Thanksgiving 2015

We did something a little out of the ordinary this past year and traveled for Thanksgiving!

My mom’s side of the family decided to have a family reunion in Las Vegas and so we packed up early the morning after Thanksgiving and made our way there.

Everyone (well almost 😉 ) stayed at the old California hotel in downtown Las Vegas where the old strip is. I never realized it before, but the main reason our older family members like the Cal is because a lot of Polynesian people stay there. They call it the “9th island”. Even though it is an older hotel, it ended up being really fun to stay there.

Once we arrived, Jordan and I decided to head to Hash House A Go-Go for breakfast by ourselves. We’d been twice before and really liked it, but this time I wasn’t too crazy about what I ordered. Sometimes it’s better to just stick with what you know.

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After everyone had gotten some food, we all made our way to the outlet mall. It was Black Friday after all. We scored some good deals all before 1pm.

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Later that night we walked the new strip a little, the old strip a little, and had a family slot competition!

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Outside Treasure Island

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Jordan actually won the first round and got $50!! It was a lot of fun to play in our own roped off area.

The next morning we all shuttled down to another hotel for a family bowling tournament.

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I’ll admit 3 games of bowling was a bit too much, especially for this girl who never bowls and is no good. It’s hard to find activities that are suitable for all ages, especially in Vegas in November.

But it was nice to be with everyone.

My grandpa is actually buried in Vegas and since we weren’t that far from the cemetery I figured I needed to make a trip.

I know for some people the cemetery/head stone thing isn’t very comforting, but I do like that I still have a place where I can feel like I get to see him.  He was my favorite person. ❤

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Later on that night we had a big family dinner catered by a local hula group. I think everyone was hoping for catered Hawaiian food, but we had typical Thanksgiving food instead. 🙂 Our beloved ancestors had a lot of “get-to-know-you-activities” planned for after dinner. I’m thinking I gotta take over this portion at our next family reunion cause yikes!

But my aunts did dance and sing to make up for it.

It really hit me that weekend that this was the first big occasion where all of my grandma’s remaining siblings were together without her being there. When we first arrived at the hotel that weekend I found myself expecting to see her, almost as if I didn’t even know she’d been gone for 7 years. I actually looked around for her until I realized she wouldn’t be there.

My aunts danced to her favorite song and I lost my composure completely. It really wasn’t the same without her, though I know she was still there in her own way.

Traveling during a holiday weekend means you have to get up bright and early so you don’t get stuck all night long on the road. We left the next morning and barely made it home in 4.5 hours. It was a great weekend to be with people we don’t see that much. Hopefully the next family reunion will be even bigger and better.

❤ Jordan Nalani

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Annual Passholders Night

Back in November Disneyland held their annual passholders night, which allowed AP’s to stay in the park an extra 4 hours longer than regular visitors. We went back and forth about going, because the extra 4 hours were from 10pm-2am! But we decided if we could make it until midnight we could consider the evening a success.

I didn’t ask any of my passholder friends if they were going to go. I guess I figured no one would because of the time frame, but boy was I wrong. While sitting on the tram waiting to drive in, my friends recognized Jordan’s shiny head in the crowd and called out to us. I’m glad they did end up going and that we found each other, because it was such a fun night with all of us.

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I think this was the first time we’d been on Splash Mountain the whole year. None of us were expecting the massive puddles of water that we took off the ride. Our left sides were soaked!

We got on a lot of rides that night, but by 11 we were all tired. Even though the idea of staying in the park til 2am sounded cool, we all decided that sleep sounded better.

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Even though I was tired the next day, it was still so fun and I’m so glad we went. Seeing the park as empty as it was around 11:30 was really cool. I definitely hope we can do that again.

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❤ Jordan Nalani

Beauty Over the Border

The Tijuana Mexico Temple open house was in November and Jordan really wanted to go. We decided to go stay with our friends Dustin and Kari, who moved from New York to San Diego, and make the short drive over the border to see it. It was quite the adventure.

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With everything that people say about Mexico these days, it was a little nerve wracking to cross the border, I won’t lie. Luckily Kari and I felt pretty safe considering both our husbands speak fluent Spanish.

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We did get lost for 10 minutes. Once you cross the border the road you keep driving on just becomes the freeway leading into all of Mexico. There’s the side to go in and the side to go out and a huge riverbed in between. We missed our turn off and ended up in a bit of a shanty neighborhood. Eventually we figured out how to cross over onto the other side and we could see the temple in the middle of everything.

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The temple was beautiful of course, but the style was very unique to the surrounding area which made it even more beautiful. We watched the video, saw the little exhibit, and took the tour.

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I loved the casita feel outside.

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It was a warm and pretty day in Mexico.

Hopefully one day I’ll get to the beach!

After the tour we were hungry and thought it’d be great to get some real Mexican food. We walked to a place right across the street that was tiny and delicious and authentic hole-in-the-wall looking. Most unfortunately we found out they only took pesos and not the US dollar. I was really surprised by this, call me ignorant. We went into a pharmacy to see if we could exchange money, but no such luck. We decided to walk back to the car and just eat across the border in San Diego. While we were driving away, the boys realized that we had walked right by a currency exchange building, but all the signs were in Spanish so us girls didn’t notice it at all. Way to go guys!

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We drove back to the border, bought some churros from a man on the road that were delicious, and waited probably over an hour to get back across. Just in case you were wondering, you do need a passport to come back into the US.

It was seriously such a fun adventure and I’m so glad I can say I’ve seen a temple in another country. 🙂

❤ Jordan Nalani

Freshly Picked

In November my mom and I went to a Freshly Picked warehouse sale!

If you’re not familiar with Freshly Picked moccs you probably don’t hang around people with babies much, because these things are so popular right now. They’re not the cheapest, especially when you consider how fast a baby’s foot grows. But man are they cute.

When we found out they were having a warehouse sale not too far from us, we decided to get up early and brave the hoards of moms and grandmas waiting outside the warehouse for their chance at moccs $25 cheaper than normal. We planned to get some for my niece and ya know, maybe for me too.

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They usually disclose the date, time, and location on their social media platforms a few weeks before.

Take this from a first timer at a warehouse sale and keep these things in mind if you ever make it to a sale yourself:

DO GO EARLY.

We knew they were going to start letting people into the warehouse at 10am. We got there to get a place in line by 7:20am. There was already a long line of women, but our spot was still pretty good. I actually feel bad for everyone after us and beyond because that line got really long. Even though we were 2.5 hours early, we still didn’t get in until about 11-11:30. So that should give you an idea of why it’s important to get there as early as you can stand it. Some of those women must have been there since 6am or earlier.And they got first dibs on everything. So just remember the later you are, the slimmer the pickens.

DO PACK LIGHT.

They don’t let you bring big bags or purses inside the warehouse with you, so don’t bring them. They give you a shopping tote when you get in there and you give it back when you’re done. A lot of people had chairs for waiting outside, but we brought nothing but money in our pockets and I think that’s just the best way to go. They did accept cash and cards. They also don’t let you bring your kids in. No babies, no toddlers, no 10 year olds. You’re supposed to be 18 and over for liability reasons to go inside. So either bring your mom with you to stand outside and watch your kids or leave them at home if you can. They passed out water to the people waiting and there were even some food trucks that drove by. The freer your hands and sides the more room you have to collect moccs.

DO HAVE A GAME PLAN.

They let in about 50 women at a time. So we were a part of the 3rd group. They only give each group about 10 minutes. (Don’t ask me how it still took us an hour to get in if it really was 10 minutes.) Everything is really organized inside. They have rows of tables and on each table is tubs of moccs, all in ascending size order. The smallest sizes were up front and then the clothes and hard soles were in the back. Knowing what you really want, unless your budget is unlimited, will help you save time and money. Know what colors and sizes you’re after and then go there to that row. They had every color and pattern in those tubs. And the one item that went the quickest were those hard sole shoes. Once you have a few of what you wanted most you can take the rest of your time to consider any extras. Some women walked out with 3 big brown bags of just moccs. Some women had lists of colors and sizes they were getting for other people. Some women were on the phone taking orders!

Whatever your sale goals are, just have a plan.

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We didn’t collect quite as many pairs as some of the other women there, but I think we totally scored and we had fun too!

Guess I need kids to put in these moccs now. 😉

❤ Jordan Nalani

Happy Halloween

To celebrate Halloween this year we went to the best party around town.

Our friends Chelsea and Kyle always throw a great Halloween party every year and we were lucky enough to make the exclusive guest list again.

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This year everything was Mad Hatter themed and our hosts were dressed as Alice and the Mad Hatter. They always pull off the best costumes.

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Our friends Jesse and Lindsay dressed as some SOA characters. I thought they were pretty convincing.

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This year we (I) decided we should be a flapper and a gangster. Very Bonnie and Clyde I think. I loved how everything turned out. Amazon, Asos, and some clothes we already had turned out to make some great costumes.

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Isn’t Chelsea’s costume to die for? She made the whole thing.

There was food, amazing decorations, and tons of people. We even stayed out til 1am which is soooo not like us these days.

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Another successful Halloween!

❤ Jordan Nalani

October Happenings

In the month of October:

I went to see my friend Brooke in the hospital after she had her 2nd little boy.

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We took long naps on Sundays.

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Well some of us did.

We went to our ward Trunk-or-Treat with these two cuties.

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And we had an “all-day-date” on Halloween day, which included the temple, lunch, and the movies before we went out for Halloween.

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A part from losing my favorite co-worker, the month of October was fabulous.

❤ Jordan Nalani

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

I’d heard from a few of my friends that Mickey’s Halloween Party was super fun and that we should totally go. I went back and forth about it for awhile, because yes it is an additional price even when you have a Disney pass. And no, it’s not cheap. But I finally decided that I didn’t want to miss out on the experience and bought the tickets! There was a bit of a discount with our passes. We ended up having so much fun and we definitely came home with some loot to boot.

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That creepy lady in the back tho…

I’d always heard that you could essentially trick-or-treat your way through Disneyland at the party. I was picturing being able to go to every store and every ride and kiosk to collect candy. That’s not exactly how it works.

When you get to the party you go through the regular turn-styles where they scan your pass. Just to be safe, I’d print out the confirmation tickets you get online and bring them with you. We didn’t end up needing them, because they scanned our passes and I guess they could see that we were payed up for the event. You get a cute shiny yellow wrist-band to wear at the entrance and they let you know that you’ll have to show your wrist-band here and there to let the employees know you deserve to be there. They kick everyone else who didn’t pay out by 6pm.

They also give you a little treat bag when you come in to collect your loot. There were about 8 designated spots where you could go and “trick-or-treat”. You still have to stand in line and wait your turn. At first we were a little put out by the stations you go to. The children in costumes were everywhere! So we decided to ride some rides and get some food first.

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We ate at the New Orleans Cafe and got some pumpkin Mickey head beignets.

Eventually we started getting in the candy lines and they weren’t so bad after all.

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As it was getting later we noticed that a lot of the kids were going home. Now all the lines for candy were so short. We realized that you basically just have to wait until it’s later and then go through every line as much as you want. By the end of the night the trick-or-treat employees were handing out huge handfuls of treats.

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The castle looked so cool! 

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These nice strangers in costumes took our picture and we took one for them. They had just gotten engaged moments before which was even cuter.

I wouldn’t say that the whole event was so much less crowded than a normal day. However, it did seem a lot more contained and controlled. Even though there were a lot of people, there still weren’t nearly as many as there can be on a normal day. AND we were able to ride a pretty good amount of rides for the 5 hours we were there. We just had a lot more time for everything.

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It’s really hard to get a picture with Mickey and Minnie, like ever. When we realized that they had set-up a photo-op in the area by the BBQ Ranch restaurant, we got in line right away.

Well good thing Jordan was being a good sport and we had basically done everything we wanted because that line took forever! Mickey and Minnie seriously took a break every 8 minutes and they’d leave for about 5. I swear we were in line for at least an hour. One thing that’s a little annoying about Disneyland when you go as a couple without children is that you kind of get the short-end of the stick. I mean, it is a theme park meant for kids, so they were letting the parents take 10 pictures of their kids with the couple. And they seriously took 2 out of focus pictures of us and sent us on our way. Oh well, at least I’ll have this blurry photo of the Halloween Mickey and Minnie forever.

I definitely want to go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party again this next year. Even if we don’t have Disney passes, I think it’s totally worth it to pay to go.

Gotta love Disney and how they get you every time.

❤ Jordan Nalani

The Lion King

For my mom’s birthday this past year we decided to get her some tickets to go and see The Lion King at the Segerstrom Theater in Costa Mesa. Of course we had to go with her. It’s really one of my favorite theaters, and who doesn’t want to see the Broadway production of The Lion King?

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Our seats were pretty good for being high up, which is one of the reasons I think Segerstrom is so great. Pretty much every seat is a good seat.

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The show was really amazing. The sets were fantastic and the acting was top notch. And the singing was spectacular. I love going to see a good play, especially when it’s a musical. The play was very similar to the animated movie, but they do make it their own and throw in some extra songs. The woman, yes woman, who played Rafiki was really amazing.

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Having season tickets at the Segerstrom one day is one of my greatest life goals. As far as unnecessary luxury goals go. I could have them now, but you know, priorities and what not.

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Going to the theater is one of the things that makes me the happiest.

❤ Jordan Nalani

Rebecca McKenzie Photography

Towards the end of 2015 we took some family pictures, with each other of course, and the adorable Rebecca McKenzie.

I’ve known Becca for a long time and I asked if she would take some updated pictures of us, just because I like to have them and I thought I could use one for our Christmas cards.

I’m hoping that one day when I’m old I can look back at the nice pictures we took and remember that I was cute once.

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I really love this one.

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It was great to work with Becca and see how she’s totally professional, but can make you feel really natural and like you’re having fun.

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I just really like having good pictures of us.

Thanks Becca!

❤ Jordan Nalani