my life in my words

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And Run

Happy New Year’s Eve!

I hope you all had a fabulous time over the holidays. I know that for me personally, coming home for the holidays can be the most wonderful, but also the most stressful time. Having three families to celeberate the holidays with is sometimes extremely chaotic with all the parties, events, and of course the hang time with friends! And while this vacation isn’t over, I wanted to go ahead and share some reflections about this past year and what I’m looking forward to in the next year.


. . . was a year of fully establishing my life in Seattle. This July, I will have lived in Seattle for 3 years! The time has flown by so fast, but it’s been entirely worthwhile. This year, I celebrated being at my job for a full year, built stronger friendships with people I want close to me. They encourage and challenge me to be a better human being while accepting me just as I am, which was truly something I was worried about when I first moved to Seatown. Rebuilding your life in another city is a huge undertaking. It forces you to ask yourself who you really are and face that with open arms. I feel like I have done just that this year. My first year living there I was just trying to stay above the surface and make a living. As my second year began there, I took a look at my life and asked myself, “What matters most and who do you want to become when the lights go down?” I am pleased to report that I have never felt more confident and secure about who I am than I have this year. I’ve learned to navigate rough waters and stand in front of storms with an unwavering faith, neverending love, and a healthy dose of humor.

I did a lot of traveling this year and have learned to truly take hold of my sense of adventure unapologetically. I’ve built friendships across the country and in my own house that carried me through a year of learning and living.

I could highlight in this post all of my favorite moments, but instead, I’ll just link you to one favorite blog post from each month. Feel free to take a look back with me and celebrate the little moments that made 2010 such a big year for me! Also take time out to ask yourself what one thing you learned from each month of this past year.

. . . is sure to be a year of more smiles, storms, dreams coming true, obstacle courses and lots of relationship building. I’m definitely looking FORWARD to it. I read a blog post this morning at where Tim talked about setting a theme for the year instead of just making resolutions. It challenged me to take a look at this past year and make some decisions about this next year. My theme for this next year is FORWARD. I want this year to be full of moments where I learn to keep going, to not give up, to push past feelings and just do things without holding myself back. To love fully, to start pursuing deeper relationships. To give fully of my time and energy without worry. To push myself to make moments more meaningful and purposeful. To always be moving forward and not letting moments pass me by. My 2011 will be a year of growth, of new risks, more adventures, stronger focus, and more freedom!
. . . And hopefully it won’t take me until December of 2011 to successfully write 2011, instead of 2010, as the date this upcoming year. 😉

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Santa Baby

Last night’s Elf Party was fabulous! I totally wish I had taken a picture of my costume, but I’m sure they’ll surface from other peoples’ cameras soon enough, so I’ll post one when I can. In the meantime, just imagine me dressed in red velvet santa-suit style pajama pants and a green shirt, with an elf hat that has ears sewed onto them. What I DO have to share today is some of the pictures I took last night. There aren’t as many as I had planned to take, since I was busy schmoozing and belting out BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE with my friends.

I think for sure one of the biggest highlights was the cake that Luke brought:

Also, the fact that he was daring enough to put some syrup on his spaghetti:

H. Stubbs won the child’s costume contest as Frosty The Snowwoman:

Her little sister, E. Stubbs was DEFINITELY a favorite as well! She was the ghost of Christmas past.

What’s even better is that when I got home, I had some treasures waiting for me in the mailbox!

I recently ordered some personal stationary from my favorite Etsy shop: PLAIN JANE’S CARDS. Jane makes such beautiful cards using great fabric patterns. She had posted some updated patterns lately and I found one that was just too “me” to pass up! So I ordered some and then had her personalize them for me so that I could use them as stationary to send notes to friends! Here they are, personalized with my nickname, AMO!

I just adore them! They’re perfect for me!
I also got this super creative Christmas card from my mentor & friend, Brian Brooks and his beautiful wife, Hannah:

One of the fun things about it is the silhouette on the back to represent their dog Louie. So so sweet!
All in all, yesterday was pretty amazing! And if you don’t believe me, just watch this quick clip of Corbett as Rudolph The Red-Nosed Lounge Singer!

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I Can’t Stop Partying

Welcome to Christmas Party Update Central

I still have one more party before I head home for the holidays, but I figured I’d go ahead and do a weekend party recap!

On Friday, we had the Westside Leadership Party and I got to create a new Christmas game for everyone to play! I think it went very well—getting people to do creative silly stuff is so much fun to watch (and participate in)!  The game involved the following supplies:

A roll of toilet paper
5 Red Vines
6 toothpicks
10 marshmallows
3 pieces of gum
5 paper clips
3 rubber bands
and 3 pieces of string/raffia

As part of the game, each group (4 people) had to pick out a hat the name of one Christmas Carol. They then had to use the supplies to create a visual representation of that Christmas Carol. I had little H.Stubs judge to decide which one was the most creative. And the winner was:


There is nothing quite so quality as seeing Evan dressed up as Rudolph, complete with red vines shoved up his nose!

Then on Saturday, I went to Heather J’s Birthday / White Elephant Gift Exchange Party and it was jam-packed with good times! I got to hang out with friends, talk about New York, make awkward poses while hanging from the pull-up bar in their house, and of course I got some rad gifts! I got chocolates and biscotti—not bad for a White Elephant Gift Exchange! I must admit, though, the real fun times happened when this little guy made his appearance:

That’s right, a bonafide fiber-optic peacock!

And then this afternoon, I joined up with some friends for a Gingerbread House Party! A few years back, I got to make a gingerbread house with my friends Cory and Chase and we decided to make a gingerbread crack house. I don’t even remember why, but it was hilarious!  Here’s a pic of us back then trying to make our crack house:

I had so much fun making that one back then that I decided to relive the fun by making another gingerbread crack house at the party! Here’s what I started out with:

And here’s how it actually turned out . . . after a long fight against frosting and graham crackers. It is quite literally a cracked house 😉

You see, it’s perfect! The front looks just like any normal house on the block, and the real business goes on inside and in the back. Kelsey said, in reference to my creation, “It’s like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back!” The top of the house is covered with weed growing on the top and the inside contains “the lab.” The back of the house even comes complete with an escape ladder to use when the cops come by to bust the joint!

Here are the other (read: more serious) gingerbread houses that were made by the others:

Erica’s Lighthouse

 Josh’s Tugboat

 Kelsey’s Gingerbread House

Brian’s Gingerbread House
Tomorrow night I have an Elf Party to go to and I’m so excited! Elf is one of the best Christmas movies ever and spending the evening quoting it and eating all of the 4 main elf foods is gonna be rad!
And as promised, I wanted to show you the fun postcard I designed for my community group! I truly love how fun these people are and I’m thankful that they went along with the zany idea to take pictures with the snowflake glasses on!
(click to enlarge)

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Warm Winter

All the holiday parties are in full effect!!

I had my office Holiday Party on Wednesday. I had my Westside Community Group Christmas Party last night. I have a Westside Leadership Christmas Party tonight. I have Heather J.’s Birthday Party (complete with White Elephant Gift Exchange) on Saturday night. And then I have another Gingerbread House Party going on Sunday afternoon. Monday night I have an Elf Party to go to and I’m reserving Tuesday and Wednesday night to get last minute Seattle gifts for the fam and to pack for my trip home on Thursday morning!

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I like to party! I don’t mean I like to party in the sense that I like getting trashed and doing ridiculous things that I won’t remember the next morning. I mean I like to create memories of quality fun times that I, or anyone else in attendance for that matter, can’t help but remember it the next morning.

When I was in High School, I took Tech Theater for a year. After doing Theater the previous year, I decided that I wanted to be a part of actual design work as opposed to just getting out on stage and reciting lines. I was more intrigued by the technical aspects: the writing, the sets, and the costumes. I had such a wonderful experience working as the assistant to the Costume Director and spent most of my free time raiding the prop and costume closet, playing dress up! I can see how it’s all carried over into my personal life a lot.  I think what makes holiday season parties better is that there are so many of them that you can dress up for each of them with a new level of fun. For instance, here’s what I wore to my office Holiday Party:

My co-worker A— kept bowing down and 
hailing me as the “Snowflake Queen.” 
It was so funny! 

I got two extra special holiday treats last night at our Community Group Christmas Party: I got an Old Navy gift card from the Irwins (holla what!) and our hostess, KL, made Lil’ Smokies just for meeeeeeee!!!! Can I just take a moment to TRY to explain to you how magical Lil’ Smokies are? Every great party I ever attended back home served Lil’ Smokies as an hors d’oeuvre and they are just SO amazing. KL and I had talked about it a while back and she said, “I’m going to make some for our Christmas party just for you!” It was like Santa had just given me that pony I’d always wanted. Who knew that something so small smothered in barbecue sauce could hold the key to magical hopes and wonders of taste? Well, pretty much anyone who’s ever served them knows. 😉
But as an aside, my outfit for that party was this:
When I got to KL’s house, I was greeted by these sweet luminaries and lots of hugs from friends in my CG:
We had so much fun hanging out, eating great food, sharing fun memories, and doing our White Elephant Gift Exchange. What’s even better is that I got everyone in my Community Group to let me take a picture of them in the snowflake glasses! I’m working to create a postcard & photo collage for each of our CG members and hopefully I’ll be able to share it with you guys as well!

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The Medallion Calls

This be the tale of a landlubbin’ crew that be innovative
and chock full ‘o entrepreneurship.

Grab some hearty rum, scoot over a nearby keg
and sit yer peg leg down as I tell ye the tale of


Ye see, it all started in a deep dark pit near
the Island of Social Netwerkin’ in the city of Twittargggh . . .

And as a response, yers truly, Peg Leg Shenanigans
has created a shiny new design for Pirate Ink!
So ye be sure to stop on by when the rum’s gone an’ my
team of scalliwags will put a nice little ink stain on yer bones!

Ye may be wonderin’ who some of our high profile clients are, and since yer so curious, you can spot some of them in this here video:

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . 

The time for having great hang times with friends at Christmas parties!! I know that the Christmas season is all sorts of jam-packed with one event after another, but I can’t really complain. I enjoy getting to reconnect with people in the midst of busy weeks. It challenges me to make conversation and fun times count more because, like me, my friends are busy during this season and the time I get to see them is fewer and far between.

Another great thing about these parties is the delicious food I get to enjoy. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve gotten to experience a whole other style of cuisine. There are so many things that people make here that I never had in the land of Tex-Mex and Barbecue. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE those things as well and I will definitely enjoy them when I get home for the holidays, but it’s interesting to try new foods too!

I’ll share one funny thing that happened lately involving holiday parties and food. So, my workplace organizes a holiday party every year and we all sign up to bring delicious treats. Last year, I was one of the last ones to sign up because I couldn’t figure out what to make. This year, I wanted to get a jump on things and go ahead and get my name on the list before I was stuck trying to make something difficult—those things usually don’t end well. There were two people already signed up on the nearly blank sign-up sheet and I figured I would make a salad, because y’know, they’re simple and don’t require watching 8 hours of a cooking show. So I rushed to the list and made my mark:

(click image to enlarge)

That’s me, first on the salad list, and let me tell you, when I figure out what kind of salad I’m making it will DEFINITELY live up to its description on the list!

The best thing though, is that AFTER I wrote that down, my other co-workers joined the fun! I love that the people I work with

1) Tolerate my shenanigans.

2) Know how to have fun.

3) Are just as mysterious as I am.

4) Make me feel awesome!

Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth!

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Raise Your Glass


Founded by Celebrity Photographer Jeremy Cowart, Help-Portrait is a community of photographers, coming together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local community.
This past Saturday, December 4th, 2010, photographers around the world grabbed their cameras, found people in need and took their picture. When the prints were ready, the photographs got delivered.
And by the way, it’s not about seeing our photos. Help Portrait is about GIVING the pictures, not taking them. These portraits are not for our portfolio, website, or for sale. Money isn’t involved here. We simply used the day to give a family something they may have never had before—a portrait together.

I had the opportunity to spend all day Saturday hanging out with amazing photographers of all different levels in an event that was all about giving back to the city of Seattle! I participated in my first Help Portrait event last year and had an AMAZING time! This year’s event was extra special. Instead of going to one small site, we were allowed to use the new Creative Live Studio to bring many more people in from different organizations aiding Seattle’s homeless & low-income families.

The day was spent building memories for the families that came and all those involved in making the event happen! I got to spend the day assisting an amazing photographer, Mike Folden, who was part of the group I helped with last year for our first Help Portrait event. We also had Emily, one of my friends from Westside, working with us and that made it extra fun! When we weren’t taking pictures of clients, we were telling jokes, singing showtunes and Disney songs, talking about photo gear and techniques, and just getting to know each other more.

One of the sweetest moments that I’ll never forget was when we were posing a family that included a single mother and her 3 little girls. The girls were all cute as can be and they cooperated so well. As the assistant, it was my job to help pose the family and keep the kids happy so they would  smile and look at the camera. The shoot went great and as I was escorting the family back out of the photo booth area to the front desk, I felt this little hand grab mine, and looked down as the youngest daughter was closing her hand around mine. Seeing the sweet smile on her sweet face and knowing that (even though I was only able to be a small part of her life) she trusted me enough to reach up, grab my hand and let me lead her the rest of the way just melted my heart.

Aside from being able to interact with all the amazing families that visited our booth, I also considered myself blessed to have gotten the opportunity to assist Chase Jarvis when he did a shoot at our booth. I also had the chance to chat with Jeremy Cowart a couple of times throughout the day. It was amazing to be surrounded by such amazing creative people as we joined together to give back to the city I love!

Here are some pictures of me & my team from the day!
Just let me know if you ever need someone to ruin
a perfectly good picture for ya
Me, Emily, and Mike hanging out between clients
Me and Emily smiling pretty
Our editors: Matt & Jason [and Lawrence (not pictured) for half the day]

Emily and I take this job VERY SERIOUSLY . . . 

A screencap of our group as we sign off from the webcast!

King 5 News was also there to get some footage for their evening broadcast:

The video feed from the day may still be streaming on the Creative Live site. If it is, you can click HERE to see the replay.