Nikon D90

After struggling to keep Sidekick cleaned out and remove of any sand and debris, it was time to ask her if she wanted an upgrade. As much as she hated the idea, she sadly said yes. After searching around for the perfect upgrade, it’s time to meet Sidekick 2.0!

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Almost Here.

December 29th became the date that I was anticipating my whole life. I never thought this moment could happen ever again, but I was so lucky to be a part of the experience.

Shortly after the Fifteen Year Show that I posted about back in July, William (remember my idol?) posted on his Instagram that one of his old albums was coming up on its 10th year and that the band was going to do an anniversary tour.

That meant, The Academy Is… was getting back together.

I was speechless, I never thought that could be even possible. But like any other kid that went, I had to go too.

… which I did $70 later.

The show was held at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco and it was quite a drive there now that I live in Sacramento. I think living here added an extra hour compared to our normal drive there. Anyway, by the time we got there, the line was heading inside. Great timing.




The first and only opening band was a group called PartyBaby. Never heard of them and I expected the worst, coming from a name like “PartyBaby”. They actually took me by surprise as they were really good, but I think their performance brought everything they’re about to life. The frontman was very comfortable on stage, which is maybe why I liked it so much.

Plus the whole time I was standing there, I couldn’t get over the fact that his hair reminded me of Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria. That was honestly the whole thought I had in my head for their 30 minute set.





Finally the moment I’ve been waiting for since the last show I’ve been to in ’07. The wait was surely well worth it. Eight years later, I am face to face with the band that saved my life. Everything about it was what I had wished for and more. I wish I could describe the experience, but I can’t. It’s just something you’ll have to experience for yourself. Trust me, it’s a great feeling.

The one thing I didn’t like was how most of my photos came out so terrible. I hate blue and red lighting at a show. Just ruins everything.

Other than that, the night was phenomenal. If I could relive the moment, I would in a heartbeat. For now, I have my music, my new band tee, and their mug they were selling in their merch. I couldn’t pass that one up.

Now that I think about it, if they’re doing anniversary tours, will we expect them again in 2017 for the 10th anniversary of Santi? Fingers crossed.

See The Bigger Picture.

A few days ago, I got an email from Photojojo, saying that they were giving me $8 off of anything I wanted since I haven’t bought anything from them in a while. I decided to look through the store with the intention of not getting anything (mostly because almost everything is pretty expensive for the amount of money I have now), but then I came across this card set I thought would be pretty useful.


Basically this deck is to create photographic challenges to learn, grow, and end up with a creative and unique photo.


The deck is split up into two sets. This set is called the “Knowledge Cards”, which provide basic compositions.


This set are the “Task Cards”, which tell you what to capture at the moment and how to with an example photo above.

Select one card from both stacks at random, put them together and you have your challenge.
I thought it would be a fun idea for Sidekick and I to try out. With the amount of cards, the challenges are endless. Might make for a new blog category…?

Oh, and I also got a mini stegosaurus, a psychic pet rock, and a party in a bag with the cards.
… but I think that’s a post for another time.

Third Year.

Coming up two weeks later and a week of nonstop working, I can finally now post about the most anticipated day of the year: our third year anniversary. It was decided to spend it at Monterey again, but a couple days longer than last year when we went.

We headed out Tuesday afternoon after running a couple of errands and dropping the dogs off beforehand. It was about a two hour drive from Stockton, taking traffic into consideration. The drive there wasn’t bad, just too long to cope with.


We stopped halfway at Gilroy to stretch out and get more snacks for the road. Nearby the convenience store, there were a few outlets that we decided to check out to take a break from all the driving and sitting. I was most excited to check out what seems to be like a kitchen goods kind of store. You know you’re an adult when your excitement for new kitchen items bursts. Anyway, I ended up buying a few items that where not important, but we could use them sometime in the future like bag clips and an ice cream scoop (I was tired of bending my spoons). I did end up with a score with their 9 inch pie plates for $2.99 each. I bought two. I’m ready for Thanksgiving now.


We stayed at the El Castell motel, which was a good 10 minute drive away from Cannery Row. I always find it super fun to stay at a hotel of any sort just to see what I could find and what’s different, not to mention the free samples that come with. I also have a minor collection of key cards going on, mainly because I forget I have one and they stay in my bag. Oops.

After we got settled in, we went to get dinner and some drinks for the night. We couldn’t decide on what we wanted and the road we were staying on was filled with fast food and taco places. I wouldn’t mind either way, but I’d rather not have something in Monterey that we could easily get at home.

Meanwhile when trying to agree on a place to get food, we got lost and had to GPS back to the motel. I thought the road we were on was funny.

Aguajito. Like “mojito”, but with water.

Oh, what did we get for dinner?
… we settled for tacos.

But a veggie taco salad. It was pretty good, but if I knew better, I should’ve asked for the sour cream on the side. They put wayy too much in it.

Cue in the drunken Snapchats:

The next day we woke up pretty late, leaving the room by three in the afternoon. Full time job lyfe, never get any rest. We started out in Cannary Row, filled with sight seeing and gift shopping.








We then decided to head to Fisherman’s Wharf to find something for dinner. Got to love the “Would you like to try our clam chowder?” cries. “We also serve these in bread bowls.”
… um, no thank you.

We dinned in at Crabby Jim’s since we were persuaded by their happy hour special. $4 margaritas and $2 draft beers, hell yeah! I had my fill of margaritas while there.



Mango, raspberry, and strawberry. Can’t go wrong.


Of course they start us off with bread with balsamic and olive oil.



We also ordered some calamari, which were on the house as compliments from the chef, and I ordered some baby shrimp cocktail. Can never go wrong with some shrimp cocktail.

Some pictures to enjoy the time.


I ordered their scallops that were on top of a risotto with a light blueberry sauce, served with some veggies. The scallops were fried evenly, the risotto was perfect in al dente, and the blueberries really did compliment the meal. Not to mention the veggies were crisp and buttery. I don’t know anyone that likes scallops (or even heard of them for that matter), but I would recommend this dish in a heartbeat.


Kyle decided on their rib eye steak which he enjoyed very much as he never gets any red meat in his diet ever. I even lightweight told him to get it just so I can have some of his potatoes.

A different change of pace with dinner and it was very enjoyable. If I could change one thing about the experience, I would change our waiters. Yes, WAITERS. One was in training so he never noticed us or walked away too fast when we needed something and the other waiter that was training him was really trying to upsale us on the same items that we said no to the first time. I understand the “upsale” technique as I have to do that at my work, but never push it more than it needs to be taken. The first “no” will always be a “no” and a potential annoyed customer. Other than that, an awesome place to go if you’re willing to splurge a little.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to digest a little more before we went to Jack In The Box for fries and a cheesecake slice.


The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and went out for some crepes for breakfast.

Then we decided to drive out to Pebble Beach/17 Mile Drive to take some photos around. My dad and I would try to make a trip out here every year since Pebble Beach holds their golf tournaments in February, but never could plan it out right. I thought I would check it out myself.










After driving around, we headed out back home, but making a couple pit stops along the way. The main stop was at Casa De Fruita to pick up some fruits for the house and for my dad since he was sick when we dropped Bailey off. Childhood memories rests within that farmer’s market. I wish I had time to take photos, but I just wanted to get home to rest up for work I had the next morning.

We also stopped by a some reservoir to take a couple more photos.

Selfie photos fail:

We got home at a decent time around 9 o’clock. Put everything away and headed for bed. It was a nice little mini vacation, but of course it all has to end someday. Unfortunately it ended pretty soon on a Friday at 9 am when we both had work. Definitely not enough sleep for the three days of fun.

Rodriguez Baby Shower.


Sunday was Katy and Juan’s baby shower. I had bought my gifts wayy ahead of time, so you can imagine my excitement when the day came to reveal the best gift ever, no lie.


My gift is behind the bag with the bears. That one is actually Kyle’s gift to them.

The shower was held at their house, having a mini bar-be-que in the backyard with some friends and family. To this day, I still don’t know all of their names, even though I’ve known some of these people for a good while.








Katy’s mom could be a model if she wanted to. My opinion.

After everyone ate and said their hellos, it was cake time. And there was an abundance of cake.


Unfortunately, being a Tres Leches cake, it was starting to melt by the time we had gotten there, so I quickly snapped my photos before they had to cut the thing in half just to get it to fit in the refrigerator.

Next, it was time for gifts. I think it was safe to say that the boxes among boxes of diapers was the best gift ever.








If you’re curious to know what I had gotten them, I made a basket fill of one of each item for each baby: a blanket, a hat, a funky pacifier, socks, and a baby journal that their parents can work on (when they have free time).

The thought of Juan and Katy having a baby – or twins in this case – is still odd to me since they’re still kids themselves, but I know they will be great parents. Things will be different once they are born, but they can’t hardly wait until their day comes to say hello.


I can’t wait you meet you, Fia and Gian. Please arrive soon and safely ❤

McKinley Park, Pt. 2

Some months ago, Kim came over for the first time for an overdue photo date (see post here). Our first stop was at a rose garden in McKinley Park where I took photos that were only decent to me. Tonight, Kyle took me back to the same park just to take photos of now bloomed out nature, but to me, it was to redeem myself.




First, you can’t just go to a park and not take some cliche geese/duck photos. You have to say hi to them after all.




Finally, we made it to the rose garden where you can also take an endless amount of cliche flowers too.

I also have to get a couple shots of Kyle doing Kyle things.

Side note, I’d like to thank Kim for pushing me to download Lightroom for my photo edits. It has so much more tools I could use than just to use the basic editor that came with the computer. A million times thank you for the best thing I could ever use.

Anyway, I’ve grown to like this garden. It’s peaceful and beautiful once the buds decide to not be shy and show off a little. Any one is welcome to view such beauty. They just only ask one thing of you:

Mini Golf.

A couple weeks ago, one of my coworkers had invited me to go to his and his friend’s open mic event. It happens every other Tuesday and I planned out the 18th that I was going. Of course it was out in Antelope, so I had to wait for Kyle to get off work if we wanted to go. The night before, I texted my coworker to make sure the event was still on. It was, but he was scheduled to close that night so he couldn’t go. I still went anyway to check it out… or at least tried to. It was held at a library in what looked like a small conference room. Kyle and I got at the library a bit after 7 and the door was closed. I would’ve felt awkward just to walk in and not see my coworker. After some time browsing books, we left to find something else to do. At this point, it was already close to 8, so we had to make a decision fast. I had Sidekick with me to take photos of the event. We had two options: figure out a place to take photos at in five minutes because the sun was setting or find a place to roam around in 30 because everything closes at 9. We started heading back home until Scandia Family Fun Center came to mind since it was close by. Soon enough, we agreed on a friendly game of mini golf.



For a family center, it was a tiny arcade with expensive prices. $20 just for us to play 18 holes. Too much. There were also batting cages and bumper racing, but we didn’t care to look into those


So the thing about me and mini golf is that I absolutely suck if one can really suck at playing mini golf. Even if I tried to play, the outcome would still be the same if I didn’t try. If that made sense.



I loved the little homes around. They were really cute and small.

This once kind of reminded me of the house in “Up”.



At the end of the game, I lost tragically with my score being 76 but Kyle wasn’t too far behind with his 60 points. Guess I wasn’t too bad after all. It was fun though, something we can now cross off our “Things That Couples Do” list. Yes, it took close to 3 years to play mini golf. We suck as a couple haha.