April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Brett!!!

When I met Brett, he was 28, and remember thinking that was so young! But, I think that he's trying to catch up to me. Even though he didn't really want to, he's had 2 birthdays since I met him, and I've only had one. He's aging twice as fast as I am....so he's bound to pass me up here real soon. :)

Earlier this year, I wasn't sure if I was going to be in SB yet for his 30th....but as you all know, I am here, and was SO happy that I am, and able to celebrate Brett's 30th birthday with him!! He didn't really want Thursday to happen, he didn't want to turn 30, but I think that we made it as painless as possible for him.

I sang him Happy Birthday at midnight as we were looking through old pictures on his computer Wednesday night. Thursday activities started out as Brett, Kyle, Bethany and I went to see if we could spot some whales at Butterfly Beach, before grabbing lunch at Esau's Cafe.

We played some much needed Rock Band, before splitting up for the afternoon. I ran home to get ready, and then headed over to DJ's to get things ready for the rest of the day. Brett had thought that for the evening, we'd be going to hang out with his friends at Natural Cafe for a birthday dinner. But....I had another plan up my sleeve. A few weeks earlier, I'd sent out a message to everyone with the secret surprise plans that we were actually going to do to celebrate.

I setup DJ's place with the extremely helpful hands of Emily, Amy, Laura, Vanessa, Bethany, and so many others!! I honestly couldn't have pulled it off without everyone's help!! I left to go get Brett, and told him that we had to make a stop before we went to dinner. I told him that I had one more present for him that I couldn't wrap, and I had to hide it there. He actually bought that part. When we pulled up, I didn't want him to see the cars, so I asked him to be blindfolded. Well, Brett wasn't a big fan of that, so instead I asked him to close his eyes and not peek. He agreed as he didn't want to spoil the surprise.

When we walked in the door, I told him to open his eyes.....and that is when everyone yelled "SURPRISE!!", and started to sing Happy Birthday!! Right then he said "I knew it!!". He explained that he had a hunch that I had something up my sleeve....but it wasn't until he walked in the door with his eyes closed that he thought "Hmmm....I have a feeling that there are people staring at me.". BUT...it was a great surprise, and a fun party!!

We ate all sorts of goodies, hung out, and then we played a few games. The first involved trying to guess who you were. I had written names of people, things, or events that were all related to April 30th, and we put them on your back. You ask yes/no questions to guess who you are. I hadn't played that kind of game in a long time, and forgot how much fun it can be. I thought it was so great, that some people (Jeff and Vanessa) didn't give up......even though it took almost an hour for them to guess Akon and Taurus. Such good sports!!

I also crafted 30 random questions about Brett.....i.e. Where was Brett born?, What was Brett's HS mascot?, When Brett was little, what did he want to be when he grew up?, What's Brett's truck named?, What does Brett's license plate read?, etc. I was having Brett write down his answers for the key at the end....but then he clued in that I didn't know all the answers already, and took over the questions, while I got to play too. I got 21 right, Dave got 22. Not too shabby....and it was fun to be part of the game myself.

Lastly, we played a mean round of Telephone Pictionary. There was 18 of us....so it took a little while....especially with Brett and Dave sitting right next to each other...they were having their own fun. We had to put on a timer to keep it going.....but it was all laughter when everyone got back their stacks. If you haven't played this game yet....I highly recommend it.

I setup the camera with the timer to take a few shots.....but I didn't realize how many it was going to take! After the first one, we decided to do the silly ones. It's so funny to see what everyone does in those shots!! Enjoy!!

I had a wonderful time with everyone tonight, and was especially happy to spend Brett's birthday with him.

Hope you enjoyed all the birthday celebrating!!! I love you, Brett!!!

April 29, 2009

Jessica Alba Enchiladas

Jen and Laura cooked 12 of us enchiladas for dinner tonight. Interesting fact of the evening is that the recipe came from Jessica Alba. No, she didn't hand deliver it, she actually came over and helped make dinner. Totally kidding. Wonder if anyone even reads the text, or are you just looking at the pictures?? :)

Most of the girls I had just met last week at the Grapevine night, but already feel like they are friends. Every one of these women is so special, welcoming, and wonderful. We all ate around one big table and shared stories. I love getting to know new people, and am not used to being one of the newer ones in a group. At one point during our conversations, I was asked to share my testimony. I love being able to relive it with telling my story. I even made it almost all the way through without getting teary.

Yes, I put two pictures together here....I didn't want to leave Alayna out of the pic. We got one with her in it, but then Jenna had to leave because her parents had arrived. Oh well, we'll nail it next time. :)

I am looking forward to when Laura can cook dinner in our new place for everyone!!

April 28, 2009

A Few Fun Extras from the latest Story

When we went to the fantastic field, it was actually 5 of us. I was mostly grabbing the fun images of Laura you see below but I did snap a few of Shannon too.

Right when we thought we were about to leave, the sun was the perfect haze, and so we made both the girls walk around in the fun sun.

Was I lying about the sun?? Check out how fun, and a little shot of Amy in action. Also, when I was showing my favorites to Emily before we left, we learned that she could do the funky tongue fold thing too!

We then let Laura and Shannon turn the cameras on the 3 of us....and while we felt seriously awkward to be on the other side of the lens, they managed to grab a few cute ones.

Yay for timer and the guitar case.....I'll leave you with one of the fabulous five!! :)

April 26, 2009

A Friend Story | Laura

I've had such a great time getting to know and spending time with Laura. She's going to be my roommate here in a few short weeks, and I'm excited about sharing a home with her, and Danielle.

Here are a few fun facts about Laura: she's originally from Ohio, she loves to laugh, and she's a foodie. She can make just about anything in the kitchen, and I can't wait to share that with her too! She's going to have a large plot on the side of the house to plant whatever her little heart desires. We'll have our own farmer's market going before you know it!

Last Saturday we headed out to a super neat location a few exits south of Carp to look for this awesome field that my friend Josh had told me about. It was me, Laura, Shannon, Emily and Amy. Em, Amy and I all had our cameras, while Laura and Shannon were our models. The field was every bit as beautiful as he'd promised it to be, and we had a lot of fun exploring and playing with the sun.

Laura was up for anything....even when I asked her to lay down right in front of the cliff. Thank goodness she didn't roll off into the ocean!! We had a great time, and I'm sure this won't be the last fun photo shoot with my new roomie....but enjoy the first ones!! I know I'm going to love living with this woman! :)

Do you know how much I just LOVE this series!!! I can hear her laughing!

Check out the slideshow for more of Laura!

April 25, 2009

Getting it in Gear

Brett and I have been talking about how we are going to get our somewhat lazy bums into shape.....and had come to the conclusion that bikes was a really great idea. So, when I was racking my brain on what to get him for his upcoming 30th birthday, I decided that bikes would be a perfect gift.

Because of the online store's policy regarding billing and shipping addresses, I had to have them delivered to Brett's house. They were supposed to show up on Wednesday, and I was all ready to camp out there that day and intercept the delivery. Well, on Tuesday morning, Brett called me.

"UPS is here. I think that he just dropped off something."

"WHAT?! Well, don't look at the boxes!!! Just sign for them, and leave them on the doorstep. I'm on my way over!!".

When I got there, two large boxes were sitting outside his doorway. After looking at them, and realizing that they weren't going to fit in my car, and it was probably more hassle than it was worth to try and hide them for a few days, I went ahead and had him open and find out the surprise then.

He was definitely surprised, and loved them. He had them all put together by the time I came back to his place later that afternoon. We took them for a short test spin on Wednesday, and couldn't wait to get out again.

Today was the perfect day for the real path trip. We decided to start out at Butterfly Beach, which ended up being a really great idea. The beginning of the bike path there goes through an absolutely wonderful part of SB, with incredible views. It ends near the bird refuge, where we met up with the path there, and followed it all the way up to Shoreline Park. Instead of resting, we got off our bikes there, and did some crunches, push ups, dips, and stretching. 15 minutes of that, and we were back on our bikes to head back the same way.

We got home and Brett tracked it out, it was over 8 miles total. We were out and about for about 75 minutes....and it was just the right amount of time. I'm glad that I got us the 21 speed bikes because we definitely used all the different gears to manage the ups and downs of the trail.

A few fun shots of us on our Motobecane 300 HT Mountain Bikes. Of course I don't know much about bikes, but I found this site, with great prices, and they were delivered 90% of the way built, and super speedy! I'd say get one with gears for sure, and front suspension. If you're looking for one for yourself, I'd say check them out.

Some fun outtake shots from the timer mess ups. :) You can almost make out what is written on the tongue of Brett's shoes from the shot on the right. When I saw that, I cracked up. (Right shoe: FASTER. Left shoe: THAN YOU.)

April 24, 2009

Thrills at Magic Mountain

We headed to Magic Mountain tonight to meet up with a few of Brett's friends from college for a night in the park. It'd been a while since I'd been to a theme park, and I forgot how much fun....as well as how much it takes out of me....roller coasters are!!

We met up with the group, and after getting into the park, headed right to X2. Kris was in charge, and we were following his lead. As we were waiting in line for X2, we got a clear look at what was ahead of us....and um.....yeah, well, I started to get a little nervous. The seats rotated, and after traveling up backwards, you head down a really straight drop while looking directly at the ground. There were many turns, twists, loops and other surprises on the whole ride....but whoa, it was quite a thrill!!

We hit up X2, Viper, Deja Vu, Scream, Riddler's Revenge, and lastly Colossus. Riding 6 roller coasters, with really short lines in between each, really gets to you!! Geez!! Brett and I both felt like we had been run over by a truck on the drive home.

On a side note....I had a pretty unfortunate accident on the 2nd coaster. As we were on the ride, I felt something weird with my boot. My beloved cowboy boots, that is. They are super comfy, so I have worn them a lot over the last 4 years....and well, they gave out on me. The heel came off, and now I was walking around with a cowboy boot flip flop. Every step, the heel was flopping.

Despite my being sad about it, it was making the task of walking around the park, quite challenging. First remedy was tying my hair rubber band around the bottom.....but that didn't really work out too well. One of the park attendants gave us the idea to use gum, so we chewed up a piece, and lodged it between the two loose pieces....it didn't really work out so great. We asked a few of the coaster attendants if they had any duct tape lying around....nope, none there either. We made a decision when we saw the candy store to get some really super sticky bubble gum, and see if that would help. Well, the park doesn't sell gum.

So, heads hung low, we decided to go ahead and get some SweetTarts while we were there. In the off chance that they did, I went ahead and asked Valerie, the check out attendant, if they had any tape in the back. She said that she didn't think so, but she would check. Right after that, she was ringing us up, and asked if we wanted to donate $1 to the cause that was there....one of those ones where you write your name on it, and they hang it somewhere. I thought why not, and did. She disappeared into the back...and not one minute later, came out with a big role of tape. I was so happy, and used it to put my boot back together.....wrapping it around the bottom and heel of my shoe. It worked, and I managed to make it through the rest of the night. Woohoo! It was kind of neat how it all happened. I couldn't help but think, you love and take care of others, and He'll take care of you. :)

I'm bummed about my boots...but I guess they've given me a great run. :) RIP my friend.

April 23, 2009

Early Celebrating with DJ at none other than Sakana

DJ is headed out of town and won't be here to witness his good buddy, Brett, turn the big 3-0 next week, so we went to one of DJ's favorite spots for a little dinner and conversation - Sakana.

I've heard so much about this sushi restaurant....but oh my goodness...it totally blew away any expectation I even thought I had in my mind. It's such a different kind of sushi....not your typical rolls. It was more of a food/meal in each roll, than your normal sushi.....and was so good. I hope that I can enjoy sushi at your run of the mill place next time I go! It was so different...and OH so delicious!!

We had a few press box rolls, and seriously...I can't even explain how yummy these were. This is definitly one of the spots that I'll be bringing friends when they come to visit me.

Thank you again DJ for a great night of company, reflection, conversation and celebration. Enjoy Russia!! We'll miss you, but can't wait to hear what adventures of compassion and sharing love, that you're sure to have when you return.

April 22, 2009

Pinot Noir | Seductive Satin of the Red Wines

When I was visiting SB in February, I went to the first night of this home group session with Brett. Since it was the first one, we had to go around the room, introduce ourselves, and answer a fun question. Describe your current relationship with Christ, but use a food. Luckily I got to be one of the last ones to go, but the first thing that came to mind was a grape. I thought about how a grape, in of itself, is a wonderful fruit, however, with time, love, attention, and care, it'll turn into something spectacular, a fine wine. Our relationship is the grape stage, but am working towards the wine with time, love, attention and care.

Well, after we broke, I introduced myself more individually to Laura, Liz, and Jessica. I first went up to talk to Laura about her job, but then after a bit, the girls broke in and told me about The Grapevine. Since I had mentioned wine, they said "So, you're moving here in a few weeks? That's great! We have a monthly group of girls that get together and we do wine tasting. You can be our friend." They were so adorably wonderful, and made me know that SB was going to be a great place to be once I moved here.

So, fast forward 2 months....and tonight was the next Grapevine get together. I got to spend the evening with 12 amazing women. Every new person that I meet here in SB is equally as wonderful as the last...I am waiting to wake up from my dream. I don't really know why or how I am so blessed!!

Tonight's feature was Pinot Noir....considered to be the Seductive Satin of the red wines. We tasted 8 bottles of Pinot Noir from all different regions - France, New Zealand, Oregon and of course, California. There were a few that I wasn't too fond of, some that were good....but then they all really started tasting the same to me. I don't have a future as a sommelier, not by any means!!

I just love meeting new people....especially when they are all fabulous women. Oh...and get this. There was another Aggie among the group tonight. I'm not sure if I mentioned here that Emily went to A&M also, but then we also met Lauren tonight who also graduated from there. What a small, small, world. Another girl moved here from Dallas not too long ago too. The amount of TX connections I've run into here is crazy!

Ok, it's time for me to hit the hay....but I had to share some pics from our night. Looking forward to more nights trying out new wine with new friends!!

The Seductive Satin part was the fun part of the night.....to influence our attire. Everyone managed to find something satin-y in their closets for the night.

I do love a good self portrait....13....not too shabby!

Thanks to Jess and Liz for hosting!!! See you girls soon!

A Photographer Story | Whitney Elizabeth

I met my new friend, Whitney Elizabeth, after she left a comment on my blog a few weeks back. She wrote that she was also new to Santa Barbara and being a girl from the hot & humid South (NC), she wasn't getting used to the chilly weather at night here either. I checked out her blog, and after reading that she was needing to take some new photos, I asked her to let me take them for her. I had been seeing some fun spots around SB that I wanted to take pictures....all I was missing was a person....and whala!! Whitney was perfect!

We had a yummy lunch at Silvergreens first to hang out, and then just a short week later, she, her hubby, Mike, and pup Bear, met me at the wonderful stairs at Paseo Nuevo.

It's always a little weird to be on the other side of the camera....I can attest to that, and I'm sure Whitney would agree with me. Being the photographer, it's much easier to be the one saying "It's fine...you are doing great....and these look awesome". The hard part is trying to be fine, trying to do great, and trusting that they look awesome.

She could have fooled me though.....I had a lot of fun with Whitney, Mike and Bear.....and she DID do great. Whitney - you're a treasure, and I'm glad that we got to hang out and do this together. Just like your husband Mike was saying, you're beautiful!! I hope you see it too in your story!

For more Whitney, check out the slideshow.