Monday, January 25, 2010

NEW Looney Toons Play Area at Willowbend- DISAPPOINTED!

Here's the exact letter I sent to Willowbend (as if it will do anything, but I still had to send).

Hello. This past weekend was the first time I had been to Willowbend in a few months. I knew the play area had been redone, but I didn't realize it would turn out how it did...

Don't fix something that's not broken.

This is only my opinion, but the play area took a turn for the worst- I don't understand why they installed a huge flat screen TV. I'm assuming based on the note below the TV that it's a way to up-sell DVD's. Yes, it's my responsibility as a parent to keep them from it, and my choice to bring my children there, but kids are drawn to that TV immediately. If I wanted them to watch TV I would have kept them home and turned it on as their "babysitter". There was a large group of kids lounging around in front of it, the energy level was low and it was a different vibe than before.

Some of the new features are neat for older kids, but you can't see around the installations now and there's not as much free space area for the kids to run around.

I will not be bringing the kids back to partake or to shop in the near future. Huge disappointment considering before the holidays we frequented the mall at least once every week or two.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


On Keith's birthday we went and tried Nickelmania for the first time! Didn't know what to expect, and it ended up being a lot of fun!

Yes, it's a little run down, but you only pay $1.95 to get in (per person) and then all the games are a nickel. (Some games are 4-8 nickels but hey-cheap)

We've been another time since then, and Kolbe enjoys it a lot because we give him a little more freedom in there. It's more confined, not crowded: so I'm not as nervous about him kind of doing his own thing (where I can see him)! They have tables, food and you win tickets to get prizes at the end. The prizes are not too hot, and are kind of pricey ticket-wise, but that's okay.

The best part about the place is they have the coin game where you drop coins in over and over and over and over and over and over to try to knock them to the next level and dump them down into the bucket to get more tickets. Did I mention you do that over and over and over?

I'm addicted to it. I may have put in $5 in about 90 seconds. Maybe.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dallas Area Train Show

I had found a link to this train show a few months back, and had been dying to take the boys. I had no clue what to expect, but knew they would have model trains.

We get there, at the Plano Centre, right before it opens at 10am. As we're driving up we see the parking lot is packed, and I'm slowly realizing the demographic here appears to be 50 and

Uh oh.

Is this for kids?

Is this okay for MY kids?

This may not be a "Thomas the Train" kind of day, but more so the train equivalent of a Star Trek convention.

We load the kids up in the strollers, jackets, snacks. As we're walking up to the front my mind eases as I see more kids under the age of 5 start to appear from the parking lot. The line starts moving inside and I see "Thomas", roped off areas and trains that are too high up for sticky fingers and snotty hands.


The boys loved it! I can't believe how much work goes into these things on an ongoing basis. It was very similar to what you would see at NorthPark Mall during the holidays, but more spread out and for the avid collector and train enthusiast. Very expensive hobby, but one that continues for generations past and to come.

We'll see if 5 years from now the boys are still as interested as they are to this day! Or shall we say we'll see if my money is going to the Star Trek...ahem...train conventions like they are now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ZENO: Product Review

Oh acne...why do you continually choose me? I paid my dues as an awkward teenager, a pregnant woman ( 3 times over ) and even the occasional female who was too tired at night and fell asleep on the couch without removing my makeup.

But zits at the age of 33?? Come on!!

Most of my twenties I took minocycline to keep my skin clear. Worked like a charm. Had to stop taking it though when Keith and I started trying for a family. Since then I've definitely had my share of ups and downs as my body went through lots of hormonal changes with three pregnancies. I would try to keep up with it with rounds of microderms (which I loved) and changing up my skin care routine to accommodate hormonal changes and stress factors.

Now in the last 6 months or so it's picked back up again and I had been trying to figure out how to tackle it. I really didn't want to go back on medicine at my age, plus I try to keep pills to a minimum. I don't currently have the extra cash for facials and microderms and then I remembered the ZENO had been recommended to me awhile back. $150 brand new, and you have to continue to buy replacement cartridges after 90 treatments. Much cheaper than a package deal at the spa. All it consists of is gentle heat treatments that destroy bacteria. You can use it about every 12 hours and it works best on mild to moderate acne and when the zit is just starting to appear under the skin. (Ug-I don't even like the word zit).


So, I bought one on ebay- got an awesome deal!! I am SUPER impressed!! I knew I was approaching a time to breakout, so I do have one on my chin right now, but when I got it I was feeling 2 or 3 coming on, did a treatment on each, and by morning they never appeared!! Did another treatment on each area that night just be safe, and it worked!! It also really decreases any pain that comes with a breakout too. To top it off, I can use it whenever I really need it, and at home!

I am SO excited to have it, so far, so good!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Goal Complete: Meet My Dad

Don't let the title of this post appear trite, or as if it's just one more thing to do, it's just I have an issue with consistency and all my other posts start with "Goal Complete" and then what the goal was. I know, I'm anal.

This blog is public, so I will keep information somewhat confidential, but wanted to post a picture because I'm just so happy and excited to finally meet him after 33 years.

It was a great day, nice conversation, and exciting for me to watch him meet 1 of his 3 grandsons as well.

I look forward to many more instances of all of the above!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Review: Urban Crust

I have been dying to try Urban Crust, a wood-fired Italian Pizza Restaurant and 32 Degree Rooftop bar located in North Dallas (Plano).


Today for lunch I went with a group from work, and it exceeded my expectations. Bread, salad, drink and pizza (pretty big btw), for $8.90. The Caesar Salad was really good!

I have to say, it was better than Russo's, but not as good as Fireside Pies. Fireside Pies is definitely the best tasting, Russo's has the best variety (any topping imaginable whereas Urban Crust is only one topping and each on top of that is additional cost) and Urban Crust is in between.

Would love to go back sometime after work and have a few drinks! Oh, and some PIZZA!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Goal Complete: Submit a White Paper

When I was really little I didn't talk in school. At all. My report cards had notations on them stating "Your child is still mute".

I was shy.

I really struggled with public speaking...I mean, most people do. I felt like I did okay once I got going, but the build-up was horrendous.

As I've gotten older and into my career I tried doing things to improve and alleviate the stress around it. I joined Toastmasters, spoke at local design events and taught a few web design classes at a community college. All of those things helped.

Now, on my list of things to do, is to speak at a design conference. This is a long shot, but I believe doable. Several years back my boss was set to speak up in Kansas City at a very large design venue, and he was the keynote. At the last minute he was unable to attend, and he asked me to speak in in place of him. I was thrilled, excited, nervous, unsure...but accepted. Unfortunately, a few days before-hand I had a serious personal emergency and also couldn't attend, so 2 other co-workers took my place.

Ever since then I've really been set on attempting to speak at a conference again, and make a concerted effort in getting there. That includes submitting a white paper. Over the past several weeks I have been drawing up some session ideas, a personal bio and basic information they look for. This past week I submitted papers to WebVisions in Portland and the HOW Conference series. I have been to a lot of seminars and conferences and WebVisions would be ideal. Much smaller venue and topics are web-driven, which I am most comfortable with.

Who knows if I'll hear anything, it's certainly a long shot.
But I'm crossing my fingers!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mommy to Mom to Mother

Real Mothers don't eat quiche;
They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough
Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what
The vacuum just sucked up...

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'
And get their answer when a little
Voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth
Is not measured by height or years or grade....
It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn’t know everything!

14 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother? She wouldn’t have a clue.

16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's so five minutes ago.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goal Complete: Get a Bicycle

Okay, I didn't buy my own bike, but I do have a bike in my possession borrowed from my friend Susie! My cousin Wendy also has one I would LOVE to borrow as well, 'cause I know I won't be able to keep Susie's forever!

I have decided to do my first duathlon (another goal on my list), on February 21st at the Texas Motor Speedway.

Motor Speedway Duathlon

I did train for one several years back and they canceled it at the last minute. I do sure have a lot of work to do in the next 8 -weeks. I went out for my first ride last Sunday, but I really have no clue what I'm doing. I had no idea how different it would be out on the road as opposed to a stationery bike, plus I haven't been on a regular bike in ages.

I did find $10 in the road though which means I can't really lie about how fast I was going.

I'm guessing I only went about 3 miles, and I was feeling it. Not good. At least I have been running. We'll see how much I can improve in the next couple of weeks.

This race is going to be a 3 mile run, then 20 mile bike then another 3 mile run. I am not at all accustomed to the "brick legs" after the bike for the final run, and that worries me. So, next steps are to get some help from friends, get the right kind of gear, and practice, practice, practice!!

Maybe in the process I'll complete ANOTHER goal and lose that tricky 10lbs that's been hanging on since last year!