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Friday, December 24, 2010

""And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

Title: Luke 2:12

I'm sitting here in my PJs on a lazy Friday morning with a list full of things to do. I'm officially done with my semester and somehow managed to make Dean's List for my hardest semester in which my one adviser proceeded to tell me it would kill me and another encouraged me to drop a class because he didn't think I could handle it. (Take that Dr. L!)

Today is Christmas Eve already. Leading up to this day, I have been less than excited. I feel the older I get, the less exciting Christmas becomes. My friend says that holidays now are obligations. I could understand where he was coming from. I've been stressed about buying presents for everyone, having enough money to buy presents for everyone, fitting in everyone and seeing them during the holidays (word of advice: stay single, it makes things easier), making things for dinner, wrapping everything, getting cards out. It doesn't help that my mom not only works on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, she also upset every year because 12 years ago today we lost my grandmother to cancer (eff you cancer).

All these stressors from every day life plus our loss puts a damper on Christmas, ya know?

Last night my mom asked me to come upstairs and she showed me a video on youtube that she received through an email. I sat and watched it and it really had me thinking.

Then my mom sat there, crying and told me this video reminded her of me when I was younger. First off I never believed in Santa. It was something we never did, I always knew my presents came from my family. Now when I was that young, I use to go into work with my mom. Her supervisor, Gail, approached my mom one day about a conversation she had with me. Gail had asked me if I had written my letter to Santa Claus yet. I stood proud and looked her in the eye and told her that Christmas was not about Santa but about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Gail told my mom how I had made her think about the true meaning of Christmas and my mom was so proud of me.

I really needed to hear this story as my mind has only been focusing on the fact that things aren't done and there are no Christmas decorations and not enough money and so on. I lost my focus on what Christmas is REALLY about.

The birth of Christ, our Lord.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
I hope you spend it with those you love celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Let Me See You Gettin' Nasty With Your Pumpkin Juice Cup"

So you all know the G6 song, I'm sure. First let me say that I hated it. When it first came out, I refused to listen to it. Vito on the other hand heard the song and loved it. This was odd seeing as he usually hates that kind of music and tries to avoid it at all costs. With him listening to it, it grew on me. I now love the song.

That being said, I found these three parodies.
If you love the HP and know this song, watch/listen to them now.

P.S. Don't forget to let me know if you want a Christmas Card!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Christmas Time Is (almost) Here!"

Now that I've successfully celebrated Thanksgiving , I can officially move on to the next holiday on the list.


I cannot believe Christmas is going to be here in less than 4 weeks! Thank God for my engagiversary twin Brit for introducing me to Shutterfly and their Christmas cards!! I have been sending Christmas cards out for years now, getting out the green and red pens to write lovely messages to my loved ones. Vito and I have been on the fence about buying picture cards instead of the generic ones in the store. We seem to get a few every year and I "ooh"and "Aww" at every single one!

After seeing that they were offering a promotion for us bloggers, I was immediately sold. This year would be our first year picture Christmas card! By just blogging about Shutterfly, they are graciously giving us 50 free picture cards! Free! Head on over here to check out this amazing deal for yourself!

After that, you need to head on over and check out to multitude of different designs they have to offer for Christmas cards and Holiday cards. My biggest problem is trying to pick a favorite one, there are SO many cute ones!

I'm in love with the flower tree. So cute!

How could one not fall for these stockings!?

I just adore the candy cane letters! So festive!

Pretty snow flakes!

As you can see, there are many, many, many choices!

Also make sure you check out their Christmas party invitations. Makes me want to have a party just so I can buy the adorable invites!

I now look forward to picking a design and a picture(s) for our first photo card!

I can't wait to see how they turn out! Thanks Shutterfly!

If you would like one of these little pretties from me, either leave your email in the comment section below and I'll contact you or you can email me with your address at caramelphotos@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Word-Filled Wednesday {22}

I'm switching up World-Filled Wednesday a bit.
Instead of a quote, I found mention of this list over at D's blog and researched more into it and found the author.
Please read them.
You will not regret it.

39 Ways to Live & Not Merely Exist
  1. Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

  2. Get outside. Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.

  3. Savor food. Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.

  4. Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.

  5. Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?

  6. Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).

  7. Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.

  8. Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, and do your work on a laptop, in a coffee shop, or on a boat, or in a log cabin. This may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.

  9. Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.

  10. Pull away from Internet. You're reading something on the Internet right now. And, with the exception of this article, it is just more wasting away of your precious time. You cannot get these minutes back. Unplug the Internet, then get out of your office or house. Right now! And go and do something.

  11. Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon. You may need to sell your car or stop your cable bill and stop eating out to do it, but make it happen. You are too young to not see the world. If need be, find a way to make a living by freelancing, then work while you travel. Only work an hour or two a day. Don't check email but once a week. Then use the rest of the time to see the world.

  12. Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.

  13. Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.

  14. Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some push ups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.

  15. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!

  16. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. If you have a problem with this, talk to someone about it. And practice makes perfect.

  17. Kiss in the rain. Seize the moment and be romantic. Raining outside? Grab your lover and give her a passionate kiss. Driving home? Stop the car and pick some wildflowers. Send her a love note. Dress sexy for him.

  18. Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

  19. When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.

  20. Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.

  21. Touch humanity. Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.

  22. Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.

  23. Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.

  24. Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. Give you advice on making a marriage last or staying out of debt. Tell you about their regrets, so you can learn from them and avoid the same mistakes. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.

  25. Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.

  26. Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha. For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.

  27. Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.

  28. Do nothing. Despite the tip above that we should find excitement, there is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.

  29. Stop playing video games. They might be fun, but they can take up way too much time. If you spend a lot of time playing online games, or computer solitaire, or Wii or Gameboy or whatever, consider going a week without it. Then find something else to do, outside.

  30. Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.

  31. Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read a trashy novel or even better, read Dumb Little Man once a day and be done.

  32. Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.

  33. Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're a news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. Anything important, my mom tells me about.

  34. Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.

  35. Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.

  36. Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.

  37. Make an awesome dessert. I like to make warm, soft chocolate cake. But even berries dipped in chocolate, or crepes with ice cream and fruit, or fresh apple pie, or homemade chocolate chip cookies or brownies, are great. This isn't an every day thing, but an occasional treat thing. But it's wonderful.

  38. Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

  39. Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Word-Filled Wednesday {20}

Cheap and effective, just the way it needs to be. 8)

Miss you ladies.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Word-Filled Wednesday {19}

I'm alive, I promise. School has taken over my life but I'm attempting to pop back in when I can!

Now onto one of my favorite posts to do, Word-Filled Wednesday!

I hope you all have enemies too. 8)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Word-Filled Wednesday {18}

Because sometimes I need a reminder that what I think is best for me does not always align with what He knows is best for me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Guest Posting!

Please know that even though I've been a gigantic fail of a blogger around this blog, today I'm guest bloggin' over at the gorgeous Lauren's blog while she is away enjoying Europe.
Head over there & check out some of my favorite things about Fall!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Word-Filled Wednesday {17}

First of all, thank you all for your congratulations and excitement for my engagement. It has made my experience so much better, feeding off of everyone else's excitement. It means the world to me. Seriously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Second, I promise to give a recap of the day. I have yet to upload the pictures to Vito's new laptop as school has been swallowing up my time. It will come. Promise!
Third, it's time to get back to World-Filled Wednesday's which happen to be one of my favorite posts I make.
If this quote does not apply to you right now, it will.
True love is out there for everyone.
It's truly worth it in every way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"And If You Knew How Happy You Are Making Me I Never Thought That I'd Love Anyone So Much"

Title: Chantal Kreviazuk - "Feels Like Home"

So this past Sunday has many of you know, Vito & I ventured down to the beach early in the AM for a day trip. We were suppose to go down last week with our anniversary twins but I went ruined it by getting sick.

This Sunday we went down by ourselves for the day.

To say it was amazing would be an understatement.

The beach is my favorite place. In the world.

I have many pictures to show you and will explain our whole day but I couldn't wait any longer.

The best part of the entire day?

When Vito took me for a walk on the beach at sunset and proposed to me.

After almost 5.5 years, I am ENGAGED!!!!
(Sorry for the poor quality of the picture!)

We're beyond ecstatic and I promise to give y'all the details soon but until then, feast your eyes on this beauty!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Cause You Been Acting Like You're Overloaded"

Title: Hanson - "And I Waited"

Kinda like Friday's post, this blog post has no real focus. I have a whole bunch of random things going on right now, just thought you should know.

The amazing beach day trip with my lovah and 2 friends? Didn't happen.
When I wrote Friday's post, I was trying to focus on all the happy things in my life so take my mind off of the sickness that was creeping in. I had convinced myself that I'd be fine. I went home from work and curled up on the couch. Even made it to the grocery store (in yoga pants, feel free to judge) to pick up snacks. Went back to the couch and crashed. For 3 hours. I never got anything done and I woke up feeling worse. After crying and a lot of "it's not faaaaaiiir"'s, Vito let our friends know we wouldn't be making it. Pretty lame but one can't enjoy the beach as much if her partner in crime is a box of tissues and a bag of cough drops. I'm still kinda bitter but I'm working on getting over it. We are going to try to reschedule for this weekend. I'm not letting myself get excited.

Last night I had my first class of my senior year. Woot woot! I'm one of 6 girls in a class with 19 other men. It's a night class and I'm stuck in a group with the annoying kid in class. Awesome start. This morning's class has officially made my anxiety sky rocket when I learn that I'll be writing and defending a thesis for that class plus another one that starts tomorrow. Oh and did I mention the research study I'm running? 6 classes. I may not survive. I promise Vito will post if said death occurs.

The best part of my 3 day weekend was yesterday, Vito & I ventured to Starbucks. Now seeing as it is 90+ degrees outside (what.the.eff), drinking a pumpkin spice latte wouldn't be possible. But there was a saving grace. I don't know if y'all have amazing baristas like I do around here but they will pretty much bend over backwards for you. I asked her what cold pumpkin drinks she could make me. She whipped us up a pumpkin spice coffee frapp.
*cue angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus."
I died. & went to heaven. & cursed Vito for making us share it. I'm still thinking about it and might need to go get one tonight. I am SO sad to hear from my international readers that pumpkin spice isn't an option over seas. I say boycott or start a petition because trust me, you need it in your life.

I finished The Hunger Games' third book in its trilogy. Mockingjay. Peeta & I reunited and it feels soooooo good. Yes I sung that in my head, love me through it. 8) If you've been hiding under a rock and haven't read this series, do yourself a favor and get on that. You will thank me. & you will fall in love with the boy with the bread.

I bought the new Hanson CD.
Go ahead and judge me.

There are a lot of new followers around this blog! (Maybe not so many after admitting #5)
I'm so glad y'all have stopped by. Don't be shy, feel free to introduce yourselves!

Friday, August 27, 2010

"The Touch Of Your Lips, It's A Shock Not A Kiss, It's Electric Twist."

Title: A Fine Frenzy - "Electric Twist"

Today, let's address some reason why Vanessa is happy!

It's Friday. Not only is that exciting in its self, it is also my last 8 hour day until at least October. And I have a 3 day weekend! & there is a certain someone who isn't in the office today which always makes for a better day!

It's August and only 80 degrees outside, sun is shining, and the windows are open. I don't know about y'all but fresh air and sunshine always puts me in a better mood.

Tomorrow we are doing a day trip to the beach with our anniversary couple! This will be my first (and probably only trip) to the beach this year. I am excited to go as it will only be 80 degrees at the beach, perfect weather. After the trip, I think I will finally be able to let go of summer and welcome fall!

The beautiful Ivy is celebrating her blogoversary and is having an amazing giveaway. I do not want to tell you about it because I'm selfishly dreaming of winning just so I can try her treehugger coffee!

I received an email today from Starbucks. We all know how I'm addicted right? Right. And many of you also know how excited I am for September 1st, which is usually the first officially day for Pumpkin Spice Latte's (my second favorite drink!) to be back! Well since Starbucks and I are bffs (Read: I keep them in business) they sent me an extra special message today that I want to share with y'all!

So tell me what things are making you happy today??

Happy Weekend!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray"

Title: You Are My Sunshine.
The song my mom used to sing to me when I was younger.

Last month when I celebrated my 1 year of bloggin' it up, I had asked if there was anything I hadn't blogged about that you wanted to know. I have not forgotten about them! I decided to start with one of the newly married Aubrey's requests.

10 Things I've Learned From My Mom

Reading is one of the best past times.
My mom's favorite thing to do is read. This woman will sit down and read a book in one night. When she comes home from work, she is often found with a book in her hand. Growing up, I never found an appeal in reading. It wasn't until I was introduced to the Harry Potter series that I truly found my love for reading. I learned from her that getting lost in another world through words is one of the best ways to spend extra time.

How to flute a pie
Every single Thanksgiving and Christmas my mom makes the best pumpkin pie to ever grace this earth. Her mother use to make it and the recipe has been passed down. Now as a wonderful little girl, I always loved to help. My job every time she baked these lovely pies was fluting the crust. Still to this day, if I'm around she'll ask me to do it. Only now, I don't need to pull a chair up to the kitchen counter to reach the pies. 8)

Life isn't always fair
This is one of those phrases I've heard more times that I ever wanted to. You know the typical conversation between mother and teenage daughter, I'm sure you've had it.
"But mom, that isn't fair!"
"Well honey, life isn't always fair"
I hated hearing it but it is true. Life isn't always fair. We just need to suck it up and take the bad with the good.

It's better to have too much than not enough
If you've ever walked into my house when my mother cooks, you would think the entire neighborhood was coming for dinner. This woman overbuys everything.
Example A: We have family dinner every Sunday. One week at our house and next at my sister's, back and forth. Last week when it was at our house, we were having a "make your own sub" night. Easy right? For 6 people, my mom bought 5 different lunch meats, 2 different cheeses, all the fixin's, 3 bags of chips, mac salad, 2 types of potato salad, red beet eggs, veggies and dip, and meat and cheeses cut up. Plus cheesecake for dessert. 6 people. Her response? "Well, I wanted to make sure everyone would get what they wanted." Example B: Mom made ham, green beans, and potatoes for her, Vito, & I. After us three dishing up our food, she makes the comment "Are you proud of me? I almost made the right amount! There's only about 2 extra servings in there!" Yes Mom, so proud. 8)

Being selfless
Anyone who knows my mom would describe her as someone who has a big heart. Sadly, it becomes a fault for her as she has been taken advantage for it. This woman always puts her children first. I could probably count on one hand growing up and up until now how many times I've seen her go clothes shopping for herself. We certainly didn't grow up with much but the little she did have, she spent on my sister and I. She'd rather us be happy and have something new than herself. She still struggles with buying things for herself. I believe she will always put us first, even now that we are grown.

Sometimes a banana split for supper is the way to go.
After my sister moved out when I was 11, it was just my mother and I living at home. One night she didn't feel like cooking. She said she craved a banana split. Since we live within 2 minute walking distance from an ice cream shop, she thought it was a good idea to go get banana splits for dinner. That was my first one ever. Sometimes, it's good to do something silly like eat only ice cream for dinner.

That the world, contrary to what I sometimes believe, does not revolve around me.
Even though my mom's life revolved around both my sister's and I's, she often reminds us that it isn't that way for everyone. As many times as I've heard "Life isn't always fair" I've always heard, "Well Vanessa, the world does not revolve around you." It's a sad truth if you ask me.

Keep everything.
Ever seen the show Hoarders? My mom could be on it. This woman keeps everything. She hates throwing things out because "you never know when this might come in handy!" It's bad. & let me tell you, that one time a few years ago she had that one random thing you might have needed for one split second? She will never let you forget that instance. She will bring it up as proof that keeping random things is worth it.

Licking the spatula is more than okay
As a child, my mom always made home made chocolate cake with the best white icing ever to exist. Another recipe passed down from her mother. You best believe that then and still now she calls me to the kitchen to lick the beaters or the spatula. She always told me that is why the electric beater had 2 beaters, so both my sister and I could lick them. Obviously this means I've eaten raw eggs and I've still lived to tell the tale.

As long as you've tried your best, that is all that counts.
My mom was never the one who got angry if I ever brought home a bad grade. Never. I remember the first time I brought home a D on an assignment from middle school. I cried. She hugged me and asked me "Did you try your best?" I sobbed out a "Yes and I still did bad" and she would reply "As long as you tried your best, that is all that counts to me." It always made me feel better. She never expected perfection from me as other parents wanted from their children. She only wanted me to try as hard as I could. That was enough for her.

I could go on and on as I've learned so much from my mom. These just happen to be the first 10 things to come to mind.

Do we always get along?
Do I love her always?

Me & Mommy, Circa Christmas 2008

What's some of your favorite lessons you've learned from your mom?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010