The Baby Card Post

My cousins Emily and John (you might remember them from Anchors Away) are having a baby!!!  This is super exciting news for everyone in our family!  Also, it’s finally allowed me to forgive my mother for returning Emily’s cool  Fisher Price toys to my Aunt Linda years ago.  (The best one was the carousel.)

Here are the cards I made them!!!

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The Green Eggs and Worms Post

I’m so excited to finally get to share this with y’all!  I’m so proud of myself for having the idea and actually following through with it.  I think it turned out really cute.  I’m definitely planning on writing a sequel or two.  I was originally going to include more details about some of the stuff Biff has discovered about worm lifespans, but since he hasn’t published his findings yet, I decided to hold off.  It’ll just give me more material for the sequel!

Without further ado, may I proudly present Green Eggs and Worms!  For your viewing convenience, a slideshow:

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And so you can see my comments about each page, here are the individual images:

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The Cat Coasters Post

It started out so simple.

Last spring, I picked up a couple Kaisercraft make-your-own coaster sets on sale at Archivers.  I’d seen the round ones before and hadn’t been that impressed, but I thought the rectangular ones w/ rounded edges were cute.  I didn’t do anything w/ them for a couple months, but then in May Biff told me his mom’s birthday was coming up.  I thought that her two cats, Crimson & Clover, would make really cute subjects for a set of coasters.  I thought I could print out the pictures and have the coasters finished in a couple of days.

The lesson from this project: Nothing is ever simple.

Seriously, it took me SOOOO long to finish these darn coasters I don’t even want to tell you what method I used.  My method should never ever be copied.  The main obstacle I encountered was water proofing.  The example I linked to above from the Archiver’s website said to use Mod Podge to adhere and seal the pictures, but there’s no way that’ll be waterproof!  And the point of coasters is to resist water!  I ended up using this non-polyeurethane stuff to seal mine, but it took forever to dry and really didn’t go on that smooth.

After some extensive Googling, here are the steps that  I THINK would yield the best coasters in the future:

1. Don’t use wooden coasters.  Use cork.

2. Laminate the picture that’s going on the top.

3. Super glue or hot glue the laminated picture onto the cork.

One thing that I do like about mine that I think would be hard to do w/ cork is that mine had two sides: pictures of the cats on one side, and bright patterned paper on the other.

Needless to say, I did not finish the coasters in time for Biff’s mother’s birthday.  I ended up sending them to her as a “happy July” present.  Luckily, she didn’t seem to mind.  While I definitely think that I could’ve done a better job with them, they’re still pretty cute.  Here are the pics!

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The Beach Pics Post

I’m on a blogging roll!  I figured that since I posted pics of two of my three big trips from the summer (LA and NYC), I would post some of my family’s trip to the beach!  This year, we chose to do the whole “coordinated outfits, big family pictures taken at sunset” thing.  Here are the highlights!

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The “Anchors Away” Children’s Book Post

I have officially written and illustrated two children’s books now!  The first one (as I’ve mentioned before) is called Green Eggs and Worms and is about Biff’s work in his lab.  Pics of it will be coming soon; I want to wait until after I’ve given it to him to post it here, so the surprise isn’t ruined for him.

The second one I made for my cousin John, who just got out of the Navy.  It recounts many of our favorite stories from the ten years he was at the Academy and in the Navy.  We had a big party for him last weekend in Panama City to celebrate.  I gave him the book, and his adorable 5-year-old niece Margo read it out loud for everyone.  (Note: Margo also read Green Eggs and Worms out loud to the rest of her cousins, and they all seemed to enjoy it!  Yay!)

UPDATE: Here’s a slideshow version!

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And here are the pics of Anchors Away!

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The New York Post (FINALLY!)

A couple weeks ago, Christine & I went to see Andrew Thomas in the city so nice they named it twice.  Here are some pics of our trip.

First, we had to GET to New York.  Not as easy as it sounds.  After a  delightful layover in the Baltimore airport, we hopped on our one hour flight to La Guardia.  Not only was the flight really bumpy, but we spent 45 minutes circling over LGA due to thunderstorms, then were diverted to Islep.  We spent another 45 minutes on the tarmac in Islep, before we finally were allowed to get back in the air and land in La Guardia.

Sad that we're stuck on a tarmac in Islep

Anticipating how happy we'll be once we finally land in LGA. Obviously, at this point we'd forgotten what it really looks like to be happy. We look a little crazed.

After meeting up w/ Andrew Thomas, we went to dinner @ Tom’s Restaurant (a location you might recognize from Seinfeld).

Outside Tom's Restaurant

The next day, Christine & I went to Times Square, FAO Schwartz, Central Park, The Met, and Rockefeller Center. PLUS we won rush tickets to see Wicked!

Times Square

Me: Is this it?  Is this Times Square?

Christine: Nope, I think it’s a couple blocks away.

[We walk about 20 feet]

Me: How about now?  Is THIS it?

Christine: Umm…. no, Arden, I don’t think so.

Resting on a bench in Central Park, watching toy boats sail on the pond.

A Van Gogh at the Met

Rocking an Andy from The Office mug at the NBC Experience Store in Rockefeller Center.

Andrew Thomas showing distaste at the Jay Leno bobbleheads.

Posing outside the theater w/ the Wicked poster.

The next day, Christine headed out to wedding, and Andrew Thomas & I hit the town to do some shopping!  My favorite part of the day was getting to visit the area of New York where NYU is– it’s adorable!  We also got to see the off-Broadway play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which was very fun.

Andrew Thomas let me hop in the Toys R Us in Times Square! I'm obsessed w/ Lots O' Huggin Bear. I want one soooo bad.

The next day, we got brunch at Toast, then headed out to a tour of all the Upper West Side locations seen in You’ve Got Mail!!!

The three of us in Riverside Park, site of the final scene in You've Got Mail!

In Riverside Park, at the place where the path splits and there's a beautiful garden. Buckley & Tom Hanks were waiting.

Meg Ryan's Apartment

We tried to find Tom Hanks' apt from the movie, but apparently 152 Riverside Dr. doesn't exist!

After all of our sight-seeing, we were off to the Tony Awards!  We were all sooooo excited that Andrew was able to score us free tickets.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.  We were in the same room as Angela Lansbury, Daniel Radcliffe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Nathan Lane!

The three of us outside Radio City Music Hall!

Andrew Thomas & Me w/ the Tony stage in the background from our mezzanine seats.

It was SUCH a fun trip!  Thanks so much for hosting us, Andrew Thomas!!

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The Sunday in LA Post

On Sunday, we started our day by getting some brunch.  Jaclyn informed me that getting brunch was a very LA thing to do.  🙂  Then, it was off to Universal Studios!  I’ve never even been to the Universal park in Orlando, so I was super excited!  We began w/ the back lot tour, which was super cool!  Below is the view of the Universal back lot from above.  In the VERY far distance, you can see the Warner Brothers sound stage as well.

Another double self-portrait!

One of the first things they showed us on the back lot tour was some of the props they have saved for the occasion, including a collection of cars from various films and tv shows.  Some of my favorites were:

Magnum P.I.'s Car

One of the vehicles from Serenity, plus KITT from Knight Rider

A Delorean from Back to the Future

They also showed us how they do some special effects stunts, including exploding some cars from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and making a small Mexican village flood from some movie I’ve never heard of.  Other highlights included seeing the Bates motel from Psycho, some of Whoville from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and various generic Western towns and European streets.

One of the wildest things was driving down Wisteria Lane, where they film Desperate Housewives.  It’s like a whole suburban neighborhood street!

Some of the houses on Wisteria Lane (they told us which one was which, but I can't remember)

Also at Universal, we went on several of the simulation/3D/interactive shows, including an AWESOME one for Terminator which featured Linda Hamilton, Arnold Swarzenegger, and the kid who played John Connor in T2 (I affectionately termed it Terminator 2.5), and a pretty average one for Shrek.  (Who thinks that it’s fun to watch a character in 3D sneeze on you and then spray you with water?  And the Shrek show did it TWICE.)

After grabbing a quick dinner on our way out, we made our way to Jaclyn’s movie theater of choice to see the documentary Babies. Crazy thing about this movie theater: it has movie memorabilia on display!

Movie memorabilia. I wonder what movie it could be from...

This leads us to my list of Celebrity Sightings of the Day, which ALL happened at the movie theater:

1. Amber Stevens and her boyfriend Andrew West.  We owe Jaclyn for this one, because both of them are on Greek.  They were also seeing Babies with Amber’s parents for Mother’s Day.  (Her father is Shadoe Stevens, who is a famous radio/announcer, who hosted American Top 40 after Casey Kasem retired and before Ryan Seacrest took over.)  Amber recognized Jaclyn from when she used to work as a PA on Greek, and came over and gave her a hug.  She was super sweet.

2. Jeri Ryan!!!!  Obviously, as a Trekkie, this excited me to no end.  For those of you less familiar w/ her work as Seven of Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, she was also on the lawyer show Shark, the high school drama Boston Public, and last season on the hilarious heist show Leverage.  We stood in line for popcorn behind her and her husband Christophe Eme (he’s a chef).  It was amazing.  I dunno what movie they went to see, but it wasn’t Babies.

3. Rich Sommer.  He was also in our theater to see Babies, along w/ his cute pregnant wife.  I knew him from his work on Mad Men, and also as Pam’s art school friend on The Office who tried to convince Pam to stay in New York, but he was also one of the friends in The Devil Wears Prada, which we just saw the night before!

I was pretty excited by our luck at the theater.  Jaclyn was psyched because she’s now convinced that all of these people live close to her.

One final thing about my trip: there are a lot of Prius’s in California.  Like, A. LOT.  Over 4 days (two in L.A., two in Palo Alto) I counted 230.  That’s A LOT.  (Biff and I made a game out of it.  I hate to think what the people sitting close to us on the bus thought about us. “Oh, look, there’s one!  There’s another!  Oooh, a blue one!”)

*** For Jaclyn’s account of Sunday, click here.***

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