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Actually yesterday was our 3rd anniversary. I didn’t plan a post in advance, and couldn’t post yesterday since we left home at 5:30am to drive an hour and a half to take one of our cars to the dealership. (Don’t ask, major service, hubby who doesn’t trust the NEW local dealership, blah, blah, whatever.) At least we got to see a beautiful sunrise.

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After the car was finished, we spent a glorious day in The Woodlands. We met up with my best friend, we ate pizza and had wine with lunch. We shopped for a little while before we could check in to our hotel. (If you ever need a place to stay, the SpringHill Suites in The Woodlands is very nice, and very affordable.)

Part of our (MY) motivation to go to The Woodlands for our anniversary was that the Trader Joe’s opened there last week. My dad’s happy anniversary message to us included a special message to Taylor that basically said “You’ve got it easy if for your anniversary all you have to do is take her to a grocery store.” So true. But Trader Joe’s was awesome, and I only bought like half of all the things. (We only brought a small-ish cooler, so I could had to force some restraint on myself.)

After storing all the goodies in our hotel fridge, we headed to PF Changs for dinner with my best friend, her little boy and her husband. We figured, we can have a quiet dinner alone any time, and we’d honestly enjoy spending the time with friends. When the fortune cookies came, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because my fortune said

;

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We spent the rest of the evening catching up on True Blood and watching various HBO miscellany at the hotel, before turning out the lights.

It was the perfect way to remember our wedding. Three years later, we still laugh together, a lot. This year, things are getting more serious with house buying talks, but we still try to keep things light. We hope we never lose the love and enjoyment we have for each other. I even love that our relationship typically looks a lot more like this

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Than this. Here’s to another wonderful year.

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Ok ya’ll. I know I’m taking forever at writing about my Italy trip. I’ve been busy, but also somehow I think that once I quit writing about it, I won’t think about it as much. Dumb I know. But, I’ve got plenty more to share. Rome and Florence were great, but the next two stops on our trip were really the best.

Scalea was my favorite place. I think the other girls would agree, but I won’t speak for them. We had so many fun times there on our trip. It’s a small coastal town on the western coast of Italy, south of Naples and even more south than Amalfi. (Google it for a map.) We picked it, because we wanted to do something less touristy but beachy, and my wonderful friend Cherrye recommended it to us.

And what’s not to love about this?!

Honestly, Scalea was awesome. We were only slightly pissy at each other when we first got there because a local pointed us in the wrong direction of our hotel, so we walked for almost an hour longer than necessary, in 100 degree heat, just to get to our hotel.  Waahh! I know. Once we got to our hotel though, it was bliss for the next two days.

I’ve never taken a beach vacation, but this place made me want to book one immediately.

On our sightseeing day, a guy opened the gate to Talao Tower just for us.

The views from the top of the tower are just awesome.

And lets revisit that first photo…

Um. Yeah!

Our first night there, we killed time until the recommended local restaurant opened. We even waited (creepster style, right across the street, where they could see us) until way after 8PM because the hostess wouldn’t let us in. We killed A LOT of time. What can we say. We Americans aren’t used to eating that late.

We got hollered at by some Italian boys cruising the main drag, and told them we’d meet up with them later. NOT!

Before going into dinner I caught a spectacular sunset shot.

Finally, at dinner, we ate for what seemed to be hours. I had a steak.

And I even tried clams for the first time. (We were right across the street from the ocean!) This is Linsi’s Frutta di Mare plate. I wish I could tell you what everything was.

We tried cake made from the locally grown Cedro fruit.

And after several liters of wine, and complimentary limoncello, I played banker and paid our bill.

Then, we joined the locals for a little passeggiata (stroll through town) before calling it a night.

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Blog Share!

I interrupt my not so regularly scheduled posting to share my blog with another lovely blogger.  

That’s right. It’s blog share time!

As you may already know, Blog Share gives bloggers a chance to share something anonymously on someone else’s blog (genious idea!) Thanks a million to the lovely -R- at And You Know What Else for organizing the Blog Share! 

So without further delay, show some love to today’s anonymous Blog Share blogger. (And be sure to check out the other Blog Share posts which I’ve linked at the end of the post.)

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I hate my job. Maybe hate is too strong a word. I really dislike my job most days. I mean, I mostly like my coworkers, and my boss is ok (even good sometimes) and it’s pretty flexible, which is great when you have kids. But I don’t like what I do for a living. It’s not what I thought I would be doing when I graduated college, and it’s not what I want to do long term. The problem I’m having is that I don’t know what I DO want to do long-term.
 
Ok, if this is anonymous let’s be truthful. I don’t especially like my boss very much these days either. He makes comments about what I eat (“[My name here] always has food around!” said in a condescending tone), and it drives me crazy. First of all, it’s none of your business, and second of all, IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. I don’t make comments about what you eat, and I would appreciate it if you would show the same courtesy. Grr. Of course, he seems oblivious to the fact that this bothers me.
 
Also, the industry I work in isn’t exactly one that people are happy to discuss. I used to work in a chocolate store. Now THAT was a happy place to work, even if it was retail. People were always happy when they came in to see you. At my work they are not happy. They don’t come to see me pretty much ever (they call), and they are mad about spending money on something that they don’t see an immediate benefit from. In reality, they don’t WANT to see the benefit from it, because that would mean something bad has happened.
 
It drags on a person, having to work somewhere like this. I used to be a much happier person.
 
I have plans to meet with my aunt, who is going to help me figure out what kinds of jobs I might be good at or like doing. Of course that is just the beginning. Once I figure that out, then I actually need to GET a job doing something like that. But at least it would be a step forward. And one step at a time is how everyone has to get there, right?

————————————————–
The Time for Change
Bright Yellow World
Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills
Totally Serial
Daily Tannenbaum
Andrea Unplugged
Malfeasance
From Kim’s Desk
Rediscovering Me
Mama Bub
Being Five
Nothing Is Easier Than Self-Deceit
Molly’s Musings
Heidikins
Snarke
Did I Say That Outloud?
Reluctant Grownup Blog
And You Know What Else
Bwildered
Thinking Some More

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My 3rd day in LA, was February 25th. My workshops ended early, so I had time to book a tour of the LA area. Being near the airport is super crappy because there really isn’t anything nearby and you don’t really want to walk anywhere.

I booked a tour that would go all over the city an would last about 5 hours. It would keep me busy for most of the afternoon and into the evening. If I got back in time I thought I’d take the trolley back to Manhattan Beach.

The tour company was scheduled to pick me up around 2:45PM. Another girl from the hotel was waiting for the same tour. I wasn’t really interested in chatting, but we ended up talking anyway. She was in the middle of a voluntary leave of absence from her job as a lawyer in New York City and was spending the year traveling the world.  She was from New Jersey and had to unexpectedly stay in LA fo about a week because she had gotten sick on her flight home from Peru (I think it was Peru). 

We were taken from our hotel to the tour company headquarters where we boarded the main tour bus. I tend to be antisocial on trips because I just prefer to be on my own, but we ended up chatting and hanging out during the whole tour.

The guide was pretty good, but he had a funny “heh-heh” type laugh and he REALLY cracked himself up telling jokes. He laughed a lot.

First stop on the tour was Venice Beach. We got to get out and walk around a bit. It was really beautiful.

There were only one or two people lifting weights at the muscle beach but there were a lot people playing basketball.

There were men advertising medical pot shops nearby, and a guy wearing nothing but a speedo and tennis shoes.

There was a section of the beach where people with a permit could graffiti and paint art.

And there was a magnificent steel sculpture standing among the palm trees.

 After boarding the bus again, we drove what seemed like a long way. We zoomed past Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive (as evidence by the blurry pics), 

From the bus we saw the Beverly Hills Hotel, Fox Television Studios, the Sunset Strip, Steven Spielberg’s house, the Viper Room, and some restaurants owned by Johnny Depp.

After many minutes in traffic on the freeway, we finally we got to stop near the Walk of Fame.  

Before checking out any of the stars, we rushed to the spot our bus driver told us we could best see the Hollywood sign. Allegedly, the Hollywood sign is possibly going to be gone in the next couple years, so our bus driver really wanted us to be able to see it.

 

I didn’t take too many pictures of the Walk of Fame because there are just too many stars to choose from. I did get Michael Jackson, who died while I was in California on my honeymoon last June.

 Grauman’s Chinese Theater was really cool to see.

It got dark while we were at the Walk of Fame, and soon it was time to get back on the bus. Our last stop was the Farmer’s Market. There were tons of restaurants and shops, but there wasn’t too much time to browse. I ended up with a bottle of wine  for me (2007 PETS Petite Syrah, a portion of sales goes to animal shelters) and a few souvenir chocolate bars for Taylor. (Dark Chocolate with bacon anyone?)

Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel, where I grabbed a cheese pizza from the hotel bar/restaurant and called it a night.

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Note: You already know I blog at another wedding related site.  I published this entry and it was edited so as not to include the name of the place because of the tiny bit of negativity.  For my personal blog, I wanted to share everything about our thoughts and struggles so I have included the name of the venue here. 

You can check out the beginning of this story here.

When we got home after looking at all the places…we decided the Houston Museum of Natural Science Gem and Mineral Hall was perfect for us.  It was a reasonable price and though we had just a few questions we were ready to book it. 

I contacted one of the museum’s exclusive caterers about food and beverage (the one that is allowed to serve alcohol…we didn’t want to have to bother with booking two caterers).  Their price quote would help us make the decision of if we would rent for just the ceremony – 2 hours – or for the ceremony and reception – 4 hours.  The caterer took several days to get back to me after my initial request, but finally did and asked me for more detailed information on the reception (date, format, etc.)  I replied promptly (the same or next day) with the requested information.  I am still waiting to receive a quote.**  :-) 

I also started checking around with restaurants so I could compare prices so we could make our final decision.  (I’ll blog more about that experience a little later). 

Although we never heard back from the caterer, we really loved the Gem and Mineral Hall, and knew we could find a place for our 75 person reception/dinner, so we were ready to put our deposit down. 

I emailed our contact at the museum and asked her a few questions (about lighting, music, flash photography, service charges, and taxes).  We were interested in Friday, June 26th because that would have been 1 year to the day that Taylor proposed.  Unfortunately, that date was booked, so we got penciled in for Saturday, June 20th.  We had a date and a 3 week window to put down the deposit and sign the contract!  No problem, right?

Wrong.  I emailed her again just two days after she penciled us in to ask when she would be available for us to come sign the contract.   I didn’t get a response for two days (not a big deal) and we thought we were going to be headed to Houston the next weekend, so I emailed again to ask if she would be available on the next Monday for us to come in, since we’d be around.  I’m still waiting on a response.** 

So now, you tell me, did you have trouble securing a venue?  Did you stalk or let it go if someone didn’t return your calls?

**I’m really not waiting on a response.  It is so easy to become frustrated and stalk the person until you get in touch with them.  But we took the lack of responses as a sign that both the caterer and museum would likely treat us the same way if we were having our wedding there, so it would be better off not chancing it, even though we loved the place.  I will admit it was difficult to just start over on our search, but it ended up being for the best.

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It was awesome evacuating to the Dallas area because there is shopping galore.  I managed to keep my spending in check and only purchased a few non-essential items – face wash from Sephora, a pair of jeans (which could be argued as essential!), and a purse.  You will be happy to know that I did not purchase any of these bags featuring the Cadillac emblem, although the gold lame bowling bag purse was tempting.

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