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

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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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.

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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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.

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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Bloggy Break

I know I haven’t fully gotten back into the swing of things around here. The carpal tunnel issues made me lose my momentum, and now I can’t get my mojo back. I’m going to take some time off. Just a week. I’ll catch up then.

Hopefully I can find my groove again eventually. I’d like to get back to where I was a couple months ago before I got blog burn out, but I’m not sure yet what I need for that to happen.

be back soon

P.S. I’ve now learned how to use ONE action that my husband installed onto PSE for me. This is “Sun Kissed” from the Coffeeshop Blog.

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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CSN Store Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to Random.org and all the awesome people who joined the giveaway, we have a winner! Luckily, the number wasn’t too high because I had to count the comments (and double check of course) to find the winning entrant. I know it’s kind of pathetic. If anyone knows how to number comments on Blogger and would like to send me a link with the info, I would really appreciate it!

Alright, now back to the winner. It is:

Photobucket

Geri from HeartNSoulCooking! I’ll be emailing you, Geri, with the info on getting your $25 to CSNStores.com!

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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“Coffeeshop” Performance

Tim happened to notice on his school activities’ Facebook page that they were looking for musicians to play in their “Coffeeshop” show, so he contacted the person in charge and was immediately picked. There were three performers, and (I might be biased but) I thought he was the best (I’m actually a very tough critic). Cady and I watched him play, and she ran around the student center courtyard just long enough to attract the attention of admirers and tire herself out.

Cady

Daddy and Cady before the show.
Tim and Cady

Cady

The first performer.
Performer

Yay! I love clapping!
Cady

Performer

Chubbsy.
Cady's shoes

Daddy’s turn.
Tim

Let me just adjust this front mic.
Cady

I’m not really supposed to do this, but I think it’ll be for the best.
Cady

Tim

Who are those people up there?
Cady

Tim

Time to practice walking down steps.
Cady

The last performer for this session.
Performer

Tired and ready to go.
Hello Kitty

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Sunny Days

We’ve been making the most of the beautiful weather and keeping to my vow to get out more. We’ve been spending a lot of time visiting different playgrounds. “Playground hopping” I like to call it. Cady loves it and every time we drive past one, she says, “slide, slide!”

Daddy getting in on the fun.Tim

Cady

Cady

Rubbing her hands in the wood chips for good luck or something. She does this a lot. Often before and after sliding.
Cady

Cady

Cady

Cady

P.S. Can you tell this is one of my favorite outfits? After a wash, it always went right back to the front of the line. We’re retiring the pants now though because they’re getting too small. Luckily, she has a new pair of pink tutu leggings in the next size ready and waiting.

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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The Little Gym

I’ve been taking Cadence out more, keeping her busy, and giving her opportnities to interact with other children just like I had resolved to this new year. After taking a free trial class at The Little Gym, we knew we wanted to sign Cady up for the rest of the semester. They run, jump, sing, and tumble. There’s playing with bouncy balls, and the teacher fills the room with bubbles. Everything about it is fun for Cady, and we get to do it together. After the first class she actually asked me to take a nap, and after the next week’s class she took a three hour nap! Both nights she slept really well, too.

Cady

Cady

If you like my blog, take a second and please vote for me just by clicking this link, and Top Mommy Blogs will know you were directed from my site. Thanks!

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