Archive | November, 2015

The Big 3-0!

It’s my birthday! It’s my 30th birthday, yikes! Why is it that thirty starts to sound old? I know it’s just a number, but it seems like such a momentous or milestone number. Overall I feel that I am very blessed because by the time I’ve turned thirty I’ve been able to do some pretty incredible things. Travel the world, create lifelong friendships, marry an amazing man, and start a family.

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In the last 30 years I’ve learned quite a lot, about myself and about life. Today, I want to share with you 30 of those things that I’ve learned. Some are kind of superficial things, others are much more serious, and most will allow you to learn much more about me.

Get ready for a lot of reading ahead, this one is a doozy!

1. I love it when friends become family. In the military, there are a lot of times when you can’t be around your family. You end up missing birthdays, holidays, weddings, and it helps when you have a great group of friends with whom you can celebrate those occasions. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve found some amazing life long friends, that are now pretty much family.

2. I don’t need an elaborate make-up routine or daily glam sessions. Sometimes I kind of wish I was one of those girls who had a multitude of lipstick colors and knew how to contour, but I’m just not, and that’s ok. I’ll just stick to my 5 minute make-up routine and look fairly decent.

3. I prefer to hear the truth up front, even if it’s not what I want to hear. It usually works out better for everyone in the long run.

4. Motherhood has changed me, how so is an entirely different, equally long blog post. Mostly, I think it’s changed me for the better.

5. I don’t drink coffee or beer, and I should probably just stop trying them and own the fact that I just don’t like them.

6. I thrive on structure. I blame the Navy, but I’m pretty sure it’s my slight case of OCD.

7. Speaking of structure and OCDness, I’m also a bit of a control freak. I like the dishwasher loaded a certain way, I have a routine for a lot of things, and I typically don’t accept help because that means I’m giving up control. It’s something I really need to work on.

8. The older I get the more aware I am of how reluctant I am to try things out of my control. For example, I get more nervous on airplanes or roller coasters or riding in a car driven by someone else.

9. I’ve learned the importance of a good, hand written, thank you note, and how much it means to the person receiving it.

10. I show love by feeding others. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s all about gathering people around a table and sharing family recipes and family stories.

11. Despite my love of structure, I can’t stick to a nightly routine. Sometimes I go to bed at the same time as my husband, sometimes I stay up and watch bad reality TV, sometimes I wash my face, other times I don’t. I just can’t seem to stick to a night time routine.

12. Water is EVERYTHING! Drink a lot every day. It does wonders for you health, hair, skin, and the list goes on.

13. It’s hard not to compare your success with other people’s accomplishments. I especially think women are more prone to this.

14. I love our country and we are so blessed to live here. However, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to everything that goes on around the world living in the United States.

15. It does wonders for your mind, body, and soul to get out of your every day grind, leave your small town, or just explore. Stepping away from what you’re used to can open up a whole new world and experiences.

16. Working out with a buddy is so much more fun, but I sometimes push myself harder when working out alone, it’s such a catch-22.

17. Traveling is a lot more fun when you can do it with someone you love to be with rather than doing it by yourself.

18. We shouldn’t take for granted our life experiences. There are so many things that I’ve seen and done that at the time I wish I would have realized were the little things that would be the big things later in life. Even just keeping a journal to document what I’ve done, where I’ve gone, and how I felt at the time would be something amazing to look back on later in life.

19. When I can’t understand something or am blown away by life, I just give it up to God. It offers such a relief to just put it in his hands and move on.

20. I don’t like clutter and am quick to throw things out or get rid of things if it doesn’t offer a purpose. In that sense, I’m not very sentimental and don’t hold on to things.

21. I’ve learned what my style is and what typically looks good on me.  I like classic pieces, that are a little preppy, and usually don’t have a lot of pattern.

22. I did a Whole 30 a couple years ago and realized that processed food is not only bad for you, but affects every part of your life.  Your skin, sleep patterns, mood, and weight are all affected.  When you eat good, quality food it changes your life.  It’s also a lot easier to give up the processed stuff when you give it ALL up at once.

23. We have all made it to this point in our lives with the help of others. Find a way to help others or give back to family, friends, or community through volunteering or charity work.  Sometimes just being kind to whoever is helping you goes a long way.

24. I find that I get more accomplished and feel much more productive when I write down the tasks I want to complete for the day and check them off as I complete them.  And yes, I’ll admit to adding things to the list after I’ve already done them just so I can check them off, haha.

25. I’ve developed a healthy body image.  I don’t know if it’s just my genes or the fact that my husband always lets me know that I’m beautiful, but I’ve just come to accept that this is how I look and I’ve embraced it.

26. Holding grudges only hurts yourself.  Letting go and forgiving others quickly eases your mind.

27. Life doesn’t stop after having a baby, we take our daughter (almost) everywhere we go.  We incorporate her into every aspect of our lives, which allows us to keep doing the things we love and exposes her to so many new things.

28. My inner most fear is not being successful.  I’ve had to redefine what success looks like in order to have a realistic outlook on where I stand with being successful.

29. I like to get other people’s opinions before making a decision.

30. I’ve got a lot more living and learning to do in this life and I’ll be approaching this next decade with an open mind and grateful heart.

29 years and 354 days ago!

29 years and 354 days ago!

I’ll be ringing in my 30’s by spending time with family and friends this weekend and probably a few glasses of champagne!  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Holiday Dress Guide 2015

First and foremost, I would like to say Happy Veterans Day!  It’s a very special day to celebrate, because without our veterans this country wouldn’t be what it is today, and without those currently serving we could be living in a much more dangerous world.

As a veteran, I just want to say that those that serve in all branches of the military are some of the most professional, intelligent, caring, and selfless people out there.  Many of them have become my very best friends and family.  They sacrifice so much for the protection of others; missing weddings, birthdays, holidays, and even births.  They deserve to be celebrated every day, but if you ask them it feels awkward even just getting thanked when they are wearing the uniform.

To all those that have ever served or are currently serving, Thank You, from the bottom of my heart, and may you realize that what you do is truly amazing.

In honor of Veterans Day, I’ve put together a red, white/silver, and blue themed Holiday Dress Guide with cocktail dresses perfect for all of those upcoming holiday parties.  The best part is that all of them are under $100, some are even a lot less!

With the right shoes and accessories these would be perfect for work holiday parties, or a festive gathering hosted by friends.  All of them are short and most are sleeveless so if you live in a colder climate, topping off your outfit with a chic warm coat is probably necessary.  Here in Southern California, warm coats aren’t necessary even in December.

I love the back of this dress, and the fit and flare silhouette is super flattering.

If it’s appropriate to wear something a little sexier, this body con dress looks perfect.  It has 4.5 stars from 110 reviews, so lots of people seem to like it, and I like the $56 price tag!

This lace wrap dress is great if you need or want to be a little more conservative.  Even though the sleeves are lace, they may add a little warmth to your body in the middle of December.

Again, a fit and flare silhouette looks great and wearing white in winter isn’t a faux pas with the right accessories.  I love the silver shoes that are paired with the dress on the model.

If you feel like sparkling during the holiday season, this lace and sequined dress is really pretty.  No need for many jewels because the dress is so adorned.

This asymmetrical hemmed dress is a little sexier with the fit, but still has a conservative neckline.

I must have a thing with lace right now, because I’m loving all of these lace overlay dresses.  This navy one is so sweet with the eyelash trimmed lace.

Hopefully, these red, white, and blue dresses get you excited for holiday cocktail parties.  I love the idea of doing a color other than red for these events, blue is a bit unexpected, but just as festive with silver or gold accessories.

What do you think of these dresses?  Do you have a lot of holiday parties to attend?  Oh, and Happy Veteran’s Day again!

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The Reason for Last Week’s Radio Silence

Happy Monday friends!  It’s good to be back, I hope you had a great weekend.  If you didn’t notice I wasn’t around this part of the internet last week.  I am currently in the Navy Reserves and had to do some work for them in Hawaii last week.  There are worse places to have to work, but I did miss my family and was glad to get home.  Today I’m going to share with you some of the things I did while I was there, call it a mini-trip report.  If you ever plan to go to Oahu, there is a lot to see and do, hopefully some of these tips will help guide you.

The view from my hotel balcony.

The view from my hotel balcony.

I was working on Oahu last week, and my husband and I used to live there when we were first engaged and married, so we have quite a bit of knowledge of the island and things to do. Being back there brought back so many memories of the beginning of our marriage!  It was fun to reminisce while driving around the island.

I was able to go on a Remembrance tour of Pearl Harbor on an Admiral’s barge which was pretty cool.  If you are into history at all visiting the Arizona Memorial and touring the battleship USS Missouri, is an awesome experience.  Seeing these things from the harbor on the water was even cooler.

The entrance to the boat house.

The entrance to the boat house.

The Admiral's barge, not the boat I was on, it's reserved for extremely important dignitaries.

The Admiral’s barge, not the boat I was on, it’s reserved for extremely important dignitaries.

It’s amazing to think of all the things that have happened in this harbor and it’s hard not to get a little emotional when you think about all of the sacrifice that was made here.

USS Utah Memorial

USS Utah Memorial

That gap in the tree line is the entrance to Pearl Harbor.

That gap in the tree line is the entrance to Pearl Harbor.

There are a ton of great places to eat around the island, but a one of our favorites is Roy’s, with a Hawaiian inspired, international menu.  We love going to the Hawaii Kai (the original) location right before sunset because the view is amazing.  If you’re in downtown Waikiki, another fun, more casual place to eat is Duke’s.  It’s right on the beach and always busy.  If you don’t mind, I recommend just sitting in the bar area, you’ll get a table much faster and maybe a table right next to the beach.  You can try the classic mai tai here, but boy is it strong!

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If you’re headed around the island a few other places to try are the shrimp trucks on the North Shore, and Maui Mike’s in Wahiawa.

For breakfast, or anytime of the day really, you must try hot malasadas, emphasis on the hot!  They are delicious little round bits of fried dough rolled in sugar or stuffed with custard or chocolate.  Mmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.  The best place to get them is at Leonard’s, there’s one in Waikiki and another food truck version in Waikele.

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I also recommend stopping at the Dole plantation on your way to the North Shore, even if it’s just for their pineapple ice cream.  There’s nothing like it!

Obviously, there are a ton of outdoor activities on the island.  Surfing, kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, relaxing on the beach, you name it, you can do it.  My favorite beach is Lanikai because the water is really shallow, perfect for just relaxing in the water, and it’s super warm.  Other’s like Kailua are really nice and Waikiki beach is good for taking surfing lessons or a catamaran ride, it’s just very busy with tourists.  Sandy’s beach has some big waves you can play in, just be careful, they’re pretty strong.  And the North Shore has a ton of surf competitions that are fun to watch.

There are also a ton of great hike’s around the island.  Most of them have great views from the top, but varying difficulty levels.  Some good one’s that are a little harder are Pillbox and KoKo Head, while Diamond head is pretty easy and has great views of downtown.  Maunawilli Falls is another great hike that ends at a waterfall with a pretty large swimming area.

Your trip to Hawaii wouldn’t be complete without going to a luau.  I highly recommend the Paradise Cove luau.  It’s a little pricy but the show and the food are amazing.  I could literally eat kalua pig every day!

Super old picture from 2009-ish.

Super old picture from 2009-ish.

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Hawaii is a great place to go, but it definitely helps to know a few insider tips and places to go. Hopefully this Hawaii mini-trip report is a good place to start.  If you are planning a trip and want more thorough information be sure to let me know and I’ll do my best to give you the best advice.

Sorry I wasn’t able to post last week, but being in a tropical paradise was a little distracting.  I plan on getting back on track this week.  What did you do last week, anything fun?

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Celebrating everyday!