My Step Dad* sent me this beautiful video this morning that the National Park Service made in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, or “the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with 23,000 casualties on both sides.” I am no Civil War buff, but I have a great appreciation for all the men and women who spend their time preserving history and educating the public about this important time in our country’s history. Especially because my Dad is one of them! He is not in this video, but he is one of the many that take part in the frequent living histories that take place in the area. I feel lucky to have grown up in a place that is so rich in history and I think it’s really cool that he does this.
I also think the video is gorgeous and love the music. Hope ya enjoy it too!
My Dad IS in these photos, however. Pretty cool, huh?
*I say ‘Step’ here for clarification’s sake, for anyone reading whodoesn’t know I have four parents, but my Step parents are every bit my parents as my biological parents! They are the best!!
Confession time: I made a formspring. Normally, I wouldn’t take part in something as narcissistic and transparent as formspring (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), but I just can’t help myself. I’ll admit it, It sounds like fun.
You can ask me anything, anonymously, or identified. I won’t guarantee I will answer everything, especially rude or disgusting questions, but I’ll do my best to answer as much as I can. That is, if any of you even care enough to ask me. Watch, I’ll put up this post and then I’ll get maybe 1 or 2 questions. Hah! Oh, Sarah.
- What’s Your Excuse for Not Saving? Great post by my girl FB about the lame justifications people make for spending frivilously instead of investing in their future. Just FYI: you do not NEED a mansion, a gardener, a luxury car, a weekly french manicure or a $500 pair of shoes. Especially if you are in debt.
- LA Tech vs SF Tech – My favorite line has to be: “However, while both crowds love to love the city of San Francisco, San Franciscans love to loathe Los Angeles, which is understandable in some regards. Traffic here is tragic, and this IS where buttock implants were invented.”
- Six Word Memoirs by famous authors. My personal favorite is Frank McCourt (author of Angela’s Ashes, Tis, etc): “The miserable childhood leads to royalties.”
- Award-winning cookies – perfect for Oscar parties, which I am hoping to partake in this coming weekend! Check out the Best Actress selection below. Wonder if they taste as good as those women can act? Also adorable, Oscar statue cookies!
- Empty bellies do not beget genius. – Brilliant piece by the bold and beautiful Gala Darling on female body image and why you should say “screw you” to the pressure to be stick thin.
- I Want That Hoodie So Bad. I really do. It has nothing to do with the fact that my fiance designed it and that it’s modeled after his latest sketch, which you can see below.
- Gummy Worm Chromosomes – if learning about DNA was this delicious, I might have taken a more passionate interest in biology in middle school. Imagine me as a biologist. Solving medical mysteries. Mixing things in a lab. Not wearing makeup. All jokes aside, I did briefly consider a career as a veterinarian – until I realized it’s harder to get into vet school than it is to get into med school. And that my heart would break everyday watching animals suffer.
- ChatRoulette is all the rage these days. Even Ashton Kutcher is on it, and one math student in Calgary took a screenshot of the convo he was having with Mr. Aplusk. I can see the appeal of the site, that randomly connects you via videochat to people around the world, but I don’t see why I would use it. It would have provided hours of fun in college, though.
- Butch Cupcakes – this bakery in NY designs cupcakes with men in mind, because everyone deserves to enjoy a nice cupcake, but how masculine is it to eat a pink cupcake with heart sprinkles? Camo or wood-grain patterns are so much more macho.
- Another new study about how awesome Boulder, CO is. This particular one states it is the happiest city in all the US. Apparently Boulder knows how intellectual, healthy, bicycle-friendly and clean their city is, because I found a hefty list of credentials on their website. Proud, maybe. But I’d still move there in a heartbeat.
Lauren, who is in Hawaii this week, requested we play this loudly in our office on repeat. For the record, this is on the wall of our office:
I thought this video of two koalas bickering was super cute at first, until one of them provokes the other and it breaks out into a nasty fight. My maternal/animal-lover instinct kicked in and I wanted to scoop up the babies to protect and calm them down. Then I realized, they’re just like kids… fighting and picking on the other for no good reason.
My Little Ponies performing musicals – LIVE! MLP hold a special place in my heart, even if this is extremely strange.
This evening, I’m having a realization. And that realization is that I cannot watch my fiance’s live web casts without getting super distracted by his super chatty fans. I’m not sure what it is that is so interesting to me, but the fact that hundreds of people come to watch him and hear him take calls and talk about the weather and filmmaking is super entertaining to me. That being said, I am cutting myself off from watching his current web cast and focusing on writing this little diddy we like to call Things I Love Thursday. Because there are plenty of things to love about this week so far!
Among the greatness….
meeting Kristin Davis. And having her post our photo on her Fan page. I am fully willing to admit my geeky fandom!; frozen candy bars (why did I ever stop eating you? Anyone else remember frozen Snickers?!); finalizing our wedding guest list and rehearsal date/time (HALLELUJAH AGAIN!); baby mooses playing in a sprinkler. I die!! How could you ever kill one of these? They’re like puppies!; really, really hot showers on really, really cold mornings; maple & brown sugar oatmeal; the way Pepper sleeps on the pillow above my head like my guardian angel; speaking of bed, really crisp, clean sheets – I have a thing about bedding. I’m working on it.; “Look! A solar-powered garden!”; discovering my neighbor has a bunny hutch and feeding those cute buns carrots last night; my pink planner that Julian’s aunt Susan got me for Christmas, without it, I would be totally lost; strawberry soft-serve ice cream sundaes; weekends full of DVD marathons (Glee!); rainbows; friends who don’t make me feel like a Queeny bride, even if I kind of am acting like one; being really productive even when the internet goes down at work; starting the week off with an early morning teeth cleaning, having the dentist tell me my teeth are “picture perfect”; good talks with my guy; making lists of rules for a healthy marriage; driving an hour to get donuts only to go get cheese fries instead; apple-scented lotion my Momma made me at Thanksgiving, which makes my whole office smell like Candyland; neighbors who bring up fresh baked brownies, just for the heck of it; the way Julian makes coffee for me (perfect); turning lemons into lemonade; thinking about all the fun stuff my friends and family and I will get to do while we’re in Nashville for my wedding (Grand Ole Opry!); having a clean house (which is rare); finding out that the purple & gold rug I fell in love with months ago is still available in the store; listening to girls hyperventilating and crying while calling into Julian’s live web show (I’m evil); updating my Netflix queue to include all the Best Picture nominees; dreaming about chocolate frosted donuts, which for some reason I cannot stop thinking about lately!
And last but not least – this picture of a black squirrel chowing on a humongous pizza crust. I sent this to Julian and said “who does this remind you of?” Immediately he knew who I was talking about – Pepper, my black cat. She has the fluffiest tail and I always call her a black squirrel, despite having never seen one. So the fact that this exists makes me very excited. She even has the same MC Hammer/genie pants that Pepper has. I love this! Thank you, FB!
Three cheers for it being almost Friday! Here’s to an awesome weekend ahead of us!
Last night, I made a spur of the moment decision to switch this blog’s layout. Even though I adored the images that I had on the banners and sidebar, it felt way too cluttered. So I scaled back. Way back. This way, you can focus on what’s really important: my riveting, entertaining, seam-splitting and soul-shaking content.
This is much easier to navigate, anyways. It’s so clean. So fresh. It’s like my blog just took a really hot shower – a good shower, the kind you take before a hot date, where you deep condition your hair, exfoliate and shave your legs ALL the way. All wrapped up in a pretty pink bow.
I have really been meaning to do this for a while now, ever since Julian made me a cute new logo – which I didn’t even end up using, by the way. The original logo looked like this:
Kind of Love Actually-esque, no? The new one (also by Julian), as you can see, is more like this:
Which logo do you like better? Not like your answers are going to convince me to change my mind, but I figured it’s always polite to ask.
And of course, I want to know what you think of the overall change, so answer me this:
Knowing me, I’ll probably keep tweaking it. I get it from my Mom, who redecorates her house approximately six times a year.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that. That’s what you’ll find in this post. Here’s a list of fun/funny/interesting/awesome/educational/snoozeworthy things I’ve come across lately. Enter at your own risk! Happy Saturday everyone!
- Before the Haiti earthquake, we had the San Francisco earthquake, and a couple weeks before the San Francisco earthquake, thousands of seals disappeared from Fisherman’s Wharf – where they had been hangin’ out for TWENTY YEARS! These smelly yet adorable seals totally knew something was up.
I find this fascinating… animal’s sixth sense! The newsroom security camera footage below shows a dog freaking out a full six seconds before the earthquake actually hit.
- Calvin & Hobbes snowmen. So much respect for this guy. I know this exact cartoon, too, because my Dad is a HUGE fan of C&H and my brother and I used to read his comic books over and over again when we were tikes. Calvin & Hobbes forever! Sidenote: I miss the snow so bad.
- Some nutcracker actually thinks Stanley Kubrick filmed NASA’s footage of the first moon landing and “revealed” his plan to the world in The Shining. This guy is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Imagine the time it took him to figure that out.
- My own Mother’s soap kitchen: Isn’t it the cutest? This is where she mixes, mashes, molds, cuts and labels all her soaps that she sells at the Farmer’s Market (and soon, online!) I plan on doing many, many giveaways of my Momma’s soap, because it is BY FAR the BEST soap you have ever washed yourself with. And it smells GRRRRREAT! She even makes man-friendly scents.
- Tweeting Tags for your Dog! This dog tag is a wireless device that connects to a USB receiver on your computer and transmits tweets based on your dog’s activity – barking, sleeping, eating, etc – it’s actually pretty clever! Not technically available for purchase, but when it is, it’ll only be about $25. This is pretty funny because Julian and I were just talking about putting Scout & Pepper on Twitter this morning. I know, the world doesn’t need yet another animal Twitter account, but our tweets would be SO funny I PROMISE!
- I’m totally geeking out on wedding planning at the moment, but a week ago I would have gladly flown to a foreign country and eloped. This PRECIOUS New Year’s Eve elopement was serving as major inspiration behind that idea! Now that’s how you elope in style!
- Choosing organizations to donate to after Haiti. Anytime you give your hard earned money to non-profit organizations, especially in the wake of of a natural disaster that has international attention on all levels, you have to choose wisely when deciding who to contribute to. This blog post has some sound advice from aid workers about the best ways to help, what to donate, when to donate and who to donate to. My personal advice is to NOT give to the Red Cross. I prefer Direct Relief, but there are many, many great organizations out there who will use your full donation to provide help.
- Arguing about whether Heaven will serve Chick-Fil-A or In ‘N Out (Part 1 and Part 2). This is old, but so awesome. And I really miss Chick-Fil-A.
- A YouTube enabled microwave. It chooses from millions of videos to find one that is the exact length your food is cooking, so you don’t have to just wait around with nothing to do. This is kind of sad, actually.
- Cheap, easy and beautiful Mod Podge projects. I am especially loving the $3.99 tray from Goodwill and the baby food jar magnets. Oh, and the coasters. All of this stuff was found on Flickr!
- Love making lists of places you want to see or go? How about a list of places you’ll never get to go? We’re talking top secret, underground, exclusive places here. Sucks, because a lot of those places look awesome.
The Vatican Archives
The trailer for the new Banksy documentary premiering at Sundance, “Exit Through The Giftshop.” First time he has ever appeared on film!
Martha Stewart pole dancing. Work it, honey!
This post is dedicated to Casper, the famous cat-riding bus, who wasrecently killed after being hit by a car. RIP, Casper! You gave the world much laughter.
I wrote 2009 in the title of this, I still can’t believe it’s 2010. Where’s my flying car? So, I haven’t done one of my ‘Bits ‘n Pieces’ thingamajigs since before Christmas, therefore many of these items are old, but – who cares. Many of them warrant their very own blog posts, but I don’t have time for that right now, so you get a list. Love ya!
One of the images in my ‘Wedding Inspiration’ folder. From 100 Layer Cake.
Seriously cute wedding pics from a NYE eloping!
Up The Lacquer: I want these limited-edition Chanel nailpolishes. Can you imagine the hours of painting-and-picking fun I could have with them?! What cute colors.
The Blogosphere 2.0: Veteran blogger 11D writes about how the blogging community has changed/evolved in her six years of blogging. Among her findings are the demise of the A-list, a dwindling sense of community except among niche blogs, a lack of crediting and reciprocity with links, and burnout by reader and blogger due to over-saturation of content. The Zeray Gazette has a great follow-up, calling out the blogging industry and claiming it has become too commercialized.
FINALLY! The Oatmeal’s comic-style guide to Ten Words You Need To Stop Misspelling (is it coincidence that I misspelled “misspelling” just now?) Among them: lose vs. loose, your vs. you’re, to vs. two vs. too, its vs. it’s and of course… effect vs. affect. Amazing.
The Decade In Culture: A fun, quick look at the major events of the last decade. Yeah, this is one of those things I found before the end of the year but am just now posting… sorry! Also interesting: The decade in 7 minutes. That one was wildly popular on the SocialVibe blog.
VintageWhere.com: Want to start shopping vintage so you can keep up with the more green/fashionable trends? The chick from What I Wore created this searchable map/list of vintage/thrift shops across the country.
Happy New Year – With Turquoise!: Photos of chandeliers with turquoise in them. Mmm, I love turquoise. And chandeliers! House of Turquoise (all about the use of turquoise in home decor, delish) is awesome, btw.
What Is Yoga, Really?: A piece from a GOOD community member. Pretty interesting background on yoga… he also references a book, The Yoga of Jesus that I want to check out. Man, I really need to start doing yoga again. Just thinking about it makes me more aware of my tense upper back.
New Uses for Old Things: I love Real Simple! It’s like Martha Stewart for the realistic housewife. I also love recycling and refurbishing. Lots of cool ideas on how to take things around the house and make them new again.
What Is The Monkeysphere? – This article is more than two years old, but is filled with priceless information about society, human nature, and our lack of compassion for people who are outside of our “inner circle,” or as they refer to it, the Monkeysphere. The author explains how the same reasoning applies to individuals and larger corporations (and government). It’s worth a read. For me, it emphasizes the importance of “loving thy neighbor,” even if there seems to be nothing in it for you (P.S. there is always something in it for you).
“If a man doesn’t feel sympathy for his fellow man at $6.00 an hour, he won’t feel anything more at $600,000 a year.
Is College Worth It?: This diagram contains stats about the study and lifestyle habits of America’s undergrads and how their finances and worth stack up after the fact. As a college dropout, I can see their point, I’ve managed to become successful by hard work, paying attention to my employers, and taking advantage of opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Same goes for Julian, who never went to film school, yet knows more about filmmaking than most aspiring directors. In his case, he was blessed with a homeschooling environment that allowed him to concentrate on his passion. That being said… I still want my kids to go to college. (via 11d)
The Poetry Clock: I don’t know how it works (I guess it lights up certain words to let you know what time it is), and it really doesn’t seem efficient, but this poetry clock sure is purdy!
Vaccinating Our Son: Our Approach: I don’t have kids, so I won’t be doing any vaccinating anytime soon, but it’s never too soon to start researching I suppose. Plus, I totally trust Chris and Kelly as I agree with many of their stances on diet, health and eco-responsibility. My instincts tell me to do your own research on vaccinations versus following “doctors orders” which sadly aren’t always the smartest approach. If you’ve got a bun in the oven or a freshly baked bun, could be worth taking a look.
Non-toxic nail polish: I don’t even want to think about the amount of chemicals I’ve ingested over the years while using my teeth to peel nail polish off my fingernails. This is a great idea. Thanks to my friend Sarah, who is aware of my issues with nail polish peeling, for sending this my way!
Julie Powell’s blog: I love, love, loved Julie & Julia. Not only is Meryl Streep basically my theatrical idol, but this is a very cool story (and true!) If you aren’t familiar, you’ll have to check out the movie. I’m kind of jealous of Julie Powell, who began blogging her way through Julia Child’s French cookbook LOONG before blogging was the “in” thing to do. If only I were a few years older. Sidenote: why are we always trying to be the “first” to like something? Is there some secret prize you get for being the first person to discover a band or start a trend?
Simmer Down! Green Is Sexy is Rachel McAdam’s blog with two friends that is filled with daily tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This post is all about how to give yourself a facial at home with nothing but herbs, oils, hot water and a towel… I can’t wait to try it.
An (obviously) fake trailer for SATC 2. Bunny MacDougal returns!! Only hardcore fans of the show will appreciate this.
Michael Pollan (of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma) has a new book out, a small handbook called Food Rules with easy rules to follow for healthy eating and smart grocery shopping. He talks about them here:
The funniest thing about this “how to wrap a cat for Christmas” video are the clever annotation speech bubbles from the cat.
Hahaha, aww… this high school theatrical performance of Peter Pan is quite possibly the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. I feel for the kids though – producing serious theatre in a public high school is seriously tough. It takes me back to my days as an “Osbourn Player.”
I don’t use Photo Booth a lot, but when I do, I tend to go a bit nuts, taking up to 20 shots at once. (One could pin me as a narcissist, and well, they might be partially right – after all, aren’t all bloggers self-lovers?) Last night, I had Photo Booth open to take a picture of myself wearing a face mask (because, what else are you supposed to do?) and started looking back through the pictures. It gave me some tingly feelings inside as I remembered funny days at work, lazy days in the dead heat of LA summer, and even earlier in the year when Julian and I were long distance and spent hours on Skype.
Here is a random selection, just for fun:
Excited about my blinged out ethernet cable (thanks, Josh!) – check out cutie Charlotte in the background!
♥ ♥ ♥
We were meant for each other. June 2009
Team Spirit. Team SocialVibe.
A hot summer day with nothing else better to do than make funny faces. I’m just me.
With the precious Cookie. Can’t get over how short my hair is!!
Proud of my purple nails.
The day I decided to use Daily Booth. I only took 3 pictures and quit. (Cute Scoutie on the couch behind me)
SocialVibe in Seventeen magazine! (Please note my nails were painted in this picture…. later in the day below)
Has it really only been a week since my last Things I Love Thursday? And yet it feels like Christmas is approaching with rapid speed. I’d like to reverse, that, please – slow down the holiday cheer express and speed up the workday. Yeah, that sounds perfect.
Here’s a little list of things that are making me grin from ear to ear this week.
THINGS I LOVE THURSDAY!
- First things first, planning our Spring trip to Paris and Berlin. I’m not sure how much detail I’m allowed to give, so I’ll keep it brief: WE’RE GOING TO PARIS AND BERLIN IN MAY. We = me and Julian. If you know me, you know that I have a mild obsession with France and all things Parisian, so the thought of frolicking through the city in the Spring while the gardens are in bloom and the sidewalk cafes are ripe for sitting on sipping coffee and eating crepes is UNBELIEVABLY EXHILARATING. This will be my first time in both cities. I dusted off my French language books last night and have already begun making a list of things I want to see/eat/feel/hear/experience. If you have any recommendations, share them please! Warning: this might be all I talk about for the next six months.
- Living on a budget. Saving money is very important, children. Duh. It’s also very addicting. I won’t get ahead of myself because I’ve only just begun on my most recent dolla-saving journey, but every time I’ve become a tightwad in the past, I’ve found myself strangely obsessed with frugality. There is something exciting about watching every penny and seeing how much you are saving. It’s almost like a game – “can I live off of $20 in groceries this week?” I love the feeling you get when you transfer a big chunk of money into the savings account, or the statements when you see how much it is growing, or even find a super-saving coupon. Am I the only weird one, here? I find comfort in community.
- Making sweet & sour chicken from scratch. And not screwing it up! This is one of Julian’s favorite dishes, so I knew that it would make him super happy if I made it, and even happier if I made it well. I used this recipe and have made it twice since we got back into town. He loves it and I love it! Though I can feel myself reverting back into vegetarianism a little at a time (I was vegetarian/sometimes-vegan for three years until I met him, and even still don’t eat beef or pork.) For now, I’m just choosing more and more vegetarian options. It’s tough though, when your boyfriend is a meat-lover. At least I can take comfort in buying organic, free-range chicken.
- Flickr’s favorite button. I’m a retard (in the most politically correct use of the word, I promise) for only getting into Flickr now instead of years ago like everyone else. My account has been pretty dead for, well, since I created it over three years ago, but recently I discovered the “favorite” button and now I’m just having the best time ever collecting the most beautiful photos in the pool.
This is what my room looks like, but with a bigger bed. Yeah, I wish.
- Adding an extra layer to my bed. Sometime over the last week, it got cold in LA. Like, really cold. For LA, at least. It was in the 30s a few nights ago, and despite having heat in my apartment (which I am blessed to have), I was frozen solid. My heater is in the living room at the opposite end of my apartment, so hardly any heat makes it to my bedroom. I found a solution, though – adding more blankets to my bed. Blankets are heaven sent, for real. I have a super-soft ivory quilted blanket I bought at Target a few years back for like, $20, and the fact that it has remained soft to this day is a miracle. I layered it in between my sheets and duvet and my toes are no longer blue in the mornings. HALLELUJAH! I love bedding.
- Having a clean car. With all my preaching about consumerism and giving back/helping others, I’m ashamed to admit I have a brand new car. Well, it’s a year and a half old, but I bought it new, and it’s the first new car I’ve ever owned (my parents are firm believers in “drive it ’til it dies.” I only bought it new because I plan on having it for a very long time (like, when I have kids), which is why I bought a Honda, because those suckas last forever and a day and are VERY cheap to fix if broken. Moving on, my pretty new car is filthy dirty 95% of the time. Despite having a garage in the great-garageless town of LA, I usually park behind my house (I’m lazy) underneath some evil trees that drop leaves on my car every night. As a result, my car is very, very dirty. And then there’s the inside. Full of empty Starbucks cups, old bulletins from church, half-full bags of cashews, bobby pins, granola crumbs, bottles of lotion that are on the verge of exploding from the heat, receipts, more receipts, cat litter (don’t ask), at least twenty SocialVibe Pink Balls, etc. etc. etc. At least there isn’t (much) old food in there. Saturday I decided enough was enough and I hauled my darling car down to the car wash at the end of my block (which makes having this dirty a car even more of a disgrace) and washed it myself in one of those little bays (far too embarrassed to take it to be washed by someone else). I spent about $6 when it should have been $3 because apparently I am slow. Then I vacuumed the inside…. wow. I even refilled my windshield wiper fluid, which had been empty for about two months (you could barely see out of the window). At the end of the day, my car was clean, I was a mess, and all were happy. Driving is much more enjoyable now. Good thing I’m getting a bicycle for Christmas.
- Christmas baking. This past Saturday, I decided it was time to begin the baking of the Christmas treats. Now that I have someone wonderful to eat all my sugary snacks (someone who doesn’t gain weight, nonetheless), baking is so much more fun! I borrowed recipes from Amy and made peppermint bark and peanut butter balls. They turned out fabulous and weren’t hard to make at all (the bark is truly foolproof), the only sad thing is that they were entirely gone 24 hours later. I took the first batch to a holiday party with coworkers that night and the rest to church on Sunday where they were having a ‘world market’ type fair to help charitable organizations. I put the treats with the free coffee and they were gone in the blink of an eye. I have a few more recipes up my sleeve, and hopefully this time I’ll remember to take pictures!
Not my picture.
- Making gifts rather than buying gifts. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it’s FUN. Sure I’ve only made one so far, and I’m almost positive that I WILL be resorting to buying some gifts this year (there are only 15 days left until Christmas, after all), but I’m going to be as crafty as possible. And for those gifts that I DO have to buy, there are always gifts that give back.
Other random things that are awesome:
pretty notebooks (with Paris on the cover, of course, given to me by my girl Cesca) full of all kinds of lists, doodles and creative ideas; free lunch at work on Wednesdays; drinking warm water (not cold water); USAA’s annual dividend deposit (I love waking up $73 richer than I was the night before); watching Julian roll around on the floor like a toddler; “Never park drunk, that’s my advice.”; hearing great GREAT GREAT news from one of my best friends; looking down at the cat food bowls to find that Julian put a leftover bowl of broccoli next to their food dish (he doesn’t know cats); having an abnormally large excess of creative energy; RSVPing for orientation to tutor homeless kids downtown (more on this later, hopefully); “Won’t you guide mein sleigh tonight? Rudy…”; sweater boots; white Christmas lights; Blissfully Domestic; Craigslist; Jay-Z’s new album; MOM: “What’s going on over there?” JULIAN: “Oh, those are fountains.”; Tuesday phone dates with Katie; “I love ramen noodles. I want to get endorsed by ramen noodles. Do they have a website?”; Christmas trees in the lobby at work; heavy rain in LA, followed by very clear days; when people find my accidental wittiness, loudmouth and ill-timed remarks charming and funny; even better, when people actually like reading my blog and leave me awesome comments. What a reward.