Monday, April 29, 2013

Back From the Big Apple

Mason and I made it home safely after a whirlwind trip to The Big Apple, New York City! We arrived early Wednesday morning and planned out a few days mixed with friends, family, work, and fun. Mason was invited to tape a segment for the new Lisa Oz (Dr. Oz's wife) Show airing sometime this summer on the Veria cable network. Since we were in NYC for that, we decided to also accept an offer from Connecticut Style and took the train to New Haven where Mason taped a segment with them as well. That one will air on May 1st so as soon as I get the on line link, I'll be sure to send it to you all to watch.
Mason did a great job and learned a ton! He had to deal with major changes to what he had rehearsed, the swapping of ingredients that, in this case, work the same, but he didn't understand what was there for him to use (they put Tamari - dark soy sauce - out in place of his soy sauce, that would have been okay if it were in a clear glass bowl, but they left it in the bottle and the label Tamari threw him.), and he couldn't use his frying pan that we brought with us so he could do his fancy flipping of the crepe. I'm not sure the Lisa Oz show is going to shine him in his best light with all the changes they made, but if nothing else, it is these early experiences that will help him do better, stronger cooking demos for television in the future. The production team at Connecticut Style treated him wonderfully and even let him sit in the control room to see how the "other" side works.
While we were in CT, we met up with Jim and JK (Dave's sister and her husband) for lunch and then took the train back to Grand Central Station. WOW! What a place that is! There are just too many things to share in one e-mail but suffice it to say, we had a ball! We went to FAO Schwartz, Times Square, Central Park (where I had a lovely chat with Don Cheadle), we rode the subway, went to China Town, Chelsea Market, had dinner at the famous Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant, and we were given tickets to see Spiderman on Broadway...orchestra seats, it was amazing! Mason made sure to eat plenty of New York street food, check out this two minute video of him eating his way through NYC!
Now we are back to school and addition to getting ready for Mason's many upcoming appearances; channel 31 on May 9, The Strawberry Festival on May 11 & 12, the Spring Home Show on May 18, and then the Sonoma Fair in June and the State Fair in July. It's busy, but we have plenty of fun, too! If you want to come to one of these events, we usually get a few freebies (tickets), let me know. Happy Monday, with lots of love.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Look Out NYC, Here We Come!

Mason and I are off to New York City! There is not much more to share about this adventure just yet, but on another similar note, Ellen is looking for schools that need a hand and Mason made a video asking Ellen to help him raise the money to update his school kitchen. We are looking to get as many people as we can to submit the form through Ellen's website to hopefully get her to take notice of Mason and help him out with his fund-raising efforts.
For now, I have to finish packing because when we leave for school tomorrow, Mason and I are not coming home - it's straight to the airport we go. Mason is planning to do some fun "Man on the Street" videos for his website about different foods he has on his list to try; a hot dog from a street vendor, a slice of real NY pizza, and a Gyro from a food truck. If nothing else, Mason and I will have a ball! Stay tuned and if we are friends on Facebook, you'll get a little sneak peek at our adventures. Have a great week!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Opportunites O'Plenty!

Happy Monday!
WOW! This has been a time of lots of change, not just here at the Partak Homestead, but with so many of our friends, too. I'm starting to reconcile that there is no such thing as, "When things settle down." I'm heading into the last 6 weeks of school, Dave is working full time and managing to keep his accelerated education up, Mason is starting to get more media requests as his cooking demos are coming up (2 this month in NYC and CT, 3 in May, and 1 in June - so far!), and I'm working a part time job for one of our top producing real estate agents handling her files. Yeah, we're keeping busy. If you want to see where Mason is cooking, you can visit and click the "Meet Mason" tab.
Mason and I leave for NYC next week as he has two television taping opportunities. One is with Connecticut Style which is much like Good Day Sacramento, and the other one has not allowed me to share the details. I was hoping they would let me tell you all before we go tape, but rest assured, I will share as soon as I can! And there are a couple of other fun things about the NYC/CT trip, I get to connect with my friend Julianne and her daughter who will be visiting the city at the same time Mason and I will be there. To add to that, April this year marks our five year friendship anniversary and since we met on Twitter and social media has been a large part of our relationship, how cool that we get to be in the Big Apple to celebrate our anniversary. Also, Mason and I will get to have lunch with Dave's sister JK and her husband Jim in New Haven after Mason's taping. JK and Jim have not met Mason and I know it will be a great time. I will say this about Mason's appearances, he is working to promote his fund-raising efforts for the kitchen update at his school, he has a lofty goal, but if he reaches enough people with his light and humor, I believe he can do it!
Okay, now I have to get back to studying the dating of igneous rocks, geologic time, volcanoes, earthquakes, fossils and topo maps - I have an exam in geology lab tomorrow and another one in lecture on Wednesday...wish me luck, or something stronger! Happy Monday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Happy Monday!
It's definitely a happy Monday for us Partaks having finally made it home from Hawaii. Now, before you say it, I know, "There are worse places to be stranded than Hawaii." Yes, that's true, but next time you dream of being stranded on a tropical island, make sure all your work is caught up, you don't have classes to attend (still working on an honors graduation in a few weeks), and that you have more cash than you need at the ready. If all that is in place, great, get stuck! I explained much about what we learned about flying space-a so I won't go into that again, but let me tell you what an adventure our flight home was, we got to fly on a C-17! My military peeps totally know what I'm talking about and for those of you who don't I've attached a few photos. It was totally cool, Mason got to go in the cockpit and talk to the pilots while we were in flight, we were all allowed to make ourselves comfortable with blankets and pillows on the floor, and we were even served an in-flight meal! Okay, it was a not-very-good sandwich, a piece of fruit, snacks, and a bottle of water, but it was something. Mason said it was the best flight ever and it completely reaffirmed my desire to downsize my life of "things" and travel more with my family. I also want to give Mason some major kudos for being such a great traveler. We had quite a few trips (fully packed, ready to go) to the terminal only to have to find somewhere to stay and unpack again. He totally went with the flow, was happy when we got a few extra days, cooked for us when we had a kitchen, and was increasingly appalled (in a funny way) when a restaurant server gave him a kid menu with crayons!
I don't know if I mentioned here that Mason is working on raising money to update his school's kitchen. The school kitchen does not have a stove or oven and Mason wants to be able to have culinary classes offered at his school. Two local chefs have offered to provide the curriculum for these classes and that has made Mason even more determined to make this happen. There are a couple of things planned right now including a community Pampered Chef party with all proceeds going to the kitchen - if you have been putting off a purchase, I'll let you know where you can go on line to get what you want while helping a great cause. A local restaurant owner has offered to allow Mason to create a dinner menu and his staff will prepare and serve it on a Monday (the day they are usually closed) and Mason can sell tickets for this charity dinner - how cool is that? There are a few more things in the works but another one is that Ellen has a call to viewers to let her know if their school needs a hand. I wrote to her and Mason did this video on his You-Tube page - please take a look and share it with all your family and friends. If you have media connections, it would be awesome if you would share it with them, too. The more attention he can get with his plight, the more likely he will be able to make this happen. Here's the link to his video: 
April showers are falling and prepping us for lots more May flowers! It has been a really pretty spring already, I am loving the colors and fragrances of everything that is in bloom. Would love to hear from you with what's new in your neck of the woods! Sending lots of love and laughter!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter and Aloha!

Happy Easter and Aloha!
As many of you know, we planned a family vacation over spring break to Hawaii. Of course, Hawaii is gorgeous, but what we really wanted to find out was how to work the Space-A system and fly free through the military. Here's what we now know...there are tricks to getting your name in and on the list early to be assured you are top-of-the list to be selected - this one we learned by not getting on the first two flights we showed up for. Next we learned that even though for a full 4 weeks prior to our travel, there were flights out of Hawaii back to Travis almost daily, that does not mean there will be even one when we are ready to travel home, oh, and just because the itinerary says there is one, two, or three flights the day before you plan to travel, does not mean there will be even one when you show up for roll call. Finally, we learned that is super great for finding last minute, affordable lodging and being stuck in Hawaii as a family for three extra days was not all that bad. It certainly helped that we both got paid at the same time we learned we would be staying on. As of this writing, we are planning to be at roll call at 3 AM tomorrow to catch the flight home...if that flight is still flying. Yeah, it's a wacky system and at some point, free is not really free, if you know what I mean. Even still, with the extra days, and the killer deal we got on our hotel(s) we have not spent what we would have paid for the three of us to fly commercial to Hawaii.
While we've been here, Mason learned to surf, went snorkeling, rode a boogie-board, enjoyed a luau, ate sugar cane, rode an aqua-bike, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and did a video on how to properly cut a pineapple from the rooftop pool area of one of our hotels. We've enjoyed meeting people from Scotland, Australia, and Canada. Some of the food we've enjoyed has been fresh grilled fish and salad with papaya vinaigrette, some of the prettiest cocktails and mocktails you've ever seen, and the best dish of the trip, the curry catfish tacos with pineapple salsa! Oh man were they good!
Now it's time to pack our things up, again, and get ready for a very early morning roll call to try and catch our flight home. If only we had unlimited amounts of time and money, oh the places we would go! Have a great week and be sure to pop over to to see Mason's Hawaiian video and leave a comment to be entered to win - it's super easy and it's a good prize!
Send us some good their-getting-on-that-plane ju-ju!