Thursday, December 31, 2009

Highlights From Our Whistler Trip!

Our winter weekend getaway in Whistler was a ton of fun! Here are some highlights:

*The Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler. STUNNING scenery on both sides!
*The glacial fjords on one side of the highway, with mountains jutting up on both sides and all the forests. Definitely one of the prettiest drives I've ever done!

*Stopping off to see Shannon Falls.
*Staying at the Fairmont Chateau. It was such a nice hotel! We took turns at night while Natalie was sleeping going down to the nice outdoor hot tubs. Nothing like hot-tubbing under the stars on cold, crisp nights!

*Wearing our fun furry hats and coats to keep warm! It was COLD up there.

*Snow! Even though it was hard-packed and old, at least there was snow all over the ground.

*Snuggling Natalie in her warm, fuzzy suits. Don't you just want to cuddle her too? SO cozy!

*Bundling Natalie up and covering her with blankets, then walking around Whistler Village. Natalie stayed so cozy and warm in there, she would fall asleep in her car seat in the stroller. She was the warmest one!

*We didn't get to ski, since we had Natalie with us, but I thought it was awesome how you could literally walk right out of your hotel and be at the bottom of the slopes. No wonder it's such a world-class ski destination!

*We ate at some yummy restaurants! The best was this fondue feast at a Bavarian place. Everything about it was delicious, and especially the chocolate fondue dessert was to DIE for! They said it was made of pure Belgian chocolate, and holy cow, I could swim in that stuff and eat it for the rest of my life! Heavenly! Natalie slept through most of that dinner.

*Whistler Village was super cute!

*Natalie had fun rolling around and playing on our beds in the hotel room. She did NOT sleep well at night in that pack 'n play, but she had a great time during the day.

*We also loved our sleigh ride, that I did the separate post about. It was an awesome weekend trip and we will definitely be going back someday!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vancouver 2010!!!

The cute little Whistler Village was FULL of excitement about the 2010 Olympics! Lots of the skiing events will actually take place in Whistler, and the souvenir shops were all brimming with Olympic stuff. I wish I could go to Canada for the Winter Olympics, especially since I only live a few hours away! Yes, I know it will be insanely crowded and everything will be insanely expensive and I should want to stay away. But I love being right in the middle of all the excitement! I got to walk around Salt Lake City when they hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002, and it was an unforgettable experience. That city looked amazing, and will never again look more beautiful. I also went to an all-day women's skiing event with my cousin. Fun times!

We had an awesome time in the official Olympics store in Whistler, and got some great pictures!

I just ADORE the Canadian Olympic mascots. Aren't they the cutest? I may or may not have bought a few of the small stuffed animals to take home with me. If you know me well, you'll know that I am a complete sucker for cute stuffed animals. And I wanted to take those giant ones home with me too!

Natalie loved them too! They're bigger than she is!!!

They even had the official countdown to the Olympics!

I really don't like the month of January. . . SO boring, and such a let-down after the excitement of the holiday season. But at least I can be excited for all the awesome TV coming in February! The new season of Lost, Survivor Heroes Vs. Villains, the Bachelor, and the Winter Olympics!!!

Will you be watching the winter Olympics? Which sports are your favorites to watch? I love to record it all on my DVR, so I can fast-forward through all the commercials and the boring sports. My favorites to watch are the figure skating (especially Men's skating and Pairs skating!), Freestyle skiing and snowboarding with all the cool tricks, and downhill skiing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nimli Review and Cashmere Shawl Giveaway!!!

Every girl loves cashmere! Since cashmere prices can be so insane, it's awesome to find wonderful cashmere for rock-bottom prices. Nimli has thousands of gorgeous cashmere wraps, shawls, and scarves on final sale for amazing deals!

Seriously. . . they have SO many beautiful things! I received one of these Azuri Pashmina Cashmere Shawls to review, and it is stunning! It's classy, timeless, and keeps me really warm. I love how versatile it is. . . I can wear it casually or for a formal occasion, and there are so many different ways to wrap it.

These are on sale right now. . . for $25! Believe it or not, you can choose between 110 colors. You can also buy one on "Lucky Draw" in their sale section, where you choose the style you want and they choose the color for you, for $7! Use the coupon code I'll give you at the bottom of this post for even MORE savings!

I also received some beautiful earrings. This is just one example of the massive selection of jewelry they feature on their website. Many items are on sale too! I love these earrings. They go with absolutely ANY outfit, so I've already worn them a whole bunch of times!
Nimli is offering a giveaway of a beautiful cashmere shawl like the one I received! Anybody would absolutely love to win this!

Here's how to enter:
Visit Nimli's website and leave me a comment on this post, telling me about something that you love!

Get extra entries when you:
1. Follow my blog!
2. Go here and become a follower of Nimli on Facebook.
3. Go here and follow Nimli on Twitter.
4. Mention this giveaway on Facebook and link to this post.
5. Mention this giveaway on your blog and link to this post.
6. Tweet about this giveaway.
7. Grab my button off my sidebar and display it on your blog.

Please leave me a separate comment for each entry, and make sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner. This giveaway will close on January 12'th. Good luck!!!

Deal alert: Get 20% off these already amazing prices when you use this coupon code at checkout: SALE10

I just can't believe how great these prices are for such high-quality and beautiful products!

Loyal Army Clothing Review!

If you like artsy, really unique clothing that allows you to express yourself and make a statement, you have got to check out Loyal Army Clothing! They have some seriously cute stuff, like this T-shirt that says "Let's Mix It Up":

Or how about "I'm a Hot Mess"!
These shirts are SOFT, and the artwork is so adorable. Bright, bold colors and really unique designs make these shirts really stand out from a crowd!

I'm definitely not a kind of girl to make political statements on my clothing. But I love this one about animal rights and I'd feel proud to wear it!

Not a morning person? Let people know! I'd wear this one too!

The second I get a cute little dog, I am buying this adorable dog hoodie!

Loyal Army Clothing designs clothes for women, men, dogs, and babies and kids too! They have some of the coolest little onesies and T-shirts, like this one. . .
None of us bloggers have kids who are VIP's in this crib, right? Nah, didn't think so. MY kids certainly aren't! Haha!

Deal Alert: Loyal Army Clothing is offering a 10% discount off everything on their website, when you use this coupon code: loyalarmy<3su.
They are having a pretty sweet New Year sale right now, and you can combine it with this discount code for some really good deals! Oh, and they run small, so keep that in mind when you order and get some bigger sizes than you would normally buy.

Sleigh Bells Ring. . .

Mountains up in Whistler, BC. Absolutely breathtaking!
Our family (minus Kirsten, who was partying it up in San Diego with my parents) went on a fun little weekend getaway to Whistler, BC in early December. It's only about a five hour drive from where we live, so I was really excited to travel to a whole new place! There's just nothing better than visiting someplace new. It's thrilling!

I got lots of great pictures, so I'll be doing a few different posts about our Whistler trip. One of the highlights was our sleigh ride that we took on Blackcomb Mountain on our second (and last) night in Whistler. It really was not a Winter Wonderland while we were there. Snow was on the ground, but it was old and hard-packed, and there was no freshly fallen snow on the trees. BUT I'm so happy there was enough snow on the ground to do our sleigh ride.

Do we look cold? Yeah, we were really cold.

The warmest of us was definitely Natalie. We bundled her up into her little snowsuit and kept her between us on the sleigh in her infant seat, and she happily snoozed all the way up and down the mountain, warm and snug as a bug in her bucket seat. :)

Doesn't this guy look like the real deal? He was our sleigh driver, with those massive horses. Kirsten would have loved the horses!

It may not have been a winter wonderland, but there was something magical about gliding on the sleigh into the snowy mountain forest, with the only sounds being the girl sitting behind us on her cell phone (not kidding!), and the jingling of the sleigh bells into the frosty winter air.
It was an experience that will never be forgotten!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Belated Giveaway Winners!

With all the Christmas busyness, I've been slacking on posting my recent giveaway winners. But I'll bet people haven't had time to check blogs anyway, so it's probably just as well. :) Here are all my last winners of 2009(!!!):

*Winner of the flower doll from Megan's Flowering Boutique is. . . #32!
dace design said... Added Megan's Flowering Boutique as favourites as well :)

*Winner of the S'Quarrels game is. . . #8!
Mrs.Smith said... Looks lik fun! I like that my 4yo. could probably play it with help, and that it's not "baby" simple, but it's not "grown-up" hard. Great kid game.

*Winner of the Admiral Road scarves set is. . . #29!
Kitty said... your button is on my blog.

*Winner of the Made by Jewls $20 Gift Certificate is. . . #56!
Heidi J said... The Chloe Earrings are my fav!

*Winner of the New Fashioned Whispers Mystery Jewelry Gift Package is. . . #108!
Anne-Marie T said... I love the "The First Snow Fall" necklace

*Winner of the Apericots $25 Gift Certificate is. . . #13!
BleuRoo said... I am now their fan on facebook ;)

*Winner of the Scentsy Flameless Candle Christmas set is. . . #15!
The Kooky Queen--Rachel said... I signed up for her newsletter!

Thank you SO much to everyone who enters the giveaways, and especially to the companies and designers who provide the spectacular prizes. If you haven't gotten lucky yet but have been faithfully entering, I'm sure 2010 will be your year! :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some Favorite December Moments!

Oh, how I LOVE December! Beautiful, Christmasey month full of sparkling lights, yummy treats, warm crackling fires, and the love of friends and family! Oh my gosh, I wish I could bottle up all the deliciousness of December and sprinkle it all throughout the year. Here are just a few of the highlights from our December:
(Note: not including Christmas. More posts about that later!)

*It's beyond awesome to hear Kirsten talk about Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. She loves to talk about them and gets really excited. She'll also drape a towel over her head and say she looks "just like Mary." Too precious for words!

*Going out on the town with the Van Dykes to see the holiday carousel and the amazing gingerbread houses at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle.
One of my favorite Christmas movies. . . the Muppet Christmas Carol. . . all made out of gingerbread! It was pretty spectacular!

*Taking Natalie on her first carousel ride! She didn't care too much about it. . . but I sure did have fun!

*Discovering the most scrumptious chocolate shake EVER at the Dilletante chocolate shop while we were in Seattle! I think I have a new addiction. . .

*Our beautiful weekend getaway in Whistler. Blog post about it and pictures coming soon!

*Getting to actually WEAR all my cute coats, hats, scarves, and sweaters during the COLD Seattle weather we were having. I think winter clothes are the cutest!

*The infectious excitement of Kirsten every time she sees Christmas lights. She yells out, "Bulbs!" every time!

*Natalie's new trick: She shakes her head back and forth, and she'll imitate us when we do it, too. Adorable!

*Natalie's other new trick: CRAWLING! Hooray! She started actually crawling across the floor on December 22'nd, at my aunt and uncle's house. So we had a crawler for Christmas!!!

*Playing with our fun friends. This makes me happy ALL year long, not just December. :)

*Stephen's job at Microsoft. Of course, this is a blessing ALL year long as well, but I just thought I'd mention how grateful I am for it. Love the awesome benefits, love the Prime card that gets us so many great discounts on stuff, love how much Stephen likes his job and how great he is at it. Only good things have come to us since he started working there!

*Natalie's hair! It's getting so much longer and thicker, and now it sticks up all over her head and it's as soft as a little chick. Her whole head is like a puffball!

*This was actually at the end of November. . . but I loved going to the So You Think You Can Dance tour with my friend Stacy. It was the first time I got tickets, and it was so much fun I want to go to more!
*I went and saw What About the Morgans? today with Stephen, and it was great and SO funny! I always love Hugh Grant, love Sarah Jessica Parker, and they were an awesome combo together. Go see it!

*Kirsten's funny sentences! One of the best ones from her bath a few days ago: "It's warm on my tushy!"

*Spending time with some of my FAVORITE people in the world! I love our new friends we've made in Seattle, all of my extended family who we get to see when we're down in San Diego, and all of my oldest friends that I grew up with. LOVE that I still get together with my old friends and stay up half the night talking and playing games. It means a lot to me!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


"Waffle" is actually Kirsten's word for "Waterfall." So cute, huh?

We got to go see a gigantic "Waffle" when we took our family to Snoqualmie Falls. It's pretty much one of our favorite places to take Seattle visitors. We had always just looked at the falls before, but this time we also got to eat an AMAZING brunch at the Salish Lodge, overlooking the falls. They are actually famous for this brunch, and my grandparents ate there probably twenty years ago and still talk about it! So we were excited to try it out!

Kirsten approved of the apple juice!
The food was delicious, and it just kept coming! Several courses, and all spaced out really nicely and not rushed at all. We were all really impressed and will definitely be going back!

Natalie had fun watching all of us eat from her carseat. And Kirsten liked the food, but got a little impatient and kept asking to go see the "Waffle."

So, we headed out into the cold to see the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls!

The whole family!

I love these pictures of Kirsten climbing around on the rocks after we saw the waterfall. This girl just melts my heart, and is getting more fun every day!

Waterfalls are so spectacular! I love them!
Tops on my list of waterfalls that I am dying to see are:
*Iguassu Falls in Brazil/Argentina (that I am going to see in April! Can't WAIT!!!!)
*Niagara Falls (Stephen's been there before. . . I haven't)
*Victoria Falls

If you come to Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls is a MUST-see! It's located about a half hour east of Seattle, and it's stunningly gorgeous at ALL times of the year!

Merry Christmas eve!!! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!!

Thankful For Thanksgiving!

Now that tomorrow is Christmas (wow! Can you believe it???), I figured it's about time to post my Thanksgiving photos. :)

Kirsten had such a blast helping grandma make delicious orange rolls in our kitchen.

She even found a new use for the bag the oranges were in. Here in eco-conscious Seattle, we teach them young how to reuse and recycle. :)

Grandpa and Uncle Jakob found some time to take Kirsten to feed the ducks at Country Village during all the food preparations.

Gosh, she's brave around animals! I won't even let a goose get that close to me! Geese are scary!

I have so much to be thankful for! Starting with my wonderful family. . . who wouldn't be thankful for these happy faces?

Our good old, down-home, traditional menu included:
*Of course. . . the bird
*ALWAYS the highlight. . . Orange rolls!
*Mashed potatoes, mashed just right and never instant!
*Cranberry sauce
*Stuffing (none for me!)
*Green beans
*Yams (I pass on these as well)
*French apple pie with ice cream and pumpkin pie for dessert!

*Natalie was thrilled to have her first Thanksgiving! Well, she was mostly interested in getting her hands in those mashed potatoes and squishing them up. But WE were thrilled to have her first Thanksgiving!

Our delicious meal with family and friends!!! I LOVE having huge dinners and big get-togethers, and I really wish our dining room and our table were big enough to invite a whole crowd of people. Someday!

It really was awesome having my family at our house, and not traveling for Thanksgiving this year. Much less stressful and tons of fun!!!
I'm thankful for SO many things that go on most people's "thankful-for" lists. . . Family, great friends, Stephen's job, freedom, God, health, and all the comforts we enjoy. Here's just a small sampling of some other things I'm thankful for:

*The perfect silence of snow falling
*The beauty of a sunset over the ocean
*Laughter, in all forms
*Snuggly, comfy kitties that purr on your lap
*Scrumptious food, the kind that makes all the calories SO worth it
*Dancing until you're so exhausted you have to lie down
*This AMAZING world and the ability to travel around it and experience it!
*Tiny, perfect baby smiles
*Hugs and kisses!
*Songs you love so much you never get tired of them
*Reading a thrilling new book
*Capturing that perfect moment in a photograph
*The anticipation of trying something new and exciting
*Clean, purifying RAIN
*Singing with a choir that's so good you get goosebumps all over
*Beautiful, priceless memories of days you'd love to relive over and over again