Monday, October 31, 2011

Basket + Sunbeam = Happy Zach


Even better - that's an old afgan that my granny knitted for me. :-)

Happy Halloween everyone!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Discussion
What Came First

One word for this book:  Tangled!

This book was so good! I loved it. The story centered around 3 main characters – Wendy, a mother of twins (a son and a daughter), Laura, a single mom of one son, and Vanessa, a girl in a dead-end relationship (with her boyfriend, Eric) who has a “slight” case of baby fever. 
Wendy and her husband had struggled with fertility issues and she eventually got pregnant via a donor. Laura was a single woman who decided she wanted to have a baby; she also got pregnant via a donor.
{spoiler alert} The whole story unfurls when Laura ends up tracking down the donor that she used when she conceived her son. Guess what? It turns out that the donor is Vanessa’s boyfriend, Eric! Vanessa finds out that Eric was the donor (in the past, in college) and she was miffed…to say the least. Wendy comes into the story because Laura finds her via a Donor Sibling Network, while she is searching for her son’s partial siblings (Wendy’s kids).

All I can say about this story is WHEW. It was so awesome the way the author cleverly intertwined all of the sections! I loved the characters. They were really likeable and real. I found it really easy to relate to all of them. The stories flowed into each other seamlessly, and the book was a real page-turner.
While I was reading this book, I kept trying to put myself into the different women’s shoes. First, putting myself in Vanessa’s shoes was pretty easy. Who hasn’t dated someone that wouldn’t commit (to one thing or another)? I could sympathize with her frustration…but at the same time I probably would have dumped Eric’s butt wayyyy before I hit the 5 year mark!

Putting myself in Wendy’s shoes was terrifying. Basically, her story centers on having two kids that are complete terrors – every potential parent’s worst fear (I’m sure my kids will be perfect angels, duh). Also, she lives out in the middle of nowhere, miles away from her family. Since my family is far, far, away….it made me think! Yikes. My favorite line was in the beginning of the story, when Wendy says, "The psychologist said that...we should take comfort in the fact that they have never killed or tortured any animals." YIKES!
Putting myself in Laura’s shoes was also fairly easy for me, because this idea was something that I’d played with before. Laura is a lawyer with the means to support a child on her own, so she decided to opt for the single mother role. I considered this as a future possibility for myself, if I didn’t end up getting married and I really wanted to have children. Does that sound crazy? LOL nevermind, don’t tell me.

On top of all of these thoughts, the story also really makes you think about what it means to use a donor, be a donor, or be a child of a donor! What a tangled web we weave! And another thing...Wendy's husband is an aerospace engineer, Eric, Laura, and Vanessa live/visit places I know in SoCal, and Wendy is originally from Michigan! It made me laugh that I had these things in common with them! I cracked up when Wendy said, "My body forgot how cold Michigan could be in the fall. I'm wearing a bulky sweater over a thick turtleneck and chain-drinking coffee in my parents' kitchen, and I still can't stop shivering." AMEN SISTER.
I really enjoyed this book!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Pre-Marital Counseling & License to Wed

Recently we spoke to the pastor who is performing our ceremony, and one of his pre-marital counseling activities was to watch  License to Wed, answer some questions, and then discuss our answers together. Then we had to discuss everything with the pastor. It was fun!

Here were the questions that he asked us...what do you think of these?
1. How do you feel about Rev. Frank?
2. What do you think of the idea of having to successfully pass a marriage course?
3. Why would Rev. Frank have her driving in Chicago Traffic with a blind fold and parenting lessons with robotic babies?
4. If you were to design a marriage course for your intended, what would it include?
I thought this movie was pretty hilarious. I liked Rev Frank; I thought he was hilarious. I loved his approach! As for a marriage course...I think it's a pretty good idea. It definitely gets things out in the open that maybe haven't been discussed!

I thought the part with her driving in Chicago traffic with a blindfold was crazy!!! It definitely hammered home his point – which I think was to demonstrate how important it is to effectively communicate! And maybe he had another lesson in mind too…the importance of teamwork. They were going to crash if they didn’t work together!

As a side note, I think the robotic babies were totally creepy and looked like scary little midget men! The part with the guy beating the fake baby was really hard to watch! Even though it was a fake, scary midget man baby, I still thought it was scary! LOL. Am I a total girl or what?

Have you seen this movie?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sophie's Place

A couple weeks ago my friends and I checked out a gastro pub in Redondo Beach called Sophie’s Place. It was really fun! We ordered a TON of food, and there were only 3 of us! We didn’t even leave that much leftover because everything was so yummy.

The inside of the restaurant is really cute and trendy, and has a general gastro pub ambiance. There is an outdoor patio with heaters, and all of the doors to the main dining area open up to make one big area (when it is warm enough). They had most of the doors closed while we were there but there were still some people sitting outside on the patio.

We ordered the Sophie Bites, which were mashed potato tots with cheese and bacon inside – can you say heaven? We also ordered a salad, some sliders, the baked mac and cheese (with bacon and jalapeños) some wings, and the Ma[p] and Cheese – a grilled cheese sandwich with macaroni and cheese and pulled pork inside! Everything was DELICIOUS. I loved that they had four of their burgers offered as sliders – so you could try multiple burgers instead of having to choose only one. Such a great idea! They also have a pretty extensive beer and wine list – and some of the beer is listed on a big chalkboard.
Our service was awesome; everyone there was really friendly and professional (wait staff, bussers, bartenders, etc.). There was a variety of clientele – families (including families with children), groups of all ages, and single patrons sitting at the bar. There was a TV with sports playing – and the waitress informed us that it was happy hour until the end of the game! Bonus!

Overall I’d say this was a really fun, cozy, and yummy little place to try out! Here are some pics – not the best quality because I forgot my camera and had to use my crappy camera on my old, ghetto phone. LOL.





Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Funny :-D
Card from Memory Lane

When I went through a box of stuff I had in my  mom's basement a few months ago, I came across this hilarious card that I gave to one of my big sister's friends....She was kind enough to let her annoying little sister hang out with her from time to time, so some of her friends also became my friends - in a Sara's-Little-Sister sorta way. Here is the card! It cracks me up!




Thursday, October 20, 2011

September Birchbox - Product Review

Here is the link to my original post about my September Birchbox.

LIV GRN C2C Fragrance Collection in Natural – Another Bug Spray Perfume
I’m not a fan of this perfume. It smelled like bug spray, just like 99% of other perfumes that I smell. No thanks! But as I said before, I’m picky about fragrances! I gave it to a friend. :-)

blinc Mascara – Dislike
I wasn’t a fan of this mascara. It was sort of a pain to remove. You have to rub your eyes a lot. Also, I like to wear a mascara that is lengthening as well as volumizing – this one made my lashes look super thin and not long at all! Maybe it was the brush? It did create tubes like I claims to, though.

Incoco Nail Polish Applique – loooove
Nail polish strips just might be my favorite new product evarrrrr! I loved these. They were so fun; I received many, many compliments on them. The blue glitter was dazzling. They stayed on perfectly and only wore down a little bit at the tips. When that happened, I flied my nails down a little and…ta-da! Perfect new manicure! I kept them on for 8 days! And unlike normal polish, they didn’t get dull or anything (normally I apply clear coat every other day to keep my polish glossy and to prevent chips). These were a little harder to apply than the Sally Hansen strips, though. They were sort of hard to peel apart from the plastic strip that they come on. With the Sally Hansen strips, I was able to {creatively} save the unused portion of the strip and then use it on my toes. With these, I couldn’t do that because the unused portion got all bunched up, etc. from trying to peel it from the plastic. I used the foil method to remove them and it worked like a charm! I would buy these if they had designs that weren’t available in the Sally Hansen version.
Jouer Lip Enhancer – Meh
I liked this stuff as a conditioning lip balm, but I didn’t really notice a significant “enhancement” in my lips with this lip plumper. It’s nice, but it didn’t blow my mind. And it didn't taste or smell good like my other lip glosses.

The Lash Card – Meh
This is an interesting idea, but I thought they were too much work for minimal gain. I don’t really have a problem with getting mascara on my eyelids while applying it. If anything I get it on the bridge of my nose a lot more often. And I don’t really have a problem with clumping (they said you could use the edge of these to separate lashes, etc.), because I use a brush that separates my lashes. I do have a friend that uses a safety pin to separate her lashes because she is obsessed, though – so this product might actually be good for her!
Let me refer to you Birchbox...email me at diaryofasmartblonde{at}yahoo.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Engagement Photos Redo Cripes

The resolution on that Shutterfly Slideshow was so bad, I redid it. Cripes.

See what I do for my blog audience?

Here is the link.

Also my photographer is Mishelle Lamarand (Bliss Photography). She's so AWESOME and so incredibly talented.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Aloha from Buster

I went to Hawaii in September {more on that later}, and I brought back a Hawaiian shirt for Buster! Isn’t this so adorable and hilarious?



It has real snaps and everything. J I love the collar, it cracks me up.
Now he has something to wear every Friday, for Hawaiian Shirt Day. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

And the Winner is....

And the winner of the Super Spooky Halloween Scentsy from Heaven Give-away is.....


KATE H.!!!

Thank you to all who participated in my first Give-away! Woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Wednesday :-D
Robbie's Wedding Band!

Robbie and I went shopping for his wedding band the other day - here it is!
Its a white gold band with 1/2 ct total weight in diamonds. We got it from Zales. I was actually really surprised that he wanted a ring with bling. It looks so nice on him, though! I love it. The lighter metal was definitely his style. He tried on a few that were the darker metals – i.e. tungsten carbide and cobalt – and they were not nearly as nice. Even the brushed white gold didn’t look as good as this one did.
We had a lot of fun shopping for his ring, especially when he tried on some rings that made him look like a mob boss. LMAO.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nail Done?

I received some questions after posting about the Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips the other day – mainly about applying them. I have to admit, the pictures that come in the instructions don’t really help a whole lot. So I took a few pictures while I was applying the strips that I got from my Birchbox in September. They’re not the greatest pics I’ve ever taken in my life, but you’ll get the gist. And I was too lazy to retake them. :-)
The first step is to decide which size strip fits your nail the best. Below is a pic of me sizing the strip for my thumb. Then you position it and stick it to your nail.

After that, you peel off the plastic backing from the sticker (the instructions actually tell you to do this before putting it on your nail, but I think it's easier to get it aligned if you leave the plastic backing on while you place it on the nail. Remember Jessi's guest post about the nail polish strips? She gave me the idea.):

The stickers are stretchy, so you can stretch them a little to make sure you cover your whole nail. When you are applying a strip with a design, though, you can’t really stretch it that much or the design looks all wonky (Oh my gosh…I just spell-checked this, and “wonky” is an actual word. I did not know that!).
After you smooth it out, you shmoosh the sticker over the edge of your nail. Yes that is the technical term.
Then you take a nail file and lightly run it along the edge of your nail (just like you would if you were filing your nails any other time).

The excess part of the strip separates and pulls right off. And voila, perfectly painted nails.


Did I mention that you DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THESE TO DRY?! Hallelujah.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moooooommmm....Why do you do this to me?

Observe, Zach in his natural habitat – Secure Position Assumed During Vacuuming. HA!

See him way up there on top of the cabinet?

Zoom

Super Zoom

Every time I even think about getting out the vacuum, he immediately heads for the top of the kitchen cabinets and remains there for a good half hour {or hour}.
What a wimp. J However, I must admit that this reaction is very handy when I am trying to get him out from underneath the bed.

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?  Today's the last day!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Book Discussion
A Long Way Down

One word for this book: Random
This was one of the only books I’ve ready by Nick Hornby that I really didn’t like that much (the other being High Fidelity). This story was about 4 people who went to the top of a building on New Year’s Eve with the plan to kill themselves. They meet each other, and become friends…and the rambling begins.
In this story, nothing much happened…which actually can be pulled off in some books, but in this one I just found it annoying. Everything seemed totally random, there was no climax or many interesting things that happened, and it was often just long-winded chatter from each character’s perspective. As you can imagine, the story was actually pretty dark and sad (as you’d expect for a story about suicidal people).
The things I did like about the book were that it told the story from 4 different perspectives, and the characters were actually really hilarious. Because they were so funny, I had hope when I started reading the book. For examples – here are some lines from the characters:
JJ:
"Okay, you don't know me, so you'll have to take my word for it that I'm not stupid. I read the fuck out of every book I can get my hands on."

Jess:
"I don't know you. The only thing I know about you is, you're reading this. I don't know whether you're happy or not. I don't know whether you're young or not. I sort of hope you're young and sad. If you're old and happy, I can imagine that maybe you'll smile to yourself when you here me going, He broke my heart. You'll remember someone who broke your heart, and you'll think to yourself, Oh, yes, I can remember how that feels. But you can't, you smug old git."
Jess, again:
"People go on about places like Starbucks being unpersonal and all that, but what if that's what you want? I'd be lost if JJ and people like that got their way, and there was nothing unpersonal in the world. I like to know that there are big places without windows where no one gives a shit.  You need confidence to go into small places with regular customers - small bookshops and small music shops and small restaurants and cafes. I'm happiest in the Virgin Megastore and Borders and Starbucks and PizzaExpress where no one gives a shit, and no one knows who you are. My mum and dad are always going on about how soulless those places are, and I'm like, Der. That's the point."

Funny, right? I thought so. And I'm not gonna lie...I have to agree with Jess on that second statement about the shops. LOL. I did laugh out loud many times during the book. But then I found myself getting impatient and distracted because the story really didn’t go anywhere. Boo. And, I would not recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely depressed!
I still love you though, Nick. J And I will still read anything you decide to write.
p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wedding Wednesday
Save the Date!

Since we ended up with some truly amazing engagement photos (coming soon), we are going to use one for our Save the Date! We'll probably also use one for our Christmas Cards this year, too (duh). And....I am going to send them together in the same envelope! How about that for money saving? Ha! Here are some Save the Date designs that I've been eyeing....lucky for me, teal is a pretty popular wedding color! I found them on Shutterfly.
 

Here are the Save the Dates that match the stationary that I posted about last week. They are also super cute! I am in love with the photo card idea, though, so if I went with the bicycle stationary for our invitations, I'd probably skip the design below and order one of the Shutterfly Save the Date designs instead.



Is it too much to send two pictures in one envelope? I.e. one picture on the Christmas Card and one picture on the Save the Date card? Is it like..."here....HAVE SOME PICTURES OF US AND LIKE THEM!" Too much? LOL. I suppose I could just choose one card and have the message include a Merry Christmas and also please Save the Date flavor. That might sound better...LOL. Although, the family always tells me that they love, love, love our photo cards, so maybe they would actually like getting more than one?


p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

September Birchbox

I'm running a little late this month with my Birchbox post....or wait should I say last month? LOL. Here are the products from my September Birchbox.

Inserts, and the box all wrapped up!




LIV GRN C2C Fragrance Collection in Natural:


blinc Mascara:


Incoco Nail Polish Applique (yayyyyyy!):



Jouer Lip Enhancer:



The Lash Card:


Bonus, Birchbox Friendship Bracelet:



Email me at diaryofasmartblonde{at}yahoo.com and let me refer you to Birchbox. Pretty please with sugar on top?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Someone Buy These for Me! JK {wink wink}

Does anyone else think that the logo on these shoes is totally, completely bizarre? I saw them in Sky Mall Magazine the other day. So, so, so strange!
Even weirder, there were reviews on the website, which means people have actually bought these shoes. And worn them. I am assuming they were worn in public. And they were all really good reviews! More power to them...but I'm not sure I'd want to wear shoes with a cartoon swimmer on them. So strange!

Not to mention - they're 120 bucks! YIKES.

p.s. Have you entered the give-away yet?