I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


24 February 2010

Virtual Suit Shopping

I am in desperate need of new suits. I wear a suit for work at least 3 out of 5 days, I also wear a suit for Council meetings on Monday’s. Next week I am attending Council Bluffs Legislative Day at the Capital. Therefore, I need to look both fashionable and professional at once. I found these two combinations at Ann Taylor. Love this jacket and skirt:

(The jacket color is available in the skirt)
Also love this jacket and dress combo:

For the basic suits I own I am loving this necklace to add some spice:

What do you think? Too trendy or just right? Any other suggestions?

23 February 2010

Fairmont Park Neighborhood Association Meeting

Last Friday I hosted my neighborhood association monthly meeting. This has turned into quite the event where the host provides a meal and the neighbors all socialize for several hours along with planning for future improvements to our neighborhood. Its great. I snapped a few photos before arrival (but failed at snapping photos during meeting).

I made little favor bags for each neighbor to take home (scored mega cheap valentines candy and cheesy kid valentines since meeting was a few days after the big day). I also made butter in the shape of hears along with cornbread for each person in the shape of a heart and served chili with heart cupcakes for dessert.

Overall I would say it was a success. On to the next big event – St Pat’s Day!!

18 February 2010

Winter Olympics

Are addictive. I start watching and get caught up in it. The sheer talent amazes me. How does one compete these harrowing tasks? I just can’t even fathom as am seriously lacking in talent when it comes to athleticism. I can’t even imagine having a dream to be an Olympic athlete. Skiing is a challenge for me so the thought of racing downhill at 70+ mph is terror inducing! Congrats to Lindsey Vonn on her gold yesterday. I loved seeing her emotionally charged reaction when she finished.

Almost brought tears to my eyes! Anyone else hooked on the Winter Olympics? That being said I also can’t believe how dangerous the Olympics are this year, a death, and so many injuries. I just don’t remember such crazy crashes in past years! The gorgeous scenery also makes me want to visit Canada sooner rather than later.

*Photos from www.vancouver2010.com and www.lindseyvonn.com

12 February 2010

I Found the Perfect Camera Bag

I need this bag. I have an awesome new camera (thanks Mom & Dad)

but no bag so I just throw my camera in a large purse on the occasions, like the Tim McGraw and Lady A concert this evening, I want to tote it along. I realize this is not a safe option for said camera and is sure to result in a tragic end much sooner than I would hope. I love that this looks like a stylish purse and has room for camera, lenses, and personal items I may need.

Are there any upcoming holidays? Anyone want to buy me a present?

09 February 2010

Hurt Locker

Has anyone watched this movie? Here is the synopsis:

“US Army Sergeant First Class Will James, Sergeant JT Sanborn and Specialist Owen Eldridge comprise the Bravo Company's bomb disposal unit currently stationed in Baghdad. James is the tech team leader. When James arrives on the scene, Bravo Company has thirty-nine days left on its current deployment. It will be a long thirty-nine days for Sanborn and Eldridge whose styles do not mesh with their new leader. James is a renegade for who the thrill of the dismantlement seems to be the ultimate goal regardless of the safety of his fellow team members, others on the scene or himself. On the other hand, Sanborn is by the books: he knows his place and duty and trusts others in the army to carry out theirs as well as he. And Eldridge is an insecure soldier who is constantly worried that an error or misjudgment on his part will lead to the death of an innocent civilian or a military colleague. While the three members face their own internal issues, they have to be aware of any person at the bomb sites, some of who may be bombers themselves.”

In 2004 I was stationed at Camp Victory in Iraq (same time and location of the EOD guys portrayed in this movie). I dated an EOD technician my first tour in Iraq, we met at Ft Bliss (CRC) and dated the entire tour. It was a deployment relationship. He was a jerk but I was thousands of miles away from home in a war zone and way more scared than I ever wanted to let on. I enjoyed having someone who I felt could protect me and in all honestly I liked his team. They were fun and dangerous, a tight knit click that I felt special to be included in.

Anyway back to the point as no one wants to hear my dating story. I finally watched the movie Saturday night. It was chilling and surreal. It looked just like Iraq (they filmed in Jordan and Kuwait – both places I have been), the Iraqis were Iraqis, and the base reminded me of Victory. I lived in those trailers, I was surrounded by heat and dust, the private security guards in their big armored SUVs drove me around on missions, I bought black market DVD’s from the Hodgie’s (horrible term I know but its in the movie). The boys would return from a mission and tell stories. It was scary, I never knew if they would all return. Luckily for me they did. These guys had dangerous jobs and explosive personalities – there was conflict yet there was also comradeship like none other. The movie portrays this well. Some parts of the movie are a bit far fetched (a soldier wandering around Baghdad solo) and a few that have watched it felt it was slow. But I would recommend it if you want a glimpse into the life of an EOD soldier at war. These guys risk their lives to protect us, there is nothing more honorable and I will always be grateful to them for my freedom.

I keep thinking about the movie – it’s weird to watch a movie that portrays your life. Obviously I wasn’t out diffusing bombs but I was in that country living with the possibility of an IED or mortar explosion both inside and outside the wire, living with the fear (and sometimes reality) that one of my friends (or boyfriend) would not return from a mission, loosing linguists and contractors to the war. Surreal at times, especially now that I am home surrounded by the comforts of my plush every day life. Even the scene at the grocery store when the solider has returned home was eerily familiar. I remember being overwhelmed with choices after having went so long with none. I miss the excitement and adventure but am also grateful to be home and safe in a wonderful country.

08 February 2010

San Diego, California

Since I’ve been home over a week figured it’s time I share photos! I loved San Diego –the weather was gorgeous, so many fun things to do, and the city was easy to navigate. We went to the Gas Lamp District several nights. I loved the Shout House.

I also really enjoyed RA Sushi and Pinkberry (wish we had a Pinkberry here!). For lunch we dined at an awesome restaurant on the bay and also went to Little Italy

And at ate Phillipi’s.

Great Italian and quite cheap. Old Towne was on the agenda one night for Happy Hour (mega cheap margaritas).

Shopping, and dinner. While there I spied Mexican Vanilla for $20, the exact same vanilla I had bought my aunt a day earlier in Tijuana for only $2!! I was quite pleased with myself for the bargain, until one of the wiser guys in our group pointed out that I risked my life to save $18. Ok maybe not so brilliant. Speaking of Tijuana a few guys and I boarded the trolley for Tijuana.

The trolley ride alone was an experience - the closer we got to the border we definitely became the minority for several reasons. Then we crossed over the border (along with 100’s of students).

And entered Mexico (no passport required to enter, but definitely required to exit).

Downtown Tijuana, MX was a ghost town. Seemed surreal that there was no one around and several shops closed.

A huge change from the last time I visited with a church mission group. We still managed a bit of shopping.

And of course Margaritas (and churros for the trolley ride back).

I was not kidnapped and actually felt quite safe the entire time. Since I obviously consumed a bit of alcohol and a lot of food I made sure to wake up for a morning run every day (well I skipped one day….).

It was easy to motivate myself out of bed when I knew I had sunny weather in the 60’s and views like this.

I loved the bay. The view of the city from across the bay is gorgeous.

As were all the sailboats lined up.

I even saw the cutest boxer with his owner heading out for a day at sea.

I also thought this looked like the best mode of transportation to and from the airport!

Photos from the San Diego Zoo to come later this week. In case anyone is wondering I did attend class while there as well so it wasn’t all play.