Roadtrip Essentials

One of my most favorite things to do, since I moved stateside, are roadtrips! Recently, we embarked on a 10 hour drive from northern California to North Bend, Oregon. We started our journey at 6:30AM, made five stops along the way, and arrived at our destination just a few minutes before 6PM. The MVP (Most Valuable Passenger) has got to be the driver! In our case, it was the hubby who took on the challenge and agreed to do the entire drive himself. He was a champ throughout because I was expecting him to pass me the keys at least once, but he took his responsibility seriously and embraced it. Granted, his dad was with us, for the first time ever, and maybe this compelled him to be the pilot at all times. Whatever the reason, I was glad he did it and he did a great job at it. While he was driving, I thought it would be nice to put together a list of essentials for our next road trip…so here it is!

  • SNACKS AND WATER. Eventually, you’d get thirsty or its Who-Knows-How-Many miles until the next store, restaurant, or fast food joint…and you are Starving and Hangry…snacks and water or other beverages will be a lifesaver!
  • A GREAT PLAYLIST. What’s a road trip without rockin out?
  • DRAMAMINE. Windy roads make me so dizzy and nauseous that dramamine is a close companion of mine during road trips.
  • A WARM BLANKET. Something to keep you wrapped up and cozy for those cat naps.
  • FIRST AID KIT. You hope to never use it. 🙂
  • MAP or G.P.S. Has anyone embarked on a roadtrip without a map, G.P.S., or their phone with Waze? Sadly, I’d never make it to my destination without my phone,
  • PHONE CHARGER. Using Maps or other apps on the phone will drain your battery fast, so be sure to have a car charger set up and ready to plug your phone in before its completely dead.

Also, because it Covid-times, I always carry hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, disposable masks in my bag or glove compartment. What are your roadtrip essentials? And why?

2021 update (wow…it’s almost 2022!)

Hi friends! It’s me again. How have you been?

(I found this drafted in my box and would be a shame not to share!)

Anyways, wasn’t 2020 a crazy ride? It seemed like it would’ve been a slow year, but what a blur that year was. Now, we are passed the 1/2 way mark of 2021. Despite the obvious downer of events that happened last year, there was some good that came out of it. Wait, if you are wondering if I just said good, Yes! you read that right.

Here’s my list and why:

  • Zoom was introduced. I’ve never heard of Zoom before, but I have definitely heard of Skype. Apparently, Zoom can hold a larger group of people and boasts several other features that was unavailable through Skype. I appreciate Zoom because you can be with a group of people in another country and still enjoy their company in different time zones. A few things that I have already done on zoom are: Weddings, Funerals, a Gender Reveal Party, a Baby Shower, Escape Rooms, Family Nights, Anniversary Parties, Trainings, and of course Meetings!
  • Face Masks prevented the common colds and flu. Typically, once a year Winfred and I will get really sick with a cold but because we pretty much wore a mask 95% of the time we were out, we didn’t get hit with it.
  • Work from home became possible. I’ve always dreamed of a job that allowed me to work from home, however, all the job fields I’ve ever entered required me to be on location at ALL working times. For example, as a Transfer Guide, I physically had to be at the airport or at the hotel to pick up the tourists and drop them to their respective drop off locations with my assigned driver. As a Teller, I had to physically be at the bank and help customer’s with their transactions through my window. Fortunately for me, I was able to leave the tourism and banking industries and enter public service. However, this agency has never had any teleworking schedule until the pandemic was declared and the world stopped for a minute and every company, agency, and non essential business had to shut down OR have all employees work from home. Thankfully, I was able to work from home.
  • Virtual Training. I was able to complete a six months virtual training program in the comfort of my own home. It was the first time, that this training was ever done virtually. We were literal guinea pigs! It definitely had its challenges, but I could not have been more than thankful to be able to complete it successfully.

As for 2021, at first it seemed like there was no difference from 2020. However, once the vaccine became available, it definitely felt like things were finally easing up. I was so happy to finally meet up with friends! You never truly appreciate the impact it has on your sanity of the things you may have taken for granted, such as being around good company, being able to hug people outside of your household, getting a mani-pedi, or just getting out of the house to do a hike…ALL of these felt so good inside and out. What was, and is, your silver lining to this whole pandemic era?

Thirty Eight

A kid wished to grow up soon,

Now, I’m thirty eight!

Haven’t walked the moon.

If you had asked me before,

Where I see myself

Hoped for something more!

My life craved for adventure,

Slow-pace was not mine.

Meet me at the next juncture.

Do you rock crocs?

This topic has been sitting in my draft queue since February 2018. This blog post is way overdue! However, because of time, I can write a thorough piece regarding this topic.

I purchased my first pair of crocs on October 31, 2014. They were the style called ‘Sexi Flip.’ I wanted a versatile pair of shoes that can be worn on errands but also at the beach.  This pair was a nice choice! I opted for the basic black so that it would go with everything.

My second pair of crocs was the ‘Rio Flats.’ I purchased these flats on September 5, 2017, and I chose the spunky hot pink color. I absolutely love these flats! The classic croc footbed makes the shoes so comfortable from the very beginning. The shape of the shoe elongates my legs and just goes well with many of my outfits. They are also very easy to care for because I can just wipe them down with a wet cloth or soak it in soapy water.

My last pair was purchased in 2018. This pair is my least favorite and that’s probably why I don’t even know the style name or the exact date I bought them. All I remember was that I was with a friend of mine who was shopping for shoes for her boys. She wanted to get the promo offer so she asked me if I was interested in buying a pair of crocs. I caved and got this third pair. I wore it a few times and the straps would dig into my skin and would get uncomfortable. So, it has been my least favorite of the three pairs of crocs that I do own.

Overall, I do rock crocs and I love them! They are affordable, easy to care for, and great pioneer shoes!

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Jitters

Today I went to the Dr’s clinic for some appointments and I was honestly scared to walk in. As I pulled into the parking lot, there were several marked “Reserved for Respiratory Patients.” This made me a little nervous.

Then, as I walked in with a face mask on (a requirement in most places,) a nurse standing by the door was prepared to ask me a series of questions. They were similar to the questions we were asked upon check-in at Guam prior to boarding the flight for Korea:

Have you had a fever for the past few days?

Have you experienced any shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.?

Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID19?

Are any of your family members positive for COVID19?

Then, she took her thermometer and placed it near my forehead, and scanned for my temperature. After that, I was given an orange piece of paper that said “Screened 6/9/20.”

The app I have on my phone allowed me to check myself in but I still had to check in with the front desk person on the floor I was going to. After that, I was called in pretty quickly, as I noticed they limited the number of patients to be seen per day.

They had a few new rules such as taping my face mask at the bridge of my nose since it fogs up the Dr’s lens. Also, no talking while Dr and the nurse are checking the eyes. And, basically, just keep the mask on at all times. It was hard to breathe during some points of my appointment, but I definitely have more sympathy for the Drs and nurses as they have to wear them for their entire shift.

I just wanted to document this day, because it has been different from all my other appointments. And, it’ll probably be this way for awhile.

It would’ve been the best-kept secret

June has arrived…This would’ve been the month that we brought a new human home. To understand what I mean, I probably need to take you back a few months ago. 

On October 12, 2019, Winfred and I walked into a Walgreens after the Love Builds Up Circuit Assembly in Fremont, CA. I hadn’t gotten my period yet and my body was feeling off. My doctor advised me to take a home pregnancy test and so I did. All three tests read “Positive” or “Pregnant.” We were utterly shocked and beyond belief. 

That evening was our Pioneer Appreciation dinner and our newfound knowledge was looming over our heads but we still couldn’t believe it ourselves and so we didn’t share the news with anyone. The following day, I had a scheduled blood test appointment and I asked the Lab Technician if she can draw additional blood, if needed, to test for my pregnancy. She agreed after consulting with her Supervisor, but she also made me message my doctor right away to send a request for the test.

A few days later, my doctor wrote and told me “Congratulations! You are pregnant. Please take prenatal vitamins as soon as possible, iron supplements since your hemoglobin is low, a prescription was sent to your pharmacy for thyroid medicine, and please schedule an appointment with an OBGYN right away.” 

That message was the starting point of this new reality hitting us all too quickly. We had never anticipated being parents, and at first, we were a bit saddened about how our lives would change drastically but eventually, we became overwhelmingly excited and thrilled about it. Winfred went into daddy mode straight away, and I into mommy mode. I threw out all my acne medication and facial products that contained salicylic acid, I avoided sushi and fish that had high mercury content, and I slept so much! I remember my body always feeling so tired. During my lunch hour, I would go to my car and sleep. I had preferred it over eating and yet, I still packed on the pounds.

Fast forward four weeks later, (which meant I was already eight weeks pregnant) and I had my first OB appointment. This would also be my first ultrasound. Prior to the appointment, I felt better. Less tired and I was really taking good care of myself. I had no inkling of a miscarriage happening. When we heard no heartbeat and when we saw my doctor’s face look a little sad, we just knew we lost the baby. It was one of the saddest feelings ever. A feeling that lingers and stays with you.

If the miscarriage had not happened, I would be 39 weeks right now. He or she would’ve been the size of pumpkin in my belly. And, I could have kept this all under wraps because, at 12 weeks, I went to Guam to take care of my mom. I stayed there for three months.  When I came back to California, within a week, a stay home order was placed for the state of California. Weekly meetings were being streamed online and everyone was preparing to work from home if they hadn’t already. Then zoom meetings started and the stay home order was extended. I have not seen some people for over six months. Imagine the shock and awe on their faces if the next time they did see me was with a newborn in my arms. That would’ve been a pretty impressive best-kept secret! But, the reality is, I won’t have a newborn in my arms, but at the least, I’ll have a memory of what could have been. And, having that memory is enough for me to cling to and to go about my day.

Hello Blog

Hi guys! Its been a while…A few updates:

  • We got selected to be delegates for an International Convention in Berlin, Germany. This will be my first EVER and Winfred’s second.
  • We started working out again. We both signed up to this small gym that does 30 minute full body workouts using kickboxing techniques. We have been loving it so far.
  • Our pioneering is going strong. We have an assigned location every other Sunday for the Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing in San Francisco.  Last weekend, we had the wonderful privilege of being a part of the Special Preaching Event at the Cherry Blossom Festival. We feel truly blessed to be used during these exciting times!
  • Brutus is still our only child. These past few days he has been having the runs. We finally took him to the vet today and they prescribed him something that will hopefully help him out. The cutest and most humanest thing he’s done yet…he went poo poo inside our bathroom…not once, but twice! I seriously think he’s part human… or he’s just really smart.

Other than that, our lives have been running the same way…

Its been hard for me to keep up with this blog because I’ve truly been super busy… but I also feel like I’ve been conflicted of what I want the content on this blog to be. I initially started it after I lost my job. I wanted to keep my mind busy and possibly make money out of it. That then changed…and it just became a way for me to document things and offer my point of view. I now have a job, outside of this blog, and I just want this to be an outlet for me to write and to be expressive; but also, a way for my friends and family to experience our adventures outside of Guam.

What should I write about? What do you like reading about?

My Part 1 Color Factory Experience

Let me just start by saying this:  In order to have a Color Factory experience, you must first sign up for their newsletter. The newsletter will alert you to any upcoming ticket sales and when to purchase the tickets. This will allow you to mark your calendars and set a reminder (that is what I did.) Please note, this is a very important step! If you miss the date (let alone the hour) these tickets go on sale…you can just kiss that experience of yours good-bye.

An hour before the ticket sales, I consulted with my friends to choose our dates. I recommend having a few dates in mind because, more than likely, your first choice will be sold out! I didn’t really have a plan on who would be going with me, but I just sent out a mass text and waited to see who would reply amongst my friends. A few of them did…and I ended up going with Sarah. THANKS Sarah! (Please note: at least one name has to match the tickets purchased and they do check ID’s twice.)

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I had my credit card and computer ready…and I was pumped! Five minutes prior to ticket sales start time, I had the site up and just continually refreshed. Once I was in…I waited until I was next in the queue. Once I was up, I went directly to the dates I had in mind, but all the weekends were taken. Also, the most you can purchase is for four people. But, even with that option, you’re better off looking for tickets that can accommodate at least two people. I was able to secure a spot on January 19, a Friday, at 12 noon.

So, as you can see, securing tickets was a whole big task on its own. You’ll have to plan ahead and follow through. Some ask, is it worth my $35? In my opinion, I say absolutely, YES! I don’t even remember the last time I was in a ball pit…actually, I do. It was probably when I was 8 years old and my parents took me to the McDonald’s in Harmon, Guam. The McDonald’s was still new at that time…and I remembered how fun it was! Now, as a grown person with responsibilities, I crave that freeness I once had as a kid. So, if I have to pay $35 to be a kid again (in an adult body,) and take all the crazy non-sense pictures for my IG…i’d do it! As an extra perk, you do get a few snacks along the way: macarons, charcoal lemonade, and a small soft serve in the end…so, tell me…WOULD YOU GO TO the COLOR FACTORY?

I also did an insta-story the whole time so if you’d like to see Part 2 of my Color Factory experience, please check out my IG account. The whole experience and all the rooms we entered were captured on my Instagram Highlight Stories. Please follow my Instagram @islanderinheels.

 

 

Nightmare Flights

Have you ever experienced a flight or airline/airport crew gone wrong? And it went wrong not because of your own doing. Well, a while back on my NOLA post, I mentioned the nightmare of a flight we had on our way to New Orleans. I didn’t elaborate then…so this is my follow up post on what I’ve learned and what I would recommend in the future.

  • For starters, I recommend flying direct to your destination. (Flying back home on a connecting flight is not so bad…after all, I’d rather start a vacation quickly and end it slowly.) There’s nothing worse than starting your trip on the wrong foot. That flight we booked to New Orleans had a connecting flight in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, because the grounds crew or the airline crew didn’t want to shut the airplane door, we waited on the tarmac for more than an hour. Then, the door was finally shut, we pulled back a little, but as unusual as this was…we pulled back to the gate and stayed there for another 45 minutes! At this point, I was already getting anxious and upset simultaneously. I had a feeling we were going to miss our connecting flight and NOT make it to our dinner reservation that evening. Thankfully, our story had a semi sweet ending…We did miss our connecting flight, however, I was able to push back the dinner reservation and  we made it to GW Fins.
  • Check the reviews on flights and airlines. Do their planes typically have mechanical problems? Are they known for always being delayed? What’s their reputation as an airline as a whole? Certain airlines have received a great deal of bad press lately, however, some rightfully so.
  • Choose the lesser of the two evils. How much money do you want to save by booking a connecting flight? Are you using mileage and don’t have much options in choosing which airline to fly with? Is it really a big deal if you miss your dinner reservation? These are things to consider.
  • Lastly, file a complaint. I am one to say that I dislike complainers (especially petty complainers), however, when NONE of the events that transpired were due to your inexperience and/or ignorance on your part AND you paid a fare (pun intended) price, then you ought to speak up. Some airlines are generous in compensating their clients for their mistakes, others are not. You win some, you lose some. But, you can’t win any if you don’t speak a plenty.

How about you? What did you learn from your nightmare flights and what can you recommend to me?

 

Responsible Pet Parenting

Many pet parents have their views and ways of proper pet parenting. And, I’m not one to impose my views on others. However, I do find two things of utmost importance, and I  hope you do too!

  1. Always pick up your dog’s poop. No matter what!  I’ve used plastic bags, sandwich bags, and other items to pick up Brutus’ poop. Once, I walked up to a complete stranger and asked for a doggy bag. He gladly handed me one.
  2. Commitment. Having a pet, like a child, comes with great responsibility. It takes time, money, effort, and lots of patience. At one point, Winfred and I decided to end our lease early and move out of our place because our previous landlord gave us an ultimatum to either get rid of our dog or leave. We, of course, chose the latter. And, during that time, Winfred and I went through one of the most stressful episodes in our lives because we had to find a new place fast and lose such a bargain for our apartment.  However, it was unimaginable for us to abandon or put our dog up for adoption for the sake of pleasing her; even though we were greatly mislead. Anyways, with that being said, it is VERY important to know beforehand whether you can own a pet, and if so, if there are any weight restrictions or breed restrictions at your current place. Knowing these things will help you in becoming the committed and responsible pet parent that you possibly could be.
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