Monday, December 27, 2010

{ Merry Christmas! }

This year I had the best Christmas ever, thanks to this handsome man! Unfortunately I don't have pictures to tell the tale (forgot the camera...oops!) but it will forever be engrained in my memory.

I love this man and can't wait to spend every Christmas with him from now until forever!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

{ Secret Santa :: Girls' Night Out }

Back in the day (ok, like 3 years ago) my girlfriends and I used to get together once a year in Palm Springs for a Girl's Getaway. The last few years have been difficult though with everyone getting married and having kids that it just hasn't happened. So this year we decided it would be fun to get together for a Girl's Night at Christmastime and enjoy a gift exchange and some dinner.

My favorite part of the night was when we all went around the table and updated each other on what we'd been up to and the exciting things in our lives. Best update was probably my roommate Kiele's announcement "I bought my first pair of leggings!" Hahaha! Love my girls!

Monday, December 20, 2010

{ I'm ENGAGED!!! }

And I thought this day would NEVER come! It's hard to believe that just 3 short months ago (to the day!) I went on my first date with Mr. Matt Laidlaw and felt the first twinklings of love as he kissed me that September night on my doorstep. Only in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I'd be lucky enough to wear his ring and one day be called his wife. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world!

Sunday morning began like any other Sabbath day. The alarm clock went off, I rolled out of bed, got ready for the day, and headed downstairs to meet up with a few TMB staffers to discuss the next season of TMB. There's nothing quite like spending the early hours of your sabbath morning in the service of a friend, helping him to gain his eternal salvation!

While in the midst of planning, my jovial mood was sobered when I got a text from Matt which read, "Aubrey my pool is flooding and I'm not gonna be able to make it down today." I was so bummed because I would be singing a special musical number in church and really wanted him there. Trying to be a supportive girlfriend I asked him if I could bring dinner up to Glendora after church to which he replied "I think it's better if you don't come up tonight. I'll just give you a call tonight." Of course I didn't like that one bit so I spent the remainder of the day sulking and waiting for the phone call that would never come.

I had to be in bed early that night because I would be making a 3am run to the Flower Market for a wedding I'm working on, so at 8:30 I washed off my makeup, put on my pjs, and crawled into bed with my sciptures. Matt and I have been reading a chapter a day from the Book of Mormon and I didn't want to get behind!

I had a hard time focusing on what I was reading, as my thoughts would continuously turn to Matt, wondering if he would ever call. So, I decided to text him and see if he could talk. His response was "I'm actually at my grandparents house helping them unclog some drains in their backyard. It's kinda a tense situation. Can we talk tomorrow?" That's when I kind of lost it.

I buried my nose back in my scriptures and with frustration started into another chapter, when suddenly there was a knock on my bedroom door. It was my roommate Erin! I welcomed her in as she placed a computer on my lap and said "I need you to look at this video I've been working on to promote Rick Buck. Let me know what think." And before I could say anything she was gone down the hall.

I pressed play and well, you know what I saw! My heart began to race!!! At first I was in shock! Then my mind started to race..."Is Matt really downstairs? What is he doing here? What does he want to give me? Why did he tell me he was in Glendora? Oh my gosh I'm in my ugly pajamas with no makeup on! Do I change? Do I put my makeup back on? What do I do?" There was no time for any of that though so I just quietly tiptoed my way down the stairs. That's when I saw the video camera pointed toward the dining room and Matt hiding behind the corner on bended knee!!!

The feelings I felt next are indescribable! I was so 100% surprised by the whole thing and so incredible happy and madly in love with the man down on bended knee that I just couldn't contain my emotions! I'm sure you saw! It was a moment of absolute perfection. I have never been happier than in that moment when he asked "Will you marry me?" YES MATT!!! A thousand times over. YES, I will marry you!

So much for an early bedtime! The rest of the night was spent kissing, cuddling, kissing, calling our families, more kissing, and more calling! It was all too perfect! I still can't believe it's real. I've been staring at my ring every 5 minutes and pinching myself just to make sure it's not just a dream! It's truly a fairytale ending...or beginning, depending on how you look at it!

My thoughts about the divine inspiration of The Mormon Bachelorette journey have only been confirmed by the happenings of last night. Matt and I are so madly in love and plan to be married for time and all eternity on March 19, 2011 in the Los Angeles LDS Temple. I can't believe how lucky I am! What a blessing to have finally found the man of my dreams. I love you Matt and can't wait to start our forever together!

{ I know the picture quality is not the best, but Matt got me exactly what I wanted! It's a custom-made split-shank prong, micro-pave diamond encrusted ring, fitted with the most beautiful cushion cut diamond! I am obsessed!!! }

Friday, December 17, 2010

{ Ham & Cheese Wrap-Ups }

Are you ready for the easiest, tastiest, cheapest meal yet? And yes, it's another crescent roll recipe. So sue me! I actually don't even remember how I stumbled upon THIS recipe, but I saw it and couldn't resist. By the way, I totally made up that name. I have no idea what's it's really called.

Anyway, Matt and I enjoyed this little tasty treat along side some warm Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, all whilst watching the Clippers throw away another win to the 76ers. At least our bellies ended the night in a good mood. Here's the recipe should like to try and recreate this simple and delicious meal.

- 1 pkg. Pillsbury crescent rolls
- 1 pkg. thick sliced honey ham
- 1 pkg. provole cheese
- 2 thinly sliced Pink Lady Apples

Place sliced ham in a frying pan and allow to sear on each side until golden brown. Cut to size and place desired amount of ham on open crescent rolls. (I used one slice cut into 1/4s per roll). Top with provolone cheese and thinly sliced apple pieces. Fold up crescent rolls and bake according to the crescent roll directions. Serve with tomato soup and any leftover apple slices. YUM!

{ Simplify Our Lives }

"We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.” - Marjorie Pay Hinckley

I love this quote! So much! I just wish I had the ability to truly live it. I've never been the simple type though. I'm a BUSY BODY! I always need to be doing something, and I don't know why! I honestly can't tell you the last time I sat down to JUST BE! I don't have time for tv anymore, and I can't remember the last time I picked up a book, let alone got a full 8 hours of consecutive sleep!

Sundays used to be a day of rest and now they've suddenly become my busiest day of the week. Not that I'm complaining. But something's really got to give. Between 4 callings, my job at Handbill, the many weddings I do almost every weekend, a boyfriend to love, daily work-outs, scripture study, the new season of TMB (yes, that's on the list!), a house to keep clean, a bajillion holidays parties, birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, and more...there just isn't much time for anything else!

And that's why I love this quote so much. If only I could learn to simplify and be content with who I am and my abilities, I think I would be a much more sane woman. But until that lesson is learned, I'm just going to keep trying my best to fit the most important things on my plate and leave the rest for later.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

{ Chicken Crescent Sandwich }

This weekend I wanted something quick and easy to feed my man so I turned to my recipe book and found a great one from an old roommate, Allie Hobbins. It's like a Chicken Croissant Sandwich, but the ooey gooey version for winter! I remember her making these all the time and was excited to try the simple recipe myself. The sandwiches were warm and delicious and my man loved them too! And the best part? From start to finish it only took 20 minutes and they were on the table ready to eat. Love that!

1 pkg Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 cups cooked canned chicken
3 oz. soft cream cheese
1 chopped cream onion
1 pinch salt & pepper
3 tbl. melted butter
2 tbl. parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl combine chicken, cream cheese, chopped onion and salt & pepper. Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Spoon meat mixture on 1 end of each triangle. Fold dough over. Seal edges. Brush with butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake on ungreased sheet 15-17 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

{ Christmas Caroling on Coastline Lane }

How cute are my roommies? Monday night we carried on with our Coastline Lane tradition of caroling to all of our 25 neighbors! We dressed in our Santa best and sang our little hearts out. At the end of each carol we left them with a little bag of goodies and a copy of President Monson's Christmas devotional titled "A Bright Shining Star," tied with a silver star and signed by us, their loving neighbors.

I really hope each of them take the time to sit down and really ponder his beautiful message. I've read through it a couple of times, and each time I do, for that brief moment I forget all about the millions of things on my to-do-list and focus on the joy that comes with this wonderful season.

After hitting up every house on the block we decided to treat ourselves to a little Five Guys for some burgers, fries, and a good gab session. It's not too often the four of us find the time to all sit down together and just enjoy each other's company. It was a fabulous night for one and all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

{ Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner }

Everyone knows that when you throw a fancy party, you invite Mike...and then tell him to bring his equipment along. That man really knows how to handle a camera. Check out some of my favorite shots from our lovely Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner put on by my fabulous roommates and enjoyed by our amazing friends. How we squished 12 at that 8 person table, I will never know.

{ All Photos Courtesy :: Mike Cunningham }

Monday, December 13, 2010

{ Summer in December }

Thank you Richard K. Miller for capturing the beauty that was Huntington Beach today. I'm in love with this summer weather! 82 degrees in December? I wish it would stay forever, and ever, and ever...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

{ The Ritz Carlton :: Christmas Edition }

It's been fun introducing Matt to some of my families holiday traditions. At the top of the list is The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel to see their Christmas decorations. Through the years it has remained one of my favorite holiday stops for several reasons:

1. They always have the most gorgeous tree, lights, decorations, floral creations, and on, and on, and on...

2. Each year they come up with some fabulous gingerbread creation that is 100% edible and will completely knock your socks off! This year they re-created a Woody complete with 7' longboards and mini-surf village.

3. You'll find a hallway full of autographed surfboards up for auction. This one was signed by the late Andy Irons, a surfer whose legend will live on forever!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

{ Introducing... THE MORMON BACHELOR! }

We're sooo excited about our big reveal today over at The Mormon Bachelor and hope you are too. Rick Buck was always the best choice! Check out his application video HERE, share THIS link with all your single girlfriends, and then tune in for updates on when the new season starts. Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

{ Thanksgiving Photo Shoot :: El Paso, TX }

I know you all think I'm the world's most obsessed aunt, and well, I am! And I don't even care! I love my Little D so much and anything he does is just THE CUTEST THING EVER! So naturally, when I saw these gorgeous photos taken of him in Texas for Thanksgiving with his "other family," I couldn't resist the urge to share. Seriously, how cute is that kid? I want him in my arms right now! Good thing he'll be here in a couple weeks for Christmas. In the meantime I'm just going to enjoy these beautiful images taken by the amazing Kendal Jessup.

Monday, December 6, 2010

{ Happy Hip Hop Christmas }

I feel like it just wouldn't be Christmas without a little JibJab cheer! I'm so sorry Matt, I couldn't resist.

Doesn't my man look good in green? And how about those moves? I had no idea he could move like that! Haha. Enjoy a good laugh on me...and Matt!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

{ White-and-Wild Rice Chicken Salad }

I love having someone to cook for! It's seriously the best. And Matt loves eating whatever I make, so I feel like it's a win-win! Here's a new recipe I tried the other day that made my mouth water for more...

NOTE: I only cook food with 10 ingredients or less, all of which must be in my cupboard or easily accessible at Trader Joes, and it must take no longer than 45 min. to prepare. So if you're like me, you'll like this one...

6 oz box white-and-wild rice mix
3 tbl tarragon-flavored vinegar
1 tbl honey-Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pepper
1/4 c + 1 tbl vegetable oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Gala apple, cored, chopped
6 scallions, trimmed and chopped
2 large ribs celery, chopped
1/2 c toasted pecans (I candied mine!)
1/2 c dried cranberries

In small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons tarragon-flavored vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey-Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk in 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat. Add 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut 1/4-inch wide strips; saute 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove chicken to bowl; cover.

In same skillet, prepare 6-ounce box white-and-wild rice mix following package directions, using very hot water, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine 1 Gala apple, cored and chopped, 6 scallions, chopped, 2 large ribs celery, chopped, 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

Add hot rice, chicken and tarragon-Dijon dressing. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Makes: 6 servings at $1.75 each
Nutrient Value Per Serving: 406 calories, 20g fat (2g saturated), 21g protein, 36g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 560mg sodium, 44mg cholesterol.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

{ Thanksgiving Day :: 2010 }

I know I'm a week late, but how was everyone's Thanksgiving? Hopefully as fabulous as mine! While I certainly missed having all my siblings here this year, it was nice that Matt could fill in and carry out all the usual Thanksgiving traditions with me. Like running the famous Dana Point Turkey Trot! He's such a good sport. I pulled him out of bed bright and early and made him head down to the harbor in the cold with me to run a quick 5K. And as painful as it was, we were both really glad we did it so we could justify the TWO Thanksgiving dinners we'd be eating later that day!

After the run we cleaned ourselves up and headed down to San Clemente for Turkey Dinner #1 with all the Messicks. The food was incredible as always. I can never get enough of Grandma's candied yams, Aunt Christy's green bean casserole, and my Mom's delicious green salad. YUM! But what I loved even more than the food was introducing Matt to everyone and later having them come up and whisper in my ear "He's so HOT!" I know! I have great taste. :)

Once we'd stuffed ourselves to the maximum, Matt and I snuck out to meet up with the Laidlaw crew at his aunt's house in Corona for Turkey Dinner #2! We stayed just long enough for a few more bites of turkey, some chit chat and LOTS of pumpkin pie, before quietly sneaking out to spend the rest of the night cuddled up to a fire and some Clippers basketball. My favorite!

All in all I'd have to say it was a pretty fantastic Thanksgiving day. Only thing that could have made it better? Sharing it all with my Little D of course! Thank goodness he'll be here for Christmas. Hurry up baby! Auntie Aubrey misses you.