Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations, President Elect Obama.

Hooray! Florida didn't screw it up. Better yet, even if we had it wouldn't have mattered because the country wanted Obama THAT MUCH. How awesome is that?

Also, I would like to thank the Obama campaign for helping out my family. They mistakenly called my parents' house looking for me to ask me to volunteer and got ahold of my mother. Once they got my phone number from her and called me, I asked them if they could just call my mother back and ask her to please fill out her absentee ballot and help my dad fill out his (explained the whole caregiving situation). Because she's my mother and she doesn't listen to me.

And you know what? They called her back immediately and offered to pick up the ballots and deliver them to the Supervisor of Elections office. That is officially awesome.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New kitchen appliances

Guess what I was up to at 6:45am?

Hanging out in a house with no electricity waiting for the movers to disconnect my new kitchen appliances!

New Kitchen Appliances

New Kitchen Appliances

New Kitchen Appliances

That's them in our house. Beautiful, eh?

Original prices:

range $1049
fridge $1499
microwave $489
dishwasher $500
washer $619
dryer $569
TOTAL $4,725

We paid $1,050.

You can hate me now.

Or you can go get your own friends who are foreclosing on their eleven houses and get them to sell you their appliances too.

Oh yeah, been married for a few weeks now, wedded bliss is good stuff. I'm drowning in pictures and my new job and some virus or something I've been fighting off, so I'll try to return to the blogosphere once I've got my head comfortably above water.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things left undone.

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -Pablo Picasso

What things do you have left undone? Unfortunately, my first thoughts upon hearing this quote were not even about my own objectives, but those of my parents. My father has several disabilities and is house-bound, and my mother has been his caretaker since 1975.

My father's cellphone is his link to the world when my mom is at work during the day. Although they have a house phone that he could use to call 911 in case of an emergency, he isn't very adept at calling other numbers. My dad has problems dialing and likes being able to read the screen on the cellphone. Unfortunately, his cell broke due to water damage a few weeks ago, and he had been without a cellphone since then. So why didn't my mom just take his phone to her cellular provide and figure out their options for getting a replacement?

Caregivers get burnout, and it can be difficult to prevent this from occurring. My mom has been taking care of my dad (to varying degrees, depending on his health) since his strokes over 30 years ago. I do what I can for my parents, even moving back in with them a couple of times over the years. Now that I am in my own house with The Boy, that tactic is no longer a realistic option. I need to figure out new ways I can help them.

What my parents and others in situations like theirs can benefit from are government services. Even in tough economic times like this, there are still options available. But first you need to apply for them. There can be a lot of paperwork involved and long waiting lists, but ultimately some services are better than no services. Websites like and can help you find local services to apply for.

Getting your affairs in order is also vitally important. These are the sort of issues people never want to talk about, but believe me, you want to talk about these things before it is too late.

What I have left undone is sitting down with my mother and helping her make her way through all of this paperwork. She works crazy hours, usually seven days a week, and she does her best at work and at home. However, this is a big task and a major initial time commitment. While I can't do it for her, I can certainly do my best to help her figure it out. That way my father can receive better care, my mom can be less stressed, and I can feel like I've done something significant for my parents.

So, what happened with the cellphone? The Boy and I drove out to see my parents one weekend and walked my mother through getting him a replacement cellphone. The guy at AT&T was very considerate, and once we told him what we wanted - a large, non-flip cellphone with easy to utilize buttons for a person with disabilities - he actually ended up steering us right out of his store. It turns out we could go to Wal-Mart or a similar store to buy one of the cheap $20 AT&T "Go" phones that are intended for pre-pay service. Then we just needed to put my dad's SIM card in the new phone, and it would function as his normal monthly-contract phone rather than a Go phone.

My mom was relieved, and very appreciative that we were able to help her out. My dad is thrilled he has a phone again. I'm glad we were able to help. Just wish I could do more.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Drowning in a sea of pictures.

So, yeah, got married last weekend. I haven't been motivated to write about it at all, not even for my own sake. The wedding was beautiful and we were surrounded by people who love us. It really doesn't get much better than that (unless maybe it had all been free, not just for us but any loved ones who might have wanted to contribute. People, I love FREE STUFF!).

We don't have our professional pictures back, but I don't feel like waiting much longer before I start posting pictures like a mad woman. Here are a few current favorites of mine supplied by friends and family.

Getting our nails done:

A Visit to the Spa

At the rehearsal:


At the rehearsal dinner:

Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner

Before the wedding ceremony:

Victoria's Wedding- Rehearsal Dinner 010

Victoria crying due to painful contacts.  Honestly.


Wedding Ceremony:

Larry's Favorite Pic


Victoria's Wedding- Rehearsal Dinner 045

Ah, well, this already got a bit picture heavy, eh? Pictures of the reception and mini-moon to come! In the meantime, let's hope our pro pictures come in.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cole waits for his daddy.

Every day around the time The Boy is due to get home from work, Cole waits for him at the front door. Good doggy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Program I love: AT&T Wireless's Roadside Assistance

About four or five years ago when I first signed up for a Cingular wireless account, I was offered the option of their #HELP program. It was a roadside assistance option that was associated with me and my phone, not my car. So wherever I was, if I was having car trouble, even if it was not my car, I could dial #-H-E-L-P and someone would be on their way to help me. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The problem could range from a dead battery, flat tire, running out of gas, being locked out of the car, or even needing tow service. It was only a couple of bucks a month.

I had just moved to the Orlando area, and I did not know anyone here. The program sounded great to me, and I signed up. In the few years that I have had it, I have only used it three times, but I was very grateful each time.

The surprising thing is that I have never used it for my own car. The first time it was for my niece when we were stranded due to a dead battery in her Toyota, the second time it was because my flatmate locked herself out of her truck, and the third time happened just recently. A friend of mine and I were on a road trip to a little town on the Gulf Coast when her car started smoking. Uh oh. After trying to figure out the problem on our own and calling a few more knowledgeable people, we determined we were not going to be able to drive very far, so we used my #HELP service to get a tow truck.

The tow truck came within a half hour, and the guy was really friendly. He even tinkered around with the car a bit and helped us figure out a way to jerry-rig it so we could drive it back to our hotel rather than getting a tow right then. This was great because it gave us some time to research local auto shops rather than leaving the car at a random shop that was already closed by that time of evening.

So all in all, #HELP has been a great service for me. At $2.99 a month, I was very grateful that AT&T kept the program when it absorbed Cingular. I heartily recommend it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ficcare, a Versatile Hair Toy

About a year ago, I joined the Long Hair Community (LHC). LHC embraced - you guessed it - long hair, and all manners of methods on taking care of it, styling it, and just generally enjoying it. My hair had reached the longest it had ever been, and I wanted tips on how to take care of it and fun ways to put it up.

One of the first things I learned at LHC was about Ficcare hair clips. So many people in this community adore their ficcares. Usually, this refers to the Maximas, Signature, or Innovation style of clips, but the Maximas seemed to be the most popular. A lot of people sought out what they called fakkares, or knockoffs that could be had cheaper than original ficcares.

Fakkare seen at Target

Here is a fakkare I found at Target, for instance.

It is an innovative little tool and does a great job of holding a lot of hair very securely, and that is the reason behind its popularity. The real ficcares are known for their high quality, strength, and not snagging hair. This sounded like a dream come true to me - I have to admit that I have broken my fair share of hair toys in my hair, and some not poorly made hair toys have broken my hair in return.

Of course, I had to check them out. The only place local to me that carried them was Nordstrom, and the sales lady there was very helpful. She gave me a pamphlet on a few different ways to use the clip, and helped me figure out which style and size would be best for my hair. I ended up with a silver Maximas clip in size medium, which ended up costing around $30.

I love this bad boy. It is my go-to toy on bad hair days when I just want it all up and out of the way. It also gets used sometimes when I work out - the hold is that good.

I have stuck it through buns in my hair.

I have stuck it over buns in my hair.

I even used my ficcare to pull back the top half of my hair during a wedding in which I was a bridesmaid.

By far my favorite way to use it is in a bun. But I have been meaning to experiment with other ways to use the ficcare for some time now, so maybe I will put that on my to do list of experiments.

What's your favorite hair toy?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm getting married today!

I'm so hungry right now. If he were awake, I think I would try to send out my maid of honor's husband for milk for our cereal. Oh well, no time for hunger! Got to get ready for the big day.

Since The Boy and I live together, we didn't go the traditional route of staying the night in separate places. I have to say that waking up and cuddling with him was a very lovely start to the day.

I'll leave you with a few pictures--



I ended up going with the polish in the bottom picture on the middle finger of my right hand. That is Sally Hansen Diamond Strength "Antique Bronze." Others I swatched included OPI, Sally Hansen Salon, China Glaze, SpaRitual, essie, and Sinful Colors.

Going off to get MARRIED!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The video that set me up to love "How It's Made"

"How It's Made" is one of my favorite television shows. I could (and in fact, have) happily watch the process of various objects being manufactured for hours on end.

So when I stumbled across the How Are Crayons Made? post in Beauty at blog, I was ecstatic. I remembered this video! I remember watching it during certain episodes of Sesame Street. At any rate, I have very fond memories of watching this video, completely enraptured by the process of crayon creation. It's good stuff.

Watch it, and enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

OPI's You Don't Know Jacques!

I have seen so many posts on this nail polish, but hey, here's another one. This is how OPI's You Don't Know Jacques! turned out:

This photographs lighter than it actually appears on the nails. I experimented with different lighting during the pictures, but I was never able to capture one that satisfied me.

I do not love it as much as I thought it would. I thought this would come out a little tawnier, or at least a bit lighter brown color. This color falls somewhere between chocolate brown and asphalt gray. I spent the entire time wearing it getting distracted by it - I would be gesticulating wildly, notice my nails, and stop to go, "Is it brown or gray?" Let me tell you, this was disarming during passionate discussions, when I most like to gesticulate wildly. It is dark enough that I knew it will drive me crazy when it starts chipping because it will be so noticeable. However, since it is fairly dark I ended up taking it off on Sunday since it is not as work-friendly as I would like.

I used CND's Stickey as a base coat again as it impressed me with my last manicure, two to three coats of Jacques!, and I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. This polish was difficult to work with - a bit runny and streaky. I have to wonder if it is my bottle because all of the Jacques! bottles where I purchased mine had separated a bit so that a transluscent orange liquid was sitting at the top. I gave it a good shake when I purchased it and it has not separated like that again. It is heavily pigmented so I only did a third coat on a couple of nails.

This is from OPI's La Collection De France for Fall 2008.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bathroom storage solutions put into action

Remember my post on "Bathroom Storage Solutions" and the shame I was feeling over the mess I made of the our guest bathroom?



It is an improvement. The look of the Sterilite storage drawers I bought at my local hardware store for about $12 does not thrill me, but it is certainly better than the hot mess it used to be. Unfortunately, it does not hold absolutely all of my products, so I may need to figure out some other alternative so my collection has room to grow.

A few more pictures for your horror, amusement, and perhaps even edification:

See the book on top of the shoebox? That's a Bill Bryson book. LOVE Bill Bryson, he is absolutely hilarious.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

But no sixpence in my shoe.

Something Old: Relic Necklace

My relic

My mother gave this to me after a surgery I had when I was thirteen. It's not as old as other items I could select, but it is the most meaningful. When looking at pictures of me from that age on, I am nearly always wearing this necklace. I won't wear it as a necklace on my wedding day, but I do plan to pin it to the inside of my dress.

Something New: The Dress

First Dress Fitting

It's the dress! What else is there to say?

Something Borrowed: Earrings from my Mother

Copy of IMG_6595

These earrings have always wowed me, and I am honored my mother is letting me borrow them.

Something Blue: Pedicure!

Okay, I don't have a picture of this one yet. I'm not even sure what shade of blue I am going to go with. But I wouldn't be me if I wasn't sporting some nail polish that makes me smile.

If you are looking for some less traditional ideas on these items, check out this article at Real Simple.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Interview over at Choosing Losing

My friend (and MOH) Kelly over at Choosing Losing interviewed me about my weight loss. Go check it out!

The Amazingly Organized Binder of the Totally Awesome Wedding of Victoria and The Boy

Bridal Shower

MOH Kelly with The Binder.

I love this binder. My love for this binder would actually be a little embarassing if I was the sort to get embarassed. It is something I am proud of, and other people (like my vendors) seem to be impressed by it. Either that or they just don't meet too many organizational nuts like me.

Right after getting engaged, I started search for wedding planners. Unfortunately, the selection in my local bookstores and what I could find on the internet was underwhelming. Nothing fit my exact needs, and very few had the flexibility to expand as new topics were added to the planning. I needed something highly personalized.

The binder is one I had laying around from my student days (writing that, it seems as though it was long ago, but I have to remind myself I only just graduated a month and a half ago with my Master's). Target furnished me with tabbed dividers with pockets. Now, I just had to fill it.

Luckily, during my internet search, I came across some very helpful templates and forms I could use as a starting point. The first thing I did was search Microsoft Office Online's site for wedding-related Excel and Word documents. If other people already put the work into it, who was I to not take advantage of their generosity? Thank you to the kind creators who made the Excel template I ended up using for the guest list and the gifts received list! So pretty, so functional, and really, I cannot ask more of my organizational tools.

Real Simple has a master guide you can download and print for a binder such as this. It has everything from a vendor contact list to a liquor worksheet.

Another site with great templates is russell+hazel. With over 50 different templates ranging from bridal salon appointments to a music play/do not play list, this resource is more particular but definitely handy.

Once I had the binder ready to go, I started printing out pictures I found inspiring and somehow related to the aesthetic I wanted for the wedding.


Wedding Hair Trial

So, get cracking! No need to shell out money for those wedding planners that won't fit your specific needs. Tailor one to yourself and your wedding.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Engagement Pictures

The day after the bridal shower and bachelorette party, The Boy and I had an engagement photo session. My niece Michelle has been wanting to break into professional photography for years, and just recently has begun making that a reality. She was excited to have the opportunity to do our engagement photos, and we were excited she was interested in doing it.

We knew we wanted to do some of our photos at Lake Eola, a park in downtown Orlando and the site of where we got engaged. As we were driving to Lake Eola, Michelle pointed out a different park with a large fountain and attractive steps, so we made an impromptu stop to snap some photos. This turned out to be Baldwin Park.

engagement 021 copy

engagement 022

The pictures where we are not looking at the camera tend to be my favorites. I enjoy candid shots.

Then it was off to Lake Eola.

engagement 044 copy

This was the gazebo where he proposed. Unfortunately, it was being renovated so this was as close as we could get and the only angle we could use to take pictures without getting shots of unattractive scaffolding

engagement 054

engagement 072

engagement 127

It was a blast. It's great to finally have some photos of us that aren't "Myspace style" with one of us holding the camera awkwardly in an effort to get it further from our body to take the picture.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bachelorette Party

The bachelorette party was last weekend as well. This is something I was pretty nervous about because I had absolutely no idea what to expect. MOH Kelly had been asking me questions the month before like, "What do you consider cheating on [The Boy]?" which was enough to get me panicky. Not a party girl, sorry, so if you have to ask that question it is bound to make me nervous. Luckily, Kelly knows me and is awesome so she scaled back from whatever she was planning on originally.

But it didn't stop her from teasing me. There were many threats about a stripper called "Chocolate Lover." This would actually end up making sense later.

A couple of us set out from my house to meet up with some of my other friends at a mystery location. I was even ordered to put on a blindfold halfway through the car ride, that's how mysterious it was.

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory


Once we parked, I was lead by a friend on each side (I'm clumsy, needed the extra guidance) for a bit of a walk. We entered a building, and I heard a woman greet us. Kelly said something to her along the lines of, "We're here for the strip show!" I was so confused at that point and trying to rely on my senses of smell and hearing to figure out where I was that I don't even remember how this ended up happening, but the next thing I knew I being fed chocolate. Seriously! Finally, I was allowed to take the blindfold off.

As it turned out, we were at Farris & Foster's Chcolate Factory. As a special service, they close down the shop and hold Chocolate Parties. So that's where the "chocolate lover" comes into play.

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Our host for the evening showed us how everything worked, how to use the molds and the conveyor belt, and then set up free in the chocolate factory.

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Chocolate is serious business.

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

Bachelorette Party: Farris & Foster's Chocolate Factory

This was such a blast. I heartily recommend it to people looking for something different and fun to do for a celebration.

After the chocolate party, I was blindfolded once again and my friends shuttled me to our next destination. It ended up being CityWalk at Universal Orlando, and we headed to the dueling piano bar at Pat O'Brien's.

Bachelorette Party: Citywalk

Bachelorette Party: Citywalk

Bachelorette Party: Citywalk

I heartily recommend this as well. Loved it. It's great if you just want to bliss out and aren't into the typical club scene and dancing (which I am not, which is why it was so perfect).

All in all, a fantastic night. It was so great to have my friends there, supporting me, having fun with me, and celebrating.