Nick and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary last month, with me in Hawaii and him somewhere underwater out in the Pacific Ocean.

“I don’t know how you do it. I could never do that.”  

As a military wife, I hear this comment about as frequently as a vegan gets asked “But what do you do for protein?” Which is a lot.

It can be difficult to explain what being a military spouse means and I’m sure it means different things to different people because there are so many kinds of jobs and situations. It’s a different type of worry every day. Sometimes it’s the slow steady worry. Sometimes it’s the instant worry and burst of adrenaline when you hear something has happened or is going to happen. Maybe it’s a constant level of crazy-manic worry, especially for some of those jobs that are really secretive. Maybe it’s all of those things combined all the time. (I’m not saying there aren’t jobs or situations out there other than military that are similar in worry. I know there are. But because I can’t speak from experience for those, this one is about being a military spouse.)

I think the simplest way I can explain being a military spouse is this:

Being a military spouse is no different than what a marriage should be anyway. You have to work hard at it, and it should take a lot of thought, support, and love all the time, every day. You don’t choose to be a military spouse any more than you choose to fall in love with someone. You love someone and you then decide to be there for them to support them in any way you can, just like in every other relationship in your life.  
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I never could imagined meeting this crazy guy that night would change my life so drastically. It was just about me and him.
(Note: Even though I refer to wife/husband/spouse in this blog, by no means is this an exclusive term. It’s just easier than saying husband/wife/fiancé/fiancée/girlfriend/boyfriend every time. This blog is for all military relationships and loves, straight or gay, married, engaged, or in love, period. And credit should be given where it is due; the non-married relationships, which are not recognized in the military can be the hardest by far. More often than not they go unsupported by other married military spouses and groups and are some of the last to know in case of emergency as they are not legally considered to be “Next of Kin.” They often move hundreds of miles across the country and across the world on their own expense for the one they love, again often with no recognition or support from the military. They often have little to no access to the things in our lives that do make being a military spouse a little bit easier, such as commissaries, health insurance, military bank accounts, military housing, support groups, FRG or military spouse meetings, vital news, and so on.

So if you hear someone is in a relationship with someone else in the military, respect what they must go through, all because they care about someone.) 

Marriage & the Military 

A marriage should be about trust and honesty. 

It takes a lot of trust to know your spouse is travelling overseas, sometimes to places that are known for rampant prostitution and other dangerous or tempting situations. The same goes for us. Amidst stories of military wives participating in scandalous events while their husbands are deployed, our guys have to trust that we are there for them 100% from the time they board their plane/ship/submarine to the moment they step back into your arms. In life as a general rule, you should never put yourself into situations that you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling your spouse or your family about.  

A marriage should be about Respect and Support. 

Whether they’re here with us some of the time or deployed most of the time our military spouses depend on us for support when they’re stressed or under pressure and for respect when they just need to focus on doing their jobs.
 
The support stretches to us as the waiting spouses as well. Our spouses need to understand what we go through while they are doing their jobs, the stress we endure moving from place to place, and the responsibility of caring for things that they are unable to.

In addition every person who is in a healthy, loving, non-threatening relationship deserves to have the support of their friends and family for that relationship. Especially during those high-stress moments of deployment when the cable/electric/bank/school/insurance/miscellaneous company refuses to talk to you because they don’t acknowledge your Power of Attorney or understand your husband is NOT here right now. Those are the times we need someone to talk to about it. Even if you don’t entirely understand, we just need someone who is willing to respect us and listen to us when our spouse isn’t always able to do so. 

A marriage should be about Communication.

Gearing up for a deployment for my husband, the submariner, I cycle through a lot of emotions. We don’t get to send mail to the guys while they’re deployed. Occasionally a wife who is planning on visiting the guys at a port during deployment will make a letter drop. But that’s exactly what it is - a letter drop. I can’t send a package and I’m limited to a small, very flat letter so as not to take up a lot of room in someone’s suitcase. I don’t get to talk to my husband on Skype unless he is in port (and has reliable Wi-Fi), which is only a few times during deployment.

What I am allowed is an email or two a week with no attachments or pictures, and even that is limited because I know it will be read by at least one if not several other people before his eyes see it. Obviously I can’t put anything in those emails that I wouldn’t want someone else reading, and I am also unable to mention anything that would negatively affect him emotionally, i.e. financial problems, deaths in the family, accidents, etc.. An email with a mention of any of those things can and probably will be flagged. If something happened to me or one of his family members, there’s a good chance my husband would not be allowed to know about it until he pulls into the next port, for fear of endangering his mental ability to do his job.

Because of these reasons, a few months before deployment I’m actually cycling through all the emotions of actually being in the midst of deployment as I write out letters and prepare packages and love notes in advance for my husband to take along with him on his journey, to be opened up a little bit at a time to provide him with support along the way. The fun part? I can’t tell other people because I am not allowed to talk about the dates or times of an impending deployment to pretty much anyone other than one of the wives from the boat, and that can only be discussed in person. No emails, texting, phone calls, Skyping, or Tweeting/Facebooking to complain that my husband will soon be leaving me to go on deployment.

During this time it’s the most important to communicate with my husband and for him to communicate to me. It can become really easy to cut off yourself emotionally. I know this sounds weird, but it’s unfortunately a great defense for emotional preparation. Putting up an emotional wall with him so it won’t hurt as much while he is deployed can happen really easily, but it’s then that it becomes most important to love harder and talk to each other more about how each other feels.

A marriage should be about Friendship. 

The thing I learned after a few disheveled relationships, none of which ended very well, is that I am a highly emotional person. (I know you’re thinking, “What woman isn’t?”) I can get very passionate about causes, movies, animals….You name it. I don’t know how else to explain that. The most important way I can explain is that I learned that someone else who as erratic and as emotional as I am does not make a good match for me. And what I realized is that, while I want someone in my life who cares about causes and feelings as much as I do, I need someone who will ground me emotionally and will think before acting or speaking.

That is what Nick is to me. He is Ying to my Yang. He balances me in a way that I will never fully understand, and in that way he is truly my other half. Because he is my other half, if I stop to think about it too much it feels like half of me is missing all the time, every day while he is gone. 
But in that same way, Nick is always with me. The couch cushion where Nick usually sits while watching TV with me remains unoccupied because I see him there sitting beside me.

It’s blasphemy to sleep on the other side of the bed. I tried it once, just out of a crazy concern that my mattress would become unbalanced. I spent that night restless. It was terrible. It felt wrong, and I kept waking up the whole night confused. Now I remain on my side - because the other side is and always will be Nick’s. 
That shirt he took off and threw on the couch one day a few months ago? That’s staying stuffed lost in the couch cushions. Sorry, visiting friends. (Though if it starts to smell, I promise I’ll wash it. Maybe.)

I still purposely put my makeup on his side of the sink picturing him giving me faux dirty looks and making little frustrated sighs as he moves it all back to my side. (I can’t help it- it spreads on its own.) His shaving brush and after shave remain untouched, albeit a bit dusty on his side of the sink as well. 

I won’t touch his favorite coffee or especially his coffee mug.  
When I watch something I know Nick would love, I imagine his expressions or comments while watching it. And if I remember a funny joke or hear about something he would love, I immediately stick it in an email or on his Facebook wall so he is reminded of the bunch of little things that made me think of him. 

And I won’t even get started talking about the little project I began for him while he is gone, in case he’s reading. A few of my friends know about it, and I’ll announce it when he returns. For now, it’s fun keeping it a secret. But it’s a way of keeping him in my thoughts, even when he isn’t actually here. ;)

Nick is my best friend, my go-to person I am so happy to share my life with.

A marriage should be about LOVE. 

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Who do I love? This guy. In all his crazy antics and bad jokes. Don't worry. I have a few of my own too. :)
It can be hard for some people to love someone who isn’t around much but it just makes it that much more important to love harder. My husband needs to know that he is the only one in my life and that I will be there still loving him and caring for him when he returns home. Love shouldn’t fade just because I can’t see his face in person every day.

A marriage is not easy. Love isn’t easy. No relationship is. You have to work at it. You have to surround yourself with pictures and reminders of your love and to do your best to surround your spouse with happy thoughts. It’s important, vital for him to know that I am in love with him, and that an ocean apart and several hundred or thousand miles will not alter that love.

That’s what it really comes down to. Loving, honoring, and respecting that individual with all your heart every day. Isn’t that what marriage vows mean anyway?
No marriage is perfect, including my own. And a military marriage is kind of like a marriage on steroids. But just remember that every single one of those sad, low moments makes all the happy ones, like seeing your love for the first time in months, just that much better. And that first Homecoming kiss makes it all worth while. :) 
 
 
Wow. It's a new year? When the heck did that happen? 
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This is what Nick and I looked like on NYE. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
I guess what they say is true about time flying by as you get older. Hmmm.

So I've now made it a whole year following last year's new year's resolution to go vegan. Which was only supposed to last a month. Guess I beat that out of the ballpark, eh?

I have a few new years resolutions this year. I'm totally serious. Very serious new year's resolutions.

THE BLONDE'S NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
(in no particular order. this is serious. don't laugh.): 

1. Buy a guitar. 
I've been meaning to do this for some time now. I have no idea what I'm looking for. All I know is I don't want a Yamaha. I think.
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This is what I am looking for. Right? RIGHT? Photo from Slipperybrick.com
2. Learn to play guitar. I always pictured myself as that laid-back chick who can pick up a guitar at parties and start belting out a tune to it. While that will probably not happen, I would happily settle for learning to play "Back to Life, Back to Reality" so I can settle back with "Yeah, I did it" face. 
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What I think I'll look like playing guitar. Photo from Vegasnews.com
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What I'll probably really look like playing guitar.
3. Learn to knit. I've gone as far as purchasing needles and organic yarn, and spending two hours squinting over old lady glasses to videos on Youtube. Unfortunately, the first step of "How to Knit" was to make a slip knot, which then caused me to have to search for the Youtube video entitled "How to Make a Slip Knot" and watch it 18 times before finally (semi)mastering that technique. I gave up after casting my line or something like that until someone can tell me in person what the heck I'm doing. It's cool. I've got 11 months left to learn. 
4. Rewatch Felicity. I realize this is a random one. But, God, I am such a girl and I love this series and Scott Speedman.  I even like the haircut season. Although I still don’t have to like the actual haircut. 
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WHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!!?! Photo from ew.com
5. Visit the Big Island. We live on Oahu. We spent a week on Maui. We spent a weekend on Kauai over Thanksgiving. Big Island is the big one left. The other islands, while not unimportant, just don’t rank as high on my “Must Visit ASAP” list. The Big Island of Hawaii is, well, the biggest island. But it has something the other islands don’t have: volcanoes! Who doesn’t want to see an actual non-alcoholic lava flow?! (Not that there’s anything wrong with the alcoholic one either.) 
6. Write a book. This is another one I will be pretty happy with if I can just get a draft laid down for it. Or a first page. Or a picture. I’ve been wanting to write a book for a while now. But instead I write on here…hope you don’t mind. :) 
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tee hee
7. Hug more people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t enjoy hugging. But I feel like I’m an awkward hug initiator. I never really know the right moment. I don’t want to be the over-ambitious hugger that makes people think. “Oh. What was that?” I don’t want to seem un-sympathetic by not hugging soon enough. Then there’s that awkward moment you think someone’s going to hug you but instead they do the LA-style lean in and kiss on the cheek and it’s unexpected (because, let's face it, where I come from in Baltimore you try to lean in like that and you might get stabbed) and you make a delayed after-the-fact kiss into their general direction. Perhaps I’m overanalyzing this. 
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awwwwkward.
8. Not overanalyze. I don’t think I have too big a problem with this. But sometimes, especially when you’re a military spouse, it’s hard not to think of all the what-if’s and when-the-heck-will-we-know’s. For a person who likes to plan ahead, the military is not the most accommodating. Sometimes you just have to let go and have a “Que sera sera” attitude so that you don’t drive yourself insane.  And give yourself wrinkles.
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I'm too young for the vegan version of Botox!
9. Live in the now. That’s another one that’s hard to do with military. You try to think ahead of what’s coming next or look back at where you’ve been. I live in Hawaii. I need to remember how freaking amazing and lucky I am to live here every day and I also must try to get to the beach more. Yup. 
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Peace. Love. Beach.
10. Have fun being an extra. Background artistry, aka extra work on movie or tv sets is possibly one of the most fun jobs ever in my opinion. I love being #bikinigirl on the Hawaii Five-0 set. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and enjoying what I do as much as possible. And I would LOVE to be an extra on something that involves me wearing a costume or crazy makeup of some sort. I heard Star Trek II is filming here this year… ;) 
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Screenshot from Hawaii Five-0- yup, that's me in the beige dress
11. Run more. I’ve got new Vibram Five Fingers in the mail on the way to me soon. My last pair is finally kicking it (haha!) so I’m excited for a new pair of running shoes. And I need to break this beagle in to running more often. 
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My old pair, may they rest in pieces.
12. Be happy. Sometimes, even in the most beautiful of places like Hawaii, it can still be easy to get down, especially if Nick isn’t around much. But it’s important to remember to find things to make myself happy during those times and to always keep busy and have fun. I love my jobs and I love this island. 
I think those are pretty good new year’s resolutions. I’m happy with them. Now…who’s going to show me how to play guitar or knit…?
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Photo from http://symmetrical.tumblr.com
PS. I found this on Pinterest. Love it. Maybe I could have saved an entire blog post by just posting this? Oops. (Also, "ice cream" would have to of course be changed to "vegan ice cream." Just sayin.

 
 
Don't worry! I'm not leaving the beach for Baltimore. Hah! What were you thinking?

Just going back to my hometown for a little visit. I haven't been in Maryland (or pretty much anywhere but Hawaii) since my move here in February of 2010! I'm a little overdue.

My best friend just got married so I'm excited to attend her Halloween-style reception this weekend. Since Halloween is arguably my favorite holiday and I live for costumes,  needless to say, I'm psyched.

I have been planning my Halloween costume for about 3 months now. Pictures will come soon!

I'll also be attending a Baltimore Ravens home game. Dear Lord, I'm so happy. I think I'd be thrilled just to have the game occur later than 8am but to be present at the game, beer and all? Literally, heaven. Purple heaven.
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Living life as #bikinigirl and LOVING it.
Will also post soon about Hawaii Five-0 activities. I'm alive and well on set as Bikini Girl. I've (lucky and fortunate enough to have) been an extra in several episodes in season 2 and hope to appear in several more. 

Geez, I'm blessed.
I'll be tweeting this week. Stay tuned! 
 
 
I realize I’ve been out of touch. It’s not because I had no desire to write because I really have. It’s just that my life has changed so much in the last several months that it’s hard to even imagine where to begin with a new blog entry.

Some of you have been keeping tabs on my life over the last few months via social media mostly. I’ve been a pretty busy girl but oh, so happy.

Let me also start by saying I debated writing this particular blog because it is so personal and tells so much about me. But I think to understand why I’m so happy now you have to understand why I was so unhappy with myself before.

Allow me to explain…

I was a really skinny girl when I was younger. I was second tallest in my class in 8th grade with a bird body and knobby knees. I kept that body for a while even through high school. I remember the typical “Oh, I’m so fat!” conversations among friends at the lunch table where they’d grimace at my size 4 jeans.

But just like having good grades to start out with becomes a burden to bear, so did my weight. I developed an eating disorder known as anorexia in high school. I remember this display in the school hall advertising “Eating Disorder Awareness Month” and how I hated even going near it.

I even remember one day getting so upset because of my own self image and then getting into a silly argument with a friend and running out of the classroom to the bathroom and yelling at myself in the mirror.

Fortunately, I think my mom had an idea or at least a notion of what was going on and always made me eat my meals, much to my dismay.

College was a different story though. In college there were days I survived on granola bars and stovetop stuffing (gross, yes, but I didn’t know how to cook and it filled me enough so that I wouldn’t pass out). There were still days that I would be so weak I would almost pass out in the shower.

There were a lot of good days too where it wasn’t constantly on my mind, don’t get me wrong. But Julie as I loathingly called my eating disorder, would always come back to haunt me and remind me why I wasn’t pretty or skinny enough.

I remember when I was in my sorority, one of my sorority sisters who was outspoken about her eating disorder was going to be speaking at an eating disorder awareness event that was to be mandatory. I freaked out. There was no way I could handle standing around listening to someone talk about that kind of stuff without breaking down. Since I knew the campus leader over Greek life had said anyone could email him anytime we had questions, I emailed him in secret to request this event not to be mandatory because it could make people feel uncomfortable.

Much to my dismay, his “open door” policy wasn’t so open. He told our executive board which was angry that I had emailed him. They made the event mandatory anyway and tried to have everyone who didn’t attend stand up and declare why they refused to go. Talk about accepting. I said nothing.

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I just want you to understand where I’m coming from. This isn’t easy to tell. If it was, I would have proudly stood up at my sorority meeting. Instead, I hid in fear I’d break down and Julie would get the best of me.

Fast forward a few years later. Slowly I’ve been trying to accept myself and my body image for what it is- normal, healthy, and a little curvy. Deployments, going without someone you love so much for half a year with a Pizza Hut down the street, it’s all torture. It would lead to nights of eating as much pizza as possible and days of hating myself.

Slowly my obsession and fascination with skincare led me to a healthier road.

I attended school to be an esthetician in 2008. The four month, full-time school which allowed me to become a licensed esthetician, or skincare specialist, got me thinking. The director of our school touched briefly on internal health: flax seed, green tea. Just enough to get me doing my own research after graduating.

Because of my skincare obsession, I followed some of Dr. Perricone’s books and in January 2010 I went on a diet inspired by him for a month. For 4 weeks, I ate salmon EVERY day, avoided dairy, and lots of antioxidants like blueberries in my diet. My skin had never been healthier.

As a child I had forgone eating pork for over 10 years because I had always wanted a pet pig. I remember reading an interview by Alicia Silverstone circa Clueless that said that pigs have the intelligence of 3 year old humans. After that I refused pork.

Thinking back on this period in my life and learning what I had from Dr. Perricone, I decided to go pescatarian- basically vegetarian with the exception of fish and seafood.

I was still slowly gaining weight though, especially after deployment, aka the pizza era. I realized I needed to do a little more for myself.

I started running during deployment which really helped to discipline myself, even though I didn’t love it. At least my lab was getting exercise.

January this year is when everything really changed though. January 4th, 2011 I decided to go vegan for a month as a detox diet. Just as I had the year before, I planned on returning to being pescatarian after the month was over.

But something incredible happened. I started to feel good.

It was hard at first. I made mistakes- silly ones like not checking what the ingredients in my vitamins. Not knowing all the names for milk protein (who knew non-dairy creamer still has milk in it?!). Not realizing that gelatin is in EVERYthing that tastes good.

And I missed cheese badly. I always loved cheese. It was a weakness. I once said one of the worst things that could happen to me would be to become lactose intolerant. Which I did years later. I loved cheese but it hated me back.

But after about 4 weeks, 7 excess pounds sliding effortlessly right off me, and the refusal of an variety of dairy delights, I realized something really had changed.

I had truly changed.

I stopped missing dairy. Instead, I remembered how I felt after uncontrollably eating multitudes of pizza by myself. Or that time I ate quite easily a whole pound of cheddar at one of the wives’ houses.

I started to put a lot more thought into my food- I had to, because I had to read every label thoroughly. When you start paying attention to labels- the ingredient label, NOT the calories and the fat part- you stumble across a myriad of ingredients that make you question whether something that sounds like it could fuel airplanes should be going in your body.

Even my taste buds felt like they had changed. I started out being a child who hated vegetables and eating in general and would only order the simplest dish on any menu at a restaurant (usually chicken fingers plain until I discovered honey mustard at age 18- then only chicken fingers and honey mustard). Somehow I transformed into someone who isn’t afraid to try new things. And actually likes them!

Who would have thought I’d be eating shredded beets daily or looking forward to maple roasted squash? Who would have thought I’d love olives? Or tempeh? Or sweet potatoes (one of the best foods in the WORLD)?

I gave up caffeine initially too. It never liked my sensitive stomach anyway. I completely ditched sodas (though I do enjoy the occasion delicious natural soda- so much tastier anyway!) and turned instead to drinking loads and loads of water as I never had before. I found out that headaches and dizziness I frequently experienced since as long as I could remember were due to a constant state of dehydration.

Even my skin, which I had problems with since high school despite my meticulous studies and research, was doing MUCH better if I ate lots of veggies and fruits and drank a ton of water. Who’d have thought I should have tried healing it from the inside out?

I was already listening to books on tape on my work commute so I thought I’d give “healthy” books a shot though I dreaded they’d put me to sleep. They had quite the opposite effect. I started with Kathy Freston’s book Veganist (about shifting toward a vegan diet and all its associated health benefits), which, if I had any doubt about going back to my regular diet, that book (and the ten pounds I lost) convinced me.

I continued with Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma (it should be noted, NOT a book about vegetarianism or veganism but about what goes into our food). I felt like my eyes were being opened to this whole world of information I can’t believe I never knew before. I even convinced my husband to watch “Food Inc.” with me, a documentary based on Omnivore’s Dilemma but with other information too. Nick too began to read Omnivore’s Dilemma on his own.

Fast forward a few months. Somehow I got lucky enough to have my favorite health food store on the island open up a location only 5 miles away from my home.

I was hesitant about even considering leaving my job because the pay was so good and I was frankly scared. But the more I stayed, the more I knew it wasn’t a good fit.

The hour commute into town each way was slowly killing me. The job became less and less of a good fit. I knew a job fair was coming up for the new health food store but I was sure I wouldn’t make it. Besides, would I really leave my job?

The day after my birthday, also the day of the job fair, I had a meeting with my boss that left me in tears. It was then I decided that I couldn’t be in an environment where I felt so disliked and useless- and it took me two hours daily of driving only to be miserable. I knew it was too late for the job fair, but desperate and hopeful at the same time, I contacted the employee who ran their social media account for the store (who I communicated with all the time online) to see if there was a chance anything was still open. She hurriedly asked me to submit my resume!

It couldn’t have been more meant to be. Actively using my esthetician background, I got possibly my dream job. I’m the buyer for the store’s cosmetics, body care, and natural living department. I work with people who understand me and who are nice. I’m learning so much every day about how to live healthy and I’m able to pass on my knowledge to people who want to hear it and are thankful to me for sharing it. It’s pretty much a dream come true. And down the road could lead me to a position as a cosmetics or skincare company representative, maybe even a trainer for the products which is probably one of the most fun jobs I can imagine.

I get to eat healthy every day in an environment where people consider my needs. I had started bringing my own lunch for myself to work meetings where food was provided at my previous job because my dietary concerns were continually dismissed.

Being around health and learning more only makes me happier. I have never had such a positive body image. I no longer obsess over labels nutritional facts- besides, you can usually tell by the packaging if it’s even worth making it to the ingredient label. Julie, for the first time in my life, no longer haunts me. I have even found my activity of choice, yoga, which helps me feel strong, lean, and whole. It clears my mind and betters me in so many ways. I still run now and then but I still know I don’t love it. Hey, at least the beagle doesn’t love it either. :)

If you follow me on social media, there’s a good chance you roll your eyes every time I post an article on a study about health or nutrition. I promise I don’t do it to annoy you. Like someone who has lost over 100 pounds of body weight on shows like the “Biggest Loser,” I feel like I have completely changed my life. Eating healthy and staying truly hydrated has even changed the way my brain works- it literally doesn’t think the same way, especially with my mood rollercoasters that used to trigger Julie.

Surely you can understand this was a pretty personal subject for me to talk about. I’m hoping it just helps you understand where I’m coming from and where I am now. And that’s it’s not a phase. It’s hard to be so excited about living healthy and feeling so much better about myself and not want to share information with others. Besides, you never know what you might trigger in someone just by recommending a great article or book on the topic. Maybe someone else is at the end of their rope of an eating disorder or weight issue. Maybe you just want to gain a healthier body image/body weight and are frustrated where to begin. I don’t know and I never will.

But I’m happy. Really, really happy with who I am and what I look like for the first time in my whole life and it’s due to taking a chance and making healthy decisions for once. I laugh when people say “vegan diet.” I don’t believe in diets. I hate the word “diet” because it indicates obsession over food and looking for the wrong things in foods- not to mention a temporary quick fix which is typically unhealthy (Master Cleanse, anyone?).

Avoiding carbs? Please! I can eat spaghetti every night of the week and not stress about gaining weight now just by ensuring my labels read 100% whole wheat or using brown rice pasta instead of the “whole wheat” claiming pasta I used before which only contained 51% of the real whole wheat stuff.

Low fat? Pfft. Ever heard of healthy fats and omega fatty acids? There’s a whole world of information and misinformation out there.

What it comes down to is this: Make healthy choices. Do your research. Maybe a vegan lifestyle isn’t right for everyone but it doesn’t mean you should meander blindly through life without giving a second thought to what you’re putting into your body. “We are what we eat” is pretty accurate. Food and water are our sustenance, our lifeblood. What we put into (and on) our bodies should be so much more of a decision and so much more thought should go into it than typically does. “Vegan” food or “healthy” food is just real food, typically without the processing. I challenge you to watch “Food Inc.” (available free and streaming on Netflix) and not come out of it questioning what you have grown up learning about the old Food Pyramid. If you really want an eye opening experience, pick up Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma or In Defense of Food (I recommend both, in that order- next on my list is Food Rules by Mr. Pollan). You will certainly never look at corn the same way again. And if you think I’m eating weird food with strange names, I’d be happy to share my recipe for vegan whole wheat blueberry-raspberry pancakes with walnuts and macadamia nuts. Or the string beans and asparagus cooked in a bit of coconut oil with garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Or vegan lilikoi (passion fruit) cupcakes with coconut glaze.

If you made it this far, thanks for hearing my story. Maybe it will have an effect. Maybe it won’t. At least I came clean (pun intended) and hopefully it helps you understand my giddiness to tell you all about this amazing lifestyle change I’ve undergone. Oh, and thanks to my friends who have made sure they’ve had veggies and fruits at events - and even made vegan cupcakes! You guys are awesome. :)


To my mom, thanks for making me eat and for always supporting me (and even trying and loving the Amy's Roasted Veggie Vegan pizza!) and to my husband, I cannot thank you enough for supporting me in everything, and even participating in my journey and being open to learning too. You are the best husband a girl could ask for.
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NOTE: Throughout this blog I've linked to various articles that relate to what I'm talking about. Feel free to peruse the links for more info and some pretty darn interesting articles. Also, did you know that the following people are vegan? Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson, Jason Mraz, Ellen Degeneres, Weird Al Yankovic, Shania Twain, Alicia Silverstone, to name a few.
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Wow! Do I need to catch up!

I feel like I’ve dropped off the face of the planet for several months. But I’m empowered, and I’m back with a whole new outlook and so many more things to fill you all in on!

But first, I’ve been meaning to write a blog about my Five-0 Experience for a while now.
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Photo Credit CBS Hawaii Five-0
As some of you know, I got the amazing chance to work as an extra on the set of the Lifetime series Army Wives while we were stationed in Charleston, SC. Army Wives was a dream come true to me. It was a show I already loved- and it became very nearly a part time job to me, which I worked nearly every week.
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One of my Hump Bar days on the Army Wives set
I was usually either an Army wife or waitress at the Hump Bar, but even got to be a soldier once and participated in a classic 1940’s episode where I wore crazy wigs and lots of red lipstick. I got to meet some of my favorite stars, hear the nitty gritty details of behind-the-set gossip, and made some amazing friends!
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Army Wives 1940's episode, Season 3- Me on the right- Wigging out & not so blonde!
I was unfortunately too late arriving in Hawaii to be part of the LOST TV show. That would have simply been an unforgettable experience. But I was just in time to become part of the Hawaii Five-0 family.
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Sunset on the Beach premiere of Hawaii Five-0!
Hawaii Five-0 was being remade into a new television series, and I was lucky enough to hear about the casting call early on. My first episode acting as an extra was episode 5. The week after the filming of that episode was the series premiere of the show on CBS. I went with a fellow extra, Sabrina, to the Sunset on the Beach premiere in Waikiki- a screening of the premiere on a blow-up screen on the beach with many of the stars of the show walking a red carpet.
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It was a real red carpet event...only it was on the beach
Several more times I was fortunate enough to appear as an extra on the TV show. My favorite scene I was in to date was an amazingly fun episode about a group of college kids who were kidnapped by pirates while on spring break. The casting department contacted me about appearing in the scene and told me, much to my delight, that I could pass as a 21-year-old college student. Woot!

I started off the morning at Tiki’s Grill- one of my favorite restaurants in Waikiki, ironically enough. Tiki’s was disguised as “Storm” nightclub. Along with a bunch of other bikini and swimsuit-clad “college students,” I was given glass after glass of pink-tinted, fruit-filled Sprite or non-alcoholic beer and given the directions to “get crazy.”

Easier said than done at 6am with absolutely no help from the sadly non-alcoholic beverages.

However, the day ended up being a blast, as we all got into character pretending to be heavily intoxicated
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That's me, hanging out by my lonesome at Tiki's...er, Storm! (Screenshot from Hawaii Five-0)
I got an amazing (but slightly lonely) spot by myself at the end of the bar, right behind the two main characters Kono (played by Grace Park) and Chin (played by Daniel Dae Kim of LOST fame). I proceeded to spend the next two hours or so not-so-drunkenly dancing to music in my head and pretending to be a Woo girl (How I Met Your Mother, anyone?).

Being the obsessive social media geek that I am, I was of course Tweeting between takes about my experience and about my thrill of standing oh-so-close to my beloved DDK (my petname for Daniel Dae Kim- yes, we’re that cool).

Later that day, while awaiting further instructions for the next scene, I was lounging pool-side at the Aston Waikiki with some other bikini-clad extras. (I know, really tough job, isn’t it?)

From across the pool I noticed DDK checking his phone and looking across the pool in the girl’s and my general direction. Within moments, Daniel Dae Kim/Jin/Chin was walking toward us. Unaware if he was a single guy or not, I thought, “He’s coming after the ladies, of course.” Never once thinking he might be approaching me.

Until he was standing by my chaise lounge hovering almost over me. Oh my!
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"Oh, hello there. I'm DDK. I've been waiting for you all my life." Okay...maybe he didn't really say that. :/
“Hi,” he began. Talking to me. Holy crap.

“Are you ‘Blonde at the Beach’ on Twitter?” he continued. 

Wait….what? He was referring to my Twitter handle! These words ran through my head several thousands of times for a few seconds before I realized. Duh. I tweeted about DDK. When I said I was behind him in the scene. Also, I was the only blonde there. And also, Wow! He reads his Tweets!

“Yes!” I replied, still stunned.

“I’m Daniel Dae Kim. Nice to meet you,” he said, shaking my hand.

Wow. Just…Wow.

Basically my favorite day on set to date. And that includes the day I got to sprint across a beach in Waikiki several times while dodging (fake) bullets while random streetgoer gentlemen kept trying to take my picture. Okay…nevermind. That was awkard.
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That's me in the pink on the left dodging bullets...Hah!
Hawaii Five-0 has continued to be a big part of my life and my experience here in Hawaii. My husband and I have become big fans of the show. In addition, I have gotten to meet some awesome people because of the show- both on and off set.
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Me and another extra, Jolene on the beach/set
Social media, especially Twitter, is a huge phenomenon in Hawaii. I can’t tell you how many awesome people I have met by this medium. Many because of the show. Every Monday night, Hawaii Five-0, or #H50 as it’s shortened to on Twitter, is a trending topic as social-media-obsessed people like me watch the show and Tweet about it.

Locals point out the many shoot locations I would never be able to guess and we all crack jokes about the lines and take our best guesses at the whodunnits. Going beyond Twitter though, I have actually gotten to meet several of these awesome Tweeters IRL (in real life).
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#H50 TweetUp! Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by FL Morris copyright © 2011 FL Morris, Mililani, Hawaii
Recently, I attended my first ever Tweet-Up, a get-together for Tweeting Hawaii Five-0 fans at local Big City Diner in Honolulu. (Great blog about the event here! The Five-0 Redux.) It was so awesome to finally put some faces to the Twitter handles! And it’s nice meeting people who know their stuff when it comes to Hawaii. I can put up any random Hawaii question- “Where’s a fun place to go on a Friday night in downtown Honolulu with live music?” –and get a response within seconds from one of these amazing people.

I recently attended the Hawaii Five-0 season finale at Apartment3 in Honolulu. It was great to celebrate such an awesome season of a great show, which really showcases what a gorgeous island on which I’m lucky enough to live.
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Hawaii Five-0 Finale at Apartment3, with friends Brian and Wendie Star-Advertiser photo by Brian T-Seng copyright © 2011 Brian T-Seng
Whether you watch the show to take a drink every time a character says the word “Haole” or “Did you learn that in Seal school?”; or if you just live vicariously through observing the gorgeous sunsets and lush greenery of Oahu, Hawaii Five-0 is an amazingly fun show to watch and an even more incredible experience with which to be involved.

I know I’m looking forward with much anticipation to Season Two. :)

PS. Check out this amazing Hawaii Five-0 blog called the Five-0 Redux my Twitter friend Wendie writes! This blog post is called "Being Blonde at the Beach" and is actually about me and what it's like to be an extra! Wow, thank you, Wendie!
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Happy One Year Anniversary, Hawaii! I moved to Hawaii with Nick on February 4, 2010. Which means next week I will have now lived in Hawaii for a whole year.
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First license in a new state! Woot!
So crazy to think about. Not that the time during deployment flew by at all, but definitely the time since Nick has been home has.

The only time I have left Hawaii since moving here has been for a few days to go to California for training for work. I haven't been back to Maryland and have not seen my family and friends for one whole year now.
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My going away outing with my good friends before the big move.
That must be the reason I have been thinking about them all and missing them so much. I did get to see my sister and niece back in July when they came to visit me, which was amazing. And I have gotten to Skype with my parents, my sister, my niece, and even my grandma over the holidays.

But my heart is aching for my friends back home. Don't get me wrong, I have friends here. But they're not the kind yet that I feel comfortable calling up after a rough day to talk to. Nick is here for that...some of the time. And none of the girls I hang out with live anywhere nearby me. With the island’s traffic, that is a big deal. A girl needs her best friends.
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To my two best friends back home, Erin and Rachel. I miss you two SO much.

Erin has been my best friend and partner in crime and sarcasm since junior year of college when I went from commuting to class to moving onto campus and got "stuck" rooming with her. It was a randomized assignment and the first thing I see when I walk into the dorm room is a huge poster of David Duchovny from X-Files and a little David Duchovny action figure perched tauntingly by her computer.
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Me and Erin...So young here!
Erin and I hit it off right away, much to her surprise (and a little bit of mine!). She told me story after story of her nightmarish roommates, ones that stalked her, ones that walked in on her without asking, and ones that would just stare at her like they wanted to kill her. Erin and I had the same major, were the same age, and were in very similar dating situations at the time. While I had never seen X-Files before (although Erin got me to watch a few episodes while living with her and they weren’t bad, I must say), we did stay up WAY too late when we had early classes and tell scary stories until we fell asleep.
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Erin and I continued to room together until graduation. Afterwards we had our own stuff going on and didn’t see each other much. A few months after graduation we got together for a reunion and decided to go do karaoke at a little bar nearby our college where a friend of mine (Rob!) was DJing. And then we went faithfully every week for 5 months straight.
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Still my favorite picture of all time. Oh my Lord.
Erin has and always will be my best friend. I regret that we don’t talk much. She is a busy girl with a full-time job with a hefty commute, a fiancé, and a punk band called Dead End Lane in which she is the amazingly talented lead singer. The time diff doesn’t help either. But despite not getting to talk much I know that if I need her she is always there and vice versa.
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Rachel!
I also found Rachel, my other best friend, in a very serendipitous type way. I used to date her brother! While the relationship with her brother clearly did not work out, I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel who is like a kindred soul to me. We got along SO well that her brother started getting jealous of our talking the whole time we were all out! Not too long after meeting Rachel, she invited me to move into her spare bedroom at her place.
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Such an awesome friend.
Rachel was such an awesome roommate too! We watched the same shows, worked nearby, loved a lot of the same things. It was only a little awkward having pictures of her brother hanging around everywhere…but this is also the same brother that led me to find my husband so it looks like two AWESOME things came out of that!
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ignore the brunette behind the curtain.
I guess Nick has to come out as the winner of being my favorite roommate ever. I mean, we do have a blast together. But….my two favorite girl roommates and best friends will always be Erin and Rachel.
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There are no two friends like these two. :)
So this blog is dedicated to Erin and Rachel. Of course I miss everyone else back home SO much, my mom and my sister especially.
I also really miss my other close friends: Rob, John, EP, James, Cory, Beki, Bernadette, and all my other friends I didn't name on here….you all are the best. I miss you guys a ton. Karaoke again soon please? Guys?
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Miss you guys a ton. Sing 'Fatbottom Girls' for me please?
Side Note: I know Erin wouldn’t want you to believe she is still obsessed with David Duchovny. I mean I wouldn’t want to embarrass her. It’s not like I would ever do something crazy like put up a poster of her with a really bad picture in the elevator of our dormitory or anything like that. So for the record, despite owning a cast of David Duchovny’s head, Erin really isn’t obsessed with X-Files anymore. For the record. ;)
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When I lived in Charleston, we lived a good 30 minutes from any form of military community. In addition, I was a girlfriend when I was there. If you know anything about military life, yes, spouses have it hard but girlfriends have it much harder by far. They are constantly having to prove themselves to be a permanent part of military life without having any of the benefits- we have to pay to move ourselves- moving trucks, flights, etc; we can’t get onto base to access resources; we don’t have power of attorney usually or any kind of military benefits; and often our family and friends think we’re crazy for moving to be with someone without even having the all-powerful ring on our finger.

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Back in Charleston I mostly hung out with just Nick

Sadly enough, the military wives, who have probably gone through exactly this entire “girlfriend experience” before are often the reason that the girlfriends aren’t taken seriously. They are then excluded from that much-needed military community that helps you deal with all the questions running through your head: “Am I crazy for moving to be with this person?” “How the heck am I supposed to feel during a deployment?” “How can I relate to people who have no idea what I’m going through?”

 

Moving to Hawaii and only being engaged at the time (often still not taken as seriously as a “wife”), I was fortunate to be accepted into a group of wives from the boat who didn’t look down on me for being engaged and who also didn’t look down on the girlfriends.
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Ali was my only military girl friend in Charleston- Thank God for her! Miss you, Ali!
Still, military life- real military life with wives, FRG meetings (Family Readiness Group), deployments, etc- was completely new to me.

 

Being a non-mom (other than to my wonderful only-dog-child at the time, Maggie), I still wasn’t sure how to relate to all the wives with kids. 
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When I first touched down in HI...didn't know any wives yet!
 I don’t have a problem with kids at all. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m definitely one of those awkward girls who doesn’t really know what to do or say to kids because I feel like I’m just going to sound stupid.

 

I always felt beyond awkward waitressing because whenever I had a table with little babies, the other waitresses were always drooling over them and asking “Oooh! How old!?” while making cooing sounds and turning to mush. I would smile awkwardly in the background and ask quietly if they were ready to order yet.

 

(Also, don’t think I don’t want kids someday. I definitely do. We definitely do. But we just got married, and I’ve barely spent a month with him as a married couple. Especially with military, since we lose so much of that much-needed couple time, I think it’s completely acceptable to wait a while to have kids and enjoy that time together as a couple before things completely change forever.)

 

When I first came to Hawaii I hit it off with one of the boat wives in particular who was also not a mom, like me. Molly and I became really close over the course of the 2 months before deployment.
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Me and Molly on 4th of July
Molly was a fun-loving, surfing, high school teacher. She was a light-hearted, funny person who often took a lightly sarcastic approach to situations (such as I do). I think it helps to have that approach sometimes to situations like deployment- it can help you to stay grounded and less emotional during an experience that could just envelop you emotionally otherwise.

 

About a month or so before the boys left for deployment, Molly found out she was pregnant. While neither of us are really “kids” people per say, Molly knew she wanted kids and knew the timing was right to have them since she and her husband were going to be leaving Hawaii a few months later to go to California for two years. Her husband was to attend school there for the Navy, which would mean no deployments or 24 hour duty shifts for 2 years. Just nice, easy hours and perfect timing to have a child and be around to spend time with a little one.

 

It was really interesting for me to be friends with someone who was going through a pregnancy. I’ve never had a pregnant friend before. (I know that sounds funny…sorry!) I’ve never learned firsthand all the things one goes through while she is pregnant. I’m really happy that I got to know Molly before she was pregnant and during- it was such an educational experience!
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Even our dogs were friends! My Maggie & Molly's Winston pictured.
Even though we had less in common when Molly became pregnant, she didn’t change. She still remained funny and sarcastic and most importantly, my friend. Not that I’d thought she would suddenly drop me as a friend, but part of me did really worry. Like I said, I’d never had a pregnant friend before. I know priorities and conversational topics tend to change. I didn’t know if Molly would still want to talk about going to the beach, surfing, and pain-in-the-butt students. Fortunately she did. J

 

Molly and her husband left the boat and Hawaii behind about two weeks ago. She was due to have her baby on Christmas day, but someone had other plans. Last week she delivered a tiny little creature. I saw the pictures on Facebook and my first thought was, “Whose baby is that?”

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Molly with her new bundle of joy. :)
It was still hard to picture that little thing as the thing that Molly had been carrying all this time! It was just the oddest feeling. I knew she was pregnant the whole time she was here but to actually see the whole thing “develop” in a manner of speaking and to actually see the end result…it’s crazy.

 

I feel so sad in so many ways that I’m not there to actually see the little one in person. But I feel even sadder now that it’s hitting me that Molly is really gone.

 

See, I’m learning this is just part of military life. Meeting new awesome friends, seeing their lives change for better and for worse, growing close with someone- only to let them go as you or they move a few months later to the next location.

 

Thank God for social networking. It’s such a great way to keep in touch with people that sometimes it helps you stay in denial about those people really being gone from your life. Not that they’re really ever gone.

 

And the nice thing I hear with military life is that often you run into people at different locations and stages in their life later down the road. That gives me something to look forward to at least.

 

But maybe everyone is really just brought into your life for a certain period of time for a reason. I’m so thankful for having Molly as a friend here because I think she was the perfect narrator and friend to guide me through to military life- and even through knowing what it was like to be pregnant!

 

She helped me come out of my shell to the other ladies. She showed me it was okay to still stay me throughout becoming a military wife- I didn’t have to change who I was to make my husband look good. I could still keep a slightly sarcastic approach to military life and make jokes at it sometimes. Molly helped me grow as a person since I’ve started life here. And for that I will be eternally thankful.

 

But I still need to keep in mind that everyone we meet we meet for a reason. I do think I was meant to become friends with Molly. God knew that was what I needed in my life when I came here.

 

People like Molly have to move on though because other people need them in their lives too. Maybe someone in California is in need of a friend who understands them, and Molly will become her friend and help her along her way too.

 

I also hope that I can continue to grow and make friends in and out of the military community and to hopefully touch someone else’s life the way that Molly touched mine.

 

Whooops, things just got a little emotional.

 

My writing teacher in college introduced me to an amazing quote. Just like my writing teacher was there to push me to find myself through writing (and to find this amazing quote with which to relate), Molly was there to push me to be who I am at this very moment, living life right here in Hawaii.

“I am a part of all who I have met.”

-Lord Alfred Tennyson
 

Our lives change as we go, but I think we’re all one big mosaic of other people. Our families and friends along the way have changed us and molded us into who we are now. It’s all because of our experiences- the big ones and little ones, the good and the bad- with those people that we have the little quirks and thoughts that pop into our heads daily and even the music we listen to and the opinions we have on religion and on life. I’ve written some variation of this blog using this quote time and time again throughout the years, but it still remains timeless and ever-transforming and applicable to me.

 

I’m thankful to everyone who has come into my life, the good and the bad who has an impact on me and who I am today. And I’m especially thankful to Molly in this case for helping me grow as a person and as a military wife when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I hope that someday we can meet again, maybe when I have kids of my own and she can teach me how to do that too!

 

But until then, thanks. :)
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 After 186 days of deployment, two homecoming date changes putting him three days behind schedule (and three changes to our honeymoon to get everything straightened out!), Nick is finally home.
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All ready for him to come home!
I was so beyond excited and nervous for him to come home. I picked out my outfit online over two months ago and have been gradually piecing it together. I even got my hair done for the occasion. (And my necklace even says "Hello Sailor!")

I always had to work when the boat pulled in from work-ups (where they go away for a few days to a few weeks at a time) and typically photography is forbidden on the sub piers anyway, so it was pretty exciting to see the submarine pull in for the very first time.

About a half hour before it pulled into port, some of the wives met the boat out before it pulled into the harbor and put a HUGE 28 foot long lei on it. Well, I think they gave it to the guys to put on the boat. I didn’t take that boat trip because I knew Nick wouldn’t be on the top of the boat anyway. I did help make the lei a few weeks ago.

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Matching Sailor girls!
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Working on that 28-foot lei!
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Our sub cake from the wives' Final Fling night
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Anxiously awaiting our men!
The lei was actually a lot more work than I thought it would be. It was created by cutting rolls of tablecloth in half and lying three rolls on top of each other (blue, white, and gold), rolling them out on picnic tables, punching holes every 6 inches, and basically weaving rope through the tablecloth and scrunching it up every three feet of rope. It took about 3 hours to make but looked really cool hanging on the sail of the sub.

 

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That's our boys getting tugged in- see the big lei?
I recognized Nick as soon as he climbed up to the topside of the boat. It was so weird staring at him from behind the little tent they had set up waiting for him to walk across the pier and onto Hawaii land for the first time in over 6 months.

It felt so strange to see him again. Almost a little awkward! Who would have thought! Then again, we have been married for 7 months…and only seen each other for about 2 or 3 weeks of that time.

 

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HE'S HOME!!!
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Maggie was pretty darn happy to see her daddy!
It just felt so great to be hugged and kissed by him again.

Even Maggie was SO happy to see him again. She came over to greet me after a few minutes of just licking him (she really isn’t a licker either!) and went right back over to him.

After a lot of rearranging and unfortunately quite a bit of money lost, we will finally have our honeymoon. It was originally supposed to be on Kauai for 4 days and Maui for 3 days. But with all the homecoming date changes and loss of leave time that Nick unfortunately won’t get back, we had to cut it down to 5 days in Maui (and pay more just to get that and to get downgraded). But it will be a lot of fun. I am hoping to book a couples massage on the beach for us. Our second night there we are going to go to the Old Lahaina Luau. I hear that’s the best one in the whole state of Hawaii.

I’m so excited to just spend time with him. My goal is Mai Tai’s on the beach in a beach chair like those Corona commercials. Ahhh, happiness.

I’ll post pictures about our honeymoon after we get back. Then we get to pick up our new puppy too! So many exciting things ahead. I’m just so happy to have my handsome husband home!
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My homemade Welcome Home banner-followed by a good old fashioned Rickrolling
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He's home!
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Hello Sailor! :)
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Beach Day at Lanikai
Aloha!

I felt it was time for a website pick-me-up. Hope you like it! I think website design & graphics can be like a new hairstyle- sometimes you need a little update to feel good. That was definitely the case here. I plan on blogging more often now that I feel like my website represents me better.

Enough about nerdiness.

This deployment is chugging along, albeit slowly. But it's still progressing. Summer just officially ended. Of course, for Hawaii I don't think that really means too much. :)

I made sangria a few weeks ago for a beach day at Lanikai with my neighbor and good friend Shannon, and made it again the following weekend for a potluck with the boat wives. I got a few compliments and requests for the recipe so here it is:


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Nothing goes with a beach day quite like sangria!
Beach Bum Sangria
Ingredients:
1 bottle red wine (or whatever is left of multiple bottles of red wine)
1/2 bottle rum (I use Puerto Rican- any kind would probably work)
4-6 oz. pear or passion fruit vodka
6-8 oz. pomegranate or pomegranate-blueberry juice
1 orange
2 lemons
1 lime
1 cup sugar or Splenda
1-2 liters of Sierra Mist or Sprite

Directions:
Try to make one night before an event.
Mix together wine, rum, vodka, and juice.
Cut oranges, lemons, and limes.
Mix in sugar or Splenda.
Let sit overnight (the fruit rinds will flavor the drink more and the actual fruit will soak up the alcohol and be yummy to eat later).
When ready to serve, add Sierra Mist/Sprite to taste. One whole 2 liter bottle will cause your Beach Bum Sangria to taste like it isn't as strong as it actually is. (Note: Personally I prefer Sierra Mist because I think it's a little sweeter than Sprite and I don't always need to use as much sugar/Splenda.)

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Lanikai truly is perfection.
The great thing about sangria is that you literally just throw in what you have around. Another option instead of the Sierra Mist/Sprite is flavored sparkling water, such as the yummy ones they sell at Wal-Mart - which, if you have not tried yet, you need to do so asap!
If you have white wine, use that instead of the red (you may want to reduce the rum so it doesn't look gross). If you use a more dry wine you may need to add more sugar and if you use a sweet wine you may need to use less. You don't need to use the rum or the vodka if you don't want a strong sangria. I've also heard of people using bourbon in sangria.
This recipe makes a strong sangria so feel free to adjust accordingly. Makes about 2 gallons prior to adding Sierra Mist/Sprite.

This is a great all day beach drink- though I will warn you if you do the red wine version it can cause a killer headache later- keep Tylenol on hand!

Tips & Tricks for Making Friends on the Beach:
Ask people if they have an extra plastic cup you can use.
Borrow a bottle opener.
Compliment someone on their swimsuit.
Bring a dog.
Wear a gorilla costume (I actually saw someone do this at Lanikai before. Not kidding.)
Share your sangria.
Bring a d*ck towel. (If you don't watch Always Sunny, Google it. A sure friend maker.)
Wear your bikini backwards.

Okay...kidding about that last one.

Now go forth & make sangria! Comment or send me a message if you do- I'd love to hear how you made my Beach Bum Sangria your own.

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Sangria forges friendships :)
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Got a new laptop! Well....Geeksquad gave up on mine and replaced it with a new one. I'm in the fun restoring process now and noticing all the things I really should have backed up. Bummer.

Anyway, once I get up and restored I am re hauling the website. Can't wait!

In the meanwhile there are a few things I need to mention:
  • Bob Marley might be one of the best musicians alive. I realize I'm late in coming to this conclusion but I just finally got a cd today and am obsessed with it. I am convinced if we blasted Bob Marley music 24-7 across the world, we would all be much happier people. And the world might become a little greener....I mean environmentally of course. :)
  • In addition to Bob Marley I came across this other AMAZING singer the other day (and was so angry I wasn't able to download anything right then because my laptop was being fixed and iTunes was charging double what Amazon was charging to download the album- ANYWAY...) Check out Donavon Frankenreiter. Also a mellow island kind of jam. If you like Jack Johnson, you will like Donavon. Plus, you have to appreciate him for his awesome name alone. Right?
  • My last blog I got a comment from someone who found me through someone else who found me on Twitter (did that make sense?). Anyway, she is ALSO from Maryland, also a Navy wife, ALSO stationed here in Hawaii. How random is that? Makes you realize how small a world it really is. I got the chance to check out her blog and it's super cute. Check it out at www.aisletoaloha.blogspot.com (which currently has a really nice giveaway!) and follow her on Twitter at @AisleToAloha!
Alright. I have got a substantial amount of configuring to do with this computer. Hope everyone is doing great! Have a great night!