Monday, February 28, 2011

Turning 28 Was Pretty Great

Aside from getting one year closer to 30, turning 28 was really great! Ryan cooked up a whole slew of surprises including making me an official snowboarder, encouraging my scrapbooking endeavors, and bringing Kim & Jerrad down for dinner and drinks.

My beautifully wrapped presents

That I got to open fresh out of the shower

Wedding & travel scrapbooks ;)

Future Mrs. Thompson shirt from my future SIL

Who says a snowboarder can't be sexy?!

Jerrad, Kim, Ryan, & I

The best birthday present ever!

He also threw in a day trip to Sugarbowl to try out my new gear, teach me how to go "toe side", and escape city life.

Testing out my sick new board at home pre-trip

Sneaks & I on top of the mountain

About to shred

Ryan just finishing a nasty run

Lunch...very tired!

The map of Sugarbowl

Heading home after a day on the mountain

Sunday, February 27, 2011


When Mama Comley passed away in 2009, I inherited my first set of china. The set still rests in the childhood bedroom closet of my parents' house. I can't bring myself to have it shipped out in fear of it being broken (not shocking that shipping companies don't hold the same sentimental value as myself). Then there is the thought that I am not sure I will ever use her chinca. I feel like it should be displayed, preserved, and an heirloom to continually pass down.

All of this being said, china was the first thing to make the registry. A perk of being "older" by Kentucky standards and just now getting hitched is that Ryan & I both have had our own set of everyday dishes. Nevermind that his were plain white making for a boring dinner setting. Mine, of course, have accented blue. From PB, they have withstood the test of time and are suitable for entertaining guests for mini-dinner parties...making a set of china an obvious choice.

Not surprising, I needed something different with a touch guessed it, blue. I also am a realist and realized that 12 place settings was not a need or a want for this lady. 1. we do not have 5 couples friends or family in this area (nor the surrounding counties, cities, or states!). 2. we will be lucky if I can find a place to store our first registry gift which just so happens to be two 4-piece china place settings.

Now that I have hyped up my excitement about picking out and adding to our registry, I have to share the thrill I got when I peeked on just to see what type of action it might be getting.
This is what I found:


 Would Love: 8                  Needs: 6 (in simple math that means someone bought us 2!)

I squeeled. Darted to the couch. Jumped on Ryan as if he was a trampoline and exclaimed, "someone got us two place settings of our china." He chuckled and then went back to watching TV. A few days later when I got dinged with an email from our lobby stating I had a package, I was anxious to see who the sender was especially when I noticed Macys as the return address. I made it upstairs, barely, to open the lovely package only to find this:

Lenox Chirp Simply Fine China

I seriously cannot wait to make friends, invite them over for dinner, and serve this fine china right on our dining room table...heck, I might be serving dinner for the next month on our couples' set!

What I aspire to have my dining room table look like someday!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RIP Mama Collins

When I reflect on my Mama Collins, two very distinct personalities come to mind. The first is a spitfire storyteller. There is no question that Mama loved a good story and a dirty joke. Her ability to attract an audience and get a whole room hysterically laughing was a one-of-a-kind talent. Most of her material came from years of comic strips which she diligently collected over time. I’ll steer clear of her jokes as we all know they are PG-13 rated or worse, but I will share one of her favorite stories.

In true prankster fashion, she and dad used to wait until Papa was in his PJs and comfortably resting in his chair. Then they would continually whine for ice cream, not letting up until Papa would rustle from his chair, put his slippers on, and head to the car to get the two some dessert. Upon his return, they would wait until he pulled into the garage then rush to tuck dad in. Papa would trudge down the hall to give them their ice cream when the two would say, “no, we don’t want any ice cream anymore.” Then the two would erupt in laughter. Like mother, like son so they say.

I believe that we all saw this jokester side of Mama, Mother, Christine, or Ms. Chris, however you might have known her. But the second personality, the one that was revealed to family and close friends, is my favorite, the secret sentimentalist. It was seen in how she adored her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren helping them accomplish their goals. It was seen in how she was active in numerous charitable causes throughout her life. It was heard in how she bragged about dad and his charismatic nature, in how she boasted about her name sake Taylor Christine. It was heard in how without fail each time I came for a visit she asked when I would be moving home. And it was heard in how she spoke with such passion and unconditional love for Papa always.

My favorite story of Mama’s sentimental heart comes from 2002. She had so adamantly told Papa no to the idea of getting a dog. So much that she returned several dogs he attempted to bring home. Simultaneously, I was sneaking a white, fury Bichon Frise around the house and the dealership. Mama got wind of this and decided to see what the pup was all about. It didn’t take her five minutes to fall in love with Bijoux. I honestly don’t think she made it out of the showroom floor before calling me to get the low down on where I had gotten her. A few days later, feeling quite certain it was for the better, I decided to give Bijoux to Mama and Papa. BJ, as they called her, turned out to be one of the most precious gifts the two would share towards the end of their time together. And when Papa passed, it was BJ that she was able to find comfort in.

So as the story ends…

If you look up to Heaven
I’m certain that you’ll see
Mama, Papa, & BJ
Laughing, smiling down on you and me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heroes & Mentors- Part One

As mentioned previously, I will undoubtedly dote on those who inspire me. Give credit where credit is due right? Well, the first person that comes to mind is a lady by the name of Jenn. I stumbled upon her talents by total accident. In attempting to be a D-I-Y bride, I found some unique ideas on Martha Stewart's bridal website.

 I set out to employ my baby sister to model our wedding programs off a 3x5 photo courtesy of dear Martha. I paid via paypal for the stencil and then realized it was cruel punishment to make a junior in college add this to her load of stress. I politely emailed the stencil lady asking if she could make the actual cut-outs. She could not...but her dear friend Jenn would do the tedious project.

I was hoping for a decent program, something different than the old folded booklet. Via an emailed proof, I got an incredibly designed and crafted piece of art. As if I couldn't be more in love with it from the photo, when a sample showed up at my door, I was stunned. Absolutely perfect. Better than I could have imagined. I have learned that I am no Carrie Crafter, but I am one heck of an Ida (creative) Ideas. So with my ideas and Jenn's crafty work, we were able to make a dynamic duo and a fantabulous wedding program.

I am not quite ready to release the design of our wedding program just yet so I will give you a sneak peek into one angle...

Please, please, please check out Jenn's blog for more of her wonderful work!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Event Planning 101

In order to host a successful event, you first need a game plan. Not games like Wii tennis or X-box 360. A to-do-list of sorts outlining the overall idea and vision. Starting with the 4 Dubs is a great start:

  1. What?   What type of little shindig are you planning here...cocktail, graduation, superbowl
  2. When?  Nail down a date asap. Venues go quick these days!
  3. Where? Depending on your budget, you will need to research theme-appropriate locals
  4. Who?    The dreaded guest list...who makes the cut?
Once the key questions are answered, then you need a checklist. Yep one that has small squares and you ever so delicately go checking away one at a time once a task is completed (FYI I live for checklists). Start by writing everything that comes into your head. Examples include booking a place to ordering invitations to what plates to get to how much food to order. Nothing is too insignificant to jot down. After all, if you are thinking it, you should be doing it (err in event planning terms not everyday life my friends ;) ).

Next comes details, details, details. My favorite example of an extreme detailist (made up word by moi...thanks for your concern spell check but I know what's up) is Walt Disney.  The man was a genius.

Every era throughout his theme parks looks, feels, smells, and tastes how it would be if you were living in that time frame. If there were no cars in the 1800's then you will find no cars in that portion. From the cobblestone pavements to the sweet treats served, you are literally in that world. I <3 paying attention to every stinking detail when planning an event...from the postage & address labels to the favors the guests tote home. So from the moment the event enters their life until the time it concludes, they feel the magic.

Allow me to show you a few checklists & detailed examples:


detailed from the start

wedding day details that add a fun element

the final touch

Happy 28th Birthday to my dear friend, 

L. Shea Marquette 

(said in a french accent of course!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Sneak Peek...

As I we plan the wedding of our dreams, I have also had a flurry of other event-related projects going on. It has always been my dream to own my own business as an event planner. So I got to day dreaming one day and realized that I could exhibit my planning talents from our wedding, the couples shower for Liz & Win, Kendahl's baby shower, and the bridal breakfast for an anonymous bride-to-be. What better way to market yourself than by showcasing your abilities on the web!

So from time to time, I plan to have little bits and pieces of the event details I have used, plan to use, or are currently using. Feel free to give me your feedback as to what you think works and what doesn't work. A successful woman only betters herself with criticism, well constructive criticism.

This being said, an honest woman gives credit to her heros and mentors. Along the way, I will accredit creative souls who have given me inspiration, encouraged me, and assisted in my successful events. After all, generosity is generally reciprocated.

For the first sneak peek, check out a few photos from Kendahl's baby shower last year. The theme was Winnie-the-Pooh which we used to accentuate the decor and atmosphere...along with a few other baby-like things!

Winne the Pooh Diaper Cake

Winnie the Pooh Real Cake

Baby Boy gift bags stuffed with hershey kisses

Baby boy blue pacifier pinata

Baby Shower Balloons

Adorable flower centerpieces adorned with little stuffed animal heads

Clothes pin Congrats sign

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bishop Boy!

I simply adore my nephew. Honestly I never thought I could love a little kid so much, ever. He is just the cutest, happiest baby in the whole world. I love when Kendahl calls me and all of a sudden I hear his little voice in the background. He giggles. He sings, "hot dog, hot diggity dog." I could just eat him up!

taking after aunt Whitney...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pre-Birthday Celebration

Liz & Winston came for a visit to do some wedding planning, rehearsal dinner tasting, and chocolate indulging so we decided to accompany them Sunday evening. After all, my entire existence last week was spent slaving at the SAP Open in San Jose. (please bare with me as my creative side gets resurrected as my brain is under a cloud of sleepiness & exhaustion!).

So to treat ourselves, specifically me, we met up with the Kress/Gaffron families to enjoy seafood, wine, and good company. Our first stop was Neptune's for a gorgeous view of the city and water accompanied by fantastic seafood. I dined on the filet mignon which received an A for presentation and an A+ for tasty delight.

Second, we headed to Ghiradelli Square to sinfully indulge in syrup filled, carmel dripping, whip cream topped sundaes. Definitely caused me us a food coma for several days...but totally worth it. Such a great way to start off the celebration week!

Happy Early Birthday to Me!

Loving my Espresso Sundae

Monday, February 14, 2011


Valentine's Day is the one day when people are shunned if they do not express their love for significant others, family, and friends. Sadly enough we use thousands of excuses to bypass the act of love every other day of the year. In a bit of a bragging fashion, I like to think that Ryan & I work really hard at loving one another on most days. Sure we battle the mundaneness of everyday life and struggle with maintaining a loving attitude, but we strive really hard to act in a valentine-way all the time. I have many examples, but I won't bore you with all of those at this moment.

I will, however, take this opportunity on cupid's favorite day to brag about my boo and his amazing ability to shock, surprise, and spoil me.

Exhibit A:

My favorite flowers-tulips
Exhibit B:

Kara's Cupcakes- 3 of them!

I love you Ryan Michael Thompson, today and every day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


...its the little things that make you smile

A card from your best friend

Along with a sweet treat :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where Is The Love? The Love, The Love, The Love...Drop!

Last month the Love Drop Team raised over $2,500 and boxes after boxes of goods and items to help Jill and her family get through a hard time in their lives (homelessness & financial worries). We did this in 1 month. All 400+ people came together and gave a few bucks each to impact one family's life. If you participated in this, THANK YOU. The final presentation can be seen here. (It's pretty cool!)

This month we start all over again and circle around 2 beautiful kids with severe autism -- Ethan & Alex. Our goal is to raise $13,000 so we can get them a highly trained service dog. And if possible, two iPads so they can speak again (they can't even say "I love you" to their mom -- these iPads allow them to get their voice back).

Here are 3 ways you can help:

Join the team - This is the best way to help out, and all it takes is $1.00.

Join our blogger network - Blog about our Love Drops each month like I am :) It's easy, it's rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps our families). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.

Give a gift or provide a service - Gift cards (iTunes would be great!), two iPads (so we can help the boys speak again!), and anything else you think could help out.

Remember, anything helps!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Forgiveness, The Heart of the Matter

This is the final blog entry in the Engaged Encounter series. I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging about our special weekend as it made the experience last even longer. I hope that the past week's entries have helped you too in some way: either personally or relationship wise.

The last piece of the puzzle is forgiveness, arguably one of the more difficult topics. I, myself, have trouble letting go which makes forgiving seem like an unlikely outcome. But if I cannot forgive, then our marriage will never succeed. As Ryan once said, "are you too good to forgive me?" The answer is NO. If Jesus can forgive our sins, then who am I to not be able to forgive others, especially those who I love & who love me.

Forgiveness Worksheet
I pray that this worksheet will help you to forgive. There is much freedom in forgiving another. The release of negative emotion and the feeling of being free from such dark thoughts. Forgiving becomes contagious. Just let it go...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

With all decisions, there is a thought process. A system if you will. In business, we use very specific decision-making tactics in order to be profitable and successful. So why should we approach our relationships any different?

5 (easy!) steps that can help make decisions within your relationships a little bit less painful.

Decisions in Marriage Worksheet

1. Prayer- generally how we start the day so why should starting a decision be any different
2. Discernment- educating ourselves and our significant other is key in making an informed and unbiased decision
3. Mutual Agreement- if two people do not agree, then what is the point of making a decision?
4. Mutual Responsibility- if two people do not want to hold themselves accountable for a decision, then how will the action ever be taken?
5. Re-evalaution- we make decisions at certain times due to circumstances; however with life changes, our decisions need to be re-evaluated at times.

Go ahead, try it! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Choose Love, Choose To Be Life-Giving

Being loving is often a choice. Sometimes I don't feel like TIVOing the UK basketball game so that we can watch it together when Ryan gets off of work.Often I am tired from a long day of working, wedding planning, and housewife chores (I suppose this gets even more frequent when kids come along) so the thought of making dinner or engaging in meaningful conversation is far from my mind. Many nights Ryan wants to sit on the couch and watch TV rather than listen to me blab about wedding details or office gossip. And I bet he isn't crazy about Chipotle each time I beg for him to take me there.

But if we didn't choose to be life-giving, then I am fairly certain we wouldn't still be together. Relationships are work, hard work. The movies make dating seem fun and carefree. Fun, yes. Carefree, not so much. We each have needs and wants that we hope our partners will help up fulfill. Ryan likes to be greeted at the door with a kiss & an I love you. I need snuggling and love letters. Neither of us always feel like greeting or snuggling, but we do it because it means so much to the other person.

We choose to be life-giving. I hope you do too!

Marriage Morality Worksheet

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fighting Fair

Our presenting couples gave us a little cheat sheet for fighting fair. 8 bullet points for attempting maturity during heated battle.

Rules for Fighting Fair

1. Due to my past experiences, I am very good at NOT name calling. There is nothing productive that comes from calling your signigifcant other a jerk, a$$-hole, b*tch, etc. The only thing name calling does is hurt feelings and breed resentment.

3. Ah, one of my biggest flaws. I am not always the best at letting the past go; it is that little gnat that you think has been swatted off to its death only to buzz right in your ear when you least expect it. But I have learned that it is just as damaging as name calling to your love.

5. I'd like to think I have outgrown this little tactic (in fairness I've come a longggg way), but in the most heated of arguements, I often find myself 'throwing land mines' as Ryan likes to say.

6. Ingrained in my mind for years. The thought of not waking up or the other person not waking up scares me silly so I try to kiss & make-up before falling asleep.

Now for a special insider scoop on how to fight fair when all else fails...

That's right folks, they say to argue naked...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Encounter With We

According to our lovely retreat hosts (and numerous psychologoists I'm sure), there are 4 stages of the relationship cycle. They seem to be right on the money for Ryan & I.

1. Romance- also known as the butterflies, honeymoon stage, etc.
2. Disillusionment- commonly called arguing, fighthing, cursing, kicking, & screaming
3. Decision to Love- typically the turning point for better or worse, could lead to the 4th stage or break-up or limbo
4. True Joy- what I like to call peace or being on cloud nine

Encounter With We Worksheet

We have all experienced these 4 stages in our relationships. For Ryan & I, we passed the romance stage with flying colors. We were head-over-heels in love from the get-go (despite his efforts to play it cool ;) ) jet setting to Vegas & Kentucky, going on dates in Santa Barbara & San Diego, and talking on the phone for endless hours. But we stumbled upon the disillusionment phase and found ourselves in quite the predicament when it came time for Ryan's promotion. We were both fearful of the unknown and the distance between LA & SF. Nonetheless, we eventaully made that decision to love one another.We decided to put our fears aside and be conscious in how we treated one another. Ultimately bringing us to true joy, where we are now.

Relationships are work, very hard work. But you can't put a value on love. It's priceless. So I urge you to make the decision to love. It is the single, greatest reward one can receive.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Encounter With Me

We have all heard the phrase, "you can't love someone else unless you love yourself first." I was a bit of a cynicist when I first heard this until I realized the raw truth behind the statement. How can you possibly give yourself fully to another person if you are not giving yourself to yourself? It took me a few bumps & bruises along my life journey to realize the importance of self-worth and how it could negatively impact my relationships if I wasn't onboard with who I am.

Encounter with Me Worksheet

These questions forced me to take a deeper look into who I am, who I am perceived to be, and who I want to be. This exercise helped me realize my strength and value as an individual and then encouraged me to bring those attributes to my relationship with Ryan (or my parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, co-workers, etc).

So take a few moments to Encounter With You...before you Encounter With Anyone Else.