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Monday, December 13, 2010

Beachin' It

We recently returned from our very first weekend together with my family at the beach house we rented for the month.  It's pretty adorable with a great central location in Gulf Shores, plus super close to the beach and lagoon.  Mr. L and I are very happy so far that we all chose to do something like this for Christmas!

Our first night there, Bryant was having an absolute ball playing with all of his toys in the living room.  He was really excited about the place!

Whenever Bryant chose to not be a proper model for me, I would take the opportunity to photograph some other lovelies in my life:

My poodle CiCi
My precious Cocoa!
We had a nice time relaxing for the rest of the evening and playing some games, mainly Phase 10, a card game Mr. L bought while we were getting supplies at Wal-Mart.  It turned out to be a very competitive game, with yours truly ending up in last place...oh well, can't win them all!

The next morning I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the view from the house's balcony in the back:

And then somehow this little cutie ended up in front of my camera's lens again:

I'm so happy I got him to smile for me!
That evening, we originally had plans to go to a Civil War Christmas event in Fort Morgan, but unfortunately we weren't able to make its start time of 4pm because my dad and brother were driving in from Mobile (he had to direct traffic for our hometown's Christmas parade that morning).  Instead we opted to see Gulf Shores's Boat Christmas Parade, which turned out to be a really great idea.

We got to the canal a little bit before sundown and parked on the side of the road.  It was a little chilly out, so everyone but my dad and me stayed inside the van before the show started.

Bryant looking out the window at some planes flying overhead
My dad, AKA Pap, goofing off near the canal
A few minutes after dark the boats finally started coming down the canal, and as I'd predicted, Bryant came out of the van!

He'd found some sticks to play with while we were waiting
One of the boats, which just so happened to be decorated Auburn style...
Another daggum Auburn tiger, sheesh!
Finally a Santa boat and not a tiger!  Haha.
Squish getting a kick out of the boats
Palm tree boat
Bryant's favorite, the blue boat
Mommy and Bryant
After the boat show, we got some dinner from DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen (which was pretty tasty) and entertained ourselves with some more Phase 10 (did I mention that there's no internet at the house?  Yeah, that's why we're playing so many games -- we're not usually like this haha!) before it was time to go to bed.

The next morning we had to get ready to head back to our homes, so we started cleaning up and packing.  In the meantime my brother Brad and my dad decided to go feed the rest of the bread to the birds from the balcony.  I don't think we really expected all the attention the birds gave them!

It seemed like a scene straight out of Hitchcock's The Birds!
Bryant watching from the window, which ultimately did not last
He wanted to feed the birdies too!
I love the face he's making here.  It's so cute!
All up in the birds' faces
After the feeding frenzy, my family packed up and headed out, while Mr. L and I decided to leave around sunset so we could catch some pictures of the beach.  This seemed like a good idea, until we stepped outside and realized how freaking COLD it was, not to mention windy.  So we got a few pictures, but none of the actual sunset.

Oh, look, more birds!
Mr. L is such a sweetie!
Look at that adorable, albeit cold, face!
Pretty skies!
I'll get you next time, sunset!
I wasn't terribly worried though, I figured there would be plenty of time later to catch some perfect sunset shots, especially with a location as pretty as this one.  We'll be heading back soon to spend more time there, and my camera and I will be capturing some great pictures for sure!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hello December!

So nice to see you again, you wonderful month, you!

So far Mr. L and I have actually gotten a tree and some decorations up!  It all looks so pretty and I'm definitely getting in the mood for Christmas now.

Reindeer Mr. L's mother made!
Mr. L's work of art
Yay presents!
So cute, I love it!
My and Mr. L's first Christmas ornament while we were dating.  It's been almost six years now!
Also, speaking of Christmas, I got my amazingly wonderful and awesome Christmas/birthday combination gift from Mr. L today:

It's a Sony NEX-3 compact system camera -- it has lenses like a DSLR (they're interchangeable) and a body as compact as a regular point and shoot!

I'm in love with it so far, but I had to stop taking pictures of our decorations earlier and finish charging the battery, so now I'm impatiently waiting to break it out once more!

I'm super impressed with the low light quality (all of the above pictures were only lit by the tree and decorations) and I can't wait to take some beautiful scenery pictures outside in the daytime.  This camera is going to come in handy when we get to Hawaii for sure :)

I hope you all enjoy your last month of 2010; I sure am so far!

Monday, November 29, 2010

BlizzCon 2010, Part 6: The Awesomeness that Didn't Get to Happen

Considering it is just about December, it's pretty much time to wrap up these BlizzCon recaps!  So on that note this will finally be my last post!

By now, BlizzCon 2010 had ended, and the Sunday after the Con was upon us.  Originally, we had some epic plans scheduled for this day -- a trip to Legoland and a meet-up with my and Mr. L's close friend, Ephraim) -- but a wrench got thrown into our plans.  On the way home from Anaheim Saturday night, we stopped at a gas station to refuel the car and get back to the hotel.  For some reason, Mr. L's credit card was declined.  I hurriedly accessed the Navy Federal website to check on our account and see what in the world was going on.  We realized our money was still there, but that we had a suspicious charge for about $175 from some Best Buy in the midwest.  We had never even been to the midwest, much less visited a Best Buy there, so Mr. L called Navy Federal to report the charge.  We ended up canceling the card -- better to be safe than sorry when you're on the other side of the United States.

When we canceled, I immediately thought, "Oh no -- we were going to go to Legoland tomorrow!!"  So Joe and I decided to spill the beans on the secret we'd been keeping from Mr. L since May.

(We'll get to you one day, Legoland :( -- Source)

He was pretty much flabbergasted; he had NO idea we had been planning something so awesome.  We decided that due to lack of funds, we had to put Legoland on our to-do list the next time we made it out to California.

To make a long story short, the next morning we found out the charges were actually made by us when we preordered Collector's Editions of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  For some crazy reason, charged us in the middle of October instead of in December when the game officially releases.  While we were so thankful no one had stolen our information, I was still sad that we still would not be making it to Legoland.

Instead, our friend Ephraim drove up from San Diego to spend some time with us!  We went out to eat at Red Robin and talked for a good while.  It was so nice getting to see him since he'd been deployed for a long time and was unable to make it to our wedding :(

(Eph, Mr. L, and me -- personal photo)

After lunch, we said our goodbyes to Ephraim (who spent the rest of the day at Six Flags Magic Mountain!) and got on the road.  The guys kept each other entertained while I took pretty scenery pictures.

(personal photo)

And by the way, by "entertain themselves" I totally meant "played a computer game to keep Joe awake."  Don't believe me?  I have proof:

(Playing video games while driving in the rain -- I might have been a little nervous)

We made it home on Sunday evening and spent the next two days being super lazy and recovering from our trip.  Joe had an interview for a potential job on Tuesday, so he and his mom arranged for an airport shuttle for Mr. L and I to take to Sacramento International Airport.  From there we made our way back home to Florida.

It was a fantastic trip and a wonderful experience, but I don't think we'll be going back to BlizzCon anytime soon since it was pretty expensive!  I do, however, foresee at least one trip to California when we're in Hawaii; after all, Legoland and Mr. L have unfinished business.  :)

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Friday, November 19, 2010

BlizzCon 2010, Part Five: The Convention Ends

Our second day of BlizzCon actually didn't happen all at the Anaheim Convention Center like on the first day; in fact, we spent at least four hours right in the middle of the Con at Downtown Disney.

What the heck, right?!  We spent $300 on tickets for this event (not to mention airline tickets and other expenses) and didn't even spend all of day two--the last day!--there?  Trust me, we're not crazy (okay, okay, actually, we kind of are), because we had a perfectly good excuse: college football.

Mr. L's team had a huge game that day versus a mutual SEC rival, LSU.  To many, this probably wasn't a good enough reason to miss a good chunk of BlizzCon, and to be honest, we didn't plan on spending that much time there.  But when you've got a fun group of people hanging out with you as well as food and alcohol, well, you don't really want the good times to end.

But let's start from the beginning of the day.

We woke up a little earlier than the day before and made our way to downtown Anaheim for the last time.  All three of us were pretty excited about the final day, but Mr. L and I were just a wee bit more excited about it being Game Day.  Mr. L's team, Auburn, was looking at a big game rank-wise, while my team, Alabama, was looking at a big game historically speaking (Alabama versus Tennessee, a very old rivalry).  We'd made plans to head to a sports bar in Downtown Disney called ESPN Zone (which was pretty awesome by the way!) to watch the Auburn-LSU game later in the day.

We spent a little bit of time at the Con and met up with our friends again.  I think the guys managed to get a little Diablo III playing time in before it was time to head to the bar.  Our friend "Barackas," a fellow football lover (and Alabama fan!) tagged along with us to join in on the fun.

ESPN Zone was a pretty awesome place.  There were even TVs in the ladies' restroom with our game on!  I really wish we had one around us -- I'm pretty sure we'd spend almost every Game Day there having a blast.

We saddled ourselves up to the bar after figuring out which TV had our game on and started having a great time!

(Just arrived and getting ready to get trashed, I think -- personal photo)

(View from our seats! -- personal photo)

The original plan was to only stay until halftime, but when that rolled around, the game was tied up and the guys were pretty buzzed on their beers.  So I told them we could stay another quarter (although I don't think Mr. L or the others really realized what was going on by then).  I'd made friends with the woman sitting next to me by then anyways and was talking to her for a good while.  It turned out she was a good friend of Gene Chizik, Auburn's head coach, so she was there to root on the Tigers to a victory over LSU.  Our bartender was also looking for an Auburn win, but only because he'd bet on the game ;)

"We'll leave at the end of the 3rd quarter" soon turned into "Okay, we'll watch the whole game," so we ended up staying at the bar for about 4 1/2 hours.  But the guys really enjoyed themselves, so I figured there was no harm done.  Well, except the harm to their sobriety -- for example:

(Joe kept thinking throughout the rest of the evening that I was taking pictures of him when I was in fact recording video)

Somehow, thanks to Barackas's level headed albeit drunken self as well as my trusty GPS, I drove us back to the convention (thank God there wasn't a lot of traffic!) in one piece.  We made it back inside and they made me take pictures of them in front of things, which they didn't remember at all later.

(They made me retake this picture later because they thought they hadn't gotten one with the statue. -- personal photo)

We spent the rest of the evening enjoying the convention, and it was a lot of fun when we got to meet the rest of Steamwheedle Cartel that made it to BlizzCon!  I'm pretty sure there were like, 20 people or so just from our realm, which was crazy.  I had no idea that many would be there, but it was nice to meet everyone and listen to Joe and Mr. L try to drunkenly recruit for our guild!

We only stayed at the meet up for about 20 minutes or so because we had to find some kind of seats for the closing ceremony.  We ended up standing next to a wall since no more seats were available :(

What was the closing ceremony?  Just Tenacious D.  :)

They were awesome and really rocked hard!  It was a great way to end the two-day nerd extravaganza.

We hung out for a little while after the concert, but it was pretty evident that we were all exhausted.  So we said our goodbyes to our new (and no longer virtual!) friends, promised to keep in touch on the game, and headed back to the hotel to crash.  However, before we left the convention, Mr. L and Joe made me stop and take the same picture I took before (although they didn't believe me when I said we'd already taken this picture until I actually showed it to them...)

(personal photo)

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