How's this for being a bit absent from my blog. Back to back posts on what I've read through the year. Here's my 2011 list. Some of the highlights were Gone with the Wind, The Thirteenth Tale, Water for Elephants, Sarah's Key.
The Glass Castle
Alice in Wonderland
The Thirteenth Tale

The Blood of Flowers
Jane Eyre
The Grapes of Wrath
Gone with the Wind

Memoirs of a Geisha (second time)
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
The Star Garden
Water for Elephants
Sarah's Key
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Little Bee

The 2010 Book List

2010 Book List

Finally getting around to changing my booklists. Here's the result of the 22 books I read in 2010.

Time of Your Life
A Female Nomad
A Reliable Wife
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Light on Snow
The Jungle
Hyacinth Blue (read for the 2nd time)
The Queen of the South
The Help
Night Train to Lisbon
The Giver
The Persian Pickle Club
Have a Little Faith
Love Walked In
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Old Buzzard Had It Coming
Prodigal Summer
The Goose Girl
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
My Sister's Keeper
The Shack

Cake Decorating Class

It was definitely not my choice. It was not my choice to take this cake decorating class, but I'm glad I did. My prior cake decorating technique consisted of no technique, so I've come quite a long way (baby!), after looking at the pictures you'll see that I also still have a long way to go. For just four lessons, it's amazing how much you can learn in this class. I griped and complained the whole time I was in the class simply because I really didn't have the time to squeeze it into my schedule. Now that I'm finished, I'm so glad I did it, especially because Justin and the kids are really impressed :)

So the first cake we decorated was a plain white cake with a cupcake made of frosting on top. Although the cake looks pretty simple, there was a lot of technique involved and I learned so much. The second cake had a flower design, so I have a small bouquet of pink roses in the center of mine. The third cake was supposed to be a character cake, but I since I already had a silicon pan that had an Easter egg design, I decided to make Easter egg cakes in grass. I threw the roses in only because I wanted to use and display all the techniques I learned in this class on the final cake. Unfortunately the Easter cake came out looking a little like a three-ringed circus, it just had too much on it. I'm usually much more restrained and prefer a minimal approach, but I really wanted to practice all the things we learned. Anyway, I'm all cake'd out. Tonight Justin said he was slightly disappointed that I didn't sign up for the next class because he'll miss all the cake.

Eva's First Haircut

This haircut took place nearly a year ago, in March 2010. Eva had just turned 3 and her hair was getting very difficult to manage. I found out that Dolce gave free haircuts if the hair was designated to be donated to Locks of Love. First I measured the length of Eva's hair and thought that it was probably long enough. So I made the appointment, and went in more nervous than Eva. I wasn't afraid of getting the hair cut, but I was afraid of her response to it. As it turned out, she loved every minute of the experience and immediately afterward, asked when she could do it again. A winner for everyone involved!

Santa Fe 2009

About this time last year, Justin and I took a trip (sans kids) to Santa Fe, which by the way, is a very romantic city, particularly in the winter. We stayed at La Posada hotel, a historic hotel nestled in side streets just outside of Old Town. We flew into Albuquerque and then took a train to Santa Fe. We rode into town to find all the streets lined with a couple of feet of snow. Apparently we had just missed a heavy snowfall, but had arrived in time to still see and enjoy the remnants of the storm. It snowed lightly only once while we were there, the last night, the evening we walked from our casita to the hotel's restaurant, a 4 star gem with delicious food and great ambiance.

Speaking of food, just about all the food we ate was fantastic! The first location was a restaurant we've eaten at before. The owners changed, the name of the restaurant changed, and the type of food changed (now Spanish flavors), but the experience was great, all the same. On another evening we dined at Pasqual's, which was recommended by several people, and that did not disappoint! Wow!

Overall the trip was fantastic and it's fun to reminisce about it while I write this blog post. One of the things Justin and I came away with was that, as much fun as it was to be on a grown-up vacation without kids, at this point in our lives, we'd much rather spend our time/money on family vacations. Which we've recently done. We were in Disneyland last week. Pictures forthcoming!

Bloom Baby Boutique

You may or may not know that my friend, Laura, and I have started a children's discount boutique a few months ago. I have to say that it's been much harder and much more work than I expected, however totally worth it. Last week we went to Las Vegas for the ABC Children's Expo, one of the industry's largest trade shows. It was so great in so many ways, but I won't bore you will all the details, but I will say that we picked up some fantastic products and are waiting anxiously for them to arrive. Business on the website is slow, but steady. We have two events coming up, the Dayspring Boutique on November 18-20 and Ahwatukee's Festival of Lights on November 27. We are very busy getting those booths ready.

So, despite the workload, the best part of the job is the shopping we get to do for the business. One example is the company we are featuring this week, Hopscotch Designs. These dresses have the quality and style you would find in a boutique, but we get to offer them at a discount. My favorite is the clementine orange one. If you are interested in purchasing one and are local, let me know so we can arrange for a free local pick up.

Go to Bloombabyboutique.com to check out our awesome discounted merchandise!


I don't know what it is about these shoes, but I do love them. These are definitely not the styles I would typically pick out, and I doubt they would look good on me, but it's fun to window shop.

Solaris Wedge

Sawtooth Myrtle T-Strap

Trying to get into the Fall Spirit

I can't believe it's already fall, especially since it's still so stinkin' hot! There are several projects that we are holding off until it cools down a bit. At this point, even 90 degrees sounds good-- I'm just ready to get out of this 100 degree weather.

It's hard to even consider Halloween, but I'm trying to get in the mood. I'm posting some pictures from the Halloween party we threw last year. It was a blast, but sadly, I have to finally admit that my house is just too small to host these kinds of shin-digs. I am toying with the idea of having another Halloween party this year, but if we do, it'll be at a park.

I'm also posting these photos because Linda contacted me the other day so I could send some Halloween/Fall themed items to her since she is also considering a Halloween party. When we talked on the phone it was really fun to reminisce about the fun party ideas I had, so I wanted to share the photos of them.

The party food was great-- we had eyeballs on sticks, apple fangs, frankenstein jello cups, monster fingers, cupcakes, green goo, and much more. My friend Gloria very generously let me borrow her bounce house, so that was set up in the backyard. We also had several crafts and games for the kids to play. Almost everyone came dressed up. The funniest costume was worn by Justin-- my next door neighbor insisted that he dress up so she loaned him a cow costume. I still have fun teasing him about that.