Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Progress Report

We timed our Solvang trip to coincide with some work being done on our shower. If I may give one piece of advice to anyone buying a home-pull back the shower curtain. Two inspectors and two newbie buyers lacked to do so and were stuck with water damage in the window frame that is costing us to fix part of the bathroom sooner than we'd hope and forcing us to go to the gym so we can use the shower. The highlights of a one bath home!

The entrance to the supreme dust zone. It even has a red (plaid) carpet.

Progress! But no available shower.

The work required the walls of the shower to be ripped out, new studs and and waterproofing board that the new tile can be affixed to.

Power tools and boom box take priority to perfume.

Because we think the tub was originally claw-footed and previous homeowners sometime in the last 85 years filled in the corners with cement to make the tub flush with the wall, it's requiring some creative solutions. Thankfully we've got a great contractor who's well equipped to face these issues.

Dust everywhere. I am counting down the days to a functional bathroom and major house clean.

Naturally with the shower's progress I want to move along to replace the gym sink with a pedestal and of course pull up the vinyl flooring for tile. In reality I will probably finally remove the celestial wallpaper and paint.

Solvang, 8 Months Later

This past weekend the entire Haselton clan descended upon the Santa Ynez Valley for Scott's uncle's 60th birthday. It was nice because this trip we were able to try three different wineries than we had since the trip in January.

Sort this Out Cellars (actually we came here in January and one of the co-owners is also the event planner at a local restaurant.) Thanks to Scott's Aunt Kathy (wife of birthday Uncle Jimmy for the photo.

My favorite new winery was Sarloos and Sons, which does cupcake pairings along with their wine. Thank you Audra for selecting that winner!

Our hotel has agreements (probably in the price we paid per night) for complimentary tastings at about 20 local tasting rooms and wineries. We stopped at a few in between the Haselton's route specifically-Andrew Murray Vineyards where I had a one hour conversation with the employee about Pottermore.

After Andrew Murray we drove to the ends of the valley to Zaca Mesa, which will be known as the winery where I shattered my wine glass. Good wine though, combined with a lovely picnic lunch and giant chess board.

Finally we embarked upon the famous Fess Parker for a final tasting and cigar enjoyment. It was also rumored that Amanda Seyfried was there, so I went into the vineyard to look for her. The rumor really only came from Tim but I tried to confirm it with no luck.

Dinner was enjoyed at a local Italian eatery which made the best ravioli I've ever had in my life. I'm going to attempt to replicate it this weekend, though I know it won't come close. It was life-changing ravioli.

It was a lovely weekend getaway that has ended our month of vacation for a while. Though I am plotting an MLK getaway if we can swing it to coincide with my birthday. I feel you always need something in life to look forward to, and January can be kind of a low month following the holidays and copious amounts of brie consumed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

400 Posts

Well, this makes 401.

I started blogging back in 2007 and those posts were rather lame (as in I referred to Scott as My Boy-well our last name and credit scores [which are AWESOME] are pretty much now on the webs for public view.)

I've written before about how I go back and forth about what to put out into the blogosphere. Mostly, I enjoy sharing thoughts and events with family members and friends I may not see very often and finding pleasure through reading other blogs, many of which I've never met the author in real life.

I realize it's completely du jour to have a blog these days (remember though, I started in '07 was four years ago, so I'm not a total bandwagoner). People write for different reasons, but I do feel if I am putting something out there that a set of eyes are deigning to read, I should attempt to make it interesting, which is why there can be lapses in post. Sometimes I'm not that interesting-we work, eat, watch Intervention and repeat. I don't think people need a brain dump of my mental to-do lists.

I've noticed a trend in blogging as of late-MAJOR product pushing. I get that people are trying to earn a little money from their blog and thus they have sponsors and do features-why not have a little ROI for the time that goes into posting. I also understand marketing is ever evolving and is not limited to your tv/radio/print venues anymore. I could simply stop reading but frankly I do find other aspects of these bloggers daily lives interesting. And perhaps it has come to that-a little bit voyeurism and a little bit of laziness in not wanting to delete from my reader or Twitter. I don't want to say you'll never see that on here because the minute I do, Martha Stewart Crafts will probably want to advertise for $4,000 a month. I would not refuse that offer.

Clearly I'm no Pioneer Woman in the blogging world (though if the Food Network calls, they should know I'm ready at a moment's notice to be a fabulous guest at a certain Hamptons home) and don't have 700 people a day reading this (which is good, since I don't post daily and use far too many parentheses) thus, no amazing calculators or diapering services to push for an extra fifty bucks a month.

For a 401st post this is certainly no Kerri Knight-Teague dissertation. Thankfully I'm only graded by my own shame later when I go back and read. I know the people who read this may crack a smile and can easily skip the tangent thoughts. Thanks for reading through the last 200 posts-that was probably when it got good anyway. There will be no giveaway because I'm not into those and would probably offer a Chia Pet or Bump It anyway.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vacation Reading

I stocked up at the Borders going out of business sale earlier this summer in anticipation for our Cancun getaway with some classics-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Lord of the Flies, and Gulliver's Travels.

I powered through Tom Sawyer (loved it-never read it) and am almost through Lord of the Flies (Sorry Mr. Leon, I remember nearly nothing of this from 10th grade!) Still working on Gulliver's Travels.

What piece of amazing literature took the cake, pie, cookies, and ice cream:

Snort, cry, laugh out loud reading. So much I know Scott was annoyed by the continued outbursts. I wanted to buy this book from the day it came out, but I forced myself to wait until it would apply to beachside reading. So glad I did. Ironically, American Airlines has some sort of agreement with NBC so I saw the same episodes of 30 Rock*, The Office, and Community on four different flights (sans headphones) and in one, it was the season finale when Tina Fey has a fantasy and Ina Garten is her neighbor!!! ZOMG my worlds collided! I do realize this is actually her character Liz Lemon, but let me say if there is a dinner party waiting to happen it includes me and those two ladies. Meryl Streep is optional.

I was tempted to put quotes here from the book but then I'd just be retyping everything and thus, people should just borrow it from me or buy it. I even went against my principles and bought it in hardcover. Doesn't come out in soft until January of 2012. Too long to wait people!
Do yourself a favor and ignore the depression of the world for a few hours and crack open these pages of fine American literature.

*I'm not sure what happened but we fell out of 30 Rock Thursdays so you can bet I've added them to the Netflix queue to catch up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hola, Buenos Dias

For our third anniversary, we ventured to our neighbors to the south, Mexico, specifically the Maya Riviera in Cancun. In a word: humid. In a second word: awesome.

We took nearly 200 pictures and thought it was an awesome trip. I am lacking the motivation to really post that much on here, mostly due to the fact this blogging platform's picture posting is crappy . Blogger-you really need a gallery function. Thus, consider this post a snapshot of the trip. If anyone who comes across this wants more info on anything, I'm happy to share.

Day 1:
We arrived in the late afternoon and used the evening to check out the amenities at the hotel, Secrets Maroma:



We were lucky enough to go during a promotion so our room was upgraded from partial ocean view to full ocean view.

The main drag of the hotel had these shallow "foot pools" with lounge furniture and table games.

Pool and beach.

Party people, first night there and we're playing Jenga, followed by a Fire and Ice dance show.

Day 2:
Eat, drink and be merry.

Like I said, humid.

Day 3
We took a day trip to Chichen Itza, newly added to the list of the wonders of the world, and even if it were not, a marvel to visit. It also calmed my fears to listen to the residents see 12/21/12 as no big deal. Thank goodness, I have started mentally planning my 30th for 2014.

Blue agave/crucial future margarita ingredient.

Pit stop after 2 hours in a bus with half the tour in French and half in English. I actually enjoyed it because it reminded us how much we need to learn a second language, since the rest of the world speaks more than one.

We have arrived. Like I said above, a marvel to see and a trip to learn about the culture.

Commemorating the human sacrifices made...quite eerie.

Following a 2.5 hour tour of Chichen Itza (and about 35 photos of the ruins, pool where the dead bodies were thrown, and vendor stands selling apocalypse shirts) we moved on to lunch at a local restaurant. It wasn't that good. I'm all for authentic Mexican food, but this was buffet and not that great. But we did get entertainment. Love me some ballet folklorico. I left high marks on the survey following the tour with the needs improvement in that lunch. After refueling, it was onto a cenote, pools from underground rivers that meet salt water from the ocean forming a crystal clear estuary. We climbed down about 50 feet to reach the cave and swim for a bit, as well as take a brief venture into a VERY claustrophobic cave that had a tortuga, Maria and Christo formed by stalactites inside. Tips requested.

Day 4:
I am not known for my driving skills. It's rather embarassing in real vehicles as well as K1 speed racing go carts. Scott wanted to go ATVing, so I knew what my plan would be bringing up the rear. So, while the rest of the group nearly popped wheelies, I followed as the caboose only speeding when it was a very clear and long path ahead of me, instead of the other twisting and turning through blind corners in the jungle.

After charging hills and mud, we came upon another cenote for swimming.

Crystal clear waters with strict instructions about not using it as a bathroom.

Awkward ATV photo of the year.

After the half day activity, we returned back to the resort for the real reason for vacation:

Endless drinks by the pool.

As if, we were boring Americans and had cheese burgers and fries.
The late afternoon storm moved us to the deck where we continued the theme of libations through Crown Royale's on the rocks for the mister, and a revolving array of Champagne, mojito's, Chardonnay, and margaritas for me. And quoting my new friend Tina Fey. Oh man that book is hilarious.


Dinner of fennel roasted chicken and rib eye steak.

Day 5
Day four is also known as the day we wish we had a do-over for. More than one person suggested we visit Xel-Ha, as did every other bilboard there. Xel-Ha is a natural water preserve where people probably have a great time if they don't have access to Wild Rivers or Disneyland at their fingertips any time of the year. For us, the lazy river was nice (when you weren't going to be decapitated by the mangroves) but the snorkeling was better in the cenotes or standing at the beach, and the zip lining, cliff diving, Blackbart's Cave adventure was not our cup of tea and I didn't want to pay 1 million pesos for swimming with dolphins or manatees.

That aside, we did check out another site of ruins, Tulum. Again, it was hot and humid. So hot and humid we sat down in the shade and watched iguanas fight, ignore, and sun for the last 30 minutes of the tour. However, still a site to behold, and if my memory serves me correctly, one of the only remaining coastal ruins sites.

Best item I took-that hat. It's in nearly every photo but I don't have a head sunburn that looks like dandruff.

Xel-Ha lagoon for snorkeling.

Day 6

Book 2/3 for the trip, Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Day 7
Departure day. We spent the morning on the beach and in the pool, and then lines, lines, and more lines flying from Cancun to Dallas to Los Angeles. Welcome home, Haseltons!

Story of our travels: show passport, go through underwear, discover maple leaves and/or marijuana. Ok, welcome back to the US, grab luggage.

*Shout outs to both of our parents for this trip-Cratons for taking us at 5 a.m. and picking us up, and Haseltons for Oliver sitting. THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three Cheers for Three Years

In honor of the third anniversary we dined at the Anaheim White House, a restaurant neither of us has ever been to, despite calling that city home for over 20 years. If you are a local, you're likely familiar with the restaurant's story. If you care to learn, go here. Like many who've dined before us, Bruno was there and did greet our table, though I secretly wished he would have spoken a little more Italian, specifically "mozzarella," Giada-style. A little marital humor for Scott.

Now we're not snooty (or snotty) but we have been fortunate enough to also dine at similar spots like Mr. Stox and The Cellar, so it was easy to compare. I actually won the dinner for two in July at a baby photo event I went to with my sister-in-law and nephew. I never win anything, so to win dinner at a rather nice restaurant was pretty great.

We dined on tuna tartar, brasato piemontese (braised short ribs) and costata di manzo (New York steak) with a side of broccoli and cheese. The wine was Pinot Noir and for dessert they gifted us this:

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time with good conversation and great people watching. Seriously, do people roll out of bed and think "I want to eat at a four star restaurant tonight"? Actually I think they spend the entire day at Disneyland in 100 degree heat and then have that thought.

Earlier in the day I had gifted my groom his third anniversary gift, leather:

So stylish, practically Don Draper.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A 3 Year Analysis

Today marks three years of marriage for the mister and me. While we certainly aren't perfect, it's been some of the easiest three years of my life. I thought it might be cheeky to do an analysis of where we are now if aliens were watching our home as anthropological study.

1. We never go to the movies. I finally figured out why-we don't ever want to see the same films. Thankfully we've got Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to keep us together on nights in. And Aragon.

2. Our roles are very gender typical. I cook, clean, grocery shop, and take care of the cat. He does yard work, fixes things for me, and works late into the night.

3. The neighborhood (and aliens) may think we are poor examples of young people today, since we sit on the porch drinking wine and whiskey, enjoying cigars, mowing the lawn with shirts off, and watering with shirts too low (I had a bathing suit on though.)

4. We eat like kings. I am tooting my own horn here, but he revealed to me that he looks forward to what dinner will be each night-even if it is only taco night.

5. We watch entirely too much Law & Order, yet sometimes discover an episode unseen.

6. There is a lot of love, even through disagreements about the speed at which emails should be responded to.

Happy anniversary Scott! Thanks for three glorrrrious years!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Ghetto Box

Or, another lesson in "never say never." Specifically, I'll never have a window air conditioning unit.

Time to shut your pie hole, Erin.

Although it's not in our originally intended location of the bedroom, it's going to make us utilize the office much more. Apparently this variety of air conditioning units don't work with the left to right sliding windows which we have in our bedroom. Whatevs, it's still cooler than it was and I'll still spoil my cat with it on this week when temperatures are supposed to hit 100.

I was spoiled growing up with central a/c, then I got married and moved into an Irvine Company apartment, which boasts gyms cabanas, nightlife and central a/c. I continue to pretend I'm Laura Ingalls Wilder. Sadly, the heat makes me more of a Nellie Olson.

While the boxy beast is certainly not central a/c, it cost about $5,802 less and it's cooling down the back end of the house...sorta.