Tag Archives: bri the blogger

A Letter From The Tot

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IMG_2593Well folks, today is my 10 month birthday. Can you believe I’ve been around for 10 months? Do you even remember what your life was like before I was here? Probably not. Anyways, I know my mom usually writes these updates but having your mom write your monthly updates is for babies, and I’m practically a full grown boy at this point, so I’ve hijacked her blog to tell you what life is like as the Crown Prince of the Alexander household.

First things first, I’m the realest. I don’t know what that means but the teen says it all the time so I’m guessing it’s cool. I’ve got three teeth and the fuzz on my head has gotten thick enough to be considered hair. Very fine hair, but hair nonetheless. I’m about 18lbs and a little under 29 inches long. And my head is huge. I need it to be huge so I can store all my thoughts. Thoughts about that baby that randomly pops up on the wall and does exactly what I do. I also like to think thoughts about how funny my dad is. If he had boobs that dispensed milk he would be cooler than mom. Speaking of mom, I’m trying to figure out how to get her to stop wiping my face after every meal. And then there is the most pressing thought of all, one that consumes my giant head at all hours of the day “how can I get my hands on all the electrical appliances?”

I’ve gotten a lot more mobile this past month. I still don’t crawl in the traditional sense, but I have figure out how to get from point A to point B with rolling, butt scooting and this complicated inchworm maneuver that involves a lot of laying down and sitting back up. A lot of my friends are doing this thing where they use their feet to get around. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I like to use my feet to help me hold things, like my bottle, books and the baby wipe dispenser.

Mom just peaked over my shoulder and told me to tell you guys that I only wake up once during the night and that I take regular naps in my bed now. I think sleep has got to be one of the most boring stupid things to write about, but apparently mom talks to you guys about it quite often. I’m sorry about that. I’ll try to get her to come up with some more interesting material.

Hey have you guys heard of Dr Seuss? That guy is a freakin genius. He gets me. When I read “The Shape of Me and Other Stuff” I’m suddenly so aware of the shapes all around me and I just feel so alive! And, omg, “Mr Brown Can Moo” is so inspiring. If Mr. Brown, a mere mortal, can learn to make all those animal sounds, surely I can learn to drink from a sippy cup.

We have a four legged creature in the house named “dumb.” At least that’s what mom calls her. She’s so funny. I love to pull her fur and her ears. She told me she’d let me do it as long as I drop food for her from my high chair. And not just the vegetables, I have to be sure to give her the good stuff like avocado, banana, blueberries and cheese.

Momma and daddy always tell me that I’m very social. I think that has something to do with how much I like to talk and interact with people. I’m quite the charmer. The other day the whole family went out and momma and uncle Austin got a free cinnamon roll. The waitress said she gave it to them because I was so cute. A few days later I was swinging at the park and struck up a conversation with the toddler next to me. At first she tried talking to me with those silly words that adults always use, but when she realized that I didn’t understand she went back to her native language of coos, screams, grunts and random consonant sounds.  She was a lovely girl and just one of many nice random people I meet on a daily basis.

Well I better wrap this up. Thanks for reading this and for staying up to date on my life these past 10 months. My mom will be back tomorrow sharing who knows what. But hey, if you like an article that she writes, would you do her a solid and share it on your Facebook or Twitter? She’s really trying to make this blog thing happen. Personally, I wish she would focus on other things, like finding a way to change my diaper without forcing me to lay still for 5 seconds. But this blogging thing seems to make her happy, so if you wouldn’t mind sharing an article or two that would be swell. Happy mommies make happy babies. Talk to you later!

-The Tot

I present to you, the dining room

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For months, the dining room looked like this

dining room remodel

 

But today, it looks like this
condo remodel

No more tools and paint cans everywhere! I can actually see the beautiful hardwood floor that Mr installed. Next project is to clean out the cupboards and put in new shelf paper so that we can start tackling the mountain of boxes filled with kitchen stuff.

orange county home remodel

 

100 Things To Do Instead of Play On Your Phone

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Today is the first official day of summer for the teen, and this will be the first summer that I watch her and the Tot. There are some unique challenges that come with keeping a 10 month old and a nearly 12 year old entertained. First off is the whole napping thing. I’ve finally got the Tot to take some what regular naps and to take them in his bed instead of in the baby carrier, however, his natural nap time is late morning. The teen loves to sleep in so as soon as she wakes up, the Tot goes down for a nap and we can’t get out of the house till about 2. So I’ve got to find ways to keep each of them occupied at home while the other one is sleeping. When we finally do get out of the house, I’ve got to make sure that we are going somewhere that is interesting to both kiddos. Well honestly, every place is interesting to the Tot but I’ve got to come up with places where it won’t be a pain to have him there. And on top of all that, there were volunteer hours to fulfill and summer camps to sign up for.

With all that in mind, I created two lists of summer activities, one for the Teen and one for the Tot. You’ll notice that the one for the Teen is considerably longer, it’s not because I love her more it’s just that a majority of the Tot’s day is still made up of eating, pooping, napping (or fighting a nap depending on the day) and throwing things across the room. I share these lists with you below, feel free to use them for your own family and tell me what you did. And if there are any activities you think we’ll love, tell me about them!

100 Things To Do Instead of Play On Your Phone

Things To Do At Home Alone

  1. Read a book or magazine
  2. Read a poem
  3. Walk the dogs
  4. Write a letter/email to your pen pal
  5. Make a collage for your room
  6. Make dinner
  7. Practice batting
  8. shoot hoops
  9. play with the Tot
  10. play the Wii
  11. Watch a movie you’ve never seen before
  12. Do some scrapbooking
  13. Do your summer homework
  14. Write in your journal
  15. Write a letter or journal entry in Spanish
  16. Play online math games
  17. Learn a magic or card trick
  18. Take pictures and play with picture editing software
  19. Decorate your room
  20. Do a painting on canvas with acrylic or water paint
  21. Go online and find instructions for paper airplanes. Test them and see which one works the best
  22. Add things to your joy jar
  23. Make your own board game
  24. Mix and Match painted rock faces http://teachbesideme.com/mix-match-painted-rock-faces/
  25. Make a homemade lava lamp http://slsmithphotography.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/06/lava-lamps-summer-fun.html
  26. Make paper flowers http://spoonful.com/crafts/10-pretty-paper-flower-tutorials#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=4
  27. Do a craft with Duct Tape http://www.bystephanielynn.com/2012/02/45-creative-duct-tape-crafts-projects-saturday-inspiration-ideas.html
  28. Learn origami
  29. Write a letter to people in the persecuted church https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/write/
  30. Make a time capsule and bury it in the backyard

Things To Do At Home With Friends

  1. Gather a few random props, then write and perform a play using all those props
  2. Make edible playdough
  3. Have an at home day spa with facials, manis and pedis
  4. Go swimming
  5. Wash Brianna’s car
  6. Make bleach or tie dye t-shirts
  7. Host a food drive and collect food for a local shelter
  8. Go on a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood or the mall
  9. Bake a tasty treat
  10. Play jumprope or chinese jumprope
  11. Play board games
  12. Choreograph a dance to your favorite song
  13. Hide something in the house and make a treasure map for your friends to find it
  14. Draw with sidewalk chalk
  15. Make homemade icecream
  16. Host your own backyard Olympics with events like three legged race, water balloon toss, hula hoop contest and limbo
  17. Have a Christmas in July party. Decorate cookies, make gifts, sing Christmas carols and draw a poster board Christmas tree
  18. Play freeze tag, tv tag or regular tag
  19. Have a shaving cream fight
  20. Cover your extremities in shaving cream and have a partner toss cheese puffs on you. Whichever team gets the most cheese puffs to stick wins
  21. Play outdoor tic tac toe http://www.aturtleslifeforme.com/2011/06/wrapping-up-school-year.html
  22. Have your friends bring some of their clothes and accessories over, mix and match to make new outfits and have a fashion show.
  23. Make bouncing polymer balls http://chemistry.about.com/od/demonstrationsexperiments/ss/bounceball.htm
  24. Do the milk, soap and food coloring experiment
  25. Do the melting ice experiment http://artfulparent.com/2012/07/melting-ice-science-experiment-with-salt-liquid-watercolors.html
  26. Dancing Oobleck experiment http://www.housingaforest.com/dancing-oobleck/
  27. Experiment with some new hairdos http://www.byrdie.com/easy-summer-hairstyles-2014/slide5
  28. Go around the neighborhood and collect canned and boxed food to donate to a local food bank
  29. Play steal the bacon
  30. Play Farkle
  31. Play hurry and eat the candy bar http://oneshetwoshe.com/2014/05/8-family-games.html
  32. Write inspiring cards to kids that are in the hospital
  33. Organize a swim for MS fundraiser
  34. Play charades
  35. Have a water balloon/ squirt gun fight in the front yard

Things To Go Out and Do

  1. Go for a hike to take pictures
  2. Go bowling
  3. Have a picnic at Irvine Regional Park
  4. Go to the beach to swim or play volleyball or fly a kite
  5. Go to the park
  6. Do a beach clean up
  7. Ride the orange balloon at the Great Park
  8. Visit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
  9. Kidnap Grandma Carol and take her to lunch
  10. Go to the softball fields to play kickball
  11. Go to the tennis courts at Brianna’s house to play tennis
  12. Visit Bowers Museum
  13. Visit the Nixon Library
  14. Go on an alphabet tour. Take your camera and take pictures of things that start with each letter of the Alphabet. Or take photos of the actual letters. You can journal them and create a book, or print out the letters that spell your name and hang them in your room
  15. Go to the Santa Ana Zoo and photograph or draw the animals
  16. Wade through the tidepools at Tablerock Beach in Laguna
  17. Go to Big Air Trampoline park
  18. Go to Knotts Berry Farm
  19. Go to Knotts Soak City
  20. Bring a camera to Fullerton Arboretum and take cool nature photos
  21. Tour Heritage House Park in Lake Forest
  22. Go to Boomers for mini golf, laser tag, arcade games, go karts or the small water park
  23. Go to Zoomar’s petting Zoo
  24. Explore the San Jaoquin Wildlife Sanctuary
  25. Have lunch and go shopping in Downtown Orange
  26. Go to the Long Beach Aquarium
  27. Visit the Queen Mary
  28. Balboa Fun Zone
  29. Paddle Boarding in the Dana Point Harbor
  30. Have tea at the OC Mart Mix
  31. Go to the  dollar book store for new books
  32. Go to a park and play frisbee golf
  33. Volunteer at El Toro Library
  34. Go fishing
  35. Go to a Farmers Market

 

Things to do with a 9-12 month old

  1. Play with edible playdough
  2. Put pipe cleaners through the holes of a strainer
  3. Stick his toys to the floor with duct tape and have him help me pull them off
  4. Put different types of toys and household items in a box or bag and have him pull the items out
  5. Paint on the sidewalk with water and paintbrushes
  6. Bubbles
  7. Put scarves in an old tissue box and let him pull them out
  8. Play copycat. Do simple motions and have AJ copy, or copy what AJ is doing
  9. Play catch. Roll the ball to him and encourage him to pick it up and throw it back
  10. Play hand over hand. Put your hand down, then AJ’s on top, then mine, then his. Then move my hand on top of his, his on top of mind, etc
  11. Put him on a blanket and drag it on the floor
  12. Let him rip apart an old magazine or catalog
  13. Play peek a boo
  14. Read a story
  15. Play with ice cubes
  16. Play with tupperware, wooden spoons and plastic ladle
  17. Swim
  18. Crank up the music and dance around the house
  19. Shine a flashlight on the wall or floor and have him watch it and chase it
  20. Build a simple fort and let him play in it or read stories in it
  21. Play with stuffed animals and have them talk to him

 

Young House Crap

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Have you ever read the blog Young House Love? It’s written by this husband and wife who started fixing up their home and blogging about it. Their blog got super popular, they wrote a book, its a like a whole thing. When Mr and I started working on our condo I had visions of our life being just like Young House Love. DIY is like crack to Mr, so he would organize all these projects and I would happily help him out, all while taking photos and blogging witty comments. Then we would become famous and our awesome blog would pay off our condo, so then we could rent it out and buy a bigger house and perform bigger DIY projects and everything would be magical and awesome.

Ya, that’s not happening.

As it turns out, I’m HORRIBLE with DIY projects. I mean, I’ve always known they weren’t my forte, but good grief do I suck. Part of the problem is that I have a blind minds eye. You know how some people can just look at a space and picture everything that should go there. I cannot. I see nothing with my minds eye, ever. This infuriates Mr to no end because it always doubles his workload. He can’t just say “hey what do you think of this?” He has to find a picture or draw it out, otherwise I just stare at him blankly and then ask if my post baby butt can still pull off these jeans. Or worse, I pretend like I know what he is talking about, agree to it, and then immediately hate it once it’s done.

Another issue is my tendency to create more work for Mr. For example, the other day I was hanging shelves in the bathroom but I put the anchors in the wrong place.We had to take them out and replace them, leaving two gaping holes in the wall that we will have to fill and paint over. I feel like that one greek god sentenced to eternally roll a giant rock up a hill. The projects are never ending.

Here are the holes I was telling you about. I would also like to point out that as soon as I got up to take this picture, my son started crying.

Here are the holes I was telling you about. I would also like to point out that as soon as I got up to take this picture, my son started crying.

Then there is the perpetual indecisiveness. I’m not usually an indecisive person but for some reason, making any sort of decision about our humble home takes me forever. It took 3 months to decide on a living room paint color. That’s more thought than I put into deciding what college to go to. And Mr is no help. He is one of those people that researches the death out of things. I think we’ve come to a decision on something and then he watches another YouTube video and gives me an entirely new option that wasn’t even on the table early. “But this might be better,” he says. Honestly, I don’t care. Even if our original decision is going to kill us all, we are sticking to it because I will loose what little mind I have left if you force to make yet another decision. JUST DO WHAT I SAY, MAN!

Of course what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t blame some of this on the kid, right? As I sit here blogging, he is happily playing with his toys. But if I were to get up and, heaven forbid, try organizing my room or the kitchen, he would start to pitch a fit. Apparently toys are only meant to be played with when mommy is within a two foot radius. Otherwise they become garbage. Plus, he just creates a lot of extra work. I have to feed him a million times a day, grocery shop to get the food to feed him a million times a day, work a full time job to pay for the food that feeds him a million times a day, change his diapers, read him stories, fight with him about naps, and wash his adorable little clothes. And after all that I’m supposed to muster up the energy to repaper the kitchen cupboards? No Thank You.

So, our life is nothing like Young House Love. It’s more like Young House Fall Asleep On The Couch When I should Be Washing The Windows. And yet, I honestly couldn’t be happier. We are homeowners! That’s incredible! And even though its been a slow process, we’ve actually made a lot of progress on the condo and we love everything we’ve done so far. More importantly, I get to build a home and life with my two favorite people.

And to show you that I’m not just full of cynicism and do have very positive feelings about the house, I will share photos of my favorite room in the house- the bathroom!

Hobby Lobby for the win!

I love these decorations. Hobby Lobby for the win!

grey and yellow bathroom

It took us FOREVER to find a vanity that we liked, that wasn’t huge and that fit the weird piping in the bathroom. It was worth the wait, we love it. And no, that white patch on the wall isn’t some sort of artistic statement. Mr had to patch the wall and we haven’t painted over it yet. Might as well wait till we do the holes

I don't know if you've ever searched for a grey and yellow shower curtain, but let me tell you, they are not easy to come by. I would have preferred a little more yellow but couldn't find one that I loved. I do like this one a lot, it looks nice and it will work until that magical day that I find the curtain of my dreams

I don’t know if you’ve ever searched for a grey and yellow shower curtain, but let me tell you, they are not easy to come by. I would have preferred a little more yellow but couldn’t find one that I loved. I do like this one a lot, it looks nice and it will work until that magical day that I find the curtain of my dreams

Yelling, Loosing and Other Reasons I Don’t Like Sports

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I’m not a huge fan of sports. Yes, I do love the Angels and as soon as Kobe retires my mild interest in the Lakers will be rekindled. And it’s not that I think sports are bad. On the contrary, I think it’s a great way for the hyper competitive people of this world to get out all their crazy so their road rage doesn’t interfere with my morning commute. Sports are great. I just don’t like them.

First off is the yelling. When I was a kid attempting to play sports, my best (and only) asset was my attitude. I was all smiles and cheers from the dugout, but the second my coach yelled it was all over. Most of the time he wasn’t even yelling at me, but the mere act of raising his voice a few octaves caused a dramatic meltdown.

In addition to the yelling, there is the loosing. In real sports, there is a winner and a loser. Some modern parents are trying to take that away and make everyone a winner with atrocious participation ribbons. That’s crap. Remember what I said about the hyper competitive people? They can’t get out the crazy if there isn’t a winner or a looser. So I support the existence of winners and loosers, I just don’t want any part of it. If I loose I feel like crap, if I win someone else feels like crap. i support smiling, not crap. At the end of the game we all get a snack anyways, so what’s the point?

Third is the hand eye coordination. If you have it, sports come easy to you. If you don’t have it, you end up with a giant black eye right before your singing debut as spy #12 in the church musical. But don’t worry, you power through because while you may not be competitive, you are an attention whore and not only do you sing your 11-year-old heart out but you also milk that black eye for all the sympathy it’s worth.

And lastly is the physical effort. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that my tolerance for physical activity has grown over the past year. But still I don’t have near enough motivation to bust my butt multiple times a week on a court or field. I’d rather just strap on some ankle weights, walk through the mall and call it a day.

So for those of you who play and/or enjoy sports, kudos to you! While I may never understand it, I appreciate your passion and when my future children express some inexplicable interest in competitive game participation, I will send them your way. Meanwhile I’ll stick to artsy crap like writing. Because when I write, I’m happy, you’re happy, my boss is happy, my husband is happy because I’m his sugar momma and writing pays the bills, and everyone is a winner.

Now isn’t that nice?

The Successes and Failures of my 30 for 30 Plan

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So I had every intention of updating all of you on my 30 for 30 progress every day…or at least once a week. And yet, here we are on October 25 and I haven’t given a single update. Shame on me. I’ll give you guys a brief recap, a funny story and then send you on your way.

In case you don’t remember, my “30 for 30” plan involved two goals. First, to exercise for 30 minutes every day. The second goal was to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies 6 days a week, hence giving me 30 servings. I have not been very good at keep up with the veggies and fruit. I’ve definitely eaten more than normal, but rarely have I gotten to 5 servings a day. I can usually get in three servings pretty easy. I make smoothies in the morning with two servings of fruit and sometimes vegetable juice. Then I eat a vegetable with my lunch. But by the time dinner rolls around, I’m super tired and don’t give a rat’s butt about being healthy. So unless 1 of the 5 other adults I live with has made dinner with some vegetables in it, I’ll usually just eat a pb&j, gulp a glass of chocolate milk and vow to try harder the next day. But it’s not all bad news on the veggie front. I told my master chef husband about my plans and he has made an effort to find more recipes with veggies in them, so that we aren’t just eating plain raw veggies every night (i know that’s healthiest but its so boring!). So we are definitely changing our eating habits, its just a slow process.

The exercising part of the plan has been much more successful. In the past 25 days I’ve only missed 5 days of exercising. Two of those were because I was super tired and genuinely believe that my body needed a rest. One of those days I missed exercising because I didn’t plan my day right, and the last two days were missed because of pure laziness. Now, this may not seem like a success to any of you, but to me it’s huge. I’m notorious for coming up with great ideas, starting to act on them, and then not following through. So the fact that I got back on track even after missing a few workouts is huge for me. I think that learning the discipline of working out has been more beneficial to me than the actual workouts. The workouts themselves have not been that hard (except for my boot camp classes that I started this week. But more on that in a minute) but making time to work out everyday has been. I’m really hoping that this newfound discipline carries over into other areas of my life, such as daily devotions and blogging. I may have to come up with another 30 for 30 plan for those…

And now for the funny story I promised you. So, I signed up for boot camp classes for the same reason everybody signs up for anything they’ve never had a strong desire to do…I found a Groupon. I figured it would be a good and fairly cheap way to step up the intensity of my workouts. “Step Up” is an understatement.

Day one was super intense. It was a lot of cardio and some weight training. We worked every part of the body so when it was done, I was left with a dull ache over my whole body. But, it really wasn’t that bad so when they told me to come back the next day, I listened. Ho-ly crap. Day two we focused on thighs and butt. I don’t think I’ve ever done so many lunges and squats in my life. The last round of lunges the instructor had to hold my hand because it was physically impossible for me to continue on my own. After fifteen minutes of that torture, the instructor told us to sprint across the room. His exact words were “go as hard as you can the first four steps, then slow it down the rest of the way.”

Here’s the thing about this boot camp class. I paid good money for it. Even thought it was a Groupon and way cheaper than normal price, it was still $50. That’s a pair of boots I could have gotten for my New York trip. So because I spent my hard earned money on exercise, you can bet your booty I was going to work out as hard as I could, as often as I could, and get the most out of that month. So when Instructor Steve told me to go as hard as I could the first four steps, that’s what I did. Only I didn’t make it four steps. I only made it two. And then my legs completely gave out and I fell. Crumpled to the floor. The weight of my huge ass was just too much for my jello legs. Instructor Steve said that was a great display of motivation. I said that I’d been scammed and boots would have been a better option.

After all that, I still had 15 minutes of class left with running and crunches and leg lifts. I could barely walk or sit for two days. But I went back this morning, so ya me! I can guarantee there will be more boot camp stories to share. Until then, have a wonderful night my friends!

52 Date Night Ideas

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Two weeks ago I went to my best friend’s bridal shower and presented her with a book of 52 Date Night Ideas, one for every week of her first year of marriage. Here is a list of the ideas I gave her. Do you have any other great date night ideas? Share them in the comments below!

Anytime

  1. Happy hour at Cannons
  2. Spend an afternoon looking at open houses and planning your future home
  3. Bike ride to Kaylanis by North Beach
  4. Pack a picnic dinner (with wine and beer) and head to the Montage in Laguna. You can park for free on the street and walk down to the park with picnic tables or go all the way down to the beach.
  5. Bowling night at Bowlmor or Lucky Strike
  6. Walk the beach trail in San Clemente and end with drinks at Fishermen’s
  7. Evening at Downtown Disney. Get dessert at
  8. Hot air balloon ride at the Great Park in Irvine.
  9. Beach day
  10. Movie night out
  11. Themed movie night in. Pick up dinner that goes with the theme of the movie you’re going to watch.
  12. Split an ice cream sundae at Farrell’s ice cream parlor.
  13. Shop at the local farmer’s market then go home and make dinner together.
  14. Go stargazing at the Griffith Observatory
  15. Play naked Twister, strip poker, or any other sexified game.
  16. Go rock climbing at the YMCA or Rock City in Anaheim Hills
  17. Go to Top of the World in Laguna Beach an watch the sunrise or sunset
  18. The first Thursday of every month there is a free art walk through the art galleries in Laguna Beach. Spend a night looking at spectacular art.
  19. Play Frisbee golf at Huntington Beach Central Park or Frontier Park in Tustin.
  20. Go snorkeling in La Jolla
  21. Hike through Saddleback Mountains
  22. Flip through hard copy and online travel magazines and plan a big anniversary trip
  23. Enjoy drinks, appetizers and a comedy show at Encore Theatre in Tustin. Tickets are only $10.
  24. Build something together. Ikea furniture, a model car, a 3D puzzle, anything!
  25. Go on a whale watching tour out of Dana Point Harbor
  26. Go wine tasting out in Temecula
  27. Go kayaking in Newport Beach
  28. Laugh off the week’s frustrations at the Improv Comedy Club at the Spectrum
  29. Explore the tide pool at Crystal Cove
  30. Head down to the South Bay Drive-In in San Diego for a movie experience under the stars.
  31. Go line dancing at InCahoots in Fullerton. They give free lessons at 7:30 and 8:30 on Friday nights.
  32. Head to Starbucks with a board game or puzzle and spend an evening sipping your favorite drinks and playing games. It’s also fun to do this in the lobby of the Grand California Hotel.
  33. Hike, bike ride or take Dakota for a long walk on Back Bay Loop in Newport
  34. Enjoy live music by local bands at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets are usually $10-$20.
  35. Enjoy drinks and a stunning view at the Rooftop Lounge in Laguna Beach
  36. Fighting? Put a halt to the verbal aggression and go fight each other in a game of laser tag at Laser Quest in the Kaleidoscope.
  37. Take a free cooking class at Whole Foods
  38. Movies under the stars
  39. Free concerts
  40. Food truck fair at the OC Fairgrounds every Wednesday
  41. Take a day trip to Catalina
  42. Look up at performances at OCPAC. They have
  43. Go play in the arcade at the Balboa Fun Zone

Seasonal

  1. Go to an Angel game-
  2. Head out to the football stadium for a professional, college or high school game
  3. See the Christmas lights at the Ritz Carlton
  4. Take a culinary trip around the world at the Orange Street Fair- labor day
  5. Celebrate Oktoberfest at Old World Village in Huntington Beach- sept- oct
  6. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, tackle that long over due home improvement or cleaning project. Then celebrate by going out for sushi.
  7. During the off-season, it’s fairly easy to get a camping spot last minute. Spend a weekend at Casper’s Park, Bolsa Chica State Beach, San Onofre or O’Neill Regional Park
  8. Watch the boat parade at the Dana Point Harbor

Best Bridal Shower Gift EVER!

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Amanda is one of my dearest friends. We met ten years ago in what was arguably the worst PE class ever and we’ve seen each other through good boyfriends, bad boyfriends, the college years, family drama, work frustrations and the occasional boat explosion. She is an incredibly special person in my life and when I got the invitation to her bridal shower a couple weeks ago, I knew that I needed to her a super special gift.

I didn’t even bother looking at her gift registry. Instead, I reach into the creative crevices of my brain and came up with this brilliance:

bridal shower gift

It’s a scrapbook with 52 different date ideas, one for every week of their first year of marriage. It was a pretty big undertaking, so I got some of our other friends involved and made it a group gift.

date night ideas

I created 12 spreads, one for every month, and put 4-5 date ideas on each one. Some of the date ideas were seasonal (like going to the Orange Street Fair or looking at the Christmas lights at the Ritz) so I made sure to put them on the month when they should be done.

homemade gifts for brides

I had a really hard time deciding how the scrapbook should look. I literally spent 2 hours in the scrapbook section at Joanne’s staring at paper and stickers. At first I would decorate each page to match the season or holiday that took place in that month. But that looked to juvenile, so then I thought about doing a black and white theme but if you know me, you know that I always have to have some kind of color in my creations. In the end, I found some really cute vintage paper, stickers and cut outs. Amanda is going for the shabby chic look at her wedding and the scrapbook fits that theme pretty well.

wedding gifts

After each page with the date ideas, I inserted two blank pages with the idea that Amanda would take pictures of her and her new husband actually implementing the dates ideas. Amanda’s not super crafty, so that will probably never happen, but its a nice thought.

bridal shower gift ideas

In addition to the book, we also gave her a few presents related to the date ideas. One idea was to have a picnic at the beach, so we got her a picnic basket with wine and snacks. I came across a Groupon for archery lessons so I got that for them too, and my mom got them a gift certificate to the Improv in Irvine.

Amanda in her signature color, purple. Me in my signature color, bright.

For those of you interested, here is the complete list of 52 date ideas.

26 Thoughts on the Eve of my 26th Birthday

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britheblogger

Why, thank you!

I have 59 minutes to write this post. If I don’t, then I have to change the title. Here it goes.

  1. My mom is the best. We have a tradition that on every birthday, my mom makes the birthday person’s favorite meal from scratch. This was much easier when she was a stay at home mom, but has proven much more challenging in the years since she has gone back to work. Nevertheless, she does it cheerfully and for the past 2.5 hours has been slaving away in the kitchen making me delicious enchiladas.
  2. Why is neither teleportation nor vehicular flight a thing right now? It’s 2012 and Google knows exactly what ads to show me based on emails I write, my phone talks to me, and we have people living in space. Why the heck do I still have to sit in traffic every day?
  3. Green is my favorite color. The more neon the better.
  4. I’m horribly disappointed in the Angels performance this year. While I still wear my jersey with pride, and hold out a little bit of hope that they’ll turn things around in the last month of the season, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that despite the atrocious amount of money we paid for Puljos, this just isn’t our year.
  5. If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, it would be pizza, salad and ice cream.
  6. Target and Old Navy have magical powers that suck my money.
  7. I really really want Justin Timberlake to put out a new album.
  8. I miss spring break. I’m okay with the adult world not getting an entire summer off, but I really wish we still got to celebrate spring break.
  9. I really really really want to meet Mark Trumbo and Tom Hanks before I die, or they die. If anyone can make this happen for me you will be my favorite forever.
  10. It’s ridiculous that I still have acne at the age of 26. I used to judge people who got cosmetic surgery, but every day I think more and more seriously about lazering these little buggers off.
  11. Ignorance truly is bliss.
  12. After a year and 8 months, I’m STILL not done reading through the Old Testament. On one hand this is discouraging, on the other hand I’m impressed that I haven’t completely given up yet. I’m still plugging away, currently through the book of Isaiah. God has gotten me this far, I’m sure He’ll see me through till the end.
  13. I want to one day visit all the Hawaiian Islands. So far I’ve been to two.
  14. Today I asked my husband if 18 year old Joe every imagined he would have such a hott wife in the future. To which Joe replied “18-year-old Joe was doing just fine for himself.” Oh that guy. But it got me thinking, and 16 year old Brianna did not imagine she would have as awesome, selfless, funny and talented a husband as she does now. I’m glad God had bigger plans than I did.
  15. I really like being a girl. I feel people don’t take pride in their gender enough. Being a girl is awesome. Sure, the periods suck, and I’ve heard child bearing is a bitch, and the media puts an outlandish number of unrealistic expectations on us,  but being a woman also got a lot of perks. We can work in the home, out of the home, or both. We get to choose our fashion sense. We get to be partners with our husbands and not merely servants. We can vote. We are able to get a good education. While we shouldn’t give up on fighting for equality, we should be teaching our daughters, sisters, and nieces to be proud of their femininity.
  16. The beach is by far the most relaxing place. It doesn’t matter how stressed I am, a walk on the sand, a dip in the waves or a nap under a palm tree will take it all away.
  17. I miss my Disneyland pass 😦
  18. If I could switch professions to be anything I wanted, without going to more school, I would be a marine biologists. Or an astronaut who inherits billions of dollars from an oil tycoon uncle and then single handedly revives the space program. Or an actress. Or maybe I should just finally buckle down and be a writer.
  19. Dancing is my favorite.
  20. Is 26 considered late twenties?
  21. I’m reading “Honeymoon with my Brother” and in it the author makes a statement somewhere along the lines of “every country does family better than America.” Its so true. This next year I’m going to make a conscious effort to spend more time with all my family, close and extended, because they are the ones that have always been there for me no matter what.
  22. I have an embarrassing love for pop music.
  23. This year I discovered that the fitness gurus were right: exercise really does make you feel better. Doing simple things like walking the dog, going for a swim or riding my bike reduce my stress level, give me more energy and even help reduce my stomach aches. I’ve learned that when I exercise to be healthy, its a lot more enjoyable and productive then when I exercise to loose weight.
  24. Although I don’t do it as much as I would like to, I love blogging and I think I’ll keep it up until I’m at least 80. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to teleport.
  25. I feel like all the things I know about God, are things I’m finally experiencing. And things that I know make a strong Christian are things I’m finally putting into practice.
  26. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this life of mine. Its nothing like I expected it to be, some parts are worse and some parts are better. But I feel I’m moving in the right direction.

Photo taken from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

5 Moving Mistakes Future Brianna Will Not Make

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Well, the husband an I are FINALLY done moving. That had to be the longest move in the history of moving. Seriously, we started the process in mid April and just turned in our keys yesterday. Craziness. As I reflect back on the odious process, I realize there were definitely some things we could have done differently. So, I decided to write down some tips for my future self. Future Brianna, next time you move, don’t make these mistakes:

1) I will not decided to stop cleaning the house two months before the move. The nasty mess makes everything more stressful, and at one point it was so bad I was embarrassed to have people come over and help us move because it was so gross. Plus, the cleaning after we moved out was a bitch. Next time, I will clean as I go.

2) We will not try to stuff a ton of things into a few large boxes. Other bloggers told me not to do, friends told me not to do it, heck even the boxes themselves told me not to do it. And yet when we started packing, husband and I thought we would be making more efficient use of our storage space, and would have fewer trips back and forth to the moving truck, if we crammed a lot of stuff into a few big boxes, rather than putting things in many little boxes. I mean, how heavy can some picture frames and ceramic pencil holders be, right? The answer is very heavy. And while the moving trips were fewer, they were definitely more painful than necessary. Next time I will listen to the tips printed on the side of the U-haul boxes. Speaking of boxes

3) We will start collecting boxes earlier and we will get more than we need. We waited way to late to start gathering boxes from friends and from our respective work places, and consequently had to settle for a less than ideal number. We (and by we I mean husband) actually thought we had enough, but we didn’t. On moving day we weren’t able to pack up some things because we didn’t have enough boxes. So we had to take what was boxed up to the parents house, unpack them super quickly, and then take empty boxes back up to the apartment and pack some more. Annoying.

4) I will make sure all items of an extreme personal nature are packed up BEFORE people come to help us. I won’t go into much detail on this, as it will embarrass husband and some of my older adult family members, but let’s just say that I’m lucky my brother-in-law has a limited knowledge of what sex toys look like. Or at least that’s the act he put on.

5) We will not drag the move out for 2 1/2 months. Seriously, our move took freaking forever. At first we thought we had to move out by the end of May, so we started packing up in mid April. Then we realized we didn’t have to be out till the end of June, but thought we might move out at the beginning of June, and it was this whole back and forth thing. Finally we decided we would move in the middle of June, but we didn’t have to turn in our keys until the end, so we moved most of the stuff one weekend…then went back up to move a few more things…then cleaned…then moved more things…then cleaned again. The whole thing was ridiculous. We should have busted it all out in one weekend.