Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Favorites: Shampoo

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Friday Favorites this week! I really like hearing all these great product suggestions, especially when several people recommend the same ones! I'm definitely on the lookout for some of these shampoos!

Pureology Shampoo and Conditioner - These shampoos come highly recommended from two people! Here is what they had to say:
this is the best shampoo and conditioner i have ever used. they are for color treated hair -but i think anyone could use them. expensive - but awesome. and you use very little each time you shampoo. tip from my hairstylist: you only shampoo at the roots and let it rinse through and only condition your ends. i use the volumizing shampoo (pink bottle) and the hydrating conditioner (purple bottle). the line is usually sold at salons - but sometimes target will carry it.

I have been using this stuff for years! It is awesome! You used to only be able to get it at Salons or off the Internet but I'm pretty sure you can now get it at Bed Bath and Beyond. They have many different kinds but my favorite is the pink bottle which is the volume system. Great stuff! It tingles when you wash your hair!

Moroccan Miracle Oil Hair Treatment -- not shampoo but fits in the hair category ... sounds like a god product for anyone who wants to minimize their time blow drying.

It is a dry oil you put in your hair before blow drying. It will decrease your drying time by 50%. It works! I won't dry my hair without it. My salon started carrying it last year. One bottle is $40, but it will last a long time since you only use a few drops at once. It will not make your hair greasy, just silky and smooth!

Aveda Shampure Shampoo

Smells fantastic and really leaves your hair feeling extra clean and fresh!

Organix Pomegranate Green Tea Shampoo/Conditioner

I've blogged about this before -- it is fantastic though. It is a mid weight shampoo (if that makes any sense) so it tends to be my choice when I know I'm going to have a long day at work and minimal time to get ready for an evening event. It smells fantastic and the scent lingers in your hair most of the day but not in an obnoxious way. I found it at Target and its really pretty reasonable -- a step up from grocery store shampoo and a step below salon shampoo.
I should have taken the time to find a better picture

And a special thanks to Ellie for sending in her choices too! Here is what she had to say .... amazing considering she is only 3 months old!

Hello Aunt Katie! I read your blog...
My favorite shampoo is head-to-toe baby wash (the yellow one). My mom found this link for you
This stuff is awesome! Between you and me, I don't really know about any other kind of shampoo. In my 11 weeks of life this is all I have used, but I can tell you it makes my skin feel so soft and it smells great! My mom thinks the best part is she can wash my whole body with this stuff, no need for a separate body wash. My favorite part is it doesn't even sting if it gets in your eyes. How awesome is that???? It is made for babies but I'm pretty sure everyone can benefit from this stuff. Give it a try!

Jonhnson & Johnson baby wash makes my hair soooo spiky and cute!

Someone made a special request for a topic next week, but I honestly can't remember what that was. Sorry! If you remind me again I promise we'll cover it the next time. But for now, send me your recommendations for LIP GLOSS (

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Motorcycle Drivers Make Me MUG!

I've been on good behavior for the last few posts, haven't I? I'm pretty sure I have, so please excuse my little rant.

I was driving home from work today, when some idiot on a motorcycle (actually it was a crotch rocket .... nobody with a respectable motorcycle drives that way) nearly killed himself with my car. Seriously! I was minding my own business, driving approximatley the speed limit and leaving a safe distance between my car and the car in front of me. All of a sudden, this jerk on a motorcycle turns up behind me and decides that me and the car in front of me aren't driving fast enough for his liking. So what does he do? The clown doesn't bother to let off the gas, but decides to zip out of my lane into a lane that was exiting BACK into my lane about 3 feet away from my front bumper. I don't even think I saw the asshole's head turn to look before changing lanes!

Of course, I am paying attention and brake in order to give the dude some room but that isn't the point. The point is that a guy ON A MOTORCYCLE pulled right in front of me! Had my reaction time been slower, I could have run him over. Ugh and it made me so mad.

Here is the thing. I don't care if you want to ride a motorcycle. I don't care if you want to drive fast. Hell, be crazy and don't wear your helmet. I don't even really give a damn if you want to drive wrecklessly just as long as your doing so doesn't put me in the position where I could harm you! So in the words of one of my favorite bloggers : crotch rocket drivers .... you are on notice!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

DC Weekend

This past weekend Carrie, Erin, and I took a little trip up to Washington DC to visit Tracey. She moved up there this past summer so this trip was long overdue. The three of us took Friday off from work so that we could fly up there Thursday night. When we arrived, Tracey picked us up from the airport and brought us to her house where she had a fresh baked apple pie, cookies, and wine waiting on us! (We all love food, so this weekend was off to a great start already) We watched Grey's Anatomy and chatted for a while before getting some rest for our big day Friday.

Unfortunately, Tracey had to work on Friday so the three of us had decided to do all the touristy stuff during the day. Erin has a friend from law school up there, so he was nice enough to serve as our tour guide/picture taker for the day. We were prepared for cold, but I don't think I realized just how cold it was going to be. On our way to the National Museum of American History, we of course saw the Capitol and the Washington monument and took the requisite pictures. We spent quite a bit of time in the museum and then decided it was time for lunch. We walked up towards the White House to eat at the Old Ebbitt Grill, which was fantastic! I really wish I had taken food pictures since I ate the whole city, but oh well. Suffice it to say I think I gained a couple lbs! We finished off the day walking by the White House, and visiting all the memorials (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln) and then took a LONG walk in the cold to a fabulous Gelato shop. Just what you need after a day in the freezing cold, right?

Erin, Me, Carrie

Me, Carrie, Erin in front of the White House

Kyle and Erin

That night, we went to dinner at a cute little Mexican place near Tracey's apartment and enjoyed a nice dinner accompanied by several margaritas and a few Pacificos. Then we went to a bar in her neighborhood to have drinks with Kyle and some of his friends. We ended up staying out a little too late, but it was worth it for such a fun night!

Erin, Carrie, and Tracey at Cactus

Saturday morning, we woke up and drove out to Alexandria, VA for brunch/lunch. It was such a cute little town and we walked around the shops for a few minutes before and after lunch. After we ate, we headed back into DC to go to the National Archives museum so that we could see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Seeing all that made me realize that:
a) I need a history refresher course
b) I need to re-watch John Adams

Tracey, Me, Erin on the Waterfront in Alexandria

We were all pretty tired after another long day, so we drove down Embassy Row and went back to Tracey's to relax a little bit before dinner. We rested, got dressed, had appetizers and wine and then headed out to a tapas place called Bodega. Mmmm, tapas! Now I'm hungry again! After that, we went out for a few more drinks then headed back to T's for the night. I think the plan was to stay up and watch some Oscar stuff, but we were all pretty tired.

We got up Sunday and had brunch at Martin's in Georgetown. I tried something new ... tell me this doesn't sound delish/fattening:

MARTIN'S DELIGHT…OUR OWN “HOT BROWN” - Sliced roasted turkey on toast smothered in our homemade rarebit sauce topped with sliced tomato, parmesan cheese and bacon. Broiled in a skillet

It was every bit as good as it sounds! After lunch we did a little shopping in the area and came thisclose to a celebrity sighting! While we were in Anthropoligie all the sales clerks were buzzing about how Arnold Schwartzenager (did I spell that correctly ... I swear I didn't even look that up) had just walked into J Crew. Of course we went in there looking for him, but we were too late. Oh well! We finished up the trip with a visit to Georgetown Cupcake. Oh so delicious!

Carrie and I with our cupcakes
I came home Sunday night to a sick BWL. So sick that I had to leave work on Monday to take him to the doctor :(

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Favorites

This week, I asked all of you to please send me an email with your favorite eye care products. Not an overwhelming participation, but I'll forgive all of you slackers :) I did receive a few good product referrals, so thanks to all of you who emailed me!

Benefit Lemon Aid -- This is an under eye/eyelid concealer that two people recommended. Here are their comments:

This is FABULOUS and i have been using it for years. It makes you look so refreshed and well rested.

Benefit Lemon Aid is sooo good for dark circles - it's yellow and concealer-like Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils Mascara

This is the most amazing mascara ever - hands down. Very "dramatic"/dressy. LOVE it.

Curel Extra Moisturizing Lotion -- Not really an eye care product, but thanks for the suggestion anyway!

I absolutely love Curel Extra Moisturizing Lotion. It makes your skin on your elbows like a baby's bottom!
Neutrogena Oil Free Eye Make Up Remover -- Two people suggested this product! Here is what they had to say:

Usually gets everything off in one or two swipes.

My favorite eye care product is Netrogena Oil Free Eye Make Up Remover. It is about $6.00 and can be found at any drug store. One bottle will last me about a month or so. (I did try the CVS Generic Brand and really saw no difference other than saving a couple of bucks). I use this daily and it leaves a clean non-greasy feeling around your eyes and removes dark eyeliner and mascara with a couple of swipes.

Sephora Eye Shadow

cheap, but good quality
Tweezerman Slant Tweezers

I'm sure I won't be the only one to suggest these bad boys. They get every itty bitty hair

Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner

This is easily the best eyeliner on the market -- far superior to any of the fancier brands. It is easy to apply and lasts all day.

I hope you all enjoyed this! I think its fun and a good way to discover new products that others have had success with. Next week: shampoo.

Please email me with your favorites or just leave a comment here and I'll post it next week

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wii Fit Yoga

I really am trying to get into an exercise routine. I am not terribly picky about what type of exercise as long as I'm doing something active that will challenge me in some way. In the spring and summer, its pretty easy because I actually enjoy taking walks and attempting to run. It isn't so easy for me in the winter. I should probably join a gym, but quite frankly that will make it seem even more chore like to me. I aim to spend about 30-45 minutes per 'session' and if I joined a gym I would just have to factor in drive time and class schedules. So basically, I'd be taking something that I can do in under an hour and turn it into a 1.5-2 hour ordeal. I struggle to find time to exercise as it is, so making my routine a 2 hour thing just isn't in the cards.

Since its winter, and I consider any weather under 65 and sunny inclement, I have recently turned to my trusty Wii Fit for my daily exercise. I really love the fact that I can get a workout from the comfort of my living room, but that I get guidance and interaction from the balance board. While I know the Wii feedback isn't as accurate as an actual instructor or trainer, I do feel that it is a step up from using a DVD instructor.

Until yesterday, I always varied my workout routine. I usually tried to do about 30% cardio, 30% strength training, and 30% yoga. I've never felt that it was the best workout I could possibly have, but I knew it was better than nothing. I don't really use any of the balance games exercises for exercises -- those are really just for fun.

I changed it up a little bit yesterday though and just did the Yoga routine. I've unlocked all of the poses, so I just figured I'd do each of them and see how I felt afterward. I honestly didn't feel like I was getting much exercise while doing the yoga, probably because it is all low impact. While some of the poses were a challenge for me, I just didn't see how they could help me tone up my muscles. I completed each pose once and contemplated spending a little more time afterward doing some strength training but didn't. I just ran out of time and gave up.

This morning though, I woke up sore!! Really ... all the major muscles in my body are tired and a little sore. I think I'll step it up next time and do some of the poses more than once (especially the ones that tend to be more difficult), but overall I actually think it was a decent workout. I know I need to get back into the cardio routine and I will, but for a mid-week workout, this yoga thing might actually be beneficial.

Starting next week, I'm cutting out all desserts. No candy, no cupcakes, no ice cream, nothing! Last time I did that for about a month, I actually lost a few pounds. I don't know which thing I hate more : giving up desserts or exercising.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Weekend

Do you ever have such a busy weekend that it makes you tired for several days into the following week? I certainly do and therefore I am stee-rugglin' this week. I seriously almost fell asleep on my way to work this morning. I'm currently on my second cup of coffee and will probably require a third shot of caffeine before 9am. Is this what happens to your body when you get old?

Now for the recap of my ever-so-busy weekend. I know you are all dying to read about it!

Friday night was a birthday celebration for Carrie, Josh, and Tara. (That is alphabetical order, Josh ... don't be rough that you weren't listed first!) We had dinner at Zucca and then went next door to Vintage Tavern afterward. It was a fun, but very late, night!

Happy Birthday Carrie and Josh!

Carrie, Tara, Erin, Me
Happy Birthday Carrie and Tara!

Saturday morning we got up and got ready for a Valentine's Day tea hosted by Becky and her mom. They worked so hard to make everything festive and perfect and the food was excellent!

Me and Mom at the Tea

Becca (with Emi Grace), Audra, Carrie, Becky, Me, Erin

After the tea, we had just enough time to rest up for another big, eventful evening! We had a big group of people meet at Manuel's for dinner and then went to the Robert Earl Keen show at Variety Playhouse. REK was awesome! I haven't seen him live in several years, so I was glad that we finally were able to go see him this time.

Ben and I at Manuel's before the concert

Keri, Carrie, Becky, Erin

Robert Earl Keen

We got up Sunday morning and went to breakfast with some friends and then I went up to visit Ellie for the afternoon. She was very happy all day long and smiled and talked to me a lot. It was nice to see her during the day because at night is usually when she has her fussy time. I usually see her after work in the evenings, so I've experienced my share of fussy time! Anyway, we had a great day together and I took several cute pictures!

Hey Mr. Cow! You're my best friend!!

Don't mug on me Mr. Cow ... you made me sad :(

I'm going to DC this weekend so I'll have another fun recap with pictures for you next week! I am really having a difficult time packing though. I was told to layer during the day when we'll be out doing touristy stuff. The problem is that I really don't know how to layer!! Anyone have any tips? I know to wear leggings under my jeans, but as far as the top part of my outfit goes, how do I layer?

Oh, and by the way ... my retainers came in. I'm so allsome and I'm sure you are all jealous!

There are no words. I feel like I'm 13 again!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Favorite Fridays

Change of plans. (See previous post if you have no clue what I'm talking about) As someone pointed out to me, it is hard to narrow down your very favorite beauty product, so instead I'll give a category each week and you email me (or I guess you could comment also) with your fave from that category.

I'll start this next week, so everyone be thinking of their favorite EYE CARE product ... can be shadow, concealer, eye makeup remover or whatever. E-mail it to me by next Wednesday so that I can have the post ready for Friday!!

And male readers .... don't go away please! I'll only do this beauty product stuff on Fridays. I'll discuss other interesting topics the rest of the week. Like Time Travel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beauty Products

A friend emailed me today with an idea for my blog. (Thanks, Aubrey!) She suggested that I ask my readers to email me with reccommendations of their favorite beauty products. Since my favorite lists seem to get good feedback, I agree with her that this might be a fun thing to try!

So, e-mail me( tell me what your favorite beauty product is and why. It can be anything from an eyelash curler to chapstick ... just something that you've found that makes your beauty routine more enjoyable.

I'll post the results soon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February Faves

I think my last few posts were a little too negative, so I'll change gears. Even if it is just for a few days :)

I want to report on some of my recent finds. Usually I try to stick to drugstore items, but not this time.

Jergens Ultra Healing moisturizer - I realize that I usually have some type of lotion or moisturizer on my "favorites" posts, but its wintertime and that means that I use a ton of it. Each type of lotion that I write about serves a different purpose and is used at different times of the day. This particular lotion is something I use while at work because I wash my hands so frequently. It does a great job of combating the winter dryness and is light enough that you can apply it several times each day.

Mr. Clean with Febreze - I can't take credit for this find since my sister and my mom introduced me to it but I can say that I've bought it and it is fabulous. I mainly use it for cleaning my kitchen countertops. They have to be wiped down daily, and this is a good way to get your counters clean and kitchen smelling nice after cooking.

The Show Cabernet Sauvignon - This is a wine that I had tried before and just recently re-discovered it. You can easily find this in most grocery stores for about $12. Because it is an affordable, everyday wine we tend to drink a few bottles each week. I'm not a connesiuer so, I'll borrow the tasting notes from WineCentric

Dark night-red color with black fruit and mocha on the nose. Cocoa and chocolate take the forefront and dominate the finish. Cherry, vanilla and bitter tannins lurk underneath. Smooths out after breathing and becomes a rich, lush wine with considerable muscle.

Philly Tacos - These are maybe the best things ever invented! Think of a philly cheesesteak but in taco form. And then make it better. Sorry, but I don't have a picture that can do these little bites of heaven justice. However, be on the lookout for these gems at any taqueria near you. My favorite are Taqueria del Sol and Taqueria los Hermanos. They both have excellent Philly tacos.

And now, to keep this fair I'll list the things that I HATE:

Yup, I'm still having problems with them. They suck. Enough said.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Katie v. Dish Network

Warning: I am EXTREMELY fed up with Dish Network. Furious. Over them. Because of my extreme frustration, I realize that this post probably will not entertain anyone. My sole motive with this post is to vent.

My problems with Dish started about a month ago. To summarize the back story, I had various problems with my DVR deleting mysteriously and the picture quality on my TV. I also had problems with the 2nd TV channel changing, but that was a remote frequency issue and is now fixed (by one of my friends … no thanks to Dish Network).

After enduring these problems for a few days, I finally called Dish. It was glaringly obvious that the technician I spoke with was simply following various prompts on her computer screen. She could not give me a clear answer as to why my recorded programs deleted, and her solution was that my receiver must be broken and she’d send me a new one. Really, Dish? Is that how you’ve trained your technicians? I honestly think this particular technician had simply run out of computer prompts and this was her idea of a resolution.

Whatever. The new receiver finally comes and I carve out a block of time and begin installing it. Of course, I get through the first few steps and am almost at the step of activating my receiver when a warning message pops up on my screen. (I had followed the instructions very closely, this was not an error on my end.)

The warning message popped up and I didn’t see anything in the instillation instructions about how to get around it so I was forced to call the rocket scientists over at Dish again.
Their advice? “Unplug the receiver for 20 seconds and then plug it back in” We tried that a number of times before she finally reached the conclusion that the new receiver wasn’t working. She put me on hold and went to her supervisor. Supervisor determined that the 2nd receiver they sent to me was not working and that they should send me a “different type”. I was frustrated and expressed that but finally said okay. Then she told me that I would be without cable until my new receiver arrived.

I ended up hooking my old receiver back up and luckily, it was still working so I didn’t end up having to go without cable. That was a good thing because it took a whole week to get this “new, upgraded” receiver.

Once we get it, I pull out the Dish user’s guide and begin to install my new receiver. Fortunately, this was a functional receiver and I got through the installation process successfully. I was soooo happy! I thought finally my problems were solved.


I waited for a while for the guide to complete downloading and realize that I am unable to access my DVR. Strange. I thought maybe this was still downloading, so I decided that maybe the morons over at Dish Network could ease my mind somehow. And I call. Then, they explain to me that the receiver they sent …


Oh my hell!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

So, eventually I hooked back up my old receiver (the one that was supposedly broken in the first place) and mail the new piece of shit back to Dish.

Things still aren’t working like they should and I’m just over it.

So, a word to the wise: If you are considering Satellite TV, do not sign a contract with Dish Network because they are beyond terrible.

Ethical Dilemma

I've fumbled around all week trying to think of something to blog about. I was going to tell you all about how i de-cluttered our condo this past weekend but then decided that is probably not very interesting. Then I was going to tell you about the greatness that is a Philly Taco but that just made me hungry. I thought about talking about the recession but that is d*pr*ssing. (I can't type out that whole word, because several people have googled that word and found my blog ... oops!)

However, I was just paying some bills a few minutes ago and thought about something that you can all probably relate to. Charity Labels.

Yes, you know what I am talking about. We all get them from time to time -- cute little labels along with a letter requesting that we donate to some charity. Happened to me just last week. I usually don't open anything that I deem to be junk mail, but for whatever reason I opened this one. Immediately after opening the package, I was faced with a moral dilemma. The angel and devil started talking on my shoulders ... you know how that goes!

I'll probably get blasted for this, but I ended up keeping the labels. The devil on my left shoulder won out with quite a compelling argument. Because St. Jude sent the labels without my asking them to, they are a gift and I do not owe the charity. It would be wasteful to throw the labels away or send them back as they could not use them. Furthermore, St. Jude is attempting to guilt me into sending money to them by sending me gifts. They should be ashamed of themselves, really. (I thought that was a fine point)

What do you do with charity labels you receive in the mail? Do you keep and use them? Do you send money? Do you throw them out?

Monday, February 2, 2009


Normally I'm not very serious on my blog but I received this email from my best friend's boyfriend who is currently in Iraq. He is serving on a Military Transition Team (MTT) which means that he along with a very small group of American Marines are working to train Iraqi soldiers. He deployed in early September and is not scheduled to return home until this fall. His days are long and he certainly does not have the conveniences of home so I can only imagine how he must need these little pick me ups every now and then. I'm going to quit talking now because I cannot do his story justice with my words. His writing is so eloquent and he really does a fabulous job at painting a picture of the recent Iraqi elections. (Carrie, please feel free to correct me if I've misstated anything)

Regardless of how you feel about the war, you should be able to appreciate the message Burke is trying to convey. Please, put your political opinions aside for a few moments and take the time to read this e-mail.

I have just returned from today's patrol. 31 Jan 2009. We covered the Iraqi BDE's complete area of responsibility. The election sites have only just closed and what eerily seems like any other day in Iraq is completely the opposite. Today, alongside the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, Provincial Security Forces and my fellow Marines, I walked the streets of Hit, Haditha, Baghdadi, Barwana and Haqlaniyah. It was admittedly a long day but the kind whose gravity fully weighs in upon its completion or in quiet retrospect. I have to say that today in my area of Al Anbar, I witnessed an army, security force and local civilian population handle a difficult and dangerous task with complete confidence, fluid coordination and guts.

I must have shaken hands with over a hundred people today and I was only one of a lucky handful permitted in the "shadow-like" coalition presence within the cities. Some of those hands were old and have experienced the full swing of the politics, fear and pseudo freedom of the past half century in this country. Some were middle aged, weary of the past decade, continuous martial patrols and very aware of the positive and negative impacts of the past 6 years. Some were young, happy to be a part of the next step and eager to be involved. Last but certainly not least were the kids who sat on shoulders, held a father's hand, grasped the leg of a mother.... to watch... bear witness...and learn. The common link was the color purple. The purple ink that covered the right index finger of a man or woman that decided to courageously stand up, stand in line, be searched and publicly, defiantly and decisively involve themselves in the future of their country. In the face of threat and intimidation, people turned out in amazing numbers. No one cheered, no one ran, no one fired weapons in celebration but today, they voted and in turn both gave their voice to a candidate and let the enemies of their freedom know that they are not afraid. They will endure.

I saw many humbling and amazing things today. Through a rifle scope, binos, armored windows or tinted sunglasses, I was able to observe the events that transpired. With the help of our interpreters (both of which escaped Iraq 10 years ago and have returned to work with Marines in Al Anbar) the members of my team, MTT 0720 has each had their own experience with respect to these elections. Doc (our navy corpsman) and I conducted countless IED sweeps today, around our vehicles and the 38 election sites. Doc spoke with a boy of about 12 or 13 who reached out a hand and told him in broken English.... "Thank you, Amriki (how the Iraqis say American) .....for this future." Doc also reached out, shook his hand but could only muster an amazed.... "you're welcome, brother." I think he understood the moment. I think they both did. Later, I watched a father walk with his young son who couldn't have been more than 5 or 6, stand outside of a polling site. The man raised the little guy up in his arms to talk to him. Close and deliberate, he spoke to his young son about the importance of "a choice." He put him back down, looked at him with the finality of a father's lesson, took his hand and walked on. I don't know where they were going and in truth it doesn't matter. What I do know is that they walked, two generations of Iraqis, away from an voting site.... unafraid.....unintimidated and hopeful. Towards the end of the patrol as a report came in about some suspicious activity in the southern sector, I stood with my counterpart, the Iraqi Army Brigade Operations Officer, in the middle of the road as he briefed the brigade commander with a map in one hand, a radio in the other and a GPS on the hood of his vehicle. I never said a word. No Marine standing by them said anything. Immediately and decisively, the BDE Commander explained his intent, switched vehicles and drove off to make the phone call that would shift elements in that zone to deal with the issue at hand. It took less than five minutes.... from intel to decision to communication to operation. I shook my friend's hand (the G3 Operations Officer), smiled and we returned to our vehicles to complete the patrol.

Take a moment with me to feel the weight of these small things. Add them up and apply them to what you may see on the news or hear from others who have been here as to whether you believe the war on terror can ever be "won." In Iraq, Afghanistan, Beirut, Manhattan, Oklahoma City.... or your hometown....

Remember that I am only one of thousands of Marines, servicemen/ women and contractors in Iraq on a day like today. Remember that it has taken very close to six years and immeasurable sacrifice by the Iraqis, their families, Americans and their families to ensure the success of a day like today. Today is only a small piece and those of us here know that the true test will arrive in the coming days, weeks and years to continue the momentum of "a choice." While it may seem like any other day, I will never forget it and am proud to have been here.

I ignored the cliche' and focused/ reflected on what I saw in reality. Iraqi and American blood has often touched the streets that I walked in relative peace today. Days like today have a price and I thank all of those that have bourne the cost.

Always Faithful

P. Burke Eltringham
Captain U.S. Marines