Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving in COSTA RICA!

This Thanksgiving, I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary - 3 friends and I took an AMAZING trip to Costa Rica.

Lora, Dana, Mindi and I packed our VERY LIGHT bags (all of us traveled with one suitcase each, weighing UNDER 25 pounds each) and headed to San Jose, Costa Rica early on Wednesday morning. The short 3 hour and 45 minute flight direct from Houston got us to San Jose, CR around 1pm on Wednesday afternoon.

We met up with our driver, Allejandro, and headed off to Manuel Antonio. One of the first things he taught us was the phrase "Pura Vida" – means pure life. It's used as a greeting, thank you and also you're welcome. It caught on fast, and was used everywhere! The drive was beautiful, but we were very thankful that we weren't doing the driving ourselves. It was through the mountains, and the roads were skinny and the fog was so bad that at times, we couldn't see much further than the car in front of us. Not to mention too that the signs to let you know where to go were less than desirable. The drive took us through Jaco Beach, a quick stop at Crocodile Bridge, and over 2 140 year old bridges that were so scary that our driver called his family before going over them to say his goodbyes should we not make it across. I am sure he was exaggerating for effect, but how comforting, huh? Thankfully, we all made it across the structures and got to La Mariposa in Manuel Antonio right around sunset, which in Costa Rica happens around 545pm. Our hotel was so wonderful and the staff was even better. We were on the top floor with a beautiful ocean view. Dinner that night at the hotel restaurant set the bar high for our dinners on the trip. We shared Mahi mahi, Schnook, Red Snapper, Tuna and wine – all were superb!! After we stuffed ourselves, we took a short walk over to Barba Roja – "The Pirate Ship Bar" for some drinks and fun. We called it a night after that for our early morning expeditions started at 715AM!

Thursday morning we were greeted with the sunrise at 530am. After breakfast we were picked up for our first great adventure – ATV Tour through the jungles of Quepos. The 4 of us, along with a couple from London and a rather loud and obnoxious girl from Florida, joined Aldo and our other guide for the time of our lives. We drove the ATVs through mud, puddles, bodies of water, etc. Some of the ATVs got stuck, which was so much fun and got us all a little dirty!!! We took a chilly dip in a natural watering hole to wash ourselves off before the end of the tour and a home cooked 2nd breakfast of the morning – complete with the local Imperial beer of course! :) This is also where we learned about Lizano Salsa which became a quick favorite to all of us!!

A quick trip back to the hotel and then we were off again for the Titi Canopy tour – a zip line adventure through the jungle. We considered ourselves lucky when we came across some monkeys playing in the trees atop one of the platforms. They were so cute and fun!! After we got back and were ready for some food, we took a recommendation from one of our hotel staff and dined at La Cantina for dinner. Again, we shared an exorbitant amount of food and enjoyed every bit of it. We made ourselves stay and enjoy some extra food and drinks so we could make it out to Ladies Night at The Lounge that evening, which didn't start up until 10pm. The local places were fun to hit up, although we only stayed for a bit, enough to see some people make fools of themselves and then we headed home.

Friday morning had us ready for another grand adventure – we started out with White Water Rafting on the Naranjo river. Our tour guide, Fabian, entertained us with telling us to "forward twice", "paddle back hard" and "get down", while we knew he was really doing all the work. We spent about 2 hours going down the river on the most perfect sunny day!! At the end, we enjoyed another home cooked meal and fresh made juice.

We got back to the hotel with a little time to kill, so we headed out to an ATM in preparation for our afternoon of shopping in town, and made some time to take the infamous JUMP pose, Costa Rican style. We love those pictures!!! The hotel shuttle took us to the beach, where the streets were lined with jewelry and local goods vendors. We didn't do too much damage, but did all manage to make it home with some new fun bracelets, earrings and wraps! We did get to walk a little on the beach too, and how gorgeous it was! We planned on viewing the sunset from El Avion – "The Airplane", and made our way there just in time. The sunset was gorgeous, and even better enjoyed with a few pitchers of Margaritas – of course! It poured while we were there, and was still raining when we got back to the hotel….although that didn't stop Dana from fulfilling what our original plans were….to sit in the pool swim up bar and order a drink before going out that night. She got quite a few stares when she jumped into the pool and swam up to the bar – while it was still raining and even lightening, especially when the rest of us were sitting under umbrellas to do the same. :)

We took our time getting ready, and were lucky enough to have our rafting guide from that morning come get us for a night of local fun. We first went to play some (terrible – we are SO not good) pool at Babylos, some salsa dancing at Bambu Jam, and finished up the night with some more dancing at Arco Iris Discotheque. What a night!!

Saturday morning Lora, Mindi and Dana took a walking tour of Manuel Antonio National Park while I stayed at the hotel and got us our exit row seats on the return flight and enjoyed a little time at the pool. It was warm and sunny enough at 745am to enjoy and get a nice tan – how wonderful!! We rejoined for lunch and then took off for the Quepos airport. Since we'd already taken the drive between the two cities, we decided that for the way back we'd experience the Nature Air flight. We were standing ON the runway when our plane landed. It was a quaint little 20 seater with large windows so we could enjoy the scenery on the 25 minute flight through the mountains to get back to San Jose.

After getting settled at our hotel for the night, we took off and decided to walk around town to find some Lizano Salsa to take home. We bought the first Mini Mart that we came across clean out of their supply….and then stumbled across the local version of Walmart and hit the jackpot. We all brought home quite a few Lizano products and probably could have stuffed more into our suitcases had we thought about it. Dinner was one more fantastic meal at Sale e Pepe, a cute little Italian place that we stuffed our faces one more time. Getting everything into our suitcases for the travel back home while watching Legally Blonde on TV put us all to sleep before 10pm.

The driver picked us up at 5am on Sunday for us to head home. We had the best time and were a little sad to leave, but can't wait to go back!! The girls, the country, the people, everything were just perfect!!! Glad to be back home in good ole USA, but looking forward to our next trip already!!


Annemarie :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jimmy Kimmel Live!!!

Eleven friends and I visited LA this weekend for 2 friend's birthdays and we had so much fun! One of the many things we did was go to the Friday night Jimmy Kimmel Live taping...and we made it on the show!! I included links below to 3 videos…..one is the introduction, one is from Austin Nichols' interview, and the last is the musical guest. You can see our group on all 3 videos. The "itinerary" they talk about is about our trip schedule that Lora made and had laminated for the girls (I attached it too). Jimmy Kimmel actually read it to the entire audience during the pre-show, we were all laughing so hard we were crying. During the musical guest clip, we are all lined up behind Jimmy when he introduced the band. After the show we got to go into the VIP green room and hang out with Austin Nichols and a lot of the show staff. Needless to say, it was a blast!!! Everyone was so nice too…guess they couldn't help reciprocate the southern hospitality with 12 Texas gals around. Our 15 seconds of fame!!

Monologue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEKBU9Jlod4

Austin Nichols interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FFoSGbZ2Co

Music section: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXjfhtfXZj0

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Downtown Austin Chic

Went to see Deejer on Friday night at Stubb's with Renae and Melissa. On the way to dinner, I snapped this quick photo of them around the corner. I am super happy with it....AND the girls agreed to be my "models" one day soon, so I can get some more like this one! :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gotta LOVE Texas Weather....

One minute the sky is about to open up and drain.....it did, it poured for about 30 minutes. Then an hour later, it's all good again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Something new....photo a day!!

So, I'm going to try something....and see if I can keep it up (and no, I don't mean this no carb diet thing that Amy has me doing in preparation for our PV trip at the end of the month!).

I'm going to try to take one picture and post it per day. Yes, like taking ONE picture a day is a hard thing for me to do....BUT, let's say that this is my attempt at trying to be more creative. I just ordered two photography books from amazon.com today, that will hopefully help me more. Granted, I need a much better camera than the one I'm using, but we'll see what I can do with what I have.

For tonight....here's what I have. Yes, it's a picture of a beetle bug (or whatever these little critters that hang around the light are called - I can't remember right now). It was sitting on the the ledge of the back door window tonight. Nice little bug didn't try to come inside when the door opened, so I took his (or could it be a her?) picture.

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Molly

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The First 2007 Trip to Lake Travis...

We went to the lake on Saturday with Shon and LJ. It was my first time on the lake this summer, and boy did I need it!! Talk about WHITE! We hung out in Devil's Cove, and then headed over to Jardin (of course) for dinner after the water. So, I took pics.....but I'm not posting any pics of ME from the lake on Saturday, but here are two cool ones that I took of Chris. I joked with him that he could use them for his MySpace page....and then he DID! LOL!!!

Monday, June 4, 2007


I was working from home today, and for about 7 minutes, the rain and hail came down like no other. Of course, I had to run out and try to get a picture!!! It was the size of golfballs, and the noise was so loud. But just like Texas weather, it was all melted and sunny outside about an hour later.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Gotta love that view! Had dinner at The Oasis with the Arredondos the Saturday over Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Just call me "Bubble Girl"....

Laura and I decided to play in a poker tourney on Saturday afternoon/night. It was $100 buy in, 24 people playing, pay out top 3 players. High stakes, yes, but we figured we earned it. :)

The game started with 3 tables of 8 people, 10,000 in chips, at around 530. There were 4 women playing out of 24, and 3 of us ended up at the same table. Lucky for Laura, she was at a table of her own. I am just not a fan of playing with women, especially annoying ones.....like the ones that say things like "Now why did you do that?", when you raise before the flop. Um, because that's how you play poker....now shut up and either call or fold. Anyways...I got over it, but not before I handed a LOT of my chips to one of the ladies who didn't even realize that she had a full house and beat me on the hand. More annoying.

I was playing terribly, but still having a good time. I was down to about 5000 in chips and got a pretty decent hand. Blinds were 200/400. KB raised to 800, I re-raised to 1600, and then Chris to my left raised it to 5000. To call him put me all in. I had K-10 suited. I'd seen the hands that this guy had been playing, they were all over the place....so I sat there and thought for a while, and decided to call him. I would have been pretty much out anyways if I had folded with only 3400 in chips left. So, I called. He had A-K. Well, a 10 came on the flop and nothing else paired....so, I WON. It was one of those hands that really makes you sweat...I was SO thrilled that I won it!!!

Now I had 10,000 chips again, so I was starting from scratch. I got A-A a few hands later, and bet REALLY big pre-flop. One guy called, I think out of pity, and then on the flop I bet big again, he folded. I had to show because of the hand that I had, and thanked him for the generosity.

Shortly thereafter, I got moved to Laura's table. I didn't really win any big hands, I over bet my good cards to be sure I wouldn't lose, and managed to stay in long enough to make it to the final table, top 8 players. I was lucky to be sat in seat 8, so I got to stay in the longest without posting blinds too. (yay!). KB was also at the final table with me, to my left. Well, KB went out pretty quickly, so then it was down to 7. I wasn't the shortest chip stack, but was FAR behind the leaders. I let the other players take each other out. It got down to 4 people and I got K-10 suited again. (It was the hand of the night for a lot of people). I went all in, the big chip stack called me. He had Q-10. The flop came with 2 of my suit.....turn was a Q, and river was nothing. So, I went out 4th. Did I mention that they were paying top 3??? Oh well, I got a few lottery tickets as a loser prize, and think that I made $10 on them. The 3rd place walked away with $230, 2nd $900 and 1st was $1170. Man, what I could have done with that kind of cash....but, overall, I was surprised that I made it that long, so I can't be too disappointed. I never had anymore than about 18,000 chips the entire time and hung on until 4th. :) Fun night overall....better luck next time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A FULL Week of Work in VEGAS, BABY!!!

I spent the last full week in Las Vegas, for A's user conference. I manage the SW partnership for D, and was there to coordinate D's participation in the conference, and make sure that it all went off without any problems. I managed to squeeze in some fun while there too. Quick photo recap of the week of events. :)

Jamie and I went in on Monday afternoon, and were able to grab dinner at Delmonico, that evening. We met up with Buddy and Garrett afterwards at TAO. We didn't get to see any celebs, but I did get a photo opp with Cleopatra! Ha!

Tuesday, Jamie and I hung out at the pool for a bit, before I was to report for duty to setup the booth. Man, was I SOOOO happy that George, the events guy, convinced me to hire Steve to help with the setup. That was the BEST advice that George could have ever given me, Steve was a lifesaver throughout the whole show!! :) That night we hosted a party for all the D customers that were in town for the show, at Margaritaville. The A sales guys showed up too, and since it'd been since the last MF that I'd seen them, it was great to see everyone again!!

S had their sales conference in town at the same time, and since they just purchased A, all of the executives from both companies were in Vegas. Jamie busted her ass getting a bunch of meetings setup, so that was what we did on Wednesday. That night, we had a really nice dinner at MESA Grill in Caesar's. I got a fun picture too, before dinner, with some local Greeks in the Casino. :)

Let's see Thursday.....oh yeah, booth duties and such. That's not very exciting to report, but that night we had the MF Party. They'd rented out PURE, the nightclub in Caesar's. More than half the people in there (including myself), would have NEVER been let into the club had the entire thing not been rented out. Ha! But I was happy to be part of that crowd, and I didn't have to pay for drinks to boot! The perfect way to party at PURE!

Friday was a day of wrap up.....although I did take time to take a quick snapshot with KJ's nephew's "Flat Stanley". Ever heard of this little guy? Evidently (I think it's) 2nd graders cut out this little guy, and then decorate him, and then he's supposed to travel and take pictures. KJ told his nephew that he'd take FS to Vegas and get a picture. So, I met him for a parting pic from Vegas. Bet no one else's FS made it to MF! :)

It was a GREAT trip, lots of work, and lots of play. Got to see some old friends and make some new ones too!! Looking forward to the next one in Orlando!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Little Angel Sophia

I met Scarlett through Corey about 6 years ago. She and her husband John are 2 of the nicest people that I've ever met. I went to Scarlett's baby shower this afternoon (30 mins late after getting lost on the freaking toll roads to Pflugerville), although she wasn't pregnant anymore.....Scarlett had Sophia a week before her baby shower. I met with Scarlett for lunch at the end of February, and she was having a great pregnancy, no issues, complications, feeling great, until one of her dr appointments around 24 weeks. She went in and they told her she had preeclampsia, and that she had to stay on bedrest until further notice. Well, she went into the doctor a week or so ago for another checkup and they took her to perform a c-section that day. Sophia Belle was born on March 22nd, 2 months early. She weighed in at 2lbs 10oz. She'll be in the NICU for about 7 weeks so everyone can keep an eye on her, and she can get bigger. She's really cute and she looks just like John.

Scarlett is in great spirits, and looks AMAZING. When I asked her where John was during the shower, she said that he was playing golf. They were going to head back to the hospital later together. She has it so together. I can't say that I would have been in any shape to be anywhere BUT the hospital a week later, but the doctors are taking good care of her, and you have to continue to live and do your day to day things to keep your sanity, I guess. I've got a lot to learn about being a parent...but I can't wait. :) Anyways, I know that they are going to be wonderful parents, and I look forward to the day when they bring Sophia home and we all get to meet the little angel.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Nae Nae Turns 28!

Tonight I celebrated Renae's birthday at Buca with a few of her friends. We ate GOOOOOOD too. Fun times.

I came home and watched Trust the Man. Good movie...I really like Maggie Gyllenhal's hair in it. Was thinking about heading to bed, but I realized that I have tonight's episode of 6 Degrees on DVR, so I'll watch it and then head to bed. What an exciting Friday night, I know you are all jealous!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ugh, stupid ISO

I was messing with my camera and reading stuff online about ISO settings and when it was appropriate to use ISO 800 and, etc....well, I set it to that, thinking that I'd get better pictures with it on that setting....WRONG. I figured out that was the reason that ALL of my pictures recently were turning out grainy, when they used to be so clear. SOOOOO frustrating since ALL of the pics in Mexico, Cap 10K and book club, were all taken on this yucky setting.

Oh well, good news is that GOOGLE, once again, saved the day, and I found out the reason, and it's been fixed. Back to the days of nice clear pictures. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rodeo Austin...and Taylor Hicks

My friend, Rick, is a HUGE Taylor Hicks fan....has been since the last season of Idol started. Back when it was in the beginning stages last season, I told Rick that I also really liked Taylor. I thought he was different and would go far in the competition. Over the course of AI, I got about 3 emails a week from Rick with the latest news on what Taylor had done, what people were saying about him, etc, etc, etc. Well, he won, as I am sure most of America knows at this point. So, when Taylor was in town last time, Rick asked me if I wanted to join him for the concert at Antone's. I went, and had a great time....Taylor put on a great show, in typical TH form, complete with the funky dance moves and with his old band. So, when Rick found out Taylor was going to be in town for the Austin Rodeo, he asked me to go. We headed out there a little bit early to enjoy the rodeo. The cowboys, the bull riders, horse riders, etc, were so entertaining. Taylor on the other hand, IMHO, wasn't so much. This time he was performing the songs from his album, the ones that the producers made him do, ones that were so snoozefest to me. It was very appropriate to most of the audience though....I think that I might have been the youngest person there. I felt bad for him, because you could almost see that he was also bored, and missing where he came from. But what do I know. But regardless of the show, it's always fun to hang out with Rick Stein. :)

Just incase this ever happens to you...

I was in the middle of working, typing along like crazy, and then all of the sudden my screen went blank....and when it came back, it was sideways!!! I tried to fix it but gave up and just shut down. I thought that maybe when I started back up, it'd be normal, but no go. So, thank goodness for Google. SO.....if you accidentally hit a bunch of keys and end up with your laptop screen staring back at you in a new portrait landscape, Ctrl-Alt-Arrow will get you back to normal viewing. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Need Digits?

A few days ago, I was looking for something in a cabinet, and in the process of sorting through all of the stuff in there, I pulled out a ridiculous number of phone books! I threw away the outdated ones and after the recycle bin was full, put the rest of them back. And THEN, another one came on the doorstep just another day later! I mean, who needs phone books anymore with the internet. Just can't imagine who still thinks that paying money to make and advertise in a phone book is good business.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

AMALAH in Austin TX!

Corey and I have been reading Amy's blog, www.amalah.com, for a little over a year. She, and her adorable family, live in DC and keep us entertained daily. I was so excited when I saw her post saying that she was coming to Austin for SXSW. Even more exciting was that a reader, Jennifer, was having a little party at her house, so dorky readers like me could come meet Amy. Kara and I headed over to a part of Austin that neither of us had been before, and went to hang out with complete strangers. What a strange feeling to be around someone that you feel like you know everything about, and she has NO idea who you are. I hadn't even ever posted a comment on her site...I was just one of the stalker readers. Anyways, it was a great day, and really neat to meet in person someone that had shared her life with me for so long.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Mega Zeros (I didn't get to quit my job)

So, a few friends had this great idea to each put in a sum of money (I'll leave the ridiculous amount undisclosed) and purchase a large amount of MegaMillions lottery tickets. We all got together and went through all the tickets.....bottom line, we didn't win the big one. We DID come out with $42, but not enough to warrant me quitting my job. Boo.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Bringing Sexy Back to H-town

OMG. Love me some JT. Luis, Dana, Lora, and I went to see JT in Houston on Sunday.....MAN, can that boy put on a show. I can't even put into words what an amazing show it was, so I won't. All I will say is that if you have the chance to go, if he comes anywhere near your town, GO. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Girl's Trip to San Antonio

Corey and I decided to take a day trip/night to San Antonio, to see RENT and have a night out, just the two of us. We had lunch at Acenar, went to see the show, and then had dinner at Rosario's. It was so nice for the two of us to get to spend some time together. Makes me smile that our night out in SA was so different than our nights out back in Austin, when we were young and single. We were back at the hotel before 10pm and in bed shortly thereafter. It's fun to see how our friendship has changed and grown over the years.