Sunday, August 30, 2009


Hi everyone! I'm back from my vay-cay. The boy and I drove up to Big Bear on Thursday and stayed in a homey cabin near the lake, which was on loan to us by a member of the golf course the boy works at. I meant to post before we left but, as is typical for us, we were running a bit behind schedule and I didn't have time. Then, when we got up to our woodland vacation home, we didn't have wireless internet connection; I didn't even have cell service! We could have gone a mile or two down the road to the local Starbucks and got online if we really wanted to, and while we did consider it a few times (him to check his fantasy standings, me to check my email and blogs), we abstained. Which is a good thing since we were on vacation after all. But now I do have an awful lot of blog posts to catch up on!

I'll post a vacation recap soon. I have some fun photos to share with you! (I took 169 photos in four days!! I think I am a bit snap happy, but I can't help it! I'll just pick a few of the best though to show you, not to worry.) By the way, I never told you guys thank you for all your fabulous "what to do when broke and on vacation" ideas. I really appreciated your suggestions! And I even took you up on a few on them, you'll see...

Anyhoo, I hope you all had a great weekend! It's been so hot here, both in Simi and in Big Bear. And if you live in California, you know about all the wildfires blazing across the Southland and the triple-digit temperatures are definitely not helping. But, on a lighter note, what did you do to beat the heat this weekend? I can't believe summer is almost over. With just a few weeks left, I am feeling like I need to have as much summertime fun as possible. Anyone else feel like that? But as someone who is still feeling the effects of a terrible terrible sunburn, I must tell you: whatever you do, don't forget the sunblock! (I sure won't.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wings Over Camarillo

Late Sunday morning, my dad and I drove out to the Camarillo Airport to see the 29th annual "Wings Over Camarillo" air show. Originally, I had asked my brother if he wanted to go, in an attempt to be a nice older sister. My father jumped on board when I told him about it, too. Both the men in my family love planes and history (and, for that matter, guns). In fact, my dad served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, though he luckily never went overseas. He was the guy working on the planes.

Anyway, my brother, in his usual style, flaked on us. It was his loss really because I think he would have enjoyed it. Other than the hot, muggy weather, my dad and I had a good time at the show. We walked around the static displays of antique, experimental and military aircraft, snapping pictures at every turn. (I took 76 photos, for real. I included an edited collection below for your viewing pleasure.) While my dad was pretty familiar with all the jets, bombers, fighters, transports and trainers (Oh, my!) and could tell me all about them, I mostly just paid attention to the design. The colors. The patterns. The scantily-clad pinups on some of the planes' noses. The monikers pilots gave their winged-beauties; gals like "Suzy-Q" and "Louise" were among the bunch.

After walking the grounds, we grabbed a bite to eat from one of the vendor booths. We both got Philly steak sandwiches with onions and peppers (no cheese, for me) and ice-cold lemonades to wash it down. We then made our way over to the runway to watch the main event, the narrated flying exhibition. I think we both agreed that our favorite part of the show was watching a man, who is an experienced airman, pilot a smallby comparison to the other planes taxiing down the runwaybut powerful red model airplane. It was fast and sleek and sexy and could do cool tricks that the other planes weren't doing.

Another favorite moment was an orange plane (again, I don't remember what type) that can fly so slowly it looks as if it is just floating; like it's hanging in the air. It's crazy! At one point, the pilot turned off the engine and glided in for a landing. What's more, the plane can take off and stop on a dime. And that's really not much of an exaggeration.

Also neat was watching planes fly over in formation. They did three pass-overs: one in a V-shape, one in the "missing man" formation and one in . . . I don't remember! That one is below.

Rivaling the model airplane for "best air show moment" was watching a pilot do a solo flight performance, set to the soundtrack of the movie Pearl Harbor. The "air ballet," as the announcer called it, was in honor of all veterans, young and old. It was pretty moving and pretty amazing. The pilot would come in close to where the spectators were lined up watching, eyes to the sky, and turn his smoke onwhich made for some great shots.

Though the show was three hours long, we only stayed for two hours. After standing that long our backs and feet were starting to hurt (note to self: bring chairs next time) and my dad was worried about my skin, which was quickly turning bright red. (I put on sunblock upon arrival but Iget thisran out of lotion for my chest. Yep, I look like a lobster today. Yep, it hurts.) My dad was a little bummed he didn't get to see the P-38s fly (that's the only plane I remember!) but all in all we had a fun afternoon of father-daughter bonding. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

things that made me smile this week...

After a bit of a hiatus, the happy list is back! Without further ado... Things that made me smile this week:

1. Interviewing a sweet Filipino mother who spent more than 30 years working the system (and simply waiting) to legally immigrate her children to the U.S. Her 55-year-old son, the last of her children to leave the Philippines for America, finally made it to So Cal two weeks ago. Even though I put a lot of pressure on myself to do a great job with these kinds of feature articles, I really enjoyed working on it and telling the family's story.

2. My editor telling me, via text, that he thought I did an "awesome job" on that story (when he assigned it to me, he said he expected me to write a "kick ass story," so I guess I pulled through).

3. Discovering this blog of sketches by Melissa Morris Ivone, a graphic designer as well as the promoter-of-kindness behind Operation Nice. I wish I could draw as wonderfully as she can. Unfortunately, I didn't get that creative gene.

This is one of my faves:

4. Finding out that there is such a thing as Nutella to-go. I have no idea where you can buy it, but I am overjoyed to simply know that it is out there. 

(Oh, and have you seen the Nutella commercial? My bestie facebooked me to tell me she saw the commercial and it made her think of me. I'm not sure that is a good thing . . . but I can't deny my obsession with the creamy, chocolaty hazelnut spread!)

5. This little pup peeking out from a line up of shoes, spotted on Oh Joy! Too cute, right?

6. Viewing the portfolio of colorful illustrations on Antoinette-Fleur. I cannot for the life of me remember how I came across the site, but I'm glad I did. The images are fun, whimsical, girly and I adore them.

7. The "Pet of the Week" we featured in the latest edition of the paper. Isn't Ariel just the sweetest little thing? Seriously, this photo prompted me to look at the animals for adoption at the local shelter for oh, about an hour and a half, at least. Eventually I came to my sensesI can't afford to take in another cutie pie and I can barely handle Hazel!
Photo by Jann Hendry

8. Listening to "old school" Michelle Branch while getting ready this morning. I love The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper. It's like I am in high school all over again when I hear her songs. I found out she performed a free concert at The Grove in L.A. last week and I am so bummed I missed it! (Click the video to be transported back in musical time to 2001.)

9. Learning that a bunny has better fashion sense than I do. What am I talking about? I'm talking about the glamorous Fifi Lapin, of course. I clicked on over to Fifi's very fun blog after seeing a post on another new-to-me site: Antler Mag. (Which is also definitely worth a look.)

10. Spending the afternoon with my dad at the Camarillo air show. (more photos to come...)

So what little things made you smile this week?

Be Happy image via i can read

Friday, August 21, 2009

All dolled up and nowhere to go

Starting Tuesday, I am officially on vacation. A paid vacation. That's a first for this working girl. And not-so-surprisingly, my "boss," my editor that is, practically had to force me to take one. See, I have this feeling that the paper might die without me. Which is not the case. But my editor might die without me. Ha! That might be a little true, but I'm sure he'll manage. (Plus, I have to write three stories before I go...)

All that being said, I have a bit of a problem: I don't know what I am going to do while on said vacation! Oh, how I would love to jet set off to some tropical island and sip lava flows poolside. Oh, how I would love to immerse myself in the buzzing energy of New York City, to which I have never been in all my 24 years. But alas, my finances don't quite allow for either of these fantasy vay-cays to become a reality for me next week. Heck, my bank account doesn't allow for me to do much more than sit at home and read a book next week! But as someone who works from home, staying home on my vacation is really not an option. Well, it's a sad option at best.

That's where you come in. I need your best ideas of what I should do next week. I've got six days, a limited budget and no time to plan. But I need your help or else all I will be able to blog about next week is me doing . . . nothing.

Thanks in advance! And happy weekend!

Image via ffffound, by buradori

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A life's ambitions

Some people know in their early years that they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a firefighter or an astronaut or a (fill in the blank), and they work tirelessly toward achieving that childhood dream.

For me, my interests and ambitions as a young girl were varied and ever changing. It seemed I could never give my “final answer” to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

My earliest career-goal, at least the earliest that I can remember having, was to be a horse rancher, which is pretty out of character for a girly-girl like myself. Waking up at the crack of dawn, wearing flannel and slinging mud and dung is not exactly my idea of a good time. But this dream was prompted solely by my love of horses and my wish to own one—or a dozen. While I no longer dream of being a rancher, my fondness for horses has not diminished.

My next dream was to be a WNBA basketball star. I loved playing basketball as a kid and I played in the local Boys & Girls Club summer league for years. I even tried out for my high school team but I didn’t make the cut (suffice to say, I was devastated, but that’s another story). Anyhow, my dad dashed my dreams of becoming a WNBA hopeful with one not-so-PC comment that went something like this: ‘You can’t play basketball. You’re not black.’ Thanks, Dad, for that astute observation! Geez.

During elementary school and junior high some of my other ambitions included being an archeologist (random, I know, but I loved history class—especially learning about Greek and Roman cultures), an interior decorator (I still think that would be so cool!), a makeup artist (I studied Kevyn Aucoin’s makeup books) and, for a little while, an architect (though, I don’t think my math skills are up to that.)

But for as long as I can remember, even during my horse rancher and basketball star phases, I held on to one “secret” dream tightly. I wanted to be a famous pop singer. I sometimes imagined taking the stage, singing my songs. I would even choreograph dance routines in my head. (I took ballet and jazz as a child.) But for the most part, I kept this dream to myself. Sure, I participated in a few talent shows, dancing with friends. To me, it was less scary to dance on stage than sing. Singing was, and still is, my passion and it was too vulnerable for me to share with everyone. I would lock myself in my room and sing at the top of my lungs. I’m sure my family could hear but that closed door offered protection. I remember being in 3rd grade (I think that’s when it was) and I had to do a school project on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was too embarrassed to say what I really wanted to do, so I wrote a report on being a teacher, since that’s what all my friends wanted to be. I had no desire to be a teacher, but it was easier and more acceptable in my mind to want to be that than a pop star.

Eventually, slowly, I let people in on my dream, but it wasn’t until high school that I joined choir (I finally could fit it into my schedule senior year) and my friends actually heard me sing. And one friend in particular encouraged me to keep at it. So I auditioned to sing the national anthem at the biggest football game of the year. It was the first time my parents really heard me sing, out from behind a closed door. I was so nervous but it was such a rush and an amazing accomplishment for me. I later went on to perform in another talent show my senior year, and that time, I sang.

If I were completely honest, I still fantasize about being a singer-songwriter. After all, that’s what I initially studied in college. When it came time to pick a major, I picked music because I knew I loved it (singing but also playing the oboe. Heck yes!) and I didn’t know what else to do. Yep, even with all those other aforementioned aspirations! I attended a local community college for my first semester where I learned about music theory, developed rudimentary piano skills and earned my first solo in the chorus. I transferred to Pepperdine University for the second semester of freshman year and continued my music studies but the pressure and stress got to me. Somehow, the thing I loved turned into a source of great frustration and, at times, depression. Looking back, I think I could have overcome this emotional hurdle but I ended up changing my major the summer following my freshman year. I stayed in choir but decided to give journalism a try.

The thing is, even though I always excelled in my English classes and occasionally thought how fun it would be to pen a novel, I never seriously considered being a writer—or a journalist for that matter. I didn’t even read the newspaper! But I figured, I like to write, I’ve been told I’m good at it, and I like reading magazines, so maybe, just maybe, I can do this. By some dumb luck, I found out I can. And I enjoy it. Not that it was easy though. I was a scared, naive sophomore in my Intro to Journalism class. It was stressful and tough and I felt totally out of my element. But for some reason, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel—unlike with music, which I was only studying because I loved it, not because I pictured myself being an opera singer (Pepperdine’s vocal program focuses on classical music). I don’t know what I’d be doing now if I had obtained my degree in music. I could see myself being a writer though. Funny how life works out, huh? Sometimes the last thing you ever thought you would be is the very thing you are meant to do.

So tell me readers, what did you (or do you) want to be when you grew (grow) up? And are you doing it? Or did life surprise you with a new ambition, too?

Image sources: 1 & 5 via leave happier, 2 & 3 via i can read, 4 via Under Lock and Key

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oversized glasses make me smile

Aren't these girls just adorable in their big, black, oversized glasses?

Now if only I looked that cute in my glasses...

Hope everyone is having a happy Tuesday!

Top image via i can read, by margie brighton
Bottom image via naturally nina, by pola_life

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ticket to Ride

On Thursday night, me and the boy and the new roomie got our butts off the couch and to the 134th annual Ventura County Fair. I hadn't been in yearsnot since I covered the fair as a news intern for the Ventura County Star (now my "competition"). The fairgrounds are right by the beach so there was a heavy marine layer over all the rides and food vendors. But we didn't let the foggy weather put a damper on our spirits. 

First, we satisfied our grumbling belliesit was dinner time after allwith some classic fair food. Brook got a giant turkey leg while the boy and I picked up some delicious and snappy dogs from Pink's, the famous Hollywood hot dog stand that sets up shop at the fair each year.

We then hit up the Midway, where the guys and I played games that are impossible to win but, for some reason, impossible not to play. You know you are wasting your money, but you do it gladly because, heck, it's the fair! The boy is not a big fan of topsy-turvy rides because of his weak stomach, but we watched from the sidelines as Brook spun round and round on Techno Power. The roomie and I then went on a similarly dizzying ride called Magnumwhere I almost lost my necklace! They told me to tuck it into my shirt, which I did, but on the first flip it flew off and I caught it, no joke, with my mouth as my hands were busy holding on for dear life. (My necklace and I survived the ride but later, for some mysterious reason, my necklace started to fall apart. But that's a different story...)

I then convinced the boy to go on the Ferris Wheel. Looking one way, we could see the bright and flashing lights of the fairgrounds below. Looking the other way, we could just barely make out the white tops of waves crashing on the beach.

Before calling it a night, we just had to get something sweet. At first I wanted funnel cake, a fair staple because of its fried goodness. But I couldn't decide which flavor to get (apple? strawberry? cinnamon and sugar? banana creme? They all sounded divine!) and ended up taking my cue from Brook by getting a huge waffle cone filled with gelato. Mint chocolate chip and Oreo cookies and cream, if you're wondering.

Here's some pics of our evening at the fair:

Hope everyone had a good weekend! Tell me, when's the last time you went to the fair?

2009 Fair poster via Ventura County Fair

Friday, August 14, 2009

the More the Merrier

Last weekend, and most likely this weekend too, I spent my time trying to clean and organize the apartment. There was also a considerable amount of money spent on buying things to help me clean and organize the apartment. Why, you ask? Well, it is certainly not because I enjoy such tasks. I wish I could list "neat freak" as one of my personality traits but, alas, I live more in a state of "organized chaos," as I like to call it. Though, othersahem, my boyfriendjust call it a bona fide mess.

Anyhow, the reason for the cleaning and organizing is... we got a new roommate! Yes, the boy's friend and co-worker (well, technically, the boy is our new roommate's boss... details, details) named Brook moved in with us last weekend. He needed a place to live and the extra rent money would really help us out, so it was a win-win for everyone. 

The only thing is, the boy is not used to living with other people and sharing his space. He is 35 and having roommates is kind of a thing of the past for him. I, on the other hand, am very used to living with roommates. Did it all throughout college and after college, until I moved in with the boy. I have lived with all types and I can pretty much get along with anyone. But the funny thing is, even though the boy and Brook are good friends, I think the boy is feeling like he is on Brook-overload. I'm not worried though; I'm sure we'll all settle into the new living situation soon. 

Still, there is one thing I am quickly realizing: With another boy in the house, I have lost my "veto" power when it comes to watching hours and hours of sports (at the moment, baseball). Before, I could just nag the boy to change the channel when I simply couldn't stand to watch another pitch. But now, I feel outnumbered! 

Oh, and I can't just walk around in my bra anymore. Haha, the joys of living with a male roommate. But trust, I would NEVER let another girl move in here with me and my guy. Even a friend. Funny double standard, huh?

So, what's your take on roommates? Love 'em or leave 'em?

And, what on your weekend agenda? Like I said, I have much more cleaning and organizing to do. It never ends! But maybe I will squeeze in some time to read one of the many unread books lining the shelves of our new bookcase (one of those organizing things we finally bought even though we've lived here for 6 months). I have so many options, too: "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, "The Lucky One" by Nicholas Sparks, "The Almost Moon" by Alice Sebold, "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd... oh, the list goes on and on. If you have an opinion, which do you think I should read first?

P.S. We went to the county fair last night. Stay tuned for pics!

Image via i can read

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who knew bath time could be so much fun?

And cute, for that matter.

Here's a few pics we snapped while giving Hazel her bath on Sunday: (Captions courtesy the love muffin herself)

Rub a dub dub, I just got outta the tub. Er, sink. I was a very good girl this time, not afraid at all!

Aw, ma, I hate this part!

No! I refuse to be cute as long as that blowy thing is pointed at me! Why can't I just run around like a crazy person to dry off?! I'll create my own wind!

Owie. Tangles hurt. I wanna bite that brush.

All done! Now I'm fluffy and cute and soft and I smell as sweet as I look. So, playtime now? Oh, and I think you owe me like 10 treats for every time you said the T-word to get me to look at the camera. A dog never forgets.