February 26, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It’s Hump Day Y’all! That means it’s time once again for WILW.

Again this week I am linking up with one of my favorite bloggers Samantha over at Every Day with S and J!

She is the blogger that inspired me to do WILW so go over and show her some love!

Here’s what I am loving this week…

New Girl. Need I say more? If you haven’t watched it, start NOW. I am proud to say I have watched this show from the very first episode. I am SOOOOO glad that it has made it into its third season and is still going strong!

The show just keeps going! Yay!!!!
 Daylight. Yes, simple, wonderful, happiness inducing, sunshine and daylight. This is the first week since I started my new job in November that I now drive to and from work in daylight. At first it was dark both ways. Then in the evenings it got lighter and lighter. And now, the sun is up even in the morning for my 30 minute drive! It makes my whole outlook on the day better. I get to work with a smile and leave with the sun roof open. Can’t wait till it’s officially Spring!

Because it's time to hang it up for the season!!!!
Volleyball. I had a game last night, and even though we lost, every time I play, my love for the game is reignited. Do you have a sport you love? Make sure you check out your local city leagues. Boise does an AMAZING job with sports in our area, so I get to play all year long!

Long Weekend. Since I got stuck in San Antonio an extra day my boss said I could take a day off for comp time this week. Hello 3 day weekend, here I come! Plus James and I plan to have a date night Thursday so I have even more to look forward to!

TTFN Friends! Make sure to go link up at Everyday with S and J!
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February 25, 2014

Flying Solo

Hello friends!

I think I need to share a little portion of the trip that didn't make it in my last post. The ugly, make me want to punch a baby and made me bawl in the airport story.

When I went to check in for my flight home Friday afternoon I was told my connecting flight in Denver was cancelled. Cancelled?! CANCELLED?!
I kept my anxiety attack on the inside for a few minutes while the gentleman behind the kiosk searched alternative routes. My mind was going a mile a minute. What do I do? Do I just go to Denver and hope I make it out of there? Do I call my Dad and cry to him? Do I throw a fit till they get this figured out!?

Luckily none of the above happened, though I admit I shed a few tears. It's hard after week gone to be told you can't go home -- when you expect to sleep in your own bed that very night, kiss your loved one good night and see the wagging tail of your best friend. 
Where are my ruby slippers when I need them?!
He laid out my options for me. I can catch my original flight to Denver (where I would most likely sleep in the airport due to so many cancellations into that area) and fly into Portland in the morning and then finally into Boise. OR they could keep my in San Antonio another night and I would not leave until 3:30 the next day.

As a woman traveling alone I had to go with my safest and surest option - another night in San Antonio. The gentleman gave me a flier of a service to call for a hotel room. The Airline does not cover your hotel if the cancellation is due to weather (which mine of course was). This service was supposed to help me get a room close to the airport for a low cost. I called the number and was on hold for 19 minutes. Yeah, cherry on top - but wait it gets better....
The woman on the line told me the name of the hotel she had booked for me, a rate, a confirmation number and the phone number to schedule my shuttle to the hotel.
I finally felt like things were in order. I sat down and called the people I needed to let know I was stuck. Then I called the hotel. NO RECORD of my reservation. Thanks a bunch crummy airline service place! Luckily I was able to just book a room there, the last they had left.

I was told to get into a taxi and that the hotel would pay my fare when I arrived. I told the driver the name of the hotel. He did not recognize it. I called the hotel and he provided directions by major land marks. Apparently that wasn't good enough for the non-English speaking driver because we ended up being lost for 15 minutes on a drive that should have been 5. Yep - lucky me.
Finally when I had had about all I could take, I made it to the hotel, checked into my room that had the shower out in the main room, and threw myself down on the bed.

The good news is that this story does have a happy ending. That night I went to a Tex-Mex place for dinner, enjoyed a few beers (MUCH NEEDED) and a yummy shrimp quesadilla.
Then I found the one blessing of having the shower out in the room - it was also a jacuzzi tub and the TV swiveled.... Say Yes to the Dress while in the tub? Sure, why not? :)
So it all turned out fine. I am just a worry wart, panic attack prone person.

Have you ever been stuck somewhere when traveling? Stuck somewhere alone? I'd love to hear your story!

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February 24, 2014

IAFE Spring Seminar in San Antonio!

Hi Friends!

I have been missing recently and that is because I just got home from an AMAZING seminar in San Antonio, Texas! (Home of the Alamo!)
We had time to visit the Alamo on Friday after the seminar. It was awesome!
 I flew there last Tuesday to attend the IAFE (International Association of Fairs and Expos) Spring Seminar, focusing on Marketing and Sponsorship. If you didn't know, my position is the marketing and sponsorship coordinator for my fair, so this was the perfect event for me!

I got in really late Tuesday (after midnight) and was pleasantly surprised that my late arrival meant an upgrade due to the lack of standard rooms. Hello executive suite on the 20th floor!
My view from the 20th floor!
 Wednesday morning we started bright and early. I signed up for a pre-conference Sponsorship Workshop. It was six hours of learning all about the best practices for gaining sponsors and partnerships as well as discussing with all the other fairs that attended. This was a group of about 15-20 so it allowed us to really meet everyone and share ideas. I learned so much! And at this point the actual seminar hadn't even started yet.
Me on the San Antonio Riverwalk during a break.
Sessions started later that evening and were followed by a dinner with guest speakers who talked all about bloggers as part of your marketing strategy. My mind was blogger-blown! I had never even considered it, and they had such interesting ideas.
A shot I took of a River Taxi on the Riverwalk. We had lunch in a little Mexican cafe to the right!

Thursday began with more sessions and tons more amazing ideas for my fair. I learned something at each session - more than I could have ever hoped for. 
Me at part of the Alamo.
Then it was time for the fun part! As part of the spring seminar the IAFE delagates got to visit the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. They did a big welcome for us, a personal tour of the facilities - and the best part? Box seats for the Rodeo and Dierks Bently Concert that night! 
VIP ticket baby!
Awesome patriotic drill team show pre-rodeo.

Dierks Bentley! Such a great concert! The stage rotated 360 degrees the whole time!

Who needs lighters? Cell phones glow at the concert.

Touring the Livestock show was like being in fair dreamland. The grounds, signage, marketing and interactive exhibits all had me wishing we could do it all at our fair! Then tacking on the rodeo and concert made it one of the best nights I've had in long time!
Me being goofy at the hospitality room at the Livestock show!

The next morning we had one more session and some closing remarks. It wasn't till then that I really realized the best part of this trip - the amazing people I had met. Going to a conference full of your peers is the best thing I could have hoped for coming into a new position. I am now loaded with contacts and friends I can call with any questions or ideas I may have. It was so fun to meet people in my industry, and hear about fairs big (2 million +) and small (10,000), and how we all face the same challenges.
Some of the great gals I hung out with that week with me at the Rodeo!

I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity or experience! So grateful to IAFE and to the Canyon County Fair for sending me!

TTFN Friends!
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February 18, 2014

Gunner's First Birthday! and Doggie Birthday Cake Recipe!

Hello everyone!

Today is a very special day. It's this beautiful boy's birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUNNER! Can't believe it - seems like this was just yesterday...

To celebrate, and to make up for the fact I "deprived him of his manhood" on Friday as James would say, I  made him a birthday cake. Yes, I am a crazy dog lady... he also got a new goose toy.
He was still in his cone for most of the weekend
Of course I scoured Pinterest for an easy recipe. I chose this one from Me & the Mountains. It was meant to be because Lauren has two beautiful Goldens!

Here is the recipe I used. I subbed Lauren's Chick Pea flour for whole wheat flour:

Dog Birthday Cake (from Me & the Mountains)
(makes 2 small cakes)
1 large ripe banana
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3 T water
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (white is not good for dogs)

Pre-heat oven to 350˚. Spray two medium-sized baking dishes or bowls (I used a 2 of these) with nonstick cooking spray. Place banana in a separate bowl and mash with a fork. Add pumpkin puree, eggs and water and stir well. Slowly add flour and mix until well incorporated. Divide batter into the two baking dishes and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. (Since the recipe doesn’t contain any baking powder or leavening agents, it won’t rise and will be quite dense). Remove cakes, let them cool and then top with frosting (recipe follows).

so curious....

I let him lick the spoon for his patience

Dog Birthday Cake Frosting
1/4 c. creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
Place both ingredients into a small bowl and blend together. Spread on top of (cooled) birthday cakes. 
Added some kibble for decoration!

Today is actually Gunner's birthday, but since James and I won't both be home at the same time today we celebrated last night. Gunner LOVED his cake!

Such a proud mama!

TTFN Friends! Off to San Antonio today!
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February 17, 2014

Breakfast of champions - and Valentines!

Happy Presidents' Day everyone! I love paid holidays! Good time to catch up on some blogging.
As I mentioned last week, I made Valentine's Day breakfast on Saturday for James and me.

It came out AWESOME. But breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I might be a little biased.

Here's the spread

Here's the how to:

***NOTE this is in no way a healthy meal. This is one of those special occasion splurge meals, and it is so worth it!

I started by making heart shaped bacon. I found the recipe here. Thank you Pinterest!

Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut your bacon package in half, and use strips to form "hearts" on a cookie sheet that has edges (so the grease doesn't go everywhere AND because you want to keep some of the grease).

Place in oven and bake 18-25 minutes. I was towards the 25+ mark because I prefer crispy bacon. Even at that long it didn't get as crispy as frying it. However, the flavor really gets kicked up a notch by baking so it's worth it :)

Once done to your liking remove from pan and put on a paper towel to help soak up some grease. BUT SAVE THE GREASE IN THE PAN! It's the secret ingredient for another part of the breakfast. 

While the bacon was baking I made some heart shaped pancakes, well at least I attempted to. I'm not going to do a how to on the pancakes, I just use a mix and follow the directions on the package.

After bacon was done, I carefully poured the bacon grease in a mug to use for the next step - fried eggs (best part!)

Pour a little (2 T approx) of grease into the fryin pan. Crack to eggs at a time into the pan over medium-high heat, flipping once (over medium). I do this multiple times because we can eat a lot of eggs. If you do more than 2 add a little more grease to the pan before each set. The bacon grease is what makes the eggs extra yummy! 

And that's it. A Valentine's breakfast of champions! NOM!

Tomorrow is my little man's first birthday! Poor boy has been in a cone all week because his surgery (snip snip...) so he deserves a birthday cake. Post to come on that next!

TTFN Friends!