Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013 Christmas Eve

As the year comes to an end, I pray that 2014 goes just as well, if not better, than 2013. I can say that this year was a good, if not great year. I've accomplished goals I set out for myself and have been successful. I've started running and I'm kind of addicted to this new found love. Call me crazy but it really does make my day better and I seriously feel guilty if I don't run on my 'run' days. I'm also back in the gym lifting and loving every minute of it. Ok, not really… I hate it when I'm there but when I'm done.. Thank ya Baby Jesus.. I feel amazing. I have an amazing trainer and without him, I would not have made it this far. Overall, I've found myself again and I couldn't be happier. 

When my dad passed away, I pushed a lot of people out of my life. Some I lost for good and that is fine. One of my favoritest quotes is by Marilyn Monroe "I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." Ain't that the truth and good riddance to them! Some of my friendships have grown much stronger and I treasure those people in my life. I've rekindled some friendships and some are going in new, better directions. Things are good, I am happy. 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Happy New Year. 
May it bring you joy, good health, and every happy thing you deserve!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Getting ready for Christmas

Decorated the tree the weekend before Thanksgiving this year because I knew T-day weekend would be super busy. Some of my favorite ornaments are my angle that I bought in Venice, Italy. My 'Believe' bell that I got in Alaska in 2006. The ornament I purchased while at The Pentagon, and my newest ornament from Hawaii this past summer! 

I was trying to get a photo of Lynkin and I in front of the tree. For whatever reason… he was being a big baby and trying to climb in my lap! The top right photo is how he always gives me hugs, his nose buried under my chin! He makes me laugh and makes my heart smile! Love this dog so much!!!

My newest Christmas decorations… 'We Believe' sign and the snowman!

Went to our family reunion today and both of these were in the auction! Had an amazing cousin bid against me for the snowman and when it was all said and done, he outbid me… then turned around and gave me the snowman.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Warm Me Up

So I am kinda loving OPI's 'Warm Me Up' polish. 
No worries Lincoln Park After Dark… 
I'll be back because I love you with my whole heart! 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Hawaii - 2013

Oahu, Sept. 2013 - Went to Hawaii with my mom for her 66th birthday. I took her snorkeling and we swam in the ocean with dolphins and sea turtles. Lots of fun- I got a couple of great shots of dolphins. While the rest of the tour was swimming toward another group of dolphins, I turned and saw these 3 swimming together. 

The tour took us to another spot where we swam with about 6 turtles. Later in our trip, we did find a sea turtle in the ocean while we were at the beach. My mom followed it as I ran back to get the camera for a photo. By the time I got back out to the turtle, he was gone. 

One of my favorite places was actually The Outriggers Canoe club that Marsha belongs to. The sunset was amazing (see below). We would meet for breakfast in the morning and happy hour in the evening. Aunt Nona used to tell my mom about The Outriggers and so it was one place she definitely wanted to go. Worth it (but only if you are a member, sorry).

 Chinaman's Hat - stopped for a photo opp on our drive around the island with Marsha and Newell. 

I cannot mention my favorite beach because it seemed to be less populated and well, I am hoping that it will still be more isolated in the years to come as I go back. This beach was pure heaven and I already have my first 3 days of next summer planned for this beach. Both my mom and I loved it here and don't really want to go to any other beach. Our first visit here, we spent time in the ocean and the waves were perfect for body surfing. It was so much fun!

Pulled off for some sight seeing on one of our many drives. 

 This is the view from Marsha's guest house. We slept with the windows open every night and the trade winds kept us nice and cool. Every morning I woke up, I could see the lush, green palm trees with Honolulu in the background!

My mom and I on her birthday! It was such a fun, great trip! Looking forward to going back next year.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chicken Salad

Awhile ago I found this amazing recipe for chicken salad and thought I'd make a batch up today. It's so tasty! Took it to a couple of amazing friends for lunch and didn't have any complaints. One guy did say he wasn't sure about the grapes but after tasting it that he liked it. So, if you are not sure about the grapes... try a bite and add half a grape to it. I promise, unless you absolutely hate grapes, you will love it. I did add toasted almonds to mine too...  

3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1 or stalks celery, chopped- about 3/4 cup
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup seedless grapes, halved
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip brand
2 Tablespoons coleslaw dressing (Marzetti's is good)
1 teaspoon each- paprika and seasoning salt
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

Simply mix everything together well. Chill for at least one hour before serving. It tastes much better if allowed to chill overnight. 

I didn't follow the exact measurements. I add to my taste. I did use a rotisserie chicken in place of the 3 chicken breast. Add the mayo slowly so you do not add too much. 

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


soon.... my dear sandy beach friend.... soon

Monday, August 19, 2013

My heart just stops

A song comes on the radio, I read something online, talk with a relative, or like tonight... I look at his blog and see a picture of my dad and my heart just stops. The tears come and I just freaking miss him! Time does heal, somewhat. But that emptiness is still there. Not so much on the surface as the raw hurt I had for so long. I can't pick up the phone and call to hear his voice. Football season is hard because he was always watching football. Heck, even watching the news is hard because I can't pick up the phone and talk to him about it. But tonight... looking at this photo, it just makes me stop and think Damn It! I Miss this Man soooo dang much it hurts.

I love you Dad with all my heart, forever and always!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Braided Spaghetti Bread

One of my co-workers bring this amazing looking concoction for lunch every once in awhile. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try this weekend. I started with an all day preparation of my Grandma's Sauce. She taught me how to make this when I was about 18 or 19 years old. My favorite memory of my grandma was going to her house when she would make sauce and meatballs. As soon as I'd get to her house, I'd have a bowl of sauce and a meatball with garlic bread! Got to love an amazing, loving, Italian Grandma!

Dinner for the first night included chicken and pasta. After I used sauce for the chicken, I added hamburger and sausage to the sauce. 

For the next night, I attempted the Braided Spaghetti Bread (yes, spaghetti in a garlic bread). 

First, I used Rhodes Rolls (12). I left them out for about 5 hours to rise (they were frozen). I placed them on parchment paper as they rose so it was easy to roll out once they had risen. With the sauce being made, I cooked up some pasta (spaghetti), about 6 oz. Mixed the meat sauce and pasta until it was nicely coated. The recipe I was following said to roll the dough out to 12x16. Place the spaghetti down the center of the dough and I added a little extra sauce. I also added mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Finally cut about 1" strips on both sides of the dough and 'braid' the strips over the top of the spaghetti. Brush the top with an egg white and sprinkle it with garlic salt and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350F for 30-35 mins. 

 Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

My first love...

I wish I could get on a plane to go here....

and spend some time with this man....

because he would make everything better!

My first love... My Dad.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pulled Pork

So I searched for recipes on pulled pork and I came across a few but most were very similar. I opted for the 'easier' versions that included about 3-4 ingredients. I researched the best part of the pork for pulled pork as well. And for those of you wondering, for pulled pork the best part to use is the butt or the shoulder.

So here is what I came up with. It was tasted and approved...

7 lb. pork shoulder/butt
Lawry's Seasoning
20 oz bottle of coke
Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce (I used almost 46 oz, see below)

I seasoned the pork with Lawry's Seasoning and placed it in a gallon zip lock bag (yes it fit). Poured the 20 oz of coke into the bag and placed the pork in the refrigerator. I left the pork in the fridge for about 5-6 hours. Since I was serving this for lunch, I started the process about 6 pm the night before. I was still up at midnight and so I placed the pork, with the coke, in the crockpot and let it cook on low all night. At about 8:30 am (8-1/2 hours later) I pulled the pork out and shredded it. It pulled easily off the bone and away from the fat. After shredding, I put the pork back in the crockpot. {this is where crock pot bags come in handy... I pulled the one out with the fat and coke and replaced a brand new one for the shredded pork and bbq sauce, simple and easy... no mess). I used A LOT of BBQ sauce, about 46 oz of bbq sauce. Use the whole 28 oz bottle first then add more until you decide there is enough.

*I don't feel like the lawry's seasoning really did anything except waste my seasoning. So I'll leave that one up to you. I will probably leave that out next time. Someone else mentioned cooking the pork with an onion. I'm not a huge fan of onions but I may try it that way next time.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two years ago today...

Two years ago today I lost one of the most important people in my life... My Dad.
Words cannot express how much I love you and miss you every day!

xoxox Dad, your daughter

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pre 2 year anniversary night

A year ago, I sat on my bed and read through the last two years of my blog. I read about my phone calls with my dad. My visits with my dad. I remembered holding his hand for three days in the hospital. Tonight, I worked on homework and now it's time to reminisce. I miss my dad so much but tonight, I can say I am better. I am truly back to my happy, funny self.
Grief takes time. I didn't realize how much time it would take. Don't get me wrong, I still miss my dad every day. I still want to pick up the phone and call him. I still want to run to him with my problems, concerns, tell him I broke a nail, or that my pool vac is not working and ask how I fix it. I want to call him and say, DAD- I am happy again! I want to talk to him about politics, what he thinks of things. I want to talk about football, the news, and every time a damn plane crashes, I want to call him and talk to him about it.
My tears are fewer in between now. I smile more often. I was told the other day by a friend that she could tell I was happy, she could see it in my eyes. I wonder how dark my eyes have been. It has taken me almost two years to truly be happy again. It's an amazing feeling. I used to be afraid to be happy. I knew it's what my dad would want but I felt guilty for being happy because I lost my dad. How can someone who loses someone they love so much be happy? It takes time. The happiness returns. My heart still feels a loss, there is a part of me that died with my dad but there is also a part of me that now lives for my dad. If I catch myself feeling guilty for being happy, I tell myself that it's ok, it is the essence of what my dad wanted for me. To be happy. I remember he would always ask if I was happy and I would tell him yes. His response was "good".
I want to do amazing things now. I want to live and I want to live for not only myself {and my mom} but for my dad too. I want to be brave and try the daring things that my dad would do. I think I want to skydive. That is going to be one of my next goals. I want to jump once for my dad. I want to feel that rush that he felt every time he jumped. The rush he felt when he jumped the day I was born to celebrate my life.
My dad did amazing things, he was brave. He flew a small plane from Arizona to New York and then to Alaska. He skydived, he was in a war, he accomplished his dreams and didn't have regrets. It's time that I make a bucket list and start marking off my dreams. I want this for me but I have my dad motivating me through it all.
So tonight, I am not going back through my posts to read about those final days. I can reply them in my head. Tonight I'll start a bucket list so I can live like my dad would want me to.

For anyone going through the grief of losing a loved one. Hang in there, I promise you it will get better.

I love you Dad!

Me :)

{my dad making a jump}

Friday, July 12, 2013

Adele - Someone Like You

I don't think anything is more fitting... 

Someone Like You Lyrics ~ Adele

I heard that you're settled downThat you found a girl and you're married nowI heard that your dreams came trueGuess she gave you things I didn't give to you
Old friend, why are you so shy?Ain't like you to hold back or hide from the light
I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvitedBut I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight itI had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be remindedThat for me, it isn't over
Never mind, I'll find someone like youI wish nothing but the best for you, tooDon't forget me, I begged, I remember you saidSometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts insteadSometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead
You know how the time fliesOnly yesterday was the time of our livesWe were born and raised in a summer hazeBound by the surprise of our glory days
I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvitedBut I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight itI had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be remindedThat for me, it isn't over yet
Never mind, I'll find someone like youI wish nothing but the best for you, tooDon't forget me, I begged, I remember you saidSometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead, yeah
Nothing compares, no worries or caresRegrets and mistakes, they're memories madeWho would have known how bittersweet this would taste?
Never mind, I'll find someone like youI wish nothing but the best for youDon't forget me, I begged, I remember you saidSometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead
Never mind, I'll find someone like youI wish nothing but the best for you, tooDon't forget me, I begged, I remember you saidSometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts insteadSometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Grilled - Pork Chops, Asparagus, and Pineapple

Pineapple Pork Chops

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pineapple Juice from a 20 oz can of sliced pineapples (separate the pineapples for grilling later)
Garlic Salt (I just sprinkled in garlic salt, did not measure)

Pork Chops (I used 6, thinly cut pork chop)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a gallon sized zip lock bag. Refrigerate over night. 

When you are read to grill, make sure the grill is super hot. Place chops on grill and over for 1 minute. Open lid, shift pork chops about half a turn. Cover lid for another minute. Now flip the pork chop over and repeat. This method I found is for thin pork chops and it worked great! While grilling, brush the marinade over the pork chops. 

Grilled Asparagus

Olive Oil

Wash and cut ends off asparagus. Using about 2 TBSP of Olive Oil, drizzle over asparagus then add salt (I use sea salt). Turn asparagus in olive oil, add more salt.

On the same grill (super hot) (I added the asparagus first because it took a little longer to cook), place asparagus and turn for 5-10 minutes {be careful not drop the asparagus between the grill}. Once the asparagus is charred and tender, take off the grill. 

Grilled Pineapple

Using the canned pineapple (yes, fresh would be 100% better), place on the hot grill. Brush with the marinade. Grill until charred marks in the pineapple and turn over, using marinade again. 

Buon Appetito!

Morning swim

My morning swim... 
{Nothing like the pool completely to yourself at 6:30 am}

Friday, July 05, 2013

4th of July

Fireworks from Camelback Mountain. 
Sitting out on my Great Aunt's patio. 
Nice breeze 
Much cooler
Great company... my mama! 

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Oh how I've missed you... it's been way too long.
Time to get back in the pool! 

Monday, July 01, 2013


I might not be everything you ever wanted,
but I will always be more than you ever deserve.

The end.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

For so many years I took for granted the times I could pick up the phone to call you. There were probably some years in there that I didn't as much as I should have. As the saying goes "if I'd only known then... what I know now". I would have called every chance I got and even more. I wouldn't have taken time for granted. I would have loved you as much as I do now and as I did at this age. I guarded my heart for many years. But no matter what, you were always in my heart, always my hero, always the man I needed the most. You are my dad! 

There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss you. Happy Father's Day Daddy!!! 
I love you!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dining Table

Since I moved into my house 2.5 years ago (wow, it's been that long???) I've wanted to get a new table and chairs. I've searched and searched. Last September, I got serious and in November, I found this table and these chairs at Pier 1. I was going to buy the chairs at that time because they were on sale but I wanted to make sure that it was what I wanted. Well... I looked and looked again. Then in February, the chairs were on sale again. I had to make a decision and purchase the chairs by March 2. So on February 28, I went to Pier 1 and I purchased the chairs. I was going to wait until March 3 to get the table... I wanted to see if it was going on sale for the next ad. When I told the sales lady my plan, she looked up the next ad for me and guess what! The table was going to be on sale! Whoo hoo!!! I was able to get the chairs AND the table on sale. I would say I saved at least $200 for everything {plus, I got $60 back from Pier 1 and I'll be spending that soon!}. Here is the {almost} finished product. It's time to switch out the light {I've never been a fan of this one}, find a skinny, long sideboard type table to go along the wall under the table, then add some decor. I super excited for this new piece of furniture that has been added to my home. I can't wait for my first dinner party where we can sit around the table and enjoy each others company!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Random quote

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

~George Eliot

I kinda really like this quote.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

Today my dad would have been 65 years old. 

I miss him everyday

Happy Birthday dad - I love you more

Thursday, February 07, 2013


It's been over a year since I talked to 'him'... him is not my dad, not God... it's him. The person after all those years that I truly trusted, believed in, and loved. To this day, if I say his name or someone else says it. My heart literally stops and my stomach turns over. My body goes numb. All because deep within me, I still love him. I don't want to... I want to not think about him every day, morning and night. He's not the first person I think of when I wake up now, so that is good. However, soon enough he's in my head, my heart. I miss our morning talks, me on the freeway... going into work. Him on an airplane, waiting to take off to go to work. I miss our nightly chats, every night for 3 years. How our days were, where he currently was, how his flights were, how his meetings were, what I was working on for school, how work went. Him buying a 7, me buying a house.
Then one day, just stopped or slowed... him dealing with the pressure of work, me dealing with the fact that my father was dying. Then my dad died... so did I. Nothing he did was good enough, I needed more... at the same time, he was pulling away and chose not to give more. Pushing and pulling until I broke. I screamed, yelled, cried, and said some horrible things. I said I was done.
That was Nov. 29, 2011, his birthday, on my way to see a counselor because I was trying to deal with the loss of my dad, losing him, and the hell of dealing with CW. 1 year and almost 4 months later, it still hurts... it burns. Not as bad as it did then or even 6 months ago. Tonight I sent an email, nothing personal, just a cute forward... thinking maybe... he was past the hurt. The email returned, his email no more. I stared at the screen and tears poured out my eyes. My heart is numb, I am numb, I miss him... I love him... I love him from deep within me. I wonder if I will ever trust or love again. I want to do but it hurts so bad that I don't think I will ever let myself get that close to someone again. Tomorrow I'll wake up and the pain will be a little less again. Maybe one day it won't be there anymore... at all. I doubt it. The ironic part is, I am strong... so why am I so weak when it comes to him. Why do I let him affect me this way. Why do I love him so deeply?
Because I finally opened my heart, truly opened it... because he is amazing, amazing to me. They say it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all... I don't know about that saying but what I do know is for years, he pushed me to be a better person, to work harder, and strive for more than I thought I could achieve. Funny thing is, I want to close this with a thank you.. but I my heart won't let me. I want to close this with... maybe someday... but my heart won't let me. The one thing I know is it's time to let go, which I have been working on. It's been working but then tonight, seeing the email was no longer there, it stopped me in my tracks, like a slap in the face. No matter what, he was important to me, no matter if there is a someday or not, he will always be in my heart.


Sunday, February 03, 2013

Stir-Fry - chicken, zucchini, mushroom, and rice

I was going through my pinterest boards today for a good idea for dinner. There was a recipe for Chicken Cashew but it had to simmer in the crockpot for 3-4 hours. I didn't get in started in time so I decided to do my own thing. I have to say, it's not bad... not at all. 

I went to the store and picked up some chicken - they had it already cut thin and small, perfect for stir-fry. Ok, seriously, I will be buying my chicken like this as much as possible! I  have an extra container for piccata chicken later this week and it will be absolutely no work! Thank you Fresh and Easy for making my dinner nights so much quicker!

I also picked up some zucchini and mushroom. Mushrooms were already sliced so all I had left to do was slice the zucchini - that is simple!

Next, I put the basmati rice on (2 cups water to 1 cup rice). Bring the water to a boil, add rice. Bring back to a boil then simmer for about 45 mins. 

20 minutes prior to the rice being done- heat a pan with sesame oil (I added olive oil too but I think next time I'm just going to do all sesame oil). Toss in the chicken (I seasoned it, while in the pan, with salt, pepper, and garlic salt {next time it will be fresh garlic, I wasn't prepared}). Cook chicken. 

I removed the chicken from the pan then added the zucchini and mushroom. Sauteed until soft. 

This is when it hit me... why not add some of the ingredients of my original recipe. So I grabbed the soy sauce and brown sugar. I just dumped as much as I though necessary in the pan. Then, I remembered some recipes add worcestershire sauce, so I put a little of that in the pan too. All while still cooking the veggies. The sauce was boiling... I was excited. So I tossed the chicken back in to cook for a couple of minutes. 

My rice was done, so I removed it from the heat and set it to the side. Grabbed a bowl and made my dinner. 

It's actually pretty good. A little sweet and a little tang... not bad for a impromptu dinner night! I am hoping it's only better tomorrow for lunch!