Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years!

Jenna and I were known for waking up at 5:30am on Christmas morning because of how excited we were that Santa had visited. I remember that one friend of ours went to bed really early so Santa would come faster. As we get older we appreciate sleeping in a little more. This year we woke around 8am. We opened gifts with my parents and then drove to my Aunt Sandy's house for more presents and breakfast. I will have pictures of the presents in my next post. Jenna showing off her bling and new Hello Kitty flannel pj's at Sandy's house:

Dad didn't get off Christmas so he had to leave during our celebration to go to work at Oakland airport. I picked up Dan on the way back to our house and we exchanged gifts and hung out.

We went to Christmas dinner at our cousin Lynn's house in Novato (60 minutes North). My favorite part of the evening was when I broke out my friends trivia game and we all answered the questions until it was time to go home. I had a very relaxing holiday and I hope you all did as well.

Wednesday night I went to Tom's Christmas party with my mom and Dan. We are standing in front of his tree that has over 200 birds on it. From left to right: Tom, me, and Dan. I always look forward to Tom's parties because of the killer smoked salmon that he serves.

The Sundance Spas girls, plus me. From left to right: Kat, my mom, me, and Leah. You might notice that I am holding a Nintendo DS lite. I spent a bit of time that day searching for one and I was thrilled to successfully find a black one at game stop. I'm completely addicted to the game Brain Age.

I had Friday off for the first time in several months. Jenna managed to get her hand stuck in the car door. Next time we're doing the drive through! Jenna, Kelly, and I went on an adventure and arrived at the PEZ Museum of Burlingame, California.

The Museum is located at 214 El Camino Real in Burlingame. It is fairly small and costs $3. Its so small that the "tour" guide walks you back and forth in a tiny room to make the tour last longer. I did learn some cool things about PEZ!

PEZ was originally sold as a breath mint in 1927. It wasn't until the 50's that the Austrian company decided to produce dispensers with heads as well. The PEZ candy got the name from the Austrian name "pfefferminz" for peppermint. Here is a poster of the original PEZ dispenser.

Two PEZ vending machines in the museum.

The original neon sign from the PEZ factory. The owner of the museum won it from an Ebay auction. Ebay was founded so PEZ dispensers could be traded and sold on the internet. Can you believe how much its grown since Ebay started?

The rarest PEZ dispenser was the Super Spiel. It was supposed to be similar to Mr. Potato head but on a dispenser. It was recalled almost immediately because it was considered a choking hazard.

The biggest display of PEZ dispensers. I recognized at least 5 dispensers that I have from this display!

Friday night Dan surprised me with an XBOX360. We have Tetris and Need For Speed Most Wanted. I love Tetris! Guitar Hero 3 has shipped but we haven't received it yet. I was hoping we'd have it for New Years Eve but we'll be fine.

Saturday night we went to Jessica's surprise graduation party. I had a lot of fun and took plenty of pictures. It was nice to catch up with a bunch of friends too. I am so incredibly proud of your achievements Jessica. You are so strong and I admire you for it. Congrats on your BA! Left to right: Brian, Jessica, and Lily.

Then dance floor towards the end of the evening had really cool lighting. Hope you have a safe and Happy New Years Eve!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Birthday celebration & Christmas Eve

Its a post filled with lots of pictures!

Mike came home from Florida for the holidays. We saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets. It was an entertaining movie, but you could probably wait until its out on DVD. Its always nice catching up with friends!

We had Dan's family over to my house for hors devours and drinks before going out to dinner. Dan had fun opening his presents. I think his favorite was a pen that is an "As seen on tv" that opens into a fishing pole!

Here is Dan with his grandma, Helen, and his mom, Zena.

We went to dinner at the Beach Chalet in San Francisco. It is a building filled with historical information. For dessert we ordered a Sandcastle, Creme brulee, a fruit crumble of some sort and other yummies.

After dinner, Zena drove Dan, Helen, and I through San Francisco to see some of the crazy houses in San Francisco. This one is in the Castro.

My most favorite house I've ever seen (and the reason why I started sharing these photos) is here: Each year they buy something new for their outside decor. They have permits and their stuff actually lays on the house below them as well.

They have music and people outside. Its such a wonderful display of spirit. I can't even begin to imagine how many strands of lights they have to buy each year for that tree! Photo taken by Dan.

My Christmas Eve was more hectic than usual. I worked until 4pm and then I drove to Dan's house to exchange gifts with Zena and our friend Joss. I got a beautiful hand felted purse and lots of scrap embellishments from Zena. Joss gave me a carnivorous creations planter which has 10 varieties of plants like the venus fly trap. He's always giving such cool, off-the-wall gifts.

Then we drove to Dan's cousin's house for dinner and presents. I have to share Krissy's kitchen window because of how beautifully decorated it is!

Krissy & Karoline's beautiful tree and all the presents to the kids. A few were for the parents but the majority went to the 6 little ones.

Before the mayhem...I didn't get many during or after because it wasn't smart to have a camera out in that storm. Thanks to these kids, I had to run out and get a Nintendo DS. I love those things!

From Burlingame, we drove to Danville (60 minute drive) to spend the remainder of the evening at Dan's father's house with his Uncle Dave and Aunt Terry. Dan took this beautiful photo of them at the fire place. I adore the lighting.

Dan's birthday/Christmas/Valentine/St. Patrick/Easter/July 4th present from his Dad and Vicky was a beautiful HP laptop. I got a beautiful heart necklace with earrings, and a gift card to Michaels!

Celebrating his 25th birthday on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Animation get together

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you all! Its been a crazy past couple days for me so I won't make this one long post. Thursday I had a wonderful experience in working with Kyle and his two siblings. I still don't know how the photo shoot turned out but I'm looking forward to posting one or two later.

I was thrilled when I got an e-mail from some animation friends saying there was going to be a get together for Friday. I've missed my friends from school so much and it was wonderful seeing the few that found the time to hang out. Betty's animation looks amazing, as expected. Congrats on graduating Betty! I love how Eric & Peter decorated their apartment. Here is Betty, Carol, Romero, and Eric in the living room.

I was so happy that they had a good turnout. They cooked dinner and it was quite tasty. In the kitchen: Jason, Carol, Amy, and Eric.

My favorite decoration in their window:

I drove around and took some more Christmas decor photos. This was so pretty I had to share it. Wreath in Pacifica:

This house was in the newspaper for having been decorated for 30 years. Each year it gets a little more out-landish. It was so cool it required a few angles! This is in San Francisco at 34th & Quintara.

They had a lot of animated characters caroling in the entry way here.

The local Pacifica blow up circus. I heard a rumor that they trucked in real snow two days after this photo.

I love how they outlined their house with these green lights!

Lots more photos to come!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy 25th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Dan! I hope you have a wonderful birthday! We're going to celebrate at the Beach Chalet tonight (on The Great Highway). I was on the phone with Dan today when I heard a high pitched noise in the background. I thought he was outside near some kids playing and it turn out to be Zena. She saw that time and decided to reenact her screaming from when she had Dan at 12:11pm. I laughed so hard that I cried. I love her!

Our Christmas tree in the living room. I love colored lights!

I've been in the Christmas spirit for a long time this season. I was so excited about my matching wrapping paper that I had these wrapped weeks ago. I just now took a picture because of decent lighting. I love the naughty paper that I bought especially for my sister!

Monday I laid out all of the felt embellishments from my 2nd swap. It was so much fun getting these in the mail. I know I shouldn't play favorites, but Jess's gingerbread character is such a crack up. I made the Christmas tress.

Kelly came over on Monday night and we scrapped. I wanted to make another lo with the December kit from EBB so I used the remaining pictures I had to create the second page. I haven't done a two page lo in so long. I kept it very simple because I haven't been in the mood to over embellish lately. Yummy stickles!

I have another page completed but its another double page lo so I will post it when I complete the second page. I'm loving the Love Elsie Noel line.

I woke up itching to go for a walk at the beach on Wednesday so I called up Dan and he brought Brewster with him. I love going to the beach and was so happy to enjoy the view. We had our photo final that night and I was really happy that Kristi stopped by! I think I might have convinced her to start taking Black & White photo again!

I have a ton more photos and a lots more to share but I'll save that for tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Some Tips on Low Light Photography

And the parties continue...

Lesly had her Christmas party on Sunday. Its been a few years since I've been to it and I really had a wonderful time. Of course my favorite part was the delicious dessert. I missed dinner since I came from work.

Dan & I in front of Lesly's Christmas tree. We unintentionally matched!

I love shooting from my hip with my flash turned off because you can get such natural shots. Here is my favorite photo of guests singing Christmas carols.

More houses from Pacifica as promised. This is the most crazy one I found Sunday night. Pretty fun!

The second most decorated house in Pacifica happens to be right around the corner from me. I love that palm tree!

Because it gets dark so quickly during this time of the year, photography can be a little bit trickier. For those night photographs of houses decorated or your Christmas tree, follow these tips as best as you can:
  • Turn your flash completely off. The colors get washed out and things get even darker in the background.
  • Stabilize your camera on a tripod or a sturdy surface (table) for a clear image.
  • Set your camera on the night photography setting if it has one.
    • If it doesn't, try setting it on aperture priority and open it all the way so as much light can come through the lens.
  • Raise your camera's ISO setting to 800 if it can handle it. This will cause more noise so you need to play with your camera and see when the photos start to look funny.
  • Change your white balancing to the proper setting.
    • If you are in a house at night, set it for tungsten light or florescent depending on what is present. If you are outside at night leave it on auto
  • The longer the exposure, the more blurry it will be if you don't use a tripod.
Another rule that I swear by that I hope everyone takes on.

Do NOT take pictures while people are sitting down eating a meal. Its OK to take pictures of people before and after but you will NOT get that great photo of Aunt Mildred while she's chomping away at that beautiful Christmas ham.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let The Parties Begin!

The EBB Creations December Main Dish Kit is here! I had the pleasure of working with this gorgeous kit! I couldn't love the colors more. I haven't been able to scrap as much as I'd like to with this busy holiday season.

My first layout that I managed to get done is pretty simple. I had way too much fun playing with the stickles in the kit. Yummy!

Products added:
American Crafts Thickers
Silver Stickles
Snowflake stamp from $1 of Michael's
Uni-Ball Singo White Pen
Blue Souffle Pen
Embroidery floss

What have I been up to lately? A lot of working... I went to photo class since our finals are this coming week and I have been neglecting my lovely dark room lab. It was nice to make a few prints. I really must get back out to shoot black and white film and enjoy it while I still have that luxury.

I had a wonderful evening babysitting my sweet neighbors Constance (6) and Audrey (5) on Friday. I brought over some of my surplus crafts and we made Christmas cards for their teachers. I got so inspired by their creativity. We had Hello Dolly playing in the background. Constance and I danced to some of the scenes. I got some of the sweetest drawings from them.

Last night my family went to Lynne's annual Christmas party that we look forward to. Sadly Lynne was sick with the flu and it wasn't the same without her. It was still a beautiful party. Here is my Dad at the table of delicious food:

My favorite part of the whole party is the home made desserts. That chocolate fudge is to die for!

Here are a few of the women at the party. From left to right: Lois, Barbara, Mom, Lesly, and Jenna. Lynne has such incredible decorations all over the house. Notice the miniature house to the right and the wrapped frames above the women.

Dan took this really cool picture of their tree while I was falling asleep on the couch because of a long day of working, then shopping, and finally partying. Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

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