Saturday, May 31, 2008

Photo Hunt #20 - Self

The Photo Hunter theme this week is "Self" (or a piece of yourself it says). Thank goodness for that disclaimer, because I really try to refrain from posting too many photos of myself here. It's not that I'm hiding, if you look hard enough, you'll find plenty of photos I have posted. It's more that I hate photos of myself. But this one...this one I really like:

That is me, standing behind Brainiac (my cousin's daughter) last fall when we took a trip up north to photograph the leaves on the trees. I love the lake behind us, and I love that Brainiac is obscuring most of me with her adorable self.
Happy Hunting!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Follow-Up Friday - New Beginnings

I started off this week with a look back, before I forged ahead. Fun Monday this week was all about our favorite vacations, and I had a fun trip down memory lane, looking over my Mexico photos and sharing them with you.

Then on Tuesday I started my new job. I was a bit nervous for my first day, a bit like a little kid on the first day of school. But, I was also excited to start this new chapter in my life. Thank you all for your positive words of encouragement.

Wednesday we had a little party here. It was time to launch the Re-Design of the blog, so we had cake and ice cream...well, actually, we had ice cream cake...and prizes. If you didn't get a chance to stop by the party yet, pop on over, there's still ice cream (a recipe too) and you can still enter to win one of the prizes.

And yesterday I filled you all in a little bit about the new job. One more day in and I'm still really enjoying it. I'm also really enjoying the fact that I now get home from work around 4:45, as opposed to the 6:30 or seven pm I was used to with my old job. How sweet it is!

This week I also recapped The Bachelorette and did a mini-recap of So You Think You Can Dance over at Cafe Karina.

Also, after a way too long hiatus, Candid Mama is back and has posted a new entry this week, won't you stop by and give her some love?

Finally, I will be helping out on a youth retreat this weekend, so won't be around, but I will have a Photo Hunter post up on Saturday and a little something something on Sunday as well.

Fun Monday next week is being hosted by Karisma, and it looks like a really fun one...I'll definitely be in on that one. Well, it's all "auto-publishing" from here on out, so have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #56 - Workin' 9 To 5

Before we get into Thursday Thirteen, I had a Blog Re-Design Launch Party yesterday, click on over to get your ice cream cake (recipe included) and sign up for the give-aways, won't you?

In case you haven't heard, I started my new job this week as the executive assistant to the president of a local financial organization (yes, I'm being intentionally vague here). I have been a paralegal for the last eleven years, so this is a bit of a career change, but one I am excited about, I was ready for a change.
Anyway, I have received some amazing support from all of you, my awesome readers, during this time of transition in my life, and I know a lot of you are excited for me, and waiting to hear how my first few days at work have been. So, without further ado, here are thirteen "first" impressions" about my new job:
1. My new boss (who from here on out will be known as The CEO here at Candid Karina)? Rocks! I know it's early yet, but from what I've seen so far, he is a genuinely nice guy, and pretty laid back. Just from watching his interaction with other employees the past few days, I can see what kind of leader he is, and I like what I see.
2. My new co-workers? Good grief, there are so many of them, I'll never be able to keep them all straight. I went from The Firm where there were 5 of us, to this place, where just in my location I believe there are about 100 (and we have three other locations).
3. Still, even though it will take me months to learn even half of their names, everyone I've met so far has been absolutely friendly and extremely welcoming.
4. Overall, there is an extremely convivial atmosphere. Everyone seems to enjoy being there and working with one another.
5. I spent the first day helping The CEO prep for the monthly board meeting and think that we will work really well together.
6. I also learned that The CEO is the kind of boss that says "thank you" and "good job", and I'm grateful for that because "The Boss" at The Firm was that type of boss, and I wasn't sure I'd ever be lucky enough to have that type of boss again (they're hard to come by, the appreciative types, aren't they?)
7. My new office? Pretty posh. Well, it's large anyway, and has these great floor to ceiling windows that face one of the main streets in the downtown area. A pretty decent view.
8. I love working in the downtown area. Just in the last two days I've been able to sit outside in a nice little park area and read my book while enjoying some sunshine, and have lunch at a fun little diner with a friend. There is always something going on downtown, and there are so many people to watch, so many new places to eat, and things to see.
9. I know you're all going to ask, so...No, no eye candy/dating prospects that I have seen yet. I know you were thinking it, so I figured I'd just throw it out there.
10. The work itself so far seems interesting but pretty easy and not nearly as stressful as my responsibilities as a paralegal...but it is early yet.
11. My commute? Kick-Ass! It takes me 15 minutes or so to get to and from work. This is a vast improvement over my last job, and I am loving it.
12. What I am also loving are my hours. I now work 8:30 to 4:30 and have been informed that when they say 4:30, they mean it. Today, at around 4:30, the place was pretty much cleared out, everyone was gone. I was used to working way past my "regular" 5:30 clock out time at my old job, so this is a welcome change, for sure.
13. Um...yeah, I don't have a thirteenth...Overall I am just glad that it seems my impressions at the interview stage are proving to be correct, and this seems to be a great place to work, with good people, a great environment, and good perks. I'm looking forward to it.
Thanks to everyone for all their well you can far so good!
For a mini-recap of "So You Think You Can Dance" and a recap of Monday Night's episode of "The Bachelorette" (find out how my old college buddy is doing), please stop by Cafe Karina, won't you?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Party Time!

Hello, hello, welcome. Come on in, grab a drink, have a bite to eat. Today we are celebrating the official "launch" of my new blog design.

Take a look around, what do you think? Personally, I think this new blog design screams "Candid Karina" and I couldn't be happier. I owe it all to my blog buddy "lissa", who has just launched "Just Design Blogs". She offered the redesign as a means for her to practice launching her design blog, how could I refuse? I sent her a few ideas, some color choices, and some photos, and she created what you see here today. How fabulous is she?

And all this she did with no request for payment, except that we promise to pay it forward.

So, I decided that a Launch Party was in order. Before we go any further, won't you have some ice cream cake? What's that? Oh right, the recipe. Certainly.
Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream "Cake"
1/2 cup fudge ice cream topping, warmed (as you can see above, I use Hershey's syrup instead and it works just fine)
1 tub (8 oz.) cool whip whipped topping, thawed, divided (I used chocolate flavored cool whip this time)
1 pkg. (4-serving size) Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
8 Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches
Prep time: 10 minutes - Total time: 4 hours 10 Mins. (including freezing).
Pour the fudge topping into a medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the whipped topping with a wire whisk until it's well blended. Add in the dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. or until well blended. The consistency of fudge topping ca vary depending on what brand you purchase. If your fudge topping mixture is too thick to spread easily, stir in 1/2 cup milk.
Chop the Oreo cookies roughly into chunks. (I just break them with my hands over the bowl into random sized bits). Stir them into the pudding mixture.
Arrange 4 of the ice cream sandwiches, side by side, on a 24x12-inch piece of foil; top with half of the pudding mixture. Repeat the layers.
Top the pudding mixture with the remaining 4 ice cream sandwiches. The layers create a neat striped effect when sliced.
Frost the top and sides with the remaining whipped topping, it doesn't have to look perfect.
Bring up the foil sides. Double fold top and ends to loosely seal the packet. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly before serving.
Makes 12 servings. Enjoy!
And there you have it. Easy and tasty ice cream cake.

But, what's a party without party gifts? I'm paying it forward by giving a few little things away.

Here are the prizes: A cute little stuffed teddy (about 6 inches high):

DVD of the movie "Labyrinth" (still in plastic wrap):

Special Collector's Edition DVD of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Still in plastic wrap):And few consolation prizes:

Three different winners will win a set of "ear buds":And one more will win this fun little Colby "earpiece" to use with your cell phone.

Yes, I know, it's a random mix of things, but I wanted to give away more than one prize, so I dug around and found all these fun little bits and pieces.

So, how do you win? That's easy, just leave me a comment telling me what you think of the new design. You can also tell me which prize you'd rather win...I will see what I can do about you getting your choice.

Okay, that's it, I'll let you mingle and converse amongst yourselves...I have to get to my second day at my new job anyway. Come on back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about how my first two days have been.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today is the day...

Well folks, today is the big day for me. My first day at my new job. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time.

My first day will be a long day because the monthly "board meeting" which accompanying the CEO is one of my responsibilities, just happens to fall on my first day. Talk about jumping right in with both feet huh?

Anway, because I'll be busy learning all about my new job today, I leave you to amuse yourselves on your own...check out my last few posts, and don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the big Launch Party...there will be ice cream cake and prizes.

Oh, and if you want something fun to read, pop on over to Cafe Karina and read my most recent Bachelorette recap.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Fun Monday - It's Memorial Day

Before I get into Fun Monday, I just wanted to take a moment and acknowledge that today is Memorial Day. More than it just being a day off work for some, a reason to hold a cook-out, and an excuse for retailers to hold huge sales, today is much more important than that.

Especially in the times we are in today, with the country at war, and thousands of our troops so far from home, we should remember what this day stands for. Regardless of how you feel about this country, about our current government, about the war we find ourselves in, please take a moment today to thank the men and women who are putting it all on the line so that you can run out today and buy that plasma television at 30% off. While you are enjoying that burger with your family today, say a prayer for the thousands of families unable to so.

Okay, moving on to Fun Monday then...

This week's Fun Monday is being hosted by RDH Mom, and she wants us to share our faorite vacation stories and photos. I had some wonderful vacations growing up, with my family. Every year we would head to the White Mountains in New Hapshire, rent a few cottages, and have a great time. Once I got older, I've taken some great trips on my own. A cruise to the Caribean with some girl friends, Spring Break in Florida to celebrate my 21st birthday, and various other trips to California, Florida, Canada, St. Louis, Arizona, Las Vegas. I've been lucky to travel a lot.

But, my favorite vacation to date, took place two years ago. It all started with a random conversation at Christmas time, and turned into a fantastic Family vacation. I travelled to Mexico on an all-inclusive trip with my parents, my grandfather, my brother, my brother's godparents, and their daughter. We spent 7 days in a fantastic resort, sunning it up, and enjoying each other's company. A family vacation when you are in your 30's and your brother in his 20's is not easy to come by, but all the stars aligned just right, and it was a fantastic time. It was also my last official vacation and/or trip. I haven't been on a plane since, and man, the travel bug is itching to go somewhere again. Alas, now with the new job (starting tomorrow folks), who knows when I will have vacation time again.

Till then, these photos will just have to tide me over...enjoy:

(Ah, the beach at the resort)

(there were monkeys everywhere throughout the resort grounds)(Yes, we did) And horseback riding on the beach?Yes, I did.
And here's the whole group of us.
Sigh...wish I was there again.

Please do come back on Wednesday for the Launch Party, won't you? There will be ice cream cake and prizes!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We're Having A Party - Sticky Post Scroll Down for Newer Entries

Well, here it is ladies and new blog design! All thanks to the fabulous lissa of Just Design Blogs.

I couldn't let another day go by without acknowledging all her hard work and just plain fabulousness. lissa, I LOVE the new design, you took my "ideas" and translated them beautifully. It feels very "me".

I think a fabulous new design such as this one deserves a "launch party" don't you all? Plus, lissa's only request for payment was that I "pay it forward" in some way.

Therefore, I'm having a party here, on Wednesday, to officially launch the new design, and tell you all how I plan on paying it forward. And guess what? That means prizes folks. Yes, PRIZES as in plural, more than one.

And maybe, just maybe, that also means Ice Cream Cake and the recipe I've been promissing for weeks...with photos. Make sure you come back on Wednesday!

It's our birthday!!!

Who's birthday you ask? Well, that would be the one year Birthday/Anniversary of SheWhoBlogs.

Technically, our anniversary was yesterday, but I feel such an event warrants a celebration that lasts longer than just one day, therefore, I'm celebrating today.

It was just about a year ago this week that I stumbled across one of Frances' blogs. I remember that it was through some photo meme (perhaps Photo Hunter, though I can't be sure), and then I did some poking around, and Frances was inquiring if any women bloggers would be interested in joining/creating a group with her for SheWhoBloggers to chat, support one another and help promote one another. I jumped on the chance, and one year later, here we all are.

I've met some wonderful bloggers through SheWhoBlogs, but the group has grown by leaps and bounds in the last year, and I believe at last count Frances said there are now 70+ members, which means I have not been able to get to know a whole slew of the members just yet.

Still, this is a fantastic group of ladies, and I am so glad to be a part of it.

Just last week I was lucky enough to meet our founding mother, and queen of all blogging (in my eyes), and we had a fabulous time together. I hope to meet many more of the SheWhoBloggers in the coming years.

For today, I say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ladies, here's to another great blogging year!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photo Hunt #19 - Shoes

Please excuse the appearance of the blog, there's a fabulous re-design in progress, please do come back sometime next week for the grand re-opening, and to meet my fabulous designer lissa.

This week's Photo Hunter Theme is shoes. SHOES! Well, you all know I jumped for joy at the chance to show you yet more of my shoes! But first, a new t-shirt I just bought this week:
Cute, right?

And here's a new pair of shoes I got last week:

Yes, you're jealous!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Caution - Blog Designer At Work!!

This is a sticky post, scroll down for new posts.

If things look funky for the next little while, it is because my fabulous blog designer (who I will properly acknowledge and thank very soon) is at work getting my new blog design up and running.

Please be patient, and come back to see how pretty it's all going to be.

In case you missed it...

I've been a busy busy girl the last week or so. In case you missed it, I went to New York City last weekend, and had a lovely 3 1/2 hour lunch with Frances, another blogger, and told you all about it here.

I also discovered that an old college buddy of mine is one of the bachelors on The Bachelorette. You can read all about that at Cafe Karina this week. Now that American Idol is over (Yay David Cook), I'll be doing Bachelorette recaps, as well as recaps of "So You Think You Can Dance"(once the auditions are over that is) over there as well.

Yesterday I very quickly shared some photos from my visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. I didn't really say much about the photos because I was in a bit of a hurry and on my way to a graduation, but my visit to the cathedral was on of my favorite parts of my trip last weekend. There was just this incredible sense of serenity and peace in that big old building. It was beautiful, breathtaking, and I wasn't even really sure where to focus my eye, there was so much to take in. The photos do not do it justice.

I promised my ice cream cake recipe, and you will get that, with photos, but it probably won't be until next week. I'm making the cake sometime this afternoon, but will save the post for next week.

Tomorrow's photo hunter is all about my favorite You know I've got photos to share for that topic. And Fun Monday is all about our favorite vacations...should be a fun travel experience for all of us. you can see by the sticky post above, there's a new blog design in the works over here at Candid Karina...we should be live soon...stay tuned.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #55 - A bit of serenity

No time for chit chat today, I'm off to a graduation in a few minutes. So, I leave you with Thirteen photos taken last Friday at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just some STUFF (and my connection to a reality tv star)

I spent the morning trying to empty out my "Google Reader", since I had over 200 blog posts to catch up on. I'm sort of all caught up now, although I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and wound up just clearing a lot of them without reading them, so I still feel a bit lost about some of your worlds and goings on. If something major has happened to you in the last week and I haven't commented on it, I apologize...let me know and I'll be sure to respond accordingly! ;-)

My last week of "vacation" is hitting the half-way mark today. I start my new job next Tuesday, and am both excited and nervous. This week has been incredibly busy already, and I have all sorts of plans for the next few days as well, so Tuesday will be here before I know it.

I haven't done a Follow-Up Friday here at Candid Karina in quite a while, and I've also done a pretty lousy job of responding to comments, but I've been paying attention to them. I believe it was Qualcosa Di Bello who requested that I share my Ice Cream Cake recipe on here. I think I'll be making it again for a little get together this Friday, so stay tuned, I'll take photographic evidence as I put it together.

Tomorrow I will share some photos I took in New York City this past weekend.

And I have a new blog design in the works, and if I can ever get around to telling my designer what I think of her samples and working out the last few details (I'm working on it, I swear), that new look should be up VERY soon.

And now you are wondering what the heck I was talking about my connection to a reality tv star, aren't you? be honest, he's not exactly the "star", but I went to college, and was very close friends with, one of the Bachelors on this season's Bachelorette. Want to know whom? Pop on over to Cafe Karina where I dish all about it. While you're there you can see my recap of the final performances on American Idol, and tonight I'll recap the big Finale show. Starting tomorrow I'll be covering my favorite reality competition, "So You Think You Can Dance" too.

That's all for today, I need to go discuss blog designs, I think! Happy Hump Day Y'all!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trip to NYC and Meeting the Blog Queen

As most of you know, I spent this past weekend in New York. My good friend Mrs. B, who I met via the internet about 7 years ago, lives in Queens, and we try to visit each other a few times a year. This trip spawned out of an idea of Mrs. B, that we should camp out and wait for the New Kids On The Block to perform on the Today Show this past Friday. However, as time drew nearer, Mrs. B realized she wouldn't be able take the day off work, and realized that by myself, it would be no fun to camp out. Still, the idea for the trip was in motion, and I'm not currentl working, so I decided what the heck, a trip to New York would do me good.

In the meantime, one of my favorite bloggers ever happen to live right in NYC, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to meet up with her for lunch. So, the trip was on.

I arrived in New York on Thursday evening via GreyHound bus, and Mrs. B met me in Manhattan, where we had a fantastic dinner at an Ethiopian diner. I'd never had Ethiopian food, so I was excited to experiment. I'm happy to tell you that the food was fabulous, but even more fabulous was the Ethiopian Honey Wine we ordered. Mrs. B and I polished off an entire bottle during dinner. YUM.

Friday Morning I decided to head back into Manhattan, but decided against going in super early for the NKOTB concert. The evening before I'd learned that people were already camping out (in the rain no less), and I just knew I wouldn't get anywhere near the concert, so I decided against it. By the time I made it into the city, the show was over, and there were still hundreds of crazy New Kids fans fleeting around. Just walking around a bit and seeing the barricades, the cops, the blocked off doors, etc., I knew I'd made the right call not going in early, I wouldn't have made it anywhere near the show.

Still, I hung out with the crazy fans for a bit, reminiscing about the old days, and in the process, got to see American Idol winner Taylor Hicks as he walked past us and into the Today Show building. Hmm...Taylor Hicks v. Donnie Wahlberg? Okay, not much of consolation prize there. Anyway, I will say this, the camera really does add 10 pounds, at least. Because Taylor Hicks looked much better in person than on the show, bits of which I caught on my Tivo.

As for the New Kids? This is about as close as I got to them:

Ah well, there's always the concert in September.

So, I did a bit of sightseeing, and then it was time to meet up with my blog buddy Frances. Frances, she of a thousand blogs. Okay, not exactly a thousand, but even she doesn't know how many she has, so don't ask me! ;-) Frances, the fearless leader of SheWhoBlogs. Frances has been on of my favorite bloggers since the first time I stumbled upon one of her blogs, so I was certainly excited to finally meet her in person.

Because I was drifting around Times Square, and it was pouring rain out, we met at Applebee's for lunch. Not one of Frances' usual "off the beaten path" haunts, but we've already agreed that in my next trip out, we'll hit that path instead.

I arrived at the restaurant, and we immediately knew each other. From the moment I sat down, it was nonstop conversation, laughter and fun. We got along as fabulouslyas I knew we would have. Two mochatinis and about 3 1/2 hours later we had gone from being blog buddies, to being friends.

I could tell you all the silly things we chatted about, but really, it was 3 1/2 hours of non-stop chatter, and I have to run out in a few minutes. I can, however, tell you we had an absolute blast.

I could show you photos of our meeting, but if you visit any of Frances' blogs you will see that she does not post photos of herself, so I respect that privacy, so there will be no photos of us. However, I do have a photo for you.

See, we had the FUNNEST waiter. His name was Ike, but his coworkers call him "Ikeypoo". And he wears that name proudly on his nametag. You've got to love it, right? Ikeypoo was a fantastic waiter, lots of fun, and we just loved him. And he was kind enough to pose for a photo:

Frances got a close-up of the nametag, so I'm sure she'll share that one with you on one of her blogs. I'm sure there is more I could tell you about my meeting with Frances, but it all escapes me now. I can't wait until the next time I'm in NY and we get to hang out again.

Frances, I had a blast, you are absolutely fantastic!

Isn't the blogosphere wonderful?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fun Monday - Collections

This week Mariposa is hosting Fun Monday, and she wants to see our "collections". Officially, I only collect one or two things, and I'll share those with you in just a minute. However, "UN-officially"...I'm really a huge collector of all things. You all know I collect shoes. It could also be said that I collect purses, perhaps even clothing, definitely accessories (earrings, necklaces, etc.). Also, as an avid reader, I tend to collect books, though I'm getting better at letting those go once I'm done with them. I have, in recent years, begun collecting cookbooks, here are just a few of those:
A few years ago I used to collect Anne Geddes photography books, and still have a few of those around the house. Then they came out with these little dolls:

based on her photography, and I thought I would collect them all. But after I bought the few you see there, I never found any others.
I also have a decent sized collection of "angel" stuff, but this one qualifies as an unofficial collections because of all the things pictured below, I didn't buy a single one, they have all been gifts, randomly received over the years, not because I collect them. I call it my "accidental collection":
The same could be said for my collection of "stuffed monkeys". I have about 8 or 9 of them (sorry no photos of these guys, I forgot about them until this very moment, and am too lazy to go do it now), and they are ALL gifts from various ex-boyfriends. I'm not sure we should delve into the "why" of the reasons behind guys choosing monkeys as the stuffed animal of choice to give me. Too much analysis and I may either be offended or embarrassed, so I think we'll leave that one alone, shall we?
As far as official collections, I've shown you before my collection of shot glasses. These I collect ONLY from the places I've visited:(though I am missing a few...does anyone have a shot glass from Flagstaff and/or Phoenix Arizona? How about Montreal, Canada?) I guess I'll have to go back to those places and pick some up.
And then there is my one truly official collection, which I have been adding to myself and thanks to gifts from any and everyone throughout the years. That is, my Betty Boop collection. I couldn't possibly show you ALL my Betty Boop stuff, because she infiltrates pretty much every area of my life. I have BB floor mats, steering wheel cover and other random bits in my car. BB keychains, wallet, watches and other assortment of accessories. BB magnets on my fridge. BB screensaver on my cell phone. BB mousepad. And lots of other things I'm sure I'm forgetting now. And then there is my official Betty Boop "collection display" area:
Some close-ups:

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed my collections. Go on over to Mariposa's to see what other things Fun Mondayers collect. And make sure to visit Allison (RDH Mom), because she's hosting next week.

Come on by tomorrow and I'll tell you all about my 3 plus hour lunch with one of my favorite bloggers last Friday!