5.31.2011

{30 Day} Photo Challenge!

I saw this {30 Day} Photo Challenge on Pinterest and thought I would have a go!
I am not the best at Photography so I think this will be a fun challenge for me! I took a Photography class in junior high and we even used a dark room and developed our own pictures but it has been a long time since I have actually tried to make a pretty picture. My skills are mainly snapping pictures of friends like the ones where you hold your hand out to get a picture of you and your friend or hubby. :)
I am going to try and do this challenge! My brother has said he will join me so let's see if we can do it!
Here is what you will get to photograph!
30 day photo challenge
If you would like to participate feel free to link up! You don't have to take a picture for each day because obviously life gets busy and whatnot but give it a try!
Just enter the form below. Put your name and title of your blog in the 'Link Title' space.
Have fun and be creative!

*August Update: I am still doing this challenge and will finish whenever I have time so it doesn't have to be in a 30 day time frame, just whenever you have time :) *

Advice & the Unknown

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That advice is just for me. And can be for you too.
I have no clue what I am doing right now, and I'm okay with that. I've been a college grad for a month now and it is definitely nice to take some time off and get caught up with random crap you have procrastinated...like getting new plates and stickers for your car (registration expired today and I just did that today...Procrastination much?)
I am looking for a job and housing. What kind of job? Who knows. There aren't really many Marketing jobs here in Fort Collins, CO and the ones that I have seen you need to be able to code (html/java) and have 20 billion years experience. So not me. I kind of want a part-time job so I can work, work-out, learn how to cook (or least make a legitimate attempt), work on this blog, and take care of the house (er wherever we move to). I also would like to learn how to sew and be more crafty, and read more books. I want a job that is fun; is that too much to ask? I'm starting to shoot out my resume so we'll see what happens soon!
Also, where should we live? All of the apartments here are hundreds of dollars more than in Utah. [Shout out to the fellow Utahns...stop complaining about how expensive BYU tuition is and rent...are you freaking kidding?! Utah is DANG CHEAP! :) But really, it is...and I don't even live in California or New York! K just be grateful friends!]
The apartments here are more expensive and smaller and most places you can't use a grill here due to fire codes. Kevin is pretty bummed about that; he is all about the meat and barbecues! They are small so like when you open your bedroom door you immediately fall into your bed and also your kitchen table is best friends with your living room couch/TV... Or should we fork out a hundred (or so) more and get a town home with a few bedrooms, garage, and basement because eventually we'll have kids. I only say that because I don't want to move every year when our lease is up and eventually we'll have some. Give or take a year or two or three...hehe. And who knows when we will buy? Or should we squeeze in a one bedroom for a year and then move...but what if I'm pregnant...that would probably suck.
K that is all- off to look at another apartment complex!

PS. And aren't these designs amazing?! I got note-cards & envelopes by the same designer (Izak Zenou) from Target yesterday and they are so me!!! I bought 2 packs. One that looks like the designs below and one that has girls with different dogs...amazing!
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5.30.2011

Warning

Hey friends!
So I am going to be having changes done to my blog, by myself. If things look funky or weird or look horrible (chances are they will) don't judge! And come back later! I am definitely not an HTML pro so things will most likely look awful. Hopefully I will get it how I want it...sometime soon!
Bare with me!

Random question: anyone know why sometimes your posts have different fonts when you make all the fonts the same?
Or know how to make your header bigger and not get cut off?
Haha.

Rolo Turtles

Yesterday I made Rolo Turtles!
These babies are amazing. They look so simple but are very tasty and a great treat! Maybe even a Christmas time present...you know, a bag of these babies for all of your friends?! Just make sure you make a lot because everyone will be scarfing them down!

Here are the ingredients you need: 
1 bag of pretzels
1 bag of shelled pecans
1 bag of Rolos
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Before you get started, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. 
Arrange the pretzels on a cookie sheet.   Place a Rolo on the top of each pretzel.   
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Place in the oven at 250 degrees until the Rolo starts to melts, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with a pecan half. 
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Let the pan cool a bit and then place in the fridge until the chocolate hardens, unless you want them gooey. I promise these are worth it!
Enjoy!
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And question for you photographers out there, why are there so many glares on this photo and some of the turtles are blurry? I don't think it looks that great and I was so sick of trying so I just threw this picture up here! I am using a Canon Rebel XT. I tried the close-up mode and no matter what the flash kept coming on haha. I'm so dumb, be nice :)

And if you haven't tried my Cookie Stuffed Oreos, go here and consider! I've gotten some good feedback from readers!

5.28.2011

{Learn Something} 10

So I haven't done one of these posts for 2 weeks, so here goes!
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[Just my puppy with a bone the length of her body! I got it free from a new dog store at Centerra where I actually think I am going to get her groomed. I've never gotten her a bone like this but when I gave it to her she ran around with it and it was just great because it was so long.]
+ I just realized yesterday that I have a few followers via Bloglovin! I don't know who you are followers! Say hi so I can take a look at your blog! :) Does anyone know how you can find out who your followers are on Bloglovin? Am I dumb? Ha.
+ I still am really bad at bowling and the law of diminishing returns does apply. We played 3 games last night and my worst game was probably the 3rd one. I may or may not have bowled a 20 (don't judge). But hey I bowled a 123 before? It just went downhill! My philosophy here. And more here.
+ You will get a different church calling than you think. I will be playing with babies tomorrow in the nursery! And I've got to get ready and make sure I know what to teach them. I am teaching them basically that Jesus loves everyone!
+ Laser tag is a ton of fun. It is not just for kids! Laser tagged here.
+ When you get a rejection letter for a job, it is supposed to be like that and it is not meant to be! Everything happens for a reason, at least I think. I applied for a Marketing job and kind of wanted it...kind of didn't...wasn't really sure. Basically I got rejected (after a few levels of interviews) but the hours and type of job probably weren't the best fit so I think it was for the better! Now any job leads in Fort Collins, CO let me know!
+ There are people in need everywhere. When I grew up here in Colorado I don't remember people begging on the sides of the streets like they do in bigger cities. Now that I've moved back I have seen people begging off the highway exits and random streets. I saw a a man and a daughter kind of close to our home and the daughter held up a sign that says "Homeless family. Anything helps." SO SAD!!! I am currently thinking of a way to help the community.
+ This summer will be a good one because...The Bachelorette and So You Think You Can Dance started up again!!! They will not disappoint, I am sure!

What did you learn this week? (or my case, the last 2 weeks!)
PS. Eat at Famous Daves for some good BBQ...I recommend the pork! The cornbread muffins are delicious and are actually one of the things I craved after getting my wisdom teeth out! Weird I know ha.
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PPS. If you want to read the saddest blog go here. The latest post is from the husband writing to his recently passed away wife. She died and same with her infant. Pray for this precious family!

5.27.2011

I can teach World Dance & Clogging Flashback

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Right before all of the graduation festivities happened I attended the BYU Folk dance performance, Spring Festival of Nations, and received my minor certificate! It was actually March 30, 2011 (this week) so yes this is pretty old! I just barely got this picture from Opi though so that's why. If I really wanted to teach dance I could, but I'd rather just learn the dances and perform them! I'm not a really good choreographer and it's just so much more fun to pick up the steps and perfect them!
But here you have it, my certificate.
I'm legit and I CAN teach dance...World Dance that is.
Maybe I haven't explained what World Dance is but it is dances from all around the world (also known as Folk dance).
It includes: Indian (Bollywood, Classical), Hungarian (performed this), Irish step dance (hard shoe/soft shoe- hard shoe is my favorite), Clogging (my forte), Chinese (LOVE Chinese), Israeli (performed this), Mexican (performed this), the Philippines (performed this), Argentine, Scottish, Turkish (so fun), Romanian, American country and line dance, etc.

I think I will have to expound more on this topic later.

See me clog here. (In case you don't know what clogging is.)
Or clog below...
Note: These are tests just for an Advanced Clogging class at BYU!
I'm far right in the all black ensemble.

And speaking of clogging, I just had a lunch date with my friend Amberley Meehleis! I met her through church when I moved to Colorado (when I was 8 years old) and she was into clogging. I tried a class and then became hooked and we danced for years until I quit after winning Nationals in Orlando, Florida.
Here we are today:
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And here we are then:
[around elementary school age when we were dominating all of the competitions together :)]
Team photo:
Left to Right (top): Jenna Jordan, Kelsi Gormley (my sister), Caitlynn Meehleis, me, Amberley Meehleis
(bottom): Corie Schofield, Chelsea Bidgood, Natalie Newton, Jacey Sisneros
By the way, our cheer leading clogging dance rocked. This one was SO fun! And a Utah team totally copied our dance and made a cheer leading dance as well. Anyone heard of High Impact from Utah? I would DIE if you knew them...it'd be so hilarious.
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Phoenix, Arizona competition

Of course we won 1st place, we always did! Haha. But really.
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If anyone is interested in clogging and they live in the Fort Collins, CO area or Provo/Orem, Utah area, let me know because I have hookups with great teachers and studios!
[Amberley is a teacher and is currently at a competition with her team!]

5.26.2011

I play with babies every Sunday & 1st Fashion Post!

Hi lovelies.
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So this past Sunday I got a calling in our new ward err my old family ward.
I have been called as a Nursery Worker! I will be playing with, teaching, and kind of babysitting the 18 month old babies at my church for two hours each Sabbath day.
I was surprised because I had never thought that would be my calling but I am excited! The babies were so cute and hilarious. There are 11 of them and they were just hitting each other, climbing on tables, climbing on chairs, fighting over a naked baby doll (they all wanted the naked one, not the clothed ones), etc. I really haven't been around young kids that much recently other than watching them from afar in previous wards. So I think this will be good for me.
So my outfit wasn't the best for babies and I guess high heels are a little much. It is definitely a good excuse to go shopping for comfortable and flowy maxi dresses/skirts and cute flats!
This is what I wore.
Awkward and not so awesome pictures. Don't judge.
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Dress: Shabby Apple
Heels: Steve Madden
Undershirt: Downeast Basics
Earrings: Charlotte Russe
Lip color: Bare Escentuals Buxom Racquel

This is what I NEED! Easier to pick up the babies and be comfortable!
Seriously I am obsessed with this outfit right here...
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I'm going to have to look into recreating this.
Anyways, here is a cute baby. No I don't know this little princess. I just found her through Pinterest (Follow my pins?)
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Bye all!

5.24.2011

Lost & Found - Jamaica (Part 1) & Confession

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Kevin and I went on our Honeymoon to Montego Bay, Jamaica about two and a half years ago! We stayed at a Sandals resort which was all inclusive and amazing!!! I took as many pictures as Kevin would allow/handle and uploaded them to my computer! A year and a half ago or maybe two years ago, Best Buy erased everything off of my computer including all of my pictures.

I had LOST all of my pictures and just recently FOUND the majority of our Honeymoon pictures! It made me so sad when they were erased!

Don't even get me started on how annoying/mad/frustrated losing pictures makes me! There are still a lot of pictures missing...when Kevin and I were dating...freshman pictures...etc.
[Note to self: FIND the external hard drive so I can backup my computer...it is packed in boxes!!! This thought is looming in my mind.]

Luckily my in-laws had a lot of our Honeymoon pictures uploaded to their computer as they were played on a slide show at our Open House in Kansas City, Missouri! I just barely got a CD with those Honeymoon pictures! THANKS SO MUCH Greg & Kathy :) Lifesavers.

Today I just picked up a CD at Walgreens of pictures we took when we went on a trip to Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica.  Dunn's River Falls is a huge waterfall that we got to hike up. Incredibly gorgeous and definitely a great memory! We purchased an overpriced water camera by the attraction and then got the film developed in the states. Somehow we lost the CD but I found the negatives recently so I ran them to Walgreens to get put on a CD!

For $5.99, 23 pictures are SO worth it!

Here are some of the pictures from Dunn's River Falls I am so excited to have again!
Here we are at the top of the waterfalls!
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[And yes I am so white even on vacation, so don't judge.  I don't really tan...well...ever.  I wish I could though! Maybe being white is better than tan? Ha. All I know is I will NOT have skin caner!]
You can see some of the waterfalls area...Kevin and I are in the middle hugging!
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One of the waterfall guides would take pictures and the husbands would always pull the wives into the waterfalls for the picture and for some reason I don't think I was expecting it! I don't know how I wouldn't though? It's kind of a funny picture.
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I have a confession. I am a HORRIBLE swimmer, like I really am bad. Not knowing what is in the ocean kind of freaks me out. There could be big eels or creepy looking fish (like not in a good way) and jellyfish and stingrays. Somehow the unknown of the ocean is not my thing.
Here we are snorkeling and when they said they had life vests I knew I had to have one. I am SO pathetic! But how could I focus on breathing through the tubes AND swimming? I honestly am a bad swimmer, like, I need/should take lessons or just swim everyday to get better!
Anyone else bad at swimming (but really, don't be shy)? There was a class at BYU called Swimming for Non-Swimmers...haha...and I thought I should take it with my friend but I didn't get around to it.
Also, when I have kids like not now obviously because I'm not pregnant, but like what if I take them to lessons and they are way better than me? I should probably learn. I feel like I'm drowning though. This is so embarrassing so I should stop talking.
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Friends, back up your computers OFTEN! I have known many friends to lose all of their pictures...so sad!
Also, swimming tips? Maybe I should try to swim some time...

5.23.2011

Cookie Stuffed Oreos

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So I saw a picture of cookie stuffed Oreos on Pinterest (of course- follow me here), showed it to my dad, and decided to recreate yesterday! All you need is a chocolate chip cookie recipe (I used one out of a Kitchenaid mixer book), the ingredients of course, and a box of Oreos!
Step 1: Make your cookie dough and bring out the Oreos!
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Step 2: Put Oreo in the cookie dough and wrap around.
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Step 3: Place cookies on the cookie sheet.
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Step 4: Cook them! Note: I put a little too much cookie dough around the Oreos so that is why they expanded so big! So maybe use as little as possible to cover the Oreo!
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Step 5: Cut the excess cookie dough with the biggest cookie cutters you have in the house [if you make my mistake :) ] You may end up with a house, eagles, and a duck haha. Or you can just cut a circle around the Oreo!
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Step 6: Get milk and enjoy!

If you don't love Oreos and don't love cookies then this will not be the right cookie for you! It is kind of intense but a fun try for the kitchen!

5.21.2011

Friday Happenings with the Canon

Currently one of the benefits of living with the parents are the use of 2 Canon's:
1. Canon Rebel XT (my Grandpa's "old" camera)
2. Canon 7D (my dad's camera)

Here are some pictures from my first attempt to take pictures of around the house yesterday May 20, 2011.  I went out twice during the day as you will be able to tell! And after the photo sessions we went out and celebrated my littlest brother Hunter's birthday party with his friends. We went and played laser tag at a place in Loveland. It was actually super fun! It had been FOREVER (especially for Kevin) and hopefully it won't be years before we go again! Tip: Don't try. First round I got 2nd place. Second round I got 4th place. The more you try the worse you do haha.
Okay here are some of my pictures...tips...anything...let a girl in on some insight!
The swing.
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Side shot of house.
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Tennis court fun. I need to spend more time getting pictures of Katinka running! It is just hard when you are lying on the court and no one is throwing a ball or anything to get the puppy to run around!
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This picture just cracks me up. It looks like she is playing soccer kicking the tennis ball around!
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As you can see this is later in the evening. I had to get out there and try to get some pictures before the sun set!
Dock and lake view.
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Driveway.
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Tennis court.
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Detached garage/storage. Wish this was a little annex for Kevin and I to live in :)
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Lake view.
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Okay that is all! If you are thinking of something to do, maybe go play laser tag! Ha. But really.
Oh, and camera thoughts? I really only know how to use like a couple of buttons!

5.19.2011

Tips to Declutter Your Home

I am excited to post on the topic of de-cluttering and organizing your home!
I have always liked to organize, put things in order, and get rid of things!
[And make lots of lists and checking things off. Good feelings there. :)]

I have started reading An Easy Plan For Living A Richer Life With Less Stuff : It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh.
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Funny story, I acquired this book by trading old books for this one at a local secondhand book store in Fort Collins, Colorado. It's a good way to get rid of the old books you don't need for different functional ones!

Unfortunately my stuff got donated before I could get a picture for this post! I had bags of clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. in my parent's garage (where we are currently living) ready to be taken to Goodwill. Then I decided to write a post about this topic, made my bed, and ran to the garage to grab the stuff to lay out on my bed, but it was already dropped off and donated. Ha. Better gone than in the garage though!

{Insert picture here of my old clothes, jewelry, shoes, stuff, etc. I donated}

I just wanted to share a few tips to help YOU go through your stuff and clear up your home! You will feel more comfortable, relaxed, and at peace with less clutter!

I, myself, am NO expert in this topic which is why I am going to take some key points from the previously mentioned book to get you started! [PS. This post is totally not sponsored. I just like this stuff.] You can buy the book here for only $4 (or you can use my tips for freee!).

There are many phases of the de-cluttering process and this one is more of a surface one. It is one that is not meant to deal with your sports trophies or your artwork from kindergarten or brilliant A papers from college that you put SO much time and effort into...so this is the easier stuff.

Fast will become your new mantra as you start to tackle your stuff in your spaces!

Fix a time
Pick an hour in the week, 10 minutes a day, or a whole day to get yourself going! Peter recommends just picking a day to get a ton of stuff done at once.

Then concentrate on three types of clutter in your living spaces...


Anything not used for twelve months
Remember the goal is to get the stuff out of your house and to not move it around into different rooms. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I use this?
2. How long has it been since I've used it?
3. Will I use it again?
4. Is it worth the space it takes up in my house?
These questions are great...need to remind myself of these!

Someone else's stuff
Is your apartment a storage unit? Nope. Get it out. Return it to its owners. If they are not wanting to take it back, give it away, sell it, throw it in the trash, get it out! It is depriving you of using your space in the most efficient way!


Trash
Feed the trashcan! It is your friend! Make it a game with your roommates or your husband to see who can get rid of the most stuff!

Now you have the plan, now do it!
Game Rules:
  • Start on time.
  • Don't argue.  If you think something your spouse wants to keep is trash, deal with it later. You are on the same team! You both want a clutter free home! And remember, this is a rough de-cluttering session.
  • Don't waste time. [This is the hardest for me! I get organizing and then start looking at old letters from Kevin when we were dating or organizing papers and then all of a sudden an hour has passed by. This is something I can definitely work on! It's like when I go to organize, I want to do it thorough and once, but there are many phases and you can knock out a good amount of stuff if you fly through it! Be speedy!]
  • Make your piles. There are 3 piles: 
    • Keep: You use it in your home. It is critical and you use it all of the time! This also includes stuff that you cannot bear to get rid of at this moment.
    • Trash: This is a victory!
    • Out the door: If you struggle with getting rid of something you have but don't use and is valuable, sell it (eBay, Plato's Closets, yard sale) or donate it! This is also stuff that is not yours but maybe a family members or a neighbor.  Return it to them or tell them they have a week to pick it up! Put these three piles outside on the patio, in the car, anywhere to get them out of the house until they are gone! [This is where I get stuck with clutter. I gather old clothes that I feel like can be sold and then run them by Plato's Closets a few times and then decide to eBay the rejects (which can be very successful) but then I keep the rejects and don't get rid of them! This is exactly what I finally donated!]
  • Don't stop until you are done. Don't end up with a bigger mess than you began with! Put things away as best as you can. Drop off the donations at Goodwill. Contact people whose stuff you have borrowed.
  • Evaluate and congratulate. Now don't go celebrate by buying a cool piece of artwork or a random knickknack for the shelf or especially more organization pieces. [I love buying shelving and containers!] Celebrate by eating a nice dinner out on the town or catching a movie! Don't buy anything in this process! Do not let any INFLOW enter the home during this stage!
Inspiration: Perfectly organized closet.
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Photo source

Let me know how it goes! 
And of course if you can donate your stuff to a charity, an individual in need, a women's shelter or any other good cause other than DI or Goodwill, the better! Then the people who are in need don't have to pay for it! I wanted to find an individual who could use my clothes but it didn't happen this time but I can always get rid of more, so next time! If anyone reading this is from Colorado and interested, let me know! You can also take this challenge from The Shine Project; Ashley challenges you to donate your unworn or extra clothes to an individual or a charity!


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5.18.2011

Rainy Day & New Site Name!

Today is super rainy and cold and I love it!
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It is a good day to read a book, like this one!
I started this book a couple of years ago and kept getting stuck because school classes would be so crazy. My husband likes to make fun of me for re-starting this book over and over and says I will never finish it haha, but I am happy to say I got into reading it again yesterday! It is good so maybe you should look into it!
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And...I am excited to announce that my blog is no longer at
http://ashleyandkevinsloan.blogspot.com/
but is at
www.sloanbook.com !
I officially purchased the domain last night! Why not? So update your Blogger bookmarks so you can have the accurate website :) If you go to the blogspot.com one it will just be redirected to the .com site, but I am not sure for how long or if it will always do that!

5.17.2011

Scenes from San Francisco

We are back from San Francisco, California!

We flew out to San Fran for the Bay Area Classic (Triple Crown Yo-Yo Competition) for my sponsored Yo-Yoer brother, Zach!  We were there from Thursday (May 12) to Sunday (May 15), 2011. Who's we? My mom, Patrick, Zach, and I. Kevin and dad had work and Hunter stayed in school!

Here are some scenes from our little vacation:

Thursday - May 12, 2011
Saying bye to my pup, Katinka before the trip.
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Friday - May 13, 2011
We headed over to the venue for the competition and found out Zach's sponsor Caribou Lodge Yo-Yo Works chose him to move on to the finals, meaning he didn't have to do any preliminary rounds. Each sponsor choose one contestant to immediately make the finals and Zach was one of them. While Zach was hanging out with fellow Yo-Yoers, mom, Patrick, John (Patrick's friend from CA), and I walked around Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, and Pier 39.  We definitely had a sundae from Ghiradelli Square. I got the cookie bottomed sundae and it was incredible, but too large so I didn't finish it!
[Thanks for the suggestions friends!]

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Saturday - May 14, 2011
Found this picture on my mom's phone.  It is Zach at his first Yo-Yo competition. He didn't even compete at this competition but went to see what they were like...he looks SO young here!!!

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Here he is now warming up before he goes on stage!
He got 7th out of 24 Yo-Yoers in his category! He is SO fun to watch!! I was surprised! This was my first time going to one of his competitions and it was so fun! He is actually ranked 2nd place in the world in his age category, so he is legit!
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So San Francisco was definitely a fun city.  It is so compact - everything - housing, parking lots (if there are any), stores, restaurants, etc. I loved driving up and down the hills and looking at the types of houses people live in! Seriously, the first big hill I went on I felt like I was on a roller-coaster! How do people parallel park on a steep hill or do anything? Anyways, we went to church in the city and there was like no where to park! There was a TINY lot where members drove in their cars; if you were the first to get to church, you would have to wait for everyone else to leave because you just cram them in there! Then there were street parking but barely anyone could park there. We saw a guy come out of church and he had a boot on his car! I don't think I could ever live in a big city because parking would drive me crazy plus, it would start to feel claustrophobic! Also, when you are in such a big city there are just SO many other people around; I feel like some people would feel like they are no one!

Now, take a look at Zach's YouTube videos!
Here is one for you to see his mad skills!

Anyways, hope your weekend was great!

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