Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

This was our first year celebrating Christmas in Arizona! Last year we were in New York and every other year we've gone back to Washington. It was a little weird having a 75-degree Christmas, but I'm not complaining!

My parents flew in on Wednesday night and left early this morning. We had so much fun this last week and time always flies when they visit. We spent a lot of time relaxing, did a little shopping, played LOTS of Apples to Apples, danced and boxed on the Kinect (ask me for videos if you want a good laugh), and watched some home videos that my parents organized and converted to DVD's as a Christmas gift (I'm not sure if Stefan was more embarassed of me or bored, either way, we had lots of laughs watching some of those!). We had a really good dinner at the Keg, played with the pups a lot, went to see Little Fockers (hilarious!) and Stefan cooked a fabulous ham dinner on Christmas Eve and a turkey dinner on Christmas! We ate like crazy, met up with some friends for dinner one night and then went back to their house for wine and dessert! Yesterday, we went for a hike at Wind Cave at Usery Mountains and it was absolutely GORGEOUS! I think a lot of people dismiss the Arizona scenery as being beautiful, but it really is stunning. After the hike, we went shopping and I got my first sewing machine!! I've been wanting one, but haven't really taken the plunge because I have such little patience when it comes to figuring things out on my own so I was VERY thankful to have the expert (my mom) here to show me what to do! We even made a custom dog bed for the pups yesterday so they have a plush bed in the car!! Spoiled? Of course. (The dogs, I mean. But I guess I'm a little spoiled too).

As always, it was a great visit with my parents and went by way too fast. My parents left for Utah today to see my brother and his family, and we went back to work. I love having time off, but reality has to come back eventually.... Hopefully I'll steal some more pictures when my parents post theirs, but for now, a couple from the hike and the dog bed I made!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Brooklyn is on the naughty list...

It was a typical work from home day yesterday, I was on a conference call and the dogs were just laying down in the living room like they usually do.

I heard a little rustling and didn't think anything of it. I continued on my call and heard more rustling and one of the dogs walking around. I got up to see what was going on and I see Brooklyn prancing around with something in her mouth. She looked so dang cute that instead of telling her "no," I made her sit (while I was still on the call) so I could take a picture.

That "something" she had in her mouth was a box of chocolate covered cherries that Stefan had just put under the tree that morning. When I sent him the picture, he said he hid it as far behind the tree as he could without me being able to see it. Apparently Brooklyn could smell it and thought she would give me an early present! She must have known that the one thing I love the most on Christmas is a box of Queen Anne milk chocolate covered cherries!!!

I've since hid the cherries IN the tree so she *hopefully* won't get to them again....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Catching up!

My blog has become neglected!!!

With the holidays upon us and my new business, we've been very busy, but we're having fun, so I guess that's all that really matters!

Just a few things we've been up to:

Stefan's mom was here for Thanksgiving - it seems like we spent the entire weekend shopping! We went to the Chandler Mall, San Tan Mall, Scottsdale Fashion Square and a few other stores in between. After she left, I was thankful I was already pretty much done with my Christmas shopping because I don't know how much shopping I had left in me! We had a great Thanksgiving, thanks to Stefan's fabulous cooking!! 

Lunch at Modern Steak

Gigi and Brooklyn watching Stefan's football practice

We've been getting everything ready for Christmas and my parents arrival on Wednesday! I even decided to get a little crafty this year and made this giant Noel sign for our living room! It was super easy (right up my alley since I have very little patience when it comes to stuff like this).

My finished sign (and Bentley being bad on the couch).

I LOVE getting Christmas cards!! 
(I just need to figure out a better way to organize them.)

We had my work year-end event and it was SO much fun... a scavenger hunt through Old Town Scottsdale! We were in teams and were given clues as to each of our three destinations and had to spend all the money on our Visa giftcards that we were given without going over, and including exactly a 20% tip. After a couple margaritas, beer and a few glasses of Chimay, somehow our team won, coming in with a penny to spare! 

We went to the Desert Botanical Gardens with Amy and Jim for their Christmas Luminary display and it was absolutely gorgeous!!! It was a perfect night with great friends!

I had my Stella & Dot launch party and it was so fun!! Since the party I've expanded on my jewelry samples and can't WAIT for the parties coming up! I'm traveling to Seattle and Utah in February and am so excited about this new business!! 

The dogs were forced to stay upstairs during the party.

I'm still in the midst of getting our office set up with the new desk. We ended up ordering two more pieces to make it work perfectly! We didn't want to order the extension until we had the corner piece set up because we weren't sure it would fit. If our measurements are correct, we should have exactly 1 inch to spare. I'll post pictures when the office is complete, I can't wait!!

Stefan had an implant placed in his mouth and I couldn't help but take this picture right afterward when I told him to smile:

Good thing he never checks this blog or he might kill me for posting this!

Other than that, we're enjoying the gorgeous 75-degree December weather and we're excited for my parents to arrive on Wednesday night! We've got Stefan's team Christmas party at our house Wednesday afternoon so that'll keep us busy until my parents arrive and our vacations begin!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Exciting news to share!!!

I feel like I need to start this post with "no, I'm not pregnant."

Different kind of exciting news going on here! I've been very busy the last few weeks, (not to mention taking a break from my blog after posting for 30 days straight) but I am so excited and happy to announce that I am starting up my own Stella & Dot business!!!! Stella and who? It should just be called Stella and GORGEOUS. It's a jewelry line--- I know, I know.... you probably have the same reaction as Stefan did, "you just want a bunch of jewelry, don't you Julie?"  

I've been actually thinking about different business ventures for the past couple years now... I've had about 8-10 things go through my head and while I'm sure I would've gone full force with whatever I started, this just happened to be the most perfect thing for me and I couldn't be more excited! My friend Jordan emailed me and said she just had a Stella & Dot party and I would love their stuff. At nearly the exact same time, my cousin who owns a boutique in Montana was having a Stella & Dot trunk show at her store! I looked into it further and voila, here we are!

I'm having my launch party this weekend and attended a Stella & Dot event with my local director on Monday night--- this stuff is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! Half of the line is less than $50 so it's affordable and SO versatile. I'm obsessed. But, I guess it's good to be excited about your product than to fake it, right?

If you want to invite your girlfriends and host a trunk show to earn free and half off pieces of jewelry, let me know! Or if you wanna sell it yourself, check out my site below. I'm planning trips to WA and UT in February... Any excuse to travel and I'm there!

Check it out!!

**Orders placed by 12/14 will arrive by Christmas!
Thanks for your support y'all!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 30

Today, I am thankful for my parents.

As my 30 days of thankfulness comes to a close, I couldn't possibly leave out the two people who have raised me to become the person I am today. There are so many things I'm thankful for when it comes to my parents, so I'll keep this to the things that I feel have impacted me the most.

Being raised by two liberal-minded people really shaped the way I turned out. And I'm not talking politics here. My parents were so open-minded and they supported whatever I chose to do. They didn't force me to do anything, and really allowed me to make my own decisions (so long as they weren't against the law or against their standards/values, etc.) and allowed me to learn from my mistakes. They were not pushy with politics or religion and always made it clear that if I believed in myself and stand for my beliefs, nothing could get in the way of my success. I think it's pretty incredible that my siblings and I are split down the middle with regard to our political preferences. Some might find it weird, I find it pretty cool. 

My parents instilled a fair amount of discipline. While I wouldn't agree with that statement when I was growing up, I'm pretty sure they knew what they were doing when I got grounded or had something taken away for a while. For the most part, I was a pretty good kid. My siblings always tell me that I had it easy compared to them, and I'm pretty sure that's true. Either that, or I was just a better kid and didn't NEED all that discipline. :) Once I got in trouble for something, you better believe I never did the same thing again. Sneaking out in high school? Yah... the night my dad was standing at the front door when I was trying to sneak back in was the last time I ever did that. I'm not sure what was worse... the feeling of getting caught or having to listen to my dad's lecture for the following hour or two.

My parents also instilled very good morals and values. One thing that always sticks in my mind that my dad always said is, "friends will come and go but family is forever." Always send thank you notes, call your grandparents, send a card or call your family on their birthdays, respect your elders, save your money (I'm not very good at this one, but thankfully Stefan is).... I could go on and on. I think you get the point, they're pretty awesome parents.

The personalities of my parents are those that complement each other in the best possible way. My mom is the most patient person in the world (and the person I would always go to whenever dad said no) and my dad is one of the funniest people I know (and now usually has a hard time saying no if I ask for something to be sent to Arizona). I take after both of them for very different things... I love to read, hate to cook and I'm a little forgetful (thank you mom), and I manage my life through lists and tend to stress out a lot, obviously taking after my dad. 

They both have provided for me in a way that I am forever grateful. If I ever have children, I want to be able to raise them in a way that allows me to provide them everything they need and whatever makes them happy, just like my parents did for me. There's a difference between being spoiled and providing for your children. Some might say I was spoiled, and maybe I was. The most important thing is that I am truly grateful for my childhood, my upbringing, and having the best parents in the world.