Thursday, December 30, 2010

New 52: A Life Project for 2011

A few months ago, I posted a status update on Facebook that said time was flying by too fast, I wished that it would slow down. Many of my friends commented on that post, lamenting the same thing. Then Todd made a comment that really caught my attention. (Yes, husband and wife communicating via Facebook walls, ha ha!) He said that scientist have found that the perception of time slows down when you are engaged in NEW experiences, because there's more for your brain to process. That's when the seeds of my life project for 2011 started germinating. More than slowing down time, what is better than making new memories? You can read more about the theory of slowing down your perception of time by having new experiences in these two articles here and here. While I don't necessarily agree with some of the more new-agey and holistic parts of the article, I am intrigued by the scientific parts.

Another discontent I've been feeling in my life is the lack of being "in the moment". I go from one busy thing to another, and hardly have the mindfulness to just BE in the moment, enjoying the journey. So, I combined these two life goals together (seeking new experiences and being more mindful/in the moment) and came up with New 52, my life project for 2011. Every week in 2011, I am going to pursue a new experience. It doesn't have to be a HUGE deal. It could just be reading a new book, visiting a new park, driving to a new restaurant, attempting new knitting/crochet/sewing project. But it has to be NEW.

The project wasn't always called New 52, oh no. It had no name.
I was in San Francisco in early December when I shared my intentions and heart on this matter with my good friend Peppermint. She jumped on it right away. She could not have been more enthusiastic about it. And her creative brain said, "Let's call it New 52!" If there's anything better than having new experiences, it's doing the project with one of your good friends. She set about writing down all her ideas on little notes all over the place. I wrote down some ideas in Evernote. But then in a flash of brilliance, she said, "and people can join in! They can put links about THEIR new experiences on Mr. Linky on our blogs." See, now it's a community project! And really, I know you scrappers out there are salivating at all the NEW photo ops and NEW scrapbook pages you will be creating, right?

Peppermint also made this graphic for our new project.

If you want to join in, you can put this badge on your blog sidebar too.

If you feel intimidated to come up with a new experience every week, then just join in when you can! There's no pressure. This project will mainly be blogging your New 52 every week.  I personally hope to make a scrapbook page every week about it, in addition to the blog post  At the end of the year, hopefully I'll have 52 pages for a book that I can look back on proudly and relive every moment of NEWness. :)

You can read Peppermint's blog post to announce NEW 52 here.

So that's our life project for 2011.  I hope you'll consider joining in on the fun and sharing our new experiences together!  Oh and I have a feeling I know what my NEW 52:  Week 1 will be.  No hints!  :p
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day After Christmas 2010

On Sunday, we went up to visit our great friends AJ and Meera, and their kids Andon and new baby Keiji. The Chargers were playing in Cincinnati, so we decided to go up and watch the game together. We called in our order for Todd's favorite, Phil's BBQ, and picked it up on the way to our friend's house. The food was YUMMY, of course, but you know what warmed my heart more? Time with our good friends AJ and Meera. I just love spending time with them. They've been a blessing to us ever since we met in our home fellowship Bible Study back in 2002.

Meera and I and baby Keiji.

We brought some gifts for the kids, which Andon gleefully opened. He was so cute and enthusiastic! One of the gifts was for both Andon and AJ. When AJ saw that it was a San Diego Chargers Cleatus Robot, he said to Andon, "Oh, you can't play with this one. This one is daddy's." Oh it cracked all of us up!

AJ's company gave every employee in the company in iPad. So now the boys have matching iPads, along with their matching Chargers shirts.

Unfortunately, the Chargers lost to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, and were eliminated from the playoffs for the first time in years. But fortunately, we got to spend an awesome afternoon with our dear friends whom we love so much.
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Christmas Day 2010

We woke up at my dad's house on Christmas morning, with our gifts already opened the night before. But never fear, there will be more gifts to open later in the day! :)

We went to an early lunch at a Dim Sum restaurant not far from my dad's house. You know that most Chinese restaurants in big cities stay open on Christmas day, right? It seems that Chinese restaurants never ever close! We arrived at 11am and it was already packed FULL!

Yummy dim sum.

The problem with dim sum is that most of the dishes have shrimp or mushrooms, which Todd doesn't eat. So he had a very "light" lunch. But again, never fear! There's another meal coming later in the day. :)

After lunch, we went and got a boba milk tea for Todd. His favorite is from a little shop in Rowland Heights called "Little Bean". The owners there know him because he's one of the few non-Chinese people who go there and orders it in Chinese. They always smile at him, LOL.

On the way back to my dad's house, we stopped by a park on top of a hill to check out the beautiful scenery. There was snow on the nearby mountains and you can see them from there. You can even see them from my dad's house.

After that, we left my dad's house for the 2 hour drive home. It turned out to be 2.5 hours, due to a crash on the freeway. BUT, we made it to the beach by our house, just in time before sunset! This is our 11th annual "Christmas On The Beach". Basically, ever since we moved to San Diego in December 1999, we have made it a tradition to go to the beach on Christmas Day. The only year we missed was in 2006, when my mom was too sick to go and none of us went. One of these days I want to make a scrapbook page with all my yearly photos of "Christmas On The Beach".

These next 2 photos were taken with my Blackberry phone. I thought they turned out really awesome!

Photos with my little Canon P&S.

And one with our Canon DSLR.

After the beach, we went to feed the cats for our friends Dejah and Roby while they're on vacay. Then we rushed home to cook dinner, because Sally was coming over for Christmas dinner!

Todd cooked some filet mignon with peppercorn orange sauce, along with Sally's favorite green bean dish. I cooked homemade mac n cheese with this recipe, but it turned out really dry. If anyone has any tips for me, feel free to share in the comments. Or you could share your favorite homemade mac n cheese recipe!

I thought everything was delicious except for my mac n cheese, but Sally had seconds, so maybe it wasn't SO bad?

We opened up a bottle of wine that we had purchased at the Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara back on my birthday trip in March.

After dinner, we opened up our gifts to each other. I'm totally for opening gifts on both Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day, it stretches out the fun longer.

Then we ate Sally's chocolate cayenne cinnamon cake with ice cream and it was delicious and slightly spicy!

Then we spent the whole night talking and it was incredibly fun to hang out with one of my oldest and bestest friends in the whole wide world. And Todd. :p (He knows he's my bestest friend. But I've known Sally since we were 12 years old.) Spending Christmas with both my family AND my best friend, plus all the good food AND a visit to the beach, was THE BEST! I felt so blessed!
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Christmas Eve 2010

No matter how much I try to prepare and get all my stuff together for Christmas, I'm never fully prepared when the day arrives. We were supposed to leave for my dad's house in LA around 1pm and we didn't leave until 2pm.

Before we left, I had to wrap some last minute gifts that arrived in the mail. I had ordered them in time, but the UPS delivery got delayed. I was worried the gifts wouldn't arrive in time, but it came on Christmas Eve! Talk about just-in-time, LOL.

We encountered some traffic on the way up, so we arrived around 4:30pm. Shelly was busy in the kitchen preparing our Christmas Eve dinner. It was quite a feast! We also had some sparkling wine.

I made the Crunchy Asian Slaw that my friend Leslie shared on the Vanilla Bees blog again. But I used sliced almonds instead because I love almonds, and I used less dressing.

We brought our tripod so that it was easier to take photos of all four of us.

After dinner, we went to the choir concert at the church that my dad and Shelly go to, near their house. The music was wonderful! I really enjoyed the jazzy arrangements and the Christmas message.

After we got back home, it was time to open the gifts! Yea, I know it was Christmas Eve, but we're all adults and we make our own rules. Besides, Santa had already brought the gifts.  :p

I am excited about the sewing book "One Yard Wonders" from my sister-in-law Amy. Can't wait to sew stuffs on my sewing machine! And learn. I need to learn first, LOL.

Some neat shots that Todd and I took.

It was a rather enjoyable Christmas Eve at my dad's house. We stayed the night there and left after lunch on Christmas Day, which is my next blog post. :)
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Paperclipping Digi Show - The Year in Review

Hi friends! I'm so excited to let you know that I am a guest on the latest Paperclipping Digi Show podcast!  It's episode PDS029 - The Year in Review.  We had a great discussion about Year In Review (YIR) layouts and albums.  AND, I actually said the word "murse" (as in, man purse) on the show!  :p  Click here to listen or download.  There's also instructions there on how to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or RSS.

I felt so inspired to scrapbook more after the show.  The other ladies on the panel are totally inspiring in their organization and thoughts on scrapbooking the year.  I am about to do my 2010 Year In Review layout using my template.

You can find this template here in my store at Little Dreamer Designs (LDD), or here in my own little blog store Listgirl Designs (LGD).

Here is my Year In Review layout that I did for 2009.

Credits for the layout are here.
My 2009 Year In Review blog post is here.
You can find my 2009 YIR template here and here in my stores.

My 2008 Year In Review layout.

Credits for the layout are here.
My 2008 Year In Review blog post here.
You can still download the template for free here.

In honor of my appearance as a guest on the Paperclipping Digi Show, here are coupon codes to save 25% off all the products in my store.

Coupon code PDS029LG for use at my Little Dreamer Designs store
Coupon code HV5G83H3 for use at my Listgirl Designs store.

Happy Holidays to you and your family! I'll be back after Christmas to talk about an exciting NEW project for 2011!
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reason for the Season

As Christmas approaches, I've been thinking about the reason for the season. I have a couple of fantastic and fun videos to share.

On Sunday at church our pastor shared this YouTube video of the Christmas Story, acted out by the children of St. Paul's Church in New Zealand.

Then today my mother-in-law emailed this one to me. This one has been seen by way more people, so you might have seen it already, but it's cool!

Merry Christmas! Actually I'll be back before Christmas with another post. :)
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Free Download: Gift Tags

I made some gift tags for myself today using my digital scrapbooking kit "Under The Tree". I was wrapping gifts and needed some gift tags!

I put together a sheet of tags in Photoshop, then saved it as a PDF file and printed it out on my ink jet printer at home, on matte photo paper.  You can also use cardstock.

Then I cut the tags out by hand. You could use an exacto knife or a paper cutter.

I punched a hole into each tag and tied a ribbon on. Very easy!

Here's a view of the sheet of gift tags.

I'm giving the ready-to-print PDF file away as a free download! Click here to download. :)
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Christmas Card Lane Fun Run

Todd and I got up real early yesterday (12/18) because we volunteered for an event that our friend Anne put together for the San Diego Track Club called "Christmas Card Lane Fun Run". It was cool but not cold, around 58-59 degrees. But it had rained earlier in the middle of the night, and was still slightly drizzling when we pulled up into the parking lot. The light misting was not going to damper our enthusiasm!

My role in the event was a course marshall. I was stationed at the summit of the first big hill that the runners had to climb. I took photos of some of them. Then after everyone passes that point, I drove down the hill to a crucial intersection to ensure that people turned there on the way back.

Todd's role in the race was the "sweep". He would run slowly and be the very last person in the run. His arrival at the various stations would signal to the volunteers that they could leave their stations and return to home base. So Todd had to run the five miles much slower than his usual pace.

I took photos with Anne's camera. Then all the photos containing me or Todd were taken by Anne.

At the summit.

Todd "The Sweep" at the summit. Oh yea, all volunteers got to wear Santa hats.

At the end of the race, we all formed a tunnel for the last runner to come through, so we could cheer him on.

The last runner, and Todd "The Sweep"!

Photo with Santa.

And photo with Frankie, who works with the organization that made our commemorative mugs.

You can read more about the race, as well as Frankie, on Anne's blog post here.

Close up of our mugs. Each volunteer got to take two home, so we have a whole set! :)
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Tropical Holiday: The Potluck

Sorry about the number of new posts. I'm trying to catch-up!

Our work holiday potluck extravaganza was last Thursday, 12/16. The theme was tropical holidays. In the past I have always cheated at potlucks. I usually bought something, or brought something that Todd made. This time I decided to make a dish myself. But what to make? I remembered the Crunchy Asian Slaw recipe that my friend Leslie shared on the Vanilla Bees blog. Bingo! That's what I'll make! The whole Flock raved about this in the CT forums behind the scenes at One Little Bird, so I decided I must make these for the potluck. Plus, it looked easy enough! :p

I replaced the pecans in the recipe with sliced almonds, because I love almonds. I toasted the almonds and sunflower seeds at home, on the stove, the morning of the potluck.

Then I brought the toasted almond and sunflower seeds in a container. In another container was the dressing I mixed up. Separately, I brought a tub containing all the broccoli slaw and chopped up green onions.

Then I put everything in the refrigerator at work, until it was time to bring the dish down to the potluck. Then I put the toasted almonds and sunflower seeds into the big container already filled with slaw and green onions. Next I crumbled the ramen noodles and sprinkled those in. Finally, I put the dressing in and mixed everything in the bowl until all the ingredients were evenly coated.

I doubled the recipe, so this was a large tub!

A close-up. So yummy!

I got down to the potluck and the tables were full of food already! Long, long tables filled with goodies.

Someone brought homemade streudel.

Mmm...Chinese food.


Since there were 200 participants and not everyone brought something, people who didn't bring anything paid $10 to eat. That's fair.

My plates.

Yes, this is why I looked so fat in the group picture. :|

After everyone's eaten, there was entertainment, contests, interspersed with prize raffles.

Hula contest, which brought endless laughter and enjoyment!

In the end, my whole tub of Crunchy Asian Slaw was eaten. Sucess!
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