Posted by Andie on December 31, 2009
Can You Believe it?
I swear we were just ushering in 2009. It's scary how fast a year can fly by.
What are you doing tonight?
While we are on the subject, I think New Years Eve is totally over-rated. (Don't hate me if it's your favorite holiday. Just my own opinion.)
Truthfully, I think the holiday went downhill for me when staying up until midnight wasn't a big deal anymore, and running around wearing my pajamas in the front yard, banging my mother's pots and pans with the neighborhood kids started to seem a little juvenile.
When I think of New Years Eve, the first word that comes to mind is PRESSURE. In the past I've always had these HUGE expectations for the parties and celebrations I've attended, only to be totally disappointed every time. There's all this hype to watch the dang ball drop, and then...... It's over. Talk about a let-down. So anti-climatic.
My New Years Eve Plans this year? We're spending a quiet evening at home. I'm going to make a healthy dinner because I'm so sick of take-out, cheese baskets, chocolates, and holiday treats. Then we'll probably watch a movie, and go to bed early. I just might ring in the new year when I wake up Friday Morning.
However you choose to celebrate, Have fun and be safe!
Happy New Year!!
Posted by Andie on December 30, 2009
When I go to restaurants, I always ask the waiter what the most popular dish on the menu is. I figure if it's a best seller, you're pretty sure to get a satisfactory meal. I do in fact realize that purchasing a sofa is an important, calculated decision that can have longer lasting effects than temporary heartburn, but I still think it's helpful to know what the consumer's "favorites" are. You can't go wrong, right? So, here it is... our top 5 selling (non-leather) sofas this year......
Which sofa is YOUR favorite?
Posted by Andie on December 28, 2009
I woke up early Christmas morning completely shocked to find this Sony 32" 720p LCD TV under the tree.
It's pure awesome. My husband and I finally had time to get it out of the box and put it together last night. After a simple-set up, we popped in The Bourne Ultimatum and both of us sat there drooling over the Picture Quality and Clarity. For a girl that didn't think she was that into electronics, I'm pretty sure that I love our new TV just as much as my ultra-boy husband. Who knew?
P.S. I can't tell you how happy we are to have upgraded from watching movies on our laptop computers to a nice TV screen. Let's just say, there is a HUGE difference.
Posted by Andie on December 23, 2009
I'm back. From the Honeymoon. I am officially a married woman now, and couldn't be happier. The Bahamas were amazing, and we basked in 85 degree weather the entire trip. I've even got myself a nice little tan.
As much as I didn't want to come home from paradise, I must admit a huge part of me was relieved to come back to the snow. Being the Utah girl that I am, it was pretty weird to hear 'Jingle Bells' and 'Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire' blaring on island radios while we were catching rays on the beach. In my mind, it just didn't work.
Maybe I'm too traditional.
But I think I'll always prefer a white Christmas.
However you choose to celebrate the holiday, and whatever weather conditions you find yourself in, Have a Wonderful Weekend!
P.S. Check back after the Holidays for some awesome give-aways here on the blog!
Posted by Andie on December 21, 2009
One of the Reasons I love Christmas is thanks to all of the delicious treats and desserts. Here's my very favorite Christmas Eve treat.....
Favorite Mud Pie
18 Oreo Cookies
1/3 c. melted butter
1/2 Gallon softened Peppermint (or Praileens and Cream) Ice Cream
Crush Oreo Cookies and mix with melted butter. Press mixture into a 9X13 pan. After being chilled in refrigerator, spread softened Ice Cream onto Oreo Crust. Put in Freezer while making Sauce.
1 c. Powdered Sugar
2 T. Margarine
2/3 c. Evaporated Milk
2/3 c. Chocolate Chips
Boil until thick. Cool to room temperature. Spread on Ice Cream. Sprinkle chopped up Candy Canes on top if desired. Return to Freezer.
Posted by Michael on December 18, 2009
My father always taught me growing up to be very wise in my spending habits. "A Penny Saved is A Penny Earned," he would say. I'm sure he's happy to know that piece of advice is actually one of those things I've taken to heart as an adult. As a child, I was always counting, re-counting, and saving my hard earned cleaning and babysitting money. I was constantly thinking of ways I could earn more, and save more. I'm terrified of debt like society is terrified of the swine flu these days, and for that reason I try to spend within my means. I only have one credit card- simply to build up my credit- and I'm happy that way.
Life Happens. I've realized that sometimes you have to spend more money than you plan on. Paying for a new radiator in your car is a total drag, but spending money on new furniture can be really fun! Since I just got married, my fiance, I mean husband, and I have a new apartment we need to furnish. Lately we've been shopping for some of those newlywed necessities. Someone mentioned that I should open an RC Willey Credit account for my large purchases. Being the conservative spender I am, I was a little leery at first, but once I did my research I was sold.
RC Willey has its own financial department, offering various credit plans, catered to different people with different needs. My personal favorite is the 90 Day Plan. It's almost too simple. You can buy anything in the store and take 90 days to pay for it without interest. Doesn't that sound like the best sort of 'lay-away' plan ever? No down payments. No monthly payments. No interest. No nonsense. It's also a great way to build your credit history. Find a credit card company that will give you three whole months without tacking on interest! That's right, you can't. Perfect for newlyweds or Christmas Shopping, don't you think?
Since I want to get everything paid off as quickly as possible, I'm going to stick with the 90 day plan, but RC Willey offers some amazing long-term no interest finance plans as well. Just make sure that you know you can pay off your bill by the end of the designated period, or else you'll be assessed the accrued interest at the rate of 21% APR, just like regular credit cards. Check out RC Willey's Finance Plans for yourself and see what plans are the best for you.
Posted by Michael on December 16, 2009
Sometimes I think that technology is moving forward so quickly and I'm getting left behind. Don't get me wrong... I understand the blogging world, the iPod phenomenon, and facebook. But I've been totally confused when it comes to HDTV, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and the benefits of Blue Ray. Don't hate me when I say this, but to me, a TV is a TV! How different can this new and improved television system really be?
Is anyone else confused about this HDTV revolution?? Who's with me?!
I've decided that since HDTV is not going to be going away anytime soon, that I should at least attempt to understand this new language. I'm sick of being ignorant. I thought maybe some of you would like a little educating too (Maybe I'm the ONLY one that doesn't get it....but I really doubt it.)
So, after lots of research, and conversations with people that DO get it... here's what HDTV means in simple terms...
Digital vs. Analog Signals
First you have to understand the difference between analog and digital signals. Analog signals were the traditional, easy way of doing everything in the past. Records, cassette tapes, and older televisions all used analog.
Digital signals are newer, and better. Computers, dvds, and cds are all digital. Doesn't it make sense that television would switch from the old analog way of doing things, to the updated digital way? Just this past June, the Federal Communications Commission required all high-power analog U.S. television stations to turn off their signals and move to a digital-only transmission.
Why is digital better than analog?
Analog signals are like a light dimmer. Digital signals are like turning a light switch on and off. If you were standing hundreds of yards away, would it be easier to tell what percentage of light you could see, or whether the light was simply on or off? That's a No Brainer, right?
Since analog signals are much less obvious than digital signals, analog tends to have a lot of signal degredation, meaning the signal can fall apart and get worse the farther away that you are. Digital signals are clear, and easy to recognize. The signal stays fresh even when you are far away. Simply put, digital signals offer a better, clearer, quality picture on your television than analog ever could.
What's the difference between 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolutions?
Picture a television screen as a table of colored dots, called pixels. There are rows and columns of hundreds of dots that fill up the entire screen. The resolution is the number of rows, or horizontal lines per screen. On analog television sets, there are about 480 horizontal lines, or rows of dots, and on high definition television sets, there are either 720 lines, or 1080 lines. As you might imagine, more lines = more dots= higher resolution= better quality and sharper pictures.
The i (interlaced) and the p (progressive) in the resolution formula simply describes the type of scan used by the TV to display the picture. So which one is better? It's a hot debate, but the best answer is that they are just different.
Interlacing alternates the odd lines of pixels with the even lines- changing them so quickly that the viewer sees a cohesive, image. Progressive displays each line of pixels sequentially. TV usually uses interlaced, while movies use progressive. With interlaced, you tend to get more fluid, smoother motion, and with progressive you get more of an artistic feel.
Why is Blu-ray so much better than a regular dvd?
Remember when dvds came out and the world changed completely? Now we had such a better picture! That's because we threw out our analog video tapes and replaced them with digital dvds. Now there was less signal degredation. Well, it turns out that we can even get better than our plain old dvds. Blu-ray is simply a dvd, but with more dots, or pixels, so it's like HDTV on a dvd. My friend Dave put it this way when describing dvds vs. Blu-ray, "It's the difference between taking a picture with your cell phone and a real camera." Blu-ray is WAY better! Hooray for technology.
So, I guess knowledge is power. I'm not going to lie, I think that I will always care more about what sofa is in my living room over what type of television I own, but I'm making progress. My homework tonight? Go home and figure out if I need to upgrade my TV.
Posted by Michael on December 14, 2009
To all the men out there,
Women can be a complicated species. I'm one of them, and I am fully aware of that fact. Most of you probably get a little stressed during the Christmas Season because this time of year means Pressure's on! Why? Because you are expected to find the perfect/creative/original/sentimental gift that will make your woman's heart melt. And let's be honest, sometimes that's hard to do. Have you ever been so excited to give your girlfriend or wife a gift, only to have it totally tank? The problem is that men and women just think differently. Most the time this is a good thing, but during the gift giving season it's sometimes a bad thing. So, I decided that I would try to help you out this year. I took it upon myself to find out What Women really want for Christmas. So I started talking to women. Lots of women. In an informal poll of about 35 women, here are the results......
Top Ten Gifts Women WANT for Christmas
5. Hand Written Love-Letter - come on guys, this is an easy one!!
Top Ten Gifts Women DON'T want for Christmas
1. Cleaning Supplies
2. Ironing Board
3. Kitchen Rugs
4. Tent/ Camping Supplies
6. Power Tools
9. Waffle Maker
In conclusion. If it makes your wife cook (unless cooking is her hobby), clean, or work in any way shape or form, you better run far, far away. Also, unless you want your wife to be super offended and maybe even in tears, NEVER give her a gym pass, a piece of exercise equipment, or diet books unless she specifically asks for them!!
I hope this list helps you this year. Good luck!!
Posted by Michael on December 11, 2009
What do you remember most about Christmas as a child? The other night I was trying to recall my earliest recollections of Christmas, and my mind was flooded with hundreds of memories. I've always loved Christmas. I would scour the F.A.O. Schwartz catalog in September, and start writing my Christmas Wish List for Santa soon afterwards. I was extra obedient during those autumn months, knowing my behavior would most likely determine my fate Christmas morning.
Isn't it ironic that now, as an adult, I can't even remember one present that Santa ever brought me? All of the gifts are just kind of a fuzzy blur. What I do remember, however, is all of the important stuff- time spent with my family and all of our Christmas Traditions.
One of my favorite traditions as a child started at the beginning of December. Every morning my brother, sister and I woke up extra early to the smell of my mother's mouthwatering home made cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. We rushed downstairs, threw on our coats, gloves and hats, and raced to the kitchen. As my mother dished the warm, gooey cinnamon rolls onto a plate, we sat at the table with my father to decide who in our neighborhood we thought could use a little cheer that morning.
Once we'd picked our victim, we piled into the car, and drove to the designated neighbor's house. Then all of us kids would ring their doorbell and run for our lives, leaving the plate of cinnamon rolls behind. This process repeated itself almost every morning during the Holiday Season.
To this day, every time I eat a cinnamon roll I'm reminded of our family Christmas tradition I loved so much as a child. It's refreshing to know that gifts will be forgotten, but cherished family memories won't.
What are some of YOUR Christmas family traditions?
Posted by Andie on December 10, 2009
I've always told my mother that she was crazy for getting married in December. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to say 'I do' right in the middle of all the busy Christmas festivities, and worse, in freezing cold Utah conditions? No Thank You. I made up my mind early on that I was going to be a September bride.
Well, as luck, fate, or karma would have it...... I'm getting married this weekend. I was hoping it would be a warm December, but don't worry, temperatures are 15 degrees colder than normal. Perfect. Yesterday I started frantically searching online for an ivory wool coat-- for some reason it hadn't even occurred to me that I might get cold in just my dress while our photographer drags us around outside taking pictures. Thank Goodness for overnight shipping. My coat should arrive today. We'll be grateful for the pictures in the end, even if we get hypothermia in the process, right?
The important thing is that we're getting married. And soon enough, we'll be out of this snowy mess. After the ceremony, we're having a small dinner, and then taking off for sunny skies and beautiful warm beaches. I can't wait.
Just because I'm honeymooning, doesn't mean that you won't hear from me. I've written in advance a handful of blogs my co-workers will be posting for me. Enjoy!