Saturday, November 14, 2009

November

It's been a month since I posted. I know...I know. I really have no excuse. I could blame Facebook (again) and now FarmVille...but how lame does that sound? I have all these things I could write about...long stories with lots of photos, but when I think about how much work it would be to create one, I think about how easy it would be to go harvest my crops. Seriously.

I got somewhat inspired by this entry this morning. Her DDD adventures in Portland were AWESOME...almost as awesome as mine in New Mexico. What adventures you might ask? I know! I have yet to tell you.

I actually feel guilty that I have been neglecting this blog. I think I'm going to take a break until 2010. Maybe if I tell myself that I can't blog until then it will have the reverse affect and I will want to blog. You never know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wedding #2

This past weekend John and I headed up to Napa for his cousin’s Val’s wedding. I love Val and I have actually unofficially adopted her as my cousin. John has quite a few cousins that are close to him in age and I’ve been telling him for years that he is so lucky. I have two cousins younger than me but they live on the East coast and I think the last time I saw them was 20 years ago. My other cousins I see every so often but they are all 10+ years older than I am. I had no idea how great it was to have cousins within a 5 year age span. Even if John doesn’t appreciate it at least I get to!

I was so excited to cruise through Napa with John. If you remember…I visited Napa for the first time this past March when I had my girls weekend. The whole time I was there I knew John would love it as much as I did, and I was right!

I was totally sketched out by our hotel as it looked like a total dive, but then once we got into our room and saw that it was nice and clean my attitude changed. I knew I had checked the reviews on tripadvisor.com and I remembered after the fact that the reviews said it had been recently remodeled. Thank goodness!

Saturday morning John went and played golf with the family and I had a mini adventure morning. One highlight was definitely all of the hot air balloons that I saw BOTH mornings! How cool!!!! Some flew right over the hotel. I am all pumped up about hot air balloons right now because we are going to the hot air balloon festival this weekend in New Mexico. It is one of my life dreams to ride in one but we won’t be able to do it in N.M. That is ok though, because I’m hoping to return to Napa for a ride and a meal at French Laundry. I may need to find a financial sponsor for that trip though. Anyone?
John's Grandpa on the course.
I know Napa is filled with spas so to treat myself, I got a massage. At which spa you ask? Try a place in a strip mall! I know, I know…I was totally weirded out at first but they seemed pretty legit and were actually a chain. My masseuse seemed a bit sketchy but after 15 minutes I was like WHATEVER get that knot out of my back! Plus it was only $50 for an hour. I hope I never become a massage snob…I love a good deal!

For lunch I was able to take John to Taylor’s Automatic Refresher…our 5th Triple D restaurant together. So tasty!
Val and Ron’s wedding was at Aburg De Sol. It was up a hill in Rutherford and had a great view. Here are a few of my fave shots of the night:John and his Grandpa
Me and Auntie Jane (Mother of the bride)Us with John's cousin Robert
Gramp and his kids...John, Jane, Allison, and Phyllis.
Keeping ourselves entertained while we wait for the party bus.
The next day John and I headed up north again to Yountville to go to Bouchon. If you recall…when I was there last March Molly and I surprised our friend Jeremy who was working there. Unfortunately he is no longer working there so we could not go behind the scenes and act all cool. Dang!

Apparently Yountville was having some sort of parade and we totally got caught up in it trying to find a parking spot! It was madness….for a very small parade. Needless to say we finally made it to Bouchon and feasted on some of the best bread in California…and two awesome cappuccinos to boot. It was so nice to sit in the sun and treat ourselves…I felt totally spoiled. I also wound up with two loafs of sourdough as I got one when I was there before and it was by far some of the best bread I have had.After our morning/afternoon exploring John drove me to the Oakland airport where I caught a flight home…but to Phoenix first. (A direct flight from SFO to SLO was $600). John is currently up in Fortuna spending the remainder of the week with his family. I had to pack my carry on very carefully. It consisted of my sleeping boot/sling, my cosmetics, my new pair of GAP pants (their outlets there are really good), and of course my two loafs of sour dough bread.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Iron and Candy

A few weeks ago John and I celebrated our 6th year anniversary. It seems as though the 6th year has been very anticlimactic compared to last year. Maybe it was because last year I got to have a photo shoot and I got an anniversary band to wear on my ring finger. No that’s not it…I think it might have been the fact that the day before was my sister-in-law’s wedding. We spent most of our anniversary traveling back to SLO and then lounging around for the rest of the day because we were so exhausted. We were able to pull ourselves off of the couch to go to dinner though.It was really tasty:
And I also got carded! (I think the waitress was a newbie and probably paranoid since a lot of the college kids were back in town).

The 6th year anniversary gift is iron…and candy. What a combo! I really had no idea what to get John as he had just purchased himself a new set of golf irons. That would have been the perfect gift! Dang. So I opted for two random items…a decorative iron ‘g’ and an iron piggy bank. I had no idea if he would like the decorative ‘g’ but the piggy bank he did need…although it’s only 3 inches high!!!!! A lot of good that is going to do! What is he going to store in it… 20 quarters? Yes…the site online did have the dimensions, but I really didn’t want to believe it was that small. I mean who makes a piggy bank to store less than a handful of pennies in it?
John also bought himself a new cooking knife as a gift from me, but it’s hard to count that as a gift when he picked it out…and paid for it.

Thank goodness I did come up with an awesome gift for the dude, but it was after the fact. I don’t know why it took me so long to think of this gift either. A t-shirt from Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in Austin Texas Mellow Johnny’s. I was so excited when it arrived and he LOVED it! Score one for the wife!

Unfortunately for John the gifts he ordered me did not arrive in time. The killer part is that he did plan ahead and even ordered them in August! I felt pretty bad for him, as I would have been really mad if I were in his shoes. He had nothing to worry about though because once the gifts arrived they were so good that I completely forgot about the tardiness!

I received some accessories for the MINI…two stickers. One says ‘actual size’ and the other says ‘no photos please.’ Then he got this small round magnet thing that hooks on to the front of the car and you can switch out the plates. I'll post a photo after it gets put on the mini.

How cute is the reindeer one? I can’t wait to buy some more. Will I remember to swap them out? Hopefully!

Then he got me the gift of all gifts…a custom Lisa Leonard Necklace!!! I almost keeled over when I saw what it was. I think I may have blogged about her work on this site before but I’m not sure. In case I didn’t here’s a little background. I came across her blog a few years ago via another blog and started following it. At the time she was making custom jewelry and selling it through her blog. Eventually her business grew and grew and she now sells her work from this site.

As some of you know I’m a sucker for personalized gifts and in so in turn my friends get personalized gifts. I started small by getting a few friends necklaces with their kids names on them. They loved them so much that I continued to give them to all my friends. It also helped that this was the year for my friends to have babies. Each time one of them received the necklace I would get the sweetest call or email thanking me so much. Granted it was my idea, but I really felt like Lisa should be the one getting the credit.

I also love to give this baby spoon.

I even gave a necklace to my mother-in-law this necklace with all of her grandchildren on it.
She has even come out with an ornament for this year as well.
Where was I? Oh right…every time I would receive one of the pieces in the mail I would show John and swoon over how beautiful they were. It has been a year since I’ve been ordering from her. A year. I really gave up the notion that John did not get ANY of my hints…maybe I’m a bad hint giver? Apparently I’m not because my some miracle he remembered and bought me a necklace! (Photo to come)

Needless to say it did turn out to be a pretty good anniversary, although it still doesn’t feel complete. Why you ask? Well we have yet to finish our anniversary traditions by watching our wedding video…and I need to put on my dress. With traveling every weekend since and being super busy during the week we haven’t had a night to sit down and relive one of the greatest days of our lives. Don’t worry though…I’m hoping after we get back from New Mexico we will do it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Work of an Artist

A few weeks ago John’s sister Molly got hitched down in Pacific Palisades (north of Santa Monica). John and I were both very excited to be a part of her big day…I was a bridesmaid and John was the officiate. Molly and her husband Michael planned the wedding in three months and considering that time frame they did a great job.

One of the highlights was when one of Michael’s brothers got up during the toasts. Now Michael never officially named a ‘best man’ as he was worried what they all might get up and say. Needless to say that his preventative actions didn’t help. At the end of the brother's sentimental toast he finished with ‘At least we know Michael isn’t gay,’ and then walked off. It was so funny and uncomfortable at the same time.

I was going to post some of my photos, but why do that when I can steal…I mean copy and paste some of the professional photogs photos? I was lucky enough to convince my sister-in-law to hire my friend Ken to shoot the wedding. (Do you remember the awesome photos he took for John and I last year?) My sister-in-law was definitely hesitant with hiring a photographer that was way more than she had budgeted for but I kept telling her that when the day is over all she will have left is the photos. If you have to cut corners…cut it on the flowers. They are dead the next day anyway. I think a tiny miracle happened when she decided to take my advice and hire Ken…and let me tell you that she told me I was right. I mean take a look for yourselves!

I am still amazed when I look at these photos. During the day I thought ‘how is he going to make these photos look as good as his others?’ I was there…looking at the same things he was and I wasn’t seeing it. However that is why he is the professional.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The South

I saw this photo online today and it made me stop in my tracks.
As most of you know my good friend, Rebekkah, moved recently with her family to Atlanta. I talked to her this past weekend and she said that they have been in the clear of the flooding, although homes a half a mile away did get flooded.

If your local news is like ours, then you probably haven’t heard much about the floods, so I thought I would share with you the email she sent me after I sent her the photo of the amusement park.

I had heard the park flooded, but had not seen any pictures. They say it has happened before and that the rides were built to withstand floods. This park is about 10 miles from our house (at most). It is crazy that people all around us were hit this bad by the flood and we were completely unaffected. The houses 1/2 mile away were flooded past the second levels. Several of them are built 13 feet of the ground due to being so close to the Chattahoochee river, and they still got major damage. it was the worst flood ever recorded in history here. The record high flood levels were beaten in some areas by as much as 14 feet from previous flood records. That is amazing to me. One county near us got 22 or 23 inches of rain in 24 hours. I can't even imagine how that is possible. It is a waterfall more than rain.

I can’t even imagine being in that kind of rainfall, especially when it rains maybe 14 days out of the year here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hello?

Is there anyone out there? Has it really been a month since I posted on this thing? What a sad, sad blogger I am. What seems crazy to me is that in the beginning of the month I wasn't busy...now I am crazy busy. So why didn't I blog a few weeks ago? Who knows?

Once again it's not because I have a lack of subjects to post about...in fact my sister-in-law just got married this past weekend, and you know I have photos to post! In fact I also have photos from her bridal shower/bachelorette party from last month.

This past weekend is the start of our 4 consecutive weekends of traveling. I've realized because of this that my weeks are now even busier since I now have to to everything I normally do on the weekends during the week. This is only the first week and it's already crazy.

This weekend we are heading up north to San Jose for the Cal Poly vs. San Jose Statue football game. I've made it into a family event by inviting everyone to join John and I...it should be fun!

If you are looking for some new blogs, I have two for your reading pleasure:

Maggie Mae's Tip of the Day
Looking for a variety of random helpful tips? Then this is the site for you!

Diary of an Unemployed MBA
Interested in reading about the woes of someone looking for a job? Check out Chris...a newly resident of the bay area.

I'll try to post some photos soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Time Tradition

This past weekend we attended our 4th/5th(?) Atascapalooza. Our friend Molly (AKA Miss Wild Child) came down for the second year from Sacramento for the festivities. I don’t think this year was quite as eventful as last year, and I think that is due to the fact that there was less misgiff for Miss Wild Child to get into. I wouldn’t necessarily say she was more well-behaved I think there were just less items for her explore.

They had a piƱata again which I think Hans gets the most enjoyment out of. They also had the egg toss again, and I really wanted to decline because I did not want to loose. We won last year…why not go out on top? Yeah it wasn’t that easy. I swear I had never been that nervous for an egg toss before…granted it was only the second one I’d ever been in, but still! There was a lot more riding on this because EVERYONE wants to beat the best right? Lucky for us Miss Wild Child was not in the race this year so I thought we had a chance. It got down to 3 couples and what do you know? We won again! I still can’t believe it. Now I really hope John will let me retire. He also decided to smash our egg (again) before our victory photo. Oh well…I guess a new tradition has started.

Other than that it was a lot of lounging around in the nice North County heat. I guess I should call it warmth because it really wasn’t that hot. Here we are relaxing:
I think Molly is throwing up a 'M' for Molly?
Us with the hostess and her latest addition.

3 Things

Lots of small things have been making me smile lately which has been much needed. Here are just a few that have and will make this week a good one:

1. Julie and Julia - This past weekend we went and saw this movie and was SO good! I was really surprised with how much I liked it, (since I really don’t know anything about Julia Childs) I am a huge Amy Adam’s fan, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I am also a fan of Meryl Streep and she did such an amazing job playing Julia that most of the time I even forgot it was her. I really hope she gets some sort of recognition for this role.

Both story lines were really clever and I would actually get mad each time they would switch from one to the other. Of course I couldn’t help but relate a bit to Julie since her goal was to blog about her cooking/baking experiences. I now wish I would have thought of some gimmick to have been blogging about over the last 2.5 years. Even though I know my life is SO captivating, I wish I had come up with something like she did. Dang.

One thing I did not like about film was that the actor that they cast for Julie’s husband was not a good fit. What was with that dude? For one…I have never seen a grosser eater in MY LIFE! I was getting so sicked out by listening/watching him eat. Thank goodness his gorging scenes were only in the beginning of the movie. It’s bad enough to listen to someone behind you smacking on their popcorn, but to have to see it in front of you and hear it in THX? No thanks!

I was so inspired by the movie that right after we went to the bookstore and I bought Julie and Julia. I can’t wait to read the story because the book is always better than the movie, right? It’s actually killing me that I can’t read it right now as I’m supposed to be reading my latest book club book. I’m also going to be on the hunt for a good Julia Child’s biography. Do any of you have any recommendations?

One last complaint…Amy Adam’s hair was ATROCIOUS in this film! It looked like she was wearing the worst little boy wig. I understand her character wasn’t rich, but you can still be poor and have cute hair. Good thing she is such a cutie and her face distracted me from the mop top.

2. NY Giants Football – Yes I did mean to write that…and yes I am still a 49er fan. However…Cal Poly’s awesome receiver Ramses Barden got drafted by them this year and I got to watch one of their preseason games on TV last night. John and I were both so excited to see him out on the field in his Giants uniform and he even made a sweet catch. After the catch they then showed a few highlights from last year, including his touchdown in OT against Wisconsin. (Damn you field goal kicker!) It was really cool to hear the announcers talk about him as they all had good things to say about him. Even if this one dude pronounced his name as Ramse Barden from Cal Poly, Saint Luis Obispo.

I was really hoping that the Giants would be playing the 9ers this year, but no such luck. I was even considering traveling to NY, (twist my arm), if the 9ers were scheduled to play them back there, but it’s a no go. Maybe next year.

3. Project Runway – Just in case some of you were not aware, PR is premiering this week!!!! The fighting between the networks was SO lame, and there is no way we should have had to wait this long for the next season. They are even bringing back some of the past designers for a special challenge which I think airs right before the premiere on Thursday. Let's hope there is a contestant as fabulous as Christian is. Set your DVRs!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What was that? I can't hear you!

A few weeks ago Forever 21 opened here in SLO filling the old Gottschalk's building. Two of my friends checked it out and were pretty impressed with the selection and prices so we went to go check it out yesterday. We walked in and it was HUGE! The entire building as well as the old home furnishing section was FILLED with clothes and accessories. It was SO overwhelming.

Once the shock wore off I then wondered why I had an instant headache…oh right!! It was the MUSIC PLAYING AT A LEVEL 11!!!! My god! Do they think young women are deaf? I know this isn’t a new trend…when I walk by Abercrombie I get knocked over by the sound waves and that awful perfume smell. But for some reason I didn’t expect it at this store.

I’ve heard they play the music that loud so that the parents will just hand their kids their credit card and wait outside. I’m sad to say that if I were a parent I would probably do that, but the loud music has never been a concern for me because most of the stores that use that sales tactic are out of my price range. Forever 21 however is a bulls eye for my price range.

I understand if the man behind the curtain wants to give his consumers the feeling of partying while shopping…I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is that you have to SCREAM at your shopping companion to communicate. Um…what fun is that? I guess they don’t want you to get advice from each other of which pair of jeans looks best. They just want you to buy them both...am I right?

I am also WELL aware that I am getting older, which is only 10% of the problem. I wouldn’t say this store is 100% a teenybopper store either and they should really think of ALL of the ages of people that shop there. Here is my solution…on certain nights of the week they should turn the volume down a tad. Just a tad! I would be much more willing to spend an extra hour or 2 in there perusing if I wasn’t so irritated by the blaring music. However I hate to admit that even with the music I was able to find quiet a few things to purchase.

Thanks to my Facebook buddies I was told to shop on their website. DUH! Although I was excited to have an actual new store in town vs. shopping online…oh well…I'm supposed to be in on a spending freeze anyway.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fastest Weekend Ever

This past weekend John and I headed up to Fortuna for our shortest visit to date. I think we were in town for 31 hours. No joke. Needless to say I have been so tired all day today.

One of the main reasons we headed up north was for my friend Katy's baby shower. She is due in 2 months and let me say she looked like she was maybe 5 months! Here she is setting up an AWESOME cheese spread.Here is a group shot of all the ladies.Here is a good shot of Katy's belly and our super cute cacti party favors that she made.It was so great to get together with my old high school friends. Normally we are lucky to meet once a year at Katy's Christmas Cookie Party so this was a real treat. I'm just sad that I live so far away from them.

While I was partying it up with the ladies John got to spend some time with his family out at his parent's cabin. I did get to see all the kids that evening, but I didn't take any photos. I did however receive their latest professional photos which I will hopefully scan.

On our way out of town we drove by this sign:Not that exciting right? Well it wouldn't have been if I hadn't of designed this logo for a local business that looked like this:

Look familiar?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fair Time!

Two weekends ago I headed up north for the Mid State Fair in Paso. The first venture was to see Kelly Clarkson in concert. When I bought the tickets in March I signed up for her fan club which allowed me access to the pre-sale. After I purchased the tickets they did not give me the location of the seats, but said they would be fairly close to the stage, which was fine with me!

As the concert grew closer I was getting more and more anxious to find out where my seats were. FINALLY the day arrived and I got my tickets. Guess where they were?? FRONT ROW! NO joke. I thought we might be within the first 20 rows or something, but the first row?? Was I even a big enough fan to deserve front row? I didn't think so. I’m sure there were some bigger fans out there than me that deserved them more. Oh well. Tonight was my lucky night.

When we made it to our seats I was still in shock at how close we were.

Right when my friend Sam and I sat down we looked behind us to see one of our old co-workers in the row behind us! Then a few people down to our right was another old co-worker! I couldn’t believe that we were all sitting in the same area. I'm normally shocked to see one person I know, much less two sitting right near me!

Sam and I patiently waiting. (extreme close up I know).
So the show starts and Kelly is RIGHT THERE. I mean RIGHT THERE and not the size of an ant. I probably had perma grin for the first half hour because I could not believe we were in the front row and she was RIGHT in front of us. The whole show felt like it was a private concert. At one point she even looked down at Sam and I and smiled. We both looked at each other like ‘did she just do that?’ It was also really weird to know that the band members could actually see us...like our faces. You definitely didn’t want to get caught zoning out or texting while they are standing there in front of you.

Kelly and her band put on a great show. She sang all of her hits and a lot of my favorite songs from her new album. She even sang songs written by Rod Stewart, Patsy Cline, and Janet Jackson which was a total plus. I think more musicians should do that. Why not? Pay homage to the ones that have helped them.

At one point the super cool guitarist went all rock star on us and threw his pick in the audience…only to have it hit me in the head! However he threw it at the end of the song and when the song ended the arena went completely black and I couldn’t see anything. I told the dude next to me what happened and so we both were looking at the ground when the lights came on and he spotted the pick first and grabbed it! He said I could have it, but in the end I let him have it. Now of course I wish I would have kept it. Oh well. I really did deserve it having to listen to his wife think she was singing duets with Kelly all night. I should have told her that I didn’t pay $75 to hear her sing butcher Kelly's hits..

The next afternoon I headed back up to the fair with John for our annual visit. After we had our first round of fair junk food we decided to let it settle a bit before round two so we checked out the exhibits.
I once again entered a photo this year, but was very hesitant after losing last year, and I was feeling lazy. I probably wouldn’t have entered but I was also entering a photo from Sydney so I thought I might as well print one of my own if I was going to have to drive up to Paso anyway.

During the annual Steinbuck visit this past May Sydney had her new birthday camera in tow. A few weeks later when I went up to Ukiah we picked up her film from the trip. In the midst of photos of our garbage cans and many self-portraits, there was this one great shot of her flip flops on our deck. Right when Rebekkah and I saw it we both had the same thought…it was a total fair photo! I was more than happy to enter it in for Sydney and what do you know…she got first place!!
We actually ventured into a new hall this year that had a ton of baked goods including a cake decorating category! How crazy is that? It really felt like you could enter just about anything that was homemade.
We even saw some Christmas decorations, but I am tempted to enter in my award winning fudge next year. Who wouldn’t like the title ‘multi award wining fudge’?

After our exhibit perusing we were finally hungry enough for some more fair food. First stop….cinnamon rolls!
We normally don’t eat the whole thing, but for some reason we finished it all this year. Not good. I also wanted to get a license plate frame for the mini while we were there but we couldn’t think of a good saying. I should have planned ahead for that one.
After our traditional photo booth photo I then got to get my traditional shaved ice. I even checked and they did make it from a block of ice. It was pretty good, but the ones in Hawaii were still better.
They even had the slush puppy booth again so John scored another sweet slushy mixture. I even think it was the same dude who was working the booth last year.

Overall I think it was one of our best fair visits yet. I'm actually kind of sad we only get to go once a year. I guess it makes it that much special.