Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Reading Goals

The last few years I've set out to read a certain number of books. This past year I didn't set a number goal but I said I wanted to read as many books as I could. In 2016, I read 25 books. The majority of my books were new to me but a few of the books I read were re-reads. My re-read books for the year were...

50 Shades of Grey, 50 Shades Darker, Grey, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Matched

The new books that I read in 2016 were...

Mrs. Jeffries Takes a Second Look, Mrs. Jeffries Takes Tea at Three, Mrs. Jeffries Sallies Forth, The Martian, If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer, Naked Greed, Foreign Affairs, Scandalous Behavior, Family Jewels, Blue Water, Green Skipper, The Black Echo, Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde, The Last Coyote, Hardy Boys: Danger on Vampire Trail, Tahoe Deathfall, Tahoe Blowup, Tahoe Ghost Boat

Out of all the new books that I read during the year, my favorite book was The Marian. I think it's because I loved the movie so much. The book was an added bonus to the movie I had already seen. I also started reading several new book series. The first series that I began reading is by an author named Todd Borg. He writes mystery thrillers based in Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas of Sacramento and San Francisco. The majority of each story takes place in Tahoe and I've really enjoyed reading them. I've read three of his books now and they are very entertaining.

Another series that I started is the Michael Connelly series about Los Angeles Police Detective Harry Bosch. I had binge watched the first two seasons of Bosch on Amazon Prime and was telling a coworker all about it and she said, "isn't that based on a book?" Well she was right! It's based on a very long series of books. I started reading them and I'm up to book 4. When I start a new series I love to read them in order.

Then of course I read several of my favorite authors new books.... Stuart Woods. His Stone Barrington series will never get old to me. I just love the adventures he finds himself involved in and that he always manages to drag his friend Dino into.

So as 2017 approaches I'm not setting a numbers goal but I do hope to continue reading these fun and entertaining book series by the authors I mentioned. Maybe I'll even find a few more to add to the list!  So here's my question to all of you...
What are you reading this new year?

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Travelling Christmas Tree

Two years ago, I started our Travel Christmas Tree.

I had seen a purple tree and fallen in love with the fun color. I got a four foot tree that was only 20 dollars and was determined to turn it into something special. When my husband and I first began dating we went out of the country to Puerto Rico. While we were there we bought two Christmas tree ornaments. We were there in March but he knew my love of Christmas and we said that this could be our travel thing. Some people buy magnets or key chains or pencils.... we buy a Christmas ornament.

This is one of the two ornaments we bought in Puerto Rico. I use it as our tree topper since it's in the shape of a star.

The hummingbird was also from P.R. My mom and I have long history with hummingbirds so when I saw this, I knew I had to get it. 
The tree on the right hand side is from a local spot called Apple Hill. Set in foothills leading over to Lake Tahoe is a place where in the fall you can pick pumpkins, drink cider and eat fudge. Then in the winter you can cut down your own Christmas tree. We went a few years ago for the fall and had a fun time. This was a handmade ornament from a vendor there and it was perfect for our tree.  Then you'll see the two bears at the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. We were just there in November so this is a recent addition. Then of course there's an ornament from our Seattle Trip and a visit to Muir Woods...
We visiting Coronado and San Diego in July and found this hand painted ornament of the island.

We have our ornament from Dollywood, the Smokey Mountains and of course our favorite winery in Napa- Castillo De Amirosa also known as the Castle Winery.

I haven't been able to find a tree skirt that I love for this tree so this year I got a little crafty and bought some felt and made my own until I find one that I love. This one is all felt and I cut out the United States, California and West Virginia.

There's memento's from San Francisco, Great America, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Kings games and the Jelly Belly Factory tour.

The recent fires in Gatlinburg had me very upset. I've been going there since I was two years old so in June when I was able to take my husband there for the first time it was just perfect. We rode the famous chair lift to the top of the mountain and bought this ornament. Now they've had a fire and are currently out of operation.
While in Pigeon Forge we visited the Titanic museum. If you know my husband then you know he has a deep love of the Titanic.

So that's just a little bit of our travel tree. Next year I'm hoping to have the perfect skirt and even more ornaments to add to it! Maybe something from New York and overseas.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Two Movies for Tonight

Looking for something to watch tonight? Time is precious and you don't want to spend time searching for a movie to only be disappointed with it in the end. So that's why I've brought you two movies for tonight. The movies I review here give you an idea of what's good to watch any time you want to quickly get a movie and start watching it. This week I'm giving you two movies that are totally worthy of your time. 

The first movie... Selfless.

I was completely invested in this movie. I thought it was interesting and a new concept for a movie. I like that I wasn't able to predict what was going to happen next. I found this movie very interesting and compelling. It's a little science fiction but not so much that you're like that could never happen. So what's Selfless about?

Billionaire business man Damian Hale has been on top of his game for years. Then one day he's told that he has terminal cancer. Damian isn't ready to leave this world so when he comes across a business card directing him to call a company that "can help" he gives it a try. Damian meets Professor Albright who has a radical medical procedure that takes one person's consciousness and places it into an artificially grown healthy body. Since Damian has nothing to lose he agrees to pay a large sum of money and undergo the procedure. It's successful but with one minor side affect... vivid hallucinations.

Professor Albright supplies Damian with medication that he must take every 12 hours for a period of time that will cause the hallucinations to stop and stay at bay. However, he has to meet with him every week to get his supply. He also needs to stay in a house of the Professors choice for an extended period of time to be monitored.

When Damian has such a vivid hallucination he starts googling the things that he sees. He quickly learns that it's a real place. He shakes Professor Albright and goes to see the location of his hallucination and what he finds completely rocks him. You'll have to watch this movie to find out what happens!

The second movie... The Christmas Shepard.
The Christmas Shepard is a Hallmark Christmas movie that I just recently watched. Like every other Hallmark Christmas movie it sucks you in with cute animals and a heartwarming story happening during the holiday season. I even got my husband to watch this one because of the dog.
When Buddy the German Shepard runs away in a scary storm, Sally frantically searches for her beloved Buddy. He is one of the last connections she has to her now late husband. Buddy was found overseas while her husband was serving in the military. Her late husband brought him home and he became their family pet. Now Sally's son is serving overseas and Buddy is the only living thing she's got for Christmas with her.
Sally posts on all kinds of websites and visits every shelter. Much to her surprise and delight her dog is found. However, he's been adopted by a new family who found him at a shelter. Buddy's new adopted family has been through hard times and Buddy begins to be a light of happiness in their lives. When Sally shows up wanting her Buddy back, Mark and Emma (Buddy's new owners) are reluctant to let him go. Where will Buddy end up and who will be happy? Watch and find out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Our First Anniversary

Today marks our first wedding anniversary! Honestly, I can't believe it's already been a year. It feels like yesterday that we were organizing, planning and executing our big day.
We got married in Pleasanton, California which is about an hour and a half from where we live in Sacramento. We got married on a Sunday but we went over to Pleasanton on Friday. We wanted to settle into the hotel, greet a lot of our out of town guests and get ready for our big wedding weekend. Saturday was our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (we had it an Italian place called Strizzi's). On Sunday we woke up to a horrible rain storm. The rain was coming down and the winds were high. The winds were so high in the morning that cars were having to pull over to the side of the highway. During the rain storm, our videographer went to the wrong Marriott BUT thankfully, the rain stopped before noon.

We absolutely loved our wedding venue. The venue was perfect for the look, feel and d├ęcor theme that we were going for. They also had some great Christmas options since our wedding was taking so place to the holiday. Plus the food was melt in your mouth good. Everyone raved about how the food was amazing. Our wedding was plated and we served three courses and of course cake!

During our wedding we exchanged our own written vows, tossed the garter, threw my bouquet, cut the cake, danced our first dance, smiled, laughed and cried. We also had a first look before the ceremony. Looking back on our wedding, I didn't realize how stressed out I was leading up to our big day. Once it was all over it was like this huge weight off our shoulders. The day went by in a flash. They say it always does but they are right! The day was here and gone before I could blink. I'm so happy we have our wedding video! I literally watch our short teaser wedding video at least once a week. I love it! (here you can watch it if you'd like) It's like walking down memory lane. I haven't been through the hard drive that has about 9 hours of raw footage. One day.... I'll sit and watch it all.

So here we are... one year later. I love my husband more than on our wedding day. I didn't think that could ever be possible but I do. During our first year of marriage we went through new life experiences, good and bad challenges and many memorable moments. The constant throughout the year no matter what the circumstance was the fact that we love each other. We know that we are in this together. I can't imagine never not having him by myself. I love you boo and here's to our first year and on to the next.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Movies for Tonight

Looking for something to watch tonight? Time is precious and you don't want to spend time searching for a movie to only be disappointed with it in the end. So that's why I've brought you two movies for tonight. The movies I review here give you an idea of what's good to watch any time you want to quickly get a movie and start watching it. This week I'm giving you two movies that are totally worthy of your time. 

The first movie... Central Intelligence.
I love everything that has the Rock in it and Kevin Hart is pretty reliable in the laughs department, so when I saw that these two teamed up for a movie I knew I had to watch it. I thought the movie was hilarious. There was a few parts that I was almost crying laughing. Not to mention that it originally came out on my birthday! So what's he movie about? Well...

In high school Calvin (Hart) was popular, a jock and being honored at the last assembly before graduation. In the middle of his speech Calvin's interrupted by school bully Trevor (Jason Bateman). Trevor and his group of bully friends has pulled Robbie (Johnson) out of the shower and thrown him naked into the middle of the gym and assembly. Completely embarrassed Robbie runs of with the assistance of Calvin while everyone else just stands and laughs at him. Now years later, it's Calvin and Robbie's high school reunion. The day before the reunion Robbie reaches out to Calvin to catch up. 

Much to Calvin's surprise Robbie has dramatically changed in appearance. Calvin starts to feel something else is off about Robbie. Robbie wants to catch up with Calvin and his wife who also went to high school with them. He even invites himself to stay over with Calvin and his wife. When the CIA show up to Calvin's house the next morning looking for Robbie, he's completely thrown into a difficult situation and what results is hilarious.  

The second movie... Robocop.

Can you believe I had never seen this 1980s classic until just recently? Last weekend, I finally sat down and watched the original 1987 Robocop. I had been hearing about it for years and I'm a deep lover of 80s movies but somehow this one had just slipped past me and even though I had kept hearing about it for years, I just never sat down and watched it. I thought it was very 80s and entertaining. It was definitely high tech for it's time. It was worth watching so if you haven't seen this 80s classic watch it soon.

Set in a future Detroit, Michigan the city is in a complete dystopian society. Filled with crime and on the verge of complete financial ruin, the city's police department has been given over to a corporation known as OCP. The company will be allowed to turn the run down sections into a utopia which will be known as Delta City. If they can only get there. The crime rate is skyrocketing and the Detroit police are doing everything they can while being underfunded and understaffed. OCP believes they can fix this problem by having a droid police the city. When that doesn't work out they move to having a cyborg known as Robocop.

To get their Robocop OCP uses an officer who was killed in the line of duty. When Robocop is complete, he is taken into the police department and given full range for fighting crime. When he goes out into the city he means business. There's just one problem... when he runs into a gang that was responsible for his death, he starts to remember his life that he once had. Realizing what OCP has done to him and what he has become he goes out and looks for his own vengeance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Our Wedding Tree

If you know me at all then you know that I am a huge fan of Christmas. It's by far my favorite holiday and I plan all year on the things that I want to when it comes to our decorations. So last year when we were planning our wedding, I wanted to incorporate as much Christmas as I could without it becoming too much Christmas and not enough wedding. One of the things that we did was instead of having a guest book we had guests sign ornaments.
Our videographer took this photo of our instructions to guests

We had multiple colors of ornaments and different color sharpies, set the baskets out and waited for the guests to fill them up. Our venue packed them after the wedding and they were boxed until this year. This year when we got them out of the box it was our first opportunity to see the ornaments. I thought this would be a fun thing to have instead of a guestbook that I honestly would probably only look at about once every 10 years. This way having the ornaments signed, we can take them out every year and look at them as we decorate the tree.

Our tree topper was actually our cake topper. I had it custom made on etsy and it worked perfectly as our tree topper. The ribbon was from a very large present we received.

Throughout the tree we have little wooden nutcrackers. These nutcrackers were a part of our wedding favors. We had these miniature nutcrackers on miniature champagne bottles. I kept a full set of the 8 different designs that we gave out.

I also included a copy of our program and our wedding invitation. Then I included ornaments that people gave us as presents. Everyone knows how much I love Christmas so you wouldn't believe the amount of ornaments that people gave us featuring our wedding date and names. I loved every one of them and I loved taking them out of the boxes. I'm sure I will for years to come.

I love how our tree turned out and I hope to put these ornaments on the tree for years to come. I'm trying to decide what to do for the tree skirt. I wish I had scraps from when they altered my wedding dress but the designer made it to my size and no extra material was available. I can't decide what to do for it. Hmm... any ideas?