Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is Retouching Socially Irresponsible?

In the wake of a disturbingly wrinkle-free Twiggy ad campaign, British Members of Parliament are calling for a ban on Photoshopping ads aimed at children, and disclosure of digital alterations in ads aimed at adults.

See Article

I don't know how I feel about the topic. In my line of work we use photoshop day in and day out. Photography is by no means a direct reflection of what's in front of the lens, so there is some definite interpretation and manipulation with the human eye when working with imagery. And of course I've altered some of my own pictures to give myself a "glow"!

But on the other hand, I have seen numerous images in magazines, online, etc. of people with porcelain skin, missing-rib waistlines and flawless perfection. I do feel this puts a standard of beauty out there, BUT it's also important that people are taught this does exist and to not let it take over your mind and self-esteem.

There will always be marketing plans, the need to sell a lifestyle, youth, perfection, beauty, class, social standard. That's not going away. Education on reality, acceptance and social structure is key so that we can look past the flawless execution through photoshop and know it's not what we need to aspire to be.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We Wish You a Merry...WHA?

So I'm driving the boys around to look at lights...and we make our way over to the street with the Griswald house that we go to every year. We spend some time looking at that house, get out of the car to see the scene in the garage, and then pack up the boys to finish looking at the rest of the lights on the street.

As we near the end of the road I look out to the right and see a nicely decorated house...but as I look closer I see...THIS! I mean...I get it...it's supposed to be someone who was hanging lights and fell in the process.

Come on.

This is clearly Michael Myers hanging from a tree with a knife! And if you look closely the face looks like a zombie from "I Am Legend". There is no joy in this image!! This should have been up for HALLOWEEN!

I appreciate the effort, but let's keep Xmas rated G people.
Sheesh.

Review: Capriccio Ristorante

Capriccio Information

When my grandmother and I volunteered several weeks back, we were surprised to find that Capriccio's was catering for the evening. I had never tried their food, but had heard of their Dallas location. Of course we were super excited to try something new!

The food was amazing!! Maybe it's because it was cold outside, or I was starving, or we were about to get to work on our feet for several hours, but the food was delicious. I think it's hard to find really good Italian food, and the pasta, salad, bread, desserts-all of it, were excellent.

I highly recommend!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Nickolas!

My sweet boy is 3 years old today!!

I really struggled this year with how to handle his birthday party. In the past, we've only had family, and that worked well at those ages. But this year, I worried about him turning 3 and not having more friends involved. So we debated, and debated, and ended up deciding it was best to keep it low-key again for a few reasons. 1-it was right after Christmas (I know, I'm sorry Nick), 2-we didn't want to spend a lot of money (once, again..sorry Nick), and 3- we did Christmas at our house this year and knew we'd be just plum tired (poor Nickolas).

SO-I was determined to make this special, darnit! We had a DINOSAUR themed birthday party with family and I thought it turned out pretty good! We had a few dino decorations...a HUGE blow-up dinosaur with dino EGGS! I paper mach├ęd eggs with small dinosaurs inside, so that each child could open them up at the end of the party. We had a dino DIG! So we filled a kiddie pool with sand and lots of small bones and put it in the kitchen for the kids to dig. They loved it. My grandmother made a dinosaur cake which turned out great. And we attempted to play Jurassic Park but my family overturned that decision in leiu of the football game.

2 of the kids were unable to make it, so it was only the boys and my sister, but I don't think Nick minded, and it was definitely nice to have a smaller crowd as we came to an end this holiday break. Nick is happy with all his dino gifts and he's now my big 3-year old BOY!

Love you Nick!

Christmas 2009

Can you believe it...a white Christmas!?!

This was the first year we spent both Christmas Eve and Day at our home! It was wonderful! Thursday night Keith's parents came over and Keith's Cousin Johnny. We had food, let the boys open presents and spent some time in the snow and visiting. Then we baked cookies for Santa and the boys were in bed early with excitement and anticipation for Christmas morning. Keith and I were up late wrapping up gifts, filling stockings and cleaning.

They strolled into our bed early, about 6:30 I'd say, and we made them lay there until 7:00 which is kind of the "rule" for wake up time. Christmas morning shouldn't be any different...we were tired!

We came out and the boys opened the few presents Santa had left and went through their stockings. We had a great breakfast with eggs and sausage and then the best part...playing in the snow!!! We built a snowman, made snow angels and had snowball fights. This time I was dressed warmer and stayed out for a good hour. If I didn't need to come in and start getting ready for my family to come over I would have stayed out and played!! My family was over at about 11 and we ate, opened presents and hung out. Lots of fun!

That evening I took Kolbe and Nick out to look at lights since I knew we didn't have too much longer for the season. We went over to the Shops of Legacy and got out and walked through with all the lighted trees and huge Christmas tree. They enjoyed it.

We were back home, boys in bed, relaxed and happy! What a great Christmas 2009!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Review: Chuy's Tex-Mex

Awhile back I had lunch with my friend Lori at work, and she casually offered up Chuy's! I said "YES", since I have always wanted to try it!

For the most part, I had heard good things about this place, and there was a new location off 75 that sounded neat, so we headed that way.

I ended up ordering one of the specials, and it was some kind of soft taco wrap but with cheese, shrimp and cream sauce on top. I'm sure all very heart-healthy. The sauce had a bit of a spicy kick, and it was a unique and tasty flavor. I would definitely recommend!!

The atmosphere was great, typical tex-mex environment...my only wish is that we were there during happy hour instead of during lunch!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Map My Fitness Sucks

Many weeks ago I installed an app on my iPhone and also joined mapmyfitness.com. The intention was you could carry your phone while you ran and it would track:
• Time
• Speed
• Avg Speed
• Distance

Also a few additional stats. It would then keep a log and you could access this information online.

I was PUMPED.

So I get my running gear on, laces tied, music going, hit GO.....

and....

nothing.

It said it was searching for a better signal area so I started to troubleshoot. I was determined to get this thing working. What better combo-your phone, music and something that tracks your runs. Long story short-it didn't work, so I didn't run.

You can map my run right back to the couch.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Erik=Opa

When Erik was born I thought he was a clone of Keith's baby pictures. As he's grown over the months I still saw the resemblance, and thought out of all the boys he looked the most like Keith.

In the last couple of months, and in looking at Keith's dad's baby picture again, I began to ask myself "Did I give birth to Keith's dad"?

I made sure during the boys' pictures that we tried to get a pose similar to Opa's picture, at least for a side by side comparison. They were both 8 months old in the pictures (eventhough Erik's was 76 years after Opa's).

The resemblance is unbelievable. Same smile, cheeks, facial structure and head. I can't get over it. I see absolutely none of my features in my baby boy!!

Good thing he's a cutie!
I think it's neat that they share those characteristics!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kolbe's Holiday Program

Kolbe's Holiday Concert was Friday morning at 9am, and I had been looking forward to it for a long time. Last year, his program (and Nick's), was canceled due to icy roads, so it's been 2 years since we've seen him sing. The last time he was so little that when he saw us he ran out through the audience and sat with us the whole time.

This year was a lot different.

I was so impressed with all the kids. They sang 5 songs:

• Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
• Up on the HouseTop
• I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
• We Wish You a Merry Christmas
• Jingle Bells

And we're not talking a snippet, they sang the whole song-all the verses. That is a lot for 4 and 5 year-olds to remember, and get up and sing in front of a large crowd. It was a great morning!

Good job, Kolbe!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Visiting Santa: SUCCESS!

Last Friday night I took all 3 boys and met my Mom at Vista Ridge Mall to visit Santa. I had NO expectations since last year didn't go so great, and it was the first time trying to get all 3 in a shot. Plus, I didn't know if the baby would be scared, or if Nick would fight it again.

Success!!

They all did so great, and my 8-year old sister Taylor got in the picture too. Most of the time she goes and we get all of them together-it's kind of become tradition that my Mom and I take them together.

To top it off, there wasn't a single person in line on a Friday night, so Kolbe got a lot of time to talk to Santa and tell him he wanted...you guessed it...choo choos!! We are working on year 4 of train addiction.

They all did GREAT! Thanks Santa!!

P.S. Kolbe looks SO much older in this picture, I can't get over it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Volunteering: Gift Bags at the VNA

Up until summer of this year my grandmother and I were doing Meals on Wheels 1 to 2 Fridays a month (when I had Fridays off). Since then, I have started doing 5 day work weeks, and have not had the opportunity to work with the VNA (Visiting Nurses Association)...but Wednesday night we got our chance again!!

We made our way over to the VNA office where there was a group wrapping packages and assembling gift bags to hand out on the holiday delivery routes this year. 3700 bags needed to be filled in 2 days!! It was a great system, and it ended up being over 28,000 items (7+ per bag) that were wrapped, boxed and placed into gift bags. My grandmother and I figured we probably packed about 50-75 bags each in about 2 hours. There were a good 50-60 people there during our shift, half of them from a local high school class. They had food available for us and snacks, but most of all we just really enjoyed doing that together and being able to give our time. That really is the best thing you can offer.

I am always reminded by the people that receive the meals, and it is ingrained in my memory when they told us most times the delivery person is the only person these recipients will see in a day. I hope that these gift bags will brighten their day, and that they enjoy the holiday season happy and healthy.