Monthly Archives: April 2016

Anela’s birthday at the Alpaca Hacienda

The Alpaca Hacienda

For Anela’s birthday, I arranged a tour of the Alpaca Hacienda in Temecula. She loves alpacas, so I thought it’d be great. When I was first feeling her out about it, the conversation went something like this.

“Have you ever been to an alpaca farm?”

“Nope, ugh, that’d be terrible!” At this point, I felt confused. She wouldn’t enjoy it? Would I need to find a different gift? But then she continued. “I’d never want to leave!” Perfect.

The Alpaca Hacienda

If you didn’t get invited, don’t blame Anela. I organized it, so you can get mad at me. I promise I’ll ignore you and not care.

Anela, gem, Claudia, Tram, and I met early so we could be sure to get to Temecula in time for our tour. Claudia brought some delicious cupcakes. I’ve had banana muffins, but have you ever had a banana chocolate cupcake? I have now, and it was delicious. I also brought some orange juice, water, and homemade egg muffins for everyone.

The Alpaca Hacienda

We gave her gifts and cards too. I like making handmade cards, but this was my first attempt at one with a slide and moving parts. The little alpaca jumps the fence. It took a while to figure out the best way to do it, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.

The Alpaca Hacienda

We reached The Alpaca Hacienda about 10 minutes before our scheduled time, which was pretty perfect. Oh man, look how cute these girls were! Tina, the Ranch Event Coordinator, met us and started our tour with a little presentation about alpacas. She was wonderful. I’d been e-mailing with her since December, so it was nice to meet her. These are all female alpacas in this pen that was right next to where we were having our presentation.

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Next it was time to feed Crown Royal! We learned that alpacas don’t really like to be touched, so the best way to get to pet him is to approach slowly and pet him gently while someone else distracts him with food! Luckily we were each given a bag of delicious (at least according to Crown Royal) food!

The Alpaca Hacienda

Thanks for the photos, gem. Feeding Crown Royal was so much fun! I’ll admit, my hand was pretty slobbery, but it was worth it. And hey, if you’re interested in having your alpaca breed with him, he’s available! I’m not sure why I decided to Google him, but I did.

The Alpaca Hacienda

After feeding Crown Royal, we learned a little about felt. One way felt is made is by applying water, pressure, and rubbing. I got the craft add-on to the tour (because of course we want to craft), so we got to make felt – or hairy soap I suppose. We were given some alpaca hair that we opened, cleaned, and then wrapped around a bar of soap with some water. We massaged it and spread it around the soap before finally using string to finish with some flair. We could use it as soap, and as the soap gets used up, the hair will continue to shrink and tighten around it, becoming felt, or we could use it as decoration. I’m going to keep mine as decoration.

The Alpaca Hacienda

Next it was time to see the males, but we took a detour to pet Dakota. Dakota is a sweet doggy that was all tuckered out. Dakota’s been protecting the alpacas from a coyote! Apparently the coyote has been coming to the ranch regularly.

The Alpaca Hacienda

The Alpaca Hacienda homes a single llama that we got to meet as well. Llamas, unlike alpacas, are quite friendly around people. This one really wanted kisses. He’d press up against our faces. I love him.

The Alpaca Hacienda

Tina was nice enough to take a photo of our whole group with an alpaca and the llama! What a good-looking bunch, eh? I had a ton of fun at the Alpaca Hacienda and definitely recommend it. We ended our afternoon in the gift shop. They had some fun finger puppets, so I bought a couple for gem. There was also a little alpaca wearing a hat. An alpaca with clothes?! I had to send Anela home with it.

I found a tea place that seemed nice on Yelp, so we headed to Snow & Crab after our tour. It was quite the eclectic restaurant – Cajun food, tea, coffee, and shaved ice. We got a round of drinks and enjoyed some conversation. gem ordered hot horchata coffee with boba. It was actually pretty good!

The Alpaca Hacienda

After our little break, we checked out the Ricardo Breceda Gallery & Sculpture Garden! It was twenty minutes out of the way but well worth it. These sculptures were amazing. Check out that octopus in the above photo!

The Alpaca Hacienda

Look, gem joined a mariachi band!

The Alpaca Hacienda

I asked another person at the sculpture garden to take our photo. There were so many different kinds of sculptures from small insects, to life-sized people, to large dinosaurs. They were all very cool. Ricardo Breceda, the artist, said they could take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months to create depending on the size.

Ricardo Breceda

Next we headed back to Orange County to meet Daniel for dinner at Gen. It was time for delicious Korean BBQ! I ate so much, which is obviously customary at KBBQ. We were seated between 5:30 and 6:00 – once again perfect timing. Everything went so amazingly smoothly!

The Alpaca Hacienda

After discussing the video Tiny hamster eating a tiny pizza earlier, gem felt inspired to make a tiny taco. It was cute, but I don’t think it’s quite as a cute without a tiny animal eating it!

Next we rounded out the night at the nearby 7 Leaves Cafe for our second tea lounge of the day. You know what I just noticed as I wrote this post thanks to last years post, Happy birthday, Anela? We went to Gen as well as 7 Leaves Cafe last year for her birthday!

Everything we did that day was fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting to know my three new friends! Most importantly, Anela got to have a fun birthday. Happy birthday! I hope you had fun! 🙂

LA Times Festival of Books and Jon Klassen

LA Times Festival of Books

When Collin told me that he noticed Jon Klassen, an author and illustrator I really like, was going to be at the LA Times Festival of Books, I immediately told gem and made plans to attend. Among other works, Klassen authored and illustrated I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat.

LA Times Festival of Books, Jon Klassen

This weekend we headed up to USC to meet him. Klassen was really friendly, and we both enjoyed chatting with him. We showed him some Snapchat art gem made involving his characters and told him about the “I Want My Yoga Shirt Back” flyer gem put up at her yoga studio when she lost her shirt. He complimented her Snapchat art!

LA Times Festival of Books, I Want My Hat Back

Check out my sweet first edition copy now! Awesome. 🙂

LA Times Festival of Books, This Is Not My Hat

We even discussed how he hears his characters’ voices. Klassen said hears them all deadpan and imagines that if there were actors portraying his characters, they’d be the worst actors he could find. I love it! While they do all have different voices when I read the book, they’re all pretty deadpan too actually. I told him how I do voices and even made a puppet show. He asked me to send him a link to the performance!

It was a lot of fun. Besides meeting Jon Klassen, we also got to eat some Filipino food from a food truck and some Thai sweet sticky rice with mango. We played on some outdoor workout equipment and took plenty of photos and various little photo ops. There was even an archaeologist there answering kids’ questions. He had a dinosaur puppet with him that was half controlled by someone in a suit and half controlled by someone outside. The kids wanted to pet it – adorable! On our way out, we even ran into our friend, Katy!

Here’s my performance of I Want My Hat Back. It’s so embarrassing! I love this book so much, and it was a great pleasure getting to meet Jon Klassen!

My 30th birthday (over a month ago)

birthday

My birthday was really amazing this year. I wasn’t feeling so happy with things around that time, but the day was so perfect and I felt so loved that it lifted my spirits immensely. I couldn’t have imagined a better day.

my birthday, henley

My plans were in the afternoon, leaving my morning free. It just so happened that Henley was playing at a park in Irvine with Alex and Darnell that morning, so things worked out perfectly. I met them at the park and had a great time. Henley was so excited to see me and is absolutely adorable. I played with him for a while, and when Darnell said I had to leave, he threw a little bit of a fit. He also wished me a happy birthday and even sang. <3

my birthday

In the afternoon, I headed to gem’s where gem, Anela, Edward, Antonio, and Kaleigh celebrated with me. And by celebrate, I mostly mean eat!

I think a collage tells the food story better than individual photographs. Let’s go clockwise. On the top-left is a strawberry shortcake mochi. Yep, that’s a piece of strawberry shortcake wrapped inside mochi. Delicious! Everything in the top-right was brought by Anela as well. Two kinds of cookies and two different kinds of pastries! Below that one is mango-jalapeño salsa I made and some pastries Antonio and Kaleigh brought from Porto’s that were delicious. Below that one is fondue! gem was the mastermind there, but she enlisted the help of some others too. We ate it with a variety of things, but I’m using a slice of apple in the photo. The bottom-right is a bacon-wrapped hot dog. The bottom-left corner shows three big desserts. gem bought the two pies – cherry and apple, and Antonio and Kaleigh brought the great tres leches cake. Lastly, the photo above that was taken before we realized the grill wasn’t working. I moved the hot dogs into the oven.

my 30th birthday

Look how beautiful that dessert plate is! gem even supplied some homemade ice cream. How many calories is on this plate alone? I don’t want to know.

smm

After eating, we played some games. gem had been raving about Spyfall, so we tried that. It’s a party game in which everybody gets a card with a location listed (such as “Sesame Street” or “Pink Paradise Stripper Bar,” both locations used when we played) except one player gets one that just says “spy.” Players take turns asking each other questions related to the location, forcing the spy to have to try to answer without actually knowing the location. It was a lot of fun! We also all made a level together in Super Mario Maker – Peter’s 30th Birthday Bash. I wrote about it on Polygons and Pixels, and you can find it by using ID BBD9-0000-01E1-1F90.

It was great to kick off my 30’s with close friends and a ton of desserts – my favorite things. Really, I’m just glad to be surrounded by so many loving, wonderful people. Thanks for making me feel special and being so special yourselves!

Devin and Lorena’s 30th wedding anniversary

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

To celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, Devin and Lorena threw the most amazing weekend party a couple months ago. It started with a face-painted bar crawl in San Clemente. I headed down after work and met Gracie and Jon at the hotel because I was sharing a room with them. I decided pretty early on that I was going to do clown face paint, and it was just coincidence that I had that colorful tie.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

With the right lighting, it looked pretty creepy I think!

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

This is Darnell and me at one of the bars. It was hard not to smile for photos!

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Here’s Devin and Alex. This was actually at the end of the night when we got back to the house Lorena and Devin were renting for the weekend. At the end of the bar crawl, we all met at the house for ice cream. They hired their favorite ice cream shop from Orange County to bring machines and come make ice cream at the house. I wish I could remember the flavors. I’m pretty sure one involved beets, which was tasty. They were all good, but I can’t remember them now. This is what I get for waiting too long to blog.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

What I didn’t know was that throughout the night, Lorena and Devin were asking all the bartenders to vote for their favorite man’s face paint and favorite woman’s. It was actually the next night that they told us about it, but I’ll talk about it here. I won unanimously! That was a pretty pleasant surprise. I won a poker set with a plaque on the top the says “Devin & Lorena’s 30th anniversary 2016,” which was really cool. In the photo above, my friend Melissa is in the middle. She won the best woman’s face paint. Those eyes were crazy awesome.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

I thought I’d share what it looked like when I took off the face paint. It was pretty cool.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Saturday was a 1920’s speakeasy party in the evening. I spent the earlier part of the day eating and walking around San Clemente a bit. Come time for the party, I got to wear the bow tie that gem bought for me on vacation in New York!

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Here I am with Jon. This was when we first got to the house. The party was at the same house at which the bar crawl ended.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Darnell and Gracie look great! The party was really well done. We even had to use a password to get into the party. I think it’s safe to spill the beans now. “Devin’s a lucky bastard!”

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Gracie could fit in very well in that era. Maybe she’s a time-traveler.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

The food was absolutely amazing. Devin and Lorena hired one of their favorite chefs to come cook us so many delicious things. Every fifteen minutes or so a new course was prepared and carried around to us as we drank and talked. They were all really good, and they went out of their way to prepare vegetarian and vegan variations for the guests.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Devin and Lorena performed vow renewals in their spiffy duds. The vows were so perfectly them – amazingly loving and just a tad sexual and crude!

The guests were all fascinating, fun people who, luckily, were great conversationalists. I could sit next to anyone and find myself in an interesting discussion almost instantly. I suppose fun people know other fun people!

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

By the end of the night, it was time for Devin to take a little nap. Alex and I were the last to leave. We Uber’d back to our hotel where he was staying directly above me. Unfortunately, no one in his hotel room could hear him knocking at the door or calling, so he shared the pull-out couch with me in my room.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

Here’s a little bonus. On Sunday, we had brunch at the house before heading home, which gave me a chance to see Henley. The little guy looks tuckered out.

Devin and Lorena's 30th wedding anniversary

And this face is just hilarious.

No one throws a party like Lorena and Devin. It was an awesome weekend. I can only imagine what their 40th will be like!

Color Festival

Color Festival

We’re so colorful! I went to a color festival recently with gem and Nicole that was beautiful and a lot of fun. This was after Sean and DJ Tory’s yoga session.

Color Festival

You’d almost believe they were going to blow color at the same time as equals.

Color Festival

Nope. One of them got a cloud of color in her face! This photo makes me laugh.

Color Festival

She looks so colorful!

Color Festival

Here’s the three of us at the end of the day. I didn’t even think about the color on my face when I had lunch at a restaurant later that day. It was fun!

Cherry blossom festival

cherry blossom festival

The Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival was this month, so gem and I went to check it out. Ironically, most of the cherry blossoms had come and gone by the time of the festival.

cherry blossom festival

Luckily there were some, so we still got to enjoy the cherry blossoms.

cherry blossom festival

The other flowers were still blooming, which was nice. We stopped to take a few photos with them.

cherry blossom festival

One more in the flower garden for good measure. It was pretty in there!

IMG_6960

We finished off the day by making some origami cherry blossoms! They perfectly complemented the sparse cherry blossoms on the trees!