"Two are Better than One!" ~Ecclesiastes 4:9

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend -- of rest!

We are having very vivid visions of being weekend warriors in the very near future!  So, to counter our exhausting day-dreams, we decided to take this long weekend to relax, while we can!

We drove up to Santa Barbara on Saturday, along with everyone else heading to beaches North of us.  For once, I didn't mind the traffic, because it meant we could sit and watch the surfers and waves out the driver-side window on the 1.  Once in Santa Barbara, we enjoyed strolling on the beach, an oceanside lunch with margaritas, and some shopping!

Self-portrait....so nice of all the passer-bys to offer to take our picture for us!?

Gorgeous!  Love the mountains, trees, beach, and water!

Then, we truly did embraced having nothing to do and took it easy for the remainder of the weekend.  We had a lot of relaxing "us" time, which was much needed!

Breck got a long-overdue bath....

My tiny little man!

Cold and not happy!
...and then decided to snooze in the dirty clothes (which are now clean - love when all of the laundry is clean and put away!)

He loves being under the hanging clothes!

No worries, I got permission from Todd to post a pic of his skivvies on the blog!
We cooked a yummy pasta with cherry tomatoes and zucchini in a balsamic sauce for dinner.  We ate our gourmet meal on paper plates and finished off a bottle of white wine (that Todd picked up at CVS haha) out of plastic cups -- only the best!!! ;o)

...but mostly just LOVED having both of my oh-so-handsome boys around for three days straight! :o)

Tomorrow, it is back to the rat race!  Todd is back at work (early!!), and I have a long to do list to tackle.  We are meeting at the house in the afternoon for the inspection and to meet a flooring guy so that he can get us some quotes for replacing the dog-urine-soaked carpet upstairs before we move in.  That's the plan for now at least.... will write more about the house soon!

Friday, May 27, 2011

This is worth celebrating....

Thank goodness for celebratory drinks to help a girl sleep! If it weren't for having to get up over an hour ago to take a potty break (this is apparently my new thing, I get up several times a night...my bladder shrank or something, and I assure you I am not pregnant!) I would still be asleep.   Very frustrating, but I will save you the details.  With so many things running through my mind I am surprised I made it this long before realizing tossing and turning was futile!  So, I am doing what anyone else in my position might do, blog from bed of course!  ;o)

Sleeping aid

So, why do I write you at 3 am?  What is going through my mind that I can't seem to shake....and probably won't anytime soon?  Well, after three months of waiting, Todd and I got word late yesterday afternoon that the bank accepted our offer on the short sell!  It wasn't the moment I had imagined it to be. Todd had a suspicion, and took the incoming call from our realtor while in a meeting.  He then called me, and I answered the phone in a Nordstrom dressing room, while trying on clothes (okay, and shoes!) that had nothing to do with the dress I was hunting...but it was the half yearly sale!  We rushed off the phone so Todd could get back to his afternoon of meetings, and so that I could begin tackling our suddenly long 'to do' list.  Clearly, neither of us was expecting the call!  We have been told for the past few weeks the sellers anticipated word from the bank soon.  However, we were not holding our breath, and never thought the response would simply be "okay", instead of haggling over inspection companies, contingencies, or the price.  The bank is requiring we close by June 17th, and we are totally fine with that!  The house is being inspected on Tuesday, and we are hoping to get the appraisal in late next week, also.  We are so ready to be out of this hotel and have our stuff out of storage, so a little rushing to close this home is not upsetting us!  All we have with us is what we brought on the plane, and while it easily got us through the first month, we are beginning to have to purchase things we did not forsee needing.  The Hoods are supporting our locally economy, especially Target, Staples, and our neighborhood post office!

As you can tell, this called for a last-minute celebration!   When Todd got home from work, we headed to a Mexican place in town that has awesome fresh margaritas!  I'm not convinced this place is very authentic, but I love the cool lighting, homemade corn tortillas, and their support of local, organic farmers.  If you come stay in the Hood casa, I'm sure we can take you!  We sat at the bar, Todd enjoyed some basketball while I forced him to document the night with a picture, and we toasted our soon-to-be home in California!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hotel Living

I'm beginning to think Todd and I should be on a reality TV show.  There has been no lack of "drama" in our lives, and we certainly would not need writers to come up with great story lines!  There are days when Todd and I can't do anything but sit back and laugh at the comedy of mishaps, horrible timing, and lack of structure in our lives right now!

Just today, I was on the phone with our cell phone provider trying to update our address to the PO Box we just opened.  The customer service rep was requiring I verify my address in order to update it.  I rattled off 3 addresses, and couldn't remember the zip code for one the one they had on file before finally getting it correct!  Turns out they had our last hotel address on file which they pulled from my return address on my last payment.  I know the woman on the other end of the line probably thought I was crazy, in fact she asked, "You don't know your address?".  No ma'am, I know my address (wait, do we actually have an address other than a rented 3" x 3" space??), I just don't know which one from the last 2 months you might have on file!

And last night, in 4 square feet of counter space, Todd and I made a spaghetti dinner using a blender and stove eye.  Yet, the toaster oven and blender take up most of the counter, so our dinner was prepped in something closer to one square foot of space.  I'm not quite sure how we did it other than we both seemed to be holding something that wouldn't fit on the counter in one hand while prepping with the other hand.  We also took our ground meat out of the small, condo size fridge to find the back is colder than the rest of the fridge, and our meat was frozen.  We might have also somehow managed to blow a fuse in the wall outlet by simply overloading it with the blender, but we fixed it so no one needs to know!  All this to say, we did eat, and it was delicious!

Our gluten free spaghetti dinner,
devoured on the closest thing we have to a dinner table,
the coffee table!

Cooking in a hotel is difficult enough, but cooking while taking my food allergies into account is even more difficult!  With our lack of appliances and space, Todd is having to eat gluten and casein free for the most part.  We just don't have the space and ability to make 2 meals each night.  So, my biggest challenge has been to make foods that I can eat, and that Todd wants to eat!  I think we have been quite successful, as we have made everything from chicken tortilla soup from scratch to Breck's dog food!  I wanted to share a few pictures of the things we have been enjoying!

Fruit salsa which has been enjoyed with 100% corn chips

Mini cornbread muffins made in the toaster oven!

Lime cake (gluten, egg, sugar, and casein free) with vegan buttercream icing.
I know you won't believe me, but this is so delicious,
you wouldn't know it was so "without"!!

Quick breads (gluten free) in the toaster oven

Strawberry sorbet (and Breck's extra food in the bag)
Today, we made things easy by having a lunch date at Whole Foods!  I love being able to partake in a buffet that actually has foods I can eat on it...and Todd loves the Tacqueria and pizza bars!  ...and tonight, we are grilling brats in the toaster oven with gluten free buns.  But for now, I am back to watching the kitchen episode of the Nate Berkus show.... getting ideas and dreaming of the day I will have a real kitchen!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Todd & I celebrated our one and a half year wedding anniversary on Saturday!  Todd surprised me with an awesome beachfront dinner in Malibu on Friday night!

We went to a restaurant called Moonshadows that has an amazing location right on the water.  It was high tide, and so the water came all the way up under the building, and we watched the waves go in and out as the sun set!  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yay for Todd!

Before Todd and I met, he decided to go back to school after completing his Pharm.D. to get a secondary graduate degree in Healthcare Administration.  He completed his coursework, but was relocated to Orlando and had to put his capstone and thesis on hold.  Todd recently decided to finish his MHA after several years of work, transitions, traveling, and getting married hijacked his original plan.  Again, Todd was in the middle of his capstone course and final revisions of his thesis when we found out we were being relocated.  However, this time we pushed through to complete everything just prior to packing up our home in Orlando!  I am so proud of Todd for completing his degree after all this time!.  This past weekend was a big celebration of Todd, and his accomplishments over the past several years!  He was able to close out that chapter of his life, and graduated from Seton Hall with honors. 

We arrived in a very rainy and dreary New Jersey on Friday, and I was incredibly sentimental about being back on the East coast.  I must have really been missing home, to land in Newark and feel some sort of sad connection with New Jersey simply because it was on the Eastern coast!  I simply cannot explain this away, and I am not even going to attempt it!  We were staying in a room blocked by the University at a Hilton in Parsippany, NJ, placed amongst acres upon acres of fields and trees.  Room blocks are great, with the exception of the obvious issue:  you are always guaranteed the back corner, and top floor of the hotel surrounded by every other group of people traveling.  This meant we were privvy to the partying, door slamming, and screaming of the wedding party next to us!  Luckily, we were more than exhausted, and somehow switched right back to Eastern Standard Time.  In addition, the Hilton took notice to our pratically-Platinum-Marriott member status (thanks to temporary housing and Todd's travels), and sent little love notes and packages to our room!  Nothing like champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries to make it all okay! ;o)

Todd had a full day of presentations and last minute details before his graduation ceremony on Saturday.  Somehow, the day seemed to fly by and we were en route to Seton Hall before we knew it! ...and he was a graduate yet again (he claims for the final time)!  I surprised Todd with car service and a celebratory Italian dinner at Trattoria Toscana in Whippany that night! 

We extended our weekend in Jersey so that we could go into the city, and stay an additional night.  We moved to our favorite little boutique hotel in New York City at the corner of Park and 57th, Hotel 57 by Renaissance.  Marriott must have known we cheated on them, because we receieved yet another love note and chocolates in our room!  We could get used to this!

My Dad had a layover in New York on Sunday, which was such great timing!  We spent the day with him walking around New York  and doing a little shopping!  ...and Todd did a little number for us on the miniature baby grand at FAO Schwartz.  My Dad said this reminded him of Schroeder, the popular Peanuts character.

We had dinner that night at Park Avenue Spring with my Dad and a good friend of ours who now lives in NYC.  If you remember from our Summer trip to New York, we went to this restaurant when it was Park Avenue Summer, the restaurant closes for 48 hours at the change of each season to completely redecorate and change the menu.  Thank you to my parents for treating us to dinner in honor of Todd!!  We then went back to my Dad's hotel, the gorgeous Roosevelt near Grand Central Station to spend some additional time with him and enjoy a drink in their swanky bar outfitted with stained glass, fireplaces, and dark paneled walls.  We were able to get a picture in the lobby before we parted ways.

The next day included the same cold rain as the days prior.  So, we stayed close to the hotel and did a little shopping on Madison Avenue.  Last time we were in New York, I did some birthday shopping at Coach, and for the last several months they have sent me big coupons exclusive to the flagship store.  When I got one in the mail last month, I held onto it knowing we would be back soon!  My coupon expired a few days earlier, but they still honored it, and were so thoughtful to make sure my new purse stayed dry with a little rain coat for my bag!

We had lunch at Tao, our favorite Asian restaurant in the city.  If you are ever in New York, you must go have a meal there.  They are located next door to the Four Seasons and have a two story buddah featured in their dining room.  You may recognize the restaurant from an episode of Sex in the City.  As always, it was amazing, and we both filled our bellies before heading back to the airport for our evening flight home. 

We are back at our home-sweet-hotel, and the rain continues even in California!  Breck was boarded for the first time ever (he has always stayed with family and friends) and from what I was told when I picked him up, he had a great time.  He doesn't seem too emotional or scarred, so I am assuming it was good for him...kind of like Summer camp!  In addition, it was Breck's big graduation too!  His last obedience class and graduation ceremony was on the same Saturday as Todd's and the person we boarded him with was also his trainer.  They said he was the best behaved dog at the conclusion of his 2 month course, and he has now earned $60 in gift cards to the high end dog boutique!  Todd loves anything free, so thank you Breck for making him think the class was worth-while! 

We only returned two days ago, but our trip already feels like such a distant memory!  We are crossing our fingers for sun this weekend so that we can partake in the California Starwberry Festival on Saturday!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We have been so busy, and I'm not sure how our calendar went from being so bare to full so soon after moving!  We are really trying to immerse ourselves in everything here, and get as settled as possible!  This is what we have been doing over the last several weeks:

Drove by the home in Oceanside I lived in for a few years as a kid.

Visited with family that came to visit, and watched
Breck entertain my cousin...or my cousin entertain Breck!
Visited open houses way outside of our price range...
just for fun!

Had my first jicama tacos, and they were delicious!

Got a little bit of home decor inspiration!

Watched Breck make friends with his obedience school classmates!

Got outside of our hotel room for a glass of wine!

...and watched Breck chase this rabbit!!
(his new hobby)

Scoped out strawberry fields, and other farms I want to visit
once we have a kitchen!

Visited my Aunt and Uncle, and my cousin in San Diego for Easter,
and we had a nation-wide online egg decorating contest with family 

...and this was my contribution to our "California dreaming"
themed egg submissions - yes, that is real hair!  lol

Found a Chick-fil-A on my way to pick up Todd
from the airport last week (he was out of town for work),
I surprised him with an Arnold Palmer and fries at 10pm!

Somehow taught Breck some obedience thanks to his classes!!
(See how in shock I am!?!)

Found several mexican restaurants (Todd's favorite) and
celebrated another Ava promotion!!
A few days ago, we moved to a different hotel that is much closer to Todd's work.  It has actually been a good thing.  However, the move was not as easy as we thought it would be!  We couldn't believe we somehow got all of the same stuff through the airport, and cross country only a month ago!  It seemed impossible!! 

I also bought a toaster oven recently, so we set it up in this hotel room after the move.  I made baked chicken last night and was so thrilled to have a decent meal in the hotel!  Today, I bought a VitaMix blender, and so I'm sure that will be my new obsession once it gets here!

We sure are missing everyone, and as time goes by we are also missing our stuff (how silly does that sound??).  We are hoping to have house news soon...and as always will keep you updated!

California Dreaming...

I have been asked for some pictures of the area, and gosh I am long overdue!!  I have several things to catch you all up on, so in the meantime I will leave you with this.....