Tag Archives: marriage

Gracie and Jon are married!

Gracie and Jon's wedding

Gracie and Jon’s beautiful wedding was yesterday! Congratulations you two. I’m so glad I got to be there. These three cuties got front row seats (when they eventually sat down).

Gracie and Jon's wedding

Dinner was amazing, the music and dancing was fun, and of course, there were terrific friends.

Gracie and Jon's wedding

This dapper little gentleman was the ring bearer, although he ended up meandering down the aisle and then wanting his mom to hold him. I think he did well!

Gracie and Jon's wedding

He was shy at first, but he warmed up pretty quickly. Henley was all smiles most of the night!

Gracie and Jon's wedding

Look at these three lovely ladies! I think this is a great photograph of Gracie too; she’s looking stunning in her beautiful wedding dress… and she’s holding a red cup. Perfect!

I couldn’t write about their wedding without including Jon’s proposal. He just pulled the ring out and stood there until Gracie noticed, freaked out, and eventually answered =D

I love you two!

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

Santa Cruz weekend: Matt and Katie’s wedding!


Saturday was the day of the wedding! It was also the day we were switching hotels, so we began the morning by packing and checking-out.


We had an amazing brunch at Casa Nostra. It was super delicious. We had toast, jams, bruschetta, a frittata, and an omelette. And mimosas. We were pretty full. gem also played her ukulele while we waited for our food!

After brunch, we checked in at the Best Western Plus Inn Scotts Valley and then headed to SS. Peter & Paul where a shuttle drove us up a winding, mountain road to the Stones and Flowers Retreat in Ben Lomond. It was gorgeous.


At the entrance, a photographer took our photo with an instant camera, and these were used in the guestbook. It was a really awesome idea!


The ceremony was held outdoors to the left of the barn in this picture. The tables were for dinner, and the barn itself was for dancing and dessert!


Here are the tables for the reception.


I didn’t want to try for many photos during the ceremony, but I still snapped a couple.

matt & katie's wedding

Between the ceremony and dinner, it was time to drink wine. Wine time is always good time. Dinner was fantastic with tri-tip, salmon, pasta, and more.

While it doesn’t have anything to do with dinner, I did want to mention Matt’s family. gem promised Matt she’d bake cookies if she came to the wedding, so she brought a cookie jar full of her cowboy cookies around with her to most places (except the wedding itself). As she offered them to people, Matt’s family realized that gem was the woman who shipped cookies every year for Christmas! I love our guild.

During the meal, gem and I also noticed that Matt’s brothers sound very similar to him! I guess we’ve spent much more time listening to Matt’s voice over Mumble than actually seeing his face. That’s kind of weird but proof that you don’t always need physical proximity to make great friendships.

matt & katie's wedding

Speaking of making friends, we met a fun woman, Iamee, and as it turned out, she’s from Orange! We took this awesome photo together. Hopefully we hang out in the future!

Best man's speech

Marc, Matt’s best man, delivered a very nice speech. I texted him to give him an 8 on his speech, but in actuality, he nailed it. No surprise honestly.

gem in the barn

The barn had the letters ‘K’ and ‘M’ for Katie and Matt. There was a spiral staircase inside going up, so gem went up for a photo.


Here the happy couple walked into the barn for their first dance.

Matt and Katie's first dance

And then it was time for the first dance itself!

matt & katie's wedding

Sorry, this was blurry. It was dark, there was drinking, and we were all dancing. I have a lot of excuses for the photo quality.

Matt and Katie

Katie and Matt decided to dance above us for a little bit.


By the end of the night, even the photographer joined us in a bit of dancing! I had fun on the dance floor. There was even a bit of line dancing!

Dessert was served buffet-style in the barn. I thought it was a great way of doing it. After they cut the cake, pieces were cut and placed on a table along with brownie bites, cookies, apple fritters, donuts, chocolate-covered raisins, M&Ms, and probably more things I’m forgetting. You could grab a snack, load up on calories, and then go burn them off by dancing. I may not be any good at dancing, but it was certainly a lot of fun!

After things calmed down, we all headed back to the hotel. At drunken requests, I went through Jack in the Box’s drive-through for tacos. As we waited at the window for our food, we saw Iamee entering the restaurant. gem ran out of the car to give her a hug! By the time we got the food, she was waiting in front of the drive-through to get back in the car.

Back at the hotel, we ate our tacos and then headed to Marc’s room to hang out with our new and old friends, talk, and watch people chug whiskey for who-knows what reason. It was fun though! Everyone was super cool. I’m always a little bummed out after events like this because I meet a bunch of interesting people, we get to know each other, and then we go our separate ways. We met high school friends, former bandmates (Matt was signed and had a CD and radio play; check out “In Character” by Blood and Water on iTunes), former classmates turned teachers, former camp coworkers, friends from Boulder, and more. It was really a fantastic day.

Sunday, however, was not so fantastic. After check-out, I went to Jamba Juice because I noticed one was less than ten minutes away, and I was craving it. Once I had my Strawberries Wild, we got on the freeway and headed home. For the most we just talked, but we also listened to some My Brother, My Brother, and Me. We topped off the weekend by eating too much at Las Brisas De Apatzingan with chile relleno, potato tacquitos, and pozole verde.

Congratulations, Katie and Matt! It was a beautiful wedding, and I was very happy that you shared your special day with me. I love you both!

View more pictures in my Flickr album, Matt and Katie’s Wedding, or read my first post about my vacation, Santa Cruz weekend: Redwoods and the Boardwalk.

Santa Cruz weekend: Redwoods and the Boardwalk

Quality Inn & Suites Santa Cruz Mountains

Sunday was Katie and Matt’s wedding in Ben Lomond. To make a weekend out of it, gem and I decided to spend Friday through Monday in Northern California. After a late start on Friday, I drove to Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County. Here’s a photo of our hotel, the Quality Inn & Suites Santa Cruz Mountains. The drive was relatively uneventful but fun given that I enjoy talking! We didn’t actually reach the hotel until about 11 o’clock, so this photo is from Saturday morning. It was quite beautiful. Unfortunately, there was an odd smell that caused us to keep our clothes in the car, but let’s not dwell on the negative.


Saturday morning we went to the Henry Cowell Redwood State Park for a hike. It was absolutely gorgeous! Southern Californian hikes are terrible by comparison.


It was about 10 when we got there, which felt like a late start. It wasn’t really. I’m just used to hiking in direct sunlight down here. It wasn’t hot at all, and I probably didn’t even need sunblock.


gem and I discussed wanting to see wildlife, and when we heard a train, our conversation segued into the idea of “wild trains” being native to the Santa Cruz area. You see, they spend their whole lives growing tracks and migrating across the lands. When they die, their offspring can use the tracks grown by the previous generations.


Look what else we found while hiking! What could that be?


It was a geocache! I fail at geocaching most of the time, so I was pretty happy to find this one in a tree stump.


gem and I signed the log.


After hiking, we went to the Best Western Plus Inn in Scotts Valley to meet with Marc and one of his friends. He drove us to the beach to meet his other friends, only running one red on the way. Okay, he caught it half way into the intersection and backed up. No harm done.

By the time we got to the beach, his friends were leaving to go back to the hotel. We walked around a little in attempt to get to the lighthouse, but after realizing we were on the wrong side of something, we just decided to leave.

Sea lions!

We headed toward to Santa Cruz Boardwalk and strolled along the wharf after getting some delicious ice cream. Looking down through the pier, we saw some adorable sea lions! They were pretty cute. One kept trying to jump out of the water but couldn’t quite make it.

matt & katie's wedding

As the time approached that Matt and Katie were going to arrive at the hotel, we went back to meet with them and the rest of their friends. Here I am holding Katie’s wedding dress trying with all my might not to drop the dress. It wasn’t heavy or anything, but I couldn’t help but think about how horrible it would be if something were to happen. Everything was fine though!

matt & katie's wedding

We all went back to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Anela had recommended we check it out, and I know I went there as a kid but don’t really remember it. I’m glad Matt wanted to go; it was a lot of fun. I love taking pictures of colored lights, fairs, and the like, but for some reason I didn’t really take any pictures. I guess I was too busy having fun and meeting new people. Their friends are super awesome! gem did get this picture of me in line for the Giant Dipper rollercoaster though!

Matt and Katie

We ended the night at the arcade. How did the happy couple spend their last evening before getting married? They played some classic arcade games obviously.


After some air hockey, gem and I played Tetris against each other. I’d never played this version. She kicked my butt. I also played some Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man, my favorites!

matt & katie's wedding

Last year gem and I met with Katie, Matt, and Marc for the first time while we were in San Francisco. We took a few photos, but none turned out well. This time we had much better luck! From left to right that’s gem, Marc, me, Matt, and Katie. It was so, so good seeing them. My eyes are about to tear up just thinking about the wedding, and I wasn’t even planning on talking about the wedding itself until the next post.

You can view more photos in my Flickr album aptly named Matt and Katie’s Wedding.

You can read about the wedding itself here: Santa Cruz weekend: Matt and Katie’s wedding!

Jackie and Kenneth’s wedding!

Saturday was Jackie and Kenneth’s wedding. It was beautiful, and the weekend was fantastic. I’m tempted to start talking about the actual wedding, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We left Southern California early Friday morning at 6:00. We had some quick breakfast, stopped for coffee, and then headed north on the 101. The 5 would have been faster, but we opted for the more scenic route along the coast. Not only did the drive provide ample time to talk, it also allowed us to listen to many episodes of the podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me.

Chocolate Ladybugs (and a lamb)

We stopped at the Madonna Inn because gem had heard of it. It’s apparently a landmark of California. At least, that’s what Wikipedia tells me. It’s known for an exterior that’s reminiscient of the Swiss Alps, 110 guest rooms and suites with unique themes, and a waterfall urinal.

The coolest part, I suspect, are the themed rooms. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really see those without paying for a room. The exterior was neat looking though. The waterfall urinal was… a little gross. It was basically a couple drains in the ground with some water running over a fake rock above it. I didn’t really want to get splashed.

They did, however, have some extremely cute chocolates for sale. You can see what I bought in the photo above! There was a lemon ladybug, an orange ladybug, a strawberry ladybug, and a chocolate lamb. I also got a chocolate heart flavored with some sort of alcohol. They were all quite tasty.

gem at Creeky Tiki Island Grill

We decided to look in the surrounding area for lunch. It just seemed like a cool area at which to eat. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were in San Luis Obispo. We looked around for a bit before settling on Creeky Tiki Island Grill. It was a nice little place with great outdoor seating near a creek. It was really nice. The food was pretty tasty – I had a BBQ jerk chicken pizza, and gem had a great salad (and they were willing to accommodate a special order). We also had a chance to play with gem’s new camera!

jackie and kenneth's wedding

After getting off in Santa Cruz by accident and driving around, we finally made it to Los Gatos. It was about 5 o’clock when we checked into the hotel. We were originally hoping to do a little hiking, but it was too late for that. We also wanted to grab dinner or drinks with a couple friends, but we couldn’t make it happen. Instead we went for a walk through a park and around a neighborhood. The trees were definitely pretty!

When we had our fill of walking and got hungry again, we decided to drive to San Jose to check where gem needed to go the next day. We went to Santana Row, which was a large shopping center. It was really packed – exactly the type of place I’d usually avoid on a Friday evening. We ended up going a few blocks away to A Slice of New York for pizza. Yes, I had pizza again. Their gimmick is authentic New York pizza. It was good pizza but nothing amazingly special. After dinner, I crashed pretty much immediately. It had been a long day.

Getting her hair done

Saturday morning we grabbed some breakfast before gem’s appointment at Dry Bar in San Jose to get her hair done. It seemed like a nice enough place. gem told me that her stylist mentioned that some people come to get their hair done multiple times per week. One wash, and the work is undone. It seems odd to get it done regularly, but for special occasions, it makes sense. Her hair looked great!

The "Ultimate" Spicy Tuna at Blowfish Sushi

We had lunch at Blowfish Sushi to Die For in Santana Row. They didn’t have blowfish. Odd! They did, however, have something called the Ultimate Spicy Tuna consisting of spicy tuna, diced jalapeños, spicy sesame oil, fried jalapeños, habanero tobiko, spicy mayo, and Sriracha. It must be really spicy, right? Wrong. Zenko Sushi’s spicy tuna was spicier. It was still tasty, but why bother promoting it as “ultimate spicy” if it isn’t really spicy. I’m not even sure it was what I’d call “white person spicy.”


We hurried back to the Los Gatos Lodge to take the shuttle to the wedding site, Nestldown. It was a beautiful location. You can see one building in that photograph. There were flowers and tall trees everywhere. I suddenly didn’t mind that I hadn’t had the chance to go hiking. There was amazing nature right here. We also ran into some friends that we hadn’t seen in a while. I wish we had had more time to catch up!

Tall trees

A path led down some wood steps to the edge of a lake where the ceremony was to be held. I took a few photographs and chatted while waiting for the ceremony to begin.

The Bride

This is no surprise, but Jackie looked beautiful. Her entrance involved the same stairs I mentioned. I wonder if that was an extra bit of stress. Not only were all eyes on her, but she had to walk down the steps in her wedding dress. Of course, she descended gracefully.

jackie and kenneth's wedding

After the ceremony, it was time for some socializing and food. Our friend Joseph took this photograph of us as we waited for the train.

jackie and kenneth's wedding

Did I say train? I sure did! gem said it’d be like playing Pokemon Snap; we could take pictures of wild Pokemon as we went along the track. Sadly, I didn’t see any Pokemon.

The Lake

We had some cheese, crackers, and wine near another lake and chatted with our new and old friends.

jackie and kenneth's wedding

The happy couple arrived via the train and made their rounds talking to the guests. We took some photos together; I’m happy to have the physical reminder of the memories.

There was also a photo booth, complete with props. People who know gem would probably not be surprised to find that her favorite was the mustache on a stick.

Name tags

At dinner we received cards with name tags attached. The color of the card indicated our meal, and the name tags were labeled bottlecaps pinned to the cards. gem had the salmon, and I had the stuffed bell pepper. Both were quite delicious! We sat at the same table as Mai, which gave us a nice chance to talk. Dessert consisted of the wedding cake, a pineapple cake, and Oreo milkshakes that I didn’t know about until much later

With dinner came dancing, which was a lot of fun. There was modern music along with older dance tunes, and it was all great. They did a wonderful job selecting music. We even danced to Gangnam Style, of course.

As the evening came to a close, we headed back to the Los Gatos Lodge. We hung out and chatted while some people made an effort to finish the beer. I wasn’t interested in the beer, but I was definitely interested in talking with friends.

French Toast Sandwich with Banana Streusel from Hobee's

Sunday morning we had brunch at Hobee’s Restaurant. Oh my god. It was good. I had an orange swirl French toast sandwich with sauteed streusel bananas and toasted almonds. I also tried some of gem’s chicken, artichoke, mushroom, spinach, and cheese omelet as well as some blueberry coffee cake. Jackie’s parents also thanked people individually for coming. They were very friendly, and Jackie’s mom reminds me of her. After brunch, we walked back to the lodge for the final time with our friends.

Goodbyes are always sad, but they have to be said. We exchanged goodbyes with Jackie and Kenneth, Jackie gifted gem the mustache on a stick, and we left for Orange County. This time we took the 5 instead of the 101.

Fire near the Grapevine

When we reached the Grapevine, I saw fire in the distance. There actually was a fire to the side of the road. Luckily it seemed under control, and I don’t think there was much damage.

By the time we got back, the day was done. I crashed quickly once again.

Congratulations again to Jackie and Kenneth! They’re great people and are both very lucky. They’re also both wonderful hosts. Hopefully we see them again soon.