Wednesday, July 31, 2013

That One Time When I Met the Cast of Breaking Bad

Do you watch the show Breaking Bad?

You might have heard of it. It's the one about the science teacher/cancer patient turned meth maker. It has won a bunch of awards and the Dad from Malcolm in the Middle is in it.

Well the show takes place and is filmed here in Albuquerque. The city has become a character in the show. A big part of what the company I work for does is marketing the city of Albuquerque to visitors. To entice people to come visit and spend money here. Because of the success of Breaking Bad, we've seen a big increase in visitors coming to Albuquerque specifically to tour spots featured in the show.

A few months ago, the cast held a fundraiser in town for a local youth charity. Basically you could pay an insane amount of money to come and hang out with the cast for a few hours. They also invited the local press to come and cover the event. Our PR person Megan, was able to score a press pass and got permission to interview the cast for their thoughts on Albuquerque. Unfortunately for her and lucky for me, she wasn't able to go...and neither was anyone else in the they sent me!

Not going to lie, it was pretty awesome. I showed up early...really early. Like an hour early. I wasn't sure how long it would take to drive out to the studio where the event was being held and I have a pathilogical fear of being late AND I have a habit of getting lost so I made sure to leave with more than enough time for me to wander the New Mexican desert and still show up on time.

Turns out, getting to the studio was fool proof, even Natalie proof. It literally took me 15 minutes to get there, get through security, park and get my credentials.

Not many people had shown up yet so I was left wander around. Never a good idea. I have a habit of just walking around and getting into places I shouldn't be. Cameron is constantly amazed at how I can get backstage and into exclusive places without being stopped. (He gets stopped even if he is supposed to be there!)

I was also able to snap a few pictures before everyone came in:

Reelz Channel is a cable movie channel that is headquartered in Albuquerque. 

People finally started to arrive and they had the press line up along the side of the room. There were a few TV stations there and reporters from the Albuquerque Journal so I figured I'd stay out of their way and stand at the back of the line.You know, let the professionals do their jobs

Once everyone was lined up, the actors came in and what I thought was the back...turned out to be the front. I was the first one to interview Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn. They were all super nice though I had to resist the urge to touch Bryan Cranston's bald head.

Once the interviews were over, the cast sat down and the festivities started. They raised over $30,000 for a local youth charity called YDI. The kids were brought out, Bryan Cranston gave a speech, a giant check was presented.

One thing that really struck me was how much the cast knew about Albuquerque, how much they appreciated the community and the fans here. They didn't just fly in to film and then leave, most of them have bought houses here and continue to spend time here.

Oh yeah..then this happened...(Ignore the crazy eyes)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3 Months and Counting

I am alive! The past few months haven't been any busier than usual, I've just been a little bit lazier. Here is a quick recap:

The Hubs and I spent a quite Thanksgiving together. Just the two of us. It was glorious. As much as I love seeing family, it was nice to not have to travel, sleep in a strange bed and have to get properly dressed. A day spent in pajamas is a day well spent.

Christmas was spent much the same. We used to have a giant fake Christmas tree (and I mean GIANT, like Daddy Warbucks at the end of Annie giant). But it was free and in good condition so I took it. It was so big that I have never been able to fully assemble it. There was never enough ceiling space. Since I wasn't able to put the top part on,  I would point the branches upward, creating a point and stick the star on top.....can you say ghetto? It was also a pain to store, so we gave it to a local theatre company, who will actually use it in a production of Annie.

But Christmas is not Christmas without a tree. A real tree is out of the question. Not only am I allergic to the tree but also from vacuuming up the needles that drop. So we bought this little guy:

 Christmas was saved!

My parents came to visit the week after Christmas and we showed them off to all of Albuquerque. We did all sorts of fun things, none of which I documented in pictures.

Cameron started his final spring semester at UNM in January! He will be graduating in August! Then the great job hunt begins. It's about time this sugar mama retire. He hopes to find a job at either a tv network/station in a major sports market or for a team. Which will of course mean moving once said job is found. Where in the world where we live next?

Did February really happen or did we skip it this year? At the moment it is a blur. We were both too busy and too broke to celebrate Valentines Day. I've never been one for that day anyway. Of course we watched the Oscars and I will post on that later. With all the amazing movies this year, they deserve their own post.

And here we are in March.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Hot Air Balloon!

I have a good excuse...I promise. September and October are super busy at work. The first week of October is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Over 600,000 people from around the world come to Albuquerque to either fly or see over 500 hot air balloons.

The company I work for (The Albuquerque Convention & Visitor's Bureau) is not only a sponsor but it is basically our job to make sure those visitor's have a good time. We also host journalists and photographers at the Fiesta. We spend September preparing and October recovering.

The good news is that I got some pretty awesome pictures.

Every morning the Mass Ascension happens. Hundreds of hot air balloons inflate and take off. It's pretty incredible...except for the ungodly hour one has to get up to see it :)

The special shape balloons are my favorite, especially Spider Pig.

In the evenings, there are the Balloon Glows. The balloons inflate and glow in the dark, it's pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting to Know You

In an effort to post not only more on my blog, but to also make it more personal; I’ve started using some journal prompts with the end result of A) you knowing way more about me then you probably ever wanted to know, and B) To get back into writing. It’s one of my biggest passions and it’s been way too long.

To start, here are 25 random facts about me:

1.     I always sleep with a fan on. Even in the dead of winter. I pile on the blankets, turn up the heated mattress pad and have a fan going.
2.     I am the crazy annoying sports fan. I yell, scream, cheer and sometimes swear.
3.     On that note: my favorite part of baseball is when the players clear the benches to fight.
4.     As a kid, I used to write plays and make my sisters act them out.
5.     I once ate a dog biscuit on a dare.
6.     Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are my favorite books. I read them at least every two years.
7.     I have never had a dog as a pet. I was raised in a cat only household.
8.     I’m a feminist, a Democrat and a Mormon. (Yes, we do exist.)
9.     The Husband and I didn’t have a wedding. It was a civil ceremony in the bishop’s office with two of our friends on a Thursday afternoon and I don’t regret it for a second.
10.  If I could, I would eat Mac and Cheese everyday.
11.  I’m lactose intolerant.
12.  I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and have struggled with depression  since I was a teenager.
13.  I didn’t go to Disneyland until the age of 17.
14.  I love old things. Photographs, books, furniture, houses.
15.  I got my love of music and cooking from my Dad and my love of animals and reading from my Mom.
16.  I’m a social media junkie. Facebook, twitter, pinterest…you name it, I probably have an account.
17.  I can sing. I’m no Whitney or Aretha but I like to think that I can hold my own.
18.  I want to adopt a child…someday.
19.  I live in the hot air ballooning capital of the world but I refuse to ever set foot in one.
20.  I have the worst math skills.
21.  I go through my closets once a month and usually end up donating at least 2 bags full of clothes and stuff to DI or Goodwill.
22.  I play my music loud. The louder the better.
23.  Growing up, my Grandpa was my pen pal.
24.  I love office supply stores.
25.  I’m right handed. When I was about 11 I taught myself to write with my left hand. Unfortunately, I’ve lost most of that ability.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Edition: Phoenix

Our summer thus far has consisted of a steady diet summer school and work with no end in sight. Needing a break, we decided to get out of dodge for a few days. For the first time, Cameron planned the trip, all I had to do was take Friday off of work and pack the suitcase. So come Friday July 20, we where headed for Phoenix!

We pass through Flagstaff often when we drive to California, this time we stopped for lunch.  Flagstaff has a great downtown area, very charming with lots of little shops. We ate at a diner downtown and then wandered around for a bit. I love this part of Arizona, it's so green with lots of mountains and the perfect weather - 75 degrees.

There was one part of the trip that Cameron neglected to tell me about. The Grand Canyon! Every time we pass the exit on our way to or from California I beg him to turn and he never does. He's never been and it is a must see.

After an hour's drive north we arrived! I took a lot of photos at the Grand's kind of hard not to.


My favorite picture is the one of the hat. The Grand Canyon is a classy place. There was a man and woman walking around in a tux and gown but Cameron wouldn't let me take a picture of them...something about it being rude.

After the Grand Canyon we made our way to Phoenix.

On Saturday we went to visit the Mesa Temple. The visitor's center was great and the grounds where beautiful. There was a great exhibit of old photographs from when the Temple was being built (1927). I love old photographs. LOVE THEM.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around town. Phoenix is beautiful but I'm not so sure about the heat. It was about 110 degrees from the time we woke up to when we went to bed. No bueno. A hot and sweaty Natalie is not a happy Natalie.

We had lunch with two of my cousins who live there, made sure to visit Ikea and a few other stores we don't have in Albuquerque.

I have a confession to make. A big nerdy confession. I love capital buildings. Almost as much as I love old photographs and capital building always have old photographs. Every time I go to a capital city I have to go see the capital building. Every one is different and represents the place and time period it was built.

Unfortunately, the Phoenix building was closed so I couldn't take the tour (much to Cameron's relief) but I did walk around the grounds.

And here is Cameron with a giant cactus...I'm not sure what he's doing. Probably praising the gods that we didn't have to take the capital building tour.

That night we took the Metro Link (kind of like the Bart) into downtown and went to an Arizona Diamondbacks game. My first professional baseball game! I love sports and particularly baseball BUT the only reason I agreed to go to the game was because the ballpark had a roof and was air conditioned. Glorious air conditioning! They played the Houston Astros and won. We stuffed our faces with hotdogs, garlic fries, cotton candy, and pretty much everything else the vendors were selling, at one point I almost bought a margarita...almost. (By accident! It looked like frozen lemonade I swear.)

As we left the stadium it opened up and poured rain. Rain and 110 degrees is not the business. Standing for 30 minutes in a metro car packed with sweaty, soaked, mostly drunk strangers and crying children is definitely not the business. But I did manage to snap this cool picture of downtown Phoenix.

Turns out Cameron had an ulterior motive for going to Phoenix....

This just so happened to be opening weekend for The Dark Knight Rises and Phoenix just so happens to have the largest IMAX theater in the Southwest. Six stories tall and eight stories wide. You know how I know that? Because on Sunday morning I got to meet her in person. I'm pretty sure Cameron considered leaving me for her but I lured him back with the promise of In and Out before we left town.

The movie was amazing and a great end to the series. This movie only strengthened my husband's man crush on Christopher Nolan (the director). The car ride home was devoted to how amazing he is.

We are now back home and back to work and school. Cameron finishes up his classes this week then off to Ruidoso for 2 weeks for work then back to school. Work continues to keep me busy but I like it that way.

Sleep is for the weak.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter with the Scholles!

As I've mentioned before, Easter in one of my favorite holidays. If you need to catch up, you can read why here.

This year we got to spend Easter with our friends Steve, Jessica and their two adorable children Cooper and Aurora. They drove in on Saturday from Utah and will be here until next Saturday. We get a whole week!

The weather could not have been better. Lots of sunshine and about 75 degrees with a slight breeze. We woke up and went to church. Jess and Cooper joined my Sunbeams class where I taught the Easter lesson.

(Side note#1: During sharing time, the teacher brought a porcelain statue of Jesus-a replica of the one in the Salt Lake Temple Visitors Center. Well when she pulled it out, a little girl about age 5 said "Jesus looks like a zombie". It took every muscle in my face not to laugh. Something tells me she learned it from an older brother)

The boys took Aurora (age 1) to Sunday School and Elders Quorum. Where she charmed all the old high priests.

After church, we drove out to the Temple. We were the only ones there. It was nice to walk around and take it all in. We took about a million photos. Here is just a sample, more to come later!

The Temple grounds where covered in Tulips, my favorite flower!

After visiting the Temple, we went back home for lunch, an Easter Egg hunt and some much needed fun!

I am so grateful for the Atonement. That Jesus died for our sins and rose again. This knowledge gives me peace.  I'm grateful for the wonderful people in my life, who love me, make me laugh and challenge me.

Christ has risen!

(Side note #2: Cameron and I don't like to say "Happy Easter". It sounds too commercial. We also don't like "Happy Resurrection Day"-yes people actually say that, it just sounds weird to us. So we decided to say "Christ is risen!". As mentioned in last year's Easter post, that is what we said at my old church. The priest would chant it and we would use it as a greeting at church. Whenever someone said it, you would respond with "Indeed He has risen!" It is always said loud and with joy. Which to us, seems the perfect way to acknowledge what Easter is really about.

Hope your Easter was just as lovely!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

The past few months have been pretty busy for the Kohls. Besides the usual work and school, here is a quick recap of our recent goings on:

We bought a new couch. (You know you have a boring life when buying furniture is exciting)

Winter decided to stay until March.

Although delayed, Spring is finally here!

Which means it's baseball season! Cameron films UNM Baseball. He has been filming for a few weeks (even when it was cold) This was the first game I attended. UNM lost and I got a sunburn. Boo.

The next few months promise to be much more exciting. Our friends Steve, Jessica and their two adorable children are coming for a visit in April. Let the baby proofing begin!

In May, Cameron is going camping in Yosemite with his dad. (I may become a widow) and I will be paying a visit to my parents. Oh...and my birthday just passed...but more on that later.