Friday, March 7, 2014

Alliance Conference 2014

This year the HEUG (Higher Education User Group) held their annual "Alliance" conference in Las Vegas!  Jake and I flew down Friday to explore the city and have some fun before the conference started Sunday night/Monday morning.

I felt lucky right from the start; the front desk gave us free drink coupons- Yeah!  Then, we also got a free buffet dinner - our first night in Las Vegas, yes please!  Dinner was delicious, thanks MGM Grand!  After dinner we met Jaime and Ryan Russell for drinks and catching up.  There was much excitement in the area as some Nascar celebrities were getting pictures out front.

That night we decided to hit up club Krave, they had a special going free well drinks, all you can drink, until midnight.  I'm telling you, there's a running theme here and it revolves around the word FREE!

Saturday the rest of the Sonoma State crew flew in and we spent the afternoon exploring the city, riding the monorail, picking up our tickets for the Beatles LOVE show, dinner and then heading to the show!  Had a lot of fun with the crew.
After the concert, Jake and I headed back to club Krave which was once again doing an amazing drink deal; free well drinks until midnight!  Had a lot of fun and then headed home to get to bed at a reasonable time because Sunday morning is the Alliance IO Fun Run!  You can see the run on my Runkeeper.

Sunday night the conference kick-off began and we had snacks and food at the event.  The next morning, Jaime and Erica presented first thing- way to go ladies!  After a full day of conference going, attending session after session, we were ready to have some snacks and drinks out.  IO Consulting reserved Hakkasan and presented everyone with delicious Hors d'oeuvre and an open bar.  Had a great night and ended up dancing up on the bar with everyone!  We enjoyed our night!

After another full day on Tuesday, the closing night celebrations were quite fantastic!  There were many performances and acrobatics and stunts.

By far my favorite was Drummer & DJ who just blew my mind with their choreographed music DJ'd and drummed along with the videography; just amazing!  You can see some of the recordings I made on my youtube channel.

After all the fun, we walked the stip a bit and grabbed ourselves a snack.  I had the munchies after all the delicious drinks!

The next day I ran the strip with Amanda and Trisha.  Always fun running with them, always fun running the stairs, bridges and streets of the Las Vegas strip!  HaHaHa!  Check it out on my Runkeeper.

Almost a full week in Las Vegas- we survived it, and had a lot of fun in the meantime!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Barrel Tasting Day III

Sunday!  The third and final day of our wine barrel tasting weekend.  We started Sunday at Korbel, champagne anyone?

After the bubbles we headed to HKG Estate; one of the most beautiful properties by far!

Then we went to Armida winery, I really enjoyed their wines straight from the barrel.

Next up was Teldeschi, interesting name!

Of course we had to make a stop through Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves- always a fun spot!

Another beautiful property is the Sbragia Family Vineyards.  I absolutely love the view from their tasting room overlooking the valley.

Such a great group of people to go tasting with again this year!  Thanks so much to the Klafter's for coordinating the ride sharing and putting the group together!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Barrel Tasting Day II

Saturday morning we started our day off right with a delicious breakfast at the Crepevine in Montgomery Village.  I had one of my favorites; the New Orleans eggs Benedict.  They are two poached eggs resting atop a crab cake on a half of an English muffin doused in a spicy Hollandaise sauce - Yum.

After breakfast Jake and I headed to Rohnert Park to meet up with Erica, Jason and their family for our usual wine tasting crew to head out together with our designated driver as we tour and taste through wine country!

Our first stop of the day was at Johnson's Alexander Valley Wines.

Then we headed to Soda Rock Winery which had some delicious mac n cheese with their wines.

Up next was White Oak Vineyards - they did a beautiful job displaying roses and glasses out on the barrel tables for the guests to relax and taste their wines.

Then we got to go out to the New Thumbprint winery for a club members only tasting and the whole group got to come along- Yay!  My favorite winery!!

Once the group was able to pry me away from the Thumbprint barrels, we went to J. Rickards winery.  Their old vine zinfandel was delicious.

Such a great day spent with our annual barrel tasting friends!  Two days down, one more to go!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Barrel Tasting

Jake flew into California yesterday and we planned the weekend to enjoy the Barrel Tasting event in Sonoma county!  The event starts today on Friday and goes through Sunday.  Hundreds of participating wineries open their doors and barrels for us to taste and sample, often times with tasty pairings!

We started off at Stephen & Walker in Healdsburg.  Being Friday, it wasn't too busy which was great.  They had pork sliders for their food pairing and it went very well with their wines.  Then we headed just up the street a bit to our FAVORITE winery; Thumbprint!
They've had a great display up for a while now of "Supermonks" art which is identifiable super heroes sitting with their backs to the viewer.  I'd really like to get the Green Lantern one, but they are very expensive!  For now I'll enjoy them at Thumprint and maybe one day I'll get one!  ^_^  After Thumbprint we went to Roadhouse for tasting there.

From Roadhouse we went down the road a bit to Selby, who had a nice selection out for Friday afternoon!  You can see Jake accepting a tasting as they use the "Theif" to get the wine straight from the barrel!
After Selby, we headed back up the street to Topel.  They guys serving there are students at Sonoma State and it was great hearing from them they think the student registration system (MySSU - which I support) "is great!".
From Topel we went to Williamson wines.  They had some tasty chocolate pairings to go with their wines.  The winemaker and owners were there and they were really friendly.  I like the picture of me and Jake, you can tell we've been to a few wineries!  haha!
We made our way to Portalupi.  I really liked this place, friendly people and a whole spread of sliders and other snacks to enjoy while we tasted the wine.
For our last stop on our Friday barrel tasting in Healdsburg we went to Kobler!  They were a bit further down from the rest, but the walk was great for us!
Since we were eating food and snacks all afternoon the wine didn't hit us as bad as it certainly would have otherwise!  This was certainly the best way to "Start" Barrel tasting weekend!

That evening, Jake and I went to see the new Lego movie and for the first time in my life we were the only people in the whole theater- Nice!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tuxedo Time

While I was in town for the Valentine's Day and Tamarack trip weekend, before heading back to California Chuck, Casey and I had to be fitted for our tuxedo's for the Stivison-Bawanan wedding coming in June!!!  Jake and I went to Sweet Heart Manor and met up with my Mom, Emily and Chuck.  It was fun seeing the colors Emily chose and trying on the tuxedos.  We made them look good!
We're all so very excited for the wedding - I can't wait!  ^_^

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Then There's Kansas

The attempts to marginalize the GLBT community is just astounding.  It seems like we can't go a week without another attack - and I'm just talking legislative attacks.  Kansas's house of Republicans overwhelmingly passed a bill that would effectively "empower[s] any individual or business to refuse to interact with, do business with, or in any way come into contact with anyone who may have some connection to a gay civil union, or civil marriage or … well any “similar arrangement” (room-mates?)".  Yup.  Overwhelming majority.  The good news is there's no expectation the Kansas Senate will take up the bill and/or pass it.  However, the fact that this is not only proposed but overwhelmingly passes a chamber of the Kansas house, well... I'll just leave that where it is.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tamarack Vacation

The annual tradition and trip with friends and loved ones to Tamarack, ID is here again!  Once again, Chuck and Emily came along and I was thrilled to have Jake, too, of course!  This year we were also joined by Andrej Roncevic, Tiffany Allred, Michael Adams, Eric Soto, Casey Moyer and Ezra Espinoza.  As usual, the weather was great, we cooked, drank, played games at the cabin and even took a day trip downtown McCall to checkout what was left of the winter festival ice sculptures.
Game night was one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had at Tamarack.  Jake and I did pretty good with the game, as did Chuck and Emily but Michael and Tiffany rocked it!  We only got through one round before it was time to take the drinks to the hot tub and relax.
Such a nice time, as always with great friends and family!  Looking forward to what we plan for the next year.