Friday, March 27, 2009

Celebrating Angela

Today is my best friend Angela's 30th birthday. I was sitting here thinking about our friendship over the years and wanted to share some memories of the past 16 years. I think I will do 16 memories - one for each year that we've been friends, though not necessarily specific to each year. Enjoy!

  1. Angela and I met in our freshman year of high school in 1993. We immediately disliked each other for one reason - a boy. I had dated him the year before and she was dating him then. I kept trying to get him to talk to me and get back together, so of course she had no reason to like this girl who wanted to steal her man. Eventually they broke up and we became friends...though exactly how and when it happened has never been quite clear. I'm grateful that in his own way, Brett was able to bring Angela & I together as friends.
  2. One year for Angela's birthday, she had a slumber party and several girl's from school came over. We had a fun evening talking, giggling, eating, doing makeovers, etc. But one strange thing I remember is that we tried to make it look like a homeless man was asleep on the couch. We used pillows, a hat, a huge dog bone for the leg, tennis shoes and a blanket and I remember it looking pretty convincing. Why we would do this, who can remember?
  3. Yes, we were a bit boy crazy in high school. But we got creative and came up with nicknames for the boys we liked so we could talk about them around them without them knowing who we were discussing. I particularly remember often discussing them in Geometry class for some reason...probably because Jordan and Scurvy were nearby. :)
  4. My first trip to Las Vegas was a memorable last-minute trip with Angela, her mom and her younger sister. We stayed at the Golden Nugget, went to the amusement park at Circus Circus, walked around the Strip and memorably walked one very long evening walk from the Golden Nugget to the Stratosphere late at night and thankfully safely. It was a wonderful first visit and great time spent with my best friend.
  5. Once we got to college, we had originally intended to be roommates, but Angela wasn't able to live on campus. But we had a lot of fun getting to know fellow new students at retreat, in class, and in the dorms. There was one memorable time that Angela moved into my dorm room for a few weeks, hush hush, but we eventually got caught and she had to leave. But it was fun to have her around more often.
  6. One thing I've always loved about Angela is her joyful, silly and happy personality. She can never fail to make me laugh with either something silly she'll say or do and just laughing so hard and happily that you can't help but join in. You never know what will set her off, but you can be sure that life is more joyful with Angela.
  7. We have both always loved the movie Beaches and have nicknamed ourselves CeeCee (Angela) and Hill (me). Though our lives have not completely mimicked the movie, our friendship is in many ways very similar. We are remarkably different from one another and these differences both draw us together and also cause conflicts...but we love each other and do our best to be there for each other.
  8. The beginning of our friendship we were in many ways very much like big sister (Angela) and little sister (me). She was more experienced and more protective of me. This fit who we were at that time and worked for us for a long time. But as life is always changing and we with it, this began to have an effect on our relationship. I was experiencing more things and grew unappreciative of the protectiveness that I had once enjoyed. It caused little ruptures in our friendship. We weren't sure how to interact with each other in many ways and decisions we both made caused us eventually to have a falling out.
  9. Though a dark part in our friendship, it is still an important memory to me to remember what it was like to not be friends for a time. I think it gave us both time to evaluate who we were now and not just who we were in the past...and so about a year after my wedding I sent an email to Angela asking for reconciliation. Being able to forgive and move on from the past allowed us to come together as stronger and closer friends who had gone through more similar experiences and now had a more equal friendship. I am grateful that we had the time apart to realize how important our friendship was and that we were able to work out our differences to be there for each other now.
  10. A happier memory is of Angela's wedding. I remember planning her bridal shower - making tiny tea sandwiches, rose cupcakes that didn't rise and had shriveled sugared rose petals, and buying a gorgeous dark red rose corsage for her. Shopping for bridesmaid clothes with Angela and her sister Jeannie - I have often reworn the beautiful black velvet pants and shimmery black top. Angela & Jerry's beautiful outdoor wedding in Las Vegas - it was windy, chilly, and she was an absolutely beautiful bride! I was so happy to be able to be there to love and support her & Jerry on their special day.
  11. Another thing that I love about Angela is her honesty and openness. She is pretty much an open book - openly sharing her thoughts, feelings, emotions, up and downs with people through conversation and her blogs. She isn't afraid to share her opinion and will listen to yours even if you might end up disagreeing. We don't always think the same way, or agree on the same issues, but she doesn't let things like that stand in the way of friendship. It is refreshing to see her honesty and it makes it easier for me, and others I'd think, to be just as open and honest with her. I'm grateful that she brings this out in me as without her I'd be more likely to keep things to myself. In this way, one of our many differences is what brings us closer together.
  12. Another special memory I have is from when her son Michael was born. He was born two days before Christmas and I remember going with Josh to see him for the first time on Christmas Eve. He was such a cute little tiny guy and I loved holding him and spending time with them that day. Michael has grown into a super sweet little boy who is such a mixture of his parents - quiet and contemplative, yet also silly. I loved all the moments I've been able to spend with them - lunches with Angela & Michael at the CBU cafeteria, birthday parties, Halloween, and just evenings spent at their home or ours. He is a precious blessing to his parents and to all those who get to meet him.
  13. A couple year's ago, Angela began a monthly Girl's Night event. It was a time to come together with other girl friends and watch a movie, eat some yummy snacks and talk. We've alternated whose house we meet at (though most often at Angela's), what kinds of foods we eat (Mandy always makes us a feast with multiple desserts! :), and have watched many great and not-so-great movies over all these months. Some favorite evenings have been 80's night for Angela's birthday, princess tea at Mandy's, Christmas baking day, and many others. I think we have all benefited from the opportunity to spend one evening a month just girls. We've been able to love and support one another and just plain have fun together.
  14. One of my most recent memories with Angela happened last October when we got to go back to Vegas together and see Bette Midler in concert. We enjoyed yummy dinners, shopping, trying Coca Cola's many varieties, flirtatious merchants, and of course, the Divine Miss M! :) It was the first opportunity we'd had to take a vacation just the two of us and we had a lot of time to talk, laugh, cry and enjoy time together as best friends. I hope that in the future we'll have the opportunity to take another best friend vacation.
  15. Something else that I admire about Angela is how she will always follow through on what she decides to do. If she says she'll do something then you can be assured that it will happen. She decided to start exercising and training to do the Mud Run and worked so hard to accomplish it. She decided to walk in the Breast Cancer 3-Day and not only raised more than the necessary fundraising, but she also pushed herself to walk all three days. She has continued to set goals for herself to do another Mud Run and who knows what else. I am also so proud of her for her dedication to completing her college degree. Though it is challenging to combine being a wife, mother, full-time employee, and have any kind of social life - she adds in being a student and working hard toward obtaining her degree within the next year or two. I love that she works so hard to achieve those things that are important to her and it inspires me.
  16. Though Angela and I are very different, I love that we support and love each other in spite of, and sometimes because of those differences. She helps me to see things from another perspective, she allows me to be more open and honest, she makes me be silly and have more fun, and she encourages and listens to me. I am so grateful for her friendship in my life and I hope that this special birthday post helps to remind her why she is so important in my life and how much I love her.

Happy 30th Birthday Angela Rose!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

7th Anniversary Vacation

This February 25 was the seven year anniversary of when Josh & I met online through and we decided that we wanted to celebrate by taking a vacation to the central coast. We've been wanting to take a vacation to this area for several years now, but it finally was a possibility this year. We each took 3 days off work and decided to visit Atascadero/Paso Robles, San Simeon, Cayucos/Morro Bay, and Solvang. The beginning of our trip was spent staying at my good friend Jeff's apartment in Atascadero. We've known each other for almost 13 years after having met on a mission trip in 1996. He generously offered his extra bedroom for two nights and from there we were able to visit San Simeon - specifically Hearst Castle where we took two of the five tours offered. We also had the opportunity to go to church with him and he took spent an afternoon taking us on a driving tour of some picturesque country roads with lovely green valleys, beautiful old trees which sometimes created tunnels over the road, a pretty creek and gorgeous ocean vistas. Then we spent an evening in Cayucos at a quaint little hotel right on the ocean. It was a wonderful place to stay and we both wished we could have stayed longer enjoying the ocean views and the constant sound of waves crashing. After we Cayucos, we had lunch at a yummy BBQ restaurant in San Luis Obispo recommended by my boss Erica called Mo's Smokehouse. It was delicious and definitely someplace we'd like to visit again. We spent the night in Lompoc before spending several hours touring quaint Solvang. It was full of beautiful architecture, amazing bakeries with delicious pastries, and cute little shops including one called the Sock Loft which was full of adorable socks and foot-related items. We had a wonderful vacation that was very relaxing, very peaceful and very beautiful. We would love to go again so that we can take the additional 3 tours offered at Hearst Castle and spend a few more nights in Cayucos.

Waiting on the bus to take Tour 2 - Upper Floors of Casa Grande including Hearst's bedroom & study and the kitchen.

The Enchanted Hill - Hearst Castle as viewed from the Visitor Center (with our super zoom camera)

Casa Grande - the main house. Hearst Castle was built over a 28 year period and is uncompleted but full of amazing architecture and art and is a neat glimpse into life in Hearst's time.

The meeting room - guests were expected here each evening for cocktails before dinner and a movie.

Hearst's personal study

The dining room - dinner was served between 8:30 and 9pm and all guests were required to be there. Food was served on fine china, but paper napkins were always used.

The kitchen - it had some neat displays of the china, liquor cabinet, medicine cabinet and ovens/stoves.

One tiny corner of the huge library - thousands of beautifully preserved books.

One of the bedrooms in the Cloisters - every bedroom in the main house and 3 little houses had its own bathroom with flushing toilet and shower or tub. This is amazing since at the time most homes across America still had outhouses and one communal stand alone bathtub.

One of the ceilings in one of the main house bedrooms.

Another ceiling - this one is in Casa del Sol.

Pretty pink tree in the gardens.

Casa del Sol - one of the little houses. Each little house had several bedrooms and bathrooms, but all meals were served only in Casa Grande. No room service here!

Neptune Pool

The indoor pool - everything that looks like gold is 24 karat gold!

Ocean view coming down from Hearst Castle - at one time Hearst owned over 50 miles of coastline among many other properties.

Beautiful view

Shoreline Inn...on the Beach in Cayucos, CA.

Ocean view from our room - so beautiful!

Gorgeous ocean vista!

Elephant seals sleeping on the beach near San Simeon.

This one was flirting with the camera!

Pretty creek

Friends for almost 13 years - Jeff & Keri

Montana de Oro park - beautiful views!

Friends at the ocean - Josh, Keri & Jeff

Happy 7 years!

View of Morro Rock (means rock rock :) from our dinner at Embacadero Grill.

Kissing on the beach in Cayucos :)

Solvang, CA

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Hair

Late last year, my best friend Angela mentioned that she thought I might like to try dying my hair black. While looking at pictures of us from our October trip to Vegas to see Bette Midler, she thought her black hair looked good against my skin. Since I am almost always up for a change to my hair and had never dyed it black before, I said it sounded like a good idea. So about a month or so ago, I went over to her house and she dyed it for me. hair was quite a change, but I found very quickly that I LOVED it! I felt prettier and sexier and just all around happy. Since my hair was also in desperate need of a haircut (tons of split ends that kept taunting me!) I made an appointment with my favorite hairdresser Kerry. This past Saturday we finally got together and talked about what to do. I wanted to keep as much length as possible since I really don't like how I look with short hair. I also wanted some long layers to frame it around my face...but nothing that would require a lot of daily maintenance since I am so not that girl! :)
The cut we ended up with is super cute, super easy to care for, and so much healthier. See the pictures below and let me know what you think! :)