Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crossing Over to the Brighter Side

Hey guys, I'm working this weekend to transfer my blog over to WP, so if I lose you in the process, hang tight--I'll be back!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving spent with family and friends! Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Honeymoon Part II: The First Full Day

Hi there and happy Thanksgiving Eve!

I've never been one for the Thanksgiving Eve celebrations, as none of my family flies/drives in from out of town, spends the night, and then wakes up together in the morning for a big brunch. I wish we did that--how fun would it be to have a huge sleepover with your family? Therefore, tonight will be spent hitting the gym and then relaxing with Andy. I love long weekends--especially when they involve holidays!

I found some jeans last night--not just one, but 3 pairs! This is a rare find in my world since I have the hardest time finding pants and usually can't wear them until they've had a trip to the tailors'. Luckily boots are in season so I can stuff my unhemmed pants into them and get by until next week when I have a chance to drop them off.

Honeymoon Part II

For those just catching up, you may check out my previous recap here.

On our first full day on the island, we headed to the beach directly after breakfast. I've seen the ocean before when I went to California a few years ago, but had never been in the ocean since it was winter and freezing cold!

The sights around us were spectacular! We wandered around the beach at our resort before hiking over to neighboring beaches. 

First up, a black sand beach! This was so neat in contrast to the tan, fine sand beaches that we went to throughout the week. This sand was composed of coarse little pebbles that were red and black in color. It was an interesting sensation to walk on, that's for sure! 

As we waded along the shoreline, snapping pics and taking in the moment, we almost got taken out a few times by some surprise waves that crashed upon the shore! Our clothes got a little wet but it was definitely worth it!

The water was so crystal clear and beautiful--especially with the black sand shining through. It was a perfectly sunny day with temps in the high 80s. A little humidity ran through the air, but the ocean provided a nice, refreshing breeze--making the temps perfect for scurrying around on an adventure.

Next up was "Big Beach" as the locals call it. This is a very popular swimming beach due to the huge stretch of coastline, perfect sand, and excellent swimming spots. Ironically, as soon as we arrived, it was being evacuated due to a recent shark sighting with is pretty rare since the water depth was only about 6 feet in the designated swimming area.

We had fun playing in the sand, wading by the shore, and walking barefoot on the beach. It felt so great to take each day for what it was worth and just fly by the seat of our pants rather than have a planned out agenda.

Later on in the week, we went swimming at big beach and had so much fun just standing in the huge waves and being pulled out to sea and then back again. I didn't follow Andy's advice about not turning your back to the ocean and definitely wiped out by surprise a few times!

On our way back to the resort to change and grab lunch, we saw a lot of food trucks on the side of the road. Most of them advertised fresh fruit and fish tacos, but when we saw this bright bus, we just had to stop! The owner of this truck was a true hippie surfer and ran this truck to support his surfing passion.

A lover of popsicles, Hawaiian shave ice is right up my alley. I chose the Pink Lemonade and Watermelon flavors while Andy enjoyed a root beer float while we walked the remaining stretch back to our room at the resort.

This stuff was amazing! Seriously, one of my favorite things that we enjoyed that whole week!

After a quick lunch in the room, we decided to enjoy the remainder of the afternoon relaxing on the beach to combat our jet lag. I relaxed with a few magazines while Andy snapped pictures of the ocean, waves, and surroundings.

This definitely beat sitting at the office on a Tuesday afternoon! The sound of the waves and the warm sun on our faces was so relaxing--especially after the wedding craziness that took place the week prior.

After awhile, we headed back inside to shower and change before setting out for an outdoor mall to grab dinner. Most of their malls in Hawaii are open-air and it was so nice to be outside while you were "inside!" Definitely not an opportunity that could be had in Minnesota, where it is winter basically 8 months out of the year.

This mall was filled with all kinds of fun shops and restaurants--including a few we had never even heard of.

I was ecstatic when we found a ROXY store! I love this brand and later on ended up purchasing a shirt on our last day when we revisited the store.

We enjoyed a relaxing dinner at a cheeseburger joint. Grilled cheese and chicken wingsfor him, and a salad for her!

This cobb salad was exactly what I was craving and we ended up going back to this restaurant later on in the week for the same dinner round two--it was that good! We actually had the same waitress the second time and she remembered us--haha!

We ended the evening with a sunset walk on the beach--taking more pictures and reflecting on our day. It was a great first day and were were so happy that we had many more days of our vacation to follow!

Stay tuned for the next recap! 

Until then, enjoy your day relaxing if you have it off, otherwise, enjoy your "Friday" today! I work today but I'm hoping we maybe get let go a little early due to the holiday and the fact that most people are out of the office today--clients included. Hey, a girl can wish, right?!

Do you have the day off today?

What are you most looking forward to about Thanksgiving? I'm so excited to see my cousins and Andrea's new puppy!

Do you have a hard time finding jeans?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chex Mix and Crafts

Good morning!

On Sunday, I headed down to my sister's place for a day filled with homemade Chex mix and crafts. My mom, sister, and I have been making homemade Chex mix each year since Andrea and I were little. It's a snack that we always look forward to and the bags that we produce rarely make it to see Christmas Day. 

We all brought a few ingredients and got to work! We made three batches so that we each could take one home to share with our husbands. Each year we make the classic recipe that is on the back of the seasoning packet, but we also make a few changes:
  • We add Kix and Cheerios (or Joe's O's this year)
  • Extra pretzels
  • Extra wheat Chex since those are our favorite
  • No bagel chips
This is how we've always done it and it is so good. I love all of the flavors and textures that are in each handful.

Check out my sister's huge measuring cup--that baby holds 4 cups! I mixed and measured all of the cereal and dry ingredients while my mom and sister melted butter mixed with the seasoning packet.

Stirring it all together to ensure an even distribution of flavors. You'd better believe we snacked on the dry mix a bit before tossing it into the oven to bake.

Working on batch two! By the third round, we had quite the system down!

My mom poured the mixture into baking pans before tossing it into the oven--stirring the mix every 15 minutes for even coverage.

Finally it was done! It made the house smell so good!


My sister and her husband are picking up their new puppy tomorrow! His name is Hurley and he is a mix of a chocolate lab and a Corgi. From the pictures I've seen, he is adorable! They already have his bowl, food, collar, etc. all laid out and ready for him. I can't wait to meet this new addition to their family on Thanksgiving.

My whole family puts their trees up before Christmas--not just me! How cute is my sister's purple and silver themed tree? Please ignore the fact that I cut off the star at the top. Gah!

While the Chex mix roasted in the oven, we helped my mom with a Thanksgiving day craft. Well, my mom and I worked on them--my sister surfed the web and ate Chex mix while watching us do the crafts. 

My mom needed help creating and assembling little paper turkeys as placeholders for our Thanksgiving dinner. Speaking of which, we'll be headed to my in-law's on Thanksgiving day and my parent's on Sunday. Twice the celebration!

It was fun to sit back and do a craft while chatting with my family. I haven't done a cute project like this in so long! I often forget how fun it is to create things off screen rather than just on the computer.

We munched some salad while we worked--we weren't too hungry after all of that Chex mix so we kept it simple.

I cut out the turkey beaks and had way too much fun with them before they were glued down...

Seasonal candy was also consumed during the craft.

The finished product! We made 12 altogether and the letters stand for the initials of everyone's name. Here are the Laura and Andy turkeys. 

The whole army! Hopefully they stay strong this Thanksgiving so that we can use them again next year.

Well, I'm off to go get ready for the day. Thankfully it's a short work-week this week and it's already almost half over. I'm working on some holiday e-card designs with animated snowflakes falling down and so far they're turning out well! This is a client that I don't usually design for, so it was nice to switch things up with a totally fresh look rather than a standard corporate style.

After work, I'm hitting the stores in search of some new jeans--the zipper came off the track of my favorite pair so they're kind of useless now!

Do you have name cards on your Thanksgiving table?
Homemade Chex mix fan?
When does your Thanksgiving break start?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hawaiian Honeymoon Part 1

Good morning!

Yesterday on my way home from the gym, it began sleeting and by the time I arrived home and showered, it was full-on snowing! We finished decorating our tree before heading out in the snowy weather to attend the Saturday evening service at our church.

We went to the evening service since I'm headed over to Andrea's place this morning to make some homemade Chex mix with her and my mom. It's a family tradition that we've had ever since we were young and I hope to carry on the tradition when Andy and I have kids. You know, in like 10 years or so.... ;-)

Before I head out for the day, I wanted to share some more honeymoon photos with you guys! Let's have at it!

Hawaiian Honeymoon

My family, minus Andrea's husband, Andrew, since he was at Air Force training that day! He came to the reception though.

After the wedding and reception, Andy surprised me by informing us that he had booked us a room at the Westin, which is a really fancy hotel. The room was phenomenal! Huge king-sized fluffy bed, a super modern bathroom, and room service!

They brought our breakfast into our room the next day--how fun to have breakfast in bed the day after the wedding! The rest of the day was spent running errands to pick up things for our trip.

We stopped by the mall right before they closed to cancel my cell phone account, join Andy's account, and get iPhones! These came in so handy on our trip! Andy even downloaded an app that showed us where everything was in Maui.

Our flights over there were kind of long. We first flew to Phoenix, then flew directly into Maui; however, the flight to Maui started at 10 and we didn't arrive until 2pm and we didn't get lunch on the flight, so we were starving! Plus we were 5 hours ahead on Minnesota time, so it was really 7pm our time. Talk about jet lag!

As soon as we landed, we grabbed our luggage--does anyone else freak out overtime they go to baggage claim that their bag won't be there? Luckily this has never happened to me before, but that would be awful! After exiting the airport, we headed to the car rental agency to pick up our car for the week. We got a brand new Ford Focus to zip around in while on the island.

There were chickens walking around everywhere! We were so surprised to see this!

Since we skipped lunch and didn't really eat much for breakfast, we stopped at the closest place to the airport--McDonald's! I was surprised to find out that everything cost much more in Hawaii since it all has to be imported onto the island. Everything on the menu was about a dollar more than in the states!

Also, we headed to Wal-Mart later in the week to pick up some snacks for the plane ride home and their prices were higher than usual too. It was interesting that they didn't have bags for your purchases either--you had to bring your own or go without! Crazy!

After our lunch/dinner or whatever it was at that time, we headed to our resort, which was about a 25 minute drive from the airport. I was gawking out my window the whole time with my camera--capturing all of the neat scenery, plants, and mountains that were around us! 

Our resort was so wonderful! We stayed at the Makena Beach and Golf resort for the week and loved every minute of it. 

Our room was on the very top floor, which provided us with some excellent views of the ocean and the resort grounds--including a golf course and a pool view.

The open-air resort was tropical, clean, and relaxing in every way possible. We had a gorgeous view out our balcony, and the staff was so friendly that we didn't want to leave at the end of the week.

Excited to be off of the airplane and in HAWAII!

Stay tuned for part 2!

Ever had breakfast in bed?
What do you usually order at McDonald's?
iPhones- yay or nay?
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