Thursday, January 29, 2009

First installment of "Reviews you can count on..."

Abbreviated - RYCCO!

I promise to give you honest, straight forward, enjoyable reviews for books, restaurants, movies, product...and're asking yourself...would you care if I like/dislike something?

I'm just like you. I'm an almost 30 something (29 y.o. for at least a couple more years), woman who has traveled, lived in different cities, states, even countries, I've worked, gone to school, lived on a budget, and now I'm getting ready to be a've been around the block (now, now...let's keep this G-rated) a few times.

So - today's RYCCO is a book review!

Now - this book was loaned to me by a dear friend. She's the fiance of a good friend of Craig's. Andrea attends Fellowship Church and has similar values as I do. I've only known her for about a year, but she is great.
She told me about this book and thought I'd love it. we continue this journey on'll notice I'm a fiction lover...fiction about British women who get themselves in series of hilarious events or books about Vampire Teen - love.

So when she said this is NON-FICTION book - being as sweet as I could be - I graciously took the book and said I'd try it.

Little did I know - I was going to be captivated by page 1.

This is a story of how two men - a former slave from Louisiana and a wealthy art dealer from Texas - how they meet and their worlds collide due to the heart and soul of one woman.

Their story unravels separately and you see into the progression of their lives. You realize how each event in their upbringing form the men they eventually become and you're shocked at the PURPOSE by which God brought them together.

Now - I'm a Christian and this book is spiritual. But, if you're not a Christian, be prepared to witness the Glory of God in a way where faith is tested and the outcome does not warm your heart - but rather - you see the power that God has over us all.

It's incredible. I sat on my bed and read this book with a box of tissues. As I turned each page, tissue after tissue was used. At one point, I put the book down because I couldn't see past my tears. I laughed out loud. I felt ashamed. I related.


If you're not convinced enough to run out and buy this book - at least check out the site and let the authors win you over.

Best book I've read this year!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby! Adapted from the hip hop master: Robert Van Winkle a.k.a. Vanilla Ice

Alright stop - all you cars - and listen.
Black ice is the Devil's invention.

Ice storm - grabbed a hold of Dallas tightly.
Sleet and ice hit our 'burb - all nightly.

Will this weather ever stop?
Yo- I don't know.
Turn on your hazards....and go slow.

Cold's so extreme - rock the parka - missin' the flip flop sandal.
Light up the fire - tryin' to get warm - huddled around a candle.

Cars going slow - if they go fast - then BOOM!
Safely driving - get off the crack and the 'shrooms.

Dangerous driving - should be a felony.
Slow driving - ah yeh - that's a sweet melody.

Love my hubby - man he's great.
Driving slow in the storm - no matter if he's late.

Ice is the problem - warm weather will solve it.
Check out the white beauty before the sun desolves it.

Ice, Ice Baby...
Yo -let's get out of here.
Word to your mutha....
Ice, ice, Baby - too cold...too cold...

Just keeping it real!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Times!

Craig and I had a very fun and busy last two weekends!

Last weekend (Jan 17th) - my Dad celebrated his 60th birthday! My sisters and I planned a big surprise party for him - but my Dad is a clever fellow - and figured something was up :-)
We flew in family and friends from all over the U.S. and Canada. So - during the week - we were a taxi service and had lots of secret missions to get everyone where they needed to be before the big party on Saturday.

To throw my Dad off - I planned a family dinner at our family's favorite Chinese restaurant. Now - this place is an old, converted Pizza Hut - it's a hole in the wall, small, family run place - which I think serves some of the best Chinese food in Dallas. We had family there and told my Dad - THAT - was his big birthday celebration....but...he was not easily fooled!

Dad hugging Mom at Friday dinner :-)

Parent's friends from N.J.

Canada family - we're taking over the world!

Chonnie, Sofia, Maddie

Garrett, Candice, Sofia, Maddie (we're a very serious family)

Saturday was the BIG day! The surprise party was held at Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie. It's a theater that was renovated and it was perfect for our party. The marquee showed the main attraction - "It's a Beautiful Life!" starring my Dad! It was great.
My Dad was surprised at the turnout. I guess he didn't realize how many people love him!
We had dinner, then went into the theater to watch a movie (which was actually a slide show of my Dad's life) and danced the night away to a band that played music from the 50's and 60's! SO FUN!

On Sunday - we had a surprise Baby shower for my sister, Chonnie. She's due in February - so it was nice to have family from all over to celebrate. Baby Bump wars - she wins

This past weekend was a fun weekend too. We celebrated Smith's birthday on Friday. Andrea made a ton of Mexican food that was so yummy and practically FORCED decadent chocolate brownies and white chocolate cheesecake down my throat. (waiting on Andrea and Mel to post their pics so I can steal them for the blog)

On Saturday - we went to Peyton's birthday party. It was so fun! I've missed my friends kiddo's bdays since I've been out of the country - but I am so glad we went. It was great seeing friends I hadn't seen in a while - and honestly - I was kind of freaked out with all the kids. Not the fact that there were a lot of kids - but the fact that I'll be having a kiddo of my own! YIKES! I watched my friends - and I think I was quieter than normal - but I watched them as all of them so naturally mothered/fathered their little ones. I just hope it motherhood looks good on me as it does on all my friends. (I stole these pics from Heather's blog!)

Sweet Peyton

Daddy's to be - Miller and Craig - nice pic boys!

Me, Andrea, and Alli (that's straight vodka in that cup)

Sunday - well - that's another post! Stay tuned...I review another movie that made me gag, made me laugh, made me clutch my heart as tears came to my eyes with all the emotion I felt...oh was a good one!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Witnessing history


I am watching the Inauguration today of President Barack Obama.
My political views are conservative - probably more Republican - but today is not the day to be Red or Blue or even in the is a day to be an American.

I am an immigrant to this beautiful country. I am the the story of the immigrant family - a family of 5 that came here with very little means but with much hope for a better life. I chose to become a citizen - not blessed to have been born a U.S. citizen - so this day means so much to me.

This day is the essence of the American dream. Finally - the blinders of the American people have been lifted off our eyes - the blinders of racial disparity, inequality - today is the day we unite as one.

I pray today that this unity carries through to the days, the years, the generations after us. I pray that no matter what your political view - you pray and stand behind the great position of President of the United States. I pray for President Obama - that he leads this great, powerful, hopeful country in the spirit of positive change that many are yearning for. I pray that President Obama turn to the Father for guidance and strength.

Our time - America - is today to show the world that hope can carry our great country to the land we know it can be and the land we are proud to pass down for generations to come.

God bless America.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't believe the lies

Sometimes I don't get it.
I listen to people that don't even know me. I take into heart their every word and allow those words to pierce my being.

Well NO.MORE!!

Who are these people that I let infiltrate my soul?


I should have learned my lesson when "Pineapple Express" received good reviews. Touting the film was funny, an expression of today's "pot generation", and the huge "pot-ularity" it was having with "our"generation.
Worst 2 hours of my life.
If I could take back 2 hours of my life - any two hours - it wouldn't be the time Shauna and I spent in one of cars drinking wine and going to a Goth club, it wouldn't be the time I tried to do a toe touch in my glasses and 150 lb body (mind you - I was only 5 ft tall) for cheerleader try outs in the 7th grade, it wouldn't be the time I sported coulats, nor would it be the time I thought it would be a great idea to enter the Daisy Duke contest at Venice Beach Teen Dance club...NOPE!

It would be watching "Pineapple Express."

So - why the sudden vent episode towards movie critics? So called - experts - gave one the funniest movies of the YEAR (ok - so the year is only 16 days old) a D-!

"Bride Wars" was everything a chick-flick should be.

Girl moments bombard this they should.
- Ridiculous girl behavior - CHECK!
- Hot fashion -CHECK!
- Hot guys - CHECK!
- Wedding cliches (and if you've ever planned a wedding - please don't deny you had some Bridezilla in you...cuz ladies...we all did) - CHECK!
- Strong women characters - CHECK!
- Laugh out loud moments where you hit your friend on the arm and say "Oh my gosh - I've totally done that!" - CHECK!
- Great, sappy, unbelievable ending (like you don't believe it would ever happen) - CHECK!

To a true chick-flicker - such as myself - movies have to lots of laughter, romance, friendship, maybe a tear jerker scene or two, and most importantly - scenes where you RELATE to the character.
When I went with Shauna to see this, my BFF for many moons, I knew it was a great movie when we looked at each other at the end and said "We should start over our life. We should have weddings on the same day, have kids at the same time...everything!"
Granted - sarcasm laced our words - but hey - we still had our BFF moment.

And that's why - I give "Bride Wars" a B+!!

****On another note****
Shauna and I saw the movie at Studio Movie Grill in Lewisville. I walked in and she was already in line. She was sipping on a glass of white wine, handed me the menu and said "If we're really best friends, you'll know what I want to eat."

I looked at the menu and within a second I looked up at her and said "Oh easy. We'll share the 5 sampler appetizer platter."

Great success! So we got it - not the 3 or the 4 but the 5 choice appetizer sampler platter...with a basket of sweet potato fries on the side...and a diet Dr. Pepper (j/k - she ordered a regular Dr. P when we realized the gluttony we were about the partake in).

this is what happens when the flash is too bright
this is your camera on drugs
The reason my baby is so happy :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Can you believe it?

Tomorrow - is the middle of January!
Where did the month go?

You (a.k.a my faithful blog reader - notice "reader" is not plural *sigh* I try so hard to bring readers to my blog - maybe I'll have a raffle drawing or a cake walk to bring readers to me - anyhoo) are probably thinking:

"Czarina - what have you been doing this month of January???"

Well - "Thank you blog reader for asking!"

Here's what January and I have been doing:
December 29th (not January but close enough) - took a walk down Memory Lane, meandered down Current Ct, and dawdled on Future Street with my high school friends. We laughed about the past, shared moments of our present, and discussed our futures - what a great time with great friends.
Monica, Addison, Julie, Brad
Isaac, Ashley, Cassidy, Andrea
Great times, Great friends

January 1 (12:02 a.m.) - Woke up from a food coma in our King Size bed at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. Hours earlier (on the eve of the New Year) - Craig and I ate at Bob's and spent a romantic evening at the Adolphus Hotel. Craig proposed to me at the Adolphus, we spent our honeymoon night at that hotel, so we thought what a better way to spend the beginning of a New Year at the Adolphus - our "last night" as just a duo - since our little one will be with us in a few months.

January 2 - I got my heart broken. Pure anguish. I can't believe all the times I have supported you, loved you, cheered you turn around and treat me like this??? Dang it Texas Tech Red Raider football team! How could you tease me with an 11-1 season, bring me to the Cotton Bowl decked out in my "Future Red Raider on Board" maternity shirt, and LOSE! Not just lose - but get your guns handed to you by Ole Miss. But, I am all about forgiveness - so I forgive you for embarrassing me. Just make sure you get a BCS bowl next year.
Jan 3 - Dinner with Ashley and Clay - Craig and Clay are devil worshippers - oops - I mean they listen and go to heavy metal concerts together. So its great that my husband has a good friend with one of my oldest and dearest friend. Our conversation consisted of: baby names, Dubai, guns, Wii, a reference to 90210, becoming parents at the same time...we covered a lot in 2 hours.

Craig and I bought furniture for a house that's not yet ours. We're taking the Kevin Costner approach to this house buying thing "If you build it - he will come." So - we bought the built house and hope that he (aka our lender that moves like molasses) will come through with the paperwork so we can close.
Here's a pic of the house that we hope to live in soon

*Not actual size*

I had a hot date with Shauna last Saturday...I'll give you a recap of our night out later in my next post - so stay tuned (and if that's not enough to bring you back I'm going to do a movie review of the movie we saw - and I know my opinion matters greatly to you!)

Love you Blog Reader! I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I think this baby is going to come out of my face


Yuppers....this kid is going to either bud out of my cheeks, I'm going to sneeze him/her (for the sake of typing and saving my fingers - let's refer to this baby as him - well at least until I find out if he has the right parts), or I'm going to open my mouth and he's going to crawl out.


Most women - ok NORMAL - women put on weight in their hips and their backside when they get pregnant. This post is similar to one I wrote about a few weeks ago. But, since then, I've been on different motherhood sites (which by the way are NOT about supporting your fellow mommy-to-bes but more about bashing women who have questions that some might feel the whole universe should know...sorry....I regress) - and these sites are all about different mommy's who are complaining about the size of their backside and the widening of their hips - how all those things are in preparation for the baby to have easier access to the outside world.

I know once this baby runs out of's supposed to just moonwalk himself out of ready made tunnel aka Va-jay-jay. Well - not this baby in my belly. This baby - who I really, really, really love and talk to everyday (sometimes I sing to him and sometimes....I even rap...) must be ready to come out of my face because that's where all my weight is going.

I've put on 8 lbs - pretty good for 15 weeks but not great. But, 4 lbs is in my milk-makers (aka knockers), 1 lb in my arms and fatty back, and the other guessed my face!!!

Some people call it maternity glow - HA!

Thank God for Craig - who tries so hard to reassure me I look great - aahh but yes Grasshopper - you know me well - I am baffled by his compliments when he is looking at the same face I see in the mirror.

But - this body - is making a baby - and this face - is going to give my little one lots of sloppy kisses - so for now I'm going to love what I see (I just wish there was little less of it).

The EVIDENCE (aaahh - I can't believe I'm letting you see this!):

Monday, January 5, 2009


The Bachelor comes on tonight.


I loved Jason and DeAnna was so undeserving of him!

Who's excited????????

Friday, January 2, 2009

8 things from 2008 I'll remember forever

8. Living in Dominica - loathing it, leaving it, missing itTalk about beauty
Memories I'll keep forever

7. Moving to Miami - being in the same country as my husband but not in the same zip code was still not fun - but I still had a little fun :-)
Back when I was fun...

6. Traveling - I visited - Puerto Rico, Les Saintes, San Francisco, Miami, New York, London, Paris, and Lubbock

5. Getting Dengue fever and surviving it while in Dominica - I'll spare you the pics of my gross rash

4. Moving back to Dallas and being a wife again - then moving AGAIN out of our little, run-down, shack (aka duplex) back to Duncanville

3. My possible diagnosis of thyroid cancer and the tests I went through to find out I didn't have thyroid cancer but Hashimoto's (autoimmune disorder) instead - now that was a time of trust and surrender to the Lord I had never experienced

2. Making the most difficult decision of my life to take time off from school....

1. Finding out Craig and I were going to be parents to Baby Hounsel due in June 2009

What a year! I never thought in a million years I would have a life full of hills and valleys like I have experienced. 2009 is going to be a whole different adventure that I am excited, nervous, hopeful, anxious about. What a life I've been blessed with!

What a blessing!

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