Posts tagged birthday
Posts tagged birthday
Who has two thumbs and is perpetually bad at blogging? This girl. (That’s K, in case anyone wasn’t clear by now.) (But also M is not that great since he’s contributed, um, once?) Anyway. A lot has happened in the two months since our friend Angie’s epic Hunger Games birthday party, so allow me to fill you in on some of the goings-on.
M’s birthday was on Easter Sunday this year, so we (okay, I) wanted to do something for him that would be very obviously for him rather than for the holiday. (This meant that hunting for eggs filled with candy was sadly out of the picture. Time to getreallycreative!) Somewhat at the last minute, we were invited by several friends to go camping with them in Julian - and although we hemmed and hawed over the difficulty of it at first, we managed to get all our ducks (and dogs) in a row and joined them in the wilderness*!
To keep a long story short - it was a most excellent weekend. We arrived as dark was falling on Friday night and managed to put up all of the tents AND make dinner, all before the very reasonable hour of 10:00pm**. That night was K’s official first night camping - as well as the pups’ - and we all weathered it pretty well! The tent was comfortable, if slightly cold, and with all four of us crammed together on the air mattress we managed to keep each other warm. The next morning, we all gathered at what became the “main” campsite for delicious breakfast burritos made by consummate campsite chef Gregor. After breakfast we decided to go hiking, and we were out baking in the sun for several hours, effectively wearing ourselves (and the dogs) out. That afternoon, we went into town. Christy really wanted to visit one of the local stores to pick up some hard candy, and the rest of us really wanted pie. Julian’s famous apple pie***, to be exact. We also had made plans to go to a little barbecue/brewery place on Main Street for dinner, and once we discovered that we could take the dogs up onto the brewery’s porch while we ate, we did just that. We ate All The Food, and then it was back in the car and back to the campsite before dark, in time to start our fire and get ready to make some s’mores!
Sunday morning brought an end to our all-too-brief camping trip, but it also brought M’s birthday! Christy and Danny had given him a Bop-It for his birthday (kind of an inside joke, based on the game Draw Something, long story****), so we all took turns playing with that piece of nostalgia, but even better - that morning, Tiff and Gregor made everyone an amazing Polish Easter (birthday) breakfast! We stuffed ourselves with meats and cheeses, bread and wine, until we couldn’t hold any more. Then came the onerous job of packing everything to go home - which we accomplished, but after which we decided that we were going to stay until the last possible minute when we would get kicked out of the campground. We played cards on the picnic table for a long time, which somehow***** culminated in M getting birthday spankings.
I’ve written enough now, though it doesn’t begin to cover the stories and the fun from that weekend. We’re hoping to make Easter weekend camping an annual occurrence.
*a clean, family-friendly campsite just outside of Julian, California
**it took longer to make food than we anticipated because we didn’t quite have enough wood to keep the fire hot. K and her friend Tiff actually went in search of more kindling at one point and ended up discovering a discarded deer’s antler!
***K got the caramel dutch apple pie and it was like heaven in her mouth - highly recommended.
****the story is that M was trying to draw “twist” for Christy and he drew a very good Bop-It and an arrow to the “twist” part and she had no idea what he had drawn. M was very upset, and also amused, by the fact that she had missed out on this bit of pop culture from our childhoods.
*****Mao. Those that know, understand.
Over this past weekend, M & K went to a Hunger Games themed birthday party! Our friend Angie likes to go all out for her birthdays, and this year the date happened to coincide with the new Hunger Games movie. A big group of us went to see the movie together (it was, on the whole, terrific), and then we got dressed up in costumes for the party. The birthday girl was Katniss, and her husband colored in his beard to be Seneca Crane. M went as Haymitch, reusing his Kurt Cobain wig and really acting the part by carrying two flasks around all night. K dressed as Venia, one of Katniss’ prep team - described in the books as having aqua hair and gold tattoos. Several people showed up as citizens of the Capital, just wearing as many bright colors and outlandish things as possible, while others came as tributes, having modeled their costumes on the outfits in the movie. There was even someone who came as a tracker jacker! We had a great time, as we always do when spending time with friends. And K was pretty proud of her costume and makeup, when all was said and done!
This year was the big quarter century birthday for K, and we definitely celebrated appropriately! K’s birthday was on a Saturday (always a nice bonus) and so the fun times lasted all weekend. Friday, K was surprised at work (okay, not really surprised, they do it for everyone, but still) when she came back from lunch to find a birthday decor explosion at her desk!
Friday evening after work, we met up with our friend Angie to check in for the next morning’s 5K and pick up some running gear (happy birthday to K), and then we had dinner together to celebrate before the next morning.That night, although we went to bed early, we were rudely awakened in the middle of the night by fire alarms somehow triggered by a power outage… but we did manage to get back to sleep, and the next morning we were ready and excited for the race! It was Halloween themed (in that there was a costume contest), so although M wasn’t costumed, K threw on her devil horns to complete the running ensemble — but neither of us held a candle to Angie and her pup, who came as Dorothy and Toto in an awesome getup!
It was K’s very first 5K, and our training had been somewhat derailed by some knee problems and unexpected travel, so when it came time to run, K had never run more than 1.5 miles without stopping before. However, on Saturday morning, she made it a full 2 miles before having to stop and walk for a bit! Although the original goal had been to run the full distance, given the training fiasco just the 2 miles straight was a huge accomplishment. And we all finished running and got our well-deserved medals — even little “Toto”!
When we got home late that morning, as a birthday treat, M cooked K an epic brunch and she got to open her fabulous presents, and we rewarded ourselves for that morning’s effort with some relaxation before that night’s multiple-birthday/Halloween costume party.
The party’s theme was pop stars and zombies (because those two things go together so naturally), and all of the costumes were pretty amazing. M had a fun idea for ours, to take advantage of both themes at once: he went as “zombie Kurt Cobain” and K went as “zombie Amy Winehouse” (too soon? too bad). Here are some pre-zombification pictures:
And post-zombie, featuring 80s pop star:
Also at the party were Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears (with KFed and son, and another kid on the way!), Tiffany, Elvis, zombie Michael Jackson, and the most realistic zombie of the night, zombie In-N-Out dude. We listened to Halloween music, watched Nightmare Before Christmas and Zombieland, ate yummy food, and drank plenty of adult beverages, of course. It was a lot of fun!
The next day, Sunday, K and her friend Ali went on a foodie tour of San Diego - specifically, of Coronado Island. We sampled food at several different restaurants, tasted olive oils and vinegars at a local olive oil company, and tried freshly made salted caramels at a little candy store. It was time well spent, we had a lot of fun! And since Ali’s birthday is also in October, it was a nice way for the two of us to celebrate one another together.
A few days later, the birthday celebrations continued with dinner with friends at the Cheesecake Factory. Funny to think that when we lived in Maryland, before we were living in such a “foodie” city, the Cheesecake Factory was one of our favorite places to eat — now it’s way far down the list, behind all of our favorite local (non-chain) restaurants. But it is still a favorite, and we hadn’t been there to eat since before we moved out here, so it was fun to go back! Plus, K got fun birthday dessert.
25 years old - huzzah!
The long weekend was mostly spent with friends, hanging out and having fun. K went to her friend Tiff’s bachelorette party/lingerie shower, and had a great time celebrating her upcoming wedding. (However, pictures from that evening are classified.) Labor Day Monday was our friend Gregor’s birthday, and we had all made plans to spend the afternoon at the Del Mar races together for him, so we donned our big hats and cheered on the horses for several hours before re-convening at a beachy pizza place for dinner. It was a most excellent way to kick off fall 2011.
Did I mention we saw an amazing sunset? The pictures don’t do it justice, but still…
Given that the last post was primarily text, here are some pictures from our trip home from Costa Mesa. We stopped at a little trail which was a short, easy hike up to some amazing Pacific views, and spent some time drinking it all in. Never taking this for granted!
In our last post, we mentioned the Living Social deal for The Hotel Hanford which we used for our weekend getaway to Costa Mesa. Well, the deal wasn’t just for an overnight stay. We also got a $50 credit at the hotel restaurant, which entirely covered our dinner and even carried over to help out with breakfast the next morning. Plus, our little welcome kit at the hotel came with a book of coupons for the enormous shopping mecca of Southern California, South Coast Plaza. Now, at first, we wrote this part off. Neither of us is a huge shopper, and we figured there would be lots of other things to do in the area. But when we opened the little “passport to savings” we couldn’t help but be intrigued. These are not your mother’s coupons, my friends. (Unless your mother happens to be super rich and living in Orange County.) These were freebies and discounts to stores — wait, that’s too pedestrian — boutiques such as Gucci, Armani, Prada, Coach… and the list goes on. And these coupons were not exactly meant to attract penny-pinchers. We’re talking “spend $1500 and get 10% off!” Or, in another case, “spend $1000 and get a free gift* from Coach! *free gift is a Coach key fob!” Um, yeah. Our jaws dropped a little bit at these “savings”. But it also made us really curious to check out the “internationally renowned” mall (not to mention the clientele at such a place) so we decided to go on Sunday morning before heading home. We flipped through the coupon book and found approximately three (3) coupons that actually made sense for our budget, such as: buy one chocolate at Godiva Chocolatier and get a free chocolate bunny! or: show up at the Bond No. 9 counter and get a free fragrance sample! and finally: simply enter a certain jewelry store and get a free jewelry cleaner kit! Yeah, freebies that are actually free make a whole lot more sense for our current budget. Plus, we noticed that the little coupon book was also our ticket into the VIP Lounge, which instantly piqued our interest, as neither of us had ever been to a VIP Lounge… inside… a mall… before. So! Sunday morning, off we went to the mall.
Oh, the mall. It actually was kind of fun to wander around taking in all the rich people spending obscene amounts of money at the overpriced stores. And we did enjoy our chocolates from Godiva, our first stop — we have our priorities in order! When we got to the fragrance counter, the woman there was exuberant in her attempts to persuade us to purchase something, but we just claimed our free gifts and made some empty promises to come back later. Ha! (The perfume and cologne have gone untouched since then, as neither of us really wears scents all that often. Clearly we are not the proper clientele for South Coast Plaza.) And when we went to the jewelry store, not only did we get a free cleaning and travel kit, but the woman at the counter cleaned K’s ring for free, right there! She also briefly inspected it, and we could see her demeanor change when she realized it was not only real, but quite valuable. Suddenly she thought of us as big spenders and started trying to sell M some seriously expensive watches! We almost felt badly about letting her down. But the highlight of the mall excursion was definitely the VIP Lounge. We went in and were treated like the super rich people that usually use the space, and we got to sit on a comfy couch with free snacks and drinks, including alcoholic ones, and we watched dudes in suits (suits! on a Sunday! at the mall!) hang out together watching European car racing, and we basically just decided it was awesome even though we felt ridiculously out of place. (None of the other people in the lounge seemed to think it was a photo op…)
After our detour to Orfila Winery, M & K drove for another couple of hours to reach Costa Mesa and our one-night getaway. (This getaway sponsored by Living Social, where we found a terrific deal for a night at The Hotel Hanford in Cotsa Mesa. By the way, if you haven’t signed up for Living Social, using this link to do so gets you $5 “Deal Bucks” to spend on your first purchase. Not bad!) Our hotel was a scant 15 minutes from Newport Beach, and since it was such a nice afternoon, we decided to head out to the sand and surf and explore a little bit. What an amazing, relaxing evening! We grabbed snacks at the surf shop by the beach, and then just wandered for a while. We moseyed past people fishing off of the pier and laughed at the seals gamboling around (and stealing some of the fish, I suspect).
As we walked down the beach, we had fun people-watching (and dog-watching!). K snapped a few photos of an anonymous pair hanging out on an empty lifeguard station, thinking it made a cute, beach-romantic picture, only to almost get caught in the act when they abruptly jumped down! She was later vindicated by the sight of a professional photographer taking wedding pictures of a bride and groom who used the same basic idea for a few of their photos.
After a lovely afternoon of beach-wandering, we settled in to watch a bit of the striking sunset. It got pretty chilly and we were starving, so we didn’t stay for the whole dramatic event, but what we saw was still pretty amazing. We even got to see the last few wisps of sunset-tinged clouds from our hotel room before heading down for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.
Back in April (don’t judge me for being so late… again…), M & K celebrated M’s birthday with a mini-getaway up in Costa Mesa. We left on that Saturday morning, but since we had no set plans and no timeline, we decided to take a slight detour and head for Orfila Winery before continuing north into Orange County. Why Orfila? Well, thanks to our awesome friend Ali, we had a coupon for a free wine tasting! It was an absolutely beautiful day, so we opted to go on the free tour of the vineyards as well.
Orfila reminded us a lot of the wineries we tend to frequent whenever we visit Keuka Lake, one of our all-time favorite places, and where K’s grandparents have a beautiful summer home. That bit of nostalgia was supplemented by the delicious wines we sampled and the breezy, balmy mountain air of the vineyard, reminding us even more of mild summer days in upstate New York.
We spent a fun few hours at the winery (after all, M couldn’t drive RIGHT after sampling several wine varieties!) and barely managed to talk ourselves out of signing up for their wine club, although it was very tempting. Our ears did perk up at the mention of their annual Grape Stomp, which sounds like a lot of fun. That’s not until August, but we got a chance to see what we’ll look like if we decide to participate…
K turned 24 on the Friday before Halloween. This post will document how some people made her birthday awesome, if not as epic as last year’s (drunken) celebrations.
- She made her famous chocolate chip cookies for all of us (herself included) to enjoy.
- M got her a seriously beautiful fall bouquet…
…and some ridiculously delicious Halloween chocolate-covered strawberries!
(M also took her to Arrivederci’s Pizzeria in Hillcrest, one of our first “date night” spots in San Diego, and then for a bottle of wine and dessert at Babycakes, a bakery which specializes in amazingly decadent cupcakes. Yeah… he did good.)
- K’s mom got her a new keyboard, which is coming in quite handy as she and M practice for SDMC’s winter performances!
- She got lots of phone calls, text messages, and facebook shout-outs.
- She went to the local home brew mart with her friend Ali to get supplies to brew her first beer (!) and the two of them got free beer tastings because it was her birthday!
- Two words: birthday money. (You know who you are — thank you!)
- Her bff Karen sent her a package including a beautiful watercolor painting of a golden retriever, a gorgeous hand-painted ceramic clock from Jerusalem, and — this is the super cool part — 3000-year-old shards of pottery that Karen unearthed on her dig in Israel this summer!!!! All items are now prominently displayed in our home.
Thanks, everyone, for making K’s birthday so special, even though we’re so far away from friends and family.