Pepper Express: 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: My Year in Review

Every Year I will claim that it will be the best year ever... because it just keeps getting better and better. This year I have accomplished so many things that I didn't even think were possible. Going into 2015 I wanted to increase my followers and my views on my blog. Within the last twelve months I have received ten times the amount of views I had in the end of 2014. In March of 2015 is when I was approved for my first sponsored post. Since then The Pepper Express has only excelled. I have excellent things in store for next year and I can't wait to share them with you. I just wanted to tell you how much I really appreciate all of your support and the fact that you keep coming back to visit my teeny weeny itsy bitsy blog. The photos that follow are my favorites from this year. There are way too many... I know this. Just follow the break in between to see even more...
Our first family trip in 2015 started with a road trip down to Palm Springs with a pit stop in LA to visit the LACMA
I used the rest of my maternity leave to take two weeks off for our family vacation. We had reserved our time share down in southern California with no plans or intentions on doing anything. That was a true vacation. We lounged around all day in the warm winter weather of Palm Springs. It was a leisurely vacation that I will always remember. Check out part one and two!
I went to Joshua Tree as a teenager and I've always wanted to go back. I loved that Carlie and Dean appreciated the scenery as much as I did. We had more fun climbing on the boulders than anything. Joshua Tree post here.
You can't go to Palm Springs with out visiting The Parker. They let you wonder around the grounds like you own the place. We were very respectful and we walk around during lunch time, so the experience was worth while.
Going through these photos and looking at how little she was at the beginning of this year:
We ended our first vacation of the year at the Pacific Ocean right where Route 66 ends. Santa Monica is always a destination I love. We actually drove two ours out of our way to put our toes in that warm January sand!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Things I've Googled This Week

  1. New Pillows: the is a total bogus gift, but my husband is very hard to shop for and this is something he has been complaining about for weeks. SO yes I bought him some darn queen sized pillows for Christmas... the hardest part was wrapping them!!
  2. London Fog Tea Latte: My mom makes these when I visit Montana. It's so cold up there that the tea and milk combination keeps me warm and energized.
  3. Karen Walker Sunglasses: Although these would be an absolute dream come true... when I did the math I could actually buy 47 pairs of sunglasses at Forever 21 for $5.90 and I could loose them all before I buy a pair of Karen Walker sunglasses. I am going to stuff my foot in my mouth in the future when I end up actually buying them... when I am rich and famous of course. 
  4. Should I buy and MacBook? I wanted one for Christmas but Santa put me on the naughty list and got me a Madewell Transport Tote instead. (Just kidding I'm totally fine with that.) But my inner spoiled child is stomping her feet because she really thought she was getting an MacBook. I have done my research thoroughly and this is what I want. Is there a better option?
  5. Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: In order to register for the September 2016 marathon you have to register in January of 2016! When we registered this year the tickets sold out with in two hours! It's worth every penny!
  6. Shoe Organizer: I have searched high and low and my Ikea shoe organizer isn't working for me any more. I think this one might be the one!
  7. Star Wars Theories: I have soo many questions!!! And only a few people have seen the movie. Who can I talk to. I have google and read up on theories in forums and now I am more confused than ever. I won't spoil anything for those of you who haven't watched the movie. But please comment below on some of your theories!
  8. Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts: Guess what? We are planning another trip to Tahoe. I'm sorry if you have heard too much about Lake Tahoe on this blog. But we love it. There is something amazing about California that you can drive from the San Francisco Bay straight to the slopes of Lake Tahoe with in 3 hours!
  9. Let's Flamingle: Here we are another year older and I am planning by best friends birthday. The theme is Flamingos and we are getting everything off of Etsy! I wanted it to be simple and chic and here are a few items I love: Flamingo Tassel Garland, Flamingo Favor Bags, and of course this silly Flamingo Balloon!
  10. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore: Hey audible! Thanks for the obvious recommendation of Wildflower! For the last 6 months I have been on an autobiography kick. I really don't know why. But I blame audible! I finished Neil Patrick Harris' Choose your own Autobiography within a couple days. Then I listened intently to Tina Fey's Bossypants. And now I am officially in love with Drew Barrymore's Wildflower. The fact that she is the narrator makes it even better. Because when she screams she roars on tape. When she gets emotional and starts talking about her dad you can hear the cry deep in her voice. I am loving every minute of her story. Now the question is who or what do I read next?

Saturday, December 26, 2015

O Christmas

It's no secret that we love Christmas over here. This being Solin's second Christmas is what everyone is so excited about. Last year I opened all of her presents while she didn't even care what was in the bags. This year she knows that the gifts are for her and she knows exactly what to do to open them. Our Christmas vacations weekend is usually jammed packed by going to over four different house, seven houses for Carlie and Dean. So we try and get the most fun out of each house. This holiday season our first stop was at Grandma and Grandpa's house, which is where we like to gather and eat a delicious lunch with everyone before we start opening presents. We make room for everyone to sit in the living room and we start handing out a gift for everyone:
This is one of my favorite traditions. It the initials of all of my children:
Solin has never been a bottle baby. She went from being breast fed straight to the sippy cup:
At Granma's house Solin has a collection of toys. This stroller she has become very fond of... because she likes to sit in it herself :)
She's was playing shy before she started opening her gifts. Because all eyes and iPhones were on her:
The older they get the more they refuse to take photos:
Every year we try to stick to a fun gift tradition.... the hippopotamus!
Grandma always knows how to wrap a beautiful bow:
Grandma was thrilled to give Solin her present. Thank you Grandma Lexie for giving her the noisiest toy this year!!! Solin loves it!
"HONK HONK!"
RJ and Carlie are very modest about opening gifts:
It was nap time for Solin but she wasn't going down without a fight:
One of the most creative gifts was the cactus terrarium that my husband made for his sister:
After all the planning and stressing to find the perfect gifts... this is usually the aftermath:
And after Solin received over ten different toys.... she still wants to play with my camera on my phone:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Card Fail

Every year I schedule family photos for our Christmas cards. Every year, everyone is miserable taking the family photos. We have a few photos that turned out, but honestly it feels like pulling teeth when we have to gather all five of us together and try and smile at the same time. It seems that the photos that are taken out of context always turn out the best. We scheduled our photos to be taken at Lodi Lake with my friend Jessica and her family. By the time we started taking the photos people were already hangry and cranky. Here are some of the photos from that day:
Honestly, this should be the real family photo:
I spy with my little eye... a Chesapeake Bay Retriever:
A couple days after we took these photos, Carlie turned 14!
Once the family photos were done; Dean took off his button up shirt and all the kids started to play and have real fun!
When taking photos with my husband he always like to joke around and try and make me laugh. If you want a real laugh you should see our maternity photos here!
Corey Micheal and Solin Grey:
Sunset over Lodi Lake with the former General Mills in the background:
And our Christmas Cards that will be sent out:
By the way... we are not The Bradford Family.
Epic Fail!

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