Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Blog Friends. Holiday Ornaments. Oh My!

In a few hours, it will be the 1st of October. The start of the 3-month holiday season.
 And I'm super excited about two things.

First, I'm stoked to partner with one of my favorite peeps in blog land, Erin at Living in Yellow.
You probably already follow her because seriously...who doesn't. But if you didn't get the memo, get with the program and check out her blog. Why? Because she's pretty freakin' awesome and I guarantee she will make you laugh.

Second, I'm excited to introduce this fun, festive holiday ornament swap. 
Here’s how it works. 

Step 1. Sign up. 
Link up your blog below to let us know you want to participate in the swap. Sign ups close at Midnight on October 31st. 

Step 2. Spread the word. 
Everyone loves getting special deliveries in the mail. Especially when it’s a super festive item like an ornament for your holiday tree. So let all of your blog friends know about the swap. The more, the merrier. 

Step 3. Get your match. 
On Thursday, November 1st, we will post the swap matches. You will contact the blogger you’re buying for via their blog, email, twitter, facebook, etc. to get their address. 

Step 4. Shop and Mail. 
On or before November 12th, purchase and mail your ornament. This means your ornament should be en route to its recipient NO LATER THAN the 12th

Step 5. Receive & Blog about your ornament! 
This is the fun part! Blog, Instagram, Tweet your Ornament Swapping Adventure. Be sure and use #ornamentswap on Instagram & Twitter so other Swappers can find you! 

Step 6. Link up! 
We will be hosting a Linky Party on December 1st for those of you bloggers that want to link up your posts! (This gives you plenty of time to make sure your ornament arrives & recap your adventures.) 

That is it. 
It's pretty simple. 
Sign up & send. 

Now, I know people may have a few more questions about the details, so here are some additional things you should know. 

1. You should spend between $4-$14 on your ornament. 
2. Ornaments should be new, as no one wants any “gently used” tree decorations. 
3. The ornament you purchase should be something fun, quirky, or beautiful that you’d like to receive and that you will be proud of when it is associated with you and your blog. 
4. You can purchase ornaments from anywhere. Like these handmades from Etsy or unique ornaments from Pier One or Target.
5. You will not be sending and receiving to the same person. Technically you aren't "swapping", more like a daisy chain of ornaments will be flying through the skies via the postal service. You will send to one person and receive from someone else. This way you get to know at least two people! 
6. Be sure to package your ornament in bubble wrap to ensure it arrives safely. Getting a broken ornament is no fun at all. 
7. Please do not sign up unless you are 100% sure you can fulfill the swap requirements, we would hate for someone to sign up and not participate.

Giveaway: I almost forgot! If you post the ornament swap button on the sidebar of your blog, you'll be entered to win this cute, zebra ornament from Pier One.

Here's the synopsis: 

Sign up. 
Spread the word. 
Get your assignment. 
Send/receive an ornament. 
Blog about it. 
Link up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

words that will shatter your world

When I was in my twenties, there were a lot of words that I'd never heard of. Words that describe things that happen to other people. Words that later would drastically impact the course of my life and those that I love.

For me they were words like...infertility. Endometriosis. IVF.
But this post isn't really about me. It's about someone who is near and dear to my heart. You could say that we bonded through our grief. Sitting at an industry function, trying to hold back tears, we shared the heartache and pain that we'd experienced on our journey to motherhood. The foundation for our friendship was cemented in that moment.

My friend Dorine's life was torn apart by words like...preeclampsia. Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Pre-term labor. Unlike us, Dorine and her husband Dave conceived quickly and were excited to welcome identical twin girls into their lives. Tragically, Dorine suffered from a condition called preeclampsia and went into labor more than 4 months before her due date.

Dorine's girls, Siena and Adrianna, each weighed a little more than a pound. At the time of birth, the doctors discovered that the twins suffered from a rare condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. One child receives more blood and nutrients than needed, while the other receives less. In this case, Siena received less.

Upon delivery, Dorine and Dave were allowed mere seconds to gaze at their beautiful baby girls before they were whisked away to the NICU. From that point on it was a constant struggle for survival. Both babies’ skin had been transparent and underdeveloped.

On her second day of life, Adrianna required surgery that would allow her to accept the necessary nutrients she needed to survive. However, on that same day, Siena took a turn for the worst. She suffered a massive hemorrhage in her brain and was not strong enough to endure it. The doctors prepared Dorine and Dave to tell their baby girl goodbye.

Losing Siena and watching Adrianna struggle to survive was the most painful, heart wrenching experience that my friend will probably ever have to endure. Her strength and courage are an inspiration to me. When my own sadness seems unbearable, I often think of her.

Thankfully, after almost 3 months in the NICU, Adrianna was able to come home. She is now a beautiful 1 1/2 year old little girl who just became a big sister to baby Aline. Even after Dorine's tragic experience with her first pregnancy, she still forged on to build her family. Her second pregnancy was not easy, requiring surgery to sew her cervix closed, months of bed rest and daily medication which took a toll on her body, her husband and her daughter, Adrianna.

With Dorine's blessing, I wanted to share her story to help raise awareness about the very real and scary words that could turn your world upside-down. People have a tendency to share the easy child birth and conception stories and bury the painful ones. But I believe that it's important to talk about the difficult stories too because they may be able to help someone else.

These words may not just affect other people.
TTTS. Preeclampsia. Infertility. Endomentriosis. 
They can happen to anyone.
Adrianna and Aline
Baby Aline fell asleep in my arms. Now Dorine calls me the baby whisperer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sacramento Bloggers Inaugural Meetup

A few ladies in my hometown decided to create a place for us bloggers to connect, Sacramento Bloggers. I immediately joined the group. In the past, I've seen blogger meetups in other cities and wished Sacramento was more active when it comes to "real life" socializing.

Thanks to Margaret and Nichole, I think we will be more active as a blogging community.

The group's inaugural meetup was Thursday at the La Rivage Hotel. Bloggers of all ages and backgrounds gathered to learn about each others blogs, share tips and socialize...(and of course, drink lots of wine and snack on some delicious fare).

The event venue was gorgeous. The hotel is located right on the river with a beautiful patio for our group to enjoy the perfect Fall evening.  

Signature Drink
Now for the best part, the reason we all come to these events....the bloggers. I met some truly amazing people that blog about a broad range of topics and life issues. It was an inspiring evening surrounded by so many creative people with a love for writing and blogging.
Our event hostesses

This was a fabulous event with a great turnout of about 40 people. 
I'm so happy to have been a part of it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

foam is the new mud

When my friend Trish recently organized a group of girls to do the Foam Fest 5k in Sacramento, I jumped on board. Training for my half marathon was getting a little bit daunting so I wanted to change it up. This event was full of crazy obstacles, mud pits and foam slides....that's changing it up!

Because we're crazy like that...our team went dressed up all thug life. Our team name was Feisty Fhomies. That's right. The crew rolled up to the event with our dew rags on, and all blinged out. I, for one, have always wanted a grill. But unfortunately, I couldn't get the gold teeth to stay in my mouth.  But we still looked hard!

The reason this event was such a blast was because we did it as a team. We all supported each each other when someone was struggling with an obstacle. But we also laughed together as there was plenty to laugh about. Like the time we had to army crawl through mud under some wires. The man warned us that the wires were electric but I thought he was joking. He wasn't. I realized that when my butt touched a wire and I got zapped. It was so loud that the girl next to me could hear it. 
Here's me in action
Our team at the finish slide
I recommend checking out this event if it comes to your city. It's a great way to get some exercise and have a lot of fun. 

Have you ever done a foam fest or mud run?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I should've been a farmer

This post could also be called "My poor husband".

I love animals. And because in many ways, I'm still like a little girl....when I see a cute animal, I pronounce "I want one". When my husband tells me, I can't have one...I cry, kick and scream and throw a tantrum. Well, only sometimes.

Like the time A was watching Rob & Big and I became obsessed with their mini horse. I don't even think he had a name - they just called him mini horse. My rationale for getting mini horse was that he was much more realistic than a real horse. He's domesticated. He gets along well with dogs. He can ride in the back of an Escalade. No need for a horse trailer. I mean seriously this is a reasonable request.

He said no.

Very sensibly, he pointed out the time mini horse kicked meaty (the dog star of the show) in the head. He reminded me that mini horse eats pillows. And that he made a big mess in the back of that SUV.

Fine. You win this one but this is not over yet my friend.

Then there was the time that I became convinced that it was going to save us a gazillion dollars if we invested in chickens. Organic, free range eggs are expensive these days.

He said that chickens stink and we'd have to raise like 40 chickens to make enough eggs for it to be a cost savings. Sheesh. He's so practical.

There was also that time when I was sulking around the house. When A asked me why, I told him that it was a mistake that we got our fur baby clipped because it was my calling to breed aussies. Now my life's work must be put on hold until we get another dog.

But if you asked my hubby, "what does Jessah want to do when she retires"? He would sigh and tell you "she wants to raise alpacas". For the past 8 years, I've been trying to convince him that alpaca farming is where it's at! You have to admit these guys are the sweetest, cutest livestock you've ever seen.

And the best part about it is that you don't ever have to kill or hurt the animals. Instead you make beautiful clothing to keep people warm. Like this lovely ruffle alpaca scarf.

In all seriousness, I really should have been a farmer. Fresh air. Open spaces. Beautiful animals. Gardens. When I see pictures of horses, barns and just heart melts.

What does your heart long for?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

the day that I forgot...

Yesterday morning, I decided to sleep in a bit and let my hair go au natural without the much-needed hair straightening. When I started getting ready, I didn't recall having any client meetings or events so I decided to go light on the makeup, throw on a tee, capri jeans, some ballet flats and call it good. 
Off to work I went.

When I arrived, my intern was way more dressed up than me. Immediately, I checked my calendar and realized my mistake. I had forgotten about the big Comcast client appreciation party that night. Uh-oh. We had already RSVPed so I couldn't really bow out. 

I showed up at the party and it was all business suits and dresses with heels. I naively thought that I could slink into a dark corner at the bar and hang out for a bit and then sneak out before anyone noticed me. Everything was going according to plan until I remembered that Urijah Faber was going to be making an appearance at this party. 

That's when I proceeded to freak out. 

Let me start by saying that I don't freak out often. I'm usually cool as a cucumber in these types of situations. I've met my share of celebrities and am normally like "whatev". But I'm a huge MMA fan and an even bigger Urijah fan. He's an amazing athlete, entrepreneur and kind of a big deal here in Sacramento.

 Still, I was managing to lay low until I had to open my big, fat mouth (which I still blame on the two glasses of champagne that I downed). One of the sales managers at Comcast came over to ask us if we wanted to take a picture with this SF 49er football player legend. We declined. Then I said something about Urijah...blah, blah, blah. Next thing I know, the sales manager comes back over with him so that we can take a picture.

Can you say awkward?

There I was...easily the most casual person in the place and feeling completely uncomfortable. Mostly because I looked like a hot mess but also because I have a teeny, tiny celebrity-type crush on the "California Kid" (which A is aware of and often teases me about). After attempting some sort of intelligent conversation (of which I don't remember a single word of what I said), I posed for my picture, sweating profusely and trying not to wish I could crawl under a rock and die. 

If only, I had gotten out of bed an hour earlier, done myself up and donned some appropriate party attire...I would've been my confident, bubbly, normal self. 
Instead I was this girl...on the day that I forgot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

saying goodbye to my blog

Saying good bye is hard to do but sometimes it's necessary.
Today, I'm saying goodbye to my blog. My old blog that is. Out with the old, in with the new.
Meet my new blog.

Although I'm an advertising account executive who briefs, guides and collaborates with graphic designers everyday, I got no skills when it comes to designing anything myself. Someday I'd like to learn how to use photoshop and indesign to create beautiful things. But for now, I enlisted the help of a very talented blog friend and designer Chelsea at Yours Truly.

I've been on the hunt for the right person to help bring my vision to life. And Chelsea knocked it out of the park! She captured exactly what was in my head and created the beautiful design you see here.  We are still working on a few finishing touches (like my About page) and tweaking a few things but it's a big improvement from the look I was rockin' before.

This is the color palette that I selected which helped guide the design and new look and feel. I wanted something soft, dreamy and inspirational which is what I hope my blog lives up to.

 I love my new design so much that I couldn't wait to share it with you.
What do y'all think?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Crock-Pot Recipe Link-Up: Tofu and Veggie Stew


So excited for this new crock-pot recipe link-up with Jane at In the Pink and Green and Andrea at left brain, right brain, pug brain. Don't forget to stop by to check out their blogs as well.

You can read more about this link-up in my intro here.
The recipe that I'm sharing is vegan and "oh so delicious". Its full of healthy veggies and enough spices to give this meal a nice flavor.

Tip: The protein source is tofu which tends to come apart when overcooked so make sure you use the extra firm type.

I will not be sharing pictures of this meal being prepared as my crock-pot (I call her Bertha) is circa 1970 and the ugliest thing that you've ever seen. I promise, you don't want to see her. She's a stained, brown, eye sore that was passed onto me by my grandmother after 30+ years of use. She's still going strong. But thanks to this link-up...mama will be gettin' a new crock pot this week.

Next month, you'll be able to see my new beauty in action.  
But for now, I've posted an image of the final product.
The best part about this recipe is that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare.  

Crock-Pot Tofu and Veggie Stew

1 lb extra firm tofu (cubed in bite-sized pieces)
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
potatoes (white, scrubbed peeled if you like and diced)
onion (diced)
carrots (sliced)
1 cup corn (frozen)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
2 tsps dried thyme
2 tsps sage (dried)
2 tsps parsley (dried)
bay leaf
1Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
2Serve warm with brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

Hope you enjoy this easy, yummy recipe. Throw on your apron and give it a try. I can't wait to cook your recipes. Link up below and don't forget to join us every Second Sunday during the fall and winter months. Basically, from now until March.

I've also started a Pinterest board where all of the crock-pot recipes will be pinned and compiled in one place. Feel free to follow that board for all of the deliciousness.

Don't forget to grab the button and spread the word. The more people that link-up, the more recipes for all of us. (email me if you'd like to co-host)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

it's that time again...

Alright y'all. It looks like Fall is finally here. You know what that means....breathtaking foliage, warm sweaters paired with your favorite boots and pumpkin spice lattes.

It's also time to bust out the crock-pots. That's right. Warm, healthy meals that cook themselves while you're at work or playing with the kiddos. 

Yes, please

Not sure about you but I could always use more easy, healthy recipes.

So, let's link-up and exchange recipes! I will be hosting a link-up with Jane at In the Pink and Green and Andrea at Left brain, right brain, pug brain on the Second Sunday of every month this Fall and Winter (Sept-Mar). The first one will be this Sunday. Mark your calendars or write your post today to be ready for this weekend.

Andrea is doing a 30-day vegan challenge, I'm a wanna-be vegan and Jane is doin' the Paleo thing so we will be representing on the gluten-free and veggie front. What are you eating these days? Now's your chance to show off your mad cooking skills. Meat eaters...feel free to join in and show us what we are missing.

Please grab the button and spread the word. Let me know if you're interested in co-hosting in a future month.

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