Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Get ready Necco!

It's packed and ready to be mailed!

Here is my letter to Necco. I doubt I will hear from them, but you know I will let you know if they do. I'm wondering if they might just post this in their break room under 'crazy customers.'

Dear Fellow Candy Lovers,

Hello, my name is Amber Grundman. I have been a fan of your candy conversation hearts for 17 years. I have very fond memories from when I was a child. In grade school my mom let me take the candy boxes to school to celebrate my birthday, (since I was born in February). Ever since then I have looked forward to February to purchase your conversation hearts.


This year was no exception, however I had the hardest time finding a store that carried them. With some help from my friends I was directed to a Walgreens where I purchased some in the small boxes. I was very excited until I tasted one because it tasted terrible. At the time I thought I had purchased the wrong brand because of the odd perfumy taste and because there were blue hearts in the box. I am well aware that there are competitors that make the hearts and I refuse to eat the impostors. I have even received the nickname of 'candy snob' because of this...but that is another story.


I next headed to Target and purchased your hearts in a large bag. Once again I was very excited until I tried them and realized that they were the same hearts that I purchased at Walgreens. These were not the candy hearts that I had eaten for the past 17 years. What happened?


A friend of mine, who shares my love for the hearts, sent me a link to your website where you explained how you changed the recipe of the hearts after 145 years. Why in the world would you change a perfect recipe after 145 years? I understand you need to keep things fresh, which is what I thought you did by creating the tart and chocolate hearts. You also mentioned on the website that the new hearts were now more fun to eat because they are softer. I thought the hearts were a hard candy...no? There was no need to change the traditional recipe.


All I am praying for is that you bring back the original hearts next year. Remember New Coke? That didn't go over well either. The original hearts are ingrained in American society and you eat them for nostalgia. Please consider correcting what I believe to be a huge mistake.


I have included the uneaten hearts I purchased in this box. I did not want to eat them, but also did not want to throw them away. If you have any of the classic hearts laying around in your office(s), please send them my way....with a bill.


Thank you for your time,

Amber L. Grundman

**Note: I found some impostor hearts at a local gift store today in town. Even though they aren't my fave, they are WAY better than the new hearts Necco sold this year. As you can see they look very similar but are too thick.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DDD #16 & #17

This past week when John and I were in S.F. for my doctors appointment we of course had to take advantage of being in the city…meaning we had to make sure we ate good food…meaning we of course had to try to go to a few restaurants featured on our fave show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!

We actually started our DDD quest a year ago when we went to our first place, Tommy’s Joynt, after another one of my S.F. doctor appointments. In 12 months we visited 15 different places, and I am very curious to see how many places we will go to this year. (I secretly hope it’s just as many.)

The first place we went to, (for breakfast), was Dottie’s True Blue Café. We arrived at the perfect time and didn’t have to wait. The place was packed, but it only had about 10 tables.
We started off with a berry lemon cheesecake bar thing. It was tasty! We also got the jalapeno cakes which were featured on the show and were really good, as well as a breakfast basic kind of meal.
You know when cappuccinos are served with a little spoon they know what they are doing. Everything was really good! It was pretty basic breakfast fair, but the quality was definitely above average. The eggs were some of the best eggs I’ve ever had. I have no idea what they did to them, but they had great flavor and great texture (nice, fluffy and not burnt). Of course we ordered too much food, but you have to do that at DDD joints!
An extra plus to the dining experience was that the owner was doing all the cooking! He is only the 5th owner we’ve seen on our DDD adventures. Impressive!

After a quick shopping trip we luckily worked up our appetites and we headed to our second DDD restaurant, Q. This place was totally funky inside. It had crazy artwork, tables, and there was even a fake tree coming out of the middle of one of the tables! I got the pulled pork, which was pretty good, however I liked the garlic fries the best.

Both dishes were featured on the show and both were tasty. The tator tots on the mac-n-chee were so awesome, that I made some mac-n-chee this week and topped it with tots! The cheese was equally good on their mac, but neither John nor I could pin point the type of cheese(s) that were used. I can’t copy if it if don’t know what it was!
One interesting thing about both of these places is that neither of them had any evidence that Guy was there, which was quiet shocking. Most of the places we’ve visited display at least a poster or Guy’s spray painted stencil somewhere on their walls. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed that neither of them were proud enough to display their honor in being part of DDD history. Their loss.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Change a Good Thing?

As most of you know this past Sunday was Valentine’s Day, which is one of my favorite semi not real holidays. Even during the years when I didn’t have ‘someone special’ I still loved it. The flowers, teddy bears, and candy…I love it all!

When I was in grade school my mom let me bring in conversation hearts to my classmates to celebrate my birthday. I thought it was so cool that I got to give out something original vs. plain ole cupcakes.

I have expressed my love for candy hearts on this blog before, and every year those conversation hearts make February just a little bit sweeter. This year however I had a difficult time finding the hearts. Strange right? Well thanks to Facebook I asked my friends where I could find the hearts. I got a variety of answers, and most of the stores people suggested weren’t here in SLO. So when John and ventured up North I made it a priority to find a Walgreens and a Target.

First stop was Walgreens. I was SO excited when I saw the boxes in the candy isle, but I was a little thrown off because they did not have the clear window in the box. Eh…whatever. At least I found them right? I was so excited that I opened the box immediately and tried one…then I wanted to barf. WTF did I just eat? It was soft and tasted like perfume! Maybe I just ate a bad one? I tried another one…again I wanted to barf! I took a closer look at the box and noticed that there were blue hearts on it. Blue? There have never been blue before…where were the white hearts? What is going on here?? Have I entered the conversation heart Twilight Zone?
I couldn’t believe I bought the wrong kind of hearts! I was so bummed out. Oh well…at least I had hope in Target, right? Well when we got there I saw the boxes of the hearts I bought in Walgreens, so I kept on walking. Then I saw bags of hearts! Score!! I bought a couple of bags and immediately tried them again, only to immediately want to barf…AGAIN! These hearts were exactly the same and I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice the BLUE hearts on the bag! I think I was so excited that I thought I had found the hearts that I couldn’t even focus on them! I was so disappointed...again. I only had 4 more days to find some hearts, and my chances were getting slimmer and slimmer.

After telling my whoas to my friend Jen, she sent me this this link. New Flavors and Texture? EXCUSE ME? So what you are saying is that you have created an entirely new candy that just looks like conversation hearts?? ‘The new Sweethearts® have been re-formulated to be softer and more fun to eat.’ Who says that softer hearts are more fun to eat? This is a HARD candy people! Why in the world would you think that changing the recipe after 145 years is a good thing? What are you smoking NECCO employees? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for creating other variations of the candy, like chocolate and tart, but don’t change the original recipe…especially after 145 years!!!!!!!

Needless to say I will be sending them the hearts I bought and asking them that they please send me some of the old school hearts. They’ve got to have some in their candy museum right?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goin' for the Gold

Daaaaaaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaaaaa…da da da da da dudududu da da da da daaaaaaaaaaaa.

That is right people! It’s Olympic time! Are you all loving the games like I am? This year John and I are really into it…meaning we are recording every possible telecast. The one problem is that they air 8pm to 11:30pm! There is no way we can stay up that late…well we can, but we don’t want to be zombies at work.

By not watching the telecasts live it has become EXTREMELY challenging to not find out who has won/lost. This is the only time that I despise the Internet. Seriously…how can they post the winners and losers BEFORE it even airs on prime time? It really makes me mad…however news sites aren’t the only guilty parties. I also had a winner outed by a famous person’s tweet!

Regardless of finding out some outcomes, it still has been an enjoyable Olympics so far. One part I love is that a lot of my favorite sports commentators are working the games. Chris Collingsworth, Al Trautwig, and Mary Currilo are a few of my faves.
Scott Hamilton is also pretty good when he gets really excited over a great jump or fall.

Did some of you notice that Johnny Mosley was commentating for the moguls? He was cracking John and I up with some of his comments. It was a great change from some of the other stuffy announcers who don’t know the sport as well as the athletes. It was almost like he was reliving his moment on the hill. He also had a somewhat surfer/Keanu Reeves vibe about him which added to the hilarity.

There is one announcer, Andrea Kramer (?), who I can’t stand. She’s the blonde lady that interviews the athletes on location after they compete. I saw her interview a retired football coach on Real Sports with Bryant Gumble, and it was really bad. I know I could do a better job than her. Oh well. One rotten apple out of five isn’t that bad.

Did any of you see the women’s snowboard cross? Let me just say that I, (along with many others), have waited FOUR years for this event. Four years for Lindsey Jacobellis to redeem herself and get the gold metal she deserved in 2006. If she won the gold this year, it would be one of the best Olympic redemption stories of all time, and I was ready to witness it!

Her first qualifying race she finished with no prob…second qualifying race (to get into the finals), she misses a gate, which disqualified her. That was it. It was over in 2 seconds. I still can’t believe it happened! I was so bummed out! How could she miss out on the gold AGAIN? It was so disappointing. There is a chance that she could come back in 2014, and if she does I’m sure there won’t be that much pressure on her. But will it make a difference? Who knows.

Unfortunately her loss broke my Olympic spirit. I know…very sad. However a few nights later it was lifted once again by USA wining 3 golds in one night. Granted it was a night where 3 of our top athletes preformed, but at least they succeeded under the pressure!
I really like Shaun White, and am SO glad he won another gold. It is amazing to watch him on the half pipe, knowing how hard it is just to keep your balance on a snowboard…well for me that is. He had immense pressure this year to win the gold again, and I’m so happy for him.

I’m still looking forward to the Women’s ice-skating next week, and Appolo Ono is racing this weekend. U-S-A!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GOOD NEWS!

This past week John and I headed up to San Francisco for my semi-annual visit with my awesome neck doctor, Dr. Lisa Orloff. I must say I was somewhat skeptical about this visit, because during my last ultra sound, (6 months prior), she did see a suspicious area, (but it was too small to biopsy). Had she not seen that I wouldn’t have been so worried.

However I had no need to worry because she didn’t see any thyroid cells, (aka cancer), in my neck!!! The suspicious spot she saw last time had not grown, which makes her think it is just scar tissue! I cannot tell you what a relief it was to hear the news. Over these past 6 months I had been totally prepping myself incase I had to have another surgery. Being the planner I am, a lot of things were already semi planned in my head, and now I have to erase them all.
Here is John in the doctors office. Notice all the neck paraphernalia on the counter. There is a great neck poster on the wall, but it didn’t make it in the photo.
My check-ups will continue because my blood work is still showing signs that there are thyroid cells in my body. There are not supposed to be ANY in my body, but the first blood test I got back after my surgery the number was 1.7. Three months later it was 1.4. My doctor said that it is good it is going down, but each test can fluctuate by a few points. So even if it is back to 1.7 after my next test, that won’t be bad…just as long as it’s not higher. I am very interested to see what my next test will show in May. The Dr. also said I would need another ultra sound, but I asked her if I could have it in 8 months instead of 6 and she said no prob. Why you may ask? Well I want to have it after Paris of course! I need to save those PTO days!

Let me put it to you this way…this is the first good news regarding my thyroid in THREE YEARS! Did you hear me? THREE YEARS PEOPLE!!! I was, and still am in shock. John on the other hand was so excited, he was acting like he just had 5 shots of espresso.

After my first appointment, we had a few hours to kill until my next one, (yes another one was to come), so we headed to Union Square to do some shopping. John really wanted to go back to H&M again ever since he bought some sweet pants in Atlanta. What do you know? He totally scored again!
video
I actually started shopping for myself and then remembered my ‘NO UNNECESSARY CLOTHES PURCHASING UNTIL PARIS’ pack I made with myself. Duh! How could I forget?

After our shopping excursion and a quick lunch, we headed down to San Mateo to see my fourth orthopedist. Yes…you read right, I said fourth. I decided that this would probably be the last one I saw, as the other 3 didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, and seeing 4 different doctors is already pretty ridiculous.
This dr. was suggested to me via my sister’s physical therapist. He seemed like he knew his stuff, however he couldn’t offer me any suggestions of what I could do to help heal my Achilles. He did tell us of a podiatrist down the street that performs radio shock therapy to some patients with tendon problems. We got out of the appointment at 4pm. I called the podiatrist at 4:05, and we were meting with him at 4:30! I was SO thankful he was able to see us. There was no way I wanted to have to take another day off for another appointment. John was SO excited for the third appointment!
The doctor basically told me to do the opposite of what I've been doing, because the other medical professionals have been treating my injury as an Achilles injury when he thinks it is a foot injury. Can you believe it? He told me to wear at least a 1 in heel lift all the time, to stop wearing my brace when I sleep, and to go back to physical therapy and have them treat me for my foot, (not Achilles). He also said that he would not recommend surgery! Yeah! I can’t believe I never thought of going to a podiatrist in the first place. Of course the orthopedists are going to want me to have surgery…they are surgeons! Duh.

Since I’ve made these changes my foot hasn’t felt sore. I’m really hoping that is a good sign. I’ve also been using this cream that the podiatrist prescribed to reduce the swelling and I think it’s working! I have no idea how a cream reduces swelling, but I don’t care! I’m just mad that someone didn’t prescribe this to me a year ago!

Overall our 24 hours in San Francisco was very successful and a lot of fun, (after the good news of course). It’s almost like a mini vacay for us because we were on our own cruisin’ in the city. John and I were both completely exhausted the rest of the week though. I always knew the thyroid issues would end some day, but it never really felt like that day was so close. 2010 is starting out pretty sweet!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Finally!!

This past November I did something that I had ALWAYS wanted to do…since I was a teenage.

Did I jump out of a plane?

Did I get an inappropriate piercing?

Did I go skinny-dipping?

Did I sneak into a movie without paying?

Did I drive 100 miles an hour on the freeway?

Answer? None of the above. I wish it was something as exciting as the list above, but all I did was dye my hair. Well it’s kind of exciting as I dyed it PURPLE!
No not like that!
Way more mild…just in the back…see?
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE IT! I am actually really mad I waited this long to dye it. 20 years is WAY too long. However you have to be seen as a ‘normal’ person in our society right? How many times have you stared at a person with green hair or wondered what was wrong with them? I’m sure it was more than once, and I’m sure my parents didn’t want me to be that person. But it’s just hair dye people!

I should have dyed my hair when I was unemployed last year, but who would hire someone with ‘crazy’ hair? However once you get a job you also don’t want to risk loosing it by having ‘crazy’ hair…right? So that is why I: a) only dyed part of it, b) waited until I had been at my job for 3 months, and c) went subtle. Apparently those three items are the key to success.

After seeing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I really wanted to dye my ENTIRE head like Kate did. Isn’t her hair beautiful?
However dealing with my roots would be a pain, and probably get pretty pricey due to all of the re-dyes. With my color somewhat hidden I don’t have to worry about the roots showing, which is pretty sweet.

One small bummer is that the dye isn’t permanent…meaning it comes out in the shower, on your pillowcase, and on your clothes. It also fades quicker the more you wash it and if you use hot water on it. It has definitely been a lot more to deal with than I thought it would, but it’s totally worth it.

After my purple started to fade, it turned to a light pink, so the next time I went in for a touch up I decided to get pink.I just got it dyed blood red which is supposed to turn orange, so we will see. Why red you ask? For Valentine’s Day of course!
The one good thing that came of me having thyroid cancer is that it taught me to live each day to it’s fullest. If there is something you have always wanted to do…why wait? You could be hit by a bus tomorrow leaving you with a TON of regrets while hanging out in heaven. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound fun to me. You only have one life…unless you are a cute little kitty, so please don’t forget that.

I am seriously blown away by how much joy getting my hair dyed has brought me. Who would have known that something so simple would make my life better?

If that bus comes after me tomorrow I don’t want any regrets…and you shouldn’t either!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Excuse me?

Do you remember way back in 2008 when I posted about my Achilles injury? Seems so long ago right? So long ago that it’s probably old new right? Wrongo bongo.

It has been 15 months since my Achilles injury and it has still not healed. 15 months. Have you had anything awful last 15 months? For me that has meant no running, jumping, hiking, climbing, or wearing high heels…for 457 days…seriously.

I’ve seen a total of three orthopedists (locally) and the last one finally gave me a solution. Finally right? Wrongo bongo AGAIN. His solution?

Surgery.
Excuse me? Surgery? I didn’t even think surgery was an option. I mean what could they do to my Achilles if it wasn’t torn? Well, apparently they can insert a tendon from a cadaver to help support my Achilles in its healing process. Recovery = 4-6 weeks in a boot, and then 4-6 months rehab. The doctor said that since the tendon has not healed on it’s own in a years time that surgery was the next step. Why couldn’t my Achilles just have snapped? I would have been fully recovered if that happened to me 15 months ago!

I did ask my Dr. about Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, which can help injuries heal quicker, and he was totally negative about it.

He said that most insurance don’t cover the cost.
I told him I didn’t care.

He said it could cause the tendon to snap.
I told him I didn’t care.

He said it could have a placebo affect.
I told him I didn’t care.

Those were the worst reasons I’ve ever heard! Just because he doesn’t do it and doesn’t want to loose the surgery business, doesn’t mean he should think it’s a bad idea. Shouldn’t he want what is best for his patient? What if it were to work for me better than surgery? Doctors can be so hit and miss. In fact his anti-ism made me even more determined to do more research and to find a doctor that administers the procedure.

I found the Orthohealing Center in LA online, and I’m hoping that they will be the answer to my prayers. Check out this testimonial. I know it’s probably an extreme case, but I’m not as bad off as he was so I have hope! I’m hoping to go down to LA soon meet with the doctor and hopefully get the procedure done in the same day.

I am actually willing to try anything at this point to avoid surgery. I’m even seeing an acupuncturist after much harassment from John, (who saw her for his back, but she kicked him out after seeing his MRI because there wasn’t anything she could do for him). Small needles? Really? What could that do for me? Fist let me tell you that I was TOTALLY skeptical…next let me tell you that I’ve seen her three times and I think it is helping! No joke! I have noticed that over the last week the swelling has gone down quite a bit, and I even wore some shoes with a heel! I don’t think it can repair the ‘shredded rope’ state the tendon is in, but if it helps with the swelling that has got to be helpful.

So we will see what happens. I have the feeling that my Achilles is not going to heal itself anytime soon. I’m tired of having dreams where I am running…I want to make it a reality! Plus I need to be able to run if someone were to ever steal my purse and run down the street. Priorities people!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Home Sweet Home

A new year = change for the Grundman household. Is this welcomed change? Not really. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have decided to put our house on the market this month.

Ugh.

We’ve had the conversation many times asking ourselves why we spend almost all of our money on our mortgage payment. Is it really worth it? Personally I’d much rather have a little extra spending money to help me keep up with the latest fashion trends. However even though we talked about other options, we had yet to do anything about it. Now due to some financial changes, and the ever declining real estate market, we’ve decided to try to sell our home before we loose all of our equity.

Over the last few years, San Luis hadn’t shown any major signs of being affected by the market, but now we are starting to see a few. John has actually gotten his first two foreclosures in SLO, which definitely says something since he’s had this job for almost 2 years.

I think we might rent for a while and wait to see if home prices continue to drop…or buy if we see a killer deal on a place. I know I will be really mad if we buy a place and then prices continue to drop, ya know?

A few weeks ago we looked at a couple of properties with our Realtor. (Who has a really nice website).

One of the houses we looked at was a small, (850 sq. ft.), beach house in Pismo. It was really cute but it only had one bathroom and a one-car garage. I’m hoping if we find a place it would at least have two bathrooms, a two-car garage, and hopefully around 1100 sq. ft.

The house had some very interesting paintings inside. I understand the reasoning of course. You live by the ocean, and you want to see it right? But your property isn’t on the water. So what do you do? You paint the walls!
Since this house didn’t have a yard the owner decided that that wouldn’t affect her view.

The kitchen was actually cute, and I did like the counter tops.

We saw a couple of other normal condos, but nothing compared to this BIZARRE house that we saw in Arroyo Grande. I don’t even know how to describe it. It actually had a lot of potential if you didn’t mind redoing EVERYTHING. It was pretty big and had a real cool yard with a creek!

It had really cool original(?) fixtures:
It had a bizarre addition, which didn’t really seem like the interior…but also didn’t seem like the exterior. It also had this sweet built in BBQ! John was pumped!
The kitchen was super weird, but had this awesome ‘pass through’
I think this is on the market for $230k, but you are basically paying for the land. I am bummed that it is in such bad shape, because it would have been fun to fix up!

We also saw one condo that we really liked which is a short sale, but we are thinking of waiting to see if it becomes a foreclosure. It was kind of bizarre when we went to look at the place because it looked like someone was still in the house. I think the owner forgot we were coming and then left immediately when he realized he wasn’t supposed to be there! I was so worried that we were going to walk in on him doing who knows what! It was a total bachelor pad, which was dirty, but not too bad. I think he may have had a roommate as one of the rooms had an unmade bed, but there wasn’t a lot of possessions in the room. I also found it interesting how most of the space in the linen and kitchen cabinets weren’t full…when all of mine are maxed out!

Who knows what the future holds. I’m such a planner that this ‘unknown’ is killing me and it’s only been a month! There is a lot to do, and I don’t want to do any of it. Figures right? We actually don’t have too much to do to our house before we put it on the market, which is good. We are going to paint over the fuchsia wall in our bedroom and our fuchsia bathroom. Total bummer. I love the pink! Oh well. At least we don’t have to repaint more of the rooms.

Hopefully I won’t go insane keeping the home in ‘show’ condition. We only had to keep our condo clean for a month and I thought I was going to die! I’m sure it will take more than a month for our home to sell too.

They say buying a home is one of the most stressful life events…I better start scheduling some massages.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Here's to 33!

Greetings to my 5 faithful readers that (I hope) are still out there! I know I said I would start blogging once 2010 arrived and here I am! Granted it’s February, but hey…even I had doubts that I would be back. I must give credit to Chris, Sarah, and Cindy for inspiring me to start writing again. Thanks ladies!

So where should I start? Let’s see…how about with the most recent current event? Ground Hog’s Day was yesterday and Puxatony Phil saw his shadow.I know a lot of my co-workers were none too pleased with the forecasted 6 more weeks of winter, but I say whatever! Leave poor Phil alone. Anyone who lives in our area knows that we only have two seasons here on the Central Coast. Summer and Fall, with 2-3 weeks of rain a year. I will be really surprised if the temps don’t start hitting the 70’s by next month.

As most of you know yesterday was also my birthday. Yeah for being 33…I think. Who knows what 33 will hold for me, I’m kind of indifferent with this age, but I guess I should be glad that I’m not close to another milestone…like 35. Is that considered middle aged? Or is 40? Regardless…let’s hope that 33 is a good one.

Working on your birthday plain stinks, right? Well thanks to an awesome co-worker of mine she made my day realllllllllllllllllllly special. When I showed up to work there was French music playing on my computer, a chocolate croissant, a cappuccino, a French book, a box of fake French cigarettes, and mini roses waiting for me! It was such an awesome surprise. Are you wondering what is with the Parisian theme? Well this fall john and I are going to Paris! Granted we aren’t going until October, but by having my office all ‘Frenched’ out it made me even more excited to go! I think I need to start eating croissants weekly. My cappuccino intake has already increased thanks out our Italy trip…maybe I should wait until after the trip.
For lunch the theme continued when we went out to eat at Et Voila, a local French restaurant. John and I discovered the place a few months ago and really like it. I had homemade mushroom raviolis and they did not disappoint!

When we got back to the office I definitely thought the surprises were over, but low and behold there was dessert to be eaten! My co-worker tried to get a local baker to create a crème puff tower, (inspired by the Eiffel tower), but they were lame and said they couldn’t do it. So she had to create her own, and it was awesome!! It wasn’t as tall as this one, but you get the gist:

When I got home John had his gift and flowers waiting for me. Check out his awesome wrap job!
I had no idea what was in this huge box but I was SO EXCITED when I saw what it was.
I saw this suitcase in the airport last year and fell in love with it. John some how remembered it and bought it for me. I know this may not seem like that big of a deal, but some days John can’t remember what he had for breakfast! (No offence Honey, but you know it’s true).

After the suitcase excitement wore off we headed to dinner where I had my first good chocolate martini, (thanks to my friend Lori’s suggestion), and it was AWESOME.
It really feels like I’ve been celebrating my birthday for over a week thanks to all the nice cards and gifts I have received in the mail.Do you see that tin? Do you know that the WHOLE thing was filled with cheese and caramel popcorn? My sister had it when she vacationed in Chicago and wanted to share her love for it with John and I. At first it was a little odd, but that stuff totally starts to grow on you! I am ashamed to admit that we finished the WHOLE THING. Granted I’ve felt a little sick from eating it all week, but I couldn’t stop! It’s like crack!

I got a few more gifts for our trip, which include the French Rosetta stone from my parents and that cute Eiffel tower name tag from my friend Maggie. I had both the Rosetta stone and a Kindle on my Amazon wish list. Both are pricey, but one was a need, and the other was a want. As much as I am thankful for the Rosetta stone, I am mad that practicality won.

Do you see the Gnome Bowling kit? How awesome is that? I actually got that from my friend Cindy in the UK, who I met through this crazy blogging world.

I sent her some of her favorite Bath and Body Works products, and I received this in return. It just so happened that it arrived last week. What a great surprise! I’m hoping to take a few action bowling videos soon.

I also got the hat an necklace as gifts, so of course I had to wear them today!
So overall this 33rd birthday totally exceeded my expectations. In fact I’m still on a high from yesterday! I am so thankful for my wonderful family…friends…and blog readers!