Friday, August 31, 2012

Out n About: A Guest Post from CuppaDad

A few weeks ago, my dad emailed me these pictures.
Complete with captions.
I realized they would make an excellent guest post.
So while I'm off gallivanting for a couple weeks, I thought you'd enjoy a little something from my dad's POV.

headed to the coast......not so fast.....gridlock

"Happy Girl"

"Happy Girl"

"Happy Girl"(Hour)

Dinner guest

Chow'n down

"Ticks, poison oak, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, OH MY!" "Where's Laura?" "She like's this stuff!"

Stick with "Rattle"

Stick with "Rattle"

   Just another day around here with the Ol' Folks

   Love, Pops

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Twas a Grand Day in Monte Carlo

So, there was that one time I went to Monaco.
A year ago today, to be exact.
The second smallest, and the most densely populated country in the world.

Along the French Riviera.
I wish I could describe the fanciness that was Monte Carlo.
But as I look back through my pictures, I feel like my words won't do it justice.

It's been a full year since I was rubbing elbows with royalty,
and in my reflecting on this crazy once in a lifetime experience,
I truly realize what a crazy amazing day this was.
I have said it once, and I'll say it a thousand times, blogging shows me how awesome my life is.

One of my favorite things of life is when I tell people I have been to Monaco.
But not to France. (YET!)
People get so confused.
You see, Monaco is surrounded by France.

But hey, I had my cruise ship private yacht drop me off.
Tendered in, and explored this tiny little city-state on foot.

Walking through the harbor is something you MUST do if you ever find yourself in Monaco.
From our cruise ship fancy yacht these boats seemed oh so tiny.
Just a regular harbor, with regular boats.

But um, no.
Do you see my dad up there?
That boat looked so small, until he was standing next to it.
(Also, he is happy because those are Hummer brand bicycles, the real reason for the pic).

The boats in the harbor are more than just yachts.
Fancy craftsman sailboats too.
(That's a technical term I just made up).
Proudly displaying the red and white flag of Monaco off the end of their vessel.

Once we walked through a fancy tunnel (have you seen the Grand Prix? That tunnel), and up some stairs, we were in the heart of Monte Carlo.
Fancy cars whizzed by like it was race day.
You are within an inch of your life on the streets of Monte Carlo.
It's kind of exhilarating.

And next thing you know, you're up on the hill, standing in front of the Grand Casino.
The place where dreams movies are made.

The views are spectacular.
And your pockets start to itch.
Because you're at the Grand Casino.
You gotta take 20 Euro and try your luck.

Sadly, when you go inside, despite your own opinion, you are not VIP, and you get to gamble with other cruise ship arrivals in one big room.
But still. You gambled at THE GRAND CASINO.
You aren't a big winner, but if you were, you're in the right place.
Monaco is a tax sanctuary!

Anyway, after being 20 Euro poorer, it was time for some gelato, and on foot explorations.
Monte Carlo is all things beautiful, all things fancy, all things classic, all things French Riviera.

There was a little wifi hotspot in front of the Valet at the Fairmont hotel. So I stood there for a while catching up on emails, watching the high rollers zip down this street, and arrive for check in.
At one point, there were three of this exact same Ferrari parked there.

And I let my parents go their own way...and I took a slow return back to the ship.
Along the back side of the Grand Casino.
There wasn't a soul to be seen.
After being on a ship with 1600 of my closest friends, it was a very welcome sight.

Monte Carlo, is built along the hillside. So there are a lot of tunnels, and switchbacks to explore.
Eventually, I made it back down to the waterfront, after finding myself in a few weird tunnel dead ends,  where I was greeted by the statue of the very first Grand Prix winner.
I'm pretty sure he is along lost relative.

The sun was starting to sink, and so I knew I need to make my way back to my cruise ship floating hotel.
This time, I took the long way around the harbor. Admiring all of the boats, the big homes up along the cliffs, the Palace, and the hustle and bustle of the beginnings of the night life.

One of the coolest parts about our stop in Monaco, was that we stayed in port until 10pm.
My parents and I enjoyed an early dinner on the back deck of the ship, while the city began to light up.
It was all things spectacular.

And this is my most favorite story from Monaco:

Sitting up on the deck before we left port, my dad turned to me, and said,
"Kim, do you notice anything familiar about that boat" - pointing to this ginormous sailboat anchored right next to our ship. Well, except it didn't look ginormous in the Monte Carlo harbor. Just regular.

I stared at it for a minute, and it did look kind of familiar. But I had been staring at boats all day...soo...

Anyway, my dad, has an incredible memory, and reminded me of the time we saw that exact boat docked on the piers in San Francisco. The reason he remembered it, was it was a sailboat with all aluminum sails. Super fancy technology all over it, an exceptionally modern design.

In SF the boat seemed extravagant, huge, out of place, and was catching many people's attention.
We took tons of photographs of it, stared and waited to see the fancy schmancy owner walk off the ship.

And here I was, halfway across the world, in the Mediterranean sea, and that same boat was once again, only a few feet away. In three years time, that boat had sailed from the San Francisco Bay to the Monte Carlo Harbor in the Mediterranean Sea (and who knows where else).

My mind was blown. I never dreamed I'd see that boat again, let alone, here.
I felt like a little bit of home had come out to say hello to me on the French Riviera.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

31 Flavors of Awesome

Today is the big day.
I'm 31.
Can I get a what, what?!?!'
Can I get a flourless chocolate cake?
That's all I really want. Seriously.

If you want to play Where in the World is CuppaKim, today I am turning 31 in Florence, Italy.
Say it with me, FIRENZE!!!!

Last year, I turned 30 in Barcelona,
the year before that I turned 29 in the North Sea between England and Denmark.

Here's a little Blast from the CuppaPast to celebrate.

The parentals.
Saucy, sassy, seventies.

Finally a big sister. 
Wondering where the return address on this thing is.

Alright, dealing with that whole little sister thing, and it actually is kinda fun.
Plus, we are cute when we match.

Please note my smirk.
Also, please note I had no front teeth.
Legitimately sang "all I want for Christmas are my two front teeth".
Actually, I think my dad annoyingly sang it to me every, single, day.

And then there was junior high.
In the early 90's.
With fleece navajo vests.
That are kinda back in style.
That hat. 
Not so much.
It's a wonder the photographer was able to get it in the frame.

Monday, August 27, 2012

CuppaTech at Your Service

This pic has nothing to do with this post.
Alright, I'm gonna take a moment here for a public service announcement.

I have been wanting to write a post like this for a while, but never really got around to it...

I get a lot of questions from people about bloggy stuff, and sometimes there are things I tell people, that they don't even know exist...

Let's start with my number one topic:
Did you know that the default setting on leaving a comment is anonymous?
Well, maybe not anonymous, but basically you leave a comment, and it sends me an email.
But the email comes from No-Reply@Blogger - which is so sad - and means I can't reply to your comment directly.
A good handful of commenters have already made the switch, but there are a few of you that haven't - and it makes me sad (because I love being able to reply to you!).

Here's a link to a super simple tutorial on how to fix it. 

While we're on the topic of comments, let's talk about CAPTCHA.
That is the super annoying letters that we have to type in to leave a comment.
I used to have this turned on, it seemed like a great idea to prevent spam.
BUT, guess how many legitmate spam comments I have received. ONE.
I don't know if  I'm just lucky or what, but I haven't needed CAPTCHA.
Care to turn yours off?
(You may not even know it's on!)
It makes it so much easier for your readers to leave a comment!
Here's a link (with pictures) on how to do it .
(Settings, Comments, Word Verification: OFF)

Let's move on to SUBSCRIPTIONS.
Do you have a bunch of blogs bookmarked and pop by every now and again?
There are a handful of options to keep them all organized!
My personal favorite is Google Reader.
It's kind of like an inbox for blogs, it's where I have been reading all of mine for years!
But what I didn't know, until about a year or two ago, was that if you click "FOLLOW" on Google Friend Connect (like the one on my sidebar) - the blogs you follow will automatically pop up in your Google Reader.
You can manually add them too by clicking the subscribe button on Google Reader and typing in the web address of the blog!

You can also subscribe by email - most blogs have a little box on their sidebar where you can type in your email address and every time a blogger writes a post, it will be sent to your inbox! Pretty awesome.
There are even other ways to subscribe and follow blogs - but I think that those are the two simplest.
Now you won't miss the latest and greatest!

Okay, and last but not least, will you let me know you've stopped by?
I'd love to say hello!
Especially if maybe you haven't commented before, or  in a while, it's always nice to put a name (or a face) to a blog hit. 
I promise I'll say HELLO right back, especially if you are not a "no-reply blogger".

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary Little Blog & Congrats Mug Swap Giveaway Winner!

Today, A Cuppa Kim turns TWO.
Two years of blogging. Starting here.
Three hundred posts.
Two thousand five hundred comments.

I think to celebrate, I will head off to Europe for two weeks.
While I'm gone, you should read a little bit about my European adventures from two years ago (right after I began this blog), which I posted while I was gone last year. (I also have a few fun posts scheduled while I'm away).

Aside from this post about my day in Barcelona, I still haven't blogged that trip.
I had big dreams about getting that done before I left.
I got one more day done, stay tuned, the post will be coming this week.
Let's hope I do more soon. I really, really want to.

But you guys went NUTS on the mug swap. BSC if you will.
In a good way.
240+ swappers.

Did you mail your mug?
Today is the deadline.
If you didn't, do it NOW. Like go.
Post office. Pronto.
Link up on the 10th, so it needs time to get to your recipient.

Also, to celebrate, let's announce the winner of the mug-swap-blogiversary giveaway, shall we?!
I want to point out a few of the giveaway items:

This super cute coffee print from Katy's shop: Katygirl Designs

A set of adorable note cards from Jenna's shop: Jenze

Your choice of one pair of earrings from Hannah's Shop: Happy Days by Wifey Singer

A set of 6 coffee note cards from Lindsay's shop: Pen & Paint

And a few other goodies, Starbucks gift card, 1lb of blonde roast, See's mini-pops,
 that have already been packaged up and sent by me!

There were 240 swappers + 84 additional entries for promoting the swap.
#289/324 was the winner.
And I forgot to capture the screen shot of the generator...

You guys.
The big winner is...

(you will be getting an email from me with all the 411)

And I think everyone else may need to treat yo' self to some new goodies.
It will cheer you up. Promise.
Head over to those shops and check them out.
All of these shops have been incredible Mug Swap supporters and Promoters!!

Thanks again to everyone who swapped and promoted and mugged and shipped!
I hope when your mug arrives you feel like a big winner too!

I have a lot of fun posts scheduled while I'm be sure to come back and visit.
And get yourself ready for the 10th. I'm already dying from all the muggy cuteness I've been seeing on Instagram. This has seriously been ridiculously fun! :)

Smooches and thanks for being a part of A Cuppa Kim for two years and counting!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Texts from My Mother: Heat Stroke Edition

Haven't shared any texts from my mom in a while.

My sister and I each got this while we were in Arizona.
Actually, my sister even got it twice. 
(Clearly, my mom is a bit more concerned for her).

And now you know.
Because knowing is half the battle.

And also.
Also. Also. Also.
Katygirl is a finalist.
She's #8.
Let's help her get to #1. 
ONE CLICK is all it takes to give her some vote love for her wall art.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lazy-Cation: The Rest of It.

Lazy-cations always start with a Schnuttle pick up.

And Southwest Rapid Rewards flights.

I'm starting to think Tim Tebow is stalking me.

Love where I live.
Glad to get away for a bit.
But I still think I live in the best place in America.
It's fun to look at from way up here.
And if you have to come home to something, this may as well be it.

Me and Hilton hotels,
we get along.

 Sister & I did NOT waste anytime getting poolside.

It was 110.

 Kissing cacti.

And then there was FRIDAY.

 Saturday we headed off the resort and to the mall.
One of my favorite malls in America.
Also my favorite, is anthro shopping in my birthday month.
Hello 15% off.
I got this dress. 
Slightly frumpy. But I think I can rock it.
I also bought a dress with flamingos on it. 
Picked up some sweet treats to bring back to the hotel.
My cupcake transports have not been doing so well lately.
Tried to get a little poolside reading in.
But it was a bit distracting.
The heat.
The palms reflecting in my iPad.
The people watching.

This was real life.
Even if just for a short while.

We survived a dust storm our last night.
Which made for some gorgeous skies as it cleared out.

Last morning, enjoyed poolside under some more palms.

And going home and back to real life is hard.
But this snugglebug picking me up at the airport makes it just a smidge easier.

Back to reality.
For a week and half.
And then the next adventure awaits.

Friday, August 10, 2012

10 on 10: August 2012 Poolside Edition

Hello from HOT Arizona.
My sister and I are having our annual get away.
Four day weekend of swimming, sunning, & shopping.
I start looking forward to the next one the day I leave.

Here's a 10 shot glimpse of our day in 110* luxury...

Hotel room coffee. 
FUN to make.
But watery.

Emergency text to my sister while she was working out this AM.
"Bring breakfast. And real coffee".
Even the room coffee bar in the background is shining down on it.

God Bless Arizona.
And their 110* temps.
And off season resort pricing.

Ready for some fun in the sun.
Well, fun in the sunscreen. 
Because SPF 100 is how I roll.

Made sure to get to the pool early. 
Scored a spot in the shade.
Which is crucial for pale girls like us.

Hot dogs are my love language. 
Poolside hot dogs, 
 are pure BLISS.

Followed by poolside diet coke. 
Delivered to my chair.
Just like I like it.

Post pool naptime.
Hot dogs, diet coke, naps.
The trifecta of vacation perfection.

Post nap.
Rested up for dinner.
Follow the chilies to Aunt Chilada's.
Follow the chilies home.
They help you out.
They're nice like that.
You know?

Best flour tortilla chips ever.

Bonus pic:
Arizona skies win, always.

Phoenix, out.

Linking up here:
ten on ten button