Monday, August 31, 2009

Wedding hunting

On Saturday we checked out two venues to have our wedding. It was really fun and we liked both places, but we haven’t made a decision. Both are in the Santa Cruz area. I was sad that I forgot my camera, but through some Internet stalking I found some pics to share!

Place #1: A conference facility in a condo community right on the beach. This venue has a great view. We’d be able to have our ceremony on the beach, then walk down an adorable wooden walkway to have the reception on a deck with a view of the mountains. It’s really pretty!

However, the only thing we get for the rental fee is the space. We’d have to hire a caterer, carry chairs down to the beach, rent space heaters… it all sounds like a lot of work. And more importantly, a lot of money to pay people for these things!

The beach we'd get married on! It's beautiful, but the waves are really loud...

The condos are right behind the sand.

Part of the condo area. It's about a mile long.

The deck where we'd have the reception.

Same deck.

Place #2: A nice restaurant without a great view. It has a nice view of trees and a creek, but no ocean or mountains. The event coordinator is really, really nice and helpful. On Saturday nights they even have a band playing – free live music! It’s probably more affordable because they take care of setting everything up, food, and lots of other things. We'd have everything outdoors on the patio.

Ceremony on the back patio.

Cocktail hour on the front patio.

The same front patio.

Reception on the back patio.

Cute back patio again.

We’re going to keep looking, but both of these locations are possibilities. Please share any opinions!

Monday, August 24, 2009

New hair color

Last night I colored my hair - it came out a lot darker than I expected, and was a shock at first. But I love it!

My current color

I tried to find some photos of other colors I've had over the past few years... they're not all that different :P

More red at my college graduation in 2008

Darker - Christmas 2008

My natural hair color - Summer 2007, I think. I wish my hair was still this long!

Another of my natural color, taken Summer/Fall 2006 right after James and I started dating. This one shows the blah-ness more. Yuck, I can never go back!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First wedding planning post

I just made our first wedding vendor appointment! In a few weekends James and I will be driving down to Santa Cruz for the day to check out some locations to have our wedding!

Santa Cruz is our favorite weekend getaway destination, and for a long time we’ve been talking about getting married there. It’s a beautiful area, and it doesn’t have the snooty attitude of other pretty coastal towns. I hope we find a great place so that part of the planning is done… then we can move on to other details.

I’ve found several that I want to look at, but there’s one that I just love and have convinced myself that it’s perfect (Luckily my amazing fiance agrees). That’s where we have our first appointment. Now I need to call more, because it’s a 2.5 hour drive and we need to visit at least a few more places while we’re there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Bump in the Road by Maureen Lipinski

While browsing, I saw this book and became intrigued. I decided I had to buy it to find out what happened when Clare became unexpectedly pregnant.

She and her husband were in their 20s, having a great time being a fun, childless couple. They didn't plan to have kids, because that would cramp their style. Of course, they got pregnant accidentally and suddenly Clare had to learn about childbirth and caring for an infant.

The book is really funny. She describes her shift in priorities as reality sets in that she’ll be a parent, while making fun of her obnoxious coworker and mother-in-law.

I liked it, although I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite. I recommend it for an easy and girly read.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Pacific Northwest vacation

We're back! A whole week of exploring, visiting and driving. I was not ready to go back to work today!

I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. This blog is my journal so I'm going to add in all the details :)

Like I mentioned before, we have been looking forward to this trip for a few years, both because I wanted to see Oregon and Washington, and because James has family in Washington that it was about time I met.

We drove all the way to Seattle on Saturday, leaving about 6 AM. James' Corolla has now driven the entire west coast of the US - San Diego (2 years ago) to Seattle!

We arrived at my parents' house for breakfast around 8 AM. Their house is on the way up, so I wanted to see them for a little bit and breakfast was the perfect excuse.

After an hour at my parents' house and consuming what I declared the best breakfast I'd ever eaten (waffles, fruit, bacon, eggs, biscuits... my mom is the best), we drove the 12 (!) hour remainder to Seattle. We stopped for bathroom breaks and gas several times (I don’t like people pumping my gas for me in Oregon… it feels weird), but otherwise drove straight through. We never even got hungry for lunch, which was unusual for us.

We got into Seattle Saturday evening and after getting lost for a while (which happened a lot in downtown Seattle, ugh...) we checked into our hotel, the Mediterranean Inn. It was very nice, but nothing extra special. Sunday we walked around the area near our hotel, which includes Seattle Center.

We ended up walking to the Space Needle and went up.

A view from the top

Then we walked along the waterfront and to Pike Place Market where we had lunch.

Later that night we went to James’ sister Chandra’s house, where I met her, James’ brother-in-law and two nieces for the first time. I love, love, love his family! The girls are so sweet and they’re all super nice. We both agreed that hanging out with all of them was by far the best part of the trip. I won’t post their pictures because I’m not sure how Chandra feels about that, but trust me they’re gorgeous.

On Monday we spent more time with the family. We had a picnic at a cute park at Chambers Bay and went for a long walk on the trail there.

Tuesday James and I took a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia. We took a ferry from Seattle to Victoria that took about 2 and a half hours.

Once in Canada, we got detained in customs! We had to go in a separate room and they took our passports and phones and asked us a bunch of questions. They were nice enough and it only lasted 5 or 10 minutes... but why us? We were just on vacation! So strange.

We took a bus to Butchart Gardens, on the recommendation of blog friend Amber. They were beautiful and I’m glad we went simply because I really wanted to go to Canada but had no clue what to do there. However, I don’t feel like the experience was worth the $30pp admission price. That’s a bit much. Oh, and the ferry was over $100pp. The Canada day was definitely our most expensive day. But you have to have at least one when you’re on vacation, right?

Butchart Gardens did allow for some great photos:

After the gardens we walked around town and did a little shopping, then had dinner before catching the ferry back to Seattle.

The sunset over Puget Sound

On Wednesday we slept in a little, then had breakfast at Mecca Cafe because it was a block from our hotel. The service was rather crappy, but OMG the bacon was the best I've ever had. I've been dreaming about it ever since.... yummmm. Okay, pull yourself together... we hung out with the family at their house for the rest of the day.

Thursday was the day we left Seattle for Portland, but first we had breakfast with James’ family and babysat his niece for a few hours. He rarely gets to see his family and he’s so happy when he gets the chance. We won’t be able to see them again until our wedding next year :(

After a lunch of PB&J (which Laurel described as “amazing,” hehe), we drove the 3ish hours to Portland and checked into the Red Lion on the River at Jantzen Beach. We loved the hotel – big room, lots of free parking, and free Internet. The bathroom was like 3 times the size of ours at home, making me long for a bigger house!

We went out for a nice dinner at Touche in the Pearl District. It was sadly our only nice dinner on the trip because we ate with family most of the time.

Friday was our only full day in Portland. We went to Washington Park – so lush and green! I love Portland!

We walked around the park and found the Holocaust Memorial and Portland Rose Garden.

After that, we walked around downtown a little more and went to Powell's Books, a HUGE local bookstore. I ended up with 6 books that I’m excited to get through!

Reviews coming soon!

On Saturday we drove home, and coming back seemed twice as long as the trip up! It took us 8 hours to get back to my parents’ house, where we stopped again for a short visit. We got to have some of my brother Tom’s birthday cake from the previous day. Happy 20th birthday Tom!

Then it was 2 more hours until we were back home recovering! I’m glad we came back Saturday so I had all day Sunday to relax before returning to work.

Part of my desire to visit Seattle and Portland was that for a while now I've thought that moving to one of these cities would be fun to do, someday. I've lived in Northern California my whole life, and maybe I'd like to relocate one day for a change of pace.

After this trip, I'm now confident that I don't want to live in Seattle, but would love Portland. The suburbs of Seattle are nice, I could do that. I'll keep that info in the back of my mind for the future. I really love Sacramento as well, and would be happy staying here forever... but if the chance ever arises.

There you have it, my short recap of our vacation! Goals accomplished on this vacation:

23. Take a road trip through the Pacific Northwest; visit
24. Portland,
25. Seattle, and
26. Vancouver. (I didn't know we'd decide on Victoria instead... gonna consider #26 done)
64. Go hiking.
85. Spend a day with James' neices.
86. Spend a day with James' sister.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The perfect pair of shoes

I’ve finally found them! I’ve been on the hunt for years, but nothing was ever perfect. They weren’t stylish enough, versatile enough, comfortable enough.

You ladies know how hard it is to find a pair of shoes that’s cute, doesn’t kill your feet and can be worn to both the office and on a date.

I’ve finally found mine, oh glorious day! They may not be for everyone, but they are so comfy for my poor little feet! They’re Jessica Simpson’s Waldorf Pumps.

Cute, eh? I can wear them to dinner, dancing, or (more frequently) to the office. I have them in black but am strongly considering the red as well. And as soon as they wear out I’ll be right back at Nordstrom to buy another pair!

*As always, I have not been compensated for this juicy tidbit, but if Jessica's people want to call my people, free/discounted shoes are accepted :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's time for the 100 push up challenge

After seeing several recent photos of myself and cringing at the huge, flabbiness of my arms, I’ve realized that I need to once again start the hundred push ups training program.

It sounds completely unattainable (to me, at least), but the program gradually increases the number of push ups you do each day until you’re doing 100 at once. I don’t necessarily want to do 100 push ups, I just want sexy arms. Push ups, as the site explains, are a simple exercise that I can do in my home any time, and tones the arms well. Sounds good to me.

I don’t remember where I first saw this web site, but last year I started it just for fun. It went great for a few weeks – my push up ability improved a lot… but then I forgot about it, of course. Darn it.

That time I didn’t really have motivation to do it, but this time I must improve the way my arms look. Yuck! I’m not going to post said photos and draw attention to it, but if you look at photos of me that I’ve posted recently I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.

When we return from vacation (which I am so, so, so excited about!), I’m going to start this darn program and tone my arms! It shouldn’t be too hard to stick with, right?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wedding weekend

This weekend was a blast. First we got engaged. That was cool. Then Saturday we drove up to my hometown of Corning, California to attend the wedding of two friends from high school, Cassidy and Nate. It was classy and beautiful - just like I knew it would be because Cassidy has excellent taste.

I got to visit with lots of old friends who I haven't seen since I was a teenager. It was tons of fun! Pretty much everyone said they didn't recognize me at first, which is strange. I think it's because my hair is darker and I have bangs now.

A shot of me, the bride, Megan and Lauren.

On Sunday we hung out with my parents, brother and his girlfriend before driving back home. What a great weekend!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We're engaged!!!

We're getting married! We've been planning on it for a long time, but now we're official because I have a ring.

James gave it to me on Friday afternoon right when I got home from work. I took a half day (and am so glad I did!). I got home about 12:30 and he was acting all weird and smiley, and asked me to marry him. Very low key and "us." We went out to lunch to celebrate.

We are thinking August or September 2010. Yay!

Here's the necessary "get the ring in the shot" pic. Hehe

I swear we were/are happier than we look in this picture! It was taken a few hours later and I don't know why we look so "fake happy."

Expect this blog to have lots of wedding posts over the next year!

P.S. I'm kind of pissed that I posted my 100th post the other day! How awesome would it have been for this to be the 100th?