Aaron’s 37th NYE birthday blowout

Aaron's 37th NYE birthday party

Once again, Aaron’s birthday rockin’ eve was an amazing time. There was a lot less people at this party then at years past, but it was just as much fun as they’ve always been. For those of you who don’t know, Aaron is that guy I married and his birthday is 12/31. We both used to hate that birthday date because, well, making reservations for dinner is a nightmare and most of your friends can’t hang out because they’re trying to give their partners a nice evening. So we started throwing an annual New Years Eve birthday party for people who don’t feel like celebrating New Years Eve with the masses. And it’s been our favorite day of the year ever since.

Here’s how this birthday blowout went down:

Animal masks were donned:

Megan (koala) & Aaron (giraffe), Daren (monkey) and KayLee (tiger)

Aaron's 37th NYE birthday party

Ari as the creepy horse.

The Finleyquists were together, as always:

Aaron's 37th NYE birthday party

There was much dancing:

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Our Merry Finleyquistmas

Here’s a quicky about the my first Christmas without ANY family. The Finleys spent it with our best friend Coco Rosenquist — hence the “Finleyquistmas” name.

We spent Christmas eve with Oliver and Marianne:

Ollie and Marianne

me and the Zoo

Reindeer slippers
Coco rocked her reindeer slippers.

The next morning, aka Christmas, I got up before everyone else, turned on our fireplace, and spent the morning with my fur babies…
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It’s also Birthday Week!

Guys, can I even tell you that my birthday is coming up on Thursday, and as much as I have been DREADING turning 30, I’ve been enjoying the HELL out of the week leading up to it. This week is always crazy — two of my best friends have their birthdays days before mine, so lots of partying and good times are had. Here’s kind of a virtual brain dump of photos and memories from the past INSANE week of birthday parties and party planning.

It started with my best girl Coco’s birthday on July 2th. We spent an awesome day at the beach. I hadn’t been to Venice since I was in either Jr high or high school.

This was actually the FIRST time seeing the canals in person.

Coco, Hannah, Megan & Stephanie at the beach.

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Wanna see me wearing the ugliest thing that I’ve ever put on my body?

Totally pointless blog post, just to show off some recent photos.

I went to visit Coco at her work — the Santa Monica Nordstroms. I decided I needed some new clothes. Over lunch, Coco asked me what I was looking for and I told her that I’m gonna down two glasses of wine and then she just needs to bring me shit, because just TALKING about shopping was already making me anxious.

Here’s Coco pulling some shit for me and looking like a freaking model:

At one point Coco brought me a dress that was on sale, and said, “hey just try this on.” And then she left me alone. I put on this weird dress and then burst out laughing, alone in my dressing room just sputtering out “ohmygodno” over and over, while I waited for Coco to get back so she could see the hilarious hideousness for herself.

10 minutes and a lot of “ohmygodno”s later, she came back to see this:
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The best Valentine’s Day I ever had

I was even feeling the doggy love on V-day!

I don’t “do” Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people. But, as far back as I can remember the day made me all uncomfortable and squidgy. Even when my first boyfriend got all crazy romantic and sent me flowers at school, I just felt really weird about it. Ever since then I’ve asked all boyfriends to just not do anything — just ignore it with me.

And so far Aaron’s been amazing at it. He made me something for our first Valentine’s Day (maybe he wasn’t quite sure if it was a trick or not?) and it was the best thing I’ve ever gotten and it is never to be topped. I will hopefully write a post about that later, when I’m not laying in bed about to go to sleep.

And one other year he bought me silly stupid crap just to make me laugh. He went shopping with his best friend who asked, “aren’t you going to get in trouble for that?” Ha.

But this year, this year was all crazy different…
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Highlights from Thanksgiving 2010

This Thanksgiving I chose my outfit according to maximum eating potential — jeggings (elastic waist band ftw!) with an empire waisted flowy top that was ALREADY stained, so I didn’t have to worry about spilling anything. I am a total winner.

After reading Facebook updates from so many family members and friends about how they’re spending the entire day in the kitchen, cooking various and yummy things. I realized that I am REALLY thankful that I won’t ever be expected to make some sort of Thanksgiving meal for anyone. And that I, forever, get to show up and eat delicious foods that other, more capable people, have prepared.

So mahalo to those other family members and friends who have and will continue to feed me Thanksgiving meals. And a special mahalo goes out today to my second mother, Meg Wolf, and her family full of chefs who were in charge of feeding me yesterday.

This is a crappy cell phone photo of (from L – R) Ari, Aaron, Amy and Stephanie, actually using the room that NEVER gets used at the Wolf’s. Crazy times.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from yesterday:

“I think I just took a picture of myself when I answered the phone!” -Meg

Me: So you think you’re going to be work on Christmas day!?
Ari: We’re a bunch of Jews opening up a Vietnamese restaurant… why wouldn’t we be open on Christmas?

And here is just a super cute photo of my boys on Thanksgiving morning.

Hope you all had happy Thanksgivings… I’m going to go eat leftovers now.

Misadventures in travel wedding photography

Coco and me in the car.

I was hired to shoot a wedding in San Francisco last weeked. The drive to the bay area went swimmingly. Before I left I swung by Samy’s camera to pick up my Canon 50D that errored out on me during my first wedding and I was a happy camper with my camera back, my best friend and second shooter by my side and everything looking up.

Coco and I stayed the night at a friend’s place in San Jose. We went out to dinner. I had two margaritas and got trashed. And when we got back from the restaurant my shoe broke! The sole of my black boots just came off completely. And then it was all downhill from there…

To hear the rest of the story head over to my photography blog!

Adventures with Offbeat Frontier or The Day I Went Hiking in Heels

Last Sunday I once again ventured outside of the hobbit hole that Coco and I now refer to as the “Offbeat Bride LA office” and joined up with the other offbeat crew in my life… Offbeat Frontier.

From the Offbeat Frontier website:

What is the Offbeat Frontier? …Offbeat Frontier is the constant search for humanities greatest achievements that have been almost forgotten. This group is here for adventure or simply hangout with some good friends for a few hours. The mission is to find strange and odd tourist attractions around Southern California. What do we do when we find them? We take pictures with them, gawk at their magnificence, marvel at whatever the hell I’m looking at. We’re in search of tourist attractions and odd monuments of humanity and consumerism.

Coco & me, fashionable hikers.

So my first (of hopefully many) adventures with Offbeat Frontier was going to Griffith Park to find and explore the ruins of the Old Los Angeles Zoo. The original zoo opened at just south of the present one in 1913. (For more fun OG Zoo info check out this blog post.)

I was so excited to be getting out of the house in into the beautiful California sunshine that I used this opportunity to dress up and get fancy. Well, as fancy as I get. Which meant taking the opportunity to wear heels and my new skirt! I mean, I even waxed my legs and everything!

I wore the same pair of heels that I wore when I went on a six hour walking tour of downtown, and they were totally comfortable. And I figured that we’d be walking over paved sidewalks and shit, so I didn’t see a problem with wearing them. And Coco was wearing a fancy pair of flats, thinking the same thing.

Of course what we didn’t know was that there would be hiking involved. Mike, the man behind Offbeat Frontier, didn’t know exactly where the old zoo ruins were located. He had the inkling to head north. So I broke out my iphone compass app and north we headed! Of course heading north meant hiking up and down a giant hill.

offbeat frontier trip

This is me being wholly unprepared.

Dude, hiking in heels is total bullshit. DO NOT DO IT. Not that ANYONE in their right mind would try this on purpose. I was the idiot who was totally unprepared. But, actually, my heels were a lot more hiking friendly than Coco’s flats — she was slipping and sliding all over the place while I just dug in my heels (literally) and tried not to brake my ankles.

Of course after hiking up and down this great big hill, we came through the other side to find the ruins! With a children’s birthday party being celebrated in them…

offbeat frontier: old LA zoo

Turns out there was a paved walkway that lead right to them! We hiked for no bloody reason! Oh well, it makes for a good story anyway.

offbeat frontier trip

Hillary, Drew, Mike, Nathan & Megan.

After the “perilous” hike we dug in and started investigating the ruins — crawling in and out of the old cages, acting like animals and taking pictures like mad.

Instant model

So if you want to see some awkward pictures of me modeling clothes on a fashion blog (which I have ABSOLUTELY no business doing) check out the newest “Trends I Like” post on Instant Coco.

"James tee" from Leyendecker, courage from Valium.

I’m not gonna lie, it took a Valium and some serious coaxing to get me to do this, but I did it for a friend and, hey, I actually like the photo of me that I posted above!