Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Said YES!

We're engaged!

Scott and I arrived in Honolulu on Friday. We spent the day exploring the beach and taking photos before heading back to our room to cool down. For dinner, we had a delicious sushi dinner at a local restaurant and then scurried back to our hotel due to a rain storm. Scott really wanted to head to the beach but I resisted due to the rain. I was getting quite wet and I envisioned having wet sand stuck to my pants. At this point, I had no clue about his plans, I just knew that he really loves the beach.

The next day I woke up early (as I do in Hawaii) and planned where we would eat lunch and dinner. CookingwithAmy.com has some great suggestions and both the places we tried were wonderful. I then decided that we would walk over to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. I wanted to give us a cool place as our destination. Scott's ears perked up when I told him there was a beach right across the street.

After a long, meandering walk (labeled a Death March by Scott) we arrived at Ala Moana. We cooled off, had some cold drinks and then headed over to the beach. Scott began mumbling about finding the perfect palm tree with the perfect shade. I just wanted some shade but decided to play along with him.

It took awhile but Scott found his perfect tree and it even had a lovely bench in which to rest at. We watched the surfers for some time and then Scott asked me if I liked the location, if I found it to be memorable. I quipped, well I think it could be memorable, it depends on what you do.

Scott then told me a wonderful story about the time right before he met me and how when he met me, he knew I was just what he was looking for. Then he gave me a velvet pouch with a beautiful ring. I made him ask me the question and he did. I said Mmmmhmmm to which he made me say the words, Yes. We like clarity in this relationship! I put the ring on my finger and kissed my fiancee (OMG! FINANCEE!). We looked out at the ocean again and saw a sea turtle swimming right below us. We are calling that a blessing and really this engagement is a blessing.

If it's possible, my Mom might be more excited than either of us and we meet up with my parents later today in Kauai. I told Scott to be prepared for lots of hugging and squeezing.

So far, I'm really enjoying this Hawaii trip!

The only downside is that due to our excitement, we both forgot to re-apply sunscreen and are a bit toasty. I have raccoon eyes from wearing sunglasses - it is quite the sight!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heading to Hawaii

Maui Beach

Scott and I are heading out to Hawaii for vacation. We're heading to Kauai this time and I can't wait. Just one more day of work and then we're off to the beach!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Learn to be a Better Photographer Project

Stacked

I've embarked on a "Learn to be a Better Photographer Project". It's all unofficial and has no rules other than me shooting in manual mode versus automatic mode. I've had two sessions with myself and right now I'm angling for teacher's pet.

Hazy Macarons

I choose a subject (today was macaroons and last time was my yellow paper umbrella) and then I try different angles and different settings until I like what I get.

Yellow

I've also been shooting film and that has been so much fun. My friend gave me a Pentax K1000 camera which works like a dream. I've also been using a lot of my other film cameras.

Beach Finds

Basically I've been renewing my love affair with photography and having a grand time.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Talking About The Canvolution

canning+across+america+logo

Last weekend I set out to join the Canvolution. In one of those strange roundabout ways, I was already part of the Canvolution through my day job and some of my knitting foodie friends but I knew I wouldn't truly feel that I was a part of this movement unless I canned something.

Lemon Vanilla Jam Ingredients

On the Canning Across America site, they had a list of wonderful recipes. I selected the Lemon-Vanilla Jam from Falling Cloudberries, partly due to the wonderful smells I knew it would produce and also because of the simplicity of the recipe. I do have to say that Falling Cloudberries is now on my Amazon Wishlist because of this one fantastic recipe.

Lemons Cut Up

I set out my ingredients and began slicing up the lemons. I felt a bit like Julia Child with my knife in my hand and may have shouted, "Bon Appetit" around the kitchen. I technically know how to hold a knife but whenever I try to do it the proper way, I start to out-think myself and ugh! Once I got past my knife holding fear, I thinly sliced up the lemons and removed any seeds. My hands began to feel a bit pruned after the seed removal from the acidic lemon juice.

Lemons Simmering

I next placed the lemons in a heavy-bottomed pan with water. I simmered the lemons for about an hour. I then added the sugar and vanilla bean to the now soft lemons and let that simmer for another hour.

Lemon Vanilla Sugar

It was at this point that I should have simmered the jam for another 30 minutes but I thought it looked firm enough. This is just a lesson learned for me. The "jam" is solid-ish but is better for a glaze than as a spread.

Lemon Vanilla Sugar Simmering

This recipe had an interesting way to seal the jars. You pour the jam into the sterilized jars, tighten on the lids and then turned the jars upside down to seal. It worked! I let the jars sit for a few hours and then turned them over to tap on the lids. No pinging!

Lemon Vanilla Jam Sealing

I took a jar of the Lemon-Vanilla Jam to a friend who later told me that she LOVED it. I then made some blueberry-lemon bread for work and took in the jam as a glaze. They loved it! So the jam, it was a success and next time I make it, I'll just cook it a bit longer so it solidifies even more.

FinalLemonVanillaJam

The jam can remain in the fridge for a few months and will be delightful in the cold winter months.

Labeled Jams

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This One Time in Chicago...

Inside the elevator being serious

A few weekends ago, I went to visit Carolyn and it was super fun. The end!

No, really it was super fun but that is not the end. I've known Carolyn virtually for years and we've met in person a few times but this was the first time we would spend an entire weekend together. Honestly, I was a little nervous that we would end up sitting in her living room staring at the floor and thinking, "OMG! This totally sucks!"

Instead we stayed up until 4 a.m. the night I arrived talking and talking and talking. We then forced ourselves to go to sleep and got up the next day to explore the city. I've been to Chicago a few times before so I've seen the touristy things. This time, I got to see Carolyn's Chicago and it is fun.

White on White

We went to the Loop and saw a lot of public art. We stopped into the Art Institute of Chicago to check out the new modern wing where we also saw some photography. Yes, not only do we both knit, but we both love to take photos so honestly we spent the weekend doing both of those things and watching movies.

We went to see a terrible Korean vampire film called, Thirst on Saturday night. Oh it was just terrible but gave us a great laugh. And I had such high hopes for the film. It was the winner of film festivals and all that.

Sexy Tanning

On Sunday, we headed down to the Belmont Harbor which is a quick walk from Carolyn's. It was a perfect Sunday. The sun was bright, there was a slight breeze in the air and people were happy.

We photo strolled and then ended the afternoon with cupcakes and coffee. Then we headed back to Carolyn's so I could catch a cab back to the airport and home. It was a delightful little break in a very busy summer at work. It was just the break I needed. Thanks Carolyn!

Eaten

You can see my whole Chicago set, here
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