Monday, September 27, 2010

DWTS: Team Ballin'

I (heart) Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas.

For real.

A few weeks ago I even dreamed that Mark Ballas asked me out. I also hoped Dancing with the Stars would pair them together - and that was before my slight obsession.

I follow Mark Ballas on Twitter (which, by the way, following people on Twitter is very fun and kind of surreal) and it has been cute to see all his tweets this week about he and Bristol. He posted this adorable picture and called her "gorgeous."

Now doesn't that just make you want them to date? :)

Other than hoping they make it far into the competition, I hope the media will focus on Bristol and not her mom for the rest of the show. Sarah visited the set on tonight's episode and it has already been reported that people booed. I respect Sarah Palin, but I hope this show gives Bristol her own "media identity" separate from her mom and her ex-sleaze bag fiance.

Now go vote!

(top photo found here).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Saw this movie today with Teri and Nichol. It was pretty good. I loved seeing Carey Mulligan and Shia LaBeouf together. Great chemistry and awesome acting. Plus, they are together in real life and I think fell in love on the movie, so that was fun to observe.

Shia did really well and has really grown up, which is ironic because we are the same age. He is so handsome too. Love Carey Mulligan, so talented and classy and beautiful (as shown below in her cover story for this month's Vogue).

(photos found here, here, and here).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wedding excitement

I’ve been thinking a lot about weddings today! One of my best friends, Nikki, got engaged recently and I couldn’t be more excited for her!

(Nikki, Ashley, and Sidney at new year's this year).

Her wedding will be a ton of fun and she and her fiancé are a great match. It is so much fun to think about wedding planning.
I’ve often considered going into that business because I could look at wedding stuff for hours. My sister and I sat and flipped through The Knot magazine today and played the wedding magazine game we always do where we have to look at every page and ask each other “if you had to choose, which one would you pick?” Even if every ring or dress or bouquet on the page is ugly, we have to choose! It helps us see what we like and is a lot of fun. Highly recommend the game, especially if you are actually engaged.

Great Saturday

I spent all of today with my sister! It was great. We literally just sat around and watched movies, looked at a wedding magazine for fun, and went to Claim Jumper tonight. Great Saturday.

My sister is my best friend. I have such a good time with her and she cracks me up! (proof of how funny she is below):

There's one more angel in Heaven

A very good friend passed away on Sunday and it broke my heart. The friend who passed was Marty Randant. I considered him a second father/uncle figure in my life. Marty lost a battle to cancer way too young. He was one of the best men I’ve ever known and was blessed to have known him. Marty came into my life as a mutual friend of my parents and then his daughter, Ashley, and I became very good friends for a few years. I spent at least three summers at the Randant’s house, staying there for entire weekends. Those weekends were always about family, fun, and relaxation with lots of hugs and laughter. The Randant's were very good to me. After my friendship grew apart with Ashley I still regularly saw Marty and Norma for breakfasts and what not. The last time I got together with them for breakfast was about a year ago and we planned to have a Bond movie marathon day because Marty couldn’t believe I had never seen any. He had already picked out about three of them for us to watch. I wish we had done that. I am so sad he is gone and that I won’t be at his funeral. Marty will be missed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A great way to start Saturday

Well, aside from waking up far too early on a Saturday morning, it has been excellent so far!
The Time Warner cable guy arrived 30 minutes early and without calling, which is technically great. I prayed that God would have the cable guy arrive at the beginning of his time slot (9-12) because I have plans at 12:30.

He arrived so early that I was literally naked when he knocked on the door and I yelled through the door asking for five minutes. Embarrassing, but at least I had showered. All in the name of cable.
It's always a bit awkward when a complete stranger is wandering from room to room of your house. You don't quite know what to do with yourself or where to go or what to say. So, I made myself some tea, set my laptop up on our kitchen table and enjoyed a leisurely morning of read blogs.

I wish I could start everyday like this, with some lovely Godly women sharing spiritual insights that I was encouraged by on their blogs.
I was reminded the cable guy was still here when he turned on college football in the living room and continued to work. It is kind of endearing that boys will always be boys and choose sports. I can't blame him. I would turn on something I want to watch while I work too.
Now, he is gone, the house is silent, and I am signing off to go join the two dimensional people. I may never join the three dimensional people again. Cable has taken over.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kick the mean boys in the shins.

This is what my mom, sister and I say to each other when we need some encouragement in the face of challenge… mostly challenges with people when we are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. It has nothing to do with gender. We use it about boys and girls. It is more a state of mind. It’s like saying “pull yourself together, suck it up, and move on because you will survive this and rise above the rest.”

See how much easier it is to just say “kick the mean boys in the shins?”

It’s from One Fine Day. George Clooney (you knew he’d show up on the blog again soon) says this to his daughter, Mae Whitman (currently in Parenthood), when he leaves her at the 9th Street Drop In center. Michele Pfeiffer rolls her eyes at his “pep talk” fatherly advice in the face of bullies.

But my family apparently loves it.

Kick the mean boys in the shins.

Say it with me.

“Kick the mean boys in the shins.”

Feel better?

I do.

Say it when you’re stressed. Say it when you’re angry. Say it when you’re intimidated.

It’s essentially the same idea behind this adorable print found on Joanna’s blog.

Love grows best in small houses

My mom always used to say "love grows best in small houses."

The picture above makes me very happy. It is my parents' house from google map from several years ago. The white car in the drive way was the one I used to drive. My sister's is next to it and my good friend, Nikki's, is parked on the curb. It makes me happy because I have so many good memories with Nikki and my family at my house. I can remember joy and laughter and laziness. Things that the idea of home is made of.

I am dreaming of homes today. Probably because I feel so homey in my newly decorated room and will even more so after I get cable on Saturday morning. But the real reason is because one of my favorite houses is for sale and I wish I could buy it. I drive past about six houses that I absolutely love on my way home from work every evening. Each one makes me imagine a different life. One is the sweet starter home (which ironically is the one that's for sale), one is the guest house home, one is the home where I would learn to love gardening and outside decorating (yeah right), one is the white picket fence house, and one is the place to raise a family of many kids who play outside and read stories before bed.

I am crazy, I know. I can accept that.

(My ideas of home today is partially due to NieNie's home tour found here).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cable makes it all better

I am getting cable!!!! Yay, I can’t wait! I have been waiting for six years to have cable. I just bought a new TV two weeks ago, so it will look wonderful. I am so excited that my face looks like I heard way bigger news than just cable. Although I did hear some big news today that makes me equally happy!
Life is getting back to normal this week. My sister is moving her stuff back in on Thursday and she’ll be back for the year next week. I’m excited to have family back in the apartment. I drive her crazy, but I love her so. It’s nice to come home to someone regularly. I also started school again this week. Last night I began my last semester of my Master’s!!! Exciting stuff. I am in my capstone class and trying to think about what to do for it. In November I’ll officially start my last class and will be done in January, but graduate in December.
Work has been abnormally stressful. I’ve had to really remind myself this week that I can only do my best and let it be from there. I’ve been getting to the office early, but trying not to work late.I have been craving a door and an actual office this week. But, I am just attempting to do my best, stay positive, keep time for people, and go home at the end of the day. I didn’t realize how stressed I was until my body started showing signs of stress. My hormones are a mess and I have eczema showing on both my upper arms. Often my body responds like this when I don’t acknowledge consciously how stressed out I am. My panic and anxiety have been a bit worse lately too, but luckily I am being intentional about all of it and trying to take good care of myself.
So, not too much going on here. Just Carrie-ing on.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Would you rather...

Get a raise in pay or more vacation days?

 My answer: vacation days.

(photo found here).

Fiction: about Skype

Imagine a woman with a diamond ring on her left hand. Every Wednesday night she makes sure she is home by seven, sitting at her desk, computer turned on. She is waiting for a Skype call. Her husband is calling from Afghanistan. They both live for these short calls. Married for three years and living apart for six months, Wednesday nights are almost religious. They start their conversations with “I love you,” because neither knows how unexpectedly it could end. An emergency or a power outage are very valid options. They are glad to see one another on screen. His eyes, showing more exhaustion and pain with each week. Her smile, looking shakier and forced with each goodbye. The conversations don’t last long; maybe fifteen minutes at most, usually about her week…his life is too scary for her to hear about from so far away. Regardless of how mundane, it is these Skype video calls that keep him focused, centered, and calm, and keep her breathing a sigh of relief that he is one week closer to making it home again.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Top Ten: advice for college

(Me and Jamie, sophomore year).

Today was the first day of the new school year for undergrads. I kept thinking about the new freshmen and all the seniors who are starting their last year and of course all the students in between. So, yeah, I thought about all the students.

Here are my Top Ten pieces of advice about surviving (and maybe even enjoying) the undergrad experience:

1. Live on campus your freshman year. Move off campus your senior year. You’ll learn a lot of great lessons about living with other people and about yourself when you’re out of your comfort zone. You’ll learn to appreciate privacy and alone time. Senior year, you’ll learn what it feel like to support yourself and live independently before you are officially forced out into the world. You will also love the space away from school.

2. Work. On campus, off campus, doesn’t matter, but getting a paycheck and learning to balance life, school, and work will teach you about prioritization and enable you to go out on the weekends. It’s a win win.

3. Let your family make your bed the day you move in freshman year. My mom was all about making sure my bed was cozy and comfy. My Dad was all about making sure I liked which corner the bed was in. I’ve heard that others parents care about this bed thing too. And let me tell you, climbing into a bed your parents cared about somehow makes you feel closer to your family on rough nights.

4. When you want to transfer to another school, think of the one person you would miss who you’d never have met and maybe will never see again, and stay because of that person. My person was Jamie. She was my best friend through college, and although we have let life get in the way these days, I wouldn’t have stayed at APU if she hadn’t been there. James was the person I looked forward to seeing at the end of every vacation. She was the one I talked to late at night and sat with in chapel and cried with when I was homesick. We dreamed about our futures together and complained about professors and experienced a lot of college together. She was the biggest blessing.

5. Get involved. It can be intimidating or scary or annoying, but that is how you will meet people. Ninety percent of friends I made in college were from activities I was involved in. The other ten percent were people I met in classes.

6. Choose the major you enjoy, not the one your parents told you to do or the one that will make you the most money. I originally chose English because my Mom told me to pick a subject I would most enjoy doing the homework for (very wise advice, Mom). It was the best decision I made as an undergrad. I loved going to class and school was fun because of that. At the end of the day, you have to want to go to class or else you won’t graduate.

7. Take a class in your major during your first year. It will really teach you if that is the major you want, and if it is, you’ll be glad you didn’t waste a whole year without a class you love.

8. Learn to use a toilet plunger, a screw driver, and your AAA card. Chances are you will need all three of these things at some point during college. It will feel so much better figuring it out on your own.

9. Go home when needed. You learn a lot about yourself and your childhood when you move away from home, but you learn even more when you visit on weekends. You also learn that for better or for worse, there are some things parents do best.

10. Remember that college is a short time in your life; make the most of it. I didn’t always do this and I think I wish I had. College is short, which is a good thing when you hate it, but it also means you only have a certain set of years where driving to get food at 3am is normal and sitting outside with a group of friends at 4 in the afternoon is just part of life and going to meetings at 10pm and not feeling like that is too late for a meeting will not happen again. These are the years that rules matter less and people matter more, four hours of sleep is the usual, seeing a person in a gorilla suit at chapel is funny and not unusual, and a fire alarm is a prank and not an actual emergency.

College may not always be the best time of your life, but it will be a defining part of your life. The hidden lesson of it all is what about you will you let it define?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yay Fall!

As I said yesterday, today is the first "unofficial" day of Fall and to prove it, God gave us clouds . :) I love cloudy days! The sky is literally covered with clouds and it is gray and cool outside. Perfect weather for a sweatshirt and jeans (my favorite outfit). It makes me so happy!

Another positive note of my day: I've got a date with George tonight. 
I'm seeing The American after work with a friend. 

Yay for happy Tuesdays!
(photo credit: first one is mine from outside my office building, second from here).

The little church who shouldn't

Today I read about the small church in Gainesville, FL who is planning to burn the Quran (Koran… I don’t even know which is proper spelling). I am so frustrated about this! This small group of people are making a bad name for the body of Christ. Why do Christians do this? The worst part is that they are “praying” for direction about not to do it… why not pray for forgiveness and don’tdo it? There is no way the Lord blesses what they are planning to do. Spreading violence and hate is not what God calls us to as acts of obedience. God says to “love mercy” and to “love your enemies.” The Lord will bring justice on His own.

It is acts like this that give Christians such a bad name. All this “demonstration” is going to do is alienate people, make a bad name for God and those who follow Him, and give the government even more reason to protect non-Christians from Christians. I will be praying from now until Sept 11th (the day the demonstration is planned for) that this group of people will not go through with their bad plan. I will also begin praying that their bad decision will not bring down an entire division of Christians. Plus, I will pray that if this demonstration does happen that Christians will be safe from persecution, especially Christians who had nothing to do with the group in Gainesville.

Overall, I just pray that people will understand Christians are not perfect. We are saved, and that is precisely because we are not perfect. Only the Lord is perfect. I also hope people know that many Christians (me and my church and my friends included) think the little church in Gainesville, FL is wrong. Burning the Koran is not what Jesus had in mind as an act of following Him.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ray: a drop of golden sun

Today is the last day of summer and that makes me really happy. This weekend was the first hint of Fall weather, which makes me even happier! I hate summer and I am glad it’s gone. Although August was still tough for me, as it is every year, this summer was a good one. I went to Vegas twice, was in my best friend’s wedding, spent time in Texas with lots of family, saw movies by myself, and spent countless hours with my amazing coworkers who I call friends (and support system). I also spent good quality time with my loving family. My favorite family day was probably when we went to Dana Point for Dad’s birthday because we laid around the hotel room staring at the ocean and it was easy and sweet.

This Labor Day weekend I was at home. I hadn’t been home in seven weeks, which is definitely a record for the last couple of years. Last night I spent the evening with my family barbecuing and watching Big Brother with my adorable dog Lucy lying on my foot. I drove back up to my LA life this morning and went straight to work (that’s right, I had to work while you had the day off… and I don’t even work in an emergency or commission line of work). Although early, the drive up was lovely. There is something so calming and enjoyable about driving alongside the coast, with no traffic, and good songs on the radio.

Tonight I am ending Labor Day sitting in my great red chair, writing this blog on my new laptop (my first… bought it on Saturday), watching TV on my new (and also first) flat screen, and looking forward to climbing into my freshly washed sheets.

How did you end your Labor Day weekend?

P.S. There was also a random theme of Sound of Music this weekend. Love that movie! The key to a good childhood is to watch as many Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals as often as possible.

(photo found here).