Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites-Songs

This list was a hard one to make (I know, rough life, boo hoo) and I'm not fully satisfied with it. I would most certainly make a list of only-Beatle songs but perhaps that will be for another Friday. I had pizza today, it was well deserved (thanks to ASU Library Storage)! School starts next week and I am less than thrilled for some reason. I enjoyed my relaxed class in July followed by a relaxing three weeks off and now feel spoiled. This 8-week session will more than likely be coupled with long nights, long commutes, and long hours of homework. It's what I asked for and what I want and I'm sure come Monday, will appreciate something new to keep me busy--or to give more life to my routine, depending on how positive I plan on being. Either way, here's to just reaching the halfway point (credit-wise) with my Master's program! Who knows how a second baby will affect the plan, but I look at it much differently than I did during my undergrad, kid-free time at ASU; passing up opportunities to travel, be at home, go out with friends, etc.--anything--for school. The priorities have flipped now, (though no, I will not skip out on class to hit it up on Mill Avenue) primarily in family life and the desires, but obligations that lie there. That's the way I like it and it has been a good self-help way to exercise anxiety control and time management. If I have a sick *contagious* child and can't attend class (such was the case several months ago) I am ok. If I have advanced plans to visit family in another state, that comes first. If I have a newborn, a toddler, a c-section recovery, and a husband finishing up dental school, I won't balk at the idea of possibly postponing a class or an entire Master's program, and I certainly wouldn't want to be anywhere else than home--not even school. I believe in taking your education, in whatever arena it may be, as far as you can, but never hesitating to place family life first and foremost.  
Us in California last week. Elliott is not a big picture person, but is a good sport and, to his credit, was a little more smiley as the snapping and clicking wore on. Like his bic'ed hair? Yeah, it could take a little getting used to but I'm doubtful it will stay this... shiny... for long. He got his top braces off Wednesday (I missed the ball with another photo-op there) and his perfect teeth are no longer hidden behind the wire. 

Songs to keep me sane:

Bixby Canyon Bridge-Death Cab for Cutie
First Day of My Life- Bright Eyes
What Sarah Said-Death Cab for Cutie
Pitseleh-Elliott Smith
I'll See You In My Dreams-Joe Brown
Brand New Colony- The Postal Service
Old Friends/Bookends Theme- Simon and Garfunkel
All These Things That I've Done-The Killers
Snails- The Format
Pablo Picasso- Citizen Cope

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Land of Sun and Fun.

For my super sweet nephew, Brennan's birthday, Brianne, Elliott and I (and Brennan, of course) ventured off to the land of sun and ocean where we basked in perfect weather, fresh air and strippers (unfortunately, but more of that later). The main purpose of our trip was to see one of our very favorite bands, Death Cab for Cutie perform at the famed Greek Theatre. Please give them a listen, and don't base judgment off "Meet me on the Equinox" from the Twilight album because that song is truly sub-par. Want some recommendations for good songs to check out? Ok! ((I Will Follow You Into the Dark--I would think is their best known, Cath, Bixby Canyon Bridge, Lack of Color, Death of an Interior Decorator, A Movie Script Ending, and SO many more)). 

Ignore the creepin' couple to the right. 

On Saturday, Elliott and Brennan had the opportunity to get used and abused by some of the most insane rides on the planet. I won't lie, I love roller coasters. It took me many, many years of bribing, forcing, goading, etc. etc. by my family to go on any ride remotely intense, but I can now say that driving away from Six Flags was slightly painful as I am pregnant (rollercoasters mean shaken baby syndrome in utero) and know that Brianne and I would most definitely have enjoyed screaming right along side our boys. However, I know we had an equally as wonderful a time shopping--it's Los Angeles, it doesn't get much better--and eating. Oh, remember how I obsessed over wanting to try Crumbs? Yeah, I did. It was slightly overwhelming. So many emotions. Please expect a hideously dramatic blog post without any pictures of my own because we devoured those cupcakes like THAT. But, find out how they match up to Sprinkles later. 

Can you spot Brennan? Looking very pint-sized under that A. 

Brennan: Happy, Elliott: Happy, Brianne and Alisa: Unhappy. Texting our SOS and Goodbyes to loved ones while riding a bus in Los Angeles. 

After getting back from Six Flags, we knew we wanted to spend our last night relaxed, and full of food. Wanting to branch out, we decided to put our name down at a restaurant with an hour wait and look for other possibilities. Apparently the restaurants that were just "a little ways down the road" ended up being 2 miles down the road (meaning, the way back would be UP the hilly road). When no acceptable restaurants were found, we made several failed attempts at hailing a cab, Elliott got in a slight tiff with a crazy cab dispatcher on the phone, and we proceeded to just stand there dumbfounded at how we possibly ended up in this situation. Of course, us not being your typical public transit riders, did NOT notice a "bus stop" sign only a few yards away until a bus actually stopped at it. All at once, we raced on and I think Elliott dumped whatever cash he had into the slot for the 5 minute ride up the road. We made it to our initial restaurant where we had put our name down "just in case."  We walked back in after the ordeal, dejected, a mere 5 minutes before time. Apparently a lot can happen while waiting for a dinner reservation. The bus ride was still, "the best $6 ever spent on the trip."

I really do have a new-found love of the beach. It is calming and never gets old to people watch and look into the distance as far as you think possible. It was a perfect way to end our trip (regardless of my camera battery dying shortly after getting there, shameful). Oh to live to closer, but the few and far between trips really make the experience better. But still... oh to live closer. Another great trip down, and I know so many more to go. Oh, and the strippers you were wondering about? Apparently our supposedly and seemingly nice hotel was part of a benefit called "It's For the Kids." Confusing, considering the people who were apparently part of it. Elliott looked it up after returning home and none other than Hugh Hefner's picture pop up. The premise was, "Partying for a Purpose" and  our hotel served as some sort of waiting area for people traveling back and forth from a certain scandalous mansion to "Party for a Purpose." Classy. I'm sure "the kids" will appreciate it.   

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bowling for Busyness.

Elliott and I went bowling on Friday night. We don't bowl, as shown on the above picture (Elliott's score was a 110 and mine was a 118--my best EVER). Well, Elliott did almost hit 200 on his first game--the natural athlete he his. I know he wasn't letting me win though. Right? This week will be a busy week, which makes me happy since there's still two weeks (thankfully) until school starts. Elliott leaves for a little time in a little while (appreciate the vagueness?) for a clinical externship and I hope that this "busyness" momentum will last long enough for me to not go insane while he is away--or at least remember that not all weeks are busy so appreciate the ones that are, and the ones that aren't! We are going to California soon where I am determined to finally sample "Crumbs"--the only place I think *could* hold a candle to Sprinkles. I know, I haven't mentioned that place in a little while. Surprised? Elliott and I have been off of sweets for quite some time. Actually, Elliott has been "off of sweets" and I'm tired of getting sick from not having anyone to share my sweets with (thus eating it alllllll by myself). I haven't been to the beach in the summertime in years, literally. I've never been much of a beach person, but have always been more excited to go since being with Elliott, he loves it and I do too now. Everything's just a little more exciting and fun with him. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Favorites: Restaurants

A little dazed (and probably heat stricken) at the splashpark. This little Foodie will make the perfect eating companion--especially when more of those teeth come in.
Can't wait to put him in this thoughtful and very fitting present from Brianne. 

This list can probably never be finalized. It depends on where I'm at in life (i.e. what I'm craving when I'm pregnant or when I allow myself to indulge anytime I want (those days ended when a nearly-impossible-to-defeat set of love handles decided to "join me at the hip"). As you can see from below (and judge from my list of movies) I'm easy to please. I think food doesn't always have to come from high-end restaurants to be just as satisfying as a homemade, or quick take-out (or fast food?) meal. So here you have it, my current favorite places to eat:

1. Houston's (food doesn't always have to be fancy but... everything comes together here. Perfectly).
2. Bandera (same restaurant group as Houston's but a more Southwestern style. I don't go here enough)!
3. Costa Vida (I fit so nicely into the Mormon stereotype, but those salads is GOOD, overly popular or not).
4. Pei Wei (You get much more bang for your buck here than at P.F. Chang's but... I don't frequent either enough to know if the varying menu's are worth varying restaurant picks. Correct me if I'm wrong? I'd love to know). 
5. Taco Bell (I'm pregnant. It happens once a week. When I'm not pregnant, I won't touch anything from here without a grimace). 
6. Carrabba's (the Margherita Pizza and The Johnny make an addicting combo to share).
7. Firehouse Subs (I am not a sub person. Apparently that was just because I never had warm, hearty subs from Firehouse. The meatball and brisket are enough to turn any Vegetarian back to meaty side of life).
8. California Pizza Kitchen  (MUCH better than "Sauce." So much to choose from)!
9. Wetzel's Pretzels (again, I have never been so simply satisfied with food than I am by this place. I can devour a cheese pretzel and an unsalted order of pretzel bits before Beckett can finish his one bitz. Sorry Beckett. I've cheated you out of many a bitz).
10. Chipotle (Yuck. Am I really saying that? I typically am a MAJOR opponent of that place. The overwhelming cilantro and EVERYTHING tasting the same. Everything. However, ever since slowwwwllly warming up to the chicken and steak tacos (which somehow taste different--Elliott thinks I'm crazy) it has been a budding addiction. Just the tacos though... Everything else is well... Still yuck to me. I'm going tonight)!

I do have to say, last night Elliott and I ate at the locally popular "Flancers" where I ordered "The Perfect Prickly Pear" chicken sandwich (the picture opportunity was eaten but go HERE to see someone else's). It's not a whole chicken breast, but rather chunked... I'm usually wary of any sort of poultry that isn't shaved (it has a tendency to be too dry for me). Anyhow, they marinate this chicken IN prickly pear sauce giving it a light pink color and it is GOOOOD. Very very rich and the fries didn't live up to their fame, but I was shocked at this new food discovery. Again, like the subs, I'm not a sandwich person. I figure I can make a decent and satisfying sandwich from home. After last night, however, I know no sandwich I make would be nearly as satisfying as Flancer's! PS, we had the pizza there once and I can't even remember what it was (which is rare since I have a BIG thing for pizzas from different restaurants). What I'm saying is, go for the sandwiches.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Else Could I Possibly Need?

"25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize." 

I recently read this article and thought about it. A lot. I think it could probably be titled "How to Talk to Girls, Little and Big Alike." Instead of forcing you to read the article right this very second, its premise lies in shifting our "small-talk" and "ice breaker" conversations with little girls (who all really do look so sweet and cute in their own way) about their appearance to their interests and activities. I started reading the article and rolled my eyes. "I am NOT a feminist in any way," I reaffirmed to myself. I nodded my head along with Bloom as she contested about giving compliments on looks, 

"What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly." 

Then I read the rest and admired the presented points. The article is not feministic in the least, it is  another valiant call to circle the wagons around our youth. I thought to the new women I meet at Church, at a party (since I'm SO popular and get invited to SO many har har), or at any function. I usually step into conversations with a fast-paced introduction of, "ILIKEyourHAIR!" And I really do, I have made a conscious effort to be genuine in my comments and compliments. But it is still a relatively quick and superficial scan of the person. NOW. I will still tell people in my awkward way, "ILOVEYOURTOPDIDYOUGETITATANTHRO??! didn't?" I will still tell my five nieces and other sweet girls I meet just how darling and cute they are if I so please. I will still secretly wish for a compliment here or there (or everywhere). I will still buy my bag, my top, my skirt, and mentally tally the nods and compliments, feeling excited and honestly grateful for such nice faces who greet me. I truly truly appreciated this article though. It has caused me to alter my intentions of compliment-giving and conversation-starting. I always need to be a little (LOT) more thoughtful in my way of speaking and instead of sputtering out a genuine, but perhaps empty compliment because I am nervous, I will listen a little more and be patient for the real girl (or guy perhaps?) to come out behind the clothes and appearance.  

 "Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything." 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Favorites

I make lists to keep me sane. It's actually something Elliott and I have in common. I don't mean the typical grocery (which I do make) or  to-do (which I should make) lists. I like making lists of my favorite movies, my favorite shows, my favorite books (even if they are all children's books), my favorite eateries, my favorite candy, etc., etc., etc. It's kind of  like my version of knitting or needlework. It keeps my mind busy and is oddly enjoyable. SO here is my first list that I've made 10 times over: my favorite movies. I actually had it up to 50, solid, films, but it was done on a writing notepad app I had on an old phone and disappeared when it was wiped for re-sale. Shameful. Some of these movies are quite shameful too, actually. Oh well, different loves for different reasons. I'm sure this isn't even my "real" list, but I worked with what my memories had. 

1.      A Hard Day's Night (1964)

2.      Help! (1965)
3.      The Sound of Music (1965)
4.      The Notebook (2004)
5.      Forrest Gump (1994)
6.      Pay It Forward (2000)
7.      Life Is Beautiful (La vita √® bella) (1997)
8.      Roman Holiday (1953)
9.      The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
10. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
11. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
12. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
13. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
14. The 40-Year-Old-Virgin (2003)  Even edited, this movie makes me laugh harder than no other. 
15. The Color Purple (1985)
16. Awakenings (1990)
17. Hook (1991)
18. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
19. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
20. October Sky (1999)
21.  Cinderella Man (2005)
22. Nacho Libre
23.  Dead Poets Society (1989)
24.  City of Angels (1998)
25. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Honorable Mention: Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (because Elliott is probably disgusted at my list enough, this would likely put him over the edge).

I am loving this sequence of events. M&M's then M&M crash. Beckett loves Kacey. And M&M's. Hopefully he loves Kacey more though...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dear One

(In C-section terms, that means closer to the 7th)
Remember how I said I wanted a February baby because I am over-obsessed with months like a crazy person?
Elliott spoils this princess.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Birthday Day

TODAY Elliott turns 26. 
We went to Benihana's on Saturday to celebrate. Ever been? It was fantastic, I wish our chef would have accepted tips in his little hat, it held so much. On our way out to eat, we checked the mail and in it was Elliott's passing score on the NBDE II (congratulations to both Brennan brothers as they both passed). It made the night that much more enjoyable and we didn't mind if we did venture out for some teppanyaki. 
Do you like that I'm eating his free birthday ice cream? 
It's ok, he did have a bite or two. I made sure to get chocolate, since he's not a big chocolate fan (to lessen the temptation and all). Wasn't that nice? 
I have been beyond impressed with Elliott's dieting, self-control, and motivation and keep wondering, "Where were you when I had to drop a pound or 50?" It's ok, no bitterness there, I promise; it's his birthday! Regardless, he is still motivating me now to eat healthy and cook from home. A little bit of planning on our shared Cozi shopping list and meal planning app has made it fun to stay in, eat better, and go to sleep without feeling so blah after the meal. I promise I wasn't paid to say that. 
Back to the real deal here: Elliott is the best. Most people say that. Well, a lot of people get distracted by his manly and full beard and talk about that first but that's because they think it's the best too. I have been begging Elliott to let me make his mom's oatmeal cake for tonight, but he and I both know we would eat half the thing in one night. And the other half the next morning. Alas, today could very well be one with me following Elliott around eating his free birthday restaurant goodies and perhaps hoping he'll take a bite or two to lessen the guilt. Ok maybe I won't after all the scorn I know I'll receive, but I would want him to do the same if I were seriously dieting. We have a special relationship with our food. It's another thing I love about Elliott. I know regardless, today will not be complete without some messy kisses from Beckett (who just learned how to give them and what "KISSES!" means) as well as some messy kisses from me. I'll have a lot of food on my face, remember?  
 Elliott hard at work grilling our turkey burgers. 
The look on his face is one of sheer motivation to grill--not crabbiness.