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December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Last year, I was thrilled to see 2010 come to a close.  2010 was a rough year, but I had high hopes for 2011.  I even said this:
That being said, I have a feeling 2011 is going to be my year. 11 has always been my lucky number, and the year is already starting out great with some good news starting on Monday (and no I am not talking about the launch of Oprah's own network, but that too!)
And you want to know what?  2011 was a great year.  More importantly, it was a year of stability, which we desperately needed.  Everything seemed to settle down a bit and we were able to get our whits about us.  It felt like we finally transitioned into our adult lives.  Therefore, while I welcome 2012 with open arms and all the adventures it will bring, I will remember 2011 fondly.

 January 
-It was COLD.  So cold Toby and and Kadira actually shared a bed:
-I began my quilting quest
-We watched the Mavs beat the Lakers, little did we know this was an indication of a Mavs championship to come.

February
-I completed the no sweets in January challenge, kind of:

-I found hope in future generations.

March
-I begrudgingly realized I was going to have to take the Texas Bar Exam.
-I ate a huge slice of humble pie.
-I turned 27!:


April 
April was a fun month! 
-It was the best day of my life! I mean Kate's life:
-We went and saw Kenny Chesney at Cowboy's stadium:

-We attended our first Ranger's game of the season!

May
-Osama Bin Ladin was captured and killed:

-Oprah's show ended, I have been lost ever since.
-My friend and I sneaked out of work to meet Bethenny Frankel:
-I met Jen Lancaster:

June
-We visited Austin for the first time!:


July
-I blogged only twice, because I was too busy studying for the stupid bar exam. 

August
-I killed a bee all by myself.
-I bought an Erin Condren Life Changing Planner.
-I met...er...saw George and Laura Bush!

September
-I got a new job!

October
October was a great month too!
-I saw Taylor Swift in concert! 
-I finished that damn quilt (finally):
-I went home to visit my family in Idaho before starting my new gig:

November: 
-I found out I passed the bar exam and proceeded to pass out in surprise.
-I actually enjoyed Halloween.

December 
-I spent way too many hours of my life making a Christmas wreath:
-We spent Christmas with our families for the first time in three years:

Years Past:
-2010 Year in Review
-2009 Year in Review
Resolutions
Now, lets check in and see how I did on last years New Years Resolutions....

Resolutions I failed on:
-Learn how to bake 6 kinds of cakes from scratch: For the sake of my waistline, this was a good thing... 
-Create an emergency book for the house:  This just seems like a lot of work...
-Develop and STOP DEPLETING our wine collection: Have you met us? On a positive note, we did try a lot of wine this year...
-Run a half marathon: I did run three 5ks!
-Tour a winery: fail.

Resolutions I kind of did: 
-Reread the entire Harry Potter series before the last movie comes out:  I read 1-5 before taking a break 
-Work on decorating the house: We made improvements, but nothing substantial. -Volunteer somewhere: Coming in 2012...
Go the entire month of January without eating sweets: I did this, minus the cupcake incident
-Finish my manuscript: It not finished! But I did make a big dent in it!
-Read 25 new books (one more then last year!): 21.5....fail!  
-Try 25 new recipes (and yes, the cakes count): I probably came close to this but I stopped keeping track.
-Get out of debt: We made progress, but are not quite there yet! 

Resolutions I completed!:
-Get better about remembering and acknowledging birthdays:  See this post   
-Get better about recycling:  We bought a special recycle bin and normally our recycling is bigger then our garbage every week!
-Get our files organized:  Done!  Although I still would like to find a good file cabinet.  
-Learn how to quilt: See this post


2012 Resolutions coming tomorrow! Have a safe and joyous New Years Eve everybody! 


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December 30, 2011

Melissa's Top Books of 2011

Well, there is good news...and there is some bad news.

The bad news is that I set a goal to read 25 books in 2011 and I missed it.  I only read 21...well, 21.5 really because I am halfway through The Art of Racing in the Rain.

The good news is that I read some really amazing books this year.

I also read a lot of losers.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?  Hated.  Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman?  This book won the distinction of my least favorite book of all time.

I also re-read a lot of books (Harry Potter and Emily Giffin novels) which is new for me, I normally hate doing that. 

I also read a few I couldn't finish.  (If Here was There by Jen Lancaster and A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel)

Last year I did a top ten list of my favorite books read in 2010. But this year, I am only giving the distinction to six.  I had a really hard time deciding between first and second place, but ultimately decided that first place goes to...(drum roll please)...


1. Room by Emma Donoghue

This book was just perfect.  Captivating, unique, and utterly imaginative.  This is a perfect pick for a book club.

(Note that you can click on the hyperlink and read my full review.)


2. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Who didn't read this book this year? 


3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I missed the proverbial boat on this book, as everybody else read it over a year ago.  But what an amazing piece of work! I just finished it so I didn't get the chance to write a review, but I was thrilled this book lived up to my high expectations. 


4. No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin

This book came out of nowhere for me.  I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but Goodwin's writing mixed with the fact that the Roosevelts are just so damn interesting made this a great read for me....


5. Divergent by Veronica Roth 

I don't know if its as good as the Hunger Games...but its definitely worth reading and I am looking forward to the second book in the trilogy.



6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

This book almost didn't make the list, but I decided it deserved to because it was cute, fun, and different. Plus I have a major girl crush on Mindy Kaling.

So now I begin the task of compilling my 2012 to-read list.  Any books I should add?

To read all my book reviews make sure you friend me on make sure to friend me on Goodreads! My user name is DuolyNoted.

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December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

You know those Christmas movies where people get off a plane and are immediately engulfed in a whirlwind of activity? Well, that was our Christmas spent in the great state of Idaho. It couldn't have been more fun, but damn are we exhausted!


This is my Christmas manicure.  It seemed like a good idea after two glasses of wine and a foot rub, but after my "girls night" high wore off I decided it looks a bit more like Lady Gaga then the fashion forward look I was hoping for.



We introduced my family to Cranium and let me tell you, some major family memories were made (shower).


We drank a lot of coffee and tea out of these Christmas mugs...


...and woke up to some fabulous scenery (that's Idaho for you.)


We cuddled by the fire....


...and enjoyed seeing mountains again.


We saw some amazing sunsets...


...ate some amazing food...


...and took in all the Christmas decorations.



We laughed a lot.


And then said our goodbyes.

It was a quick trip - but seeing as Dan and I haven't been home for Christmas in three years we felt really lucky to be able to get back.  We were greeted back and home with two disgruntled pups and major chest colds- but it was all worth it!

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December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

From the ghosts of Christmas cards past...

2009....


2010....


to the the ghost of Christmas card present...


Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night! 

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December 17, 2011

Christmas Tamales

{The Christmas tamale, but not mine.}
{photo source}

One thing I love about living in Texas is Christmas tamales.  A lot of tamales are sold around this time of year, and I am the biggest proponent of this tradition. 

I have fond memories of the first year Dan brought home Christmas tamales...

I looked at the corn husks with disgust. "I am not going to eat that." I said, because literally, literally, I had never even seen a tamale before. We don't have tamales in Idaho, just potatoes.  And quite frankly, tamales don't look that appetizing when you don't know what goodness awaits inside. Dan heated up his and the next thing I know the amazing smell was wafting through the house and I agreed to try a bite.

And it was heaven. Heaven I tell you.

I have tried other tamale suppliers, but the best are the Christmas tamales sold at my former job by a woman who makes them once a year to make some extra money for the holidays. 

Last year I bought ten. They lasted maybe two days. Maybe.

I then had to go a whole year with no tamales.  Thus I decided I was just going to make my own tamales so I looked up how to make them.   Do you know how much work it is to make tamales? Like, days. So that wasn't going to happen. 

So now I have waited patently for 365 days for these tamales. 

And now I  have them.

This year I ordered twenty, literally just for me.  Some are in my freezer, some are in my kitchen. 

I may have even had a tamales for breakfast. 

And dinner last night. 

aannnnddd again for lunch today. 

Nothing says Christmas like a Christmas tamale.

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December 8, 2011

Christmas Ribbon Wreath

I have had Rachel's blog post of her ribbon wreath starred in my google reader for months waiting for Christmas to make one of my very own.  The original inspiration comes from Duchess of Fork, who provides detailed instructions.  If you want to make a wreath of your own I highly suggest you follow her directions.  If you want to go the painful route, follow mine.


(1) Buy 18 different types of 3-4 ft. ribbon and one styraphone wreath that is far too big.

(2) Return said wreath upon the realization it is too big.  Get a smaller, rounder, 14 inch wreath. 


(3) Wrap the wreath in ribbon.  Glue it down with hot glue.

(4) Cut all your ribbon into five inch strips.  This takes a million hours, approximately. 


(5) Glue the ribbon into little loops, but leave an end flap.

(6) Give yourselves three blisters.



(7) Get made fun of by your husband for screaming every five seconds because you burn yourself.

(8) Separate the little tab at the end of the ribbon and glue down your pieces of ribbon onto your wreath.

(9) Burn yourself three more times.



(10) Have your husband go to bed.

(11) Stay up until one in the morning working on this wreath.

(12) Pass out, this is the latest you have stayed up in a long time.

(13) Wake up in the morning and be proud of your accomplishment.  Vow that for all the hours it took, it will be hung every year for the rest of your life.



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December 4, 2011

Some{cards} Strike a Little Too Close to Home

Everybody loves somecards.com except for me. They freak me out because they read my mind.  Here is a list of the somecards that I find particularly freaky...







Seriously though, making sure my DVR doesn't get too full is a full time job...



What's crazy is that I can't even judge people who are having kids anymore.  You you have a job, you have a house, you have a devoted partner and you want a kid- why not!



I wash clothes two ways: (1) clothes that go in cold, normal wash and (2) clothes that go in cold, delicate wash.  I hate remembering what clothes have to be sent to the dry cleaners.  If something says dry clean only, I rarely buy it.



Nothing says "I just ran a mile and burned about 100 calories" then rewarding yourself with a 500 calorie margarita.  Am I right ladies?



You know how Weight Watchers has that saying "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels?"  That's what I realized that I could never do WW because I disagree with their fundamental principal.  Lots of things taste as good as skinny feels, namely chocolate. 



My best friend said to me the other day "wow! You sure area calling a lot more!" Uh, that's because I am on the road 2.5 hours a day...



Nothing too painful.  Just sick enough so I can justify taking a day off and just nauseous enough to where I stay away from the oreos in the cupboard.




GOD! YES! This one is my favorite. Why can't I just be a professional pinner on pinterest? Or a professional blog reader? Or a professional lay in bed and read trashy chick lit...person...???? Or better yet, a professional discuss-er of particularly true somecards.

You can see these and a lot more on my pinterest board. 
What are some of your favorite somecards? 

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