Saturday, March 26, 2011

drive 8.7 miles

I wish I could count how many times my mother and I heard "drive 8.7 miles, then stay left" Oh, for about 2 hours straight. But we'll get to that later. 

Side note real quick that relates in a little, my father was care taker to all the cars our family owns this week, bringing them back and forth getting fixed. I already made note about his flat tire, which was preceded by an emergency light that had been on the previous week when my mother was driving it, my car needed a new muffler, mom's car had to go into the shop and B had a cracked windshield. Needless to say, he was busy bringing cars back and forth to the shop while we were off gallivanting around California.

Monday morning we were supposed to get picked up at 8 by Enterprise, 8 in their eyes was more like 8:30 plus a phone call from my mother we were on our way to pick up our car. We get to Enterprise and they give us our car, a Dodge Charger, just like Daddy's, just white instead. As mom and the guy do the walk around and inspect it, what do you know the emergency light is on! He proceeds to tell my mother it's probably fine, due to the weather change. She said, no thank you and off to a new car we got. And what do we get? A Ford Edge, just like moms! After one failed gas station trip (what kind of gas station only has debit card machines to pay for gas? Thanks for the head's up father!) We found a normal one, got some breakfast and we were off. 

We had gotten a brief preview of LA traffic coming home from the airport and over the weekend but this was mom's first time driving in this craziness. Needless to say, there's quite a difference between 5 lanes and people zipping across all five at 90 miles an hour and the measly 2 lanes we have here. Poor mom was so tense those 3 hours driving to La Jolla she got a neck cramp (lol). Every 8.7 miles, not even kidding, the GPS would alert us to drive that many miles, and then you would think we'd be getting off? No. Just staying left. This went on for quite some time we had it down pat. After a little over 3 hours and not too much traffic we arrived! It was lunch time when we arrived so off we went to Piatti's. One of my friends from school lives in La Jolla and suggested we go there because it is the "most bad ass Italian restaurant" so off we went. We split Pronti Salad which was:  chopped salad of romaine lettuce, salami, green olives, artichokes, roasted peppers, chickpeas, provolone, parmesan, crostini & herb vinaigrette and the Pancetta Ai Funghi Pizza which was: tomato sauce, crispy pancetta, grilled portobello, mushrooms, balsamic infused red onions, mozzarella and rosemary.

YUM. It was So. Good. Definitely a must go to if you're ever in La Jolla! Thanks Sydney!! After lunch we walked around, went to the beach and took in the awesome views there.
 Mom and Dad's future home
 Sydney lives up there!

Kayak Convention..obviously mom and dad would of fit in great there after the little adventure in Haiti!

After leaving the beach we drove around the town for a little until we found some shopping, my favorite!
We could of probably bought that whole store. 

Next stop..
I had been dying to go to Sprinkles for the longest time. I am an avid fan of Cupcake Wars and Sprinkles has been calling my name. When I found out one was in La Jolla, I was so excited. The store was so tiny inside and filled with a lot of people and a lot of cupcakes. Hello greatness.

We got, Carrot Cake for Uncle Doug, Red Velvet for Aunt Donna (their fav's), Coconut and Irish Chocolate which was chocolate cake with Bailey's frosting. Heaven, let me tell you. We enjoyed them Tuesday night when we went back to Newbury Park.

After a quick nap in the sun we were off to Fashion Valley for some more shopping, my favorite! We got some really good deals, always a plus. Dinner plans were courtesy of Dad, we were off to Studio Diner featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was this little place, kind of in the middle of no where, thanks for the heads up dad, and at 8:15 on a Monday night we had a wait! 
(obviously I didn't take this since we in the dark, but here it is) The food was deeelish, that father of mine knows his stuff! We were full to the brim and felt like all we did was eat that day! Tuesday we slept in, went to breakfast then ventured back to Aunt Donna's. 

Up next (the coolest part of the trip): On the set of CSI:NY!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

California part 1

 This would be waaaay too long of a post to be all included in one, so it's broken up in segments. Also some of these pictures may have already been up, never hurts to see them again!

Where to even begin? I had been counting down the days until this trip since we booked our flights, a week in California, who couldn't resist counting down, even if it was over a month away? As we got into the teens and single digits, I could not contain myself, I was so checked out of school and everything else, I was ready. After a snow day Monday (the first in 15 years!!) followed by a slow, painful Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of classes and a midterm Thursday afternoon (the only real thing getting in my way of being home) and the basketball team bringing home a W, it was finally 3:00 and I was headed home. 

Packing to pack is quite a difficult task let me tell you. How would I know just what I wanted to pack for vacation? What if I left something at school? Normally, I am packed weeks before the trip in anticipation, this time around it was much more difficult. I finally just threw everything into my bags hoping I had what I wanted. Once I got home, packing did not lend itself an easy take either, as I filled my bed with countless piles of clothes to rummage through, I frequently quit and walked away. I knew I couldn't do this all night for the alarm clock was going off bright and early so we could start our venture. 

Up and out the door we were at 7:10 Friday morning, not before we received a phone call from Mrs. G informing us that California had a tsunami warning, grrrreat, just our luck. Since we hold a "you're fine, it'll be fine" policy in my house, off to the airport we went anyway. After an accident on the express and a detour taken we finally made it to the airport, low and behold we were about the only people there. After we said goodbye to daddy, off to security we went. The two of us were greeted by about 5 security guards, needless to say we moved along quite quickly with all that assistance. After we got our Dunks, we headed down to the gate to sit and wait, wait and wait some more, due to our promptness. While we were twiddling our thumbs, daddy was busy changing a flat tire he got on the way home from dropping us off, better the way home than the way there! As we waited, and waited, still no plan, so we killed some time taking pictures of flat Teddy getting ready to start the trip of his lifetime! (Flat Teddy is a project for one of mom's classes, you will see him pop up from time to time.)
 After a quick and painless flight to Philly (I think I slept most of the way), we yet again had time to kill so off to lunch we went. Dad recommended a restaurant, but we couldn't find it so off we went to Legal Seafood for some lunch, figuring we wouldn't be eating for at least 8 more hours, and we all know a hungry-Meli does not bode well. We split a lobster roll and clam chowder, yum, yum, yum! Finally it was time to board and take on the five hour plane ride. I was no expecting a 5 hour plane ride, I knew it was 5 hours, but in my head I think I tricked myself into thinking it was not. Well, what a rude awakening for me when it was indeed 5 hours. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my book, Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin which I definitely recommend, I've read all her books thus far and they are worth it! Since we were trekking cross country, we got to fly over some pretty cool things, like the Rocky Mountains.

 Thank goodness that was the extent of snow I'd be seeing for the week, and it was from a very large distance. A million hours later, or so it seemed (I may be a little dramatic at times..), we finally landed! I didn't think we'd ever see ground, I was so anxious to finally be there and I also needed an update on the Syracuse game from my father. We learned that the Kindle reading boy next to my mother was a fellow Syracuse-goer that lived in LA, small world. As we headed down the escalator we were greeted by a sea of men holding signs collecting their passengers and right at the bottom was our chauffeur, sign and all. After he collected us and lead us to the car, a mere twenty feet outside the airport, we were off. What a great uncle, waited patiently and even had the car parked nice and close!) This is when we got our first taste of LA traffic, what a drag! But, finally we arrived to Newbury Park and vacation began. We were greeted with hors oeuvres (I obviously knew the spelling of that off the top of my head...) and drinks before we sat down to some dinner. After getting a tour of the house, my mind doesn't recall back to the days when I was 5, it was already time for bed, technically we were eating dinner at midnight and by the time it was 10 o clock there, bed was calling, that and we had a busy day ahead of us tomorrow!

Slightly confused when I woke up, not in my bed at school or home then I remembered it's vacation, you're in California! After some breakfast and getting ready off to Santa Barbra we went.

 Here, we got lunch on the pier, I tried Shark! I enjoyed, it tasted like a white fish of sorts. We just walked around, took in the views which were so cool. It was so neat that if you look one way there is the ocean and if you look the other there were mountains. I never new how mountainous California was until this week, man did we see a lot! When we got home from there mom and I walked over to the nail place and got a pedicure. 1. It was so nice just to be able to walk to the nail place, not have to drive. 2. We could walk and not freeze to death!! 

Sunday we headed to Malibu and Santa Monica. Talk about mountains and hills and canyons, oh my! We drove through the canyon and saw so many hills and mountains and houses in the most bizarre places. Why people would build houses in the middle of a mountain or the top is beyond me.


 To say we saw quite the variety of people here would be an understatement. We saw all walks of life let me tell you. We did a heck of a lot of people seeing and some sight seeing. It amazed me how across the street from the pier there were these huge, elegant houses over looking the ocean and then right across the street the people on the pier, well they were a different story. After a few hours and seeing all that we needed to see off back home we went. The drive home we stopped by to see Pepperdine University, if I ever went there I would have zero motivation and just got to the beach every day. I didn't take any pictures, but found this one..hello dream school!

That was the first weekend of our trip, more to come! Up next a trip to La Jolla and San Diego!

Monday, March 21, 2011

a snipit of california!

A week filled with..

 beautiful views,

wonderful company,
tasty food,
a trip to Sprinkles,
and to the set of CSI:NY.

details to come!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

4 hours.

Some days there just aren't enough hours in a day. Friday was definitely one of them. Although, it was not the day that didn't have enough hours, it was the 4 hour window Mariah and I had to get our laundry list of things done before Emily's return at 6pm. We arranged a babysitter for her to take her from promptly 2-6 so we could get everything ready for her birthday weekend. Her babysitter was a bit late, cutting into our time, 4 hours quickly became 3.5 hours and Derek had strict rules that miss Emily must be back by 6pm sharp, or else. After we finally got them out of the door at 2:30, the projects began. Birthdays are the perfect excuse to bake, and since it's our favorite hobby and it's a birthday, a 21st birthday at that, we knew we had to go all out. Mariah and I searched for hours to find the perfect recipes, we knew we had to equally represent all of the birthday girl's favorite things. We knew this meant chocolate obviously and nothing fruity, so we went from there. I think we changed our minds five times before we decided on the cake, and the three of us had stumbled across one of the cupcakes forever ago and had been dying to make them.

The Laundry List:
 -Make cupcake 1
-Make cupcake 2
-Make cake
-Make frosting and decorate x3
-Decorate the apartment
-Construct a present
-Wrap presents
-Decorate the infamous birthday cup
-Run to the grocery store for some last minute things
-Have drinks prepared for 6:15
-and dinner for 6:30
-Get ready

We started off strong, pumped out the cake and cupcakes quick, the fact that we have a super oven definitely helped (our cake cooked in half the time!). Then I think we got a little confident and slowed our roll for a bit and then before we knew it we had an hour left. So. Much. To. Do. Panic definitely started to kick in..and we failed. Clearly we thought we could fit more in than we could. What didn't make the cut: frosting the cupcakes, decorating the apartment and getting ready. Good thing it was just us three plus Derek for dinner, the whole getting ready thing was definitely not essential. Cupcake decorating was saved until Saturday which was good because Emily got to help which made her happy. Decorating also got done Saturday while Emily was gone so she got to come home to a nice little surprise!

We left this on the seat of the car for Emily to find.

So, the big question is, just what did we make?! 
Peanut Butterscotch Crunch Cupcakes (minus the crunch)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Frosting
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

We started off with the peanut butterscotch crunch cupcakes which were chocolate-coffee cupcakes with a butterscotch sauce filling and a peanut butter butter cream. The cake was SO good. It must of been the coffee, it was so moist and delicious. As for the frosting, couldn't tell you but from the comments from Mariah and Emily as they made it, it seemed like delicious.
 You take the centers out and then fill them with the butterscotch, oh my.


 Finished Product:

Cupcake numero dos:

1. Yes, that is a ball of cookie dough in the middle.
2. Yes, those are flower cupcake holders. Thank you to my father who found those gems.
3. The frosting didn't pipe well so we just frosted and added some chocolate chips for a nice little touch!
Now onto the cake..

1. We may have had a huge crack in the bottom layer, but we just put some glue and it was fine.
2. Mousse= so good.
3. Cake plate with purple ribbon (sparkly of course) such a good birthday present which will be getting lots of use!
4. We eliminated the vanilla and added shredded coconut instead. Oh me, oh my, deliciousness.

 Poor Derek got shafted and his piece fell apart..whoops.

Oh, and dinner: Chicken Scallopine served over whole wheat pasta, roasted vegetables and rosemary- olive oil bread

And, only one casualty..
This wasn't technically our fault..the left side of the stove gets super hot when the oven is on and this was left on the burner and opps..

All the party essentials, obviously.

The amount of butter, flour and sugar we went through this weekend is disgusting, yet so wonderful because everything was such a success.

Not only do we have one 21st birthday this week, but 3!!

1. Puffy painted goblets for the birthday boy and girls
2. Up close
3. Mariah made her famous jell-o shots and made us 3 special ones!
4. Birthday kiddos!

The weekend was a success, I feel like it was over before it even started. This week is crazy for us all, hello mid terms, so we had to go out with a bang this weekend and that we did. On top of everything going according to plan, it was also warm out (until we woke up a blizzard today) and cusey cuse won. 


 t minus 5 days mother bear and we'll be on our way across the country!! I am SO excited to spend the week exploring California with you :)