Monday, March 30, 2009

Free Time

JH: Question of the day ...

How do you spend your alone time? I know you rarely get any, between your family and your busy schedule, but when you do how do you spend it?!

Joe was gone Saturday night so I cleaned up during the day so I would have a stress-free place to relax! Then I picked out super comfy pajamas, took a long hot bath, and sunk into bed for a night of "Jen-friendly" TV. I also indulged in Bacon Ranch Pringles! It was awesome!

CH: I think you hit the nail on the head...I don't really get any...I don't really need it though either I guess.....once in awhile I have an opportunity to be at home alone for an hour or so - say if I get off of work early and Caydan is still at daycare....but instead of leaving him at daycare, I choose to go pick him up and bring him home with me.............I like having him around, even if he drives me crazy sometimes. :)

I guess I don't like really being alone....although sometimes on a weekend night I stay up late and work on the computer after everyone is sleeping - so that's my alone I guess what I do with my alone time is - work. The only time I don't have to feel guilty for not spending enough time with Dan and Caydan. :) I have too many things on my to-do list to spend free time doing anything else. :)

Our family getaways is my relaxing time where I don't that's why I love to get out of town. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009


CH: Since we are heading out to Solvang in a couple of hours...I thought I would share memories from our first visit there a little over 2 years ago....look at widdle Caydan!! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Disney's New Addition

JH: I was going through my internet routine this morning and stopped by AOL to read their front page news stories. There was one in particular that I couldn't just let slide. It was an article on the new upcoming Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog. This marks the first animated African American princess in Disney history. Cool, right?!

Well, what has people up in arms is that her prince is white! Even the tone of the article drove home the thinking that "Disney obviously doesn't think a black man is worthy of the title of prince". All I can say is WOW! My personal take on this is that it is very forward thinking and tolerant to show an interracial couple in a Disney flick, and I was proud of the company for taking such a step.

As I read on, the article continued to explain that people were also upset because the story takes place in New Orleans ... and given its history with slavery, it was an offensive setting. Apparently the story begins with the main character working as a maid in a white family's home in the 1920's. My opinion again- crappy as it may be, it IS our history. It's wrong to sweep history under the rug just because it's ugly.

People also berated Disney for naming the Princess Maddy, which they thought sounded too much like "Mammy" and therefore was racist. Disney actually changed the main character's name to Tiana to please the masses. Apparently that wasn't good enough though, because the complaints keep rolling in.

What are your views on this subject?

CH: Wow...someone will always find a problem with everything I guess. There's just no way around it, you'll never make everyone happy.

So you try and put a female minority as a lead role in a movie still marketed for the non-minority market, and then try and make it a little realistic by keeping some things in it that make sense...and you're criticized from all different directions.

I remember back in college I did a paper on minorities in television....I know this is a movie, but it still kinda first of all, there aren't many...and most minorities you see are supporting roles. And if there is a lead minority character, it's typically a man...and secondly - the show is marketed directly towards that ethnicity group. So if there's a minority lead role, the whole family is that same ethnicity...their friends are typically the same ethnicity...their neighborhood is typically the same ethnicity...making it seem like we can't all live together, marry together, or go to the same supermarket together because we're different ethnicities....

A few shows have jumped out of this box and done well....but it's rare.

Regardless - the new America is a country where interracial marriage is an everyday thing now. I'm the product of an interracial marriage. More people than I can count are also products of interracial marriages or in one themselves (marriage/relationship). It's actually becoming more rare to see people of the same ethnicity dating within their groups in the U.S..

Good for Disney for keeping up with the times and showing young viewers that it's ok and it's normal for this to happen.

As for the whole name thing....that's just dumb. I don't even know why that Mammy thing would be considered racist....regardless of whether it is or not, younger generations don't see the same things that people did years ago as negative things. And the only thing that is going to make them view names, words, symbols, etc negatively - is if we tell them that it's a bad thing.....but it doesn't have to be. The hate comes from within...not from a word.

Get real people.

That's my opinion. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Customized Girl

CH: I'm so excited :) :)

You know me and sparkly I just got an email from Customized Girl ( and they just introduced rhinestones as an add-on to your design for an extra $10!

This is the same company I bought our Avery shirts from...and I absolutely love this style shirt:

Bella® Sheer Longer Deep V-Neck Tee ($24.97)

It's super comfy and fits great and looks good.

And for the next 3 days you can get 30% off your order of $50 or more (code SHINE2 at checkout)....

It's super bad timing for me because we've been trying to hold back on our spending habits....but it's such a hard offer to resist!! I might have to get one, I don't know yet. :) :)

JH: Perhaps we can do a combo order the next time they have a sale? I would love to get an Autism Prose shirt made, but it's bad timing for me also. I spent yesterday in Urgent Care, and $160 later I'm feeling much better- but my purse is feeling a little light ;)

I ordered a t-shirt from Vista Print since it was grouped in the with free items, but it's nothing that ooo'd or ahh'd me by any means. I know that your Avery shirt is cute and made from comfy material, so I'm sold!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Work that body!

JH: As the weather warms up, I find myself inspired to (gasp) exercise! I know we've discussed making badminton dates once we've gained more daylight, so it's about time we pay our dues Crystal! Other than that, how do you work out?

I personally love Pilates! Anything that elongates muscles rather than bulking them up is something I'll go for. I actually used to work with a girl who did a testimonial on one of the Winsor Pilates DVD's, and seriously, they work! She toned her entire body and shrunk within a matter of weeks! She let me borrow her program and I think that's the most sore I've ever been from a workout. And yet, they are the simplest exercises to do!

CH: uhmm...exercise....?? what is this "exercise"? :)

I need our badminton dates....I did the whole bike riding thing at the beach with a co-worker for a total of 2 days I believe....and then I slacked...and never went back.....I'm horrible.

And I was doing the DDR thing for awhile....but I just never have time or the ambition to do it regularly...

I've tried walking with Caydan in the evening - but we don't walk far and I don't feel it does any good and ends up being a waste of time when I could do something else with him or work-wise.

And other than that, I consider my photoshoots to be a workout - my camera weighs a ton! And I'm always squatting or balancing or running or that's what I tell myself. :) :)

Dan said he'll go to the park with us too and go play basketball or something - he bought a new ball and everything. :) :) We need to set a date...and we also need another CSI date. If we don't pick a day, we'll never do it.

JH: I'll check my calendar today and see what free weekends I have coming up. It's getting to be that busy time of year again, so this may be tricky!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Carnival Cruise

CH: A quick snapshot of some of our fun from the cruise :) You can click on it to view it bigger I think. :)

JH: Awesome pics! I have that same red and black dress; I love it! And I love the pic of you and Michelle in her birthday tiara! She's lucky to have a big sister like you :)

CH: That's my favoritest dress in the whole world!! I remember I borrowed yours back in the day for something because I just loved it so much...and then I saw one just like it in the store a few years back and it was super cheap - like $25 or something insane like of course I bought it :) And I wear it whenever I have the opportunity. Although after wearing it this last time I noticed a tear in the tulle part :( :( :( Sooooo sad :(

JH: Ya know, the strap on mine keeps breaking. I guess that's fair since these dresses are a good 10 years old! Jeeze, I can hardly believe it's been 10 years since we graduated from high school. Where has the time gone?!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Cruise on Carnival - 3 days to Ensanada, MX

CH: You here you go :) :)

I've been wanting to blog about my cruise - just haven't found the time to do it, but I will do as much as possible here.......

So Dan, Caydan, my sister Michelle, and her friend Michelle, and myself all went on a 3 day cruise on Carnival cruise lines down to Ensenada, MX. This was the first cruise for me, Dan, and Caydan, and the 2nd for Michelle and Michelle........and it was my sister's 18th birthday the day of our departure - so that added some fun to the trip :)

I would say that my biggest disappointment about the trip was that it wasn't very family oriented...I realize that some cruise ships are specifically focused on adults, while some like Disney are aimed towards the kids, and so I thought Carnival was going to be somewhere in the middle of that..............and I guess they try to be - but it wasn't successful.

The main thing is that I was looking forward to the kid's area called Camp Carnival...but upon our mini-tour there we were informed that it is a Parent's Free Zone....therefore, no parents allowed....even though my son is 3!

There isn't much else to do on the boat for kids, especially since it was really cold outside, and so in order for Caydan to have any fun at all, we had to let him go play in the kid's room...but that required just dropping him off and leaving him. So much for the "family vacation".

So I would have Caydan with us as much as possible, but he really wanted to go play - so I didn't want to take that from him...but then I felt like I was just dropping him off at daycare or something.

So that was a bummer.........

Secondly - Ensanada was a real apologies to anyone reading this who might happen to be from there or live there....but I was very unimpressed. I figured that since it was a little more south of the border, maybe it was a nicer area as all I've ever seen is Tijuana. I was hugely mistaken...I actually thought I was let off in TJ and was just told it was Ensanada.

We took the little shuttle bus to the downtown area...on top of it just being downtown L.A. (the bad part) creepy....there just wasn't anything to do. We wanted to shop, but I wasn't interested in anything - and EVERY STORE had exactly the same thing...just like TJ.

We did go in a tattoo shop that was actually pretty nice, and Michelle and Michelle got henna tattoos of butterflies (I have pics that I'll post on myspace eventually).

Speaking of cameras - Dan didn't even want me to carry my camera around with me because it was so seedy I had to put it in Michelle's purse as that was the only thing big enough we had with us to carry it.

The only other negative about the trip was that it was freezing outside...but that's obviously not Carnival's fault.

Other than that...the food was alright....dinner wasn't my taste I guess. They had a lot of seafood options which doesn't interest me, I don't really do steak, and there were minimal pasta options if any. The last night I ended up ordering the kid's mac and cheese because I just couldn't find anything on the menu I wanted....but the mac and cheese was wonderful. :) :)

And I am in LOVE with the classic Chocolate Melting Cake that was offered for dessert all 3 nights....that was heaven. I think it may have been my favorite part of the trip. :)

The buffet was alright....buffets are never easy with a toddler in tow, but I made it work....and I became hooked on iced tea. I would have been very disappointed to find out you had to pay extra for soda....but I've cut myself off of soda, so it was ok...and I love iced tea...sweet tea :)

We all pretty much hung out in the Paris Restaurant (buffet area) after hours since I wasn't drinking, the Michelle's aren't old enough to drink, and Dan was just with us and had a few we ate after hours pizza, sandwiches, and soft serve ice cream - which I became slightly addicted to on the boat because of the Michelle's addiction.

The rooms were a closet - but I was already pretty prepared for that...we didn't spend much time in them - but there were no tv stations (or very few at least) which was annoying for the time we did spend in the room.

I loved the towel animals....i realized after the fact that I didn't take any pictures of them!! But they were all awesome!

And I loved the whole service of the housekeeping was always nice to come back to a perfect room. :)

We did order room service one took over an hour to get it...we actually fell asleep thinking they forgot us only to be woken up about 15 minutes later by their knock....and so I got myself up to eat my grilled ham and cheese - only to find out it was only grilled cheese at that. not good....went back to bed.

It was fun to look for our pictures....we didn't do any of the extra picture scenes....but they took a bunch at our dinners and when we got on the boat and off in MX.

The shows both nights were both really good...although they had technical difficulties the first show night and so they cancelled the finale....kind of a bummer, but not a big deal. It was still a great show.

I was bummed by "Bingo"...i was expecting a full-on Bingo session, only to find out it was 1 game of Bingo...for $ bummer.

I did volunteer the first night to be a participant in the game show they had on stage in the Normandie I got up on stage and stood behind a Jeopardy looking stand along with 2 other drunk people....I answered general trivia, mostly pop culture (my specialty)....and I won!! So i got me a boat on a stick as my friend at work put it. But that was kinda fun. :)

We also decorated Michelle's room the first night for her birthday, so it was very festive in there...people would walk by when the door was open and yell Happy Birthday to her. :)

We played some mini-golf the day at sea....well Caydan was a little warmer that day so me and Dan just kinda sat on the courses and watched Caydan play with the balls. Then Caydan and I watched the dolphins swimming...very cool and peaceful. We played some shuffleboard....Caydan-style.....basically just having a war with the shuffleboard thingies....lots o fun. :)

And I did particularly like one moment on our last day where there were a couple of singers in the main/central lobby area where the bar is singing a bunch of sing-a-long type songs (Hotel California, Bob Marley, etc) and everyone would gather on all the different levels that surrounded the center area and just sing. So 4 stories of people, plus a bar full of people, gathered around the center of the ship singing....that was pretty fun. :)

So overall, here's my take:

I like the concept of cruising....I would definitely do it again. This particular cruise is obviously much more directed at the young,, college students, young couples (of which we are, but with a child as well)....basically the definition of a booze cruise. Had we not had Caydan with us, and were I a bigger drinker than I am, this would have been a BLAST.

But alas, I am an old fogie (or at least feel like it) and I would much rather have a nice family vacation where I could play with Caydan and draw pictures and play with legos and stuff like I probably would not take Carnival again....but I would LOVE to take the Disney cruise....

I did my research the other day and I want to take the 7 day Western Caribbean Disney Cruise with 4 ports (Florida Keys, Castaway Cay - Disney's private island, Cozumel, and one more somewhere down there I can't remember).....but including flights for the 3 of us, it'll be about $7000!!

I'd have to save almost $300 a month for 2 years to go on that! I really want to...and I'm starting to save....but it's going to take awhile. :( :(

So now - let me know how your opinion of the cruise coincides or strays from mine! You obviously went under different circumstances than I did with my family, so yours may be totally different. :)

JH: Aww, I'm sorry it didn't work out better for you this time around. I know what you mean about the family cruise experience with Carnival. The first one I went on was with my boss and her two children. It was supposed to be family oriented, but all they really offered was baby-sitting and an ice cream party on one of the days.

The second cruise I went on was for a birthday and was full of drinking, gambling and frivolity! Everything a cruise should be ;)

Mexico is so scary now that I wouldn't chance it anytime soon. I've never been to TJ, but I've been to Rosarito and Ensenada. I must say, Ensenada is WAY nicer than Rosarito, so it could have been worse! Smart to hide your camera though.

CH: I don't see the draw to these northern Mexico countries....if they look like TJ, Ensenada, or Rosarito....I must just not be going to the right places.....did you do that Blowhole tour in Ensanada? If we had more money to spend we would have gone...I think that would have been a much better experience...I think. Michelle and Michelle had gone there last time they went on this cruise..but didn't say much about it besides there were more places to shop...?

MX is sooo scary. I just watched a whole thing on Fox 11 last night where they were showing what's going on in Tucson, AZ because all the Mexico violence is spilling over into the U.S. now...and it's got the highest kidnapping rate in the whole U.S. or something like hundreds of people this year or something's so scary. :(

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stop ... breathe ... regroup!

JH: I've been guilty of slacking on this blog lately, which I apologize for! It has been a whirlwind of business here (since the new year, really). I have been spending all of my time creating a new business to help children with autism, and Crystal has been putting her all (times a thousand) into Avery James Photography. Please bear with us as we find a balance!

CH: I've missed our chats!! Our long weekend cruise threw me off for sure - and prepping for Caydan's birthday the week before, and the million things I had to get done before the cruise, and now the million things I have to catch up on after the cruise....and I have booked myself silly with photoshoots this month and next....I may have overdone myself. But I feel sooooo productive, so maybe it's ok??? I feel so insane - I want to take Blanca out for her b-day for a girl's afternoon and I realized I had to schedule something all the way in April just to hang out with her!! It's crazy!

We are going to Solvang March 27 - 29 I'm super excited about that. :) :) You guys need to take a trip with us soon!!! We've only gone places by ourselves so far (except for the cruise this weekend which was with Michelle and Michelle) it might be a different experience with friends!

I think I'm getting back on track now though and so I'm hoping I can keep up with the blog now too!! Let's do this! :)

JH: It's amazing how busy we can allow ourselves to become. This past weekend I finally hung out with the people who I used to see on a weekly basis. I hadn't seen them since December! I just hope that my real friends will understand the hiatus and be happy for me and my successes, even if that makes me Little Miss MIA for a bit.

I think you should tell us all about your cruise! I would love to compare it to my experiences, since it was the same trip. I want to know about all of your likes and dislikes! And what excursions, if any, did you do in Mexico?

Plush Puffs

CH: Uhmm...can we say YUMMMM??

JH: OMG! YUMMM! I'm a huge marshmallow fan, so this is right up my alley! Can you imagine the Smores you could create with these?!?! I think that if I order some (which I very well may!) I'll throw another choclate party!

Marshmallows will always remind me of us and how we used to toast the minis over candles in high school. We didn't really consider the health effects from eating soot covered marshmallows! Tastey ;)

CH: LoL that's one of my favorite memories!! I always tell people that story about the mini marshmallows, toothpicks, and candle flames whenever I'm roasting marshmallows....they think it's hilarious....and it is - but that shows you the desperation for some roasted marshmallows that we had!! :)

Dan hates marshmallows...I just don't get it....they are heaven and I soooo want to try these fancy schmancy ones now!!! We should have a fondue party!! :) I want to go to the Melting Pot sooo bad now that it's here. I've been to the one wherever it was I went, I can't remember, and it was sooooo good! :)

JH: Let's plan a night out and go! I've been looking for someone to go with, but nobody wants to spend that much on a meal. They host Girls Nights Out though, so maybe we can leave the boys at home and get our wine and marshmallow on?

CH: ooohh that sounds fun!!! I think we should! Dan won't be happy about me spending that much on a dinner that doesn't include him, but he'll live. :) Maybe they have cheaper lunches I wonder...??

JH: I'm pretty darn sure that the Girl's Nights are much less pricey than the typical meals there. They seemed to be geared around munchies and dessert rather than full meals.

CH: I'm so in for the girl's night...when do we go????

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


CH: Interesting site I read about in my Thrillist email today...thought you might be interested :) :)

Thrillist Nation
Wednesday November 19, 2008

Jinni A complex man such as yourself has it rough when it comes to picking a movie -- your grizzled masculinity demands epic violence, while your blushing girliness hungers for epic period outfits. Helping you find the perfect fit, Jinni.

Like a Pandora for cinema, Israel-based Jin' had a team of film professionals create over two thousand tags to map the "genes" of over 10,000 films, then mated that work to emulative "advanced machine-learning technology" to create a system producing reliable recommendations to pull you back from the brink of a Law & Order marathon. Browse/filter movies that fit into themes such as mood (Disturbing, Humorous, Bleak, etc.), plot (Law Enforcement, Misfit, Ambition), and various standard genres, time periods, and settings, or use the search engine to plug in specific desires (i.e., "reluctant partners outer space special effects"), and the results interface'll return top matching flicks as thumbnail screenshots sized based on their relevance, proving that Brokeback Mountain is indeed the biggest gayest movie ever. For less thinking, simply select a touchstone flick and ask for similar ones, thereby sending Jin' looking for the titles that most closely share your movie's genome, from story structures (Non-Linear, Story-Within-A-Story), to plot (One Man Army, Nothing Goes Right), to thousands of other variables, revealing to you the approximately 200 hrs of film that combine "nudity" and "Amanda Peet".

JH: I'm not sure I get it. The link you posted didn't work. Is it like Netflix? Or is it a database of suggestions?

CH: Sorry - I fixed the link now....

So have you ever heard/used Pandora? If you haven't - you need's the awesomest thing ever:

So from my take - Jinni is similar to Pandora, but for put in what you like, and it gives you suggestions - so it's like Netflix, but I think it's a little more in depth even than that....

JH: Hee hee! I'm trying Pandora right now, and it's so awesome! How did I not take advantage of this before?! Seriously, this site is in my head! The very first song they recommended was one that I haven't heard in years, but I just thought of earlier in the week.

CH: I'm a HUGE Pandora fan! I love it. I either here songs I haven't heard in forever, or I hear brand new songs that aren't even on the radio yet. It's awesome. :) :) At first I was making different stations for each genre I liked...then realized I could make my perfect station by mixing all the genres on one station!! Duh! :) :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tokyo Flash

CH: Another cool site I wanted to share.....I particularly like the jewelry - looks like it's all men's jewelry, but I think even Dan might like some of this stuff...not sure about Joe??

And they're pricey, but not TOO pricey...affordable for a nice gift or whatever. I think I like this one, I'm gonna see if Dan likes it too :)

JH: I really liked this site! It's so difficult to find simple men's jewelry without spending a fortune. There's a place at Downtown Disney called Something Silver where I've bought things for Joe, but it's nice to have another avenue now.

If you're going for simple and nice, and don't mind spending a mini fortune, you can find some great rings for men at Tiffanys. And because they are simple men's rings, they won't run as high as the beautiful diamonds that they offer for us women!

CH: I've always seen that Something Silver store at Disney - I recognize the way the name's written on the website.....but I've never been in it....we'll have to check it out next time we're there (which is all the time!).

I also like Limoges...I think it's or something like that....they have tons of personalized jewelry...Dan got me an Avery necklace there which I love. :) And I got him a ring with Avery's name on it there as well.

I love anything that can be personalized...I think i said that before?? :)


CH: I came across this event in my email awhile ago and just now got around to posting it....but something interesting I found. :) :)

When it was actually emailed to me, they had an event happening locally to us - but this was back in Nov or Dec I think and since I'm so behind in my email - I didn't see it til recently...........but maybe one day it will come back....

Probably not for me because I'm just not that creative when it comes to clothes...I'm a pretty simple black, white, blue, and sometimes a splash of purple or green kinda clothes person.....but maybe you might find it more interesting than I. :) Or maybe someone else reading this....

So I guess the concept is - you bring a bag of old clothes you don't want anymore - this is your admission....then you go through tables full of clothes, pick out some things you like - or maybe you just like the fabrics....then you go on down the line to some volunteer sewers and they help you create your masterpiece. Whether it's simple hemming or something like that, or cutting out a whole new design from the fabric to make your own bellbottoms, purse, scarf, or whatever you want I guess...........

It's neat - because perhaps I might be able to come up with an idea, but I can't sew to save my having volunteers there that can sew would make all the difference. :)

JH: Interesting concept! Fixing a slight tear or unraveling is the extent of my sewing expertise, so this is definitely not for me. But perhaps something I would have been interested in when I was a teen.

I think it's hilarious (and slightly insane!) that you go through your spam mail! I don't know if you said this was from your spam folder, but I think something you talked about on here recently was. I wish I had more patience for my e-mail in general. I can barely get through my inbox as it is!

CH: I found that I came across so many interesting things when I read all my junk mail...being entrepreneurs ourselves, it's always great to read about other people's ideas and gives me momentum!!

My inbox was at 1000 - it's been at 1000 for a long time now...and AOL's max is I would read a few every day, but not enough, and my inbox was always full so mail was always getting sent back to people that emailed was fine for my photography biz cause I use a different email, but my Avon biz uses this email and who knows what was getting kicked back....

So before I went on my cruise last week I realized I needed a solution because I couldn't check my email in Mexico....then it dawned on me....I could move ALL of my inbox into a Saved Folder so I can read it all later!! Duh!

So I did - and now my Saved Mail is at like 1040 or's going to take me ages to get through it all...I think I'm still reading stuff from back in November now. :) :)

Well I will do the hard work for both of us and read through all my email and then just come here and share the interesting things I find. :) :)

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