Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Cruise

Most people don't like reading travelogues. Myself included. So rather than bore you to death with details from our cruise, here are some of the random things we saw. Hope they make you giggle as much as they made me giggle.

Every night the cabin steward would fold our towels into something adorable!
Like a pig!An Elephant!
I think this is a dinosaur.And last but not least, a heart!

Then, there were always fun carvings around the ship.
This Santa is made from mashed potatoes. Cool eh?
An ice carving of Santa and his reindeer.

In Ensenada, Mexico, they had a strange nativity scene where the Baby Jesus had a head bigger than Mary and Joseph.Then there was the giant statue made from whale bone. Those crazy Mexicans!
If I get good feedback from these or I get requests, I will post more pictures from our trip. Or I might just post more anyway. Depends how bored I get in the next few days.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ugly Sweater Party

Saturday night was my sister-in-law's annual Ugly Sweater Party. You know the kind. They're thick, bluky, and have some sort of winter or Christmas scene on them. I'm not sure if it's a Utah thing, but I know every year there are tons of people searching through racks at DI (the thrift store) looking for the ugliest Christmas sweaters for these parties.

T.B. Harker and I didn't have time to shop for our ugly Christmas sweaters, but luckily Tom is a whiz with the sewing machine and he was able to whip up a couple vests for us.

Yes, believe it or not, my husband sewed these! Just add it to the list of things he's good at. Did you notice the "T" on the front of T.B.'s vest? Wait til you see the BACK!

Ours weren't the only amazing sweaters at this party. You can check out more pictures HERE!

And not only was this an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, we also had a cookie exchange AND and white elephant game.

These are what I made for the cookie exchange. I'm not a pretzel fan, but cover them in caramel and chocolate, and suddenly you have the perfect treat! They were soooo good. You wouldn't even know this is the first time I've ever made them!
I love Christmas! And Christmas parties!

My Date with Kate

On Friday night, I got to babysit our baby niece Kate. I was excited and a little nervous. It's been A LONG time since I've watched a baby by myself. T.B. Harker has always been there for moral support, plus he usually does most of the work since he's so great with kids. This time, it was all me.

Kate's a special little girl. She was born a few weeks early, so she's always been smaller than other babies. For the first few months of her life she was hooked up to oxygen, so I still have this mind frame that she's extremely fragile.

Lucky for me, Kate was in a good mood and we had a pretty good time. So much so, I just had to get out my camera for a little photo shoot!

I couldn't get this picture to format right. But you can still see how CUTE she is!She liked my hair.
I think I may have been having more fun than she was.
Best Friday night date ever! Thanks Kate!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holy Crow! I'm 25!

Wednesday was my birthday.

The highlight of my day? I got a birthday text from my dentist AND a birthday phone call from our American Family Insurance agent. I feel so loved.

Just joking! That was just PART of my awesome day, thanks to my awesome husband.

He bought me this awesome and sexy jacket! It's sooo warm, but not bulky. Perfect for Utah! He also bought me some MAC makeup and a Terry's Chocolate Orange. He knows me so well!

Can you guess what kind of cake? It's Dairy Queen ice cream cake! With extra icing... My favorite!

A few of Tom's siblings plus TEN nieces and nephews came over to help us eat it.
One of our nieces is only TWO WEEKS OLD! She's sooooooooo cute!

Needless to say, I spend a lot of the night holding her.

Guess what! I can finally drive a rental car! The world is my Oyster.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I have the best family and friends EVER!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

KSL in the News

It's not often news organizations make the news, but this past week, KSL has been in the major Utah papers THREE times!

You know how I blogged last weekend about how amazing we did during Sweeps, even with Jay Leno as our lead-in? Well apparently I wasn't the only was talking about it.

Here are snip-its from two of the three articles, both from The Salt Lake Tribune. Enjoy!

TV: KSL continues dominance despite Leno flop

KSL Channel 5's late-night news is like the Coca-Cola of local newscasts (an odd analogy if you know who owns KSL, but I digress).

The 10 p.m. newscast with Bruce Lindsay and Nadine Wimmer is a popular brand, just like that delicious caramel-colored beverage. It's a local tradition, a reliable television entity that's so ingrained in Utah's viewing habits that it would take a nuclear disaster to unhinge its dominance in the ratings.

Not even Jay Leno can ruin it.

The November sweeps are over. Once again, KSL led the ratings race, even after a disastrous debut from "The Jay Leno Show" as the lead-in to the late-night news.

For the 10 p.m., Monday-through-Friday ratings for November, KSL got a 10.1 rating;

KUTV Channel 2, 9.1; KSTU Channel 13, 5.5; and KTVX Channel 4, 4.4. Ratings refer to the percentage of Utah's 944,060 television households watching a particular program.

Lead-ins are vitally important to local news stations. Affiliates depend on those 9 p.m. shows to attract viewers who will stick around to watch the news. So far, "Leno" has been a huge failure -- although not a surprising one, as low ratings were predicted by national critics.

But KSL has weathered the "Leno" show flop better than any NBC affiliate in the country. In fact, KSL had the highest-rated late-night news of any NBC station in the country last month, according to Con Psarras, KSL's news director.

Article #2

KSL still leads in late-night TV news viewers

Ratings » Overall audience is down for those spots, continuing a trend.

Despite one of the worst lead-in programs in years that has crippled other local NBC television newscasts around the country, KSL Channel 5 remains the ratings leader in late-night TV news.

All stations experienced drops in viewership from the same time last year, a downward trend that has continued for at least a couple of years as Utahns turn to the Internet for news. But KSL has experienced a small decline, even though its new lead-in program at 9 p.m., "The Jay Leno Show," has had some of the lowest ratings for that time slot.

"Leno" averaged a 4.4 rating in November, while the one-hour dramas NBC used to broadcast in the 9 p.m. hour, including "Medium" and "Law & Order," averaged a 6.2 rating, according to NielsenMedia Research.

According to November "sweeps" figures, KSL still led the Monday-through-Friday, 10 p.m. newscasts. Ratings during a "sweeps" month are especially important for television stations because that is when advertiser's rates are calculated.

KSL led with a rating of 10.1, followed by KUTV Channel 2 with a 9.1. KSTU Channel 13's news at 9 p.m. was third with 5.5, and KTVX Channel 4 was fourth with a 4.4. KJZZ Channel 14's news at 9 p.m., which is delivered by KUTV, posted a 1.1 rating.

A ratings refers to the percentage of Utah's 944,060 television households that are watching a particular program.

"NBC deserves credit for trying something different," KSL News Director Con Psarras said about the network's decision to move Jay Leno to prime time. "The lesson to KSL and other stations is we're on our own, and we sink or swim on the caliber of our own product. I'm gratified that we have the kind of product that attracts viewers on its own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Freak Accident at the Harker Home

A couple nights ago T.B. Harker and I were in our home office. It's a small room. T.B. was at the computer. I was sitting in our IKEA chair with my laptop. I know, sweet quality time right?

When out of nowhere, THIS HAPPENED!

The ceiling lamp fell off the ceiling! You can see how close we were sitting! Luckily it didn't hit the floor, or any of us, but it still almost made me pee my pants!

Maybe our house is haunted! Wouldn't that be cool?!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Sweeps Has Passed

I've only worked in T.V a year and a half, but it seems each ratings period is tougher than the last.

Ratings, or "sweeps", happens 4 times a years. Feb, May, July, and November. This is when the number of people watching TV really matters. Our rating, in comparison to the competition, helps us determine what we can charge for advertising. The higher the rating, the more money we can charge for advertising. Makes sense?

The most important newscast is the 10 o'clock news. And as an NBC affiliate, that means the new Jay Leno show is our new "lead-in", the show which leads into our news. If the lead-in has a good rating, then the news usually has a good rating too. This is because people are lazy and will usually watch the news on the channel they're already watching.

Jay Leno is not my favourite person. His average rating during the month of November was a 4.0.

At our competition, the CBS affiliate, they have shows like "The Mentalist", all the "CSI" shows, "Medium", and "NCIS" at their lead-ins. Needless to say, these shows are more popular than Jay Leno, with average ratings of 14.0.

This puts KSL at a huge disadvantage. This means my job, getting people to watch the news, becomes even more important. That's where my promos come in. We bust our butts to make eye-catching promos for specific stories. The promo will run for a few days, trying to get as many eyeballs as possible to see the promo so they will purposely tune-in to our news when the story runs.

I am happy to report, after a tough start... WE KICKED BUTT!
This is from the press release:

"At 10 p.m., KSL 5 News was the nation’s top-performing newscast among NBC affiliates.

Monday through Friday, KSL 5 News at 10 grew its lead-in ratings 253 percent. The Jay Leno Show provided an average 4.0 rating Monday through Friday and the average rating for KSL News at 10 was a 10.1."

What was the rating at the competition? 9.1. This means they lost viewers every night at 10 p.m., while our news GAINED viewers every night at ten. People are actually changing the channel to watch our news!

I am sooooooo proud to work for a quality T.V. stations like KSL. And I'm so glad we have amazing stories to promote. I've already posted a couple of my promos from this past sweeps. Here are my final 2.

The first is for another investigative piece. One of our reporters went undercover with the "Utah Valley Special Victims Unit." As soon as they told me that, I had a brilliant idea for the promo. Watch and see!

Here is my other promo. It was for a Carole Mikita piece. She's the religion reporter. This means she covers everything LDS-related.

The story behind this story is amazing too. You see, the LDS church is very tight-lipped when it comes to the media, even if the story we're trying to cover is a positive one.

Carole has amazing contacts at the church and once she found out a missionary couple played a huge role in helping kids in Cambodia, she set out to find them. Unfortunately, the Missionary department of the church didn't want to play ball, and never found (refused to find) this couple for Carole.

Days went by with no luck and Carole, who is LDS herself, told me she was at the point where she was praying and asking the Lord to help her find this couple. At the last minute, the head of the Humanitarian Department at the church came to Carole and handed her a piece of paper. It had the name and number of the missionary couple, who were happy to talk about their humanitarian mission in Cambodia. It was amazing to see Carole get teary-eyed as she told me this story.

That's another reason I love KSL. We have the Lord on our side. (KSL is owned by the LDS church.)

Here's the promo for the story.

And here's Carole's story.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Husband: The Closet Twilight Fan

I am not a Twi-hard. Let me get that out right now. But I enjoy the books and being able to talk about them with friends and family - and even perfect strangers.

T.B. Harker has always teased me about the books and my excitement over the movies.

That is...until now.

A few months ago, we were on our way to a wedding reception in Ogden, a good hour away, and T.B. Harker asked if we could listen to his audiobook. I agreed, reluctantly, because I didn't know what the book was.

He hooked up his iPod, and to my astonishment, found out he was half-way through the first Twilight book. I was SHOCKED. This is the man who's been teasing ME for years!

My hubby's excuse? He wanted to be more educated when he made fun of Twilight.

Not convinced? I didn't believe him either. And now I am outing him.

On Halloween, we drove to St. George, 4 hours from where we live. T.B. was already on the second book. We listened to "New Moon" the whole way there and back! I was in heaven! My hubby even has opinions about what's going on in the books. He is NOT a passive listener!

T.B. even offered to pre-purchase tickets to "New Moon" for us weeks before it came out! Yes, my husband OFFERED to see the Twilight movie WITH ME! People were shocked to find out T.B. Harker was taking me to the movie, saying he was getting "major husband points." Yeah right. He was equally excited to see the movie, he just hid better.

I asked Tom a few weeks ago if he was "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob". He said he was "Team Victoria." In case you don't know, Victoria is the vampire who's trying to kill everyone.

We're in St. George again for Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful the truth is finally coming out.

We started listening to "Eclipse" on the way down, and I discovered what side T.B. is REALLY on.

My hubby is "Team Edward".

My hubby thinks Bella is an idiot in every book, but especially in the third for wanted to spend time with Jacob even when she's in a serious relationship with Edward. I think Edward comes across as controlling and over-protective. I am Team Jacob, at least, until the fourth book when it become irrelevant.

So what does this say about my husband? Do you think he's doing all this for me? So we have another topic of discussion? Or do you think he is really enjoying himself and is a secret "Twi-hard?"

Either way, I'm LOVING it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Bag #11!!! The Flower Power Black Strap Bag with the pink flower.

Good Choice Voters!!

Here's how the votes broke down:
Bag #11 - 4 votes
Bag #7, Brown/Blue Flower Wrist Bag - 3 votes
Bag #15, Black Gym Bag - 3 votes
Bag #2, White Formal Wrist Bag - 2 votes
Bag #4, Light Green Wrist Bag - 2 votes
Bag #9, Flower Power Brown Strap Bag - 2 votes
Bag #13, Light Green Polka Dot Strap Bag - 2 votes
Bag #1, #6, #12, & #14 each received one vote.

Want to know who won the beautiful bag? Watch and find out! (Yes, I know I look awful. Please don't make fun.)

Thank you to everyone who voted. This will not be the last time I give away free stuff on my blog. This has been so much fun for me! And hopefully for you too.

If you did not win a bag, don't forget you can get one 15% percent off at lillymaebags.com with the coupon code 74860. A few people commented they would like a certain bag, but with a strap instead of a bracelet, or vice versa. Or they wanted a certain bag, but with a flower, or with the eyelet for headphones. My friend is more than welcome to take requests and customize the bag for you. Just send her a note on the "contact us" page on her website.

I have a few already on my wish list and I know I'll be giving a few of these away at Christmas. SUCH a good (and inexpensive) gift idea!! Plus, now I know which bag everyone likes. Tee Hee!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The LillyMae Bag

A friend of mine makes these ADORABLE bags. They're called LillyMae Bags and I love them!

The idea behind them is they're small enough to fit everything you need - hands free. She has them perfectly measured to fit ANY cell phone, plus your cards and money.

There's two kinds: the wrist bag and the waist bag. The wrist bag hangs on your wrist by a cute beaded bracelet. Perfect for a night on the town!

The waist bag doubles as a shoulder bag and is equally cute. The strap is even adjustable. Here's my friend modeling her bag for me. She calls these her bags made for moms by a mom (she has four kids.)

She started making the bags just for herself, but everyone started wanting them, and voila, a business was born. She even has a website where you can now buy her bags! Her prices are super reasonable considering she makes them herself. Some day soon these bags will be in stores everywhere, but I know you don't want to wait that long. My friend said I could offer all my blogger friends a coupon for 15% off her bags! Just type in the coupon code 74860 and she'll know you got the discount through me. Before long people will say "Is that a LillyMae?" and you'll be able to say "It's my LillyMae ORIGINAL!"

As part of this super-fun arrangement, my friend said I could give a LillyMae bag away FOR free on my blog. The only problem is I couldn't decide which one to pick, she has soooo many cute bags to choose from!

So here's the deal. I'm going to post a picture of each bag, with a corresponding number. I want you to VOTE for the one you like best and want me to give away for free. Everyone who votes will be entered into a draw for the winning bag. Easy enough right? Voting will end next Sunday at noon Mountain time, and the winner will be posted Sunday night.

I expect men to vote too. LillyMae Bags would make a great gift for your wife or daughter.

I tried to take some artsy photos. Hope you like them. Click on the photo to make it larger. (Yes I have plastic on my stairs. Don't make fun.)

Ready? Here we go! Sorry about the weird layout, it didn't work out a well as I'd hoped.

1. Black/Red Paisley Wrist Bag

2. White Fomal Wrist Bag

3. Satin Brown/Blue Wrist Bag

4. Light Green Wrist Bag

5. Pink/Brown Wrist Bag

6. Brown Polka Dot Wrist Bag

7. Brown/Blue Flower Wrist Bag (I really like the beads on this wrist bag)

8. Brown/ Blue Polka Dot Wrist Bag

9. Flower Power Brown Strap Bag (I personally LOVE the ones with flowers)

10. Brown/Blue Polka Dot Strap Bag

11. Flower Power Black Strap Bag

12. Blue Polka Dot Strap Bag (Still needs the strap)

13. Light Green Polka Dot Strap Bag

14. Orange Flower Strap Bag

15. Last but not least, the Black Gym Waist Bag. This is one of my favorites, and one I will be buying from my friend. When I go to the gym, I have no pockets and I end up sticking my iPod in my pants and carrying around my cell phone like an idiot (and forgetting it almost every time on the treadmill.) This is the perfect answer to that problem. See the industrial eyelet? That's for your headphones. Brilliant! See? --------->

So leave your vote for your favorite bag in the comments section. If you live in Canada, no worries, I will find a way to get you the bag if you win. If you vote and I don't already know your address, you must be willing to provide it if you win. If you don't provide it in a timely manner, you forfeit your prize and it will go to someone else.

Happy Voting!!