Thursday, December 17, 2009


As part of the Social Concerns Committee at church, I helped with the Holiday Winterfest. At this event, we invited various vendors to sell their fair-trade goods. We also invted the community to consider doing some Christmas shopping from these vendors. "Fair trade" means that the product was made by someone who was paid fairly for it. Out idea was, "What would Jesus want us to buy?" or "How can we buy some gifts that help others?" So there were scarves and purses from a co-op of women in rural Mexico and ornaments from Peru and baskets from Vietnam, along with fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate. It was a fun event (read: too much work!) and we were able to pick up a few gifts for those on our list.

Oh Christmas Tree!

We put up the tree a few weeks ago and did a little bit of decorating. When I say a "little bit of decorating" I mean it. And I don't mean "... and we'll finish decorating soon!" I just don't own Christmas decor. I never seem to be stable at Christmas. Last year I was planning my wedding. The year before that I was having a breakdown and was in the process of moving in with my parents. The year before that was my best attempt but it was really my first Christmas in my own place and I was broke and busy.

So we have a tiny tree and a few random ornaments. My friend Ashley donated a few more. Maybe I'll shop the after-Christmas sales and pick up just a few more festive items.

Monday, December 7, 2009

NYC Photos

If I Make it Here . . .

. . . I'll make it ANYWHERE! It's up to you, New York . . . Neeeew Yoooork!!!
(Sorry Aunt Barbara. I know you hate that song!)
The Monroys Take Manhattan!
Thursday: Thanksgiving day! Well, we spent it on a plane/in airports/in a car. When we got to our hotel at 11:00 PM we wandered our neighborhood for a bit and then found a diner where we got a roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, broccoli and stuffing. So we had a Thanksgiving after all!
Friday: We had bagels for breakfast then we went to Times Square - which we didn't really like. It felt more like Vegas. Then we walked to Rockefellar Center, which was also busy (HELLO! Black Friday?) but beautiful. We went on a tour of NBC. Then we headed to the West Village and wandered around before having dinner at a cute little Italian place called Po. I LOOOVED the West Village. Later that night we got dessert with my college BFF Monica. She lives in Boston but came to NYC to hang out with us!>.
Saturday: We went to Chelsea with Monica and shopped at vintage stalls. Then we went to Lombardi's for pizza - supposedly they are the original pizzeria in the US. Later we saw an improv tournament at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
Sunday: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, then we saw a bit of the financial district and got Chinese food. At night we went to Gramercy Tavern for super-late dinner that was amazing.
Monday: We slept in, since we had been staying up until 2:00 AM every night. It was raining but we shlepped to the Lower East Side for Katz's Deli and had yummy pastrami. After a nap (me) and homework (Aaron), we grabbed a slice of pizza and saw The Toxic Avenger musical. It was off-broadway and it was really fun! For American Idol fans out there, Dianna Degarmo played the blind librarian and was great.

Tuesday: We were going to go to the Moma . . . but it was closed! I was soooo sad. We went to the American Folk Art Museum next door which was awesome. We got Gray's Papaya for lunch and Magnolia cupcakes/banana pudding for dessert before taking a long walk through Central Park. Then, sadly, it was time to go home!
Overall, it was a great trip! New York did not disapoint. I can't wait to go back. Next time, I'll want to go in the spring so I can actually tolerate being outside more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fashionista . . . for a night

My girlfriend Mande took me to a fashion show thing in Hollywood last weekend. Yes, I sound super-cool, I know. It really wasn't anything to write home about. But it is something to write on your blog about! Mande knew someone who could "get us on the list" but as it turns out, pretty much anyone could get on the list.

"Going out" in LA is highly overated. First you spend hours stressing about what to wear, wondering if people will spot you for the nerd that you are. Then you sit in traffic and then you get lost. Then you spend hours looking for parking. You pay $15 - 20 for parking. You walk half a mile to the venue. You wait in line. Even if it is the "on the list" line, you wait awhile. This is usually when the heels start to seriously hurt. You finally get in and wait in a 15 minute line at the bar . . . to buy a $10 vodka tonic. Then you lose your friends and spend 10 minutes texting one another as a search and rescue mission.

where r u?

in potty line

wheres that? i need 2 go 2

next to vip . . . creepy guy hitting on me! help!
More waiting in line for the bathroom line. All three girls go in together which means people will proceed to pound on the door because you're taking too long. Then you either dance a bit or wait for the concert to start, or, in this case, wait 45 minutes for fashion show to start. At this point, your feet are without a doubt numb.
We ended up watching just one designer's line and half a song from Da Twin Rappers before deciding to get out of the chaos and get a burger or something.

Needless to say, it was the first time I actually saw a real, in-person fashion show, so that was cool. It wasn't fancy like on Project Runway/Rachel Zoe. We were all standing on the floor under the runway. We could the models undies! Yikes! Also, the models were a little scary.

The best part, of course, was getting to wear one of my vintage hats. I got several compliments on it. Next time, I'm just gonna put a cute hat on and stay home to watch a Netflix.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poor Grandma

Okay, I was on the AMAZING and I seriously injured myself in two places laughing so hard. Aaron didn't quite see the humor, but I had tears streaming down my face and I think I pulled a muscle in my neck, along with both sides of my jaw hurting. Whoever said laughter is the best medicine did not realize how hazardous it can be.

Note how she is actually POSING for the picture, with sort of a passive-agressive smile. Hysterical. A few captions (some are my own original thoughts, some inspired by comments on the site):

1. The really creepy part is that Grandma is dead. And boy is she pissed about the hot young new grandma.

2. One word: Agoraphobia.

3. "Dad, I don't want to hurt Mom's feelings, but I'd like a picture of just the two of us."

4. Who let Aunt Bertha out of the basement?

5. "I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!"

6. Poor Aunt Hilda has Swine Flu and has been quarentined
7. "I never miss a photo op!"

8. "Step right up and get your picture with an old guy! Wait behind the door until your number is called."

9. The Grandma is actually just a cardboard cutout, like that guy in Three Men and a Baby that everyone said was a ghost.

10. The family prefers not to discuss Nana's house arrest. It's a delicate subject.

Friday, October 2, 2009

End of Summer Picnic

Aaron and I packed a picnic recently and headed to our favorite park. That's all.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Black & White Party

Last night, the Social Concerns Committee hosted Night of Discovery, an event to raise funds for Mending Kids. The organization helps children from around the world travel to the US for medical procedures. A church member recently housed a child and her mom from Zimbabwe, so the organization was close to our heart.

We went for a black and white theme. I created luminaries out of tap-on lights, white paper and black ribbon. I used a projector to write on the letters and then used black paint and glitter. At the last minute we decided we wanted a menu board. I brought my menu board from home . . . complete with a painted-on colorful rooster. I covered up the rooster with white flowers I fastened out of coffee filters and napkins from the church kitchen. I was quite proud of this!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is it normal . . .

. . . to carry around a frozen meal in your purse? Ah, life on a diet. By the way, this Lean Cuisine - Chinese Chicken with Rice - was AWFUL. I ate in Amy's office while I was giving presentations at her school.

Purple People Eaters

I showed up to small group the other night and oddly enough, all four of us girls were wearing purple. Isn't that weird?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I did it!

My first year as a high school representative wasn't easy. Summer was a nice break, though. In August all the High School Reps headed to coporate headquarters in Pittsburgh for a week of meetings. Sounds oh-so-fun, right? It actually wasn't too bad.
At the final banquet, I was pleased to find out that I had earned the Quintessential award. That means I met four of my five goals - not bad for a rookie! Here I am with my bosses, David and Cheryl, and the others on my team who earned this award.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm 26 (and 7 weeks)!

Okay, so this is a late blog. But I realized I had photos on my phone (not the best quality) from my birthday.

After church, Aaron took me to lunch in Old Town Pasadena. We went to a Thai restaurant and surprise! Heidi and Josh were there! We didn't take any pictures but that was a nice start to my birthday. We shopped for a while in Pasadena and then went home for a nice nap.

Aaron took me to Animal for dinner. Animal is a very, very hot restaurant right now in LA. The two chefs are Art Institute graduates! They also formerly had a show on Food Network called Two Dudes Catering. Each day they only take reservations for one month from that day. So to get a July 19 reservation, Aaron had to call first thing on June 19. This place is so cool they don't even have a sign.
Cheers! I ordered a crisp, cold, yummy rose wine and Aaron had a "Mexican Coke." Did you know in Mexico they use REAL sugar in their Coke instead of high fructose corn syrup like here in the US?

We dined on several delicious shared dishes:

Chicken liver on Toast

Whole Fried Quail with bacon, sauteed chard, grits and a maple jus (soooo good)

Garlic bread with chorizo and melted petit basque cheese (Yummy! Pictured below)

Branzino fish with farro, rocket pesto, roasted artichocke hearts, pancetta vinaigrette

And for dessert we shared the famed Bacon Crunch Bar. Chocolate and bacon is a very trendy pairing right now, and let me tell you, it was delicious. It really just adds a salty, slightly smoky crunch. Sort of like nuts. They cook the bacon super crispy, so it isn't as meaty. It is a served with a creme anglaise underneath, to keep it from being dry.

It was a fabulous (slightly fattening) day! Thanks Aaron for making my birthday spectacular!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bad Blogger

I want to apologize for my lack of blogging. I managed to lose the cord thing for my camera. Grrr! Okay, if I don't find it soon I will buy another.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Sales? What Sales?

This is the letter I sent to a local Real Estate company.
I was really in the mood to stick it to 'em.

I take a walk every day and pass by a "For Sale" sign on Peyton. Every day I tell myself, I really should call them and get some more information. You see, my husband and I have been discussing purchasing our first home. When a "price reduced" sign was added, I told myself, now you really should call them.

Today I finally got around to making that call . . . unfortunately.

Me: Hi, I'm interested in the condo on Peyton.
Agent: Oh, it's a co-op.
Me; Oh, okay. I really wasn't sure . . .
(Long silence)
Agent: And you can't just use any lender.
Me: Okay . . . so co-ops are when you don't really own the actual space right? Don't you pay per square foot or something?
Agent: No! You buy shares and have rights to live there.
(Silence again. I guess I'm supposed to say something now? I'm waiting for her to take the next step in the sales process.)
Me: Well, um. Okay. I really don't know too much about co-ops. (Why do I feel embarassed? I'm not supposed to be the expert!)
Agent: It's a whole other can of worms. There are only three or four lenders and you need 10% down.
Me: Ok. Thanks? Bye

She never asked for my name. She never told me her name. She never gave me any CLUE on the price. She never said something like, "If a co-op doesn't sound right to you, we do have several condos and single family homes available. Can I get your contact information so I can get back to you." THAT would have been the smarter sales technique. No wonder that sign has been up so long. Whenever anyone calls they get zero information

I don't understand why I was treated this way. Do I sound poor on the phone? Do I sound young?

It was the equivalent of ordering a large coffee at Starbucks and having the barista roll her eyes dramatically and say, "We don't have a large . . . do you mean a Venti?" The baristas are brats at Starbucks because they spend ALL their time around coffee and expect us all to be experts as well.

But it wasn't just that she did a verbal "roll of the eyes" when I didn't understand everything about condos vs. co-ops, it was just the worst sales and customer service I've ever recieved. In this economy, wouldn't you like to, I don't know, make some MONEY?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Past, Present, Future

20 years ago

1. I was five, about to turn six.
2. I think I took dance classes that year and loved dancing!
3. I went to Shell Beach elementary.

10 years ago

1. I was learning how to drive - the first time my mom took me to a parking lot to drive I couldn't stop giggling.
2. My best friend was Heidi (she could already drive) and we had a lot of fun sleepovers.
3. I failed geometry.

5 years ago

1. It was the summer before my senior year of college. I had to take a few community college classes.
2. I got my wisdom teeth removed.
3. Did I work? I don't really remember!

3 years ago

1. I moved to Ventura for a job, and had an apartment all to myself for the first time.
2. I quit that job after six weeks and instead decided to work at a wine bar.
3. I met Aaron!!!!

1 year ago

1. I was living with my parents, trying to decide what to do next with my life.
2. I interviewed with the Art Institutes - and got the job!
3. I was waiting for Aaron to propose . . . impatiently, I might add. He did a few months later.

This year so far...

1. I got married!
2. We found a church we LOVE and made new friends. It's nice to have "our friends" instead of "his friends/her friends."
3. I am about to enjoy a few months off of work! Woo-hoo!


1. Went to church.
2. We went to the YMCA to workout for the first time. So excited to be members there!
3. Aaron grilled steak for dinner and I made brussel sprouts with bacon and mushrooms and baked sweet potato fries for dinner. Oh, and I made an apple berry crostata for dessert that was HEAVENLY! (if I do say so myself)

1. I don't have to work.
2. I DO need to clean the house.
3. I have a meeting at church for the Social Concerns Committee tonight. We are the people that work on social issues - local poverty, etc. Right now we are working with an organization that houses homeless families in churches for four weeks a year. We are soooo excited to be involved in this and I am looking forward to seeing God's building used as home for those who need it.

1.Will do the housework that I probably won't do today.
2. Have paperwork I need to work on.
3. Going to a yoga class at the YMCA.

Next Year
1. Hopefully we will own a home - even if it is a tiny condo. Possible we will buy before Dec 1 so we can get the tax benefits.
2. I want a dog!
3. We will take a great trip - maybe Italy or Argentina?

Friday, June 5, 2009

What a Cutie Pie!

This my adorable husband at his most adorablest. 
Won't I have the cutest babies EVER? 
(Not happening anytime soon . . . be patient - yes, I'm talking to you MOM, SISTER and AUNT!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary Ambroses!

My best friend got married FIVE YEARS ago! We were just kids! What were they thinking? Just kidding - they are a great example of a fabulous, loving couple. And since they were high school sweethearts, it really was perfect timing.

I wanted to send them an anniversary card, but ran out of time! (Not a very good maid of honor) So I figured I would post a digital card here on my blog. Here are a few memories from that day:

- Going to the salon with Heidi to get her hair done. It was just the two of us so I really enjoyed that time together. (Sorry that didn't happen on my wedding day Heidi!)

- Taking her wedding night tote bag to the hotel. (what an organized bride!)

- Getting my hair done at the church . . . oh yeah, by THE BRIDE! Poor Heidi got put to work just hours before her wedding. She did my hair for so many events in High School, it only seemed natural.

- Holding back tears during the ceremony - I loved the slideshow and music.

- Driving the bride and groom to the reception, along with Josh's brother. Heidi's dress was huge and took over most of the car.

- Dancing, eating and having fun at the reception! Years of dreaming and planning brought to fruition - woo hoo!

Those are all fun memories, but the most important thing to know is that Josh and Heidi are a great couple - they are both friends and teammates. They have been able to grow together, which can't be easy when you start dating at 16/17. I am glad to have an example of a good wife. We love getting together with them whenever possible - which is never enough.

I love you both!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Wide-brimmed Hat Society

On Saturday we joined a group that regularly hangs at Tower 34 on Manhattan Beach for volleyball and general merriment. The girls decided ahead of time to wear wide-brimmed hats.

Aaron was a rock-star server. He needed a little practice with the other volleyball stuff, but once he learned he was great!
Unfortunately, the sun never showed her face. It was ALL clouds and fog. Bummer.

Aaron needed a nap after all that volleying.

Happy Birthday Husband!

Aaron turned 28 on Saturday May 9, and we celebrated with a Birthday Bonanza Weekend! Here was the weekend schedule:

Thursday: We go to a small group every Thursday night. I offered to bring snacks so I could bring Aaron's favorites including White Trash on a Stick, Salami, Prociutto, veggies with hummus, cheeses, baguette, tomato bruchetta and cupcakes. Yes, there were four forms of pork. This was especially funny since the theme for our discussion that night was "The Bible and Anti-Semitism." So we weren't so kosher on Jewish night.
Friday night: I took Aaron out for some Sushi and we had mini apple pies at home and watched a movie from our Netflix.

Saturday: The afternoon was spent at Dodger Stadium to watch the Dodger's kick the Giants rear ends.
For dinner we had a few friends over for a BBQ. Our apartment has a grill in the courtyard and some nice entertaining space.

We had skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, smashed red potatos, brussel sprouts with bacon and salad. For dessert we had angel food cake with mixed berries and handmade whipped cream.
I was soooo proud of myself for pulling this off with very little stress and work. I planned ahead - even making the potatoes two days prior and just putting them in the slow cooker a few hours before the party. I was sitting down reading a magazine before the guests arrived!

Rock for BTAC

Aaron is rocking for Jesus . . . just don't call him a Christian Musician. (We're generally not fans of "Christian music"). He has started playing bass for church on Sunday and he also played a few songs with the band at a fundraiser called Rock for BTAC (Burbank Temporary Aid Center).

Mom, Amy and the boys came. Cooper was very excited to see Aaron play in the band. He sat in the front row out of anticipation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Night at The Roxy

Our friend Drew has a super neato band called Riddley. We went to their show at The Roxy on Friday. Aaron and I had not been social in long time - we try to stay home and save money! But it was fun to go out for the night like grown-ups. After the concert Aaron and I got a few slices of delicious pizza nearby in Hollywood. Then we joined the rest of the gang at Drew and Mande's apartment for snacks, Wii and just hanging out.


Thanks to a sunny Saturday with nothing to do, Aaron and I decided to randomly select a city for a day trip. We chose Hermosa Beach. Aaron put our bikes on the back of the Jeep and I packed lunch, snacks, sunscreen, towels and lots of water.
I LOVED this beach town! You can ride your bike on the boardwalk for miles. After doing that for awhile, we spread our towels and got some sun (well, as much sun as can get through my 45 spf sunscreen). I played in the ocean for a bit. Then we rode our bikes again and did some shopping. I bought a vintage letterpress "M" from an antique shop.

We wrapped up the day with dinner at El Gringo. I loved the restaurant's name and their delicious food. We ate sooooooo much! The portions were gigantic. We dined alfresco at sunset - how perfect!