Monday, December 31, 2012

getting ready for nye

I can't believe it is New Years Eve already!! I just got up to Portland and checked in to The Nines Hotel downtown where I am going to meet up with a ton of friends to celebrate. Bring on the festivities! See you all next year.

[[ the view of pioneer courthouse square from the nines. ]]

Friday, December 28, 2012

weekend adventures 63
christmas part III

Alright, here is part three, Christmas at my dads house in Portland. 

monday night (christmas eve)
It is tradition that every year on Christmas Eve we get a new pair of pajamas to sleep in, and this year they were Victorias Secret Pink onesies complete with butt flaps! At least for the girls. I think these were the best we have gotten so far, and the five of us looked absolutely ridiculous once we all changed, so we had to have a little photo shoot.

[[ christmas onsies! ]]

tuesday (christmas)
Per usual, we all got up in the morning, opened up our stockings, and then moved in to the living room to open the rest of the gifts. This year the siblings (and Pat and my brothers girlfriend Tahlia) all drew names and we decided to just buy gifts for that person, and somehow me and Tahlia both ended up with each other. I got her a turquoise wrap watch from Modcloth, some gold nail polish, and a silvery/grey beanie, and she got me a black sparkly infinity scarf which I really like. Pat drew my little sister Meagan's name and got her the Vans iphone case she has been wanting forever and a ornamented "M" to hang on her wall. Pat got "The Zombie Survival Guide" and some Nike sweats from my little sister Jenna. For my parents, we all got together and rewrote the 12 days of Christmas with little "gifts" for each day and sang/acted them out for them. It was super ridiculous, but I think they really liked it. We also got them tickets to the show "The Santa Diaries" and a gift card for dinner at Irving Street Kitchen so that they could have a little date night. I don't know how we are going to top that for next year.

[[ opening presents christmas morning. ]]
[[ me & pat, me & meagan christmas morning. ]]

After opening all of our presents and cleaning up, we made breakfast and mimosas, and lazed around for the rest of the day. Tahlia had won an Xbox Kinect from work, so I watched my family have some seriously entertaining dance battles. Meagan and Jenna are definitely the best, but Destiny is pretty good too, surprisingly good. The parents had also gotten us some board games to play together, so we spent the evening playing a board game version of The Walking Dead (which was stressful, and not very Christmasy), and Headbandz (where you have to ask questions to guess the person/thing on your card), which I won.

All in all it was a really good Christmas with the fam bam. 
I do another post about presents later when I get a chance. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

weekend adventures 63
christmas part II

As continued from yesterdays post, here are the second part of the weekend adventures, Christmas Eve at my moms place. 

monday (christmas eve)
In the morning we finished up some last minute things and got ready to head over to my moms house for Christmas Eve dinner. Me, Pat, and my little sister Meagan got to her house around two and decided to visit and exchange our presents since no one was coming over for a while. We gave them some holiday items and my little sister made my mom some vases inspired from something she saw on Pinterest. They turned out really cute. My mom got me and Pat a really cool photograph/painting of Times Square in NYC as well as the West Elm duvet cover and pillow set that I really wanted for our new(ish) king bed! I am really really excited to see how that looks once we get all moved in!

[[ meagan, me, and pat... being awesome. ]]
[[ pat and the giant present. me and my babe. sister, mom, grandpa, and grandpa. me, meagan, and grandpa. ]]

At five everyone came over and it was really good to visit with all of the grandparents for a few hours. We did a white elephant gift exchange with Deans family and me and Pat ended up with some sweet new chopsticks and a P.F. Changs gift card. I stole back the simplistic nutcracker that I had brought, but actually really wanted for myself. The other gift we brought was a "classic game compendium"that included jacks, pick up sticks, dice, marbles, and a slinky that provided an unexpected amount of entertainment to my mom and Deans uncle Dan. I think everyone had a feeling I was the one who brought that gift.

After everyone took off we decided to put on Christmas Vacation before me, Pat, and Meagan had to head back to my dads place for the evening.

Christmas Eve Pocketbooth Fun!

[[ click on these to see them larger, they are pretty awesome. ]]

I will post the last part of our weekend adventures tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

weekend adventures 63
christmas part I

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! Ours was really good, but filled with a lot of running around, and I am happy to be home once again to finish up some packing and sleep in our own bed. 

The first part of the weekend was spent at Brasada with Pats family: His mom, step dad Roger, little brother Hayden, step brother Chris, his wife Mandee, and their son Maddox who just turned two.

I spent Friday morning and afternoon packing and getting ready to go so that as soon as Pat got finished with work we could head over the pass to Bend for the first part of the weekend. Unfortunately we spent the majority of our first night there finishing up some work and trying to convince his mom that no, we couldn't play games with her because we had work to get done. Once we had some dinner and finished up our projects we tried out some of Pats homebrew and then relaxed before heading to bed.

[[ rain to snow. ]]

In the morning we all got up to take Maddox, Pat's little nephew, down to see Santa, although I think he was much more enamored with the horse they had for children to pet. He told the horse to "sit!" several times like a dog, which was hilarious. After seeing Santa, and posing in his sleigh for some pictures, we headed back up to the house to make breakfast and open presents. Me and Pat had not had time to exchange our presents for each other yet, so we did this now as well. I got Pat a brewing kit to make Rogue's Hazelnut Brown, a Marvel encyclopedia he has been coveting for a while, and a few other things he asked for. He got me several of the books I asked for and a pair of Urbanears Tanto in grape to use for work (which I am enjoying right now). I will get more in to the gifts later with their own post. His parents were extremely generous and got me a warm puffy jacket I wanted, as well as an adorable pair of Sorel boots, both of which will come in handy very very much once we make our final move over the pass next week.

[[ the christmas tree. santa claus. maddox and the horse. me and pat in the sleigh. sunny saturday. reindeer hayden. my fancy new christmas getup. the sorel boots i have been wanting. ]] 

After breakfast and exchanging gifts we decided to go swimming in Brasada's outdoor pool which was heating for the holiday weekend. I was a little skeptical, but it was actually really warm and a lot of fun despite being freezing outside. I guess it really is sunny for most of the year over there after all.

[[ outdoor swimming in december. ]]

When we got back to the house we played some board games while dinner was finishing up. Chris kicked our asses during Monopoly, but I am still the Rummikub champ. Dinner was delicious and a ton of food, I definitely over ate a bit and was really tired after, so I curled up with A Little Princess, a book I had started reading right before the weekend for the rest of the night.

In the morning I finished up my book (I couldn't put it down, it is definitely one of my favorites now) before breakfast. It had started snowing really early and was gorgeous out at Brasada, but we had to pack up and get ready to head over the pass to my dads house. We loaded up, car and said our goodbyes and thank yous, and then headed out. There was a lot more snow through Redmond and everywhere else and we got stuck a number of times before even getting on to the Mt. Hood pass. Once we had started on the pass we were stopped again for almost two hours at a stand still for whatever reason, which was not ideal, but I was glad to have coffee, full glasses of water, and Pats grandmas homemade chex mix with us. It was dark by the time we started moving again and once we hit Dumascus we were in a full fledged blizzard with slush everywhere and couldn't see anything. It was terrifying. By the time we made it to my Dads place around 8, I was extremely thankful to be out of the car.

[[ the long long drive to portland. ]]

I will post the second part of our weekend adventures tomorrow since I took so many pictures, and another post with all of our Christmas goodies later!

Monday, December 24, 2012

merry christmas!

We are getting ready to start our second round of Christmas festivities today, so I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!! I will be back in a few days.

[[ me and pat on santa's sleigh. ]]

Friday, December 21, 2012

its the end of the world, as we know it...

According to various interpretations of the Maya's all encompassing calendar, it supposedly ends today, which many speculate to mean that the world is coming to an end. Although it is an interesting theory, i'm not buying it. 

[[ our replica of the maya calendar. ]]

I just have a hard time believing that all of the sudden the earth is going to spontaneously explode with every natural disaster occurring in the same place at the same time. It is too much like all apocalyptic movies where a family is split apart trying to get to the secret government bunker underground, but luckily someone always happens to know a pilot with a fueled up plane, and John Cusack or Denis Quaid ("Denis Quaid is here!") save the day after all. (If you need an example, just watch the 2012 or Deep Impact movie trailers, or throw in a little Dante's Peak, The Day After Tomorrow, and Armageddon and imagine all five movies happening simultaneously).

Or, perhaps you buy in to the theory that aliens are going to reveal themselves, in which the Volgons destroy earth in order to facilitate an intergalactic highway construction project. Well, as far as I can tell, the dolphins haven't left yet, so I think we are going to be alright on that front as well. (See lyrics to "So Long and Thanks for All The Fish" for more context).

[[ don't panic from hitchhikers guide to the galaxy which i referenced above. ]]

I realize that was a ridiculous amount of links and references, but I was having fun, and I couldn't stop myself. Now, on to the real stuff...

Here are some points of interest for those of you who are still convinced that the end is near... (Information as gathered from EarthSky and NASA articles, click on links for full articles and more information). 

What we do know, is that the December 2012 Solstice will occur today at 11:21 (UTC), and no, the planets, as usual, will not be aligned. (source).

Our solar system will not cross a galactic plane (the center line of our galaxies spinning disk of stars). In fact, we are currently moving away from it and are not likely to cross for another 30 million years or so. You can watch a video created by the Morehead Planetarium that demonstrates this. However, earth will cross the galactic equator (an imaginary circle dividing the also imaginary celestial sphere in to two halves for mapping the sky), which is something that happens twice every year. (source 1 / source 2).

A magnetic pole reversal is "a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia". There is no evidence, in millions of years of geological record, to suggest that any of the doomsday scenarios regarding the magnetic pole reversal are to be taken seriously. (source).

"Nibiru, sometimes called Planet X, is not going to collide with our planet this year - or ever - because it doesn't exist." - Bruce McClure, EarthSky (source).

According to Professor David Stuart, an archaeologist and expert on the ancient Maya at the University of Texas at Austin, neither the Maya, or their calendar, ever predicted the end of the world. The Maya's created a series of calendars to track time for various things, such as agricultural and cultural events. The 'Long Count Calendar' was created to track a cycle of 400 years, (or 360 since it is somewhat disputed), which we have now reached the end of, or in other words the turn of the cycle. According to Stuart, this cycle is practically endless based on their ancient structure system and will continue on. (source).

Just remember, Don't Panic! 
...And no matter what, always make sure you have your towel. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

pat's sleeve

Pat has been enamored with Egyptian art and history since long before I met him, and had been toying around with the idea of converting his existing Eye of Ra tattoo on his left arm into an Egyptian sleeve for years. On Saturday (12/8) Pat finally got started! I had looked into an artist named Cynthia Davis a while ago because one of Pats friends Sara has an amazing sleeve done by her, and after seeing some of her work with shading, Pat decided he would like to use her as well. So, after visiting with her a few weeks ago to talk concepts and put down a deposit, we spent upwards of four hours in All American Tattoo in Salem over the weekend.

We were both really into the concept drawing that Cynthia adapted from some examples that Pat brought in, and based on her line work thus far we are very impressed and excited for the next step, shading!

Here are some pictures of the outline process:

[[ the parlor. pat before. getting the stencil ready. sign. the sleeve outline in progress. the completed outline. ]]

The design incorporates Anubis, Horus in his falcon headed adaptation, a stylized scarab with feather wings, and the Eye, which will have sun rays radiating out of it, sort of as a take on the Sun of Many Hands, once the shading is complete. Pat's previous representation of the Eye of Ra tattoo will be moved to the inside of his arm as well, but will be rendered differently than last time since the "branded" technique is hard to maintain. There may be some other elements involved before completion, but if you look closely at the detailing, you will see that many traditional shapes and symbols are being represented also, such as the ank that Anubis traditionally carries with him, and line work with shapes from ancient dress and popular hieroglyphic symbols. The entire thing will be in black and white.

I love it so far, and I am really excited for him!

((( more posts to follow the remainder of the process when we get there )))

happy birthday johni girl

I miss you. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

last day

Today was my last day of work at WSI, a company I have worked for over the past two and a half years. It seems so weird to be leaving, but since my announcement a few weeks ago, there have been a lot of changes around here, so I feel like I will be leaving everything on good terms. I will definitely miss a few of the people I have gotten used to seeing everyday.

Before I left yesterday my coworkers threw me a little going away party with gifts, a flower crown (that I had to wear), and ice cream cake, which I really really appreciated. I spoke to my bosses for a little while about my new position and they were extremely supportive about everything. I even made Russ, my boss man, give me a hug goodbye haha. Karen, my boss lady, who I will miss very much gave me a stapler to take home. She said that Russ (her husband), has a stapler at their house from his first real job after college that they still use, and that it always reminds them of that job and those times, so she wanted me to have the same thing. I thought this was an adorable sentiment. I gave her a little thank you gift, a big hug, and said goodbye to everyone.

Leaving actually felt extremely bittersweet. I thought that I would feel super relieved and excited for all of the upcoming changes, but saying goodbye actually made me tear up a bit thinking about leaving everything I have come to love here behind. Emotions that I was not expecting to be stirred up by my last day at work. I am feeling sentimental about Corvallis already.

It will feel extremely odd not working for a few weeks over the holidays since I don't start my position until the 9th, but I think it will be really good for moving and integrating into my new environment to come in with a fresh start after having some time to myself. Of course, I could still have tight freelance deadlines, but its looking like the holidays will be fairly light on work, and I am ok with that for once. This girl needs a break.

[[ the front door in the fall. the elements building lit up. our floor hallway. me at my desk. leaving. jake. snowy views from upstairs. me taking a reflection shot outside of the building. walking to the parking lot. my stapler. ]]

Goodbye to The Elements Building, where I have spent so much of time over the last few years. I will miss sneaking up to the 6th floor event space to take pictures of Corvallis through your giant windows. Goodbye to my bosses who take great care of their employees. Goodbye to Jake, the office labrador who always tried to steal my breakfast. Goodbye to WSI, thank you for everything.

Until next time.

[[ a panoramic view of the 6th floor on tuesday. ]]

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the present

Presently (I could not help myself), I just finished packing up almost all of my Christmas gifts for this year. It was not an easy undertaking, since our house is a mess of boxes and packing supplies at the moment and I was buried in paper the entire time, but I am feeling pretty satisfied at the moment. Kraft paper is definitely my favorite way to wrap presents, and with some really cute free printable gift tags from Love Vs. Design via Wedding Chicks, and Kelli Murray, I was able to make them cute and personal with minimal effort. Click on the links above to download your own if you still have some wrapping to do. :)

Friday me and Pat are heading over the pass to get our Christmas celebrating started. Saturday we are having Christmas early with Pat's family in Bend, then we head over the mountain to my Dads place to meet up with all of my siblings and finalize our parents present, then its off to my Moms for Christmas Eve, and then back to my Dads for Christmas Day. That is a lot of business... I am glad that Pat is coming along with me again, and that I get to spend a little bit of Christmas with his family as well. I still have a few more goodies to wrap up, but I am feeling pretty good about my gifts this year, and am excited to hand them out!

I hope everyone likes their presents!
(I will post pictures of a few after the holidays).

[[ wrapping christmas presents. ]]

Monday, December 17, 2012

pack pack pack

Me and Pat have been making some pretty good progress into our packing thus far, but have a long way to go! It is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate living in a house of your own. We have already made one huge Goodwill run, and I would venture to guess we will have at least one more before we are done. It feels good to actually be sorting through things this time around though. In the past when moving it has sort of been the whole, throw your stuff in whatever you can find and worry about it later, type of thing.

Last week we tackled the office, extra bedroom, bathrooms, and we packed up all of our movies, games, and most electronics, as well as all of Pat's Rogue bottles, which required four boxes of their own! Over the weekend we got a bunch of the kitchen, the living room, and everything off of the walls. Our house is super sad looking now. The only decorations remaining are our tiny Christmas tree and stockings, which will have to come down soon as well.

Since we are leaving to start our Christmas this Friday, we both have to pack suitcases with the things we will be needing over the next week, leave out a few extra pieces of clothing for New Years Eve and moving day, and pack everything else up in to boxes. Moving day is the first, and my last day of work is Wednesday, so finishing everything up will be my job. Hopefully we will be almost all packed before we leave this weekend.

[[ some pictures from our packing progress. ]]

Friday, December 14, 2012


Although I try to keep things fairly light and free of politics on my blog, I, along with everyone else in the country, was completely baffled and horrified by the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that took place this morning, where a 20 year old open fired killing K-4 children and their teachers.

[[ ♥ ]]

There are so many different articles floating around the internet right now trying to explain the "why" of the incident already, so I am not going to get in to that too much. I did however, come across one interesting point I will touch on. It was a plea to turn off the news and stop glorifying these disasters by focusing on the killers and the heinousness of their crimes rather than the victims. Its true, we can look back on previous attacks and name off the shooter(s), but find it hard to recall a single person affected. In reality, it is their names that we should be focusing on and remembering, rather than raising the killer to fame. After all, maybe that is all they, the mentally unstable turned killers, are seeking. On that note, if you are interested, here is a link that names all of the victims with brief statements from their families.

And of course, I must also mention the Clackamas Town Center shooting that took place earlier this week a lot closer to home, where a masked gunman open fired inside the packed mall, shooting three (killing two), and then taking his own life. Those victims are identified here. Again, what was the motiv other than a completely mentally unstable individual, with access to weapons, seeking infamy?

Though I of course have my own opinions on mental health and gun control, I will leave this post with the above point of interest, and save those debates for another day. Today I am thankful for my parents, siblings, fiance, friends, teachers, grandparents, more distant family members, and everyone else in my life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

dinner at the graffs

Tuesday night after work me and Pat headed to the store to pick up some wine and bread to bring to dinner at our friends Nate and Alicia's place. They had recently "renovated" their basement, and wanted to show off their new setup complete with pool table, ping pong table, foosball, and darts.

Since Hanukkah is going on and Nate is Jewish, I could not resist picking up some themed cupcakes to bring over for desert, which I think everyone enjoyed pretty thoroughly.

[[ hanukkah cupcakes. ]]

After dinner, desert, and giving lots of attention to their two dogs Toby and Dinah, the boys played some foosball, and I choose darts. I am not competitive enough to enjoy foos, but I am not terrible at darts most of the time for some reason, so I guess it is my bar game of choice. I ended up beating Alicia with the double bullseye, but she totally kicked my ass when we played pool after. She is a bit of a shark.

[[ puppy play time: pat getting attacked by toby. dinah. ]]

[[ darts, ]]

It was nice to catch up with them since it had been a while, and especially since we are going to be leaving. Thanks for dinner friends!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Last year I did a post at 11:11 on 11.11.11, and although 12.12.12 does not seem quite as exciting, it is still the last time this will happen in a long time, so I had to make a little picture to commemorate it anyway... and take advantage of Modcloth's 12% off anything sale... Maybe it is also a lucky day?

[[ the last for a while... ]]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

8 crazy nights

I know that Hanukkah is going on right now, so for those of you who celebrate it, including the Graffs and many members of my Blechman family... Happy Hanukkah!

[[ pictures of a dradle from last year. ]] 

Monday, December 10, 2012

finally, an announcement!

I realize that though my posting over the last few weeks has been a bit sparse, I have been leaving cryptic little messages about some big upcoming announcement, and now that everything is officially 100% squared away, I can share it!

Right after the New Year me and Pat will be moving to Bend!! 

I am also going to be starting a new design job with a company that I have been freelancing for the past year and could not be more excited to get started! This is a really big career move for me, and a really really big life move for us that has been long in the making.

I will admit that now that it is finally happening I am a little sad to leave the nostalgia filled little town of Corvallis behind. This is where me and Pat's relationship really started, where I met a ton of amazing people, where I went to college... We have lived all over the town, and have memories all over the place from our almost decade of living here together... so it really will be the end of an era, and on to a new chapter in our lives. I am both excited and terrified.

Wish us luck! We have a lot of work to do!

[[ misc. bend pictures from old posts: winter over the pass. summer sunset. bend brewfest '12. lightning strikes. brasada pool. bend love downtown. old mill. deschutes national forest. ]]

Friday, December 7, 2012

a sick day

Everyone at my work has been fighting off the same wicked cold for a while, and after evading two close calls and one sick boyfriend, my immune system finally caved in. So, today is a sick day. Most of which has been spent eating soup, napping, and watching some great animated films. (Sorry for no post yesterday, I came home from work early and slept pretty much the rest of the night).

Despite my symptoms, any day where I have time to watch Despicable Me, Wall-E, and Up can't be too bad... (even if Up makes me cry like a baby).

[[ up, wall-e, despicable me. good medicine. ]]

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

christmas wishlist

Now that we are in to December, I figured I needed to stop slacking and actually provide a little Christmas list for mi familia to shop off of if they see anything they fancy. So, here are some ideas.

((( as usual, the numbers are links to items )))

1. Q&A A Day (Amazon) - $11.55 
2. Urbanears Tanto Headphones (Aubergine or Grape) - $35/$40.00
3. Out of Print Clothing, Brave New World Sweatshirt (M) - $42.00
4. Out of Oz (Amazon) - $10.80 Paperback
5. Dinotopia  (Amazon) - $19.80 Hardcover
6. Pyramid Stud iPhone 5 Case, Mint (Urban Outfitters) - $28.00 

1. Forever 21, Oversized Grid Print Shirt (Black, M) - $19.80
2. Forever 21, Distressed Faux Leather Booties (Brown, 7.5) - $34.80
3. Modcloth, Spike an Interest Necklace - $24.99 
4. Modcloth, Zodiac Zing Sweatshirt (L) - $42.99
5. Forever 21, Fair Isle Leggings (M) - $13.00
6. Modcloth, Tech Me With You Gloves (Plum) - $27.99

1. Urban Outfitters, Streak Dye Bowl (one of each color) - 4 for $20
2. Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics, Ernest Hemingway - $14.00
3. West Elm, Organic Diamond Texture Duvet or Shams (King, Frost Grey) $24.00 - $109.00
4. Urban Outfitters, Spinner Pendant Necklace ("It Is What It Is") - $24.00
5. & 6. Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics Childrens Collection, The Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables, King Arther - $9.00 each

(Mom, I can email you some ideas for Pat as well if you need them)

Hopefully that will give you guys some ideas!