Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Who's that girl?!

During my trip to San Francisco last weekend, my mom pulled out some pictures of her week at The Masters on her computer to show Lauren and me. She was scrolling through some pictures and telling us stories about each one, and as the thumbnail of a photo of Dean and a friend caught Lauren's eye, she said (in a bit of a snotty, or slightly protective-older-sister type voice), "Whoa, wait a second, who is that girl with Dean?!" When my mom clicked on the picture to enlarge it to full screen, we all died laughing....

...because it was actually me! "Some girl", indeed. Seeing this picture of Dean with his arm around a girl, from a distance, in the midst of my mom's pictures from The Masters, Lauren thought Dean had his arm around a girl his own age...I am shorter than my 15-year-old brother, afterall. I must admit, when Lauren shot that question out, I thought, "Yeah, who is that girl?"...though, you might think I would recognize the picture, since I was actually there! Haha, my mom sent this picture to me in the mail and I cracked up again as I related the story to Michael. That's one for the books!

Here's another one of Dean and Me at the National Air and Space Museum (Udvar Hazy Center)...I took my mom and Dean to this Museum for a quick visit before taking them to the airport at 11am. (Such a fun morning, when you get to play hooky from work!)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

We had some friends come to town for the Orioles games this past weekend. Anthony and his fiance Kristin drove down from Connecticut and Clint flew out from Provo to see the Orioles cream the Blue Jays on both Friday and Saturday nights! We got to the game a little bit early on Saturday night, and Mike and I got t-shirts to fit in with our hosts (I don't know if orange is really my color...oh, well).

When the weather finally gets warmer after a long winter, one of the things I get most excited for is baseball season! While growing up in San Diego, I was lucky enough to spend many a summer evening at Jack Murphy stadium (the name changed to Qualcomm, but I still called it "the Murf") watching the Padres play. When we first moved there, Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff were part of the team--anyone remember that far back? Going to so many games each summer, I got pretty familiar with the Padres' roster and Mike still laughs when I recognize names from back in the day--for example, last season at an Orioles game, I recognized the shortstop Chris Gomez and said, "Oh, hey, Chris Gomez! I didn't know he played in Baltimore!" Mike looked at me, like, "How in the world do you know who that is?" Not one of the high-profile players, I suppose that is a valid question, but he played for the Padres while I lived there, so of course I remember him.

It was so fun to see Clint, Anthony and Kristin! Kristin and I gabbed about girly things and wedding plans, the boys all got ballpark foot-long hot dogs and sausages (and Mike even finished both!) and Kristin and I got ice cream after the seventh inning stretch. It doesn't get much better than that!

Happy Birthday, Tessa!

I just wanted to wish my sister Tessa a Happy 20th Birthday! Here she is with her fiance, Duffy, at Lauren's wedding reception last November. Tessa and Duffy are getting married on May 26th and we couldn't be happier to welcome him to the Stimpson family! Tessa is one of my favorite sisters!--always kind and unselfish, always thinking of others and willing to help those around her, Duffy is one lucky guy to be marrying one of the sweetest girls I know!

I know Tessa's day started out with a bridal shower, where her friends showered her with gifts, and I hope it kept getting better and better as the day went on! I can't wait to see my little Tessa next month and am even more excited that she and Duffy are moving to Cincinatti this summer, where she will be only an hour plane ride away!

Happy Birthday, Tessa!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A San Francisco Treat

Last weekend, Lauren and I met my mom in San Francisco for the weekend; My mom
attended the annual National School Board Attorneys conference, and invited
us to come along to keep her company. We had a lot of fun, ate some very good food, got in some shopping and sight-seeing, and had a lot of laughs! The first night, we decided to go to a show, and bought tickets to “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”
starring Kathleen Turner. It was so bad that we left after an hour…couldn’t
bear the idea of staying another two hours. (It was my first time to walk out of a show or movie and, I must say, it was a little bit liberating!)

While we were in San Francisco, my roommate from BYU Heidi drove over from Reno to see us on Friday night. We went to Citizen Cupcake, a satellite bakery to Citizen Cupcake (as seen on the Food Network...c'mon, you all know that I wouldn't go on a trip without doing my research on where to eat while I'm there, right?!) and got some yummy cupcakes for dessert. The next morning, we went to H&M to scope out the new spring collection and then Heid headed back to Reno around noon to stay ahead of the weather. Heid ended up driving close to 8 hours to spend less than 24 hours in San Fran with us--what a doll! Here we are trying on pashminas in Nordstrom.

The other bonus of going to San Francisco was that I got to see Mike's old roommate from BYU and his girlfriend, who both live in the city. Scott and Michelle were so sweet to take us down to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square for the afternoon and show us around. Here we are with Scott and Michelle at the Boudin Bakery at Fisherman's Wharf. This was followed by delicious sundaes at Ghirardelli Square!

Such a fun weekend! Can't wait to find out where next year's conference will take us...right, Mom?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Food Network Unwrapped

I was watching a "behind-the-scenes" type show about inner workings of the Food Network shows and I could not believe some of the things I learned! For example, it takes 14 hours to shoot one thirty-minute episode of "Everyday Italian"...they go through the entire show once in a wide shot as Giada makes all of the themed dishes at her own pace. Then, they go back and shoot the closer shots of things like Giada shredding cheese, picking a clove of garlic out of the bulb, and cutting slices of bread. The "Everyday Italian" kitchen set is not actually in Giada's real house. Food Network rents a house for two months and converts the home's normal kitchen into the set, with the camera tracks, the lighting, and the sound equipment.

30-Minute Meals is taped in New York City, on a set--also not in her real kitchen. During the breaks in taping (to allow for commercial breaks), because all the dishes are really 30-minute meals, they have to take the food off the grill, etc., so that it doesn't burn while they rehearse the next step. (I seriously thought they just went straight through...I mean, Rachael Ray always says she is going to keep "chopping and dropping" during the break...guess not.) I'm not sure if you've ever noticed how they blur out the labels on shows like "Semi-Homemade" or "Quick Fix Meals"...but they aren't allowed to show real company logos on camera. However, on 30-Minute Meals, the labels are never blurred. In fact, I've often noticed the unique brands and packaging of the ingredients Rachael always seems to "have on hand". The Food Network actually has an in-house graphic designer who makes every sticker, label and logo found on all of the canned goods, chicken stock boxes, and bottles on Rachael's set, often using names of people from the Food Network kitchen for the brand names on all of the products. (That is something I really did wonder about. I've noticed the labels and wondered why I had never seen the same labels in my own grocery stores...the mystery is solved!) Clever people over there at the Food Network!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Surprise Visitors

I was driving home from work on Friday when my Mom called to shoot the breeze while driving to Utah from Montana. I was telling her about the bar-b-que that Mike and I were planning to have at the Wheatley's house while they are in Utah this week (isn't that so high school? haha) and she said, "Can I come?" I said yes, of course, but that is just like my Mom to want to come to a fun party, so I didn't really think she meant it. Later in our conversation, she mentioned doing something else while she was out here, which again, I thought she meant for my cousin's wedding in May, or just in general, and then she told me she was coming out the very next day! She and Dean surprised me by stopping to see me for a day before continuing on to Augusta! It took about 20 minutes for that to sink in, and you can imagine the screaming and high-pitched schreaking on my end of the phone..."What do you mean you are coming here? When were you going to tell me? Are you serious? Tomorrow?!, etc., etc." I don't know if I stopped smiling all night!

On Sunday morning, we started early...we went downtown and did a tour of the Monuments/Museums/Memorials in hyper-speed. We saw the Washington Monument, Jefferson Monument, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, the new Air Force Memorial (from a distance), we saw the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, went to the Smithsonian and the Air and Space Museum--all before noon!

Here are a couple pictures from the day:

Dean, Mike, and Me--off the Smithsonian metro stop, in front of Washington Monument

Dean in front of the Montana stone @ the WWII Memorial

Dean, being silly, and me in front of the Tulip Library--this one's for you, Lauren!

Checking out the air pressure-measurer at the Air and Space Museum

And, of course, my favorite historical artifact at the Treasures of American History exhibit at the Air and Space Museum...they also had the "puffy shirt" from Seinfeld, which I took a picture of for Mike. That exhibit was pretty cool, and very popular--it was so crowded!

At the Wheatley's for our BBQ with my Mom, Dean, and Chad and Mareille Taylor with they cutest little musher Ella!

The Bar-B-Que was a raving success! My Mom made homemade oreos and her famous "rice krispie treats on steroids", Mike grilled burgers (Burger for the Gods, ala Alton Brown, and Pork Burgers Indochine, ala Build a Better Burger Challenge), veggie kabobs and asparagus, and I made a yummy chicken and artichoke dip. There definitely wasn't a lack of food, that's for sure! Our first real entertaining in VA was a success! After clean up, we watched the last session of conference and then took a quick dip in the hottub. On the way home, we drove downtown to show Dean the White House...you can't come to DC and not see the White House, right? We got home at about 8:30 and we were all exhausted! What a fun weekend surprise!

Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom

The Cherry Blossom Festival started in DC on Saturday and the cherry blossoms came just in time! They are in full bloom, though for now they are mostly white blossoms and I think they are supposed to turn a pinkish/red color. The festival lasts two weeks, so there should be plenty of time for the blossoms to do their thing. Mike and I got up early on Saturday morning and took the metro downtown for a run around the Tidal Basin (I think because Mike knew he was suggesting something that would get in the way of my routine Saturday morning spin class, he was kind enough to allow me the alternate training time). Even though we got down there no later than 8am, the place was packed! People were everywhere...walking their dogs, walking their strollers, running (not too many runners, since it was too crowded, but a few)...we even saw one old lady who set up a table for a tea party, complete with table cloth and fine china! Old people can be so funny and cute! If any of you consider a trip to Washington, D.C. in the future, I would highly recommend that it be around this time of year!