Monday, May 16, 2011

I have the best husband and Jason ever!!

Well it is official!!! I have the best life! Friday the 13th was the beginning of the most fabulous birthday of my life!! Chris mentioned he had a little surprise planned and that I should bring a change of clothes to work because we would be short on time. I figured we were going to a show or had good dinner reservations because those are the sort of things that make me a happy birthday girl. A bit of background here: last week was honestly one of the busiest weeks at work EVER and I'd been just beat from the ten hour shifts. In walks Chris an hour before I'm supposed to be off and says he is there to pick me up!! I was confused... And then my boss walks by and says "yep!! Get goin'!". Can I just say that leaving work early might have truly been the highlight of it all, but just you wait. When I get out to the parking lot I am surprised to see Jason in the car with Rufus:

(the adorable dachshund pup that is the subject of my next 100 posts at least).
When I got in the car I figured I would get to hear the plan....but no. We drove to Salt Lake I was confused that Rufus was with us... were we headed to a dog show? We stopped in Clearfield and dropped Roofykins off at Chris's aunt Shelly's house to get babysat (we must be going to a show and dinner, me thinks) As we approach Salt Lake City we take a turn westbound! Ah ha! We are headed to Wendover!! Who could be headlining?? Boys II Men? Willy Nilson? What fun we will have on our trashy trip to Wendover!! As I am naming out guess's of possible C-class performers we could be going to I FINALLY realize that we exited from the road to all things trashy like 10 minutes ago and were now sitting in the AIRPORT PARKING LOT!! Hoooooray! I doubt I have ever been so stoked in all of my life!! The idea of an insta-trip thrilled me big time! Chris finally spilled the beans that we were headed for Denver (one of my fav places) and informed me that we had all kinds of fun things planned! Those tricksters!! We were REALLY pressed for time so we busted over to the terminal and flew out asap. The plane was TINY and as I walked on to it and was looking around I said "this is........ Cute" in a somewhat skeptical voice causing a large Santa looking lady to bust out into an uproarious laughter.... She thought I was REAL funny. don't know why I just shared that... I guess no detail is to small. When we arrived in Denver, we went to pick up our rental car and got a free upgrade.... The trip continued on it's perma-high point. We stayed in a really nice HYATT hotel room, can I just say- I was really impressed with their complimentary breakfast.

The next day we got an early start at all the awesomeness! We headed to the Denver City Botanical Garden's! Chris and Jason have heard me talk of nothing besides the gardens my sisters and I saw in PA and so they decided to treat me to this one! on our way we saw a farmer's market in session and stopped in. I LOVE these markets and was so happy to get to go to this one that totally showed up the one we have here at home. So many yummy foods, this market was no joke! Yumm! So we got a little turned around while looking for the gardens but I didn't mind because it gave us a chance to meander through a really ritzy part of town with tons of gorgeous houses. Denver is so Salt Lake Cityish to me. I'm defiantly a fan.

Anyways, the garden was really a treat! It wasn't quite as exotic as the Pennsylvania garden but that didn't make it any less of a gem. I LOVED it! It had a lot of Indian themed aspects, cacti, zero-scaping-- this garden was very true to it's roots (no pun intended). It was nice to spend some quality time in the outdoor gardens, everything smelled and looked so beautiful.

The fun did not stop!! Next up on the agenda was a tour of Hammond's Candy Factory. They specialize in candy canes and also ribbon candy but do some chocolates as well. I was really excited! A good time was had, but I will say it wasn't exactly the wonderful land of Willy Wonka if ya know what I mean. Chris pointed out that the company did not follow LEAN principals. Haha. At this point we were ready to get our EAT on! We headed for my restaurant pick Cherry Cricket. Hamburgers.Straight.From.Heaven. is what the joint should have been called. These burgers weren't kidding around. Jason was put off by the pinkness factor, but not me.... I enjoyed the ale cart burger topping menu that included cream cheese, fried egg, peanut butter and every other thing! This place was SO good, no wonder it was ranked number one on Urban Spoon. Eat there.

We headed back to the hotel, and later headed out for a lovely walk in the rain to the Denver light rail stop down the street. Quick note: One would think that Chris was the wicked witch of the west with the way he acts about a little rain fall..... He is a bit of a hydrophobic freak, bless his heart. I don't mind a spot of rain.... I find it invigorating. We took the rail to Larame's Square downtown. A super cute nightlife area where we had tickets to a comedy show! surprise after surprise! The comedian we saw was Nick Thune and he was funny! I didn't really know I would care for a comedy show, but I actually really enjoyed it. The lesser known comedians that opened for him were actually funnier. It was really fun, and not something we would normally do. Loved it! It was after 1 am when we got back to our hotel and I was tuckered! The next morning we had a breakfast and then pretty much had to head out. It was such an amazing whirlwind getaway, and I feel so lucky that that was my SECOND trip to Denver with my two best friends in the entire world. Can i just say props to my loving husband who secretly coordinated things at work to make sure I would be able to get away. Jason: wow! you really care about me. Chris: I know we are broker then Jason, so extra thanks to you for spoiling my brains out and reminding me that I am the luckiest girl in the world on a daily basis. I love you guys!!!! PS: I can't wait for you guys to trump this on my next birthday, wink wink!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Well! I Did it! I went on the most awesome trip ever! My dear sister Lisa recently moved from a house in Souderton PA to a darling place in Doylestown PA. This house happens to have an amazing history. It is located next to an extravagant mansion and was the care takers cottage at one time. On it's lot is a very unique water tower pagoda (of course). Well the house was awesome, and probably older then anything in my entire town haha.

After Lisa picked Kara and me up from the airport we drove around Philly for a while (it looks to be a very neat city with all kinds of artsy entertainment available.) We went to this really cool indoor market that had all sorts of vendors with different food ethnicity's. I had some delish Indian food with a yummy Lassi I had never tried: cardomom. I LOVED it. When we got back to Lisa's place we helped with some moving of items (she is still getting settled) and just spent some quality sister time. High lights included Kara and I both smacking our heads on the ceiling near Lisa's stair case, Kara coveting lisa's roller blinds, Lisa's levitating furniture, and squeezing the luxurious air mattress down the stairs. We then had a wonderful goldengirl-esque moment around the dining table-late at night- eating cheese cake!

The next morning was kind of leisurely. We just puttered around and eventually packed up the kids and all of the overnight stuff in a car and hit the road. We ate lunch at Wegmens. The most glorious grocery store you could ever dream of! It was wholefoods-ish but on a way bigger scale. I got sushi for lunch and really enjoyed the tofu that I got. YUM! We wondered around the store for much longer then anticipated and marveled at the cheese selection, meats, chocolates. Almonds in honey, every variety of caviar, nut and berry encrusted cheese, double devon cream and much much more. It was grand! We then continued our journey towards DC! We decided to make a stop at a garden that Lisa's was considering getting a membership to (fun events and concerts are scheduled there). It turned out to be THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH! Sorry to be blasphemous but I have a feeling it trumped the garden of Eden. It was on a huge, rolling piece of land and went on a stroll towards the conservatory. Well it was well AH-MAZ-ING! The only flaw was our own, we showed up 20 minutes till close :( . Well, we took in as much as we could and then had to leave... promising to return. Days later we were able to but , ALAS, we showed up 30 minutes till close! No regrets though, it was fun to get more time at the garden but it would have taken days to see all we really wanted to see. Here are some photos that do NO JUSTICE WHATSOEVER!
One of the advantages to coming just before close, BOTH times, is that no one was really around, it was our own Secret Garden!
Here is a picture of a vertical garden surrounding some elevator doors. Is that not amazing??
There were endless hallways that looked like this:
Here is the outside of the main conservatory. Beautiful!:
We only saw the tip of the iceberg of this gorgeous garden. Lisa purchased a membership for her and her family and it included a guest pass so go book a trip to visit her right now and you might get to see this!
This was a highlight for me. It was called "the Silver Garden" and was filled with silvery plants mostly cactus's (cacti I guess). Some of the plants were as high as the ceiling (A really high ceiling I might add). It was really an interesting take on a garden. I think Lisa really liked this part. IT looked "silvery-er" in person :)
Each section had it's own weather. Each room had it's own theme. Tropical. Desert. Forest. Jungle. We missed the whole Fruit garden and a whole lot more :(

Here Lisa and I are infront of the vertical garden.

After leaving the garden (the first time) we drove for quite a while. And finally made it to DC! It was dark when we arrived but we decided to take a good look around. We drove around and saw many of the memorials, all lit up in splendor, from the car. We got out of the car and walked up and saw the Washington Monument and spent quite a bit of time browsing the World War II memorial. Being the bad guests that we are, we arrived at Song's house at 11 PM. Song is my beautiful cousin who lives in Virginia (right outside of DC). She was so kind to stay up (with her fabulous husband Mike) and visit with us. Her house was lovely and her food was yummy! The next morning we headed out for a glorious day in DC! Well at this rate there is going to be like a sister trip part VIII. I will try to summerize on the next few posts. This is it for now.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

WOW! It has been a LONG while! I just feel like my life is way too boring, and therefore un-blogable. After reading back on my last post I realized a few things have actually happened since then! Ya see, that was my plan. Let enough time go by so it seems like I have all kinds of news :) This is gunna be a massive entry. Let me just say that there is some poor photography issues and some weird layout issues on this post but I just want to post it as is so I can move on to more current junk soon! Welp, HERE-GOES!

I'll start out with an update on my quilting shananagons!
You know how I got a sewing machine for my birthday? Well I finished my first quilt and 3 others!!!! This is quite something, because let's be honest, I'm a quitter. My loving husband admits that he never thought he would see those scraps of fabric become a blanket. So supportive. Haha. Well, here is my first quilt eva!
I made this smaller lap blanket for our living room with Chris's help one night when we were bored. I am loving it!!!Below is a picture of Chris's pumpkin he carved! Utah state all the way!!! It looked way better in person!

Chris and I had such a fun time traveling to Houston to visit Chris's aunt and uncle and family! Shelly and Eric were the most amazing hosts as usual. They spoiled us rotten taking us out to fabulous restaurants for every meal, taking me to various upscale candy and cupcake shops, treating us to a comedy show, and more! I loved Texas's take on Thanksgiving dinner! The smoked turkey was the bomb-diggity! Love you Shelly, Eric, Adam, Marley and all of Eric's fabulous family!!!! Thanks for being so good to us!

Then it was on to Christmas!

FYI I stole the below pics from my sister Kuru's blog. And since most (if not all) of my viewers probably read her blog too, you've probably seen this before... but here-goes anyway. These photo's are from our mock Christmas Eve party. We had our annual party a bit early so that my darling sister Lisa could be present (while in town from "Tran"silvania.) We had your standard run-of-the-mill Lebanese dinner. It was AH-mas-ing! A huge shout out to my endlessly talented sister Kara for all of the delish main dishes. Menu items included pita bread, spanakopita, several varieties of hummus, spinach fatayer, lamb sfiha, fruits and veggies, ful mudammas, tabouleh....... (don't worry, I don't know how to spell or say any of that stuff.... I DO know how to use cut and paste from Kara's blog though). I particularly enjoyed the nativity scene this year. Aren't those kids darling??

Here is a picture of my favorite Christmas decoration! My talented granddad made this for me! It is a puzzle where all of the nativity scene fits inside the manger. Pretend the lamp is a shinning star (haha)!
Here's our Christmas tree!
Anyone who is reading this probably already heard about the most amazing Christmas miracle! My boss's at work surprised me with an iPAD as a Christmas bonus!!!! I have never been more thrilled! I have LOVE LOVE LOVED it! This is the picture I texted them afterwards so they would (hopefully) know how much I love it! Thank you SO SO much!!! Receiving such an amazing gift made me feel like a million bucks!
Here is a picture of Chris ( a common scene at the cook household where Chris rigs up a situation to work on homwork and watch various sporting events all at once) that was instantly transformed with one of my various fancy ipad apps!

how artsy!

The highlight of the Christmas season was when my darling sisters and I went to The Nutcracker! Afterwards we went out for a fancy dinner and talked for hours! It was such a treat.... an amazing gift really. There isn't a "christmasier" feeling then the feeling you have at the Nutcracker. A close second is watching Meet Me in St. Louis with your man by the Christmas tree. Lucky for me I did both this year! I am certain there isn't a luckier girl on planet earth.

There have been a lot of changes at my work place! One of the more exciting changes is that Chris now works there part time. He has the fun job of following up on denied medical claims and other various billing tasks. I love seeing his cute self around the office from time to time! I am really enjoying my job! I have been working as an assistant to the doctor(s) for quite some time and have had the opportunity to do a lot of learning. It has been such a good job even excluding the ipad!
I have seen a lot of really good movies lately! Here's a little taste:
My dear friend/co-worker Emily shares my love of musicals! I was telling her my sob story about my desperate search for two musicals that have all but vanished off the face of the planet! Anchors Aweigh and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. I was shocked when she told be that she owned both of them! She holds a secret weapon (a cutthroat yardsale shopper for a mother). Can I just say that the two hottie's pictured below melt my heart big time!
The Unsinkable Molly Brown isn't amongst the best of musicals but it's still good stuff!We of course went to see True Grit. LOVED IT!!!! There is hardly a Coen Brothers movie that we don't own (for good reasons too!) I love me some Jeff Bridges!!!
Chris finally got to go on his trip to Italy that has been after months of anticipation! I will be posting on that next time! Be excited... Be very excited! While he was gone Jason and I spent some quality time together! We watched Pride and Prejudice together! Not the wimpy short little two hour version with Keira Knightly. The 5 hour long A&E version that makes me swoon for some Collin Firth! All I have to say is.... "MR. DARCY!!"

In just 3 short days I will be leaving on a trip with my fabulous sister Kara to visit my fabulous sister Lisa in Pennsylvania!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will also be going to DC and New York! This trip is going to be EPIC!!! I will let you know all the saucy details soon! I will leave you now with another sexy basset picture:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

(last) weekend update, and two other posts as well

I had a great weekend. Let's just face it. On Saturday morning Chris E and I walked down to the farmer's market and our pals Danny and Sarah met us there... we had some breakfast and did some shoppin'. Later on Danny and Chris E went to the Real (re-AL) game and I decided to drive down with them and to invite myself to sushi with the parental unit down is SLC! My parents have been on a bit of a sushi kick lately and have really been bragging about all of their escapades. It was a major treat to go out with them! Yum! I get MAJOR sushi cravings and this hit the spot! We followed the sushi with some delish gelato. I was SPOILED!! It was awesome to spend some quality time with my mom and dad. After all the yumminess we went for a short drive and got an awesome view of the city! Thanks folks for a great time!

Possibly the best family meal EVER!

My darling sister Lisa-Face and her fam were in town over the 24th so my family pulled out all of the stops to make a pimped out Asian style meal.... I won't tantalize you with all of the details but I thought I would share this picture of (just) the appetizers. Jason, Chris and I refer to this as pre-dinner and we all agree that it is the most charming Baker family signature move. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Too much of a good thing

Here is what happened: craved red velvet cupcakes. Three bottles (yes three) of red food coloring and a lot of flour and sugar later.......

These were pretty tastey.....Careful though, all that food coloring caused me to poop red for a week. SORRY for the over share, I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Barcelona, Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe

There are 2 songs in the world that make make me happier then any other. They are both Queen songs. Under Pressure (of course... that one is "our song") and this fantastical number : BARCELONA!

If you don't like this song then don't tell me..... because it may change my feelings for you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

back from the dead!

HELLO! I have been a terrible blogger..... but I am ready to try again. Let me start by following up on the boolish topic. 20 POUNDS of cookie dough was delivered, at my work, and it was the most excited thing EVER!!!!!!!!!! It was so good to be reunited with boolish, and am looking forward to trying other Otis Spunkmeyer flavors.

A lot of exciting things have happened. My work has exploded and is no longer recognizable to me. Now that we have Dr. Feistmann (Vitreo-retinal surgeon) things have been so busy!!! The good news is that we will be hiring someone mighty soon and I will get more training to be an ophthalmic technician, rather then just being stuck as the receptionist/optician/biller woman. I am really excited about this! MAJORLY! Let me tell you an amazing tid-bit about the new doc. I have to start with a little explanation. For like a year or more, me and my co-worker have lunched (on a daily basis) at the Logan Regional Hospital Cafeteria. Don't be confused. We don't work in or near the hospital.... we drive there for lunch. You might be thinking hospital food is pretty much notorious for being nasty, and why would anybody eat there willingly. Uh-uh! There is this like A-MAZ-ING salad bar for super cheap with all of the toppings you could ever want and more! For a long time it has been the most sensible option for me and Chelsey because we aren't rich and we wanted a healthy(er... haha) option. Now you might be wondering what this has to do with Dr. Feistmann. Out of the blue (after finding out how much we loved it) he opened up a tab for us at the hospital so we can eat there for lunch, every day, FOR FREE! Happy day!!! What a freakin' treat!!!! Every day I feel like a high roller (yes, at a cafeteria) when I'm all "put it on my tab" haha, I never get sick of it! Everyday when I am going through the line and I all of the sudden remember IT'S FREE!! yippy. Anyway, that was kind of a long shpeil. Hopefully someone out there appreciates how awesome this is.

Chris E has been working very hard. I want to say, I love him. Even as I type this my eyes get a bit misty, because I just really feel lucky to have him. He has continued being stellar in his classes and is excited about starting the MBA program next month. I'll be honest, I am a bit terrified. He is quiting his job (YES!!). Last day is in about a week!! (YES!!) but we are gunna be REAL tight on the cashola (NO!!) and gunna see each other less (NO!!) and then I'll be angry (UGLY!) and have to hang out with just Jason (HAHA, just kidding Jason... but really... that's gunna suck.) but, I know we can do it!! I know it's the right thing! So here we go. As a part of Chris's program he with get to take a trip somewhere over sea's in the spring! There are 4 incredible choices for the trip.... more on that soon!

Last weekend Chris and I went to a Deer Valley Musical Festival concert (in Park City) of Ben Folds and the Utah Symphony. We kind of went in honor of our anniversary which is on the 25th (three years baby!). We were super stoked about the concert which was held on the base of a ski lift at deer valley resort (beautiful!) at an out door amphitheater (for my sister Kara's sake.... pronounce this word correctly... as if this helps... here ya go: ămˈfə-thēˌə-tər. Due to some unexpected construction, we were running late and it was a bit stressful. Once we got there and found a spot to lay our picnic blanket and busted out our fine cheeses, meats, and crackers, we had a great time! I am sad to say that the music was a bit disappointing :(. The sound quality wasn't good (being out doors has it's downfall) and there was like an annoying reverb thing happening for most of the night. Our bum's got really sore too, haha! Towards the end of the night the sound improved (and the hot sun went down) and a great time was had! Here is a not so great photo:

During the month of June we had a faboo family trip in Park City. Chris enjoyed golfing with my dad, and I enjoyed sister-slash-auntie time. I will NEVER get sick of my nephew Benson calling both me and Chris "krusta" in the most adorable kid voice! We did a lot of fun things but the highlight for me was when Lisa bought an assortment of exotic Vosges Chocolate's and the ladies of my family huddled around the table for a taste testing. Here is a tid-bit from the Vosges mission statement: "The Voseges Haut-Chocolat mission is to create a luxury chocolate experience rooted in a sensory journey of bringing about awareness to indigenous cultures through the exploration of spices, herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, nuts, chocolate and the obscure." Everything about the chocolate was beautiful. The packaging. The description on HOW to taste the chocolate. The TASTE! My favorite flavors included:

Naga Exotic: sweet Indian curry+coconut+deep milk chocolate

Creole Exotic: New Orleans chicory coffee+cocoa nibs+Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate.

Mo's Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar (her most famous): apple wood smoked bacon+alder wood smoked salt+deep milk chocolate.

I did a little reading and learned Katrina Markoff is the owner/chocolatier/woman behind it all. How amazing would it be to create chocolate for a living!!!! I know I could never be at that level, but it has inspired me to get a little more creative in the kitchen. I purchased "Candy Making for Dummies" and who knows maybe soon I'll be making pork chop chocolate (that was a joke...kindof.)

Although I haven't had a chance to dabble much into the chocolate making world just yet I have been getting busy in the kitchen (that sounds weird, haha.) Last Christmas my mom blessed me with the most amazing cook book. America's Test kitchen. Maybe you've heard of the show on food network. The gist is they perfect recipes by making them a bajillion times and figuring how to get the best results. They also explain why it works, like why a certain ingredient works better then another, or certain method won out. It makes super impressive dishes and you learn a lot about how to reach great results in other cooking as well. We have used it like crazy since getting it last december. This last week we made the homemade Margarita pizza, and the Chicken Stir fry on a crunchy noodle cake dish. They both turned out great. I also made the dark chocolate cupcake with vanilla bean buttercream frosting. I swear I have never baked ANYTHING from scratch and it turned out to be a real treat and a good time. All I can say is YUM! My favorite recipe out of the book so far is the chicken tikka masala ( I am a major sucker for Indian food and this dish is ya-ya-ya yummy!) Here are the photo's from the cookbook, and the crazy thing is when you are done cooking your food it actually looks like the picture!!

For the 4th of July we enjoyed having Penni up for the annual Cruise In (car show). I enjoyed watching the viewers of the parade more then the parade itself. Around that same time Chris and I went down to SLC for the art festival and got to meet up with Penni at that time as well. What a gem!

Jason's birthday was a week or two ago and he was out of town for it, so it kinda got passed by un-celebrated.... other then the KICK-A knife set I got him. REALLY. I usually don't boast about gifts that I give (i usually give pretty crappy gifts) but let me just say: YOU ARE WELCOME JASON, and I MUST LOVE YOU. (come to mention it, I really DO love you and I hope you had a great birthday)

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk when in walked what I thought was another patient, but instead it was none other then my darling sister!!!!! Lisa is visiting from Pennsylvania (HOOOORAY!) and we got together last night and chilled while our men went golfing. It was so fun to see her and her cute kiddo's and I am looking forward to our whole family getting together on Saturday.

Well, talk about long winded! Sorry to rattle on. I will be posting more frequently again, thank you for listening.