All Hallows’ Eve

November 1, 2015

I love this holiday. I guess it’s not technically a holiday, but it should be. I didn’t celebrate it much as a kid. Not cause my parents were against it. My mom made some awesome costumes when I was little. Growing up being homeschooled in the sticks made it impossible to trick or treat. One Halloween when I was about 12 years old a couple of my friends decided to dress up and Barbies. Then one friend changed her mind and wanted to by a gypsy. Four Barbies and a Gypsy. Great band name, right? Disregard that when she showed up we realized she meant Egyptian. Anywho. We left too late and all the candy was gone. Damn gypsy, I mean Egyptian. We got a couple of people say we were too old. Damn witches. Ok all to say that I don’t know why I love Halloween. Deprivation?

After pirate day at summer camp my co-workers told me what I should be for Halloween. Let me quickly clarify. I coach tennis. I’m not a 30-year-old going to summer camp. Not that I wouldn’t. Hanging out all summer with your friends and no work sounds awesome. Ok so the Halloween costume suggestion were made mainly based on the tights. 


Oops wrong one. That was super hero day. These tights. 

Now I love dressing up. Last year I had 3 costumes for 3 different parties and this year I had more costumes than places to go. I was set on my costume until I realized that I unintentionally picked the most popular women’s character this year. Any guesses? Harley Quinn. The psychiatrist that fell in the Joker while she was treating him at Arkham. Since I didn’t want to compete with the sexy version of my costume I decided I should pick something else.  

So I put on every costume I had stored in the Halloween tub for some inspiration. You never know what costumes can transition into other costumes. Strawberry shortcake turned into Red Riding Hood and Peter Pan into Tinkerbell . My sister saw my efforts on Snapchat and came up with an idea. 

  

My guy and I dressed up a few years ago as Miley Cyrus and robin Thick. So if you saw the VMA you might remember Thick’s suit might have reminded you of a certain Halloween movie character.

 
Now I was plenty sold on the idea except my sis had sent a makeup inspiration. 

  
Now she is a makeup artist as a profession. I’m looking to put on eye liner without crying. My sis even made a video tutorial to help me out. She’s spooky good. 

 

 

 I can make a video on how to play tennis, but when you get on the court you won’t be able to serve perfectly. Well you can try. Here’s one I made with my friend. Let me knew how it goes.

 

 

After I plan out my outfit my friend whose party I would be attending asked 3 days before Halloween if everyone had their costumes. Naturally the only girl that responds post a picture of Beetlejuice. I know. What are the chances? First Quinn and now Mr. BJ!

All Hallows’ Eve I’m was still not sure what I was gonna be and my gentlemen didn’t even have one costume. Typical. He went to Spirits, a Halloween chain, to buy a superman shirt. Lame right? So frustrating. I said why not at least do Batman? Then we would be in the same comic series. Back to Quinn. I don’t care if she is popular this year. Not many people at the party would even know who she was let alone dress up as her. 

Halloween.

I realized that early morning commuters do not dress up for work. Well when I got on the court to teach I realized that kids don’t dress up early either. I bet they wished they did.

After work my mom came into town and we went shopping. Yep in my costume. Luckily, by 3pm there were other Halloween fanatics that came out of hiding. We got back to my apartment just in time to catch the end of trick or treaters. Really just treaters. Kids just don’t have to work for anything anymore. Now this was my first time passing out candy to kids so I’m not exactly an expert, but since when is it acceptable for parents to bring their own bag of candy to get filled? Twelve was too old when I went, but 37 is ok? Really? Can’t you just buy your own bag? Anyone else have this happen? Bunch of basic witches. 

 

My sister’s birthday gift. 

Besides dumb parents it was fun seeing all the kids’ costumes. Also, I got a few compliments on my pumpkin. Side note: the bay area does not have any pumpkin patches. Charging $20 for a pumpkin sitting on hay in a parking lot should be a scene in Paranormal Activity.

  
We had 2 more pumpkins, but some crazy guy smashed them in the street the night before. Neighbors said the cops were called. Good thing cause those pumpkins were awesome. 

My design was a little hard to distinguish the character so I added to the scene.   After the kiddies left I transitioned to my evening costume. No it wasn’t slutty. Just cause no kid would get it who I was and I long to be understood by children. 

 
Batman and I then headed to the party. Now this was my kinda party. Pumpkin bourbon punch with dry ice fog coming out of it, bobbing for apples and alcohol bottles, themed playlist, spooky decor, bloody cake with a knife sticking out of it. It was a Pinterest Halloween dream. All my friends had awesome costumes. I didn’t see any Harley Quinn’s, but did see a lot of Oakland’s politically correct social activist vegan hipsters, such a popular costume this decade. If you don’t believe in the overly commercialized tradition with it’s sexist costumes and promoting child obesity then stay inside and watch a documentary about making dream catchers out of your long armpit hair. I kid. I agree that those things are all unfortunate, but it’s not Halloween’s fault or Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Besides San Francisco has become pretty tame over the years. I think they lowered their freak flag to half mast. Well I’ll raise it a little for one night.

Anyone else love Halloween? Or have some Halloween traditions?

All joker aside Happy Halloween witches!

Canada/Slovakian/Italian Wedding Aye?

October 28, 2015

CANADA! 

After our trip to New York City we caught our flight to Buffalo for my best friend’s wedding. After one of the other bridesmaid’s picked us up we stocked up on alcohol at the duty-free before crossing the border. I guess drunkenness is a luxury in Canada. After having to wait an additional 6 weeks for Gabe’s passport I was hoping his first border crossing would have been a little more dramatic. We made it through the border check without a fuss and on to Niagara Falls. Luckily, our view was on the Canadian side cause I don’t know what the American side was looking at. It’s hard to see the falls when they are right underneath you. Stupid Americans. The nice thing about the Falls is that they are free. I love free sites. I haven’t seen many famous landmarks so I’m not sure if this is the norm. Can you see the Grand Canyon for free? Free or not the Falls were amazing. However, the city of Niagara Falls reminds me of Reno, Nevada, but more kid friendly. Like a permanent carnival town. Would I fly from California just to see the Falls? Nope, but I’m glad I had an excuse to be there because it is really quite a site.

 

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 After wandering around Carnieville, Hana, the bride to be, picked us up. We then all headed to Dean’s (the groom) parents’ house where we would be crashing. From then on we got put to work on wedding prep. Well I did, Gabe hung back and took a nap. I quickly realized that mother-of-the-groom was the star of the show since Hana already had the Slovakian wedding the month before. Now I’ve never seen so many candles and artificial flowers outside of Michael’s and I hope to never again. I mean it was all very beautiful and traditional. When I’m at a wedding I pick out what I like and didn’t like to store in my non-eloping file. Everyone does this right? I’m assuming I’m like everyone else or that everyone is like me. Cause BAE. Duh. 

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After we 1980s the shit out of the venue I got to chill by the pool with Gabe. Chill and open up a bunch of glow sticks for the kids. Way more up my ally.

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Afterwards we headed back to the venue for the rehearsal. I haven’t always believed rehearsing is necessary until I went to a wedding that decided not to do it. Seeing a bride cry before the wedding should only be seen on reality tv. Luckily, this rehearsal went smoothly and quickly. There’s always that moment of truth where you find out where you are in the line-up. Closest to the bride is the best. Second to last. Shit. I mean it’s cool. I’m sure there’s a good reason. Biggest to smallest boobs. No I’d want those tig’ ol’ bitties far from me if I was the bride. Anywho. I love Hana’s new in-laws. There are such a big boisterous family. The rehearsal dinner was a huge bbq in the backyard. In a way I wish I had a huge family, but then when I thought of hosting a wedding with 200 people I changed my mind. Also, big families makes it hard to leave your hometown. 

On to the big day. Some day someone will have to tell me why it takes girls so long to get ready. “Ok guys we need to get up at 7:30am to get ready for pictures at 3pm.” Said no groom ever. First off, unless I’m going to a red carpet event I’m not paying anyone to do my makeup or hair. This is not because I’m good at it or because my sis is a makeup artist. Actually, if I was going be on the red carpet my sis would do my makeup and I still wouldn’t pay for it. Honestly, I don’t care enough to spend money on something I’ve been doing since I was… well 20 years old. I’m a late bloomer. Bottom line. I’m frugal. So as usual I’m ready in 30 minutes so I get assigned to steaming the dresses. I need a plot to take longer getting ready. I’ve seen girls straighten their hair only to curl it. I could contour. Whatever that is, but it sounds complicated, unnecessary, and time-consuming. After steaming all the dresses I then did some yoga and even had time to paint my nails. Then I took a nap. Next wedding they should have a masseuse. I’d pay for that. 

Now we were running late.  Best part of taking pictures before the wedding is that you don’t have to take them after. Taking pictures is great. Being in pictures is horrible.

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After surviving smiling on command for an hour we went to the venue. There isn’t anything special or sweet to say about the ceremony. They were technically already married. It was still beautiful and I was happy for them. Blah, blah, blah. Let’s party. 

Wait. Before we could properly start the reception we had to do a wedding line or whatever it is called. All 20 of us in the wedding party stood in a long line and shook every guest’s hand. Now since it was an Italian wedding that was a hard hand shaking job. By the time I sat down at the bridal table I was ready for this purple cocktail that was everyone was drinking. We also did some Slovakian vodka shots to start off the toasts. There’s my Hana. Now Hana’s sister next to me had got a little head start so even her Slovak was starting to slur. Her English was no longer comprehensible. The last thing I understood her saying was how sad she was knowing her sister will never live in Slovakia again. My sister is a 6 hour drive away and I think that is too far. She wants to move to the East Coast, which would be terrible, let alone another country. I’m sad Hana won’t be living in California again, which is where we met in college. Ontario might as well be Slovakia. So bottoms up.

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We all had fun eating, drinking, dancing, drinking. It was the perfect kinda party that a wedding should be. Open bar. It isn’t anything like my wedding will be… well except for the open bar. It’s the least you can do for traveling guests and if you want them to dance. My wedding will be a fraction of the people and definitely the price. 

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The next day we all got up late and went wine tasting. Even though we live close to Napa we are not wine connoisseurs by any means. I couldn’t even name 3 types of wine. Red, white, bubbly? So while everyone was stocking up on fancy wine to take home Gabe and I enjoyed the Ice Wine. It’s sweet like syrup and probably an insult to wine snobs throughout North America.

 After the fourth vineyard we grabbed some picnic supplies and headed to Niagara on the Lake. That’s really what they call it. I’m glad that I got to hang out with Hana for another day. It’s hard to go to a wedding and never get to spend any time with the friend you’re there to see.

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 We finished off the last night with another big family meal. It was such a great adventure. First NYC then my best friend’s wedding.

 

Couldn’t ask for a better vacation. I hope every wedding I have to attend is near somewhere I want to travel. Next wedding I’m in better be in Hawaii. Anyone know how to find cheap flights to Hawaii? 

New York (Cont.)

October 20, 2015

Day 3

My sis and her husband made early breakfast reservations at a cafe near Central Park. So early that everyone wanted to go back to sleep afterwards. Well not everyone. Naturally, Gabe and I stayed and explored the park. Well most of it. We (I) definitely underestimated it’s size. Gabe didn’t do any premeditated estimating. I  would recommend renting a bike, otherwise, it is a very long confusing walk. Like a maze with multiple exits. So not like a maze at all. Now if you rent a bike you can make it a shorter, yet still confusing bike ride. What can I say about the park that a hundred movies haven’t shown you. It’s big, gorgeous, and a horrible place to play hide and seek. Unless you never want to be found. At night it is completely dark* (See yesterday’s post).

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After 5 hours of walking around with aim in mind, but not in footsteps, we headed back to Harlem and checked out Harlem week. It is a celebration of culture and the uniqueness of Harlem through music and art. We then all gathered back together for dinner at a restaurant that my mom enjoyed due to it’s charm, service, but mostly walking distance from our room. Of course, I don’t remember the name because it wasn’t on my itinerary. 

Day 4

We started off the day… earlyish. We left around 9am only to stop for breakfast for over an hour. What is the point of staying in an Air BnB and buying groceries if I’m the only one eating before we head out? I don’t understand how buying a bagel for $4.50 is better than the bag of bagels in the apartment we bought for .50 cents each. Why?! After we satisfied the irrational food mongers we continued our site seeing. We started at the 9/11 Memorial, Ground Zero. It was more moving than we had expected. There is a gaping hole in the city which really helps capture the loss and tragedy. All the victim’s names are carved into the sides and behind it is the new World Trade Center. My mom cried, which then made me almost cry. Her crying is infectious like a yawn, which supposedly in related to empathy. Here is a journal article on Yawning if you don’t believe me. Amy’s always right.

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Afterwards, we headed to Wall Street to take the Bull by the horns. By then my mom was exhausted and headed back to the room. Gabe and I continued our adventure through Chelsea and discovered an amazing market. Foodie’s paradise. We then met up with everyone on the High Line. It is a converted railroad line that the city turned into an awesome linear park. New York is so cool. They really think of such creative things. SF better step up it’s game. We could definitely use a better public transportation system in the Bay. I guess it could be worse. Ahem. Los Angeles. 

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Day 5

The U.S. Open. This might have been one of my favorite days. I grew up playing tennis and wanted to become a Tennis Pro. Gabe and I met on the tennis court. Currently, I’m a tennis coach. Soooo…. Tennis!!! We didn’t get to see any main draw matches, but the qualifying rounds were still really fun to watch. Being from Redding I’m used to the heat, but damn, it is hot in the Bronx. Some day I’m going to see every Grand Slam tournament: Wimbledon, Australian, French, U.S. Too bad I still have all 4 to go. After getting our tennis fill and sweating our own balls off we headed back to Brooklyn for dinner.

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Gabe and I are pizza connoisseurs and we were told to try Grimaldis. There was a long line and they won’t seat you unless your whole party is present. So of course, the other half of our party was late and we got yelled at for not knowing this stupid rule. Thanks late party people. Now the pizza was good, but not worth the hype. Best pizza for the hype is Tony’s in San Francisco. Outside of Italy this is the best pizza I’ve ever had. It’s worth the 2 hour wait the first 2-3 times. After we gorged ourselves on pizza we decided to continue the theme of gluttony. Serendipity’s Frozen hot chocolate is a New York must. New York hot spots while routinely overpriced have taken pride in rude customer service and dumb rules. For example, at this place you can not take anything to go and each person must pay at least $10. They don’t want you splitting that ginormous dessert. Ridiculous.

Day 6

By now we are all extremely exhausted. Gabe had mentioned the day before that he didn’t realize how fit he needed to be in order to travel with me. He was doing his best to keep up, but finally admitted he was drained. So we decided this was gonna be a “chill” day. Well my sort of chill, which wouldn’t fall under the chill category for most people. To start the day off we went to the “Top of the Rock” on Rockefeller.

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When I say “we” I don’t always mean everyone. Occasionally my mom will join us till she is tired, which is around 1pm each day. Today was no different. After visiting Rockefeller, Gabe and I weren’t sure what to do next. We thought of going into another museum, but were too tired and limited on time. Gabe then had a “brilliant” idea to score another Frozen Hot Chocolate. I had to wait outside so I wouldn’t have to pay $10 and he had to sit down and drink a couple sips before being able to take it togo. Worst part of touristy shit is that sometimes it is worth it.

We then hurried back to Harlem for dinner and a special treat my mom planned. Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. This venue has born greatness like Ella Fitzgerald, Luis Armstrong, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and so many more talented performers. During Amateur Night people perform and the crowd votes for their favorite. Now I love cheering, but booing someone off stage isn’t my idea of fun. I would never discourage someone who is putting themselves out on stage in order to follow their dreams. Unless their dreams are horrible nightmares for the rest of humanity. However, most of the crowd disagreed with my philosophy or they thought they were doing humanity a favor. The host of the show was probably the most entertaining part. He was hilarious and worked the crowd extremely well. It was a great way to end our time in New York.

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Too much surprise we had survived a family vacation. Sorta. We all kinda split up most of the time, but maybe that is how we survived. However, next trip my dad has to join or at least have my mom bring a friend that enjoys nap time. 

When Gabe and I got back to the room we had to pack up our bags for our next part of our trip. Gabe’s first time out of the country. Bust out the passports. Off to Canada. 

Here is the list I had for our itinerary. We obviously didn’t make it to all of them. Next time. If you have any recommendations to add please comment. Next questions is how horrible is it during the Christmas season? Worth it or too crazy?

Ground Zero 
Wall Street
Circle Line
Vincent’s
Delancy Street
Times Square
MOMA
Brooklyn
Brooklyn Bridge
Bryant Park
Peter Luger’s steakhouse (Brooklyn)
West village stroll
Grimaldi’s pizzaria (Brooklyn)
Franny’s (Brooklyn)
Di farra (Brooklyn)
Movie in the park
Greenpoint
Junior’s Famous Cheesecake
Aladdin
Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot chocolate
Brooklyn Coney Island
Frick
Central Park
Fashion Ave
Sex n City tour
Soho
Vincent Mott Street
Delancy street for shopping
Empire State Building
Gramercy Park
Top of the Rock (Rockafeller)
Highline
U.S. Open
Apollo Theater
F.A.O. Scharz
Magnolia Bakery – Original
NYC botanical gardens (Free Wednesday)
Guggenheim (Free Saturdays 5:45-7:45)
Chrysler Building
The Frick
Union Square Cafe
Public Theater Greenwich
Carnegie Deli
Cathedral of St John
Frying Pan (bar in an old boat)
Murry’s bagels
Governors island (go early)
Caracas food Brooklyn
Williamsburg

New York

October 19, 2015

My best friend was getting married near Niagara Falls in August and I was a bridesmaid. With the “Bachelorette party” under my belt I was getting ready for another.

Boston is the only city I’ve been to on the East coast and since I was gonna make the trip across the U.S. I figured I’d make the most of it. This of course means… New York!!! First off, Gabe would accompany me as my date for the wedding. This would be his second flight ever. Now my mom and sis had never been to New York either so when I told them I was going, naturally they invited themselves. Now there was 5. My sister’s husband would also be joining us, but my dad wanted to stay home. He hates flying and big cities and everything touristy. We all decided a week in New York would be all we could get away with. Then afterwards, Gabe and I would fly over to Buffalo for the wedding. Now 3 months before our trip I started making an itinerary. I couldn’t believe we were finally going to New York and I wanted to make sure to do as much as possible. If you’ve read my last post you know how I like to travel. If you don’t pack running shoes when you travel then you shouldn’t travel with me.

While planning the trip I would ask for recommendations from anyone I met that said they were from New York. When people overlapped recommendations I would star it in my itinerary. I’m not joking about that. I’ll post it at the end. Now there was a bit of a debacle about 2 months before our trip. Exactly one day after Gabe and I bought our tickets my sis decided that her and her husband weren’t going. My mom had a meltdown about it, but I assured her that there was no way my sister would miss a trip to New York. I think she just likes to stress out my mom or maybe it’s a tactic to get my mom to pay for shit. Drama, drama, drama. A week later we are back on track and yes my mom paid for it.

By the time we were ready to pack our bags the itinerary was set. We flew in the Thursday evening at 10pm and struggled our way through the New York metro. Which is much more elaborate, convenient, and cheaper than San Francisco’s system. By the time we got to our Air B&B in Harlem it was 1:30am and the rest of the family was resting from their first day in the city. Somehow they got earlier tickets arriving and later tickets leaving. Not jealous.

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Day 1

Since we all would be a little jet lagged we decided not to rush the first morning. Well they decided. We had booked a river cruise at 11am so we couldn’t linger too long. On our way to the cruise we walked through Times Square. It’s just like you see in the movies. We were such a giddy, starstruck bunch, like all the other tourists crowding the street. We all know what song was on repeat in our heads…. “Move Bitch Get Out The Way”… only kidding… kinda. 

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Now I recommend doing tours on the first day of a trip in order to get the feel of a new city. While on our cruise, we got a relaxing tour of the city, our guide was such a doofas. Major doofas and I don’t use that word lightly. His historical facts weren’t funny or interesting, “Over here is where someone not very famous or important lives. And over here is where I eat lunch by myself. If you haven’t noticed New York is quite a big city where anyone can feel small and unimportant. At nighttime they turn the lights on.” Now this would be considered clever based on what he said, but he was so bland that my mind can’t even remember or formulate something so generic. He complained about a bad review he got on yelp to everyone. It was so awkward. I thought he might tell us why his wife left him, as if we didn’t already have a clue. Now if you are going to do the Circle Line Cruise go ahead and check the Yelp reviews to make sure that you don’t get the guide everyone is complaining about. Best part of the cruise was passing by the Statue of Liberty. It’s so iconic and not as tall as I thought. We could see the line of tourists from our boat, which is why spending a whole day to go to the top wasn’t a part of the itinerary. “I can see it from here.” as my mom would say. 

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After the cruise we grabbed some ginormous pastrami sandwiches from, Carnegie’s, a famous sandwich shop that was recommended. My sis and her husband, Bobby, went elsewhere because we quickly became aware that the East Coast isn’t as dietary restriction friendly as us California folks. A couple of waiters thought that if something was whole wheat is was gluten-free. Amateurs. 

After lunch, Gabe and I, went to the MOMA. It was free after 7pm on this particular Friday night and this was obviously no secret. When we got inside we had to fight our way to Van Gough’s, “Starry Night”. Why is it that most famous artworks are smaller than you think they are? As if it is grandiose because it is grand or huge. Nope. Yet I do appreciate seeing a favorite piece and having it be grand. For example, Gustav Klimt “The Kiss” is both grandiose and grand. I believe it is 6 feet tall. Which is probably my favorite artwork I’ve ever seen in person. Not just because of its size, but size does matter.

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On the way back to our room that night we passed by the Empire State building. We noticed there wasn’t a line so we figured it might be a good time to go up. Since we weren’t going by the itinerary I called to see if anyone else wanted to join us. Nope. We got up to the top in 20 minutes. There are things in nature that create a feeling of awe: waterfalls, sunsets, puppies. Then there are things created by humans that give you the same feeling of wonder. This was not one of them. I’m kidding. It was so awful… in the original definition of the word. I don’t like to define romance by typical terms, but call me cliché this was romantic.

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As we were making our loop around the top, Gabe pointed out a black hole in the city, “Why is it so dark right there?”. I took one glorious self-righteous pause before responding, “You mean Central Park?” I love how intellectual Gabe is, but when he asks a silly question I am much more delighted and entertained than I probably should be. Now I tend to have the opposite effect. I get the surprised look from saying something intelligent. Time is the 4th dimension. Boom. Lights out. Day 1 was over.

Day 2

After being well rested we headed off to Brooklyn “early” in the morning. 10am. I don’t know what so great about the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s so old and wooden. Wait is that why?

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Well we walked across it like everyone else. After eating breakfast in Brooklyn Heights we all parted ways once again. Gabe and I went off to explore Williamsburg. As we were walking we noticed that we were getting lots of stares and everyone was dressed very modestly. Some people even crossed over to the other side of the street to avoid us. As if Cali swag was contagious. Pshhh you wish. Yep we were in Bushwick, but we didn’t know it. After walking around for 40 minutes I decided to ask a couple at the gas station which way we needed to go. We were way off. They were nice enough to offer a ride since they were heading that same way. Luckily, we took them up on it cause it took 20 minutes driving to get there. I don’t even know how we got that far off track. Well uhem Gabe was giving the directions. Williamsburg reminded me a lot of Oakland and Berkeley. It has a very young, hipster vibe boarding on obnoxious, but still really cool. There was an awesome food truck event called Smorgusburg. Pork belly tacos are amazing in case you get the chance.

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We then headed back to the room to get ready to see a Broadway show. Aladdin. Now I love everything Disney. All my ringtones are Disney. I have at least 3 Disney shirts. Don’t worry they are all off the shoulder faded hipster looking so it’s less dorky, except maybe the Hukana Matata one. But who cares. No worries right? For the rest of my days? Oh you know you finished the rest of that chorus. Anywho. The non-Disney lovers (soulless demons) in the group loved it. Maybe there is hope for them. The Genie was the best part of the play, even though he sang too much. Go see it if you can.

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Afterwards we grabbed Junior’s cheesecake. It was on the itinerary. Worth it. Don’t go for anything crazy. Regular and triple berries. Thank goodness we walked everywhere. Day 2 complete. 

NYC Continued… 

Disneyland

August 2, 2015
I know it’s not much,
At least for now,
But understand that,
I’m about to make you proud 😉
 
But I refuse to tell you,
What you’ll receive,
The most important thing
Is it will fill you with glee.
 
It’s been a few months,
Of living in the bay,
But I need you to think back, 
To a specific love day.
 
Besides our love,
And all the fun,
There was a foreshadowing,
Of something now to be done.
 
And so I ask,
“Where is your shirt?”
I’m hoping that,
It’s not in the dirt.
 
Because that gift,
Is now your key,
To today’s gift, you may now
scream
“Hip-Hip-Hooray!”
 
I’ve given in,
My resistance is done,
And for now,
I’ll say that you’ve won.
 
I hope by now,
You know what it is,
And all that’s left is to say
“When, When, When?!” 
 

My boyfriend wrote that poem as a birthday clue. By the last limerick I was jumping up and down cause I had figured out that we were going to Disneyland. Gabe, my boyfriend, had given me a shirt for Valentine’s Day that read, “I want the D” in the Disney lettering. So cute and very classy. That was the clue that gave it away. Gabe knows how much I love Disneyland and I hadn’t been in over 5 years and Gabe had never gone. I mean what kinda parents never take their kids to Disneyland? Especially when you live in California. Once I shared my excitement with my family that we were headed to Disneyland they wanted to come along. My mom and sister are also Disney fanatics. So my mom drove to San Francisco to pick us up and then we drove to Anaheim. My sister lives in Los Angeles and she was going to meet up with us on the second day.

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6 hour drive to LA

We got a hotel near the park the night before and had plans to go early in the morning. My family doesn’t do early so I had a mini meltdown because they were wasting my day away. I do not travel like my family. I like to get an early start. I don’t like to stop for 3 big time-consuming meals a day. I also don’t need to do any shopping. Lastly, I might speed walk or run to each destination. So I guess most people don’t travel like me, but I think my way is the best… just like everyone else. Once inside we got Gabe a button that said, “1st Visit”, my mom’s said, “Graduate”, and mine read, “It’s My Birthday”. I then ran over to where I spotted Mini Mouse. Of course, we needed a picture with her. Gabe’s first character pic. Then we were off. Pluto!!! Another picture. Ok now we are off. Cinderella!!! Just kidding. I never see her. Antisocial bitch. Since Gabe has a fear of roller coasters we had to start off slow and work our way up to faster rides. This is what happens when you don’t take your kids to theme parks when they are young. When I took him to 6 Flags the year before he went pale on the swing ride. Yep. The one for kids. He refused to go on any more rides after that. Luckily, Disneyland doesn’t have any super fast rides and you can’t see how high up you are in the ride.

We started off in Tomorrow Land where we saw a 3-D space movie starring Michael Jackson that must have been made in the 80s. I can’t believe they hadn’t updated it since then. Maybe it’s just iconic now. It was still entertaining minus the cheesy special effects. Next was Star Tour, which is just a simulator ride.

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I know what you’re thinking. “What about Space Mountain?” Gabe wasn’t ready. We passed on the fastest roller coaster ride in the park and headed to Buzz Lightyear’s Lazor Ride. This might have been Gabe’s favorite cause he easily got the most points. Damn, I hate losing. I wanted to put him on Space Mountain after all his gloating just to see him suffer. Recently, I kid in my tennis camp said I was petty. Would that have been considered petty? Anywho. Moving onto the Jungle Tour. I said we were starting off slow. If you are with me and my mom there is no such thing as a “kid’s” ride. We love them all and have a great time no matter how slow, lame, silly it may seem.

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From there we went to my favorite ride based off my favorite movie. “I hate snakes”. I always try to get in the driver seat on the ride so I can act out the role. My sister also does a great job. You know the part when you pass the hall with all the blow darts. Whoever is driving always pretend to get hit and falls forward and then the other takes over the wheel. Right now I bet you are wishing you could go with us. I love that ride. I think we even jumped the line and went a second or third time. We then made it over to no not Splash Mountain. Quit trying to guess. We have Gabe with us. Taking it slow. Pay attention please. 

Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh,
Tubby, little cubby all stuffed with fluff.
He’s Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh,
Willy, nilly, silly old bear.
 

If you haven’t been on this ride you are missing out. It is all in black light. It is a major trip. I don’t know if it would be enhanced if you were on acid or if it would fry your brain. I will never experience it, but if you are the type of person who goes to Disneyland on drugs please let me know how it is and when you’re going again so I can notify the authorities.  

Winnie The Pooh

Winnie The Pooh

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I think the psychedelic Pooh ride motivated Gabe to try Splash Mountain. It was that or the Tea Cups and I think he was tired of being surrounded by screaming children instead of screaming adults. Besides, who doesn’t love that drop in your gut at Splash Mountain. I was hoping Gabe was no exception. I kept looking at him for confirmation that he was enjoying himself. Then as we rounded the corner for the drop I thought, he’s on his own now. Here we go!!! Scream!!!! When the mist lifted. I could see we had converted him.

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

I only had to wait for him to admit it. He had been infected with our childish silliness. It’s very contagious and no one is immune. We then went on the Matador, which is my least favorite ride cause it’s so jarring. I feel like I need to get adjusted afterwards.

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Next was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is my mom’s all time favorite. Then Gabe said he was ready for Space Mountain. A roller coaster in the dark when you are afraid of rides might be the toughest challenge. I could only enjoy the ride at 90 percent because I was worried about him. Yet he survived and he only blacked out once. I kid. He loved it just like I thought/hoped he would. Once that was out-of-the-way I was confident we wouldn’t hit anything that he couldn’t handle. Well in Disneyland at least. We continued around the park hopping on all the rides we love and  only stopping for a traditional churro here and there.When we realized we needed something more substantial than fried cinnamon bread we walked over to the California Hotel in California Adventure park. I don’t remember exactly what I ate, but everything was delicious. Since it was my birthday they came out singing and carrying a big lava cake and ice cream. At some point you probably wondered, “How old is this chick? 12?” First off it’s rude to ask a girl’s age, but since you asked nicely I’ll let you know. I’m far from 12 and too close to 30. 

After dinner it was time for the light show outside the California Adventures pier. I have never seen a pyrotechnics show quite so amazing. I honestly feel 12 when I watch it. Gabe kept saying, “Wow, oh my god. This is amazing. Look Amy. Wow. Whoa. Did you see that?” Gabe was hooked. He just stared at the magical pyrotechnics before him and there was no going back. Best part of going to Disneyland is converting a newbie who thought they were too old or cool for the Happiest Place on Earth. Those fools. Get over yourself. No one is too cool for Disney. NO ONE!!! 

The next day started with the same drama. I know I made it perfectly clear that I wanted to go earlier than yesterday. Yet at 10am I was still waiting for everyone to get ready to go and for my sister to show up. Another freak out ensues. Hey I’m not overreacting… ok maybe a little. My freak out is still being referred to any time Gabe thinks I’m being irrational. It wasn’t that epic. No one cried. Ok I cried. You just don’t realize how much I wait for everyone all the time. Traveling with people with a totally different style and tempo than your own is very frustrating. It’s not like, ok Amy we will do it your way this time. It’s more like, your outnumbered so we are doing it our way… every time. Yet we all made into the park. Deep breaths. I’m fine. Seriously. No really. Quit asking I’m fine. I just need a little space. Actually everyone has been a lot more understanding about our different traveling styles since then. So maybe my freak out was necessary if you really think about it. Otherwise, I might have continued resenting them for the rest of my life or started to avoid family trips. You’re welcome everyone. Anywho. 

Since my sis was with us we were 25% crazier, goofier, and more obnoxious. We were both wearing our, “Want the D” shirt. I had gotten her one for Christmas. Yep twisted sisters. After trying on a bunch of costumes and taking pix my sis and I had to have these adorable Minnie Mouse hair clips. Well we didn’t have to, but my mom insisted. I promise. I’m not 12. We then started off our day at California Adventure. First up, Soarin over California. This ride makes me want to learn to hang glide. We also went to one of the exhibits where we met a robot. It could walk on its own and took commands. I kept waiting for its eyes to turn red and cut off all the power and tell us it’s going to protect us by never letting us leave. Some day I’m going to have a Robot and I’ll name it Reboot and it’ll be so confused. Mwuhahaha. Stupid Robots. 

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By the second day we were done taking it slow. The kiddy ride day was over. Next up, Tower of Terror. This one was going to push Gabe a little. He wasn’t sure he was going to be able to go. Luckily, all the 6 year olds going guilted him into it. I’m kidding. Gabe doesn’t feel guilt or peer pressure. He went on his own accord and it became his favorite ride as well. The red flag had come down. I could now marry this guy. We went on that ride at least 3 or 4 times. That drop feeling never gets old. After that we headed to California Screamin. Then Gabe’s red flag shot right back up, “Whoa. I’m not going on that!”. Damn. We were so close to a happily ever after. I being the understanding girlfriend said it was fine after only 5 minutes of prodding. Well I’m not going to give up on my happiness without a fight. There is still 6 Flags we have to work up to and I’m no quitter! One of these day he will ride Medusa and like it. Or else. Back to being an understanding, supportive girlfriend. We rode the ride without him and had a great time. 

My mom and sis wanted to stop for lunch at a nice sit down place. Gabe and I didn’t have time for that so we parted ways. They went to eat and we had plans to meet up back at Disneyland. There was one new ride that I’ve never been on and I can’t waste time eating when there are rides to be rode. That’s why I bring trail mix and fruit. So we were off to Cars’ land. We quickly realized that we weren’t the only ones who wanted to try something new. The whole time we were in the parks we didn’t have more than a 20 minute wait for a line and this one was over an hour. There was a single rider line that was much faster, but then we wouldn’t get to ride together. We decided to we’d go solo so we at least we could experience the ride once. Then Fate intervened and we ended up in the same car anyways. Dreams do come true. The “Cars” ride was super fun. It’s set up like a race and you go against another car of people next to you. You pass through different scenes in the movie and at the end you see who wins the race. It was super amazing and it was worth starving for. I know I shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, but it’s so hard not to. 

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We made our way back to Disneyland to catch some of the classics again. Indiana Jones. Splash. Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones. Indie! Indie! After I rescued my crew for the fifth time I was famished. Being a hero is exhausting. My mom wanted to go to the Blue Bayou, which is a restaurant on the backside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Unfortunately, the ride was down, but it didn’t hinder the food at all. I love this place. It’s super dark and mysterious. I take all my dates here. Just kidding Gabe. Only 2 out of 3 boyfriends, but you’re still number one. After dinner we lingered by the castle taking pictures. If only there was a way I would never have to leave. 

I don’t think our trip could have gone any better. Well expect we could have gotten there earlier, but who’s counting the hours we have to enjoy the Happiest Place on EARTH!!! Not me.  The real goal was reached. Gabe loved it and is even ready to go again for Halloween or Christmas. My Prince Charming had come. 

Vegas

July 6, 2015

300 Dollars!!! You can’t be serious?! Why does a flight to Vegas from San Francisco cost $300? I can fly to New York City for the same price. What is so great about Vegas? It’s only an 8 hour drive and 2 hour flight so how does the airlines justify this ghastly ripoff? Because people are willing to pay. Dumb, stupid people raising the rate of my airline ticket. Well for all those SF-Vegas weekend partiers I detest you. You are the same people who will crowd me at the bar and step on my feet with your spiky heels or scuffed Oxford. You will blow smoke in my face and stand in front of me in line gossipy about how slutty the other girls are dressed. Ok enough of the venting. 

Why am I going to Vegas? The only reason one should go. Bachelorette party. Now unlike my sister and Catherine Heigel in “27 Dresses” I haven’t been a bridesmaid very often. Only twice and one was for my sister’s wedding. Now my best friend is getting married and I’m in the wedding line again. She is from Slovakia and her fiancé is from Canada. Not the nearby convenient west coast Canada, but Toronto, Canada. So she is having a wedding ceremony in both countries and wanted me at both. Now I love this girl, but my bank account was starting to hold a grudge. After researching flights for Vegas, Slovakia, and Canada, I realized I needed to dump my boyfriend and get a sugar daddy or eliminate one of the wedding destinations. I couldn’t find any sugar daddies so I faulted to the latter. My last effort to go to both weddings was to start a social fundraising campaign. You never know what billionaire would sympathize with a girl trying to attend her best friend’s wedding(s). Well when no one wanted to donate to my cause I told my friend she had to pick which wedding she wanted me at the most.

The Slovakia wedding was more meaningful for her, but they didn’t have bridesmaids in Slovakia. Therefore, she needed me at the Canadian wedding. As amazing as, going to Slovakia again would be, it was more financially bearable to fly to Canada. So with that in mind I figured I’d have to at least make it to the bachelorette party as well. Besides I haven’t seen Hana in over a year and the time you get with the bride during the wedding fury is limited. In Vegas we can have some stress free fun. Well, obviously not financially stress free. I quickly realized that I might have committed too soon. I mean how much quality time will I really get at a bachelorette party? I don’t even know any of the girls going. And Vegas? I feel a little old for Vegas. I don’t stay up past midnight anymore and I gave up wearing heels in college after those 3 attempts. I rarely drink. Did I say she was my “best” friend? More like really really good friend. Did I mention that tickets were $300. That’s not including hotel room and food and drinks and whatever other mayhem might occur. My estimations leave me at $700 out of the door. I was in trouble. I was wondering what kind of music award, cosplay expo, or playboy convention was happening that same weekend. There’s no way that was the normal price. How was everyone else affording this? The other bridesmaids lived in Orange County, which was only a 4 hour drive away. San Francisco is an 8 hour drive away. That’s 2 days of driving, plus gas, and more days off work which wouldn’t end up being any cheaper. My teenage self figured that I would be a millionaire by now. I’d be a pro tennis player or famous movie director. I felt like I’ve let my younger self down…. or did she let my future self down? Either way $700 is still a lot of mulah. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I have to go, but I have to pay rent. I want to see Hana and celebrate, but I’d to have to share her with so many people. Then I remembered that Hana was staying an extra night with Anna, another college tennis team-mate. I could leave a day later and stay a day longer with them. I checked the flights and they were cheaper on Saturday (- $30) and the second night I wouldn’t be in an expensive suite (-$60). Also, I could still work on Friday (+$64… yay for minimum wage) and Monday I only worked in the late afternoon so I wouldn’t have to take work off. It would be perfect. Well not perfect, but $154 cheaper kinda perfect. It was settled. I bit the bullet and got a flight for Saturday-Monday.

Once I confirmed the bridesmaids added me to the “list”. Now you know that friend that does everything for you? Goes above and beyond and expects everyone else to do the same. No? I don’t have one either, but they always seem to be mutual friends with my friends. 

This is the string from the Facebook group conversation.
 
“Hello Ladies! We just checked hotel rooms and decided that we are going to book a Hard Rock Hotel Suite. It is $600 per two nights and sleeps 6 people – considering that two will sleep on a couch. We will pay for Hana’s portion that way it will be approximately $125 with tax and fees, if it’s 6 of us. Plus we want to hire a stripper for 30 min show that goes for $125. We obviously chose a hottie – will see how close he will be to the picture Therefore, everybody has to count at $250 per person. We need to know ASAP – so far we have 6 people – me, Hana, Anna, Miska, Lucia and Amy. If anybody else wants to come, please let us know so we can figure out the room situation as the rooms are selling out quickly. I am super excited to see you ladies! It’s going to be the best weekend ever!!”
 
Why is there always that one person in the group that makes me feel like a bad friend? First off, I thought the rule of thumb was that if the bride asked the bridal party to travel then she pays her own way. Right?! Or am I just being a stickler? Also, who needs a suite? I know I won’t get one night of good sleep anyway. All we need is a place to change so we might as well check out hostels. Lastly, I did not realize that people still hired strippers. I know strip clubs exist, but people coming into your hotel room sounds a little 80s to me. Next thing I know we will be doing coke on a mirror using a busted pink Schick razor blade. God help me. 
 
Over Facebook chat the leader of the pack said what the weekend itinerary was going to be.
 
“We are seeing Calvin Harris on Friday night, Avicii on sat at the pool, Diplo on Saturday night and Morgan page on Sunday pool”
 
Wait! I’m missing Calvin Harris! Life why? Why would he perform on a Friday?! What a cruel world. Damn my Saturday-Monday plan. So as I sat at work on the Friday night before I left for Vegas I hoped that Harris got sick and decided to reschedule for the next day. I started to wonder if money was a silly thing to worry about. I worked so hard to save a few bucks, but for what? To work while everyone else had fun? 
 
OH Calvin. I’ll just have to jam out on Spotify.
 

 
Well 9 hours later I was on the plane to Arizona… yep I had a layover. It takes 8 hours to drive to Vegas and it took 6 hours due to my layover. Once I landed in the City of Sin I had to take off all my SF layers and slip on my swim suit and summer dress cause it was already 30 degrees warmer than home. I was instructed to head straight to the Encore pool party at the Wynn resort. Of course, this is not where we were staying so I had to pretend to the baggage check that my room wasn’t ready yet so he’d take my luggage. What do they care as long as I give them a good tip. I then found the girls in a long line for the pool. Now they said they were gonna wake up early to get on the “list”, but hangovers and early morning wake ups tend to be mutually exclusive. So we were all roasting in a line of sunburnt zombies moaning and groaning for their next drink. As we slowly inch our way to the front it has become known that the club is at capacity. Now our option is to wait in line for hours and with no guarantee of getting in or… bribe the bouncer? Yep, I didn’t think that was an option either, but these 4 determined Slovakians knew how to get what they want. I have never been involved in a bribe before and I did not like it one bit. Why should 7 sexy women have to pay extra to get into a pool party? There went another $50. Once inside, the next trick was finding a group of guys that had bottle service. Hey I don’t make the rules I just follow them. After 2 hours we were in VIP when Avicii went on stage. I like these rules. I did feel bad for the one girl partying with all her guy friends when the horniest one of the bunch let’s all 7 of us girls enjoy all their drinks. Not bad enough. Her dream world wasn’t going to last long anyways. If it wasn’t us it would have been another group of girls. At least our group is made up of mostly unavailable girls who wouldn’t make out with strangers. I said most of us. Don’t judge. 
 
Here’s a little taste of we got to enjoy.
 

After 6 hours at the pool party we had to get ready for the stripper. By that I mean decorate before he got there. So a couple of us girls left earlier to decorate and luckily grab food. I didn’t know what these girls were surviving on, but I was starving. I was longing for a buffet, but we only had time for a food court. Now I’m no health guru, but food court food isn’t an ideal situation when I’m expected to continue drinking and staying up all night. So I grabbed the one thing that is familiar to my digestion. Wendy’s chili. Don’t worry everyone else thought it was weird too. And no I didn’t fart all night. I wanted to have 2 chilis, but the peer pressure got to me.
 
Once the room was decorated everyone crowded in to toast Hana and wait for the stripper. I’ve never had a stripper or seen one perform so I was a little nervous. When the stripper showed up he had his bouncer with him. However, I think we all needed our own bouncers. Each girl took a turn sitting down in a chair while he gave us a lap dance. A very handsy lap dance. By the end of my turn I thought he should have paid me. One girl I think will forever be traumatized. Note to self do not get stripper for my bachelorette party. I think I’ll rent Magic Mike instead. Once the stripper left the girl’s got ready for the club. Even though my sister is a make up artist I still don’t understand why it takes women so long to get ready. I was ready in 30 minutes and that included a shower and leg shave. At least waiting for the girls gave me time to take a nap. Around 11:30pm they woke me up to head out to the club. I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive the night. One option was taking coke, but then there’s the whole “what if I really like it thing?” Who cares! Bust out the 80s mirror and pink razor blade… Mom I’m kidding. Besides I know how to have fun completely sober. Not that I planned on it, but I know how. Years of entertaining myself as a homeschooler. Right about now you all are thinking, “Dang this girl must have been so popular!” Yep. Home Coming Queen every year. 
 
We got into the club bribe free. Once inside the ladies scouted the room for some more suckers with bottle service. They happened to find a bachelor party of guys from Mexico. No they weren’t drug dealers. Quit stereotyping.  There were around 10 guys and they had all been friends since grade school. I had never met such a big group of close friends. They were all so fun and nice and we just talked, danced, and hung out all night. Every one of the girls had a great time with the respectful bunch. The only guy that got a little handsy was one of the gay guys, which is always forgivable for some reason. I didn’t forgive him, but some girls do. If it wasn’t for this group of guys I wouldn’t have been able to stay up till 5am. Normally when I get to a club I’m get fed up at the end of the night with drunk dudes desperate to get a girl home. Those girls are usually my friends. That is what happens when your friends average around 5’10, European, and are ridiculously sexy. I don’t like to wear heels, show cleavage, and I quit drinking around 2am cause like to stay in control. So I’m the perfect cock block friend, “Sorry dude she’s with us.” However, with these guys it was like being surrounded by affirming big brothers. They kept saying you are so cool and they couldn’t believe I was having fun without drinking. You have a great personality… which said at a club isn’t meant to be a compliment, but I’m too cocky to take it any other way. They loved my flat red shoes. My short hair. I never wanted to leave. As if my ego wasn’t big enough I had all these darling, cute men telling me how cool, adorable, and funny I am. Geez. Not your typical clubbing experience right? By the time we all parted it felt like I was saying goodbye to friends. When we all got in the taxi we asked who got someone’s info. Not one of us got anyone’s number. Nooooo!!! Someone always grabs a contact. I didn’t bring my phone so I didn’t bother. When I go dancing I bring an ID, cash, card. If it can’t fit in my bra I don’t bring it. Nothing worse than worrying about a purse all night and we all know that girl’s outfits don’t come with decent pockets. Oh well. 
 
After 5 hours of sleep we are up again and headed back to a pool party. After saying goodbye to some of the ladies leaving for LA we met up with another girl who had “connections” to get us into the same pool party as yesterday. No one wanted to stop for breakfast because we were in a hurry, but luckily I had some food bars and fruit with me. Men would never go this long without a decent meal. I don’t understand how some women can starve like this. Unfortunately, I was stopped by the bouncer for trying to bring in food and water. You can’t even bring in water! So I went off the side and stuffed my face and drank 1 liter of water before going inside. I wasn’t going to pay $8 for water so I decided to fit in all in at once. Sundays at the pool aren’t nearly as busy so we got to relax a bit while drinking too many pitchers of spiked lemonade. We then migrated to some unknown to me celebrity’s table. I was just happy they had bottled water.
 
 
 
We stayed at the pool till around 5pm before we headed back to MGM. Don’t tell the baggage claim at Encore. When w got back to the room, Anna was more tired than hungry so it was just Hana and I left alone to finally grab dinner. I will never forget my first bite of that delicious pizza in the underground mall at a place called Project Pie. After a couple of hours of talking we went back upstairs for a nap before we headed back out to a club. We set an alarm for 10:30pm. When the alarm went off we both agreed to hit snooze indefinitely. Well at least till 1am, which is when I was somehow wide awake. Figures. My flight was at 6am so I only had 3 hours left to… dance, gamble, eat again? However, we were a little far from the strip to even walk around. So I stretched and muddled on the internet for about 2 hours before I said goodbye to Hana and went downstairs to grab a taxi. Somehow sharing a taxi with two Brazilians ended costing me more than half the taxi. What do you mean between the two of you no one has enough cash? Awkward con artists. Once on the flight home I was able to reflect on the weekend. I’ve never done Vegas the Vegas way. It didn’t disappoint. I mean strippers, parties, alcohol, and no sleep. That about sums it up for everyone right? I am starting to feel a little old to party this hard. It’ll take me a week to just get my sleep back and a year before I’m ready for Vegas again. In the end I was so glad I went. I got to meet the other bridesmaids who were all so nice and amazing. Hana does pick out great friends. Also, catching up with my best mate was awesome. I’ll let you know how worth it is after I land and go straight to work for the rest of the day… Still worth it. 
 

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015

2015 here I come!

 

Nothing like starting off the new year than celebrating the old ones. December 31st is my mom’s birthday and I usually just eat chinese food and fall asleep to Dick Clark, but this year I was able to sneak off as my mom got tucked into bed. My friend hosted the most awesome 90s party in the last 2o decades. We went for a grunge look. It was that or a big flower hat “Blossom” style. I wasn’t a fan, but you know what I’m talking about.  The host even had pop rocks, bugles, zima, bagel bites, ring pops, and plenty more flash back foods. Then we played Mario Kart on the Nintendo. Gabe couldn’t relish this flash back like I did, but he will shine in the 2000s party next decade.

I’m thinking I might go with this retro fashion look. Flannel, jeans, and doc martins. Classic. Let’s go 2015! 

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That Time of Year

January 1, 2015

363 Days until next Christmas. How did I hold out so long last year? It just seems so far away now. This year was purely magical. It was also stressful and expensive and stressful, but that seems to be unavoidable. I’m not sure what I would change. I think the only thing that would make it better is that if I’m self-employed next year. Then I’d take a whole month off to prepare and celebrate Christmas. Self-employed might not cover it, but rich might. Anyone looking to donate to a Christmas enthusiast? 

Christmas. It doesn’t start in December any more. I saw Christmas decorations out after Halloween. That is a little crazy if you ask me. Who is putting up lights the beginning of November? I believe the standard is to wait until after Thanksgiving. Give Thanksgiving it’s moment. Thanksgiving is my boyfriend’s favorite holiday. Only because there is a feast without any additional obligations. It’s a stress free tradition for him. However, I’m sure whoever is hosting doesn’t see it that way. This year I bent the rules just a little and decorated right before I left home for Thanksgiving. That way all the decor was up and ready when I got back. As if Christmas cheer was waiting for me. I also started my Christmas shopping in November. Nothing worse than putting off shopping and online shopping is the true savior of Christmas. 

There were certain activities that coincide with Christmas and I planned on doing them all. After the house was decorated the next thing it needed was a tree. It only took me 15 minutes this year to pick out the perfect one. When the roof is 6ft tall it really limits the options and speeds up the process, “I’ll take a hobbit sized tree please.” A Christmas tree really brightens up a room, don’t you think? Have you ever walked into a room with a shiny Christmas tree and thought this room would look better without it? Well maybe come March. We got the tree up right before my mom came to visit for the weekend. Now my Christmas addiction is genetic so when my mom is in town we had a itinerary of Christmas ventures. First up was Cirque Du Soliel. This doesn’t have a Christmas theme, but for the last 2 years I have gone with my mom and my boyrfriend, Gabe, as her Christmas present to us. This year we saw Kurios, which was magical. I think that is why it feels like a Christmas tradition because Christmas is all kinds of magic. 

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Next up was the Charles Dickens Fair. My mom and I stumbled onto this fair last year, but were not prepared for the overwhelming nature of it. This year we were ready. My mom had bought us matching dresses and designed jackets and bustles to wear. She, of course, finished it all the day of the event, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She even finished my sister’s wedding dress hours before the wedding. That lady lives on procrastination adrenaline. We showed up to the event feeling good and looking great. Then we noticed our version of Victorian fashion was not the same as everyone else’s. Always one decade behind. Hoop skirts were all the rage. Well hoop skirts and cleavage. I had neither. We still had a great time walking around checking out the many victorian venders brought back from the dead. There were pewter and wood beer steins, hand crafted leather masks, apothecaries, emporiums, puppets, top hats, underpinnings, corsets, candles, and everything else you would have found in the London markets almost 200 years ago. After cruising all the shops we watched parlor girls perform a few songs then we finished off the night eating roasted chestnuts, which tasted a lot like potatoes. Just as we felt like we had completely embraced this little time warp my mom chats up some young chap telling him about how this was our second year and were excited to dress up. This sewer rat tells my mom, “Now that you see what you are supposed to wear you’ll fit in more next time.” What a Dick(ens). Just cause we weren’t in hoop skirts didn’t mean that we didn’t fit the era. Maybe we were a little off. Our dresses were a cross between burlesque dancer and a parlor girl, but don’t we get credit for trying. And we still looked awesome. Forget that scoundrel. Some people take this all too seriously anyways. Next year we will have it down. Maybe we will even work on our accents. Cheerio. Happy Christmas! After the Dickens Fair we went to a party from a work friend. Yep in our costumes. I think at first people thought that is how we normally go out. It’s San Francisco so you never know. Gabe met us at the party and we did our best to mingle. Gabe is better at that. I ended up just flocking to the people I know. It didn’t take long before my mom looked way too comfy on the couch. Off to bed youngins. 

Next on the Christmas list. Yes I was making a list… and checking it twice. I decided to make a few gifts this year. Just like every year I end up regretting it. First regret was a marquee sign for my sister. I bought paper mache letters to spell out DREAM. However, Joann’s was missing E(s) so I had to have my mom buy it for me because they don’t have a Joann’s in Berkeley. I then poked all the holes for the lights and spray painted the letters. Then I put the lights in each letter. It was all time consuming and worth it up to that point. I got up to DR before I decided to plug the lights in again to check out how awesome it looked. Awesome it did not look said Yoda. Half the light strand had gone out. The first half of course. I then took out all the lights and checked each bulb in the broken strand to see if I could resurrect the Christmas lights. For some reason the movie “Christmas Vacation” came to my mind. Luckily, I had another IMG_6535.JPG IMG_6617.JPG IMG_6621.JPG IMG_6616.JPG IMG_6624.JPG IMG_6601.JPG IMG_6615-0.JPG IMG_6588.JPG IMG_6606.JPG IMG_6604.JPG IMG_6591.JPG IMG_6567.JPG IMG_0305 IMG_6560.JPG IMG_6580.JPG IMG_6581.JPG IMG_6582.JPG IMG_6615.JPG IMG_6587.JPG IMG_6552.JPG IMG_6541.JPG IMG_6544.JPG IMG_6540.JPG IMG_6528.JPG IMG_6531.JPGback up strand because that whole check each bulb thing was a waste of time just like in the movie. I continued my project until I got to, well, E. E happened to be back in Redding. I had to finish the project when I went back home for the holidays. So when I finally spray painted that E and got all the way to DREA when I realized that I didn’t have enough lights to finish the M. I was 8 bulbs short in my strand. I really should have counted the bulbs before I made the holes. I had to buy another strand for 8 bulbs. 8 BULBS!!!

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Minus 8 bulbs

Back to Joann’s I went only to see Valentine’s Day presents had taken over and they were completely out of the lights I needed. So was Michaels, Target, and even dreaded Walmart. Why do I do this to myself? Next year I want to be so rich I can pay someone else to make anything DIY. I guess it would be DIT (did it themselves). I’m gonna check how much marquees are going for on Etsy. Wait right there…. Well, well, well Etsy. $785. Ok I’m done complaining. I asked my dad if he could use wire cutters and take out the half of the strands that didn’t work on the broken lights I had. Voila. Good ole dad. I put it all together and it looked great and I will never do that again. That was just one of the 6 hand made gifts I made… but that one was the only nightmare before Christmas…. get it? See it’s a double pun. The sign says DREAM and “Nightmare Before Christmas” was a movie. I knew you got it. 

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is make Christmas cards. It all started one year when my sis and I decided to make one to send out to our friends. Since then I love coming up with creative photo ideas and seeing our friends’ and families’ reaction. This year Gabe and I brainstormed one evening until we figured out exactly what we were going to do. Then we set a date for our photoshoot and produced awesomeness. This year we went with a social media theme. I think we are starting to get a reputation. Not sure if it’s a naughty or nice one.  

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Another tradition Gabe and I started a few years back is going to “Not So Silent Night” (NSSN) music festival. Since our anniversary is in December we make it a mutual gift. The concert is always so much fun. This year the line up was Vance Joy, Cage the Elephant, Spoon, Alt-J, Imagine Dragons, Interpol. We were really surprised by Cage the Elephant. Classic rock stars. I can’t wait for next year. Here’s a little playlist for you. 


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My last week of work I made some “coal” for the kids I coach. It’s rice crispy treats dyed black. Gives them a nice evil tongue that I’m sure their parents enjoyed. The day before I left my coworker and I did our best to dress up. I had a real elf costume, but he was second best. 

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Last Christmas item on the list is to make sweet treats for our family before we head home for the holidays. Last year we spent the day in San Francisco and came home in the evening to make all our treats and we were up till 4am and had 2 hours of sleep before driving 3 hours to for the holiday. This year I had work at 8am and had a 7 hour break before I went back to work. Gabe was going to meet me in the city to walk around and see the Christmas sites. However, there was a massive rain storm in the afternoon so I let Gabe off the hook and walked the city solo. It was a good thing he did because he cleaned and cooked all day and when I got home we still were up till 3am baking cookies. We even decided to do 3 treats instead of 4. Making cookies used to be my favorite holiday tradition and it just got bumped down on the list. The chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter reindeer, and s’more cake pops were a hit. So good I didn’t get to have any. We also made candy cane vodka and almond butter. Yeah we are awesome.  

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We got 4 hours of sleep and left around 7:30am because I had an eyebrow appointment at 10:45am. We arrived right on time. I don’t know how Gabe does it. We then had 2 hours before Gabe’s family Christmas party. Nap time. I love the difference between Gabe’s family Christmas and mine. For one Gabe’s family serves alcohol. Second they serve alcohol. I’m not a drunkard, but nothing takes the holiday edge off like a spiked punch. I am really lucky that I dated my way into an amazing family. I had to fight my boss to get work off in order to spend the holidays with them, but no job is worth missing the holidays. I don’t know how some people can work through Christmas. I learned recently that I’m not motivated by money, but by freedom. I want a job that I’m free to make my own schedule or rules. I should really look into being self-employed again.

His family drinks and snacks all morning and present opening happens close to 4pm. This is the first year there was chili instead of the traditional minestrone soup that his grandma makes but no one likes. Yes. Chili is the Christmas dinner. I love this family. We gave our silly cards and our treats, which were well received. At least the cookies were. Some people weren’t familiar enough with social media to get the card. Win some. Lose some. #yolo. Now Gabe claims that my family has more drama during the holidays. I tend to agree, but he has an unfair advantage with everyone in his family having a nice buzz to calm them. Well one girl didn’t have a buzz, but a full on meltdown at the end of the night. She went “Carrie”. His grandma tried to calm her down and the girl yelled back a profanity that would have given my grandma a heart attack. I would have slapped myself in the face for what she said. So Gabe’s family won that Christmas drama award. That was minus the weird “be an adult” lecture he got from his mom and sis. Drama, drama, drama. That was all small to the amount of fun we had though. So far so good. After we celebrated Christmas with Gabe’s family we still had 2 more Christmases to go. Well 3 if you count my Christmas party. 

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The next day was Gabe’s immediate family’s Christmas. His mom buys small gifts that fit in a stocking. It’s all super cute. Afterwards we watched “The Hobbit” and saw Christmas lights. Only one of them was worth the 2 hours. What is it about Christmas lights that are so magical? Next year I am going to get my family a Limo Christmas light tour. I came up with the idea a little too late this year and everyone was completely booked. 

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The next day we had a Christmas pajama party. It was a little crazy. There was a big debate between the Brown girls if it was even gonna happen. We all like to pretend that we are doing the most work and everyone else is lazy. However, we all went to our tasks and I think it went great. The food was amazing: bacon wrapped chicken, sugar cookies, bean dip, brie dip, bacon wrapped dates, peppermint muddy buddies, hot chocolate, apple cider, and other sweetness. We later played “HeadsUp”. I think some people were a little disappointed that they didn’t have the most friends in attendance… My mom was the social butterfly of the evening and she reminded us numerous times how popular she was. I think it will become and annual tradition. 

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The next day was my 4th year anniversary with Gabe. We were both busy in the morning and decided to convene around noon for a hike to the snow. I was with my mom and sister visiting a friend who sells clothes from home. Lularoe. Check it. After picking out some awesome tights I started to get the sweats. Not the kind you wear. Like uh oh, why is it so hot in here? It took another 15 minutes before I was in her yard puking last night’s feast. Too many sweets not enough green smoothie. I then spent my 4th year anniversary in bed eating soup and crackers with occasional visits from my guy. Very romantic. I don’t think I threw up again, but was happy to lay low for the rest of the day. Luckily, I had finished all my Christmas shopping.

Low and behold Christmas Eve rolls around and Gabe hasn’t finished his shopping. Boys. What’s with them and waiting till the last minute? As we drive around town like all the other idiots on Christmas Eve we spotted a lady with a sign looking for money for gas. We were given $200 from my parents to give away before Christmas. I so far had given $100. One guy I gave money to was in SF dressed as a dog with 3 dogs with him. He wanted me to take a picture with him even though he didn’t have a camera, but asked someone near by to take one with mine. He was so sweet.

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We then swung the car around and approached her and her cat. We gave her some money and said Merry Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gabe so impacted. This lady had a one-eyed cat she was caring for and her motorhome didn’t have any propane. She was so thankful that it was heartbreaking. Why do we wait till the holidays to try to be generous? I told my parents that next year we will match whatever they wanted us to donate. I have amazing parents. Gabe’s family also has each person pick a non-profit organization to donate money to for Christmas. 

Christmas Eve. My family has this tradition that is Gabe’s favorite. Every Christmas present tag is individual written to fit the person giving and getting. For example, To: Michael Jackson, From: Cat Woman. Gabe was Michael for Halloween and I was Cat Woman. Now not everyone will always get the reference, but the person receiving it usually does and that is all the matters. They are always goofy and silly, but sometimes they take forever to think of so don’t wait till the last night for all of them. It’s best to write them as you wrap. Gabe and I have started saving our tags to put in a scrap book. Some are just too funny to forget about. This year my dad’s were the most clever. Maybe I should save those instead. Omg. I’m saving them all next year and putting them in a bowl for us to read out later. Thank you blogging out loud. 

Christmas. Every year my dad makes eggs Benedict. His family did it and now we do it. However, he has been complaining for the past 9 years about how much work it is and how you are too full to really enjoy the Christmas dinner later. Therefore, I volunteered to make breakfast this year. I told them it would be a simple European breakfast and that no one could complain. My sister didn’t get the memo. There was fruit salad, deli meat, cheese, and some orange juice. It was simple, classy, and left plenty of room for dinner. Afterwards, my sis volunteered to host breakfast next year. I winked at my dad. Oh she fell right into that trap. 

Not much else to say about Christmas. We ate, we opened, we slept, we saw a movie. The best part of Christmas is all the four play. I take it back. My pie. I made homemade pumpkin pie. All homemade. Crust. Pumpkin puree. Scratchiest of all homemade. It was delicious. Everyone said it was the best pumpkin pie they ever had. Secret? Candied yams…. damnit they weren’t homemade. Another awesome part of Christmas is the look on everyone’s face when they open presents. This year I made a lot of them and I was excited for my dad’s, sisters, and Gabe’s. My mom was fine with all paid purchases cause she got her made ones previous years. For my dad I made a collage in a shadow box frame of pictures of his dad along with dog tags and a Johnny Carson ticket stub. It took a lot of work to find and I think he really enjoyed it. Not as many tears as I was hoping for, but next year I’ll get him. My sister was that damn marquee. Gabe I made a little card deck of 140 things I loved about him for each day he would be gone in Italy. I also got leather luggage tags made for his suitcase. I love Christmas so much and I hate it when it’s over. Christmas is really the best time of year. I wish I had some none cliche thing to add to finish this post, but I don’t. Christmas is f*cking awesome. The End. 


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Hallowinner

December 30, 2014

Halloween. I finally enjoyed my Halloween to the fullest. In my last blog I describe how much I love Halloween and this year I got to go all out. When it comes to Halloween the most important thing is the costume. I have never paid full price for a new one. I always make one or buy a used one. In the city thrift stores were asking for a ridiculous price for their costumes. I happened to go back to Redding for a weekend before Halloween and went to the Goodwill there. Great selection and much cheaper. So cheap I bought 3 costumes. There were just all so awesome and I knew I could find a way to wear all three. First was for a Halloween party for the kids I teach. Then I had a work tennis party. On Halloween I was going to a dance party. So therefore I needed 3 costumes. Right? Well I got Elsa from Frozen, Wonder Woman, and CatWoman. CatWoman was more for my boyfriend. I don’t know what it is about CatWoman that guys love. First off did you realize that Wonder Woman is two words, but CatWoman is one? By the way, what’s wrong with Wonder Woman? She’s strong, beautiful, independent, and fights for justice. CatWoman just looks good in tight leather. 

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I get it now.

After I was all set with my costumes next thing to do was to pick out the perfect pumpkins at Redding’s Nash Pumpkin Patch. We got a small batch for only $15. My sis paid $15 for one pumpkin at a “patch” in LA. I knew Berkeley wouldn’t be any better.

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Nash also has a great Haunted House called Dreams of Darkness we love to check out. Every year it gets scarier and scarier. Gabe ran off without me when the chain saw serial killers started chasing us. Geez I love Halloween. 

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When I got home to Berkeley we rented a few scary movies and carved our pumpkins. Gabe started out with some super easy ones and over the years has really picked up his game. I’ve always had mad pumpkin carving game so I try to challenge myself. Without fail I get halfway through my pumpkin and can’t recognize what it is and believe I have failed. It all starts to look like dots and crazy lines with no specific theme. It continues to look like a 5-year-old practiced surgery until I put the candle in at the end. I don’t know why I doubt myself. Look at these beauties.

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Ursula & Mike Wazowski

The kids I coach Halloween party was coming up I had some finishing touches to do on my costume. I had bought this awesome 90s prom dress and all it needed was a cape and undershirt. I hand stitched some of my mom’s curtains together and then velcroed it onto my dress.

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Then I made Gabe an Olaf costume buy sewing felt onto a white shirt and gluing the snowman’s face onto a hat. Genius. Thanks Pinterest.

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Oh and the kids loved it. 

Second costume to finish was Wonder Woman. I bought a kid’s Woman Woman t-shirt and a dance uniform to go underneath it. I also bought red sleeves that I wore on my feet like boots. I found an awesome gold tie that I turned into a crown and bracelets. I cut out white stars from duck tape and put them on my skirt. Voila!

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Wonder Woman

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By then I was done with making costumes, so luckily CatWoman was a finished product. On Halloween there was the Giants World Series Championship parade in San Francisco. I wore my costume into the city because I didn’t have time to go home afterwards and who wants to carry a backpack around to change? Obviously everyone since I was the only person in costume. Boo. 

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Giants Championship Parade

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Thankfully the CatWoman suit kept me warm in the rain along with my cup of hot milk… with chai in it. 

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After the parade we headed to my work and to no surprise at all none of my junior players showed up. What kid wants to play tennis on Halloween when there’s trick or treating to be had? Gabe and I got to play tennis while we waited for all the no shows. I kept on having to cool off outside because I was sweating in my pleather suit. How does CatWoman stay so cool.

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My wittle kitty

No kids, but least got to see all my coworkers’ costumes. 

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After tennis, I mean work, we headed over to the dance party. It was Soma StrEat Food Truck Park  Truck or Treat party. We were tempted to just head home and rent a scary movie, but some of our friends decided to go and ruined our laziness. Good thing we went because it was spectacular. There was free beer to first 100 people and the food was amazing. We all had a good time dancing and checking out the other creative costumes. 

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Gabe did not plan ahead what he was wearing and once again it was up to me… “Here She Comes To Save The Day!” Mighty Mouse anyone?

I had bought a Michael Jackson jacket at the Goodwill when I was home just in case I ever needed one. You never know…  but secretly I did know. I had a pair of red pants that he borrowed (it fit him a lil too well) and the jacket fit perfectly. Unfortunately for Gabe, going as Michael Jackson to a dance party puts quite a bit of pressure on you. When the DJ played Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean everyone would look to Gabe to wow them. Well by the third song everyone has used to the disappointment. Nobody expects Superman or Wonder Woman in the crowd to bend steel or break up a fight, but if you dress as MJ you better know how to Moon Walk.

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The rest of our group was just as eclectic: Pineapple, surfer, Mad Hatter, Cat Woman, Michael Jackson.

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I love being in San Francisco with so much to do and crazy people to do it with. Too bad I had work the next day so we left the party before midnight, which was when some people were headed to their outings. That made me feel pretty old, but my chariot was turning back into a pumpkin or was that my energy?

I have to start thinking about what I want to be next year. Some how I want to have friends that own a castle or have one of my own and help throw a terribly awesome party that makes Pinterest jealous. Free castle anyone? Ok Ok. Free castle rental? Free entrance to castle party? Now this might all seem over the top for some people, but this is nothing compared to how I do Christmas.

Move over Halloween your time is done. 

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see you next year

 

-Elsa aka Wonder Woman aka Cat Woman

Screamo

October 15, 2014

Halloween! It is my second favorite holiday.

Is it really a holiday? I still have to work and kids still go to school. Anywho. It’s not just the costumes, but the food, colors, weather, scary movies, haunted houses, carving pumpkins, anything pumpkin… costumes. Every year I go to a pumpkin patch and carve something that took 4 hours to decide on and can’t really pull off. I make a Halloween playlist. I know you wanted to hear it.  

Also, I changed all my ringtones. I’m considering leaving the Witch Cackle one for my mom till Christmas. My mom set my text tone to a T-rex roar and my sister’s is “Happy” from Pharell. So don’t feel bad for her. Every year I start thinking about my costumes months in advance. Which isn’t a bad idea, if you have some awesome halloween party to go to, but I never do. I end up dressing up to go to haunted house where I’m the only one dressed up along with whatever poor soul I convinced to come with me.

A couple of years ago, I convinced my boyfriend to go to Frightfest, at Six Flags. I told him everyone dresses up and it’ll be so much fun. So we pulled into the parking lot in my Tinkerbell costume and his Hook costume and as we scanned the parking lot not one damn(ed) soul had a costume on. Not one! Not even the kids. I apologized profusely, but said we are just more awesome than everyone else so who cares that everyone else is lame. So we went inside and were a hit. All the park employees loved our costumes. Moms would point to us and tell their kids “Hey look it’s Tinkerbell and Hook”. I got a kick out of it, but Hook looked as though a crocodile with a ticking clock was around every corner. It didn’t help that I also found out that he has a fear of roller coasters… more like a phobia. So I don’t think I’ll convince him to do that again. That’s ok. This year I’ve convinced my mom and sister. Suckers.

For as much as I love everything about Halloween I wish I didn’t get so invested into this day. Not because financially I can’t afford it since all my costumes are handmade or thrift finds. It’s not because I’m lacking the social group that throws crazy parties you only see on Pinterest. It’s because it’s exhausting. All that planning. Trying to figure out who or what to be, where to go, what to carve. No one else seems to care as much as I do. I think I’ve asked the kids I coach 10 times what they are gonna be cause I’m secretly trying to steal their ideas. I wish there was a cure for my Halloween curse. 

So here are the last few years of Halloween costumes and festivities.

In case we weren’t sure what some of the costumes were here is a list them: Einstein, Glenda The Good Witch, Tinkerbell, Malfoy, Strawberry Shortcake, Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Miley Cyrus, Cat Woman, Doll, Angel

As for this year, this is what I’ve over planned so far. Haunted houses when I go home for the weekend. There is something about small towns and haunted houses that add an extra “Hills Have Eyes” effect. Going to the pumpkin patch and carving a scene from “Nightmare Before Christmas“. Yes I found it on Pinterest. Glow-in-the-Dark tennis for the kids I coach, which I hope goes well. Frightfest with my mom and sister. Then on Halloween… nothing. NOTHING! But it’s ok. This year I don’t want to stress about my Halloween plans. I want to have that “I don’t care” attitude. I wish my response to the question, “What are you gonna be?” was “Oh I don’t know. I don’t plan that far ahead.” Or I could say something like, “I’ll just do whatever my friends want.” Why can’t that come naturally to me. For one I’ve already planned too far ahead for the first to be true and second what friends? Even if I had a bunch of them that were having a party I’d probably be the party planner of the group. This year and from now on I want to be the one that just shows up. I want to be the one you ask on October 31st at 3pm “Where’s your costume?” and I say, “I don’t have one yet.” and they say, “I’ll find you something”. Then I just sit back and relax. You know those people right? Everyone seems to fill in the responsibilities for them. Doesn’t that sound nice? They are the same people that you ask what they brought to the party and when they say nothing you add their name to your card. You feel socially responsible for them. I don’t know why we have those friends, but since we do I’d like to be one. So if you don’t have one of those friends I’m willing to take their token spot. So what are our plans? I mean I don’t care. Whatever. 

 

But seriously what should I be?

Crossed off the list

October 6, 2014

2014. Can you believe we are 3/4 of the way through this year!! I thought 2013 was going to be my year to shine. First off I love odd numbers plus 13 is my lucky number. No reason, just felt like an underdog number and I like underdogs… I don’t like being an underdog, but rooting for them. I like being the top dog.  In just 9 months I’ve crossed off three things from my resolution list. Not 2014s list, but 2012. Here is the list of resolutions Better late than never. Resolutions

1. Moved to the Bay area last November. Check.

I love it here. There are so many things to do that I can’t afford…. but did anyways. I did a neon run in Candlestick Park. A neon run is similar to all those fun runs in which you don’t train and don’t always run, but spend more money to get a t-shirt and have people throw stuff at you.

2. I created… well hired somebody to create a website. Didn’t he do a great job?! Thanks again Nick! I think it took me as long to come up with the name is it did for him to code the whole site.  I think I wrote down at least 100 names.

infamy.com
crookedarrow.com
hellostars.com
goldieshocks.com
thesecretglow.com
charmingfox.com 
famousamy.com
triplebs.com
sneekpeak.com
sneakpeakamy.com
dreamy.com
unbeatonpath.com
outsidethenorm.com
relentlesslife.com
djodjo.com
simplyamy.com
infamyamy.com
andanotherthing.com
myopenmind.com
episodeone.com
talkinglips.com
crookedarrows.com
missedit.com
misshit.com
takeame.com
blushless.com
youknowwhatimean.com
icythoughts.com
 
And so much more…
This site help me narrow down the available ones. 
 
Now that I finally have my own site I don’t know what to write about. So much pressure
 
3. Live wholistically. I’m now in the perfect place to eat organic produce and find gluten free substitutions.  Now I still get my pizza and coke on an occasional Friday night, but I’m no longer straining to find healthy food options.
 
4. Read the Bible. I’m only in Numbers, but I gave up reading anything other than the Bible for Lent. I think this is my hardest Fast. Since I have a 45 minute commute time I got lots of reading done these past few months. Now I feel like an Israelite lost in the desert waiting to come to the promise land. The difference is that my desert is reading the Bible land and my Holy Land is Grisham Novels.
 
5. French. Parlez-vous francais? Well I’m not fluent or anywhere close, but I invested in Rosetta Stone. Thanks to Stone I’m even further away from being fluent that I originally thought.  Voulez-vous umm… do you speak English?
 
6.  Work in the film industry. I’m pretty far off from walking down the red carpet at the Oscars, really far off. I am working for free for a small production company. Baby steps. I connected with the filmmaker through a mutual “friend/ceramics professor” at the perfect time when he was looking for an intern. He recently complete a documentary about his mother going through Alzheimer’s. It’s a pretty devastating story, but it is essential to bring awareness to this disease. On my first day on the job he was featured on the home page of Newsweek. Check it out Newsweek Article.
 
7. 6-pack… no comment.
 
8. DJ. Last year I had survived on merely gigs alone. From weddings to reoccurring bar gigs I was kept busy and loving it. Nothing better than providing an ambiance that causes people to sing, dance, and enjoy themselves. Since moving to Berkeley I haven’t had any gigs because I didn’t bring my equipment with me. I don’t have any room in my apartment or a vehicle to haul it to gigs. I might get a more compact setup so I can pick up gigs in the city, but I don’t know how saturated the DJ scene is in the Bay.
 
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9. Rock and Rolla. Well I brought the guitar to the city only to see it sit untuned and unused in the corner. I still planning on some day being able to play a few songs around the camp fire. Some day. Kumbaya anyone?
 
10. That damn scrapbook. Still not any closer. I still don’t know how people do it. I should just stick to my digital ones. I’ve made many on Shutterfly.com, but for some reason outside the digital realm I have yet to dive into the glue stick and craft paper world.
 
11. Be less pretentious.  Um I’m pretty sure that I’ve gotten better at this. Life has an odd way of humbling you.
 
12. Healthy hip. Same shit different day. Still hurts. Still no tennis or any fun. I think I know what my injury is now though. Anyone heard of Iliopsoas? Well if you are a Dr. or know someone who can help please let me know. 
 
13. Blog twice a month. Now that I have a new website I’m even more motivated.
 
I know have 3 more months to finish off this list. Have a 6-pack by Christmas? No problem. Now what did I do with that pumpkin bread?
 

Tahoe

September 23, 2014

Vacation. Freedom. Perfection. So I quit my job 2 days before I went on vacation with my boyfriend’s family for 8 days in Tahoe. I was pretty nervous leading up to this moment. I was scared about quitting my job and not having a stable source of income. As stable as minimum wage part-time job could be. I was excited to be free from a life as a useless clog. I wanted to pursue my dreams even if I wasn’t sure what they were. I know the life of being an artist is scary and unknown, but it can’t be worse than wasting it away doing something meaningless. As I drove home from that job for the last time the song that happen to be playing in my car was “Fuck You” by Lily Allen. It was perfect. I definitely had moments I wanted to say this to my superiors. To finish off the night my boyfriend treated me to a nice dinner to celebrate.

The next day I went to yoga ready to face my new life. I then met my family for a German breakfast (fresh bread, cheese, salami) at Starbucks, another quitting celebration. My family hates me squandering my dreams as much as I do. After that I had an amazing massage. This whole not working thing was feeling pretty good so far. The next stress was dropping off equipment for this psycho DJ I was renting from. Hellish ordeal. When I finally made it to Mt. Shasta and delivered his stuff I was officially free from any ties. No more stress. Well none of that kind. I work for myself now. The only person who is going to undermine and devalue me will be yours truly.
 

Since my boyfriend and puppy came with me we capitalized on the beauty of Mt. Shasta and took a wonderful hike around Lake Siskiyou. I promised my boyfriend that I would buy him pizza at this nice restaurant for all his help. We left tired, sleepy Viva in the car. Don’t worry it was pretty cool and we left her plenty of water. We had a great dinner and then headed home to finish packing for Tahoe. If life continued to go this smoothly the tension in my hip may finally leave. Well the smoothness didn’t last long.

 

As we were packing the car it started to get a little frantic and there was an “accident”. My boyfriend has this way of picking me up and throwing me over his shoulder when we are getting irritated with each other. It’s his way of saying this is stupid, calm down. It almost always works. This was one of the rare occasions that it had the opposite effect. Right after he picked me up I felt him stumble. Then in slow motion he tripped and I hit head first on the dirt with him falling on top of my shoulders. My head felt like it exploded.  It was like my brain was trying to escape from my skull. I was covered in dirt, stickers, and dry leaves. The (ex)boyfriend immediately tried to help me, but it was one of those don’t touch me give me a moment falls. I was pissed, frustrated. Here I was about to hit the road to a wonderful vacation and all my hopes and dreams were crashing down, literally. Boom. I had a huge scrape on my shoulder and some bruises forming on my legs leading down to a scrape on my foot. I know he felt awful. I know it was an accident. I was mad at him, but not the screaming you’re an idiot mad. It was I know you didn’t mean to, but I’m in a lot of pain now because of you mad. I knew I would get over it as soon as my head quit spinning and he did enough graveling. After I cleaned up I said let’s just hit the road. He was desperately trying to find a way to make it up to me. There was nothing to be done. If I was smarter I would have milked it, but being silent seemed all I wanted. So we drove 3 hours without hardly speaking. That last hour I was finally able to say you don’t need to apologize any more I forgive you. Well actually I said “if I ever complain about pain you can apologize again, but till then save it”. When we pulled into house we were back to our old goofy jokes. The first thing I did was grab a Mikes and lay down. Gabe (I was tired of writing boyfriend) got all the luggage and made sure I was all situated. Now I’m milking it. I get a massage out it as well. As the week continued I only brought it up when I needed some anti-bacteria rubbed on my shoulder. Just a daily reminder to gravel.

The rest of the trip was amazing. It was just what I need after working in hell for way too long. We played tennis, went hiking, the beach, kayaking, exploring, eating, cooking, drinking, everything you could imagine from a perfect vacation. The family has each couple cook one night out of the week. So when it is your day to cook half your day is spent at the only grocery store in town, food preparation, cooking, and cleaning. As long as you give yourself plenty of time it is still a very relaxing and enjoyable day. For our day we made calzone as the appetizer, Greek salad, baked beans, pulglisee bread, and salmon. I think we won best meal that week. 

To finish off the week we rented jet skis for an hour to ride around on the lake. We took turns trying to terrify the person on the back. It seemed like the perfect end to the week. Well until I took a big jump off a wake and landed the front end on another big wake causing me to lunge forward and slam my big toe on the foot stand. I wasn’t sure if I broke it, but I did hear it pop. I lost my jet-ski driving privileges, but continued to enjoy the ride for our last 5 minutes. By the time we got home it was purple and I continued to ice it the rest of the night. Luckily, it didn’t hurt as bad as it looked so I wasn’t prevented from enjoying a short hike the next day.

When it was finally time to leave I was somber. We hurriedly got on the road and 30 minutes out I was in tears. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t have anything to go back to. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do next. The vacation had delayed the harsh reality that while I wasn’t a slave at one corporation I was still a slave to the unknown. Gabe was nice enough to drive us back to Tahoe so I could delay reality one for one more day. We then took the scenic route through Reno or Lassen Park home. We made a pit stop for lunch in Reno, but it was far from scenic. I don’t want to know what kind of people that town attracts.

We arrived home in the late afternoon to our hyperactive puppy. The first thing she did was grab the car keys from the lanyard hanging in Gabe’s pocket and took off running. She continued to play keep away for another 10 minutes until she finally rolled over for some tummy rubbing. I wish that we could take her with us on every vacation. I guess coming home had it’s perks. I’m so thankful that I dated my way into an awesome family that lets me join them on their vacation. I can’t wait for next year. I guess till then I better get to work so it’s as equally rewarding.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

April 23, 2014
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves 5
A delicious drop cookie
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
1288 calories
155 g
172 g
74 g
16 g
38 g
282 g
778 g
99 g
1 g
32 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
282g
Servings
5
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1288
Calories from Fat 635
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 74g
113%
Saturated Fat 38g
189%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 26g
Cholesterol 172mg
57%
Sodium 778mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates 155g
52%
Dietary Fiber 8g
32%
Sugars 99g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A
25%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
10%
Iron
24%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  5. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  6. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 large eggs
  9. 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HO-- USE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  10. 1 cup chopped nuts
Instructions
  1. PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
  2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION
  1. PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
  2. * May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
  3. FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
beta
calories
1288
fat
74g
protein
16g
carbs
155g
more
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
FOXY & THE HOUND http://foxyandthehound.com/

XnoMAS

January 14, 2014

Christmas. Oh that beautiful two-edged sword. So magical and warm, yet comes with the sting of family drama, stress, broke bank account, and let’s not forget the inevitable weight gain. These hardships have converted me to the naughty listed side. No more spending months finding and putting together the perfect gifts. No more staying up till 3am to make amazing treats and desserts. No more spending hours decorating a beautiful live tree. No Xmas. 

Come next Christmas everyone will be lucky to get one gift. And it won’t be a meaningful hand-made gift that spent hours creating. It will be store bought, with the gift receipt included. Forget that. Just gift cards. Target gift cards for everyone. I will not be making white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies, or dark chocolate orange French macaroons, or cute reindeer hot chocolate packets with homemade peppermint marshmallows. Everyone can have one Hershey’s kiss. The normal kind, not the cute red and white ones that come out during the holidays. Next year I’m not going to decorate a Douglas Fir tree with festive lights, coordinated ornaments, and tinsel. Charlie Brown’s tree will look like it belongs in a Macy’s day parade compared to the branch I’ll bring home that I’ve found in the parking lot of Home Depot. My friends won’t need to check their mail for a Christmas cards because instead of cute self-designed cards I’ll just send a mass text… “To Everyone: Bah Humbug”. What will I be bringing to the holiday feast? Well not a homemade Gingerbread Eggnog Pumpkin Pie like last year. (oh and I made the gingerbread crust from scratch) 

Instead of slaving away in the kitchen I’ll be swinging by 7eleven to pick up some ice… and maybe milk. I don’t know why we never have enough milk.

Why you might ask am I going from Cindy Lou Who to The Grinch? Well because I’m tired of ruining my holidays stressing myself out by doing everything I can to create the perfect Christmas. I’m tired of putting out so much effort for gifts that are either under appreciated or reciprocated with a big nothing…. I mean even naughty kids get coal. So I’m exorcising my holiday spirit for some good ol’ fashion me time next Christmas up into the mountains to veg on store-bought goodies. Ew that’s a lie I’ll stick bake my way to death.

Now to be honest I don’t want to give up on my holiday festivities, but I can’t survive another year acting like Santa’s Superhero Elf. Movie idea? You heard it here first. I want to enjoy the holidays stress free. Stress is just part of the holidays you say, chill out you say, it’s just Christmas. Well you probably are the person who shops last-minute, brings carrot cake to a party, and then drinks too much spiked eggnog leaving your friends and family having to drive you home. So rude. ***So what am I to do? How do I enjoy the holidays without overdoing it? How can I tone down my stress without killing Buddy the Elf inside? Damn you Pinterest! 

Before I let lil Timmy freeze in the cold as I microwave my turkey dinner I must first brag about how awesome my last Christmas adventure was… by that I mean how awesome I was. I’d like to start it off by saying that I did wait till after Thanksgiving to get my tree; even though it was a late Thanksgiving this year. When the tree was up I quickly realized that the lights I bought at a thrift store didn’t hold out like I expected so I guilted my boyfriend into a late night run to target. I must mention that he continued to buy lights to go around the inside of our place. By the end of the night our tree looked magical. Gabe even bought a nice expensive tree topper to finish it off.

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Later that week I put icicle lights around our living room, dressed up like an elf (sexy elf if I must say), made hot chocolate, tried to teach our dog to sit and stay with her Rudolf nose and antlers on, and set out my boyfriend’s Santa costume. When he came home he was pleasantly (phew) surprised and excited to take pictures for our Christmas card. Only two hours later after story-boarding, taking hundreds of pix, giving Rudog too many treats, were our pictures perfect. 

Serious best Christmas cards you’d ever seen. We even made a nice version of the card because our card could be considered a little scandalous based on the Elf code of conduct (featured in section 231 paragraph 4 line 27, which states that no elf shall fraternize with Santa in any way, including hugging, holding hands, and definitely not sitting on Santa’s lap…  or anything else that happened afterwards) Bad Santa. 

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The next week I then proceeded to find all the Christmas Market,
“Weinnachtsmarkt” as the German’s would say in the East Bay. I was able to find some amazing non-refundable gifts, but mostly just sightseeing and awesome food. This one place called the Crucible was incredible. They featured almost every kind of art medium; from woodwork, ceramics, glass blowing, welding, leather works. It was so cool to be around creative people who made unique items that were too expensive to risk buying them as a non-returnable gift.

Now if I give up everything holiday related I would still have to keep this one thing: The Charles Dickens Christmas Fair. I found this fair online about two months before Christmas and I convinced my mom to join me when she visited in December. I didn’t know exactly what it would be like other than it was a Christmas Market with a Victorian theme. Well when we arrived I felt like we had stepped into another era during the happiest time of the year. Everyone… and I mean 70 percent of the people were dressed up in the traditional garb. You walked in the door and it smelled of roasting chestnuts and the sounds of old Christmas tunes along with silly accents and laughing filled the room. There were all different kinds of shops from corsets fitting, to elaborate masks, crowns, hats, and beautiful dresses and suits. As we walked through this new old world there were all kinds of shows going on throughout the day. There was the sing-a-long with the sailors, burlesque dancers, ballrooms dancing, Christmas Carol play, plus everything you could have imagined and more… so much more. Next year my mom and I and hopefully some more family members are gonna go as burlesque girls. If you decide to go try not to go too close to Christmas. It was all good fun, but there were way too many people.

 

So next on the Christmas agenda was to finish making and buying my gifts. My goal was to come home with all my gifts wrapped and ready for under the tree delivery. Of course, that never happened because some people are too damn hard to shop for and I was tired of using target paper bags as wrapping paper (my mom just has way too much every year. So why waste money?). Now before I tell you about the thoughtful creative gifts I got I first need to quote the wonderful, smart, funny fictional character Leslie Knope from “Parks and Rec” to encompass how I feel about gift giving 

Giving Christmas gifts is like a sport to me, finding or making the perfect something.  It’s also like a sport to me because I always win.”   

When I heard this I thought that is exactly how I feel. However, this is the end of the quote which has never applied to me.  “This year, though?  My friends won.  In fact, I got my ass handed to me.”  

This year my best gift would have to be the photo books I made my mom and boyfriend. I made my boyfriend’s gift in October before I moved in with him in November. My mom’s book was of our trip to Italy and Greece a couple years back. Unfortunately, my hard drive power cable broke so I had to hurry and transfer all the pictures in 15 second intervals to my desk top because it kept crashing. I ordered a new cable, but it was late and I had to get the rest of the pictures off Facebook in order to finish the book in time. Other than the misspelling of Zurick I mean Zurich on the first page it was a success. Here you can take a look at the awesomeness I have created. I didn’t get any tears like I did when I made my sister’s book, but… well no but…. I want my damn tears. 

 

 

Click here to view this photo book larger

On to the next one. So for my sister I made a silk screen in my printmaking class. It took me forever to do the 4 color print. It also too forever to find the perfect frame. I actually drove 50 minutes into another city to pick it up the last frame around… I mean I was heading there to pick up my sister from the airport, but still the agony. I even traded one of my art pieces for a lipstick silkscreen a girl in my class did that went perfect with my sister’s gift. Sometimes I give gifts that I wish I had kept for myself. Or maybe I end up wanting to keep them because they end up being the best gifts. If every year we had white elephant gift exchanges I’d always pick my gift. 

Next up is my dad. Now my dad, like most dads, is the most difficult to shop for. He is the simple don’t need anything kinda dad. I mean I have got him some excellent gifts, but he doesn’t always use them. One year I got him a flying lesson. Never used it. Good for one train ride. Never took me up on it. Fishing license 2 years in a row. Happy safe fishes. So this year I stuck with something simply, but classy. He got a new motorcycle shop so I got him a motorcycle decal to put on the wall. Simple. My mom gave me her copper ware that her and dad got as a wedding present 30 years ago. He complained about seeing it go even though they never used it so I got him a nice copper mug with a brass handle. Classy. Also, he is a foodie so I got him so nice olive oil and vinegar kit from a local olive orchard company. Simple and classy. 

Now for the in-laws. For Gabe’s mom we put pictures in a cute frame. For his sis I got her some lotion and a candle. Safe bets. Her fiance we got beers around the world. For my sister’s husband I found these neat coke bottles turned into glasses. He loves cream soda so I got him one made from a cream soda bottle. 

Now for the boyfriend. We decided that we would do events instead of gifts. So we did a Cosmic run in Candlestick Park, which was so much crazy fun. Then we went to Not So Silent Night and saw Phoenix, Alt-J, Lorde, Arcade Fire, Bastille, and The Neighborhood perform, which was eargasmic. Our favorite was Phoenix. If you can you must see them perform. 

 

We decided that we were still going to give each other little gifts. I gave Gabe a photo book of 2012 for our anniversary and then some small gifts for Christmas like a Swiss Army pocket knife and a Frisbee that lights up at night… small, but awesome gifts. I won’t tell you want he got me because then you will resent him forever. He is slowly redeeming himself. This could be a major reason why I’m cutting back next year. Or cutting him out of my life… it’s kind of a toss up right now. I mean what has Christmas ever done to me. Why am I punishing Christmas? 

 

Now Christmas is more than what you can just give… but you know that awesome getting presents thing is pretty cool as well. My obsession with giving gifts is from my mom. She always goes big on Christmas. She has a whole shed designated for Christmas decorations. Most years we run out of time to put them all up. We have to be pretty cheerful to attempt the Christmas curtain. Yep they exist and she made them herself. This year my mom asked me exactly what I wanted. Usually everyone just guesses and tends to get it right. I’m not that picky, but I did tell everyone that I did not want clothes or anything fashion related, not because they don’t pick out awesome threads, but because my tiny closet can’t handle anymore cotton intruders.

What I did get was way more thoughtful than skinny jeans. My mom got Gabe and I tickets to see Cirque Du Soliel Amaluna show in S.F. It was jaw-dropping. I can’t believe what the human body is capable of. She also gave us money to renew our passport and a snazzy wallet to put it in. I’m big into fitness so I also got a Garmin watch that has a GPS. 

My sister got me a gift certificate to a tattoo parlor to get sister tattoos. I know it is drastic and I was pretty shocked myself, which unfortunately, took away some of the joy from her face, but I loved it. It was thoughtful and we had talked about doing sister tattoos a long time ago. We will eventually get them, but ink free skin is a little nervous. I mean I can’t handle buying shampoos in big bottles in case I don’t like them. Maybe we will start with temporary ones. 

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To Infinity: And Beyond    

My dad always gets the most unique gifts. Last year I got an old Coca Cola ice chest. This year I got a vintage food storage that you use for camping. I also got lots more of useful and delightful gifts from mine and Gabe’s family. I mean who doesn’t love Starbucks gift cards. Set for the next 2 months.

Next up. The treats. Oh those amazing delicious goodies. Well for the past couple years Gabe and I have given the gift of gluten and diabetes to our friends and family. We finally narrowed it down to 4 holiday decadents. Chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate chip macadamia nuts, cake pops, and hot chocolate reindeer with homemade peppermint marshmallows. We had made the cookie batter two nights before we left home for his families holiday gathering, but left everything else till the night before. However, the day before we left I had work in the city and he agreed to meet me in the city for a Union Square Christmas Tree viewing and a pizza dinner. By the time we got home it was 9:30pm and we had lots of work to do. We blasted Frank Sinatra till Gabe couldn’t take it and it was so late that we needed something with more of a beat to keep us awake. At midnight we had finished all the cookies, and were half-way through the cake pops. 

Luckily, one of us had packed earlier in the week. Moi. Next on the list was the hot chocolate reindeer whose damn red noses wouldn’t stay glued on. By 1am we had scratched making the marshmallows until another day. We went to bed at 3am exhausted, but exhilarated.  We woke up 2.5 hours later at 5:30am to pack the car and our dog and head home for the holidays. Well not before we left some cake pops and a note for all the neighbors on our street. An hour from the Christmas party Gabe’s grandparents called to tell him that the party has been pushed back on hour. We get an amazing nap so we were able to enjoy the next 8 hours with his family. I mean a nap and alcohol made that possible. 

I think that might be one of my favorite Christmas memories. Looking back I had a lot of amazing memories. I was stressful, but fun and I think I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean I could definitely buy and make less presents, but everything else was so much fun. I love Christmas and I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Buddy is Back!