Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things: 2011

This year has been so good to me.  I am ready to embrace 2012, but will always look back on this year as one of the most significant in my life.

I started the year off a college graduate!  Even though I was nervous about finding a job, I was excited to be done with my undergraduate career.  My amazing friends were so supportive!  It's funny, but I weirdly miss studying for finals with Nicole (right).

January, February and March were completely consumed by the job hunt.  But lo and behold, I got a job! We had a blast moving into my very first apartment in Mountain View the first weekend of April.

I started my job on April 11th, 2011.  The job just keeps getting better and better.  It's fun to look back and remember those first few (almost overwhelming) weeks.  I have learned so much, and have made some amazing friends up here in the Bay.

In late April, I got to celebrate my 21+1 birthday with my family in Sonoma.  I also got to go to my first sunrise Easter mass in a vineyard. 

May brought Mother's Day, and I hosted my very first family party in my little apartment.  Thanks everyone for making the trip to Mountain View! 

My cousin Michael got married later that month,  and I still giggle remembering all of my dad's family dancing late into the night.

In June, I officially graduated!  I was so excited to return to UCLA and Westwood to take part in the graduation ceremony and see all of my best friends again.

One of my favorite holidays is in July, and we got to celebrate my cousin Gordon's wedding over the July 4th weekend too.  This time, we got to laugh, cry and dance with my mom's side of the family.

In late July, I got to spend one last magical weekend with my bestie Nicoley, who is teaching English in Spain for nearly a year. 

I finally got to visit my friend Jo in August.  So excited she will be back in the Bay this summer too!

In September, I went to a Giants game with my family.  I'm pretty sure this is my dads version of Disneyland, so it was a pretty spectacular day.  And I finally got to meet Maggie's boyfriend Jack.

I also got to go back to Oroville in September for my Grandpa's induction into the Oroville Union High School District Hall of Fame.  The powerful feelings of nostalgia were (mostly) kept at bay as we made new Oroville memories and celebrated my amazing Grandpa!

I got to go to two Bruin games in October!  We played Stanford up here in Palo Alto, and then I got to return to LA and go to a game at the Rose Bowl and celebrate Halloween in West Hollywood.  It was so fab to catch up with most of my college friends in person!

In November, I got to cheer on two of my favorite runners, my friend Kimi and my dad.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Fallbrook, the land of avocados and sunshine.

December arrived with exciting news for my mom.  We rounded out the year with an amazing Christmas in Fresno and Sonoma.

I think 2011 could be summed up as a year of celebration, exciting change, learning and lots and lots of love.  Bring it on 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's Raining, It's (Kind of) Pouring

 I woke up this morning to a light sprinkling of rain outside, and was so excited to finally give my new Hunter rain boots a real test run.  I may have worn them on Christmas day when there was no chance of rain whatsoever.  What can I say, I was excited!  Ever since I moved to the Bay, I knew I needed a sensible pair of wellies for rainy days.  I definitely miss laying out on the beach in January in Santa Monica, but it is fun to take advantage of the Bay weather to look for pieces best suited for colder climates.  Thank you Santa for these amazing boots!

A saleslady complimented my necklace.  I told her it was from J. Crew, and she said: "Oh, I didn't realize J. Crew sold anything stylish." Haha, yes, in fact they do.

Write your name inside the boot!  What a neat idea.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Kicks

I've wanted a pair of booties ever since I saw a gal at work styled them so fabulously! I finally found the perfect pair today, and they seem solid enough for the streets of SF on New Year's Eve. To break them in, what better way than to do all my housework in them? It reminded me of my short-lived career in retail, where tasks included vacuuming and cleaning windows while trying to look perfectly put together.

So excited to wear them this weekend!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Traditions Pt. 2

On Christmas day, after unwrapping our presents from Santa, we jump in the car and head to Sonoma! This year, we got to celebrate Christmas day with my Nan and one of my uncles. The food was delicious, the games were a blast, and I was so thankful for all the time I got to spend with my family.

Our cousins were everywhere from San Diego to Sacramento this year, so my Nan put this on the buffet.
So much food was eaten! A delicious dinner of prime rib, potatoes au Gratin with blue cheese, salad and fresh Sonoma French bread was had after we ate a number of yummy hors d'oeuvres.
I helped decorate the mantle a couple weeks ago. The vintage snowy town scene is so precious.
I'm hoping babygirl got a better picture. This is our persimmon pudding... on fire! My great-grandma started this tradition, and the results are delicious. We had a great time singing and cheering as my uncle performed the flambé.
Couldn't leave Sonoma today without a trip to The Cheese Factory.

What are your Christmas traditions?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Traditions Pt. 1

Traditions are not for keeping. They're for keeping us together.

If you've watched any TV this holiday season, you might recognize this quote from a Hallmark commercial. I think it perfectly summarizes how much I cherish all of the Christmas traditions that my family has created over the years. New, fun surprises definitely jump into the mix every year, but it was these traditions that I was so looking forward to in the days leading up to Christmas.

Dressing up for the children's Christmas Eve mass at St. Anthony's.

Hanging out with our favorite boys after church.

Clam chowder for Christmas Eve dinner. After eating extra goodies during the holiday season, a light dinner of hors d'oeuvres and homemade soup is absolutely perfect.

On Christmas Eve, we exchange presents between the five of us. Our pets always "buy" us Christmas presents, and this is one of the things they ordered for us online. Thanks Freckles, Hans, Pookie and Gracie!

Our neighborhood has lit luminaries for the last 20 years, and all the lit candles look so stunning. Brig, Maggie and her boyfriend Jack made our luminaries, and it's really fun to see our whole neighborhood come together.

Our Christmas Eve is always capped off by a walk around the neighborhood to look at the luminaries and Christmas lights.

Look for Part 2 tomorrow!

PS: Linking up with E Tells Tales!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas! I am enjoying every single moment with my family during this long weekend, and I wish you all a fabulous holiday weekend filled with joy and laughter.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Finally Home!

It really, truly feels like Christmas now! I'm back in Fresno, and arrived home in the midst of a party at my house with two families we grew up with in Clovis. As my dad so eloquently put it, these are some of our oldest friends; not in years, mind you, but in longevity. How did we luck out to grow up across the street from a family with three girls too?

Even though I've been counting down the days until Christmas with my Advent calendar, the magic of Christmas is so much more present here at home with my family and some of our best friends.

My mom's amazing Christmas tree.

Pretty girls.
Goofy girls.
Sarah is a freshman at UCLA and she joined ADPi too. Loved hearing all her fun stories!

Round two tonight with our cousins and other best friends. I wish the Christmas season never had to end!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So this is Christmas?

I LOVE Christmas. I love buying presents for other people. I am obsessed with Christmas lights. I love the challenge of not shopping for myself for at least the entire month leading up to Christmas. I love the smell of Christmas trees, sparkley ornaments, cheesy music, and the festive spirit it lends to all areas of my life (even work!)

I cannot tell a lie though, à la our founding father Mr. Washington himself. Christmas as an independent lady is weird. I'm so used to spending at least a week prior to Christmas home in Fresno, going to holiday parties with my family, baking cookies with the sissies, and making sure that all the presents are wrapped. Knowing how little time I will actually get to spend celebrating with my fam has made me super anxious to get home.

Meanwhile, babygirl and I are in a JibJab war. I think our pets win haha.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Yeah Baby

This weekend, we celebrated Christmas with my dad's side of the family. Every year, we always get together on a December Saturday prior to December 25th, just to make we get to spend time with one another every holiday season. My sissies and I are the youngest cousins on this side of the fam, so it's such a joy to see our busy, older cousins - jobs and grad school and cross country moves, oh my!

My cousin Jeannie organized some fabulous Christmas-themed games, my aunt made my Grandma's special Jello salad, and we had such a lovely afternoon catching up and laughing over old memories. No matter how often I get to see them, our shared history makes getting together feel like no time at all has passed.

We had to guess which translation of Santa Claus coordinated with which country. This was prior to grading... I only knew I got one right! Made for a ton of laughs though.
Dad was really hard at work. A little friendly competition really got the party started!
Finally reunited with Mags! Her bf Jack even joined us for a few hours. Such a great Saturday :)

I love how our family traditions keep our family together. What special traditions do you have?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

This Made Me...

Laugh. Cry. Cheer. Applaud. Rejoice. Hope. Pray.

Mostly, I am just in awe. It's amazing how much the world can change in just one short year, and how one website can capture and impact the word. And I couldn't be prouder.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finally Friday

Today was one of the best days Ive had at work since I started in April. And that's saying a lot folks, since I love (and am so grateful) for the job. And its Friday! To celebrate, I had a little Bethy fun after work.

1. Pookie Sweater Shopping
Pookster was a wee baby last Christmas, so we had a blast dressing her up in a Christmas sweater. However, I'm having a bit of trouble finding XXL sizes for kitty sweaters this year. Isn't this one too funny? She's gained about 10 pounds (maybe more?) since last year.

Christmas 2010. Get excited for obese kitty pics after I go home next week!

2. Spinach Dip
Pretending I'm my mom or my Nan and making spinach dip for my Dad's family's Christmas party tomorrow. The first taste was delish, so I hope chilling overnight only makes it taste better!

3. White Elephant Gifts
The last few years, my dad's family has had a White Elephant gift exchange, rather than exchange presents between each and every on of us. Now that were all on the older side (my sissies and I are the youngest cousins), it makes for a fun game of gift snatching and makes the shopping a lot more interesting. This year, we are doing a semi-White Elephant gift exchange... some families took the gag gifting a little too far (not us, I swear ;)

Heinous Santa goblet and yum Baileys.

Happy weekend!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dream Big

It has been an amazing journey watching my mom take her idea for a kids cooking show and turn it into reality. I don't know too many folks who would be brave enough to walk into their local PBS station, present an idea, and have the determination to make it happen. So much has changed since the early days of Hey Kids, Let's Cook, and the season six is going to be even snazzier! One of my favorite memories is of our first season, and washing so many dishes that I asked to be listed as Chief Dishwasher in the credits. I love that the production is such a family affair, and cannot wait to see what 2012 brings for the show!

Hey Kids was featured in The Fresno Bee today, and I definitely had a good chuckle seeing how the author captured my mom.

Kimi and I at a HKLC party in high school.

I also credit my mom for helping me land one of the most awesome volunteer experiences at PBS after her show got rolling. Not only was I able to help out with her show, but I'm pretty sure that PBS is one of the few places where a high school student could learn to use a television camera, write a script and be trusted to use expensive soundboard equipment. Journalism 101, baby!

Surround yourself with people that will take you higher.

PS: Get all the latest Hey Kids, Let's Cook info on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Odds and Ends

My kitchen has this lovely wooden rack thing that I had no idea what to do with for the last eight months. At first I thought it was a mug rack, but what one-bedroom apartment needs 20 mugs? And it's definitely too bulky for wine glasses. A hat rack, perhaps, but the cold weather inspired a new idea — a scarf rack! I hope my mom isn't reading this (scarves in the kitchen, what?!), but they are so much more fun on display.

I mailed all of my Christmas cards this weekend! I'm really hoping the folks getting packages do get them. The automated machines are a little tricky!

One benefit of coming home when it's dark is seeing my neighbors big Peace sign all lit up. It is a perfect reminder to let go of the work day and enjoy the few hours of peace I get every night. Christmas is only going to be crazier (in the best possible way, of course!).

Hope you all had a great start to your week!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Wonderland

As soon as I got back from Thanksgiving, I was SO ready to start decorating for Christmas. I am obsessed with my little tree, and wish I could have it up year round (Easter egg tree, anyone?). All the Christmas glitter, shine and color makes my apartment look so festive and cozy on these chilly winter nights.

Pottery Barn does a fabulous job filling vases or hurricane glass with anything and everything. I thought this was a neat way to add pops of color to my end tables.

A Bruin, a Trojan, an Anteater and a Bulldog: fab four Christmas portrait that my friend Chloe dreamed up! The sparkly Gingerbread house was a gift from babygirl.

Out of all my decorations, these might be my fave. Beautiful painted pots (from my Nan!) that I accessorized with tinsel and painted pine cones.

Two of my favorite Christmas pictures next to a cotton (literally) angel. The vintage ceramic tree is handmade by my mom.

Lots of mugs for coffee and tea.

I put my tree on the dining room table so I can smell its deliciousness all the time. Little tree, you are perfect!

My mom has never done a themed tree, choosing to display all our homemade treasures with her fabulous ornate ornaments. I kept my baby simple with ornaments I have collected or created over the years. Can you spot Hello Kitty?

It is amazing what you can do with a few treasures, lots of sparkle, and even more holiday spirit. Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 5, 2011


When I picked out glasses before my freshman year of college, I picked out some of the nerdiest frames, thinking they would make me look super legit when I studied in the lib. Well, I studied in the lib a lot more than I wore those glasses. They were rimless glasses, super rectangular, and nerdy in a way I realized was not so cute. I have been itching for a new pair of frames, but insurance (and Lord I so appreciate insurance, don't get me wrong), allows me to pick either contacts or glasses each year. And practicality always won.

So thank you A Cup of Jo for such an awesome giveaway. I won a lovely pair of Lookmatic glasses. Wanting something a wee bit over the top, I fell in love with this geeky chic pair that will also be perf for the hipsterland that is SF. I had way too much fun with their Virtual Try-On too.