Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wedded bliss

At the wedding this past Saturday, I was a bundle of nerves. And here’s why:

  • I saw, but did not speak to, an old flame. There was an opportunity to break the ice while standing in line for hors d’ oeuvres and I should have taken it, but didn’t. I am such a wimp.
  • I chatted with an almost-boyfriend, if I can call him that. Maybe it would be better to say he was my date to senior prom? Or ever better to classify him as the “rebound” boy who, though we never even kissed, reopened my heart after the old flame broke it? You get the idea.
  • And I randomly—surprisingly—bumped into (well really, he bumped into me) a crush from elementary/junior high/high school. The experience took me aback and made me an awkward mess. Seems those butterflies can still come back after even 10 years.

Ok, enough about my boy drama. On to the wedding.

It was a lovely wedding. Very personal and intimate. Stephanie looked beautiful in her dress and I think she was just glowing with happiness. It felt a little surreal to me that one of my longtime friends is now a married woman—a wife. But at the same time, I am very happy for her and Ryan, who I both consider good friends, and I can only hope that one day I find the same true, deep, lasting love that they have found in each other.

Here’s some photos from the day: (sorry, no pics of the guys mentioned above!)

The wedding at Cornerstone Church.

The reception site. Can you believe this is a backyard? Gorgeous.

The first dance.

With the happy couple.

With my friend Anna.

With my mom and dad.

Me and the boy.

Finally, because it probably took an hour to wrap, I have to share this photo of my wedding gift (which were a pair of floral throw pillows) to the happy couple. Orange and watermelon were their colors, so I wanted to jazz up the somewhat boring black and white wedding paper with tons of ribbons.

Though they can be a bit stressful, I do love weddings (I have another one to attend in September, in Canada of all places, yippee!). I count Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? and Say Yes to the Dress as some of my favorite shows! But even though they are celebrations of love and happiness and bring out the sap in me, I can't help but feel a little down after I come home and slip off my heels. I think, when will I get married? Who will I marry? 

Though I have tons of ideas of what my wedding dress, hair, makeup, reception site, etc. etc. should look like, I have no idea about who I will wed and when it will be. Yeah, yeah, I'm too young to worry about it and in time I will be able to fill in those blanks, but the truth is, with so many friends getting engaged or married lately, I have started to feel like the clock is ticking. Next year I will be 25 and when I was younger I thought, naively, that I would be hitched by then. But as I have come to realize, as we get older, we have to shift our expectations. One thing is for sure: Nothing ever goes as planned.

So, do you ever worry about these things, too? And on a lighter note, what would your dream wedding look like?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Making an entrance

If this doesn't make you laugh out loud, I don't know what will!

Too bad this didn't happen at the wedding I attended on Saturday (more on that later). I think I would have died laughing!

Hope you are having a good week so far. I am busy writing stories, but once I get a free moment I'll let you all know how the wedding went... Just wanted to send you a smile in the meantime.

P.S. Thanks for all the sweet comments on my new hair! You guys are the best.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blondes have more fun? I think my position has changed...

This past weekend, I gave myself a mini-makeover. I finally got my hair cutand colored! I think it's safe to say I am no longer a blonde anymore. Well, maybe in spirit, but not so much in appearance. It took a few days to get used to the "new me." I have been a blonde my whole life! Well, I didn't actually have any hair until I was two years old, but once my fuzz grew out, I was what you would call a toehead. But over the years, it slowly got darker and I started doing a color weave (blonde highlights all over) to maintain my blonde-ness. My new hair color is close to the dirty blonde that naturally grows out of my head, but we (and I mean my hairstylist) did a medium color weave of a brown that is two shades darker. Basically, this gives me a brunette look without the full commitment since I didn't dye my whole head, just pieces.

Anyhoo, check it out and tell me what you think! I have a little side-swept bang thing going on too.

It's funny because the most random people have noticed my new look. The city manager said to me after Monday's council meeting, "So, you're changing your look? We (the city council) were passing notes back and forth saying, look at Carissa's new hair." I was like, OMG, I hope not! How embarrassing! Haha. My editor also noticed. We were talking about my stories and mid-sentence he says, "Is your hair darker?" Yep. And when I went to do the police blotter on Friday, the lady didn't recognize me at first! 

I don't think it looks that different, but I was surprised when I went to my friend Stephanie's bachelorette party on Saturday (more on that in a minute)the same day I got my hair doneand she didn't notice until I mentioned that I wasn't blonde anymore! I think she had more important things on her mindlike her impending nuptialsthan my new hair color, but still. And my bestie didn't notice when I visited her at work the other day. Granted, my hair was pulled back, but come on people! This is big to me!

Also part of my mini-makeover? Painting my toes! The painstaking process reconfirmed my great disdain for doing my own pedicure, but at least I had cute pink toes when I went out with the girls Saturday night.

Ok, the Bachelorette Party. I am sure you are wondering what kind of craziness we got ourselves into. But really, we weren't that wild. We were actually pretty mild. See, Stephanie is not exactly the partying, dancing, binge-drinking kind of girl (not that I am all the time, but she is more tame than me...). Still, it was a fun night with the girls.

Jen (Steph's soon to be sister-in-law), me, Stephanie, Ashley (Steph's sister) and Anna (my friend since 3rd grade!)

Before I get into the details, let me first say that I arrived at Stephanie's house FIRST. It was like the Twilight Zone. I am NEVER the first to arrive to ANYTHING; I am a chronically late person. It is bad. So when I stepped into the house a few minutes after the meeting time and saw no one else was there, I was shocked! Stephanie and her mom were too. They know me well.

Once everyone arrived, we made our way to Musashi in Simi for a Teppan Yaki dinner. So so good. I love Teppan. It's dinner and a show. And I feel like you appreciate your food more because it is made right in front of you. My favorite part is when they bounce the egg on their spatula and light the onion volcano on fire (if you don't know what I am talking about, you must immediately go have Teppan right now!)

While they don't normally serve sake bombs, the server made an exception for us. It made quite a mess on our table, but it was a fun way to kick off the evening. Although, Stephanie got her party started a bit earlier, in the lobby. One of her co-workers pulled a tiny bottle of alcohol out of her purse and promptly poured it into the Bachelorette shot glass around Stephanie's neck. Down the hatch!

After a long dinnerwhen going out for Teppan, plan to spend about 2 hours at the restaurantwe raced over to Laugh Factory in Hollywood, only to encounter ridiculous traffic. We had tickets for the 10 p.m. All-Star Comedy show and were a bit nervous we weren't going to make it but we ended up getting there just in time and still got pretty good seats. The show was great. I am not too familiar with the all-star comedians who performed, but Maz Jobrani and Sebastian Maniscalco were hilarious. The night's comedian host, Al Del Bene, had me LOL-ing, too.

The best part of the night, however, was when surprise celebrity guest DAVE CHAPPELLE came on-stage. The whole place erupted in applause and cheers; people stood up and grabbed their cell phones to snap a photoit was crazy! Honestly, I'm not a "Comedy Central" kind of gal but when he came out, I was just as excited as everyone else! I snapped some photos on my cell but they are pretty blurry. Just trust me, he was there AND he made fun of Stephanie a bit. That made the Miss Bachelorette's night for sure.

Outside the Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard.

Even though it was after 2 a.m. when we leftand Dave was still on stage, talking. Yes, we got made fun of when we walked, er, ran, out!we went back to Steph's place for cake, which was shaped in the form of a certain male body part. Credit for that lovely baked good goes to Steph's sister, the maid of honor.

Overall, it was a fabulous and funny night with friends. Who could ask for more? The wedding is tomorrow and I still can't believe Stephanie, who I have known since 6th grade, is getting married. I'm sure I'll have photos (and maybe a new dress?) to share with you on Monday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

State of mind

Hello everyone! I'm back from my long, unannounced and unanticipated blogging vay-cay. So sorry for such a long absence! My editor was out of town from the 8th to the 15th and I was crazy busy with work and being stressed out. As a result, I was MIA on the blog post front. But then, a few days off turned into almost two weeks. And the last few days, I just couldn't will myself to write a post! But like I said, I'm back now.

To be honest though, it wasn't just conducting interviews and writing articles that kept me away. I feel like over the last few weeks I have been an emotional wreck, easily overwhelmed or upset, and not just about work. Mostly, it was about my personal life. Which is still a little bit too difficult to talk about in great detail on here. Basically, I have some difficult choices to make about where I want my life to go and what I want my life to be and, well, it's hard to let go even when you know you have to. Sorry if that's vague, but that's all I can give right now.

Anyway, while I was absent from the blogosphere, there was one week where I think, looking back on it now, I kind of had a nervous breakdown. Lots of crying, let me tell you. My chest was tight, my heart literally hurt, I felt like there was this weight on me and I couldn't breathe. Not to mention all the knots in my stomach. These feelings made it difficult to concentrate on work, which only added to the stress. A vicious cycle, you could say.

Somehow I got through that and I am feeling better this week. Not to say that anything has changed in my life but I am managing my emotions better right now. The thing is, who knows when that intense depression is going to strike again? I don't like living the way I am living right now. So things do need to change. I feel like I am waiting for the right time, but when is it the right time to make a major change? That's what I need to figure out and I am pretty sure the answer is going to be similar to the advice a person would give someone right before pulling off a Band-Aid: Just do it.

It's just not that easy, of course.

So that's my reason behind the silence. The funny thing is, blogging can be pretty cathartic, so really, I should do it morenot lessin times of turmoil. I'll have to remember that next time. I know I have the support of the handful of people who read this blog, people who I have never even met. And I am grateful for that. What I wrote just now is something I haven't even shared with a best friend. It's nicealbeit, a little scaryto have a place to reveal the corners of your heart and know that you won't be judged and you're not alone.

P.S. I promise the next post will be more lighthearted. I had a pretty good weekend and I new look that I want to share with you!

3 wise images, all via i can read

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pretty pretty pup

Hazel got a haircut today. (I am still* in desperate need of my own.) Instead of getting her bathed and trimmed by the groomers at Petsmart, we decided to take the little monkey to a new grooming salon in town called FUR. It is a crate-free salon that uses all-natural products. 

I actually first heard about the salon before it opened (and before we ever took Hazel to a groomer) from a subject I interviewed for a story. But I lost the card she gave me and out of convenience just took Hazel to Petsmart. But about a month ago, while parked outside a fro-yo shop with Hazel in the car, one of the salon's employees approached me about trying FUR. She told me that I would be horrified to see where Petsmart keeps the animals they groom and how they treat them. I'm not so sure if Petsmart is as bad as she made it out to be, but they didn't always do the best job on her haircut and Hazel was pretty upset when I picked her up last time. So that's why this time we went to FUR.

Overall, I'd say they did a pretty good job. And when I picked Hazel up, she seemed happy, so that's all that really matters. The only bad thing I could say is that it looks like they nicked her on her lower belly. There's just a tiny red dot on her tummy, which I didn't notice until we got home and I saw her lick it. But I don't think I will hold it against FUR. Just from my experiences with giving Hazel a bath or trimming the hair out of her eyes, I imagine that it is difficult to shave or scissor cut a dog. Still, I hope it doesn't happen again. I don't like to see my baby hurt, even in the slightest!

Of course, I had to take a photo shoot after I picked her up. Hazel looks so pretty, especially with her cute yellow bows! She was very excited to be home and raced up the stairs to our front door, turning around with a look that said, "Hurry up, Mommy!" Once inside though, she pretty much passed out.

Without further ado, for your ooh-ing and aww-ing pleasure, here's some more shots from our little photo op. 

It's exhausting being this beautiful.

*I looked through my archives and I said the same thing back in February after Hazel got groomed. Which means I really need to make a hair appointment, pronto!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weekend Recap, part II: Hermosa Beach

On Sunday, I did what I normally do: sleep in. Not my best attribute, but I eventually got up, around 10, I think. After eating breakfast and being lazy for a couple hours, the boy and I finally decided to do something. Which is easier said than done. We are the absolute worst at making decisions! Where should we go? What do you want to do? What should we have for lunch? I don't know, what do you think? This went on for awhile, but around 1 p.m. we finally decided to get in the car and drive.

We had no particular destination at first, but we were headed in the general direction of the beach. I then came up with the brilliant idea of going to the Manhattan/Hermosa/Redondo Beach area. I had never been. It was a plan.

Forty-five minutes later we were there. And so was everyone else, it seemed. We drove up and down the boulevard looking for a spot to park, which was nearly impossible to find, but it was OK. The drive gave us a chance to soak up all the scenery and action. We then climbed a San Francisco-esque hill where we found a free church parking lot. Lucky us.

We then made our way to Hermosa Beach. The pier was bustling with people, bikers and dogs (we left crazy Hazel at home). We were starving by this point, so we grabbed a bite to eat at a place called The Pita Pit. It's like a Subway, but instead of sub sandwiches, they serve up fabulous pita wraps. Delish. We found a spot at the entrance to the pier where we could sit and eat and just people watch for a while. Perfect. Afterwards, we took a stroll down the pier, me snapping pictures the whole way. I then decided it was the perfect time to pop into the self-serve frozen yogurt shop that I saw as we drove in. There's nothing better than banana fro-yo on a blazing hot, beachy day.

We left soon after our frozen yogurt melted, but I can't wait to go back to further explore the beachside communities. The neighborhoods were so charming and I loved how each house was different from the next, with tons of personality in the architecture. Quite a few were for sale; if only I had an extra $900,000 to spare. But if I did, you can bet I would buy a house by the beach.

Pier Avenue at Hermosa Beach

Restaurants & bars on the boardwalk

Too funny not to take a picture.

On the pier, taking in the sights.

Summer days, crashing waves.

Sustenance. The Pita Pit and Lotus Yogurt Bar.

Steep hills lead to the sands below. See the sailboats?

The boy wanted me to take a photo of this "art."

Fascinating architecture. Modern, bold-colored angles meets rustic, weathered siding.

Little red beauties.

Hope you enjoyed this peek at my day at the beach!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Weekend Recap, part I: Fourth of July!

I had a pretty low-key but still enjoyable Fourth of July. The boy was out of town visiting his grandma at the end of last week (I know, super sweet. He adores his grandma.) and he didn't come home until Saturday afternoon. After an hour or so of unwinding from his long drive, he was ready to do something and we decided to get our national holiday started withwhat else?food. We grabbed a bite to eat at BJ's, chosen because its delicious and because the boy had a $50 gift card. Who says there's no such thing as a free meal? He had the crispy chicken sandwich while I went a healthier route with the sesame chicken salad, which is one of my faves because of the mandarin oranges, red pepper, wontons and sesame dressing. Yum.

After our early dinner, we went back home to hang with Hazel and take the love muffin (as I call her) for a walk. A few hours later we made our way overwith our friend Taylor in towto Simi's 39th annual fireworks extravaganza, which is held at a big park on the east side of town. Never the early birds, we literally left for the event just 30 minutes before the fireworks were set to go off! Parking was a nightmare, of course, so we ended up parking a mile or two away. It was a brisk 15-minute walk to the park where hundreds of people were sitting in lawn chairs and on blankets awaiting the Siss! Boom! Bah! The boys complained the whole way but despite my flip flop-clad feet feeling a little sore from rushing through the throngs of people lining the sidewalks, I actually enjoyed it. The night air was the perfect balance of not-too-hot and not-too-cold and it's great to see how the whole community comes together on holidays like July Fourth to be part of one shared experience. It makes this 126,000-person city feel more like a small town.

Anyhow, we made it to the park and set up our chairs and blankets in the nick of time. Just moments after settling in, the show started. Even though I am 24, I still love watching fireworks, especially when they are set to patriotic music! The only thing that could have made it better was if we were at the beachI love seeing the reflection of the fireworks on the wateror if we were in New York. Haha, I wish. Much to the boy's chagrin, I tried my best to take some good fireworks photos. Unfortunately, I hadn't read this blog post with tips on photographing fireworks (which I saw today while catching up on posts at A Room Somewhere) but I think my pics turned out pretty good, even for an amateur.

Here's my night in pictures:

The boys have sensitive ears, as you can see. Taylor hates having his picture taken, hence the closed eyes. Though, I guess he doesn't know that even though he can't see me, the camera can still see him!

During the finale. Yay, America!

Me & the boy at the end of the night.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend and enjoyed celebrating Independence Day! I think this weekend it really hit me that it is the middle of the summer and I better take advantage of it before it's over. Just two years out of college, I still wish I had a summer break with tons of free time to do whatever I want, whenever I want. But since I don't, I just need to not be such a couch potato on the weekend and get out of the apartment. I did do that a bit on Sunday, which I will talk about more in "Weekend Recap, part II." So stay tuned!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Putting it out there

What a crazy week it has been. For many reasons, both personal and work-related. On one personal issue I am not entirely sure where things stand, so I will just start with the work and then move into a different personal thing. Ok, I'm being confusing, so moving on...

There was a shooting in Simi on Wednesday, which is pretty unusual for my town. A husband walked into the dental office where his wife worked, shot her to death and wounded three others. Even though it was just down the street from my apartment, about a mile away, I didn't know about it until a few hours after it happened. Since I wasn't on the scene, there was lots of scrambling Wednesday night and Thursday morning/afternoon to get information from the cops. After the paper was finally "put to bed," I made my way to mine. Well, the couch anyway. I ate leftover teriyaki chicken and rice, drank a glass of wine and watched episode after episode of Friends until I fell asleep. On the couch. With Hazel. And then I didn't wake up until like 10 this morning. Good thing I have the day off.

This wasn't last night. But this happens often.

In other news, I have been meaning to give you guys a recap of the wedding shower I went to last Saturday. As I have mentioned before, my friends Stephanie and Ryan are getting married this month. They are high school sweethearts and like any relationship that begins in high school they have had a lot of ups and downs and breakups, but they are in a great place now, totally in love and solid as a couple. So I am very happy for them! 

Steph & Ryan at their shower. Aren't they cute?

But I was pretty nervous about going to the shower because I knew my ex and his girlfriend would be there. I have also mentioned before, but not in great detail, that there was a lot of drama between me and my ex AND his girlfriend. 

Long story short: My ex and his gf work at Fridays. They met there actually. I used to work at Fridays. After I graduated from college and couldn't find a job, I went back to Fridays because I knew I could get my job back as a host and the plan was to eventually become a server and make more money. Some are probably wondering why I would want to work where my ex works. First off, I worked there long before he did. Second, I have a bunch of friends, including my bestie, who works there. Third, I thought things were OK between me and the ex. We have mutual friends and had seen each other at a friend's birthday party and things were totally cool. We talked, we laughed, we were friends. His new girl had even pulled me aside once at the movie theater to talk to me about getting along since we did have mutual friends. Finally, I thought we were all mature adults. Well, I was wrong. They had a big problem with me working there, totally harassed me, I had a big blowout with his gf one day at the restaurant (which is totally unlike me) and I ended up quitting to preserve my sanity (even if it would damage my bank account for a few months).

Since then, I avoided going to Fridays when they were working and I hadn't seen the ex or the girlfriend for over a year until Saturday. So yes, I was super nervous. I had visions of them giving me evil glares or saying mean things... but then I realized that wouldn't happen. But still, I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach in the days leading up to the shower. Luckily, things didn't go as bad as I imagined. Aside from the ex drama, the shower was great because I got to hang out with friends I don't get to see as much as I'd like, including Stephanie, who I have known since 6th grade, and Ryan, who until recently was living in a city 2 hours away. I also got to see Anna, who I have known since 3rd grade and, to my great disbelief, informed me that we hadn't hung out since Christmas! I couldn't believe that, but she said she had my Christmas gift still! Geez. We are planning a Macaroni Grill date soon.

This is an old pic (check out my hair!) of me and Anna at our favorite get-together place: Mac G!

Back to the ex. Surprisingly, his girlfriend was cool. We played this girls-against-guys game that kind of broke the ice because we were forced to talk and even work together. But she could have ignored me the rest of the time. But she didn't. Later on in the party, all the girls were in the living room, sitting in a circle, chatting. Catching up. I asked her direct questions about stuff, and she responded. Wow, I thought, we have grown up, haven't we? So that was good. The bad part? The ex wasn't so cool. He didn't talk to me, even though while in the group setting I made a couple comments directed at him... And as far as I know, he never even looked at me. I don't know what to attribute it to. Maybe he is still angry at me? Maybe he didn't want to make his new girl mad? (I do know she is a very jealous person; I have been told that by both my ex and others.) I am kind of over it now, but I was hurt at the shower. We dated on and off for 5 years and we used to be such good friends. Best friends. I don't expect things to be the same but it would be nice if he could at least be ... I don't know, civil? But I'm not going to dwell on it because it doesn't do me any good and I know he is a totally different person now. For better or worse, he is not the person I fell in love with so many years ago. He was my first love and, unfortunately, a part of me will always care about him, even if he doesn't care about me.

Is this dangerous, posting a pic of the ex? Maybe. But this is us, NYE 2005, when we were "just friends." I was a lot skinnier back then. Ha!

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer or anything but I thought I should share. Because I know some of you out there have experienced the same kind of thing. And even though I haven't been the best (or most consistent) blogger lately, I have resolved to be more open in my posts. Some of you might have noticed I can be a bit guarded sometimes about my personal life but I want to change that. So many of you open yourself up to me in your posts, and I want to do the same.

Here's to wearing my heart on my sleeve.

P.S. I hope you have fabulous weekends and a very happy Fourth of July! Not sure what I am doing yet, but I am sure it will involve fireworks.