Ashley and Tyson

Today, my sister-in-law is getting married.

Tyson and Ashley

Ashley and Tyson will be married today at 5:00 p.m. We had a lot of fun doing their pre-marital counseling and getting to know them as a couple really well. We’re looking forward to welcoming Tyson to the family.

We are so excited to be a part of this day and so thrilled that the two of them are stepping into this next phase of their life.

Also, I took their engagement pictures (some of them are linked from the picture above).

Dragonfly Bakery

One fun thing that we got to do as a part of the planning process for Ashley and Tyson’s wedding was to taste the cake, made by the awesomely local Dragonfly Bakery of Olathe.

We found this bakery through a dance team parent who had brought Alli and Ashley cupcakes prior to their competitions the past two weekends (which they really did amazingly at, BTW).

wedding24

Dragonfly Boba Tea and Bakery is a locally-owned and operated little shop right next to Pei Wei at 119th and I-35 in Olathe. One of the reasons that they came to our attention was that they have the ability to make gluten-free cakes and desserts. Since Ashley and Tyson both have a gluten intolerance that borders on celiac disease, they didn’t think they were going to be able to have a wedding cake when they get married in April.

With Dragonfly, they will.

We got to taste both the gluten-free and the regular cakes from Dragonfly and I could barely tell the difference between the two. The cakes are amazing. Ashley and Tyson decided to go with Dragonfly’s signature white chocolate cake for both their own personal gluten-free cake as well as for the main cake for those of us whose intestines can tolerate gluten.

Not only are the cakes terrific, but the owners are a terrific group of ladies that use recipes from their grandmother Opal, who passed away in 2006. Now, three generations of Opal’s children and grandchildren run the business in honor of her, a great tribute to a lady that made a heck of a cake.

If you’re looking for a cake for any occasion, I suggest you go check out Dragonfly.

I was not paid for this endorsement, although I would certainly take free cake for it.

What did I miss?

So I’m back from Jamaica.

The Jamaican Sky

Alli and I and the rest of the family have been at Beaches Negril since last Saturday. While we were there, my brother and his lovely significant other Kelly got hitched on the beach on Tuesday afternoon. Both families were there as were a bunch of Jake’s friends and we had a great time. After an all-day journey yesterday, we’re back in Kansas City, away from the island humidity.

It looks as though the internet didn’t break while I was gone, although I  did win a contest and my biography was posted on Brad’s site. It looks like everything else is as it was. 

I read two books while I was gone, finally finishing Wild at Heart by John Eldridge and quickly consuming Playing for Pizza by John Grisham. I’ll post reviews soon.

As far as the rest of the week…I’m taking the rest of the week off from work. I may tackle a redesign of my own site if I can do it quickly. We’ll see.

How are you?

Finally a Florida Update

OK, so I realize it has been a while, but with all the crazy traveling I’ve been doing (Friday Morning to Sunday Evening in Florida, Monday afternoon to Thursday night in Las Vegas), it’s been difficult to sit long enough to compose anything worthwhile.

No worries, though. I’m back. I have several updates upcoming…I hope that you like them.

Let’s start with Florida.

OK, so I should preface by saying IT WAS SO FREAKING EARLY IN THE MORNING WHEN WE LEFT. 6:45 a.m. flight…had to be at my mom and dad’s by 4:30. I made it around 4:40. I had only gotten another 2 hours of sleep, bringing my 3 day total to about 10 hours. To say I was tired would be like saying to Hulk Hogan that he looks like he’s been lifting a little.

Friday was filled with travel. Flight to Tampa, then Fort Lauderdale, then a 3 hour drive to Islamorada. The weather was pretty crappy…lots and lots of rain coming in ahead of Tropical Storm Alberto. I ended up falling asleep in the back while trying to read Holy Blood, Holy Grail (that book has put a serious cramp on my reading list). I woke up and we were in the Keys, driving along the 2-lane Highway 1.

The Keys weren’t really what I expected at all. They were kind of dingy and significantly older than I expected. With all of the development happening all around the country, they seem to be the Land that Time Forgot. The people were surprising too. I expected wealthy, beautiful people, but I walked into a Jimmy Buffett concert. And our hotel (if you can call it that)? It looked like something out of a horror flick…similar to the one in the movie Identity. It was surreal.

Our dingy motel

Once we got settled and took a nap, we were off to enjoy the first wedding event, dessert at the Marker 88 Restaurant and Bar. It was pretty cool and I got a really good shot of the sunset going down over the dock there. It was also the first we got to see of our good friends, the Steeles. It’s been about 3 years since I’ve seen Gabe and Kristi and it was the first time I met their adorable little boy, Zane.

Gabe and Zane

I was so excited to see them and obviously, the bride, Shannan, Gabe’s older sister who has always been something of a sister to me as well. We got to reminisce and talk and I also got to reconnect with one of Gabe’s old friends, Pete, who I last saw about 7 years ago at a different wedding. Pete is an actor who has been in and worked on a lot of really cool stuff. He had tons of stories to tell us about how he got into the movie Seabiscuit and who does what in L.A. and stuff like that. Me, being the total entertainment junkie that I am, totally soaked it up. (Alli would have loved it too…I’m sorry you missed it, honey!) Anyway, we turned in somewhat early because the wedding was the following morning at 6 a.m.

Fire in the Sky

The wedding was really neat. Shannan and her husband Joseph really planned a great service, set to occur at sunrise on the property of Shannan’s mom and step-dad, Rodney. It was an amazing property that they manage for someone who lives there 2 months out of the year, a pretty sweet setup for them and a great setting for the wedding. It was a great, short service and you could tell it was totally personal to them. Gabe sang the Beatles song, Blackbird and played it on bass and it was awesome. To further add to the awesomeness, 3 blackbirds flew over as he was singing it…totally sweet.

The Wedding Before Sunrise

Once the wedding finished, we had a great brunch. After that, we were all so tired and full that most everyone dispersed to their respective hotels and beds for some more nice naptime. We returned later (after some rain) to basically hang out, play some volleyball, and walk around on the sand, much further out than before because the tide had gone out. It was really weird though…it was so humid that my camera got fogged over…check it out:

Foggy Camera

We stayed as late was we could, talking and hanging out with our good friends. Jake and I hung out with Gabe and his friend, Pete a lot. Pete’s an actor and he’s worked on a lot of really cool stuff. He’s got some great stories about actors that he’s hung out with, shoots he has been on, advice he’s received…all great stuff.

Here’s Pete (foggy camera again):

Peter Gaddis - Actor

Look for him in American Wedding…he’s the football guy who is the mock minister when Stifler stages the wedding prior to the real wedding (“Dearly beloved, blah blah blah”). It was fun hanging out with him…I’m looking for him in all the movies and TV shows he told me to now…it’s pretty cool.

We got out of Florida just before the Tropical Depression hit. I was glad to go home. In my opinion, Florida is really overrated and not all that pretty. Plus, I really missed Alli a lot. It sucks going to events like that without her. I was ready to go home and see her. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home for all that long…

Islamorada

Tomorrow morning (EARLY!) my mom (Happy Birthday!), Jake, and I are going to be traveling to the sunny state of Florida to the Keys, a locale I have never been before. I really wish that Alli could go, but she is off at drill team camp with her girls.

I am looking forward to seeing my good friends from Wyoming and Colorado and am psyched because it sounds like it will be a fun event. We get back Sunday and then it is off to the HOW Conference in Las Vegas on Monday. It will be a crazy next week for me, but I’m going to keep trying to post regularly (although wirless might be spotty in the Keys…should be fine in Vegas) and I’m going to post lots of pics to flickr so keep an eye on the sidebar for new pictures.

My day was pretty interesting considering I got no sleep last night. More on that later…if I can remember it.