We’re Engaged!

Proposal_Kiss

HO-LY COW, we’re planning a wedding!

I still can’t believe it – I’ve only been planning this since I was about…5-years-old!

Here’s the story:  July 17, 2014 – Nathan had asked me to take off a few hours early from work so I could tag along while he applied for a fire station near Tahoe.  I am his “good luck charm”, as the Cal Fire application road trip proved to be successful.  I agreed, and he picked me up from work.  We drove up toward Tahoe, and got off around Sly Park – We’ve made many trips this way to play in the snow, and for Nathan to show off his 4-wheeling “skills” (although when we first started dating, we went and got stuck off road for nearly 8 hours…smooth move! Oh well, he still won me over).  I started to mention things that looked familiar to me (still clueless on what was happening) – “Oh, look! There’s the restaurant we ate at with the man who helped us get out of the snow that day.”  Nathan denied it, saying it was not the same restaurant…I thought that was strange, but blew it off.  After begging Nathan to pull over because I had to “piddle”, I notice we are pulled over at the same overlook we had gotten stuck and stranded in when we first started dating.  Still clueless, I go pick out my “piddle tree”, then go meet Nathan at the overlook to enjoy the view.  We take a picture, and he starts to move in front of me – This is when I finally got suspicious. 

“We were stuck here for almost 8 hours…I knew that was the second I fell in love with you.” [Insert tears here]

Proposal_Kiss“So…there’s no application?”

So, to make a long story longer…We are BEYOND excited!  This relationship has grown into something so special, and we can’t wait to start our lives together as husband and wife (WOAH! “Husband” and “wife” :) )!

The Plans:
We have booked Newcastle Wedding Gardens and Red Horse Barn for our ceremony/reception venue – It’s GORGEOUS, and Georgia is AMAZING!  For photography, we have booked Siegel’s Portrait Design, and cannot wait to work with Rick and Lee – The dynamic husband and wife photography duo!  And to get the party started, we’ve hired
Pat Hugunin with HUGEntertainment, and cannot wait to work with him!

I will keep everyone posted on all of the details!  This is just too much fun!  Eek!Ring_Tacori

Looking good should feel good

c.jones:

Beauty, wine AND a great cause. What’s not to love?

Originally posted on Bare & Bronze:

As most of you know, I just started my own mobile beauty business. I wanted to combine two things that I love; beauty and giving back. I recently talked about “beauty parties” where someone hosts a party with their friends and I perform the desired beauty services while they drink wine, eat, mingle….whatever they like to do. I then donate 15% of my profits from the evening to the hosts charity of choice. 

I just added a new aspect to my “beauty parties”…..WINE! I recently became a ONEHOPE Hope at Home event specialist. Who doesn’t love wine and beauty treatments? If you haven’t heard of ONEHOPE wine yet, you are missing out! They donate 50% of their profits to charity! Each varietal has a partner cause, for example, every Pinot Noir purchase goes towards the ASPCA to fund pet adoptions (Pinot for Paws)! How awesome is that? The wines are produced…

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25 Things Every 25-Year-Old NEEDS to Buy

And I’m not talkin’, “I NEED those shoes”.

The last couple of weeks (months) I have felt like I am constantly planning my life around buying things – Having to stop by this store to pick up milk.  Stop by the gas station to fill up.  When do I have time to run to the store to pick up TP?  I’m out of face moisturizer – When can I swing by the mall to pick it up?  The dogs are out of food.

Being 25 is expensive.  I don’t even have kids yet!

So, I’ve compiled a list of 25 things that every 25-year-old really does NEED to buy:

1. Groceries – And not just the “Mom and Dad don’t get the good snacks, so I’ll get my own” kind of groceries.  These are like the, “What’s for dinner?” groceries.

2.  Pledge – Do you even know what this is? Dusting – You have to do it.  Pledge will make your life SO much better.  Trust me.  I tried to just do the, “Eh, who needs Pledge? I’ll just wipe it down. Same thing.” Wrong.  It’s not.  And you’ll actually have to dust LESS with Pledge.  Just do it.

3.  Stamps – What?  Yes, you will actually have to MAIL something at some point.  And guess what, it ain’t free.  You can get them at the Wells Fargo ATM.  I know you go there. 
But yes, the Post Office does exist.

4.  Baby/Wedding…shower invites, gifts, decorations…anything – Guess what?  You’re growing up, and so are all of your friends.  They’re getting married, having babies, etc.  You’re throwing showers, buying gifts, making decorations, etc.  It’s happening.  You can no longer see that pretty, smooth stainless steel refridgerator of yours (Ha!  You wish.  You’re 25, and life is expensive, remember?  Enjoy your hand-me-down, 25-year-old fridge).

5.  Napkins – You have paper towels?  Great.  Use them for “paper towel duties”.  Break down and get yo’self some Vanity Fair Everyday napkins.  Don’t invite your mother over for brunch, and put your folded paper towel napkins on the table.  Trust me.  I learned the hard way.

6. Gas – You’re driving around more than ever now, purchasing all of your 25-Year-Old Purchases, meeting friends for happy hour, grabbing a latte…that dreaded “E” shows up WAY too often.

7.  Cleaning Products – You HAVE to do chores.  Except now, Mom and Dad aren’t there to “not” clean up after you.

8.  WiFi – I don’t think I even need to explain.

9.  Toilet Paper – Again…no need to explain.  I hope.

10.  Kleenex – TP is not a good substitute…I promise spending the extra dough on a box of tissue is going to make. your. life.  And your husband/boyfriend/fiance/partner/friend will appreciate it, too (even though they swear they could care less).

11.  Coffee – I don’t care if it’s Starbucks, Peet’s, Temple, Folgers, K-Cups…You need it.

12.  “Thank You” Cards – Remember when Mom and Dad hounded you for days, and weeks after birthday parties, graduations, etc.?  Now, you’ll feel guilty if you don’t send a “Thank You”. 
Keep some on-hand.

13.  Address Labels – With your very own name, and your very own address on them! 
Yep, you’ve hit it big.

14.  “Junk Drawer” Items - Tape, pens, a notepad, stapler, restaurant mints, etc.  You’ll be scrambling around, looking for them someday.  For some reason.  I know it.

15.  A planner – Can I recommend Erin Condren? :) Her 2014-2015 Life Planners came out TODAY!  Keep your life straight!  You’re going to forget things…no matter how many times you say you won’t.  You’re a guy?  And you don’t need a planner?  You do.  And you will thank me for it later.  You’re welcome.

16.  Mixed Greens – Safeway. $5.  Big ‘ol pack of it.  I’m not sayin’ you have to go all Paleo on us, but take care of yourself.  Pair it with your pizza, burger, whatever other crap you’re eating. 
It’s worth it.

17.  A decent phone case – The last thing you need to be paying for is a phone replacement.  You’re going to drop it, kick it, throw it, whatever.  Protect it.

18.  Fingernail Clippers – Clean hands.  You’re 25.  You’re going to job interviews. 
Going on dates.  Getting engaged.  Keep ‘em clean.

19.  Resume Paper – Speaking of “job interviews” – Keep some on hand.  We’ve all done the “Oh, crap! It’s almost midnight, I have an interview tomorrow, I’m not going to get any sleep!” dance.  Stick to the Cupid Shuffle, and get yourself a pack of paper.

20.  The AP Mobile App – Okay, this one is free, BUT…I suggest you invest some time into it.  Or, at least download it.  And allow those pesky “Push Notifications”.  You’re going to be busy running around, living your 25-Year-Old Life, you don’t have time to sit down and watch the news.  This will keep you up-to-date on your current events.

21.  Interview Outfit – You may not need to “dress up” for your job – hell, you might not even have a job – BUT there will be that one occasion where you’ll need to dress your best – Interview, meeting with clients, wedding, cocktail hour, etc.  Get yourself a nice ‘fit, and use it,
when necessary.

22.  Vitamins – And actually take them…gummy, Flinstone, whatever.

23.  Ibuprofen – Tylenol.  Motrin.  It doesn’t just “appear” in the cabinet…

24.  Pots & Pans – You’re not going to eat takeout every night, and what else are you going to cook your Top Ramen in at the end of the month, when you’ve already paid for all of your other
25-Year-Old items?  You might want to throw a plate, bowl and utensils into the cart, too.

Happy Hour drinks & bites – Don’t drink?  That’s why I said, “bites”… Because after all of this, and your expensive 25-Year-Old Life, you’ll need ‘em. 
And you’ll miss your friends.

Someone needs to start a movement…

And I’ll be the start to the start of the movement.

WHAT IS UP WITH THIS WORLD?

Every time I look at the news, there’s another school shooting, stabbing, attack, etc. Another murder. Another threat of war.

Can’t we all just get along? It’s like we’re getting smarter, and smarter, and dumber, and dumber at the same time.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am TERRIFIED to bring children into this world. What will it be like then? Will it continue to get worse and worse? Or will something give, and things will turn around?

I was talking to a co-worker today about video games (I’m not even going to start on this…), and his idea of having employees be rewarded for completing work by earning “points” to your favorite video game/app. Yeah…like I said, I’m not even going to start on this…

Anyway, I decided that war should be fought in video game form. Like – IF there is a WWIII, each country is just another player in Call of Duty. Lock themselves in a room for months. Eat some pizza. Chinese take-out. Fight it out virtually. Wouldn’t that work? Same thing, right?

I’m leaving politics out of this. I know, I know…impossible, but for the sake of my poor little mind…we are leaving them out.

What can we do? Can’t we just be happy? Or at least just content. Even just semi-content. Sometimes I feel like if everyone in the world just listened to country music, everything would be fine. :) HA. I know…some of you out there…somewhere…hate it, but seriously. Have you listened to a country song? Okay, some are sad and depressing. But most of them just make me feel good.

If everyone felt good, would things be different in this world?

Let’s just start a list of “feel-good” things. And get the ENTIRE world to read it…and add to it…and do ONE thing on the list each day…

Yeah? It’ll catch on.

I’ll start:

Listening to music.
Family.
Friends.
Puppies.
Looking at old pictures.
Taking a walk.
Getting a massage.
Reading a book.
Going to concerts.
Shopping. Even just window shopping. :)
Writing blog posts.
Cleaning the house (I know…I’m a freak).
Growing a garden.
Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

I don’t want to take all of the good ones. Add to list. Do it. Now. We’re starting a “feel-good movement”.

#feelgoodmovement

Great. Look how good that looks. See? We’re already helping.

Now, GO! Share the #feelgoodmovement.

Let’s do this. In fact, let’s make June a #feelgoodmonth. Share something. Everyday. That makes you feel good.

feel_good_movement

The “Cool” Girl With MS

Multiple Sclerosis, MS, Sucks

I decided that I can’t very well be the “cool” girl with MS if I don’t provide any updates.
So, here we go:

I had a routine MRI checkup last Friday.  I always get a bit nervous before my MRI’s.  Each one that I’ve had since diagnosis, we have seen new lesions that have formed on my brain and spine.  Granted, we don’t really know exactly what this means for my future, but the unknown is unsettling.

For whatever reason, this MRI seemed to be less threatening.  I think I’m finally learning that there is no point to stress.  Whatever will be, will be!  I even fell asleep inside the machine.
That never happens.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been inside one of those things, but they are anything but peaceful.

Anyway, I had a very pleasant little nap in there.  Could’ve been that it was the end of the day – Who knows?

I waited 3, longggg days to hear anything back from the doc about the results.  Of course, I missed the call, called back, they didn’t actually have the results, waited another day, missed the call, called back, they took a message…the usual.

BUT all of the waiting was worthwhile -

This was the first MRI that I had had, since diagnosis, with NO new lesions!

WOW.  Such good news!

I am to continue with the twice daily pills, Tecfidera, and will see the doc in July to discuss
(or not discuss) the MRI results.

I started the Paleo diet on March 22, after reading about some very positive results between MS and the diet.  Are they true?  Who knows?  Could it hurt?  Probably not.  Is it because of the diet that I had a great MRI?  Who knows?

I will, however, keep on keepin’ on with it!  Plus, once you go Paleo…you’ll never go back.  I was a big, fat cheater this past week, and felt HORR. IBLE.  Seriously.  Don’t cheat.  You’ll regret it.  Okay, you may not regret a cupcake here and there…or some chocolate…or a big, fat bowl of pasta…
but don’t go crazy. :)

So, CHEERS to a fabulous MRI, and the hope for many, many more to come!

Life With a Firefighter: Adjusting

It’s been quite a journey, and we are so, so very grateful and so very lucky that things have turned out the way that they have.

Over a year ago, Nathan decided to pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter.  He began, and completed, EMT classes at Sac State, and was accepted into the
California Regional Fire Academy (CRFA) shortly after.

In July, we attended orientation.  I was put in a separate room, with other girlfriends, fiancées and family members, where the captains pretty much told us that the next months ahead were nowhere near about us, and to get over it now, or get out.
Oh, and that Uncrustables were going to save our lives.  I didn’t doubt this.  
And they totally did.

I was so excited, I could barely stand myself.  Nathan was just embarrassed…

California Regional Fire Academy SacramentoI was trying to get him to pose next to the fire truck, but apparently that’s embarrassing…whatever.

He began the academy, and we lived through many months of sweaty socks, sweaty shorts, sweaty shirts, haircuts, sweat, sweaty towels, flash cards, late nights of studying, sweaty boots, sweaty…anything you can think of.  Oh, and boxes and boxes and boxes of Uncrustables.

During the academy, we prepared for the long months, or even years, of job searching after it was over.  He made trips to stations anywhere from just a few minutes from home, to a few hours from home, just to put in some face time, meet new people, and hope for a job after graduation.

San Jose Fire DepartmentIn San Jose – Again, here I am trying to snap pictures…
I’m going to be the most embarrassing parent.

He graduated from CRFA in November, and I could not have been more proud of him.  The academy had taught him so much, and I had watched him grow throughout it all.

California Regional Fire Academy Graduation SacramentoHere I am again with the pictures – First day of the academy on the left, and graduation day on the right.  I’ll admit that I went a little overboard on the right…I begged the fire truck to stay an extra couple of minutes so that we could snap a pic.  Oh, and the sign… Sorry Nathan… :)

We’ll fast forward to about March – CalFire application road trip.  Ho-ly cow.

First of all, thank you Google Maps for getting us to even just within 20 miles of these stations.  They are in the Middle of Nowhere.  Literally.  That’s a place.  Several places.  We have been there.

God, I really wanted him to get these jobs, but Jesus.  I could NOT imagine the commute, or even just spending more than a day in these places.

We’ll skip past the months of, “Well, crap…don’t think we’re getting a job” to the day that I was just about to head home from work, and receive a call from Nathan,

“What are you doing?”
“Um…working…?”
“Okay, I need you to come home right now.”
“Uh…okay? I’m just about to leave.”
“No, like right now.”
At this point, all I’m thinking is that someone died, and panicking about who it could have been.
“Okay? Leaving right now.”

Get home.  Have to pee (what else is new?).  Try to go in the house, but am summoned across the street to Grandma’s.  Nathan hands me a notepad with the words
“Amador El Dorado”…

Wait…what?  We’re going to Amador?  El Dorado?  Wine tasting?  What?

Wait…you got a call?  You have a job?  You’re a firefighter?!  Like a “real” one?!

HOLY CRAP!

So, so, SO proud.

We’re (I say “we” like this is all about me…but it’s not.  It’s about the dogs, too :) ) on shift number 2 now, and adjusting to not having him home for a few days at a time.  I actually do enjoy the time to do whatever I please (including blog!), and the house is clean when I leave…and still clean when I return.  What a concept.

BUT I do miss him like crazy!
Thank  you, Apple, for making our lives so much easier with FaceTime.

Moral of all of this is that we (Nathan, myself and the dogs) are adjusting.
Laundry gets done.  Dishes get done.  House is clean.  Family, friends, dogs and TV shows are keeping me busy.
So far, so good.

Now, if these California fires could just calm down a bit, Courtney could actually get some work done, instead of tracking them all day long…sorry boss, if you’re out there, you know I’m productive. :)

We’ll keep ya posted.

Any firefighter girlfriends, wives, family members out there?  How did you adjust?

Doggy School 101

Doggy school is not for the weak, y’all.  Seriously.

Our little Isabelle, a Chihuahua-Jack Russell mix, is a little terror.  Sweet, sweet girl, but…
she crazy.

Chihuahua Love

So, we decided to ship her off to puppy school.  Okay, not really “ship” – we all went together.
I was used to the PetSmart, “good girl, here’s a treat” type of puppy school – not the military, choke collar, kind of deal.  I was pretty hesitant at first, but the lovely trainers at Alpha K9, and Nathan, totally convinced me that this was the perfect solution to our little, rebel girl.

I wish I had a video of Miss Isabelle on a leash, before training.  Just picture this -
10 pound dog, sweet, little pink harness, walking on her two back legs because she’s pulling so hard that her front two feet don’t touch the ground.

Made for an extremely pleasant stroll around the park.  Not.

Anyway – Day 1 of training went perfect.  Literally.  Nuts.  I couldn’t believe it.  Within about 10-15 minutes, Isabelle was a completely new dog!  Walking right next to my feet, and sitting on command.  I was a new believer of this Alpha K9 religion.

Day 2 of training – Here’s where the whole “not for the weak” thing comes into play…

Our little, sweet, innocent, perfectly-trained-after-Day 1-Isabelle decided that no one, and I mean no one, was to tell her to lie “down”.  I was warned by her trainer that this was where we would see if Isabelle would comply…or throw a “tantrum”.  Of course our little girl would be perfect…I just knew it.  So, watching the trainer demonstrate…

Here comes the command…pull of the choke collar…and…

Our sweet, little Isabelle arches her back, and refuses to lie down, screaming her little head off, staring at me with the saddest little eyes.  REFUSES to lie down.  I was convinced that the trainer was literally choking her to death…and I was just to sit there and watch…

As I’m fighting back tears, I’m smiling and nodding as the trainer is telling me that Isabelle is simply throwing a “tantrum”, and that I am not to give in and expose my weak side to her…

Right…got it.  Yep.  What weak side?

My turn…

Me – Isabelle, sit.  Good sit.  Down.  Down… Down… D… Dow… Down… (slightly pulling on the choke collar…)
Trainer – Courtney, I see you hesitating.  Why are you hesitating?
Me – B-b-because I don’t want to hurt her…
Thinking, “Because you just strangled my poor, sweet little girl right in front of me, and I don’t want to watch her little eyes bulge out of her head ever again. Oh, and also…you suck!  I don’t like you.  My dog doesn’t like you.  I can’t wait to go home, and spoil her with treats and love.
Oh, and you suck!”
Trainer – You are showing her your weak side! You need to finish the job you started!

Okay.  Lady.  Whatever.  Listen up.

Doggy school is not for the weak, people.  Let me tell ya.

Trainer – I want you to work with her this week.  If you do not feel emotionally stable enough to follow-through with the “down”, then do not do it.

Okay.  Seriously?  They should do a mental health evaluation before they let you start this dog training crap.

If I’m not “emotionally stable enough” to train my dog on my own?  What the heck is this?  What did I sign up for?  What did you just call me?  Lady?

I needed a glass of wine.  Or two.  Or three.

We are taking a week-long break before the next class.  Isabelle and I both need some time to recover from our horrific class, and our ridiculous “talkin’ to”.

Who gets in trouble at doggy school?  Honestly…

On the plus side – Turns out, I am quite emotionally stable enough to train my dog on my own time.  Thank you very much.  And Isabelle is doing fantastic.  I’m convinced that she is the smartest dog in the world.  She’ll be doing backflips on command in no time.

Stay tuned.