Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

I saw the Hotel del Coronado for the first time on June 25, 2005. I was visiting my parents in San Diego for the weekend because my dad was attending a conference at the beautiful Marriott on the bay and my mom was there with him. That Saturday we took a trolley tour of San Diego and one of the stops was on Coronado Island, right across the street from the world-famous Hotel del Coronado. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. Our trolley stop there was way too short, but it was long enough for me to decide that the Hotel del Coronado would be the location of my dream wedding. I think it even trumped the Avalon Casino on Catalina Island at the time and that’s saying a lot. But as much as I loved it I was sure that I would never be able to afford a wedding there. It was just too incredible. Plus, I wasn’t even engaged yet! I did, however, mention how much amazing Hotel del Coronado was the next time I saw Dan and told him that I would love to get married there. I imagine that Dan the boyfriend was a little scared when he heard that, but it wasn’t long before the pieces started falling into place. Later that summer a few members of Dan’s family were visiting Southern California and one of their stops was in San Diego. While they were there Dan got his first glimpse of the Hotel del Coronado and he was just as amazed as I was on my first visit. He even took his appreciation one step further by picking up some brochures about planning a wedding there from the hotel staff! That was a surprise at the time, but it turned out to be our first step towards our wedding day. Dan and I got engaged on December 29, 2005 on the pier overlooking Big Bear Lake and a few weeks later we started planning our wedding. One weekend in January 2006 we drove down to San Diego to take a look at potential wedding venues, including the Hotel del Coronado. By the end of the weekend we had visited five places – three of those we hated, another one was beautiful but way too expensive, and the last one was the real reason we were in San Diego. Dan and I had an appointment with one of the event coordinators at the Hotel del Coronado that weekend, but we arrived a couple of hours before our appointment so we had lunch at the Sheerwater Restaurant. From our table we had a view of the Windsor Lawn and Coronado Beach. It was spectacular. I think it took us about five minutes to decide that we definitely wanted to get married there, but we were worried about our somewhat limited budget. Luckily the hotel event staff is prepared to accommodate just about any budget and they convinced us that we could have a beautiful wedding for exactly what we wanted to spend. Dan and I were ready to book a wedding date right then and there, but unfortunately the hotel doesn’t allow you to reserve spaces more than eleven months in advance. So it took quite a few follow up calls to the event coordinator to find out when our chosen date was going to open up, but in April 2006 I was able to book a ceremony site and a reception room for our June 23, 2007 wedding. And the rest, as they say, is history. I could go on and on about the Hotel del Coronado, but I won’t bore my faithful readers with more details of my wedding. Let’s just say that it was a dream come true!

Favorite Recipes #12 – Garlic and Basil Pasta

This is an extremely simple and delicious pasta side dish that uses ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard and refrigerator. I’ve made it several times, tweaking an ingredient here or there, and Dan always loves it. It’s a surefire hit for garlic lovers, which is why I used 8 cloves in my last batch (it was strong, but tasty), but the amount can be varied depending on your taste.

INGREDIENTS:
8 oz uncooked pasta (I’ve used orzo and forfalla, but any type will work)
4-8 cloves garlic, minced (depending on your taste)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp butter, melted
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c frech basil, coarsely chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and return to pot. Microwave minced garlic for 15-20 seconds until fragrant. Add garlic, olive oil, butter, and Parmesan cheese to pasta and stir until evenly coated. Add basil and stie until combined. Serve immediately.

Based on All Recipes’ Spaghetti with Garlic and Basil.

Honeymoon (Three years ago today, part 4)

On the way to New Zealand

Ever since we first saw the Lord of the Rings movies Dan and I wanted to visit New Zealand, so we figured our honeymoon was as good a time as any to do just that. When we started planning our honeymoon we weren’t able to get a flight until several months after our wedding because we were using frequent flier miles to get the tickets. It took some persistence, but after quite a few follow up calls to the airline we were able to get two business class seats on a flight from Los Angeles to Auckland (with a stopover in Fiji) leaving on June 25, 2007. Perfect! Unfortunately Dan had another obligation that day that threatened to ruin our best-laid plans. The final exam for one of his classes at USC was originally scheduled to take place while we were going to be in New Zealand. This was a little problem. Dan’s professor wasn’t inclined to make an exception for him at first, which really would have ruined his grade for the semester, but eventually he gave Dan a chance to take the exam on Monday, June 25th – one day after we got back from our wedding in San Diego, and the same day we were leaving on our honeymoon. It wasn’t an ideal solution, but it worked. So on June 25th Dan drove up to USC, took his exam, and drove back to our house as quickly as he could, beating our taxi to the airport by only about half an hour. In the end everything worked out great – Dan’s grade was saved and we got to go on the honeymoon of our dreams. The photo above was taken by either a flight attendant on our Air Pacific flight to Nadi, Fiji or a fellow business class traveler. It’s not the best picture of Dan and me, but it definitely illustrates how thrilled we were to be on our way to New Zealand. Our honeymoon couldn’t have been better and I thank my lucky stars that everything fell in to place to make that trip possible.

P.S. Although I could easily continue this series, this will be my last “Three years ago today” post. After everything that’s happened so far in 2010 I feel like this anniversary is an important one for Dan and me and that’s why I’ve devoted so much time and space to it here. And I’m still planning a post or two about our anniversary celebration last week so you’re not done reading about it yet!

Newlyweds (Three years ago today, part 3)

Mr. and Mrs. Feller

Anyone who’s planned and executed a wedding and knows how difficult it is won’t be surprised that the morning after our wedding was a weary one for Dan and me. We were so tired, and the bed in our suite at the Hotel del Coronado was so comfortable, but we had promised to host a post-wedding brunch for our friends and family that morning. That was pretty much the only thing that got us out of bed. (Well, that and the fact that we had to check out of the hotel that day and drive back to Los Angeles.) So we made ourselves presentable and joined everyone downstairs at the Sheerwater Restaurant for the morning meal. As you can see in the photo above, I wore my custom-made “Mrs. Feller” t-shirt that day because it was the first full day that the title was applicable to me. This photo was taken on the balcony of our hotel suite, which gives the shot a beautiful backdrop of Coronado Beach. Unfortunately Dan and I look completely exhausted! While searching for a photo to illustrate this post I realized that we don’t have many pictures from the day after our wedding. This is the one that I deemed to be the best of the two of us. We were finally married, but very tired!

The only parallel between today and the same date three years ago is the aspect of preparing for a journey. On June 24, 2007 Dan and I were attempting to load all of our wedding paraphernalia into our two cars for the return trip to Los Angeles. (At the same time we were probably wondering how we had gotten so much stuff in our cars in the first place.) On June 24, 2010 Dan and I are getting ready for a trip down to San Diego to revisit the site of our wedding in celebration of our third anniversary. This will be the first time I’ve been to the Hotel del Coronado since we got married and I’m looking forward to it. Our wedding day was the happiest day of my life!

Pedicure (Three years ago today, part 1)

Wedding rings

This morning as I was sitting at work I remembered that three years ago today, at just about that time, I was getting my nails done for my wedding. Right after breakfast on June 22, 2007 I was wandering the streets of Coronado in search of a local nail salon so I could get a manicure and pedicure in preparation for my wedding. My mom and Käthe went with me even though both of them had thought to have their nails done before they arrived in San Diego, unlike me. I’m not really a manicure/pedicure kind of girl – I had only had my nails done professionally once before that day and that was for Danny and Meghan’s wedding in March 2004. And my subsequent salon experience was in May 2008 for Mike and Lisa’s wedding. Are we seeing a pattern here? For my own wedding I just wanted a simple French manicure on my hands, and some polish on my toes that was pale, but opaque enough to cover up my ballet-destroyed toenails. Nothing fancy. And in the end that’s what I got – well, that and a bloody scab and my hand where the girl at the salon cut my cuticle at one point. That was great. Fortunately it didn’t show on my wedding day (as you can see in the photo above) even though the cut was on the ring finger of my left hand.

Since my wedding I’ve only had polish on my toenails once (for Mike and Lisa’s wedding, as I mentioned above), but Dan seemed to appreciate it so I’ve been thinking that I should make it a more regular occurrence. So this evening, in preparation for my third wedding anniversary, I went to a nail salon near my house and got the third pedicure of my life. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had (my feet are very ticklish and the “massage” felt more like torture), but the end result was dark red polished toenails that I’m looking forward to showing off in some strappy sandals at dinner tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Thank you cards

Old joke:
My 2001 Boeing internship required me to take a semester off from my college education as a trade off for the work experience I would receive on the job. In hindsight this was more than a fair trade, especially since I met Dan during that particular internship. That event alone changed my life, not to mention that the internship laid the groundwork for my future employment. But getting back to the subject at hand, I was going to miss the fall semester at UF so I had to find somewhere to stash the contents of my room at the sorority house while I was in California. In an extremely scientific process, I opened up the phone book, called the first place listed under “storage” in the yellow pages, and rented their smallest storage unit for the months of May through January. Not to state the obvious or anything, but hauling armfuls of stuff from your car to a barely air conditioned storage facility in Florida in May is miserable. I thought the five trips for just my textbooks would kill me. Anyway, after filling that tiny 5′ x 5′ space with everything I didn’t plan to take to California with me, I locked it up (using the padlock that I was forced to buy when I signed the lease agreement) and said goodbye for eight months. Or so I thought. Sometime in December I got an envelope in the mail from the storage facility. I hadn’t forgotten to mail them any of the monthly rent payments so I didn’t think it was a bill, and I was hoping it wasn’t a letter to inform me that the place had burned down or anything. But in the end it turned out to be a Christmas letter! I’m not sure how the storage facility got my address in CA, maybe from the return address on one of my rent payments, but in the spirit of the season they had sent me a letter that pretty much said, “Merry Christmas from the place you store your crap!” I found this very amusing. It was something you would only get from a small business in a tiny town like Gainesville. I think I still have the letter around here somewhere. I should look for it.

New joke:
When I was in Tallahassee visiting my parents (and my cat Bob, of course), we decided to drive down to the beach for one night for a change of scenery…and outlet mall shopping! Destin is a resort town on the Gulf Coast between Panama City and Pensacola with beautiful white sand and a great outlet mall. Can you tell the outlet mall is the main reason my mom and I wanted to go? My dad was a good enough sport to drive us down there and not complain when we spent most of our time wandering around the outdoor mall in the 90+ degree heat. And my mom was a good enough sport to buy me whatever I picked out at the mall. I do my best shopping with my mom. I’ve got great parents. Anyway, I got us a room at the Hampton Inn in Destin that was closest to the water so we could get there for a walk on the beach without too much trouble. It wasn’t the nicest Hampton Inn I’d stayed at and I had to sleep on quite possibly the worst sofa bed that ever, but it wasn’t too expensive and I earned Hilton Honors points for our one night stay. Plus, were were fortunate to visit that part of the coast before it was affected by the oil spill in the Gulf. After a great visit with my parents and my cat Bob, I flew back to Los Angeles last Wednesday. (It was nice to get off the plane at LAX and not be hit by a wave of hot humid air when I stepped on the jetway, like in Charottle and Tallahassee.) On Thursday I checked the mail when I got home from work and found a postcard from the Hampton Inn Destin in the mailbox. It was handwritten with something like a Sharpie and said, “Thanks for hanging out with us!” It was the first thank you card I’ve ever gotten from a hotel so I was a little surprised. I guess a lot of folks have been canceling their Gulf Coast vacations due to the impending threat of the oil spill, but the Destin beaches were beautiful when we were there. (However, President Obama was in Pensacola assessing the damage to that part of the coast at the same time were were in Destin so the oil wasn’t too far away.) It’s nice to know that the Hampton Inn appreciated the guests who did show up, and I’m more likely to go back to that hotel because of the thank you postcard. I’ll avoid sleeping on a sofa bed the next time I’m there, though!

Finals Games 4 through 7

NBA Finals Game 4 – Lakers 89, Celtics 96
NBA Finals Game 5 – Lakers 92, Celtics 86
NBA Finals Game 6 – Lakers 89, Celtics 67
NBA Finals Game 7 – Lakers 83, Celtics 79

Speaking of nail-biting, how about that Game 7? There were a lot of Los Angeleans on the edge of their seats on Thursday night as the minutes wound down, but when time ran out the Lakers had earned a repeat NBA championship. After watching them struggle during most of the game, trailing by something like twelve points at one time in the third quarter, it was extremely satisfying to hear that final buzzer knowing that the Lakers had pulled off the win. Phil Jackson’s teams had never had to play a Game 7 for any of their championships, and there were a lot of people who didn’t think the Lakers could do it. My dad wasn’t one of them, though. After watching the Lakers’ Game 5 loss with my dad in Tallahassee, he was convinced that they were going to win both of their home games in Los Angeles and clinch the title in seven games. His prediction was that the Lakers would win by ten to twelve points in Game 6 and eight points in Game 7. I was still in Tallahassee when Game 6 rolled around and it was very encouraging to see the Lakers win, not by 10-12 points, but by a whopping 22 points! They were certainly playing like the defending champions that night. My dad was pleased to be wrong about the score of that game. I flew back from Tallahassee on Wednesday so I was back in Los Angeles to watch Game 7 with Dan on Thursday night. After a very tense 48 minutes of basketball, the score was a little closer than my dad predicted, but the outcome was the same. The Lakers are NBA champions. Again. I can’t wait for next season. Go Lakers!

P.S. I know my posts haven’t been very substantial lately, but some form of writer’s block has taken hold of my brain. I’ve been filling my journal with some very unpublishable thoughts, but when it comes to webpage posts for the general public I just can’t seem to put more than a few sentences together. But I’m trying, I promise.

Bob the cat

Bob the cat

I took a five-day trip to Tallahassee to visit my parents and all the pictures I took were of my cat Bob! He is handsome, though, isn’t he? There’s no purer love than the love of a pet so I was really looking forward to seeing Bob while I was in my hometown. And I think he appreciated the extra attention while I was there too. It’s hard to believe that he’s been a member of the family for more than fourteen years now. I love you Bob!

Finals Games 1 through 3

NBA Finals Game 1 – Lakers 102, Celtics 89
NBA Finals Game 2 – Lakers 94, Celtics 103
NBA Finals Game 3 – Lakers 91, Celtics 84

It’s been a nail-biting series so far, especially watching the Lakers lose at home on Sunday, but I’m ecstatic after their win in Boston tonight. I wasn’t sure they could do it, but a win on the road is always a pleasant surprise. Here’s hoping they can keep it up! Go Lakers!