Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm still on holiday.... right?

The new year is fast approaching.
I am starting to already stress about the next quarter since a number of my school peers are buzzing about working on their CV's or cover letters and application materials and I am still up here in oblivion pretending I'm actually on vacation.
I know I need to get a move on, but I want to be stubborn and refuse to acknowledge the piling workload in front of me until after New Years Eve. I get one more holiday on my "holiday" before I have to start back up the crazy stress case life I lead in graduate school.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The crazy weekend of Christmas

Oh the holidays. All that commotion and rushing, cooking, planning and shopping, wrapping, hiding, cleaning and spending and then just like that, it's over. So quickly it's almost like it didn't happen.
All in all, this was a wonderful Christmas. I got to spend it with my family and that is honestly what is most important.
It's not how it used to be, and although there are parts I really miss... over the years we've developed some new traditions and made it feel more like Christmas again.
Oh and that Amazon Prime present I was so stoked on...I guess I got the wrong size.:/
The good news: free return shipping. Thanks again, Amazon :)
For my nephew's birthday (Dec 1st) I surprised him with a birthday gift of a snowboarding trip.He had never been before and I'd been wanting to take him boarding for many years but never got around to it so I finally decided that for his 11th birthday, that is what we were going to do.
We went up the day after Christmas. we made it a group trip and it was me, my boyfriend, my nephew and his parents.
It was my first time up in almost 4 years. My sister had never been either and her husband had been up once before.There were a lot of falls, a lot of crashes, a lot of cold hands and faces and a fair amount of pain but I'd say overall it was a really great trip.  We're all recovering now with a lot of sore muscles and bruises... but it was definitely a memorable trip. So glad I finally got to take him up there. He said on the ride home
"Thanks aunt Brandi. now I can officially say I'm a snowboarder" :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas shopping in the year 2011

What I have learned this Christmas:

Amazon Prime is a lifesaver.
After days of searching for a specific item for my boyfriend and it being unavailable at every store I went to or called I was beginning to lose hope for this very important gift.
Then I remembered I had Amazon Prime with Amazon.
You really can't beat it.
Free 2 day shipping guaranteed, easy one click purchase I was able to do it while standing in the store of disappointment that didn't have what I need.
Oh how times have changed...but it sure did save my butt. Ordered it yesterday, was delivered today! More than enough time to wrap it too :)
I still have more shopping to do, but at least I'm not longer stressing about this gif. 
I sound like an advertisement for Amazon ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Christmas season begins tomorrow!

I leave tomorrow to head up to the good ol' PNW for what I am hoping to be a wonderful Christmas season.
I feel like I just can't start my "season" until I'm back home.
Even though Nor Cal makes for a much better winter season than say,'s not home.
I'm not surrounded by family and I'm not absolutely freezing my buns off.
I have had the time (and surprisingly the funds and the room in my suitcase) to start my shopping early.
I realized today though, that I haven't done hardly any of it.
It just doesn't feel right down here. Christmas shopping alone isn't much fun anyway, but then being so far away and not being able to wrap it yet anyway, I just can't bring myself to do it.
I am in the Christmas spirit for sure. I've been watching ABC family's 25 days of Christmas ridiculously cheesy movies, baking holiday inspired goods, listening to the Glee Christmas CD on repeat in my car, I even bought a holiday scented candle and have been lighting it often... but you can only do so much alone before it just starts to make you a little sad.
Yes, that is me, pouting in the front.

I am so grateful that I have my family. I really am. It may not be the family it used to be, but what remains is absolutely wonderful. I forget that some people don't have that. Some of my best friends are related to me and that makes me oh-so-very lucky.
I really do love Christmas time :) and I cannot wait to get up there and get this season really going!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Grades in Grad School

Grades came out yesterday.
Grad school has a way of completely disappointing you no matter what.
We had no indication of our grades for the classes this entire quarter.
This was a weird feeling since I'm normally calculating down to the last percent exactly what I need to get on the final exam or final paper.
This quarter was different. We did not get any markers as to what our grades were or exact point break down of the courses.
I foolishly thought I was doing much better than apparently I was.
I still passed everything, but in grad school getting a B is frowned upon. Get B-'s and you're in trouble.
I really thought I was going to wow this quarter.
Apparently, my professor thought otherwise.
Such a let down.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

I love anything Christmas related.
I love it even more when it allows me to be over the top and what I like to call 'Christmas Crazy'.
That being said, I am ecstatic that the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party has become an annual tradition :)
The party is planned for the 17th, a few days after I return to the great PNW.
Now, last year I had to get creative because you cannot find much these days at local thrift stores because other people have caught on to how amazing Christmas attire is. (or they just have these parties to go to?)
So last year consisted of taking a plain red sweater with detachable faux black fur (still a pretty sweet find in and of itself!) and using glitter paint and small stuffed figures from my mom's countless Christmas decorations and pinning them to my sweater.
Paired with a snowman filled turtleneck, argyle Christmas socks with faux white fur, snowflake earrings and a headpiece adorned with mistletoe and my outfit last year was a success!
The party this year is held at the same place so a lot of the same people as last year will be there, which means I've got to kick it up a notch. There will be no repeats of last year's outfit (although some pieces may make an appearance because they're just too good not to!)
I've got a number of Christmas items back home: a lovely vest with snowmen, an actual Christmas sweater I swiped from a garage sale this summer and the pieces seen here... but I want something better than those.
I'm thinking suspenders and puff paint but I suppose we'll wait and see what I end up with. I think this weekend I should thrift store it up and see what I can conjure up down here, then maybe hit the craft store after.
Did I mention I love Christmas?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Lists

One reoccurring theme in my life for the past 5 or so years has been distance.
I'm away at school while my loved ones are all back home.
Around the holidays is when this fact becomes the most apparent.
Thankfully, now that I am not an ocean away, I'm able to spend most holidays at home and also partake in the holiday traditions with my family during my holiday visits.
Last week, while home for Thanksgiving, I was able to attend the annual Christmas Bazaar with my mom, sister, nephew, sister-in-law and her mom. There were a few years I missed out on this living in Hawaii. It's tiring, sometimes annoying, busy, full of people and provides sensory overload.'s a tradition. We go every year, even if we don't buy anything. It is just something we do together.
I was very thankful I was able to go this year since I was actually in town when it was going on.
Today, one of my sisters sent me her Christmas List so that I can help my mom shop for her (another tradition, Mom gives us kids money to do her shopping so we all end up with things we really can use and like and it saves Mom some of the hassle of shopping since she has an entire village to shop for) and since we now pick names between siblings (tough times) it gives us a chance to still enjoy picking out gifts for our siblings.
Her list made me giggle and was an adorable idea. She cut and pasted a number of photos to give ideas of what she was talking about.

We used to do this when we were younger, but it initially involved the Toys-R-Us great big Christmas book and circling tons of toys I didn't even really want I just go so excited about the possibilities.
Then later, it was on Thanksgiving we'd all draw names and then sit down to write out our multiple lists and give them to the cousin who drew our name,  Grandma, and our godparents.
Times are oh so much different now for so many reasons, and this no longer occurs.
So with my sister's idea at hand, I made my own list to send to her to help her with Mom's shopping and emailed her back with it.

Complete with photo examples to help her get a clear picture (yes, pun intended) of what I was talking about.
This interaction with my sister warmed my heart. Although I'm 700 miles away, thanks to technology, we're able to make out Christmas lists together this year :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I was able to go up north for a week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
It was rushed, busy, wonderful, and as always too short of a trip to see everyone and do everything I wish I could have.
The good news is: I only have to be down here 2 weeks and then I get to go back up and spend almost a month there!
The bad news: I've come down with a massive cold. It hit me the day before I left Portland and has floored me.
I hate being a grown up. Grown ups don't get sick days.
Nobody cares if you don't feel well, you've still got to do your work and meet your deadlines and when you come home, there is no one to take care of you, but you.
At least I have a number of tv shows to catch up on to keep me company.