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Rock the Casbah Photobooth

My birthday is my favorite holiday of the year.

A few years ago, I started hosting theme parties for my birthday.  It started with The Country Club, a smallish soiree with about 40 folks.  When 100 people showed up the next year to Bicycle Rodeo, I knew I’d outgrown house parties.  When 200 people showed up to Prom last year, I was blown away.

This year, I went with an 80′s theme and we called it Rock the Casbah.  At the thick of the night there were probably about 100 folks there, so not quite as grand as Prom, but still amazing.  I hired my buddys, David Berkmon of Ascent DJ Productions, and two of our other friends, who also DJ’d prom for me and once again they had the floor dancing all night long.  In fact, I was dancing so hard that I didn’t really even have time to drink all night.

 People really brought it for the costumes and as always, there were some random groups of folks who showed up late in the evening who had a BLAST.  I love it when strangers happen upon the party and end up having a killer time.  All in all, another year down and another awesome night.

Now it’s time to start planning for The 2nd Annual Masquerade Ball and next year’s birthday – I’m thinking a 50′s party!

If you want to see all the awesome photos or download your photo from the photobooth, you may do so via this link.

Whipped delight

Woah.

Now, I’ve made some delicious cakes in my day, but to be punny, this one takes the cake.

It’s called the “Versatile Vanilla Cake” (recipe via Martha Stewart) and the icing was egg whites and sugar, brought to temperature over the stove and then whipped into a amazing meringue-like fury.

This is most definitely one recipe I’m saving to use again!

Himmel Haus

Last week was Chris’s birthday so we had a small celebratory dinner at our new German themed restaurant in town: the Himmel Haus. I totally meant to wear my fake plastic bib dirndl from the Septoberfest Photobooth but sadly I ran out the door without it!

They have an impressive number of German and Austrian beers on taps and your options for size include normal, large, excessively large, larger than excessively large and a boot.

Drinking birthday beer, Himmel Haus Style

I’m moving today so between packing my house, trying to finish wedding photos for Matt and Sara, planning our Masquerade Ball, family portraits and a climbing photoshoot for my friend Ann Raber, I’m swamped!

Carrie’s 80′s Birthday Photobooth

I’ve worked four weeks in a row now of 55-65 hour weeks. I’m a little stressed and a little tired and quite a bit sick and was super bummed to find out that my friend Carrie wanted to hold her birthday party on the same night as our town hosted a major cycling event, only because I knew that my energy level wouldn’t be what I wanted it to be. I usually ride the event, which means waking up at the crack of dawn and pedaling my ass 72 miles around the lake. This year, I had a scheduling conflict and needed to be at the Tahoe Kids Tri instead so I didn’t have to get up quite so early. After hemming and hawing, I relented and offered to set up a photobooth. Because really, what’s a costume party without a photobooth? I’m so glad I did! It was worth the effort, the lost sleep and the time. It was EPIC.

These are my favorites from the booth, but you can see all the photos here.

Best of the West Rib Cook Off

This man really likes being the announcer for the world’s eating competitions. Barf.

For Brit’s birthday we all headed to grand old Sparks, NV where they annually host the Best of the West Rib Cook Off.

Strangely enough, it was the same day as the world’s Rib Eating Contest.

The smallest contender preps for the start of the event. He got third!

Once upon a time, when I was WAY too young, my grandmother let me watch Stand By Me. While I no longer have lingering nightmares about Gremlins driving through my window (the only other movie that has ever scared me as much), I do have specific and highly frightening nightmares to this day that involve fat kids eating pie. And my boyfriend wonders why I’m flipping out when he eats an entire box of cookies in one sitting.

I was really excited to use my new Sigma 85mm lens but not so excited that it involved the most foul thing I’ve ever watched. I would walk up and take photos for a few minutes and then I’d have to move back and not look for awhile.

The Best in the West Rib Cook-off’s Rib Eating Championship

Horrifying.

It went on for TWELVE minutes.

I wish I was kidding.

So. Effing. Gross.

Thank god I ate before I watched because the idea of food was utterly repulsive afterwards.

That, of course, didn’t stop my friends from buying ribs at at least five different stands immediately after.

Rib Eating post Rib Eating Comp.

New lens is so much awesome.

Regardless of my lingering nightmares, it was a pretty sweet time and it was nice to get some Texas style BBQ while we were at it.

I have a Roku channel on my tv that plays my picasa photos but for some reason it only plays the last four or five albums I’ve uploaded most recently, which happens to currently include the rest of the photos from this awesome competition so every once in awhile my nightmares are relived in my own livingroom. Thankfully they only play for five seconds.

Brit, Jeanelle and I at the Best in the West Rib Cook Off

Vegas, Baby, Vegas

When we woke up the Monday after my birthday, all of the flights on Southwest were sold out for the day which presented a problem in getting Erik back home to Austin. Hoping to try our luck, I hit the airport with him so he wouldn’t spend the day bored and alone, just bored. We hung out in the Reno airport together for about five hours, which were spent reading, joking, talking, watching an irate passenger be inappropriately horrible and rude to gate agents for things that were the passenger’s fault, and on flash photography lessons.

Flash photography lesson = good use of airport downtime. Photo: Erik Moore

Five hours later, Erik wasn’t getting on a flight to Austin. Instead, he was getting on a flight to Vegas. Since we have a mutual friend from way back living there, I decided to accompany him. It was super fun! Our friend picked us up at the airport at 8:30 PM, we had delicious Italian at Nora’s together, spent the night at our friend’s house and returned the airport for our respective flights home at 6 AM, less than 12 hours after we arrived!

I love being spontaneous!

Meyers Summer Solstice Celebration

The icing on my cake was certainly Prom, which was the best party of my life.

The fun didn’t stop there however. Since Erik and Michelle were in Tahoe thru the weekend we had plenty of awesome planned. We woke up after Prom on Saturday feeling not so sparky but after a morning and part of an afternoon of leisurely napping and general laziness, managed to rouse ourselves down to the Divided Sky where an antipasto plate and super spicy bloody mary’s whipped us back into shape.

M and I kicking it at the Divided Sky. Photo: Erik Moore

Outside in the parking lot, the Meyer’s Summer Solstice Celebration was going on. There were vendors selling their wares, local non profits talking about their organizations, kids’ face painting, hula hooping and games, music, pizza, $1 beers and lots of people I knew hanging out in the sunshine.

It was actually a dangerously expensive event for me! I returned home with $70 worth of new threads from my friends at RISE Designs and Graphics and a $20 membership to my friend Maria’s non-profit, The Sugar Pine Foundation, dedicated to saving Tahoe’s sugar pines and other white pines from a non-native invasive fungus called white pine blister rust by educating and involving the local community in hands-on forest stewardship.

That night, my favorite local band Dad’s LPs played at the Divided Sky and I was super excited to show them off to Erik and Michelle.

Chris Gene of Dad’s LPs rocks it at the Divided Sky in Meyers, CA

Dad’s LPs at the Divided Sky Photo: Erik Moore

We ended up having such a fantastic time, despite being previously hungover, that we spent the night dancing away and drinking beers. So much so that we had to get a ride home from Taryn in his awesome limo for the 2nd night in a row!

Getting a limo-cam demonstration! Photo: Erik Moore

You can see Erik’s photos from the evening here and my photos from the evening here.

Prom

Every year I throw a different theme party for my birthday. For my thirtieth, I held a Country Club Party and last year was the Bicycle Rodeo. Every year they get a little bit bigger, a little bit more elaborate and a little bit more wild. I know that last year I said I had the best birthday party in the history of birthday parties, but I was wrong.

Prom was the best birthday party in the history of all parties. Ever.

It was the best night of my life.

I flew my friend and extremely talented photographer Erik into town to take photos of the event. I have high standards and well, it was my party, so someone had to take amazing photos!

The event was held at the American Legion, which really just made the night all the better, and three of my good friends DJ’d for us. From start to finish the night was nothing but exceptionally amazing and every where you went there were 200+ people having FUN.

These are some of my favorite photos from the night, but you can see all of them by following these links. If you are in these photos, the files are large enough to download and make 8×10 prints of. If you would like one without the hysterically awesome cheesy vignette, that can also be arranged. Just let me know and I’ll give you Erik’s email address.

Erik isn’t quite finished editing the misc. party photos, but eventually you will find them all here..

You can find all the photos from the photobooth here.

Best. Party. Ever.