Labor Day Holiday – Disneyland and California Adventure Trip!


We’re at it again! We decided to take advantage of the long weekend and take a mini trip to Disneyland for Labor Day.
We were a bit skeptical about congestion when going around the holidays, but surprisingly both parks where not packed with people! We had been used to not buying the hopper pass anymore because it was always so busy, that going back and forth between parks in one day was not worth it. The only thing I wish I had known prior to our trip was that Monday (since it was a holiday) they did extend the park hours to Midnight, on Tuesday, Disneyland Park closed at 8pm! I didn’t realize the park would close early due to it being low season and it being a weekday. I suppose in the summer the weekday are extended. Since the park did close at 8, that meant there were no fireworks show or Fantasmic shows. Those experiences are important if you haven’t visited Disneyland in a long time, but for us the tradeoff was well worth it. The wait times for attractions were very reasonable and the congestion was minimal. The whole atmosphere was more pleasant and less hectic, which is always nice when you are on vacation.  
On Monday (Labor Day) we drove down from the San Francisco area and arrived at the park by 1pm. We spent the rest of the day in California Adventure. We enjoyed a few rides and decided to indulge in our never to be missed Ghirradelli sundaes! I had the Peanut Butter chocolate sundae and Jabi had the “Treasure Island” sundae – both had vanilla ice cream, whip cream, chopped nuts, hot fudge, and a cherry! The only difference was that I had peanut butter and he had a warm chocolate brownie to top his off. 

For dinner, we decided to check out the Pacific Warf Café. I opted for the clam chowder soup in a bread bowl and Jabi had the Chicken Apple and Walnut Salad that also came tossed in its own bread bowl. The café also provided an array of other soups, sandwiches, salads, along with sweet treats and the biggest cinnamon rolls I’ve seen in a while! Since we had the sundaes earlier we passed on any desserts that night. 

On Tuesday morning, we had breakfast at the always-delightful Carnation Café. Jabi enjoyed a Ham and Cheese omelet with a side of chicken apple sausage and potatoes. I had the Classic Eggs Benedict with a side of fruit and potatoes. Before Lunch I managed to sneak in a Dole Whip float – located right next to the Tiki Room in Adventureland. 



For lunch we made it to Café Orleans – and it was a winner. Jabi had the “Crescent City” Salad with Blackened chicken and I enjoyed a cup of the New Orleans Gumbo made with chicken, Andouille sausage and Tasso Ham, mixed in with some dirty rice! It was delicious and had the right amount of kick to it, not overly spicy. Along with that I also ordered the famous Monte Cristo Sandwich, which is turkey, ham and Swiss cheese fried together in a corn-like batter, dusted with powdered sugar and berry sauce. This sandwich can easily fit any breakfast, lunch or dinner category- definitely a must try!





Some simple tips and tricks to remember for your overall Disney trip is: 
1.        Bring panchos - for the wet rides! Yah it’s fun to get wet, but sometimes it’s easier  to wear the pancho and avoid having to wait for your clothes and shoes to dry off. You might get some people calling you ‘cowards’ (playfully, of course) but who cares! They’re just mad they didn’t think of it! Typically Disneyland does sell panchos but I’m sure you can save yourself a few bucks if you purchase the non-fancy panchos from Target for $1.99.  
2.        Single Rider is the way to go! Even with the downsized crowd because it was off season, there were still some rides with a 20-30 minute wait time. The still popular ‘Cars’ ride had a 30+min wait time. Jabi and I always go single rider when possible, for the Cars ride, we used single rider waited a short 5 minutes and still ended up in the same care but just in different rows. A good majority of popular rides have the single rider option; you just have to check in with the cast member at the beginning of the ride. Sometimes single riders are given a bright ticket identifying them as single riders. Sometimes the ticket isn’t necessary, for example Splash Mountain, you just follow the exit back to the canoes and wait in your own little line.




3.        Lilly Belle Train Car - Don’t waste your time asking if you can experience a ride in the train car – they will say NO. According to the captain of the Mark Twain Riverboat, Disneyland closed the cart to the public due to disrespect from guests. It was a combination of guests not appreciating the importance of train car and spilling food and drinks while on board. I totally understand.
4.        Mark Twain Riverboat – if you want to ride in the wheelhouse ask the cast member left behind to close the gate as the boat is leaving. When you see the boat sailing off ask the cast member if you can visit the wheelhouse for the next tour – this ensures you are the first to ask. Then you have a short wait for the next tour to roll around. The wheelhouse is not that big, but enough to fit a couple of adults and one or two small children. Our captain allowed us to ask ALL and ANY questions relating to the park – so if there are things you are curious about, here is your chance to get the answers. Last but not least, you are able to sign the captain’s log and you get your own souvenir sailing license.


5.        Disneyland Railroad Train – the ‘tender seat.’ You need to ask a cast member at the Main Street train station. The time I did it, they were training a new conductor so they asked if I wouldn’t mind coming back after a certain hour so I could do it then. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go back.    

Lastly, let loose and have fun!!




*all opinions are my own*



Maui Wow-ee Honeymoon


We discussed the possibilities of a great honeymoon location over dinner and we asked ourselves, what do we want to do? What do we want to feel? What do we want to experience? We wanted to feel the warmth of the sun on our bodies, the refreshing feeling of the ocean splashing on our feet; we wanted to taste new flavors, and to experience a vibrant culture. It had to be tropical and it had to be perfect for fall… It was settled, we were going to MAUI!

The one thing we didn’t anticipate causing a glitch when planning the honeymoon was our departure date. Sure, why don’t we just leave the next day after the wedding? Take it from me, if you can avoid it then do! Wait a couple of days to let your body come down from the wedding high. Jabier and I went to sleep around two in the morning the night of the wedding, slept for a couple of hours, and then took a five to six hour flight straight to Maui. Despite being jet lagged, as we stepped off the plane we felt that gush of warm air hit us and it felt incredible! We were instantly refreshed! We were swiftly shuttled to the car rental place and we picked up our Jeep because you can’t do Maui without the Jeep! 
 Even with the 5 hour time difference we were a couple hours early    for our check-in so we grabbed some lunch in Lahaina – fish tacos, an island favorite called loco moco (hamburger patty over white rice topped with eggs over easy and gravy), and some shaved ice to finish it off!
After, we checked-in at the Marriott Ocean Club in Kaanapali; the resort was huge, with an onsite fitness center, shops, swimming pools, Starbucks and we were right on the beach. To be honest, the moment we got to our suite, which was beautifully decorated by the staff, we showered and fell asleep – for 14 hours!! We literally did not wake up till the next morning.

The next day, when the sun broke we were awake and enjoying the beautiful ocean view and listening to the sounds of the waves splashing onto the beach. It was one of the best feelings in the world, sitting alongside my husband and partner for life on that morning.

Knowing we had essentially missed a day traveling and sleeping, we wasted no time visiting the activities booth. We worked with Mimi Ramos who hooked us up for the whole week! She gave us the inside scoop on all the fun things to do and we booked our itinerary for the week. Within the next couple of hours we were on our way back to the airport, to take our first ever helicopter ride around the island. The sky was crystal clear and the island was so lush and amazing. I’m so happy we were able to take this ride and get a bird’s eye view of the island. A glimpse on something only natives have time to explore.

       

The rest of the week remained eventful. We took relaxed on the beach and had some fun in the ocean on some jet skis! We went ziplining through the mountain above Ka'anapali which offered amazing coastal views. We went snorkeling were we swam with turtles and bright colored fishes. We made the 50 mile winding road journey to Hana town, enjoying rainbow eucalyptus trees, waterfalls, a black sand beach, and sweeping views of the ocean. The road to Hana offered us two great treats of cheesecake pie from a roadside stand and fresh homemade coconut ice cream from Coconut Glens! Yum! Road to Hana is not a trip to take lightly. Its best to leave early in the day, pack some snacks, water, anything you may need for a day trip, because you really are gone for the whole day!



 


Apart from the activities, we loved the food! We went to Sansei’s Japanese restaurant twice! We could not get enough of their delicious food! Crab ramun, shrimp dynamite, smoked salmon sushi "butterfry roll," and for dessert, their fried tempura vanilla bean ice cream! AMAZING! We visited Leodas Kitchen and Pie Shop more than once too; we enjoyed their out of this world eggs benedict with an island flair of apricot-tomato jam and basil pesto! Lunch was great and you can’t leave there without trying more than one of their pie flavors. We were able to enjoy a Luau from Feast at Lele. The luau was a perfectly orchestrated dance and dinner show exhibiting four different island styles each coupled with their own meal courses. I personally returned home with five extra pounds on me, but it was worth it!


 
 


We were sad to leave but excited with the thought of one day possibly returning to this beautiful island and exploring it further.  I would definitely recommend honeymooners choose Maui as their destination, there is just so much to do and explore, the possibilities are endless. 




Selling The Gown


I’ve sold my wedding dress. Not even a full year later and it’s gone…

Soon after the wedding was over I was faced with the task of deciding what to do with my wedding gown. For sure, I knew I wanted to get it cleaned and preserved. After more thought I settled that I would try to sell my dress on eBay. If it sold, great; if not, then at least it’s cleaned and preserved.

I decided to sell my dress for a couple of main reasons.

First, I did not want to hold onto it with the illusion that one day my daughter would wear my dress on her wedding day. If I do have a daughter, God willing, I would not want to pressure her or guilt her to choosing my dress to wear on her big day. She deserves the right to go through the experience of shopping for her own gown, and feeling that excitement when she has found the one. Being at the bridal boutique and standing on the pedestal, seeing yourself wearing the gown you know you will wear on your wedding day is a feeling like no other. I certainly wouldn’t want to deprive her of that.

Secondly, since having my dress preserved all I could enjoy of the dress was this small front section of the dress. When you preserve your dress it gets sealed in a box. If you break the seal, you would have to pay to repeat the process. I enjoyed my dress more through pictures and through memories. My dress, I felt, was so beautiful and it brought me such happiness with how I felt on the day of my wedding. I wanted to give my dress another opportunity to do that for another person, and give it another day to shine. 

When I listed my dress I knew it wouldn’t be an easy sell. For starters I had done so many alterations to my dress, that is was no longer the original dress. The dress was altered to fit a person of my stature and I had to be very clear of the changes I had made to the dress on the listing for eBay. Any question that I would have if I wanted to buy the dress online, I tried to answer on the listing. I was specific to the factory measurements of the dress, to the measurements I was when I bought the dress, my weight when I bought my dress, the changes I made to the dress, what height I was, the heel height of my shoes for the wedding, then my final weight when I wore the dress on my wedding day because I did loose weight!

After having my dress listed for almost six months, I had a steady number of “watchers” and more than 750 views on my dress. Finally, I received a bid on my dress, after a short negotiation, I accepted her bid and it was official -- I had sold my dress.

The finality of the listing brought on a short panic attack with “what did I just do?!” thoughts. I just had to remind myself why I did it to begin with and then I was calm again.

After the confirmation came through for the dress, I was able to see the new owner’s real name as opposed to her username…so, I did what any normal person would do, I Googled her!

I found her (rather easily). I saw two pictures of her. One for her LinkedIn and she looked so pretty and sweet and the second for her Pinterest profile where she was standing next to her fiancée. She looked short compared to him and right away I knew she would have no problem with being too tall for the dress length.

We did go back and forth a few times in conversation before and after the purchase of the dress and I could tell that she was a sweet person. Being able to see a picture of her with her fiancée, happy, was a comforting feeling and I was happy to know my dress was going to her.

I packed the dress, included a nice note wishing her well, and shipped it off. 


A few days later, she sent me a message that she had received and tried on the dress and it was perfect. She loved the dress and felt it was gorgeous! She was happy the dress fit her so well, the only thing was she would have to get it hemmed a little since she is only 5ft tall. She appreciated the note I included with the dress and thanked me again.

I hope (I know it’s weird) down the line after her wedding, she will be kind enough to send me a picture of her wearing the dress. I didn’t ask but I hope she’ll consider it on her own after its all said and done.


Makeup As I Go: Murad Oil-Control Mattifier


I have thee oiliest skin ever! 

It wasn’t always this way, but over the last couple of years I have noticed a drastic change in the oil production on my face. Lately, I only manage to get about two hours out of my makeup before I begin to shine and have to start blotting. The oil is non-stop afterwards and by the end of my work shift my makeup looks smeared and so greasy!

It always made me feel so gross.

I tried new skin care routines, face washes, new foundation makeup, moisturizers; but nothing seemed to work. It wasn’t a seasonal problem either because it persisted throughout the entire year.

Finally, (I really don’t know what took me so long) I searched skin care products on Sephora for oily skin types and I found the Murad Oil-Control Mattifier – it had a bunch of positive reviews and I decided to give it a go.

    … Best thing EVER!

It does what it says it does. It controls the oil for up to 8 hours. It keeps my skin matte and shine free, which is all I ever wanted.

The way I use it is after I wash my face, I apply a quarter size amount over my entire face and lightly over my eye lids. I give it about a minute to absorb before I apply a thin layer of my face moisturizer. Once that’s set I go about applying the rest of my makeup.

I’m sooo happy with this product and highly recommend it to anyone suffering from normal to excessively oily skin.

For reference  so you can see how oily my skin gets. You can see the SHINE on my forehead! The Sun was literally reflecting off my face.
I (left) was with my good pal Cindy, we were wine tasting in Sonoma :)  
Now my forehead is non-reflective like Cindy's. Ha!