California Vacation 2018

Since we got back from vacation in July, I’ve had alot of ideas for blog posts, but was just too busy to do any.  This is only my second post this month! What?!  I figure it’s about time to put something out there since it’s been a month since we went on vacation.

This is going to be a very photo-heavy post.  We spent a week in southern California at the end of July.  We were able to meet up with my sister’s family, my cousin’s family, and my mom at different times, so it was nice to spend so much time with loved ones that I rarely get to see.  This was also the first time my kids had been on a plane, to the ocean, or to California.  Lots of firsts for them!  I prepared them with horror stories of airplane security check lines and tiny airplane seats with broken junk and options to pay lots of money for more broken junk.  On the way there, we flew Delta and it was the best flight experience I’ve had since I flew Virgin Airlines almost a decade ago.  On the way back, we flew American and my kids were pretty disappointed, but did acknowledge that I wasn’t exaggerating with airline horror stories, haha!  The ocean water and sand even cleared up my skin by like, 95%, but that changed once I got back home.  So, I’ll have another post coming soon about my updated skincare routine.  Either way, I took it as a sign that I need to live on the beach for the sake of my health.  It’s all just for my health, not because the beach is awesome and amazing and fun and relaxing.

Ben, Austin, and Averie on the way to California

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Logan and me, excited to be sitting together!

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Our first meal in Cali was at Panang Thai, which is near LAX.  No matter which restaurant we chose, the GPS went crazy and kept trying to take us back to the airport.  We finally got decent directions for this place and were grateful for the lovely waitstaff and delicious food.

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Growing up in the hood and listening to rap and hip hop in the ’90s, I heard alot about Crenshaw.  I also wanted to get a picture of one of many bikers who had a death wish on the highway.  Why would you pull out in front of so many moving vehicles when the only thing between you and death is a helmet made of plastic and foam?!

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I added the moustache to this work of art, but this is otherwise all custom work on a quality vehicle.

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When you go on vacation and this is the view you see as you pull up the hotel, you know things are going to be good!

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Wandering through a closed Chinatown, looking for breakfast, which we did find at a Chinese bakery!

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So, of course I spent most of my time at Universal Studios in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I mean, my gimpy feet were bothering me and the sunshine made the temperature hotter.  So, to prevent extra pain and headaches, I just hung out with the Harry Potter stuff, drinking pumpkin juice and walking around in air conditioned stores.  We did all start our visit with fried potatoes, pumpkin juice, and butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks before getting our own wands at Ollivanders.  I did decide on a Cauldron Cake at Honeyduke’s before the evening was over and it was delightful!  I wish the cafeteria at work had these.

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Pumpkin juice, Excedrin Migraine, Tylenol, and Advil got me through the day.

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Ben, Logan, and Averie came back to enjoy a Simpsons donut from the Kwik-E-Mart on the cool patio at the Hog’s Head.

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I had already decided that the first day would be Universal and the second day would be at the beach so that we could just relax and not walk around for miles in the sun.  The beach at Oceanside is much cooler and wilder than some of the other beaches, but we did read up on it first and knew what to expect.  You get used to the cold water quickly once the sun comes out to greet you.

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I offered to let this guy look through the telescope, but he was more interested in floor food.  Go figure!

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Averie broke her toe a month before we went to California.  So, she was still walking around in a boot for most of the trip.  She wanted to just tape her toes and wear flip flops for anything beach-related, though.  Even without toe tape or boots, I was still limping along behind her.

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The kids had a million questions about everything in the water and on the pier.  We have a saltwater fish tank at home, so we were trying to explain to the kids that all the work Ben does with the fish tank is to mimic the environment of the ocean that mother nature takes care of every day.

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Ben and the kids got ice cream here the night that we hung out with my family on the pier.

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Night surfing!  I can’t even surf during the day.  I so admired this dude.

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The waves get pretty big at night.  All you can really see from a distance is the foam.

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The resort where we stayed had a viewing deck that we checked out at night when it was less busy.

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I get a bit of vertigo when I get close to the edge, but not Logan!

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Sea World San Diego!  We didn’t think that we’d be able to afford more than one theme park, but my mom’s friends are both in the military and got some free tickets for us.  There was a whole aquarium filled with adorable sea turtles!

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Biting flamingo, kakaw!

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While eating at one of the food court patios, I heard Ben say, “Oh, we have some guests,” and felt some fuzzy things on my legs.  I freaked out!  Then, I saw that they were just baby ducklings!  They waddled so quickly that I nearly missed getting a picture.

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I almost missed the penguin exhibit before I realized that they had it dark and cold inside not because it was closed, but to imitate July in Antarctica.  This lil dude was outside of the penguin exhibit and posed for quite a few pictures while complaining at me when I took too long between his various poses.

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Our last meal in Cali was breakfast with my sister and nephew at the Naked Cafe.  The food was amazing!  (Coconut French toast, whaaaat?)  If I had to eat at this place for every meal for the rest of my life, I could probably handle that.

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Probably my favorite name for a store ever!

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Polka dot is a cool color for a car!

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My babies, proudly wearing their California t-shirts at the airport.

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Our middle schooler, tolerating yet another photo.

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That is the end of our California vacation!  Thank you for reading this far!  I hope you enjoyed the photos and descriptions.  If you want to hear some more about our vacation, head on over to my YouTube channel for some vlogs!  Let me know if you liked this post by clicking the like button below.  Have you ever been to California?  If so, what part?  Do you surf?  Every driven a polka-dot vehicle?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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Daiso Haul May 2018

Hello Interwebz!  Surprisingly, I found all of my lost photos and videos on my SD card after I put it back into the camera and used the camera a few times.  What?!  I count myself lucky and am so grateful to have found my lost hard work.  I’d like to thank Dumb Luck for making this post possible.

Once again, I found myself at Daiso and bought everything I could carry in one armload.  I only dropped something once and was able to pick it up with my pinky finger.  Everything in this post was less than $27 including tax.  Daiso does not allow refunds or exchanges, but their stuff is so cheap and pretty decent quality that it’s not really worth the time or effort to return things anyway.  I have yet to be displeased with anything I got there.  Also, I have been looking for most of this stuff for months after seeing and not getting them and then seeing raving reviews for them online.

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The gel pens and colored pencils in the background were things I already had, but everything else was from this trip.  I also got a few things that are not pictured because they didn’t have anything to do with any of my beauty, skincare, or art projects and were put to use before I even started taking pictures for this post.

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Beneath these pens was my lingerie bag.  I recently bought some brassieres on Bare Necessities and want to take care of them since they were a bit pricey (by my standards).  If you don’t know what Bare Necessities is or would like a review post about the site, let me know.  Moving on, the bag has worked well so far and was only $1.50, much cheaper than every other lingerie I’ve had.  You can also see my new brush pens, kneadable eraser (had to knead it before I snapped pics), and an ink pen.  The Daiso by me carries three varieties of these Zebra brush pens and I already had one.  I have been looking for the other two, but never found them until this trip.  The kneadable eraser is scented like fake pineapple, but I saw it in a review video on YouTube and it worked well, so I have been on the lookout for it.  The ink pen was also on my list after seeing a review of it on YouTube.  It was the most expensive thing I bought, at a whopping $5, but it’s supposed to work pretty well.  I’ll be testing them out and posting about them in a later post.

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Here, we have paint brushes, a facial exfoliator, and an acrylic face massager.  One of the dudes I follow on YouTube said that most of the brushes that he used in his videos were from the [Japanese] dollar store, so I wanted to try these.  The face massager and exfoliator are things I see used alot in Asian skincare videos and I have been wanting to try them without spending too much money because I never know how my skin will react.  The physical exfoliator is rubber and is pretty gentle on my face.  I use it mostly in the shower either to wash off an oil cleanser or after washing off a clay mask.  The massager is acrylic rather than jade, which is what I see all over the internet.  It does the job, though.  I’m still working on the method, but I could tell my face looked less bloated all over after using it for a few days in a row.  So, maybe there is something to this massaging method.

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I think that I may have been most excited about the new organization accessories that I bought.  I’m not really a pink girl, but I wanted these items to match.  They actually helped me carry things around the store, so the items proved their use even before I bought them.  Originally, I wanted to buy mini drawers to store my masks.  Then, I remembered my lessons from the Clutter Bug – I need visual organization.  If something is not in my face and easy to access, I will not use it.  So, I decided on organizing my skincare in a way that I could see and access items easily.

Random Saturdays -Christmas Songs

I LOVE CHRISTMAS SONGS!!!  I do not love listening to them before Thanksgiving.  The day after Thanksgiving, I listen to 90% Christmas music until the new year.  Here are some of my favorite versions of some of my favorite Christmas songs.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland.
Most of my Christmases growing up were a bit sad.  It was just my parents and me, and they were usually doing their own thing.  Other than opening presents, I was alone.  My grandfather passed away right before Christmas when I was finally old enough to earn money to buy him a Christmas gift.  I’ve spent many a Christmas day completely alone, with no family or friends.  Anytime I have been lucky enough to spend Christmas with my loved ones, I truly appreciate the time because I know how precious it is.  This song completely sums up all of my emotions about Christmas.  It is my absolute favorite Christmas song.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings – Bare Naked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
These were always solid Christmas songs, but it wasn’t until I heard this version of them that I really fell in love with them.

Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me – Elvis Presley
Elvis.  Christmas.  What’s not to love?  This song is just da jam and makes me wanna sing and dance.  It really gets me into a celebratory mood.

Carol of the Bells – Straight No Chaser
I was trying to figure out which version I should put on here because I also love the Vienna Boys Choir performing this.  Straight No Chaser does such a clean and pure version, though.  Since the song was originally meant to be acapella, it seemed like the best choice for this list.

That’s What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder
Have you ever worked retail at Christmastime? It’s not fun. Mostly, it’s the Christmas songs that drive you crazy, even if you love Christmas songs as much as I do, because they play the same 10 songs while being open longer hours than usual. I have had to work retail at Christmastime with this song on the playlist and it was the only song that I was happy to hear every single time it blared in the store.

Blue Christmas – Porky Pig
It’s hilarious!