my life is nothing without apple

so…the past few days at work have been quite interesting…….

first of all, let me rewind a little bit. back in june, the apple store had relocated into a bigger space in the mall where i work. their previous spot was significantly smaller. it was a narrow but deep space…and when i say “narrow” i mean “i’m never stepping foot in there because i will get claustrophobic.” i don’t frequently pop into an apple store like the regular apple customer (or really any customer) does. in fact, i can list every single time i have walked into an apple store: when i bought my first apple product, which was my macbook, when i bought an ex boyfriend an iPod for his birthday, when i asked, “what do i do if i might have put my iPad on top of my car and got on the freeway?” for a friend, and when i bought my iPad. i have been in an apple store 4 times in my life-and all at another location. i am an android, by the way-just to let y’all know…but i do love my iPad. oh, i love my iPad.

so, moving along…

this “apple is moving into a bigger space”- it was the talk of the town. the big news. the big deal. the big everything. it had been talked about since the beginning of the year. is it true? is it a lie? please be true. oh, how our lives were going to change forever because it was going to be right across from us, customers told us. our business was predicted to skyrocket and soar once apple’s squeaky clean and windexed sliding glass doors open. yada, yada, yada. how happy the apple-loving customers were. to be able to shop in a space about 4 times the previous store’s size (at least that’s what it looks like)! more room to breath, more walking space, more hired associates to help, more inventory available. boy, were those tech-loving customers stoked about apple moving into this big space across from us. we heard all about it-from those who actually believed the rumors.

my thoughts during the half-year process: “hm, i bet it’s going to look all sleek and cool…but i bet it’s not going to make a difference in our business…and i get to stare at cute, techy apple boys all day!”

come on, who doesn’t think nerdy apple boys are cute?

anyways.

so june happened.

and the new apple store was introduced.

and we were about to see what we were in for with our new neighbors.

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i loved the look of the store. it’s bright. it’s clean. it’s sleek. just like i had envisioned. cute apple boys in blue shirts, check. *insert high school giggle and hair twirl* oh, it was fun.

for about a good week. 

and then, over the course of a few months, it turned into this:

“hi, how are you tod-”

“I’M JUST LOOKING. i have to wait another freaking hour for my appointment at apple! *grOwls*”

*frustrated teenage customer*

“do you guys have cute iPhone cases? because apple doesn’t have any!

*our daily question of the day*

“do you know where the apple store is?”

“where is the damn apple store in this mall!?”

“how do i get to the apple store from here?”

“is the apple store on the first floor or the second floor?”

*on a weekend, the daily customer who glares at the busy apple store across the hall from our store*

“*disgusted*…look at all those people in apple…how pathetic they are…all crammed in that store as if their lives depended on a new phone…”

*customers in our store during a product launch day when there’s a 200-person line outside of apple*

“ugh! i can’t BELIEVE they would stand in line for a *insert latest product*!!!! i mean, don’t they HAVE A LIFE!?!?” *looking at me with angry eyes as if i know the answer to that question*

*in regards to iPhone cases that we sell in our store*

“what’s the difference between a 4/4s and a 5?”

*insert my blank stare*

“i’m an android. i wouldn’t know.”

*insert angry look directed towards me in return for my answer*

“it’s going to cost $15 to wrap this!?!?”

my thought in response: “yes, sir, it’s going to cost $15 to wrap the $2,000 laptop you just bought your daughter for her 10th birthday.”

anyways, you get the point.

*insert big sigh*

but that was nothing compared to what i got to experience these past few days.

*cue in horror movie soundtrack music in 50 million decibels*

as many of you don’t know, dallas underwent an ice storm. “icemageddon” is what i call it. it is the third ice storm that i can recall in the 11 years that i have lived here. dallas weather is very unpredictable-we don’t believe a word our weather man says. but he was right this time-dallas was going to ice over, and it did. now let me tell you about an ice storm in dallas. first of all, dallas drivers don’t even know how to drive in the rain. so when you throw in hail or snow, all hell breaks loose. and we had ice. texas doesn’t do ice. we don’t have salt trucks ready to salt the roads and we don’t have fancy winter tires like they do in alaska to drive on ice or snow. we just slide and scream and end up on the side of the road if we are not careful. we have 13 car pileups on a summer day. so an ice storm is a huge deal. a huge deal. we sure do have enough ambulance and fire trucks to accommodate it.

i woke up on friday morning, saw nothing but white outside. i usually wake up early enough to get ready for work and go, but i woke up much earlier because i was recovering from a cold and i wanted to make sure i was properly drugged up with medicine to be able to function at work, as i couldn’t miss another day. i decided to check on my car and it’s a good thing i did.

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i called security to see if the mall was open.

“why, yes, of course! the mall is opening at normal hours.”

while i spent 2 1/2 hours getting half the ice scraped off my car, one of my friends was texting me about how she had been out of power since the middle of the night. omg. no power in 30 degree weather. and then everyone started texting me:

“i don’t have to go to work today!”

“are you off today?”

“how are you feeling?”

“don’t go to work today! it’s not safe!”

oh, i wish i could just say, “hey, the roads don’t look good, boss. i think i’ll stay in.” some of us don’t work that way. i did what i could with my car and headed to work.

holy batman, i can’t believe i drove 11 miles on ice!

pure ice. sliding all over the place. from my driveway to the mall entrance, it was like car skating around dallas. how is the mall open in this weather!? and during my commute to work, a HUGE chunk of ice fell off of one of the highway signs and landed right in front of a cluster of cars driving in front of me. OMG!!!!!!!! what!?!? it could have possibly been a scene out of a final destination movie if it wasn’t easily (nothing was “easy” about driving on a highway of ice, really) dodged!

but i made it to work.

and guess who didn’t have to go to show up that day:

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pitch black and deserted: apple.

open mall + closed apple store = this blog post

i had heard from my apple friends that they were closed for the day, so i knew it before i got to work. but seeing it was a whole different thing. it was like seeing what your day was going to look like-i mean, who would these apple customers yell at if there is not a single apple associate around?

*blink………….blink*

you see that gift wrap station in front of apple? that’s mine.

so i was the primary target. why go to concierge down the hall when there is a human working in the hallway 15 feet away from the apple store? and the customers didn’t waste any time. and i tried answering to the best of my knowledge.

“why is the apple store closed?” it must be because of the inclement weather outside. which, by the way, was a totally unacceptable answer to them.
“can you call and figure out which apple location is open right now?” according to the 800 number, it says that all apple stores are closed for the day.
“can you see when the knox location is open?” the 800 number says the knox location will be closed for the next 4 days (it really did, as much as i didn’t believe that an apple store would be closed for 4 straight days…).
“why is the apple store closed?” i don’t know ma’am, i don’t work there.
“how am i supposed to pick up my order?” i don’t know, sir. call their 800 number, they might help you.
“what makes them think they can close when the mall is open!?” sir, a store’s closing or opening is at their discretion during inclement weather.
“i just need something to open their doors…” a hammer to the glass might be able to open their doors, but i wouldn’t suggest it, ma’am.
“why is the apple store closed?” i’m not sure, sir. maybe concierge knows the answer. 

i really could go on with all the apple customers i had to deal with while i was working at MY store. it was quite stressful. in fact, it was quite irritating, to be honest. first of all, i didn’t need to help them. but i did, because that’s what i do. second of all, i didn’t deserve the hostile attitudes and never-ending questions. i don’t work for apple, and i am not affiliated with the company. third of all, i had to deal with them throughout the whole day while i was slowly having a bad day at work myself. it was just a hot mess. so i vented about it on Facebook.

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i am not a negative person, but i really did have a bad day. that was probably the most negative post i have shared on my Facebook, but i just had to vent. and for those of you who don’t know, town east mall is what a lot of people call a “ghetto mall” so the last line was meant to be a funny joke.

throughout the day, i was texting my apple friends while they were home taking a day off from work, venting to them about their customers. they felt bad. but it wasn’t their fault. kudos to a company who values the safety of their associates and WILL prove that closing a few times a year will not hurt their business. i mean, it’s apple. does anything ever hurt their business? come on, now.

so i thought that friday was going to be the only day that apple was closed….until my friends told me that they were closed when i woke up on saturday morning.

“nooooo! please don’t do this to me!” i texted them. they felt bad, once again. it’s not their fault. kudos, once again, to a company who values the safety of their associates because the roads weren’t any better. in fact, on friday evening, the temperature dropped to 22 degrees. nothing had melted.

so here we go with ROUND 2 of Apple iClosed. 

i already knew it was going to be an equally bad or worse day in regards to dealing with apple customers because this time, the apple was lit up in the front of the store and the graphics in the store were also turned on…which gave me the impression that the store would open later on in the day even though i knew it was closed for the next 24 hours.

the very first customer i had at work was a gentleman who snapped at me because apple was closed.

“who do they think they are!? what are they thinking being closed for 2 days!”
well, sir, to my understanding, quite a bit of associates live a distance away. and to my understanding, i think it would take over 100 associates rounded up to open the store. and to my understanding, the weather is a very serious situation for a company that huge to shut down for 2 days…
*GROWLS AT ME WITH MENACING EYES* “well, they need to get their S### together!” *cusses his way out*

*blink……..blink*

please make that the only customer i have to deal with today. please make that the only customer i have to deal with today. please make that the only customer i have to deal with today.

“nordstrom doesn’t have power.”
“customers in nordstrom are shopping with flashlights.”
“is nordstrom closed? because their doors are open….”

yes, nordstrom’s power went out (overnight, i’m assuming) and yes, customers were shopping WITH FLASHLIGHTS. hold up, wait a minute. what!? how is that POSSIBLE?

but it was so nice to have a change of topic.

until i met the lady who inspired me to type up this blog.

i was in my gift wrap station when this frantic lady comes running up to me. OUT OF BREATH.

“CAN-YOU-DO-ME-A-FAVOR-AND-FIND-OUT-WHEN-THIS-APPLE-STORE-IS-GOING-TO-OPEN-TODAY-BECAUSE-I-NEED-IT-TO-OPEN-AND-IT-CAN’T-CLOSE-TODAY-BECAUSE-I-NEED-IT-TO-OPEN-SO-PLEASE-HELP-ME-CAN-YOU-CALL-CONCIERGE-OR-APPLE!?!”

whoooooooooooooooooooa, lady! SLOW YOUR HORSES THERE FOR A SECOND!

it was so serious that i had to use hand gestures.

halt.

stop.

slow down.

breath in.

breath out.

woo sah, lady. woo sah.

“hi, ma’am. i’m pretty sure the store will be closed today.”

“NO. NO. THAT’S NOT TRUE. IT HAS TO OPEN. I HAVE TO KNOW WHEN IT OPENS TODAY. MAYBE 11? WHAT TIME IS IT RIGHT NOW? WHAT. IS. THE. EXACT. TIME. RIGHT. NOW?” *huffing and puffing*

“it’s 11 right now.”

“OKAY. SO MAYBE NOON. I JUST REALLY NEED THE STORE TO OPEN. I REALLY, REALLY NEED THE STORE TO OPEN. I WENT TO THE KNOX LOCATION AND THEY HAD A SIGN UP SAYING THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BE CLOSED ALL DAY TODAY AND I JUST REALLY NEED TO FIND A STORE THAT’S OPEN RIGHT NOW AND I REALLY NEED THIS ONE TO OPEN *shakes her head and looks at me like i don’t understand* YOU DON’T KNOW HOW ROUGH MY PAST FEW DAYS HAVE BEEN.”

*THIS IS WHERE I RAISE MY EYEBROW AS A SIGN THAT I BET I COULD PROVE HER WRONG*

“oh, really?………………………………” *leans forward in her direction even though i did not need to give her any gesture to start talking because i already knew she was going to, whether i wanted to hear it or not*

“OH MY GOD, SO I HAVE BEEN OUT OF POWER SINCE LAST NIGHT. SINCE LAST NIGHT! CAN YOU BELIEVE!? UGH! AND I COULDN’T SHOWER WHEN I WOKE UP! UGH! AND I COULDN’T EVEN CHARGE MY PHONE! *shows me her dead iPhone even though it’s been in her flailing hands the entire time* SO MY HUSBAND AND I GOT A HOTEL ROOM AND NOW HE’S AT WORK AND I’M BY MYSELF-WITHOUT A PHONE! AND I’M LIKE, ‘I CAN’T GO WITHOUT A PHONE! I JUST CAN’T!’ SO I GO TAKE A SHOWER IN THE HOTEL ROOM AND I SET MY PHONE ON THE COUNTER-”

“……oh, God.”

“-AND, YEAH, I KNOW! AND THEN…I TURN ON THE WATER IN THE SHOWER…*slows her story down to make action motions of her turning on the shower*….”

“…..uh huh…”

“AND THEN WATER. WATER JUST SPLASHES EVERYWHERE FROM THE SHOWERHEAD!!!! AND RIGHT ONTO MY PHONE! SO NOW I NEED A NEW PHONE! I JUST-I JUST CAN’T GO ANOTHER MINUTE WITHOUT A PHONE! I MEAN, I CAME HERE, I LOOK LIKE A HOT MESS (by the way, she was in full makeup and in a black full-length fur coat), I NEED A PHONE, I LOOK TERRIBLE, AND I REALLY CAN’T SURVIVE WITHOUT A PHONE TODAY. I MEAN, WHAT IF I GET IN A CAR ACCIDENT TODAY WHILE I’M DRIVING? OH MY GOD, I LOOK LIKE A HOT MESS AND I’M IN THE MALL. HOW AM I GOING TO CALL ANYONE!? SO I REALLY NEED YOU TO BE 100% SURE ON WHAT TIME APPLE IS OPENING TODAY! PLEASE!”

“ma’am, let me show you my phone and show you what my friend from apple texted me about them being closed today because that is the only proof i have.”

*facial expression of DEVASTATION as i show her my phone*

it looked as if her life was over. and she vented and vented and vented more and more and more about how she canNOT go a DAY without HER iPHONE and that she was not going to make it through the day but finally snapped back into reality, saw and realized that I WAS NOT AN APPLE EMPLOYEE and that i was not obligated to talk to her or give her answers, apologized and thanked me for my help, and RAN to AT&T in her black full-length fur coat.

and then it hit me.

A SIGN.

“…i went to the knox location and they had a sign up saying that they were going to be closed all day…..”

bingo. because i knew that she saw the sign and didn’t run to the next store to throw a fit-she just simply left. and i figured that if i made a sign, they would hopefully stop bugging me.

but then i got a little paranoid. am i even allowed to make a sign for a company that i don’t work for? well, it’s their fault for not putting it up themselves. what should the sign say? will i get in trouble? i don’t care, i really can’t take any more angry apple customers getting in my face when i’m trying to work. but will i get in trouble? 

so i consulted a few people who knew about what i had to go through the previous day. and after an hour or so of discussion, we had come to a conclusion. i was going to make a sign for apple.

“due to inclement weather, we will be closed today and will open tomorrow, december 8th. thank you for your understanding.”

simple and sweet. done and done.

on my way to my gift wrap station in the hall, i saw 4 dallas cops walk by and looked down the hall to see a cluster of mall security guys standing around. and i got paranoid again. what if i get in trouble? and then a young, completely thudded out kid walked up to me, angry-faced.

“hey! so the apple store is closed!?”

“yeah, their lights are off so you’d assume they are, right?” i gave up on being nice at that moment. he gave me the.worst.glare.ever, muttered what i’m sure were cuss words under his breath as he was staring at me, and walked away.

so i grabbed strips of double stick tape, posted the 2 signs up, and went on a break.

when i came back, one of my gift wrappers flagged me down.

“hey, sierra, one of the guys from mall security-”

uh oh. i’m in trouble now. i shouldn’t have put a sign up! i can’t take it down, i don’t want to answer to more people today!

“-he likes the sign but was asking if you could put on it that all the apple stores are closed today, so they don’t have to drive around.” phew. 

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i really wanted to windex those fingerprints that are in the photo, but after putting up that revised sign, i was hoping i’d never have to deal with the store for the rest of the day.

and i didn’t have to. 

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MY SIGNS WORKED!

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my day was peaceful and quiet after that. no more dealing with angry customers (just the occasional, “WHAT THE F###! APPLE IS CLOSED!?” as they walked by)-at least from that store. one father/son team did discuss the store while my assistants were wrapping gifts for them:

*all-knowing dad*
“oh, they’re probably closed because they sold out of product,” he told his son. hey, i’ll take that-it was the first thing said about apple from a customer that made me laugh.

my day got busier-too busy to take photos of customers reading my awesome sign. i thought to myself, “man. i really wish i could take photos of the angry customers that i saw yesterday. and i wish i took photos of all the customers waiting outside the store this morning.”

and then my second idea hit me.

take photos of my sister acting like different types of apple customers. 

so we waited until we closed (early because 90% of the mall had shut down by 6 p.m.) to work on PROJECT iCUSTOMER IN iDESPAIR THAT APPLE IS iCLOSED.

my other associates were so excited and wanted to partake in my photography adventure and this is what i came up with: a few photos depicting the reactions and exaggerated reactions of customers when they found out that their beloved store was closed on a non-holiday.

so this is what i came up with:

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the angry, cussing apple customers………

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the apple customers in despair…

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the apple customer in MAJOR despair…

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the apple customer whose life is over…

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more apple customers whose lives are over…

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the apple customer who refuses to believe that the store is closed and WAITS for hours until she gives up…

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the apple customer who stands, frozen, in front of the store, looking at everything she can’t buy because the store is closed…

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more customers in despair and desperation…

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the customer determined to open the store…

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and the customer who wanted to break the glass to get in…

so there you have it. the multiple types of apple customers and their reactions to apple’s closing in the past 2 days.

now, this is definitely not a blog bashing apple. not at all. i didn’t post this blog to get anyone in trouble or start anything. it was just very entertaining to know the effects that the company had on their customers. and it was VERY entertaining to know how IMPORTANT our technology is to us. last month, it had been a year since i left saipan to come back to texas after 3 months of being gone, and i came without a cell phone, because my contract had expired by then. getting a cell phone was not the first thing on my list. or the tenth thing. in fact, i didn’t get a phone until 3 months later. because it wasn’t a big deal. i had a watch to tell time and i had my macbook and my iPad. yes, my friends were very frustrated because they couldn’t text me to get a hold of me, but other than that, i was enjoying the peace and quiet of not being available to everyone 24/7.

first world problems, folks. we suffer from first world problems every day. my friend who didn’t have power for over a day has a baby. those are the problems that worry me. while she was sitting at home, wondering if her power was going to come back on, i was dealing with customers who thought their phone being dead was a world disaster. first world problems. the newspapers showed one of the highways filled with cars that were stuck for almost an entire day. try sitting in your car for 18 hours in the middle of nowhere with what gas you had before you realized that you were going to end up stuck and freezing and THEN listen to someone talk about how they were having a bad day because their phone died.

*sigh*

but that’s how the world works. if it was a perfect world, it would be pretty boring, right?

cliff’s “practically-annual” visit to texas

my cousin (cliff) came to texas for a weekend 2 months ago. i should blog these under “throwback thursdays” since i blog so late (you can view more recent photos on my instagram: @sierralei and then read about my experiences 2 months later, haha).

it was my brother’s birthday weekend, which also fell on restaurant week (as usual). cliff usually visits without me being able to plan ahead and take days off from work, but in this case, i managed to plan accordingly. we had a pretty jam-packed weekend.

on friday, my brother and i picked up cliff at midnight and went to IHOP for a late grubbing session. we probably slept at 3-5 a.m. and woke up in the afternoon to take my brother out for a birthday lunch at a sushi buffet restaurant, japan house. cliff had to work for a few hours during the day and at night (my brother had to work on his birthday), a small group of us went to our first restaurant week spot, THE MERCURY. wonderful restaurant in dallas, by the way. after dinner, we met up with more friends and bar-hopped. i was VERY glad that cliff got to meet my close friends. he had been visiting dallas since 9 years ago but i was never able to introduce him to a lot of my friends. friday was just an absolute blast.

saturday was pretty fun. cliff, clint, and i woke up early to head out to waco for lunch. my brother was determined to take us to vitek’s for their gut pak (yes, there will be photos), which blew his mind. we drove over 2 hours for lunch, yes. hey, we will go where there is good food! on the drive, my cousin educated me on the navigation app called WAZE. if you don’t have it, get it. moving along. we got to vitek’s and i thought it was a VERY COOL place. it was definitely worth the drive. after lunch, we went to the dr. pepper museum and that was fun. it was a first for all of us so it was pretty exciting. we took some superfun pictures there. we had to drive back to dallas because we had our second restaurant for restaurant week later that night at BIJOUX. oh, bijoux……oh, bijoux. if any of you live in dallas and have not gone to this restaurant, YOU MUST GO. in fact, i think i will make an entirely separate blog on just this restaurant, it was that amazing. saturday was such a great day.

sunday was still packed with fun! we took cliff to a rangers game! and oh, boy, did the weather turn up-it was nice and cool the past 2 days and then it turned into a furnace on sunday. cliff is an island boy and former marine-i think 70 degrees makes him sweat. poor thing. we tailgated with raising cane’s and beer before the game, which was fun since i have never tailgated before. after the game, we had to go straight home to get ready for dinner with cliff’s former marine friend. we had dinner at a korean bbq restaurant (ah-mazing korean food) with cliff’s friend and his beautiful girlfriend. i can’t believe i had never known of this korean restaurant in carrollton, it was so good! we had yogurt after dinner and it was amazing.

and then cliff left at about 5 a.m. on monday morning. and all the fun was over. but it was such a FUN FUN FUN WEEKEND. it was such a fun weekend, it was ridiculous. i took hundreds and hundreds of photos but there were some that just stood out over the others.

here are the fun photos from cliff’s recent visit. enjoy.

xoxo,

sierra lei

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happy terrific two

today is my 2 year anniversary of blogging. 

first of all, i want to say thank you for reading my blog. and all of its randomness. 

i have enjoyed meeting as many of you as i can (via blog comments, emails, facebook, instagram, etc…). i have enjoyed reading your blogs. i have enjoyed trying your recipes and experiencing your life through your stories. i have enjoyed reading about ingredients i don’t even like, and have not “enjoyed” reading about your dating woes and disasters. but you are all fantastic writers, and that’s what keeps me reading. 

there’s nothing sophisticated or themed about my blog. it’s just a bunch of random experiences that i want to share. 

and with that said, stay tuned for more random experiences that i will still be sharing!

may you all have a fantastic week. =)

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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the perot museum

last month, i went to the perot museum (its long name is the perot museum of nature and science). the grand opening for the perot museum was back in december, 2012. tickets were always sold out to visit the museum, and i finally got the chance to go just recently. whether or not science is your thing, it’s a very neat museum. the architecture is fantastic, the littlest details are very cool (there are fun facts printed on benches), the things you learn in there are very fun-i had no idea what to expect before i visited the museum, and was very pleased.

here are some photos that were taken at the museum. if any of y’all are in the dallas area and haven’t checked out the perot museum, you definitely should put it on your list of things to do.

hope y’all are having a great day!

xoxo,

sierra lei

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june in pictures

here are 10 random cell phone photos of june with captions.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

a day at the dallas arboretum with my friends. we like to color-coordinate when we go out. this photo was thought of by our friend, alexis (in the hat). it was hot as HELL that day but it was a blast!

a day at the dallas arboretum with my friends. we like to color-coordinate when we go out. this photo was thought of by our friend, alexis (in the hat). it was hot as HELL that day but it was a blast!

oh. just a photo at 3 a.m. after i took my hair down.

oh. just a photo at 3 a.m. after i took my hair down.

i bumped into a mustache necklace at forever 21 one day. dang that store, they have so many impulse buys there! but i do love my mustache necklace. i'm not into the mustache craze by any means, but i had to have that necklace. and i even wear it to work.

i bumped into a mustache necklace at forever 21 one day. dang that store, they have so many impulse buys there! but i do love my mustache necklace. i’m not into the mustache craze by any means, but i had to have that necklace. and i even wear it to work.

my nephew will love taking photos when he grows up. i am to blame. when we are sitting around, we will take a thousand pictures of ourselves...and this is one of a series of photos taken while we were waiting for my sister to finally come out of hobby lobby. my nephew has the best faces, i could make an entire blog post on all my favorites.

my nephew will love taking photos when he grows up. i am to blame. when we are sitting around, we will take a thousand pictures of ourselves…and this is one of a series of photos taken while we were waiting for my sister to finally come out of hobby lobby. my nephew has the best faces, i could make an entire blog post on all my favorites.

my friend/co-worker, christine, had a baby boy at the end of july. her diaper drive was so adorable. the cupcakes were so cute. i did not make them. haha.

my friend/co-worker, christine, had a baby boy at the end of july. her diaper drive was so adorable. the cupcakes were so cute. i did not make them. haha.

my new neighbor across the hall at work. the bigger and better version of apple northpark. i get to stare at apple boys every day! how cool is that! the girls are pretty nice, too. haha.

my new neighbor across the hall at work. the bigger and better version of apple northpark. i get to stare at apple boys every day! how cool is that! the girls are pretty nice, too. haha.

i write to a little russian girl back home. she spends her summers with her grandmother in russia. her grandmother did the silver design on the plate BY HAND. it is one of the most amazing gifts i have ever received.

i write to a little russian girl back home. she spends her summers with her grandmother in russia. her grandmother did the silver design on the plate BY HAND. it is one of the most amazing gifts i have ever received.

my new favorite card line, old tom foolery. this is a card from their footnote collection. they're hilarious. and fun. and i love all their collections. and i follow the owner on instagram. and i met her mother at my work a few weeks ago. i'm a big fan. the cards are so awesome.

my new favorite card line, old tom foolery. this is a card from their footnote collection. they’re hilarious. and fun. and i love all their collections. and i follow the owner on instagram. and i met her mother at my work a few weeks ago. i’m a big fan. the cards are so awesome.

i was my friend's guest at a wedding. it was such a fun wedding. the dress was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, the food was awesome, the cake was amazing. it was a very sweet wedding, i enjoyed it very much. and i got to capture this funny photo.

i was my friend’s guest at a wedding. it was such a fun wedding. the dress was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, the food was awesome, the cake was amazing. it was a very sweet wedding, i enjoyed it very much. and i got to capture this funny photo.

um, yeah. this is self-explanatory. representin' my texas rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

um, yeah. this is self-explanatory. representin’ my texas rangers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the dallas arboretum and the 90th birthday

still trying to catch up on my blogging, here are 2 fun dates a few months ago.

at the end of may, we took my nephew to the dallas arboretum because they were having an event for kids. face painting and a petting zoo. i had bought a family membership at the arboretum which allows me to bring 4 people with me when i visit. i love it. it’s just too DANG HOT this summer to go visit the arboretum. UGH. but anyways, my nephew got his face painted as a tiger and SWORE that he ran MUCH FASTER around the gardens. it took the lady all of 2 minutes to paint his face and she did a fantastic job. too bad adults weren’t allowed to get their face painted, i would have been all about that. my nephew’s nose was running that day, so he was worried that he wouldn’t look like a tiger since some of the paint had rubbed off above his lip. he cracks me up. he probably took 300 photos of himself on his nexus in the car when we were driving home. it was a fun day.

one of the guys that i shoot pool with turned 90 on june 6. his name is bob. he is the cutest and sweetest old man. and he’s a good pool player. our friend, penny (also a fellow pool player), suggested we throw a birthday bash for him at the pool hall, and it was a whole lot of fun. there were balloons at the front door, balloons in our corner of the pool hall, desserts on the table. i had made a little birthday sign for him. there was a picture frame that we had all signed for bob. he had a blast. i made cupcakes and brownies. someone had made cookies. there was a fun cake. it was an awesome sugar overload.

so here are some photos from both events.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierralei

 

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taste of addison 2013

yesterday, i posted about my friend’s wedding on may 18, 2013.

that wasn’t the only event that happened that day-but my friend’s wedding deserved her own blog. just like my friend’s birthday, which was on the same day. which was also the taste of addison weekend. YUM.

i have attended the taste of addison for probably 5 years now. i will admit that years ago, i was always excited for the food…but now i’m usually excited for everything else but the food. different restaurants set up booths to serve smaller portions of what they usually serve at their establishments, which is good, but it’s just the usual chain restaurant food, really. i prefer fine dining and chasing down food trucks that i see once a year. that’s more my thing.

the craft/art booths are my favorite things to see at the taste of addison. the atmosphere is what i enjoy there, as well. i like touristy, upbeat, exciting events like this. on top of it all, blue october performed. i was so stoked. i love watching blue october perform live.

i have decided to post only 10 photos of the evening. here are my 10 random photos from the taste of addison.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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may 18, 2013

this post has been long overdue, so i apologize. i left my camera in my friend’s car for a while, and then when i got it back over a month later, i had been busy with so many things….so now i am going to start from may and work my way to the present!

on may 18, i had attended a friend’s wedding. she was a former co-worker of mine. she started working with me when she had started dating her now-husband. i feel so old now that i look back at their younger years together.  my, how time flies! i was very flattered that she wanted to work with me on her wedding invitations, and was very excited to be invited to both her bridal shower and her wedding.

the wedding was held at ashton gardens in corinth, texas. a venue i have always wanted to visit, ashton gardens has a chapel that is 3 walls of glass so you can see the trees all around you. it is voted one of the best wedding venues by the knot, 5 years in a row. it is definitely worth the drive, being that you can’t get a venue like this within the city of dallas. the reception area is in the same building and is already beautiful before any alterations are done. the chandeliers, the tables, the chairs-i don’t even think the bride made any changes to the reception area since everything looked gorgeous as is.

my friend, tony, and i got there as the doors had closed because the bride was about to walk in to the chapel. at first i was sad that i had missed getting a seat before the ceremony started, but being able to see my friend outside before she walked in made me glad i was late. i totally almost bawled when i saw her outside the chapel. her dress was beautiful, she looked fantastic, and it felt like i was in big sister mode. “my little baby is all grown up!!!”  it was so sappy, haha.  she walked down the aisle to christina perri’s “a thousand years” which was very fitting for their ceremony. the ceremony was beautiful, it was exactly as i had expected.

while the bridal party was off taking their photos, i was in charge of making sure the “guest book” was signed. their “guest book” was a huge graphic of a tree that guests had to thumb print leaves on. it was real cute. the bride and groom’s engagement photos hung off tree branches in the lobby area for guests to admire while they got their escort cards (which were in mini frames that guests could later use to put their own photos in).

lunch was fantastic. i know that bride’s aren’t always too fond of having the venue serve their food because they might not enjoy the selection, but ashton gardens has quite a big selection of foods to choose from. and that prime rib…oh, boy. everyone knows that i will try everything in a wedding-and of course i spot the prime rib and am definitely curious to try it. a prime rib at a wedding-it could be good and it could be a downright disaster. i love steak, and i love prime rib. i think i watch too many four weddings episodes (that show in which four brides critique each other’s weddings and rate the food, venue, dress, and overall experience) because every time the brides rate the food, it’s always “bland” and “under seasoned” and “dry.” i was very excited to see the prime rib (i don’t think the other guests were as excited as i was because i noticed them walking by the station of bloody meat) but i didn’t know what to expect. shoot…………i should have just had an entire plate of that thing. it was SO DANG GOOD. now, who would have thought that a fantastic cut of prime rib would be served at a wedding reception! let’s say i was hoping it would be good, but it ended up exceeding my expectations. ashton gardens, you did VERY WELL. that was definitely one of the best dishes i have had at a wedding (automatically into the top 3). it looks pretty obvious, since i just typed up an entire paragraph on it.

i believe the cake was from the cake guys, and some people know i’m a big fan of the cake guys. i don’t even remember what flavor her cake was (she told me once, but i forgot) but it was fantastic. the cake guys are known for their beautiful, over-the-top cake designs, delicious-tasting cakes, and reasonable prices for the price-conscious brides who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for their wedding cakes.  last year, the cake guys participated in the annual platinum wedding cake competition and took first place. you can read about it and see their amazing cake display HERE in my previous blog, i tasted cakes.

after lunch and cake, we danced and hung out and took pictures, and it was all great. it’s always so amazing to be a part of someone’s big day, especially when you have been there since the beginning. i remember jessica buying steven gifts every month anniversary during their first year of dating and steven singing songs to her on his guitar. i always love hearing relationship stories and theirs were always sweet. now, years later, they’re grown up, married, and living together. i swear, i feel so old now. but very happy.

here are some photos of the wedding. cheers to jessica and steven on your marriage. may you celebrate MANY, MANY years of happiness together and may GOD bless you with the happiness that you both deserve. come and see me for baby shower invitations when the time comes. haha!!! love you both!

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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the taste of dallas 2012

i had been waiting for the taste of dallas for 2 months.

two.

i have been going to the taste of addison for a few years now. i love it. food vendors, crafts, games, rides, music, all rolled into one weekend out of the year. well, i heard of the taste of dallas back in may, when the taste of addison was going on…and i thought, “hmm…wouldn’t it be BIGGER?” so i researched it, and it sure enough was. it was double to triple the size of taste of addison…and it was going to be held at fair park, which is where the annual state fair of texas is held. for anyone who isn’t familiar with the state fair of texas, it happens to be the biggest state fair in the US. open for a one month period, it attracts over 3 million visitors per year. it’s 80 acres of insane fun and lots of walking.

for your visual pleasure, here is a map of the state fair of texas…and i’ve pretty much walked EVERYWHERE:

anyways, i obviously wasn’t expecting the taste of dallas to be THIS BIG. i mean, i WISH it was, but it was actually held around the automobile building and the centenniel building, which are the two long buildings on each side of the esplanade (the strip of water on the left of the map). the funny thing is that i didn’t even expect anything to be indoors, but i was very glad it was, because i’m sure it was well over 100 degrees yesterday. when i’m having fun i don’t really care if it’s 120 degrees. nothing is going to stop me from eating food.

i went to the taste of dallas with my friends, jennifer and duncan. none of us have been to it before, so it was VERY exciting that we all got to experience it together for the first time. the following pictures i will be posting will have a description or introduction to them because i don’t think those “photo caption” sections will be enough for me to explain my thoughts on each vendor…

so here we go…

on friday, i posted a facebook status about the taste of dallas selling ORANGE MIMOSA and GRAPE SANGRIA winesicles. i even mentioned that i wanted to try them. i don’t drink, i hate wine, and i just can’t take the taste of alcohol, period…but winesicles? they just sound cool! it happened to be the first booth we saw. and duncan had to try an orange mimosa popsicle.

he enjoyed it. and it looked promising.

we couldn’t figure out where the food was because the area was huge, so we went into the automobile building. inside was the wine and spirits event (you basically stand in the longest line ever to show your ID to a guy before you taste a ton of booze in a closed off section), some dallas observer show that required a $20 entrance fee (supposedly you got to taste test foods and vendors in a closed off section, no ID required), some cooking shows open to the public, and a ton of taste-testing vendors that sold anything from fudge to bbq sauces to dips and candy. and doggy treats.

duncan’s first choice of purchase was the chocolate covered bacon.

i didn’t get to try it but i knew that i would have enjoyed it if the bacon was almost burnt. if it was crunchy and dipped in bacon…AND FRESH…it would have tasted great. i like my bacon almost burnt. i even request it like that when i eat out and order it. it wasn’t the best thing duncan tried, but at least he tried it! i like the bacon chocolate from neiman marcus. if you haven’t tried it, do so. i think it’s about $6 a bar and it’s delicious.

we passed a booth of artwork and i wanted the first thing i spotted. a piece with a cardboard robot. it was adorable.

it’s the piece on the top left. i fell in love with it. it was the only picture i took of it, and when we came back around a few hours later, it had been purchased for $80 (“what a steal!” one of the guys said). the artists of this booth are having an art gallery at the end of the month. i will be attending it with my friends. we have our flyers as reminders.

my first purchase was at sugar box. i was about to walk by it until i saw “FRENCH MACARONS.” i have never had a macaron. i have a friend, melina, who posts macaron pictures like crazy on her facebook. that’s how i got interested in them. and then i started reading blogs about them. mostly blogs about having disasters trying to make macarons, which then made me scared to attempt them. but i’ve never even seen macarons in a bakery here in dallas, so i HAD to try them. duncan and i chose pistachio and jennifer had a salted caramel.

okay. a few thoughts. first of all, i’m a little picky with my baked goods. i like to have them how they are normally served. these macarons, along with the cake balls and the mini cupcakes, were stored in a fridge before being served…they’re not normally served out of a fridge in a bakery. so that was already a strike against it. second of all, pistachio is such a tricky flavor and i shouldn’t have had it as my first choice. my sister makes a pistachio cake that’s to die for. every time she makes it, i eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…until it is gone. this pistachio macaron tasted like…i don’t know…sugar. BUT….in the bakery’s defense, this was the taste of dallas…and they weren’t in their kitchen…and i know that this pistachio macaron would taste a thousand times better in their bakery than from a booth, so as my first time having one, i am pleased…and yes, i will be visiting the actually bakery to try their fresh ones. =) of course i got their business card! they have 2 locations in dallas.

remember the dallas observer event that had a $20 admission which i mentioned earlier on? well, we were walking out of the building and i spotted CAKES……………………..

stay tuned.

going back outside, we stopped by the beverage express, where duncan and jennifer grabbed their beverages before we started the real food walk.

here is a view of the booths outside, near the esplanade:

our first booth stop was at the taste of cuba. duncan had never tried fried plantains before. my favorite ones are from the el salvadorian chain of restaurants called glorias. their bananas are sweet and whatever batter they fry them in is awesome because it leaves some crispy, sweet shells around the bananas. back home in saipan, our fried bananas are called MADOYA. they taste almost exactly just like these fried plantains except the bananas are different. they’re both good. i’m not sure how duncan liked these plantains, but to me they were ON POINT. i stole one.

my first food booth was the steak kabob booth. all i read was “winner of…” and i went right to it. if it wins an award or is the first of something or if it’s known for something, i’ll have to try it. at first i didn’t want to try it because i didn’t want the veggies on my kabob stick…but then jennifer pointed out that it was just a stick of meat and i was so there. it was awesome. and the kabobs came right off the grill-i wish all things were THAT FRESH.

my next stop was the cake ball company. the cake ball company has only one location in dallas. i have never heard of them but i always have to try every cake ball that comes my way, so i got their “one of each” bag, which had a margarita lime, red velvet, and brownie cake ball. duncan and jennifer both wanted the margarita lime and i wanted the red velvet, so we each took a bite of something and passed it on. i think we were all looking forward to trying the margarita lime the most…and i think we were all equally disappointed in the flavor the most out of all of them. the cake ball was sprinkled with what has to be sea salt and DANG, was it POTENT. i mean, it was the FIRST thing you tasted when you bit into the cake ball. pure salt. i don’t even know if the cake ball would have been good if the salt wasn’t on it, it was that powerful. the brownie cake ball was just a standard chocolate cake ball…or a fudgy one. it was good for what it was. but the red velvet. yes. that was my favorite. now, red velvet is one of the LEAST favorite of my cake flavors. i mean, red cocoa cake? there’s nothing amazing about that. but there are so many different variations of the flavor, some way more amazing than others. and the funny thing is that of all red velvet flavors i enjoy, they’re mostly in cake balls and cheesecakes. besides, based on the bazillion blogs i’ve read lately, red velvet is so last year. blue velvet is in!

as we reached the end of one part of the strip, we found another winesicle booth…so it was time to try the grape sangria winesicle. i have never had sangria before, but i love grape popsicles…well…i love anything that is grape flavored..

…and i hated the winesicle. big surprise. i loved the popsicle idea and i loved the grape flavor…but it tasted like i chugged a few gulps of wine. so duncan got a grape sangria winesicle and got to compare it to the orange sangria that he had earlier. he said he liked the grape more.

as we were hanging out in the shade and finishing up the winesicles, we noticed dogs everywhere…..which brought us to the centenniel building. i took a picture of the pink sign because that’s my last name. haha. inside the centenniel building was not anything i expected. there were dogs everywhere for the first section, and then there were kids rides and inflated bounce houses and slides and even a rock climbing wall. my nephew would have had a ball in there! and it’s a dang good thing we walked further down because at the end was THE SWEET FACTORY!

so here we have an amazing 9 layered topsy turvy cake made of sweets. i think i gain 1,000 calories every time i look at the picture. and then on the sign i notice it is a “home of…” so obviously i bought a “sweet potato thang.”

it was delicious. i guess i could describe it as a sweet potato square with some crust made out of amazingness. it actually looked like there was a layer in between the sweet potato and the crust, but who cares, it was just more yumminess. i loved it. as far as the bakery name, absolutely edible, i’m not sure. absolutely edible cakes. who’d want a cake that wasn’t? i don’t get it.

a bakery called sugar and frosting had 2 display cakes:

when we got out of the centenniel building, WE FOUND THE FOOD TRUCKSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the dallas food trucks were what i was looking forward to visiting at the taste of dallas. i have heard many good things about them and i have never been able to try them when they are in the arts district downtown. there is a website that lists which trucks are available at the food truck court during the week and of course they are not available on the weekends. i was looking for a korean bbq truck and i found it.

ssahm bbq, pretty much the only truck i wanted to go to. i didn’t even look at the cup cakin’ truck. it didn’t matter anymore. jennifer and i wanted the kimchee fries but i let her get it and i got a korean beef taco. duncan got a beef taco and a chicken taco. i just wanted to TRY IT. and boy, were we in for something. KIMCHEE FRIES. who would have thought that the kimchee fries would be the best thing in the taste of dallas. or one of the best things i have tried this year. as i was ordering the tacos, the guy noticed me taking a picture of their taste of dallas menu.

him: “why don’t you take a picture of the real menu off on the side?”

me: “um, because it’s covered up with the taste of dallas menu.”

him: “dangit.” *reaches under him, grabs a menu, hands it to me*

me: “thanks!….*takes a picture*…………….can i have this?”

him: “of course!”

sweet.

after all the food samples and desserts and meats and this korean goodness, we were stuffed. STUFFED…so we kinda hung out for a bit until i saw……..the statue of liberty.

and more pictures before i jump to another major part of the day….

that strawberry lemonade yogurt was amazing and perfect to finish off our foodathon. we didn’t even put any toppings on it, it was perfect the way it was. i want more. right now.

so…..because it was hot out, we did a small walk-through back inside the automobile building, the first building we walked through. we noticed that the dallas observer section was emptied out…..EXCEPT FOR THE CAKES. jennifer kept telling me to ask if i could go in and take pictures of the cakes but she ended up asking a security guard. one of the cakes looked familiar, but i could only see a little portion of it…….and i was right. when the security guard KINDLY let us come in to take pictures of the cakes, it was THE CAKE GUYS!!!!!!! back in march, i attended a wedding cake competition and got to taste test cakes. in my blog, i tasted cakes, the cake guys were one of the competitors…and FIRST PLACE WINNERS…of the night. in fact, their winning cake was present!

behold…..more cakes from THE CAKE GUYS……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

amazing cakes, once again. i love the cake guys. i told one of my friends to get her november wedding cake from them and she is. awesome!

 

and that was my sweet ending to the taste of dallas. i took 200 pictures, but if i posted all the pictures i want to, i’d never sleep tonight. it’s already 3:30 a.m. and i’m tired as heck.

the taste of dallas was awesome. i’m glad i could take that off my list of “things to do for the first time in 2012.” i had a BLAST with jennifer and duncan. i hope they did, too. the only thing i regret is not eating more kimchee fries. i don’t think that would have been possible unless i would have stayed there for another 2 hours. i would have, but there was actually a birthday party going on at my house and i couldn’t miss it. i have to post those pictures another day because there are enough in this blog alone.

on our way out, we took more pictures.

 

 

 

hope y’all had a fun weekend!

xoxo,

sierra lei