Monday, December 31, 2012

Two Thousand Twelve Rewind

I've just spent the past few minutes the yearly recaps posts I've written in years past. I think it's such a fun way to look back at a relatively long period of time, but in such a succinct way. I actually never did a recap of 2011, in part because there were a lot of moments that year I didn't want to relive. 2012 was a lot better, and hopefully 2013 improve again. But first, here's a look back at the last 12 months.

My mom's birthday kicked off the year, which is significant because it was the first one she wasn't here with us.
At my mom's yahrzeit ceremony, Novemeber 2012
Unfortunately, January is also when a good friend of my from college died in a car accident. I hadn't seen her since the photo below had been taken, and had been looking forward to seeing her at my wedding, but unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Me and Megan
At Oak Alley Plantation, March 2009
In happier news, I spent a lot time wedding planning posting about our photographer, explaining why we weren't taken engagement photos, and deciding on a dress.

We mailed out our STDs letting our guests know the wedding was on it's way.

Meet Up
I had a blogger meet-up with Jesse of Elle Lit (who sadly is no longer blogging), and on my and the boy's trip to Nashville met up with Sarah of Music City Sarah
Blogger Meet-Up

I received my bridal shower invite in the mail and blogged about how much to share when planning a wedding, our candy bar, wedding website, and bridesmaids' dresses.

I flew back to California for my bridal show. On that trip I also went shopping with my grandmother to pick out materials that she could use while making my veil.

We mailed out our wedding invitations .

Cake Samples
We decided on cake flavors, picked out our ketubah, purchased shoes for the ceremony, contemplated a money dance, and mocked up our centerpieces.

We celebrated our nieces 5th birthday. We also survived Huricane Isaac in the days leading up to out wedding, and while suffering a change in plans due to the hurricane, I still had my bachelorette party.
sara - 05

Photo by Sabree Hill Photography
We were married!

At Kyle Stadium
I celebrated my 28th birthday, while my dad was in town visiting. The boy and I also traveled to College Station, Texas to watch the LSU vs. A&M football game. (Unfortunately while we were in Texas we missed our nephew's 3rd birthday.)

DSC_3064 (1)
We spent Thanksgiving in California with my family.

We spent Christmas in Louisiana with the boy's family. (Full recap to come!)

What were the highlights of 2012 for you? And here's to an even better 2013 for us all!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday (17)

For the last time of 2012, here's my edition of Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by Suko's Notebook.
Mailbox Monday
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This was a holiday gift from my BFF, and was even on my holiday wish list. Funny enough, she had picked up a copy for herself a few weeks ago but hadn't yet read it, so now we can read it together. I've heard great things about this, so hopefully it's one that lives up to the hype.

So I may have gone into Barnes & Nobles intended to purchase gifts for others, and came out with these instead. At least these were in addition to the gifts, and at their bargain price I couldn't really say no.
William & Catherine Their Story by Andrew Morton
The fact that I took off work to watch the royal wedding, gives you an idea just how obsessed I am with British royalty. When all the books came out last year, I wanted to buy everyone of them, but couldn't quite justify the cost. I did buy one, and while I wasn't a huge fan of it, hopefully this one will be better. Plus at 85% of it was well worth it to me.

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
Another one off my holiday wish list. I was a little concerned I would also receive this as a holiday present, but thankfully that didn't happen. Now I can finally read this one, and most likely pick up Gregory's newest soon.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And how likely are you to go into a store intending to buy a gift, and wind up buying for yourself instead?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meals, Moments, Reviews, & Remembering in December

With December being the last month of the year, the monthly recap is a few days early. As it is, Thursday we went through the year's stats yesterday I recapped my favorite books of the year, and in the next few days I'll be recapping all of 2012. So many recaps, and so little time! As before, my monthly recap post is inspired by Lisa's own monthly recap post.

One of the most delicious things I tried this month had to be gingerbread flavored oreos (paired below with chamomile tea from my keurig). It's a vanilla cookie, with gingerbread flavored creme and it's just as amazing as you expect it to be. I'm not sure how long you'll find this on shelves, or if you'll still even be able to, but if you can I would stock up on this now. Yes, they really are THAT amazing.

As expected we did celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas on our home (but you'll have to wait a few days to here all about Christmas though).
But the other big highlight of the month is that I officially changed my name. I still do have to change it on my licenses, credit cards, insurance cards, and everything else. But I am officially a new person now!

Also, December 21 marked my 4 year blogoversary. Since it's right in the middle of holidays season, I have a hard time blogging about it as it happens. But at least you all now know that From L.A. to LA is officially 4 years old!

This past month I reviewed 5 books and 4 movies
A Desire Path by Jan Shapin
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
A Cowboy for Christmas by Lori Wilde
Glass Heart by Amy Garvey
Winning the City Redux by Theodore Weesner
Killing them Softly
Pitch Perfect
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Jack Reacher
My favorite out of the books would be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, whereas Pitch Perfect was my favorite of the movies.

Last December I went with the boy's family to Disney World,
Watching the Show
and two years before that I went to Disneyland with the boy.
Groom Mickey & Bride Minnie?
Of course, Disney World now has the new Fantasayland, and out in California the have Cars Land as well as The Little Mermaid ride. Basically, I think a trip to at least one of the Disney parks is required sooner rather than later!

What are the meals, moments, reviews, and remembering you experienced this December?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Top 10 Books of 2012

In the next few days I'll be recapping December along with the entire year, but felt for me in order to really wrap up the entire year I had to include the books. It was interesting going through this, because some my opinion on some books changed with some time. (My number 1 pick wasn't even a 5/5 rating at the time I reviewed it.) So without further adieu, here are my top 10 books of 2012.

1. Celebrating Interfaith Marriages by Rabbi Devon A. Lerner
While I enjoyed this when I read it, it wasn't till I started thinking about our wedding ceremony that I realized how amazing it was. I realize I haven't blogged our ceremony yet, but when I do, I will be referencing this over and over again.

2. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
I loved this one because it brought me back to my time in Israel. Although think even if you've never been, you will still absolutely love this one.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reading this brought me right back to high school (although not always in good way). I have read some negative reviews of this lately, which surprise me a little considering how much I enjoyed it.

4. Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
I loved this book and was so excited when I heard a third book in the series was planned for 2013. I may have been swayed to put this here, by the fact that Stephanie Dray found my blog and commented on my post. But still, this was a fun read on a time period I hadn't really read before.

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I feel like I'm a year late reading this, but now can join the club of its fans. I do have Insurgent to read, although feel like the longer I wait to read it, the less time I have to wait for the third book of the trilogy.

6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is the book that everyone is talking about this year. If you haven't read this one you need to, if only so you can read it before anyone spoils the twist for you.

7. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
I was so excited when I finally got my hands on this. I wasn't as big of a fan of the sequel, but can't wait to see how Rhine's story ends when the third book comes out later this year.

8. Courting Her Highness by Jean Plaidy
I love all the Jean Plaidy books I've read, but this one has to be one of my favorites. It's interesting going back and reading how I lamented they were no longer republishing her books in that review, especially since they've started to again, just with a different publishing house.

9. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin is an author, like Jean Plaidy, that I always seem to love. In my review I said this was probably my favorite of hers. As time has passed I'm not so sure on that anymore, but think because I read this so quickly I don't remember it that well. I guess that just means I probably need to go back and reread it!

10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
I didn't think I would like this one nearly as much as I did, but I guess I should have listened to everyone who recommended it sooner. I haven't picked up the next two books yet, but plan on doing so soon.

What books would make up your top 10 reads of 2012? And have you read any of the books on my list?

Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 in Numbers

I've done posts on the various stats on my blog previously, but with the year ending I thought it'd be fun to post stats from the entire year. This way next year I can compare to see how much my readership has grown!

I currently have 199 followers through Google Friend Connect.

I've had over 20,000 unique page views according to Google Analytics. (The rest of the stats are also from Google Analytics.)

The top 10 blog posts written in 2012 based on number of comments are:
1. 28
2. The Big Day
3. Mailbox Monday (2)
3. Mailbox Monday (5)
5. Mailbox Monday (10)
6. Mailbox Monday (8)
6. Sneak Peak
6. Mailbos Monday (15)
9. Mailbox Monday
9. The First Fifty
9. Mailbox Monday (3)
9. Mailbox Monday (4)
9. Mailbox Monday (6)
9. My Two Moms
9. From Miss to Mrs: Becoming the Bride

The top 10 blog posts written in 2012 based on number of page views are:
1. Show Us Your... Holiday Decorations
2. Show Us Your... Living Room
3. Show Us Your... Kitchen
4. Behind the Labels
5. Show Us Your... Holiday Cards
6. Dressing Up the Tables
7. Last Day at Disney World
8. Non-gagement Photos
9. Show Us Your... Side Dishes
10. On Display, On Display

The top 10 blogs that referred visitors were:
1. Kelly's Korner
2. Newlyweds Next Door
3. New Girl on the Post
4. Blonde... Undercover Blonde
5. Little Mrs. Married
6. The Java Mama
7. Beyond the Aisle
8. A Little Pink in the Cornfields
9. Mrs. Q: Book Addict
10. A Complete Waste of Make-Up

The top 10 search terms that brought people to the blog (excluding the expected "From L.A. to LA blog") were:
1. Palm Springs
2. Ben & Jerry's Cake Batter
3. Chateau d'If
4. Adrienne Maloof Wedding Dress Display
5. Zours
6. Alex Box Stadium
7. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Rapunzel
8. Laying Out
9. Michael Phelps Niece and Nephew
10. Amy's Shepherd's Pie

In the past year I had blog visitors from 97 different countries
The top 10 visitor countries were:
1. United States
2. Canada
3. United Kingdom
4. New Zealand
5. Australia
6. Germany
7. India
8. Philappines
9. France
10. Sweden

In the past year I had visitors from all 50 states as well as Washington D.C.
The top 10 visitor states were:
1. California
2. Texas
3. Louisiana
4. Illinois
5. New York
6. Virginia
7. Florida
8. Georgia
9. North Carolina
10. Maryland

Since a lot of this post was based on my readership, tell me about yourself and let me know in the comments where you're reading from! (Feel free to be a vague as you feel comfortable.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From Miss to Mrs: Couple Time

After our first look, the boy and I took the golf cart about halfway back to the main house. From there we walked the rest of the way back taking pictures along the way.
Yes, I realize this is the same basic photo just zoomed in each time. And just be warned that you're about to see a ton more photos with us, with a ton more kissing.
I think if I'm going to get a more traditional photo turned into a canvas, it will be the one directly about or the one directly below.
I do realize that the boy isn't smiling in either of these two options, but in someways I think that fits his personality better. At least the personality that he gives off the most, especially when it comes to photos.
We then took a few photos with one of the garconnieres in the background.
The photo above is another artsy type photo that I'd really love to have blown up onto a canvas. (Which makes the total of photos I want on canvas 3. I don't think that's too many, right?)
From there we walked along the path to get some photos with the plantation home in the background.
We took a few photos up close, although I think at this point our smiles are starting to look a little forced. I do still like them, but probably wouldn't list them as my favorite photos for the day. And don't plan on getting them blown up canvas size either.
How many photos did you get blown up to show in your home? Or instead, how many do you think is the right number?

All photos in this post courtesy of Sabree Hill Photography.

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover
From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Supper
From Miss to Mrs: Gifting the Girls
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Night
From Miss to Mrs: Oh What a Beautiful Morning
From Miss to Mrs: Getting Prettified
From Miss to Mrs: Prepping the Plantation
From Miss to Mrs: Turtle Time
From Miss to Mrs: The Photographer Has Arrived
From Miss to Mrs: Becoming the Bride
From Miss to Mrs: Dress Details
From Miss to Mrs: Ou Est le Groom?
From Miss to Mrs: A Bridge-y First Look

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Movie Review

Jack Reacher
My FIL has been a fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher books for a while now, so while I may not have read any of the books I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. And knowing I was seeing an action type movie, which isn't always my favorite, overall I didn't mind this.

I was a little predictable, but I think movies like this tend to be. And while there were a scene or two that groan inducing, overall it was that gruesome.

The highlight of the film for me was a lawyer played by Rosamund Pike. She hasn't been in a lot, but if anything you'll probably recognize her as Keira Knightley's oldest sister in Pride and Prejudice.

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than what I expected. I did go into it knowing I was seeing an action movie, and I think as long as you know and expect that, you should have a good time with this.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday (16)

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. MM was first started by Marcia of A Printed Page, and now travels each month. For December, our host is Suko's Notebook. So sit back, and enjoy the books!
Mailbox Monday
From TLC Book Tours
Coming Home by Mariah Stewart
Home Again by Mariah Stewart
Almost Home by Mariah Stewart
Hometown Girl by Mariah Stewart
Home for the Summer by Mariah Stewart
In February, I'll be on the tour for Mariah Stewart's The Long Way Home, which you don't actually see pictured here. That book should be arriving in the next few weeks, but in the meantime the publisher sent me copies of all the previous books in the series so I could catch up. One aspect I love about romance books is that within a series characters from the other books make cameos, but each book works as a standalone. So I know that I won't need to read all of these to get The Long Way Home, but I love that the publisher was willing to send them out. It's going to take me some time to get through all of these, but I'm looking forward to getting lost in this world.

What did you find in your mailbox this week? And what is your opinion about reading a book series out of order?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

From Miss to Mrs: A Bridge-y First Look

The boy was finally in place on the bridge in the Japanese garden, as I approached him for our first look.
I look so excited in the photo, where the boy looks almost resigned to the fact he's about to spend far more time then he'd like taking photos in the heat. The boy did tell me several times not to expect a movie moment for our first look where he's gushing over how gorgeous I was, which I think you can kind of tell in the pictures. But even though I wouldn't describe them as magical, I still love these photos.
We did spend a good amount of time talking (mainly me wanting an explanation on where he'd been) before our photographer told us it was time to start posing to take pretty photos.
You are about to see a lot of photos of the boy and me kissing, but I guess you all will just have to suffer through it. :)
You can't really tell from the photos, but that bridge is steep. To the point where there's a sign next to it telling you not to wear heels. The sign doesn't make sense until you go to cross it and then, you get it.
Because of the slope, I had second thoughts on having our first look here. But our photographer just told me to do it and wear sandals during the shoot, which is what I'm doing in all the photos. My blue heels were waiting for me in the golf cart.
While the boy didn't have to worry about changing shoes since his were flat, even he had a little trouble not sliding down while kissing on the slope. It's the main reason why his hand looks to tight around mine and awkward against the rail in these shots.
From there our photographer took a few shots up close,
including the one you saw in our thank you cards,
before moving to the front of the bridge to showcase the reason why I chose this location for our look.
Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?
I think these photos make the golf cart ride from the bridal cottage on the opposite side of the plantation, the miss-communication with the boy, and the extra steep bridge completely worth it.
I think the one directly above is probably my favorite of this series, and one I'm thinking of getting turned into a canvas.
Did you decide to do a first look? Or do you think you'll want one when you get married? In both cases, why or why not?

All photos in this post courtesy of Sabree Hill Photography.

Miss a Recap Post?
From Miss to Mrs: The Calm Before the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: There's a Hurricane Coming?
From Miss to Mrs: Here Comes Isaac
From Miss to Mrs: Weathering the Cane
From Miss to Mrs: After the Storm
From Miss to Mrs: Trials and Tribulations
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Errands
From Miss to Mrs: A Night on the Town
From Miss to Mrs: The Hangover
From Miss to Mrs: Rehearsing in the Heat
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Supper
From Miss to Mrs: Gifting the Girls
From Miss to Mrs: The Last Single Night
From Miss to Mrs: Oh What a Beautiful Morning
From Miss to Mrs: Getting Prettified
From Miss to Mrs: Prepping the Plantation
From Miss to Mrs: Turtle Time
From Miss to Mrs: The Photographer Has Arrived
From Miss to Mrs: Becoming the Bride
From Miss to Mrs: Dress Details
From Miss to Mrs: Ou Est le Groom?