Monday, August 25, 2014

King's Peak: Rescheduled

No King's Peak this past weekend! Weather was cold and rainy down in the valley and a little snowy up in the mountains. Too cold for us. This weekend is looking much better (clear and temperatures in the 40s on the peak), so as long as it stays that way, we should be heading out!

The route is about 23-32 miles, depending on which route we take. King's Peak has an elevation of 13,538 ft - it's up there! I've printed off all my maps and info for getting there and I'll admit that I'm pretty pumped! I was very sad we didn't get to go this past weekend, but we did get to go to REI for their Labor Day sale and the Sniagrab pre-sale (crazy good deals!), as well as spend some time with Shauna and Brandon's grandparents (Mom and Pop) who were up for a wedding. So it was a good weekend. No complaints there.

It's been fun to finally acquire some of the necessary items for a trip like this. We found a backpacking pack at Costco on Saturday - a good pack that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Sleeping pad at Walmart - again, not an arm and a leg. And a small stove from Emergency Essentials. REI would have had all of those things, but they were way less expensive elsewhere. Not that we didn't get a few things from REI too (new Gerber knife for me!). Nothing crazy expensive at any point, but important things to have for backpacking.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Activities Lately: Monster Trucks and Snakes

Good morning!

A few of the past several weekends have included some fun stuff!

Jacquelyn and Seth invited us to go to a Monster Truck Rally about two weeks ago. Definitely a change of scene for us! And SO loud. It was pretty cool to see the monster trucks as well as the various racing cars/trucks. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, though I probably won't become a regular at the Rocky Mountain Raceway. I think the next thing I'd like to do in that line of entertainment would be to go to a demolition derby - an event which I've heard only good things about.

Monster truck race!

With Jacquelyn and Seth. :)

This past weekend we switched things up and I headed with a coworker to a "Girl's Night Out" event at The Gateway put on by B98.3 (again invited by Seth and Jacquelyn). Now, the focus of this event was on several musicians and the stereotypical interests of women (makeup, manicures, and hair). I like all of those things, but I'm not passionate about any of them. However, aside from the good food and drinks, they also had a booth for FantasyCon there and they had snakes you could hold! Awesome. :)


I'm holding two snakes in this picture...
I loved this little guy! He was so inquisitive.
You can see that his tail is wrapped around
my purse as he wandered around and up.

We also spontaneously went to the Bombay House this weekend. Brandon doesn't particularly care for most curries, so I'd always operated under the assumption that Indian cuisine wasn't his favorite. However, he does like Indian food as long as it's not a curry and we both very much enjoyed the Bombay House. It's super close to where we live, so we'll have to go there a little more often. I think this was the first time I'd had Indian food since we'd started dating (almost three years!). Crazy!

Last minute plans for this weekend may include hiking King's Peak! We still have to arrange a few things and double check schedules, but we might be heading that way this Friday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SteamFest 2014!

So, last year I had a group of friends who went to this thing called "Salt City Steamfest." I'd heard a little bit about it leading up to it and they'd asked if I'd wanted to come along. However, I had other things going on at the time and wasn't completely sure what the Steamfest would be like. So I decided not to. However, after I saw the follow up pictures, I was determined to go the next round. So for the last several weeks I've been slowly collecting random items for my costume. However, it wasn't until this past week, the week following the week of craziness and the week leading up to the Steamfest, that I realized I still didn't have the costume components of what I was going to wear. I had some of the accessories, but nothing to go with it.

Engage Costume Construction! 

Monday (just over a week ago) I looked up one of the jacket patterns I'd been considering and went and bought it along with the fabric I would use to make it. That night I spent a little bit of time starting to cut out the pieces I'd need. Tuesday morning and then evening I finished cutting out all the pieces I'd need (outside, inside, and interfacing). I took it all over to Brandon's a little later that evening and I began. What followed (and come to think of it, actually started Monday night), were several nights of going to bed at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, but by Thursday night it was mostly done! As I'd been working over at Brandon's, I'd not had my dress form ready and handy to work with, so the last thing I did that night was sew two improved seams in the back to make the jacket fit. And fit it (mostly) did! 

From the front.

Detail. 

From the back.

Additionally, I acquired some black textured jeans (Forever21) and shirt and vest (DI). I was originally planning on using my black leather boots but last second I decided on the brown boots as they were better contrast to the black jeans. I'd whipped together a side sheath to use for my Halberd end. And with that I also had a stethoscope, tiny live succulents in little terrariums, glasses, goggles, a hair pin (both the goggles and hair pin were purchased at the SteamFest), and an ammo box that served as a purse for the weekend. 


Underneath the jacket (getting my nerf on!). 



Random in costume picture...


So that was all just preparing for the SteamFest. The event itself was all of Friday and Saturday. I arrived the first morning and checked in with Registration to get my badge. The event started a little slow as everyone finished up the final planning for everything. And then it started! It's a little tricky to describe exactly what we were doing. Essentially, everyone who had signed up for the Adventurer's Pass had signed up to live action role play (LARP) as much as they wanted for those two days. The game creators had spent a year writing plot lines and preparing for these two days. Imagine one of those murder mystery dinners, times a thousand. You've got more than a hundred characters and a number of complex plots spread across an entire hotel. Much of our time was spent looking for items and gathering information. And there were definitely moments of confusion and uncertainty on what we were supposed to be doing. But all in all, it was fantastic. Intrigue and betrayal were common. I spent a lot of time gathering information from the vendors (who mostly didn't know what was going on) and walking around looking for people and items. I have rarely been so exhausted by 9:00 in the evening, but tired we all were. And somewhat underfed, as no one wanted to leave and risk missing anything good!

Off on a quest!
Discussing what we want to do. 


On top of everything, Brandon and I went rock climbing Friday night and then to a cousins family reunion up City Creek Canyon mid day on Saturday. We weren't able to stay for a long time, but it was really fun to meet a bunch of his extended family that we don't get a chance to see very often.

This was my first LARPing experience and rather different from most LARPing, but I really loved it. And I may be working with the company that put it on to help them set up a little bit out here in the West (as they're all located in New England). Should be fun!



Also, for the record, I have no idea what's going up with the random hyperlinks in my posts....I'm definitely not putting them there....

Colorado for Grandpa

About 18 hours after returning to Salt Lake City, I jumped on another flight, this one bound for Colorado Springs via Denver for my Grandpa Loos' funeral. I skipped my connecting flight to Colorado Springs and instead sat outside the gate Carina was coming in on where we met up and went down to meet my parents who had driven up from Colorado Springs. We drove downtown and had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and wandered a bit before checking in at our hotel in Denver. Most of the rest of the evening was spent driving too and from the airport picking up Michael, and then Kyle and Morgan (who'd been delayed...seven hours?).

Wednesday morning we got up, got our things together, had breakfast and for the first time in more than ten years, just the seven of us, drove down to Colorado Springs. We checked into our hotel there, changed clothing, grabbed lunch at a food truck roundup (so good!), and then headed to help set up for my Grandpa's services.

All together!

Shades of things past...

Food truck Roundup for Lunch!

Food truck Roundup for Lunch!

Food truck Roundup for Lunch!

It was a wonderful service that came in two parts. First, a recognition/remembrance ceremony by the fire department (Grandpa was on the fire department for twenty six years), second a religious service in the main chapel. People spoke, a number of the grandkids sang, and "Gone Too Soon" by Michael Jackson was played. Really nice. That was followed up with a mingle where everyone chatted for awhile. After cleaning up we headed out for a quick walk in The Garden of the Gods and then headed to dinner with all the family. After dinner a number of people shared stories about Grandpa for about an hour. It was probably my favorite part of the day.

Grandpa Loos - a little earlier!

The Wagners! (stand up straight, Geneva!)

Pretty much the cutest photo of my parents,
even though it is very soft. 

Taking a walk in The Garden of The Gods!

Wagner Women in the Garden of
the Gods.


Back to our hotel and then up again in the early morning on Thursday to catch my flight back to Salt Lake.

To finish out the rather odd week (Cabo, Colorado), Brandon and I went up Immigration Canyon to Ruth's Diner Thursday night and then by This Is The Place Monument for Pioneer Day. Friday we got off work early to go with our friend Roman (and his friend Jared) to Lagoon with his work (lots of fun!). And then to round it out, Saturday we went to the Farmer's Market in the morning and came home with some corn and cherries. Yum! And then Sunday I (finally) completed my nightmare tutoring hours (nightmare only because there were too many to fit into such a small time, not because I didn't enjoy the actual tutoring).

And done! A crazy week!

And, as usual, there are a few more photos on faceboook!

Cabo Ops Trip

I've been rather busy lately. More than usual (seemingly endless tutoring hours that I definitely did NOT have time for). Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day, but this is the first week in the last six or so that I've felt like I've had room to breath and time to sleep.

Anyway, I'm going to attempt to catch you up on some of the going-ons of the last few weeks starting with....

Cabo!

Because of the specific position I hold at my work (chiefly in document preparation), I don't get to travel with my work very often. In an effort to counter that and to bring all of the Group Operations together, we planned a retreat and site inspection at the Fiesta Americana in Cabo (at the southern end of the Baha Peninsula in Mexico).

The Thursday night before, the entire company and guests gathered and had a barbecue/party to celebrate us all being in the same place (three of the staff work remotely in Utah, Texas, and Washington). We had good food and played a variety of games (corn hole, tennis, ladder toss, and others).

Waiting for our flight!
Fiesta Americana!
Friday morning the seven women in our company gathered at the airport and caught our flight to Cabo. We arrived, took our transfer to the Fiesta Americana, had a quick break and then toured the property before dinner. Throughout the entire tour we were met everywhere with drinks and bite size food. By the time we made it to dinner, we were already stuffed. But our three course dinner awaited us. And it was delicious. Let's just say that by the end of dinner, though my taste buds were very satisfied, but the rest of my body was very unhappy. People often give Brandon and I funny looks or a hard time when we share a dish, saying we eat like birds or are just trying to stay slim, but the truth of the situation is that eating that way, when portions are so large, consistently results in us feeling much better by the end of our meals. If you've got a big appetite, more power to you, but understand that the main motivation in our small portions is to allow us to walk away from the table content in every way. Friday night was not one of those nights. We walked back to our rooms, changed into out swim suits (because everyone wants to wear a bikini when they've eaten far far more than they should have), and head to the pool to relax while our stomachs tried to recover.

Veranda.

They made our logo out of rice!

Dinner the first night. 

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and headed back towards the airport and farther to a zipline location. The zipline course was incredible, complete with hiking, repelling, rock climbing, rope walking, and various zipline styles (upside down, in tandem, superman style). Very fun. They didn't let us take our cameras with us for "safety" reasons, and the photos were a tad expensive, but we had a great time. In fact, the only complaint about that was the bus ride to and from the location. Between the bus being hot and the bumpy road, all of us felt not so great immediately following the ride either direction. And the perfect solution for that? A massage. We had some spa time scheduled then and it was incredible. Granted, because we were doing a site inspection, everything seemed a little cushier than it might otherwise. But inside they had a sauna, steam  room, hot tub, and ice bath. We did all of those things before and after the massage. Additionally, following the massage they treated us to frozen grapes and whatever type of beverage (I had chamomile tea). Very cool.

Sunrise Saturday morning!

After Zipling!

Spending some time on the beach.

We spent some time on the beach and relaxed (And had about a dozen virgin Miami Vices) before heading to our second dinner. Friday night had been seafood focused and the restaurant the second night (the resort was all inclusive, by the way) was Italian. Probably the best risotto I've ever had. And then tirimisu! I did better on walking away from the table not quite so full, but not by much.

Dinner Saturday night. 

Sunday morning (after finally getting a morning run, an experience which explained why I don't want to live in Cabo - because you're pouring sweat even before the sun has come up!) we had some meetings in the morning (because we had to get some work done, right?), spent some time on the beach, and headed into downtown Cabo San Lucas for a few hours. I totally fell in love with all the Katrina dolls they had. We headed back just in time to grab a few rolls of sushi (the sushi bar was never open during the day when we were free to go and get some and then our dinners were always scheduled for us in the evening) before heading to our "Barefoot Elegance Dinner." For the record, this was not a normal thing for us to do. Very cool, yes, but something that we were experiencing solely so we could get our clients to consider it for their VIP guests. Essentially, it was grape crushing, a 30 minute foot/leg massage with small food and herbal infusion samples (I think they usually do it with wine, but they noticed that most of us weren't drinkers and creatively switched to tea), and then dinner made for us on the beach. Really amazing.

Sunrise during our morning run!

Cabo San Lucas!

With a Katrina Doll. 

Playing in town. :)

Crushing grapes. 

Dinner on the beach!

Evening on the beach!

Monday morning we got up (third morning of getting up early enough to see the sun rise), had breakfast and hung out on the beach until it was time to clean up and head back to the airport. Done and done! And we even got to see the Grand Canyon from above as we were flying home!

Sunrise Monday morning from our room. 

Sunrise from the beach. 

The still pool. 
And, as usual, there are a ton more pictures on Facebook.