I think I'm allergic to Idaho.

Well not literally, but I find it suspicious that I was perfectly fine when I left my house on Friday night and within hours of crossing into Idaho I had a stuffy nose and was sneezing all the time.  A steady dose of decongestants is all that's keeping me going right now... lol.  I think it was the hay or something.  Whatever. 

Friday night I was able to get to Twin Falls early enough to join everyone for a late dinner at Tomatoes restaurant.  It was fun to see my mom and my aunts and uncles and some cousins that I didn't get a chance to see at our reunion last month.  Mom and I stayed at a hotel right there... we all wanted to be there so we'd have more time in the morning, plus it was a shorter drive for me :)  Everyone else drove in from Boise the next morning for the sealing at the Twin Falls temple.  It was a beautiful ceremony!  I'm so happy and excited for Kim that she and Brian found each other.  They're a fantastic couple.

Exiting the temple after the sealing:

Blog - Exiting the temple
Family photos aplenty were taken.  This is a fun 3 generation photo... with my Aunt Patricia and my cute grandma.

Blog - 3 generations 

And my cousin Kris with her cute boys (they were so GQ in those suits).

Blog - Kris, Kim, Jordan and Mason
And the Clark family...

Blog - The Clarks at the Temple 

After the photos, we went for lunch at the Idaho Pizza Company.  It was fun, yummy, and had the added perk of being full of really cute firefighters from SLC.  I neglected to take any pictures at lunch... I left it all to Uncle Merrill.  I was lazy.  I own it.

After lunch, Mom and I wanted to see the local sights - we figured the chance that either of us would be back in Twin Falls was slim, and they had some gorgeous scenery.  First, we stopped at Shoshone Falls.

Blog - Shoshone Falls 

Then we drove out to the edge of town and got out at the scenic overlook for the Snake River Canyon.  It was just beautiful!

Blog - Me at Snake River Canyon

Blog - Snake River Canyon 2 

Then we hopped in the car to head to Boise to help set up the reception and ring ceremony at my aunt's house.  We started out behind everyone else but thanks to my lead foot er, inexplicable circumstances, we were way ahead of the rest of the cars when we found out that there had been a really terrible accident on the freeway just a few minutes after I passed by and some of the others got stuck there while they brought in the life flight helicopters and cleaned things up.  We were just grateful that no one from our party was involved.  Mom and I were able to get there in time to get started finishing up the decorating and everyone else made it through in time to finish up the food.  We got everything cleaned up and ready just as guests started to arrive. 

Kim and Brian had a lovely ring ceremony under the tent... one of the favors was a fun paper fan that came in super handy in the heat!  Here's Kim walking down the aisle with my Uncle Nile.

Blog - Walking down the Aisle

Exchanging the rings...

Blog - Exchanging Rings
The happy bride and groom!

Blog - Bride and Groom
The cake:

Blog - The Cake
The cutting of said cake:

Blog - Cutting the Cake

Everything was beautiful and I'm so glad I got to be there.  Mom and I stayed with my aunt and uncle Saturday night and then mom flew out at the crack of dawn on Sunday... she wouldn't let me get up early to take her to the airport so that I could sleep and be awake to drive home.  Probably wise, but I still missed not seeing her.  I guess I'll just have to go home for a visit :)  Sunday morning I went to church where the entire family showed up... my cousin Kelly's son, Forrest, just got back from a mission in Ghana and was giving his return talk and Kelly spoke as well.  It was wonderful to be there with all of my aunts and uncles and my grandma - I don't think I've ever gone to church with all of them!  After church we had leftover wedding cake and fruit (that balances out, don't you think?) and then I had to hop in the car to drive back home so I could get ready to get back to work.  All in all, a busy but very fun and happy weekend.

The rest of the (mostly unedited) photos I took over the weekend are here

A very happy Valentine's Weekend

Well, it's been a fun and a bit of a whirlwind weekend.  Friday afternoon I picked up Rae at her office and we headed off to the airport for a quick trip to Phoenix for Steph and Mike's wedding.  We got in about 9:45pm and headed to the hotel where we met Steph and some of her family coming from the bridal shower (we were bummed we had to miss it, but neither of us could take off work to come earlier).

Saturday was the wedding and it was beautiful.  We started out with the sealing and photos at the temple in Mesa.  Here they are just after walking outside after the ceremony...


And then a fun one of me, Steph and our friends who all came in for the weekend (Sarah, Amber, & Rae). Steph had some seriously sweet pink flowered cowboy boots on under her dress (Mike is from Texas.  His boots didn't have flowers on them. Nor were they pink.)


After pictures, Rae, Amber, Sarah, Sarah's mom and I all headed off to The Cheesecake Factory for a late lunch / early dinner while all of the family did their thing and Steph and Mike got their couple photos.  (Their photographer was over the top.  He kept shaking his butt to get people to laugh.  He takes great pictures, but wow.  He was an odd one.)

Later that evening at a reception center in Mesa, they had the ring ceremony and the reception.  I didn't get great pictures - the lighting wasn't good and I'm not good at night photography, but I got a few decent shots.  Here's one during the ring ceremony.


And during the dancing... I caught this cute shot of Steph and Mike.


Cutting the cake... Steph loved her asymmetrical cake.  It was pretty cool!


And then the farewell as they headed off to Sedona.


The rest of the photos from the day are here.

After that we headed back to the hotel to sleep!  Then we got up early yesterday to head to the airport and I got home yesterday afternoon.  I was just in time to get a delivery of beautfiul flowers and yummy chocolates (thank you mom and dad!) and then I promply crashed. lol.  Between all the late nights with my study group and the travel over the weekend, I was wasted.  Now I've got to get back in gear and do my Global Negotiations homework before tomorrow :-P  I really like school, but this is one class that I'll be glad to be done with!

California Recap Part 1

I can't believe it's already been 3 days since I got home... I've been crazy busy and time has just flown!  Anyway, I was finally able to sit down and get all the pictures off of my camera and rotate the verticals, etc... so I thought I'd share a bit.

Last Wednesday was my cousin Gretchen's wedding and it was gorgeous!  We had the wedding itself at the Oakland Temple and then drove back down near Sacramento for the reception.  A few highlights:

One of the group shots outside the temple - this is the bride and groom with all of the aunts and uncles on the Kimball side.  None of Saul's family was able to come and I think we might have overwhelmed him a bit!

Blog - group shot at temple

This one was just too cute... a few of my adorable second cousins posing with bridesmaids' bouquets.

Blog - Cousins with flowers

And here are Aaron, Alex and Sam - 3 of my cousins (and 3 of Gretchen's 4 brothers):

Blog - zimm brothers

After we drove down to Roseville and checked into our hotel, Mom and I hit the outlets.  It was a fun way to pass a little time before we went over to my Aunt and Uncle's house for the reception.  The reception was beautiful!  They had set up tables and chairs in their driveway and the house was full of the smell of flowers.  Here are Gretchen and Saul cutting the cake:

Blog - cutting the cake

And towards the end, a little something memorable.  My aunt said that Gretchen had joked that there have been so many weddings lately that no one would remember hers specifically unless they had Elvis parachute into the reception.  So my aunt hired an Elvis impersonator.  LOL.  It was awesome.  He came up and sang a few songs and tossed "kisses" (aka Lindt truffles) to a few audience members.  He was pretty good!

Blog - elvis

And with that, I'm off to watch some more episodes of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares that I tivo'd while I was gone :)  Nothing like a productive evening, right?  More recaps to come...

Drumroll please...

The open house photos are finally off my camera and uploaded.  I think it was my need to do something distracting immediately after the depressing loss in the Avs game that got me up and working despite total exhaustion.  I hate to say it, but I think the Avs are toast.  I'd like to see them avoid a sweep, but I think defeat is inevitable either way.  Too many injuries, not enough jump.  Siiiggghhhh.

So, photo recap:

Blog_the_strawberriesFirst, we (meaning mom, her friends, and what little I did after I got there) did all of the decorating and catering this time.  Mom had someone make the cakes, cheesecakes and cupcakes and then we did fruit.  I dipped two giant tubs of Costco strawberries in chocolate and then added the drizzles.  They were the hit of the night!

Carol, a friend of the family, did a lot of the table arrangements and also set up the food.  I have learned over the years that she's the queen of table decorating.  She can work the levels.

Here's a shot of the food tables:


And then there was the room (and if this looks familiar to anyone, I think it's because we rented the exact same tableclothes and chair ties for Rick and Erin's wedding.  lol).  I spent a lot of time on the floor with a squirt bottle and a steamer trying to get the table clothes and chair covers looking good... er... less wrinkled.  My big accomplishment for the day?   I learned to tie the bows for the chairs.  Simple, you say?  Oh no.  There's a certain technique that makes them look good instead of floppy and amateurish.  It was harder for me being a lefty (yes, there's definitely a right-handed way to tie bows)... I'm sure if I'd thought my way through I could have come up with the left-handed version, but I decided that was more work than doing it the way Carol taught us :)


My other contribution was, again, the bouquet.  This time we did the flowers in silks.  Nicole was grateful.  I think it weighed about 30 pounds less than the real one I did in San Diego... lol.


One of the fun parts of the night for me was seeing a lot of people I haven't seen in a while.  Most everyone there was someone I had known growing up.  There were a few newer friends that I really enjoyed seeing as well, though. 

Like Amber and Kate!


Also, some of Nicole's co-workers dropped by which was really great of them.  I don't think she expected them at all.  It was also fun for me since Jacob (far right) and Gulcin (the left) were friends that I met in Johannesburg last year.  John was the other one who came... he and Gulcin had been with Nicole in London during February and Gulcin was also with her in Turkey last month (I'm soooooo jealous.  Still.)


The rest of the pictures are in the main wedding album... this includes many more shots of the food and d├ęcor since my mom likes lots of pictures of the parts that cost the most.  lol.

And now I can finally start getting back into the groove.  No more travel for a few months.  That's good, though, since I really need to learn the ropes in my new position before my boss goes on maternity leave in 6 weeks... lol.  Time to get to work!

Lucy, I'm hoooome!

I have no idea where the "I love Lucy" reference came from.  But I'm home!  The wedding was beautiful and it was wonderful to be there and spend time with my family.  I have such an amazing family, seriously.  So just a quick run-down (with pictures, of course!)

We arrived Tuesday night.  I got there first and spent a few hours in the airport waiting as my family trickled in on their flights.  Then I ended up at my Aunt Pam's where I was staying with my sister.  Wednesday was the first of some serious work days to get ready.  The first thing was to go to the wholesale flower market to pick up the flowers for the wedding.  We were going to do all of the flowers ourselves.  The market was amazing!  The flowers were unbelievable and it smelled like heaven.  We dropped everything at Brian's family's house and then ran errands and all that.  For dinner, my family went with my Aunt Pam and Uncle Merrill to a diner my dad had seen on the Food Network.  The Studio Diner... it was delicious!

Blog_gathering_sea_foamThursday was flower day.  I think we put in a good 8 hours arranging flowers and making the bouquets, corsages and buttoniers.  It was hard work but a lot of fun.  Here's a shot of me after scavanging several arms ful of Sea Foam from my aunt's front yard.  From there, we went to Brian's house where we set up a flower shop in their garage.  Brian's aunt Marjean helped us a ton.  Rick was funny... he was having a serious creative conflict over using orchids in the corsages.  He wanted lots of "stuff" but it wasn't working with the orchids.  Too funny.  I did Nicole's bouquet first and then my own bouquet.  I helped with a few centerpieces, did a few corsages and then did the topper for the cake which is what I'm working on in this picture.


We ran a few more errands and then crashed after getting as ready as possible for the big day.

Friday was the wedding.  Jen and Nat drove down and did Nicole's hair and I got ready early so that I could get the bride to the temple on time :)  Here we are getting ready to take off...


We made it on time and the sealing was beautiful.  Then, of course, it was time for pictures.  LOTS of pictures.


After that, Pam and Merrill hosted a beautiful luncheon at their home where we had a chance to relax a bit and chat with family.  From there we jumped in the car and battled Friday rush-hour traffic to get to the El Camino Country Club so that we could finish the decorating and get ready for the reception.  I had my shoes for the official times, but as you can see, I carried a pair of flip flops in my purse.  lol.  They saved my feet!


Blog_the_cakeI helped out by finishing up the flowers on the cake.  Isn't this just gorgeous?  I LOVE the chocolate curls (good call Brian!).  The bottom layer was white cake with strawberry and cream filling.  The middle was mango with some kind of fruit filling (delicious!) and the top, for Nicole and Brian, was half chocolate, half strawberry.

Finally, this is my favorite picture from the ones I took.  Erin suggested that we do this pose and I think it turned out wonderfully!


The whole thing was just beautiful.  All of the pictures I took are here.

And... GO AVS!!!  It's like they saved their best games for while I wasn't watching.  I had decided not to set the tivo because I was coming home to watch game 6.  Now I'm mad I didn't do it.  It sounds like they were amazing.  I got off the plane last night and went to hang out with Melody, Vic, Dustin, Tim and Al for sports night.  The guys watched the Jazz in the playoffs on one TV and Mel and I watched the Avs knock out Minnisota on the other one.  Have I mentioned that I love playoff hockey?  lol.

And now, back to the grind.  Serious training at work this week :-P

Woohoo. It's Monday.

Looks like I'm being a blog slacker again.  Honestly, though, there hasn't been anything too exciting going on in the last week unless you count working a lot and shoveling snow on like 4 separate occasions.  Seriously.  What's up with the snow?  I know we need the water to get out of our drought, but can't it wait until spring and come down in nice rain that doesn't have to be plowed and shoveled?  Pretty please?  I had another 10" or so yesterday morning followed by another inch yesterday evening, but at least shoveling makes a nice change of pace as far as my workout is concerned.  lol.

So this weekend I worked in Photoshop with Nicole and Mom on the phone trying to get the final version of the photo she's going to include in her wedding invitations (which ended up being 3 photos, actually).  I took the photos on the left and top right, our uncle Merrill took the other one.


Can I say how weird it is to be working in an office where almost no one is even mentioning the Super Bowl?  Most of the people I work with didn't watch it (I guess that makes me the bad mormon of the bunch, huh?) but everyone is talking about who's going to be in the next First Presidency.  I can't be too bad, though, since yesterday we had enough snow that all of the wards in my stake were canceled except mine (of course) and I still went to church!  Between my ward and the people who came from other wards, the chapel was still only half full.  But I figured if I was going to a Super Bowl party, I really needed to go to church too :)  I got a really cute picture of all the babies at the party last night... I'll have to post it once I get it off my camera.

And right now, Nicole is off to London for the month.  Can we say jealous?  Sigh.

Crazy/Busy/Fun weekend.

First off, I managed to get my Christmas shopping finished and made a head start on my baking for all my work treats.  I made gingersnap truffles Friday night, which started with my first ever batch of ganache.  Mmm... Good thing I'm not a real chocolate freak, or I would have gotten myself in trouble making those.

Saturday, I was up bright and early to be at the Salt Lake temple by 9am for my cousin's wedding.  Parking was a mess, which I found out probably had a lot to do with the 72 sealings they were doing that day.  But it was great to go into the waiting room and see aunts, uncles, cousins and my grandma for the first time in a while.  The sealing was lovely, and afterwards we all headed up to Red Butte Gardens near the U.  The luncheon was beautiful, flowers gorgeous, food delicious.  My parents had been in Rexburg for Rick's graduation Friday night (congratulations Ricky!) and drove down in time for the luncheon.  It was fun to just sit and get caught up on all the doings in the family.  A few pictures from the luncheon (which was in the orangerie... such a great venue).


My grandma and my cousin Taylor...


Ryan and Jill cutting their cake (believe it or not, that is NOT fondant.  Great cake, but the Maggie Moo's ice cream stole the show ;)


The rest of the pictures (and I actually, shock, didn't take that many!) are here.

After the luncheon, I drove with my parents to check into their hotel, then we just relaxed.  After dinner, mom and I went back to SLC to meet everyone in grandma's hotel room where we all just chatted for a few hours.  I'm not much of one for just sitting around talking for hours on end, but there's always an exception for my mom's family - the conversation is always entertaining.

Sunday morning, I met my parents bright and early and we drove up to the Conference Center for Music and the Spoken Word followed by a Christmas concert with the King Singers, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra and the Bell Ringers at Temple Square.  It was very possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.  Despite the massive frustration of trying to find parking and get inside, it was worth it all as soon as we heard the music.  There was also a rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas (which usually annoys me), complete with gorgeously costumed dancers, that was completely delightful.  O Holy Night made me cry... the arrangements and the singing and decorations and everything were just unbelievable.  I'm so glad we were able to go.  Here's the one picture I managed to snap after the performance before everyone stood up and my view was gone...


After that, mom and dad and I grabbed lunch at the Olive Garden (mmm... I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.  Leftovers!) and then we hung out at my place until they had to grab their plane.  Of course, shortly after that, Rick and Erin came by for a brief visit on their way to Florida where Rick is starting an internship that will hopefully lead to an awesome job.  So I got to give them their presents and play with Ben for a little while.  He's at that age where he's running all over and wants to grab everything.  He also loves Christmas trees.  Bad combination.  lol.  He was really good at my place, though.  He would point at different things and say "tree," "ball," "fish," "bird," or "santa" in his cute little voice as he looked at different ornaments.   So adorable.  But they had to get back on the road to try and make it as far as possible, so they were off.


Finally, I was able to get a little more baking done.  I made Oreo Truffles (which are to DIE for).  I'm going to have a hard time putting these in my gift boxes.


I also worked on making fudge.


Unfortunately, my candy thermometer doesn't seem to be too accurate.  While waiting for it to indicate I had reached soft ball stage, I kind of surpassed it.  I finally decided it was more than done and added the chocolate.  So, it's a little grainy and harder than it should be.  I'm sure I'll still find takers, but next time I'm going to do the trick I saw on Take Home Chef and drop some into a cup of water instead of relying on the thermometer.

After that, I was exhausted, so I settled in front of my Christmas tree with Christmas music on the stereo, a good book and a nice cup of peppermint hot chocolate :)

Ricky is Married!!!

Erin_and_ricky_bw I can't believe my little brother is married and I now have my very first in-law.  Too weird!  For a while it was seeming like the wedding that wasn't going to happen... I swear, everything just seemed to be jinxed!  The sealer had to cancel to attend a funeral, and then... well, the rest just deserves a song.  Sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas! (and um... don't count...lol). 

150 champagne glasses for a toast and no Martinelli's!  (Grocery store run at the last minute... they were out of apple so we toasted with grape and cranberry...lol).

24 flower arrangements stolen from the wedding coordinator's barn (and who knows what else!)

18 pillars missing their flowers... the Lafleur Flower Arranging crew to the rescue!

10 hours decorating the gym

8 tables for dining but only 7 lace overlays?  What? 

6 punch bowls full of soda cans (um... where's the punch?)

5 red eye flights from CaliforniaCrepe_myrtle

4 tries getting the backdrop to hang straight... never happened :-P

3 sets of keys locked in the car

2 crashed cars (one of which resulting in the bride missing her flight!)

1 5:30am hair appointment

1 missing tuxedo coat for pictures (although the pinstriped suit jacket Rick accidently put on did look nice... too bad the pants didn't match!)

And, to throw in the grand, credit card finale,

One eternal marriage, (even though the sealing was an hour late...lol)...


Whew!  It was worth it, though... Ricky was happy, Erin looked beautiful, the family was together and now I get to have another sister to get to know :)


More Wedding Pictures!

Back from Utah!

So there I am, driving down I-15 at 8am on Thursday morning, headed to Provo to hang out at my alma mater.  I'm thinking to myself... I love it here!  I should move here!  2 hours later, I was completely over that thought!  Not that I don't love Utah, but I'm glad to be back home in the humidity.  It was tons of fun to wander around campus, trying Byu_selfportraitto see if I could fit in as a student, reading the Daily Universe, grabbing a donut in the Cougar Eat and browsing in the Bookstore.  My login at the library still worked too!  I couldn't believe the new building that replaced the SFLC, it's huge! But the feeling was definitely there that my time had passed... it's hard sometimes to realize that we can't go back, but then I remember that there's even more to look forward to.  I left the Y and visited some favorite scrapbook stores up the valley... a very nostalgic visit to Pebbles in My Pocket was definitely in order!  I spent the whole day wandering around, loving the fact that I was traveling somewhere and didn't need a street map.   Friday I was up early, went out for some exercise (seeing as how the exercise equipment in the "fitness room," using the term loosely, was about 20 years old and the poFried_pickles_1ol quite frankly scared me!) and then played the tourist at temple square.  Of course, then the real purpose of the trip began - meeting Melody and her fiance, Victor, for lunch at the Garden restaurant.  Mel and I figured we hadn't seen each other for almost 5 years, but it was as if we had just seen each other yesterday.  Her little girl (my god-daughter...lol, even though we aren't Catholic!) has grown up so much and she's just an adorable cherub!  While waiting for Melody and Victor, those of us gathered for lunch decided to sample the house specialty... fried pickles.  YeMe_and_angelinas, it sounds quite disgusting, but I  have to admit, it was deLICious!!!    That night, I had another fun find... the bride and groom and their parents had a dinner and the other members of the bridal party all came in pairs so I headed off on my own for a Friday evening of fun.  Shopping and a movie at the Gateway and then as I was coming out of the theater, there was a fantastic bMadison_somethingand playing on the mezzanine!  They're called Madison Something... I'm currently working on getting my hands on their CD!   They have an absolutely fabulous sound, very full and energetic, and I was immediately hooked!  Finally, of course, Saturday was the wedding.  We showed up at TMe_melody_and_victoruscany Gardens in Roy, had a rehearsal, got dressed, and then we had ourselves a beautiful wedding.  I, of course, was the lucky bridesmaid with two escorts.  Daniel kept asking me how that worked out, but I told him it's because I've been a very good girl :)  We celebrated the evening away, Angelina and I twirled ourselves silly on the dance floor, and then the happy couple was off in their limo.