5 Reasons Why I'm Excited To Go Home For Christmas

Guess what? Thursday is December 1st!! Crazy, huh? This month has flown by and now it's time to start my finger and toe countdown till Christmas! 
(and ears and nose and teeth and belly button, because there are still too many days and not enough phalanges) 

But I digress...
I'll be flying from Seattle to DC with my main squeeze on Christmas Eve to spend some time with mommy and daddy dearest for the holidays! (Mark your calendars you east coast folks!) There are many reasons why I'm excited to be going home, other than the fact that I haven't seen my parents since JULY! What the Eff, you say? I know! My thoughts exactly.

But I narrowed my list from 1,639 things I'm excited about to just 5 for you lovely readers.  

1. Shopping.
A) it's Christmas and
B) you know my mom is going to buy me goodies because she's missed me so. Plus, there really isn't a better mommy/daughter bonding activity. Try to think of one...you couldn't, could ya?

2. Sugary Cereal.
I Love, Love, LOVE kiddy cereal. Cookie Crisp, Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms-- you name it! YUM. But I never buy it for myself because it's just not worth the money, not to mention I have a weird cereal complex that makes it impossible for me not to finish the box in one setting. First, I pour the cereal, then I add the milk, then there is too much milk and not enough cereal, I add more cereal, eat for a while, realize that I need more milk, pour more milk, continue eating, then I need more cereal! It really never ends until the box is completely empty. 

3. Scrapbooks.
I HATE scrapbooking, but my mom is the world's greatest scrapbooker. I love going home and taking all the scrapbooks she's done off the bookshelf and browsing the pages of my youth. Sigh. I've seen them a million times but they never become old to me. Mommy is just so darn creative with those scrapbooks it's silly! (I'll post some pics of her work when I get there. You'll love 'em and want her to make you one.) I always feel motivated to scrapbook after I view her creations, but I know better. I've attempted it in the past. I feel anxious when I scrapbook. Like if you are sitting near me I might punch you in the face anxious. I'm not sure why.

4. Cracker Barrel.
I just really want to eat at a Cracker Barrel. We don't have them on the west coast and it's a shame.

5. Harry Potter.
The Harry Potter movies are fantastic! Yeah, i just said that. I really don't understand why some people think they are wicked. And although I've seen all of them, mom and I haven't seen the latest one together, and well, we have to watch it together. It's kinda a tradition. 

Welp, that's my lame-o list. I think I'm pretty easy to please. 



For those of you who know me, you know I'm a glass half-empty kind of person. I have a contagious negative cell somewhere in my body that multiples and contaminates every part of my being from time to time. It usually resides in my mind, but occasionally it will infect my heart, and that's when I get that deep, overwhelming sadness. People say I'm emotional. Like I've posted here before, I just tend to feel things heavily, whether it's happiness or sadness, I tend to feel the emotion strongly.

Although I wish I was a glass half-full kinda gal, I'm just not. You know those Debbie Downers in your life? Well, I'm Downer Dani. Yet, although I look at my glass with a half-empty eye, I have somehow managed to surround myself with people whose eyes always discern the glass as half-full, and for that, I am very grateful.

This weekend was a good weekend. Partly because I had a good thanksgiving and partly because it was a long, relaxing weekend, but mostly because I have great friends. For those of you who may not know, I moved across the country and left all my friends behind. It has been difficult starting over in a new city, and quite frankly, my Downer Dani attitude doesn't necessarily scream "be my friend." It's hard meeting new people and, from time to time, I get really homesick and miss my friends terribly. But this weekend they felt close to me (in spirit anyway), and I was reminded of what a rare and beautiful gift true friendship is.

I got a beautiful, touching letter from a friend, a couple far away thoughtfully sent text messages, and a few random inside joke texts. Just simple things really, but each one made me smile and made me see that in the friendship department my glass truly is half-full. Friendship is not something that can happen overnight. It is a process with different stages and phases along the way. The friends who reached out to me this weekend are friends for life who have seen me far too many times sulking over my half-empty glass; but they love me regardless.

In Shakespeare's Sonnet 30 he says, "But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, / All loses are restored and sorrows end." My friends are a daily reminder of how great my life is. Honestly, my life is great. And because of the wonderful friends I have, I can look at this day with all it's blessings and clearly see that my glass is not only half-full, but overflowing. 


The Spoils Of Love...

So, although I did avoid the crazy Black Friday mania it was still pretty hectic navigating through the leftover sale goodies on Saturday. Wasn't everyone supposed to spend all their money the previous day?...Allowing me to shop in peace on Saturday!? Come on people!

Regardless of the chaos, Steven and I managed to score some pretty sweet deals this Saturday, and by "Steven and I"...I mean Steven.

Girls, let me tell you something. There is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing your man to spoil you every once in a while if he has the means and desire to. I have always had a hard time accepting gifts if they weren't relating to Christmas or my birthday, and most guys would adhere to this sentiment with the upmost devotion; but Steven has always been a gift giver. (I'm quite certain that's his love language. SCORE!)

Anyways, I'm going to stop with the "my boyfriend is better than yours" game and just say that I definitely appreciate getting spoiled every once in a while...
 ...and I appreciate clothes. A LOT. Especially Banana Republic dresses that are 50% off and 8$ warm and comfy Old Navy pajama pants. Much appreciation exuding from me at the moment. Much.


Fake Shopping

Sometimes I go fake shopping. Basically, I browse the internet, find amazing things I desperately want, and even go as far as to put them in my shopping cart, and then delete everything because the realization hits me that I just don't have enough money to treat myself in such an extravagant way.

Today being Black Friday...I went fake shopping. Here's some of the things I have in my cart. 

These pumps by Enzo Angiolini.
 This Levi's GWI Trucker Jacket.

This Marc Jacobs watch.

And for some reason, I'm really obsessed with chunky sweaters this season.
Like this one by LA Made.

And this one by Joie.

Thankfully, Christmas is coming soon which means others can splurge on me, and hey, there's nothing wrong with splurging on yourself during the holiday season, right? 

I know, I know--it's about giving not receiving...blah blah blah.

Hope you all had a wonderful Turkey Day! And if you're out and about in the Black Friday madness, BE SAFE! People are crazy. Just saying.

Oh yeah, all the amazing finds above were taken from piperlime.com


Procrastination...is Okay, right?

I have a problem. Some people call it procrastination, but I'd like to think of it as relaxation before the work begins. I like my job. I like feeling productive and accomplished. Problem is, the way my job often works is a step-by-step-now-wait-a-few-days process rather than a finish-it-and-cross-it-off today process. When I start something, I like to see it completed before I leave for the evening. Not how it works here. Everything I start takes a few days to complete because oftentimes, I just don't have all the necessary information. This forces me to have a lot of incomplete projects on my desktop, and that REALLY annoys me..

Unfortunately, to deal with this issue, I've gotten in the habit of waiting to start projects until I have all the necessary junk and such to finish it. Basically, I am procrastinating just like I did in my college days. Procrastination + deadlines = a frustrating existence.
I really don't think college taught me anything after all...

I bet if I had a swanky office like this one I'd kick my bad habits in the rear and be the Queen of Productivity!
Yeah, probably not.
I need a severe dose of motivation. Any suggestions?


Thanksgiving = Short Work Week!

Yay! for Thanksgiving! Yay! for a 3 day work week! 

There is so, so much that I am thankful for this year.
I am thankful for my job; ergo my last post.
I am thankful for my AMAZING boyfriend. He is so good to me. It's outrageous.
I am thankful for my man's SUPER AWESOME family who has made me feel right at home in WA.
I am thankful for my ADORABLE lake house.
I am thankful that I can afford the above said lake house. 
I am thankful for all the bloggers who inspired me to blog myself! (So much easier than scrapbooking and numerous phone calls to family and friends..who has time for all that anyways?)
And I am thankful for my 6 faithful followers :) You guys are the best!

For all of you who read my blog but are not publicly following me (I know you're out there), I took this picture while at work to motivate you to click that "join this site" button on the right of this screen.
Yep, this is what I do at work.
p.s. the note says "Follow Me! I wrote that backwards" for those of you who can't decipher the above.
I know, I'm weird. 

Have a great Monday!


Being Still

I remember when I was 16 and my parents made me wait a few more months to get my license. I thought it was the end of the world. My thought process was "if I was only able to drive, my life would be perfect." A few months later, when I was able to drive, and life still wasn't perfect, I quickly began looking forward to my next life-changing moment.

I wake up around 5 every morning. Not because I want to, but because (a) I have to get ready for work or (b) my puppy thinks I have to get ready for work (when will he learn the meaning of WEEKEND!?). 

I am a miserable person at 5am and the first thing I MUST do is start the coffee pot. Something deep inside of me hopes that this magical, bitter liquid will cheer me. It rarely does. Instead, I find myself thinking, "I can't wait until I don't have to get up so early every morning." 

Today, I pondered that reoccurring thought. It bothered me. What the heck is my problem?...

I'm going to take you back 3 months and give you a glimpse into my then morning coffee-brewing musings. They went something like this, "I can't wait until I have a REAL job." 

Are you beginning to understand my dilemma??

Why can I not simply be content with What Is and Where I AM? I am always looking forward--waiting, wishing, hoping, praying for the next best thing to come along, NOW!

You say this isn't healthy? Yes, I'm aware. 

My miserable morning musings are not only unhealthy; they are revealing. And quite frankly, the revelation is sickening to me. It reveals my ungrateful, unheeding heart. I am not giving thanks for the many amazing blessings I have received lately. I am not even acknowledging that they are blessings at all.

I want a drivers license, get one, and then I want a later curfew. I want to go away to college, get there, and then I can't wait until I graduate. I want a big girl job, get one, and almost immediately, I wish I was to a point in life where I didn't have to work.

Why am I always so discontent with where I am in life? (That is a rhetorical question.) 

Like some ungrateful beggar, I desperately plea for things and then angrily shout, "It's not enough!" Who am I to think that I deserve anything more than what I am given. I, who knows my wicked heart more than any other living being, should know that I deserve far less than the things I already have. Luckily, my heavenly Father doesn't bless me based on my merit. If He did, I'd have nothing.

This morning was slightly different from my recent mornings though. I thought about my thoughts. I thought about how they probably break my Father's heart. If my earthly father gives me $50 I thank him profusely and many hugs and kisses ensue. Yet, my Father in heaven has given me a great job that allows me to be financially independent while living on the opposite side of the country, and He doesn't even receive a simple "thank you." 


And as I was feeling small enough to climb into my coffee mug and drown myself in that not-so-magical-more-bitter-than-usual brew, I heard something I haven't in a while. I don't know how to explain it really. Of course, I don't audibly hear when the Lord speaks to me. It's more like a feeling. I felt peace. I felt Him telling me to "Be Still." So, I was. I can't really describe what happened next, or what I am feeling now. But a contentment washed over me. 

And for that, I am thankful. And I am glad for where I am right at this moment.


Huckleberry + Billy Finn & New Blog Design

First off, I'd like to say thank you to Danielle (no, not me silly) for my new blog design. She torn through the html blogger jungle and came up with this design using the colors I had before! Simple and easy to navigate just like I asked! You can check out some of her other design Here!

Moving on..Huckleberry made a new friend this weekend and I caught it all on camera. (My crappy camera! But Steven's getting me a new one soon! WOOT WOOT!) His name was Duckleberry, but we changed it to Billy Finn because poor Huck was getting confused. Meet the friendliest duck on the planet!...or so we thought!
Of course, seeing a duck in my front yard is no surprise, but what is surprising was that when I walked outside Billy Finn did not move. He simply looked at my out of the corner of his eye (creepy) and went back to eating. 

Huckleberry was not sure how he felt about Billy Finn. He just stared apprehensively for about 4 minutes and then decided it would be fun to chase him. So, that's what he did, and poor Billy Finn went hobbling back to the lake. But he didn't swim off, he stayed close by to taunt Huckleberry.
Huckleberry was very perturbed about this, to say the least, because he harbors a deep, dark secret. My puppy, a RETRIEVER mind you, is afraid of the water. He really, really wanted to chase Billy Finn, but refused to swim in that lake. 

Huck's solution: drink all the water in the lake so he can run after Billy Finn.
And so here's Huck, slurping away in between my feet; meanwhile, Billy Finn continues his taunting ways...swimming closer and closer towards Huck and then darting out of reach.

It looked like Huckleberry's plan to drink the entire lake was working...until he fell in of course. 
 New plan: freak out so mommy can't get a good picture and then go inside to sleep on her rain boots. Cutest, yet most defeated looking face :(

After Huck's nap, he went straight to the door like the good little (almost completely) potty trained puppy that he is only to discover some disturbing news.
Billy Finn was back and setting camp on his turf. Huck's newest solution: give Billy Finn the evil eye for another 4 minutes.

Eventually, I fed Billy Finn one of my homemade sugar-free berry muffins. 
He threw up and we haven't seen him since.


Bucket List + Weirdness

I updated my Bucket List today.
You should probably check it out.
Also, today is a very, very weird day for me.
For reasons I'd rather not share.
and I'm not going to share.
(Don't you hate when people do that!?)
If you are a friend of mine who knows my #,
feel free to call and I'll be glad to share.

The End.


Oh The Stories I Could Tell...

If I had this redone vintage typewriter I'm quite certain my life would be complete...

Well, probably not, but I have always wanted a typewriter. Wouldn't it be cool to write my stories and poems on here! I would be tap, tap, tapping away all day. (Steven says I wouldn't use it. Oh ye of little faith!) I would ToTALLY use it! I would I would! Okay, he's probably right. But not because I wouldn't WANT to use it! But because I haven't had any inspiration to write since I've been in WA. I don't know what is lacking. It's beautiful here and I have a lot of down time after work I could use to write, I just have nothing to write about these days.

Maybe that's a good thing. My writing tends to be prompted by some emotional turmoil going on at the moment, so perhaps, this simply means everything is just dandy in the world of Danielle. Doubt it though. I broke out in spontaneous tears with Steven at lunch yesterday (that tends to happen from time to time.) But we will save that for
another post...

The point of today's post is that I want that typewriter. I need that typewriter. I also need a bookshelf.  If you would like to get either for me feel free (Dead Serious).

Oh yeah, you can find this typewriter and others like it at Fab.com. Awesome website. Great time-waster.


You Will Soon Be Crossing Warm Waters For A Fun Vacation...

Fortune Cookie, from the moment I first meet you I have received nothing but lies. How am I supposed to put any faith in you when all your promises are empty? When I encountered you on this bitter cold November day all I wanted was a generic platitude, maybe a "be kind, and others will be kind to you in return" sort of message; instead, you mock me! As I gingerly broke the delicate, flaky, vanilla sweet goodness in half and slowly unfolded the white slip of paper, hands shaking, waiting for my future to literally unfold...you tell me, "You will soon be crossing warm waters for a fun vacation." How could you possibly know the upmost desire of my heart! To be sitting on a beach under a palm tree with a Mojito in my hand! But alas, I know you lie. The only vacation I am going to be taking any time soon is to no-man's-land West Virginia for Christmas, where my tan will not improve but my wallet size will dramatically decrease. Thank you for the unpleasant reminder that no, we do not always get what we want.

It is COLD in Seattle. Very, very cold....


Chicken Tetrazzini + Bones

This post is a few days late, but last Thursday was AMAZE-ING! It was the Bones season premier which called for a special feast with some special people, double date style. On the menu for the night was chicken tetrazzini. Turned out being very good considering my newbie kitchen skills. Everyone went back for seconds! Here's what you need.

  •  12 oz spaghetti
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (or vermouth or dry white wine)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (divided into 1/3 and 1/3 cups)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Ground nutmeg 
1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Start heating 2 to 3 quarts of water for the pasta. 
2 Next, Cook the mushrooms in 3 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat, stirring, until all of the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated, 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
3 In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes.
4 About now, put the pasta into the boiling water you've heated. Follow the package directions and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking continue on with the recipe.
5 Into the saucepan with the butter and flour, slowly whisk in the milk, cream, broth, and the sherry. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 to 8 minutes.
6 When the pasta is ready, drain it. In a large bowl combine the pasta, the sauce, the mushrooms, the turkey, and the peas. Stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan and the 1/3 cup of Swiss cheese. Stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note that if you have been using unsalted butter, and/or unsalted or low sodium stock, you will need to add more salt than you might expect. Just keep sprinkling it in until it is seasoned to your taste. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg if using, again to taste. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 3-quart casserole.
7 In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits.
8 Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.
So, so Good!!!

Some pics of the process with my terrible camera. Getting a new one for Christmas though! (Woot Woot)
Did I mention that the Bones season premier was pretty steller? Do you watch Bones? If not, you should. 'Nuff said.
Happy Weekend!! :) 


Follow Me..Into the Tub

Okay, I lied. You are not invited to my nightly bath. That's just "me" time. However, you are invited to Huckleberry's scruba-dub-dub session. (Don't worry. Modesty is of extreme importance to me; hence, only head shots and body shots where he is covered by a towel.) My blog is totally PG.

Scruba-dub-dub, Huckleberry!!! So good in the bath! Makes mommy proud.

Grumpy face, because although he was a good boy, he hated it.
All kids hate baths though, right?

And yes, to answer the question your are asking yourselves right now, I am obsessed with my dog. No biggie.

Now let us get to the "follow me" part of this post's title. Sort and simple. I want you to follow this blog so I can see who is actually reading it! I can see (secretly, MAWHAHA) how many pageviews I get per day. Which, btw, is very, very addicting. I text Steven numerous times a day updating him on my pageview count. 

Ahh, but I digress..

I can see how MANY people are viewing my blog, but not WHO is viewing my blog. And quite frankly, I'd like to know. Because I'm nosy, K? Okay. So it's follow me time. On the right side of my blog you'll see a button that says "Join this Site," click it and either become a member through an existing account (Google, Twitter, etc.) or create a google account. It's truly that simple and I'd really appreciate it. Thanks peeps!


Happy Birthday, Bevita!!!

Today is a very, very special day! BECAUSE....it is Bevita's Birthday! For those of you who don't know her, Bevita (real name is Beverly) is one of my best friends from college. I lived with her these last 3 years before I moved out to Washington. Bevita and I have started a little tradition on her birthday, I write her the corniest (spelling?), cheesiest (hmm?), silliest birthday poem I can think of. Since I am no where near her to deliver the poem this year, I've decided to post it on here so that she, and all my lovely followers, can witness me keeping this tradition alive! 

Please, no judgement on my poetry. Yes, I am an English Grad, but this poem is simply written to make Bevita smile and laugh out loud. So, with no further ado, here is my spectacular birthday poem.

I know a girl named Bevita,
I know her quite well,
and because it's her birthday
there's a story I must tell.

A story about friendship,
kindness, and love.
A story showing everyone that
Bevita's a gift from above.

I meet her in class
During my Freshman year.
And all one feels starting college
is anxiety and fear.

But right from the start,
Bevita never left my side,
and those four years of college
quickly flew on by.

Bevita is funny!
Oh, the laughs that we've had!
She is patient and understanding,
and never gets mad.

She helped me trust in God,
each moment of every day.
She reminded me that his love
will never go away.

It makes me sad to think
that Bevita is no longer near.
But her friendship I always
will hold very dear.

Our times together are forever
seared upon my heart,
and hopefully one day
we won't be so far a part!

But in the meantime, Bevita, my wish for you
is that you'll have an AWESOME birthday,
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years too!!!

Te amo Bevita!


Happiness and Sadness

To all of my friends who read this, Thank you.
To hear from you and know you are following my blog is encouraging.
You keep reading, I'll keep writing.
I love to share my life with you.
Because I love you.
You make me happy. 

But today is sad. I have had a bit of a scare concerning Huckleberry.
Steven had to rush him to the vet this morning.
 Vomiting, Diarrhea, Listlessness, Loss of appetite.
All very un-puppy-like behaviors.
Scared the POO out of me.
I love Huck. Very, very much.

His incident got me thinking about how HUGE of a responsibility it is to raise a child.
Yes, I know Huck is just a puppy. Not a human being.
But the anxiety and worry I experienced today over this little ball of fur makes me wonder.
When I have children, how in the world am I going to keep my cool in high stress moments.
When they are sick, when they are sad, when they are disappointed.
I tend to freak out. About pretty much everything.
And I feel things...heavily.
When I am happy, I'm jubilant.
When I am sad, I'm borderline clinically depressed. 
Slight exaggeration? I hope so. 
I let how I feel at the moment overwhelm me.

I hope I make a great mom someday. 
And I hope Huck has a speedy and complete recovery.
I hope I can learn to..
Wait for it, I'm about to drop a cliche..
Let go and let God.
But mostly, I hope you are still reading this :)
Or did I lose you at diarrhea?

(Steven will make a great daddy. That's something I have never wondered. Always known.)