Saturday, November 23, 2013


Here are some pictures from the last few weeks to catch you up on our comings and goings.  It has been a bit busy for a while (I had parent/teacher conferences a week and a half ago) and I have a feeling that it will just get busier as the holidays rush in. 

We had dinner at our friend Melissa's house.  We did some awesome karaoke. 

We celebrated My sister's 29th Birthday.  I was very proud of my cupcakes!  My nieces and nephews agreed that they were the best.
We have been working on renovating our rental property.  Jeff was a hero when it came to removing the linoleum tiles.
Grilled artichokes! My new favorite food!
I got a new movement/health tracker!  It is called a Fitbit Force and it is so cool.  It is has been fun trying to reach all my daily fitness goals.  I hope this helps me break through this weight plato. 

Well, there you have it.  A "snapshot" into our lives!

Secret Shopping

I got to be a secret shopper.  It's kind of like being a regular shopper, only it's secret, and awesome.

My sister, Jen, was really the one who got to be a secret shopper, but I was invited along for the ride.

What's that, you say?  You don't know what a secret shopper is?  My explanation of it being secret and awesome wasn't enough?  Well, aren't you a snippy little blog reader.

I imagine that secret shoppers are slightly different wherever you go, but I will explain how it worked this time.  Buffalo Wild Wings was using secret shoppers to do employee evaluations.  Our job was simple, we show up at the restaurant, we request the server that they assigned to us, and we eat food.  They gave us a voucher that we used to pay for our meal, so it was completely free.  After the meal is over, there is an evaluation form that we fill out.  It has questions like, "how long did you wait before your server talked to you?", "Did the server offer you dessert?" and various other questions.

The word is that if they pass the evaluation from the secret shopper they get the wonderful reward of keeping their job.  If they fail, there is a second secret shopper sent from the corporate office.  If they fail the second time, they no longer have a job.  (It's the age old 2 strikes and you're out system.)

The system may seem a little harsh, but I was happy to be a part of it by eating a free meal.

I had never eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings before.  Upon walking in, the first thing I noticed was the awesome crowns that you can wear.  How could I not grab one?  I'm clearly a wing man.

Robyn commented afterward that they would have never guessed that our table was evaluating their service, because clearly someone important would never wear a hat like that.  But she's totally wrong.  Doesn't that selfie make me look important?

I'm not gonna lie.  Our server did an awesome job.  She took good care of us and my burger was delicious.  (They didn't even take away my hat when I ordered a burger instead of wings.)  She passed with flying colors.  She is still employed to this day!

The moral of the story is that secret shopping is way better than regular shopping.  I really want to do it again.  Do you need the services of a secret shopper?  Because I will secret shop for food.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hanging with the Donner Party

Saturday was the day we went from Lake Tahoe to Reno.  We woke up that morning in our cabin, but we had to be out by 11:00.  I knew Robyn would want to sleep in as long as possible, so I ate breakfast and had a leisurely morning reading and relaxing.

When she finally woke up we packed up our things and headed out.  We went out for brunch (lunch for me, breakfast for Robyn) at the Log Cabin Cafe in King's Beach.  It had been featured on several food shows and was supposed to be the best breakfast around.  It certainly didn't disappoint.

I had a breakfast burrito because Robyn's burrito had looked so good at McAdoo's

Robyn wanted a croissant, eggs and sausage.  She found a plate that had all her wildest dreams.
My burrito was super good, but I should have asked for it without jalapenos.  I bit into one and was feeling it for a minute.  Other than that, it was fabulous.

It was a long wait, so we didn't actually start breakfast until around noon.  So when we were done we were into the afternoon.

Afterward, we drove up to Donner Memorial State Park.  There is a museum there as well as some hiking trails.  The museum had some history about the area, about emigrants travelling to the trail and specifically about the Donner Party.

The entrance to the museum

I was excited about the golden spike and started singing the song we learned in Elementary School about Promontory Point.  Robyn was less excited about me singing in a public place.

I really wanted a picture in front of the covered wagon.  This was the best I could get.  Robyn was so embarrassed that I wanted a picture that she wouldn't come around to the front of it, nor would she give me more than 5 seconds.

Robyn was also embarrassed that I wanted a picture of her by the bear.  She basically hates memories.
 After the museum we did a short hike along a walking trail.  When I planned the trip, my plan was to walk to Donner Lake. (4 miles round trip) but we were so beat from the 10.5 miles of walking the day before, we just did this short nature walk.
Robyn is cute in nature.

This monument was in honor of the Donner Party.  It is 22 feet tall, to show how deep the snow was when they were there.

The plaque on the memorial: "Virile to risk and find; kindly withal and a ready help, facing the brunt of fate, indomitable, unafraid."
It was crazy to think what they suffered through.  I can't imagine trying to survive a winter in these high mountains with 22 feet of snow falling on top of me.

After the memorial we headed into Reno.  We were staying at the La Quinta Inn in Reno and so we went to check in to our hotel.  I've always had great experiences with La Quinta, so when I was booking this trip I just booked the Reno La Quinta when I found they had one.  It turns out La Quinta has varying levels of quality.  This certainly wasn't a bad hotel, but it wasn't up to the normal level of quality we're used to.  It was in a little bit ghetto part of town and it had more of a Motel 6 feel to it.  Nonetheless, we got checked in, we changed our clothes and headed over to the Reno temple.  (The reason we were staying in Reno was for 2 reasons, the first was that our cabin wasn't available Saturday night, but the second was that we really wanted to see the Reno temple.)

We headed over to the temple and it was beautiful.  It sits atop a hill framed by some beautiful mountains (or really big hills) as you are driving up.  I put a few pictures on my temple blog.

Finally, after the temple, we came back to our hotel and just wanted to order a pizza and relax.  It turns out that ordering a pizza in Reno, Nevada is an impossible task.  No one wants to deliver to La Quinta.  Apparently, that part of town is so ghetto that not even pizza can enter.  I picture Gandalf standing somewhere on I-580 saying, "Pizza shall not pass."

Finally, I just ordered a pizza and drove the 5 miles to pick it up.  That wasn't the easiest task either because apparently my GPS hates pizza.  I did eventually find the pizza place and returned to the hotel alive.  When I brought Robyn the pizza  I got to feel like a true hunter/gatherer bringing back the spoils of my hunt.

Then, like a true warrior, I feasted on my pizza and went to sleep.

Thus ends my blogging about our anniversary trip.  There was one more day, but it consisted of driving from Reno, Nevada to Lehi, Utah.  We did the normal road trip things: singing songs, talking, sitting in silence when we run out of songs and things to say.  So there you have it.