Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

I am trying something new this week and linking up with What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week:  We made a big bowl of guacamole over the weekend to take to a BBQ and we have all the ingredients to make another batch as soon as our avocados ripen up.

What I'm reminiscing about: My trip to Hawaii is fresh in my mind.  I miss waking up and hearing the ocean outside my window but it gives me something to look forward to for next year.

What I'm loving: I don't want to jinx it but I am loving that we are having a fairly mild late spring.  We are keeping our daily highs in the mid 70's which is perfect for me since we don't have air conditioning

What we've been up to:  My cousin works at a winery in Livermore and one of my sisters was helping out at the winery for the weekend so my parents, other sister and I went up to wine taste.  If you are local Livermore has some great little (and not so little) wineries including Big White House.  Check it out.  Way closer than Napa!

What I'm dreading: I am dreading the 90 degree days that I know are coming sooner rather than later.

What I'm working on: A whole lot of trying to get a date nailed down for our wedding and just talking about all the other wedding details.

What I'm excited about:  Easy question!  I am going wedding dress shopping on Sunday and I am so excited!  My mom, sisters, one of my bridesmaids and possibly my future sister in law and mother in law are coming with me to help.

What I'm watching/reading: Not the most intellectual or oscar winning show but Hulu has most of the seasons of Survivor and I have been working my way though them.  I had seen a few seasons and bits and pieces of other seasons but it is kind of interesting to watch it change from the older seasons to the more current seasons.

What I'm listening to: Mostly whatever comes on my Pandora which is usually a mix of country and a random mix of 90s-00s pop music.  Everyone needs some Britney in their life every once in a while.

What I'm wearing: I wore this floral dress to a friend's birthday party over the weekend and got lots of complements on it.  I runs SUPER large so I ended up buying it in X-Small which if you know me and my butt you know this doesn't happen often.

What I'm doing this weekend: Friday night my sisters and I are going to see Toby Keith in concert. I am looking forward to spending the evening with my sisters.  Girl night! My youngest sister and I have "Country Mega Tickets" for the whole series of concerts over the course of the next few months so expect much more about these concerts throughout the summer.

What I'm looking forward to next month: Attending a concert or two with my sister and celebrating my Grandpa's 90th birthday!

What is your favorite thing to grill in June:  Well, our condo complex doesn't allow grills on our patio so this is all hypothetical but if I did have grill I would grill shrimp skewers and veggies!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Favorite Hair Products

I have hair that is very thick and falls somewhere between very wavy and loose curls.  I have long swoopy bangs at the moment that that go off to the side of my face and sometimes need a little bit of extra attention but other than that my hair style is pretty much a wash and wear kind of style.

My most used hair product is my Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Holding Foam so I guess this makes it my favorite.

This product is a cross between hair gel and hair mousse.  It comes in what looks like a mousse container but comes out like kind of like a gel that foams up just a little bit.  I just squirt a bit in my hand and scrunch it into my hair when it is wet and off I go.  I almost always just put product in my hair when it is wet and let it air dry.

On the first day after wash my hair (meaning I have dry hair) if my hair needs a little bit of help I spray it with some Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Activating Mist, scrunch it and go.

I have tried pretty much every drugstore curl spray, mousse and gel meant for curly/wavy hair and I get part way through a bottle and they just aren't doing what I want them to do so I stop using them.  For years I basically had a million bottles of hair products under my sink that I had tried and disliked.  I finally gave up, threw them all out and admitted that even though the Bumble and Bumble are expensive they work the best on my hair.  The cost of trying a new product every month was probably more expensive than just buying the good stuff in the first place but live and learn.

On days where my hair has gone crazy or sort of needs to be washed (but I am too lazy to actually watch it) I either pull it back with a big headband bow or throw it in a ponytail with lots of hairspray and pins.

I am on the hunt at the moment for a new shampoo and conditioner.  Our condo has super hard water (though I do have a water softening shower head that helps some) so my previous favorites just aren't doing it anymore.  Any suggestions would be welcome!

I am linking up to day to this party if you want to find out what other people consider their favorite hair products.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hawaii Recap

I thought about dividing this recap into two different posts to avoid photo overload but I decided just to go for it.  

On the airplane on our way!  The plane was not full so I booked one window seat and one edge seat in hopes that no one would choose the seat between us.  My plan worked so we had a little extra space, which was very nice.

We took the obligatory "Yay, we are in Hawaii" photo before heading to baggage claim.  If you have never been to the Kona airport it is the kind of airport that you have to go down a set of stairs and then walk across the runway to get to the terminal.  Another fun fact is that since the Kona side of the island gets little to no rain the airport has no walls.  Just a bunch of "huts" make up the airport.

The Hilton Waikoloa Village (where we stayed) is a long skinny resort set along the water so there are two modes of transportation to get you around the resort if you don't feel like walking.  The tram runs most often and runs all day so if we didn't walk this is usually what we took if we were not walking.

There is also a boat the runs in the afternoon and evenings.  Here is the whole family on the boat one evening on our way to dinner.

This is the view standing in the lobby looking out to the lagoon.  

Looking back up to the lobby at the grand staircase.

The hotel has multiple pools and a lagoon for swimming in.  I didn't manage to get my camera out to take a picture of the pools but there is a big slide at one of the pools that we spend lots of time going down. 

 The lagoon is ocean fed and has fishies and turtles in.  We did lots snorkeling and looking at the fish along with lots of lounging, reading and drinking in our lounge chairs.

We were lucky enough to have a view of the ocean from our room too but this is the view from my sisters' room

Since it is only fair here is the view from our balcony too! The view was so pretty that I didn't even bother to take any pictures of the inside of the room but take my word for it, it was very nice.  We slept every night with our balcony door open so we could fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of the ocean.

A good chunk of our time at the resort was spent at the pool or lagoon so it only fitting that I took quite a few pictures of us heading to the pool.  My sunglasses got quite the workout on this trip.

One of the big reasons for our trip was to celebrate my mom's birthday so Sunday night we went out to a special dinner to celebrate.

I have no visual proof of this fact but the food at KPC (not to be confused with KFC) is fabulous.  My family goes this place just for the onion tower and drinks though I have to say the ahi poke was also quite impressive.  

The signature reason to go to KPC is the fabulous view of the sunset.  They even have a signature tropical drink called 180 seconds since that is how long it takes the sun to set from the time it hits the horizon.

On our last night in Hawaii we made the 2 hour drive to Volcano National Park to see the lava.  The best time to see the lava is at night but this doesn't make for the best photos.

We thought we might only be able to see a red glow since for safety reasons we had to view it from quite far away but we could actually see the lava bubbling and sputtering away in the caldera. 

Our last day we woke up to a text message (and an email) from the airline saying that our flight was delayed an hour and a half.  My sisters and my parents were on a different flight that was scheduled to leave an hour before our original flight time so we were going to be in for a long day at the airport.  Remember this airport has no walls which means no AC.  When we looked a bit later and discovered our flight was delayed another hour and a half my parents convinced us to just get a late checkout from the hotel and take a taxi to the airport later.

We used our extra time to have one last tropical meal and an ice cream cone before heading to the airport.

I leave you with one last photo of me with a beautiful view in the background.

Linking up my Friday Favorites

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lentils for Dinner

I know the rest of the country is warming up but here in the Bay Area we are finally having a bit of late winter/early spring mild weather.  Yes, I know it is actually almost summer! I was looking though my cabinets over the weekend trying to decide what to cook and I noticed I had 2 different open bags of lentils.  In my defense one bag was red lentils and the other was green lentils.

This is based on a recipe from Rachel Ray.  The original recipe is for supposedly for one person but she tends to be crazy when it comes to portion sizes.  I double the recipe and it makes at least 3 servings, if I am hungry, or 4 regular servings.

1 cup dry lentils (doesn't matter what color)
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of crushed garlic (divided)
2 inches grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 Persian cucumber chopped
2 handfuls of fresh mint, chopped
1 cup greek yogurt
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and add the onion, 1 clove of garlic, ginger and cumin.  Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes and then add the lentils.  Stir to coat the lentils with the onion mixture and then add the broth.  Bring to a boil and let simmer with the top slightly askew for about 20 minutes or until lentils are done.

While the lentils are cooking you can make the topping.  Mix the other clove of garlic, the chopped cucumber, the chopped mint and salt and pepper into the greek yogurt and set it aside to let the flavors meld.

Serve the lentils with the yogurt mix on top and some pita chips or a piece of pita bread (or both) on the side to dip in it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hawaii Wedding "Research"

Even though we were on vacation in Hawaii my fiancee and I took some time to do some research for our upcoming wedding.  We are getting married on the Big Island (where we were on this trip) and we won't be back again until the wedding next year so this was our only opportunity to actually see our locations.

We looked at the Little Blue Church and while we loved it, the location (over 30 minutes from our reception) and the size (too small) made it not the most practical choice for us.  We took a million pictures and measurements in hopes that we could find a way to make it work so I will post all of that at some point for anyone who is thinking about getting married in Hawaii.

I knew I wanted to have my reception at the Mauna Kea so when we went there we were just choosing where at the resort to have the reception.

I never get tired of walking into the hotel on the beautiful blue tiled floors with the view of the ocean.

We decided to have our reception in the Garden Room.  The view from the room is gorgeous and with the glass doors open we can have the best of both worlds.  Inside option and an outside option. This is the back of the room.

We took pictures but this one from the Mauna Kea's website gives the best idea of how gorgeous this room is and the patio outside the room.  We will probably have the cocktail hour on the outside patio and set up tables for dinner inside the room.

While we were meeting with the wedding planner we told her we were looking at churches to get married in and she asked us if we had looked at the Ascension Church in Puako.  We said, no, it was not on our list (because we didn't know about it) but when she said it was only 10 minutes away from the Mauna Kea we quickly added it to our list of churches to look at.

We ended up going to the church on a Sunday morning during their service so we didn't end up with too many pictures of the inside since it is kind of rude to take pictures during mass.

My fiancee did take a video though most of it is of the outside of the church.  We went into the church through the "cry room."  Enjoy the many shots of the my feet and the ground!

I leave you with a few pictures of the pool and the view at the Mauna Kea.  I can't wait to go back next year and marry my love!