Monday, October 31, 2016

Boo at the Zoo, Part II

   I will have a lot to write about in November with our Halloween party last night at our house, Peyton in the pumpkin patch earlier today, and then about the cabin trip that we leave for tomorrow! Plus Thanksgiving and newborn pictures whenever Jacquie's baby Helena Rey is born. I drove up to Gainesville again for Halloween since our neighbor said nobody trick-or-treats in our new neighborhood and I like going to Boo at the Zoo with Peyton. Lindsey and I wanted to hang out too, so it worked out that I went to the zoo with her and Luke (her step-son Austin took a few pictures of us before we left, but I'll put those in another post next week). Then after I went through all the set ups with them and watched the talented girls dance to Thriller, I looped back around to go through again with Zach, Jacquie, and Peyton. However, I am going to put these in the order of the "maze", as if we all walked through together one time.
 I was very impressed that Luke wanted to touch the snake.
   Tonight was the most I have heard Peyton talk and I loved it so much. I heard her say "Mama" and "Daddy" for the first time, and then trying to copy words around the house after dinner. "Peas" for please, and "pree" for pretty when she was wearing all of my bracelets, and "cap" when Mommy asked a trick-or-treater if they were dressed as Captain America. I have heard her say "bye" before (one of her more common words along with a whiney "nooo"), but each time she met a zoo character that she didn't really like, she immediately said "bye" almost like a "I don't like this, moving on!" She did that to Scooby Doo.
 Lilo was played by one of Lindsey's friends.
 These two above are my very favorite. The sunset and sun spots make them look so much like "really good photography" versus fun Halloween pictures.
 ^^ In the Candyland area. And Luke touching a real baby dinosaur egg!!
 Can you see the KitKat melted all over Peyton's face in the T-Rex picture? Haha!
   I was wondering if there was a Boo at the Zoo in Orlando and the best one I found was at the Brevard Zoo, but the prices were the same (about $17/person), while the entry fee in Gainesville is one canned good! So only about 75 cents. I look forward to going to this one again next year!! =)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Smyrna

  Even though VAMP is usually Monday-Friday for Michael, there have been a couple weekends where he helps with side projects, such has building a heat box to bake the molds and a make up demo at the downtown library. Last night he showed me a lot of new test make ups they have been doing for the students during the week, so I need to share some of those soon! But I asked if he could keep today free because I wanted to go to the beach since I saw a post on Facebook about a restaurant in a big treehouse!
   We left around 9:30am. The weather has been extremely wonderful today! It was about 60 when I got up at 7am and was still cool and windy all day at the beach. We didn't need our new jackets once we got to New Smyrna, but having my long sleeve "wifey" shirt and jeans on were perfect! On the way there Michael made me find something else to do besides just drive an hour and 15 minutes to the restaurant, so I found the Sugar Mill Ruins. One review said it took about 30 minutes to walk around and see everything, but I think we were there less than ten. However, there was a nature trail that was blocked off with caution tape, probably because of Hurricane Matthew a couple weeks ago.
   The beach was a lot of fun. It was the area where my cousins and I came for a week in the summer of 2004, 2006 and 2008. I rolled up my pants to my knees, but that wasn't high enough with all the fun jumping and spinning and splashing I was doing. But I got a great laugh out of it and they dried when we went for a walk. Michael ordered me the new iPhone 7 a few weeks ago and we picked it up on Thursday night (before our Chipotle date). The pictures turn out pretty crispy! And I enjoy the live photos, so even though these look like regular pictures, some of them are actually 3 second videos. Too bad they don't show up that way on my blog or Instagram! All the pictures here were taken with my iPhone 7, instead of the Canon. Just pretend you can see me hopping over the little waves and my hair blowing all over in the selfies. It was a good time!
   The treehouse restaurant, Norwood's, was really cool. Unfortunately the side part was having construction done (maybe also due to the hurricane?) and the other half was full, so we sat underneath it. Better than sitting inside though, like all the boring people! Our food was good. I liked the fries a lot, they had the perfect amount of crispness and I have most of my Cuban sandwich left over for tomorrow. Michael's swordfish was good too. I liked all the bruschetta toppings on it, but only asked for one bite. And there was free bread! Always my favorite part of the meal.
   Michael is napping now, but says we can go to Downtown Disney when it gets dark (his forehead got burnt from the 30 minute beach walk), so I'm excited to go there with him. We haven't had much time to hang out recently, or when we do, we're just watching TV after work. Hopefully I will get to hang out with Mia again for a bit tomorrow while he goes for a walk with his friend. I told him to bring sunscreen and a hat!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Treat Yo Self

   Last month Sharanya promised that she would come visit and stay with us since she had time off from work and wasn't able to come down for my fun birthday adventures. Plus this visit was only the second time we had seen each other this year. The first time being in Paynes Prairie in July.  How do we let six whole months slip away without spending time with our closest friends, especially when they only live two hours away? Since Mia had her last day of work with VOA/Stantech on Friday, she was able to spend 26 glorious hours with us. She is on a 37 day "vacation" before she starts work at her new job in Denver, Colorado on November 21st.
   Mia got to our house at 10:30 on Monday. We ran errands to the library and picked out some movie options for that night, Dollar Tree, Fallas, and Ross where Mia bought cute black flats with gold tips and a professional work purse. I saw a cool double jacket that looked a bit like that pilot jacket I tried on at the Space Center in California, and this one was only $15! Although I know I didn't need it since I have my usual puffy one with fake fur on the hood, I like my clothes looking different and I've worn that jacket the past three years. Vanity!

   After Ross we had lunch at House Blend Cafe and shared half of a veggie panini and she ate the side salad that came with it. (I had my protein breakfast a few hours before: two eggs with some leftover pork chops.) You'll see during the remainder of the post that I was not being strict with my budget. I only have $11 in cash left, but am okay with that, knowing that I do have $39 in Walmart credit, from the Savings Catcher app and Shopkick! I can definitely make $50 last me 10 days.

   We drove to a puppy store that I have not been to, but the store didn't open until 2pm. So we drove thru tiny downtown Ocoee and walked into a Plato's Closet type store. Mia got a blazer and a necklace. I also got a necklace with plastic looking stones for $5 (it was marked $7 but I told the cashier I only had five, which was true). I didn't have the Canon during this two hour period.

   The next building we passed was for taxidermy, but Mia saw a real live dog sitting inside at the window, so we went in to pet it and there was another fluffy dog. She read their names from their collars, Turbo & Marley. The guy inside gave us a weird look when we told him we were just there to pet the dogs. Lastly we went into a flower shop and talked to the guy there (Steve). He was making a beautiful arrangement for a funeral. My favorite part was when he said "I used to be a ballet major, but then I got fat." Sharanya called me shortly after that and we met her back at the house.
   After getting their bags in, we drove up to Sorrento and took a few pictures in front of the house we used for the Blood Widow orphanage. Then drove to Mount Dora and walked along a bike path. We didn't stay long because the mosquitoes were crazy!!! Then had lunch at Mellow Mushroom and shared a large Mega Veggie pizza which was really good. We never made it to the Downtown Mount Dora area that Lindsey likes and has visited several times, but it was already 5pm after we ate. 
Hillbilly zombies?
At the bike park in Mount Dora.
  We drove to Artegon (passing a billboard for Wicked being performed in Orlando in January!!!!!) because Sharanya wanted to go somewhere with trampolines and neither of them had been there. We walked around the different shops, taking pictures, then walked into Skyzone and signed the electronic safety waivers. At 7:06pm we each paid for our sessions ($12 for 30 minutes) and I noticed that Mia's receipt said "Jump Time 7:00-7:30" so I asked, "Does that mean we're already down to 24 minutes?" (which would also have to include using the restroom, getting a locker, putting on the mandatory socks provided). The girl said yes and we changed our session to 7:30 so we could get the whole time. We didn't see many clocks in the lobby and jumped in when we were ready. It was really fun and we definitely laughed a lot (and I may have stumbled a couple times when I lost control of my legs). They played trampoline dodge ball until our time was up and we all agreed that an hour would have been perfect. Surprisingly my legs weren't sore at all the next day.
   We had enough time to check out two more stores where Mia tried on a skirt and bought a handmade necklace made out of pretty gray stones. Sharanya told us we needed to go to Five Below (like a fun Dollar General) then to DD's Discount before heading home. When we got back, we talked to Michael for a bit, then watched "Trainwreck".
   Tuesday morning I had a training meeting at work from 8-10am, then drove over to meet Mia and Sharanya for lunch at Market on South. Mia called me when they got there around 10:15 and I was almost there. 
"I would like to get pictures in front of the sunflowers at some point while we are there," I told her.
She provided a quick pause, "Uh, there aren't any sunflowers, but there are corn stalks. We can pictures in front of those."
"What the heck? I just saw all the sunflowers there when I drove by the other day! Okay.." The sunflowers were what caught our attention when we went the first time in June. After we ordered our food (which wouldn't be "ready" until 11am when they start serving lunch) I asked the cashier about the sunflowers. She said they had to cut them down because they are hard to take care of and when the wind blows a lot they slam into each other and all the petals fall off. We managed to take a bunch of good pictures while we waited anyway.
Tempe and jackfruit taco photo by Sharanya!
I got the TLT sandwich (tempe, lettuce/arugula, and tomato)
 Mia wanted a Thai Tea so we went around the corner to Pom Pom's (I ate there once with her before and had a good sandwich), but first stopped into a record store. We dropped Mia back off at her car and gave lots of hugs, being promised that we would see her at least one more time before she and Jay move across the country, like Michael and I did close to four years ago!
 Sharanya and I went back to my house, painted our nails with glitter, then ended up stopping at the Oakland Nature Preserve. After that we were trying to meet Alana at the Clermont beach but there was a little issue with the timing and she couldn't leave her house at that time and suddenly we got really hungry so we went to Over the Top Pita. We finally found it after 10 minutes of Apple Maps telling me to make so many unnecessary turns after we had already passed the place without knowing. But it was fine since the food was super good. I got the gyro pita, Sharanya got the falafel pita with a side Greek salad. I got a punch card so I can go back and get a free pita eventually. I think Michael would really like that place too!
Cool foliage photo by Sharanya!
We went over to Alana's house and talked with her for about 20 minutes. She and Sharanya hadn't seen each other since my wedding (and one time before that for my 23rd birthday during Full Sail). Then we went back home, ran a couple errands with Michael, watched two episodes of The 100 and Sharanya headed back home. It was a really nice "weekend".