Tasty Travels

One of the best parts of going out of town is eating! I took pictures of some of our eats, of course. I always wonder if people think I’m strange when I do this. I see lots of food pictures on Facebook, so it seems really common. I still have that nagging feeling though. Oh well!

Mmmmmm… Bacon…

Bacon

I can’t go to California without at least one stop at Goldilocks, a popular restaurant and bakery chain from the Philippines. This is “Bistek Tagalog” (beef steak).

Bistek Tagalog

I love döner kebabs. They used to be my Friday treat after school each week when I lived in France.

Döner kebab

I love crepes, especially with nutella. This also had strawberry, banana, and a side of whipped cream. My only complaint was that the guy making them was verrrrrrry slow. I didn’t know if he was new, if that was just his style, or if that’s how they always make them at California Crepes. The guys who make them in Paris could whip them up impressively quick.

California Crepes

In & Out Burger. My husband’s favorite. I was surprised when I went in and saw such a small selection on the menu, but I did enjoy my burger. The fries were just okay. The price was very good though. I heard they’re opening one (or have opened one) in Dallas, which leads me to think they’ll start opening them in other parts of Texas (I read they previously stayed in the west coast because they only use their meat processing plants).

In & Out Burger

When we went to Horton Plaza, I really liked how their mall food court didn’t just have the same boring stuff we do like Taco Bell (ick), McDonald’s (boring), two bourbon chicken places that have literally the exact same menu options, Sbarro, Dippin’ Dots, an ice cream shop and a teriyaki place. Yeah, they had the same teriyaki place, but they also had Indian food, Turkish food, crepes, gelato, and a lot of other places I didn’t know back home. I wonder if all the malls in California are like that.

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Good Morning Beautiful

We accepted a generous offer to stay at a relative’s house during our San Diego trip and saved lots of money by not having to get a hotel room. Since we couldn’t very well pack Cady’s crib in a suitcase and take it with us, we shared a bed. A full size bed. All three of us.

That turned out not to be such a good idea since a full size bed is too small just for the two adults to share not including the tot that takes up the majority of the bed to herself.

My dear husband ended up sleeping on the floor in our room despite two other empty rooms in the house. Isn’t he a sweetheart?

Even though it wasn’t the most comfortable sleep trying to keep Cady from falling off one side while not pushing me off the other, I always love waking up next to this face in the morning (which I enjoy at home, too since her crib is next to our bed).

Cady

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Borrowing Lenses

[ Trying out the lens before the trip. ]
Cady

I decided to rent a lens for our spring break trip to San Diego (I coincided my bloggy break with our vacation). I thought it would be nice to keep one lens on as we walked out and about, and I also wanted to try out a lens that I might want to purchase in the future.

[ Another one from before we left. ]

Mom & Dad's Porch

I borrowed the Tamron AF18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD AF (IF) Macro for Canon from BorrowLenses.com for two weeks for $69 (+ $6 insurance and shipping both ways). We considered it one of our travel expenses, and I really enjoyed being able to check out the lens for a little while without having to make a long-term (and expensive) commitment without being sure.

[ San Diego Zoo. ]

Bird

My photography teacher from whom I had taken the “Fundamentals of Photography” class and learned how to use my SLR in manual among a few other basic pieces of information had actually recommended that we rent a lens first before buying it. She said there had been many times she rented a lens that she was considering buying and realized that it wouldn’t have been much use to her in the long run. She said there had also been times that she rented a lens repeatedly before finally making a purchase to own it. This makes a lot of sense considering lenses start at a few hundred dollars but go upwards of several thousand.

[ Cady looking out an open sliding glass door. ]

Cady

My first rental experience was great. The lens arrived on time. I requested it 3 days before our trip just in case it was a little behind schedule, but it came when I was told it would. Then I had it for another 4 days after our 1 week trip before it had to be postmarked to ship on the final day of my rental period. Front cap, rear cap, UV filter, and lens hood were included in the rental package. The lens was in great working condition. They provided the packing material and shipping label. All I had to do was drop it off at a Fed-Ex location, and there is one conveniently located down the street.

[ Flower at Grandma’s house. ]

Flower

Also, their customer service is great. I forgot to pack the lens hood when I shipped the lens, and after an email, they quickly responded and let me know I could still mail it back to them.

[ Bluejay eating peanuts. ]

Bluejay

Note: I don’t get anything in return for writing this review, but because of my good experience, I am joining their affliate program and recommending their services to my friends.

lens rental

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San Diego Zoo & The Tamron 18-270mm

Koala

I rented the Tamron 18-270mm lens for our San Diego trip, and I loved it! It was especially useful when we visited the world famous San Diego Zoo. It was my first time, and I was so bummed that my battery died 30 minutes before closing (I’ve learned my lesson for next time).

Bird

I did experience one of the problems I read in the reviews, which is that it gets a little tight halfway. I only noticed it mildly when I first got the lens, but then it went away. I definitely wasn’t used to using a telephoto lens, and it felt a little crazy trying to focus on something really far away. I had been so used to using a prime lens for most of the life of my camera. It definitely took a little getting used to, and it really underscored the fact that I need to practice holding my camera in a more steady position.

Gorilla

Once I got it figured out, I realized it was awesome! I really want to have one of my own now, but I’ll have to wait a little. I love being able to zoom really far because I can’t always just run over there. Also, I didn’t know what to expect with the 3.5-6.3 aperture, but I was still able to get great bokeh. Not only did I get close to animals at the zoo, but I took pictures of my family doing what we do. Hah. I made a rhyme. I still got great portraits, and unlike with my 50mm (no offense to Nifty), I was also able to fit more into the shot if I wanted. Also, I love the candids I took of Cady when she didn’t know I was taking her picture. Samples of those to come soon.

It really is a good all-purpose lens. I didn’t have to take it off my camera as we walked out and about on our trip. It was also very lightweight and small compared to a lot of other lenses. The new version is supposed to be even lighter and smaller. Not to mention it’s price is really reasonable for what you get. I’m really glad I got to try it out, so I could find out about it for myself. Now I know that when I get it, I’ll love it!

P.S. I didn’t get anything in return for writing this review, but I did throw in some affliate links. I’ll talk more about the actual renting experience and post more picures soon.

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I’m Back!

We went on a trip for a week, and now we’re back. I decided to coincide my bloggy vacation with our family spring vacation in San Diego. I had access to the internet, but I wanted some time off.

Here’s Cady experiencing sand for the very first time. She wanted Daddy to help her, and then she wanted to stand on his foot to keep off the sand. Kids + new textures = funny.

Cady & Tim

She got used to it later and didn’t want to leave, especially after some more kids joined us at the playground.

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Cady’s First Concert

As part of Cady’s Christmas presents, we got tickets to see Barney Live in concert on his Birthday Bash tour, which is the first time he’s toured since 2006. I was so excited to find out about the tour and bought the tickets in November. I’ve been looking forward to it since, but Cady didn’t really know what was going to happen.

Barney's Birthday Bash

We were up late the night before getting ready for the day trip and making her a special iron-on Barney dress. We had to drive two hours to the nearest city where he was performing, but it was well worth it. We timed our drives and missed out on a couple hours of sleep for ourselves so that she would sleep both ways.

Running around the city’s visitor center in her special outfit.

Cady Floor seats. Third row by the aisle.

Me and Cady

Cady

Kids were welcome to get out of their seats and dance in the aisles.

Cady

She made a little friend during intermission who shared some snacks.

Cady

Some shots taken with our point and shoot of the stars of the show.

Barney

Cady’s favorite of Barney’s friends is Baby Bop. This one was especially cute.

Baby Bop

My husband’s favorite is Riff. They have a lot in common.

Riff

Baby Bop BJ Riff

Barney and Friends

During the show she sang, she danced, she did the Itsy Bitsy Spider fingers, she waved, and she said “hi” and “bye” and waved to the characters like she does when she watches at home. She started getting sleepy at the end and just sat in our laps, but she had a really good time and managed to hang in there ’til the end. Now she really thinks that these guys are real, and it’s so cute.

“Everything’s better with a friend like you.”
Barney, the purple dinosaur

Linking up today to:

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2010 Baylor Homecoming Trip Day 1: College Station

Tim put in the pillow. She climbed in and out herself. She’s got the keys already.

The plan was that we would hang out in College Station Friday night, drive up to Waco Saturday, spend the day there, drive back to College Station that night to sleep, and drive back home the next day. That way, we would only be driving a little at a time, and Cady wouldn’t be cooped up in the car too long. Last year, we stayed in Waco and ended up having to stop in College Station each way anyway to take a break, and my sister and her roommates let us hang out at their condo for a little while.

We got off track starting Friday morning because Cady woke up and napped not during her normal schedule around which I had strategically planned the car ride, but that wasn’t too much of a problem. She was in a dancey-good mood listening to Barney until she fell asleep in the car.

She wanted her bunny, pillow pal, and blankie all to be in her lap.
Also, Cady started riding forward facing in October!

We checked into our hotel room and had dinner with my sister, which we followed up with a trip to Cavenders (their store ended up having a way bigger women’s boots selection but no toddler) and the mall where we got a great deal on a cute (Rare Editions regularly $29.99 for $11) dress for Cady and she gave me a hard time (batting with her shoes) while her dad was in the bathroom. Then we just hung out in the hotel before doing the usual bedtime routine and going to sleep.

We were early and didn’t even have to wait (and there was a huge crowd waiting when we left). Tim almost forgot his sunglasses, but luckily, the hostess had them waiting for him when he ran back in.
Playing with keys while Mommy browses boots.

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2010 Baylor Homecoming: The Hotel

Usually, I’m glad to get out of temporary quarters and back home, but I really liked/missed the hotel. We spent most of our trip there. It’s not the most luxurious suite I’ve ever been in, but this one was new and felt really homey to me like I could live there. I felt really comfortable there, but I’m not sure what in particular it was (the lack of clutter perhaps).

It makes me want to get a king size bed, a big headboard, a 42″ flatscreen tv, matching nightstand/lamps, a mini fridge for baby bottles, and a some large framed art/photos. Oh yeah, and one of those big L shaped couches (when we have a bigger place). Sconces, too.

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Homecoming Weekend: Hanging Out At the Hotel: Eating Puffs

I was packing up our stuff Saturday night to make things easier for when we left Sunday. Tim was watching Cady/the tv right above her. He suddenly called me when he saw this mess and what she was doing…

I wasn’t planning on buying these anymore since she’s able to chew now (they basically melt in your mouth), but she pointed them out at the store and apparently still really likes them.
Don’t worry. We didn’t let this go on too long, but it was too cute to us not to capture.

I love (the last photo) when she realized it was empty and started trying to put them back in. Babies are so precious.

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Homecoming Mini-Post: Cady Giggles

Sometimes I take so many pictures I get a little overwhelmed with trying to sort through them. I tend to procrastinate on tasks that seem too large. Doesn’t everybody? It was even the main conflict on the Barney where they travel to Venice.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve gotten lazy about posting pictures on Facebook and haven’t been posting as much as I could be on here (like the pictures from our recent trip to my alma mater). Plus there’s just so many I like, it’s difficult to choose.

However, I particularly love this set of Cady having a giggle-fest while eating Goldfish grahams at the hotel last weekend. She occasionally gets wild with laughter when she needs sleep, and we did let her stay up just a tiny bit later because she did so much sleeping in the car.

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