Aloha From Spring Break!

You know how lots of students board planes for the classic spring break. Ya, the one that the movies portray as the be all end all even of the school year. Well I never really planned to go on a spring break trip to somewhere hot. But this year I was offered a trip to beautiful Maui with my family for spring break. So of course I went, I mean who in their right mind would pass up on the opportunity to go to Hawaii, especially when it’s snowing and miserable back home.

So we left on Thursday, really late just to drive to a hotel. Needless to say, my hole family sleeping in the same hotel room is not a good mix. I don’t think any of us got any sleep at all. By Friday morning we were all exhausted when we got up at 3 A.M to get to the airport for a 5 A.M flight. Honestly 5 A.M is not a good time to fly. Of course I’m not a morning person at all so that’s probably why I studied. We finally arrived in Hawaii on Friday afternoon, and boy was the weather beautiful. We grabbed a rental car and then we were off on what was supposed to be a half hour drive, which due to traffic was more of a hour and a half drive. But of course before the drive we stopped at Hawaiian Costco, and at the food truck village. Yes you read that right, FOOD TRUCK VILLAGE, a gravel parking lot where food trucks park and serve. I think there were about 10 of them there.

During the drive we got a small taste of Island life. The road we took ran right along the coast so we could see the water the whole way there. We actually saw some whale activity too! Finally after the traffic we made it to our first Island Hotel. We changed and made the sort walk down to the water. Let me tell you something, for a small town girl that lives inland swimming in the ocean was an adventure. The ocean has a mind of its own, and the energy you can feel in the waves is amazing. Also it’s really salty, as in dry your whole mouth out when some of it gets in it, that kind of salty. Probably saltier than me. From the ocean we rinsed off in the resorts pool and hot tub, then headed back to the room to change for a late dinner. The concierge referred us to a small diner called CJ’s. It was a dine straight out of the movies. Really friendly service and great food. If you ever head over to the Kaanapali area of Maui, make sure you go to CJ’s. (See the pictures at the end).

Then it was Saturday, and time for us to move into out condo, rather than our temporary hotel room. We explored the condo for a bit and discovered a whole pile of condo cats. For us cat people this was an amazing discovery, one that soon became disappointing when we failed at getting the cats to like us. We headed to the grocery store after our exploring. My mom also met the manager of a Hawaiian Napa store, who offered to give my dad a free Hawaiian Napa shirt. I still don’t know if my dad actually got one. Because we were all tired after grocery shopping we opted to make pizza and watch James Bond Sky-fall before bed.

Finally we made it to Sunday. My mom found a small Baptist church to go to. It was a really friendly and laid back service. You know the kind where members in the congregation will say “amen” during the service. Unfortunately the weather on Sunday was rainy and windy, so we finished church and went for a little drive. Because we are crazy tourists we had the windows open, and this huge, HUGE, bug flew in the window and landed on my mom. That bug was so so disgusting. After that we headed back to the condo where we had a lazy inside day. We actually also made our own high quality steak dinner. Like really good thick cuts of steaks, which is probably one of the best things about America.

Then it was Monday, and as per a typical Monday I ended up at a 24 hour clinic with an extremely sore throat to get some penicillin. Thankfully the weather was really nice so we spent hours just lounging by the pool. Then of course back to the condo to change for dinner. Our condo was in the perfect location just up the hill from Whalers Village Mall. Whalers Village Mall is this amazing open air mall. All the stores are enclosed but the walk between them is just outdoors. It’s an amazing mall. So we went to a restaurant just on the edge of the mall where we sat outside right next to the ocean. I had Fish and Chips and the food was so good, duh it’s fresh fish straight from the ocean. Then we headed back to the condo to watch another James Bond movie.

The next morning we woke up slowly and headed for breakfast at Slappy Cakes, which is a restaurant that has griddles built into the middle of the tables so you can cook your own pancakes. I also tried to order a mimosa, but didn’t get one because the waiter ID’d me. That was sad for me, I’ve never been ID’d before and I have a liquor serving license, I’ve been drinking for 2 years. After that disappointment we headed back to the pool for some more sun. Then mother of all coincidences, we went and bought Hawaiian pizza for supper. Hawaiian pizza isn’t even from Hawaii. My dad also tried a banana that my sister picked off a tree. He took one bight and spit it out because it was, and I quote, so bitter that his “entire mouth is dry”. Then he sat there and made weird faces until he loudly exclaimed that he had to go brush his teeth. Even that didn’t solve the problem so he continued to make weird faces. This is why you don’t eat suspicious fruit that you found on a tree outside your condo.

Then on Wednesday we woke up early and boarded the Taralani 2 to go on a snorkeling expedition and do some whale watching. We cruised for about an hour and saw some whales until we reached s mall bay. Then we were in the water. It was amazing we saw sea urchins and a whole array of colorful tropical fish. I even saw sea turtle, it swam right under me and surfaced about 2 meters from my head! It wasn’t huge but it was still amazing. Then we got back on the boat for some good old american barbecue. Then we were off to spy more whales. The boat captain even had a hydrophone that he put in the water and we could hear the whales singing and speaking to each other. We even got to see a mom whale with her calf really close to the boat and when we cheered they even ventured a little closer. Seeing huge whales is amazing. Unfortunately we didn’t see any dolphins and I was hoping that there would be some. After our boating excursion we stopped at the grocery store and went back to the condo where I made some deluxe Kraft dinner for the family. Of course we were all a little dizzy later at night because I could feel the waves and was getting a little nauseous. But hey I didn’t get sick on the boat so win for me.

And that was pretty much the end of the sunny days. Thursday was rainy, and we got up late, made some breakfast, and then piled in the car to go on a road trip to the Twin Falls. We stopped on the way to the falls at the North shore to watch the surfers. And the water was so blue and beautiful, I’ve never seen water that beautiful. We swam a bit in the falls, and then headed back to our condo to change for a fancy dinner. We went to a really expensive restaurant (Hula Grill) and I ordered some fish and chips of course. But the fish was extremely dry and very poorly seasoned so it was actually a pretty disappointing last meal in Hawaii. But we made up for the terrible dinner by getting gelato at Ono Gelato, which was really awesome.

And then it was Friday and time for me to go home. Ya just me, going home all on my own. Flying international for 7 hours all by myself. My family dropped me off and waited until I went through the gates and then I was alone for 2 hours until I boarded the flight. And then I was alone for 7 hours on a flight. Funny story though one of my University/Church friends was on the flight and we didn’t even see each other until the end of the flight. Then I went through customs, which was super easy, and waited for my luggage for half an hour. Then my awesome friend picked me up from the airport at like 1 in the morning (thank you awesome friend) and drove me to my car. Then I drove home in some windy drifty conditions and made it home around 3:30 in the morning. Travelling alone is a lot different than travelling with your family, and it’s definitely a lot more work, but at the same time I feel really accomplished because I flew all on my own and nothing bad happened at all. Yay me!

Over all the trip was amazing. 10/10 would recommend going somewhere warm. And a big thanks to my parents for letting me tag along on their exotic destination trip.

 

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When Valentine’s Day Turns into Galentine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s day. The day that all couples look forward too. But the day that all single people dread, myself included.

Except for this year valentine’s day wasnt so bad after all. Why? Because my awesome roomate and I decided to celebrate Galentine’s day instead. It’s like valentine’s day for couples but is just a day for female freinds. So we made snacks and watched chick flicks. We drank wine and had a great night. The best part about it? We both didn’t have time on the 14th to hangout so we just picked a day that worked for us.

So no, we didn’t get the chocolate, flowers, or cute little stuffed animals that men get women every February 14. But what we did get was a great night of bonding and relaxing. And we got to do it all in sweatpants from the comfort of our own couch.

I Tried Modeling So You Don’t Have To!

Hey all,

As many of you know last weekend I became a model for a day. Ya, you heard that right, I was a model, for a day, for Once Upon A Bride at the Diamond’s Bridal Exhibition. How cool is that?

But wait, how did that happen? Well a month or so ago Once Upon a Bride put out an ad on Facebook looking for some girls to model some extra trunk show dresses. So I put my name down and got a message back saying that they filled all the spots. Bummer, but I was also relived because modeling was way out of my comfort zone anyways. But then two weeks ago on Tuesday my friend, who just so happens to work at Once Upon a Bride, texted me and asked me if I could come in on short notice and get measured because one of their models dropped out. So I went in and got measured, and it turns out that I was the perfect size to fit the dresses they needed modeled. So before I could talk myself out if it I told her that I would model the dresses in the show.

It was a rough week before the show. I was extremely nervous and my stomach hurt all week. Even after I went to the fitting, which was awesome, I was still completely nervous. I’ve never got to wear wedding dresses before, and at the rate my love life is going I probably won’t get to wear another one anytime soon. ;). Let me tell you, the dresses I got to wear were stunning. And then it was show day, when I had to get up and face the music.

The day started strange. I was slightly late, and then I had a drag queen curling my hair for 2 hours. I had never met a drag queen until that point. Needless to say, it was a bit of an experience. We talked about his drag shows that he and his boyfriend do. We talked about his large collection of Wonder Women dolls. We talked about church a little bit. And then we talked with his mom about her time working at the Raymond Mental Health Asylum, which was the most interesting story I’ve ever heard. Then after my hair was all curled, my stylist, who just so happens to be the owner of the Catwalk Salon, asked me if I wouldn’t mind if he took a boomerang of my hair and put it on the salon’s Instagram page. Then he put a shower cap on my head and sent me upstairs for makeup, which only took like 30 minutes. Then the salon sent me on my way looking all pretty, but with a shower cap on my head.

From there I went home to fix my eyelashes and get some gas, still with the shower cap on to keep my curls tight. And of course when I went to get gas, all the senior citizens were at the gas station, looking at me all weird because I apparently left the house with  a shower cap on. Let’s be real here, going out in public with a shower cap on is not even the strangest, or the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done, and I’m sure all the seniors have seen weirder things during their lives.  The lady behind the counter even asked me about it, which was kind of uncomfortable. But she also told me that I wore it well and looked very pretty.

Then it was off to the show, with a quick stop at Catwalk’s booth to get my curls brushed out a bit, which is were I met Caylin (I’m not really sure how to spell her name). I had actually talked to her mom earlier in the day when I was waiting to get my hair done. Caylin graduated the year before me from Winston Churchill, and was also skipping morning church service to do the show. Turns out she’s getting married in June to a professional (sort of) hockey player. And so a friendship was made (of course I don’t know her last name so we probably won’t talk again). Then me and her headed backstage to a huge curtained off section. Ya… I assumed there would be individual changing areas, but no, all 10 models changed in the same place. So that was like a whole new locker room situation with people that I didn’t know at all. It was also freezing back there, as in can’t feel your fingers freezing.

And then all of the sudden I was handed a plastic bag to put over my head (yes, kind-of murdery, but it’s just so that the dresses don’t ruin your hair or makeup when the dresses go over your head) and then the first dress was on, complete with a necklace and tiara. And then we were of to the stage in a long line of white dresses. Everyone from rookies to seasoned runway “professionals” who had done the show before. And every time before we went on stage we would stand in order and point out the things on other people’s dresses that we liked. That really helped to calm my nerves, seeing that everyone else was nervous and getting complimented. It was actually so much fun, just standing on the stairs with the girls trying to loosen up before we made our short walks up and down the runway. Everyone there was so pleasant and easy to talk to. It really was a great group of women, and I felt pretty comfortable around them, which I didn’t expect.

Now let me tell you a little bit about my walks down the runway. Stats – I minorly tripped twice and also stepped on my hem and had to stop walking to adjust it, which was very embarrassing for me. My first run, I tried to smile, but was so nervous that it just didn’t stick. And then as soon as it started I was off the runway and getting stuffed in another dress. This went on for ten dresses. 6 wedding dresses, and 4 bridesmaid dresses. And then on my second last dress I did something a little crazy. There was a little boy in the front row that was waving at all the models, so I bent down a little bit and waved at him, and his whole face lit up and it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. And then I turned around and saw one of my friends sitting watching me, which made me so so happy. Apparently she was there the whole show and I just didn’t notice because we were told not to look down while we walked so that we wouldn’t step on our hems.

Then it was finale time. I got to walk with a guy, his name was Travis, and it was the easiest runway walk ever because I had a support so I would’t fall over and I was wearing a super poufy dress which also made the walking easier. And then we were done, and changing, and leaving. I said goodbye to Caylin and then headed off to church. Of course I was an hour early for church and because I hadn’t eaten I was starving. But it was over, and I made it through the whole show.

Honestly it was a great experience. I was so nervous to do something this outside of my comfort zone, but it turned out really well. I think it’s something I would definitely do again, except for all the shows are on Sunday, so it’s probably not something that I’ll be doing again. It was awesome, but I’m not sure it was the best thing to skip church for.

Also I think I found the wedding dress that I might want in the future, not that that’s coming up anytime in the foreseeable future. It was a sparkly lace mermaid dress, with a strappy back and a very long lace train. I never thought I would actually look good in a mermaid dress, but it turns out that I do (who knew).  Of course that’s the one dress I don’t have a picture of. But I do have pictures for you all to look at. And I believe there will be more that Once Upon a Bride is going to release later. I’ll post the link when they do in case you want to see more pictures.

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New Year! New Me?

Ah the traditional New Years resolutions. The one’s you write down, and work on for, I don’t know, like 3 days or something. The list you throw away when you find it back in your junk drawer of good intentions. Ya those New Years resolutions. The ones that I don’t make.

Ya, you read that right, I don’t make those resolutions anymore. Why? Well I never succeeded in keeping them anyways, so what’s the point in making them. And if I don’t keep them then I feel bad, so they are not something that I do anymore.

Be honest, who of my readers makes New Years resolutions? And if you do make them, do you actually keep them all year? Now I know there are some of you that have good intentions, you buy a gym pass, and you go for two weeks, then you feel good about yourself for three weeks, and then you stop going, and then you stop feeling good.

That’s why I don’t make them anymore. They make me feel bad about myself when I don’t keep them. Then come December 31 I get the blues because I didn’t accomplish all the things that I wanted to for the year.

But what if I resolve to not make New Years resolutions? Then am I making a New Years resolution and keeping it, or not? I bet you never thought of it like that before.

In all reality, what if you didn’t make a resolution at the end of this year? Instead of feeling bad because you didn’t accomplish your resolutions, just don’t make any. Instead of setting those very specific goals, why don’t you just strive to live the best life you can.

Personally I think that’s a much better way to live instead of setting yourself up for failure. That might make you feel better and more accomplished.

 

Home for the Holidays

Unfortunately I was unable to publish a blog post over the holidays. I’m sure you all know how it goes. The holidays are an extremely busy time for everyone, we all scramble to get the perfect gifts, make the perfect food, and have the perfect parties. In some ways I also got caught up in all the festivities. However, in a way, the Christmas holidays didn’t feel like Christmas this year.

I’m not sure what it was about this holiday season. Maybe because it was because the holiday season seemed so short, maybe it was because I didn’t make it home until the 23rd, or maybe it was because our family didn’t exchange gifts this year, or maybe it was because my roommates and I had no decorations at all.

But why is it that not having decorations, or receiving gifts make the Christmas Holidays not seem like Christmas? I’ve heard it all before, Christmas isn’t about the decorations or the gifts, it’s about spending time with the people you love, and more importantly it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But we live in a world, and a society where the sole purpose of Christmas is to live lavishly. There are people that have so much debt after buying Christmas decorations that they have to take out loans in order to survive. Then there are others that buy a whole new set of Christmas decorations every year in order to have the best lights, and the most festive set up. Kids are obsessed with Santa, and they wait all year, and specifically all month to wake up and find thousands of dollars worth of prettily wrapped packages under their trees and in their stockings.

Why are we, myself included, so obsessed with Christmas? I honestly felt like this Christmas wasn’t a true Christmas, only because the decorations were minimal or non-existent, and I didn’t get the things I wanted to get on Christmas day. I was actually a little upset about this Christmas up until about a week ago.

I had to take some time to reflect on my feelings about this Christmas. No we didn’t have any decorations at my house, nor were there an over-abundance of decorations at my parents’ house, no I didn’t get extravagant gifts, no our family didn’t follow the traditions that we usually do as much this Christmas. But really? Are those the important things? Have I really become so wrapped up in this world that I was unable to recognize the blessings of the Christmas season?

The answer is yes. I was so focused on what I could get on Christmas, that I didn’t see what I got on Christmas. I got to spend quality time with my family, we ate together, read the bible together, watched T.V together, and played several long rounds of Dutch Blitz (sorry family that I’m so much better at the game than you all ;P). We as a family got to have a wonderful extended family Christmas dinner. We as a Church family got to celebrate the birth of our Savior by going to church (even though we grumbled about going to extra services). And looking back the holidays were not terrible at all, they were wonderful.

So what does this all mean? Well, I challenge you all to step back at Christmas. Maybe as mothers to stop worrying about making everything perfect, from food, to decorations, to gifts, and just enjoy the time with your families. As fathers, enjoy the days or even hours that you get to have as a break from work, to spend quality time with your family. And as children, remembering that Christmas is not all about the presents, even though the presents are so much fun, and not obsess over what you wanted as apposed to what you got. Just enjoy Christmas for what it truly is, a time when families can get together and celebrate Christ’s birth. Because that’s what it was for me this year, and it was perfect.

What do You Mean There’s no Connection?!

These last few weeks have been extremely stressful. I’ve been swamped by exams and final assignments for a week and a half. Thankfully I finished my last exam on Saturday. Yay me!

However, it was very surprising to me that I actually survived exams, despite all my tips and tricks to survive exams. Here’s why I struggled.

About half way through my exam period I woke up and there was no internet connection in my house. The same problem as last time, we had a mix-up with the bill. Turns out we hadn’t authorized our internet provider to withdraw money from the credit card every month.

That day we went without internet in our home for 12 hours. It might not seem like much, but as a student that relies on internet, especially during the high stress time of exams, 12 hours is a lifetime. After spending three hours in Starbucks, two hours writing an exam, and 4 hours bumming internet off our neighbor we were able to fix the internet that day, which put my studying back on track.

Then the night after my last exam, my phone up and died. It was an older phone that had been having problems for a few months. I was actually preparing to file a warranty claim and get a new phone. But then my phone froze, and two minutes later the screen went black and the entire phone was completely unresponsive. I spent 2 hours trying to reset my phone. It never turned back on.

After my phone died I faced a whole new problem. My roommates weren’t home and I had no way to contact my mother, or Best Buy, or anyone at all. That’s when I started feeling extremely panicked. I felt extremely alone and cut off. Let me tell you, that is not something I would ever like to feel again.

A partial solution came in the form of a very good friend. Thankfully my internet was working, and I happen to have a very functional laptop, so I had Facebook messenger. My friend came over after church and brought me a loaner phone. Of course, my SIM card didn’t fit into the loaner, so I ended up at Wal-Mart. They gave me an adapter for free! Apparently they have huge box of adapters that people give them when they don’t need them anymore, who knew?

So now I have a partially working phone. It is not ideal, but it works so I’m not cut off anymore. Hopefully I’ll have a brand new Samsung Galaxy S8 by Monday afternoon.

So what did I learn in all this mess? I learned that I am extremely dependent on my cell phone and my internet. I like being connected, or maybe I’ve been connected for so long that I just can’t go without it. I think I could go without my phone or the internet for a day, if I wanted to, and if I was prepared to. However, I think this experience was hard for me because it happened so suddenly, and I was not prepared. Unfortunately,  I like being prepared and in control, so facing a problem like this so suddenly was very difficult.  It was also hard because I had just finished my exams, so I thought my stress was over, but then my phone died and my stress level shot straight up.

All in all, at this point I have decided that I would rather have my technology than not have it. And hopefully from here on out it’s smooth sailing with my technological endeavors.

My “Lawn”

When I was growing up, my mom told me to never walk on people’s front lawn. That is one lesson that has stuck with me even still. Unfortunately, so many people in our society do not respect other people’s lawn, or even their property.

When I look out my window and see people walk on my lawn I actually get offended. See, my roommates and  I live on a corner lot. Walkers seem to think that because we have so much lawn, they are just allowed to take a shortcut across it.

That’s not how I was raised, which is probably why it bothers me so much. There seems to be a general lack of respect growing in our community regarding other people and their property.

Here comes the clincher though. When I say lawn I really mean dry dirt and brown weeds. So is it really a big deal that people are walking over my weeds? It’s not a big deal that people walk over my weeds, it’s the principle of the matter though. People need to show some respect for other’s property.

Do You Have Money For That?

This post is not so much going to be about how I have money to buy nice things. Because honestly, I have such a tiny amount of money put away for “fun spending”. But it is going to be about sale hunting and buying inexpensive items like the good Dutch girl I am.

As mentioned, I end up with really nice, good quality items by waiting for sales. I am subscribed to a few of my favorite stores, so then they send me email alerts when they have sales. This is the only way I will buy nice items. Usually I’ll wait for 40% off discounts or better.

Unfortunately I am a pretty common size in shoes and clothing, so sometimes my little sale-waiting method doesn’t work out. By the time the items are on good enough sale then stores sometimes don’t have the items I want in my size.

I also save money by stepping back and considering an item before just impulsively buying it. I ask myself questions such as: Do I need this item or do I want it? What in my closet will I be able to wear this with? Can this go with multiple different outfits? Will it only work for formal days like Sunday or can I wear this casually as well? What fabric/material is this made out of? Will I easily be able to wash it in a load with other items? Is the quality good? and of course I ask myself about the return policies.

All the questions I ask myself are the reason why I online shop from familiar stores. I can find items I want, then go through my questions to see if they are actually worth it, and then I can leave them in my cart until there is a sale on those specific items. This means that I usually have a few open carts on different websites, and I check my email often just in case there’s a sale.

That’s it, that’s my little shopping secret. Believe me, it takes until you are working on being financially self-sustaining to finally get the solid self-control to wait instead of impulse buying. And the wait is so worth it when you end up with quality, nice items for much cheaper than they were originally marked as.

So go forth readers, and happy sale hunting!

Move It!

When I moved out, it was sad, and scary, and lonely. Here I was, just a young 18 year old, out on my own in a scary world. My first few nights in my new house were rough. I was very lonely, and there were all sorts of new, scary sounds. In time it got better, I got more used to the fact that I was on my own, and that this was a normal thing for young people to go through.

Flash forward to now. Although I haven’t been living on my own for very long, I’m definitely 100% in my element. Sometimes money is tight, and sometimes it’s still a little lonely, I even miss my family sometimes (just kidding, mom if you’re reading this I miss you guys). But now I’m at the point where I really appreciate the freedom, and the extra time I gained by moving out. And I know that moving out on my own was the best thing for me. I needed an out, so I moved out.

I’ve also found that when you move to a new house, and a new church, you have an opportunity to become a new person. Not that I was a not good person before, but now I feel like I can be the best possible me.

Also moving to a new house is so exciting. You get to pick your own decorations, and even buy fancy IKEA furniture (yay me, most exciting thing ever), even though IKEA desk building should be considered an Olympic sport. You even get to pick your own places to hang things on your wall. Not to mention all the rules you get to make for yourself, including whether or not you make your bed in the morning.

Based on my experience, I would strongly suggest that everyone should move out of their parent’s house, and go live on their own. Living on your own is a great way to discover new things about who you are, and about what life is like. 10/10 would recommend.

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