12.31.2012

Newly Inspired

When I started this little blog of mine, I wanted to share my story of how I went from non-runner to marathoner.

 How I put in miles and miles and miles of training runs throughout the year in order to get into the best physical shape of my life.

pshhhh... needless to say, it never happened!

 Sure, I did start a training program.

 And I did run my first 5K (whoo hoo!)

 But then life happened.

 Well, I should say new life happened.

I was pregnant with our first child and I used that as an excuse to take it easy, AKA stuff my face when I wanted to and skip my workouts when I felt like it.

Because I was no longer exercising or training for anything, my blog fell into a lull.

I had lost my inspiration.

My son was born at the end of 2011.  After finding my groove (oh who are we kidding, I'm still looking for it!) I began to slowly emerge back into the blogging world.

I thought I had a good footing on it all until I realized that there was no passion in it anymore.

There came a point where I enjoyed reading blogs more than writing blogs.

And that's OK.

I still miss writing.  I'm hoping I find my inspiration again.  I've learned that the best way to break through writer's block and to gain writing inspiration is to just. start. writing.

And even though I HATE starting new things on January 1st, I figure, why not?
(soooo... I'm posting this on 12/31... tee hee hee!)

So here I am, reintroducing myself to the blogsphere (and to all my new followers- ALOHA!)

My name is Vanessa, friends call me Vanessa.  Or Nessa.  Or Vaness. Or Ness.

But NEVER Van.

NEVER.

I'm not quite thirty (right, Jenn?).  I enjoy traveling, great food, great wine, and a great book.

I love Jesus and am a sinner.  I have THE WORSE road rage EVER.

In fact, when I make my millions, the first thing I'm doing is hiring a driver.

It's the Christian thing to do.

I'm married to my high school sweetheart.  We have one baby boy (who just turned one!) that is pure joy.

I'm deathly afraid of dogs.

I love ice cream.  Almost as much as a good wine.

Almost.

I'm a recent convert to country music.  I swore up and down that I would never listen to that twang-y stuff and yet here I am, setting my radio alarm clock to the one and only local country music station.

Hang around long enough and my wannabe southern-ness will make an appearance.

Island girl with a southern drawl? Yeah, you don't want to miss that.

I'm not very good with consistency.  But I promise that if you hang around a little bit I get into a great rhythm and you'll experience all the awesomeness you've come here to find.

CHEERS!


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11.30.2012

An Aloha Affair

I know, I know... blog hiatus/(semi)retirement, right?

Yeah yeah yeah but this is important.

I love finding new blogs in my area (makes the sense of community seem a bit tighter, KWIM?)

So I'm posting really quick to share- An Aloha Affair blog hop!

This is hosted by Nicole at Local Sugar Hawaii 

I have never participated in a hop before but I've seen a few from other favorite bloggers (like Frikken Duckie) so I figured I'd give it a try...

Follow your host(s), share your family friendly blog, invite others to join in on the hop, and visit at least 3 other sites to mingle and share the Aloha.

Here are a few (ok, A LOT) of new blogs for you to check out.  Have fun!


10.31.2012

WATCH: Jai Cunningham takes an emotional, shocking stand against violence

As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (better late than never!) I am compelled to share this video with you this morning.  A local news anchor took a shocking stand against domestic violence this morning, LIVE.  I cried.  So grab a tissue, watch, and please share!
WATCH: Jai Cunningham takes an emotional, shocking stand against violence

10.24.2012

So, Remember When I Used to Blog? Yeah, me neither...

It has come to this point.

I'm calling it quits.

I thought I could juggle my new life as a mommy and blog writer but I just can't.

I can't.

Phillip is almost 10 months now and my oh my how fast time flies! He is climbing on everything and loves to explore. His personality is developing quickly and it's so amazing to watch him grow into a little boy.

I have come to realize that I much rather slow down and disconnect for awhile than try to keep up with all the changes that surround me.

I can barely keep up with Phillip, let alone this crazy world we live in!

So I've decided to disconnect in more ways than one. We've downgraded our cable and will soon be downgrading our cell phone plans. The decision to do so was mostly financial but since we've cut back on cable I find it very refreshing. My retinas aren't tortured by the likes of Honey Boo Boo and Real Housewives.

By disconnecting from the outside I hope to better connect on the inside. With my family, with God, and with myself. I won't be posting any blog posts for awhile. And my Twitter feed has been super quiet lately. I am on Facebook but am finding difficulty in creating a purpose for my page. I'm still available by email as well (islestyleliving@gmail.com).

I may return to the blog world but at this point I'm not sure. I will do my best to keep up with all of your lovely blogs. If you have a blog and I'm not yet a follower please let me know in the comments below. If you have any questions about my previous posts (running for a beginner, pregnancy, gestational diabetes, pain-medication free childbirth, breastfeeding, etc...) please send me an email or contact me through my Facebook page.

Thank you all for being so supportive and inspirational to me!

A hui hou! (Until we meet again)

8.11.2012

Mini Apple Pies w/ Salted Caramel

For dessert tonight I decided to try something a little different.

I've been inspired lately by Pinterest (duh) and really wanted to make something special for my husband, especially after all his hard work while moving us in (more on that later).

So I took inspiration from a few recipes I found on Pinterest and whipped up this concoction:

Mini Apple Pies with Salted Caramel (served with Vanilla Bean ice cream)

You'll need (all measurements are approximate b/c I didn't measure anything- just adjusted seasonings to taste):

2 medium apples, chopped
lime (or lemon) Juice
1-2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
3 Tbsp of brown sugar
1 Tbsp of cinnamon
1 package of crescent rolls (or other puff pastry)
1 jar of caramel ice cream topping
Coarse salt (sea salt)


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I first chopped up some apples, added a squirt of lime juice (most recipes say lemon but I just used what I had on hand.  Couldn't tell any difference).

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Then I added about 1 1/2 tbsp of butter, 3 tbsp of brown sugar, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon.

The ingredients weren't blending well so I threw them in a small pot and simmered on low until the butter melted.

I like my apples to be real cinnamonny so I added more cinnamon.  Be sure to adjust the seasonings to your taste! (And if your butter is unsalted, add a small pinch of salt to bring all the tastes together.)

Next take your caramel and pour about 1/3-1/2 c. into a small pot. Simmer on the lowest of low or else you risk burning your caramel.

Once the caramel is warmed (you can tell b/c it won't be thick), add a generous pinch of sea salt, but I'd recommend no more than 1 tbsp.

It's near impossible to unsalt something if you add too much.

Trust me, I know.  My salted caramel came out SALT-Y! I added about 2 tbsp. So just be conservative with it.

You can always add more!

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Transfer warm, slightly salted caramel to a bowl to rest, stirring occasionally.

Next, take crescent roll and open up one of the triangle pieces.

Put some apples in the middle and wrap it up!

I tried several techniques and the one that worked best was to roll the crescent dough around the apples and then fold up the ends to seal it in.

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Once your apples are all rolled up into crescent rolls (or just rolled up in some odd shape), bake for 10-12 minutes at 325 degrees until golden brown.

Serve with Vanilla Bean ice cream and a drizzle of (slightly!) salted caramel.

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Enjoy!

8.10.2012

Liebster Award Part Deux

My girl Ali Mc at Running With Spatulas has been nominated for the Liebster Award for being such an awesome blogger.



Liebster : a German word that means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome

So why am I writing this post?  

Because I was nominated in the past and Ali has tagged EVERYONE so I figured, "Why not?" and decided to participate.

So here's the deal.  You post 11 things about yourself, answer 11 questions from your nominator (is that even a word?), tag 11 bloggers with < 200 followers, and give them 11 questions to answer.  

No tag backs!

So I tagged a few of my new favorite blogs for you to scope out and answered her 11 questions. I'm skipping the 11 Things About Me since I think it's kinda redundant.

Here we go:

Nominated Blogs:
Courtney @ Color Me Camo
Casey @ Waffling

Yes, I know that's only 5 blogs.  If you have less than 200 followers, consider yourself nominated!

Here are my questions
1. Who is your hero and why?
2. If you could have any super power what would it be?
3. If you could erase something from your past without it changing who you are today, would you do it?
4. Would you be able to live "off the grid" (no modern technology) for a week? A year? 
5.  What's the craziest trend you've ever tried?
6. Where was your favorite vacation?
7. If you're an only child, did you ever wish for siblings? If you have siblings, did you ever wish to be an only child?
8. What would you do if you won a million dollars?
9. Do you vote?
10. What was your favorite school subject?
11. Why did you start blogging?

And now for Ali's questions....



  • what are you most afraid of??


  • Most afraid of?  Well, I do have a fear of dogs.  Little dogs, big dogs, doesn't matter.  Over the span of my 20+ year life I've learned how to keep it in check, most times.  But sometimes I lose it.  I have a physical reaction that I just can't control.  My hands get sweaty, my breathing becomes shallow, and my heart beats faster.  

    I hate when people tell me, "Don't be afraid, they can sense it." Oh REALLY? You think I WANT to be afraid? Um, NO.  I try to act normal and for the most part it works out.  Just don't bring your dog up to me or allow them to jump all over me.  I will have a fit.

    But I don't think that's what I'm most afraid of.  To get real deep here, I'm most afraid of what life has in store for my son.  Will I be a good parent or screw him up royally?  Will he have to learn tough lessons or can he learn from others' mistakes? Will I be there for him when life gets really tough?  What if something happens to me?  Will he be OK?

    Whew- need to stop there b/c I'm getting all emotional and teary-eyed.  But that's what I am afraid of the most- what life has in store for Phillip.


  • what’s your favourite colour and why?


  • Red.  I don't know why. I've always loved red.  Maybe because in my small hometown red is the team color for our Pop Warner football league and high school.  But I also love blue, green, and purple.


  • do you care about politics?? why or why not?


  • Yes, I care about politics but I'm not psycho about it.  I care because in the US my representatives are making decisions for me and my family.  I want those representatives to be people who share my same values.


  • do you think we are going to die on dec 21st 2012??


  • No.


  • do you like the body you were given?? why, why not?


  • Yes.  My body is strong.  When my mind thinks I can't do something (like help my husband move a couch up 2 flights of stairs) my body surprises me with abilities I didn't even know I had.  

    I don't treat my body the way I should- I don't eat as healthy or move as much as I should but it still functions well.  


  • do you wear glasses?? for distance or close up? or both??


  • Yes.  For computer use, driving, and reading.  So pretty much everything.  I'm nearsighted in my left eye and have astigmatism.


  • favourite wild animal??


  • Giraffe.


  • what change have you made in yourself that you hope others will follow?


  • I've learned that it's OK to feel the way you feel when someone hurts you: anger, hurt, resentment, betrayal.  But it's not OK to act out on it.  It's not OK to hurt people because of the way you feel.  It is extremely important to stand up for yourself and communicate your feelings but definitely not OK to hurt someone because you have been hurt.


  • if you could only do one form of exercise for the rest of your life what would you pick??


  • Strength training.  However I did see an infomercial for the Brazilian Buttlift workouts and that may be a close second.


  • do you tan your skin? (fake, real or bottle) why or why not?


  • No.  I live in Hawaii but I don't purposely go out and tan.  I swim and play at the beach so tanning is an indirect result but rarely on purpose.  I just don't see the point.    


  • what are your religious beliefs and are you open to others or not?? why?


  • I am a Christian.  I believe Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins.

    Am I open to others? Other beliefs? Or other people with other beliefs?

    Well, I like to learn what others believe and why they believe what they believe; for me, my faith is rooted in Jesus Christ. 

    When meeting others who believe differently than I do, I try to be very sensitive and respectful to their faith since I would want to be treated the same way.  I don't share my beliefs with strangers or people that I just met unless I'm asked.  

    My faith is multi-faceted and can't be thoroughly explained in one blog post. It is a conversation that needs to take place over and over and over.  

    It is more than a religion for me.

    It's a way of life. 

    8.03.2012

    Inspire Me: Healthy

    All In My Twenties


    I'm kinda late on this but I'm posting anyway because the timing for this link up couldn't be more perfect!

    This link up is hosted by All in My Twenties and A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers.  It's for all of us to share our weight loss/healthy living journeys- whatever that may be.

    We all have our unique stories to tell, our own unique goals.

    Since this is the first day, I thought I'd share a little bit about where I've been and what my goals are for weight loss.

    Because I'm lazy and don't want to retell the whole story, here are some excerpts from is the exact copy of my "Why Running" page, which explains why I chose a sport that I had no experience in as a way to get healthy.

    Here is me at my lightest, 170 lbs (yikes! can't believe I just wrote that...)

    AXO Bid Day 2007 @ USD... waiting for the newbies!

    AXO Formal 2007

    And here is me at my heaviest, 218, both pictures taken in Feb/Mar 2011:


    UPDATE:
    Since starting this blog, I am now the proud momma of a beautiful baby boy.  My weight has fluctuated so much since I gave birth.

    I lost 10 pounds before finding out I was pregnant.  I gained almost 23 pounds but because of gestational diabetes I drastically changed my eating habits and netted about a 12 pound gain.  A couple weeks after arriving home from the hospital I had lost a total of 28 lbs since giving birth.

    For those of us who are mathematically challenged:
    Starting weight: 218
    Pre pregnancy weight: 208
    Highest pregnancy weight: 231
    Ending pregnancy weight: 220
    Post pregnancy weight (2 weeks at home): 192

    But I have now gained about 20 lbs back- currently at 213.

    Not where I want to be, to say the least.

    But I know it's time for a change.

    Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a good plan.  So what's my plan to dropping these pounds and getting back in shape?

    Baby steps.

    Say it with me, people.

    Baby steps.

    2 days ago I stopped eating processed sugar.

    Cold turkey.

    It's been tough, but I am taking it one day at a time.  My goal was to get through Wed-Fri at work and I did!

    I gave myself permission to have sugar this weekend, if I want.

    But now I'm learning how to hold off the cravings, either by distracting myself or by eating a piece of fruit.

    It's not easy, but I reached my goal! I said no thank you to cookies, doughnuts, and ice cream at work.  Of course the days I give up sugar are the days my co-workers bring goodies to the office.

    I also plan to walk during my lunch break.  I've done it a couple times but not enough to be consistent or to see any results.  Work usually gets super busy or I forget to prep my bags the night before.  My mornings are too packed for me to try and get it together.

    But once I get a handle on my sugar addiction, I'll add in the lunch time walks.

    Once that becomes a habit, I'll have to add in another healthy habit to work on.

    One step at a time.


    7.31.2012

    Top 10 Tuesday




    1. I have a serious sugar addiction.

    I first noticed my addiction awhile back but never realized how intense it could get.

    Recently I noticed that I crave sugar.  No big deal right? 

    No, it'a a very big deal.

    Right after dinner, I NEED something sweet and the thought of fruit just doesn't cut it.  

    At work I actively seek it out.  

    No bueno.

    2. I've been slacking on my exercise.

    Might be related to my sugar addiction.  

    But also? Work has been really rough lately.  I haven't had time to break away and go for a walk.

    Honestly- Who am I kidding? I'd be more likely to go for a walk if I prepped my bag the night before and remembered to bring it with me! 

    3. We need to start packing soon- as in yesterday!

    We're moving next week! YAY! Same complex, different building.  

    A new 2 bedroom apartment awaits us. 

    I am so excited!

    4. I can't wait to have my room back.

    Now that we'll be living in a 2 bedroom, Phillip will have his own room.  

    YAY for me!  

    Right now when he goes to bed we don't really go into our bedroom until we go to sleep.  If we open the door he wakes up- almost as if he's waiting for us.  So we have to sneak in like ninjas.

    5. Looking forward to the steps we're taking to get out of debt.

    We have such big plans for our life but have come to the harsh realization that we need to get some things in order first.  

    We are paying down our credit card debt and have even talked about cutting back on our inter-island trips.

    It'll be tough not being able to take inter-island trips since most of our family lives on a different island.  

    But it's a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

    And it's not forever.  Just for now.

    6. Need to revamp my 5 year plan.

    I need to come up with my next 5 year plan.  The last 5 year plan I made was when I was 20.

    Top of the list? Married, 2 kids, saving to buy a house.

    I'm married, one child, and nowhere ready to become a homeowner.

    7. And also my 2012 goals.

    I haven't been serious about my weight loss goals.  

    I have a few goals in mind but I need to really get serious about them and get it together.

    8. Holiday plans

    We decided that once we have kids we aren't traveling for Christmas.  Other holidays throughout the year are flexible but Christmas is the one day where our kids will enjoy the day at our home.  

    Friends and family are welcome to join us, but we won't be packing up the family and driving anywhere.  Not like we'd have a far ways to go, but we just prefer to stay home.

    That being said, I'm looking forward to decorating our home for Phillip's first Christmas!

    9. Life changes with a baby.

    No explanation necessary.

    10.Best Blessing ever!

    See above. 

    7.24.2012

    Down in a Rut (Follow Up)

    Saw this on Pinterest and immediately thought, "YES! That's it!"


    Guess I was just overwhelmed.  Soon to be bored again =)


    7.21.2012

    Well, THAT Is a Weird Combo

    I made a quick Target run today. As I unpacked my cart and loaded my purchases on to the belt I mentally checked off my list everything I needed to get.

    "Wine. Ice cream. Bananas. Duster thingy. Nursing Pads. Wipes.  Anniversary Card (Note to self, MAKE the darn thing next time!)."

    The essentials.

    I guess the cashier took notice of my items and felt she needed to comment.

    "Are you making a root beer float or something?"

    Blank stare.

    "Like, because, like, you have ice cream, and like wine, and like bananas and like."

    OK, probably not that many "likes" but honestly, she used about 3 "likes" in one sentence.

    "No, I've had a rough week at work and I'm teaching my son how to eat solids, hence the bananas".

    "Ohhhh....."

    As I left the parking lot I thought to myself, "Who in their right mind would waste two very amazing things by combining them? Ice cream AND wine? Together?! EWWWW!"

    So of course I googled.

    And found this:



    Lime Sorbet Wine Float

    Sounds yummy, right??
    I'm not too sure.
    But I will have to try this soon!
    I also found that people use dessert wine as a topping/syrup on their ice cream.  I'm not too sure about that because that sounds super sweet but I'm willing to try.
    Got any other combos that sound weird but are really really good?  I also love salty/sweet combos: salted caramel, chocolate covered pretzels, M&Ms and popcorn...

    7.20.2012

    Down in a Rut

    Ever feel down in a rut?

    Just out of your groove- nothing feels right?

    I'm in one of those "blah" moments in life.

    Not going into details but let's just say that the past month or so hasn't been my best.

    Life in general is great. But I find myself stressing more than living.

    Know what I mean?

    I have a lot on my plate and things are starting to become unstable.

    I haven't been performing to my standard at work.  Although I try my best, it feels like it's not good enough.

    That's the word I'm looking for.

    Inadequate.

    I'm feeling inadequate in many parts of my life lately.

    Trying to remind myself that I can get through this.  It's just a funk.

    Time to get centered, firmly plant my feet, and maybe re-evaluate where my life is headed.

    Of course this decision affects not only me, but my husband and son as well.

    But I feel like I need a change.  A change in what? I'm not so sure.

    I do know one thing: this day to day living is getting too routine for me.  Is there such a thing?

    Too much routine?

    I usually thrive on routine.

    But maybe all I'm craving is a little spontaneity.

    I know one thing for sure- Thank you, Jesus, it's ALOHA FRIDAY!

    7.17.2012

    And another one...

    YAY! 

    The very sweet lady at RAISING ROSCOE has awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award!!



    Whoop whoop!

    As you can see, the button is already posted proudly on my blog.  I won this award previously from my girl at Jenns Adventures.

    And now I'm back for round two!

    Here is my ORIGINAL POST when I was this award in October.  

    My my my how things have changed!

    So the deal with this award is that you share 7 random facts, link back to the person who nominated you (see above) and then list 15 other blogs you'd like to nominate.

    Let's get a few things out of the way.  I don't have 15 new blogs to nominate.  I can recommend that you check out RAISING ROSCOE's list of fabulous bloggers =)

    And 7 random things? I think I have a few I can add.  But how about I just update the original 7 I posted? 


    1. I'm married to my high school sweetheart. We've been together for 10 years and have been married for one. Yup, still married! We're celebrating 2 years next week!

    2.  I'm pregnant with our first baby, due in late December. Baby Phillip was born on 12/29/12. He's now 6 months!

    3. I hate having people rub my belly (you've been warned!) uh, yeah.  Still don't like people rubbing my belly.  Especially since there is no baby there.  Awkward.

    4. I love to travel but have noticed I have a champagne taste on a chocolate milk budget... but I can dream! Still love to travel. I haven't left the state in almost two years so I'm itching to ditch this rock! I love living in Paradise but I want to experience the rest of the world.  

    5. This year I became a runner.  I'm not very fast and haven't been running for the past few months, but I'm still a runner and will be working on my fitness for 2012. Working on my fitness has now translated into squeezing in walks during my lunch break.  It's not the best workout, but it's better than what I was doing before! hint: nothing.

    6.  I used to compete in pageants when I was little.  I have a love/hate relationship with the TLC show "Toddlers and Tiaras" because it's so ridiculous sometimes! My experience was pretty much the complete opposite of that but sometimes I watch that show and think I actually know some of these crazies mothers. Still love to watch that show.  I feel bad for the little girls though- but as long as their having fun, who am I to judge? I hope that their experience doesn't cause long term damage.  I look back on my pageant years with lots of joy and gratitude- and still keep in touch with a lot of my pageant friends, 20 years later!

    7. I grew up as an only child but now have a baby brother and sister.  We are 20 and 23 years apart, respectively.  I love watching people's reactions when I tell them I have a brother in kindergarten and a sister in pre-school! Classic! My brother is now getting ready for 1st grade and my sister is starting her second year of pre-school.  Both love school and are great students!


    Thanks, Marj for the nomination!!

    7.14.2012

    Because it was just too funny...

    I came across this as I was cleaning through some junk in our apartment.

    Me, circa 1989.

    You're welcome. 

    Happy Saturday!



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    6.29.2012

    Finding Time

    I've been having a hard time fitting exercise back into my life.

    Mostly because I'm a creature of habit and had difficulty finding a new routine.

    Recently I decided to walk during my lunch break. It took me awhile to actually get outside and move because I really enjoyed my lunch breaks with my co-workers.

    Lunch time is usually a fun way for us to let off some steam but even that has become almost as mundane as the work day itself.

    I packed my duffel bag with a change of clothes and my old running shoes.  The first day I brought the bag to work I didn't end up walking.  I chose to take the full hour lunch break.

    And I regretted it.

    The next day I changed my clothes about 10 minutes before most co-workers started their break  I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement for a walk.

    Let me tell ya- it felt soooooo good!

    It was a beautiful day! The sun was shining and it was hot but we had some really decent trade winds blowing in for the day.  The plan was to walk as far as I can for 15 minutes and then turn around.  That way I'd still have time to eat my lunch.

    You know what? It worked out perfectly!

    As soon as I got back to the office I heated up my lunch and sat down with my co-workers as they finished up their break.  I only needed about 10 minutes to eat and still was able to get in some socializing =)

    After lunch was over, I changed my clothes and felt recharged- ready to finish my day!

    I felt so proud of myself for getting it done.

    6.27.2012

    "God"incidences

    What's your favorite feeling in the world? 

    For me, I love when pieces just fall together, like the universe is orchestrating some huge undertaking to make my life easier.

    Like when I pull into a crowded parking lot knowing I'll be driving around for 30+ minutes looking for a spot and right then, someone pulls out of a spot right in front of me.

    Or in college when my student loans and scholarships would be sent to the student accounts office and somehow I overpaid and received a refund check in the mail, just as I was coming up on my last $20 for the week.

    Or at the grocery store when I'm at the cashier and watching the total go up and up and up and realize I miscalculated and it's going to cost more than the cash I have in my hand.  Then the cashier hits the total key and discounts I didn't even know about get applied, leaving me with enough cash to pay the bill and save for next week.

    Or more recently?  When the Sunday paper arrived in front of my apartment door.  We spend $2 a week on the Sunday paper for the coupons.  But now?  The paper just appeared with a lovely letter explaining how our household was selected to receive the Sunday paper for FREE now until October.

    Moments like these?  

    I call them "Thank you, Jesus" moments.  

    Maybe it's luck.  Or just a coincidence.

    But I choose to look at them as "God"incidences.

    I find comfort in knowing the Creator of the universe has His hand on my life.  

    6.25.2012

    What We're Eating

    A few of my new favorite blogs have been sharing what their families will be eating for dinner for the week.

    I truly appreciate the peek into their family life because it gives me a few ideas for what I can cook for dinner.

    I cook dinner about 4-5 nights a week.  One night we made order in some food and other night(s) we might just scrape together some leftovers.  All depends on my mood and how crazy work was that day.  I'm also trying to encourage my husband to cook more often so that I can get some quality time with Phillip after work. 

    I'm also looking for new recipes.  My requirements?  They can't use too many ingredients and they have to be easy peasy. I don't have 2 hours to "whip up" a meal.  I get about an hour, tops.

    So what are we eating this week?

    Monday: Loco Mocos (no, not "crazy boogers" for my Spanish speaking readers).  Hamburger patties with a fried egg, gravy, and rice.  It's one of the most popular meals here in Hawaii.  Not the healthiest by any means but we do what we can (nix the gravy, add veggies (mushrooms, onions, zucchini), use brown rice).

    Tuesday: Pasta. Usually this is Baked Spaghetti but this week I bought cheese ravioli.  I make my own sauce by pureeing tomatoes and simmering with  basil and oregano.  I may throw in some chopped onions for flavor as a bonus.  And a spinach salad for veggies!

    Wednesday: Fish Tacos. Easy easy easy.  We use fish sticks, corn tortillas, black beans, salsa, cabbage, and I make my own chipotle cream sauce using plain Greek yogurt and avocado... yummmm!

    Thursday: Baked Chicken. I use lemon infused olive oil, garlic salt, black pepper, and rosemary.  Served with brown rice and veggies.

    Friday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Fridays are my "off" days.  Most of the other meals during the week are prepared for 4 servings: 2 for dinner, and 2 for lunch the next day.  Sometimes we have more leftovers than planned and sometimes we don't have enough.  But Fridays? I don't worry about Saturday lunches b/c most times we'll be running errands and pick something up while we're out.

    Hiatus Shmiatus

    That didn't last long...

    Please say a prayer for my friend and fellow blogger Sara at Words To Run By.

    She suffered a Pulmonary Embolism recently and is currently recovering.  Thank you!

    6.20.2012

    The Inevitable

    It was bound to happen.

    I tried to fight it but have come to realize that this is necessary.

    I'm trading a blogging hiatus for my sanity.

    Sad day.  

    But also good?

    For months I have been trying to keep my head above water with my blog.  

    I held high standards for myself: post consistent, thought-provoking, and fun posts that closely resembles my reality... and of course a few good pictures.

    But I can't blog up to those standards.  

    And it's driving me nuts.

    I feel guilty when I haven't posted in a few days (hello, there have been WEEKS- almost months where I haven't posted) or when I post non-sense crap.

    Most of the time that non-sense crap is posted because I want to remind my readers that I'm still here.

    And why is that so important?  

    Deep down (who am I kidding, it's on the surface!) I don't want to be forgotten.

    I live this wonderful life as a mommy, wife, and friend and I want people to know how amazing it is for me!

    Now I have come to realize that letting the world know that I love my life has now turned into a "not as enjoyable" experience. Blogging feels more like an obligation than a fun hobby.

    And I'm afraid that I'm missing out on this amazing life that I initially sought out to document.

    My life is heavily scheduled as it is... the only way I've been able to write for this blog is to have about an hour for myself every night.  After Phillip goes to bed, after I've cleaned up the kitchen, after I've taken a shower- I found time to blog.

    But now? I'd really just want that time to unwind- to quiet my mind.

    So along with my personal Facebook hiatus, I am now taking a blogging hiatus.

    I'll still be around to read and comment on all the wonderful blogs I follow.

    And hopefully my inspiration will reappear and I'll find time to write again.

    But until then... I leave you with my favorite posts and memories:




























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    Thank you for all of the love and support during this past year and a half.  I'm so happy to have found a wonderful community to share pieces of my life.

    Aloha and God Bless!
    -Vanessa

    How's Your Day Going?

    Mine sucks.

    It's only 8:10am:

    6.16.2012

    10 Things Your Father Never Needs To Know

    I stumbled across this article from Glamour and really enjoyed it.

    While reading this article I found myself nodding my head in agreement and I'm sure you will, too.

    Happy Father's Day to all those wonderful daddies out there!

    10 Things Your Father Never Needs to Know

    1. Where you really slept senior year.

    2. That you could've installed the air conditioner yourself.  And the pickle jar? You didn't even try.

    3. How many guys it turned out were really after one thing.

    4. That your fiance might just have been, uh, advised, to ask him for your hand.

    5. Plus: how much your wedding dress actually cost.

    6. For that matter, how much anything cost. Like those buttery highlights!

    7. How many of your secrets mom's been keeping.

    8. That last year, for the first time, you earned more than he did.

    9. That he told you that story already. Twice.

    10. That sometimes just the sound of his voice on the phone is enough to make you cry in relief.  Well, you can tell him that one.  And you should. Happy Father's Day!

    6.15.2012

    Fancy Free Friday

    Geez, Friday- did you get lost getting here or what?

    Seems like I've been waiting FOR-EVA for you to arrive!

    Thank you for gracing me with your presence.

    I know for some of my readers (*cough*Duckie*cough*) it's already Saturday and this post is kinda late in the game but whatever.

    It's not even 4pm yet in Hawaii so don't even judge me.

    In other news...

    I've been really trying to focus on my blogging and post more consistently.  Lately I've been writing down ideas as soon as they pop into my head (well, except when driving, duh).

    You know what I noticed?  I have a lot of random thoughts. Especially while driving.

    And a lot of weird quirks.

    Also? We're getting ready for a move next month.  I've been happily perusing the interwebs for apartment inspiration and have been falling in L-O-V-E with interior design and organizing.

    le sigh

    To help myself release all of this creative goodness I decided I'm going to share with my readers.

    Lucky you.

    So here are 10 random quirks about me- because anyone who's anyone is blogging about random facts about themselves.


    1. I appreciate awesome alliteration attempts.

    2. I think I use way to many smiley faces when writing blog posts and comments =)

    3. I have always HATED  country music... that is, until about 2 years ago.  Now I listen to country music on the  radio and Pandora.  I have Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood to thank for that.

    4. I'm afraid of dogs.

    5. I love lip gloss!

    6. I don't use the eraser that comes with pencils.  It's weird but I don't like to get it "dirty" so I use a separate eraser instead so that my pencil top looks "clean".

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    7. I'm old school when it comes to drafting up writing pieces.  I use a pencil and paper and hand write my brainstorming ideas and outlines.  Once I have an outline, then I can type out my piece.  I tried to draft an outline on my computer but it didn't feel right.

    8. Pet peeve? Waiting on people.  I can't stand it when people are unexpectedly late.  If you call me and let me know you're running a little behind, cool.  But 30+ minutes? No call? NOT COOL

    9. I'm taking a Facebook hiatus.  I don't know how long it will last. I'm spending WAY to much time "doing" and not enough "being".  If I'm on the internet I'd rather be blogging than getting sucked into the time warp of Facebook.

    10. Next week is my birthday =) (<--- See? Another smiley face.  Thought about deleting it, but hey- it's authentic)

    Now your reward for reading through all of that:

    Raych @ Marriage By Design- She recently moved from Houston to Manhattan (and will be moving again at the end of the year!) and adjusting from downgrading from 3000 sq. ft. to 400.  Love her fashion posts and apartment design.

    IHeart Organizing- Found this blog via Pinterest (of course) and fell in love with a craft room she featured from one of her readers.  Of course I became a blog follower to keep up with all of her organizing tips!

    And because I love to look at these pictures.... Apartment Therapy.

    Have a fabulous Friday, friends!

    6.14.2012

    Family Finances

    Fun Fact: Accountants are not generally encouraged to be creative.

    In our accounting world, creativity sometimes = illegal.

    We are usually a "by the book" type of people, at least when it comes to accounting for company funds.

    But for my personal financial life?  

    I'm in desperate need for some creativity.


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    Our lease on our tiny one bedroom apartment is finito as of 7/31.  We currently have three options:
    1. Renew our lease
    2. Convert to month to month
    3. Find a new apartment.

    We have decided to find a new apartment! 

    Don't get too excited.  We're staying in the same complex, just moving to a bigger apartment (2 bedrooms instead of 1).

    Of course with more space there is also more rent to pay and a higher security deposit.

    Our issues?  I crunched the numbers and with the higher rent, we can afford this apartment (YAY!)

    However, this apartment will most likely be further from our main street where the husband currently parks his car for free.  We may need to rent another parking stall.

    Extra parking stall = Extra rent to pay

    Without the extra stall, husband may have to walk at least a quarter mile up a hill carrying a 20+ baby in his carseat. Or push him up the hill in a stroller. Not bad unless it's raining. Then it's horrible.

    We also need to put down a deposit.  The problem is we'll have to pay the new deposit before we get the deposit back from the old apartment.  We need money before we get money. uggggghhhhhhhh.

    Solutions? We stay in the current apartment.  This idea lasted for about 30 minutes.

    The hubbs and I discussed turning the living room into a bedroom/living room/office space.

    Like a fancy but tiny city life apartment.

    The master bedroom would become Phillip's nursery/storage.

    We'd move our clothes into the storage closet in the hall, move our computer desk into the coat closet, bring our bed to the living room, and somehow fit a couch and TV stand in there, too.

    Not. Going. To. Happen.

    We decided that the extra money spent on extra space will be well worth it.

    We'd rather have extra space and have tighter wallets than stay in a smaller cramped space with a slightly less tighter wallet (not by much!)

    To make this happen I have looked to our bills and weeded out the luxuries vs. necessities.

    I'm calling our cable company today to downgrade our cable to the most basic available.  If that doesn't give us an acceptable decrease in price, we'll cancel our cable all together and just keep the internet service.

    We signed up for Netflix with this cancellation in mind but I just didn't get around to doing it.

    Canceling cable will cut our bill in half.

    We're also downgrading our cell phone plans. I'm trading in my smart phone for a FREE phone when I renew my contract.  The hubs also qualifies for a free phone.  YAY!

    Since most of our friends/family are in the same network, we're also going to downgrade our plan to the lowest possible.  We don't use a lot of minutes (since we're in the same network) and we don't text that much, either.

    Other creative solutions? Back to basic budgeting (see that alliteration there? LOL).  It's not easy, but we're making it work!

    It's also inspired me to browse cheap but pretty apartment decorating ideas =)


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