Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Friday...Smile

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011


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When I saw that Ryan Gosling was starring in this movie, I knew right away I'd see it. I didn't need any other reason ;-) Walking out of the movie theater last night I wasn't sure how I felt about it - but I've decided that I liked it. My only words of advice would be not to go in with any expectations. There was very little dialogue, in fact, I don't even think Gosling's character had a name. Be patient, as the movie does pick up after its slow start. I LOVED the soundtrack, found some of the silent scenes awkward, and was stunned a few times by the extreme "action" scenes. (Feel free to substitute "action" with "violent".) It had a very indie feel to it and I think I'd only recommend it to a select few friends. Don't go if you're expecting Fast & the Furious part 12).

A weekend away...

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As our trip to St. Thomas gets closer (15 days) we're all getting more and more excited. Brandon's mom is especially looking forward to this trip because it will be the first time she has left the states (aside from Mexico). So when she invited Brandon and myself to come to Tahoe for a long weekend to "discuss our trip and hang out by the lake" there was no way we could pass it up. We left Friday after I got off work and came home Monday evening. We had a very enjoyable, relaxing time.

Saturday morning Penny had scheduled a facial for me at a little Spa in town (early Christmas present for me!). I have to say it was one of the BEST facials I've ever had and just what my poor dry skin has been needing. If you are ever in South Lake Tahoe, or anywhere in Tahoe for that matter, make sure to see Trish Tomer at Bio Spirit Salon -- you won't regret it.

After my lovely morning, we took a walk through one of the gorgeous trails in Tahoe. There is something about being in the mountain air on a sunny day. It.was.beautiful.

I stole his sunglasses for the picture haha
There was also this underground area where you are actually standing at the bottom of the pond  (on the other side of the glass of course) and it was so neat!

Brandon and his mom Penny
We spent the evening sitting on the pier, drinking wine (and diet coke) and watching the lake. The next day was the Charger/Patriots game so we spent the afternoon at Riva Grill, a cute restaurant right on the lake that also had a big screen TV. The Chargers my have lost but the day was a successful one! That evening we had dinner with Harry and Donna (who own the two bedroom villa in St. Thomas and who were gracious enough to allow us to stay there in October). We talked for hours and hours about their favorite restaurants, shops, and must-dos while we're there. We're OFFICIALLY EXCITED and it really can't come soon enough. I dream of laying on the white sands with a pina colada and a's the only thing getting me through the work days!

Frenchman's Cove - the resort we'll be staying at

I mean, come on!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Long Weekend

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I took last Friday off of work for my best-friend Kandi's 28th birthday. As per our normal tradition, we spent the whole day together. We started off the day with VG's Donuts in Cardiff (which are, by the way, the best donuts known to mankind, I recommend you go there...soon) then we enjoyed one hour massages, pedicures, lunch at Garcia's in Carlsbad Village and then to the movies to see Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. We spent the rest of the evening torturing Brandon by holding our own karaoke session. (I've contemplated posting the video he took, but it might just be too embarrassing for public viewing.) It was a wonderful day and once again I felt so lucky to celebrate the day my best friend was born!

Happy Birthday Kandi Loren Brown!
The next morning Brandon and I went and picked up our sweet niece Bella. We just felt like she could use some special "auntie and uncle" time so we took her to Chic Fil A. Her mom packed her little backpack (which she felt very cool wearing) with a bib and some wipes. We enjoyed some yummy chicken and playing in the playground area -- she had a blast!

Ahh, I just love her!
Saturday evening we went to Kandi's apartment. She was hosting a dinner party and served her amazing lasagna AND I got to see Jordan, Kristyn and their baby Brooklyn! We played a little Mad Gab, laughed the whole evening and left with full stomachs and hearts :-)

The next day was the first Chargers game! We made our 7-layer bean dip and went over to my brother & sister-in-law's. The Chargers won, we got to stuff ourselves with amazing appetizers and spend time with close friends and family. I am officially ready for Fall!!

Brandon with Holland's baby Rio, and Amber (Brandon's sister) with Lia
By the time we got home from watching the game, I could feel a sore throat coming along and it struck full force that night. I wasn't able to go into work the next day and instead spent the day napping, drinking hot tea, whining and trying to do homework.

Lucy is a great napper

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wedding Memories...

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With our one-year anniversary quickly approaching next month, I thought I would share a clip from our ceremony. Brandon's sister decided to film the ceremony with her flip video and I am sooo thankful she did because it's the only video we have! In hindsight, the one regret I have is not having our wedding day videotaped -- so thank you Amber for preserving this memory for us :-)

Friday, September 9, 2011


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SDG&E Power Outage

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Yesterday the power went out around 3:45 pm and stayed out all night until the morning (Brandon said our fan went on around 1 in the morning). The radio was predicting it could have been out for a couple of days which was kind of scary - but we had fun with it for the night :-)

Brandon drug out the "emergency candles" which actually looked quite romantic, and then we read our books by candlelight (and book-light)  :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

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Dear three-day weekend-
You could not have come at a better time, nor could you have been more enjoyable. I want to say thank you for allowing me to do absolutely nothing on Saturday. I stayed in my pajamas all day - only leaving the house to get bagels with Brandon in the morning, and grab lunch with Holland and Rio. After Brandon finished painting our cabinets, we sat and read our books for hours. Sunday we took my parents to a VIP padre game. I got really great tickets from my work (Life Technologies) that included a parking spot :-) It was a nice, sunny day and the Padres actually won! Life Technologies is a sponsor of the Padres so it was pretty cool to see our advertisement on the big screen.
Padre vs. Rockies

My mom and myself
After the game on Sunday, we had a couple of friends over for dinner. Brittney is moving to Scotland in a couple of weeks to go to graduate school (she's going to St. Andrews -- the same school as Prince William and Kate!) She'll be gone for a year and it was so nice to spend some time with her. I also haven't seen Kevin in forever so I was excited he was coming as well.

Britt stayed the night and we were up until 2:00 am just talking and laughing (which is really all we do when we get together). The next morning we met Kandi for breakfast at the Potato Shack, spent some quality time at Barnes & Noble and spent more time...talking. I was sad to say good-bye but will see her in January.

To end the wonderful three-day weekend Brandon and I just went and watched the sunset and now I'm going to curl up and finish reading Sarah's Key. Has anyone else read it? I'm having a hard time putting it down!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kitchen Mania

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About a month ago, Brandon and I moved into our new place. It's a two-bedroom duplex attached to a five bedroom family house next door. They are connected by the two garages, so it's nice not to share a wall. I feel so lucky to have found this place as it has almost everything we were looking for (within our measly budget). Two bedrooms (so we can still have an office/guest room) one car garage with washer and dryer and an outdoor sink so Brandon can still do all of his projects. We have a small backyard for Lucy -- although it's pretty ugly (that will be project #2) and we have 4 parking spots!

The only negatives are:
1. It's old - the kitchen was pretty darn ugly
2. No fireplace :-(

Well, since taking the Bar Exam, Brandon has become a full-time house-wife husband extraordinaire. Since I've been working full-time and taking grad classes I feel like I have little time for much else. He's been great with cooking dinner, running our errands aannnd working to make our kitchen pretty. We had a little mishap with our camera and ALL of the before pictures got wiped out so all I have to share are the ones I had taken with my phone (but you'll get the idea).


See? Pretty bad.


Hard at work

Getting closer


Such an old stove right?
After Brandon polished the handles we decided that we really liked them with the black!

I wasn't sure what to think when Brandon told me that he wanted to paint the cabinets black but I absolutely love them :-) It goes very well with our dining room furniture!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Recap

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I know, I know. I've been slacking big time in the blogging department. We've had such a busy summer and I can't believe how fast it's flown by! Is it cheating if I post a quick recap?

Summer of 2011 Recap:
-Brandon took the Bar Exam (we find out the results November 19th)
-I finished two summer classes (4 more to go before graduation)
-We moved from our beloved house on Vulcan to a cute duplex a few miles down the street
-I attended SIX baby showers (was invited to eight!) and have since had the pleasure of meeting little Rio Jolie Mason and little Colin Anders Strothman
-We welcomed our third niece - Lia Capri - into the world (10 pounds 2 oz!)
-My youngest brother graduated from high school and started college
-My cousin Gaidaa visited from Jordan and stayed with my parents for a month
-I celebrated my 28th birthday
-Brandon joined a softball team
-My in-laws visited from Tahoe for a couple of weeks

Lia Capri Barbato (6 weeks)

Palms Riviera for my 28th birthday
My sweet cousin G

Rio Jolie - the little peanut
We finally got to open (and use) all of our wedding presents!
Colin Anders Strothman
Where Brandon spent most of the summer.
(We're gonna burn all of the flashcards as soon as we get the results that he's passed)

Visits with Brandon's Dad (Grandpa Stan)

Swami's Beach

There are only three short weeks of summer left and they're going to be just as busy as the rest was. I'll be better about blogging - I promise.

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