Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Bad

I know. I came back and did a ton of posts and promised to do better.... then took another two-month hiatus. But, we've been busy. I've been swamped, honestly. Between taking on my high school reunion and good weather bringing people out to visit and giving us more to do on a regular basis, it's just been a constant stream of "stuff." I'll work on it. I just wanted you to know I haven't forgotten completely. ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

March 2012

March was another whirlwind month for us, though nothing much actually happened. Jonathan did more volunteer work with the science high schoolers (oh, we went to a big Boy Scout award dinner at the beginning of February to thank all of the volunteers over the course of the year - it was one of the most inspirational things I've ever been to!) and I took on being part of our high school reunion committee (ten years in June! wow!). We talked about going skiing before the end of the season, but didn't really have the time or energy... luckily, it's just been a junky year for snow and nobody is really having great experiences anyway, so we don't really feel bad.

We did, however, take a short trip to Florida to see one of my oldest friends (since sixth grade!), Jessica, finally marry Bret. They were engaged for about six years (she's been in med school), so it was wonderful to share in their special day. We got a chance to see Jonathan's aunt and uncle as well, so it was a pretty eventful getaway. The wedding day was incredibly rainy, but, luckily, they had a very large tent, so it wasn't that big of a problem (though the humidity level was pretty high later in the evening). It did delay the start of things, however, as the ceremony was in the open, near some gorgeous trees. Jonathan had his camera and took some great pictures, so I'll post a few.
cupcakes & pies instead of wedding cake!

they wrote their own vows... Jess's made ME cry!

just after the kiss!

with the bride! (and, for those of you following the hair
drama, this is four days after I had it recolored)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

February 2012: Cake Decorating

February wasn't the busiest month for us, mainly because we had done so much traveling between November, December, and January. We needed a break! Our friend, Tony, spent a day with us while he was in town. He lives in Denver now, so it was nice to see him, especially given the fact that he was only around for less than 24 hours before he continues his trip down to San Diego. And, it just so happened that I began the next set of cake decorating classes that night as well!

It has been a full year since I took the Decorating Basics course, so I was excited to finally be taking Flowers & Cake Design, offered at Michael's by Wilton. I switched locations to get a different instructor, and there were only eight of us in my class. I enjoyed the instructor much more, so I was very sad to hear that she was retiring after that month. Otherwise, I would have been more likely to consider taking the next course (fondant!) right away. Now, it looks like I'll likely wait until at least August, if not longer. But, that's okay. I still had a lot of fun and learned a lot. There was still a lot of homework with practicing flowers and techniques, but at least we weren't swimming in cake all month. This course required just one cake, for the final. It was a big one, though, as it needed to be 3-4" high. I definitely chose an ambitious cake to replicate for my final, and three of my seven classmates stayed until I finished (I was the only one who took the entire two hours) to take photos. It was a chocolate cappuccino cake with chocolate cream cheese filling and chocolate buttercream frosting - all from scratch, of course. I sent half of it in for Jonathan's colleagues (who get spoiled by my baking and Jonathan's chili/ribs/pork/etc) and we shared the other half with some friends over the next week.

roses (you can tell the early ones from the later ones!) and lilies

daffodils, primroses, apple blossoms

these were my "backup" flowers for my final cake - roses,
apple blossoms, and violets

my final cake! roses and lilies on top, apple blossoms and violets
on the sides, reverse shell border, and all-around basketweave

a look inside the cake and a little better peak at the basketweave

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

January 2012: Weddings & Birthdays

When we left Las Vegas, we flew to Orlando. We're not always able to attend every wedding for which we're invited, but seeing how two were on the same day, in the same city, Jonathan has known the grooms since childhood, and one of the grooms was in our wedding party, we made the arrangements. Now, this was complicated by the fact that the weddings began only thirty minutes apart! Luckily, things went swimmingly and we were able to catch many of the major events at both! [I thought we had taken some photos, but they must be on a memory card someplace, so nothing to share there, sorry!]

We started out at Steve & Karen's ceremony, which was in the same sanctuary where Jonathan and I were married. They both looked so happy. We had originally planned to go straight to their reception, but at the last minute we decided to pop by Eric & Kara's ceremony to get a program. Fortunately, they seemed to have gotten a late start, so we went in and sat near the back and were able to see most of the ceremony. On the way out, we talked to a few friends so we were excited to see them later. We hadn't missed much when we arrived at Steve & Karen's reception, and spent some time catching up with the others at our table and some others as well. We stayed for dinner and really enjoyed the pasta station they had! We got a chance to talk with the bride and groom, but we headed out just before the first dance. Originally, we had planned to stay a little longer, but the second reception had changed venues and we needed to give ourselves extra time for travel. We arrived at Eric & Kara's reception about ten minutes before their cocktail hour was over, then picked at the dinner served. Most of our table didn't show up, so it was just Jonathan and me, his parents, and our friend, Justin. It did make it easier to talk with a few friends, though, with extra space at our table! The cake was good, the speeches were cute, but we didn't get to do much dancing. We left before the very end, but were still able to participate in the "Dollar Dance" and see the happy couple one-on-one.

When we landed back in Florida I noticed there were advertisements at the airport for the Ice Skating World Championships - apparently they were being held in San Jose this year! I was immediately obsessed with getting tickets, and Jonathan kindly obliged my desire. I ultimately decided to buy Championship Pairs tickets, an event which took place just after my birthday. But, I didn't want to get slammed with a Ticketmaster fee, so I waited. Turned out to work out perfectly! Jonathan had entered a raffle at work for tickets to the Junior Ladies Short Program, and he won! So, we went there on Monday night for that competition, and while we were there, we bought the other tickets directly from the box office! I was overjoyed at being able to be there and see the skaters in real life. Jonathan was a good sport, and we made a game out of picking who would win and who would fall when we first saw each round of skaters in warm-ups. (You'll clearly be able to tell which photos I took with my simple camera and which ones Jonathan took with his fancy camera, LoL)
I made champagne cupcakes with champagne frosting
and decorated them with vanilla hippos.

Mariah Bell
Ashley Cain
Tiffany Vise & Don Baldwin

Kloe Chanel Bautista & Tyler Harris

Kloe Chanel Bautista & Tyler Harris

Rita Fehr & Peter Biver

Felicia Zhang & Nathan Bartholomay

Mary Beth Marley & Rockne Brubaker - They Won!

Amanda Evora &Mark Ladwig - Even with a fall, they came in 2nd

Sunday, April 15, 2012

January 2012: TCA & CES

We had a heck of a January. We were only home for a few days before we started traveling again. Long story short, I had to change my travel plans to join Jonathan at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas so that I could spend a day down in LA for business. Luckily, I had booked on Southwest so I just changed my flight to leave from Burbank instead of San Jose. Then, I rented a car and drove to Pasadena the day before so I could be there for FOX's winter press day. I left as soon as the last panel finished, drove to Burbank, dropped off the car, and flew to Vegas. Jonathan had been there for nine hours or so already, so we reconnected and got settled into Paris for the night. I love that place - so many things to look at, plus there is some delicious food there!
There were still some Christmas decorations when we arrived, but they were down by the time we left. This is the tree outside the Venetian.
gotta love the fountains!

The next morning we got started a little later than we had hoped, but still managed to check-out of Paris and check-in to Imperial Palace, where we stayed for the remainder of the convention. We both had plenty of stuff to see on our lists and spent the next few days splitting up and meeting up to talk about the latest technologies. I stopped at several booths (there are THOUSANDS) to talk about television updates and upcoming features, while Jonathan had other interests. Jonathan had been to CES twice before, but this was his first time as press, so he enjoyed being able to attend more of the panels and discussions. It was also very handy to have internet access and post stories immediately. I won't post too many pictures, as we did cover CES over at TheTalkingBox.
a look from the monorail at the expansiveness that is CES
just an inside shot
it's a busy place!

we learned all about DISH's Hopper, and I had my picture taken with their kangaroo mascot!
We had very little free time in Vegas, which was a bit of a shame. We did, however, manage to eat at two buffets (something Vegas is known for and I had never tried one) and Hash Hash A Go Go, where we shared one of the famous meals from Man v. Food - the Chicken Benedict (sage-fried chicken with fresh spinach, bacon, tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream, and scrambled eggs on top of a fresh biscuit and griddled mashed potatoes). It was amazing, and we were sorry that, between the two of us, we still didn't finish it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

December 2011

For Jonathan's birthday, we went to Benihana with a group of friends. It was a good time, especially as we no longer have teppanyaki as often as we used to. Another night, he and I did something else that was pretty cool... we did some indoor skydiving. It was a very different experience from regular skydiving (which I surprised Jonathan with for his 19th birthday, though we ended up going four months late), and quite a bit more difficult than I was expecting! (in the below wind tunnel pictures, I'm wearing yellow and Jonathan is wearing blue) I was really hoping that I'd find it fantastic, but I ended up struggling and didn't enjoy is as much as I had hoped. It's not even that much cheaper than regular skydiving, which sort of amazed me. After talking with some other people who have tried both types, it really seems that there are two main parts of skydiving that people really enjoy... one is the feeling of free-falling and the spinning and maneuvering in the air... the other prefers the jump from the plane, the view of the ground, and handling the parachute. For folks who like the former, indoor skydiving would be great. For people who like the latter, the real thing is a better fit. And, I'm one of those in the second group.

We went back to Florida for Christmas, which was a much shorter trip than Thanksgiving. We spent a couple of days on the west coast of the state, and Jonathan and his uncle enjoyed a bicycle trip on Christmas Eve which allowed the rest of us to enjoy having a destination holiday. We went out for Christmas Eve dinner, experienced a different church service, and walked on the beach of a state park on Christmas morning. It was a different way to spend the holiday, but it was fun.
Dennis and Jonathan about to embark on their ride

On the 27th we had Christmas at my mom's house, then we left to return to California. We had a quiet New Year's Eve, having dinner at our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, watching the movie New Year's Eve, and having champagne in our hot tub in the backyard.
Back: Stacie, Kyla, Amy
Front: Jon, Kevin, Jonathan

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thanksgiving 2011

We went to Florida for Thanksgiving a week early so that we could do a few other things while we were in the area. Long story short, I flew on the Tuesday a week before Thanksgiving and Jonathan flew on the Thursday, so I had a day and a half to myself. I took the half-day to get my hair done in Orlando (I really like the Aveda Institutes), which was much overdue. I was really happy with the outcome, but I definitely should have taken more pictures. You'll see how the color turned out throughout the pictures over the next few months, but it's different now anyway. We'll get there.
your head gets really heavy while you wait for the dye to set!
later that night - can't really see much of the cut, but the color is pretty spot-on
Anyway, we left Friday to drive up to the panhandle to go camping with Joe and Bryan. It was almost as cold as it was the year before, but at least we didn't have the same rain. Of course, this is partly because we stayed further from Tallahassee (actually, it wasn't too far from Gainesville, really).
Joe's brother had gone hunting and brought back a boar, which he cleaned up for us (he's a professional meat-cutter - which is different from a butcher) and we roasted it over the fire for dinner, stuffed with veggies and potatoes

just a picture of the area where we were camping

On Saturday we left the guys and drove to the game. Then we saw my friend, Heather, and spent the night at her place. We had a great time (as always) and met back up with the boys for lunch before we drove back to Melbourne. I rode with Joe while Bryan rode with Jonathan, and we had some errands to run on the way so it was a bit hectic. It was more complicated, however, by the fact that Bryan was hosting a Thanksgiving at his place that night, which is why we all split up to begin with - Joe and I picked up a pre-cooked turkey in Ocala while the others went to the store and started cooking as soon as they got back to Melbourne. We had a good time, though it was just the start of the vacation.
an action shot from the FSU-Virginia game

At this point I don't really remember what we did the next few days, but I know we renewed our driver's licenses and did some planning and work. We spent Thanksgiving in Fort Myers, and Jonathan and I both spent quite a bit of time hitting up the pre-Black Friday deals. Jonathan and I, plus his dad and his uncle, went out around midnight to hit a Black Friday sale, as his uncle had been looking for a new television. It was a madhouse at HH Gregg and we ended up leaving empty-handed. It worked out fine, however, because we swung by Sears the next day before lunch and he was able to get the same item at the same price! We were in and out of the store in about ten minutes! We struck out with a bunch of our other shopping plans this year, but I was able to pick up the kits for the next two cake decorating courses at 50% off, so that was good. We stayed in Fort Myers to watch the Gator game on Saturday night, then headed back to Fort Pierce on Sunday.
we made wings to watch the game... one still had feathers on it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The USS Hornet

As soon as Jonathan found out that you could stay the night on an aircraft carrier in our area, he was hooked. He had me call immediately to inquire about the earliest opening, the cost, and everything else you can think of. The first option was while Kyla was here, and she wasn't all that interested, so we booked for early November on a Friday night.

I honestly knew very little about aircraft carriers before we went. I had no concept of how large they were or the number of people who lived on them. So, while I was fascinated by all of the information we learned over the course of 20 hours, Jonathan understood a lot more and asked detailed questions. Overall, we both really loved the Hornet and would recommend you not only visit it, but do the overnight experience. (there are 15 pictures below. It seems like a lot until you know I took over 250...)
us with the Hornet
the entrance
view of San Francisco from the Hornet
It wasn't that easy to find - they could really use some more signs from the highway! I did know where to park from talking on the phone with the coordinator, but we started walking up to the pier and didn't see any signs about which staircase to climb... not the greatest when you're carrying a backpack and a sleeping bag and pillow! So, yeah, we chose the wrong one at first. We figured it out and got situated in our group - there were 17 scheduled to sleep aboard that night, but sometimes they get 300! We were soon shown to our barracks, where we laid out our beds.
8 of us shared this room for the night. The beds were fairly comfortable,
though there was very little space between you and the bunk above!
I thought this was cute
you can see how you get between levels and how you get between compartments
(notice the step you have to make between doors in the back)

Then we began the tour, had dinner, watched a video, and had another tour. Before the night was over, there were different options - we chose the ghost stories. Needless to say, I was thoroughly creeped out by the end of the hour and didn't sleep too well that night. The next morning we had breakfast and then brought our stuff back to our cars. The price of the overnight gave us wristbands to use for entry into the Hornet the entire day, so we did some touring on our own, then had a volunteer docent show us a few things as well. We didn't spend the entire day there, but you certainly could!
tons of planes, inside and out.
one of the things the Hornet is known for is being the recovery
craft for the Apollo 11. This is a replica of the capsule.

the astronauts had to wait in one of these to make
sure they weren't contaminated with space germs
Machine Room
look at those torpedoes!
the Admiral's Quarters
we rode in this simulator - neat!