Five Things Friday: Hawaiian Holiday

Happy Friday and yet another end to another week! Once returning from our Hawaiian getaway I was right back at school for their Summer Experience program for the preschoolers. It’s always an interesting transition from saying goodbye to one class and then getting to know the other little guys who are coming up to the three-year-old class. Although there were some minor challenges this week, it’s fun to meet them and figure out their little personalities.

Without further adieu, here are my favorite snapshots from our vacation for this week’s Five Things Friday linkup!

If you have five things to share from your week be sure to meet me here and linkup your post!
For more info, here are the rules for the linkup:

Anyone that knows me understands that by no means am I a hiker or particularly like it for that matter. However, when your husband takes you to a place known as the Garden Isle you know in that moment that hiking or some sort of outdoorsy adventure awaits you. With that being said, I was actually eager to hike this canyon with him simply because it was something he really looked forward to and you will never get that kind of view of the island anywhere else. To stand at the top, thousands of feet high, and overlook the canyon and see the ocean peeking through was absolutely humbling.

My husband arranged for this and it was our one fancy evening together to celebrate one year of marriage over a gourmet meal at sunset. To begin, we enjoyed a few glasses of champagne on the rooftop of the St. Regis with the sun setting on the horizon. It was unbelievably romantic and a moment I will forever cherish. I can only imagine what year two will bring us!
And something funny that evening: my husband ran into Justin Bieber while trying to find the restroom. I caught a glimpse of him when he stepped outside on the terrace where we were drinking our champagne. All I can say is thank goodness he cut his hair and who seriously wears some kind of hover-board in a five star resort?!

On our last day we decided to take a boat tour around the Na Pali Coast, which included snorkeling, and all day I looked forward to catching a few photos of these famous sea turtles I hear so much about in Hawaii. But, of course, I wasn’t able to find them but luckily Philip was able to snap a few photos while on our tour around the island. 
And speaking of the Na Pali Coast, I was so excited to go on this boat tour because it’s something of a tradition Philip and I do whenever we go on an island vacation. It always turns out so fun with the humor of the boat captain, the thrill of being on a catamaran this time, and just taking in what Kauai has to offer in terms of it’s history, culture, nature, and weather. We woke up at 6am and didn’t make port again until 1pm and it was totally worth it and something I would love to do again in the future should we return to the island. 
One of my favorite memories on our tour/snorkeling was seeing the dolphins swim right up to our boat; almost like they were swimming with us. I did the whole swimming with dolphins thing as one of my excursions when I went on a cruise, but nothing compares to seeing them in the wild. 
A video posted by Kelly Daniel (@kjdaniel1) on

These wild chickens were absolutely hilarious. They are literally everywhere on Kauai and have become a symbol of sorts for the island. It was just fun to see them roaming around and getting a glimpse of the hens and her chicks. Apparently a number of years ago there was a terrible hurricane that ravaged the island and all of these chickens and roosters got free. It proved too difficult to try and capture all of them and after they began reproducing rapidly Hawaii just allowed them to be free-roaming chickens. I learned that there’s even a $500 fine for harassing the chickens on the island!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my favorite five things from my trip! Be sure to linkup your blog below and share what you’re five favorites are from your week!

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You Probably Don’t Know

Hi! Today I’m stopping by for a quick moment to share with you some things you may not know about me. It’s hard sometimes to really get to know a blogger simply by reading their posts and following them along on social media. However, I’m sure you could gather a lot about me on my Instagram alone. If you have no idea what I’m talking about you can follow along here.

Helene In Between is one of my favorite blogs to read because she writes to the point, her posts read as if you’re having a conversation with here face-to-face, and her posts tend to be very thought provoking or just plain fun. Today she’s hosting a linkup where you can share a little bit about yourself – things you probably didn’t know.

Helene in Between

If you’re looking to really get to know more about me, be sure to check back in July when I co-host with Kiki over at In Its Time for The Circle linkup for the July post theme of blogger introductions. To find out more on how to join you can find that here and be sure to join in for June’s prompt: Summer Staples (see my summer essentials here).

Things you probably didn’t know about me…
+ My favorite coffee is an iced caramel macchiato

+ Christmas is by far my most favorite holiday ever. Like, I’m the one wanting to decorate in October and have no shame in my excitement when Target begins putting up Christmas decorations in the summer. The husband tells me I have to wait until after Thanksgiving…boo…

+ I am a foodie, which is a nice way of explaining to people that I’m a fat kid who loves anything about food.

+ I am a home cook. Nothing fancy or special but I’ve fallen in love with finding new recipes and sharing them.

+ I come from a blended family. I have three half-sisters and one half-brother. I’m also the baby of the family…and an ‘oops baby.’

+ I am a fan of exclamation points!

+ I’m obsessed with the Real Housewives and pretty much anything that airs on Bravo. Andy Cohen is a brilliant man.

+ My favorite reading genre is fiction and specifically a good crime mystery. I also love anything Dan Brown.

+ I have a masters in elementary education and a minor in U.S. History and am the biggest history nerd on the planet. I also taught back in VA for three years.

+ I took ASL (American Sign Language) in high school as my foreign language. I eavesdrop on deaf conversations.

+ I got married on June 28, 2014 in Las Vegas.

+ I am learning about wine making by pouring with my husband at a tasting room in Los Olivos. This began as me just being supportive of my husband’s interests, but turned into something really fun and interesting and something we can share together!

+ I love scarves. They’re practically the best accessory in my opinion.

+ I have a secret desire to leave my job and start my own food truck. The movie Chef didn’t help.

Thanks for stopping by! What are some things about you that someone may not know simply by following your blog?

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to catch up with me when I share my top five moments from my recent vacation to Hawaii for my Five Things Friday linkup!

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Summer Staples 2015

I,  like many thousands of others, count down the days until summer arrives. The only difference between enjoying summer this year compared to last year is, well, on the west coast my summers are a bit off from everyone else. In CA during, what I know as the “summer months,” being June/July/August, are known out here as gloomiest time of the year. No worries though, our hot weather joins us right as we go into October. Crazy, huh?!
Needless to say, Californians must travel away from the coast in order to enjoy a proper summer. Luckily for the hubs and I, we got to do just that. For four days we jetted off to the island of Kauai, Hawaii and I was completely stoked. This was my first experience in Hawaii and believe me, I was counting down the days until we left.
This photo was taken in Turks & Caicos during my husband and I’s first trip a few years ago!
Since I was traveling to my summer this year it was important for me to travel light, smart, and with the basic essentials to ensure a fabulous trip and zero boredom getting there. You know, it’s a direct 6 hour flight. 6 hours in a tin can, people. Here, I have my summer staples for traveling to a beachy vacation with a carry-on. (Read about my other carry-on packing tips here).
Being of Irish blood I have the joy of being of the fairer skin; something the evil queen of Snow White would be envious of. This means I need all the coverage I can get when out in the sun all day and luckily I found this adorable floppy sun hat from the J.Crew Factory!

Having a bathing suit cover-up is an essential piece for any woman who goes to the beach, the pool, on vacation, etc. It’s a lightweight, and adorable, way to get from place to place when visiting anywhere clothing is optional. I practically lived in this while we were vacationing!

Having a few of your favorite books or summer reads is important when traveling. I’ve wanted to finish The Husband’s Secret for over a year now and summer is the perfect time to catch up! Another book I’m interested in reading (after watching the movie) is Unbroken. I loved the movie and have heard amazing things about the book. Lastly, The Goldfinch is another story I’ve heard some buzz about and is rated the number one book club selection on Barnes & Noble. Can’t wait to get some good reading in this summer!
Another essential beach purchase for anyone is a practical beach bag. Now, I’ve selected Longchamp’s Le Pliage backpack for many reasons: 
1. I love this brand. I have two of their tote bags and they’re my babies
2. The quality of their bags are impeccable and last forever 
3. There’s no large logos or otherwise any reason for me (the tourist) to stick out in a new place 
4. It’s waterproof! 
5. It’s the perfect size for taking to the beach or on any excursion during our stay. Plus the backpack allows for hands free movement and security of my personal things
6. and…it’s a bag that we can use back home for traveling or during a weekend getaway
Whenever you’re going to be around water of any kind (even if you don’t plan to take your phone in the water) it’s best to invest in a good waterproof case for your phone. I took an obscene amount of pictures and of e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g and I wanted a case that’ll protect my phone from water and potential tumbles. 
And a good sunscreen goes without saying (see number one). I personally love Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer sunscreen because it goes on easily and doesn’t feel lotion-y or oily.
Lastly, my last essential for the beach is a new, and cute, bathing suit. I dress modestly and finding a bathing suit that matches me is very important. I’ve also been blessed with curves and nothing flatters my shape more than an adorable one-piece. I found one similar to this one at my local Target and love it! Not to mention, I love how society is embracing fuller women and providing us with stylish options for one pieces that would fit someone who doesn’t have the body of a pre-pubecent twelve year old. #justsayin
Thanks to The Circle and Kiki over at In It’s Time for hosting this lovely linkup! 
You can find me in July when I co-host with Kiki for the next linkup!
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An Interview With My Husband: June

Philip is my husband and we will have been married for one year on June 28th! I met this handsome fellow in a bar back in Alexandria, VA and knew right then, and after a few Snake Bites, that this  man was the one. Philip is someone I can be my complete and uncensored self with, someone I can laugh with until it hurts, someone who shares in my passions and desires, and someone who simply completes me. And you don’t find that kind of love just anywhere.

Today I want to share a little of my husband with you all in the form of an interview. Each month I send him five-ten questions that vary and wait eagerly for his response. I am almost always surprised by his honest answers, which makes this process so much fun!

Follow along with my husband and I as I interview him on various topics about life, impending parenthood, and just some random fun stuff. This is An Interview With My Husband!

1.I know you love food. What are your top 5 favorite foods, with the most favorite first?

This is probably the one question I will have to keep revisiting if I must narrow it down to five.  Honestly, it would be easier to tell you the foods I DON’T like. I guess I’ll start with the things I really miss when I can’t get them or go a long period without:

1. Hitching Post steak in Casmalia
2. Tri-Tip sandwich from Cold Springs Tavern
3. Really good caviar with all the accoutrements (cause I likes to be fancy sometimes)
4. Fried chicken from Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans
5. Jerk chicken from any roadside stand in Negril, Jamaica – I still dream of it

2. Where in the world would you love to visit next? What about that place appeals to you the most?

Again, another difficult question.  Traveling is one thing that first opened my eyes to how small my life is (but, not in a bad way).  It makes me appreciate the differences in all of us and makes me want to live as others do.  The only bittersweet moment I’ve had with the thoughts of our differences is that no matter how hard I try, I will never be a local in another country.  I wasn’t raised there.  I don’t understand their ways and that is something you cannot fake.

But back to the question (and this is tricky now as opposed to a number of years ago when I was single, didn’t have a puppy that I constantly worry about, and was much more reckless).  I’m leaning towards France, but that would be to LIVE, not just visit.  Have to go with Australia.  I’ve known since I was a kid that a kangaroo would definitely make an awesome friend.  No doubt.  I’ve always had a fascination and I hope that deep down I will feel like I did when I was a kid when I visit.  (That actually happened when I visited England and it was an amazing feeling – set my wanderlust in motion)

3. Do you have a bucket list? Why or why not? What would be on your bucket list if you did have one?

I do and I don’t.   There are things I definitely want to do, but those goals are always changing.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I’m just not as interested in some things like I used to be – for example, I always wanted to party in Ibiza.  Now, not so much.  Or maybe, the more things I do and places I see, the less I’m easily enthused.  I hope that isn’t so.  I don’t ever want to get bored.  Here are a few things:

1. Have children (absolutely #1)
2. Break the sound barrier
3. Stay in an over-the-water bungalow in the South Pacific
4. Drive sports car that costs more than the house I grew up in
5. Own a Porsche
6. Speak French and Spanish fluently
7. Attend a Formula 1 race in person (specifically Monaco)
8. Dip my timepiece in every ocean (just 2 more to go!)

4. What makes you feel fulfilled?

Simple.  Being a husband to you and a father to our Murphy dog.  Feeling needed gives me purpose.   It changed how I saw myself and also made me vulnerable.  I’ve never liked feeling vulnerable and constantly thinking about the most important woman/puppy in my life makes me worry more than I ever did about myself, but it gives me focus and that makes me happy.

5. When was the last time you cried (or shed a tear)?

About a week ago when you showed me pictures of people spending their last moments/days with their pets that were going to be put down.  I held Murphy close and felt bad for getting mad at him earlier in the day for something dumb.  I cried harder than I had in a while.  Harder than I expected I would.  And that was just with regards to Murphy.  I worry about you every. single. day.  And I have no idea why – probably because the thought of not having you would traumatize me.  Funny thing is, before getting married to a wonderful woman and having an awesome puppy, I hardly ever cried.  Now it seems like my heart is outside of my body.  That’s something I was not prepared for.  Before, I was invincible.  Now, I’m sensitive to animals, children, and those born disabled more than ever – (basically those that can’t fend off the world by themselves).  I’m not ashamed.  I just wasn’t prepared for all the feels.

**For perspective: here’s the article I showed him via Buzzfeed. Bring tissues. Lots of them.

6. At what times do you need assurance of my love the most?

This usually happens when I’m feeling lost professionally.  Sometimes work gets me down or I don’t feel like I have a purpose despite having steady employment.  If I’m not feeling fulfilled outside of the home, I become sensitive.

7. Putting aside money or time, if you could have one thing what would it be?

Health.  Without that, money and time mean almost nothing.

8. Where do you think we will be in five years?

My vision consists of us with our little ones running around with Murphy on the beach.  At least one.  Probably two by that point.  My hair will hopefully still be black J and we’re very happy.  If we can make it work, I would love to stay in California.  Like I said, as long as I can afford it, I want to stay.  My career honestly isn’t something I focus on in our future.  I know it should be, but things have a way of working out.  I’m sure I’ll be employed doing something, but what I do is not who I am. 

9. What is your all-time favorite TV show to watch? What about that show makes it your favorite?

I would have to say Californication.  Although, that was really before we moved to California.  I had a love affair with this state and always hoped we make it out here and when I watched the show, I felt like I was back.  Also, when the show originally aired, I really related to the main character – self-loathing, drank too much, didn’t have direction.  It was a darker time for me, but I took solace in that.  Now, life is too good to be unhappy. Also, I’m a big fan of any travel show that Anthony Bourdain is on.  If he’s in it, I’m watching.

10. What is your favorite memory of us?

Another good question, because I have many and I don’t think I could narrow it down to one.  Our wedding day is the first memory that comes to mind, but our first trip together to New Orleans is a good one too because it kinda set “us” in motion.  There’s the time we went to the airport to pick up Murphy for the first time, and the first time we went to Turks and Caicos and I got to see you check off “white sand and clear water” from your bucket list (that was very fulfilling to me).

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…and he even had a few questions for me.

1. How have you changed since you met me? Since we’ve been married?

In more ways than I can count. But, if I had to choose the most important thing about myself that has changed, it’s my self-value. You’ve given me confidence in myself and in our relationship by how you treat me, how you show you love me, and the unconditional support you give me every single day. I’ve learned how to love myself because of the way you love me.

2. Gotta ask you the 5 favorite foods as well 🙂 but you’ve got to be SUPER specific (not just “sushi”).

Haha, oh don’t you know me so well. Hmm…well, piggy-backing off the first question I have to say that one way I’ve changed since being married married  to you is the exposure to a variety of cuisines and flavors over the years. So, picking my five aren’t too difficult.

Some of the best sushi from Sushi Taro back in DC & Nobu
Pretty much everything from our Gastronaut tasting menu at The Inn at Little Washington
The sangria and tapas from Estadio in DC
Our favorite Thai place here in Ventura, Rice By Mama
My enchiladas from Casa Rio every time we visit The Riverwalk back in Texas

3. What do you see in our future in the short and long term? Children, living location, etc.

Our future has many things and children are definitely in the picture. I imagine two; a boy and a girl. We are living along the coast much like we are now. I love our life as it is and I can’t wait to see how it will unfold for us. I also see traveling. Venturing all over the world. I love that we set a travel jar and was able to begin scratching places off our list.

4. What is your favorite memory of us?

Hmm…that’s a hard one. It’s true that I have many favorites and to narrow it down to just one almost diminishes the many other memories I have of us. But, if I had to choose just one it would have to be learning two-step with you when we were back in Texas for the first time. There’s nothing that can adequately describe the feeling of giddy-ness and to put it simply: the fun I have with you when we’re dancing together. We don’t do it often, but when we’re dancing everything else melts away and for that moment it’s just the two of us, in sync, and enjoying the moment together.

5. What has been the most surprising feeling/event you’ve experienced since we’ve been together?

The excitement of moving. We did a lot of it, especially when we lived in DC/VA and although it’s quite the process to do, it’s invigorating at the same time. I’m someone who grew up and stayed in the same place her entire life; always being within a 20-30 minute drive from family. I had always wanted to travel and knew that a world was out there waiting to be explored, however, it was being with you and your nature of not being able to sit still long enough that has truly made this life exciting and filled with adventure and memories. I love where we are now, but I look forward to the opportunities we can travel or live in different places and experience new things together. So, I would say our life of constant motion is the most welcoming surprise I’ve experienced since we’ve been together.

I loved interviewing my husband and can’t wait to see what’s in store in July!

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