Tuesday, November 29, 2016

BUY ALL THE THINGS!

I'm not usually a Black Friday shopper. We have our annual tradition of going to Target on Thanksgiving night, a couple of hours after it has opened. I get a sweater at a discount and the latest season of 'Supernatural', but that's the extent of it.

Not this year.

This year quickly started to spiral and we chose to lean in to it.


Our tradition diverged when we decided to meet up with one of my sister's friends who was getting to Target right when it opened in hopes of grabbing a great deal on a 50" Samsung doorbuster TV. Through poor timing by the rest of the group, I was the only one available to be her 'buddy' right when the doors open and we braved the initial chaos together.

However, by the time we made it to TVs, the one she wanted was long gone. My sister had caught up with us by then and told us the secret that would change how I view Black Friday forever: a lot of people end up putting the doorbusters back. Turns out, in the overwhelming energy of the stampede, people grab what they don't need. Later, they slink it back or just leave it in some random aisle.

Sure enough, less than five minutes later, I saw a man putting one back and I talked him into handing it over to me before anyone knew what was happening.

At this time, Dan finally caught up and decided that the doorbusters were such a great deal, he should pull the trigger on a cheap, giant TV for his shop. Feeling generous, I caved.

From there, we leaned in and started seriously shopping. I can't remember the last time I bought so many things. I am a cheap person by nature, so to go on a bit of a spree is not in my character. Most of it was things I've wanted for quite a while and just finally pulled the trigger. Even now, I still feel some guilt about it all. I'm sure I'll feel more when I pay off my credit card.

Just for fun, here's the full list of all the pointless things I bought {Sidenote: I'm not trying to brag or show-off. This is just a list of the random things we, Dan and I, bought over the long weekend. The big stuff were things we'd wanted to get for a while and the sales online made it a good time to finally do it.}

  • Target:
    • Thursday - 
      • 55 inch cheap TV
      • Holiday sweater
      • Tank top
      • Nyx lip kit
      • Hickory Farms cheese
      • Season 11 of 'Supernatural'
    • Sunday -
      • Christmas Gifts for a one-year-old in foster care (clothes, pjs, toys, etc.)
      • Ipod Nano (the volume down button stopped working on my old one on my Thanksgiving morning run)
  • World Market
    • Saturday - 
      • Quality Street Chocolate Tin
      • 2 chocolate Advent calendars
      • Cookie jar, car with a tree on top
      • Malteses
  • Ulta
    • Saturday - 
      • Ulta 12 days Advent calendar
      • Ulta eye shadow pallette
      • Too Faced blush
      • Lip Stick Queen lipstick in 'Medieval'
  • Online
      • Refurbished Canon camera
      • Second light for blue bathroom renovation
      • Blouse for my sister (Christmas gift), and one for myself
      • Oil for my car
And I'm sure there's more on this list that Dan hasn't told me about yet...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today, I Am Sad

...and scared and just plain angry. I don't want to use this blog to discuss politics, but I do choose to use it to discuss my feelings.

Last night, as hope slipped away as the results rolled in, the only way I could cope was to go to bed early and wish that things would be better in the morning. They weren't, but the ache in my heart had started to numb. And as today has progressed, the numbness is slowly spreading through my body.

I had hoped that I would be able to walk into my morning meetings with my head held high. In my meetings where I am repeatedly the only woman sitting at the table, I would feel like less of an outsider because we finally had a female president. I didn't realize how much that dream meant to me until it was taken away.

And today, my heart goes out to every other person who is worried about their tomorrows.

To all women who have been given evidence yet again that sexism is alive and well in America.

To victims of sexual harassment and assault who have been shown that doing those things to other people will not end your career or even really hurt your image.

To members of the LGBTQ+ community who now have a Vice President who approves of conversion therapy.

To Muslims and their families, here and abroad, who have to now worry if a 'ban' could actually happen.

To refuges looking for safety here that now need to look somewhere else.

To Hispanics and Mexicans who have been treated like criminals and second-class citizens.

To anyone on Obamacare who now needs to worry about finding another health care source in case their's is repealed.

To anyone who benefited from Obama's policies, whatever they may be.

To all the future citizens hurt by whatever Supreme Court Justice Trump will appoint and the decisions he makes.

Today, I am sad. I grieve for all of these people, America, and myself. And tomorrow, I hope I can move forward. I hope this proof of how some people chose to wield their power is not wasted. I hope we can somehow use this huge crevasse to address some real issues.

And mostly, I hope that our government is so huge and cumbersome that nothing actually does change.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Aloha Kauai: Days 2 & 3

For a recap of the very start of our vacation, click here!

On the second day of our trip, we were delusional and ambitious and decided to take on an 'easy' hike along the coast of the West Coast of the island. According to my research, there was a long 11 mile hike that required permits or an 'easy' 2 mile hike to a secret beach and back.

Maybe for serious hikers, it would have been easy. But for me, it definitely wasn't. It was beautiful, but it was also 98% humidity, all up and down hill, and completely coated in mud. I was not prepared, but knowing it was only two miles out and two back kept me alive. In hindsight, I'm very glad I did it, but I underestimated it.




Right before you get to the secret beach, you have to traverse a creek. You are supposed to jump from slippery rock to slippery rock. I tried and made it about midway through before falling in. After wadding to the other side, I tried to push it out of my mind. It wasn't until afterward when looking through Dan's pictures did I realize that he had managed to catch this lovely image of me immersed in the creek while the strangers on the other side judged me. Yay...



But like I said, we survived. It was a rough morning for me, but I would definitely try it again. Better prepared, though...


After a veeeeeeeeeery long shower, which still managed to not get all the mud off my legs, we spent the rest of the day exploring the nearby areas of Hanalei and Princeville. We ate way too much shaved ice at Jojo's, caught the sunset overlooking the Kilauea lighthouse, and grubbed down dinner at Bubba Burgers.




After barely surviving the hike, the next day was much more chill. On the way to the trailhead, we passed the Limahuli Garden and Preserve entrance. We spent the morning strolling the grounds and learning about the native plant-life. Our intentions were good to become accquainted with the natural Hawaiian culture, but by the end of it, we were just immature idiots making jokes about plant names. Wili wili...







After a lovely morning of learning, we went into Hanalei for lunch. I pressured Dan into trying authentic Hawaiian barbecue at L & L's and I had pizza down the street at Tahiti Nui's, famous for being a location in the George Clooney movie, The Descendants.



While our rental house was basically on the beach, Dan was concerned that it was not a safe beach to swim. After a bit of research, he found Haena beach park near the trail head, with a life-guard and everything. The views were incredible. The bay on one side and the cliffs of the rain forest on the other. I am training myself to be more comfortable in the ocean, but this desert rat has a long way to go. I think I managed to wade for roughly ten minutes before a large wave knocked me over and I basically crawled back up onto the beach. There was so much sand in my bikini bottoms that Dan was concerned about it clogging the shower drain.


We finished the day with a fresh dinner at Bouchon's in Hanalei. It was the perfect way to start our vacation. We did a lot, we saw a lot, we ate a lot. It's all I ever really ask for in my vacations.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Aloha Kauai: Day 1

I know I am not the most consistent blogger, but one of the reasons I've been missing lately is we finally got around to taking a nice, relaxing vacation. A full week on the North Shore of Kauai. It was amazingly beautiful and I miss it just thinking about it.

We've been to Hawaii before, but this time was different for two reasons: 1) we chose Kauai instead of Oahu and 2) we tried AirBnb for the first time.

Last time, we stayed Turtle Bay and had a lovely time, but in looking back, our favorite moments we outside of the hotel. We ran the numbers and realized that having a beach house to ourselves for a week was slightly cheaper than staying in a nice hotel, so I talked Dan into it.

This was the beautiful beach house. Technically, it wasn't on the beach, but it was house, then street, than beach. When it's a sixty second walk across the front yard to a beach, it counts as a beach house.


















The waves weren't safe for swimming on our beach, but they were safe enough to wade through almost every morning.



Another great feature of the beach house was the two horses that lived next door. I don't really understand it, but I think it's a big thing there to let livestock graze on properties to keep the grass and weeds down. This was the view from the kitchen. Seriously, paradise.


The other part of the trip that was awesomely unexpected was the upgrade of our rental car to a Jeep. My husband is a Jeep man. He's got a great '91 YJ that he's had since high school. The fact that we got a free upgrade to a Jeep was the cherry on top for him. And he got to spend the trip attempting to talk up the hard-top Jeep so he can upgrade his own.



Most of the first day we spent settling in and stocking up on groceries at the local Foodland. I'll slowly go through our whole trip, but it'll be a while, like the Mexican food we ordered from Federico's as our first meal on the island. Seriously, my chimichanga took forever...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mini Trip to Minneapolis

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to Minneapolis, for business. Due to flight delays, working on my feet for eight to ten hours straight, and pure exhaustion, we didn't get to venture out much. One of my favorite coworkers and I stayed in the heart of downtown, but we didn't see much other than the customer we were sent to see and restaurants. Very good food, but that was the sum of the trip.

I did manage to remember to take one picture of the downtown skyline from within. It was much more modern and developed than I anticipated. Sorry stereotypes.


I don't know what that building is, but it sure is pretty.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Project House Update: Five Years

Last week, Facebook reminded me of a memory from five years ago: the day we moved into our house. Accompanying it was an album of pictures my husband had taken before we moved in. A collection of images of our house empty and in its original state.

Every year I post the List, a list of all the updates to the house we've managed to accomplish in the past year. However, that doesn't deliver the full impact of how far things have come. So let's break down, room by room, how things have changed. {Sidenote: I was going to clean beforehand, you know, to pretend we don't actually live in our house. But screw that. This is how most of it is on a daily basis. So sue me.} {Second sidenote: A lot of these angles don't show off how much our house has truly changed, but let's just stick to a one-to-one comparison.}

The Entryway



We removed the base boards, painted, and are in the midst of transforming the chandelier. It will eventually be much fancier, but we are lazy, so it is what it is for now. One day, when we install new floors, we'll add new base boards back into the mix.

The Front Room





The best changes to this room is the new floors and the new facade on the fireplace. Just removing that old, tile border around the room made a huge difference. Finishing the mantle is still on the list, but the existing Mexican tiles almost go with the slate tiles below them.

The Living Room







This is the room we actually live in. While it's much better than it was when we moved in, it's definitely more functional than form.

The Kitchen







Same here as with the Living Room. It's been a useful room and that's the problem. When a room is as important as the kitchen, it's a pain in the ass to really work on it.

The Master Bedroom



I love the difference some paint and art can make. And candles. I love those candles.

The Master Bathroom and Closet







Other than the new frosted door, the only difference here is stuff.

The Blue Bathroom



Well...we're working on it. I swear.

The Den



The best change in this room is by far the little fluffy one who is obsessed with that new desk.

The Garage



I rarely share the garage since it seems to always be a work in progress/a hot mess, but Dan's done a really good job with it. Gray, yellow, and black: his colors, if you couldn't tell from the Jeep.

The Backyard







It could be argued that the backyard is actually worse than when we moved in. The pool filter basically imploded a few weeks ago and we're still trying to clean the green water up. Also, I am against herbicides so the weeds are winning the battle, but so what? It's good enough for Turtle and for parties so it's good enough for me.

I still can't believe it's been five years. Back then, I would have sworn than we would have been farther along, but if five years has taught me anything, it's that I knew nothing about home-ownership five years ago. We're getting there, but what's the rush?