Holiday Card fun

This year, I participated in Holiday Card Swap sponsored by Vane at Brooklyn Bride. The instructions were simple:
  • You receive the names and addresses of up to 5 people to send cards to.
  • Your cards can be store bought or handmade [think Gocco, glitter, photoshop, cut + paste, sewing, etc....]
  • Send out your cards by December 15!
  • Wait patiently by your mailbox!
I designed and painstakingly assembled my cards. I cut each pop-up window by hand using just an Xacto blade and a t-square. I ended up making 35 extra cards for friends and family. Despite the hard labor involved, I am pleased with my finished product.

Here is my contribution to the card swap.
Envelope with label

Return Address Label

Exterior of the card

Interior of the card

Opening the pop-ups

I was inspired to do a pop-up card by Clement Clarke Moore & Robert Sabuda. They were guests on the Martha Stewart Show. They did a step by step demo on how to make your own pop-up christmas card. It looked like fun. So, I was inspired to do something similar.

Here's one of their really great pop-up books.


Xmas for Mr. & Mrs.

Our First Christmas Tree

Left: The 1st Ornament in our collection
Right: An ornament for Dottie

I am a sap. I've always loved Christmas. I guess this could have been surmised by my pre-holiday posts. For the last couple of years, Rob & I have skipped a tree. Thankfully this year, we decided to do one since it's our first Christmas as a married couple. It's corny I know.

Our home is shoebox-sized. Because of the space constraints, we decided to get a mini-tree. Rob’s only request is that we get a fresh tree. I wanted to cheat and buy a plastic one that already had lights from Target. In the spirit of marital compromise, I agreed to get a fresh one so long as it was affordable.
We trudged off to a local Christmas tree lot to look at trees. It was funny to go to a lot for a small tree. Among the regular-sized trees, there were the mini trees. I actually felt tall standing beside them. Sadly, the mini trees did not have mini prices to match. $30 for a 3 ft. tree! Were they out of their minds?!

Luckily, my clever hubby overhead them complaining about how hungry they were. So, he offered them a solution. We buy two Double-Double combos from In-n-Out and they give us a tree. They hungrily accepted.

In the end, our Christmas tree end up costing us two of these...

the monetary equivalent of $10.37. That, my friends, is how Mr. & Mrs. R got a Christmas Tree

DIY Holiday Gift - Co-workers

In keeping with my handmade, custom Christmas gifts. I made these little jars of goodies for my co-workers. I should say I assembled these. I don't actually make edibles. I refrain from baking to ensure people's safety and well-being. Last time I baked, I scared the dog and I think I ruined the only baking pan I own. Instead of baking, I pride myself on knowing where to find good edibles. They turned out cuter than I expected. I'll probably make a few more for friends and family.

Here's what I used to create them:

Containers of Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Trader Joes $2.99 each.

Mini Spice Jars from Ikea 4 for $2.99

Not pictured Ribbon from Michaels $1.99 per 5 yard spool.

I was inspired by this entry from Miss Cupcake on Weddingbee.com
Here is a photo of her version.

Holiday Interlude

I am swamped trying to finish my overly ambitious Holiday Card design. Someday, I will learn to do something that is A LOT simpler. Here's some comic relief until I can write a full-length post. I present to you...

Dottie the Christmas Dog

Yes, that is a vest on the dog. Believe it or not, she gets cold.

She was tired of taking photos at this point.

There are several more photos, but I decided not to bore people with them. Just think, if I'm this bad with a dog, how much worse would I be with kids?

When the punishment is NOT harsh enough

Shirt Designed by Sole Brothers Skate shop - Norfolk, VA. Proceeds donated to caregivers of confiscated Vick dogs.

Thus far, I refrained from commenting on the whole Michael Vick debacle. There are many other individuals and organizations that are far more eloquent than me - namely BadRap.org. I am the proud caretaker of a Bully breed dog. Dottie is an American Staffordshire Terrier. In many circles, this classifies her as a pit bull. Because of this, I have an interest in this case. This is the first case where it is clear the dogs are the victims and not the criminals.

I am a Virginia native who watched Michael Vick rise to athletic stardom. I watched his collegiate and NFL games. Many Virginians, including myself, were emotionally invested in him. When the allegations first came out, I was shocked and disappointed. How could someone use their fame in such a manner? Then, the details were brought to light. I was sickened and incensed. This was not a simple case of animal cruelty. This man is a monster. He financed a dogfighting syndicate. His cruelty extended to dozens of dogs over a period of years. As recently as a April 2007, Vick admitted to killing 6-8 dogs for "not performing well". He didn't simply put them out of their misery. They were beat, hung, or drowned. Some of the photos of his property that were leaked onto the Internet are horrifying.
The recommended sentence was 10-12 months; while the maximum sentence was 5 years. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson recently sentenced Vick to 23 months in prison. The judge commented that he gave Vick a longer sentence in lieu of the fact that Vick showed little remorse for his crimes.

I just read this article on CNN.com about letters for leniency to the judge. Hank Aaron, George Foreman, and other have written on his behalf. Even Vick himself wrote a five page letter to the judge. Are these people kidding?! 23 months is NOT long enough. He didn't just neglect or improperly car for a pet. This man arranged and paid for dogs (notice the plural) to be trained to fight to the death.

In his letter, Vick claims he is sorry for his crimes. If you read very carefully, you will find that he is not sorry for his crimes. He's just sorry he got caught. He is sorry that his actions will negatively affect his family. I hate to say it, but he should have thought of that BEFORE he started his dogfighting ring. In one portion of the letter, he blames his environment for his actions and states he saw people arrested for drugs and guns, but never for dogfighting. So, he never learned the severity of his crime. Who is he kidding? He didn't know that killing animals for sport was wrong? Really?! This goes back to my point that he is only sorry that he got caught. He also ennumerates his philanthropy. This shouldn't help his cause. While his philanthropic works are laudable, they do not make up for his crimes. He should have gotten the maximum 5 years for his crime.

Vick goes to trial for State dogfighting charges in April. Let's hope the State of Virginia throws the book at him.

Houston Weekend Summary


I slept in until 11AM. It was beautiful. Because it was so late, we had lunch instead of breakfast. Since Cicely knows me so well, we went to one of my favorite fast food places. I have a fried food addiction. We went to... Chick-fil-a! I love the waffle fries.
Photo by J.Reed

Photo by J.Reed

Afterwards, we did some shopping. I love Marshalls. I guess it's a suburban thing. I bought the cutest Tahari Gunmetal Peep-toe Platform Shoes. We then took a short drive to their new house.

I would show photos of the inside, but I think Cicely would be upset because all the photos I have are of the house unfurnished. It's small for Texas standards, but I think it's the perfect starter home.

We then went to Sushi at Ichibon to celebrate their moving into their new house. Gary and I shared most of the Sushi since Cicely has a fish allergy. She was able to enjoy some Ebi.
Lemon Roll - Salmon, Toro, and Spicy Tuna
Cicely's Ebi Nigiri
Our Shared Sashimi Platter

After dinner, we had some wine and watched movies like we did in college. Our wine escapades produced these photos.

Believe me when I say that Willie loved the attention and loved wearing the hat. Who knew a $5 hat would provide so much joy?

We had lunch at Reggae Hut, an authentic Jamaican food establishment. It was a good hole-in-the wall. Gary's cousin Sheri joined us. After lunch, we went to the Houston Galleria. I was desperate need of some new make-up. We hit up Sephora and I was able to buy some Nars make-up. Being a true sugar fiend, we went to Dylan's Candy Bar. We took these pictures before going in.

I was sugar crashing so badly that I wanted to nap with this Chocolate Bunny

This concludes my weekend summary. Stay tuned for next weekend's adventures.

A short getaway - part 1

Image from Boeing website

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go...

Perhaps, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by John Denver is a bit dramatic. For one, I knew when I'll be back again. I was only gone for 2 days, 2 nights. Secondly, I can't say that I hated to go to out of town without Rob. I'm of the school that a little absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or in my case, a little absence saves your sanity.

I took another trip to Houston to visit Cicely & Gary. I hadn't seen them since the wedding. They bought a new house and I was anxious to see it. My agenda was simple. I wanted a little shopping and relaxation.

Friday Night
The flight was fairly uneventful except for the whiny toddlers sitting behind me. Thankfully, they were unconscious after the 1st hour. The in-flight movie was "Daddy Day Camp". It's movies like that that make me glad that I like to read. I spent the entirety of my flight reading "The Time Traveler's Wife". The book was so engrossing that I read nearly half of it. Not bad for a 3.5 hour flight.

I arrived at 10:30pm, which did not leave us many options for food. Poor Gary was exhausted from work and was unusually silent. We stopped at Sonic near their apartment. I grabbed a burger, tater tots and a cherry limeade from Sonic. I love their ice. They used granulated ice cubes. I swear that they make the drinks colder faster. Gary went promptly to bed. Cicely and I spent the rest of the evening watching trashy Reality TV. I don't normally watch it on my own, but somehow I find it entertaining when I'm hanging out with her. I have no idea who comes up with these shows, but I always wonder where in the world they find the participants. I fell asleep watching that drivel. I wonder if it lowered my IQ.


Sugar Addiction

My name is Anne and I am a sugar addict. I always have some delicious and sweet tucked away somewhere. I have candy in my purse, my desk drawer, in the glove box. The list goes on and on. Rob calls me a candy squirrel. If cost had not been prohibitive, I would have done the currently popular Candy Buffet.

Because he is such an enabler sometimes, Rob asked me what my favorites are. It took some thought, but here are some of my favorites.

1. Haribo Gummi Bears
I have love these since Childhood. I only like this brand. Anything else is crap. They are the perfect flavor and texture. Not too chewy, not too soft. When I went on vacation in Europe a couple of years ago, I fell in love with several varieties of Haribo gummis. I was in heaven. As it turns out, Haribo is the originator of the Gummi Bear. Candy Addict blog chronicles its history here.

2. Werther's Original Chewy Caramel
I love caramel. I love it in chocolate, on ice cream, and on pastries. I love these because they are sweet and creamy without being the least bit gritty.

3. Diamond Brand Barquillos
Barquillos is a delicacy introduced by the Filipino province of Iloilo. Ingredients for barquillos are flour, sugar and milk. It is made into thin sheets of crusty flakes shaped in long hollow cylindrical form. Powdered milk is usually stuffed inside the hole to make barquillos tastier. These are so light and crunchy. They are usually sold in metal tins. I used to save the tins to hold mementos and cards.

4. Pocky
Pocky are thin biscuits coated with chocolate or yogurt. They are great with coffee or all by themselves. I'll take any flavor, but my favorite was (surprise!) caramel . Sadly, it's been discontinued. Milk flavor is my new fave.

5. Zotz
I don't have these that often. They are bit strange. They are hard candies with a powder that fizzes in you mouth.

There are more goodies, but I'll post those later. I'm jonesing for some sugar.

Dear Santa

Image from Stock Exchange
Dear Santa,

I've been a good girl or a relatively good girl this year. It's been a long time since I've gotten a big ticket Christmas gift. I know that I got a lot of really cool and expensive Wedding gifts this year, but I had to share those with Rob. I'm a greedy girl and would love to have a gift all to myself.

To help in your selection process, please see the slideshow below. There are pictures and everything of items I would love to receive. If you could bring me the new iMac or the Nikon camera, you can skip the rest of the list. I don't need to have it all. My greed does have its limits.

Thanks for your time and hope to see a gift under my tree.

Your pal,


Showtunes, anyone?

Despite the fact that my wedding was 3 months ago, I still post on the knot boards. I'm an addict and I'm not sure how to quit. I've met quite a few interesting and wonderful gals.

One of the gals, Ali (AliGoesBridal) mentioned that she was in the Simi Vallery Community Theater production of "Ragtime" and that she wasn't getting too much support from her friends. In typical knottie style, many wanted to support Ali and expressed their interest in attending. So, I organized a GTG (get together). I bombarded the boards with reminders and advertisements. In the end, twelve people decided to attend.

Rob and I trekked out to Simi Valley to see the show. Actually, it wasn't that much of trek. It was 36 miles and Rob loves to drive. This afternoon's show was the closing show. The Simi Valley Cultural Art Center was a cozy, beautifully renovated venue.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the production. The phrase "community theater" conjures up memories of horrible productions with lopsided casts. The was certainly the opposite. There were moments were I forgot that I was watching a community theater production. The performances were solid across the board. The costumes were well-done. It was a long show, but it had my attention the entire time. According to Rob, this caliber of performance is par for the course for Southern California. If that's the case, I guess we'll be seeing more shows.
A group photos with the knotties.

Ali as a Russian immigrant