Monday, June 27, 2011

a day in balboa.

today (well, yesterday now) was a truly amazing day.  i got to spend the day with anthony's family at balboa in newport beach :)  and boy did we have a grand time!

the day started out a little rough, as we missed our departure time for our whale/dolphin watching boat trip at 3pm due to a severe lack of parking.  we attempted to find parking on the pier side (not a good idea), which ended up costing us a very frustrating hour of our time. 

we were about to give up and just go home, until anthony's mom, melissa, came up with the brilliant idea to find parking on the opposite side of the water.  we got lucky and got a great parking spot there and then took the ferry across the water to the main area of balboa. 

it seems that everything happens for a reason... missing our boat trip ended up making our balboa day even better!  we rescheduled our whale/dolphin watching trip for 6pm in the evening and, instead, enjoyed the other attractions of balboa during the afternoon.

first, melissa treated us to some yummy desserts.  anthony got a balboa bar and i got a chocolate covered banana :)

afterward, we spent some time playing ski ball in the arcade, which is always fun.  i whooped anthony's butt, of course.  (okay, by like 50 points).

then, we took a lovely ride on the ferris wheel :)  no matter how old i get, i always seem to find ferris wheels so much fun!

after the joy ride, we looked in a couple of shops and munched on a hot dog, waiting for joel (anthony's stepdad) to arrive.  once he joined us, we headed to the balboa pavillion, ready to get our whale/dolphin watching on!

as expected, we didn't see any whales, but we saw more than our fair share of dolphins.  it was so amazing!  it was similar to what anthony and i got to see last summer in hawaii.  they were swimming right next to our boat alongside us as we moved.  such an incredible sight!

we also saw sea lions, which i've never seen before.  they were perched up on a buoy and they kept ringing the bell.  so cute!

minus the slight sea sickness i got, it was a fantastic experience.  i'm so glad we got the chance to go!  beautiful sights like these remind me why living in this orange county bubble can be so wonderful.

it was getting late by the time we got off the boat, but we still had time for one last stop on our balboa adventure...

the shore house!  we went there for dinner and it was scrumptious.  it's making me hungry just thinking about it.  and i've never seen such enormous portion sizes for their prices, either.  a side of marinara pasta ($3) could seriously pass for an entire child's meal at some chain restaurants.  it was insane!  and i don't think i've ever seen a bigger fish taco in my life.

simply put, it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.  it's days like these that i'm reminded why i'm so lucky to get to spend time with anthony and his family.  they seriously do so much for me and are so welcoming.  i can't thank them enough!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

graduation 2011.

graduation is such a momentous occasion, as it marks the end of one chapter in our lives and the beginning of the next.  it's crazy to think that, exactly one year ago today, i graduated with the wonderful aliso niguel high school class of 2010.

yesterday, i had the pleasure of supporting several of my good friends as they walked in their own graduation ceremony, with the class of 2011.  although it was quite hot outside and we (me, christine, ina, taylor, zach, matt, jason, and gavin) had to do a lot of walking to get to the ceremony, it was completely worth it to be able to support our friends in such an important milestone in their lives.

and, of course, it was great to be back at the high school football stadium (a.k.a. the marching field), the place that brought us all together in the first place.  it seems perfectly fitting that the field we spent countless hours on together for marching band/drumline/color guard practices should be the last place we all set foot on as high schoolers.

i'm so happy for and proud of all of my friends that graduated yesterday.  they each have so much to offer the world and i can't wait for them to start the next chapter in their lives.  congratulations, class of 2011!  you did it!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

amanda's graduation party.

today was a great day.  i got to spend it with my boy and his fam <3

anthony and i started the morning off with a two hour drive to ventura for amanda's graduation party.  however, it felt more like a two minute drive to me since i slept the whole way there... sorry antp!  i guess i wasn't the best passenger for a long drive.

the party was at a nice steakhouse right on the beach and amanda's family rented out a big room for all of us, with a super great view of the ocean and the pier.  amanda (anthony's cousin) was a wonderful hostess and introduced us to all of her friends and family that we had not met.  the food was fantastic (i had amazing blackened salmon) and the dessert was a good german chocolate cake.  i'm so glad that we were able to make it out there to support amanda's accomplishment :)  it was great seeing anthony's other cousin, jillian, too!  i hadn't seen her since anthony graduated high school three years ago, so it feels like it's been forever.

afterward, we drove back to antp's house, which took two and a half hours.  anthony pulled over after about an hour and a half and made me drive the rest of the way home because he kept drowsing.  summer time sure does seem to mess with our sleeping schedules... we just can't wake up early these days!

after a much needed two and a half hour nap, we went to anthony's dad's house for an early father's day dinner... persian food, of course!  it was soo good.  every time i eat persian food, i remind myself how lucky i am that anthony's got a cultural side to him.  it comes with great cuisine :)

love him!

this was a total fail, blurry picture.  but i tried to make it work... key word: tried.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

an unexpected twist.

i was expecting today to be just another simple, fun day with the friends.  i got coffee with suzie, played mario kart with christine and her little brother, and was ready to play a good game of mao with the group from last week's barbecue at night.  nothing out of the ordinary.  and it seemed that my day was going as expected, as christine and i got into my little green bug and headed for ina's house.

alas, we were within three minutes of ina's house when it happened.  we were sitting at a red light at a major intersection, talking to pass the time.  we didn't notice anything funny, until the light turned green.  before i hit the gas, we felt my car give a rough shake.  it startled us, but we didn't think much of it.  but then, i pressed down on the gas pedal and nothing happened.  no noise, no shaking... nothing.  my car just wouldn't move.  i looked at my dashboard and my battery light was on.  this had happened to me once before (last year), so i didn't totally freak out, but the light had turned on while i was driving that time, so i at least was able to pull my car over to the side of the road.  but this time, i couldn't even move an inch, so we just sat there, turned on my hazards, and blocked traffic.  (some people are idiots and don't realize that they should go around a car that has its hazards on).

everyone else moving, but not us :(

we quickly called my stepdad and AAA.  of course, in the midst of this mini emergency, we had time to take a picture:

my stepdad beat AAA there and helped us out.  we were three full lanes away from the side of the road and my stepdad pushed us all the way there!  i had to manually maneuver the wheel back and forth to steer us over there, as he pushed (and let me tell you, i appreciate power steering a million times more now!).  it was so hard to steer that christine and i both had to pull on the wheel.  i even had to take my jacket off because i was seriously working up a sweat.  i felt like we were in a scene from a movie or something!  some nice man also pulled over to the side of the road and helped my stepdad push my car and ward off traffic so that we didn't get hit.

luckily, we were able to get my car to start again and i drove it to pep boys.  phew.  so much for a simple day.

but the night improved once we got to ina's (my stepdad dropped us off), thank goodness.  we made s'mores on her stove (which actually worked out quite well) and played mao and a few rounds of egyptian rat slap.  i still can't believe how many hours cards can keep us entertained for.  i <3 christine, nili, taylor, ina, gavin, matt and jeff :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the wolfpack.

i feel like almost every day this summer has been a reminder of how the aliso niguel high school marching band, drumline and color guard program creates lasting and supportive friendships.  and tonight was no exception.

we (me, christine, nili, ina, evan, jeff, samantha, and jessica) got together to support our good friends (jason, matt, cameron, dan, and zach) play a game in their basketball league at the Y.

they call their team the wolfpack, which totally works for them because they act like "brothers" and play really well together.  and tonight was definitely their best game so far.  it was very fast paced and aggressive and it was obvious that they were trying really hard, which made it super entertaining!  it actually held my interest the whole time (and that's saying something because sports generally don't hold my interest all that well).

these are our game watching faces:

unfortunately, we lost the game, but that's perfectly fine because it's really not all about winning.  participating in this kind of a league is more about having fun playing a sport that you love than what the scoreboard says.  plus it's a great excuse to spend time with friends :)  regardless of the score, tonight was a victory in my eyes because the wolfpack put up a great fight and played hard.

after the game, we had a little post-game munch sesh at in-n-out, where we spent the next couple of hours hanging out.  yet another great night :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

lago santa margarita.

today christine and i spent the day in one of my favorite cities - rancho santa margarita.  it's not a super luxurious city or anything like that, but i can't help but love it because i spent a good portion of my childhood growing up there and it gave me many great memories.  every time i go back to rancho, it still feels like home to me, even though it has been years since i've lived there.

first... to grandmother's house we go!  we visited my grandma (gram) at her house in rancho, located very close to my old house and elementary school that i attended for a couple of years.  gram recently got a new corgi puppy, named rusty, to keep her company after our fifteen year old corgi, copper, passed away a few months ago.  i had only seen him once before and christine and i both really wanted to see him again while he is still little and extra cute.

he's super adorable, but i totally forgot how rambunctious corgis are as puppies.  after all, i was only four years old when copper was a puppy, so i guess i don't really remember how crazy he was.  but as small as rusty is, i just couldn't believe his strength!  he knocked us over to the ground and tried to bite everything he could, from our toes to our hair, shirts, and jeans.  and when he got a hold of something with his teeth, it was nearly impossible to loosen his grip.  he was such a little wad of energy!

christine dancing to escape rusty's grip:

after a nice visit with gram and rusty, we headed to lago santa margarita, my favorite place to go with my little sister when i was growing up.  i had been telling christine about this lake for years and i finally got the chance to show it to her today.  she was super excited!

we walked around the entire thing, talking and planning our future exercise excursions there :)  we also took some pictures of ourselves along the way, of course:

after we got our ounce of exercise for the day, we ate at a restaurant on the lake called wings bar and grill.  we got a view of the lake while eating, it was very reasonably priced, and the food was fantastic!  no complaints here.

the restaurant:

us at the restaurant:

our view:

our food:

after a scrumptious dinner, we went for dessert (boba, of course) at cha for tea with nili, ina, and bryan.  we ended the night nicely, spending a couple of hours with good friends... and words with friends.

oh the joys of modern technology.

Monday, June 13, 2011

a weekend well spent.

this was one of those weekends where i enjoyed every moment of it.
on friday night, i drove up to los angeles to visit the wonderful antp.  we started our date night out with dinner at vistango, a little restaurant that i've been begging him to take me to for months so that i could finally try their penne vodka he's always raving about.  he claimed it to be much better than the penne vodka we made together a while back, but i didn't believe him.  we make a pretty mean vodka sauce pasta (at least by my standards).

vistango's penne vodka:

alas, anthony was correct.  vistango's penne vodka definitely lived up to his claims.  it was so good!  and, unfortunately, much better than ours.  guess we've got some practicing to do.

back at his apartment in la, we had fun taking silly pictures together.  anthony brought me home some of my own E3 swag from the convention he attended earlier in the week, so we decided to be super cool and dress up:

i'm representing the empire and antp's representing the republic.  woot!  oh, and these are officially my new driving sun glasses.  they live in my car.

even later that night, we got hungry again and went looking for food in the kitchen.  unfortunately, for me, this turned into anthony pelting frozen green beans at my head.  after our mini frozen food war, (which i lost), we finally settled on some simple top ramen, apricots, and cucumbers with salt.  i was hesitant about the whole cucumber thing at first, but it was actually really good!  i highly recommend it.

our super fancy ramen:

the next day was ina's confirmation, so we had to head back to aliso viejo.  of course, we made sure to get yet another yummy meal in before the day's events.  this time... chick-fil-a!

if you haven't had the cookie parfait, it's a must.

that evening, back in aliso viejo, we attended ina's confirmation at the corpus christi church.  nili, jeff, bryan, taylor, and jason were also there with us to support her.  i've been to this church with anthony's family a few times before and, although i am not a church-goer myself, i always enjoy the services.  i love listening to what father fred has to say and the music is wonderful.  and this service was no exception.  it was so great being there with friends and i was so happy that i got to see ina be confirmed!

after the ceremony, we all went back to ina's house for a celebration.  we had food from panda express (yum) and sang along to piano and guitar being played by ina's family and friends.  it was so much fun to be able to celebrate with ina and for all of us to spend more time together.

as it got later, ina's family left the party, leaving us alone to play the board game, taboo, and of course, mao.

we played taboo with two teams: girls + taylor vs. guys.  and, obviously, girls + taylor totally owned (sorry boys).  a couple of our favorite clues/guesses: "twinkle twinkle little... winkle?" and "dog of hair" :)

and our game of mao was just plain ridiculous.  we implemented some pretty complicated rules this time.  my brain definitely got another workout.

sunday was filled with even more great food!  christine, my bestie, finally got home from school last night, so i decided to take her to cha for tea to get boba and munchies:

she got an iced peach green tea with aloe vera and i got an iced almond milk tea with boba and soy milk.  we shared orange chicken and crispy chicken dumplings.  so good.

after that, we went back to her house and literally just laid on her bed talking (and lurking on facebook) for seven hours.  i love that we can do that and never get bored <3 

sometime later in the evening, anthony interrupted our seemingly endless talking by bringing us a brownie earthquake from dairy queen to share!  (yes, more food, don't judge).  what a sweetie!  after the boba and the sundae, we were definitely on a sugar high, but that just made the night all the more fun :)

this weekend's checklist:
- spend time with boyfriend... CHECK
- spend time with best friend... CHECK
- spend time with great friends... CHECK
- spend time with... food? ... MAJOR CHECK

i'd say that's a weekend well spent.