Saturday, February 27, 2010

Computer Engineer Barbie!

I recently (finally) joined the Society of Women Engineers! One of the great parts about it is that my company sponsors me! Isn't that nice? I think the activities that I am most looking forward to are the outreach activities with young girls. I remember very clearly the first female engineer that I met when I was growing up. She was a mechanical engineer, working for Ford Motor Corp., and she visited my elementary school when I was in 5th grade (not in association with SWE). To say the least, she inspired me! That was the first time I had ever even heard of the profession of engineering. I remember my teacher speaking very highly about her before she came in. He spoke to us about her intelligence, success, and charisma. I loved hearing her talk to us about engineering. She was talking to us about designing these little cars that we were then going to race in a competition among our classmates (my team won!). I think it's safe to say that that interaction of only a couple days had a pretty big impact on my career goals in life.

SWE sends out an email newsletter and I was so excited when I saw this tidbit about Barbie's new career!

The "Barbie...I Can Be"...dolls "empower girls to play out different roles and 'try on' fabulous careers, including computer engineer, the first Barbie profession chosen by popular vote!" They go on to say that she is a "digital diva" and has the perfect "geek-chic" look, with hot pink accessories and sleek gadgets. It also comes with a special code that the girls can use online to get to career-themed content. She comes with a binary code t-shirt, cell phone headset, laptop bag, and pink laptop!!!!!

I love this!!!! How cute is she?! Now I just need to work on designing an Aerospace Engineer Barbie. Ha!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hmmmm....Well...More Sites to Consider Hee Hee!

I was browsing for more wedding reception venues yesterday after I finished writing my post and I came across even more locations that I love. How am I ever going to choose?!

First...the Michigan League Ballroom. Their website won't let me copy the pictures...just below is the only decent picture I could find online. I think it is gorgeous! It doesn't meet one of my categories though...I might have to work with some outside vendors. Not too many though. This would be an option if I wanted a more elegant ballroom for the reception.

The others I found were both golf/country clubs...Pine Trace Golf Club and Polo Fields Golf and Country Club. They are pretty simialr to the one I posted about yesterday. Just below is a pic of the Polo Fields Golf and Country Club. At the Pine Trace Golf Club it would be an outdoor, tented reception. That's risky in Michigan...but it is so beautiful! The only pics are on the Knot website and it won't let me copy them to show you! they are all starting to look the same to me!!!! Well, the golf/country clubs at least. Which I guess makes sense! LOL. I think the decision point for this is probably going to be while I am home. I will probably walk into one of these places and love it, and that will be that. Or, I might have to start making a pros/cons list! For my married readers out did you come to the final decision about your ceremony and reception locations?

Let me just say that if I were really interested in attracting people to hold their event at my location I would be a little better about the information on my website. It's amazing how little information is on some of them, and how poorly it is organized. Hellooooooo! Then again...when I have emailed people they have been very responsive for the most part. Win some, lose some.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Choosing the Venues for Our Wedding Festivities

I've been putting a lot of thought into the location for my and Robbie's wedding festivities. I think this decision is the one that has required the most deliberation. I still haven't come to a conclusion about it considering I haven't seen anything in person. I hope to visit some places while I am in Michigan this spring.

Our first decision was that we definitely wanted to have everything in Michigan, because both of our families and many of our friends still live there. We couldn't imagine having it any other way.'s home! Although...I am not going to times when I have felt stressed about deciding things...eloping sounded pretty good. But only for a few minutes here and there! Ha ha!

I started with a few things in mind for my desires for each location. For the ceremony, my main goal is to have it outdoors, that chairs are provided, and that it is large enough for the number of people attending. I also want to make sure that the back-up location (in case of inclement weather) is acceptable. For the reception, I definitely wanted a hall that has a lot of windows, allows for the number of people attending, falls within our price range, allows for liquor (some places only allow for beer and wine), is nearby the ceremony location, and comes with packages that include enough things that I don't have to organize and find tons of outside vendors. I also like the idea of having an outdoor area available, but this wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker.

I love the idea of having a garden ceremony. Right now I am leaning towards Matthaei Botanical Gardens. There are two locations at the gardens that I love. The first picture below is the Perennial Garden. The second picture is the Gateway Garden. I think they are both absolutely beautiful. Hopefully I love it as much in person as I do in the pictures! My bridesmaid Jackie went to a wedding there and she said it was the prettiest wedding she'd ever been to! It satifies the items I mentioned before. I'm also going to have to consider the peak flowering seasons for each garden (and availability). We haven't officially settled on a date yet, but right now I am leaning towards the end of August 2011.

For the reception, my favorite place that I have found so far is the Stonebridge Golf Club. It fits the items I mentioned previously. The pictures below show the outdoor patio area and the reception hall. I adore this outdoor patio! I love the fact that you can use the patio for the entire reception, and you can also have it set up for a cocktail and appetizer hour at the start of the reception. From looking at the information on their website, it appears that this hall might fit the bill. Of course I need to go see it in person though!

If anyone has words of wisdom about ceremony and reception locations, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bringing Healthy Choices Back Into My Life Full Force

Recently I decided to revamp my entire exercise program and try to incorporate several different activities. For the longest time, I have been simply running outside every day and then training my abs. I noticed that I had started having a really difficult time motivating myself. I have always exercised 6 days a week...and that started to be a rarity (I was hitting about 4 or 5 days a week). I eventually came to the realization that it was difficult for me to stick to this plan because I was unbelievably BORED and I am always traveling! Also, I was always stressed about getting out of work early enough so I could go for a run. I don't like running in the dark alone (for obvious reasons), so a lot of times if I would get held up late at work, that meant I either did a yoga DVD or weight trained with my one set of dumbbells in my living room. Not very appealing, and it's no fun having such limited options.

Also because of all of my business travel, I realized that my normally healthful eating habits had pretty much gone by the wayside. Not to mention, when I am here in California, my office almost always has catered food. This is a nice perk...but not so nice for the waistline!

So, I joined a gym! Now my exercise regimen includes yoga, weight training, kickboxing, zumba, running, abs, and cardio circuit training. I love it and I love having so may options! The gym offers tons of group exercise classes at every location! I adore these classes. My membership allows me to go to almost all of the gym locations. I love the fact that now I never really have an excuse to skip exercising (nor am I limited). Also, the gym I joined has locations in Las Vegas. So, now my exercise will not get derailed while I am out of town visiting Robbie! Hallelujah!

Not only have I revamped my exercise plan...I have also started paying much closer attention to my eating habits. I have gotten back into my former routine of eating healthfully. Although it is definitely difficult to pass up those jumbo sized, gorgeous cupcakes that are constantly in the office kitchen, I have been doing pretty well. I bring my lunch to work more often, and I only allow myself to eat the catered food at work one time a week. I try to make healthy dinners every night. I am still definintely allowing myself to have a cheat day though!

Today I can barely walk because of the kick-boxing class I took on Wednesday night. I went with a girlfriend that I have gotten to know via Meetup. It was so great! The instructor and the music were both really, really fun, and the people in the class get VERY into it so it just made the whole experience extremely energetic. I loved it! And of course I loved it the most because it was an amazing workout! Now that I have re-started working out like crazy and eating healthfully - I remember why I have always lived like this! I feel awesome! Hah!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Discussion: Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr.

This Thursday, my book club will be discussing the novel Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr. I thought it might be fun to have a little discussion about the book on my blog! Click here for a brief synopsis from the Barnes and Noble website. I liked this book. I enjoyed the multiple narrators. I think it adds a whole new facet of interest when the reader gets to experience different mental outlooks. I also really liked the unexpected turns in the plot. I always found myself reaching for this book!

I didn’t care for the portion of the book when Junior essentially becomes an isolated government employee working to try to figure out how to save the world from the comet. It caused the story-line to lose focus on the relationships between the characters, which I like. Also, that portion of the book seemed really far-fetched. That sounds strange because the whole book sounds far-fetched when you think about it!

I thought I’d share some thoughts with you about a few reading guide questions:

When the end of the world is announced, some people decide to remain on the planet instead of taking the opportunity of starting over on a new, artificially created and less than perfect planet. What do you think you would do?

I cannot even imagine having to make this decision. But, I am a huge fan of self preservation (hah) so I believe I would immediately jump on the bandwagon to head to that new planet!! I could NOT even begin to grasp the concept that people wanted to remain on the planet when it was about to be blown up. It was discussed that the new “planet” has several drawbacks, i.e. it doesn’t rotate (therefore part of it is always in the dark and part of it is always in the sun). Even with the drawbacks that were discussed, I just couldn’t imagine even considering passing up the opportunity to LIVE.

Which of the multiple narrators did you most enjoy hearing from? Which did you like the least?

I can’t pick only one narrator that I liked the best! The one character that I didn’t really care for, however, was the mother. Even though I suppose you could consider premise of the book to be a “heavy” subject, people who act hopeless and negative depress me.

How does Junior’s relationship with his family affect his decisions and, ultimately, the fate of the world?

I felt like Junior did everything in this book because of his love for his family and Amy (the love of his life). Isn’t that a lovely concept? I thought so.

Perhaps the most content character in this novel is Rodney after his brain is damaged by an early drug addiction. Do you think ignorance is really bliss?

When it came to the subject matter of this book, I am not so sure. If you are ignorant you may miss out on hearing horrible things, but you also miss out on realizing the wonderful things in life. Then again, some things that are horrible I don't really want to know. For example, a friend once told me about another person speaking negatively about me. I was glad I knew not to be friends with the person, but after that I asked my friend to keep the information to himself. Why did I need to know the awful things this person said about me?

The novel’s argument is announced in its title: Everything matters. Did the author convince you of this conclusion?

I don’t know that anything could ever convince me otherwise!

Friday, February 05, 2010

It’s a Good Thing I Enjoy Making Decisions

My goodness…I always knew that planning a wedding required a lot of thought but I guess I never truly realized how many decisions were involved until I started planning my own! Once I started doing some deep thinking about the information I wanted to include in this post…I realized that it’s not going to be just one post! I’d be spending my entire afternoon writing! So…I suspect there will likely be a series of posts dedicated to the topic of planning my and Robbie’s wedding!

Can I first say that I am having lots of fun planning things already? I have always loved entertaining and having people over my house for get-togethers, and this is just amplifying everything! It’s a good thing I have quite a while to save! So. Where to begin? That is the same question I asked myself when I starting thinking about planning!

Who…When…Where? Answering those questions sounds like a good place to start.

I consider myself very fortunate to have my very best girlfriends by my side while Robbie and I are saying our vows. I have asked Tiffany, Sara (my sister), Jackie, Chrissy, and Lindsay to stand up as my bridesmaids (shown in listed order in the pics!). My sister is my Maid of Honor. Since she is getting married this summer….I guess that means she is actually going to be my Matron of Honor. I am not so sure about that term. It sounds old…don’t you think? I might just still call her my Maid of Honor! And of course, Jackie's daughter, Sydney, is going to be my flower girl!

As for guests, I think we are going to have somewhere around 100-150 guests. We’re still working on the guest list. I am hoping we can feasibly keep it to this range because I envision a smaller, personal wedding and reception. It just seems more our style. I read on that 10-20% of the guests you invite don’t end up coming. They also had these suggested rules for trimming down your guest list:

Rule #1: If you have never spoken to, met, or heard the name of a particular guest, he gets cut, even if dad swears they're close as clams.

I love this rule. Definitely following this one! I actually haven’t even really consulted my parents about who they’d like to invite. My sister did ask my mom for a list though, and she shared her list with me (so I guess that is sorta the same thing).

Rule #2: Anyone whose bedtime occurs before 9 p.m. will miss the cake cutting, so don't feel bad about nixing all the under-12-year-olds.

I’m not so sure about this one. I think I will be okay with the kiddos being there. Plus…how does that work with the flower girl? She’ll be just shy of 3 years old at that point. And there is no way I would want to cut my soon-to-be nephews from the list!

Rule #3: Single friends who want to bring a significant other only get an "and guest" if they've been in the relationship for a year or more (or live with the person).

Ugh. I am not sure I like this rule either. I have been to weddings as a singleton and I had a blast, but I know some people think going to a wedding without a date sucks.

Rule #4: It's your party – if you don't want them there, don't feel guilted into sending an invite, even if you were invited to their wedding or they are friends with lots of people who will be invited.

I love this rule! I have talked about this with Lindsay already and she said, “It’s your party! Invite and don’t invite whoever you want!” Plus, I am not sure how others feel, but being invited to a wedding for people that I am not that close with is not always the greatest experience. Not to sound cheap, but weddings can be expensive! Especially if travel is involved! Then again I guess it is just as simple to decline and only send a gift.

Anyone else have some words of advice when it comes to the guest list?

Wow. I guess the When and Where are going to have to wait until another post!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thoughts I've Been Pondering

Well hello everyone! I cannot believe it has been almost two months since I have written on my blog! I think that might be the longest I have gone without blogging since I started ‘er up in 2004! Now that I think about it…that is a lot of writing! Holy cow!

I have actually been putting a lot of thought into my blog lately…and I think who started it all was Fitzalan. I think she might smile when she reads this.

I am an avid reader of her blog, Happiness Awaits. Reading her blog, her thoughts about writing, and her thoughts about blogging specifically really made me think about my blog a lot. I have always just written whatever popped in my head at the moment when it came to my blog. I also found that often I was just rattling off a list of activities that I did the day or week before. While this is nice for me to later read and look back at (hmmm I wonder what I was doing on February 4, 2005?)…I decided that I might want to start having more focused topics for my posts.


Well that puts me in a conundrum considering this is the first time I have actually thought of my blog as more than just random thoughts that come up when I opened the blogger homepage. So, today I spent some time thinking about and researching some topics that I may like to write about. It was exciting. I do really love to write.

The only obstacle that I can see in this approach is that I may not have time to write every day now. But, what is better – quality or quantity? Maybe on the days I don’t have much time I will just write whatever pops in my head! How about that for variety?