Friday, July 19, 2019

bringing some aloha into our lives

while it certainly looks as if we were bitten hard by the travel bug this summer, this last trip was one that we'd been planning since christmas.  i don't remember if i mentioned it before, but when we headed to texas for the hub's grandpa's birthday party our outbound flight was overbooked.  when the offer went up to $1000 in travel vouchers per person, we jumped on it and knew we'd use it for a summer family vacay to hawaii.  after months of counting down, it was finally time to go.

too bad the hub ended up catching some sort of terrible cold the very day before we were set to leave.  poor guy.  and the last time we went to hawaii as a group of five (including the old lady's special friend), he got sick the first day of that trip, too.  huh.  anyway, he rallied enough to get himself packed and drive us all to the airport bright and early on our day of departure.  we dropped the car off at park 'n fly and waited for the shuttle to take us to the terminal.  seemed like a good time for our first group selfie:


the bean did her best to cheer up her ailing daddy.


TSA precheck remains a godsend.  the line to get through security was crazy long, and we were happy to sashay right past them and right up to the scanners without having to take off our shoes or pull out our liquids from our carry-ons.  we made it through in no time, and then we had some time to kill before boarding our plane.  the bean isn't much into toys anymore, but she was still happy to pose at the mattel shop in the terminal.


and - well, of course we did.


we ended up stopping at monsieur marcel's in the mini-farmers' market for some breakfast.  the ham & cheese quiche was tasty and filling.


boarding time!


and although the hub smirked at it, i busted out my little portable ottoman for the 6-hour flight.


that flight seemed to take forever.  or maybe we were just all excited to go.  or both.  either way, we were really excited when we landed in honolulu:


even the hub perked up, despite still feeling pretty crappy.  we picked up our rental car - a chevy equinox that barely held us plus our luggage - and decided to make a pitstop on our way to the condo.  we discovered waiola shave ice two years ago on our last trip to oahu, and we'd decided that it was superior to our old standby, matsumoto up on the north shore.



we'd chosen to stay at the same condo we took the special friend to back in 2015, at ko'olina right next to the disney aulani.  it was just as we remembered it.





the excitement and activity caught up to the hub, who decided to stretch out on the bed and sleep off his sickness while the rest of us (not including the bean, who was happy to stay behind and relax with her ipad) headed out to walk to the abc store for some snacks and grab some stuff for dinner.  on our way there, we stopped for our first look at the beach.


the abc store was just as i remembered it - full of all sorts of fun snacks, and even this:


we picked up as much as we thought we could carry, since we were walking back, and grabbed snacks, water and dinner items from the hot foods counter.  we took it all back, spread it out on the counter, let the bean and the hub know there was food available and sat down to enjoy our first dinner in hawaii.


maybe it wasn't a super exciting start to the trip, but it was good enough for us.  shave ice, a walk to the beach, the abc store and spam musubi.  all good.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

pretty sure i'm getting too old for this

so you know how i love a good bargain...because after all, who doesn't?  one of my favorite clothing websites, morning lavender, announced their annual warehouse sale via instagram a couple of weeks ago.  they posted some sneak peeks of what was going to be available and after skipping it last year i debated whether or not to head down.  the threat of FOMO finally got to me the day before the sale, and so i decided to go for it.  i remembered seeing some pictures of last year's event, where there was a good-sized lineup of folks waiting to get inside, and so i knew i had to get there early.

with the doors scheduled to open at 8, i set my alarm early to make the drive down to tustin on saturday morning.  i managed to get out of the house just before 7, and even after a stop at starbucks i found myself pulling into the parking lot around 7:30 thanks to zero traffic on the freeway.  as predicted, there were already quite a lot of people there and since i was rolling solo i couldn't take the time to check out how long that line was before i got in it.


there were lots of ladies there in groups and in pairs, and i spent a lot of time catching up on social media as i stood there all by my lonesome.  at 8:00 on the dot the line started moving, and the first group of shoppers were happily allowed access to the goods.  there were signs posted on the building as we inched forward:


the brick-and-mortar shop also features a cafe where they do tea, coffee and afternoon tea.  and as most businesses in this age of millennials do, they have a mobile truck as well.  today, they were parked here serving up free cups of iced lavender milk tea or vietnamese coffee.  since i'd already had my coffee and had no idea if there were any restrooms available nearby, i didn't hit it up.  it was a nice touch, though.


as the line continued to grow behind me, we moved up about 15 feet or so every - oh, probably 20 minutes or so.  this made for a pretty long wait, and i prayed that the battery on my phone wouldn't die out on me before i got inside.  it was providing some necessary entertainment and distraction from the incessant chatter around me, and it occurred to me that maybe i shouldn't do things like this anymore.  or, at least, not without a buddy.  i knew i should've hit up my friend lilcee to come with me, but since it was sort of a last-minute decision i hadn't thought of asking her until it was too late.  and i was so glad i hadn't dragged the bean along, because that would have been miserable for the both of us.  she's actually a pretty good sport (especially if she has her ipad in hand), but without a payoff for her at the end there's no way i would've made her sit through that.

after a good 1.5 hours, i made it to the corner of the building.  progress!


it took probably another hour and a half before i got to the other corner.  by this time i was definitely regretting the whole thing and hoping that it would be worth it once i got inside.  if i ever did.


seeing the light at the end of the tunnel made the wait seem even longer.  there was a lot of anticipation and excitement around me as we crept closer and closer to that door.



the staffer at the door handed everyone a large plastic bag and welcomed us in as we came through the door.  the first thing i saw was this rack of pretty dresses that serve as morning lavender's signature look.  as i browsed through the rack i figured i'd probably never have a occasion to wear any of them, and although there were a couple that caught my eye - and only $30! - i walked away empty-handed.


i didn't have any better luck here, either.


each item had a color coded dot on the tag, and these were posted everywhere so you knew what you were going to pay for them.


back in one corner i came across a whole bunch of floaty chiffon skirts...the kind i'd seen so many women in europe wearing with their white leather adidas.  i found a good number of them in my size, and with a $10 price tag i scooped up three of them.  there were girls standing behind the racks frantically trying on the clothes they'd picked up, and so i found myself a spot and tried on one of the skirts to make sure they'd fit since everything was, of course, final sale.  i was pretty amused at those seasoned warehouse sale shoppers...they came dressed in easy-to-remove clothing and sports bras underneath.  fitting rooms aren't usually available at these things, so they were prepared.  very wise.

i found a few pieces that i thought the old lady might like, and made sure that they were things i'd wear myself in case she decided to pass on them.  i picked through a couple of piles like this:


and then after taking one more turn around the floor to make sure i hadn't missed anything, i got in line to check out.  this gave me time to sort through the things i'd picked up to make sure i really wanted them, and after pulling out a dress, a skirt and a couple of tops i ended up with just my three chiffon skirts along with a dress, a pair of pants and a top for the old lady.  although there was a kind of "last call" table just before the door to the cashier:


and here i managed to find myself a cute top and dress that were just $5 apiece.  yay!  and just in time too, because i'd finally gotten to the check-out counter.


four hours and $78 later,  i was finally outta there.


was it worth it?  well...i'm still not sure.  would i do it again?  if you'd asked me at that moment, the answer would've been a resounding HELL NO.  but now that i've had some time to recover from it all, i think i might be up for it again only if i have a shopping buddy with me to pass the time while we wait.

check back with me next year.  heh.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

squeezing in as much fun as we can

sunday morning saw us up bright and early for our galaxy's edge reservation.  our window was from 8 to 12, and we were hoping to get into the cantina and go inside the antiquities shop and get all the photo ops we'd passed on the week before. 

good morning, california adventure!


we got our stuff all packed up and dropped our bags off in the car since checkout would fall during our time inside galaxy's edge.  and then we got to use the special event entrance into disneyland, since we needed to check in at the launch bay and get our wristbands.  during this reservation period, check-ins began two hours before your window opens, which means people were arriving as early as 6am.  sheesh.

it's always so nice to walk down main street when the park is nearly empty.


we had to show our email confirmation to get past this point:


and this time, there was a fairly long line to get to the check-in counter.  there's fun stuff to look at along the way, though.


ready to go!


because it was so early and the park still wasn't actually open yet, we took advantage of the almost-never-heard-of empty starbucks on main street.



once we had our coffees in hand, we headed back to tomorrowland to get in the long line of folks waiting to get into galaxy's edge.


our goal was to secure a reservation time to get into oga's cantina, so once the line started moving towards the entrance, we followed the directions to stay to one side.  except that as we got closer to the front, a cast member was making the announcement that the reservation times were going really fast and the chances were slim that we'd score one.  and then a couple of minutes later, another cast member came with an update - all reservations for this time slot were taken, and since they weren't allowing walk-ins we'd just have to try another time.  bummer.

but at the millennium falcon, there was hardly a line.  and so we decided to ride it again, and this time we'd switch positions within our ship.


and this time, we had time to stop and take some pictures inside.





this time, i decided to try the gunner position.



in all honestly, this ride is really just kind of like a cooler version of star tours.  it's a simulated ride, with different buttons to push for the various duties (pilot, gunner, engineer).  still fun, but there's no way i'd wait for very long to do it.




we decided to join the line for the photo op with the millennium falcon in the background.  while we waited, a stormtrooper approached us and had a little chat with someone he thought might be part of the rebellion.


it really is fun to take pictures here.  everything is so realistic.





 inside the antiquities sbop, we marveled at the details everywhere.




stormtroopers were out keeping an eye on the shenanigans, making their way down to interrogate suspicious-looking characters.




droids were everywhere.



 we couldn't resist this super cool light-up blue/green milk jug.


at the black spire outpost, we checked out some fun merchandise and picked up some of kat saka's kettle corn, which was a little sweet and a little spicy.  delish.




more stormtroopers!


as we made our way out of there, we saw chewbacca posing for photos.



look at the crowd chomping at the bit, waiting for their turn to check out galaxy's edge!


back out in the park, we hopped aboard the disneyland railroad and took it all the way around before getting off in tomorrowland.


we wanted to head to trader sam's at the disneyland hotel for some lunch, so we caught the monorail and even got to ride in the very front.




as we pulled up at the downtown disney station, the bean spotted a tiny dinosaur sitting on the lightpole.


next time we stay on property, i'd like to do it at disneyland hotel again.  it's my favorite of the three hotels.


trader sam's had just opened for the day about a half hour before, but all of the tables inside were already taken.  no biggie though...we managed to find a nice table near the pool that was probably better anyway.  the menu had some pretty fun offerings, and we decided to try all of the things that caught our eye.




cocktails!  we would've loved the souvenir mugs, but the upcharge was something crazy like $20 ersumshit.  no thanks...just the alcohol, please.


kalua-style poutine.


fried spam musubi.


pork gyoza.


the parks had gotten pretty busy by then, and so we decided to head back to the car and get outta there.  on our way we came across one of the wedding gazebos and took some silly pictures because why not?


peace out, disney!  for now, at least.


we made one more stop before heading home.  the old lady and her special friend love this place.


 you get to put together big cups of fresh fruit with all sorts of fun toppings.


of course, this is not the bean's nor my jam, and so we just hung out while the kids placed their orders.


i do wish this were my jam though...it sure looked good.  bright, fresh and colorful with lots of spice and flavor.


it was a great way to cap off our super fun weekend.  i don't know when we'll get to do this again...maybe for my birthday?  we'll see.  that'll be here before we know it.  yikes.
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