December 3, 2010

Trip Highlights

Here are some hightlights from our vacation:

At the Hat before we hit the road

The drive only took about 3.5 hours with some stops for gas

Our room at the Planet Hollywood Towers Hotel in Las Vegas
 At the Planet Hollywood Casino, they had pole dancers behind the pit games. I can see why parents would not want their kids walking through the casino to get the hotel! I waved at one and she blew a kiss at me. Mani was more interested in Blackjack than dancing girls. Not sure if that was for real, or if he was trying hard not to look, either way, he's a good egg!
View from our room on the 53rd floor-- not too shabby!

We had breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was pretty good, but a little over-priced like all of Vegas. We decided that for a normal dinner, you take what you would usually pay and add $10-15. This strategy worked well for budgeting.
At the MnM Store
New York, New York
At the Excalibur during our night out on the town

The third day, we hit up the Hooter's Casino for some $3 blackjack and ended up winning back most of what we had spent in Vegas, so that was cool. We left about 2 and spent most of the day driving, stopping in Green River, Utah for the night.
....entering Utah
Utah was not my favorite place. It's pretty, but there's not much going on and the people there were not very nice to us. I don't know if it's because we are a bi-racial couple or just outsiders or if that's just the way they normally are, but after Vegas, where everyone is super-friendly, Utah was a bit of a shock.
Pretty mountains in Utah

After breakfast, we left Green River and high-tailed it to Colorado Springs, Colorado! Whoo hoo!
Beautiful Green River, Utah
Breakfast here was pretty good, but they had books by the same person on all the tables and our table had a phone. Weird.
Colorado trees! So pretty!
I love Colorado! Such a fresh, clean atmosphere and beauty everywhere. If I could live anywhere, this would be it...
We arrived in the evening and just kind of settled in. We stayed at the Travelodge on Ore Mills Road and I would highly recommend it to anyone staying in the area. The room was clean and good-sized and the staff was terrific! After settling in a little, we went to the Mason Jar for dinner. So good! I wish we could've gotten back there before we left. One of the things I love about the Springs is all of the family-owned and small businesses. In California, rent, taxes, and other expenses make small places that almost extinct--at least in the LA/Orange County area. Another reason to move there...


Today was the rehearsal lunch for Chris and Susan's wedding.
Shove Chapel is so beautiful!
Here we all are rehearsing...
After the rehearsal, we went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch. Mani was the only actual Mexican there from what I could tell, but the food was still pretty good! Both dads gave cute blubbery speeches. It was great. :-)
After the lunch, Mani went back to the hotel to rest and I went for coffee with my best friend Stacia! We went to Agia Sophia, my favorite coffee shop in town. It was great just to be able to talk in person for so long. For dinner, we re-joined Mani and went to Pei Wei. Yum.


The Johnson-Saylor Wedding! The wedding was in the evening, but preparations took most of the day. We took pictures before the ceremony, which mostly involved trapsing up and down large hills in high-heeled shoes. I was glad when that part was over. The wedding itself was beautiful, with one of the best wedding sermons I've ever heard, given by Glen Pakium. The message encouraged the couple to look to the Lord for help in loving each other, and to love each other as an act of worship. This, he exhorted, would make for a lasting marriage. I have found this to be true in my own life and thought his words were very wise.
There really were quite a few people there--it's just a really big chapel!
Pastor Glen and the happy couple taking communion
Receiving line
The reception was great! Our table was a mini-APU reunion, with Stacia, my friends from college Joel, Mike, and Alexander, as well as some friends from Colorado. It was really a major highlight of the trip.
Stacia and Stephanie-- Best Friends Forever... forever!
Two happy couples!
Mani and Joel

So we decided that rather than split the trip back between three days, we would try and make it from Colorado Springs to Vegas in one day, having two more days to spend in Sin City. We liked the Hooter's Casino the first time, so we decided to try the hotel. Got an awesome deal ($25/night!), so we headed out bright and early Monday morning.
More gorgeous scenery
We stopped to eat at Mom's in Salina, Utah, and again, super-unfriendly. This time the waitress was a bit hostile. She acted disgusted with us the whole time for no reason that I could think of. All in all, Utah= not our favorite place. Maybe it's different up north in some of the bigger cities.

We arrived in Las Vegas around 7, making the whole trip in 12 hours, including stops!

We spent most of this day relaxing in our room and wondering the strip, trying to see things we didn't get to see the first time. We saw the Luxor and way more of the MGM Grand than we wanted to see trying to find the tram entrance--that thing is huge!
Strip by day-- that's a description, not an imperative...
That evening we went to Hooter's for dinner, which was pretty good. I am a little more open to trying the one at home now after this one. As for the Hooter's girls, they might as well have been wearing habits after all the skin we'd seen in Vegas. Mani said their outfits looked like pajamas. That made me giggle. The pool was open 24 hours, which was really nice and after dinner we went down to hang out in the hot tub and met a nice couple from Indiana on their honeymoon.


Last day! We had breakfast in the Mad Onion, one of my faves in Vegas now. We spent most of the morning in the casino, where we did not have the same luck as we did before. All in all, though, I would say that we managed to break even and have a pretty good time. We left during the afternoon to try and get home relatively early as we both had to go to work the next day.
All and all, an amazing vacation with the person I love most in the world.  Couldn't ask for more.

November 19, 2010

Super Awesome Wedding/Honeymoon Road Trip, Introduction

So, I realize that it has been almost two months since our Vegas vacation, but I realized that I don't have any kind of account of it, and seeing that it was our first real vacation as a married couple, I thought it worth documenting, albeit, a bit after the fact.

I say our first real vacation as a married couple because at the time of our honeymoon, we were dead broke. We had absolutely no budget for a honeymoon trip and very little planned, except that thanks to my grandmother, we had two nights in a timeshare in Anaheim, and two nights in Palm Springs. Yes, Palm Springs. In August. Now, for those of you that don't know, I live in California about 30 minutes from Anaheim and about 2 hours from the Springs, so it was more of a "staycation" than a honeymoon. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our wedding guests, we were able to to Disneyland and have a nice time in Palm Springs as well, so I don't want it to seem like it was awful, just more of a mini-vacation than an actual one.

For this trip, we had dutifully saved most of the year, and I had done a ton of research for it as well. The original plan was for Mani and I to go in October to Las Vegas and stay for a week, allowing us plenty of time to see all the sights, relax, and spend some quality time with each other. A hotel was chosen and reservations were made. Well, as fate would have it, a friend in Colorado got engaged in May and asked me to be a bridesmaid for her September wedding. Open plans, insert wrench. But never fear, plans were meant to be tweaked. Besides, Las Vegas is on the way to Colorado. Sort of. We will make it work!

Thus was born the Super Awesome Wedding/Honeymoon Road Trip. The plan: Leave Tuesday September 21st from Covina, California, arrive in Las Vegas. Two days in Las Vegas, then head for Colorado on Thursday, stopping to spend the night in Green River, Utah. Arrive on Friday in Colorado Springs, rehearsal lunch on Saturday, wedding on Sunday, drive back Monday and Tuesday, home on Wednesday, work on Thursday. So much for a super relaxing vacation! Even the thought of it was a little overwhelming, but as a couple, we are nothing if not flexible, so I knew we could make this work. Add to that the powers that be decided that we have a Very Important Appointment on that Tuesday, so it added a little extra stress to the mix. But no matter! We had saved for this trip, I had bought my dress, we were going, dagnabit! And let me say, it was more than worth it. I'm not sure how, but we stayed under budget for most of the trip, which is remarkable since our budget was lower than originally intended due to having to move the dates up. And we got to see so much of the West, which is so incredibly beautiful, once you get past the desert. Also, I am really glad that I got to be a part of the wedding. Even though it might have been a little stressful leading up to it, I think I would have been sad if I had not been a bridesmaid.

(I'm the one on the far right...)

November 12, 2010

So here we are. Two months later. I'm a random blogger. I'm okay with that now.

Here are the rest of my squares.
A Granny Square pattern from the Lion Brand site
Circles to Squares, also from the LB site
Yarn blending
More yarn blending
A Mario mushroom from a chart I found on Rav
My own random creation
Same Granny Square pattern

I think they turned out pretty good! 

September 3, 2010

Squuuuuuaaaaare ONE!

Please, someone else tell me you remember this...

*cue music*

This was probably the most interested in math I ever was or will ever be again in my life.

Today's video brought to you by my first square in the Rainbow Connections swap on Ravelry.

It didn't really take any time to knit up, except for the mitered corners. I wasn't sure how many stiches to pick up. Remember, math is not really my strong point, despite my dogged devotion to Square One as a child.... I mostly just liked the songs....
After a few tries I was happy with the result. A purple single crochet border really rounded things off and made it neat.
I'm not a big fan of my color sequence, however. I didn't really think it through before going for it and also, since this is my first square, I wasn't sure how the colors would look together. The yellow really stands out. In future squares I'm going to try and use this to my advantage, as I fear it could be a distraction.
Next square is an entrelac square. I used my garter stitch gauge as a jumping off point for how many stitches to cast on, but seeing how garter is completely different from stockinette and how entrelac itself is just plain weird, I have no idea what the actual gauge will be. I guess we'll find out! :-)

August 26, 2010

Just in case you were wondering...

... I still exist! Isn't it crazy how the days fly by? And how things change? I was reading back at the begining of the blog, and in January, I had plans to blog every week (didn't happen), move to Colorado (on the back burner), and publish my knit wear designs (might still happen).
I got a really great raise in March, which allowed for extended stay in California. Forever? I'm not sure. I really fell in love with the Springs when I was there and can't wait to go back in September.
Me at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO March 2010
My best friend Stacia and I at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO March 2010
On the knitting front, I made considerable progress on a new sweater in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky, which I really love working with, but then it got way to hot to even consider having a large pile of wool on my lap, so I've set that one aside for now. I went to go back to it the other day and couldn't remember where I was in it, so I will have to return to it when I have a little more time to focus.
For now, I'm involved in two swaps-- a Lion Brand swap and a Vanna's Choice Afghan Swap called Rainbow Connection. For the first one, my partner is from the Bronx and I will send her one item knit with a Lion Brand yarn (already complete!) and then some goodies in the same color. I will post some more details once I've sent it to her, so I know I won't spoil the surprise.
The second one is a little more complicated but super cool. This is how it works:
You join a swap that is open and interesting to you. They have different themes like George Clooney (manly colors) or Carribean (tropical colors).
Idealy it is you and twelve other people. You each make 12 squares in the colors designated and send one to each person. Then, at the end, you have twelve and sew them all together and have a blanket-- tada!
Before all this swapping madness, I had kind of fallen behind in my knitting. Here are the last few things I made:
A handbag with a badly sewn zipper
A cotton teddy bear with a big heart
A hat, also with a big heart.
That's all for now...

March 19, 2010

Two Sweaters

Gosh, where does the time go? Manybe I should revise my goal to blogging once a month, as that seems to be the trend here. I also will not be moving to Colorado this year, but possibly next year, as we are attempting to save up some money.

In recent news, I have finished my first sweater! It actually only took me about ten days to knit, and that wasn't even working on it every day. The fact that I used size 13 needles might have helped! The yarn wasn't the fanciest--Lion Brand Hometown USA, which is 100% acrylic--however, it worked up really nice and was super soft and drapey after I washed it. I really just wanted the expirience of sweater-making without the huge investment and I think it turned out pretty well. Of course, the temperatures are now in the 80's in beautiful Southern California, but oh well. It will be nice for next winter and also for next week, when I fly to Colorado Springs to see Stacia! Woo!

While browsing sweaters on Ravelry, I came upon this beauty. I have to say, this is a really impressive piece of knitting. Instarsia is kind of tricky in the first place, but facial renderings are especially difficult. Just in case you wanted to have a giant picture of President Obama's face on your chest-- now you can! My question is... why would you want to?

Equally impressive is this guy. A true feat of not only knitting, but design skill. Although I am not an active supporter of our President or his policies, I am almost tempted to try this one, just to see if I could do it.

"Obama-rama" sweater designed and knit by Laura Birek. "Inspiration" scarf designed and knit by Laura Chamberlain.

February 19, 2010

What've you been doing lately?

After a long and frustrating battle with fair-isle gloves (which I eventually lost), my knitting life has enjoyed a vibrant resurgance in the past few weeks. For Valentine's Day, Husband recieved a hat, made in two hours no less!
I used Wool-Ease Thick and Quick, which I have decided is my new favorite yarn because it is both super soft and super SUPER fast! I actually made two hats between the evening of the 13th and Valentine's Day-- on the first one I somehow calculated the gauge wrong and ended up with a hat that was 30" in circumfrance! No one has a head that big! So, I ripped it back and whipped out this baby in no time flat.

Also for Valentine's day, I crocheted this little envelope. It's really not that exciting, except that I had asked a question about it on a Ravelry board and it was answered in Episode 60 of Yarncraft. I thought that was pretty cool-- Hey Mom, they said my name on a podcast! I put two little Reeses Hearts in it and gave to my Honey along with the hat. I'm not exactly sure what he's going to do with a purple crocheted envelope, but I'm sure he'll come up with something creative.

Going back to the end of January, I made these little handwarmers out of some amazing expensive yarn that was given to me on Ravelry. It's a wool-silk blend, which makes them delicously soft and super warm. They're a little delicate, however and don't handle my everyday wear and tear very well. I am a little rough on garments. I'll have to be more gentle with them. Maybe give them a nice bath in some wool soak.

My next big project a sweater. I know, I know, a sweater is big and scary, but I am using fast yarn and big needles, so at least if it's aweful I won't have slaved over it for months just to discover that it won't fit. I'm using Lion Brand Hometown USA in color Washington Denim. It's kind of slate blue. I think I like it, but by the end of the project, I'll either love it or think it's the ugliest color ever. We'll have to see how it goes. I'm also not using a super-fancy expensive yarn for the same reason stated above-- at least if it sucks, I won't have wasted yards and yards of precious fiber. This sweater is kind of a test run. If it turns out well, maybe I'll try a nicer yarn and more sophistocated patern.

That's all. Diego and Carmel say goodnight.