January 30, 2010

MOH and BTB Day O' Fun

When I asked Emily earlier in the week if she was up for taking a little excursion trip with me around a few places in town....to try and wrap my head around what I was thinking for decor for the reception....she was on board.

We started out this morning bright and early, around 830, and headed towards the closest IKEA.....about 90 miles away. We stopped for some Starbucks somewhere along the way and got there right as they opened at 10am.

Since we didn't head straight to the part where I knew we'd end up, we actually ended up seeing the actor that plays Samuel on Heroes. Funny side story is that this is the 2nd time I've spotted him....a long time ago when he was on Prison Break, I saw him walking through DFW. Small world.

Anyways....I digress. We made our way to the part that had the vases I wanted to see, and proceeded to buy a few things. Who knows if they'll end up working as I envision....I'm SO bad at this kind of thing.

Afterwards, we had a little bite to eat at the darling bakery next door.

We had to stop at Blender's on the way back into SB before making our final stop for the planning day. We popped into one of the rental locations to put together some ideas on what the tables might end up looking like.

It was a great day to hang out with Emily and try to do some planning. Even though I think that we got some things done, who knows what they'll end up looking like in the end. I struggle, in a bad way, about making it look pretty, and keeping it in a budget. You can very easily go crazy when it comes to the decorating and I am trying my best not to do that.

So, anyways....it was a great day with Emily running all around town.

We met up with Vanessa at her place, with Amy and Ashley too...for a lovely dinner and great girl time conversations. The best way to end a great day!

January 29, 2010

30 Minute Break

After another long week at work.....it is Friday again. I was so happy when, after getting to Brett's this afternoon....he said, "Let's go take a walk on the beach".

What a relief to get out and do something...anything....where nothing needed planning, a call back, or anything else of that nature.

We took the long (3 minute) drive over to Hendry's Beach and took a stroll. There were new rocks everywhere along the water line that had been washed up and displaced from the rain storms last week. The smells were of stale ocean water that had found its way to where the rocks lay still. There were people walking their dogs and others out just enjoying the sunset.

It was great to take a break from the busyness of life...if only for the 30 minutes before the sun went down, before it got too chilly to enjoy any longer.

January 26, 2010

Inspired Kitchen Creations

I went to the grocery store after work today and discovered a new brand of sausages at Ralph's. I picked up the Aidells Habanero and Green Chile flavor and lucky for me, there was a suggested recipe right there on the packaging.

So, along with a few other things, I picked up the items that they recommended and came home to put them all together. I also thought to try out my new camera and apron too....so here goes what I came up with tonight for dinner!

It was as simple as taking all the ingredients you see here, and putting them together. Super easy, and it ended up being really good too.

I felt so much more like I was supposed to be in the kitchen because I was wearing my new digs. I really liked the apron! :)

This was the first time that I'd chosen to use whole wheat pasta, and it actually worked really well. I probably didn't cook the red peppers enough....because I was super hungry....but it was a very delightful combo.

Next time you're in a rut for something new for dinner, try this. Took no more than 20 minutes to put together and cook. If I think of a name, I'll let you know. :)

January 24, 2010

Scavenging All Over Town for Camille

Camille's plans for Sunday for her birthday included a Scavenger Hunt. She put everyone that RSVP'd on a team and assigned us a team color. Brett and I were paired up with Mark and Janey...and were ORANGE!!!

Mark and Brett REALLY brought it with their choices of oranges.

Everyone arrived at the designated spot and we were given our clues. I was shocked to see that it was 3 pages!! On each page there were things that we had to do, photograph, collect, or video.....with each task assigned a number of points ranging from 1 to 5. We were setup on our way around 1230 and were off to do as many as we could and be at our meeting spot at 5pm.

Camille said she would give our team 1 point if I could get all 23 of us in one photo. Well, I didn't make it...but it's fun anyways!


The tasks were totally random......some included....

Picture of:
- person walking a dog
- your entire team drinking from one soda
- gas receipt for exactly 50 cents
- a 6"5' person
- build a sandcastle for 2 points...bury a teammate for 5
- an apple iphone with a blackberry....a blackberry with an apple
- New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Hawaii license plates
- rat, cat and dog in same picture (evidently there is a person downtown that has all 3 animals)

We decided to head out to the Farmer's Market and managed to accomplish a lot of the pictures...and quite a few videos there too. We then took a trip over to Goleta Beach where we knocked out a few others!

Then we were off again for some other tasks....

- entire team with as many city limit signs
- pictures with farm animals
- visit to Maverick's to take something off the wall
- a picture at one of Camille's favorite wineries
- the spot where Brett & Annemarie are getting married (that one was worth 2 points - woohoo!)

We have a TON of videos of the other fun things we did too!! I'll probably end up compiling some of them at some point....BUT.....we made it to the meeting point EXACTLY at 5pm as we were instructed. Phew!! It got close there at the end.

When all the teams arrived, everyone started to tally up their points. The totals were 78.....91....93.....and so, when I counted us up with having 97.....we knew we had done pretty well!! Camille did her verification...and then announced TEAM ORANGE the winners!! Woohoo!!! We took home the jackpot!

We then enjoyed a wonderful evening with yummy food and great friends!

The wood fire pizzas there were delicious!! The smores and lava cake dessert weren't half bad either!

All the smiling faces of the ones that love our dear friend, Camille!

This was such a super fun day. Brett and I had a blast competing with Mark and Janey. It totally felt like we were on The Amazing Race. My Mom would have been so proud of us, and loved to watch us, too. All 4 of us totally kept our cool the entire day, and worked so well together as a team. There was more laughing than anything during our day. We all put in the effort and were thrilled to come out the winners. Watching everyone's videos and seeing all the pictures made it that much more fun. What an awesome thing for Camille to do for her friends, on her birthday!!

We love you Camille!!! Here's to a GREAT decade!!! :)

January 23, 2010

I love it when we're crusin' together...

It's Camille's birthday week....and that means LOTS of celebrating. I already missed the activities earlier in the week, but I was definitely down for the Saturday and Sunday plans.

It literally rained ALL week. Every day Monday through Friday this week, it was pouring in Santa Barbara. There was thunder and lightening that I would relate to a good ole Texas storm....not a norm for Santa Barbara at all.

So, when I woke up at the crack of 1030am on Saturday and there was sun coming in through my window, I knew it was going to be a great day. The forecast called for sunny and 61 - perfect! I met up with the girls at noon at the Bath House.....everyone with a beach cruiser in tow. I borrowed LB's "Sunny" for the occasion. It's SO much more fun to ride than my mountain bike. :)

Wonder what we should call our Bike Gang? I'm sure Emily would have come up with a good name.

Taking snapshots on the moving bike wasn't as easy with my new camera....but it was worth it. Kinda loving my new toy!! ;)

The first stop was for Camille's favorite croissant in SB - Renaud's Patisserie. After devouring the almond AND chocolate delights....we were off again.

Next stop was a trip into Forever 21. I mean....who cares that we're all almost in our 30s. The store IS called Forever TWENTY ONE. Camille managed to find herself some fun birthday skirts that I'm sure she'll pull off better than any 21 year old. :)

We were good and stopped at every red light along State on our ride. I can't imagine what people were thinking trying to avoid us along the way.

Another quick trip into World Market for some ramekins for Camille. I managed to pick myself up an apron for a steal. Emily found a few cute things in the store too. Love that she found Emily's Fortune Cookies....and for me? Well, Aah! Tuesday, of course.....oh come on, you know why!!

We rode all the way down State....the key word being down....as in downhill.....to the pier. Camille managed to scare this little bird away.....but what a GORGEOUS day!! It couldn't have been a prettier day!

We popped into Coastal Winery for a wine tasting. This place was so cute and the staff was so nice to us. Cheryl and I shared a tasting....and by far my favorite was a Stella Rosa something or another. I should have written it down. Oh well. Anyways...this place was neat and I think it'd be a great spot for my TX friends that come in early for the wedding to visit on a Friday afternoon. :) I'm just saying.

Fun friends.

We then proceeded to bike....UPHILL....towards Hungry Cat - one of Camille's favorite places to catch happy hour and appetizers in SB. I agree. The place has a charm to it that is unbeatable. The drinks and french fries are so yummy too!! I split a crab cake sandwich with the birthday girl and it did not disappoint.

After we rode all over town, we completed the circle and ended up back at the Bath House. Such a fun day on the bikes....and my bum isn't even sore. Love the big seats on the cruiser. OH, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the basket. I think I'm totally going to have to get myself another bike. :)

We split up the list of things to get for our last destination of the evening. My list included stuff for pedicures, an air mattress and chicken tenders. The final plan of the night was a slumber party at Camille's place.

It was great. We stuffed ourselves on more cheese and snacks than we needed to, painted some toes, did some masks, and watched a movie. It was way past a normal bedtime when we all finally turned in for the night.

At the end of the night, we had 6 girls spread out all over Camille's living room. We sang to her right at midnight and rung in 30 with her with lots of smiles and love!!

January 20, 2010

Planning used to be fun for me...

Oh, there is a LOT of planning going on right now for the wedding. It's pretty much consuming most of our time at the moment, although I'm trying REALLY hard to not let it. There is just so much to do, and it's on my mind, so I want to get it all done. I'm driving Brett a little bit crazy. So, really, there is a lot of planning to plan, and that's about it. It takes up so much time.

I wish I knew how to delegate.....well, more so, I wish I knew WHAT to delegate. My wonderful bridesmaids have offered to help....and I really do want to take them up on that...but I don't even know where to start.

Wedding planning isn't fun. I used to like to plan....but not sure what it is these days. I think it's more that I don't really know what I want, and that's stressing me out more than anything. Brett asked me to put into words what my vision for our wedding day is....and all I could come up with was "yellow". I see things that I like. I see things that I don't like, but I just have no clue how to put it all together.

Oh well....it'll all work out. The most important thing to me is that our family and friends are here to celebrate the day with us. Everything else could fall apart and as long as the people I love the most are there with us, then I'll be a happy bride.

So...until then. :)

January 16, 2010

Rock Band - ShowIt Style

We had a company "family meeting" this morning....and all gathered around the living room to hear what's been going, and where everything is going. It was great to hang out with everyone and learn a little bit more about all the ShowIt-ers.

The afternoon was spent being pretty lazy, and disappointed by the Cardinals. Oh well. I wasn't too terribly upset...but can't say the same for all of the local residents. Sorry Todd!

We gathered tonight at Todd and Elisa's home for a burrito and Rock Band night....complete with fog and lights. For Rock Band that is, not the burritos. :)

We all took turns with all the instruments and went through a ton of songs!! Fun times. Brett totally wants the fog and lights for his place too. Of course. :)

January 15, 2010

ShowIt Buddies at Brix

Tonight we went out on the town for a company dinner. Brix set us up in the back room, and all 19 of us packed in nice and tight. Hey, we're all family anyways, right?

We had a wonderful menu full with artisan cheeses, yummy salads, and main courses of steak, lasagna, duck or fish. Luckily I had Brett next to me, as he helped me clean all of my plates.

The caesar salad was authentic and came with anchovies on top. Andrew always seems to be trying new food when he's around ShowIt folks, and so he braved eating the little guy whole. The jury is still out on whether or not he'll be doing that again anytime soon.

Brett was telling me that I was getting a little too excited about getting us a group shot.....but it's really just one of my favorite things. I love to be able to document the memory so we can look back on it in years to come.

It was a great time and I love the chances like these to get to know the people that make up the company.

A Flagstaff Friday Afternoon

Ahhhh.....vacation. Yesterday, I left SB, on the same flight as Christianne, and we made it to Phoenix in no time. After getting to the B terminal, we had 3 hours to kill. We shared some dirty nachos and a pulled pork sandwich at the Roadhouse, and then not too long after that, Andrew met up with us.

Our small little propeller jet plane didn't have to get too high to get us up the mountain to Flagstaff. DJ and Brett met us at the airport and then we made our way up to the fun cabin where we are staying. This place is amazing. 3 master bedrooms, a loft, and 3 other bedrooms. We've got a house full of ShowIt retreat-ers. :)

This morning, I woke up to the smell of french toast and bacon cooking in the kitchen. 8 of the folks from the house went to slopes, while Christianne, Chrystal, DJ and I decided to chill and keep the fort down. I spent the morning catching up on blogging and pictures, and a few TV shows online too. So nice.

We were starting to experience the true definition of "cabin fever" and so 3 of us took off to town for a bite to eat for lunch. We found downtown Flagstaff, and it was just as quaint as we were expecting. Lunch was at a little diner of sorts....and I cleaned my plate - it was all so yummy - including my tomato artichoke soup.

It's a little bit colder here than it is at home. It is sunny and 44...but I was still cold with a few layers on. There were people walking around in tee shirts that were definitely locals.

We went into a super neat kitchen store and walked around for a bit, and then just made our way back through downtown. There were a few creative types in the main square singing, playing guitars and also hacky sack. Fun. :)

Blue skies and snow make beautiful scenery! Back at the cabin now waiting for the rest of the crew to come off the mountains. Ahh....relaxation. Love it.

January 13, 2010

Syrah | The Red Hot Accessory of Wines

It'd been a while since we'd had a wine night with the ladies, so back before Christmas, when we met up at Blush, we picked January 13, and put it on our calendars.

It was at our house, and since I decided to host....I picked Syrah as our wine. From the book that Christi got 8 years ago, here's a little ditty about my favorite red wine.

If Chardonnay is the "basic black" of your wine wardrobe, then Syrah is the must-have red accessory. Just as a garnet handbag, crimson scarf, or scarlet lips make an outfit sizzle, Syrah adds a dash of sex appeal to any meal. Peppery, smoky, and powerful, Syrah is exotic but approachable. Like wearing that splash of red, sipping Syrah is wildly fun.

Everyone was assigned a region and asked to being a Syrah or Shiraz (as it's called in Australia) for the tasting. I picked us up some goodies to snack on.

Thank goodness for Emily and Amy coming over early to help me clean and get everything setup. I wouldn't have been able to pull it off without them!!

Cheese, crackers, grapes, nuts....and cookies!! All of the perfect dishes to enjoy with our wine tastings. :)

We sampled 9 wines from Australia, France, and I think we had some from Chile and Washington too. I lost track, but they were all pretty tasty.

I love hanging out with fabulous women - a great time was had by all!

And yes....I did cheat, and use the flip screen on the new camera on this one. Might be my favorite self portrait ever. I just love all the smiley, happy, faces in this one.

Can't wait for our next wine get together!!

January 11, 2010

Another camera? Why not?

I love my Canon SD870IS, but I've been using it pretty heavily over almost the last 2 years now, so it was getting about time to be ready for an upgrade. I had my eye on a little bit of a different model. A lot of my photographer friends use the Canon G series for their Point & Shoot cameras because it has so many other options.

So, over Christmas, when I got a surprise check from Dell for my portion of a $9.1M class action settlement, Brett suggested that I use that to get the new camera. Great idea!!

I decided on the G11 and it arrived today!! I let Brett open the box....he gets so much more enjoyment than I do out of opening things like that...and he got it charged up to take a few shots.

This camera has a screen on it that flips....so now we can cheat on our self portraits. Not sure if we'll use that feature all that often, since it's more fun to accomplish it on your own....but it's a nifty little tool. We did in this picture, which is quite obvious, because I was looking at the screen, and not the camera, when we snapped the shot. Oops!!

I'd seen this many times before, but most recently on BD's blog...so I thought to give it a shot. I'd never done this before myself, so I had no idea what to expect.

Set yourself up with a flashlight, 7-15 second exposure, and turn off all the lights. After you press the button....write!

My attempts weren't that great. I was trying to write I heart Brett, and then just his name on my 2nd try. Brett did pretty good at his B heart A. Show off.

I'm sure at some point I'll read the manual on this camera to understand all the fun things I can do with the settings.....but for now, I'm super happy just using the big AUTO button. :)


Today I got to play photographer at work and take some shots of our executives for the updated website. I had snapped a few pictures of some of our team before, but hadn't really done anything like this before. I honestly wasn't exactly sure what I was doing.

I had used this wall outside of our office before, and thought that it would be good again. Jonathan had asked me if I had a tripod, so I brought one with me, and had it all setup. It was in the shade, so that worked for me. :)

After the first person, I lost the tripod. It is so much easier for me to just shoot instead of trying to work with a piece of equipment that is a little hindering to fluid movement.

They didn't turn out half bad. I'm really happy to be part of a team of folks that is so awesome!! I love that all of them are so smiley!! We don't have any stuffy execs at our company, that's for sure. It'll be fun to see these on the updated site when it's all finished! :)

January 10, 2010

Love Sundays

I slept in...which makes ANY day pretty wonderful, but not too long. I was up by around 930 and doddled around the house to get ready for church. Brett came to get me, and we were off to another great service at Reality. Today is the day when Dave and Ashley Lomas have their first service at Reality SF. So exciting!! Can't wait to hear how it went!!

After church, it was almost 2, and we were starved. The Axxess Card has come in handly lately, providing us new ideas on where to grab a quick bite to eat. So, we found Danny's Deli on the list and it was right there in Carp. Their specialty was the tri-tip with bacon and avacado. It was as good as it sounds, and looks!!

We hung out at Brett's for a bit and wrote some overdue thank you notes from Christmas. He and Kyle went to throw the baseball to get Brett in shape for the upcoming Alumni game at Westmont....and so I went to join some fellow word lovers.

Janey's comment on Facebook from the night before made a few of us realize that there was more than one Scrabble lover in town. So, after church, a plan was brewing to get a few folks together for a game.

I played against Camille, Jeff and Tara. It was a very poor showing on my part...I blame it on bad letters. I did manage to help Jeff make a slight comeback at the end with an X, playing it for 51 points. I did not, however, have any plays like that of my own.

Emily had fun creating her initials with the tiles...and I'm sure you can tell from the picture below who was the victorious one from our game. :)

January 4, 2010

The First One!

So, it's been not even two weeks yet, and I am already driving Brett a little crazy with the wedding planning. Well...not crazy so much, but he thinks I'm nuts for doing all of the planning at one time. I hadn't looked at anything wedding related before we were engaged, and so now it's wedding planning overload and I'm all over the place with all that we have to do! He is working on getting us a plan. Heehee.

Naturally, one of those things that I went straight to planning was for my dress!! Duh!!

I saw one online that was going to be perfect. I'd found it at David's Bridal, of all places, and since they don't have one in Santa Barbara, I made plans to go the closest one in Northbridge. I asked Emily to come with me, and Dayna planned on meeting us there.

After we arrived, the lady at the front asked me to take the catalog and earmark the pages of dresses I wanted to try on. I told her that I already knew which one I wanted, and was there to try that one on, but I went ahead and took a look anyways. I knew that I didn't want strapless, so that immediately cut out about 85% of the dresses in there. I did manage to find 3 that I thought I'd like to try.

Well, the first one she brought out to me wasn't the one that I thought I was going to get when I went in there. But, I told her that I'd go ahead and try it on anyways. They just got it in that day, it was brand new. I was the first person to try it on ever....and......well.....I loved it.

I tried it on.....and it was "my dress". I tried on the other one, the one that I thought I wanted....and ick!! It was horrible.

So, I left with my dress. And, it was about a third of the cost of the one that I thought I wanted - score!!!

That is all I'm going to say about that.....but I'm super excited about it and can't wait for Brett to see it...on our wedding day!! I had to hide the pictures on my computer, and I already deleted them from my camera. He wants to be surprised, and I don't want him to accidentally find out. :)

Afterwards, the girls and I had super yummy Jersey Mike's subs for dinner. It was the perfect shopping experience and I was glad to have Emily and Dayna with me! So fun!! :)

Now...if only I can find everything else with this much ease!! :)

January 3, 2010

Food and Fellowship

We ran into DJ at church this morning....it had been forever since we'd seen him last. He mentioned getting together later that night. When we got an email mid afternoon saying that Christianne was going to cook up some food, and for some of us to join them....we jumped on it. We were excited to hang out and catch up on how everyone's Christmas and New Year's had been.

Christianne cooked up some yummy pasta and shrimp, and Amy made the salad. It was a lovely night of good food and good fellowship. Thumbs up all around.

Every time I look at this picture....I am reminded that I really should put more effort into how I dress. Ugh. Does anyone else just loathe their wardrobe every time they see a picture of themselves like I do these days??

January 2, 2010

The Spot

Brett and I both agreed that one of the first things we had to do was find a spot to get married. After we agreed that Santa Barbara would be the place to have it, we started to look at our options. We did a lot of looking online while the families were here over Christmas.

We went back and forth on what we wanted, but came to a conclusion that we wanted something open, that had a pretty view. I really thought that the Santa Barbara Zoo was a neat idea, but Brett wasn't too keen on the idea about having giraffes at our ceremony. So, we started to search out other spots, and then thought to look at some of the local wineries.

There were so many options, but we managed to narrow it down to a few, and thought that Saturday would be a good day to go check some of them out. We both really liked 2 of the options that Firestone had, so we made an appointment to go out there.

The entire drive out to Los Olivos, I kept looking out the window and saying "Man, this is so pretty!!! I can't wait for our guests to make this drive to our wedding!!". Of course, this was all before we'd even seen the place, but I was already imaging it all working out. It was the scenery that did it to me.

See what I mean!! Gorgeous!!

I got excited when we saw the sign off the 101 guiding us towards all the wineries. Did I mention that I'd never been out this way before? I mean, I'd been to Solvang and to downtown Los Olivos with Bethany last year, but never to any of the wineries.

We pulled into Firestone and I was still in awe of the surrounding area. All so beautiful...and the vines aren't even in season!

We met up with Rachel, and she was so kind to show us around the property. We first saw the spot where the ceremonies are held....and to be honest, we were very underwhelmed. It was much smaller than I was expecting, and more of a long narrow alley, think two bowling lanes put together, with a metal gazebo at the end. I am sure it can be beautiful, but it just wasn't what either of us envisioned for our day.

She took us around the rest of the area, and it was all great. The barrel room was awesome. The courtyard for the reception was so nice, and I could see the lights and tables and dancing there already. We were still just a little bummed about the ceremony site area. We jokingly asked her if the hills behind the tasting room were also owned by Firestone, and if we could use one of those for the ceremony part.

It was then that she said "Well, maybe you'll like the other spot that we have on the property for ceremonies. We have to drive, but it's like 10 seconds down the road.".

So, we agreed to see it, and hopped in our car to follow Rachel for the long trip. We got in, drove less than 100 yards, and parked. I think that both Brett and I said, in unison, "Now THIS is what we're talking about!".

We got out of the truck, and immediately fell in love with the spot that they call the Vineyard Mesa. It was exactly what we were picturing. A big open lawn, with the rolling hills in the background, the oak trees....and as a bonus, the vines to the side.

At that moment, I'd made up my mind (in my head) that this was the spot where I wanted to marry Brett. Under those oak trees (or maybe in between....details, details) in front of our friends and family.

We went ahead and followed Rachel out to the other spot, which was about 20 minutes away, just to see it. It just solidified that the first spot was THE spot, and we told her to hold a date for us.

Afterwards, we went back to Firestone for me to do a wine tasting. I figured, if we're going to get married here, I might as well try the wines that our guests will get to try too!! Everything was yummy and I was very happy!!

We stopped by the lawn to grab a few pictures. We were smiling so big and already starting to see it how it would be on the big day!!! We can't wait!!

To finish out the story of the day.....we drove by a few other wineries, and even got out at one, but none of them stacked up to what we'd already seen as the spot for our wedding.

We stopped to grab some food back in town, and then went to hang out at Brett's place and figure out more stuff that we have to do to make this day happen! :) Seriously...I cannot wait!!