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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hawaii 2014

So, as many of you know, we took a family trip to Oahu this past month. My parents have a timeshare on Waikiki, and they were able to get 2 condos in a tower about 2 blocks away from Waikiki beach. Weirdly enough, it was the same hotel we stayed in when we went as a family in December of 1999. I wasn't super excited about going to Oahu again as I'd been there twice before as a teenager (I know, I know, I sound like a spoiled brat). I thought I'd seen and done it all, so while I was excited to go to Hawaii, I wasn't super excited to go back to Oahu.

To my surprise, I loved being so close to Waikiki as a mom. It was close enough to the beach, the hotel, restaurants, shopping, etc, and not that far of a car ride to anything else we wanted to see. It was kind of strange going to Waikiki as I felt like I was going back in time. I went in December 1999 with my family (and my high school boyfriend) and June 2001 for my high school graduation senior trip (that really makes me feel old). I felt kind of like a teenager again, and I distinctly remember strolling down the Waikiki strip with friends and walking down Waikiki Beach with my boyfriend. So, it was definitely weird to be with my husband and son walking down the same beach.

Anyways, we absolutely had the BEST time. Carter kept saying on our last day, "But I just don't want to leave Hawaii!" We know, Carter, we know... I'll just give you some brief descriptions of what we did (because I normally don't do this kind of thing--let's face it.. my life is boring and my vacations are usually to visit my family in California or Utah). I'll add some vacation pictures in here when I have better access (also posted on my Facebook and Instagram accounts).

Saturday: We arrived at the airport and my sweet mom arranged for us to get fresh leis by baggage claim. If you've ever been to the Honolulu airport, you'd know it is partly open air, so we loved that. The heat was quite shocking, though, when exiting the plane and walking through the jetway tunnel. We managed to find our family and made our way in the rental minivan to the hotel on Waikiki. We got to check in a little early, changed into our bathing suits, and walked over to the beach. The water was freaking bath-tub warm and felt amazing. We literally hung out in the water for over an hour, which isn't normally our thing. We hung out at the beach for a couple of hours and the kids had a blast. My brother Jacob's family went as well, and Carter was just in LOVE with his cousins, including Gabe, who's 17 and 3 feet taller than Carter. I don't remember what/where we ate for dinner, but I remember we did stop at Jack in the Box for lunch..  :/

Sunday: After taking an early walk on the Waikiki strip (I never really did get used to Hawaii time), we went to church at the Honolulu LDS Tabernacle. It seriously was an amazing building and grounds. Wow. It almost looked like a temple. It was their ward's primary program, which was good because we were missing our primary's program. Carter sang all the songs with the little kids. Totally adorable, except he started talking loudly about Godzilla in the middle of a prayer. We then went on a family train ride on Hawaiian Railway. We got an awesome, and very sunny, view of the West Oahu shoreline. It wasn't super exciting, but I know Carter had a blast. We then celebrated all of our family's birthdays in October and November (five birthdays!) with spaghetti and chocolate cake.

Monday: This was Pearl Harbor day. I'd already done this before, but this was on Graham's must-do list. Again, it was a touching and humbling experience and I teared up a bit during the video. Carter was actually pretty respectful as well and talks about the "ships being destroyed". My brother really wanted to get a Dole Whip (which was super amazing by the way), so we stopped by the plantation on the way to Haleiwa Beach. The beach was nice, but this was a particularly bad spot for coral. Ouch. All of our feet got torn up pretty good. We decided to avoid the traffic by taking the long way home and making a long drive around the island and the North Shore. We stopped by the Laie LDS temple to take some pictures, and we ate at this amazing taco place called North Shore Tacos.

Tuesday: This was the most chill day of them all. I worked out with my mom, us ladies got pampered by getting facials and massages, and I got my makeup done at Sephora on the Waikiki strip before my date with Graham. I chose Duke's, which is a totally touristy restaurant on the beach (as most places are on Waikiki), that I'd heard great things about. It was delicious and we had the most amazing sunset view from our table. Graham and I walked around the shops and hotels and had a great time without children.

Wednesday: This day was eventful and we planned to hike Diamond Head and snorkel at Hanauma Bay. The hike was really nice, and of course, provided an amazing view of the island. I was surprised at the ease of the hike, as I remembered it being difficult from high school. Anyways, we next went to snorkel and swim at Hanauma Bay. I am not a huge fan of snorkeling, as it makes me kind of claustrophobic and getting too close to fish and other creatures makes me panicky (I'm totally not an animal person, including fish). The bay was gorgeous, but it was freaking hot. We used a spray sunscreen that didn't work very well, and my sun allergy broke out really bad on my arms. Graham had a zig zag sunburn on his back from my crappy attempt at protecting his back with sunscreen. Also, Graham went snorkeling with the rental minivan car key fob in the pocket of his swimsuit. Miraculously, it still worked! Graham was lucky, or he may not have made it back home alive. Anyways, we did some Vietnamese takeout that night for dinner.

Thursday: Today was our zip-lining day. Not many of us had been before, so it was an awesome experience. It was practically a brand new course on the North Shore called Climb Works. They drove us up to the top on an ATV, and we took 7+ zip lines on the way down, including rappelling, climbing up a rope, and walking/running across a wood bridge. We had so much fun, especially since we died laughing at my mom trying to climb up the rope (you definitely had to be there). We headed back to the hotel, where Graham hurt his wrist playing basketball with our teenage nephew playing on a wet court outside. We all went out to Cheesecake Factory that night to celebrate my niece's 14th birthday.

Friday: Beach day. All beach. All day. I read the Green Mile that day and ended up with tears streaming down my face while on the beach. Totally normal beach behavior. Because it was Halloween, it was looking to be really busy on the Waikiki strip. We ended up ordering Round Table Pizza and eating in the hotel. We then dressed the kiddos up (Carter was Spiderman) and walked over to Honolulu Zoo. For $5, you could trick or treat there and visit their own Haunted House, Carter actually went in and wasn't very scared. He kept in character and kept trying to shoot spider webs at "bad guys" in the haunted house. A mad scientist character was holding fake brains on a platter and asked Carter if he wanted to see his brains. Carter replied, "No thank you!". We died laughing. Carter is even polite to haunted house people! Anyways, Graham and I took one last walk on the beach that night after briefly checking out the crazy dressed up people on Waikiki. Definitely not our scene.

Saturday: We went out for breakfast at LuLu's Waikiki, which is an open-air restaurant right across the street from the beach. We sat at the bar so we could all just stare out at the ocean (I know, it's the same Pacific Ocean that I have access to here in Seattle) and enjoy the delicious food. I ate Spam in honor of my last day in Hawaii (it's really good--I would eat it here more if it weren't so bad for you). We drove to the airport, all depressed and sad. We soaked up all of the sun and warm breezes that we could get before heading home.

I don't know when we'll be back to Oahu (let alone Hawaii), so it was definitely sad leaving. I will remember this trip fondly and will miss those warm nights and beautiful sunsets. Sigh...

And, just to see if you're still reading this.. We have some big news coming up...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

As Promised: My First Vlog Ever (#1 Mortifying Myself Vlog Series)

As previously promised, here is my first vlog in my Mortifying Myself series. This is just an entry that kind of illustrates how I felt about writing about my feelings and events. I thought it was a good introduction to the rest of my journal entries.

Just a heads up. It's not a great quality video. It's with my old webcam with me just sitting at my computer desk. Also, I'm not used to looking straight at the camera so I kept looking at the screen at the image of my striking face (haha--yeah right). Anyways, I plan on doing this again over the next month or so for another random journal entry. I have a kind of funny one about my first boyfriend, my first kiss, and a memorable date in college. What do you guys think? Any requests?

Here's the vlog:

I really love the thumbnail YouTube chose.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Times, they are a' changin.. Again

Well, if there's one thing I know how to do, it would be how to adapt to new situations. Unfortunately.

However, this is a somewhat good change. Graham was working swing shifts weeknights with one additional graveyard shift on Friday nights. However, some things changed at work, and his hours were reduced back down to 28 hours if he wanted to continue swing shifts, or 30 hours if he wanted to work three 10-hour graveyard shifts. (The company doesn't want to hire full-time employees for these shifts so they don't have to pay for healthcare--love these new laws). So, he took the three graveyard shifts. This means I now go back to working at a normal hour (7:30 or 8:30 AM), and my husband is actually home for dinner every night! So, even though his hours are less, we spend less on gas, I get more sleep, and I have my husband home for dinner every night. There are definitely some blessings to this change.

Also, I don't want to jinx anything, but Graham has an interview at a local Naval base today. This is a big opportunity, and if it happens, it means more life changes as well. We are beyond excited for this interview as he has been applying here for months!

Anyways, I promise I'll get my vlog up soon. Like I said, things have been changing here and I hardly ever get on my computer at night. It is already done--I just have to upload it. I also have an upcoming blog about something I've been thinking about a lot--modern marriage and the play of power and control between spouses. I've been really thinking about how I want to word it because it's been on my mind and something I feel pretty strong about.

Until then, we are off to Hawaii next week! Woohoo!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fitness Frustration

Ugh, I've mentioned in previous videos that I've gained some of my weight back over the past 6 months. It all started when I started a new birth control that made me dizzy and very fatigued. I couldn't exercise as hard and I had to lay down a lot. It took me two weeks or so to get back to feeling better after I discontinued the birth control. (P.S. If your doctor tries to convince you that the Mirena is not causing dizziness, but that it's related to allergies that have never caused anything like this before, sometimes you gotta trust your gut and say no.) Also, Graham started working in the evenings, so I don't like cooking as much, so I probably was snacking more. More, I was eating like crap over the summer, eating wayyyyy too many dessert items. Lastly, this new electronic medical record system at work makes me spend much more time at the computer and less time walking around the hospital.

So yes, I am heavier now (probably 5-7 pounds more) than I was in March, and it has ALL returned into my gut. Like seriously, I feel like a stuffed sausage in some of clothes. Being so short, 5 pounds is a LOT on my frame, especially when it is all in one freaking area. My pants that I've bought in the past 2 years since I've lost weight feel tighter and really make me angry and frustrated.

I have not stopped working out. The only workouts I have missed were when we went camping, when I didn't have any videos available, and going for a run would only mean that I was running from wildlife. I have recently started doing some double workouts to help increase my calorie burn and steps during the day. I was doing TurboFire HIIT workouts every other day, but now I'm back to doing RIPPED workouts 2-3 times per week, with an additional 30 minute express Physique 57 workout before each one. I do the full 57 minute Physique 57 workouts 2 times per week, with an additional day of cardio and/or booster workouts from Physique 57 (if you want to be sore and hardly be able to walk for 2 days, try the 30-minute thigh and seat booster.. seriously so sore). I bought the P57 workout videos off eBay as a reward for consistently doing barre-style workouts 3 times per week for 6 months. After the full 57-minute P57 workouts, I do a 20-minute Turbo Jam workout to get my heart rate up and increase my steps for the day (I have a FitBit pedometer for a work health and wellness program). If you've even read this, just know that I have been working HARD (at least, fitness-wise).

Anyways, I have to remind myself that fitness is a journey. Life doesn't just get better all of the time. There are ups and downs, and that also applies to fitness and health. I can't expect to constantly get skinnier or more toned, although I definitely have gotten stronger and better, especially at push ups. Right now, I'm in a fitness valley, and I just need to get my nutrition act together so I can at least get back to where I was. It's just very frustrating because weight loss was easy (nutrition-wise) because all I did was starting exercising and wasn't very restrictive with my diet. I was also maintaining my weight kind of eating what I wanted, of course in moderation. So now, I have to be more careful about what I eat. Graham and I have been discussing a diet for us both before we go to Hawaii in a month. We'll see how this goes.

If you're interested in my Mortifying Myself series where I share or read some of my journal entries, I'll be posting a video within the next week. It's just an intro to my journal entries, but if it works out, I may read and vlog some of my more memorable journal entries (like my first kiss).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #5

So, my theme this month was providing some extra pieces for my upcoming trip to Hawaii. I didn't want any extra clothes preparing for fall because I already have plenty (well... I could use more work pants from Banana Republic...). This is my last buying hurrah because our expenses have increased a lot over the past few months (repaying Graham's student loans, new car, and Carter's preschool). Anyways, here is the review.

Please excuse the terrible pictures (the quality and the subject: me). Seriously, I was NOT having a good day. I do not look photogenic in the slightest in these pictures, and I look about 20 pounds heaver than I actually am. Just be glad I posted these at all, ok.. I had my camera set on a timer on the desk because Graham was working. They were looking awful, so I ditched this set-up and used my iPhone for bathroom selfies.. The worst selfies of them all. Oh, and I didn't style the outfits at all. I am literally wearing workout pants on the bottom.

Papermoon Lupita Colorblocked Cross-Bank Tank: $48




The colors were really cute, and I loved the cross-back details on the shirt (which of course you can't see because of my long hair.. Sigh.). However, it was that extreme hi-lo style that I hate I'm not a huge fan of , and I'd always have to wear something under it because it's see-through. Also, the fit wasn't super flattering, and I couldn't see myself wearing it other than on vacation to Hawaii (Seattle isn't the best place for sheer, flowy tops).

Verdict: PASS

Daniel Rainn Becky Abstract Houndstooth Sleeveless Blouse: $68




I LOVE houndstooth patterned items, but this top was a complete failure from top to bottom. (I guess I should note that I liked the color and kind of distressed style.) The top was too tight in the arms/shoulders, making the shirt wayyyy too tight across the chest and pull right across my boobs. Then, it flared out at the bottom, making me look pregnant. I have stated before in previous reviews to avoid shirts that flare out at the bottom. Because I have such large shoulders and arms, anything that emphasizes that feature is NOT flattering. Lastly, it was that damn hi-lo style again! Am I the only person who doesn't want to hide my butt, or is it because I don't wear leggings with these tops and I don't need to cover up my sheer leggings with my top?? I will be updating my style profile to say NO hi-lo tops. I already have this in my style profile to remind my stylist about my larger upper body:

"No joke, I have broad shoulders, muscular arms, and a full rack of ribs. 
Beware of shirts that are tight in this region that don't have any stretch!"

I don't know what it'll take for them to listen. Just say NO to hi-lo tops, kids. And say no to acid-washed, high-waisted jeans and shorts while we're at it (anybody else disgusted by this throwback trend going on right now??). Anyways, moving on..

VERDICT: Hell nahh

En Creme Saffron Striped Beach Cover-Up Dress: $44





This was just ok. The fit was kind of boxy, and the material was super thin. It didn't feel like it would hold up past one summer season. I did like the drawstring, though.. And, I have this amazing AND flattering swim/cover-up dress from Athleta that just killed this one (picture down below), so I couldn't justify another swim dress purchase, especially when it was so inferior to the one I already have.



Verdict: PASS

Gilli Kamile Jersey Ruched Detail Dress: $64



Love Carter's naked photo bomb. That ended the photo session right there.
I really liked the fit on this dress and the option to dress it up or down. However, the army green color kind of changes, depending on the light. Graham thought it was a poopy brown. Also, it was really thin and felt cheap-o and something you could get at Target on clearance (I'm assuming that, as that's not somewhere I really shop for clothes). This dress's quality was not nice enough for $64. But, I was looking for a dress for a friend's wedding, and something light for Hawaii, so this one fit the bill. Plus, I didn't want to lose my $20 styling fee.

Verdict: KEEP

Bay to Baubles Quincy Fringe Collar Necklace: $36




When I looked at this in the box, I wasn't very impressed. It looked like a plain silver necklace. However, it looked really nice when I tried it on with the dress. I was considering buying it, but my car got broken into and I was thinking about replacing my Bluetooth for about the same cost as this necklace. So, I sent it back.

Verdict: PASS

Summary: So, this box was a little disappointing. I had a different stylist this time, so maybe that was it. They did listen to my request for some Hawaii and vacation items, but the fit of the clothing was mostly terrible. I do have an abnormal body type, though, so I can't hate on them for that. I know it's hard to find clothes for my large, broad shoulders and chest, straight waist, and smaller hips with an altogether athletic body frame. I must note that the quality of the clothes doesn't always match the price. I know they do have to make a profit somehow, but I feel like I can get much more tailored and higher quality clothes on sale at Banana Republic or Ann Taylor. It is exciting to get this package in the mail, but I don't know if I'll honestly continue doing it. Maybe I'll try it again if I'm looking for something special. If you are interested in trying this service out, please use my referral code.

Here are my previous Stitch Fix reviews:

And, to remind myself that I truly haven't gained 20 pounds, here's a recent selfie

Much better.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One of those days..

So, today was just one of those days.. Ugh.

I realized on the way home from work today that my car was "broken into" (i.e. Graham left the doors unlocked) last night. My Bluetooth connector and my CD's were stolen, and some random things like my YMCA daycare punchcard.

Then, I stubbed my toe on Graham's weight set when I was trying to take pictures of my Stitch Fix clothes. Hard. Ouch.

And, the pictures did NOT turn out well. I'm debating whether or not to even post them because they are so hideous and I don't look good in them. I ended up ditching my timed DSLR camera for bathroom selfies on my iPhone. Yikes.

So anyways, I'm kind of in a funk today/tonight, so I don't know when I'll next post about whatever I've been up to.

And yes, I survived my camping trip!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Camping

So, we are going camping this week for the first time in over 4 hours. Last time we went, I was pregnant, it rained, and drunk people kept us up all night. It was not fun. I am a bit apprehensive because let's face it, I'm kind of an indoorsy person. I don't like being dirty, I don't like public showers, and I don't like wildlife.

We are going to a campground near Bend, Oregon. It's near a lake and stuff, so we should be playing in the water a lot. We are also planning on floating the Deschutes River around Bend, something I've been wanting to do since my family first visited Bend in 2005. Here's a picture of it, courtesy of Sun Country Tours.



Anyways, I am not really excited to camp, but I am excited to have days off work. Hallelujah. I have literally gone into work 16 days in a row. I am DONE with this place! So, I won't be back until Sunday, so hold on tight until then.