Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pasta, Passion & Pistols

It's no secret - I love murder mystery parties. I've done a total of five so far, and they never disappoint. Our good friend Sheena celebrated her birthday last week and decided to a host a murder mystery party to celebrate. The title was "Pasta, Passion & Pistols," and the night took place in Little Italy, New York City. Sheena and Jeremy did an amazing job setting the scene. It felt just like a charming Italian restaurant!

Jeremy made these delicious creamosas (Italian sodas with cream). I had two big glasses, but I could have gone back for ten more. Yum.

The best part of the party is arriving and seeing all the costumes. Everyone did such a great job getting into character (no comment on the quality of our Italian accents).

Sheena borrowed my wig from the 1920s Christmas party. Doesn't she look cute?

The whole group, from left to right: Marco Roni, Mama Rosa (I'm sad because it was my husband who was killed), Rocco Scarfazzi, Tara Misu, Angel Roni, Bo Jalais, Clair Voyant, and Father Al Fredo.

Brent drew that tattoo himself - pretty impressive!

I was playing the part of an Italian mother who cooked for the family restaurant. I figured she'd be packing on the pounds from all the yummy pasta, so I went to Red Cross, bought a big dress, and stuffed it with a pillow. This lasted through Round Two, then it got a little too toasty so Mama Rosa miraculously lost the bulge. Brent played the part of my only son.

Couple shots taken "in action"

The acting was good, but the food was AMAZING. Jeremy made all this himself. An Italian feast!

We had such a fun night! Happy, happy birthday, Sheena, and thanks for throwing such a great party!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Nitty Gritty

There are a lot of glamorous shots on this blog. A lot of stunning beaches, fun outings, beautiful friends, amazing dates and yummy dishes. But to those of you feeling a tad bit jealous, this post is especially for you.

As a disclaimer, I truly love our life here. I love this adventure and how God is moving and growing me. We are blessed beyond words to have met incredible friends and plugged into an awesome church in such a short amount of time. But, like anywhere, there are still down times here. This weekend was a great example. We planned on having a very low key Friday night, grilling fish, walking to TCBY, and then watching a movie at home. The moon was gorgeous this night - did anyone else get to see that? I grabbed my camera but it was really too pretty to capture.

After eating dinner I asked Brent to quickly take a look at our washer. It hadn't been draining or spinning and I hoped it would be a simple fix. Brent actually did fix that problem (we googled it!), but in the process the hose connecting the washer to the water broke, and GALLONS of water starting spilling out. Within seconds, the kitchen floor was covered in water. Brent and I completely panicked. We have a neighbor next door who is a landlord so I ran over to ask how to shut off the water. It was probably only gushing for 5 minutes, but the entire apartment had several inches of water covering the floor. That was not a good feeling.

It took two hours, but we were able to get all the water out. I used the big broom from the tennis courts to sweep out large amounts, and Brent used a towel to soak up water in the bathroom and bedroom. What a night! We were actually really fortunate because hardly anything was damaged. We don't have carpet or hardwood floors, and the couch and chairs are on pedestals so the fabric didn't get wet. The Roomba was saved, and all my computer cords were moved before the water reached them. The only real causality was my collection of cookbooks - which dried under the fans for a couple days. I was very, very sad about this (I'm the type who doesn't even like to get a drop of oil on my cookbooks), but Brent correctly keeps reminding me that they are still usable.

We had someone reconnect the washer on Saturday. I was incredibly relieved that we didn't have to wait till Monday to turn the water back on!

So there you have it. There are bad days in Grand Cayman. They may not always make the blog (mostly because I don't think to take pictures during these times), but they are out there. There's the time our water heater broke, and the time a rat died in the back panel of our stove and it took us over a week to find it. (Too much information?) There's the day that I don't carefully examine produce prices and later realize that I just spent $15.66 on four tomatoes. Oops. But this post isn't to complain or elicit pity. It's more of a reality check that life remains "real" no matter where you live. For the most part, we can look back and laugh at the comedy of it all.

Don't worry, "The Grand Life" is still pretty darn grand.

(Peeping Tom caught looking though our living room window)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beach Sunset and Barkers

After work last Friday, Brent and I took a quick walk on the beach before meeting Jenn and Nate for dinner at Sunshine Grill. Evenings on Seven Mile Beach are my favorite thing about living in Grand Cayman. I still can't believe how lucky I am to live four minutes from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Walter showing off his pearly whites

The dog loves to watch sunsets too. Isn't he cute?

I almost didn't take the next picture. I had put the camera away and Brent and I were walking in front of the Ritz. I couldn't believe how many people had their cameras out! People were taking pictures of the view and of each other in front of the view. There were SLR cameras, point and shoots, ipods, cell phones...everyone clicking away. We were literally swerving around to avoid stepping in people's pictures. Eventually I succumbed to photography peer pressure. The result:

Not too shabby.

On Sunday afternoon we drove to Jenn and Nate's and then walked about a mile and a half to Barkers Beach. The picture below captures my view the entire way up. This is pretty close to perfection (for verification, please see #3 on Brent's List of Ten).

As far as I know, Barkers Beach is known for one thing - kitesurfing. It's at the north point of the island which is a nice windy spot. I'm not going to pretend I know what I'm talking about, but apparently this day was ideal wind for kiting. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to cheer on our buddy Nate!

Walking towards to Barkers - check out all the kites:

Nate started kitesurfing about a month ago and we were very impressed with his skills. He's the one with the blue kite in the picture below.

Brent checking out Nate's gear after he came in. I think he should take up kiting just because he looks so hot holding the board.

Did I mention it was super windy?

Ha - what a trooper!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Call me cheesy, but I love me some Valentine's Day. I's essentially a hallmark holiday. But who cares? I embrace the cheesiness with open arms! I can't wait to have kids so I can decorate homemade cards and cut food into heart shapes. There's nothing better than a holiday that's all about love!

This year felt especially lovey-dovey. I woke up early and very quietly made pumpkin pancakes for a surprise breakfast in bed. I have to laugh at my ghetto presentation. Ah, remember the good old days when I had a real silver tray, a pretty white syrup pitcher and a ceramic butter dish? Now we don't even having matching silverware. Haha, I love our random little island life :)

I heart this guy...

and this guy too, even though he didn't get breakfast in bed.

I wore my red Havaianas for the occasion.

And even though we were far from home, I didn't forget who this special day really belonged to.

I had been looking forward to our date for weeks. Brent made reservations at one of the Ritz-Carlton restaurants, Periwinkle. On the way there, I snapped this shot representing Brent's other true love. Only 43 days till Opening Day!

The lovely Perwinkle restaurant

I love these next two shots of Brent and me. We get so many of each other, but since we moved to Grand Cayman we only have a few together. The server actually did a great job handling the SLR!

Little view of the Ritz

My other true love - mudslides

On Saturday Brent and I exchanged Valentine's gifts. I gave him a shirt and he got me a beach chair. But Brent had another surprise for me, beautifully wrapped in his dinner napkin.

Check out this awesome sea turtle necklace!

This is actually a necklace we saw weeks ago at the Governor's Art Festival. The artist starts with a normal coin and carves out the picture. We watched him working on one for a while - such painstaking work! I immediately loved this little sea turtle (a real coin from Cape Verde) but didn't think I should make a rash purchase. I was so surprised to see that Brent had snuck back and gotten it for me! He is the sweetest!

Dinner was awesome, mostly because we were in such a beautiful place. Brent got snapper with lobster medallions and I got spinach lasagna.

At the end of the meal they brought out complimentary cookies and this pretty rose. What else would you expect from the Ritz?

Periwinkle usually has nightly "movies under the stars" and they were supposed to play Sleepless in Seattle for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately it was too windy to put up the screen, so we decided to walk around the Ritz instead. Just as fun, maybe even better!

Quick note - Brent's mom bought me this dress and mailed it with some other things a few weeks ago. I couldn't wait to wear it for V-day!

Back at home, not to be outdone by my ghetto breakfast tray, the fancy Ritz rose sits in its makeshift vase:

Hope you all had a very merry Valentine's Day!