Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Warmer Weather: Taking in Bora Bora

I dropped Nathanial off at the airport bright and early this morning for a short trip to the North Slope of Alaska.  On the way I was wishing we were both leaving on a trip.  With the cold temperatures we've been having, I've been dreaming of warm days in the sun.

I can't help but think of our amazing honeymoon in Bora Bora.  Nathanial did all the planning on one of his rotations to Angola and didn't tell me where we were going until a few weeks before our wedding.  It was the best trip.

Air Tahiti was a great way to travel.  The flight crew was amazing and so were all the amenities like fresh pineapple juice!

The views flying into the island were stunning.

It was clear from the moment we arrived we were in for a great trip.

We were whisked away from the airport by boat. Talk about traveling in style!

Our resort was beautiful.  I was so excited Nathanial reserved an overwater bungalow.

The entire resort was open air which only added to the ambiance.  Eating breakfast while feeling the breeze and overlooking turquoise water was wonderful. It seems like the builders thought of everything and it was fun to see all the intricate details that were all around.  From the mother of pearl wall in the lobby to the fun carvings in our hut; it was beautiful.

This was the couch by the balcony.

The bungalow was great.  It was gorgeous, had plumbing & ac (because lots of people wonder) and made enjoying the water really easy.  There was a coral reef under the bungalow and the top of the table slid over so we could feed the fish underneath.  We also had a deck with a ladder to the water.

We enjoyed exploring the town through fun excursions like snorkeling which included swimming with sharks, a jeep tour through the mountains and even a sunset cruise.

My loving husband actually volunteered me to participate in a routine during the Polynesian dance. It was awful and hysterical at the same time.

The food on the island was incredible.  Easily the best fish I've ever had and oh my word the fresh juice (everything from banana, to pineapple to papaya) was life changing. 

This restaurant didn't have a menu. You picked from the fresh fish on display.

We even became accustomed to having fresh coconut. Nathanial learned the proper way to open a coconut.

The pictures of Bora Bora don't do it justice. It is a must see and absolutely worthy of its Bucket List status.

We met an older couple who was on their 15th trip to the island.  I don't blame them. I would love to return again and again.

One of my stocking gifts at Christmas was a pretty pink OPI nail polish called Not So Bora Bora-ing. I love the color but there was nothing boring about our trip!

Monday, January 26, 2015

More Cowbell

I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast. Super adult like right? I used the last of the eggs and milk to make Nathanial's breakfast this morning and going to the store when the Weather app said it feels like -15 didn't sound inviting. It's supposed to warm up to 6 later today so I'll bundle up and go then.

This weekend actually felt like I imagined Alaska in the winter.  A few more days of single and negative digit temperatures and I'm going to need to add long johns to the rotation and maybe even a skhoop (see this post for more on that.)

Our weekend was good.  We checked out another hockey game and joined the ranks of an "elite" group called the Cowbell Crew. It was our third game this season so we decided to become legit fans and buy a cowbell.  It really makes the cheering a lot more fun unless you're sitting next to us.

Nathanial planned the game as a Men's Night Out event for our Sunday School class.  They graciously allowed me and some of the other wives to attend. We didn't bother them too much except to ask for caramel apple money. Haha.

We started out the night at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Some of our friends hadn't experienced the greatness of B-Dubs so we were glad to introduce them.

After dinner we headed out to the game. It was Super Hero themed night so naturally we went as ourselves.

The game was pretty tame - no fights even broke out- until the last period when our team tied it up and sent the game into a sudden death overtime.

Nathanial and I didn't make it on the kiss cam but there's always next time.

It was a fun night with some fun peeps!

We didn't make it on the selfie screen either.

I did manage to accidentally hit someone in the head with a rubber hockey puck.  A local organization hosts a Chuck a Puck contest during the second intermission. You pay $5 and get three numbered pucks to throw on the ice. If your puck lands in the middle of a board they put down you win a cash prize. I think it was $2800 this weekend. We went down to the lower level to throw our pucks. It was a lot lighter than I expected and that paired with my bracelet flying off made for a bad throwing combination.  The lady I hit laughed it off and re-threw the puck for me.  It still wasn't a winner. 

* Thanks to my friend Ardy for the pics!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Favorites

This post should really be called "What pictures do I have to stick on my blog." Obviously Friday Favorites has a better ring to it!

Here are some things I'm loving this week:

Espresso Stands
Anchorage has more espresso stands per capita than anywhere else.  Yep, even Seattle.  Usually I'm unimpressed by this fact since I gave up my coffee habit after college.  With the temperature in the teens this week I decided to warm up with a drink from my favorite stand- Rae Rae's.

How cute is the branding? Even the spill stickers are adorable.  I never have to guess what to order because her flavor of the day drinks are always right up my alley (i.e. Almond Joy, Wedding Cake.)

Adjusting to life in Alaska has been hard at times for me.  I am so thankful to have found a church to get plugged into and a great group of friends.  I especially appreciate friends who throw island themed parties and give me an excuse to wear a Pareo in January.  

I didn't need to wear a sweater in Bora Bora.  

I've finally gotten back into the routine of running.  I'm starting to look at summer races because Alaska Marathoner just sounds awesome.

I've made friends with the treadmill because this is what the parking lot at the gym looked like.  Snow thank you. I'll stick to indoor running for a while.

Running aside, I have to admit I really like when it snows.  Snow just has a way of making everything look beautiful. It's such a peaceful thing.to watch the flakes fall. I really love how the loose snow in the street seems to dance in the wind. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Because in Alaska : Part 2

I thought I would do a second installment of Because in Alaska today.  Sometimes I get caught up in the day to day and almost forget we're in Alaska. Then I remember; because in Alaska:

  • It's perfectly normal to see moose hanging at the local McDonald's.

When you're a Texan in Alaska, it's also normal to pull in to get a closer look. And to be giddy with excitement.  Moose obsession is a real thing.

  • Date night is up close seats to the hockey game

You'll need to wear an outer layer with your team gear because it's really cold (like 4 degrees cold.)

  • You'll need a vehicle with four wheel drive.  
Nathanial is a truck guy once more. Car shopping in the single digits is an interesting experience. Especially when they have to de-ice the vehicle before a test drive.
  • An ice sculpture competition happens in the middle of downtown. 

The sculptors have three days to turn giant chunks of ice into masterpieces.

An Alaskan tool box.

  • Even the mailbox is frozen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - DIY Bride

We are almost done finalizing our weekend getaway plans for our anniversary and are getting so excited!

Today I thought I would share more about our wedding planning process.  Pinterest was my favorite thing to browse until I actually started the planning. Then I realized I was seeing the same ideas over and over again and that it was doing more harm than good.  I decided pretty early what was important to me and then figured out the best way to make it happen.  I created, purchased and delivered tons of items to the venue. It was a lot of work by lots of people (huge thanks to my awesome parents & wonderful now-husband) but everything came together to be even more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Chapel Door Letters
Our wedding venue had beautiful wooden doors that I knew I wanted to accent with our initials. My plan was to buy wooden letters at a local craft store and decorate them with white flowers. Of course that was much too easy of a process. I didn't like the selection of letters that was available so instead I bought some really thick matboard to make my own.

I started by finding a script font I liked, which proved to be difficult as I would like the M but not the N and so on. I printed each letter on its own transparency sheet and then used my parent's overhead (thank goodness for their Children's Church days) to project the image on the matboard for me to trace.  From there I cut out the letters and started hot gluing the flowers. It took probably 20 bunches of flowers and a few hours to finish, but I loved how they turned out.

Seating Chart and Table Numbers
I knew I wanted our seating chart to be a big display. I found a large frame I liked and went from there.  I designed a header image and then designed 5x7 images for each table.  I printed and matted each item and glued on top of a matboard.

I used the same design for 4x6 table number signs which I had printed at our local photo center and displayed in frames on the tables.

School Pride Jars 
I wanted a way to celebrate both of our universities that was a better idea than my husband's recommendation of Pistol Pete wrestling a Bear for his groom cake. I decided to make it a competition and it proved to be one of my favorite parts of the evening.  I displayed this sign in front of school themed jars.

I actually forgot to paint the jars so my wonderful bridesmaids made them the day of the wedding (after the best man drove them over to the venue because I also forgot them at the hotel.)

Signs & Programs
InDesign and Photoshop were my favorite programs during this time.  I  designed our programs, wedding favor tags, signs that were displayed around the venue and even the strip on photos from the photo booth. By designing myself, I was able to avoid some significant costs and ensure a look I was pleased with.

The favor tags were probably the most tedious of the above. Nathanial and I spent the day before the rehearsal dinner cutting out the tags, punching holes and then individually tying each of them on.

Table Details
I was astonished at how much wedding rental vendors, florists and even the venue wanted to charge for table linens and charger plates.  Those were details I knew would make a huge difference on the tables and decided it made more sense to buy them in lieu of renting.

I was able to buy charger plates during a huge sale at Michaels.  They had to special order them because I needed so many.  There were a lot of boxes but I was able to save more than $800. The wedding coordinator at the venue said she had never had a client bring their own. I guess she never had a client with common sense either ;)

I also purchased my own pintuck table runners and mercury glass votives.  It was a fraction of the cost the wedding vendors wanted and was the perfect finishing touch for the tables.