31 December, 2010

2010 In Review

What a year this has been! I was just commenting to Mike the other night about how quickly it has flown by! This year has brought many changes to us, and we are blessed to have been able to grow from those changes and experiences!

In January, Mike and I, along with his parents, went to Virginia for the weekend to visit some relatives down there. The men went deep sea fishing, while us ladies went shopping at Ikea and then visited Quantico! Mike and I love the show NCIS, so it was really neat to see the actual base!

In January, we also went to the Detroit Auto Show. We spent a few hours dreaming about cars that we'll never be able to afford!

March 3rd was the day that brought about the most change this year. Mike took me ice-skating at Rosa Parks Circle and he proposed! Of course, I said yes :)

I already mentioned our love of NCIS; every time we watch it, Mike loves the gun action and comments on how he wishes he could do that. For our 2 year dating anniversary in March, I surprised Mike by arranging for a good friend to take us out shooting. Mike and I still talk about how much fun we had that day!

In May, we took a huge leap of faith and purchased our very first home! We were just looking at the time and not sure we would be buying right away, but we found the "perfect" home for us and knew we had to make an offer. Our offer was accepted and from then on, every spare minute was spent working on our new home!

The house we bought was a foreclosure and needed a lot of work. We spent countless hours ripping up carpet and laminate, cleaning, painting, cleaning, repairing holes in walls, cleaning (recognize a pattern here?), replacing the floors, choosing the new appliance and more!

I spent a few months housesitting for some friends who did mission work in Haiti this summer. I had a new furry friend, Ella, to keep me company.

We painted every room of our house. I had so much fun picking out the colors and painting! We were blessed to have many friends and family members who helped us paint! The painting is what really helped transform the house!

In July, my grandpa went to be with his Lord. He was very sick, and it was difficult to see him in so much pain. As hard as it was to say good-bye, we know that he has a new healthy body in Heaven!

Our house was nearly complete by October. We designated the first weekend of October as our move-in time, and spent the majority of that week packing and unpacking, as well as preparing for...

...our wedding!!! We were married on a beautiful 70 degree sunny October 9th. Everything went perfectly and now I am blessed to have Mike as my husband!

We spent a week in Jamaica for our honeymoon. We had an incredible time and it was great to get away from all the stress of re-doing our house and planning a wedding!

On November 13, my best friend, Alecia, married Ovidiu. They have an incredible story and it was such a blessing to be a part of their day!

On November 26th, Mike celebrated his first birthday as a married man, and turned 22 years old!

In December, I had a chance to sing in a choir with Avalon! It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget.

I hope you had a wonderful 2010 as well. As we look ahead to 2011, I pray that you will be blessed!

25 December, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, we wish you a blessed Christmas! We pray that you will enjoy this special time of the year with your family and friends, remembering the true meaning of the season and giving thanks for the birth of our savior. Merry Christmas!

22 December, 2010

Recipe help!

I have to make a dish to bring to the potluck we're having on Christmas evening. Last year, I made Oreo truffles. And I made these Berry Cream Filled Chocolate Cups for a gathering earlier this month. So you see, I don't want to just bring something easy now that I have a reputation for bringing these fun foods. The only problem is, I don't have a lot of time to do something, so I need a recipe that doesn't take a lot of preparation, but still looks impressive. I'm hoping some of you have ideas you can send my way!!!

21 December, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Head over to my food blog, Melissa's Cuisine, every day this week I'll be featuring a delicious Christmas goodie recipe!

19 December, 2010

Avalon Concert

This past Thursday and Friday, I had a special opportunity to sing in a choir with Avalon! It was a really neat experience and the Christmas concert was awesome!

I took this picture during sound check on Friday night! I wish I had been able to get a picture of Avalon facing us, but I didn't want to get in trouble for not singing!

Mike took these pictures from the audience. The choir and orchestra started the concert by singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem". 200 voices, plus 100 instruments make a very joyous sound!


Do you see me? I'm just above the speaker, to the right.

It snowed inside while Avalon sang "Winter Wonderland"!

We sang "Light a Candle" and the children's choir lined the aisles while we stood on stage with our candles.
Both shows were incredible. Avalon puts on a great show and I had so much fun!!!

14 December, 2010

A Valuable Lesson

A father was at the mall with his three young daughters, ages 4, 2, and 8 months. As they walked along the busy mall, the 4 year old picked up coins other shoppers dropped along the way. They walked past a collection stand for the US Coast Guard. The father decided to teach his daughters a valuable lesson and gave them each $1. He told them that mommy and daddy were very blessed to be able to buy the things that they need, but there are some people who might not receive Christmas gifts that year. He asked them to put the dollar in the collection pot. They did and began to walk away. His 4 year old stopped him, turned around, dug into her pocket, and dropped the precious 18 cents she had gathered into the collection pot. All the father could do was hug her and cry. He thought he was teaching a lesson, but his young daughter was far wiser than he imagined, and taught him a lesson instead.
During this Christmas season, are you giving 'til it hurts, or are you just giving because that's what's expected of you?

10 December, 2010

Christmas Giveaway!

My friend Mari is giving away an incredible St. Nickolaus carving her husband made. Head over here to check it out and enter to win!

Christmas Concert

On Wednesday night, Mike and I went to a Christmas concert with some friends from our small group at my old High School's Fine Arts Center. It was an incredible night of music!

Our church's praise team, Altar*d Life, opened the night with Christmas in Sarajevo. It was incredible! I'll try to post a video of it.

Next up was Reilly. What a talented band! We didn't think we'd heard them before, but after hearing them, we think maybe we did see them at Unity this summer. They are basically a "violin-rock" group, and they were incredible!

The featured band of the evening was Barlow Girl. They were fantastic!

It was a great evening out, with great friends, and great music!

06 December, 2010

Loving deals!

I love scoring great deals! It's become a game of sorts for me~ searching for deals, finding and sorting coupons, and then actually going to the stores! Mike likes it too, he says he loves having a wife who loves to save money! And, I love having a husband who supports my obsession!
I got all this at Walgreens on Wednesday (minus a Nerds Rope I ate at work!):
If I purchased everything at retail price at the store, it would have cost me $34.37.
Instead, I paid only $10.95. That's a savings on 69%. I can get used to this!!!

04 December, 2010

Worth the money?

Do you ever spend money on something and then wonder if it was really worth what you paid? If you're like most people, I'm sure this has happened to you!

When my friend got married in November, I went to a local nail salon and got a french manicure. I paid $17 to have it done. The night before, I decided to paint my toes so I wouldn't have to pay for that as well.

I had my nails done on Friday afternoon. By the end of the reception Saturday, I'd guess I had at least 4 chips. By Monday morning, my nails looked so horrible, I took all the polish off. So my $17 manicure lasted all of 2 days.

I took the picture below of my toes tonight. This is after absolutely zero touch ups. So my at-home pedicure has lasted 23 days so far! Now, I do realize that my finger nails get more use than my toe nails, but I still think that the difference is just crazy!

02 December, 2010

First Snow

We had our first snow of the season yesterday, December 1st--fitting, right? I took these pictures when I got up in the morning (I wanted a picture of our house, but it was too cold to do more than just open the door and stick my arm out!) By time I went to bed, there was probably 4 inches of snow in our yard. Welcome winter!

01 December, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday! She's now...oh, wait you're not supposed to tell a woman's age! ;) We were able to celebrate with the whole family on Sunday. She was pretty excited, can you tell?

Happy birthday Mom! I love you!

26 November, 2010

Happy Birthday Mike!

Happy birthday to my husband! I'm so blessed to have you in my life! This past year has been a whirlwind, but I wouldn't change a single moment of it! We've experienced many changes, most notibly you going from my boyfriend, to fiance, to husband!
We've completely remodeled a house and made it our own.
We've been busy and every moment of it has made me fall more in love with you and realize how blessed I am!

I love your serious side!

I love your romantic side!

I love your goofy side!

And I love the "deal-with-it-when-my-wife-takes-pictures-of-our-feet" side!


24 November, 2010

Easy Christmas Gifts

Are you looking for some easy Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers? Do you want to avoid the long lines, busy stores, and understocked shelves? Let me help you! I have an overabundance of Avon products in stock right now and they are available for you when you need them! Let me know if there is anything on this list that you are interested in!

Grey Memory Foam Slippers, Size XL (Unisex)- $10
Pumpkin Spice Bubble Bath, 24 ounce- $6
Fresh Peach Bubble Bath, 24 ounce- $6
Winter Rose Bubble Bath, 24 ounce- $6
Silver Sparkle Bubble Bath, 8 ounce- $3
Raspberry Holiday Shower Gel, 5 ounce- $3
Black Cherry and Nutmeg Holiday Shower Gel, 5 ounce- $3 (2 available)
Sugar Walnut Holiday Shower Gel, 5 ounce- $3
Peppermint and Vanilla Holiday Shower Gel, 5 ounce- $3
Vanilla Shower Gel (Candy Cane Shaped), 3.4 ounce- $3
Black Cherry and Nutmeg Shower Gel (Candy Cane Shaped), 3.4 ounce- $3
Coconut and Lemongrass Shower Gel, 5 ounce- $3
Vanilla Shower Gel, 5 ounce- $3
Almond and Milk Body Spray, 8.4 ounce- $5
Almond and Milk Hand and Body Lotion, 8.4 ounce- $4
Vanilla Body Spray, 8.4 ounce- $5
Vanilla Hand and Body Lotion, 8.4 ounce- $4
Naturals Cucumber Melon Body Spray, 2 ounce- $2
Cucumber Melon Gift Set (Lotion, Body Spray, Shower Gel, Loofah, Gift Bag)- $10
Strawberry and Guava Gift Set (Lotion, Body Spray, Shower Gel, Loofah, Gift Bag)- $10
Bubble Bath Minis (assorted scents)- $1
Lotion Minis (assorted)- $1
Lip Balms (assorted)- $1
Skin So Soft Satin Glow Firming Body Moisturizer- $5
Always Eau De Parfum Spray- $15
Sweet Honesty Spray- $8
Clearskin Pore Penetrating Invigorating Scrub- $4
Anew Alternative Intensive Eye Cream- $12
Anew Line Filling Lip Liner Natural Spice- $4
Magix Face Perfector- $6
Black Spectra Lash Mascara- $4 (2 available)
Dark Brown Brow Definer- $3
8-in-1 Eye Pallet Water Colors- $8
Lotus Shield Frizz Control- $7 (5 available)
Bright Chandelier Hoop Earrings (Yellow)- $7
Beautiful Barcelona Earrings- $8
Beautiful Barcelona Necklace- $12
Pearlesque Drop Earrings- $6
Mark Cosmetic Bag (Pink and Black Zebra Print)- $5

19 November, 2010

Gourmet Food

Nothing beats starting and ending your day with delicious gourmet food that you didn't have to cook or clean up after! We had some of the most incredible food at our resort. Each morning, we had a breakfast buffet at the biggest restaurant. For lunch, we could choose from an Italian restaurant (Guiseppe's), Caribbean restaurant (Bluefield's), or International (Bayside) (all types of food since it was a buffet) restaurant. For dinner there were many choices as well, Italian (Guiseppe's) , International (formal (Eleanor's) or casual (Bayside)), Asian (Jasmine's), Mediterranean (Neptune's)...let's just say we never went hungry! There was also a cafe (Cafe de Paris) that offered all kinds of baked delicacies all day long. And plenty of bars ;) **Disclaimer: If you are hungry, you might want to eat before looking at this post :)

My handsome husband and me at Guiseppe's.

Creme brule at Eleanor's

Dessert for 3 at Eleanor's

Bleu Cheese Steak at Eleanor's

Coconut Rice Stuffed Chicken at Eleanor's

Salad and Bruschetta at Eleanor's

Apple Crisp Ala Mode at Bayside

Chocolate Mound at Bayside

4 Meat Platter (Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Lamb) at Bayside

Peppered Shrimp at Bayside

Caesar Salad at Bayside

Chicken at Neptune's

Steak at Neptune's
Cucumber and Tomato (but mostly pepper) Salad at Neptune's

Sampler Platter at Bayside

Beef and Broccoli at Jasmine's
Sweet and Sour Chicken at Jasmine's

Hawaiian Pizza at Guiseppe's

Truffles, Chocolate Covered Fruits, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Covered Marzipan, and various other chocolate desserts at the Chocolate Buffet

Bacon Alfredo at Guiseppe's

Chicken with Tomato Gnocchi at Guiseppe's

Antipasta Bar at Guiseppe's (Yes, that is a mussel, and yes, I did eat it!)

Cookies and a scone from Cafe de Paris

Breakfast buffet at Bayside

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