Sunday, December 25, 2011

happy birthday jesus

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

- Luke 2:10-14-

Saturday, December 24, 2011

run run rudolph

I can't believe it is already Christmas Eve! This time of the year is so much fun! Last weekend we had our company Christmas party at work and I somehow managed to convince six of my co-workers that it would be a good idea to dress up as reindeer and make up a dance to perform in front of everyone and their families. Have I mentioned how much I love my co-workers? We all wore matching red reindeer sweaters with big puff paint pictures of reindeer with names (I was "Dancer"!), antlers with bells, and turtlenecks. The turtlenecks were my request of course. Tara, Tim (our dance coordinator) and I spent like 3 hours one night coming up with the dance and we taught it to the rest of the girls in an hour on Saturday morning and performed it twice (did I hear encore?) on Sunday morning for the crew. It made me laugh and think of all of my college friends who I surely would have convinced to do the same thing had we all been together this year. Some things never change. Check out my FB page for the video! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

be all there

"Wherever you are, be all there." - Jim Elliot

This simple little quote has been so convicting/encouraging as I reflect on this past year. "Being all there" is something I strive to live out daily, but can sometimes be challenging, especially during a year like this past one when things didn't turn out necessarily how I imagined or hoped they would. The truth is, even though selfishly I may not be exactly where I want to be, the Lord has still proven His love and faithfulness with numerous blessings in spite of my disobedience. As 2012 approaches (please hurry!) I think my number 1 only New Years Resolution will be to continue to embrace God's plan for my life by making sure I am "being all there" and living out His word in Colossians 3:23 - "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (NIV).

It wasn't until I stopped fighting God over what I thought was best for my life that I saw all the blessings He has placed right in front of me. I can't thank Him enough for my sister who is also one of my best friends, family (both immediate & extended) that exude love, friends that support and encourage me even from 100s of miles away, and co-workers that make me smile everyday.

Pray for me as I continue to extend this standard into every area of my life!

Friday, December 16, 2011

i believe

Recently I read an article in Good Housekeeping magazine where Amy Grant was talking about her youngest daughter and her strong belief in Santa, or maybe rather her choice to still believe in Santa even though she had been told the truth.

Amy Grant said (referring to her daughter) - "I believe she'll give Santa credit for all good things that happen at Christmastime until she's 25, because she loves the mystery and magic of giving. When she was younger, I felt like I needed to ease her into reality. Now she clearly understands reality and chooses to make the mystery fun for all of us."

After reading that I couldn't help but think of my own poor parents and the night they "eased me into reality." You see, and I'm not embarrassed to say this, I believed in Santa Clause until age 10. Do the math - thats 5th grade. And I believed with every part of my being, thats how much I believed.

Unfortunately, my "reality" came as part of a punishment. Apparently I was being a brat that year and I had asked Santa for some toy (probably a Barbie nail salon) and then I got into some trouble (probably from disrupting class at school). My original punishment must have been that I was not getting (insert said gift), but when they told me I would not be receiving the top item on my Christmas list I quickly replied, "Fine. I'll just ask Santa for it." Did I mention I was being a brat?

Instead of simply telling me I was on the naughty list that year my parents called me into our family room to have a talk. Sidenote: nothing good follows the words, "we need to talk." They told me that Santa was not real and that they were the ones that had been giving gifts all those years. I didn't believe them...the past 10 years a lie? No way. I thought they were trying to get me to not believe in Santa so that he wouldn't get me the toy I had asked for. Growing up they had always told us that if we ever stopped believing in Santa he would stop bringing toys. This, I thought, was a setup. After some convincing, and let's be real here probably a few tears, I saw the light and began to ask the bigger questions...

"Is the easter bunny real?"
"Is the tooth fairy real?"
"Is GOD real?!?!"
"Yes, Miranda God is real!!!!"

And that was that. I was told to keep the news hush hush to my cousin and younger sister who had been skeptics for several years. I was the one convincing them to believe. Oh, and I didn't get the toy I asked for in case you were wondering.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

can you hear me now?

I have had my fair share of phone troubles this year. I started the year with my purple blackberry curve which I loved until it broke one two three FOUR times!!!!! Each time it broke it had to be shipped away and I was phone-less for a few days until a "non-faulty" refurbished one arrived. I was not a happy camper. I quickly surrendered my bb loyalty when my dad upgraded his phone and passed off his hand-me-down droid 2. I thought I had died and gone to cell phone heaven with all my new apps and widgets and features. All was right with the world until my phone starting freezing, not sending texts, dying after like 30 minutes, etc. Can I please just get a cell phone that works? Which is why I finally invested in the iphone 4s! I have waited so long for my upgrade and on December 6th I was at the Verizon store as soon as it opened to cough up my cash for a brand spankin' new white iphone and I could not be happier with my purchase. I don't care what anyone tells you about phones - the iphone takes the cake. I'm completely obsessed and have been app happy ever since I got it a few days ago.

My must-have apps:
1. - the coolest app in the entire world. It shows all the latest runway shows from pretty much every designer you can imagine. I also like Trendstop which is pretty similar and gives great fashion news.

2. Foursquare & Facebook - my two favorite social media apps.

3. Instagram, Doodle Booth, picfx, Camera Fx+ & Fotolr CS - all awesomely cool photo apps.

4. Food spotting - for all my foodie friends.

5. Stamped & Oink - both are new and pretty similar. Stamped lets you list all of your favorite things - books, movies, food, music, etc. You follow friends similar to Twitter and see all of their favorite things/recommendations. Oink lets you rate a variety of things, both good and bad. I think if they both catch on they will be really fun apps to share with friends.

6. Key Ring - a great place to store all of your loyalty cards.

7. Games!!!!! Right now I really like Style Studio, Tap Zoo 2, and virtual pets games like Touch Dogs 2 & My Horse.

So friends, what are your favorite apps?

Friday, December 9, 2011

so silly

I think I may have mentioned once or twice how much I love Amy Grant, but can I just say it one more time?!? I LOVE AMY GRANT! Her & Vince Gill's Christmas concerts are the best. I look forward to them every year, checking her website several times to see if/when she will be touring. I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale for Norfolk and I have been looking forward to this night for months. I knew right away to take my BFF Loisann with me. After all, she had been with me the first time I saw Amy's Christmas concert and the first time I got to meet Amy (aka my favorite Christmas present ever!)

This year we made it our personal mission to get backstage to snap another goofy picture with Amy like we had done back in 2003. It turned out to be mission impossible! Even with the charm turned on, we couldn't get past a single guard. We resorted to plan B - waiting outside in the freezing cold by her tour worked! She came out and spent a few minutes with us and then we got another silly picture with her. Just confirmation that she always will be my favorite singer. I don't know what it was about "It Takes a Little Time" that touched my 10 year old soul so much, but I've been a forever fan ever since.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

sorelle per sempre

Last year my sister and I made a pact to take a sister trip every year no matter where we were, what was going on, etc. At the time I was living 3 1/2 hours away from her and even though I'm only 30 minutes away this year it has still been a struggle to spend a significant amount of time together with our crazy schedules. You may remember our Disney trip from last year - click here. This year we barely made the 2011 trip, but I am so glad we finally carved out some time for a short vacay. We also extended the sister trip to our aunts and cousins, which I believe truly enhanced our experience. On Friday morning we (my sister, me, my three aunts, and two cousins) headed up north to my favorite city in the whole world...NYC! It had been WAY too long since my last visit.

We were greeted with beautifully mild winter weather and immediately adapted to the hustle and bustle of the city. Prior to the trip everyone had made a request of at least one thing they wanted to see while we were in the city so it was kind of like a fun game to travel across the city and make it to each destination. First up? A trip to the huge Forever 21 in Herald Sqaure (per Kalen's request) - she was in heaven. We also took a pit stop in Macy's to see the real Santa, who kind of resembled a creepy wax figure. Then we headed downtown to Chinatown (Grace's request) where we ran into Nicki Minaj!!!!!!!!! The Billboard Women in Music awards were being held at the Capitale and we were hoping to also catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift but Nicki Minaj's fans had gotten a little out of hand so T.Swift headed out the side door :( The guards at the door gave us her newest CD to make up for it though! Nice. We also saw Robin Robbins, Katie Couric, & Hoda. It was a celeb hotspot!

Who the eff is she? She's Nicki Minaj she macks them dudes up, backs coupes up, and chucks the duece up!

After that we headed over to Papabubble and then to Soho for my Bon Jovi obsessed aunt to stalk catch a glimpse of his apartment building on Mercer St. We were there for a little while hahaha. We had dinner reservations at Stand. I had a temperature of 102 so I had to pass on a marshmallow milkshake (gasp!) but my family certainly enjoyed them. We walked around the Holiday Market at Union Square and then headed uptown to see the windows at Saks and the tree at Rockefeller. The lights in the city are so beautiful and seeing them always makes me super excited for Christmas. The temperature dropped that night so we all ended up buying these knit animal hats that made us look like we escaped from the Central Park zoo. Hey, at least it was easy to find each other! Here are a few pictures...

Saturday I took the girls to Dylan's Candy Shop and then we met up with my friend Suzanne (remember Suzanne from my days at Shape?) who took us to the new Lady Gaga Workshop at Barney's. It is pretty much the epitome of awesome - sooooo much cool Gaga memorabilia. And on the way out we saw Vera Wang posing outside! Crazy!

My time with Suzanne was too short! We parted ways at dinner and my family and I had pizza and then headed into Times Square until it was time to see The Nutcracker!!!!! The Nutcracker was probably my favorite part of the trip (& also my "request") Those ballerinas are so good I could barely take my eyes off of them. After dinner we went back to Times Square for round 2. We ended up getting back to our hotel at almost 2 am! Talk about girl's night out, we were having way too much fun!

My crazy family & our signature poses!

Sunday we went to a Chocolate Expo in Secaucus, NJ where we got chocolate wasted. It was a lot of fun, it was pretty much all local vendors with some of the most unique and delicious food. One of my favorites was maple cotton candy - yum! Around 2 o'clock Buddy from Cake Boss joined the fun and Brie and I were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. We got to take pictures and shake his hand. I told him that we had been to his place in Hoboken and that we loved his lobster tails. Remember?

After the expo we packed our bags and had dinner at Planet Hollywood in Times Square...a new sister trip tradition perhaps? We made the trek up to the airport and then headed home. Leaving the city is always sad, but I was so sick that part of me was looking forward to crashing in my own bed. Another successful sister trip completed.

Sorelle per sempre.
Sisters for always.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

tales of christmas past

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are from my four years at LU. There was really only a 2 1/2 week span between Thanksgiving Break & Christmas Break every year - a time intended for studying for finals, though none of my favorite Christmas memories include studying...imagine that. One of my favorite things about LU was that since it was a Christian school there was no hiding the reason for the season. Our halls, dorms, cafeteria, the whole campus really, was covered in sparkling lights, Christmas trees, and big red ribbon bows. Every year brought some crazy new adventure as my friends and I got caught up in the Christmas cheer. Here is a look back (don't judge)...

Freshman year. In true freshman fashion myroommate Brooke & I ditched last minute studying for finals and instead decided to spend an entire night (literally) decorating our dorm room Elf style. The result was unforgettable - a life sized gingerbread house covered in real candy that satisfied the midnight study cravings of our dorm mates. See picture below.

Sophomore year. Practically every night of this Christmas break was spent with the girls in my dorm singing,choreographing, and designing outfits to a Shania Twain remake of "Man I Feel Like Some Christmas" inspired by this little clip from Santa Clause 2. I sit here with tears in my eyes as I laugh thinking about how ridiculous we must have looked performing this several times for so many different audiences...I would post the video, but I think my roommate Kelly would drive to the beach and kill me if I did. So I'll post another one of my favorite pictures from this year - open dorms (aka shoving as many boys into my dorm room as possible). At LU guys and girls were not allowed in each others dorms at all. Ever. The one exception was open dorms which was held once, sometimes twice, a year. For a couple hours one night all dorms were open and people went crazy (LU crazy, not typical college student crazy). It may sound lame to a non-LUer but it was seriously so fun. The picture below is of the boys visiting my dorm room.

Junior year. This year I lived in an apartment style dorm with some of my best friends. Finals for us were so intense that year that our Christmas craziness had to be confined to a single scheduled "family" night. We all wore Christmas pajamas, exchanged gifts and stockings, ate Santa shaped pancakes for dinner, and finished the night with a Christmas movie in our decked out common room. It was such a chill night filled with sweet memories.

Our dorm room from the inside.

Our dorm room from the outside.

All decked out in our Christmas pj's!

Senior year. By senior year my BFFs and I had moved off campus to a huge house (7 of us lived there!) and we decided to throw a more mature, sophisticated, classy party...we were seniors after all. We wore cute party dresses and drank mocktails. We felt so grown up.

4/7 roommates & the first snow that year!

Those drinks are virgin.

I don't even know what is going on in this picture.