Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tightening our belts and cooking a bird.

Most of you know the continued saga of us attempting to buy a home in Los Angeles.  Our lender keeps telling us, "it's gonna close tomorrow".  It's actually become a joke to us.  Good thing we are so easy going...or, so I've learned to be :)  We have been assured that we do own the house but there is one remaining technicality left to resolve.  I am reluctant to pop the champagne just yet as we don't want to count our chickens before they hatch (thank you mom for this saying it's perfect).  Let's just hope that it's ours soon especially since we've re-roofed the garage, tore up the upstairs floors, purchased two refrigerators, a stove and planks of new hardwood floors are lying everywhere! 

In light of this major purchase and the fact that only one of us brings home the bacon (I know, you're shocked - the South Beach Diet commercial from over a year ago did NOT pay me $1 million dollars) we do have to be a little more conservative.  I'm not going to lie, I've been informed that I might need to start tightening my belt (ughh) and worse yet maybe get a "real" job.  If by real we mean working from home and/or starting my headshot photography business then we are in luck!  Honestly though, it's about high time we started coming back down to reality and getting our priorities in order.  Oh, I had you didn't I?!  I can just see my mom muttering "ya" and pumping her fist in the air.  But I'm just kidding.... reality shreality (is that a word?) we're gonna keep rockin it like it's 1999 until we can't party no more.  Yet, our definition of "kickin it" may be more like a six-pack and a sander than a bottle of Cristal at a club (who am I kidding, we've never had Cristal but it's the only drink I could think of that starts with a "c")

In all seriousness though, I am quite a bargain shopper (thank you again Kathy Brink - - she's getting a lot of props in the entry).  And, in the spirit of saving money on groceries I purchased a big ol' 10 lb. turkey at the Ralph's day after Thanksgiving sale.  With an impending move date of January 15th and our lack of desire to have one more thing to transport to the new (not to be confused with "great potential") house, I decided to cook that darn turkey.  Heck, I even made the infamous Aunt Jo rolls (by way of Carol Abo, by way of Nancy Kerwin), stuffing and a salad.  I know, sometimes I even impress myself.  Just when Russ thought he couldn't eat another bite, he gets a second Thanksgiving meal.  And to that I say bring on the leftovers!  Cold turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey noodle soup, turkey quesadillas and anything else that I cook over the next two weeks to get rid of this turkey!

Life is exciting right now and you'll be happy to know that I purchased a great little lens to help document the home renovation and all the other glorious little events that will continue to happen - - otherwise known as our lives. 

Lastly, Happy New Year all you crazy people we love you mucho!  And in the vain of Garrison Keillor (a shout out to Dave-O)  "Be well, do good work and keep in touch".

Please keep in mind, I had to use my stupid camera phone on these pictures (remember I broke my lens).  Have no fear though, you can prepare yourself for some better photos in the near future. I'm not sure how buying a lense fits into my newly tightened belt but it's an investment right?  Hello my little 1.8, 50 mm lens I'm coming to get you!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sydney's 3rd Birthday

I love that our niece Sydney's birthday happens to fall on the 22nd of December because we've made all three of her special days!  I only wish that our other nieces and nephews birthdays were close to major "Brink" gatherings too because Aunt Angie and Uncle Russ LOVE cake (whether it be Dora the Explorer cake or Hot Wheels cake) and we especially LOVE snuggles and kisses from our little tribe of nieces and nephews. 

Note: I had a little incident with my SLR camera in LAX...namely, I tripped over my own foot (typical) and broke my lens so these pics have been generously sent to us by my sister-in-law and I do think they are quite cute :)  More pics to come of the Holidays - - I managed to use my point and shoot and manipulate my camera so a few pics actually turned out.

Baby Maddox!!!

Perhaps the cutest thing about Sydney is her love for her uncle Russ.  She's going in for a "movie star" kiss...he's getting more comfortable with the smooches.  I have to say too that I love Russ more and more because he is such a generous giving person and uncle to all of our nieces and nephews.  Russ really "took on" the "Brinks" with gusto and love.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in San Diego

We are spending a great weekend in San Diego with the Kerwin's.  Yesterday, we started off our day with the Father Joe's 5k run, which was perfect because the big meal didn't feel so fattening.  We'll post more about the weekend later but thought we'd share this adorable little link for ya'll to take a look at.  Do you recognize the dog?  Beba is more of an "actor" than her mommy.

Click here to see Beba's big television debut

We are thankful for our friends and family!
With the Kerwin's listening to reggae in the Gas Lamp District (San Diego)

This is probably one of my favorite photos to was taken with my little point and shoot.  Russ and Beba -- my greatest joys. xo

To see more pics of our big weekend click here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Weekend in Sonoma with Friends!

Halloween 2009 is sure to go down in the books as one of the best in history.  We traveled with the Hills down to San Francisco last Thursday and met up with the Abo's, Von Stroh's, Williams', and Fraser's on Friday in beautiful Sonoma, California.  The weather was gorgeous and the leaves were at their peak.  The vineyards were picturesque and we were ready for some wine tasting. 

With the Hill's at St. Francis
In total, we hit up about a dozen or so wineries over three days and it was a blast.  On our way to pick up the Abo's, we hit up Gloria Ferrar and St. Francis wineries.  Gloria Ferrar, while good bubbly, was pretentious and snooty (skip it) but the folks at St. Francis were awesome and the wines were delicious...especially the Chardonnay.  We were running a little late to pick up the Abo's so we met up with them at Woodenhead and then we all headed over to Iron Horse, stopped for a quick pit stop to Porter Creek (a shout out to our precious little godson Porter Abo) and ended at Twomey Cellars.  Then, it was off to the grocery store and then to our great little house on Dry Creek road.  We got settled and relaxed a bit and then it was off to Barndiva for a delicious dinner and to meet up with the rest of our crew.  We wrapped up the night with some shuffleboard at John and Zeke's.

Twomey Cellars
Saturday was a riot.  After a morning run, we all loaded the party bus/limo at 10:30 am and toasted the start of our wine tasting adventure with some champagne.  We hit up White Oak and Stryker wineries and then enjoyed a nice tour and picnic lunch at Medlock Ames.  We capped the day off with a visit to Hanna and Field Stone wineries. Kudos to JJ and Dod for organizing such a wonderful day!  All in all, we loved Hanna and White Oak wines the best but we also appreciated Medlock Ames' small sorganic/eco friendly approach (complete with goats, vegetable garden and solar power).  We wrapped up our tour at about 5:00 pm and then it was "go time" for our Halloween themed dinner that Piper organized.  Each couple had to dress like their course and it was such fun.

10:30 am "Before the wine tour "

5:00 pm "After the wine tour"

Appetizers - Hill's - Greek Appetizers - They dressed like Sandy and Danny from "Grease" ha!
Salad - Von Stroh's - Sauteed spinach  - The dressed like Olive Oil and Popeye
Primi - Fraser's - Spinach/Cheese Fondue - Also dressed like Olive Oil and Popeye (so funny)
Main Course - Abo's and Williams - Mini burgers and french fries - Dressed like 50's
Dessert - Kerwin's - German Chocolate Cake - Dressed like Germans :)

Other than the ribbon and socks, I had everything at home to put this German thing together!

Despite Russ' dislocated thumb, it was a super fun night of friends, food, wine, hot tubbing and dancing.  You know it's a good night with the cab driver decides to come in for a quick dance party right?  I know we are all adults but sometimes its nice to pretend we are still in college.

Bella Winery, in the Cave
Sunday was pretty low-key.  We had a lazy morning and then headed out to Yoakum Bridge, Unti and Bella wineries.  I absolutely loved Bella and their wine cave is pretty cool.  We said good-bye to everyone after a quick stop to the Dry Creek Store and then it was back to LA with the Hill's.  We are already going through withdraws (both from our friends and good wine) but we were sure to stock up and are already looking forward to the next gathering. 

Thanks again to the Abo's and Fraser's for organizing such an incredible weekend!  I think Tuscany should be our next stop :)

I took a lot of photos so I had to post a few more below:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Russ' Birthday Weekend

October is a month full of birthdays!  Two weeks ago we celebrated my sister, Tricia's, birthday at Musha in Santa Monica (pics posted soon) and this past weekend, we celebrated Russ' 31st!  I remember when I took him out for his, time flies! 

Hiking is Russ' favorite thing to do and so I thought it appropriate to find us a hike in the San Bernardino Mountains.  Only one short hour away from LA, we may as well have been across the country.  We hiked the Momyer & Alger Creek Trail.  It's a short hike but it was pretty tough...the altitude made a big difference (about 7,100').  We hiked in about 4 miles to Alger Creek and spent the night in a great little spot right next to the creek.  We spent the better part of Sunday morning taking baths in the freezing cold creek and hiked over to Dobbs Peak.  The hike offered beautiful views of Mill Creek Canyon and Yucaipa Ridge - - it was really beautiful.  While the country is dry, there are many trees and with the fall colors changing, it was a perfect time to go.  The best part is that Russ woke up on his birthday in the woods, a place where he feels most at peace. 

We managed to make a quick pit stop in Oak Glen to buy all things apple.  We bought apple cider, apple butter, apple pie...I only regret that we didn't make it in time to buy apple cider time.

We made it back to LA to meet up with a small group of friends at Spring Street Smoke House to enjoy Russ' favorite...burnt end ribs with lots of sauce!  The perfect ending to the birthday weekend was the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake...again, Russ' favorite.  I feel really blessed to have such a wonderful husband and while, he doesn't like making a big deal about his birthday - - he's a big deal to me and deserves a day/weekend that is all about him.  I'll have to start planning next year's adventure soon!   

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seattle Weekend - Porter Abo's Baptism

We had a wonderful time in the Northwest this past weekend.  The focus of our time there was to meet our "newest" friends/babies (Cora and Porter) and to participate and support the Abo's in the baptism of our godson, Porter Abodeely.  It was truly one of our best weekends "home".

I flew up a day early so that I could travel to Leavenworth to visit the Torrey, Jenelle and baby Cora Landgraf. I also had never seen the "new-ish" Mapel store!  Yes, it had been almost two whole years since I was in Leavenworth! This is something I won't let happen again because it is such a quaint, picturesque, fun little town.  Next year, we are going to try and make it up there for Oktoberfest!  Baby Cora was as precious as her pictures.  It was also cool to see Jenelle and Torrey as mom and dad and they really make a great team, which was nice to see.

Our little Godson, Porter!

Mama Kerwin and Russ

JJ and Russ debating the best way to remove a red wine stain

I headed back to Seattle pick up Russ late Thursday and we spent the better part of Friday catching up with mom and dad Kerwin and enjoying the beautiful lake view at their sweet little house.  I also managed to catch up with a good friend and former colleague, Shannon Boldizsar, at the Westlake Starbucks!  We then headed to the Abo's to meet our godson, Porter Abodeely, for the first time and then it was cocktails for all and a night out on Capitol Hill.  .

Roomies, Me and Annette
Saturday was another beautiful day and Mom and Dad Kerwin took us to get foot reflexology/massages for our birthday presents.  After that, we headed back to Seattle to have dinner at our favorite restaurant and old neighborhood hangout, St. Clouds.  I was mostly excited for the Penne Pasta, Pork Tenderloin/bacon dish and of course, the hot fudge sundae!  Not to mention, our good friends, Jackie, Annette, Jeffrey, Emily Gretchen and Andre joined us so we had a chance to catch up.  Porter was a little rockstar and is such a good baby!  We could be convinced, if I knew our kid would be as easy as he is.

Andre, Gretchen, Jackie, Russ, Jeff and Me at Madrona Ale House

JJ, Emily, Russ, Annette, Jackie, Piper, Ang, Jeff and Rett (Porters sleeping behind us)

We ended our weekend with the big finale!  Russ and I are honored to be Porter's godparents and we participated in the baptism ceremony.  The service was really beautiful and the message was about caring for all children, a fitting topic given the baptism of Porter.  The service made Russ and I internalize our committment to pray and care for Porter for the rest of our lives and we look forward to every moment of it.

Katie (Godmother), Piper, Porter, JJ, Russ and I at the baptism

One of my favorite pics of Piper and Porter at the post baptism brunch
All in all, a great weekend.  We both commented on how it was a perfect balance of rest, relaxation and friends.  We are already gearing up for the next friend-weekend extravaganza, which is fast approaching! Napa Valley 2009 in three weeks!  Six couples, one house, many bottles of wine, one party bus and costumes to boot....priceless!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcome Maddox David Brink!

Hallelujah, we have another adorable addition to the "Brink" Family!

Stats: Maddox David Brink; 9/21/09; 8 lbs. 2 oz.; 20 3/4 inches; Riverbend Hospital

Ellie, David and Sydney welcomed Maddox David Brink to the world on Monday, September 21, 2009! The whole family is doing great and Sydney is very excited to have a "real" baby to help take care of :)

What a beautiful family. I can't believe she has just given birth in this photo.
During my time in Oregon, I had a chance to briefly visit with David, Ellie and Sydney at their home. I admire many things about them but I am particularly impressed with Ellie's organization and decorative flair. The entire house is already decorated in beautiful fall colors. Complete with wreaths, leaves and a scarecrow to welcome guests. Ellie is also a master at printing out photos, framing them and hanging them in their entry. I always feel like I'm walking into a "home" when I arrive and love that they are intentional about creating a "homey" space.

David showed me his ultra-fancy shed that he's been building (with Sydney's help of course) and it is truly great craftsmanship. Leave it to David Jr. to construct the mother of all sheds...maybe he has a career as a contractor. Similarly, inside the house, Ellie has everything in tip-top shape. I think she should be an assistant to Martha Stewart because her design sense (it may help that she is an interior designer/architect also) is fantastic. The nursery is absolutely adorable and I wish I had a photo to post. She made camouflage, green, brown and even a photo of my brother with his record breaking elk look masculine/chic and cool. Of course, Sydney's room is also precious complete with pink, pink and more pink! The contrast between the two rooms is stark, yet fitting.

All in all, the family is doing great and we are so incredibly happy for them all. We can't wait to see little Maddox in-person! We are already looking for flights so we don't have to wait until Christmas!

Note Sydney's shirt "Big Sister"

Monday, September 21, 2009

And off to Heather's house for a few days!

I spent the rest of my trip to Oregon hanging with my sister Heather and her four kids:Austin; Cole; Peyton and Talia! Your just gonna have to settle for pictures of baby Talia's bath that I gave her. She is a delight and a joy!

Who loves her Aunt Angie?

She loves her hair washed...just like Auntie ;)

It was so nice to just relax and spend time at Heather's house as I hadn't really spent a long amount of time holding Talia since her birth. We've met her a couple of times but everyone wants to hold her and so I was always relegated to just a few minutes here and there. This was ample snuggle time and we even spent some time at Starbucks together while mommy had her dentist appointment. It was so nice to spend some quality sister time with Heather (and her babies).

But at least she looks cute...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Parents in LA and back to Oregon

My parents came to LA for a nice relaxing weekend and to see my show. We hit up my favorite spot, Malibu Winery (again), they spent some quality time with my sis in Santa Monica, came to my show and ended our weekend at church and a dinner with the Hill's.
I decided to head back to Oregon with my parents on Monday and spent some time with my nieces. A highlight was definitely harvesting veggies from the garden with Sydney. AND, in less than one week...we'll be aunt and uncle again to baby Landon (David and Ellie's second child)! I'll keep my fingers crossed that he is born before I leave on Friday :)
Picnic at Malibu Winery
Dancing is always appropriate - - I mean, look at these moves!

Dad showing Russ some of his art finds...Timber posters he found on Montana Street.

Whoa...big zucchini

Look, a tasty tomato!

My girls! Talia and Sydney post-bath

to be continued...