Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Look at those baby blues..

Saturday was such great weather and being outside all day I had so much fun playing around with my new camera. Karl was very patient and let me take lots of different shots of him in different lighting. Here, I took a somewhat well exposed picture of my honey and tweaked it in Photoshop using a new action I learned. Sometimes Blogger doesn't do the color justice but I think this shows the differences pretty well. And, nope I didn't add any color to this photo.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The best husband ever!

Mine. Karl told me he had Valentine's Day weekend all planned out and it was going to be a surprise for me. Wow. After the great dinner he made for us I still have a surprise trip ahead of me? I was feeling lucky already! I, of course, had to ask my usual 20 questions in the several days leading up to Saturday so eventually Karl had to start messing with me. He would say things like, oh, yeah, we need to go by REI to get some new sub zero sleeping bags before we head out Saturday. I was like, no way. You know I hate being cold and there's no way we're camping this time of year!! People are skiing at Tahoe this weekend! So, I figured out we weren't camping (amen.)

Saturday morning he tells me what to pack and wear that day. I'm trying to stay cool and not ask too many questions. Then, I see him pack his SUIT...yow! I started fretting because my cute dresses were still in the dry cleaning pile from Vegas so I dug and dug into the dark corner of my closet and found a nice dress to wear for wherever we were headed. We loaded up the Ipod and hit the road. The weather was awesome and sunny and we drove across the bridge heading Northbound on 101. Hmmm..this road did lead to one of our favorite places ever- the wine country!! We exited Healdsburg and sure enough we were in Dry Creek Valley! An area we've been wanting to try, this is a less visited, quieter version of the Napa/Sonoma wineries and home to one of our favorite wines- Zins! So now I'm thinking..hmm...where are we staying tonight? We've only camped in this region in the spring and summer so I was not familiar with anywhere nearby to stay the night. Rest assured, Karl was a man with a plan. We pulled up to this amazing old mansion that was a bed & breakfast! We've never stayed at a B&B before and I have said before it would be fun to do that somewhere in the wine country and sure enough it was amazing.

We spent the day wine tasting on the quiet windy roads right near our B&B and hit up some great new wineries with awesome Zins and Pinot Noirs. 2 of our absolute favs. We enjoyed the less expensive tasting fees and the lack of crowds at each place. The views at some were awesome (Pictures below) and it was nice to be outside with such perfect weather. We had our usual picnic lunch at one of the wineries with an amazing view of the valley. We just can't get enough of this place.

The dinner that night was at the main house of the "manor" and was apparently noted as one of the best restaurants in the wine country in all the areas combined so we were eager to see if it lived up to our expectations. This was a fancy, 7 course meal and was New Californian cuisine. We chose the tasting menu with wine pairing and the entire experience was simply the best we've had in California or anywhere we've ever dined. We've come a long way from our first date at Taco Cabana ;) Each course was unique and delish and the portions were big. The wine pairings worked perfectly and the dessert just ended the entire meal with a single, perfect moment.

If anyone knows me they know my biggest weakness is ice cream and the only other thing that I like more is homeade ice cream. So, the restaurant's dessert speciality, get this- homeade ice cream made on a cart in front of your table!! I was mezmerized. Our waiter looked like Professor Snape with all his fancy bottles and potions and the dry ice just added to the dramatic effect. In a huge copper bowl he whipped up the most perfect homeade ice creamin minutes. It was the creamiest, to die for vanilla ice cream sundae I could imagine. My eyes were wide open just staring as he poured hot chocolate on top and plopped a cherry right in the middle. We agreed, this is one dining experience we will never forget. What a perfect weekend.
I'm the luckiest wife there is.

The Manor we stayed in

Vineyard filled with little yellow flowers

If we ever wanted to renew our vows somewhere?

Perfect picnic spot

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day!

This has to be one of the best Valentine's Days of my entire life. Karl told me that he was going to cook dinner for me on Valentine's Day! He said I didn't have to worry about a single thing and he would even be grocery shopping for everything he needed and had the menu all picked out. Last year we were somewhat disappointed after making restaurant reservations and eating a set menu of just so-so food after waiting and waiting. This year we decided it would be much more fun to stay home together and cook. Little did I know Karl could make the BEST Veal Saltimboca I've EVER had!! I was very impressed how the dinner turned out and there was even a side dish- asparagus and tomatoes salad. Everything was delish! I also got a beautiful dozen roses delivered to me at work so Karl did great and made me feel like a very special wife! Here are some pictures of the cooking King and his delectable meal!

The Chef hard at work!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008


8 of us girls went to Vegas this past weekend for Reagan's Bachelorette party and had a blast! We partied hard for 2 nights and all agreed that 2 nights in Vegas is plenty! We went to Tryst at the Wynn one night and then Tao and Moon the other night. We all agreed this needs to be a once a year trip since we are were overdo for an all girls weekend. Congratulations Rae! We can't wait for the wedding to be here and had so much fun partying with you this weekend! Love, j

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Joy of Photoshop

The more I learn from my awesome photographer friends whose work inspires me to learn everything I can about photography, the more I've learned how Photoshop can do wonders on any digital image post- production. So, now, on top of learning all I can about exposure, metering, light, etc, Photoshop is on my list of projects. What a program! It is very high-tech and even though it is used by all professional photographers there are some pretty basic actions I'm learning that can make a huge difference in any photo. I took this digital picture we took while diving in Akumal several years ago and chose it since it had so many great colors. We really love our underwater case for taking shots while diving. With just a few simple actions and tweaking I was able to make the picture even better and the colors more vibrant. Looking at these pictures gets me excited for our diving trip we have planned to Belize in May.

before editing

Thanks Riane!

...for my own little piece of Ireland right in my kitchen! Haha. My sister, Riane, got back from touring around Ireland and brought me back authentic Shamrock seeds! These are sure to make my 2008 lucky, right? What does it mean if they never bloom because I kill them? hmm... As of now they are incubating in my little herb garden just waiting to sprout good luck. I miss my garden in Texas so this little three pot wonder will have to do for now. I'll document the progress so stay tuned................yes, this is how exciting my life is.

...Riane, here's proof I finally planted them!

My new toy!

After getting settled into our new place and now being able to easily find things in our apartment without tripping over boxes and falling I have had some time to play around with my new toy! Santa Karl got me a Digital SLR for Xmas! There is so much to learn with this new piece of equipment it's overwhelming sometimes but I figure the best way to learn is to practice alot and learn by trial and error. Unlike my others friends who are into photography as well, I don't have a cute little kiddo to be my test subject but I do have a cute husband that makes just as many interesting faces :) Stay tuned for new pics as I learn!