vacation

Where have we been and where are we going?

West Virginia Vacation Photos & a Future Giveaway

Wow, did we really get back from West Virginia 3 months ago? I miss it. While it was a really small town we were staying in and traveling around, it was fun. I met both my sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, 2 nephews, and saw my brother-in-law and mother-in-law again, as well as meeting several of Steve’s friends from when he lived there.

About a month ago, I received an email from Jessica at Inkubook. She saw that I had previously blogged about my amazing experiences with Inkubook (here) and graciously offered up the opportunity for a giveaway for my readers and another book for me to review. Now, I’m not doing the giveaway in this post, but will hopefully be posting it in the next couple of weeks. I want to wait until I have the book in hand.

In the meantime, here is a small sampling of the pictures I took during our week in West Virginia. It really makes me want to move up north so we can be in the mountains!

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I really hope y’all can see the book as I can’t no matter how many times I install and re-install and re-install Adobe Flash Player. It also doesn’t care that I have a full version of Flash CS4 on my computer. So, good luck to you!

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Back from Vacay! …and my Internet Hiatus

St. Mary's, WV | BeccaBlogs.com
Hello my bloggie friends!

It’s been a long time since my last post due to my being on vacation in the West Virginia mountains and having truly horrific internet access. In truth, the best access was from my iPhone and even that was spotty. The motel’s wifi was too far from our room to have decent access. Yes, motel. with about 35 rooms and the only one in the town. And when we drove up to another little town, there was absolutely no data towers to be seen so I didn’t even have my iPhone. I couldn’t even use AroundMe to find restaurants. OK, the town was so small that the “old fashioned” way of just driving around worked.

For someone as connected as I am, this was horrible! Seriously, it was like going through a pretty major withdrawl.

I did keep up with my FourSquare check-in’s so folks knew where we were, and even became the Mayor of several businesses up there. But overall, it was horrible for my social media obsessiveness. As part of my 101 in 1001 list, I did say I would be without Facebook and Twitter for our week away, but it wasn’t so easy. I kept my promise to myself to not check any of my feeds, so I actually feel like I accomplished a true social media vacation.

Have you ever done a self-imposed week away from all social media?

I brought my knitting – 2 projects actually – and only managed to work on 1 of them in the hotel. All 4 of our plane rides were like being squashed into sardine cans with no extra arm room to knit.

I promise to post a recap of our trip soon. It was beautiful country and I have lots of pictures, but there was so very little to do that much of our time was spent visiting with friends and family, driving around and sleeping. Yeah, we slept a lot. On ridiculously bad beds. But alas, that’s for another post…

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Whirlwind Trip to my Favorite City, Gainesville

Gainesville | BeccaBlogs.comHello friends!

We got back home from our whirlwind trip to Gainesville around 10pm last night. We’d gone for an interview for me and some side work for my current position. Also, hubby was scouting out info on opening his own comic book shop and was talking with the owners of all the shops in town while I was interviewing and working.

That’s right, I said interview! In Gainesville! (AKA my favorite city on the planet – tied with Chapel Hill.)

The position would be a truly amazing opportunity for me. Not only is it design work, it’s a supervisor position for a team of 3. And it’s a government job. With great benefits, etc. No, I really don’t want to write more about it until I hear that I’ve gotten the job. Which is on Monday. So, yes, I’ll be obsessively checking my email and voicemail all day Monday.

Chicken eggs? Check. Basket? Check. Now stay together and hatch!

Yeah, I have super high hopes for it.

But anyhow, we drove up Thursday afternoon from Homestead to Gainesville in mostly good weather. We did have a few patches of craptastic rain where I could barely see 50′ in front of the car, but we survived just fine. That night we went to Target Copy Archer to print some resumes and references. I didn’t know anyone there that I knew, but did chat with a friend of a friend after I mentioned I’d worked there. Then dinner at Outback and then headed to Hotel Bayer (one of my best friends parents kindly let us stay) for the night. We ended up staying up and talking for hours with our gracious hosts until she finally pushed us off to bed as my interview was early Friday morning.

Friday we woke up super early, showered, got ready, and were out their door by 8am. We stopped at Starbucks along the way, then drove into town towards downtown. We found parking with about 15 minutes to spare. I took deep breaths trying to calm myself while hubby de-furred my black jacket and pants. [Damn cat hair gets everywhere!] Then I went into the interview. Yadda yadda yadda interview interview assessment assessment and done.

From there, I picked up the hubby from the comic book shop he’d walked to miles away (he did have 2 hours to kill!) and drove out to Renaissance Printing to visit with Marlene, Ben, Gina, Laura, Kristie, and Colleen. It was weird seeing all the different people that I hadn’t seen in many years, but awesome getting so many hugs. They were all so excited about the prospect of my moving back. After that, we went to Target Copy University and talked to Jennifer and Karen for a while. More hugs, happiness and excitement at my possibly moving back. While at TCU, we had lunch at Firehouse Subs, I talked to my aunt and she sent me a list of things to ask/ look for with my very first case manager gig.

Next I dropped hubby off at another comic book shop and drove out the Tacachale. I met with the social worker, flipped through AM’s file, asked lots of questions, met AM, took his picture, and took lots of notes. As my aunt said, this was like a trial by fire, feet first. And I succeeded! It was really cool to go out there and see how this population that would otherwise be drugged up and locked away somewhere was able to roam free in a completely safe and secure environment. The client I met is severely mentally retarded with several other problems and is just about as independent as he can be. He even has a job and his own house! Seriously. It was really amazing to witness.

After this bit of work, I picked up hubby, we hit up another comic book shop, then went to meet Jackie, Ella and Riley for some TCBY fro yo. Um, yum! I hadn’t seen Ella since she was an itty bitty thing and had only seen Riley in pictures. It was great to catch up with her while Steve and Ella colored. It was really cute!

From there, we met up with Mitch, Diona and all their kids. As per usual, Mitch and I started hitting, slapping and punching each other almost immediately. It was great. And so far, the bruises haven’t surfaced. Yep, we’re so very much like my brothers and I used to be many years ago. We ate, we laughed, we talked, the kids played with their phones. From there we went out to Cold Stone (along with seemingly half of Gainesville) for ice cream and more talking and laughing. As it got later and the kids started drooping, we went back to their house so the kids could get to bed and we could hang out some more. More laughing, talking, and kicking, then we left around 1:30am to head back to his parents house. Yeah, it was a reallllly long day for us.

Saturday morning, we slept pretty late then sat outside with Mitch’s dad, drinking coffee and enjoying the gorgeous day. Boy do I miss that town! Our next house will have either a front porch or a cute back yard patio. Or both. Preferably both. It was breezy and cool and just perfect. Perfect for sitting in the morning before work or unwinding after a long day. We finally decided where to have brunch, packed up our stuff and headed out. By the time we finished lunch, it’d gotten so much later then we wanted to leave so, rather than go walk around Micanopy, we got on the road back South.

We had a lot to discuss on the drive back home including more about my interview, lots of hopes and extremely tentative plans. The best part is that, while nervous, I honestly don’t need to get this job to survive. I do have an opportunity down here, even though it’s not in my field. Plus hubby is working a great job and all the experience he can get will only help him in the future. I also slept for a couple hours while he drove. Hubby driving is like my own personal concert bc he had the radio up really loud and would say the song title and band name prior to belting out any songs he knew. It was quite amusing!

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A few bad things about the trip did happen. First, it was commencement weekend which meant there was a LOT more traffic and congestion than usual. We tried to avoid the UF area as much as possible, which meant I couldn’t show hubby half the stuff I wanted too. I didn’t get to see a lot of the Gainesville friends I wanted to hang out with due to scheduling conflicts, but hopefully we’ll be back very soon! Also, bc of timing, we didn’t get to see Jen and my babies, who live in Jacksonville. Unless we’d woken up super early on Saturday to drive the extra 90 minutes north, it wasn’t going to happen as the boys both had baseball games today. My mental plan to have lunch around 12-1pm with them then head back south didn’t work out. But, again, hopefully we’ll be living in North Florida again soon and can see them anytime.

Now we just cross our fingers and hope and pray. And try to stop looking at houses in Gainesville until I hear something!

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Coming Atcha From MegaCon in Orlando

Hello from Orlando, FL!
[well, technically we’re home already.. but I’ll still write it like we’re there.]

Steve and I are here for a long weekend for MegaCon, a huge comic/ sci fi/ fandom convention. We drove up early on Friday and after checking into our hotel, came to the Con for a few hours to wander, gawk, snap pictures, and attend a few panels. It’s my first Con and a total blast!

After a few hours at the Con, we had dinner with Marie and Eric at Adobe Gilas at Pointe Orlando. Dinner and the company was fantastic, but poor Steve had been up for 27 hours by the time we crashed back at the hotel around 10:30. It was an early night for us all due to Steve’s 27 hours awake and Marie’s working at the butt-crack of dawn the next morning.

20110327-042023.jpgKevin Sorbo

Saturday we got up super early (a by-product of going to bed super early) and took our time getting ready, eating at Golden Corral (surprisingly good!), then heading back to drop my car off and head to the Con via the I-Drive trolley. I’m actually pretty annoyed that no one at the hotel told us it took exact change only. We didn’t want to spend another $8 on parking, so we walked the 0.8 miles. I know, this doesn’t sound so horrible, right? However, we’ve been walking the equivalent of several (10+) miles each day and my feet already hurt.

C’est la vie! We walked. As Steve sat in on panel after panel, I wandered the main exhibit hall with my cousin Audrey and her daughter Melanie. Mel had her Yellow Rick Road Productions sign and was having fun snapping pictures of costumed attendees and comic book artists holding the sign. I sat in on the James Marsters and Stan Lee (!!) panels with Steve, until he went off to others he was  interested in.

Stan Lee | BeccaBlogs.comStan Lee!

After a full day of panels, pictures, gawking and enjoying ourselves, we slowly walked back to the hotel and had an early dinner at Johnny Rockets at Pointe Orlando. Mmmm milkshakes and sandwiches. From there, we drove out to East Orlando and spent a few hours with his great aunt and his cousins. Mr. Up-at-4:30am was perfectly fine being out till after midnight. I, on the other hand, was falling asleep on the couch.

Sunday we were up early again, had breakfast at Golden Corral again, then drove to the Con. To me, it was a much more chill day after the insanity and thousands of people on Saturday. We attended a few panels together, then I took off to walk the entire exhibit hall floor, row by row, as he sat in more panels. Seeing Steve so excited was great. He was in his element learning about publishing comics and furthering his passion for drawing. We had dinner at Cattleman’s on I-Drive then ended up back at the hotel where we fell asleep early, yet again. Cattleman’s was good food, but grossly overpriced! $80+ for 2 steaks, a la carte everything and $6 small soups is ridiculous in our opinions!

On Monday, we slept in, checked out of the hotel and then went off to look at the house Steve lived in for several years, then visited again with his family for several hours before getting on the road home. Sadly, it rained like crazy the entire day and followed us back to Miami.

All in all, the weekend was fantastic and I couldn’t be happier that we went. It was like a mini-vacation perfect for our 6 months (almost) of being married.

** These are crappy iPhone camera pictures and I do apologize for their graininess. I have hundreds of higher quality photos that I’ll be posting soon enough. **

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We did it! Got Married, that is

I would like to introduce you to… Mr. and Mrs. Steve and Rebecca Fletcher!

For reals, we had an amazing time.

We gambled a little bit. We won some and lost some (money, that is).

We ate a crapload of cake and cupcakes from the utterly amazing Retro Bakery. We were even featured in their blog! (Scroll to “The CUPCAKES/CAKES O’ the WEEK”)

We saw two Cirque de Soleil shows – KA and Zumanity.

We took over a thousand pictures between our cameras and cell phones.

We walked more then our feet could handle and even got a few blisters.

We had a gorgeous suite at the Luxor for all 5 nights thanks to the amazing upgrade.

We met the lovely Danielle (@d_consiglio) of the @luxorlv twitter feed.

We played dress up – twice.

We spent a ton of money on food and a few souvenirs.

All in all, we had a BLAST!

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June 8 TMW Post

Tweet: i’m shaking just a little bit, but $400 just couldn’t be passed up. incl taxes, fees, and travel insurance.

Tweet: Taking my chances w/@SpiritAirlines. Plenty of time built-in to our agenga for bad stuff to happen. Gotta be like a duck & let it roll off.

This post is all about completing the bookings for our weddingmoon, which is, rightfully so, the largest part of our planning.  After a few back and forth emails with Heather, the heard of customer services and person running the @spirit_helper and @spiritairlines twitter accounts, I booked our flights. As I was checking prices, an email came in with dirt cheap prices during October. Now, I’d been getting these emails for a few months now and they’re never more than a month in advance. After booking, I emailed Heather back and she immediately replied saying she sent that one out for me.

I know Spirit has terrible reviews, but I’m willing to take a chance. I booked nonstop flights both ways. To get the crazy low price of under $400 for EVERYTHING, I joined their $9 Fare Club. My brother’s future sister-in-law just started working for Spirit and will hopefully be able to request to get on our flight, at least one of the legs. We saved over $250 off all other airlines, even previous times I checked Spirit. It seemed to be kinda a no-brainer to me.

Tweet: booked the hotel for the 8th. now our weddingmoon is officially and 100% booked. i feel sooo much better!

After tweeting back and forth with the @luxorlv tweeter, she gave me a promo code to use for the additional night and I booked it last night. Oh yeah, to book the dirt cheap airfare, I had to extend the trip by an extra night. We’ll be arriving into Vegas around 11:30pm their time (ugh… that’s 2:30am our time!) so we basically needed a place to sleep. Seeing as it’s a long holiday weekend with tons of conventions in town, hotels are all roughly $100 for on or near the Strip. Using the Luxor code, I just booked it. The difference is our “formal” reservation is for the Tower Suite – big, lush, super fancy, high floor, huge Jacuzzi – and the single room reservation is for a Pyramid Deluxe room. I could care less what features it has.

124 days left!

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May 4 TMW Post

Disclaimer: For all y’all not following my wedding planning antics over on TweetMyWedding Tuesdays, I’ll try to remember to post them all here.  Unfortunately I’ve been seriously lagging at that and so there’s going to be in flux… apologies!
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Tweet: our wedding photo dump ShutterFly site is all set up. too early to order the cards & invites? i’m totally itching to order my pretties.

Tweet: if i have your email address, chances are you just got the “gimme your mailing address” email. #feelingproductive

This past week has seen a dramatic upswing in actual wedding plans. Sure I play around a lot with DIY projects and dress options, but this week we worked on the reception party guest list. That’s huge for us. Up to this point, it’s been word of mouth for Vegas invitees. I’ve made all the paper products already and just need to hit submit on Overnight Prints. However, it’d totally be my luck that I’ll order 100 of everything only to go over and have no buffer for mess ups. Right now we have about 55 address labels, but are still waiting for a good chunk of addresses.

Currently the items in my shopping cart, including shipping, total $93.60. Not bad for 100 announcements, 100 reception invitations, 100 RSVP cards, and 200 “photo dump” cards. I really want to order them at the same time to avoid duplicate shipping charges.

Tweet: looks like we’re doing soaps as reception favors. yay for trade & crafty friends!

I designed a logo for a friend’s business cards and website recently. In return, she offered to make us homemade soaps in our colors and any scents we choose. I’m picturing Japanese lanterns, twinkle lights, cherry blossoms, orchids and other fun touches on our extremely casual Miami reception party. The soap molds I tentatively picked out are flip-flops, palm trees, and an assortment of flowers. I still need to pick the scents as the colors will obviously be orange and blue!

Tweet: do i buy or wait? don’t want it to increase, but also don’t want to get screwed. 2r/t tickets Ft.Laud-Vegas for $501.80

The airfare really makes me nervous. Our hotel suite is booked already for 4 nights at just shy of $600. Booking another $500 for airfare is just nerve-wracking! I’ve heard booking mid-week is the best time to book flights, price-wise. What do y’all think, is $500 a good price for 2 round trip airline tickets?

Also, not wedding-related but still a huge accomplishment… I am days away from being an MBA graduate from East Carolina University!! It’s been 5 very, very long years in the making. It’s significant as I began the program before I even met my wonderful fiancé.

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Big ol’ Post about shoes & other important things

OK, so here’s the latest…

I found a ketubah that we both agree on.. until Steve said he thought he was drawing it. So, yay! It’ll be totally personalized and totally us. Now to find a calligrapher since, while my handwriting is nice, it’s not that nice. I’ve got a few calligrapher friends on Twitter, so I’m putting the word out over there.

I started calling/ emailing around to hotels on the Strip about food. Aside from the debacle with the cake bakeries, I think Albertson’s is the way we’re going to go. After getting prices for receptions and even restaurants, I’m thinking cake and champagne reception in our room after the ceremony and pictures are done. The cheapest meal so far is the buffet at the Flamingo, but it’s still $22++ per person and we just don’t have $400 extra floating around.

As far as our hotel room goes, I’d love to stay in a really snazzy hotel with gorgeous furniture in it, but those are way pricey. We’re talking like $200 a night pricey. Our whole trip/ wedding budget is $1500, most of which is being eating by hotel and airfare expenses. Just out of curiosity, I asked 2 of my friends with husband’s working at hotels about discounts. As it turns out, they get friends and family discounts for the MGM family of hotels! Oh so amazing. I think bookings should be open in about a month. Trust me, I check religiously!

Y’all saw the invite design I recently posted. I’ve made the suggested changes and sent it to a printer for a quote. I also quoted the announcement cards, RSVP cards and, sure why not, graduation announcements. I love our printer. It’s going to be under $100 for 20 invites, 10 RSVP, 100 announcements, and 200 grad announcements.

Shoes? Who doesn’t love shoes?? Oh, especially for wedding shoes. I love these shoes Gabriella Rocha: Ginger in turquoise leather:

and these Annie: Lola in blue satin. And no, not *just* for the name either!

And not wedding related, graduation is so on! My adviser emailed me last night – after midnight! Talk about dedication – about my missing MIS elective. It turns out there is a whole Master’s program for Information and Computer Technology. Dammit, if I’d only known before applying for the MBA. Oh well, it’s been a good 5 years and I’ve made some great friends.

I officially have a replacement class! I’ll be taking Networking Technology for Industry, which may sound horrible to you, but it sounds amazing to me. I am so excited about it!

See? I’m totally stoked!

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PA Wedding: A Few Pictures

i haven’t uploaded most of our pictures yet, but here’s 2 of my favorites from this weekend. does anyone else see a use for the first one? like say on engagement announcements or thank you notes? cuz i totally do! 😉

i have loads more pictures, so there’ll probably be lots of random picture posts in the next week or so. the wedding was absolutely gorgeous and Kim and Matt looked amazing! yes, i totally cried during the bridal march even though i’d spent the entire morning with Kim and even laced up her gown. goosebumps and tears. plus, i couldn’t look at Steve or i’d have lost it even more. <3

Us at the rehearsal dinner

The Bride and groom on their pastor’s motorcycle at the reception
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Pittsburgh Wedding

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s not a whole lot of wedding planning going on right now. We’re gearing up for one of my best friends weddings in Pittsburgh next Saturday – holy hell it’s close enough that I can now say “next” – so that’s been the focus lately.

I have my bridesmaids dress. I am debating between 2 dresses for the rehearsal/ dinner. I’ve started working on my Maid of Honor speech. And I’ve already mapped out the trip from our house to the hotel; 470 miles on the nose. That’s going to be a seriously long drive, especially if I have to make it myself. Lola has been booked at “camp” starting Wednesday night till Monday morning to give us ample time to take care of trip stuff and leave at 4am.

Yes, you read that right. I love my Kimmie so much that I am getting on the road at 4am to drive to Pittsburgh, just in time for a pedicures & martini’s lunch session with her and the girls. Trust me… I will be a napping fool as soon as I drop Lola off at camp. Plus, I’ll get to see Virginia and West Virginia, and possibly some other states I’ve never seen. Needless to say, I’m super excited about their upcoming wedding. And I get to see 2 of my favorite girls as well!

Steve is still being screwed over at work as far as his vacation goes. He’s more than earned a week off, but apparently that doesn’t matter. Seeing as he said he needed this time off for months and, surprise surprise, he’s scheduled to work next weekend. I am going to be livid if he can’t come with, considering that his job has know for months that he’s got to go out of town. Whatever, they suck.

The picture is the inside of the Heinz Memorial Chapel on the University of Pittsburgh campus. This beautifulness is the location of their wedding! Can you just imagine the gorgeous pictures?!

Image link

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I See Light!


That will be me on May 7, 2010. (…standing on a cake, surrounded by stars…)

Wow, that date is the day I am officially finished with my MBA and, hopefully, school forever. I started this grad school journey in August 2005, which really does feel like a lifetime ago. In the 4 years it’s been so far, taking 2 classes a semester and 1 this past summer, I managed to hold steady at a GPA of 3.33, all the while working various full-time jobs ranging from 40-55 hours a week.

Steve and I were talking finances at lunch, and jobs. I said we were going to Greenville in May for graduation, and then I started tearing up. I can’t believe it’s so close when, for the longest time, there’s been no end in sight. There is actually a light at the end of the tunnel!

I started digging on the ECU website for more information about graduation. Then I checked Orbitz for hotels and room rates in Greenville. Yes, I am ridiculous enough to book my hotel room 9 months in advance.

So we have the following travel plans for the next 14 months:

  • August 27-30 in Pittsburgh, PA for Kim and Matt’s wedding
  • October 22-24 in New Bern, NC for Abby and Chance’s wedding
  • May 6-9 in Greenville, NC for graduation
  • October 9-15 in Las Vegas for MY wedding

Image courtesy of mbaforbetterfuture.com

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