So without further ado, here is my top secret deployment project which I have titled,
The Adventures of Flat Nick.
On August 8, 2012, my husband Lt. Nick Miller finally returned home from a six month deployment. I was so excited to see him...and almost more excited that I could finally show him the project I've been working on since the day he left.
So without further ado, here is my top secret deployment project which I have titled,
The Adventures of Flat Nick.
Special thanks to all my friends and family who put up with the very weird looks from strangers as they helped me complete this project- and also kept it a secret. Couldn't have done it without you and my good friend, wine.
If you run or enjoy doing various walks and runs like my husband and me, you may be looking for a favorite shirt to wear while participating. I saw this picture on the Naval Academy Alumni magazine recently and fell in love with the shirt in the picture. It's the perfect thing to wear to show your appreciation, running to support all those who serve.
I emailed the organization that puts on the run that had these shirts to find out how I could get one. They must have had a lot of other people also email them because they are now placing special orders for the shirts- for the regular black shirt by Under Armour as well as a special green version for St. Patrick's Day.
Run to Honor is a great organization. They just started a fan page on Facebook. Like them to show your support and to keep updated on their upcoming events if you are in the DC area. You can order a shirt for yourself here, but only until February 14th so hurry!
Note on Sizing: In case you need a size chart, I found the men's here and the women's here. Just click on the "Sizing" located near the sizes on the page.
Blonde at the beach! Westside of Oahu
I am officially a Hawaiian "kama'aina" (local) resident.
It's been a process the last few weeks to get the marriage license and gradually get everything changed over to my new name. I was waiting to get my marriage license so that I could just change my name at the same time I got my drivers license.
I also knew there was a written test involved with getting my new license (even if you're transferring from another state!) and I wanted to study up first. Turns out I probably tried too hard but I am still glad I studied a bit- there were a couple of Hawaii specific questions on the multiple choice test. For example, I now know that you can leave a child in a car here for up to five minutes, regardless of age...even though that probably doesn't like the best decision.
It's been a crazy week too.
Turtle Beach..minus the turtles. Water is too rough this time of year.
I started two jobs! Then I broke up with one....Let me start over.
I got a job at a restaurant in Kapolei, pretty close to where I live, right before the wedding. I didn't think much of it- I've gotten so used to picking up restaurant jobs wherever I go. It's not that I haven't been trying to find something more stable- I definitely have. But right before I was supposed to start it hit me that I was once again going to drown in the restaurant business.
This is a SHORT line for world famous Matsumoto's
I'll be super honest with you. I'm not a great waitress. I'm actually probably pretty bad. BUT I'm nice. And I feel horrible when I do forget stuff (which happens frequently- I need to write EVERYthing down). And I've worked in restaurants for 4 years so I know how they run now. All those things help make up for being so bad at it. I'm usually good with keeping a pretty positive attitude with doing any job. But the idea of waitressing yet again was starting to depress me.
Yum! Shave ice- worth the wait!
I worked one night of training. The day I was scheduled to come in next I finally called them and said it wasn't going to work out. I felt horrible, but I'd feel even worse working there.
I'm glad I made the decision to break up with them..I got called back from the temp agency about some open positions and interviewed the next day. I was supposed to have two interviews but just loved the first one so much I knew it was the right decision.
I actually start tomorrow as admin at a non-profit org in downtown Honolulu. It's only part-time but I really think I'm going to enjoy being there and I feel really confident about being able to do the job well....better than waitressing!
Nick & me at Sub Ball April 2010
You know, on a slightly different subject, I sometimes can go a lot of the day working around the house, or job-hunting online, or just doing little normal things, but then I look outside and see the gorgeous blue skies and white puffy clouds and perfect weather and am reminded of how LUCKY I am to be here. It's incredible.
It's a bit discouraging to think of ever living anywhere ever again that will live up to these standards. And it makes me laugh to think how much I loved going to Ocean City, Maryland all the time...3 hours away from home with its dark, cold water. Now, granted, the awesome thing about OC was that it was a tradition to go there so you became familiar with the places, the people. It was a Maryland thing.
It's amazing living within 15 minutes of two really gorgeous beaches and within an hour of so many beaches I couldn't even count....with clear, turquoise water and clean sand. There's no distinct smell in the air. I got so used to smelling exhaust all the time in Maryland. There's always a wonderful breeze here to help cool you off. And the water is always the perfect temperature. It's just incredible. I feel so lucky. There are so many cool places to go here. The possibilities are nearly endless. Nick and I took a trip along the west side of Oahu a few weeks ago. Then the next day we drove along the east coast of the island and up to some really cool spots along North Shore. Matsumoto's Shave Ice was one of the places I was so excited to go to. The lines for it are incredible. It's world famous. In fact, Adam Sandler even wore a Matusmoto's t-shirt in 50 First Dates .
This weekend was a complete beach weekend. I literally just spent most of yesterday and a lot of today lying on the beach reading a book and taking a dip when I got too hot. Of course being here has its downsides. Nick isn't here now. I haven't talked to him in a week. And even more unfortunately, I can't talk about him- when he's leaving, when he's returning, where he is going. I can only say that he's gone. That little thought is the nagging thing in my head that reminds me everything isn't perfect.
These are some incredible ladies. :)
Yet still, I have already made such amazing friends. I didn't expect that at all actually. I was nervous about Navy life and making friends. I was afraid that it would be like a sorority. I was in a sorority and while I was in it, I believed everything the sorority taught us about sisterhood and about friendship. Sure, I wasn't best friends with everyone but you were still friendly with everyone regardless. I found out after I got out that everything I believed in wasn't real. Most of these people weren't really my friends. The idea of suddenly being part of a group where suddenly everyone is nice to you reminded me of that experience.
But the Navy wives are different. I love how we all truly have something in common that cannot be faked- our love for our husbands. That brings a certain realistic approach to everything we do, I think. And I love how we've all been brought together. All of our stories are so different and most of never thought we would end up as military wives, nonetheless living in Hawaii. They're amazing women I'm glad I've gotten to know and it really makes me optimistic about being here and about the whole experience of being married to a Navy guy.
Okay...enough seriousness. How cool is it I have an awesome rainbow on my ID now? ;)
Our wedding wasn’t exactly conventional...but then again, I'm quickly learning that nothing is very conventional when it comes to military life. :)
Nick and I had originally been planning on picking a date next year to have our wedding, a date when all our family could make it.
When we got to the island though, we just realized how much easier things would be if we went ahead and got married now instead of waiting. We were excited to get married..plus it was even more exciting to think about having a private ceremony and practically eloping.
I watch all the crazy wedding shows- Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas, Four Weddings...People get so focused on making everyone else happy that they can easily lose sight of what's most important to them. What I loved about what we did was that we focused exactly on what we wanted and had a beautiful little memorable wedding.
I planned for about a month and a half- not easy to do in Hawaii. People and life move a little bit slower here- “Aloha time.” Companies were not quick to respond to me when I was on a deadline. Nick could only do the wedding on certain days with his work schedule so it wasn't an easy month of planning but everything came together beautifully. The two things I really wanted to be perfect were the dress and the photographer- and those two were definitely what we spent the most money on- but well worth it.
Our close family and some friends knew about the wedding but it was so much fun to surprise everyone else.
The wedding took place at Waia'lae Beach Park on the island of O'ahu in front of the Kahala Resort Hotel on Sunday, March 21st, 2010 at 4pm. We had just three guests present- Jared (Nick's roommate from the Naval Academy) and his wife Melissa (and their baby Gunnar too) and our friend Megan who is dating another guy named Lou who Nick went to the Naval Academy with. Lou was unfortunately unable to make it. The dates for his month-long mission kept changing and he ended up coming home the day after our wedding.
Megan was there with me in the beginning to help pick out my dress, which I was sad to do without my mom and sister and best friends.
I realized that by doing the wedding early there would be bittersweet moments. I wanted my mom, my sister, and my two closest friends there.
By having this private ceremony, Nick and I never had engagement pictures, I never had a true bachelorette party, and we're not going to have a honeymoon for some time. So things are definitely happening out of order but...like I said, not conventional.
But there was something so special about it just being basically us. I never thought I would have my wedding on a beach. That's not to say that's not what I wanted- but beaches back in Maryland aren't what I'd dream of for a beach wedding, and east coast weather is far too unpredictable for me to even have tried to plan an outside wedding if we lived there.
Being in Hawaii really opened up a lot of possibilities. We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather.
The night before the wedding we exchanged our wedding gifts. Nick gave me my first pair of pearl earrings- so beautiful and something I had been hinting about but not even on purpose. I gave Nick handkerchiefs which I had embroidered for him with his initials, our wedding date, and “I love you.”
The day of the wedding I had my hair and makeup done by an amazing artist in Honolulu by the name of Maleana Cosmetics. Megan came over to the studio while I was getting ready and we toasted champagne in plastic champagne glasses.
Thank God for the champagne- now I know why people hire wedding planners. I was so stressed something would go wrong! Fortunately, my hair and makeup turned out beautifully. It was really cool getting airbrush makeup. And my hair turned out perfect- it was mostly down with some pieces on the sides and top pulled back and dendrobium orchids tucked into the back.
Nick had dropped me off at the studio and had gone to pick up the cake to take to the restaurant where we would later have our reception dinner. I was so worried he wouldn't get back in time. I originally hadn't wanted him to see me before the wedding, but since the wedding would be outside at the beach there weren't a lot of options- he would have seen me at some point anyway. I was really happy though we timed it out so that he didn't see me getting my hair and makeup done. He got back in time and the videographer filmed Nick when he saw me for the first time in my gown with everything done up. I'll never forget the look on his face. :)
My gown was a light ivory color, A-line/empire waist with a champagne colored ribbon tied around and a cameo with ivory lace on the back. The dress itself was a lace overlay with embroidered flowers and beaded pearls. My veil was about shoulder length with a classic ribbon on the bottom.
Nick's suit was a khaki colored linen fitted suit. He wore an aqua button-up shirt beneath it with an aqua, turquoise and silver polka dot tie, a light pink pocket square with white trim (to match my ribbon), and a Thai dendrobium orchid boutinerre. (He considered wearing his uniform but it just seemed too formal for the relaxed beach wedding we had planned.)
My bouquet consisted of white, crème-colored, light pink, and apricot garden roses. It was originally going to be dahlias but the dahlias were in a storm earlier that week so they had to be replaced with garden roses last minute. They actually smelled really amazing and looked beautiful so it ended up working out very well.
I bought Nick a straw fedora from Banana Republic and gave it to him the day before the wedding. He wore it in a few of the photographs and it looked awesome on him. After searching for over a month I found a pair of aqua polka-dot peep toe shoes. I didn't actually wear them for the ceremony (I was barefoot, Nick wore Rainbows) but they were great for the pictures later and added a fun little splash of color. They also matched Nick's shirt very well.
Upon leaving the makeup studio, we rushed to the beach and found the photographer, Elizabeth Morgan, who snapped some shots while Nick parked the car, and we all walked up to the beach to find the minister. The one sad thing I will say about the day was one thing didn't go as planned; I was going to have a guy playing guitar to "Stand By Me" as I walked up the aisle and "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz on ukulele after they pronounced us husband and wife.
Unfortunately, the craziness of wedding planning got to me. I searched all around trying to find the perfect person for the job and was so happy when I found a guy...however, as I realized the day after our wedding, almost the whole time the uke player and I communicated via email, I was saying the wrong date- April 21st. Nick even looked over the contract before I signed it...for April 21st. Neither of us caught it. He later told me if I had gotten a hold of him sooner it probably wouldn't have been a problem to make it that day. Unfortunately we had to go on with the wedding without him. It went fine without him, I just would have really loved the music. He was kind enough to give us a refund though since it was such a miscommunication.
Other than that, everything went smoothly and perfectly. We had a little spot on a patch of grass next to a palm tree on the beach. Megan had scattered some dendrobium orchid heads on the ground.
The wedding itself was so beautiful...but I couldn't tell you anything that the minister said. Megan and Melissa both did a reading for us- 1st Corinthians. Nick and I both wrote a little something to say to each other and it was very emotional reading our feelings.
After the ceremony and the signing of the marriage certificate, we got a few group shots with Jared, Melissa, Megan and Gunnar before they left to wait for us at the restaurant. We stayed for an additional hour getting lots of fun pictures- barefoot walking on the beach, dancing on the beach, balancing on rocks, me jumping into his arms, him carrying me into the water, me actually getting attacked by a wave at one point (the whole train of my dress got wet), gazing into each other's eyes, and more dancing on the beach, and walking off into the sunset.
Afterwards, we headed to a fun little restaurant in Waikiki called Tiki's Bar & Grill. My main goal with finding a restaurant was that I wanted somewhere that had entertainment and that was fun with really good food. Originally I was looking into fancier restaurants but none of them allowed you to be very close to the entertainment, or simply didn't have entertainment on a Sunday night. Tiki's looked fun from the pictures- Tiki poles all over the restaurant, a fun-looking atmosphere and a good menu with some really yummy-sounding drinks.
When we got there, Megan had scattered flowers all over the table. We had glasses of champagne waiting for us (we got to keep the commemorative Tiki's glasses!). We all had calamari and bruschetta for appetizers. I had a Mai Tai in a fun coconut cup...which ended up having a picture of Lono, the god of fertility and peace. We had a good laugh about that.
Nick had dropped off our cake at the restaurant earlier on that day so I hadn't seen the final product yet. It was so beautiful! I ordered the cake from A Cake Life, which I actually found on Twitter before moving to the island. It was a two tier buttercream cake with lilikoi filling (passion fruit) and fondant icing. It was the smallest two-tier they could make- a 6inch bottom layer and a 4 inch top layer, all 8 inches high total. It had a turquoise ribbon around the bottom of each layer and tiny pearl dots scattered on the fondant. On the top and sides as accents were real, tiny pink roses.
Nick and I weren't too messy with the cake cutting and eating. He made sure he took off his suit jacket first just in case. I did end up accidentally getting some on his face. :)
We saved the entire top tier of the cake by ziplock-bagging it and sticking it in the freezer...I hope it tastes as good a year from now!
After Megan, Melissa, and Jared left, Nick and I went to the giftshop. I have a tradition of collecting random bar/restaurant t-shirts for my future alcoholic patchwork quilt so I definitely wanted to get a t-shirt to remember the night. We both ended up getting a t-shirt and posing in front of the huge Lono Tiki statue-probably my favorite picture of the whole day.
We ended up going home with two Tiki's champagne glasses, a 20 oz Tiki glass, a Tiki coconut cup, and two t-shirts.
The night ended way too early, but Nick had to work the next day. The whole day was such a dream come true.
It was just so much FUN- once I had a glass of champagne at the hair studio and relaxed and stopped stressing about everything going well. It just went well on its own. Nick and I agreed later that we're happy it was kind of just us sharing our moment the first time. We still plan to have the whole family and our friends out next year for a bigger wedding and party. (Hopefully we can get the ukulele player for that!) But it was nice to have some privacy and not worry about everyone else and making sure they were happy and comfortable for this time.
I felt like everyone was there in spirit too. One idea I had come up with when I first started planning the wedding was to have my mom, sister, and two best friends contribute to my “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue.” I got one from each of them to wear that day.
I received a pearl bracelet from my mother (Old), a pin that was my grandma's from my sister (Borrowed), and a garter (Blue) and heart toe ring (New) from Erin and Rachel, my two best friends. My sister also lent me a pretty diamond hair clip that she wore on her wedding day too.
It was really nice to have them think of me and I was happy to be able to see them there with me when I looked at the items. My sister also sent me an amazing wedding countdown with a little plastic blonde Bride wedding topper that was Velcro-ed to the countdown and moved from date to date.
I don’t think I’d change a thing about that day. It was just so much fun and I felt really pretty and so happy. J The next night after Nick got off work, we ordered a Dominos thin crust white garlic parmesan pizza (my favorite!), had champagne, and watched Just Married. I called it our “Mini-moon.” We also have a sunset dinner cruise coming up toward the end of this month that we won in a silent auction. That will be another mini-moon for us. We’re going to wait a few months until things settle down and then plan a honeymoon to another island, probably Kauai. There are ziplines, rainforests, beaches, hiking and so much more to do there. We still definitely plan on having a bigger wedding next year- enough in advance for our family and friends to come visit.
We’re so happy to be newlyweds now! It feels so grownup when I say I have a “husband.” We still watch Family Guy and make “That’s what she said” jokes. Our idea of a fun night is still staying in and cuddling on the couch. We’re just an old married couple now. I love it.
Thank you to all our family and friends for supporting us and loving us. I’m so excited to have a new last name and a new family now!
If you would like to see our wedding website (which I started the week before the wedding) or view our registry page, please visit: www.sarahlovesnick.com
Maryland's Spice-good on everything!
So I was thinking...I always wanted a new license from somewhere other than Maryland. At least for probably over ten years I haven't been a huge Maryland fan.
Of course there are things to love about Maryland. Blue crabs, Old Bay, Baltimore Ravens, tailgating for home games, Towson bars, Towson University (my alma mater)'s Homecoming in October each year, gorgeous Annapolis, Ocean City in the summertime, Halloween in Fells Point, karaoke at The Charred Rib in Lutherville, and of course my amazing friends and family. All of these and so much more are things I'm going to miss.
My last San Diego trip in 2007
But when it comes down to it, I have never been a fan of the cold weather and have always wanted to move somewhere warmer. California has always been my dream. I would still love to live there one day. We actually had San Diego down as our number one preference when Nick had the option a few months ago. Pearl Harbor, HI was number two. We had Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA as number three since it was closer to Maryland. Groton, CT; Kings Bay, GA; and Bangor, WA were our last few choices. And of course Guam. (Thank God we didn't get Guam. Apparently guys actually wanted to go there...I guess if you're single it doesn't matter...)
Nick warned me not to get excited about the idea of San Diego. I think if I had to pick anywhere in the US I probably would pick San Diego- but so would a lot of other people. It was probably most of the guys in his class' number one choice.
I'm one of those people that truly believes in things being meant to be. Hawaii is such an amazing opportunity that still seems surreal. I mean...I always wanted to visit there. It's literally number 2 on my lie goals list...And now I'm going to live there? For three years?
Crazy. Absolutely crazy.
It looks like I'm going to get my wish of having a license from somewhere else. And it'll have a rainbow on it too. That's nice. I'll be sad to leave behind my happy blue and white Maryland license with the little crab on it. But it'll be exciting to move onto new, bigger, warmer things. ;*)
I'm a little bummed at the moment. Just another example on how you can't plan anything with the military...
Nick and I are going to Myrtle Beach for the weekend tomorrow since he is supposed to be off on Saturday and Sunday. I'd hoped to leave by 9 in the morning or so since it's at least a 2 hours drive.
He just got home from work a little bit ago and told me has to go to work in the morning. Said it's only a half day. He hopes to be out by noon. This after going in almost every day this week at 5 in the morning and not coming home until 9pm or later.
I guess at least it's not a whole day he has to go in for but it's still enough to bum me out and mess up our plans. Who knows, knowing the Navy he probably won't even be home until after 4pm tomorrow. Sigh.
Nothing to be done about it tonight. Nick just handed me a sheet of bubble wrap to cheer me up...the BIG bubbles. There's something to keep me distracted for a while.
My sister called me back last night and I was able to tell her the good news. She wasn't as upset as I thought she'd be. Actually my mom was way worse.
My sister was actually really excited that I'd be moving back to Baltimore for the three months before the big move to Hawaii. I see Baltimore Ravens games and maybe a bus trip to NY in my future before I leave Baltimore( courtesy of my big sis)!
So I was able to put up an announcement on my facebook last night about the big move. One of my former managers of a restaurant I worked for in Baltimore actually worked for the same chain in Honolulu last year so she said she can put a word in for me when I get close to moving. :)
Now I'm working on setting up a job for the time I'll be back in Baltimore.
But in other news- a TV show I have been honored to be involved with and have worked part time as an extra on ALL season has a really cool episode coming on tonight that I cannot WAIT to see. Army Wives is filmed and set here in Charleston. I was in I believe 6 or 7 episodes this season. But tonight was a special flashback to the 1940's in which they had us in full hair and makeup. I wasn't so blonde! Super excited to how all the hard work came together (I had two days in a row- one we went in at 4 am and worked 17 hours and the next day came in at 9am and it was another 15 hour day..a LOT of work!)
Too bad Lost is finishing up their show- apparently they film on O'ahu- That would have been a pretty cool show to switch to. Too bad!
Army Wives airs Sundays on Lifetime @ 10pm EST. :)
So I told my mom today.
She wasn't thrilled...but she was happy I'd be coming back to Baltimore for the holidays this year until we move in February.
Now I still have to tell my sister. My sister is a little bit older than I am and protective about her sister moving far away from family. She wasn't happy about my move here. Honestly her philosophy is that you should always stay close to family and put them first.
While I think putting family high on your list of priorities is important, I don't think it should rule your life. Imagine where we'd be if everyone stayed put to stay close to family! Would Columbus never have discovered America because he'd have been to afraid to leave his mom? Movies would suck if they were all filmed in a director's basement because he was too afraid to leave home and move to Hollywood. Plus I start to think about that creepy guy in high school that graduated like 4 years ago but still comes back to "hang out" and talk about how cool things were back in the day when he was the man. Not that caring about your family is sad. Or being near home. But I think at some point you have to finish the book, no matter how great it is, and start one of your own.
Just think, The sky wouldn't be so pretty if all the stars were bunched together- they've got to spread out to share their joy with everyone. Maybe that's just me. And enough metaphors.
But it looks like telling my sister is going to have to wait until tomorrow since it's getting late in the evening now.
The awesome thing about telling her the news is that, since she and my mom were prerequisites to letting everyone else know, once they've heard the news, I'll be free to broadcast it to ALL my friends.
There's still that tiny worry that I'll get myself excited about this and it will change, but the orders are up now. It's in writing. Nick said it's very unlikely to change at this point.
There's so much to plan. Dates, moving men, airplane tickets, my poor dog on the airplane, my car for sale, all the dog's paperwork, a HOUSE. Whew. I'm exhausted thinking about it.
Definitely going to be a big move. But SO excited. Can't wait to share the good news....riiighhht after I talk to my sister...
Just found out yesterday I'm moving to Hawaii in February.
Oh my Lord.
What else can you really say to that?
Basically my boyfriend is going to be stationed at Pearl Harbor on O'ahu, Hawaii.
28 hours ago I didn't even know how to say "O'ahu." Well...okay maybe I knew how to say that.
But I didn't even know what "Mahalo" meant. I just remembered that they kept saying it in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."
So in the last day since we found out, I have already watched a show and a half about Hawaii on the travel channel, have been trying to memorize how to do my vowel pronunciations in Hawaiian, just learned how to spell "Hawaiian," and already picked out a new waterproof digital camera that I'm hoping I can talk my mom into buying me in an effort to keep better in touch with her when I move some 3,000 miles away and like 6 hours time difference from the east coast.(I think it's 6 hours- there's another one to look up).
Anyways, I am hoping the idea about the camera and the staying in touch idea will cushion the blow of her baby girl who is probably of a birthing age moving super far away. Nooootttt that I plan on having kids anytime soon. But, well, you know moms.
No one besides my closest friends know the news yet. We're waiting for written orders so that I don't start bragging about moving to a tropical paradise only to be last minute changed to rainy Washington state or somewhereintheboonies, Connneticut. (I don't even know how to spell Connecttticut. I don't want to learn. I'd rather learn Hawaiian. Spellproof be damned.)
So this is day one of my Island blog. I think it might be nice to blog about the move to Hawaii and of course- the actual island once we get there. Crossing fingers it doesn't change to Connnnictucettt!