Showing posts from 2011

A Visit from St. Nicholas

I can't remember the last time I read this poem to my children. Then again, it's been quite a while since I had both of them with me for Christmas Eve. You can't really maintain traditions if no one shows up.
At least this year I have more Christmas spirit than I have in the lastfewyears. This year is low-key and I've kind of gotten used to the idea of having two Christmases or delaying it until the New Year when we're all together. Three Kings Day works just as well to celebrate the birth of Christ, and in my mind makes much more sense for the 12 Days of Christmas.

Maybe in a year or two I can save up enough to go to Florida for Christmas. That would be weird, I mean, what gets warmer than California at Christmas-time?? But what would be better than Walt Disney World at Christmas-time?

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas so…

Playtime! Ninja Unboxing

I just came across this today. Unfortunately, I have a deadline to meet. When you have some down time, check it out. There are three videos.

And don't forget to play the game in video 3.

Starbucks Coupon - 20% off Tumblers

Sharing the wealth here. I don't go to Starbucks as often these days since there is a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf nearby and I am still in love with our Keurig machine. Not to mention I just culled four or five coffee tumblers from my cabinet and have to stop myself from buying more. (Must declutter...)
So here you go coffee lovers:

Just click through and print it out for your next trip to Starbucks or use promo code 820 at checkout at

Mamavation Monday: No Hating

This morning I don't hate my scale. Down another 1/2 pound. I'll take it. back to 186lbs give or take a few ounces. I've steadily been losing since getting back from vacation. More travel coming up, which means less control of what goes into my mouth, but I have become a lot better at making smarter choices when on the go. Except for coffee.

I know that I probably would make my goal of a full pound or maybe even two if I stopped my ritualistic stop at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf every morning. It's like my work day doesn't really start until I have that cup in my hand. I could bring coffee from home, which I used to do, or even use the Starbucks machine here at work. But I truly love my regular Cafe White Chocolate. And if Eddie makes my drink he always adds a little chocolate syrup. One of my few indulgences since starting work again is my morning coffee.

Ok, enough justifying. I'm just so very glad that I am still losing weight during the holiday season. Rela…

Movies Worth Re-Watching

It's the holiday season and that means days off from work, school, and possibly contagious diseases. Do you remember being home sick, on the couch, or in bed, and watching TV in between doses of Nyquil or Theraflu?

Even when I am not sick, but want to watch something comforting and familiar I turn to these movies:

At the top of my list is "The Princess Bride". It has been my favorite movie since childhood. Romance, action, comedy - what more do you need?

Since it's the holidays, my favorite is "Miracle on 34th Street" - in B&W, not Technicolor. I also love "Arsenic & Old Lace".

When I want a great action flick, I turn to Captain Tightpants and "Serenity ".

If I need a good cry I watch "What Dreams May Come ".

What are some of the movies you watch over and over?

Oh my!

I never dreamed I could look like this! 

I was kind of an ugly duckling growing up -- coke bottle glasses, goofy grin (that hasn't changed), and over all awkwardness that I never grew out of. Suffice it to say, I didn't (and some days still don't) have the greatest self-esteem when it comes to my looks.

However, I have known since college that I have a decent pair of legs :D.  A few years ago (I can't believe it's been years!) I had a leggy avatar for twitter and about the same time I started hanging out with photographers in Long Beach/North OC. One of them is the amazing David Moyle. We talked about doing a shoot of my legs. He does some breathtaking work. Three years later we finally made it happen. And damn, don't I look HAWT?!?

I want to thank @Jonathan360 (another awesome LB photographer) for suggesting Smash Photo in Long Beach -- because, you know me, procrastinator - couldn't find a studio and there was no way this shoot was happening at home. Bill…

Wordless Wednesday: Puerto Vallarta


A Better One

Happy Veteran's Day!

Photo Friday: One


Hangin' with The Muppets

I couldn't join, but it was fun to watch. Really hoping that this is available after the hangout. UPDATE They edited the video and made it available for public consumption!
Disney's The Muppets hits theaters this Thanksgiving! To celebrate, several of the stars took part in a Google+ Hangout on their brand new profile -- mostly because Miss Piggy insists on being in all of the important Circles.

Milk - It Does a School Good

You know the old slogan, "Milk, it does a body good". Now it will do our schools and kids good too.

We already collect box tops, soup can labels, grocery receipts, and who knows what else to support our schools and give them the extra cash that the state of California can't seem to come up with. (Yes, I support public education and I'm appalled at how far California has fallen since I graduated from high school. Do NOT get me started on Prop 13).

So in addition to reading labels for trans-fat and partially hydrogenated oils I'll be looking out for the Real California Milk seal. Even better, it's a local organization working to give back to the community.

Those savvy cows, along with Scholastic, are supporting California schools by launching the Real Seal Appealprogram and awarding California schools with up to $2 million in cash, books and prizes.

Details From October 1, 2011-December 31, 2011, The California Milk Advisory Board in conjunction with Scholastic,…

Movember - Changing the Face of Men's Health

Well, October is over, and the pink will eventually fade, and now it's November. Pardon me, Movember. Time for men to take it all off. Facial hair that is. 

Let’s face it, men are known to be more indifferent towards their health, especially when compared to the efforts of women, who proactively and publicly address their health issues in a way not traditionally seen with men. As a result, today the levels of awareness, understanding and funding for support of male health issues, like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer. From

Mamavation Monday: Holding Steady

And still under 190. I'm at 185 this week and blaming the one pound weight gain on water weight -- not on the candy corn. I've actually been pretty good, it took me about a week to go through one bag and I only raided the Halloween candy a few times. I keep thinking "portion control" and "stay UNDER 190!!"

After about 6 weeks of little to no activity I rode my bike into work the past two mornings. My legs are confused and I have never been so glad to sit at my desk. Riding gets my blood moving but I think I need a chiropractic adjustment to get those endorphins into my brain. You would think that a 3-4 mile ride in brisk air would wake a girl up!

It's good to be moving again and I am so happy that despite not exercising a lot I have been losing weight. 

Regarding Halloween candy -- The Teen is allergic to food dyes but has the OK from his doctor to eat fatty foods because he's ectomorphic. I keep telling that will be in his favor until he turns 30 …

No Dunkin' in California

I love California. I hate the politics that are ruining this state and it's economy. And my morning coffee fix. 

Personally I am a fan of  Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, but while back East last month I did as the natives did and ran on Dunkin'. We even brought some K-Cups home. I just loaded the carousel with the last of them so I thought I would see about ordering more. No K-Cups available (it was a long shot), but now you can't order any Dunkin' if you live in California. So I can't even get ground coffee and use the Keurig insert.

Really? Prop 65 is an environmental act. According to the label on my K-cups box the ingredients are drumroll please ... 100% Arabica beans. That's it. The flavored coffees have natural and artificial flavors (what doesn't these days?)
So what the fruit California? Why can't we get Dunkin'?
Related articlesSingle-serve Dunkin' pods now available for home coffeemakers (

Book Review: A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't really like this book. Despite reading a lot of murder mysteries, this book really delved into the dark side of human nature and motives. There's lying, backstabbing,sex, poisoning, more sex ... but not good erotic scenes. I finished it only because I kept hoping it would get better.

In the end the protagonist redeemed herself, so it has a happy ending, of sorts.

View all my reviews

Wordless Wednesday: Bunker Hill


Wordless Wednesday: Camouflage


Portobello Mushrooms with Summer Squash

We're back to almost vegetarian in my household and Sunday nights are either gourmet or leftovers. We're out of leftovers.

Tonight's dinner is Portobello mushrooms with a side of summer squash and baked potatoes. It took about 20 minutes - less if your grill doesn't run out of gas!

Portobello Mushrooms with Summer Squash
Recipe by Annette Holland Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
4portobello mushrooms1/2 cupFresh & Easy Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette1/2 cupFresh & Easy Burgundy Wine Simmer Sauce1 packagesummer squash4Yukon Gold potatoes Cooking Directions
Grilled portobello mushrooms are delicious, but our grill was out of gas and it was too hot to broil. I made due with the griddle.
Lightly oil with olive oil, then spoon either the balsamic vinaigrette or burgundy wine simmer sauce over the mushrooms until soft, turning at least once. If grilling, marinate the mushrooms for a few minutes…

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

I've been playing around with the recipe for a few weeks now and I think we have a winner. The Hunk called last week's batch the best ever, so I'm going to try to duplicate it this week and document it.
Ingredients :
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use Gold Medal)
1 cup Coach's Oats
1tsp baking soda
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/4 sugar in the raw (honey can be substituted)
2 eggs (flaxseed can be substituted)
2tsp vanilla
1.5 cups milk (coconut or almond milk can be substituted)
1 cup water
Pecans, dried or frozen berries
Combine dry ingredients. Mix liquid ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to dry. Mix well. Let sit while you heat your griddle. Batter will appear watery, but any thicker and you will have *really * thick pancakes.
Pour out batter in 1/4 cup increments. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
*posted using the blogger app, sorry about the formatting

Photo Friday: Curvature


You Are Invited to Join Google Plus

If you are still wanting a invitation to Google+, you have come to the right place.I have plenty. Before you jump on the latest social network bandwagon, make sure it's the right place for you. Yes, I love all things Google, but I wouldn't want you to leave that other network if G+ is not right for you. Use the right tool for the job. Know what I mean?

Check out the demo. See if you want to hangout. Make sure that Skype is not in use. I had issues with my first hangout because Skype had control of my mic and speakers, though oddly enough not my webcam. Pants are optional.

Still need work, but I find blog posts and articles that I wouldn't otherwise come across on the topics that I am interested in. Especially Android and recipes. Bonus, I don't have to clutter up my already overloaded Google Reader with more blogs.

Are the new Group.Me or Beluga -- if you have the app (also available for i-devices).
Texting is great, but not when you’re trying to get six …

Wordless Wednesday: Soccer Practice


This is the way we walk to school

Moments like this are when I miss being a stay-at-home mom. Ideally, I would have a work from home job for that elusive, mythical "work life balance". In the meantime, I'll enjoy the small moments that I do get. Tomorrow I rejoin the ranks of the working class.

Mamavation Monday: 187

Well, I lost a pound this week. I guess the spin classes are paying off especially since it's *that* week and I probably gained 5lbs just in water weight. Also despite recovering from road food and a family reunion last weekend while the rest of you were at Blogher (mild jealousy).
Overall, I'm not too upset. Being an overachiever I want to see that 2lb/week loss, but I know that is unrealistic. I'm still being careful of my back and not overdoing anything, which sometimes means not pushing myself as hard as I could. I've noticed that in spin class after a certain level of exertion my body thinks I'm having an anxiety attack, but I just slow down and concentrate on breathing until I try again. Getting through the mental barriers is so much harder than the physical ones.
The Hunk and I are spinning 3x/week and light weights in between. I'm exhausted most days. My muscles are definitely confused, as in "What the hell!?! You haven't used me in 10 years …

UI Debit Cards for California

It's about damn time the state of California finally joined the 21st Century when it comes to paying out benefits. And if you read the whole press release, we get telephone and web access too! I can't believe I was able to do all this in Oregon years ago and now California is finally getting a clue.
Starting July 8, EDD will begin distributing 10,000 cards a day to unemployment claimants, a phasing-in transition from check to card that will take a couple of months to complete. Last year at the height of the recession, EDD issued approximately 41.2 million unemployment checks, a record number.
Benefits of the EDD Debit Cards include:
No check cashing fees for customers without a personal bank account. Transfer options for customers who do have their own bank accounts. No fees with careful use of the card. Stability in the event of a disaster, avoiding mail disruptions that can occur with checks.

So, if you are currently unemployed in CA, and haven't used up your 99 …

Pina Colada Oatmeal

Good morning everyone!
I've noticed I tend to practically pass out at the end of spin class if I only have a light breakfast or a protein bar. This morning I plan on going on a fairly full stomach.
I like to mix things up a bit with breakfast. Including oatmeal. Food should be fun, even when you're trying to lose weight.

Pina Colada Oatmeal
Recipe by Annette Holland Prep time: 1 minute
Cook time: 4 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1
1/3 cup Coach's Oats1 cupwater1/4 cup shredded coconut1/2 cup pineapple chunks1/2 tsp. rum extract Cooking Directions
Cook oatmeal according to directions. Add coconut, pineapple, rum extract and nuke for 30 seconds or until pineapple is no longer frozen. Enjoy!

Wordless Wednesday: Doggy Style

Back scratching that is.

Crowd-Sourced Dinner

Sometimes I can't pull dinner out of a hat. I have the ingredients but no clue how to pull them together. It's rare. Today was one of those days. We are on a mission to eat everything in the house before going grocery shopping again. Too much food has been going to waste. The chest freezer is almost empty (which the Teen pointed out has never happened in his memory).
<a href="" target="_blank">View "Crowd-sourced Dinner" on Storify</a>

Butternut Squash Soup
It's a little watery since I omitted the heavy cream, but both the Hunk and the Teen approve.

2lbs butternut squash, diced1 onion - diced2 cloves garlic or equivalent garlic powder4-6 cups chicken or vegetable brothnutmeg, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste1 TBSP olive oil

Saute …

Wordless Wednesday: Last Dessert


Mamavation Monday: More Active

It's been a busy week. We re-committed to working out daily. I'm definitely the slacker in accountability relationships, so I need the extra push. The only upside is on the rare occasions when the Hunk wants to stop I get to give it right back to him.  I'm also in charge of the menus and portion control, one of the few things I'm good at.

The past week looked like this:
Sunday : biked 4 miles running errands, then walked 3.3 more miles throughout the day.
Monday : 2 mile walk
Tuesday: I'm not a very good swimmer (translation I sink like a rock) but I did some pool jogging and then laps on my back. My goal was to get across the pool a few times without my feet touching bottom. After dinner did a 2.5 mile walk with Zoe and the Hunk.
Wednesday : more walking. My dog is losing weight faster than I am.
Thursday: swimming. I float on my back and try not to drown in three feet of water. I'm getting better.
Friday: more swimming. It's a good week for it.
Saturday: walki…

What I look like as in Infographic

There's a new meme going around the social media set and I finally jumped on the bandwagon.

How it works

We are using data from your Twitter account's tweets (posts) combined with some twitter data from our friends over at infochimps. Our Twitterize yourself tool will generate an infographic in an instant based upon your information.

The 'outfits' and 'accessories' are chosen based upon keywords most associated for you. For example, if you tweet a lot about wineries, you will see a wine glass in your hand; Go to the ballpark often? Then your avatar will be dressed in a sports jersey and so on. There are a total of 11 possible outfits that depict your overall Twitter personality and 29 different accessories that could be assigned to show your interests.

Geeky grin: I do like to smileGamer: I guess because I tweet a lot about AndroidObsession: I think my last 200-500 tweets have included a higher ratio of tweets from Goodreads and about Nook ColorAnd I love the boo…

Mamavation Monday: -6

My body puzzles me -- all the time. This past week I didn't have much activity, or much appetite, and I lost six pounds. Possibly more since I got my hair done. So I'm down to 186. If my body is in starvation mode, it's shedding instead of holding onto fat, which works for me.

I wish I could figure out what makes my body tick.

Question: What has been your favorite Grunt Style workout? If you aren’t doing his workouts what has been your strength training routine?Answer: I've been MIA from Mamvation for about a month and didn't know that we had new workout. I have ben doing P90X sporadically as my back allows me. I seriouly think the bike riding I started is doing wonders for my legs.

Walking isn't necessarily strength-training, but it's building up my stamina so that I can go on longer bike rides without feeling like all of the air has left my body. I can't wait to go on a decent hike again!

*Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Grun…