Monday, December 31, 2012

The last 7 years...

My Macbook hates me. Ok, so it doesn't hate me... but it is almost at its memory capacity and therefore running like crap. Alas, I decided that before I shell out money for a new laptop it would probably be best if I cleaned out the current one first. I started with my iPhoto library. For those that know me, it should come as no surprise that the majority of my memory has been dedicated to the storage of my photos. I take photos all the time. I used to take those photos with my trusty Canon camera, but I've relied more and more on my iPhone lately (call it laziness). 

Anyway, as I was cleaning out the pictures on my trusty Macbook, I came across dozens of photos (and memories) that I had completely forgotten about. Long lost friends, coworkers, vacations... it was quite a rush of memories to my noggin. Some of the pictures brought me so much joy - some made me relive pain or realize sadness. But all in all, I'm glad that I have all these pictures to remind me of where I've been (and so I can get a move on to where I'm going). What follows are a couple of my favorite finds in these albums. Enjoy!

Long lost friends from college

The last picture I took in Albuquerque (of my favorite eclectic site on Nob Hill)

My first drive home from Houston in 2006

My oldest niece's first trip to Houston

My last Richton Christmas party before moving to New Orleans

Mom's visit to New Orleans (when brother and I both lived there)

My youngest niece's first trip to Houston (and K's second)

My first sleeping picture of my dog - the day that I adopted him!

Hope you've enjoyed my random trip down memory lane! I'll post more if/when I come across them. Can't wait for the adventures to come in 2013!

Until next time...

--- Becks

Monday, December 10, 2012

Where are you, Christmas?

I hate being sick. Ok, now that I got that off my chest, I can write this little blog post. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. As a kid, I would start planning for my next Christmas immediately after it happened. The lights, the music, the magic - I didn't even need the stupid presents. I just loved the holiday so much! Literally, all my parents would have had to do is put up a tree and they had a happy kid on their hands.

Christmas in New Orleans and Houston was especially magical. The decorations in New Orleans had a wonderful, historical charm. The Quarter was dressed in its best greenery, and the city itself was decorated with lots of glitz and glam. Houston was much more modern, but still as impressive. The 50 amazing silver trees on Post Oak were always my favorite, and the lights on the buildings downtown were so festive and fun. I really enjoyed it!

Over the course of the last two years, though, I felt like my Christmas spirit slowly being pulled from under me. I was working too hard, sleeping too little, and frankly, didn't have anyone else around that liked celebrating it with me. The friends I used to celebrate with all picked up and moved on, my family's struggles back home got worse, and my spirit started showing some wear. I tried to hang on to - I really did - but I feel like this tug of war has finally won against me. It breaks my heart.

I don't know why this Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas. Usually, my tree and lights are up immediately after the holiday; my Christmas cards usually go out shortly after that. I have gifts wrapped and ready for mailing by the 2nd week of December, and I usually host a dinner or two at my house for my friends. But this year? None of this has happened yet. My team holiday lunch turned into a lecture, my tree is still packed away in the garage, and I've only bought 3 of the 15 gifts I have to buy this year. And don't even get me started on my cards... my apologies to everyone expecting one. I promise to get to them "soon," but not sure when I'll feel up to it.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer - I know it's not me (although, I keep saying that a lot... God, please don't let it be me!). I just had to get this off my chest. Tomorrow is another day, and I'll face it happily and enthusiastically. I hope this feeling doesn't last, and really hope it's not affecting anyone else too. Sigh. Well, off to bed. Big day tomorrow! Thanks for listening - whomever reads this. 

Until next time...

--- Becks

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Walking in LA

I try to fly my mom out to visit wherever I live at least once a year, usually the month of my birthday. This year was no exception. Since I had unfortunately already planned my vacation for the rest of the year, I made sure to make the long weekend worth our time! I already told you about our trip to Sequoia National Forest - again, can we say amazing? But what I didn't tell you about yet were our trips to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

My brother lives here, but (like me) he has a difficult time finding time off. Luckily, we all were able to find one day off together so that we could show my mom some of our favorite things to do in LA. We had originally planned a pretty full day, but factoring in traffic and our own exhaustion, we opted for an abbreviated tour. My mom loves Hollywood, so I thought it was only fitting to give her a bit of Hollywood flavor in our day in LA.

A lot of people complain about Los Angeles, but I actually love it. There is just so much to do! First, we hit up downtown to show mom Angel's Flight and the area where we stumbled upon the Batman (Dark Knight Rises) set. We also took a tour through the FIDM Museum. FIDM became famous when Lauren Conrad attended there on The Hills, but it has actually been around since 1969. FIDM's main campus is surrounded by beautiful Grand Hope Park on the southwest corner of Grand and 9th. The museum is open to the public, hosting terrific free exhibits dedicated to the art and history of fashion. The exhibit during our visit was the 6th Annual Art of Television Costume Design. It featured costumery from shows like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Pan Am, Once Upon A Time, and many more. Sadly, you are not permitted to take pictures so we took one outside instead :)

After we exhausted downtown, we headed west towards Beverly Hills to show my mom the Television Out of the Box exhibit at the Paley Center. I posted a little bit about this in a blog earlier this year (see here), but it was totally worth a second visit. The Television Out of the Box exhibit includes props, costumes, and video from many of Warner Brothers' most popular television shows including Friends, Seinfield, Gossip Girl, Fringe, True Blood, Big Bang Theory, Wonder Woman, and many, many more. It's only $10, parking is free in the garage across the street (up to 2 hrs), and your ticket gets you BOGO cupcakes at Crumb around the corner. I mean, how can you afford not to go?

I am such a cheesball...

Mom and brother dining at Monk's (from Seinfield)

We're not friends, but we play them on TV (well, props from TV)

No trip to Beverly Hills is complete without a trip to the Cupcake ATM!

Our last stop on our mini tour d' Los Angeles was my new favorite viewpoint - the Blair Drive view of Universal Studios in Studio City. Fellow blogger Lindsay introduced me to this secret this summer, and it's now on my "must show" list for when I have visitors from out of state. From Blair Drive, you can actually see the War of the Worlds set, along with peeks at the Grinch set, the Psycho set, and Falls Lake. It is so cool!

Not the greatest pic of me, but you get the idea...

Really cool - smoke even rises when the tram passes by!

As the sun started to set, we meandered through Burbank back home, stopping at Porto's on the way. Porto's is an A-MAZING bakery located in the heart of Burbank. They have a huge assortment of treats and breads to fit any carb-loving heart's desire. It's very affordable too - we came home with cupcakes, fresh bread, and a couple of croissants for less than $10. All in all, it was a fantastic day in LA. Even my brother couldn't complain! Ha! I'll be posting about our day in Santa Barbara eventually, so stay tuned.

Until next time...

--- Becks

I Heart Football

My friend, E, moved home to Denver, CO about a year ago. She moved to New Mexico in 1998 to go to college, and spent the last 9 years trying desperately to go back. When she finally moved back last winter, I knew I had to make a trip to see her. I haven't seen her since I moved to CA... which makes this "break" the longest we have had in our 10+ year friendship. It was time for a reunion, and neither of us could wait.

E and I decided it would be fun if I visited her around my birthday, so she invited me to come out for a Bronco game (she's a season ticket holder). After looking at our schedules, it seemed the Broncos vs Saints game was our best bet. I booked my flight, and headed out to Denver via Burbank - just 4 days after my birthday! We were both so excited! It had been WAY too long since we had seen each other. Coming from CA, I had totally misjudged my clothing. I showed up in jeans, a hoodie, and my Converse sneakers... and there was snow on the ground! It has just been too long since I've lived somewhere cold. LOL! But man - isn't this view worth the cold?

View of the Rockies from Denver

The Saturday before the game was also the Saturday before Halloween. Initially, E and I figured we would go out, but not necessarily in costume. But the more we talked about it, the more we thought it would be fun to do something. After some discussion, we decided to go en muerto - in celebration of Day of the Dead. We figured we could just paint our faces and wear our regular clothes. Oh, how silly we looked! But hey - we had fun!

E and I - showing off our "awesome" makeup skills

We spent the day of the big game pre-gaming - watching NFL Gameday and eating our favorite Philly Cheesesteak Pizza. It felt like I was in college all over again! A couple hours before the game, we finally got ready and made our way down to Mile High (Ok, I know it's not called that anymore, but it will always be Mile High to me!). So happy E had a Broncos sweatshirt I could borrow - I definitely would have been the only one without some kind of Bronco attire if she hadn't.

E and I before the game - Go Broncos!

While this was not my first time to Mile High, it had literally been a decade since I had been there. It felt so new! It's such a great atmosphere compared to the stadiums I had been to in the last few years (Saints/Superdome and Texans/Reliant Stadium). I absolutely love that its an open air stadium - it feels so much more like a real football game to me!

My lovely view from our seats

Funny enough - this game marks the 3rd time in 4 years that I've seen the Saints play. My very first Saints game was in 2008, when I was invited by my boss to watch the Saints take on the Steelers. Our seats were in the company suite, which was amazing! Anyway, it was that game that made me a huge Drew Brees fan. He's such a good guy, and does so much to support the city of New Orleans. Last year, a friend invited me to stand on the sidelines at the Texans/Saints game, and I got to actually say hi to him in person. It was awesome! Here he is again - for the 3rd time ;)

Drew Brees!

My other favorite quarterback is still not the quarterback of my favorite team - curse you, Jay Cutler! Instead, it's Peyton Manning. I am not a huge Colts fan. I used to tolerate them before they beat my Bears in the Super Bowl, and I still kind of liked them because I liked Manning so much. But after they cut him, my feelings towards the Colts went cold. Sigh. Kudos to Manning for sticking it to them, and for proving that he still his has some great years left in him!

Crappy picture - but yay! Peyton Manning!

The game was amazing. The fans were awesome, and it was fun seeing the Saints play again. New Orleans is a city that will forever hold a piece of my heart, so I love most things associated with it :) That being said, I was so happy to see the Broncos play so well! My dad is a HUGE fan, so I find it hard to not root for them (unless they're playing my Bears!). 

I never tire of a view like this - even if it's not my #1 team

In the end, the Broncos won and my trip sadly came to a close. I am still so happy I went and got some quality time with E. We had so much fun! I told her she better not let it be another year before we see each other again. This is a hard promise to keep, but I know we'll both try to keep it. 

Best Friends - with a Pom Person!

No matter how many times I move, or how long we're apart, I'm always glad I have friends like E in my life. It's good to have people around you who know you outside of who you are in the office. As much as I've tried not to change, I know I've inevitably done so. But as life goes on, and while we all grow up, it gives me comfort to know I have several friends that will always keep me grounded. If y'all are reading this - I love you!

Until next time...