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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year in Photos

In honor of today being the last day of 2012, I thought I would do a recap of my year in photos! So here we go!

JANUARY:

I found out that the ring my 7th grade boyfriend gave me was his MOTHER'S WEDDING RING. It was a mistake, an innocent one from a young guy, but thankfully I've very sentimental and kept it for a decade.



She was reunited with the ring and was SO grateful :o)

My Ravens also made it to the AFC Championship... and then I don't want to talk about it.


FEBRUARY:

Nothing big happened other than celebrating my sister's birthday with oysters and champagne!






MARCH/APRIL:

We saw the Hunger Games! No photos really.

MAY:

We got engaged!




In Vegas, over a million lights.




I lost 30 lbs!

JUNE:

We went to Phoenix to visit a resort and see a baseball game!

Photo: Go diamondbacks!

Photo: Trying chicken and waffles!
And ate chicken and waffles :o)

Blairre had her baby shower!



JULY:

We went BACK to Phoenix for a cake tasting and dress shopping... and we found the perfect one!!!









We also went to see The Dark Knight Rises, which Fiance has been waiting for for over THREE YEARS.

We also celebrated three years together with a delicious dinner :o)




AUGUST:

Fiance got a promotion! We are SO happy and proud of him.

We went out for his birthday. :o)





SEPTEMBER:

We took our engagement photos!












We also went up to Albuquerque to see my sister and Kylie, and then go to a fight where we met John Jones! Light heavyweight champ of the world!




He was so nice. :o)

OCTOBER:

We ate delicious tortas and got passports :o)



NOVEMBER:

We went BACK to Phoenix for a Kevin Hart show!



Photo: Yum!

I also spoke as a guest speaker at my alma mater in the journalism department!

I turned 25!
Photo: Happy Birthday, @jennacande! #birfday #cake #party #surprise #work

Photo: Happy 25th birthday, Jenna.  Love you

And went out with our friends...

Photo: Sisterhood shot! You're here in spirit Kit Kat!!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families.
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DECEMBER:

HOLIDAY TIME! Also tons and tons of work for both of us.

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We went to Fiance's holiday party.

Photo: Josh at the UPS Christmas party :)

Photo: My fiancé is a fox... Says Josh :P

And then celebrated our Christmas Eves with our families!





Whew. What a year! I didn't realize how many times we went to Phoenix lol. Wouldn't change a thing! :o)









Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Review of 2012

So 2012 was amazing. It was more than amazing. It was the best. But then again, I always say that.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I got engaged! I also ran a mile straight in 10 minutes. I'm incredibly proud of that one. I've never been a great runner, and I was so happy when I finally did it. 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Hell yes, I did. I dropped five dress sizes and over 40 lbs. I'm super proud of myself. I also saved money and Fiance and I are now officially out of debt except my car. Get. Me. Some.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My good friend Blairre had her second baby, a beautiful little girl named Kennedy and I love her already. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just different places in the United States!

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you didn’t have in 2012?
Another puppy for Shadow. This is the same as last year :o)

7. What dates from 2012 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
May 18... the day we officially got engaged. Fiance took me up on a helicopter tour of Las Vegas, and then popped the question over a million lights with Frank Sinatra playing. It was amazing and unforgettable. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
Dropping five sizes. Running a mile under 10 minutes. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being more career-oriented. I was SO BUSY with that big work project that I didn't get to do as many freelance projects as I wanted.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
One bad cold that knocked me on my rear for a week. But I've been blessed other than that.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
My brown riding boots. I wear those with everything. My best presents were my Kate Spade Mrs necklace from Fiance, my Clarisonic Mia face cleaner, and my iPhone. :o)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom. She's a principal at a local elementary school and she is my hero. She works like 80 hours a week and spends all of her time and money on her kids and teachers. She just cares so much and works so hard for them and I'm so proud of her.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Some family members. Nobody close to me, though, obviously.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mostly in savings for our WEDDING! Less than 6 months to go!

15. What did you get really excited about?
Getting married! I'm SO excited to be a wife.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? 
"Hey Ho" by the Lumineers. It's my ringtone for Fiance and every time I hear the chorus "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart", I get happy. :o)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? 
Definitely happier!
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. A lot.
c) richer or poorer? Richer! Much richer. I got a raise and Fiance got a promotion and we are, for the first time in a long time, in a position not to worry about money (we aren't rich, of course, but we are in a perfect position for our means of living).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read. I went through all kinds of phases where I read a lot, but overall, I read less this year than ever.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Focusing on the negative or things I can't control.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
I spent Christmas as I always do: splitting time between my wonderful family and Fiance's wonderful family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Over and over, with my wonderful Fiance.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I'm currently ADDICTED to United States of Tara on Netflix. So good.

23. What was the best book you read?
11/22/63 by Stephen King. Not a scary book, but so good. Also Gone Girl. 

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Lumineers!

25. What did you want and get?
Clarisonic Mia. An iPhone. An engagement ring. :o)

26. What did you want and not get? 
New tires for my car. Soon, though.

27. What was your favorite film of 2012?
The Hunger Games! It was incredible.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 25 and had an amazing birthday dinner with my friends filled with beer, green chile cheeseburgers, and then shots. Then I had a great dinner with my family on my actual birthday and had crab legs and cheesecake.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm not sure... I'm pretty happy with what I have. :o)

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2012?
Comfortable. Classic.

31. What kept you sane?
A wonderful relationship and great friends and amazing family and adorable dog. Also Diet Cokes with strawberry and vanilla from Sonic.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Reproductive rights and gay marriage.

33. Who did you miss?
My grandfather. I was very, very close to him. He died in 2008 and every time we talk about the wedding and about seeing all of my family for the wedding, I miss him more and more. He would have LOVED Fiance and he would have so loved to give me a hug and say congratulations when I got engaged. 

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
"You are as happy as you choose to be."

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart!"

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday of Nothing

The past three weeks have been crazy. Fiance has been working 60-70 hours of work a week. I've been going crazy being gone 50 hours a week, plus trying to keep up with all of the stuff at home that Fiance normally does, such as errands and keeping the dogs happy. Then we hit Christmas, filled with family coming in and presents to choose, buy, and wrap.

It's been busy. Busy to say the least.

And today is our first day to really relax. We had planned on going to Phoenix, but his work has him scheduled to work on Monday (blah), so we're going to be home-bodies this weekend. We will hang out with his mom, who is here visiting until Sunday because we can't go up there. We will eat some Sprinkles cupcakes she brought for us. We might see a movie.

But overall, we will relax.

I'm so happy.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Great Christmas

It was a wonderful, wonderful Christmas.

Christmas Eve was exactly as I wrote about. Even though it was busy going back and forth between our different families, it was filled with all of my favorite people, wonderful food, and generous presents :o)

We started at my parents' house, where we ate tamales and red chile and the delicious cheese sauce. Then, we watched some White Christmas and opened presents. My parents gave me an iPhone for my birthday/part of Christmas, but I also got a Clarisonic Mia face cleaning thing (which I've only used twice but I LOVE), a beautiful white iron cage for cards at my wedding, some pans (cake pans, loaf pans, etc.) for my kitchen, new pajamas, new slippers, new socks, new touchscreen-compatible gloves... I'm sure some other things but I can't remember. My sister got me a really awesome scent-chooser thing from Sephora... it came with 12 small samples of perfume, and then a certificate that I can turn in for a full size bottle of any of those scents. I'm testing them out now :o)

Then, it was off to Fiance's family. We played Taboo (boys vs. girls, and it got very heated) (we won), and ate more delicious food again. Then we opened presents. I got a gift card and this awesome "Here Comes the Bride" Philosophy kit from Fiance's mom, which includes face wash, face lotion (Hope in a Jar), face peel, and body wash, plus some good Aveda shampoo and conditioner from my Secret Santa Michelle, and a sweater from Fiance's grandparents :o)

Fiance's biggest present was an iPad mini from his mom, and then a TON of gift cards. Fiance is really particular about things, so gift cards always work out for him! :o)







Christmas Day was also wonderful. We started out at my parents, for some red chile and eggs, and then went over to Fiance's mom's house for lunch. I made gruyere macaroni and cheese and it was DELICIOUS.

I used THIS recipe, and it was delicious, if a little bread-crumby.

And then we saw Django Unchained, which was intense, but very well done. I like all of those actors a lot, so I really enjoyed it.

And now, I'm off again for five days. WOO! Happy Friday! :o)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Today, our schedule is this:

8:00 am: Traditional eggs and red chile breakfast with my parents, along with stockings :o)

10:00 am: Home, shower, make guyere mac and cheese for Fiance's mom's house

1:00 pm: Christmas dinner with Fiance's family! Ham, mac and cheese, yum.

4:00 (ish): First Christmas movie. Either Django (Fiance's pick) or Le Mis (mine)

7:00 (ish): Second Christmas movie

10:00: Home. Admire our new gifts. Sleep.

I can't wait. :o)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. See, both Fiance and my families celebrate on Christmas Eve. Every year since I was a little girl, my family has made red chile and tamales and this amazing cheese sauce that I could straight up eat with a spoon, then we celebrate with family and friends at a little Christmas Eve party. We eat cookies and this tequila cider thing, and then later on, we would go to Midnight Mass before coming home and opening just one present for the night.

It was always incredibly wonderful. Something about the darkness outside, sometimes with snow, a fire in the fireplace and all of the twinkly Christmas lights all over the house made it feel like a fairy land, like a magical place. Plus, I got to eat my favorite things (as a little girl I LOVED the masa inside the tamales, because the meat was too hot, and I've always loved that cheese sauce for chips and vegetables). AND we always had fresh biscochitos. Have you ever had biscochitos? They're amazing. My best friend Valerie and her mom always make a big batch and they are SO good. They taste like cinnamon and shortbread and sugar and a little like anise, and they are perfectly little crumbly bites.

Fiance's family does something similar. His mom comes from a family of four sisters, all here in town, and they are VERY close. Plus, his grandparents (especially his grandfather) were like parents to him since they lived with them for so long when he was growing up. He is very close to his family, so all of the clan (the grandparents, the four sisters, their kids, and now THEIR kids) gather at the grandparents' house and eat and play games and then open presents in the big open common room next to a giant tree. Every family separates into a corner and it's just an hour of wonderful chaos, with everyone talking and laughing and opening presents and saying thank you to each other. Then we all take family pictures in front of the tree.

It has been hard, for the past three years, to see each other equally on that night. Christmas Eve is only a few hours long, really, and we have two families we want to see. A friend of mine says that they separate Thanksgiving and Christmas, seeing one family for one and one for the other, but neither Fiance or I can bear not to see our families on Christmas Eve. So splitting has become its own tradition for us, and while it can be hard to leave one family, it is always wonderful to walk into the other family's house and see everyone light up to see us. I just love Christmas Eve.

This year will be tough. Again, Fiance works for a shipping company and they are CRAZY busy. As I type this, he has already finished one six hour shift and is now heading to another five-six hour shift delivering packages. But until last night, he was supposed to work Christmas Eve night until like nine, so I'm incredibly grateful that he's off tonight and we get to spend the whole evening with our families and, more importantly, with each other and with our little Shadow. :o)

I better go. I still have some timesheet work to do from home (bah humbug) and one more present to buy, plus a little more wrapping and then lots of cooking with my mom. But to you and yours, from the bottom of my heart, MERRY CHRISTMAS. My gift to you will be writing more next year, I promise ;o)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

To Do


On my To-Do List...

  • Work Out
  • Get a graduation gift for Gina, my coworker
  • Cash my newspaper check
  • Write my column for next week
  • Finish Christmas shopping for Dad, Thomas, Jess, Adriana, Gina, Louie, Daniel, Blairre...
  • Get my hair cut
  • Clean my house
  • Bake pumpkin cookies
  • Ornaments!
  • Write more blog posts
  • Buy wrapping paper

Whew. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cold Mondays

So, it's Monday. Blah. And it's FREEZING outside. Blah.

BUT it was a great weekend so that's not so blah :o)

It was a great weekend starting Friday. I had margaritas with my good friend Dani, and we laughed SO much. I got hit on by an incessant drunk guy who tried to get us to come to the strip club with them. I joked that my fiance doesn't let me give out my number to strange guys and he was like, "Shoot, engaged ain't married!". Yuck. So I replied, "Okay, I don't want to give you my number because I'm engaged." So there. :o)

But other than that, we had a really great time together. We took a series of hilarious, slightly tipsy photos:

Photo: Margaritas with silly dani girl :)

This is what happened when I told her to "look normal". :o)

On Saturday, we worked out, ate Wingstop, and then relaxed all afternoon until we had to get ready for Fiance's work Christmas party! WOO!

Photo: Josh at the UPS Christmas party :)

We had a blast. We ate, drank, and danced the night away. It was our last chance to practice dancing before our wedding in June, so we made the most of it!

Photo: My fiancé is a fox... Says Josh :P

It was a wonderful night out with the love of my life.

Sunday was filled with football, chili with the parents, and then video games with our good friends. Another great weekend!

Tonight, my plans are to relax, then Zumba it up, then maybe nap before Fiance gets home. I actually love Monday evenings because of this schedule. It's wonderful.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Busy Week

It's been a busy week, and the fun will only continue! Tonight, I'm meeting my friend Dani for a drink. Tomorrow is Fiance's company Christmas party. I'm super excited. I love his coworkers and his family (he works with his uncle), and it's one of the only nights of the year that I get to dress up. :o)

We are also trying to knock out most of our Christmas shopping tomorrow. Then next week, I have my little company get-together, then after that, I have a Secret Sisterhood Santa party with my friends, then my sister and Kylie come home, then it's CHRISTMAS, then it's off to Phoenix to see Fiance's mom and spend New Year's there with her and my parents, who are tagging along for a little vacation.

Whew.

Also, my column came out today! KACHOW!

Have a wonderful weekend :o)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On Friends...

Most people that get into serious relationships can lose sight of their close female friendships. I know I'm guilty of this. When I met Fiance, I got swept away by everything about him... his sweet smile, his beautiful eyes, his deep voice and the way he looked at me after he kissed me. But most of all, I got swept away by how much time I wanted to spend with him.

I've never been a 24/7 girlfriend. The few guys I did actually date were either long distance or short, high school flings. Even then, though, I kept them all at arm's length. I preferred my family's company, or my close girlfriends' company over the boys in my life. But not with Fiance. I wanted to be with him all the time and even better, he wanted to be with me as often as I wanted to be with him. So we were.

And we still are. Even now, I prefer to be around him. He's not only my fiance, he's also my best friend. But in the midst of this, I think I lost track of the wonderful female relationships in my life.

I've tried really hard to keep my girlfriends close and I know a lot of them (especially those who are married/engaged/in a serious relationship now) understand how it is.

When Fiance and I first got engaged, I thought immediately about the great women I have in my life and how much I wanted them to stand by me when I marry Fiance. It had been a long time since I sat back and appreciated my female friendships. These girls have been with me since high school or before. They have been there with me for everything big in my life. They decorated my locker for birthdays. They danced with me at high school dances. We laughed and cried and inside-joked our way through years and years of friendship. They were there with me for everything. Val was the first person I told when Fiance asked me out. When I got engaged, the first thing I did was send a text message to my best friends with a picture of the ring and a smiley face.

I'm incredibly lucky to have more than just a handful of close friends (also, something to note, I count "friends" as people you could call at 2:00 in the morning if you ran out of gas and they would help immediately). There are Val, Kaitlyn, and Adriana, my high school group (the Sisterhood!). Danielle, one of my first friends ever. Blairre, with whom I have gone through SO much (boys, Starbucks trips, as a bridesmaid in her wedding, in the hospital on the day she gave birth to both of her beautiful babies). The wonderful Pi Phis: Trish. Dianna, my little. Kelsey. And then my newer friends: Vanessa. Ellie.  My family: my sister Jess, my cousin Steph. And my new family: Jasmine, Alex, Fiance's aunts...

Obviously, I don't have fourteen bridesmaids. I have five. These five were chosen based on a lot of things (the longevity of the friendship, the pressure/cost it would put on the girl, etc.), but it doesn't negate all of the other wonderful friendships in my life. As I move into this next chapter in my life, these girls will be next to me (and Fiance!). And for that, I'm so, so grateful.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Three Hundo

Today, I make my 300th post.

Damn.

I started blogging a couple years ago to fulfill a request from my editor, but it has turned into something much bigger. I haven't been very involved in the "blogger-verse" with all of the blogger friendships that come from it, but it has been a wonderful way for me to keep in touch with family and friends that are spread out across the country.

Blogging has also offered me a chance to document my life. Just the other day I was looking through all of my old posts. From our visits to Boston to Vegas to Phoenix, to my relationship with Boyfriend (now FIANCE!), to my fur-child Shadow, this is a great memory book of my twenties and I would love to be able to continue it as a wedding blog and then as a wife blog and then, eventually, as a mommy blog. :o)

I have tens of thousands of views on this page, which means I guess a few people are interested in my ramblings. And for that, I thank you, the people who take the time to read about my life. It has turned into a huge part of my life and I love you all for taking the time to care about me.

Until next time,

Jenna

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday

Friday Sunshines and Dark Clouds!

Dark Clouds:

  • Fiance has been working 10-13 hours a day so I rarely even see him anymore! I miss him!
  • I can't bring myself to cook if I'm just cooking for myself, so I just keep eating leftovers or eating cereal. Then I'm not satisfied.
  • Need to get better about working out. I've worked out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, but I want to keep it going by working out every day but Sunday.
  • I need to get my new driver's license! TODAY.

Sunshines:
  • Fiance got top rate for a few hours this week, which means that each hour is like working three hours. NICE.
  • I got a raise at work! 6%, which is phenomenal in this economy.
  • Two stupid cats were fighting in my backyard yesterday and they riled my dogs up. Hence the poem.
  • I'm off today! WEEKEND!
  • I got to see my good friend (and bridesmaid) Dani this week! I miss that girl!
  • Local boxing star Austin Trout is fighting Miguel Cotto tomorrow! Fiance's cousin is dating Trout's best friend/fellow local boxing star, and he's in New York helping him get ready. GO TROUT! LC is proud of you!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Twas the Night Before Friday...

Twas the night before Friday and all through the place,
All the creatures were sleeping, even little Mix-face.
The dishes were left in the sink without care
In hopes that a maid/fairy soon would be there.

The puppies were nestled all snug in their beds
With visions of bacon treats dancing in their heads.
While watching Teen Mom and trying to nap,
I settled back to enjoy some reality TV crap.

Then from outside I heard such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter
Away to the back door I flew in a flash,
Tripping over Mixy and Shadow as they crashed,

Through the back door, howling and crying
To see if another creature was spying.
When what to my wondering eyes was on the floor,
But two silly, fighting cats that live next door!

Those snarling old tabbies, so angry and quick,
My dogs sprinted after them, trying not to get hit.
More rapid than eagles, the cats sprinted away
They knew if they got caught, they would pay.

I cried after my dogs as they started to fly,
I knew if they could, they would chase them to the sky.
So up the fence the cats flew like a flash,
And my dogs tumbled into it with a crash.

I sighed and I puckered my lips in a whistle,
And they came back like the down of a thistle.
As they ran inside, I turned to the cats (now out of sight),
"STAY OUT OF MY YARD IF YOU WANT TO FIGHT!"

Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Time!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are in my favorite time of the season... holiday time! After Thanksgiving, Fiance lets me put up the Christmas tree and add lights and start listening to Christmas music, which I LOVE. Like I've said before, I REALLY hate the cold so this is the only good thing about the season.

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We spent Thanksgiving day with my grandparents. It was a relaxing, fun, food-filled day and we had a great time.

Then the next day, we put up the TREE!
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It makes our house look so festive.

It has been a super fun weekend filled with family and friends. My sister came into town, so we spent time with her baking and hanging out. I also watched Magic Mike with a good friend Vanessa. And then yesterday, Fiance and I hung out with one of my best friends (And a bridesmaid in our wedding) Blairre, plus her husband John and their two kids Carson and Kennedy, my favorite kids in the world.

Mixed in there was plenty of wine, eggnog lattes, and pie. Mmmm. And some Christmas shopping! :o)

Next up, CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

25 Before 25... the final count


1. Buy a nice piece of jewelry for myself
2. Submit my columns to a syndication press system
3. Watch 10 of Boyfriend's Academy Award winners 
4. Lose 30 lbs BOOM
5. Become financially independent
6. Make homemade tortillas
7. Run a 5k I didn't... but I ran a sub-10 minute mile! An equally big goal.
8. Volunteer for something
9. Make THIS chicken :o)
10. Do something different with my hair (dye it, cut it, etc.)
11. Go camping
12. See my grandparents once a month
13. Keep my spider plant alive
14. Donate money to charity
15. Read 10 classic books on the BBC Top 100 Books 
16. Learn how to make great mashed potatoes
17. Find a dress that makes me feel like a princess
18. Ride in a helicopter
19. Try a food I can't pronounce
20. See another Cirque Du Soleil show
21. Improve my individual relationships with Boyfriend's family
22. Stay in touch with my sister more often
23. Start an herb garden
24. Write another 25,000 words on my book I got another 10,000... not bad.
25. Be truly surprised :o) 

So I didn't get everything done, but I'm pretty proud of what I did accomplish. I plan on helping my grandmother make tortillas next time I go over for dinner, so that is still something I want to accomplish. Some of the other things ended up not being that important to me, such as camping or making that particular chicken. I did make my first alfredo sauce, which I'm proud of, so even though I didn't get to cross off that item, I did improve my cooking skills.

The most important thing is to keep working on my writing skills. That will be a goal for my whole life, I think. It should be a continuous goal for all writers.

I'm happy with my progress! And I'm happy to be 25! :o)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

THANKSGIVING!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

While you read this, I will be eating this:

And this:


While watching this:


Before going to see this:


And this:


And I'll finish it all off with this:


A slice of my homemade sweet potato pie!


Remember to think about the meaning of this holiday... being thankful for the people we have around us, and the wonderful country we live in. Try to keep the shopping plans at a minimum for the day... it should be about the loved ones around you. For a while, at least. ;o)