Friday, February 27, 2009

The Kingdom

CH: Have you seen The Kingdom? With Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner??

JH: Nope. Is it good?

CH: It is sooooo good. I highly recommend it. 2 thumbs up. :) I learned a lot about the whole Saudi Arabia culture and the issues going on there. I don't think the movie is a true story, but I think it generalizes a lot of the mentality of the people there....and how all of the vengeance and everything between our countries are never going to's a very scary thing actually.

Anyways - I forgot what I initially wanted to say about the movie from last week when I first posted it...but it was an excellent movie and you should definitely add it to your Netflix queue. :)

We also watched Munich this weekend which is similarly themed although involving Iraq and Israel (I think - I am so dim when it comes to foreign country politics)....but this was also an intriguing movie....this was BASED on a true story....well, based on a handful of true facts, and then a story was built around those facts................but it was extremely interesting....very long (3 hours) and a little confusing (for me at least) at times....but I feel a little more educated after watching was pretty graphic in some parts though, so beware.

Another great one to add to your Netflix queue - I gave it 4 stars (I gave The Kingdom 5 stars).

JH: It has been Netflixed!

Child Beauty Queens

CH: Interesting mini-article with comments that I just came across - because I believe you and I were just briefly talking about this the other day....

I'm still not sure how I feel about it......

Someone in the comments mentioned the swimsuit competition section bordering on child an outsider with no knowledge of how this works - I can definitely see this point....I'm sure there are many sickos out there who attend these or look at these types of pics for their disgusting thrills - and as a parent, supplying these things to these people (knowledgeable or not) would just be too much for me.....I'm sure the parents have no intentions such as this, but it's something to always consider.

Overall - I just find it kinda creepy to look at this beautiful little 5, 6, 7, etc year old girl - and see her looking like she's 16. As a parent, I would want to relish every age my child hits - and save the 16 year old phase for when she's actually 16.

My 2 cents of course. :)

JH: I scanned the article, and the pic of family of five girls wasn't too bad. But according to the specials I've seen on this subject, most of these little girls are made to look like little Dolly Partons. Why would a parent want to do that to their child???

I think back to Jonbenet Ramsy and get mega creeps. Her mother was a former beauty queen and that made her think it was okay to have her daughter follow in her footsteps. Whether it was the parents are some random sicko who tortured and killed that little girl, it seems to be someone who got their kicks from a little "grown up" child.

I personally think these pagents should be banned. If nothing else, it's a breeding ground for furture self-involved wastes of space.

My 2 cents ;)

CH: LoL - so harsh...'wastes of space'... :) I can see how the pageants may teach people some lessons.....poise, manners, etiquette, showmanship, etc.....but I think good old fashioned parenting can probably achieve the same outcome with less of the negative results. :)

It just creeps me out a bit and I don't think that it's the best environment for a child to be raised in.....I think playgrounds and My Gym are much better options personally. :) :)

Speaking of which - I'm excited - I've decided to become much more involved in Torrance in general, starting with participating in some of the classes that they offer at the Civic the first one I'm going to do is a class similar to My Gym, but a fraction of the cost for Torrance residents....and me and Caydan will go and have some mommy/Caydan bonding time. :) :) I'm really doesn't start for a few months though.

Dan is going to take some camera classes there....they're super cheap for like an 8 week course or something like show you the basics of using your digital camera, functions, settings, etc. Then eventually he wants to take a Photoshop class there too...I want to take some advanced Photoshop classes, but they're so darn expensive. :(

You should take something there with me - like the Salsa class or something like that.... :) :)

JH: I'm totally down for a Salsa class! I almost signed up last year actually. I think it's great that you and Caydan have an opportunity for more bonding time! You'll have to tell me all about the classes since I'm not a mommy yet :)

I know we've talked about this in the past, but I want to reiterate here that I fully believe that people need to take advantage of what their communities have to offer. In these times of economic stress and the general apathy of our society, we should all be taking advantage of the community efforts. Get to know your neighbors! Be a part of something tight-knit. You have an opportunity to enhance your community, and in turn enhance your life.

CH: I so agree!! I was just telling Dan a few weeks ago when a bunch of people were starting to move into all the open apartments in our building - that we should start a Welcome Wagon type thing in our building.....all of our doors face each other, so we're constantly seeing each other, and it's awkward to not know everyone that you live so close to.....

I'm too shy though - I would totally make a cake or a plate of cookies or something old school and bring it over to say hi...but I just feel silly - like they'd look at me like I was crazy or something!! LoL

Sometimes I wish I lived back in the old days. :) Although I think Blanca said their neighbors welcomed them when they moved in to their house...I think someone brought them something...but I guess it's different when you buy a house - you know you'll be living next to each other for a long time. :)

JH: It would be hilarious if anyone tried that where I live! Everyone here is SO snobby or weird. I've come across a few cool people, but they tend to move. Seriously, the elevator experience here is a nightmare. Everyone practically holds their breath and looks down, then bolt when the doors open. It's so uncomfortable that I tend to take the stairs just so I don't have to experience the confinement with them, which only adds to the problem as a whole. I would be more than happy to welcome newbies, but I haven't even seen who my next door neighbors are. I think they moved in around Thanksgiving!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


CH: I just wanted to say....that I am looking forward to this next two weeks...although I will be completely exhausted and brain-dead from the constant go-go-go.....

We're making a birthday weekend for Caydan....tomorrow night we're going to take him out to dinner at BJ's so we can get a Pizookie for dessert (or maybe that's really for me??) - then to a movie to see Coraline because he can't stop talking about seeing it. :)

Then Saturday is his birthday's gonna be the biggest yet I think...I've got an RSVP count of about 44 I think.........counting parents, etc. We'll see how good I really am at this whole party planning thing after this I guess.

Saturday night we'll probably hang at home and watch a movie....relax....

Sunday we are going to Disneyland bright and early for the day...then I'm coming home and making a billion cupcakes for him to take to school Monday for his actual b-day....this will be my first cupcake making experience...wish me luck. :)

Monday on his actual birthday we'll take him out to dinner somewhere....have them sing Happy Birthday and bring ice cream or something - probably see if my fam wants to join....

Wednesday is our TCF meeting...

Thursday is packing night....

Friday is our CRUUUUUISE!!! Sooooo excited....

Then Monday we get off our cruise at 8:30am or then we're gonna go to Disneyland for the rest of the day. :) :) :)

And back to work on Tuesday.

So if I am completely loopy the next couple of weeks...this is why. :)

JH: Yeah, that's pretty intense! I have to warn you though, you are going to be exhausted Monday morning. Cruises really take it out of you! You may want to rethink that Disneyland trip! And be prepared for some dizziness the week you get back. Most people tend to feel like they're on a rocking boat once they're back on land- especially in the shower! It took me two weeks to acclimate. It's so strange because you don't really have this feeling on the ship, only when you're back to your normal life!

I'm looking forward to Caydan's party! It seems like just yesterday that we were partying at that park with my little brothers. My, how time flies ;)

CH: Thanks for the heads up about the cruise and dizziness, etc.......I hadn't even thought about that...didn't really know it was a possibility actually. :) I guess we'll just play it by ear....knowing me, I'll just push on through - but not sure how Dan and Caydan will be....I'm sure Caydan will be the same as me, but Dan may have some issues because I don't think he's looking forward to going in the first place, lol. :)

And I totally remember your brother's party there....funny i didn't even realize it was the same park when we re-discovered it last year.....then when we walked around it I was like - hey...this is familiar....oh this is where Jen's brother had a birthday party!! :)

I'm soooo excited....Caydan is just have to see him. I really need to start taking more videos because he is just too darn cute right now. Maybe I'll work on that tonight - give my old camera something useful to do (record).

JH: I love all the videos you used to do. I think you should totally get back into it. And they make for such great gifts for family! I want to get a video camera soon. I look back on my time with Joe and am saddened that we don't have any videos. We've done so many cool things and have had so much fun! Pictures are great, but videos are awesome too :)

CH: Pictures are a great treasure to have.....Blanca and I went to Cori's funeral yesterday....absolutely beautiful service - highly emotional on so many levels - even for me and I didn't really know her at all...and there was a lady there that must be a friend of Cori's who played guitar and sang a couple of songs and she was just amazing - she should have a record deal by now, seriously......but anyways, I'm getting off-track.....

They showed a slideshow towards the end with a bunch of pictures and songs (it brought back so many memories of Avery's reception too...) and mixed in with everything were a few videos of Cori talking...and it was just such a gift for her family to have those videos of her to treasure forever.................even though videos are so much harder to watch than it is to look at pictures.........I still can't watch any videos of Avery to this day, it's just too hard - but I always look at his pictures..................

So with that in mind - it makes me sad that I don't have more videos of Caydan - I want to have those things to treasure no matter what happens.....I really need to get on this and quit dragging my feet about it..............we can't find the charger for our camera though. :(

JH: My mom is the same way with pictures and videos of us from our childhood. I know she's glad she has them, but she falls to pieces watching them because she misses the times that have passed. Still, just knowing that they're there is a comfort.

Have you tried contacting the company that made your video camera? I'm sure you can get a new charger easily!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pledge Bzz

JH: We live in a world that is swept up in technology and shows no signs of slowing down. It's always fun to see companies try out new avenues to connect the masses with their products. I figure I might as well jump into the swing of things by bringing my BzzAgent "Bzz" to the blog! Please comment and let me know what you think about the product!

The BzzAgent campaign that I'm currently doing is for the Pledge Fabric Sweeper. It is seriously the coolest little contraption!

  • Brand new to the market — you're one of the first people to try it!
  • Picks up as much pet hair as 145 sticky lint roller sheets
  • Self-cleaning — there's no need to touch any trapped pet hair
  • Lasts about 3-5 weeks, with daily use
  • Disposable — use it until it stops picking up pet hair, then throw it away and replace
  • Plastic parts are made from recycled materials (plus the box is recyclable)
  • Transparent, so you can see that it's working
  • Designed with an ergonomic handle for a super-comfy grip
  • Two velour rollers work together to grab pet hair
  • Available at mass retailers (such as Wal-Mart and Target), food and drug stores
  • Suggested retail price of $4.99
  • Not for use on your pet (it won't work and you'll have an angry dog or cat on your hands)
I used this on a chair cushion that my Main Coon cat loves to sleep on, and it worked wonders! Since that was the main area of concern in my home, I couldn't quite justify keeping the Fabric Sweeper when I know my mom constantly struggles with our family dog's shedding. After confirming that it worked with the proof of grey cat fur, I gifted the Fabric Sweeper to my mom.

So let me know what you think of the new Pledge Fabric Sweeper ... would you consider using one? Do you think it's reasonably priced?

CH: I totally wish I would have gotten this Bzz Campaign! I don't think i've ever answered any of the pet surveys though......but this would be perfect for my grandpa's mom's dog is the most disgusting shedder ever!! I vacuum every time we go there and I am just amazed at how much hair is on their carpet and couch and everything.....I'm shocked the dog isn't bald yet! It's not even that big of a dog.

I think $4.99 is very reasonable.....especially if it works. And it sounds convenient...better than lugging a vacuum cleaner around the house - or putting on special parts for the couch, etc.

How does your mom like it??

B's Purses

CH: This is neat! As I go through my months old email, I actually get a chance to see what all of my junk email says (yes, I read my junk email) - and sometimes I find the neatest products. :)

Check this one out:

B's Purses

They're definitely pricey - but you can custom make your purse....I know how hard it is for me to find a style and color I like....but with this you can make it your own and even coordinate with outfits if you want! :) :)

Super cool. :)

JH: I agree that it's a cool concept, but none of the styles struck my fancy. That's not knocking the company though; I'm just picky! I'll check it out more later, but I noticed that they have an option for Purse Parties. I wonder what kind of discount one gets for hosting a party. I bought my all-time favorite purse at a party years ago!

CH: I just wanted to showcase some of our comments going forward - so I'm going to start with Shelly's comments here :)

shelly said...
Hi girls! B's Purses is the best purse ever, not only is it custom but made with the best fabrics! I should know, I sold the knockoffs for 3 years before I bought a B's purse and became a rep! Where are you guys in California? Northern? Southern? I am in Temecula, near San Diego!Let me know I would love to show you the line in person! So much better in person!

949-350-5233 :)

Shelly - Thanks for reading our blog first of all - can you tell us how you came across it??

Second - I personally think that quite a few of the styles are nice...pretty basic, but I like basic because I need it to match with everything. :)

And I personally LOVE anything that is could sell me a cover for my tape dispenser if I was able to customize it, lol. :)

We are both located in the South Bay area (Torrance and Palos Verdes) - so not very close to Temecula....but maybe if we're ever in the area we can stop by and check out the line. :)

Thanks again for writing!!

Jen - I have never even heard of a purse party...who on earth had a purse party? And what purse is this? You'll have to show me. :) :)

JH: It was actually an "office show" like I do with Cookie Lee jewelry. Our lounge was set up with tables of purses that were knock-offs of designer purses. I fell in love with a Kate Spade look-alike and used it for a couple of years before the strap broke.

(It needed to go anyway because right before I walked into an interview, I realized that I still had gum in my mouth. I couldn't find a waste basket on my way in, so I panicked and stuck it on the inside of my poor purse! I was never able to get it out! Landed the job, by the way!)

I was never into designer bags, but since my semi-new found love of Caesar's Palace shopping in Vegas, I think I may go that route at some point.

CH: Caesar's Palace shopping?? Wow - Dan would NOT be cool with that, lol...but I sure would be. :) :) I like to window shop there at least!! Have you been to the other one at the Alladin (I think that's it)'s really similar....I think maybe even nicer looking in general....

And I can't believe you stuck your gum in your purse!! That's hilarious!! I don't know what I would have done in that situation - but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been my purse! If I was desperate, I might have swallowed it...and then have nightmares about it clogging my pipes in there....LoL....your poor bag :( :(

JH: I am WAY anti-gum swallowing. I was always lecturing my friends about the dangers as a child, lol! I was a pretty proper little kid actually. I may have had a mouth on me, but I didn't swallow gum, eat or drink after anyone, pick my nose or anything that was considered "gross". My mom lucked out ;) Other than that backtalking thing, of course!

I've never been to the Alladin in Vegas. Perhaps when we go? There is this Gucci watch that I am going to buy after I win big! It's so sexy! I think that with my roulette game plan, I can do it! And if I win really big, off to Tiffany's I go!

CH: I can't wait for our Vegas trip - we need to definitely make it happen.....I'm going to have to pay my sister or someone to come and sit in the hotel room with Caydan though - I just don't think I can leave him for the whole weekend with gives me anxiety just thinking about it......................but if we budget that into our weekend, then it should be fine. :) :) We'll have to start saving!!

I can't wait to try the roulette plan for myself. :) :) :)

MS Word 2007

CH: I just came across something that may be of interest to you. :)

Free online courses for MS Word 2007 (I think that's the version you said you had, right?). It looks like you can do all sorts of stuff with it!!

Here's the excerpt from the website:

Word 2007 is a full-featured word processing program that enables users to create professional-quality documents, such as letters, brochures, newsletters and web pages. In this class, you'll learn the basics of using Word 2007, and then move on to customizing the Word environment. You'll also learn how to create and edit documents, work with graphics, use editing and proofing functions and more.

I bolded the newsletters and webpages section as that seems like it will be super useful!!! Now I want to get 2007! :)

JH: Excellent! I'll definitely check it out!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lucid Dreams

JH: I have been a "lucid dreamer" for years, but never had a term for it until Joe came along. He suffers from insomnia and knows everything from A to Z about sleep and dreaming. Anyway, I don't have these dreams on a nightly basis, but they occur quite often. I wish I could remember my dream from last night so I could better explain, but I've already forgotten :( Do you have lucid dreams, Crystal?

P.S. Can you see that "lucid dreamer" is linked? It's just showing up as regular text on my end.

CH: I have never had a lucid dream, I don't think at least...that sounds so weird....maybe I have though and just don't remember know how bad my memory is when I'm awake - just imagine when I'm sleeping! :)

I didn't know there was a term for it. Leave it to smart :)

And it doesn't show as a link (i.e. underlined) but it does link and show the underline if you put your mouse over it...not sure why it does that...I noticed it before on other links you posted too..... :(

P.S. Sorry I'm a slacker lately with the is BUSY so no time here - Friday night I hung out with Blanx, Saturday at the crack of dawn I had a photoshoot, Saturday day I was with Caydan, Saturday night I went out with some friends for a birthday dinner downtown L.A., Sunday I took Caydan to a kid's birthday party at My Gym, and Sunday afternoon and night we went to the cemetary and then to my Grandpa's to hang out and do laundry....and still had time to come home and watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - EXCELLENT movie!!

And now it's Monday - I'm working - and I've been busy since I got here. :(

JH: No worries! I'm pretty slacky this week too. I've just been so busy with everything else. It's time that I found some balance!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


CH: I noticed that we have been uber quiet today on the blog end...lots o' emails - but no blogs...this must change.

Topic of recent emails - bzzagent. :)

So if I talk about Bzz Agent here....can I report that I buzzed about it?? I think I can!

So last week, I received our handy dandy Chili's Guiltless Grill we decided to go out to dinner the very next night and try out this "healthy" menu....

Once we got there, I decided that the Pick 3 appetizer meal-deal sounded waaaay Dan got the Guiltless Buffalo Chicken sandwich and I just had a bite of his to taste it.....

It was OK...wasn't a fan of the bun (whole wheat or something healthy like that) - chicken was OK - not super flavorful...Dan LOVED the veggies...they had parmesan cheese on them.

On the other hand, my spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips, crispy buffalo chicken, and Southwestern Egg Rolls were amazing. The egg rolls were my favorite by far...SCRUMPTIOUS. And the ranch they had too was DE-LISH. :)

And of course we ended our spectacular meal with the ever mouth-watering chocolate lava cake. The best part of the whole meal for Dan is dieting (oh yea - me too) - he didn't eat as much as he normally would, which left a whole lot more for me to eat....not good for my figure for sure - but so good for my taste buds!!

We plan to go back again and try the carne asada....I told Dan he should have tried that from the beginning because it looks really good - but he wanted the chicken :) I'll be sure to let you know how the carne asada is, unless you get there first. :)

JH: Just for those who don't know about the awesomeness that is BzzAgent, it is a word-of-mouth marketing site that you can sign up for and it's free!

They have campaigns, and as an agent you get to participate in these campaigns if you fit into the particular demographic that the client is marketing to. You get a BzzKit with either the product or coupons that are redeemable for free products. You try them out, share the coupons, and then "bzz" to your friends about it. At that point, it's your turn to hold up your end of the bargain and submit a Bzz Report (it's basically a paragraph letting them know people's reactions to the product and your bzz'ing). And to make it even cooler, you get points for each report that you can redeem for gift cards to your favorite places! It's such a win-win situation! I have been a part of 30 campaigns now that range from Sonicare toothbrushes to Chili's new menu items (this is my second Chili's campaign!)

So anyway, I just received my Chili's coupons last night. I'm not sure how I feel about their new "healthy" menu. I mean, is offering meal under 750 calories really a great feat? Even if I did fall into the generalized 2000 calorie daily value category that packaging lumps everyone into, would I want a whole 750 of those calories going to one "healthy" meal? I could nuke a Smart Ones dinner which I actually prefer to most food these days, and take in less than 300 calories.

That being said, the meals could actually be very good regardless of calorie content. I'm excited to try the honey mustard glazed salmon!

CH: Did you get your scrubbing bubbles yet? Dan put the toilet one in already, it's pretty neat - the bathroom already smells a ton better. :)

My favorite campaign has probably been the Ralph Lauren - Ralph Hot - perfume campaign...a free full-size bottle of perfume plus a cute giant bead of my favorite perfumes. :) :) My sister loves it too.

JH: I didn't get an invite to the Scrubbing Bubbles, but I got one for Glade Diffusers. I think my top faves would have to be the Word of Mouth Manual campaign. It was a book written by the creator of BzzAgent and it was all about word-of-mouth and viral marketing. I think I read it 3 times!

No, wait! The best was LypSyl chapstick! I'm completely addicted to the stuff now! You can find it at Rite-aid.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photography Enlightenment

CH: I was just reading through one of my daily photography emails I get (mind you it's from early November as that's where I currently am in catching up on my email) - and the writer of this edition had an interesting thing to say at the end which I thought I would share with you :)

"You can have thousands of dollars worth of gear and not be able to take a good shot to save your life (contrary to what Aston Kutcher might like you to believe). You can also use a cheap, plastic toy camera and do some amazing things. Cameras are tools. Just tools. Don’t think that just because the guy next to you has a lens bigger than a small child, than his shots will be better than yours. Just shoot, have fun, and always keep experimenting." - Tris Hussey

Amen to that. :)

JH: I couldn't agree more.
The proof is in the photo! In looking through photography site after photography site in search for photos for my Autism Prose site, I found such garbage out there. Sure, the photographer threw their portfolio up on a flash site. Snappy. Sure, the photographer obviously had a lot of shoots under their belt. Commendable. But I certainly wouldn't pay for their style and quality.

What I love about watching Avery James Photography develop is that I can expect to see something interesting every time I look at a new shoot in your portfolio. It's never boring! Keep up the good work and keep experimenting!

CH: Thanks :) :) And I completely agree with what you's interesting how many people think that just because they have a professional camera, that they are a pro at what they do....I know I have a nice camera (although one day I will have an even better one) - but I also know that I have a LOT of learning to do....and every day I am absorbing as much as I can in several educational ways. It has consumed me. :)

P.S. Thanks for titling the post...I saw it just now and I was like - did I write that? That doesn't sound like something I would have said.....what did I title it? Maybe I didn't title it? Now I can't remember....LoL!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What the heck is this world coming to?

CH: I know this isn't the first story of its kind...but this is the first one that has had any connection to me personally...

I have experienced death in a way that I hope no one ever has to (although I know that is unrealistic to hope for) with my son's passing...but I have never experienced murder.

I read stories in the paper and watch the news everyday...I see all kinds of murder stories, from the gruesome to the gruesomer....and they all bother me.....but when I open a link and see the face of someone I have met before staring back at me...and then read a story where it is plain as day that this beautiful woman was just hits me somewhere deep.

Here's the article for anyone reading already not aware:

I didn't know her personally, but we went to the same high school...she was a year ahead of me....and I know some of the people that were in her inner circle. I do remember her vividly, and I remember her bright smile. It's been over 10 years since I've even heard her name mentioned, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't still chill me to the bone to think of this horrible incident.

The first thought that came to my mind was that this could have been anyone that I knew....what if it was someone in my inner circle of friends...what if it was a member of my family....and then I started thinking about her story...about what she was doing when this happened, the fear, the pain, everything............then anxiety kicks in just thinking about this.

It makes me neauseous to think about it......and my deepest and sincerest condolences and heart go out to her her mother, her father, everyone around her...........

This pain is different than the pain I've felt before...this pain that I feel for her family is one of such magnitude because I know that the thoughts that ran through my head upon hearing of this story, are felt three-fold by those who knew her closely....

Today, it's not a "Beachy Keen" it's a somber and dark world....and I'm so disappointed in the sickness that lives inside some people.

JH: My stomach dropped when I heard this earlier today. I didn't know her, I couldn't picture her, but I vaguely remembered her from high school. That's enough to hit close to home.

It made me think of her family and her friends. Did she have children? A husband? Who is grieving right now? It makes me nauseous to think that in some way killing this young woman made sense to some sicko. Nothing seems to make sense anymore ...

CH: It was crazy to turn on the news last night and every channel has Cori as the top story...I watch the news every day, and I see horrible stories on the news every day...and I have always wondered what it would be like if I knew the person they were talking about - how would I feel?....well this time, the face looking back at me was a familiar face...and it was surreal and heartbreaking.

And then I watched her father talk about his daughter and how much she meant to him...and my heart just broke for brings me to tears just thinking about it....I know the pain of losing a child and I hate to watch someone go through those emotions that I know all too well....

And I wanted to respond to Jamie's comment as well - I totally know the whole "bubble" feeling...I wish so much that I could just go back to a day where I had no worries and life was perfect even though it really wasn't outside of my own little world....

And I don't really remember anything specific about her back in high school...but I do know that most people are completely different people than they were in high school. I know I sure I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she probably moved past whatever mean things she had done in her past to you or anyone else, and she probably wouldn't do or say those same things again given another opportunity. :)

Curse of the Valentine

JH: Year after year, Joe and I have great hopes of fantastic Valentine's Days. How silly of us. If it isn't one thing, it's another. This was our 6th V-day together, and it was spent waking up with a shoulder injury that had me in tears, being stranded at home, walking to and from an auto parts store for 2 1/2 hours, attempting to fix our cursed car to no avail, and it ended with a sprained foot! All of this in lue of a fabulous day at Disneyland with wine tasting and fireworks. Thank God Joe and I are so easygoing!

CH: It's so crazy because I remember you saying the night before how you two have a reputation for bad V-days....crappy luck I guess. :( Sorry to hear about your shoulder - is it the same injury from work?? I thought it was better?

And what happened to borrowing a working car?? I thought that was all set up already?

And how the heck did you sprain your foot?

Dan and I are going to Disneyland the day after Caydan's birthday party (Sunday) to celebrate if you want to join. :) :)

JH: Haha! So many questions ;) Well, my shoulder does act up from time to time now. I can't close the trunk of the car without it popping out of place. I know, ick! And when I sleep on that side it tends to hurt in the morning. (One might think that the solution would be to not sleep on that side ... duh! But you never know how much you toss and turn at night until you can feel it in the morning) But never have I felt pain like I did on Saturday morning, even when the injury was new. I think I freaked Joe out pretty bad! He tried to talk me into going to urgent care, but I refused. This wouldn't have been the first time I spent Valentine's Day in urgent care due to this shoulder.

As for the car, we will not speak of it. I am just going to wait "patiently" for the new car to get here :)

If you can imagine the route from my place to Michael's, which is next to the auto parts store, you might know that there are lots of streets between here and there that don't have sidewalks. I didn't feel anything happen to my foot at the time, but later that night it hurt really bad (and still hurts!) I must have misstepped along the way.

I'll e-mail you about Disneyland :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Torrance School District

CH: Yay for Torrance Unified!!

Great school district. Glad to live here. :)

Funny though - our alum (how do you say that?) North High is kinda sounding like the outcast here. :) :) Oh well - we came out alright...right? :)

JH: Eh, not too shabby ;) I think North High was pretty on top of its game in '99. And we were damn good students, so I'm cool with us being Saxons!


CH: This type of story makes me so think that this is happening in our very own city.

We live in a world where an African American person is our President. And we live in a democratic this person was ELECTED into office. Obviously those who have a problem with this are severely outnumbered. Quit fighting it and make the most of what you have.

Be thankful for your families and their health as well as yours. Be thankful that you have a job (if applicable) and if you don't have a job, be thankful that we live in a KIND society where our neighbors help each other out...that is, if you didn't just spraypaint "NAZI" and swasticas on their cars and garages!

Ridiculous. And so sad.

JH: Who knows if there is any rhyme or reason behind the vandals in this case. It didn't quite add up, which leads me to think it was probably just a bunch of dumb kids. In any case, it's unacceptable and sad that even in West Torrance people have to be wary.


CH: A bit strange of a day yesterday...let me preface this by saying to those who are not already aware...I am DEATHLY afraid of flying. I always have been for the most part, but my fear has steadily gotten worse over the last 10 years or the point now where I literally have panic and anxiety attacks when I am in the air, or sometimes just thinking about's a horrible horrible feeling and I have not yet figured out how to conquer my fear or at least just relax and let be what will be...

Anyways, I am part of the Toastmasters club at my work, and someone gave a speech yesterday about the fear of public speaking. In his speech, he also mentioned a fear of flying, and gave a statistic that said "90% of things that people are afraid of happening, never actually happen".

So I thought - interesting...I know I am scared of a LOT of things...flying being pretty close to the top....90% huh? Alright, that helps a little....

We got home last night and I quickly checked my email...the subject of one of them from a friend says, "Leave It In God's Hands"....just a fwd email...didn't have time to read it yet though...

Then we turn on the tv and decide to watch Supernatural...which we haven't watched since 2 seasons ago I think...but were just flipping channels and that's where we landed. The episode, strangely, was about fear. Jensen Ackles character was infected with a "Ghost Sickness", and this made him deathly afraid of got worse and worse til he was scared of puppy dogs and having hallucinations. Others who had it eventually died from a heart attack due to the fear.

Strange day...common theme...

Then, Supernatural was over...we're getting up and about to turn the tv off to go to bed, when all of a sudden, "Breaking News - Plane crash in Buffalo, NY". Wasn't there just a plane down in the Hudson River a month ago or so????? A miracle survival at that.

My eyes glued to the tv I'm listening to every word....we frequently have flown to Buffalo as this is the nearest major airport to the town where I went to school and where Dan's family and my dad live. We are very familiar with the area, the airport, and have even flown on similar planes as the one that crashed.

My fears all flooded back to me and I just couldn't stop thinking about the next time that I'll have to fly and how any bit of bravery I have conjured up in the last year or so is out the window again.....

And then this morning I see an interview with the brother of one of the passengers...and he's talking about delivering the news to his parents who were on vacation in Florida...and the reaction from his mother....and my heart just broke. Now I'm thinking about the pain that this poor mother is feeling, and father as well. And then I'm wondering who else was on the plane...were there children? Were other parents of adult or young children grieving today because they lost their child last night?

Horrible news....not sure how to take it...I just know it was a very strange if God was preparing me and I just took it the wrong way....yes, 90% of things you are afraid of happening don't actually happen....but 10% of those things do.

JH: As some of you know, my boyfriend's family is full of seasoned pilots. I've been privy to quite a few aviation discussions over the last few weeks, starting with the Hudson River landing and now the Buffalo crash.

If it makes you feel any better Crystal, they said that there was absolutely no reason for that plane to crash other than inexperience and bad judgment. They had the plane on cruise control when they shouldn't have which changed the positioning of the wings, and they appeared to have pulled up rather than down (which sounds wrong, but is protocol for iced wings). Also, the size of that plane should have made it easy to glide and land elsewhere.

Perhaps there's a way to find out who your pilot is ahead of time so you can cancel your flight if you're not comfortable?

CH: Interesting...I don't know how much more comfortable that makes me - I think I felt better thinking that a pilot could do no wrong and that there were back-ups in place should a pilot do something incorrectly....and that any mishaps were at the fault of mechanical issues....human error is will happen at some point there is just no avoiding it. Just as the horrible Metro crash recently was blamed on a texting conducter....especially when people become comfortable with what they are doing because they've done it a million times, they start to be lax in their safety precautions and over the top checking and double checking of procedures....

I know one of my bosses at work will only fly on certain plane models, and she knows which ones are which and it takes a big role on deciding which flights she will she obviously is looking for the mechanics of a plane and is more worried about the plane itself screwing up moreso than the pilot........but now I'm more worried about the pilot!

Like I said before - I think it's a control issue...just like I'm not big on being a passenger in someone else's car, I would much rather be the driver....I would rather learn how to fly a plane and do it myself. :)

Oh - and if I could choose my own pilot, it would probably be the Hudson River pilot guy. He's awesome. :)

JH: We can set some flight lessons up for you ;) Did you know that Joe's dad set up and opened a flight school right here in Torrance years ago? It has since been sold off, but I think he still has a hand in it.

CH: I didn't know that! How interesting...and I actually didn't know about Joe's family of that how he got into the whole Torrance airport job (it was Torrance right?) that he held for awhile?

His dad was a pilot in Vietnam, and continued his career in aviation after the war. He even got shot down in the jungle. Talk about scary! Aviation is definitely not Joe's thing though. He's not a fan of flying at all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

For Shame (part 2)

CH: I had to start a new post because the other one was having issues and the formatting kept screwing instead of wrestling with it, I decided to start anew.

Anyways - OK - thanks for the background because now it makes a ton more sense to me, and if all that you say is true, then I completely agree.

As a mother, I feel it would be horrible to be told that I shouldn't consider ever having more children because one/some of my children have autism.....BUT - that would just be selfish on my behalf if I was purposefully putting future children at risk of a condition that was harmful to them in any way. I would be bringing additional children into this world for my own selfish reasons, and obviously not for the child(ren).

So I get it...and I wonder what was going through her head...just another case of someone that makes no sense and I may never understand why they do the things they do...

Why can't everyone just be "normal"?? :) :)

Dinner in the South Bay

CH: Dan's boss/company owner gave him a very nice thank you gift for his work anniversary today....a nice dinner for us on him. :)

So he told us we could spend about $60.....and I'm trying to think of how best to spend this dinner treat tonight......

I really want to go somewhere we've never been, but I don't want it to suck....and I want to stay within the $60 for 2 entrees as well...and I'd like to go somewhere in the South Bay, either Palos Verdes, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, El Segundo, Redondo Beach........

Any suggestions? Anyone?

JH: I highly recommend Chakra in Manhattan Beach. Check out the Yelp review. It's pricey, but amazing. I think our bill was near $100 for the two of us, but we also ordered cocktails and appetizers. Definitely not a kid-friend atmosphere, but very hot for a couple's night out!

CH: I think we're going to bring Caydan along to we probably need somewhere kid-friendly...maybe not kid-welcoming, but at least friendly. :) :)

I checked out the Yelp site though and it looks really neat!! We'll have to try it sometime when we actually get a night to ourselves. :) :)

JH: Also try Salt Creek Grille in El Segundo. You can take Caydan there.

CH: I've been to Salt Creek Grille a few times for work functions as it's right down the street....I wasn't super impressed, mainly because I like options and their menu is 1 page...and very spaced not even a big 1 page...but their kobe sliders are pretty good. :)

We ended up going to this restaurant called Piknic in Playa Vista. I was looking through our entertainment book (awesome book) and browsing through the restaurant coupons and saw this one. So I thought this was a perfect opportunity to get Dan over there so he could see what the city looked like.

The restaurant was super nice, very classy, but not stuffy. There was one other family with kids there plus us with Caydan. A very inviting fireplace outside on the patio, and the whole city itself is just beautiful, so I was just happy to be walking around there.

The food was pretty good. Dan got a New York strip steak which was actually DELICIOUS (for $30 it better be!) - even I really liked it and I'm not a big steak person.

I got this baked penne with all kinds of cheese including ricotta on top....the bites with the cheese was DELICIOUS...the rest was a little bland...but there was enough cheese to go around for sure.

Caydan got the kid's chicken strips, and I think those were my favorite part of the meal. Again, expensive chicken strips, so I expected good chicken....and I was not disappointed. Caydan liked my noodles better than his chicken so we basically swapped....and his chicken was sooooooo good. Great quality meat.

And they had a great bread starter with garlic butter and this red sauce...kind of like spice filled marinara...delicious.

And then dessert of course, we got a "dark chocolate box" or something like that...dark chocolate forming a "box" with cake and mousse in the inside...very rich, but very delish!

Great meal. :) :) I soooooo want to move to Playa Vista :)

JH: Piknic sounds awesome! We'll have to try it soon! Joe and I had an ethic culinary weekend, having Fu Yuan Lo and El Pollo Inka. Both were so yummy!

CH: Dan and I went to El Pollo Inka recently, and we were very unimpressed. We tried the pollo saltado (or something like that) because we had some recently at another Peruvian restaurant in Long Beach and it was soooooo yummy - but El Pollo Inka's was so bland and not good at all. Very we probably won't go back.

But now we're on a hunt for the yummiest pollo saltado in the South Bay. I'll let you know when we find it. :)

Friday the 13th

CH: I'm going to buy Dan's ticket for the Friday 13th movie for tomorrow night...there's a 9:00pm and a 10:25pm showing at the Del Amo AMC...which one do you think is better so that Joe can get his hair cut?

Here's the link:

Are you going to get Joe's ticket today too so it doesn't sell out?

JH: Oops, I responded to this via e-mail, as it went there before I saw the post. You'll have to forgive me- the migraine finally hit :( I'm in no condition to be on the computer today, lol! Alas, I have blogs to post, a web site to finish, as well as a children's book to rewrite. Joe is always saying that I don't know how to relax!

CH: I know exactly what you mean....I'm a true workaholic.... :(

Crappy about the migraine :(

And I think Dan is going to have to go to the theater to get the ticket after all b/c the site charges a $1 service fee unless you have a Movie Watcher card and I just signed up for it and it says it takes a few days to get your member number to I don't feel like hassling with it....Dan can pick up Joe's ticket (unless you decide to still get it online?)

JH: If he doesn't mind picking it up, that sounds easiest.

CH: Dan got the tix last night...9pm. But I'm guessing there's going to be a line to get in just to get good Dan might go ahead of time if Joe isn't ready around 8:30pm I'm guessing....we'll just play it by ear I suppose. :)

For Shame

JH: Forgive me as I spout off about Nadya Suleman, single mother of 14 planned children! I already had a mild opinion about the mother who had taken fertility treatments to achieve these pregnancies. Then I saw the interview with the grandmother who outed her daughter for mooching off of her family. This is when my "mild" opinion turned harsh. Nadya Suleman has never been able to afford any of her children, refuses to work or even to take care of the children she already had. The brunt of the responsibility fell on the grandparents.

Today I am full fledged disgusted! In an article that I read this morning, I found out that this woman who just gave birth to 8 premature babies also has autistic children! Anybody who knows me will understand why I am infuriated. It is beyond all comprehension that any loving mother would purposefully bring 8 more children into the world when they are at risk of being autistic as well. It shows that she truly has no semblance of reality.
And to top it all off, she is now taking donations from the public to help her care for her children. I checked a poll and it showed that 94% of people are unsympathetic to her situation. The only sympathy I feel is for those children.

CH: Quite interesting...I wondered when we would get to a controversial subject on this blog. :)
I have to admit, I don't fully understand the complications surrounding raising an autistic child or of them "fitting" into this world we live I don't know if saying a mother who is at risk of birthing autistic children shouldn't have children is the most "open-minded" thing to say....or maybe you are more concerned with the fact that she brought 8 of them? Although I don't think the plan was for just happened that way.
So maybe you can clue me in more as to why someone shouldn't have additional children if they are at risk?
I also don't know the whole back story about this...I just know that I keep hearing her story everywhere and there seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding it...I'm not quite certain why someone who already had 6 children felt the need to turn to scientific methods to have MORE children...especially if she didn't have the means to provide for the first 6....I don't understand it...
And I can understand everyone being upset about the potential for her to accept any form of welfare to take care of the children she purposely bore (although again, I don't think 14 was the initial idea - but 6 was still plenty to begin with)...but everything I keep hearing has said she wasn't accepting welfare (but was accepting food stamps - same thing) and was using student loan money (which is still her own money) and going to school, etc.
I don't think she should expect anyone to be sympathetic to her....and I don't think anyone NEEDS to be sympathetic to made your bed, now lie in it - I guess is how the saying goes. A mother with enough will, will always find a way to support her children.
If she's so strapped for cash though, how did she afford the fertility treatments in the first place??
I obviously just don't understand the whole story to begin with.

JH: Let me preface this by saying that I am going off of all the info I've collected by watching and reading the news. There is of course a chance that I'm missing info that has been reported that I didn't catch, but from my understanding, I have legit facts.

Nadya Suleman had 6 children prior to the newest 8, and she used fertility treatments for those too. I'm sure we all know from the news stories over the years that when using in vitro fertility, your chances of conceiving multiple children are much higher. You are implanted with x amount of embryos, so in case a couple don't make it, chances are at least one will. She knew she was taking her chances with 8. In fact, as the story goes, she had her doctor go "against the rules" and implant more embryos than is the accepted "safe" amount for her age.

So now she has a track record of going against nature to conceive when she doesn't even have the resources to care for these helpless children. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against fertility treatments by any means. But there comes a point when enough has to be enough. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she was only going for 1 more child, not 8. She already had 6, along with a $50,000 student loan debt hanging over her head. Plus she relied on food stamps to feed her family. All of this makes it quite clear to me that even 6 children were too much for her to handle. Why add any more?

As for the autism factor, let's take the cost out of the equation for just a moment and simply focus on the lifestyle. Children with autism face what some might call day to day torture. Many of them are so sensitive to sound and touch that they are in constant discomfort. They live with high anxiety due to their desire for isolation vs everyone else's struggle to integrate them into society. Many families have multiple children with the disorder, but didn't plan on having more children after finding out about the first autistic child. That's because it is absolutely heart-wrenching to watch a child suffer emotionally and physically. Plus, any family dealing with autism knows that the amount of time and energy given to their autistic child takes that much time and energy away from their other children.

Now bring the cost of raising an autistic child back into the equation. When considering doctors, therapists, childcare, special education, etc. you're looking at $3 million+ per child. A responsible parent of an autistic child knows this, so why did Suleman (who's already in debt herself) feel that it was appropriate or responsible to add any more children to her expenses? It's a disservice to her other children.

And one last little note. There is some discrepancy involving the truth about her fertility doctor. She claims that the same doctor helped her conceive all of her children, but the doctor says that after the first 6, he didn't want to be involved with her any more. I hear there is evidence of a second doctor, but we don't know anything about him as of yet.

All in all, I think the woman is nuts. I feel terrible for all of her children :(

Send Out Cards

CH: Have you heard of Send Out Cards before? This would probably be a great tool for Autism Prose down the line...a friend of mine uses it and highly recommends it. He also gets a commission for signing people up with the program, so he's big on promoting it.

Here's a link he just sent me on YouTube where it was featured in this show (which actually might be something to look into for your company as well!) -

I've seen the interface before and it looks pretty simple to use...very convenient. I assume it's similar to what say you dentist's office uses to send out little Snoopy greeting cards that say it's time to come in for your yearly check-up or whatever. But then you can also use it for personal things........

For example, Jeff (that's my friend that uses it) always sends us birthday postcards with pictures of their kids or Caydan's pictures that they's a great way to personalize a card and to let someone know you're thinking about them.

Plus, I believe you can set it up on you could set all your birthdays up with different cards at one time, and then throughout the year it will just automatically send it to everyone when you have set the alarm for...........

Pretty spiffy marketing tool if I say so myself....I told him that when my photography business is absolutely booming and I can't handle the follow-up volume on my own, then I will definitely sign up with Send Out Cards as I think it's wonderful. :)

JH: I just checked out Send Out Cards, and I'm hooked! That was SO awesome! The card I made had the cutest font and I was able to add a picture inside to personalize it! Pretty brilliant idea if I do say so myself! I agree that it had the potential to be a great business tool!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


CH: ::gag::

JH: ???

CH: ugh. Anyways. A new day.'s early, and I don't have much to say...but I felt like writing something because your comment is the last one almost all of our blogs right now.....I just gotta have the last word. ;-)

Oh - Lost was awesome as usual...although I feel like I'm watching a soap opera sometimes...where they take a story line and DRAG it out for so many episodes....just get back to the island already!

And BTW - I am absolutely stunned (although not surprised) at how gorgeous Kate (Evangeline Lilly) is off the island....she's gorgeous on the island, but all dolled up and all, she's beautiful. I feel a twinge of jealousy coming on. :)

JH: Kate really is pretty. Did you happen to catch this video on myspace last week? I guess all stars have to get their start somewhere!

CH: Oh that's hilarious! I bet she's real proud about that one being on her resume. :) I always wonder what stars did before they were famous. Like the whole Brad Pitt wearing a chicken costume

Grocery Game

CH: Since Jamie reads this, and she just asked me about the Grocery Game on Facebook (did you tell her I used that? I don't remember posting it anywhere)....I actually haven't used it in a long time...but I remember stuff...although I think we stopped using it after Ralph's put a cap on their doubling....

Anyways, I wanted to start a blog here so I didn't forget to write about it because I think it's a great blog topic :)

But we're heading out to Target right now, so I will continue later. :)

JH: I sure did! Jamie actually blogged about her new found success with coupons, so I thought she should try Grocery Game. I didn't do it long enough to fully get it, but I know you did, so I sent her on over.

CH: So this is what I remember...
The hardest part was organizing the took us hours to go through coupons every week....

Basically we organized coupons by the week that we got the coupons as that was one of the ways that it's referenced in the Grocery we had stacks clipped together from every week and then I would write the week on a piece of paper on top of the stack.
Then we went through the Grocery Game and checked off everything we were interested in purchasing (again, this was much more tempting when Ralph's didnt have a limit on the coupon doubling).

Then we tackled one stack of coupons at a time....we would find all of the coupons from that stack's week that was featured in the grocery game (this was what took by page we had to go through it searching for the items)...then we would move on to the next week.
When we got to the store we would go for everything on our list, and if it was sold out (which many times it was) we would either leave the coupon there if it was expiring or just bring it back home if it wasn't.

In addition, when we were looking through the stacks of coupons, we would also pay attention to expiration if a coupon was going to expire before the next week when we went to the store again, we would just bring the coupon along.

So in addition to our grocery game (which we didn't get a TON of stuff off of, but we did get quite a few super cheap or free items) we would bring all these other coupons that were expiring just to see if we could get a deal...and many times there were sale items that we got super cheap with the coupons that weren't featured in the Grocery Game.

Between the two methods, we saved a TON of money...but also bought a ton of stuff that we didn't really need. At one point we had like 10 air fresheners just building up in our cupboard........

And the other thing to keep in mind is that the idea of this only works if you're willing to stock up on things you may not need NOW, but when you do need it (i.e. the 10 air fresheners that we had in stock) we already have more and got it at a great deal. And you also learn to plan your meals around what's on if you buy a bunch of hamburger helpers for $0.50 off the grocery game one week - then you're eating hamburger helper that week.


Let me know if you have specific questions. :)


CH: Why are my fingers always so darn cold? Everything else is "ok" right now, but my fingers are like long ice cubes and it hurts to type...yet I'm still here blogging away...............

Are you looking forward to Lost tonight? Or are you DVR-ing it and watching it another day??

And I am super excited about CSI night...2 more days!! other thing. Dan is just going to buy his F13th movie ticket you want to just get Joe's online too and that way we don't have to worry about money exchange or anything? Might make it easier.........I don't know the showtimes yet, but I'll look it up when we get back from Target (if we ever come back that is) :)

JH: Lost tends to be the highlight of my week! I can't wait!!! Have you ever checked out It's intense! I lost 4 hours of my life on there last Thursday! Everything you've ever wanted to know, and more!

As for the cold fingers, you know me. I'm ALWAYS cold! Especially my right hand, a.k.a. mouse hand. Thankfully, my laptop is warm, so typing thaws me out! By the way, I've been living in my cute cupcake slippers that I bought from you last year! Go Avon!

CH: I have not tried some point I will, but for now I kind of like the suspense and confusion of not really knowing what's going on nor fully understanding everything. I figure at some point it will all make sense, and I don't want to figure it out ahead of I'm worried that something I read, or a commentary, is going to spoil it for me and point out something the average watcher won't catch. :)

And I'm so happy to hear you are making use of your Avon slippers!!! I need new slippers.....I have some Dan got me awhile back, but the bottoms are hard so they're like outdoor slippers I the slippers you wear to go get the newspaper or something. :) I want some super soft ones I can curl up on the couch with. :)

JH: Have you ever heard of NAP brand blankets before? They are truly the most amazing blankets ever. I have never felt such comfort before! I have the large blanket, which was $100. They also have throw blankets, socks and robes, and possibly slippers. You can get these at Brookstone! Gotta go ... Lost is on!

CH: I Don't know what that it like those super thick squishy blankets that they make for babies? The brand that comes to mind is Barefoot (Barefoot Dreams maybe??) - I can't remember the whole name. I remember someone got Avery one when he was a baby...and I think my aunt said that she knew the ppl who started it...I LOVE those blankets and want a giant one for me. :)

Anyways - I don't even know if they're even the same....but I love blankets....I always want to buy them when we're at the store...but they're so darn expensive.

Our next purchase is a slipcover for the sofa and loveseat....we figure, why buy a new sofa and loveseat when you can just buy a slipcover and pretty pillows and make it look like a whole new set?? :) But they're super expensive too!


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