Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

The next time you hear from me it will officially be 2012.

Happy New Year, dear friends (which sounds more intimate than the truth--Happy New Year dear people I've never met).

Be safe.

Be peaceful.

Be thankful.

(If you want to know what to wear on New Year's Eve, I've already given you 3 fashion formulas.  Click THIS LINK to see them).

Best wishes to a happy end of 2011 and a blessed 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things I Love: Taking Down Christmas Decor

No.  I'm not a Grinch--I just love the feel of getting the house back to "normal."

When it comes to Christmas, I have more decorations than are necessary for three houses, let alone one.  But never fear, I put up every bit of my Christmas stuff the week before Thanksgiving and keep it up as long as possible.  It practically looks like someone threw up red and green in my house.  It's very Christmasy.  Buddy the Elf would be at home in my home during the holidays.

But "as long as possible" is roughly until December 27th.  You see, tons of lights + tons of decorations + tree + 2 type-A neat freaks = imbalance.  A couple of days after Christmas Matt and I start twitching.  We are ready for the Christmas clutter to be gone.  We are ready for clean lines, open spaces, and good chi for the house (not that we know what chi is or whether or not the house needs it).

So bright and early Tuesday morning I gathered up snowmen and Santas.  I packed up lights and advent calendars.  I put away Christmas serving dishes and the last of the wrapping paper.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

As much as I adore my Christmas decor, I must say that I love putting it away.  Anyone else just get a feeling of peace and relaxation from taking down their holiday decor?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What I Think About: 2011

All good things must come to an end {which is never more sad than when I take the last bite of cheesecake}.  Of course the bright side to that is all bad things must come to an end.  And thus, on that note, I say goodbye to 2011 which has pretty much been the hardest, most heart-breaking, and disappointing year of my life.

Bus catching fire. Surgery.  Those 2 weeks waiting for cancer results.  Lingering illness and then death of my mother.  The "how do you forgive yourself?" incident.  Prolonging my Ph. D yet another year (thanks to a difficult department head who thwarted my research) ... when I look through my pity-party sob story, I get pretty mad at 2011.  Of course I know the year didn't actually cause the problems.  It's just an innocent bystander.  Yet, it will serve as the whipping boy for all bad things in 2011.

Anyone else ever feel like giving 2011 the middle finger salute?

Now, before I get too down, I want to actually remember the beautiful things that happened this year.

I got to take my children to Cozumel.

I got my nose pierced

I had an up-n-coming hair designer practice on my hair.

I got to go to Las Vegas ...

... Two times

I got to drive go carts that went ridiculously fast

I got my kids in a photo with the cutest rabbit on earth

I got a new sister in law who is as delightful as she is beautiful

I got to articipate in a grime war

I got to watch my oldest friend at a Roller Derby bout

I got to see my four favorite friends become moms again (the 4th isn't in the photo BUT she adopted a newborn in October!)

Kid Rock, INXS, The Airbornne Toxic Event, Band of Horses, Motley Crue... so many fun concerts (not to mention getting to hang with one of our fave couples!)

Finding this old children's rhyme probably made my year.

I got to really say goodbye to my mom--never easy but so much harder for those who don't get to send their loved ones away "right".  

I have a big sister who is there for me.  There when it's good.  There when it's bad.  

I learned the moon phases by eating Oreos

For Halloween I got to be David Bowie from Labyrinth 

My sister and I got memorial tattoos for mom
I got to spend time on a secluded section of Lover's Beach in Cabo San Lucas

I got to shoot a hand gun

I celebrated another anniversary and Christmas with Matt.
Looking back on 2011 through pictures made me remember a quotation from my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  It's as if Clarence was speaking directly to me.

You see, Reagan, you've really had a wonderful life.

What I think about 2011 is it has been--hands down--the worst year of my life but God's hands and His blessings are evident--everywhere.  Even the worst was pretty good.  And that's what I call GRACE.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Days of Play: New Year's Crafts

Feeling crafty?

Oh good.  Then you'll like some of these New Year's crafts you can do with your kiddos.

First up--Resolutions.  I mean, what would a New Year be without a resolution?  Help your kids set one goal for the year.  They can write the goal and illustrate it.  You can laminate it with contact paper or turn it into a magnet.  So cute!


Kiddos too young for resolutions?  Then make a sparkly ball a la Time Square.  All you need is a foam ball, some ribbon, buttons/sequins, craft glue, and a willing artist.
If you have older kids (or a lot of energy), plan a NOON Year's Eve party together complete with noise makers, party hats, and balloons.  When the clock strikes noon, make a big ruckus then eat Uncrustables.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Music Monday: Backnbloom

Electric violin.

You know that sappy, crappy line from Jerry Maguire "You had me at hello?"  Ya well, when Lori of Backnbloom introduced herself as the lead singer and electric violinist I practically shouted (in e-mail), "You had me at electric violin."

Have I mentioned I love electric violins?  Heck, I love violins electrified or not.  {Sigh}  How do I have no musical talent?  I blame my parents, really.  Them or my lack of "practice your instrument" discipline.

Self-pity aside, my hot husband and I sat down to give Backnbloom a listen and you know what?  We love the electro-pop duo.  While I normally like to give you a sound comparison--I simply can't with this band.  I mean, their sound is MGMT{ish} but so much more poetic ... more intricate and complex ... Really, I can't find a truly adequate comparison.

Do you know what this means (aside from the fact that I'm practically speechless and that hardly ever happens.  You should feel bad for my husby!)?  It means you need to watch this sick vid and get acquainted with BACKNBLOOM!

Total side note--How many of you think that video idea--the paint, the fun, should be a date night? Hello messy fun (that requires a couple's shower!)

Here's a live vid of Heed the Flashes (excuse me for saying this but Lori is like the cutest hot chick ever!)

Still want more? Check out Backnbloom on soundcloud.  My personal faves: The Feel and Start Again.

Of course if you are sold, go to BACKNBLOOM's website and buy their digital album Music for the Modern Monkey.  Honestly, I don't think your New Year's Eve music mix will be complete without a little something from Backnbloom.  Just sayin'.