July 29, 2014

Sightings at the Airport

When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be a flight attendant. I was enamored with airports and planes. As I sit here now waiting for my flight, I still find myself excitedly watching the happenings, the hustle and bustle of the airport.

You see so much in an airport. You see people running...did they miss their flight or is it about to be missed? (I have only had to run once)

Do you ever see people dressed really cute and have this urge to take a picture so that you can copy their style? No? Okay… me neither.
Meet Rachel of Suitcase Secrets! Rachel blogs about staying chic, no matter where her travels take her. I was so happy to meet Rachel and to sketch her blog header because I love a woman who respects the adventure of travel by dressing nicely.
source

You see sibling love and sibling rivalry, you see busy, you see dirty, you see mom trying to clean her child, you see airline staff, you see tons of people drinking coffee, you see lots of other laptops, phones, tablets, etc...

I wonder if I will like traveling as much when that one day comes where I have to travel with kids. The closest thing that qualifies me was that I once was in charge of traveling with just my youngest sister and that comes no where close it looks like...Except that was the one time I had to run...hmm.
Traveling gives me this sort of calm and high all at the same time. A big part of it is the environment. I love it.

Anyone else love to fly like me?

July 24, 2014

7 Tips for a Successful Cruise Ship Experience

So as I have recently been bragging here and here, I went on an Alaskan Cruise. This was my second cruise. my first one was my honeymoon. The first time was just Kevin and I, and the second time was a group. Now that I have some cruise experience. (Although side note, there are people who have seriously cruised a whole year plus of their life! That is crazy!) I thought I would put my own two cents in for some of you first time cruisers.

Explore the ship--  Cruise ships are huge. If you take the time to tour it, you will be able to see all there is to offer and be able to plan your days better.

Walk the Deck--  Not the plank ;-) Cruise ships have a ton of food, so you pretty much do need to get some sort of workout in each day. There is a gym and I took some of the classes, but I skipped the machines. Go out and walk the deck that goes the whole way around the cruise ship. (usually a mid deck 6-8) Because really how often do you get to walk a mile or two in the middle of the ocean. It is beautiful!

Take the Stairs--  See previous. Don't get huge. 

Save Money--  Personally I have done the cover charge to get into the "Specialty Restaurants." Not worth it in my humble opinion. Cruises can be an amazing bang for your buck in going on a vacation. Keep it that way! I promise you will still have so much fun! (Oh and if you don't get lured into the soda and alcohol packages, you can save money and calories that way too!)
 
Can you tell I really like my wine?!

You may not Need a Balcony--  See the above on saving money. I was very glad that I saved the money for no balcony on my first cruise with no scenic cruising. Sitting out on top decks suited me just fine! Who wants to be in their room the whole time anyway?! But for the Alaska cruise with scenic cruising days, a balcony was a necessity in my opinion. So bottom line, if there is scenic cruising, get a balcony, if not, save your money!

Give them your Luggage--  They will take good care of it. 75% of the time, your luggage is waiting for you outside of your room when you get there. Just keep the essentials on your person and leave the rest to them.
In many cases your luggage will await you on board your cruise ship!

Save on Excursions--  They can be far cheaper if you seek them yourself and really cheaper if you get them from the dealers themselves. A lot of the companies contract with the cruise liners anyway so you know they will get you back when you need to be or you can plan for some extra time. Heck you can even buy them as cheap as they come when you get off the boat that day. Be adventurous and flexible and you never know what fun there could be had!


Enjoy yourself! Cruises are fun!

July 23, 2014

Sonoran Hot Dogs

Since moving to Arizona I have been exposed to a whole new type of Mexican cuisine. Here Sonoran inspired pretty much has an icon. The Sonoran Hot Dog. Food Wars and Man vs Food have both done episode here in Tucson on the two OGs of the dog.

It isn't really Mexican food to me. #MyStomachIsInNM but it is good all the same.

Here is how to make one yourself and enjoy a nice, dressed up dog this summer!

Take your hot dogs and wrap them in a piece of bacon. Then fry or grill them until they are nice and crisp!

Warm up a nice bun with that as well...
You can use a regular hot dog bun. Traditionally they use a bun called a bolillo.

Put some beans into the bottom of the bun. I used Pork Beans for a nice twist, but that veers from traditional (pinto beans).

Then add the fixings. Traditionally this is how you do your Sonoran Dog:

source

Ingredients:

1 cooked bacon wrapped hot dog
1 hot dog bun
1/4 cup of cooked pinto beans
tomato, chopped
onions, diced
mustard
mayonnaise
oaxacan cheese
jalapeno sauce (see recipe below)
diced avocados/guacamole (optional)

Directions:


Place beans in the bottom of a hot dog bun. Then add bacon wrapped hot dog.

Top with tomatoes, onions, mustard, jalapeno sauce, and mayo. I being a cheese lover, also like to top with some oaxacan cheese.

For toppings at home, I usually omit onions. I like to add some avocados/guacamole, but that is not typical of a Sonoran Dog served in a legit setting.

Jalapeno sauce is literally just pureed jalapeno. To make your mayo drizzle you can add a little milk.


Basically a no measurement make as many as you want recipe, but BOY is it good!


Do you still want that hot dog with just some ketchup on it?
Didn't think so!

July 21, 2014

How to Make Your Internet Pretty

The other day I had to reformat my phone. I was in the process of trying to figure out how to configure all my settings back to connect with all of my Google Chrome tabs from my computer and my Nexus and I stumbled upon a startling discovery....

There are THEMES for your Chrome page!

As I looked, I realized there was a Lilly theme so naturally I chose that.
You can choose anything you want and here is how:

First you have to have Google Chrome. If you don't...well download it because I am afraid to ask what you are using..
Internet Explorer? Are you stuck in 2006?
Firefox? Are you stuck in 2008?
Opera? Are you stuck in 2009?
Safari? Why stay stuck in Apple?!?
You Apple people can even get themes for it to LOOK like an Apple. 

Every theme you could possibly want and more is on there!
I excitedly showed Kevin who thought I knew how to do this already.

No tech savvy husband, I did not. Thanks for letting me live un-colorfully for SO long!

Anyway the steps to getting your theme after you have Google Chrome...
1) Go to the three little bars in the very top right of the browser.
2) Click Settings
3) Click Get Themes and pick your favorite!!!

That easy folks.
What theme are you going with?

July 18, 2014

Packing Tips

So I have the opposite problem most women do...I am a chronic under-packer (I think I just came up with a new word!). Ladies you cannot deny that my problem is so much worse! Getting on my vacation and needing something to wear and having nothing is not good! And crazy enough, I even under pack on road trips where I have all the room in the world to bring anything and everything I want!!

This trip I decided I was not going to under pack. I was not going to over pack. (checking bags is expensive yo!) I was going to pack just right! I think I succeeded and thought I would share what I did that helped me out. I think these tips will help under and over packers alike!



1. Make a list. I know this sounds obvious, but I always made my list in my head and putting it on paper helped me from forgetting any necessities.

2. Mix and Match. This one can save you over packers too! Pack outfits that can be mixed and matched with other things. Especially with your jeans and shoes. Pack your classic ones that go with everything because they are heavy. They way this helped me as an under packer pertains to the next tip.

3. Plan your outfits. I think a lot of the reason I would under pack would be I couldn't decide what to wear or may have not known exactly what I would be doing so therefore what would be appropriate attire. Put all our outfits on, lay them out, whatever you need to do to ensure you have everything you need. 
4. On that note though, look at the weather. Trust me, you won't need those cute boots in 80 degree whether. This will also help you determine some appropriate outfits even if you may not know what will be happening everyday on your itinerary. 

5. Use up your beauty samples! All those tester perfumes, creams, etc...use those! It is a great way to pack because it leaves me more room and I have always been super scared to break my whole full-sized bottle of Juicy Couture. 

6. Don't bring a lap top. Unless you absolutely have to. It takes up a lot of space. Most of us have smartphones and tablets and those should suffice. 

7. Proper Placement. Stuff your undies into your bra cups. Some of you have more room than others ;-) but it worked for me! I also stuff my socks into my shoes. That is where they will be one day anyway! I also use the fold method with what clothes I can and put them in airtight ziplock bags.

8. Be conservative with shoes. This is probably the hardest one to abide by, but shoes take up a lot of space and weigh you down.

9. Remember what you are wearing. My mistake would also be fitting everything I need into a suitcase and wearing my biggest shoes or thickest clothing or combo of the both to go. But remember if that is not what you plan to wear back, there has to be space for it! (Did that make sense? It made a lot more sense in my head and while I was packing...)
10. Used Dryer Sheets. I know this doesn't help you pack the right amount of things, but putting them in your suitcase can ensure your clothes stay smelling fresh but don't leave a residue.

What are some of your tried and true packing tips?


July 17, 2014

I'm not in to you


Going to the gym after work...or before work really.
I'm sorry but after I've been working for 8+ hours, I am NOT going to the gym. Just count me out. Too many people. I would much prefer to work out before work but then I end up over sleeping. Which means I rarely work out. You are more apt to convince me to go on a run after I have rested a little bit at home after work and run around the block.

Blow drying my hair.
My arms get tired, my hair gets caught in the brush, my hair is thick and it takes forever. So I just skip it. 
I take a shower at night...every day. 

Gift Wrapping.
Mine is atrocious. Bags are my friend. And if something needs to be wrapped at least that is one of my husband's strengths and he does it.

The Beatles, Songwriters turned Singers, My Fair Lady, and Jurassic Park.
Sorry. I think that The Beatles were way over-rated. Here Comes the Sun is their only good song. They turned the simplest of melodies into gold because they were easy to sing along to it. So easy a caveman could do it. I prefer listening to intricacies and harmonies.
Songwriters turned singers have proven one thing to me. They are good at writing...not singing. PLEASE stay that way. 
My Fair Lady and Jurassic Park are two of my husband's fave movies that I just cannot get into!

Target and Apple Products.

I know, I know #antiblogger. Whatev.

Random Bonus:

Churches that don't Sing Christmas Music at Christmas Mass.
The new church I was going to didn't sing any of the songs this last Christmas...Guess it may be time to look for a new one. I am very particular about this as you can tell... #christmasinjuly


What are some things that you don't like that it seems everyone else does?



July 16, 2014

Handling Criticism

There are times especially in my professional job where I make choices and have criticism of my choices placed upon me regularly.
Sometimes there are times where I am so criticized and all I can think of is 
"what complete nonsense."

But I believe that anytime you try and do something that matters, criticism is on its way.
Just remember no matter how much it hurts to rise above.
grace

Doing something that breaks the mold, makes people uncomfortable.
Getting criticised will make you uncomfortable. You will ask yourself if every step and choice was the correct one. 

Usually you don’t get hit on the sidelines. The only people that get hit, are the ones on the field.
There’s no criticism in being the spectator. It’s easy know which receiver was open from your living room.

Babe Ruth once said “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!"

Although that quote is about overcoming the fear of failure, I believe it also can be applied to dealing with criticism.

You won’t be criticized if you don’t swing the bat.
Nobody will criticize your calling if you don’t step up to the plate.
Dreams won’t attract haters if you’re still in the dugout.
That’s why I’m going to keep swinging.
Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace...

I think you should too.
Not everyone is going to agree with you.
Not everyone is going to support you.
Not everyone is going to be cheering you on.

I always remember to be a better person than the person bestowing criticism.
Let only God criticize me.

July 15, 2014

Alaska Recap II

So I have already bragged about most of my Alaska Trip with tons of photographic evidence. There were three more days as part of this vacation that I didn't cover. First there were two Scenic Cruising days and then there was the Summer Solstice which we spent in Anchorage. It was so much fun.

I had only been on one cruise before this and it didn't include any scenic cruising days. I didn't think I would enjoy them but I really, really did.

The first day was Glacier Bay and the second College Fjord.


It is weird to see the sun setting at almost midnight!


#nofilter



Selfie time!



And as you can see, you will have enough pictures to choke a horse.

But at least you have so many you can make a gif or two.


With the two scenic cruising days, the ship made those the two days that you have "formal" dinners.
He cleans up nicely!

Then you can go to Anchorage and realize it is the day of the summer solstice. It was bright! (Literally lots of light seeing as it is the longest day of the year!)
The downtown was bustling with parades, games, farmers markets, and fairs!

Alright that is enough down memory lane. Usual programming resumes tomorrow.

July 14, 2014

My Birthday Happened

I feel like I have entered my next quarter of a century with a case of the needs.

I need several things. Or maybe I want several things? I feel like they are needs more than once, but who knows. I find myself needing or rather wanting new things when I've become tired or bored or whatever with the things I do have.

I always seem to need/want more. They aren't major needs. In fact they seem silly as I think of them writing this post here. I feel I need to pause and take a step back to examine what I truly need.

There are more than material needs. I need to remember that. I need to remember my material needs are temporary. I realized especially this last weekend when I cleaned out/organized some of my closets. I right now need a new handbag, but one day that handbag will be behind other handbags collecting dust due to different material needs. And I'll be cleaning like I am now and take that one out of the mix a couple years later.

Quite honestly I am proud of the person I am becoming but I've still got a bit of work to do. I want to strive everyday to become a better version of myself everyday. No one has their life totally figured out at 25 and actually never have the whole thing completely figured out. 

Enough of the serious. 
I ended up working an odd early morning shift on Friday, leaving the hours people are normally up on Friday, free. Kevin had that Friday off too, so we made a spontaneous trip back to our hometown and hung out with my family and a couple of friends. 

Hanging out with my family was nice. My dad fed me like a queen and took me out for a morning of shooting!


Wasn't ready with my outfit for shooting so I had to tuck in my shirt and cardigan. Gotta rock that hat for sun protection. #wrinklefreeisthewaytobe

I was also spoiled rotten by my amazing husband with a pair of diamond earrings and an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.

I do love him!
Yay for another year of me! :-)

July 11, 2014

Alaska Recap

Kevin and I got back in June from a cruise with his family in Alaska.
It was truly beautiful. Words cannot describe.
If you get the chance to go on an Alaskan Cruise....DO IT!
And then do a photo dump post like I am about to so I can relive it!

We flew into Seattle and tried to take it in quickly for the night. On the flight back we were able to stop in for a tired breakfast with one of my girlfriends. So much fun!


I tried to recreate the Windows Background. Not quite...light was not right at all at 9pm at night....
This is the Windows Background....

#fail

Then we spent a couple days in Vancouver. This desert gal loved the green!




It was a hard hike! Had to sit!
And of course Kevin took a picture.



On another day we visited Granville Island. I would die for that Farmer's Market!

I mean come on those flowers are cheap and gorgeous!!


And then we went to Stanley Park and rode a bike around! First time riding a bike as an adult and I didn't fall! YAY!




Then we were on the cruise and headed to Ketchikan! We went hiking there and it was my favorite hike of the whole trip. My legs got a work out. Also the hardest hike I have ever done by far!

The views were worth it though!

The hike was the Dear Mountain Hike. This hike has three look out points. Look out point #2 is close to #3 and really #3 isn't anymore special than #2 which was my favorite. I guess by going to #3 that means you have pretty much hit the top. #BraggingRights




Hey cruise ships I see you!



The next city we hit was Juneau. We went whale watching there in the morning and in the afternoon did a hike off of the Tram on Mount Roberts


I got lots of whale tail!  ;-) SO amazing!!

We saw so many bald eagles and other little wildlife. This is Lady Baldimar. She is on Mount Roberts and was rescued after she was shot and tore her retina. 

Then back on the cruise ship again. We had some scenic cruising days as well, but that is for another post. We kept ourselves very happy with lots of food and lots of fun on the cruise!

This is my "I am going to kick your butt face" at chess. I learned to play while on the cruise! Thanks Husband!



So then we headed Skagway. This was my least favorite town. Total tourist trap. At least there was more hiking though! We did the Lower Dewey Lake hike.


Kevin and I were the only ones to see a bear out of his whole family. We saw it on our hike in Ketchikan. Kevin's cousin really wanted to see a bear, so I threw in a couple bear sightings for her ;-)


What a friendly bear!
I think this is the most pictures I have ever had in a post.

Places we ate and did business:

Seattle: 
Austin's American Grill--- Close to the airport but really meh.
Link Light Rail--- Best way to get around in my opinion, fast, clean, affordable, and convenient.
Portage Bay Cafe--- Really cute place. We went to the university one. The french toast is best I have EVER had.
Amtrak--- I was super impressed! Best way to get me to Vancouver in my humble opinion!

Vancouver: 
Falafel Maison--- Really quite yummy. A whole in the wall for sure.
The Templeton--- Friendly service for sure and a really yummy dish called Mangled eggs. I always wish for more cheese, but other than that good. You will most likely have a wait time to sit! Cramped restaurant.
Goldies Pizza and Beer Lounge--- Totally not impressed with the service at all. Pizza was alright. Good crust!
Westin Grand--- I love staying at any Weston!
Spokes Bicycle Rentals--- Very friendly, nice, and nice bikes!
Cafe Medina--- Top rated place in all of Vancouver to eat breakfast. I sure enjoyed it! Everything on the menu was good and the staff is super patient when you can't decide which yummy choice to make.
Purple Olive Grill--- Do not go. There are SO many better choices out there. Cheap and edible, but that is all I can say.
Canada Line--- Their version of a light rail. Clean and nice! Def a great way to transport yourself from point A to point B
SeaBus--- Really fun way of transport for this desert girl. I loved it! Affordable too.
False Creek Ferries--- Affordable and easy! Fun!

Ketchikan:
Whatever random cab service you can find. Most down to earth, regular cabbies you will ever meet!

Juneau: 
Mt. Robert's Tramway--- There are people who ride with you on the way up and way down to give you some historical insight and are there for you to ask questions. The are super nice and both my up and down trips were native Tilngit.
Orca Enterprises--- Super nice crew, very comfortable and hospitable. I would recommend them in a heartbeat!!

Skagway:
Zero, Zilp, Zitch, Nada, I did not go anywhere but walking to and from the boat and hiking. 

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