London and Paris, Oui Oui!

A month and a half later, here's the post.  Can you blame me though?  I had hundreds of pictures to go through and it's a little tough to whittle them down to just enough so that you don't get bored out of your mind.

Anyways, my parents love traveling and have tried to maintain the tradition of our family going on a yearly, or bi-yearly trip.  Two years ago it was Spain and Portugal.  This year it was England and France, and it was a blast!

Our first stop was London.  After a long first day wandering the streets in search of our hotel, we hit the ground running the next day and took the sightseeing bus around town to check out the sights.  It was a a typical rainy day, but we got to see see everything we wanted.  We saw Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, and the London Bridge.  Then, on Saturday we took a day tour to Windsor Castle, Stone Henge and the town of Bath.  It was so cool to see Stone Henge, and J was super excited to check that off his list.

On Sunday we took the train to Paris.  It was so pretty getting to see the countryside.  In France, we tried to take it a little easier.  For Lessye's and my birthday, my parents sent Michael, Lessye, Jason and I dinner at the Eiffel Tower.  Not sure why the boys got to join in on our gift, but, it was an amazing evening.  We walked around the first floor of the Eiffel Tower and then ate a wonderful three-course meal with one, or two, fine, maybe three glasses of champagne.  We also go to visit the Louvre and made a trip out to the Palace of Versailles.

But, for me, I think the true highlight was the food.  In London, we found a great pub the last night we were there where we had a lot of fun and the ambiance was great.  But the French food was divine!  Everything tasted great and they have beautiful presentation.  Jason found a restaurant where we had lunch one day.  It was the number one ranked restaurant, at the time, in Paris on TripAdvisor, and it was certainly our number one meal.  We also found several other great restaurants.  And I would love to go back to Paris again, just to enjoy all their food.  We tried so many new things; tuna tartare, foie gras, duck pate, crepes, macaroons, and so much more!  I could write a whole blog post about the food!  But, I'll spare you.  So, here are some pictures instead! I seriously can't stop dreaming about their food!

No, I'm Not Biased...

So blog posts are way more exciting when there are pictures, and truth be told, I haven't had a whole lot of pictures to share lately.  Either because I'm having way too much fun to post pictures or I'm too lazy to sit down and upload pics and go through them.  But, yesterday J and I spent all afternoon with my brother and his family and I just had to share some cute pics from the day!

I think the cuteness stems from having such an adorably, cute niece.  Because...uh, who wouldn't want to capture her sweetness?  I know, right? I'm so happy to know I'm not biased! :)

Thunder Up!!

Last night was the end of the NBA Playoffs, the Miami Heat beat the OKC Thunder.  Sad day.  But, over the course of the playoffs, I became more of a Thunder fan, and we got to spend lots of time with Eric and Ashley!  We got together with them at our house for every possible Thunder playoff game of the last two rounds that our schedules would allow.

These were our sad faces after we lost in Game 5.
Trying to be more normal.  Eric was super excited about getting to take home leftover cake.

Cherry-Vanilla Layer Cake.  We were hoping we would have something to celebrate.

We met a mouse.  He hung out with us for like 10 minutes.  Chloe had lots of fun dreaming up ways of killing him in her head.  Jason named him Gerald.  I wanted to name him Stuart.  I hope he doesn't come back.  He's cute.

I Am My Father's Daughter

There are days where I have to shake my head and laugh. It's funny to take a step back and realize how much he rubbed off on me. He's a little quiet and a lot practical. A little frugal and a lot wise. Here are a few things he taught me or somehow just rubbed off on me:
  • Continental Airlines (now United Airlines) is the least painful airline to be a customer of 
  • A steak cooked anymore than medium-rare is awful.
  • If at all possible, only take carry-ons on airplane trips (including 10 day trips to Europe in the winter!!) 
  • If it's going to be a cold evening, leave your faucets dripping 
  • You have to eat at local, hole-in-the-wall restaurants when traveling abroad to experience good food 
  • Always turn the lights off, when leaving a room
  • "Keep an  eye on the weather!"
  • Naps are the best
  • Be mindful of what time during the day you're using energy
  • Save your money and don't go in debt!  Always have an emergency savings and put money into your retirement accounts
  •  Don't let people know you speak a second language, unless necessary
  • Always say good morning to your family, and respect birthdays and anniversaries
  • You gotta stay on top of cutting-edge technology
I could go on and on and on.  It cracks me up.  But, he's a great father, a great husband to my mom, and a great leader.  And I am so appreciative to have the privilege of being his daughter.

I'm fairly certain that the only thing I wish I hadn't gotten from him were his eyelashes, haha.  I would kill for some long, pretty eyelashes, and I give my dad full credit for not bestowing some of those on me.  For shame!  So, that should be evident of how awesome my dad is, when the only bad thing he passed on to me were short, stubby eyelashes.  ;-)

Happy, happy Father's Day!!

And, yesterday, the whole family came over for lunch, so we took some quick family pics too!  Check them out, Zoey is a walking machine now!  She brings such a smile to anyone who is in the room with her.

L.A. Trip

I've been wanting to visit my best friend, Laura, for quite a while. I was unable to visit her while she lived in Miami. So, we finally decided that her birthday seemed like a great opportunity to come visit.

And I desperately needed a vacation. A real one. Where you get to pack and travel and leave your home. One of the disadvantages of working from home is that days off from work, holidays, don't come with the same relief that one gets from working in office. When you get to stay home from work, you normally are excited to sleep in, do things around the house, and relax. Well, I already get to do all that, so holidays are not much different than any other day, for me. So, the change of pace was something I was looking forward to and I love finding sweet notes from my hubby hidden in my suitcase!

I left for L.A. on Wednesday night. Since, I'm able to work from anywhere that has Wi-Fi, I thankfully didn't have to take off any days to make the trip. Thursday, I worked, while Laura was at her job. That night she took me to Santa Monica Pier. We dined at Bubba Gump's and enjoyed some shrimp. We walked up and down the pier and got to watch a beautiful sunset.

Friday night, we went to Katsu-ya, a sushi restaurant. The fresh fish was amazing and the prices for sushi were very affordable. Then we decided to check out Mulholland Drive, even though it was dark. What resulted was a quick stop at an overlook to get a beautiful view of the L.A. at night. It was amazing!

Saturday, I finished up some work while Laura ran some errands. Then we headed out to Malibu for the day. The drive down was amazing! The scenery is gorgeous, and you eventually end up driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, along the water. So, we laid out and enjoyed the beach for a while. The weather in L.A. is definitely a lot nicer than Oklahoma! Highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s and 60s, with a nice breeze and no humidity! After relaxing on the beach, we headed further along the coastline till we got to Neptune's Net, a seafood dive bar where "The Fast and the Furious" filmed a scene. (Sidenote: Laura and I loved this movie when we were in high school, so it holds a special place in our hearts! Don't judge!) Then, we headed home and just took it easy, watching the NBA playoffs and other TV.

The last day we headed out to Hollywood. We grabbed a bite to eat than walked up and down the Hollywood Boulevard. We took a Celebrity Homes Bus tour and had so much fun checking out celebrity homes, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. After that, we stopped at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and had a little bit of fun before heading out. It was a great way to wrap up the trip.

MLW Work Outing

MLW is slowly, but steadily, growing.  So, as they grow, they've begun to work on developing the culture of the firm.  One of the things they wanted to do was bring everyone together for a day of fun and bonding.

The day started out with a service project.  The entry fee for participating in their NCAA March Madness bracket was one hour of community service.  So, everyone came together and helped to make blankets for Project Linus.  Then, we headed out to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to tailgate and then go see the game.  It was a fun day, despite being a little toasty!

Softball Nights

I felt like there was too much I had to do at home today, so I had to pass up watching J play at his weekly softball games tonight.  But, I figured I could share a little of what goes on at one of these things.  J has been a part of his work's softball league since he got hired on in 2009.  It gives him time to hang with the guys and be a part of some light-hearted competition.

I thought it would be a great idea to bring Titan along to get him socialized and in different environments.  Clearly he has been deprived, because he does not know how to act around other dogs!  While he's a total sweetheart around people, he's not the nicest dog to others of his species.  I felt like horrible parent, trying to keep him on a tight leash, so that he wouldn't get too unruly.  Embarrassing!  He needs lots and lots more doggie socialization time! So, I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of more visits to the park just to help him adjust!

So, here are some pics from last week's softball games and of some of the sweet dogs that put up with Titan!  The boys played well and won both of their games for the night!  Woohoo!

Catching Up

So, I'm waaayyy behind in posting.  Life has been keeping me super busy.  So, here are some things that have been going on lately.

We babysat Zoey one night, and I think Jason looks pretty good with a baby on one arm! ;-)  This pretty girl is exactly what I hoped having a niece would be like.  She's freaking adorable with a precious spirit.  Jason and I are super scared that our kids won't turn out near as cute and cuddly as she is.  It's the truth. 

I made cupcakes for a charity fundraiser my mom was doing at her office.  Andes Cupcakes and Pina Colada cupcakes were on the menu!  Ahh, cupcakes are my friend!  I still have many cupcake recipes to test!

We went to my dear, dear friend, Rachel's wedding.  And I got to catch up quickly with some childhood friends!  These three ladies I have known for a very long time, and hope to continue to be friends with for many years to come.  Rachel (top) I have known since 5th grade.  We went to CEA together till 11th grade, where I decided to try out Jenks HS.  I also met Ashley (middle) at CEA.  She's got two precious children, that I wish I had gotten to see at the wedding!!  And Taylor (bottom), I've known since I was seven years old.  Umm...I don't know that I still stay in touch with anyone other than a handful of people that I knew when I was that young.  So excited to see where life takes her!

Erin, Payton and I hit up the Norman Music Festival. I'll admit, I'm not a very good Normanite, because I never make an effort to check out the Norman scene.  This was really probably one of the first Norman community events I've checked out in my seven years of living here.  It was quite the people watching event!

I hosted a Stella & Dot Trunk Show with the fabulous Christine Rorabaugh.  It was so fun to spend time with all my girl friends.  And, I finally had an opportunity to try out a whole lot of Pinterest recipes at once!  I keep thinking maybe I'll make this a monthly or semi-monthly event; hosting a little soiree.  Ehh, we'll see!

Anyways, that's about all the excitement I've had lately.  And, I think I'm about to get my life back.  So, keep an eye out for more regular updates!!