Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You Keep Me Warm

No really, Texas kept me warm during my vacation. . . 105+ degrees warm, to be exact. Whew! I gotta admit, it does feel quite awesome to be back in a cooler climate.

I had an AMAZING time in Austin! I got to bring Jessica and Christiaan with me and I loved sharing my life and friends and family with them! :D

It was a very emotional weekend—laughing at all the funny memories, crying because we all knew MCA was coming to an end, frustration because I seem to lose things left and right, warmth from seeing my family and friends, and a wide range of other emotions caused by the combination of lack of sleep + lots of coffee + busy schedule. But I'm so glad I got to experience everything :D

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my friend Rich about this big bittersweet weekend and I go, "You know, nothing like a funeral to bring the family together again." It really was so awesome to reconnect and to hear about how my fellow alums are doing. They have all played such a special role in my life and I am going to work super hard to keep in contact with them all. They mean so much to me! So to all my MCA Alums, thank you so much for keeping my heart warm all those years—I'm gonna try to get out to see all of you! :D In the meantime, utilize Facebook, Myspace and Twitter :D

Here are some pics from my time in Austin:




This lady was sleeping all the way through the graduation—hilarious! :D






I know that normally one wouldn't post a picture of a baby crying, but I ADORE these two angels (my nieces) and it just reminds me how different they are in all their adorableness! Because Vanessa couldn't be more go with the flow and Annabelle gets kinda finnicky. . . I LOVE their little personalities! :D I heart these little ladies! :D



Leslie, Austin's famous cross-dresser who ran for mayor one year :D




Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just My Imagination

You wanna know what's amazing?


TIM BURTON directing a remake of ALICE IN WONDERLAND...
that's what!

Yes indeedy, my hopes and wishes have come true! The genius of vivid oddity has unleashed his genius creativity and is bringing some freshness to the one story that was made spectacular by Disney. I've seen a few remakes and they've been so blah I've changed the channel after like 10 minutes. And some, I've avoided because I was disappointed in the trailer for it...seriously people. If you're gonna take on the magical world that Lewis Carrol created, you better take it to the next level! I'm pretty sure good 'ol Lew wasn't imagining some old guy in a cap made of foam when he penned Alice's Adventures in Wonderland...

I'm pretty sure the word ADVENTURE is in the title for a reason. And who better to bring it to life than Tim Burton? I LOVE his work! He's so out there and just not afraid to put texture and pizazz on things. And the fact that he's got Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway all pizzazed up puts a huge smile on my face. And hello...Alan Rickman for the Caterpillar? GENIUS!

I'm so stoked and I can't wait to see this!
Here is a link where you can see more of the released photos and more info about the upcoming film. ----> CLICK HERE

and a HUGE THANK YOU to Joy for tweeting about this! :D

Sunday, June 21, 2009

VIDEO BLOG: Daughters (Giveaway!)

Happy Father's Day to all the daddy's out there! :D
or as I like to say, HAPPY FALKER SATHERHOOD!

In honor of this special day, here is a video blog for you to enjoy:

video
* so um. i just realized that i forgot to cut the music after i say "bye." So, when I say bye, it's the end...and you can just listen to John Mayer or stop the video. sorry. :D

Also, as a bonus, I have a giveaway for today! Believe it or not, I was actually named AFTER someone! I realize that Amanda is a very common name, but my parents actually DID name me after someone famous and whoever answers the following question correctly first, will win a $10 STARBUCKS gift card!

WHO WAS I NAMED AFTER?

-----------------------------------------------
UPDATE:

Congratulations to Mandie from Just We Moms for guessing correctly on the Giveaway question!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I was named after AMANDA BLAKE, from Gunsmoke :D


Friday, June 19, 2009

Kids of the Future


Last night I got to watch an amazing bunch of kiddos! Even Wilbur is sad cause the night is over.

I love when this group gets together cause they are like the best of friends and they really learn to work with one another very well. I think what I loved most was that
A. They enjoyed watching Charlotte's Web...the old skool one!

B. Luke, who is a toddler, LOVES watching The Muppet Show...like from back in the day... and he loves Fraggle Rock! I was singing him the song while changing his diaper and he was smiling so big!

C. I didn't send them into a sugar coma... which is huge, considering that I'm such a sucker (get it) for giving kids all their little sweet tooth desires. ;)

D. When I put Luke down for bed in his crib, he was crying and didn't want to be in there, so he reached for me and I held him and sang to him as I rocked him in my arms, and when I stopped singing, I heard something and turned to look at the door where Julianna was there, singing to Luke from the doorway too! So sweet!

E. We also got to go to the park just as the sun was going down for a few minutes, and Eliza made it all the way across the monkey bars all by herself for the first time! I was so proud of her!

Here are some pics from our fun times together. The boys were at the park almost the whole time I was there, so these are just pics of Eliza, Julianna, and Luke.

I was teaching Eliza the fine art of taking pictures of yourself. ;)

Okay, so quick story about this one. So, you press the button and the dinosaur ROARS. Luke got the biggest kick out of it cause I kept pretending that it scared me. But what was really tough was trying not to laugh at the epic fail of the placement of the button that you have to press to get the dino to ROAR. Poor dino guy. ;) Yes, I know. I'm corrupt. Also, I'm still in the the 6th grade.

Ballerina Eliza

Ballerina Julianna

Luke, rockin' the Elmo slippers

Isaiah and Gareth found a random wedding band among the rocks that had an interesting little inscription—it had a scripture reference to a verse in the book of Isaiah from the Bible. I thought it was funny and cute that Isaiah found a ring with his name on it. ;) schweet!

And now, a some special final words from Joshua:
video

Thursday, June 18, 2009

LoveGame

Yesterday as I was riding the bus to my friend Jessica's house, there was a man who was trying to get off of it at it's most crowded point. As he was getting off, he clutched his bags tightly and shouted above the noise:

"If you just let me off the bus, everything will be okay."

So as he left the bus, I leaned over the girl sitting next to me and said, "Yeah, cause that's not a creepy thing to say!"

She laughed and we went back and forth joking about the situation. I mean really, what does that mean? If we don't let you off the bus, something bad is gonna happen? Really sir, could you have chosen a worse phrase?

Well, I lived to tell the tale, so I guess he made it off okay. ;)

When I got to Jessica's house, I was greeted with the smiling faces of everyone in my small group and a kitchen full of burritos for dinner and cupcakes for dessert! :D

So for those who don't know, I have a tendency to make sure that if I'm eating icing or whip cream, it ends up on my face—on purpose. It's fun! It makes me feel like a kid again, and it makes others laugh. So I do it often. :D Sometimes it gets on peoples' nerves, but tonight, my small group got a kick out of it! :D

// me and jeannie celebrating the frosting face! //

We played Apples to Apples again, and can I just say that I LOVE that game? Cause I do. Promise! It's so fun! And, in lieu of the previous game we played (see this post), the ever famous SAN ANDREAS FAULT card made its rounds again, and we laughed about it all over again!

One of the biggest highlights was when Jess and Jeannie would break out into the random rendition of "I love it when you call me morbidly obese father" ("I love it when you call me big poppa"). So funny! It was a great night! I LOVE my small group. :D

// the vodegels //

// it was kim's last small group with us since she's moving to oregon. :(
I'll miss her! //


// chris and annie—chris won the game! //

PS: According to APPLES TO APPLES, I am:
ODD
MISCHEVIOUS
MELODRAMATIC
FRAZZLED
FANTASTIC
& CLASSIC

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Float

My friend Kathy Irwin posted this to her Facebook earlier and I've read it and reread it, taking out a bunch of great stuff to apply to my life right now, so I figured I'd repost it here. Such great advice!

GREAT WORDS TO LIVE BY
Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written.
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone...

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion, Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose to live life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Monday, June 15, 2009

She


It's time for yet another installment of Q & A with Amanda!!! :D Thank you thank you so much for continuing to send in questions, and as always, feel free to keep sending them. I'll probably do this little installment as often as I get questions. Right now I have a few stored up, so here

What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
Hmm. Well, here's the thing, I was in LOVE with Legos when I was a kid, but I never had any of my own. :( I always wanted some, but I never got any. In fact, there have been times where I'll go shopping at Target or Toys R Us and I'll be REALLY tempted to buy Legos. Ohh... that reminds me! Okay, so this past Sunday, our pastor spoke about being connected to one another and handed out Legos to everyone, but at the end of the service we didn't get to keep them, we used them to build a house thingie on a table in the foyer, and it was SO hard for me to let the Lego go. Mildly hilarious. Mildly sad. You be the judge. ;)

Do you ever get jealous of people?
Yes. Often actually. A lot of my relationships with people have been ruined early on because I've been insanely jealous. I have good days and bad days, just like anyone else. I suppose it would be nice to give an example, eh? Hmmm. Let me think... Okay, so the other day I saw this dude with an iPhone and I really really wanted it. I get jealous of a lot of possessions. I'm actually quite materialistic...and I have to work on telling myself that I'll be okay without those things.

I know you have some OCD things you do and I think you should share them.
Okay, so this isn't really a question, but I figured I'd indulge my friend with this one. Gosh. Where do I even start? Okay, so here's an obvious one that a LOT of people know, but you might not, who knows? Okay. So, when I order coffee to-go, whether it's from Starbucks, Caffe Ladro, wherever... I HAVE to have the logo on the cup, the logo on the sleeve, and the mouth opening of the lid all centered and facing me. I can't tell you why...I just do.


Another one that I'll share is when I sit down at a table, and I take out my cell phone and put it on the table, It HAS to be straight up and down, and if someone turns it diagonally, I'll stop what I"m doing and turn it back "the right way." Again, I cannot tell you why. I just do. That's how I roll. Maybe I'll post more later, but that's all for now. :D

Have you ever thought about leaving Seattle to move back to Austin?
Many many times. I think if anyone ever thought that making such a big change—moving from one place to another—is easy, is completely out of their mind. There have been so many times where the thought of leaving to go back has been strong, but it's not dominating. And I refuse to let it dominate. This is where I belong. This is the place for me to be. And I LOVE it! I think a piece of me will always long for some of my memories in Austin, but if I focus too much on the past, I'll miss out on so many of the things going on in my present life... things like going to Cupcake Royale with Cindy Jones and like being able to be a mentor to some amazing students at Westside, and playing softball with great people on Saturdays and stuff like that. And more things to come. But I think it's been a while now since I've come to realize that this truly is HOME for me. And when I go back to visit family in Austin, it makes that time there even more special. But yes, I do get homesick sometimes and there are days where I'm so tempted to just hop a flight down to Austin. But those thoughts are few and far between now, versus when I first moved here.

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
Oooh! this is a fun question! Thanks! First of all, let me just say that I am in LOVE with books! I love reading! Even as a kid I LOVED reading! If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to choose FOLLOW THE DRINKING GOURD.


It's a book that is based on a folk tale that used a song to map out the Underground Railroad that slaves would use to escape slavery, following the Big Dipper north to freedom. Though the song was written way after the actual Civil War, I remember being so inspired as a kid—I wished that I had been alive back in that time, helping to lead the slaves to freedom. I also had a mega fascination with Harriet Tubman—she has always been and always will be one of my heroes. So yeah, that was my favorite books. I loved it. I even bought it for my niece last year so that she would have a copy of it to read whenever she gets older. :D

Alrighty! Well, that's the five for today. Until next time. :D Keep the questions coming folks, this is FUN! :D

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Don't You Know You're Beautiful

So, we lost our softball game yesterday, but it was a GOOD game :D The best part of the day was AFTER the game, when Amy & Jacob, Mike, Krista, and I all went to eat dinner at Sonic Drive-In in Puyallup! It was an hour and half drive both ways...so 3 hours total. But it was SO worth it! I have missed Sonic!! :D

on the way to Puyallup

Having lived so close to Sonic when I was in Austin, it was totally weird driving 3 hours to go to Sonic. And what's more is that this place was HOPPIN'! There was a huge line of cars waiting to get in line to drive up for their order, and 4 or 5 lanes of people waiting to park in a stall. Even when we asked the lady if we could eat outside she was like, "Yeah. It will be about a 10 to 15 minute wait." It was so bizarre!

(these are the cars waiting to park in a stall)

I know it totally threw off my healthy eating habits from this week, but man. It was so yum! :D It was Mike's first time at Sonic and he was so funny! He stood at the order machine and when they asked him what his name was, he was trying to be mischievous and said "Dude" like his name was Dude, but the guy on the other end was like, "Jude?" and Mike, giving up at making the joke, was like, "Yeah. Jude." It was so funny!!



All in all, the trip was so fun and it made up for the loss at the game :D

Friday, June 12, 2009

Superhuman

A little over an hour ago, I was standing in the movie aisle at Target, and as I was perusing the shelf, I see both THE BOURNE TRILOGY and THE X-MEN TRILOGY staring me down. So I pick them both up and check out the equally amazing bonus features for each. And I set them down because I know that I'm so impulsive, I'll buy BOTH. And right now, I need to save money for my trip to the ATX. So, I put them down and start walking away...like 5 steps away...and then immediately walk back, pick them both up, and contemplate again. I took out my phone and tweeted this:



Seriously though—HOW DO YOU EVEN BEGIN TO DECIDE? I mean, I adore the X-Men, but on the same hand....Matt Damon handing out whoopins and still lookin like a stud...let's get real—it's a tough choice! Being a big fan of Action/Adventure movies, that's like asking me to choose between Godiva Cheesecake and Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake...both so irresistable! So I did what anyone in my situation would do (right?): I kept walking away and walking back, constantly holding them side by side...and then putting them back on the shelf, only to walk away, and come right back to fuel the seemingly endless debate.

Here was the result of my DVD Dillema:


Even as I was walking out the door, it took a LOT of talking myself out of it to keep me from running back to the aisle and taking one, or both of them up to the checkstand. But, I had already bought SLEEPERS the other day...which is by far, one of my FAVORITE movies... next to PAN'S LABYRINTH.. both of which are some of the best written, best directed, powerful dramas of all time. So all is not at a loss... and maybe a few paychecks from now I'll walk back into Target and play this fun game all over again. ;)

Oh yeah, PS: I STILL ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY NEW HAIRCUT! :D

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strange World




I think all of my understanding of extreme hatred has just been completely revamped. What happened at the Holocaust Museum is sick. Seriously sick.

For those who did not get a chance to read the news report here it is:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090611/ap_on_re_us/us_holocaust_museum_shooting

I really just cannot believe...of all the places to shoot at someone. The Holocaust Museum.

I am Mexican-American, but I was born in Germany and ever since I was a kiddo in Elementary School, I have done research upon research on the Holocaust. It is one of the things that intrigues me the most—discovering what happened, hearing stories, and being challenged to create a culture in my life where that doesn't happen again. So when I read the report about it, my heart sank and I was near tears. I mean, have those victims not been through enough? And finally they have a place to share their voices? I've been to D.C. 3 times and every time, I make a point to visit the Holocaust Museum and in the Great Hall of Rememberance at the end, I get so choked up as I offer up prayers for people who have family members who have ever had to go through that. I especially take extra time to pray for those who have had family members endure life at the Dachau and Flossenb├╝rg concentration camps, which are the closest to where I was born, in Nuremberg.

Our nation is seriously messed up. I mean, this isn't a new development, but SERIOUSLY? That's like epic wrong and I can't help but feel pain and sorrow for everyone involved. For the victims, and for the gunman, who is seriously lacking in compassion, understanding, and all common sense.

----------------------------------------------------

It actually reminds me of a quote from ONE TREE HILL where the main character, Lucas Scott says:

Does this darkness have a name? This cruelty, this hatred, how did it find us? Did it steal into our lives or did we seek it out and embrace it? What happened to us that we now send our children into the world like we send young men to war, hoping for their safe return, but knowing that some would be lost along the way. When did we lose our way? Consumed by the shadows. Swallowed whole by the darkness. Does this darkness have a name? Is it your name?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We Will Rock You



I LOVE my new do! Thanks to everyone who voted! I love the way a simple haircut can make you feel different. I feel more like a rockstar than ever! :D Jessica Vodegel has been my hairdresser since I moved to Seattle and I'm so lucky to have found her!! :D She's seriously amazing! She is magical...I think I might refer to her as Jessica Potter...cause girl gots mad magical skills! :D But seriously, she did a phenomenal job! Right now I'm gonna call it a night, but I'll have more pics and stuff to share tomorrow! :D




I Got A Feeling

Every morning, the people in my office gather together for a time of sharing good things that have happened either the day before, or the morning of, before we get started with work. Today as we had just been dismissed, I was walking up the stairs to my office and found this in my back pocket:



The strange thing is that I have NO CLUE where it came from. So on one hand, it made my day to see a cute little picture. On the other hand, I don't know:

1. why it was in my back pocket
2. if a stranger slipped it into my back pocket
3. if i'm losing my memory and forgot to throw this pair of jeans in the wash
4. why i didn't notice it was there earlier

hmmm... things to ponder.

Also, TODAY I GET MY HAIRCUT!! I'll post pictures later! :D

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oh! Sweet Nuthin'


I'm in LOVE with Holga!

No no... it's not an actual person...

It's a type of camera silly :D

(see) ;)

It's beautiful! But even more beautiful than the camera itself is the sweet photos it creates! I was perusing through a website forum the other day and found links to sample photos. And I was smitten. ;)

Here are some samples of the photos it produces>>








I'm saving up to buy one! I know it's only $100 bucks ($50 for the camera, $50 for all the bells and whisltes—color filters, extra lenses, adapters, etc.) but still, 100 bones is a lotta dough. Though I may actually just wait and ask my parents to chip in to help me buy one for my birthday :D (i know you guys are reading this...no pressure...call me and we'll talk) ;) [pretty sure it qualifies as a party foul if you suggest your birthday gift request when you know your parents read your blog almost every day...oh well ;) ]

In the meantime, I found a website that walks you through re-creating a type of Holga Camera effect in Photoshop! Needless to say (but I'm saying it anyway) I've been going crazy using it. If you are also an avid Photoshop user and would like to try it, you can click HERE and go to the tutorial site.

Here are some of the photos I've played around with (I also posted some in the blog post for Christiaan Vodegel's b.day party) :