Saturday, November 7, 2009


I absolutely loved this talk when I heard it the first time, so I was thrilled to see this video made from some of Elder Uchtdorf's comments.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Really? Are we really talking about this now?

So, I haven't blogged for a while, and for a good reason. The 29th Annual Start! Orange County Heart Walk, the $1.5 million-fund-raising-6,500-people-party-giving-event in the most anal city in the world (Irvine) that I plan for all year long will come to fruition in T-7 days. Needless to say, I have been eating (too much due to stress), sleeping (too little due to anxiety and work) and breathing (when I get a chance) Heart Walk.

Not only that, but I am forced not to work yesterday (furlough day) or Monday (horribly timed Labor Day) and then come back to the office with T-4 days to go. As I left the office early on Thursday (forced so as to avoid overtime from earlier in the week), all I could think about was that I still didn't have a permit from the County Health Department, or the Building and Planning Department of the City of Irvine, I have nowhere to store 2400 bottles of juice that is being delivered on Friday and needs to be stored until Sunday, I don't have trucks set to rent to move everything on Friday and Saturday, I still have no one to sing the national anthem, no marching band on the route, haven't heard back about cheerleaders, don't have pamplets back form the printers, no banners yet, no t-shirt for volunteers and staff, etc. etc. etc.

Needless to say, I wake up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe and think, "Just make it through. You will survive this."

So, as I was talking to my Mom about all of these things that keep me awake at night she says, "Have you thought about taking that international test thing to work in embassies? I really think you should." I stop and stare, shocked that we are having that discussion right now. She goes on, "I just think you would have a lot of fun issuing passports and visas and things in other countries. You should at least take the test, I mean, if you don't pass, you don't pass, right?" (The test she is referring to is the Foreign Service Exam).

I replied, "Well, I don't really think I want to go into Foreign Service and am more interested in International Development." What I really meant was "Are we really talking about this one week before my event? Stop right now or I will have an anxiety attack as we speak since I now know that you think my job is crap."

Then she says, "Well, then maybe you should be applying to graduate programs. I really think that you should just be working toward doing what you really want to do." I gave a short response about the costs of graduate school that would not easily be paid off by a job in the international development world, as well as the costs and preparation right now to apply to graduate school and take the GRE again.

At that point, she must have picked up on my tone of voice and the tenseness in my shoulders as she says, "Oh, well I guess right now that's not the first thing on your mind anyway."

Ya think??? So here I am, now also stressed about my future and whether or not I should be applying to grad school while trying to get my permits processed for an event that happens in 1 week. Sigh. I think I need to learn to better manage my stress. Sorry for the rant, but if you can't do it on your blog, where can you do it, right?

Oh, and if you are curious about the event, feel free to visit

Crap, I need to update the webpage for next week and get an email campaign together, send details to the volunteers, get instructional signs together, make contact sheets, get clipboards and laminating sheets, make volunteer passes and route parking passes........

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ladies Visit

So these are definitely delayed, but here are a few highlights from when Jen and Sarah came to visit me in June. Hope you enjoy...

Brunch on Saturday...

Gardens at Balboa Park in San Diego...

Kyaking in Newport...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Joanna Likes To

I saw this on Sarah's blog and was curious so I did it myself. It's kind of fun...

All you have to do is google "[your name] likes to" and then post the top ten results.

Here are my results:

1. Joanna likes to look at herself in the mirror and claps her hands to show joy.

2. Joanna likes to likes going to the beach and to the movies with friends and family, as well as traveling to various Caribbean destinations.

3. Joanna likes to mix allergy medicine, no sleep and booze.

4. Joanna likes to visit the ballet and the theatre.

5. Joanna likes to work closely with her clients so that together they can develop a clear strategy and a well-defined path of action.

6. Joanna likes to visit Viennese coffee houses, good food in good company and goinig to the gym to cancel the effects of too much food. She also likes to ski and hike in the mountains and reading good books.

7. Joanna likes to spend her time reading and being outside.

8. Joanna likes to read (essays and novels), music and singing, fashion and shopping.

9. Joanna likes to call her car the "Gangster Galant."

10. Joanna likes to experiment.

I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out the stories behind any of those - they are pretty entertaining!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Orange County AHA Goes Active!

So, at the office we are kicking off another wellness challenge. Our wellness team (of which I am a part) has gotten into the habit of making silly videos to show at our staff meeting to kickoff each challenge. This is the latest creative effort (I am the camerawoman). Enjoy - it was a fun Monday evening putting it together!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sneak Preview

Just a sneak preview of a post to come. I started it a long time ago then my computer freaked out and I lost the whole thing and I haven't wanted to try it again. I wanted to share one of the pictures anyway...enjoy.

Confessions of a Cheesaholic

So, I've known for a long time, but am finally making a public confession: I am a cheesaholic. My first clue might have been from this evening. Arriving home late tonight, the family was finishing up dinner (we actually try to do that eating together thing now that G-pa is here). Instead of joining them for a meal of roasted chicken, berries, and bread, I snuck some items from the fridge and headed upstairs. So what did I eat for dinner? Well I am currently sitting next to some crumbs of wheat crackers as well as the remains of some Boursin, smoked gouda, and brie. It's true. My meal for the evening was cheese and crackers.

Kind of makes me think that I would have done well as a peasant in medieval times. Except for the weevils in the bread. And the whole manual labor thing. Oh, and the servitude. Oh, and....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Ikea Love

After my last post, Michelle commented and said that she had posted this great Ikea commercial on her blog. I stole it and you must now watch it - it is not to be missed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Observations on a Theme

Okay, so I am going to come right out and say it at the beginning so no one wastes their time: this blog entry is about Ikea. I know, I know. This topic has definitely been blogged to death by now, right? Maybe. I do feel, though, that I had some Ikea insights/questions over the weekend and I feel the need to unburden myself of them into the blogosphere. If they entertain or amuse you for a minute, that makes me feel even better. If not - well, I'm not sure.

Anyway, I feel that I must start by explaining that I have a relationship with Ikea that most people have with a shopping mall. You know how most people plan a Saturday trip to the mall and spend 3-4 hours there going from store to store and checking things out? I do this. I do this, though, at Ikea (which I privately refer to as heaven on a budget). This is why I can never invite anyone along with me on my Ikea trips. They must be solitary so that I can scour the store with my eyes without an impatient companion sighing next to me every time I stop, or run across the aisle to look at what's on the other side.

Ikea was never that big of a deal to me growing up - it's not really rare here at home - but as I seek for wonderful treasures on a budget, I am drawn there on a semi-regular basis (usually the Saturday after a wonderful little present from a place of employment has been deposited in my banking account). Anyway, here are a few things that I have noticed/wondered about on my visits.

1. How can a store that is so large and that has so much extra space still make me so frustrated because there is never enough room to get around people? Do you know what I mean? I have a theory that part of the problem are those great shopping carts that they have that can turn easily in almost any direction. This allows people to make erratic turns on a whim when they spot something attractive, almost always causing a pile-up behind them as others try to avoid the situation by turning their carts in one of oh-so-many possible directions to avoid them.

2. Shortcuts? Due to the size of the store, there are various shortcuts from one area to the next for those who do not want to browse through all of the collections and are on a mission for a certain item. Why is it, that when I am on a mission for a certain item, I can never cross the threshold of those shortcuts to skip the areas I really don't need to see? I became very determined one time to cut past the living room and office set-ups to move directly on to the bedroom displays, when I found myself fighting the tide of traffic and going backwards as I just knew there was something that I had to see in those two previous sections that would change my life. Seriously. The shortcuts are so final. I have never made the commitment of walking through one of those doorways since (which probably explains a little bit about the 3 hours visits).

3. I have never, ever been to a store where I have seen more groups of young men shopping together. I have theories about this, but I really have no idea who they all are and why any of the male species would be shopping there together as they tend to be a solitary bunch, particularly where shopping is concerned. My best theory? This comes mostly from my amazing sleuthing skills (ahem, eavesdropping) - roomates. Most of them seem to be roomates either in college or recently out of college trying to decorate their new places on a budget. Next time you go, you should try to listen to these conversations as 3 or 4 20-somethings debate the merits of this dining room table and chairs over that one. Fascinating!

Anyway - just some observations. I won't apologize for boring you if you hated this post, as I will have to point out that I warned you at the beginning!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Flare Dedications

So, you know when you totally forget about a website that you absolutely love and then something brings it to your memory and you go back to visit it and it is so exciting because everything has been changed because so much time has passed? (whew!). That's how I feel about right now. I was even more excited to see that they have finally opened up their first store in Brooklyn! Just one more incentive for me to go visit Tricia sometime this year!

Anyway, I was so excited about rekindling my love for this website, that not only did I make a few purchases, but I thought that I would send a few Flare Dedications out into the internet universe (mostly for those friends I think may visit this site every once in a while).

Here goes:


Could there be anything better than an Edgar Allan Poe action figure? I really don't think so...unless it was an Edgar Allan Poe talking doll! Sigh. Maybe someday...


So, I thought you would appreciate the Holly Golightly sleep mask. Mostly because I could totally see you wearing it and loving it, but also because a part of me feels like you would be an Audrey lover like I am!


Sarah! Maybe because when I think of you I always think of music, but these massive ear buds totally reminded me of you. I think you need to buy these!


I immediately thought of you when I saw this "cat"apult. I don't know one other person who would have more fun shooting cats at people. I only wish I could see you use it. Miss you!


Finally! The ultimate food fight - Bacon vs. Tofu! Just made me think of you - especially after our LA experience and laughing a lot at bacon!


Can you believe this? We better get those llamas soon! Haha. I thought you would think this was hilarious.


Oh MacGregor, how I would love to have $50 to buy this for you so that I could record your daily activities through a series of timed pictures. Maybe I would catch you during your daily dip in the spa, sneaking food out of impossible drawers, or just sleeping all day (as I really suspect). But wouldn't it be so great to know?


A game for foodies? Was this made for you? All I know is that I could never try to play this game with you as I would be disgustingly defeated after about 2 seconds!


I don't really know why I picked this for you, Whitney, except that I thought you would think that a $500 gold retainer necklace is as funny as I did!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joy to the ...What?

So, all of the family visited for Christmas this year. It was totally chaotic and great at the same time. I caught some funny moments on my camera and wanted to post two of them. The first video is of Kirkland, Jessica's middle child, singing Jingle Bells in this creepy voice that he sometimes just decides to use. If you listen closely, he sings Jingle Bells (totally mushing up the end part), then says "Merry Christmas" "Ho Ho Ho" and then sings Jingle Bells again (that's me egging him on).

After I filmed Kirkland, Carter (Alexis' youngest), then wanted his turn to sing on camera. This one is hilarious. He is so serious. If you listen, you can hear that he actually changes songs in the middle. To what, you say? Just listen closely...

Aren't they great? Can you tell that Carter has been to Disneyland at Christmastime? Nothing like out of the mouth of babes...or 3-year-olds. You have to give props to Disney for great marketing!