Friday, May 13, 2011

Summer in Reno- general updates

1.  Mom- My mom visited last month and we had a BLAST!  I hadn't gotten around to posting until this week so here are some pictures from her trip.  I miss her like crazy and cherish the time(s) we get to spend together.

Wine Walk!

Virginia City Camel Racers!

Ready for the Royal Wedding!

hiking at Bartley Ranch

Speaking of my mom, we spent our first Mother's Day apart this year.  :(  It was so hard to be without her, but I'm glad that she was able to spend some time with my Nani (her mom) and I've already promised some quality time when I'm in Salt Lake at the end of her month since I will also be missing her BIRTHDAY this weekend.  I love you, mom, and not a day goes by that I don't think about you!  :)

2.  My job sitch- I have two jobs and will FINALLY have a day off tomorrow... for the first time in 21 days!  We have plans to sleep in, go for a run, eat brunch, and go to a graduation party tomorrow afternoon and attend an Aces baseball game on Sunday!!  Keeping my fingers crossed that the weather holds up for my weekend without work...

3.  LA- we were there for Easter.  To hear more read my previous post regarding this subject.

4.  Fancy Shmancy- Fidelity sponsored a table at the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation Gala and we got to have an awesome night on the town at this event!  There were performers, auctions, delicious food options, and lots of black dresses.  Not to mention that a LOT of money was poured into research for kids with diabetes and it was a smash success of a night.

5.  Pool- It's 80+ degrees here this week and I laid out this afternoon after job 1.  It was glorious and I look forward to many more afternoons poolside.  That is the one nice thing about getting off at 1:00 and not starting again until 5:00.

6.  Summer Hair- My hair is now strawberry blonder.  Please see previous post for more deets.

7.  Summer Plans- Right now we're experiencing the 'calm before the storm', but I'm ready for the storm.  I leave for SLC on May 31st/come home on June 6th for Dani's wedding, leave for OKC on June 10th/come home June 13th for Sara's birthday, host Aron's parents on June 21st for 4 days, host Andy/Candace during the weekend of July 4th, and head up to Tahoe with our small group(ies) from SLC on July 7th for 5 days!  My mom comes out at the end of July for a long weekend, and we'll wait to make more plans for the rest of the year once we know how much longer we'll be in Reno. 

I couldn't be more ready to spend such a large amount of our summer with those we are closest to, as I've REALLY struggled emotionally with being in Reno lately.  Thank God for his Wod, Aron's stability and willingness to talk with me, and my fantastic female friends who haven't quit being my biggest cheerleaders and support team since moving.  I look forward to the day where we reflect on our time in Reno and understand why a lot of the things we're experiencing have turned out the way they have.

...Off to glam up with 6+ accessories and head to job 2.  Have a wonderful weekend!

FASHION FRIDAY: Mara's Hair Update

When Aron and I first met in '07 I was a blonde.  I went back to my natural color (brown) shortly thereafter and have only played with deep red since.  It was time for a change.  I finally have two laid-back/eclectic jobs that embrace having fun with hair and style and I wanted to try something new...

I'm obsessed with the fire engine red lowlights in the bottom of my hair.

My new style was inspired by this picture of Julia Roberts:
We'll see what happens next!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Easter

I have a LOT to catch up on as I haven't blogged in a few weeks, but I'm going to get back in the swing of things by discussing our trip to CA over Easter weekend!!

We flew out to LA on Thursday evening and were so looking forward to spending the entire weekend with our close friends, Paul & Andrea (and Garrett) White.  We met them through friends a couple of years ago (in SLC) and have only grown closer since they got married and we joined the same small group.  In Salt Lake, we had some great get-togethers and Andrea  played a HUGE role in the creative set-up for our wedding in January.  Andrea and Paul moved to Los Angeles the day after our wedding for Paul's job so we've all used each other quite a bit for support as we've been in the same shoes for months now. 

I was desperately looking forward to venting about the stresses of living in Reno to people who have felt those same stresses and Andrea has been a mirror to talk to regarding emotions, struggles with finding community/your place, and balancing priorities as a wife (and for her a mother).  Needless to say, this weekend was the biggest gust of fresh air I had felt in a while.  Aron was able to do 'guy' stuff while I was doing 'girl' stuff, all while being with people who really know and love us.  We laughed and played games until 2 AM each night (err.. morning), made reservations for uber-fancy Mexican food, partook in an Easter feast at Paul's parents' home, went to an Easter pep rally, baked delicious goodies, observed a Vintage Dog Costume Contest, went to a street fair, saw a seal at Seal Beach, and loved on baby Garrett. 

Here are some of the highlights:
 walking around the golf course while Aron/Paul hit some balls...

 beach lovin'
 Easter birds nests that we placed on cupcakes!

 put on your bunny faces!
look at that face.  here's garrett in his Easter outfit from Uncle Aron & Aunt Mara.

There are some people that you meet during the course of your life who you know will be constant.  The Whites would fall into this category for us.  Their friendship has been fantastic and we're looking forward to their visit in July and many other trips in months/years to come!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


1.  Visitors- We had an amazing weekend w/Britt and Dave last month!  They came to support and love on us for a weekend and it meant more than they'll ever understand.  Here are some photos from that weekend.
Wine Walk!!  3rd Saturday of every month...and you can keep the glass! 

downtown on the river

@ Lake Tahoe

Brook and Jason also came to Nevada for a long weekend!  I was, unfortunately, not able to spend too much time w/them since I left for SLC the day after they drove down.  It was nice for Aron to have some friends in town while I was away, though!
Their kids, Ashlyn & Ethan, are so sweet... and apparently strong enough to take me down.

My mom will be out here next weekend and we will be enjoying 60+ degree weather by strolling along Wine Walk yet again.  So much has changed in our apartment since she helped us move in... including this amazing wall art she sent!
2.  Kitchen Accomplishments- So I've been doing a lot of cooking/baking/experimenting since moving here.  It's been so nice to have the KitchenAid mixer and fun gadgets from our wedding!  I had never made lasagna (from scratch) or cheesecake before... so, I did!  Here's the proof:
 Snickers cheesecake: crust, center and glaze ALL made from scratch.  boo-yah!  I was so proud of myself.
 shaved Snickers on top
 love my oven ovals by Rachel Ray... functional AND beautiful
I did lasagna roll-ups instead of the standard lasagna and they were soo delicious!

3.  PC Sniffles- My computer is back in my possession after a long 'bout w/a nasty virus.  I won't tell you the story about how I *think* it caught this virus, but alas, I have it back and I can now share photos once again!!  No more 2 week absences from Blogger!

4.  Dani's Bridal Weekend- I went to SLC last weekend to throw Dani a bridal shower, see her in the last dress fitting w/hair and make-up, and celebrate her with some uber-raunchy bachelorette festivities.  I will post the photos that are appropriate for her fiance and my viewers to see (i.e. no pictures in the wedding dress or penis crown).  I was also able to spend some time with some other people that mean the world to me in SLC.

 'Around the Clock' shower theme
 candy watches as favors!

 off to keys on main for the bachelorette party!  (dani, me, kasia- bridesmaid)

@ The Park Cafe w/lovely ladies and CONNER!

5.  New Roles- Aron and I have been very active in separate (men/women) community groups through our church.  Each of us has been asked to consider taking leadership positions within our groups and we're seriously considering those opportunities.  I also interviewed for a 2nd part time job doing marketing and I'm reeealllly praying that works out.  As much as I love working at Charming Charlie, 15 hours isn't enough to keep me busy and I would love to have additional creative outlets. 

Aron and I are feeling challenged, convicted and driven in our new church and look forward to many possibilities for our future (either here in Reno... or elsewhere).  I'm doing a much better job of being present while we're here and not focusing solely on my next trip back to SLC, or when/where we can move next and how to keep one foot in and one foot out at all times.  God's made it so clear that we were called to Reno for many reasons and maybe I will reveal those things in a later post, but that's all for now.

Much love from Reno!

Monday, March 14, 2011

quick update

Life has been a bit crazy over the last couple of weeks, here's a numbered update since I'm short on time and brain cells in this moment.

1.  I have a part time job.  I'm working at Charming Charlie (a women's fashion accessory boutique) and the 7-day opening store stretch ended today...grand opening tomorrow!  I will be working tomorrow and Wednesday and will have worked 8 days straight as of Thursday morning.  It's been really exhausting to set up a 10,000 square foot store, but SOOO MUCH FUN!  I've dressed mannequins, neck forms, picked out jewelry/hand bags for displays and learned how to merchandise.  LOVE IT.  I've also made friends there... which leads me to #2.

2.  I have friends.  We've gone to lunch during our breaks at work, went to happy hour/shopping today and have a plan for trail running tomorrow before the shift.  I could literally cry as I type this.  For those of you who have talked to me over the last 2 months, you know how desperate I've been for relationships with solid women... and it's FINALLY happening!  Thank. GOD!

3.  Visitors and Travel.  Britt and Dave will be here on Friday for the weekend and I couldn't be more excited to entertain our first visitors!!!  We have plans for the wine walk, golfing (boys), great food, Tahoe, and much more.  It will just be amazing to spend time with people we know and love so dearly.  I will be in SLC over the weekend of the 2nd for Dani's shower, mom will be here during the weekend of the 16th, and then we fly to LAX to be with the Whites over Easter weekend.  We're so stoked to get away and hang out with close friends this spring!

4.  Church.  We found a church that suits us quite well and continues to challenge us on a weekly basis.  We're both testing 'community groups' and plan on getting pretty involved.

5.  SLC.  I still really miss it and (not so) secretly hate hearing about parties, gatherings, events, small group, and friendships just because I can't be there to be a part.  However, I'm slowly starting to gain confidence in God's plan for us here in Reno and look forward to creating memories in this chapter of our life together.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fashion Friday: Feather Extensions

There is a trend that I have only ever seen in Reno at this point in time.  The leasing agent at our apartment community has a few feather pieces in her hair and after close examination/ruling out bird $h*t, I realized that this was a new trend that would probably be popping up everywhere in the near future.  Sure enough, I go to a job interview a couple of days ago...and THERE THEY ARE, but in LIME GREEN this time? 
The girl sitting next to me at the interview is a hair stylist and said that they are a cheap and easy way to accessorize your hair and the best part is that they can be washed, curled and are simply clipped in to your hair at the roots.  They will do the same things that your natural hair do, just with a bit more color and the ability to pull them out/switch colors when you wish.  The verdict is out as to whether or not I will be adding these to my luscious locks, but they are quite fun to spot and look at. 
Should I try them out???

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Reno Routine

Life has been SO different since moving to NV.  I was used to waking up every morning between 6:00 and 8:00 (depending on if it was a gym day), heading to work and working until 5:00ish, spending time with Aron/family/friends, watching some reality TV, then hitting the hay. and repeat.  As much as I love having a break and being blessed enough to not feel stressed about finding a job... I'm getting a bit restless. 

Here is a typical day right now:

5:30 AM- Aron's alarm goes off (I immediately roll over and go back to sleep)
6:45 AM- Aron heads to work
7:00 AM- I wake up, make bed, have some one-on-one time w/God
7:45 AM- eat breakfast, turn on the Today Show, search online for jobs
8:00-8:30 AM- apply for jobs that match my background ( I should note here that we are living in NV, therefore, we are faced with living in the state that currently has the highest unemployment rate.  Needless to say, finding jobs that would suit me have been rather difficult.)  This is also the time that I occasionally Skype with Britt or mom. 
8:45 AM- put on workout clothes and head to the gym.  I then talk to my only friend, Tammie, our complex housekeeper in between breaths on the treadmill.  :)
10:00-11:00 AM- head back home, shower, get dressed and ready for the day
11:15 AM- plan/create fun things for Dani's shower!!! EEEE... soo excited for this event (being super vague in case she reads this)
12:00 PM- make a turkey sandwich, watch some shows from the DVR (HOW DID I LIVE W/O THIS FOR SO LONG!?), continue scanning ads on Craigslist and other Nevada-specific job sites and email to those that apply.  May I also mention how frustrating it is that MOST ads don't offer a company name, physical address or phone number??  I hate having to follow-up via assigned Craigslist email at the top.  bleh. 
2:00 PM- cabin fever sets in and I usually head to Wal Mart or other stores for which I have gift cards. I've been making some pretty fantastic dinners with our new kitchen gadgets and my new-found free time, therefore, I like to buy groceries every couple of days for fresh ingredients and to experience the goodnesses of "People of Wal Mart" for myself.  Never disappoints.
3:00 PM- phone calls from friends in the east begin since they're getting off work at this time.  I usually talk on the phone with friends or family for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  Thank goodness most of them are "in" the network with me.  ha.
5:00 PM- I begin cooking/experimenting with food for dinner.  Currently, I would be lost without the following:  salad spinner, rice cooker, crockpot, Henckels knives, and our Rachel Ray bubble and brown bakeware!

6:00 PM- Aron gets home from work and we eat the (most of the time) delicious meal! 

Tuesdays and Thursdays are our gym nights together and we're going to start heading to small groups on Monday nights.  We were invited to a women-only and men-only group by a married couple at the church we've been going to (Living Stones) and next week will be the first time we are able to check those out. Aron and I are pretty anxious to get involved and have the chance to spend time with people outside of Sunday church services.  Slowly, but surely, we're getting plugged in...but it's been an adventure to say the least.  I'm so not used to this little social interaction throughout the day and I've been really frustrated with how many doors have shut regarding volunteer and job opportunities.  I know that God has a plan, but I'm being challenged daily to keep that in mind.  The doors to school in the summer have now shut and it's looking the same for fall.  I will spare everyone the nitty gritty details on that revelation.  I pray that He reveals the plan soon because I'm not quite sure how much longer I can go with this "routine".  Aron has been the MOST amazing, supportive, loving husband through my rollercoaster of emotions over the last month and I am so proud of his success here.  He's such a rockstar at work and is doing a wonderful job of checking his work stress at the door when he gets home and concentrating on having a productive and fun evening here at home. 

Well, there you have it.  Some people have asked what I've been up to and I decided to share that with everyone.  I have had some good leads today for jobs and am trying to enjoy the time at home while I have it in the meantime. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fashion Friday (on a Tuesday)

I am not having a successful time trying to retrieve cell phone pictures that I took at the Social Security office last week, so, alas we are going to enjoy the "Maverick-ness" that some Reno-ites possess.

This guy has no worry of what is "cool" or "trendy", he's his own man.  His beard hair is actually so long that he is wrapping it up and AROUND his ears so as not to eat it with his enchilada.

You go, individualistic man, you go!

Friday, February 4, 2011

and it begins... FASHION FRIDAY!

I've had some requests to discuss fashion on my blog once I moved.  After a day of deliberation I decided to take on this challenge.  I will talk about new trends I'm into and/or trends I'm seeing in Reno.  Please be aware that most of the comments and pictures I use will be generalizations, but if something makes it on the blog it means I've seen it enough to talk about it.  just sayin'. 


Aron and I haven't found a church "home" quite yet, but the church we checked out last Sunday provided my first "Fashion Friday" blog material.  The woman sitting directly in front of me was wearing... Pajama Jeans?  Don't get me wrong, I'm a SUCKER for TV ads, but I always kind of figured that Pajama Jeans weren't going to do well and I would stop seeing ads for them in between "The Price is Right" and "Maury".  I felt like the fashion industry was stretching their creativity w/jeggings, but this has gone too far.  Please settle with jeans OR sweats... not a combination of the two. 

2.  Farrah that you???

I kid you not, EVERY store I step foot in I can spot 2 or 3 women who look like the iconic woman above.  Women are LOVING the UV rays, small-barrel curling irons and bleach in these here parts. 

That's all for now.  I'm off to attempt making meatballs for the first time.  Trying to be a domestic diva housewife until I figure out what I want to do with my life.  :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"The only proof that he's been here (for 3 hours) is the broken glass in our fireplace!"

Overall, we are really enjoying our new place in Reno.  My mom drove out with me last Saturday and has been a HUGE help in unpacking (what seems like) thousands of boxes, making trash runs (we live on the 3rd floor of our building), cooking with our amazing new kitchen toys, and exploring the area with me (i.e. shopping for fun things with our wedding gift cards).  Our apartment is quite amazing and I am pretty sure that I smile each time I get to load/unload a DISHWASHER, clean our granite countertops or walk to the clubhouse for a free hot beverage. 

The retail employees are super friendly here and we've been pleasantly surprised by how customer-oriented most places have seemed to be...until today.

Today was the first time I've been really disappointed in Reno.  We were scheduled for an 8:00 AM appointment with Charter (cable/internet) and got a call at 8:30 saying that the technician was on his way.  He showed up at 8:45 and began installing our cable/internet.  Since I know NOTHING about this process, I assumed that him seeing him walk around our apartment, make random calls and climb the stairs outside to get to our electrical box (for about 2 hours) showed that he was working hard!  Not the case.  At about 10:45 I heard him on the phone telling someone that he "forgot his meter and isn't quite sure if this apartment has any signal for this rate I will be here all day, man." This was after he asked to borrow our barstool to reach the back of the TV and broke our cute new candle decorations for the mantle.  I hear this conversation and get quite furious.  I felt dooped!  My mom and I had plans to get out of the apartment and sightsee, but put this on hold once we realized it was going to be a quick process to watch some television and browse the 'net.  I text Aron the title of my blog and he heads home from work to see what the H is going on since Clowny McClownerson can't seem to tell me what's taking so long.  Aron gets home at 11:45 and inquires about the length of the process.  Sure enough, the tech. can't get a signal and hasn't called for help.  He's simply been calling around to see if anyone has a meter he can borrow since he left his at home!?  He tells Aron that "normally you can get through your day without a meter...but, gee, not today I guess?" (as he's hardy-har-har'ing)  After Aron inspects the box with him and discovers that every other person in our building magically has cable he politely asks the technician to leave and have us re-scheduled for Saturday. 

In the meantime, I decide to make a corporate complaint since 4 hours of our day was wasted without a single ounce of progress being made and the supervisor on the other line takes 30 minutes worth of notes and tells me that someone can be out as soon as next Tuesday.  After some stern disagreement about this arrangement (since it took us two weeks to get someone out here in the first place) he tells me that they can try to "squeeze us in" on Saturday, but there won't be any guarantees. 

I'm hoping that my next blog post will be made from within the confines of our apartment, instead of the lovely clubhouse I've been walking to daily.  Oh well, at least I have my free latte. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

the honeymoon post

The last time I blogged I wrote as a Reis.  I'm now a Riddle and am one day away from meeting my husband in Reno!  Today is probably the calm before the storm, thus, my quick blog post.

The professional pictures from the wedding aren't quite done so in the meantime I will update you on our honeymoon! 

We arrived in Antigua to 85 degree temperatures, humidity and lush vegetation ALL around us.  It takes quite a while to get there from the western half of the US but after escaping snow and single digit temps. we sure as heck didn't care.  We stayed at an all-inclusive resort through Sandals and it was honestly the best vacation of our lives.  Our room was a honeymoon suite that walked out to the beach, but we could also use one of the 5 on-site pools, 1 of which had a swim-up bar and pop music bumpin'.  We had a mini bar that was re-stocked each day and I about peed my pants when I saw 5 cans of Diet Coke!  Truly paradise.  There were 10 restaurants onsite (Hibachi-style, Italian, Fine Caribbean fare, British pub, Tex Mex, and more) and we never ate the same meal twice.  Also included was any drink you could think of from one of many bars or restaurants and I drank between 2-5 banana sipsops (fresh banana squeezed into a blender with coconut cream, rum, grenadine, and a splash of milk)/day before Thursday when I found it impossible to take another sip of anything containing alcohol. 

We were entertained with: salsa lessons, snorkeling, scuba, sea kayaking, sailing, ziplining, a couples massage, dancing, a talent show, local beach vendors, the sunshine, and... well, each other.  It's a honeymoon.  Get over it. 

Aron and I had an AMAZING week, but were ready to come home and get a 'move' on with life.  :)  In fact, the movers showed up 8 hours after we got back to Salt Lake.  Many more posts to come from Nevada.

Here are some pictures from the trip.  Enjoy!