Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Call Me Chicken Little...

But I seriously thought the sky was falling! The 5.3 earthquake that hit Southern California today was epicentered in Chino Hills, which is about 15 miles away from Brea, where I work. My store was full of customers when everything started to shake! Pots and pans were flying off of high shelves and crashing onto the floor, along with big bottles and jars of food, olive oils, and barbecue sauces. It felt like it lasted forever and I will tell you, no matter how much training you have on what to do in an emergency, you just want to run out of pure instinct to protect yourself. I was worried about my family, my Tim, and my poor little cat! I pictured her laying under a pile of rubble at my house. To make matters worse, the phones weren't working at first, so there was no way to check on anyone to make sure they were okay. I swear that my store is without a doubt the WORST place to be in an earthquake - heavy pots/pans, glass jars, wine glasses, and ceramic/porcelain plates - all enclosed with big glass doors and windows. It really turned me into a pile of nerves today. Thank god no one was hurt!

On a funny note, I remember all of the hype about the "big one" that was the buzz in the mid 1980s when I was in elementary school. They had a thing called "Yogi Bear's Quaky Shaky School Bus" which was a mobile bus that came to school and they put all of the kids in it and it shook - just like there was an earthquake. It was for education, not entertainment - I think the purpose was to show kids what an earthquake felt like. You could never get away with something like that in todays world. Someone would get hurt and sue. And Yogi Bear, well he is so not cool enough to be a spokesperson for anything - even earthquakes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Off to Scottsdale

It is that time of year again! The Williams-Sonoma Annual Conference will be taking place this Thursday - Sunday at the Westin Kierland Resort in beautiful (boiling hot) Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year when I went, I was definately the new kid on the block and didn't really know what to expect from the whole experience.
I was nervous and self conscious because
everyone was dressed just so.
I'm sure I looked fine in retrospect, but it was
scary to be new and not know anyone.
Here is a picture of my friend Jackie and I at the People First Awards Ceremony. Somehow a picture of her and I together in our formal attire wound up in the 5 minute long video recap of the event. Thank god I looked okay.
Here is a photo of the beautiful Westin property. It promises to be another wonderful couple of days this year complete with amazing gourmet food, great company, and of course oodles of work information. Thursday evening is a summer garden party (the info calls for summer dresses and/or linen pants/skirts. Friday is some sort of concert (last year we had Phil Vassar!) and Saturday is the formal awards evening. Needless to say there will be tons of wardrobe changes and accessorizing to do. Wish me luck as I put the finishing touches on my wardrobe.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Crazy for Candlewick

Every time I go antiquing, I always keep an eye out for affordable Candlewick pieces. I love the sheer simplicity of this basic and versitile (yet oh so cute) pattern. My mom saw me looking at them during our recent trip to Orange and so, when she saw these pieces at an Estate Sale recently, she just knew that they would be a perfect birthday present for me. There is a platter, a deep salad-ish bowl for serving, and the most beautiful punch set complete with almost a dozen cups. My mom told me she knew I needed one because I talked about it on my blog. Who knew that my mom - the woman who despises all things computer related - actually read my blog!
Thank you for the dreamy serving pieces, mom! Love them. Love you.
Every time I bring out that punch bowl, I will think of your thoughtfulness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sorry you missed it...

We had a lovely birthday party here at Dove Canyon Cottage this past Sunday to celebrate (a little after the fact) our July birthdays - both mine and my dad's. As usual, I got carried away a bit with the details and woking hard to make everything just so. I am a fussy entertainer, but I really love doing it. Nothing is better than bringing the people you love into your home and showing them a good time.
Here is my appetizer spread I paired some fun flavors together on this tray - lovely crackers, creamy gouda cheese (oh so good), a nice thick fresh marmelade, Rainier cherries, and the most decadent dark chocolate squares. I love pairing sweet jams with cheese and crackers. My very favorite is fig jam - it is hard to find sometimes, but well worth the hunt. We do carry it at Williams-Sonoma, but it is a fast seller! This marmelade did work nicely though - and I just love the little jar.
I had to share the beautiful red wine sangria. This is really a crowd pleaser - I have shared the recipe before and truly recommend it. I think you will become a fan. Isn't it just gorgeous?

Freshly cut lemons make such a pretty splash of color in your ice water, don't they? Tossing in a few basil sprigs is also a fun way to dress up your water for guests.

We also made homemade pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, and coleslaw from scratch. We tried a new recipe and it turned out awesome! I think everyone really liked it.
For dessert, my mom brought over this beautiful (and amazingly delicious) lemon marscapone cake. I don't think anyone shared a piece because it was so good you just had to have your own. The cake is from Olive Garden (shocking, huh) but honestly, I would recommend it for large gatherings or if you need a quick birthday cake and don't just want the usual buttercream frosting deal. It serves 12.
Also, I had to share the adorable candles my mom brought over. It just goes to show you no matter how old I get, I am still my mom's baby. It made me feel so spoiled.
Speaking of babies, here is our baby Nick - romping and enjoying the summer sun in the back yard. I think this was right before he stripped down to a swim diaper and played in the water with Uncle Tim.

All in all, we had a lovely day.
Happy Wednesday to all of my dear friends.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Aunt Christmas

Why the Christmas picture, you ask? I just have to share the fact that none of my nephews (so far) have been able to pronounce my name properly when they are first learning to talk. Uncle Tim comes easily to them, but for some reason, Aunt Kristin puts a lot of letters together that these boys just aren't so comfortable with. I've been Auntie K, Anshmitzen, and now somehow, I am Aunt Christmas (at least to 3 year old Drew). I guess there are worse names he could call me, but still! I'm holding out hope for Nick and Ryan who still have time to get it right! If not, I guess we will just be known as Uncle Tim and Aunt Christmas.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Totally Hooked

I love Jenny Craig cheesecakes. They are such a guilt free indulgence at only 120 calories and 2 grams of fat each. The triple chocolate is my very favorite, but the Red White & Blue and Cookies & Cream are pretty terrific too. After about 9 weeks on Jenny Craig, I have mastered the food choices and know what I like and don't like. Most of the food is good and I am really learning portion control, which is really the key to it all. I've been exercizing and I feel great. I am down a pant size and a total of 14 pounds so far. I'm taking a "slow and steady wins the race" approach, and forgiving myself for the slip ups that happen here and there.
Oh, to have been born tall and skinny!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

There goes the bride...

There are certain moments in your life that you simply never forget. That you remember what you were wearing, feeling, thinking, as though that particular moment was trapped in time forever. Moments where in an instant everything changes and is never, ever the same again. For me that moment took place four years ago on September 1,2004 at around ten in the evening. I was knee deep in wedding plans with only 11 days left until my "big day." My fiancee Derek came home that night, and I immediately sat him down to discuss what seemed like a very important issue - the wedding cake flavor. I wanted chocolate, but my mom thought we should do something different and I was looking to Derek to help me figure it out. He looked at me and said "I can't do this." And he wasn't talking about wedding cake flavors, but about us, our life, our wedding, our future. My heart stopped. September 12, 2004 was supposed to be my fairy tale wedding day - with 110 of our closest friends and family at Calamigos Ranch in beautiful Malibu Canyon. Instead, it was undoubtedly one of the hardest days of my life. The days, weeks, and months after were filled with sadness and devastation. I'd never heard of anything so horrific happening to anyone - and was so comforted when I found this book:

Filled with stories just like my own. It was such great therapy for me. My life, my experiences, my own story of loss and rebuilding have shaped my journey and made me the person I am today. A little older and wiser than the believer of fairy tales that I was then. Believe me, that everything that happened was for the better - but it doesn't change the fact that it hurt...a lot.

So now, here I am, newly engaged...again. And the first question everyone asks is "When is the wedding?" The answer is I am not sure. In some ways I can't imagine planning another wedding. And for my parents, who paid for "the wedding that never was," it doesn't seem fair that they be asked to pay for my second stab at wedded bliss. And for Tim, who has never been married, it seems unfair to deny him of his dream wedding...a big wedding with all of his family and friends there to wish us well. Oh friends, what should I do?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Long time, No see

Seriously, how rediculously cute is my nephew? I love this picture because he looks adorable AND because he is holding a little piece of paper like he is ready to take notes or something. Here he is doing something sneaky to the dog.
Doesn't he look like he got caught in the act?
Oh Nick, your pictures make me smile.
Your Auntie K loves you and misses your sweet face.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fancy Nancy Strikes Again...

I couldn't pass these by. Last fall, I bought the cocktails one, and so when I found the matching desserts and appetizers, I just had to get them. I think they are so fancy. The perfect compliment to a nicely laid out spread of food.
And I insisted on making a pit stop to the local thrift store to see if there were any treasures. I found a ball jar for only 25 cents! You heard me - 25 cents! My antique stores charge anywhere from $12.00-$20.00 each. I snatched it up and Tim could not believe I was paying for something with pocket change. How cool is that! I may be Fancy Nancy, but I appreciate a good bargain!!

If you look very closely...

You can see the word "bride" embroidered on this little dainty white handkerchief.
I bought it at my favorite little shabby chic store "Picked Fences" in Solvang the day after Tim proposed. I think its the perfect keepsake from our engagement, don't you?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back in time...

We had about three big family vacation destinations growing up - Las Vegas, Idyllwild (we owned a cabin there), and Solvang. Visiting any of these places takes me back in time - I can close my eyes and just picture my sister and I getting a big ice cream cone in the peak of summer with my dad (I think mom must have been shopping while we were indulging.) Or taking my allowance and going through the stores feeling like the world was my oyster and trying to figure out which keepsake to bring home. And the food...well, let's just say I was a foodie, even back in the day.
For me, no trip to Solvang would be complete without a trip here...
For a big plate of these - Aebelskivers (pronounced e-bel-skee-ver). They are ever carb lover's dream. Little spiced donut balls crisped in a cast iron pan, then dusted with powdered sugar, and dipped into the best raspberry jam you have ever tasted.
Pure bliss...
Here is my silly fiancee' (post breakfast). We were totally stuffed!
After breakfast, we walked around town and I got some great shopping in (I will post pics of my finds later). I couldn't help but stop and take a picture of Solvang town center all decked out in its 4th of July best. There was a big town bbq and a parade right through the heart of town.
Is it any wonder my mom loved sharing this town with us?

We are engaged!

I have some very exciting news to share - on July 3rd (my 30th Birthday), Tim proposed to me. He tried to throw me off by making me think that my birthday present was the new camera he bought me. After I opened the camera (thinking in my head - I guess he is not going to be asking me to marry him today), he told me that he had broken the new camera in and wanted me to see the pictures he took. So, I started flipping through about 5 pictures of my cat in different poses, and then, finally, came upon this photo... And these...

And when I looked over at Tim, he was down on one knee, teary eyed, asking me to marry him. What an amazing moment! Being with Tim, sharing our life together just feels so natural. I can't imagine my life without him. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
Here I am showing off my new bling..
I am the luckiest girl.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Twenty Nine Plus One

I have always loved making birthday wishes.
To me, it just isn't a birthday if you don't have at least one candle to blow out.
Tonight, Tim and I went to Opah for a little pre-birthday celebration.
I got a birthday creme brulee with one candle on it. There was a time in my life when I would have wished for material things.
I have everything I need.
Or for someone - for a boyfriend or alas
for that ever elusive Mr. Right.
I wasted a lot of birthday wishes in my twenties on Mr. Right.
Tonight when I blew out my candle, I thought about it for a moment.
And then, I made a wish for joy.


How simple and grown up is that.