Monday, January 2, 2017

Best of 2016

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I think one of the most awesome things about taking photos and memory-keeping (in all its forms) is the gratitude it instills in us.  I had the perception that 2016 was a tough year.  But looking through my photos and my journal, it became clear that there were a lot of great moments and memories as well. Photos and journaling ensure that none of this gets forgotten when we are down, or when the world wants to beat us down.  I really love that!

Another thing that was curious and strange is… at the time the photos were taken, I disliked a lot of the photos of me.  I felt like I wasn’t looking my best, or that I wasn’t at my best weight.  But when I look back at these photos a few months later, what stands out to me isn’t what I looked like.  It’s the feelings and memories I had of the fun times with friends and family.  Let that be a lesson to both you and I about what’s really important.  And to make sure you are in the photos, not just scenery and things.
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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Best of December 2016

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December has come and gone and 2016 is now over!  I think we ended the year on a high note (despite the Buckeyes losing so miserably).  The above photo was taken on Christmas Day at the beach.  Going to the beach on Christmas is our annual tradition ever since we moved to San Diego at the end of 1999.  I’m pretty sure this is going to be our Christmas card for 2017, ha ha.  (The natural lighting was so perfect!)

We started December with a date night at Carnitas Snack Shack in Del Mar.  It was bittersweet because this location closed at the end of December.  We wanted to go before it closed.  We shared a Triple Threat (pork carnitas, pork schnitzel, and bacon).  It’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but it’s SO good!  And I feel like sharing it isn’t as bad!

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Todd went on a couple of Saturday bike rides with his friend Amy.

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On one of those Saturdays after their bike ride, we went over to Amy & Carsten’s house for brunch.  They prepared quite a nice spread for us, and we hung out, ate, and chatted.  Their house was all decorated for Christmas.  They have a village of light-up houses on a long table.  We had a really fun time, but didn’t take any photos.

We put up our tree in early December.  Todd was in charge of getting everything down from the attic and putting up the actual tree.  I was in charge of decorating it! 

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Noodle spent an inordinant amount of time under the tree in December.  So much so that I feel a little bad to be taking down the tree in a few days.

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Including Christmas Eve, when he couldn’t keep awake while waiting for Santa Claws.

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December was actually really cold for San Diego.  I got to wear a lot of cozy sweaters and boots.

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And we ate ramen and Korean tofu soup.  Because those are about the most perfect food when it’s cold and rainy out.

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We went over to Anne & Gilbert’s house to watch the VA Tech vs Clemson (ACC Championship) game with them.  It was a spur of the moment invite and we had a great time.  Sometimes the best type of fun is unplanned fun!  We went over to 85 C Bakery and bought a sampling of Chinese pastries to bring over for dessert.

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Gilbert made tostadas for dinner and it was all kinds of awesome.

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And this time we remembered to take a group selfie!

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One of the funniest things this hoiday season was when Peppermint posted the photo on the left on Instagram.  Because yep, unbeknownst to us, I bought two birds too!  Except my birds are colorful!

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We have the same taste,  Except I’m colorful her, and she’s “griege” me, LOL!

The other funniest thing is that my dad's wife Shelly gave me a leopard print fleece long hoodie for Christmas. I almost want to call it a snuggie because it envelopes my entire being. It kind of looks ridic but it's soooo soft and comfy.  My sister-in-law Amy claims that I secretly love it.  I can neither confirm or deny!

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We found the stockings with our initials on them at Target.  Had to have them.  The small one for Noodle is the cutest!

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And merry Christmas to Todd!  Santa brought him a whole set of new speakers for our entertainment system.  It’s also his birthday gift and anniversary gift in 2017, LOL.

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We had grand plans to go meet my cousin Bertha’s boyfriend Erik, because he was in town for a gig.  But I had a crazy work schedule and had to work early and late several days in a row, so going out on a weekday wasn’t really possible for me.  So Todd went by himself.  Erik is a musician and Todd enjoyed the music and meeting him!

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We had some holiday festivities at work too!  We had our annual girlfriends’ holiday lunch and gift exchange at Rancho Bernardo Inn.  It was so awesome!

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The theme of our gift exchange was our “Favorite Things”.  So whatever was our favorite thing (that was around $20), we would buy for the gift exchange.  I was stumped for what to buy, until my friend Erecca said, what is your favorite thing?  What do you like to do?  And I said, “I like laying around on the couch, being a couch potato.”  So then I got the idea to buy a cozy throw blanket, and soft furry cozy socks.  Turned out, girls were fighting over that gift, haha!

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I bought some little knick knacks and candy for my girlfriends and admin at work.  These were a big hit!

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And because every year I pretty much give these to my girlfriends, Todd copied me and got these for his friends at work.

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The day of our work holiday lunch, I wore my elf hat to work.  I had some very important meetings while wearing my elf hat.  I think I made people smile!

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Not to be outdone, Todd wore his ugly sweater to work.  And found Dejah wearing practically the same thing!

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Speaking of work… I FINALLY moved into my remodeled workspace in December!  After four months of sitting with other people and then working at a temporary space, we moved to our permanent workspace!  It’s all open desk now, but it’s not bad at all!  I sit with Alex (one of our VPs) and our admin Barbara in a “tripod” of desks.  I got a really good window view!

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View from my chair.  Parking lot, but also palm trees and mountains!

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We went to a Christmas concert put on by The Winters.  Todd’s friend Lindsay sang the vocals.

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Selfie at the concert.

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We had a “Neighborsmas” dinner at our house right before Christmas.  We invited our neighbors Fred & Annie, and Tyler over for a pot roast dinner.  It was really nice!  I think we should continue this new tradition next year! 

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Todd played a Christmas concert with his chamber music group at work.  They had a lot of fun, and people stopped by to listen to them. 

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I bought myself a new mint colored Keurig because it was under $50 on big sale at Target!  The Starbucks salted caramel hot cocoa was on sale too.  I wasn’t expecting much, but it’s actually really good!

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My dad and his wife Shelly came to our house on Christmas Eve Eve.  We had homemade chicken udon noodle soup for dinner and everyone loved it. Oh and roasted root veggies.

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We watched “X-Men: Apocalypse” on DVD.  The plot made no sense, but it was fun anyways.

The next morning we opened our gifts to each other.  We did it on Christmas Eve because they have go to back home for Christmas because my dad was speaking at a church on Christmas Sunday.

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Group selfie with a selfie stick!

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Opening gifts.

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Yep.  I pretty much stayed in the leopard fleece hoodie thing.

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On Christmas Day, Todd and I went to China Max for Christmas lunch.  We had to wait in line for half an hour, but were rewarded with yummy dim sum!  My favorite was the shrimp shu mai.

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Then it was on to the beach!  We tried taking photos without our sunglasses on, but man, it was so bright out we couldn’t really keep our eyes open!

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There was some sort of seafoam along the shore.  It almost looked like chunks of ice!

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We got to go to the beach again a few days later.  Any week where we make it to the beach twice is a good week!

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Todd got me a pair of Ugg boots for Christmas.  I love them and pretty much wear them all the time!

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We made a lot of good food at home this month!

America’s Test Kitchen chili.

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Gumbo soup.

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Fluffy holiday cookies.

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Cauliflower curry soup.

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Pot roast.

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Pressure cooker meatballs.

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Chili con carne.

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Lots of soups and comfort food!  And for NYE, Todd made a potato skin bar.  It was SO good!  It’s our new annual NYE tradition that started last year for NYE 2015!  It’s also cute, because when we were dating in college, our thing was to go to TGIFridays for potato skins and steak on a stick.  So it’s nostagia food for us!

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And of course, we can’t end December without some Noodle cuteness.

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He crawled under the blanket next to me while I was lounging in the recliner. 

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We bought a gray fleece blanket and Noodle almost blended in!

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Even though work was stressful, we had a good December.  It gives me hope for 2017!

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