt more like 5 miles. I thought we would never reach the top. It took us between an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes to get up to the top and unfortunately, it started raining/hailing when we were 20 minutes from the top. I kept pushing through, hoping that the destination ahead would be worth it.
my favorite rock along the hike because I could climb on top and rest LOL

When we finally reached the top, Brian then wanted to climb up the fire tower for the nice view. 
fire tower

the view
However it was quite breezy and since we were soaking wet, it made it really cold. I was also quite hungry and just wanted some food. We had brought a sandwich with us to eat once we got to the top. I climbed down the fire tower and found a spot to sit. The sun was starting to come out finally, so I was trying to get a bit dry.
While I ate, Brian walked around and found a cabin at the top where someone lives for the summer. He got me up and we went over and talked to the guy who lived there. He was living there for school credit. He is a student at SUNY Potsdam and had been living there since July. He is brought water once a month or so and he is allowed one day to hike down to get more food and then hike up. I don’t think I could ever carry all the food I need to live off of, but it was nice to meet him and here about his time on the top of the mountain and he took a pic of us.
of course I had to do a bridge

me and Brian

I think we spent a half hour or so at the top and the sun had come out, but it looked at though another storm was on its way so we decided we better start heading down. The hike up took us about an hour and 45 min or so and the hike down took an hour and 15 minutes. While going down I wasn’t as out of breath, I think it was pretty hard because since it had rained, that made the steeper parts more slippery and so I was trying to be careful and stay flat footed and low to the ground.

I was so happy when I could hear the cars on the road and finally reached the parking lot. It was nice to be able to sit down again and relax. I took a short nap as Brian drove us to his parent’s house. We then ordered pizza and salad for dinner and then switched cars and packed some pillows and more blankets and headed to Rollins Pond to camp that night.