Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dreaming of Warmer Weather

Last weekend my friend Anna and I took a little road trip over to WI for a quick visit due to Lisa's baby shower that her family threw for her. I also got to see Emili and her new baby Jonah, what a cutie! It was so nice to have all my girls together again - I miss them all so much! Lisa was a beautiful mother to be and hardly looked 7 months pregnant! Her family was so welcoming and a lot of fun to hang out with over the weekend! It felt just like college days when Anna, Lisa, and I spent the night at her parents' house and we stayed up until 2:30 AM (MI time, only 1:30 WI time) talking. It was so good to catch up. I've decided that I need to be better about calling and staying in touch more regularly so when we do get together it's less catching up and more heart-to-heart stuff, which I so dearly miss.

Cam and I have been talking about taking a trip to Europe for a while, but keep putting it off because my job has always been up in the air. After our trip to Australia and signing up for some credit card offers, we had enough miles for free flights for both of us to either Europe or South America. Last year I had just started at Amway and wanted to wait until I'd been there a year and had vacation time. But I left before that. And then I started at and wanted to wait until I had a permanent position or at least had an idea of when that might happen. But I'm not sure when either of those will happen. I recently got approval for a week and a half unpaid time off since temps don't have vacation time in June to take a trip, only to find out last week that flights booked with award miles book up way far in advance and there were literally no flights to anywhere in Europe for this summer. I was pretty bummed, but we decided that instead of waiting for next summer that we just had to go for it and work around it if we had to.

So we booked flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina over the week of Thanksgiving! Man, they sure do not make it very easy to book award flights either. Since we both have separate award mile accounts, the only way we could book our flights was to book them separately, but since there were only 3 flights left I was scared that we'd only get one booked, or we'd end up on different flights. So we had to call and reserve on the phone, but they try and tell you that there are no flights available when I'm looking right at them online. Basically you have to feed them all the flight numbers and it takes them forever and they charge you $25 to book over the phone, but we got our flights!

So the plan is to fly into Buenos Aires and stay there 4 nights. Then we're going to take a domestic fight over to Puerto Iguazu, which is where the Iguazu Falls are and stay there for 2 nights. They're right on the border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay and are bigger than Niagara, and in the middle of the jungle! I'm so geeked; if you know me you would know that I kind of have a thing for waterfalls. I've seen Niagara Falls, and those were pretty amazing. But to be in the middle of the jungle without so much touristy traps in a place that is so much more remote just sounds so thrilling. After that we'll return to Buenos Aires for the last night before leaving.

My work has the Rosetta Stone software that we can use for free, so I've been relearning my Spanish a bit, but having this trip booked will definitely give me motivation to study up before then! We'd be fine in Buenos Aires, but Iguazu is little bit more remote, and I've read reviews that say there aren't very many English speaking people. I can't wait to use my Spanish skills! Oh, but 8 months is so long to wait for a vacation, especially since we haven't gone anywhere since Vegas last April.

There a lots of deals in Ireland right now though, and if we come across a good last minute package deal for 4-5 nights, we still might do that this summer. Otherwise we're planning on visiting Lisa and Ivan in Philly after they have the baby sometime. And there's always the new and cheap direct flights from Grand Rapids to Myrtle Beach that we could try out. After having to work basically every weekend last summer at the hotel, I'm excited to have my weekends off again this year and actually be able to go to the beach. And not miss out on holiday family get-togethers.

I've been craving a good concert too. David Gray is on tour, but he's not coming to MI, despite making 3 stops in Ohio for some reason. But we might make his Columbus stop since it's the Saturday after my birthday next month and stay overnight for my birthday present. Seeing David Gray would be amazing - hint hint Cameron...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Car Envy and Valentine's Day

It's been a fun couples weeks.

Two weekends ago was Cam's Amway holiday party (they like to do it later in the season when it's not so busy). That was a lot of fun; they rented out the whole Van Andel Public Museum downtown GR. There was a bunch of food and beverage stations set up throughout the building. We got to ride the carousel for free, got a professional picture taken, and watched a lazer light show.

My mom was gone visiting my grandparents in Florida so I called home to see what the boys were up to this weekend. We ended up going to the International Auto Show at DeVos place with them on Saturday. I've had my heart set on a Mazda 3 hatchback for a while. But I've officially been won over to a Mini Cooper extended Clubman in either red or metallic chocolate brown, ahhhh....

That Sunday we went to the Hurds to watch the Superbowl. I brought some delicious nachos that were heartily scarfed down.

Last week at work was exciting as I applied for and interviewed for a permanent content editor position with Booking. I'll find out by the end of the week if I got it or not - I'm so nervous! I would really love this job. I'm a temp now and I like what I do, but it's not very challenging and extremely repetitive. And the vacation and benefits would be a huge plus too.

This past weekend we laid low for the most part. I wasn't really feeling into going out to crazy busy restaurants for Valentine's Day. Friday night we went to my parents' house to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. We left when the guy reading poetry came on - seriously? poetry at the Olympics ceremonies?

Saturday night we celebrated Valentine's Day at home. Cam had to work all day, but he was able to come home and make a delicious Fucilli with Zuccini and Lemon. I made lava cakes with white chocolate and raspberry sauces. Combined with some Asti Tosti and the movie Love Happens, it was a very nice, relaxing weekend. I found it much more enjoyable than going out to a crazy busy restaurant. And I was pleasantly surprised by the meal Cam made.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Best Date Ever

Saturday I got to enjoy my Christmas present from Cam.
We started out with dinner at the 1913 Room at Amway to use some of my remaining "Amway money". Most amazing dinner experience ever. Despite some delicious sounding options, we chose to skip first course to make sure we would have room for dessert. But that doesn't mean you don't have anything to snack on before the meal. The "bread man" came by several times with his tray of about 6 different breads to choose from. My favorite was a cranberry one. And then there was this little tray with a bite of fish, blue cheese and crouton, and a shot of potato soup. And to cleanse the palate - a little scoop of berry sorbet with a sparkling wine topper. We chose to order a bottle of Pino Grigio from a winery in Northern MI. For dinner I got the Dover Sole - buttery, lemony, light, flaky fish with pea-size vegetables and some fancy-looking potatoes. Cam got the duck that came in a red wine sauce with potatoes and endive. For dessert we had to get the Milky Way since Cam hasn't had it - a cone of 3 chocolates filled with a chocolate mouse on a shortbread cookie, with a side of amaretto and more chocolate sauce. Amazing!!!

Then came the Cirque Dreams Illumination show at DeVos place. We saw a Cirque show in Vegas last year, and I think I liked this show more than the one we saw there. It was astounding. The Asian contortionists/acrobats were probably my favorite. We had great seats too - in the little boxes on the side of the theater. It was nice to have some room and not feel fenced in by people.

After the show we let the crowds pass and got a drink at the Lumbar Baron bar in Amway. I got a peach bellini and Cam got a delicious coffee drink with Bailey's and amaretto. It was nice to just sit and relax and talk after the evening.

We said hi to some old co-workers as we walked to the lobby and got our picture taken. I'm so excited because I think this is one of the best pictures taken of us recently, possibly ever. Overall, quite possibly the best date we've ever been on - valet parking, dressing up, amazing dinner and show, relaxing over drinks, my favorite!

In lue of this date, I told Cam we don't have to do much for Valentine's Day, but I'd like it if he would cook a nice meal for me. I think he's going to do it, so we'll see how that goes, haha :)