The Itchy Travel Bug

There’s been a slowdown at work today and I may have spent it perusing travel pins on Pinterest and travel blogs. In doing so, I realized I never really posted anything about our trip to Denver, CO last year, so I plan to share a post on that soon. This also got me wishing we could just pick up and go on a vacation! My job and bosses are super chill and allow me to have a lot of flexibility, especially when it’s our quieter seasons. Unfortunately, my hubby doesn’t have that luxury and has to ask for time off from his fairly new job way ahead of time. Sure, we could do weekend trips, except his new schedule has him with split weekends. Friday off, Saturday on, Sunday off. Woe is me.

It was about this time last year when I wrote another post about my wanderlust. We had a pretty great set of adventures planned in 2016 and luckily were able to add in a few extra trips: our belated honeymoon to Colorado was in February, Tokyo in April/May, Pennsylvania in October, and our bonus trip to Georgia for the PCOS Symposium was in September. My in-laws moved to Galveston at the end of 2015 so we spent several weekends with them during the warmer months.

This year we will probably spend some time in Galveston with my in-laws again. The only other real trip/vacation we have planned is for my husband’s cousin’s wedding. It’s a destination wedding so we’ll be traveling to Florida. I’ve seen photos of the white beaches and can’t wait to put up my feet and lay back with a mimosa or two in hand. It’ll probably be rum and coke but you get what I’m sayin’. Alas, that’s not until the end of JULY!! Until then I’ll satisfy my travel bug by reading more blogs and figuring out how to convince my husband that we NEED to get away. Perhaps on a cruise ship. 😉

Galveston

Exploring Downtown Galveston

 

February Check In

Hi again! If you’re like me, February was the new official start of New Year’s resolutions. January was a trial month. Everyone knows that. Moving on. This month, I

This month, I reeeeeally wanted to follow through as I am so, so very terrible at it. I made a pretty little tracking chart in my bullet journal and used lots of pinks and reds. Tons of hearts – it is the month of love after all. For about half of the month, I stuck with my highest priority goals. I took my medicine and supplements and logged my meals. I stayed around my carbohydrate goal in general but due to my lack of dedicated exercise, my calorie intake has probably been too high to really lose any weight. However, we managed to decrease our fast food spending this month due to forcing myself to take leftovers to work. It also helps that I have an AMAZING husband who offered to make me breakfast every weekday along with his.

 

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Eggs and uncured bacon every day with the occasional toast. This day included salsa and queso fresco. Yum!

Today I went to get some labwork done ahead of next week’s endocrinologist appointment. Hopefully, my results move in the right direction. PCOS is not fun and is very defeating. I haven’t had as many breakdowns recently so that’s good. I’m trying to stay positive and keeping in mind why I want to lose weight and get healthy.

 

I also got a new computer today! So this may translate into more frequent blog posts. We’ll see. 😉

Oh, one final thing: Everyone needs to go check out April the Giraffe on YouTube. I’m obsessed and absolutely way too invested in this live giraffe birth for my own good, but I need people to discuss the adorableness of it all with. Tweet at me or find me on Instagram so we can have all sorts of giraffe-related convos. 🙂

PCOS Challenge Symposium 2016

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PCOS Positivity support group pic

This past weekend I had the privilege  of attending the PCOS Challenge Symposium and Bolt 5K in Atlanta, GA (a Facebook support group I’m in raised the most money for the 5K!) My very supportive husband joined me and we made a quick vacation out of it. We both learned so many new things that will help me along this journey of treating my PCOS and wrangling in my health. We also heard a lot of things we’ve heard before, but hey, sometimes you just need to be hit with the same information over again to help it stick. At least I do…often.

PCOS is a syndrome that has many symptoms and they’re not all the same for everyone. There is no one official way to treat it and treatment plans can vary from traditional medicines to holistic and natural approaches. Every person with PCOS must have a personalized plan and it takes a lot of time, energy, and trial and error. Not to mention finding a team of doctors who are supportive, knowledgeable, and willing to work together to find the right treatment.

At the symposium there were several breakaway sessions with different topic choices. Dustin and I focused on the integrative health and nutrition/fitness tracks. There were also some on emotional/mental health and fertility but we didn’t do those since we’ve got to get a hold of my health before starting a family. There were also Q&A panels with leading PCOS experts that included health professionals and advocates. It was definitely a wonderful experience and I hope to attend the next one.

I purchased an awareness bracelet and was entered into a raffle. There were several prizes, including books, cookbooks, fertility treatments, fitness packages, electrolysis, and even a very popular detox program. Guess who won one of the detox programs?! C’est moi! That’s right! I was surprised because I never win anything in raffles and I almost didn’t even buy the ticket! While I’m not one for “detox” programs and living off of shakes I figured I’ll give it a try and report my results to my fellow cysters (probably via my instagram). I prefer real food but I’ve never tried a shake program so let’s see how it goes. This program consists of 2 weeks of shakes and supplements geared towards women with PCOS. We tend to have insulin resistance/metabolic disorder so sugar can be really bad for us. This program focuses on getting all the necessary nutrients and a little extra of the vitamins and minerals that can help with insulin resistance. It also helps to cut back the amount of processed sugars in the body.

So far I’m halfway through day 2. The shake tastes alright. I’ve done protein shakes before so I’m ok with the texture and taste. It’s a mild berry/vanilla flavor. My husband tried a sip and didn’t like it. He said it was chalky but then again, he doesn’t like protein shakes either (and he likes nato which is fermented soybeans so his palate can’t be trusted sometimes haha). By dinner I was a tad irritable and hangry. But I get like that whenever I start lowering my carb and sugar intake. It takes me a few days to adjust. So, for the next two weeks I’ll be doing two shakes a day and a well balanced meal with healthy snacks (as necessary). Fitness-wise I’m planning on going for walks during my lunch hour at work and I’m in a few daily and weekly step challenges via Fitbit. I did so much walking and hiking during our trip that I managed to lose over 4 lbs! But I also don’t trust my scale…She can be sketchy. I’ll try to update again when I’m done with week 1.

Peace out, y’all.

Japan Day 4 – Hoot! Hoot!

Alrighty, it’s time for our 4th day of adventure in Japan!

It was a pleasant Sunday. Sis-in-law and I woke up at the crack of dawn (5 AM-ish) and went to 7-Eleven to grab breakfast. After waiting for my husband to wake up, eat, and get ready we were ready to start our day. At some point during this day, or the night before, I realized I left one of my bags at our friends’ house! :O Oh no! We had to make a plan to meet up later to grab it before they left for their honeymoon. Until then we were off to explore beautiful Japan.

Our first stop was the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. When we got off the train, the area was PACKED with people. We did not realize how close it was to the Harijuku shopping area. There was also some kind of protest going on so there were a lot of onlookers blocking the sidewalk. Somehow we managed to get by and found the park where the shrine is located. It was gorgeous! We looked at a map but figured we’d just go where most people seemed to be going. Surely that’s the way to the shrine (it was). Outside of the temple was a fountain and people were getting water. We didn’t know what it was or the meaning behind it because the English pamphlets were all gone. We took a couple of selfies with the shrine gate behind us. As we went past it there was a wedding procession going by. It was a cool site to see. Once they were gone, we kept making our way to the temple. We spent a few minutes people-watching there. We then went out a different way and found another fountain. This one was less crowded and we found a pamphlet explaining the prayer and cleansing tradition. We took a few more photos and were on our way to our next stop: Yoyogi Park to find some cosplayers.

Meiji shrine

Meiji Shrine Gate

Shrine fountain

The fountain

We used GPS on my phone to try and find the actual area where the cosplayers would be. We walked for sooooo long. We found our way out of the park where the shrine is and wandered into the entrance for the actual park area. There were a lot of people once again. Out on the street we thought the protest was still going on, but it turned out to be a parade for Children’s Day. At the park there were many people walking around, picnicking, and just enjoying the day and scenery. There were a few street entertainers who were really interesting. We did some more walking around the park and never came across any cosplayers. By this point, I was getting tired, hot, and grumpy. I tried to keep my grumpiness and disappointment to myself as long as possible but eventually couldn’t anymore. I was done. Hubby and sis kept trying to get me out of my funk but I was having none of that, so we headed towards our hotel because I wanted to nap and get some rest.

We decided to walk and on our way there passed a shopping area. The smell of food was all around us. Since it was about time for us to eat, we looked for an inexpensive place to chow down. In an alley, we found a little restaurant underground. We dined, relaxed, and recharged. I was good to go. I guess I was just hangry before. It’s a real problem guys! Don’t judge. Our next stop was only a few minutes away. I wanted to go to a very popular Japanese stationery store (I don’t know why…). We regrouped and headed off. We found the place and had to cross the street. As we were crossing we heard an alarm go off and just watched as everyone in the street scattered. So what did we do? Run! Follow! Once we were safely across we looked around and laughed at what had just happened. We realized we were just a part of the famous Shibuya Crossing. It’s much like the Times Square of Japan (or so I’ve been told). We took some photos and got to see the Hachiko statue. After our little trip at the stationery store we had finally set up a time to meet up with our friend for my bag. We had some time to kill until then. Fortunately, we weren’t too far from another place we REALLY wanted to visit: an owl cafe!!!

The Scramble

“The Scramble” Shibuya Crossing at night

My goodness y’all. You have not lived until you get to be up close and personal with these precious creatures. It was like being in Harry Potter! Well, probably not at all, but let me dream. We walked through Takeshita Street to check out all the shops on our way to the cafe. If you love fashion, shopping, or people-watching, this is definitely a place to visit. It’s very close to the Harajuku area. We eventually found the owl cafe around an alley and had to take the elevator up a few floors. We were very excited! I mean, who wouldn’t be? Unless you’re a fun-hater. We got to pet, hold, and even feed the owls. There were several kinds of owls, in all shapes and sizes. They were all so soft!! I can’t even find the words to properly convey my feelings for this event. Seriously. It was amazing. Just look at the joy on my hubby’s face in the pictures! We had a hoot! (See what I did there???)

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The largest owl

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The smallest owl

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Schola

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Cool owl

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Hubby with the large owl

Dustin

Hubby and his new BFF, Schola ❤

After our wonderful owl experience we were headed to meet our friend near his house. We made the trip all the way there and met up at a restaurant. After eating and chatting with him and his family his lovely wife offered to go home and grab my bag on her bike so we could make it to the train on time. In the time it took us to wait for the local bus and get to the train station, she was able to make it home and back. I was so grateful to have my stuff back and to be able to head back to the hotel. We were all pretty tired by this point. Unfortunately, we exited the train station on the wrong side and it took us a while to find our way to the hotel. We went in circles a few times. All in all, it was a fun day exploring the Shibuya area.

Japan Day 3 – A Quick Flashback

As previously mentioned, day 3 in Japan was pretty chill. What wasn’t mentioned in my long rambling were two things I’d love to share with y’all. One: My husband and sister-in-law’s experience trying natto. Two: I found a pine cone!

Ok, so about the first one: Natto is basically fermented soybeans. Apparently my husband watched many videos on the plane ride to Japan that explored various topics about Japanese culture, including food information. This is where he learned about natto. He loves fermented and weird things like sauerkraut, so of course he wanted to try natto! He jumped on the opportunity when we went grocery shopping for the cookout. When we got back to the house, our friend’s wife cooked up some rice to go along with the natto. Our friend’s host dad said that most Japanese people don’t even really eat it. My husband was ready to dig in and somehow convinced his sister to try a good amount herself. Poor girl. We all watched in anticipation of their reaction. Now, this stuff is weird…they picked it up with the chopsticks and this slimy, gooeyness just dripped down. The smell alone was off-putting.

Dustin’s reaction: *chewing* Mmm, not bad. *keeps eating*

At the same time – his sister’s reaction: *chewing* *makes a disgusted face* *immediately looks for a place to spit it out*

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Before picture. I wish I had an after.

Everyone else: Shocked that Dustin liked it!

He made me try it to and luckily I’d already had enough whiskey shots in me to not taste or smell so well, or care for that matter. I was smart and only ate one individual bean though. It was not good! I was quick to wash it down with some delicious, fruity wine. Ugh!

I wish I had a close up photo of it to share but y’all have to settle for Googling that gooey mess.

Continuing the flashback: My pine cone!! 😀

Back in February, hubby and I went on our belated honeymoon to lovely Colorado. Looking back through my posts, I’ve realized I never really mentioned it or what we did. One day we went snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park. We didn’t get far with my bum knee and it was a very cloudy day so we didn’t want to be stuck out there too long. However, on our way back to the car I saw a couple of pine cones. They were just the tiniest, cutest things ever! I brought one home as a souvenir, because I’m weird like that. So anyway! While we were in Japan at our friend’s house, we stepped outside and sis-in-law pointed out this perfect little pine cone in the middle of the street. I swear I didn’t see that there on our way in and it’s not like it was a street full of traffic. It was more of a dead end kind of street. So for this little pine cone to be sitting there so perfectly was fate! Right? I told you I’m weird. I guess I’m starting a vacation pine cone collection?!

 

Haha, well I hope you enjoyed the two random little stories. Wait for day 4. That’s when it get’s really interesting, maybe.

 

 

Japan Day 2 – The Wedding!

Day 2 of our Japan trip was a beautiful, but windy, Friday. Sis-in-law woke up super early and dropped her stuff off at our room since she’d be transferring rooms that night. She went on her own little adventure that day to see Mt. Fuji and the beautiful cherry blossoms. Hubby and I got up and grabbed breakfast at the hotel. I’m used to continental/American breakfasts full of cereals and breads, so walking into the dining area that morning was a shock to me. There was a huge rice cooker, different meats, jelly fish (that’s what hubby said anyway), hard boiled eggs, and other savory items. They also had a very small assortment of more breakfast-y items like fruit, yogurt, and a few pastries. I grabbed my plate and started loading up. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It was time to try different things, and I’m glad I did because my meal was so delicious! On our way back up to our room we checked out the lobby’s vending machine and found out the canned coffee was hot! AMAZING! It was super cheap, too.

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Hot latte in a can from a vending machine!

We had a few hours before the wedding started that day so hubby and I decided to walk to the mall. Conveniently, it was within walking distance – only about 15 mins away. The neighborhood our hotel was located in was a very quiet area. It was also the beginning of Japan’s Golden Week which is when they tend to travel so that probably added to the emptiness. We arrived at the mall and started wandering around. Japanese people really love their clothing stores! We checked a few home goods stores, a music store, a department store (it had a grocery store on the first floor) and a bookstore. We walked to another part of the mall and ended up grabbing ice cream from a vending machine to eat on our way back to the hotel.

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I REALLY wanted to get this!

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Arcade machine at the mall

To our wonderful surprise, our friend was at the hotel running errands before the wedding. It had been a few years since we’d last seen him and we didn’t know if we’d see him before the wedding started. We didn’t have much to do so we gave him and his fiance a hand taking decorations to the wedding venue. Like I mentioned before, it was a very windy day so on our way to the venue we struggled against the wind. Boy, was it strong! One of the items we were carrying flew into a huge field and our friend and my husband had to run to get it as it kept rolling and flying away. Us girls had a good laugh at their dilemma. After dropping stuff off, we left the two lovebirds and went to get ready.

The wedding itself was short and sweet. It was outdoors so the wind kept messing with the bride’s veil but she looked beautiful nonetheless. I tried taking photos with my phone but it was a recent replacement (as in a day before we left for the trip) and apparently the camera was messed up. It would not focus on anything further than a couple feet away. I was so disappointed, but it also allowed me to be more in the moment and really reflecting and absorbing what was happening. The reception was quite fancy. If I remember correctly, it was a 7-course meal. We had a blast chatting with our friend’s new sister and brother-in-law. They  were a very impressive couple and very kind with super adorable children. The reception went on a bit longer than anticipated but still ended quite early.

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Camera wouldn’t focus on anything further away, so here are some pretty flowers!

 

Everyone headed out and we planned to meet up with our friend, his new wife, his family, and a few of their friends at a karaoke bar next to the hotel. My sis-in-law was supposed to meet us there on her way back from her excursion. Now, I’ve never been a huge karaoke fan because I know I sound terrible so I was hoping to get some liquid courage but that didn’t happen and I only did one song. It was a blast watching everyone else though! Hubby REALLY loves karaoke and he got really into it. He and our friend ended up doing a duet on Disney’s Let It Go from Frozen. That was fun to watch. I even got video of it so I we can enjoy that moment over and over again. HAHA!

The night was winding down, and we still had not heard anything from SIL. Last we had heard, the portable wi-fi unit was low on battery. We assumed since we weren’t getting any responses from her, that her phone was probably also dead. We were getting worried since it was pretty late so I jumped online and tried to find out if there were any problems on the trains. There was one line that was delayed but we didn’t know if that’s the one she’d be on. We headed back to the hotel and hoped to see her there or at least get in touch with her soon. My husband ended up falling asleep knowing I’d stay up and be the responsible one…men…right?? I had to fight off sleep and luckily got a call from SIL. Someone had misdirected her and she was stranded at the wrong station. Her only real option was to catch a cab back. Relieved that she was safe, I stayed up to wait for her to get there. We updated her boyfriend back home and let him know she was headed to the hotel. When she got there, I had lost all tiredness and we started chatting about our days. I think at one point we woke up my husband and he joined our conversation for a while. Slowly it died down and somehow we were all hit drifted off to sleep.

 

“Houston, We Have A Problem.”

Beaches be trippin'!

Beaches be trippin’! No stinky seaweed!!

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend it with my mother- and sister-in-law. Girls-only weekend at the beach!! It was a much needed getaway for all three of us. I was looking forward to this all of last week. I needed a tan, bad. I was pale, y’all (compared to my college summer self who went swimming all the time).

Friday after work, my sis and I went to the in-laws’ house so we could leave bright and early in the morning and minimize traffic…or so we thought. As soon as we got to Houston we hit standstill traffic. A whole section of the highway was shutdown and they were diverting people off. After a lot of bumper-to-bumper traffic we eventually got to the beach(!!!). We spent some time out in the sun and water. Surprisingly, the water was pretty calm and warm. For the first time in forever there were no giant, stinky piles of seaweed out on the beach either. It was great! After an afternoon of soaking up the sun, we loaded up and headed to Houston for the night (My aunt- and uncle-in-law are the best! Uncle-in-law officiated our wedding <3). The next day we headed out to Galveston again for a baby shower and tried to squeeze in a few more hours of beach time before leaving our relaxing weekend behind. We were all set to head back to Houston and got stuck in all the traffic leaving the island. Just our luck. Spent another hour or two in Houston and decided we’d be good to leave late, right?! WRONG! Houston, I officially despise you and your traffic. What should have been less than 4 hours back to my in-laws’ home actually was 6 hours!!! Not to mention there was still the 45-50 minute drive back home from there. We spent the night at my in-laws’ and finally got home today. It was a crazy but fun weekend and we hope to return at the end of the summer with the guys. I just hope and pray someone invents teleportation soon. 😉

Next year we might go to a beach out of Texas. What are some good destinations?