Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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Wishes


I wish you all have a Merry Christmas!


I wish you get everything you want!


I wish you will see lots of family - even if they're not yours!


I wish you will remember our Savior and His miraculous birth!


I wish love, peace, and above all JOY!




**Coming soon - posts about the things I made for people as gifts, cupcakes I've been making, and more Cat In A Box!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

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Cat In A Box:1

Briquette's fascination with cardboard started at a very early age...


Monday, December 14, 2009

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[Insert Hopeful Title Here]


Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. This is definitely true for us women blessed with infertility: we experience a monthly form of psychosis.

After 30 months of trying to conceive and after 30 months of failing to....you'd think I'd be used to this feeling. That I would accustom myself to the disappointment that comes with the physical evidence that once again - once.again. - I am not pregnant. And sometimes, I AM accustomed to it. Sometimes I do fine - oh, sure - I whine a bit, I lay around and moan with chocolate and a heating pad...but fertility-wise, I do OK. But other times.....oh, other times....I do NOT do fine. Other times, I feel trapped in a broken body. Other times, I wonder why I ever thought "this month will be different!" Other times, I want to do physical harm to every pregnant woman I know (alienating myself from over half of my close friends....silly fertile ward). Other times, I sit at my desk biting my lip, hand over my eyes, trying desperately to keep quite as the tears trickle down my cheeks. Other times, all I can think is...why me?

And then I remember that I am not that unique. I remember that a good deal of my friends - friends who are now mothers - have experienced exactly this. I remember that infertility is becoming an unfortunately common diagnosis. And I remember that above all...above ALL - there is One who, long ago, voluntarily chose to experience infertility.....just so that I could go to Him in prayer and He could say, "...I know.....I know...".........And that is when I sigh...pick up my head....replenish the hope........and brace myself for another month.**
**The painting is "Miracle of the Gulls" by Minerva Teichert, one of my favorite artists. I love the strength in the woman's face...and, considering the story, is how I like to think I feel every month.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

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Some Say Tak, Others Merci

I've been missing lately...I apologize. Turning over new leaves sometimes means you have to re-turn over...and re-turn over. Bear with me as I...re-turn over.

I love Thanksgiving...don't you? This one was lovely - being with my family and eating lots of food is always cause for celebration. But as this was the first year where I actually contributed to the meal (by way of yummy rolls, mini pecan tassies, and sweet potato fries), I found that thanksgiving got lost....I don't mean Thanksgiving, capital T...I mean the act of being thankful. I forgot to do that. I know I don't need a holiday to be thankful (and believe me, I live everyday trying my hardest to be thankful). But as the point of the holiday is actually THANK...I missed it this year.

And so...humor me as I run through a list of random (and some not so random) things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for nephews. I'm thankful for gingerbread cupcakes. I'm thankful for my parents and their amazing love for each other after 38 years of marriage. I'm thankful for diet coke. I'm thankful for my cat and the life she brings to our home. I'm thankful it took 30 years to find my husband. I'm thankful for my job and Andrew's job. I'm thankful for my membership in The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. I'm thankful for movies. I'm thankful for teenage vampires, teenage werewolves, and fellow adult women who will drool and swoon over them with me. I'm thankful for one cute perfect little niece. I'm thankful for my house and its red walls. I'm thankful that my husband is the funniest person in the world. I'm thankful that God loves me enough to give me trials like fertility. I'm thankful that I get to be a bridesmaid to my dear sweet Lindsay. I'm thankful for a best friend in Korea who forgives me for being the worst emailer ever (soon...I promise). I'm thankful for our dear prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I'm thankful for peanut butter and chocolate. I'm thankful for rain. I'm thankful for my pretty red rain coat. I'm thankful for my sister...my beautiful, perfect, lovely sister. I'm thankful for my husband's love for me and my butt and my eyes and my tummy. I'm thankful for pretty purses that make me feel like a girl. I'm thankful for my dad who is so kind and loving and fun and sweet and cute. I'm thankful for amazing in-laws...truly amazing. I'm thankful for cookie cutters. I'm thankful that I live in Texas and that someone here came up with Chips and Queso. I'm thankful for a temple that is beautiful and holy. I'm thankful for Club Awesome and that I get to spend 9 hours a day with them. I'm thankful for my brother who is the most loyal person I know. I'm thankful for books. I'm thankful for people who buy my cupcakes. I'm thankful for Anne, the sweetest girl in town. I'm thankful for scriptures. I'm thankful for my calling...even when I'm not. I'm thankful for A and Di and the bond of The Triumvirate. I'm thankful for smiling. I'm thankful for legs that can run and a heart that loves to. I'm thankful for the ability to pause live TV. I'm thankful for my husband's haircut. I'm thankful for blogs and bloggers who inspire me. I'm thankful for Christmas time. I'm thankful for my mother who is the greatest woman I have ever, or will ever, know....and my idol. I'm thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, His life, His death, and His love for me. For ME.

I'm thankful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

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A Tithing Of Sorts


Giving 10% is not a new concept for a Mormon. As soon as we're old enough to get an allowance, we are taught the law of tithing. I have been giving 10 % of everything I've earned since I was 6. Paying the Lord back such a small amount, knowing He will freely pour out His blessings in return, has, for the most part, been an easy concept to follow.


...Until now.


For the past 7 years, I have been a member of Weight Watchers...or at least in between memberships. I've joined and rejoined so many times, I'm quite certain my registration fee keeps the company in the black. For a WW member, losing 10% of one's weight is the first major accomplishment. The day we join, our leader writes our 10% goal right on the top of our weigh-in card. It's the number we're working towards. Of course, what we really want is that goal weight...but figuring out a goal weight doesn't even enter the picture until we get to that 10%.


For the past 7 years, I have never reached that 10%.**


...Until now.


Yesterday morning, dressed in my lightest of pyjama pants and thinnest of t-shirts, I nervously got on the scale in front of my weight watcher leader....and reached my 10% goal. I only needed to lose 1.4lbs...and I lost 1.8. I had dreamt the night before that I gotten it...I dreamt about it. And in my dream, I cried. ...I didn't think I really would. But (and I know this won't surprise most of you)...I did cry. Right there in Weight Watchers...I cried. And then the lady said it was time to start thinking about my goal weight - my goal weight! I've had a fictitious number in my head for 7 years. And it is finally - FINALLY - becoming a reality.


I've thought about how the law of tithing and my weight loss are connected. One time, Krisanne mentioned that one of her most powerful weight management tools was thinking about how her body was a gift from God. That it was indeed a temple...and that it was merely on loan to her. And if things like morality and the Word Of Wisdom were important, then by golly, so was watching what she ate and exercising. And the more weight I lose...the more that thought is ruling my choices.


I have just paid a sort of tithing to the Lord - he has given me a body that can walk and hear and see and think and laugh and cry and (someday) create life. The least I can do is give 10% back.


...The battle for my goal weight? Fast offering.




**When I first joined WW 7 years ago, I weighed 35 lbs more than I do now...meaning I actually HAVE lost 10% of my weight...just never while in WW and never all at once. I'd lose a bunch, then gain some back...lose a bunch, gain some back....so while I've actually lost close to 20% in this 7 year stretch, it's not been consistent...and it's never counted.

Monday, November 09, 2009

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Monday Meet: MerMag

I'm easily annoyed. Really. Ask my mom. I'm not proud of it...it's just how I am. I get annoyed at (seemingly) the littlest of things. I mean, I don't think they're little (Mega Super Constant Fakey Coughing Guy?!...that is NOT a little thing).


So when I say that I'm super wicked impressed by someone, please believe me. And lately, I've been introduced to a blog world filled with the most impressive women. Astoundingly, creatively, happily impressive women. And so, I'd like to take Mondays to introduce to you the women on the blogosphere that have been Changing.My.Life.

First up - Mermag. Cute Merrilee is the wife of a guy I acted with in many a BYU theatre production (Teresa - is it a hanging preposition if it's in the middle of the sentence? Should I have said, "with whom I acted"?...speaking of getting annoyed...). He played my brother in my senior project...brilliant dude. Merrilee is super artistic and cute and together with her husband have produced 2 of the most adorable blond-headed boys EVER (of course after Max & Axel, the cutest blond-headed nephews EVER.)


Meet Merrilee.


Merrilee is an artist - see?



She sells this gorgeous piece of work on her etsy shop. She even does custom portrait drawings


Marrilee is a homemaker. See?


They just moved to the L.A. area and here she is decorating her new home...no...that's NOT a page from Martha Stewart's Living.


Merrilee is a hostess. See?


This is THE most adorable children's birthday party. It's a Peter Pan theme birthday party for her oldest son and all the children came dressed as a character (with her husband showing up as Captain Hook!). Also one time she threw her friends a tea party...oh, Marilee...invite me next time, k?


Merrilee is a crafty mom. See? See? SEE?!



This adorable travel desk was made AND DESIGNED by Merrilee. ...Fer rils?! Now her creativity is just getting ridiculous. My nephew Max travels to Colorado and Idaho to see family lots...someday when I have (and know how to use) a sewing machine, I'd like to make one of these for him.

Dear Readers, this is Merrilee. I have loved discovering her blog and being constantly inspired (and, ok, intimidated) by her creativity. ...You should too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

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I Left My Heart...


...in San Francisco, o' course!

Kids, let me tell you - next time you've got a spare weekend, some frequent flier miles, and the cutest husband ever - you should TOTALLY go to San Francisco!

We got on a plane early Friday morning and got into the city about noon, dropped off our stuff at the hotel, and walked straight across the street to the In-N-Out. Oh holy goodness...it's been years since I've had one and I generally don't eat red meat. But um...maybe if that were my last meal, I'd be ok with that.


We walked Fisherman's Wharf, played with those crazy sea lions, experienced some 4-D movies (dude, I actually had to wear a seat belt...), and ate clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (no wait - THAT'S my last meal).


Saturday morning, we toured Alcatraz. Wow. I mean...wow. If you go, you must take the audio tour - it was given and recorded by 4 former guards and 4 former inmates...astounding. We also got to experience the famous San Francisco fog! We spent about 3 hours there and honestly could have stayed longer. But instead.....




We got to see Susanna!! Oh, my dear sweet Susanna...how I've missed you. You know how there are those friends that, no matter how long it's been since you've seen them, the minute you're together again, you go right back to being the best of friends? Yeah...that's my Susanna. Isn't she the cutest? And her sweet husband and gorgeous little boy Van were there, too...heaven. Absolute heaven.




The Risser's were nice and drove us around some of the streets of SF, including the crazy curvy part of Lombard street. (Dude...what were they thinking building a street like that?!) Then they dropped us off at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. I've never seen a structure so...just immense (no wait...I have.) We walked across, what we thought was half way...turned it out it was maybe a quarter of the way. Then we walked back. We walked back to Fisherman's Wharf. Are you hearing me people?! We walked from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman's Wharf! ...Ok, it was only 5 miles. But still! Five miles!! ...Right...I'm a baby. But since it was a gorgeous day and we were walking along the San Francisco bay, there wasn't much complaining (oh, except I did complain about my feet...because ow).


That night, we took an evening cruise through the bay, under the bridge, and around Alcatraz. Windy!


Sunday morning, we got up and decided to hit Chinatown before our flight. 1. Those hills....oh.those.hills. Seriously, San Francisco? Don't worry - my shin splints are finally going away. 2. Chinatown isn't very open Sunday morning...FYI. But we managed to find a shop selling what we were looking for and wandered our way back. (Side note: I live in the 4th largest city in the country population wise but the sheer mass of Houston is - - well, it's big. And spread out. And while I totally and completely love my city, sometimes I wish I lived someplace where you walked....you can't really walk anywhere here. Isn't walking lovely? Lovely...

*warning- here comes some cupcake reviews...

We got to see one last friend - wonderful Becah Davis, sister to two of my very best friends, Tini and Heather, stopped by our hotel before we left with a box of Sprinkles cupcakes. Wasn't that the nicest ever? Nicest.Ever. And also...Sprinkles is yummy. Super yummy. Tastes a lot like Crave...it'll be interesting when our Sprinkles opens up just down the street from Crave...hmmm...The vanilla was amazing. The Red Velvet...red velvet-y (really people? it's just a color...). The pumpkin was...eh.



On our way out of town I made our driver (that's right...we had a driver - because us Gardiner's are fancy!) stop at another cupcake shop - Citizen. Overall, they're ok. The cake is waaaay too crumby - the vanilla cake fell apart in my hands - not good. I dug the vanilla icing but if there's no cake...you know? But they're chocolate cupcake...hoo-boy. Probably the best chocolate cupcake I've ever had. Don't know why...it was just good. Also their pumpkin was horrible - it was filled with raisins - RAISINS!! Why would anyone do that to a pumpkin cupcake! Oh, the humanity!!


The other cupcake shop we tried that weekend was Kara's. Super cute logo. Adorable atmosphere. ...Not so great cupcakes. Not horrible...but I'd never crave them. So there.

And that, friends, wraps up our weekend spree to the west coast. We loved every minute of it (except for - where was the cold?! Everyone said it would be so cold - and it totally wasn't!).


As we were boarding our plane home, Andrew was already planning our next weekend trip...to New York.....get ready!

Monday, November 02, 2009

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I Like Stuff

*I promise to talk about my weekend trip to San Francisco as soon as I get the pictures uploaded to the computer. In the meantime...allow me to babble.*


I like lists. And I like not being original. So when NieNie listed her favorite things today, I thought - "Good idea, NieNie! Can I do that too?" ...And I'm taking her silence as a yes. Sooo...



Stuff Making Me Happy Right Now...



  1. Andrew. This man will ALWAYS be on my list of favorite things. Truly...I sometimes can't believe how insanely lucky I am that this man fell in love with me. Seriously? He's so hot.



  2. My Fitness Coach - this Wii game has changed my life. I.Kid.You.Not. You don't need a Wii Fit to play it. It's basically like a virtual aerobics instructor. If you're having a hard time getting motivated to exercise, get this game. Do it. ...Stop your whining and just do it



  3. Downeast Basics - Um...I have a problem. I am addicted to this place. I literally have a section of my closet devoted to Downeast tees and camis and it's a rare day indeed when I'm not wearing one (I'm wearing 2 today...so there). And now I'm falling in love with their regular clothes. I already have this. But...Oh my word...love this. And this. And oh my THIS.



  4. The Pioneer Woman - I feel a bit behind having just discovered her. But dear readers, if you do not know Ree Drummond, stop your sucking and GET TO KNOW HER. I fall into her recipes and photos...fall. Her first cookbook just came out and it's now on the top of my Christmas list.



  5. Caramel Popcorn - more specifically, my mother's caramel popcorn. It's sticky and gooey and when you get to the bottom of the bowl, a spoon is necessary to get all the leftover caramel...I put this on my list not because I've had it recently (it's probably been close to 10 years...) but because I've been thinking about it...a LOT. I've moved past "crave" and I'm knee-deep in "need". Mommy...if you're reading this...could you please make me some? There's a lamb...



  6. Friends - I've been incredible thankful lately for really amazing friends. When I was growing up, I made friends easily. I had lots of friends, even lots of best friends. But as I've gotten older, I think I've grown pickier...(I also became really great friends with myself so sometimes I would rather be alone then be with people that were only so-so). I am lucky to have the Best Friend in the world, the amazing Triumvirate, Anne Friend, Club Awesome, and my monthly Bunco group. *sigh* I love friends.



What's making YOU happy right now?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

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Crafty Ideas, Take One

I know. I KNOW! You're freaking out right now because I'm ACTUALLY posting again. Well...I am. So shut up.

Andrew and I are taking advantage of being childless this weekend by taking a quick random trip to San Francisco (Because.We.Can.) and so I didn't want to leave you all alone all weekend...or you'd start your judging, and then I'd be offended, and then I wouldn't post and we'd be right back where we were 3 days ago....and we can't have that. So, here's some fun ideas to keep you busy while I....keep busy...elsewhere. (Guess what - I use ellipses excessively...and I don't care who knows.)

Before we go any further, let me explain my use of the word "craft". These are not your mother's crafts (or "yo' mama's" crafts, as the kids would say). I do not like your mother's crafts. It's nothing against your mother - she's a wicked nice lady. I just don't really get into painted wooden watermelons. So, when I say "crafts" I mean "cool things you create that make your friends jealous and say where did you get that, oh I made that, what? you must be so talented when really we both know it was as easy as pie". Ok? Ok.

First up - butterflies. Now, for those of you who also read my lovely sister's blog, you've already seen this. But...I saw it first! I found (i.e. stole) the idea from this website. The moment I saw it, I knew it would be the first "crafty" thing I'd try. And friends? It is the EASIEST thing in town. Holy moly, it's so easy. And fun. And pretty. And here's mine:

(I apologize for the crap picture...someday I'll have a nice camera. *sigh*)

See? It's honestly as easy as buying pretty paper (I abhor scrapbooking but OH how I love scrapbooking paper!), having a pretty Martha Stewart butterfly hole punch, little foam dot things, a deep shadow-boxy frame, and 20 minutes to assembly. Dude. Easy AND adorable?! Are you kidding me? No....not I am not. Let's take a closer look at how I personalized my butterflies:

Yep. That's an Astro's ticket stub there.

Yep. That's cute cupcake paper right below it.


Note: you should keep this hole punch out of the hands of, say your husband, in case you don't want EVERYTHING having little butterfly cutouts in it (Kleenex boxes, bills, your cat). I'm just sayin'.


For my next craft, I wanted a little something easier. ...You read that right - easier. And unfortunately, since I've done this one, I've seen people who do it even easier. Or at least cheaper. For this one, get some fun fabric, a staple gun, and either a painters canvas or a square piece of Styrofoam (I used the canvas...the Styrofoam is waaaay cheaper). Cut your fabric to a few inches bigger than the canvas. Pull tight around the edges as you staple (staple one side, then directly across from it, turn 45 degrees and staple, then directly across from that). ...One day I'll take pictures of me actually doing something so you don't just get my confusing directions.

I got this fabric from Ikea...who has super. Cute. Fabric.


Don't you just love my red walls? I love them.

I fould some prettier ideas here. This is definitely something I'll be doing again. Because - hello easy wall art!

And that, dear readers, is my introduction to "crafts". I am super excited to keep at it...and to continue my motto of "Crafts! For Fun NOT For Dumb!" Word.

Monday, October 26, 2009

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Finding My Inner Homemaker or Why I've Decided To Blog Again



I studied acting for about 15 years. One would think that would mean I was a naturally creative person (having studied an art intensely over a mini-lifetime). But guess what? I'm not. I am not creative. I remember telling a professor at the BY "I am a creative-free zone!"...a t-shirt worthy slogan to be sure.

But guess what? ...I don't think I'm a creative-free zone anymore. There. I said it. I AM CREATIVE!


...Ok, let's not get carried away here. I'm not actually creative - "one who creates". As an actor, I got wicked good at taking something that someone else had created, and doing a mighty find job at making it my own. But sitting down and whipping out something super duper cutesy like this:




...yeeeaaahh....not so much.


However...I'm turning over this new leaf. And I'm doing it on my blog so that I actually DO it. Because I know you...and if I drop the ball, you'll totally judge. Won't you?....That's right...you'll judge.


....Silly...judger...person.....


Anyway, here I am. Being creative. And here's why: Someday I'm going to be a mother. ...That's it. Someday, when my wonderful doctor can figure out why I'm not getting pregnant (or when my wonderful bank gives us a big fat loan for a big expensive IVF procedure)...I will have children. And then I'll be a mom. And the thing is, right now, all I've got to teach my future children is how to make cupcakes and how to sit and watch 4 straight hours of TV on DVD.


And so, dear readers, welcome to my new blog. Where I...um, create stuff...and stuff.


Ready?



Me, too.
(PS - cute baby Kimono's care of Martha here)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Coming soon...

...I want to be a better blogger...and to actually have things about which to blog.

So watch this space for pretty posts, cupcake talk, and day-dreamy babbling.

Monday, August 10, 2009

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Welcome...

Ladies and Gentlemen:




Axel Wolfgang Harwood...the new love in my life.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

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I Love This Man

No one has ever had a more perfect husband than this:





...Except maybe this:



Post-edit: When Andrew saw the pictures I posted, he said, "Are you putting pictures of my butt on the internet? You can't do that - I have a copyright on it!" ...And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the man I love.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

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Dude...

...Remember when I used to blog?





Yeah...me, too.



*sigh*



I'll blog again ril soon...ril ril soon.



PS - ...I love cupcake.