Day 2 of our trip consisted of the actual induction ceremony for the astronauts!
M, back on our NASA bus to take us from the hotel to Kennedy Space Center.
You know it's real when your face is on a banner!
First, we were led to a small room inside the IMAX Theatre to enjoy lunch before the ceremony. It was definitely casual and intimate! We had a lot of time to mingle and chat with everyone. My dad and I got a photo with Hall of Fame inductee Rhea Seddon and her astronaut husband Hoot Gibson. They are the coolest couple ever. Safe to say they are me and Max's #relationshipgoals
In the bottom right-hand corner, you can see retired astronaut (and last year's inductee) Arthur Chang-Diaz eating lunch on the floor! Astronauts are pretty chill people!
Following our lunch reception, we walked back to the Atlantis center (where we had our pre-gala reception the previous day) for the Induction ceremony! I can't get enough of sitting underneath huge machinery. Those grey squares are the tiles of the Atlantis.
Here's a photo of Kent receiving his medal!
Once the ceremony concluded, all the astronauts in attendance were asked to come to the stage for a group photo. You best believe I stood on my chair in a skirt and heels to get this shot!
Following the ceremony, we walked to another building for ANOTHER reception! I think I visited the dessert table 3-4 times. There was also an open bar and everyone had a great time now that all the formal stuff was over! We had a wonderful champagne toast to celebrate the inductees and continued to mingle and chat for an hour.
Once we got back to the hotel, I quickly changed–heat plus heels equals painful swollen feet–and rushed downstairs for Dr. Rhea Seddon's book signing! I'm about halfway through Go For Orbit and it's a fascinating read. She was selected by NASA in the very first group of female astronauts; that's Sally Ride's group if you need a reference! She shares her unusual career and life choices (for a woman at that time) and the struggles she faced. Starting with going to med school for surgery and working in the ED...female doctors couldn't even hang in the doctors' lounge! Then at NASA, despite the fact that all astronauts were required to attain a certain number of hours of flight time, many astronaut wives refused to let the female astronauts train with their husbands! I've just reached the part in the book when she finally arrives in space and I can't wait to continue.
Overall, this trip was a dream come true. I got to hang out with the coolest, most inspiring people on the planet, and everyone was so nice! All weekend I was surrounded by extremely intelligent and brave astronauts that have done so much for humanity during their travels to space. I feel like this fire in my soul was ignited as I continue to pursue my dream job of being a nurse. I must continue to work as hard as these astronauts have done during their careers so I too can leave my little mark on this planet. I've been on many little adventures here and there but I don't think anything could top this weekend.
Earlier this June, M and I traveled to Florida for a once-in-a-lifetime event. M's cousin, a retired NASA astronaut, was selected to be inducted in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame!
We knew it was going to be costly, especially with the event taking place during the peak travel season in Florida. However, when you take a second to ask yourself, "Do I have any other astronaut family members that will potentially be inducted into the Hall of Fame?", you feel really stupid for even considering NOT going. Zero excuses and no regrets for this trip.
M and I got in at midnight on Friday and immediately went to bed. We spent Friday-day exploring Downtown Disney!
We only had a few hours, so we only made time to eat and quickly walk through DT Disney World. We ate at the T-Rex restaurant, which is essentially like Rainforest Cafe but with dinosaurs. Well-decorated and immersive. Every 15 minutes a meteor shower takes place!
After wandering DT Disney (I didn't buy anything, phew), we made the drive from Orlando to Cocoa Beach. Once we got to the hotel I immediately began getting ready for the gala!
First, about the dress. I initially bought a simple forest green jersey wrap dress with a plunging neckline and slits. It was what I would call "understated glam". Later I grew nervous that it wasn't worthy of an elegant, black-tie gala. The anticipation of not feeling confident or appropriate at the gala was killing me, so I purchased this clearance gown from Promgirl.com (yes, seriously), and it arrived ONE day before our flight. I remember furiously checking and refreshing the tracking even though it was shipping over the weekend, haha. Fresh from the box, the bodice fit perfectly, but the mermaid skirt...it was ridiculously poufy, extra long, and wouldn't fit in my carry-on bag! I had to remove the crinoline, cut and hem 8" off the skirt, all while studying for my last final. It was exhausting and immensely stressful, but I finished!!!
We stayed at the Marriott in Cocoa Beach, which was the hotel accommodation for all the other astronauts' families. Kennedy Space Center provided the busses that would shuttle us to and from the hotel and the space center for the numerous events that took place over the weekend. It was a luxury to not have to drive, and it was also a pain to get on the bus in my gown.
Once we arrived, we had a 1 hour cocktail reception in the Atlantis exhibit. It was so much fun to eat and drink under a space shuttle and view the various exhibits! Drinking in a museum is probably one of my new favorite activities. It was also our first time seeing all these accomplished astronauts, and they were dressed in tuxedos and just mingling with everyone! I wish the reception was longer. In retrospect, I think everyone, including the astronauts, enjoyed the less-formal events of the weekend.
M and I unintentionally purchased gifts for each other. I selected this silk screen-printed necktie with constellations for him. My gift from him was a crystal earring set of the big and little dippers. Yay for themes!
Once cocktail hour ended, we were shuttled from the Atlantis center to the Saturn V center for our gala dinner! The Saturn V carried out all the Apollo lunar missions! It was mind-blowing to be dressed up, eating dinner, and getting tipsy under this scientific marvel that contributed so much to mankind's exploration of space.
I loved this butter presentation!
This is the only full-outfit picture of the boo and I.
I was never a big Lauren Conrad fan. In fact, I attended FIDM LA while she was a student there, and her "reality" film sets would block traffic on campus. Particularly frustrating for a student like myself if you were late to class and carrying 20 lbs of supplies. However, as she has matured, I've noticed that her style has matured as well. It's classic, flattering, pretty, and versatile. Her style is actually consistently pretty and easy to imitate on a daily basis. I'm excited to check out her Kohl's collection because I'm a freaking huge Disney fan but I've amassed an embarrassingly large collection of apparel with blatantly large Mickey Mouse logos.
Last Sunday, Max took me to my first REI member garage sale! I was excited...so excited that despite my jam-packed weekend, I chose to drive to Roseville Saturday night, shopped Sunday morning, and drove home later that afternoon in order to prepare for school on Monday.
Max and I had planned to wake up at 6am to get there at 7am, but we kept pushing it back. We ended up rolling out of bed at 7:15am and got there by 8am. By that time, the line was about 50-60 people deep and nobody lined up after us until 30 minutes later. It was actually quite pleasant. We brought our camping chairs and wore our snow jackets but the weather wasn't so bad. The lady behind us in line was an emergency room nurse so we had plenty to talk about, and later she was joined by her adorable, adventurous little family. Roseville's REI had a system with colored paper "tickets" and each group consisted of 50 people. Each group was let in every 7 minutes. It was organized and civilized.
Honestly, I am VERY happy with what I managed to find even though there wasn't much stuff. At first, I was hesitant about the whole deal because I hate Black Friday-esque shopping experiences but this one was rather enjoyable! Nobody was rude or getting shoved around. In fact, the crowd was rather quiet while they shuffled through tables and stacks and rows of gear!
Max and I never celebrate Valentine's, but with everything jam-packed into that particular weekend, it sure felt like it! We don't get to see each other often with our busy schedules and 2 hour driving distance, so when we do hang out it's usually a weekend full of things to do or a lot of couch time and Netflix.
Max couldn't take a day off from his workout and the 24 Hour Fitness on the border of Union City/Hayward is a Supersport–he can't get access with his basic membership–so I had to find a local community pool for him to get his swim on. Hayward Plunge was $4 and the best option. None of the other 24's have pools, I tried calling for the free trial at City Sport and the membership advisor bothered me via phone EVERY DAY for 3 weeks, and the next community pool, Siliman in Newark was $9 for a day!!!
An old friend from Chicago was on a work trip to SF, so a bunch of friends gathered at the Academy of Sciences for Nightlife. We luckily got in for free and there was a Valentine's/Beerfest thing going on so it was especially crowded. Beers were alright, lines were long, everything was packed. I had a pretty good time although I would have enjoyed getting to explore more of the exhibits. I also didn't get to drink very much because I had to drive my manual car into the city!!! Ahhhh....but the hills weren't so bad. I only used my E-brake once.
The only place open late on a Thursday for "good" food was a Korean place. It was alright. Soju was cheap but I didn't get to drink that either :(
The next day, I took Max to St. George in Alameda! We're both HUGE fans of St. George. It was a beautiful day and we had stellar views of the city and warm sunshine.
It's hard to see the sign above the door, but it says: "Emotional Support begins here".
St. George has a $20 tour and tasting. The tour is a detailed insider look into the company's upbringing and brewing process. I love hearing nerds nerd out about their stuff. Their enthusiasm and attention to near-perfection is why I love their company so much.
Their absinthe is my favorite!
I also love their gins.
After our tour and tasting, Max and I had a picnic on St. George's front patio. You can't drink alcohol out there, but you can bring outside food to eat. We packed a picnic lunch with Trader Joe's goodies and enjoyed the scenery by ourselves. There aren't any restaurants too close by which is why the patio is usually always empty.
On a whim, I drove around Alameda some more and ended up at the USS Hornet. How often do you randomly park your car to this kind of view?!?!