Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grateful for Family

I am grateful for having married into a terrific family! Dana's father, Ron (not pictured), is the excellent photographer. I'm also grateful that my family loves them as much as I do!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ahhhh..... fresh air

We're out in California this week and it's been so nice to get outside and hike around Monterey and Carmel and walk along the beach. Quite a beautiful place to be!

We also made it to the Monterey aquarium - one of our favorite places to visit. I LOVE the jelly fish exihibit! It's magical yet peaceful at the same time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I just want to Dance...

You've GOT to watch this feel-good video...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Looking forward to a fresh start

Last week was a tough week to be honest with you. In one week, the Vice President of my current team was let go from the company. In addition, my previous Vice President transferred offices. Finally, my Vice President from before that sadly passed away from a brain tumor. That last one was the toughest because she was young, talented and a friend. Ugh! It was one of those weeks where I just wanted to go back to bed and stay there until the week was over and I could start fresh again.

Anyhow, I'm off to hopefully a new start tomorrow and I hope that this week is a better one! I'm crossing my fingers and saying my prayers for a GREAT week before Christmas break begins.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I finally did it!

For awhile now I've been wanting to go to this new place that opened up in Frisco called Painting with a Twist. It's sort of like those paint-your-own-pottery places, except that you paint a real painting while a real artist talks you and your group through it. You can bring in adult beverages and it has a cool atmosphere and fun music too. Such a neat place!

I finally got to go this week and this is what I created...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My latest purchase

I just purchased a new Frito-Lay clutch/wristlet from Ecoist. I don't want to be a dork but think I'll actually carry this around - It's pretty cute and really well made!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet memories from Thanks-Christmas 2010

Volunteering to sort food at the North Texas food bank

Dinner at Seasons 52 - my new favorite restaurant
Decorating a beautiful tree while listening to Christmas music from "Mitch"

Manis and Pedis at the spa - glitter nail polish and flowers for my nieces
Games at Dave and Busters - winning stuffed animals all around
Seeing Tangled - an AWESOME new Disney movie
Playing a lot of "Ticket to Ride"
Trying chocolate beer - and loving it
Attending an adorable holiday festival in historic McKinney Square and watching my nieces enjoy riding the outdoor carousel

Laughing at how unspectacular the Fushigi ball is
Cooking and eating A LOT of great food!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Time to get on board

Every year I set 10 personal goals. Well, 20 actually - 10 for myself and then Dana and I set 10 for our marriage. I've found that since I started doing this a few years ago, I have great satisfaction by seeing us make progress towards accomplishing our dreams.

This weekend, I'm successfully achieving one of these goals that is particularly important to me - joining the Board of a non-profit. I'm coming on board with Partners International, a Christian organization that is near and dear to my heart.

That means I'll be coming up to Spokane, Washington twice a year for Board meetings. It's not the easiest place in the world to get to from Dallas, but it's totally worth it. I'm truly inspired by the vision, passion and commitment that I feel when I'm here. If you're not familiar with Partners yet, check them out at:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Brief Taste of Paradise

We just returned from a vacation in Maui. After spending months trying to figure out where we wanted to travel this year, we finally just pulled the trigger and flew to Hawaii. I've been to Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai but this was my first trip to Maui. Dana had previously visited with his family and even stayed at the same hotel (the Westin Maui).

Although I'm partial to Mexico because it's such a short flight from Texas and it's much less expensive than Hawaii once you get there, I will say that Maui is beautiful and has a lot more to do.

We rode up to the summit of the Haleakala volcano to watch the sunrise (where it was 40 degrees!), and sped back down on mountain bikes.
We watched a luau while sipping champagne from our balcony and strolled on the beaches at sunset.
We enjoyed the famous "drive to Hana", which is basically a windy, lush drive with stops for hiking, waterfalls and watching windsurfers do amazing feats on their own beach. But most of the time, we did what the Allens do best... eat great food!
Our favorite meals were at Lahaina Grill, Hula Grill (we ate there 3x we loved it so much) and Mama's Fish House. Most importantly, we came back very relaxed. I love vacation!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Love your neighbor as yourself

Today my co-workers and I took part in a United Way volunteer day. Our department visited a Dallas retirement home and hosted indoor games for the residents as part of an Oktoberfest carnival. It was such a sweet time to see everyone just loving on people and making them feel special. The day really couldn't have gone any better. It's so nice to take time out of the "busyness" of life sometimes and just focus on relationships and caring for others.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The cheapest way to feel like a celebrity

I've had the pleasure of 3 fabulous girls night out in the past week thanks to book club and celebrations for Laura and Janelle's birthdays... and I have to say that last Friday was very cool. We went to this place called Gold Class Cinemas, and it is like no other movie watching experience you've ever had.

I've "walked a red carpet" so to speak in the past, but this place really knows how to make you feel like a celebrity. It was fantastic! It sort of feels like a classy nightclub, with all of the servers dressed up in black cocktail dresses. It has a full bar and excellent food. You sit in reserved seats - leather recliners of course, each with their own soft blanket and call button to have a waiter (who calls you by name) answer your every whim.

It was so fun. I highly recommend it for a unique date night or a girls night out! They even brought us complimentary "birthday cake" shots because they knew we were celebrating. Now that's service...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fishing and Shooting

For better or worse, I'm becoming more of a Texan everyday. First, my brother-in-law (Justin) took me to a shooting range. I've always wanted to go so I had a blast. The guy in charge was a little skeptical when I had to ask him what the trigger was, but ultimately I think I was pretty good!

Then I went fishing in F-L's lake as part of a charity fundraiser and caught a nice one. It was hard work to reel it in (especially since I didn't want to touch it), but a lot of fun on a beautiful day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dana meets Rihanna

Why is Dana hanging out with superstar Rihanna? Go to to see what he's been up to at work lately.

P.S. Pick up a bag of Doritos Late Night Cheeseburger for the full experience. It's really cool!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall has Arrived

While Dana was in Seattle celebrating the 40th birthday of his dear friend (and groomsman) Travis, I FINALLY had a chance to meet the newest addition to the Blanchard family - Andrew. He's a cutie pie!

This weekend it dropped down to 72 degrees in Dallas - a cool front! It finally feels like Fall.. so I have Pumpkin Spice, pumpkin patches, Halloween and even football on the brain. Such a fun time of year!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jai Ho

Saturday was a fantastic day!

First, the girls from Christine's church community group met up for a pedicure party to celebrate Stephanie's birthday. Such a great way to start any day really...

Then we both discovered the fantastic Crooked Tree Coffee House when we met up with a young couple who we are counseling (since we volunteer at our church together as pre-married counselors). We think they are a great match and they gave us a bunch of great ideas for our own marriage, so truly it was a win for everyone.

Last but NOT least - we saw AR Rahman's Jai Ho concert at American Airlines. Rahman did the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack and as an Indian film composer, record producer, musician and singer, he is famous for so many things. The show was truly amazing - Christine thinks it was the best concert she's ever seen! The dancing and costumes and scenery and music all made for an unforgettable night! We felt like the only 2 Caucasians in a sea of 12,000 Indians. Christine loved it because she "felt like she was home". Plus she got to wear her Indian clothes again, which always makes her happy due to all her good memories from living in India last Fall.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mr. Freeze is Cool

Last night Frito sponsored a free night at 6 Flags for employees and their families. We had a blast riding all of the big roller coasters. I LOVE roller coasters - and I think I'm appreciating them more than ever now because I just feel like the stage of life will pass soon when I'll want to ride them. So I have to seize the day!

I really loved them all because each experience was totally distinct - but riding in the front car on Mr. Freeze was incredible. At one point you shoot straight up and feel like you're headed to space, and then all of a sudden you fall backwards and redo the rollercoaster in reverse.

Unfortunately, I can't really move my neck today because it's pretty sore. I may be crazy but I still highly recommend it next time you're in Dallas! I hear there's a Mr. Freeze in St. Louis as well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Catching up... some special 2010 memories

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Back in the Game

My dear friend, Elizabeth, encouraged me to sign up for a new bible study at Watermark church on the book of Daniel. I was dragging my feet on going because none of my friends could do it with me and I have trouble getting motivated to go after a tiring day at work. But... her prodding worked and I went and it was terrific. I'm just happy to be back to making time with God a priority in the midst of unimportant "busyness". So thank you Elizabeth - I'm looking forward to next week!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Marriage Maisie!

We couldn't be happier for Maisie and Darren. Their wedding was sweet and sincere, just like the two of them. We are so glad they found each other! And clearly, we had a lot of fun on their big day : )

Here is Diana saving the beautiful cake, which decided to topple over due to the humidity!

We're Back!

After a long hiatus, we are officially back to blogging again.

Last weekend we celebrated Christine's 34th birthday with a swing dancing lesson, disco bowling, laser tag and a Pancakes and Pajamas party. Even though it wasn't a "big" birthday, life is meant to be celebrated and it was a good excuse to get together with friends.

After that, 3 of the Wash U Kappas came with their families to visit for a fun weekend.
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As soon as they left, we headed out for a few days in Carmel, California and Yosemite National Park with Dana's parents. The first half of 2010 we were pretty swamped at work, but September is off to a great start!

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Looking for stories on India?

If you are new to our blog - welcome!

For anyone new visiting the blog from the story in the Partners International newsletter or Washington University alumni magazine who is interested in hearing more about India, please go to the Blog Archive on the right side of this page. My India experience ran from September - December 2009.

Thanks for visiting!

The Kappas reunite on Hilton Head Island

9 sorority sisters, 16 years of friendship....what a wonderful blessing! (Jenny's flight was delayed, but she makes #9)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Counting our Blessings

We love our Watermark Community Group! (and Buster too).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Playing in Mexico

My favorite nieces in the whole world just got back from a family vacation in Mexico.

That sounds so terrific right now. I'm going to have to live vicariously through them!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Catching up...

We have been busy, busy, busy at work this month... (thus the lack of updates). A good friend recently had a great discussion with me on how people have to make a decision to either "live to work" or "work to live", so I'm trying to keep that in mind as things get a bit crazy and make sure that we're making time for a bit of work/life balance.

Valentine's Day weekend we were thrilled to have Hillary back in town so we had dinner with her on Friday. On Saturday we met Nicole & Stan for drinks and to listen to a jazz band but I missed up the dates and we ended up there on Mardi Gras/Polka band night. Too funny! Anyways, we still enjoyed a romantic dinner at Silver Fox Steakhouse after wards which was delicious - and I'm so psyched that we're finally starting ballroom dance lessons next month (I've been talking about this for 5 years since we had a fairly embarrassing 1st dance at our wedding) : ). Sunday we had a great time with Mike & Anissa at the NBA All Stars game at the new Cowboys stadium.

This past weekend we took a quick trip to Houston to meet Caroline and Justin's new baby, catch up with Shannon, Sara (all sorority sisters from Wash U), attend church with Devin (Dana's friend from Young Life in the Bay Area) and visit Shanon Hick's baby in the hospital (Shanon was in our start class at Frito, but moved to Houston and her sweet 4 month old baby Amelia unfortunately needs a heart transplant). We did the drive and saw everyone all in less than 48 hours. It was amazing!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Dana at the Superbowl - where his team's Doritos commercials rocked it (one came in #2 in the ad rankings, one was the most watched commercial EVER in TV history).

Christine blubbering through the "The Blind Side" and absolutely loving it. Great movie!

Snow (in Dallas? in February? what's that about?)...

In other news, a 2010 volunteer trip to Haiti looks like it may be coming together with the help of either Watermark or Orphans International (both look promising) and F-L's annual marketing offsite was just announced - we're going to the Wynn in Vegas for a week in April!

The Journey of Serving

"The journey of serving those in need is, in essence, the journey of following Christ. And God has created each person uniquely for the journey, giving each one spiritual gifts, skills and passions with which to serve him, to be the change we want to see in the world."

(an excerpt I love from Hope Lives, an inspiring book I'm reading on poverty)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't forget the Doritos!

Superbowl is less than a week away. This is a friendly reminder to please think of your friends at Frito-Lay when you make your snack selection and perhaps pick up some yummy Doritos for the big game!

Dana will be there at the big game enjoying the excitement in person this year. Should be fun!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Determine your Destiny

"The best way to predict the future is to create it"

The $2-a-day Challenge

I started this amazing new class at Watermark church on Poverty. Every Thursday is now the highlight of my week. In addition to learning more of the stats on poverty and what the bible has to say about it, they help us plug into volunteer opportunities in Dallas and beyond.

One of the most interesting things we've learned is that almost 1/2 of the world lives on less than $2 a day. It's so hard to imagine how rich we are! Our class has challenged us to go 7 days living on $2 a day (so $14 for the week) and to drink nothing but tap water (since 1 in 6 people don't even have access to safe drinking water). These small challenges help keep the needy top of mind.

I've also felt really passionate lately about better understanding homelessness in Dallas, so I'm looking into churches that have programs that immerse you in homelessness for the weekend and let you experience it. How amazing would that be and how could it not alter your perspective and open your heart to the needy?

Finally, I'm considering planning a late Spring/early Summer trip to Haiti to help out with the situation there. Right now it's just a thought, but if you'd be interested in coming too, please let me know!

Other than that, I'm heading to Michigan this week to visit Ana, Justin and my adorable nieces and to do some recruiting at U of M. It's going to be cold!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wishing you a wonderful 2010! (our recap of 2009)

Happy new year! 2009 was an exciting year for us, primarily because Christine took a sabbatical to volunteer with needy women and children in India. That made it the perfect time to plan an Allen family trip to India for Christmas.

Right after returning from Christmas 2008 in Belize, we kicked off the year with another exhilarating trip to the Fiesta Bowl, followed by an incredibly fun trip to Puerto Vallarta for Sara and James’ beach wedding. In February, we hosted a fancy champagne & chocolate Valentine’s party, which was a lot more fun than jamming one more holiday party into December! This year we spent Easter in Michigan with Christine's sister & her family, Mother’s Day in Carmel with Dana’s family, our 5th anniversary in LA and 4th of July in Austin with Christine’s sorority sisters.

Some memorable events for Christine included running 2 half-marathons and scoring tickets to an Oprah show. (Dana has been enjoying the Xbox she won on the show ever since!) Over the summer we visited Vancouver for Marc & Leah’s wedding, and celebrated “Thanksgiving in August” with both families in Dallas since Christine was going to be in India in November. For Christine’s 33rd birthday we threw an Indian-themed going away party with a henna painter, Bollywood dancer and Indian food shared with great friends.

This Fall Christine LOVED living in Bangalore and volunteering with Oasis India! In addition to traveling all over the beautiful country, she feels she was able to learn a lot about working at a non-profit and tackling the complex issue of poverty. Dana’s parents & brother joined us for Christmas in India. Dana’s father grew up in India, so it was great to see the country with him & hear about some of the Allen family history. We also loved seeing the Taj Mahal and enjoying the tropical paradise of Kerala.

For work, Dana moved to the Doritos team this fall after 2 years on the Multipack business. Christine started the year by launching Smartfood popcorn clusters (new healthy treats for women) and then led Innovation for Tostitos & Dips.

This year we’re feeling very grateful for how God has blessed us. May your dreams stay big and your worries stay small in 2010! Christine & Dana

Life is a precious gift. Don't take yourself too seriously and remember to have fun!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back in the US

I'm updating the blog after a bit of a hiatus because frankly... there hasn't been much to blog about. My camera broke in India (my updates feel naked without pictures) and after the crazy adventures of the past few months, it's hard to find things in Dallas that feel exciting enough to write about. But to make my Dad happy, I'll give you an update on what's been happening.

Our travels with the Allen family in India were amazing. The Taj was especially majestic and it was a very special way to spend Christmas.

Prior to the family arriving, Dana and I visited some really nice resorts (both on the beach and in the jungle) that Eapen had recommended, so we had a wonderful time on what I will always think of as our 2nd honeymoon. (or 3rd...depending on if you count our post-wedding trip of Thailand and French Polynesia as 2 separate honeymoons). Here is a picture of us hiking in the Tiger Reserve (wearing lovely leech proof socks)

Back in the US, I re-adjusted fairly easily to life in Dallas. I did have sticker shock at Starbucks and a tough time choosing what to wear(dressing in India is sooo much easier). My feet were also killing me after getting used to walking in high heels again, and the cold weather was a shock. But I'm LOVING eating beef cheeseburgers again, taking showers, enjoying soaks in the tub, cuddling with my cats (and hubby) and drinking wine anytime I want : )

At Frito I was welcomed back with a promotion and a new role that I'm pretty excited about. I'm now leading the "Shopper Experience", so if you have any ideas on what would make your grocery shopping experience truly wonderful, please let me know!

We kicked off the New Year with a fun champagne and lobster dinner with dear friends at Kate and Robert's house. It feels good to see my old friends again! At the same time, I'm missing the people in India A LOT. I wish I could click my magic slippers and pop over to see them anytime I wanted : )

Last weekend Dana and I went to Dallas' best restaurant (The French Room) and enjoyed a 13-course wine dinner to celebrate being back together in the same city. The food was superb, but I probably only drank one glass of wine - my tolerance is so low now because I hardly drank alcohol in India.

This weekend I'm just hanging out, working and enjoying quality time with Moorea and Samui. Dana is at the World Championship of Video Gaming in Orlando. Now that he works on Doritos, his "job" entails a lot of interesting things like that and going to the Superbowl in a few weeks.

Well that's it for now. Wishing all of you the best in 2010!