Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Wishes

Dear Friends and Family,

As another year draws to a close, we reflect on all the wonderful things 2009 has brought us--marriage, a new home, and a load of good times. It's been a year that can only be properly characterized by one word: LOVE.

So many people close to us have experienced the best kind of life changes--marriage, babies, and the gift of time certainly topping the list. We're so grateful to have shared these times with you; they are memories that will last a lifetime.

As we look ahead to 2010, we can only hope that the new year will bring us much more of the same. (Because really, what can be better than a life filled with love?)

Happy New Year, Friends! Looking forward to many more good times in 2010.

All our love,
Brooke & Raf

PS--here's a (not so short) slideshow of some of our favorite memories from 2009. Enjoy!

Check out a bigger version at YouTube. Image at top found here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yeah Toast!

While we're on the subject of songs that make me happy, I thought I'd share this one. This may be my new favorite song OF ALL TIME!

For a better audio version, try another one from You Tube. I just think it's more fun to watch Heywood Banks perform it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Straight No Chaser

I've heard this on the local radio station on my way to work a couple times in the past week. It makes me happy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December Peeks

Because I'm a chronic procrastinator, and because it's such a festive time of year, December tends to be a little crazy in our house. Here are a few peeks into the recent goodness.

First off: Baking. I made a double batch of the Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies from Cooking Light. They've become a holiday staple for me--much like mom's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip wonders. And they came out SO yummy this year! Evidently this ugly old oven we have is quite the charmer.

The cookies were destined for Joni's Cookie Exchange Party, but I caught an awful cold this week and was stuck at home in bed instead. I'm terribly bummed--not only did I miss out on all that cookie and crafty goodness--now I have to eat 4 dozen of these things myself!!

And this was the first of many visions for repurposing some of the burlap table runners from the wedding. They ended up in frames we have around the house. I'm SO excited to have my first set of stencils!! Watch out world--Brooke has paint and is not afraid to use it!

The burlap, on the other hand, is another story! Does anyone have a need for a ridiculous amount of used or unused burlap? I have almost a whole ream that's untouched...not to mention all that we salvaged from the tables! I need to come up with a money making craft that's made from burlap....

And finally we come to these little lovelies. I was so happy to open this box. A dozen perfect, adorable, wonderful little glass storage containers from Crate & Barrel. There were a few things from our registry that we didn't receive that I just couldn't convince myself to live without--this being number one. I'm totally smitten.
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12 Days

I'm super behind on the updates, yet again. I know. Apologies. December is a crazy time...obviously! I'm doing the 12 days of Christmas for Raf this year. I couldn't think of any good, big gifts, but could easily come up with about a thousand (or at least 10) little ones. I'm doing a super shotty job on the delivery though. He won't open any for a few days, then two at a time. I have no idea what day we're on now!

This was number 12--sweet new indoor/outdoor slippers:
And he was looking smoking hot at the Christmas Party last night, thanks to his new shirt at tie (though he's seen here without his cute vest that the new goods were meant to match):
Time to go open #7...or 5...heck, I don't know!
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Calendar Love

I love calendars. Handmade, graphic, Etsy style calendars. (Please don't send me a puppy calendar.) This perpetual Paris photo calendar from Little Brown Pen rocks my world.

(Little Brown Pen designed the little dandelion graphic on our Save the Date.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best Invitation Ever

Check it out here. Gotta love when the wedding invitation of people you don't even know gets you choked up.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pink Glove Dance

I was in a bad mood tonight. Then I finally watched this video--forwarded throughout the ranks at work last week. Such a great mood lifter. The adorable little old man with the broom makes me so happy!

The story, according to the email I received:
Our daughter-in-law, Emily, created, directed and choreographed this in Portland last week for her Medline glove division as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. This was all her idea to help promote their new pink gloves. I don't know how she got so many employees, doctors and patients to participate, but it started to really catch on and they all had a lot of fun doing it.

When the video gets 1 million hits, Medline will be making a huge contribution to the hospital, as well as offering free mammograms for the community. Please check it out. It's an easy and great way to donate to a wonderful cause, and who hasn't been touched by breast cancer?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Birthday Highlights: New Moon!

In case you hadn't heard (because you live under a rock), this was my birthday month. Notice the way I use the words "birthday" and "month" together like that. It's because I fully believe that birthdays are righteous enough that they should be celebrated for a full month, not just one measly little day!

I did lots of things to celebrate my birthday this month, but certainly one standout highlight was seeing the midnight showing of New Moon with the girls. Can you tell which one of us is most excited by the photo??

We kicked off the evening at Ashley's--she made pizza and we watched Twilight (my first viewing!) Then by 9:30pm it was time to head for the theater to join the other crazy teenage girls in line. We got to the theater and I thought something was wrong. There was a police car and news van parked out front...but no line. What? We couldn't be THAT early?!? Oh no, we weren't. They had the line(s) wrapped all over the hallways inside...then the super late arrivers (us) were all the way out the back door! Pretty classic. Thankfully they moved some groups into their theaters early on, so we got to spend most of the time lined up inside--then the final hour actually in our seats. Did I mention that they were showing New Moon on 9 screens and that 6 were already sold out when Ashley bought the tickets 3 weeks early...!?!? Good times!

The movie itself was as expected. Not good, but I'm totally going to watch it a million times! Watching it with a crowd of teenagers, though, was epic. I loved all the cheering and booing, and oohhhing, and gasping. You can be sure to find me in line for all future midnight showings of the series!

One quick movie-related note: based on the book series, I'm Team Edward all the way. But man, after the wonderful topless goodness of New Moon, I may have to switch to Team Jacob, just for the movies!


Mr. Cash

If you hadn't noticed, this has been a year of big events for our circle of friends. Just a couple months ago, our friends Lindsey and Matt welcomed their first son, Cassius, to the world.
Isn't he awesome?!?! Those cheeks! I can't stand it. I love that he is so unmistakably BOY!

The proud parents looking ridiculously happy and adorable...
This is a more recent shot--his features look so much more developed already! Like you can tell what he's going to look like when he's 20. Love it!
This is a shot of me at my babysitting tryout (otherwise known as Card Club). I'm pretty sure I passed with flying colors. I wore him for half the night and he barely made a peep. It was so much fun!! These wrap things are A-MAZ-ING, btw. Hands-free goodness and comfy for everyone!
Notice the way I'm cradling his head? Here's an interesting note--it's not because I was concerned about it flopping all over. Oh no--this kid is ridiculously strong! He was pushing against my hand all night with crazy amounts of force...and he was 3 weeks old at the time!! This one's going to be a linebacker, for sure!
Congrats Lindsey & Matt!! We couldn't be happier for you! (And for our babysitting prospects!)

Oh Picasa!

Oh, how I've missed Picasa! Ever since I got the Macbook, I've been using iPhoto. It's great and all, don't get me wrong, but in so many ways it's just nowhere near as quick and convenient as Picasa. So, I finally decided to download Picasa on the Book tonight.

Ah, it's like heaven! I cropped all these photos, brightened them up, threw them into a collage, and uploaded them to blogger in just a few short minutes. Everything takes so many more steps from iPhoto to Blogger. The upload options from iPhoto are just too limited--time to branch out on the partnerships, Apple!!

Hopefully I'll be back to some more regular blogging now that my convenient little tool and I are back together again.

As for the collage--this is what I spent my day at home doing yesterday--getting ready for Christmas! I'm so excited to decorate our own home for the holidays. I spent Saturday night gathering mad amounts of holiday decorating ideas to my Tumblr account, then threw together these fun little frames--inspired by an Ali Edward post I remembered from a couple years back.

If anyone's interested in seeing larger individual photos of my little holiday decor collection, visit my PICASA (love!!!) album here. Now get inspired and go make your own! They're so simple! Some are just holiday cards from prior years that I liked and kept. Others are scrapbook paper with embellishments or holiday sayings added with alphabet stickers. And one you might recognize as a vintage Starbucks gift card holder!

Just for fun, I thought I'd share how ridiculously messy my workspace gets when Raf's not home to regulate...!
(How do you like our loaner dining set?? Nice, huh! It's so cool to have a kitchen table. I love how the Universe provides!)
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry to have neglected you so. It's not that I don't care; I think about you all the time. It's just that I've been busy getting sh*t done. It's not you, it's me.

I promise to give you more attention soon. I have so much goodness to report! It'll be fun to catch up.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Point Reyes

We're currently sitting on the couch, enjoying a bottle of wine and the fireplace at the awesome little B&B we booked, the Bear Valley Inn. Certainly can't complain about that!

We made it to town in time to grab a yummy lunch at Cafe Reyes. This is the same place we had dinner at the last time we were in town, and I couldn't wait to get back to it. It's just so cool without trying. This time I was on a mission to learn the name. I couldn't find it online, and panicked while walking through town, thinking maybe it had closed. Nope. They just don't have any signs outside:
This is the only indication that the place has a name:
We were slightly confused by the menu. While it makes sense that it's a pizza joint (wood fired oven), we distinctly remember it being Mexican food. But there was nothing but pizza and a few salad type options on the menu today. Then we came back to the hotel and saw a restaurant listing indicating that it was Mexican. Weird. Maybe only at dinnertime?
The good news--it was still good. Raf's pizza was especially yummy. I read somewhere that their dough starter is from Naples. Doesn't get more authentic than that!
We also got to enjoy more than the food today--the weather was GORGEOUS! Seriously, unbelievable. Last time we were here the fog was so thick you couldn't see more than 4 feet in front of you the entire time. I'm thinking that's why all I remembered was the good eats, rather than the breathtaking scenery. Man, it's amazing here.
We spent the afternoon walking and lounging at Limantour Beach.
Little friends that greet you on the walk up to the beach--I dig the mohawks!
Good day, for sure. Especially since we still have dinner to look forward to! Happy Weekend, friends!

Friday, November 13, 2009

All Hallows Eve

Just found this shot of the cousins on Cool's Twitter. Makes me happy. :)

Also learned that Zoe finished the Harry Potter series last month. In record time. Like a Rock Star. Raf is feeling even more pathetic as he gets started on The Half Blood Prince.


Shop: Paper InStyle Etsy shop.

Excited for the Holidays!

Keep Calm & Carry On parody cards via dippylulu's Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lee Crutchley

Loving Lee Crutchley's Quoteskine, discovered on Share Some Candy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Birthday I Plan for Myself

...shall include a stay here--the Bear Valley Inn B&B, along the Point Reyes National Seashore. Here's your link, Bubba. :)

I can't wait to get back to Point Reyes. Top thing on the To Do list? Eat. A lot. I'm thinking about starting a fast now, just so I can really appreciate it once I'm there. But who am I kidding, the food here doesn't require fasting to earn appreciation. I feel like Point Reyes is the mecca of Slow Food. It's Slow Food without trying. And it's oh-so-good!

I'm just bummed we're missing Farmer's Market by one weekend. I keep reading about the best grilled cheese sandwich ever made (sold by a Farmer's vendor) and I'm already salivating. Guess it'll have to wait til next summer.

Kitchen Table

L-O-V-I-N-G this idea from November's Martha. Just because it's in this woman's basement doesn't mean it can't work in my dining room!

I really want Dad to build us a kitchen table, but first I have to find a design I like, then I have to convince him he can do it, then I have to wait for him to make one for himself first. Oy!

A painted picnic table sounds like a pretty amazing (cheap), temporary (like 3 years) fix to me. Sold!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcoming Riley

I'm seriously amazed at how far behind I am about reporting on the great news of good friends. For instance, my dear friend Kelli (from work) gave birth to her son, Riley, 4 months ago!!

Abby, Gina and I got to meet Riley when he was just a few weeks old. He's so crazy adorable! He's got to be the longest and skinniest baby ever born--he was like a little velociraptor at that time--so fun! He's starting to grow into his length now--though, like his parents, there's still not an ounce of pudge on him.

Notice how happy I make babies:
Abby doing way better. (It's so Abby to color-coordinate with the baby, btw!)
Ah, that's more like it!
Riley & Mama
Riley & Dad--on my blanket! YAY!

Me Wii'd

(Yay! I finally get to re-post this, now that the happy couple is married, and I'm no longer ruining surprises!)
Evidently this is what I would look like if I were a Wii character. LOL! At least I have long eye lashes and get to wear yellow!

If you've seen Ashley and Leo's Save the Date, this would make more sense. They're Wii fanatics, so they not only turned themselves into characters, but the full bridal party too! Good times. I think we should have all been wearing our bridesmaid gowns tho!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Light Reno Project

Remember these pendant lights? While the boys have been hard at work installing our (amazing) new floors, I worked on my own little side project this weekend--giving a new look to the industrial pendant lamps hanging in the family room.

Raf is not such a fan and has been dying to get rid of them, but I can't imagine what we'd replace them with. The only pendants I've seen that have caught my attention are at Ikea. They're a cooler shape, but other than that, the only difference is that they're a metallic color, rather than white--and I'm really not stoked on the idea of shelling out money on new lights that are almost the same darn thing.

So, I proposed that I simply add a new coat of paint. Raf was skeptical (read: totally pessimistic and mean), but I decided it was worth a Sunday to give it a shot.

Here's what I was working with:
I disassembled all the little pieces, cleaned them up, then it was off to Lowe's to find a cool spray paint color.
Here's my fancy workspace. This was the one and only time I've appreciated all the crap in our driveway. Here I'm using a box on top of the dead dryer to work at the perfect height.
My resourceful setup for painting the cords:
Here they are drying between coats--fun, eh?!
I came home with 3 metallic color options--one was vetoed immediately, the other 2 I tested side-by-side. The winner: Valspar Lacquer Hi-Gloss in Aluminum. The darker color I ended up using on the cords, so they weren't the same color as the lights: Valspar Metal Premium Enamel in Graphite.
I put a good 3 coats inside and out, and this is what I came up with. What do you think? The best news: Raf ate his words--he actually likes them!
This was my first time using spray paint. It's a bit challenging to get the hang of, but by the end of the project, I was sold. I want to spray paint everything now!

Two lessons learned:
  1. Take note of how you disassemble things. Chances are you won't remember how it was put together in the first place--which makes for way more stress than necessary when you want to get stuff put back together. (We are SO bad at this!)
  2. Primer, Primer, Primer! The spray instructions said I would only need primer for raw metal. The lights were painted, so I figured I was safe. Nope. They were all kinds of scratched up by the time they were finished being hung. In the future, I'll always primer. Always.
Now I just need to get some dimmable lights in these puppies. The constant flickering is going to give me a seizure one of these days.