Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cocok's Toes: The Christmas Edition

I took Lee's mom to Cocok's with the silent K on Friday morning, along with Amber, Jamie, and Missy, so here is the Christmas edition of Cocok's toes (I'll try not to leave this post at the top forever and a day so you're staring at toes for a long time, but no promises). We usually go to Cocok's about once every six weeks, so we'll still have these designs when Christmas rolls around (which is coming up sooner than I'd like to think, I have some shopping to do!) Here's Amber's toes:

She said they were supposed to have red on them, or at least the picture on the book did. I think they look really cool, but I just can't do black or white on my toes--I like COLOR!

So I got bright red. This is the first time I've gotten red toes at Cocok's; with the white flowers, I figured they're festive but not necessarily Christmas-y so if I wanted to, I could get this design any time of the year (or at least, any time of the year that I wanted red toes). But so far I have not gotten the same design twice :)

Here's Jamie:

I love that she has flip flop tan lines on her feet, don't you? ;) It's a purple background with white snowflakes, and then they painted clear glitter all over the top so it sparkles a lot in real life.

Missy also went for the Christmas toes:

It's a little hard to tell in the photo, but it's a red background with holly. I think I should have gotten a little bit closer to take the picture, but my friends probably think I'm a teensy bit odd taking pictures of their toes anyway, snort!

Here's Nancy, her very first Cocok's experience:

She *almost* got this one pattern of Santa and his reindeer (Santa on one toe, a reindeer on each of the other toes) but then she decided to go for this one instead, kind of fern leaves.

Ok, so my illicit computer time is over...I stayed home today while Lee took his parents up to the aquarium so I could read for my class. My goal is to finish at least 100 pages today, which would mean finishing the book I've been working on for a while...if I'm lucky, maybe I can start the next book too. We'll see, but I'd better get crackin'!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Standing Room Only at New Moon

So Amber and I STOOD for the entire movie. Oh yeah, we did. Then we snuck around to the side and ran out the door as soon as the end credits started so we wouldn't get stuck in a massive traffic jam. I'll try to be non-spoiler-y in case I have any blog readers who haven't seen the movie yet.

Movie Jacob is waaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy hotter than Movie Edward, who looks like he's wearing lipstick most of the time. Mom, Amber says she definitely doesn't think you're crazy for having a crush on Jacob. Whoops, I just outed you to the entire Internet!!! Good thing for you that I only have three readers, bwahahahahahaaaaaa!

All hail the return of the SteadyCam. I mean really. That whole hurky-jerky shaking the camera thing? SO last season. Ok, really I never liked it at all and found the shaking thing totally irritating on Twilight, so I was super happy that New Moon did not make me seasick.

We wondered if the tweens were going to be super loud and obnoxious, but we think it's the guys who were hooting and hollering the most. At one point we weren't sure if they were wolf whistling (haha, get it?) Sam Uley or Harry Clearwater. The funny part was when the movie was just about to start, half the theater started shushing the other half. And then people talked anyway, me and Amber included. We're wondering if we need new t-shirts...I did see several girls wearing shirts that said Team Edward on the front, and then "but dang, Jacob is sexy!" on the back. Maybe Amber and I should get some of those shirts...

Ok, so it's like past midnight and I'm starting to go 'round the bend with fatigue, so I'm going to cut it off here. G'night everybody!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving at Our House

So here's what Thanksgiving Day looked like at Ree and Christy's house :) I would have liked to have some autumn-y decorations, but the stores here went straight from Halloween to Christmas and ignored the whole month of November. One of these days though...anyway, pictures! Here's Lee and his dad carving the turkey:

Jamie and Amber, who were helping me set everything up on the table. The collaborated on the ham; Amber was too chicken to make a ham, so she bought it and Jamie cooked it. Turned out great and it looked fabulous too! We bought a turkey dinner that came with a bunch of side dishes, and then made a few things to supplement it. And then I did the desserts, including apple streusel cheesecake bars, berry cobbler, Mississippi Mud, and the famous pumpkin cookies. The dinner we bought came with a pumpkin pie, but alas, Ree didn't notice you're supposed to thaw it in the fridge overnight, so we didn't eat that. Anyway, here's my favorite photo of the day :)

Miss J again. That apron is actually mine, my mom made me that several years ago when we did a big Thanksgiving to-do at our house in North Carolina. So Jamie WAS the autumn decoration, hehe! I had on my blue and white SuperChristy apron but never got a photo of me in it. Whoops.

And here's our group, digging in to the feast. That's Scott, Larry (aka Lee's dad), Billy (aka Amber's hubby), Dean (aka Jamie's hubby), Nancy (aka Lee's mom), and Lee's arm.

Here's all us girls! Wish the picture was a little bit clearer but this is what we got. Here's Amber, Jamie, me, and Tiana with baby Emma, who is about four months old.

And of course, the aftermath of any big food-related event...the clean-up.

Yeah, I should probably be downstairs right now working my way through the dishes (and I took this picture after I'd already run a load through the dishwasher!). Maybe I'll get some of them done before Nancy and I head off to Cocok's with the silent k. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

It is already Thanksgiving Day here in Japan, so I am writing this blog post in between batches of yet more pumpkin cookies. I made this apple streusel cheesecake bar thing earlier and still have to do a berry cobbler (although I'm cheating on that, the cobbler will not be from scratch. But Lee and his dad chose that over a homemade cherry-raspberry pie, CRAZY I tell you but that's what they want). I've also got a cranberry mandarin candle on the candle warmer downstairs so my house smells pretty amazing at the moment :) We're going to get started with the feeding frenzy in about two hours.

So in honor of Turkey Day, how 'bout a card?

I kinda copied the idea out of the SU catalog, although I changed up all the colors and the stamp used and their card wasn't related to Thanksgiving and they didn't use patterned paper and ok, so I guess the only thing that's the same is the basic layout but I like it ok? I actually managed to get a bunch of these sent out ON TIME to my peeps back in the States!

And look what I got in the mail earlier this week!

It's a totally GOJUS and PURPLE Thanksgiving card from Vicki, isn't it fabulous? I love it, Miss Vicki! Darn, I may have to get that patterned paper now, hehehe!

So Happy Thanksgiving wherever you may be, and have a safe and happy holiday weekend. I've got 30 seconds till the next batch of cookies is ready to come out of the oven, so TTFN!

P.S. If anyone sees my parents, tell 'em I've been looking for them. My mom hasn't even commented on here in, like, forever. *sob* I miss my mommy! And Dad too. Really!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bella Turns Three!

I admit, Stamping Bella is my primary (non-SU) stamp obsession :) I just loooooove Bella's stuff, and if you do too, you are in LUCK my friend! The Queen Bella herself, Emily, is giving away tons of Bellariffic prizes!! So since I'm going to be late to work if I don't hurry up and get out of here, I'm just going to copy what Em has to say on her blog. (Things are still super-busy at work and we pick up Lee's parents at the airport tonight! Lots to do and not near enough time to do it in!)

Read on for the deets for Bella's totally fantabulous Birthday Bash!


We’re looking for the most delish creation in Bellaland!! Let your creativity guide you to create a project that celebrates Bella’s 3rd birthday! You must use ONLY STAMPING BELLA STAMPS in your creation and you can choose to use any of the lines that Stamping Bella offers!

Upload your project to Splitcoast using KEYWORD “BELLABDAY3″ before the deadline of 10:00 PM EST on SATURDAY DECEMBER 5th. The bella babes will scour the gallery for the most deeeeelish project in Bellaland. Only projects that are uploaded to the splitcoast gallery before the deadline using the keyword will be considered for the grand prize!

Would you like to know what the grand prize is???: The WINNAH will receive the ENTIRE NEW RELEASE FROM STAMPING BELLA, a value of LOTS OF MOOLAH (LOL) The winner will also be featured as a GUEST BELLARIFIC BABE on BLOGGABELLA DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY. THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED on BLOGABELLA on DECEMBER 7th.


You’re invited to join the BIRTHDAY BASH BLOG HOP on SATURDAY DECEMBER 5th. Please use any STAMPING BELLA IMAGES and sentiment for your blog hop post. We’re celebrating all the adorable lines that we have to offer! your post should go LIVE at 10:00 AM EST on Saturday December 5th

DID SOMEONE SAY PRIZES? But of course!! THREE gift certificates for $100 in BELLA BUCKS GIFT CERTIFICATES will be hidden along the hop.. but we’re NOT telling you where so be sure to leave some love as you hop!!

BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE! There will be another $100 in BELLA BUCKS given to ONE RANDOM BLOG HOP PARTICIPANT so be sure to sign up for the blog hop on THIS THREAD in the STAMPING BELLA forum on SPLITCOAST. Get all your friends to sign up too because we know they’d love a chance to win a STAMPING BELLA SHOPPING SPREE! Let’s make this THE BIGGEST BELLA BLOG HOP EVAH!! The winners will be announced on BLOGGABELLA on MONDAY DEC. 7th.


I have an AWESOME release planned for the STAMPING BELLA BIRTHDAY on DECEMBER 7th featuring a little bit from most of the artists so be sure to pop onto BLOGABELLA on DEC 7th to see all the new RUBBAH goodness along with the winners of the Birthday Bash blog hop and contest.


Feel free to add the top photo to the sidebar on your blog to let everyone know you’re coming to the Bella birthday bash! Please link the photo back to the BIRTHDAY BASH THREAD on Splitcoast for all the Birthday details!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Obi and Meeeeeeeeeeee

Yes, I am totally singing that to the tune of the old My Buddy jingle. So I went to a bazaar with Lee and Missy on Saturday morning and lookie what I got!

This is an obi, which is the sashy thing that goes around a kimono, and here in Japan it is possible to buy obi that have been folded in a decorative fashion. They have ones meant to sit on a table, ones to hang on the wall (like mine), and some that are meant to hang on a curtain rod kind of like a valance. I think I mean a valance. Anyway, this one is all miiiiiiiiiiine. Look what's on it:

GOLD SHISHI DOGS!!! Bwahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Ok, so this obi didn't jump out at me and scream BUY ME quite as much as the one I got last year for my mom (hers was a beautiful plum color brocade with roses, and I knew it was *perfect* for her the minute I saw it) but I figured that two weeks from now, I'd be kicking myself if I didn't get this one. So I got it. It's already hanging up in our dining room, and the longer I've had it, the more I like it. It's got some bubble wrap in the rosette that's to keep it from getting squished in transport and some little plastic things on the end of the tassels to keep them from fraying; I haven't taken all that stuff off yet. Wonder if I should just leave it on there for now, after all we'll be moving in a year.

Anyway, I was technically trying to do Christmas shopping, not Christy shopping, but look what else came home with me...

Doesn't she just have the sweetest face? I love her. She's sitting on my kitchen counter right now along with two friends and every time I get a new doll, the need for a curio cabinet grows. Sooner or later we will get one to display my kokeshi doll collection. I did do some Christmas shopping, but I think you can understand if I don't post pictures of all *that* stuff on here, lol!

Speaking of sweet, I spent most of Sunday making cookies. Check this out:

Sunday morning I opened up my pantry to take stock of my baking supplies since I will be making a few things for Thanksgiving, and this is what I found--no fewer than TEN bags of assorted flavors of chocolate chips. And this is what I keep on hand when I'm not planning to bake anything in particular. So yes, it is distinctly possible that I am slightly batty (I would have said nutty, but I don't keep *that* many nuts on hand for baking). So like I said before, I made cookies.

Three batches of cookies. I *finally* got some canned pumpkin after searching for it for several months, but I could only find gigundor cans of it and since there's been a shortage, I figured I'd better make one can really count. So I got three batches of cookies out of it. There's a good reason for why I hoard chocolate chips, our store sometimes runs out of random things so if I keep all those on hand, then whenever I get a craving for something in particular I don't have to worry about whether or not I can get the ingredients right then. See, I can rationalize anything that has to do with chocolate and consuming mass quantities of chocolate. Especially in cookie form. Or brownie form. I have been known to eat brownie sundaes for breakfast. But I digress. Want to see a closeup of the yummy cookies?

These are my famous white chip macadamia nut pumpkin cookies (you see why I just call 'em pumpkin cookies?) A lot of people think it sounds weird at first, but once they try the cookies, they love 'em. Even Lee, who is not a big sweets person, loves these--I think he grabbed at least a half a dozen of them while I was baking. I sent some to a friend who's birthday is coming up, and then the rest went to a fundraiser where Lee works.

So like I mentioned yesterday, Lee and I have both been working some crazy hours. I worked two hours over today and boy howdy, were my dogs glad to see me when I came home. Poor little kidlets. It's 8:00 right now and Lee's not home yet, although he should be soon; he's been working on a paper for his class after everyone else leaves work. I had an event to go to last night so I didn't even see Lee until after 8:30, but I wanted to let him know that I was thinking about him so...

Nothing says "I love you" like Taco Bell hot sauce. I brought home all these sauce packets because this is the only hot sauce Lee likes.

Yes, I realize I am a ginormous goober for writing messages with hot sauce packets, and even more so for photographing it. But maybe that's why Lee loves me :p And I think exhaustion is making me even goofier than normal. Ever been so tired that you just can't sleep? Story of my life this week. And I have so many new DVDs that I haven't gotten to watch yet because I've been so busy at work (haven't even gotten to do any schoolwork, which is baaaaaaaad). By hook or by crook, I am SO watching Star Trek this weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Madness That's Not Related to the Holidays

Just a quick post to say I am still alive and kicking, although I am very tired and my poor hubby is conked out on the couch downstairs because he thinks he's coming down with something. I couldn't wake him up enough to move upstairs to the bedroom so I think he's staying put there for the night, poor honey. We've both been ridiculously busy at work (WHY did my boss wait till NOW to start planning the big retirement shindig for our coworker that will be happening this Friday?!) and Lee's been having to write several papers right in a row. I've been *trying* (and failing) to keep up with reading for my class, and I just haven't had enough hours in the day to get done everything I want to. Ever wish life had a pause button? So you could hit pause, and then go to sleep for as long as you wanted to, and then hit play when you're ready to get moving with all the other things you have to do. Yeah, I need one of those. Think Staples makes one? They've already got the Easy Button.

Too bad all the pumpkin cookies are gone already. Guess I can't complain too much, I had more than one of those earlier today :) Back as soon as I can with more pictures, I have a BUNCH of pictures I want to post but it just ain't happening tonight.

And oh yeah, next week will be crazy too. Not only is it Thanksgiving, Lee's parents are getting here late Tuesday night so we'll be busy visiting with them and showing off the island :) and I'm taking Lee's mom to Cocok's with the Silent K on Friday, woohooooooooooooooo!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kyoto Station

Lee and I both had today off of work, it was great. I think we should *always* get Wednesdays off from work ;) I've been super-busy this week, I worked an hour over on both Monday and Tuesday, and this one computer system I use has been acting up a lot so it's been a frustrating couple of days. That's why having today off was extra nice, and the weather was so gorgeous this morning it would have been totally criminal not to take the dogs out for a walk. Luckily Sadie has given up her career as a bowling ball so it's once again safe to go outside with her. I think she got scared when she knocked me over a couple weeks ago.

Anyway, a month after we went to Kyoto I'm finally coming near the end of our pictures from the three-day trip we took ;) I think I'll only have two more posts after this and then I'll have to find something else to talk about. So today's post is about Kyoto Station, which is a really big train station. And bus station. And six-story mall. There's also an underground mall/shopping area thing too, which is where we went to Subway for lunch. Um, weird. The topping choices include things like shrimp and avocados and tuna salad, and NO ranch dressing. But back to the station itself...

There are a series of really long escalators to take you to the upper levels of the station, so here's the view from about the midpoint. There's a roof over the center of the main entrance to the station, but it's also open to the air. The next picture is from the same spot, just turned around 180 degrees towards the top.

I can imagine that this airy setup would be a little bit on the not-fun side when it gets really cold and rainy, but since we had gorgeous weather when we were there, it was awesome. It's hard to get a real good sense of the size of this place from our pictures, but trust me, it was HUGE. Too bad we didn't get a photo of the outside of it.

This pic (above) was taken from pretty much the top of the station. The sides of the building are all made out of reflective glass so Lee was trying to get a cool reflection shot here.

I thought it was funny to come across New Orleans' famous Cafe' du Monde in Japan. Too bad we'd just eaten when we were here taking pictures, I wouldn't have minded a beignet. (Did I spell that right? Been a few years since my last French class...) I don't think you can see it in the picture, but the dining area with the streetlights also has French Quarter street signs. I can't remember which streets they were but I did recognize the names when I read them since Lee and I have been to the French Quarter. We took a couple of ghost tours there, it was awesome. But I digress.

I think I mentioned before that there's a city ordnance that no buildings are to be taller than 60 meters (Kyoto Station is that tall). They made an exception for the Kyoto Tower, which is supposed to kind of look like a candle according to our tour guide (we didn't tour the station with a group, but the guide mentioned it when we were running all over Kyoto the day prior to when we took these pics). The tower is reflected in the glass on the front side of the station and I thought we had some pictures of that but I didn't see 'em when I was choosing pictures for this post.

And there's the tower at night from the same spot. We ate dinner at a restaurant in the station one night since it was right across the street from our hotel.

Pretty impressive for a train station, huh?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kiyomizu, Kimonos, and Crepes

I meant to update the blog a couple days ago but time just got away from me. For once I'm fairly satisfied with what I managed to accomplish during the weekend--I got a LOT done on my super secret stitching project (so it *will* be done for Christmas, yay); I made 20 Thanksgiving cards (haven't taken a picture yet though); I cleaned up quite a bit of stuff around the house and did laundry; did some reading for class; and I designed my Christmas cards and cut all the cardstock for them. They'll be super-simple this year but I figure that's okay since I'm working full time and doing school this year. They *have* to be simple or else they won't go out on time ;)

So anyway, here's the next installment of Kyoto pics. I forget what number we're up to :p but today's pictures are all from the Kiyomizu-dera shrine which is up in the mountains. Well, maybe foothills, but definitely elevated from the main part of town. So here's most of the buildings that belong to this particular shrine:

The famous thing about this place is the three springs. If you drink from one, you're supposed to be blessed with good health; another is wealth, and the third is wisdom, but a lot of the Japanese believe that if you drink from all three then the gods think you're too greedy and you get nothing. Ha! Here's where you drink from whichever spring you choose:

While we had a discussion about which spring would be the "best" one to drink from, we didn't do it since we were there with a tour group and there's just not enough time to do things like that *and* take pictures if you don't want the tour guide to strand you there while they go on to the next stop. Actually this was our last stop of the day, and we were here in the "golden hour" right before sunset when everything seems to glow.

If you look at the first picture again, this one directly above where I'm typing is the building on the far left. Just past it is a stone that has "Buddha's footprints" on it, and legend has it that if you touch the footprints then it will wash away all your sins.

Not to be disrespectful, but if those are Buddha's footprints then he was related to Bigfoot. And he had monkey toes. Here's a view of the city from where we were:

Little bit hazy and unfortunately we noticed we have some schmutz on our camera lens, it just shows up really bad in that picture.

Guess what else I photographed? Kimono butts!!!!!!!!!!

Been a long time since we had kimono butts featured on the ol' bloggypoo, huh? Bwahahahaaaa!

I seriously would like to get myself a kimono before we leave here, I think they're so gorgeous (not just the butts, but the front too). And check out Hello Kitty in the shop window to the left :) To get to Kiyomizu, we had to walk up a winding street lined with souvenir shops (lots of kokeshi dolls but they were overpriced, although I did buy some postcards) before we actually reached the shrine itself. And then coming back we had to remember our landmarks so we could find the bus again; one was a Spider-Man out in front of a shop, and another landmark was a truly ginormous teacup on the roof of another shop. On our way back to the buses, Ree and I decided to try some authentic Japanese cuisine.

Stuffed crepes at IHOP! Ok, so it's not IHOP, but it is stuffed crepes. They all looked so good...

'cept those ones with the hot dogs in the middle. Say it with me now: bleh. Ree and I got crepes with bananas, strawberries, chocolate sauce, and more whipped cream than you can shake a stick at. When we got back on the bus, everyone else in our tour group was jealous.

Hey look, it's us!! When we were looking through all our photos from the Kyoto trip at the airport on our way back, we realized just how few pictures we were actually in, so we said we should cut ourselves out of this photo and just Photoshop us on top of at least one photo from every other location. I still think that would be funny but we didn't do it :p

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lots of Birthday Cards

I've made a bunch of birthday cards in the last several weeks and I *still* missed several birthdays. Plus I'm terribly late sending out some of the cards I did make...sigh. This whole work-school-crafting time balance is still a work in progress. First up is a Halloween card, which doubles as my friend Jeng's birthday card because his birthday is on Halloween.

So I put a Halloween sentiment in the ones I sent out for Halloween, and happy birthday inside Jeng's. But I haven't sent out Jeng's yet because I am a bad friend. :p

Next up is something girly...

I love hummingbirds, they're so pretty. My great-grandmother had a bunch of hummingbird stuff in her house as well as a feeder outside her kitchen window. I remember sitting very still in the kitchen with a camera poised and ready, trying to get a picture of the birds as they came to the feeder...those little things are fast!!

Ok, how about a fall birthday card?

This one's for my brother. The card base is a really saturated orange color, the colors are off in the photo since I took it at night but what can you do. I need to get this one sent out ASAP but it's probably still going to be a bit late.

One last card for my buddy Amber, whose birthday is TODAY!

I think I need to put glitter in the flower centers, whatchoo think?

There's the inside of Amber's card. It's her fault I own that flower stamp set; I borrowed hers and then just had to get one for myself. Ha! We're going to go out to lunch tomorrow to celebrate her birthday and I got her a really cool present. Ok, probably not as cool as a Cricut Expression, but I suppose her hubby is allowed bragging rights for best prezzie :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Heian Shrine

I'm back with more Kyoto pictures and--surprise!--they're of another Shinto shrine we visited. This one is the Heian Shrine, which our guide book describes as one of Kyoto's largest and "newest" shrines since it didn't arrive on the scene until 1895. Hah. So let's get started with the pictures, shall we?

The shrine is comprised of several buildings around a large central court (gravel, of course). There were quite a few people but since everything is so spread out it kinda looks deserted in the photos, doesn't it?

Lee and I took a photo of some lanterns at a shrine on Okinawa and I was kinda trying to recreate that shot...didn't quite work as I'd imagined, but I like the photo nonetheless.

I just love taking photos like this, I think they look really neat. You may remember the one I took like this at the first garden we visited in Kyoto.

We stayed in the courtyard area for only a short time before our tour group trundled off behind the buildings and through the shrine's garden. There's a large pond and at one point you can cross it on a series of stepping stones, but first you have to read this sign:

I couldn't have said it better myself. (Ok, really, I know their English is a heck of a lot better than my Japanese, but that doesn't mean I can't get tickled about things like this!) Here are the highly treacherous stepping stones:

Ok, maybe they'd be difficult if we were wearing the kinds of impractical footwear that the Japanese women seem to adore. Just so you know, I managed not to fall into the pond when crossing the stepping stones.

There's Ree (and the peace sign!) with the one lone tree that had started turning colors for fall :) On the other side of the garden is a Chinese-style covered bridge and we got someone to take our picture on it.

What, you can't tell that's us? :p I think we needed a fill-in flash on this one. Oh well, we tried! They have carp in the pond too, and you can feed them if you like...

(Click on the picture so you can read the sign.) Wonder if anyone ever tries to go fishing off the bridge here...maybe not. Here's a shot of the bridge itself:

Pretty, huh? We saw some pictures of the garden at different times of the year when we were on our way back to the tour bus, and this garden is famous for its irises. Wish we could have seen that, the photo was absolutely gorgeous!

Well, I've gotta get to work. You guys in the States have a great evening!