Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bi-Coastal Couple

Ech is all West Coast. Will is all East Coast. Not just that, I'm Northwest and he's Southeast.

Sports:
This is where most of our differences really hurt our relationship. I hate Lebron James and Will loves the Miami Heat so there's always a lot of gloating, dirty looks, and a few death threats when my Portland Trailblazers plays his team.

Trailblazers v Heat
HAHAHAHAHA!
Of course I texted this to him to make sure he didn't miss the score.
When it comes to football, we're more than happy to root for each other's teams. In fact we followed both my Ducks and his Seminoles carefully this last season. It was a punch to the gut with both our losses. We're not as deeply invested in my Seahawks or his Buccaneers but we definitely keep an eye on our guys throughout the season. When our teams play each other though...there's absolutely no love between us. It's all trash talk and hate. It takes a few days for the losing team to get over the bitterness and anger.

Buccs v Hawks

Locality
Will couldn't even say Albertsons. I didn't recognize any stores when we were in Florida. We always laugh at each other when we figure out another store or restaurant the other has no idea about. I don't think I have an accent, but sometimes my Hawaiian roots come out and I'll say something in Pidgin or Japanese that he won't understand. I had a hard time explaining bachi (kind of like bad karma) and gulla gulla (the phlegm in the back of your throat) to him. He doesn't always have a hick accent (my teasing way of describing his southern accent), but when he gets excited or talks really fast it comes out.

City v Country
I'm a total city girl. I have no problem catching the bus or Max when I'm in Portland. I lived in Felony Flats while I was in high school. (Don't worry the worst things that happened was someone stole our bikes from our back deck and a meth cooking mobile home parked on our street...oh and a meth house at the end of the block. But really I never really felt unsafe.)
Will is a total country boy. He went mudding and four wheeling and isn't afraid of snakes or gators. He made sure to get me nice and muddy when we took me out in his family's Rhino. He thinks camping should be in the middle of the forest with no amenities (*shudder*). 
I'm guessing when we settle down we'll have to find a house on the outskirts of town. Close enough to the city for me to feel comfortable and far enough away from the center to give Will space to breathe.

night mudding

There's a lot teasing when it comes to our backgrounds, but somehow all the opposites work for us. The only time I ever got really mad at him over our coastal feud was when I wanted bright pretty ocean blue for a wedding color and Will said, "I ain't no Crip!" He was joking in the way he said it, but sadly he wasn't joking about the colors.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hunting for Vampires in Volterra

So you've heard of a little book trilogy called Twilight? They made a movie series out of it. Well, the Volturi were kind of like vampire royalty in the books so when we heard Volterra was a real place we HAD to check it out!

Volterra, Italy

Before you go, the town is on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. It's annoying as heck to find parking and to navigate up the winding roads. But it's totally worth it once you get there. I'm bummed it was so foggy because I bet there are some great views on clear days. We didn't take pictures from the town since we were hoping the clouds would burn off. Nope, it just got worse throughout the day.

Tuscany, Italy

Here's what we didn't know before getting there: They didn't actually film in the town of Volterra. As we explored the town, Will kept asking where the big piazza from the movie was. We found very few references to the Twilight series while we were there. It was so refreshing to see that Hollywood hadn't corrupted the beautiful town.

Twilight in Volterra

The town was, however, overloaded on gorgeous alabaster products. It's what they're known for and are most proud to display in all the storefronts. Like I said, the town is so beautiful and I highly recommend visiting if you find yourself in the area.

Volterra, Italy
Volterra, Italy
Volterra, Italy
Volterra, Italy
Pongo!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Physicality


I miss him....his physical presence. I love that I get to see him and talk to him everyday through Skype, phone calls, and texting.

What I don't physically miss? His practicing MMA and WWE moves on me when he's all pumped up on YouTube videos. Getting poked and picked on because he's in hyper mode. Having 100x the amount of dishes and laundry to wash. Constantly trying to push him back to his side of the bed because he has a tendency to slowly move into a diagonal position across our bed.


But I miss his kisses and his arms around me. Most importantly I miss the almost-nightly back rubs. (I'm spoiled, I know.) It's such a tease to see him on a screen and not be able to squish his face and kiss him. I also miss being able to watch our shows together. It's just not the same cuddling with a pillow, laughing hysterically by myself. Do you watch Guys with Kids or Happy Endings? Hilarious!

Ech & Will

Fingers crossed I'll be seeing him soon. I'm so ready for him to get home so we can get as much quality time in as possible before he deploys.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hiatus

I'm trying to fight off a cold and a killer headache. Turns out the best way to combat the cold is to stay awake to keep my throat from drying out while I sleep. The best way to alleviate some of the headache is to lie face down in a pillow. As always my life is such a contradiction. I'm in any shape to write anything that will make any kind of sense. So in the meantime, check this out:



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Friday, January 18, 2013

Let It Snow!

January snow

Watching snow fall is one of the most beautiful and peaceful things in the world to me. I love the stillness that comes with it, even in the city. When I moved to Oregon and we went up to Mt Hood for play days I loved lying in the snow and watching the flakes fall down.  

I like it when the snow stays on the mountain. I can visit it, and leave it there when I'm done. Driving and walking in it on a day to day basis...yuck. The last few days it has been snowing for a little while and then clearing up...my idea of a perfect snow day at lower elevations. 

January snow

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chopped

It finally happened. I stopped talking about it and did it. I cut my hair. I feel five pounds lighter and I keep whipping my head back and forth to feel my hair actually move with my head instead of fighting against it. I was actually going to wait until I got back to The States, but something happened a few days ago that expedited the process. My hair tried to kill me in my sleep. No joke. I woke up with my hair wrapped around my neck and tucked in under my shoulder. When I leaned on my arm to push up, it tightened around my neck and choked me a little. For the sake of my health I had to book the first available appointment at the salon on base.

I didn't take before pictures, but here's some recent shots to give you an idea of what I started out with:

long hair
long hair

I played with the idea of cutting it up to my chin, but I chickened out. Will actually liked the idea and encouraged it. That surprised me since he always said he preferred I keep my hair past my shoulders. Maybe next time I'll go for it. But this time I went with a medium length cut (but SUPER short to me since I'm so used to my long hair).

new haircut
"What did I do!?"
I miss my long hair, but I'm super happy with the cut. I had it cut for a side part for the first time ever. I usually go with a middle part, but I figured I was completely changing my hair so I may as well change the part too.

A few reasons why I loved my hair dresser:
  • She didn't insist on small talk. I was focusing all my concentration on not flopping my head down and falling asleep. So trying to do the whole small talk thing could have ended in disaster.
  • She asked when the last time I had last washed my hair before picking out a shampoo based on how it felt. I've never had anyone ask me that before. I had a lot more faith that she would treat me right after that.
  • When I showed a picture of my idea she walked me through all the elements of it.
  • I asked for a good amount of length to be cut. She showed me where she would cut and confirmed the length. Then she cut it. I hate when I ask for a lot to be cut off and the hair dresser only cuts an inch off at a time and won't just go for it.
  • She was so meticulous about making sure my hair was even at all points. I've had some people only check the lengths at two or three spots and call it good. She checked at least a dozen to make sure. I can appreciate a person who puts that much effort in their work.
I'm excited to wash my hair and see how it looks curly. Will hopes it'll turn into a lion's mane. He's so excited to get home to pet and feel my hair. I'm not sure what he means by that because it actually feels the same when I pet it....there's just less to pet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Weekend

deployment care packages


Seester deployed recently so I put together two care packages for her. One with smell goods (laundry pods and candle wax for her Scensty...yes she brought her Scentsy with her). The other with deliciousness (beef jerky, candy, K cups). I heard that if you mix non food items with food items they take on the smell and taste of each other. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't want her coffee to taste like Ocean Breeze and vice versa.

library books


I did something I haven't done in forever...browsed at the library. It was library dog day so there were lots of families and dogs hanging out. Melt my heart moment: A dad and son were searching for books together and showing each other their finds as they came across them. So sweet! I exercised some self control for once and only walked out for three books.

The Walking Dead comic books


I went to check the mail and got a surprise! The mister's deployment presents came in! I'm super excited because I get to read them first before I send them to him periodically throughout his deployment. Of course I had the bad timing of going to the library first so I have to read those three books before I can get to these.

I learned that the post office sliding doors hate me. They refuse to acknowledge me. I walked up...nothing. Took a step back...nothing. I'm not one to wave my hands around and do dances to get a door to open so I walked over to the other side of the building to the manual door in the actual office part. Then, after I got the box of books (and two other small ones) I went to go out the door...nothing. So I had to struggle through the manual doors again and fight through a crowd of people standing in line to send their packages. As soon as I walk out, the doors open for someone walking in. WTF? Not cool.

spam musubis

To cheer myself up and give me some sustenance for some hardcore reading, I made myself some teriyaki spam musubis. That one on the right...yeah definitely over packed it and it turned into a nightmare of a mess to eat. But it was delicious!

By the way, I read Secret Society Girl in one sitting. It was a super fun book to read. The plot was pretty elementary, but the writing and vocabulary were above average. I would recommend it. Other than reading, I've been watching Party Down. SUPER funny! I can't wait for the mister to get back so I can introduce him to it. He's going to love it.

Hope everyone had lovely weekends, HAPPY MONDAY!


Linking up with Sar & Sydal

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Deployment Toolbox

The mister is about to be deployed for the first time and I'm a little freaked out by the all the unknowns. I reached out to some military spouses and asked for advice. If you'd like to guest post about deployments...advice, your experience, homecomings, anything at all relating to deployments...shoot me an email echandwill@gmail.com





Hi everyone, my name is Niki and I blog over at My Life My Way and I thought I would share with you all my little secret weapon in getting through a deployment.

I have what I call a "Deployment Toolbox" or you can call it a "kit" and this is what is inside:

Books:
Going Overboard by Sarah Smiley
Confessions of a Military Wife by Mollie Gross

Movies:
Saving Private Ryan
We are Soldiers
Dear John

Other Supplies:
A bottle of hubby's cologne
One of his t-shirts
Count down jars for my kids with their favorite candy inside
Kleenex
Stationery
Journal

Each person's toolbox or kit is going to be different. I chose movies that are about the military because it makes me feel closer to hubby. The books I mentioned are my go to's when I need a good laugh. I spray some of hubby's cologne on the shirt and sleep with it every night. My kids eat a piece of candy out of the jar each night marking one day closer to Daddy/Hubby coming home. I write letters to the hubby, my kids draw pictures, and they also e-mail daddy too. I journal about what is going on and hubby usually does this too when he can so I know what it is like over there. We send care packages to hubby. I almost always include pictures of the kids with a note about what they are currently doing or just some funny tidbit.

I hope this helps anyone who is going to be dealing with a deployment in the future.

Niki

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I love the idea of a candy countdown. We don't have kids yet, so I guess I'll have to take one for the team and eat them myself!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Baby Girls

Could I have pulled off Dylan or James as a kid?


I'm a big fan of boys names for girls. I know a lot of people find it cruel or odd to do that to a girl, but I love it!

For instance:
Dylan
Charlie
James
Blake

Since Will and I already agreed on Aviella for our first girl's name, I'll have to see if we have two girls to convince him to go with a nontraditional name for #2.

But then again, we're kind of hoping for boys since a little girl would wrap Will around her little finger...and that would be dangerous for parenting reasons.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Will's Version of Packing

I have spoiled Will too much. I made him pack his own bag for his trip and he pouted and procrastinated. I went upstairs to help him pick out clothes, then went downstairs to play video games so he was forced to do the rest on his own. He pulled out a suitcase and threw an armful of clothes into it. If I didn't stop him this is how he would have zipped it:

Will's idea of packing
He threw everything in his arms into the bag and it happened to fit pretty nicely as is.

He practically begged me to fold everything for him. Luckily (for me) Seester called over Skype and stopped me from caving. In the end he got it done. And he was left with lots of room for presents for me! Yay! Fingers crossed he brings me home new clothes or maybe a purse and a pair of boots.



Today I'm linking up with
Made in a Day

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Bunny Suit

"What's that?"

He should have known I would be curious about whatever it was he had rolled up and clipped to his work backpack.

"Hmmm?"

The dumb card? Really? That doesn't work on me.

"That!"

I pointed at the Twinkie colored rolled up thing. Maybe that's why it caught my attention. It was rolled up into a Twinkie shape and everything.

"Oh, it's an intake suit."

Game over. I asked nicely, whined, and guilt tripped him until I got my way. He solidified my resolve to get him into the suit by calling it a bunny suit. Well that makes no sense. Bunnies aren't yellow!

intake suit

Three questions immediately popped into my mind when he suited up:
What protects your face? (Nothing.)
What protects your hands!? (Nothing.)
Why did you bring it home? (I was wearing it all day at work.) ....uh...doesn't really answer the question, but okay.

Turns out the suit is more about protecting the intake on the jet, not the person going into it. There's cuffs on the ankles and wrists and the neck has a drawstring to tighten to catch anything that falls from your pockets. You're also supposed to wear protective booties over your shoes.

And that is just one of many things crew chiefs do. I'm sure this is nothing new to anyone who works on commercial jets or machinery, but it's new to me so I'm amused. I wanted to try on the suit, but it was dirty and I was freshly washed.

If you want to see an intake suit in action, click here and here to see pictures from the Air Force site.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Spoon & a Jar of Nutella



I promise I'm not trying to drown my sadness in chocolate. Well...maybe a little. But mostly I don't keep a lot of snacks in my kitchen especially now that it's just me in the house (TDY, not deployment time yet). I was tearing the kitchen apart trying to find something sweet when I found a jar of Nutella in one of my cupboards. I've been meaning to try out a cookie recipe I found on Pinterest (pin). But after a plate of pasta, I really craved something sweet. Enter...spoon & jar of Nutella. Sometimes a girl just needs the two.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Deployment Advice

The mister is about to be deployed for the first time and I'm a little freaked out by the all the unknowns. I reached out to some military spouses and asked for advice. If you'd like to guest post about deployments...advice, your experience, homecomings, anything at all relating to deployments...shoot me an email echandwill@gmail.com



Hi everyone, my name is Dontaye Scott-Neal and I have been a military wife for 10 years in the great branch of the Marine Corp. I love all branches though. I am an Air Force veteran. I blog over at Scottneal Designs where I pretty much talk to you about my whole life. I am currently a military spouse, full-time student, fitness enthusiast, and blogger. I have two fur babies; Chloe and Tyson. The sweetest Shih-Tzu's you will ever met. Oh and of course you want to know where I live right?! We are stationed in the great old state of North Carolina which is where I am originally from. Thanks so much for having me today and please run over and check out my blog and like me on Facebook. Thanks.

Surviving deployment 101

If you're a military spouse there will absolutely become a time when we have to go through a deployment by ourselves or with our children. Deployments can weigh heavy not only on your heart but on your families as well. For any one who doesn't know, deployments can go anywhere from a month (if you're lucky) to 18 months (I give a big shout out to Army wives).  I am currently surviving my second deployment which isn't quite as bad as the first one was. When your other half is in a place fighting for our country that you see on the news everyday going through a time of war deployments can literally tear you up inside. So I have written this survival guide for all military spouses. Ok well I wrote a survival blog post lol...book soon to come.

#1 Spend as much time with your other half as possible. For the ladies, I have to say this and say it kindly lol...do not...I repeat do not....keep your man locked in a corner where only you can have him lol. I say this with much respect. Allow your husband to spend time with family as well. The reason I make the point about spending time is because for some of us who have friends that don't have husbands in the military we always hear, "How long are you going to spend time with him?". "Are you coming out tonight? You can spend time with him tomorrow." Don't listen to your friends. Military life is a job and part of that job is spending time with family and your spouse especially if your spouse is going to a war zone.

#2 Its okay to cry and be sad ladies and gents. This is an emotional time in your life and some of us could never imagine being away from our other half. Shed tears ladies because later in the deployment you will be shedding tears of happiness for the return. If you find yourself completely overwhelmed with depression please seek comfort of a friend, family member, priest, or whomever. Ok I shouldn't say whomever but you know what I mean lol.  Do not...I repeat... Do not try to do this alone. Some women are strong enough to do it but it's better to get it out than to keep it in.

Once your spouse is gone....

#3 Do not watch the news!!! I interrupt this program to tell you "TURN OFF THE NEWS!" For those of us who have spouses going to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and etc we do not want to see stuff blowing up, military headlines, or hear anything that pertains to the branch of service your spouse is in. This only makes the deployment extremely harder. It gets your mind going and your heart pumping. I made that mistake the first deployment and almost went crazy. Stay off the news.

#4 Stay as busy as you can! This is by far the most important. The more you are bored and locked in your house, the time will go by so slow and you will start to get depressed. Don't do it. When my husband left, I worked full-time and went to school full-time. I also played softball, hung out with friends, and went on trips. Since I kept myself so busy, every time my hubby called it was like I had just spoken to him the day before even though I hadn't. Find a hobby to do, a part time job, pursue a dream, and just get yourself active. 

#5 This survival tip is not for us. This survival tip is for the person who is deployed but it involves you. Keep the letters and the packages flowing. Not only do we need to survive but so do our significant others. I wrote my husband a letter almost every day even if the paper only said I love you on it. I could tell from talking to him that whenever he got a letter or package from me that he was happy and felt loved. It doesn't have to be a life long story letter every time. Scribble I love you, draw a smiley face, funny joke, the date of your marriage, the date of your first born child, or whatever makes you and your spouse smile together.

I have to tell you that there are really 100+ ways to survive a deployment because everyone is different and all deployments are different as well but what I have listed above are major to me. I could really write a book with 1,000 ways possibly lol. From me to you though, I have to say as a military spouse always walk around with your head raised high because what your spouse is doing for our country is worthy of praise. As a spouse, you're not worthy of his rank ( inside joke! If you have been a military spouse for a while you understand) but you are worthy of praise as well. We have to go through a lot in this kind of life from moving around to being alone at times. So don't ever let anybody talk your lifestyle down. 

Okay okay.....enough from me lol. Starting next week I will be opening up a session on my blog for military wives to ask me questions about anything military related that they want and I will post the question without names and the answers. If you have questions you would like to submit please email me at scottnealdesigns@gmail.com. 

Salute to all my military spouses!!

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Mixed Feelings

Have you ever ordered flowers from FTD.com? I've done it quite a few times over the years for my family. I've never had a bad experience...until now. I ordered a bouquet of roses for my little sister's birthday. Her birthday is on the 30th and I ordered them on the 20th. Plenty of time right?

The next day I received an email stating that they couldn't fulfill the order and I would be receiving a refund.

Not a big deal. It was the holidays after all and I wasn't too upset.

But then...I got about 5 emails (it's ridiculous how many emails were sent) on the 28th & 29th saying my order was incomplete and to please go to their site or call in with delivery information. I replied asking why they needed information when the order was cancelled. I received a curt reply back saying it wasn't cancelled and I will not be receiving my money back so I need to contact them with delivery information. Maybe I was reading the message as curt, maybe not. Either way I was royally annoyed.

I entered in all the information they could possibly need to complete the delivery when I placed the order. Is this a scam or is this for real? On December 30th (my sister's birthday) I clicked on the link, entered in the delivery information again, and clicked send. The confirmation message was basically: Sorry the delivery in en route, the information cannot be changed. WHAT!?

Okay whatever, cool. She'll get her flowers on her actual birthday. That's what matters.

But then I didn't get a message from my dad saying they got the flowers. Did he forget? No, probably not. Either my stepmom or he would have texted or Facebooked me to let me know. They're pretty good about things like that. Hmm. Maybe I should double check.

On January 3rd I got another email stating the flowers couldn't be delivered because they needed the delivery information. I'm pretty sure I did that twice now...so I'm confused as to what the problem is. It was business hours when I received the email so I called them up to see what was going on.

Basically, the customer service rep had no real answers as to what the problem was. She confirmed that all the information was entered. I guess if the delivery is delayed, the florist won't delivery late until they get a confirmation from FTD and FTD won't give them the go ahead until they contact the customer to confirm that it's okay.

At this point I'm screaming in my head, "BUT I RECEIVED A MESSAGE SAYING IT WAS EN ROUTE!!!!"...followed by a lot of curse words.

The customer service rep was really sympathetic about the whole thing and I could tell she was just as confused by the whole thing as I was. I kept my cool and didn't take my frustrations out on her. (Look at that, I'm maturing!) Instead I politely thanked her for her help before hanging up.

My not-so-little sister and her birthday flowers! Finally!

During the whole emailing back and forth, I was convinced I would never shop with FTD.com again. But after the phone call and talking with the nice lady...maybe I will. Not anytime soon because I'm still annoyed.

Library


I love the library. I've always loved going to the library. I don't know what my mom did, but I hope my kids love reading as much as Seester and I do. Some of my favorite memories growing up were going to the Wahiawa Library for events or to get a new book. I try not to browse the shelves because I usually end up checking out a stack of 5+ books. Now I try to put books on hold and just run in and grab them so I don't get tempted to bring home more than I have time for. I have a tendency to get lost in reading and will stay up all night or ignore everything in life just to finish a book. Great for my entertainment, horrible for my productivity. Speaking of which...I have two book to read that's due at the end of the week. Better get to them.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pisa

I really don't think this post needs a lot of explanation. The pictures speak for themselves.

Pisa
Pisa
Pisa
Pisa
Pisa
Pisa
Pisa
Pisa

We didn't climb to the top. The climb to St Peter's Basilica's dome scarred us and we weren't about to make another claustrophobic tilting climb so soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Post-Office Girl

More info about this book at powells.com (new window)
Click image for more deatils
If you don't like spoilers, don't read the summary of this book. It pretty much gives away the entire premise of the book. Sure, there are a lot of details that aren't given in the summary, but still...I don't want to know the whole plot of a book before I read it.

Here's a proper summary in my words: A girl from a small town in Austria was forced to grow up too fast during WWI and the ensuing depression era. She doesn't know anything outside of her simple life as a post office clerk, working day in and day out scrimping and saving every penny. That is, until her estranged aunt invites her to join in on a holiday at a posh hotel in the Swiss Alps. Suddenly she's thrust into upper-crust society and she can't bear go back to her old life.

You know the saying, "Ignorance is bliss"? This book highlights the meaning of this saying. I don't know how Stefan Zweig can write so monotonously, yet beautifully about this 20-something year old girl and her depressing realization...that her life sucks and now she knows it. When I say his writing is monotonous, I don't mean that it's boring. I mean it should be boring, but somehow it isn't. It wasn't a difficult read. In fact, it was fun most of the time. 

This book fulfills the "Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English." Yay another 15 points bringing my total to 20! I really need to up my book consumption if I'm going to complete this book challenge on time. Wish me luck!

Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge