Happy girls are the prettiest girls

1.25.2013

Friday's letters

Linking up with Ashley for Friday's letters!

Dear Friday, oh hai! Dear weekend, you're going to be a busy one. Hope my energy levels can sustain me, the wedding I am booked for goes well tomorrow, and my hugely packed Sunday stays on track. Dear egg donation retrieval, I still don't know if you will be happening on Monday or Tuesday, but my pumped up ovaries and swollen tummy would like you to hurry up. Dear Billy, I am so sorry you are still not feeling well. I really hope you don't have that nasty flu that's kicking butts and taking names. Dear couch, thanks for holding up well this week with all of the sitting Mr. B and I have been doing on you. The photos above are pretty much the norm lately. Blankets, fur babies and cuddles are all plentiful and the healing that's provided is mostly in the head, but it feels nice.  

Did you write any letters today? Leave me a comment if you linked up too :)

1.24.2013

Photobooth fun

I love me some photobooth action. 
You can get a little wild and crazy in those booths; dressing up, making silly face, mugging like a rockstar.
I always gaze longingly at the photobooths in the mall when I walk by, thinking of all the fun backgrounds, color choices, and faces that could be made in there. I keep walking because I refuse to pay five bucks for a strip of photos that I could easily create at home for free. I'm cheap.
This is probably why I am so happy that photobooths are a big wedding fad right now, and I hope they stick around. Free photos to commemorate your friends' love and marriage? Heck. yes.

One of my friends got married recently, and I was so blessed to be able to celebrate with her and the new hubby! I was extra pleased to see that there was a photobooth to play in at the reception too!

The Rhodes are my adopted family. They have 5 kids already, but Moira, the matriarch calls me her blonde daughter {she has two brunette daughters and a redhead too}. I met this lovely family when I became friends with their youngest daughter, Lexie, in high school. Lexie is one of my besties and makes appearances on the blog regularly. And she is always game to have a little fun, thus our photobooth excitement at her sister Katie's wedding! 
We started off sweet and adorable, then the craziness picks up until Katie makes an appearance in the bottom frame. That led to a Rhodes' girls roll next.
From left to right: Katie the bride, Lexie the redhead, Moira the mom, Ninah the eldest, and me along the bottom.

There's something freeing and fun about photobooths. Do you happen to like them? Are you like me and make sure to get yourself in that booth for at least one roll, or are you like my Billy, who will avoid any and all photos like the plague?

1.23.2013

Ketchup

Oh, hi blog friends! 

Guess I have been doing a lot of? Not blogging, that's for sure. 

My weekend of work was a long one. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were totally packed and I found myself the first one in and the last one out two days in a row. This is pretty unusual for January, as it's a typically slower time of year from now until April. I am not complaining, I like being busy, but whew, it was nice to be able to couch it up today. 

This will be a busier week for me as I have lots of ultrasounds and blood tests at the fertility clinic scheduled. My 5th cycle retrieval is set for next Monday or Tuesday sometime, and my ovaries are filling with growing follicles as expected. Also, my face is broken out like a teenage boy and my emotions are a little up and down from the hormones, sort of like an epic bout of PMS. Poor Billy, he has to deal with me when I am like this ;)

In other news, when I am not working or at the fertility clinic being poked and prodded, I am watching a lot of TV on the couch. Shows like Suits, Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Bones and Once Upon a Time are keeping me grounded. I really love TV.

I did some running last week, but I am ordered by the doctors to not bounce or jostle my growing ovaries, so that's out of the question for the next 2.5-3 weeks, and frankly, I'm not too torn up about it. 
I seriously have a love/hate relationship with running. On the love side, it keeps my weight in check, makes me feel healthier, gives me energy, and keeps me moving. On the hate side, I am a lazy person who would prefer the couch, it hurts, my hips cry when I do it, and I get sweaty and have to shower, which doesn't agree with my hippie sensibilities. Eh, I'll get back to it even if I don't like it much haha

So what's new with you, friends? 

1.18.2013

All good things have layers

I have no idea if my title sentiment is actually true... 
but Shrek says people have layers, most people need layers to make their hair bouncy, and the cake I made today has layers, 
so I am going with it. 

Speaking of cake, who likes it? 
This girl right here, and hopefully most of you, because I really don't like when my friends hate cake. If you can't tell, I have cake on the brain. 
I made a really pretty one today, and I can't wait for Billy to get home so I can cut into it and see if it's as tasty as it is awesome. 
Ain't she a beaut? That piece of confectionery goodness is a chocolate cake with each of the two layers thickly iced in chocolate ganache, then covered in homemade crushed raspberry whipped cream. Oh yes, delicious. What's that you say? I just mentioned I was waiting until Billy got home? Yeah, that didn't happen. Dude gets off work late and won't be home until 9:30pm. Much too late to wait for cake.
I found a few recipes online and mushed them together to create this tasty cake, I know you are probably interested in the recipes I used, and I don't like to disappoint.

Raspberry Whipped Cream Truffle cake
adapted from this recipe

For cake: {makes a sturdy, dense and moist cake}
1 box Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix
1 small box chocolate pudding 
4 egg whites
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil

For chocolate ganache:
12 ounces chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp sugar {I don't remember if I actually used it, but it won't hurt either way}
1 tsp vanilla

For whipped cream:
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh raspberries

Instructions:
For cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Use non-stick spray to coat two 8 inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with waxed paper. Incorporate all ingredients one by one using a mixer on low speed. Once the ingredients are mixed, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the cake pans and even out. The batter will be thick and pudding like. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven onto wire racks to cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the racks and allow to fully cool. I stuck mine in the fridge for two hours to make sure they were fully cool and easy to work with. 
For ganache: Combine whipping cream, sugar, butter and vanilla in a sauce pan over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to low and add chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside for an hour or two until fully cool and thickened. 
For crushed raspberry whipped cream: Place a metal mixing bow and wire whisk attachment in the freezer or fridge for 10 minutes to get really cool. Combine whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in your now cold bowl, and whip on high speed with your cold whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold in about half your raspberries, then give them a good smashing to crush and color your cream. 

Assembly:
Once the cake is cool, place one layer upside down on a cake plate with waxed paper strips under the edges to catch any messes. Apply about a cup of ganache to the top of the cake layer, and gently smooth across and down the sides of the cake, covering completely. Apply about 1 cup of whipped cream to the top of the layer, and smooth to edges. Place your second layer right side up on top of the whipped cream and press down gently to adhere. Spread ganache over the top of this layer, then down the sides, adding more ganache as you go to completely cover the cake. Drop a dollop of whipped cream on top of the now ganache covered cake and gently spread to the edges and down the sides, adding more whipped cream as you go until the cake is fully covered. Dot raspberries around the top edge of your now twice covered, delicious, cake.

If you want to get ambitious, you can cut each cake layer in half horizontally to make four layers. I just wanted my cake, man, so I kept it simple and just used the two. 

I managed to wait a few hours after my cake was completed to cut into it, but I think you would be just fine digging right in. Because it is worth it. And of course, enjoy!
Billy's reaction: "Eh, I'm a chocolate purist. Mixing fruit with chocolate doesn't work for me. Maybe you should invite people over tomorrow and feed them cake." {inferring that he doesn't want me to have to eat the entire cake myself} HAH! He's a riot that one.

1.16.2013

sick, running and smoothies

Well hey there blog peeps! I've been lying low and staying off the Internets for a bit.

I've been fighting off a cold for over a week now. It's comprised of the annoying sore throat at bed time, sniffles, and coughing, but the lethargy and malaise are seriously bugging me. I haven't felt like myself, and I fall asleep pretty much every time I sit down on the couch for more than 15 minutes. Oh, and would you like to know how I came across this little phlegm producing cold? Oh, just the two day babysitting job I took for two kiddos who had snotty noses and bad attitudes. Now who has the snotty nose and bad attitude? Me. Children are filthy creatures.

I've felt a little like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory when he's sick. I even texted Billy from the bedroom to come run Vicks vapor rub on my chest one night. Oh, if you haven't watched BBT and discovered the amazingness of this show, get on that. 
I am so sick of being sick that I ran for the first time in almost a month on Monday. I followed up my 3 mile run {in which my lungs burned and I fought the week old phlegm of my cold} with an hour of Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior. I got my butt kicked doing both. 

Having been mostly sedentary, save for some yoga classes, since before Christmas, I was feeling out of shape, but happy I finally got myself out there. I probably wouldn't have even started running this week had I not done the math a week ago and realized that my Santa Cruz half marathon is a short 12 weeks away. 
I need all 12 weeks to get back into half marathon shape, my derriere has become a derri-don't. 
So it was run or possibly not make a good showing at my already paid for race. 

In other news, I made a super yummy smoothie for Billy tonight, and I figured I should share it with you! I usually make smoothies for myself that consist of protein powder, Greek yogurt, banana or strawberries, and sometimes peanut butter. Billy doesn't like my version of smoothies, saying they taste too healthy and not tasty enough, so I made him something delicious to reverse his opinion. Try this out next time you want something tropical, tasty, and hubby approved!

Happy Hubby smoothie
1 cup cubed watermelon
1 cup cubed honeydew
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup strawberry Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice

Blend and enjoy! 

1.10.2013

Not a size 0, but not my focus

Just a little food for thought on your Thursday ;)
Did you happen to notice that I didn't make any weight related goals for 2013? Sure, everything is workout oriented, but I have no goals regarding weight, or removing everything I love from my diet, because really, that's setting myself up to fail. I know myself. I realize I rely on food as a crutch, in good times and bad. I would indeed like to lose weight, eat healthier, and cut out junk, but I refuse to make that my focus. So there you go, I will love myself regardless of the numbers on the scale, the size of the spare tire around my waist, or the speed of my 5k. 



1.08.2013

Looking forward in 2013

Hello out there in blog land! We are well into 2013 now, and I figured it was about time for me to publicly commit myself to some goals I've been thinking about. 

I am much more goal oriented than I am resolution minded. When one sets a resolution for the new year, they have a mind to change, stop, start, or otherwise adjust their current lives in a way that will be in keeping with this new resolution. You see, I am just too lazy and set in my ways for resolutions.

Goals, on the other hand, are an achievable objective that one sets for a future date. 
2010 was my year of the 5k, in which I set a goal to run a 5k race within 6 months. I was able to train for and complete this goal within my time limit, then set 3 more goals to keep myself motivated. 
2011 was the year of the sprint triathlon, in which, again, I chose a race 6 months into the year to train for and run. I did find out I hate swimming, and probably won't do any more triathlons because of this.
2012 was the year of the half marathon, and I was able to complete 2 within the first half of the year, and then a 3rd in the fall. 
I am sure you see the progression from becoming a runner, to a triathlete, to a half marathoner, and one would likely assume I would use 2013 to train for a full marathon. One would be wrong in assuming such things. 
I have no desire to run a full marathon, ever. 
I have a hard enough time sticking to training plans for shorter races, and find I just don't enjoy long distance running. 10 mile run? A necessary evil when training for a half marathon, but not something I find enjoyable or easy, by any means.

So what does 2013 hold? Well, there will be running, but because I have been dealing with a painful hip flexor problem that just keeps getting worse, I do not have any *new* running goals for this year. I say *new* because I still would like to run several races this year. Some goals in mind are a 5k fun run, a 10k turkey trot, the annual wharf to wharf 6 mile race, and to run the Santa Cruz half marathon in April to hopefully come close to or beat my current PR of 2:04 {SC was my very first half marathon last year}. 

As for new goals for 2013, I want to embrace new forms of exercise, as running and I aren't getting along too well. 

1. I want to do more yoga this year. 
I think the main reason I am having hip flexor issues is because I have a weak core and extremely tight muscles. Yoga helps both of those issues by building strength while stretching the muscles. I already pay $40 a month for my 24 hour fitness membership which gives me access to yoga classes every day of the week, there is no reason I can't make it at least once a week. 

2. I want to build strength through resistance training. 
I have no clear cut goal to get to, just that I need to be stronger to prevent injury and feel better about myself. I am up for gym classes, workout DVDs, and fitness programs.

3. I want to start and finish a whole fitness program.

I haven't decided if I want something for the gym like the Jamie Eason LiveFit Trainer
a video series like P90X,
 or RushFit,
 or just getting through the recommended 30 days of a Jillian Michaels workout DVD. All I know is I want to finish something I start, and see the power and changes that can come from this. Ideally, I could accomplish all of the programs above in a year, but I won't get ahead of myself. 

So there you have it, 3 new goals for 2013. Yoga. Resistance training. Finish a workout program. Bam! 

What are your goals for this year? Anything new and exciting? Let me know in the comments! 

1.04.2013

Friday Happiness

Happy Friday night lovelies! Sorry about this going out so late, I just finally sat down to write and it happened to be after 7pm!

I have all sorts of fun stuff to blog about today, so keep reading to find out who WON my Golden Giveaway from last week, see one of my weddings featured on a very well known wedding site, and all sorts of New Year's stuff that I have taken forever to get to. 

First of all, happy blogiversary to Happy Girls are the Prettiest Girls! This little blog turned 2 on New Years Eve, and I happened to let it slip by without so much as a peep. Last year I did a 2011 year in review post to commemorate the first birthday of my blog, but I am a little lazy this year so you're welcome to go back through and read the posts from last year if you want.

This New Year's eve was spent in the company of family, as usual, and was quite nice to lay low, watch movies, eat tons of yummy food, and ring in 2013 together.

I've been thinking a lot about my goals for 2013, and I have a blog planned to really go into depth on that. It wasn't an easy goal setting year like the last 3 years, where I clearly had a goal in mind which I was able to achieve. 2010 was the year of the 5k, 2011 was the year of the sprint triathlon, and 2012 was the year of the half marathon. Knowing I don't want to run a full marathon, there weren't too many options to go with this year.

My last giveaway of 2012 was a popular one, and now I get to crown a winner as my first big act of 2013! Thanks to rafflecopter for making giveaways easy and fun, and congratulations to Julie of Tri-ing to be Athletic for winning the Golden Giveaway!

And now some super exciting news for me, business-wise! I am squee-ing with delight that the beautiful and well know wedding site Style Me Pretty featured a wedding that I had the wonderful pleasure of styling hair for last June! Wendy and David's wedding took place at the Los Altos History Museum, one of my favorite locations. And now I get to use the cute button below!

Want to see some photos from the SMP gallery?! Here ya go, but make sure you click the Style Me Pretty link above to see the whole write up, and leave comments there too! Wendy was absolutely adorable and so fun to work with! There are some gorgeous shots in the gallery on SMP, you HAVE to check those out! 

1.02.2013

A spot of tea and a birthday wish

Happy Wednesday lovelies! Hope all of you are having a great week and enjoying the new year! 

My birthday got stretched out over a three day period of celebration, so it is taking me several posts to tell you all about the festivities. Billy likes to think of October as his birthday month, so I think I can take a few days as my own. 

My much anticipated tea party happened on Saturday afternoon, and I was so blessed by my wonderful friends who joined me. I had some fun primping before my party, and dressed up in some of my cute birthday finds from Kohls that I told you all about in this post. And why yes, of course I wore a tiara! If I am actually celebrating my birthday, I get to wear a crown. Once I was dressed, I decided I had channeled Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's and Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey as my inspiration. I was good with that. 

Fact: it's fun to use different editing filters to change the way your crappy cell phone pics look. Also a fact: I edit out all of my under eye bags, wrinkles and blemishes anytime I get the chance, so you can't really tell I haven't been sleeping well the last week and am a little broken out, hah! It might be cheating, but when you have the tools at your disposal, you might as well use them, right?
 Lisa's Tea Treasures is a pretty wonderful little place, full of Victorian charm and girlish delights. My party of 12 was seated in our own room, with a long table decked out in tea finery. We were served Earl Grey and strawberry Darjeeling teas, and had sweet little tea sandwiches and scones to munch on while much conversation was had by all. 
Now, my guests did not all know each other, but you wouldn't have known that had you poked your head into our little tea room. I guess I collect friends everywhere I go, and thus have very wonderful friendships with awesome ladies who may not even know the others exist beyond a Facebook comment or photo I may post. I just so happen to collect quality friends, so it was no surprise that they were all sweet to each other, and I was so happy to see conversations going on up and down the table about all sorts of topics. I also have gorgeous friends. I tell you, it doesn't matter what they wear, or when you see them, my girlfriends are just pretty people inside and out. I am quite a lucky girl!
Left to right: Lexie, Nicole, Tiffany and Caroline
Michelle, Adrienne, Sarah, Diane, Anne, and Melissa
Nicole made me a beautiful cake with aqua frosting and pink butter cake inside. She even made little bows and drew my name in white chocolate to decorate the cake, and make chocolate cupcakes to round out the sugar rush. The cake was quite delicious, and I have to admit I ate two cupcakes later that night at home, oops!
 I don't think I even made a birthday wish! I was feeling so incredibly loved and was basking in the glow of being around my sweet friends, so it totally slipped my mind :)
Michelle and Adrienne, Nicole, Caroline, Lexie
Melissa, Anne, Sharon who arrived late, and Tiffany. 
I am bummed I missed out on photo ops with both Diane and Sarah before they left :( Also sad that I didn't manage to get an entire group shot!

I think celebrating my 28th birthday was a wise decision, and I am very happy I went through with the planning and didn't let my regular birthday funk keep me from the fun. 

I have a feeling 28 is going to be a very good year!

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