Saturday, May 13, 2017

Florida and a New Car!

Hey all y'all. (lol) So... my family decided that this year we would do our family reunion at a timeshare in Reunion, Florida.  We stayed within a 30 minute drive to Disney parks and Universal Studios.
This was the place we stayed.  Fancy shmancy.  Had a pool obviously, as well as free entry to a very family friendly water park with no pools deeper than 4.5 feet deep on the premises.  My nieces and nephew enjoyed that a lot! I went down a water slide and it was terrifying.  Brandon said I landed at the bottom with a scissor kick HAHA.  Didn't take any pictures of that.

If you look closely in the middle right hand area you can see some bushes trimmed to spell out the word, "Reunion."  I thought that was a cool touch to the resort.

So, the weather was pretty nice the whole time we were there.  It did rain a few times but the temperature didn't really drop.  A couple of the highlights of the trip were spending time with family (of course), going to Universal Studios with Brandon and my little sister, Rachel, and going to the beach.  

First I'll talk about the beach there ... Pass-a-Grille beach was amazing!  The sand was perfectly white and there were tons of seashells to collect.  Once you get past the layer of crushed seashells on the shore, you can wade out pretty far into the water and the current is not too strong.  So this time, there was no being thrown around by huge waves, unlike Hawaii, lol.  Our family went to the beach twice.  The first time was perfect, and the kids really loved making sand castles and collecting shells.  We had a blast swimming in the ocean, but Brandon got a little bit sunburned after that.  The second time, it started raining while we were swimming, and it literally felt like hail pelting down on us because it was falling so fast.  Kinda hurt!  But that didn't deter most of us. We still swam around for a while before deciding to head back to the van.  Let me take this time to point out, on the way there and back, there are these gas stations called "WaWa," which are super awesome and convenient.  I wish we had them in Washington.  They have tons of varieties of drinks, lunches, and baked goods.  Loved it!  I wish I took pictures of the beach, but didn't want to bring my phone with me, which was the only camera we had with us on that trip.

Next, spending time with family was the best.  We had a lot of down time, so we watched movies together, did puzzles, and just chatted and ate all the food our hearts desired.  There were also LOTS of card games, like speed, slap jack, etc.

We got this puzzle at the dollar store.  Can you believe it?  It is so cute!  My family did this puzzle together during some of our down time.

Ok, now, I am going to tell you about Universal Studios.  We decided not to do any Disney parks this round, because Brandon and I have been to Disneyland already, so we just wanted to try something new.  Well, let me tell you, I was super impressed with Universal Studios and took lots of pictures. We did buy passes to both parks because the Harry Potter attractions were split up (blah) but hey! Glad we did it. 

The first place we stopped was "Seuss Landing."  Me and my little sister, Rachel, were super excited because we are Dr. Seuss freaks.  Pretty sure the rides were meant for little kids but we didn't even care haha.

The Carousel was really cute, although sticky from "who knows how many hands" touching it.

In the lines, they had these cool bushes carved out with Dr. Seuss characters.  The ride I liked the most was "The Cat in the Hat," mainly because it had amazing air conditioning.

Rachel with "The Lorax."

Rachel and I went on this water ride called "One Fish Two Fish," and got soaked.  Rachel is super cute, huh?  I love her dimples!

The cat in the hat and Thing1 and Thing2.  We searched around the park for photo ops like this.  I do regret that Brandon wanted to take a picture with the Bubba Gump shrimp but I hurried him along.  LOL, super lame.  We planned to take a picture with it on the way back, but it wasn't there anymore when we did make our way back. Awww... lesson learned.  If you see the character, just snap a photo the first time.

More of cute Rachel.  And I don't know what character this is, but they were awesome at posing.

Although the lighting isn't the best in this picture, I had to give the Grinch props for being super creepy and playing with our hair during our photo.  EW LOL! Very Grinch-like.

I thought this waterfall was really cool!  In this area, we chose to have the meat skewers/gyros, but it was NOT WORTH IT!  It costed us $45 for 3 tiny skewers with not very much on them, each on a piece of pita bread,  and some Sun Chips, and some hummus with 3 sticks of celery and carrots each and an extra piece of pita bread.  Oh man, and we were ravenous afterward!  Brandon got these Korean Tacos to fill himself up a bit more, and said they were fine, but he has had better.  Don't recommend coming to this park hungry, as we did.  Too overpriced.  But that is theme park food...

Then there was Springfield!  This is the area where Brandon got the Korean Tacos.  Well, I daresay, Brandon looks nice and muscular, just like the Duff guy. Haha.

Had to pose with the cop eating his donut.

Annnnd my favorite picture from Springfield! HAHA!

Hogsmeade! Yes, that is fake snow on the buildings.  Rachel and I each got a cup of butter beer.  She got the normal kind and I got the frozen kind.  First of all, I preferred the frozen one over the regular one.  Second of all, if I were to recommend butter beer to anyone I would say share it with someone.  That 7 oz cup is just too much sugar for one sitting.  I couldn't finish it.  But the scenery here was amazing.  All the rides in this section were BEYOND impressive.  The Forbidden Journey and the Dragon Challenge were our favorites.  Then, Hogwarts express took you to the other park.  Of the two parks, this one was better for rides, but Diagon Alley was better for shopping.

Diagon Alley!  You can buy an Ollivander's wand here, and everything. And yes, I do realize we are wearing the same shirts as we were in the Hawaii post. LOL.  We like to be matchy.

This was the coolest ride in Diagon Alley... It was the Gringott's bank ride.  Oh man, this picture does not do justice how realistic the goblins look.  Their eyes were so evil! And they literally looked like old men.  One thing I can say about this particular park was that they did a good job with the animation types of rides. Like, the kind where you wear 3D glasses.  I actually got motion sick from a lot of them though.  Bleh, I actually do better on real roller coasters than on the 3d ones.

This area was the "Comic Strip," I believe.  Had lots of superhero shops and rides.  Brandon's favorite ride in the whole park was "The Incredible Hulk" roller coaster.  Rachel liked the "Rip Ride Rockit," this huge red roller coaster that she begged me to go on but I was too scared.  I personally liked "The Mummy."  Whoo it was awesome!  We all enjoyed the Jimmy Fallon ride as well.

There were lots of birds and little animals hanging around the park, including these cute baby ducklings!  They pecked Rachel LOL!  But their quacking was super cute!

I really liked Universal Studios, but wish it was more affordable, because the price for kids is only $5 less than for adults.  Sorry, but that just ain't a good deal!  Anyway, the rest of the trip was lovely.  I wish I could spend more time with my family.  

In other news, Brandon and I have officially retired our Subaru WRX after 15 years.  It was a great car, but it just died one day.  We traded it in for a new Subaru STI.  This has been both of our dream car for many years now.  We love the color, and the fact that the rims are black and gorgeous for stock rims haha.  It is fun to drive too!  Brandon wants to drive all the time now! LOL.  Sometimes late at night he is like, "Hey, want to go for a drive?" HAHA! 

Our new baby!

Side view.

Back view. We are pretty happy with it. :-)

And of course, after all this happened, there has to be some bad news.  We got a leak in our water heater, and it has leaked all over our laundry room and warped some of the wooden floors.  Sad day.  Today we are getting that fixed.  Other than that, we are doing great.  Well, I am off now! Hope you all are doing well!


~ Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lots to catch up on....(Photo Dump)

Hello to all who still follow my blog... After a long hiatus, I am back to document life. First off, a couple of our good friends, Esther and Rian, got married in Maui. We were honored to be invited to their wedding. We took some photos of our week-long trip and wanted to share them with you, along with a short play-by-play LOL.

Day 1...we arrived at the airport late at night only to find that the airline didn't ship our luggage. We were so sad... but they were kind enough to reimburse us for any clothes that we needed before our suitcase could be delivered to us.  Luckily, our Airbnb place was really nice.  I didn't take any photos of it but here is the link to the place.  It was private and had a fully functional kitchen and laundry room, a big back deck, and a comfy bed.  The owners were very nice as well.  Every morning, we woke up naturally to the sound of birds singing (and squawking...LOL).

Day 2...shopped for clothes since we couldn't wear our own. It wasn't the best day. It was actually kind of stressful and I didn't know what was too extravagant for the airline to reimburse us for, so we just ended up getting a couple T-shirts and socks lol. When I say it was stressful I am underestimating this. The trip wasn't off to a good start. After the shopping trip we waited around a whole lot at the place we were staying, playing computer games. On the bright side, we had a little black cat that visited our Airbnb every morning and night (his name was Blackie) and he was our little companion that made things a little more exciting. Every morning he would rush inside when we opened the door and meow so that we would feed him, and at night he would curl up on the rug or the kitchen floor and snooze with his claws out. HAHA.  Also, we did get to take our first walk on the beach this day.

Blackie relaxing on the kitchen floor....

Day 3...Esther and Rian's wedding! It was gorgeous and I wish I actually took pictures. Oh well... After the wedding, everyone who attended the wedding had a fancy dinner at a super beautiful hotel... Fairmont Hotel, I believe it was called.  It had gorgeous views and Esther and Rian had this clever idea to take Polariod or Instax photos of their guests to put in their guest book.  Again, I wish I took photos, but I just didn't think about it.  Well... I did get this one photo of Brandon on the beach since we did arrive a bit early for the wedding.

Ooooo he is so handsome! I am lucky to have this guy in my life.

Day 4...Went snorkeling at Molokini crater.  It was my first time to do this and I was nervous.  But it was a great experience! Bonus: the Four Winds boat that we went on had prescription goggles, which were really nice since Brandon and I are both nearsighted. As we swam around the crater we tried to touch the fish because they were swimming so close to us.  Brandon succeeded, but the fish were a little bit too fast for me.  After the snorkeling, we were SUPER hungry.  We went to this place called Coconuts Fish Cafe...which I highly recommend to anyone.  We had fish tacos and platters.

Interior of Coconuts Fish Cafe... you eat off these tables that look like surfboards, and they have all this hot sauce and malt vinegar up front to season your food.

 Fish Tacos.... they had a really great Mango Salsa served with them. OMG so yummy.
Our fish platters... Brandon got the regular blackened Mahi plate and I got the Macadamia Mahi plate.  It was served with this really yummy cabbage salad and brown rice.

Day 5...Probably my most favorite day of all...we biked down Mount Heleakala (a volcano).  I cannot emphasize enough how gorgeous it was.  We biked past an orchard of Eucalyptus trees, which smelled so good! Also, there were fruit stands and stuff along the way, where you could buy guavas, coconuts, pineapples, etc.  We chose to wait until the end of our bike ride to eat at this food truck called Bailey's, which had the most delicious healthy turmeric ginger lemonade and a steak bowl with plenty of greens and veggies... I mean, I make it sound average, but it was super above average. haha.

The view at the top of the mountain.  Super pretty!

Our bike tour guide, Kimo, was super cool and took this picture at the top of the mountain since we were above the clouds.  It looks like we are skydiving or something, right?? Best photo of the trip, if you ask me.

Actually, truth be told, this is my favorite picture of the trip: Brandon and I with our matching T-shirts.  We tend to forget to take pictures together, so this one makes me happy.

This was a shot of us before we took off down the mountain.

This was the food truck I was telling you about!  There were quite a few people there for their "Daily Bailey's."  Not that I blame them.  I would eat there every day if I could.

Day 6...rented some snorkeling gear and explored different beaches. We also went to Baby Beach at Lahaina when the sun was setting and swam around a lot.  I would say this is the safest place to go snorkeling that I know of.  There was a lot of coral to look at when we went, but not too many fish.  But that is probably because it was too dark for us to see them.  I will take this moment to mention something... I had been eating guava cake every single day of the trip.  That, along with pineapple and macadamia nuts and Hawaiian Host chocolate were my favorite treats in Maui.  Seriously, the pineapple was pretty cheap and a lot sweeter and flavorful than usual.  I seriously enjoyed it.

I basically ate this whole cake by myself over the course of the trip.  OMG! It was so good.

Well for all you Dragon Ball fans out there... Brandon took this picture just for you!

We had this amazing gelato at Maui Gelato.  I got the Passion Orange Guava flavor, while Brandon got the peanut butter flavor. We both got the Macadamia gelato too.  It was fantastic!

Later on, we stopped by some food trucks and got an Acai Smoothie Bowl with strawberry slices, banana slices, diced kiwi, sliced almond, chia seeds, and granola.  Really nice and sweet.  I wish I remembered the name of the food truck.

Here is a picture of my last night with Blackie.  Oh, I miss this kitty.  He was so sweet and I got quite attached to him.

Day 7...our last day on the island.  We spent this day with Brandon's friend Billy, first going to Coconuts Fish Cafe for the last time and then swimming in the ocean.  We went to Makena beach, where we all discovered how powerful the ocean can be.  Brandon and Billy were thrown by this gigantic wave, and they both lost their flippers.  Luckily, we were able to find them since the waves washed them up to the shore.  I got thrown around quite a bit too, although I didn't go too far into the deep.  For me, the most embarrassing moment was that I got dragged on the sand from the powerful waves, and thanks to that, Billy now knows what I look like naked.  Haha.  It was pretty funny but pathetic at the same time. After that, we decided to swim in a more shallow area, where we would be safer.  Unfortunately, Brandon sprained his toes from landing on them weird, rendering our beach time short.  Probably a good thing, since our pale skin probably would have been super burned if we stayed much longer.  We went to this pizza food truck, but since Brandon's appetite is really big, that wasn't enough and we decided to go to Da Kitchen to eat some Hawaiian food.

This is the pizza we got from the food truck.  It was from a wood fired oven - my favorite way to eat pizza of all time.

We took a photo near the food truck.  I had so much sand in my hair from Makena beach.  So my hair looked like crap... that is why I have a fake hat sticker on my head haha.

The last meal we had in Hawaii was at Da Kitchen.

Appetizers: Green salad with "oriental" dressing.  Deep fried Spam Musubi, and Kimchi pancake.

Brandon and Billy both got this gigantic platter filled with deep fried fish, chicken and rice.  Probably the most deep fried food Brandon has eaten in a year LOL.

I got the mini hamburger sliders on Hawaiian rolls!  It came with a generous amount of fries, if you care about that kind of thing.

Well, we left the island relatively unscathed as far as sunburn goes.  Actually, the only place I got sunburned was the tops of my hands from the volcano bike ride.  Anyway, I could not recommend a trip to Maui enough.  It felt good to be away from computers and to reconnect with nature and just enjoy ourselves to the fullest.  I wish we could go whenever we want.

Ok... as far as other things to catch up on, I do not believe I have mentioned that we got a new kitten on this blog (although my Facebook friends do know this).  Her name is Zelda and she is my little angel and companion.  Nabee is not too crazy about her, but we all know that this is because he is jealous of her and she likes to irritate him by pouncing on his tail while he is trying to relax.

The first day we adopted Zelda.  She was really shy and needy at the same time.  Her favorite toy was that pink glitter pom-pom.  She would kick it around and chase it like a soccer ball.

Zelda in her new pink bed.  Little does she know, it was designed for small dogs.  Well... she loves it anyway!

She is awfully cuddly when she is tired.  Just look at that adorable-ness!

A total fluff-ball, just like Nabee.

This is typical of Zelda.  She will find Nabee while he is sleeping and be obnoxious until he wakes up.  He tries to ignore her but she doesn't like to be ignored.

LOL!!!! I just think Zelda's face looks hilarious in this photo.

Another funny thing about Zelda is the fact that her favorite place to sit is on the foot of the elliptical machine.  I mean, she is growing up quickly and is getting too big for it, but she still sits there every day while she relaxes.

Nabee looking annoyed because Zelda is in the same room as him.

But for sworn enemies, they certainly have a lot in common.  They are seriously the cutest!

On a completely unrelated note, last month it snowed in Seattle for the first time in like four years. No snow plows were prepared, and almost everyone I know spent the day at home - a true snow day! I took a picture of what our neighborhood looked like that day.  Actually it was really beautiful if you ask me.  I only wish that Christmas looked like that.

 Notice the unplowed roads and the thick layer of snow on the roofs and cars.

It was super early in the morning when I took this picture, and the whole worlds was standing still... a rare moment.

Even before this whole snow thing happened, my little sister, Krissy, and her husband, Morgan, came to visit us.  It was a lot of fun.  Krissy is the best at giving massages, and she spoiled us rotten.  We all went up to Seattle to the Aquarium, Space Needle, Wall of Gum, and the Museum of Pop Culture. We also ate pizza well past midnight and watched funny movies together.  It was wonderful to have someone in my family visiting me.  I wish I could be around them all the time!

Kiss Pic at the Aquarium.  Everyone in the room was cheering that we should kiss while we got our picture taken there, so we listened to them.

Krissy and Morgan at the Museum of Pop Culture.  Aren't they a cute couple?

Brandon and Morgan... I swear, Brandon becomes ten years younger when Morgan is around!

Last, but not least, if this post is not considered a novel already... is that I wanted to show you how much Brandon spoiled me for my birthday.

Brandon blew up all these balloons (well, he got some help from David)... I had no idea I would walk into our room and see all of them.

So naturally I had to be a goofball and jump into the bed with all the balloons.

The card that Brandon got for me.... man I am totally the crazy cat lady now.

My birthday cake.  Isn't it gorgeous????  And no I will never grow out of Hello Kitty!

Blowing out the candles on the cake.  I am so thankful for Brandon, his mom, and David for putting all this together for me.

Whew! I am impressed if you ended up getting through this whole post.  I am really on and off about blogging, and as bad as I feel about that, I have had to take breaks for a good reason.  I am done with school, but right now I am job hunting.  Please wish me luck! xoxoxox

~Sincerely, Ashleigh Son