Tag Archives: orange county blog

The Successes and Failures of my 30 for 30 Plan


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!

26 Thoughts on the Eve of my 26th Birthday


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 ūüė¶
  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


3 Years and 3 Pieces of Advice


We celebrated our wedding anniversary at The Loft at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. Best eating out experience EVER

In June, the Hubs and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Seriously, three years has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday I was laughing at my bridesmaids as I made them try on ugly dresses, and husband and I were arguing about the wedding color scheme (both true stories).

On our anniversary, I asked Husband what has surprised him most about marriage. He said he was most surprised by how easy it was. I couldn’t agree more. You see, when most people get married all they see is rainbows and butterflies. They imagine a life of perfect bliss and then are sad and disappointed when they realize that marriage isn’t a fairy tale, it’s real life. Husband and I were the opposite. We expected the worst. Okay okay, not the worst. We wouldn’t have married each other if we had expected the whole thing to be a giant poo storm. However, we were very realistic about the whole thing. We have two couples to thank for that- my parents and Joe’s second oldest brother and his wife. Both those couples have awesome marriages that started out rocky. And both were very honest with us about those struggles and how they overcame them. We took those lessons very seriously and as soon as we said “I do,” we braced ourselves.

But a funny thing happened. In listening to those couples, and our premarital counselors, and other strong couples, I guess we actually learned some things. Without even realizing it, we put their advice into practice. The way that they solved their problems was the way that we avoided many of our own. And sure, there have been some not-so fun moments and some difficult situations we’ve had to overcome, but overall, we are both extremely happy with the way these first three years have panned out. I think we have built a solid foundation so that if, in the upcoming years, some truly crappy things do happen to us, we’ll be ready to battle them together.

After only three years, I am by no means a marriage expert. However, I’ll end this post with three pieces of advice that have helped Husband and I over the years. As wedding season continues and more people head into wedded bliss, I hope you’re able to make your first few years of marriage a little easier by following this advice.

  1. Always keep Christ at the center of your marriage. His relationship with the Church is the perfect example of what a perfect marriage should look like. Read the Gospels, see how Jesus served the people on earth and the way he talks about the church, and apply those principals to your marriage.
  2. No marriage is an island. I can’t tell you how many times I was worried about something in our relationship only to realize that one of my girlfriends had experienced the exact same thing in the past and had great advice on how to overcome that particular struggle. It’s so important to stay in fellowship with other Christian couples who are just as committed to their marriages as you are to yours, so that you can all encourage each other, pray for one another, and give advice.
  3. Learn how to communicate with your spouse. There are a ton of books on this, some you may find helpful and some you may not. But the reality is there is no one magic formula for perfect communication. It’s a lot of trial and error and it takes a lot of patience. Husband and I still don’t communicate even close to perfectly, but we are much better than we were 3 years ago. Learning to communicate effectively has helped minimize fights, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

YOUR TURN! What marriage advice do you have for all the 2012 newlyweds?

8 Year Old Brianna is Proud of Your Decision to Support or Boycott Chick-Fil A.


When I was 8 years old I found out that Disneyland supported something I didn’t agree with. I, in the holier than thou attitude that often accompanies Christian kids…scratch that…its an attitude that often accompanies all kids, was horrified. My best friend and I promptly wrote Disney a letter telling them how disappointed we were and vowing to never participate in anything Disney related ever again.

The letter never got sent, probably because we got distracted by an Ace of Base song.

Also, our ban on all things Disney lasted maybe a day. Maybe. After that we were back to playing with our Lion King figurines and singing “Part of Your World” at the top of our lungs. As an adult, I still love Disney and no longer care about their stance on that issue I didn’t agree with. I’m honestly more offended by the fact that Disney has raised their prices to such high amounts I can no longer afford a pass. Plus, I now realize that boycotting every company that had different beliefs than I did would force me to live an Amish lifestyle. This is America, a country based on the freedom of expression and the freedom to have different beliefs. You hear some else’s’ belief, agree or disagree, maybe debate about it for a while, then shake hands and move on. At least, that’s how it should work.

Fast forward to present day and this whole Chick-Fil-A hates gays scandal. Now, I’m going to admit to you right now that I haven’t read much on the topic, but from what I gather the basic gist is that the President of Chick Fil A spoke out against gay marriage. Some people are pissed and boycotting it. Others are supporting it. Others are banning Chick Fil A from their cities. Sound about right?

Here’s the thing. I don’t care who supports, boycotts, agrees or disagrees with Mr. Cathy. None of that will affect my ability to enjoy delicious chicken. Just like Disneyland’s corporate views don’t affect my ability to have a wonderful time every time I visit (although the prices sure do. have I mentioned how angry I am about that price hike?)

What makes me sad is that 18 years ago I lived in a world where I didn’t think twice about sharing my opinion. I lived in a country that taught me I had freedom of speech. Even at the young age of 8 I knew that I had a right to my beliefs and to share them with others. Now, I’m actually afraid to share some of my opinions. Afraid that I’ll loose friends, afraid I’ll be labeled as hateful, close minded and stupid. Afraid that people will right me off as “one of those crazy Christians” without really listening to what I have to say. Afraid that I, like Dan Cathy, will be shunned simply for sharing a belief. Afraid that my entire humanity will be judged by one belief that I have instead of by my complete human expression.

Notice in this entire post I haven’t told you what MY stance on homosexuality it is.

And that my friends, is a real tragedy.

Donating Blood is Awesome


we both got neon green bandages without knowing the other one was getting the same color. we are just that intune with each other and awesome.

Joe and I donated blood for the first time today. Our church, Crossline, brought onto LifeStream donation busses on¬†campus and for every person that donated, $20 went to our Haiti Missions Ministry. Now, my whole life I’ve been squeamish about donating blood. Its not the blood that bothers me, or the needles. Its the veins. Veins freak me out. Remember my phobia of tree roots? Its the same thing. Spidery, veiny rooty things really really freak me out. But,¬†Joe and I love the fact that our church has an ongoing relationships with ministries in Haiti and¬†we try to do what¬†we can to support that ministry. Since we didn’t have $40 to contribute, but we did have 2 pints of blood, it was off to the donation bus.

The experience was not nearly as bad as I imagined it. It was a very long process (which was partially our fault because we didn’t make an appointment) but the actual act of giving blood wasn’t bad at all.¬† One of my biggest fears was that it would be hard for them to find a vein and that they would have to poke me multiple times. But, the¬†tech/nurse found the vein immidiately and¬†only had to poke me once.

Myother fear¬†had to do with the blood pressure cuff. I once had to take¬†3 hour polygraph test and the blood pressure cuff was so tight it turned my arm purple and I almost failed the test because¬†I was freaking out over¬†my purple¬†arm, to which the test administrator said “I’ve been giving this test for 40 years and no one’s arm has fallen off yet so stop whining.” Ever since then I’ve been a little hesitant about situations that require prolonged¬†contact with a¬†blood pressure cuff.¬†However, the cuff was only tight for a minute while she inserted the needle and then it was fine.¬†Possible crisis averted.

Yet another fear of mine (are you starting to realize why I had never done this before?) was that there would be nothing to distract¬†me and I would just be sitting there for ten minutes thinking about veins and would end up crying or literally pulling all my hair out. But, the staff was super friendly and talkative. I asked where the blood went and they told me that it went to hospitals in Southern California and Arizona.¬†I really liked the fact that the blood would stay local. I mean, it doesn’t really matter where it goes because its going to help someone¬†no matter what, but I’m big¬†on people helping local communities and it was nice to know that my blood was going to¬†help people in my general vicinity. I also asked how long the blood could last, which led the tech/nurse to give me¬†a bunch of interesting facts about blood and donations.¬†

Did you know…

  • Whole blood can last about 40 days, however¬†there is such a shortage of blood donations that blood is always used before that 40 day mark.
  • Overall there is only about a 3 day supply of blood in America. If a¬†national disaster happens, we’re screwed.
  • Only 10% of the population considers donating blood, and then only 5% actually donate. But, if we could raise that by just 1% we would have¬†enough blood to go around in case of a disaster.¬†
  • Most people that donate blood have either received blood, have known someone who received blood, or they were taught about the importance of donating blood by their parents. If you have kids, seriously consider teaching them about the importance of blood donation.
  • Alot of blood banks get great participation from high schoolers. For one thing, high schoolers love any excuse to miss class. Plus, peer pressure can work for the good, and in this case a lot of kids who are nervous give into peer pressure and do it anyways.

By the time she was done telling me all these fun facts, the bag was full and I was ready to go. I got some sweet neon green tape, ate a delicious cookie and juice, and was good to go!

Hubs, on the other hand, had a slightly different experience. Before going in he was talking a big game, claiming he could donate twice as much as me because he was twice as big. And I encouraged him, telling him he could totally double fist it. Well the poor guy almost passed out. He sat up and immediately had to lie back down again. Then the nurses kept him a litte longer than normal (normal is 15 min) because he was so pale! Seriously, he looked sick. And while he was able to walk to the car, he definitely wasn’t able to drive it. But we got some lunch at Bruxie, then went home and watched a movie, and after that he was fine. The nurses¬†told him that next time he needed to drink more water before hand and that would probably help. Who would have thought that blood donation would be the thing to bring down my big strong husband?

So there you have it. I would encourage EVERYONE who is eligble to go donate blood. If you live in the Riverside or San Bernadino area, I suggest going to a LifeStream donation site. They are a great organization and the money they get for blood goes back into the community. If you live in Orange County, you¬† can donate directly to a hospital such as Hoag, St. Joseph’s or CHOC. And of course,¬†the Red Cross has donation sites pretty much everywhere. If the thought of donating blood freaks you out, then¬†let me know and I’ll go with you. I’m able to donate again¬†in August ūüôā

Brianna Alexander Went From “In A Relationship” to “In The Same Relationship”


As long as I’ve had a Facebook profile, it has said “in a relationship with Joe Alexander.” Of course, a few years ago it changed to engaged and then married, but its always been with the same guy. Its very “Marshall and Lily.” Today, I randomly started thinking about things I’ve missed out on by only ever displaying one relationship on FB…

  1. Instant sympathy when you change your status to “single.” Have you ever noticed that when someone says they’re single, they get a flood of sympathy responses? Girl friends offering to take you out, guy friends assuring you that your super sexy and didn’t need that jerk anyways, cousins reassuring you that they will always be there for you. It’s like a giant¬† group cyber hug. No other Facebook posting gets that much sympathy, except for your dog dying. So, I guess I can still experience that one day…
  2. Sadistic joy in deleting old boyfriend pictures. I’ve never had a bad break up. That’s one of the perks of marrying the only person you ever fell in love with. Most of the time I’m very happy about this, but every time I listen to Kelly Clarkson I can’t help but think that I missed out on a quintessential growing up experience, which includes untagging and deleting photos of ones ex while eating icecream with your roommate and swearing that you’ll both become nuns so¬†you don’t have to deal with this y choromosone crap any more.
  3. The chance to screw with people’s minds by saying my relationship is “complicated.”¬†This relationship status is ridiculous. If you’re relationship is so unstable that you cannot even name it, its not a relationship and you shouldn’t be broadcasting it on Facebook. (o if¬†only i could go back in time and tell high school Brianna this..but I digress)¬†But as silly as it is, I’ve always wanted to post it just to mess with people. To just put “its complicated” and make everyone guess who it is and why its complicated. Or say I’m in domestic relationship and make all my old high school friends wonder if I really am in one or if I’m just being ironic. Alhtough, now that I think about it, I guess I could still mess with people. Imagine going out with Joe and I one night, and we are all happy and married and crap, and then the next day I change my status to “complicated/open relationship or domestic partnership.” You’d be like “what the heck? That must have been one hell of a ride home in the Alexanders car last night.” Hahaha.

Yes, these things are fun in theory, but I’m sure the reality is annoying. People asking about every detail of your break up, old flames keeping you as a friend and then plastering sickening pictures of their new fling (who is way uglier than you, btw) all over your wall, and having actual sadness associated with a Kelly Clarkson song. Yuck. I’ll stick with my monogamy and continue to find other ways to get that big cyber hug *coughbecausei’mdesperateandconstantlylneedreassurancefromfriends* ūüôā

My 2011 Thankful List


thanksgiving 2011Last year I came up with an idea to post, on Facebook, something I was thankful for every hour for the full 24 hours of Thanksgiving. Thanks to Hootsuite I was able to schedule all my posts and not get up every hour or take a break from my 12 hour¬† eating bing. This year I’m doing the same thing, but decided to compile all my posts in a blog article as well. This is mostly so that I can look back in a year and see what I was thankful for in 2011, it is NOT because I want to shove my awesome thankfullness in your¬†face. I would, however, love to hear what your thankful for so feel free to tell me in the comments below!

This year I’m thankful for…

  1. Blogging. I love having an outlet, a place where I can get out all my weird thoughts, funny jokes and creative energy. And I’m super thankful that there are a handful of people who actually read and enjoy the blog. Thanks readers!
  2. My husband. Its cliche, I know, and I’m sure it will pop up on my list every year, but I really am so thankful that he is in my life. This year I am especially thankful that he has decided to go to school so he can get a good job and support our future family. He works so so hard and I hardly ever get to see him, but we both know its a temporary sacrifice for a long term benefit. Thanks for your hard work honey.
  3. Hot Chocolate. Its so delicious and so easy to make. A boring winter night instantly becomes cozy and magical when your drinking hot chocolate. Yum!
  4. Camping. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know why I love camping. Its a cheap way to travel and see some amazing places. This year we went to Yosemite and it was mind blowing. I can’t wait for our 2012 camping adventure.
  5. Babies. So very many of my friends are having babies this year. And while it is overwhelming (so many baby showers and onesies) and foreign to me at some times, I am so grateful that I get to walk with my friends through this exciting stage in their lives. I’m especially thankful for my friends who had trouble getting pregnant, that they are finally getting to experience what is the greatest thing ever (or so I’ve been told).
  6. Our dog. If you had told me last year that this year I would be putting a dog on my thankful list, I would have laughed at you. But life is full of surprises and me actually loving a canine is one of them. We got Layla in May and even though she is a giant pain the butt sometimes, she is generally well behaved, always adorable and always loveable.
  7. Friends. Again with the cliche, I know, but the older I get the more I appreciate my friends. They are harder to come by the older you get.
  8. Toilet paper. Could you imagine wiping with leaves or catalog pages everyday? No thank you.
  9. Hulu.¬†It has¬†saved me a couple hundred bucks by making it so that I don’t have to pay for cable.
  10. The re-release of all my favorite Disney movies. Little Mermaid in 06, Beauty in the Beast last year and this year Lion King. My only regret is not buying Mulan on DVD a couple years ago.
  11. Orange County. Despite its many faults, I really do love my home town. I love that the beach, Disneyland, and Angel Stadium are only 20 minutes away. There is always somewhere to go, something to do and delicious food to eat.
  12. The comedy stations on Pandora. If you’ve listened, you know why they are on the list. If you haven’t, you are seriously missing out.
  13. Working street lights. ¬†The major power outage that took place in south Orange County and San Diego over the summer really opened my eyes to the necessity of working street lights, especially in California where people think “4 way stop” means “enter the intersection whenever the hell you want, glare at anyone who tries to enter at the same time and pray that nothing hits you.” I never want to spend 2 hours driving a quarter of a mile again.
  14. Just Dance. Hands down the best video game ever. A plethora of fantastic pop music from all decades, competition, cardio workout, and awesome dance moves you can totally bust out in¬†da club…what more could you want?
  15. My hair. There is nothing particularly special about my hair, in fact, most days I think its pretty ugly. However, I would rather have ugly hair than be bald. Not that I have anything against bald people, its just a personal preference for myself.
  16. Health. This year me and my entire family have been blessed with good health, which is awesome, since none of us have been blessed with extra money to pay for bad health. Its also awesome for the obvious reason that bad health just flat out sucks.
  17. My new car. This is a bit premature since I don’t actually have the car yet, but I’m pretty sure we will get it before the year is over and I am SO EXCITED! If we get the one we are planning on getting, its a blue 2007 ¬†Honda CR-V. We’re going to look at it on Sunday…pray we’re able to get it!
  18. Sunglasses. I only ever get the cheap kind (because I loose them every few months) but having them makes a world of difference. If sunglasses had not been invented, I would be sentenced to a life of constant headaches and tired eyes. Honestly, I don’t know how the pioneers crossed the country without sunglasses. I can’t even make the 20 minute trek to work everyday without some shady eye protection.
  19. ¬†Books. As much as I love audio books, ebooks, ibooks, Kindle books, etc, nothing beats a physical book you can hold in your hands while you’re curled up on the couch. The demise of Borders has made me very sad because I think its a precursor to the demise of the physical book. So I will give into my hoarder tendencies and keep every physical book I own, make good use of my public library and frequently visit the dollar bookstore in the Laguna Hills mall.
  20. YouTube. A friend and I were recently talking about the days when people had to watch MTV for hours to catch their favorite music video, or patiently listen to the radio until your favorite song came on so you could hit the record button on the tape player. Now, anytime you want to hear a song or watch a music video, just find it, and a million different versions of it, on YouTube. It’s a beautiful thing.
  21. Rainboots. I used to think that I hated the rain, until I discovered rainboots and realized that as long as my socks and pant legs were protected, the rain was actually kind of nice.
  22. Everyone who has a job that has been featured on Dirty Jobs. Thank you for dealing with nastiness every day so society can function and have nice things.  
  23. Jesus death on the cross. I’m sure I put this last year and I’ll probably put it on every year, but that just shows how important it is. I wouldn’t be where I am, who I am or doing what I’m doing if it weren’t the salvation that comes from believing in Jesus Christ and accepting his death as atonement for my millions of sins. I’m humbled by His love, grace and sacrifice.
  24. My bed. Thankful that its warm, big, comfortable and located under a roof.

My Musical Timeline


It all started with this song.

I heard it played randomly when I went with my boss to guest speak at an office meeting. I recognized the song as soon as it came on. I frantically looked around to find anyone my age who would appreciate this song, but there was no one. So when I got back to my office I pulled it up on YouTube and said to the girls “Please tell me you know this song.” Turns out love for this song is VERY specific to people who were 8 years old when A Goofy Movie came out, because anyone who was younger or older than me by more than three years didn’t get it.

It got me thinking…why is that song so awesome? Why did I listen to it on repeat for an hour at work that day? The song itself isn’t that great but it conjures up specific memories and feelings associated with the magical age of eight. I started thinking about other things that have significant meaning and decided to create a musical time line of my life. Some of the music is good, some is awful, some you’ll recognize and a few are pretty obscure. But they all remind me of a certain time and/or event in my life. Honestly, there are so many more songs I could add to this, but I figured I was already asking a lot of you to go through 12 different songs. So here it is, my musical timeline. If you create one for yourself let me know, I’d love to see what songs represent important moments in your life.

Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper
Life Stage- baby/toddler
The Story- My grandma and mom used to sing this song to me when they did my hair. I wore my hair in a ponytail A LOT and would always shake it when they sang “with a ponytail hanging down.”

Full House Theme Song
Life Stage- my whole first decade of life
The Story- I grew up watching Full House every Friday night (remember TGIF on ABC?) We were on vacation when the series finale aired and I told my mom I didn’t care where we were, we HAD to watch it. So we did, on the tiny t.v. in my great grandmother’s house. I cried.

California Girls by The Beach Boys
Life Stage- Elementary School
The Story- Obviously, this song was sung and became popular way before I was born. Nevertheless, I was a huge fan of the Beach Boys as a kid. I remember this one night me, my siblings and my cousins had a two hour beach boys dance party (there were six of us dancing in our teeny tiny condo…I have no idea how my parents survived that). I chose this particular song for the time line because I’m a California Girl and even as a kid, I took great pride in that.

Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid
Life Stage: Early Elementary School
The Story: I grew up in the Golden Age of Disney films. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King…I adored every single one and to this day I can still sing just about every song. When I was little I had a VHS of the Little Mermaid that my best friend copied for me when it played on the Disney channel. The video below shows my absolute favorite scene. Every time I would go to the living room window sill and squat down, and then when she pushes herself up on the rock I would push myself up on the window sill. Every. Single. Time.

Entertaining Angels by The Newsboys
Life Stage: Jr. High/High School
The Story: The late 90s early 2000s was the BEST time for Contemporary Christian Music. For the longest time that was all I listened to, not because my parents told me that secular music was devil music, but because I honestly enjoyed listening to CCM (thats what us cool church kids called it) and didn’t feel the need to listen to anything else. I liked a lot of different bands- DC Talk, Rebecca St. James, O.C. Supertones- but my favorite were the Newsboys and this song was the best. I remember when I got my first Discman, this was the first c.d. I played on it. Fun side note, I always hoped that I would learn to play the violin well enough to play this song. I never did, but this song holds fond memories nonetheless.

Star Wars theme song
Life Stage: Birth to present
The Story: I had a really hard time deciding where to put this in the timeline since its a song that runs through my entire life. Because Star Wars Episode I came out when I was in Jr. High, it put it in the Jr. High stage (although I love all the Star Wars movies, not just the new ones). Me and the sibs have been obsessed with Star Wars forever. I think its because my brother, who grew up in between two girls, would not let his life be ruled by princesses, Barbie and My Little Pony. So when he got to pick the game we played Star Wars and my sister and I grew to love it. I’ll never forget the day we reenacted episode I with our cousins, complete with homemade costumes that included socks for Jar Jar Binks’ ears and baby powder for Queen Amidala’s white face paint.

All Star by Smash Mouth
Life Stage: Early High School
The Story: There is plethora of “awesome” pop music I could have picked for this time frame- Britney Spears, N Sync, BackStreet Boys, etc. I chose this song because I have a very distinct memory of me at my cousins house, the summer before my sophomore year of high school, standing on the diving board rocking out to this song. That represents what that time period in my life was like…happy, carefree and super upbeat. Sure I had the normal high school angst involving boys, grades and best friends, but I was finally allowed to wear make up, I had super cute clothes, I was actually getting attention from boys and I was always super upbeat. It was that magic age where you are just old enough to start enjoying meaningful privileges but not so old that you have to start taking on meaningful responsibility. Oh to be 15 again…

Every song Clay Aiken ever sang
Life Stage: Late high school
The Story: Everyone has their embarrassing crushes, and this one is mine. Although at the time, I was not embarrassed at all. Everyone knew I was obsessed. My best friend and I (she was equally obsessed) voted for him every night on American Idol, bought his c.d.s and bought every magazine with his picture, cut his picture out and kept it in a scrapbook (okay okay, the picture thing was just me). We went nuts when we got tickets to his concert and made signs AND t-shirts. We honestly thought we were super cool. Until we got the concerts and realized that all his fans were our mom’s age. That realization drastically curbed our passion for Clay. And when we found out he was gay a few years later (yes, we were really so clueless as to have not figured it out sooner) that put the nail in the coffin of our crush on him. However, we still had a ton of fun at that concert and we bust out the Clay Aiken Christmas C.D every year.

Friends theme song
Life Stage: College
The Story: Even though the Friends series ended my senior year of high school, I didn’t start watching until I got to college. My senior year of college me and the best roommate ever had all 10 seasons between the two of us and honestly, its a wonder either one of us passed any classes. Its not an exaggeration to say at least one of us watched at least one episode every single day. We’ve watched it so much we will actually reference episodes and compare them to real life situations. Example- “O my gosh this is just like that time Ross ate all the maple candy and was super hyper!” O, and my husband and I are totally Monica and Chandler, and The Best Roommate Ever is the girl version of Joey.

Money Maker by Ludacris
Life Stage: College
The Story: I went through a hip hop stage in college which is best represented by Money Maker, a song I admit with embarrassment to knowing all the words too. Seriously it was hip hop all the time, in the car on our midnight runs to Jack in the Box, at our spontaneous dorm room dance parties, on the computer as I was writing my senior thesis, everywhere.

Blue Eyes by The Cary Brothers
Life Stage: Dating, being engaged and Marrying Joe
The Story: There is a lot of music that could represent various stages in our relationship, but this song best represents the whole story. Garden State, where we first heard this song, was one of the first movies we watched together. I’m all about pop culture, but Joe prefers entertainment thats a little more obscure. Garden State is a pretty obscure movie and The Cary Brothers are just one of the not so well known bands Joe has introduced me to over the years. So I felt it was only appropriate that this be the first song we danced to at our wedding.

Generous Mr. Lovewell by Mercy Me
Life Stage: Now
The Story: This song doesn’t remind me of any particular event, but rather a mentality I am trying very hard to live by. In a time when most people are poor, when everyone in the country is mad at every one else, when I’m super discouraged about where I am (or rather, where I’m not), when I’m missing my husband who works or goes to school every night of the week, when my dad who should be thinking about retirement is looking for a job, when people are dying here of fatal diseases and overseas of a war that just wont’ stop, this song says “hey, don’t get overwhelmed with everything negative and don’t feel like you have to solve every problem. Just lean on God’s love and give that love to one fellow human every day.”

The Costco Jacket


For some people, fashion is an expression of who they are. For me, fashion is an expression of what’s clean…and what was on sale.

Because fashion is not my thing, I rarely post anything fashion related. However, a few months ago I found this adorable jacket at Costco and had to share. Yes, you heard me right, I got something cute and fasionable from Costco. And its not just me that thinks its cute, lots of other people concur (trust me, I know better than to claim that something only I like is fashionable…I always get multiple opinions to confirm my beliefs). See if you concur as well.

I realize the jacket’s color is off in these photos. Its not red, its burgandy (or maybe maroon, I always forget which is which). My favorite thing about it is that it looks formal, like a peacoat, but it’s as comfortable as a sweatshirt. It’s made out of sweatshirt type material which means I can move around in it. Plus, its pretty warm. Not “lets wear it in the snow” warm, but definitely California winter warm. Plus, it was only $32. Score! I’m not sure if Costco is still carrying these jackets, but if they are I definitely recommend getting one, or even two. I honestly regret not getting a second one in charcoal grey. Maybe next year…

Happy Birthday To My Little Bro


Today is my little brother’s 22nd birthday. Its very strange to say that my little brother is 22. Am I really old enough to have a little brother that is 22? Yes, I am old enough to have a 22 year old brother. Do you think I’ve said “22” and “brother” enough in the first 4 sentences of this blog? Well in case I didn’t, and in case you missed it, this blog is dedicate to my little brother who turns 22 today.

I admire my brother for many reasons. For one thing, he is super relational and cares a lot about people. You can always count on him to help you move, go out to a bar, host a game night or help you solve a conflict. If you need help, he is always willing to drop everything and be supportive. He’s also a good time guy, always cracking jokes and brightening people’s day. If you have a super boring obligatory event to go to, bring my brother. He finds ways to make EVERYTHING entertaining.

My brother is also super talented. He’s an excellent musician, specifically, an excellent drummer. He is super laid back, normally, but when it comes to music he is all passion. He practices for hours and when he plays he gets super intense (they had to build a wall around him at church because he played too hard and too loud.) I’m so proud of him for using his musical talents to serve God on the praise and worship team at church. He’s been doing it for years and, even when I gave it up because of crazy church politics, he stuck it out and just kept drumming as best he could for Jesus.

Not only can he play instruments, he’s really good at drawing as well. When we were kids we had big dreams of creating a children’s book together…me writing and him illustrating. We haven’t talked about that in a while but, honestly, I really hope we make that dream come true some day.

Lastly, I admire the fact that my brother grew up inbetween two sisters and survived! He is very different from me and our younger sister…much more laid back and much more rebelous. He always got into way more trouble than we did growing up, partly because he did more bad things, and partly because he got caught more than we did ūüôā¬† He’s had to listen to us whine and cry about boys, bra sizes, fights with best friends, etc. Plus, our little sister is currently dating one of his really good friends, and he has handled that suprisingly well (although not without a few sarcastic remarks and very strict ground rules, let me assure you). Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better brother.

So here’s to you, AJ. Hope 22 is beyond what you ever imagined or hoped. Love you!

P.S. My brother, despite being quite the ladies man, is currently single. If your interested, let me know and I’ll hook it up *wink*