Sunday, July 31, 2011

My World's Chocolate Extravaganza

Our little church held its first major fundraiser last month. It's a small church so everyone has a little job to do. In addition to helping raise money for our financially struggling church, we also ask the local high school's Conservatory of Arts program to provide the entertainment and in return we'll share our profits with them. It was a good partnership. The program is also funded by donations alone as you know money is hard to come by all around these days.

My contribution to this undertaking is by designing the fliers and tickets. I have never designed anything like this before and I didn't know where to begin. I asked one of my oldest fellow blogger cyberpals for inspiration as she was doing the fliers for her church's fundraiser at the same time. Geri generously shared photo which I used. Her link is on my blogroll.

The object is to sell tickets for chocolate tasting. We solicited help from local businesses to donate chocolate items for tasting and/or money. We also rented a chocolate fountain for dipping. Did you know that when you rent one of those chocolate fountains it come with the guy who sets it up and cleans up afterward? Just to let you know the rental also included 15 lbs of chocolate, which is a really good deal.

Our members also donated items and gift certificates for silent auction. We also sold raffle tickets where the prices were getaway and spa treatments.

It was a huge success. We did not expect to have a wonderful turnout. On the evening of the fundraiser I manned the credit card machine. People were generous especially when they are helping the church and the kids.

Photos from the fundraiser.

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Placed second place at People's Choice Awards

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First place - winner of the People's Choice Award. Incredibly outstanding.

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This is incredible as well. Made by the same guy who placed Second Place.

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Church members making sure everything is ready a few minutes before showtime :)

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I didn't get any more photos after the gates open because I was manning my post.

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One of the teachers from Conservatory of Arts.

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Some of the silent auction items.

Link to the rest of my Chocolate Extravaganza photos.

I am linking to MY WORLD.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

My World #128: Ocean Beach

When I go to the city, which is not as often as I want, and I am in the neighborhood close enough to the beach I make sure that I stop by for a bit. Such was the case on May 30th, Memorial Day. Our friends took us to lunch in Daly City and we were so close to the beach that we decided to walk off the calories by "hiking" Land's End and walking up and down Ocean Beach.

This post is the Ocean Beach part.

In the past five years, this would be only the 2nd time that I was there where the weather was beach weather - sunny, mid 60s to low 70s, mild breeze and downright beautiful.

Needless to say I brought my camera out to lunch and for a walk. My captures on the beach.

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Funny but I never remember a totem pole by the Cliff House before. Has it been here forever?

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Gorgeous blue skies.

MY WORLD.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Puerto Vallarta: The Botanical Garden and the Waterfront

When we left the downtown area, our guide informed us that this tour goes to the botanical garden, which is the end of the tour. I didn't realize we had an itinerary to be honest with you, because it was never discussed.

Anyway, we drove out of town and went up the hill passing some residential areas along the way, then we drove to a section of dirt road where there was nothing there but brush, like we reached the middle of nowhere. But when the road curved we managed to peek at the water from the top of the hill which was very picturesque. Unfortunately, the driver did not stop.

As we were nearing the destination, we passed by a small village that looks like it was celebrating a fiesta. We begged the driver to stop by the front of the church, which looks like the downtown area. There was nothing there but a few houses and the little parish, a capilla. But the dirt road was watered to keep the dust to a minimum.

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The locals gather around the church. There was a service going on at the time.
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Locals dressed in costume for the festivities later. We were told the party was going to be that night.
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This was the downtown :)

The drive up the hill including the stop was roughly 30 minutes from the downtown area. While a couple of my tour mates asked if we could stop at a tequila brewery for the tequila tasting, the driver said the tequila tasting at the garden is much better, because we will not be pressured to purchase after the tasting.

When we arrived at the botanical garden, our driver did his spiel and showed us some tropical plants and what their uses are. Having been raised in a tropical country, nothing I was seeing was new to my eyes, so I kind of tune him out of my system and just went my way about the garden photographing plants and flowers.

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Soon after he was herding us up the stone steps to the restaurant up on the hill.

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Shot glasses could be personalized for souvenir.

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I am a wine person, but the tequila tasting was fun. First, it was free. Second, they have a variety of tequilas. There was almond tequila, orange tequila, chocolate tequila, mint tequila, among other flavors. Could you believe that? Being a chocoholic that I am I was really tempted to grab a bottle of the choco tequila, but even the small size was big enough for me.

When that was over we were allowed to look around the place. I didn't know that this place offered ziplining. Maybe if the group wanted to go ziplining we could have strong armed the guide into letting us do it. But as it was no one was interested, except us maybe.

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The restaurant with the canopy. So relaxing out there, with a little brook running next to it, it was a perfect setting.

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A few steps down the dining area is this sight. Prettier in person.

The good thing about our guide is that he was quite different. When we descended from the hill, he asked us if there was somewhere else we wanted to go. None of us could think of a place to go to, and so we were okay to have the tour end right there. However, the guide suggested that since it was quite early yet, if we wanted to see how the real Puerta Vallarta looks like he'll take us to where tourists never go. A unison of yes was the answer from the van.

He drove us to residential areas that looked like any residential area in Asia, okay I'll say Philippines. Some areas are decent, but others are downright ugly. Unfortunately I was sitting in the middle seat which barred me from getting any drive by shots at all. We were thankful that he has shown us this side of town.

We were dropped off the dock and here we parted ways with our tourmates. My husband and I were not hungry and we had at least 2 hours left before we were required to go back to the ship. So we didn't go back. We went to look at this huge Disney cruise liner that was docked next to us. We didn't see it when we dock in the morning.

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We walked and walked under the heat of the sun. I wasn't too much bothered by the heat and humidity, because I was enjoying taking photos of everything.
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It's just so pretty out there.
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At the end of the trail we saw that there was a flea market a few yards away, which meant that we would have to leave the compound. We have gotten some coffee packages and little knick knacks here. Most of the items here you find everywhere too. Same merchandise everywhere.
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In the same compound they have a restaurant that looks like it caters to tourists, the hanging dollar bills on the ceiling and everywhere are a big clue. We weren't hungry as I told you earlier, but we ordered the gigantic margarita and an order of nachos just so we werent just drinking.
The restaurant was airconditioned which made us stay longer than necessary.

When we got onboard we stayed on the deck to catch more scenes digitally.
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This is a bullfighting arena that can be seen from the deck. I snapped this in the morning before we disembarked. There was a crowd out waiting for it to open it seems. I didn't know if there was a bullfight that day.

At the Mazatlan series, I mentioned that there was travel advisory regarding Mazatlan. Now it seems that Carnival and Royal Carribean or is it Princess Cruises have scratched Mazatlan off this route, it seemed to have gotten too dangerous to stop in Mazatlan. I don't know if NCL, the one I took also followed suit. Instead of Mazatlan, the two cruise lines above now stay overnite in Cabo before sailing to Puerto Vallarta.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Puerto Vallarta: Random Shots from Centro (Downtown)

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The Parish Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

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Puerto Vallarta has cobblestone streets. I cannot remember what the guide told us about why it is so.
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It has a small village feel to it.
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And we leave the Centro for our next stop.