Finally, a Wedding

I think it's important that couples be able to do their own thing.  I never wanted to be that girl who can't do anything without her man and I'm not, but whaaaaaa I missed MJ when I went away and I miss him since he's been away all weekend.  He does not miss me, in the same way that I miss him and I'm okay with that because I'm a little on the dramatic side and I know he loves me.

I traveled alone.  Again, with the drama but it's the first flight I've taken on my own since I met MJ in Barcelona all those years ago for our epic European vacation.  That was international, this was domestic.  Very domestic.  Only an hour and a half flight with no layover to San Jose.  I successfully navigated my way there and back.  I only follow him around like a lost puppy when we travel together because I know that I can.

There just aren't very many weddings in my life these days.  Everyone has moved onto baby showers and kid's birthday parties so this was the first wedding I've been to in far too long and I was really looking forward to it.  It has also been far too long since I've seen my little sister and it was really awesome to be able to meet up with my whole family (minus big sis). 

My cousin looked beautiful.  I honestly can't recall the last time I saw her.  It has to have been at least ten years ago.  Probably longer.  I saw aunts and uncles that I haven't seen since my wedding and others that I haven't in way longer than that.  It's so strange to be that person saying the last time I saw you--you were just a little toddler running around.  I remember how I used to roll my eyes a little at the shock and disbelief on their faces when adults used to say that to me and stand around acting like it's a miracle that I am no longer two feet tall.  Surely, they didn't expect me to be the same size all these years later?   Well, now I get it.  Time passes so fast.  You know that you are getting older, but it's jarring when you see the manifestation of that passage of time standing in front of you with a drink in their hand.  It's mind blowing.

The wedding was beautiful and very well done from the tasty buffet to the decorations.

I don't see my extended family very often so this wedding was a good excuse to find the time and the money to get on that plane and make it happen.  It was a short, but really sweet weekend.  Friday to Sunday went so fast.  We coordinated our arrival/departure times, stayed in hotel rooms a few doors apart and ate at Olive Garden once and Denny's twice.  Olive Garden because my little sister lives in San Francisco and the closest one is hard to get to on public transportation.  It was a good choice because I can go any time I want, but rarely do.  I almost forgot how much I love Lasagna Classico.  And Denny's because our hotel was near the airport and there really wasn't much of anything else around.  We went to two different locations but I ate the same thing both times.  Their french toast is the bomb.  Maybe I need to go back to dining in chain restaurants more often.  I already know MJ will not go along with it.
I was thinking that my next wedding would be my little sister's but now I'm not so sure.  Somewhere between the cake cutting, the bridal bouquet toss, and the groom's hunt for the garter belt she became overwhelmed.  We were chatting about it before we went to bed that night and she said, "There is so much to do.  I'm eloping."  Hopefully I can convince her that her wedding day will be one of the most magical days ever and that she must.  My wedding day was absolutely one of the best day's of my life and I wouldn't want her to miss out on that if that's what she really wants. 

As if you couldn't tell.  I really like weddings.

The Catch

If you follow me on Instagram you have to be dying to know about this pic.  How did you do it? What was it like?  Well, wonder no no more.
We went to the Padre game on Tuesday.  It was just like any ordinary game day outing.  We try to go to at least on per year and always the Braves.  I was able to squeeze in a workout and we still had time for dinner downtown where I proceeded to negate every sweaty minute of Ripped in 30.  That's how it works right?  You can't out exercise a bad diet, but I have no regrets whatsoever.  Plus, in general my diet is not bad.  It was Taco Tuesday.  I did what I had to do.  The beer was cold, the tacos were tasty and the nachos were mucho delicious.  After we had our fill we walked over to the stadium and took our seats right behind home plate.

We're sitting there enjoying the game when all of a sudden there is a slight commotion in the crowd ahead of me and to my right in the next section.  I didn't even notice the ball being hit out, but the scuffle caught my attention and the next thing I know there is a baseball with flailing hands reaching for it coming towards me.  I was sitting at the end of my row.  The ball landed on the stairs at my feet and I scooped it up.  Easy as pie.  It was so meant to be I didn't even really have to get up.  I just lunged forward a bit from my seat.  I'd like to say that I caught the thing with my bare hands as it sailed towards my head but that is not the case.  I got lucky, but it counts because really, how often does this ever happen?  You have to be in the right place at the right time in a crowd full of people who all want the same thing.  It will probably never happen again in my lifetime so I milked the moment for what it was worth.  Once the ball was in my hand I stood up, arms raised high in victory yelled, "I caught it.  Whoo!!!!!!"  I think there may have been a few grumbles directed towards me.  Can't you see that lady in the background giving me the evil eye?  Some may believe I didn't deserve it and that it should have been theirs, but the ball ended up in my hands fair and square and it was awesome.

I was sure this would get me on the jumbo tron.  We took a selfie together and tagged it, but it never showed up so we tried again.  I was lucky enough to have already planned to get off early that day, thus paving the way for a fun weekday game night.  We were lucky enough to find street parking.  Lucky enough to get free tickets from MJ's job.  They get tickets to every single home game, but there are only two.  I was lucky enough to catch snatch the foul ball.  I was not, however lucky enough to make it onto the jumbo tron.  Not with two pics or with the roving camera man who was just a section away.  Denied, so that will be my next goal although, it will be tough with MJ throwing shade.  Even if I go out and buy a Padres shirt and dance around like a clown they are probably going to be less inclined to throw a random guy next to me wearing a Braves jersey at the Padres vs Braves game on the jumbo tron.  A girl can dream.

I have just one question though.  What do I do with the ball?

Romping Around

Target // Mossimo
We had a wild night on Friday bar hopping in Ocean Beach to celebrate a friend's birthday, which was really refreshing because I thought I'd aged out of Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach.  It was an 80's theme.  We did not dress up although in a way I felt like I did because I was wearing a romper.  I think it's important to note that it's my very first romper ever.  Well, not ever, but the last time I wore one it actually was the 80's and I was about 10 years old.  It's one of those things I kept saying, "Oh yeah, I need to get one of those," but never did.  At first I wasn't sure if I liked them.  Then I wasn't sure if I wanted to take down my top to go to the bathroom.  Then I wasn't sure if the trend was going to die and I'd be stuck with something I didn't want to wear.  Then it seemed like they just wouldn't go away so when my mom spotted a cute one while we were at Target, I tried it on and was sold on the comfort and versatility.  It's not to tight or too short. 

Me Too Abbie Ballet Flat // DSW
 Someone had an extra gold chain for MJ so we fit right in.  Bar hopping and dancing wearing a romper with ballet flats was positively liberating.  These flats are amazing.  The goal was to find a pair of ballet flats that felt like house slippers and these are it.  I'm already looking for a pair in nude or taupe.  I felt comfortable.  I felt like me.  We had a great time.  I'll have to reconsider Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach for fun nights out without the downtown pressure to dress a certain way.  Oh, and the prices.  At the first bar we hadn't eaten so I was going to wait and not order anything but when the waitress put two beers in front of him and asked for $7.50 I was all over it because you can't get a single drink for less then $10.00 downtown and that's what Uber is for.  We left the driving to them.  Sometimes the downtown scene is just too much with all the heels and the tight dresses.  I have nothing against either.  Not true.  I'm pretty much over heels that hurt.  I refuse to suffer anymore.  Anyway, I love downtown and I'll go back, but the change in scenery was nice. 

I think the same could be said about Dolci Cafe Italiano Rancho San Diego.  It's one of those unassuming little places in a strip mall that you see on your way to the grocery store and say, "That place looks cute, we need to try it," and then promptly forget about it until you see it again and say, "That place looks cute, we need to try it." Well, we finally tried it on Sunday.  This is our last weekend at home together for the next month and we wanted to go out for breakfast.  Coast?  or local?  It was hot.   It would have been nice to head out towards the beach, but then I thought about it.  Local, because all the hot spots would probably have long wait times without a reservation.  And then there is the parking.

We love the vibrant restaurant scene in San Diego but sometimes we just want to drive to a restaurant, get out of the car and eat so it's always nice to find cute non-chain restaurants without all the hoopla.  We were seating in the covered patio area which was nice.  The Italian sausage was juicy and the french toast was perfectly moist in the middle and full of flavor.  And the prices! My french toast was $9.00.  Our bill was only $35 and that includes three mimosas.  Two for me.  I can't wait to go back to try lunch and dinner.

I should probably wear my romper.

The Fierce Five-Where Are They Now?

The gymnastics world is all a buzz because the road to Rio has officially begun with the 2015 US Secret Classic and continues with P & G Championships this weekend.  What makes it even more exciting is that there was not one, not two, but three members of the 2012 US Gold Medal winning Fierce Five team back in the mix and very serious about going for a second Olympics.  In a sport where you peak at 16 if not sooner this is unheard of in gymnastics and hasn't been done since Amy Chow and Dominique Dawes did it in 1996 and 2000. 
Kyla, McKayla, Aly, Jordan, Gabby
Here is an update on the gymnastics darlings from London. 
A photo posted by Jordyn Wieber (@jordyn_wieber) on

After London everyone except Jordan Wieber was certain about coming back.  She was the it girl that year and everyone was expecting her to win the All-Around and she didn't even get to compete for it.  I  was so, so sad for her.  Aly Raisman edged her out for a spot in All-Around finals and then Gabby Douglas went on to win the whole thing.  Out of all of them Jordan suffered the biggest disappointment and would have the most to prove by coming back for redemption.  She didn't commit, but she also didn't rule it out.  She was not eligible for collegiate competition having gone pro, but secured a place as gymnastics team manager at UCLA.  She continued some training there but could not find the motivation to mount a serious comeback and officially announced her retirement earlier this year.  I think she is enjoying college life and that California sunshine too much to go back to the cold of Michigan and the daily grind of gymnastics.  Who can blame her?

 McKayla Maroney made made it clear that she loved gymnastics too much to give it up and was serious about continuing onto Rio.  She did some acting gigs and appearances after London.  I feel really bad for her because she made a valiant effort to continue.  She got injured on the post Olympic tour, but came back and was competing at a World Championships in the All Around just a year after the Olympics.  Having been known as a vault specialist in London it was a really big deal for her.  Having missed out on a Vaulting Gold that really should have been hers it was also a really big deal that she won it at 2013Worlds the year after.  She was looking so good and was so determined but she had injury after injury and a few surgeries.  Her body just wasn't having it and it looks like she's down for the count.   If she's not in the mix now I don't imagine it's possible for her to even dream about coming back now.  I don't think there has been an official announcement but the only thing I've seen from her lately is sexy selfies on Instagram. But really, what is with the sexy selfies?  It's pretty much all she posts.  According to an interview with Marta Karolyi she is having some ongoing medical issues with her heart.

USA Gymnastics: July 25 - Senior Competition &emdash; Kyla Ross
Kyla Ross never left the gym.  At fifteen she was the youngest member of the 2012 team and just getting started so it was no surprise that she didn't skip a beat and was right back to serious training.  She was the only one of her teammates not to turn pro and do the full post Olympic tour.  She only did West Coast dates so she could continue to train.  She's continued to be a fixture on the US National team winning medals at every Worlds and Nationals.  She would have been girl on top but Simone Biles came onto the scene and bumped her out of a World All Around title in 2013 and she has placed 2nd to her at every nationals.  She has only had a few minor injuries which is amazing in this sport where you expect to get injured constantly.  She has stayed the course and I will be so disappointed if she doesn't make next year's team.  She has had to deal with a growth spurt and has been criticized over and over for doing the same skills from 2012.  Marta loves her for her consistency and pretty gymnastics but the rest of the pack is catching up and I don't think Rio is possible unless she upgrades her difficulty.  Her gymnastics continues to be solid and she is right in there with the young whipper snappers coming up provided she upgrades.
USA Gymnastics: July 25 - Senior Competition &emdash; Aly Raisman  
Aly Raisman did Dancing with the Stars and all kinds of fun stuff after the Olympics.  She got her own leotard collection from GK Elite and was recently featured in ESPN's 2015 Body Edition.  My goodness that girl is fit.  They all are.  She needed some time off to live a normal life for a little while, but her intention was always to come back.  She had an amazing Olympics walking away with a Gold on floor and a Bronze on beam in addition to team gold, but just missed out on an individual AA medal medal.  She started training at the end of 2013 in Massachussets with her same coach, was back at US National training camps at the end of 2014 and competed at City of Jesolo Trophy 2015 in March.  I love her.  I love her attitude, her consistency, and her personality.  She has had so much success and yet remains humble and hard working.  She is still full of power, but really needs to clean up her form which has always been one of her weaknesses.  I really want her to make the team.  I want EVERYONE to make it!   

USA Gymnastics: July 25 - Senior Competition &emdash; Gabrielle Douglas 
The third Fierce Five member who is making a comeback is none other than 2012 All Around Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas.  She basked in the post Olympic glory as well, with TV appearances and magazine covers.  She had a movie made about her life and slo got her very own GK Elite leotard collection.  She moved to Los Angeles and then got back in the gym mid 2014.  She originally went back to Chow's who trained her through the Olympics, but then bounced around to a few other gyms before settling down at Buckeye's in Ohio.  She was looking kind of flaky, but has stayed put.  It was announced earlier this year that she was going to have a reality show set in LA, but I haven't heard anything else about it.  She went back to training camp around the same time Aly did and had the first comeback meet at Jesolo last year as well.  She is looking really good.  I have mixed feelings about Gabby.  I loved her underdog story from 2012 and her gymnastics, but found myself put off by her cocky attitude in interviews right away.  I don't know what it is, but arrogance is just not a likable character trait in my opinion and she oozes it.  I though she had toned it down a bit when I watched a few interviews while she was training for her comeback, but no.  It's back. I want to like her a lot more than I do, but her gymnastics speaks for itself.  Physically, she hasn't changed much since 2012 and her gymnastics looks really clean and solid. 

USA Gymnastics: July 25 - Senior Competition &emdash; Simone Biles 
The it girl of this Olympic cycle is undoubtedly Simone Biles.  She wins everything.  She is the 2013 and 2014 World AA Champion and not even Alya Mustafina from Russia could beat her.  She is a machine.  She is powerful, solid and while she does not have long graceful lines she is very clean. The girl is seriously blessed with natural talent for this sport, plus she is a work horse.  Everyone, including the former Olympians are chasing her and it's pretty much a given that barring some bizarre unforeseen circumstance she will be on the 2016 team.  I expect her to win too, but Jordan's story and Mckayla's fall when she was a sure thing for Vault gold is a cautionary tale.  You never know.  Not only is she good, but she has the most adorable personality ever and always looks like she is having fun.  There is not an arrogant bone in her body.  She committed to UCLA, but then announced her decision to turn pro on July 29th.  I don't blame her.  Gymnastics is expensive and if things go the way they should she will make enough money to finance a college education and then some.  It can be a risky move, but she WILL get endorsements and make a ton of money provided she continues doing exactly what she's doing and doesn't get hurt.

How did they do at Classics?  Simone Biles won of course.  Gabby Douglas came in an impressive 2nd, just 2.0 points behind Simone who has been known to win by so many points that she could fall five times and still win.  Aly fell on floor and came in 5th.  Kyla, who only competed bars and beam fell on an upgraded bar move.  It's basically Simone Biles and then everyone else, but the rest of the pack is catching up with Kyla.  She needs time to get comfortable with upgrades so I hope the fall doesn't send her back to her safe moves. 

It is absolutely ridiculous how deep the US team is right now and how hard it is going to be to make the World team this year let alone the Olympic team next year.  Next year!!  It's less than a year away now.  As much as I love a good comeback story and want all the veterans to make it I don't see that happening.  And you know what?  I want to go to Rio too.  I am getting so excited that it getting so close and it is just killing me right now that I've been shut out of two ticket request phases and that when they finally did live sales I was in Kauai without my Visa card.  Gymnastics is one of the hottest and hardest to get tickets around.  I got the email that day, but if you weren't trying to get tickets within minutes of going live they were as good as gone.  I can still go if I want to see Taekwando or Basketball, but for me it's gymnastics or bust.

Watch more videos on Gymnastike
3 minute P & G Championships (USA Nationals) podium training video

P & G Championships will be televised on NBC and Universal Sports if you are lucky enough to get that channel.  

Take Your Mom on Vacation

The last two days of our vacation featured a beach day at the gorgeous Hanalei Bay and a pool day at our hotel.  The water of was warm, clear and shallow.  The waves were just enough to make me jump but not enough to scare me too badly and once again I saw no fish!!  It was the 4th of July, but I doubt the beaches were no more or less crowded than any other day.  What are you going to do on the 4th didn't really feel like a thing because people are doing the same thing that people are doing in Kauai every other day.  The Beach, the pool, relaxing.  That night MJ grilled burgers that we ate with french fries from the hotel bar and grill.  We ate from there once and the food wasn't all that good, but the fries were perfect.  There were only two places to see fireworks on the entire island and we really didn't feel like seeking them out after a long beach day so we spent a nice night in the jacuzzi drinking wine instead.

We circled the entire island during our stay.  Our hotel was on the South shore in Koloa.  Our Catamaran boat tour took us from the South all the way up the Napali coast on the West shore.  We went biking in Kappa on the East shore and then went even further to the North Shore for Hanalei Bay.  We covered Kauai as best we could in the amount of time that we had.

The last day began with shopping and ended at the pool.  The moms really wanted to hit the little row of shops in what would be downtown if Koloa could even be considered a town, so we turned in our beach rentals and went straight there.  MJ went into exactly one store with us and then parked himself in a bar for the duration, which was very smart.  I'm not a big shopper so I was mildly interested when we started out, but started getting antsy after the first hour and a half when it became clear that they intended to peruse every single square inch of every single shop.  It was our last day and I was ever so anxious to get to the pool.  I tapped out towards the end and sat with MJ until after almost three hours they were done. 

Finally we hit the pool where I could lounge, read, eat giant steak fries and suck down a cocktail--or two.   Every time we go to Hawaii we take the latest flight out that we can get.  It's really nice to have that last day to soak up every minute of Hawaiian sunshine that we can before it's time to go.  And soak it up, we did until the designated time that would give us enough time to change and get to the airport with a little extra time to spare.  We went to the locker rooms and showered away the sand for the last time.  I was so sad to see my mom go at the airport, but so grateful that she was able to come and that we were able to spend such an amazing time together.

When I mention that we invited our mothers to go on vacation with us, I usually get a raised eyebrow or two and a questioning, "Well, how was that?"  Well, it was fine.  MJ and I have been fortunate enough to go on a lot of vacations since our 2010 honeymoon and we have two more next month.  Since we had spacious hotel accommodations we decided, why not?  I treasure our alone time together on vacation, but also thought it would be awesome to experience Hawaii with both of them.  His mom has never been on a 'real' vacation before and it was something that MJ really wanted to do.  My mom has been on vacation recently with my Dad and actually had already been to Kauai years ago, but I can't remember the last time we even traveled together.  Growing up our family vacations usually consisted of a lot of time traveling by car and/or visiting family out of state, so I have never done anything like this with my mom.  She is the best.  I loved having her there.

MJ was definitely outnumbered, but he handled it like a champ.  The moms had their own room and bathroom.  Everyone got along fine and they liked all the plans we made.  In the mornings we ate breakfast in our hotel and got ready for our day.  Now that I think about it we only went out to eat twice and both of those times were on the same day.  Breakfast on the way to hiking and the luau.  In the evenings we went back to the hotel and ate either take out or whatever we picked up from the grocery store and watched TV or a movie until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore.  MJ and I got sleepy at night way before they did, and I'd say we were the old ones, but we also had a tendency to wake up earlier.  Our mother's have only seen each other a few times so it was nice for them to have the chance to get to know each other better.  There is a thing or two I could say (isn't there always?), but I won't.  It was a really pleasant and relaxing trip for everyone and I'm so glad it worked out for all of us to go together.

And that concludes my Kauai vacation recaps.  Phew!! 

Warning: Hazardous Cliff

Warning: Hazardous Cliff! The ground may break off without warning and you could be seriously injured or killed. Stay back from the edge. Well, we can't say they didn't warn us.

Friday was our only other early wake up call.  We set alarms, woke up and went to breakfast at Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company to fuel up for our hike day at Waimea Canyon.  I had delicious french toast and coffee.  I was ready to go.

We hiked the Canyon Trail to Waipoo Falls which is 3.4 miles round trip.  I was disappointed that it was so short because I love hiking in the wilderness and like to challenge myself but it turns out that it was plenty long enough.  The terrain was rugged.  The boulders in the ground were quick to roll under our feet and we all lost our footing more than once.  Some parts were so rough that the trail seemed to run out and we had to figure out where to pick it up again.  Other areas were so thick with bushes and undergrowth that we had to push our way through without really being able to see where we were going.  It was awesome!!

The views are spectacular.  They call Waimea Canyon the Grand Canyon of Hawaii and while I've never been to the Grand Canyon I do believe this has to be the next best thing.  Standing on the cliff  looking across the massive canyon to the other side is like being on the edge of the world.  By the time we made it to this look out point we were pretty worn out, so it was a perfect resting point to take a break and take it all in.

I don't ever plan to, but sometimes my thoughts go morbid.  I think, what would happen if my foot slipped and I fell?  What if someone came out here with a devious plan to push someone else over the cliff? There is no railing, no safety net and nobody watching.  The answer is obvious.  There is absolutely no coming back from that, but it's just so crazy to think that something like that could happen.  Did happen.  There was a cross memorial marker at the very edge of the cliff.  I had a general idea, but I wondered what happened, who was this Devin Conrad Goetsch?  These days, we don't have to not know anything so later, when I came across the picture I googled the name and found his obituary from almost exactly a year ago.  So sad.  It seems he was a hiker just like us who lost his footing and went over the edge.  Seeing something like that makes you feel very small, but also very lucky to be alive because it only takes a second for something horrible like that to happen.

After we rested up and had a few snacks we kept going and made it to the waterfall.  It looks like the end of the road.  The pot at then end of the rainbow.  We probably would have stopped there, but another group told us that we could keep going to another waterfall.  MJ's mom decided to sit that part out and waited for us there, and it was a good thing, because it was one of the toughest parts of the hike.  The trail thinned out considerably and there were several areas that required climbing.

I don't know how MJ managed to get over there without falling, because those rocks were slick.  Like, slip and slide slippery slick.  He made it look easy enough, but right after this picture was taken I fell in.  Water.  That's why I bought the sandals.  I tried to be more cautious and find solid footing but it was like rubbing my shoe against soap suds.  then I had to figure out how to get out without taking another dunk. From this waterfall you can see the backside of the big waterfall Waipoo Falls.  The ones we actually got to see were small, but they are still so lovely to look at.

The way in was a lot of downhill so you know what that means on the way back.  Lot's of inclines.  Lot's of huffing and puffing and lots of pushing ourselves to keep on going.  All together it took us around three hours to finish the whole thing and our legs were so dusty we probably could have written our initials in them. 

On the drive back to the hotel we saw these red dirt hills on the side of the road so we pulled over to check it out and found waterfalls in the middle of a red dirt desert.

I love, love, loved hiking Waimea Canyon and would have loved to go back and tackle more trails, but there are only so many days in a vacation.  Plus, I'm not sure if my knees could take it.  I wasn't sore the next day so maybe I am in shape, but my body was definitely worn out.  When we hiked in Maui I was covered in mosquito bites, but this time we actually used the off spray instead of just bring it with us (what a concept) and I only had a few.

Luau's are fun, but they are expensive so I kind of feel like if you go once you probably don't need to do another.  We'd all been to one except his mother so MJ surprised us with tickets for Luau Kalamaku at Kilohana Plantation.  This one had a wide variety of really interesting local vendors.  We all bought something.  I don't remember our last Luau having an open bar, or being all you can eat buffet so that alone made this one better.  They guys got beaded necklaces.  The flower lei's were beautiful, but it was so hot and humid I had to take it off.  I went back to the bar a few times, but was too stuffed after round one of food to do more than pick at my second attempt.

Dinner was really good, we enjoyed the show and that night like every other night before it I fell into bed in a cloud of exhausted glee and slept like a rock.

Hanalei, Bay