Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Number 3: Gigi's Birthday.

So, none of the shenanigans of the last two weeks would have gone down if it wasn't for a very special lady turning 80 this year. Marchetta Harrington Burlingham (AKA Gigi) is the one who put together this big party and for good reason! I think it is such a beautiful thing to celebrate life and at my age, I tend to usually celebrate birthdays in a more cavalier and selfish way instead of taking that time to look back on accomplishments and experience with the people you love. I don't think its ever a waste of time to do so.

Before we were on the cruise, we (and when I say we, I mean my mom) planned a night to really honor her because, after all, she's why we were there! On one of the first nights, unbeknownst to Gigi, the crew was going to deliver her a cake and sing her happy birthday at the end of dinner (very Red Robin-esque). All dinner the whole family knew it was coming but Gigi had no idea. I mentioned yesterday that we ate a lot of food. This statement definitely did not exclude dinners. Every night they fed us great 5 or 6 course meals that lasted quite a while. Well when the main courses were all cleared and the dessert was waiting to be served, we all waited on the edge of our seats to see her reaction to the surprise. Within minutes, we heard music playing and we saw the crew come out with a huge cake, they walked down the aisle....closer, closer, closer, and pass. They walked right past our table and gave the cake to a couple celebrating their anniversary. A couple minutes later, we heard the music and saw the cake again. Closer, closer, closer....and pass. Apparently we weren't the only ones with the cake idea because about 5 people were celebrating life that night too. Finally she did get delivered her cake and despite the major spoiler alerts before it, Gigi acted completely surprised. Her reaction was so great-- I got so many pictures but I think this is my favorite. (I also love Robert in this picture. Doesn't he have such a joyful smile?)

Along with planning the cake at dinner, mom also reserved a room on the boat for our family to go and eat the cake all together and give us a chance to affirm her with a mini birthday celebration.

For the record, I hate affirmations because whether I'm giving or receiving, I cry every time. Of course I love the though behind them and what people actually say is always very touching and thoughtful but the idea of having to either sit with lots of people and hear/tell someone how amazing I/they are just makes me really nervous. I usually go at the beginning just to get it over with and even though I had planned out what I wanted to say to the T, of course I totally cried when it was my turn. Either way, it was so great for me to be able share and I know Gigi was very honored by it.

My favorite moment by far of the affirmations, and quite possibly the whole trip, was when my grandpa affirmed her. They have been married for over 55 years and are the most adorable and in love couple I have ever met. Their respect and love for each other is so genuine and I love to watch them interact. He even got a little teary when he was looking at her it was such a great moment that I will never forget. I hope when I look back on my life I am able to say that I had a man that loved me as much as he loves her and marriage as beautiful as the one they've shared.

For about another hour we ate cake and all talked while watching the most beautiful sunset of the whole trip until Gigi and Grandpa said they were going to hit the hay and kind of drew a close to the party.

Gigi was a little sick for most of the trip, which was such a bummer, but I hope she had a great time and felt loved by all who were on the cruise who were there to celebrate her. It was an amazing week that I will never forget and wouldn't have happened without her and I am so grateful for who she is and her role in my life. Love you, GIGI!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Number 2: Eating.

Obviously, I love food and besides just loving food, I love to eat, which, in my opinion, are two very different things. One of the great highlights of the trip was all the food I got to eat. All the delicious food I got to eat. The last time I was in Germany, we all got a little sick of the local food because it seems to be generally the same in most towns, but this trip was quite different. Everything was not only quite tasty but very varied which was so fun to try a lot of new things. Basically, this trip was all about the food. Let me put it this way. I've been out of Germany for 3 days and I already can't remember how to say 'bathroom,' but I do know that when you are driving in Germany and you see a sign that says 'Backerei/Konditorei' PULL OVER.

We all got this hot chocolate at a place called Bagel's and Beans in Amsterdam. I think it was hands down THE best hot chocolate I've ever had because of the way it was served. We got a cup of hot milk (and a lot of tasty foam-- it's all about the foam) and then a little cup of chocolate chips. I think I almost peed my pants when I saw the waitress walking towards me with this because it was just so cool. And the chocolate was delicious as well, so the whole thing just worked for me.

Pommes Frittes. There is nothing to special about the actual potato part because it is just like french fry, but the real magic comes with the "mayonaisse" (that is really nothing like mayonaisse) served with them. I think we got these every time we had the chance.

If we were playing the German food version of family fued, survey generally say's bratwurst in the number 1 spot. I'm a big fan of a good brat, so I definitely wanted to eat one while I was in Germany. One of my families favorite stories about me is that when I was in Philadelphia, I managed to eat 3 Philly Cheesesteaks in one day. Well, I just about outdid myself on this trip because within about an hour I managed to polish off two Brats (and in the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you I probably could've been able to handle two more). But, honestly, how could I help myself!? They were sooo good!

Gelato. O, how I love you. One of my favorite things about Europe is their abundance of this chilly treat. We quickly discovered that if we wanted gelato, we got gelato because I think it's literally the European equivalent to Starbucks in America... one on every corner. So, one day we were going in for our routine cup when I looked through the glass attempting to figure out what the German word was for 'Cookies and Cream,' when I realized that those crazy Germs decided to change the word chocolate to Obama. Hmmm.... yes, in fact, our president may be described as Chocolate, due to his skin tone, but is it really necessary to completely abandon a word that has served its job of naming my favorite food for hundreds of years? I think not. Needless to say, I ordered vanilla.

We got to be in France for one day (which is definitely not enough time to soak up all the amazing cuisine there) and after our tour, we had about 20 minutes of free time before we had to get back on the ship. We agreed that the most valuable use of our time was to scout the best cheap food we could find in such a short window of time and therefore utilizing, what I like to call F.F.O. (French Food Opportunities). Robert and Alyssa both managed to down two quiches, and I went with one quiche a little chocolate mousse dessert thing. Time/Euros well spent.

These pictures do not do all the food justice. Not shown are all the amazing pastas, kuchen (cake), various honey's Kaitlin snagged along the way and a delicious fondue we had in Murren. This trip may have put me a bit behind on the scales, but it was well worth it. Good food always is.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Number 1: Amsterdam.

So, it turns out the final picture count is 747. I took 747 pictures in the last two weeks. Yesterday I spent way too long going through them and slightly editing them and forever deleting the ones that excentuate my dreaded lazy eye. Going through them all made me realize what an absolutely amazing trip we had and all the lovely moments that went down in those 2 suspended weeks in time. The hard part was then deciding which out of all the great pictures of family, beautiful scenery and historic buildings I was going to post and which ones would just gather the hypothetical computer dust on the shelves. After thinking over a few different ways to post my adventures in the most affective way, I have decided to take my favorite moments from the trip (I've narrowed it down to 6) and do them one at a time that way. Brilliant, right? Yea.

Alright. Number 1. (And these are in no particular order, by the way)
Amsterdam. We kicked off the trip with everyone meeting in Amsterdam a few days before the cruise started and I was surprised to find out that I really liked the city. Going in, I was a little weary because the first things I think of when I think of Amsterdam are pot and prostitutes. Not very family friendly and not very Julia. But after spending the weekend there I was so surprised at the beautiful canals that run through the city and the unique homes and buildings scattered all around. While we were there, we went to the Resistance Museum and the Rijks Museum which were both very cool. And we also got to go on a mini river tour around the canals so it was fun to get that perspective as well.
Almost more than anything, I was amazed at the people of Amsterdam. They shocked me from the moment I got their because of their insane good looks! From the time we got from the airport to the hotel, I was already so extremely intimidated by everyone I saw. Literally every man was handsome and all the women were beautiful and I think there must be a minimum height requirement because no one was under 5'8". No fair. Although part of me just wants to believe that they are all just gorgeous freaks of nature, I do admit that some of their looks may be due to the fact that everyone rides their bikes everywhere there. From new borns strapped to the handlebars to seniors pedaling away, it is clear that health is a main priority and biking is a big part of that thus resulting in lean bodies. It still makes me jealous.

And what would a post be without some pictures, right? Good thing I had some options to choose from.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm Back!

Well lovies, I'm home again, home again. Only very jet-lagged, and a lot behind - I've missed so much!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

O. Em. Gee.

Ok. So, this is the first of probably about 59,842 posts regarding my trip to Europe and I'm not even home yet! This one is going to be short and sweet because it is really just a teaser of what's ahead. I need to make a plan of attack on how I am going to cover all of the amazingness that has gone on in the last two weeks. wow-- it's only been two weeks and it feels like its been two months! Between the amazing towns we've been in and the embarassing amount of food I have eaten, there is just so much to say! I am going to do my best at trying not to be annoying or snooty about all of the awesome things I have gotten to do, but bear with me because I've been riding the amazing train since we've been here and just about everything we've done is awesome. Anyway, it is late and I am tired, but the picture above (thanks to google images...but believe me, you will be seeing plenty of pictures I've taken) is of Murren, the town we are staying in now, which is in Switzerland. It is beautiful to say the least. We're coming home on Saturday, but until then, Auf wiedersehen!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yet another reason to go to Iceland.

Ok. If you've been reading my blog since the beginning, you know about my love affair with Iceland. If you don't remember, click here. Recently, I stumbled upon this video.

Inspired by Iceland Video from Inspired By Iceland on Vimeo.

Inspired by Iceland is a new project by the Icelandic government that encourages people to travel to Iceland and not be too scared of volcanos. Don't you love this video that they made? The filming is incredible, and, oh, those glaciers! Plus I'm kind of obsessed with the all the sweater's their wearing!

If this doesn't freak you out, I don't know what will.

Ok. So this is the final installment from my textiles series, and as I previously mentioned, I think I definitely saved the creepiest for last.
We've all heard of Peta and their fight to protect animals no matter what it takes, right? We've also all heard of their (and other organizations') attacks on the fashion industry for all the fur products they use in their clothes they produce, right? Well, there is a new technology that still offers wearing the hide of a mammal, but not necessarily an animal...have I totally lost you yet? I'm talking about victimless leather. According the official website "The Victimless Leather is grown out of immortalised cell lines which cultured and form a living layer of tissue supported by a biodegradable polymer matrix in a form of miniature stich-less coat like shape. The Victimless Leather project concerns with growing living tissue into a leather like material." Still not getting it? THEY ARE MAKING LEATHER A LEATHER LIKE MATERIAL OUT OF HUMAN SKIN! This new idea was first revealed to the public at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in an incubator like the one pictured below.

As an art piece, the creators (two animal rights activist themselves) are trying to blur the line between what we see as dead and alive by creating a garment that is not only cutting edge and provocative but also protects animals . The installment at the MoMA itself literally had to be killed because it was growing too fast.
Personally, I am totally grossed out by this. Obviously, I can't have a totally objective view on this because in my opinion, animals were put on this earth to be used for our advantage, so the whole animal protection doesn't really strike a chord with me. Beyond that, who in the world would want to war a skin jacket?!?! Anyway, I don't think this is the last you we are going to be hearing of alternative textiles, but I just thought I'd share. What do you guys think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 10th

In a few short days, my lovely family and I will be boarding a flight to the magical lands across the ocean that we call Europe to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday! 18 crazy Americans are about to land in Amsterdam trying to hit up everything their culture has to offer (without really hitting up everything their culture has to offer, if you know what I mean...) then we are boarding a cruise down the Rhine River through Germany and Switzerland.
I can't wait, but right now all I can think about is what I am going to pack. Kaitlin and I have made a pact to be generous in sharing all of our clothes with each other so we have a more varied wardrobe without having to go buy new stuff before we go. Also, we both want to wear lots of skirts and dresses. I'm going for a look that says something like "O, yes. I summer in Europe." And also throw in a little Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (Maybe I'll even find me a Gregory Peck while I'm over there). So, the packing begins. Hopefully we can pull this off without any major tiffs....and anyone who has spent anytime with Kaitlin and I knows this is not an easy task. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 4, 2010

So, yea. I guess you could say I'm done with high school?

I HAVE FINALLY GRADUATED. And, just as I thought it would, it feels amazing. Wednesday was the big day and it flew by, but I also was able to really enjoy the day. Here's a quick play-by-play. For the last handful of Tuesday nights, three of my friends convene at one of our houses to watch Glee, eat rather poorly, and then hit the hay, so we continued the tradition this week at my house as a kind of "Last Hurrah." The next morning my mama made us all french toast to celebrate our last days as OCMC students. After that, we headed to school to get a few more practice runs in then home where I was greeted by more amazing family, Steve, Elva, and Alyssa, who drove all the way down from Sacramento just for the day. You guys rock!!! After a little house cleaning, it was off to the school for the big moment.
Graduation itself is such a blur, but all I know is, I didn't fall. Success. It was an amazing feeling to walk across that stage hearing my friends and family cheer and knowing that I had completed one of the biggest hurdles in my life thus far. After all the diplomas were given out and the speeches were given, we danced out of the theatre to Queen/David Bowie's, Under appropriate. Then after what felt like years of taking pictures, it was off to Bucca di Beppo for some family style Italian food...scratch that-- it was more like a truckload of Italian food that made me feel like all that bagginess those graduation robes were not such a bad idea after all.
So that's about it. I'm done with high school. I don't feel sad or reminiscent and I woke up yesterday and today feeling the same way I did a week ago, but the one thing that I can acknowledge is the fact that I stuck to my morals all through high school. Going in, I was so afraid of what negative things could happen or the terrible person I may become, and I did have a moment yesterday where I realized that I stuck to what I set out to do: I never drank or did drugs or snuck out of the house or got pregnant and I feel that, as best as I could, was a light showing God's love. I'm not perfect and by no means am I saying I didn't make mistakes, but I can leave these four years of my life knowing I did good.
Thanks to all of my amazing family and friends who took time to come watch my walk across the stage. You don't know how much all of your support in my life has meant to me and I probably wouldn't be able to type what I just typed above if it wasn't for all of you. I love you all soooo much.

Here, Kaitlin and I are displaying out excitement.
Diploma in hand. Officially done!
Me and Cherokee literally being too cool for school.
The best gals I know.
The official graduating class of Orange Coast Middle College High School 2010. All 31 of us.
So, Now it's summer and the only things I need to worry about are my tan and the woodpecker outside my window that is waking me up far too early. It feels good to be lazy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tomorrow, I graduate.

So many things to say. But I don't really feel like digging up all that ooshy gooshy stuff right now and forming it into paragraphs. Instead, I'm going to let my new friend and current obsession, Leah, do the talking.
I literally feel like this woman is reading my mind because I 100% agree with what this card says and I couldn't have said it better myself.
Anyway-- graduation is tomorrow at 3:00 at the Robert B. Moore Theatre on the OCC campus. You are all invited. I'll be the one is the blue cap and gown.