With this recent move, I now am enjoying DirecTV. Not only do I have cable, (gasp, shock!) I even have a fancy schmancy DVR!!! And boy, am I putting it to use! I've gotten addicted to watching any and all shows pertaining to cake baking. In particular, "Cake Boss" on TLC. I love the interaction, love the New Jersey accents, and loooove their work. If you haven't seen it, you can preview the show and Buddy's work here.

I have been thinking and thinking of a new hobby. A project, if you will. Something to challenge myself creatively. After watching these cake shows, it has piqued my interest into Fondant Cake Decorating. Fondant is a "creamed confection". Basically, it's sugar and water, in a certain consistency. Gelatin and Glycerin are added to get that dough-like texture. While I by NO means am aspiring to be a lavish cake decorator as these, I think I can hold my own! So, I'm starting with the basics: a Fondant Cake Decorating class at my local Michael's Arts & Crafts. I could be horrible, I could do just fine. Either way, I'm excited about starting something new!

This is a cake Buddy and his team did for Rachel Ray's 500th Episode. All is edible, impressive, right?

I Miss Kentucky

I've missed home a lot this week, craving some familiarity. Luckily, a friend from Tennessee was in town playing a concert at The Troubador with his band Seabird. It was so good to see a familiar face, and a good friend at that! I'm so excited for him, he's engaged to be married in May! I just love weddings, now I just need a date....

BUT-I've been LOVING getting to know the California outdoors! I've been doing my workouts outdoors, since the weather is so fabulous; I'm drinking in the constant sunshine, smell of exotic flowers, and the never-ending cloudless blue skies. I have been dreaming of rain the past few nights! Weird and random, I know, but I think it's because I'm used to seeing rain once or twice a week, and I've been here since the beginning of July-and no rain! Weird.

I'm missing my family so much! 2009 has been such a big year for our family. Sam was engaged, married and enlisted in the Army, Scott is away for a while, and Steph is working on entering the workforce. Mom and Alvin are still recovering from the damaging ice storm in March; having to purchase new farmland. Dad is still working at the same location, not much has changed there.
All of my transitions this year have had my head swimming. Leaving my church, pursuing fresh, true and new beliefs in Christ, deciding to leave Nashville after six years, embarking on a journey across the country.

Fall couldn't be here soon enough. I can't wait to go home and see my little brother graduate from Basic Training!

Sam's Wedding!

I can't believe I've totally forgotten to update and upload about Sam and Tiffany's wedding! Sheesh! Where has my mind been? Oh. Moving across the country. To the city. To the beach. I digress...here are a few photos from the weekend. We had a great time!

The newest addition to the Havard family!

My Daddy and I

Smile, it's cake time!

The Sis and I being silly

The beautiful bride and her ladies!

Goofin' off before the ceremony

Sam and Tiff, the happy couple

"Hawaiian Elegance" Rehearsal Dinner
My sister and I decorated, Mom cooked.

Video from Christmas Day a few years back. Good times with my sister, my mom's new camera, and the Farm's "Mule".

This past weekend my friend Katie came out to visit me while here on a conference for her work. We had an AMAZING time, as always; and it was SO good to see a familiar face!

The conference was in Long Beach, so Friday evening we ate at Gladstones and had a great time. We ran down to the Irvine Spectrum for some late night shopping. That place is beautiful at dusk! Ferris Wheels, tinkling lights along the sidewalks...it was great. Saturday we spent the evening in Newport Beach, along the boardwalk. We ate at a place beside the ferry to Balboa Island, so good!
Sunday we spent the day at Manhattan Beach in LA. There was a surfing and sand volleyball competition going on....SO perfect!! After enjoying the sun, we headed back to the house to chill and watch a movie. Monday, the day Katie left (so sad!), we ran down to Laguna Beach for some last minute beach time. It was a slow and relaxing morning, Mimosas and Bloody Mary's on the beach. Perfection!

I had a great time exploring the area around me, and it was so nice to have someone to do the adventuring with! I can't wait to meet more people and go explore some more!

My journey to the west was one in the making for months. I had kept it on the down low for many reasons; and I’m glad I did. I toyed with the idea of moving to California, then found many reasons to stay in Nashville, TN. Back and forth I went, until I finally realized that yes, this is what I wanted, needed to do.
I work for a fabulous family as a nanny to their two small children. In March, they announced that they were moving to Orange County, CA. In that announcement, they asked me to move with them. As stated above, it took a long time for me to come to a decision!
In part, I didn't want to leave Nashville because CA was so foreign, so different to me. It took me realizing that I moved to Nashville knowing no one at 19, and surviving and thriving. Surely I could make this move at 25. So after putting away the weights to weigh my decision, I made with confidence the choice to move to California.
I was born and raised in the South, something I have taken for granted until now. It truly is a way of life that only exists in the South. I can’t wait to return one day. I didn’t want to leave the green, the rolling hills, the farms, the smell, the Fall season, I could go on. Instead, I’ve traded it for weeks and weeks of blue untainted skies, perfect 80-90 degree weather, and winds from the beach. It’s so odd trying to get used to it not raining here!
So, my Journey began on July 9th, 2009. We flew out on a Thursday, and traveled to Palm Desert for a week of relaxing while the new house was being painted and kid-proofed. We’ve been in our new house for over a few weeks now, and I love it. It sits in the hills, we’re on a culdesac and it’s very lush (with the aids of sprinklers, of course!) in the hills around us. We have a pool in the back (which is AWESOME!), and plenty of space for the kiddos to run and play.
I’m getting used to the area, being able to drive myself around and not get lost (ok, ok. I may have to turn around a few times…). As I said before, we live in the Hills, so it’s beautiful to look out and see the cities below us. We are close to Disneyland, so at 9:30 every night you can hear the fireworks. I’m sure if you were in the right spot, you could see them from our neighborhood.
What do I miss? I miss the ever present smiles on strangers faces, not hesitating to smile and say hello. I miss the Southern Hospitality somehow innately ingrained in almost everyone. I miss seeing muddied up trucks, and I even miss that Deer head sticker from Bass Pro that is on the back of tons of trucks! I miss Sweet Tea, Mello Yello, and no, I haven’t seen a Moon Pie. I doubt I will.
But I know I’m here for a reason. When a new chapter of life begins, new characters are added, and old ones exist no more. A good friend recently gave me this analogy: she said that she was scuba diving for the first time, and after about ten minutes underwater; she had a thought to go to the top and take a breath of air. It was then that she realized that she had everything she needed to function, live and thrive in that moment; just with completely different surroundings.
So that’s what I’m doing, I’m learning to breathe.

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