Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How Popular Is Your Name?
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are no other people in the United States with my name. Surprise surprise! No wonder it's so easy to find me when googling my name.

There are also no other Brendon Merkley's in the USA. Wow...aren't we an odd named couple?

Second Opinion(s)

Despite all the searching we did as an engaged couple, Brendon and I never found bedding that we could either (1) agree on and/or (2) rationalize the price of, thus we just kept my old bedding that is starting to show it's wear and tear.

I found this bedding today at Pottery Barn and I really like it. And for $59 it's a steal. Brendon is opinion-less on this bedding, except to say that it's not his "favorite".

What do you think?

Note: this is for the duvet cover...not the quilt. I like the quilt more, but it is sold out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

San Francisco Treat

Brendon and I had a few short hours in between the last activities at Admit Weekend and our flight back to DC, so we drove to San Francisco for dinner with CB and Brooke. While we waited for CB to get off work, Brooke, Brendon, and I went for a bike ride to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so much fun!

For dinner we ate at this yummy Italian place called A-16. If you've ever eaten out with CB and Brooke, you know that they are adventurous. So we ordered all kinds of yummy food family style and it was delicious. After dinner we walked across the street to another cute Italian place for dessert. We all got thick Italian hot chocolates (it was cold and windy in S.F.) and split a few desserts.

(That's Alcatraz behind Brendon)

Admit Weekend

Early Saturday morning Brendon and I flew to Palo Alto, CA for Stanford's GSB (Graduate School of Business) Admit Weekend. We had such an amazing time, and we are so very much looking forward to moving to Palo Alto this Fall to attend Stanford.

We were blown away by the talented, beautiful, and amazing people that will be Brendon's classmates this year. They range from Olympic and professional athletes, to Broadway performers and Grammy award winners, to inventors and ridiculously successful business owners. It was intimidating to be among such talented, accomplished people...but everyone was so kind and humble. We met so many people this weekend, and we are so excited to get to know everyone better.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cake With POTUS

Brendon's boss, Bill, left to go work in the private sector, so yesterday they had a going away party for him in the Indian Treaty Room at the White House. Brendon invited me to come with him, and my boss is wonderful enough to let me sneak away for a few hours during work.

It was a wonderful reunion of sorts, since lots of people that have left the job came back to give their well wishes to Bill. Some people we hadn't seen in months, and some in years. It was a pretty small, intimate group with a few of their close friends , a few WH Senior Staff, and Brendon's office.

The President made an appearance, and it was very touching and emotional as he spoke of his appreciation for Brendon's wonderful boss. I know the President has some critics these days, but I am his biggest fan! I am convinced more people would love him like I do if they could see him speak close up, and see the twinkle in his eye, and see his adorable smile. Regardless, it was great to see him speak...and to only be about 10 feet away as well. I was beaming the whole time, with adoration written all over my face. What can I say? ...I'm a fiercely partiotic girl!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ladies Night

Me...Kayla...Mel (aka "Whale")...and Erica

I am going to miss these girls!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Love The World

For all of you that don't know my husband's silly side (this one's for you Mom...who can't seem to imagine Brendon being goofy)...

Last night Brendon was back in the hallway and I was sitting on the couch watching t.v. and this new commercial came on. All of a sudden Brendon comes skidding around the corner with the biggest grin plastered on his face. "I love this commercial!!" he said...then he proceeded to dance and sing "Boom-de-ah-da...boom-de-ah-da..."

I must is a pretty great commercial.
Ps...Do any of you Gridley folk remember singing this song after flag salute at McKinley? These weren't the words though.
Pps...I didn't purposefully post this on Earth Day...but I guess it's a great coincidence.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My First Sale

Today I made my first sale on Etsy. This adorable corduroy elephant dress in a custom size 3T. Fun!

Nanny Diaries

When I was in college at BYU, I babysat three adorable boys two days a week for two years. The little twin boys, Brady and Coleman, were in diapers and barely learning to talk when I left, and the oldest boy, Hyatt, and I would have a blast coloring and drawing while the babies were asleep. That was years ago! Brendon and I were so lucky to have them visit us last week! All three boys had grown a ton and it was SO much fun to see them! We didn't stop laughing the whole time we were with them - they're all such a riot!
Here they are with Brendon in the Press Room (L to R: Hyatt, Brendon, Brady, Coleman).
In the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
In front of the West Wing entrance.


You may have noticed you didn't have to enter a password to access our blog this morning. Hip hip hooray!

Brendon's interviews and applications for business school are finished (YAY for Brendon!) so we no longer feel the need to keep our blogging life private.

Thank you to those of you that still read the blog through the private-password-restricted times...I know it's more of a pain. But now...add us to your google reader and make things easier on yourselves!

Doily Love

When I went to Amish country with my mom and sister a few weeks ago we found a great vintage/thrift store and I found a green and yellow vintage doily that I just fell in love with. Lucky for me it was less than $10! What a bargain. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it...but I knew I would think of something eventually.

I decided to chop it up and sew it onto a cardigan. I bought this aqua cardigan from Old Navy, carefully snipped up the doily (I was so nervous it would unravel...but after studying it I figured out the places I could dissect it successfully) and hand-stiched pieces of it onto the collar of my sweater. I love how it turned out. I love the bright colors of the doily, and I just love the crocheted yellow roses!


We have a little tradition of going to Famous Dave's (after outlet shopping at Potomac Mills) with the William's. Melanie and I have been going to this BBQ joint for years - long before we met our hubbies. We were so thrilled when we found out they have it on the East coast as well.

We figured since Melanie is about to pop anyday (you can't even tell she's one week shy of 9 months pregnant in this picture...little brat!) we figured this might be our last weekend to squeeze this culinary delight in before they have a baby and we all move.
(note the BBQ sauce on Brendon's cheek - ha ha!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Viva il Papa

This morning Brendon, Brendon's dad (Al), and I were able to attend the official arrival ceremony for Pope Benedict XVI at the White House.

It was a beautiful day in Washington, which made the trip to the South Lawn all the more enjoyable! We had about an hour or so to kill before the ceremony, but it went by fast...we always see tons of people we know at these White House events.

As soon as the Pope arrived someone shouted "Happy Birthday" and everyone spontaneously started singing the birthday song. When it got to "happy birthday to...." it was kind of awkward and gurgled sounds as everyone wondered what to say, but most people just tried to make "po-ope" into two syllables :)

They had all the usual pomp and circumstance that makes these White House events so fun...Marine band, 21-gun salute, Fife & Drum Corps, etc. There was a beautiful rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

We weren't super close, but considering Bren had to work a lot this morning before the event and we didn't get out there as soon as the gates opened, we had a pretty great view. If I stood on my tippy toes and all the heads in front of me aligned in a favorable way I had a pretty decent view of the President and the Pope. It pays to have a husband that is 6'5" we definitely got some pretty good photos.

I never get tired of these events. I sure am going to miss this!
{The great view from the South Lawn}

{The Vatican flags were displayed all around the White House property}

{We ran into an old friend, Mike McCarlie, at the event}

{Al/Dad, Taryn, and Brendon}

{The Fife & Drum Corps}

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Tulip Garden

I think Brendon has done five White House tours in the last seven days. But I'm not complaining. Because it just means more time I get to spend in the Rose Garden.

In my humble opinion, for all it's worth, I think the name should be changed to the Tulip Garden. Aren't they gorgeous?!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Cooking Post From a Girl Who Can't Cook

Lest you be disillusioned into thinking I am some sort of domestic goddess, I will set the record straight. I am nothing of the sort! My cooking skills are sorely lacking. And my desire to cook is even more lacking. That was a sad realization for me after I got married. I'd had fantasies of me whipping up amazing meals in a fabulous apron and winning my way to my husband's heart through his stomach. And then I realized...I don't even enjoy this one bit. And by no means am I good at it. As a result Brendon eats lots of dinners like quesadillas, tomato/cheese sandwiches, and simple pasta dishes.

Last night I was feeling extra healthy after my run (and after some nagging from Brendon to start depleting our food storage in preparation for the big move) I decided to make a real meal of lemon pepper chicken, green beans, and sweet potato fries. I thought I'd share the "recipe" for the sweet potato fries, because they are one of my favorite side dishes. They are super healthy, super easy, and pretty darn tasty I think.

To make them I usually peel 2-3 large sweet potatoes, then rinse them and wrap them in plastic wrap. I put them in the microwave for just about 5 minutes (give or take) to make sure the insides of the fries will be soft and to make the chopping easier...but you don't want them too soft or they'll be soggy fries. Then I just chop them up to a fry-like shape on the cutting board and plop them in a pyrex or a bowl or something. I use my nifty little spray bottle thing to put them olive oil on them, because it covers more evenly...but you can just drizzle it on straight from the bottle as well. Then shake a packet of taco seasoning on them and stir everything up to coat evenly. Spread the fries out on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on the broil setting. I usually leave them in there like 5-10 minutes, and then flip them to get the other side. Just keep your eye on them. They'll start looking almost blistered when they are ready to come out. Then enjoy. They are a pretty yummy way to eat your veggies.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Grand Opening

There are now dresses for sale in my Etsy shop!

More to come soon!

Funny Facebook

Brendon joined the world of Facebook last night, so that he can get to know some of his new Stanford classmates.

This morning I got an email from Facebook that Brendon Merkley had added me as a friend, so I edited our friend details to "married" status.

Five minutes later Brendon forwards me an email from Facebook with the subject: "Taryn Leishman Merkley said that you two are married..." and inside the email they asked him to confirm that we are, in fact, married.

That made us laugh. I thought for a few minutes about how funny it would be to add random people you weren't married to. He he.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


We got some VERY great news today...

Brendon got into the business school he wanted (our fingers are sore from having been crossed for the last few months).

This means we're moving back to California for at least two years. We are so excited to be closer to our families! We sure are going to miss all our good friends on the East coast though!

Sneak Peak

Yesterday after work Jane and Lindi were soooo kind as to lend me their daughters and assistance to have a little photo shoot for my dresses.
I was actually kind of nervous...since I had made up some of the patterns, and had never tried any of them on real children (or fake children, or dressforms, or anything for that matter) so I worried they wouldn't fit or would be wonky. Thankfully they worked perfectly. And Brooklyn was the perfect little model...such a cheery little thing!

Here are a few pictures from the shoot. Sweet, awesome, talented Lindi is helping me edit them in photoshop and get them ready to put up. I had no idea this etsy thing was such an ordeal. Taking the photos takes longer than making the dresses almost :) I owe you big time Lindi! And Jane! Thanks girls!
And...I'll have them on Etsy soon...I promise.