top adventures of 2010

Since my blog is called “emelle’s adventures,” I figure I should post some of my top adventures of the year.

January

ice skating by the sea, Hotel del Coronado

 

serving the Carlsbad Boys & Girls Club

February

meeting Dan Marino in San Diego

meeting Olympic Bronze Medalist Shannon Bahrke

March

 

Party in New Orleans

April

Miami RedHawks in the Frozen Four in Detroit

June

 

Miami Athletic Trainers & Alums in Philadelphia

Retirement party for the man in the middle, Oxford, Ohio

July

celebrating my 33rd birthday in La Jolla

September

 

celebrating friends' birthdays in Carlsbad

dog beach in Del Mar

November

 

visiting Chicago to see the sister's family

Miami @ Duke basketball game, Durham, NC

Can’t wait to see what adventures I can get into in 2011. Cheers and Happy New Year!

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reflecting on 2010 goals

About 6 months ago I created some priorities in my life because things were kind of spiraling out of control. I wrote them down in a little red notebook and I found that notebook a few weeks ago and looked at it. Yes, I had forgotten that I had done this. But it’s amazing what writing things down does for you subconciously.

Here’s what my basic priorities were back in June:

  1. Family
  2. God
  3. Health
  4. Career
  5. Friendships

I also rated them on a scale of 1-10, with 1 = poor and 10 = excellent. Family was at a 7, God was at a 5, Health was a 1, Career was a 5, and Friendships a 3. So my health and my friendships were basically in the crapper. But I was at least in touch with God, my career was on a good course, and we don’t really have any family drama. My goal was to have a future state of 10 for each of these. I even wrote “All are excellent rated in the future. Always strive for EXCELLENCE!” Looking back, I probably would have written something else, it just doesn’t sound right for this now.

The next page detailed my 1 year goals, so I actually still have until June of 2011 to reach these, which means I can turn some of these into 2011 Resolutions (which will be my post for Jan. 1st!). Here are the goals I had set:

  1. Family
    1. visit sister in Chicago–DONE in Nov.
    2. visit mom and dad–DONE in Nov. for Thanksgiving
    3. spend more time with other sister (who is 45 min. away)–mmm, not really, although I did see her and spent Christmas with her and family
  2. God
    1. attend a church on a regular basis–sort of done. I was doing really good for a while, but have slacked off lately. I did attend new members class and joined the church. I was very excited to have done that.
    2. involved in a small group–DONE! I am in a great group of about 8 ladies who meet once a week. I really enjoy it and can’t wait for the new year to get even more connected with them.
    3. read the Bible–not really. Every so often I’d read a devotional and read the associated verses. I think my goal here was to actually read through the Bible from start to finish. I think I’ll be more specific next time.
  3. Health
    1. consistently working out–sort of. I was off and on for a while, and have been attending PHIT classes about 2-3 x per week during work. I’d still give myself about a 2 on this one.
    2. eating well–nope, ice cream and cookies are still my downfall
    3. lose 50 lbs–hmm, nowhere close, the scale moved the other way, grr!
  4. Career
    1. increased responsibility–I think I’ve sort of met this one. There’s always more I want responsibility for. I do have a few projects that I have ownership of.
    2. promotion–didn’t happen, nor did I ask for it, or even what I can do to be considered for a promotion
    3. raise–didn’t happen either, but again this was a 1 year goal, and we have reviews coming up, with raises coming in April (hopefully the company is able to do raises this year), so there’s still a chance
  5. Friendships
    1. monthly meetings with the Bunco girls–well, I think we only really had two formal ones set up, plus a couple of parties and dinners/brunches. I think I made it to the two formal ones (formal means we meant to play bunco) and one birthday party. For the other ones I was out of town, if I recall correctly. I met this one about halfway I would say.
    2. meet new people and work to develop relationships–well I did meet new people, but I didn’t develop any relationships with any of them outside of work, or small group, or meetup organized events, and that was my goal for this one.
    3. listen and work to become closer with people–hmm, very similar to the one before, but I believe I was thinking I should become closer with people I already know, who are sort of on the periphery of my life right now. So, I didn’t achieve this one either.

So, I really only met 3 of the goals, and those were pretty simple, but specific things. Although several others I am on my way to acheiving. As I write out my resolutions, I’m going to use these goals as a guide, and rewrite them to be more specific, but not too specific that I won’t be able to achieve them!

Also, I’m going to change the order of my priorities. God is going to be first and foremost for me in the New Year!

I found this saying on Photobucket. I really like it, it may become my quote for the year. 2011 is going to be a good one for me.

brussels sprouts success

And they were pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I used THIS recipe from myrecipes.com. And in my previous post, I stated I had all the ingredients, well I was wrong. So while I had the brussels sprouts in the oven, I ran to Albertson’s and grabbed garlic and lemon. I did have the garlic, but I wasn’t sure how long I’d had it. I was slicing it and there was some green in the middle, so I tossed it. I also didn’t notice the recipe called for lemon juice, hence the lemon. I was in and out of the grocery so fast, so luckily I didn’t burn my place down!

This was a very easy recipe, especially if you buy the brussels sprouts already cut from the stem. The garlic took a bit longer, so I turned the heat up. You just need to keep a real close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.Oh, and the smell of brussels sprouts doens’t really bother me anymore. Phew, glad I got past that issue from my childhood!

I didn’t take any pictures, I totally forgot. But here is the image from the website…

Mine were a bit more charred than the ones here, and the garlic was a bit crisp.But it was darn good. I also had some leftover herb and mustard sirloin (recipe from Food Network Magazine, I didn’t really like it so I won’t be sharing) as well as some sweet potato fries.

I also had a huge fail today. I thought that I could get through the day without much sugar. I had a hot chocolate in the morning. I went to Pei Wei for lunch and had the Honey Crisp Chicken. And then I kept thinking about cookies and chocolate after I ate dinner. I tried to not go to the grocery, but I went and I am so mad at myself. I bought cookies and cookie dough. Of course I’ve eaten more than several of the cookies. Hoping I can actually make cookies from the cookie dough tomorrow and not eat any! Who am I kidding, it’ll probably be gone after breakfast! So, I really need help to control these cravings. I am determined to do it, I just feel so awful right now after indulging in those cookies. I know I can do this, I know I can do this. I just have to believe it. Ok, that’s it. I know this last paragraph doesn’t really fit, but I had to get it off my chest.

Off to go and clean up all the dishes I dirtied. Good night.

brussels sprouts

Brussel sprouts

Image via Wikipedia

I have never liked brussels sprouts, and I think that stems from my mother cooking them, actually steaming them, so that they stunk up the whole house. The funny thing is that I never even tasted a brussels sprout until about six weeks ago. I just assumed they were disgusting because of how they smelled. Yet, I went to dinner at a fancy place with my sister in Chicago, and she raved about them, so I had one. It was baked or sautéed with butter and garlic. Oh man, was I ever missing out! They are so good. I think I have a new vegetable to add to my repertoire.

It took me six weeks to actually buy brussels sprouts. I was at Trader Joe’s last week and they had this “rope” of fresh brussels sprouts. I was about to buy the whole thing. I stopped though, thinking I have never made them, what if I can’t make them like the restaurant and I hate them! Then I have a bunch of leftover brussels sprouts. I settled for a bag of brussels sprouts instead. I’ve let it sit for a week, so I hope they are still ok. I found a recipe that looks easy enough “Brussel Sprouts with Browned Garlic.” Plus I don’t have to run to the store for anything.

I’m off to experiment with cooking brussels sprouts! Full report later tonight or tomorrow!

When you were younger, was there a food you didn’t even want to try just because it smelled bad?!

For me, not only was it brussels sprouts, but also cauliflower and cabbage! Mom used the same steamer for all of those. It must of been that darn thing, I think I can blame the steamer on my issue here :).

christmas in review

I like Christmas. I like decorating my place, I like putting up my tree and seeing the new ornaments I got throughout the year, I like having a few extra days off work, I like Christmas cut-out cookies, and I like my family. But I must say it isn’t my favorite holiday (that would be Thanksgiving). So much build up, so many grouches at the stores, impatient people, rude people, and the spending of all that money. What I do love about Christmas is the spirit of giving and being content with what I have been given. When I was younger, I would go through the Sears or JC Penney or Service Merchandise catalogs and mark all the toys I wanted. I would have a list every year. I was so greedy! But when the day came, I was grateful and thankful for whatever it was. I would make the most of it. We did pretty well when I was a kid, we didn’t hurt for clothes or cars or food or shelter. We were the typical middle class family. And as I’ve grown up and become wiser in my age (maybe?!) Christmas is becoming more about the meaning behind those material things.

I still send out lists, but they are more of things I need out of necessity than anything lavish or expensive. I feel bad when I ask for the $100 ipod or this year I had the Le Crueset cast-iron skillet on my list. It was really just an example, I would gladly accept the $20 version from Wal-mart. My parents send me money every year, which is nice so I can go and buy what I want (and not feel guilty that it’s the ipod!). Most everyone always wants more, but I think we are all truly blessed with what we have and what we are given. God did not put us on this Earth to be greedy or to have more than we need. He put us here to give and and make someone’s day. So that is what Christmas is to me, making someone’s day, getting my mom a Starbucks card because I know she goes there everyday, getting my dad a Macy’s card, my sister a Visa card, my other sister a Marshall’s card, a nephew a sport chalet card, and clothes for my nieces, and toys for my nephews. The only thing missing was being able to see the look on half of my family’s faces when they opened their gifts from me. I know I am truly grateful for what I received and it made my day on Dec. 25th. Other days will be made when I use my new grill pan to cook with, use my Williams-Sonoma gift card to find something for my kitchen, read the books I got, and use the money I was given to pay off some debt. I didn’t get anything outlandish or crazy, I got practical things, things I can continue to use after Christmas Day is done. And I thank God that I have a wonderful family that has provided me joy and love and gifts of grace.

Now, I just want to thank my family for these wonderful gifts! I wouldn’t have bought these on my own, so I thank you all for making my day on Christmas and for many days to come (mom, dad-I bought the perfume and Old Navy clothes with the cash, the rest goes to debt! Thanks!)

 

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas, and enjoy the last week of 2010.

New Year and New Resolutions to come in just a few days, woohoo!

one more comparison

I have to post one last comparison shot. This is from Duke University, the famous chapel that is just stunning. I was there in Nov. so just the end of the trees changing colors. It was a good pic before, but stunning with the colors in the “after” with Picasa!

 

Before Picasa

After Picasa

So it isn’t perfect since I couldn’t single out the saturation changes to only the trees, so the chapel itself may be a little bit off color, but I kind of like it.

For reference, here is a shot from Duke’s website:

 

I couldn’t find one from the angle I took mine (was just near the student center there), so this is the closest I can get. I did end up changing the color of the stone to be lighter, but the focal point is the beautiful orange and red of the trees. I still like mine the best.

Ok I’m done doing photo comparisons (ok, maybe not), but this is just so cool!

 

 

picasa, where have you been my whole life?!?!

I have discovered PICASA!!! I am so excited. I was reading Centsational Girl’s blog and she gave pointers on how to take better pictures, and finishes it up with her little secret, that by using Picasa you improve the picture, like 1000%. So I tried it out.

Here’s my angel tree topper before Picasa

My awful, ugly, very dirty vertical horizontal blinds are in the background. So here is my angel tree topper with doing some adjustments with Picasa:

Not bad, huh. I really like it, how the background is now dark. It also shows off the antique look of the angel so much better. And it looks really big! I bought it (or maybe my mom gave it to me?) as an ornament, then used it on top of my 2′ little tree, and now with my 3.5′ tree it’s just a little too small. But I love the picture of it.

So I have a new love in life! Picasa, you are so awesome, and now I will never go to bed!

EDIT (like 5 minutes later!)

I tried another picture. This is a pretty crappy pic I took from a moving car, but I wanted to post another example.

Now, check out the Picasa-ized version…

The building isn’t crooked anymore! It’s straight, and I got rid of the car shadow/sidewalk. The colors a little bit improved, but seeing as how it was sunny out and it used natural light, it didn’t need to change so much. And I added some text to it so people know what it is!

Note: I must say that I am in no way, shape, or form an Ohio State fan. My alma mater was playing them the day after Thanksgiving, and I was in town to visit my parents so we went. We got obliterated, but that’s ok. We’ll be fine in the conference :).

Now I can’t wait to use picasa to do some Magic to some of my dog’s pictures!!!