Tuesday, January 29, 2013

38 x 38 - A Date with Nate

We have a fantastic theater here in Klamath - the Ross Ragland Theater. The theater is a "year-round, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary arts center and provide a venue for a wide array of touring performing artists as well as local productions." Basically, it means we're treated to everything from a local holiday production of Miracle on 34th Street to Charlie Daniels Band to Esquire Jazz to Clint Black.

At the theater, I've introduced Marcus to live theater. We've been to Oklahoma! We saw Beauty and the Beast. We've seen Los Lonely Boys there. But I haven't taken Nate.

So when I saw that Cirque Zuma Zuma was coming to town, I thought this might be a great way to introduce Nate to this wonderful gem! Cirque Zuma Zuma was featured on America's Got Talent in 2011, a show that Nate and I enjoy together.

I called to order tickets and was reminded of another reason I love our theater...the box office is friendly and helps you pick the seats right for you. Now personally, I prefer to sit back a ways so I can take in the whole stage but I decided that for Nate, up front would really make an impression. So I chose seats four rows back and right in the middle!

We arrived and took our seats. Nate was so excited, he was bubbling with anticipation. He wanted to know if I remembered seeing them on the TV show. Knowing this was a "circus" - he asked me a million times if there'd be lions, tigers, and clowns. I explained I didn't think it was that kind of circus and he looked mildly disappointed.

Nate waits for the show!
At 7:30, we heard the sounds of drums. Slow, methodical, it was clear the show was about to begin. Nate was grinning ear to ear, watching the curtain in anticipation.

The crowd began to murmur and fidget when we realized that coming behind us was a man in african-style dress. He made his way through the crowd, got up on stage, and then began talking in what I'm assuming was his native tongue. It was fluid and pretty sounding, but also odd as some of the words seemed to have a weird "clicking" sound at the end. I couldn't decide if it was part of the music or his speech but after watching him (and googling it when I got back), it is part of their speech. Very cool!

The show then started with lots of drums and lots of dancing. It was exciting and filled with energy as they balanced, jumped, flipped, cart-wheeled, and basically lit up the stage with their stunts. It was exciting to watch them create towers of bodies 4 people high. They juggled, they leaped, and I really can't describe all the cool things they did.

Nate's favorite part was after intermission. We came back and there was a very very tall pole in the middle of the stage. The performers all took turns climbing the pole in different ways. One guy climbed completely with his arms however his legs moved like he was climbing stairs (that probably made no sense but it was amazing).

My favorite part was the contortionists. It was gnarly and sort of gruesome the way their bodies twisted and turned and bent but it was awesome too! And being up close you realized just how freaky it is! I looked at Nate at one point and he had his hand over his mouth and his eyes were like saucers. I asked him what he thought and he said, "EEEEWWW, but I just can't look away." That was pretty funny.

Unfortunately, lighting isn't all that great so I don't have a lot of photos. And our two favorite parts were so good I didn't think of taking a photo until it was over! Here are a couple of photos I did manage to grab:

Double dutch jump rope with flips, twists, jumps, and turns!

Not your average hula hoop. By the end of her performance she was
hula-hooping over 100 hoops!

The show finished and the crowd gave the performers a standing ovation - well deserving. If you have a chance to see this show, go! You will not be disappointed!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Surviving a Crazy Week

Wow, what a crazy week last week! Between my event planning duties, a wrestling tournament, a birthday party, a trip to the ER, and the changing of the guard, I was worn out! Let me share with you (in photos) some of the highlights:

Nate places 2nd at a wrestling tournament!!

Nate, 8 years old, has been wrestling for four years now and is getting pretty darn good! He placed second which means he qualified for the Oregon State Wrestling Classic in Redmond Oregon. In this photo, he's on the left.

The Changing of the Guard!!

As the Marketing and Program Coordinator for the Chamber, I got invited to attend a ceremony where the outgoing commander of our air force base handed the duties and responsibilities to the new guy. Steeped with tradition, it was pretty awesome to be there for it. I was so impressed with our men and women in uniform. Nearly 700 of them stood in the back in formation for what had to have been hours while all of us arrived and throughout the ceremony. This photo shows the commander inspecting his troops for the last time.

A Trip to the ER!!

While not technically a highlight, we had to include this. So while I was at the ceremony I mention above, I got a text that my oldest son was on the way to the Emergency Room. AAAAGGGHHHH! Fortunately, not life threatening but still traumatic. He was attempting to cut the zip tie off of something and managed to stab himself in the leg. Three stitches, a tetanus shot, some shots for numbing, and he was on his way. After the initial pain ebbed, he had a story to tell (and chicks dig scars you know). 

A Birthday Party at School!!

My youngest turned 9! Wow, time flies. He asked me to bring donuts to school for his class. Of course, I did one better! How about one big giant donut! This whopper served over 30 kids! (look at the little girl's face on the left, it was so worth it!)

Climbing the Walls - another birthday celebration!!

After delivering the donuts, later that night we celebrated Nate's birthday at The Ledge/Yeti's Climbing gym where the little boys literally climbed the walls for two hours! 

The 92nd Annual Awards Gala!!

Part of my job is event planning and this week was our 92nd Annual Awards Gala. I'm actually quite proud of this event. We give seven awards (Business of the Year, First Citizen, etc). We do it "Hollywood-style" with red carpet, entertainment between awards, food, drinks. It's a great time but it's a LOT of work. I spend months planning, organizing, and attending to all the parts and pieces. Then the week of the event (with everything above happening), I check, double-check, and sometimes triple-check all my lists. Then the day of the event I have to dress up (ok, I love this part), get their early, make sure all is well, and then "mingle" with all the guests. It went off without a hitch this year and I'm ready to start planning for next year. 

This is the first year I've purchased a new dress. I usually wear something from my closet but this year I "splurged." Having to be there hours and hours before takes some planning and consideration. Here's my tips:
  • I take two pair of shoes - I'm a "heel" girl so I always take cute heels for when everyone is there and I'm mingling. I take a pair of flats for the planning, put together part. I know others who just wear sneakers but with vendors, sponsors, etc coming in and out I still like to look put together.
  • Mirabella Prime for Face and Eyes - I got this stuff in my Ipsy bag in December and LOVE it. It made my makeup stay amazing for the entire event! 
  • Redken Guts 10 and Redken Fashion Work 12 - These two products made my hair look amazing all night long. It stayed up, didn't lose volume, and my curl held. It didnt get frizzy or awful. 
  • Hollywood Fashion Secret Fashion Tape - My dress was a little low cut and if I bent over, it came open a bit more than I like. I bought this tape and was so impressed! It held all night long and helped me not think twice about my cleavage. I had enough to worry about without worrying that I was flashing those around me. 
That's it. Of course, I have a list five times as long for tips on the event planning side but that's just not as fun! 

Here I am Saturday night. I'll post another one when I get the official event photos back.

Friday, January 18, 2013

To Belt or Not to Belt

I love fashion but as my waist grew bigger, my clothes got baggier. I went from loving the clothes I bought to accepting the clothes I could find. Recently, I've been trying to be a little better dresser and instead of saying "I'll look cute when I'm smaller" ....I'm trying to focus on what I can do now.

I found this blog that talks about different ways to wear your clothes to make your wardrobe seem bigger/better. It has some tips like "make sure anything you wear can go with at least 3 other things" yadda yadda." This seemed appealing to me since I'm on a somewhat tight budget.

(Note: Some of you might know this and if so, then read no more.)

But for some of you that aren't sure where to start, then you might appreciate her blog so I thought I'd share. One of her tips involves wearing belts. So if you're like me (and have giant hips and a far-less-than-flat stomach), you think "yeah right." But she had a fellow blogger who's curvier post how belts shouldn't be used to hold clothes up, they're an accent.

I own EXACTLY one belt that has stayed in my drawer since the day I bought it. I was at Torrid and the salesgirl convinced me it was the "must have" accessory so I did it. Then I got home and thought that belts do not belong on big girls. So in my drawer it has sat.

Until yesterday when I tried to give it a shot. I think it went well. I don't know that it was a "holy crap, you look amazing" moment but I got used to it. And I got many compliments yesterday on an outfit I wear here and there and haven't had compliments on before so maybe??? I'd say, regardless of your size, give it a try.

Here are my own before and after photos:

Without a belt......

With a belt....
What do you think??

Monday, January 14, 2013

38 x 38 - Rockin' the Red

Last week, I decided to tackle another item on my list....

Wear red lipstick out of the house and leave it on! 

Now finding the right lipstick can be challenging and it seems even more so with the color red. In a way, I must admit I'm sort of cheating. I've tried actual lipstick before but I hate the caked on feeling so I much prefer a lip gloss. Lighter weight, not so caked on feeling. 

I joined ipsy a while back and in my last bag I got this beautiful red gloss from Be a Bombshell.The color is called Hot Mess. I liked it okay but feel self conscious wearing it out of the house.

So last week, I embraced my bombshell and wore it out of the house. (my apologies for the lighting, I promise it's more red than it appears in some of these photos). I put it on in the car
driving, here you can't even tell I have it on!
I did it. I wore it out of the house one day. But the second day, I was tired and not feeling very "bombshell" but I decided to put it on again (hoping for a mood boost). So I sat at my desk, feeling silly for wearing red lip gloss. 
Tired, gray hair, flat, ready to get my hair done
 Then that night, I got my hair colored and cut (lots more layers). I decided to put on some red lip gloss to show off my new hair cut.  I was actually hating the hair on this day (see before above and after below) but I was feeling much more comfortable with the red.
New hair the next day. Hating the "poofy" hair but loving the gloss

 Long story short (and to not bore you with more self portraits), I really stopped thinking about it. I wasn't self conscious and loved the pop of color. I even found myself wearing it at the grocery store on Sunday.

Last photo (and only because it shows the red a little more)...this was the day I got my hair done (same as above). I had to have my photo taken for my new board of directors role. You can see the red a little better.

If you've wanted to try red lipstick but are too shy/self-conscious, try a lip gloss. You can play with the intensity by adding more or less. I like that I can slick on one layer and it's a sheer, red color but add another layer and it really pops. 

There you have it! Which to tackle next.....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

38 x 38 - Mastering the Crepe

First let me boast...I'm feeling pretty good. Here it is only January 3rd and I'm posting my first "I did it" from my 38 x 38 list. Woot.

So what did I do?

I made crepes. And I made damn great crepes! 

Why did crepes make the list, you ask? Because they're yummy. Because I had them on the coast this summer and it was a wonderful memory. Because I haven't been able to make them. They fall apart, they stick, they just don't turn out. Because they seem fancier than pancakes. Just because!!

What was different you ask? I found a great recipe! And I actually followed it. It was so super easy that I feel sort of silly that it even made my list now.  Thanks to the Little Yellow Barn, my whole family thinks I'm a genius and is pleased that we can recreate these yummy little things that remind us of our trip to the coast. 

Here's the recipe (again, all credit to the Little Yellow Barn):
4 eggs
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. sugar 
1 c. flour
1 c. milk
1/4 c. water
1 tsp vanila
dash of salt

I'm not a food photographer but here's my first crepe cooking
In a blender place all ingredients except flour. Blend. Sprinkle in flour, blend until incorporated. Refrigerate for at least an hour (this was the hardest part, I'm impatient). Remove from refrigerator, blend for about a minute. Heat a non-stick skillet (I did it on medium heat). Butter pan (about a 1/2 tsp butter). Pour 1/4
cup of the mixture in the skillet, you're really just covering the bottom of the pan with a thin, thin, thin layer of batter. Cook for about 30 seconds (until you can lift up the edges, flip, and cook 10-15 seconds longer). PS - if you go to the recipe I linked to, there are more photos. 

Ta-da! These crepes turned out wonderfully. I didn't make her filling - I didn't have all the ingredients and I didn't want to make the run to the store. 

So my recommendations for fillings are easy (and delicious)

First (for those of us chocolate lovers) - melt some chocolate, drizzle it on, slice a banana, add it, roll it up. MMMMM.

Second - smear some Nutella on the crepe, add some sliced strawberries - done. Mmmmmm...

Third - mix some softened butter with some seedless raspberry jam, spread some on. Mmmmm...

Sprinkle your crepe with some powdered sugar and voila - enjoy!

Yep, that's how easy it was. I personally loved the bananas filling, Marc loved the Nutella/strawberry, and Nate raved about the last one. Delicious. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Theme for 2013

Alex (on the right) celebrates New Years Eve with us, leaving
just a few days later for Army training.
I hate mornings that start with tears. This morning, Rob's oldest son Alex left for ten weeks of Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training in Oklahoma to prepare him for his Army career. Nearly 15 of us gathered at the recruiter's office to wish him farewell. Alex was a bundle of excitement and he could have been fooling us but I sure didn't see any signs of nervousness. He was just "ready to get out of here." I, too, felt excitement for this new journey. Worried? Of course. Sad? A little bit, to see him go. But I can't wait to see the transformation and watch this young man go forth and conquer. 

Of course, a morning that starts with tears begs reflection. How many goals have I set and never accomplished? I think it's just a fact of life but even more than that, I'm really bad at reaching for my goals. I do the things that are easy. I grab the proverbial "low hanging fruit" if you will. 

Last week, a friend of mine selected a word of the year. She chose Gratitude. I loved the idea and spent days considering what one word was the perfect word. Which word would be my focus in 2013? I finally settled on.....

verb.  attain - arrive - extend - gain - come - get - achieve

I could overthink this and come up with dozens of words to choose but Reach just seemed to fit. 

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."

I'll share my journey with you over the next few months. 2013 is going to be a great year!